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we should remember that to one nation be hard to get them at all to understand alone, in all the annals of literature, was what was meant, and when they did at it given to know exactly the limits of last understand, they would true taste; and that if the Japanese assuredly burst out laughing. Indeed, sometimes sin against Greek ideas of in the whole course of his Japanese readmoderation, we later Europeans could ing, the present writer does not rememscarcely venture to throw at them the ber to have met with more than one first stone. Possibly, too, a tendency to clear instance of impersonation. It ocexaggeration was, in Narihira's case, but curs in a stanza on Old Age, which, a family failing. At least, we find a half- though seemingly intended to be joking, brother of his-also a grandee of the may perhaps be thought to have in it a then Mikado's court-giving vent to very certain touch of pathos : ridiculous sentiments at the aspect of a Old Age is not a friend I wish to meet; celebrated cascade. He says :
And if some day to see me he should come, The roaring torrent scatters far and near
I'd lock the door as he walk'd up the street, Its silv'ry drops. Oh ! let me pick them up.
And cry : "Most honor'd Sir, I'm not at For when of grief I drain some day the cup,
home !" Each will do service as a bitter tear!
To conclude, from the last few stanzas From this to avowed caricature is but a quoted, that the poets of Japan are step; and the poet Tadaminé is himself much given to the comic, were to conlaughing when he writes of another clude wrongly. They are almost always waterfall :
serious,-too monstrously serious, perLong years, methinks, of sorrow and of care haps, for European taste; and as for the Must have pass'd over the old fountain-head Of the cascade ; for like a silv'ry thread
commentators, they are hopelessly seriIt rolls adown, nor shows one jet-black hair! ous, insisting on discovering allusions
where there are none, and meanings that It would be impossible to accuse the were never meant. We read, for examJapanese of want of imagination when ple, the following stanza : we find them capable of so bold an idea as is contained in the following " minia- With roseate hues that pierce the autumnal
haze, ture ode" on the wild geese :
The spreading dawn lights up Akashi's shore ! What junk, impell’d by autumn's fresh’ning But the fair ship, alas! is seen no more, gale,
An island veils it from my loving gaze ; Comes speeding t’ward me? 'Tis the wild geese driv'n
and, as we read, the explanation that Across the fathomless expanse of heav'n, suggests itself to our untutored minds is, And lifting up their voices for a sail.
that the tiny ode means just what it Yet it is certain that some of the most says, and that the poet, apparently putpowerful aids to imagination are wanting ting the words into the mouth of some among them; and of one of these aids high-born damsel of the Mikado's court, in particular, the use of impersonation- simple intends to represent her as watchwhich to us Europeans is naturally sug- ing with tender eyes the departing junk gested by the genders of nouns either in that bears her lover from her side. But our own or in kindred and well-known no! the writings of so celebrated and so tongues—the Japanese are almost entire- ancient a person as the author of the ly deprived by the very different nature ode are not to be treated in this ofiof their language, which does not so hand manner. All kinds of mystical much as possess words answering to our interpretations are suggested : (as that, “he” and “she” to distinguish a man for instance, the reference is to the frank from a woman. Death with his sickle, innocence of childhood, which all too or Flora leading back the May, would soon disappears behind the rocky islands appear to these simple-minded Orientals and makes shipwreck on the sands of as queer and far-fetched a notion as life. Of one commentator it is reported would that of stationing upon bridges, that he pondered constantly on this and in other public places, big statues stanza during the space of three years, of scantily-dressed females supposed to and was at last rewarded by an insight represent Commerce and Agriculture, or into its secret intention. Unfortunately Philosophy and Religion, or some such the outcome of his meditations has not olher abstract ideas. It would probably been handed down to us.
REPROACH ADDRESSED TO THE NIGHTINGALES.
But the elegy is, of all the forms of poe- also thrown into the scale ; at least it try, that in which the Japanese may most may, we trust (even in our days, when truly be said to excel, even when-by this has become rather a delicate suban usage which would jar on European ject), be permitted us to hold that female taste, but which, in their so differently writers are more likely to abound in constituted language, is extremely grace- subtle graces than in vigor and in philoful and even pathetic--they introduce sophic depth. plays upon words into the midst of the Here are a few more miscellaneous most serious thoughts.
examples of “miniature odes :" Tsurayuki thus laments the death of a friend, who, like himself, belonged to that bright galaxy that shone in the
Whom would your cries, with artful calumny,
Accuse of scatt'ring the pale cherry-flow’rs ? court of Kiyoto at a time when almost
'Tis your own pinions flitting through these all Europe was sunk in dark and hope bow'rs less barbarism :
That raise the gust which makes them fall
and die !
