Page:Modern poets and poetry of Spain.djvu/227

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181
FRANCISCO MARTINEZ DE LA ROSA.

out,"—"without vagueness or artificial labour, but with phrases that soften and ideas that satisfy the mind," becoming the subject.

Another anonymous critic finds the writer dwelling too much on the remembrance of his own sorrows, instead of offering consolation to the mourner, and some incongruity in felicitating him on having witnessed the last pangs of mortality. But these topics, on such an occasion, are true to nature. Grief is apt to be egotistical, and the mind cannot but dwell on the subject in which it is absorbed. Nor is the other a less natural suggestion; and thus we may observe, that the great master of antiquity represents the sweetest of his characters lamenting that she had not been by the side of her lord at such a time, as the height of her misfortune, to receive his last embrace, and his last word to be remembered ever after:—

Ἕκτορ, ἐμοὶ δὲ μάλιστα λελείψεται ἄλγεα λυγρά.
Οὐ γάρ μοι θνήσκων λεχέων ἐκ χεῖρας ὄρεξας
Οὐ δὲ τί μοι εἶπες πυκινὸν ἔπος, οὗ τέ κεν αἰεὶ
Μεμνῄμην νύκτας τε καὶ ἤματα δακρυχέουσα.

In this 'Epistle to the Duke de Frias,' Martinez de la Rosa has also introduced, as a fit consideration in his grief, the same topic of the instability of earthly things, which "the Roman friend of Rome's least mortal mind" offered him on a similar occasion of sympathy. But it also seems a favourite subject of our poet's thoughts at all times, as befitting the philosopher and the scholar, to dwell on the passing nature of worldly greatness, and so lead the mind to higher suggestions than those of the present moment. These ideas he has carried further in another work he has published, 'Book for Children,' in which, like many other eminent characters, who have given the aid of their talents to the development of juvenile minds, he has inculcated lessons of virtue, and the