Text: Burton R. Pollin, “The Broadway Journal: Text (May 1845),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. III: Broadway Journal (Text) (1986), pp. 106-135 (This material is protected by copyright)


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CRITICAL NOTICES.

(a) The Prisoners of Perote; containing a Journal kept by the Author, who was captured by the Mexicans, at Mier, December 23, 1842, and released from Peyote May 16, 1844. By William Preston Snapp. New York: Burgess, Stringer & Co.

This is a book at all points entertaining, and now and then imbued with a vivid and terrible interest. We quote some instances of Mexican vagrancy and audacity: — if these things were not known to be fact, we should speak of them as capital romance:

“Among the numerous wretches who, as professional beggars, swarm the streets of this city, or in the filthy guise of blackened leperos, haunt the pave by day, and prowl for plunder at night, are outcasts and cut-throats, whom previous convictions have deadened to all sense of shame, and habitual vice and indolence trained to every deed of violence. In the portals of the churches, beneath the walls of the convents, in the markets, or their lairs in the suburbs, they crouch to watch for their unsuspecting prey, and wo to that unarmed pedestrian, who, in reply to their Por el amor de Dios, reveals a purse to tempt their ferocious cupidity.

“Banded in fraternities, that reach from the pulque shops to the palace, their organization has been known to reveal itself through every grade of rank, from the roofless footpad to those nearest in authority to the president. An instance of audacity is authentically related to have occurred some years ago, which not unaptly illustrates the lawless spirit of these plunderers. The mules of a conducta were ranged in two files in the square of the Adouana (or custom-house), and, surrounded by a strong squadron of cavalry, waited to be loaded with the bags of specie, containing fifteen hundred dollars each, and piled up in the square to be sent off. A large crowd was as usual assembled to look on, when a gang of mounted thieves charged through the streets leading to the square, and riding down idlers and troops, seized each a bag of the treasure, and bore it off in triumph.

“The energy of the present government has done much to reduce the frequency and insolence of these outrages about the capital, yet they continue to prevail in all their wonted atrocity elsewhere through the republic. Not a league of their only national highway from the city to Vera Cruz, but is the scene of some robbery within the year, the public coach being repeatedly pillaged within hail of the cities that lie on the route.

“The following notorious instance of a participation in these enormities by persons of rank, is familiar to all persons of inquiry who have recently been in Mexico.

“The Swiss consul, (M. Mairet,) a merchant and man of fortune, lived in the western suburbs of the city, and was suspected to have a considerable sum of money about his house. His dwelling was more than ordinarily secure, being built in the strongest manner, with grated windows, and several ferocious dogs were kept chained in the court and on the terrace.

“A man in the habit of a priest, accompanied by two others, appeared at his gate one day, and announced to the servant, who answered, their summons, that they desired to purchase some merchandise of the consul, in which he was known to deal. Upon being admitted, two of them seized the servant, bound him to a pillar, and gagged him, whilst the third relocked the gate. All three then passed into the house, where they found Mairet alone, and after stabbing and gashing him repeatedly, finally compelled him to disclose the place where his treasure was secreted. This, to the amount of some ten thousand dollars, with various articles of valuable plate, they brought off; the consul only surviving his wounds long enough to re. late the particulars of the affair, with such descriptions of the assassins, as it was thought would lead to their apprehension. A noisy search and pursuit was kept up by the police, until a miserable creature was arrested, tried, and garroted, upon the ground of some declarations said to have fallen front him whilst grossly intoxicated. No money or article of the plunder being found in his possession, nor any corroborative circumstance accompanying his insane confession the foreigners denounced the execution as a cowardly subterfuge of the government to alone for its corruption and remissness by a double murder.

“Some time elapsed, when two daring robberies were again perpetrated in rapid succession upon wealthy monasteries of the city. These were entered and pillaged of more than thirty thousand dollars, and the church being roused and combined in the pursuit with the civil authorities, finally traced them home to the door of Colonel Janes, an officer of standing, and acting aid-de-camp of Santa Anna. This worthy colonel, having access to the passport office, was more than suspected of having planned several previous robberies of the public coach, availing himself of the information thus acquired to direct his accomplices where the booty, was such as to indemnify an attack.

“The trial of himself and his associates for the pillage of the monnasteries [[monasteries]] lasted nearly three years, every effort being made during this time by Santa Anna and other officials, to screen him from conviction. Their attempts, however, proving abortive, and sentence of death being finally awarded against him, it fell to the lot of the dictator, who had, in the meanwhile, risen to the presidency, to ratify the verdict, and order his execution. This he declined to do upon one pretext and another, granting the condemned respite after respite, until popular indignation became exasperated to the highest pitch. Dreading the fury his equivocal course bad excited in the public mind, and alarmed by threats of a revolutionary character, Santa Anna retired from the city, and left the task of consummating the vengeance of the law to General Bravo.

“Janes was finally executed, and, before suffering, confessed his numerous crimes. Amongst these was the murder of Mairet, in which, as in all, he lead the connivance of Santa Anna, and other accomplices. He died, invoking the most direful curses upon their heads, for abandoning him and concurring in his death.” [page 107:]

In justice to Mr. Brantz Mayer, the author of “Mexico as it Was and Is,” we must say that the “New York Mirror” has lately pointed out some very remarkable plagiarisms from Mr. M.’s book, perpetrated by Mr. Snapp.

———

(a) Remarks on an Address delivered before the Near England Society of the City of New York, December 23, 1844, ny George P. Marsh. Boston: C. Stimpson.

The manner of writing and punctuating the title-page of this pamphlet, is every thing. The remarks are certainly not by George P. Marsh They are by some person anonymous, and are levelled against Mr. M, — a point which it is just as well to understand. The treatise is pungently written, but we disagree with it throughout in its estimate of Mr. Marsh’s eloquence. The floridity which is objectionable in a written book, is not unfrequently a merit in an oration. In this case we can easily conceive not only that Mr. Marsh’s oratory was enthusiastically received, but that it was skilfully planned for the purpose of ensuring an enthusiastic reception.

———

(b) Table-Talk. By William Hazlitt. Part 1. No. 6 of Wiley and Putnam’s Library of Choice Reading, pp. 200. Price 37, 1-2 cts.

This is a reprint of the two volumes published in Paris by Galignani, under the author’s own supervision, the essays having been selected from the four volumes published by himself in London. The second part will comprise the essays which the author would probably have included in another series which he intended to publish in Paris. It would be hardly a remove from sheer impertinence to recommend the essays of Hazlitt to ordinary readers; he has been more universally read in this country than any other English essayist, if we except Macaulay. His egotism, though as obtrusive as Cobbett’s, is one of the charms of his style, for it is only the egotism of a dunce that is offensive. The two first essays in this volume, on the pleasure of painting, we would recommend to the consideration of all young artists who have not been abroad. The author had made very satisfactory progress in the art when he went to the Louvre while it contained the fruits of Napoleon’s conquests in Italy, and he abandoned his easel. He saw a variety of excellence that he felt himself unable ever to equal, and he gave up painting in despair. Yet he had, unquestionably, the genius of a painter, and his writings on art are among the most valuable of his productions. His principles may be safely trusted, but his criticisms on pictures must be taken with many grains of allowance for his enthusiasm. He could see charms in a picture which no one else could discover, and as his criticisms were generally based upon recollections, he sometimes attributed qualities and features to a work which on inspection it was found to lack. The essay in this collection on a picture by Nicolas Poussin would lead a novice to expect qualities in a landscape which no work of art can ever possess. The critic attributes to the work itself the sublime ideas which it suggested to his mind, but which the painter himself probably never knew. But the essay in the collection from which most practical good may be gained is that on the ignorance of the learned. It is just the thing to take the starch out of a pedant and a book-worm, and we would recommend it to the sensible ignorant for their consolation.

———

(c) American Facts. Notes and Statistics relative to the government, resources, engagements, &c. &c. &c. of the United States of America. By George Palmer Putnam, member of the New York Historical Society; Hon. Mem. of the Connecticut Hist. Soc., Hon. Secretary of the American Art-Union; Author of an introduction to history, &c. With portraits and a map. London and New York. Wiley and Putnam.

A handsome volume of nearly three hundred pages, containing a large amount of statistics, well calculated to enlighten English readers in respect to this country. We cannot understand the motive of the author in affixing to a work of this kind such a ponderous joke as the absurd review of British poets which appeared in the North American Review a year ago. It cannot surely help the sale of the book in London, and it will hardly have the effect of soothing any of the harsh feelings which may be still entertained by English writers towards American authors, or the American people at large. It is attaching too much importance to the paltry jealousy or ill nature of an anonymous scribbler to make his niaiseries the subject of national recriminations. The portraits are chiefly valuable as being impressions from plates produced by the newly discovered process of multiplying prints. [page 108:]

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THE MAGAZINES.

(a) THE ARISTIDEAN. — The April, or second number of the Aristidean, is a decided improvement on the first. Some of the papers are exceedingly good-precisely what Magazine papers should be — vigorous, terse, and independent. “Travels in Texas” is very interesting. “Richard Parker’s Widow” is also admirable; and “Hans Spiegen” is quite in the Blackwood vein. There is a long review or rather running commentary upon Longfellow’s poems. It is, perhaps, a little coarse, but we are not disposed to call it unjust; although there are in it some opinions which, by implication, are attributed to ourselves individually, and with which we cannot altogether coincide. “Shood-Swing” is queer, and the “Notes about Men of Note” are amusing. Of the political papers we shall not speak. There is not much verse in the number, but some of it is admirable. “The Necessity of Strangling” is worthy of Hood, and “The Hanging of Polly Bodine” is perhaps a better thing in the same way. To show how high an opinion we entertain of the lines with the wretched title of “A Heart-Burst,” we will take the liberty of purloining them in full. They are, we think, the composition of the editor, Mr. English, and it is many a long day since we have seen anything so truly beautiful — in its peculiar mode of beauty:

Fill me no cup of Xeres’ wine to her my heart holds dear;

If you insist to pledge with me, then drop a silent tear.

For she I love is far away, and months must pass before

Her heart shall leap to hear again my foot-tramp at the door.

And thus apart, my weary heart, torn both with hopes and fears,

Gives to my spirit wretchedness, and to my eyelids tears.

