Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

No. 1467.-July 20, 1872.

CONTENTS.

1. Pr-s-islamitio "unnMis, Macmillan't Magazine . . 131

2. Christina North, Macmillan's Magazine, . . 140

8. Thackeray In America, Slackwood's Magazine, . . 167

4. A True Lover. Chapter II., . .' . . St. James' Magazine, . . 165

5. Tm Possibilities or A Cometary Collision, . Gentleman's Magazine, . .171

6. Excavations ox The Site or Ancient Tboy, .TV. Y. Evening Post, . .174

7. How Not To Modify A Treaty. . . JV. Y. Evening Post, . .176

8. The Reign Of Law In Spain, .... Spectator, . . . . . 178

9. Marseilles, Brinoisi, And Venice, . . Pall Mall Gazette, . . . 180

10. The Regeneration Op Forest Land, . . /',/// Mall Gazette, . . .182

11. The Rioht Op Veto In Papal Conclaves. . Saturday Review, . . . 183

12. Greenwich Hospital, Chambers' Journal, . . . 186

13. Gortschakofp's Successor I',ill Mall Gazette, . . . 189

14. Education, Drainage, And The Liquor Trade

In Sweden, . .... Pall Mall Gazette, . . .189

15. Db. Livingstone Nature, 100

POETRY.

The Lost Kiss 130 I Midsuhmer Eve 130

Love's Impotence 180 j Afhbodite 130

Miscellany, 192

PUBLISHED EVERT SATURDAY BY

LITTELL & GAY, BOSTON.

TERMS OP SUBSCRIPTION.

Fob Eight Dollars, remitted directly to the Publishers, the Livino Aoe will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage. But we do not prepay postage on less than a year, nor when we have to par commission for forwarding the money; nor when we club Tuk Living Auk with anothei periodical.

An extra copy of The Living Age is sent gratis to any one getting up a club of Mva New Subscribers

HemUtaneea should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-ollice money-order. If possible. If

neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are

obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks and money-orders should be made

payable to the order of Littzll & Gay.

THE LOST KISS.
Kisstso her ofttimes, as the wind doth bear

Ever new sweetness from the summer rose, Must I yet carry in my heart a cure.

And hunger for the joy another knows T Must I remember how her lips were woo'd

Once hy another's ere they wed with mine T Can I forget how once another stood

Profming the sweet precincts of my shrine T For I am poor us «ny dreaming child,

To whom the singing of the woods should be Spoiled by a longing for the stray bird wild, —

That one wild bird that flew towards the sea. Oh, Grief ! — oh Joy! If time will not restore My lost estate, he cannot rob me more!

Dublin University Magazine.

LOVE'S IMPOTENCE. She was the fairest, gentlest thing That ever bore the weight of pain; To-day I laid her in her grave, There whero the west winds weep and rave, My child, tbou shalt not weep again.

Oh ! what is love that cannot shield,

Or spare its love a single woe!

Silent, I watched the deadly strife,

The world'n great pain, and her young life,

And, helpless, could not ward a blow.

It was not in the open field
Of earthly pain and poverty,
For there her hand I could have led,
And held my sh'eld above her head,
To save my little one, or die.

Chambers' Journal.

MIDSUMMER EVE. A Sunset glory lines the west

With streaks of crimson. In the pine, The ring-dove murmurs on her nest;

And myriad golden starlets shine.

Upon the fair, calm hour of night,
As she her sable veil lets fall,

The swallows from the dizzy height
Of ivied steeple twittering call.

As twilight fades, and darkness grows,
Upon the landscape, and the leaves

Of dew-filled flowers, slowly close,
Aud martins gather 'neath the eaves.

And on the breast of silver stream,
The lilies quiver, whilst the sigh

Of rustling night-breeze, like a dream,
Stirs their white blooms, and passes by.

The sleeping swans, with ruffled wings
And head reposing, slow drift on;

The nightingale melodious sings
The blossom-laden bough upon.

The plashing of the mill-wheel falls
Like music on the firm-boy's ear:

As homeward trudging, blithe he calls,
And whistles when his cot is near.

