Page images

sidered impious, for the same reason as they inter so speedily, namely, that if the deceased was a good Mussulman he is entitled to happiness, which ought not to be grieved at, nor ought he, by any delay of interment, to be prevented at once attaining the full enjoyment of it; if, on the contrary, he was not a good Mussulman, he does not deserve to be grieved for, and ought at once to be sent from the world.

The body is, in the first instance, carried to a mosque, where religious service is performed, and from thence to the grave, over which a prayer is delivered by a priest.

The planting of cypress trees round the grave is practised, because it is imagined that the state of the dead is denoted by the growth and condition of these trees. They are placed in two lines, one on each side the grave-if only those on the right hand prosper, it denotes happiness, if only those on the left, misery. If all of them succeed, it betokens that the deceased was at once admitted to all the bliss of the houris; if all fail, he is tormented by black angels, until, at some future time, he shall be released from torment at the intercession of the prophet.



Pale flow'r of ev’ping! curious 'tis to see

Thy bosom op'ning at departing day,
When others close their petals, leaving thee

To court the modest nioon, and its mild ray:
At early morn thy full blown form is found,

But noon-tide brings thy drooping, dying hour,
Then sinkest thou in death ; but night's dull round

Gives life to thy successor's tender flow'r:
So Sorrow shuns the noise of joyous crowds,

And all the glare of Splendour's gaudy day;
Far from the world, in solitude, she shrouds

The form of beauty, mould’ring to decay:
Shrinking from Pleasure's enervating dream,
As those from Phoebus and his golden beam !


Can the heart which adores thee, be happy and gay,
Or the smile of content beam, when thou art away?
Though Spring is returning, it comes not to cheer,
For Winters of Absence still shed their gloom here.
Though the roses may bud, can they bloom in thy breast,
By the jessamine wooed --- by the violet prest?
Ah! no, for that bosom no longer shall prove
The faithful retreat, for the tributes of Love.
Then come not gay spring-time, recalling each scene,
Where joys, and where pleasures (the sweetest), have been,
To that peace early blighted, one promise fulfil,
Give me Winter,--and with it, Life's icicles still.



The recent dissolution of Talma, and the exclamations he is said to have uttered on his death bed, have recalled the attention of the public to the circuinstances under which Voltaire “ shuffled off this mortal coil,” and it may not be uninteresting shortly to relate them.

Voltaire arrived at Paris in the year 1778, being then in the 83rd year of his age, and on the 16th of March, his tragedy of Irene was produced for the first time. On the 30th of March, he attended the theatre, and there, amidst universal plaudits, his bust was crowned with laurels. This was his last appearance in public. His health had for some time been feeble, although his mind retained its full vigour, and he is even said to have occupied himself from six to nine hours a day, with some new literary productions, until a short time before his death. He had accustomed hiinself to take opium, in order to procure sleep; and the taking too large a dose was one cause of his last illness. Whilst at Paris, he resided in the house of the Marquis of Villette, who no sooner saw that his guest's illness was assuming a fatal character, than he sent for M. Bonnet, Curé of St. Sulpice, to persuade him to conform to the established religion, if it were only that his remains might be interred in the usual manner. Voltaire was in bed; the Curé first asked him, “ Do you believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ?" Voltaire instantly interrupting him, replied, “Oh! M. le Curé, if I grant you that article, you will demand if I do not also believe in the Holy Ghost, and so on, until you finish with the Bull Unigenitus." The Curé remonstrated, but in vain, and at last retired unsuccessful. In a few hours afterwards, a great change took place, and as death was evidently approaching quickly, the Curé again attempted to induce him to comply. He approached the bed, and laid his hand upon the head of the dying man, when Voltaire suddenly raised his hand, and violently pushed the Curé from him, exclaiming, “I came into the world without a Bonnet, and will go out without one; therefore let me die in peace!" These were his last words, he expired a few moments afterwards. This was on the 30th of May, 1778.

Application was made to the Archbishop of Paris, that the rites of Christian burial should be allowed, but in vain ; and in the end, his body was carried out of Paris in a coach, as if living, and interred privately at Selliéres, in Champagne. His heart was extracted and given to the Marqius de Villeite, who enclosed it in a golden vase, upon which was inscribed the following line :

“ Son esprit est par-tout, mais son cœur est ici."


Ahab, a Poem, in Four Canios. By S. R. Jackson. London.

1826. The poetic throne is vacant. Since the death of Byron, no aspirant has appeared of sufficient ability to awe the public into an acknowledgment of his right to occupy that exalted seat-we have Southey, Moore, Milman, and twenty others; but, alas! we have no Byron. The poem of Ahab is one of high pretension, and of considerable, but very unequal, merit. We have met with few poems lately in which are to be found passages more beautiful or more striking, and yet there are in it so many faults, that, as a whole, candor will not allow us to give it much praise. The story is extremely defectivenot only as refers to the delineation of character and the descriptions of passion, but even in the arrangement of the incidents, an excellence much more easily attainable. Some prominent facts are dwelt upon with a minuteness that become tiresome-others are hurried past so swiftly, that it is with difficulty they can be discovered ; There is no keeping in the picture---some parts are labored with excessive pains---others, and amongst them many glorious opportunities for display, are lightly, and often indistinctly, sketched. With all these blemishes, we cannot bring ourselves to condemn a poem in which may be found so many fine passages. What, for instance, can be much more powerful than the following allusion of the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war?"

War! Thou hast pleasing scenes, thy mix'd array
Is beautiful and bright; thy proud display-
Who can behold, nor feel his heart beat high,
Nor his eyes glisten at thy majesty ?
Oh! who unmov'd thy thrilling voice can hear,
That calleth valor forth and quelleth fear;
Oh! who can feel the steed beneath him prance---
Can see the banners in the sun-light dance---
Gaze on the firm-drawn brow, the fiery eye
Of thousands rushing on to win or die---
Then turn him from that stirring scene afar,

And say that nought is beautiful in war ?
Or what more descriptive than the following ?

"Tis night, and on the dark and desert shore
The winds are blust'ring and the billows roar ;
No light is on the ocean, not a gleam,
Paint as the flash seen in a troubled dream,
But wild and dreary look its waters now,
Like Grief's sad impress on the mourner's brow.
And yet in such a gloom-instilling night
The man of lonely mood can find delight,
Can calmly smile, albeit upon his head
Th' unsparing fury of the storm be sped.
Oh! strange it is that man in wayward mood,
Should shun gay mirth and fly to solitude,

And seek mid rugged rocks and deserts drear,
And scenes where e'en the righteous stoop to fear,
Joys that to duller bosoms are denied :
But what are silent scenes to sons of pride ?
The tame in soul may tremble to behold
The clouds of heaven their darken'd wombs unfold;
Enough for them if on the sluggish tide
Of life, in one unvaried calm they glide ;
But the proud hearted, wilder than the wind,
Leave scenes like theirs with scornfulness behind ;
Sons of the tempest, lottier in their mood,
Form'd to enjoy each change from mild to rude,
No medium knowing, pleas'd with each extreme,
The storm or calm to them can lovely seem.
Oh! it is sweet to climb the lofty rock,
And view below the elemental shock,
To watch the dazzling lightning round you play,
Or wing along the wave its fiery way;
To hear the deep and melancholy sound
Of winds low moaning in the caverns round;
The rumbling of the thunder or its crash,
The noise of waters that beneath you dash :
And, oh! 'tis sweet to wile away the hour
Far from the haunts of men in lonely bower,
When not a breath is left the leaf to wake,
And not a ripple trembles on the lake :
When not a cloud or star is in the sky,
But all looks vast and blue and beauteously;
When eve's cool stillness to the spirit shows
The sweets of peace, and soothes it to repose,
And wafts its thoughts above this narrow earth,

To mark his wond'rous works who gave it birth. The eye of criticism can even in these two extracts without doubt discover many faults, and trace resemblances to well-known passages of other authors; but there is in them, nevertheless, a display of no ordinary poetical ability and feeling. The following beautiful passage would do credit to any author; it is much in the style of Goldsmith.

Oh! marvel not that faith like this be shewn,
Though found, too oft, in woman's breast alone ;
She, gentle creature, e'en to weakness fond,
Borne by her love all selfish thoughts beyond,
True to the last, unwearied by distress,
Soothes with her smiles the bed of bitterness;
Clings closest to man's heart when most forlorn,

The only one that deems it good to mourn.

Extracts of equal beauty might be multiplied; but all, we fear, are insufficient to atone for the defects of the narrative. Had Mr. Jackson bestowed his pains upon a subject of less pretension, we are satisfied his success would have been greater : it was presumption in him, to say the least of it, to attempt that which even the genius of Milton has removed only one degree from the profane. There are some Jighter pieces of poetry introduced into these four cantos, which fully justify our expectations of his success in a humbler walk. With the exception of two or three feeble lines, the following hymn is simple, pleasing, and appropriate.

Mightiest of the Mighty! thou
Before whose throne vast nations bow,
Whose terror-darting eye can see
The depths of immortality,
And pierce the dark abodes of man,
Whose lot thy wisdom deign'd to plan,
Accept my prayer : to thee belong
My morning praise---my evening song.
Before thy breath the ocean wakes,
Thy voice the cloud of darkness breaks,
That o'er the brow of morning spreads ;
And night-chill’d flow'rets lift their heads,
When shines thy light upon the earth
Whose opening beauties burst to birth ;
Thou who art present every where,

Accept thy servant's humble prayer. In his preface, Mr. Jackson complains that publishers will not buy his poems, and critics will not review them; and he has even gone out of his way to introduce into the religious poem of “ Ahab” a vulgar and doggrel attack upon“ printers,” (printers, forsooth !) “ critics, and publishers." This is most unwise, ridiculous, and unjust. Publishers are, of course, like all other tradesmen, free to purchase or reject; and “ upon what compulsion " are reviewers obliged to take notice of any person's poems? We have given Mr. Jackson our candid opinion of his production; and would honestly, and as friends, advise him to let his next attempt be of a somewhat humbler character_“ Ahab” is far beyond his depth.

Trarels in Chile and La Plata ; including Accounts respecting the

Geography, Geology, Statistics, Government, Finances, Agricullure, Manners and Customs, and the Mining Iperations in Chile.

By John Miers. 2 vols. 8vo. Baldwin : 1826. If these volumes had been published before the unprincipled loans and mining speculations, by which so many of our fellowcountrymen

have been sufferers, were entered into, much good would have ensued, but even now they are highly interesting and important, and contribute a great deal of genuine information, as to the real state of the countries to which they refer. We have not, indeed, seen any book for a long time past, from which more could be gleaned, or in which facts are conveyed in a more plain and unostentatious manner. Miserable, indeed, is the tale they tell-dreadful the picture they present; but there are too many of us interested in knowing the truth, whatever it may be, not to render Mr. Miers' volumes highly acceptable. In our notice of them we shall confine ourselves to the parts most interesting to the general reader; but they contain not a little valuable scientific information.

The first things which astonish us, in the perusal of these volumes, is the extreme dirtiness of the natives, and the manner in which they are accustomed to live, even persons of wealth,-a whole family huddled together in one room, almost destitute of all human comforts.

« PreviousContinue »