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going on at home, and was glad, when beyond the level of ordinary clever the conversation led to the mention men in his remarks or style of conof persons and topics of the day, by versation, and certainly not anything which he could obtain any informa- to justify the strange things that have tion, without directly asking for it. been said of him by many, who, like
Such was my interview with one of the French rhapsodist, would describe the most celebrated characters of the him as half angel and half devil. present age, in which, as is generally. Toi, dont le monde encore ignore le vrai nom, the case, most of my anticipations Esprit mysterieux, mortel, ange, ou demon, were disappointed. There was noth Qui que tu sois, Byron, bon ou fatal genie; ing eccentric in his manner-nothing
La nuit est ton sejour, l'horreur est ton domain.
COTEMPORARY AUTHORS.-MR. SOUTHEY.
(Extracted from Blackwood's Magazine.)
men of distinguished talents and only man who ever alludes to Southry's industry, who have not attained to the poems. We can suppose youngish praise or the influence of intellectual readers start when they cone upon greatness, only because they have been some note of bis in the Quarterly, or so unfortunate as to come too late into in his new books of history, referring the world. Had Southey flourished to “ the Madoc,” or “the Joan,” as forty or fifty years ago, and written to something universally known and half as well as he has written in our familiar. As to criticism and politics time, he might have ranked nem. con. of the day, he is but one of the Quarwith the first of modern critics, of terly reviewers, and scarcely one of the modern historians, perhaps even of most influential of them. modern poets. The warmth of his forth essays half antiquarianism, balf feelings and the flow of his style would prosing, with now and then a dash of have enabled him to throw all the a sweet enough sort of literary mystiprosers of that day into the shade- cism in them-and more frequently a His extensive erudition would have display of pompous self-complacent won him the , veneration of an age in simplicity, enough to call a smile into which erudition was venerable-His the most iron physiognomy that ever imaginative power would have lifted grinned. But these lucubrations prohim like an eagle over the versifiers duce no effect upon the spirit of the who then amused the public with their time. A man would as soon take his feeble echoes of the wit, the sense, and opinions from his grandmother as from the numbers of Pope. He could not the Doctor. The whole thing looks as have been the Man of the Age ; but, if it were made on purpose to be read taking all bis manifold excellences and to some antediluvian village club— The qualifications into account, he must fat parson—the solemn leech_the have been most assuredly Somebody, gaping schoolmaster, and three or and a great deal more than some- four simpering Tabbies. There is body.
nothing in common to him and the How different is his actual case! As people of this world. We love bima poet, as an author of imaginative we respect him, we admire his diliworks in general, how small is the gence, his acquisitions, bis excellent space he covers, how little is he talked 'manner of keeping his note-books- If or thought of! The Established Church he were io orders, and one had an adof Poetry will hear of nobody but vowson to dispose of, one could not but Scott, Byron, Campbell : and the Lake thiok of him. But good, honest, worMethodists themselves willscarcely per- thy man, only to hear him telling mit him to be called a burning and shin- us his opinion of Napoleon Buonaing light in the same day with their parte !--and then the quotations from Wordsworth---even their Coleridge. Coleridge, Wordsworth, Lamb, Lan
dor, Withers, old Puller, and all the joke a great deal too far.- People do rest of his favourites and the little at last, however good-natured, get weawise-looking maxims, every one of ry of seeing a respectable man walking them as old as the back of Skiddaw- his hobby-horse. and the delicate little gleams of pathos Melancholy to say, the History of -and the little family stories and allu- the Peninsular War, in spite of an insions and all the little parentheses tensely interesting theme, and copious of exultation-well, we really wonder materials of real value, is little better after all, that the Laureate is not more than another Caucasus of lumber, after popular.
