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But rather chuse the theory less civil
Refer still to the origin of evil,
Flagons, and ewers, and standing cups, were all
Of tarnish'd gold, or silver nothing clear,
v. Therefore, I say, it was on fiend-built towers That stout Count Harold bent his wondering gaze,
In every bower, as round a hearse, was hung
A dusky crimson curtain o'er the bed, When evening dew was on the beather flowers,
And on each couch in ghastly wise were flung,
The wasted reliques of a monarch dead;
| Barbaric ornaments around were spread,
Vests twined with gold, and chains of precious stone, Illumiped thus, the dauntless Dane surveys The Seven proud Shields that o'er the portal frown,
And golden circlets, meet for monarch's head; And on their blazons traced high marks of old renown.
While grian'd, as if in scorn amongst them thrown,
The wearer's fleshless skull, alike with dust bestrown. A wolf North Wales had on his armour-coat, And Rhys of Powis-land a couchant stag;
For these were they who, drunken with delight, Strath-Clwyde's strange emblem was a stranded boat,
On pleasure's opiate pillow laid their head, Donald of Galloway a trotting nag;
For whom the bride's shy footstep, slow and light, A coro-sheaf gilt was fertile Lodon's brag;
Was changed ere morning to the murderer's tread.
For human bliss and woe in the frail thread
Of human life are all so closely twined,
That till the shears of fate the texture shred, Upon these antique shields, all wasted now and worn. The close succession cannot be disjoin'd,
Nor dare we from one hour judge that which comes
These scann'd, Count Harold sought the castle-door,
VI. Whose ponderous bolts were rusted to decay;
But where the work of vengeance had been done, Yet till that hour adventurous knight forbore
In that seventh chamber was a sterner sight; The unobstructed passage to essay.
There of the witch-brides lay each skeleton, More strong than armed warders in array,
Still in the posture as to death when dight. And obstacle more sure than bolt or bar,
For this lay prone, by one blow slain outright; Sate in the portal Terror and Dismay,
And that, as one who struggled long in dying; While Superstition, who forbade to war
One bony band held knife as if to smite; With foes of other mould than mortal clay,
One bent on fleshless knees as mercy crying; Cast spells across the gate, and barr'd the onward way.
| One lay across the door, as kill'd in act of llying. Vain now those spells--for soon with heavy clank
The stern Dane smiled this charnel-house to see, The feebly-fasten'd gate was inward pusha,
For his chafed thought return'd to Metelill ;And, as it oped, through that emblazon'd rank
And, « Well,» he said, « hath woman's perfidy, Of antique shields the wind of evening rush'd
Empty as air, as water volatile, With sound most like a groan, and then was hush'd.
Been here avenged. The origin of ill Is none who on such spot such sounds could hear
Through woman rose, the christian doctrine saith; But to his heart the blood had faster rushid,
Nor deem I, Gunnar, that thy minstrel skill Yet to bold Harold's breast that throb was dear
Can show example where a woman's breath I spoke of danger nigh, but had no touch of fear.
| Bath made a true-love vow, and, tempted, kept her
The minstrel boy half smiled, half sigh d,
And his half-filling eyes he dried,
(Our scalds have said in dying hour A hall in which a king might make abode,
The Northern harp has treble power), And fast beside, garnish d both proud and high,
Else could I tell of woman's faith Was placed a bower for rest in which a king might lie. Defying danger, scorn, and death.
Firm was that faith, -as diamond stope As if a bridal there of late had been,
Pure and antlawed, --her love unknown, Deckd stood the table in each gorgeous hall;
And unrequited ;--firm and pure, And yet it was two hundred years, I ween,
Her stainless faith could all endure;
From clime to clime, from place to place,
A wanderer's wayward steps could trace.--
VIII. « Thou art a wild enthusiast,» said Count Harold, « for thy Danish maid; And yet, young Gunnar, I will own Hers were a faith to rest upon. But Eivir sleeps beneath her stone, And all resembling her are gone. What maid e'er show'd such constancy In plighted faith, like thine to me? But couch thee, boy; the darksome shade Falls thickly round, nor be dismay'd
Because the dead are by.
Thy master slumbers nigh.»
Sable their harness, and there came
As captives know the knell,
Commands them quit their cell.
When to my rescue sped
The demons yelld and fled!
There's trouble in his eyes,
« My page,» he said, « arise ; Leave we this place, my page.»-Nor more He utter'd till the castle-door They crossd-but there he paused and said, « My wildness hath awaked the dead
Disturb'd the sacred tomb!
The central place of doom!
Bore to that evil den!
Those who had late been men.
And, Gunnar, I could find
My father Witikind!
X. « With haggard eyes and streaming hair, Jutta, the sorceress, was there, And there pass d Wulfslane, lately slain, All crush'd and foul with bloody stain.More had I seen, but that uprose A whirlwind wild, and swept the snows; And with such sound as when at need A champion spurs his horse to speed, Three armed knights rush on, who lead Caparison'd, a sable steed.
Trembling at first, and deadly pale, Had Gunnar heard the vision d tale; But when he learned the dubious close, He blush'd like any opening rose, And, glad to hide his tell-tale cheek, Hied back that glove of mail to seek When soon a shriek of deadly dread Summou'd his master to his aid.
His mace, and with a storm of blows The mortal and the demon close.
So late his resting-place?-
Adored by all his race!
So flowd his hoary beard;
But when his voice he rear d,
But not the artillery of hell
Could Harold's courage quell.
Till quaild that demon form, And—for his power to hurt or kill Was bounded by a higher will
Evanish'd in the storm. Nor paused the Champion of the North, But raised, and bore his Eivir forth From that wild scene of fiendish strife, To light, to liberty, and life!
«Harold,» he said, « what rage is thine To quit the worship of thy line,
To leave thy warrior god ?With me is glory or disgrace, Mine is the onset and the chase, Embattled hosts before my face
Are wither'd by a pod. Wilt thou then forfeit that high seat, Deserved by many a dauntless feat Among the heroes of thy line, Eric and fiery Thorarine?Thou wilt not. Only I can give The joys for which the valiant live, Vietory and vengeance--only I Can give the joys for which they die, The immortal til—the banquet full, The brimming draught from foeman's scull. Mine art thou, witness this thy glove, The faithful pledge of yassal's love.»
A silver runnel bubbled by,
His stubborn sinews fly,
And glimmerd in her eye.
That bosom's pride belie? 0, dull of heart, through wild and wave In search of blood and death to rave,
With such a partner nigh!»
I charge thee hence! whate'er thou art,
Eivir,» the shape replied, «is mine,
Now, by the hope so lately given Of better trust and purer heaven, · I will assail thee, fiend!»— Then rose
XVIII. Then in the mirror'd pool he peerd, Blamed his rough locks and shacey beard, The stains of recent conflict clear'd
And thus the champion proved,
And loves who never loved.
Nor will her eye-lid fully ope;
Speaks shame-facedness and hope.
XIX. But vainly seems the Dane to seek For terms his new-born love to speak,For words, save those of wrath and wrong, Till now were strangers to his tongue; So, when he raised the blushing maid, In blunt and honest terms he said,
(T were well that maids, wlien lovers woo, Heard none more soft, were all as true,)
CONCLUSION. «Eivir! since thou for many a day
And now, Eoqui, what ails thee, weary maid ? Hast follow'd Harold's wayward way,
And why these listless looks of yawning sorrow! It is but meet that in the line
No need to turn the page, as if 't were lead, Of after-life I follow thine.
Or Oing aside the volume till to-morrow.To-morrow is Saint Cuthbert's tide,
Be cheer d-'t is ended-and I will not borrow, And we will grace his altar's side,
To try thy patience more, one anecdote A christian knight and christian bride;
From Bartholine, or Perioskiold, or Sporro. And of Witikind's son shall the marvel be said, Then pardon thou thy miostrel, who hath wrote That on the same morn he was christen'd and wed.» A tale six cantos long, yet scorn d to add a note.
The Bridal of Triermain;
A LOVER'S TALE.
An elf-queno wol I love ywis,
Worthy to be my make in toun :
Rime of Sir Thopas
extravagance the figments of the historians of the same period of society; and, indeed, the difference betwiu
poetry and prose, as the vehicles of historical truth, as In the EDINBURGU ANNUAL REGISTER for the year 1809, always of late introduction. Poets, under various de three fragments were inserted, written in imitation of nominations of Bards, Scalds, Chroniclers, and so forth, living poets. It must have been apparent, that by these are the first historians of all nations. Their intentu prolusions, nothing burlesque or disrespectful to the is to relate the events they have witnessed, or the traauthors was intended, but that they were offered to the ditions that have reached them; and they clothe thr public as serious, though certainly very imperfect, relation in rhyme, merely as the means of rendering ut imitations of that style of composition, by which each more solemn in the narrative, or more easily committed of the writers is supposed to be distinguished. As to memory. But as the poetical historiau improves in these exercises attracted a greater degree of attention the art of conveying information, the authenticity of than the author anticipated, he has been induced to his narrative unavoidably declines. He is tempted to complete one of them, and present it as a separate dilate and dwell upon the events that are interesting te publication.
his imagination, and, conscious how indifferent has It is not in this place that an examination of the audience is to the naked truth of his poem, his history works of the master whom he has here adopted as his gradually becomes a romance. model can, with propriety, be introduced; since his! It is in this situation that those epies are found general acquiescence in the favourable suffrage of the which have been generally regarded the standards of public must necessarily be inferred from the attempt poetry; and it has happened somewhat strangely, that he has now made. He is induced, by the nature of his the moderns have pointed out, as the characteristics subject, to offer a few remarks on what has been called and peculiar excellencies of narrative poetry, the very ROMANTIC POETRY;-the popularity of which has been circumstances which the authors theinselves adoptal, revived in the present day, under the auspices, and by I only because their art involved the duties of the bestaan the unparalleled success, of one individual.
rian as well as the poet. It cannot be believed, for The original purpose of poetry is either religious or example, that Homer selected the siege of Troy as the historical, or, as must frequently happen, a mixture of most appropriate subject for poetry; his purpose is both. To modern readers, the poems of Homer have to write the carly history of his country: the event * many of the features of pure romance; but in the bas chosen, though not very fruitful in varied itestimation of his contemporaries, they probably derived cident, nor perfectly well adapted for poetry, "> their chief value from their supposed historical authen- nevertheless combined with traditionary and genealem ticity. The same may be generally said of the poetry I gical anecdotes extremely interesting to those who of all early ages. The marvels and miracles which the I were to listen to him; and this he has adorned by the poet blends with his song do not exceed in number or exertions of a genius, which, if it has been equalal, bas certainly beeu never surpassed. It was not till by exerting their power of making themselves and comparatively a late period that the general accuracy others happy within the limised scale allotted to each of his narrative, or his purpose in composing it, was individual, so long will individual history and individual brought into question. Aozel TipWtos O Avašano pas virtue be the readier and more accessible road to ge(x29% puoi troopevos Ev AIRTOOXTTY Iotopia) Tov neral interest and attention; and perhaps we may add, Oar pou ToLot atoonvasbat elvey apetns xut di- that it is the more useful, as well as the more acZALOGUVOS. 1 But whatever theories might be framed | cessible, inasmuch as it affords an example capable of by speculative men, his work was of an historical, not being easily imitated. of an allegorical nature. ErautETO METU TOU Mey-1 According to the author's idea of Romantic Poetry, teras, XLL OTROU EXISTOTE COLXOLTO, TIETO TEATLYWolz as distinguished from Epic, the former comprehends διερωτατο, και ιστορευων επυνθανετο, εικος δε μεν ην a fictitious narrative, frared and combined at the pleaZ2L 177UDOUVG TILVTWY Ypaperbat. 2 Instead of re- sure of the writer; beginning and ending as he may commending the choice of a subject similar to that of judge best; which neither exacts nor refuses the use of Homer, it was to be expected that critics should have supernatural machinery; which is free from the techexhorted the poets of these later days to adopt or invent
nical rules of the Epée; and is subject only to those a narrative in itself more susceptible of poetical orna
which good sense, good taste, and good morals apply ment, and to avail themselves of that advantage in order to every species of poetry
to every species of poetry without exception. The date to compensate, in some degree, the inferiority of may be in a remote age, or in the present; the story genius. The contrary course has been inculcated by may detail the adventures of a prince or of a peasant. almost all the writers upon the Epopeia ; with what In a word, the author is absolute master of his country success, the fate of Homer's numerous imitators may
and its inhabitants, and every thing is permitted to him best show. The ultimum supplicium of criticism was excepting to be heavy or prosaic, for which
excepting to be heavy or prosaic, for which, free and uninflicted on the author if he did not chuse a subject embarrassed
embarrassed as he is, he has no manner of apology. which at once deprived him of all claim to originality,
Those, it is probable, will be found the peculiarities of this and placed him, if not in actual contest, at least in species of composition; and, before joining the outcry fatal comparison, with those giants in the land, whom against the vitiated taste that fosters and encourages it, it was most his interest to avoid. The celebrated the justice and grounds of it ought to be made perfectly recipe for writing an epic poem, which appeared in the apparent. If the want of sieges and battles and great Guardian, was the first iostance in which common military evolutions in our poetry is complained of, let sense was applied to this department of poetry: and in- us reflect, that the campaigns and heroes of our day deed, if the question be considered on its own merits,
are perpetuated in a record that neither requires nor we must be satisfied that narrative poetry, if strictly admits of the aid of fiction; and if the complaint refers edafiged to the great occurrences of history, would be to the inferiority of our bards, let us pay a just tribute deprived of the individual interest which it is so well to their modesty, limiting them, as it does, to subjects, calculated to excite.
which, however indifferently treated, have still the Modern poets may therefore be pardoned in seeking interest and charm of novelty, and which thus prevents simpler subjects of verse, more interesting in propor
them from adding insipidity to their other more intion to their simplicity. Two or three figures, well superable defects. grouped, suited the artist better than a crowd, for whatever purpose assembled. For the same reason a
• THE scene immediately presented to the imagination, and directly brought home to the feelings, though involving the fate but of one or two persons, is more favourable
BRIDAL OF TRIERMAIN. for poetry than the political struggles and convulsions which influence the fate of kingdoms. The former are within the reach and comprehension of all, and, if
INTRODUCTION. ilepicted with vigour, seldom fail to fix attention : the other, if more sublime, are more vague and distant, less capable of being distinctly understood, and in Come Lucy! while 't is morning hour, Epitely less capable of exciting those sentiments which The woodland brook we needs must pass; it is the very purpose of poetry to inspire. To gene So, ere the sun assume liis power. ralize is always to destroy effect. We would, for We shelter in our poplar bower, xample, be more interested in the fate of an indivi Where dew lies long upon the flower, dual soldier in combat, than in the grand event of a Though vanish d from the velvet grass. gegeral action; with the happiness of two lovers raised Curbing the stream, this stony ridge from misery and anxiety to peace and union, than with May serve us for a sylvan bridge ; the successful exertions of a whole nation. From For here, compellid to disunite, what causes this may originate, is a separate, and ob Round petty isles the runnels glide, riously an immaterial consideration. Before ascribing And chafing off their puny spite, this peculiarity to causes decidedly and odiously selfish, The shallow murmurers waste their might, it is proper to recollect, that while men see only a Yielding to footstep free and light limited space, and while their affections and conduct A dry-shod pass from side to side. are regulated, not by aspiring at an universal good, but * Diogenes Laertius, 1. XI. p. 8.
Nay, why this hesitating pause ? * H eri Vila.
And, Lucy, as thy step withdraws, ,