Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

him; he affirmed the same thing, and that, brilliant by a light within it, like Abdaldar's he could have no rest for their warning. ring; but upon nearer inspection the pillar But he was still in high health, and still was of ice, and the light which gave its brilcheerful. Dobrizhoffer was struck by the liance was all the while consuming it. strangeness of the story; he baptized him Now as, væ mihi! the expected marriage at ten o'clock on June 23, the eve of St.John of the princess must operate as a tax upon the Baptist, and in the evening, without the my poor brain, may I not thank Herbert slightest apparent indisposition, the youth and his icicle for a feasible and striking plan. fell asleep in the Lord."-DOBRIZHOFFER, | Begin with such a vision ;-then answer the Hist. of the Abipones.

reproach for obtruding thoughts of mortality and death on such an occasion, and pro

ceed in a high strain of religious philosophy, Missionary Poems.

to show in what manner death, as it must be VANDERKEMP, epitaph.

the last thing of life, becomes also the best. A Greenland eclogue.

In this way William I. may best be introBavians Kloof, epitaph.

duced, and those of the ancestors of those Surinam.

whose names bear a fair report in history, or seem likely to be written in the book of

life.

[ocr errors]

Feby. 16, 1814. HERBERT' called me back this morning on Castrigg, near Tom's old lodging, to look at

April 11th, 1814. News arrived of Buo"something very curious." It was merely naparte's having consented to retire upon an icicle formed by the dripping of the water

a pension. through a hollow bank, and reaching the

Immediate feelings. Personal retroroad, so that it became a little pillar. The spect: thing was not above three or four inches ! Buonaparte's partizans. His sole exlong, but I was repaid for the trouble of cuse the specific madness which is produced turning back, for it shaped itself presently by the possession of uncontrolled power. into an allegorical vision :-a splendid hall, Causes of the Revolution. The sins of the supported (chapterhouse like) by one central fathers, &c. Henry IV.'s conformity perpillar, glittering like cut glass, and rendered

haps a mortal blow to religion in France. His wonderful boy, of whom he wrote to

Moral, political, and military profligacy. Neville White,_" The severest of all afflictions Practical reforms make men happier, better, has fallen upon me. I have lost my dear son and wiser. In the church abolish vows of Herbert — my beautiful boy — beautiful in in. celibacy, and confession. tellect and disposition : he who was everything which my heart desired. God's will be done!” |

April 13. Begin with the Duke. “Quem -MS. Letter, 17th April, 1816.

virûm," &c. Alexander, Frederic, Blucher, J. W. W. | Plutoff, and so end with the prince.

95

COLLECTIONS FOR HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

AND POETRY.

[ocr errors]

| “Mandragne the witch, finding them both Astrea.

| dead, cursed her art, hated all her demons,

tore her hair, and extremely grieved at the U IR Philip Sidney tacked togeO ther the pastoral and the epic

death of these two faithful lovers, and her romance. D'Urfé has united

own contentment,” &c.

A lover has resolved upon suicide: “and them. He has done this with great skill, and involved the fates of his

but for Olimborn, perhaps I had served my shepherds and his heroes, so as to form a

own turn; for he was so careful of me, that

I could not do any thing to myself, but gave well-constructed whole.

me so many diverting reasons to the conThis romance has one wearying and insupportable fault. Love questions after the

trary, that he kept me alive," &c. Part i. Provençal fashion are continually arising ;

p. 417.

An instance of extraordinary ignorance and set speeches are made pro and con, like

seems to mark this “person of quality" for the Plaidoyen Historiques of Tristan. It

a woman. P. i. p. 12, is a picture of Saturn, has also too much dialogue, which was thought very spiritual in its day, but which is very

throughout which he is spoken of in the fe

minine gender, and called a hag. No man dull and very worthless.

| could be so uneducated as to have made I have read Astrea in a detestable translation, in which there is not a single beauty

these blunders. It appears too that she beof expression. These “persons of quality"

gan to translate the book before she had never by any accident stumble upon one;

read it, for p. 12, mention is made of the every where you meet vulgarisms and bar

den of an old Mandrake. I marked this barisms, French idioms and their own idiot

place with a note of astonishment and a

Quid diabolus ? but after a while it apisms. llere are some instances of a strange

peared that Mandragne is the name of a use of words.

sorceress. A lover has stabbed himself mortally! “he

This is probably the book in which Sterne was at the last gasp, yet hearing the lamen

found the tomb of the two lovers. tation of his shepherdess, and knowing her

What magic there is, is good; it is the voice, did call unto her. She, hearing a faint

central point to which every thing tends. hollow voice, went towards him. Oh! hea.

All the strangers come to the fountain, or vens, how the sight of him did amuse her."

are sent by the oracle, and the whole is well Part i. p. 185.

managed. I scarcely ever read a work of

fiction in which the events could so little be I Southey read over the Astræa again in his latter days, with great delight. It was on his

foreseen. procuring an early edition of the original. La Fontaine valued this book above all

J. W. W. Jothers, except Marot and Rabelais; and here it was that he studied his rural de- | Frenchifying the manners of all ages, espescriptions.

cially in the abominable fashion of fine let“This pastoral romance," says Gifford, ter writing. Story is involved within story, “ which once formed the delight of our like a nest of boxes; or they come one after grandmothers, is now never heard of, and another, so that you have always to go back would in fact exhaust the patience and weary to learn what has happened, and the main the curiosity of the most modest and indefa- | business seldom goes on ; this was inevittigable devourer of morals at a watering able from the prodigious number of characplace, or a boarding school."-B. J. vol. v. | ters which were introduced. p. 394, &c.

Pharamond was the romance which he " Astrea,” Gifford says, “ bears a remote composed with most care; but he did not or allegorical allusion to the gallantries of live to finish it. Seven parts of the twelve the court of Henry IV."-Ibid.

he printed; the remainder were added by M. de Vaumoriere. The story is by no means so ably conducted as in the former part. I

perceived the great inferiority before I knew Pharamond.

the cause of it. Whoever was the inventor of the French heroic romance, Calprenade is the writer who carried it to its greatest perfection. (Les Trois Siècles, tom. i. p. 230. Le seul

Gyron le Courtoys. nom,-le même genre.)

The utter want of method in this book It is the fault of the romances of chivalry makes it appear as if it consisted of several that they contain so many adventures of the metrical romances transposed. same character, one succeeding the other, It begins with an adventure of Branor le which have no necessary connection with the Brun, an old knight above 120 years of age, main story, and which might be left out who, though he had not borne arms for forty without affecting it; in fact they are in the years, comes to Kamelot to try whether the main made up of these useless episodes. The knights of the present time were as good as fault of Calprenade is of an opposite charac- those of his days. He stands quintain against ter : he ran into the other extreme, and his | Palamedes, Gavaine, and many others; but three romances for variety of adventures honours Tristan, Sir Lancelot, and King and character, and for extent and intricacy Arthur enough to take a spear against them, of plot, are perhaps the most extraordinary and overthrows them all like so many chilworks that have ever appeared. There is not | dren. one of them which would not furnish the Then follows an adventure of Tristan and plots for fifty tragedies, perhaps for twice | Palamedes, which is in Mort Arthur. the number, and yet all these are made into Gyron now appears. He goes (wherefrom one whole. For this kind of invention, cer | does not appear) to Maloane, the castle of tainly he never has been equalled.

his friend Danayn le Roux. The lady of The old romances gave true manners, Maloane twice tempts him, but in vain. They though they applied them to wrong times ; | go to a tournament. Sir Lac, the friend of but the anachronism was of little import. K. Meliadus, falls in love with the lady, and Every thing in them was fiction. A double waylays her after the tournament, and wins sin was committed by the French romancers her from her guard of twenty-five knights. in chusing historical groundwork, and in Gyron (who is all this while unknown, and

indeed supposed to be dead,) wins her then " This evidently is the beginning and the

from him ; but Sir Lac's love for her has end of an intended extract.–J. W. W. I now inflamed him, his heart gives way to

[ocr errors]

the temptation, and he leads her to a foun- | the “ Latin book from which this is transtain in the forest. As he is disarming him- | lated saying no farther.” And the romance self to commit the sin, his sword drops into ends with a chapter in which Galinans le the water, and in taking it out he is struck Blanc, son of Gyron and the damsel, who is by the motto, “ Loyaulte passe tout y faul- born the chapter before, defeats the best sete si honnit tout et decoit tous hommes de- knights of the Round Table one after andans quels elle se herberge.” Upon this, his other ; but he is a wicked knight, having remorse for having sinned even in thought been brought up by the false traitor who is such, that he stabs himself; the lady pre- imprisoned his father. vents him from repeating the blow. After Everywhere the knights are represented sundry adventures, Danayn finds them in this as children to those of Uterpendragon's days. situation, learns the whole truth, and loving The prowess of these worthies exceeds in Gyron better than ever for this his courtesy, | hyperbole any thing in Esplandian. They as it is termed, takes him home to Maloane, make nothing of singly attacking large arwhere he is soon healed. A great deal by mies, and killing giants with a blow of the way of episode is related of Hector le Brun | fist. to K. Meliadus.

I think I can perceive that oftentimes he There are no other divisions than of chap- who began one of these adventures planned ters, but what may be called the second part it as he went on; and often ended with a is upon this story. Gyron sends Danayn to different feeling of character from that which bring him his damsel; he carries her off for he began with. himself; is pursued; overtaken at last, and I never read a romance so completely free defeated after a desperate battle. Gyron, from all impurity of thought or word. Yet though he had resolved to kill him, spares what morals does it indicate! Gyron acts binn for courtesy, and then rescues him from from no other principle than that of coura giant immediately after. The incidentaltesy; and his damsel, whom he married, parts are a story of Galahalt le Brun, with Danayn carries off as his concubine. whom in his youth Gyron had been compa- Monnon de la Selve, or, Hennor de la nion, and a curious adventure which befals Selve, as the name is sometimes printed, the Breus sans pitie, in which he finds the bodies son of a forester, seems to be the original of Febus and the damsel of Northumberland of Braggadochio. in a house cut in the rock, and learns their history from the son of Febus, a very old man, who dwells there, leading a life of penance with his son, the father of Gyron, but

Meliadus de Leonnoys. Gyron knows not his birth.

This book professed to have been written Then comes a good adventure of the knight by the author of the Brut, at the request of sans paour, in the valley of Serfage, where King Henry of England, and recompiled Naban le Noir makes serfs of every body from the Latin, in which it had been rudely who enters. This is an excellent adventure. and confusedly written by Maistre Rusticien For the sequel we are referred to the ro- de Pise, at the desire of King Edward of Engmance of Meliadus.

land. What is curious, is, that it was to have Danayn delivers Gyron and his damsel, | been about Palamedes, and in the name of who had been betrayed, and was tied to a Palamedes the author says he begins it. He tree, to suffer from the severity of the wea- | brings Esclabor, the father of the knight, ther in the cold country of Sorolois. They from Babylon to Rome, and from Rome to are reconciled, separate each on adventure, Northumberland ; and having thus got to and are both made prisoners. Here too, we | King Arthur, nothing more is said about are referred to Meliadus for their release ; | him. A few desultory adventures of K. Pharamond by the Morhoult d'Irland, brings on morals, but our ordinary feelings, that the the stage K. Meliadus, and the Bon Cheva- | general effect of the book is far from being lier sans paour, the two heroes of the book. | pleasant. There is something vile in proMany tales of their heroism and of their ri- | ducing that love on which the whole history valry are related, just in the manner of the turns—by a philtre,-in making both the episodes in Gyron, so much so indeed, as to heroes live in adultery,—and in the unidentify the author, and the business of the worthy usage of the second Yseult. That first half of the book ends in a tournament, everlasting fault of the romancers in sacri.. where they take different sides, and in which, ficing the character of one hero to enhance on the whole, the Chevalier is most fortu- the fame of another, is carried to a great denate. The manner in which each speaks of gree here. With the creatures of his own his rival is always very fine, in the noblest creation an author may do what he will, but spirit of chivalry.

it is a literary crime to take up the hero Meliadus falls in love with the Queen of whom others have represented as a knight Scotland, and forcibly carries her off, out of of prowess and of worth, and to engraft vices King Arthur's dominions; for which, he is upon him and stain him with dishonour. attacked in his own kingdom, conquered by Palamedes is better conceived than any the prowess of the Bon Chevalier sans pagur, other personage in the book. and taken. Arthur imprisons him. His confinement is more rigorous than the king either intended or knew. Meantime Arthur falls sick : his vassals go to war with each

Sainct Greaal. other, and Ariohan, a terrible Saxon, at the Joseph of Arimathea ung gentilhomme suggestion of some of them invades Logres. chevalier. He was shut in prison and for

The king recovers, and sends to all his liege gotten there for forty-two years without men. The Chevalier sans paour refuses to food. But Vespasian, the son of Titus, become, saying, Arthur has disgraced and in- ing cured of leprosy by the S. Veronice, jured all chivalry by his imprisonment of went against Jerusalem to revenge the death the best knight living. In consequence of of our Lord, and he opened the prison, which this Meliadus is delivered. He accepts the was a great pillar, and there found Joseph defiance of Andhar, and concludes the war alive and well, for our Lord had visited by defeating him. When the author had got him, and he thought he had slept from Good thus far, he filled up the rest of his book | Friday till the Sunday following. with any stories which came into his head P. 14. Joseph prays “nudz coutes et about the round table. Galchad le Brun, | nudz genoulx." Segurades, Gyron, Tristan, &c. are intro- 14. The prophet David taken prisoner duced without the slightest connection of by Nebuchadnezzar. time, place, or any thing else, and the whole | 18. Christ consecrates Joseph the son a ends with the death of Meliadus, in the words bishop, and the mystery of transubstanwherein it is related in Tristan.

tiation is shown in a miracle as hideous as the doctrine; for he is made, very much

Tristan.

16 Yet true it is, that long before that day,

Hither came Joseph of Arimathy, Tuis Romance has disappointed me, it is Who brought with him the Holy Grayle, very inferior to Meliadus. The characters

(they say),

| And preach’t the truth; but since it greatly are in many instances so discordant, and the

did decay.” leading circumstances of the story so little

SPENSER. Faerie Queene, II. x. 53. consonant not merely with our ordinary |

J. W. W.

« AnteriorContinuar »