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be beet parts of Moltanna, it has a far more nterecting story; and is not liable to any of :he objections we have been obliged to bring i°»inst the contrivance and structure of that ¡eitUng poem. The outline of the story is •hon and simple.—Al Hassan, the bigotted md sanguinary Emir of Persia, had long waged \ furious and exterminating war against the votaries of the ancient religion of the land— ihe worshippers of Mithra, or his emblem, Fire—then and since designated by the name of Ghebere. The superior numbers of the invader had overcome the heroic resistance of the patriots, and driven them to take refuge in a precipitous peninsula, cut off from the land by what was understood to be an impassable ravine, and exposing nothing but bare rocks to the sea. In this fastness the scanty remnant of the Ghebers maintain themselves, under the command of their dauntless leader. Hafed, who is still enabled, by sudden and daring incursions, to harass and annoy their enemv. In one of those desperate enterprises, this adventurous leader climbs to the summit of a lofty cliff, near the Emir's palace, where a small pleasure-house had Wn built, in which he hoped to surprise this Viamted foe of his country; but found only hi« fair daughter Hinda, the loveliest and gentlest of all Arabian maids—as he himself expresses it.
"He climb'd ihc gory Vulture's nest, And found a trembling Dove within!"
This romantic meeting gives rise to a mutual passion—and the love of the fair Hinda is inevitably engaged, before she knows the name or quality of her nightly visitant. In the noble heart of Hafed, however, love was but г secondary feeling, to devotion to the freedom and the faith of his country. His little band had lately suffered further reverses, and raw nothing now before them but a glorious K'lf-sacrifice. He resolves, therefore, to tear all gentler feelings from his breast, and in one b-*t interview to take an eternal farewell of the maid who had captivated his soul. In his melancholy aspect she reads at once, with the instinctive sagacity of love, the tidings of their approaching separation: and breaks out into the following sweet and girlish repinings :—
"' I knew. I knew it jне/./ not last—
Twat bright, 'twas heavenly—hut 'lis past!
I've seen my fondest hopes decay;
Bui 'twas the first to fade away.
To clad me with its soft black eye.
And love me. it was sure to die!
Of all I ever dreamt or knew,
Oh mis'ry! must I lose that tno t
Thow frightful rocks—that treach rous sen—
Thongh heav'n, it may be death to thee.'" pp. 187,188.
When he smiles sternly at the idea of danIt. she urges him to join her father's forces,
and earn her hand by helping him to root out those impious Ghebers whom he so much abhors. The spirit of the patriot bursts forth at this; and, without revealing his name or quality, he proudly avows and justifies the conduct of that luckless sect; and then, relenting, falls into a gentler and more pathetic strain.
"' Oh! had we never, never met!
Or could this heart e'en now forget!
How link'd, how bless'd we might have been,
Had fate not frown'd so dark between!
Hadet thou been born в Persian maid;
In neighb'ring valleys had we dwelt, Through the same fields in childhood plny'd,
At the same kindling altar knelt— Then, then, while all those nameless ties, In which the charm of Country lies, Had round our hearts been hourly spun, Till Iran's cause and thine were one; While in thy lute's awak'ning sigh I heard the voice of days gone by, And saw in ev'ry smile of thine Returning hours of glory shine !— While the wrong'd Spirit of our Land [thee !—
Liv'd, look'd, and spoke her wrongs through God! who could then this sword withstand t
Its very flash were victory!
Faith, friends, and country, sunder'd wide ;— And then, then only, true to love.
When false to all that's dear beside! Thy father Iran's deadliest foe— Thyself, perhaps, ev'n now—but noHate never look'd so lovely yet!
No !—rarred to thy eoul will be The land of him who could forget
All but that bleeding land for thee! When other eyes shall see, unmov'd,
Her widows mourn, her warriors fall, Thou'lt think how well one Gheber lov'd,
And for hit Bake thou'lt weep for all!"
pp. 193, 194.
He then starts desperately away; regains his skiff at the foot of the precipice, and leaves her in agony and consternation. The poet now proceeds to detail, a little more particularly, the history of his hero; and recounts some of the absurd legends and miraculous attributes with which the fears of his enemiei had invested his name.
"Such were the talcs, that won belief,
And such the colouring fancy gave
One who. no more than mortal brave,
For happv homes and altars free;
His only spell-word, Liberty!
The pageant of his country's shame;
Fell on his soul, like drops of flame; And. as » lover hails the dawn
Of a firat smile, so welcom'd be
The sparkle of the first sword drawn Forvengeance and for liberty !"—pp. 206, 207.
The song then returns to Hinda—
"Whose life, as free from thought as sin,
The Persian lily shines and towers,
Has fall'n upon her golden flowers.
"Ah ! not the Love, that should have bless'd
In friendship's smile, and home's caress, Collecting nil the hearts sweet lies —Into one knot of happiness !"—pp. 215—217.
The Emir now learns, from a recreant prisoner, the secret of the pass to the Ghebers retreat; and when he sees his daughter faint with horror at his eager anticipation of their final extirpation, sends her, in a solitary galley, away from the scene of vengeance, to the quiet of her own Arabian home.
"And does the long-left home she seeks
And Ihe gay, gleaming fishes count,
Shooting around their jasper fount— Her little garden mosque to see,
And once again, at ev'ning hour, To tell her ruby rosary,
In her own sweet acacia bower.— Can these delights, that wait her now, Call up no sunshine on her brow f No^—silent, from her train apart— As if ev'n now she fell at heart The chill of her approaching doom— She sits, all lovely in her gloom As a pale Angel of the Grave."—pp. 227, 228.
Her vessel is first assailed by a violent tempest, and, in the height of its fury, by a hostile bark ; and her senses are extinguished with terror in the midst of the double conflict. At last, both are appeased—and her recollection is slowly restored. The following pasrage appears to us extremely beautiful and characteristic :—
"How cnlm. how beautiful comes on
When, 'stead of one unchanging breeze,
When the blue walers rise and fall,
In sleepy sunshine mantling all;
And ev'n that swell the tempest leaves
Is like the full and silent heaves
Of lover's hearts, when newly blest;
Too newly to be quite at rest !—
"Such was the golden hour that broke Upon the world, when Hinda wuke From her long trance; ard heard around No motion but the water's sound Rippling against the vessel's side, As slow it mounted o'er the tide.— But where is she ?—Her eyes are dark. Are wilder'd still—is this the bark. The same, that from Harmozia'» bay Bore her at morn—whose bloody way The sea-dog iracks ?—No !—Strange and ne» Is all that meets her wond'ring view Upon a galliot's deck she lies.
Beneath no rich pavilion's shade.
Nor jasmin on her pillow laid.
She soon discovers, in short, that she ;« • captive in the hands of the Ghebere! aui shrinks with horror, when she finds Iha: ¿j is to be carried to their rocky citadel. a;<i' the presence of the terrible Hafed. Tht* :--• ley is rowed by torchlight through frighlto rocks and foaming tides, into a black abj» of the promontory, where her eyes are :«.daged—and she is borne upa long and n:;_ascent, till at last she is desired to k*'t; and receive her doom from the formidat:« chieftain. Before she hae raised hereje«, tr.r well known voice of her lover pronounce* ¡ •: name ; and she finds herself alone in the атг* of her adoring Hafed! The first emotion .-• ecstasy.—But the recollection of her father» vow and means of vengeance comes like a thundercloud on her joy :—she tells her krrer of the treachery by which he has been Mc;¡ficed; and urges him, with passionate «gernées, to fly with her to some place of mfetj.
"' Hnfed, my own beloved Lord,'
Half what thy lips impassion'd swore,
To any but their God before!
Can waft us o'er yon dark'ning «•
So thou art safe,—and I wiih the« '. Go where we will, this hand in thine,
Those eyes before me beaming thin, Through good and ill, through storm »nd»hn».
The world's a world of love form!
Then hung her head, and wept for .«hair«:
Ha fed is more shocked wilh the treachery to which he is sacrificed than with the fate to which it consigns him :—One moment he gives up to softness and pity—assures Hinda, with compassionate equivocation, that they shall soon meet on some more peaceful shore —places her sadly in a litter, and sees her borne down the steep to the galley she had lately quitted, and to \vhieh she still expects that he ie to follow her. He then assembles h:s brave and devoted companions—warns them of the fate that is approaching—and exliorts them to meet the host of the invaders in the ravine, and sell their lives dearly to their steel. After a fierce, and somewhat too sanguinary combat, the Ghebers are at last borne down by numbers; and Hafed finds himself left alone, with one brave associate, mortally wounded like himself. They make a desperate effort to reach and die beside the consecrated fire which burns for ever on the summit of the cliff.
"The crags are red they've clamber'd o'er,
Now Hafed sees the Fire divine—
Dead, on the threshold of the Shrine. 'Alas! brave soul, too quickly fled!
'And must I leave thee withering here, 'The sport of every ruffian's tread,
'The mark for every coward's spear? 4 No, by yon altar's sacred beams!' He cries, and, with a strength that seems Not of this world, uplifts the frame Of the fall'n chief, and tow'rds the flame Bears him along !—With death-damp hand
The corpse upon the pyre he lave;
And fires the pile, whose sudden blaze
The unfortunate Hinda, whose galley had been detained close under the cliff by the noise of the first onset, had heard with agony the sounds which marked the progress and catastrophe of the fight, and is at last a spectatress of the lofty fate of her lover.
"But se e—what moves upon the height t
What bodes its solitary glare T
lie melancholy radiance pent;
Sbrin'd in its own grand element!
But, while she speak«, he's seen no more!
High burst in air the fun'ral flames,
And Iran's hopes and hers are o'er! One wild, heart-broken shriek she gave— Then sprung, as if to reach that blaze, Where still she fix'd her dying gaze, And, gazing, sunk into the wave!— Deep, deep !—where never care or pain Shall reach her innocent heart again!"
pp. 283, 284.
This sad story is closed by a sort of choral dirge, of great elegance and beauty, of which we can only afford to give the first stanza.
*ío pearl ever lay, under Oman's green water, More pure in its shell than thy Spirit in thee.'
The general tone of this poem is certainly too much strained. It is overwrought throughout, and is too entirely made up of agonies and raptures ;—but, in spite of all this, it is a work of great genius and beauty; and not only delights the fancy by its general brilliancy and spirit, but moves all the tender and noble feelings with a deep and powerful agitation.
The last piece, entitled "The Light of the Haram," is the gayest of the whole; and is of a very slender fabric as 1o fable or invention. In truth, it has scarcely any story at all; but is made up almost entirely of beautiful songs and descriptions. During the summer months, when the court is resident in the Vale of Cashmere, there is, it seems, a sort of oriental carnival, called the Feast of Roses, during which every body is bound to be happy and in good humour. At this critical period, the Emperor Selim had unfortunately a little love-quarrel with his favourite Sultana Nourmahal,—which signifies, it seems, the Light of the Haram. The lady is rather unhappy while the sullen fit is on her; and applies to a sort of enchantress, who invokes a musical spirit to teach her an irresistible song, which she sings in a mask to the offended monarch; and when his heart is subdued by its sweetness, throws off her mask, and springs with fonder welcome than ever into his repentant arms. The whole piece is written in a kind of rapture,—as if the author had •/ breathed nothing but intoxicating gas during its composition. It is accordingly quite filled with lively images and splendid expressions, and all sorts of beauties,—except those of re- • serve or simplicity. We must give a few specimens, to revive the spirits of our readers after the tragic catastrophe of Hafed; and we may begin with this portion of the description of the Happy Valley.
"Oh! to вее it by moonlight,—when mellowly
The light o'er its palaces, gardens and shrines;
Or at morn, when the magic of daylight awakes
When the Spirit of Fragrance a up with the day, From his llarani of night-flowers stealing away; And the wind, lull ot wantonness, woes like a lover The young aspen-trees nil they iremble all over. W'hen the East is as warm as the light of first hopes
And Day, wilh his banner of radiance unfurl'd, Shines in through the mountainous porial that opes,
Sublime, from that Valley of bliss to the world!"
The character of NourmahaJ's beauty in much in the same taste: though the diction is rather more loose and careless.
"There's a beauty, for ever unchangingly bright. Like the long sunny lapse of a summers day's
Shining on, shining on, by no shadow made tender, Till Love tails asleep in its sameness of splendour. This ига« not ihe beauty—oh! nothing like this, That to youne Nourmahal gave such magic of bliss; But that loveliness, ever in motion, which plays Like the light upon autumn's soft shadowy days, Now here and now there, giving warmth м it flies From the lips to the cheek, from the cheek to the
Now melting in mist and now breaking in gleams, Like the glimpses a saint has of Heav'n in his
When pensive, it seem'd as if that very grace, That charm of all others, was born withlier face. Then her mirth—oh! 'twas sportive as ever took
wing [spring ;—
From (he heart with a burst, like the wild-bird in
And where it most sparkl'd no glance could dis-
pp. 302, 303.
We can give but a little morsel of the enchanting Song of the Spirit of Music.
"' For mine is the lay that lightly floats,
Refines ihe bosom it trembles through,
Ruffles the wave, but sweetens it too!
'The warrior's heart, when touch'd by me,
When Music has reach'd her inward soul,
While Heav'n's eternal melodies roll !' »
pp. 318, 319.
Nourmahal herself, however, in her Arabian disguise, sings a still more prevailing ditty— of which we can only insert a few stanzas.
"' Fly to the desert, fly wilh me!
'Our sands are bare; but down their slope
'Then come! thy Arab maid will be
'Come! if the love tbou hast for me
'But if for me thou dost forsake
'Then, fare thee well !—I'd rather make
This strain, and the sentiment which a embodies, reminded the offended monarch ci his charming Nourmahal; and he names he; name in accents of tenderness and regret.
"The mask is off—the charm is wrought !—
We have now said enough, and ьЬоы enough, of this book, to let our readers understand both what it is, and what we think of it. Its great fault certainly is its excessive finery, and its great charm the inexhaustible copiousness of its imagery—the sweetueeand ease of its diction—and the beauty of the objects and sentiments with which it is concerned. Its finery, it should also be observed, is not the vulgar ostentation which so oit« disguises poverty or meanness—but the Pitravagance of excessive wealth. We b¿>? said this, however, we believe before—aid suspect we have little more to eay.
All poets, who really love poetry, and Irre in a poetical age, are great imitator?; and the character of their writings may often It as correctly ascertained by observing whon they imitate and whom ¡hey abstain from imitating, as from any thing elfe. Mr Moore, in the volume before us. remind! cs offener of Mr. Southey and Lord Byron, thaa of any other of» his contemporaries. The resemblance is sometimes to the Roderick of :he first-mentioned author, but most frequent ¡y to his Kehama. This may be partly owiu: to the nature of the subject; but. m талу mssages, the coincidence seems to be rtore •adical—and to indicate a considerable cur,brmity, in laste and habits of conception. Mr. Southey's tone, indeed, is more aesmnng, his manner more solemn, and his diction weaker. Mr. Moore is more lively—bis îgures and images come more thic-klr: »i.-d us language is at once more familiar, and nore strengthened with points and antithW?. n otherj'espects, the descriptive passage*" iehama bear a remarkable affinity to many n the work before us—in the briphtnf.«*''' he colouring, and the amplitude and beauty of the details. It is in his descriptions of lore. and of female loveliness, that there is the strongest resemblance lo Lord Byron—al lfí!t о the larger poems of that noble author. In he powerful and condensed expression oí
itrong emotion, Mr. Moore seems to us rather о have imitated the tone of his Lordship's »mailer pieces—but imitated them as only an jriginal genius could imitate—as Lord Byron himself may be said, in hie later pieces, to have imitated those of an earlier date. There is less to remind us of Scott than we can very well account for, when we consider the great range and variety of that most fascinating and powerful writer; and we must say, that if Mr. Moore could bring the resemblance a little closer, and exchange a portion of his superfluous images and ecstasies for an équivalent share of Mr. Scott's gift of interesting and delighting us with pictures of familiar nature, and of the spirit and energy which never rises lo extravagance, we think he would be a gainer by the exchange. To Mr. Crabbe there is no resemblance at all; and we only mention his name to observe, that he and Mr. Moore seem to be the antipodies of our present poetical sphere; and to occupy the extreme points of refinement and homeliness that can be said to fall within the legitimate dominion of poetry. They could not meet in the middle, we are aware, without changing their nature, and losing their specific character: but each might approach a few degrees, we think, with great mutual advantage. The outposts of all empires are posts of peril:—though we do not dispute that there is great honour ш maintaining them with success.
There is one other topic upon which we are not quite sure we should say any thing. On a former occasion, we reproved Mr. Moore, perhaps with unnecessary severity, for what appeared to us the licentiousness of some of his youthful productions. We think it a duty to say, that ne has long ago redeemed that error; and that in all his latter works that have come under our observation, he appears as the eloquent champion of purity, fidelity, i and delicacy, not less than of justice, liberty, ! and honour. Like most other poets, indeed, i he speaks much of beauty and luve; and we j doubt not that many mature virgins and care; ful matrons may think his lucubrations on those themes too rapturous and glowing to be I safely admitted among the private studies of ! youth. We really think, however, that there ! is not much need for such apprehensions: 'And, at all events, if we look to the moral • design and scope of the works themselves, we I can see no reason to censure the author. All i his favourites, without exception, are dutiful, faithful, and self-denying; and no other example is ever set up for imitation. There is nothing approaching to indelicacy even in his description of the seductions by which they are tried; and they who object to his enchanting pictures of the beauty and pure attachment of the more prominent characters would find fault, we suppose, with the loveliness and the embraces of angels.
Ты Excursion; being a Portion of the Recluse, a Poem. By William Wordsworth. 4to. pp.447. London: 1814.»
This will never do! It bears no doubt the unfortunately not half so visibly as that of his Mamp of the author's heart and fancy: But peculiar system. His former poems were
* I have spoken in many places rather loo bitterly and confidently ol the faults ol Mr. Words*Virttrs poetry: And forgetting that, even on my • «i new of them, they were but faults of taste, or tri -»I self-partiality, have sometimes visited them, Ifetr. with an asperity which should be reserved objecte of Moral reprobation. If I were now to I with the whole question of his poetical merits, !i"h my judgment might not be substantially different, I hope I should repress the greater part "i twse civacitéi of expression: And indeed so •'rwg has been my feeling in this way, that, con•dering how much I have always loved many of (be «tributes of his Genius, and how entirely I "•peel his Character, it did at first occur to me whether it was quite fitling that, in my old age and fa.l should include in this publication any of those clique« which may have formerly given pain or •buce, to him or his admirers. But, when I re•teed that the tnischief, if there really ever was •"T, was long ago done, and that I still retain, in nbntnce, the opinions which I should now like !оЬате«ееп more gently expressed, I fell thai to urn/, til notice of them on the present occasion, Nowht be held to import a retractation which I am •» î«r as possible from intending; or even be rep'""Hed a» a very shabby way of backing out of intímente which should either be manfully per•tedin.or openly renounced, and abandoned as ••itDible.
I finally resolved, therefore, to reprint my review of" The Excursion ;" which contains a pretty lull vievv of my griefs and charges against Mr. Wordsworth ; set forth too, I believe, in a more temperate strain than most of my other inculpations,—and of which I think I may now venture to say farther, that if the faults are unsparingly noted, the beauties are not nenuriously or grudgingly allowed; hut commended to the admiration of the reader with at least as much heartiness and good-will.
But I have also reprinted a short paper on the same author's "White Doe of Rylstone,"—in which there certainly is no praise, or notice of beauties, to set against the very unqualified censures of which it is wholly made up I have done this, however, not merely because I adhere to these censures, but chiefly because it seemed necessary to bring me fairly to issue with those who may not concur in them. I can easily understand that many whose admiration of the Excursion, or the Lvrical Ballads, rests substantially on the passages which I Ion should join in admiring, may view with greater indulgence than I can do. the tedious and flat pas sages with which they are interspersed, and may consequently think my censure of these works a 'great deal too harsh and uncharitable. Between j such persons and me, therefore, there may be no radical difference of opinion, or contrariety as to j principles of judgment. But if there be any who 1 actually admire this White Doe of Ryletone, or