Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

moned to the dining room, a female dornestic, in the usage of the East, presented to each person in succession a large basou with soap, and poured tepid water upon the hands from a brazen ewer. This finished, we seated ourselves at the table, which was simply a circular pewter tray, still called Trapeza, placed upon a stool, and without cloth or other appendage. The dinner consisted generally of teo or twelve dishes, presented singly at the table by ao Albanian servant, habited in his national costume. The dishes afforded some, though not great variety ; and the enumeration of those at one dinner may suffice as a general example of the common style of this repast in a Greek family of the higher class :- First, a disb of boiled rice flavoured witb lemon juice; then a plate of muttop boiled to rags ; another plate of mutton cooked with spinach or onions, and rich sauces ; a Turkish dish composed of force meat with vegetables, made into balls; another Turkish dish which appears as a large flat cake. the outside of a rich and greasy paste, the inside composed of eggs, vegetables, with a small quantity of meat: following this, a plate of baked mutton, with raisins and almonds, boileil rice with oil, omelet balls, a dish of thin cakes made of flour, eggs and honey; or sometimes in lieu of these, small cakes made of flour, coffee, and eggs ; and the repast finished by a desert of grapes, raisins and chesnuts. But for the presence of strangers the family would have eat in common from the dishes successively brought to the table, and even with separate plates before them this was frequently done. The thin wine of the country was drunk during the repast ; but neither in eating or drinking is it common for the Greeks to indulge in excess.

• The dinner tray removed, the basin and ewer were again carried round--a practice which is seldom omitted even among the inferior classes in this country. After an interval of a few minutes a glass of liquor and coffee were handed to us, and a Turkish pipe presented to any one who desired it. In summer a short siesta is generally taken at this hour, but now it was not considered necessary. After passing an hour or two on the couches of the apartment some visitors generally arrived, and the family moved to the larger room before described. These visitors were Greeks of the city, some of them relations, others friends of the family, who did not come on formal invitation, but in an unreserved way, to pass the evening in conversation. This mode of society is common in loannina, and, but that the women take little part in it, migbt be considered extremely pleasant. When a visitor enters the apartment, he salutes, and is saluted, by the right hand placed on the left breast-a method of address at once simple and dignified. Seated on the couch, sweetmeats, coffee and a pipe are presented to him ; and these form in fact the only articles of entertainment.'-vol. i. pp. 227 -232.

In the present degraded state of Greece we should look in vain for any progress in the arts of painting or sculpture; these can flourish only in a wealthy and enlightened nation. It is, however, not a little remarkable that the moderns should have so completely lost all traces of those dramatic exhibitions of which the

ancients

ancients were so fond : not a vestige of these are left; nor have they either taste or skill for music. Mr. Haygarth heard at Athens

songs exactly such as an admirer of antiquity would wish forthat is to say, as indifferent as can well be imagined. As far, indeed, as the most careful inquiries have been carried into the state of music among the ancient Greeks, it appears that their scale was always imperfect ; that they were ignorant of singing or playing in parts, and that their powers, both of voice and instruments, were exceedingly limited. In the same state they still remain. The beauty and expression of Greek and Turkish music, so rapturously applauded by M. Guys, have no existence.

However disheartening the comparison may be, between the ancient and modern Greeks, we would fain persuade ourselves that the moral regeneration of the latter is not an impracticable event. One thing is at least certain—they have begun, of late years, to direct their attention to the pursuits of literature. • After an interval of twelve centuries,' says Haygarth, · their barp is again strung, and though the hand that sweeps the cords is unskilful, and the spirit that inspires the composition weak, yet the rudest efforts of the descendants of so illustrious an ancestry must always be interesting.' These efforts in intellectual improve. ment, however, are not rude, nor have they been unsuccessful. The progress made, in the last thirty years, in the ancient Greek language, and in general literature, is very considerable; and in the same period the Romaic, or vulgar language, has made approaches towards the Helenic. That language, in its worst state, may be considered to bear about the same relation to the ancient Greek, as the old Italian to the Latin; perhaps somewhat closer; the approximation, therefore, to the ancient Greek standard may not be attended with those inconveniences which have been apprehended from the recent amended editions of their standard books, while it must necessarily tend to the revival of the ancient authors.

The Greeks of loannina, in particular, are celebrated among their countrymen for their literary acquirements. Hitherto they have contined themselves chiefly to translations of the best modern works, which, through the liberality of their merchants, have been executed abroad and they have done wisely. loannina has two academies; one of them kept by Athanasius Psalida, considered as one of the chiefs of the literature of modern Greece ; the other, devoted to a younger class of scholars, is conducted by Valano, wbose father, the author of some mathematical treatises, preceded him. The physician Sakallarius bas produced several original works as well as translations. Koletti, another physician, has published a chemical treatise in the Romaic language, chiefly on the modern doctrines of heat, and translated the Geometry of Legendre, and the Arithinetic of Biot.

In the flourishing town of Volo, situated at the head of the gulf of the same name, and containing about seven hundred houses built of stone ; in the large and populous town of Makri. nitza, and the group of villages called Zagora, and indeed in the whole region of Thessaly, from the vale of Tempé to the gulf of Volo, the Greeks enjoy certain advantages in situation and commerce, which afford them more liberty and greater scope for exertion than are common to most of their countrymen. • Much of the literature of modern Greece,' says Dr. Holland, • has come from this quarter.' The authors of the · Modern Greek Geography,' were natives of Melies, and so is Gazi, the conductor of the Equñs ó Aoyos, at Vienna Philipidi, another native of Melies, has published translations of La Lande's Astronomy and of the Logic of Condillac ; and Kavra, of Ampelachia, has translated the Arithmetic and Algebra of Euler, and the Abbé Millot's Elements of History.

The Hellenic language is now extensively cultivated both in and out of Greece. In Constantinople are two schools : one for ancient Greek; the other for logic, physics, and mathematics. At Smyrna there is a Greek college in which the Hellenic language is taught, two on the Island of Scio, and one on Patmos ; two at loannina, and tiyo at Athens ; and several in the lonian islands, Iu Venice, in Vienna, and many towns of Austria and Hungary, are free schools for the education of the Greeks in their ancient language, and the universities of Padua, Pisa, and Bologna, are open to them. To what extent it is intended to carry the university of Cephallonia, of which the Earl of Guilford has been appointed Chancellor, we know not; but we cannot help thinking that, if the money to be expended upon it were appropriated to the education of the Grecian youths at our own universities, they would have a fairer chance of becoming better scholars, better men, and consequently better patriots, than by receiving their education in the lonian islands.

Upon the whole, however, the Greeks may be considered as in a progressive state of improvement; and, with their literary improvement, will necessarily be increased that desire for the restoration of their independence, which they have never wholly lost sight of, and of which every lover of freedom must wish to see the accomplishment. There is much, however, to be done before they can be considered ripe for such an event. In their present divided and dispersed condition, without the means of communication, without military skill or military resources, ignorant besides as the bulk of the people are, and low in morals, they are not fit to govern themselves. In such a state, the sudden removal of the Turkish power would prove an evil instead of a good. If from the Achæan league to the present day, the states of Greece never united in any general object, it will hardly be expected of them when they are inore separated by their character, and more divided in their views, that they should agree for the accomplishment of one and the same object. Let it be recollected also, that the circumstances of the world are totally changed since they were an independent people. Greece, which was a civilized and polished nation in the midst of barbarians, is now, compared with the rest of Europe, herself barbarous; and the eternal warfare and disputes which, in her most flourishing periods, prevailed among her petty states, could not now be tolerated. Mere nominal freedom, therefore, in her present state of ignorance, superstition and disunion, would prove a greater evil than the yoke of the Turks. It is perfectly idle to talk, with Sonnini and others of his description, of the restoration of Greece to independence, and of the sacred duty of the nations of Christendom to unite and form another crusade for the liberation of the Greeks. The first victims of any war undertaken for their freedom would be the Greeks themselves. Of this they had fatal experience in the Russian crusade for the liberation of the Morea. While we hoped,' says one of them, that the days of our ancient liberty were about to regain their splendour, our houses were set on fire, our daughters were ravished, by the very soldiers who came to defend our country, and unhappy Greece felt only the weight of her chains encreased.'- But on this subject we have already stated our sentiments at large,) No. XX. Art. VII.) and circumstances have not materially changed since that time.

