Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/548

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490 Reviews,

Mr. Bernard then translated the German into English. He adds : "Whenever we came to a passage that was at all recondite, we set about the conquest of it by means of metaphor and illustrative anecdote and fearless flights of imagination." When Mr. Bernard left Bulgaria the material was written down in German and sent to him. Slaveikoff is the author of several books in his own language, and he contributes an essay to this on the Folk-sotig of the Bulgars, in which he gives an account of the chief printed collections of songs, and he claims great beauty and value for them. Some of them also contain very ancient and even classical elements, e.g. the story of Qidipus. The great Bulgarian hero is Kralj Marko. The poems are written in Hnes of irregular length and rhythm, without rime, and the English version is of the same type.

We frankly confess that Mr. Bernard's account of his method fills us with consternation. When we read through the pieces we find much that is interesting and even beautiful ; but how can we tell whether this came from the lion of Sofia or from some fearless flight of Mr. Bernard's imagination? It cannot be denied that serious students will have to use this book with great caution, and base no hypotheses upon it unless they can check it by other means. We have no first-hand knowledge of Bulgarian, but we know from those who have that the Bulgarian people is rich in folk-lore and folk-literature, and that they have printed large quantities of both. It is therefore greatly to be desired that some competent scholar should search this field, from which very little has been transplanted into English.

It will be worth while, however, briefly to indicate some of the contents of the volume. In myth we have the Marriage of the Sun with a maiden named Grozdana (Spring). Religion and myth are seen in The Plagtie and God; "old, worthy God" could do nothing with Plague, who would not stay at his bidding \ " when God encountered me," she says at the end, with grim ferocity, "he cast no light upon my soul." The Last Journey of St. Peter's Mother plays on a theme familiar in Italy ;^ this

1 Pitre, vi. Biblioteca, 65 ; Nov. Pop. Toscane, 159, etc. : cf. also Baron Corvo, In His Image.