You laugh and quaff your Xeres’ wine around the festive board,

And jest with names of those you love, which secret you should hoard;

And I conceal how much I feel, for words could not express

The sorrow weeping in my heart, the abject wretchedness,

Illumined by a single hope — God grant it not in vain!

That foes may cease to part our hearts, and we may meet again.

In mechanical execution — that is to say, in its general external and internal arrangement, the “Aristidean” is infinitely before any American magazine: — although the cover, perhaps, might be improved. In regard to its morale, the rock on which it seems most in danger of splitting is coarseness of vituperation. But if we are to choose between this and namby-pambyism, give us by all means not the latter. We sincerely wish the editor all the success which his vigorous abilities deserve. [page 109:]

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NATIONAL NOMENCLATURE.

[[Probably Not by Poe]]

(a) ALTHOUGH we have approved the recommendation of the Committee of the Historical Society, in regard to changing the national name, yet we must acknowledge that we have had but little faith that the people would be influenced by the recommendation. Names of countries must be of spontaneous generation, but when one is given by law it may be as well not to disturb it. As our nation extends its boundaries, the States must grow more provincial, and from necessity the people will be called after their provinces rather than the continent which they inhabit. We shall learn to call each other, and shall be distinguished abroad as Vermonters, Virginians or Texans. But there is a difficulty in the awkward names of some of the States — as Massachusetts, Ohio, New Hampshire, &c. Necessity, however, who is always ready with an invention, when one is needed, will never fail to supply a nick-name without the help of any other Society than society at large. The following list of national nick-names, which we cut from an exchange paper, shows how little we need apprehend a dearth of distinctive titles by which we may be known.

The inhabitants of

Maine, are called Foxes.

New Hampshire, Granite boys.

Massachusetts, Bay Staters.

Vermont, Green Mountain Boys.

Rhode-Island, Gun Flints.

Connecticut, Wooden Nutmegs.

New York, Knickerbockers.

New Jersey, Clam-catchers.

Pennsylvania, Leatherheads.

Delaware, Musk-rats.

Maryland, Craw-thumpers.

Virginia, Beagles.

North Carolina, Tar-boilers.

South Carolina, Weasels.

Georgia, Buzzards.

Louisiana, Cre-owls.

Alabama, Lizards.

Kentucky, Corn-crackers.

Tennessee, Cotton-manies,

Ohio, Buck-eyes.

Indiana, Hoosiers.

Illinois, Suckers.

Missouri, Pewks.

Mississippi, Tadpoles.

Arkansas, Gophers.

Michigan, Wolverines.

Florida. Fly-up-the-Creeks,

Wisconsin, Badgers.

Iowa, Hawkeyes.

N. W. Territory, Prairie Dogs.

Oregon, Hard Cases.

——————

(b) POPULAR LECTURES. — We looked into some forty or fifty exchange papers one day last week, and found in every one of them, from city and country, Mrs. Caudle’s lectures from Punch. This led us first to read them and then to reflect on the cause of their popularity. They are evidently a hit. Yet they possess no particular interest, no story, no plot, no wit, no puns, nothing thrilling or exciting, but only a few little touches of nature which have found admission into every heart at which they have knocked. We will venture to assert that no lady will see anything to admire or laugh at in Mrs. Caudle’s lectures. But they are immensely popular among husbands, who have all heard something like them, and out of pure spite to their Mrs. Caudles, all who have newspapers under their control, publish the lectures to let the world into secrets that they dare not directly divulge. Laman Blanchard has been named as the author of these popular lectures, but that is an error: they are by another band. Let him be who he may, he relates his own experiences; there is more truth in Mrs. Calldle’s curtain lectures than in any course of scientific lectures that we are acquainted with. Dr. Lardner’s were not half so popular because they were not half so true.

THE WAY THEY DO THINGS IN ENGLAND. — The Committee of the Royal Corporation of the Literary Fund, at its meeting on Wednesday the 19th ult. unanimously voted 100l. towards the fund now raising for the benefit of the family of the late Laman Blanchard.

We learn that Mr. Howitt is engaged on a work which has occupied more or less of his attention for some years, viz. “Visits to the Birthplaces and Resorts of the most eminent English Poets.” It will include not only visits to many of the most interesting spots in England, Ireland, and Scotland, but also in Switzerland, Italy, &c.

———

[[rhand]] Notice. — The Office of the Broadway Journal has been removed from 153 Broadway to 135 Nassau Street, Clinton Hall Buildings. [page 110:]

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REVIEWS.

(a) THE FIRST THREE BOOKS OF HOMER’S ILIAD, according to the Ordinary Text, and also with the restoration of the Digamma, to which are appended English Notes, critical and explanatory, a Metrical Index, and Homer’s Glossary. By Charles Anthon, L.L. D., Jay Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages in Columbia College, New York, and hector of the Grammar School. New York: Harper & Brothers.

THIS is one of the series of “School and College Classics” which have attracted so general an attention, first, from their comprehensiveness, and admirable adaptation to their objects, and, secondly from their punctilious accuracy and beauty of typographical execution. We have seen richer, gaudier, but never more truly beautiful books. The Greek text, in this Homer, with the frequent digammas, is certainly the most graceful and picturesque specimen of printing we ever beheld.

