« ForrigeFortsæt »
to earth, endowed with all manner of gigantic, in order to experience this goddess-like perfections ?
power which the material world has To the beauty of inanimate nature, acquired from its imaginative inhabi. the poet has added even in a still more tants. This influence is felt in the sim. plain and indisputable manner. He plest landscape-in the tree, the mea. has filled the landscape with beauties dow, the stream_wherever, beneath in fact invisible, save to the mind, but an open sky, nature shoots her green which have become inseparably blend- or pours her rivers.
The bland and ed with the visible object. The lake, elevating influence which rural scenes the wood, the stream, are not only exert, is a common topic of remark. beautiful in form, and colour, and mo- They do exert this influence, but it is tion, they have been invested by the after the poet has been there. The poet with whatever is gentle, or so- rustic who, if having open eyes and lemn, or attractive in human affections. living in the open air were enough, Scarcely can we say it is an inanimate communes perpetually with nature, creation we gaze upon, so much has knows nothing of an influence which, he infused of the life, of the soul of to the educated man, seems to flow so man-so much of peace and repose- directly from the scene. so much of passion and dignity, and Let such considerations as these of boundless aspiration. Nature and conciliate those who do not intend, the poet now halve the work between whatever we or others may say, to them. Nor is it only what is extolled open again their books of poetry : as exquisite scenery which echoes back though resolute not to read, they may to us the sentiments of the human at least be not unwilling that such a being-nor is any voyage necessary species of literature should be written in search of the picturesque or the and read by others.
FROM THE SPANISH OF YRIARTE.
The fables of Yriarte are held in for, without attempting to imitate the high estimation by his own country- peculiar measures of Spanish poesy, men, and have been successfully trans- I have studiously adopted various lated into most of the languages of forms of verse, instead of restricting Europe. Their reputation is well myself, after the common fashion of merited; for they possess, in an emi- English fabulists, to the monotony of nent degree, the essential qualities the octosyllabic. that characterise this class of compo- , The reader who may be acquainted sitions, and are scarcely inferior even with the Spanish text, will find that, to those of La Fontaine himself in with few exceptions, the following sprightliness of narrative, justness of translations have been exeeuted with moral, and natural grace and facility perhaps as much fidelity as was comof expression. But they differ from patible with the endeavour to render every other collection of fables in the them poetically. In some half dozen singularity of their application, which instances, where the originals possessis wholly confined to literary matters ; ed little interest in their subject, and and their interest is greatly enhanced were only remarkable for elegance of by the variety of their versification- style or harmony of numbers, I felt a circumstance to which Yriarte refers compelled to take a greater license. with much complacency in his preface, To translate them literally, was, litewhere he mentions that the sixty-seven rally, to traduce them. Their native fables of which his volume consists, delicacy seemed necessarily to evapocomprise “ forty different kinds of rate in the process; and, like the pure metre.” In this respect I have, to a wines of their own country, which will certain extent, followed his example; not bear to be exported until they
bave been strongly brandied, they ap- But others, though they felt within peared to require that a translator A shrinking consciousness of sin, should infuse a spirit of his own into Express'd their anger that the elethem, in order to adapt them for the phant English palate. The critic, I fear, Should utter charges so irrelevant. will decide that, in seeking to improve, The tiger gnash'd his teeth and I have only adulterated them.
growld, Yriarte was a voluminous author, The wolf in savage concert howl'd; and attempted almost every kind of The serpent shot his venom'd fang, poetical composition ; but his writings And hiss'd throughout the long haseldom rise above mediocrity, and are rangue; distinguished rather by judgment and So foul a libel on a bird good taste than by force and origina. The vulture vow'd was never heard ; lity. Next to his Literary Fables, a The toad refused to stay-the snail didactic poem on Music, which, I be. And locust followed in his trail ; lieve, has been translated into Eng. And reynard fled, as if a pack lish, enjoys the highest celebrity. Of dogs were yelping at his back; Liverpool.
R. R. The monkey, mounting at a jump
Upon the dromedary's hump,
Amused the groundlings with grimace, I. THE ELEPHANT AND THE BEASTS. And mock'd the speaker to his face ;
While gnat and hornet, wasp and An elephant, in ages far-gone,
drone When beasts could speak a sort of Reviled him in an under-tone.
jargon, Observing with disapprobation But high above the jarring host The vices of the brute creation, The elephant maintain’d his post, Determined in his zeal to call
As unconcern'd as if the brutes A meeting, and reform them all. Had been a company of mutes ; They met ; when, having duly bow'd And thus, with unabated force, His trunk to greet the gaping crowd, At length concluded his discourse : He spouted forth, with mighty strength “ My observations, I protest, Of lungs, a speech of mighty length, However pointedly express'd, A speech which, like a practised Were universally address’dorator,
Address'd alike to every one, He had composed and got memoriter, But personally aimed at none. For speakers of the greatest note The few whose consciences are clear, At times extemporize-by rote. Have nothing to resent or fear; Each fault and folly, which of late While such as choose to take offence Had sapp'd the morals of the state, By misinterpreting my sense, Pert ignorance, destructive sloth, Convict themselves, and merely show Malignant envy, worse than both, How well they merited the blow." Hypocrisy and affectation, And pride, that oversteps its station- My fables, in their application All these, and more than I have time
Refer to every age and nation; To recapitulate in rhyme,
For authors, just as dull and vain He stigmatized with all the fire As any who abound in Spain, And freedom of a preaching friar. Have perpetrated prose and rhyme – The virtuous portion of the crew In every land, in every time. (But these, alas, were very few !) But, though I solemnly disclaim Received with open acclamation All personality of aim, The honest elephant's oration. If any scribbler, conscience-smitten, The gentle lambkin skipt with glee, Should wince at aught that I have And blithely humm'd the busy bee; writtenThe faithful dog, the patient steer, Should find, in short, the cap to fit, The dove, the emmet, and the deer, The fool is welcome unto it. By different tokens of applause Evinced their zeal in virtue's cause ; II. THE SILKWORM AND THE SPIDER. The meek ass, with a joyous bray, Approved the speech, and, strange to One day, as a silkworm slowly spun say,
Its delicate threads in the noon.tide The horse assented by a—nay.
A spider cried, from its darksome To hear the truth." The ape replied, nook
“ I really think it very bad." “ Look at my web, sweet sister, look! “ 'Tis plain enough,” rejoin'd the I began it at dawn-'tis hardly noon, bear, And yet my task will be ended soon; “ That envy makes you censure so; For while thou spinnest thy life away, For have I not a graceful air, I weave a web in a single day.
A slender shape and limber toe ?" Examine it well-each airy line But here a tasteless pig began Is as fine and fair as the best of
To grunt applause, and said, “I thine." " True," said the silkworm, with a I never met, in brute or man, smile,
With one who danced so well as “ But will they endure for half the thou." while ?"
The bear, on hearing this, became
Sedate and pensive for a while ; III. THE BEAR, THE APE, AND THE PIG. And then, as if abash'd with shame,
He answer'd in submissive style ; A bear, whose dancing help'd to gain “ The agile ape's rebuke might be, His own and owner's livelihood,
Perhaps, imputed to his spleen, And whose success had made him vain But, since the pig commends, I see As any petit-maitre, stood
How bad my dancing must have Upon his hinder legs to try
been.” The figure of a new quadrille, When, seeing that an ape was nigh,
He stump'd about with all his skill; Let every author think on this, And « Tell me how you like," he And hold the maxim for a rulecried,
The worst that can befall him is, “ My dancing, for I'm always glad The approbation of a fool.
IV. THE APE AND THE JUGGLER.
Good father Joltered, who lost his brains
By overstudying of natural history-
To turn the plainest matter to a mystery-
Some score of beasts that Adam never saw,
And gave their very likeness to a claw;
This reverend writer tells, in pond'rous prose,
A certain story, which I'll re-compose
The faculty of imitation strongly,
For apes are very apt to use it wrongly,)
The creature think himself beyond all doubt
So one day, when his master had gone out,
To get up a performance of his own,
How great a conjurer he had really grown.
He moved his magic wand; and then a clown
He poised a lengthy ladder on his chin,
And whistled as he bore it up and down. A figuranté next, with nodding plume,
Upon a rope that stretch'd across the room He danced, unto the music of a pair
Of castanets, along its slender length,
Then headlong cast himself with all his strength,
At length the ape, ambitious to complete
His master's masterpiece-which so surpass d
On all occasions kept it to the last.
And drawing through the groove each pictured glass, With an exceeding gravity of face
Announced the different figures that should pass. “ Here comes a king," he cried, " and there a queen;" But not a glimpse of either could be seen. « Now stately towers," “ now ships upon the main ;" But still the keenest optics stared in vain. No mystic ring expanded in the gloom, No form of glory fitted through the room, But all was darkness; and the blundering ape Had wellnigh got into a serious scrape : For, disappointed by his incapacity,
The friends of pug proceeded in their rage
And pelt him with derision from the stage.
“ No wonder that the audience are benighted, And all thy boasted visions undescried ;
For, lo, the magic lantern is not lighted!”
Were borrow'd from the bowels of a goat ;
May still survive, and be a thing of note ;
And answer'd thus: “ Poor wretch! of what avail
Unless I had supplied them from my tail
Whose movement makes the hidden music flow?
For, after all, it gladdens me to see,
Indebted for its harmony to me.
With unsuccessful efforts to engage
Unto the judgment of a future age ;
VI. THE PARROTS AND THE MONKEY. O'erheard her brace of birds harangue
In such an incoherent slang, Two parrots fresh from St Domingo, A mess of words whose rnisalliance Where each had learn'd a different Sets sense and syntax at defiance, lingo
And might be (for they sounded oddly) For half that isle of sugar-cane Indecent, or at least ungodly, Belongs to France, and half to Spain- She parted them, in hopes that each, A captain's gift to his Amanda, When caged beyond the other's reach, Were caged within the same veranda ; Would soon resume his own vernaAnd, though unable for a while
cular, To understand each other's style, And utter nonsense less oracular. They soon contrived (for what can balk
But though the Gallic bird at once A parrot's or a woman's talk ?) Reform’d, and banish'd from his sconce To find, despite their education, The Spanish tongue as incommode, A medium of conversation.
Because elle n'était pas du mode, For blending, as they gabbled on, An idiom too precise and prim Their French and Spanish into one, For fashionable fowls like him ; They form'd a dialect betwixt
The Spanish bird would not retrench
But still continued, though alone,
Enrich'd the old Castilian tongue
Called for un gratin de bouillie, Of intellect inclined to blue ;
When, with a face of much amazement, And ah! unto a true blue-stocking A monkey, from a neighbouring caseAll licenses of speech are shocking- ment,