Imágenes de página

'In their best blood!—Fly Dobozy!

Should thy horse fail thee in this strife,
Alas! for thee and, oh! thy wife!
A double death thou'lt surely die!'

The noble animal flies like the wind, and at first leaves far behind the Turkish pursuers; but wearied with the fatigue of the preceding fight, and with the double burthen he has now to carry, ne slackens by degrees his course; he gasps and trembles in all his frame; his iron foot heavily and deeply imprints the sod. Meantime fatal sounds swell on the breeze; it is the cry of the Turkish bloodhounds, that have too well scented their prey:

'" Oh Michael, best beloved!" she cried,
"E'en now we feel the heathen's grasp,
Thy horse sinks under us—oh, see
His bloody foam, his labouring gasp!

"Do thou for thy lov'd land survive,
But here—it must be so—we part;
But still I am for ever thine,

Here let thy dagger pierce my heart:

"Alone, and unincumber'd, fly:

Thou yet may'st 'scape, and live to deal
Death to thy foes—oh! sometimes feel!
For her who left thee, but to die!"'

Dobozy looks behind, and all hope of escape dies within him; the Turks are fearfully gaining ground upon them; he still dashes his spur, and urges his charger on, but all in vain; the poor steed is exhausted, and can hardly draw breath. At last he stumbles and falls. The fatal moment is now come! Dobozy leaps on the ground, supporting his trembling wife with one arm:

'Nearer and nearer now the Turks—

Their breast-plates shine, their horse-tails dance,
And in their red blood-reeking hands
Flash the bright scimitar and lance;

'" Ah! is it so? Heaven !—no help!"
Cries the Hungarian Lord and weeps:
His wife—her charms—the Turks—dire thought!
A death-cold shivering o'er him creeps—

'Her bosom then with trembling hand,
Baring—the throne of aM, his bliss:
Drives to her heart the fatal steel,
And draws her last breath in a kiss.

'" Ah, lovely, hapless child of earth!
Thou source of joy, of matchless grief,
Smile my beloved, for thy chaste soul
Hath found its speediest, best relief.

'"Oh wait thee on thy way to heaven!
Now, even now again we meet."
He sobbed, and with his broidered cloak
Cover'd the martyr at his feet.'

The last look of his expiring consort, full of love and thankfulness for being saved from a fate worse than death, increases Dobozy's despair—the Ottomans press upon him; he cleaves down with his sabre the foremost of his assailants; at last he is struck by a spear from behind, his arm droops nerveless, he falls on the body of his beloved wife, and dies pierced with wounds.

Scenes like these were familiar at that time all over eastern Europe, and the Hungarian as well as the Sclavonian old romances and ballads, reflect upon us in a striking manner the lurid glare of bloody barbarian strife, and of the desperate struggle made by those brave people, against the tiger-like advance of the ruthless enemy of Christianity and civilisation—Ottoman Mahomedanism. Those scenes had been happily forgotten for a long season, when they were of late years revived, in all their horrid reality, in another part of the unhappy East, to the dismay and indignation of the whole of Christian Europe.


Art. XV. Personal Narrative of Adventures in the Peninsula, during the War, 1812, 1813. 8vo. pp.339. 9s. 6d. London: Murray. 1827.

'Adventures in the Peninsula during the War of 1812—13!' What, is Dot that theme as yet exhausted? Has it not yet fallen to the dust beneath the oppression of Southey's ponderous tomes? Have we not had a sufficiency of memoirs, recollections, sketches, scenes, campaigns, and outlines, descriptive, not merely cf the battles which were fought, but of the most minute circumstance relating to them, down even to the very dogs and kettles which joined in the uproar? No such thing. Southey threatens three or four more formidable quartos; and here we have, fresh from the press, a series of letters, written by an officer lately engaged in the civil department of the Peninsular army, and detailing what he is pleased to call his 'Adventures' in that little known quarter.

