« PoprzedniaDalej »
Yes! I have slept; and now unknown
To me the things best known before :
Where are they?--they are here no more.
Despoild the woods, the fields, of home,
(Alas ! that e'er such change should come !)
Salutes me now as one estranged:
Of nought but things perverted, changed :
That pass'd me as the dashing oars
Ceaseless my heart its fate deplores. &c.' Among the poems of Troubadours, those of Bernard de Born, who flourished in the latter part of the twelfth century, are distinguished by their spirit and marked character. The one beginning, “The beautiful spring delights me well, breathes a curious mixture of gayety and martial ardour; and the preceding one is singularly elegant for the times. Our readers will, however, be better pleased with the modest merit of the following simple stanzas by à Gascon knight, Gaubert Amiels.
• I covet not a high-born dame ;
An equal in degree
Heaven never meant for me.
Mid courtiers great and high;
It would not bring me joy.
That sings beside my bower,
At distance, hovering o'er ;
Who seeketh not for mine,
For regal dame to pine.
To courtiers leave them free:
For she has vanquish'd me.:
There is not one so fair,
Who thus my love can share,
• To her, then, will I grateful bow,
And willing thanks repay
More fair each coming day.
That higher dames there be ;
So fair, so bright as she.
-more blest by far Than if my love more lofty were.' The false rhyme in the last couplet sadly mars the conclusion; but we have too frequent reason to complain of the negligence or indolence of the Translator in this respect. Fidelity with as close an adherence as possible to the rhythm of the original, appears to have been the chief object with the Poetical Co-editor; and in these respects, the translations have considerable merit. In compositions of this character, however, where the whole beauty lies in the turn of expression and the music of language, literal fidelity is preserved at too high a cost, if it require a departure from correct versification, and a disregard of the peculiar genius of the English language. These translations strike us as more clever than poetical, more ingenious than graceful, displaying more facility and tact than delicacy of taste. We give as our last specimen, some very pleasing lines, in which Conrad of Wurtzburg, who flourished towards the close of the thirteenth century, laments over the declining popularity of his art, in the true spirit of a genuine bard.
• Unwilling stays the throng
To hear the minstrel's song:
Where night by night she loves
Re-echo to her song.' The songs of Greece are offered by the Translator, not as mere rhymes, but as documents proving the heroism and illus*trating the manners of Greece. They consist of, 1. Historical Ballads, describing the adventures of Kleftai or events of pathetic interest, and not unfrequently reminding the reader of the Spanish ballads relating to the conflicts between the Christians and the Moors, or the minstrelsy of our own border ; 2. Romantic Ballads; 3. Domestic Songs ; 4. Distichs current on the coast and islands. To these are added some recent • odes of Greek literati.' The following simple ballad celebrates the heroism of a Thessalian Armatolé" who lived some thirty or forty years ago.
• I see the Turks in every pass,
Th’ Arnauts on many a hill;
Will brave the tyrant still.
Submit not to the Turk:
Where wolves are forced to lurk.
Of Plenty's gilded chains,
Their cities and their plains ;
In every lonely glen:
mosque, We share with beasts the den.' There are several ballads on the fall of Suli, the history of which most interesting episode in the Greek Revolution we gave in a former volume.* We select one which records by no means a solitary instance of female heroism, recalling the days of Carthage and Numantia.
While muskets ring and thunder.
With joy and childish wonder?
* Ecl, Review, vol. xiv. p. 534, &c.
< 'Tis Despo who is combating
With many a dark-eyed daughter :-
Th’ Albanian tide of slaughter.
Shatter'd and black with ruin;
Can gaze on Beauty sueing."
I bar this gate the faster :
Receive a Moslem master!”
Her dying voice, and hollow :
I fly! my children, follow !"
And all was bursting fire:
Have join'd their murdered sire ! The inscription on the sabre of Kontoghianni is strikingly characteristic:
• Let him who courts not kings, but death,
Who loves the free, and leads the brave,
Possess in trust this Grecian glaive.' The following is a fragment highly interesting as indicating the spirit which, we are assured, even children have displayed since the commencement of the contest. Fingari (properly Phengari, from Peyyos) is the bonny Lady Moon, better known to English readers under the name of Cynthia.
• Mayst thou still be pure and bright,
Will ye each become a Turk,
will have Arab steeds,
Christian, poor, and meek as we?
To the blessed throne of God." The notes to the translations, so far as they are explanatory of the text, are highly acceptable; but they too often run out into flippancy. We were startled at the assertion in one of them," that female modesty exists in Greece to a greater de'gree than in any country on earth.' The most candid way of accounting for this remark, coming from an Englishman, is by supposing that his acquaintance with our own country women has been confined to high life. Our Author is compelled to own, however, that one of the songs (it is not the only one of the kind) does not justify the praises elsewhere bestowed
upon the retenue of the Greek ladies ;' and he then to lay the blame of their • forwardness' on the climate. This immoral apology, which, by assigning a general cause, would seem to admit that the effect is general also, might as well have been given in the words of a line with which Mr. Sheridan must be familiar,
• The stars are more in fault than they.' We deem it necessary, however, to state, that that English modesty which, in spite of Thomas Little and Don Juan, we believe not to be extinct, will resent some of the specimens of Greek modesty in these popular songs. Among those of a domestic cast are a few specimens of Greek lullabies. One of them begins with the following invocation :
• Santa Maria! cover the child !
Santa Sophia ! sing him asleep!' In the second stanza occurs a vulgarism, the devil to pay,' for which, not having M. Fauriel's text at hand, we know not how far the Greek is responsible. Another lullaby we give entire.
• Hush ! hush! my sleeping babe!
And thou shalt have in a trice,
And Cairo for thy rice;