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** 1949 (* And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
A heart whose love is innocent!"
So much for this walking beauty, whom, as she seems to affect solitude, we should be much disposed to suffer to walk alone, as we take her to be a very dull companion. She is altogether a very non-descript kind of personage, whether we regard her as walking like night," or as having "all that's best of dark and bright in her eyes and aspect," but what the particularities of this lady have to do with Hebrew circumstances or characteristics, either of time, place, or action, we cannot divine, unless indeed the "cloudless climes and starry skies" are supposed to give to the poem its specific and appropriate character. We hope these lines are not made to conclude each stanza for the sake of the miserable jingle of its cacophonous alliteration.
The next melody, in which the power of king David's lyre is celebrated (though certainly made up of better materials than the one last mentioned, which only tells us of a beauty that walks and is perfectly harmless) has neither the simplicity nor the warm extravagance of the oriental poetry. It is a mere string of trite images in a very modern, birth-day, laureate sort of dress."
The philosophic air of the third melody is but little allied to Hebrew manners or sentiments, nor can any reason having the semblance of propriety be suggested for putting it where it is. The only doubt in the poem is, whether our earthly friendships will survive and be continued in Heaven. The line, therefore, which supposes us to "cling to being's severing link," is unsuitable to the prevailing idea. His Lordship forgot he was not at that moment in the character of an universal sceptic, but a partial doubter on a point about which the orthodox may be permitted to hesitate, and to admit his ignorance. The stanza is as follows:
To hold each heart the heart that shares,
And soul in soul grow deathless theirs!(P. 7, 8.)
The Melody which next succeeds has more merit than any one of the number, and has certainly a connexion with Hebrew events and places. One cannot but remark, however, that the
foremost rank in the memory of Judah's sons appears to be filled not by their temple, the place whereof would know it no more, but by the lost delight which was imparted by Judah's fair inhabitants and stately maids. It may be observed, that the stately maids are wanderers as their lovers are, but that to their temple, and the glory of the temple, which they could not carry with them, the privileges, the locality, and the grandeur of the Jewish nation were inseparably united.
The two succeeding Melodies represent the sorrows of the Jews at seeing their beloved Judah under the domination of the infidel oppressor. They are something like the love-letters which a man composes for his friend, who happens to be no scholar, very fine, but very stiff, very unappropriate, and very unnatural. We have some special exceptions to both these last specimens which we cannot stop to dilate upon; and if we had time, we should revolt at the task. It is to the last stanza of each of them, and particu→ larly to the last line of the fifth, that we principally object.
The stanzas on the sacrifice of Jephtha's Daughter are the unhappiest of the whole of these performances. The sentiments are out-done in deteriority by the metre, which is a sort of jumping anapæst, that would have suited the circumstances of the unhappy maid much better when she came out with timbrels and dances to meet her father, than when she was invoking the performance of The verses are as follow:
"Since our Country, our God-Oh, my Sire!
"And the voice of my mourning is o'er,
"And of this, oh, my Father! be sure-
And the last thought that soothes me below.
Though the virgins of Salem lament,
Be the judge and the hero unbent!
I have won the great battle for thee,
And my Father and Country are free!
"When this blood of thy giving hath gush'd,
And forget not I smiled as I died!", (P. 13, 14.).
The rest of the melodies hold no correspondence with the title. Why they were added nobody can see any reason, except that a book was to be made, music was prepared, and a few rhyming lines, with a few poetical figures and combinations, under the sanction of Lord Byron's name, would be sure of a sale. And so it has turned out: for every musical miss deems it necessary to be furnished with Lord Byron's Hebrew Melodies, and to find in them some beauties which escape the research, of the vulgar.
One genuine Hebrew poem of the amatory kind is consecrated by its place in the holy volume. That poem, in the judgment of the wisest men and best Hebrew scholars, involves an esoteric and recondite sense, a sublime and mystic allegory, veiled under its ostensible design, delineating the bridal union subsisting between Jehovah and his pure and uncorrupted church. The Song of Songs is an oriental poem, and, as has been observed with peculiar judgment and propriety by a very learned and elegant translator* of those sacred idyls (for such he has shown them to be), "we must not measure the taste or feelings of oriental writers by the standard of our own colder climate, or more modern times. The language of Solomon, Jayadeva, or even Isaiah himself, to the more frigid critics of Europe, may frequently appear too warm and voluptuous for the purposes of the most ardent devotion; but it would never convey any improper idea to the people to whom it was immediately addressed."
Among the oriental nations these ardent strains were too much a language of course to produce any improper excitement in the minds of Asiatics, and we cannot reasonably be either surprised or offended at the application of those figures and images which had taken so habitual a hold of the fancy, to the decoration and display of their religious feelings. But it does not follow that such a practice is a fit subject for imitation, or that a Briton could find an apology, in the fervour of his devotion, for indulging in the amatory, though pure and spiritual, enthusiasm of the Sufis or the Yogis. Still less have we any right to compose mere elegiacal songs, or sonnets, in celebration of love and beauty, and then denominate them Hebrew Melodies. Once more, however, we declare the pleasure it gave us to find, that though they have the title of Melodies, and are set to music, the compositions of Lord Byron have nothing in them calculated to deprave the minds of the young with images of gross and corrupt indulgence. We own the word Melodies somewhat alarmed us; but still it is due to the character of Lord Byron to declare, that we sincerely believe his Lordship's mind to be raised far above any deliberate
See the Song of Songs, translated from the original Hebrew by John Mason Good. London, 1803.
attack upon any one of the Christian virtues: that he is disposed, however he may sometimes have erred in judgment, to uphold and honour public and private morality; and that, notwithstanding what we have said of the Hebrew Melodies,' and other of his writings, he possesses a manly genius, a brilliant imagination, and sterling solidity of thought, the true value of which will one day be felt by his country on the side of her dearest interests, her characteristic devotedness to the religion of her forefathers, and that sound system of morality, of which the thrice blessed Author of that religion has given us the lesson and the pattern,
ART. XI. PRESENT SITUATION OF EUROPE.
1. Report of the State of France, made to Louis XVIII. in Council, by the Viscount Chateaubriand, Minister Plenipotentiary of His Most Christian Majesty to the Court of Sweden. To which is added, The Manifesto of the King, addressed to the French Nation, as drawn up by Count Lally Tollendal. 8vo. pp. 72. Colburn. London. 1815.
2. Exposé Comparatif de l'Etat Financier, Militaire, Politique, et Moral, de la France, et des Principales Puissances de l'Europe. Par M. Le Baron de Bignon, ci-devant Envoyé Extraordinaire et Ministre Plénipotentiaire de France à Cassel, à Carsruhe, et à Varsovie. 8vo. pp. 504. Paris, 1814. 3. Official Communication made to the Russian Ambassador at London on the 19th of January, 1815, explanatory of the View's which his Majesty and the Emperor of Russia formed for the Deliverance and Security of Europe: presented to Parliament by Command of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent.
4. Address to the Sovereigns of Europe, as to the Manner of treating Napoleon Bonaparte. By Lewis Goldsmith. 8vo. pp. 24. Hookhams. London. 1815.
LOUIS STANISLAUS is again upon the throne of France.
Such a rapid series of unimagined events, such an explosion of mischievous power, such a scene of oppressed majesty and triumphant crime; and again, so sudden a restoration of a righteous cause, such a burst of light upon humanity, sinking a second time under the gloom of degradation and despair, as the versatile condition of wretched France has, within a short compass, displayed, never before astonished or instructed the
world. Never before has history read so awful a lesson on the instability of all greatness which is of mere human origin, or taught men to know, with such tremendous certainty, that "power belongeth unto God."
The usurpation of Buonaparte was, indeed, brought about by such a strange, supernatural, and eccentric course of events, and has developed such a miraculous versatility, or deep hypocrisy of public sentiment; such a pusillanimous vacillation, or suppression of popular favour; such a profligate contempt of all principle; and such a servile adulation of unrighteous power, as make it a new and solitary case in the history of national degradation. That the man who was dismissed from France without one feeling, or, at the least, one expression of feeling; who was driven to appeal to foreign protection from the fickle insolence of his own vassals, should again be received with open arms, and, after the lapse of a few months, be again hailed as emperor by a large part of the same people, after time and opportunity "had been afforded them to compare his comfortless rule with the tranquil and happy course of a legitimate monarchy, is a jumble of incidents too rare to afford even an useful precedent, or to come within the analogies of history.
The whole transaction has unfolded such a scene of complicated treachery on the one hand, and of desperate enterprise on the other: it was in itself a conspiracy so widely, and at the same time so secretly diffused; such an universal, premeditated, and pains-taking preference of evil, that we confess we were not wise or suspicious enough to consider it as possible even in France.. i
Many reasons have been found out for the omission of the due precautions against the return of Buonaparte to power. Some wild and preposterous enough, and the wilder they have been, the wiser they have been considered; but until these mysteries are explained, we shall be satisfied with thinking that the reason why less vigilance than events have since shown to have been necessary was exercised over Buonaparte in his retreat was this, that the wide disproportion between his apparent means and his probable ends, so long as the armies of Europe were on foot, had induced a confidence in the continuance of things till some better security against the usurper could be determined upon by the competent authority a
Few can lay claim to the foresight of the Noble Marquis, who, soon after the irruption of Buonaparte, observed in debate, that while he had long considered Buonaparte as a man, who would be easily oppressed by reverses, he had also perceived in him, long ago, a peculiar faculty suited to the restoration of his lost fortunes, and to the regeneration and resurrection of any grand