Page images

The following is perhaps as flagrant an marked by us to be noticed, but we will not instance of a want of purity of style as any trespass upon the good nature of our readers. in the book:

The chapters entitled Fair Frailty and Page 135: “Form so perfect was never Terpsichore are not deficient in warmth of yet carved in marble—not the Venus is so coloring certainly, but we must speak of mellowly moulded. Her outline has not the them in terms of condemnation. We are voluptuousness which is not too much- not over-fastidious in such matters, but we which is not perceptible to mere criticism, consider the glowing descriptions of voluptuand is more a flushing along the form than ous dances, and observations upon many and a greater fulness of the form itself. The allusions to other Oriental manners and cusGreek Venus was sea-born, but our Egyptian toms that occur in these chapters, to be deis sun-born. The brown blood of the sun cidedly objectionable in a book that is inburned along her veins—the soul of the sun tended (to use a favorite advertising phrase) streamed shaded from her eyes. She was still

, to occupy a place upon the drawing-room almost statuesquely still. When she danced, table. There are some “ melancholy mysit was only stillness intensely stirred.” teries” (to adopt an expression of our au

We should like to know how stillness thor) into which we have not the slightest looks when it is intensely stirred, and how disposition to pry, and concerning which we much it can be stirred without ceasing to be should prefer that the fairer and purer porstillness, or if the more it is stirred the stiller tion of our race should remain profoundly it becomes ?

ignorant. The Howadji gets sentimental under the We have made the foregoing remarks in palms, and discourses as follows, page 148: no spirit of cavilling or unkindness. Did

the book before us not display unmistakable "I knew a palm-tree upon Capri; it stood in select evidences of talent, we should not have nosociety of shining fig leaves and lustrous oleanders; ticed it to such an extent. But it contains it overhung the balcony, and so looked far overleaning down upon the blue Mediterranean. Through many passages of remarkable power and the dream mists of Southern Italian noons, it looked great beauty, that prove to us conelusively up the broad bay of Naples and saw vague Vesu. that the author possesses the ability to vius melting away, or at sunset the isles of the Sy- achieve a work that shall be an addition to rens, whereon they singing sat and wooed Ulysses the literature of his country. Let him but as he went; or in the full May moonlight the oranges disabuse his mind of the idea that alliteraof Sorrento shone across it, great and golden permanent plants of that delicious dark. And from tion is an embellishment; let him cease to the Sorrento where Tasso was born it looked construct sentences on principles of his own, across to pleasant Posylippo, where Virgil is and bestow more attention to purity, proburied, and to stately Ischia. The Palm of Capri saw all that was fairest and most famous in the priety, and precision, (the alliteration is ac. Bay of Naples.

cidental ;) let him be content to take the A wandering poet whom I knew sang a sweet English language as he finds it, and be caresong to the Palm, as he dreamed in the moonlight ful in his more sentimental moods lest he upon that balcony. But it was only the, free, make that fatal step from the sublime, and masonry of sympathy. It was only syllabled moonshine. For the Palm was a Poet, and all he will write books that we shall have bound Palms are Poets."

in crimson and gold, and give more than

one attentive perusal. His nature is often “Palmam qui meruit ferat,” say we, ven- finely touched, and to fine issues. He has turing, at the expense of good taste, on a keen sense of the noble, the beautiful, and the confines of a joke; but this seems to us the ludicrous ; the eye of an artist and the to be the most maudlin sentiment and un- soul of a true poet ; great power of descripmeaning twaddle that could well be ima- tion, a good command of language, and at gined. "It is fustian raised to its highest times an intensity of thought and expression power. The “words are a very fantastical that astonishes and delights us. And it is banquet, just so many strange dishes.” Syl- on this account that we have expressed ourlabled moonshine alone would not be offen- self so emphatically in our previous pages. sive; but this being not only syllabled, but we regretted that any one who could do so printed, proof-corrected, and published moon-well should be guilty of the gross mistakes, shine, it is an insult to the public taste. the affectations, and the fustian, of all of

There are many other similar passages / which we have given instances. That our

readers may judge for themselves and be adji what Egypt said to the Egyptian; and from convinced that we do not rank our author's the fascinatio

not rank our author's the fascination of her face streams all the yearning, ability to write well higher than it deserves,

profound and pathetic power that is the soul of the we will give them a few specimens. The "So also from the moment the Arabian bighfollowing is an extract from his views of the lands appeared, we had in their lines and in the present position and future prospects of the

ever graceful and suggestive palms, the grand eleEast:

ments of Egyptian architecture. Often in a lu

minously blue day, as the Howadji sits reading or “That the East will never regenerate itself, con musing before the cabin, the stratified sand mountemporary history shows; nor has any nation of tain side, with a stately arcade of palms on the history culminated twice.' The spent summer re- smooth green below, floats upon his eye through blooms no more-the Indian summer is but a the serene sky as the ideal of that mighty Temple memory and a delusion. The sole hope of the which Egyptian architecture struggles to realize ; East is Western inoculation. The child must

and he feels that he beholds the sced that flowered suckle the age of the parent, and even “Medea's at last in the Parthenon and all Greek architecwondrous alchemy' will not restore its peculiar ture. prime. If the East awakens, it will be no longer

| “The beginnings seem to have been, the sculpin the turban and red slippers, but in hat and boots. ture of the hills into their own forms,- vast regular The West is the sea that advances for ever upon

chambers cut in the rock or earth, vaulted like the the shore: the shore cannot stay it, but becomes sky that hung over the hills, and like that, starred the bottom of the ocean. The Western, who lives with gold in a blue space. in the Orient, does not assume the kaftan and the “From these came the erection of separate buildbaggy breeches, and those of his Muslim neighbors ings—but always of the same grand and solemn shrink and disappear before his coat and panta

character. In them the majesty of the mountain loons. The Turkish army is clothed like the armies is repeated. Man cons the lesson which Nature of Europe. The grand Turk himself, Mohammad's bas taught him. vicar, the Commander of the Faithful, has laid! "Exquisite details follow. The fine flower-like away the magnificence of Haroun Alrashid, and forms and foliage that have arrested the quick senWears the simple red Tarboosh, and a stiff suit of sitive eye of artistic genius, appear presently as military blue. “Cairo is an English station to India, ornaments of his work. Man as the master, and and the Howadji does not drink sherbet upon the the symbol of power, stands calm with folded pyramids, but champagne. The choice Cairo of hands in the Osiride columns. Twisted water our Eastern imagination is contaminated with car- reeds and palms, whose flowing crests are natural riages. They are showing the secrets of the streets capitals, are added. Then the lotus and acanthus to the sun." (P. 50.)

are wreathed around the column, and so the most

delicate detail of the Egyptian landscape re-apNow this has the ring of the true metal. peared in its art. The Howadü speaks here a plain and to the “But Egyptian art never loses this character of

solemn sublimity. It is not simply infancy, it was purpose, like an honest man and a soldier, the law of its life. The art of Egypt never offered to and the following description of the land- emancipate itself from this character,-it changed scape of the Nile is an example of truly fine only when strangers came. writing. The sentences are well constructed. “Greece fulfilled Egypt. To the austere granand harmonious, and possess clearness, uni

deur of simple natural forms, Greek art succeeded

as the flower to foliage. The essential strength is ty, and strength :

retained, but an aerial grace and elegance, an exqui.

site elaboration followed; as Eve followed Adam, "Nature is only epical here. She has no little For Grecian temples have a fine feminineness of lyrics of green groves, and blooming woods, and character when measured with the Egyptian. sequestered lanes-no lonely pastoral landscapes. That hushed harmony of grace even the snow But from every point the Egyptian could behold sparkling marble and the general impression have the desert heights, and the river, and the sky. I this difference This grand and solemn Nature has imposed upon “Such hints are simple and obvious—and there the art of the land the law of its own being and is no fairer or more frequent flower upon these beauty. Out of the landscape, too, springs the charmed shores than the revelations they make of mystery of Egyptian character, and the character the simple naturalness of primitive art.” (Pp. 62, of its art. For silence is the spirit of these sand | 63. 64.)* mountains, and of this sublime sweep of luminous sky-and silence is the mother of mystery. Prim- To prove how well he can write in a itive man, 80 surrounded, can then do nothing but lighter vein, we give the following clever what is simple and grand. The pyramids repro- ** duce the impression and the form of the landscape

ine and amusing description of a Johnny Green in which they stand. The pyramids say, in the (with whom the Howadji met and to whom Nature around them, “Man, his mark.'

