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the earliest poetry of every nation the banks, yet abstain from the fields. must have been lost in the darkness On the rising hills are the halls of and ignorance of those ages in which the departed; the high-roofed dwelit arose. But that the earliest lan- lings of the heroes of old.” guage of uncivilized man is poetical, We have mentioned the poetical lanand that the poetry thus formed is guage of the American Indians. In ilabounding in expressions of uncom- lustration of this we may quote a very mon eloquence and beauty,--all that beautiful anecdote which is preserved has been preserved to us of the ab- by M. de St Lambert. Were we to original poetry of those countries attempt to abridge it, some of its finwhich are now civilized, and many est pathetic features would be lost. fragments which travellers have col It will be better to transcribe it as lilected amongst nations, at the pre- terally translated from the original. sent moment in a barbarous state, “ During the war a company of do most fully prove. Need we re- Indians attacked a small body of Brifer here to the poetry of our native tish troops and defeated them. Few Ossian,--to the figurative and strik- of the British escaped, and those who ing eloquence in the harangues of the fell into their hands were treated with North American savages,—to the the greatest cruelty. Two of the Inodes and war songs of the Danish and dians came up to a young man and Scandinavian nations, to the song of attacked him with great fury. Anothe Laplander as he turns his rein- ther Indian came up who was advanced deer to the cottage of his mistress, in years, and armed with a bow and or the lullaby of the Finland woman arrows. The old man instantly drew as she sings to her sleeping infant? his bow, but after having taken aiın
The examples of Ossian must be at the officer, he suddenly dropt the familiar to every reader. Perhaps point of his arrow, and interposed bethe following fine description of the tween him and his pursuers. They Celtic Paradise is not so.
retired with respect. The old man “The Isle spread large before me like then took the officer by the hand, a pleasing dream of the soul, where soothed him into confidence by cadistance fades not on the sight: where resses, and having conducted him to nearness fatigues not the eye. It had his hut, treated him with a kindness its gently sloping hills of green, nor which did honour to his professions. did they wholly want their clouds. “ He made him less a slave than a But the clouds were bright and trans- companion, taught hin the language parent: and each involved in its bo- of the country, and instructed him in som the source of a stream: a beau. the rude arts that are practised by the teous stream, which, wandering down inhabitants. They lived together in the steep, was like the faint notes of the most perfect harmony; and the the half touched harp to the distant officer, in the treatment he met with, ear. The valleys were open free to found nothing to regret, but that the ocean : trees loaded with leaves sometimes the old man fixed his eyes which scarcely waved to the light upon him, and after having regarded breeze, were scattered on the green him for some time with a steady and declivities and rising grounds. The silent attention, burst into tears. rude winds walked not on the moun “ In the mean time the spring retain: no storin took its course through turned, and the Indians again took the sky-all was calm and bright: the field. The old man, who was the pure sun òf autumn shone from still vigorous, set out with them, and the sky, on the fields : he hastened was accompanied by his prisoner. not to the west for repose, nor was he They marched above 200 leagues aseen to rise in the east. He sits in his cross the forest, and came at length noon-day height, and looks oblique- to the plain where the British troops ly on the noble isle."
were encamped. The old man shew“In each valley is its slow-moving ed his prisoner the tents at a distance. stream. The pure waters swell overThere,' said he,' are thy country
men, there are the enemy who wait
to give us battle. Remember that I “ The three requisites of Genius.” “An have saved thy life: that I have taught ege to see Nature, a heart to feel it,--and thee to conduct a canoe: to arm thya resolution that dares follow it."
self with a bow and arrows: and to
surprise the beaver in the forest. feel the full force of it, who will not What wast thou when I first took be sensible that the whole conduct thee to my hut? Thy hands were and language of the old Indian is full those of an infant ; they could pro- of poetry. cure thee neither subsistence nor sate We have no doubt that another cause ty. Thy soul was in utter darkness : of this metaphorical tone and high thou wast ignorant of every thing. wrought poetical expression, assumed Thou owedst all things to me. Wilt by the first compositions of savage thou go over to thy nation and take nations, is, to be discovered in the up the hatchet against us?' The of- prevalence of the language of signs ficer replied, that he would rather lose amongst them their earlier periods. his own life than turn himself against In the first attempts towards any his deliverer. The Indian bending thing like language, in their first ef. down his head, and covering his face forts to make themselves understood with his hand, stood some time silent. by each other, all savages have reThen looking earnestly at the pri- course to signs, to what Degerando soner, he said in a voice which was at bas termed the language of Analogy.* onee softened by tenderness and grief, If they are desirous of showing a
Hast thou a father?'' My father,' friendly disposition, they have resaid the young man,
was alive when course to the symbols of those actions I left my country.'
Alas,' said the which would be used by none but Indian, how wretched must he be.' those who were on terms of peace He paused a moment, and then add- and amity with each other. They ed, "Dost thou know that I have been present either the branch of some a father-I am a father no more. I green tree, or come forward with saw my son fall in battle, he fell at fowers in their hands, which they my side, he was covered with wounds hold out to those they wish to conciwhen he fell at my feet.' He pro- liate, or they bring in their rude chair nounced these words with the utmost of state, and invite their enemy to sit vehemence. His body shook with a down in it. If they wish to express universal tremor. He was almost hostility, they brandish their hatchstifled with sighs, which he would not ets, and strike their breasts with their
, suffer to escape him. There was a palms, and throw their bodies into keen restlessness in his eyes, but no
attitudes of defiance or contempt. tears flowed to their relief. At length Such is the beginning of the language he became calm by degrees, and turn- of signs, and there can be little doubt, ing towards the east where the sun that previous to the language of exhad just risen, ‘Dost thou see,' said pression having attained any thing he to the young officer, dost thou like perfection, this language of signs see the beauty of that sky which must have made great progress, and sparkles with prevailing day, and hast they who are accustomed to observe thou pleasure in the sight? Yes, the common performers of pantomime, replied the officer, I have pleasure to the dumb show of any great drain the beauty of so fine a day.'. 'I matic actor, or even to the graceful have none,' said the Indian, and his and expressive gestures of children, tears then found their way. A few will have some idea of the perfection minutes after he showed the officer a to which it must have been carried by Magnolia in full bloom. Dost thou those who at first had nothing to supsee,' said he, 'that beautiful tree, and ply its place. Now, there can be dost thou look with pleasure on it?' little doubt, that in this universal and 'Yes,' replied the officer, ' I look necessary prevalence of the language with pleasure on that beautiful tree,' of signs, we are to find one cause of
I have no longer any pleasure in the prevalence of metaphor, and the looking on it,' replied the Indian has- figurative and hyperbolical style in tily; and immediately added, 'Go, the spoken language, and early poetry return to thy father, that he may have of all nations. Metaphors and figures pleasure when he sees the sun rise in arc, in fact, nothing else than the last the morning, and the trees blossom in the spring.'
* Degerando, Des Signes et de l'Art de It would be impertinent to offer Penser, c. v.-Institution du Langage.any remarks on this beautiful picture. A most ingenious and eloquent chapter on There are few, very few, who will not the Formation of Language.
retiring footsteps of the language of wake thee in his own good time, and signs. They are the traces which this he has made thee a little bough to first invention of the human race has repose thee on, a bough canopied with left of its influence on the great fabric the leaves of the birch tree. Sleep of spoken language. To extend the stands at the door, and says, Is there olive branch of peace, to take up the not a little child here asleep in the hatchet of war, to sit down in the cradle—1 little child wrapt up in chair of friendship, are all (along with swaddling clothes-child reposing many others which will be familiar under a coverlet of wool ?” Many exto most readers) expressions commou amples might be given to illustrate in the language of early nations. It the same subject. The speech of is from this circumstance that even Logan, the American Indian, whose the common conversation, and still whole family had been murdered by more the harangues of these nations, the British. 66 There flows not one are so highly poetical, and it is to this drop of Logan's blood in the veins of cause, the lingering of the language any human being.” The song of
the of signs in the language of expression, African woman in Mungo Park's Trathat we ought to ascribe much of the vels, the bold expressions and magvigour and of the beautiful imagery nificent imagery which pervades the of early poetry. This language of early Runic poetry, all point the same signs would, it is evident, be adopted way, and prove the same thing. To more extensively by those nations accumulate examples would tend to whose passions were most easily rou- fatigue rather than to convince. Here sed, and the most violent in their ef- then we close this subject, but we shall fects. The more agitated the mind proceed, in a second Essay, to consider of the speaker is, the more impatient the early connection which took place is he of the control of language, and between Poetry and Music, the marthe more naturally has he recourse to riage of Music to immortal Verse, and gesticulation. The nations of the the effects which resulted from this East (from whatever cause, whether noble alliance.
W. the heat of the climate, or some peculiarities in their physical organization) have always been observed to be more violently moved by their passions, by love, hate, revenge, than those of the South. In proportion to this difference, already been duly appreciated. It
The poetry of Barry Cornwall bas at first to this language of gesture, and sellom aims at any high flights, and have continued it longer than the na
is constructed of no very sturdy mations inhabiting colder climates ; and terials; but it is extremely perfect we accordlingly find, that one of the within its own range: it expresses with most prominent features in the East- excellent effect all the particulars of ern languages, is that plenitude of the softer passions, and yet it is chief. metaphor which gives so characteristic ly in the repose of passion, when it an air of beauty and brilliancy to their can look back upon itself
, either from poetry,-a circumstance which
the point of satisfaction or of despair,
may be explained by the fact, that this that the genius of this elegant poet is language of gesticulation was more
most at home. He is admirable in his easily adopted, more commonly used, pictures of love; but it is not, so much, and retained for a longer time by ried emotion of hope, or jealousy, them, than by their southern neighbours. This early prevalence of me the passion when lovers are making
or alarm,-it is rather that state of taphor will be found in the first poet- their
mutual confessions, and forgetting ry even of the most northern nations. What can be finer than these all their past pains and doubts, in the words which were sung, as we may
blessed assurance of united hearts and believe, in a low plaintive voice, by favouring fortune,-or when - death a Finland mother when rocking her has put an end to every hope at once, child to sleep?
“ Sleep on, sleep on, sweet bird of An Italian Tale, with Three Dramathe meadow, take thy rest, little red- tic Scenes, and other Poems. By Barry breast, take thy rest. God shall 2 Cornwall. London, 1820.
REMARKS ON MARCIAN COLONNA.
and solitary melancholy is all that re
Then looks of love were seen, and many a mains to the survivor. We think it sigh is in sketches of this kind that Mr Was wasted on the air, and some aloud Cornwall's forte lies, and in these, in- Talked of the pangs they felt and swore to deed, he is, probably, unrivalled. .
She, like the solitary rose that springs He dallies with the innocence of love
In the first warmth of summer days, and Like the old time;
A perfume the more sweet because alone and the fine antique air of his versi- Just bursting into beauty, with a zone fication and expression, borrowed from Half girl's half woman's, smiled and then the tenderer parts of our old dramatists, Those gentle things to which she answered and reflecting, at times, the glow of classical or Italian imagery, is admir. But when Colonna's heir bespoke her hand, ably adapted to the simple pathos of And led her to the dance, she question'd his conceptions. We will own, there
why fore, that it is on such passages of his His brother joined not in that revelry : present poem,-although an attempt Careless he turned aside and did command of a higher kind, and aiming at a Loudly the many instruments to sound, wider range of emotion, than any of And well did that young couple tread the his former productions, that we still ground : delight to pause. We are not parti- Each step was lost in each accordant note,
Which thro' the pala seemed that cularly attached to his mad hero, or to his more laboured descriptions, As merrily, as tho’ the Satyr-god
to float which are introduced with somewhat with his inspiring reed, (the mighty Pan,) too evident an ambition. We are Had left his old Arcadian woods, and trod much better pleased with his Julia, Piping upon the shores Italian. and her natural tenderness--and it is rather to her than to her lover that
Again she asked in vain : yet, as he we shall call the attention of our (The brother) from her, a fierce colour
burned Marcian, the second son of a noble Upon his cheek, and fading left it pale Italian family, was confined in a con As death, and half proclaimed the guilty vent by his parents, who cared for no tale. thing but their first-born, and who -She dwelt upon that night till pity grew were very happy, from Marcian's evi- Into a wilder passion : the sweet dew dent tendency to insanity, to find a That linger'd in her eye' for pity's sake,' pretext for putting him out of the Was(like an exhalation in the sun)
Dried and absorbed by love. Oh ! love way.
can take They left him to his prison, and then What shape he pleases, and when once returned ;
begun And festal sounds were heard, and songs The after-knowledge which his presence
His fiery inroad in the soul, how vain were sung, And all around the .walls were garlands
gives ! hung
We weep or rave, but still he lives and As usual, and gay censers brightly burned
lives, In the Colonna palace. He was missed
Master and lord, 'midst pride and tears By none, and when his mother fondly kis,
sed Her eldest born, and bade him on that day This is remarkably soft and beauDevote him to the dove-eyed Julia, tiful,--and although the poet imThe proud Vitelli's child, Rome's paragon, mediately subjoins, now may we She thought no longer of her cloistered son. seek Colonna,' -we are really not dis
posed to seek him, nor have we any On that same night of mirth Vitelli satisfaction in his maniac extravaganWith his fair child, sole heiress of his times visits and soothes him ; it arose
cies. A heavenly vision, indeed, someShe came amidst the lovely and the proud, from the dim recollection of Julia, Peerless; and when she moved, the gallant but his own vivid imagination embocrowd
died these faint traces of remembrance, Divided, as the obsequious vapours light almost, into a living image. His broDivide to let the queen-moon pass by ther, meanwhile, died, and he is sent night :
for to cheer the solitude of his de
spairing parents,--his mind having And he rushed forth into the fresh’ning air, gradually resumed a calmer and firm- Which kissed and played about his temples er tone. His chief delight row, was
bare, in wandering about the ruins of Rome. And he grew calm. Not unobserved he
fled, One morning, as he lay half listlessly For she who mourned him once as lost and Within the shadow of a column, where
dead, His forehead met such gusts of cooling air Saw with a glance, as none but women see, As the bright summer knows in Italy, His secret passion, and home silently A gorgeous cavalcade went thundering by; She went rejoicing, till Vitelli asked Dusty and worn with travel: As it passed “Wherefore her spirit fell,'—and then she Some said the great Count had returned, tasked at last,
Her fancy for excuse wherewith to hide From his long absence upon foreign lands: Her thoughts, and turn his curious gaze 'T'was told that many countries he had aside.
seen, (He and his lady daughter,) and had been There is nothing more tremendous. A long time journeying on the Syrian sands, ly difficult, than to get lovers in cerAnd visited holy spots, and places wbere tain circumstances to speak out. They The Christian roused the Pagan from his will fly from one another to the most
lair, And taught him charity and creeds divine, than secure their happiness by a simple
distant points of the compass, rather By spilling his bright blood in Palestine.
meeting, and one or two little words. Vitelli and his child returned at last, There is certainly in the magnetic virAfter some years of wandering. Julia tue, which draws them together, a Had been betrothed and widow'd
great repelling power likewise, -feels Her husband Orsini, to whom she ings of the most extraordinary nature, had been given much against her will, which commonly occur, too, on the was a brute and a tyrant, but, to the most mal-a-propos occasions, are for great delight of all connected with ever throwing them out, and particuhim, was drowned, one fine day, larly, if there is, on one side, a vein when he was sailing along the sea in of insanity to manage, as was the his pleasure barge. At least, as our case with poor Marcian, it is almost poet says,—" This was the tale." impossible to bring thein to the point. And Julia saw the youth she loved and, being a widow, we may suppose,
Julia, no doubt, was nothing loath, again : But he was now the great Colonna's heir,
she had no maiden bashfulness to give And she whom he had left so young and her lover unnecessary trouble ; but fair,
Colonna would rather muse upon her A few short years ago, was grown, with image in his old odd way, in his fapain
vourite walks, than venture into her Of thoughts unutter'd, (a heart-eating care,) company, which he might have done, Pale as a statue. When he met her first
any day, merely by crossing the street. He gazed and gasped as tho' his heart would burst.
the flame Her figure came before him like a dream Of love burned brightly in Colonna's breast, Revealed at morning, and a sunny gleam But while it filled it robbed his soul of rest : Broke in upon his soul and lit his eye At home, abroad, at morning, and at noon, With something of a tender prophecy. In the hot sultry hours, and when the moon And was she then the shape he oft had seen, Shone in the cool fresh sky, and shaped By day and night,--she who had such those dim strange power
And shadowy figures once so dear to him, Over the terrors of his wildest hour ? Where'er he wandered, she would come And was it not a phantom that had been
upon Wandering about him ? Oh with what deep His mind, a phantom like companion ; fear
Yet, with that idle dread with which the He listened now, to mark if he could hear heart The voice that lulled him, but she never Stifles its pleasures, he would ever depart spoke ;
And loiter long amongst the streets of For in her heart her own young love awoke Rom From its long slumber, and chained down When she, he feared, might visit at his her tongue,
home. And she sate mute before him : he, the A strange and sad perverseness ; he did fear while,
To part with that palc hope which shone at Stood feasting on her melancholy smile,
last Till o'er his eyes a dizzy vapour lung,
Glinimering upon lris fortunes.