« AnteriorContinuar »
observations that could alone occur to us here, we shall conclude this article by laying before our readers some of our poet's comic effusions in a foreign dress, which may at once amuse by its novelty, and help us to judge of their intrinsic merits, and to form a conjecture as to the ideas regarding them which may be acquired by those who are total strangers to the language in which they are written. Our extracts are taken from a small and rather scarce volume, published at Paris in 1826, and bearing the following title: "Morceaux Choisis de Burns, Poète Ecossais; Traduits par MM. Aytoun et J. B. Mesnard." The Monsieur James Aytoun who has a share in these translations is no other, we believe, than the very amiable
"Duncan Gray came here to woo,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't;
On blithe Yule night when we were fu',
Maggie coost her head fu' high,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.
"Duncan fleech'd and Duncan pray'd, Ha, ha, the wooing o't; Meg was deaf as Ailsa Craig,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't;
Dunean sigh'd haith out and in,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.
"Time and chance are but a tide, Ha, ha, the wooing o't: Slighted love is sair to bide,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.
"How it comes, let doctors tell,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't: Meg grew sick as he grew hail, Ha, ha, the wooing o't: Something in her bosom wrings, For relief a sigh she brings;
And O! her een they spake sic things! Ha, ha, the wooing o't.
person with whom our townsmen are well acquainted as a member of the Scottish Bar, and as having on at least one occasion come forward as a candidate for the representation of Edinburgh. The work contains translations, all of them in prose, of several of Burns's best pieces, both serious and comic, including " The Cottar's Saturday Night," and "Tam o' Shanter." But we confine our quotations to one or two of the comic songs, as most in accordance with our own plan, and most likely to interest and amuse our readers. We refrain from making any comment whatever on the translations, except here and there to print in italics some of the passages which appear the most striking. We place the original and the translation opposite to each other:
"Ce rocher immense s'éleve dans la mer qui borde le comté où Burns est né." "Ce que signifie cette locution, n'est pas exprimé chez nous d'une manière aussi decente."
"Du matin jusqu'au soir il ne cesse de se plaindre!.... il tousse et piétine
He boasts and he hirples the weary day tout le long de l'ennuyeuse journée; il est
He's doylt and he's dozen, his blude it is
O dreary's the night wi' a crazy auld man.
"He hums and he hankers, he frets and he cankers,
I never can please him do a' that I can; He's peevish and jealous of a' the young fellows,
O dool on the day I met wi' an auld man!
"My auld auntie Katie upon me takes pity,
I'll do my endeavour to follow her plan; I'll cross him and wrack him, until I heartbreak him,
And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan."
We have seen some other translations in the same style, which we wish we had at hand: One of them running thus-"Guillaume Wastle demeurait sur Tweed, à un lieu qu'on appellait Linkumdoddie;" another, "Eh! sifflez, et je viendrai à vous, mon garçon! Quoique mon père et ma mère deviendraient fous, Eh! sifflez,"
*"Il est inutile d'expliquer le sens de cette phrase proverbiale."
ALISON'S HISTORY OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
WE have at length come to the volume of Mr Alison's History which belongs especially to the exploits of England. India and the Peninsula are noble themes, and we congratu late our country on its having found a historian equal to so large, and so spirit-stirring an achievement. The previous volumes led the reader through scenes of extraordinary boldness, and catastrophes which have not yet ceased to vibrate through the universal frame of Europe. It is due to this writer to acknowledge, that he has performed his strange and difficult task with remarkable effect. The world has teemed with narratives of the French Revolution; yet none have given so ample yet so clear, so impressive yet so authentic, a memoir of that terrible period. And we honour the vigorous perseverance and the practised skill, which, gathering their facts from all available sources, have compacted them, like the fragments of the mam. moth, into a vast and consistent frame, that will give our posterity a conception of the time when the earth was overrun by a gigantic race of violence, and the thoughts of men's hearts were evil continually.
It is remarkable that, wherever in European annals, for the last three hundred years, the influence of England has begun to be felt, a great amelioration has uniformly followed. It is not less remarkable, that this powerful and beneficent result has been restricted to the last three hundred years, the period of British Protestantism. Before that age, the character of our European influence was wholly cast in another mould. England was the great disturber of Europe. Always either torturing herself by civil wars, or the Continent by fierce invasions, her gallantry, discipline, and public spirit, resembled the qualities of a great school of gladiators, mutinous at home, and merciless when let loose on society. But, from the period of the Reformation, a new heart and a new office seem to have been committed to her. The great im
press of all her policy has been peace to nations-the great principle peace; and the great duty which, with more or less strenuousness, she has constantly fulfilled, has been that of setting the example of freedom without license, and subordination without slavery, and showing the exhaustless benefits of a limited monarchy and a pure religion.
