« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
that day. So effectually did the accident, bamboo inclosures, called Cottoos, where paralyze that mass of people, that all, with they were kept until sold by auction on the one accord, sat gazing vacantly at each following day. The native shares of the other, neither speaking nor moving. After fish were disposed of in a similar way; a time, some of the boats without orders, though, sometimes, they were retained by began to leave the fishing-ground, and were their owners on their own account, and the soon followed by the rest, making their pearls found in them sold afterwards. way to the “Wellington.” The Inspector I did not go off to the next day's fishing, was too well acquainted with native preju- being desirous of witnessing the oyster aucdice to attempt any expostulation on this tion: the boats, however, went as before, diversion : he, however, sent for the old the Shark-Charmer having woven a spell Shark-Charmer, who attended the summons of extra potency; which, it was said, would with the utmost effrontery. In reply to the astonish the marine monsters, and secure question, how he dared to permit a shark to their jaws as effectually as if fastened by injure a diver in the employ of the British Chubb's detector locks. The biddings were Government, he said there were some spirits carried on with an eagerness almost amountadverse to the powers he possessed ; and ing to frenzy. The oysters were offered in that, during the brief time of his taking a lots of one thousand, taken from the Cottoos little refreshment, one of those antagonists indiscriminately. Some fine-looking fellows had broken his charm and unloosed the went as high as six pounds the thousand; jaws of the shark! All was now vain-many, however, were knocked down for half no more fishing; and, although the sea that price, and not a few realized no more breeze was still lagging lazily behind, the than fifteen shillings a lot, about the price fleet pushed shorewards, the boatmen ply- of ordinary native oysters in England. ing their oars for a few miles. An hour Had the bidders believed that their admislater the breeze came up from the southwest sion into Paradise depended on their obtain-fitfully at first—then steadily up went the ing a few lots of these oysters, their mad great spider-legged bamboo masts and the excitement could scarcely have been exwide-winged sails, and the sharp-nosed boats ceeded. One old man, a Moorman, I particslipped noiselessly landward.
ularly noticed. His entire suit of wearing Our approach to the shore was signalized apparel could bardly have been worth one by a gun: thousands were again on the of the oysters he had been bidding for. beach awaiting our coming, and anxious to Avarice was deeply marked in his sharp hear of our success. As we drew near, a features ; and when he at last succeeded in long, wild shout rent the air ; then a pause. I obtaining one lot, I thought he would have No reply was given from the boats, the spirits gone wild with joy. He leaped about, of all were depressed by the accident, not danced, laughed, and sung bits of old musty so much from sympathy with the poor suf-ditties. Nor was he quiet until he had referer, as from a feeling that the accident at moved his heap to a miserable little shed so early a stage was a bad omen.
hard by. There he sat down, close beside The whole of the fleet having reached his lot of fish, and burying his head between the shore, a party of Malay riflemen and his hands with the elbows resting on his Peons cleared an open space between them knees, remained contemplating his little forand the crowd on the beach, so as to allow tune, longing, yet half afraid to open some the unloading of the boats, which was at of them. I left him thus gazing on the once commenced. The oysters were divided oysters, as though each living thing held on the sandy shore into four equal parts, his own life and immortality within its three of which went to the Government, or rocky shell. the renter, as the case might be ; the re- There were many wealthy traders there maining fourth was shared amongst the from all parts of India ; but many more had boatmen, the divers, the Tandal, and the with difficulty scraped together sums vary. boat-owner; the divers receiving twice as ing from a dozen pagodas to a dozen dollars ; much as the boatmen, and the owner rather men who had purchased or borrowed the more than the divers. The Government means of bidding at this intoxicating aucoysters were carried up in baskets to large tion; men who had left their famished fam. ilies without the means of obtaining a Some conception may be formed of the mouthful of rice : who had torn the gold immense masses of oysters which at these bangles and ear-rings from their wives and times lay putrefying on the burning sands children, and melted them into ingots, to of Aripo, when I mention that each boat deal in the maddening trade of Aripo. Some will bring on shore, in one trip, from ten to returned home rich beyond their expecta | twenty thousand of fish, making a daily tions : some with little fortunes ; but many total of from two to four millions for the went back ruined, beggared, and broken whole fleet. The extremely hazardous rehearted, to repay their loans or pledges; sults of these auctions may be gathered from while some fled in terror to strange lands— the fact, that whilst in some instances as having lost the means of replacing moneys many as a hundred pearls of various weights taken by them from sources of trust-being and value are found in one oyster of large ruined in means and reputation. All this size, one hundred oysters may be opened happens at every Pearl Fishery, and is not without finding in them a single pearl. to be prevented, save by offering the fish in The natives of India have a singular belarger lots; which, though it might not lief, with regard to the origin of pearls : it prove quite so remunerative to the Govern is, that those beautiful concretions are conment, would save much evil and suffering. gealed dew-drops, which Buddha, in certain
