Tuesday, 17 April 2012

23. A Journey around my Room

I will only say one word or two about the next engraving

It Represents the family of the Unfortunate Ugolino dying of starvation: around him, one of his sons lies motionless at his feet; the others hold their enfeebled arms to him and beg him for bread, while the wretched father, leaning against the pillar of the prison, his eyes wild and staring, his face frozen in the horrible tranquility that comes with the last vicissitudes of despair, simultaneously dies his won death and that of all his children, and suffers everything that human nature can suffer.

Brave Chevalier d'Assas, behold how you expire under a thousand bayonets, making one last courageous effort and showing a heroism that, these days, we no longer witness!

And you who weep under those palm trees unhappy Negro woman! You whom a barbarian, who of course was not an Englishman, betrayed and abandoned... ah, more than that! He had the cruelty to sell you like a vile slave, desire your love and the services you had rendered him, depite the fruit of his tender affection that you bear within your womb - I will not pass in front of your image without paying you the homage that is owed to your sensitive nature and your tribulations!

Let us pause awhile before this other picture: it is a young shepherdess who is tending her flock all alone on the summit of the Alps... Gentle shepherdess, tell me where one can find the happy corner of earth that you inhabit! From what distant sheepfold did you set out this morning at sunrise? Could I not go there and live with you? - But alas! It will not be long before the mild tranquility you enjoy evaporates; the demon of war , not content with making cities desolate, will soon bring upheaval and terror right into your solitary retreat . Already the soldiers are munching up; i can see them advancing from mountain to mountain, and coming ever closer to the skies - The roar of the canon can be heard in the lofty dwelling place of thunder. - Fly shepherdess, urge on your flock hide away in the wildest and remotest caverns: there is no rest on this melancholy earth!
pps 32 & 33, XAVIER DE MAISTRE

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