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I took a turn or two round on my graundee to recollect my past danger, and went back to the ship, fully resolved to avoid the like snare for the future.”
“O Heav'ns ; did ever woman yet attempt
An enterprise like mine ?”— Well, indeed, might “ the colour forsake” our hero's lips, and his eyes “grow languid,” and himself drop almost fainting into her arms !
“ But heaven, which, moulding beauty, takes such care,
The reader, who, from this imperfect sketch of a small portion of the work, may be haply led to make himself better acquainted with these deserving and beautiful volumes, will find the winged heroine of our tale, a creature of the imagination, only so long as she hovers in the air over her companion with expanded wings, or drifts with the light cloud that scuds before the gale along the face of heaven. In all other respects she is a very woman,-beautiful, winning, tender, and devoted, but still a woman. And, indeed, we would not, if we might, have had her otherwise. Man, in his fancy, may vary, modify, combine, or augment, to infinity, the qualities and powers with which his Maker has endowed man; but, though he stretch his invention to the utmost, he is unable to imagine or conceive a new one. The elements, of which his own being is composed, are the only materials his imagination has to work upon; and out of these must he form whatever creature of the fancy he may amuse himself with pourtraying. Fatigued, indeed, in the manufacture of human character, and in the wantonness of an imagination, which space could not confine, nor matter content, the mighty bard once said, let there be “ spirits of air,” and " earthly goblins,” and spirits and goblins came to do his "great command.” But this was in the plenitude of powers, if not more than mortal, at least greater than were ever conferred on any other man ;' yet, even these creations of a most unbounded fancy are neither so etherialized, nor yet so brutalized, but that you detect the passions and workings of the hu. man breast, in the spirituality of the one, and the earthy composition of the other. What Shakespeare tasked his genius, to perform and hardly accomplished, our author has wisely not attempted at all; but in giving his heroine the fidelity and entire devotedness—the meekness of spirit, and purity of mind the shrinking sensitiveness joined to a noble fortitude of soulthe docility and playfulness of temper, united with a capacity for deep and sound reflection- light spirits -- light air,graceful motion and elastic step, which distinguish the “ favourites of nature” among our own countrywomen, he has given her virtues and charm's sufficient to raise her on the wings of the wind, and enable her to soar into her native element, —the purified and serene profundity of heaven. In the construction of material forms the author's invention is great, and his fancy beautiful ; but the wings when formed, (the readers of the Curse of Kehama will have already seen the description of them,) he has presented to some one of his countrywomen,-it may be some fair favourite—a Patty, whom he himself knew and loved ; but the feminine charms, with which he has endowed her,—and we have no doubt he drew upon experience for them will entitle her to the enjoyment of aërial excursion, the most exhilarating and refined sensation, which the most luxurious fancy could conceive, or the most aspiring heart pant to enjoy. On earth, as we have said, stepping along the banks of the lake, or skimming over its surface, a self-moving boat; sharing in the labours of her companion and friend, or lightening his hands of half their toil, and his heart of all its cares, by cloud-dispelling smiles, and gay conversation, in the absence of that sun he never sees, she is the sun to him, and the light of his countenance. For his sake, content to leave father and mother, friends and countrymen, house and home; and gifted with a power almost equal to ubiquity, yet bound by the golden tie of conjugal affection to one solitary spot of earth; she is the very woman whom an unhappy poet, in some soft moment of repose from the workings of a crazed imagination, has conceived to be born to
"act the little part that nature gave her, On the green carpet of some guiltless grove,
And having finish'd' it, forsake the world.” The facility with which she gives up home and kindred, for the sake of one with whom accident alone had brought her acquainted, may chance to strike some readers as implying too much lightness of mind, or shallowness of affection. But if he lay any considerable stress upon this, it will be clear that he, at least, knows not the force of passion in young hearts, or what deep gratitude, conjoined with a tender and devoted regard, can do in the breast of woman. If he argue that the novelist has done ill to introduce her with the breach of a solemn moral obligation, she might be supposed to reply in the beautiful words of the poet, which infinitely better become her mouth than those of the original speaker:
“ What right have parents over children, more
But leave their love more open yet and free
Than all the fields of air, their spacious birth-right.” We doubt whether the author's imagination has sustained an equal flight through the whole extent of the fiction; or whether we impart to the father, brother, and countrymen of Youwarkee, to whom we are successively introduced, any very large portion of that affection, which every reader, unless differently constituted from the rest of mankind, will be disposed to entertain towards her. We doubt, we say, whether the author's powers have enabled him to raise into the air, and poise the grosser and heavier bodies of masculine make, with an equal degree of graceful ease, and without a greater demand upon the reader's acquiescence. Wedoubt, too, whether the elevation of their minds corresponded to the superiority of their external form; and whether their feelings and passions are sufficiently spiritualized to buoy them up, and prevent their sinking again to the earth. “ To go drifting along on a fleecy white cloud,” were recreation meet for a being of angelic mould, animated with the pure affections and buoyant spirit of woman; but the nature of man required to be refined, and even undergo a kind of transmutation, before he could have power, or be permitted to patrole the fields of air, and expatiate in vacuity. Whether his humanity has undergone such change in the hands of our author, we leave the reader to collect, by acquainting himself with the original, which at all events will amply repay his trouble, if it do not quite satisfy him on the subject of his inquiry. Meanwhile, without any wish that he should be led to prejudge the question, we merely intimate that our own private opinion leads us to think, that the honest author, instead of raising a sort of mortal spirit, or spiritual mortal, to the skies, has only given wings to a better kind of Otaheitean savage. Peter, whom this people of the air deem it worth their while to transport with his cannon to Normnbdsgrsutt (a soft monosyllable in Youwarkee's pretty mouth), the glumm Peter, prophesied of in the sacred traditions of their priesthood, as one who should arise out of the sea, “ with hair round his face,” (the Swangeans had no more beard than their women,) and “unknown fire and smoke" in his hands, is a law-giver and demigod among those denizens of the upper regions. Never prophet wrought such instantaneous conversion-never legislator was so promptly obeyed ; never general-no, not he who gave his eagles to fly over “ prostrate Asia,” was so triumphant. At a single moucheratt, he eradicates the prejudices of a thousand years, and makes a whole people ashamed of their idolatrywith one stroke of his sword, he annihilates the image which priestcraft had substituted for the great Collwar himself, though defended by an organized body of devout and holy ragans, whom he finally compels to recant their creed and read their Bibles. Slavery, which it cost the British parliament so many years of hot and dusty debate, in its moucheratts, to abolish, Peter does away in the twinkling of an eye; and by one bold and sensible speech, [we wish we could give the reader it here] makes every man-as the great Collwar made him-free! As for his exploits in war, hear Lieutenant-General Nasgig detailing them, in his place, in the parliament of Brandleguarp :“ Peter only sat in his chair, and commanded victory: he spoke aloud but thrice (with his cannon), and whispered (with his musket) once to them, but so powerfully, that having at the two first words laid about three hundred of the enemy at their lengths, and brought Harlokin to the ground with a whisper, at a third word he concluded the war.”- It may be very well all this—yet still, wars and rumours of wars-kings and their courts--profligate courtiers, and faithless mistresses—factious priestcraft-treason, and rebellion !-Surely the author needed not have lifted us into the air, and carried us thousands of miles, to see a repetition of the same dull work that is transacted on our own earth, and which we have an opportunity of seeing every day! .
But in all this action and adventure, this changing of dynasties, and marrying of sovereigns, and modelling states, do we love and respect our hero more, than when silent and solitary he cuts faggots in his wood, and then flinging them on his back, trudged home to cook his dinner? Alas! no.-From the midst of a palace, and a crowded capital (scooped though they be out of the solid rock, and lighted neither by the rays of the sun, nor yet by artificial fire, but by living glow-worms,) we cast many a backward look to the remote and solitary arkoe, surrounded by the pathless ocean. There you may see the path from the grotto to the pure streamlet, worn by the foot of him who daily drank at it,-and as he drank, thanked the heavens for their boon—now almost erased by the rank springing and untrodden grass. The grotto that once knew a simplehearted tenant, and was jocund with the mirth of an affectionate wife, and lovely yacoms, who grew unseen of men, but smelt most fragrant in the face of heaven, now knows him no more. His boat rots, and falls piecemeal in the little dock his hands had made-the rain and wind have beaten down his thatched roof—the implements of his own industry—the rude toys of his children, and Youwarkee's little attempts at sempstress work, lie scattered all about it. The fowls, whom he took so much care to tame and pen, now roam at large, and vainly stretch their necks for the expected step of him, who comes to feed them. On the lake he is not seen in the wood he is
| missed the wild birds no longer eye him with curious glance
from the higher branches. His wife and little glumms no longer frolic in the serene and evening air, as once they used, whilst he more slowly, and sedately bent his way along the bank. All is silent, all forsaken, as if no human eye had ever looked upon the still waters of that quiet lake, even from the « birth of time." Blank and dreary, nature seems to droop, grieving, “ if aught inanimate e'er grieves,” over the everlasting farewell of man.
In good truth, the change is not one at all to our liking, but the reader may be of a more cheerful and lively turn of mind than we elderly persons, who are looking forward to that bourn whence no traveller returns; and we would not that our gloomy views should lead him to appreciate unfairly the merit of any ingenious performance. Of the latter portion of the work, we are unable to give a detailed account; but the reader will do well to take the trouble into his own hands, and peruse it for himself. He will find much ingenuity, much good sense, much kind and honest feeling, and much striking description of the winged people and their aërial excursions ; not to mention trees, that grow excellent fish and fowls-sweecoes, that give a mild, steady, and agreeable light, with the additional advantage of not burning the fingers,--a flight-race, where a gawrey wins the prize, when a glumm was too corpulent to enter the lists,-and Hannibal's mixture, with which the labourer of Brandleguarp
Diducit scopulos et montes rumpit aceto. Our hero, too, throughout the various schemes, acts always like a liberal-minded and well-meaning man. It may be, that by dealing too much in general affairs he loses sight, rather more than he ought to do, of individual interests; and brings to the ground a flying countryman, to gain any information wanted, with as much sang froid as a sportsman would fetch down a woodcock on the wing. But, on the whole, it would be well, we think, if the ministers of royalty never evinced themselves more undebauched by the possession of power, than does Glumm Peter of Graundevolet. We confess, we deem our hero more honoured in the simple epithet of Peter, sweetly pronounced in the soft accents of Youwarkee's voice, as it waked the echoes that dwelt in the rocks around, than in the proud title of father to his most gracious majesty King Georigetti ; and would rather any day have had an hour's fishing with him in the lake of Graundevolet, than assist him in manufacturing laws in the capital of Brandleguarp.
We ask pardon of our readers for detaining them so long