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The sonnet beginning with
“ Alexis here she stray'd among these pines,” &c. And that,
“ Fair moon, who with thy cold and silver #shine," &c. And many others, are some of the sweetest flowers in the poetical wreathe, that decked the golden ages of Elizabeth and James.
The generality of poems dedicated to women had been hitherto without meaning and without pathos: they were neither polite nof elegant ; and Drummond may be said to have been the first in the language who celebrated a mistress with genuine feeling and with occasional classical propriety. In all his thoughts there is a richness of sensation peculiar to, himself, and a felicity of expression exceeded by few of his successors and none of his contemporaries. And, in commenting upon some of his less legitimate ideas, we should consider that the classical pedantry, from the numerous translations which inundated that age, encumbered and fettered a genuine cast of thought, and commanded immediate attention to those spoils which time had yet spared. Instead, therefore, of won. dering so much at the Italian Concetti, and the frequent allusions to ancient customs and persons, we ought to feel surprised that he has admitted them so seldom.
I cannot close this short essay without observing that Pope has borrowed without acknowledgment one of his most finished sin miles from Drummond's hymn to the “ Fairest Fair.”
“ As a pilgrim who the Alps does passe, .
The airy Caucasus, the Apennine,
Thus Shakespeare in Henry 4, Act 1, Sc. 3,
When on the gentle Severn's sedgie bank
Upon agreement of swift Severn's flood, Shine was once used as a substantive. Faery Queen, 2, 181, and Shakes. peare's Venus and Adonis, 1. 828.
Thus Pope, Essay on Criticism, I. 225.
“ So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
[This tale is prefixed to a collection of fables in French. We were
so pleased with its ingenuity, (though there are some reflections which we do not approve) that we thought a translation of it might
not be unacceptable to the readers of the Monthly Mirror.] As à fakir was taking his walk in a retired spot, the earth seemed to resound beneath his footstep. He stopped. “This place is hollow," he said to himself, “and perhaps incloses a treasure: what a hapa py man would it make me, should I be lucky enough to find it !”
The fakir began removing the ground, and soon observed a sort of vault; but after undergoing so much fatigue, he was greatly mortified at discovering nothing but the mouth of a well, which had apparently remained there for several ages.
Whilst he was surveying it with an air of disappointment, a female form, dripping with wet, shivering with cold, and quite naked, suddenly rose up; and being excessively beautiful, the fakir contemplated the figure with so much delight, that he never once thought of covering her with his cloak.
"O thou who surpassest in beauty the daughters of Brahma," said he, “ tell me who thou art, and wherefore thou bathest in a well ?"-"I am TRUTH," she replied. The fakir instantly grew pale, and fell on his knees, as if a fakir and truth could not possibly exist together. • The virgin being thus at liberty, advanced peaceably towards the city. A woman walking naked is not so great a singularity in
India as in other climates less favoured by the sun. There passed by her poets, sultanas, and eunuchs, 1 « Ah," said the poets, on beholding her, “how thin she is !"
" How indiscreet she is !" cried the sultanas. How sad she appears!" ejaculated the eunuchs, None of them seemed to care about her.
A voluptuous courtier happened also to pass her. He perceived that she had a white skin, and had her placed in his palanquin. .
Scarcely was she seated, when the mistress of the emperor ap. peared, riding on a dromedary, by order of her physicians.“ How odd it is,” cried Truth, “ that the favourite sultana should have a crooked nose!" • The courtier trembled at this exclamation, and gave himself up for lost ; for there was a law forbidding any one from speaking well or ill of the favourite's nose. He cast Truth into the middle of the highway, saying, “What a fool have I been to trouble myself with this babbler !”
She arrived at the gates of the city, and observing a person of an inferior order, enquired of him where she might find an asyJum for the night. The man conducted her to his home, not doubting but this acquaintance would make his fortune.
The host with whom Truth had taken up her lodging, got his living by writing a gazette ; where, each morning, every person in office read his own panegyric. Whenever, therefore, he went to the court, the slaves had orders to fill his pockets with the best remains of the kitchen.
The presence of our traveller very much deranged the affairs of this poor man. He had scarcely time to prepare his gazette. Truth saw him at work without saying a word, and when he had finished, erased every thing that he had written. The publication was two days behind hand.
The vizir, angry at this delay, called for the writer, and after giving him fifty stripes, permitted him to speak in his own justification. He did so with eloquence and propriety; so much the worse for the gazetteer, for the visir dismissed him with a hundred more bastinadoes.
This last punishment appeared singular to those who knew not how very just the visir meant to be. He did this, because he wanted the time which the punishment occupied, secretly to remove Truth from the gazetteer's house. Had he thought ninety-nine blows would have been sufficient for his purpose, he had too great a regard
for his fellow creatures, to have suffered one more to have been inficted. • When the visir had gotten sole possession of Truth, he hoped to make advantage of her against his enemies; but it being announced that the emperor was coming that very day to visit his palace, and dreading above all lest he should see her, he ordered that, for the public good, she should be put to death.
Immediately four emirs placed her gently between silk cushions, embroidered and perfumed, and smothered her with every possible precaution. They afterwards threw the dead body into the most unfrequented spot in the garden.
The men in power imagined that Truth was dead, because she had been smothered some time : but this was not the case the open air revived her, and she availed herself of the darkness of the night to leave the garden. ; She took shelter in a vast library, where the Brahmins had stowed up the learning and wisdom of mankind for five thousand years. The night being cold, she lit a fire with some straggling leaves, but there was so much inflammable matter in the place, that Truth had but just time to make her escape with a few small volumes.
The library was burnt, and the librarians too. The Emperor came to look at the conflagration, and said with a satirical smile, “ It is pleasant enough to see a library in flames." His satisfaction was the more sincere, since there had always been in India, a secret hostility between books and Emperors,
The vizir hastened to outlaw his victim who had thus effected her escape. In the morning the proclamation for that purpose was af. fixed to the public buildings. This dispatch need not be deemed surprising, for, in every chancery in the universe, there are always forms of proscription in readiness against poor. Truth.
At day-break the unfortunate fugitive found herself beyond the walls of the city, near a neat little house, which was surrounded by a small garden; it was the residence of the sage Pilpay.* She entered it without apprehension, declared who she was, and demanded an asylum.
“ This frankness pleases me," said the sage, in reply, “ but it makes me tremble for you. If you should be recognized, nothing
* Pilpay or Badpay, an Indian philosopher and fabulist, became Minister te Dabschetim, and was in high reputation in the East.
can save you : follow me.” They ascended a large gallery, which formed the upper story of the house.
Here were arranged in order the skins of all animals, the rind of every tree, the coverings of all sorts of beings. It might be seen at once that it was the repository of a fabulist. Pilpay having shewn it to Truth, thus addressed her.
“ Since you can neither hide yourself, nor be silent, you had better assume a disguise. I can make you enter, at will, into all the figures you see here, which shall thereupon be instantly animated, You shall speak under these new forms, and you shall, without danger, reproach even the visir himself with his crimes." · Truth accepted the proposal, and was not ungrateful. The genius of her deliverer, inspired by her, illuminated all Hindostan, The Visir was deposed, and Pilpay appointed in his room. He arrived to an extreme age, surrounded by the blessings of the people ; for Asia has no balm so powerful to prolong life, as the habit of doing good.
An instance of such high fortune, gave birth to a crowd of imitators, and the ambitious wished to share with philosophers the labours of Pilpay ; but Truth, who penetrated their views; continued to conceal herself in the works of the wise, and resigned the rest to the phrenzy of their imaginations.
The inventors of fables found themselves thus divided into two • very different classes, of whom one wished to instruct with gentleness, and the other to prevail at any rate. It will be rendering a great service to mankind, to teach them by what traits they may distinguisha them.
The latter assemble the multitude, and cry out to them from an clevated place, “ Slaves of Brahma, believe or perish; for what we are about to deliver to you is the Truth." Then they relate to them extravagant fables, which render the auditors either impostors or madmen.
The former, with a mild voice, and affable countenance, invite the traveller to stop, saying to him, “ Friend, if thou art alive to inirth, laugh a moment with us. What we are going to relate to you is only a fable :" but the gay narrative conveys wholesome truth to the mind, and he who listens becomes better while he is amused,