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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-one,
BY JOEN BISCO,
In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York,
Bobolink or Bob-Lincoln. By Thomas
FISHER, .. Battle of Bunker-Hill, .
Chemical Oil Lamps, .
Julian: or Scenes in Judea,
Literary Notices,.. 70, 158, 253, 349, 451, 544 99 Literary Record, : 89, 178, 272, 369, 465, 569 161 La Deesse. By'J. M. FIELD, Esq.,.
160 318 Le Lis Blanc,.
172 352 Lessons of Nature,
246 Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home, . 258 Life in Hayti. By an AMERICAN,
300 Lines on Revisiting a favorite Lake. By W. P. Palmer,
307 73 Letters from Rome. By G. W. GREENE, 133
371 137 Life and Times of Col. TRUMBULL, .
454 275 Lines to a Northern Lake,.
488 354 Life in Hayti: Number Two,
489 355 Leaves from the Port-folio of a Georgia 473 Lawyer,
498 Lines to a Sea-Shell: A Literary Thief, : 501
Disce Mori: 'Learn to Die,'.
157 Mythology: the Mystic number Twelve, . Every Body's Book! Or Something for All, 169
Musical Instruction : Miss BLUNDELL, Editor's Drawer,
170, 358 Musings on Rivers. By Flaccus, Epitaph on a Barrel of Flour, .
392 My Father's House, .
Morning : a Lesson of Good,
106 Night. By J. L. LAURIE, . Flowers: A Sonnet,
474 / National Academy of Design,.
28 111 268 367 384 408 503 523
New Sanctuary of Thought and Science, . 158 | The Punster King,.
Thoughts on Acting and Actors,
The Missing Ship. By Epes SARGEST,
The Messenger of Peace. By M. A BROWNE,
The Life and Times of Red Jacket,
The Grave. By the lato Willis Gaylord
102 To a Linnet frightened from her Nest, . 293
201 The Crayon Papers. By WASHINGTON IR-
The Polygon Papers,..
The Miser. By H. W. ROCKWELL, Esq., . 343
The Three Messengers. By S. D. Dakin,
Twenty Years, or Reminiscences of a Spin-
The Day-Dream of a Grocer. By Harry
212 The Mariner's Song on a Wintry Night,.
The Pen vs. the Sword,
223 The Mermaid Isle. By J. Rheyn Piksohn, 434
The American Reviews for the October
'The Western Forests. Ry I. M'LELLAN, Jr., 496
The Inner Life' of Things : Transcenden-
21 The Murderer's 'Death-Bed. By R. M.
134 Woman's Heart. By Miss M. A. Browne, 49
143 WEBSTER: A Sonnet. By Mrs. M. E.
Like all or nearly all the other nations of Europe, the Modern Greeks have two kinds, they might be called two grades, of poetry : one in all respects original and spontaneous, popular alike in substance and in form, traditional, and unwritten; the other written, and into which labor and art, imitation and learning, enter more or less largely and more or less happily, according to times, places, and individuals.
The latter, springing up at about the same period with the modern literature of Europe, was at first, like that, the organ of the noblest thoughts and most refined feelings of the middle ages; and if it has not since exhibited as lofty a flight and as complete a development, the two have never at all events been totally separated from each other, nor has it failed to attain for itself a striking degree of beauty and maturity. This portion of the vulgar* Greek poetry is, if not the most interesting, at least the most extensive and varied,
and comprehends the most curious and the oldest productions, as well as the most ingenious and finished compositions.
But it is not of this portion that I propose to treat : such an under taking would carry me far beyond the limits within which I am circumscribed. My design is simply to communicate, with considerable minuteness of detail, some idea of the other branch of Modern Greek poetry; a poetry popular in every sense and in all the force of the term; a direct and faithful reflection of the national character and spirit, known and felt by every Greek from the fact that it is Greek ; that it dwells on the soil and breathes the air of Greece; a poetry in short, which lives not a factitious and often but apparent life in books, but in the people themselves, and in all the life of the people.
From the diversity of their subjects, the popular songs of the Greeks may all be arranged in three leading classes, domestic, historical, and romantic, or imaginative.
Under the title of domestic I include such as have been composed
* Vulgar is here used as synonymous with modern, in opposition to ancient or classic. VOL. XVIII.
expressly to be sung in the most solemn circumstances of the household and established festivals, and in compliance with social customs consecrated by immemorial usage. Of these there are several divisions, which I shall distinguish from each other as I advance, first speaking of those which appertain to social customs prevailing at particular yearly epochs, or festivals. An explanation of the mode in which two of the principal of these epochs, St. Basil's Day and the First of March, are observed, will furnish a sufficient illustration.
The feast of St. Basil is kept by the Greek church on the first of January, and that day is in Greece, as throughout Europe, a day of visits, compliments, and gifts, but with this difference, that in Greece every thing is conducted with more solemnity, with more amiability, and above all, more poetically than elsewhere. Companies of young people assemble and repair to the houses of their acquaintances to wish them a happy new year, and secure the customary presents. Now in every village, in every canton, this custom gives rise to a series of songs which belong to it exclusively, and it is to a certain national imprint of gracefulness, benevolence, and imagination, by which these songs are all more or less marked, that the festival in question is indebted for its character and interest.
The first of the series is in honor of the master of the house at which the young singers are visiting, and is addressed immediately to bim. A second is sung in honor of the mistress, and is succeeded by as many others as there are persons to be complimented. If there be a son nearly grown, a separate song is devoted to him, and should he have sisters, they are not overlooked. The absent members of the family receive also their share of poetical remembrance and good wishes, some pretty verses of regret on their account being always recited to their friends who are present. In short, whatever can interest the family, whatever affords the opportunity of evincing sentiments of good will and esteem, becomes the theme of a particular song.
be added, that the youthful visiters, while passing into the dwelling, preface their complimentary songs by a special one in honor of the holiday and of St. Basil.
The First of March is as poetical a day in Greece as St. Basil's, and is celebrated very much as is the first of May in some other countries. Troops of young people and of children go from door to door singing the return of Spring, and collecting trifling presents, consisting commonly of eggs, cheese, or any product of the fields. Among several songs intended for this festival, there is one more remarkable than the rest, and peculiarly appropriate, on which, as I shall refer to it again, a few words only are here necessary. The song alluded to, which is a favorite through all Greece under the name of Song of the Swallow, is an artless outpouring of the indefinable delight imparted by the first breeze of Spring in a beautiful clime. It is sung by the children, bearing in their hands the figure of a swallow rudely carved in wood, and fitted to a species of mill, about which it is made to revolve rapidly by means of a string winding and unwinding on a small cylinder, to one end of which it is attached.
The other popular poems which I place, like the preceding, under the head of domestic, are those to which that denomination is more especially applicable, as they turn upon the most important incidents,