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Indian poets, even where encumbered with the monstrous and revolting extravagances of Brahminism, breathes that hushed and moveless stillness which, like the glassy surface of a lake or the deep repose of infancy, steals through the outward sense and pervades the heart, with a quietude more perfect and dear than even when the spirit lies nute and involved, burthened with beatitude in the very depths of feeling :—that state, which the sculpture of Greece so often sought to represent in its deities, is, as we have said, the peculiar attribute of original Hindustan. Turned to the purposes of factitious illustration, this power, purely internal, sinks in the task ; and the bolder metaphor of the west is thus robbed of the very daring that constitutes its principal charm, and which was sustained by the nervous strength of the Arabic, by Turkish stateliness, or the dreamy charm of the Persian. The mysticism of the Arab is sensually ardent, of the Turk elaborate, of the Persian imaginative, while that of the Hindu is essentially contemplative. The mixture of this with either of the former is therefore an antagonism; a vain attempt to amalgamate the positive with the negative, consequently injurious to both.
In the very small space we can bestow upon any thing in the shape of illustration at present, we shall devote the less to M. de Tassy because we trust shortly to be enabled to offer our readers a fuller, and therefore more gratifying view of his labours, in the enlarged work, we trust speedily to appear, on the Hindustanee poets. A work important to more than one professed teacher of the Hindustanee language in England, who have not hesitated to affirm the non-existence of any original compositions in a language absolutely abounding in poets !
Our extracts, from our limits, must necessarily be short: but it will be seen, unless spoiled by our labours, that, with all the draw backs we have mentioned, the bard selected by M. de Tassy is far from destitute of grace.
“ What crowds, by love selected, stray
Lost in thy tresses darkening path!
Those eyes, oppress my heart with scathe.
Yes—in thine eyes I read my fate :
Thi Eternal, lights thy Beauty's state!" We have here attempted to illustrate an opinion given in a preceding page, of the necessity for modifying Orientalisms utteily unsuited in their literal sense for European comprehension, by equivalents familiar to ourselves. The poet in the fourth line calls his charmer's eyes the defenders, or guardians, of the glance that has subjected his heart:thus making them accom. plices; and in a phrase far more extravagant to us than it would be considered in the East. In the second instance the lover declares he sees his doom in the Mufti of her eyes. The Mufti is the reader of the Mosque, and, acting in his well-known capacity, the lover beholds the reader of his sentence of death. In Europe the admirers of beauty are said to read her eyes themselves : though what is written there we do not pretend to decipher.
There is something more than prettyisin in the following sentence.
“If I could enjoy the sight of thee I could compass eternity.”
This is perhaps easier conceived than explained, unless we take refuge in the doctrine of a German philosopher,
“Infinite space requires infinite time to comprehend it.”
He that could receive in his sense all the Ineffable of beauty might have power to conceive also the Illiinitable of endless dus ration.
This attempt however at the sublime very generally stops at the ridiculous.
"The infidels of Europe have been steeped in infidelity by the sight of the locks of thy hair.'
We doubt whether the cause is quite sufficient for this grievous catastrophe : but it is in these extravagances that the admirers of Eastern poets, endowed with the faculty of the divining rod, discover a well of mystical feeling where there is not the smallest appearance fairly above ground, to warrant the conclusion.
The really mystic portions of the great Eastern poets display, we think, a purer and nobler simplicity than that, for instance, which the most renowned of this class of commentators, the Turkish Sudi, in general insists upon attributing to flafiz. would point, in addition, to the singularly beautiful poem entitled (le Réveil) the Waking, and which we shall not do our readers the injustice to offer in any but M. De Tassy's own words—and for all else refer them to his delightful volumes.
“Ne perds pas ton tenips dans l'insouciance; sois vigilant, sois vigilant. Jusqu'à quand resteras-tu dans le sommeil ? réveille-toi, réveille-toi. Si tu as le dessein de voir la face de cette invisible et spirituelle beauté, laisse avec dégoût, oui, laisse avec dégoût les adorateurs de la beauté matérielle. Imprime d'abord sur ton front l'empreinte de la blessure de l'amour, et puis tu pourras te mettre à la tête, oui, à la tête de ceux que l'amour a jetés dans le chagrin. Cet être resplendissant d'éclat paraît comme l'aurore sur l'horizon du moude. () mes yeux, il n'est pas temps de dormir ; réveillez-vous, réveillez-vous. Walî répète jour et nuit cet hémistiche: Ne perdons pas inutilement le temps; veillons, veillons.'"--p. 37,
Having spoken of Hindu poetry, we cannot do better than illustrate its simplicity by the following beautiful extract from the late Colonel Broughton's specimens-premnising that the lotus is the symbol of beauty, and that a mirror is a customary ornapent of woman in many parts of Hindustan. Describing a lover holding a silent conference with his mistress,
• He with submissive reverence due
A lotus to bis forehead pressed :
Then turned the image to her breast.”
An Epitome of the History of Ceylon, compiled from Native Annals: and
the First Twenty Chapters of the Mahawanso. Translated by the Hon. George Turnour, Esq. Ceylon Civil Service. Ceylon : 1836. (Not
for Sale.) The records of Ceylon are so imperfectly known that we can scarcely venture to determine upon a single point of its earlier history; and the absence of all dates has been a source of incessant confusion and distrust. Nevertheless we assume that statements should not be neglected solely on account of the difficulties they present; since a concurrence of facts in one place may often tally with a date or an ascertained point of history in another, and the collation of the two thus afford many an opportunity for filling up the gaps of our present defective information in all that regards the East.
