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the moral attributes of his nature, having called us out of non-existence, and after
inflicting on us the misery of the commission of error, should superadd that of the punishment and the privations consequent upon it, still would remain inexplicable and incredible. That there is a true solution of the riddle, and that in our present state that solution is unattainable by us, are propositions which may be regarded as equally certain: meanwhile, as it is the province of the poet to attach himself to those ideas which exalt and ennoble humanity, let him be permitted to have conjectured the condition of that futurity towards which we are all impelled by an inextinguishable thirst for immortality. Until better arguments can be produced than sophisms which disgrace the cause, this desire itself must remain the strongest and the only presumption that eternity is the inheritance of every thinking being.
(3) No hoary priests after that Patriarch [p. 437].
The Greek Patriarch after having been compelled to fulminate against the insurgents was put to death by an anathema the Turks.
Fortunately the Greeks have been taught that they cannot buy security by degradation, and the Turks, though equally cruel, are less cunning than the smooth-faced tyrants of Europe. As to the anathema, his Holiness might as well have thrown his mitre at Mount Athos for any effect that it produced. The chiefs of the Greeks are almost all men of comprehension and enlightened views on religion and politics.
(4) The freedman of a western poet chief [P. 443].
A Greek who had been Lord Byron's servant commands the insurgents in Attica. This Greek, Lord Byron informs me, though a poet and an enthusiastic patriot, gave him rather the idea of a timid and unenterprising person. circumstances make men what they are, It appears that and that we all contain the germ of a degree of degradation or of greatness whose connection with our character is determined by events.
(5) The Greeks expect a Saviour from the omnia tellus." Let these great names be west [P. 443]. my authority and my excuse.
It is reported that this Messiah had arrived at a seaport near Lacedæmon in an American brig. The association of names and ideas is irresistibly ludicrous, but the prevalence of such a rumour strongly marks the state of popular
enthusiasm in Greece.
(6) The sound as of the assault of an Imperial city [p. 447].
For the vision of Mahmud of the taking of Constantinople in 1453, see Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. xii. p. 223.
The manner of the invocation of the spirit of Mahomet the Second will be censured as over subtle. I could easily have made the Jew a regular conjuror, and the Phantom an ordinary ghost. I have preferred to represent the Jew as disclaiming all pretension, or even belief, in supernatural agency, and as tempting Mahmud to that state of mind in which ideas may be supposed to assume the force of sensations through the confusion of thought with the objects of thought, and the excess of passion animating the creations of imagination.
It is a sort of natural magic, susceptible of being exercised in a degree by any one who should have made himself master of the secret associations of another's thoughts.
(7) The Chorus [p. 451].
The final chorus is indistinct and
obscure, as the event of the living drama whose arrival it foretells. Prophecies of wars, and rumours of wars, etc., may safely be made by poet or prophet in any age, but to anticipate however darkly a period of regeneration and happiness is a more hazardous exercise of the faculty which bards possess or feign. It will remind the reader " magno nec proximus intervallo" of Isaiah and Virgil, whose ardent spirits overleaping the actual reign of evil which we endure and bewail, already saw the possible and perhaps approaching state of society in which the lion shall lie down with the lamb," and "omnis feret
(8) Saturn and Love their long repose shall burst [p. 452].
Saturn and Love were among the deities of a real or imaginary state of innocence and happiness. All those who fell, or the Gods of Greece, Asia, and Egypt; the One who rose, or Jesus Christ, at whose appearance the idols of the Pagan World were amerced of their worship; and the many unsubdued, or the monstrous objects of the idolatry of China, India, the Antarctic islands, and the native tribes of America, certainly have reigned over the understandings of men in conjunction or in succession, during periods in which all
we know of evil has been in a state of
portentous, and, until the revival of learning and the arts, perpetually increasing activity. The Grecian gods seem indeed to have been personally more innocent, although cannot be said, that as far as temperance and chastity are concerned, they gave so edifying an example as their
successor. The sublime human character
of Jesus Christ was deformed by an imputed identification with a power, who tempted, betrayed, and punished the innocent beings who were called into existence by his sole will; and for the period of a thousand years, the spirit of this most just, wise, and benevolent of men, has been propitiated with myriads of hecatombs of those who approached the nearest to his innocence and wisdom, sacrificed under every aggravation of atrocity and variety. of torture. The horrors of the Mexican, the Peruvian, and the Indian superstitions are well known.
NOTE ON HELLAS, BY MRS.
THE South of Europe was in a state of great political excitement at the beThe Spanish ginning of the year 1821. Revolution had been a signal to Italy; secret societies were formed; and, when Naples rose to declare the Constitution, the call was responded to from Brundusium to the foot of the Alps. To crush these
the Austrians poured their armies into the Peninsula: at first their coming rather seemed to add energy and resolution to a people long enslaved. The Piedmontese asserted their freedom; Genoa threw off the yoke of the King of Sardinia; and, as if in playful imitation, the people of the little state of Massa and Carrara gave the congé to their sovereign, and set up a republic.
attempts to obtain liberty, early in 1821 come. The interest he took in the progress of affairs was intense. When Genoa declared itself free, his hopes were at their highest. Day after day he read the bulletins of the Austrian army, and sought eagerly to gather tokens of its defeat. He heard of the revolt of Genoa with emotions of transport. His whole heart and soul were in the triumph of the cause. We were living at Pisa at that time; and several well-informed Italians, at the head of whom we may place the celebrated Vaccà, were accustomed to seek for sympathy in their hopes from Shelley: they did not find such for the despair they too generally experienced, founded on contempt for their southern countrymen.
Tuscany alone was perfectly tranquil. It was said that the Austrian minister presented a list of sixty Carbonari to the Grand Duke, urging their imprisonment; and the Grand Duke replied, "I do not know whether these sixty men are Carbonari, but I know, if I imprison them, I shall directly have sixty-thousand start up." But, though the Tuscans had no desire to disturb the paternal government beneath whose shelter they slumbered, they regarded the progress of the various Italian revolutions with intense interest, and hatred for the Austrian was warm in every bosom. But they had slender hopes; they knew that the Neapolitans would offer no fit resistance to the regular German troops, and that the overthrow of the constitution in Naples would act as a decisive blow against all struggles for liberty in Italy.
While the fate of the progress of the Austrian armies then invading Naples was yet in suspense, the news of another revolution filled him with exultation. We had formed the acquaintance at Pisa of several Constantinopolitan Greeks, of the family of Prince Caradja, formerly Hospodar of Wallachia; who, hearing that the bowstring, the accustomed finale of his viceroyalty, was on the road to him, escaped with his treasures, and took up his abode in Tuscany. Among these was the gentleman to whom the drama of Hellas is dedicated. Prince Mavrocordato was warmed by those aspirations for the independence of his country which filled the hearts of many of his countrymen. He often intimated the possibility of an
We have seen the rise and progress of reform. But the Holy Alliance was alive and active in those days, and few could dream of the peaceful triumph of liberty. | insurrection in Greece; but we had no It seemed then that the armed assertion idea of its being so near at hand, when, of freedom in the South of Europe was on the 1st of April 1821, he called on the only hope of the liberals, as, if it pre- Shelley, bringing the proclamation of his vailed, the nations of the north would cousin, Prince Ypsilanti, and, radiant imitate the example. Happily the reverse with exultation and delight, declared that has proved the fact. The countries ac- henceforth Greece would be free. customed to the exercise of the privileges of freemen, to a limited extent, have extended, and are extending, these limits. Freedom and knowledge have now a chance of proceeding hand in hand; and, if it continue thus, we may hope for the durability of both. Then, as I have saidin 1821-Shelley, as well as every other lover of liberty, looked upon the struggles in Spain and Italy as decisive of the destinies of the world, probably for centuries to
Shelley had hymned the dawn of liberty in Spain and Naples, in two odes dictated by the warmest enthusiasm; he felt himself naturally impelled to decorate with poetry the uprise of the descendants of that people whose works he regarded with deep admiration, and to adopt the vaticinatory character in prophesying their success. Hellas was written in a moment of enthusiasm. It is curious to remark how well he overcomes the difficulty of
forming a drama out of such scant
Hellas was among the last of his compositions, and is among the most beautiful. The choruses are singularly imaginative, and melodious in their versification. There are some stanzas that beautifully exemplify Shelley's peculiar style; as, for instance, the assertion of the intellectual empire which must be for ever the inheritance of the country of Homer, Sophocles, and Plato:
"But Greece and her foundations are
Built below the tide of war;
Based on the crystalline sea
the individuals who composed our intimate society, but left unfinished. I have preserved a sketch of the story as far as it had been shadowed in the poet's mind,
An Enchantress, living in one of the islands of the Indian Archipelago, saves the life of a Pirate, a man of savage but noble nature. She becomes enamoured of him; and he, inconstant to his mortal love, for a while returns her passion; but at length, recalling the memory of her whom he left, and who laments his loss, he escapes from the Enchanted Island, and returns to his lady. His mode of life makes him again go to sea, and the Enchantress seizes the opportunity to bring him, by a spirit-brewed tempest, back to her Island. M. W. S.
SCENE, BEFORE THE CAVERN OF THE
HE came like a dream in the dawn of
He fled like a shadow before its
And again, that philosophical truth felici- He is gone, and my peace is turned to tously imaged forth
And I wander and wane like the
Oh, sweet Echo, wake,
Make answer the while my heart shall
"Revenge and Wrong bring forth their kind:
And Conscience feeds them with despair."
among the most beautiful of his lyrics.
my heart has a music which Echo's lips, Though tender and true, yet can answer not,
And the shadow that moves in the soul's
Can return not the kiss by his now forgot;
Sweet lips! he who hath
AN UNFINISHED DRAMA
On my desolate path
THE following fragments are part of a Cast the darkness of absence, worse Drama undertaken for the amusement of