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The greatest modern critics have laid it down as a rule, that an heroic

poem

should be founded upon some important precept of morality, adapted to the constitution of the country in which the poet writes. Homer and Virgil have formed their plans in this view. As Greece was a collection of many governments, who suffered very much among themselves, and gave the Persian emperor, who was their common enemy, many advantages over them by their mutual jealousies and animosities, Homer, in order to establish among them an union, which was so necessary for their safety, grounds his poem upon the discords of the several Grecian princes who were engaged in a confederacy against an Asiatic prince, and the several advantages which the enemy gained by such their discords. At the time the poem we are now treating of was written, the dissensions of the barons, who were then so many petty princes, ran very high, whether they quarrel. led among themselves, or with their neighbours, and produced unspeakable calamities to their country: the poet, to deter men from such unnatural contentions, describes a bloody battle, and dreadful scene of death, occasioned by the mutual feuds which reigned in the families of an English and Scotch nobleman: that he designed this for the instruction of his poem, we may learn from his four last lines, in which, after the example of the modern tragedians, he draws from it a precept for the benefit of his readers.

God save the king, and bless the land

In plenty, joy, and peace;
And grant henceforth that foul debate

'Twixt noblemen may cease. The next point observed by the greatest heroic poets, hath been to celebrate persons and actions which do honour to their country ; thus Virgil's hero was the founder of Rome, Homer's a prince of Greece ; and for this reason Valerius Flaccus and Statius, who were both Romans, might be justly derided for having chosen the expedition of the Golden Fleece, and the wars of Thebes, for the subjects of their epic writings.

The poet before us has not only found out an hero in his own country, but raises the reputation of it by several beautiful incidents. The English are the first who take the field, and the last who quit it. The English bring only fifteen hundred to the battle, and the Scotch two thousand. The

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English kept the field with fifty-three : the Scotch retire with fifty-five: all the rest on each side being slain in battle. But the most remarkable circumstance of this kind, is the different manner in which the Scotch and English kings receive the news of this fight, and of the great men’s deaths who command it.

This news was brought to Edinburgh,

Where Scotland's King did reign,
That brave Earl Douglas suddenly

Was with an arrow slain.
Oh heavy news, King James did say;

Scotland can witness be,
I have not any captain more

Of such account as he.
Like tidings to King Henry came

Within as short a space,
That Piercy of Northumberland

Was slain in Chevy-Chase.
Now God be with him, said our King,

Sith 'twill no better be,
I trust I have within my realm

Five hundred as good as he.
Yet shall not Scot nor Scotland say

But I will vengeance take,
And be revenged on them all

For brave Lord Piercy's sake.
This vow full well the King performed

After on Humble-down;
In one day fifty knights were slain,

With lords of great renown.
And of the rest of small account

Did many thousands dye, &c. At the same time that our poet shows a laudable partiality to his countrymen, he represents the Scots after a manner not unbecoming so bold and brave a people.

Earl Douglas on a milk-white steed,

Most like a baron bold,
Rode foremost of the company,

Whose armour shone like gold. His sentiments and actions are every way suitable to an hero. One of us two, says he, must die : I am an earl as well as yourself, so that you can have no pretence for refusing the combat: however, says he, 'tis pity, and indeed would be a sin, that so many innocent men should perish for our sakes, rather let you and I end our quarrel in single fight.

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Ere thus I will out-braved be,

One of us two shall die.
I know thee well, an Earl thou art,

Lord Piercy, so am I.
But trust me, Piercy, pity it were,

And great offence, to kill
Any of these our harmless men,

For they have done no ill.
Let thou and I the battle try,

And set our men aside.
Accurst be he, Lord Piercy said,

By whom this is deny’d. When these brave men had distinguished themselves in the battle, and in single combat with each other, in the midst of a generous parley, full of heroic sentiments, the Scotch earl falls ; and with his dying words encourages his men to revenge his death, representing to them as the most bitter circumstances of it, that his rival saw him fall.

With that there came an arrow keen

Out of an English bow,
Which struck Earl Douglas to the heart

A deep and deadly blow.
Who never spoke more words than these,

Fight on my merry men all,
For why, my life is at an end,

Lord Piercy sees me fal!. Merry men, in the language of those times, is no more than a cheerful word for companions and fellow-soldiers. A passage in the eleventh book of Virgil's Æneids is very much to be admired, where Camilla, in her last agonies, instead of weeping over the wound she had received, as one might have expected from a warrior of her sex, considers only (like the hero of whom we are now speaking) how the battle should be continued after her death.

Tum sic expirans, &c.
A gathering mist o'erclouds her cheerful eyes,
And from her cheeks the rosy colour flies;
Then turns to her, whom, of her female train,
She trusted most, and thus she speaks with pain.
Acca, 'tis past ! he swims before my sight,
Inexorable death; and claims his right.
Bear my last words to Turnus; fly with speed,
And bid him timely to my charge succeed :
Repel the Trojans, and the town relieve.
Farewell.--

Turnus did not die in so heroic a manner; though our poet seems to have had his eye upon Turnus's speech in the last verse,

Lord Piercy sees me fall.

- Vicisti, et victum tendere palmas

Ausonii videre-
Earl Piercy's lamentation over his enemy

is

generous, beautiful, and passionate; I must only caution the reader not to let the simplicity of the style, which one may well pardon in so old a poet, prejudice him against the greatness of the thought.

Then leaving life, Earl Piercy took

The dead man by the hand,
And said, Earl Douglas, for thy life

Would I had lost my land.
O Christ! my very heart doth bleed

With sorrow for thy sake;
For sure a more renowned knight

Mischance did never take. That beautiful line, taking the dead man by the hand, will put the reader in mind of Æneas's behaviour towards Lausus, whom he himself had slain as he came to the rescue of his aged father.

At vero ut vultum vidit morientis, et ora,
Ora modis Anchisiades pallentia miris :
Ingemuit miserans graviter, dextramque tetendit, &c.
The pious prince beheld young Lausus dead;
He grieved, he wept; then grasped his hand, and said,
Poor hapless youth! what praises can be paid

To worth so great—! I shall take another opportunity to consider the other parts of this old song.

No. 72. WEDNESDAY, MAY 23.

-Genus immortale manet, multosque per annos

Stat fortuna domus, et avi numerantur avorum. VIRG. HAVING already given my reader an account of several extraordinary clubs, both ancient and modern, I did not design to have troubled him with any more narratives of this nature; but I have lately received information of a club which I can call neither ancient nor modern, that I dare say will

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be no less surprising to my reader than it was to myself; for which reason I shall communicate it to the public as one of the greatest curiosities in its kind.

A friend of mine complaining of a tradesman who is related to him, after baving represented him as a very idle, worthless fellow, who neglected his family, and spent most of his time over a bottle, told me, to conclude his character, that he was a member of the Everlasting Club. So very

odd a title raised my curiosity to inquire into the nature of a club that had such a sounding name; upon

which

my

friend gave me the following account.

The Everlasting Club consists of a hundred members, who divide the whole twenty-four hours among them in such a manner, that the club sits day and night from one end of the year to another; no party presuming to rise till they are relieved by those who are in course to succeed them.

By this means a member of the Everlasting Club never wants company; for though he is not upon duty himself, he is sure to find some who are; so that if he be disposed to take a whet, a nooning, an evening's draught, or a bottle after midnight, he goes to the club, and finds a knot of friends to his mind.

“ It is a maxim in this club, that the steward never dies ; for as they succeed one another by way of rotation, no man is to quit the great elbow-chair which stands at the upper end of the table, till his successor is in a readiness to fill it; insomuch, that there has not been a Sede vacante in the memory “ This club was instituted towards the end (or," as some of

about the middle) of the Civil Wars, and continued without interruption till the time of the Great Fire, which burnt them out, and dispersed them for several weeks. The steward at that time maintained his post till he had like to have been blown up with a neighbouring house, (which was demolished in order to stop the fire,) and would not leave the chair at last, till he had emptied all the bottles upon the table, and received repeated directions from the club to withdraw himself. This steward is frequently talked of in the club, and looked upon by every member of it as a greater man than the famous captain mentioned in my Lord Clarendon, who was burnt in his ship because he would not quit it without orders. It is said that towards the close of 1700, being the great year of jubilee, the club had it under con

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