Изображения страниц

we are surprised at its intricacy ; but the wealth and power of the empire ; we do not find ourselves more com- but that ignorance and crime, which petent to judge of the workings of the resulted in a great degree from their human heart than our fathers were. own original mismanagement, was We are apt to forget that in this case, adopted as the excuse for neglecting the data, the experience, the subject the best interests of the kingdom. itself, remain the same ; and, above The government of this country has, all, revelation, already beyond the ut- therefore, been perpetually wavering. most limits that the most advanced At one time an administration acmarch of intellect could ever hope to quainted with the real state of things, attain, has long since laid down the but conceiving it rather their duty to principles, and furnished all the know- retain, than to improve, contented ledge that can be attained by man itself with compelling submission to upon the subject.

the laws. Again, some silly or In conclusion, we must address a designing ruler would adopt some few remarks to the present state of Utopian notion of conciliation, and in this kingdom. The Reformation has a few months destroy, by injudicious comparatively failed in Ireland: the encouragement, all the order and subcauses of this we bave elsewhere en- ordination which his predecessor had deavoured to trace. There can, howe effected by the labour of as many ever, be no doubt in the mind of any years. But no one ever steadily and one who will take the trouble to read energetically applied themselves to our national history, and to make him- overcome the ignorance and superself acquainted, not by theory, but stition, which were the root of the practice, with our national character evil, by active and moral education. and circumstances, that this country But this was a state of things which has never been properly governed. would not survive the advance of civiEngland has acted not only unjustly, lization. The increased facilities of but, as in such cases usually follows, communication between the several unwisely towards Ireland. No pains kingdoms of the empire, and between were taken to improve her people ; no the parts of the same kingdom, have endeavour was made at the same time rendered it impossible that the evils to enforce the law with uniformity, of one country should be any longer and to render that law beneficial to confined to its own shores. The act the subject : they were alternately of union brought Irish interests before either subdued by force, or encouraged the notice of England; the act of in sedition ; but no extensive or per- emancipation introduced Popish barmanent endeavour was made by Eng- barisin, falsehood, and treason into our land to communicate to this kingdom English legislature. The first effect the blessings of religious truth and of the shock was the absurd and wicked social comfort. The versatile talent of attempt to obtain a temporary respite the Irish character requires above all by throwing as a sop to the monster things a strict, steady, unyielding, all that remained of English civilizauniforinity in the administration of tion in his native land. But the respite the law. In no part of the empire thus gained was too brief and partial does the uncertainty of punishment to serve the purpose, or to prevent the produce so much mischief as in this people of England from being aroused country.

Man will always consider to a sense of their error; and they are rather the chance of escape than the at length learning that as it is no probability of punishment; but if there longer possible to retain a blissful exists one class of mankind who pos- ignorance of all that concerns Ireland, sess this disposition in a higher degree the only alternative must be so to than the rest

, it is the Irish peasant. civilize and improve the habits and The English nation ought long since purify the religion of her people, that to have been as intimately acquainted they may become an ornament, instead with our national character, resources, of a disyrace, to the empire. That Wants, and circumstances, as their own; this will be the result of the present and this knowledge would ere now state of things, as regards this country, have afforded them means of doubling and that the fiery ordeal which has

raised her church to a height of purity final lesson of experience, which is to perhaps unequalled by any establish- root out those false, unsound, and ment of any kind on the face of the baneful errors into which the people globe will have the same purifying of this empire had fallen; to fix the effect on her gentry and peasantry, we bounds of toleration; to mark the dishave little doubt. That the desperate tinction between superstitious bigotry and outrageous attacks now made on and uncompromising religious princi. Irish Protestantism will ultimately, by ple; to explode the doctrine of expearousing the landlords to a sense of diency; to demonstrate the direct contheir duty and their danger, be the nexion between religious principles destruction of Irish popery, appears and political conduct ; to display the now nearly certain. But the great natural disposition of infidelity, popery, question whether England shall benefit and dissenterism, to unite together by this change, or be left to abide the against truth; and, above all things, to consequence of her own profligate po- impress upon all classes possessed of licy, must be decided by her future influence, ihat that influence is a sacred conduct. Not only is it not yet too trust reposed in them for the benefit late to do that which she ought to of society, for the promotion of true have done two centuries since, by religion and sound policy. taking active means to spread the re We think that all the present sufformation through this unbappy be- ferings of the empire under bigoted nighted population, but we fearlessly latitudinarianism and republican fanaassert, that never in the history of Ire- ticism are designed to produce the land has so fair an opportunity exhi- salutary effects we have described. bited itself for the accomplishment of We feel assured that the past bistory this design. The gentry are at length of Europe, and especially of this emaroused, the peasantry who profess the pire, affords tokens pot few or trifling popish superstition are already more that the present era is one of such than half converted by the progress of importance that the great events of education and the extravagant conduct the last two centuries have been or. of her priests; and we feel assured dered with a view to render more we are not going beyond the fact perfect the lesson now taught to the when we assert that more than one- people of Great Britain.

