Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

works of our distinguished biblical scholars. He advises that the translations be all executed in Asia, and that in every case which admits of a choice of translators, Christians shall be selected. As to the important point of expence, he has found that he had something to learn when he adyanced the following presumption. In a concern, the ultimate advantages of which would be scarcely less enjoyed by the British government, than by the objects of its beneficence, it may be presumed that an appeal to its liberality would not prove unsuccessful.':.

On the subject of a Religious Establishment in India, he has but a short section; and if he had to write it now, he would make it shorter. Betweeu wars, the sumptuous para, phernalia of state, the support of pagan worship, and the disasters of the lodia shipping, it is tolerably evident that 11ọt a rupee can be afforded for such a purpose. In asserting the necessity of an establishinent, our author does not, like some of his wiser contemporaries, avow it as his object arid expectation, to secure a perfect uniformity of religious faith.” He insists on it as necessary in order to supply and support a sufficient number of qualified men for the religious service of India, tọ give some semblance of religion to our national character there, to embody the national religion in a visible and imposing shape, and to create in India an episcopal power of ordination, independent of the hierarchy at home.

In the section on Missions, the author refutes, with ability and animation, the assertions of some distinguished writers, who have pronounced that missions to the Hindoos must necessarily be useless, and the representations of others, who have undervalued their actual effect. He

suggests some expedients and institutions for training missionaries, states the duties and importance of the office, and makes a capa tivating, but not therefore extravagant, delineation of an accomplished missionary. It is such a delineation, however, that, if it is to be taken as the standard, one thing is very evident; namely, the superlative folly of those writers on this subject, who have recommended that no English missionaries who are not members of the established church should be permitted to go to India, or remain there. If each missionary must possess the personal qualifications demanded by Mr. Pearson, it will be found that all the sects together will barely furnish a competent supply; and we think he has lost a fair opportunity of signalizing his liberality by an explicit protest against the foolish bigotry which could think of such a limitation and exclusion, especially when it was notorious that scarcely any members of the establishment had shewn themselves disposed to the undertaking of missionary labours.

We need not say that our author's accustomed good sense continues to be displayed through the remaining sections of the work. So much of this good sense, so much knowledge, and so much moderation prevail through the whole performance, that it may be reverted to by inquirers on the subject, as one of the fairest statements of the duty of a Christian state (if such a denomination may be allowed) to its heathen subjects. Art. IV. Les Trois Règnes de la Nature, &c. The Three Kingdoms of

Nature, by J. Delille.

(Concluded from p. 54.) THE power of the Air to communicate contagion, affords

the poet an opportunity of describing the fatal effects of the Plague. The description is chiefly taken from Lucretius; but the copy, though spirited, is by no means equal to the original. We cannot institute a comparison ; but have noticed that several of the most animated and tender passages, of the Roman bard have been altogether omitted, while at, the same time we have a detail of minuter facts, so circumstantially drawn out as to be tedious and uninteresting.

But the minstrel changes his measure, and assumes a gayer theme. The invisible and elastic agent that is capable, when loaded with contagion, of destroying thousands in a few hours, is also capable of being the medium to thousands of sounds that can do every thing but recal from the shades of death: and in Grecian mythology were even supposed capable of doing this. To the Harp, its first manufactoring artist Ehrhard, and its first musical artist Sejan, he pays the following burst of applause.

• Vainqueur mélodieux des antiques merveilles,
Quels accents tout à coup ont frappé mes oreilles!
j'entends, je reconnois ces chefs-d'oeuvre de l'art,
Trésors de l'harmonie et la gloire d'Erhard.
De l'instrument sonore animant les organes,
Séjan a prélude: loin d'ici, loin profanes !
De l'inspiration les sublime transports
Echauffent son génie et dictent ses accords :
Sous sęs rapides mains le sentiment voyage ;
Chaque touche a sa voix, chaque fil son langage ;
Il monte, il redescend sur l'échelle des tons,
Et forme, sans désordre, un dédale de sons.
Quel variété! de force et de grâce !
Il frappe, il attendrit

, il soupire, il menace:
Tel au gré de son souffle, ou terrible ou flatteur,
Le vent fracasse un chêne ou caresse une fleur.'

Vol. I. pp. 137. 198.

6

que

We will try also to put the English reader into possession of the meaning of these verses:

Victor of strains most wondrous once to hear!
What sounds are these that strike my ravished ear?
I pause, I start, and hang delighted still
O'er ART's sweet master piece, and EHRHARD's skill.
Hush! SEJAN strikes-- leave, leave us, ye prophane !
Deep from within he draws the magic strain :
The wild enthusiasm that his spirit fires,
Finds him a theme, and every string inspires.
Beneath his rapid hands light Feeling flies.
Each tone a voice, each touch a language tries.
He mounts, he sinks, and marshals, as they throng,
The dedal numbers through the scale of song.
What strength! what grace! what changefulness of charms !
He strikes, moves, melts us, rouses, and alarms."
So Eurus, as his wayward breath he blows,

Now feils the firm oak, now salutes the rose. Our limits will not allow us to do more than quote another passage or two.

The character of the war-borse is executed with much spirit in the following lines, Book viri, though somewhat too finely spun out.

• Voyez ce fier coursier, noble ami de son maître,
Son compagnon guerrier, son serviteur champêtre,
Le traînant dans un char, ou s'élançant sous lui;
Dès qu'a sonné l' airain, dès que le fer a lui,
Il s'éveille, il s'anime, et redressant la tête
Provoque la mélés, insulte à la tempête;
De ses naseaux brûlants il souffle la terreur;
Il bondit d'allégresse, il frémit de fureur;
On charge, il dit; Allons; se courrouce et s'élance,
Il brave le mousquet, il affronte la lance,
Parmi le feu, le fer, les morts et les mourants,
Terrible, échevelé, s'enfonce dans les rangs,
Du brụit des chars guerriers fait retentir la terre,
Prête aux foudres de Mars les ailes du tonnerre;
Il prévient l'éperon, il obéit au frein,
Fracasse par son chợc les cuirasses d’airain,
S'enivre de valeur, de carnage et de gloire,
Et partage avec nous l'orgueil de la victoire;
Puis, revient dans nos champs, oubliant ses exploits,
Reprendre un air plus calme et de plus doux emplois,
Aux rustiques travaux humblement s'abandonne,
Et console Cérès des fureurs de Bellone.'

Vol. II. pp. 239, 240. The best portion of this is avowedly taken from the well known and inimitable description in the book of Job (xxxix, 20-25) Inimitable we may still call it, upon à comparison with the present passage. Let the reader accept it as it ought to be rendered,

Terrible is the glory of his nostrils :
He paweth in the valley, and exulteth:
Boldly he advanceth against the clashing host;
He mocketh at fear, and trembleth not ;
Nor turneth he back from the sword.
Against him rattleth the quiver,
The glittering spear and the shield.
With rage and fury he devoureth the ground,
And is impatient when the trumpet soundeth.
He exclaimeth among the 1st pets'

" aha!”
And scenteth the battle air off,

The thunder of the chi-ftains, and the shouting. In all the versions of this passage we have yet seen, the term 1733, beceh, rendered above boldly' at the beginning of the third line, is usually, but erroneously, regarded as a substantive instead of an adjective form ; and is also added, with an error in the punctuation, to the preceding line, in the following manner;

He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength. The phrase ' and is impatient, four lines from the bottom, is usually rendered still more erroneously, and so as to destroy the sense,

s neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet." We have given the line literally, and in the order in which the words occur in the originil. 28, amen, implies only in a very subordinate sense, to believe: its primary signification being to be firm; quiet, at rest: and hence, with a negative, to be unquiet, restless, impatient, ungovernable. The Arabic dl, amyn, is used precisely in the same sense, and is often applied to the camel, to denote its perfect steadiness and qiuescence.

We can quote but one passage more from the ornamental parts of the poem, and it shall be a few verses from that with which it closes. The writer, after tracing many of the most curious powers of animals, and contrasting them with the superior endowments of Man, observes as follows.

· Mais c'est la mort surtout, dont les touchants tableaux
Place l'homme au dessus de tous les animaux;
Là dans tout l'intérêt de sa dernière scène,
Paraît la dignité de la nature humaine.
Dans leur stupide oubli les animaux mourants
Jettent vers le passé des yeux

indifférents ; Savent-ils s'ils ont eu des enfants, des ancêtres, S'ils laissent des regrets, s'ils sont chers à leurs maîtres? Gloire, amour, amitié, tout est fini pour eux : L'homme seul, plus instruit, est aussi plus heureux, Pour lui, loin d'une vie en orage

féconde, Quand ce monde finit commence un autre monde ;

Et du tombeau

que

s' ouvre à sa fragilité, Part le premier rayon de l'immortalité ; Son ame se ranime, et dans sa conscience

Auprès de la vertu retrouve l'espérance.' Vol. II. p. 260. The last couplet of this passage might well have been omitted, as it weakens rather than adds strength to the effect. We shall present the English reader with a version of the last six verses preceding this couplet, as well intitled to his notice:

Love, friendship, glory, all to them is o'er:
Man, nobler-born, has nobler views in store.
For him, far distant from this world of strife,
When one life closes, opes another life :
And from his ashes, such kind heaven's decree,

Springs the first ray of immortality.
Our author, however, does not terminate even with the
couplet we have rejected : but, with a kind of Hibernian pro-
gression, brings back the buried man from his tomb to his
death-béd; and describes his views and his feelings; his taking
leave of his family, his daughter, his little son; and his direc-
tions about his tenants and his servants, with a minuteness,
that, as we have observed on several other occasions, borders
on prolixity, and very much diminishes the interest of the pic-
ture. In the midst of all which circuinstantiality, however,
we are very much surprised that not a single glance is directed
towards the promises and prospects of Revelation: the Bible
is kept out of sight with as much caution, as if it were as trea-
sonable to favour it as to favour the Bourbons; it is the
dying scene of a beathen philosopher rather than of a Chris-
tian saint; of an Adrian rather than of a Pascal: and we la.
ment to behold that in this, as well as in several other in,
stances, the peculiar state and fashion of M. Delille's coun-
try, if they have not urged him openly to sins of commission,
have induced him to suppress what ought to have been by no
ineans onitted. The passage proceeds as follows, and with
it the
poem

terminates.
" De loin il entrevoit le séjour du repos,
De ses parents en pleurs il entend les sanglots ;
Il voit, après sa mort, leur troupe désolée
D'un long rang de douleurs border son mausolée.
Ay sortir d'une vie, où de mayx et de biens
La fortune inégale a tissu ses liens,
Il reprend fil à fil cette trame si chère,
Dont la mort va couper la chaine passagère ;
Le spuvenir lui peint ses travaux, ses succès,
La gloire qu'il obtint, les heureux qu'il a faits.
Ainsi sur les confins de la nuit sépulchrale,
I'affreuse mort, au fond de la coupe fatale,

[merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »