Слике страница
[ocr errors]

“ — Mon fils, quels pleurs seront les nôtres !

D'un riche nous perdons l'appui;
L'indigence glane chez d'autres,
Mais elle moissonait chez lui.
Ce soir même, sûr d'un asile,
A son toit le pauvre accourait;

Encore une étoile qui file,
Qui file, file, et disparait.
" — C'est celle d'un puissant monarque!

Va, mon fils, garde ta candeur ;
Et que ton étoile ne marque
Par l'éclat ni par la grandeur.
Si tu brillez sans être utile,
A ton dernier jour on dirait,
Ce n'est qu'une étoile qui file,

Qui file, file, et disparait." We doubt whether any thing more poetical in explanation of a falling star could have been conceived. Jacques touchingly displays a scene of distress such as the author must have been frequently compelled to witness, familiarly as he has observed the habits of the lower classes. We resist the temptation to quote it and many more, and must content ourselves to recommend it, with others of equal beauty, to the attention of our readers. To most of them, this recommendation will be superfluous.

Before we close the chapter of French poetry, we must not forget to mention the minor poems of M. Victor Hugo, many of which do honor to the distinguished novelist. He has published a collection entitled “Leaves of Autumn," which will hardly prove as fugitive as their name would indicate. We shall content ourselves with presenting as a specimen of his powers in this way, his beautiful lines called Son Nom, unrivalled, in our opinion, in love poetry. “Le parfum d'un lis pur, l'éclat d'un auréole,

La dernière rumeur du jour,
La plainte d'un ami qui s'afflige et console,
L'adieu mystérieux de l'heure qui s'envole,

Le doux bruit d'un baiser d'amour,
“L'écharpe aux sept couleurs que l'orage en la nue

Laisse, comme un trophée, au soleil triomphant,
L'accent inspiré d'une voix reconnue,
Le veu le plus secret d'une vierge ingénue,

Le premier rêve d'un enfant, —

Mais que

“Le chant d'un chœur lointain, le soupir qu'à l'aurore

Rendait le fabuleux Memnon,
La murmure d'un son qui tremble et s'évapore,
Tout ce que la pensée a de plus doux encore,

O lyre, est moins doux que son nom ! “Prononce-le tout bas, ainsi qu'une prière,

dans tous nos chants il résonne à la fois !
Qu'il soit du temple obscur la secrète lumière !
Qu'il soit le mot sacré, qu'au fond du sanctuaire

Redit toujours la même voix !
“O mes amis ! avant qu'en paroles de flamme

Ma muse, égarant som essor,
Ose aux noms profamés qu'un vain orgueil proclame,
Mêler ce chaste nom que l'amour dans mon âme

A caché, comme un saint tresor,
« Il

que le chant de mes hymnes fidèles
Soit comme un de ces chants qu'on écoute à genoux;
Et que l'air soit ému de leurs voix solennelles,
Comme si, secouant ses invisibles ailes,

Un ange passait prês de nous.” * We hope we have succeeded in showing, that there is at present no dearth of poetical talent in France. It is, indeed,

* A translation of this poem, before printed, may not be unacceptable to our readers.


“The lily's perfume pure, fame's crown of light,

The latest murmur of departing day,
Fond friendship's plaint, that melts in pity's sight,
The mystic farewell of each hour in flight,

The kiss which beauty grants with coy delay, -
“ The sevenfold scarf that parting storms bestow

A trophy to the proud, triumphant sun;
The thrilling accent of a voice we know,
The love-enthralled maiden's secret vow,

An infant's dream, ere life's first sands are run,-
“ The chant of distant choirs, the morning's sigh

Which erst inspired the fabled Memnon's frame,-
The melodies that, murmured, trembling die,
The sweetest gems that 'mid thought's treasures lie,

Have nought of sweetness that can match HER NAME!
“ Low be its utterance, like a prayer divine,

Yet in each warbled song be heard the sound ! VOL. XLIV. NO. 95.


perverted by corrupt taste, and clouded by gross faults. The prevalence of dramatic productions, and the eagerness with which the populace throng to witness exhibitions hideously immoral, but sustained by the vitiated tastes and political passions of the multitude, have exerted the most pernicious effect both on their writers and the public. But such minds as that of M. de Lamartine cannot be without their influence; and we may therefore hope that a change in this respect, as complete as the recent one from the monotonous formality of the old school, will before long take place.

E. Robinson.

Art. IV. - 1. Voyage de l'Arabie Petrée, par MM. LÉON

DE LABORDE et LINANT. Fol. XII. Livraisons. Paris.

