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not scruple to affirm, that it will please the reader, in proportion as he can see into the depth of his own country's poetry. An image, here or there, may be a little startling from its uncommonness; the burning sun of the East and South might as well have been felt by some readers, in order to help them to a right apprehension of the devouring flame inside. of a Turk or an Arab. A beauty, who is familiar with nothing about the ostrich but the feathers, may not exactly be able to conceive the compliment of being told that she resembles that animal in the "hips." But a little knowledge helps us over these apparent absurdities, and the rest is the common property of imagination and sentiment.
"Hassan never took his eyes off the fairest of the fair, whose beauty surpassed even his imagination. He saw a mouth, shaped like Solomon's seal; hair, long and black, like a tempestuous winter night," (this is in a high gust of contrast and passion):-"her elegant and graceful body, which resembled a branch of the tree Myrobalan, rested on hips that in plumpness and whiteness surpassed those of the ostrich." "Ah! when will that happy day break for me, when my cheek shall once more rest against thine?"
"In human life, are not death and the vehement passions so far alike, that we begin with talking of them, and finish with profound meditation?" " I weep when the sun sets behind these sand-hills; and, when it rises, I see my tears in the dews of morning."
"Her languishing beauty was like a gazelle panting with thirst." "Since thy departure, I have seen none in whom I did not fancy that I beheld thy form; even when I closed mine eyes I still saw thee, and it was as if thou hadst taken up thy abode between my eye-lids and the pupils of my eyes."
"O, breath of morning! thou art mingled with her breath!"
"When thou passest in a dream by my bed, thou wilt find it wet with my tears."
[This last would hardly be taken for the speech of a priest. The following, from another clerical lover, is more orthodox.]
"The dew of her lips is delicious wine, and the plumpness of her hips praiseth their Maker."
"The rose, like a tender virgin, hides its blushing face in the bud." "The bud of the rose" (more advanced) "is like lips preparing for a kiss."
"I found in a garden, among the verdure, a maiden with flowing hair. I asked her name. 'I am,' she replied, 'the maiden who casts the hearts of her lovers amid glowing brands.'-I turned complaining towards her. You address yourself,' said she, to the rugged rock. Ah!' returned I, though your heart be rock, yet I will not despair, for Heaven causeth water to spring from the rock itself.'”
I swear it by the whiteness of his brow, and by the darkness of his hair; by his eye-brows, which, like watchmen, stationed above his eyes, extend their hands to each other;" (here are Solomon and Anacreon met together) "by the locks which fall over his temples, and which resemble the scorpion's, whose look alone was fatal to lovers; by the roses of his complexion; by the myrtles of his shooting hair; by the of his motions, and the majesty of his repose." grace
"He reproves me because I have presumed to raise my eyes so high as to him. He banishes me from his presence." (This is said in a
pretty spirit of make-believe.) "My life too is in his hand. He knows what is passing in my heart; the God that animates me hath already revealed it to him. O, my heart! wherefore tremblest thou? art thou not afraid of the envious?"
"Beloved of my heart! light of my eyes!" said she, embracing him, "knowest thou the proverb which says, that man is worth what he holds in his hands?" (The lover had tenderly withdrawn his caresses.) "Put thy hands then in mine, that I may possess the greatest treasure in the world."-Noureddin gave her both his hands, and she covered them with her kisses. While they were thus engaged, the stars began to glisten in the firmament, and the breath of God arose in the breeze of night."
It is difficult for the grace and solemnity of passion to go beyond this. The following is of a lighter strain. It is a conceit, resembling the account which the vessel gives of its birth and fortunes in Catullus; but, like his, a beautiful conceit.
The fair one took out of a green satin bag thirty-two pieces of wood, which she put together, and at length composed with them a beautiful Indian lute. She pressed it to her bosom, like a mother embracing her child, and began to sound it. The lute, animated by her lovely fingers, began to acquire consciousness, and to recollect its origin and its fortunes. It remembered the countries where it had been planted as a tree, the waters by which it had been irrigated, the woodcutter who had felled it, the artist who had wrought it, the ship which had carried it, and all the different hands through which it had passed. Touched by the fingers of the beautiful girl, it responded, by harmonious tones, to the following effect:--I was once a tree, on which dwelt nightingales, who imparted to me a relish for harmony. I bent down my branches and silenced my leaves, that I might listen to and learn their strains. A cruel hand cut me, though unconscious of any fault, into pieces, and transformed me, as thou seest, into a lute. The fingers touch me, but I bear with patience the blows of a fair hand. As a reward for my submission, I enchant, by my notes, all those who have a relish for the amusements of a charming company. I repose on the bosom of the fair, and the arms of Houris entwine my neck."
It is in such literal prose translations as these, in those of Carlyle's specimens of Arabian poetry, and the romance of Antar just mentioned, that the genuine reader will seek for the poetical talent of the East, and not in the rhymes of Sir William Jones. If a poetical translation does not combine spirit and letter in the very highest degree, it can bear no comparison with the most literal prose version. The latter contains the soul without the music. The former gives the music without the soul, and in general very badly too. There are some paraphrases of Anacreon by Cowley, very airy and joyous, and such as we might suppose Anacreon to have written, had he chosen to be so long. But Anacreon is a little box of quintessences; and a reader who is capable of appreciating the extract itself unadulterated, had better resort to the pretty slender volume containing Dr. Orger's unpretending literal prose version, for the use of students, than to any of the watery or the cloying mixtures that have been palmed upon us in verse. We wish Gladwin, or Gilchrist, or some other Oriental scholar, would do as much for Hafiz giving us a genuine taste of the Persian's hand, not indeed with all the
sparkle of its lute about it, but at least native, and the poet's own, unsophisticated with the cuff and ruffles of a common-place English versifier. A volume of selections, with the text and version together, in the manner of Orger's Anacreon, would be hailed with delight by the curious in Eastern talent.
The present stories surpass, in poetry, those previously published; the translators of which omitted passages of that sort; but they do not equal the best of them in plot and character. There is enough, however, to delight the genuine Arabian Night reader. He feels that he has hitherto not exhausted all his treasure, and hopes yet that some more bright moments in his old boyish track of reading may occur, like days that recall the holidays of his childhood. For our parts, we only wanted a snug seat in a door-way, and a pennyworth of the ancient crisp rosy-faced apples, (they make no such apples now-a-days,) to render our enjoyment of some of the stories complete. The best are the Brazen City; Camaralzaman and the Jeweller's Wife; and the Truth and Honour of a Bedouin, in volume the first; and the whole of the stories in volume the second, which in every respect is by far the cleverest of the three. The third volume, as we have already remarked, is worth little. For the Brazen City we set out on our travels, with almost as much gravity as we should have done of old. The story of Camaralzaman and the Jeweller's Wife, where a man has his own wife shown to him as the mistress of another, an astonishing likeness, reminded us of the interesting episode of Ordauro in the Orlando Innamorato. Besides, the very name of Camaralzaman is a story. Hassan of Bassora is wild and extravagant, but it is full of poetry. The ladies, who put on bird-clothing and fly with it, are not so good as the gentle twilight creations of our friend Peter Wilkins. But of all one's dreams, the power of flight is what one most wishes to realize; and it might be done in a less poetical manner. A gigantic dove flying down to a stream to bathe, and landing, instead of itself, a human beauty, is not among the worst of
Such sights as youthful poets dream,
On summer eve, by haunted stream.
Zeinal-mewassif, who makes four judges meet, and all four go home mad with vexation, and all four take to their four beds and die of four raging love-fevers, is a pleasant rebuilder of an old story. She pampers a case in high style. The blacksmith who was ordered to put her in fetters, "bit his fingers when he saw how beautiful Zeinal-mewassif was. The patriarch and fifty monks of a Christian convent, intending to sing psalms, go off into praises of her beauty; and being seized with forty intolerable passions, dig their own graves, and die like the judges. Maria, the Girdle-maker, another giddy charmer, who jokes the merchants that come to buy her in the slave-market,—who devotes part of the night to earning a maintenance for her dear Noureddin, and rests as well during the remainder of it as she ought to do, had our unmingled homage during half of her story. She then evinces a new talent at boxing ears and cutting off heads, which is putting a little too much salt in one's tart. The Converted Prior, which closes the second volume, would have been worthy of a translation by Chaucer or Boccaccio.
ADDRESS TO MR. CROSS, OF EXETER 'CHANGE, ON THE
DEATH OF THE ELEPHANT.
"'Tis Greece-but living Greece no more."-GIAOUR.
Permit a sorry stranger to draw near
(I've shed my shilling) for thy recent loss!
Of old, a sort of a Buffon inquisitor,
I was the Damon of the gentle giant,
Tenderly fondled by his trunk compliant;
To think of it!-no chums could better suit,
Here is his pen !
but the jewel is away!—
The den is rifled of its denizen
Ah well a day!
This fresh free air breathes nothing of his
And sets me sighing, even for its closeness.
This light one-story
Where, like a cloud, I used to feast my eyes on
Tells a dark tale of its departed glory.
The very beasts lament the change, like me.
Leaneth his head dejected on his knee!
Th' Hyena's laugh is hush'd, and Monkeys pout,
The Panther paces restlessly about
To walk her sorrow out,
The Lions in a deeper bass repine,
The Kangaroo wrings its sorry short fore paws,
The old bald Vulture shakes his naked head,
The Boa writhes into a double knot,
The keeper groans
Whilst sawing bones,
And looks askance at the deserted spot-
Sheds frequent tears into her daily tea,
Oh Mr. Cross, how little it gives birth
To grief, when human greatness goes to earth,
Seeins the least trouble of the beasts' Purveyor!
They are renewable from year to year!
Fresh Gents would rise, though Gent resign'd the pen :
Nor, though F********* lay on his small bier,
But when will such an Elephant appear!
A second Powell, if the first should die;
But not another Chunee!
Well! he is dead!