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passions, and the formation of cha- ly exhibits scenes over which delicacy racter. None of our poets, except would throw a veil, yet in language Shakespeare, possessed in so eminent so simple, that he hardly seems to be a degree that magic of genius by which conscious that he is saying what ought human beings start from the canvass not to be said. in the attributes and forms of real Chaucer was born early in the fourlife, and none of them, except that teenth century, and died in the year divinity of poets, has bequeathed to 1400, at the age of seventy-two. Euposterity so many portraits of such rope had then seen few specimens of exquisite truth of resemblance, and good vernacular poetry, with the ex. of such perfect finish. He is endow- ception of Italy, which had had the cd with a sensibility of spirit that can honour of producing Dante, and Pe rise into the sublime, or luxuriate trarca, and Boccacio, and was even amid the beautiful, or melt with the then enriched with the sublime Intender ; but its predominant bias is ferno, and the elegant sonnets of the for the humorous, and it is there Lover of Laura, and the inimitable that its energies are put forth in the humour of the Decamerone. From consciousness of strength. He loves this last work our poet seems to have to watch the progressive beauties of borrowed the idea of his Canterbury the morning, or to contemplate the Tales. This is his great work, and calm majesty of the sunset, or, with concerning it we shall say a few words, tumultuous feelings, to look upon the and make some extracts from it, in terrors of the tempestuous ocean, or corroboration of our opinions. It is, to kindle into enthusiasm at an exer- like the Arabian Nights Entertaintion of lofty virtue ; yet he is fonderments and the Decamerone, a series of of merriment than profound emotion, unconnected tales, formed into one and he wantons in the ludicrous, and whole by the medium of an interestcannot quit it till he has fatigued both ing drama. himself and his reader with laughter. A number of pilgrims meet at an As humour is seldom found among inn in London, before they set out on. the more polished classes of society, a pilgrimage to Canterbury, to visit his subjects and characters are gene- the shrine of Thomas à Becket

. Of rally drawn from the lower or the mid- this company was Chaucer himself, dle ranks; and he is more at home in and the landlord of the hostel, a man describing the Wife of Bath, or the of some humour, who offers to accomMiller in the prologue to the Canter- pany them, and makes a proposal, that bury Tales, than he should be in a each pilgrim should by the way tell portrait of Princes or Emperors, or, two tales, and as many on their regreater than either, men of virtue and tum ; that he should be master of cegenius. He has so generalized na- remonies, and judge of the merit of ture, as to make each of his characters the stories; and that he who enterstand as the representative of a great tained his fellow pilgrims best should class, though he possesses a complete have a supper at their expence. individuality. Thus the broad and “ Lordinges, (quod he,) now berkeneth often indelicate humour of the Wife

for the beste ; of Bath, her wandering from house to But take it nat, I pray you, in disdain; house in pursuit of idle amusement, This is the point, to speke it plat and plain, her gossipings, her love of conquest,

That eche of you to shorten with youre and her address in the attainment of In this viage, shal tellen tales tway,

way, it, and her usurpation of absolute do To Canterbury ward, I mene it so, minion when she has obtained it, are And homeward he shall tellen other two, equally applicable to women of the Of adventures that whilom han befalle. same description in Greece in the days And which of you that bereth him best of of Aristophanes, and in England in alle, the age of our poet. The creations of That is to sayn, that telleth in this cas his imagination are beings of the same

Tales of best sentence and most solas, flesh and blood, and spirit, with our- Shal have a souper at youre aller cost selves; and, in the perusal of his Here in this place sitting by this post, works, we always feel that we are a

Whan that ye comen agen from Cantermid men and women exactly such as And for toʻmaken you the more mery,

bury. we see around us in our intercourse I wol my selven gladly with you ride, with the world. He not unfrequente Right at min owen cost, and be your gide.

And who that wol my jugement withsay, moves, and the tale to the character, Shal pay for alle we spenden by the way." The Knight's tale is of love and chi

This good humoured proposal is valry ; the Squire's of courts and mareadily accepted, and the pilgrims set gic; the Príoress's of sanctity and out on their journey in a beautiful miracles ; the Miller's, whose manners spring morning, under the guidance are not the purest, of “harlotrie;" of their merry host. The character and the Wife of Bath, in her prologue, of the pilgrims is described with an gives the character of her five husadmirable truth of painting and force bands, and insinuates that she is deof humour. This part of the poem, termined to have a sixth with all due the most original and the most diffi- speed ; and in all the rest the adaptacult in execution, proves that the au- tion is equally perfect. Few of the tales thor possessed a piercing intellectual in this work are of the author's own eye, –an extensive knowledge of so- invention, but are either translations ciety, and a discrimination that could from the old romances, or have the distinguish those delicate shades of cha- chief incidents borrowed from them ; racter that escape the notice of the yet are they narrated with such art, common observer, with the talent of and there is such originality in his painting whatever he saw in the true manner, and in the incidental ree colouring and marked forms which marks and the poetical ornaments, and nature herself exhibits. As a speci- frequently in additional incidents, that men, take the character of the Miller. in his hands they may be said to be