It is clear that the absence of dates denotes a rude age, and the mere infancy of history; but though thus vague and insufficient, the very defects are the evidence of a peculiar value, namely, that of the earliest antiquity in writing. The traditions then of the first ages are rendered tangible, if we do not choose to reject them on the single ground of their failing to evince the exactness which is a want of later times only. For the cotemporaries of events in the earliest ages of the world could not be supposed to contemplate the curiosity of long subsequent posterity.
We distinctly avow our opinion that in Ceylon will be found the relics of much that we desire to know of the past, not merely as regards that island itself, but also various countries of the East. We bail, therefore, the promise held out by the intended translation of the Mahawanso, as one of the most important documents of the early human race; and Mr. Turnour has judged wisely in obtaining the assistance of a native in rendering from so difficult a tongue as the Pali.
The attempt was made before, but most inefficiently, in England: yet under circumstances that might have procured more indulgence for Mr. Upham, who at least led the way, sensible as he was of its importance; but who, from his assumption of Eastern studies only late in life, was incapable of executing it with advantage. We regret that a tone of blame against this certainly superficial labourer pervades Mr. Turnour's otherwise judicious and unquestionably most able introduction.
This volume is a mere Prospective Specimen of the work itself, shortly to be brought before the public; and we trust on its earliest appearance to bring it in some detail under the reader's eye. We sincerely hope that this forthcoming accession, not merely to our literature, but to our knowledge also, will meet with the support it so well deserves from the public. When we find the Ceylonese language approaching often to that of Scandinavia, we confess to no ordinary portion of curiosity as regards the history of either. The classical reader too will be surprised to find parallels to his favourite pages in these records of an unnoticed land. One fact is worth more than all we can say on this head. The details given by Homer of the landing of Ulysses on the island of Circe, the imprisonment of his men by, and his own rencontre with, that enchantress, are clearly identifiable with the adventures of a hero who reaches Lanca, or Ceylon, and in similar circumstances.
Is it in nature that all the coincidences of Greek and Indian history should be accidental? This would indeed be the credulity of scepticism.
Quinti Horatii Flacci Opera Omnia recensita el cum Versione Germanica
edita. Pars Prior, continens Carminum Libros Quinque. Lipsiæ.
1837. Quintus' Horatius Flaccus' Werke. Deutsche Uebersetzun gmit dem
Urtexte zur Seite. Erster Theil, enthaltend die funf Bücher der Oden.
Leipzig. 1837. Tuere is no Latin poet, perhaps no poet of antiquity, or even of modern times, so generally quoted as Horace; and consequently it can excite no surprise that his admirers of every nation have been anxious to familiarize their countrymen with this poet of practical life. Horace is the very reverse of Wordsworth ; not a sentiment, not a line, not a phrase, but is strictly applicable to the active impulses and real business of the world in its various phases, whether of judgment, emotions, affections ; affording maxims and rules of conduct either by simple dictation or by implication.
Horace, like Boileau and Pope, appears to have written expressly to be quoted : desiring less to live undivided in his works, than to exist in portions in the memories of mankind. Hence that terseness of style, that curious felicity of expression; originated by and at the same time necessitating, purity of thought, severity of arrangement, and clearness of original conception. Hence too it is touchstone for translators.
The volume before us certainly rivals some former translations of Horace into German, and is equal to those of Passow, Preiss, and Gunther. It does not however always render happily the metre of the original, to say nothing of the sense or even the harmony-the roice of the real poet. To English readers our meaning will be obvious, if they only compare the graceful cadence of the Latin with the dryness and imperfection of the literal English, in the line addressed to the ship that bore Virgil, and entreating
“ Et serves animæ dimidium meæ." How indifferently is this rendered by
“ And mayst thou preserve the half of my soul!” The volume before us has considerable merit, but might be much improved.
Grammatica Linguæe Armeniacæ. Auctore H. Petermann, Doct. Phil.
et Prof. Extr. in Univers. Liter. Berolin. Berlin : 1837. A CLEAR and succinct Grammar, materially simplifying the learner's progress in the difficult tongue it undertakes to teach ; and the value and antiquity of which has been always either over or under rated.
The Armenian is neither the original and primitive language which its native assertors affirm of it; for older forms of its words and the fragments of a ruder grammar exist : nor is it the corruption that is pretended by others of various modern and neighbouring tongues, since it contains in its pure state none of the words peculiar to these, and what it possesses in common with them is constantly in a more primitive form. We exclude of course the terms and corruptions incidentally but necessarily introduced into it by commercial and political intercourse.
We recommend the grammar of M. Petermann with perfect confidence.
Versuch ciner Geschichte der Armenischen Literatur, nach den Werken
der Mechitaristen frei beurbeitet. Von Carl Frederich Neumann. 8vo. Leipzig. 1836. (Essay towards a History of Armenian Literature, freely drawn up from the Works of the Monks of the Convent of
Mechitar, at Venice.) By Chas. Fred. Neumann. It is now exactly one hundred years since the Messrs. Whiston published in London, an edition of the Armenian History of Moses of Chorene ; and considering how few aids they had in their undertaking, it is astonishing, observes the author of the present work, that they were able to give so correct a text, and to accompany it with such an excellent translation. Since that time we are not aware that any publication bas appeared in England on the subject of Armenian literature, although it might have been expected that even in a commercial point of view the Christian rulers of the mighty empire of India would have found it for their interest to cultivate, in some degree, the literature, and with it the friendship and good-will of the Christian people of a neighbouring country-whose inhabitants are also the most trading and industrious of the East. In France the late M. Saint Martin powerfully contributed by bis valuable writings to increase our knowledge of Armenia, and his premature death has put a stop to many interesting inquiries on this sub