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Methought while thus my sire did teach,
XII. Trembling at first, and deadly pale, Had Gunnar heard the vision'd tale ; But when he learn'd the dubious close, He blush'd like any opening rose, And, glad to hide his tell-tale cheek, Hied back that glove of mail to seek; When soon a shriek of deadly dread Summond his master to his aid.
And there pass'd Wulfstane, lately slain,
As captives know the knell
the headsman's sword is bare, And, with an accent of despair,
Commands them quit their cell.
When to my rescue sped
The demons yell’d and fled !
XIII. What sees Count Harold in that bower,
So late his resting-place The semblance of the Evil Power,
Adored by all his race !
So flow'd his hoary beard;
But when his voice he rear'd,
And, Gunnar, I could find
My father Witikind!
To leave thy Warrior-God -
Are wither'd by a nod.
Upon her brow and neck he threw,
And glimmerd in her eye.
That bosom's pride belie? 0, dull of heart, through wild and wave In search of blood and death to rave,
With such a partner nigh !"
Mine art thou, witness this thy glove,
XVIII. Then in the mirror'd pool he peer'd, Blamed his rough locks and shaggy beard, The stains of recent conflict clear'd,
And thus the Champion proved,
And loves who never loved.
Nor will her eyelid fully ope;
Speaks shame-facedness and hope.
But not the artillery of hell,
Could Harold's courage quell.
Till quail'd that Demon Form, And—for his power to hurt or kill Was bounded by a higher will
Evanish'd in the storm. Nor paused the Champion of the North, But raised, and bore his Eivir forth, From that wild scene of fiendish strife, To light, to liberty, and life !
A Christian knight and Christian bride;
A silver runnel bubbled by,
His stubborn sinews fly,
CONCLUSION. And now, Ennui, what ails thee, weary maid ! And why these listless looks of yawning sorrow!
1 Mr. Adolphus, in his Letters on the Author of Waverley, son in the Irish orphan of Rokeby,' and the conversion of p. 230, remarks on the coincidence between the catastrophe Harold's page into a female,”—all which he calls “ specimens of The Black Dwarf,' the recognition of Mortham's lost of unsuccessful contrivance, at a great expense of probability."
No need to turn the page, as if 'twere lead,
From Bartholine, or Perinskiold, or Snorro.
Then pardon thou thy minstrel, who hath wrote A Tale six cantos long, yet scorn'd to add a
1 " Harold the Dauntless,' like · The Bridal of Triermain, proportion to the advantages which it furnished for poetical is a tolerably successful imitation of some parts of the style of description ; but, of late years, one half, at least, of the merit Mr. Walter Scott; but like all imitations, it is clearly distin- of a poem is supposed to rest on the interest and management guishable from the prototype ; it wants the life and seasoning of the tale. of originality. To illustrate this familiarly from the stage :- “We speak not exclusively of that numerous class of readWe have all witnessed a hundred imitations of popular actors, ers who peruse and estimate a new poem, or any poem, with of Kemble, for instance, in which the voice, the gesture, and the same feelings, and precisely on the same principles, as they somewhat even of the look, were copied. In externals the re- do a novel. It is natural for such persons to judge only by the semblance might be sufficiently correct; but where was the effect produced by the incidents; but we have often been informing soul, the mind that dictated the action and expres- surprised that some of our literary critics, even those to whose sion? Who could endure the tedium of seeing the imitator go judgment we were most disposed to bow, should lay so much through a whole character ? In Harold the Dauntless,' the stress on the probability and fitness of every incident which imitation of Mr. Scott is pretty obvious, but we are weary of the fancy of the poet may lead him to embellish in the course it before we arrive near the end. The author has talent, and of a narrative poem, a great proportion of which must neces considerable facility in versification, and on this account it is sarily be descriptive. The author of Harold the Dauntless somewhat lamentable, not only that he should not have se- seems to have judged differently from these critics ; and in lected a better model, but that he should copy the parts of that the lightsome rapid strain of poetry which he has chosen, we model which are least worthy of study. Perhaps it was not feel no disposition to quarrel with him on account of the easy easy to equal the energy of Mr. Scott's line, or his picturesque and careless manner in which he has arranged his story. In descriptions. His peculiarities and defects were more attaina- many instances he undoubtedly shows the hand of a master, ble, and with these the writer of this novel in verse has gener- and has truly studied and seized the essential character of the ally contented himself ; he will also content a certain number antique-his attitudes and draperies are unconfined, and vaof readers, who merely look for a few amusing or surprising ried with demi-tints, possessing much of the lastre, freshness, incidents. In these, however, “Harold the Dauntless' does and spirit of Rembrandt. The airs of his heads hare grace, not abound so much as The Bridal of Triermain.' They and his distances something of the lightness and keeping of are, indeed, romantic enough to satisfy all the parlor-boarders Salvator Rosa. The want of harmony and union in the car of ladies' schools in England ; but they want that appearance nations of his females is a slight objection, and there is like of probability which should give them interest."-Critical Re- wise a meagre sheetiness in his contrasts of chiaroscuro ; but view, April, 1817.
these are all redeemed by the felicity, execution, and roaster traits distinguishable in his grouping, as in a Murillo or Carra
veggio. “We had formerly occasion to notice, with considerable
But the work has another quality, and though its leading praise, The Bridal of Triermain. We remarked it as a pretty
one, we do not know whether to censure or approve it. It is close imitation of Mr. Scott's poetry; and as that great master
an avowed imitation, and therefore loses part of its value, if seems, for the present, to have left his lyre unstrung, a substi
viewed as an original production. On the other hand, regarded tute, even of inferior value, muy be welcomed by the public. solely as an imitation, it is one of the closest and most successIt appeared to us, however, and still does, that the merit of the ful, without being either a caricature or a parody, that perhaps present author consists rather in the soft and wildly tender
ever appeared in any language. Not only is the general manpassages, than in those rougher scenes of feud and fray, through
ner of Scott ably maintained throughout, but the very structure which the poet of early times conducts his reader. His war
of the language, the associations, and the train of thinking, horse follows with somewhat of a hobbling pace the proud and
appear to be precisely the same. It was once alleged by some impetuous courser whom he seeks to rival. Unfortunately, as
writers, that it was impossible to imitate Mr. Scott's style; it appears to us, the last style of poetical excellence is rather but it is now fully proved to the world that there is no style more aimed at here than in the former poem; and as we do
more accessible to imitation ; for it will be remarked (laying not discover any improvement in the mode of treating it, Ha- parodies aside, which any one may execute), that Mr. David. rold the Dauntless scarcely appears to us to equal the Bridal of
son and Miss Halford, as well as Lord Byron and Wordsworth, Triermain. It contains, indeed, passages of similar merit, but
each in one instance, have all, without we believe intending not quite so numerous ; and such, we suspect, will ever be the
it, imitated him with considerable closeness. The author of case while the author continues to follow after this line of
the Poetic Mirror has given us one specimen of his most polpoetry."-Scots Mag. Feb. 1817.
ished and tender style, and another, still more close, of his rapid and careless manner; but all of them fall greatly skort of the Bridal of Triermain, and the poem nou before is.
We are sure the author will laugh heartily in his sleeve at our “This is an elegant, sprightly, and delightful little poem, silliness and want of perception, when we confess to him that written apparently by a person of taste and genius, but who
we never could open either of these works, and peruse his pages either possesses not the art of forming and combining a plot,
for two minutes with attention, and at the same time divest or regards it only as a secondary and subordinate object. In
our minds of the idea that we were engaged in an early er this we do not widely differ from him, but are sensible, mean
experimental work of that great master. That they are gene time, that many others will; and that the rambling and un
rally inferior to the works of Mr. Scott in vigor and interest, certain nature of the story will be the principal objection admits not of dispute ; still they have many of his wild and urged against the poem before us, as well as the greatest bar
softer beauties ; and if they fail to be read and admired, we to its extensive popularity. The character of Mr. Scott's ro
shall not on that account think the better of the taste of the mances has effected a material change in our mode of esti
age."--Blackwood's Magazine, April, 1817. mating poetical compositions. In all the estimable works of our former poets, from Spenser down to Thomson and Cowper, the plot seems to have been regarded as good or bad, only in
END OF HAROLD THE DAUNTLESS.
The Introduction originally prefixed to “The ingenious than elegant, that they may establish, if Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," was rather of not an absolute claim to originality, at least a visi
historical than a literary nature; and the re- ble distinction betwixt themselves and their premarks which follow have been added, to afford the decessors. Thus it happens, that early poets algeneral reader some information upon the charac- most uniformly display a bold, rude, original cast ter of Ballad Poetry.
of genius and expression. They have walked at It would be throwing away words to prove, free-will, and with unconstrained steps, along the what all must admit, the general taste and pro- wilds of Parnassus, while their followers move pensity of nations in their early state, to cultivate with constrained gestures and forced attitudes, in some species of rude poetry. When the organs order to avoid placing their feet where their preand faculties of a primitive race have developed decessors have stepped before them. The first themselves, each for its proper and necessary use, bard who compared his hero to a lion, struck a there is a natural tendency to employ them in a bold and congenial note, though the simile, in a more refined and regulated manner for purposes nation of hunters, be a very obvious one; but of amusement. The savage, after proving the ac- every subsequent poet who shall use it, must tivity of his limbs in the chase or the battle, trains either struggle hard to give his lion, as heralds them to more measured movements, to dance at -say, with a difference, or lie under the imputation the festivals of his tribe, or to perform obeisance of being a servile imitator. before the altars of his deity. From the same im- It is not probable that, by any researches of pulse, he is disposed to refine the ordinary speech modern times, we shall ever reach back to an earwhich forms the vehicle of social communication lier model of poetry than Homer; but as there betwixt him and his brethren, until, by a more or- lived heroes before Agamemnon, so, unquestionanate diction, modulated by certain rules of rhythm, bly, poets existed before the immortal Bard who cadence, assonance of termination, or recurrence of gave the King of kings his fame ; and he whom all sound or letter, he obtains a dialect more solemn civilized nations now acknowledge as the Father in expression, to record the laws or exploits of his of Poetry, must have himself looked back to an tribe, or more sweet in sound, in which to plead ancestry of poetical predecessors, and is only held his own cause to his mistress.
original because we know not from whom he copied. This primeval poetry must have one general Indeed, though much must be ascribed to the riches character in all nations, both as to its merits and of his own individual genius, the poetry of Homer its imperfections. The earlier poets have the ad argues a degree of perfection in an art which pracvantage, and it is not a small one, of having the tice had already rendered regular, and concerning first choice out of the stock of materials which are which, his frequent mention of the bards, or chantproper to the art; and thus they compel later au- ers of poetry, indicates plainly that it was studied thors, if they would avoid slavishly imitating the by many, and known and admired by all." fathers of verse, into various devices, often more It is indeed easily discovered, that the qualities
1 These remarks were first appended to the edition of the ed that the Iliad and Odyssey were substantially the works of “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," 1830.-ED.
one and the same individual. He said of the Wolfian hypo
thesis, that it was the most irreligious one he had heard of, 2 Sir Walter Scott, as this paragraph intimates, never doubt- and could never be believed in by any poet.-ED.
necessary for composing such poems are not the Here, therefore, we have the history of early portion of every man in the tribe ; that the bard, poetry in all nations. But it is evident that, to reach excellence in his art, must possess some though poetry seems a plant proper to almost all thing more than a full command of words and soils, yet not only is it of various kinds, according phrases, and the knack of arranging them in such to the climate and country in which it has its oriform as ancient examples have fixed upon as the gin, but the poetry of different nations differs still recognized structure of national verse. The tribe more widely in the degree of excellence which it speedily become sensible, that besides this degree attains. This must depend in some measure, no of mechanical facility, which (like making what doubt, on the temper and manners of the people, are called at school nonsense verses) may be at- or their proximity to those spirit-stirring events tained by dint of memory and practice, much which are naturally selected as the subject of higher qualifications are demanded. A keen and poetry, and on the more comprehensive or eneractive power of observation, capable of perceiv- getic character of the language spoken by the ing at a glance the leading circumstances from tribe. But the progress of the art is far more de which the incident described derives its charac- pendent upon the rise of some highly gifted inditer; quick and powerful feelings, to enable the vidual, possessing in a pre-eminent and uncommon bard to comprehend and delineate those of the degree the powers demanded, whose talents inactors in his piece; and a oommand of language, fluence the taste of a whole nation, and entail on alternately soft and elevated, and suited to express their posterity and language a character almost the conceptions which he had formed in his mind, indelibly sacred. In this respect Homer stands are all necessary to eminence in the poetical art. alone and unrivalled, as a light from whose lamp
Above all, to attain the highest point of his pro- the genius of successive ages, and of distant nafession, the poet must have that original power of tions, has caught fire and illumination ; and who, embodying and detailing circumstances, which can though the early poet of a rude age, has purchased place before the eyes of others a scene which only for the era he has celebrated, so much reverence, exists in his own imagination. This last high and that, not daring to bestow on it the term of barcreative faculty, namely, that of impressing the barous, we distinguish it as the heroic period. mind of the hearers with scenes and sentiments No other poet (sacred and inspired authors exhaving no existence save through their art, has cepted) ever did, or ever will, possess the same procured for the bards of Greece the term of influence over posterity, in so many distant lands, Toimins, which, as it singularly happens, is literally as has been acquired by the blind old man of translated by the Scottish epithet for the same Chios; yet we are assured that his works, collected class of persons, whom they termed the Makers. by the pious care of Pisistratus, who caused to be The French phrase of Trouveurs, or Troubadours, united into their present form those divine poems, namely, the Finders, or Inventors, has the same would otherwise, if preserved at all, have apreference to the quality of original conception and peared to succeeding generations in the humble invention proper to the poetical art, and without state of a collection of detached ballads, connected which it can hardly be said to exist to any pleas- only as referring to the same age, the same geneing or useful purpose.
ral subjects, and the same cycle of heroes, like the The mere arrangement of words into poetical metrical poems of the Cid in Spain,' or of Robin rhythm, or combining them according to a tech-Hood in England. nical rule or measure, is so closely connected with In other countries, less favored, either in lanthe art of music, that an alliance between these guage or in picturesque incident, it cannot be sup two fine arts is very soon closely formed. It is posed that even the genius of Homer could have fruitless to inquire which of them has been first soared to such exclusive eminence, since he must invented, since doubtless the precedence is acci- at once have been deprived of the subjects and dental; and it signifies little whether the musician themes so well adapted for his muse, and of the adapts verses to a rude tune, or whether the pri- lofty, melodious, and flexible language in which he mitive poet, in reciting his productions, falls natu- recorded them. Other nations, during the formarally into a chant or song. With this additional tion of their ancient poetry, wanted the genius of accomplishment, the poet becomes doudos, or the Homer, as well as his picturesque scenery and man of song, and his character is complete when lofty language. Yet the investigation of the early the additional accompaniment of a lute or harp is poetry of every nation, even the rudest, carries added to his vocal performance.
with it an object of curiosity and interest. It is a
1 The “ Poema del Cid" (of which Mr. Frere has translated some specimens) is, however, considered by every historian of Spanish literature, as the work of one hand; and is evidently
more ancient than the detached ballads on the Adventures of the Campeador, which are included in the Cancioneros.