come quite new. “ The miller was a stout carl for the

The Knight's Tale, which stands nones,

first in the volume, was originally a Ful bigge he was of braun, and eik of translation from the Theseida of Boc

bones; That proved wel , for over all ther he came, lication ; but when the author thought

caccio, and intended for a separate pubAt wrastling he would bere away the ram. He was short shuldered brode, a thikke of inserting it in the Canterbury Tales, gnarre,

by means of abridgment and comTher n'as no dore, that he n’olde have of pression, he shortened it, and greatly barre,

improved it. Or breke it at a renning with his hede. Theseus, king of Athens, after the His berd as any sowe or fox was rede, conquest of the Amazons, and having And therto brode, as though it were a brought home Hippolyte, the queen spade.

of these virgin warriors, whom he Upon the cop right of his nose he hade A wert, and thereon stode a tufte of heres, war on Thebes, which he took, and

married, and her sister Emilie, made Rede as the bristles of a sowes eres. His nose-thirles blacke were and wide.

Palamon and Arcite, who were A swerd and bokeler bare he by his side.

cousins, and of the royal lines, were His mouth as wide was as a forneis. among the prisoners. They were He was a jangler, and a goliardeis, confined in the same prison, from the And that was most of sinne, and harlotries. windows of which they saw Emilię Wel coude he stelen corne, and tollen walking in the palace gardens, and thries.

both were enamoured of her. Arcite And yet he had a thomb of gold parde. is released from prison by the interest A white cote and a blew hod wered he.

of Perithous, the friend of Theseus, A baggepipe wel coude he blowe and soune, and is sent to Thebes with injuncAnd therwithall he brought us out of tions not to return on pain of death. toune."

After some years, however, he does This mode of describing characters return; and in disguise gains admit, before they are introduced into action, tance at the palace, and is employed is different from that followed by as a page of the chamber to Emilie. Shakespear and Homer, whose cha- Meanwhile, Palamon escapes from racters are known by their sentiments prison by the favour of the gaoler, and and actions, but in a poem in which conceals himself in a wood, where he they are rather narrators than actors, accidentally meets Arcite, and the it was the only one left to the poet, rivals engage in deadly combat, but and he has executed what he has un- are discovered by Theseus, who sepa dertaken in an admirable way. The rates them, and commands that they description of the character is always should return at the end of fifty suited to the sphere in which he weeks, and each of them, bring with

VOL. II.

was

mone.

him a hundred knights, who, headed “ Whan that Arcite to Thebes comen by them, should enter the lists, and that he whose party was victorious, Ful oft a day he swelt and said alas, should obtain Emilie to wife. They For sen his lady he shall never mo. zneet,--the conflict is described, -Pa- And shortly to concluden all his wo,

So mochel sorwe hadde never creature, lamon is made prisoner ;-the victorious Arcite, for whom the Princess is That is or shall be, while the world may destined, receives a mortal wound, of His slepe, his mete, his drinke is him by: which he soon dies, and Palamon ob

raft, tains the prize.

That lene he wex, and drie as is a shaft. Such is a short abstract of this tale. His eyan holwe, and grisly to behold, The country where the action is re His hewe salwe, and pale as ashen cold, presented to have happened is ancient And solitary he was, and ever alone, Greece, yet the poet has been guilty And wailing all the night, making his of so great an anachronism, as to talk of knights and squires, and to make Than wold he wep, he might not be stent.

And if he herde song or instrument, the manners and the costume of the So feble were his spirites, and so low, inhabitants entirely chivalrous. In this And changed so, that no man coude know poem we hear of lists, and tilts, and His speche ne his vois, though men it tournaments, where they were un

herd.” known ; but to counterbalance this,

And the following sketch of mornthe principles of human nature are

ing. never violated ; and the hopes, and the

“ The besy larke, the messager of day, fears, and the jealousies of love, are faithfully delineated ; and it contains Saleweth in hire song the morwe gray ; much rich and beautiful poetry. Fe That all the orient laugheth of the sight,

And firy Phebus riseth up so bright, male beauty has seldom been painted And with his stremes drieth in the greves with a more sunlight pencil than that The silver dropes, hanging on the leves.” of Emilie walking abroad in a May

But above all, the wonderful des morning, as fresh, and fair, and pure, scription of the temple of Mars. as that delightful season of the day

“ First on the wall was painted a forest,

In which ther wonneth neyther man ne ". Thus passeth yere by yere, and day best, by day,

With knotty knarry barren trees old Till it fell ones in a morwe of May Of stubbes sharpe and hidous to behold; 'That Emelie, that fayrer was to sene In which ther ran a romble and a swough, Than is the lilie upon his stalke grene, As though a storme shuld bresten every And fresher than the May with foures bough: newe,

And dounward from an hill under a bent, (For with the rose colour strof hire hewe; Ther stood the temple of Mars armipotent, I n'ot which was the finer of hem two) Wrought all of burned stele, of which the Er it was day, as she was wont to do,

entree She was arisen, and all redy dight. Was long and strete, and gastly for to sec. For May wol have no slogardie a night. And therout came a rage and swiche vise, The seson priketh every gentil herte, That it made all the gates for to rise. And maketh him out of his slepe to sterte, The northern light in at the door shone, And sayth, arise, and do thin observance. For window on the wall ne was ther none,

“ This maketh Emelie han remembrance Thurgh which men mighten any light dis. To don honour to May, and for to rise. Y clothed was she freshe for to devise. The dore was all of athamant eterne. llire yelwe here was broided in a tresse, Yclenched overthwart and endelong Behind hire back, a yerde long I gesse. With yren tough, and for to inake it And in the gardin at the sonne uprist

strong, She walketh up and doun where as hire Every piler the temple to sustene list.

Was tonne-gret, of yren bright and shené. She gathereth floures, partie white and red, “ Ther saw I first the derke imagining To make a sotel gerlond for hire hed, Of felonie, and alle the compassing; And as an angel, hevenlich she song.” The cruel ire, red as any glede, . Of the same character is the pas- The smiler with the knif under the cloke,

The pikepurse, and eke the pale drede; sage in which the wretchedness of Ar- The shepen brenning with the blake smoke; cite, pining in the hopelessness of love, The tresor of the mordring in the bedde, is described with such power and ef- The open werre, with woundes all be. fect.

bledde ;

and year.

cerne.

.

nace.

Conteke with blody knif, and sharp ma and do better things, (of which we

seriously think them capable,) than, All full of chirking was that sory place.

like Improvisatori, set the world aThe sleer of himself yet saw I there, His herte blood had bathed all his here;

gaping at the moonlight, we had alThe naile ydriven in the shode on hight,

most said mooustruck, visions of a The colde deth, with mouth gaping up- raising the halloo in a hunt of fairies,

dreamy imagination, or be for ever right. Amiddes of the temple sate mischance,

or riding on the broomstick of a wiWith discomfort and sory countenance.

thered beldam. See with what strength Yet saw I woodnesse laughing in his rage, Chaucer writes, Amed complaint, outhees, and fiers out

“ Yet saw I woodnesse laughing in his rage." rage ; The carraine in the bush, with throte ycor. And how a modern poet has ruined ven,

the simple and sublime idea, by a load A thousand slain, and not of qualme ystor- of idle and tasteless epithets !

ven; The tirant, with the prey by force yraft ;

“ Moody madness laughing wild The toun destroied, ther was nothing laft.

Amid severest woe.' Yet saw I brent the shippes hoppesteres,

It will be quite obvious to every unThe hunte ystrangled with the wild beres : The sow freting the child right in the cra

biassed reader, that the whole idea is del."

expressed in In all these extracts there is a sim “ Madness laughing amid woe." plicity, and a condensation, and an energy of language, combined with a

In this passage which has been praisrapid" succession of beautiful, and ed too, the thought is not only stolen, great, and terrible ideas, that form & and his followers, who seem to have

but strangled by encumbrances. Pope curious contrast to the sweet songs, the sounding nothings, in which these mistaken the very object of poetry, poets abound whom we call polished. ruined its language by meretricious orCompare them to the verses of Pope, have diluted its ideas, till what they

naments; the poets of the present day in which prettinesses glitter like mock diamonds on the head-dress of a would palm on the world for it, is as courtezan, and gaudy colouring like vapid and empty as their own brain. the paint upon her cheek, and every mysticism of the poets of the Lakes,

This remark applies equally to the inane substantive is coupled with its epithet, and to every man who has tasted of often for the mere purpose of balanc- its debilitating waters, and to the uning the line, and without adding a shadow of meaning; and every coup

annealed lays of our own wild foresta let marches to the same monotonous of poets who is not afflicted with this

ers. The only one of the present race chime,—and ask why, for a century past, he has been read, and admired, impotence of imagination, and incapaand praised, to the neglect and obli- city of conceiving, or expressing a vion of such a master of human great thought, is Lord Byron, and he, thought, and language, as Chaucer? unfortunately, is like a pigmy, (we do We would take the liberty of recom

not say that he is of that diminutive mending it to some of his smart imi race,) who, by some sleight, has learntators among ourselves, who, after ed to wield the mace of a giant, and many years of hard toil, have never

is so vain of his power, that he is on been able to rise above his faults, to

all occasions swaggering with it, and visit the perennial springs of poetry, it indiscriminately to crush a fly or

waving it around his head, and using and, if they still persist in preferring smite a lion. Of Campbell we do not his artificial fountains to the streams speak at present; he has his faults, that have flowed in fresliness, and pu- but he deserves to have lived in anrity, and beauty, for four centuries,

other to relinquish poetry as a trade in which age.

X, they will never thrive, and to employ their talents in attempting to purify * We are happy to learn that the muddy water of metaphysics, or, the long expected print from Stothard's indeed, any thing else. Other of our beautiful picture of the procession of contemporaries, men of genius, un the Canterbury Pilgrims is at last pubdoubtedly, might learn from him to lished. This engraving, which may put a little thought into their lines, be considered as a national work, and

a fair specimen of the state of the arts Buchan, who commands this remarkin Britain at the commencement of able enterprise, is distinguished athe nineteenth century, was begun by mongst the officers of the British the celebrated Schiavionetti, and, af- navy, where all are brave, and all are ter passing through the hands of se adventurous, for his cool, bold, and deveral eminent engravers, since dead, termined spirit. But this excellent has been finished in a style worthy of officer wants that practical acquaintthe original, by Heathe. We under- ance with the Greenland Seas, which stand Mrs Cromek, widow of the late is so imperiously demanded of the comR. H. Cromek, the ingenious editor mander in such a voyage. This pracof the Reliques of Burns, has been in tical knowledge and skill must be pose this city delivering the subscription sessed by the chief; it cannot be deprints, which have been as much ad- legated; and it is, therefore, absurd mired as the picture itself, one of the to talk of its being carried in the permost classical productions of the Bri- sons of Greenland masters, who are to tish pencil was, when it was exhibited act under Captain Buchan. With here about ten years ago. In our the view of diminishing to the public next Number we shall give some ac- mind the dangers of this enterprise, count of both.-Edit.

the author of an able article on the Polar expeditions, in the last number

of the Quarterly Review, maintains NOTICES IN NATURAL HISTORY.

the following positions, viz. That vesNo. III.

sels have reached within a short dise

tance of the Pole in an open sea, -that New Wool-bearing Animal proposed ice does not occur but near the land,

to be introduced into Scotland. -and that the ocean around the Pole Some time ago, Professor Jameson is free of ice. But, on what facts received from the Rocky Mountains, does this statement rest ? . It is menin North America, two specimens of tioned, on the authority of a person a remarkable quadruped, which is who is said to have reported that an. known in America under the name of other person said, the master of a the Rocky Mountain Sheep. On a Greenland ship, from Aberdeen, reachparticular examination, it proves to ed north latitude 83° 20', with an open be a new species of a new genus, and sea, and clear of ice. This is surely apparently intermediate between the very lame evidence for so important genera Capra and Antilope. It is co a fact ;-it is so vague, that we give vered with a white wool of uncom no credit to it, and do not, therefore, mon fineness, and judges are of opi- consider ourselves entitled to mainnion, that it promises to be even more tain, that ships have reached within valuable than that of the finest wool 400 miles of the North Pole, and that, of the most highly esteemed varieties too, in a sea clear of ice. We have of sheep. Professor Jameson pro- the authority of Scoresby, and of Oposes the introduction of this animal ther Greenland captains, for denying into Great Britain ; and we under the second position of the reviewer, „stand this interesting subject will be viz. That ice occurs only near the submitted to the consideration of that land, and that, therefore, we have ongreat national and patriotic associa- ly to steer clear of the land to get intion, the Highland Society of Scot- to the Polar basin, where, it is mainland.

tained, the sea is free of ice,-an asa sertion hüzarded, in our opinion,

without a single fact to support it. The Expedition to the North Pole.

Although we are confident that no es The public, in general, it is well ertion will be wanting on the part of known, regret that the expedition the commander, and agree with the which has now sailed towards the reviewer in believing that we have North Pole was not entrusted to Mr to apprehend that too much, rather Scoresby, because he is justly consi- than too little, will be attempted, still, dered as one of the most eminently taking all circumstances into consi, qualified persons for such an under- deration, we shall feel surprised should taking at present known to the nauti- the expedition reach the 83° of north cal and philosophical world. Captain latitude.

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