No further accidents from sharks bap- months, showers upon the earth, and are pened whilst I was on the “Banks ;" but in caught by the oysters whilst floating on the truth, at the end of the first week of the waters to breathe. The priests—ever alive fishery, I was glad to avail myself of the to their own interests—keep up the strange opportunity of returning to Colombo in a belief, and make it the pretext for exacting Government boat. The novelty of the scene from the divers and boatmen of their faith bad worn off; one day's operations were what are termed “charity oysters,” for the precisely those of another. The scenes of use of Buddha, who, when thus propitiated, drunken riot and dissipated frenzy were according to their showing, will render the daily becoming more violent and disgusting. fish more rich in pearls in future seasons. Added to this, the intolerable stench from the accumulating myriads of oysters bastening to decomposition, rendered a residence on shore, within a mile or two of the Cottoos,
From “Eliza Cook's Journal." quite intolerable to one who did not in any
did not in any ALFRED TENNYSON AND HIS POEMS. way partake of the excitement of the lot tery in pearls.
The post of poet laureate could not have The oysters are left in heaps for about been bestowed more worthily than upon thirty days, at the end of which time they Alfred Tennyson. The duties of the office become perfectly decomposed. In that state have faded into nothingness, and the only they are placed in a large canoe, and well purpose it can now serve, if any, is to set a but carefully washed with plenty of water, mark of honor upon genius, and to recom80 as to remove the rotten portion of the pense those men who, though they have atfish, leaving the pearls and the shells in the tained fame, are but scantily rewarded in a water. Some of the more needy purchasers pecuniary sense. We do not pretend to bave not patience to await this process, but know any thing of the private circumstances at once proceed to work by opening the of Alfred Tennyson, but we fear that poets fresh oysters, and so learn their good for- of his class, however highly they may be tune or their beggary. So eager are all to estimated, however thickly their laurels make money at these auctions, that the Cot. may cluster around their brows, are appretoos, or bamboo inclosures and the washing- ciated and read by a comparatively small places, are all offered for sale at the expira- class. It requires an amount of intelligence tion of the cleansing processes, and eagerly greater than is possessed by the mass of purchased by those who hope to discover, in those among whom literature has made its the sandy ground, some pearls which may way-it requires a taste, only to be acquired have escaped the care of the former occu- by careful cultivation, to sympathize with pants. This they often succeed in doing the sentiment, and enter into the spirit of his poetry; and the whole of the customs we might say that Tennyson lives in the under which people in a commercial age world of timekeepers around him, not conlive, the majority of the habits which use tent to keep time, but wishing to know why has made a second nature to them, are ad- he and his fellows keep it; or-better and verse to a full comprehension of the poetic more poetical comparison, and, therefore, genius of Tennyson. Such poems as those fitter to use for a poet-he is like the of Charles Mackay, appealing energetically deep, still lake, 60 o'erbowered with the to the passions which lay upon the surface, arching trees, which, throwing their limbs twining themselves in among the daily from side to side, shut out the sunshine, thuughts of men, mixing up with the busi- that from the very plenty of the materials ness of their lives, showing out their politi- for reflection, its dark, still, polished sur. cal efforts, depicting the miseries and the face does but image forth its own depth. wrongs which prompt philanthropic exer- | We do not think we could find an apter tion and social amelioration, we are pre-comparison than that to illustrate the orpared to find selling in large impressions. der of Tennyson's mind. It is so full of Such poems are suitable to the active, bust thought that it seems almost thoughtless. ling, trading spirit of the age. They are, Like the disk with many colors upon its to use a word familiar to metaphysicians, surface, which, when revolving swiftly, objective.* They teach by things rather seems colorless and motionless, the very than by thoughts. They deal with matters activity of his mind makes him appear common to all. The eyes of the mind among slow and tardy to the reader who cannot men of action-and none but such men appreciate purely subjective thought; and thrive in this era, or exercise great influence then, too, every tract he passes along is so -are turned outwards upon the world— full of objects on every side, that, rapidly and the popular poetry of the age follows as he moves, he appears to keep near the the same direction ; but Tennyson, while he same spot, for every step tempts him right has passion and sentiment to overflowing, and left into the paths of thought which and sometimes dashes off with straightfor. open out to his vision on every side. This ward description, is too full of thought to apparent want of progress, too, is made keep closely enough to his subject and re- more apparent by the distance at which the strict himself to its practical bearings. His philosophic as well as poetic mind of Ten. poetry, therefore, smacks of philosophy al nyson is from the general mind of the day; ways, and sometimes deals with the gravest
and it is here, as it is in the material landmetaphysical questions in the most earnest scape, intervening space seems by its own tone. He is for ever looking within, endeav- vastness to obliterate apparent motion. oring as it were to comprehend himself, Mount a swift horse, throw the reins upon and, through himself, humanity. He is not
| his neck, dash your heels into his sides, satisfied with seeing the material object, he and while the closely-adjacent fields and looks for the idea which underlies it; he is
hedgerows, gardens, and cottages seem to not content with feeling the sensation of a fly past you with the speed of light, and fact thrown from the outer world, and im
your blood is boiling with exhilaration in , aged back from the mirror of the mind, but
| the swiftness of the mad gallop, cast a he must seek for the links of the chain
glance upon the bill painted blue by diswhich connects mere sensation with con
tance which bounds the horizon, where scious perception, and memory with both;
earth and sky look as though they met and beyond all he must strive to penetrate and bigger
and kissed each other, and see how slowly to those most mysterious of all sympathies
you progress with reference to that. You which attract us, unknown to ourselves, in
may speed on før an hour, and yet with refthis or that direction, and direct the course
erence to that you are motionless ; it mainof man's life.
tains the same, or nearly the same, relative If we could compare men with watches,
position ; and when you do leave it behind,
| look higher still, and if the stars are glim• Subject is used to express mind, soul, or per
mering through the dusky veil of night, fix sopality of the thinker. Object expresses any thing or every thing external to the mind.-Knight's Na- your eye upon the northern star—the martional Cyclopedia.
iner’constant guide and try to outride that. You may whip and spur and fly on of the satisfaction of material wants shall ward till your horse drops beneath you, but make men less worldly, and then boy hood there it is still upon your right hand or your and manhood instead of seeming two disleft, or straight before you, as the case may tinct and different states apart in action be. You seem no nearer to it--no farther and wish, may blend as gently and imperfrom it. It is too far off to be influenced by ceptibly into each other as the white and your petty progress, and though it may be red upon the rose leaf, each animated by the whirling round upon its own axis with in- same spirit of loveliness, each borrowing a conceivable velocity, and dashing through kindred charm from the other ; but now space with a speed which would make one schemes, and wiles, and intrigues shut out giddy even to think of, its motion belongs the man from the boy, we look upon our. to another world than yours, and to you it selves as we were, as other beings from ouris motionless.
selves as we are, often with scarcely a symThere are other characteristics of Tenny-pathy or an emotion in common, and the son's mind wbich, at the present period, dis- life of men is sharp, shrewd, self-contained, associate him from the world, and most tend and sneering. As men are, so to a great exto prevent him from becoming immediately tent will their favorite authors be; associaand extensively popular. It is not flatter- tions here, unlike those between the sexes, ing to our own age to say that there is in arise rather from likeness than from contrast, it, in the main, a great want both of sim- and the world's popular writers, with a very plicity and earnestness. Education, much few exceptions, are like the world in kind as we rejoice in its diffusion, has as yet although superior in degree. The great spread widely rather than sunk deeply. charm in reading is to find our own thoughts It has widened like a river overflowing its mirrored forth from another mind with banks and carrying its fertilizing waters in greater beauty and precision, and in a cleartiny rivulets to the hitherto parched and er light than ourselves can embody them. barren ground beside it, but becoming more Though fond of newness (rather than freshshallow in mid-channel. Men in the mass ness) we seek for the new in expression are knowing rather than really learned. more than in idea. It appears as though They are playing with knowledge to the what we strive to know must have some defull, as much as working with it—they to fined perceptible relation to what we know the full, as much perhaps more, resemble already, and we follow those who though the lecturer making pretty many colored beyond are in the same track as ourselves, fires on the platform of a popular institute, without the wish, perhaps without the capaas the sage in his closet toiling on painfully city, to diverge into the paths where others to the comprehension of a hidden law of are roaming. The main highway of the nature. And as for that earnestness which world is that on which the feet of the so generally belongs to simplicity, we do many are travelling, which is worn smooth not often see or hear of any thing so really with constant friction ; and all, but very simple or earnest in the world of men, as few having originality or boldness to project the frequent occurrence of a child seeking or diverge into a comparatively unbeaten to know how and why he is. If men could, road, follow the trodden one as surely as as some great and good men have done, water flows along the channel cut for its retain in their maturity, or rather call up passage, or worn for it by the current long again, the freshness of wonder, admiration, years ago. In such a state of things, Tenand curiosity which make so much of the nyson, like Emerson and Shelley, with both happiness of the boy, we should have a of whom he has much in common as well world more earnest, and thoughtful, and as many points of dissimilarity, will be wise, and better than it is—a world more more talked of than read, more read than capable of appreciating the poetry of Ten- understood; though perhaps few libraries nyson. Perhaps it may be a Utopian will be reckoned complete without him-it thought, but it is so beautiful to the soul will be long ere he sinks into the hearts and that we would fain still have the wish the thoughts of men, and becomes “familiar in father to the thought, and believe it ; per- | their mouths as household words,” and to haps the time may come when the fullness / such a man the poet-laureateship, conferred
by those who are able to appreciate his excite thought. The grass-grown walks, the merits, is a fitting recognition and a slight weed-covered lake, the rusty hinges, the reward in the present. For the future, ruined windows, the mouldering wall, the without pretending to the mantle of proph-creaking stairs, the spider's web. It was as ecy, we may safely predict that like a minute as a Dutch painting, nothing seemed piece of gold thrown into a stream, his to be omitted, the effect was complete. thoughts and words will sink deeply and Tennyson treats the kindred subject in exrichly into the current of life.
actly the opposite manner. Instead of the There is another element of Tennyson's things which excite thoughts we have the nature which is worthy of notice, and con- thoughts which things produce. The action firms us in the opinion that he does not live of the mind is there, without the causes of in his own age. He has that constant ten- action. If we may venture for the sake of dency towards sombreness rather than sad illustration to separate the two, we have dess which is a general accompaniment of the mental without the material—the imdeep thought. The world in its moments of age without the object reflected, and yet the relaxation is a merry world. It loves com- effect is as perfect in the one as in the other, edy rather than tragedy, a crowd gathers though in Hood's poem much more percepround the bawler of a comic song far more tible; take for instance the first stanza, readily than one who trolls a lay of sentiment,
“ Life and Thought have gone away and when it seems to be sad, its sadness is Side by side, rather the counterfeit of the melodrama Leaving door and windows wide: than the genuine grief of the tragedy.
Careless tenants they!" Thoughtful melancholy is not sufficiently | What more could have been said though a exciting for those who live a life of constant hundred stanzas had been written? What action, and now is not the time to sympa- more do we need to know! It is not the thize with Tennyson, many of whose lyrics, picture we wish to see for its own sake, but while delighting us with their deep, heart for the impression it makes upon our felt joy, remind us of a gay, green wood in minds! What interest have the gray summer's prime, with the leaves glittering crumbling ruins of the ancient castle for in the sunshine, and the birds twittering us, except in the associations that belong cheerily from every spray, but where among to them, the thoughts they create. Here all the sighing wind comes now and then as elsewhere the ideal underlies the real, with hollow melancholy moaning.
and gives it true interest. We feel no We have before us at the moment the sympathy with material ruins themselves, poems of Tennyson, published between 1830 but only with the “life and thought” which and 1842, and through some of them, after have gone away; and this idea once real. thus feebly attempting to delineate the na-ized, what is there more to do but to turn ture of that mind which but few are fitted from the crumbling wall and say with to comprehend, we shall glance in order to | Tennysonillustrate our remarks by the poet's own
“ Come away, for Life and Thought works, reserving his later works—“ The
Here no longer dwell; Princess” and “ In Memoriam,” for a future But in a city gloriouspaper. For the sake of contrasting more A great and distant city-have bought forcibly Tennyson with those writers of
A mansion incorruptible.
Would they could have stay'd with us !" whom perbaps poor Thomas Hood is the highest exemplar, we turn to the short for the way in which our poet mingles poem entitled the “ Deserted House," a fair sadness with joy, generally making the forparallel to Hood's “Haunted House,” from mer the sequence to the latter, we take a which we took some extracts in a former few stanzas from “The May Queen” and its paper in this Journal. That poem of continuations “ The New Year's Eve” and Hood's was a perfect example of the man- " The Conclusion.” Look at the picture of ner in which an objective mind of a high | light-hearted happiness in the beautiful joy. order would treat such a subject. If our ous girl who has been chosen from her comreaders will turn to it they will see how, panions to be the May Queen of the rustic touch upon touch, he paints the things which | fête,