Page images

Still nigh the shaded ditch that bounds
The Trinity and Johnian grounds,
The bawling hear of hoarse bargees,
Or blackbirds whistling in the trees.

Sooner shall King's men* wranglers be,
Or Hobson's Conduit run with tea,
Or Downing College be transferr'd
To Magd'len bridge, “which is absurd,"
Than I become so base a traitor
As to forget dear Alma Mater.


But we, unable here to stay,
Must each begone his sev'ral way.
Confined in schools to fag and sweat,
As ushers some their bread will get ;
Some with advent'rous daring fired,
Will emigrate,-and some retired
Far from the world, as country curates,
Will learn to talk of beeves and poor-rates.
Ah Granta! shall it ever be
That I once more shall visit thee?
Once more admire King's turrets tall
Down-looking upon fair Clare Hall ?
Must a new undergraduate race
Of Sophs and Freshmen fill my place,
To all my haunts and toil succeed-
In College keep—for honors read ?---
Now, Walker, on your Newton pore,
Now scrawl your scribbling-paper o'er !
Alas! the labor now were vain
I cannot run my course again!
No more in Senate-house shall I
My skill in solving problems try:
No more, by glory onward beckon'd,
Hope 'mongst the wranglers to be reckon'd!
Now farewell, pupils ! farewell, fame!
I off the boards have ta’en my name.


Yet come what will hereafter, stay,
And dine with me in hall to-day ;
Then at my rooms your evening spend,
And sup on college fare, old friend
Cold lamb and sallad, bread and cheese,
And ale and grog, if so you please.-
But hark! the welcome bell I hear
Proclaims that dinner-time is near;
The walks are emptied at the call,
And hungry loungers flock to hall.

J, G.

* For the information of country friends, it may be right to state that no satire is here intended : King's College men do not try for Mathematical honors, because, owing to a peculiar composition between their College and the University, they are admitted to their B.A. degree without any University examination.


PROMETHEUS must be regarded as a type of humanity, or rather as the collective spirit, as the symbol and product of all the combined powers of the human mind. We are taught that in the beginning the Titanic Powers were the kings of heaven and of earth, and of the invisible realms under the earth. These were the primæval principles of nature, undirected by order or by law; these were the indomitable and fiery passions of the heart, ere reason had caused her light to shine on the chaotic waters of the moral world.

In the Grecian Mythology we have a golden age, corresponding to the period of innocence and happiness enjoyed by the primal parents of our race, during their sojourn in the Garden of Eden,-in the Mosaic history. Man fell: hence sin originant in the scheme of revelation. Man fell : hence the fable of Pandora, and the return to heaven of the virgin Astræa in the Heathen Mythology: hence too, in a later age, the acknowledgment by the Grecian intellect of this grand tradition of humanity-the tradition of Original Sin. In the invention of the Mythos of Psyche and Eros, the doctrine was fully recognized. Here Grecian Mythology was exhausted. It had done its duty. Its power passed away Kronos, or Saturn, was the arch-divinity of a real or imaginary state of innocence and happiness,—he succeeded to the heaven and the earth. Under his sway man enjoyed a pleasurable existence indeed, but one little superior to that of the merely animal tribes of earth

“ for he refused
The birthright of their being—knowledge, power,
The skill which wields the elements, the thought

Which pierces this dim universe like light.”
Consequently his sway was not perfect,—and the imperfect cannot
endure. Humanity is not stationary-it must progress: therefore
Saturn fell, and with him fell the whole host of the Titans.

And now a brighter period seemed to await the “race of Ephemerals." There was a gathering among the nations—there was a vast convulsion of our moral and intellectual nature the collected cloud of mind discharged its lightning-humanity struggled forward in the road towards perfection. It is of humanity in this stage that Prometheus is the type: Zeus is indicative of the ruling power of the time; he is the symbol of that portion of the spirit of the age which was absolutely and necessarily opposed to all improvement,—because improvement implied change, and to authorize change would be to confess its own weakness, and the imperfection of its own laws and ordinances. Yet was the empire given to Zeus, and for a short while the spirit of humanity typified in Prometheus imagined that the goal was attained, and that happiness was won. Too soon experience convinced him of his error: in vain was Saturn overthrown-in vain was Zeus clothed with the dominion of wide heaven; he kept no faith with man~he used his power only to oppress. Then first rose famine, and fear, and mur

with a

der, and fraud, and the whole host of moral and physical ills to which our race is heir; and men curst the day in which they had exchanged the sceptre of Kronos for that of Zeus. But the march towards perfection had begun, and none could stay its progress; none could be found daring enough, or foolish enough, to arrest humanity in its everlasting march towards the infinite good and the infinite beautiful,

“ thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.” The spirit - the Prometheus of man was not dead, but sleeping. Ages past by, and lo, another convulsion of mind ! and like a giant refreshed with slumber, Prometheus again awoke. Then first the legion of hopes which people the heart of man, budded and bore fruit. Then first language acquired beauty and strength. Then first art and science took man by the hand, and led him through their serene and beautiful dominions. Then first Poesy, with the brightful eyes of her early childhood, leapt from her cradle to subdue the wild passions of man's nature, and to call forth all the sweet and holy feelings--all the delicacies, and gentlenesses, and patiences, which the mighty mother had garnered in his heart; and then—oh, blessed and most royal climax!—then first Poesy, in co-operation with her elder sister Reason, taught Humanity

“Self-empire, and the majesty of love." Alas that Zeus, who should have been the father, as well as the king of the children of earth, nourished only hatred and vengeance against them! Absolute dominion was all he aimed at, and in the fierce pride of his heart he took council how he might wholly destroy the human race. At this crisis the great champion again stood forth: gentle, and mild, and loving as he was, he rose indignantly against the tyrant. He had already offended him and the allied sovrans of heaven and earth, by the theft of fire-the emblem of wisdom or knowledge, which is power. Then war commenced between the oppressors and the opprest: the victory was dubious—the human race was redeemed from destruction, but the spirit of Humanity was overpowered,—yet, only for a time.

It is at this era in the history of man, that the tragedy of Æschylus dates.

We will now proceed to give some faint idea of this marvellous triumph of the human intellect, by placing before the reader some passages selected from an original translation of the Chained Prometheus. In the very verge of the world, full of all sounds and sights of fear—in a ravine of icy rocks, Prometheus is discovered bound. While the operation was proceeding under the agency of Hephæstus and his Satellites, Strength and Force, not one syllable of expostulation, not one prayer

fell from his lips: once only a “low but dreadful groan," wrung forth by intensest agony, “tore up the heart of the good Titan.” But now that his persecutors are gone—now that there is none to overhear him, he pours forth the long-suppressed feelings of his soul in the following indignant and impassioned appeal to the elements :

Air, holy air ! winds poised on swiftest wings,

Imperial fountains of ten thousand rivers,
And countless smiles on ocean's laughing face ! -
Earth too, sweet earth! the mother of all life ;

for mercy

And thou, triumphant sun! whose golden eye
Surveys this fair and universal frame,
I call ye all to listen, ye shall be
My chosen witnesses, for ye behold
What I endure from the divinities,
Being myself divine-oh, look on me!

See what tortures wake my scorn,
See me wrung, and rackt, and torn-
While years on years unnumber'd flee,

I must wrestle with my fate,
So vile a chain is forged for me,

By the jealous tyrant's hate.
Alas! my sorrow will not sleep,
The evils of the hour I

weep :
Alas! I see in dark array,
The terrors of the future day,

The goals of misery, where are they?
What said I ? do I not foreknow most clearly
Each separate event that shall befal me?
Yes ! no mischance with unexpected step,
Shall come a loveless visitor to me;
Soh ! let me wait my preappointed doom,
With patience mild and meek endurance armid,
Knowing that power indomitable rests
Upon the sceptre of necessity.
And yet, alas ! nor silence in these sorrows,
Nor loud complaint avails the child of woe,
Yoked thus to the dark chariot of doom,-
And all for the bright gift I won for man:
For I subdued wild fire, and then I bore
Its stolen fount within a hollow reed,
And bid it be the tutor of all science,
A treasure and resource. Such sin was mine,
And this fierce torture is its punishment;
For this I hang withering in endless pain,
Rackt, fetter'd, nail'd beneath that cold blue sky.

Ah! what sound the silence breaketh ?
List! what silver echo waketh?
What viewless odour soft and fine

Is floating thro' the enchanted air ?
Breathe sound and scent of shape divine ?

Or prophesy of mortal fair ?
Wanderer! who art thou ? dost seek
Earth's boundary-stone, this distant peak?
Stranger, art thou come to be
The witness of my misery?
Or to what end mayst thou appear?
Thou answerest not-Behold me here,
Behold me here a form divine,
In chains and tortures doom'd to pine,
An awful destiny is mine!
Behold the foe of Zeus !-behold

The scorn of all the gods of story,
Who haunt the tyrant's halls of gold,

In the pavilions of his glory!
List, O list! what throng of sounds,
Murmuringly, this rock surrounds!

What can it be?_it seems to me
Like the noise of birds in glee,
Winnowing the crystal air,
As they glance and twinkle there.-
And hark! the crystal air in sighs,
To that throng of sounds replies,
The light rustle of the wings,
Of some strange and solemn things.
Woe is me! a prisoner here-

All that cometh brings me fear !” But Prometheus had little cause to fear. The gentle and affectionate Sea-nymphs had heard the echo of the steel when the hero was chained to the rock,-far, far below, in “ the glaucous caverns of Old Ocean;" and now they have come to console him with sweet and comfortable words, and with soft and silvery songs. Prometheus tells them his story: the eyes of the loving and tender-hearted sisters are filled with tears as they sing

“ Only one other god we've known,

In adamantine fetters groan ;
Only one other Titan seen,
Whose grief, dear one, like thine hath been-
Atlas, who sheds a thousand tears
While he sustains the starry spheres,
And beareth up, with deepest sighs,
The massive column of the skies ;
While each dark wave that travels by
Loudly uplifts its voice on high,

And the surges hiss

In their black abyss,
And howl in the caverns under,

And the gloomy cell

Of the spectral hell,

Shouts forth in a voice of thunder !" We quote the following passage from a hymn, which commences with an address to Zeus, to illustrate the simple, yet beautiful piety of these fair young spirits of the ocean :

“Lord of Life! enthroned on high,

Lord of Earth, Air, Sea, and Sky!
Ever may thy will divine
Win a fair response from mine!
Oh, still in Ocean's green recess,
The gods in glory may I bless,
And still the hallow'd Heifer lead
In Ocean's shadowy cells to bleed ;
While we, his lowly Daughters,

Will hold a festal day,
Chanting where the waters

Are at their ceaseless play!
Oh, never from my lips be heard
The scoff profane,--the idle word;
But still this principle be mine,

Nor glide froin out my spirit's shrine.”
The hymn concludes with a contrast between the present misery of
Prometheus and his past happiness :

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »