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into all the weird, semi-symbolical ceremonies of the Servians; whilst, during the long winter evenings, nothing seems capable of affording them more appreciative entertainment 'than sitting by the fireside listening to their inexhaustible lays, sung as solos to the monotonous accompaniment of the guslè—a simple, one-stringed harp. The song-writer receives very little credit for his compositions if it be true, as we are informed is the case, that the Servians neither know nor care to know the authors of their songs and ballads, “which an unnoticeable bounty, like that of nature in her gifts, appears to have been for ever evolving from the dance of the hours.” No separate class of minstrels is found in Servia, whether composers or singers.

Servian poetry is characterised by "a serene and cheerful transparency;" indeed, this may be considered its predominant feature. The deep melancholy, the frequent obscurity, the dramatic vivacity, and other characteristics of our Northern and Western lays, are features seldom to be met with in the Servian ballads. Again, ideality is by no means a strong point in Servian poetry; the heroism and love of the actors to which we are introduced in these poems being frequently such as pertain to the uncultivated children of nature, whilst occasionally a semi-barbarous tone pervades the pourtrayal of these qualities. But, though we may not be elevated into a purer and loftier region, yet it is only fair to add that true poetry is so clearly apparent that the trivial and repulsive alike disappear.

Let us note briefly the conservative element in Servian poetry. That of recent times is as simple, touching, and peculiar as the productions of centuries ago. It appears as though a national mind had been giving vent, through varying generations, to its unchanging thought and emotion, and as though it only wanted some masterspirit to weave these fragmentary utterances into a series of harmonious epics that might, perhaps, rival even the brilliant Homeric productions themselves.

It is only in a collected form, as Goethe has felicitously observed, that these poems can be rightly enjoyed. One specimen, however, will be worth pages of disquisition. The following poetic narrative of the death of the hero Marko-after having survived, along with his horse Sharaz, numerous mysterious vicissitudes and adventures, belongs to the second earliest cycle of the Servian songs. The original is remarkable for its simplicity and pathos, qualities not at all wanting in the translation of Dr. Bowring. We may just state this—as are the several versions we have selected—is in the rhymeless, ten-syllabled, trochaic metre of the original.


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At the dawn of day, the noble Marko
Rode in sunlight on the Sabbath morning,
By the sea, along the Urvinian mountain.
Towards the mountain top as he ascended,
Suddenly his trusty Sharaz stumbled ;
Sharaz stumbled, and began to weep there.
Sad it fell upon the heart of Marko,
And he thus addressed his favourite Sharaz:-
*Ah! 'my faithful friend, my trusty Sharaz,
We have dwelt a hundred years and sixty,
Dwelt together as beloved companions,
And till now have never, never stumbled :
Thou hast stumbled now, my trusty Sharaz;
Thou hast stumbled, and thine eyes are weeping.
God alone can tell what fate awaits me;
One of us is surely doomed to perish,

And my life or thine is now in peril.'” Whilst Marko thus apostrophises his “trusty Sharaz," the "white announces to him his fate, continuing

"If thou wouldst doubt the mountain Vila,

Hasten to the summit of the mountain ;
Look to right and look to left around thee.
Thou wilt see two tall and slender fir trees,
Fir trees towering o'er the mountain forests;
They with verdant leaves are covered over ;
And between the fir trees is a fountain ;
Look, and afterwards rein back thy Sharaz;
Then alight, and bind him to the fir tree :
Bend thee down, and look into the fountain ;
Look-as if the fountain were a mirror-

Look, and thou shalt see when death awaits thee.' Acting upon the counsel of the Vila, our hero hastened to the mountain. Arriving upon the summit he looked around him, to the right and to the left :



* In the Servian songs, the supernatural beings with whom the Western and Northern imagination has peopled the solitary places, are but sparingly introduced ; the female appearances named Vilas—the forest nymphs-being about the only personages of this kind in whom the Servians place any faith.

“Then he saw two tall and slender fir trees,
Fir trees towering high above the forest,
Covered all with verdant leaves and branches.
• Then he reined his faithful Sharaz backward,
Then dismounted, tied him to the fir tree,
Bent him down, and looked into the fountain ;
Saw his face upon the water mirrored,
Saw his death-day written on the water.
Tears rushed down the visage of the hero ;
O thou faithless world! thou lovely flow'ret !

Thou wert lovely-a short pilgrim's journey—" And so, at considerable length, Marko laments his predicted doom; after which he arouses himself, breaks his sabre and lance, and flings to the winds his weapons.

He now drew
From his breast a golden tablet ;
From his pocket drew unwritten paper,
And the princely Marko thus inscribed it :
“He who visits the Urvina mountain,
He who seeks the fountain 'neath the fir trees,
And there finds the hero Marko's body,
Let him know that Marko is departed.
When he died, he had three well-filled purses :
How well filled? well filled with golden ducats.
One shall be his portion, and my blessing,
Who shall dig a grave for Marko's body:
Let the second be the Church's portion ;
Let the third be given to blind and maimed ones,
That the blind through earth in peace may wander,
And with hymns laud Marko's deeds of glory.'

And when Marko had inscribed the letter,
Lo! he stuck it on the fir tree's branches,
That it might be seen by passing travellers.
In the fount he threw his golden tablets,
Doffed his vest of green, and spread it calmly
On the grass, beneath a sheltering fir tree;
O'er his eyes he drew his Samar-kalpak,
Laid him down-yes ! laid him down for ever.

By the fountain lay the clay-cold Marko
Day and night; a long week he lay there.
Many travellers passed, and saw the hero,
Saw him lying by the public pathway :
And while passing, said, “The hero slumbers !'
Then they kept a more than common distance,

Fearing that they might disturb the hero." A pious Churchman from Vilindari, named Vaso, at length passes this way, accompanied by his young attendant Isaja. Attracted by what he believed to be the sleeping hero, and gazing tremblingly


around him, he spied, on the branches of the fir tree, the letter which conveyed to him the truth concerning Marko. He was dead.

“ From his horse the astonished Monk alighted,

Seized the hand of Marko ; Marko moved not!
Long he had been dead—long since departed ;
Tears rushed swiftly from the eye of Vaso,
Marko's fate filled all his thoughts with sorrow.
From the girdle then he took the purses,
Which he hid beneath his own white girdle :
Round and round inquired Iguman Vaso,
Where he should entomb the hero Marko ;
Round and round he looked in fond inquiry.
On his horse he flung the hero's body,
Brought it safely to the ocean's borders,
Thence he shipped it for the Holy Mountain,
Near the white church, Vilindari, landed ;
To that white church he conveyed the body ;
And, as wont, upon the hero's body
Funeral hymns were sung; and he was buried
In the white church aisle—the very centre ;
There the old man placed the hero's body.
But no monument he raised above him,
Lest when fves should mark the hero's grave-stone,

Theirs should be the joy, and theirs the triumph.” The most attractive of the Servian poems are those which relate to love. Of these we shall have something to say next month.

(To be continued.)


But yet

IGH in the heaven glimmered a tiny star,

Piercing the darkness like an angel's eye.
It could not flash its faint pale beam afar,

it lit a corner of the sky.
It was so small, the world would never mark,-

It sadly thought,—the fading of its light;
No heart would miss the cheering of its spark,

No shade would deepen on the pall of night.
But in a garret, where a sick man lay,

Athwart the window thick with dust and dim
Ofttimes it shone, soothing his pain away :

The tiny star was all the world to him.
Trin. Hall, Camb.

A. W. W. Dale.






N various parts of England human skulls are retained in houses,

connected with which are some curious superstitions; and we think a short paper on the subject will interest our readers. At Wardley Hall, an ancient pile erected in the reign of Edward VI., and situated about seven miles west of Manchester, is a skull, which has formed the theme for many chapters of Lancashire history. One of the most curious accounts is to be found in the manuscripts of Thomas Barritt, the Manchester antiquary, who visited Wardley Hall towards the end of the eighteenth century. He says: A human skull, which, time out of mind, hath had a superstitious veneration paid to it by (the occupiers of the hall], not permitting it to be removed from its situation, which is on the topmost step of a staircase. There is a tradition that, if removed, or ill-used, some uncommon noise and disturbance always follows, to the terror of the whole house ; yet I cannot persuade myself this is always the case. But some years ago, I and three of my acquaintances went to view this surprising piece of household furniture, and found it as above-mentioned, and bleached white with weather, that beats in upon it from a four-square window in the hall, which the tenants never permit to be glazed or filled up, thus to oblige the skull, which, they say, is unruly and disturbed at the hole not being always open. However, one of us, who was last in company with the skull, removed it from its place into a dark part of the room, and there left it, and returned home; but the night but one following, such a storm arose about the house, of wind and lightning, as tore down some trees, and unthatched Outhousing. We hearing of this, my father went over in a few days after to see his mother, who lived near the Hall, and was witness to the wreck the storm had made. Yet all this might have happened had the skull never been removed; but withal it keeps alive the

1 credibility of its believers. But what I can learn of the above affair from old people in the neighbourhood is, that a young man of the Downes family, being in London, one night in his frolics vowed to his companions that he would kill the first man he met; and accordingly he ran his sword through a man immediately, a sailor by trade.

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