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Christ, that gentleman with the long and sang that quaint and touching mubeard !” We looked eagerly, as after sic while the tableaux came and went be. royalty in all its glory, and beheld pass- hind them, and we waited for the real ing on the other side a tall, graceful, action to begin. For the Passion-Play majestic figure in rough attire, with is performed thus: the chorus sing an flowing dark hair and beard, a sweet explanation of the tableaux (which are and sad expression, and an air of grave from the Old Testament), and describe gentleness and dignity. This was the their relation to the events of the New, Joseph Mair, who enacts the part of and then comes that scene from the life Christ. Macrcady is said to have begun of Christ of which they are supposed to be Richard the Third at three o'clock to be the antetypes, beginning with his in the afternoon, after which time it entry into Jerusalem. The scene was was dangerous to approach him; but intensely real as the multitude entered, this untutored peasant must have been strewing paim-branches and shouting absorbed in the spirit of his part for hosannas, and throwing down their months, so perfect did his whole appear- garments before that tall, pale figure in ance answer to the ideals of Titian and amaranthine robes, who comes slowly Rubens. His fellows spoke to him with down the street riding upon an ass. more of reverence than they showed There was nothing to recall one from each other, and his dignity, though it the illusion of the piece. The dresses, had nothing of assumption about it, so perfect and so simple; the acting, so was very real and imposing. At six earnest, so natural, so devotional; the o'clock the next morning he was seen at hundreds of people thronging the wide the early mass, preparing himself for streets of that immense stage; the utter the religious duties of the day by fast- absorption of every one in the play, not ing and prayer.
even the merest supernumerary appearOthers have doubtless described and ing to remember for one moment that he re-described that singular theatre, with was acting, and before an audience; the its roof of blue sky and its background air, the breeze, the sunshine, all the inof green hills and rocky crags, its streets fluences of soul and sense combined, and its houses, with their projecting bal- transported one nineteen centuries back conies wherein some of the scenes of the into the past. And then the charm of drama were enacted. We had read many that beautiful tall figure, with its slow such accounts, we had even seen the and quiet majesty of grace, the draping theatre, and looked at the pictures of of the crimson and purple robes over the actors in their wonderful costumes; the absolutely perfect form, the thrilling but when, after the distant boom of can- tones of the pathetic voice uttering the non, and the few solemn bars of the over- well-known words which we have all ture, that beautiful procession of the heard from babyhood, was all-entrancchorus in their brilliant robes of many ing. We saw the scene in the temple, colors came gliding upon the stage in the where the tall form of the Christ towerfull blaze of the bright summer sunshine, ed above the scattering and dispersed it was impossible to repress a cry of de throng of money-changers, as the doves light. There they stood, the bright- flew high in air from their overturned robed figures, with their floating hair cages. We saw the scene at Bethany, and exquisite sweep of drapery, worn where the beautiful Virgin-Mother, with consummate ease and grace, the draped in the traditional blue and red, streets of Jerusalem stretching away be- took such a tender and pathetic leave hind them, the golden butterflies flutter- of her departing son, while Martha, ing about their heads, the sunshine light- Mary, and the young St. Jolin, with his ing up their hair and casting sharp, pleading eyes, surrounded and consolclean-cut shadows at their feet, the fresh ed her. We saw the high-priests and summer breeze rippling the folds of rabbis plotting together against the life their sweeping robes ; there they stood, of Christ, and had something too much of their long-winded deliberations. The picture melted into another, and above character of Judas is one of the most and through all was the vivifying spirit elaborate in the play, and was superbly of religious earnestness, that prevented interpreted. He is portrayed not as the all criticism or even eulogy, in the overgross and vulgar villain that one would mastering presence of the sacred scenes fancy the uncultured minds of these poor so perfectly portrayed. And when the peasants could alone depict, but as one touching rite was at an end, when Judas possessed by the demon of greed, who had rushed out to do quickly that which betrays his Master reluctantly, led away he had to do, when the sweet and melby his overpowering passions, but be- ancholy figure that ruled the scene had trays him, as he thinks, only to tempo- administered to each disciple the bread rary disgrace, never doubting but that and wine with his own hands, and the Christ's miraculous power will bring him weeping friends were gathering into litout in safety from the hands of his ene- tle sorrowing knots around him, once mies. The overwhelming remorse and more that voice of thrilling pathos broke agony of Judas when he finds that Christ the silence with the words of tender really is to die, his frantic appeals to the comfort from the fourteenth chapter of Sanhedrim to reverse the sentence, his John, which have consoled so many final dashing of the blood-money into breaking hearts. It is quite impossible their scornful and contemptuous faces, to represent in my poor words the wonhis weary roaming up and down, driven derful nature of this scene; but it was on by the stings of a tortured conscience, one that will live in the imagination and his wild ravings over his sin, and last hallow the haunted memory of all who of all his frenzied leap into the other had the happiness to see it. world, were portrayed with a fire, an Before this you will have had all the intellectual vigor, a subtlety of concep- details of the piece, but I cannot refrain tion and finish or execution that left from mentioning one or two of the chief nothing to be desired. We no longer events that followed; the denial of Pewondered that the King of Bavaria sent ter, for instance, surrounded by the rough his best actors here to learn their busi- soldiers around the fire, and the look of
pitiful sadness from the silent figure led Then came the preparations for the past him to be tortured. And when we Last Supper, and then that solemn festi- beheld the same figure, stripped of the val itself. As the scene developed, the amaranthine robes, and seated on a stool ideal of Leonardo da Vinci was more among the scoffing soldiers, who pressed than realized. A quiet sadness domi- a crown of thorns upon the brow, thrust nated all the scene, so gravely, calmly, a reed into the fettered hands, and threw pathetically represented. As the low a scarlet mantle round the shrinking strains of a solemn hymn sung by in- shoulders, what a picture that was! An visible voices stole upon the ear, Christ unearthly beauty seemed to invest the laid aside his mantle, and girding him- drooping head and perfectly moulded self with a towel, proceeded to wash form, thrown into such wonderful relief the disciples' feet. A graceful youth by the sweeping folds of the red cloak held the silver ewer, and assisted at the and the shadowed background. Then humble work. It would be impossible we saw the same silent figure led from to describe the exquisite and sacred one tribunal to another, tossed from beauty of the picture. Never for one Annas to Caiaphas, from him to Pilate, instant through the long eight hours of from Pilate to Herod, from Herod to the whole play was there an awkward Pilate again, still, though mocked, busor ungracious pose or motion on the feted, scourged, and bleeding, preserving part of any of the actors; every atti- that wonderful ascendency over all the tude and movement, especially of the Christ, was the very perfection of un- Finally we beheld once more, as the studied grace and beauty. One lovely curtaiu drew up, the quiet streets of
Jerusalem, and in the distance on the withdrawn; but the dreadful suffering left, the Virgin and St. John with a lit- goes on for over a .quarter of an hour, tle knot of followers coine slowly into before they begin the slow work of review. As they draw near, a terrible pro- lease. All the incidents related in the cession from the other side comes toward Bible are enacted; the brutal executionthem. A ruthless, eager mob, a troop ers divide the garments, and cast their of Roman soldiers, cold and cruel, a knot lots, and, most dreadful of all, one of of executioners, brutal even to look upon, the soldiers pierces Christ's side with a full of a savage delight in their horrid sharp spear, and the red blood springs work, and in the midst of all this seeth- from the wound with a sickening realing sea of fierce and angry passions, ity. At last the soldiers, the mob, the once more that silent figure, bowed al- executioners are all gone, and the pale, most to the earth under the weight of blood-stained figure is gently and reverthe heavy cross. All the details of the ently taken down by some of the disciBible narrative are rigidly adhered to, ples, and carried to the tomb. Then the only unscriptural incident being the follow the resurrection, the appearance introduction of St. Veronica—a gracious in the garden, and the ascension, and figure, who gives her handkerchief to the long drama is at an end. the needs of the sufferer she meets and I have purposely waited two or three pities. But there was no miraculous days before writing this account, lest imprint brought forth, as indeed there the excitement of the time and place was no attempt at the introduction of should have misled me. But with every any miracle, except the resurrection, in day that lapses the impression grows the play itself.
and deepens. The choruses are too long The sad procession disappeared, and sometimes, and weary one; the action is once more into the empty streets came often unnecessarily spun out, the delibthe chorus, this time draped in black, erations of the rabbis tedious, and it is and singing a funeral dirge. As its sol- often difficult to catch the words ; for emn strains proceeded, the blows of a in an open-air theatre holding six thouhammer were heard behind the scenes, sand people it is no easy task to speak; consummating the terrible tragedy while the tableaux accompanying each whose last act we were now to behold. scene are frequently far-fetched and The curtain of the inner theatre (the chiidish, sometimes absurd. Then the middle stage) was raised, and there, in seats are narrow, hard, and uncomfortathe midst of the crowd we had just ble; and eight hours, even with an witnessed, bung the two thieves on hour's rest in the middle, is a long either side. The figure of the Christ stretch for the attention. But when one was stretched upon the central cross reflects that this marvel of beauty, as lying on the ground, while the execu- far as acting, color, and grouping go, is tioners nailed the inscription over his the production of untutored peasants head, and then it was raised into an in a remote village of Bavaria—that not upright position. It was a terrible only one actor, but each and all were piece of realism. The nails seem actu- equally well fitted to their parts in looks ally to pierce the blood-stained hands and action—that this perfect adaptation and feet; there is only a bit of slanting was as remarkable as the universal grace wood under the latter, which are cross- of movement—and that this again was ed, and no discoverable support ang only to be equalled by the exquisite where else. The beautiful limbs are brilliancy of coloring and artistic arflecked with great drops of blood, the rangement of all the groups—the Paschest heaves with anguish, and the body sionspiel of Ober-Ammergau becomes indroops lower and lower as the strength deed a miracle-play. Not one of all the seems to ebb from the failing muscles. five hundred people concerned in it, It is a cruel sight, harrowing enough to down to the veriest babies that added soe for a moment, then to be mercifully their charm to the tableaux, but was utterly and entirely absorbed in the Some Munich painters, in their artistic spirit of the scene; never by a single pride, were endeavoring to persuade the look was the presence of an audience village-priest who superintends the play, acknowledged. The one motive swayed that it would be much more effective if the scene that invests the angular works the Virgin swooned at the foot of the of the pre-Raphaelites with such an ab- cross, instead of standing, as she does, sorbing charm—that strange power that with clasped hands, her eyes fixed on we feel lurking beneath the quaint awk- the Christ. “Gentlemen," said the curé, wardness, the grotesque color, the spirit “the Scripture says she stood at the foot of earnestness that in all ages has ruled of the cross. That is enough." And the souls of men. That a great deal of certainly no dramatic swoon could have artistic feeling is inherent in this race been half so touching as the sight of of peasants, no one that has seen their that beautiful girlish figure, with the exquisite specimens of wood-carving can face of exquisite purity and holiness, doubt; and to this training they proba- standing there so absorbed in her love bly owe their talent for grouping, and and her sorrow. And no theatrical sobs their love of color. But only a strong and groans could match the still agony religious feeling could carry them of that face as it bent over the dead through the rest—a simple faith, a sin- face upon her lap, while Joseph and the cere conviction, an absolute unconscious- rest prepared the body for the tomb. ness of self, and a devout adherence to And with these most inadequate the Scripture they endeavor to portray. words I am forced to close.
TO A FALSE MISTRESSE.
[WITH DRYED LEAVES.]
“Mulier cupido quod dicit amanti
SEE in these witherd Leaves my Love's emblemme,
And let the image yet thy spirit move.
And thou hast plaied Time's parte unto my love.
The Spring and thou were kindlie, and did beare
Bothe Leaves and Love from nothing into lighte;
For both were yong, and all things nigh were brighte.
Then Summer came, and thou didst warmer beame;
And Leaves and Love rejoyct in life and strengthe,
And neyther dreamd of death. And yet at lengthe
And yet at lengthe came Automn to the Leaves;
And thy false change did take awaie Love's breathe.
Ye cannot mourne after youre lov'd ones' deathe.
“Fur allen Freuden auf Erden
Kann niemand keiner feiner worden,
NOTHING more than music marks the open and sonorous vowels, like the Italdifference between human nature and ian or Spanish. But where frost and brute nature; and nothing, perhaps, cold winds suggest the prudence of more than the voice marks the growth keeping the mouth closed as much as of culture and civilization. It is a curi- possible, the generous tone is found ous illustrative fact that dogs in a wild wanting, and gutturals arise from the state never bark; they howl and growl, habit of speaking in the throat, as in but the bark seems to be too near an German and other northern languages. articulation for their untutored throats. This idea, however, must pot be pushed Gardiner, in his “Music of Nature," re- too far. The Swedish language does fers to the dogs left by Columbus in not possess, certainly, the liquid mobilAmerica: when the great discoverer re- ity of the Italian; but as we listened to turned, he found they had forgotten how it on one occasion, it seemed to possess to bark; relapsed into their primitive in- so much grace and sweetness that it articulate condition; and Gardiner con- might well afford some rugged consosiders the bark of a dog to be an "effort nants for the sake of strength, thus to speak which he derives from his as- uniting the sonorous softness of the sociating with man.” The ease and cer- south with the dignity and power of tainty with which intelligent dogs ac- the north. When we expressed our ad quire the comprehension of words, is miration to the Swede whose musical familiar to every lover of that noble articulation was so charming, he assured animal. The human voice is even more us that the language was considered by sensitive than the canine to the effects many musicians as the best in the world of refinement and civilization. A lady for song. It would be a most interestonce remarked that she knew any scholar ing but very profound task for pbiloor man of letters the moment he spoke logical learning, to make an analysis of at her front door by a certain indefinable all languages, barbarous and cultured, quality of voice, which she never or rare- and of the same tongue in different ly detected in others. Gardiner remarks stages, upon strict euphonic principles that we may regard the models of physi- and with reference to musical adaptacal beauty as the shape and character bility, so as to show by scientific inducof organs best adapted to produce love- tion the kind of tone appropriate to the ly sound. “The thick lips of the Afri- different stages of human growth and can, or the spare lips of the Gentoo, are to the physical environment of races. neither of them so well adapted for per- The attachment of peoples to their fect execution as those of European national songs and music, especially if fashion; the one mumbles, the other it be a rich store, is a familiar fact. The lisps.” The same writer mentions the attachment grows with the people's peculiarities of tone that pertain to growth; and after a milder type has different climates. Under the serene replaced the sturdy, but perhaps trucuand gold sky of warm and favored cli- lent, songs of the ancient fatherland, mates, the mouth is naturally opened these are still treasured for their hiswide, and the language will abound in toric interest as well as for a wild