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Review of New Publications. that have died since the Society's for.' THE poetry of the Asiatics pronia mer publication, viz. the late Lord ses more than amusement. Their anPresident Dundas, Sir Alexander Dals and their religion being exhibited Dick, and Sir Thomas Miller. This in verle, their poems solicit the exapart
of the work seenis to have been mination of philosophers, and particu: adopted in imitation of the French larly of historians and divines. The A caueny,
original of the poems here translated Where Eulogy, with one eternal smile, by Mr Champion, are greatly admired
Heaps her faunt roles in a withering pile; in the East. Ferdosi is the Homer, But we doubi if it is a branch of the and his Shah Nameh is the Iliad, of publication the will add much to the Perli... As a proper introduction to fame of the Society. Biographical the translation of that part of this voMemoirs, if they are ever introductd lum:nous poem, which has been preinto the Transactions of a Philofophi- pared for the Englith press, Mr Chamcal Society, ought certainly to be ap- pion has prefixed an amuling effy on propriated to such of the members the life and writings of Ferdosi. only, who have been diftinguished for By this accouni, it appears, that literary or scientific pursuits. Those ‘Abul Caffem Munsuril Ferdoh was whole celebrity has arisen from ob- descended from Abmed ul Ferdoli, jects different fiom, and li:tle connect- one of the principa' inhabitants of the ed with, the business of the Society, town of Sar, in the province of Tus, however meritorioully, it is as in pro- in the kingdom of Knorafan. As super to introduce there, as it w.uld be perlative abiliies excite a kind of ideto insert the memoirs of a physician latrous admiration, mankind are not in a military biography. i'ne txo fatisfied unless they introduce fomeemineot judges whose lives are given thing unusua', if not marvelous, into to the world in this volume, inerited their history. Various prefages of and obtained universal applause for greatness have, according to ancient their conduct in the extcution of the ftory, accon panied the births of te high offices they filled; but we fee markable persons, whereby they have nothing from these memoirs that been dittinguished from the herd, could render their history a proper marked as Beings pecularly blefied, appendix to the history or transac. and held up as objects whom Fame tions of the Royal Seciety of Edin is to place on her higheit pinnacle. buigh, however well entitled to a It was in this way, as the Persians place in the andals of Scitih jurir. relate, that Ferrioli was ushered ir to prudence. This observat.on is lut the world. His great celebrity as a applicable to Sir Alexander Dick, poet was, at ile time of his birth, rewhose ardent regard to the intereits vealed to his father in a dream, in of Icience, juftificd the Society in gi- which he saw the infant standing with ving his life an honourable place in his fice to the west, and elevating his their records.
voice; the echo of which reverbera. The history of the Society is con- ted from every quarter. This was cluded wiih a list of donations recei- ' explained by the interpreter whom ved since lall publication.
Ahmed consulted, as meaning, “ that To be continued.
the fame of his fon, and his poetic talents, would be the theme of the
universe." The Poems of Ferdosi. Translated So the fact was: Ferdosi soon dir from the Perfian by Joseph Cham- covered a mind remarkably vigorous ;
pion, Esq. 410. pp. 460. 12$. 'the strength of his memory was equal boards. Cadell.
- to the intenseness of his application ;
and the dawn of his poetic career e fruiterer who attended, and 20,000 vinced to the poet Affadi the glory to the Nave who brought the money. of his meridian sun. Animated by The poetic courtiers, long envious him, Ferdosi applied himself to hif. of Ferdoli
, interpreted this fpirited tory, and conceived the noble design conduct of the poet as disrespectful to of exhibiting the exploits of the kings the fult.n; who was, by various infiand heroes of Persia in verse. At nuations, at lait irritated againit him, the court of Mahmoud, sultan of and obliged him to fly from Ghezny. Ghezny, poetry and history were Ferdosi fled, but he could not be the pursuits which the sovereign at disgraced, nor impoverished. Though this time most espoused, and which abandoned by the fultan of Ghezny, were, of course, the direct road to various prince, courtci and protected wealth and fame. Report food car- him. His flight served only io diffuse r.ed the fingular reputation of Ferdoq his fame. Ai Budad he had an ato the sovereign's ear; he ordered his partment atñigned him in the vizir's attendance, received him as the glory palace ; and the caliph, charmed with of his court, and honoured him with the productions of mis mufe, ordered every mark of royal confidence. Fer: hm the sum that had been win-held do's design coinciding with the with by the Sultan. The enraged Mahof the fultan, he was appointed, as the moud, hcaring of his tane ai Bavid, only man equal to the task, to write demanded him to be delivered up; the ann-Is of Persia, which had been and to avoid his anger, out poet was lately discovered, and the atchieve- obliged to proceed to Tas. Here, ments of the heroes, in a series of as a boy was repeating to him hit heroic poems. For every thousand verles, he suddenly expired ; and as lines, the monarch ordered him a thou- the people were carrying him to his fand dinars, (a dinar is nearly 8 s. grave, a prelent of 60,000 dinars ar6 d. ;) whatever the poet composed in rived from the sultan, whose resenteach day, was read to him in the ment was now removed. These were evening ; and as the poems were fi- tendered to, but refuled by, his daughnished, they were copied, and disper- ter, who, in honour of her fatner, efed throughout the empire. In the rected a famous stone ftair-cale on 70th year of his age, (in the 374th the banks of the river, which was to year of the Hejira,) he finished his he- be seen a few years since at Tus. It roic poem entitled the Shah Nameh, is related, also, that the fultan exwhich consisted of one hundred thou- pended the 60,000 dinars in building fand liges; and, presenting them to a public editice to the memory of the the sultan, demarded his reward.
poet. M.hmoud, being a poet himself, ex- Thus was Ferdosi caressed when pruffed his approbation of Ferdofi in living; and though the sumptuous verse, and ordered the stipulated fum monument erected by Mahmoud to to be paid to him; but the vizir be his memory is perished, his poems reing the poet's enemy, sent him, in ma'n an everlasting monument of his fealed bags, fixty thousand silver, in- learning and abilities. Homer was tead of gold, dinars. These were never more admired by the Greeks, brought to him as he was bathing; than was Ferdoli by :he Persians. Tó and Ferdosi, conceiving the silver di- his poems they attribu e feven qualibars to be a deligned affront of the ties; the balis of koowledge, the ful:an, immediately distributed them spring of excellence, a model of hifto those about him, giving 20,000 to tory, the true portrait of religion, the she keeper of the bath, 20,000 to a exciting of joy, the exciting of for
row, Review of New Publications. row, and the real discrimination of Such is the account that Mr Chamcvery species of intelligence. pion has given of the Shah Named
Mr Champion further observes, that and its author ; it is curious, and, no The Amiles of Ferdosi are ple- doubt, exhibits the sentiments of the nisima nellaris—his invention [is] Persians respecting their favourite lively and vigorous. When we con- bard; but we would caution the Engfider the astonishing length of the lifh reader against raising his expectaproduction, and the constant fame tions to a high degree. that animates the whole, preserviog When we compared Ferdosi with an equal blaze, leaves the mind of a Homer, we did not mean to intimate common reader in astonishment, and that the poem of the former was leads the poetical genius through un- ftriely epic. The Shah Nameh mult known regioos of the imagination, not be tried by the rules of Aristotle.
• The reflections of Ferdosi are a- It does not relate a complete action, pimated and moral; the versifications which has a beginning, a middle, and smooth and polished; a quality, tho' an end, and which is enlivened by 2possessed in general by the Persian po- mufiog episodes ; but it is, as we have ets, is heightened by the poesis divina already hinted, a series of historical ois, and gives that beauty to the range poems, in which the author has taken of enchantment which at once seizes the same liberty with the Persian hisop the avenues of the heart ; nor can tory, that Homer took with the acthe judgment, in its cooleft moment, count of the fiege of Troy. Angels, censure the exuberance. The annals demons, and fairies, are associated of the Persian kings and heroes would with the kings and warriors of Perhave been cold and insipid, and only fia, as gods and goddesses are with would have been perused as they the heroes of the lliad.. The Shah might have related to historical facts. Nameh may be thought heavy, as it Ferdos, piercing through the bounds has no unity of design, and do geneof nature, created new worlds, and ral interest; but it evinces the genius making them fubfervient to his plan, and perseverance of Ferdofi, conveys regulated his own sphers with such information, and deserves attention, superior ability and fanciful system, - as a molt celebrated specimen of East that the conduct of his poems appears er poetry; though the very nature in the natural order of that imaginary of the poem, and its great length, will creation dignified by himself, they prevent many from using it. may not bear the touchstope of truth; Mr Champion mentions the diffi. but the fables of the eart admitted culty of his undertaking, as an apo. them. There are no fatiguing di- logy for its defects. To confiderable gielfions. Every succeeding poet has praise he is entitled, for fo new and copied Homer. Ferdog followed or arduous an attempt ; and we hope he imitated none, his genius was above will be encouraged to persevere, till all tranflation, the invention was his he has translated the whole of these own. The story, a recital of actions poems; and that his future labours what happened, in a certain degree may be more perfect than those which embellished by fable: Alaric fplen- he has at present laid before the pubdour favoured the magnificent descrip- lic*. tions."
Sir Gawen: Å Talk
IT was towards fun-set when Sir turn, plunged into the wood by a path
Gawen, after having traversed a very narrow, and almost choaked up with a lone and unfrequentes part, arrived at quantity of briar and thorn. The trees the edge of a thick and dark foreft ; the were thick, and save a few glimpses of sky was suddenly overcast, and it begani the moon which now and then poured to rain, the thunder rolled at a distance, light on the uncouth features of his and sheets of livid lightning flashed a- companion, all was dark and disinal; cross the heath. Overcome with fatigue the heart of Sir Gawen mitigave him; and hunger, he røde impatiently along neither ipoke, and the knight pursued the borders of the foreit, in hopes of bis guide merely by the noise she made discovering an entrance, but none was in hurrying through the bushes, which to be found. At length, just as he was was done with a celerity totally incond about to disimount with an intention of fiftent with her former decrepitude. At breaking the fence, he difcerned, as he length the path grew wider, and a faint thought, fomething moving upon the blue light, which came from a building heath, and, upon advancing towards it, at some difance, glimmered before it proved to be an old woman gathering them; they now left the wood and issupeat, and who, overtaken by the storm, ed upon a rocky and uneven piece of was hurrying home as fast as her infirm ground, the moon struggling through a limbs could carry her. The fight of a cloud, cast a doubtful and uncertain human creature filled the heart of Sir light, and the old woman, with a leer, Gawen with joy, and hastily riding up, which made the very hair of Sir Gawen he enquired how far he had deviated stand on end, told him that the dwellfrom the right road, and where he could ing was at hand. It was fo, for a Goprocure a night's lodging! The old thic castle, placed on a considerable ele. woman now fowly lifted up her pallied vation, now came in view ; it was a head, and discovered a set of features large masly structure; much decayed, which could scarcely be called human; and some parts of it in a totally ruinous her eyes were red, and glanced upon eve condition; a portion, however, of the Ty object but the person by whom the way keep, or great towers was fill entire, as addressed, and, at intervals, they emit- was also the entrance to the court or ented a fiery disagreeable light ; her hair, closure, preserved probably by the ivy, of a dirty grey, hung matted with filth whose fibres crept round with solicitous in large malles upon her houlders, and care. Large fragments of the ruin were a few thin portions rushed abrupt and scattered about, covered with moss and horizontally from the upper part of her half funk in the ground, and a number forehead, which was much wrinkled, of old elm-trees, through whose foliage and of a parchment hue; her cheeks the wind fighed with a fullen and mes were hollow, withered, and red with a lancholy sound, dropped a deep and let. quantity of acrid rheum, her nose was tled gloom, that scarce permitted the large, prominent and sharp, her lips thin, moon to stream by fits upon the buildskinny and livid, her few teeth black, ing. Sir Gawen drew near, ardent.cua and her chin long and peaked, with a riofiły mingled with awe dilated his bonumber of bushy hairs depending from som, and he inwardly congratulated its extremity; her nails also were acute, himself upon fo singular an adventure, crooked and bent over her fingers, and when turning round to question bis coma her garments ragged and fluttering in the panion, a glimpse of the moon poured wind, displayed every possible variety of full upon his eye fo horrid a contexture colour. The knight was a little damted, of feature, so wild and preternatural a but the old woman having mentioned a combination, that, finote with terror and dwelling at some diftance, and offering unable to move, a cold sweat trickled. to lead the way, the pleasure received from every pore, and immediately this from this piece of news effaced the form- infernal being feizing him by the army er impression, and getting from his horse, and hurrying him over the draw-bridge he laid hold of the bridle, and they flows to the great entrance of the keep, the ly moved over the heatha
portcullis fell with a tremendous found, The form had now ceafed, and the and the knight starting as it were from a moon rising gave presage of a fine night, trance, drew his sword in act to destroy just as the old woman, taking a sudden his treacherous guide, when instantly VOL. XII. No. 69. Da
Sir Gawen : A Tale. horrible and infernal laugh burst from started from his grasp, and in searching her, and in a moment the whole castle the ground with his fingers, he laid was in an uproar, peal after peal isuing hold of, and drew forth the fresh bones from every quarter, till at length growe of an enormous skeleton, yet greasy and ing faint they died away, and a dead fi- moist from the decaying fibies; he lence ensued. Sir Gawen, who, during trembled with horror; a cold wind this frange turrult, had collected all his brushed violently along the surface of fcattered powers, now looked round !iim the vault, and a ponderous iron door, with determined resolution; his terrible fowly grating on its hinges, opened at companion had disapp-ared, and the one corner, ard disclosed to the wandermoon shining full upon the portcullis ing eye of Sir Gawen a broken fairconvinced him that any escape that way cafe, down whose steps a blue and faint was impracticable; the wind lighed thro' light Rifheil by fits, like the lightning of the elins, the scared owl, ultering his a fummer's eve. Appalled by these 'discordant note, broke from :he ruftling dreadful prodigies, Sir Gawen felt, in .bough, and a dim twinkling light beam- spite of all his refolution, a cold and ed from a loop hole near the suminit of death-like chill pervade his frame, and the great tower. Sir Gawen entered kneeling down, be prayed fervently to the keep, having previously reasoned that power, without whose mandate no himself into a state of cool fortitude, being is let loote upon another, and feel. and bent up every power to the appal. ing himself more calm and resolved, he ling enterprize. He extended his sword again began to search for his sword, before him, for it was dark, and pro- when a moon-beam falling on the blade ceeded carefully to search around, in at once restored it to its owner. hopes either of discovering some aper- Sir Gawen having thus resumed his ture which might lead to the veftibule wonted fortitude and resolution, held a or staircase, or of wreaking his vengeance parley with bim, Il, and perceiving no on the wretch who had thus decoyed other way by which he could escape, him. All was still as death, but as he boldly relolved to brave all the terrors frode over the floor, a dull, hollow of the fair.cale, and, once more reconfound issued from beneath, and rendered mending himself to his Maker, began to him apprehensive of falling through in- afcend. The light fill Safed, enabling to some dismal vault, from which he him to climb those parts which were might never be able to extricate himself. broken or decayed. He had proceeded In this situation, dreading the effect of in this manner a considerable way, cach light footstep, a found, as of many mounting, as he supposed, to the summit people whispering, ftruck his ear, he of the keep, when suddenly a fhrill and bent forward, listening with eager at- agonizing brick issued from the uppár tention, and as it seemed to proceed part of it, and something rudely brushfrom a little distance before him, he ing down, gralped him with tremendous determined to follow it: he did so, ftrength: in a moment he became moand instantly fell through the mouldering tionlels, cold as ice, and felt himfelf pavement, whilft at the same time peals hurried back by fome irrefifible being ; of horrid laughter burst with reiteraied but just as he reached the vault, a clamour from every chamber of thecastle. spectre of fo dreadful a fhape faiked ty Sir Gawen rofe with considerable diffin within it, that, ftraining every muscle, culty, and much stunned with the fall, he sprang from the deadly grasp; the although fortunately the spot he had iron door rushed in thunder upon its dropped upon was covered with a quan- hinges, and a decp hollow groan reloundtity of damp and soft earth which gave
ed from beneath. No sooner had the way to his weight. He now found him- door closed, than yelling fereams, and self in a large vault, arched in the Go-founds which almost fufpended the very thic manner, and fupported by eight pulse of life, issued from the vault, as if a massy pillars, down whose fides the troop of hellish furies, with their chains dlamp moisture ran in cold and heavy untied, were daihing them in writhing drops, the moon fining with great lui- frenzy, and howling to the uproar. Sir tre through three iron-grated windows, Gawen stood petriñed with horror, a which, although rusty with age, were. ftony fear ran to his very heart, and difftrong enough to refift the efforts of Sir mayed every sense about him, he ftared Gawen, who, after having in vaiu tried wide with his long locks upstanding fifto force them, looked around for his fly, and the throbbing of his heart np. Sword, which, during the fall, had presled him. The tumult at length sub