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The thunderbolt was launch'd that hour,*
Berlin, that smote thy royal tower!
That sign the living deluge roll'd,
By Poland's dying groan foretold.
One rising sun, one bloody setting shone,

And dust and ashes were on Frederick's throne!

Talk of the necromancer's spell!

In forest depths, in magic cell,

Was never raised so fierce a storm,

As when thy solitary form

Into the troubled air its wild spells hurl'd,

Thou sullen shaker of a weary world.

I saw thee once again.

'Twas morn:

Sweet airs from summer fields were borne,
The sun was in the laughing sky;

I saw thy startling limbs outfly,

And felt, that in that hour I saw the birth

Of some new curse, that might have clouded earth.

The soundless curse went forth-it pass'd.

'Twas answer'd by the trumpet blast,

'Twas answer'd by the cannon roar,

Pale Danube, on thy distant shore.

That sign of woe let loose the iron horde

That crush'd in gore the Hapsburg helm and sword! †

Again I look'd-'twas day's decline:

Thy mount was purple with the vine ;

The clouds in rosy beauty slept,

The birds their softest vesper kept;

The plain, all flowers, was one rich-painted floor,

And thou, wild fiend, even thou, wast still once more.

I saw thee from thy slumber start;

That blow was, Russia, to thy heart!
That hour the shaft was shot, that rent

The curtains of the Tartar tent.

That voiceless sign to wolf and vulture cried,

Come to your fiercest feast of Homicide.

Then swept the sword, and blazed the shell,
Then armies gave the dying yell;
Then burning cities lit the gloom,

The groans of Empire in its doom!

Till all was death-then came the final ban,

And Heaven broke down the strength too strong for man.‡

'Then earth was calm. I saw thee sleep—

Once more I saw thy thin arms sweep.

Napoleon's blazing star was wan!

The master of the Talisman

Was dungeon'd far upon the ocean-wave

Thine were the silent tidings of his grave.§

*The Prussian war, Oct. 1806.

†The Austrian war, begun April 1809.
The Russian war begun, May 1812.

§ Death of Napoleon, 1821.

ALCMÆON.

THE CROWNING OF CHARLEMAGNE.

ON the death of Pope Adrian the First, his nephew had been set aside for Leo, a priest of the Lateran. The election was met with the usual violence of those times; the partisans of the defeated candidate attacked the new Pope in one of his processions, swept his guards before them, and beat himself, until they thought that they had killed him. But he recovered, and made his complaint to Charlemagne, then at the head of an army in the north of Germany. Already the first soldier of Europe, he instantly seized on the opportunity of administering the affairs of Italy-marched with an overwhelming force to Rome. The multitude met him in grand procession, and, with the ejected Pope in his train, he entered the city, and drove his opponents into exile. The Emperor, in Italy, had hitherto borne only the title of "The Great Patrician." But on Christmas day, A.D. 800, mass was celebrated with peculiar pomp in St Peter's; and while Charlemagne knelt at the Papal feet, in his patrician robe, Leo suddenly arose and placed on his head a diadem, and the Emperor was hailed by the whole assemblage, as "the most pious Augustus, crowned by God, the great and pacific Emperor of the Ro

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The power of this mighty master of European dominion thenceforth lent an irresistible superiority to the Papal influence: the army of Charlemagne was virtually the army of the Pope; there were but two steps more to supremacy, and both were accomplished, the election of the Popes without the consent of the German Emperor, and the extension of their temporal dominion over Christendom-the former by Gregory the Seventh, (A.D. 1073,) the latter by Innocent the Third, (A.D. 1198.)

MIDNIGHT sits upon the sky:

Yet among thy myriads, Rome,
Sinks to rest nor foot nor eye;
Steps are hurrying through the
gloom,

Lights from roof and wall are
hung,

Clangs the bell's unwearied tongue.

Through the streets the human tide
Rushes, from the princely hall,
From the hovel at its side,-
Mitre, banner, tissued pall,

In the blaze, now seen, now lost,
Roll, like barks by tempests tost.

On the dark and dewy air,

Comes the trumpet's stirring swell;
Comes the broken chant of prayer;
Comes the proud cathedral's peal;-

Mingling like the distant roar
Of ocean heaving on its shore.

Still rolls on the living stream,
Prince and peasant, serf and mime,
Like the figures of a dream,

All uncheck'd by space or time,

As if earth had oped her womb,
Thy exhaustless myriads, Rome!

Onward to the Volscian hill

Sweep on foot and horse the throng
From the rolling column still
Echo prayer, and shout, and song,
Every eyeball's eager gaze
Fixing on the mountain's blaze.

There, on high, like watching stars,

Shine the camp-fires of the Gaul,
Glittering on the brazen cars,
Glitteringon the standards tall,

On the cuirass and the chain,
Burnish'd helm and silken vane.

There around the ruddy flame,

Sit thy warriors, old Martel!
Many a bold and haughty name,
By the Moor remember'd well,

When, with bloody spur and rein,
He fled thy field of death, Tou-
raine.

On that wild and glorious day,*
Thick as reeds by storms o'er-
blown,

Rank on rank the Moslem lay;
There the Caliph left his throne--
There the Emir's dying yell,
Told thy triumph, old Martel!

* The great battle of Tours, in which Charles Martel, at the head of the French chivalry, drove the Moors from France.

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HAVE YOU READ OSSIAN?

AY-here is Dr Blair's celebrated "Critical Dissertation," which in our teens we read with devoutest faith, undoubtingly believing with the venerable sage the good old boy-that Homer and Virgil, though the gods of our young idolatry-sunbright both, in the golden morn of our imagination -were not greater or more glorious "orbs of song" than our own Ossian. Was that belief delusion all? Are the Songs of Selma but unmeaning words -idle as the inarticulate winds, the murmurs of the Harp and Voice of Cona? Let us return, if we can, to our old creed-let us abjure, if we can, the folly of wisdom-let us enjay, if we can, though it be but for an hour, the bliss of ignorance at the feet of the simplest of all Professors that ever lectured on Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres.

Whether" Fingal fought and Ossian sung" in the second century, and these be, indeed, the veritable songs; or Macpherson, from a few fragments of no great antiquity, floating on the breath of tradition, conceived the idea of his splendid forgeries, the Critical Dissertation, look at it in what light you will, is nothing less than a moral and intellectual phenomenon Yet it gave the law to all Europe. The finest spirits on the Continent, fortified by it in their admiration of the genius displayed in these extraordinary poems, set no bounds to their enthusiasm, and Ossian in France, Germany, Italy, was all the rage.

In our own country one seldom now hears the name; and the rant, bombast, and fustian of Macpherson, have long been the ridicule, not merely of our critics but some of our greatest living poets. Wordsworth even waxes witty -and exclaims, " All hail! Macpherson! hail to thee, sire of Ossian! The phantom was begotten by the snug embrace of an impudent Highlander upon a cloud of tradition-it travelled southward, where it was greeted with acclamation, and the thin consistence took its course through Europe upon the breath of popular applause.". He then speaks scornfully of "the disinterested Gael, who, like Lear, gives his kingdom away, and is content to become a pensioner upon his

own issue for a beggarly pittance." That is coming it rather strong; for Macpherson was a man of genius, and all the world has allowed that there is poetry in the pseudo-Ossian. Wordsworth says, "that having had the good fortune to be born and reared in a mountainous country, from my very childhood I have felt the falsehood that pervades the volumes imposed upon the world under the name of Ossian. From what I saw with my own eyes, I knew that the imagery was spurious. In nature every thing is distinct, yet nothing defined into absolute independent singleness. In Macpherson's work it is exactly the reverse; every thing (that is not stolen) is in this manner defined, insulated, dislocated, deadened—yet nothing distinct. It will always be so when words are substituted for things. To say that the characters never could exist-that the manners are impossible, and that a dream has more substance than the whole state of society as there depicted, is doing nothing more than pronouncing a censure which Macpherson defied; when with the steeps of Morvern before his eyes, he could talk so familiarly of his car-borne heroes of Morvern, which, if one may judge from its appearance at the distance of a few miles, contains scarcely an acre of ground sufficiently accommodating for a sledge to be trailed along its surface." Wordsworth quotes a single description, as an instance of what he meanss—and in proof that all the imagery in Ossian is spurious; but that will never do; even true poets sometimes miss it-and then Macpherson was such a confirmed mannerist, and so proud of his manner, that he frequently kept jot, jotting down images just as they came to hand-and their variety is not great-at the time unaffected by that feeling of the beautiful, which nevertheless belonged to his nature, and which has infused the finest poetry into many of his descriptions of the wilderness. born and bred among the mountains; and though he had neither the poetical nor the philosophical genius of Wordsworth, and was his inferior far in the perceptive, the reflective, and the

He also was

imaginative faculties, still he could see, and feel, and paint too in water-colours, and on air-canvass-and is one of the masters."From the paucity of the images and interests introduced," says William Howison finely, in his strange volume, "The Contest of Twelve Nations," "Ossian approaches nearest, of all the poets, to a generalized uniformity of strain, and becomes mono tonously pathetic. The characters of his heroes want discriminating traits. The beauty of the composition results from the feeling which has once commenced being never afterwards inter rupted. The ghosts appear to exist in a state of unchangeable sadness, and every scene has nearly the same parts, a few separate trees, a torrent, a deer or two passing by the grey stones which mark the grave of a hero, and in the air, a profusion of mists, which reconcile the rest of the landscape to one tone." Wordsworth does not seem to know that Morvern of old comprehended a greater extent of territory than now belongs to it; but he may rest assured that, in the region that bore that name, sledges have been seen for centuries, in their season, rattling along at rail-road speed. Malcolm Laing himself, speaking of the ancient Caledonians, says, "their cars are infallible marks of a pastoral nation recently migrating;' so the argument against the existence of carborne heroes is not tenable, drawn from the unequal surface of Morvern.

The poet Gray fell into the delusion-if delusion it be-and in his letters frequently expresses his wonder and delight in the beautiful and glorious inspirations of the Son of the Mist. Scott, in an interesting letter to Anna Seward, says, (see Life, vol. ii.)—“ Ossian and Spenser were the two books which the good old bard (Blacklock) put into my hands, and which I devoured rather than perused. These tales were for a long time so much my delight, that I could repeat, without remorse, whole cantos of the one, and duans of the other; and woe to the unlucky wight who undertook to be my auditor, for, in the height of my enthusiasm, I was apt to disregard all hints that my recitations became tedious. It was a natural consequence of progress in taste, that my fondness for these authors should experience some abatement. Ossian's poems, in particular, have

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more charms for youth than for a more advanced stage. The eternal repetition of the same ideas and imagery, however beautiful in themselves, is apt to pall upon a reader whose taste has become somewhat fastidious; and though I entirely agree with you, that the question of their authenticity should not be confounded with that of their literary merit, yet scepticism on that head takes away their claim for indulgence as the productions of a barbarous and remote age; and what is perhaps more natural, it destroys that feeling of reality which we should otherwise combine with our sentiments of admiration. . . . . pherson was a Highlander, and had his imagination fired with the charms of Celtic poetry from his very infancy. He knew, from constant experience, that most Highlanders, after they have become complete masters of English, continue to think in their own language; and it is to me demonstrable that Macpherson thought almost every word of Ossian in Gaelic, although he wrote it down in English. These circumstances gave a great advantage to him in forming the style of Ossian, which, though exalted and modified according to Macpherson's own ideas of modern taste, is in great part cut upon the model of the tales of the Sennachies and Bards. Mac

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pherson, in his way, was certainly a man of high talents, and his poetic powers are honourable to his country, as the use which he made of them, and I fear his personal character in other respects, was a discredit to it." Boys and virgins! you will not slight the songs that young Walter loved.

But let us talk together about the Doctor. How could such poetry be the product of a barbarous age?

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Barbarity," saith he, I must observe, is a very equivocal term; it admits of many different forms and degrees; and though, in all of them, it excludes polished manners, it is, however, not inconsistent with generous sentiments and tender affections. What degrees of friendship, love, and heroism, may possibly be found to prevail in a rude state of society, no one can say. Astonishing instances of them, we know from history, have sometimes appeared; and a few characters, distinguished by those high qualities, might lay a foundation for a set of manners being intro

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