Gambar halaman

cockle-shells out of terra firma, and call them marine productions; and how can we deny the same designation to the Dutch girl, who, though she may not have actually received birth in the water, cannot claim the merit of being even amphibious in the outward characteristics of her species? She is manifestly one of the “gens humida ponti;" her face is aqueous, swampy, sodden; her hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes, are sandy; her eyes like oysters; her mouth that of a fish: she has suffered no sea change ; she is a primitial offspring of ocean, who has stamped her with his seal, until she is hardly distinguishable from the original sea seal, with which she may unquestionably claim some genealogical affinity. Holland, altogether, may be considered as a vast pound for stray Phocæ and Walruses, which, though they may be disguised and swaddled in innumerable quilted petticoats, or voluminous dollar-buttoned inexpressibles, cannot shake off their marine origin so easily as they can put on human trappings. They enact their assumed parts after a very floundering and fishy fashion. How many generations there

may have been since the ancestors of your bona fide Dutch “Buy a broom” were mer-men and mermaids; at what exact period Horace's. “ desinit in piscem” ceased to be applicable to them; under whose reign the tail, by being dragged along the sands, finally divided and assumed the form of legs; and when the original web foot became severed into toes, I leave to Icthyologists, and to the successors of Lord Monboddo, to determine. The Dutch females have in some respects been losers by the step they have thus been enabled to make towards humanity; for if the mermaids were the same as the ancient syrens, the fascination of their voice has not descended; the sharp or guttural tones in which “ Buy a broom” is cried in our streets being by no means such dulcet and harmonious breath as would lull the rude sea, or tempt the companions of Ulysses to leap into the waves. In one circumstance we may trace a congeniality of disposition between the fishy ancestor and the semi-feminine descendant of our own days ; the latter has an air of cleanliness, and even of personal vanity about her, obviously derived from the original mermaid, who never emerged from the waves without a comb in one hand and a looking-glass in the other, articles which we may presume to have been pilfered from some antediluvian Birmingham at the bottom of the sea. It is just possible, indeed, that at the Deucalian flood—“Omne cum Proteus pecus egit altos Visere montes,” they may have supplied themselves with these commodities upon

shore; but as Horace makes no mention of any such fact, I rather adhere to my former supposition. This peculiarity offers another ground of distinction between the " neat-handed Phillis” of Holland, and the dirty drab of Germany, of which country the Jung frouws are too often frowzy, and not often enough young; but if the reader have a single doubt upon the subject, and I am most anxious he should not mistake the pebble for the diamond, or the bead for the pearl, let him be careful to observe whether the broon-vender's face resemble a seal's, whether her flesh have the appearance of being fed upon water-zootje, water-gruel, and water-cresses, whether it be flabby and of a muddy, fenny, and marshy hue, whether her legs be two solid Doric columns of grey worsted, of the same thickness throughout, for all these are prominent diagnosticks of the genuine Dutch Juffrow, " neat as imported.” If in addition to these vouchers her quilted petticoats

be redolent of shrimps, red-herrings, and tobacco, if she suggest any thoughts of Taylor the water-poet and his piscatory eclogues, if she make your imagination wallow and founder upon the shores of the Zuyder-zee, carry it to some low cabin or pot-house within which boors, skippers, watermen, swabbers, and calibans, fat, fusty, and phlegmatic, sit stifling in the mingled smoke of fried sprats, and of their own pipes, which they never draw from their mouths except

for the purpose of spitting; if she recall to your memory the scenes and personages that Ostade loved to paint, fraught as they are with the most clownish meanness and revolting vulgarity, you may be well nigh assured that you are not mistaken in your Vrouw, and may purchase her broom with å tolerably safe conscience. Unless, reader, you can sputter such sounds as we may suppose Jonah to have emitted when imprisoned in the whale, you cannot be expected to speak Dutch; but as an additional precaution against the imposture, you may salute the broom-vender with a few words of that language, such as

“ Goeden morgen. Hae oud zijt gij? hae vaart gij? Wet is de prijs hiewan? Gij vraaght te veel," or any such chaffering phrases, and if she comprehend and answer you in the same jargon, you may incontinently buy a broom, when it would be prudent to brush off with it, lest you should contract a sore throat in attempting to eviscerate the Dutch gutturals, or have the drum of your ear lacerated in listening to sounds as unlike those warbled by Madame Vestris, when she assumes the Dutch garb and sings the song of “ Buy a Broom," as the croak of a genuine Juffrow, or Zutphen Meisje is to the " dulcet and harmonious breath" of one of the ancient syrens.


O'Hara's CHILD.*
Roll on, thou dark o'ershadowing cloud,
And the wild dreary landscape shroud !
Thou sullen river, deeper moan,
And gurgle round the obstructing stone !
Ye night-birds, with funereal wail,
On your slow-flapping pinions sail,

Your notes are music to mine ear!
Thy voice, cold hollow midnight wind !
Suits with the temper of my mind :
Why should I court the glare of day?
My last bright hope is rent away:
What shall a swelling heart control,
Or calm the tempest in a soul

Which now has nought to hope or fear?
Long is the road, but the fierce flame
That fires my beart sustains my
Lone is the path, but be it lone,
All earthly joys from me have flown;
Night falls around in deepest gloom--
More dark is that cold time-rent tomb

frame ;

[ocr errors]

* The extraordinary nian who considered himself to be the Chief of the O'Haras, carried the body of his only child sixty wiles in his arms to bury it in the tomb of his family, and was committed, on bis return, for having concealed pikes in a bog, and died in prison of a fever. The author of this brief poem had the anecdote from the gentleinan on whose estate O'Hara resided for several years.

[ocr errors]

To which I bear my only child !
Not such the rites of early date,
When some high chieftain bow'd to fate ;
Then yon raised mound and far-spread plain
Could scarce the attendant serfs contain.
Last of thy race,-no hand but mine
Inhumes thee!-can my soul repine?-

No stranger's hand thy corse defiled!
O Erin !-had such been thy doom-
Ingulph'd e'en in Earth's fiery womb,
Or had the unrestricted wave
Found for thy valiant race a grave-
Though awe-struck nations might deplore,
More blest had been my native shore,

Than thus to gnaw the oppressor's chains!
Have then thy sons no souls to feel-
No hands to forge the avenging steel?
Yes !-and ere yet that now veil'd moon
Shall reach again her midnight noon-
--Sure by the echo of my tread,
And rich carved stonework round me spread,

This spot is all my race retains !
The moon burst from behind the cloud,
And threw upon the infant's shroud
A pure, cold, tranquil, silvery ray,
Which show'd still fair the little clay ;
The heart-wrung father bent his head,
In silence gazed upon the dead,

His soul was for a moment bow'd
Then seized with giant force the spade,
The corse within Earth's bosom laid ;
But as he trampled in the ground
Arose a deep, low, hollow sound-
He deem'd the spirits of the tomb
Thus ratified the oppressor's doom,

Which was in that stern moment yow'd !
Where went O Hara?--Ask not where
Rush'd the wild votary of despair -
The houseless, childless exile stray'd-
E'en in his last dire wish betray'd!
From yon dark prison-tower the bell
Striking the slow funeral knell,

Proclaims his mortal race is run!
The proud, gigantic strength of frame,
The high, time-honour'd, noble name,
The heart that every passion knew,
The hand to every impulse true,
Each wish the patriot's hope that fired,
In that low dungeon-vault expired ;-

He rests beside his only son!

H. R.



Conjugi AOTAKIEZIMA. Ancient Inscriplion. There cannot be imagined a more delightful retreat for the philosophy which is fatigued with the stir and passions of large cities, than the cheerful seclusion of the small town of Athens during those two or three thoughtful months with which the summer closes and the autumn begins. It is not that you find, either in its scenery or remains, any of that sullen, overmastering magnificence which absorbs the stranger on the first aspect of Rome, and infuses an instant disgust for all that is modern and mortal; or that its limited society is capable of adding any great stimulant to the current even of a contemplative existence; but that within its compact precincts the modern pilgrim, like the ancient, finds every variety of food for the most fastidious intellectual appetite, and nothing in the prose occurrences of every-day life which can detract from that higher poetic temper with which meditation over ancient sites and histories ought, more or less, to be connected. I have remarked a very singular coincidence between the sites of ancient cities and their histories. Jerusalem, Thebes, Sparta, have the known peculiarities of their inhabitants written in broad and emphatic characters in their geography, and no one can gaze upon the actual aspect of these places, disfigured as they may be by change and interpolation, without instantly peopling them with that very race of corresponding beings, whom we afterwards meet with in their history. Athens, in an especial manner, is illustrative of this position ; and if we discover on the bare basaltic rocks of Jerusalem, remembrances of the terrible and dark of the Old Testament, and in the iron range of Taygetus, suggestions of the hardy and inflexible of the Spartan character, we do not less trace, in the graceful forms, the felicitous intermixture of sea and land, plain and mountain, wood and waste, of the Athenian landscape, clothed as it is in an atmosphere transparent and enlivening beyond measure, all those inexplicable delicacies, those finely woven susceptibilities, those instincts of taste and feeling, from whose aggregate at length arose the completion and perfection of the Athenian. To stand on Hymettus, on a tranquil evening towards the close of June, and to travel gradually through the enlarging panorama around you, is reading in some measure, not only an epitome of their unrivalled history, but in a still greater degree unweaving a portion of the natural causes from which such history

