« VorigeDoorgaan »
The second part of the Ballad is an account of the embassy sent by the Marquis to the Emperor to demand that the murderer of his nephew should be brought to justice. His delegates were the count of Irlos and the Duke of Sanson, men of the highest rank, and “of the twelve who ate together at the Round Table.” They have an audience-open their business, and enforce the demand of their principal, by the most persuasive topics. The Emperor, as may naturally be supposed, was in very great tribulation, but he comes to the determination to see justice done, “as it was ever wont to be in France, without distinction of persons.”
Assi al pobre, como al rico,
Como al proprio natural. He only begs to be excused from personally assisting at the trial, but appoints commissioners, with plenary powers, to conduct it, whether it be by witnesses or by wager of battle. A safe conduct is granted to the Marquis, who comes attended by a brilliant and formidable retinue, and encamps (according to his vow) without the walls of the city.
The third part contains the judgment of the court, which is drawn up with all the pedantic formality of the bar. The sentence passed upon the young Prince was less proportionate to bis rank than to his base treachery. He is ordered to be dragged on the ground by a wild colt, and beheaded and quartered like a common felon. In great consternation at this barsh and ignominious doom, Carloto writes to his cousin Orlando, who determines to come to his rescue, but his intention being discovered, is prevented by an anticipated execution of the sentence. The fourth part describes the Exequies of Baldwin. It is much shorter than the other three parts, but is excellent in its way. The last stanza reminded us of the famous line in the dirge of Sir John Moore—“We left him alone with his glory." Lo meten en el sepulchro;
And then they lay him in the tomb
As all the dead must lie-
His spirit has soar'd on high. We are so much beyond the limits which we bad assigned to this article, that we must defer to a future opportunity, many of the remarks we purposed making in relation to the fortunes and the influence of the Moorish kingdom of Granada. This is the last of the three periods to which, as we remarked just now, VOL. V.NO. 9.
these old ballads principally relate. There are few subjects that kindle up our own enthusiasın for the romantic and the chivalrous, (and we are not ashamed to confess this fondness) so much as the factions of the Zegris and the Abencerrages, and the duels, jousts and tournaments which continually occurred in that famous plain and by the Fuente del Pino, between Moorish or Christian and Moorish knights.* Some of these ballads, relating to those encounters, are most admirable specimens of this simple poetry. Indeed, the work just referred to in a note, is a mere romance of chivalry, written in what has been called the Varronian style, that is, partly in prose and partly in verse, the former being little more than a loose paraphrase of the latter, or a running commentary upon it. It is just such ? chronicle as we may suppose that of Cide Hamete Benengeli—the imaginary authority of Cervantes-would have been. A cursory mention is made of the foundation of the city of Granada in very remote times, and the origin of the kingdom in the thirteenth century-of the eighteen kings who successively held its sceptremand of the thirty-two noble families which at once adorned and defended it. But the narrative does not properly begin before the reign of the last (the nineteenth) king, Muley Hazen and his son Boaudilin, called the Rey Chico, or Little King. It then unfolds the petty rivalships and jealousies which at length produced a fatal feud in the court of the latter, and contributed to the conquest of the country by Ferdinand and Isabella. Never did so important an event spring out of causes apparently so insignificant. The honest chronicler writes a mere court calendar-a tale of lord and lady gay
-races and games
Served up with sewer and seneschal. The situation of Granada, in relation to the Christian power in Spain, from the middle of the thirteenth to the close of the fifteenth century, was a highly interesting one. As Toledo, and Valencia, and Cordova and Seville successively fell; as the boundaries of Islam were narrowed down by the progress of the Christian arms, this last strong hold of the Moors, received new accessions every day, and ultimately became the asylum of the greater part of the face. It waš for the two Jast centuries, a scene of perpetual war-the orchestra of Mars, as Epaminondas called his own Bæotia—and often even in times of truce (for peace there was none) would a master of Alcantara or Calatrava-a Saavedra or a Ponce de Leon-gallop in defiance about the vega, or rein up his war-horse before the Alhambra, wbile each Paynim gentleman burned to enter the lists with him, and to exhibit his prowess to the Galianas and the Daraxas, in a joust to the utterance.
*The title of the old fabulous chronicle of this kingdom, which now lies before us, is Historia de los Vandos de los Zegoris y Abencerrages, Cavalleros Moros de Granada, de las civiles guerras que uvo en ella y battallas particulares que se dieron en la vega entre Christianos y Moros, hasta que el rey Don Fernando Quinto gan. este Reyno.
