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Chained in the market place he stood, &c.
The story of the African Chief, related in this ballad, may be found in the African Repository for April, 1825. The subject of it was a warrior of majestic stature, the brother of Yarradee, king of the Solima nation. He had been taken in battle, and was brought in chains for sale to the Rio Pongas, where he was exhibited in the market-place, his ankles still adorned with the massy rings of gold which he wore when captured. The refusal of his captor to listen to his offers of ransom drove him mad, and he died a maniac.
THE CONJUNCTION OF JUPITER AND VENUS.
This conjunction was said in the common calendars to have taken place on the 2d of August, 1826. This, I believe, was an error, but the apparent approach of the planets was sufficiently near for poetical purposes.
This poem is nearly a translation from one by José Maria de Heredia, a native of the Island of Cuba, who published at New York, six or seven years since, a volume of poems in the Spanish language.
Neither this, nor any of the other sonnets in the collection, with the exception of the one from the Portuguese, is framed according to the legitimate Italian model, which, in the author's opinion, possesses no peculiar beauty for an ear accustomed only to the metrical forms of our own language. The sonnets in this collection are rather poems in fourteen lines than sonnets.
The slim papaya ripens, &c.
Papaya-papaw, custard-apple. Flint, in his excellent work on the Geography and History of the Western States, thus describes this tree and its fruit :
"A papaw shrub, hanging full of fruits, of a size and weight so disproportioned to the stem, and from under long and richlooking leaves, of the same yellow with the ripened fruit, and of an African luxuriance of growth, is to us one of the richest spectacles that we have ever contemplated in the array of the woods. The fruit contains from two to six seeds, like those of the tamarind, except that they are double the size. The pulp of the fruit resembles egg-custard in consistence and appearance. It has the same creamy feeling in the mouth, and unites the taste of eggs, cream, sugar, and spice. It is a natural custard, too luscious for the relish of most people."
Chateaubriand, in his Travels, speaks disparagingly of the fruit of the papaw; but on the authority of Mr. Flint, who must know more of the matter, I have ventured to make my western lover enumerate it among the delicacies of the wilderness.
The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye.
The prairies of the West, with an undulating surface, rolling prairies, as they are called, present to the unaccustomed eye a singular spectacle when the shadows of the clouds are passing rapidly over them. The face of the ground seems to fluctuate and toss like the billows of the sea.
The prairie-hawk that, poised on high,
Flaps his broad wings, yet moves not.
I have seen the prairie-hawk balancing himself in the air for hours together, apparently over the same spot; probably watching
These ample fields
Nourished their harvests.
The size and extent of the mounds in the valley of the Mississippi, indicate the existence, at a remote period, of a nation at once populous and laborious, and therefore probably subsisting by agriculture.
The rude conquerors
Seated the captive with their chiefs.
Instances are not wanting of generosity like this among the North American Indians towards a captive or survivor of a hostile tribe on which the greatest cruelties had been exercised.
SONG OF MARION'S MEN.
The exploits of General Francis Marion, the famous partisan warrior of South Carolina, form an interesting chapter in the annals of the American revolution. The British troops were so harassed by the irregular and successful warfare which he kept up at the head of a few daring followers, that they sent an officer to remonstrate with him for not coming into the open field and fighting like a gentleman and a Christian."
Several learned divines, with much appearance of reason, in particular Dr. Lardner, have maintained that the common notion respecting the dissolute life of Mary Magdalen is erroneous, and that she was always a person of excellent character. Charles Taylor, the editor of Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible, takes the same view of the subject.
The verses of the Spanish poet here translated refer to the "woman who had been a sinner," mentioned in the seventh chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, and who is commonly confounded with Mary Magdalen.
FATIMA AND RADUAN.
This and the following poems belong to that class of ancient Spanish ballads, by unknown authors, called Romances Moriscos --Moriscan romances or ballads. They were composed in the 14th century, some of them, probably, by the Moczs, who then
lived intermingled with the Christians; and they relate the loves and achievements of the knights of Grenada.
LOVE AND FOLLY.-(FROM LA FONTAINE.)
This is rather an imitation than a translation of the poem of the graceful French fabulist.
These eyes shall not recall thee, &c.
This is the very expression of the original-No te llamarán mis ojos, &c. The Spanish poets early adopted the practice of calling a lady by the name of the most expressive feature of her countenance, her eyes. The lover styled his mistress "ojos bellos," beautiful eyes; "ojos serenos," serene eyes. Green eyes seem to have been anciently thought a great beauty in Spain, and there is a very pretty ballad by an absent lover, in which he addressed his lady by the title of " green eyes;" supplicating that he may remain in her remembrance.
¡Ay ojuelos verdes!
Ay los mis ojuelos !
Ay, hagan los cielos
Que de mi te acuerdes!
Say, Love-for thou didst see her tears, &c.
The stanza beginning with this line stands thus in the original :