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TRANSLATIONS FROM THE MODERN FRENCH POETS.

CASIMIR DE LA VIGNE.

MESSENIENNES,

Or Messenian Elegies. BARTHELEMY in his Anacharsis are apt to imagine that the battle of gave this title to certain elegies which Waterloo shows to disadvantage by treated of the oppression of the Mes- the side of the old-fashioned battle of senians by the Spartans : Delavigne the Boyne: the effect of the latter invests it with a somewhat arbitrary was the putting down “ the right generic acceptation, as descriptive of divine of kings to govern wrong" at poems applicable to all analogous once and for ever: whereas among circumstances, of whatever nation. the results of the former they see a He seems to boast of having intro- confederacy of kings, not against their duced into the literature of his coun- own people only, but against the try a new species of poem. It is very people of every country under heaven; evident that he would have been glad a conspiracy of the few against the if events had not supplied him with many; the press " curbed, and kept the occasion. The * redeunt Satur- curbed;" “ learned men not wantnia regna” is not his motto.

ed;" the Inquisition re-settled warm There is accordingly a large por- in their seats, and the miracles of tion of readers with whom the war- Prince Saint Hohenlohe in full elegies of Delavigne will not be po- bloom. pular. Neither his auspicious pro- This, however, is a matter of taste. nomen of Casimir, nor the budding For the sentiment which supplies the promise of his sirname, will stand that inspiration of the French poet, he poet in stead who profanely mourns may defend himself by the plea that over the catastrophe of Waterloo. it is epidemic. “A lively demoiselle Robert Southey (I like him best with- of the second class,” relates a sensible out the esquire—the plain Robert re- writer, who published an inquiry into minds me of old times and old prin- the duties of Christians with respect ciples), Robert Southey once said, “I to war, “gave her suffrage for war am one of those who cannot wish suc- and glory with much animation; and cess to an unjust cause, because my when I represented the attendant country supported it; and if there be miseries, put to flight all scruples any one who can, I desire not that with the heroic argument, « Plutôt man's approbation.” We might la guerre, plutôt la guerre, que la worthily sympathize with our coun- France ainsi avilie."* trymen's prowess; and in the in- Some good-natured allowance may stance of Waterloo, while the laurels be made for the declamations of a were fresh, this prowess was not dis- Frenchman, whose pride has been joined in men's expectations from the “ hurt past all surgery," and whose hope of rational freedom and the im-' heart is in his verses.

He has warm provement and peace of nations. feelings and a short memory. BlenWe had not yet learnt that parch- heim, and Quebec, and Maida, and ment was only a bit of skin torn from Vittoria, are not in his chronological a sheep's back, and that a seal to a table. The space traversed by his public instrument was nothing in the eye is filled only with Waterloo. He world but a lump of coloured bees'- thinks we have a single trophy. I wax mixed up with a little rosin. think we have more in number and We were therefore rather surprised better in quality than this. at the practical comment on mani- He will talk with us on the theme festoes concerning the internal rights of France “ until his eyelids can no of nations, furnished by the fact of longer wag.” But he has a word to the desired king being escorted to the spare for Greece, and one (wormdoor of his senate by British troops wood in its moral) for Naples. His with lighted matches. Simple men elegies come forth'“ like angel visits,

* Letters descriptive of a tour through France, &c. by John Sheppard.

few and far between.” It were to be of a sacrifice, is that of her brothers wished that he had exerted the fire spilt by the hands of mussulmen. and tenderness of his heart and fancy After this, we have no inclination for more frequently and copiously on statues and metamorphoses. the theme of Greece. The pathetic Delavigne is the author of two traand romantic incident which he has gedies--the Sicilian Vespers, and versified and adorned from the tra- Paria ; and a comedy—the Comevels of Pouqueville, is an earnest of dians : but his fame seems rather to what he might effect in this free and rest on his elegies. He has a free fair career of poetic glory. His flow and choice of metre and expreselegy “on the ruins of pagan Greece," sion, and exhibits warmth and boldthough elegant and brilliant, is too ness of sentiment, with a power of much like the production of an artist. condensing his thougbts in few The appeal to Christian Greeks har- words: and he has added another monizes ill with the licentious fable proof of the facilities of his native of Leda, and the restoration of the tongue in the sweet and lucid diction idols of heathen Athens. That they with which he has clothed the sensiare Christians we are reminded by the ble imagery, of nature. But his chief, reply of the old shepherd who, when merit is his masculine energy and the interrogated about the tomb of Eury- fire of national honour which his dice, answers that what the poet sees pieces breathe; and which entitle is the grave of his daughter; and that him to the name of the French Tyre the blood, which he mistakes for that tæus.

LACENTO.

BATTLE OF WATERLOO.

lies;

They breathe no longer :-let their ashes rest;

Clamour unjust and calumny
Thưy stoop'd not to confute; but flung their breast

Against the legions of your enemy,
And

thus avenged themselves : for you they die.
Wo to you, wo ! if those inhuman eyes

Can spare no drops to mourn your country's weal;
Shrinking before your selfish miseries ;

Against the common sorrow hard as steel:
Tremble-the hand of death upon you

You may be forced yourselves to feel.
But no-what son of France has spared his tears

For her defenders, dying in their fame;
Though kings return, desired through lengthening years,

What old man's cheek is tinged not with her shame?
What veteran, who their fortune's treason hears,

Feels not the quickening spark of his old youthful flame?
Great heaven! wb lessons mark that one day's page!
What ghastly figures that might crowd an age!
How shall th' historic Muse record the day,
Nor starting cast the trembling pen away?
Hide from me-hide those soldiers overborne,
Broken with toil ; with death-bolts crush'd and torn;
Those quivering limbs with dust defiled;
And bloody corses upon corses piled :
Veil from mine eyes that monument
Of nation against nation spent
In struggling rage, that pants for breath:
Spare us the bands thou sparedst—death!
Oh VARUS!where the warriors thou hast led?
RESTORE OUR Legions !-give us back the dead!
I see the broken squadrons reel;
The steeds plunge wild with spurning heel;
Our eagles trod in miry gore,
The leopard standards swooping o'er ;

The wounded on their slow cars dying,
The rout disorder'd, wavering, flying;
Tortured with struggles vain, the throng
Sway, shock, and drag their shatter'd mass along ;
And leave behind their long array
Wrecks, corses, blood, the foot-marks of their way.
Through whirlwind smoke and flashing flame,

O grief! what sight appals mine eye?
The sacred band with generous shame,

Sole 'gainst an army, pause-to die !
Struck with the rare devotion, 'tis in vain
The foes at gaze their blades restrain ;
And proud to conquer hem them round; the cry
Returns, “ the guard surrender not, they die."
'Tis said, that when in dust they saw them lie,

A reverend sorrow for their brave career
Smote on the foe: they fix'd the pensive eye,

And first beheld them undisturb’d with fear. See then these heroes, long invincible,

Whose threatening features still their conquerors brave; Frozen in death those eyes are terrible;

Feats of the past their deep-scarr'd brows engrave; For these are they, who bore Italia's sun,

Who o'er Castilia's mountain barrier pass'd; The north beheld them o'er the rampart run,

Which frosts of ages round her Russia cast: All sänk subdued before them, and the date

Of combats owed this guerdon to their glory,
Seldom to Franks denied, to fall elate

On some proud day, that should survive in story.
Let us no longer mourn them; for the palm
Unwithering shades their features stern and calm : :
Franks! mourn we for ourselves; our land's disgrace ;
The proud mean passions that divide her race;
What age so rank in treasons ? to our blood
The love is alien of the common good :
Friendship, no more unbosom’d, hides her tears,
And man shuns man, and each his fellow fears;
Scared from her sanctuary Faith sbuddering flies
The din of oaths, the vaunt of perjuries.

O curst delirium ! jars deplored
That yield our home-hearths to the stranger's sword !
Our faithless hands but draw the gleaming blade
To wound the bosom which its point should aid.

The strangers raze our fenced walls;
The castle stoops, the city falls ;
Insulting foes their truce forget ;
Th’unsparing war-bolt thunders yet:
Flames glare our ravaged hamlets o'er,
And funerals darken every door:
Drain'd provinces their greedy prefects rue,
Beneath the lilied or the triple hue;
And Franks disputing for the choice of power
Dethrone a banner or proscribe a flower.
France !--to our fierce intolerance we owe
The ills that from these sad divisions flow:
Tis time the sacrifice were made to thee
Of our suspicious pride, our civic enmity:

Haste- quench the torches of intestine war;
Heaven points the lily as our army's star;
Hoist then the banner of the white-some tears
May bathe the thrice-dyed flag which Austerlitz endears.

France ! France ! awake with one indignant mind !
With new-born hosts the throne's dread precinct bind;
Disarm'd, divided, conquerors o'er us stand;
Present the olive, but the sword in hand.

And thou ! oh people, flush'd with our defeat,
To whom the mourning of our land is sweet,
Thou witness of the death-blow of our braye!
Dream not that France is vanquish'd to a slave:
Gall not with pride th' avengers yet to come;
Heaven may remit the chastening of our doom:
A new Germanicus may yet demand
Those eagles wrested from our Varus' hand.

CHRISTIAN GREECE.

Messene's daughter, weeping o'er her hearse,
Muse, that in plaintive and majestic verse

Sing'st grand reverses, noble woes,
Thou left'st thy natal bower, when Francia lay
Like Greece a captive: homeward bend thy way,

And weep for griefs more terrible than those.
'Twixt Evan's mountain and the beetling steep
Of Tænarus, the shore-pent surges sweep
Bathing sad Coron's walls: no more the same,
This barb'rous sound supplants Colone's name:
All, all is lost to Greece ; sweet Plato's tongue,

The palm of combats, prodigies of art,

Into the waste of years depart,
And ev'n the names on which entranced we hung.
These wave-beat walls, half crumbled with the shock
Of bolts which Venice launch'd against the rock,
Are Coron: o'er th' unpeopled precinct waves
The crescent, and the Turk reigns calm o'er graves ;
See ye the turbans o'er the ramparts stray ?
The flag profane that chased the blessed cross away?
See ye the horse-hair standards flout the towers ?
Hear ye the misbeliever's voice, that pours
Its watch-cry on the hollow-dashing strand ?
The arquebuss is gleaming in his hand.

The sun hangs hovering o'er the ocean's bound,
And gazes on the clime of yore renown'd:
Ev'n as the weed-clad lover's eyes explore
His mistress' features, though they bloom no more,
Yet is their charm more touching, fix'd in death;
How lingering sinks his orb !-what balm the breath
Of eve's gale whispers !-how the blazing wave
Sparkles with flush of light the day-star gave!
But day can gild no more the region of the slave.
Hark!-'tis the stifled dash of balanced oars !

With equal rise and fall their strokes are plied;
His eye still bent upon those sunset shores,

One in a skiff is skimming the salt tide :
A servant of the temple, 'tis his care
To deck the altar; fill the fuming air
From the waved censer; to the words divine
Respond, and minister the mystic wine.

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He drops the oars ; 'a lute his grasp supplies ;
O'er the twitch'd trembling chord his finger flies ;

He lifts his voice, a prophet strain ;
The hymn of David seems to breathe again: .
But like the halcyon’s low, sweet, ominous cry,
Which turns the seaman pale, for storm is nigh.
“ Haunts ! where my foot-sole dares not rest,
In the lone bark the chord is prest,

nd nightly sends its low-breathed sound
To the hoarse billows roaring round:
Our sad estate my theme has been,

As captive Hebrews sigh'd their moan Beneath the drooping willows

green
That arch'd the streams of Babylon.
But they could still adore the Lord! though slaves
They fearless mourn'd beside their fathers' graves ;
Mingling their tears they mingled hopes; but I

To weep in peace an exile tly,
Thy ministers of wrath, they wrest
The last poor fluttering flimsy vest
That veils the widow's keen distress,
That screens the orphan's wretchedness :
With ruffian gripe they re-demand

The wheat-ear glean'd upon our field;
And gold must cross their grasping hand

For the fresh rills our fountains yield.
Gold! they have ravish'd it; the treasures fell
From our stripp'd shrines by shameful oracle
Of dicer's lot: their gems profanely graced

The pack by whom our deer are chased.
Thy voice, O Nature ! once so dear,
Is stifled by the stranger's fear :
The brother sees his brother low,
Nor rushes to revenge the blow:
The aged man resigns the meal,

His children's board, the robber's booty ;
The mother hears their trampling heel

With curses on her daughter's beauty.
The youthful Levite is their fury's prey :
In loathsome bonds they work his bloom's decay;
Should his roused soul endure their shames no more,

The club is drench'd in guiltless gore.
Kings, when our Greece their help demands,
Are niggard of their armed bands;
Dispute th' appendage of their crowns,
People enslaved and shatter'd towns ;
And while the Turkish poniards drain

Our Christian blood, the despots then,
As flocks are parted on the plain,

Share and allot the tribes of men.
A fleeting narrative, a vain appeal
Speaks of our woes to hearts that cannot feel;
Courts in luxurious ease the tale admire;

And are we brethren? yet expire ?
The bird that wings the fields has rest
And shelter in his cradling nest;
The fawn has couch'd within the glade ;
The hare beneath the herbage-blade:

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