Imágenes de páginas

"' —insequitur conmixta graudine nimbus.'

D'ye hear the change? D'ye hear all the s's? D'ye hear 'em whistlin'? D'ye hear the black squall comin' up the hillside, brushin' up the dust and dhry leaves off the road, and hissin' through the threes and bushes? An' d'ye hear the hail dhriven afther, and spattherin' the laves, and whitenin' the face o' the counthry? Conmixta grandine nimbus.' That I mightn't sin, but when I read them words, I gather my head down between my shouldhers, as if it was hailin' a top o' me. An' then the sighth of all the huntin' party! Dido, an' the Throjans, an' all the great court ladies and the Tyrian companions scatthered like cracked people about the place, lookin' for shelther, and peltin' about right and left, hether and thether in all directions for the bare life, an' the floods swellin' an' coming, an' thundherin' down in rivers from the mountains, an' all in three lines:

"1Et Tyrii comites passim, et Trojana juventus
Dardaniusque nepos Veneris, divessa per agros
Tecta metu petiere: ruunt de montibus amnes.'

An' see the beauty of the poet, followin' up the character of Ascanius; he makes him the last to quit the field. First the Tyrian comrades, an effeminate race, that ran at the sighth of a shower, as if they were made o' salt, that they'd melt under it; an' then the Throjan youth, lads that were used to it in the first book; an' last of all the spirited boy Ascanius himself. (Silence near the doore !) #

"' Speluncam Dido, dux et Trojanus eandem,

Observe, boys, he no longer calls him as of old, the pius JEneas, only Dux Trojanus, the Throjan laidher, an' 'tis he that was the laidher and the lad; see the taste of the poet not to call him the pious ^Eneas now, nor even mention his name, as if he were half ashamed of him, knowin' well what a lad he had to dale with. There's where Virgil took the crust out o' Homer's mouth in the nateness of his language, that you'd gather a part o' the feelin' from the very shape o' the line an' turn o' the prosody. As formerly, when Dido was askin' JEneas concernin' where he come from, an' where he was born? He makes answer:

"' Est locus Hesperiam Graii cognomine dictmt,
Terra antiqua. potens armis atque ubere glebae
Hue cursus fuit:'

An' there the line stops short, as much as to say, just as I cut this
line short in spakin' to you just so our coorse was cut, in going to
Italy. The same way, when Juno is vexed in talkin' o' the
Throjans, he makes her spake had Latin to show how mad she is:(Silence !)

"' —Mene incepto desistere victam

Nec posse Italia Teucrorum avertere regem'!
Quippe vetor fatis! Pallasne exurere classem
Argivum, atque ipsos potuit submergere ponto.'

So he laves you to guess what a passion she is in, when he makes her lave an infinitive mood without any thing to govern it. You can't attribute it to ignorance, for it would be a dhroll thing in airnest, if Juno the queen of all the gods didn't know a common rule in syntax, so that you have nothing for it but to say that she must be the very moral of a jury. Such, boys, is the art o' poets, an' the janius o' languages.

"' But I kept ye long enough. Go along to ye'r Greek now, as fast as ye can, an' reharse. An' as for ye,' continued the learned commentator, turning to the mass of English scholars, 'I see one comin' over the river that'll taich ye how to behave yerselves, as it is a thing ye won't do for me. Put up yer Virgils now, boys, an' out with the Greek, an' remember the beauties I pointed out to ye, for they're things that few can explain to ye, if ye hav'n't the luck to think of 'em yerselves.'

"The class separated, and a hundred anxious eyes were directed toward the open door. It afforded a glimpse of a sunny green, and a bubbling river, over which Mr. Lenigan, followed by his brother David, was now observed in the act of picking his cautious way. At this apparition a sudden change took place in the condition of the entire school. Stragglers flew to their places; the impatient burst of laughter was cut short; the growing bit of rage was quelled; the uplifted hand dropped harmless by the side of its owner; merry faces grew serious ;. and angry ones peaceable; the eyes of all seemed poring on their books; and the extravagant uproar of the last half-hour was hushed on a sudden into a diligent murmur. Those who were most proficient in the study of 'the Masther's' physiognomy detected in the expression of his eyes as he entered and greeted his assistant, something of a troubled and uneasy character. He took the list with a severe countenance, from the hands of the boy above mentioned, sent all those whose names he found upon the fatal record to kneel down in a corner until he should find leisure to 'haire' them, and then prepared to enter upon his daily functions."

For the present however the delinquents are saved by the entrance of a fresh character upon the scene.

"The new-comer was a handsome young woman who carried a pet child in her arms and held another by the hand. The sensation of pleasure which ran among the young culprits at her appearance showed her to be their 'great Captain's Captain,' the beloved and loving helpmate of Mr. Lenigan, casting, unperceived by her lord, an encouraging smile toward the kneeling culprits, she took an opportunity while engaged in a wheedling conversation with her husband, to purloin his deal rule and to blot out the list of the proscribed from the slate, after which she stole out calling David to dig the potatoes for dinner."

And so, we too will leave the school.




Long before " Beppo," the experiment of imitating the wellknown Italian school, which unites so strangely the wildest romance of chivalry with pungent satire and good-humored pleasantry, had been successfully tried by John Hookham Frere, one of Mr. Canning's most brilliant coadjutors in the poetry of the "Anti-Jacobin." The mock-heroic in question bore the curious title of " Prospectus and Specimen of an intended National Work, by William and Robert Whistlecroft, of Stowmarket, in Suffolk, Harness and Collar Makers. Intended to comprise the most Interesting Particulars relating to King Arthur and his Round- Table.'" Two cantos were published by Mr. Murray in 1817; and a third and fourth rapidly followed. The success was decided; but the poem has been long out of print, and is now among the scarcest books in modern literature.

To attempt to tell the story of a poem which travels backward and forward from knights to giants, and from giants to monks, no sooner interesting you in one set of personages than he casts them off to fly to other scenes and other actors, would be a fruitless task. Who would venture to trace the adventures of the Orlando Furioso? and Mr. Frere, in imitating the "Morgante Maggiore," and other parodies of the great poet of romance, has won for himself the privilege of wandering at pleasure over the whole realm of chivalrous fable, and makes the best use of that privilege by being often picturesque, often amusing, and never wearisome.

The poem opens with a feast given by King Arthur at Carlisle to his knights, who are thus described:

They looked a manly, generous generation,

Beards, shoulders, eyebrows, broad and square and thick;

Their accents firm and loud in conversation,

Their eyes and gestures eager, sharp and quick,

Showed them prepared on proper provocation

To give the lie, pull noses, stab and kick;

And for that very reason, it is said,

They were so very courteous and well-bred.

Then come the giants, living in a valley near Carlisle. The description of this place affords an excellent opportunity for displaying Mr. Frere's command over a higher order of poetry.

Huge mountains of immeasurable height
Encompassed all the level valley round
With mighty slabs of rocks, that stood upright,
An insurmountable and enormous mound.
The very river vanished out of sight,
Absorbed in secret channels underground;
That vale was so sequestered and secluded,
All search for ages past it had eluded.

A rock was in the center, like a cone
Abruptly rising from a miry pool,
Where they beheld a hill of massy stone,
Which masons of the rude primeval school
Had reared by help of giant hands alone,
With rocky fragments unreduced by rule;
Irregular, like nature more than art,
Huge, rugged and compact in every part.

A wild tumultuous torrent raged around
Of fragments tumbling from the mountain's height;
The whistling clouds of dust, the deafening sound,
The hurried motion that amazed the sight,
The constant quaking of the solid ground,
Environed them with phantoms of affright;
Yet with heroic hearts they held right on
Till the last point of their ascent was won.

The giants who dwelt in this romantic spot had captured some ladies, whom the knights thought it their duty to deliver. They overcame the grisly warriors as a matter of course, and the state in which they find the fair prisoners is related in a stanza of which the concluding couplet hears some resemblance to a wellknown transition in "Don Juan."

The ladies! They were tolerably well,

At least as well as could be well expected:

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