The landscape below, and the sky above, explain the Acropolis and the Theseum ; in such a climate the Garden and the Academy were natural. Even at this distance, the mind drinks in something of the same mellow inspiration; and meditation, without any of its northern austerity, penetrates, insensibly, the entire being. Thinking here is like breathing; and where the atmosphere is all balm, breathing is a delightful act of the will. Nor is there any marring feature, or warping influence, in the accompaniments of such a scene. The shepherd you see at your feet is an Albanian; but though his features are dashed with some of the fears and ferocities of the times, it is only ascending a little higher in the annals, from Pericles to Theseus, and you bring him at once within the range of your picture. The Turk, too, stimulates you into contrast, and that chord at once touched, you have the glorious choruses of Æschylus, the spirit-stirring narrative of

Her odotus--the Persian, and the Invader-but sooner or later, before or bebind, the Greek, but principally and finally the Greek before you. The cloud of dust from the herd or cavalry in the plain, thus attracts your attention for an instant, but it soon remounts to its original contemplation, and your imagination is again absorbed by the Parthenon and the Acropolis.

The society, if so indeed can be termed a few scattered groups connected only by an identity of pursuit, was strictly in harmony with this admirable local. There was just enough of the native, and the nation, for a substratum to work on. You had the primates and the archons, and one or two of the Greek papas, and the semi-Greek consuls, for your Greeks—the Turks were rather slovenly represented by the Disdar Aga, and his indolent guards, sleeping over their pipes and beads, on the shattered steps of the Parthenon. The traveller and artist were constantly changing—but a few were denizens, and now for many years Fauvel and Lusieri went far to make up the stranger's idea of Athens. Nothing could invite more attractively to the mood of the place than Fauvel, and his truly Attic court-yard. There was a fragment there on entering, shorn it is true of the finish and feature it once boasted, but then so pregnant still with its ancient spirit, that you stopped short and hungrily before it-then, on passing, you saw whole heaps of these were thrown lavishly up and down around the walls, luxuriously imbedded in flowers, and tendrils, and ivy; and the sun which played upon them through the sweeping vines from the trellis work above, and the winds which whispered through their crevices, and the dripping of waters near, and the feeble tracery of their sculpture, threw the soul into a sort of dreaminess, from which nothing could so well awake it as the antiquarian bustle and French gaiety of Fauvel himself. It was below one of these little arcades, half made up from the picked contributions of antiquity, that I first saw him, in deep meditation over his wax model of the city. He had changed one of his hillocks backwards and forwards two or three times in the day, with perhaps more regard to Pausanias than Nature, and seemed inclined, in a moment of vexation, to plough up the whole town with a blow of his penknife, and to sow it, in revenge, with dust and salt. The moment he perceived me, the Frenchman superseded every other consideration. Years and absence had not tamed any thing of the aboriginal spirit, or soured in the least that wine of life, that childlike cheer. fulness of heart and head, which is the enviable apanage of our neighbours. He was brisk, buoyant, and rapid ; and his black silk costume, close and punctilious as that of an Abbé under Louis XV., his dried and dwindled form, and the social brilliancy of his language and manners, brought you back, in an instant, to the heart of Paris and the middle of the last century. France was strangely mingled in his affecrions with Athens ; out of the two countries he made himself one. On going out, his Albanian nurse, or gouvernante, faring with the costume of her country, fat and authoritative, came in with his mid-day coffee. She sate down on the fragment of a sarcophagus, on which Loves and Genii were playing below, and watched him taking it with a smile. Near was his black crow, which he nursed and loved for want of an eagle. Fauvel's crow was known through the whole republic. It made its excursions every morning after breakfast to the neighbour

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »