What could ever connect his fate with Rene Dumas, or the fugitive assassin? Why did the buoyant air of Paris seem to him heavy with the steams of blood; why did an instinct urge him to fly from those sparkling circles, from that focus of the world’s awakened hopes, warning him from return?—he, whose lofty existence defied—but away these dreams and omens! He leaves France behind. Back, O Italy, to thy majestic wrecks! On the Alps his soul breathes the free air once more. Free air! Alas! let the world-healers exhaust their chemistry; man never shall be as free in the marketplace as on the mountain. But we, reader, we too escape from these scenes of false wisdom clothing godless crime. Away, once more
“In den heitern Regionen Wo die reinen Formen wohnen.”
Away, to the loftier realm where the pure dwellers are. Unpolluted by the Actual, the Ideal lives only with Art and Beauty. Sweet Viola, by the shores of the blue Parthenope, by Virgil’s tomb, and the Cimmerian cavern, we return to thee once more.
Che non vuol che ’l
destrier piu vada in alto,
Poi lo lega nel margine marino
A un verde mirto in mezzo un lauro E un pino.
“Orlando Furioso,” c. vi. xxiii.
(As he did not wish that his charger (the hippogriff) should take any further excursions into the higher regions for the present, he bound him at the sea-shore to a green myrtle between a laurel and a pine.)
O Musician! art thou happy now? Thou art reinstalled at thy stately desk,—thy faithful barbiton has its share in the triumph. It is thy masterpiece which fills thy ear; it is thy daughter who fills the scene,—the music, the actress, so united, that applause to one is applause to both. They make way for thee, at the orchestra,—they no longer jeer and wink, when, with a fierce fondness, thou dost caress thy Familiar, that plains, and wails, and chides, and growls, under thy remorseless hand. They understand now how irregular is ever the symmetry of real genius. The inequalities in its surface make the moon luminous to man. Giovanni Paisiello, Maestro di Capella, if thy gentle soul could know envy, thou must sicken to see thy Elfrida and thy Pirro laid aside, and all Naples turned fanatic to the Siren, at whose measures shook querulously thy gentle head! But thou, Paisiello, calm in the long prosperity of fame, knowest that the New will have its day, and comfortest thyself that the Elfrida and the Pirro will live forever. Perhaps a mistake, but it is by such mistakes that true genius conquers envy. “To be immortal,” says Schiller, “live in the whole.” To be superior to the hour, live in thy self-esteem. The audience now would give their ears for those variations and flights they were once wont to hiss. No!—Pisani has been two-thirds of a life at silent work on his masterpiece: there is nothing he can add to that,