It has been justly observed by Mr. Douglas, that the seeds of rational liberty will never prosper in a soil not antecedently prepared by proper cultivation to receive them. The Greeks are accordingly preparing their soil by extending the benefits of education ; but they have only yet commenced their formidable task. Education must become much more general ; true religion and morality must be far more widely disseminated among the lower orders; the idle ceremonies, the numerous fast days, the multitude of papás and caloyers must be greatly abridged ; the land cultivated with more care ; roads of communication opened ; the fisheries encouraged; coinmerce extended ; the oriental custom of shutting up their women and denying them the blessings of an enlightened education must be abolished ; and, above all, those who are at present at the head of the Greek church, and those who, from their wealth or power, have any sway over the people, must be more than ordinarily careful not to suffer the poisonous dogmas of infidelity imported from the Universities of Germany and Italy, to be spread among their youth, before they can rationally aspire to the enjoyment of that freedom of which they will only then be truly worthy. Vol. xxii. No. 46.-Q. R. 46

ART.

Art. III. A Letter to the Editor of the Quarterly Review.

By Wm. Parnell, Esq. Dublin. 1820. W E generally have the charity to refrain from noticing the

answers which angry authors make to our criticisms; but we have departed from this rule on special occasions ; and we are induced to do so in the present instance, because we conceive that, amidst a good deal of petty dispute, Mr. Parnell has in. volved in the controversy some topics of general interest.

The · Letter before us is a protest against the justice of our opinion of · Maurice and Berghetta, or the Priest of Rahery,' the review of which has, we have reason to know, amused not a few readers who had thrown away the work itself in disgust.-We in. timated that Mr. Pamell, Knight of the Shire for Wicklow, was the supposed author of this strange novel; he here avows it, and defends his offspring with even more than parental partiality. But as he affects to write calmly, (though we can perceive that he fancies be has levelled some sly and stinging personalities at us,) we shall examine his Reply without any other objects than those of correcting error and establishing truth.

Any one who reads the novel, the review, and the reply, will be satisfied that even if all Mr. Parnell's recriminations were well founded, they would affect but little, if at all, the real question

the merit of his work. He might have corrected us on points of agricultural or genealogical detail (such as his pamphlet dwells upon) without disproving the substantial charges : but, in truth, even that paltry victory we cannot allow him; he is wrong throughout-his novel was as dull as an argumentation, and now his argument is as flimsy as a novel.

Mr. Parnell's' first ground of complaint is, that the person selected to review his work should be totally ignorant of the most ordinary facts of farming.' p. 4.

Some may incline to think that if we had amongst us one person ignorant of the most ordinary facts of farming,' he was just the person to whom might be committed, without any great impropriety, the examination of a novel. But Mr. Parnell is not of this opinion, nor indeed were we. We can assure this gentleman that we are so far from being totally ignorant on that subject, that we have entertained many practical farmers by our accurate and judicious accounts of his discoveries. To prove our ignorance, bowever, Mr. Parnell employs three pages in abusing the fac (the long handled spade), with which he says "an Irish labourer always works as timidly as a lady tuning her harp-strings :' but when did we say a word in defence of the fac? Mr. Parnell recommended the short handled spade, the use of which occasioned a great

stoop,'

[ocr errors]

cannot

« AnteriorContinuar »