« PreviousContinue »
the English bard. He has admirably described the character of Byron's genius in the following lines;
“ J'aime de tes concerts la sauvage harmonie,
Comme j'aime le bruit de la foudre et des vents
Bercé par la tempête, il s'endort dans sa joie.”
Attendons le souffle suprême
Où dorment les divins accords!”
poem upon Bonaparte we have read with great pleasure, but consider it, though superior to Byron's, inferior in poetic beauty to that of Manzoni upon the same subject. Nor are its merits depreciated by such an opinion; for difficult indeed would it be for any writer to surpass the Italian ode. There is a strong resemblance in the character of sentiment and even the language of many stanzas, between the latter production and that of Lamartine; in the two following verses we perceive an affinity, thought not close, to a simile used by Manzoni;
"Tel qu’un pasteur debout sur la rive profonde
Et du fleuve orageux suivre en flottant le cours;
Tel du sommet désert de ta grandeur suprême,
Tu rappelais tes anciens jours ?
Que tu suivais long-temps des yeux!"
" As o'er the drowning seaman's head
The wave comes thundering from on high,
The wretch had turned his straining eye,
So on his soul came back the wave
Of melancholy memory;"'The French bard has been less charitable in the conclusion than the Italian, leaving to Heaven's mercy the disposition of the hero's soul, in expressions, to say the least, admitting a doubt of his final acceptance; while Manzoni carries him to heaven before our eyes; but as his destiny after death can be after all but a matter of conjecture, we can only be surprised that the less scrupulous generosity has been on the part of one whom political circumstances should naturally have made hostile to the fallen emperor.
The 66 Chant d'Amour" differs from most of the other lyrics before us, in being, as its name imports, consecrated to the tender passion. It is addressed to, as we suppose, an imaginary fair one, sleeping in a lovely spot, herself lovelier than aught that ever had being, save in the dreams of a poet's fancy. It begins thus:
If, O my lyre! dwelt magic in thy strings,
The deep green foliage swaying-
By these clear waters playing;-
To language of the skies-
discourse to eyes
To love's enchanted sway-
In the rich gold of day;-
While on the flowers sleeps she my heart holds dear,
Its sighs melodious, bland,
From some far spirit-land!
Above a lake of blue a hill-top bends,
To greet the crystal waves;
The drooping, shadowed leaves.
Crowning their brows of pride;
In smiling festoons glide.
To moan love's hours away;
Measure the passing day.
Their fleeting, timid hues;
Ever with mournful dews.
And bosomed on the deep
Of birds in rapid sweep.
Or zephyr's wailing tone;-
Comes mingled with our own.
In the volumes thus hastily glanced over, we have left numerous passages and whole poems marked for extraction, which our limits compel us to neglect. The attempt would be vain to do full justice to the several excellencies of our author, by presenting detached portions of striking and brilliant poetry. The sparkling fragments are far too numerous for abstraction; they crowd every page; nay, the whole fabric is one tissue of gems. In
reading a solitary production of Lamartine, one would be induced to imagine that with infinite labour and cultivation alone, so choice a treasury of sweets had been collected; it is only in traversing the whole that we perceive the exceeding richness of the soil whence spring, in spontaneous luxuriance, flowers of such surpassing and enduring beauty.--He has enriched incalculably the French language, founding a new school of poetry more agreeable to nature and to a cultivated taste; and we trust it will not be long ere his works are known here as widely as we are confident they will be highly appreciated when known.
Art. III.-Three Years in the Pacific; including Notices of
Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. BY AN OFFICER IN THE UNITED STATES Navy. Philadelphia : Carey, Lea & Blanchard. 1834.
In this work we have some additional views of South America, which, taken in connexion with the travels of Dr. Terry, noticed in the preceding number of the review, shed new light upon the principal states of the southern continent. The book is artistly put together; and though the author claims the indulgence usually accorded to novices in undertakings of this kind," we guess this is not his first attempt. If it be, his skill has made him free of author-craft. His manner is easy and flowing -betokening a practised hand. A continual effort at ornament, commonly successful, betrays an earnest desire of excellence; but the consummation of art, the concealment of art, not being always attained, we are sometiines more disposed to applaud the design than to commend its execution. Whilst he does not overlook the great objects which should engage the attention of every traveller, such as the great features of nature and the prominent traits of civil polity, he seems most to delight in description of social scenes and the concerns of private life. Had he been devoted to painting, he would probably have committed the error of Titian, and have sought gratification in graphic identity, rather than in representation of general characters, had he been a portrait painter, he would have given striking likenesses, so far as physical resemblance went; not a mole, a freckle, nor hair would have been omitted; not a fold of dress, nor sprig of lace, nor pearl of a locket, would have been overlooked; but he must have changed his course of studies, and disciplined his genius anew, before he would have painted an historical picture. In this extraordinary minuteness and frequent repetition of similar scenes, .consist the chief, almost the only faults of the book. Yet with
these it is a work of much merit. Judicious use has been made of ancient and cotemporary authors; the style is spirited and well sustained ; and we obtain from it fuller and more satisfactory information relative to the society of Spanish America, than from any work in our recollection.
Our author, who we learn is a surgeon of the navy, left New York in June 1831, on board the U. S. sloop of war Falmouth, bound on a cruise to the Pacific Ocean. He arrived at Rio Janeiro on the first of September. This has been described, not only as one of the best situated ports for commerce in the world, but as one of the most beautiful. We give our author's description of it, observing that like most other descriptions of celebrated scenery, we find it unsatisfactory. We omit some circumstances which break its continuity and distract attention.
“From the Sugar Loaf, which is a conspicuous point, we will glance round this beautiful marine basin, and endeavor to convey some idea of its form. The ‘Paðde-Açucar' is more than twelve hundred feet high, and bears a striking resemblance to a loaf of sugar, inclining a little to one side. Its surface is nearly smooth, of a dark, sombre color, and sprinkled here and there with little tufts of stunted bushes. It stands on the west side of the harbor, and at the entrance of the almost circular bay of Botafogo, which sweeps round towards the city as far as San Bernardo point.
"Close in the rear, the mountains are broken by deep ravines and splintered into peaks, one of which, called the Corcovado, out tops and overhangs the rest. Upon its very summit
, like an eyry perched among the clouds, is an observatory and a watch tower which may be seen at a great distance, when not hidden in the vapors that frequently shroud it.*
" Between San Bernárdo and Glória points extends a long beach, which, from having been the resort, in times past, of the gorgeously plumed flamingo, is now called . Praya do Flamingo.? On Glória point is placed, very conspicuously, a small white church, dedicated to the invocation of Nossa Senhora de Glória.' The edifice is octahedral, and has a tall slender spire at one side. The hill on which it stands is one of the most picturesque spots about Rio.
" From this point sweeps a small cove, lined by a neat row of white one story buildings that look out upon the bay, to point St. Iago, upon which stands a fortress of the same name. The next cove is short, and terminates at Cobras.' Here the city is seen over a forest of the masts of small craft, reposing under the shelter of the mountains. The • Praça de San Josè,' the Palace, and the imperial Chapels are conspicuous. The whiteness of the buildings brings the whole, like a picture, in strong relief against the dark mountain sides in the back ground.
" To the northward, the mountains rise high in slender, splintered peaks, which, from a fancied resemblance to the tubes of an organ, are called the Organ Mountains. In the same direction are seen white châteaus perched on the hills and rocks, so high as to be sometimes robed in clouds. The city itself is overlooked by two or three convents, as solemn in their appearance as the monks of their cloisters.
“On the eastern side, and nearly opposite to Rio, is a neat, quiet village called Praya Grande, which, during the season of amusement, is a place of general resort. It contains several potteries, and is famed for the quantity of fine sweetmeats, made and exported. At the southern extremity of Praya is a huge mass of rocks, which, apparently, have been thrown from the main land by some natural convulsion; upon its very summit (a most romantic situation truly) stands a church or a dwelling, accessible from the main by a short wooden bridge. From this point the beach of the placid bay of Inrufuba sweeps, almost like a circle, to fort Santa Cruz. Along the
“ According to the measurement of Captain Beechey, R. N. made after the formula of Mr. Daniel, the base of the flag staff is by one observation 2308 feet, and by a second 2306 feet above the level of the sea.'