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anxious lover, awaiting her arrival on the shore--the scene of the hermit's hut, and the flaming beacon, are exhibited in an enchanted mirror to the infuriated brothers. The circumstances suggest the revenge. They anticipate the hour at which Mélidore displayed his beacon on the hermit's rockthey exhibit a false light, and delude the unhappy Phrosine into the sea. When her career is half performed, they embark with the flaming lanthorn ; and putting their boat to sea, exhaust the strength of the swimmer, who still keeps her eyes upon the delusive beacon, and wonders at the length of the passage. In the middle of the strait, the flame is suddenly
whelmed with despair, sinks beneath the waters, the victim of adventurous love and unmanly revenge. She is washed by the current upon the hermit's beach, and the death of Mélidore, who plunged into the ocean unable to survive his mistress, concludes the poem.
The principal defect in the conduct of this tale, is the passion of Julius. It was quite unnecessary to the developement and conclusion of the plot, and cannot fail to shock the feelings of the reader. The versification is remarkable for that correctness and polish, which characterize the productions of this author. But the fault, which has been objected to Pope, may be alleged against Bernard. The rhythm is too monotonous and uniform. Every verse is harmoniously turned, and correctly finished; but the repetition of the same cadence in every line (we do not allude to the cæsura) is too apt to fatigue the ear, and betrays the painful industry expended on the versification. The traces of labour are not sufficiently obliterated ; and the attention is sometimes withdrawn from the beauty of the poem, to the exquisite art with which the prosodial mechanism is adjusted. Pope and Voltaire, the models of this school, have completely succeeded in concealing the artificial scansion by the melody of the verse--a triumph reserved for great poets, and purchased by them only at the expense of patient diligence,
This article has already grown upon our hands to an extent, which prevents our noticing the minor poems of this minor poet. A sketch of his life will be more interesting, and we shall make room for it by omitting any further extractswith the exception of the two following, which are written with the true vivacity and terseness of the French madrigal:
Tiens.... -Mon ardeur n'en peut être apaisée ;
Au même prix, dites, le voulez-vous ?”.
The life of Bernard is almost without incident. His father was a sculptor at Grenoble, where the poet was born in 1710. He commenced his literary career at Paris, under those unfavourable auspices which have usually overcast the first struggles of indigent genius, and but too frequently attend it through its progress, and mark its latest efforts with disaster. It were well for the mass of those, who have mistaken an early love of letters for native talent, and who, in their vague aspirations after literary eminence, have always been too apt to believe themselves endowed with the requisite mental qualities, of which the absence is at last discovered too surely when too late ;-it were well for all such-men of exaggerated but barren imaginations-could they candidly and coolly estimate the chances of success, and weigh them against the odds of failure. To this, however, the complacent regard which every man entertains for his own intellect -- and especially those who have most reason to set them at a modest value-has opposed an insurmountable bar. If that cool discrimination could be exercised in every case, how many of those who infest the outskirts and bye-paths of literature, and grow old in contempt and poverty, might be spared for more useful labours--for the practice of unpretending sciences, and the humbler offices of mechanical art. · Bernard, it is true, had talents which might justify his lofty aspirations; but even he had been more fortunate as a clerk in an attorney's office, than a pensioned poet-he would at least have escaped a life of degrading subserviency, and an old age of idiotic dotage. He was destined to a more brilliant, and a far less enviable career. His talents attracted the attention of Helvétius, whose warm heart, and enthusiastic zeal for letters, could never resist the appeal of suffering merit, and of literary merit least of all. He supplied the indigent poet with the means of continuing his studies, or rather of indulging his propensity to indolence and the muses, till he ultimately obtained a pension through the influence of the Maréchal de Coligny. This, with a salary he enjoyed as one of the king's librarians, relieved him from all farther care on the score of money. His life, like that of too many of his contemporaries, was uselessly consumed in the frivolities of Parisian society; in paying and receiving the compliments of profligate courtiers, and the caresses of worthless women; and in base and heartless adulation of the worst monarch of the age, whom to have praised sincerely were a heavier imputation against his judgement, than to have flattered falsely is a slur upon his virtue. His memory, it is true, is not chargeable with those more serious impeachments, which are often alleged, too justly, against pensioned poets. We miss him in the ranks of those who, in the midst of persecution and calumny, devoted their talents to the right cause; but we no where find him affecting the clamorous hypocrisy which denounced every man of letters to ministerial vengeance, who had sufficient energy and courage to resist that torrent of political and moral degradation which threatened to overwhelm all virtue, all generous and honourable sentiment—to extinguish in France every spark of genius, and to oppose a perpetual bar to the “ advancement of learning.” In Bernard, we have rather an example of the effects of that system of misgovernment, in deadening the faculties and depraving the moral feelings of literary men, than a specimen of the venal writers by whose prostituted talents it was supported. He was a man of soft temper, and pliant manners, and poetic genius-not one of those “ wise men,” of whom there were many in his day, “ whom oppression maketh mad;" but one who would rather live in the peaceable enjoyment of luxurious and enervating pleasures, by flattering oppression, than earn a nobler, but more hazardous reputation by resisting it. This temper has, however, been as fatal to his literary fame, as it was injurious to his personal character. During a life of sixty-five years, he produced no more than would fill two hundred pages of a duodecimo volume. But this, after all, is a matter of less moment than the result produced by his licentious habits on his bodily and mental faculties.—Many years before his death, their effects were miserably manifested in the total subversion of his intellect. He is described, in this condition, as having lost the remembrance of every pleasure-even of that which usually survives longest in the memory-his literary reputation. The only recollections which broke in upon his dotage, were those of his former apprehensions for the first success of his pieces
at Versailles. “ Is the king arrived ?” he asked eagerly of every spectator, at a revival of his opera of Castor.— * Is the king satisfied ? Is Madame de Pompadour satisfied ?”-He thought himself in the theatre at Versailles, and the last expressions of his madness were those of courtly adulation.
ART. V.-The Spanish Mandevile of Miracles; or, the Garden
of curious Flowers. Wherein are handled sundry points of Humanity, Philosophie, Divinitie, and Geographie, beautified with many strange and pleasant Histories. First written in Spanish, by Anthonio de Torquemeda, and out of that tongue translated into English. It was dedicated by the Author, to the Right honourable and reverent Prelate, Don Diego Sarmento de Soto Major, Bishop of Astorga, 8c. It is divided into sire Treatises, composed in manner of a Dialogue, as in the next page shall appeare. At London, printed by J. R. for Edmund Matts, and are to be solde at his Shop, at the signe of the Hand and Plow in Fleet-streete. Small 4to. 1600.
We once had thoughts of beginning this article with a true and particular account of all liars, ancient and modern, foreign and domestic; but-besides that such a proceeding would seem invidious, and might even touch upon the delicacies of friendship,—we foresaw that it must have been an useless attempt. We could not possibly have hoped to find all the dealers in fable,-as well those marked down in record, as those embalmed in tradition: neither could we take upon ourselves to decide summarily upon the claims of many who run on the broad line or apocryphal highway, which separates the regions of truth and falsehood. We-in short, we abandoned our design. We determined (prudently we think) to confine our investigation to one book of wonders. If the reader (who will naturally be disappointed at such an amendment in our opinion) will consider for a moment, he will see that our present plan is decidedly the best. The most “ courteous reader" would not, we apprehend, admit, that an entire number of the Retrospective Revicw could be filled advantageously with marvels; and what more limited space would suffice for the discussion of all the books written by Albertus Magnus-Apollonius Tyaneus-Olaus Magnus-Apuleius-Pomponius Mela Solinus-Pliny, and the rest --- not forgetting Wanley -- or Mendez de Pinto-or our old friend and namesake, the English Mandevile?
The name of Mandevile has suffered materially in history. It has become an absolute synonime or apology for a liar; that is to say, for a liar of a particular species, for it should be known to our readers (who are all indisputably sincere, and averse from these sinister fictions) that there are several kinds of liars or fabulators to be reckoned under the general head or genus. First,—there is your child-liar—who steals sugar and denies it—who plunges four fingers into pots of honey, or more delicate jam, and then resolutely lays it on his sister. Secondly,—there is your school-boy-liar, an urchin acquainted with apple (and birch) trees; whose shoe-strings are never tiedwhose tasks are unconn'd; the tyrant of the play ground, and the dunce of the school ; sturdy, strong, and impudent, hammering syllables out of a dirty book, and solacing his leisure with bits stolen from the larder, or apples abstracted from Mrs. Smith's orchard. Then, thirdly, there is the man-liarby the way, there are several sorts ; but we will take one-the lover, the soldier-lover, who lies with a grace, and shews his white teeth with an evident intent to deceive. He disdains to pilfer apples-even the apple of knowledge ; but he runs away with silly girls' hearts, who doat upon his red coat and burnished epaulets. He is armed, like a fighting cock, with perpetual spurs, with a dangling sabre, and haughty looks, and with these he daunts women and straggling children, and vanquishes the strong holds of Belinda's heart. He overcomes the prudence of the dragon mother, while the daughter runs into his embrace. He is the Mercury who pipes to sleep the paternal Argus. He has balm for the sister's envy, and tales of glory for the brother's ears. And so he goes on “ conquering and to conquer.”—The fourth, or perfect species, may be called the travelling or rather travelled-liar, of which our old friend Mandevile has been long held to be an illustrious specimen. Nevertheless he has it more in reputation than in fact; for he is not so absolute a fabler as he is generally esteemed. The truth is, that he flourished at a time when (we suppose) liars were less rife than at present, and met with extraordinary success. He is the head of his school,--that is to say, in England; for Italy and Greece, and even France (that country which has always loved truth to an almost mathematical exactness) had travellers of fine imagination before him.
Our Mandevile the “ Spanish” Mandevile-deals, like his great precursor, in hear-says and hypotheses. If he has to recount a most monstrous marvel, such a one as would dwarf and put to shame the little incredibilities of our moderns, he always quotes his author in extenuation. He says, “as it is written in Solinus,"-or“ as may be seen in Olaus Magnus,”or “as Plinie hath it,”—and with these aids he gets on good