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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Chambers's London Journal
Chambers's London Journal of History, Literature, Poetry, Biography, and Adventure, v. 2, no. 64, Au...
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Chambers's London Journal of History, Literature, Poetry, Biography, and Adventure, v. 2, no. 64, August 13, 1842.
Blanchard, Edward Litt Leman.
11 October 2015
London: W. Strange ... W. Clements ... and G. Berger
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n... ,,r M‘e. ;r was-we l l l .‘ 5 A ,,‘...... ;1+r. mug: -as... w.m:,ar.sr . .. “ BY EDUCATIDN MEN BECOME EASY TO LEAD, BUT DIlI'rlcuL1‘ To muv:-2.451 ro GOVERN, BUT IMPOSSIBLE TO r-:Nsl.AVl:.“-Loki) B11006!-MM. NU)-TBER 64. Z N-s7t'I'lI-JEli)Al-(,iiiU(V?rUST 13, 184:: Milton’: “ Camus." or run rnrroe. To doubt that this exquisite allegorical poem is familiar to our readers would be an insult to their taste and understanding; but it is in order to direct attention to the innumerable scattered beauties that lie, (‘like orient pearls at random strung,” amongst more lengthy but equally beautiful passages in this poem, that we have employed our time and space for their elucidation. It is almost superfluous to remind the peruser that “Camus” was written as a mask for the Lady Alice rligerton, and presented at Ludlmv Castle in the year 1634; the main incident of the poem bcing founded upon an occurrence that actually took place in that family. It was set to music by Henry Lavves, the admired and valued friend of Milton, whose exquisite musical taste had been cultivated in Italy, and who in “ Coinus ” introduces Lawes in the character of a sylvan swnin, "Who, with his soft pipe xind Smooth-<lilliel.l song, ‘Veil knows to still the wild Winds when they roar, And hurl. Ihe Waving woods." Fenton, the editor of “'nl1er's poems, says, that " the best poets of Lawes’s time were ambitions of having their verses set to music by this admirable artist; and the eulogium seems not to have been misplaced, for the three collections of his songs, still extant, contain a great quantity of beautiful lyric poetry, and the airs to which they were wedded manifest the powers of one who was gifted with fancy, taste, and feeling, and possessed of no small share of sliill and knowledge of his art. llis music of -" Comus " does not appear to have been ever printed, and. with the exception of some fragments, is irrevocably last. Dr. Arne, however, one hundred years later, re-set “ Corpus," and this is the mastvrpiece of that elegant composer, being immensurabl superior to the far-famed Artaxerxes. A recent revival at one of our patent theatres proved that its value and excellence had not been impaired by age, having been received by an audience with demonstrations of the utmost pleasure. The scene opens in a wild wood, where the attendant spirit, afterwards assuming the habit of the sllvpherd Thyrsis, and being in reality the personification of Virtue, thus commences his soliloquy in at burst of ma- jeslic poetry 2e " Before the slnny Illrcslltvld or Jove's court My mansion is, where thine llnmnrtal shapcs Of bright at-rilll spirits live illspllered In regions mild of calm and serene nir, Above the smoke and on of Ihis (lim llpnt ‘Vllich rnvn call Earth, and th low-lllougllted care, Umnlmlrul of the crown that Virluc gives, Altrr this mortal cllanzv‘, Io her true servants, Amongst lllc cnthrorie-I God: on tainted seals." Ifthis be not true poetry we know not what poetryis, The solemn aolemnity of the opening blank verso con- trasts well with the lighter measure that follows the entry of Comus, “ with ll charming rod in one hand and his glass in the other." A rout of monsters h:llf-ani- ma], half-human, succeeding in his truck, making a riotous and unruly noise, and awakening the echoes of the forest over the autumnal-lined leaves, on which their flickering torches sheds a red and unearthly glare. And here Comus gives us, in some dozen lines,aglowing description of the setting sun and its attendant phe. nomena “The stnrlhal bids the Ihcpherll (old, And the gilded car of day, His glowing axle (lulh nllay, In the steep allantic stream, And the sloped sun his upward beam Shoots against the rlrnky pol Pacing towards the olllnr goal Of his cllarnber in the can "e Vividity of description could go no further. The dizzy enjoyment: of the Circean igvellers now com- mence. It is the season when riot might well rear its vine-crowned hear], and its unscrupulous votarics bow down in worship. But “ The Lady " enters, and vice, awed at the presence of superior virtue, retires to its darker cells. The torches, one by one, are borne away, and a brief period of calm serenity ensues. Then it is that the fair wanderer, separated from her brothers in the tangled wood, maze-bewildered, blames the dark- 11953 for having stolen them from her :- " Else why, oh i ilIil.’Vi!l’I lIi"llIl Shonldst lllou hut fur some vile fell) s end, in lhy d.'ll'l( lantern thus close up the stars, That nature hung In heaven, and filled lhcir lamps “'ilh everlasting oil to give due liglll To the misled and lonely travI:ller’l" Such a situation might well appal the stolltest heart, but could not unnerve one who, like the heroine, was ever attended by the “strong siding champion, cos- scl:.x'cz.” Cotnua himself listening, disguised as a shepherd, feels not the presence of such virtuous beauty unmoved. He describes tlle effect of her voice as “ smoothing the raven down ofdarhness till it smiled,” and, with a wily artfulness, protfcrs his serpent-cunning to direct her footsteps to them. How unsuspicious, innate integrity of heart and purpose receives the offer made, is exquisitely shown in her reply :e H Shepherd, I take my word, Anll tmsl thy holiest om-roll courtesy, which of! is sooner found in lowly shells, With smoky rafters, than i lup'stry ll:llls Ami courts nv princes, rrht-re it first was nunn.-d And yet is most prelcnllul.” -Comus succeeds in leading the hapless maiden from the spot, who, in accorclunce with the frailty of human nature, is lurell for awhile by pleasure from the path she had chosen. Those of whom she was in quest now enter; the elder of the two brothers seeking in vain for their lost sister, thus hoping that if the influence of the moon be quite dammed up “ with black usurping mists," tbate “some grrnle taper Though a run. candle from Ihe wicker hole Of some clay hzhilalinn, visit us with thy [any levelled rule afatrraminy light.” A more expressive phrase, to convey what is here intended, could not perhaps be found. And here the repinings of the younger brother gives occasion for ti fine burst of poetry from the lips of his companion, fraught with the strictest principles of pure morality ze “Virtue couhl sce to do what virtue wnnhl, By her own ralliallt light, lhnngh sun and moon “fare in the flat sen sun nd Wisdom‘: nclf Ofl neck: to sweet relil-ed Mllihltil‘, Whcremilh lu-r best nllrsc cnnlelnplaliun, She plumes hcr feathers and leis grow ht-ruillgs, That in the various blulle of resort. “'ere all too rlltflcd and aolnclimea ilnpailcll. ll: Illal has light within hill own clear breast May sit i‘ the centre and enjoy bright tiny; But he that hlilvi : dark soul and foul lllnllgllis, Beniglltcd walks umlrr tin‘ mid-day sun- IIl'1rluLI't': in mi dlmyenn." “'9 have been somewhat lavish in our quotation, but Now the top of llcrlvcn doth hold, No. :2,-vol. ll. the whole scene is so exquisitely beautiful that we could PRICE THREE HALFPENCE. End it in our heart to transfer it entire to our columns. But we must proceed. The “ attendant Spirit," under the garb of a rustic, accosts the fearing brothers, and explains the mode by which Comus had wrought upon her will. He then describes the power of her vocal accomplishment ill the following sweet lillesze " At last 2 soft and solemn bn-allling sound, lose like a stream Offltll-dllallllrd pt-rrurnr: And Shllc upon the air, that even silence ‘Va: took etc the was 'WEIN‘, and wished llhc might Deny her nature and be rum mar Still to be lo riixpfacrd." The thrilling imagery contained in the above few lines, perhaps excels in beauty any other passage in this poem. The poet is not more eminent for strength and sublimity of genius, than for the art of his composition, for which he was chiefly indebted to the hue taste for harmony that he possessed. But the remainder awaits our attention, and in Milton's own words we trust the reader will exclaini- L.-rd on rpm, And some gnarl angrl bear a shield before us." A Few Words about Ancient Asyluins. av nuns CALDER nulmr, rsq. ' THE manners of mankind seem in all ages to have presented the same singular and striking contrast which in the present ago so constantly nrrest the attention of the philosopher. Like the wrczltli of flowers thrown by some mourning hand upon Nero's tomb, some of the llablts and customs ofantiquity, though simple of tllemw selves, are l'eIICll‘I1‘(l strongly interesting from the cir- cumstances surrounding them. Of this description is the subject of the present article, Asylums, which, while the use ofthe term presupposes war, rapine,nnd cruelty, yet bring the images of peace and security to the mind. The word itself seems to he deriverl from u. and arbor (sruln) free iron: spoil, because the person of him who entered therein became inviolahle. The first mention we find of them is in the sacred volume, where we are told six cities of refuge were provided for those who had hem the involuntary actors of some crime or out- rage against the Hebrew community‘crimcs which the rigour of the law was not allowed to pardon. but which ljustice. in her glorious exactitude, could not condemn. moug other nations,templcs, altars, tombs, and statues ofdeparted heroes, were the ordinary and secure resort of those whom misfortuna or rice had rendered amenr ble to the laws, or who ded from the oppression of a in which Clemency, was held to be enthroned. The altar of that temple once grasped by the tram. bling hand of the intended or probable victim, he was free to departfr.-arless and in safety, the mightiest tyrant, the very tempest of human malevolence and passion, bowing them down before the mysterious .l'1vis which was believed to encircle those who thus had placed their fortunes or their lives under the protection of the com- bined deities who inhabited the holy fane. The lJ93l‘lll< stone (films), which was accounted the residence of the domestic godsetllo Lares and Pencltes-was another place of surety from the assaults of an enemy. But it was not only to the structulea of man's er-egg. tion or consecration that the weak, the fearful, or the guilty, could turn their pallid faces, wheuthc “ Avenger of bloo:l”was tracking their uncertain footsteps; the giant forest spread its shadowy extent before them : to reach its covert was to be preserved ;-to [Alli-mi‘) die. The ancient authors abound in passages showing the tyrant. The Athenians consecrated a temple to Pity,‘ E ‘! ii