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No. II. The Ruins of the Castle of Cervantes, and the Fall of Roderick and Spain. MR NORTH.-While glancing some time since over the pages of your Thirtyninth Number, I was attracted by some translated specimens of the romantic Minstrelsy of
Spanien Dem schönen Land des Weins und der Gesänge, * ushered in, by the bye, with a preamble of your own, written in enviable prose. Having Rodd's and Depping's Collections by me, I was induced to look into the latter, and now send you the result of my meditations therein.
Yours, &c. Dublin, 7th December, 1820.
THE RUINS OF THE CASTLE OF ST CERVANTES.
Ye hoary towers, sacred to Cervantes' holy name,
* GOETHE's Faust.
+ I have been, in rendering these two last lines, necessitated to deviate from the sense of the original, by the opposition of a most uncompromising pun.
And-like the almond-branch, which pluck'd in spring's maturing hour,
THE FALL OF RODERICK AND SPAIN.
The illicit amours of Roderick and Cava, or Florinda, and their subsequent tri-
* The Spanish word desengano, which implies disenthralment from some agreeable delusion, is one of those fixtures of a language which defy translation. The word I have employed is not the coinage of my own mint, but was originally (to use his own expression)" hazarded” by Lawson, the ingenious publisher of the Relics of Melodino, “ as
equivalent to desengano than disappointment."
At undeception's shrine I offer-truth.
WHAT IS LOVE?
The sons of Spain are up in arms against the sons of Spain ;
e'er shall pass away.
IF I might, without incurrring the charge of nationality, introduce a translation from the German as an ingredient of my Horæ Hispanicæ,, I should be inclined to subjoin the following little ditty. I shall probably screen myself from the above imputation, by offering it merely in the form of a note upon the “ Song for the Morning of the Day of St John the Baptist,” to which such ample justice has been done by my predecessor. This will also, perhaps satisfy the scruples of your officer, whose duty it is to search my bale of goods, outvoiced as Spanish, and who might otherwise be inclined to denounce the commodity as contraband. I picked up the original one evening of last July, in the beautiful village of Blankanese, on the Elbe, where the ungenial zephyrs kept me for a day or two, closely pent up in a land which I loved much, but yearning to return to one which I loved more. I transcribed it from an almanack lent me by my host, and in which the name of the author is givenFREDERICK STRICKER. It exhibits a parallel superstition to that which is alluded to in the production of your former correspondent, and pertaining to another country. The superstitious influence of the Baptist is felt at all points of the compass. Fires are duly lighted after sunset upon the “ eve of St John," on the mountains which lie to the south of Dublin, (and which embellish the vicinity of that city, with a variety of romantic scenery, rarely to be met within four miles of a metropolis ;) and your correspondent recollects to have been stopped, when a boy, on his return with a party from an excursion into the county of Wicklow, by a line of country cars drawn across the road, at the village of Stillorgan, the owners of which had adopted this mode of exacting “ something towards the bon-fire.” These localities will not be deemed irrelevant to the pages of an “Irish MAGAZINE."
THE ST John's-WORT.
maid stole thro' the cottage door,
And the glow-worm t came
Thro' the night of St John,
* See No. XLIV. page 197, column 1, line 29.
With noiseless tread
To her chamber she sped,
“ Bloom here-bloom here, thou plant of pow'r,
And when a year was past away,
And the glow-worm came
Thro’ the night of St John, As they clos'd the cold grave o'er the maid's cold clay. The following note is added in the German :-"According to a provincial custom in Lower Saxony, every young girl plucks a sprig of St John's Wort on mid-summer night, and sticks it into the wall of her chamber. Should it, owing to the dampness of the wall, retain its freshness and verdure, she may reckon upon gaining a suitor in the course of the year; but, if it droop, the popular belief is, that she also is destined to pine and wither away.”
ON POETIC INSPIRATION.
We have frequently heard poets of ing may be considered the employment eminence lament their inability to call of the mind, as the indulgence of the up their wonted powers of poetic come imagination is its amusement. Man position, and even of poetic thought, perpetually oscillates between the atwhen summoned, by any sudden emer tractions of his mental and corporeal gence, to the exercise of their mighty faculties; and the more he indulges vocation. A landscape of surpassing the one, the more is he necessarily rebeauty-an event of individual moral stricted in his enjoyment of the other. interest, or of national and universal His finite powers are too limited-his import, would seem, to the by-standers, expanse of perception is too narrow to calculated to awaken the muse from comprehend, at the same time, all the her deepest slumber. But it is all in gratifications which the faculties of his vain. The landscape may lie in all its double nature can produce-or he expanse of loveliness before him—the would approach nearer in felicity to tale of woe or of wonder may be told those mighty beings who precede him in his ear, and his heart may throb in the scale of intelligence and fruition. higher than that of the ordinary mor Love alone, of all our pleasures, unites, tal; but he breathes no accents cor in a considerable degree, the functions respondent to his lofty emotions—his of our moral and physical powers; and thoughts, he imagines, lie too deep for hence, love is the most delightful of tears, or are too exalted for mirth, and our sensations. From this fact, then, he suffers the event to pass by him in- that the simultaneous enjoyment of to oblivion,
the delights flowing from these two Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung. distinct, though intimately connected,
The reason of all this will be ap- sources of pleasure, is incompatible parent, if we attentively consider the with the frame and constitution of our causes and the occasions of poetic in- nature, may be explained the phenospiration. It will be granted, we ven menon we have been pointing out to ture to suppose, on reflection, that we observation. only think at all, in preference to, or We will suppose the poet to be reclito supply the place of corporeal exer- ning in an arbour on a calm summer's tion; and that we only think poeti- evening-alandscape, in all the luxurically in preference to, or to supply the ance of verdure, spread out before his place of corporeal enjoyment. Reason- eye stream murmuring at his feet
the birds, in a neighbouring grove, sent him back in imagination to the chaunting their vespers—the fragrance scene with which he was then so enof wild-flowers over his head-and, raptured, that he learns to consider it above all, the soft mellow light of even as a fit subject on which to exercise his ing, clothing every surrounding object poetical powers. His passions, which in hues of tenfold beauty. What scene were then in their highest state of excan be imagined better calculated to citement, are now in repose ; and his arouse his poetic energies? Yet poetry, judgment, which was then in abeyance, at least good poetry, in such a situation, is now at hand to guide and correct his most certainly he will not produce. imagination. And the scene itself, Or, if he should make a successful ef- which then paralyzed his discriminafort, it will only be by foregoing his ting powers by the oppressive intensecorporeal gratification, and will be but ness of its reality, is now softened down, remotely, if at all, connected with the like every thing past, with tender and scene before him. If he gives nature shadowy recollections. the rein, his enjoyment will be entire Poetry, the most natural, and, therely corporeal ; and the intellect, with a fore, the most pleasing kind of it-Sir kind of suspended exertion, will be Walter Scott's poetry for instance is only so far in activity as it may assist not a direct ebullition of the feelings, in administering to the gratification of but a description of them—it is a histhe senses. In truth, we never resort tory of recollections. It is the language to the inward prospects of the mind, of passion revised by the judgment; till those without are deficient in in- not the foam that rides on the wave, terest or in splendour ; for realities but the mound thrown up by its perwould be the sole objects of our atten- petual tossing. That poetry, and of tion, were they as beautiful as the forms the noblest kind, may be written while of fancy. Or, suppose him placed amid the mind is in a state of violent excitewilder and more romantic scenery— ment, Lord Byron's is a striking inamid forests, and mountains, and lakes, stance. However, even in this case, and cataracts. Here again, he finds most poets will prefer the actual enjoynothing, in his own mind, surpassing ment to the description of it; and wait the magnificent prospect around him; till the storm has subsided, before they his soul spurns at the shadows of the attempt to sketch a history of the efimagination, while a still loftier reali- fects it has produced. But all corporeal ty is towering before his eyes; and he gratification must, during such a pro, takes the shortest way to his gratifica- cess, be singularly excluded ; mental tion by dwelling, bodily, and without excitement, and mental labour, must mental reserve or interruption, on the so occupy and absorb the faculties, as unimaginable and indescribable gran- not to leave a single feeling connected deur of external nature. It is only with self, beyond the simple consciouswhen absence, lapse of time, or (which ness of material existence. is more intimately connected with our argument) an incapacity or temporary distaste for physical enjoyment, has
THE AYRSHIRE LEGATEES:
RESPONSIVE NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
We have been exceedingly surprised at a letter which we received soon after the publication of our last number, complaining, with great severity, of an alleged liberty that we have taken with many respectable characters; and treating the whole that we have published respecting the Pringle family as an ingenious but impertinent fiction. In his notion, Mr A. B. is not singular; an impudent and illiterate person in the townhead of Irvine, had already assumed the same view of the subject, and railed at us in very ill set terms, for the freedom with which his ancient and venerable native town (from which, we suppose, he has never strayed) had been used by us in our adaptation of Mr MʻGruel's contributions to the purposes of our Magazine. To such addresses VOL. VIII.