We confess that as soon as we discovered that he was wholly employed in the commissariat department, and that during his sojourn in Portugal and Spain, he was not present at a single action, his time having been wholly taken up in providing soup, and meat and bread for the troops, we were not a little curious to see the sort of ' adventures' in which such an officer could have been engaged. We supposed that a fight or two at a fair, a quarrel now and then with the regiments entrusted to his attention, when the biscuit became unserviceable, the beef uneatable, and the wine sour, were the principal circumstances upon which the story of his romantic career might have turned. Accordingly we do find him, on one occasion, escaping for his life through a church window, when the provisions ran short; on another, we are bothered with his calculations of the prices of cows, and mules, and asses: but as for adventures beyond the common lot of the soldier, who sometimes meets a good billet, and sometimes a very indifferent one, they are certainly not to be had in this particular volume. Perhaps the author has reserved them for a postscript.

He informs us that he entered the service in question at a very early period of life, fresh from school. We doubt it not. He takes every occasion of displaying his classical acquirements. He can hardly walk up and down a room without ejaculating a Greek stanza, and the least opening sends him off in a chase after a derivation. Juvenal, Persius, and Virgil are at his fingers' ends, and he never encounters a monk without entering into a learned dissertation with him. Arrived at Cea, situated among what he calls the highlands, or Switzerland of Portugal, he straight finds out from some Padre, the particular point of the neighbouring Sierra, whence Viriatus is said to have rushed upon the Romans, when he drove them through the plains of Vizeu. He then furnishes out a note of Latin from Cicero, and of Greek from Diodorus Siculus, and of references to Appian and Florus, in order to prove, what?—That this same Viriatus was 'something more than a common robber!' As if any human being, save our learned commissary, cared one farthing about the mode in which the Lusitanian rogue divided his booty.

Convents and foreign churches seem in general to be game that may be hunted down by English travellers and adventurers. It is quite ludicrous to observe the gross ignorance which our commissary displays on these subjects. It would have been as well if he had taken a leaf out of the book of that ecclesiastic, who, writing on the state, or rather the privation, of civil and religious liberty in England, happily remarked, that it was inconsistent for a nation which had the privilege of the " Habeas Corpus," to be without the correlative blessing of a " Habeas Animurn." If the person were free, at least the mind ought not to be placed under restraint: and had our author been taught this doctrine with his Juvenal, he would have been perhaps a little more discreet in his observations upon religious ceremonies.

We have no hesitation in setting down his letters, as incomparably the dullest of all the productions which have been generated by the Penin. sular war.

Art. XVI. Hints to Churchwardens, with a few Illustrations relative to the repair and improvement of Parish Churches ; with Twelve Plates. 8vo. pp. 31. 10s. 6d. London: Rodwell & Martin. 1827.

Tms is a very determined, and not easily paried thrust (nor, by any means the less mischievous to the assailed party, for being dealt with the most perfect good humour), at those officious churchwardens, and other parochial Vandals, whose plaster and brick-bats have done more than time itself, to destroy the venerable architecture of our ecclesiastical edifices. We happen to know that a late antiquary, one of the brightest ornaments of modern literature, never held up his head after the intestine war that was carried on against Salisbury cathedral. The restorers tore down the shrines.

and whitewashed the walls, and reduced the interior of this once beautiful pile, to the resemblance, as nearly as possible, of a neatly constructed modern barn. It is not many months ago that St. Saviour's church, m Southwark, one of the most boasted specimens we have of sacred architecture, was saved from the wanton clutches of those tyrants of the vestry—and in what manner?—By the importunate warnings of the press. To the press alone, to its vehemence in anger—its torturing satire, in playfulness, must we look for the preservation of our ancient churches.

The ' Hints' are altogether in Swift's way, and after the manner of the Dean, as more particularly exemplified in the "Advice to Servants." This author, with undisturbed seriousness of face, gravely recommends to be perpetrated, those crimes against good taste which, in sober earnest, he would desire to see most strenuously avoided. Thus, if a church be built of stone, the churchwarden is advised, by all means, to provide a good floridly-red brick porch, with an angular arch at top; this porch, it should be observed, ought, if possible, to make an inroad on some window of ancient construction, so as, if uot altogether, at least as much as possible, to obstruct the light. Then stopping up the old porch, and doing, away with the zig-zag ornaments that appear about the frame work, or at once confounding them altogether beneath a solid stratum of durable mortar, are steps so immediately growing out of the original improvement, as to require only to be suggested, in order that they may be adopted.