A youth once loved me, and his love I
spurned. A point which should never be for But see the vengeance of the pow'rs above
On cold indiff'rence: now 'tis I that love, gotten is, that almost all the classical literature of Japan was written by and
And my young love, alas! is not return'd. for a small circle of lords and ladies, princes and princesses, at the Imperial
Now hid from sight are great Mount Fusi's court. For if, without entering into fires. speculations on the reason of so strange
Mount Fusi, said I ? 'Tis myself I mean ! a phenomenon-less strange to one who
For the word Fusi signifies, I ween,
Few see the constant flame of my desires.* should adopt the theory of an original distinction of race between the nobles and the plebeians of Japan-if we keep O lotus.leaf! I dreamt that the wide earth this fact in mind, we shall have a key to Held nought more pure than thou, held the interpretation of most of the charac- Why, then, when on thee rolls a drop of dew,
nought more true. teristics of a highly peculiar literature. Pretend that 'tis a gem of priceless worth? Where, indeed, if not in the ante.chambers of a court, should verbal harmony of the above stanza, the justly celebrated
Of the Buddhist bishop Henjā, writer and all the softer graces of style be pursued to a degree showing that manner
author of the preface to the Collection more than matter is held to be the one
of Odes Ancient and Modern, says: thing needful to poet and prosaist alike?
The bishop was a skilful versifier, but Under what other circumstances should in real feeling he was lacking : I might we be more likely to find piquancy take liken him to one that should conceive the place of profundity, and sentiment
an artificial passion for the mere painted the place of passion ? For the high- semblance of a maiden.” Of the already born poets who passed from one vice. quoted poet Narihira, it is said in the royalty to another, and for the poetesses
same place : “His stanzas are so pregwho, in damask and brocade, spent their nant with meaning, that the words days amid the magnificence of the pal- suffice not to express it. He is like a ace of the “Son of Heaven,” few cir- closed flower that hath lost her color, cumstances could arise which might
but whose fragrance yet remaineth." have made them able to fathom the Here is another sample of his obscure depths of the human heart or have style :brought them face to face with those E’en when on earth the thundering gods held mural problems that must suggest them- Was such a sight beheld ?
Calm Tats'ta's seives to such as, conscious of right flood, doing in themselves, yet have to fight Stain'd, as by China's art, with hues of blood, an unequal battle with all the evil pow
Rolls o'er the peaceful moors and fields away. ers of the world. The, in Japan, all but * This stanza is necessarily rather an imipreponderating influence of women was tation of the original than a translation of it.
The allusion is to the crimson and scar ject of this paper.
But it so exactly let of the antumn maples.
reproduces that idea which may be called But we must not go on quoting for the fundamental idea of Japanese poetry, ever-if, indeed, quoting it can be called, that we think our readers will not quarwhere, in the place of the originals which rel with us for quoting it. There is a the translator so much delights in read- short prose superscription which runs ing, those he writes for are reduced to thus :reading the translator. A few words in conclusion. If a moral, a lesson must
Easy to accumulate and hard to avoid are
the eight greater tribulations. Hard to ob. perforce be drawn from the works of the
tain and easy to exhaust are the joys of an classic poets of Japan, it might, perhaps, hundred years. What the ancients deplored, be formulated in three simple words: I too have now reason to lament, and have “ Life is brief." Life is brief. Let us
therefore composed this ode to give vent 10
my grief at the turning grey of my hairs :make the best of it; for we know not what comes after, nor if anything comes ODE ON THE UNSATISFACTORINESS OF LIFE. after. Let us pluck the flowers of spring
Proem. before they fade; let us hark to the note of the cuckoo, as, in the reddening
'Twere idle to complain, summer dawn, his shadow flits for an in Or think to stem unvarying nature's course,
And backward to its source stant across the face of the sinking moon;
Turn the swift torrent of the years again, let us love; let us be merry-not wildly
That, with resistless force, or grossly, like the fool of Scripture, but Rolls down with age and sorrow in its train. with all comeliness and grace, as befits
Strophe. high-born and cultivated men and maidens. From those that are dominated by Lo! where the virgin choirs are playing, such an ever-present idea-albeit that it
As tender virgins may befit,
When, hand in hand, they go a-maying, is less often proclaimed than understood
And through the merry dance they flit: --sadness cannot long be absent : hence
Bracelets of gems and gold the power of their elegies, and the ten
Around their arms are roll'd; der grace of their conception of nature. And, lightly, sleeve in sleeve entwin'd,
