Imágenes de página

And, looking fondly on the wondering throng, 'Farewell!' he said, my children! serve your God

With unremitting zeal, as I have done, And ye shall gain as bright a recompense !' "The harnessed spirits, spreading forth their wings

That waved in golden radiance, like the clouds

In autumn evening burnished by the sun; And hovering, for a moment, o'er the earth,

With swift ascent towards th' ethereal realms Took their glad way, and mingled with the skies.

Th' astonished multitude fell to the ground In humble posture, and adored the Power Omnipotent, their father's God, whose hand This glorious miracle of love had wrought." Chariots and cars are sublimely spoken of in Scripture-and in Paradise Lost "instinct with spirit." But the descent of the present chariot, to the eye of our imagination, is any thing but sublime. The set-out is spick-andspan new-but too material by far-as if built by Croall. "In its seat" is too minute a touch, and we are curious to know if it were a vis-a-vis. "Soon in the seraph's car he took his seat," borders, we fear, on the ludicrous-and we trust we are not profane in saying it suggests the idea of Enoch being booked for heaven. "Therefore ascend this chariot" is not seraphic and Enoch's parting words had been better, if not so self-laudatory. Nothing can be poorer, for nothing can be more commonplace, than the image of the clouds-and it is inappropriate; for sunset is a steadfast show and far remote. -whereas the harnessed spirits unfold their wings in the very midst of a crowd-on the ground -and then, hovering for a moment over the earth, swiftly ascend towards the ethereal realms. The mere colour of their wings may have resembled that of clouds " in autumn evening burnished by the sun;" but all their other attributes are extinguished by the image.

Methuselah succeeds his father Enoch-and dies, near the bottom of the page. His son Lamech having predeceased him, Noah mounts his grandfather's throne-and then, it may be said, begins the poem.

We do not comprehend Dr M'Henry's views of hereditary succession to the monarchical government among the race of Seth before the Flood. On Enoch's translation, Methuselah, heir-apparent, assumes the sceptre.

But how, we ask, happened it that Enoch was king during the lifetime of his father Jared? If the Doctor will again look into the 5th chapter of Genesis, he will perceive that Jared outlived Enoch four hundred and thirty-five years. It is not said that he had resigned, or that he had been deposed-and we could not help being both surprised and hurt at his absence from the Translation. The Doctor must have supposed him dead long ago; for he speaks of "Jared, their chief city, sacred seat Of patriarch rule, from Enoch's father named."

In a second edition, the good old king (in his sixth century) must have a good place assigned him near the chariot "of celestial mould." Nor must Methuselah, any Enoch, be suffered to mount the more than throne till his grandfather's demise. A few hundred years must be cut off his reign, as erroneously given in the M'Henry's annals; and with such correction of dates-for it is tor will not fail to discover the error strictly a question of dates-the Doccontained in the lines,

[ocr errors]

'Through the long period of Methuselah's reign,

That reign the longest in the rolls of time.” Had we stopped here, we should have given the Doctor a famous opportunity for a triumph over us: but we beg to inform the Doctor, that at the time of Enoch's translation, not only was his father Jared alive, but Jared's father, Mahalaleel. Mahalaleel then was king, Jared Prince of Wales, and Enoch

Duke of

No, we are wrong again

for Mahalaleel's father Cainan was alive too, and he must have been king; so the Doctor and we are called upon to re-adjust the order according to seniority of the blood-royal. Why, we are not right yet-for Cainan's father, Enos, was as much alive as any of them; so, at the translation of Enoch-as described by M'Henry-there must have been present-Enoch himself, Jared, his father, Mahalaleel, his grandfather, Cainan, his great-grandfather, and Enos, his great-great-grandfather.

Mercy on us! old Seth, too, was alive-alive and kicking!-Enoch's great-great-great-grandfather!

Methuselah, however, at last is dead. And our poet exclaims:

"Illustrious Noah! thou who wert or dained

To be the second father of mankind,

How did it grieve thy spirit, when thou found'st

The progress pride and wantonness had made,

By secret growth, even in Methuselah's days?

Ah! now, where veneration for the years. Of one whose power they had so long obeyed,

No more restrained them in their vain

The proud and daring openly gave way
To vile propensities, and wickedness
Began to lose the shame which had before
Kept her, decorous, from the public view."


Which first inflicted death, the doom of sin
Pronounced upon our nature at the fall!
Subservient to the foul malignant fiends,
Th' abandoned race of Cain their God for-

And to th' infernal agents gave their hearts.
Oh! preference worse than foolish, choice

Which drove celestial spirits from their

Of guardianship o'er human feebleness,
And left the hapless Cainites in the power
Of hellish tyrants, whom they blindly served,
Lured by the sensual pleasures amply given
transient, poisonous recompense for


Let us take a look at the Demi-fiend. "Here reigned the fierce Shalmazar, giant king,

Sprung from a mixture of infernal strain; His sire the power of lewdness, Belial named,

Who, amorous of an earth-born beauty,


Astoreth, princess of Gal-Cainah's realm,
To his unhallowed love. The foul embrace
Produced a monster of gigantic frame,
And hellish passions from his sire derived,
Who slew his mother's kin, and with their

Having found the Doctor so far out on his previous chronology, we cannot help suspecting that he is not aware that Methuselah died only about a year before the flood. This description of the gradual growth of wickedness-in the above passage and many others after Methuselah's death, leads to this suspicion; but, supposing that it is not so, then the action of the Antediluvians, or the World Destroyed for Enoch and Methuselah occupy but four pages at the beginning is comprehended within a single Succession earned to their imperial throne. Long enough time, too, in all conscience-but then, how short for a poem undertaking to narrate" THE FORTUNES AND CATASTROPHE OF THE ANTEDILUVIAN WORLD!" We hear little or nothing, and that little or nothing in vague generalities, of any Antediluvians but those who were drowned in the Flood. The poem should have been called "The Year of the Flood." The Antediluvians, then, the Doctor cannot fail to perceive, has yet to be written and he ought to set about it forthwith, lest some interloper, regardless alike of "courtesy and policy," take it out of his hand.

We should have wished to know something more of the Sethites than it has pleased the Doctor to reveal; but we must now accompany him to the king dom of the Cainites, under the iron rule of Shalmazar, a Demi-fiend-begotten by Belial on Astoreth, a princess of the blood-royal. "The infernal spirit who had caused the Fall" had long had possession of the hearts of the people and the guardian angels had resought the skies.

"Oh! direful was th' unhallowed intercourse, With more than half mankind, they had


Since the fell deed by bloody Cain was done,


Such horrid intercourse was frequent, then,
Between the infernals and the beauteous


Of Cain's cursed progeny, who feared not

But, filled with hellish wantonness, pro


A monstrous brood, half devils and half

men !"

This mixture, the Doctor believes, " is in due consistency with the ideas generally entertained in Christendom." We cannot figure to ourselves the produce of such crosses-a demirep is come-at-able in our imagination,

This, how

but not a demi-fiend.
ever, is indisputable-that Demi-fiend
must be an ugly customer-wicked
whether he will or no-miserable-
and a giant. The Cainite king should
have been a man-and should have
given the Antediluvian world assu-
rance of his being so-though up to
the knees and elbows in blood. Othello
calls Iago a demi-devil-because he
knew that he was man-begotten as
well as woman-born.

Shalmazar had raised a golden statue of himself, "all enriched with gems of chrysolite and glittering adamant, emerald and topaz, amethyst and pearl," higher than the highest of the


Egyptian pyramids a thousand feet at a moderate computation, whence we conclude that what are now called the precious metals were then dog-cheap.

"How grieved the heavenly angels were to


The human multitudes, from hills and vales,

And villages and cities, numberless,
Who, with unholy steps, came wildly forth
To kneel in impious worship at that shrine
Of wicked pageantry, in full contempt
Of the true worship of the God of

All were idolaters but a remnant. The true believers had annually emigrated in considerable numbers to the land of Seth-all but one

"Glorious Jethuran ! thine the happy choice

To stand alone 'midst the blaspheming world,

The friend and champion of the Eternal One."

As he is about to be immolated to the fury of the tyrant, his daughter Hadallah rushes forward

"Like a beam

Of sudden light from heaven, that bursts the gloom

Of an o'ershaded sky,"

And throws her slender form at Shalmazar's feet.

"The beauty of the suppliant, through the frame

Of the fell tyrant shot resistless fire
Of amorous longing;"

And "fondly thus the maiden he addressed".

"Fair one, thou'rt charming!" &c. Jethuran is sent to prison, and Hadallah is given to understand, that on the usual terms her father's life will be spared.

Book Second is occupied with a detail of the measures taken by the Demi-fiend to get possession of the virgin; among which the most dangerous are the artifices of a painted and plausible jade, Jazeda, mistress of the harem.

"Now, with proud gait and high affect

ed air,

Jazeda, mistress of the harem, came, Commanded by the king, to try each art Of strong persuasion on Hadallah's mind. Advanced into the autumnal stage of life, Her beauty faded, but not quite decay'd, She its defects assiduously repair'd

[blocks in formation]

"Tyrant,' she said, 'I will not yield to thee!'

And the executioners

a virtuous passion, which, although she does not return, she successfully uses as the instrument of his conver

"Cast their victim on the roaring sion to the worship of the true God.


[blocks in formation]

Jethuran, in the midst, seemed in a car, By cherubs borne up to the seats of bliss."

This seems rather too much da capo of Enoch's transfiguration and translation.

The argument of the Third Book rans thus:-" Shalmazar, recovering from his alarm, consults his Vizier and the High Priest of Baal, in relation to the effects which the preternatural appearances that attended the execution of Jethuran, might produce on the public mind.-At the suggestion of the High Priest, it is agreed to persuade the people that they were the result of magic. Shalmazar then confers with his demon-slave, Asmodeus, on the means most likely to seduce the affections of Hadallah.They try various modes of temptation, in which Asmodeus is the chief agent, but without success. -Asmodeus, at length, advises that an accomplished and beautiful youth should be allowed access to her, in expectation that he will become enamoured of her, and excite in her a reciprocity of carnal passion, which would occasion the heavenly influences that protected her while uncontaminated by such passion, to leave her to struggle against temptation with only her own strength.— A young warrior, named Ellam, is selected for this purpose.-He becomes enamoured of her, but it is with

The insidious designs of the tempters are, consequently, in this instance also frustrated."

This argument, though pretty full, gives but an imperfect idea of Book Third, in which the character of the Demi-fiend is shown in a very puzzling light. Having recovered from the fright of the miracle, and got Horzan, priest of Baal, to convince the people, who had been getting rebellious, that it was no miracle at all, he "Now fondly turns to more attractive

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

"Compulsion he would spurn, as ruinous To the high visions which his fancy forms Of bliss, resulting from the yielding love Of so much beauty trembling in his arms, With mutual fondness, and with mutual joy."

Hitherto, certainly, he had not adopted the means most likely to create a tender feeling towards him in the heart of Hadallah; but now he perpends

What shall it be? The exciting power of "Some unseen art it yet remains to try. herbs,

Or chymic philtres to inflame the heart, With amorous longing?"

But the Doctor, who is no quack, reThat smells of Apothecaries' Hall. instates himself and the Demi-fiend in

[blocks in formation]

Ay! there comes the rub. Magic will do the business—

"Horzan has made it welcome to my ear! Let him employ the name to cheat mankind

The art I'll practice to seduce the fair."

At his potent conjuration appears "smooth Asmodeus," as stated in the argument, who delivers, in good round set terms, a doctrine to which we cannot subscribe-to wit, "that the moment any seductive art can taint her soul with any impulse of a carnal stain," her guardian angel will desert her, and she will rush into Shalmazar's arms. If so; what, it may be asked, is the use of a guardian angel?

[ocr errors]

Asmodeus assumes the shape of a blooming chorister,

"Who frames love-ditties passing rare, And sings them to that lady fair;

and Hadallah begins to feel rather queerish.

"The luscious poison gently wound its way

Along each thrilling nerve, and moved her


Into a mood of melting tenderness.

But transient was the insidious warmth"For she observed something alarming in Smoddy's eyes-for while "there flashed a gleam she could not understand," the casement opened of itself to" permit his entering steps"-the zephyr might now be felt "fanning with fragrance his voluptuous way"and Hadallah in that crisis prayed, "Protect me, God! in whom I trust.' "When instantly the infernal charm dissolved

Like a foul mist beneath the solar beam, The casement closed against the intrusive fiend,

And fair Hadallah's mind again is free."

Hadallah goes to bed, but has odd dreams

[ocr errors]

"For airy phantasies, Seductive to the soul, now off its guard, Before her vision pass bewitchingly.' No fault of hers, poor soul! for Asmodeus is near her pillow, and

66 Insidiously his incantations works To charm her thoughts to love." The semblance of an angel tells her

Captain Ellam had been a sad roué -though rather a good-hearted fellow-and a prodigious favourite with the ladies.

"He hitherto had roamed amidst the flowers

Which bloomed around him, flaunting all their charms,

And yielding all their sweets, where'er he chose

To sip and gather, free and unconstrained. Nay, oft the graces of his aspect had Bright beauteous dames of highest rank and pride,

As humble suitors to implore his love."

One cannot help smiling at Shalmazar's simplicity in confiding Hadallah to the charge of such a keeper; and we do not believe that the scheme has since the Flood. The Captain, of course, ever been adopted, for the same end, falls desperately in love with his fair charge; but, finding that he can make no impression on her heart, grows pious, is converted from idolatry or atheism, and feels his soul raised by her conversation

[ocr errors]

"To adoration of the Power Supreme." "Thus found the wicked ones their baneful arts Once more defeated,"

This Book we consider unique. In Book Fourth, the Almighty, pitying Hadallah's distress, sends the angel Adareal to Japhet—

"Heir to Noah's throne,

A gallant youth, religious, brave, and wise,"

that it is her fate to wed Shalmazar- to command him to go to her rescue— infusing into her mind ambitious thoughts, and she feels distressed in sleep

[ocr errors]

"As if pollution's breath Had through her frame diffused some taint of sin."

Zoriel, a cherub messenger from Heaven, finds her "in temptation's grasp," and detects Asmodeus, whom he rates soundly; but oh! how unlike to the scene from which it is borrowed!-Satan at the ear of Eve in Paradise, starting up from a toad into an archangel at the touch of Ithuriel's spear!

Asmodeus next recommends-as in the argument-to place over her a young Captain of the Guards-Captain Ellam.

"And of this band of noble-looking men Young Ellam was the noblest."

"And receive,

As recompense, the heart-enrapturing meed

Of her unsullied charms,"

Japhet informs Noah of the heavenly message; and Noah, after some hesitation, gives his assent; advising his

son to

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »