صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

In terraced pomp before the Cyprian And Benytas of ane mussil made an ape, With many other subtle mow and jaip.

queen,

Rose twelve bright stages, as the emerald

green;

Above them waved, most glorious to behold,

What connection these amusements of the astrologers are supposed to have with the Palace of Honour, it would be

Three wondrous trees with leaves of hopeless to inquire. The poet now rustling gold;

presses on to an eminence, from which

And on their stems supported, clear and he beholds the attempts of the multitude bright,

to scale its walls, and the disasters with A magic mirror stood, and shed unearthly which they are accompanied. Equity light.

This mirror reflects the shadowy train of past ages-the most remarkable events recorded in history float over its surface and the poet, of course, beholds an infinite variety of incongruous personages. Amongst the ancient warlike worthies, the supporters of the authenticity of Ossian will be pleased to discover the mighty Fingal, and Gaul the son of Morni; Great Gowmakmorne, and Fyn Mac-Cowl; and how

"Thai suld be goddis in Ireland, as thai say."

It reflects, also, the necromantic tricks of the famous Roger Bacon and other astrologers, who are seen diverting

stands as warder on the battlements, denouncing vengeance against Envy,

Falsehood, and Covetousness; Patience officiates as porter, and instantly admits him and his conductress. We shall give the description of the palace, and the monarch, King Honour, who inhabits it, in a modern garb.

In high relief of rich and massive gold,

The borders round the doors and

[blocks in formation]

And curious knots, carved in the snowwhite bone,

themselves by many subtle points of With matchless cunning, by the artist's

juggling, changing a nutmeg into a monk, and a penny pie into a parish church:

The necromancy there saw I eke anone,
Of Benytas, Bungo, and Frier Becone,

With many subtel point of jugglery ; Of Flanders pyes made mony precious stone,

Ane great laid saddle of a chicken bone; Of a nutmeg they made a monk in hy; A parish kirk out of ane penny pie :

powers

So perfect and so pure were Honour's lordly bowers.

But pass we on-the nymph and I did wend

Straight to the hall-and climb'd a radiant stair,

Form'd all of topaz clear--from end to end.

The gate was shut-but through a lattice there

Of beryl, gazing, a transcendent glare Broke dazzlingly on mine astonished

sight.

And soft she bore me to inhale the tide Of the fresh air-she deem'd I would have died,

A room I saw-but oh, what tongue So sudden and so deadly pale I grew ; shall dare But fondly each reviving art she tried,

To paint that chamber, so surpassing And bathed my brow with Heliconian dew, bright! Till, faint and slow, mine eyes unclosed to meet her view.

Sure never such a view was given to mortal wight.

From every part combined, roof, wall, sion. and floor,

A flood of light most gloriously was cast; And as the stream upon mine eyes gan pour,

Blinded I stood awhile: that sight

surpast

Aught that in Eastern story read thou hast

Of richest palace, or of gorgeous stall;

On diamond pillars, tall as any mast, Clustering, and bound with ropes of

rubies all,

The vision now hastens to a concluOn his recovery, the poet, under the protection of her who has so faithfully conducted him, proposes to visit a delightful garden, where the Muses are employed in gathering the choicest flowers of poesy, which spring beneath trees bearing precious stones instead of fruit. In the description of this retreat there is a strange admixture of the beautiful and the ridiculous.. The scenery is sweetly painted; but what shall we say of the trees on which

The sapphire arches leant of that celestial geese or chickens are seen growing-to

[blocks in formation]

Sat Honour; mighty prince, with look has not yet recovered the effects of his

severe,

swoon, in making the attempt, slips a

And deep-set awful eye, whose glance foot, and is immersed in the stream.

alone

So full of might, and glorious did appear, That all my senses reel'd, and down I dropt with fear.

Within her snowy arms that Lady sweet
Me caught, and swiftly to the portal hied,
For wing'd with love and pity were her feet,

This effectually awakens him from the trance into which he had fallen, and restores his senses to the sober realities of a lower sphere. He then, according to poetic use and wont, describes his wondrous vision, and lays it at the feet of his sovereign, James IV.

THE TRANSLATION OF

VIRGIL'S ÆNEID.

In his interview with Venus in the Palace of Honour, Douglas informs us that the goddess presented him, as the richest gift she could bestow, with a copy of Virgil's Eneid, commanding him to translate it into his native language -a task, says Dr Irving, which he has performed with much felicity. "To pronounce it," continues this learned critic, "the best version of this wonderful poem which ever was or ever will be executed, would be ridiculous; but it is certainly the production of a bold and energetic writer, whose knowledge of the language of his original, and command of a rich and variegated phraseology, peculiarly qualified him for the performance of so arduous a task. Indeed, whether we consider the state of British literature at that era, or the rapidity with which he completed the work (it was the labour of but sixteen months), he will be found entitled to a high degree of admiration."

Douglas translated The Æneid at the request of his cousin Henry, Lord Sinclair, to whom he addresses a dedicatory epistle at the end, in which he records his motive for undertaking the work as follows:

Nane are compelled to drink, but they have thirst;

And whoso likes may tasting of the tun

Onforlatyt, new from the berry run,
Read Virgil boldly, but meikle offence,
Except our vulgar tongues difference,
Keepand nae facund rhetoric castis fair,
But hamely plain termis familiar
Nothing altered in substance the sentence.
Though scant perfect observed been elo-
quence.

In a short Epilogue, he makes it plain that he considers it his most important poetical achievement, and predicts that

When that unknown day shall him address,

Whilk not but on this body power has,
And ends the date of mine uncertain eild,
The better part of me shall be upheld,
Above the starns perpetually to ring;
And hear my name remain but enparing.
Throughout the isle yclepit Albione
Shall I be read and sung by many one.

He also adds full particulars as to the time it took him to compose, and the exact date on which it was finished; and in the Prologue to the thirteenth book, after recording his misgivings about having thereby too long neglected more serious studies, he anticipates the conclusion of his work

That I may syne but on grave matters look.

Some of his Prologues, one of which But touching this our work now in hand, prefaces each book of The Æneid, con

Whilk oft is said was made at your com-
mand,

To what effect gif any would inquire,
Ye may answer, though I need not you lear,
That Virgil might intill our language be
Read loud and plain by your lordship and

tain his best descriptive poetry, particularly those introducing the seventh, twelfth, and thirteenth books. That of the twelfth, which is a description of May, is best known; but we have selected the descriptive portions of that of the And other gentle companions who sae list: thirteenth, which is shorter and simpler,

me,

and, referring to the month of June, retains much of the poetical features of the description of May. To the specimen of the translation of The Eneid, we have added the same passage, as translated by Dryden, as a means of comparing the earliest with the most classical English translation.

CHARON AND HIS OFFICE.

Unaltered Specimen.]

Fra thine strekis' the way profound anone,
Depe unto hellis flude of Acherone,
With holl bisme, and hidduous sweltht3
unrude,

Drumly of mude, and skaldand as it war wode,4

Populand and boukand5 furth of athir hand,

Unto Cocytas al his slike and sand:

Thir riveris and thir watteris kepit war
Be ane Charon, ane grisly ferryar,
Terribyl of schape, and sluggard of array,
Apoun his chin feil chanos? haris gray,
Liart felterit tatis; with birnand ene rede,
Lyke tua fyre blesis,9 fixit in his hede;
His smottrito habit ouer his schulderis
lidder,"

Hang peuagely 12 knyt with ane knot togidder.

Himself the cowbil with his bolm furth schewe,

And quhen him list halit up salis fewe. This ald hasard 13 caryis ouer fludis hote Spretis and figuris in his irne hewit bote, All thocht he eildit was, or step in age,

[blocks in formation]

Als fery and als swipper1 as ane page. For in ane God the age is fresche and grene,

Infatigabil and immortall as thay mene. Thidder to the bray swermyt2 al the rout Of dede goistis, and stude the bank about: Baith matrouns, and thar husbandis al yferis, 3

Ryall princis, and nobyl cheveleris,

Small childer and young damisellis unwed,
And fair springaldis♦ lately dede in bed,
In faderis and moderis presence laid on
bere:

Als grete nowmer thidder thikkit infere,5
As in the first frost eftir hervist tyde
Levis of treis in the wod dois slyde;
Or byrdis flokkis ouer the fludis gray,
Unto the land sekand the nerrest way,
Quhen the cauld sessoun thame cachis
ouer the see,

Into some benar realme and warm cuntre.
Thare stude they prayand sum support to

get,

That they micht wyth the formest ouer be set,

And gan upheving pietuously handis tway,

Langand to be upon the forthir bray.7 Bot this soroufull boteman, wyth bryme luke,8

Now thir, now thame, within his weschell tuke;

And uthir sum expellit, and made do stand,

Fer from the river syde apoun the sand.

Awounderit of this sterage, and the preis, Say me, virgine, sayd Enee, or thou ceis, Quhat menis sic confluence on this wattir syde?

Quhat wald thir saulis? quhy will they not abyde?

I Lithe, nimble. [ed. 5 Crowded together.

2 To the bank smarm- 6 Milder.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Be quhais mychtys the Goddis ar ful An airy crowd came rushing where he laith,

stood,

And dredis sare to swere, syne fals thare Which filled the margin of the fatal flood: Husbands and wives, boys and unmarried

aith:

Al thir thou seis stoppit at the schore,
Bene helples folk unerdit and forlore :3
Yone grislie feriare, to name Charon hate,4
Thay bene al beryt he caryis in his bate :
It is not til him leful, he ne may
Thame ferry ouer thir rowtand fludis gray,
Nor to the hidduous yonder coistis have,
Quhil thare banis be laid to rest in grave.
Quha ar unberyit ane hundredth yere
mon bide

maids,

And mighty heroes' more majestic shades; And youths, intombed before their father's eyes,

With hollow groans, and shrieks, and feeble cries.

Thick as the leaves in autumn strew the woods,

Or fowls, by winter forced, forsake the floods,

Wavrand and wandrand by this bankis And wing their hasty flight to happier

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »