Page images
PDF
EPUB

glowed upon their altars." Having long lost, which I now give it, and, if I recollect right, in I fear, most of my Eastern learning, I can the Athenæum :only cite, in defence of my catastrophe, an old Oriental tradition, which relates that Nimrod, I embrace this opportunity of bearing my when Abraham refused, at his command, to individual testimony (if it be of any value) to Forship the fire, ordered him to be thrown into the extraordinary accuracy of Mr. Moore, in the midst of the flames.* A precedent so his topographical, antiquarian, and characterancient for this sort of use of the worshipped istic details, whether of costume, manners, or element, appears, for all purposes at least of less-changing monuments, both in his Lalla poetry, to be fully sufficient.

Rookh and in the Epicurean. It has been my In addition to these agreeable testimonies, fortune to read his Atlantic, Bermudean, and I have also heard, and, need hardly add, with American Odes and Epistles, in the countries some pride and pleasure, that parts of this work and among the people to which and to whom have been rendered into Persian, and have they related; I enjoyed also the exquisite found their way to Ispahan. To this fact, as I delight of reading his Lalla Rookh, in Persia am willing to think it, allusion is made in some itself; and I have perused the Epicurean, while lively verses, written many years since, by my all my recollections of Egypt and its still existfriend, Mr. Luttrell :

ing wonders are as fresh as when I quitted the ** I'm told, dear Moore, your lays are sung,

banks of the Nile for Arabia :- I owe it, (Can it be true, you lucky man ?)

therefore, as a debt of gratitude (though the By moonlight, in the Persian tongue,

payment is most inadequate), for the great Along the streets of Ispahan.”

pleasure I have derived from his productions, That some knowledge of the work may to bear my humble testimony to their local have really reached that region, appears not fidelity improbable from a passage in the Travels of

“ J.S. B." Mr. Frazer, who says, that “ being delayed for some time at a town on the shores of the Cas- Among the incidents connected with this pian, he was lucky enough to be able to amuse work, I must not omit to notice the splendid himself with a copy of Lalla Rookh, which a Divertissement, founded upon it, which was Persian had lent him.”

acted at the Château Royal of Berlin, during of the description of Balbec, in “ Paradise the visit of the Grand Duke Nicholas to that and the Peri," Mr. Carne, in his Letters from capital, in the year 1822. The different stories the East, thus speaks: “The description in Lalla composing the work were represented in TaRookh of the plain and its ruins is exquisitely bleaux Vivans and faithful. The minaret is on the declivity near crowd of royal and noble personages engaged at band, and there wanted only the muezzin's in the performances, I shall mention those only cry to break the silence.”

who represented the principal characters, and I shall now tax my readers' patience with whom I find thus enumerated in the published but one more of these generous vouchers. account of the Divertissement.t Whatever of vanity there may be in citing such

Comte Haack, (Maréchal tributes, they show, at least, of what great value,

“ Fadladin, Grand-Nasir {

de Cour). even in poetry, is that prosaic quality, industry,

Aliris, Roi de Bucharie since, as the reader of the foregoing pages is

Aurungzeb, le Grand Mogol {* Laume, frère du Roi. now fully apprized, it was in a slow and laborious collection of small facts, that the first Abdallah, Père d'Aliris { foundations of this fanciful Romance were laid.

S.A.R.LaPrincesse Louise

La Reine, son épouse The friendly testimony I have just referred to, appeared, some years since, in the form in Besides these and other leading personages,

songs; and

among the

.

Lalla Roûkh.

.

S. A. I. Le Grand Duc.
S. A. I. La Grand Duchesse.

S. A. R. Le Prince Guil.

S.A. R. Le Duc de Cum

berland

Radzivill."

• Tradunt autem Hebræi hanc fabulam quod Abraham in Danses, Berlin, 1822. The work contains a series of coloured ignem missus sit quia ignem adorare noluit. – ST. HIERON. in engravings, representing groups, processions, &c., in different Quest. in Genesim.

Oriental costumes. | Lalla Roukh, Divertissement mélé de Chants et de

TO

there were also brought into action, under the various denominations of Seigneurs et Dames

PREFACE de Bucharie, Dames de Cachemire, Seigneurs et Dames dansans à la Fête des Roses, &c. nearly 150 persons.

THE SEVENTH VOLUME. Of the manner and style in which the Tableaux of the different stories are described in The station assigned to “The Fudge Family," the work from which I cite, the following in the following pages, immediately after Lalla account of the performance of Paradise and the Rookh, agrees but too closely with the actual Peri will afford some specimen :

order in which these two works were originally “ La décoration representoit les portes bril- written and published. The success, far ex. lantes du Paradis, entourées de nuages. Dans ceeding my hopes and deserts, with which le premier tableau on voyoit la Péri, triste et Lalla Rookh was immediately crowned, redesolée, couchée sur le seuil des portes fermées, lieved me at once from the anxious feeling of et l'Ange de lumière qui lui addresse des con- responsibility under which, as my readers have solations et des conseils. Le second représente seen, that enterprise had been commenced, and le moment, où la Peri, dans l'espoir que ce don which continued for some time to haunt me lui ouvrira l'entrée du Paradis recueille la der- amidst all the enchantments of my task. I was nière goutte de sang que vient de verser le therefore in the true holyday mood, when a jeune guerrier Indien...

dear friend, with whose name is associated “ La Péri et l'Ange de lumière répondoient some of the brightest and pleasantest hours of pleinement à l'image et à l'idée qu'on est tenté my past life *, kindly offered me a seat in his de se faire de ces deux individus, et l'impression carriage for a short visit to Paris. This proqu'a faite généralement la suite des tableaux posal I, of course, most gladly accepted ; and, de cet épisode délicat et intéressant est loin de in the autumn of the year 1817, found myself, s'effacer de notre souvenir."

for the first time, in that gay capital. In this grand Fête, it appears, originated As the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty the translation of Lalla Rookh into German was still of too recent a date for any amalgamverse, by the Baron de la Motte Fouqué; and ation to have yet taken place between the new the circumstances which led him to undertake and ancient order of things, all the most prothe task, are described by himself, in a Dedi- minent features of both régimes were just then catory Poem to the Empress of Russia, which brought, in their fullest relief, into juxtaposihe has prefixed to his translation. As soon as tion; and, accordingly, the result was such as the performance, he tells us, had ended, Lalla to suggest to an unconcerned spectator quite Rookh (the Empress herself) exclaimed, with as abundant matter for ridicule as for grave a sigh, “Is it, then, all over? are we now at political consideration. It would be difficult, the close of all that has given us so much de- indeed, to convey to those who had not themlight? and lives there no poet who will impart selves seen the Paris of that period, any clear to others, and to future times, some notion of notion of the anomalous aspect, both social the happiness we have enjoyed this evening ?” and political, which it then presented. It was On hearing this appeal, a Knight of Cachmere as if, in the days succeeding the Deluge, a (who is no other than the poetical Baron him- small coterie of antediluvians had been suddenly self) comes forward and promises to attempt to evoked from out of the deep to take the compresent to the world“ the Poem itself in the mand of a new and freshly starting world. measure of the original :"-—whereupon Lalla To me, the abundant amusement and interest Rookh, it is added, approvingly smiled. which such a scene could not but afford was a

good deal heightened by my having, in my youthful days, been made acquainted with some of those personages who were now most interested in the future success of the Legitimate

• Mr. Rogers.

cause. The Comte D'Artois, or Monsieur, I down to the old Duc de Lorge and the Baron had met in the year 1802-3, at Donington de Rolle. When I had gone through the Park, the seat of the Earl of Moira, under whole list, “Ah, poor fellows !” he exclaimed, whose princely roof I used often and long, with a mixture of fun and pathos in his look, in those days, to find a most hospitable home. truly Irish, “ Poor fellows, all dismounted A small party of distinguished French emi- cavalry!” grants were already staying on a visit in the On the last evening of Monsieur's stay, I house when Monsieur and his suite arrived; was made to sing for him, among other songs, and among those were the present King of “Farewell Bessy!” one of my earliest attempts France and his two brothers, the Duc de at musical composition. As soon as I had Montpensier, and the Comte de Beaujolais. finished, he paid me the compliment of reading

Some doubt and uneasiness had, I remember, aloud the words as written under the music; been felt by the two latter brothers, as to and most royal havoc did he make, as to this the reception they were likely to encounter day I well remember, of whatever little sense from the new guest ; and as, in those times, a or metre they could boast. cropped and unpowdered head was regarded Among my earlier poetic writings, more generally as a symbol of Jacobinism, the Comte than one grateful memorial may be found of Beaujolais, who, like many other young men, the happy days I passed in this hospitable Fore his hair in this fashion, thought it, on the mansion *,present occasion, most prudent, in order to avoid all risk of offence, not only to put powder

Of all my sunny morns and moonlight nights

On Donington's green lawns and breezy heights. in his hair, but also to provide himself with an artificial queue. This measure of precaution, But neither verse nor prose could do any however, led to a slight incident after dinner, justice to the sort of impression I still retain of which, though not very royal or dignified, was those long-vanished days. The library at | at least creditable to the social good-humour Donington wast extensive and valuable; and of the future Charles X. On the departure of through the privilege kindly granted to me of the ladies from the dining-room, we had hardly retiring thither for study, even when the family seated ourselves in the old-fashioned style, were absent, I frequently passed whole weeks round the fire, when Monsieur, who had hap- alone in that fine library, indulging in all the pened to place himself next to Beaujolais, first airy castle-building of authorship. The

caught a glimpse of the ascititious tail, - which, various projects, indeed, of future works that | having been rather carelessly put on, had a used then to pass in fruitless succession through | good deal straggled out of its place. With a my mind, can be compared only to the waves

sort of scream of jocular pleasure, as if delighted as described by the poet, — | at the discovery, Monsieur seized the stray

" And one no sooner touch'd the shore, and died, appendage, and, bringing it round into full view, to the great amusement of the whole company, popped it into poor grinning Beau- With that library is also connected another jolais' mouth.

of my earlier poems, — the verses addressed to On one of the evenings of this short visit of the Duke of Montpensier on his portrait of the Monsieur, I remember Curran arriving unex- Lady Adelaide Forbes † ; for it was there that pectedly, on his way to London; and, having this truly noble lady, then in the first dawn of come too late for dinner, he joined our party her beauty, used to sit for that picture ; while, in the evening. As the foreign portion of in another part of the library, the Duke of the company was then quite new to him, I was Orleans,— engaged generally at that time with able to be useful, by informing him of the a volume of Clarendon, — was by such studies names, rank, and other particulars of the party unconsciously preparing himself for the high be found assembled, from Monsieur himself, and arduous destiny, which not only the Good

Than a new follower rose."

See p. 128. of this edition.

injustice, whose filial wish I know it is to keep all at Doningt in employing the past tense here, I do the present lord ton exactly as his noble father left it.

See p. 92. of this edition.

Genius of France, but his own sagacious and few days; and then my companion took the intrepid spirit, had early marked out for him. route to Genoa, while I proceeded on a visit to

I need hardly say how totally different were Lord Byron, at Venice. all the circumstances under which Monsieur It was during the journey, thus briefly dehimself and some of his followers were again scribed, I addressed the well-known Remonseen by me in the year 1817;—the same strance to my noble friendt, which has of late actors, indeed, but with an entirely new change been frequently coupled with my prophetic of scenery and decorations. Among the variety verses on the Duke of Wellington I, from the of aspects presented by this change, the ridicu- prescient spirit with which it so confidently lous certainly predominated; nor could a looked forward to all that Lord John has since satirist who, like Philoctetes, was smitten with become in the eyes of the world. a fancy for shooting at geese*, ask any better Of my visit to Lord Byron,- an event, to supply of such game than the high places, in me so memorable, -I have already detailed France, at that period, both lay and ecclesias- all the most interesting particulars in my pubtical, afforded. Not being versed, however, lished Life of the poet; and shall here only sufficiently in French politics to venture to cite, from that work, one passage, as having meddle with them, even in sport, I found a some reference to a picture mentioned in the more ready conductor of laughter — for which following pages. “ As we were conversing I was then much in the mood — in those groups after dinner about the various collections of of ridiculous English who were at that time paintings I had seen that morning, on my swarming in all directions throughout Paris, saying that, fearful as I was of ever praising and of all whose various forms of cockney- any picture, lest I should draw on myself the ism and nonsense I endeavoured, in the per- connoisseur's sneer, for my pains, I would yet, sonages of the Fudge Family, to collect the to him, venture to own that I had seen a picture concentrated essence. The result, as usual, at Milan, which — The Hagar!'s he exfell very far short of what I had myself precon- claimed, eagerly interrupting me; and it was, ceived and intended. But, making its appear in fact, that very picture I was about to menance at such a crisis, the work brought with it tion to him as having awakened in me, by the that best seasoning of all such jeux-d'esprit, the truth of its expression, more real emotion than à-propos of the moment; and, accordingly, in any I had yet seen among the chefs-d'æuore of the race of successive editions, Lalla Rookh Venice.” was, for some time, kept pace with by Miss In the society I chiefly lived with, while at Biddy Fudge.

Rome, I considered myself singularly fortunate ; The series of trifles contained in this volume, though but a blind and uninitiated worshipper entitled “ Rhymes on the Road,” were written of those powers of Art of which my companions partly as their title implies, and partly at a were all high-priests. Canova himself, Chansubsequent period from memorandums made trey, Lawrence, Jackson, Turner, Eastlake, on the spot. This will account for so many such were the men of whose presence and of those pieces being little better, I fear, than guidance I enjoyed the advantage in visiting “ prose fringed with rhyme.” The journey all that unrivalled Rome can boast of beautiful to a part of which those Rhymes owed their and grand. That I derived from this course existence was commenced in company with of tuition any thing more than a very humbling Lord John Russell in the autumn of the year consciousness of my own ignorance and want 1819. After a week or two passed at Paris, to of taste, in matters of art, I will not be so disenable Lord John to refer to Barillon's Letters honest as to pretend. But, to the stranger in for a new edition of his Life of Lord Russell Rome every step forms an epoch; and, in addithen preparing, we set out together for the tion to all its own countless appeals to memory Simplon. At Milan, the agreeable society and imagination, the agreeable auspices under of the late Lord Kinnaird detained us for a which I first visited all its memorable places

" Pinnigero, non armigero in corpore tela exerceantur :" the words put by Accius in the mouth of Philoctetes.

+ See Miscellaneous Poems. See p. 194. of this edition.

Abraham dismissing Hagar, by Guercino.

could not but render every impression I re- the political state of Europe at that period,

ceived more vivid and permanent. Thus, with and those “ bricconi," as he styled them, the | my recollection of the Sepulchre of St. Peter, sovereigns of the Holy Alliance; and, before I

and its ever-burning lamps, for which splendid left Rome, he kindly presented to me a set of spot Canova was then meditating a statue *, engravings from some of his finest statues, tothere is always connected in my mind the ex- gether with a copy of the beautifully printed elamation which I heard break from Chantrey collection of Poems, which a Roman poet, after gazing, for a few moments, in silence, named Missirini, had written in praise of his upon that glorious site, —“What a place to different “ Marmi." work for!"

When Lord John Russell and myself parted, In one of the poems contained in this vo- at Milan, it was agreed between us, that after a lumet allusion is made to an evening not easily short visit to Rome, and (if practicable within forgotten, when Chantrey and myself were the allowed time) to Naples, I was to rejoin taken by Canova to the Borghese Palace, for him at Genoa, and from thence accompany him the purpose of showing us, by the light of a to England. But the early period for which taper-his favourite mode of exhibiting that Parliament was summoned, that year, owing to work — his beautiful statue of the Princess the violent proceedings at Manchester, rendered Borghese, called the Venere Vincitrice. In it necessary for Lord John to hasten his return Chantrey's eagerness to point out some grace to England. I was, therefore, most fortunate, or effect that peculiarly struck him, he snatched under such circumstances, in being permitted the light out of Canova's hand; and to this cir- by my friends Chantrey and Jackson to join in cumstance the following passage of the poem their journey homeward ; through which lucky referred to was meant to allude:

arrangement, the same precious privilege I had When he, thy peer in art and fame,

enjoyed, at Rome, of hearing the opinions of Hung o'er the marble with delight;

such practised judges, on all the great works of And, while his ling'ring hand would steal O'er every grace the taper's rays,

art I saw in their company, was continued Gave thee, with all the gen'rous zeal

afterwards to me through the various collecSuch master-spirits only feel,

tions we visited together, at Florence, Bologna, The best of fame - a rival's praise.

Modena, Parma, Milan, and Turin. One of the days that still linger most plea

To some of those pictures and statues that santly in my memory, and which, I trust, neither most took my fancy, during my tour, allusions Lady Calcott nor Mr. Eastlake have quite for- will be found in a few of the poems contained gotten, was that of our visit together to the in this volume. But the great pleasure I dePalatine Mount, when, as we sauntered about rived from these and many other such works that picturesque spot, enjoying the varied views arose far more from the poetical nature of their of Rome which it commands, they made me, subjects than from any judgment I had learned for the first time, acquainted with Guidi's to form of their real merit as works of art, spirited Ode on the Arcadians, in which there

-a line of lore in which, notwithstanding my is poetry enough to make amends for all the course of schooling, I remained, I fear, unenDonsense of his rhyming brethren. Truly and lightened to the last. For all that was lost grandly does he exclaim,

upon me, however, in the halls of Art, I was " Indornita e superba ancor è Roma

more than consoled in the cheap pictureBenchè si veggià col gran busto a terra ;

gallery of Nature; and a glorious sunset I Son piene di splendor le sue ruine,

witnessed in ascending the Simplon is still E il gran cenere suo si mostra eterno."

remembered by me with a depth and freshness With Canova, while sitting to Jackson for of feeling which no one work of art I saw in a portrait ordered by Chantrey, I had more the galleries of Italy has left behind. ! than once some interesting conversation, —or, I have now a few words to devote to a some

rather, listened while he spoke, — respecting what kindred subject, with which a poem or

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »