Imatges de pÓgina
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He gives it a second time, then runs it five and forty,
And on the way as he rode he prayed to God,
Let me find my mother, watering her garden,
He spoke like a Christian, he was heard as a saint,
And he found his mother, watering her garden;
Hail, mother, good be with thee. To whom belongs
den?

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To woe, alas, to dark grief, to Jannes, my son,
To-day they give his love to another wooer,
They bless her, they crown her with another man.
O say to me, mother, shall I find her at table?

If thou hast a swift horse, thou wilt find her at table,
If a slow horse, thou wilt find her at the marriage.
He gives the switch to his horse, and it runs forty miles,
Gives it a second time, the horse runs five and forty.

The horse began to neigh, and the maiden knew him,
O my bride, who speaks with thee? Who holds talk with thee?
My first brother is it, he brings the bridal presents.
If it is thy first brother, go and fill the cup for him,
If it is thy first bridegroom, I will come and kill him.
Truly, it is my first brother, he brings the bridal presents.
Then took she a gold goblet and went out to fill for him,
Stand on my right, fair bride, fill the cup with the left.
And the horse knelt, and up sprang the maiden,

He flies away swift as the wind, the Turks take their guns,
But the horse they saw no more, not even the dust,
Who had a swift horse, he saw the dust,
Who had a slow horse saw not even the dust.

How children love these repetitions which keep up the cadence of the thought, and make the ballad or fairy story musical as rippple after ripple on some little lake!

There are many pretty poems of a playful sort. The Greek grace is seen in these, just as when in the age of Pericles they prefaced the keenest irony with, O best one.

I go into a garden, find an apple tree
Richly laden with apples, in the top sits a maiden;
I say to her, come down and let us be friends,
But she plucks the apples and stones me with them.

The Wish is only to be paralleled in its range with

"Ye gods annihilate both time and space,
And make two lovers happy."

Here below, in the neighborhood, below in the street,
There dwells an old woman with an old man ;
She has a cross dog, and a fair daughter,
Heavens! might the old woman only die with the old man,
And were the dog poisoned too, I might have the maid.

THE CURSE.

My loved, golden, clear moon, now sinking to thy rest,
Take a greeting to my dearest, the conqueror of my heart.
He kissed me and said, I will never leave thee,

And now he has left me, like stubble on the empty field,
Like a church under ban, like a ruined city.

I meant to curse him, but I feel tenderness again,
Yet better is it that I curse. Heaven do as it will,
With my sighs, my pains, with flames and curses,
If he climb a cypress tree to pluck its flower,
May he fall from the top, fall to the ground,

May he break in two, like glass, may he melt, like wax!
Feel the Turk's sabre and the dagger of the Frank!
Have five doctors to hold him, ten to heal him!

ANOTHER.

I passed by thy door and saw thee in anger,
Thy head lay down-sunken on thy right cheek,
Then my heart beat so high that I must ask thee,

What grief thou hast at heart, that I may bring thee comfort.
Why dost thou ask, false one? Well thou knowest what,
Since thou hast forsaken me and gone after another.
My dove, who has said that? Who, my cool fountain?
My love, he who has said that may he die this very week!
If the Sun said it, let him be quenched, if a star let it fall down!
And if a maiden said it, may she find no wooer!

DISCOVERY OF LOVE.

O maiden when we met, 't was night, who could have seen us?
Night saw us, and dawn, the moon, and the stars,
And from the sky fell a star that told it to the sea,
The sea told it to the oar, the oar to the sailor,
And the sailor told it at the door of his love.

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The tenderness is just as graceful.

THE FAREWELL.

O thou my red pink, my blue hyacinth,
Bow thyself down to me, let me give thee a sweet kiss,
I must go from this land, my father bids me go.

O thou, my red pink, my blue hyacinth,

Bow thyself down to me, let me give thee a sweet kiss,
I must go from this land, my mother bids me go.

Come is the day and hour when we must part,
We shall not meet again, and, ah, my heart bleeds,
That we must part here and meet never again,
My eyes swim in tears, and turn about like wheels,
That we must part here and meet never again.

The dying chief cries,

Bird,

On thy wings let me write three black letters,
One to my mother, another to my sister,
The third and last to my ardently beloved;
The mother reads hers, and my sister weeps,
The sister reads hers, and my beloved weeps,
My beloved reads hers, and all the world must weep.

THE SAILOR.

He who has a daughter to be wooed and taken in marriage, Let him give her to an old man rather than to a young sailor. The sailor, the unhappy, has many griefs to suffer,

but

Who eats at noon, eats not at night, who makes his bed, sleeps not;

Unhappy the youth who lies sick upon the deck,
No mother looks upon him, no wife will bewail him,
He has no brother, has no sisters, has no human soul,
The captain only speaks to him, and the master of the vessel,
Heida, stand up thou sailor, thou well taught sailor,
Reckon now the right time to run into the haven.—
You say to me, stand up, stand up, I say to you, I cannot,
Come take hold of me and lift me up and let me sit down,
And bind two handkerchiefs hard about my head,
With my love's gold handkerchief bind my cheeks;
Now bring me the chart, the sorrowful chart,

See this mountain, this one here, and there above the other,
They have clouds about their heads and mists at their feet,
Go, and cast anchor there, there is a deep haven,

The little anchor on the right, the cable on the left,
And cast the great anchor into the sea towards the south.
I pray my captain, and also the master of the ship,
That they will not bury me in church, nor in cloister,
No but on the sea beach, deep down in the sand.
Then will come the sailors, I shall hear their voices,
And the Yoho, at hauling in the anchor, Yoho casting it out.
Then his eyes closed and saw never more.

So we see the Greek did not fail to cast his eye on the blue sea, too.

Two of the best, The Unexpected Marriage, and the Night Journey, I saw long since translated by Sheridan, with great spirit, but with that corruption of their native simple beauty to which a rhymed translation almost always leads.

The song of the Swallow, the Cradle songs, and one "serenade," even, contained in this volume, are of great beauty, but enough have been given to show the character of the whole. The account of the Myriologia corresponds with one of the same ceremonies in a province of France I think, that I saw not long since in a book of Balzac's, "The Country Physician." I suppose the account was meant to be received as stating facts. If it is authentic, the correspondence is striking.

"The poems on funeral occasions are, from their nature, improvisations, painting a new and fresh grief. There are indeed handed down for this purpose, certain forms and common-places in the introductions, transitions, and closes, but the varying circumstances oblige always to inprovise under cover of these. They have a slow, dragging measure, ending in a high tone, as if to express the cry of grief. It is wonderful to see timid and ignorant women at once transformed into poets by these occasions. Grief which, among us, robs the weaker sex even of the power of speech, becomes with them the source of inspiration, of which they had felt no presage in themselves, and they find courage to express their deepest feelings before the crowd who have their eyes upon them, waiting to be agitated and roused to tender emotions.

"It is hardly necessary to say that not all the women of Greece exhibit this wonderful gift in like degree. Some are especially famed for it, and are invited to sing at the funerals of those with whom they are not connected. The women love to practise this art, while at work in the fields, singing their ex

tempore laments in imaginary cases, sometimes for the loss of a friend or neighbor, sometimes of a flower, a bird, or a lamb.

"Few of these poems are preserved; they are the gift of the moment and pass away with it; the poetesses, themselves, can rarely remember what they have sung. Single thoughts or images remain in the memory of the hearers, but seldom the whole song. In the absence of the poems, the account given by a friend of one of these ceremonies, at which he was present, may be acceptable.

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"A woman of Mezzovon on Pindos, about five and twenty years of age, had lost her husband, who had left her with two little children. She was a poor peasant of simple character, and had never been in the least remarked for her intellect. Leading her children by the hand, she appeared before the corpse, and began her song of sorrow by the story of a dream, which she addressed to the departed. A little while ago, she said, 'I saw, before the door of our house, a youth of majestic form, with a threatening aspect, and at his shoulders, white, outspread wings. He stood upon the threshold, with a drawn sword in his hand. Woman,' he asked, is thy husband in the house?' 'He is within,' I answered; he is combing our little Nicholas, and coaxing him that he may not cry. But go not in, terrible young man, go not in. Thou wouldst frighten our child.' But the youth, with the white wings, persisted that he would go in. I tried to push him back, but was not strong enough. He rushed into the house, he rushed on thee, my boloved, he struck thee with his sword, thee unhappy. And our son, the little Nicholas, too, he wished to kill.'

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"After this beginning, whose tone, as she delivered it, made the hearers tremble, some of whom were looking to the door for the youth with the white wings, she threw herself sobbing on the body, and they with difficulty drew her away from it. Then while her little child clung sobbing to her knees, she renewed her song with still more inspiration. She asked her husband, how she should now live with their children; she reminded him of their wedding day, of all they had done together for their children, of her love for him, and did not cease till she sank exhausted to the ground, pale as the clay of him she bewailed."

The Irish wake, probably, degenerates in this country; but even here, the poor bricklayers and ditch-makers combine with its coarse sociality something of this poetical enjoyment. Only a few months since I heard from one of the most ignorant Irish, an account of a wake almost as poetic as that given above. It was that of a young hus

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