« ForrigeFortsæt »
hall, when sitting royally at the table, with his peers so innocent an effect to make men sleep, in any pains about him, there entered a woman adorned like a or distempers of body or mind.”. minstrel, sitting on a great horse, trapped as minstrels In the reign of Elizabeth, however, civilization had then used, who rode about the table showing pastime; so far advanced, that the music which had led away and at length came up to the king's table, and laid the great lords of antiquity no longer availed to debefore him a letter, and, forthwith turning her horse, lude the human understanding, or to prevent it from saluted every one and departed: when the letter was animadverting on the pernicious effects produced by read, it was found to contain animadversions on the those who cultivated the tuneful art. Spenser, in his king. The door-keeper, being threatened for admit- view of the state of Ireland, says, “There is among ting her, replied, that it was not the custom of the the Irish a certain kind of people called Bardes, which king's palace to deny admission to minstrels, espe- are to them instead of poets, whose profession is to pecially on such high solemnities and feast-days." set forth the praises or dispraises of men in their
In Froissart, too, we may plainly see what neces- poems or rithmes; the which are had in so high resary appendages to greatness the minstrels were es- gard and estimation among them, that none dare disteemed, and upon what familiar terms they lived with please them, for fear to run into reproach through their masters. When the four Irish kings, who had their offence, and to be made infamous in the mouths submitted themselves to Richard II. of England, were of all men. For their verses are taken up with a gesat at table, “ on the first dish being served they made neral applause, and usually sung at all feasts and their minstrels and principal servants sit beside them, meetings by certain other persons whose proper and eat from their plates, and drink from their cups." function that is, who also receive for the same great The knight appointed by Richard to attend them rewards and reputation among them. These Irish having objected to this custom, on another day, “or- Bardes are, for the most part, so far from instructing dered the tables to be laid out and covered, so that young men in moral discipline, that themselves do the kings sat at an upper table, the minstrels at a mid- more deserve to be sharply disciplined; for they seldle one, and the servants lower still. The royal dom use to choose unto themselves the doings of guests looked at each other, and refused to eat, say good men for the arguments of their poems; but ing, that he deprived them of their good old custom whomsoever they find to be most licentious of life, in which they had been brought up."
most bold and lawless in his doings, most dangerous However, in the reign of Edward II., a public edict and desperate in all parts of disobedience and rebelwas issued, putting a check upon this license, and lious disposition : him they set up and glorifie in their limiting the number of minstrels to four per diem ad- rithmes; him they praise to the people, and to young missible to the tables of the great. It seems, too, that men make an example to follow.” The moralizing about this period the minstrels had sunk into a kind poet then continues to show the "effect of evil things of upper servants of the aristocracy: they wore their being decked with the attire of goodly words,” on lord's livery, and sometimes shaved the crown of their the affections of a young mind, which, as he observes, heads like monks.
cannot rest;" for, “if he be not busied in some When war and hunting formed almost the exclu- goodness, he will find himself such business as shall sive occupation of the great; when their surplus re- soon busy all about him. In which, if he shall find venues could only be employed in supporting idle any to praise him, and to give him encouragement, as retainers, and no better means could be devised for those Bardes do for little reward, or a share of a stolen passing the long winter evenings than drunkenness cow, then waxeth he most insolent, and half mad with and gambling, it may readily be conceived how wel- the love of himself and his own lewd deeds. And as come these itinerant musicians must have been in for words to set forth such lewdness, it is not hard for baronial halls, and how it must have flattered the pride them to give a goodly and painted show thereunto, of our noble ancestors to listen to the eulogy of their borrowed even from the praises which are proper to own achievements, and the length of their own pedi- virtue itself; as of a most notorious thief and wicked grees.
outlaw, which had lived all his life-time of spoils and Sir William Temple says, “the great men of the robberies, one of their Bardes in his praise will say, Irish septs, among the many officers of their family, that he was none of the idle milksops that was brought which continued always in the same races, had not up to the fire-side; but that most of his days he spent only a physician, a huntsman, a smith, and such like, in arms and valiant enterprises—that he did never eat but a poet and a tale-teller. The first recorded and his meat before he had won it with his sword; that sung the actions of their ancestors, and entertained he lay not all night in slugging in a cabin under his the company at feasts; the latter amused them with mantle, but used commonly to keep others waking to 'tales when they were melancholy and could not defend their lives; and did light his candle at the sleep; and a very gallant gentleman of the north of flames of their houses to lead him in the darkness; Ireland has told me, of his own experience, that in that the day was his night, and the night his day; that his wolf-huntings there, when he used to be abroad in he loved not to be long wooing of wenches to yield the mountains three or four days together, and lay to him, but, where he came, he took by force the spoil very ill a-nights, so as he could not well sleep, they of other men's love, and left but lamentation to their would bring him one of these tale-tellers, that when lovers ; that his music was not the harp, nor the lays he lay down would begin a story of a king, a giant, a of love, but the cries of people and the clashing of dwarf, or a damsel, and such rambling stuff, and con-armour; and, finally, that he died, not bewailed of tinue it all night long in such an even tone, that you many, but made many wail when he died, that dearly heard it going on whenever you awaked, and believed bought his death." nothing any physicians give could have so good and! It little occurred to Spenser that, in thus reprobating
these poor bards, he was giving an admirable analysis Like freezing founts, where all that's thrown of the machinery and effects of almost all that poets
Within their current turns to stone. have ever done!
The ingenuity with which the above simile is apIn 1563 severe enactments were issued against these plied, is not more remarkable than the success with gentlemen, to which was annexed the following, which the homely image of putting out the bed-candle
Item, for that those rhymers do, by their ditties and before we sleep, is divested of every particle of vulrhymes, made to dyvers lordes and gentlemen in Ire- garity. land, in the commendacion and highe praise of extor
In the same way, and with equal facility, the sudtion, rebellion, rape, raven, and outhere injustice, en- den revival of forgotten feelings, at meeting with courage those lordes and gentlemen rather to follow friends from whom we have been long separated, is those vices than to leve them, and for making of such compared to the discovering, by the application of Thymes, rewards are given by the said lordes and gen- heat, letters written invisibly with sympathetic ink :tlemen ; that for abolishinge of soo heynouse an
What soften'd remembrances come o'er the heart abuse," etc., etc.
In gazing on those we've been lost to so long! The feudal system, which encouraged the poetical
The sorrows, the joys, of which once they were part state of manners, and afforded the minstrels worthy Still round them, like visions of yesterday, throng. subjects for their strains, received a severe blow from As letters some hand hath invisibly traced, the policy pursued by Elizabeth. This was followed When held to the flame will steal out to the sight; úp by Cromwell, and consummated by King William, So many a feeling that long seem'd effaced, of Orange memory.
The warmth of a meeting like this brings to light. More recently a Scotch writer observes, “In Ire “ Rich and Rare,” taking music, words and all, is land the harpers, the original composers, and the worth an epic poem to the Irish nation,-simple, tenchief depositories of that music, have, till lately, been der, elegant, sublime, it is the very essence of poetry uniformly cherished and supported by the nobility and and music;—there is not one simile or conceit, nor gentry. They endeavoured to outdo one another in one idle crotchet to be met with throughout. playing the airs that were most esteemed, with cor The musical as well as the poetical taste of the rectness, and with their proper expression. The author is evident in every line, nor is one allowed to taste for that style of performance seems now, how- shine at the expense of the other. Moore has comever, to be declining. The native harpers are not posed some beautiful airs, but seems shy of exercising much encouraged. A number of their airs have come this faculty, dreading, perhaps, that success in that into the hands of foreign musicians, who have at- pursuit would detract from his poetical fame. The tempted to fashion them according to the model of union of these talents is rare, and some have affirmed the modern music; and these acts are considered in that they even exclude one another. When Gretry the country as capital improvements.".
visited Voltaire at Ferney, the philosopher paid him We have gone into the above details, not only be a compliment at the expense of his profession : cause they are in themselves interesting and illustra-“ Vous etes musicien,” said Voltaire, "et vous avez tive of the “ Irish Melodies," but because we fully de l'esprit : cela est trop rare pour que je ne prenne coincide with the bard of “Childe Harold,” that the pas a vous le plus vif interet.” Nature certainly may lasting celebrity of Moore will be found in his lyrical be supposed not over-inclined to be prodigal in becompositions, with which his name and fame will be stowing on the same object the several gifts that are inseparably and immortally connected.
peculiarly hers; but, as far as the assertion rests on Mr. Moore possesses a singular facility of seizing experience, it is powerfully contradicted by the names and expressing the prevailing association which a of Moore and Rousseau. given air is calculated to inspire in the minds of the The late Mr. Charles Wolfe, having both a literary greatest number of hearers, and has a very felicitous and a musical turn, occasionally employed himself in talent in making this discovery, even through the en- adapting words to national melodies, and in writing velopes of prejudice or vulgarity. The alchemy by characteristic introductions to popular songs. Being which he is thus accustomed to turn dross into gold fond of “The Last Rose of Summer" (IRISH MEL. is really surprising. The air which now seems framed No. V.) he composed the following tale for its illusfor the sole purpose of giving the highest effect to the tration : refined and elegant ideas contained in the stanzas “This is the grave of Dermid :-He was the best
Sing, sing--music was given," has for years been minstrel among us all,-a youth of romantic genius, known only as attached to the words of“ Oh! whack! and of the most tremulous, and yet the most impetuJudy O'Flanagan, etc.," and the words usually sungous feeling. He knew all our old national airs, of to the tune of Cumilum are of the same low and lu- every character and description: according as his dicrous description. He possesses, also, in a high song was in a lofty or a mournful strain, the village degree, that remarkable gift of a poetical imagination, represented a camp or funeral ; but if Dermid were which consists in elevating and dignifying the mean- in his merry mood, the lads and lasses hurried into a est subject on which it chooses to expatiate : dance, with a giddy and irresistible gaiety. One day
our chieftain committed a cruel and wanton outrage As they, who to their couch at night Would welcome sleep, first quench the light
against one of our peaceful villagers. Dermid's harp was in his hand when he heard it :
-with all the So must the hopes that keep this breast Awake, be quench'd, e'er it can rest.
thoughtlessness and independent sensibility of a poet's Cold, cold my heart must grow,
indignation, he struck the chords that never spoke Unchanged by either joy or woe,
without response, and the detestation became univer
sal. He was driven from amongst us by our enraged Angels,” states, that he had somewhat hastened his chief; and all his relations, and the maid he loved, publication, to avoid the disadvantage of having his attended the minstrel into the wide world. For work appear after his friend Lord Byron's "Heaven three years there were no tidings of Dermid ; and the and Earth ;" or, as he ingeniously expresses it, “ by song and the dance were silent; when one of our lit- an earlier appearance in the literary horizon, to give tle boys came running in, and told us that he saw our myself the chance of what astronomers call a heliacal minstrel approaching at a distance. Instantly the rising, before the luminary, in whose light I was to whole village was in commotion; the youths and be lost, should appear.” This was an amiable, but by maidens assembled on the green, and agreed to cele- no means a reasonable modesty. The light that plays brate the arrival of their poet with a dance; they round Mr. Moore's verses, tender, exquisite, and brilfixed upon the air he was to play for them; it was liant, was in no danger of being extinguished even in the merriest of his collection; the ring was formed; the sullen glare of Lord Byron's genius. One might all looked eagerly to the quarter from which he was as well expect an aurora borealis to be put out by an to arrive, determined to greet their favourite bard with eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Though both bright a cheer. But they were checked the instant he ap- stars in the firmament of modern poetry, they were as peared; he came slowly, and languidly, and loiteringly distant and unlike as Saturn and Mercury; and along; his countenance had a cold, dim, and careless though their rising might be at the same time, they aspect, very different from that expressive cheerfulness never moved in the same orb, nor met or jostled in which marked his features, even in his more melancho- the wide trackless way of fancy and invention. ly moments; his harp was swinging heavily upon his Though these two celebrated writers in some arm; it seemed a burthen to him; it was much shattered, measure divided the poetical public between them, and some of the strings were broken. He looked at us yet it was not the same public whose favour they sefor a few moments, then, relapsing into vacancy, ad- verally enjoyed in the highest degree. Though both vanced without quickening his pace, to his accustomed read and admired in the same extended circle of taste stone, and sate down in silence. After a pause, we and fashion, each was the favourite of a totally differventured to ask him for his friends ;-he first looked ent set of readers. Thus a lover may pay the same up sharp in our faces, next down upon his harp; then attention to two different women; but he only means struck a few notes of a wild and desponding melody, to flirt with the one, while the other is the mistress which we had never heard before ; but his hand drop- of his heart. The gay, the fair, the witty, the happy, ped, and he did not finish it.-Again we paused idolize Mr. Moore's delightful muse, on her pedestal then knowing well that, if we could give the smallest of airy smiles or transient tears. Lord Byron's semirthful impulse to his feelings, his whole soul would verer verse is enshrined in the breasts of those whose soon follow, we asked him for the merry air we had gaiety has been turned to gall, whose fair exterior has chosen. We were surprised at the readiness with a canker within—whose mirth has received a rebuke which he seemed to comply; but it was the same wild as if it were folly, from whom happiness has fled like and heart-breaking strain he had commenced. In a dream! By comparing the odds upon the known fact, we found that the soul of the minstrel had be- chances of human life, it is no wonder that the adcome an entire void, except one solitary ray that vi- mirers of his lordship’s works should be more numerbrated sluggishly through its very darkest path; it was ous than those of his more agreeable rival. We are like the sea in a dark calm, which you only know to not going to speak of any preference we may have, be in motion by the panting which you hear. He but we beg leave to make a distinction. The poetry had totally forgotten every trace of his former strains, of Moore is esventially that of fancy, the poetry of not only those that were more gay and airy, but even Byron that of passion. If there is passion in the effuthose of a more pensive cast; and he had gotten in sions of the one, the fancy by which it is expressed their stead that one dreary simple melody; it was predominates over it; if fancy is called to the aid of about a Lonely Rose, that had outlived all its com- the other, it is still subservient to the passion. Lord panions ; this he continued singing and playing from Byron's jests are downright earnest; Mr. Moore, day to day, until he spread an unusual gloom over the when he is most serious, seems half in jest. The whole village : he seemed to perceive it, for he re- latter dallies and trifles with his subject, caresses and tired to the church-yard, and continued repairing grows enamoured of it; the former grasped it eagerly thither to sing it to the day of his death. The afflicted to his bosom, boreathed death upon it, and turned from constantly resorted there to hear it, and he died sing- it with loathing or dismay. The fine aroma that is ing it to a maid who had lost her lover. The orphans exhaled from the flowers of poesy, every where lends have learnt it, and still chaunt it over Dermid's grave." its perfume to the verse of the bard of Erin. The noble
“ The Fudge Family in Paris" is a most humorous bard (less fortunate in his muse) tried to extract poison work, written partly in the style of “The Twopenny- from them. If Lord Byron cast his own views or feelPost Bag." These poetical epistles remind many ings upon outward objects (jaundicing the sun,) Mr. persons of the “Bath Guide," but a comparison can Moore seems to exist in the delights, the virgin fancies hardly be supported; the plan of Mr. Moore's work of nature. He is free of the Rosicrucian society; and being less extensive, and the subject more ephemeral. in ethereal existence among troops of sylphs and We pity the man, however, who has not felt pleased spirits,—in a perpetual vision of wings, flowers, rainwith this book; even those who disapprove the au- bows, smiles, blushes, tears, and kisses. Every page thor's politics, and his treating Royalty with so little of his work is a vignette, every line that he writes reverence, must be bigoted and loyal to an excess if glows or sparkles, and it would seem (to quote again they deny his wit and humour.
the expressive words of Sheridan) “as if his airy Mr. Moore, in his preface to the “Loves of the spirit, drawn from the sun, continually fluttered with
fond aspirations, to regain that native source of light, and wearisome. It is the fault of Mr Wordsworth's and heat.” The worst is, our author's mind is too poetry that he has perversely relied too much (or vivid, too active, to suffer a moment's repose. We wholly) on this reaction of the imagination on subare cloyed with sweetness, and dazzled with splen- jects that are petty and repulsive in themselves; and dour. Every image must blush celestial rosy red, of Mr. Moore's, that he appeals too exclusively to love's proper hue ;-every syllable must breathe a the flattering support of sense and fancy. Secondly, sigh. A sentiment is lost in a simile—the simile is we have remarked that Mr. Moore hardly ever deoverloaded with an epithet. It is “ like morn risen on scribes entire objects, but abstract qualities of objects. mid-noon.” No eventful story, no powerful contrast, It is not a picture that he gives us, but an inventing no moral, none of the sordid details of human life (all of beauty. He takes a blush, or a smile, and runs on is ethereal;) none of its sharp calamities, or, if they whole stanzas in ecstatic praise of it, and then diverges inevitably occur, his muse throws a soft, glittering to the sound of a voice, and “discourses eloquent veil over them,
music" on the subject; but it might as well be the
light of heaven that he is describing, or the voice of Like moonlight on a troubled sea, Brightening the storm it cannot calm.
echo—we have no human figure before us, no palWe do not believe that Mr. Moore ever writes a nature. Hence we think it may be explained why it
pable reality answering to any substantive form or line that in itself would not pass for poetry, that is not is that our author has so little picturesque effect—with at least a vivid or harmonious common-place. Lord such vividness of conception, such insatiable ambition Byron wrote whole pages of sullen, crabbed prose, after ornament, and such an inexhaustible and dethat, like a long dreary road, however, leads to dole- lightful play of fancy. Mr. Moore is a colourist in ful shades or palaces of the blest. In short Mr. Moore's Parnassus is a blooming Eden, and Lord poetry, a musician also, and has a heart full of ten
derness and susceptibility for all that is delightful and Byron's a rugged wilderness of shame and sorrow. amiable in itself, and that does not require the ordeal On the tree of knowledge of the first you can see of suffering, of crime, or of deep thought, to stamp it nothing but perpetual flowers and verdure ; in the last with a bold character. In this we conceive consists you see the naked stem and rough bark; but it heaves the charm of his poetry, which all the world feels, at intervals with inarticulate throes, and you hear the but which it is difficult to explain scientifically, and shrieks of a human voice within.
in conformity to transcendant rules. It has the charm Critically speaking, Mr. Moore's poetry is chargea- of the softest and most brilliant execution ; there is no ble with two peculiarities : first, the pleasure or interest wrinkle, no deformity on its smooth and shining surhe conveys to us is almost always derived from the face. It has the charm which arises from the confirst impressions or physical properties of objects, nottinual desire to please, and from the spontaneous from their connexion with passion or circumstances.
sense of pleasure in the author's mind. Without His lights dazzle the eye, his perfumes soothe the being gross in the smallest degree, it is voluptuous in smell, his sounds ravish the ear; but then they do so the highest. It is a sort of sylph-like spiritualized for and from themselves, and at all times and places equally—for the heart has little to do with it. Hence sensuality. So far from being licentious in his Lalla
Rookh, Mr. Moore has become moral and sentimental we observe a kind of fastidious extravagance in Mr. (indeed he was always the last) and tantalizes his Moore's serious poetry. Each thing must be fine, soft, exquisite in itself , for it is never set off by reflec- young and fair readers with the glittering shadows
and mystic adumbrations of evanescent delights. tion or contrast. It glitters to the sense through the He, in fine, in his courtship of the Muses, resembles atmosphere of indifference. Our indolent luxurious those lovers who always say the softest things on all bard does not whet the appetite by setting us to hunt
occasions; who smile with irresistible good humour after the game of human passion, and is therefore at their own success; who banish pain and truth from obliged to hamper us with dainties, seasoned with their thoughts, and who impart the delight they feel rich fancy and the sauce piquante of poetic diction. in themselves unconsciously to others! Mr. Moore's Poetry, in his hands, becomes a kind of cosmetic art
poetry is the thornless rose—its touch is velvet, its it is the poetry of the toilet. His muse must be as hue vermilion; and its graceful form is cast in beauty's fine as the Lady of Loretto. Now, this principle of mould. Lord Byron's, on the contrary, is a prickly composition leads not only to a defect of dramatic
bramble, or sometimes a deadly upas, of form uncouth interest, but also of imagination. For every thing in and uninviting, that has its root in the clefts of the this world, the meanest incident or object, may re- rock, and its head mocking the skies, that wars with ceive a light and an importance from its association the thunder-cloud and tempest, and round which the with other objects, and with the heart of man; and loud cataracts roar. the variety thus created is endless as it is striking and
We here conclude our Sketch of profound. But if we begin and end in those objects
Anacreon Moore, that are beautiful or dazzling in themselves and at the
To whom the Lyre and Laurels have been given first blush, we shall soon be confined to a human re
With all the trophies of triumphant songward of self-pleasing topics, and be both superficial
He won them well, and may he wear them long!
as fragrant as if a caravan of musk from Khoten had passed through it. The Princess, having taken leave
of her kind father, who at parting hung a cornelian In the eleventh year of the reign of Aurungzebe, of Yemen round her neck, on which was inscribed a Abdalla, King of the Lesser Bucharia, a lineal de- verse from the Koran,--and having sent a considerable scendant from the Great Zingis, having abdicated the present to the Fakirs, who kept up the Perpetual Lamp throne in favour of his son, set out on a pilgrimage in her sister's tomb, meekly ascended the palankeen to the Shrine of the Prophet; and, passing into India prepared for her; and, while Aurungzebe stood to through the delightful valley of Cashmere, rested for take the last look from his balcony, the procession a short time at Delhi on his way. He was entertained moved slowly on the road to Lahore. by Aurungzebe in a style of magnificent hospitality, Seldom had the Eastern world seen a cavalcade so worthy alike of the visiter and the host, and was superb. From the gardens in the suburbs to the Imafterwards escorted with the same splendour to Surat, perial palace, it was one unbroken line of splendour. where he embarked for Arabia. During the stay of The gallant appearance of the Rajas and Mogul lords, the Royal Pilgrim at Delhi, a marriage was agreed distinguished by those insignia of the Emperor's faupon between the Prince, his son, and the youngest vour, the feathers of the egret of Cashmere in their daughter of the Emperor, Lalla Rookh';-a Prin- turbans, and the small silver-rimmed kettle-drums at cess described by poets of her time, as more beauti- the bows of their saddles ;—the costly armour of ful than Lelia, Shrine, Dewilde, or any of those hero- their cavaliers, who vied on this occasion, with the ines whose names and loves embellish the songs of guards of the great Keder Khan, in the brightness of Persia and Hindostan. It was intended that the nup- their silver battle-axes and the massiness of their maces tials should be celebrated at Cashmere ; where the of gold ;-the glittering of the gilt pine apples on the young King, as soon as the cares of empire would tops of the palankeens ;-the embroidered trappings permit, was to meet, for the first time, his lovely bride, of the elephants, bearing on their backs small turrets, and after a few months' repose in that enchanting in the shape of little antique temples, within which valley, conduct her over the snowy hills into Bucharia. the Ladies of LALLA Rookh lay, as it were, enshrined;
The day of Lalla Rooki's departure from Delhi the rose-coloured veils of the Princess's own sump was as splendid as sunshine and pageantry could tuous litter, at the front of which a fair make it. The bazaars and baths were all covered slave sat fanning her through the curtains, with feawith the richest tapestry; hundreds of gilded barges thers of the Argus pheasant's wing; and the lovely upon the Jumna floated with their banners shining in troop of Tartarian and Cashmerian maids of honour, the water; while through the streets groups of beau- whom the young King had sent to accompany his tiful children went strewing the most delicious flow-bride, and who rode on each side of the litter, upon ers around, as in that Persian festival called the Scat- small Arabian horses ;-all was brilliant, tasteful, and tering of the Roses?; till every part of the city was magnificent, and pleased even the critical and fasti
dious FADLADEEN, Great Nazir or Chamberlain of 1 Tulip Cheek.
2 Gul Reazee. the Haram, who was borne in his palankeen imme