To Hanover one should go, they say, to learn the best German. The
disadvantage is that outside Hanover, which is only a small province,
nobody understands the best German. Thus you have to decide whether to
speak good German and remain in Hanover, or bad German and travel about.
Anzi a proposito del sodio ricordai - e riprodussi più o meno
esattamente - un inno a quell'elemento elevato da un mio professore
all'unica sua prelezione cui avessi assistito. Il sodio era un veicolo
sul quale gli elementi montavano per muoversi piu rapidi. E il
professore aveva ricordato come il cloruro di sodio passava da
organismo ad organismo e come andava adunandosi per la sola gravità
nel buco più profondo della terra, il mare.
[And I remembered, apropos sodium, a paean to that element, which I
recalled almost precisely, spoken by one of my university teachers in
the only class of his I actually went to. Sodium was a vehicle, onto
which the elements climbed in order to travel more freely; and the
lecturer reminded us how sodium chloride passes from one organism to
another and how it eventually collects from sheer weight in the
deepest caverns of the ocean.]
I threaten heaven, and from my cell
Of clay, and frailty break, and bud
Touched by thy fire, and breath; Thy blood
Too, is my dew, and springing well.
But while I grow
And stretch to thee, aiming at all
Thy stars, and spangled hall,
Each fly doth taste,
Poison, and blast
My yielding leaves; sometimes a shower
Beats them quite off, and in an hour
Not one poor shoot
But the bare root
Hid under ground survives the fall.
Alas, frail weed!
I thoght eke thus, gif I my handis clap
Or gif I cast, than will sche flee away.
And gif I hald me pes, than will sche nap,
And gif I crye, sche wate noght quhat I say:
Thus quhat is best wate I noght, be this day,
Bot: `blawe wynd, blawe, and do the leuis schake,
That sum twig may wag and mak hir to wake.'
I packed up my chemical instruments, and the materials I had
collected, resolving to finish my labours in some obscure nook in the
northern highlands of Scotland.
We quitted London on the 26th of March, and remained a few days
at Windsor, rambling in its beautiful forest. This was a new scene to us
mountaineers; the majestic oaks, the quantity of game, and the herds
of stately deer, were all novelties to us.
From thence we proceeded to Oxford. As we entered this city, our
minds were filled with the remembrance of the events that had been
transacted there more than a century and a half before. It was here
that Charles I. had collected his forces. This city had remained
faithful to him, after the whole nation had forsaken his cause to join
the standard of parliament and liberty. The memory of that unfortunate
king, and his companions, the amiable Falkland, the insolent Goring,
his queen, and son, gave a peculiar interest to every part of the
city, which they might be supposed to have inhabited. The spirit of
elder days found a dwelling here, and we delighted to trace its
footsteps. If these feelings had not found an imaginary gratification,
the appearance of the city had yet in itself sufficient beauty to
obtain our admiration. The colleges are ancient and picturesque; the
streets are almost magnificent; and the lovely Isis, which flows
through meadows of exquisite verdure, is spread forth into a placid
expanse of waters, which reflects its majestic assemblage of towers,
and spires, and domes, embosomed among aged trees.
In dieser Ebene sahen wir einen ehrwürdig aussehenden alten Herrn
mit langem Barte, der mit wehmütigem Gesicht einen gewaltigen Zug von
einigen zehntausend schwarzgekleideten Männern anfuhrte. Es sah
betrübt und hoffnungslos aus, und Mozart sagte:
``Sehen Sie, das ist Brahms. Er strebt nach der Erlösung,
aber damit hat es noch gute Weile.''
Ich erfuhr, daß die schwarzen Tausende alle die Spieler
jener Stimmen und Noten waren, welche nach göttlichem Urteil in seinen
Partituren überflüssig gewesen wären.
[In this plain we saw a respectable-looking old gentleman with a long
beard, who walked unhappily at the head of a huge file of tens of
thousands of men in black. He had a troubled and hopeless air, and
Mozart said: ``That's Brahms, you see. He is seeking enlightenment,
but he's got a way to go yet.''
I was told that the thousands in black were the players of all the
notes in his scores which, according to divine judgement, were
The other four Loved Ones approached and stood in a circle with
the old man round the iron pot.
``This is the water of immortality in God,'' murmured one, and
poured water into the pot.
``This is the sweetness of God's love,'' murmured another, and
shook a handful of sugar candies called patashas into the pot.
The five squatted down in the `heroic attitude' round the pot,
left knee up, right knee on the ground.
Le comte fit au vieillard vêtu en paysan le salut militaire, et
-- Mon général, voilà l'homme.
Le canonnier se tenait debout, les yeux baissés, dans
Le comte du Boisberthelot reprit:
-- Mon général, en présence de ce qu'a fait cet homme,
ne pensez-vous pas qu'il y a pour ses chefs quelque chose à faire?
-- Je le pense, dit le vieillard.
-- Veuillez donner des ordres, repartit Boisberthelot.
-- C'est à vous de les donner. Vous êtes le capitaine.
-- Mais vous êtes le général, reprit Boisberthelot.
Le vieillard regarda le canonnier.
-- Approche, dit-il.
Le canonnier fit un pas.
Le vieillard se tourna vers le comte du Boisberthelot,
détacha la croix de Saint-Louis du capitaine, et la noua à
la vareuse du canonnier.
-- Hurrah! crièrent les matelots.
Les soldats de marine présentèrent les armes.
Et le vieux passager, montrant du doigt le canonnier
-- Maintenant, qu'on fusille cet homme.
La stupeur succéda a l'acclamation.
Alors, au milieu d'un silence de tombe, le vieillard
éleva la voix. Il dit:
-- Une négligence a compromis ce navire. A cette heure il est
peut-être perdu. Être en mer, c'est être devant l'ennemi.
Un navire qui fait une traversée est une armée qui livre une bataille.
La tempête se cache, mais ne s'absente pas. Toute la mer est une
embuscade. Peine de mort à toute faute commise en présence de
l'ennemi. Il n'y a pas de faute réparable. Le courage doit être
réecompensé, et la négligence doit être punie.
[The count saluted the old man dressed as a peasant and said to
``General, this is the man.''
The cannoneer stood to attention, his eyes cast down, obedient.
The Count of Boisberthelot continued:
``General, seeing what this man has done, do you not think that his
superiors should take some action?''
``I do think so'' said the old man.
``Please give your orders'' said Boisberthelot.
``It is your place to give orders. You are the captain.''
``But you are the general'', Boisberthelot answered.
The old man looked towards the cannoneer.
``Come here'', he said.
The cannoneer stepped forward.
The old man turned to the count of Boisberthelot,
took the Cross of Saint Louis from the captain's uniform, and tied it
to the cannoneer's jacket.
``Hurrah!'' cheered the sailors, and the marines presented arms.
And the old passenger, pointing to the astonished cannoneer,
``And now, shoot this man.''
The cheers gave way to bewilderment.
Then, amid a dead silence, the old man raised his voice.
``This ship has been endangered by an act of negligence. It may be
that she is doomed. To be at sea is to face the enemy. A ship crossing
the water is like an army in battle. The storm may be hidden, but it
is not far away. The whole sea is an ambush. The penalty for any crime
in the presence of the enemy is death. No mistake can be
unmade. Courage must be rewarded, and negligence must be punished.'']
Black March I call him
Because of his eyes
Being like March raindrops
On black twigs.
(Such a pretty time when the sky
Behind black twigs can be seen
Stretched out in one
Cambridge blue as cold as snow.)
Then, with my chin buried in my muffler, I sought the darkest
corner of the ill-lit combination of bar and waiting-room where, by
the tiresome custom in Germany, would-be travellers are penned till
their train is ready. Von Bruning I perceived sitting in another
corner, with his hat over his eyes and a cigar between his lips. A boy
brought me a tankard of tawny Munich beer, and, sipping it, I watched.
People passed in and out, but no-one spoke to the sailor in mufti.