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The concluding lines of the canto afford similar proofs of, Mr. M.'s skill in versification.
'Condemned in torrid noon, with palsy'd hand,
Instead of personifying African Nature, and introducing the principal features that characterize it in a delineation of an imaginary being, we could wish Mr. M. had employed the same fertility of thought and splendor of diction in a description of real nature; which would have given variety to the poein, and a respite to the reader's imagination. A icw couplets we shall extract; in which this continent is represented, as
'A world of wonders, where creation seems
The love of country and of home is treated with ingenuity and feeling; but the passage has a sort of enigmatical character, which we do not altogether approve. In illustrating the universality of the principle, several remarkable region* are thus appropriately specified.
'O'er China's garden fields, and peopled floods,
On pure Madeira's vine-robed hills of health;
In Java's swamps of pestilence and wealth;
Where Babel stood, where wolves and jackaHs rkit,
Midst weeping willows, on Euphrates* brink;
On Carniel's crest, by Jordan's reverend stream,
Where Canaan's glories vanish'd like a dream;
Wbere Greece, a spectre, haunts her heroes' graves*
And Rome's vast ruins darken Tiber's waves;
Where broken-hearted Switzerland bewails
Her subject mountains and dishonour'd vales;
Where Albion's rocks exult amidst the sea
Around the beauteous Isle of Liberty ;—
Man, through all ages of revolving time,
Unchanging man, in every varying clime,
Deems his own land of ev'ry land the pride,
Pelov'd by heav'n o'er all the world beside;
His home a spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.' pp. 23, 2-t.
In proof of the hospitality and gentleness of the African* Character, the poet introduces Mango Park's beautiful anecdote of the nogro girls, whose song he versifies with equal neatness and fidelity.
« "The winds were roaring, and the white man fled;
Spurn'd as a spy from Europe's dreaded clime,
The following passage relates the history of thousands. .
• 'Twas night: his babes around him lay at rest,
Then were the wretched ones asunder torn
To distant isles, to separate bondage borne }
Denied, though sought with tears, the sad relief
That misery loves,—the fellowship of grief.' pp. 27, 28. .
The lines relating to the multitudes who died on the voyage, are truly admirable. A passage more exquisitely finished or more awfully sublime, we scarcely know where to look for.
• When the loud trumpet of eternal doom
The characters of the slave-captain and the creole-planter are forcibly drawn; we can only admit part of the latter.
'Satiate with food, his heavy eyelids close,
The praise most justly bestowed on the Moravians, in the - fourth canto, will sound very harshly in the ears of those who regard conversion as a figment of, hypocrisy or a dream of enthusiasm. Few however of our readers, we trust, are so afflicted with a nausea of piety, as to derive no gratification from the following lines.
'And thou, poor Negro! scorn'd of all mankind;
* From isle to isle the welcome tidings ran;
« No more to daemon gods, in hideous forms, He pray'd for earthquakes, pestilence, and storms, - . In secret agony devour'd the earth,*
And, while he spar'd his mother, curs'd his birth:
To heaven the Christian Negro sent his sighs
In morning vows, and evening sacrifice;
He pray'd for blessings to descend on those
That dealt to him the cup of many woes,
Thought of his home in Africa forlorn,
Yet, while he wept, rejoie'd that he was born;
No longer, burning with unholy fires,
He wallow'd in the dust of base desires;
Ennobling virtue fiVd his hopes above,
Enlarged his heart, and sanctified his love;
With humble steps the paths of peace lie trod,
A happy pilgrim, for he walk'd with God.' pp. 37—39.
* This and the iollowing lines might be scarcely intelligible to a reader unacquainted with the facts to which they refer. The first alludes to the desperate and fatal practice of earth-eating, among the disconsolate slaves; the second, to' the negro proverb, mentioned by Park, « Strike me, but clo not curse my tnither.' No person, however, who had read the preceding canto with its notes, could mistake the meaning of this couplet.
We must pass over the references to Granville Sharp, Clarkson, and Wilberforce, and the affecting apostrophe to Cowper, with whose sorrows the poet intimates he is but to» capable of sympathizing himself. Pitt, he says,
'Supreme amid the senate rose,
The Negro's friend among the Negro's foes;'
Yet, while his tones like heaven's high thunder broke,
No fire descended to consume the yoke.' p. 40.
Of Fox, it is remarked,
* He spake in vain :—till with his latest breath He broke the spell of Africa in death.' p. 41.
In the following allegorical account of the ultimate success of the Abolitionists, we shall not be very severe upon Mr. M. for attributing that event to imaginary rather than real causes, and preferring the graces of fiction to the truth ofhistory. It is equally affecting and picturesque.
* High on her rock, in solitary state,
And his last signal beaming o'er the main;
In Glory's circling arms the hero bled,
While Victory bound the laurel on his head;
At once immortal, in both worlds, became
His soaring spirit, and abiding name:
She thought of Pitt, heart-broken, on his bier; .
And 'O my Country!' echoed in her eari .
She thought of Fox ;—she heard him faintly speak;
His parting breath grew cold upon her cheek,
His dying accents trembled into air, :, ;,
* Spare injured Africa! the Negro spare!' ...
* She started from her trance! and round the shore
And all the tyrant ravish'd from the slave.
Her yielding heart confess'd the righteous claim,
Sorrow had soften'd it, and love o'ercame;
Shame flush'd her noble cheek, her bosom burn'd,
To helpless, hopeless Africa she turn'd;
She saw her sister in the mourner's face,
And rush'd with tears into her dark embrace: »^
'All hail!' exclaim'd the empress of the sea,
'Thy chains are broken; Africa, be free !''
* All hail!' replied the mourner, 'she who broke
* My bonds shall never wear a stranger's yoke.' pp. 42, 43.