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While the weird sisters weave the horrid song: Or when along the liquid sky Serenely chaunt the orbs on high, Dost love to sit in musing trance And mark the northern meteor's dance (While far below the fitful ear Flings its faint pauses on the steepy shore And list the musick of the breeze, That sweeps by fits the bending seas And often bears with sudden swell The shipwreck’d sailor’s funeral knell; By the spirits sung who keep Their night watch on the treacherous deep, And guide the wakeful helms-man's eye To Helice in northern sky; And there upon the rock inclined With mighty visions fill'st the mind, Such as bound in magick spell Him who grasped the gates of hell, And bursting Pluto's dark domain Held to the day the terrours of his reign. * Genius of Horrour and romantick awe, Whose eye explores the secrets of the deep, Whose power can bid the rebel fluids creep,
€an force the inmost soul to own its
While the frolick zephyrs stir,
€d, Will sauntering sit, and listen still, To the herdsman’s oaten quill; Wafted from the plain below; Or the heifer's frequent low; Or the milkmaid in the grove, Singing of one that died for love. Or when the moon-tide heats oppress, We will seek the dark recess, Where, in the embowered translucent
stream, The cattle shun the sultry beam, And o'er us, on the marge reclined, The drowsy fly her horm shall wind, While echo, from her ancient oak, Shall answer to the woodman's stroke; Or the little peasant’s song, Wandering lone the i. among, His artless lips with berries died, And feet through ragged shoes de
Our account of these volumes ought not to be closed without our stating, that, from the variety of their contents, the perusal of them is extremely interesting and agreeable; and we observe, with sincere pleasure, that their popularity is evinced by their having already passed through several editions. The character of melancholy, so strongly impressed on the features of the author's face, in the portrait which is prefixed to his works, will be contemplated with corresponding emotions by such readers as are able to appreciate his merits, and can feel for his untimely fate.
from THE MONTHLY REVIEW.
Description du Pachalik, &c. i. e. A Description of the Pachalik of Bagdad, followed by a historical Notice of the wahabees, and by some other Pieces relative to the History and Literature of the East. By M. * * *. 8vo. pp. 260. Paris, 1809. Price
THE pieces which compose this small, oriental collection are four in number. After the description of the Pachalik of Bagdad, and an account of the origin and progress of the Wahabees, we are presented with translations of detached pieces of Persian poetry, and with a series of observations on the Yezidees, a sect in some degree Mohammedan, and established several centuries ago in Mesopotamia by a sheik of the name of Yezid. The account of the Pachalik, and the history of the Wahabees, are the parts of the book which are most deserving of attention, being written with considerable knowledge of the subject, though in a loose and ill digested manner. The author's name is not mentioned, but he is described as having long resided in those countries, and as having composed these tracts for the purpose of their being read to a literary, society of which he is a member. Amid all the writer's professions for the advancement of literature, however, it is amusing to observe that commercial arrangements are the real object of his labours. He is much enraged with our envoy, sir Harford Jones, who, he pretends, has rendered himself not less odious -to the government of Bagdad than to the Europeans settled there. After having enlarged on the commercial advantages of the situation of Bagdad, he adds, with some naïveté, “I will just remark that it would be roper to establish in that city a #. factory, or at least to obtain firman from the porte, to allot to his imperial majesty’s consula house suitable to his rank; in the same way in which it was granted to the English resident, on the application
of the English ambassadour at Constantinople.”
We extract the passages in the account of the Pachalik, which appear to us to contain the most useful information.
“The climate of Bagdad, though very healthy, is subject to excessive heat in summer; during which the inhabitants find it necessary to pass a considerable part of the day in their cellars, and to sleep at night on their roofs. Travellers have often spoken of the Sam-yeli, a burning southwest wind, which brings with it a
sulphureous smell, and prevails at Bagdad,
as well as throughout Mesopotamia, from the beginning of July to the middle of August. It is not, however, quite so fatal as it has been reported to be by those travellers who assert that it suffocates all who are exposed to it on elevated ground; since its effects may be avoided by falling prostrate, or by wrapping up the face very tightly with a cloak. It is preceded by squalls, and by a hot whirlwind obscuring the horizon. Its pestilential nature probably arises from passing over the sulphurious and bituminous grounds near the Euphrates and the Tigris.
“The inhabitants of Bagdad, so far from being abject slaves, are active, enterprising, and jealous of control. The better ranks are civil, well informed, and obliging to strangers. Luxury is confined to the
pacha and the great families. The dress
is similar to that which prevails in the rest of Turkey. Many Persians reside here, who carry on the traffick of the place and are protected by the government, and who are in general intelligent and respectable people.—Unfortunately, neither libraries nor publick schools are to be found here: but we meet with a few seminaries inhabited by dervices, and two or three mausoleums, magnificently decorated, in which their sheiks and prophets are interred, and a kind of asylum is afforded to beggars. A number of small chapels also are erected, to which the people resort to perform their ablutions, at the accustomed hours of prayer. The publick markets are well stocked, provisions and fruit being brought
thither from all quarters, and sold at moderate prices.
* “The pachas of Bagdad have been considered at all times as the most powerful in the Ottoman dominions, and are supposed to possess a right to the title of caliph from inhabiting the capital in which the ancient Arabian pontiffs resided. Placed at the extremity of Turkey, they exercise an authority which is almost independent of the porte; and great delieacy is observed towards them on the part 9f the Ottoman court, that they may not be tempted to revolt. They assume to themselves, whenever they please, the right of declining to send their forces to cooperate with those of the grand seignor; and no objection is made to the reasons which they allege, provided that they be accompanied by a sum of money. During more than a century, all the pachas of Bagdad have been originally Georgian slaves, raised by intrigue and accident from that humble station to the hazardous
Post of vizir. The forces of the govern
ment of Bagdad may be increased in a time of urgency to 30,000 men, infantry and cavalry; and this number would be still greater if several Arab tribes had not withdrawn themselves to join the Wahabees, while others have setup the standard of independence. The Curds, of whom a §: proportion have revolted, are the est horsemen; their arms consist of a Pistol, a lance, a sabre, and sometimes a carabine. The Arabs have only a lance: but, being robust and intrepid, they make a dexterous use of it. The Bagdad infantry are armed with a musket and sabre, and a small part of them are disciplined on the European plan. The revenue is between seven and eight millions of piastres, and would be more, were it not for the decline of the trade of Bussorah. The population of Bussorah is now reduced to 50,000, a diminution which is caused by the desolation that has been spread around by the Wahabees, and by the insalubrity which has arisen from the neglect of the neighbourhood of the city. “The banks of both the Euphrates and the Tigris are infested with robbers, who are accustomed to swim aboard of the
afterwards twist and hold it very tight. After this preparation, they strip themselves naked, form a package of their clothes, and, tying it on their shoulders, lay themselves flat on the goat skin; on which they float very much at their ease, paddling with their hands and feet, and smoking their pipe all the time. Not only men, but women and girls, adopt this method of crossing the river, and make the air re-echo with their songs while they are passing. “After the junction of the Tigris and the Euphrates at the beautifully situated town of Korna, their waters roll on for several miles without mixing. Those of the Euphrat clear, in consequence of its tranquis current; while those of the Tigris are turbid from its rapidity. Not far from Hilla, or Hela, in a northerly direction, and towards the Euphrates, are to be seen the relicks of the once mighty Babylon. They are interesting only from the recollections which they excite, and have not beauty in themselves like the remains of Palmyra, Balbec, or Persepolis, among which we meet at every step with traces of magnificent architecture. The remains of Babylon consist in a shapeless mass of ruins, and are more galculated to inspire melancholy than admiration. Like all cities that have been built of brick, it has no striking monument left standing. The Arabs make a trade of digging the ground for the purpose of finding medals of bronze, silver, and sometimes of gold; as well as vases, metal images, and utensils: even the bricks they carry off by water for the purpose of sale. These bricks are all of a square-form, five inches thick, and bearing on one of their sides a hieroglyphick inscription, the characters of which are still very plain. The ruins of Nineveh are on the Tigris, opposite to the city of Mosul, about three hundred miles above Bagdad. Mosul appears to have been built out of these ruins. The remains of the ancient Nisibis consist, in like manner, of mere ruins, and are worth visiting chiefly for the beauty of the situation.” - *: The account of the origin and progress of the Wahabees is given in the same crude and ill-arranged method as that of Bagdad. In consequence of the Wahabees having been known in Europe only of late years, the publick in general are not aware that the origin of this sect took place so far back as the middle ef the last century. Their tenets differ from the Mohammedan, not in respect of their idea of the Supreme Being or of the sacred volume, the Koran, which they believe to have been written in heaven by the hand of angels: but in regard to the power and character of Mohammed, whom they consider to have been a mere human being, the messenger indeed of God on earth, but not worthy to have his name joined with that of the Deity in the adorations of men. The Wahabees are therefore not so much the propagators of a new faith, as the reformers of the Mohammedan religion. Like others of this sect they are circumcised; and they observe similar forms of prayer, the same ablutions, the same abstinences, the same yearly fast (that of Ramadan) and the same solemnities. Their mosques, however, are devoid of ornament; and the name of Mohammed is not mentioned in their religious exercises. They reject in the same manner the divine mission of Jesus Christ. They imitate the early Mohammedans most effectually in the vigour with which they spread their doctrine by force of arms; and they have been accustomed to present it to the neighbouring tribes at the point of the sword, calling on them in decisive language to “believe or die.” When they encounter resistance, their practice has been to sacrifice the males and spare the females, but to confiscate and take
FROM THE QUARTERLY REVIEW. The Battles of Talavera. A Poem. 8vo. pp. 40. Dublin, London, Edinburgh. 1810.
THERE is no point in which our age differs more from those which preceded it, than in the apparent apathy of our poets and rhymers to the events which are passing over them. From the days of Marlborough to those of Wolfe and Hawke, the tower and park guns were not more certain proclaimers of a victo
ry, than the pens of contemporary bards. St. James’s had then its odes, and Grub-street poured forth its ballads upon every fresh theme of national exultation. Some of these productions, being fortunately wedded to popular tunes, have warped themselves so closely with our character, that, to love liberty and roast
Beef, is not more natural to an Englishman, than to beat tune to * Steady boys, Steady,” and, “Rule Britannia.” Our modern authors are of a different cast; some of them roam back to distant and dark ages; others wander to remote countries, instead of seeking a theme in the exploits of a Nelson, an Abercromby, or a Wellesley; others amuse themselves with luscious sonhets to Bessies and Jessies; and all seem so little to regard the crisis in which we are placed, that we cannot help thinking they would keep fiddling their allegros and adagios, even if London were on fire, er Buonaparte landed at Dover. We are old-fashioned men, and are perhaps inclined to see, in the loss and decay of ancient customs, more than can reasonably be traced from them: to regard, in short, that as a mark of apathy and indifference to national safety and glory, which may only arise from a change in the manner of expressing popular feeling... Be that as it may, we think that the sullen silence observed by our present race of poets, upon all themes of immediate national conGern, argues little confidence in their own powers, small trust in the liberal indulgence of the publick to extemporaneous compositions, and above all, a want of that warm interest in such themes as might well render them indifferent to both considerations. Lord Wellington, more fortunate than any contemporary English general, whether we regard the success or the scale of his achievements, has been also unusually distinguished by poetical commemoration; and as his exploits form an exception to the train of evil fortune which has generally attended our foreign expeditions, the hearts of those capable of celebrating them, seem to have been peculiarly awakened and warmed at the recital. Probably, many of our readers have seen the superb Indian war-song, which celebrated his con
quest over the Mahrattas: beginning
“Shout Britain for the battle of Assay,
And the battle-word was conquer or die :
We are now happy to find, that another bard has advanced with a contribution to adorn the most recent and most glorious wreath won by the same gallant general. The promptitude as well as the patriotism of the tribute might claim indulgence as well as praise: but it is . with pleasure we observe, that although this volunteer has rushed forward without waiting to arm himself in that panoply which is often, after all, found too slight to repei the assaults of modern criticism, neither his adventurous courage nor the goodness of his cause, is his sole or his principal merit.
The battle of Talavera is written in that irregular, Pindarick measure first applied to serious composition by Mr. Walter Scott, and it is doing no injustice to the ingenious author to say, that in many passages, we were, from the similarity of the stanza and of the subject, involuntarily reminded of the battle of Flodden, in the sixth book of Marmion. The feeling, however, went no farther than the perception of that kindred resemblance between those of the same family which is usually most striking at first sight, and becomes less remarkable, and at length invisible, as we increase in intimacy with those in whom it exists. In one respect, the choice of the measure is more judicious on the part of the nameless bard, than on that of Mr. Scott. The latter had a long narrative to compose, and was necessarily forced upon passages in which the looseness and irregularity of his versification has an extravagant and slovenly appearance. It is where the tone of passion is low, that the reader demands a new interest from regularity of versification, and beauty