Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

In one of my solitary walks, early one morning, when the sweet warblers of the grove, and the lark's early song, with the monotonous and harsh note of the cuckoo, though grateful to my ear, to say nothing of the lowing of the oxen, the braying of the ass, and the cackling of the hen, though by the way, an agreeable “solo” to me, and more exquisitely charming than a Dibdin, and a Catalani, or the whole tribe of theatrical, vocal, and instrumental performers! Yes, even their “grand ortatorios ” have been irksome to me; whereas, I think, these grand scenes of nature never would be ; it seemed to make up one grand concerto of nature “ad libitum,offering their matin sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, as it were, to their great Creator! Meditating alone on this rural scene, my soul was peculiarly exercised, and tears of joy, mingled with fear, but not despair, ran down my cheeks; yet I was led to admire the scene, and passing events, as it respected myself, with exquisite delight. Thus exercised, I felt it on my mind to offer this also, as a tribute of gratitude, not only to my subscribers in general, and particularly to those who voluntarily aided me, by doubling and trebling their subscriptions, but al. 80 desired to offer it with humility as a sacrifice of thanksgiving to my Creator, the Giver of all good, for thus far granting me the desire of my soul, and if not the consummation of this work and labour of love, I had one ray of hope, and faith, that in his due time I should see it accomplished.

But what added not a little to the delightfulness of this scene, and morning exercise, was, bending my course towards the sea-shore, my eyes were carried across the beautiful and grand river Mersey, over which a very extensive prospect presents itself; the north of Cheshire in front, and the distant mountains of Flintshire and Denbighshire in North Wales:" “ the prominent wind-mill in Cheshire,” “and the beautifully indented chasm in the Denbighshire mountains, which forms a valley that leads to Llewenny bleach works, on the eastern confines of the delightful vale of Clwyd :"* my eyes lose the distant Welsh .mountains, and become engaged with the nearer Cheshire hills, especially that of Bidston, on which may be perceived, to the right of a wind-mill, the light-house and signal-poles ;” “the eye being extended yet farther to the right, reaches the most northern extremity of the Cheshire shore, (a narrow point, called the Rock, round which every vessel passes in coming into and going out of the harbour) and then enters the expanse of the Irish sea.”

Beholding these delightful scenes--the mountains seem to top the skies, and the glorious arch of heavon, as though sinking below the waves of the seathe western hemisphere—my mind was suddenly crossed with a certain passage of Ossian's Poems, (called “ the beautiful and sublime”) in the celebrated story of “the sorrows of Werter:" a story by the way, truly observed “unfavourable to the morals of the people ;" this German story, like many other foreign works, found its way into the English language, alas, too well adapted to the fashionable taste of the English.”* The original runs thus :

* « These beautiful passes, mountains, and vales," my author informs me, “dow so happy, retired and peaceful as to constitute a true arcadia, were formerly scenes of blood, during the contests of the natives with their different invaders ; so that in finally losing what they esteemed so valuable, their independence as a distinct nation, they have obtained a share of protection, quiet, and comfort, that can in no part of the world be exceeded." Vide, “The Liverpool Guide," &c. by W. Mossa p. 20-22.

“Alone on the sea-beat rock, my daughter was heard to complain. Frequent and loud were her cries. What could her father do? All night I stood on the shore. I saw her by the faint beams of the moon, All night I heard her cries. Loud was the wind: the rain beat hard on the hill. Before morning appeared, her voice was weak. It died away like the evening breeze among the grass of the rocks. Spent with grief, she expired ; and left thee, Armin, alone. Gone is my strength in war! fallen my pride among women !” “Often by the setting moon I see the ghosts of my children. Half viewless, they walk in mournful conference together. Will none of you speak in pity? They do not regard their fa. I am sad, O Carmer, nor small is my case of

* This work is said to be “historical :" and the translator, in his preface, informs us that “ those who expect a novel will be disappointed in this work, which contains few characters, and few events.” That it is a history, I deny not; but that it is “historical ” I leave to the etymoligist to decide, if the work was worth notice. That it appears really a novel I hesitate not to say, while it exhibits a picture of that disordered state of mind too common in our country; and as the Editor to the Reader observes, he (Werter) “ gave way to a passion which knew no bounds.” However few the characters may be, it par. takes of a novel of the worst sort. That this little work gave rise to many pamphlets, no wonder; and well might the translator, the learned Doctor at Law, Goethe, be called “the apologist for suicide."

ther. woe.

“ Such were the words of the bards in the days of song ; when the king heard the music of harps, the tales of other times !” Well, if he understood “I hear the call of years: they say, as they pass along, why does Ossian sing? Soon shall he lay in the narrow house, and no bard shall raise his fame!" (Poems of Ossian,, the song of Selma, p. 264, 265.)

But my mind was as suddenly diverted to those truly beautiful and sublime passages of the “sweet singer of Israel,” and the divinely-inspired poets and prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah. How big with meaning are the words of David : “By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, when we remembered thee, O Zion! We hanged our harps on the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth; saying, sing us one of the songs of Zion !” (Psalm cxxxvii.) And, truly, what are the lamentations of Armin, in comparison with those of the inspired poet Jeremiah? Take the following:

“ How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! She weeps sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her!" (Lam. i. 1, 2.)

.“.How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger! and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger ! What thing shall I take to witness for thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? What shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion ? For thy breach is great like the sea ; who can heal thee? (Lam. ii. 1-13.)

But what consolation and encouragement is there held out to the latest posterity in the poems of Ossian, like unto or even worthy to be compared with the poet, or prophet Isaiah? How pleasing, how beautiful, how full of tenderness, of grandeur, and sublimity! “ The traveller will come,”the wayfaring man, though a fool,—not the warrior, “ returning from the wars, laden with the spoils of his enemies, lighted up his triumph, his glory will sink into the grave!"_truly, the traveller will come, and enquire in vain, “where is the bard ? where is the illustrious son of Fingal ?” Alas! nothing but confusion and darkness can I discern of lamentation in those celebrated poems of Ossian! But, I say, when the traveller will come ——“the wayfaring man”he will not enquire for a Fingal, an Ossian, or an Oscar, or any ancient celebrated highland poet! or famous Greek, “ strolling blind bard,” the “ natural child” of ! Our wise men cannot inform us, and “the ancient are not agreed !” No; but he will enquire of the faithful, and they will tell him the true tales of the days of old times,” “ the call of years,” of “the mighty works that the Lord hath done, and in the times before them;" the Ancient of

« ПредишнаНапред »