Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

XVIII.

“ Eivir! since thou for many a day Then in the mirror'd pool he peer'd,

Hast follow'd Harold's wayward way, Blamed his rough locks and shaggy beard,

It is but meet that in the line
The stains of recent conflict clear'd,--

Of after-life I follow thine,
And thus the Champion proved,

To-morrow is Saint Cuthbert's tide,
That he fears now who never fear’d,

And we will grace his altar's side,
And loves who never loved.

A Christian knight and Christian bride;
And Eivir-life is on her cheek,

And of Witikind's son shall the marvel be said, And yet she will not move or speak,

That on the same morn he was christen'd and wed.”
Nor will her eyelid fully ope;
Perchance it loves, that half-shut eye,
Through its long fringe, reserved and shy,
Affection's opening dawn to spy;
And the deep blush, which bids its dye
O'er cheek, and brow, and bosom fly,

CONCLUSION.
Speaks shame-facedness and hope.
XIX.

And now, Ennui, what ails thee, weary maid ? But vainly seems the Dane to seck

And why these listless looks of yawning sorrow? For terms his new-born love to speak,

No need to turn the page, as if ’twere lead, For words, save those of wrath and wrong,

Or fling aside the volume till to-morrow.Till now were strangers to his tongue;

Be cheer'd—'tis ended—and I will not borrow, So, when he raised the blushing maid,

To try thy patience more, one anecdote In blunt and honest terms he said,

From Bartholine, or Perinskiold, or Snorro. ('Twere well that maids, when lorers woo,

Then pardon thou thy minstrel, who hath wrote Heard none more soft, were all as true,)

A Tale six cantos long, yet scorn'd to add a wote.'

1" • Haruld the Dauntless,' like · The Bridal of Trier passages, than in those rougher scenes of feud and fray, through main,' is a tolerably successful imitation of some parts of the which the poet of early times conducts his reader. His war. style of Mr. Walter Scott; but, like all imitations, it is clearly horse follows with somewhat of a hobbling pace the proud and distinguishable from the prototype; it wants the life and sea- impetuous courser whom he seeks to rival. Unfortunately, as soning of originality. To illustrate this familiarly from the it appears to us, the last style of poetical excellence is rather stage :-We have all witnessed a hundred imitations of popu- more aimed at here than in the former poem ; and as we do not lar actors-of Kemble, for instance, in which the voice, the discover any improvement in the mode of treating it, Harold gesture, and somewhat even of the look, were copied. In ex- the Dauntless scarcely appears to us to equal the Bridal of ternals the resemblance might be sufficiently correct; but Triermain. It contains, indeed, passages of similar merit, but where was the informing soul, the mind that dictated the ac not quite so numerous; and such, we suspect, will ever be the tion and expression? Who could endure the tedium of seeing case while the author continues to follow after this line of the imitator go through a whole character? In Harold the poetry."-Scots Nag., Feb. 1817. Dauntless,' the imitation of Mr. Scott is pretty obvious, but we are weary of it before we arrive near the end. The author has talent, and considerable facility in versification, and on

“ This is an elegant, sprightly, and delightful little poem, this account it is somewhat lamentable, not only that he written apparently by a person of taste and genius, but who should not have selected a better model, but that he should either possesses not the art of forming and combining a plot, copy the parts of that model which are least worthy of study. or regards it only as a secondary and subordinate object. In Perhaps it was not easy to equal the energy of Mr. Scott's line, this we do not widely differ from him, but are sensible, meanor his picturesque descriptions. His peculiarities and defects time, that many others will; and that the rambling and unwere more attainable, and with these the writer of this novel certain nature of the story will be the principal objection in verse has generally contented himself; he will also content urged against the poem before us, as well as the greatest bar & certain number of readers, who merely look for a few amu to its extensive popularity. The character of Mr. Scott's rosing or surprising incidents. In these, however, ‘Harold the mances bas effected a material change in our mode of estiDauntless' does not abound so much as “ The Bridal of Trier- mating poetical compositions. In all the estimable works of main.' They are, indeed, romantic enough to satisfy all the our former poets, from Spenser down to Thomson and Cowper, parlour-boarders of ladies'schools in England; but they want the plot seems to have been regarded as good or bad, only in that appearance of probability which should give them inter- proportion to the advantages which it furnished for poetical est."-Crilical Review, April, 1817.

description; but, of late years, one half, at least, of the merit of a poem is supposed to rest on the interest and management

of the tale. “We had formerly occasion to notice, with considerable “We speak not exclusively ofthat numerous class of readers praise, The Bridal of Triermain. We remarked it as a pretty who peruse and estimate a new poem, or any poem, with the close imitation of Mr. Scott's poetry; and as that great master same feelings, and precisely on the same principles, as they seems, for the present, to have left his lyre unstrung, a substi- do a novel. It is natural for such persons to judge only by the tute, even of inferior value, may be welcomed by the public. effect produced by the incidents ; but we have often been It appears to us, however, and still does, that the merit of surprised that some of our literary critics, even those to whose the present author consists rather in the soft and wildly tender judgment we were most disposed to bow, should lay so much

stress on the probability and fitness of every incident which manner of Scott ably maintained throughout, but the very the fancy of the poet may lead him to embellish in the course structure of the language, the associations, and the train of of a narrative poem, a great proportion of which must neces- thinking, appear to be precisely the same. It was once alsarily be descriptive. The author of Harold the Dauntless leged by some writers, that it was impossible to imitate Mr. seems to have judged differently from these critics; and in Scott's style; but it is now fully proved to the world that there the lightsome rapid strain of poetry which he has chosen, we is no style more accessible to imitation ; for it will be remarked, feel no disposition to quarrel with him on account of the easy (laying parodies aside, which any one may execute), that Mr. and careless manner in which he has arranged his story. In Davidson and Miss Halford, as well as Lord Byron and Wordsmany instances he undoubtedly shows the hand of a master, worth, each in one instance, have all, without we believe inand has truly studied and seized the essential character of the tending it, imitated him with considerable closeness. The antique-his attitudes and draperies are unconfined, and va- author of the Poetic Mirror has given us one specimen of his ried with demi-tints, possessing much of the lustre, freshness, most polished and tender style, and another, still more close, and spirit of Rembrandt. The airs of his heads have grace, of his rapid and careless manner; but all of them fall greatly and his distances something of the lightness and keeping of short of The Bridal of Triermain, and the poem now before us. Salvator Rosa. The want of harmony and union in the car. We are sure the author will laugh heartily in his sleeve at our nations of his females is a slight objection, and there is liko- silliness and want of perception, when we confess to him that wise a mcagre sheetiness in his contrasts of chiaroscuro; but we never could open either of these works, and peruse his pages these are all redeemed by the felicity, execution, and master for two minutes with attention, and at the same time divest traits distinguishable in his grouping, as in a Murillo or Carra- our minds of the idea that we were engaged in an early or ex. Veggio.

perimental work of that great master. That they are geneBut the work has another quality, and though its leading rally inferior to the works of Mr. Scott in vigour and interest, one, we do not know whether to censure or approve it. It is admits not of dispute; still they have many of his wild and an avowed imitation, and therefore loses part of its value, if softer beauties; and if they fail to be read and admired, we viewed as an original production. On the other hand, regard- shall not on that account think the better of the taste of the ed solely as an imitation, it is one of the closest and most suc- age.”Blackwood's Magazine, April, 1817. cessful, without being either a caricature or a parody, that perheps ever appeared in any language. Not only is the general

END OF HAROLD TUE DAUNTLESS.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »