Графични страници
PDF файл

as the Quarterly Review. Southey, plete as the recent fall of Lord Byron's Gifford, &c. have their faults-above literary name. I don't mean to inall, they have their affectations—but, sinuate that people of taste think less Heaven preserve us! what a plunge it highly now, than they did five, six, is from their worst to the best that seven, or eight years ago, of the geeven Lord Byron seems capable of nius of Byron, in his true works of giving us since his conjunction with genius. But what I mean to say is these deluded drivellers of Cockaigne! this, that his name can no more sell There we have at least strong English a book now, than Jeremy Bentham's. prejudices delivered in the strong clear stian, for instance, did not sell a language of England! Here, what bit better than any new poem of Mr have we got? Stupid French books Milman's, or Mrs Hemans's, would do translated, not into stupid English, and this continuation of Don Juan butinto stupid Cockneyeze-wit, that is obliged to be sold for a shilling, won't make the Duke of Sussex him- and is very moderately taken off even self chuckle - verse, that Charles at that rate, although, of course, it has Young himself could not read, so as all the advantage of being belleved to to produce anything like the effect of be a licentious thing. Never, to be musical cadence-jests, that even the sure, was a more egregious tumble. Laureate will not feel-in short, to If it were only to check the joy which say all that can be said a book which, must prevail in a certain quarter, though written by Lord Byron, is (which I need not name,) if this goes published by, without elevating the on-Lord Byron ought really to pull brotherhood of, the Hunts !

up, and make at least one more exerI do not mean to say that there are tion worthy of himself, and of the orinot some half-dozen or two of stanzas ginal expectations of a reading public, not quite unworthy of the better days that has unwillingly deserted, and of Lord Byron. There are. But I that would most gladly return to him, have already occupied far too many of even after all that has happened. your columns with a production which, I do not believe Lord Byron to be with fewer exceptions than anything a bad man-I mean a deliberately, rethat has been published this year, (save solvedly wicked man. I know him to only perhaps the Liber Amoris,) by be a man of great original power and any man of the least pretension and genius, and, from report, I know him talent of any kind, appears deserving to be a kind friend where his friendof sovereign and universal neglect- ship is wanted. I cannot consent to “CHRISTIAN, OR THE ISLAND,"con- despair of Lord Byron-but as to his tained two pages, and just two of By- late publications, he may depend upronian Poetry-all the rest was mere on it, they are received by the people translation, and generally feeble trans- of Britain'“ with as much coldness and lation. This contains no passage equal indifference,” (to use an expression to the two I allude to in Christian in one of Cobbett’s late Registers,) none whatever. It contains nothing “as if they were as many ballads from that the moment it is read makes Grub Street, or plays from Lord John everybody exclaim,“ Well, say what Russel.”—He must adopt an entire you please of the book-but here is a change of system, or give the thing stanza which no living man but Lord up altogether. So thinks sincerely, Byron could have written.” There is and in the spirit of kindness and of nothing of this class here—there was regret, much more than in any other in the worst of the preceding cantos; spirit, and, in one word, Don Juan appears,

Yours ever, like Lord Byron himself, to be getting

Dear Christopher, into his dotage before his time.

T. T. I don't remember anything so com


From the Hindoostanee. The name of Mahummud, as the founder of a false religion, is familiar to every one; and, in this view, his history has been studied, and his impostures exposed by philosophers and divines. But it has been, perhaps, less remarked, that, among the vulgar of those nations where his religion is professed, he is better known as the

hero of a series of romantic tales, as the King Arthur, in short, of eastern chivalry, than as the saint or lawgiver. His friends and companions (ushab) are exactly the knights of his round-table ; and their common exploits have been the subject of as much rugged rhyme as those of the champions of Christendom. The Koran, which contains what is really known concerning Mahummud, never having been profaned by translation, has left room, among his ignorant followers, for a plentiful crop of romance'; and of this circumstance the ballad-chroniclers of the East have not omitted to take due adyantage. Every exploit of which the actor was a name, either obsolete or unknown, has found a ready hero in this favourite of their devotion; and many a pearl which glittered of old in the romantic diadems of Rustam, Secunder, or the forgotten heroes of Ind, has been translated to a situation where it may shine to more advantage in the tiara of Mahummud. Some of these gems, it must be confessed, are but “ barbaric pearl ;” but many appear to be really interesting, and will bear a comparison with anything of the same kind in European literature. The following is one which has frequently amused me, and which I translated from a manuscript given me by an old Moollah from Surat; the story is familiar to the Indian Mussulmans, and perhaps also to those of other countries.

There are many passages in this, as in other specimens of Oriental narrative, whose extravagance at once startles a European imagination out of the dream of reality which more gentle management might have prolonged to the end of the fiction. Most of these, as they are not necessary to the general outline of the story, I have retrenched or changed; the rest, without much violating the better regulations of European literature, will still give a sufficient specimen of what is required from the poets of Hindoostan* to gratify the wild taste of their countrymen.




When mid-day's fierce and cloudless sun

Illumed the desert's sand,
Mahummud pitch'd his spreading tents,

To rest his wearied band.

From dawn till noon their march had sped,

Beneath the scorching sun;
For April's fresh'ning spring was pass'd,

The summer's drought begun.

• It may amuse some readers to trace similarities between languages so remote as the Hindoostanee and vulgar Scots. The following are a few of the more striking coincidences :Scots.

Hindoostanee. Gird, a hoop.

Gird, round, circle. Sing, to singe.

Sengna, to toast (bread.) Peery, a boy's top.

Phira, anything whirled round. Bannock, a toasted cake.

Bhonna, to toast. Huf, pet, anger.

Khuffa, angry, vexed. Hallukit, frolicsome, light-witted. Huluka, light; wed, wit. To Job, to pierce, to prick.

Chobna, to prick. Swatch, a specimen.

Suwatchna, to try, to prove. Ne funk, (a term used by children at mar. Ne phenko, don't fling.

bles) no flinging. Goose, a tailor's smoothing iron.

Ghusna, to rub, to smooth. Poh, get out.

Po, imperative of Pona, to go. Glaur, mud.

Gilawu, mud. Flobby, portly, fat.

Firbih, fat.

And faint with thirst, the straggling bands “And go, thy lurking friends recal,
For water sought the wild ;

Where'er they flee to hide;
Where round them far the parching sands, From all their haunts, the scattered crowd,
Each hopeless search beguiled.

Before my presence guide.” Each gasping wanderer faint return'd, “My people's haunts,” the man replied, His comrades' hopes to damp;

“ May scarce be quickly found; And raging thirst despairing burn'd They fled distress'd, when far they heard Through all the restless camp.

Thine host's approaching sound. Mahummud heard the wailing voice “ An hundred years my days have pass'd That mid his followers grew :

Amid this lonely wild, “Go, Ali, friend beloved,” he cried, And these the gods, and this the faith, * Go thou, the search renew.

My fathers taught their child. “ Thy fleet Duldul will bear thee swift, “More aged still, my hoary wife The region far to spy ;

Twice sixty years has seen ; Some fountain hid, some cavern moist, Her wisdom o'er the wilds of life, May meet thy faithful eye.”

My guidance still has been. The generous Ali heard the call,

" Bid her be brought ; if she shall yield He seized his fiery steed,

Our father's faith to leave, Athwart the desert's arid breadth

I, too, with all our friends, will here He arged impatient speed.

Thy newer faith receive.”

[blocks in formation]

He seized the Brahman's wither'd hand; “ But he whose steps have ventured there, Again they pierced the wood,

While thirst impatient burn'd, Across the burning wild they pass'd, Cut off by some unearthly hand, Amid the camp they stood.

Has never thence return'd. Mahummud saw: with sovereign voice * The boldest dares not seek the brink, He called the Brahman near.

Though parch'd with sorest drought ; “Lo!”cried the Prince, “thine idols leave, The fainting traveller turns his head, My better counsels hear;

And shuns the haunted spot.

* And now, do thou, (if such thy power,) But, all unshaken, Malik heard
Dissolve this deadly spell ;

Those voices rising drear;
Send one adventurous warrior forth Above the hanging verge he stood,
The evil power to quell.

He call's his followers near. . 6 One pitcher there, if thou canst fill, " Who first (for all may not approach Nor meet the wonted harm,

This vaunted feat to try) Such deed, (our fathers thus revealed,) Who first will down the cave descend, Will break the fatal charm.

Its secrets strange to spy ?”. “And we, the desert's helpless folk, Stepp'd instant forth the youthful Saud, Shall owe our lives to thee;

By warrior comrades loved; Thy God shall then to us be God, “ By me,” he said, “ that depth be sought, Our Prophet thou shalt be."

Those airy threat’nings proved."Mahummud, wondering, heard the tale, From every sword, a belt was ta’en, He called his heroes nigh :

A length of cord to tie, "And who, my followers, now shall go, Around his waist they bound it close, This beldam's feat to try ?”

They held it firm on high.

[blocks in formation]


BRAVE Makik wheel'd his followers round, The fearless Ali seized his steed-
Again they sought the camp ;

He seized his sword of might;
The list'ning soldiers heard afar

The soldiers gazed ; the fleet Duldul Their horses' hast'ning tramp.

Was soon beyond their sight.
With instant speed his sov'reign's tent The faithful bands more near approach'd,
The noble Malik sought ;

The dread event to wait ;
He told the strange event, the deed Amid their ranks the Prophet stod
By demon vengeance wrought.

Intent on Ali's fate.
The sorrowing Prophet heard the tale But Ali now has reach'd the brink ;
He wept the warrior's fate-

Duldul behind him stays;
Enwrapt a while in silent prayer,

Above the rock the hero stands Amid his chiefs he sate.

Amid its gulf to gaze. Unheard by all, an answering voice Within the pit that yawn'd obscure, Seem'd he at length to hear ;

His fearless footstep sprung ; Attention deep a while was seen

From stone to stone his groping hand To hold his listening ear.

In sightless guidance clung. Obeisance, grateful, then he paid ; But narrower soon the deepening gulf The voice that spoke was gone ;

To wildest darkness grew ; Around the Prophet's gladden'd look And far on high the closing light Triumphant smile was thrown.

Seem'd but a star to view. He spoke-and first on Malik sad The crumbling stones, unfaithful grown, He bent approving eye

Refused his foot to stay ; “ The power that lurks in yonder cave The crags his eager grasp had seiz'd, Might well thy strength defy.

Seem'd each to rend away. “ A messenger, unseen by men,

He raised his eyes aloft to gaze ; To me a word has brought:

The light was dimm'd on high : Alone by Ali, lion-hand,

He turn'd beneath—a watery gulf May this emprize be wrought.

Was stagnant seen to lie. " A Rebel Peri holds the den,

Amid the dangers thickening round, With all his roaming band ;

Seem'd hostile beings near ; His demon sway is widely spread

For threatening voices loud were heard, O'er many a subject land.

Through all the cavern drear. Go, Ali, seize thy sword of proof; “ Now, God me speed !" the hero cried, Go seize thy matchless steed;

“ This den is guarded well : By thee must this emprize be wrought, I would its sprites might stand to view If mortal hand may speed.

Nor thus in darkness yell. " If earthlike foes shall meet thee there, “ But yet their waters I shall taste, Of human force like thine;

Did Death sit grimly there : Thine own good hand must work its way; The sculking fiends, within their haunt, Expect not aid of mine.

My trusty sword shall dare.” 66 But if their demon arts are tried, He said—and down the fearful deep, Unearthly force to bring,

(For yet aloft he hung) Thy sword from me shall power receive, Amid the plashing waves beneath, To wield a living sting.

The fearless hero sprung. “ Go seek their den : thy sword of might And lo! a thousand gathering tongues May fear no fiendish spell.

Arose in wild alarm. Go bid them own our higher power, They cried, “Our fated foe is come :Or bind in dungeon fell."

Arm, mighty Genii, arm !"

« ПредишнаНапред »