Imágenes de página

much has been wasted in the first attempts that were made. As for sulphur, I have already made mention to your majesty of a mountain in this province, from which much smoke issues; out of it sulphur has been taken by a Spaniard, who descended 70 or 80 fathoms, by means of a rope attached to his body below his arms, from which source we have so far been enabled to obtain sufficient supplies, although, as it is attended with danger, it is hoped it will not be necessary for us to resort to this means of procuring it. I have constantly written to Spain for supplies, and your majesty has been pleased that there should be no bishop, (in allusion to his enemy Fonseca,) to prevent our receiving them. Cortes was also remarkably attentive to curtailing the Roman Catholic clergy, and to avoid the cumbersome addition of too many prelates for his infant state, and recommended Charles to petition the pope to grant him, Charles, the tenths of these parts for religious purposes. The reason is rather curious : “ For if bishops and other prelates be sent, they will follow the custom practised by them for our sins in the present day, by disposing of the estates of the church, and expending them in pageants and other foolish matters, and bestowing right of inheritance on their sons (!) and relatives. A still greater evil would result from this state of things ;-the natives of this country formerly had their priests, who were engaged in conducting the rites and ceremonies of their religion, and so strict were they in the practice of honesty and chastity, that any deviation therefrom was punished with death, - now, if they saw the affairs of the church, and what related to the service of God, were entrusted to canons and other dignitaries; and if they understood that these were the ministers of God whom they beheld indulging in vicious habits and profaneness -as is the case in these days in Spain--it would lead them to undervalue our faith, and treat it with derision, and all the preaching in the world would not be able to counteract the mischief arising from this source.” Surely the Reformation might claim Hernando Cortes, if desirable, as a witness, whose testimony is as strong as that of Boccaccio, Dante, and Machiavelli, against Rome and her ramifications. And here we must leave Hernando Cortes; and we have risen from the perusal of these letters wonderfully impressed with his dauntless energy, chivalric bravery, and personal piety, though awfully blended with diabolic cruelty, Asiatic cupidity, and terrible blindness -still the blindness of his age and church-upon the great principles of Christian charity and benevolence. To Spain he added an empire, which she has by the justest retribution lost. We regret that deeper opportunities of observation were not afforded Cortes, from the practical character of his life, on the aboriginal questions. Possibly the peopling of the earth may yet receive deeper explanations than have yet been given, and certainly these letters contain far more information on general matters than Cæsar gives us on Gaul. But the antiquarian and conqueror-the types of the past and present—are rarely blended, and, therefore, the early history of Mexico is yet a mystery.


ART. XIV.-The Gift. A Christmas and New Year's Present. 1844.

Philadelphia : Hart. Wiley & Putnam, London, The work before us, in point of execution and getting up, nearly equals the best of our English Annuals. The frontispiece, from a design by Huntingdon, engraved by Cheney, Beatrice, is exquisite; but the other engravings, though many are good, are not of the same supereminent description. The letter-press contains numerous papers, on the merits of which we shall give a fair and unbiassed opinion. “ The Cathedral" contains little more than common-place images of an ever-poetic subject. " Ambuscades and Sorties,” with some vulgarity, with very peculiar Americanisms, which we confess we do not relish, is not bereft of humour. “A Requiem,” by J. R. Lowell, is, however, of very different character to either of the preceding pieces; it is tender, affectionate, calm, holy, and resigned, as Requiems should be, and it is hard to think that it has not been called forth by a loss of one more than beloved. We must, however, give the author a hint, that to form verbs of substantives is strong license, and to us reads unnatural, as does also the position of nouns out of their places after a present tense; in fact, the four closing lines even of our extract are not clear.

" Now I can see thee clearly-
The gloomy cloud of clay
That hid thy starry spirit
Is rent and blown away.
To earth I give thy body,
Thy spirit to the sky-
I saw its white wings quiver,
And knew that thou must fly.
"Now I can love thee truly-
For nothing comes between
The Senses and the Spirit,
The Seen and the Unseen.
Lifts the Eternal Shadow,
The Silence burst apart,
And the soul's boundless future

Is present to my heart.” “ My Humble Neighbour" is not to our taste. “Heart Augury" is spirited—but weak indeed, when compared with Milman's Lines on the Apollo, or the greater than Milman, Byron, Mumble the Peg” has a touch of the quality of Rip Van Winkle. A translation from the German of Tschokke follows" The Journal of a Vicar," which, as familiar to most of our readers, we pass, uttering our protest, however, against the assertion that it gave Goldsmith the idea of his Vicar of Wakefield ; since the date of the publication of this latter, March 1766, shows clearly that Tschokke was not the source, and leaves the originality of Goldsmith unimpaired, when the date of Christmas 1765 occurs in Tschokke's own work. This, then, gives Goldsmith the short space of three months to compose and publish the Vicar of Wakefield, to obtain the German Book, probably not published until some time after written, and is, therefore, a moral impossibility. There are certain features somewhat similar in both stories, but not more so than in numerous other works confessedly original. “Half Lengths from Life" is written with all the clever smartness of the authoress of “A New Home,” and “The Old Man and the Little Darling.” Mrs. Sigourney drew tears into our eyes, and the sweet spirit of this delightful poetess certainly derives not the least of its charms from its purity and Christian simplicity. “The Muse,” by this lady, is in the same exquisite feeling. After speaking, like a ring of bells by water, on the earlier stages of life, she concludes with this exquisite stanza :

" And now, though my life from its zenith doth wane,

And the wreaths of its morning grow scentless and vain,
Though many a friend, who its pilgrimage blest,
Have shrouded their heads and gone down to their rest,
Yet still, by my side, unforgetful and true,
Is the being that walked with me all the way through.
It doth cling to the High Rock wherein is my trust,
May it chant to my soul when I go to the dust ;-
Hand in hand, with the faith that my Saviour hath given,

May it kneel at his feet, 'mid the anthems of Heaven.” “ The Unknown Belle" is probably founded upon fact; at least, we know one story not unlike it. It is one of those sad, life-true tragedies, that, like “The Gamester," leave an impress that they are founded on mournful reality. It is briefly told, beautifully described. The “ Legend of the Lake” loses much of its power by the repeated disclosure of the Son, which should have been reserved for the last strong point. How different the effect in the natural burst of passion by Bertram Risingham to Wilfrid, leading to a similar disclosure, which is electrifying. The “Two Camps” is a capital Indian story, told in some parts with almost as much graphic description as the “ Last of the Mohicans.” An old acquaintance, N. P. Willis, in a paper entitled “ Beware of Dogs and Waltzing," writes in his own easy, pleasing style, with considerable" agrémens” and more "ton" than most of his countrymen, who, if they know the wild, describe but ill the civilized world. Washington Irvine forms a bright exception.

“ The Young Traders,” by Seba Smith, is pleasingly told, though of no great novelty of incident; the expectation is well kept up to a very pleasant dénouement. The Lord of Innes,” though somewhat melodramatic, is still no bad approach to the Scottish tales of fierce and desperate rivalry, which one only could give in their full dramatic power; since his day tales of Scotland's antient time have wanted all the vivid life that“ Waverley” and “The Abbot" exhibit. And here we close our notice of the Christmas Annual of our Transatlantic friends, and we wish them heartily success in every attempt to throw the embellishments and elegancies of existence over life in the far West. Bound up with us in the common bond of country, kin, and language, we trust that Jonathan will never forget his English brother, John ; elder as he is in strain, higher in bearing, his deep heraldic 'scutcheon covered with the glories of centuries; but with every Christmas and happy New Year will joy in the prosperity of the land of his fathers as if it were his own, or, at least, with a feeling that to England he is closer bound by common ties than to any of the powers of the earth. We further promise Jonathan, “ en revanche,” that, if he will but keep his Press in a little better order, he shall be safe from any cudgelling in this Review, since we feel that even England has little to boast of in some of her own Journals, either on the score of manners or morals.

Art. XV.-Account of the Atesh Kedah, a Biographical Work

on the Persian Poets, by Hajji Lutf Ali Beg, of Ispahan. By

N. Bland, Esq., M.R.A.S. The learned and distinguished author of the above brochure (we trust it will prove the introduction to a much larger work) has conferred on all lovers of Oriental literature an additional obligation, in introducing to their notice another rose of sweet and exquisite bloom from the garden of Persian song. The force of poetry in the land of the Sun is extremely well depicted in the following lines, eminently descriptive of the effects that have flowed from her influence amid her Oriental children.”

“ Lives have been sacrificed, or spared-cities have been annihilated, or ransomed-empires subverted, or restored-by the influence of poetry alone. Armies, levied to avenge the insult of an epigram, have been disbanded at its palinodia ; the prison has opened its gates to the ingenious author of an impromptu; stanzas have saved a suppliant's life, and a well-turned compliment in verse more than once soothed a breast in which dwelt all the undisciplined passions of Eastern despotism. Even history itself is indebted to this taste, and if not written in verse, its pages are enriched with metrical fragments and quotations, while the earliest annals of the Persian empire are preserved in the poetic legends of the Shah Nameh."

Von Hammer, in his “ History of Persian Poets,” published in 1818, after enumerating the principal sources whence he derived his materials, particularizes the “Atesh Kedah,” but could not produce a copy to illustrate his work. Mr. Bland has at present two in his own possession. The Museum contains one, the India House another. In England alone, there are now altogether seven copies. Hajji Lutf Ali Beg, the author of the present work, includes in it two centuries, which occurred between the age of the Tuhfahi Sámi, 1487, and his own time, 1191, when he died. He gives us the memoirs of 842 poets, antient and modern.

The title of his book, " Atesh Kedah," "Fire Temple," or “Temple of the Magi,” is somewhat remarkable for a Mahometan. The Diwan of Hafiz, however, abounds in similar allusions to those worshippers of Fire, that Lalla Rookh has made familiar to most English readers. The MSS. of this poem contain from 240 to 300 folios, of which a full page gives 100 lines of verse, written in four columns. Space will not permit us, from Mr. Bland's valuable labours reaching us on the point of publication, to detail what “ lapfuls of the tulips and roses of CasiVOL. III.-NO. I.


dahs might be collected therefrom; nor how our ladies might fill their robes with the basil and hyacinths of Ghazals ; how our misers might store their treasures with the rubies and yacuts of Mesnawi, or the silks and brocades of Rubá'ís. With all which, or in plain English, every species of ode, elegy, or song, Lutf Ali has enriched his book. Nor must our readers imagine, from the number of bards enumerated by Lutf Ali, that he was not most careful to make a critical selection of the Sons of Song. Lutf had no idea of geese among his swans, since to some youthful poet, who purposed to insert some of his own immature conceptions in this work, he rejoined that “this work was truly a Fire Temple, in whose furnace thorns would be consumed, but roses turn to delicious attar, to rejoice the senses." “Censers, Flames, Firebrands, Flashes," form the significant chapters of the work, which is, our readers will perceive, in perfect keeping with its title. Of the royal and noble authors, the patron of Firdusi, Mahmud, of Ghazni, -rescued from the embrace of time, by Lord Ellenborough, in the cedar gates of the Temple of Fame at Somnaut,-the Emperors Hamayun, and Akbar, Shah Shuja, Shah Abbas of the Safides, and others may be enumerated. Jámi, Anweri and Senayi, names of high excellence among poets, are enumerated. Two remarkable memoirs of Násir Khusrú and Zamiri, both of Isfahán, are also given ; nor are the mighty names of Firdusi, Ahli, Hafiz, and Sadi forgotten-no, nor the poets of Delhi in this immense treasury of song, amid whom we find Nur Jehan Begam, Nourmahal, the favourite empress of Jehanguir, entrancingly given by Moore in all her beauty, which won for her the double name of Light of the Harem and Light of the World. It is an historical fact that she propitiated the anger of Jehanguir by her wit as well as her beauty, by her charms of song equally with the voluptuous enjoyments of the senses. With one quotation from the author himself, Lutf Ali, containing a short casidah, we conclude this notice. The version is from Mr. Bland's own pen, and Isfahán, the native city of Lutf Ali, the subject. “ From Isfahan the zephyr blows

The fragrance of the musky rose. Dear home of childhood's happier hours, Where once my lowly dwelling rose. This morn I met the breeze of dawn ; Lightly towards Kashan it goes. • Perchance,' I said, “ this berald boy Some tidings of my country knows. O bear'st thou greetings from my friends, Who far away in peace repose ? And lives there still whose breast with Remembrance of this lone fond

glows ?" Smiling, he said, “Of none I know Of all thy friends—of all thy foes,Save that, to greet thine anxious love, To soothe thee in thy cares and woes, A blessing from Nasir I bear

For Azar, wheresoe'er he goes.'"


ART. XVI.-Analytical Inventory of the Charters of the Counts of

Flanders, formerly deposited at the Castle of Rupelmonde, &c. &c.

Part I. Ghent: Van Rychegem. 1843. In 4to. xlv and 208 pp. This work is to be in three Parts : that now published, comprises documents from 1168 to 1293. They are the records of the Counts of

« AnteriorContinuar »