« PreviousContinue »
meets the outward eye, is far from being beauti- The ninth is the Armenian language, ornaful, and may be manufactured thus :
mented, and in smaller characters than any of Take quant. suff. of English commas, scatter the other specimens. It recounts the dispersion them about the page ad lib. add a sprinkling of of the Armenians by the barbarians, and the semicolons, and inverted interrogation points, hospitable reception given them by the Russians, the semicolons to be placed horizontally, and with their present prosperous condition under the flanked by a dash bent secun. art., these, with a Emperor Nicholas, who is styled their " Second crescent or two to the lineal inch, and about forty Providence.” “Under his sceptre,” continues full stops to the line chart. stult. will have a dish the writer, " the Armenians enjoy various priviof Turkish, which will go down any where out leges and prerogatives, superb churches, popuof the dominions of the Sultan.
lous bishopricks, courts of justice, with judges There is, however, much in the language that elected by the people, schools, printing presses is elegant and imaginative in sentiment, as will and other institutions protected by the governappear from the following beautiful extract which ment. The devotion of the Armenians for the we take from the autograph as it stands in the august sovereign of the Russians, is without French translation.
bounds." "Imitez ces arbres fruitiers, et comme eux, don- Doubtless the writer was aware, that his pronez des fruits à qui vous jette des pierres. A l'ex- duction would pass under the review of the emample des montagnes, donnez de l'or à celui dont peror or his chief officers, and this may aecount la cruauté déchire votre sein; et prenez pour for the adulatory style in which the emperor is modele de douceur et de patience, ces coquilles alluded to, and for the exaggerated professions of qui donnent leurs perles à celui qui les brise."
devotion to his service. The sixth specimen is in Turkish, with a triple The next is a specimen of the Moldavian lanborder of blue and red. The portion translated guage, said to be a derivation from the Latin. is a prayer in which all Christians might join. Its characters are, many of them, very similar to "Lord! may thy mercy be my guide, conduct our Roman letters, others are like the Greek, and me in the way which leads to peace. Divine the whole seems to be merely a modification of wisdom! I know not my own wants, do thou the first specimen in the collection, the Slavenski. bestow upon me that which seemeth good to It professes to give a short explanation of the thee."
names and divisions of the Moldavian and WalThe next is a specimen of the Mongolian lan- lachian nations. guage, and is written vertically; in some of the The eleventh specimen is in Chinese running words there are spaces of more than an inch hand (!) but approximating nearly to the charmarked by black lines, and the whole, at a acters used in printing. The passage which little distance, looks like the dollars and cents is from Confucius, is well worth attention, not lines of a ledger, with short lines diverging only from the consideration that it was written downwards from each line--for about half an at least five hundred years before the Christian inch at an angle of forty-five degrees. The par- Era, but also from its intrinsic merit. Dsy-tou agraph translated is as follows:
asks his master in what heroism consists; and *We must in this life overcome our destruc-Confucius, being probably ignorant of what certire passions, and endeavor, according to the tain modern wiseacres have called abstract nouns, religion of the Grand Lama, to shun the three enquires of Dsy-tou, whether he means the hoSins, in order that the soul may pass (transmi- roism of the people of the south or the north, or grate) to the holy habitation of the Divinity.” Dsy-tou's own proper heroism, but receiving no
The Moguls, like the inhabitants of Thibet, answer, proceeds to say: “The heroes of the Burah, Anan, Siam and the greater part of the south make heroism consist in greatness of soul Chinese and Japanese, consider the metempsycho- and moderation. Professing these virtues, they sis or transmigration of souls, as one of the most teach how to bear injuries without seeking to important articles of their faith, even the soul of revenge them, and have arrived at the highest Grand Lama being supposed to pass into his suc- degree of wisdom. The great men of the north Cessor. This article of faith has prevailed in the think that virtue consists in physical force. They East for more than three thousand years, and it pass their life under arms, and they harness and is evident from the literature of Europe, that face death without a fear. But can any thing among more enlightened nations, it has not been be higher than the heroism of those who seek to
live in peace with the whole human race! Are The eighth is a beautifully written specimen they forgotten in a well-ordered empire ?--they of the Georgian language, giving an account of complain not of their lot. Live they under a certain incursions into Georgia by the Ossetes in cruel government?—They remain faithful to virthe year 448 (probably about A. D. 1225.) tuo, and for her choerfully die."
