« IndietroContinua »
caritates patria una complexa est.” tions have a tendency to concentrate But the composite feeling thus pro- themselves in objects which fill and duced soon ceases to reveal to our ob- satisfy the senses, and especially the servation its elementary parts, and sight; and visible objects are, in abbecomes a new, homogeneous, and in. sence, more easily than others, condependent passion of the heart. Our jured up and contemplated by the imaaffection is at last fixed directly on the gination. It is chiefly on some image soil and scene itself, with even, per- in the landscape of his native land haps, a warmer love and longing than that the mind of the exile delights to is ordinarily inspired by any, or all, dwell. What does Homer tell us of of the living beings through, and for the home-sick Ithacan's desires amid whom, the lifeless locality became at the allurements of Calypso's isle ? first a source of interest. Our affec
Αιει δε μαλακoισι και αλμυλιοισι λογοισι
With what contentment would he close his eyes !” What is the momentary reverie of poor Susan, when roused to recollection by the
song of the thrush, like herself a native of the woods and plains, though now, like her too, a captive of the city. 6 'Tis a note of enchantment: what ails her ?
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.
Down which she so often has tripp'd with her pail ;
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade :
And the colours have all pass'd away from her eyes.” Byron, indeed, has beautifully peopled the picture that rises before the soul of the dying Goth, when he falls amidst the shouts of the gazing amphitheatre :
" He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away ;
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday.” But not less true or touching is the Such being the source and history vision of the falling Argive in the of the emotions we are now consider. Æneid, who has time but to fix on one ing, in which the affections originally simple thought, but one that is a type due to living and moral objects are to him of all other joys and endear- transferred to the earth that we first ments :
trode, or the abode with which our life “ Sternitur infelix alieno vulnere, cælum.
has been identified, it follows naturally
that these inanimate existences should Adspicit, et dulces moriens reminiscitur seem themselves to have borrowed an Argos.”
answering sensibility from the objects “ Now falling by another's wound, his eyes
to which they owe their charms. Is He casts to heaven, on Argos thinks, and not our native land as a mother to us : dies."
Are not the halls and bowers, the hills
and streams of a long or early resi- poetry or in ordinary speech ; yet we dence, as kindred and companions ? may be forgiven for inserting some Such are undoubtedly our feelings to- illustrations of the subject, which, wards them when absence, or danger, trite as they are, will still recommend or triumph, or any other excitement, themselves by their untiring excelgives a spur to the imagination. It lence. See how the calm majesty of were idle to multiply examples of such the Mantuan Swan at last rises upon personifications, with which every one the wing as he sounds the praises of is familiar, whether in the pages of his native plains:
“ Sed neque Medorum silvæ, ditissima terra,
Nec pulcher Ganges, atque auro turbidus Hermus
Bis gravidæ pecudes, bis pomis utilis arbor.
Tot congesta manu præruptis oppida saxis,
Fair Ganges, Hermus, rolling golden sand,
And summer suns recede by slow degrees.
Their costly labour and stupendous frame :
Strong-limb'd and stout, and to the wars inclined;
Great parent, greater of illustrious men!” Different in its character, yet not very different in its source, is the patriotic apostrophe wrung from the modern Italian by mingled feelings of shame, pity, and pride.
" Italia, Italia, o tu cui feo la sorte
Dono infelice di bellezza, ond 'hai
Che in fronte scritti per gran doglia porte ;
Onde assai più ti paventassé, o assai
Par che si strugga, e pur ti sfida a morte !
Scender d'armati, nè di sangue tinta
Bever l'onda del Po Gallici armenti;
Pugnar col braccio di straniere genti,
Per servir sempre o vincitrice o vinta."
“ Italia ! oh, Italia! thou só graced
With ill-starr'd beauty, which to thee hath been
Still, still a slave, victorious or subdued !” As a companion or contrast to these passages, let us connect together t others from a poet of our own land, which, we think, breathe as much dignity and tenderness as the verses either of the ancient Mantuan or of the modern Tuscan.
“ England, with all thy faults, I love thee still
My country! and, while yet a nook is left,
Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bowers.
Replete with vapours, and disposes much
And plausible than social life requires;
Where I am free by birthright, not at all." In a more humble and domestic A separation from the soil of our style, the cheerful happiness of a return nativity, and the scene of long-reto home after an irksome, yet not a membered happiness, will easily be miserable absence, has never been supposed still more strongly to excite better depicted than in Catullus's the imagination than occasions like verses to his beloved Sirmio, in which that which Catullus has here reprewe see how naturally the power of sented : for grief is, in general, a more personification breaks forth :
powerful agent than even joy. Who “ Peninsularum, Sirmio, insularumque
does not understand and feel the Ocelle, quascunque in liquentibus stagnis, poetical, and even the human, truth of Marique vasto fert uterque Neptunus;
Eve's farewell to the inanimate ob. Quàm te libenter, quàmque lætus inviso! jects of her solicitude in Eden ? Vix mi ipse credens Thyniam, atque Bithynos
“Oh, unexpected stroke-worse than of
death! Liquisse campos, et videre to in tuto. O quid solutis est beatius curis !
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise ? thus
leave Cum mens onus reponit, ac peregrino Labore fessi venimus larem ad nostrum,
Thee, native soil—these happy walks and
shadesDesideratoque acquiescimus lecto.
Fit haunt of gods! - where I had hoped to Hoc est quod unum est pro laboribus tantis.
spend Salve, Ovenusta Sirmio, atque hero gaude;
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O Gaudete, vosque Lydiæ lacus undæ;
flowers, Ridete quidquid est domi cachinnorum.”
That never will in other climate grow; Which though untranslateable, we My early visitation, and my last thus essay to translate.:
At e'en, which I bred up with tender hand, Sirmio, thou bright and beauteous little From the first opening bud, and gave ye eye
names ; Of all the isles, and almost-işles that lie Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank Floating afar through either Neptune's Your tribes, and water from the ambroreign,
sial fount? In shelter'd bay, or on the swelling main! Thee, lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorn'd How gladly willing back to thee I come!
With what to sight or smell was sweet ; Nor yet can credit that I cease to roam
from thee 'Mid Thynian tribes, and on Bithynia's
How shall I part !” shore,
Nor is it only our home and our And here, in safety, look on thee once
country, or the objects with which they
are filled, that become thus personiOh, what is happier than release from care !
fied when our love for them is excited. When the mind quits the load it ill could bear,
Every inanimate thing which may And home return'd, with toil and travel
connect us with them, will, by the same tired,
feeling, be exalted at once into importWe sink pon the bed so long desired.
ance, and into the rank of animated life. This, this alone, will all our griefs repay
Remove us to a distance, and the winds Fair Sirmio, hail! and in thy lord be gay!
that seem to blow from our native Bid your glad waves, ye Lydian lakes, land, or the clouds that travel towards resound
her mountains, may become to our Ye peals of household laughter, ring quickened feelings as partakers in the around."
interest that excites us, or as mutual
messengers to maintain our intercourse With wild thyme and the gadding vine of love. Something of an analogous o'ergrown, effect is indicated, in a less degree, by And all their echoes mourn:: the well-known lines of Gray, though The willows and the hazel copses green
Shall now no more be seen the personification is chiefly directed to the scenes themselves which are the Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft source of the emotion:
lays." “ Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shades,
The influence of Love, peculiarly so Ah, fields beloved in vain!
called, will in certain circumstances exWhere once my careless childhood stray'd, cite the imagination to the same energy A stranger yet to pain.
as is produced by other passions. The I feel the gales that from ye blow lover, indeed, who enjoys the presence A momentary bliss bestow;
and favour of his mistress, will be As waving fresh their gladsome wing, too much engrossed with her living My weary soul they seem to sooth
charms to think of conferring imagiAnd redolent of joy and youth
ginary life upon senseless things. But, To breathe a second spring."
in absence or disappointment, the case But the influence we now allude to is will be different. There is a latent more fully developed in some of the principle of personification in most of lines in which Cowper has described the common.place amatory aspirathe feelings of Selkirk in his solitary tions. island :
O, that I were a glove upon that hand, “ Ye winds, that have made me your
That I might kiss that cheek!” sport,
“ O gin my love were yon red rose Convey to this desolate shore
That grows upon the castle wa'; Some cordial endearing report
And I mysel a drap o' dew,
Into her bonnie breast to fa'!”
“Change me, some god, into that breathOh ! tell me I yet have a friend,
ing rose !'
The love-sick stripling fancifully sighs, Though a friend I am never to see.”
The envied flower beholding, as it lies If we thus regard our home and our On Laura's breast in exquisite repose.” familiar haunts as living objects of love, we shall readily imagine that we
Throughout all these ideas there is are to them an object of regard and lover's wish, that he conceives the
this much of personification in the desire, when there is room for suppor- object into which he would be transing such sentiments. Not Amaryllis only lamented the absent Tityrus :
formed as in some degree sensible of
the raptures which its situation would Ipsæ te, Tityre, pinus,
inspire in himself. Ipsi te fontes, ipsa hæc arbusta vocabant.”
The feeling may be expected more “ For thee the bubbling springs appear'd powerfully to break forth under the to mourn,
pressure of an agonizing loss, whenAnd whisp’ring pines made vows for thy ever at least the first stunning weight return."
of the blow has been relaxed. A be. The loss of Lycidas was not be reaved lover thus beautifully entreats wailed alone by the comrades of his the objects once associated with his pastoral pursuits :
love, to change those forms which so “ Thee, shepherd, thee the woods and bitterly awaken the recollections with desert caves,
which they are entwined :-
Or let the aged tree uprooted lie,
“ Roll back, sweet rill, back to thy mountain bounds,
And there for ever be thy waters chain'd!
Be any thing, sweet rill, but that which thou art now."