Imágenes de páginas

tremely unfair. We prefer therefore to give, in fairness, a few pages at random. The first and second stanzas run thus:

“I long had paused—my lonely lyre
Had ceased to swell to notes of fire,
For age, with cold pervading chill,
Had passed upon its magic thrill.
But come! again thy murmuring chord
Must sing that vanished desert horde,
And lend thy melody, to tell

tale o'er which I've loved to dwell,
Till every sound that left thy strings
Was soft as that the west wind brings
From Eden, on its airy wings.
It was the earliest morning hour,
That dawning down o'er rocky tower,
And minaret and pinnacle,
The gazer's eye might form at will,
Mid masses rude, round every hill,
As if those fairy things had laid
The shapeless rocks around the glade,
And each in wild confusion strewed
To mimic man—in playful mood :
And as the wave rolled clear and still,
The mist rode o'er it thick and chill,
In distant clouds above it twining,
As if to hide the bright orb shining,
And yet in vain the flashes play
With many a mingled tint and ray,
As if within that deep sunshine
The trace of something more divine
Were left, and that it seemed to say,
Thus, through the mist of earth and clay-
The soul will mix with brighter day!
Far o'er the flashing waters, mark
The Tartar's homeward-veering bark,
Which dash to dash above that sea
Darts like the wild swan merrily,
And shoots, beneath the skilful hand,
Like sea-bird to the distant land;
But he must struggle hard as yet
Who guides it, ere his foot is set
On shore, for breaking round the bay,
Where many a rock projecting lay,
High dashed the shivered waves in spray, -
An instant, and the stranger drew,
With stalwart arm, his frail canoe
The danger of the breakers through,
And moored it in a silent creek,
That fitted well such light caïque.
Both slight was he, of make and form,
Yet dusk-like hues before the storm,
When mingled dark and light on high,
Sweep slowly changing o'er the sky,

His raven eye glanced full and free,
And yet it spoke all haughtily,
When glancing through those long silk lashes-
As lightning through the forest dashes,-
Dark too his brow, and mingled there
Were passion's furrowing hues of care,
And high adventure in his air.
Too haughty he for Tartar race
In mien, and features of the face;
His eye more wild, his glance more bold,
Had deemed them else of Persian mould." P. 7.

The casual reader will, doubtless, remark that the style of Mr. Henningsen is an imitation of the Giaour, or Bride of Abydos of Byron; but let such an individual read, as we have done, the poem carefully through, and he will then see that, however the author may occasionally have fallen into this favorite school, there are, in other places, strong proofs of a full, rich, and original vien of poetical ore, which

it will require only time and study to develope and display. At the same time, Mr. Henningsen must bear in mind that we are against any continuance, in his future labours, of an imitation of even so great a poet as Byron; who, although he is to be studied, yet it must be rather with the intent of analyzing the singular construction of his powerful genius, and fathoming the depths of his extraordinary mind, than for the purpose of imitating him, however successfully. We do not mean to say that the latter has been the object of our youthful writer; but we think it not out of season to caution him against falling into an error, which has frequently been a stumblingblock to the progress of poetical powers, which would otherwise have met with their due meed of fame. We will further tell him that he has no need to copy even the first of our modern bards. He will find, or we are much mistaken, when he shall have had the experience of a few more years, that close study, and looking abroad into the great book of nature, will effect for him what all the imitative powers in the world could never secure. We are the more inclined to this opinion as even, already, he has evidently studied and reflected in a manner that would do credit to a riper age, as appears by the following stanza.

“Well, I have wondered oft how man

Will shorten life's contracted span,
To call himself, perchance, the lord
Of some unruly tribe or horde;
But, such the passion, such the rage,
Till chills ambition's fire with age;
Himself the offspring of an hour,
Forgotten, like the trampled flower
We prize when fresh and bloomingly
Its hue and odour meet the eye;

Then left to lie amid decay,
The cold consuming insects' prey:
Yet such a thing will care for aught,
And pass through scenes, with peril fraught,
That others of their name may deem,
When they and theirs are like a dream,
And years have cast their dusky veil
Around the half-forgotten tale.
Yes, gain, or honour's magic word,
Will bid him rush through wave and sword,
Thus, Nadir flushed with victory came,
To tear another palm from fame;
But here, for foemen groweth none,
And all that tyrant hand hath won
In this wild nursery of the brave,
Hath been destruction or a grave,
Yet, thousands rushing with the crest
Whose sun hath never been depressed,
With conquering Kouli for their lord,

May crush a lonely desert horde." P. 28. From this we will turn to the terrific description of battle, where our young author seems as much at home, as if he had himself witnessed a campaign among the irregular warriors of the East.

“Up, up!' said Sadi, and we rose

Like tiger darting on his foes;
One fearful blaze from rock to rock,
While earth seemed quivering with the shock;
And deafening cry, and horrid shriek,
And thunders volleying from the peak,
That shewed beneath their crimson light,
The Tartars starting to the fight;
From every crag there is a flash-
Then down the mountain warriors dash,
And all was mixed in one wild crash:
As hurled the foremost warriors fell,
Food for the vultures of the dell.
Again they paused, again the roar
Spread wider, louder than before;
For joining wildly band to band
In conflict mix, the sword in hand,
And jar the sabres as they clash,
And o'er the night the carbines flash;
And riding on their burning breath,
Shoot forth the messengers of death.
In vain, such arms too slowly kill,
The carnage must be wider still;
And hatred deadlier aim the blow
Than parted from their burning glow:
Thus armed by fury on they go,
Here friends to friends, here foes to foes;
Till one loud cry of ‘Omar! rose,
That cry so often heard in fight,
The sign of foeman's death or flight.

To Nadir and his turbaned ranks,
That cry was heard on Ganges' banks;
And in the meadows of Kashmere,
Omen of conquest, death and fear;
But here thou art on freedom's land,
And answering to thy cry, the brand
Starts only wider from its sheath.

P. 38. We will extract but one passage more, where Mandano, after the rescue and death of his beloved Zuleyda, returns to his mountain home, Daghistan.

sought my native land again;
The mountain snow, the desert plain
Were passed with scarcely wearying speed,
Till death bereft me of my steed;
He bore me many a hundred league,
At last, exhausted by fatigue,
He died beside a mountain lake,
Too tardy reached his thirst to slake.
I wept, the only living thing
Whose love on earth to me would cling,
Was gone; 'twas but a horse, indeed,
But oh! it was a gallant steed
For fire, and restlessness, and speed;
To me in flight, or battle true,
One only lord it owned and knew.
A wanderer in the wilderness,
Exchanged with me his tattered dress,
Thus I again my road pursued,
O'er loveliest path and solitude,
And near unseen by eyes of men,

Again I reach thee, Daghistan.” P. 90. We are sorry that our space will not admit of our dwelling further upon the merits of this sweetly told poem. There is a spirit about it that reminds us of our own early career, when, in the fresh green morning of our days, we sung, in ecstacy, “our native wood notes wild,” and when every enjoyment of life fell, grateful as the mountain dew, upon our delighted senses; when we awoke, but in delight, and lay down in peace and happiness. If envy formed a part of our souls, which, thank heaven, it doth not, we could grudge to this young and gifted minstrel the fervid feelings he doubtless enjoys. We have been told that he is, at present, employed upon a poem on a highly interesting and popular subject, the scenes of which are more familiar to European ideas and tastes; and which, if we are not misinformed, will be found to contain bolder and loftier flights of his muse, than are presented in the pages before us. Go on and prosper is our sincere hope and counsel: let him but study earnestly and deeply the great models of verse, Homer, Virgil, Milton, and Shakspeare, (especially the two latter, whom every British poet should read a portion of daily,)

and we have no doubt that, when Frederic Henningsen shall have reached the age of five and twenty, the world will have hailed him as the regenerator of a school of poetry, amongst us, which has too long been a desideratum rather wished than hoped for, and that he will have become, alike the pride of his family and friends, and an honour to the literature of his country. Proud, indeed, shall we be at such a result; when the idea that we may have been the humble means of stimulating his exertions, will be, to us, one of the proudest reflections we can enjoy.

Eminent British Military Commanders. Life of Oliver Cromwell.

Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia. London: Longman and Co.

1831. Let the traveller, in passing through the wild and picturesque scenery of Wales, reflect that the mouldering ruins, which frequently meet his eye, are many of them the sad memorials of civil war and bloodshed; that the object of his research is often the tomb of the warrior; and that the peaceful vale, upon which he casts a contemplative glance, has been the awful scene of murder; and when the reader thus feels that the bosom of our Principality contains these mournful relics of civil war, he will know why we possess a more than ordinary interest in the subject of this memoir. Our country, to our mind, is as a picture upon which we discern the tints of darkness and of misery, or the pleasing hues of cheerfulness and of comfort; and we are sure we need not say that we have so warm an interest in its welfare, that, when far distant from the blissful scenes of our nativity, imagination and recollection afford us our happiest hours in the contemplation of whatever tends to affect the welfare of fair Cambria. It is with these feelings, in all their grateful freshness, that we enter upon a brief review of the life of one, the roar of whose artillery echoed long and fearfully around our mountain homes.

The pages before us inform us that the renowned Oliver Cromwell (as our readers well know) was lineally descended from Sir Oliver Cromwell, a Welsh gentleman, of ancient stock, who exchanged the name of Williams for that of Cromwell, on his marriage with a sister of Thomas, earl of Essex. Our readers will need, therefore, no apology for our notice of the military life of this most extraordinary character, whose important career must retain its place as an immortal feature in the history of Great Britain. We should have preferred the more usual course of connecting the distinct qualities of a statesman and warrior under one notice; but following the plan which the author of the book before us has thought it proper to pursue, and for which he gives a reason, in the first

« AnteriorContinuar »