Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

the gold of his heart into the pan of destruction." The tunes to which they are sung are not harmonious; they are mostly set in the key of G sharp; the whole tone is not cheerful; it is that of a poet who has been ill used, over-reviewed; it is far less joyous than the cognate effusions of the bandit and contrabandista, who, although persecuted by the police and ex. cise, by men of hard hearts and no taste for the picturesque, form the envy and admiration of nine-tenths of Spaniards. Mr. Borrow tells us that “these rhymes are trash;" they are however true trash, and not the conventional nonsense of Rosa-Matildas and pseudo-gipsy heroines. Mr. Borrow makes them “speak out themselves;” to place fine language and metaphysics in a real Gitána's mouth would be as absurd as putting the last New Poor Law Report, or Mr. Babbage's machine into her hands. Mr. Borrow's translations of this trash rival the originals; he refers to the vocabulary for their fidelity, being "unwilling that many thoughts and expressions which are highly objectionable" should be fathered on him; still less are they any children of ours. It is our duty to assist a candid author in not giving wider circulation to the mischief by inserting any portion in our respectable pages. We do this rather as moralists than as critics; for we know that it is not easy to translate Spanish, let alone gipsy, ballads; they are not bishops, to be benefited by the process. The Muse in warm climates goes somewhat en deshabille ; what drapery she has is oriental gossamer and bespangled; to translate all this into decent English broadcloth would be covering the Venere Callipega with a Welsh flannel petticoat. Mr. Borrow must pardon us; he may console himself with thinking that other great men have failed. Even Dr. Bowring, a brotherlinguist and translator of ballads, occasionally is somewhat inferior to his originals. A couple of specimens from the Black Muse of Zend will suffice. Take stanza nine:

" There runs a swine down yonder hill

As fast as e'er he can,
And as he runs he crieth still,

Come steal me, gipsy man.'”. A very obliging invitation, but needless. Poll the whole Peninsula, not ten Spaniards could be found to whom the wish would not have been father to this poetical thought. Pig

eating is the test of the Catholic versus the Jew and Moor; pigstealing is the maladie du pays. Our soldiers caught it dreadfully: the Duke could only stop “the unmilitary practice of shooting pigs” by a double-snap shot at two of the sportsmen, which he made at Aldeahuela de Bovida. (See Gurwood.) This swinish invitation is itself stolen from Rabelais, in whose · Pays de Cocagne,' sucking-pigs ready roasted, with knives and forks on their backs, run about crying “ Come eat me !" Alas! poor Elia! to have lived and died in Middlesex !

Nor is the placing speech in the mouths of dumb animals one jot more the property of the pilfering gipsy-muse; it pervades the epos and history of the classics; it is used by them sparingly and with dignity-a portentous event, the dark shadow of coming calamity--pecudesque locutæ infandum !-bos est locutus-nothing more; the simple awful fact, no report of the speech, still less any allusion to beef. This abstract is too refined for the practical gipsy, who, when he does give a warning, selects his mouthpiece with judgement. An " antipathy to trees” is a feature in Castilian character,-the honest, because little birds who pick the corn, build nests in them,--the dishonest, from reasons which the nineteenth stanza sets forth :

" I walk'd the street, and there I spied

A goodly gallows-tree,
And in my ears methought it cried,

'Gipsy, beware of me!'" This hint, and the invitation of the swine, appears to us to be what Aristotle condemns as pleonasmus, or waste of breath, in gibbet and porker.

Such is the legitimate poetry of the Zincali, for there exists a spurious counterfeit; the 'fancy' Andalucians not only ape the manners and prose of the Gitános, but imitate their poetical lingo. Father Manso was one of these pseudo-bards : his works have not survived him, and were no great loss, since Mr. Borrow became acquainted at Seville “ with a tall, “ bony, meagre-figured individual in a 'shocking bad' Anda“ lucian hat, ragged cloak, and still more ragged pantaloons." This person in his youth had fallen in with a manuscript compilation of this spurious poetry “ made by one Don Luis “ Lobo (Wolf). He studied it day and night, until he had 6 planted it in his memory from beginning to end, and his “ brain, like Don Quixotes, had become dry and heated." He became the inmate of a madhouse for many years; having partially recovered, he was let out, and during the cholera åt Seville was “ appointed conductor of one of the dead-carts “ which went through the streets for the purpose of picking “ up the dead bodies.” He frequently visited Mr. Borrow, and recited Mr. Wolf's compilation. It was thus that the Brijindope or Deluge, and a poem on a plague at Seville, were preserved for the reading British public. This flood of verse, fills sixteen pages: the opening is modest but scarcely encouraging :

“ I with fear and terror quake
Whilst the pen to write I take,
For but poorly do I know

With the subject on to go.” The poem concludes, “ Amen I say;" and so said we when we had waded through it. It is a dismal concern; when not moral it is zoological and entomological. « The tarantula I view, small emmet and cricket too." We do not object to this: the Deluge is the proper reservoir for deep matter, and the ark was meant to contain all sorts of brute creations; our marvel is, what fun the Andalucian' fancy,' who really are wags, could have found in such a doleful wishy-washy affair, which does not contain one particle of dry humour. The • Deluge' is followed by the Plague;' the bathos is natural : pleasant subjects these, from which Apollo deliver us! No wonder that the frequent perusal drove Don Luis Lobo mad, and rendered driving a cholera dead-cart a more agreeable and wholesome occupation! This poetry is brought to an end by a versified creed of Buddhism and the worship of the “ great Foutza,”-subjects of which no private family in England ought to remain ignorant. We advise Mr. Borrow, as a friend, to avoid three things for the rest of his lifeSpanish historians, gipsy poetry and prussic acid.

The transition from this poetry to prose is easy; we prefer prose, which is more in our line: judging from Mr. Borrow's specimens, gipsy prose resembles the ordinary prose of all respectable Spaniards ; it is garnished with proverbs. This is at once so oriental and so Spanish, that we can scarcely define where the gipsy ends and the Spaniard begins. The following

have a genuine gipsy gusto :-Chuquel sos pirela, cocal terela

_“ the dog who strolls about finds bones.”—Aunsos me dicas vriadao de jorpoz, ne sirlo braco," although thou seest me dressed in wool, I am no sheep”-our friend Mr. Luis Wolf for instance ;- qui se fait mouton, le loup le mange.

A simple tale will exemplify the every-day events which are recorded in gipsy prose. Mr. Borrow gives the original, which he has translated for the benefit of Busné gentlemen:

" THE ROBBERS. “On a certain time arrived a band of thieves at the gate of a farmhouse at midnight. So soon as the dogs heard them they began to bark, which causing the labourer to awake, he raised himself from his bed with a start, took his musket, and went running to the court-yard of the farm-house to the gate, which was shut, placed the barrel of his musket to the keyhole, gave his finger its desire, and sent a bullet into the forehead of the captain of the robbers, casting him down from his horse. Soon as the other fellows saw their captain on the ground in the agonies of death, they clapped spurs to their horses, and galloped off fleeing, turning their faces back on account of the flies or almonds of lead."-Vol. ii. p. 129. i.e. grape and bullets. This phrase, “ gave his finger its desire,” is explained in a Valpyan note. “ The original signifies gave its pleasure to the finger,' that is, the finger was itching to draw the trigger, and he humoured it.” Such, to borrow the words of their agreeable historian, whom we hope to meet soon and often again, are the gipsies !

• ARTICLE IV.

Histoire de France. Par M. MICHELET, Professeur à l'École Normale, Chef de la Section Historique aux Archives du

Royaume. Tome troisième. Paris, 1837. 8vo. NEARLY five centuries and a half ago a Pope was elected, of whom the tradition is that his immediate predecessor, who is venerated as a saint by the Romanists, had prophesied, that he would sneak into power like a fox, use it like a lion, and die like a dog*. Historians have generally agreed that the prophecy was fulfilled with wonderful precision; and if any have doubted its correctness, either as to the first or the last part, none have hesitated to admit the correctness of the second. This Pope is Boniface VIII., whose life and conversation will, no doubt, seem a matter of perfect indifference to many of our readers. Few, comparatively speaking, know that, as an individual, he was one of the most learned and acute and energetic men of his or any other age or country; that as a temporal sovereign he exercised an influence of unparalleled power over a considerable portion of the world, and that, uniting his spiritual to his temporal arms, he laid in a few years the foundation of universal monarchy for the see of Rome; and, had he reigned fifty years, instead of somewhat less than nine, who can undertake to say that he would not have succeeded in bringing his vast and ambitious schemes to perfection? He began to reign at an age when other men are wearied of the cares and turmoils of life, but no young man equalled him in the daring of his undertakings, even a few weeks before his death. Not satisfied with laying claim to all the kingdoms of the earth, he actually disposed of some of them on the ground that all earthly beings are, both in spiritual and temporal matters, subject to the Pope. He asserted at the same time the sovereignty over Sicily for the court of Rome, and that over Lyons for the archbishop of the diocese; he disposed of Sardinia and Corsica without ever having possessed an inch of ground in either, and ordered our Edward I. not to attack Scotland, as it was well known that that country belonged to Rome; he claimed the right of settling the succession of Castile and of Hungary ; and, after having declared the Emperor Albert a murderer and an intruder, he received him into his good graces; and would fain have assigned to him France, the lawful inheritance of his once dearest son, the illustrious king Philip the Fair. He, who could attempt this and a great deal more between his seventyeighth and eighty-seventh year, deserves to be more known than he generally is, more particularly when an attempt is made by a numerous section of Christians in this country to

* "Intrabis ut vulpis, regnabis ut leo, morieris ut canis.”

« PredošláPokračovať »