The lights go out, in cottage homes,
The labours of the daytime cease;

Abroad, the king of slumber roams.
And in his train are — Rest and Peace!
All the Year Round.

APHRODITE.

The wind that swept along the shore

In one grand pain died away,
And with the last faint echo of its roar

Far o'er the deep there rose the break of day; The heavy storm-clouds pirted right and left, Red -burned the flashes through the rugged cleft.

And then the sun clomb in the sky,
To send a broad'ning crimson track

Across the waves to where the wet sands lie,
A glistening scythe that cuts the bold waves
back;

And now and then, with qnick'ning interval,

Gleamed through the waves a light most magical.

And now the day was well begun,

The sunrise rays had left the sea,
The shamefaced clouds had fled before the sun

Of fairest blue the heavenly canopy;
'Twas then a wave that overtopped the rest
Surged on, and bore the Goddess on its crest.

She crouched within a monster shell.
Her blue-black hair around her clung,

As shaking off a heaven-created spell,

With sudden motion to her feet she sprung;

And iridescent gleams of green and gold

Flashed from the shell in glories manifold.

Abroad her massy hair ehe threw
And bared her white limbs to the day,

With happy wonder in her eyes' deep blue
She glanced around the circle of the bay;

And from tbe inner chambers of the shell,

A sweet .iEolian music 'gan to swell.

Then when her shell-car touched the strand

She scanned the fertile valleys o'er. And, glad at heart, she raised her pink-white

hand

And sang, " I love, I love," and evermore With that fweet song and those sweet words doth

ring

The world where Aphrodite seeks her king.
Dark Blue. G. Christoph David.

From Macmilhuf» Magazine. PK^-ISLAMITIC BRIGANDS.

BT W. OIFFOBD PALORiVI.

A Few months' experience of Arabia Proper suffices to teach the traveller of our day that the terms " Arab " acd " Bedouin," though not nnfrequently used as if convertible, are by no means such in reality. It may further teach him, if he knew it not before, that "Bedouin " and "robber" are also not necessarily synonymous; that the latter designation is no less ill-sounding to the ordinary Arab ear, than it would be to the European; and that the class which it represents is amenable to whatever penalties Arab law and society can inflict, much as it would be in more civilized lands of juries and policeforce. Nor is this, so far as Arabia itself is concerned, a recently introduced order of things, due to comparatively modern influences, social or political; on the contrary, a retrospective view of the national annals, even when carried back to the first day-dawn of prse-lslamitic history, presents no other aspect; and full five centuries before the appearance of the Meccan lawgiver, we find the thief, the robber, and the brigand already paled oS from and at war with established order and right; already marked with the outlaw's brand, and subject to all its sternest consequences. And yet, in spite of these facts, it cannot be denied that, in these same earliest times, the great peninsula bore, as it still. and to a certain extent not undeservedly, bears, an evil name for the number and the audacity of its robbers. The cause is inherent, and not far to seek.

A population much too scanty in proportion to the geographical extent of the land it occupies, as also, though from different reasons, one notably over-crowded, must always render the efficacious protection of individual life and property a difficult task, even for the strongest and most energetic administration; and the difficulty will, under a weak or negligent rule, amount to absolute impossibility. Thus, 'for example's sake, the open spaces of the lonely Carapagna, the wild glens of Albania or Koordistan, the parched sierras of Central Spain, and the defiles of Southern Greece, have long been, and, bating

external influences, may long remain, under the feebleness of decrepit or malformed Governments, Papal or Turkish, Spanish or Hellene, the dread of the wayfaring merchant and the defenceless tourist. In lands like these, the town gates are often the ultimate limits of security. Indeed it is not, as we all know, many centuries since that scantiness of inhabitants, combined with a defective, because an incipient, organization, rendered large tracts of France, of Germany, and of England itself, dangerous travelling for the unarmed and unescorted.

But nowhere, perhaps, in the old world at least, does there exist an equal extent of land in which all the sinister conditions that favour brigandage are so perplexingly combined and aggravated, as in Arabia Proper. There, for distances measured, not by miles but by degrees, vast expanses of stony, irreclaimable desert, of pathless sands and labyrinthine rocks, place utterly disproportionate intervals of enforced solitude between the watered valleys and green slopes where alone anything like settled life and social union can make good its footing. A week of suns may not seldom rise and set on the slowmoving caravan without bringing into view a single roof: indeed, the known lifesparing clemency of the Arab robber is chiefly due, not to any favourable speciality of character, but to this very circumstance of solitude; in other words, to the brigand's certainty that long before liis plundered victims can reach help, or even give tidings, he himself and his booty will be far beyond pursuit. "Desert means licence," says the Arab proverb; the wild lands breed wild men; and thus it is that centuries of comparative law and order, the organizing vigour of Mahomet and his first successors, the sceptre of the Caliphs, and the military discipline of the Turks, have each in their turn failed to render the sand-waves of the "Nefood" and the gullies of "Toweyk" wholly safe ventures for the traveller; while even the rigour, amounting almost to tyranny, of the more recent Wahhabee rulers, who avowedly tolerate no spoilers besides themselves, cannot render permanently secure the intercourse and traffic of one Arab province — oasis, I might better say — with another.

But during the latter years of the prseIslamitic period, when the entire centre of the peninsula, and no small portion of its circumference — that is, whatever was not immediately subject to the rule of the Yemenite kings, and of their or the Persian viceroys — resembled best of all a seething caldron, where the overboiling energies of countless clans and divisions of clans dashed and clashed in never-resting eddies; when no fixed organization or political institution beyond that of the tribe, at most, had even a chance of permanence in the giddy whirl,— open robbers were, as might have naturally been expected, both numerous and daring; nor can we wonder if, when every man did more or less what was right in his own eyes, the list of the colour-blind to the moral tints of "mine " and " thine " should have been a long one, and have included many names of great though not good renown. Indeed, it might almost have been anticipated that the entire nation would have been numbered in the ill-famed category, till the universality of fact absorbed the distinction of name; and none would have been called robbers, because all were so.

Fortunately the clan principle interfered; and by tracing certain, though inadequate, limits of social right and wrong, rendered transgression alike possible and exceptional. He who, led astray by private and personal greed, plundered, not on his own clan's account, but on his own; who, without discrimination of peace-time or war, of alliance or hostility, attacked the friends no less than the foes of his tribesmen, was, from the earliest times, accounted criminal; while he who, in concert with his kin, assailed and spoiled a common and acknowledged enemy, was held to have performed an honourable duty. After this fashion the Arabs learned to draw the line — in no ago or country a very broad one — between war and brigandage; and, by vehement reprobation of the latter, stood self-excused for their excessive proneness to the former.

From such a state of things, where geographical configuration and political confusion conspired to encourage what

nascent organization and primal morality agreed to condemn, arose the prae-Islamitic brigand class. This, although recruited in the main, after the fashion of other lands, by idleness, want, and the half-idiocy that has much, if physiology tell true, to do with habitual vice, yet comprised also men who under more propitious circumstances might have led a different and an honourable career. These were they who — having, in consequence of some special deed of blood, sudden mishap, or occasionally sheer innate fierceness of temperament, become nearly or quite detached from their own particular clan and its alliances — led, henceforth at large, a life of "sturt and strife," of indiscriminate plunder and rapine; disavowed by all, hostile to all, yet holding their own; and that, strange though it may seem, not by physical force merely, but also by intellectual pre-cmminence. They stand before us in the national records, apart from the great chiefs and leaders of their age, apart from the recognized heroes, the Antarahs and Barakats of epic war, wild, half-naked, savage, inured to hardship, danger, and blood; yet looked upon by their countrymen with a respect amounting almost to awe, and crowned with a halo of fame visible even through the mist of centuries, and under the altered lights of Islam: men to be admired, though not imitated; to be honoured while condemned: a moral paradox, explained partly by the character of the times they lived in, partly by their own personal qualities.

When a nation is either wholly barbarous or wholly civilized, the records of its criminal classes" are of little interest, and of less utility. In the former case, they form, indeed, the bulk of the local chronicle; but the tale they tell of utter and bestial savagery, the mere repetition of brute force, cunning, and cruelty, is alike purportless, tedious, and disgusting. Ou the other hand, among nations well advanced in civilization, the ban laid on exceptional rebels against the reign of law is so withering, and the severance between them and the better life of the laud so enitire, that nothing remains to a Jack Sheppard or a Bill Sykes but stupid, hateful, unmeaning vice, unfit either to point the moral of the novelist or to adorn the tale of the historian.

But between the two extremes of barbarism and of culture, the records of most nations exhibit a middle or transition period, when the bonds of society, though formed, are still elastic; while public morality is already sufficiently advanced to disallow much that public order is as yet too feeble to repress. In such a period the highway robber is apt to be regarded with a sort of half-toleration, as a relic of the "good old times ;" and even becomes in the estimation of many a sort of conservative protest against the supposed degeneracies and real artificialities of progress; a semi-hero, to be, metaphorically at least, if not in fact, hung in a silken halter, and cut down to the tune of a panegyric. On these frontier lines between order and anarchy, in this twilight between licence and law, flourish Robin Hoods, Helmbrechts, Kalewi-Poegs, and their like; equivocal celebrities, brigands by land and corsairs at sea; feared, respected, and hated by their injured contemporaries; more honoured by later and securer generations, and ultimately placed on pedestals of fame side by side with their betters in the national Valhalla. And what the era of King John was to England, the "Interregnum " to Germany, the days of Sueno and his peers to Scandinavia, that were to Arabia the two centuries that preceded the appearance of Mahomet, but chiefly the former. Heroes had ceased to be robbers, but robbers had not wholly ceased to be heroes.

A more special reason for the peculiar and prominent rank held in prae-Islamitic Arab story by these wild rovers of the desert, is to be sought in the intense vigour and activity of the prevailing national spirit, of which these very men were an ill-regulated and exaggerated, yet by no means an unfaithful, representation. To the physical advantages of strength, fleetness, quickness of eye, and dexterity of hand — all objects of deliberate and systematic culture in Pagan Arabia, no less than in Pagan Greece — they added many of the moral qualities then held in the highest esteem by their countrymen: patient endurance, forethought, courage, daring,

and even generosity; while some of them in addition attained lasting fame for excellence in poetry, then, as now, the proudest boast of the Arab. Thus it was that although rapine, bloodshed, and, not rarely, treachery, might dim, they could not wholly eclipse the splendour of their better qualities and worthier deeds.

Such was the classical prae-Islamitic brigand, as portrayed to us in the pages of the Hamasah, of Aboo-1-Faraj, Meydanee, and others; not indeed the full image, but the skeleton and ground-plan of his race: a type in which the Arab character, not of those agea only but of all succeeding generations, is correctly though roughly given: untameable, self-reliant, defiant, fnll of hard good sense and deep passion, a vivid though a narrow imagination, and a perfect command of the most expressive of all spoken languages; while at the same time these very men, by thMr isolation, their inaptitude for organized combination, their contempt for all excellence or development save that of the individual, their aversion to any restraint however wholesome, and above all their restless inconstancy of temper, give the measure of Arab national weakness, and too clearly illustrate that incoherent individualism which ruined the Empires of Damascus, Bagdad, and Cordova, and blighted even in its flower the fairest promise of. the Arab mind.

Their muster-roll is a long one; but at its head stand eminent three names of renown, illustrated by records of exceptional completeness. These are Ta'abbet-Shurran, Shanfara', and Soleyk, men each of whom deserves special mention, because each represents in himself a peculiar subdivision of the great brigand class.

"Ta'abbefc-Shurran," or, "lie has taken an evil thing under his arm," is the composite appellation by which Arab story recognizes its robber-hero of predilection. His real name was Thabit, the son of Jabir; the clan of Fahm, to which he belonged, formed part of the great Keys"Eglan family, the progeny of Modar; and accordingly of " Most-'areb " (that ia "adscititious Arab," or, in mythical phrase, of Ismaelitic), not of " 'Aarab," " pure Arab," or of Southern and Kahtanee origin. The

« AnteriorContinuar »