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band who left his widow with an infant child. She, too, threw herself on the body, and bewailed her fate with expressions and images of striking and simple beauty. All present were moved to tears. "He was a poor red-headed man, too," added my narrator. The Irish have a rich vein of feeling, and it runs in the same direction with that of these Greeks, though not, 'tis true, with so pure a wave. Indeed, wherever nature is not overlaid with decencies and phrases, a death is always of this poetic value, stimulating to deeper life, and a sincerer thought; it is one legible sentence in the volume of nature.
A few more details.
"The Klephts bivouacked and were upon their guard all day long, but at night they felt themselves secure and could lie down peacefully to sleep. Their beds were of leaves, and their goatskin dresses protected them against the rain. When they made a sally, they took the night for it, preferring a right dark and stormy one. Their march was so rapid that they seldom failed to fall unexpectedly on the enemy.
"The Klepht used the same arms as the Armatole, but was distinguished by a cord or sash around his waist, with which he bound those whom he took prisoners. They fought without any order, wherever they found a good post, whether a crag, a tree, or a heap of slaughtered foes. They fired standing or kneeling, and loaded again, lying on the back or side. When hemmed in and pressed hard, they seized their sabres and rushed upon the foe in a body.
"Their favorite amusement, when at leisure, was shooting at a mark, and in this they attained the greatest dexterity. They also practised throwing the discus, leaping, and running. It was said of the Wonderful stories are told of their agility. captain Niko-Tzaras that he could leap over seven horses, or even three wagons laden high with corn. Many could run as fast as a horse could gallop, and it was popularly said of the captain Zacharias that, when he ran, his heels touched his ears. To this great swiftness they were indebted for many an advantage over the Turks. They were equally remarkable for their power of enduring hunger, thirst, and tortures; although those to which they were put by the Pachas, were so cruel that they would, if possible, kill themselves rather than be dragged to a prison. Thus it was for them a natural greeting of kindness in festive hours to wish one another a good bullet,' meaning one which would hit the right spot and put an end to all uncertainties in a moment.
"Next to being taken captive nothing was dreaded more than 23
having the head cut off by the enemy, and carried away to be insulted and abused before all eyes. So it was, always, the most urgent and sacredly respected prayer to a brother in arms, to cut off the head of his slain friend, and carry it away from the Turks. This trait is often brought forward in the lays, of one, only this passage is preserved. Friend, take my head that the approaching enemy may not cut it off, and make a show for every passer by. My foes would see it, and their hearts would laugh for joy; my mother would see it and die of grief.'
"Naturally, they thought it a disgrace to die in a bed, deformed by slow sickness into an unhandsome corpse.
"It might be supposed that under such circumstances they would become savage and cruel, but it was not the case. If they reserved their prisoners for ransom, they treated them generously, women always with respect, even when their own families had been maltreated by the foe. If cruel to the men, it was always in retaliation for cruelty. Generally, though they gave not easily his life to the Turk, they put him to death on the spot, without inventing tortures, like those of Ali Pacha.
"They were most scrupulous in religious observances, in keeping the festivals of the church, and even often made long pilgrimages.
"The captain Blachavas went, as a pilgrim, to Jerusalem in his seventy-sixth year, with his gun at his back, and attended by his Protopallikari. He died, as he hoped he might, in the Holy Land. No inducement of honor or safety could make them apostates from their religion. Andrutzos, when offered his choice between the honors of Islamism and the pest-house, chose the latter.
"Their devotion in friendship was not to be surpassed; life was not felt by the Pallikari to be a great sacrifice for his chief, and the story of Diplas and Katzantonis may vie with the beautiful fable of Orestes and Pylades.
"Those who consider comfort and peace necessary to the enjoyment of life may fancy the Klephts unhappy in their precarious and dangerous life amid the woods and mountains. On the contrary this life, full of adventure and variety, and passed in the open air, had such a charm for them, that few of those who submitted to the Pacha could endure the idle repose to which they had condemned themselves. They walked about, sad and downcast, often turning their longing eyes to the mountains, for which even the charming climate, safety, and freedom of the Ionian isles could not console them.
"Their mountains, though not so high as the Alps, or even the Pyrenees, are uninhabitable a part of the year. In the season of snow they must leave them. They wrapped in linen
their arms and accoutrements, hid them in the clefts or caverns, and went forth, some to the houses of friends and relations, others to the Ionian isles. Here the Klepht was known at once amid the crowd by his proud bearing, his wild glance, and picturesque dress. The Greeks, or all of them who retained a spark of national feeling, looked with pride on men before whom the Turks had often trembled; the story of their exploits passed from tongue to tongue, and the children of the villages fought, for their play, in Klepht and Turkish bands, of which the former were pretty sure to remain the victors, for the strongest and most spirited boys were always on that side."
These extracts are abridged from the German, not without injury, and a risk of confusion, for there are no superfluous words or details in the book. It should be read; considering that it has been published so many years, very few, in proportion to its merit, can have had the benefit of it, or allusion to its subjects would be more frequent.
He who was the "sitting Rhapsodist," of the early Greek time would hail the heroism, the self-sufficing power and resource, the free poetic spirit of the Klephts. They have not the rich frame in which his figures are set, but they are well worthy of a shield of Achilles. Their machinery is very simple. A bird stops a moment on the mountain peak to tell the story of a noble life, of a man, a prince in his heart, and a poet in his eye, whose life, if rude, was single, and well filled with passages, that tried his higher powers. All that relates to them is important in their eyes, as may be seen by the high-flown descriptions of the few accessories they had or needed. Their horses are shod with silver, their bits are of gold. The sword is in all countries a theme for poetical hyperbole, for it is the symbol of a warrior's life. This pleasure in details marks the reality of their existence; whatever they had or did was significant. In this, as in so many other respects, they represent our Indians, softened by the atmosphere. which a high civilization, though mostly forgotten, does not fail to leave behind, and a gentler clime. Whatever we can obtain from our aborigines has the same beauty with these ballads. Had we but as complete a collection as this! Some German should visit this country, and aid with his power of selection, and critical discernment, the sympathy, enthusiasm, and energy of Catlin.
The German translator observes, "What characterizes the mountain lays is a vigorous tone, a wild intrepidity in thoughts and images, and a mood which takes up the most marvellous subject, and treats it as freely and familiarly as the most common. The bards sing, as the Klephts strike. They are all marked by a like patriotic enthusiasm, hatred for the Turk, love for freedom and independence. Not only the air of the mountains blows upon us, but the steep and wild forms of the rocks, from whose clefts they echo, are to be found in these ballads."
They present a striking contrast to the Rhine ballads in this; they are entirely destitute of that symbolical character which gives such interest to the minutia of the latter. The Romaic are a plain transcript of realities, which happen to be of the class called Romantic. They please by their scenery and exhibition of character. The Rhine ballads are the growth of a national thought, and a religious faith.
THE BLACK KNIGHT.
Be sure your fate
Doth keep apart its state,
Not linked with any band,
Even the nobles of the land;
In tented fields with cloth of gold
But is more chivalrous than they are,
And sigheth for a nobler war;
A finer strain its trumpet sings,
H. D. T.
LECTURES ON THE TIMES.
BY R. W. EMERSON.
LECTURE II. THE CONSERVATIVE.
Read at the Masonic Temple in Boston, 9 Dec. 1841.
THE two parties which divide the state, the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation, are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made. This quarrel is the subject of civil history. The conservative party established the reverend hierarchies and monarchies of the most ancient world. The battle of patrician and plebeian, of parent state and colony, of old usage and accommodation to new facts, of the rich and the poor reappears in all countries and times. The war rages not only in battle-fields, in national councils, and ecclesiastical synods, but agitates every man's bosom with opposing advantages every hour. On rolls the old world meantime, and now one, now the other gets the day, and still the fight renews itself as if for the first time, under new names and hot personalities.
Such an irreconcilable antagonism, of course, must have a correspondent depth of seat in the human constitution. It is the opposition of Past and Future, of Memory and Hope, of the Understanding and the Reason. It is the primal antagonism, the appearance in trifles of the two poles of
There is a fragment of old fable which seems somehow to have been dropped from the current mythologies, which may deserve attention, as it appears to relate to this subject.
Saturn grew weary of sitting alone, or with none but the great Uranus or Heaven beholding him, and he created an oyster. Then he would act again, but he made nothing more, but went on creating the race of oysters. Then Uranus cried, 'a new work; O Saturn! the old is not good again.'
Saturn replied. I fear. There is not only the alter