« PreviousContinue »
WAR SONG. The original strain, of which the following stanzas are an imitation, was wont to be sung, with patriotic enthusiasm, by the German and Prussian soldiers, in their encampments, on their marches, and in the field of battle, during the last campaigns of the allies against Bonaparte. This Tyrtæan lyric, therefore, contributed, in its day and its degree, to the deliverance of Europe.
The Early French Poets.
JAN DE LA PERUSE.
The works of Jan de la Peruse, poem is Medee, a tragedy. It is a one of those contemporary writers mixture of twelve syllable verses ; the whom we shall see distinguished by common verse, ten; and lyrical, by Ronsard, were edited by Claude Bi- the chorus. The opening is from net, the affectionate friend of both. Seneca ; but he has not servilely folHe has prefixed a preface to them, lowed either that writer or Euripiand added some verses of his own. des. His odes, in the Pindaric style, The title of this book is, « Les Oeu- are much worse than Romard's. The vres de Jan de la Peruse, avec quel most striking thing I have observed ques autres diverses Poesies de in the collection is an ode that was Claude Binet." A Lyon. Par Be- written in his last illness, and which noist Rigaud, 1577. 16mo. The first death prevented him from finishing.
Quelque part que je me tourne,
Si pres des fleuves j'arrive
Soudain l'eau, laissant la rive,
En fuyant devant mon mal,
Se cache dans son canal.
L'oiseau sur la seiche espine
Sans dire mot est perché,
Et le lieu ou je chemine
Seiche comme il est touché.
Si quelque amy d'aventure,
Plein de pitié, s'aventure
De me venir conforter,
Il sent ses sens transporter
Par une tristesse extreme.
Il sent un ennuy, un soin,
Et le pauvret a lui mesme
De bon confort grand besoin.
Sorrow with me abides;
A secret terror glides.
If in the field I be;
When to the woods I flee.
Mirth will no longer stay ;
Makes all men haste away.
Seeking a lonely place,
My lamentable case.
And stand upon the brink;
Within their channel shrink.
And not a word saith he:
Dries up when touch'd by me.
In pity of my plight,
Himself a wretched wight.
Upon his heart do feed;
Of comfort much hath need.
This is natural and pathetic. Jan court the notice of the powerful. I de la Peruse, from the few poems he have learnt nothing more concerning has left, seems to have been an ami- him, than that he was born at Anable man, warmly attached to his goulême, and died there in 1555, in friends, and not very solicitous to the prime of his life.
The Twelve Tales of Lyddalcross.
TALE THE FIFTH.
THE MOTHER'S DREAM.
She slept and there was vision'd to her eye
Legend of Ladye Beatrice. The Fifth Tale was related by a shuns the joy and the mirth of the lady. Her voice was slow and gen- world. When sorrow, which misses tle, and possessed that devotional few, had found me out, and made Scottish melody of expression which me a mateless bird, I once walked gives so much antique richness and out to the margin of that beautiful grace to speech. Under the shade sheet of water, the Ladye's Lowe. of a long veil she sought to conceal a It was the heart of summer; the hills face where early grief had bleached in which the lake lay embosomed the roses, and impressed a sedate were bright and green; sheep were and settled sorrow on a brow parti- scattered upon their sides; shepherds cularly white and high. But her sat on their summits; while the eye still retained something of the grassy sward, descending to the quiet light of early life, which darkened or pure water, gave it so much of its brightened as the joys, the sufferings, own vernal hue, that the eye could or the sorrows, of wedded and mater- not always distinguish where the land nal love, gave a deeper interest or and lake met. Its long green water passion to her story.
flags, and broad lilies, which lay so When woman is young, said she, flat and so white along the surface, with a sigh, but not of regret, she were unmoved, save by the course loves to walk in the crowded streets, of a pair of wild swans, which for and near the dwellings of men many years had grazed on the grassy when she becomes wiser, has seen margin, or found food in the bottom the vanities, and drunk of the mi- of the lake. series and woes of life, she chooses This pastoral quietness pertained her walks in more lonely places, and, more to modern than to ancient times. seeking converse with her own spirit. When the summer heat was high,
and the waters of the lake low, the on the summit, like a banner spread, remains of a broken but narrow cause stands a lady clad in white, holding way, composed of square stones, in- her hands to heaven, and shrieking. dented in a frame-work of massy oak, This vision is said to precede, by a might still be traced, starting from night or two, the annual destruction a little bay on the northern side, and of some person by the waters of the diving directly towards the centre of lake. The influence of this superstithe lake. Tradition, in pursuing the tion has made the Ladye's Lowe a sohistory of this causeway, supplied litary and a desolate place, has prethe lake with an island, the island served its fish, which are both deliwith a tower, and the tower with cious and numerous, from the fisher's narratives of perils, and bloodshed, net and hook, and its wild swans and chivalry, and love. These fire- from the gun of the fowler. The side traditions, varying according to peasantry seldom seek the solitude the fancy of the peasantry, all con- of its beautiful banks, and avoid cluded in a story too wild for ordi- bathing in its waters; and when the nary belief.
A battle is invariably winter gives its bosom to the curler described by some grey-headed nar- or the skater, old men look grave rator, fought on the southern side of and say, “The Ladye's Lowe will the lake, and sufficiently perilous and have its yearly victim ;' and its yearbloody. A lady's voice is heard, ly victim, tradition tells us, it has and a lady's form is seen, among the ever had since the sinking of the armed men, in the middle of the tower. fight. She is described as borne off I had reached the margin of the towards the causeway by the lord of lake, and sat looking on its wide pure the tower, while the margin of the expanse of water. Here and there the water is strewed with dead or dying remains of an old tree, or a stunted men. She sees her father, her bro- hawthorn, broke and beautified the ther, fall in her defence; her lover, to winding line of its border; while catwhom she had been betrothed, and tle, coming to drink and gaze at their from whom she had been torn, die by shadows, took away from the awe her side ; and the deep and lasting and solitude of the place. As my curse which she denounced against eye pursued the sinuous outline of her ravisher, and the tower, and the the lake, it was arrested by the aplake which gave him shelter, is not pearance of a form, which seemed forgotten, but it is too awful to that of a human being, stretched mingle with the stories of a grave motionless on the margin. and a devout people. That night, it and, on going nearer, I saw it was is said, a voice was heard as of a a man; the face cast upon the earth, spirit running round and round the and the hands spread. I thought lake, and pronouncing a curse against death had been there ; and while I it; the waters became agitated, and was waving my hand for a shepherd, a shriek was heard at midnight. In who sat on the hill-side, to approach the morning the castle of the Ladye's and assist me, I heard a groan, and Lowe was sunk, and the waters of the a low and melancholy cry; and prelake slept seven fathoms deep over sently he started up, and, seating the copestone.
himself on an old tree-root, rested a They who attach credence to this cheek on the palm of either hand, wild legend are willing to support it and gazed intently on the lake. He by much curious testimony." They was a young man ; the remains of tell that, when the waters are pure in health and beauty were still about summer time, or when the winter's him ; but his locks, once curling and ice lies clear beneath the foot of long, which maidens loved to look the curler, the wails of the tower at, were now matted, and wild, and are distinctly seen without a stone withered ; his cheeks were hollow displaced; while those who connect and pale, and his eyes, once the tales of wonder with every remark- merriest and brightest in the district, able place, say, that once a year the shone now with a grey, wild, and castle arises at midnight from the unearthly light.
As I looked upon bosom of the lake, with lights, not this melancholy wreck of youth and - like the lights of this world, stream- strength, the unhappy being, put ing from loophole and turret, while both hands in the lake, and lifting
up water in his palms, scattered it during this singular employment, to in the air; then dipping both hands chaunt some strange and broken again, showered the water about words with a wild tone and a faulhis locks like rain. He continued, tering tongue.
SONG OF BENJIE SPEDLANDS.
Misery to them who dip their hands in thee !
The fish leap no more in thy waves;
And the lightning scorch thee up;
The babe unborn shall never bless thee;
May the man who bathes in thy flood
And go childless down to the grave.
Shall return to thy bosom no more,
And night-darkness devour thee up.
And that feather floats on thy waves,
For the sake of those thou hast slain;
For the mother who wail'd for her child.
And a mother mourning by thy waters;
And weep for her fair-hair'd son! The sound of the song rolled low than her mourning dress, now came and melancholy over the surface of towards me, along the border of the lake. I never heard a sound the lake. She had the face and so dismal. During the third verse, the form of one whom I knew in the singer took up water in the hol- my youth, the companion of my low of his hand, and threw it on the teens, and the life and love of all wind. Then he threw a pebble and who had hearts worth a woman's a feather into the lake ; and, gather- wish. She was the grace of the ing up the dust among the margin preaching, the joy of the dance, stones, strewed it over the surface of through her native valley, and had the water. When he concluded his the kindest and the gayest heart in wild verses, he uttered a loud cry, the wide holms of Annandale. I rode and, throwing himself suddenly on at her wedding, and a gay woman his face, spread out his hands, and was I; I danced at her wedding as lay, and quivered, and moaned like if sorrow was never to come; and one in mortal agony.
when I went to the kirking, and saw A young woman, in widow's weeds, her so fair, and her husband so handand with a face still deeper in woe some, I said, in the simplicity of my