Imágenes de páginas

Olmedo, and also the subsequent troubles took upon himself to strike a blow on the which agitated Castile until the consolidation Christian frontier with the hopes of bringing of the crown on the head of Isabella, gave on a war between the two nations. Walk. some respite to the Moorish monarch. How-ing one day in the gardens of the Generalife, ever, in 1478, the truce with the Christians he said to ihe king, “ This smell of lilies and having expired, Abu-l-Hasan applied for its jessamine sickens me, who have defied the renewal; but refused at the same time to rays of the sun and the hurricane of the assent to the condition of vassalage and tri- desert; neither am I a gallant in the zam. bute formerly required, and to which his an. bra,* nor dexterous in the game of the canes; cestors had so basely submitted. In an in- therefore as I have not yet my master's perterview with the Castilian ambassadors, who mission to leave this country, I should wish urged him to subscribe to the terms accepted to pass, if such be thy pleasure, some days by his predecessor, he is said to have used on the frontier, where I may be of use to these remarkable words—“Tell your master thee and warn thee of peril as the sea-birds that the king who paid him tribute is dead, announce the approach of the tempest.” The and that now our mint does not coin either king suffered him to depart, and gave him gold or silver ; but in its stead we forge the command of some troops. When Ibn spears, arrows, and scymitars."

Farūj saw himself near the Christian fron. Castile was not at that time in a state 10 tier, he wrote to his master, the sultan of Fez, resent this language; weakened by intestine these mysterious words“ There is fire wars, it could not effectually oppose an ene- kindled on a mountain ; on the neighbouring my who, besides his great resources at home, one is a wood, and the wind blows between might at any time obtain assistance from them.” A contest which arose between Africa; and to whom, in case of discomfiture, some Moorish and Christian shepherds, and the Alpujarras presented in their mountain in which blood was spilt, afforded Ibn Farūj fastnesses shelter and protection. The an opportunity of carrying his designs into Moorish king, conscious of his strength, execution; after demanding from the go. laughed at the threats of his adversaries and vernor of Martos a satisfaction which was shook off entirely the yoke of obedience. refused, the African chief resolved to take But Abu-l. Hasan, though of a warlike spirit, the law into his own hands, and the mode in was unstable in resolution, and daily became which this was accomplished has already more so from the luxurious and voluptuous been related. life he led after his accession to the throne. Returning to the heroine ; Isabel passes Instead of regaining, by a speedy campaign the first days of her captivity at a place not in the heart of the Spanish dominions, all distant from the frontier, with her Moorish those fortresses which the negligence or inaiden Arlaja, who endeavours by all pos. cowardice of former monarchs had lost from sible means to assuage her grief. Ibn Farūj the Mussulman state, Abu-l-Hasan contented never presenis himself before his captive, himself with remaining on the defensive, and avoids any thing that might increase her much against the advice of his prudent vizirs, sorrow. At last, after some time, Isabel and the wish of his allies of the African feels that her melancholy is fast dissipating, coast. This induced the sultan of Fez, who and her curiosity is somewhat raised by the knew his want of energy, to send repeated accounts which Arlaja gives of her_native messengers warning him against the Chris- soil, so that when she receives Ibn Farūj's tians and offering his assistance in case of intimation to prepare for a voyage to Gra. need. One of these messengers, Ibn Farūj, nada, she is all anxiety, and seems to have a swarthy African warrior whose whole life forgotten her recent misfortunes. Arlaja had been spent in warfare, arrived at Gra. tells her nada with presents from his master. Intro. “ You will not be there as I was in your duced into the presence of the king, he said country, with your feet bound in chains, and to him—“My master sends thee no poisoned

mark of iron on your forehead. Look at robe, like that which was once sent by the me; even now the thought of what I have

endured makes my cheek blush with shame sultan of Fez to a former king of Granada ; and indignation. 'I was born noble and rich; but among these rich objects there is one I was handsome and in the spring of life, and which, in my opinion, is highly superior to sought by the flower of the Granadian youth. all the others,'' (he pointed to a Damascus I have nought to complain of the Conde de scymitar.) “ since it is thirsty for blood, and Cabra, my former master; he treated me its edge calls for Castilian throats."

with kindness if not with affection, and his Abu.l. Hasan, however, did not appear to memory, shall always live in my heart; still understand the allusion, nor did he feel dis. less shall I forget the days I passed under

your father's roof. But God Almighty is posed to break the truce; and Ibn Farūj seeing his irresolution and want of courage,

* A kind of Moorish dance,


merciful and just, and he repays two-fold the Moorish monarch, it is, nevertheless, a fact good that is done unto another: besides, the recorded by several writers. The author, favours granted to the unfortunate Arlaja are who as we have already had occasion to not like the seed sown in sand. You shall observe, has kept as strictly as possible to live in my house, my child, and the name of slave shall never sound in your ears; perhaps

the text of the Spanish chronicles, quotes by good fortune and prosperity await you, for way of illustration a passage of Pedro de whatever is written must happen.”—p. 65.

Salazar, in his history of the Gran Carde. The city of Granada opens to the view of nal, book i. chap. 21; which mentions the the travellers, and Arlaja takes Isabel by the incursion before alluded to and says that the hand, and unable to repress the feelings two daughters of the governor of Martos fell which that magnificent sight creates in her into the hands of the Moors and were taken mind, she bursts into glad exclamations : to Granada ; where one of them, the eldest,

“You see I have not deceived you; here became queen under the Moorish name of we arrive at the land of joy and blessedness; Zoraya. The fact is mentioned also by the and the merely treading which, drives away Arabian writers, and is recorded by Conde, all care. Behold the famous city, which, in his history of the Domination of the Arabs crowning two hills, extends down to the plain in Spain. - (vol. iii. p. 206.) to disappear amidst beds of flowers and thick.

Another Àrabic historian, Almaccari, says ets of ordoriferous trees. That lofty range which you see whitening in the distance, is that Abu-l-Hasan had by Zoraya male issue; the mountains of the Sun and the Moon ;* and and that having evinced all his life great well do they deserve their name, for they are predilection for his Christian captive, the as brilliant and white as a block of ivory: good Mussulmans were afraid he would set Seen from the city, they look as if they could aside the sons he had by the daughter of his be touched with the hand, but it is very, very uncle for those of the Christian. He did far otherwise. They serve as a boundary. wall to the royal city; they supply it with so; and this afterwards led to the civil war the coolest waters, the most precious minerals, which broke out in Granada and hastened and the finest marbles: they mitigate the heat its fall

. of summer and they purify the air even when As we have already related, Isabel con. it comes poisoned by the breeze of death." sents to become the king's wife and the day

The enthusiasm of the Moorish girl, the for the ceremony is appointed, but Isabel enchanting landscape, and the liveliness of has within the palace a terrible adversary

to contend with. youth, soon dissipate Isabel's melancholy;

Abu-l-Hasan has another and we find her happy in the house of År wife, called Aiesha, who, as may be easily laja, who bestows upon her all her care and imagined, is not much pleased to see her affection. In the meanwhile, Ibn Farūj, royal spouse bestow his affections upon a whose captive Isabel was, in order to strength Christian slave. She swears revenge, and en his favour and influence with the king, tries to rid herself of her rival. presents to him his valuable prize : and Abu

“ Towards the close of summer, Isabel and 1.Hasan is so much captivated with her Alaja were wont to take their night walks in beauty that he decides upon raising her to one of the most luxuriant gardens which at the throne. Arlaja and Isabel are lodged that time surrounded the Alhambra. On in the Alhambra ; and the latter is by Abu-l. such occasions the beuuty and solitude of the Hasan's directions surrounded with so many plation ; the solemn silence of the night was

spot invited the mind to repose and contem. luxuries and delights, that she sinks as into a state of enchantment, and soon lends a fa-ters along their pebbly bed, by the sound of

only interrupted by the murmur of the wa. vourable ear to the passion of the Moorish the wind whistling, amongst the trees, or a monarch.

distant serenade given by the king for IsaHowever improbable this part of the tale bel.”—p. 124. may appear, for certainly it does seem in. credible that a girl educated like Isabel, in live had been listening to a romance sung

On one of these evenings the fair cap. the bosom of a family distinguished for their in her praise. The music had ceased; na, attachment to the Christian religion, by their ture resumed its former stillness, and Isabel hatred for the common enemy, and by that high sense of honour which was character. Alaja stood in silence by her side. Of a

remained plunged in a sweet reverie, while istic of the epoch, should, after a short time, sudden they are roused by a slight noise and when the death of her father, husband, from a neighbouring thicket; two gigantic and friends, was still recent, yield without a figures dressed in black approach, and with. struggle to those seductions, and wed the out uttering a word, seize them in their • Now called the Sierra Nevada (Snowy, which they throw over their heads, bear

arms, and, drowning their cries in a ial Ridge.) The Romans named them Orospeda; the Arabs, Sholair.

them along through a subterranean pas

sage, communicating with a distant part of It seems to us as if the Spanish language the town. There the two assassins are on had, by the peculiar circumstances which the point of taking away Isabel's life; but contributed to its formation, acquired a deat the cries of Arlaja an old man appears, gree of richness and flexibility not to be and the villains take flight, not without in- met with in any other tongue derived from flicting several wounds on their victim with the Latin : for while we find as many words their daggers. The king, in the mean-jof the latter in it as in the Italian, it posses. while, finding that Isabel had left the Al. ses a vast quantity of others which have a hambra, orders his guards to go in search Greek or Teutonic origin; and the number of her; she is found, and of course not of those derived from the Eastern languages dangerously wounded. Arlaja acquaints is not less than two thousand. No doubt the king with all the circumstances of the therefore can be entertained that the Spaassault, and Abu-l-Hasan divorces his wife nish, owing to its increase from the languaAiesha and marries Isabel.

ges or dialects spoken by the different naBy the preceding analysis our readers tions who settled in the Peninsula, is richer may have perceived that, as a novel, M. de than most others in Europe: nor is it un. la Rosa's work possesses no great interest. common to find in it an idea expressed by The incidents are trivial and common-place, three different words, borrowed severally and the narrative at times far from animat- from the languages formerly common in ed. We cannot deny him, however, great Spain, viz., the Latin, the Gothic, and the lalents for description; and the lively and Arabic. llence the great facility which truly poetical picture he gives of the city of Spanish affords for poetry, and the prodiGranada, happily compared to an earthly gious number of poets which Spain has proparadise; of its Vega, which he assimilates duced. Hence too it naturally follows that to a field of Emerald strewed with pearls; prose has been written too much like poeof its castles and palaces rising like so ma- try; that too much attention has been paid ny giants above the city which they are to what at different periods has been termed bound to profect, is in our opinion admira. el buen estilo; that an idea is often sacrible, and impresses us with the idea that the ficed to a sound, perspicuity to the round. author has lavished all his poetical powers ing of a sentence; and that many books in on this description of his native soil. But Spanish literature present nothing but a he has not been equally successful in draw- heap of words, sounding well to the ear, ing the human characters, and we are at a but conveying no meaning whatsoever to loss to find one that is even tolerably de- the mind. Quevedo's prose is bombastic lineated. That of the Moorish girl Arla- and redundant; Boscan, Garcilaso, Gongoga, though one of the most prominent since ra, wrote nothing but poetry. Indeed the she exercises a kind of spell over Isabel, literary axiom that poetical genius is incomcreates neither interest nor sympathy; of patible with good prose writing, may apIbn Farūj the African zealot, always ready pear paradoxical in our own literature, but to run to arms and anxious to strike a blow it is too visible in the Spanish. Cervantes, on the Spanish frontier, and who in hopes who in graphic power still remains without of kindling war between the Christian and a rival, made various attempts at verse but the Granadian monarchs makes an unsea- never composed one good one: Feijo and sonable incursion into the Castilian territo- Isla were equally unsuccessful; and Javel. ry, no more is said in the subsequent por- lano's Epistles are much too prosaic to detion of the narrative. In fact we do not serve notice. see in this novel any of those vigorously This, however, must be taken merely as drawn characters, which present to the ob- a general observation, and not by any means server a true and faithful picture of life, a in reference to the prose-style of M. de la talent possessed in such perfection by the Rosa, which on the contrary is pure with. immortal authors whom M. de la Rosa has out being antiquated, eloquent and vigorous tried to imitate. It may be said that the without affectation, and will afford no small novel not being complete, the characters gratification to those who can appreciate represented have not yet acquired the the gems of Spanish literature. For our strength and perfection they may hereafter own part, as enthusiastically fond of Cer. exhibit. We hope, for the sake of the dis- vantes, it is with great pleasure that we tinguished author's high reputation in litera. have met now and then in M. de la Rosa's ture, that it may be so: but in its present book with expressions borrowed from that state w see nothing to make the book no immortal author, and which he has repromendable, if we except the style; this, how. duced with great felicity. On this point ever, is by no means sufficient of itself to we readily concede him an excellence sel. satisfy the reader.

dom to be met with amongst modern Spa7


nish writers, who in order to imitate the son to exalt the achievement of Columbus, new French school in every particular, af- who with long premeditation, designing no fect to neglect and disdain the beautiful and less than to overleap the boundaries of the classic models afforded by the native au kuown world, succeeded in realizing so far thors of the sixteenth century.

the dreams of an enthusiastic imagination ; and apparently verified his predictions by a discovery which must ever be reckoned i he most extraordinary on record. The discoveries of the Northmen, made without

aim or object, awakened no zeal and easily ART. VI.-1. Antquitates Americana ; sive fell into oblivion : that of Columbus on the

Scriptores Septentrionales rerum ante- other hand, originating in the most extrara. Columbianarum in America. (American gant hopes, was much exaggerated in its Antiquities; or Accounts from Northern immediate importance; and kindled an ar. Writers respecting America before the dour which continued to operate on society

Time of Columbus.) Copenhagen. 1837. for ages. 2. Samling af de i Nordens Oldskrifter We have thought it prodent to say so

indeholdle Efterretninger om de gamle much in order to avert the jealousy which Nordboers Opdagelsesriser til America, might resist the just claims of the early fra det 10de til det 14de Aarhundrede. northern discoverers. We know how dan(Collection of the Evidence contained in gerous it is to appear the rival of one firm. Old Writings, respecting the Voyages of ly established in the admiration of manDiscovery made to America by the An- kind; and how naturally the reluctance to alcient Inhabitants of the North, from the low his glory to be vied with, would convert 10th to the 14th Century.) Published by everything vague or problematical in the the Royal Society of Northern Antiqua- narratives of the Northmen into arguments rians. Copenhagen. 1837.

against their authenticity.

Those narra

tives are, in the meantime, the most ingenuWe dare

say that there are many who will ous, unpretending documents ever penned, learn with no less chagrin than surprise, They are, it is true, sometimes obscure; and that the discovery of America was made as many points which interest us at the prefive centuries before Columbus. The famne sent day appeared to their authors to have of a hero is held so sacred by the bulk of little importance, they often fail to furnish mankind, that but little popularity can be the details necessary for the complete eluciexpected to attend the historical justice dation of the matters they treat of. Still which threatens in anywise to obscure it. the unbiased, impartial reader cannot reIt manifests, however, a very imperfect com- fuse his entire confidence to their general prehension of the merits of that great navi- tenor, nor deny that they seem characterised gator to suppose that they are likely to be by the highest degree of accuracy and effaced in the slightest degree by the au- fidelity which can be conceived to belong thentic proof and general acknowledgment to primitive history, derived wholly from of the prior discoveries of the Northmen. tradition and composed from memory The soul and spirit which launched Colum The early discovery of America by the bus across the Atlantic were never in the Northmen is not now made known for the remotest manner prefigured by the motives first time; but the evidence on which it rests which actuated the roving Scandinavians. has never hitherto been published in an A broad distinction is thus established at ample and satisfactory manner. As early once between the merits of their respective as 1570, Ortelius claimed for thein the merit discoveries, by the different characters of of being the first discoverers of the New the speculations and incidents which led to World. But in so doing, he singularly il. them. The voyages of the Northmen are lustrated the caprice and irregularity which replete with the ordinary interest of human so often marks the progress of opinion. events, in which the most important conse- Blind to the real merits of those discoverers, quences are often seen to arise unexpect- he advanced their claims on wrong grounds; edly: yet the series of lucky accidents and misled by the account of the voyages of which led those rovers in the course of the Zeni, which we now know to be for the years, from land to land, through a sea in most part a fabrication, he supposed that which

groups of islands at convenient dis. America had been discovered by the North. tances encourage the mariner and tempt men whom those Venitians accompanied him onward in his first essays, till they at in the fourteenth century; and confidently length reached the coast of America; can- asserted that no further praise was due to not emulate, but rather serves by compari- Columbus than that of originating a stable

and useful intercourse with the transatlan- / believe that they were both written in the tic continent,

tvelfth century, or probably about four genA correct account of the early discoveries erations after the events which they relate. of the Scandinavians in the west, was given The first of these, entitled a Fragment conby Torfæus, in his “ Historia Vinlandiæ cerning Erik the Red, is found inserted as Antiquæ," published in 1705, and in his an episodical chapter in the Saga or history Grönlandía Antiqua,” which appeared in of King Olave Tryggveson. Leif

, the son the following year. But these works soon of Erik, was sent to Greenland by King became too scarce to forward the ends of Olave on a mission, the chief object of which their publication, and have been long reck. was the conversion of the colonists to Chrisoned, even in the North, among the choicest tianity. The mention of this incident leads bibliographical rarities. The writings of to the history of Erik the Red and of his Suhm and Schöning, Lindeborg and Schro. migration to Greenland; and the writer, der, in which similar information is to be having concluded his account of King obtained, being in the northern languages, Olave, returns to narrate at length the adand in many instances only to be found in ventures of the Greenland colonists and periodical publications, never enjoyed an their voyages to Vinland. This venerable extensive European circulation. John fragment contains a reference to a prior and Reinhold Foster, in his History of Voyages more ample history of Erik the Red. It is and Discoveries in the North, and some impossible to conjecture its author; but an other writers chiefly following in his steps error which occurs in it in regard to the and familiar to the English reader, have as- genealogy of an ancient Icelandic family, a serted the Discovery of America by the topic on which the old Scandinavian wriNorthmen, but without entering into any ters are usually very exact as well as copi. statement of circumstances or of evidence; ous, seems to indicate that it was written in and their unexplained opinions consequently Greenland, and probably not introduced into appear to be the offspring of predilectiou. Iceland until after the lapse of a couple of The only mode of convincing the literary centuries. world of a fact, is to publish the documents The next piece in the volume which is which prove it. This task was undertaken quite equal in importance to the preceding, in the present instance by M. Rafn alone, is the History of Thorfinn Karlsefne, or the and he had advanced half way towards the Manly. The author of this Saga, in relato completion of his work, when the Royal ing the adventures of Karlsefne and his voy. Society of Northern Antiquaries, of which age to Vinland, could not help giving some he is the secretary, resolved to take the pub- account of the previous voyages which had lication of it off his hands; and the result led to it; and as Gudrida, the wife of Karlis the handsome volume the title of which sefne, had been previously married to a son stands at the head of this article.* Its ty- of Erik the Red, the latter with the whole pographical execution is every way worthy train of events connected with his migration of the care and industry bestowed on it by to Greenland, enters on the scene. GudriM. Rafn and his coadjutors, and, combined da, during her residence in Vinland, was with them, leaves nothing to be desired. delivered of a son named Snorre, three of We have here the original Icelandic text, whose descendants held bishoprics in Icewith the various readings or even the differ- land, in the course of the twelfth century; ent versions of the MSS., accompanied by and it is supposed that one of these was the translations in Danish and Latin; in this author of the Karlsefnes-Saga, which con-. part of his task the editor has had the in- tains the early history of the family. The valuable assistance of the learned Icelanders manuscript used by M. Rafn for the basis Finn Magnusen and Sweinbiorn Egilsson. of his text, is on velluin, and appears to He has himself added copious notes, with have been written about the end of the thir. geographical and historical disquisitions. teenth or beginning of the fourteenth cen

Before we enter on the history of the tury. The history of Erik the Red hos also early discoveries of the Northmen in the been printed from a vellum manuscript, west, it seems desirable that we should say written near the close of the fourteenth cena few words respecting its sources, and tury.

And here it deserves to be remarked their number, age, and authenticity. Of that one of the objections urged by sceptithe documents composing the volume of cism against the transatlantic discoveries of American Antiquities, two are of surpassing the Scandinavians, has been, that no acimportance; and there is every reason to count of them exists having any apparent

claim to antiquity or even written on vel* London, published by Messrs. Black and lum; whereas there are, in fact, no fewer Armstrong, agents to the Society.

than eighteen different manuscripts on vel

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