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Under the wavering wings of
Once, twice, thrice,
I could not speak, I could not stir,
I could do nought but look at her;
Nought but look in her wonderful eyes
And loose me in their mysteries.
The goblet shone, the goblet glowed,
But from its rim no liquid flowed.
Its sides were bright with pictures rare
Of demons foul and angels fair,
And Life and Death o'er Youth contending,
And Love on luminous wings descending,
Celestial cities with golden domes,
Once, twice, thrice,
Loud rang the bell through the stormy air,
Onoe, twice, thrice,
She led me through enchanted woods,
Until, for very sympathy
Once, twice, thrico,
And then a voice within mo said,
Once, twice, thrice,
And then In sorrow and shame I cried,
And drink of the waters till they impart
A generous sense, and a human heart."
And all at once, around me rose
A mingled mutiny of woes,
And my soul discerned these sounds to he
The wail of a wide humanity;
Till my bosom heaved responsive sighs,
And tremulous tears were in my eyes.
Once, twice, thrice,
I drank new life, I could not stop,
But drained it to its latest drop,
Till the Phantom with the goblet rare
Dissolved Into the shadowy air—
Dissolved into the outer gloom,
And once more I was in my room;
Yet oft before my waking eyes
The figures of that goblet rise—
The angels and the fiends at strife,
And Youth 'twixt warring Death and Life—
The domes—the gnomes—mysterious things!
And Love descending on luminous wings.
Once, twice, thrice,
THE CITY ROSE TO THE WILD ROSE.
BY 8ARAH ROBERTS.
Tur wild bee brought your message,
Just at the peep of day,
Then gaily flew away.
Bui 'twould break my heart to roam. So many, many love me,
In my dusty city home.
You tell of fresh green meadows,
Of upland, hill, and glade, Of the many merry sisters,
And the still and pleasant shade; Of fragrant flowers around you,
Of a laughing, noisy brook, Tripping gaily at your feet all day,
Reflecting every look.
You say we'll have sweet music
With the early morning light, That the nightingale will cheer us,
Through all the summer night; That the humming-bird and bee
Shall do my bidding every day, Bring all the city news to me
From friends so far away.
You say I must be lonely,
That you tremble for my health, That the fresh and fragrant breezes
Are worth the city's wealth;
That ministers to me,
Cherished so tenderly.
There are but few to love her,
And why? alas, she's poor! And toiling, toiling all the day,
She loveth me the more. She smiles to see my beauty,
She'll weep when I am dead; Wild sister, who will weep for you
When winter bows your head?
She opes the window early,
To give me air and sun, Then sitteth sadly at my side
To toil till day is done;
And drops a tear on me,
And cheer her gratefully.
The children, poor and wretched,
Smile as they gaxe on me,
And praise me timidly;
Though brighter are your hours;
You've but the love of flowers.
My gentle mistress sccmeth ill,
I sometimes think she'll die; Then send the robin and the thrush,
To bear me where she'll lie; And come to me, sweet sister,
Whero sombre willows wave, And side by side, we'll weep and watch
Over her early grave.
A NIGHT WITH THE LATER FRENCH LYRIC POETS.
BY WILLIAM P O W E, ESQ.
It is a fact that it is with the inferior portions of French literature we are most extensively acquainted in a popular way. Everybody has read the high-flavoured novels and stories of Sue, Dumas, Dudevant, De Kock, and the rest of that school—very clever and very talented—but dashed and blended with the melodramatic and the extravagant to an unwholesome degree. Suiting the tastes of the many, the publication of their works is a good speculation, and hence the facility with which English-speaking people arc introduced to them. For these reasons of trade, acting in a circle, the better literature of our sister republic is comparatively unappreciated. And it may naturally be a received impression, therefore, that the literature of modern France is an affair of sentiment and passion, chiefly— champagne and gunpowder—in keeping with the social and political character the people there have earned, for all sorts of exciting and terrible things. However true this idea may be to the nature of the " literary lower empire" we have spoken of, it is a mistaken one, as regards modern French literature. In the departments of History, Poetry, Ethics, and Science they exhibit qualities and tendencies as excellent as those of any other literature— ancient or modern. Perhaps of these denominations French Poetry is that which is least appreciated by foreigners. The robust and massive elements of prose are more easily transfused than the subtile and unaccommodating spirit of poesy—racy on its own soil, and evaporating, in a more or less degree, in a strange atmosphere. And this is the case when verse is even well translated. An intimacy with a language—not a mere knowledge of it—is necessary to comprehend it; and then there are the equivalent parallel thought, tone and word to be premised. Nevertheless, though these are good reasons why foreign poetry cannot necessarily be so favourably or generally appreciated as prose, they are not always conclusive against the wish to appropriate what is another's, which would seem to be an instinct, and to animate human nature, from Queens, Kings, and Presidents, down to translators and others, whom we scruple to name along with such respectable people. But it is difficult for a man to keep the knowledge of a good thing to himself; and there's a gos
Vol. VL, 20
siping amiability in sharing it, which may be fairly set down to his account.
Who can behold tho ripened rose nor seek
though it may afterwards wither in his handling.
In the following we would merely presume to indicate some of the more sparkling fountains of French literature—directing to them the attention of our young and intellectual readers, thattheymay "better the instruction," and in the way of reading and study, enjoy what a certain old king—we forget his name— offered a reward for,—a new pleasure.
Glancing along the array of French poetry, the eye is first attracted by the picturesque muse of Victor Hugo—Baron Victor Hugo.
"the Saint Bartholemew of the privileged orders," as Burke called it. So, he has been forced (Hugo, not Burke) to put his patent in his pocket for awhile—like Mozart, who on his way through the piebald principalities of Germany used, after his father's prudent advice, to hang out his Pope's Cross in some places, and put it up in others. However, things have already taken a turn in France— in Paris, at least—and Victor Hugo may shortly exhibit his patent at his button-hole if he likes—that is, if he may not actually do so as affairs stand in that republic of a year. Matters there are getting on a reculons, and some more restorations would seem to be in the wind. Victor Hugo is prouder of his title, we believe, than of the authorship of N6tre Dame. In this he resembles Lord Byron, (who considered an old English Baron the first of dignities—even when no longer a schoolboy)—and, must we add, Sir Walter Scott? Yes; for with that healthful Cervantic mind of his—so like Chaucer's in many of its features—Scott would rather be rated as descendant or kinsman of the cattle-stealing chief of Harden, than the man who drew Jeannie Deans, and the Jewess, Balfour of Burley, and the Baron of Bradwardine. And we may remark how much Scott resembles Shakespeare, in one particular—if not in others. Both were thinking more of building houses for themselves and their families, than of that edifice of immortality which the world has inherited in their names. Shakespeare, in one of his Sonnets written after he had made money as a stage-manager, complains of the degradation and loss of respectability he endured by writing and acting plays! How unlike Milton in this respect, who put himself under a solemn course of intellectual training, before he strode prepense upon the epic stage, and challenged a renown that the world should not willingly let die! Congreve, who also made his literature a subordinate consideration, was rebuked by Voltaire for his affectation, while it was probably no affectation, but a truth of character now countenanced by loftier examples. Perhaps there is something after all in that preference for high station, and that looking back to feudal times and pretensions, if philosophy would but hunt it out. It may be these great intellects have not exhibited such tendencies for nothing.
But, as we were saying, Victor Hugo is proud of his countship; it suits his name, which has something Merovingian in it. He has long been at the head of what the French have called, by a rather loose kind of nomenclature, the romantic school of poetry, contradistinguished from the classical. His genius, certainly, like that of Scott, exhibits a strong leaning to the chivalrous period of society, and
is at home among the courts, castles, cathedrals,
Howo'er it be, it seems to me
We will pursue this digression no longer, but
Coming to Victor Hugo:—he is one of the first of French lyric poets, not the first. His fame will rest less upon his NCtre Dame, a work truer to its Gothic details and the distinctives of a historic period than to human nature and probability (in this far inferior to Sir Walter Scott), less upon his dramas, which are more remarkable for a certain pomp of style and imagery, and an exaggeration of character, than for the sweet touches of humanity which make Shakespeare akin to the whole world—than upon his lyrics. Though he does not think so himself, probably; for, with a wonderful self-delusion, he fancies he could be to Shakespeare what Napoleon was to Charlemagne. But his lyric poetry gives him celebrity enough. In this he seems to run through all modes of the lyre, and be master of them. In 1822, being twenty years old, he published his Odes and Ballads. In his Odes he showed himself a legitimist—the poet of royalty and the denouncer of Napoleon. That did not hinder him, however, from worshipping the memory of the buried Emperor afterwards, and in a very little time, too! His father was a General of the Empire. But his mother was a royalist, and her sentiments early impressed
the mind of the young poet, giving one more instance of the truth of Napoleon's saying, that the mother greatly influences the character of the child. The Ballads contain some sweet pieces, breathing the simple spirit of the earlier times of knighthood and the troubadours—such as Ecoute-moi Madelaine, and LaFiancSe du Timbalier. The last is as follows. There has been a good deal said about translation—from Horace down; we think a man has the best chance of doing his victim justice who gives him as literally as possible. Horace advises a free translation; that is very good when your translator is equal to the original—a Shelley, a Coleridge, or a Hunt. But we have been much struck with a certain opinion of Chaucer's —to wit:—
"Whoso shall tellen a tale after a man,
and so in the matters following, we ha*e observed this fine-hearted old troubadour's advice, as much as possible.
THE CYMBALLER'S BRIDE.
My lord, the Duke of bold Bretagne,
Was to the battle boune afar;
Ills arriere-ban of war I
Barons were there whose blazons bold
Deck many a moated castle wall;
My true-love with them all.
To Aquitaine he went away,
One of the cymbal iers; but he
All golden-seamed to see.
Since then, distracted by my fear,
To send his guardian-angel here
To watch that wandering cymballer—
I've bid our Abbot pray a prayer
For all our valiant soldiers gone,
St. Gildas' shrine upon.
Our Lady of Loretto, too,
I've promised her, right sore distressed,
The scallop on my breast.
No token came to soothe my wo,
No absent lover's gentle gage;
The peasant maid no page
Tc~day he will return, I trow,
Back by his noble master's side,
My love it is my pride.
The Duke returns and brings, elate,
Maidens, come stand beneath the gate,
To see his Highness pass in state—
Come, see his charger harnessed gay
For this day's noble pageant, bound
Maidens, you dress too slowly, come
To see my soldier-love advance;
Make every bosom dance.
Come, see him, too, so proudly wear
The mantle by my fingers drest;
Bear bis steel cap and crest.
A gipsy woman yesterday
Behind a pillar called mo near.
A certain cymballer I
Truce to sad thoughts!—come, come along I
I hear the war-drum close at hand;
Now two and two the host comes by;
And first the pikemen, stout and slow;
And caps of velvet go.
Then priests in chasubles; then prance
While on their tabards they advance
Their master's proper cognizance
Next rides the Templars' dreaded van,
In Persian armour of the East;
In buff and steel go drest.
The Duke! the Duke! his banner borne
Floats o'er his noblo cavaliers;
Sisters, the Cymballers 1
She said: her eager glance was thrown
In his Orientates, Victor Hugo exhibits most of that glowing imagery and graceful pomp of versification which particularly distinguish his writings. He says he got the inspiration of