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the assertions on which they comment: but we have such an over flow of business on our hands, that we have no time for controversy ; and though we would not be supposed arrogantly to obtrude our opi. nions on the public, we are forced in these, as in numberless other instances, to decline all subsequent discussion.
• A Constant Reader,' who is pleased with the sentiments expressed in our account of “ The Nurse," wishes to know, whether there was not a book published a few years ago, on the dangerous effects, both to mother and child, of women neglecting to suckle their children’; and he inquires concerning the title of such book. We re. collect only a small tract, “ Essay on the injurious Custom of Mo. thers not suckling their own Children ; with Directions for chusing a Nurse, &c. &c. By Benj. Lara, Surgeon."
18. Moore. 1791. See M. Rev. vol. ix. N. S.
We are obliged by a letter from Exmouth, signed J. H. Hutton : who informs us that Tully's Offices were translated by the famous Sir Roger l'Estrange; and that he is possessed of a copy of the book. This seems to be the 'third' translation, which we could not with certainty recoilect: see M. Rev. February last, p. 179. This translation is also noticed in Cibber's Biography of the Poets, Life of L'Estrange.
Mistakes of fact, erroneous quotations, and all other accidental mis-statements, we have ever been eager to rectify at the desire of any correspondent : but to re-argue a question of mere opinion, especially when the determining arguments have been indicated, would only open a door to endless controversy. Our correspondent J. Amust therefore excuse the non-insertion of his three folio pages, in opposition to the idea intimated by us in vol. xxvi. p. 382, “ that the expenditure of the luxurious classes is not of much consequence to the public prosperity.”. The writer's mind is evidently occupied with the application of this doctrine to the case of the union with Ireland: we refer him, therefore, to Clarke's edition of Dean Tucker's “ Union or Separation :" in which he will find this very question argued at length, pages 20 to 3o, in a sensible and popular manner; and decided precisely as by ourselves, on grounds to which it is needless to add farther appeals to reason or to facts.
The letter of Philoteute is just received:ontoo late for farther nos tice.
The Appendix to Vol. xxvII. of the M. R. is published with this Number, as usual, and contains copious accounts of important Foreign PUBLICATIONS, with the Gencral Title, Tabk of Contents, and Index, for the Volume.
ART. I. Romances. By J. D'Israeli. 8vo. PP. 314. 8s. Boards.
Cadell jun. and Davies. 1798. T is the province of genius to search for its favourite objects, the beautiful and the sublime, in new and unbeaten tracks.
a period when the delineation of our own manners would perhaps form no interesting topic for poetry, it seems the reigning passion to gather subjects of description from the bolder features of German character, or from the more luxurious effu. sions of Eastern imagination. With all the faults, therefore, that may occasionally result from extravagant admiration of either of these sources, the friend of taste and literature must rejoice to see the boundaries of imitation enlarged by new acquisitions from both. The mind of Mr. d'Israeli, naturally susceptible of vivid impressions, scems to have caught a richness of fancy from his intimacy with Oriental poetry; and his language, except in a few unfortunate sentences, is elegant. The pompous imagery of the Eastern poets is given in an English form so judiciously, that it has little of that extravagance which would inevitably characterise and deform a bald translation. An instance of this occurs in the description of the land of Cashmere, when he speaks of the shawled beauties: Their moonlight foreheads veil'd with flow'rs:'-a beautiful and expressive epithet, and happily adapted to an English reader by substituting it for the original expression “ moon-faced."
Mr. d'Israeli's romances are interspersed with poetry, which, like his prosc, abounds with luxuriant imagery · but it is certainly doing the author no injustice to say that his verse does not dow in that melodious modulation, which so highly enhances the poetry of Rogers, Hayley, Darwin, and others of the present day; and that we do not mark in it chat strong though unmusical measure, which gives energy to the verses of Cowper. Occasionally, but not often, the ear is delighted with a musical line. This defect in the author's versification, however, is well compensated by the richness of language, and the Oriental novelty of thought, which adorn the poems, small VOL. XXIX K
We mention his Oriental imitation, because it forms the most important part of the volume. The story of Leila and Mejnoun is the principal Romance, and the most highly to be valued for its beauty and pathos.
The first article in the volume is a Poetical Essay on Romance and Romances, in which the poet describes the allegorical birth of Romance, the Child of Love and Fiction. He then celebrates the romantic disposition of the wandering Arabs,
• Charming the desert wildness with a tale,' and the well-known custom prevalent in Persia, India, Tartary, and Arabia, of assembling in serene evenings around their tents, or on the platforms with which their houses are in general roofed, to amuse themselves with traditional narrations. He then takes notice of the Spanish historical ballads, the minstrc troop, the 'squire minstrel, and the Gothic romances with incir refaccimentos and moral allegories. Love is now supposed to be seized with ennui ; to dispel the influence of which, Fiction is brought to him by Beauty; and his amour with this lady is pourtrayed by the poet in glowing language, – bordering, pero haps, somewhat too much on the luscious.
• She softly parting his incumbering wings ;
(To smiling love more lovely smiles she brings ;)
That Love on Fiction got the child Romance.' The next piece, the Arabian Petrarch and Laura,' is a Romance founded on an Oriental story. Mejnoun and Leila is the title of a poem highly celebrated in the East, composed by Nezami. The sorrows of these impassioned but unfortunate lovers have furnished the basis of an endless catalogue of amatory compositions, Arabian, Turkish, and Persic; of which the Poem of Nezami, written in the latter language, is the mast admired. To translate Nezami was not the object of Mr. d'Israeli; but he has preserved the romantic style of descrip
tion with so much fidelity, that, while wë sympathise with Mejnoun as a lover, we likewise admire him as a poet.
Young Kais, the hero of the romance, who afterward, from his enthusiastic frenzy, receives the appellation of Mejnoun *, was the son of Ahmed Kais, a distinguished Sheick among the Bedoween Arabs; and was sent by his fond father to be educated under the care of a celebrated Persian, the venerable Effendi Lebid, who is (improperly) termed a student; under whom, about the same time and nearly of the same age, was placed the lovely Leila, the only daughter of an Emir. The young pupils, soon without rivals in the academy, were attracted to each other by mutual admiration.
• They loved (says the Romancer) to mingle in the same tasks; and in the arts of imagination their gentle spirits perpetuated their finest emotions. The verse of Kais treasured their most delicious sensations; from the wild intonations of Leila he often caught the air he composed ; and when they united to paint the same picture, it seemed as if the same eye had directed the same hand.
• They saw each other every day, and were only sensible to this pleasure. Their mutual studies became so many interchanges of ten. derness. Every day was contracted to a point of tiine: months rolled away on months ; and their passage was without a trace: a year closed, and they knew it but by its date. Already the first spark of love opened the heart of Kais: already he sighed near the entendering form of Leila ; already he listened for her voice, when she ceased to speak; while her soft hand passing over his own vibrated through his shivering nerves.'
Kais, with his beloved Leila, took delight in adorning his garden with every beautiful embellishment which a delicious climate could supply, or a fine taste could suggest. By the side of a delightful fountain, he raised a pleasant Kiosque (a banqueting or summer apartment); seared in which, the lovers would read the Persian Tales. In this place, Kais is supposed to read to his mistress a poetical account of the Land of Cashmere, the Paradise of Love, which abounds with romantic and sweet descriptions; though the reader's admiration is sometimes suspended by unmusical lines and overstrained expressions.
The Effendi, their tutor, perceived the ripening passion of the young lovers : but, with a gentleness of soul and a sympathy of feelings which wisdom and old age had not diminished, he was pleased to behold the undisguised affection of their artless bosoms; and, instead of checking, he sanctioned and approved the generous flame. The father of Leila, however,
• Mejnoun signifies in Arabic a man inspired, an enthusiast, a madman.
was at length informed of the object of his daughter's love; and being a haughty Emir, he considered himself debased at the prospect of an alliance between a child of his family, and a youth so lowly born as Kais; whose father Ahmed was not descended, like himself, from a series of nobility. Ahmed, though less noble than the Green-turban'd Emir, and though a better and milder character, was also too proud of his importance to regard the alliance as eminently honourable to his family : he was haughty (says the Romancer) because he was glorious without nobility, and derived his renown not from men extinct in their grayes, but from living men around him.
The lover, now separated from his mistress, found momentary happiness by visiting her in the disguised and humble character of a seller of perfumes. By means of presents, he makes his way into her tent through the surrounding slaves : but his interview was short, and fatal in its consequences. The liberality of the unknown perfumer caused suspicion : the alarm was spred: the Emir rushed into the tent; and unaffec by all the tears of his daughter, and the respectful though manly imprecations of Kais, he drove the youth from his presence, and ordered Leila to be secured. The parting scene is beautifully described.
Repulsed in this ignominious manner, the distracted poet returns home to the tent of his father. Ahmed, though full of affection for Kais, was indignant at the disgrace which his family had received, and he called on him to avenge the insult. I cannot strike at the father of Leila,' replied the lover. Divided between contending passions, stung with the reproach of his father, and delirious with love for Leila, he is seized with a melancholy madness, and files from the cents of his father to the desert, attended by none but an affectionate gazel or antelope. The parents were distracted on losing their beloved son: the mother was loud in her grief: the good old father felt more severely, conscious that his words had augmented the miseries of Kais; and, after having prayed to the holy prophet, he set out to wander in the desert in quest of his son, in company with the Effendi Lebid, who, hearing of his pupil's misfortunes and melancholy, came to solace the fa. ther and to assist in finding the lost son.
After a long and weary search, Kais is discovered on a moonlight night, in a state of wild delirium, wandering by the side of a precipice and chanting his fine and distracted verses. From this period, he is characterised in the Romance by the name of Mejnoun, or maniac. He is brought back to the tents of Ahmed: but the consolations of his friends are unavailing to alleviate the agony of his passion. His father pro