« ForrigeFortsæt »
of the Tartars, Kabardions, and Les. Cossacks extends about 350 versts in ghis, driven from their ancient seats length on both sides of the Don, and by the advance of Russian conquest, about 300 in extreme width, containing have sought a last refuge in the inac- 3611 geographic square miles: it con. cessible mountains of Circassia, and tains 119 stanitzas, varying from 50 to become amalgamated with the Circas- 300 houses; each stanitza is still sursian people: the last descendants of rounded by a rampart and ditch, but the Zingis, the race of the dethroned khutor or stable is outside. The male Kherais of the Krim, are at their population is supposed to be about half head: and aid is secretly afforded to à million, of whom 200,000 are able to their co-religionists by the neighbour. bear arms, and have each consequently ing Moslem tribes in the Russian do- an allotment of lands and fisheries ; minions, to an extent which the severe the officers have double and treble punishment consequent on detection shares. Every Cossack is liable to be has been unable to check. The suc- called upon to serve three years in any cess of the Caucasian mountaineers, part of the world, mounted, equipped, and the present disaffection of the Cose and armed at his own expense, but resacks, may be hailed as the first signsceiving pay when on actual service. of reflux in the tide of aggression After three years' service he is liable which Russia has for more than a cen- to service only in the frontier cordon, tury been steadily carrying forward: the police, &c. : after twenty years he and, when we remember the eagerness serves in the home police only, and with which the Cossacks of Poltava after twenty-five years he is free en. and the Ukraine, on the invasion of tirely. The Cossacks are mostly in Russia by Napoleon,* held themselves easy circumstances, and are exempt in readiness to welcome the French as from most taxes, particularly the salt deliverers, we may estimate the pro- and capitation taxes ; most of them bable effect which might be produced possess three or four horses, and many if Great Britain, following the ex- have studs of upwards of 1000: their ample set by her professed ally in the country, with the Ukraine and the late case of Herat, should retaliate by neighbouring cavalry colonies, supsending her Mediterranean fleet into plies nearly all Russia with horses. the Black Sea, and thus demonstra- Bremner says, that “ with the exting to the tribes on its shores that the ception of the cavalry of the guard power of the “ Padishah of the Sea" stationed at Petersburg, and the long(as the Circassians term the British necked pets of some Cossack policesovereign) is less exaggerated, and men, scarcely a single mounted solo less kept in check by Russia, than the dier is seen by the traveller till he Russians have constantly endeavoured reach the southern districts. There to represent it. +
are 45,000 cavalry in Little Russia The country occupied by the Don- alone." I
this mighty chain of mountains, as a curb upon Hejaj und Mejaj, or Gog and Magog : the barbarous tribes of the North.
* Bremner's Russia, ii. 405.
+ The present force of the Cossacks is estimated by Mr Bremner on the (authority of Schnitzler and others) at 101,760 men, divided into 164 regiments. Of these the Don-Cossacks supply 70 regiments of the line, and 19 of the guards; the Tehernomorskis 21 of the line, and one of the guards; the Siberian Cossacks 30 of the line ; the Cossacks of the Ukraine 18 of the line, (organized in 1831 as a partial revival of this branch, under the title of Cossacks of Little Russia ;) the remaining five regiments are supplied by the Cossacks of the Ural, Terek, and Volga. Each polk or regiment is divided into ten sotnikas or troops; its staff consisting of a polkovnik (colonel), yessawul (major), and a standard-bearer.
I Bremner's Russia, ii. 381.
How many, we would ask, of the not believe that genuine poetical expoets of the present day, have pro- cellence, or lasting poetical fame, can posed to themselves any model of ex. possibly be achieved. alted beauty, to which, in their works, We know not the precise nature of they have longed and laboured to con- the devotional sentiment that prompted form; any radiantimage of the first fair, the Pagan poet when he said finished and faultless in all its parts
“Me vero primum dulces ante omnia and proportions, that has robbed them
Musæ, of their rest, and haunted them in
QUARUM SACRA FERO, ingenti percussus their dreams, still attracting them to
amore, a nearer contemplation of its excel.
Accipiant. lence, and animating them to some effort by which they might gratify in But the sentiment, however shadowy, themselves, and in some degree com- that he was the servant and priest of municate to others, the love and de- the virgin daughters of Jove, must, light with which it has filled their amidst all the errors of heathenism, souls? How many of them even have have supported the sweetest and statedwelt with humbler admiration on the liest of poets in his noble aspirations reflection of that primary excellence after piety and wisdom-after the presented in the compositions of time. beautiful and the good. In the days honoured genius, and have attempted of Christianity the poetical office is to pro... ;; on their own age and not less than ever a sacred ministry; country, anu with themes of their own and poets are an anointed priesthood, choice, analogous if not similar effects who have still holier and higher truths to those which have for ever embalm. to proclaim, and feelings to infuse, ed the memory and influence of their than even the imagination that led classic prototypes ? How many of Æneas into Hades could conjecture our poets have asked of themselves or comprehend. While living in a with a heartfelt and assiduous impor- clearer light, and under a purer distunity
pensation, it is still to us a virtual " What shall I do to be for ever known,
truth, that poetry is a virgin daugh. And make the age to come my own ?”.
ter of heaven, whose service can only
be well and worthily performed by How many have answered the enquiry those who remember the sacredness of by the exclamation
her origin, and the benevolence of her
errand to the earth. “ Hence all the flattering vanities that lay We are not about to enter on any Nets of roses in my way;
denunciation of those who have perHence, the desire of honours and estate,
verted poetry to purposes or propenAnd all that is not above fate!”
sities of an unworthy nature, and have How many again have been actua. attempted to lend a new or an addited by the still nobler feeling, that the tional impulse to self.inuulgence, by gift of poetry was bestowed upon those graces and embellishments which them as a divine instrument for doing were intended to adorn the awful form good, as much as for imparting plea- of virtue, and render her features more sure, to their species, and that of this familiar and more attractive. We are talent, as of every other, the God who not disposed to think that the influence gave it would demand a strict account? of such writers is so extensively or so
But a few, we suspect, of those who enduringly pernicious, as might at have in our day desired or attained a first be thought. We, indeed, consipoetical reputation, could lay claim to der that it is idle and unjust to defeelings or motives such as we have claim in this respect against the perdescribed. Yet, without some of these versions of genius, or to exhort the sources of inspiration, and, perhaps, true poet to employ his powers on more particularly without the highest such objects only as are glorious to and rarest that we have named, we do · himself, and profitable to his species.
We doubt whether genius can exist rest, its glance must rest, till from at all, at least genius of a high class, this meaner world it is able to raise without carrying in its own constitu- and refine its earthly disciples to an tion a practical security against error aptness for that region from which its and vice. There can be no great power is derived, and in which its purgenius without an ardent longing, and poses terminate. The ribald or the an inextinguishable preference, for rustic, who should be allured, by the what is truly beautiful: and no highly merriment of Shakspeare's buffoons endowed spirit can fail to see almost or of Chaucer's churls, to obtain intuitively that virtue is beauty, and a glimpse of those exquisite vice deformity. All the better parts revelations of purity and goodness of our nature-all the nobler views of to which these blemishes seem our destiny-must have a charm in the strangely united, would prove to us the eyes of the true poet which never can magic efficacy of those master-minds, adorn their opposites. They must be who, from their universal sympathies, more delightful as objects of contem- even with the failings of their species, plation-more inspiring and more satis- were able, by winning their confidence, fying as subjects of representation and to pronote their amendment more development. If we could conceive quickly and more completely than a a painter, with an exquisite sense of more rigid and repulsive instructor form and colouring, who yet preferred could have done. to delineate the lifeless esert or the But the apparent anomaly we have sickly swamp, before the fertile valley glanced at is no exception to our propoor the heaven-kissing hill; or whose sition—that genius is essentially pure. human figures more readily exhibited No great poet ever attempted to emthe loathsomeness of disease and de- bellish error or vice with the charms cay, than the purple light of health of poetry, or to practise those decepand happiness- we should imagine an tions in morality which are alone dananomaly something akin to that of a gerous. A great poet is as incapable great poet, whose sensibility and en- of deceiving others by specious vices thusiasm were yet content to dwell on or false combinations, as he is of being themes of frivolity and folly, to the himself deceived by them. The wand exclusion of what was truly noble and of true genius is an Ithuriel's spear :touching in human character.
• No falsehood can endure It is not our object here to enquire, Touch of celestial temper, but returns in connexion with this view, in what
Of force to its own likeness." manner some of the greatest poets have been led to devote a part of their
When we are told, then, of any who powers to subjects of levity and license.
waste their genius upon unworthy Perhaps, in reference to the age and subjects, we are inclined to conclude people whom they addressed, even
that they are not in reality possessed this lowering of their tone was neces
of that genius which they are accused sary or serviceable to the perfect suc
of degrading. We infer that they are cess of their mighty mission. The destitute of those powers and faculties
which would enable them to contemgreatest poets, we are inclined to think, ought to embody in themselves plate and to create what was beautiful the image both of the real and of the and pure, and would necessarily secure ideal world, to enable them the more
their affections from wandering to obeffectually to convert the sensual vul- jects of moral aversion. garities of the one into the spiritual
In like manner, we are in general sublimities of the other. Not without inclined to think that where genius a profound and important meaning of exists, it must be accompanied by the this nature, is the glorious description power, and must feel the necessity, of his own power by the noblest and of giving a high finish in language and wisest of his brotherhood :
imagery to all its works. The love
of the beautiful combined with the " The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, creative faculty, cannot fail to produce Doth glance from heaven to earth, from in comparative perfection the object earth to heaven.”
that it loves and labours to realize. Heaven must be the first object of The powers of thought and of expresits contemplation ; but on the earth sion were never known to be separated too, and on all objects of earthly inte in the authors of classical antiquity ;
NO. CCLXXXVII, VOL. XLVI.
and in like manner, in our own nation, A second time ; for still I seem the two faculties have always gone
To love thee more and more. hand in hand. The genius of Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton, is not more “ Among thy mountains did I feel exhibited in the greatness of their
The joy of my desire : conceptions, than in the unimprovable And she I cherish'd turn'd her wheel felicity and beauty of their diction. Beside an English fire. Here, again, we are inclined to say, that slovenliness, or poverty of lan
“ Thy mornings show'd, thy nights con
ceal'd, guage, is not to be regarded as a result
The bowers where Lucy play'd; merely of carelessness, but as an indi
And thine is, too, the last green field cation of the absence of high genius.
That Lucy's eyes survey'd." It
may be thought, that the remarks we are making are pitched on a key Our next example needs no an. a great deal too high for the humble nouncement to any of those to whom subject by which they have been sug- the name of Wordsworth or of poetry gested. But we cannot allow it to be is dear. said, that lyrical composition is to be
" She dwelt among the untrodden ways measured by any different or lower
Beside the springs of Dove, rule than that which applies to other
A maid whom there were none to praise, poetry. There is the same occasion
And very few to love : and the same necessity for exhibiting genius in its true character in a few
" A violet by a mossy stone, simple verses of a song, as in a much
Half hidden from the eye! longer or more ambitious poem: and
Fair as a star, when only one there are the same grounds for con- Is shining in the sky. demning in this department any attempt at poetry, which has not the
“ She lived unknown, and few could know pure and noble characteristics by which When Lucy ceased to be; poetry always ought to be, and perhaps But she is in her grave, and, oh, always is, distinguished.
The difference to me!" The greatest poet of the present
We would rather be the author of age has given us some, though not
one noble and finished composition, many, models of the species of com.
like this of Wordsworth's, than of an position of which we are now treat
innumerable swarm of what the vulgar ing. We shall notice two of them as
taste has called clever or charming examples at once of deep feeling, of poetical power, and of finished com
songs—things with here and there a
smart idea, and here and there a tolerposition. We do not doubt that these
able line, but for the most part conpoems are to be ascribed to the class of songs, though we have not heard sisting merely of disguised commonof their being united to music'; and we
place, or fanciful exaggeration, wrapsuspect there is no living composer, ped up in a threadbare dress of tawcios vuy Bootou soi, who could do justice dry and tinselly language. The niore to their character, and more particu
we examine the beautiful lyric which larly to the exquisite tenderness of the
we have just quoted, the more beautishortest and best.
ful it will appear. It is simple in the The first of the two is a beautiful
extreme, without one word above the picture of a widowed heart seeking the innate nobility of the ideas, how
level of ordinary speech; yet, from relief in a removal from the scenes of departed happiness, and finding that gracefully dignified, how powerfully the softened sorrow of sincere affection pathetic! A few plain words in the first finds its only enjoyment in a return
verse introduce us at once to the sweet to those objects which remind it of solitude of Lucy, a maid with few
friends and no flatterers. The images what it has lost.
in the second verse are as new as they “ I travell’d among unknown men, are beautiful, and are perfect poetical In lands beyond the sea ;
types of that lonely loveliness which Nor, England! did I know till then What love I bore to thee.
they are intended to picture. Of the
conclusion, it may perhaps be said, “' 'Tis past, that melancholy dream ! that it represents the sorrows of beNor will I quit thy shore
reavement in the only way in which this can be perfectly done, by suggest- It is not easy to compare the chaing to the reader's mind the strength of racters of Moore and of Burns as lyrical their influence, from the impossibility poets. Their education, their habits, of attempting to express them. This and their station, had essential differsuppression of the utterance of pro- ences, which materially influenced found grief has, we think, been aptly their poetry. The different circles of characterised as an example of the personal admirers surrounding them, same high style of art which prompted must also have had an effect. The Timanthes to veil the head of Aga- one could draw his thoughts from little memnon, in his picture of Iphigenia's else than the storehouse of his own sacrifice. “Non reperiens," as Quinc. feelings, or a narrow compass of vertilian well expresses it, “ quo dignè nacular literature: while the other has modo patris vultum posset exprimere, borrowed hints and images in every velavit ejus caput, et suo cuique animo possible quarter,—from Herodotus to dedit estimandum."
D'Herbelot, from Sappho to Shen-, The lyrics of Moore are not of the stone, from the Fathers to the Fancy. same school as those we have just The one was habitually surrounded by been examining. We have much re- rude or humble companions, or by men spect for Moore's talents, which are of enthusiastic but irregular minds, various and versatile, and have been and only occasionally admitted to the elaborately improved by industry and condescending notice of rank or refinepractice. No song-writer has, per- ment. The other has, from his early haps, gathered his subjects from so years, been the friend and favourite of many sources of erudition and imita- many whose social position, and whose tion, and none has acquired greater attainments or pretensions in literature, readiness and dexterity in the use of gave them a right, or a claim, to a high his tools and materials. His natural place in the scale of fashion and of wit and vivacity have saved him from taste. Neither of these positions, perthe fault of being dull, and his enthu- haps, was favourable to the great lessiastic love of his country has given son of self-knowlege, or to the producto many of his effusions, that force tion of works that would stand the test and dignity which are ever the accom- of elevated or rigorous criticism. But paniments of genuine feeling. But with all those disadvantages, and with we question greatly whether Moore many individual differences between can lay claim to the gift of poetry in them, each of them, whether by the any lofty sense of the term. He seems force of genius or of talent, has atto us to want the creative power and tained an extensive and deserved popu. vivid vision of the true poet, and to larity as a lyrical writer, particularly have never, at least, risen from the among his own countrymen ; and has region of fancy to that of imagination. contributed not a little to the advanceWe shall examine some of his princi.' ment of lyrical composition. pal songs, in hopes of discovering If we were to characterise the lyrical some marks of poetical fervour; but poetry of Moore, in reference to its we suspect that, in general, it will be most faulty peculiarities, we should say found that mere ingenuity has attempt that he has the quaintness of Cowley, ed to supply the place of genius. The without his power; and the facility of very frivolous and wholly unpoetical Prior, without his adherence to nature, themes which have often occupied his It is, indeed, very remarkable to see muse, seem to be a proof that her the extremes of learning and frivolity element is not much elevated above meeting together, and to find in the the earth. Nor do we recollect any nineteenth century a revival of the truly great lyric composition that has metaphysical school of poetry at our fallen from his pen." But, perhaps, pianofortes and supper-tables. It is other causes may have produced this certain, however, that Moore is full result, than the absence of poetical of those far-fetched fancies that were power.
Moore has so long and so so liberally employed by the love successfully carried on with his cus- poets of the earlier part of the seventomers an African traffic in glass teenth century to puzzle the heads, if beads and Birmingham buttons, that they could not touch the hearts, of he has never felt the necessity of their mistresses. In every page of offering them more substantial mer- Moore we have examples of that perchandise.
verseness of wit, which, in illustrating