Зображення сторінки

advances first in the water. It is usually ornamented with some carved figure, intended to represent the dignity of the nation to which the ship belongs, or some circumstance of the enterprize in which it is engaged. Trophies are emblems of military prowess. Richard was a king—a man of great hardihood, enthusiasm, and national pride—his vessels were, doubtless, embellished by figures which indicated his sense of the glory of Britain, and the importance of the adventure before him.

Many a warrior minstrel, &c. The ancient minstrels were poets who composed extempore verses, and sung them to the music of the harp, which they played themselves. The minstrels were common attendants of princes and nobles of the middle

ages, and were maintained by them—they usually commanded great attention and respect wherever they went. The minstrels in Warton's ode, bid the Syrian virgins dread English Richard, and the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem to tremble, as the ranks of his soldiers with their shining shields and lances shall descend from the city of Damascus. They also threaten Saladin, the Saracen prince, that his glories shall soon be terminated, and that his triumphant banners, adorned by the badge of his Mussulman faith—the silver moon, or figure of the crescent—shall fall before the British conqueror.

the sepulchre of God! By mocking pagans rudely trod, Bereft of every awful rite,

And quenched thy lamps that beamed so bright. The Saracens, when they got possession of the Holy City, abolished the religious ceremonies which the Christians had instituted, and extinguished the lamps which the Empress Helena had ordered to be kept continually burning.

The minstrel goes on to sing that the fortifications of the Saracens have no terrors for the English—that neither their battering rams, nor any of the engines used in war before the discovery of gunpowder, nor the sorceries and charms, the phantoms and evil spirits, conjured up to harm the Christians, could diminish their confidence in the God of their trust. He then apostrophizes “ Salem," (Jerusalem,) and would encourage this daughter of Sion, as this city is sometimes figuratively called, that she should again be restored to the Lord's heritage, and that the badge of Constantine should soon wave on her battlement, as a token that the Christians had rescued her from the Infidel. This " badge of Constantine," was the sign of the Cross. Constantine caused the Cross to be painted on the standards borne by his armies.

be use

Blondel led the tuneful band, &c. Richard cultivated poetry. Some of the Provencal Poets, called Troubadours, had been invited from France to England before Richard's time, and had continued to be patronized in England. While Richard was absent in the holy wars, which was almost ten years, his brother John endeavoured to ingratiate himself with the English nation. When Richard learned this, he set out on his return to England, but while he was in Palestine, some disaffection had arisen between him and the monarchs allied with him—these were the king of France and the emperor of Germany—and being shipwrecked in his voyage home, he was taken by the emperor, and made a prisoner in Germany. After more than a year, a ransom was paid for him, and he was permitted to go to England. A fable concerning Blondel is so often alluded to, that it

may ful to relate it in this place.

After Richard's imprisonment in Germany," a whole year elapsed before the English knew where their monarch was confined. Blondel de Nesle, Richard's favourite French minstrel, resolved to find out his lord; and after travelling many days without success, at last came to a castle where Richard was detained. Here he found that the castle belonged to the Duke of Austria, and that a king was there imprisoned. Suspecting that the prisoner was his master, he found means to place himself directly before the window of the chamber where the king was kept; and in this situation began to sing a French chanson which Richard and Blondel had formerly written together. When the king heard the song he knew it was Blondel who sung it; and when Blondel paused after the first half of the song, the king began the other half and completed it. Blondel then returned to England, acquainted the people with his discovery, and Richard was in due time liberated.”


This distinguished woman is still living. She is the niece of John Hunter, the eminent anatomist, and sister of Dr. Baillie, late physician to the King of England, one of the most celebrated medical practitioners of his time; but her consanguinity to these men of genius reflects no more honour upon her, than their relationship to her does upon them. If there is any honourable pride in family connexions, it is in the self-complacency which we derive from the fact that one of the same race with ourselves has shed lustre upon all of our blood, by the splendour of acknowledged talent or virtue.

Miss Baillie is chiefly known as a dramatic author. Her plays are not well adapted to the public taste of this age, but abounding in highly poetic passages, they are admired by readers of the finest taste. Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, and many others of the most gifted minds, have loved to celebrate Joanna Baillie. Sir Walter Scott says, Shakspeare's

“harp had silent hung,
By silver Avon's holy shore,
Till twice a hundred years rolled o'er,
When she, the bold Enchantress, came,
With fearless hand and heart on flame,
From the pale willow snatched the treasure,
And swept it with a kindred measure,
Till Avon's swans, while rung the grove
With Montfort's hate and Basil's love,
Awakened at the inspiring strain,

Dreamed their own Shakspeare lived again."
Basil and Montfort are heroes of Miss Baillies tragedies.

PRINCE EDWARD alone in prison.
“ Doth the bright sun from the high arch of heaven
In all his beauteous robes of fleckered clouds,
And ruddy vapours, and deep glowing flames
And softly varied shades, look gloriously?
Do the green woods dance to the wind the lakes
Cast up their sparkling waters to the light 1
Do the sweet hamlets in their bushy dells
Send winding up to heaven their curling smoke
On the soft morning air ?
Do the flocks bleat, and the wild creatures bound
In antic happiness? and mazy birds
Wing the mid air in lightly skimming bands ?
Aye, all this is ; men do behold all this ;
The poorest man. E'en in this lonely vault,
My dark and narrow world, oft I do hear
The crowing of the cock so near my wall,
And sadly think how small a space divides me
From all this fair creation.

From the wide spreading bounds of beauteous nature
I am alone shut out; I am forgotten.

to my

Peace, peace! He who regards the poorest worm,
Still cares for me.—Perhaps, small as these walls,
A bound unseen divides my dreary state
From a more beauteous world ; that world of souls ;
Feared and desired by all ; a veil unseen
Which soon shall be withdrawn.
The air feels chill; methinks it should be night,
I'll lay me down ; perchance kind sleep will come,
And open view an inward world
Of garnished fantasies, from which nor walls,
Nor bars, nor tyrant's power can shut me out."

Ed. What brings thee now; it surely cannot be
The time of food : my prison hours are wont
To fly more heavily.

Keep. It is not food : I bring wherewith, my lord,
To stop a rent in these old walls, that oft
Hath grieved me, when I've thought of you of nights ;
Thro' it the cold wind visits you.

Ed. And let it enter! it shall not be stopped.
Who visits me besides the winds of heaven?
Who mourns with me but the sad-sighing wind ?
Who bringeth to mine ear the mimicked tones
Of voices once beloved and sounds long past,
But the light-winged and many voiced wind ?
Who fans the prisoner's lean and fevered cheek
As kindly as the monarch's wreathed brows
But the free piteous wind ?
I will not have it stopped.

Keep. My lord, the winter now creeps on apace :-
Hoar frost this morning on our sheltered fields
Lay thick, and glanced to the up-risen sun,
Which scarce had power to melt it.

Ed. Glanc'd to the up-risen sun! Ay, such fair morns,
When every bush doth put its glory on,
Like a gemmed brride! you rustics now
And early hinds, will set their clouted feet
Thro' silver webs, so bright and finely wrought
As royal dames ne'er fashioned, yet plod on
Their careless way, unheeding.
Alas, how many glorious things there be
To look upon! Wear not the forests, now,
Their latest coat of richly varied dyes ?

Keep. Yes, my good lord, the cold chill year advances
Therefore I pray you, let me close that wall.

Ed. I tell thee no, man ; if the north air bites,
Bring me a cloak. Where is thy dog to day?

Keep. Indeed I wonder that he came not with me
As he is wont.

Ed. Bring him, I pray thee, when thou com'st again.
He wags his tail and looks

up my

With the assured kindliness of one
Who has not injured me.



It has been said to be a happy circumstance for us of the nineteenth century, that we live in the age of the author of Waverly. At the time this remark was made, the author of Waverly was alive, but unknown to the world in general. For more than ten years the press at Edinburgh sent forth a succession of novels, which entertained the whole reading world. Waverly was the first of these charming books, and the author studiously concealed himself from the curiosity of the public. The author of Waverly was rightly suspected to be Walter Scott. About the year 1805, the Lay of the Last Minstrel was published. This poem was acknowledged to be the production of Mr. Scott. He was a native of Scotland, curious in the antiquities of that country, and has long been known for his researches into Scottish poetry, for his talent of general criticism, and his poetic invention.

After the publication of the Lay, Scott wrote Marmion, and several other metrical romances of extraordinary beauty. The novels before mentioned bear many resemblances to the poems, and on these resemblances was founded the presumption that the poet was also the novelist. All conjecture upon this subject was put at rest, by the declaration of Sir Walter Scott that he was in truth, the author of Waverly.

This poet has with much propriety been compared with Shakspeare. Shakspeare," says Mr. Campbell, " lived in an age within the verge of chivalry, an age overflowing with chivalrous and romantic reading; he was led by his vocation to have daily recourse to that kind of reading; he dwelt on the spot which gave him constant access to it, and was in habitual intercourse with men of genius."

Sir Walter Scott lived when the" age of chivalry was gone ;"

« НазадПродовжити »