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that have died lince the Society's for.' THE poetry of the Asiatics promi: mer publicarion, viz. the late Lord fes more than amusement. Their anPresident Dundas, Sir Alexander Qals and their religion being exbibited Dick, and Sir Thomas Miller. This in verse, their poems Solicit the exa. part of the work seenis to have been mination of philosophers, and particuadopted in imitation of the French larly of historians and divines. The Acaueny,
original of the poems here translated Where Eulogy, with one eternal smile, by Mr Champion, are greatly admired
Heaps ber faint roles in a withering pile; in the East. Ferdoli is the Homer, But we doubi if it is a branch of the and his Shah Nameh is the Iliad, of publication h. t will add much to the Persi:. As a proper introduction to fame of the Society. Biographical the translation of that part of this voMemoirs, if they are ever introduced lum:nous poem, which has been preinto the Transactions of a Philofophi- pared for the English pref, Mr Chamcal Society, ought certainly to be ap- p.on has prefixed an amusing es:y ou propriated to such of the members the life and writings of Ferdosi. only, who have been distinguished for By this account, it appears, that literary or scientific pursuits. Those 'Abul Cailem Munfuril Ferdosi was whose celebrity has arisen from ob- descended from Ahmed ul Ferdofi, jects different from, and liitle connect- one of the principa' inhabitants of the ed with, the business of the Society, town of Sar, in the province of Tus, however meritoriously, it is as in pro- in the kingdom of Khorafao. As super to introduce there, as it would te perlative abiliies excite a kind of ide. to intert the memoirs of a physician lainous admiration, mankind are not in a military biography. The two fatisfied unless they introduce fomeeminent judges whose lives are given thing unusual, if not marvelous, into to the world in this volume, inerited their history. Various prefages of and obtaioed universal aplause for greatness have, according to ancient their conduct in the execution of the story, accon panied the births of tehigh offices they filled; but we ftemarkable person, whereby ihey baye nothing from these memoirs that been distinguished from the herd, could rencer their history a proper marked as Beings picu iariy blefled, appendix to the history or transac. and held up as objects whom Fame tions of the Royal Society of Edin is to plece on her higheit pinnacle. burgh, however well entitled to a It was in this way, as the Pornians place in the annals of Sci tuilh jurir. tate, that Terciofi was ushered into prudence. This observation is cut the world. His great celebrity as a applicable to Sir Alexander Dich, poet uas, at the time of his birth, rewhole ardent regard to the intereits veakd to his father in a dream, in of science, justified the Society in gin which he saw the infant standing with ving his life an honourable place in his face to the west, and elevating his their recoris.
voice'; the echo of which reverbera. The history of the Society is con- ted from every quarter. This was cluded with a list of donations recei- explained by the interpreter whom ved fiace 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 Ferdos. Translated. So the fact was: Ferdosi foon dir. from the Persian by lepi Chan. covered a mind remarkably vigorous ; pioni, Esq. 410. pp. 460. 12$. the strength of his memory was equal boards. Cadell.
10 the intenseness of his application ;
and the dawn of his poetic career en fruiterer who aitended, and 20,000 pinced to the poet Affadi the glory to the slave who brought the money. of his meridian fun. Animated by The poetic couriers, long envious him, Ferdosi applied himself to hif. of Ferdoli, interpreted this fpirited tory, and conceived the noble design conduct of the poet as disrelpectiul to of exhibiting the exploits of the kings the sultan; who was, by various infi. and heroes of Persia in verse. At nuations, at last irritated against him, the court of Mahmoud, sultan of and obliged him to fly irom Ghezny. Ghezny, poetry and history were Ferdofi Aed, but he could not be the pursuits which the sovereign at difgraced, nor impoverished. Though this time most espoused, and which abandoned by the fultan of Ghezny, were, of course, the direct road to various prin e, C urteit and protected wealth and fame. Report foon car. him. His fight forved only io diffuse r.ed the fingular reputation of Ferdoci his fam. Ar Baydad he had an ato the sovereigo's ear; he ordered his partment aligned him in the vizir's attendance, received him as the glory palace; and the calipa, charmed with of his court, and honoured him with the productions of mis pius, ordered every mark of royal confitence. Fer- hun the sum thai hid beru win-beld doli's defigo coinciding with the with by the Sultan. The enraged Mahof the fultan, he was appointed, as the moud, haring of his time at Bagaid, only inan equal to the task, to write demanded him to be delivered up; the annals of Perfia, which had been and to avoid his anger, our poei was lately discovered, and the atchieve- obliged to proceed to Tus. Here, ments of the heroes,' in a series of as a boy was repeating to him his heroic poems. Fur every thoutand verles, he suddenly expired ; and as lines, the monarch ordered him a thou. the people were carrying him to his land dinars, (a dinar is nearly 8 s. grave, a present of 60,000 dinars ar6 d. ;) whatever the poet composed in rived from the sultan, whose resenteach day, was' read to him in the me:t was now removed. These were evening; and as the poems were fi- tendered to, but retuled by, his daughnished, they were copied, and disper- ter, who, in honour of her father, ea led throughout the empire. In the rected a famous ftone stair.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 foltan exwhich consisted of one hundred thou- pended the 60,000 dinars in building fand liaes; and, presenting them to a public editice to the memory of the the sultan, demanded his reward. poet. M.hmoud, being a poet himself, ex Thus was Ferdosi caressed when prifted his approbation of Ferdosi in living; and though the lumptuous verse, and ordered the stipulated fum monument erected by Mahmoud to to be paid to bim; but the vizir be- his memory is perished, his poems reing the poet's enemy, sent him, in main an everlasting monument of his sealed 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 Ferdog by she Perfans. To and Ferdosi, conceiving the silver din his poems they attribuie leven qualinars to be a designed affront of the ties; the balis of koowledge, the sul:an, immediately distributed them spring of excellence, a model of hifto chofe about him, giving 20,000 to ory, the true portrait of religion, the the keeper of the bath, 20,000 to a exciting of joy, the exciting of for
row, row, and the real discrimination of Such is the account that Mr Cbam. every species of intelligence. pion has given of the Shah Namela
Mr Champion further observes, that and its author ; it is curious, and, no * The Gmiles of Ferdosi are ple. doubt, exhibits the sentiments of the misima nectaris--his invention [is] Persians respecting their favourite lively and vigorous. When we con- bard; but we would caution the Eng. 'fider the astonishing length of the lifb reader against raising his expecta. production, and the constant fame tions to a high degree. . that animates' the whole, preseryiog When we compared Ferdog 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- frictly epic. The Shah Nameh mult known regions of the imagination not be tried by the rules of Aristotle.
. The reflections of Ferdosi are a. It does not relate a complete a&ion, pimated and moral; the versifications which has a beginning, à middle, and smooth and polished ; a quality, tho' an end, and which is enlivened by apossessed in general by the Persian po- mufing episodes ; but it is, as we have ets, is heightened by the poesis diving 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 Perfian hilon the avenues of the heart ; nor can tory, that Homer took with the acthe judgment, in its coolest 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 Ferdosi, piercing through the bounds has no unity of delign, and no geneof nature, created new worlds, and ral intereft; but it evinces the genius making them fubservient to his plan, and perseverance of Ferdosi, conveys regulated his own sphere 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 ert 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 preveni many from using it. may not bear the touchitune of truth; Mr Champion meations the diffi. but the fables of the eaft admitted culty of his undertaking, as an apo. them. There are no fatiguing di- logy for its defects. To considerable gielions. Every succeeding poet has praise he is entitled, for fo new and copied Homer. Ferdos followed or arduous an attempt ; and we hope he imitated none, his genius was above will be encouraged to persevere, till all tranlation, the invention was his he has translated the whole of these own. The story, a recital of actions poems; and that bis future labours what happened, in a certain degree may be more perfect than those which embellished by fable: Asiatic fplen- he has at present laid before the pubdour favoured the magnificent descrip- lic *.
Sir Gawen : A Talé.
