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ROUSES FROM HIS AGONY.
and fix themselves in a little rocky bay, opening out to the lonely roar of the Atlantic.
“Behind them was the desert, off'ring fruit
And water for their need; on either side
Where better could the wanderers rest than here?” — p. 14. The Second Book begins with stating, that Roderick passed twelve months in penance and austerities, in this romantic retreat.—At the end of that time, his ghostly father dies; and his agonies become more intolerable, in the utter desolation to which he is now left. The author, however, is here a little unlucky in two circumstances, which he imagines and describes at great length, as aggravating his unspeakable misery; — one is the tameness of the birds — of which we have spoken already the other is the reflection which he very innocently puts into the mouth of the lonely king, that all the trouble he has taken in digging his own grave, will now be thrown away, as there will probably be nobody to stretch him out, and cover him decently up in it! However, he is clearly made out to be very miserable; and prays for death, or for the imposition of some more active penance
any thing But stillness, and this dreadful solitude ! At length he is visited, in his sleep, by a vision of his tender mother; who gives him her blessing in a gentle voice, and says, “ Jesus have mercy on thee.” The air and countenance of this venerable shade, as she bent in sorrow over her unhappy son, are powerfully depicted in the following allusion to her domestic calamities. He traced there, it seems, not only the settled sadness of her widowhood
“ But a more mortal wretchedness than when
SOUTHEY'S RODERICK_BEGINS HIS CRUSADE.
Which still his tortures forc'd from every pore;
Best comfort in her curses.”—p, 23, 24. While he gazes on this piteous countenance, the character of the vision is suddenly altered; and the verses describing the alteration afford a good specimen both of Mr. Southey's command of words, and of the profusion with which he sometimes pours them out on his readers.
“ And lo! her form was chang'd!
The shout of Victory ... of Spain and Victory!”—p. 24, 25. In awaking from this prophetic dream, he resolves to seek occasion of active service, in such humble capacity as becomes his fallen fortune; and turns from this first abode of his penitence and despair.
The Third Book sets him on his heroic pilgrimage ; and opens with a fine picture.
“ 'Twas now the earliest morning; soon the Sun,
Rising above Albardos, pour'd his light
Roderick pursued his way." - p. 27. We do not know that we could extract from the whole book a more characteristic passage than that which describes his emotion on his first return to the sight of
FIRST SIGHT OF HIS CONQUERED REALM.
man, and the altered aspect of his fallen people. Не approaches to the walls of Leyria.
“ The sounds, the sight
One stopt him short,
“ But when he reach'd
fields, and found himself alone
There he stopt
On heath and myrtle.” — p. 28——30. After this, he journeys on through deserted hamlets and desolated towns, till, on entering the silent streets of Auria, yet black with conflagration, and stained with blood, the vestiges of a more heroic resistance appear before him.
· Helmet and turban, scymitar and sword,
SOUTHEY'S RODERICK-MEETS WITH A HEROINE,
Each where they fell; and blood-flakes, parchd and crack'd
Tempted the houseless dog." - p. 36. While he is gazing on this dreadful scene with all the sympathies of admiration and sorrow, a young and lovely woman rushes from the ruins, and implores him to assist her in burying the bodies of her child, husband. and parents, who all lie mangled at her feet. He sadly complies; and listens, with beating heart and kindling eyes, to the vehement narrative and lofty vow of revenge with which this heroine closes her story. itself is a little commonplace; turning mainly upon
her midnight slaughter of the Moorish captain, who sought to make love to her after the sacrifice of all her family; but the expression of her patriotic devotedness and religious ardour of revenge, is given with great energy; as well as the effect which it produces on the waking spirit of the king. He repeats the solemn vow which she has just taken, and consults her as to the steps
the steps that may be taken for rousing the valiant of the land to their assist
The high-minded Amazon then asks the name of her first proselyte.
". Ask any thing but that!' The fallen king replied. My name was lost
When from the Goths the sceptre past away!'” She rejoins, rather less felicitously, “ Then be thy name Maccabee ;” and sends him on an embassage to a worthy abbot among the mountains; to whom he forthwith reports what he had seen and witnessed. Upon hearing the story of her magnanimous devotion, the worthy priest instantly divines the name of the heroine.
Oh none but Adosinda! . . none but she, . .
PROGRESS OF HIS MISSION.
With ever-anxious love: She breath'd through all
Turn'd a deaf ear alike,” &c.— p. 53–54. The King then communes on the affairs of Spain with this venerable Ecclesiastic and his associates; who are struck with wonder at the lofty mien which still shines through his sunk and mortified frame.
They scann'd his countenance : But not a trace
Might else have sprinkled there."- p. 57. At length, the prelate lays his consecrating hands on him ; and sends him to Pelayo, the heir-apparent of the sceptre, then a prisoner or hostage at the court of the Moorish prince, to say that the mountaineers are still unsubdued, and look to him to guide them to vengeance.
These scenes last through two books; and at the beginning of the Fifth, Roderick sets out on his mission. Here, while he reposes himself in a rustic inn, he hears the assembled guests at once lamenting the condition of Spain, and imprecating curses on the head of its guilty king. He says a few words vehemently for himself; and is supported by a venerable old man, in whom he soon recognises an ancient servant of his mother's house — the guardian and playmate of his infant days. Secure from discovering himself, he musters courage to ask if his mother be still alive; and is soothed to milder sorrow by learning that she is. At dawn he resumes his course; and kneeling at a broken crucifix on the road, is insulted by a Moor, who politely accosts him with a kick, and the dignified address of “God's curse confound thee!” for which Roderick knocks him down, and stabs him with his own dagger. The worthy old man, who name is Siverian, comes up just as this feat is performed, and is requested to assist in “ hiding the carrion ;” after which they proceed lovingly together.