In the French Revolutionary war, we find discomfiture falling heavier on Europe, in exact proportion as England is excluded from the contest; light returns as her orb emerges from the horizon, and it is only in her full ascendant that the sickliness and the shadows vanish together, and Europe is once more awakened to a sense of activity and ardour, to a view of the noble capabilities which lie before her, and, perhaps, to the loftier contemplation of those supreme sources of national hope and power, which man can neither create nor control.
It is scarcely less remarkable that, while the Revolution ravaged Europe, the force of England was preparing at the extremities of the earth the strength that was to restore it; and that, while almost every continental diadem was either stripped of its dominions, or condemned to hold them on conditions degrading to the name of sovereignty, England was adding kingdom to kingdom; and that, while the national spirit and the martial name of the Continent were perpetually trampled down, a succession of victories were throwing new lustre round the British standard, and more expressly preparing for triumph the soldier who was to fight the conquering battle for England and mankind.
Mr Alison's preliminary view of the scene in which those exploits were performed, gives an elegant and most overwhelming conception of what may be done at once by the force of ability and the fortune of circumstances.
"The British empire in India, extending now with few interruptions, and those only of tributary or allied states, from Cape Comorin to the
The History of Europe from the Commencement of the French Revolution in 1789, to the Restoration of the Bourbons in 1815. By Archibald Alison, F.R. S. E., Advo
Himalaya mountains, comprehending by far the richest and most important part of Southern Asia, is nearly four times the area of France, and six times that of Great Britain and Ireland, contains above a hundred millions of inhabitants, and yields a revenue of nearly twenty millions sterling." If such are the geographical and financial features, the other details are equally astonishing. The war of 1826, when the Burmese and the Bhurtpore Rajah were fought at the same time, raised the Indian force to two hundred and sixty thousand native troops, of which thirty-five thousand were cavalry, with 1000 guns, and thirty-five thousand English and the peculiar and most admirable characteristic of this force is, that it is wholly raised by voluntary enlistment. And we have a proud right to insist on this as a national honour. To raise armies without violating personal liberty, is a discovery which never was made by any nation before; it has never been adopted, nor even been possible in any modern nation. Even the wildest enthusiasm of liberty in France, was never able to accomplish it. The Republican armies were at first recruited by terror, under a Republican tyranny; they were next recruited by the conscription, under a despotism; the guillo. tine was the recruiting-officer in the first instance the dungeon in the second. England alone has ever been able to produce a wholly voluntary army, and this single fact would amount to an evidence of her sustaining and understanding the love of liberty beyond all other nations that ever existed. The only spot that seems to rest upon this fairest of all fame is, the impressment of seamen; and, unquestionably, it is the wish of the nation that this forced service shall be obviated by voluntary enlistment as soon as possible. To effect this will be costly, but it must be wise; for there can be no purchase too costly for the services of brave fleets and armies; and there can be no policy in suffering the most skilful, hardy, and daring sailors in the world, to be seduced hourly into the service of our rivals and enemies.
But impressment, in its worst shape, is a wholly different evil from the conscription. The sailor, when he adopts his profession, is fully aware that he may be impressed; and he
NO. CCLXXXVI, VOL. XLVI.
thus adopts the pursuit with a knowledge of the contingency. In fact, this is equivalent to a voluntary service; for he volunteers the profession, of which the liability to serve in the fleet, whenever he shall be called upon, is the declared consequence. He is not, like the conscript, dragged from pursuits of a totally different order-forced suddenly, and against all the habits of his life and mind, into a career new and distasteful. He is not made liable to be sent to war and its perils, by the mere fact of his being born, which nobody can help; he is made liable by the selection of the sea for his livelihood-a matter which was fairly a question of his own choice, and which, like every other matter of our own choosing, must be taken with all its encumbrances. Still we wish that impressment were abolished by a system of judicious arrangements and public liberality, not as an encroachment on liberty, which in principle it cannot be; but as a source of painful feelings, which it would be humane, and of course wise, to dry up altogether.
The geographical features of this vast country, give room for striking contemplations. "From the snowy summits of the Himalaya to the green slopes of Cape Comorin, from the steep ghauts of Malabar to the sandy shores of Coromandel, it exhibits a succession of the most noble or beautiful features. Stupendous mountain ranges, their sides clothed with lofty forests, their peaks reposing in icy stillness; vast plains rivalling the Delta of Egypt in richness, and, like it, submerged yearly by the fertilizing waters of the Ganges; here lofty ghauts running parallel at a short · distance from the shore of the ocean to the edge of its waters, and marking the line of demarcation between the plains on the seaside and the elevated table-land, several thousand feet in height, in the interior-those rugged hills or thick forests teeming with the riches of a southern sun.
"The boundaries of this mighty land are of corresponding magnitude. The Himalaya and the mountains of Cabul and Candahar on the north; the splendid and rapid stream of the Indus, seventeen hundred miles in length, of which seven hundred and sixty are navigable on the north-west; the deep and stagnant Tyrawuddy, fourteen
hundred miles in length, winding its way to the Bay of Bengal through the rank luxuriance of tropical vegetation on the north-east; and the ocean, on the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel, on the south. Nature every where appears, in this highly favoured region, in her most magnificent array; the Himalaya mountains surmounting even Chimborazo in elevationthe Indus rivalling the river of the Amazons in magnitude-the plain of Bengal outstripping even Mesopotamia itself in fertility-form some of the features of a country which, from the earliest times, has been the seat of civilisation, and the abode of opulence and magnificence."
A striking characteristic of our Indian dominion is its developement of the original powers of the British mind. The condition of society in England affords room for little more than one talent, political ability, as it has scarcely more than one field for eminent distinction, Parliament. The faculties of the soldier, the philosopher, and even the scholar, if they are not often completely hidden, are, with a few exceptions, singularly restricted. It is probable that the men who have left names in our Indian history, might have passed through life unknown in England. In England Clive might have died at a desk, instead of being the founder of an empire; Warren Hastings solicited an Oxford professorship of Persian, which would have extinguished the noblest proconsul that England ever produced. If both Wellesley and the Marquis of Hastings must have been remarkable in any land, it was in India alone that they could have found the materials for the ample superstructure of their fame. What Wellington might have been as colonel of the 33d, and advancing through the slow gradations of our limited force, we fortunately have not now to enquire and regret. But India gave him the true expanse for a genius made for vastness of operation-the true place of exercise for a great con trolling mind-the unrivalled field for administrative faculties which might have been buried in the details of a regiment and the lofty experience which, famished in the routine of a
court or a garrison, was prepared by the concerns of kingdoms raised and kingdoms overthrown-was refreshed and invigorated for the restoration of a continent, and the fall of the mighty despotism which held it in chains.
And a most cheering and ennobling national result is, that all those benefits to England have been achieved with still higher benefits to India.
"Of all the marvels attending the British sway in the East, the most wonderful is the extraordinary blessings which it has conferred on the inhabitants. Statistics, more irresistible than eloquence, place this beyond the possibility of a doubt. While under its native princes, the state of capital in India was so insecure, that twelve per cent was the common, and thirtysix per cent no unusual, rate of interest; under the British rule the interest of the public debt has, for the first time in Asiatic history, been lowered to five per cent; and at that reduced rate the capitalists of Arabia and Armenia daily transmit their surplus funds to be purchased into the Company's stock, as the most secure investment in the East." Another admirable evidence follows. So complete has been the security enjoyed by the inhabitants of the British provinces, compared with what obtains under their native rajahs, that the people, from every part of India, flock to the three presidencies; and the extension of the Company's empire, in whatever direction, is immediately followed by a vast concourse of population and increase of industry, by settlers from the adjoining native dominions. Another highly gratifying circumstance is the decrease of crime. From the returns of many provinces, widely separate in India, during the last thirty years, it appears that crime has generally diminished one-half, in many sunk to a sixth, by the strong and steady discipline, and the acknowledged justice of England.
On this we have all kinds of testi
mony. *"Nothing can be more gratifying to an Englishman than to travel through the central and western provinces, so long the theatre of merciless war, and to witness the wonderful change which has every where been wrought. Every village in this
Sinclair's India; Heber's India, &c.