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in Ireland, a huge telescope, which was at last to demolish and do away with that Nebular Theory which his friends, Herschell and Nichol of Glasgow, had spent such trouble in building up to the constellation of Orion, from the Shinar, so to speak, of a very daring hypothesis. These astronomers thought they had made out the birth and progress, the Genesis, of the hesYenly bodies, when they had seen, with the strongest telescopes they could afford, a certain opaque luminosity in Orion, and could make nothing distinct of it. They concluded it must be some blind, wandering nebulous matter, from which the regular bodies were gradually evolved—the star-dust and raw material, as it were, of the host of heaven. And thus they raised up their very bold and attractive synthesis, through all the phases anu transitions of the floating nebuhe, arguing all the while from recognised laws, till they came to the bright consummate star, moving in sublime obedience to the cosmical order of the universe. It was a great thing to hear, as we have heard, Professor Nichol set forth his theory in his own high poetic style, unmindful of the enormous tube which Rosse was even then pointing at the penetralia of heaven; and which, when fixed upon the aforesaid nebulosity, discovered, not the "raw material," and Nature in her workshop, doing it up into astronomy, but, crowds of full-grown, rounded, regular, and infinitely remote orbs, Bwimming about in the abysses of a further firmament! Down came the beautiful theory! But the splinters of it were admirable, even in their ruin. Herschell had shot an arrow like that of Virgil's Acestes, which, missing its aim, and 9werving in magnificent error away through space, yet described an arch of true science in its course, and carried a prodigious brilliancy, and the astonished eyes of men, along with it;—just as it has carried ourselves away at present from our subject of literary plagiarism.
To return to Pope. In the Dunciad he has the line:
u A -wit with dunces, and a dance with wits."
This smart piece of antithesis he has borrowed from Quinctilian, who, speaking of certain people, says, "Qui itultU erutliti videri volunt; cruditi* ttulli vidmlur." Dr. Johnson, also, whose powerful memory often helped him to his good things, hurled this pointed missile at the head of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, calling him, with great applause, "A lord among wits, and a wit among lords." His lordship had offended the rugged lexicographer, whose barbarous manners in company Chesterfield holds up, in his Letters to his son, as things to be avoided. The noble
man afterwards offered to serve him with his
"What woful stuff this madrigal would be,
only contain the sentiment of Moliere :—
"Tous les discours wont den sottises
Moliere adopted it from the old Latin poet, Eunius, who doubtless took it, in turn, from Euripides; #who took it from—we forget what Pelasgian, cotemporary with Japheth. Emerson seems to be the last notability who has expressed the sentiment, where he says that, "It adds a great deal to the force of an opinion to know that there is a man of mark and likelihood behind it."
Apropos of Moliere. The words uttered by Sosie, in the Amphitryon, and so universally quoted,—
"Le veritable Amphitryon
were taken from Rotrou, an author who wrote before Moliere. Rotrou has almost the same expression negatively:—
"Point d'Amphitryon, ou l'on no dine pas."
Pope takes from Cowley in the following,—
"For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
Cowley has it:
"His faith perhaps in some nice tenets might
Pope, in the line,
"Is it a crime in heaven to love too well!"
imitates Crashawc's couplet:
"And I—what is my crime? I cannot tell,
Lamartine, in his Jocelyn, has the same expression:—
"Estce un crime, 0 mon Dieu, de trop aimer lo beau!"
The latter calls on God, with the characteristic fervour of France.
Shakespeare has fed a host of plagiarists. But Shakespeare plagiarised himself, from others, yet by the alchymy of true genius he turned all sorts of dross into gold, and embellished every thought he adopted. We perceive Tennyson has pilfered one fine, fanciful thought of his, which is to be found in the Merchant of Venice. Alfred speaks of
Dreamed by a happy man, while the dark east
"Then music is
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day,
In Dryden's Palemon and Arcite you are struck with the bold conceit of tho.lines,
"A generous chillness seises every part,
But look for it in Shakespeare; it must be found in that storehouse of all sentiment. Warwick, in Henry VI., says:—
"Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost
The military figure of Shakespeare's musical lines,—
"Beauty's ensign yet
is closely imitated by Chamberlain in his Pharronidas,—
"The rose had lost
Milton says of philosophy, that it is
"As musical as is Apollo's lute."
Byron, in Love's Labour Lost, says of love, that it is
"As sweet and musical
As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair."
But it would be an endless task to note everything that has been stolen from the'Swan's fumier—or dung-hill, as Voltaire calls it—with such an air of superiority 1 Shakespeare is more like a Coliseum,
"From whose mass
Walls, palaces, half cities, hare been reared;"
from whom many makers and builders have quarried their materials.
Lord Byron, (whom we have just quoted,) seems, for all that scornful way of his, to have poached in some measure on the manors of others. He has, indeed, said in one of his letters, that pretensions to originality are ludicrous; but, like Shakespeare, he commutes everything he adopts. He turns with fine effect into the Childe Harold stanza, Filicaja's celebrated sonnet on Italy:—
"Italia, Italia, o tu cui feo la aorte," Ac
Italia, 0 Italia, thou who hast
Also that stanza, in the first canto of Don Juan—the most delightful of its kind, certainly, in the language—paraphrased from what is supposed to be the Greek of Sappho:—
"0 Hesperus, thou bringest all good things;
Home to the weary, to the hungry, cheer;
The welcome stall to the o'erlabonred steer;
Whate'er our household gods protect of dear,
Byron had an exquisite sense of the graceful in Anglo-Saxon; and he has sweetly Tendered into our tongue and into our feelings, as it were, the rural and household charm of this old fragment. The following sentiment in the second canto of Childe Harold,—
"A thousand years scarce serve to form a state,
is taken from a passage in Muratori's Annals, to wit:—" Cento si richieggono ad edificare; on solo basta per distruggerc tutto." The lines in the beginning of the third canto,—
"For I am as a weed Flung from the rock, on ocean's foam to sail Where'er the surge may sweep, or tempest's breath prevail,"—
strongly resemble Horace's,
"Quo me cunque raplt, tempestas deferor hospes."
In the Prophecy of Dante he says:—
"Many are poets who have never penned
Wordsworth has the same sentiment:—
"0 many are the poets that are sown
But Bacon, whose thoughts had something of the universality of Shakespeare's, said the same before either of them. In his lines on the death of Kirke White, Lord Byron has employed a very long-descended simile—about the dying eagle,—
"Ttu thine own genius gave the final blow;
Two other lines finish the simile; from which it would appear the young poet made the most of his plagiarism, and treated his bird somewhat in the manner of the English M. P., who, speaking grandly and at length of the phoenix, gave, as Sheridan said, "a poulterer's description of it." Waller made use of this simile before Byron, and Eschylus before Waller. We cannot lay our pen on the places where they use it. Moore, in his poem of "Corruption," has been at the eagle too, and employing the selfsame simile, but in a single judicious couplet:—
"Like a young eagle who has lent bis plume
Doubtless this idea, as well as most of those we mention, has passed through more poets' brains than we remember, or hare met with. Churchill wrote,—
"The gods, a kindness I with thanks repay,
before Byron, said, in the fourth canto of Childe Harold,
"I am not altogether of such clay
In the epithet he hag applied to Galileo—"the starry Galileo"—he was anticipated by Ovid, who calls one of his friends Sidereiu Pedo. In his Island, which we think the most genial and pleasing of all his poems, and one written with the most careless ease, apparently, occur the lines,
« To-morrow tor the mooa we depart,
This sentiment seems to be that expressed in
u Nunc Tino pellite curas;
Now drown your cares in wine,
To-morrow we shall traverse the great brine.
Talking of Horace—it strikes us that we find a sentiment of Hamlet's very nearly expressed in the Ode to Venus, third book,—
"Me nec femlna, nec puer,
The dreamy Dane says:—
"Man delights not me, nor woman neither," Ac.
And Tommy Moore seems to have caught an idea from the Ode to Melpomene:—
"Totum muneris hoc tui est,
Quod monstror digito pratereuntium
In the song, Dear Harp of my Country, Moore sings:—
"If the songs of the patriot soldier or lover
Have throbbed at our lay, 'twas thy glory alone; I was but as the wind passing carelessly over, And all the wild sweetness I waked was thy own."
The Irish poet, with that fanciful and figurative genius of his, has raised the thought into an image, in a manner at once very true and very beautiful. In another of his songs he has the thought of a man, with his eyes fixed on heaven, tumbling into a brook. This he took from the Clerk of Oxenford'B Tale in the Canterbury Pilgrims; and Chaucer himself borrowed it from the ancients, for the story is told of the Greek philosopher, Thales.
Byron, in his description of the Shipwreck, speaks of one
"Who begged Pedrillo for an absolution,
This piece of comedy is taken from Rabelais— where Panurge, in the consternation aboard ship, makes the very same reply to somebody. Rabelais has been a very convenient storehouse for those who came after him. He is such a dirty author that people thought themselves safe from the detection of the general eye when they took from him, and took the more on that account. A great many of our current witticisms, proverbs, and sayings, can be found in that old literary olla podrida. The phrase "sinews of war," meaning money, belongs to Rabelais. We discovered it in Fuller once, and thought we had the fons et origo of the saying; but we soon found that the quaint old fellow stole it. The lines in Don Juan, about Donna Inez,—
"Calmly she heard each calumny that rose, And saw his agonies with such sublimity, That all the world exclaimed, what magnanimity 1"
contain Swift's sentiment,
"When we are lashed, they kiss the rod,
It is generally known, that the line dedicated to the double renown of our Benjamin Franklin,—
"Eripuit cata fulmen taptrumqut tyrannit,"—
was adapted by Turgot, Minister of Finance to Louis XVI., from the following line in the Anti-Lucretius of Cardinal Polignac,—
"Eripuit coelo fulmen Phoeboque sagittas."
But the expression had a farther transmigration—an anterior source. It was first used, with a difference, by Marcus Manilius, thus:
** Eripuit Jove fulmen, viresque Tonanti."
This comprehensive legend, which so well becomes Franklin's scutcheon, was of slow growth. Its application was a felicitous effort of Turgot's erudite memory. To a similar effort on the part of another mere statesman, Lord Nelson was indebted for his motto, Palmam qui meruit ferat. Lord Shelburne remembered the following lines of one of Jortin's naval odes,—
"Concurrent paribus cum ratibus rates;
and pitched on the last. This was a tame sort of blazon for so original a hero. In fact, his true motto is not on the coronet, but on the poops of all battle-ships, "England expects every man will do his duty." Nelson was famous for reviving in the strategy of modern
sea-engagements, the famous old deicplui of the Greeks—the " breaking of the line," and lapping part of the hostile array in a double fire. This was the very movement which distintinguished the warfare of Napoleon—the victor on another element. The latter practised the plan of directing wedge-like columns against the enemy; and in this lay the secret of his greatest victories. But though Napoleon was too much of an original to be a plagiarist in war, except in the sense of fat est ab hoste doceri, he would adopt a great many sayings and doings of others, to produce the finer effect on occasion. One instance of this was as follows. Being crowned King of Italy, at Milan, he took the Iron Crown of Charlemagne in his own handB, and lifting it to his head, said, " Dim me Va donnfe; gare a qui la touche!" This epic saying was plagiarised from a hero who
"Rolled, blazed, destroyed, and was no more,'*
before the Corsican's time—to wit, Charles XII. of Sweden. The impetuous young Swede wrote under a map of the city of Riga, the words, "Dieu me I'a donn(e, le diable ne me Voterai pas!" The last is by far the more emphatic saying. The antithesis of it is so hearty, so irreverently vigorous, that Napoleon's paraphrase sounds feeble in comparison. Charles traced the lines directly from his feelings; Napoleon used the words for the dramatic effect, which he cultivated so much in most things. Cetera daunt.
NORTHERN LOVES AND LEGENDS.
BY TREBBIKA BREMER.
"Wonders are no more, and magicians have now no power," is a common saying in our days. Still there is a wonder, which at least once comes to almost every human heart, with transforming, with enchanting power. Whenever it comes, it comes as a golden Aurora, with morning dews in her hair, resplendent with promises of a sunlit day. To the heart where it comes, all things become new. It is a Proteus, and takes at times all shapes, but has only one object. It is a fierce tyrant, and a meek lamb; it is unreasonable and yet full of wisdom; it is playful and wilful, yet full of earnest will; it gives beauty, grace, eloquence to objects else devoid thereof; it is a little child, but makes strong minds bend and bow; it comes as a baby, but rises at once into a giant; it is the core and life of every written romance, and the great romance of human life would be dull without it. It is, in fact, its innermost life and flower, as well as it is the flower of nature's life. That wonder and magician we know by the name of Love.
When earth covers itself with leaves and flowers, and its breath is all softness and fragrance, when the ocean glistens with fire, then the wonder works in them; when the flowers are in their highest beauty, when the corn and the grass put forth their silk, and their tassels smoke in the breeze, then the wonder works in them; when the birds array themselves in their gayest plumage and begin their songs, when the bear and the lion moan as doves, and the tiger roars in wild tenderness, then they feel the touch of the magician. When man and woman have drawn to one another with indescribable charm, then the charmer is working in them. When mankind did sing (as it did once), that the supreme spirit was come to the soul of humanity, as a bridegroom to the bride, to wed her, to impart unto her a new life, then it sung of the wonder of wonders, of the great romance of human life—(in which romance all other romances are as chapters and episodes)— once accomplished in humanity, and for ever to be renewed in every human soul.
But the ancients were wise when they, in human loves, distinguished loves of several kinds, and gave another dignity to Eros than to Cupido; and again another to several little Amours, often very wicked little good-for-nothiogs, flying about, laughing and lying, sendvoi_ Viii. 4
ing out their arrows at random, without wisdom or purpose, always on the wing, as the humming-birds, dipping their bills in the calyces of the flowers, just to drink their honey and decamp. There is a great difference between these mischievous fellows and the child we have spoken of, who at once grows up into a strong man, and often even transforms itself into the celestial Eros, who makes men godlike, and the finite infinite. Every time and every clime has erected altars to that Eros as to a god, indeed; and has recorded in songs and tales the wonders he wrought. Flowers have grown in his footsteps on the broadway of history, marking the lonely path of mortal lovers with immortal radiance.
Do we not all know of the loves of Abelard and Heloisa? Are they not ashes long ago, these hearts, these loves? Yet, when we read again their letters, we feel the ashes burning on our throbbing hearts. By their glow, they glow anew. And Laura and Petrarca, Dante and Beatrice—do we not all treasure the memories of these pure and constant loves, transforming men into angels, and this mortal life into a poem of immortal beauty? And if we look farther up, on our globe, towards that cold Scandinavia, where the aurora borealis dances round the snow-clad earth, we will hear among the old songs most precious to the people, the loves of Sigurd and Brunhilda, of JIagbard and Signe, and we will see the flames of the funeral piles which consumed these true lovers, reflected in the hearts of the Northmen, as fire of their fire, life of their life. These passion-flowers, these grondifloras of the human heart, float down the stream of time, from age to age, ever young, ever fresh, commanding our respect, our tears, making our hearts bleed and beat anew for hearts and sorrows bleeding even centuries ago.
But there is in that old North, so rich in love and legends, a love story, an old tradition, which seems to me even more powerful than those glowing tragic songs. It is written in prose, and in few words. It is as follows:
"When Nanna (the wife of Baldar the good) saw her deceased husband on the burning ship which was to be his funeral pile, her heart burst."*