ページの画像
PDF
ePub

PREFACE.

One of my friends observed to me in a letter, that many stories which are said to be founded on fact, have in reality been foundered on it. This is the case if there be any gross violation committed or ignorance betrayed of historical manners in the prominent parts of a narrative wherein the writer affects to observe them : or when the ground-work is taken from some part of history so popular and well known that any mixture of fiction disturbs the sense of truth. Still more so, if the subject be in itself so momentous that any alloy of invention must of necessity debase it: but most of all in themes drawn from Scripture, whether from the more familiar or the more awful portions; for when what is true is sacred, whatever may be added to it is so surely felt to be false, that it appears profane.

Founded on fact the Poem is, which is here committed to the world : but whatever may be its defects, it is liable to none of these objections. The

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

story is so singular, so simple, and withal so complete, that it must have been injured by any alteration. How faithfully it has been followed, the reader may perceive if he chooses to consult the abridged translation of Dobrizhoffer's History of the Abipones; and for those who may be gratified with what Pinkerton has well called the lively singularity of the old man's Latin, the passage from the original is here subjoined.

[ocr errors]

“Ad Australes fluvii Empalado ripas Hispanorum turma Herbæ Paraquaricæ conficiendæ operam dabat. Deficientibus jam arboribus, è quibus illa folia rescinduntur, exploratores tres emiserant, qui trans illud flumen arbores desideratas investigarent. Forte in tugurium, agrumque frumento Turcico consitum incidere, ex quo hanc sylvam barbarorum contuberniis scatere perperam arguebant. Hæc notitia tanto omnes perculit metu, ut suspenso, ad quem conducti fuerant, labore suis aliquamdiu in tuguriis laterent, ut limax intra concham. Diu noctuque hostilis aggressio formidabatur. Ad liberandos se hoc terrore cursor ad S. Joachimi oppidum missus, qui, ut barbaros istic habitantes perquiramus, inventosque ad nostram transferamus coloniam flagitavit. Sine tergiversatione operam addixi meam. Licet trium hebdomadum itinere defunctus Nato servatori sacra die ex Mbaebera domum redierim,

*Vet

S. Joannis apostoli festo iter mox aggressus sum cum quadraginta Indorum meorum comitatu. Fluviis ob continuatum dies complures imbrem turgentibus profectio perardua nobis exstitit. Accepto ex Hispanorum tugurio viarum duce, trajectoque flumine Empalado sylvas omnes ad fluvii Mondag miri ripas usque attentis oculis pervagati, tertio demum die, humano, quod deteximus, vestigio nos ducente ædiculam attigimus, ubi mater vetula, cum filio vicesimum, filiaque quintum decimum annum agente annis abhinc multis degebat. Quibus in latebris Indi alii versarentur, à me rogata mater, neminem mortalium præter se, binasque proles, his in sylvis superesse, omnes, qui per hanc viciniam habitaverant, variolarum dira peste dudum extinctos fuisse, respondit. De dicti veritate ancipitem me dum observaret filius : tutò, ait, fidem adhibueris matri meæ ista affirmanti : namque ipsus ego uxorem mihi quæsiturus remotissimas etiam sylvas identidem percursavi, quin tamen vel hominis umbram reperirem uspiam. En! naturæ instinctu adolescens barbarus, conjugium cum sorore sibi neutiquam licere, intellexit. Is multis post mensibus meo in oppido, nullos præter se homines illis in sylvis degere, iterum, iterumque ingenue mihi asseveravit. Idem confirmarunt Hispani, à quibus evocatus sum, ultra biennium in conquirenda herba dein per illas sylvas occupati, non mediocri cum quæstu.

“ Vetulam matrem congruis argumentis hortatus sum ad meum ut oppidum, siquidem luberet, commigraret ocyus, se, suosque meliori fortuna illic usuros, pollicitus. Lubenter invitationi meæ ob

[ocr errors]

temperaturam se, respondit; rem unicam migrationi suæ obstare.

Sunt mihi, ait, tres, quos coram vides, apri à prima ætate mansuefacti; nos quoquo euntes caniculi more sequuntur. Hi, si campum aridum videant, vel extra sylvarum umbram à sole ardenti videantur, peribunt confestim, timeo. Hanc solicitudinem, quæso, animo ejicias tuo, reposui ; cordi mihi fore chara animalcula, nil dubites. Sole æstuante umbram, ubi ubi demum, captabimus. Neque lacunæ, amnes, paludes, ubi refrigerentur tua hæc corcula, usquam deerunt. Talibus delinita promissis se nobiscum ituram, spopondit. Et vero postridie iter ingressi, calendis Januarii incolumes oppidum attigimus, licet per viam binæ fulminibus, imbribusque horrendis fætæ tempestates nobis incubuerint, ac tigris rugitu assiduo totam per noctem minitans nobis iterum, iterumque propinquârit. Hispanos, queis matrem duabus cum prolibus per transennam exhibui, nihilque omnino Indorum sylvestrium in tota late vicinia superesse, significavi, timoris sui et puduit, et pænituit. Autumaverant equidem sylvas Empalado, et Mondag fluminibus interjectas barbarorum habitationibus, perinde ut formicis, undique scatere. Jam de forma, habitudine, vivendi ratione, quam in matre, ejusque prolibus observaveram, dicendum obiter aliquid. Ab ineunte ætate in Mondag litoribus, culicum, serpentum, aliorumque animalculorum noxiorum frequentia oppido infectis consedere. Palmarum ramis tuguriolum definiebatur. Aqua semper lutulenta potum; arborum fructus, alces, damulæ, cuniculi, aves variæ, frumentum turcicum, radices

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »