« НазадПродовжити »
knight errantry which inundated Spain servants he maltreats. While he is at that period, and by their highly- thus repairing wrongs and redressing wrought wonders, and the distorted injuries, the bachelor Antonio Lopez views, they presented of actual life, very properly tells him :-'I do not tended greatly to corrupt the purity of precisely understand your mode of rethe public taste. The hero of the story, dressing wrongs; but, as for myself, you Don Quixote of La Mancha, has com- have made me crooked, when I was pletely lost his reason through the straight enough before; you have broken perusal of these outré-chivalric ro- my leg, which will never be set right mances; and imagining himself another all the days of my life; nor do I underOrlando or Amadis, he buckles on his stand how you repair injuries, for that ancient armour, mounts his Rosinante, which I have received from you will and accompanied by his trusty squire, never be repaired. It was the most unSancho Panza, sets forth with all the fortunate adventure that ever happened enthusiasm of the knights of eld, in to me when I met you in search of adquest of “strange adventure." It is his ventures !'” to relieve the distressed, to be a friend to In thus entering upon a crusade the orphan and the widow, to fight for against the indefinite multiplication of the defenceless, the injured, and op- knightly romances, it must not be suppressed, and give liberty to the captive, posed that Cervantes intended to ridito war with giants, and to break the wandcule the spirit of true chivalry—that of the enchanter. Such he conceives to be spirit and those institutions which, aris“ his mission.” And he addresses him-ing in the depths of a half-illuminated self thereto with faith and true-hearted and semi-barbarous age, tended, perhaps sincerity,—with a mind which, although above all other influences, to strengthen, erratic and indeed sadly astray, is yet exalt and ennoble, and, at the same instinct with generous impulses and pure time, to soften and refine. The age of and lofty feeling. In the words of a chivalry was the age of courage and of Spanish critic, he is “a veritable Ama- daring, of generous impulses and heroic dis de Gaula in caricature."
achievements. It steeped the ways of Toquote from the discriminating review common life and of dull reality in the of Sismondi, Cervantes “has described light of idealism and the rainbow hues in Don Quixote an accomplished man, of poetry. It made of existence one who is, notwithstanding, the constant vast and magnificent tournament, where object of ridicule; a man, brave beyond the victors were crowned with rich garall history can boast of, who confronts lands by fairest hands, and smiled upon the most terrific not only of mortal but by bright and loving eyes, amid the of super-natural perils; a man whose waving of gorgeous banners and the high sense of honour permits him not sound of martial music. Its laws were to hesitate for a single moment in the those of self-denial and high sacrifice. accomplishment of his promises, or to It deified Honour, it raised altars to deviate in the slightest degree from Beauty, and embalmed the whole unitruth. As disinterested as brave, he verse in the golden mysteries of devotion combats only for virtue, and when he and of love. It invested the “ overcovets a kingdom, it is only that he flowing solitudes” with visions of beauty may bestow it upon his faithful squire. and of grace, or it peopled them with He is the most constant and respectful | dimly defined images of fear, of terror of lovers, the most humane of warriors, or enchantment. It rushed nobly forthe kindest master, the most accom- ward to deeds of hard accomplishment, plished of cavaliers. With a taste as and returned crowned with the “ laurels refined as his intellect is cultivated, he of success," and glad with the light of surpasses in goodness the Amadises and victory. A dark age, if you will : but Orlandos whom he has chosen for his still it was a night glorious with stars, models. His most generous enterprises, and rich in dreams of wonder and dehowever, end only in blows and bruises. light. His love of glory is the bane of those Such, we imagine, were a few of the around him. The giants whom he be- characteristics of that era of past hislieves he is fighting are only windmills; | tory-the ladies whom he delivers from en “ When chivalry's laws were omnipotent, chanters, are harmless women whom he
And all save honour was given,
To win one smile from the worshipp'd one terrifies upon their journey, and whose The smile that makes earth a hegyep."
Every age and every successive deve- a few italicisms, that no better work can lopment of humanity, is, in some way be placed in the hands of a student of or other, mirrored in its literature. Thus the language. with the age of chivalry. Its spirit was The "Novelas Ejemplareg" consists imaged in the lofty sentiment and wild of twelve tales of much variety and enthusiasm of contemporary romancists, beauty. The first, called "La Gitanilla," in the strange, quaint recitals of the is a most interesting picture of Gipsy heroic chroniclers; and in the soft and life in Spain. The heroine Preciosa, is tender love-song, or in the ringing war- a beautiful girl who wins the heart of like strains of its errant troubadours. | an accomplished cavalier, and induces But, in course of time, this literature him to pass two probationary years lost, in a great measure, its original among the Gipsy band, before she ac. characteristics. Spain especially was cepts him as her husband. Of course, overwhelmed with imitative chivalric the tale concludes with the discovery romances, abounding in false, exagge- that Preciosa is a lady of high and noble rated sentiment, improbable incident birth, every way oqual in rank to her and every description of wild extrava-lover. gance. It was against such books as I The second story, " El Amante Libethere that Cervantes directed his admiral," or The Liberal Lover, relates the rable satire, and so successfully, that adventures of some Christians enslaved the publication of the “Don Quixote" by the Turks. Cervantes has here prewas the death-blow to all after attempts sented us with a vivid picture of his own to revive an interest in the exploits of sufferings, while in captivity, and the Roland, Amadis and the famous pala- entire narrative, which is one of deep ding of old.
interest, bears the stamp of stern truth. One remarkable feature in the history The history of Rinconete and Cortaof Don Quixote,” is the deep contrast dillo," presents us with the story of two between the refinement and lofty feeling young thieves. It is an amusing tranof the Knight, and the vulgar and proscript from nature, such as can only be saic character of the Squire. The poetic realized by those conversant with Spaimagination of Don Quixote colours nish life and character. It illustrateg all nature and every incident of life strikingly the strange admixture of dewith its own magic hues. To his ex-votional sentiment and superstition cited fancy, as before observed, wind. among beings we might well imagino mills are giants, and ordinary women lost to every sense of religion. Rincobeautiful princesses, in the power of nete inquirex of a robber"Perhaps, cruel enchanters. Sancho Panza, on then, you follow the occupation of a the contrary, is just the rude villager, thief?" "I do 80," is the reply," in the common-place enough, simple and cre- service of God and of all good people." dulous, a lover of fun and good-living; "The Spanish-English Lady," shews and evidently throughout a transcript clearly that our author had a very droll from nature. The story abounds with idea of England and the English." The incident and exquisite touches of wit. Licentiate of Glass," and “The Coloquio Here and there, too, are some very de los Perros," are satirical pieces. The choice scraps of criticism. For instance, Beautiful Charwoman," and the “Lady the Curate's examination of the Knight's Cornelia," are romantic love stories. library, &c. The forte of Cervantes lay Each one of these admirable tales pos. not alone in humourous delineations ; sessing a peculiar charm of its own, for some of the episodical stories he has | They are all different in incident and introduced in the course of his work, character, and more or less attractive. are remarkable for pathetic interest, as To some editions of the “Novelas" will the tale of the “ Shepherdens Marcela," | be found an appendix, containing tales, of“ Cardenio," &c.
by Dona Maria de Zayas y Bottomayor; The popularity of“Don Quixote" has and it is interesting to observe how very been almost unbounded. Thirty edi. inferior these are, to the ever-varied tions were published during the author's productions of Cervantes. lifetime. It has been translated into The earliest proge work of our author, all European languages. No other book the" Galatea," "a pastoral, was written in is so true an exponent of Spanish cha avowed imitation ofa similarromance, the racter; and its language throughout is “Diana," by Montemayor, a Portuguese, 80 varied, elegant and idiomatic, despite who wrote in Castilian. It is interest
ing in parts, but like the generality of contain some really fine passages. The books, with shepherds and shepherdesses “Numantia " celebrates the noble senfor heroes and heroines, it is tedious as timent of patriotism. It is founded a whole. This work contains six books, upon the story of the siege of that city, and was left unfinished.
when the inhabitants rather than surThe “Persiles y Sisigmunda," a story render to the Romans, perished amid of the North, the latest production of the flames of their desolated homes. Cervantes, and the one which of all he “Life in Algiers" contains a vivid loved the best, is a most wild and im- picture of the sufferings of the Christian probable romance,exceeding even in fan- captives in Moorish slavery, and was intastic extravagance the tales of chivalry tended by the author as an excitement he had satirised so successfully in the to the Spanish government to undertake "Don Quixote.” Nevertheless, it is a active measures for the redemption of model of elegance and perfect purity of all such captives. We shall not attempt style, and rich in flashes of genius, amid any analysis of these two dramas, that all its eccentricities, and, therefore, de- having been already so admirably done serving well a place among the Spanish by M. Sismondi in his excellent work classics.
on the “Literature of the South of It remains to contemplate Cervantes Europe." as a dramatist and a poet. His fame! And here we close our sketch of the as such rests entirely, we think, upon his life and writings of Miguel de Cervantes two plays, the “ Numantia,” and “El Saavedra; the brightest ornament that Trato de Argel ;" for they both contain shines out amid Spanish literary rehigher flights of poetry than the “ Viaje cords; a man of heroic soul, of fair and al Parneso," or any other of his poeti- broad humanity, and of highest genius, cal attempts. He who has once read of whom his country has, indeed, truest the “ Journey to Parnassus,” will not reason for pride and self-gratulation. often revert to it again; but the dramas!
