Imagens das páginas


the philosophers, poets, and warriors degraded into vile, ignorant assassins (0.

(i) I was at Tangier in Isi5. An inoffensive French gentleman was stiot while walking on the roof of his Consul's house; nor was satisfaction expected, nor, I helieve, asked for the murder. Even our own government (whose influence was at that time greater than any other Christian oue ) could have obtained none. Admiral Penrose's surgeon , Mr. Williams, a vmng man of superior abilities, was assassinated in full view of Gibraltar, at foot of the other pillar of Hercules: and when a naval officer and 1 returned, with an order from the Pacha himself, to get the canon, anchor, etc, of the wreck of our little gunboat, the same Moors seized and carried me into the bills, where, during seven hours, I had their muskets above an hundred times at my breast; nor do I now well conceive how among so many triggers not one went off. Perhaps in the very wantonness of bai harity tbey disdained killing a man whom they had so completely in their power; perhaps it was my own composure: but it is not likely such an escape will occur again. They have a fine, fierce breed of black dogs . He who was called their Governor had one, of which, he said, he would make me a present in return for a present of a barrel of gunpowder; for that Moors never sold their dogs. I suspected it was a blood-hound; upon which his Excellency, thinking I asked whether it could kill a man, had a Jew taken (the Captain of the very felucca in which we came from Tangier for the canon ) proposing to set his dog fairly at him. If in two minutes the Jew was uot dead, I was to have the animal immediately for nothing: otherwise I was to send the gun-powder from Gibraltar, and the bearer of it was to receive the dog : besides (to obviate any complaints to the Pacha) the naval officer and I were to sign a declaration that the Jew was killed by accident in lifting the cauon. Waving the trial as superfluous, I closed the bargain. Had I afterwards kept my promise, he would have broken his : and perhaps murdered the bearer of the gun-powder. It was in escaping from the wreck Williams fell. Four of our sailors too were wounded. There were twelve in a crazy, stoven-in skiff — amid wild waves — still wilder savages firing from the shore—fifteen miles to the nearest refuge. Williams was shot right through the brain; he never moved, but stiffened; so that when we raised him out of the boat at Tangier, he was still sitting with his face turned frowning towards the coast and bis arms a-kimbo, exactly as when the volley was fired . His wife was a little Jew girl, whom he had ran away with at Gibraltar and had had baptized on board the Admiral's ship. Though not quite four

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Homer,Horace, Ovid and Lucan,like Anchises, remain in Elysium; while Virgil and Dante prosecute their journey, like Aeneas. But the latter returned up to his ships

Hie viam secat ad naves, sociosque revisit (0; and our pair descend into the second infernal circle, where begins the region of punishment, Hell vulgarly so called, or Tartarus .

teen she was three months advanced towards maternity. Her father, one of the richest on the rock, had disinherited her for changing religion. But, as she was an only child, her mother came to see her in her widowhood; and it was hoped even her father would relent. She had but one Christian friend ; and , when he was lost, she perhaps became Jewess again She now separated from him for the first time. She followed him to the beach weeping bitterly and was so bent on embarking, that, to get her to return, he had to chide her. Whether it was a presentiment or not, it is Certain, that the burthen of her lament was I'll never see you more: one could hear her repeating it even after the boat was pushed off to some distance. We buried Williams in the Swedish Consul's garden. It lies a little without Tangier. He sleeps surrounded with the most beautiful myrtles in the world. There were few handsomer men than Williams; few prettier creatures than his wife. His corpse wrapt in a cloak and borne by those rough, yet sorrowing tars — our slender escort of the Consuls of the place — the spleudour of the day — the groups of Moors in their haicks. One, though ferocious figures, and now quietly looking on—the odours and flowery shrnbs of that lovely garden — the touching funeral service read bv our Consul, Mr. Green, to whom I was Clerk — at a little distance the sparkling sea, and, beyond it, Gibraltar on whose summit waved the flag, which neither protected, nor avenged him who was now to be interred within »iew of it — and, with all that, a slight sense of danger to ourselves for> rned the most impressive whole I ever saw. (i) Aeneid . Lib. vi. v. 899.



JLlere we enter the region of punishment, where the infernal judge, sentencing the wicked, decides what place they are to occupy, whether in this second circle, or farther below. This second circle is the beginning of what is vulgarly called Hell CO

the seat of eternal woe. It is the Infernus

damuatorum of Catholicism, the sixth circle of Virgil, or Tartarus; within which Aeneas (though he descries it at a distance ) does not only not venture, but is even dissuaded by the Sybil from inquiring much about it:

Ne quaere doceri

Quam poenam, aut quae forma viros f'ortunave mersit (»). The Pagan Tartarus and this portion of the christian hell are in the strictest sense of the word synoniruous: they both mean an eternity of ineffable torment;


(i) C'est an second cercle que commence proprement l'enfer. Hist. Litt, el" Italic Vol. a. p. 43. (a) Aeneid. Lib. vi. v. 6i4. ,(,

ClITO r.

sedet, 33tern unique sedebit,


Non, mihi si linguae centum sint, oraque centum,
Omnia paenarum percurrere nomina possim (').

But the Sybil is most cursory; whereas Dante'sups on horrors' in the long residue of 3o Cantos of the present Canticle. Here then he leaves the beaten track; and really undertakes (what in Paradise Lost willby every reader of the Divine Comedy he restrict edto the English language)"things unattemptedyet in prose or rhyme." The plan of the Aeneid being left, the imitations of its passages diminish too; so I shall become less profuse of quotations, which I should have been more fearful of multiplying, had I not been encouraged by the expressions of Macrobius when instituting a comparison between Homer and Virgil (>).

In sitting down to read this Canto, it were well to prepare the mind by reflecting (as the Author probably did before beginning its composition ) that it is to close with one of the most pathetic stories upon record: nor would it derogate much from either the1 magnificetit theme of the poem, or the gravity of the poet, to suppose that it was for the sake of introducing that story this entire Canto was composed. Hence all those named throughout it are distinguished historic personages, who

(i) Aeneid. Lib. v». T. (»i7—6»5.''!'

(2) Quid enim suavius quain duos prjccipuo* vales audire idem loqueutes? Saturnalia, Lib. v. Cap. 3. • .' ». ."

(however their characters differed in other respects) were similar in one common misfortune, that of having been brought to a premature end by erring love: and if the freshest memorial left behind by the verses is not those immortal Demigods and Heroines, but Francesco, da Rimini; then was never any such unfading garland hung on the bier of a private female; and, in comparison with it, the tu Marcellus eris of Virgil is a cold gallantry: and no wonder, since one bard wrote to compliment an Empress, and the other to rescue from obloquy his own friend's lovely child. Yet, strange to say, this consideration, of her being the daughter of his friend, has been urged against his putting of her in hell. But Dante was none of those heartless panegyrists who deal in undistinguishing apotheosis. Her bloody catastrophe already public,and her error probably much exaggerated by the Italian factions, her full justification would never have been admitted. Would it have been truer friendship to have left her unnoticed by his muse? I think not. Would he have insured her more sympathy by placing her in Purgatory, or in Elysium? or, by braving opinion, in Paradise? I think not. A distracted mother, a perhaps more wretched, because a self-accusing father, admiration, anger, sorrow, gratitude agitated the soul of Dante; who wrote this Canto (as some aver, though probably it is a mistake) in the very room where the unfortunate girl was brought up. Not all this

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