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VOL. 4.] Remarks on the Poetry of Thomas Moore.

333 whose songs have been so effectually virgin radiance of the harvest moon. Ia embalmed in the heart of Scotland, with the haunts of the dissolute, the atmoshim who hopes to possess, in that of phere of corruption might seize upon Ireland, a mausoleuin no less august. him, and taint his breath with the cold

There are few things more worthy of ness of its derision ; but he returned to being studied, either in their character right thoughts in the contemplation of or in their effects, than the poems of the good, and felt in all its fulness, Robert Burns. This man, born and when he bent his knee by the side of bred a peasant, was taught, like all oth- “ the Father and the Priest,” the gener Scotsinen, to read his Bible, and tle majesty of that religion which con. learned by heart in his infancy, the he- soles the afflicted and elevates the poor. roic ballads of his nation. Amidst the —He is at present, the favourite poet of solitary occupations of his rural labours, a virtuous, a pious, a patriotic people ; the soul of the ploughman fed itself and the first symptom of their decay in with high thoughts of patriotism and virtue, piety, and patriotism, will be religion, and with that happy instinct seen on the instant when Scotsmen shall which is the best prerogative of genius, cease to treasure in their hearts the he divined every thing that was neces- Highland Mary,” the “ Cotter's Satsary for being the poet of his country. urday Night," and the “ Song of BanThe men of his nation, high and low, nockburn.” are educated men ; meditative in their Mr. Moore has attempted to do for spirit, proud in their recollections, Ireland the same service which Burns steady in their patriotism, and devout rendered to Scotland; but although bis in their faith. 'At the time, however, genius is undoubted, he has failed to do when he appeared, the completion of so. It will be said, that the national their political union with a greater and character of his countrymen did not wealthier kingdom, and the splendid furnish such materials as fell to the share success which had crowned their efforts of his rival, and there is no doubt that in adding to the general literature of so far this is true. The Irish have not Britain--but above all, the chilling na- the same near recollections of heroic acture of the merely speculative philoso- tions, or the same proud and uncontamphy, which they had begun to cultivate, inated feeling of independence as the seemed to threaten a speedy diminution Scots. Their country has been conof their fervent attachment to that which quered, perhaps oppressed, and the was peculiarly their own. This mis- memory of those barbarous times in chievous tendency was stopped by a which they were ruled by native reguli peasant, and the noblest of his land are is long since faded into dimness and the debtors of his genius. He revived insignificance. The men themselves, the spark that was about to be extin- moreover, are deficient, it may be, in guished—and taught men to reverence some of those graver points of characwith increasing homage, that enthusiasm ter, which afford the best grappling of which they were beginning to be places for the power of poetry: AN ashamed. The beauty of many of his ihis may perhaps be admitted ; but descriptions, the coarseness of many of surely it will not be contended, but that his images, cannot conceal from our much, both of purpose and instrument, eyes the sincerity with which, at the was still left within the reach of hiin bottom of his heart, this man was the that would aspire to be the national worshipper of the pure genius of his poet of the Irish. Their religious feelcountry. The improprieties are super- ings are not indeed of so calm and digficial, the excellence is ever deep. The nified a nature as those of some naman might be guilty in his own person tions, but they are strong, ardent, pasof pernicious trespasses, but his soul sionate, and, in the hands of one worthy came back, like a dove, to repose amidst to deal with them, might furnish abunimages of purity. The chaste and dantly the elements both of the beautilowly affection of the village maiden ful and the sublime. Their character was the only love that appeared worthy is not so consistent as it might be, but it in his eyes, as he wandered beneath the yields to none in the fine attributes of

334

On Melancholy.

(vol. 4

warmth, of generosity, and the whole verse which I could imagine to be imchivalry of the beart. Were these pressed upon the memory, nor brought things likely to have been left out of the together a single groupe of images calcalculation of a genuine poet of Ire- culated to ennoble the spirit of an Irish land -Mr. Moore addresses nothing peasant. to his countrymen that should make Were the Irish to acknowledge in them listen to him long. He seems to this man, their Burns or Camoens, they have no part nor lot with them in the would convince Europe, that they are things which most honourably and entirely deficient in every thing that most effectually distinguish them from renders men worthy of the name of a others. He writes for the dissipated nation. The “ Exile of Erin," and fashionables of Dublin, and is himself the “ O'Connor's Child” of Campbell, the idol in the saloons of absentees ; are worth more to Ireland than all the but he has never composed a single poetry of Moore. *

From the New Monthly Magazine, November 1818.

MELANCHOLY.

THA

“ The joy of grief."--Ossian.

Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego

Those sacred hours, when stealing from the noise THAT the mind of man

should de

Of care and envy, sweet remembrance soothes, rive gratification from the excite. With virtue's kindest looks, his aching breast, ment of those sensations wbich are in And turns his tears to rapture !

Akenside. themselves painful, is a paradox too mysterious to be solved ; but, that the Melancholy,” observes Steele, “ is seeds of delight are not unfrequently the true and proper delight of men of implanted by the hand of sorrow, is an knowledge and virtue. The pleasures observation more generally allowed than of ordinary beings are in their passions, accounted for. Fontenelle

says,

" that but the seat of this delight is in the unthough pleasure and pain are sentiments derstanding." There is much truth is so entirely different in themselves, yet this remark. The indulgence of melthey do not differ materially in their ancholy tends frequently to strengthen cause ; as it that the moveinent and ameliorate the heart. It extin

appears of pleasure pushed too far becomes guishes the passions of envy and ill-will, pain, and the movement of pain a little corrects the pride of prosperity, and moderated becomes pleasure.” Diffi- beats down that fierceness and insolence culties certainly increase passions of which is apt to get into the minds of the every kind, and by rousing our atten- daring and fortunate. Few individuals

ion, and exciting our active powers, are so gross and uncultivated, as to be produce an emotion which nourishes incapable, at certain moments, and the prevailing affection. Nothing en- amid certain combinations of ideas, of dears a friend so much as sorrow for feeling that sublime influence on the his death : the pleasur

sure of his society spirits-that soft and tender abstraction has not so powerful an influence ; and from the cares and vexations of the whilst we look back with keen regret world, which steals upon

the soul, on scenes of happiness, dissipated by “ And fits it to hold converse with thc Gods." unforeseen misfortune, and not by our Such a frame of mind raises and enown unworthiness, our woes are quali- courages that sweet and lofty enthusiasm fied by that mysterious and indescriba- which warms the imagiuation at the ble feeling which Ossian has so expres- sight of the glorious and stupendous sively denominated the “joy of grief.” works of our Creator : it leads us Ask the faithful youth,

To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell, Why the cold urn of her whom long he loved

To slowly trace the forest's shady scene, So often fills his arms, so often draws

Where things that own not man's dominion, dwell, His lonely footsteps, silent and unseen,

And mortal feet have ne'er or rarely been, To pay the niournful tribute of his tears. Oh! be will tell you that the wealth of worlds

With the wild lock that never needs a fold;

To climb the trackless mountain all unseen

VOL. 4.]

on Melancholy.

335

Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean ;

There held in holy passion, still to hold

Forget thyself to marble, till, Converse with nature's God, and see his stores With a sad leaden downward cast, unrolled.

Thou fix them on the earth at last.
Byron.

Il Penseroso. There are two kinds of melancholy, There appears to be something emwhich

may be thus distinguished :-- blematical in these linesFirst, that of the swain of the mind Hail thou goddess sage and holy,

Hail divinest Melancholy, which contemplates nature but in the

Whose saintly visage is too bright grove or the cottage ; secondly, that of

To hit the sense of human sight, the scholar and the philosopher ; of the And therefore to our weaker view intellect which has ranged through the O'erlaid with black, staid wisdom's huc.

Il Penseroso. mazes of science, and which has formed its decisions upon vanity and happiness,

Contemplative melancholy is again from frequent intercourse with man,

alluded to in Comus and upon extensive knowledge and ex- Musing Melancholy most affects

The pensive secresy of desert cells, perience. The melancholy of the swain

Far from the cheerful haunts of men and herdsa. is finely depicted in the following beautiful song from Beaumont and Fletch

Some lines, prefixed to Burton's er's “ Nice Valour, or the Passionate

"“ Anatomie of Melancholy," seem also Madman.”

to have afforded Milton

many

hints for

his Il Penseroso-
Hence all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights

When I go musing all alone,
Wherein you spend your folly ;

Thinking of divers things foreknown;
There's nought in life so sweety

When I build castles in the air,
If wise men were to see it,

Void of sorrow, void of care,
But only Melancholy,

Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet,
O sweetest Melancholy !

Methinks the time runs very fleet;
Welcome crossed arms and fixed eyes,

All my joys to this are folly, A sigh that piercing mortifies,

Nought so sweet as Melancholy ! A look that's fastened to the ground,*

When to myself I act and smile, A tongue chained up without a sound !

With pleasing thoughts the time beguile, Fountain heads and pathless groves,

By a brook side, or wood so green, Places which pale passion loves,

Unheard, unsought for, and unseen,

Methinks I hear, methinks I see
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls

Sweet music, wondrous melody,
Are warmly housed, save bats and owls,
A midnight bell-a parting groan,

Towns, palaces, and cities fine,
These are the thoughts we feed upon ;

Rare beauties, gallant ladies shinc; Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley ;

All other joys to this are folly, Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely Melancholy!

Nought so sweet as Melancholy !

Burton's Prefatory Verses. Of this song the construction is par

Melancholy has elicited the praises ticularly to be admired. It is divided into three parts. The first part displays thors; and as juxtaposition forms an

also of many of our more modern aumoral melancholy: the second the person or figure : and the third the cir- elegant entertainment to the lovers of cumstances which create the feeling.

poetry, I shall conclude this article by Contemplative melancholy--that of the adduction of such passages from

our later the scholar and the philosopher, has

poets, as inay appear to illus

trate been finely personified by Millon in the

my observations.* fallowing verses :

-There is a mnod,

I sing not to the vacant or the young, Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,

There is a kindly nood of Melancholy, Sober, stedfast and deinure,

That wings the soul and points it to the skies. All in a robe of darkest grain,

Dyer's Fleeces Flowing with majestic train,

Few know the elegance of soul refined, And sable stole of cypress lawn,

Whose short sensation feels a quicker joy Over tby decent shoulders drawn;

From Melancholy's scenes, that the dull pride Cowe, but keep thy wonted state,

Of tasteless splendor and magnificence With even step and musing gait,

Can e'er afford. And looks commercing with the skies,

Warton's Pleasures of Melancholy. Thy rapt soui sitting in thine eyes :

* As the greater part of these quotations are from .“ With a sad leaden downward cast.-Milton.

memory, my readers will probably excuse any “ With leaden eye that loves the ground."-Gray trifling inaccuracy.

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J. Warton also invokes melancholy From which there is no doubt but Roin his ode to Fancy

gers borrowed the following well-known

lines :Goddess of the tearful eye, Who lov'st with folded arms to sigh.

Go, you may call it madness-folly,

You shall not chase my gloom away, Is there who ne'er those mystic transports felt, There's such a charm in Melancholy Of solitude and Melancholy born,

I would not, if I could, be gay !
He needs not woo the muse, he is her scorn.

Oh if you knew the pensive pleasure
Beattie's Minstrel.

That fills my bosom when I sigh,
And again in the same poem

You would not rob me of a treasure,

Monarchs are too poor to buy.
To the pure soul by fancy's fire refined,
Ah! what is mirth but turbulence unholy,

The following sonnet is by the author
When with the charm compared of heavenly
Melancholy !

of the foregoing observations, who has Ibid.

“neither the scholar's melancholy,which With eyes up-raised, as one inspired,

is emulation ; nor the musician's, which Pale Melancholy sat retired,

is fantastical; nor the courtier's, which And from her wild sequestered seat,

is proud ; nor the soldier's, which is In notes, by distance made more sweet, Poured through the mellow hörn her pensive soul.

ambitious; nor the lawyer's, which is Collins' Ode to the Passions. politic; nor the lady's, which is nice;

por the lover's, which is all these ; but Oh lead me, queen sublime, to solemn glooms,

a melancholy of his own, compounded To ruined seats, to twilight cells and bowers,

of many simples, extracted from many Where thoughtful Melancholy loves to muse Her favourite midnight haunts.

objects; and indeed the sundry conWarton's Pleasures of Melancholy. templation of his travels, on which his

often rumination wraps him in a most Goddess of downcast eye, upon whose brow

humorous sadness."*
Misfortune's hand seems dimly to have drawn
Her tints of pining hues, to thee belong
The visionary tribes of busy thought,

TO MELANCHOLY.
That crowd, in nameless shapes, the mental eye :

Sweet nymph of tears ! Goddess of downcast eye ! Oh teach me, gentle maid, with hermit step

Thee liave I loved from childhood's earliest hour, Thy haunts to find, and ever at thy shrine

With thee have loitered in the muses' bower, To bend unseen, an humble votary.

Cheating slow time with pensive minstrelsy! Headly's Invocation to Melancholy. Far from the pbrenzied crowd 'tis time to stray,

Where wildly warbling from her secret cell, Cease to blame my Melancholy,

The bird of eve-the love-lorn PhilomelTho' with sighs and folded arms

Pours on the ear of night her sorrowing lay. I muse in silence on her charms;

Sweet power! not irksome is thy mild control, Censure not, I know 'tis folly,

For thou canst all those pleasing thoughts bestow Yet these mournful thoughts possessing,

Which genius gathers from the springs of woe, Such delights I find in grief,

And yield a chastened pleasure to the soul ; That, could heaven afford relief,

Taught through thy veil, the world at large to scan My fond heart would scorn the blessing.

I deem no bliss on earth as permanent to man! Sir J. Moore.

* As You Like It.

THE MINSTREL OF BRUGES.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH, BY THE LATE MR. JOUNES, OF HAFOD,

From Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, September, 1818.

PART I.

of fifteen and sixteen

years

of
age,

who A

YOUTH of Cambray, setting out were amusing themselves with gathering

from that town on a party of plea- nuts. sure, overtook a wretched looking set of The old man had the black collar of travellers in a hollow way not far from his coat hung round with shells, and at Cambray, at the source of the Scheldt. his feet (for he was seated) lay his pilThis

company consisted of an old man grim's staff and a bagpipe. about seventy, a woman of fifty,a young humming an air to the tune of the girl of eighteen, and two ragged boys Duchess Golande; the old woman was

He was

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VOL. 4.]
The Minstrel of Bruges.

337 complaining of her misery ; the young distinctly understood the conversation girl seemed lost in thought; and the between you and your wife, that has boys were bawling loud enough to stun just passed, it seems that your noble one,--while the Cambresian observed, profession does not gain you a great from a small eminence, this discordant number of ducats.' No, certainly,” group.

replied the Minstrel, “ but one cannot The woman spoke to her husband.- enjoy every happiness at the same time; “ How can you thus sing in our rich or poor I am always gay; I have wretched situation ?”—“ It is to drive seen a variety of countries, and have away sorrow,” replied he. Your lived more happily than many kings ; songs have not that virtue. You must but, sir, every thing must have an end ; allow that you have made choice of a I am now thinking to retire, and am on pretty trade.”—“It is a gay one, how- my road to end my days in tranquillity

-“ To turn Minstrel, and run at Bruges, my native country."_“You about the world like a vagabood.”- have more than time for that," inter“ I have always loved geography and rupted the Cambresian ; " and were I

o travels.”—“I do not love them for my not afraid of being troublesome, I would part ; you only think of yourself; and request an account of your adventures, what a fine education are you giving which assuredly must be very interestyour children." —Neither you nor ing."-"I will cheerfully comply with myself have had a better ; in truth, our your wishes, sir,” said the Minstrel, chiluren are grown up."

Yes, but “ for I am always thankful when any they have not a farthing.” -“ I never one shall have the goodness to set me received more from my parents.” One talking. of the little nut-gatherers now interrupt- “I was born, as I before said, at ed the conversation, by calling out, Bruges, and in my younger days was “ Mother, do not scold thus loudly, for one of the best archers of that town; here is a gentleman listening to you.' but having received from Nature a

The Cambresian, at these words, ad- strong taste for music, I laid the bow vanced and saluted the Minstrel, who aside, and swelled the bagpipe. Unrose up with dignity, seized his staff, fortunately, at that period, Bruges and preparing his bagpipe, said, “ Sir, swarmed with Minstrels, and their harwhat air would you wish to hear~gay, mony soon overpowered mine. It was tender, or grand ? say, for I can satisfy in vain that I presented myself at the

? your taste, however difficult it may be.” palaces of the Duke of Brabant and The Cambresian presented him with a Earl of Hainault—they laughed at my skelein, and replied, “ Play whatever harmony, and plainly told me that I air, Minstrel you may like-I am not played most wretchedly on the pipes. difficult to please, having never heard Finding, therefore, from my own expeother music than the plain chant of our rience, that a prophet has no honour in church of St. Geri.” The Minstrel his own country, I left Belgium and struck up a Virelais of the Count of went into Picardy. Barcelona. “ That is very melancho- “ One day as I was playing an air at ly,” said the Cambresian; can not the foot of the walls of the castle of you make me laugh instead of making Coucy, the generous Raoul appeared me cry?” The Minstrel played off a on the battlements ; he called me to Biscayan air, which delighted the young him, and said, Young Minstrel, four man; and as he had found out his taste, leagues bence lies the town of St. he continued so many of these airs, that Quentin ; and having passed through

1 the Cambresian no way regretted his it, you will see the fortunate castle of skelein.

Fayel a quarter of a league off, seated Perhaps there is no good thing that on an eminence, wherein resides my people so soon tire of as music. The love. Go thither, and play off, under Cambresian, struck with what he had the walls, such discordant sounds as heard of the dispute between the Min- you have done here ; my love may strel and his wife, said to him, “ If I perhaps come to listen to them as I have

2T ATHENEUM. Vol. 4.

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