M. J E.
DR. DAVID MACBETH MOIR.
(DELTA) DR. DAVID MACBETH Moir was born | Latin, Greek and French languages, at Musselburgh, a sea-port town of Scot-besides making some progress in geo. land, situated about six miles east of metry and algebra. His boyhood was Edinburgh, on the 5th of January, of a healthy sort, marked by no very 1798. His parents were respectable striking features, yet full of that boncitizens. He was the second of four hommie which the juvenile man invachildren, two of whom, Hugh Moir and riably indulges in, when his elastic spirit Charles Moir, are still living. The is not broken by premature troubles. father of this family died in 1817, the He was fond of innocent sports, and mother in 1842. The father of Dr. took a hearty sbare in the outdoor Moir was a man of high worth and es- games of boyhood. A warm, enthusitablished respectability; the mother was astic nature of a highly imaginative a woman of refined feeling and exalted cast, always evinces itself in boyhood, intellect, who gave every encourage in a love of green fields and athletic ment to the mental growth of her chil- sports; and the remembrance, in after dren, and afforded them every possible life, of these exciting scenes of pleasure, facility for the acquisition of a know- is a constant source of refreshment to ledge of literature.
the soul of a high-toned man. In his Young Moir received the first rudi- full manhood, Moir found it a peculiar ments of his education at a small school pleasure to call to mind the "old lurkin Musselburgh, from which he was ing-places of hunt-the-hare;" and the removed to the grammar-school, and "old fantastic beech-tree," from the placed under the training of Mr. Taylor. boughs of which he and his compaHere he acquired a knowledge of the nions suspended their swings. The green bank where they played at leap. During the week he lodged in a small frog, or gathered dandelions for their room in Shakspere-square. His days tame rabbits; and the worm-eaten, wea- | were spent in hard work at the theatre ther-worn deal seat where they assem- of the college, or in the various classes ; bled on autumn evenings to tell the his evenings at Carfrae's sale-rooms, round of stories, wonderful traditions, where he staked his last shilling against household memories, and recitals of all comers in a fierce bidding for a chivalric enterprise, were all to be noted, choice book. On Saturday night he years afterwards, when the heart was exhibited his purchases to his friends, capable of a new thrill, and could revert and indulged in a few harmless speculato the past with a tenderness which tions as to how many volumes it recalled forth tears. It is just in this quires to form a library, and how many sympathy with the simple and the true years to purchase it at an expenditure
this gush of feeling under the touch of five shillings a week. Now and then of memory's magic-wand—that we re- he indulged himself with a visit to the cognise the poet by nature, who is nonetheatre, to see the performances of Mrs. the less a poet, though he never writes Siddons, Miss O'Neill, John Kemble, a line, because his very constitution is or Edmund Kean. poetic.
His apprenticeship concluded, he got At the age of thirteen, Moir was ap- his diploma as a surgeon in the spring prenticed to Dr. Stewart, a medical of 1816, when he was only eighteen practitioner in Musselburgh, a man of years of age. A long-cherished notion considerable talent, who took his pupil with him had been to enter the army; under the influence of a love for him, but the battle of Waterloo had so altered rather than as a trick of business. He the state of military affairs, that this entered upon life thus early, and com- purpose was abandoned. He accordmenced his duties with a cheerful zeal; ingly returned home from Edinburgh, and, in a short time, so gained upon the and spent the summer in literary purconfidence of his master, as to be re- suits, contributing to the “ Scot's Magagarded as a personal friend.
zine,” and taking an active part in a “ Business first, literary recreation | debating-club, called the “Musselburgh next, and poetry the prince of it; such Forum.” Of this society he was secrewas the key-note on which Moir pitched tary, and so respected was he for his his life and kept it to the end." His zeal in serving the society, that the first poetical attempt bears the date of members, at the close of their session, 1812, when he was in his fifteenth year. voted him a silver medal, suitably inLike most juvenile attempts, this was scribed. It is a suggestive fact, that the only “good considering" certainly not greater part of our men of letters have worthy of preservation. Soon after this, gained their earliest experiences in conhe contrived to get two short prose nection with debating-clubs. Towards essays into the “Cheap Magazine," a the end of this same year, he ventured smail Haddington publication. The on the publication of a volume, entianxieties connected with this bis “ first tled, “The Bombardment of Algiers, appearance in print,” recalls to the mind and Other Poems,” the edition of which the anecdote told by Dickens, of his was wholly consumed by his friends. mysterious dropping of a sealed packet Mr. Aird speaks of this as a “performinto a dark letter-box in Fleet-street, ance not without promise;" an expresand then hovering near the office, on sion to be accepted as the most gentle publishing day, to catch the tidings of mode of describing a failure; and of all its fate. Moir used to relate how, burnt dull books this is a dull one indeed. up with eager impatience, he shot out! In 1817, young Moir—then only nineinto the streets of Musselburgh to await teen years of age-entered into partnerthe coach which brought the magazine ship with Dr. Brown, of Musselburgh, from Haddington, and then and there who had an extensive and lucrative found himself a veritable published practice, in the town and suburbs. Moir's author. As his apprenticeship wore father was just dead, and his mother was out, he began his attendance at Edin-left dependent on her son. The duties burgh College. Every Monday he of this new position found him pre. walked up to his classes, and returned (pared to meet them, and filial love home on Saturday night, to spend the usurped the mastery of his lerge heart. Sabbath in the family circle.
1 “Many a time," says his brother
Charles, “have I heard my mother, open school; very prone to common who was a woman of a strong mind, sense, and quite conscious that he had record with a tearful eye the struggles a body. “I am far from delicate,” he of that period, and the noble bearing of says in a letter to Dr. Macnish, in-1828. her son David, who carried her success. “I have not been confined fourteen days fully through all her difficulties.” to bed, for the last twenty years--a
But now he began to cultivate his pretty good sign that my constitution is literary talents with an assiduity which not naturally a very tender one. So far matched well with his steadfastness of from it. I am much more known in the aim and character. He read diligently town of Musselburgh, among the proin the brief intervals which his hard fanum vulgus, for my gymnastic proprofessional tasks afforded him; and ficiency than for any piental capabilities, with a wonderful facility of express and many could give evidence to my sion, he wrote off with great ease any prowess in leaping, running, swimidea which had occurred to him during ming, and skating; whoever dreamt the prosecution of his duties. He made that I penned a sonnet when I should the acquaintance of Mr. Thomas Pringle, engross?" author of the “ Autumnal Excursions," Yet in spite of this vigour of frame and one of the editors of “Constable's he possessed a nervous system tremEdinburgh Magazine,” to which journal blingly delicate, and most strictly in Moir became a frequent contributor. | harmony with the sensitiveness of his This mixture of business and literature polished mind. His adolescence was taxed his powers to the utmost, and for marked by bashfulness, arising from the small pinch of attic salt he had to nervous excitement, which it required pay some heavy penalties. “When the many years' rough battling with the duties of the day were over,” says his world to eradicate, and for which, indeed, brother Charles, and it was always there is no other remedy. It was under nine or ten o'clock in the evening before the influence of this strange feelinghe could count on that-after supper certainly under a morbid influence of the candle was lighted in his bed-room, some kind or other, the consequence, and the work of the desk began. Having doubtless, of over-excitement of the shared the same room with him for brain—that he wrote those early pieces many years in my early life, the routine of verse, in which the prevailing sentiof those nights is as fresh in my mind ment is melancholy, and regret for the as if it had been but yesterday. With past. These breathings of melodious that loving-kindness of heart, and that sadness were, however, by no means tender care for others, which was the peculiar to his youth, for all through, distinguishing feature of his character, his poetry is tinged with the same exhe used to persuade me to retire to rest; pression, and in such a way as to prove and many a time have I awoke, when that had he given himself up to meditathe night was far spent, and wondered tions in the closet, he would have beto find him still at his books and pen.” come a confirmed victim of hypochon
Under these circumstances did Moir | driasis, instead of, as he was, one of the pass his youth, and enter on the cares heartiest of men, and healthiest of of manhood. No pale student was he, writers. " wasting his soul in thin ballads,” but! The series of poems originally puba right hearty Scot, robust in constitu- lished, under the general appellative of tion, and with a strong tendency to “Moods of the Mind,” indicate by their athletic sports and amusements. Most general particular titles the peculiar of our youths are sentimental from a sensibility from which they sprang; deficiency of manly feeling, or, alas ! each poem being the representative of a a deficiency of brains; but your true “Mood,” and that mood usually of the man, who is to do something in his life- gloomy sort. Of these “Despondency, time, and “ leave the print of his heel a Reverie,” “The Isle of Despair,” “The on the earth,” affects no paleness of the Cypress Tree,” “Midnight Wanderings," countenance, no paradoxical mysticism and “Reflections on a Ruined Abbey," in conversation, and if he sighs or sheds are suggestive enough on their bare a tear, it is not advertised like the enumeration, and strikingly illustrate prayer of the Pharisee, but endured in how a character of the most practical secret like the sincere emotions of the turn may grow out of a purely conpublican. Moir was just of this frank, I templative and melancholy nature,