The twelfth is in the Manchew language. The characters in form are similar to the Chinese, and " A SONG IN THE NIGHT." like them are also written up and down the page. The passage is the farewell of a Corean deputy
Isaiah xxx: 29. to the Russian mission house at Pekin, and is written in the usual inflated style of oriental com
Written on being asked by an aged lady, who was very plimentary composition. The next is a Calmuck extract from a chroni- deaf
, whether she had heard music in the room below, dacle containing some historical details of the pro
ring the preceding evening-saying she often seemed to gress of the Calmuck division of the great Mo-hear sweet music while lying awake at night. ravian family.
A further account of the Calmucks is contain- It was no sound of earthly music ed in the next specimen, in the ordinary writing
Played by one thou holdest dear, of Thibet, which states that there are three prin- That, as evening shades closed round thee, cipal tribes wandering on the banks of the Wol
Fell upon thy listening ear; ga, numbering about 25,000 “waggons" or families, and 100,000 men.
For that ear is sealed by Heaven, A paragraph in the literary language of Thi
And thou hearest not the sounds bet follows next in order. It gives some curious
Many-toned, of joy and gladness particulars of the religion of the Lama of Thi
With which this fair world abounds. “ The communion which his followers receive from his hands delivers from all diseases, and drives off destructive passions, and the soul Yet, though not by day 'tis given thee passes into the invisible spirit of God. The
Earthly strains again to hear; learned Lamaic clergy believe that their religion
In the silent 'mid-night watches. will, in time, be extended over the whole earth.
Music comes, thy heart to cheer; All the followers of the Lama have the doors of their houses facing to the south."
Music, far more sweet than earthly
While around thee all are sleeping, The sketch, slight as it is, affords much mate- Sung by low-toned angel voices rial for useful reflection, which it might not be
Who around thee watch are keeping. amiss to improve; but it is time to close. Mr. Vattemare has the honor of possessing, in these
Heavenly harps for thee are ringing autographs, a treasure as unique as it is valua
Touched by spirits hovering near; ble. They are, however, but a sample of the
While celestial tones are breathing immense literary wealth of Asia and the east of
Angel-anthems to thee here. Europe. These countries, for centuries, remarkable chiefly for their valuable natural productions,
“ At even-tide there shall be light :" and the unprogressive character of their inhabi
Still let thine aged heart be strong, tants, have begun to excite that attention, which no countries more deserve, or can better repay.
Since even in this thine earthly night It is gratifying to know that the late Sultan took
Thy God hath given to thee " a song !" infinite pains to introduce Mr. Vattemare's sys
Matilda F. Dana tem into his dominions ; indeed no monarch in
Boston. Christendom is said to have done more for his people than Mahmoud. There are mines of rarest literary wealth in Turkey, which will one day, we trust, be brought to light, for the good of the world, and, throughout the East, many valuable manuscripts might be found, which the barbarity of former ages failed to destroy. These would be hailed with enthusiasm by the literati
EDMUND KEAN. of Europe, who would gladly give whole libraries in exchange for one relic of ages gone by, Kean is original; but he copies from himself. which might shed upon the modern world some His rapid descents from the hyper-tragic to the rays of that sacred light, which once gilded with infra colloquial, though sometimes productive of its glory the cradle of the human race-the birth- great effect, are often unreasonable. To see him place of civilization—the holy land, where the act, is like reading Shakspeare by flashes of lightSaviour lived and died.
BY EDGAR A. POE.
- Ce que
room for their manner, which being thus left out MARGINALIA.*
of question, was a capital manner, indeed,model of manners, with a richly marginalic air.
The circumscription of space, too, in these In getting my books, I have been always so
pencillings, has in it something more of advanlicitous of an ample margin ; this not so much tage than inconvenience. It compels us (what
ever disluseness of idea we may clandestinely through any love of the thing in itself, however agreeable , as for the facility it affords me of pen- entertain,) into Montesquieu-ism, into Tacitus
the concluding eilling suggested thoughts, agreements and dif
Annals,") or even into Carferences of opinion, or brief critical comments in portion of the “ general. Where what I have to note is too much lyle-ism-a thing which, I have been told, is not to be included within the narrow limits of a mar
to be confounded with your ordinary affectation
and bad grammar. I say “bad grammar," gin, I commit it to a slip of paper, and deposit it between the leaves; taking care to secure it
through sheer obstinacy, because the grammaby an imperceptible portion of gum tragacanth that I should not.
rians (who should know better) insist upon it
But then grammar is not paste. All this may be whim; it may be not only a
what these grammarians will have it; and, being very hackneyed, but a very idle practice ;-yet I of this analysis, must be good or bad just as the
merely the analysis of language, with the result persist in it still; and it affords me pleasure ; which is profit, in despite of Mr. Bentham with analyst is sage or silly-just as he is a Horne
Tooke or a Cobbett.
But to our sheep. During a rainy afternoon, the making of mere memoranda—a custom which
not long ago, being in a mood too listless for has its disadvantages, beyond doubt.
continuous study, I sought relief from ennui in je mets sur papier,” says Bernardin de St. Pierre, dipping here and there, at random, among the " je remets de ma mémoire, et par consequence je
volumes of my library—no very large one, cerl'oublie ;"—and, in fact, if you wish to forget any, ter myself, not a little recherché.
tainly, but sufficiently miscellaneous; and, I flatthing on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.
Perhaps it was what the Germans call the
“ brain-scattering” humor of the moment; but, But the purely marginal jottings, done with
while the picturesqueness of the numerous penege to the Memorandum Book, have a distinct complexion, and not only a distinct
cil-scratches arrested my attention, their helter
skelter-iness of commentary amused me. I found none at all; this it is which imparts to them a
myself at length, forming a wish that it had been value. They have a rank somewhat above the chance and desultory comments of literary chit- devilled the books, and fancying that, in such
some other hand than my own which had so bechat-for these latter are not unfrequently “talk for talk's sake,” hurried out of the mouth; while
case, I might have derived no inconsiderable the marginalia are deliberately pencilled, because transition-thought, (as Mr. Lyell, or Mr. Murchi
pleasure from turning them over. From this the the mind of the reader wishes to unburthen itself of a thought;-however flippant-however silly- natural enough :-there might be something even
son, or Mr. Featherstonhaugh would have it,) was however trivial—still a thought indeed, not mere- in my scribblings which, for the mere sake of ly a thing that might have been a thought in time,
scribbling, would have interest for others. and under more favorable circumstances. In the marginalia, too, we talk only to ourselves; we
The main difficulty respected the mode of therefore talk freshly-boldly-originally-with
transferring the notes from the volumes--the
context from the text--without detriment to that abandonnement—without conceit-much after the exceedingly frail fabric of intelligibility in which fashion of Jeremy Taylor, and Sir Thomas the context was imbedded. With all appliances Browne, and Sir William Temple and the ana- to boot, with the printed pages at their back, the tomical Burton, and that most logical analogist, commentaries were too often like Dodona's oraButler, and some other people of the old day, cles-or those of Lycophron Tenebrosus—or the who were too full of their matter to have any essays of the pedant's pupils, in Quintillian,
* Some years since Mr. Poe wrote for several of the which were “necessarily excellent, since even he Northern magazines a series of critical brevities under the (the pedant) found it impossible to comprehend file of " Marginalia.” They attracted great attention at them :"--what then, would become of it-this that time and since, as characteristic of the author, and we context—if transferred ?-if translated ? Would are sure that our readers will be gratified at his resuming it not rather be traduit (traduced) which is the them in the Messenger. By way of introduction, we republish the original preface from the Democratic Review. French synonyme, or overzezet (turped topsy
[Ed. Mess. turvy).which is the Dutch one ? Vol. XV-28
I concluded, at length, to put extensive faith (reference to music—it is the dependence upon in the acumen and imagination of the reader :- modulated expression—which gives to this branch this as a general rule. But, in some instances, of letters a character altogether unique, and sepwhere even faith would not remove mountains, arates it, in great measure and in a manner not there seemed no safer plan than so to ro-model the sufficiently considered, from ordinary literature ; note as to convey at least the ghost of a concep- rendering it independent of merely ordinary protion as to what it was all about. Where, for prieties; allowing it, and in fact demanding for such conception, the text itself was absolutely it, a wide latitude of Law; absolutely insisting necessary, I could quote it; where the title of upon a certain wild license and indefinitiveness the book commented upon was indispensable, I an indefinitiveness recognized by every musician could name it. In short, like a novel-hero di- who is not a mere fiddler, as an important point lemma'd, I made up my mind “to be guided by in the philosophy of his science—as the soul, incircumstances,” in default of more satisfactory deed, of the sensations derivable from its praerules of conduct.
tice-sensations which bewilder while they enAs for the multitudinous opinion expressed in thral—and which would not so enthral if they did the subjoined farrago—as for my present assent not so bewilder. to all, or dissent from any portion of it as to The sentiments deducible from the conception the possibility of my having, in some instances, of sweet sound simply, are out of the reach of altered my mind-or as to the impossibility of analysis—although referable, possibly, in their my not having altered it often—these are points last result, to that merely mathematical recogniupon which I say nothing, because upon these tion of equality which seems to be the root of all there can be nothing cleverly said. It may be Beauty. Our impressions of harmony and mel. as well to observe, however, that just as the good- ody in conjunction, are more readily analyzed ; ness of your true pun is in the direct ratio of but one thing is certain—that the sentimental its intolerability, so is nonsense the essential pleasure derivable from music, is nearly in the sense of the Marginal Note.
ratio of its indefinitiveness. Give to music any
undue decision--imbue it with any very determi. I do not believe that the whole world of Poe-nate tone—and you deprive it, at once, of its ethetry can produce a more intensely energetic pas- real, its ideal, and, I sincerely believe, of its in
its sage, of equal length, than the following, from Mrs. Browning's " Drama of Exile.” The pic of the mystic in which its whole nature is bound
dream-like luxury :-you dissolve the atmosphere turesque vigor of the lines italicized is much more than Homeric :
up :-you exhaust it of its breath of fåery. It
then becomes a tangible and easily appreciable On a mountain peak
thing—a conception of the earth, earthy. It will Half sheathed in primal woods and glittering
not, to be sure, lose all its power to please, but In spasms of awful sunshine, at that hour
all that I consider the distinctiveness of that powA Lion couched, part raised upon his paws
And to the over-cultivated talent, or to the With his calm massive face turned full on mine
unimaginative apprehension, this deprivation of And his mane listening. When the ended curse Left silence in the world, right suddenly
its most delicate nare will be, not unfrequently, a He sprang up rampant, and stood straight and stiff,
recommendation. A determinateness of expresAs if the new reality of Death
sion is sought-and sometimes by composers who Were dashed against his eyes, and roared so fierce- should know better—is sought as a beauty, rath(Such thick carniverous passion in his throat
er than rejected as a blemish. Thus we have, Tearing a passage through the wrath and fear)
even from high authorities, attempts at absolute And roared so wild, and smote from all the bills Such fast keen echoes crumbling down the vales
imitation in musical sounds. Who can forget, or To distant silence—that the forest heasts,
cease to regret, the many errors of this kind into One after one, did mutter a response
which some great minds have fallen, simply In savage and in sorrowful complaint
through over-estimating the triumphs of skill. Which trailed along the gorges.
Who can help lamenting the Battles of Pragues!
What man of taste is not ready to laugh, or to There are few cases in which mere popularity weep, over their “guns, drums, trumpets, blunshould be considered a proper test of merit ; but derbusses and thunder ?” - Vocal music," says the case of song-writing is, I think, one of the L'Abbate Gravina, “ought to imitate the natural few. In speaking of song-writing, I mean, of language of the human feelings and passions, course, the composition of brief poems with an rather than the warblings of Canary birds, which eye to their adaptation for music in the vulgar our singers, now-a-days, affect so vastly to mimie
In this ultimate destination of the song with their quaverings and boasted cadences." proper, lies its essence--its genius. It is the strict. This is true only so far as the “rather" is con
cerned. If any music must imitate any thing, nothing else, Morris is immortal. It is quite imit were, undoubtedly, better that the imitation possible to put down such things by sneers. The should be limited as Gravina suggests.
affectation of contemning them is of no avail— That indefinitiveness which is, at least, one of unless to render manifest the envy of those who the essentials of true music, must, of course, be affect the contempt. As mere poems, there are kept in view by the song-writer; while, by the several of Morris's compositions equal, if not critic, it should always be considered in his esti- superior, to either of those just mentioned, but as mate of the song. It is, in the author, a con- songs I much doubt whether these latter have sciousness—sometimes merely an instinctive ap- ever been surpassed. In quiet grace and unafpreciation, of this necessity for the indefinite, fected tenderness, I know no American poem which imparts to all songs, rightly conceived, which excels the following: that free, affluent, and hearty manner, little scrupulous about niceties of phrase, which cannot be Where Hudson's wave o'er silvery sands better expressed than by the hackneyed French
Winds through the hills afar,
Old Crow-nest like a monarch stands, word abandonnement, and which is so strikingly
Crowned with a single star. exemplified in both the serious and joyous bal
And there, amid the billowy swells lads and carols of our old English progenitors. of rock-ribbed, cloud-capped earth, Wherever verse has been found most strictly
My fair and gentle Ida dwells, married to music, this feature prevails. It is thus
A nymph of mountain birth. the essence of all antique song. It is the soul of
The snow-flake that the cliff receives Homer. It is the spirit of Anacreon. It is even
The diamonds of the showersthe genius of Æschylus. Coming down to our Spring's tender blossoms, buds and leavesown times, it is the vital principle in De Béran
The sisterhood of flowersger. Wanting this quality, no song-writer was
Morn's early beam--eve's balmy breeze
Her purity define :ever truly popular, and, for the reasons assigned,
But Ida's dearer far than these no song-writer need ever expect to be so.
To this fond breast of mine. These views properly understood, it will be seen how baseless are the ordinary objections to My heart is on the hills; the shades songs proper, on the score of “conceit,” (to use
Of night are on my brow. Johnson's word,) or of hyperbole, or on various
Ye pleasant haunts and silent glades
My soul is with you now. other grounds tenable enough in respect to poe- I bless the star-crowned Highlands where try not designed for music. The "conceit,” for My Ida's footsteps roam :example, which some envious rivals of Morris Oh, for a falcon's wing to bearhave so much objected to
To bear me to my home.
Her heart and morning broke together
A capital book, generally speaking;* but Mr.
Grattan has a bad habit—that of loitering in the this conceit" is merely in keeping with the es- road-of dallying and toying with his subjects, sential spirit of the song proper. To all reason- as a kitten with a mouse-instead of grasping it able persons it will be sufficient to say that the firmly at once and eating it up without more ado. fervid, hearty, free-spoken songs of Cowley and He takes up too much time in the ante-room. of Donne—more especially of Cunningham, of He has never done with his introductions. OcHarrington and of Carew-abound in precisely casionally, one introduction is but the vestibule to similar things; and that they are to be met with, another; so that by the time he arrives at his plentifully, in the polished pages of Moore and main incidents there is nothing more to tell. of Béranger, who introduce them with thought He seems afflicted with that curious yet common and retain them after mature deliberation. perversity observed in garrulous old women
Morris is, very decidedly, our best writer of the desire of tantalizing by circumlocution. Mr. songs—and, in saying this, I mean to assign him G's circumlocution, however, is by no means like a high rank as poet. For my own part, I would that which Albany Fonblanque describes as “a much rather have written the best song of a na- style of about and about and all the way round tion than its noblest epic. One or two of Hoff- to nothing and nonsense."
If the greasyman's
have merit—but they are sad echoes looking lithograph here given as a frontispiece, of Moore, and even if this were not so (every be meant for Mr. Grattan, then is Mr. Grattan body knows that it is so) they are totally deficient like nobody else :—for the fact is, I never yet
“Woodman Spare that knew an individual with a wire wig, or the counTree" and " By the Lake where droops the Wil- tenance of an under-done apple dumpling. .... bre" are compositions of which any poet, living or dead, might justly be proud. By these, if by ** Highways and By.ways."
in the real song-essence.