IT was towards fun-set when Sir turn, plunged into the wood by a path I 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 fky was suddenly overcast, and it begani the moon which now and then poured to rain, the thunder rolled at a diftance, light on the uncouth features of his and feets of livid lightning Alathed a companion, all was dark and disinal ; cross the heath. Overcome with fatigue the heart of Sir Gawen mitgave him; and hunger, he rode 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 incona about to disinount with an intention of fiftent with her formet 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 distance, glimmered before it proved to be an old woman gathering them; they now left the wood and illupeat, 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 so, for a Goprocure a right's lodging? The old thic castle, placed on a considerable ele. woman now slowly 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 eves condition; a portion, however, of the ry object but the person by whom she was keep, or great tower, was still 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 thoulders, 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 sunk 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 med 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 builde skinny and livid, her few teeth black, ing. Sir Gawen drew near, ardent.cua and her chin long and peaked, with a riofity mingled with awe dilated his bonumber of bushy hairs depending from som, and he inwardly congratulated its extremity; her nails also were acute, hirtelf upon fo fingular an adventure, crooked and bent over her fingers, and when turning round to question his com® her garments ragged and fluttering in the panion, a glimpse of the moon poured wind, difplayed every possible variety of full upon his eye fo horrid a contexture colour. The knight was a little daumted, of feature, so wild and preternataral 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 seizing him by the arm, er impression, and getting from his horfe, and hurrying him over the draw-bridge he laid hold of the bridle, and they flow to the great entrance of the keep, the ly moved over the heath. .
portcullis fell with a tremendous sound, The form bad now ceafed, and the and the knight starting as it were from a moon rifing zave 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
horrible and infernal laugh burit from started from his grafp, 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 ifruing hold of, and drew forth the fresh bones from every quarter, till at length grow of an enormous keleton, 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 strange tumult, had collected all his brushed violently along the surface of fcattered powers, now looked round im the vault, and a ponderous iron door, with determined resolution; his terrible flowly grating on its hinges, opened at companion had disapp-ared, and the one corner, ard disclosed to the wandermoon fining full upon the por cullis ing eye of Sir Gawen a broken stair. convinced him that any escape that way cale, down whose heps a blue and faint was impracticable; the wind âghed thro' light ined by fits, like the lightning of the elms, the scared owl, utiering his a summer's eve. Appalled by these 'difcordant note, broke from the ruftling dreadful prodigies, Sir Gawen feli, in ,bough, and a dim twinkling licht bean- spite of all his resolution, a cold and
ed from a loop hole near the summit of death-like chill pervade his frame, and the great tower. Sir Gawen' entered kneeling down, be prayed fervenily to the keep, having previously reasoned that power, without whose mandare no himself into a state of cool fortitude, being is let loose upon another, and teel. and bent up every pou er 10 the appal. ing himself more calm and resilved, he ling enterprize. He extended his sword again began to search for his sword, before him, for it was dark, an i pro. when a moon-beam falling on the blade ceeded carefully to fearch around, in at once restored it to its owner. bopes either of discovering fome aper: Sir Gawen having thus refumed his ture which might lead to the veftibule wonted fortitude and resolution, held a or staircase, or of wreaking his vengeance parley with bims. If, and perceiving no on the wretch who had thus decoyed other way by which he could eicape, him. All was still as death, but as he boldly reiolved to brave all the terrors frode over the foor, a dull, hollow of the fair-case, and, once more recomfound issued from beneath, and rendered mending himself to his Maker, began to him apprehenfive of falling through in afcend. The light fill fiashed, enabling to fome 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, liftening with eager at- agonizing shriek issued from the uppír tention, and as it seemed to proceed part of it, and something rudcly bruthfrom a little distance before him, he ing down, grasped him with tremendous determined to follow it: he did si), ftrength: in a moment he became moand instantly fell through the mouldering tionleis, cold as ice, and felt himfelf pavement, whilft at the same time peais hurried back by fome irrefitible being ; of horrid laughter hurft with reiterated but just as he reached the vault, 2 clamour from every chamber of the castie, spectre of so dreadful a thape stalked by Sir Gawen rofe with considerable diffie within it, that, ftraining every muscle, culty, and much ftunned with the fall, he fprang 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 resound. tity 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 screams, and self in a large vault, arched in the Go founds which almoft fufpended the very thic manner, and supported by eight pulse of life, issued from the vault, as if a mally pillars, dewn whose fides the iroop of hellith furies, with their chains damp moisture ran in cold and beavy untied, were daihing them in writhing drops, the moon shining with great lui frenzy, and howling to the uproar. Sir tre through three iron-grated windows, Gawen stood petrised with horror, a which, although rufty with age, were stony fear ran to his very heart, and airftrong enough to refift the efforts of Sir mayed every sense about him, he fared Gawen, who, after having in vain tried wide with his long locks upstanding fifto force them, looked around for his fly, and the throbbing of his heart op. Sword, which, during the fall, had preled him. The tumult at length sub