What time the tender virgins go a-maying, For, be it observed, in ages of faith nat
Their crimson robes all carelessly are swaying ural beauties are but little understood
As breathes the listless wind. or appreciated. How, indeed, can they But eager time cannot be staying : be greatly valued by men who look upon
Their beauty loses its delight; them as snares and hindrances, turning
Already through their locks come straying
Pale threads of silv'ry white; away the soul froin the contemplation
Already do the wrinkles surrow of higher and worthier objects ? and the
The features erst so blithe and gay, remark that it is only in these latter days And fades he smile which seemd to of lukewarm conviction that we Euro
The sweetness of the flowers of May: peans have really begun to enter into the
Such is, alas ! dread time's inevitable sway! meaning of outward nature is a trite one. Love nature, love life and enjoy it, would
Antistrophe. seem to be the burden of the songs of Behold the martial youth advancing, the poets of Japan; but yet they never As martial youth may well beseem, can forget how soon the life to which In coat of mail, with sabre glancing, they so greatly hold will end, how soon And arrows that as hoar-frost gleam!
There, on the grassy mead, the natural beauties they so dearly prize
Over his chestnut steed will-for each one, at least-pass hope He flings a cloth of leopard-hide, lessly away.
One of the poets of the And to the castle hies him gaily prancing, eighth century has expressed this in a Where dwells a lovely maiden soul entrancmore direct, as well as in a more grace
His own, his own sweet bride; ful manner than any of his compeers.
Then gently knocks, and, round him Writing, as he did, just before the time
glancing, when the shorter odes" of which we
Throws back the door, and clasps have been treating became almost the
And she, too, clasps his hands, enhancing sole recognised form of poetical compo
The rapture of that night. sition, his poem, which is a much longer Vain fleeting dream! With none to guide one, does not strictly belong to the sub
See him now leaning on his staff, His sole support, where all avoid him
Or greet him with a scornful laugh: Such is the old man's end-a butt for idle
CAP-A NEW ENGLAND DOG.
BY T. K. WILLIAMS, OF PORTLAND, ME.
CAP was the usual name of Captain; him. Captain was very angry, and its owner being a large Newfoundland almost flew at the dog, then thought dog just crossed with the stag-hound, better of it, and bided his time. When making him the handsomest animal I Black and Tan got down, Cap was unever saw, standing very tall, with ele- usually amiable and frisky, playing with gantly curved neck and long silky ears him round and round, always a little that one could pull down and meet un- nearer and
the door, till, at der his chin. His whole head was a the head of the stairs, he gave one wonder of dog beauty, with long nose great shove, and sent him flying to and wondrously expressive eyes, which the bottom. And never was that little laughed or cried with you, always sym- dog allowed over those stairs again. pathising whatever your mood might be; When he saw him coming, or when he ready for a romp, or to come and press himself wished for a play, he would go his nose through your arm, looking up down and play in the hall below, or in with almost crying eyes, seeming to wish the street, thus keeping full possession to show his sorrow at your grief. He of his own domain. had great tact, greater than many human He had a remarkable memory, recog. friends, never obtruding his sympathy; nizing friends by face or voice, though but lying quietly down, his nose between perhaps for a year or two absent, and his paws, he would watch every chang- would run, wagging body and tail ing expression of face, till the time came equally, to meet them. But this was not when he thought he could offer tangible so astonishing as his memory for things. sympathy; then he would get up and Like all Newfoundlands he was passioncome to you, seeming to wish, by show- ately fond of bathing, and had a certain ing his own excessive love, to make stick which he always carried to the amends for any shortcomings on the part water, and on returning put in a particof the world. And in return, having ular place in our back yard; for, mind given his all, he wished the same, and you, he had a bump for order. He put could not put up with any division of it away for the last time in October, the affection with any other animal, scarcely water being too cold to bathe later : with a human being; and his intelligence snow came soon after, covering it up for aided his jealousy in gaining the point. months; and it was late in May before He always accompanied my father to the it was warm enough to swim again. My office, which was at the head of a very father said, “ Cap! would you like to go long Aight of stairs, and there spent most to the water ?" Hy jumped up, said of the day, amusing himself indifferently “Yes" in his way, ran to the door, round with looking out of the window and with the house, over the fence, had the 'stick the people coming to and from the office. and back again, panting with exciteOne warm day, the door being open, and