The author of the 'Hints' extends his solicitude to the internal as well as the exterior emendations of churches. And very laughable, to speak the truth, are his solemn instructions respecting the obliterations of the old, and the fabrications of fresh, chancel windows—the substitution of altar-pieees—the amending of pulpits, and the occasional destruction of royal arms and other decorations.

The aid of the draughtsman is invoked to demonstrate, sensibly, the imaginative conceptions of our author. Not only does he thus "strengthen all his laws" by examples, and become himself, as it were, " the great Sublime," which he shadows forth, but he completely remedies the incapacity of the illiterate; a class of commiserated beings, to which it is not uncharitable to anticipate that many a very sincere reformer of a churchwarden belongs. At all events, pictorial representations ever have been of acknowledged use, and in no cases have they been more serviceable, than in those where satire can sting, and exposure bring about shame.

"Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem,
Quam quee sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus,"

We have heard, however, with pain, that these ' hints,' after all, confer no credit on the fancy of this author; and that they can claim no higher praise than that of being merely historical—faithfully accurate descriptions of architectural offences already committed in various parts of the country. We are sorry that this is so; the discovery exposes us to the double disappointment of finding that this author is without invention, and next, that our churches have been most impiously profaned.


Art. XVII. Materia Indica: or some Account of those Articles which are em,ploycd by the Hindoos, and other Eastern Nations, in their Medicine and Agriculture, &c. By Whitelaw Ainslie, M.D., M.R.A.S. 2 vols. 8vo. 21. London: Longman & Co. 1827.

To our apprehension, this is a work which nothing short of extraordinary and fortunate opportunities, great learning, industry, and research, could have enabled any man to accomplish. Besides that the contents of these volumes will be found, we doubt not, of the first professional value, they supply to the philosopher and the general reader, a vast fund of information respecting the Hindoo community, that is important and highly curious, Dr. Ainslie's residence in our Indian territories gave him facilities, of which he seems to have made the amplest use, in carrying on his inquiries about those drugs of Eastern produce, which are known to, and employed in, the practice of our own country. He then describes those medicines which are exclusively used by the Oriental nations, mixing with the account of them some very interesting facts, relating to those vegetables which are cultivated in the East for the purposes of food, and the ingredients which they employ in their arts and manufactures.

If any prejudices existed amongst us, as to the advanced state of Hindoo knowledge upon the subject of medicine, we should certainly say, that the work of Dr. Ainslie would be sufficient to remove them. It is undoubtedly a misfortune that medicine, in common with other arts and sciences, should have been incorporated in the sacred writings of the Hindoos—a circumstance it is obvious that must keep the former stationary in their rude and uncultivated condition, which it would be profane and even penal to attempt to alter. Notwithstanding this impediment to innovation and improvement, the science of physic is far from having been neglected by the Hindoos, as the number and variety of their medical writings, and the extent of their acquaintance with the virtues of numberless drugs, conclusively testify.

Of the Indian practitioners themselves, Dr. Ainslie is enabled to speak in terms of eulogy, for which almost no recent representation of their character had prepared us; and he does so with a degree of liberality highly creditable to him.

Art. XVIII. Alphonso: or the Beggar's Boy, a Comedy in Verse. 8vo. p. 85. London: Ridgway. 1827.

There cannot be the least doubt that Shakspeare, Congreve, and Sheridan, and artists of this stamp, were altogether astray in conforming to the prejudices extant in their day, respecting the construction of pieces for the stage. We should not be surprised if the theatrical millenium were at last arrived, when the true principles of the drama are to be made known, established, and followed by all; nor is it improbable that 'Alphonso,' will be remembered hereafter, as one of the signs that marked the dawn of that golden era.

Comedy, strictly speaking, is, or ought to be a sort of reflection of every-day life; and those who attempted to shine in that province of

« AnteriorContinuar »