Such are fourth of the nominal Irish papists are our views; and our readers are at at present bound to their faith chiefly liberty to consider them as consolatory by the ties of political ambition, the or the reverse. We must, however, consciousness of political patronage, draw their attention to one conclusion and the prospect of political dominion. which will directly follow from our If discouraged and subdued, these men premises, if the truth of those premises would leave a sinking ship; but while be admitted; namely, that the more excited by the hope of power, they unwilling and slow the nation are to are, of all the followers of that church, receive such a lesson, the more severe the most desperate, the most unprin- and protracted will be the means of cipled, and the most difficult to con- their conversion, and that a period is trol.

approaching when such a conversion We have stated, and endeavoured may be but a death-bed repentance. to prove, our opinion, that the present The experience has been afforded to state of Great Britain is not a crisis, them; but to profit by it, or to sink which will pass over and leave things beneath it, must be their own act. as they were before; but that it is the

FRITHIOF's saga.*

WERE a list to be made of such Pope Urban VIII, and of Fortiguerra, bishops as at some period or other of the lively author of Ricciardetto; their lives have been more or less France, of Cardinal de Polignac, subdistinguished by their poetical talents, sequently an archbishop, and of Huet ; it would be considerably more exten- Scotland, of Gawin Douglas, a host sive, and would include a much greater in himself; and England, of Archnumber of celebrated names, than one bishop Parker, and of Bishops Hall, would at first be inclined to anticipate. Corbet, Kenn, King, Sprat, Lowth, In the earlier ages, for instance, occur Percy, Heber, and Mant: we enumethose of Gregory Nazianzen and Sido- rate the three last among the English nius Apollinaris : and since the revival prelates, because, though their sees of literature, Italy can boast of her were not in that country, they were Vida, of Sadolet and Bembo, for they born and educated in it.t

An episwere bishops as well as cardinals, of copal poet, Johan Nordahl Bruun,

Frithiof's Saga: a Skandinavian Legend of Royal Love. Translated from the Swedish Poetic Version of Esaias Tegner, Bishop of Wexio. With copious notes illustrative of ancient manners and northern mythology, By the Rev. William Strong, A. M., Chaplain in ordinary to His Majesty. London s. a., but 18:35, pp. xxi, 320.

Frithiof's Saga, or the Legend of Frithiof, by Esaias Tegner. Translated from the Swedish. London. 1835. Pp. 246.

+ The term boast is scarcely applicable to all of the personages enumerated; but it certainly is to most of them. As to Vida

« Immortal Vida: on whose honored brow

The Poet's bays and Critic's ivy grow”— he is too well known by his Christias, bis Ars Poetica, and his Bombyx, &c., as well as by Pope's lines just quoted, to need further notice here. Sadolet, though his prose works are of most note, is entitled to a place in the list by his Latin poems, especially the two named Curtius and Laocoon: Bembo and Urban VIII cultivated both Latin and Italian poetry; and Fortiguerra gained no small credit by his Ricciardetto, which he published under the classically disguised name of Car. teromaco. The history of this poem is singular enough. In conversation with some friends who were extolling the works of Berni, Pulci, and Ariosto, and observing that their verses, though apparently composed with great ease and Auency, must have cost them great labour, he maintained that that style of poetry was much easier than they thought, and, to prove it, engaged to write a canto of a poem in the same style against the following evening. This he actually performed, and with such success, that his friends requested him to continue and complete the work, which he did accordingly, to use his own words, “nel corso di pochi anni, ed a tempi rotti, ed avanzati alle occupazioni piu gravi.” Cardinal de Polignac is well known by his Anti-Lucretius; and Huet wrote various poems in Greek, Latin, and French, though indeed those in the last-mentioned language are not much to the credit of his poetical talents.

We now come to Gawin Douglas, whose translation of the Eneid with a prologue to each book, together with his Palace of Honour, entitle him to a high rank in the present list. Archbishop Parker translated the book of Psalms into verse, as did also Henry King, Bishop of Chichester; the latter wrote besides many occasional pieces of great beauty. The spirited satires of Hall, and the lively productions of the “generous, witty, and eloquent Corbet," are well known. Kenn's poetry was of a religious cast, and is now but little read; while Sprat was thought worthy of admission among Johnson's Poets, although, in a kind of metaphorical conformity to his name, or, as Eschylus has it, sawwuuws, he was, as Southey says, "aptly named Sprat, as being one of the least among the poets.” Of the elegant and classical Lowth, the tasteful Percy, the pious Heber, and of a prelate still, we are happy to say, amongst us, the third episcopal author of a metrical version of the Psalms, and the minstrel of the British Months, it is unnecessary here to speak.

We might have added to the above list the name of Torrentius, Bishop of Ant

Bishop of Bergen, contributed to Nor- of Fortiguerra, and the pathos and way her famous national song ; and we elevated tone of feeling of Fenelon, may now look to Sweden for an impor- together with a certain wild simplicity tant addition to the list, in the person peculiar to the effusions of the Scanof Esaias Tegner, Bishop of Wexio, the dinavian muse. author of the singular and beautiful Frithiof's Saga first appeared in a poem at present before us.

complete form in the year 1825 ; and Besides the above, there are two the fifth edition, a copy of which is others who may here be mentioned as now before us, bears the date of 1831. authors of compositions, which, though It resembles in one respect the books in prose, yet breathe the spirit of printed in the early part of the sixpoetry in the invention and language. teenth century, the title only being on We allude to Heliodorus, bishop of the first page, while the printer's name, Tricca in Thessaly, who in his youth date, &c., are not given till at the end. wrote the Ethiopics, or the Loves of The poem consists of twenty-four canTheagenes and Chariclea ; and to the tos, each in a different metre, which illustrious Archbishop of Cambray, is strictly preserved throughout. Some whose Telemaque, while by some styled of these are of a very singular, and to a political romance, as the other is an us uncommon, description: others, on erotic romance, is by the majority of the contrary, are old acquaintances. critics allowed to have a claim to the Thus we find blank verse, ottava rima, title of an epic poem, and has even classical hexameters, and senarian iambeen translated as such into English bics, interposed between various kinds heroic verse. It is related of the of what may be styled ballad measures, foriner, though not on very credible together with a few that are peculiar authority, that he was required either to Scandinavian poetry. As the title to disavow the production of his early infers, it relates the adventures of days, or to renounce his episcopal Frithiof, a hero who is supposed to office ; and it is well known that have flourished in the eighth century, Fenelon was greatly censured by some and whose exploits have descended to for writing such a heathen work, and posterity in the Saga called after his so unsuitable to a dignitary of the

We have not been able as yet church, as they considered his Tele- to procure a copy of the old Saga itself, machus to be. We are not aware but as we have a digest of its contents, whether the good Bishop of Wexio as well as of those of Thorsten's Saga, has incurred any similar censures ; but in the Historia Rerum Norvegicarum of it is certain that he is greatly beloved Torfæus, which, we have reason to in his own country, and his Frithiof is believe, exactly follows their steps in exceedingly popular both there and in all that relates to our hero and his the North of Europe in general. Nor father, this matters but little. In fact, are we surprised at this, as it displays there is quite enough of the original the distinguishing excelleucies of the legend given, to enable us to judge of two last mentioned authors, together the skill the poet has displayed in with those of the only two, besides suppressing some incidents, and alterVida, in the preceding list, who suc- ing others, which, as they stood, would ceeded in the department of epic or rather have shocked the more refined romantic poetry : combining in itself feelings of our days, and diminished the tenderness of Heliodorus, the vi some of the interest and moral effect gour of Gawin Douglas, the vivacity of the fable.


werp, and afterwards Archbishop of Mechlin, as, though he is much better known as an ingenious critic, he wrote several Latin poems, some of which were considered to possess considerable merit. In those days, however, almost every scholar wrote a greater or less quantity of Latin verses, for they often did not deserve the dame of poetry. There is yet a prelate of English birth, who, though possessed of a more essentially poetic genius than most of those above-mentioned, has left nothing save a few hymns, to enable us to judge how far those fine and beautiful conceptions, which even in the guise of prose breathe so much of the spirit, would be enhanced by the addition of the form of poetry: the reader need scarcely be informed that we mean the amiable, the learned, and the pious Jeremy Taylor,

Tegner's poem had not long ap- in the notes. With respect to the peared before it was translated into text, notwithstanding an unfortunate German by Mohnike, and afterwards propensity to a pedantic and grandiloby Amalie von Helwig, and by Schley. quent style, which displays itself alThere are also two or three Danish most invariably in the prose, and not versions, of which that by Foss, a unfrequently even in the verse of Mr. Norwegian, is, we understand, con- Strong, his version is on the whole sidered the best. It was first intro- superior to that of his rivals, especially duced to the notice of English readers in point of faithfulness, and of greater by the Foreign Quarterly (1828), in an resemblance to the original in the able review of the Swedish original, various measures employed. His knowin which mention was also made of ledge too of the northern languages Mohnike's translation. This was im- is evidently greater, and his acquaintmediately followed by an admirable ance with their literature more extenarticle in Blackwood's Magazine, in sive. On the other hand, the joint which an analysis was given of the version, from its greater simplicity, has whole poem, and several passages were in some places the advantage ; but is translated with great spirit into English in many others too much in the ballad verse, though not, we believe, directly style, which at times approaches to from the original

, but from the German flatness and childishness, to do justice version of Madame Helwig. A hope to its archetype : the simplicity of was at the same time expressed that Homer and of a doggrel ballad are two the notice might “ perhaps have the very different things. We observed, effect of calling into so worthy a field, also, in glancing over it, passages in some master spirit, capable of trans- which the meaning of the original has fusing into the Well of English un been totally misunderstood ; and the defiled the singular and unhackneyed errors are of such a nature as to infer strains of the Northern Minstrel." either extreme haste and carelessness, Seven years, however, elapsed before or a very slender knowledge of the the invitation was responded to, when, Swedish language: but of this anon. as if by numbers to compensate for the At the same time, however, it is highly delay, no less than four individuals probable that this version will be the undertook the task, three in concert, most popular, as it reads easily and and one, more courageous, or less fluently, unobscured by those Miltonic pressed for time, single-handed : and constructions and affectations of unas the last-mentioned personage was

usual and antiquated words, which as little aware of the intention of the abound in the other. In our analysis three partners in this literary enter- of the poem we shall take extracts prize as they were of his, and the indifferently from either, as it best versions appeared about the same time, suits our purpose. each claims for itself the honour of The first canto, which is entitled being the first. The joint production, “Frithiof and Ingeborg," contains an though bearing the name of London account of the childhood and youth of on the title-page, was printed in Paris, these personages, the hero and heroine and is published anonymously, or at of the tale. We learn afterwards that least, with the initials only of the she was the daughter of Bele, * king parties appended to their respective of Sogne in Norway, and he the son portions of the work. The other, by of Thorsten Vikingsson, a renowned the Rev. Mr. Strong, emanates from a warrior, the friend and companion in London press ; and, though twice the arms of the king. Brought up together price of its rival, is, independently of in the country, under the care of its merits as a translation, worth the Hilding, a friend of their parents, the difference, on account of the very result is only what was to be expected ; superior manner in which it is got up, and the development of their love with with respect to printing and embellish- their years is beautifully described. ments, &c., as well as of the much Even here, however, we have a hint greater quantity of matter contained of the trials that await the lovers, as

* Bele is a dissyllable, as is also the name Helge, which occurs soon afterwards. Björn, on the other hand, is a monosyllable. Mr. Strong, however, in his version, makes Bele a monosyllable throughout.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »