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We can scarcely imagine what Christianity was to the first converts ;--we can scarcely conceive the powerful and almost totally engrossing passion-for so we may call it-which it must have been. In those days of darkness and doubt, when the greatest philosophers expressed their uncertainty even of the being of a God, what must have been the mighty effect of that religion which assured immortality—not upon tedious reasonings, which even Cicero acknowledged left no impression when they ceased to sound in his ear ;-but by the word of him whose actions, doctrines, death, and resurrection proved him a God-proved him worthy of implicit trust, and of that religion, whose precepts are so consolatoryso pure--so admirably fitted to the weak yet heavenly soul of man!

We can scarcely picture to ourselves the lofty and transporting change which a Pagan of the Roman age must have experienced ; and we sometimes think, that the general enlightenment which has followed Christianity, and has enabled modern deists to trace and describe the moral duties, and the nature and attributes of the Godhead with so much more certainty than the ancients pretended to do-has rendered us forgetful of all the worldly blessings we enjoy since the advent of our Saviour; and has deadened the feelings of gratitude which we should experience for the light and knowledge with which we are filled. It is as the sun--we have looked on it since childhood, and feel none of those transporting joys which are experienced by those who have recovered their eyes after long blindness. To revert to the work before us.

The poem opens with a hymn to Apollo. The scene is laid at Antioch, where the worship of Apollo was pre-eminent. Mr. Milman says in his Preface, that he has s opposed to Christianity the most beautiful and most natural of heathen superstitions—the worship of the sun.” From this, one would be led more to expect the simple and sublime worship of the Peruvians, than the cumbrous mythology of ancient Rome, did one not know that the Peruvians could have nothing in common with Antioch. The opening hymn is long, but it has little lyrical enthusiasm and inspiration. The following is the manner in which the heroine is introduced ; the verses have much softness and tender beauty :

MARGARITA.

My way is through the dim licentious Daphne,
And evening darkens round my stealthful steps ;
Yet I must pause to rest my weary limbs.

Oh, thou polluted, yet most lovely grove!
Hath the Almighty breathed o'er all thy bowers
An everlasting spring, and paved thy walks
With amaranthine flowers-are but the winds,
Whose breath is gentle, suffer’d to entangle
Their light wings not unwilling prisoners,
In thy thick branches, there to make sweet murmurs
With the bees' hum, and melodies of birds,
And all the voices of the hundred fountains,
That drop translucent from the mountain's side,
And lull themselves along their level course
To slumber with their own soft-sliding sounds ;
And all for foul idolatry, or worse,
To make itself an home and sanctuary?

Oh, second Eden, like the first defiled
With sin ! even like thy human habitants,
'Thy winds and Powers and waters have forgot
The gracious hand that made them, ministers
Voluptuous to man's transgressions—all,
Save thou, sweet nightingale ! that, like myself,
Pourest alone thy melancholy song

To silence and to God-Pp. 26-27. The midnight meeting of the Christians in the burying-ground reminds us strongly of the parallel scene in Valerius-we think it, however, more powerfully wrought out in the prose-work.

The following soliloquy of Margarita to her lyre has more poetry than most passages in the volume:

MAR. Yet once again I touch thy golden strings,
My silent and forgotten lyre, oh! erst
The joy of Antioch, when on festal days
At the proud idol's foot I sate; and all,
Even as thy raptures rose and fell, bow'd down
Or stood erect before the shrine. I, too,
Like thee, was hallow'd to an impious service,
Even till a touch from heaven waked my soul's music,
And pour'd it forth in ecstasy to him
Who died for men. And shalt not thou, my partner
In mine unholy worship, mingle now
Thy sweetness with my purer vows.

Oh! fountain
Of sounds delicious, shall I not unscal thee,
Thou that didst flow through Daphne's flowery grove,
Timing the dancing steps of youths and maids ?
Dwell not within thy secret wreathed shell
Sounds full of chaste and holy melancholy
As ever mourn'd in angels' moonlight chants
O'er the night visited graves of buried saints
Even sounds accordant to the weary steps
Of him, that loaded with the ponderous cross,

Toild up the steep of Calvary - Pp. 42–43. The most powerful part of the poem is, perhaps, the scene in which Margarita makes known to her father her conversion to Christianity. The father is the highpriest of Apollo ; and she was the maiden-priestess, whose lyre and enthusiastic song were wont to charm all the frequenters of the temple. The father feels proportionate pride in his child :

CALLIAS. Oh, my child ! my pride!
While the infected daughters of the land
Fall off to this new faith ; while they are led
To expiate in the fire their sinful deeds,

How shall I gaze on thee, through Daphne gliding
VOL. I. PART I.

L

Amid thy white-robed choir of sacred maids,
Like the presiding swan on smooth Cayster,
And bless Apollo, that hath stamp'd thy soul
His own.

MAR. ( apart). Ah me! and how t’unbarb the dart,
Which I must strike into his inmost soul !

Çal. Thrice-dearest of our god !
MAR.

Beloved father!
Those tender maids led forth to sacrifice,
To bear upon their blushing, delicate limbs
Rude stripes and shameful insults, have they not
Fond parents, loving as thyself, whose hearts
Weep blood, more fast than even their flowing wounds ?
Oh, think on her, thy Margarita, her-
The breathing image thou hast often callid her
Of thy youth's bride-exposed to pain, to death!
To worse-to nameless shame!
CAL.

When Margarita
Hath from her God revolted, I'll endure
Even that, or more.
MAR.

No, father, no, thou couldst not,
Thou wilt not, when she meets her Christian brethren,
Patient to bear their Master's mournful lot
Of suffering and of death-
Cal.

How? what? mine ears
Ring with a wild confusion of strange sounds
That have no meaning. Thou’rt not wont to mock
Thine aged father; but I think that now
Thou dost, my child.
MAR.

By Jesus Christ — by him
In whom my soul hath hope of immortality,
Father! I mock not.
CAL.

Lightnings blast-not thee,
But those that by their subtle incantations
Have wrought upon thy innocent soul ! Pp. 45–47.

Hymns, both of the Heathens and the Christians, are thickly interspersed through the volume. The following is a favourable specimen of Mr. Milman's lyrical style :

II.
Come away, the heavens above
Just have light cnough for love;
And the crystal Hesperus
Lights his dew-fed lamp for us.
Come, the wider shades are falling,
And the amorous birds are calling
Each his wandering mate to rest
In the close and downy nest.
And the snowy orange flowers,
And the creeping jasmine bowers,
From their swinging censers cast
Their richest odours, and their last.

III.

Come, the busy day is o'er,
Flying spindle gleanıs no more ;
Wait not till the twilight gloom
Darken o'er th'embroider'd loom.
Leave the toilsome task undone,
Leave the golden web unspun.
Hark, along the humming air
Home the laden bees repair ;
And the bright and dashing rill
From the side of

every

hill,
With a clearer, deeper sound,
Cools the freshening air around.-Pp. 88–89.

The concluding scene of the death of the martyred Christians is got up with considerable pomp and power. We can afford room only for the account of Margarita's death.

OFFICER.

Hear me but a while.
She had beheld each sad and cruel death,
And if she shudder'd, 'twas as one that strives
With nature's soft infirmity of pity,
One look to heaven restoring all her calmness;
Save when that dastard did renounce his faith,
And she shed tears for him. Then led they forth

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