« IndietroContinua »
BALLADS FROM THE ROMAIC.
BY WILLIAM E. AYTOUN.
CHARON AND HIS CHARGE.
Τί είναι μαύρα τα βουνά, και στέκουν βουρκωμένα; Why look the distant mountains so gloomy and so drear ? Are tempests sweeping o'er them, or is the rain cloud near ? No shadow of the tempest is there, nor wind, nor rain, 'Tis Charon that is passing by with all his gloomy train. The young men march before him, in all their strength and pride ; The tender little infants, they totter by his side ; The old men walk behind him--and earnestly they pray, Both young and old, imploring him to grant a brief delay. “O Charon! halt, we pray thee, beside some little town, Or near some sparkling fountain where the waters wimple down. The old will drink and be refresh'd—the young the disc will fling, And the tender little children pluck flowers beside the spring.” “ I will not stay my journey, nor halt by any townNear any sparkling fountain where the waters wimple down: The mothers, coming to the well, would meet the babes they bore, The wives would know their husbands-nor could I part them more."
THE VOICE FROM THE TOMB,
Σάββατον όλον πίναμε, την κύριακ' όλ' ημέρα.
Two days we held our festival-two days we feasted high;
One stood apart from all the rest-one low and lonely bed; ·
" What hast thou there, O lonely tomb?—what cause disturbs thy rest ? The black earth heap'd too heavily—the stone upon thy breast?" “ I am not wearied with the stone, nor by the mould opprest; It is thine own unhallow'd step that wakes me from my rest! “ Remove thy foot from off my head, thou stranger of the night, And trouble not the sleep of him who fought his country's fight; For I have been a young man too, in glory and in might, And wander'd on the mountain side when the moon was sbining bright."
Two hours before the dawning, while yet the night-stars gleam,
Up, up, lotis ! rouse thee--to battle with thy best! The enemy are on us !-up, up, we may not rest!" " What shall I say, my children ?-how answer to your call? This wound mine is mortal; deep struck the deadly ball ; 'Tis burning in my bosom-ye summon me in vain : 01 never in the combat my sword shall flash again ! • Your hands, my brave ones I raise me-once more erect I stand, Once more ye gather round me, my true and trusty band ! Sounds not my voice as clearly as in the battle cry? Then bring me wine, bright sparkling, that I may drink and die ! C6 0! were I on the mountains-the mountains wild and free! Beside the upland forest, beneath the spreading tree ; To feel the breezes blowing, to hear the wild-bird's song, And sheep-bells gayly jingling, as the white flock moves along !"
MR PRENDEVILLE'S MILTON.
MR PRENDEVILLE has, beyond ques- tion. It is no great stretch of fancy tion, the honour of belonging to the to suppose, that as Adam was under a Emerald Isle; and he accordingly de plantain he was over a potato, which votes much of his space for the appro- indeed the context in some measure priate purpose of giving some very justifies us in supposing. We may am using sketches of Irish life, in this suppose that he was occupied in heartnew edition of Paradise Lost. The ily regaling himself with a copious very way in which he introduces
mess of that most prolific of plants, Adam to Eve, is most decidedly Hi- (see Collins's highly instructive note bernian. In the fourth book all read. on Thersites's - Devil luxury with ers of English poetry will remember his potato finger," in Troilus and Eve's description after first meeting Cressida, act v. sc. ii.,) in anticipation with her future lord and master. of the visit of her who is first told that Guided by the heavenly voice she she found him
to him shall bear
Mother of all mankind."
As this is the most ingenious varia according to the old, but we suppose lectio, out of all sight, made by Mr now obsolete reading, Mr Prendeville Prendeville in the volume, it is with having, with true national instinct much regret we find him in his notes and sagacity, made a splendid emen- imputing so valuable an emendation dation. He reads, she found him as that of plantain for platan, to “infair indeed and tall,
advertence.” Such a backing out is Under a plantain,”
not by any means “ the potato." i. e. under that West Indian tree, the
But in many other places of this
Hibernian edition, no plea of inadproduce of which is the invariable companion of the yam or potato: honour of illustrating Paradise Lost.
vertence can deprive Ireland of the " Yams and plantains" is the first
We shall cite a few instances. Among cry which refreshes the ear of the
the devils who rose from the burning voyagers on arriving at Jamaica, or
lake at the call of Satan, came they any other island of the Caribbean seas; and the potato having so long run in
who from the bord'ring flood Mr Prendeville's head, it is no
wonder Of old Euphrates, to the brook that parts that the association of ideas should Egypt from Syrian ground, had general lead him to think of its companion, the plantain. Even in poetry they are
Of Baälim and Ashtaroth." linked together as well as in the mar
B. i. 419-22. ket; for thus sings Waller in his Bat.
Which gives Mr Prendeville an optle of the Summer Islands
portunity of narrating some reminis" With candy'd plantains and the juicy cences of his youth.
pine, On choicest melons, and sweet grapes
66 In Ireland at least in the southtbey dine,
western part-the Baal Thinnih,' called And with potatoes fat their wanton
in English' Bonefire,' by the peasantry, is celebrated on St John's eve,
It is a day swine."
and night of great merrymaking. I have There is something romantic in this myself joined, when a boy, in the amusepicturesque appearance of Adam for ment and the ceremony. Close by each the first time, and it must be consola. farm-house a fire is kindled in the evening, tory to the friends of Negro emancipa- and the cattle are brought to it: if they
Milton's Paradise Lost, with copious notes, explanatory and critical, partly selected from the various commentators, and partly original, and a memoir of his life. By James Prendeville, B.A., Editor of Livy. London: Holdsworth, 1840. 8vo, pp. 4 +lxiv +452.
cannot be driven through it, each inter- remnants of this worship, [that of ested person takes a burning brand, a Baal,] which was introduced by the branch of a bush or tree, and strives to Druids, still exist." It is plain that strike the animals, who are frequently Mr Prendeville, though Irish, is not hemmed in by a circle of men and women, Milesian, as indeed his name would to prevent their escape in their consterna.
lead us to suspect. Introduced by the tion. The affrighted beasts running to Druids indeed ! Does not Milton him. and fro, and their fire-armed pursuers, self point out its original seat, from present together a curious and exciting Euphrates to the brook which parts scene, which spreads over the whole coun
Egypt from Syrian ground ? And do try. Some of the men and women leap through the fire. The cattle are supposed Macgeoghegan, and other Druidical
not Keating, O'Halloran, O'Flaherty, to be rendered fruitful, and preserved from
historians inform us, that Milesius, evil during the ensuing seasons, by this contact with the holy fire. This ceremony
father of Heber, Herenen, and Ir, and ended, all the people of a district, young
all the other Milesians of the world, and old, assemble at the general bone
married Scota, daughter of king Phafire,' for which great preparations have
raoh of Egypt, we know not whether been made. It is generally an immense Amenophis the Second or not? And pile of turf, of a pyramidal shape, with the was it not he, then, who brought the decayed trunk of a tree in the middle worship with him straight from Egypt and out-topping the lofty pile, decked itself, fresh as a daisy, without the round with dry bones and green boughs, Irish being beholden to the Druids and surrounded with the skull of a horse or any other such second-hand authoor cow, when it can be procured. With rities for the same ? Mr Prendeville out these the fire is incomplete. There records in his note on is always music and dancing till a late hoursometimes till the dawn. In some
fierce, with grasped arms places a long file of men bearing flambeaus
Clashed on their sounding shields the din
of war."-P. L. B. i. 668. proceed from the fire a considerable distance, until they meet parties belonging to that another'fire, marehing in similar proces
I have often heard a pugnacious Irish. sion; and then both parties, waving their
man say, in his native language, I strike torches in mutual salutation, return. These
the shield and call for battle;' a phrase, long rows of moving light seen on the
no doubt, derived from the custom of the slopes of the hills, and the columns of
Celtic tribes;" flame from the blazing piles, exhibit a very imposing spectacle.”
and if he broaches theories so dispår. Mr Prendeville, we see, very pro- indebted to the alien Druids-mere
aging to the Milesians, as their being perly spells, and no doubt derives
mushroom moderns to them—for any bonefire,' as the English (?) call it," just in the manner that his country- and battle against him called for, by
thing, he may find the shield struck, men pronounce it. We think that, in these religious ceremonies, Baal is
some pugnacious Celt. It is a pity he not the only god adored, being of did not give us the original Irish of
the opinion that Chemos, the peculiar na
cry; for it would look neat in a ture of whose phallic worship is agree
Milton. ably described by Mr Prendeville, in
China, it might be imagined, was
rather too remote from Ireland, to a pote on P. L. B. i. 406, meets with due attention from the male and fe
allow of its calling up Irish reminis. male votaries. The late Mr Hepry Prendeville saw an opportunity, and
cences; but the patriotic mind of Mr O'Brien wrote a most entertaining Essay on the Round Towers of Ire accordingly, when we, (or rather Saland as connected with that worship, tan,) came to some place resembling which we think might be judiciously
". The barren plains transferred into Mr Prendeville's
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive notes. . It is a very ancient religion ; With sails, and wind their cany waggons and, notwithstanding the introduction light.”—P. L. B. iii. 437-39. of another creed, it is still devoutly honoured in all parts of Ireland. In
The commentator tells us, that he one thing, however, we deem our - Saw a vehicle of somewhat a similar learned annotator decidedly wrong. construction, with four wheels, at the 's In the British isles," he says, “strong extremity of the bay of Dublin, near
Sandymount ; which, when the wind was “ We kiss a bonnie lassie, when the kye favourable, and the tide out, ran along for comes hame?" miles at great speed on the level strand. Even the flowery occupation of Milrequiring no other human management ton's Adam and Eve sinks into tame than that of regulating the sails, of which there were two or three ; the steersman
and sleepy prose, if brought into con
trast with the Scotch mode of compustanding with several others on a platform on the deck."
ting the hour of evening by polite and
gallant attention to the flowers of the But it is not merely the productions of forest of living flesh and blood, to say Irish art which are thus appropri. nothing of bone. ately commemorated--those of Irish
We shall only extract one other nature are not forgotten. In the gar
Irish anecdote, because we have a den of Eden,
somewhat peculiar and personal “ Blossoms and fruits at once of golden knowledge of the subject. hue
“ Now when ambrosial night, with clouds Appeared, with gay enamelled colours
exhaled mixed.”-P. L. B. iv, 148-9.
From that high mount,” &c. and Eden must not be allowed to outdo
P. L. B. v. 642-3. Erin. Accordingly,
On this we have the following note. " It is a remarkable fact, that a species
“ So Homer calls night .ambrosial, of the arbutus, which abounds near the
Il. ii. 97; and sleep, for the same reason, lakes of Killarney, shooting out of the bare
6 ambrosial,' v. 19, because it strengthens solid rocks, produces blossom and fruit at I have often, when a schoolboy,
and refreshes.-(N.) Mr Wyse, M.P.
for Waterford, a great Oriental traveller, plucked blossom, green fruit, and ripe
and one of the best scholars I know, has fruit from the same tree at the same time."
told that the word "ambrosial' Another touch of Paradise puts Mr (ope Bzooin) applied to night in Homer, evi, Prendeville in mind of_the first flower dently refers to the delightful serenity of of the earth and first gem of the sea. the air, and the fragrant exhalations from
the flowers, during the summer nights in
Ionia, (the country of Homer,) which have " As in a shady nook I stood retired,
a composing and invigorating effect." Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers;"?
Mr Wise now may be a great Ori
ental, or hereafter a great Australasian on which the commentator remarks :
traveller, for any thing we know to "• At shut of evening flowers.' A the contrary, as well as being one of beautiful epithet of evening, according to the best scholars Mr Prendeville is the occupation of Adam and Eve. The acquainted with : no doubt a high Greek husbandman termed the evening commendation. But what can he tell Βουλυτον, or, unyoking time of oxen.' about Ambrosial nights ? Was he Flowers become contracted in the evening,
ever present at any of the Noctes and expand with the rising sun.
As va Ambrosianæ ? If he pretends that he rious épithets have been applied to the
was, he is an impostor, and fit only to evening by people of all nations, according be president of the Anti-Education to their several pursuits, (in some of the Board. If he had been among us, he pastoral parts of Ireland the evening is would have known that it was not the called • milking-time,') this epithet of
shut of evening flowers’ is admirably fragrance of flowers, but of somedescriptive of the occupation of Adam and thing far more potent, exhaling during Eve.”
not only the summer but the winter
nights in Gabriel's Road, or Picardy Is Mr P. so ignorant as not to know Place, (the native countries of the that the Greeks called morning and Noctes,) which had the composing evening duongos, i. e. milking-time? and invigorating effects upon all who But our national vanity makes us here enjoyed it ; rendering their immortal put in a claim for the superiority of conversations such a world's wonder of Scotland in marking this picturesque wit, eloquence, fun, pathos, poetry, hour of the day. What are the base learning, and balaam; and during their mechanical unyokings of the Greeks, too brief existence delighting and inor the milkings of the Irish and the structing, awing, as Aristotle says, Arcadians, compared with our dating with terror, or soothing with pity, all of the hour when
the sons and daughters of mankind.