« PreviousContinue »
not, when fitting, how to weep too; rose-leaf from my pillow; suffocate and that tears shed from such eyes him in mire-but like flower-imare touching as showers in sunshine pregned air let me inhale the melted that revive the Spring.
ruby! « Let famished nations die Servillaka is one of those mixed along the shore”- but let daintiest characters which, when naturally delicacies soothe me into surfeitdelineated, always please by the for is not mine the palate of a prince perpetual appeals they make to —and is not mine a prince's stoevery man's own experiences of his mach! In that word-Prince-lay better and worser nature. We are the evil spell that transformed man no cracksmen. Never broke we into fiend--that word in which may into a house (outhouses, perhaps, lie a holy charm that transforms man excepted) with felonious intent; and into seraph. He was a rajah's bronever out of one without the own- ther-in-law, and not a brother-iner's acquiescence; yet we are bur- nature had he-let us hope-in all glars in posse, and cannot regard Hindostan. Twisted, distorted, deServillaka's exploits without some formed in his moral and intellectual sympathy, and much admiration. He being ; his soul in the rickets-and robs to relieve; and by a purloined with a shocking squint. Yet he waxed casket manumits a slave. He takes witty in his wickedness, and found unlawful liberties with Charudatta's fun in weeping and wailing and goods and chattels, that he may take gnashing of teeth. He danced, and lawful liberties with Madanika's per- sung, and crowned his head with sonal charms; and to do him justice flowers, and believed himself beauhe knows at the time that he is acting tiful in women's eyes, and the sewrong, and feels it afterwards-sin- ducer would fain too be a ravisher; cerely, as his conduct proves—for he but was forced to be satisfied with is a trusty and deedful friend to that murder. Like a panther that in dobold and brawny insurgent the Cow- mestication loses all his little catherd's Son, and asks Charudatta's courage, but acquires new cruelty forgiveness, whom he has helped to from his cowardice, and crouching in bring to the stake, not with remorse fear of the lash, keeps lapping away only, but with repentance. He was at blood. Frivolous in the midst of once a reprobate-may he not now all enormities-his conscience shribe an honest-as assuredly he is a velled away like a drunkard's liverbrave man?
sometimes sized like a hazel-nut, But what think you of Sams- and containing but dust. Laughing, thanaka ? 'Tis a true Oriental cha- weeping, crying, quaking, faintingracter and painted by a master's and all for his own miserable self of hand. Only in the East can we be- slime in lubrication or in crust. lieve in the possibility of such-a Irreclaimable to humanity by rod, Prince! He had been suffered from chain, or stake; and when pardoned the cradle to kill flies--among the on the brink of death, running away bummers and blue-bottles an infant jp gratitude composed of fear, and Burke. He had fed tame spiders anger, to the perpetration of the that with a stamp he might obliterate same cruelties, like a mangy monthe big bowels. Hence his lust for grel that you may flea alive without inflicting-his fear of suffering pain. curing him of the disease of worryTo see writhings became a delight- ing sheep. A Prince ! an Oriental to writhe a horror. Impale that Prince! wretch--but remove the doubled
Printed by Ballantyne and Company, Paul's Work, Canongate.
Were not the first Four Books of men. For that doleful and delusive the Odyssey felt to be in themselves trance is succeeded by a delightful a Poem? Perhaps you might liken and faithful Dream ; her Ulysses is them to the porch of a palace. We not dead-her Ulysses will returnwould rather liken them to the arms and what matters transient misery of a tree. Part only of the green to any mortal, when it purchases umbrage is visible, but sufficient to steadfast bliss ? show that it belongs to a noble bole; Homer is fond of Dreams. And and erelong we shall behold the not one of them all is more appawhole Wonder, proportioned in the rently heart-born than the Dream perfect symmetry of nature, with that appears to Penelope in the broad crown familiar with storms, shape of her sister. Ipthima tells yet a pavilion for the sunshine, and her that the Gods will restore ber in its magnificence rooted among son. “But what canst thou tell me rocks.
of Ulysses ?” Of his fate the phanA tender and profound interest tom will make no revelation. Eushas been breathed into our hearts tathius says that if she had, the in all that concerns Ithaca; it is poem would have been at an end. inrested with the hallowed charm But that was not the reason of her of Home-we love the rocky yet silence. Ipthima was Penelope. not unfruitful isle as if it were our Telemachus had left ber, and her own birth-place—and the smoke soul was troubled; but she had seems to ascend from our own seen the young hero in his pride, hearth. In the midst of all that unappalled by the Suitors, and trouble, we are conscious of a co- knew that he had gone on a holy ming calm. 'Tis a stormy day, but quest to Pylos and Lacedemon-to not a cloud-we are assured-will Nestor and Menelaus. Her heart, disturb the serenity of sunset. We cheered by the thought in sleep, felt believe the Seer and the Eagles. her brave boy would escape the amPenelope is no object of pity now bush. But Ulysses! he bad been not even when seen sitting on the away from her for twenty years. stairs, stupified into stone by the Hope was almost dead in her wavoice telling her that her Telema. king-as now in her sleeping dreams. chus has left her alone in her wi. Her heart asked her heart, “Oh ! dowhood among all those lawless tell me of my Lord ?” But in her
VOL. XXXV. NO. CCXVIII.
despair there was no response—and sionate Spirit of the Sea! What if she she awoke. But she awoke to joy; could see the Falcon of Alcinous and in that joy no doubt the wife wafting to her embrace her lord the was comforted as well as the mother, King ? But love knows not-either nor could she believe, as she did, in in its joy or its grief-what a day the return of her son, without some may bring forth; and beautiful is hope stealing with the morning light the poetry that sings of the uncerof the return of her husband! The tainties of human life heaving like Philosophy of Dreams in Homer's the world of waves-all settling poetry is the Religion of Nature. down into peace at last-a gracious
That Dream made the widow's lull descending from Heaven at the heart sing aloud for joy. There is command of Providence. light in her eyes, though still broken There is much to mourn over in and dashed with tears. Her son's the Greek Mythology; but now we heroic piety comforts her—the seer's see but Love and Mercy; and the prophecy comforts her-and com- Deities assembled on Olympus are forts her beyond all else her own like faithful heart. Yet how blinda though visited by glimpses—are the
“ Blessed angels pitying human cares." eyes of sorrow! How idle often all At one council Minerva had perour holiest tears! What if Penelope mission from Jove to carry comfort could see Ulysses sitting on an en- to Ithaca ; and now at another Merchanted shore, and forgetful of hea cury is sent to Ogygia-a messenger venly charms weeping for her sake! bolder if not so bright as Iris—and at For her sake struggling with the tem- the word of Jove, we behold him in pest that drives him-homewards! Homer, as in an after vision we beSwimming towards an unknown hold him in Shakspeare, “the herald shore-day and night-all for her Mercury, new-lighted on a heavensake — and saved from sinking by kissing hill." a talisman given him by a compas
Book v. 43—96. Thus he spake: nor did the messenger (of the gods), the Argicide, disobey : And then forthwith he bound on bis feet beautiful sandals, Ambrosial, golden :-which were-wont-to-bear him, whether over the deep, Or over the unlimited earth, along with the blast of the wind. He took also his rod, by wbich he lulls the eyes of men, Whomsoever he wills, and when sleeping rouses them up again. With this in his hands the brave Argicide flew : And having alighted on Pieria, from the ether he fell into the sea : And over the waves bastened, like the bird the sea-mew, Which, along the mighty bosom of the immeasurable ocean, As it hunts after fishes, oft moists its wings with spray. Like to it (the sea-mew) was Hermes wafted over the multitudinous waves. But when indeed he came to the island placed at a distance, From the violet-coloured ocean ascending to the main-land He came-on, till he reached a spacious cave, in which the nymph With-beautiful-ringlets dwelt : her he found within. A great fire was blazing on the hearth, and far the odour Of easily-cleft cedar-wood, and of incense, spread-fragrance throughout the island As they were burning: while she (the nymph), warbling with her beautiful voice, And plying the loom, was weaving with a golden shuttle. A wood in-full-luxuriance had-grown-around the cave, The alder, and the poplar, and the sweet-smelling cypress, There, too, the wing-widely-expanded birds nestled, Owls, and cormorants, and long-tongued divers (sea-birds) Of-the-sea, to which (birds) sea employments are a concernment. There also around the hollow cave was extended A young-luxuriant vine which flourished in clusters. Four fountains in order flowed with limpid water, Near to each other,-being turned one, in one direction, and another, in another. Around soft meadows of violets, and of parsley, Were blooming: thither even an Immortal, had he comes
Would have admired (it) as he gazed, and had been delighted in his spirit.
Thus having spoken, the goddess placed before him a table,
This is the most elaborate descrip. whole wood-another its composing tion of natural scenery in all Homer. trees—another their inhabitants In the Iliad, the bard but illumines and all together breathe of the sea. the visual sense by a few sunny Look again at the Cave. The enstrokes, that make start out tree, trance is draperied with green and glade, or rock. Here we have a pic- purple--for in such sunny shelter ture. Say rather a creation. In a luxuriates the vine! The beauty of moment the poet evokes the en nature is nowhere perfect without chanted isle out of the violet-colour the pure element of water wimpling ed ocean. There it is hanging in air. in peace. And there it is-flowing But all we know is, that it is beauti- fresh as flower-dews-in mazy erful-for we are Mercury, and see ror-through blooming meadows— nothing distinctly till we find our its “ sweet courses not hindered"selves standing at the mouth of a and happy to blend its murmurs with spacious care. The light of a magi. the diapason of the deep. True it is cal fire-the odour of sacred incense that earth is as beautiful as heaven. -the music of an immortal voice- So felt now the Argicide-"standing Calypso herself plying the golden there till he had admired the whole shuttle as she sings ! All felt at once in his heart.” Beauty begets love- yet in loveliest language evolved and love admiration-and admirain a series of words expanding like tion husbes the heart of Gods and a flower with all its bright and men till they are still as statuesbalmy leaves - an instantaneous and not till the passionate trance birth. We must not disturb the subsides can Mercury himself move daughter of Atlas-but gaze and a footstep-though his sandals are listen-till by degrees the congenial golden and ambrosial, and bear him beauty of the place withdraws our over earth and sea like the breath soul and our senses from the tones of the wind. and tresses of the Divine among W hereabouts-in what latitude Goddesses, and, still conscious of olies Calypso's Isle ? To what bright her living enchantments, we are neighbourhood of stars is it dear won by delight to survey the scene with its yellow woods ? Of what in which she enjoys her immortal constellation beholds it, during being, yet about to be disturbed by calm nights, the image trembling visitings like our own mortal grief! in the sky-seeming sea ? The flight The scene is silvan. “A wood in of Mercury betrays not the secret of full luxuriance had grown around its birth-place--from Pieria's top he the Cave!” One line gives the falls plumb-down upon the sea
and away like a wild gull he scours -and of them we see-hear nothing —but whether towards the rising only once are they mentioned or the setting sun, not a whieper they are to us but mere momentary from Homer-only we afterwards shadows passing unheeded along hear from the messenger himself the walls of the cave. There is no that he had “measured a breadth building made with bands anywhere enormous of the salt expanse”-and on all the isle—not a vestige of ansomething very vague of its posi- tiquity in the shape of a rudely tion on the watery wilderness may sculptured stone. No roads — no be gathered from Calypso's Sea- pathways—no flocks-no herds-no man's Guide, orally delivered on his four.footed creatures, either wild or departure to Ulysses. 'Tis all a beau- tamemnot even-we are sorry for tiful mystery-imagination dreams it—a dog. Food and drink are set a dream—the understanding surren- before Ulysses, such as are eaten ders its privilege of questioning, and and drunk by mortal men--but we the heart delighted believes that all know not whence they come-they is truth. Ogygia! A glimpse of the seem served by invisible hands-and spiritual world of old that still fluc- of kitchen or cellar there is no sugh. tuated waveringly between sense A charm is over all-yet 'twould be and soul, and was constructed by hard to say by what spell it has been poetry of idealized realities, that wrought. 'Tis all the doing of the may cease to be seen on troubling finest possible spirit of poetry, that of the ether, but can never cease to works wonders without appearing be, if mind be immortal. Ogygia! to be at work at all; of gecius init is felt to be “self-withdrawn into stinctively knowing how far fiction a wondrous depth" of seclusion ! may be interfused with truth, and Though“ light the soil and pure the within the domain of wildest imaair," and the scenery composed of gination be brought all the homeall familiar objects, yet is the region liest, and therefore boliest, sympafelt to be almost as preternatural as thies of nature. Is it not so in if it were submarine-and Calypso's Ogygia ? cave as wondrous as a Mermaid's But whose English is likest the grotto.
Greek ? Perhaps, after all, our own How very still! No screen to the prose-faithful to the meanings, mouth of the cave, but a few vine. if false to the measures of the festoons_80, blow as it may on the words-yet not false even to the main--and all around the isle, (and a measures—for we have them in our storm brought hither Ulysses,) on heart—as we hope you have in yours; the land, all is lown-merely breath nor can there be ever more now enough to keep the pure air for ever than a faint echo of such music from pure—and to enable the leaves to even the highest harp-humble the take a dance now and then upon the highest when struck in rivalry with tree-tops, to some Æolian harp ca. Homer's--and powerless to imitate priciously playing in the shade. the gold and silver of those heavenCalypso is a queen-but she has no tempered strings. subjects, only her attendant nymphs