Imatges de pÓgina

MELLIN DE SAINT GELAIS. Mellin de Saint Gelais is com- published soon after his decease. But mended by Joachim du Bellay, in it was a prolific race, and in a short that poet's address to the reader pre- time multiplied exceedingly. fixed to his own works, for having Two out of these seventeen will, I been the first who distinguished him- dare say, satisfy the reader as to self as a writer of sonnets in the quantity. And for the quality, I can French language. He left only se- assure him they are not the worst of venteen of them. At least, I find no the batch. more in the collection of his poems,

Il n'est point tant de barques à Venise,

D'huistres à Bourg, de lievres en Champaigne,
D'ours en Savoye, et de veaux en Bretaigne,
De Cygnes blancs le long de la Tamise,
Ne tant d'Amours si traitent en l'Eglise,

De differents aux peuples d'Alemaigne,
Ne tant de gloire à un Seigneur d'Espaigne,
Ne tant si trouve à la Cour de faintise,
Ne tant y a de monstres en Afrique,
D'opinions en une Republique,

Ne de pardons à Romwe aux jours de feste,
Ne d'avarice aux hommes de pratique,

Ne d'argumens en une Sorbonique,

Que m'amie a de lunes en la teste.
Oeuvres Poëtiques de Mellin de S. Gelais. Lyon. Par Antoine de
Harsy, 1574, p. 84.
So many barks are not for Venice bound;

Nor oysters, Bourg can show; or calves, Bretagne;
Or Savoy, hears; or leverets, Champagne;

Or Thamis, silver swans, his shores around:
Not amorous treaties so at church abound,

Or quarrels in the Diet of Almaine,
Not so much boasting in a Don of Spain,

Not so much feigning at the Court is found :
Monsters so numerous hath not Africa,

Nor minds so various a republic bred,

Nor pardons are at Rome on holyday,
Or cravings underneath a lawyer's gown,

Or reas'nings with the doctors of Sorbonne ;
As there are lunes in my sweet lady's head.

De Monsieur le Dauphin.
Vous que second la noble France honore,

Pouvez cueillir par ces prés florissans,
Oeillets pour vous seul s'espanouissans,

Esclos ensemble avec la belle Aurore,
Pour vostre front le rosier se collore,

Dont les chapeaux si haut lieu congnoissans,
Forment boutons de honte rougissans,

Sachant que mieux vous appartient encore.
Ceinte de liz la blanche Galathee

Ses fruits vous garde en deux paniers couverts,

L'un d'olivier, l'autre de laurier verds.
Ainsi chantoit des Nymphes escoutee

La belle Eglé dont Pan oyant le son,
Du grand Henry l'appella la chanson. (P. 87.)

On the Dauphin.
Thou, who art second in our noble France,

Mayst cull at will, along each blooming mead,
These pinks, whose lues for thee alone are spread,
First opening with the morning's early glance ;

For thee the rose-bush doth his top advance,

Whose coronals, with buttons vermeil-red,
Blush all for shame to hold so high their head,
Trusting yet more thy pleasure to enhance.
The milk-white Galathea, lily-crown'd,

For thee in panniers twain her fruits doth screen,

One veil'd with olive, one with myrtle green.
Thus sang fair Ægle, while the nymphs around

Smiled as they listen'd; and Pan heard the song,

And to great Harry bade the notes belong. The Sonnet was not the only form Amandi of Ovid. His profession did of composition adopted by Saint Ge- not restrain him from much freedom lais from the Italian tongue. He both in his life and writings. He is borrowed from it the Ottava Rima said to have bestowed great pains on also.

his son's education, who profited as In the Chant Villanesque (p. 235) well as could be hoped under such a he has counterfeited the charm of a guide and tutor; for he learnt to rustic simplicity with much skill. write verses better than his father,

Mellin was supposed to be the na- but with a sufficient portion of ritural son of Octavien de Saint Ge- baldry in them. Mellin had a high lais, Sieur de Lunsac, and Bishop of reputation in the courts of Francis I. Angoulême, and was born in 1491. and Henry II. He was abbot of ReThe father, besides his own original cluz, and royal almoner and librarian. works, among which the Vergier A copy of verses directed to Cled'Honneur was one, was the Author ment Marot (p. 176) when they were of Translations into French verse of both in ill health, shows his regard the neid, several books of the for that poet. It begins, Odyssey, and the Epistles and Ars

Gloire et regret des Poetes de France,
Clement Marot, ton ami Sainct Gelais,
Autant marri de ta longue souffrance,

Comme ravi de tes doux chants et lais, &c.
Glory and regret of the poets of France, Clement Marot; thy friend Saint
Gelais, who is as much grieved by thy long suffering, as he is charmed by
thy songs, and lays, &c.

Both he and Clement celebrated which Saint Gelais was supposed to the restoration of Laura's tomb, at have done him at court. Avignon, by Francis I.

His talent for epigrammatic satire He addresses also Hugues Salel, of was so much dreaded, that “ Gare à whom we shall soon hear more; la tenaille de Saint Gelais ;” “'Ware though they had not yet made an ac- of Saint Gelais pincers," became a quaintance with each other.

proverbial saying: His conduct towards Ronsard was He was celebrated for his skill in somewhat ungenerous ; but that poet, Latin poetry, and composed the folwith his characteristic generosity, lowing verses, when near his end. forgave more than once the ill offices

Barbite, qui varios lenisti pectoris æstus,

Dum juvenem nunc sors, nunc agitabat amor ;
Perfice ad extremum, rapidæque incendia febris

Qua potes infirmo fac leviora seni.
Certe ego te faciam, superas evectus ad auras,

Insignem ad Cytharæ sidus habere locum.
Harp, that didst soothe my cares, when opening life
With love and fortune waged alternate strife,
Fulfil thy task: allay the fervid rage
Of fever preying on my feeble age;
So, when I reach the skies, a place shall be,

Near the celestial lyre, allotted thee. He died at Paris, in 1559. His works were re-edited, with additions, in that city, in 1719; as I find in De Bure's Bibliographie.


Thou virgin bliss the seasons bring,
Thou yet beloved in vain;
I long to hail thee, gentle Spring,
And meet thy face again.
That rose-bud cheek, that sunlit eye,
Those locks of fairest hue,
Which zephyrs wave each minute by
And show thy smiles anew.
Oh ! how I wait thy reign begun,
To gladden earth and skies ;
When, threaten'd with a warmer sun,
The sullen Winter flies ;
When songs are sung from every tree,
When bushes bud to bowers,
When plains a carpet spread for thee,
And strew thy way with flowers.
Ah! I do long that day to see
When, near a fountain side,
I loiter hours away by thee,
With beauty gratified ;
To look upon those eyes of blue
Whose light is of the sky,
And that unearthly face to view
Which love might deify.
I long to press that glowing breast,
Whose softness might suffice
As pillow for an angel's rest,
And still be paradise.
And, oh! I wait those smiles to see,
To me, to nature, given;
Smiles stoln from joy's eternity,
Whence mortals taste of heaven.
Oh! urge the surly Winter by,
Nor let him longer live;
Whose suns creep shyly down the sky
And grudge the light they give.
Oh! bring thy suns, and brighter days,
Which, lover-like, delight
To hasten on their morning ways,
And loth retire at night.
Oh! hasten on, thou lovely Spring;
Bid Winter frown in vain :
Thy mantle o'er thy shoulders bring,
And choose an early reign.
Thy herald flower, in many a place,
The daisy, joins with me;
While chill winds nip his crimpled face,
He smiles in hopes of thee.
Then come; and while my heart is warm,
To sing thy pleasures new,
Led onward by thy lovely arm
I'll hie me through the dew;
Or meet thy noon-day's sober wind
Thy rearing flowers to see,
And weave a wreath, of those I find,
To Nature and to Thee.



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No. V.

Introductory to a Translation from the Homeric Hymns.



I REMEMBER a little book, aiming any language without a compensaat a great deal of precision and attain- tion: that if a language has not the ing to a good deal of dryness, (bre- same laws of harmony as another, vis esse laboro, obscurus fio) entitled the laws peculiar to itself will sup« Les beaux arts réduits à un même ply the same resources and operate principe." It was written by Bat- the same effects, in relation to the teux, a member of the French Aca- ear native to that language, as are demy, who, they say, died of a bro- arbitrarily and unphilosophically ken heart, because his “ Cours Ele- thought to depend on the adaptation mentaire for the military school of particular and exclusive means. (in forty-five volumes; mercy on us !) The musical expression of modern did not succeed. In this treatise on verse is not less genuine and founded the fine arts, (which, I recollect, in- in nature, than that of ancient verse, cludes “ La danse,”—a truly na- although in the latter, the means, by tional classification) he endeavours to which the harmonical effect is attainshow that the Greeks and Latins ed, are more instantly obvious, and possessed no real advantage over the harmony appears more reduced into moderns in the admeasurement of a system. The verse in Athalia, their verse by regulated quantities : Tout l'univers est plein de sa magnificence and he adduces the instance,

has a perceptibly graver march than Semotique prius turda necessitas, this in Esther : Lethi corripuit gradum.

Jeunes et tendres fleurs, par le sort agitées. contending that if the dactylic harmony of corripuit gradum be ex- When Milton speaks of the river of pressive, the harmony of tarda neces- life, whichsitas must be misplaced, and by con- Rolls o'er Elysian flowers its amber stream, sequence faulty. It is not easy to answer this : and it appears

s certain

the English ear is soothed with a that the Greeks and Latins by leav

sensible smoothness of melody, quite ing four feet out of the six optional, ceived by the ear of a Roman in the

as satisfying and real as was perfelt the difficulty, and were more at line of Virgil, tentive to the time than the foot; to the rhythm than the metre. The ob- Floreat, irriguumque bibant violaria fon. ject of the writer is to prove that the mere sound of the words, syllables, It follows that were it practicable or even letters, and the greater or to amalgamate the laws of one lanless distinctness of the cadences,

guage with those of another, or to produce equivalent results in modern ingraft The Latin harmony of quanversification, (as for instance, in the tities, by a sort of factitious assimilaconcert between the sound and the tion and associative effort of the meobject of thought) to those effected mory, upon the harmony which reby the quantities of the ancient ine- sults from emphatic accentuation tres. It is well observed by Batteux merely, (in addition, be it underthat, “ languages are not made by stood, to the rhythmical proportion system, and since they have their of syllabical arrangement) the work source in human nature itself, they would be one of supererogation. must in a variety of points resemble The attempt is, in my judgment, each other." It follows that there hopeless, as to any purpose of real will seldom be found a deficiency in melody at least, even if we allow

Notwithstanding the unemphatic character of the French language, and the appa. rent equable stress on the syllables which make up their complement of twelve times, io a Prench ear some cadences are more sensible than others.



that the general effect of harmony our heroic alexandrine (of which can be made perceptible to the ear. more by and bye) may compete with We have indeed syllables naturally the Homeric hexameter in copiouslong and others naturally short; and ness of harmony; the metre of Collins some will slide easily enough into a in the “the Ode to Evening ” supdactylic combination; as in the verse plies us with an adequate English of the “ Vision of Judgment," alcaic; and the adonic of Sappho is Green ăs ă strēam in thě glēn whőse pūre rallels in the lyrical poetry of Burns,

equalled in its effect by repeated paand chrysolite wātērs :

What Mr. Southey perhaps felt but if a few of our weak syllables are

was a dissatisfaction at the confined thus complying, others are no less in

compass and homotonous character tractable: and the dactyls, in nu

of the English standard heroic. It merous lines of the poem, can only has little of extent in scale, or body be analysed by dint of somewhat des- in sound ; and is too slender to reperate scanning and proving: It is present adequately the epic verse of not always easy to detect which are

the ancients. It seems to rank in the dactyls and which are the spon- dignity little above the Phædrian dees; and the same syllables, the iambics. The old writers of rhymed weak vowels for instance, are forced couplets, and the best writers of blauk to do double duty: they are both verse in succeeding eras, (hy which I long and short, alternately, accord- mean the versifiers on the model of ing to the sic volo, sic jubeo, of the Milton and Akenside) imitate with poet. It is plain, that to the popular success the ancient involution of eye and ear, such measures can con- period by prolonging the pause in the tain nomore distinguishable properties sense and shifting it through alterof symmetrical sound than Lowth’s nate lines; but the single verses are version of Isaiah ; which is only not deficient in grandiloquence of harprose because it is distributed into

mony: and the advantage of a more verse-like lines: while to the learned, continuous and comprehensive line is accustomed to the copiously diversified metre of Virgil (who, by the possessed by our neighbours, though

we persist in voting it anapæstic, in bye did not begin every line with a the teeth of the prolonged and meajumping dactyl) the impression con- snred recitation of the French actors. veyed must be that of a systematic

It must be admitted that our breviolation of every principle of true vity of measure is in some degree harmony. The attempt is like the compensated by our affluence, if such “yoking of foxes.” If " the Vision of it may be called, in monosyllabic Judgment” had not offered as striking words. We are thus enabled to cona contrast as is well conceivable, in all dense more matter; but something other respects besides rhythm, to the at the expense of rhythmical rich« Joan of Arc,” the weight of its ness and sonorous harmony. Sweetlame feet were fully sufficient to pre

ness and force,* indeed, are often .vent it from soaring: corpus onustum attained by verses wholly consisting Hexametris vitiis animam quoque prægra- in monosyllables. I shall offer some yat una.

examples of this from a writer, who, 1 Batteux was clearly right in insisting from his having employed a similar that the modern language possessed structure of versification to that of equivalents to the advantages of the Pope, is often inconsiderately ranked ancient, and in avoiding to recom- with him as an unfaithful and ineffimend a direct and mechanical imita- cient translator; but who, on the tion of their measures ; which is sub- contrary, even when most paraphrasstituting the mimickry of the mock- tical, has seized with singular haping bird for musical passion. We piness and power the sort of pathos may demonstrate the same truth hy. and declamatory energy which chaexamples drawn from our own poets, racterize his original. as he has done by instances from his: The following verses, collected

• Pope stigmatizes them as necessarily nerveless and mean : yet one of the best couplets he ever wrote is made up of little else:

Yet tyrant as he is, to see these eyes
lo what he dares not; if he dares, no dics.--Iliad.

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