« AnteriorContinuar »
true solution of the riddle, and that in our present agency, and as tempting Mahmud to that state of state the solution is unattainable by us, are propo- mind in which ideas may be supposed to assume sitions which may be regarded as equally certain; the force of sensation, through the confusion of meanwhile, as it is the province of the poet to at- thought, with the objects of thought, and excess of tach himself to those ideas which exalt and ennoble passion animating the creations of the imagination. humanity, let him be permitted to have conjectured It is u sort of natural magic, susceptible of being the condition of that futurity towards which we exercised in a degree by any one who should have are all impelled by an inextinguishable thirst for im- made himself master of the secret associations for mortality. Until better arguments can be produced another's thoughts. than sophisms which disgrace the cause, this desire itself must remain the strongest and the only pre
P. 201, col. I, 1. 30. sumption that eternity is the inheritance of every thinking being.
The final chorus is indistinct and obscure as the
event of the living drama whose arrival it foretells. P. 193, col. 1, 1. 27.
Prophecies of wars, and rumours of wars, &c. No hoary priests after that Patriarch.
may safely be made by poet or prophet in any The Greek Patriarch, after having been com- age; but to anticipate, however darkly, a period of pelled to fulminate an anathema against the insur- regeneration and happiness, is a more hazardous gents, was put to death by the Turks.
exercise of the faculty which bards possess or feign. Fortunately the Greeks have been taught that It will remind the reader, “ magno nec proximus they cannot buy security by degradation, and the intervallo” of Isaiah and Virgil, whose ardent spirits, Turks, though equally cruel, are less cunning than overleaping the actual reign of evil which we enthe smooth-faced tyrants of Europe.
dure and bewail, already saw the possible and perAs to the anathema, bis Holiness might as well haps approaching, state of society in which the have thrown his mitre at Mount Athos for any « lion shall lie down with the lamb," and “omnis effect that it produced. The chiefs of the Greeks feret omnia tellus." Let these great names be are almost all men of comprehension and enlight- my authority and excuse. ened views on religion and politics.
P. 201, col. 2, 1. 25.
Saturn and Love their long repose.
Saturn and Love were among the deities of a commands the insurgents in Attica. This Greek,
real or imaginary state of innocence and happiness. Lord Byron informs me, though a poet and an en
AU those who fell
, or the Gods of Greece, Asia, thusiastic patriot, gave him rather the idea of a
and Egypt; the One, who rose, or Jesus Christ, at timid and unenterprising person. It appears that
whose appearance the idols of the Pagan world circumstances make men what they are, and that
were amerced of their worship; and the many unwe all contain the germ of a degree of degradation
subdued or the monstrous objects of the idolatry
of China, India, and the Antarctic islands, and the or greatness, whose connexion with our character is determined by events.
native tribes of America, certainly have reigned
over the understandings of men in conjunction or P. 196, col. 2, 1. 18.
in succession, during periods in which all we know The Greeks erpect a Saviour from the west. of evil has been in a state of portentous, and, until It is reported that this Messiah had arrived at a
the revival of learning and the arts, perpetually inseaport near Lacedemon in an American brig. The creasing, activity. The Grecian Gods seem indeed association of names and ideas is irresistibly ludi. to have been personally more innocent, although crous, but the prevalence of such a rumour strongly
it cannot be said that, as far as temperance and marks the state of popular enthusiasm in Greece. chastity are concerned, they gave so edifying an
example as their successor. The sublime human P. 198, col. 2, 1. 39.
character of Jesus Christ was deformed by an imThe sound
puted identification with a power, who tempted, As of the assault of an imperial city.
betrayed, and punished the innocent beings who For the vision of Mahmud of the taking of Con- were called into existence by his sole will; and stantinople in 1445, see Gibbon's Decline and for the period of a thousand years, the spirit of this Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. xi. p. 223. most just, wise, and benevolent of men, has been
The manner of the invocation of the spirit of propitiated with myriads of hecatombs of those Mahomet the Second will be censured as over. who approached the nearest to his innocence and drawn. I could easily have made the Jew a regular wisdom, sacrificed under every aggravation of conjuror, and the Phantom an ordinary ghost. I atrocity and variety of torture. The horrors of have preferred to represent the Jew as disclaiming the Mexican, the Peruvian, and the Indian superall pretension, or even belief, in supernatural stitions are well known.
NOTE ON HELLAS.
BY THE EDITOR.
The south of Europe was in a state of great hope for the durability of both. Then, as I have political excitement at the beginning of the year said, in 1821, Shelley, as well as every other lover 1821. The Spanish Revolution had been a signal of liberty, looked upon the struggles in Spain and to Italy-secret societies were formed and when Italy as decisive of the destinies of the world, proNaples rose to declare the Constitution, the call bably for centuries to come. The interest he took was responded to froin Brundusium to the foot of in the progress of affairs was intense. When the Alps. To crush these attempts to obtain liberty,
Genoa declared itself free, his hopes were at their early in 1821, the Austrians poured their armies highest. Day after day, he read the bulletins of into the peninsula : at first their coming rather the Austrian army, and sought eagerly to gather seemed to add energy and resolution to a people tokens of its defeat. He heard of the revolt of long enslaved. The Piedmontese asserted their
Genoa with emotions of transport. His whole freedom ; Genoa threw off the yoke of the King heart and soul were in the triumph of their cause. of Sardinia ; and, as if in playful imitation, the
We were living at Pisa at that time; and several people of the little state of Massa and Carrara well-informed Italians, at the head of whom we gave the congé to their sovereign and set up a
may place the celebrated Vaccé, were accustomed republic
to seek for sympathy in their hopes from Shelley :
they did not find such for the despair they too Tuscany alone was perfectly tranquil. It was
generally experienced, founded on contempt for said, that the Austrian minister presented a list
their southern countrymen. of sixty Carbonari to the grand-duke, urging their imprisonment; and the grand-duke replied, “I While the fate of the progress of the Austrian do not know whether these sixty men are Car- armies then invading Naples was yet in suspense, bonari, but I know if I imprison them, I shall the news of another revolution filled him with directly have sixty thousand start up.” But exultation. We had formed the acquaintance at though the Tuscans had no desire to disturb the Pisa of several Constantinopolitan Greeks, of the paternal government, beneath whose shelter they family of Prince Caradja, formerly Hospodar of slumbered, they regarded the progress of the Wallachia, who hearing that the bowstring, the various Italian revolutions with intense interest accustomed finale of his viceroyalty, was on the and hatred for the Austrian was warm in every road to him, escaped with his treasures, and took bosom. But they had slender hopes; they knew up his abode in Tuscany. Among these was the that the Neapolitans would offer no fit resistance gentleman to whom the drama of Hellas is dedito the regular German troops, and that the over- cated. Prince Mavrocordato was warmed by those throw of the Constitution in Naples would act as aspirations for the independence of his country, a decisive blow against all struggles for liberty in which filled the hearts of many of his countrymen. Italy.
He often intimated the possibility of an insurrection We have seen the rise and progress of reform. in Greece ; but we had no idea of its being so near But the Holy Alliance was alive and active in
at hand, when, on the 1st of April, 1821, he called those days, and few could dream of the peaceful
on Shelley ; bringing the proclamation of his
cousin Prince Ipsilanti, and, radiant with exultatriumph of liberty. It seemed then that the armed assertion of freedom in the south of Europe was
tion and delight, declared that henceforth Greece
would be free. the only hope of the liberals, as, if it prevailed, the nations of the north would imitate the example. Shelley had hymned the dawn of liberty in Spain Happily the reverse has proved the fact. The and Naples, in two odes, dictated by the warmest countries accustomed to the exercise of the pri- enthusiasm ;-he felt himself naturally impelled vileges of freemen, to a limited extent, have to decorate with poetry the uprise of the descendextended, and are extending these limits. Freedom ants of that people, whose works he regarded with and knowledge have now a chance of proceeding deep admiration; and to adopt the vaticinatory hand in hand; and if it continue thus, we may character in prophesying their success. « Hellas”
was written in a moment of enthusiasm. It is stanzas that beautifully exemplify Shelley's pecucurious to remark how well he overcomes the liar style ; as, for instance, the assertion of the in-' difficulty of forming a drama out of such scant tellectual empire which must be for ever the inmaterials. His prophecies, indeed, came true in heritance of the country of Homer, Sophocles, and their general, not their particular purport. He did Plato : not foresee the death of Lord Londonderry, which
But Greece and her foundations are
Built below the tide of war; was to be the epoch of a change in English politics,
Based on the crystalline sea particularly as regarded foreign affairs; nor that
Of thought and its eternity. the navy of his country would fight for instead of
And again, that philosophical truth, felicitously against the Greeks; and by the battle of Navarino
imaged forthsecure their enfranchisement from the Turks. Almost against reason, as it appeared to him, he
Revenge and wrong bring forth their kind,
The foul cubs like their parents are ; resolved to believe that Greece would prove Their den is in the guilty mind, triumphant; and in this spirit, auguring ultimate And conscience feeds them with despair. good, yet grieving over the vicissitudes to be en.
The conclusion of the last chorus is among the dured in the interval, he composed his drama.
most beautiful of his lyrics ; the imagery is disThe chronological order to be observed in the tinct and majestic; the prophecy, such as poets arrangement of the remaining poems, is interrupted love to dwell upon, the regeneration of mankind here, that his dramas may follow each other con- and that regeneration reflecting back splendour on secutively. «Hellas” was among the last of his the foregone time, from which it inherits so much compositions, and is among the most beautiful. of intellectual wealth, and memory of past virtuous The chorusses are singularly imaginative, and me- deeds, as must render the possession of happiness lodious in their versification. There are some and peace of tenfold value.
END OF HELLAS.
“A fellow feeling makes us wond'rous kind." No liberty has been taken with the translation
of this remarkable piece of antiquity, except the Tais Tragedy is one of a triad, or system of
suppressing a seditious and blasphemous chorus three Plays, (an arrangement according to which
of the Pigs and Bulls at the last act. The word the Greeks were accustomed to connect their Dra. Hoydipouse, (or more properly Edipus,) has been matic representations,) elucidating the wonderful
rendered literally SWELLFOOT, without its having and appalling fortunes of the Swellfoot dynasty. been conceived necessary to determine whether a It was evidently written by some learned Theban, swelling of the hind or the fore feet of the Swinish and from its characteristic dulness, apparently be- Monarch is particularly indicated. fore the duties on the importation of Attic salt had been repealed by the Bætarchs. The tenderness Should the remaining portions of this Tragedy with which he beats the Pigs proves him to have be found, entitled, “ Swellfoot in Angaria,” and been a sus Bæotiæ ; possibly Epicuri de grege Charité," the Translator might be tempted to porcus ; for, as the poet observes,
give them to the reading Public.
TYRANT SWELLFOOT, King of Thebes.
The Gadely, lora Taurixa, his Queen.
Moses, the Sow-gelder.
Solomox, the Porkman.
If 'twere your kingly will
CHORUS OF SWIXE.
Thou supreme Goddess! by whose power divine These graceful limbs are clothed in proud array
(He contemplates himself with satisfaction, Of gold and purple, and this kingly paunch Swells like a sail before a favouring breeze, And these most sacred nether promontories Lie satisfied with layers of fat; and these Bæotian cheeks, like Egypt's pyramid, (Nor with less toil were their foundations laid, *) Sustain the cone of my untroubled brain, That point, the emblem of a pointless nothing ! Thou to whom Kings and laurelled Emperors, Radical-butchers, Paper-money-millers, Bishops and deacons, and the entire army Of those fat martyrs to the persecution Of stifling turtle-soup, and brandy-devils, Offer their secret vows! Thou plenteous Ceres Of their Eleusis, hail !
I have heard your Laureate sing,
The murrain and the mange, the scab and itch; Sometimes your royal dogs tear down our thatch,
And then we seek the shelter of a ditch; Hog-wash or grains, or ruta-baga, none Has yet been ours since your reign begun.
My pigs, 'tis in vain to tug!
I could almost eat my litter!
THE SWINE. Eigh! eigh! eigh! eigh!
Ha! what are ye, Who, crowned with leaves devoted to the Furies, Cling round this sacred shrine ?
I suck, but no milk will coine from the dug.
Our skin and our bones would be bitter.
Aigh! aigh! aigh!
What! ye that are The very beasts that offered at her altar With blood and groans, salt-cake, and fat, and
inwards, Ever propitiate her reluctant will When taxes are withheld ?
Ugh! ugh! ugh!
We fight for this rag of greasy rug,
To bind your mortar with, or fill our colons With rich blood, or make brawn out of our gristles,
In policy-ask else your royal Solons
Enter a GUARD.
What! ye who grub With filthy snouts my red potatoes up In Allan's rushy bog? Who eat the oats Up, from my cavalry in the Hebrides? Who swill the hog-wash soup my cooks digest From bones, and rags, and scraps of shoe-leather, Which should be given to cleaner Pigs than you?
* See Universal History for an account of the number of people who died, and the immense consumption of garlic by the wretched Egyptians, who made a sepulchre for the name as well as the bodies of their tyrants.
Your sacred Majesty!