« AnteriorContinuar »
who are observant in this way, have nearly an equally acute perception of the expression of speech, they have no language for designating those delicate discriminations which are every day unconsciously made even by the popular ear.
HAIL, HOLY MAIDS! who haunted once the steep,
No suppliants bow, no votive altars shine,
The wandering Dryad has forgot her bower,
All, save in ancient story, are unknown-
Hail, holy maids ! in many a ruder clime
Less than the humblest votary of your smile, - Now in some narrow grave forgotten dwell
But HE, the gathering wrinkle can beguile From Time's old brow, and seize immortal youth the while.
Are not these turrets symbols of your power?
Their fame, and gaudy scutcheons their abode
No! no! they do not give these towers their charms,
Your shrine restore, in scenes to fame unknown,
BY E. BURKE FISHER.
It has been asserted, that the love of Poetry is one of the most absorbing and general principles of the human soul, and in investigating its assimilation with character, its effects upon the history and manners of nations, and more especially its prevailing influences in the ruder ages, we see that the characteristics of a people may be more accurately deduced from their practical literature, than their constitutional laws. It is the vehicle of those emotions, which spring directly from the heart, untrameled by the cold dictates of policy and scorning the adventitious barriers of prudence, infuses into contiguous objects a portion of its own fire, and while elevating the standard of language also serves to convey a lasting spiritual impression. Whether considered as the agent of genius in giving birth to its glowing conceptions, or drilled in the imitative, artificial school of the last two centuries, we find it exercising unlimited sway over the mind, tempering the earlier ages with those beneficial influences which gradually dispelled the mists of barbarism from the ancient world, and causing civilisation to spring like a well sinewed giant into universal dominion, strong in its most essential elements, the thirst for chivalrous deeds, and the consequent desire for their portraiture in song.
“ I would rather be the author of the national songs of a people, than of their laws”-is the truism of a writer
of our own times, while commenting upon the enthusiasm with which the French people chanted the celebrated Marsellois hymn, which awoke in the bosom of France, a fire of erring patriotism, so phrenzied, and powerful, that crowns were trampled under foot and sceptres broken, told that a new spirit now animated the people who, for centuries, had borne with their slavery as though it was a household god, a familiar spirit, handed down from their sires. The lament of the Jewish captives, the song of the Barmecides—the war chant of the Cid Rodrigo—the Rule Brittania of the British people, and our own thrilling anthem of Hail Columbia are cases in point-the former affecting to tears the wandering children of Judah
and the degenerate sons of the gallant Spaniard—the lat-ter awaking to ecstasy the love of country, and rendering us the playthings of ardent, subjective feelings, which are the very essence of lyric poetry.
Nor should the Ranz des Vaches of the Switzer be forgotten in this enumeration, the feelings wrought out by hearing it, afford a striking illustration of the power of song. The mercenary bands of Swiss, who are to be met with, fighting under any, and every banner, are, it may be fairly presumed, less gifted with excitable feelings of national enthusiasm, than the inhabitants of Northern Europe, yet even their sluggish natures have been at times aroused, as the uncouth strains of the Alpine horn has told of home and its associations, and the soldier of fortune has flagged in the midst of the fight-his fiery nature quelled as though a spirit had withered its daring, while his mind was wandering far away to his snow crested mountains, and the cot of his childhood. How beautifully has Mrs. Hemans expressed the idea in her song of the Exile of Scio.