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perhaps surpassed. We here mean to take into the account the whole narrative, from the moment at which Florinda brings her unknown confessor into the apostate's tent, to that of his death. The reason, however, which restrained us from dwelling on a former passage of the work, operates with still greater force in the present instance; and, as an act of justice to the author, we divulge no farther the secrets of his prison-house.

The battle in the concluding canto is in the highest degree romantic and spirited; although of a character so totally the opposite to that of Walter Scott's equally spirited and romantic descriptions of similar scenes, that it would be well worth a separate treatise to point out the causes and effects of the striking contrast between them.

We have now noticed the principal characters and incidents of the poem, as far as we have found it practicable consistently with the design of not anticipating the reader's curiosity, and of stimulating rather than satiating his interest. Still, we have by no means done complete justice either to the poet or to our own feelings; since, in our anxiety to discover as much of the plan and dramatic tendency of the poem as our purpose required, we have passed over innumerable beauties of sentiment and description with which we were charmed in the perusal. The night-journey of the travellers from Cordoba over the mountains; the picture of Cordoba itself, the moonlight-scene at the opening of the fifteenth book, and the laboured and highly wrought landscape of the vale of Coradonga, are all fine specimens of the picturesque in poetry; and that strain of moral tenderness, in which Mr. Southey has often before shewn himself pre-eminently successful, he has again indulged with all its usual harmony of tone and colouring in the description of Pelayo in the bosom of his family. For our last quotation, however, we select a passage of a very different character:

taking from the Primate's hand
That oaken cross which at the sacring rites
Had served for crozier, at the cavern's mouth
Pelayo lifted it and gave the word.
From voice to voice on either side it past
With rapid repetition, . . In the name
Of God! for Spain and vengeance ! and forthwith
On either side along the whole defile
The Asturians shouting in the name of God,
Set the whole ruin loose ; huge trunks and stones,
And loosen'd crags, down, down they roll'd with rush
And bound, and thundering force. Such was the fall
As when some city by the labouring earth
Heaved from its strong foundations is cast down,
And all its dwellings, towers, and palaces

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In one wide desolation prostrated.
From end to end of that long straight, the crash
Was heard continuous, and commixt with sounds
More dreadful, shrieks of horror and despair,
And death, .. the wild and agonizing cry
Of that whole host in one destruction whelm'd.
Vain was all valour there, all martial skill;
The valiant arm is helpless now; the feet
Swift in the race avail not now to save ;
They perish, all their thousands perish there . .
Horsemen and infantry they perish all, ..
The outward armour and the bones within
Broken and bruised and crush’d. Echo prolong'd
The long uproar; a silence then ensued,
Through which the sound of Devas stream was heard,
A lonely voice of waters, wild and sweet :
The lingering groan, the faintly-utter'd prayer,
The louder curses of despairing death,
Ascended not so high. Down from the cave
Pelayo hastes, the Asturians hasten down,
Fierce and immitigable down they speed
On all sides, and along the vale of blood

The avenging sword did mercy's work that hour.'
To the prevailing defects of the work, having once pointed
them out, we gladly refrain from recurring ; and the quota-
tions which we have made will afford but few specimens of
them. We had much rather leave it to our readers, by a
personal inspection, to confirm or reject our opinion on this
part of the subject. To the plan of the poem, however, we
have still something to object. The minor personages are too
frequently introduced, and made too prominent, considering the
very little diversity that is thrown into their characters and
circumsta!)ces. Alphonso, for instance, is an ardent young
soldier, with nothing to distinguish him from that very nume-
rous tribe, and he conduces no more to the interest of the
drama than any one individual patriot in the whole host of
Pelayo's adherents ; yet he is brought almost as much forward
on the canvas as Pelayo himself. Roderick's mother also acts
a very poor though a long part, considering the importance
attached to her by the leading incident to which we have
already alluded; -- it would have been much better to have
killed her before the period of Roderick's emigration from his
cell. The nature of Roderick's crime renders the subject
peculiarly difficult to manage, with a view to the interest which
it is necessary to attach to his character; and yet almost any
deviation from the generally received historical fact is certain
of being attended with a greater or less degree of incongruity.
We do not think that Mr. Southey's plan of representing it as


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the effect of a vehement (though in its origin a virtuous) passion, returned with the most devoted affection by the unfortunate object of it, but wrought to a temporary delirium by the force of conflicting circumstances, is by any means exempt from this charge; and, whatever effect may in some respects be thus obtained, it is at least attended with this faulty consequence, that the despair and penitence of Roderick, almost unexampled in severity and duration, are thus made to bear no proportion to an offence in which, extenuated as it now appears; the will can scarcely be said to have had any part. It also makes the vengeance of Julian for a fault not only in great measure reparable, but which the perpetrator had the most ardent wish to repair as far as it was possible, little less than diabolical, and the conduct of the lady, by her outrageous virtue actuating that vengeance, much more than mischievously perverse. In short, according to our way of contemplating it, Mr. Southey has sacrificed all the moral, as well as the actual, probability of the story to the design of extenuating the fault of his hero, when in fact the strength of the subject consists in the very enormity of the crime.

Notwithstanding these concluding animadversions, we trust that we have sufficiently evinced our high respect for Mr. Southey's poetical character; and that, if we stepped a little out of our way, at the beginning of this article, in reference to his politics, we did it because enthusiasm, however exalted in its objects, cannot justify intemperance, and we feel mortified when genius degrades itself to the low level of a partyrailer. This is not the fit occupation of a poet; -- no, not even of a Poet-Laureate.

Art. II. Voyages and Travels in various parts of the World,

during the Years 1803, 1804, 1805, 1806, and 1807, by G. H. Von Langsdorff, Aulic Counsellor to his Majesty the Emperor of Russia, &c. &c. Illustrated by Engravings from Original Drawings. In two Parts. 4to. 21, 12s. 6d., and il. 175. 6d.

Boards. Colburn. 1813 and 1814. THE The histories of the Russian voyage from the European sea

to Japan and Kamtschatka, which had already been published by the commanders, justly appeared to the author of the work before us to render necessary some explanation of ihe motives which induced him to commit to the press another relation of the same voyage. In fairness to the public taste, it may be observed that the genuine narrative of a voyager or traveller has never been regarded as an undue obtrusion, though his fellow-voyagers or travellers may have had the start


of him in printing; and indeed their anticipation can only be partial, because, though they have the same facts to relate and the same objects to describe, both the one and the other are almost always susceptible of different representations within the bounds of truth, and many travellers have habits of observation and modes of reflection peculiarly their own.

M. Von Langsdorff sailed in Captain Krusenstern's ship*, the Nadeshda, in quality of assistant naturalist; and, he says, S as a medical man and a naturalist, my attention was necessarily directed to objects different from those by which Captain Krusenstern was prịncipally occupied.' Consonantly with this acknowlegement, the author has not aimed at giving nautical information, but his observations and descriptions are for the most part employed on the productions of the countries visited, and on the manners and customs of the inhabitants. As we have noticed at some length the prior accounts of the Russian circum-navigation, it will suffice for us to give a general view of the contents of the present volumes, with the addition of some remarks on such particulars as have principally attracted our attention.

In their outward passage through the Atlantic, the two Russian ships stopped at Teneriffe : but the uncertainty of their stay deterred the author from ascending the Peak. He has, however, given an account of a journey which a short time before had been taken to its summit by M. Cordier, a Frenchman, the result of whose observations makes the height of the Peak 1901 French toises, which is but a small difference from former measurements. The next place at which the ships touched was the island Santa Katalina, or, as we call it, Saint Katharine, on the coast of Brasil; where, the writer remarks, - the aspect of the country was decked with a drapery of the most beautiful green, ornamented with flowers of a thousand hues.' --- Leaving this terrestrial paradise for the dreary navigation round Cape Horne, the author brings us to the South-Sea; and here we immediately meet with a cause of some complaint against him. The Neva, commanded by Captain Lisiansky, had been separated from Captain Krusenstern ; and the first appointed place of rendezvous was Easter-Island: but the winds were so adverse to the Nadeshda in approaching that island, that, after some time expended in the attempt, it was relinquished, and the island was passed without being seen. Yet M. Von Langsdorff enters both into description and into discussion concerning Easter Island ; which is certainly a work

See our account of Captain K.'s narrative, Reviews for June and July last. Rev. MARCH. 1815



of supererogation, and demanded in its excuse more acquaintance with the subject than the writer appears to have possessed. He gives the discovery to the Dutch navigator Roggewein, without making any mention of the Buccaneer Chief, Edward Davis; and he describes the inhabitants by quotations from the early published accounts of Roggewein's voyage, and from George Forster, whose name appears rather ludicrously with the title of Captain.

M. Von L. enters more copiously, and with unquestionable right, into a description of the natives of the Marquesas, among which islands the ship remained twelve days. The European navigators, both of early and of late date, who have visited the Marquesas, have borne testimony to the beauty of the natives, and in terms so earnest that it cannot be doubted that those islanders form one of the most handsome race of people in the world. The present author agrees with former voyagers in giving this character to the men, but makes it a question much to the prejudice of the more beauteous sex. At Nukahiwa, (which is an island of the same groupe with the Marquesas,) his attention was attracted by a young man who was named Mufau Taputakava from his extraordinary height, vast strength, and the admirable proportion of his limbs and muscles.

He was now twenty years old, and was six feet two inches high, Paris measure

; and Counsellor Tilesius, who unites the eye connoisseur and an artist, said, he never saw any one so perfectly proportioned. He took the trouble of measuring every part of this man with the utmost exactness, and after our return to Europe imparted his observations to Counsellor Blumenbach, of Gottingen, who has studied so assiduously the natural history of man. This latter compared these proportions with the Apollo of Belvedere, and found that those of that master-piece of the finest ages of Grecian art, in which is combined every possible integer in the composition of manly beauty, corresponded exactly with our Mufau, an inhabitant of the island of Nukahiwa. We were told that the chief of a neighbouring island, by name Upoa, with equally exact proportions as Mufau, was a head taller, so at least Roberts and Cabri both assured us ; if they were correct, this man must be nearly seven Paris feet high.'

After such an account of the men, “old as we are,” we feel no small disappointment at the description given of the women of Nukahiwa, and can scarcely yield our belief to so great an anomaly as that of beauty in the male and ugliness in the female being the common characterestics of the same race of the human kind. We think that it must have been fancy, or some prejudice, rather than clear judgment, which has made

• * A French foot measures thirteen inches, or one foot one inch English measure. --Translator.'


of a

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