Page images

their eruption is preceded by head-ach, Gckness, and pains of the stomach; and if they be fuddenly repelled from the surface, the same fyniptoms return in a violent degree. In other cases, the affection of the skin is not so obviously connected with a disorder of the stomach : nevertheless it may in general be said, that this species of prurigo is attended with a state of ill health in the con ftitution ; for those perfons are most liable to suffer frequently om it, who are of a fallow complexion, who are weak and foinewhat emaciated, or who labour under obítructions of the viscera. The same conclusion may be deduced from the nature of the causes, which usually precede the disease : thefe, I have often had occasion to observe, are. grief, watching, fatigue, and a poor diet. Howe ever, as all persons are not equally affected in the same circumstances, something most necessarily be referred to the original texture of the skin, or state of the cutaneous glands. With respect to this predisposition, I have only been able to remark, that the greater number of patients had a more than usual coarseness or roughness of the skin, which seemed often to have been communicated here. ditarily : and that when the itching and papulæ disappear at the termination of the disease, the cuticle is left dry, scaly and thickened.' P. 77

Our author tried every mode of cure without success, and at last found fixed alkali, with or without fulphur, the best remedy, the patient, at the same time, drinking an infusion of fassafras and the tops of juniper: fometimes a little opium was added. In our experience, though we have often been disappointed, we have most effectually fucceeded with the vitriolic acid. The hepatised waters, and applications seem to have been the most useful of external remedies. The prurigo fenilis is well known to be alınost incurable; but the warm (perhaps the fulphurated) baths appear to be beneficial in this direase. In one instance, it seemed to have been occasioned by a kind of pulex.

The external pruritus is often highly distressing; and it sometimes seems to be connected with an internal state of the conftitution, as disorders have been relieved by its coming on, and as death has sometimes followed its too sudden repullion. The varieties of its appearance are well known. Could we diffeminate more generally one new remedy, one new mode of alleviating this complaint, we would do it with pleasure. It may be proper to suggest a suspicion, that ascarides in the rectum may excite this pruritus in the neighbouring parts, and that a diseased state of the urinary organs may have a similar effect.

We have paid particular attention to this first part of Dr. Willan's work, becaufe it is much wanted, and because its intrinsic merit, as well as its embellithments, claim our regard; and we hope that the cheering smiles of public approbation will urge him forward in his career.

Oberon, a Poem, from the German of Wieland. By William

Sotheby, Esq. 2 Vals. 8vo. 125. Boards. Cadell and Davies. 1798.

[ocr errors]

THE Oberon of Wieland has long been celebrated in this Gobry, and the English reader has long been defirous of feeing in his own language, a piece so popular among

the Germans. Of a poem of such extent the merits can be fairly displayed only by an analysis of its plan.

The poem commences with a kind of prophetic exordium, which discloses too much of the future story. The action begins with the departure of Sir Huon for Babylon. At Libanon he meets with Sherafıin, the old efquire of his father, and informs him of the cause of his journey, declaring that he had killed Scharlot, the treacherous son of Charlemagne, who had wounded his brother and attacked him. Charlemagne, incensed at the death of his son and the false accusations of his companions, had sentenced Huon to banishment, even after he had, in the opinion of the world, proved his innocence by combat. The nobles all interfere, and Charlemagne, in some degree appeased by their intercession, promises pardon to Huon.

" Yet hear the terms; hear what no earthly power
“ Shall ever change!”—He spoke, and wav'd below
His sceptre, bent in anger o'er my brow-
“ Yes, thou may'st live-but, instant, from this hour
“ Away: in exile rove far nations o'er :
“ Thy foot accurs fall tread this foil no more,
66 Till thou in due obedience to my will
« Shalt, point by point, the word I speak fulfil ;
* Thou dieft, if this unwrought thou touch thy native More.

“ Go hence to Bagdad : in high festal day
" At his round table, when the caliph, plac'd
“' In ftately pomp with fplendid emirs grac d,
" Enjoys the banquet rang'd in proud array,
« Slay him who lies the monarch's left beside,
“ Dash from his headless trunk the purple tide,
" Then to the right draw near, with courtly grace
« The beauteous heiress of his throne embrace ;
" And thrice with public kiss salutę her as thy bride,

“And while the caliph, at the monstruous scene,
« Such as before ne'er shock'd a caliph's eyes,

Stares at thy confidence in mute surprize,
" Then, as the Easterns wont, with lowly mien
“ Fall on the earth before his golden throne,
* And gain (a trifle, proof of love alone)

“ That it may please him, gift of friend to friend,
4 Four of his grinders at my bidding fend,
" And of his beard a lock with silver hair o'ergrown,' Vol. i.

P. 33.

[ocr errors]

For this enterprise the knight now prepares, and old Shesasmin accompanies him in his journey. They reach a wood, which Sherasmin vainly endeavours to prevent fir Huon from entering, by relating the mischievous pranks of a wicked goblin who holds his court there. The account only serves to make Huon more determined upon passing through the wood: the old man follows him, and they are bewildered, at night, amidst its mazy paths. At length they discover a centtal spot;

And while they gaz’d around in mute despair,
“Mid the wild woods a distant castle gleams
As woven from the evening's rosy beams.
It lifts itself, and glitters in the air.
In Huon's eye delight and terror stole,
In doubt, if truth or fancy charm his soul.
Breathless he floats, as drawn by magic hand,
And fees the castle's golden gates expand,
And forth a silver car drawn on by leopards roll.

• A boy more beauteous than the god of love
In smiling Cytherea's soft embrace,
Sat in the filver car with heavenly grace,
And held the filken reins, and onward drove
56 Fly!” Sherasmin exclaims he comes !-we're dead!"
And seiz'd Sir Huon's steed, and swiftly fled.
66 You're lost, for ever lost, if you delay!"-
$6 How fair he is !"' cries Huon

« Fair! away!
66 A thousand times more fair, a thousand times 'n

more dreadt
“ Oh, fly, Sir! or your life's not worth a song!"
Sir Huon strives, indeed, but strives in vain;
The old man speeds in fullest flight amain,
And after him drags Huon's horse along :
O'er stock and stone, thro' bush and brake they race,
Nor hedge nor ditch inpedes their desperate pace :
Nor ceasd the wight to scamper, fear-pursu'd,
Till clear from out the compass of the wood,
They find themselves at last amid an open space. Vol. i.

P. 52.

A tempeft overtakes them in their Aight; but the voice of Oberon is heard through the storm, inviting Huon to return and confide in him. Sherasmin still drags him on till they reach a convent, to which some monks and nuns, difturbed in their procession, are haftening in confusion. among them, and founds his horn: at the found, the monks, the nuns, and Sherasmin, begin dancing, and cannot cease till Huon, who alone is free from the enchantment, entreats the

Oberon appears

dwarf to let them reft. Oberon complies; and then gives the knight a bowl, which will supply him with wine whevever he lifts it to his mouth, and also the ivory horn, of which he has already witnessed the power, and which, by a louder blast, will summon Oberon at any time to his aslistance.

An episode, in which Sir Huon delivers a damsel from a giant, occupies the greater part of the third canto. In the course of his peregrinations, he rescues a Saracen from a lion, and gives him the goblet to refresh him : but the magic bowl refuses its wine to the unbeliever, and burns his hand, He

• Raves, and roars, and stamps, till wearied at the scene; The knight with facred sword, and threat'ning mien,

On sudden to convert the base blafphemer goes.' The infidel, however, slips away, leaps upon Huon's steed, and escapes.

Having reached Babylon, the knight is entertained by an old woman, mother to the nurse of the princess. She informs him that the princess is to be married to Babekan, prince of the Druses, on the morrow; but that she is disinclined to her destined husband, in consequence of a dream, in which a dwarf, with a lily wand, had presented to her a knight with blue eyes and golden hair.

The nuptial morning arrives, and Rezia again has feen the blue-eyed stranger in a dream. Sir Huon finds the dress and equipage of an emir ready for him: thus appareled, he enters the banquet-hall. What follows thould be told in the words of the translation.

« Now to the table he advances nigh,
And with uplifted brow, in wild amaze
'Th' admiring guefis upon the stranger gaze:
Fair Rezia, tranc'd with fascinated eye,
Still views her dream and ever downward bends;
The fultan, busy with the bowl, fufpends
All other thoughts; prince Babekan alone,
Warn'd by no vision, tow'rds the guest unknown,
All fearless of his fate his length of neck extends.

• Soon as Sir Huon's fcornful eyes retrace
The man of yesterday, that he, the fame
Who lately dar'd the Christian God defame,
Sits at the left, high plum'd in bridal grace,
And bows the neck as conscious of his guilt:
Swift as the light he grasps the fabre's hilt;
Of at the instan: flies the heathen's head !
And o'er the caliph and the banquet sed,
Up fpirts his boiling blood, by dreadful vengeance spilt !

. As the dread visage of Medusa fell
Swift flashing on the fight, with instant view
Deprives of life the wild-révoired crew ;
While reeks the tow'r with blood, while tumults (well,
And murderous frenzy fierce and fiercer grown,
Glares in each eye, and maddens every tone-
At once, when Perseus shakes the viper hair,
Each dagger stiffens as it hangs in air,
And every murderer stands transforın'd to living stone!

• Thus at the view of this audacious feat,
The jocund blood that warm'd each merry guest
Suspends its frozen course in every breaft:
Like ghosts, in heaps, ali miv'ring from their feat
They start, and grasp their swords, and mark their prey;
But ilirunk by fear, their vigour dies away :
Each in its sheath their swords remain at rest :
With pow'rless fury in his look expreft,
Mute sunk the caliph back, and star'd in wild dismay.

• The uproar which confounds the nuptial hall Forces the dreamer from her golden trance : Round her the gazes

with astonish'd glance, While yells of frantic rage her soul appal : But as she turns her face tow'rds Huon's fide How is it with him when he sees his bride!-46 'Tis fhe-'tis the herself !” he wildly calls : Down drops the bloody steel; the turban falls ? And Rezia knows her knight as fioat his ringlets wide.

46 'Tis he !" the wild exclaims : yet virgin shame Stops in her rofy mouth th' imperfect found; How throbs her heart! what thrillings strange confound ! When with impatient speed the stranger came, And, love-embolden'd, with prefumptuous arms Clasp'd in the fight of all her angel charms! And, oh! how fiery red, how deadly pale She chang'd, as love and maiden fear allail, The while he kist her lip that glow'd with sweet alarms !

- Twice had his lip already kist the maid--

Where shall the bridal ring, oh! where be found?” Lo! by good fortune, as he gazes round; The elfine ring shines suddenly display'd, Won from the giant of the iron tower :Now, all unconscious of its magic power, This ring, so seeming base, th' impatient knight Slips on her finger, pledge of nuptial right“ With this, O bride belov'd! I wed thee from this hour !"

Then, for the third time, at these words, again

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »