« НазадПродовжити »
MA . . . . . . . .
GIP . . . . . . . The rest was defaced and no longer legible. I found there, by an antique water-basin, a tablet with the following inscription, not particularly difficult to decipher, which appears to me to be a very original and remarkable public monumental satire, engraved after the death of the excellent individual whom it celebrates :
ISTI SENATORI LIPARITANO
TARI IVSSIT. D. D. I cannot discover what old place this may have been, since, in the few maps I have, nothing is marked in this region, and I have here no other works which might help me. Even Dr. Shaw makes no mention of these ruins, which, to judge by their former splendour and their proportionally small compass, seem perhaps to have been no town, but only a groupe of temples, with the dwellings of the priests lying about them. The Arabs call the place at the marabout (for where there are ancient remains we may reckon almost always on finding a marabout) Sidi Massud-Ladscheni. Near it flows the now almost entirely waterless stream, Uad Dschibibina, whose abrupt sandy banks, as usual, were bordered with blooming oleanders.”—vol. iv. p. 163–170.
The foregoing is a tolerably fair specimen of our author's style of relating his country excursions, and even exhibits a little of his defects. The story of the cow and her offspring is made too much of; it is—if our readers will allow us once to pun-rather calf-ish; and the reflection which follows, in our estimation, is extremely mawkish, although quite worthy of Prince Pückler Muskau. Not long after leaving these ruins, having passed a district “ famous for robberies and occasional murders," our traveller approached the borders of the great desert.
Amongst other ancient sites which our German traveller passed in the sequel of his long excursion till his return to Tunis, were those of Aquæ Regiæ, Sufetula, Colonia Scillitana, Hydrah (Tynidrum), Thugga, and Sicca Veneria, the latter famous for the many theories which its name has supported or given rise to in
voĻ. XIX. NO, XXXVII.
the writers on Syrian mythology. The ruins of Sufetula appear to be very extensive and highly interesting. In their iminediate neighbourhood Pickler Muskau also found a monument which he could compare to nothing so much as some of the Druidical remains that he had formerly seen in England and Bretagne,
On the 14th of August our traveller left the most southerly point of his excursion, the neighbourhood of Sufetula, and shaped his course again towards the north. He was now on the borders of the territory of the Dey of Constantine, and as all border land is barbarous and hostile, he was, or at least the prince would have us believe so, on very dangerous ground. Still “ half in the territory of Constantine," at Hydrah, lie the ruins of the ancient Tynidrum or Thunadronum, " one of the most remarkable collections of ruins in the kingdom." Amongst uncivilized people ancient sites have commonly popular legends connected with them, which are often highly characteristic of the character and superstitions of those people, and we are never sorry to see such legends collected. In one instance has Prince Pückler Muskau thought good to repeat such a legend; its scene is the ruins of the ancient Thugga, which are said to be free from the visits of scorpions, and we give it as our last extract from Semilasso in Africa, although we are not sure it is not one of the prince's own invention.
“ In remote times there dwelt here a mighty king and magician, who had a wonderfully beautiful daughter. In order to preserve her from the sting of scorpions, with which this place then abounded, be laid a charm upon the air around, so that these dangerous animals could no longer live in it. When the beautiful princess had attained the age of womanhood, a neighbouring giant, who was also a great dealer in the black art, demanded her for his wife, but was refused, because he was a hateful, deformed, and wicked man. Long he brooded over vengeance before he found a favourable opportunity of executing it, for his power was far inferior to that of the good king. But as the marriage of the young princess with an amiable young prince, who had been attracted to the court of the king from a distant land by the fame of her charms, approached, one of his demons suggested the following devilish artifice. By his advice, he changed himself into a female eagle, built his nest on a rock which was near, and laid there two eggs, in each of which he inclosed one of the most venomous scorpions. He knew that the princess had a particular fondness for eggs, and that there was no more certain way of gaining her good graces than by bringing her eggs of any kind. She had now by chance tasted the egg of an eagle, and had rewarded the person who had brought this new delicacy with the most friendly look of her gracious eyes ; for he was no other than the bridegroom himself, in whose hands the wicked magician was clever enough to place the fatal eggs. Scarcely had the prince delivered them to her, on the evening before the wedding-feast, already laid out, when she immediately, with the eagerness of a young, spoiled maiden, who must always enjoy her desire without delay, hastened to taste them. But no sooner did her delicate fingers touch the shells, than the sting of the venomous reptile suddenly sprung out and pricked the tender girl so deeply that her life ebbed away with the blood. The sensitive prince died some days after of grief and despair, and the disconsolate father built this temple ; caused, as an everlasting memorial of the sorrowful event, the eagle to be painted on it, which may yet be seen here, and soon after sacrificed within its walls, with the most cruel torments, the treacherous giant, whom, by means of the legions of spirits who were at his command, he easily captured. Since that time, concluded the Thaleb, it has become a custom with us, that no bridegroom shall be allowed to see his betrothed before the very day of the marriage, and none of our maidens has since needed to dread such a fate, because no scorpion has since dared to approach, within the circuit of half a league, the houses of Dugga." vol. v., p. 171,
Art. II.-Le Paradis Perdu de Milton. Traduction nouvelle,
Par M. de Chateaubriand. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris. 1836. At last the long-expected performance of the travelled and accomplished Viscount has been transmitted to us, ushered to the literary world by his Essai sur la Littérature Anglaise, which we are told by the author himself was destined to serve as a sort of prolegomenon to the translation of the work in question. His Essai we have discussed and criticised in our last number,* and if we allude to it in the present article, it will only be in reference to what the author states relative to Milton and English poetry in general; the ecclesiastical and political topics having been fully developed in our former article. To bring together all the reflections which the perusal of this Essai suggested, even in reference to its poetic allusions, would be tantamount to furnishing a work nearly parallel in size and matter; we therefore propose to pass over the political and military comparisons previously noticed, and which to us, on this side of the Channel, convey quasi nothing new; though, if we were to sift the inductions resulting from the arguments, we should, even with the renunciation of national prejudices, be nearly as often in opposition as in unison with M. de Chateaubriand. Be this as it may, we must in candour confess, that no one of his compatriots has before thrown such an extensive
* F. Q. R. No. XXXVI. Art. V.
comparative coup-dæil on the political and literary movements of the two nations at the portentous comparative epochs of Cromwell and Napoleon. The author, than wbom no one has more exparded his mind by foreign travel, dwells with much complacency on the fame of our greatest poets. He has taken the trouble to bring together all the leading personages and events that were taking place in Europe when Shakspeare flourished. In a section titled “ Shakspeare parmi les cinq ou six grands génies dominateurs,” we can only count four as stated by our author: to wit, Homer, Dante, Rabelais, and Shakspeare. Now, maître Rabelais, thou art classed in high company! That he was perhaps the first that furnished nourishment to thought and esprit in France, we do not deny. But to class him with the three great names as above, appears to us about as plausible as the placing of a clever demi-character actor of the Théâtre de la Gaïté on the same pedestal whereon are seen the statues of a Garrick, a Siddons, or à Talma. M. de Chateaubriand states that it does not appear that Shakspeare found favour among the nobles of the court of Elizabeth. Now, we have always heard that Lord Southampton gave him one thousand pounds, a munificent present for those times. Our author speculates on the religious opinions of Shakspeare: “ Chrétien, au milieu des félicités éternelles s'occupe t-il du néant du monde ? Déiste dégagé des ombres de la matière, perdu dans les splendeurs de Dieu, abaisse t-il un regard sur le grain de sable, où il a passé ? Athée, il dort de ce sommeil sans souffle, et sans réveil, qu'on appelle la mort.” It was at least unfair to omit the note of question to the last period. Were we to judge from the drift of thought and reasoning applied to many of his most touching characters, we should be inclined to infer that the bard of Avon was Catholic, in a high sense of the word, that is, without the abuses and mummery that for many centuries before his time had crept into the Church of Rome.
This clever book, for so it unquestionably is, is not unfrequently disfigured by incongruous juxtapositions, no where more remarkable than in the last paragraph :
“Milton servait Cromwell ; j'ai combattu Napoléon ; il attaqua les rois ; je les ai défendus : il n'espéra point en leur pardon ; je n'ai pas compté sur leur reconnaissance. Maintenant, que dans nos deux pays, la monarchie penche vers sa fin, Milton et moi (ego, et poeta meus) n'avons plus rien de politique à démêler ensemble."
But it is time to abandon the Essay, and to examine how far M. de Chateaubriand has done justice to that poet who sustained himself longer on the wing of the sublime than any of his rivals both in ancient and modern times. And first, we must congratulate him on the judgment he has displayed in translating our venerable bard into prose-the only chance that France has of ever being able to do him tolerable justice. We have only read, at hap-hazard, citations from the translation of Louis Racine the work, no doubt, would be oftener found in our libraries were it of much value-but we are conversant with the translation of the Abbé Delille, who was a poet, but of secondary order. Now, the Abbé's Milton gives about as good an idea of the original as would a copy of Michael Angelo's Last Judgment, done by a third-rate artist, furnish us with an adequate idea of the Sistine Chapel frescoes. From a few passages that we have noticed of a translation by Dupré de St. Maur, we predict, with some confidence, that its station in French literature will be supplanted by the translation before us. A question very interesting to general literature occurs- What is that foreign dialect best suited to express the sublimity, energy, and inconceivable variety of the Miltonic style? We naturally first turn the eye towards Germany, not only from our ancient connexion with that country, through our Saxon ancestors, but because we have heard, from those competent to judge, that Schlegel has rendered Shakspeare very pithily, not only in the finer passages, but also in those quasi desperate intelligentia for the inhabitants of the South of Europe. Now, since Milton and the bard of Avon were so nearly contemporaries, since their terms of expression are often similar, we inay fairly conclude that Germany possesses, or ought to possess, the best version of the bard of Eden. It occurred to the writer of this, when at Brussels, to run over several pages of a Latin translation, done many years since, and by no means unworthy of the original. With the English text we have also compared two Italian translations, one by Mariottini, at Rome, another during a late residence at Florence, by a gentleman of Lucca. Both appeared of about the same calibre; rather better than Delille, and no compliment to either; since both, rendered in blank verse, admitted of greater command of language than what Delille, fettered as he was by rhyme, could wield. Faint indeed is the outline given by these two Italian translators of what Count Algarotti finely called “lu gigantisca sublimità Miltoniana."
How would Milton appear dressed as a Spanish Don? If we credit the well-known apophthegm of Charles V., who prescribed “ Spanish to our God," we might presume that the habiliment would suit bim admirably; and yet, perhaps, the very frequent recurrence of words ending in os and as might make the version