ment. Some one coming just then, my being much bored and put to it as to father had to say, “Not to-day, Cap, tohow to spend his time, he spied a black morrow :" slowly and lingeringly he and tan dog which belonged across the walked back and deposited the stick. street; acting on the impulse, he went The next morning, however, on coming down and invited him up; which down, Cap was at the door, stick in arrangement was very pleasing and sat- mouth, apparently having perfectly unisfactory till, in the course of their play, derstood the cause of delay, and deterMr. Black and Tan jumped into a chair mined to be in season to have no interbeside my father, who, attracted by the ruptions this time. Of course he was little thing, put out his hand and caressed taken to the water immediately and had a grand bath : singularly this was the Prince, while in this country, having had only occasion he was ever known to take the finest specimen of a Newfoundland his stick from its place without a partic- in the provinces presented to him. ular invitation. Certainly he understood. Whatever evolutions of thought Cap may
And he read character to a marvel, have had, the fact is the same. measuring each member of the house- When a child, I had a severe typhoid hold, understanding what he could, and fever, and every morning Cap was sent what he could not, do with each. With with a note tied to his collar with tidings those who could master him, he never of my welfare to my grandmother. Nothheld out uselessly, but yielded with a ing could distract him on such an errand ; peculiar grace, quite his own; with those but, when arrived at the house, he would who could not, why he mastered them! go straight and lay his head in her lap Not overbearingly, but impudently; and till the note was untied. Then, considwhen requested by them to do anything ering his duty done he would go to the disagreeable to him, would wag his tail kitchen, be fed, and inspect the dinner as much as to say, “I'm not in a mind to which he always returned, if to his to, and I know you won't make me." mind; but if it was to be of poultry, or
They even laughed and said he under- game of any kind, they saw him no more stood the politics of the family, and from that day. My father bought Cap when his amusing aversion to negroes one a pup for us children to play with, and would suppose so, as lie could never great fun we had. As we grew older he abide the sight of that African race, came into the house with us, our constant One night a colored man being sent to companion, my own especial friend the house with some ice-cream, shrieks and confidant. I told him everything, and a general sound of rumpus brought and he never peached. Thus constantly us all to the kitchen, where Cap had half with us, and talked to, he learned to torn the clothes off the man, who, with understand all that was said, whether rolling whites, now stood petrified and directly addressed to him or not; and livid with fright; Cap making fresh the following story is strictly true, incredplunges, carrying off pieces of clothing ible as it may seem. each time. Indeed, it was almost im- My father and mother were reading, possible to take the dog off, so inveterate and one of them, noticing an article was his hatred. The servants, on being about water standing in a room over questioned, said the man had done noth- night absorbing impure gases, and being ing. But never did he see one of this unhealthy to drink, read it aloud, and race, even in the street, without hot pur- remarked, “ If that's the case, we must suit.
be sure and see that Cap's water is This was in the war time, when Fort changed every morning." He had water Warren was hung over our heads-so always in mother's dressing-room, where much for his pluck and party principles! he went and drank when he liked. Cap
Beggars he looked on with a suspicious lay on the floor, apparently unobservant. eye, and always watched closely, but The next day he went to a member of never molested.
the family and asked for water; he had Little dogs were treated by him with a peculiar way of asking for different contempt-not noticing their presence, things, so that those who knew him could or even insults, at first; but if too per- tell his wants. She went to the dressingsistent and intolerable, he would give room, and there was plenty of water. them a sound shaking, and throwing them Cap looked at it, languidly tasted, and over, would look off into space-quite then looked up, thinking something must unconscious—an expression inimitable, be the matter; it was turned away, and I assure you. In general he did not fresh water given him, which he drank. affect dog company; carrying himself The next day the same thing occurred, with a grand air and great dignity, he and the next after, so as to be remarked, would look at them and pass on. Per- and an explanation asked, when the forehaps a sense of superior intelligence going conversation was recalled ; and caused this hauteur, more probably fam- never till the day of his death, three ily pride; for mark you, Cap was years later, did he touch a drop of water nephew to the Prince of Wales's dog, the without having first seen it poured freshly