Independently of the influence, real or imaginary, which they are supposed to have exercised over modern literature, there is something exceedingly brilliant and captivating in these pictures of Moorish life. The splendor of Oriental imagination is there the soft and bewitching voluptuousness of those bright climes, where the earth is ever gay with flowers and the whole air loaded with perfumes, and the sky lighted up with a cloudless and tranquil glory. The dreams of that “ delightful londe of faerie" where the fancy of Spenser lingered so fondly, seem to be realized in these sunny regions. In the garden of Generalife, with its fresh fountains and its myrtle bowers, the very atmosphere breathed of poetry and love. But the sensibility of the Moors of Spain was refined by the imagination which it awakened and warmed. The Ommiades of Cordova as is well known, rivalled the Abassides in their patronage of letters, and the arts of cultivated taste at once heightened and chastened every enjoyment of a life of pleasaunce.
Such the guy splendour, the luxurious state,
Profs Hoffman of the Virginie kniversity
Art. IV.—Memoir, Correspondence and Miscellanies, from the
papers of Thomas Jefferson. Edited by THOMAS JEFFERSON RANDOLPH. 4 Vols. 8vo. Charlottesville, 1829.
Every American who is proud of his country, and who feels an interest in the history of that great event which gave it existence as a nation, or of the formation and subsequent progress of the general government, will find in these volumes abundant sources of gratification. We have here the letters, public and confidential, of a man who, for forty years, either as legisJator, diplomatist, or statesman, took a leading part in the councils of his country, and whose history is so identified with that of the United States, that no very meagre account of their political affairs may be compiled from the Memoirs and Correspondence now presented to the public.
During a part of this period, Mr. Jefferson is known to have been the leader of one of the great parties, which divided the nation, and his letters, written at that time, disclose the principles, the arguments, and often the motives of the popular party, relative to all the great measures of the government. Those who have taken sides on the questions of the assumption of the state debts—the funding system-the establishment of a national bank—the undue predilections imputed to some of our politicians for England, and even for monarchical government, and to others for France, may here find new facts and reasoning to confirm or contradict their previous opinions, as they chance to belong to one sect or the other.
But, in truth, these volumes derive less interest from the subjects of which they treat, curious and diversified and often momentous as they are, than from the illustrious author himself. No citizen of the United States, except one, bas been so conspicuous in the eyes of his countrymen as Mr. Jefferson ; and, except General Washington and Dr. Franklin, no one has been so well known abroad. The same force of character which has elevated him to the public gaze of so many, has made them also behold him with livelier sentiments both of favour and ill-will. He has undoubtedly had more warm friends and bitterer enemies than any other statesman of our country. By one portion of his compatriots most of his public measures were deemed either visionary or prejudicial; and the least exceptionable were ascribed to some vile motive, as a blind adherence to faction-a servile devotion to France-or a truckling desire of popularity. His speculative opinions were made the subject of angry reproach; and in the intemperance of party feeling, his private life was closely scrutinized, in search of those errors or foibles from which no one can be supposed ex. empt, for the purpose of lessening his influence, and obtaining . some petty advantage in the squabbles of the day.
Nor have his friends been far behind his enemies in the fervour of their zeal. Mr. Jefferson has been an especial favourite with the great body of his countrymen, and well merited the title often bestowed on him, of the man of the people.” In the eyes of his numerous adherents, his talents were unrivalledhis political opinions, the standard of orthodoxy-his virtues without a blemish. No witness was believed who testified aught to his prejudice; and if falsehood was often appealed to by the genius of party to sully his fame, her aid was sometimes invoked by the same evil spirit, to obtain for bim unmerited praise!* The strong, but opposite emotions which Mr. Jefferson excited among his contemporaries, though greatly abated, have not yet passed away; and we are aware that in speaking of his character, as we would wish to please his admirers or revilers.
“We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much;" especially as there is much in the present publication to fan the expiring embers of that fire which once raged so fiercely throughout the land. It certainly seems to us that it would have been more favourable to the impartiality of the present generation—to that judgment which is likely to coincide with the award of posterity, if some of the papers now published had not yet been permitted to see the light. They will, too probably, rouse to activity the slumbering resentments of the immediate objects of his censures or suspicions, as well as the sympathies of their friends and admirers. The more intemperate part of his own adherents, too, will here find new aliment for their former bitterness and intolerance; and thus the
premature publication of some of these papers is likely to excite the
• The following incident, which took place in Philadelphia, at the presidential election, in the first contest between Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, will serve as a specimen. Parties were supposed to be nicely balanced in Pennsylvania, and the greatest efforts were made for the ascendancy. A visitor to the city of Philadel. phia, at that period, partak ng of the general anxiety, went to the State-house-yard, io learn the progress of the election, and having joined one of the numerous groupes that were there assembled, he heard a voter, whom a politician was soliciting for his vote, say, that he bad a decided preference for Mr. Jefferson, but there was one difficulty that he eould not get over: "he is a slave holder." “ As to that," said the other, there is now a scheme on foot for emancipating the slaves, Calluding to a pamphlet on the subject, recently published, ) and it is a well-known fact, that Mr. Jefferson sits down to dinner with 'bis negroes, every day of his life.” “ If that is the case," said the first, “I believe I will vote for him."