The volume contains all of the Iliad which is usually read at school, as preparatory to a collegiate course — sufficient to furnish the student with the principles of Homeric translation and analysis. The text is, in the main, that of Spitzner, which is now generally regarded as the best; — although on some occasions, alterations have been adopted, and the reasons given in a note. Besides the regular text of Spitzner, there is that of Richard Payne Knight, with the digamma restored according to his views. In fact, it is by no means improbable that this secondary text is at least a close approximation to the ancient orthography of Homer — although many discrepancies might be pointed out, going to show that in many cases the learned commentator could not have been otherwise than wrong in his conjectures. The work of Knight is extremely rare in this country, and even as a mere matter of curious speculation, Dr. Anthon has rendered a public service by introducing the restorations in question.

The commentary, as in all this series of classics, is peculiarly full and explicit — proceeding on the sole ground which is admissible in matters of scholastic instruction — the ground that the scholar is absolutely ignorant, and has need of information at all points, however seemingly trivial. No error is more fatal in tuition, than that of taking it for granted that the student knows any thing at all. The materials of the Notes are derived, chiefly, from Wolf, Heyne, Buttman, Nagelsbach, and Stadelmann, and the Commentary includes every thing that is really valuable in the works of these eminent scholars. The Glossary is separated from the Notes, — a very judicious arrangement — and contains a great deal of novel information in regard to the parsing of the Homeric Greek. It is distinguished, also, from every Homeric Lexicon which has preceded it (in English) by its introduction and application to the Homeric text, of the Sanscrit and Linguistic Etymologies: — an Index to the Glossary is subjoined. The Metrical Index has been constructed with especial reference to the doctrine of the digamma and its bearing upon the Homeric versification.

Upon the whole, this edition of Homer is not only one of the most valuable of the series, but one of the most important additions to classical literature which this country or any other has produced. [page 111:]

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BLACKWOOD. — Mess. Leonard, Scott & Co. have issued the April number of Blackwood. It contains eight papers of varied excellence, but all good. “Ping-Kee’s view of the stage” is piquant exceedingly, and North’s Account of Dryden (although disfigured with the usual carelessness and rant of Wilson) is an admirable essay. The continuation of the papers called “Confessions of an Opium Eater” is better, we think, than the original — which was a lie throughout. There is yet room for a book on opium eating, which shall be the most profoundly interesting volume ever penned. It would be written, however, by no De Quincey.

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PROFESSOR GOURAUD. — The following extract from the Professors lecture on Memory, is a remarkable instance of fluent writing in a foreigner, who, three or four years since, was almost ignorant of our languge. M. Gouraud’s style is somewhat too luxuriant for these days of classic severity, but it has wonderful ease as the production of a foreigner.

Already have the birds of night, preceded by the white-winged owl, who seems to serve them as a warning beacon, begun to regain their obscure retreats in the shadowy depths of the forests: the timid hare and cautious deer have already left the open fields for the more propitious shadow of the woods. At their return, the implacable eagle and the voracious hawk begin to prepare anew their sharp talons for the morning’s hunt; while, diseugagm, their heads from underneath the warm wings which cohered them during the night, the birds of day, among whom they must soon choose again their prey, little foreseeing the cruel fate which may and which must before long overtake them, open their eyes, shuffle their glossy feathers, and begin to hop from branch to branch, as if to stretch their little blobs, and prepare their light wings for flight.

All at once, the air rings with a melodious sound, which causes the atmosphere to vibrate afar, with a sweet and tremulous thrill; the echo, hitherto silent, repeats it in successive adulations to the distant streamlet of the valley. Immediately cadencing a harmonious roulade, which seems to run over a thousand varied notes at once, the fairy voice which produced these ravishing sounds awakens all the surrounding echoes, and they repeat it in chorus — while the voice itself seems to pause, as its submerged in the torrent of harmonies with which she has filled the atmosphere, she were listening to herself, in rapturous astonishment. At these enchanting accents, the joyous troop are suddenly arrested, as if under the infatuation of a spell, to listen also; for they have recognised the harmonious ringing notes of the lyric enchantress of the groves, the morning leader of the songsters of the forest — the melodious nightingale! who, already prelu. ding at her morning concerts, offers thus abruptly her first salutations to Aurora, always attentive to her songs. It would seem indeed that her melodious notes had been carried by the surrounding echoes even to the carminated gates of the horizon, and were understood by the elements; for Aurora at the moment seems to have redoubled tier pace. The birds, preluding already to the harmonies of their mating hymns, seem to prepare themselves for singing her triumphs. At their head is the rustic cuckoo, the gay linnet, the lively red-breast; and the sensitive turtle-dove. The nightingale by their side, presiding over the concert, redoubles her harmonious cadences, as the Goddess of the dawn approaches. Most of the stars have vanished from the firmament; the heavens now appear like an ocean of whining gold and liquid gems of a thousand lines. And now Aurora reigns in undisputed sovereignty. But, alas! “a natural image of pleasure: as nothing is more beautiful than her reign, so nothing is shorter than its duration.”

(Plus the rest of this column)

(and nine lines of page 300L.) [page 112:]

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MISCELLANY.

(a) IT IS AN ILL WIND THAT BLOWS NOBODY GOOD. — The frost has been so intense on the Danube, that rocks which for centuries had obstructed the navigation near Lintz, suddenly burst, and thus opened the bed of the river.

(b) BURSTING OF BEER. — The famous brewers of Burton Ale, Messrs. Alsopps, whose names should be written Allslops, have recently failed for the moderate sum of one million and a half of dollars.

(c) MR. MURDOCH, who has been successfully lecturing in this city upon the Drama and Shakspeare, will make his re-appearance upon the stage in September. He has an engagement at the Park for 12 nights.

[[BJ May 10, 1845 - 1:302]]

(d) THREE FACES UNDER A HOOD, viz. PALMO-HOOD. — The new opera house in Chambers street was first occupied by the Italians, then the Greeks, but now, it appears from the following notice, it is occupied by the Ethiopians.

“Mr. Dumbleton has at length succeeded in obtaining possession from Palma, of the Opera House, and will this evening open it with the Ethioipan Serenaders.

(e) Mr. Henry Phillips gave his farewell concert at Niblo’s Saloon last Tuesday evening; it was well attended, and the performances gave great satisfaction. Mr. Phillips sang twelve different ballads, scenes, &c., many of which were encored, and all were well received. If he should repeat his visit to this country he would meet with better encouragement in the large cities on the Atlantic than he has done. His indifferent success has resulted mainly from an injudicious beginning in the manner of giving his concerts.

(f) HISTORICAL SOCIETY. — At a very crowded meeting of this society on Wednesday evening, the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold read a long and interesting paper in reference to the intellectual history of the country — with criticisms on the works of several of our most noted authors. He did not conclude the essay.

(g) MR. ALPERS, THE MUSICIAN — We had an interesting article on the burial of this excellent musician, which is crowded out of this week’s Journal. He died last Saturday at the house of his friend Mr. Timm, and was buried from the Tabernacle Tuesday morning. The house was nearly filled by the members of the Philharmonic Society of which he was a member, and by his personal friends and pupils. The funeral ceremonies, of which we shall give the particulars, were highly impressive, and admirably adapted to the occasion.

(h) The Mirror of last week contains a poem of much merit, entitled “The Gazelle.” It is the composition of a mere boy of fifteen, C. C. Cooke, and, although professedly an imitation of “The Raven,” has a very great deal of original power.

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(i) OLD ENGLISH POETRY. — THE BOOK OF GEMS. Edited by S. C. Hall.

IT should not be doubted that at least one third of the affection with which we regard the elder poets of Great Britain, should be attributed to what is, in itself, a thing apart from poetry — we mean to the simple love of the antique — and that, again, a third of even the proper poetic sentiment inspired by their writings, should be ascribed to a fact which, while it has strict connexion with poetry in the abstract, and with the old British poems themselves, should not be looked upon as a merit appertaining to the authors of the poems. Almost every devout admirer of the old bards, if demanded his opinion of their productions, would mention vaguely, yet with perfect sincerity, a sense of dreamy, wild, indefinite, and he would perhaps say, indefinable delight; on being required to point out the source of this so shadowy pleasure, he would be apt to speak of the quaint in phraseology, and in general handling. This quaintness is, in fact, a very powerful adjunct to ideality, but in the case in question, it arises independently of the author’s will, and is altogether [page 114:] apart from his intention. Words and their rhythm have varied. Verses which affect us to-day with a vivid delight, and which delight, in many instances, may be traced to the one source, quaintness, must have worn, in the days of their construction, a very common-place air. This is, of course, no argument against the poems now — we mean it only as against the poets then. There is a growing desire to over rate them. The old English muse was frank, guileless, sincere, and although very learned still learned without Art. No general error evinces a more thorough confusion of ideas than the error of supposing Donne and Cowley metaphysical in the sense wherein Wordsworth and Coleridge are so. With the two former ethics were the end — with the two latter the means. The poet of the “Creation” wished, by highly artificial verse, to inculcate what he supposed to be moral truth — the poet of the “Ancient Mariner” to infuse the Poetic Sentiment through channels suggested by analysis. The one finished by complete failure what he commenced in the grossest misconception; the other, by a path which could not possibly lead him astray, arrived at a triumph which is not the less glorious because hidden from the profane eyes of the multitude. But in this view even the “metaphysical verse” of Cowley is but evidence of the simplicity and single-heartedness of the man. And he was in this but a type of his school — for we may as well designate in this way the entire class of writers whose poems are bound up in the volume before us, and throughout all of whom there runs a very perceptible general character. They used little art in composition. Their writings sprang immediately from the soul and partook intensely of that soul’s nature. Nor is it difficult to perceive the tendency of this abandon — to elevate immeasurably all the energies of mind — but, again, so to mingle the greatest possible fire, force, delicacy, and all good things, with the lowest possible bathos, baldness, and imbecility, as to render it not a matter of doubt that the average results of mind in such a school will be found inferior to those results in one (ceteris paribus) more artificial.

We cannot bring ourselves to believe, that the selections of the “Book of Gems” are such as will impart to a poetical reader the clearest possible idea of life beauty of the school — but if the intention had been merely to show the school’s character, the attempt might have been considered successful in the highest degree. There are long passages now before us, of the most despicable trash, with no merit whatever, beyond that of their antiquity. The criticisms of the Editor do not particularly please us. His enthusiasm is too general and too vivid not to be false. His opinion, for example, of Sir Henry Wotton’s “Verses on the Queen of Bohemia” — that “there are few finer things in our language” is untenable and absurd. We quote the lines:

You meaner beauties of the Night

That poorly satisfy our eyes

More by your number than your light,

You common people of the skies,

What are you when the sun shall rise?