all. If the campaigns of Buonaparte The first time Mr. Southey attempt- were written in the same style, they ed regular historical composition he would make a book in this ty or forty succeeded admirably. His Life of quarto volumes, of 700 pages. He is Nelson is truly a master-piece ;-a overlaying the thing completely—he brief-animated—-glowing---straight- is smothering the Duke of Wellington, forward-manly English work, in two The underwood has increased, is involumes duodecimo. That book will creasing, and ought without delay to be read three hundred years hence by be smashed. Do we want to hear the every boy that is nursed on English legendary history of every Catholic ground.--All his bulky historical works saint, who happens to have been buriare, comparatively speaking, failures. ed or worshipped near the scene of His History of Brazil is the most un some of General Hill's skirmishes ? readable production of our time. Two What, in the devil's name, have we to or three elegant quartos about a do with all these old twelfth century single Portuguese colony! Every lit- miracles and visions, in the midst of a tle colonel, captain, bishop, friar, dis- history of Arthur Duke of Wellington, cussed at as much length as if they and his British army? Does the Docwere so many Cromwells or Loyolas tor mean to write his Grạce's Indian —and why ?-just for this one simple campaigns in the same style, and to reason, that Dr. Soutbey is an excel- make the pin whereon to hang all the lent Portugueze scholar, and has an wreck and rubbish of his commonexcellent Portugueze library. The place book for Kehama, as he has here whole affair breathes of one sentiment, done with the odds and ends that he and but one.—Behold, O British Pub- could not get stuffed into the notes lic! what a fine thing it is to under- on Roderick and My Cid? Southey stand this tongue--fall down and should have lived in the days of 2600 worship me! I am a member the page folios, triple columns, and double Lisbon Academy,and yet I was born in indexes—He would then have been Bristol, and am now living at Keswick. set to a corpus of something at once,
This inordinate vanity is an admira- and been happy for life. Never surely ble condiment in a small work, and was such a mistake as for him to make when the subject is really possessed of his appearance in an age of restlessly a strong interest. It makes one read vigorous thought, disdainful originality with more earnestness of attention and of opinion, intolerance for long-windedsympathy. But carried to this height, ness, and scorn of mountains in, labour and exhibited in such a book as this,
-Glaramara and Penmanmaur among it is utter nonsense. It is carrying the the rest.
Three things give every charm to life,
And every grief controul-
And an untainted soul.
THE IMPROVISATRICE, AND OTHER POEMS.
(Lond. Lit. Gaz.) N our Review of this exquisite pro- And music from that cage is breathing,
Round which a jasmine braid is wreathing, duction last week, the beauties we
A low song from a lonely dove, had marked out for quotation so far
A song such exiles sing and love, overstepped our limits, that we were
Breathing of fresh fields, summer skiesreluctantly compelled to abridge our Now to be breathed of but in sighs ! extracts even after they were printed. But fairer smile and sweeter sigh Thus the following Moorish Romance Are near when LEILA'S step is nigh! got excluded; and we are sure that With eyes dark as the midnight time, reader of taste and admirer of With sun-rays from within ; yet now
Yet lighted like a summer clime every genius will thank us for now restoring Lingers a cloud upon that brow,the omission.
Though never lovelier brow was given
To Houri of an Eastern heaven ! SOFTLY through the pomegranate groves
Her eye is dwelling on that bower, Came the gentle song of the doves;
As every leaf and every flower Shone the fruit in the evening light,
Were being numbered in her heart; Like Indian rubies, blood-red and bright;
There are no looks like those which dwell Shook the date-trees each tufted head,
On long remembered things, whích soon As the passing wind their green nuts shed ;
Must take our first and last farewell! And, like dark columns amid the sky
Day fades apace ; another day, The giant palms ascended on high ;
That maiden will be far away, And the mosque's gilded minaret
A wanderer o'er the dark-blue sea, Glistened and glanced as the daylight set.
And bound for lovely Italy, Over the town a crimson baze
Her mother's land ! Hence, on her breast Gathered and hung of the evening's rays;
The cross beneath a Moorish vest; And far beyond, like molten gold,
And hence those sweetest sounds, that seem The burning sands of the desert rolled.
Like music murmuring in a dream, Far to the left, the sky and sea
When in our sleeping ear is ringing Mingled their gay immensity ;
The song the nightingale is singing; And with the flapping sail and idle prow
Wben by that white and funeral stone, The vessels threw their shades below.
Half hidden by the cypress gloom, Far down the beach, where a cypress grove
The hymn the mother taught her child Casts its shade round a little cose,
Is sung each evening at ber tomb. Darkling and greep, with just a space
But quick the twilight time has past,
Like one of those sweet calms that last
A moment and no more, to cheer
The turmoil of our pathway here. For which those furled-up sails await,
The bark is waiting in the bay, To a garden, fair as those
Night darkens round -LEILA, away! Where the glory of the rose
Far, ere to-morrow, o'er the tide,
Or wait and be-ABDALLA'S bride!
She touched her lute-never again
Her ear will listen to its strain! By the Arab tribes, wben night,
She took her cage, first kissed the breast-With its dim and lovely light,
Then freed the white dove prisoned there : And its silence, suiteth well
It paused one moment on her hand, With the inagic tales they tell.
Then spread its glad wings to the air.
She drank the breath, as it were health, Through that cypress avenie,
That sighed from every scented blossom ; Such a garden meets the view,
And taking from each one a leaf, Filled with flowers-flowers that seem
Hid them, like spells, upon ber bosom.
Then sought the secret path again
She once before had traced, when Jay
A Christian in her father's chain ;
And gave him gold, and taught the way
To fly. She thought upon the night, Save in memories of pain!
When, like an angel of the ight,
She stood before the prisoner's sight, There is a white rose in yon bower,
And led him to the cypress grove, But holds it yet a fairer flower:
And showed the bark and hidden core;
And bade the wandering captive flee,
He bad braved slavery and death,
Made sweet and sacred by her breath. She reached the grove of cypresses,
Another step is by her side : Apother moment, and the bark
Bears the fair Moor across the tide !
'Twas beautiful, by the pale moonlight, To mark her eyes,—now dark, now bright, As now they met, now sbrank away,
Another evening came, but dark ;
Beat close and closer yet to his !
Beneath that ancient cedar tree,
For years alone beside the sea !
The dark bair of the Moorish maid,
Where tenderly her head was laid ;
And yet her lover's arm was placed
Were dripping wet with foam and blood ;
Were heavy with the briny flood !
It long had been a sacred spot.
By many who had not forgot;
The Improvisatrice, a poem of about fifteen or sixteen hundred lines, is followed by a number of miscellaneous pieces, which display the great versatility of the author. Two or three only are of a playful kind; for descriptive power, pathos, and imagination, are unquestionably her chief characteristics. And though Love has always been, as the mighty northern minstrel has finely expressed it,
The noblest theme That ever waked the poet's dream; our fair bard has, in several of these minor pieces, shown that nearly an equal degree of tenderness, fancy, and feeling, can be thrown into subjects of a different order. St. George's Hospital, the Deserter, the Covenanters, Gladesmuir, The Soldier's Funeral, The Female Convict, Crescentius, Home, The Soldier's Grave, and others, are forcible and admirable examples : While Rosalie, The Bayadere, The Minstrel of Portugal, The Guerilla Chief, the Legend of the Rhine,&c. are more or less connected with the master passion of the human soul, and with tales founded on its influence. The Bayadere is an Oriental Romance; and we do not detract from Lalla Rookh, when we say it is the only composition in the English language which may bear a close comparison with that popular poem. Rosalie is, on the contrary, a domestic story of hapless affection, and full of the most touching passages. We will cite a few brief instances which are the easiest detached. It opens with this bold yet sweet exordium :
'Tis a wild tale-and sad, too, as the sigh
Yet' her infatuation is all-powerful. That young lips breathe when Love's first dream
Still she ings fly ; When blights and cankerworms and chilling showers,
-- pledged the magic cupCome withering, o'er the warm beart's passion The maddening cup of pleasure and of love! flowers.
There was for her one only dream on earth! Love! gentlest spirit! I do tell of thee,
There was for her one only star above S Of all thy thousand hopes, thy many fears,
The scene, however, changes under Thy morning blushes, and thy evening tears; What thou hast ever been, and still will be, the heart-subduing spell of the poet, Life's best, but most betraying witchery!
and Rosalie, deserted, is seen on her To this succeeds a landscape, on repentant pilgrimage to and arrival at which Claude might look with de- her natal Cotlight
How very desolate that breast must be, It is a night of summer, and the sea
Whose only joyance is in memory ! Sleeps, like a child, in mute tranquillity.
And what must woman suffer, thus betrayed ?Soft o'er the deep-blue wave the moonlight breaks ; Her heart's most warm and precious feelings made Gleaming, from out the white clouds of its zone,
But things wherewith to wound: that heart-so Like beauty's changeful smile, when that it seeks So soft-laid open to the vulture's beak! (weak,
Some face it loves yet fears to dwell upon. Its sweet revealings given up to scorn
And, sorer still, that bitterer emotion,
To know the shrine which had our soul's devotion Odours are on the air :--the gale has been Is that of a false deity ?--to look Wandering in groves where the rich roses weep — Upon the eyes we worshipped, and brook Wbere orange, citron, and the soft lime-flowers Their cold reply ! Yet, these are all for her Shed forth their fragrance to night's dewy hours. The rude world's outcast, and love's wanderer! Afar the distant city meets the gaze,
Alas ! that love, which is so sweet a thing, Where tower and turret in the pale light shine, Should ever cause guilt, grief, or suffering! Seen like the monuments of other days,
Yet she upon whose face the sunbeams fallMonuments Time half shadows, hall displays. That dark-eyed girl-had felt tbeir bitterest thrall! This is the very soul of poesy. How
The very air many charming similies in a few short Seemed as it brought reproach ! there was no eye lines! The sleeping sea like a child; To look delighted, welcome none was there !
She felt as feels an outcast wandering by the breaking moonlight like Beauty's
Where every door is closed! changeful smile ; the oar light and transient as Love's anger; and all the oth
.... She strayed er delicious images which are raised Through a small grove of cypresses, whose shade within so small a compass of song, meet Hung o'er a burying-ground, where the low stone with not many parallels even among
And the gray cross recorded those now gone! our greatest masters of the lyre.
There was a grave just closed. Not one seemed Nor
To pay the tribute of one long-last tear! (ncar, is the portrait of the lovers introduced How very desolate must that one be, into this Neapolitan scene less beautiful : Whose more than grave has not a memory ! There was a bark a little way apart
Then ROSALIE thought on her mother's age,From all the rest, and there two lovers leaut:
Just such her end would be with ber away: One with a blushing cheek, and beating beart,
No child the last cold death-pang to assuageAnd bashful glance, upon the sea-wave bent;
No child by her neglected tomb to pray! She might not meet the gaze the other sent
She asked-and like a hope from Heaven it came! Upon her beauty ;—but the half-breathed sighs,
To bear them answer with a stranger's name.
She reached her mother's cottage ; by tbat gate Then they were silent :--words are little aid
She thought how her once lover wont to wait To Love, whose deepest vows are ever made
To tell ber honied tales and then she thought By the beart's beat alone. Oh, silence is
On all the utter ruin he had wrougbt! Love's own peculiar eloquence of bliss !
The moon shone brightly, as it used to do Music passes and awakes in the Ere youth, and hope, and love, had been untrue;
But it shone o'er the desolate! The flowers breast of Rosalie the memory of her
Were dead; the faded jessamine, upbound, distant home and widowed mother, Trailed, like a heavy weed, upon the ground; whose age she had left
And fell the moonlight vainly over trees, .... to weep
Which had not even one rose, although the breeze, When that the tempter flattered ber and wiled Almost as if in mockery, had brought Her steps away.
Sweet tones it from the nightingale had caught!