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ceding. The characters are skilfully controversy has been to ascertain, grouped and opposed, and the interest whether our ancestors became as of the story constantly increases till quainted with this fascinating style of the denouement. The situations and writing through the medium of the characters are, however, sometimes Spanish Moors, or clirectly from the rather beyond Nature ; and the idea Arabian minstrels, during the peot'a Protestant Nunnery, even as the riod of the Crusades. Many plausifrolic of a romantic girl, is somewhat ble arguments have been urged in fatoo absurd. As a novel, it is formed vour of each of these suppositions ; more upon the model of the writings and others not less strong, perhaps, of Dr Moore and Miss Burney than have been advanced against them both. upon those of the Scottish or Irish We are ourselves inclined to an interschool. It is also written in Letters, mediate opinion,-namely, that the a contrivance we so little like, that style and structure of our early rowe had almost laid aside the book, mances have been modified in a contill, upon turning over the leaves, we siderable degree by the influence of perceived that it possessed more at- Oriental fiction, but that Europe by tractions than the commencement in no means originally borrowed this spedicated. It is, in fact, an interesting cies of writing from either Moors or novel, which is ascribing to it almost Arabs. Poetry and Romance are, in the only quality that novel readers fact, the indigenous produce of every care about, but yet we must not let country at an early period of society ; . it pass
without some reprehension, and it we would find the original though its worst fault is one for which sources of our own peculiar style of the author will find too much prece, fictitious composition, we ought rather dent of late years to regard critical to search for them in the wild and vituperation. The fault we mean, is romantic lays of our Celtic or Saxon · the introduction of living characters, progenitors, than weary ourselves in well disguised and extravagantiy cari remo'er investigations. The Editor catured, but sufficiently palpable to of the work now before us, however, gratify the depraved public taste for promises to afford the public more personality and scandal. This is ample means for discussing this ques. surely unworthy of such an able wri- tion when his work is completed ; ter; and we hope he will, in future, and till then we turn to the particuleave such paltry provocatives of po- lar analysis of the voluine with which pularity to such persons as the auihor he has just tavoured us. of Glenarvon and her contemptible. The romance of Antar iş, indeed, compeers.
in every respect, a most interesting With these basty remarks, we re- and curious production. It is a gecommend the above works to the nu- nuine Arabian tale, composed soon merous lovers of light reading and ro- after the time of Mahomet, and remantic adventure. Something of en- lating to the heroic adventures of a tertainment and instruction inay be chief who shortly preceded him. derived from all of them, and, so far
* Antar," observes the editor, " is no as we have discovered, they contain imaginary personage. He was the son of as little admixture of a hurtful or de
an Arab Prince of the tribe of Abs, by a leterious nature as, in these times of black woman, whom his father had made universal empiricism, can be rational- captive in a predatory excursion : and he ly expected.
raised himself by the heroic qualities which he displayed from his earliest youth, and
by his extraordinary genius for poetry, Antar; A Bedoueen Romance. Trans- from the state of slavery in which he was
lated from the Arabic By Tér- born, to the contidence of his king, and to KICK HAMILTON, Esq. Oriental a preeminence above all the Chiefs of AraSecretary to the British Embassy bia. He flourished during the close of the at Constantinople. London, Miura sixth, and the early part of the seventh ray. Svo. 1819.
century, of the Christian æra ; there is,
consequently, little or no allusion to the It has long been a favourite hypo- customs or institutions of Islamism through.. thesis among literary antiquaries, that out the work; though the Hero is frequentthe earliest models of our European ly designated as He by whom God. Romances of Chivalry were derived organized the earth and the world for the from the East; and the chief point of appearance of the Lord or slaves.'
“ The following romance, as it may be their way home, the marauders haltcalled, was first put together, probably ed by the siile of a stream to divide from traditionary tales current at the time, the spoil
, when Shedad, captivated by Osmay, one of the eminent scholars by the charms of the black captive, who adorned the courts of Haroun-al- offered his share of the booty to his Rischid, and of his two learned successors, Al-.1myn and Al-Mamoun; and it still comrades it' they would resign her to continues to be the principal source whence him. To this they agreed, and Zethe story-tellers of the coffee-houses in heeba, with her children, became his Egypt, Syria, and Arabia, draw their most sole property. She is described as interesting tales : but, notwithstanding its unicominoniy beautiful. “Her form getteral circulation in the Levant, the name was delicate, her eye inspired love, of Antar is hitherto only known to us in her smile was enchanting, and her Europe, as that of the author of one of the gestures graceful.” As the poet has seven poems suspended in the temple of said, Mecca, and from that circumstance called,
In blackness there is some virtue, if The Huallakat. The Author of this poem, and the Hero you observe its beauty well, thy cyes do
not regard the white or red. Vere it not of our history, are identitied, as well by the similar names which occur in both, as by how would lovers feel the value of its
for the black of the mole on a fair cheek, the insertion of the poem itself in the body brillianey? Were not musk black, it would of the history, when, after much persatu
not be precious. Were it not for the black tion and opposition, Antar at length succteds in suspending the poem witiin the of night, the dawn would not rise. Were Holy Sanctuary which surrounds the
it not for the black of the eye, where
would be its beauty ?" Kaaba.
* There is reason to believe that this is With all her charms, however, Zethe first attempt to transpose into an beeba was considered merely as a slave, European language a real Arabian story, and employed by Shedad to tend his depicting the original manners of the Arabs flocks. She at length brought him of the desert, uncorrupted by the artificial
a son, of whose portentous appearand refined customs of the neighbouring ance a strange and not very winning cities in 'yria, Egypt, and Persia. * The characteristics of the real A rabs, of the fragment of a cloud, with eyes
description is given ; “ he was like Bedowins, are here presented in their native simplicity. An eager desire for the pro
that flashed sparks of fire.” Shedad perty of their neighbour; an unconquer. was, however, overjoyed at seeing able' fondness for strife and battle ; a sin- him, and gave him the name of Ana gular combination of profuse hospitality, tar. vith narrow economy-quick perception
When our hero began to grow up, deep cunning--great personal courage, a his strength and spirit were so remarkkeen sense of honour, respect for their wo- able, that the other knights who had inet), and a warm admiration and ready accompanied Shedad in the maraude use of the poetical beauties of their un- ing expedition in which his mothet rivalled language."
was captured, became eager to obtain The story itself commences ab ovo possession of him, and claimed him as with “ Ishmael, son of Abraham," their equal property. The affair was and after a brief genealogical account submitted to King Zoheir, whoforderof the various tribes of Arabs, gives a ed then to produce the child in his particular history of King Zoheir and presence. Antar was, accordingly, his family, who reigned over the tribe brought before the king, and here his of Abs or Adnan at the period when first adventure occurred. our hero makes his first appearance “ And the King beheld him, and lo! on the stage. In one of the foraging he was like a lion when he roars. As soon excursions of this tribe, a party who as he saw liim he gave a loud scream, and went out " to seek their fortunes," threw a piece of meat at him ; but a dog were headed by Shedad the son of that was there got before him, and snatchCarad, who was called the Knight of ed up the meat like a hawk, and ran away. Jirwet, “ for his mare was called
But Antar followed him till he camc up Jirwet, whose like was unknown.”
with him; he was greatly enraged, and
seized hold of him with all his Shedad and his party having come
ngth suddenly upon the tribe of Jezeelah, in twain even to the shoulders, and snate!
He wrenched open his jaws, and tore them succeeded in carrying off their camels ed the meat out of his mouth. When the and a black woman with her two chil King saw this, he was astonished, and the dren, who was watching them. On Arab chiefs that were present were amazed
and exclaimed, what ingenuity, what power, tress ; these sheep are all I possess ; let strength, and ability! O my friends, said them drink, for i live on the milk they King Zoheir, contend no more about such produce. Pity my forlorn state; I have a wretch as this !"
no one to tend them, therefore grant my It was, however, at length decided request, and be so kind as to let then
drink." by a famous Cadi, that Antar was the undoubted and sole property of his Daji, in place of yielding to this father Shedad. He continued, ac- moving appeal, was inflamed with cordingly, to assist his mother and greater pride and insolence, and only brothers in tending the cattle, roam- replied by striking the poor widow on ing about the wilds and desarts, and the breast, throwing her down in the inuring himself to exercise and danger, sand, and abusing her in the most till he became the admiration and shocking manner; and the other dread of the whole tribe. In his slaves of his master enjoyed the sport tenth year he slew a wolf which had and joined in the brutal laugh. When attacked his flock, and brought home Antar, who was also present, observthe head to his mother, "growling ed this, " his Pagan pride played like an angry lion,” and singing the through all his limbs, and he could following verses :
not endure the sight.' He ran up to “Oh thou wolf, eager for death, 1 Daji and cursed him, saying, “ May have left thee wallowing in dust, and spoil- God destroy your limbs, and all that ed of life; thou wouldst have the run of my consented to this act.” The bully, flocks, but I have left thee dyed with not accustomed to be thus bearded, blood—thou wouldst disperse my sheep, and swelling with rage, struck Antar and thou knowest I am a lion that never a blow on the face that nearly knockfears. This is the way I treat thee, thou ed out his eyes ; but, as Antar said to dog of the desert. Hast ever before seen the wolt, he had not now the kid but battle and wars ? "
the savage lion to deal with. The arSoon after this Antar had a more rogant slave was instantly levelled in important adventure. King Zoheir's death below the resistless arm of our eldest son, Shas, had a slave named generous champion. Daji, a brutal and overbearing bully, With all his heroism and strength, but who was, nevertheless, a great fa- however, Antar would have been vourite with his master on account of hard put to it, in the midst of his prodigious bodily strength. The Prince Shas's two hundred slaves, had insolence of this fellow (as is usual he not been rescued by the gentle and with such gentry) was still greater generous Malik, another of the King's than his strength; and one day when sons, who happened to come upon the the poor men, and widows, and or- combatants as he was going a-huntphans met together, and were driving ing. The occasion of the quarrel betheir camels and their flocks to drink, ing explained to him, he instantly Diji came up and stopped them all, took Antar into his protection, and and took possession of the water for ever afterwards continued his kind his master's cattle.
and constant friend. Antar had im** Just then an old woman belonging to mediate need for such powerful supthe tribe of Abs came up to him, and ac- port, for the haughty Shas came rush. sosted him in a suppliant manner, saying, ing to revenge the death of his slave; Be so good, master Daji, as to let my and a quarrel, almost ending in a comcattle drink ; they are all the property i bat, took place on his account between possess, and I live by their milk. Pity the brothers. They were separated my Hock and cover my nakedness; have by the King, who sent back Antar to compassion on me and grant my request,
his father, with high approbation of and let them drink. But he paid no attention to her demand, and abused her. his conduct. As our youthful chamShe was greatly distressed and shruik back. pion retu ned home, the women colThen came another old woman and ad- lected round him, to inquire what dressed hiin, o master Laji, i am a poor hael happerel; among them were his weak old woman, as you see; time has cunts and his cousin, whose name was dealt hardly with me; it has aimed its ar. Ibla. tows at me ; and its daily and nigl.tly calamities have destroyed all my men. 1 " Now Ibla was younger than Antar, have lost my children and my husband, and a merry lass ; she was lovely as the and since then I have been in great dis- full moon, and perfectly beautiful and
elegant. · She frequently joked with Antar, “ The lovely virgin has struck my heart and was very familiar with him, as he was with the arrow of a glance, for which there her servant. As soon as she came up to is no cure. Sometimes she wishes for a him on that day, O you base-born, she feast in the sand-hills, like a fawn whose cried, why didst thou kill the slave of eyes are full of magic. My disease preys Prince Shas? who can now protect thee on me, it is in my entrails. I conceal it, from him ? Indeed, my mistress, he re- but its very concealment discloses it. She plied, I did no more than he deserved, for moves; I should say it was the branch of he insulted a poor woman, he threw her the Tamarisk that waves its branches to down, and made the servants laugh at her. the southern breeze. She approaches, I Thou has acted most properly, said Ibla, should say it was the frightened fawn smiling, and we are rejoiced that thou art when a calamity alarms it in the waste. safe, for thou knowest our mothers consider She walks away--I should say her face thee as their son, and we look on thee as a was truly the sun when its lustre dazzles brother, on account of thy services." the beholders. She gazes--I should say
Like all true heroes, Antar becomes it was the full moon of the night when a great defender and favourite of the Orion girds it with its stars. She smiles, ladies; but, as being a slave, and the and the pearls of her teeth sparkle, in which son of the “ Ethiopian woman," his there is the cure for the sickness of lovers. fortune was yet under a cloud, and he her God; and the greatest of men bow
She prostrates herself in reverence towards was only permitted to associate with down to her brauties. O Ibla! when I the Arabian women in the character most despair, love for thee and all its weakof a servant. Among his other du- nesses are my only hope. hould fortune ties was that of presenting camel's or my father assist me, I will requite mymilk, every morning and evening, to self for its vicissitudes by my fearless his step-mother Semeah, Shedad's spirit.” wife, and to his aunts, the wives of 6 When the breezes blow from Mount Shedad's brothers, Jewad and Malik, Saadi, their freshness calms the fire of my and to Ibla, the daughter of the lat- love and transports. Let my tribe rememter. One day when he entered the ber I have preserved their faith ; but they house of his uncle Malik to perform
feel not my worth, and preserve not their this service, he found his aunt comb- maid settled in the tents, why should I pre.
engagements with me. Were there not a ing his cousin Ibla's hair, which flow- fer their society to absence Slimly made ed down her back dark as the shades is she, and the magic influence of her eye of night. The timid maiden ran a, preserves the bones of a corpse from enterway as soon as Antar had entered and ing the tomb. The sun as it sets, turns seen her, and her sable tresses waved towards her, and says, Darkness obscures to the ground behind her. Antar, the land, do thou rise in my absence ; and struck with her beauty, falls despe- the brilliant moon calls out to her, Come rately in love, and, his passion being forth, for thy face is like me when I am equally hopeless and unconquerable,
at the full, and in all my glory! The Tahe becomes thoughtful and solitary,
marisk trees complain of her in the morn and and pours forth to the desarts his love the eve, and say, Away thou, waning beauand anxieties in extemporaneous poet- away abashed and throws aside her veil,
ty, thou form of the laurel ! She turns ry, of which the following are speci- and the roses are scattered from her soft mens, literally translated :
fresh cheeks. She draws her sword from “ That fair maid lets down her ringlets, the glances of her eye-lashes, sharp and and she is completely hid in her hair, penetrating as the blade of her forefathers, which appears like the dark shades of night. and with it her eyes commit murder, though It is as if she were the brilliant day; and it be sheathed : is it not surprising that a as if the night had enveluped her in ob. sheathed sword should be so sharp against scurity. It is as if the full moon was its victims ! Graceful is every limb, slender shining in its splendour, and all the stars her waist, love-beaming are her glances, were concealed by its lustre. Her charms be- waving is her form. The damsel passes witch all around her, and all are anxious the night with musk under her veil, and its to offer their services; they live in her fragrance is increased by the still fresher beauties and loveliness, and they are im- essence of her breath. The lustre of day bued with sweetness from her perfections, sparkles from her forehead, and by the dark and receive new spirit from her graces. shades of her curling ringlets, night itself Revile me not for my love of her, for I am is driven away. When she siniles, bedistracted for her, and live but as the vic- tween her teeth is a moisture composed of tim of my love. I will conceal my affection wine, of rain, and of honey. Her throat in my soul till I can see that I am suffi. complains of the darkness of her neckciently fortunate one day to serve her. " laces. Alas! alas! the effects of that VOL. IV.
throat and that necklace! Will fortune hostile tribe of Cahtan rushed upon ever, O daughter of Malik, ever bless me them, dispersed the slaves, and carwith thy embrace, that would cure my ried off the women captive.
Our heart of the sorrows of love ? If my eye could champion being at hand, pursued, see her baggage camels, and her family, I would rub my cheeks on the hoofs of her though unarmed and on foot, the camels. I will kiss the earth where thou
horseman who had carried off his beart ; mayhap the fire of my love and extacy him from his saddle, and seizing his
loved Ibla, came up with him, tore may be quenched. Shall thou and I ever meet as formerly on Mount Saadi ? or will horse and arms, attacked and slew the messenger come from thee to announce twenty-five of the robbers, and discomthy meeting, or will he relate that thou art fited their companions. After this feat in the land of Nejd ? Shall we meet in the he became the idol of the women, and land of Shureba and Hima, and shall we began also to be regarded in a differlive in joy and in happiness ? I am the ent light by his father Shedad ; while, well known Antar, the chief of his tribe, and I shall die: but when I am gone, Prince Shas , and his other enemies
on the other hand, the hatred of history shall tell of me.”'
daily increased. Matters go on for some time in this
It would, however, far exceed our way.
Antar's love animates him to limits to continue to the end this the most heroic achievements, which detailed abstract of Antar's adventures. only tend to accumulate upon his What we have given will convey to head the envy and hatred of his own
our readers some idea of the style and relations, and of all the other chiets, character of this curious work. The except the king, and the generous story appears to be managed with a Prince Malik. Ple is traduced by a good deal of address, and the progress slave, anil bound and beaten by his and interest of the tale proceed togefather; he breaks his bonds, kills the ther without interruption. Allowance slave, and flies once more to his royal must, of course, be made for some protector. His uncles at length pre- barbarity and extravagance. Antar's vail upon his father to consent to have war songs please us much less than his bim destroyed ; and they proceed to
The latter are impassionthe pastures to lie in wait to slay him. cd, yet delicate and tender, and reWhile thus engaged, they observe plete with imagery and pathos ; the Antar galloping about, repeating love former, though often energetic, are, verses, and challenging the wild beasts on the whole, rather monotonous, and to the combat. A monstrous lion not unfrequently tinged with too comes forth, the flocks fly on every high a spice of foaming gasconade. side at his frightful roarings; but The following is a favourable speciAntar exulting, advances to meet him, men: without his sword, “ and as he rushed towards him, he addressed him in “I lust after the blows of the cleaving verse." He dispatches the lion as he did scimitars, and I idolize the thrusts of the the dog, when an infant, by iearing his well made spears. I long for the cups of jaws asunder ; cuts off his head, and death, when they are pure, and they circle
round the heads of the illustrious brave. having placed it below his own as a pillow, he falls asleep under a shady horses stumble among the death-bearing
It is the blow and the thrust when the tree. Shedad and liis brothers, hav- lances, and the armies are in confusion, ing witnessed this transaction, were that please me under the shades of the dust, terrified and astonished. They put like the wings of darkness, as the coursers off their purpose of attacking him, and storin over the earth, the barbs of the returned home to concert other mea lances plunge into obscurity, and start sures to get rid of him.
from it like the sparkling stars.
PaulSoon after this all the warriors of clions gleam in it in every direction, like the tribe were called to attend King the flashes of lightning in the darkness of Zoheir in an expedition. The women night. O by thy life, honour, and glory in their absence were amusing them- and eminence, and the accomplishment of selves with a festival, and the young who rushes into the combat magnanimous
hopes, and exaltation of fame are for him maidens were jocundly dancing on ly, where alone. in the height of glory, are the banks of a lake, when suddenly a the highest honours. Let him thrust cloud of dust appeared in the plain, among the warriors and the chiefs with a and a troop of seventy horsemen of the heart anmoved in the fall of sword blows.