lhe applies the sobriquet of Verde Giovane) "Later, he will be changed by a thousand influ- ' and his friend, a young London barrister: ences, but can never escape the mystery that haunts his home, and will carve the Sphinx and the strange “Verde was joyous and gay. He had already mystical Memnon The Sphinx says to the How. "been to the pyramids, and had slept in a tomb,

ind had his pockets picked as he wandered through , gentle culture, as you would upon Greek relics in their disagreeable darkness. He had come freshly Greenland. He was a victim of the Circe, Law, and fast from England, to see the world, omitting but not entirely unhumanized. Like the young Paris and Western Europe on his way, -as he em- king, he was half marble, but not all stony. Gunbarked at Southampton for Alexandria. Being in ping's laugh was very ludicrous. It had no fum in Cairo, he felt himself abroad. Sternhold and Hop-it-no more sweetness than a crow's caw, and it kios were his Laureates, for perpetually on all sprang upon you suddenly and startling, like the kinds of wings of mighty winds he came flying all breaking down of a cart overloaded with stones. abroad. He lost a great deal of money at billiards He was very ugly and moody, and walked apart to jolly’ fellows whom he afterward regaled with muttering to himself, and nervously grinning ghastcold punch and choice cigars. He wrangled wildly ly grins, so that Gunning was suspected of insanwith a dragoman of very imperfent English pow- ity-a suspicion that became certainty when he ers, and packed bis tea for the voyage in brown fringed his mouth with stiff black bristles, and paper parcels. He was perpetually on the point went up the Nile with Verde Giovane. of leaving. At breakfast, he would take a loud " For the little Verde did say a final farewell at leave of the “jolly' fellows, and if there were la- last, and left the dining-room gayly and gallantly, dies in the room, ne slung his gun in a very aban- as a stage bandit disappears down pasteboard doned manner over his shoulder, and while he ad- rocks to desperate encounters with mugs of beer justed his shot-pouch with careless heroism, as if in the green-room.” (Pp. 76-78.) the enemy were in ambush on the stairs,—as who

Such touches as the following are delightshould say, “I'll do their business easily enough, he would remark with a meaning smile, that he ful. Our author is in the town of Asyoot :should stop a day or two at Esne, probably, and then go off humming a song from the Favorita, – the dark mud brick, we emerged upon the plain

" Threading the town, which is built entirely of or an air whose words were well known to the between the houses and the mountains. Before us jolly fellows, but would scarcely bear female criti- a funeral procession was moving to the tombs, and cism.

the shrill, melancholy cry of the wailers rang fit" After this departure, he had a pleasant way of fully upon the low gusts that wailed more grier. re-appearing at the dinner-table, for the pale ale ously, and for a sadder sorrow. We could not was not yet aboard, or the cook was ill, or there overtake the procession, but saw it disappear had been another explosion with the dragoman, among the white domes of the cemetery, as we Verde Giovane found the Cairene evenings slow.' began to climb the hills to the caves-temples, I It was astonishing how much execution he accom- might say, for their tombs are temples who reverplished with those words of very moderate calibre, ence the dead, and these were built with a temple

slow, jolly, and stunning. The universe grandeur by a race who honored the forms that rranged itself, in Verde Giovane's mind, under life had honored, beyond the tradition or conception those three heads. Presently it was easy to pred; of any other people. Great truths, like the gods, icate his criticisms in any department. He had have no country or age, and over these ancient lofty views of travel. Verde Giovane had come Egyptian portals might liave been carved the cas: forth to see the world, and vainly might the world ing of the modern German Novalis, the body of seek to be unseen. He wished to push on to Sen. man is the temple of God.”. (P. 88.) naar and Ethiopia. It was very slow to go only to the cataracts. Ordinary travel, and places al And the following observations are very ready beheld of men, were not for Verde. But if

forcible:there were any Chinese wall to be scaled, or the English standard were to be planted upon any “ The East, like the natures which it symbolizes, vague and awful Himalayan height, or a new oasis is a splendid excess. There is no measure, no were to be revealed in the desert of Sahara, here was moderation in its richness and beauty, or in its the Heaven-appointed Verde Giovane, only await- squalor and woe. The crocodile looks out from a ing his pale ale, and determined to dally a little at lotus bank, the snake coils in the corner of the Esne. After subduing the East by travel

, he pro- hareem, and a servant who seems slave from the posed to enter the Caucasian Mountains, and serve soul out, conducts you to the most dream-like beauas a Russian officer. These things were pleasant tiful of women. So, as we sauntered through the to jhear, as to behold at Christinas those terrible bazaar of Asyoot, we passed the figures of men beheadings of giants by Tom Thumb, for you en with no trace of manliness, but with faces full of joyed a sweet sense of security and a consciousness inanity and vice. The impression would be prothat no harm was done. They were wild Arabian foundly sad, if you could feel their humanity. But romances, attributable to the inspiration of the cli- they are so much below the lowest level known to mate, in the city he found so slow. The Cairenes a Western, that they disappear from sympathy. were listening elsewhere to their poets, Verde Gio- Then suddenly passes a face like a vision, and your vane was ours; and we knew very well that he eyes turn, fascinated, to follow, as if they bad seen would go quietly up to the first cataract, and then the realized perfection of an ideal beauty." (P. 91.) returning to Alexandria, would steam to Jaffa, and thence donkey placidly to Jerusalem, moaning in

Our author's account of his first sight of his sleep of Cheapside and St. Paul's.

a crocodile deserves to be inserted here :His chum, Gunning, was a brisk little barrister, Iried up in the Temple like a small tart sapson. “He lay upon a sunny sand shore, at our right In the course of acquaintance with him, you stum- a hideous, horrible monster—a scaled nightmare bled surprised upon the remains of geniality and l upon the day. He was at least twenty feet long

but seeing the Ibis with fleet minge running, he slip-, along these shores history sees not much more ped, slowly soughing, head foremost and leisurely, than we can see. It cannot look within the huninto the river.

dred gates of Thebes, and babbles very inarticu" It was the first blight upon the beauty of the lately about what it professes to know. We have Nile. The squalid people were at least picturesque, a vague feeling that this was the eldest born of with their costume and water-jars on the shore. Time-certainly his most accomplished and wisest But this mole-eyed, dragon-tailed abomination, child, and that the best of our knowledge is a who is often seen by the same picturesque people flower off that trunk. But that is not enough to sluggishly devouring a grandam or child on the bring us near to it. The Colossi sit speechless, inaccessible opposite bank, was utterly loathsome. but do not look as if they would speak our lanYet he too had his romantic side, the scaly night- guage, even were their tongues loosed. Theirs is mare! so exquisite and perfect are the compensa- another beauty, another feeling than ours, and extions of nature. For if, in the perpetual presence cept to passionless study and universal cosmopoliof forms and climate so beautiful, and the feeling tan interest, Egypt has only the magnetism of of a life so intense as the Egyptian, there is the mystery for us, until the later days of its decline. constant feeling that the shadow must be as deep “Our human interest enters Egypt with Alexas the sun is bright, and that weeds must foully ander the Great, and the Greeks, and becomes flaunt where flowers are fairest; so, when he vivid and redly warm with the Romans and Cleoshadow sloped and the weed was seen, they ad patra, with Cæsar and Marc Antony, with Hadrian their own suggestions of an opposite grace, and in and Antinous. The rest are phantoms and spectres

this loathsome spawn of slime and mystic waters, that haunt the shores. Therefore there are two · it was plain to see the Dragon of oriental romance. interests and two kinds of remains in Egypt, the Had the Howadji followed this feeling and pene- Pharaohnic and the Ptolemaie; the former repretrated to Buto, they might have seen Sinbad's sents the eldest, and the latter the youngest, hisvalley. For there Herodotus saw the bones of tory of the land. The elder is the genuine old winged snakes, as the Arabians called them. Egyptian interest, the younger the Greco-Egyptian These, without doubt, were the bones of serpents, -after the conquest--after the glorious son had which, being seized by birds and borne alost, seem- returned to eng; aft his own development upon the ed to the astonished people to be serpents flying, glorious sire. It was the tree in flower, transand were incorporated into the Arabian romances planted. No Howadji denies that the seed was as worthy wonders.” (P. 105.)

Egyptian, but poet Martineau perpetually reviles

the Greeks for their audacity in coming to Egypt, Although we think the foregoing extracts can with difficulty contain her dissatisfaction at sufficient to sustain our opinion with our word sufficient description and condemnation. But

pausing to see the Ptolemaic remains, finds that readers as to our author's power, and al- the Greeks, notwithstanding, rarely spoiled any though they have extended, together with thing they touched, and here in Egypt they innocour observations, to a greater length than lated massiveness with grace, and grandeur with we originally intended; yet we shall not re

beauty. Of course there was always something

| lost. 'An Egyptian temple built by Greek-taught strain ourselves until we have given one more

natives, or by Greeks who wished to compromiso extract, and shall make no apology for its a thousand jealousies and prejudices, must, like all length. It is manly and forcible, and, with other architecture, be emblematical of the spirit of the exception of a few abbreviations and one the time and of the people. Yet in gaining grace, or two trifling inaccuracies, we can find no

the Howadji is not disposed to think that Egyptian

architecture lost much of its grandeur. The rock fault either with the matter or style. Some temples, or the eldest Egyptian remains, have all portions of it are truly sublime:

the imposing interest of the might and character

of primitive races grandly developing in art. But “There is something essentially cheerful, how- as 'the art advances to separate structures and ever, in an Egyptian ruin. It stands so boldly slowly casts away n crust of crudities, although it bare in the sun and moon, its forms are so massive may lose in solid weight, it gains in every other and precise, its sculptures so simply outlined, and way. of such serene objectivity of expression, and time "Then the perfection of any art is always upobdeals so gently with the ruin's self, as if reluctant trusive. Yes, in a sense, unimpressive, as the most through love or fear to obliterate it, or even to exquisite of summer days so breathes balm into hang it with flowery weepers and green mosses, a vigorous and healthy body, that the individual that your feeling shares the freshness of the ruin, exists without corporeal consciousness, yet is then and you reserve for the Coliseum or the Parthenon most corporeally perfect. In the same way disthat luxury of soft sentiment, of which Childe proportion arrests the attention. Beautiful balance, Harold's apostrophe to Rome is the excellent ex- which is the character of perfection in art or hupression. We must add to this, too, the entire man character or nature, allows no prominent separation from our sympathy, of the people and points. Washington is undoubtedly always underprinciples that originated these structures. The rated in our judgments, because he was so well Romans are our friends and neighbors in time, proportioned ; and the finest musical performance for they lived only yesterday. History sees has such natural ease and quiet, and the colors and clearly to the other side of Rome, and beholds treatment of a fine picture such propriety and harthe campagna and the mountains, before the mony, that we do not at once know how fine it is. wolf was whelped that mothered the world. But I It is the cutting of a razor so sharply edged that

we are not conscious of it. We have all seen the man returning from a discourse of one idea, elosame thing in beautiful facer. The most perma- qnently and fervidly set forth, believes in that, nent and profound beauty did not thrill us, but mainly, until he hears another fervid argument. presently, like air to the lungs, it was a necessity “ But the Greeks achieved something loftier. of inner life, while the striking beauty is generally They harmonized strength into beauty, and therein a disproportion, and so far, a monstrosity and fault. secured the highest success of art-the beautifying Men who feel beauty most profoundly, are often of use. Nothing in nature is purely ornamental, unable to recall the color of eyes and hair, unless, and therefore nothing in art has a right to be. as with artists, there is an involuntary technical Greek architecture sacrifices none of the strength attention to those points. For beauty is a radiance of the Egyptian, if we may trust the most carethat cannot be analyzed, and which is not described ful and accurate engravings, but elevates it. It when

you call it rosy. Wanting any word which is the proper superstructure of that foundation, shall express it, is not the highest beauty the It is aerial and light and delicate. Probably, on synonym of balance, for the highest thought the whole, a Greek temple charms the eye more iš God, and he is passionlessly balanced in our than any other single object of art. It is serene conception.

and beautiful. The grace of the sky and of the “This is singularly true in architecture. The landscape would seem to have been perpetually Greek nature was the most purely proportioned of present in the artist's mind who designed it. This any that we know-and this beautiful balance architecture has also the smiling simplicity, which breathes its character through all Greek art. The is the characteristic of all youth-while the Afri. Greeks were as much the masters of their world, can bas a kind of dumb, ante living, ante-sunlight physically, and infinitely more, intellectually, than character, like that of an embryo Titan. the Romans were of theirs. And it is suspected " When the Greeks came to Egypt, they brought that the Greek element blending with the Saxon, Greece with them, and the last living traces of makes us the men we are. Yet the single Roman antique Egypt began to disappear. They even always appears in our imaginations as stronger, changed the names of cities, and meddled with because more stalwart, than the Greek-- and the the theology, and in art the Greek genius was soon elder Egyptian architecture seems grander, be evident—yet as blending and beautifying, not decause heavier than the Grecian. It is a kind of stroying--and the Ptolemaic temples, while they material deception--the triumph of gross sense. have not lost the massive grandeur of the PharaIt is the old story of Richard and Salab-ed-deen. ohnic, have gained a greater grace. A finer feeling

“The grace of the Greek character, both bu is apparent in them—a lighter and more genial manly and artistically, was not a want of strength, touch-a lyrical sentiment which does not appear but it was exquisite balance. Grace in character, in the dumb old epics of Aboo Simbel, and of Gerf as in movement, is the last delicate flower, the Hoseyn. They have an air of flowers, and freshmost bloomy bloom. The grandeur of mountain ness, and human feeling. They are sculptured outlines -- their poetic sentiment - the exquisite with the same angular beroes, and gods, and vichues that flush along their sides, are not truly tims, but while these are not so well done as in the known until you have so related them to the whole elder temples, and indicate that the Egyptians landscape, by separating yourself from them, that themselves were degenerate in the art, or that the this balance can appear. While you climb the Greeks who attained the same result of mural mountain, and behold one detail swift swallowing commemoration in a loftier manner at home, did another - though the abysses are grand, and the it clumsily in Egypt--the general effect and chardear trunks titanic, and the single flower exquisite, acter of the temples is much more beautiful to the yet the mass has no form and no hue, and only the eye. The curious details begin to yield to the details have character.

complete whole--a gayer, more cultivated, farther “Beauty is reached in the same way in art. If advanced race has entered and occupied." parts are exaggerated, striking impressions may be produced, but the best beauty is lost

. The early And here we take our leave of the HowEgyptian architecture is exaggeratedly heavy. The whole art, in its feeling and form, seems to adji for the present, sincerely hoping that he symbolize foundation--as if it were to bear all the will derive some advantage from our obserfiner and farther architectures of the world upou vations and suggestions, and that his next itself. It is massive and heavy and permanent, work will be free from the faults that disfigure but not graceful. The beholder brings away this the book before us. We can assure him that ponderous impression-nothing seems massive to him after Egypt, as nothing seems clean after a

no one can think more highly than ourself Shaker village; and if upon the shore something of his ability to make valuable contributions lighter and more graceful arrest his eye, he is sure to American literature, and we shall await that it is a decadence of art. For so impressively his next publication with some anxiety. put is this massiveness of structure, that it seems the only rule, and he will hear of no others - as a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »