Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

both of them place great reliance on signs and auguries ; both imagine that the soul exists after death, and that it continues to take an interest in the pursuits and the friends whom it left upon earth. Much as we are attached to the fooleries of our old friends before Troy—to the victims, and the priests, and the oracles, we must confess that, to our taste, the plaided Seer, rapt up in his vacant trance of second-sight, is a more interesting and a more poetical object than all the mummeries of Delphos or Dodona. But there is one point in this legendary species of religion, in which the similarity appears to us rather remarkable. We allude to that extraordinary union of the opposite doctrines of free-will and predestination, which so forcibly obtrudes itself upon our notice in examining the traditions of both countries. To discuss this point at any length would require a greater portion of time than we can devote to it; and we shall therefore content ourselves with observing, that the fabulous self-devotion of Achilles, who is said to have remained at Troy, although conscious that he was destined to die there, appears to us to have taken its rise from those notions of an unavoidable fate which Homer so frequently expresses. But this trait, which, as has been often observed, adds such an exalted merit to the character of the hero, has many parallels in the conduct of the Scottish clansmen, whose Chieftains we frequently find going with alacrity to battle, although feeling a consciousness that they are seeking their death. But look you there again! the self-devotion of the Mountaineer will never be celebrated like the self-devotion of the Myrmidon ; for, alas Gaelic will never sound so classical as Greek! : . is

Another conspicuous ingredient in the characters of both, is the pride which both take in ancestry. The Greek and the Highlander take an equal delight in tracing the river of their blood through distant generations, although we fancy that the latter pays rather the most attention to the purity of the stream. When he looks over the tree of his genealogy, and exults in the glorious names which he finds among its foliage, his feelings are not the less honest, nor his happiness the less fervent, because he sees no Jupiter in the root, and no Venus perched among the branches. And truly we do not see why the Descent of the Greek is of greater moment than the Descent of the Scot, except that Patronymics in ides, and ion, and iades, have certainly a nobler sound than plain, simple, unsophisticated Mac. But look you there again !—The ancestry of the Mountaineer will never be celebrated like the ancestry of the Myrmidon ; for, alas !-Gaelic will never sound so classical as Greek!

When any important quarrel calls for an union of the forces under their numerous petty Princes, the gathering of the Greek

nations is precisely the gathering of the Highland Clans. In both the Commander-in-chief is chosen by the vote of the assembled Leaders ; in both his authority is cramped and frustrated by the exclusive allegiance which is owed by each separate Clan to its respective Chieftain. In both, as may be supposed from the ill-concocted materials of which both armies are composed, quarrels and dissensions are perpetually taking place. And why are not the disputes of the Tartans as worthy of song as the disputes of the spears and the helmets? They often arise from the same passions; they often spring from equally insignificant causes; they often lead to equally tragical results. But look you there again !—The quarrels of the Mountaineer will never be celebrated like the quarrels of the Myrmidon ; for, alas !—Gaelic will never sound so classical as Greek !

We might go on to trace the simile in the same strain through many other qualities and customs. We might instance their mutual fondness for athletic exercises-the absolute authority exercised by the Chiefs over the persons of their followersthe belief prevalent among both nations of the efficacy of music and charms in the cure of wounds—the custom of being constantly attended by large dogs—the union of heart and hand, which in both cases exists between the Chief and his Foster-brother ;-but this is idle; the tout-ensemble of the Mountaineer will never be celebrated like the tout-ensemble of the Myrmidon; for, alas! – Gaelic will never sound so classical as Greek !

And now that we come to the end of what ought to have been ended a page ago, we recollect that we have been wandering through a great tract of paper; and we hear Mr. Golightly bellowing in our ears a reproof, in which we fear our readers will join him," Mr. Swinburne, Mr. Swinburne, Quid ad rem?

MATTHEW SWINBURNE.

FRAGMENTS OF AN ADDRESS TO THE SPIRIT OF POETRY.

- Wilt thou too depart, Genius, or Muse, or Feeling, or Delight, Or Power, or Spirit, whatsoe'er thou art,

And by what name design'd, who dwell'st the light Of song within us

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Oh! sweet is Love, ere blunted by possession !

Sweet is the “vernal joy” by nature sent Into the soul of man! whose best expression

Is in the heart's unspoken language ; lent
To light our dulness, and with sweet aggression

Forcing old Night and Chaos to relent,
To waft aside the universal veil,
And make Creation's beauties visible.

Thou teachest man, that there is more on earth

Than what he hears, or sees, or feels, or knows; An inward treasure, of uncounted worth,

Hid like the invisible honey in the rose ;
A world of wonders,-a mysterious birth,

Which thou but to thy chosen dost disclose;
An immaterial glory, passing far
All palpable light of gem, or sun, or star :

A cloud of beauty brooding o'er the world

Great spirit! beneath whose full-exerted power

Our human frame doth tremble, like a bough Rock'd by the wind; before whom, in thy hour

Of charmed potence, the great mind doth bow In royallest submission, with her dower

Of gifts and graces ; yet can lift her brow Triumphant, and with thee strange contest holdControlling thee, and yet by thee controllid!

For she can grasp thy influences, that fly

As vague and viewless as the folding air, And fix them in her clayey moulds, thereby

To shape them into forms so glorious fair, (Tho' spoil'd of half their might) that the great eye

Of earth shall, while time lasts, be riveted there; The trophies of her splendid strife with thee, Crowning that strife with immortality.

G.M.

Sonnet,

TO CATHARINE SEYTON.

So thou would'st tempt me, pretty Neophyte,

Me, bred in those learn'd halls whose sons erst broke,

With arm polemic, Rome's usurped yoke, 1 Though all unfit to wage with eyes so bright And smiles so sweet, the controversial fight;,

Me, whom no few as Methodist assail,

Me thou would'st tempt to quit the happy pale Of England's Church, to pope and priest my right Of thought resigning. Cherish, gentle friend,

Thy new-found light, if light it be, and tread
Thy clouded path to heaven; and let me wend

My way, with difficulty sore bested,
Nor needing more incumbrances, alone,
Free from thy Church’s fetters, and thy own!

R. S.

BOUNCE.

" optata luce fruatur."-VIRG.

TIME and Fortune! mighty powers,

Rulers of creation,
Ye, on whom these hearts of ours

Wait in expectation ;
'Time and Fortune! have ye not,

In your şumless treasure,
One unmingled happy lot,

One enduring pleasure ?

Time! there is but one whose bliss

Baffles thy enhancing ;
He, who finds in Lucy's kiss

Pleasures past advancing !
Fortune! there's but one on earth

Who thy power despises ;-
He who prizes Lucy's worth,
He whom Lucy prizes!

F. GOLIGHTLY.

The Owedding:

A ROMAN TAJ. E.

“Oh! snatch'd away in Beauty's bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb!”

BYRON.

By the side of the Latin way, amidst many other mementos of fallen greatness or faded beauty, there arose a small pillar of white marble, bearing neither emblem nor inscription. The singular simplicity of its appearance frequently excited the attention and inquiries of the passers-by, but no one gratified their curiosity. She whom that marble conmemorated was known to few; and those who remembered her told not of her virtues; for they shrank from the pain they felt in the recital.

Julia was the daughter of distinguished and wealthy parents, in the reign of Tiberius. She was an only child, and had been educated with the fondest attention. When she attained her eighteenth year she was very beautiful: she was taller than most women; her nose was aquiline, her hair dark and glossy; the smile that played on her lips was provokingly arch, and in her large blue eyes dignity was inexpressibly combined with tenderness. The qualities of her heart were not inferior to those of her person; so that it is not to be wondered at that the hand of Julia was solicited in marriage by the heirs of many of the first families in Rome.

But she had early given away her affections to the son of her father's brother. Young Cælius was younger than his cousin, and fortune had given him a lower station in life, and a humbler property. He was very handsome however, very accomplished, and perfectly amiable ; so that the parents of Julia made no difficulty of aeceding to the match. The preliminary ceremonies had been gone through; the hallowed straw * had been broken between the young couple; the dower had been settled; the Augurs had been consulted, and had returned a favourable answer. Finally, Cælius had presented to his future bride the sacred ring, which was to be the pledge of their eternal affection. It was a plain circle of gold, with the inscription “in æternum !"

It was customary to put these rings upon the fourth finger of the · left hand, because it was imagined that a vein ran immediately

* Stipula. Hence the term stipulation.

« AnteriorContinuar »