Puslapio vaizdai
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SPIRIT

OF THE

ENGLISH MAGAZINES.

BOSTON, APRIL 1, 1822.

(London Time's Telescope, for April, 1822.)

April.

Now Nature, to her Maker's mandate true,
Calls Spring's impartial heralds to the view.
Behold how lovely shine the gems of rain,
Like sparkling diamonds on the glitt'ring plain ;
How hanging on the flow'ring shrubs they blaze,
And dart beneath the leaves their silver rays.

SUCH is the general character of

April; yet we have sometimes verp sharp frosts in this month as well as in its successor, May. In the higher tracts of Persia, the balmy season of Spring advances with singular rapidity. During the months of April and May, every mountain's brow is covered with rich herbage, and the air is filled with perfume from the full-blown flowers of the numberless gardens: the whole country puts on its fairest garb, looking enchantingly, and breathing sweets from every quarter.

ingale in his beautiful and truly Anacreontic Odes:—

In shrubs which skirt the scented mead,
Or garden's walk embroidered gay,
Can the sweet voice of joy be found-
Unless to harmonize the shade,
The Nightingale's soft warbled lay
Pours melting melody around.

6

The Persian writers frequently compare their poets to nightingales; and, indeed, Hafez has acquired the constant appellation of the Persian Nightingale to this the bard alludes in his sixth ode, as translated by Nott. The beautiful fiction of the Asiatic poets, that the nightingale is enamoured of the rose, has been noticed in the Introduction to our last volume (p. xliv) ; Hafez, speaking of our eagerness to enjoy the pleasures of the Spring, beauThe love-laboured song of the night-tifully observes, We drop, like nightingale is occasionally heard in the day- ingales, into the nest of the rose."' time in England, and all day in the East, and in some parts of Europe. An English traveller of the seventeenth century, writing from Shiraz, and inspired by the climate, says, the nightingale, sweet harbinger of light, is a constant cheerer of these groves; charming, with its warbling strains, the heaviest soul into a pleasing ecstacy.' The Persian poet, Hafez, a native of Shiraz, repeatedly alludes to the night

Again, in his seventh ode, he says, 'O Hafez, thou desirest, like the nightingales, the presence of the rose: let thy very soul be a ransom for the earth. where the keeper of the rose-garden walks!' In the eighth ode, also, we have the following :

6

2 ATHENEUM VOL. 11.

The youthful season's wonted bloom
Renews the beauty of each bow'r,
And to the sweet-songed bird is come
Glad welcome from its darling flow'r.

In the sixth stanza of the ninth ode, the hard again alludes to this favourite

fiction, which, literally translated, would stand thus: When the rose rides in the air, like Solomon*, the bird of morn comes forth with the melody of David.' In Ode XIII, on the return of Spring, we are presented with the following beautiful stanza on the same subject :

The love-struck nightingale's delightful strain,
The lark's resounding note are heard again;
Again the rose, to hail Spring's festive day,
From the cold house of sorrow hastes away.

breathes out her life in one last effort, and drops upon the instrument which had contributed to her defeat.

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That nightingales have often been entranced through the effect of instrumental musick, appears from Bourdelot's Histoire de la Musique.' Nothing is more common (he observes) than to see the nightingales, at particular seasons, assemble in a wood, when they hear the sound of certain instruments, or of a fine voice, which they endeavour to answer by their warblings, with such violent efforts, that I have (he continues) beheld some of them fall, as if entranced, at the feet of a person who possessed what is called a "nightingale throat,' to express the flexibility of a fine voice. Bourdelot adds, that, frequently, both nightingales and linnets, perched even on the handles of lutes, guitars, and other instruments with which it was usual for persons, about a century since, to amuse themselves at the Tuileries, in Paris, in the month of May.

Sir William Ouseley, who resided for some time at Shiraz in the year 1811, says that he passed many hours in listening to the melody of the nightingales that abounded in the gardens in the vicinity of this city; and he was assured by persons of credit that several of these birds had expired while con tending with musicians in the loudness or variety of their notes. Sir William Jones records a a similar contest, not mortal, but of extraordinary result. An intelligent Persian, who repeated his story again and again, and permitted Sir William to write it down from his lips, declared, that he had more than once been present when a celebrated lutanist, Mirza Mohammed, surnamed Bulbul (nightingale), was playing to a large company in a grove near Shiraz, where he distinctly saw the nightingales trying to vie with the musician; sometimes warbling on the trees, sometimes fluttering from branch to branch, as if they wished to approach the instrument whence the melody proceeded; and, at length, dropping on the ground in a kind of ecstasy from which they were soon raised, by a change of the mode.

In confirmation of the Persian report given by Sir William Ouseley, it may be mentioned, that, according to Pliny (Nat. His. lib. xc, 29), in vocal trials among nightingales, the vanquished bird terminated its song only with its life; and Strada (lib. ii, prolus. vi) supposes the spirit of emulation so powerful in the nightingale, that, having strained her little throat, vainly endeavouring to excel the musician, she

The primrose now (primula veris) peeps from beneath the hedges.

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* The Comparison of the beauty of a flower to the richness of King Solomon's attire, was, perhaps, a favourite figure among the Eastern writers, and may be found in holy writ. (Luke xii. 27.)

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