1830-1834. 2. Journey through Arabia Petræa, to Mount Sinai and

the excavated City of Petra, the Edom of the Prophecies. By M. LÉON DE LABORDE. London ; Murray. 1836. The French work named above is a splendid memorial of private taste and enterprise. MM. Laborde and Linant, after having previously travelled, the one through the deserts and desolate monuments of antiquity in Asia Minor and Syria, and the other among the ruined temples and mysterious remains of still remoter ages in Upper Egypt and Nubia, associated themselves for an excursion from Cairo over the peninsula of Mount Sinai to the ruins of Petra, the ancient capital of Edom, and subsequently of the kingdom of Arabia Petræa. The fruits of their enterprising spirit are displayed in this work; which

Be it the light in darksome fanes to shine,
The sacred word which at some hidden shrine

The self-same voice for ever makes resound!
"O friends! ere yet, in living words of flame,

My muse, bewildered in her soarings wide,
With names the vaunting lips of pride proclaim,
Shall dare to blend the one, the purer name,

Which love a treasure in my breast doth hide,

“Must the wild lay my faithful harp can sing,

Be like the hymns which mortals, kneeling, hear;
To solemn harmonies attuned the strings,
As, music shaking from his viewless wings,

On heavenly airs some angel hovered near."


contains no less than ninety-seven plates and maps, and fortyseven wood cuts, representing scenery and objects which they met with in their journey ; but devoted chiefly to the delineation of the wondrous ruins of the Idumean metropolis. The plates are accompanied by a body of text, consisting of an historical Introduction, an Explanation of the Plates, (in which the wood-cuts are interspersed,) and an Itinerary from Suez to Akaba and Petra. The drawings from which the engravings were made, are the joint productions of the two travellers ; while the text is from the pen of M. Laborde alone. The whole forms a splendid folio volume, corresponding in size and plan to the great French work on Egypt, io which it thus becomes an appropriate supplement. The subscription price is two hundred and forty francs, or something more than fortyfive dollars.

When we first arranged the plan of this article, we must confess, that, like some of our London brethren,* we had not seen the original work; nor could we learn that a single copy of it had reached this country. We have, however, since seen a copy in a bookstore in New York, the only one, of which we have as yet been able to hear. The little attention which has hitherto been directed to it abroad, is probably the cause of this neglect on the part of our literary men and public libraries. We cannot but hope, that even our present notice may bring this important work to the knowledge of some, who will be prompt to procure it; and we trust that at least the library of Harvard University, which is justly proud of having long possessed the magnificent work on Egypt, will suffer no great interval to elapse, ere the present supplement shall be added to its treasures.

Of the English work, professing to be a translation of M. Laborde's text, with copies of the plates on a reduced scale, we cannot speak in terms equally favorable. It was doubtless the wish and intent of the eminent publisher, Mr. Murray, to place before the English reader in octavo, and at a moderate expense, all that the French work exhibits in folio at a far higher cost. Such a plan could not but be in every respect laudable ; and it might also be entirely proper to omit a portion of the less important plates, such, for instance, as present only architectural plans and minor details. But, unfortunately, the preparation of the work was intrusted to an anonymous editor, who has proved himself entirely incompetent to the task. The merest tyro in the French language and in historical geography, could not have made a worse translation, nor a more bungling use of the materials before him in the original work. To say nothing further of the frequent Gallicisms, which disfigure the style and often obscure the sense, the translator, instead of following the simple plan above suggested, has undertaken to construct a new work out of the materials of M. Laborde’s text. He professes to have brought together the different parts into one "continuous whole,” throughout which the plates are interspersed in a reduced form; thus changing entirely the character and object of the original work, by making the plates subsidiary to the text. Nor is this all ; for out of the one hundred and forty-four plates and cuts contained in the French work, only sixty-five are given in the English copy. The consequence of this change of arrangement in the text is, that the descriptions of M. Laborde, which, as merely explanatory of the plates, were very properly disconnected and general, become, as parts of a continuous narrative, meagre and unsatisfactory, such as the French author doubtless would not have given, had they been the main object of his work. The translator has also prefixed to the work “two chapters, comprising an account of ancient Idumea, and a summary of the remarks made upon Petra by preceding travellers.” This would have been a very fitting

* See the British Critic, and the Asiatic Journal, for


" addition, if well executed ; but these two chapters” are so superficial and loose in respect to facts, and so full of mere assumptions, that the reader is left quite as much in the dark as before. Besides, they are so inserted as to seem to belong to M. Laborde's own text ; at least the three or four first pages of Chap. I, are certainly from his pen; and the language then proceeds without the least hint of a change of writers. Whatever our estimate may be of M. Laborde's own contributions, we cannot hold it honest, thus even apparently to foist upon him the opinions of another person, which are obviously worth nothing.

The very title of the English volume is a misnomer. The simple “ Voyage de l'Arabie Petrée,” becomes in the translator's hands a “Journey through Arabia Petræa, to Mount Sinai and the excavated city of Petra, the ancient Edom!What could we think of the knowledge and accuracy of a


« ПретходнаНастави »