 

You curious chanters of the wood,

That warble forth dame Nature’s lays,

Thinking your passions understood

By your weak accents — what’s your praise

When Philomel her voice shall raise?

 

You violets that first appear,

By your pure purple mansion known,

Like the proud virgins of the year,

As if the Spring were all your own,

What are you when the rose is blown?

 

So when my mistress mall be seen

In sweetness of her looks and mind,

By virtue first, then choice, a queen,

Tell me if she were not designed

Th’ eclipse and glory of her kind?

In such lines we can perceive not one of those higher attributes of Poesy which belong to her under all circumstances [page 114:] and throughout all time. Here every thing is art — naked or but awkwardly concealed. No prepossession for the mere antique (and in this case we can imagine no other prepossession) should induce us to dignify with the sacred name of Poetry, a series, such as this, of elaborate and threadbare compliments, stitched, apparently, together, without fancy, without plausibility, and without even an attempt at adaptation.

In common with all the world, we have been much delighted with “The Shepherd’s Hunting,” by Wither — a poem partaking, in a remarkable degree, of the peculiarities of Il Penseroso. Speaking of Poesy, the author says:

By the murmur of a spring

Or the least boughs rustling,

By a daisy whose leaves spread

Shut when Titan goes to bed,

Or a shady Gush or tree

She could more infuse in me

Than all Nature’s beauties can

class="pmline" In some other wiser man.

By her help I also now

Make the churlish place allow

Something that may sweeten gladness

In the very gall of sadness —

The dull loneness, the black shade

That these hanging vaults have made,

The strange music of the waves

Beating on these hollow caves,

This back den which rocks emboss

Overgrown with eldest moss,

The rude portals that give light

More to terror than delight,

This my chamber of neglect

Walled about with disrespect

From all these and this dull air

A fit object for despair,

She barn taught me by her might

To draw comfort and delight.

But these lines, however good, do not bear with them much of the general character of the English antique. Something more of this will be found in Corbet’s “Farewell Rewards and Fairies‘.” We copy a portion of Marvell’s “Maiden lamenting for her Fawn” — which we prefer not only as a specimen of the elder poets, but in itself as a beautiful poem abounding in pathos, exquisitely — delicate imagination and truthfulness, to any thing of its species:

It is a wondrous thing how fleet

’T was on those little silver feet,

With what a pretty skipping grace

It oft would challenge me file race,

And when it had left me faraway,

’T would stay, and run main, and stay;

For it was nimbler much than hinds,

And trod as if on the four winds.

I have a garden of my own,

But so with roses overgrown,

And lilies that you would it guess

To be a little wilderness;

And all the Spring-time of the year

It only loved to be there.

Among the beds of lilies I

Have sought it oft where it should lie,

Yet could not till itself would rise

Find it, although before mine eyes.

For in the flaxen lilies shade,

It like a bank of Idle; laid;

Upon the roses it would feed

Until its lips even seemed to bleed,

And Own to me ’twould boldly trip,

And print those roses on my lip,

But all its chief delight was still

With roses thus itself to till,

And its pure virgin limbs to fold

In whitest sheets of lilies cold.

Had it lived lens it would have been

Lilies without, roses within.

How truthful an air of lamentation hangs here upon every syllable! It pervades all. It comes over the sweet melody of the words — over the gentleness and grace which we fancy in the little maiden herself — even over the half-playful, half-petulant air with which she lingers on the beauties and good qualities of her favorite — like the cool shadow of a summer cloud over a bed of lilies and violets, “and all sweet flowers.” The whole is redolent with poetry of a very lofty order. Every line is an idea — conveying either the beauty and playfulness of the fawn, or the artlessness of the maiden, or her love, or her admiration, or her grief, or the fragrance and [page 115:] warmth and appropriateness of the little nest-like bed of lilies and roses which the fawn devoured as it lay upon them, and could scarcely be distinguished from them by the once happy little damsel who went to seek her pet with an arch and rosy smile on her face. Consider the great variety of truthful and delicate thought in the few lines we have quoted — the wonder of the maiden at the fleetness of her favorite — the “little silver feet” — the fawn challenging his mistress to a race with “a pretty skipping grace,” running on before, and then, with head turned back, awaiting her approach only to fly from it again — can we not distinctly perceive all these things? How exceedingly vigorous, too, is the line,

And trod as if on the four winds —

— a vigor fully apparent only when we keep in mind the artless character of the speaker and the four feet of the favorite — one for each wind. Then consider the garden of “my own,” so overgrown — entangled — with roses and lilies, as to be “a little wilderness” — the fawn, loving to be there, and there “only” — the maiden seeking it “where it should lie“and not being able to distinguish it from the flowers until “itself would rise” — the lying among the lilies “like a bank of lilies” — the loving to “fill itself with roses,”

And it; pure virgin limbs to fold

In whitest sheets of lilies cold,

and these things being its “chief” delights — and then the preeminent beauty and naturalness of the concluding lines — whose very hyperbole only renders them more true to nature when we consider the innocence, the artlessness, the enthusiasm, the passionate grief, and more passionate admiration of the bereaved child —

Had it lived long, it would have been

Lilies without — roses within.

———

(a) ESSAYS ON THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY, and on the private and political rights and obligations of Mankind. By Jonathan Dymond. Collins, Brother & Co., 254 Pearl st.

This is an important book, and we are happy to perceive from the title page that the present issue is the fourth thousand published. If it contained but the one chapter oil the Morality of Legal Practice, it would be enough to entitle it to a wide circulation.

————————

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CHRONOTHERMAL SYSTEM OF MEDICINE. With fallacies of the faculty. In a series of lectures, originally delivered in 1840, at the Egyptian Hall. London. Now enlarged and improved by Samuel Dickson, M. D. First American from the 3d London edition. with an introduction and notes. By Will. Turner, M. D. New York. S. Reddeld, Clinton Hall. 1845.

The merits of this work cannot be discussed in a paragraph, we therefore barely announce its publication, but we shall notice it at length hereafter. It is a closely printed volume of more than two hundred pages, and its popularity in London under its second title of Fallacies of the Faculty, is some evidence of its value. [page 116:]

[[BJ May 17, 1845 - 1:316]]

(a) TITIAN’S VENUS.

THERE is a picture exhibiting in Broadway which the proprietors say is a duplicate, made by Titian’s own hand of the celebrated picture now in Florence. It is stated to have been in the possession of Sir Thomas Lawrence, and to have been admired by “the lamented Alston.” But no story is told of the manner in which so remarkable a work came to this country. All this looks very suspicious. A genuine painting by Titian, of any description, is not a thing easily obtained, and one of this size and in such preservation would be worth a handsome fortune. If it were in Italy no Italian government would allow it to be taken away, and if it were in England or France, any European government would buy it at a price which few individuals could afford to pay. Considering, therefore, the importance which a picture by one of the old masters derives from its authenticity being established, we wonder that the owner of this painting should not have published a full and particular account of the manner in which it came into his hands, the price paid for it, &c. We have seen it stated in some of the daily papers that it once formed a part of the collection in the Louvre, but had been removed at the restoration of the Bourbons. This is a mistake. The Louvre possessed 23 paintings by Titian, but there was no Venus among them. If such a painting as this professes to be, had been in existence, it would have been known to the whole world; but no history of art that we are acquainted with makes any allusion to it.

But whether it be the work of Titian or not, is a point of little importance to nine spectators out of ten; it is a very fine picture, and worthy of Titian whether he painted it or not, and we would advise all those who wish to see a really fine painting to call and inspect it, and take it for granted that it is the work of an old master. It is a difficult matter to decide from internal evidence on the authenticity of any painting. The most expert picture dealers are often dreadfully deceived. Even some of Raffaelle’s most fatuous paintings are questioned. Very competent judges have recently decided that the most universally admired of Raffaelle’s pictures, the “Madonna dells Seggiolo,” of which there are probably thousands of copies in this country, is not a century and a half old.

The only test therefore by which we should try a work of art is the delight it gives us; and we believe that there are very few persons who could honestly say that Titian’s real paintings gave them more real pleasure than this of Venus. We think that the proprietor has injured the character of the work by setting apart a day for the admission of women only. No picture should be looked upon by a woman alone which she world hesitate to look at in the company of her father or brother. For ourselves we think that very old and very voting men would do well not to give the Venus exhibiting in Broadway a call.

——————————————

(b) THE MAGAZINES.

THE SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER for May, has, among other good papers, a caustic review of Captain Wilkes’ Narrative of the U. S. Exploring Expedition. The overbearing conceit, the ignorance and the tyranny of the Commander, are here displayed as they should be — and we recommend the whole article to his serious attention. More ludicrous instances of incompetency were never afforded by any American naval officer than by him. Neither his discretion nor [page 117:] his education would have entitled him to the command of a fishing smack. His grammatical blunders, in especial, are of a kind that must bring a flush of shame into the face of every American who reads the book. What but the grossest obtusity combined with the most ineffable conceit and self-sufficiency, could have induced Captain Wilkes to trust his composition to the public eye without the supervision of his clerk — or of some respectable school-boy? We give a brace of his sentences:

“Harmony and good feeling he would enjoin upon all: the necessity of cultivating this, and the united exertions of all, cannot claim too much of your attention.”

“You may rest assured also of receiving impartial justice from me, and that in the assignment of duties and promotions, if any should occur! and that all will have the opportunities they desire of entering upon the scientific duties, nothing shall be wanting that can tend to this end?’

This number has also a paper of much historical interest — “Sketch of the Military services of Guilford Dudley in the Carolinas during the Revolution.” A criticism on the Poems of Christopher Pease Cranch is not particularly to our taste. It is better, however, than the commentary on Miss Barrett which appeared in a late number of the Messenger, and which, as far as we can learn, excited no less decided a feeling than universal contempt wherever it was perused by those who are themselves poetical. This is a topic on which we could not forbear speaking out if we would. It is in our opinion, something even worse than sacrilege — this entrusting to such hands the august works of Tennyson and Miss Barrett. For our own part, we cannot find words to express the unutterable loathing which crept over us as we read those flippant comments on poems which, if we are entitled to estimate the merit of anything by its effect on the greatest intellects and on the noblest hearts — are divine, if there be any divinity within the soul of man.

There is no poetry in the May number of the Messenger.

———

(a) GODEY’S LADY’s BOOK for June is, also, already issued, and presents numerous claims to attention. Its engravings are, “Admonition,” by Gimbrede, frem a painting by W. Wright;, Domestic life among the Indians,” by Rolplt and Jewett, from a design by Darley; and two fashion plates on the same leaf, back to back. Miss Leslie concludes her very excellent story “The Bloxhcim’s and Mayfields.” Herbert has an eloquent sketch, entitled “The Great Plebeian” Grund some forcible “Remarks upon [on] the Drama” William Kirkland a sensible paper (with some exception) on “British and American Monthlies,” and “French without a Master,” is a good hit by the Late J. M. Field. The Rev. H. F. Harrington contributes a very interesting and well written sketch — “The Lone Woman.” In the “Editors’ Table” is a page of comment on the death of Mrs. Willis — a page which we read with an interest the most painful — the most profound.

(b) GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE for June is in all respects an admirable number. Its engravings are all good, and the view of Rock Mountain, engraved by Rawdon & Co. front a drawing by Smillie, is, in especial, excellent. The other two plates are “The Masquerade,” engraved by Posselwhite, and a Portrait of Dr. Rufus W. Griswold, engraved by Parker, from a painting by J. B. Read: as a likeness. the latter is by no means praiseworthy. Mr. Griswold has a much finer face in every respect. The biography attached is written, we fancy, by Mr. C. F. Hoffman, and does Mr. G. no more than justice, either in regard to his acquirements or character as a man. We learn front this sketch that he “has now it, press, a Survey of our Prose Literature, to be published in the ensuing autumn,” and that he “has been a considerable time engaged [page 118:] on the Biographia Americana, a work of great extent and research.”

The number is particularly rich in contributions. There are papers from Cooper, Paulding, Longfellow, Hofman, Street, Tuckerman, Chandler, Hosmer, Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Stephens, Mrs. Seba Smith, Fanny Forrester, Mrs. Caroline Butler, and several others. A Sonnet to Dante by Longfellow, has a magnificent beginning:

Tuscan, that wanderest through the realms of gloom

With thoughtful pace and sad majestic eyes

Stern thoughts and awful from thy soul arise

Like Farinata from his fiery tomb!

The “Like,” however, should be “As.” We copy in full a characteristic poem from the pen of the most truly grace ful, delicate, and yet impassioned of American poetesses — Mrs. Osgood.

LULU.

THERE’s many a maiden

More brilliant, by far,

With the step of a fawn,

And the glance of a star;

But heart there was never

More tender and true,

Than beats m the bosom

Of darling Lulu!

Her eyes are too modest

To dazzle; but oh!

They win you to love her,

If you will or no!

And when they glance up,

With their shy, startled look,

Her soul trembles in them,

Like light in the brook.

There are bright eyes by thousands,

Black, hazel and blue;

But whose are so loving

As those of Lulu?

And waves of soft hair,

That a poet would vow

Was moonlight on marble,

Droop over her brow.

The rose rarely blooms,

Thro’ that light, silken maze,

But when it does play there,

How softly it plays!

Oh! there’s many a maiden,

More brilliant ‘t is true,

But none so enchanting,

As little Lulu!

She flits, like a fairy,

About me all day,

Now nestling beside me,

Now up and away

She singeth unbidden,

With warble as wild

As the lay of the meadow lark,

Innocent child!

She’s playful, and tender,

And trusting, and true,

She’s sweet as a lily,

My dainty Lulu.

She whispers sweet fancies,

Now mournful, now bright,

Then deepen her glances,

With love and delight,

And the slow, timid smile,

That dawns in her face,

Seems filled with her spirit’s

Ineffable grace.

Oh! the world cannot, offer

A treasure so true,

As the childlike devotion

Of happy Lulu!

[[BJ May 17, 1845 - 1:318]]

LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.

Mr. Henry B. Hirst, the author of the fine poem “May,” published in this number of the “Journal,” has in the Boston press, and wilt shortly issue, “The Coming of the Mammoth, the Funeral of Time, and other Poems.” [page 119:]

(a) THE DUKE of WELLINGTON’S DESPATCHES. — The Albion is a greater admirer of “F. M. the Duke,” so much so as to treasure up every scrap that falls from F. M. the Duke’s pen. In copying into its columns the last letter of “F. M. the Duke,” &c. to the editor of the Morning Post, the Albion says:

Colonel Gurwood rendered a great service to the country and to military history, by collecting and compiling his Grace’s public Despatches; and any other person; or persons, would confer an equal favor on all lovers of brevity, anti-circumlocution and coining to the point, if he or they would collect and lay before an admiring world, all the noble Duke’s short notes, terse answers, and pithy replies to a parcel of people who are constantly bothering themselves about him. We could supply a number of choice little bits ourselves to any patriotic collector who may feel disposed to enter the field on this service. All remember the recent reply to the London reporter, who wrote to the Duke for permission to enter his residence, and report to the public the sayings and doings of the Queen and Prince Albert, who had gone to pay his Grace a private visit:

“The Duke of Wellington presents his compliments to Mr. —— , [page 120:] and does not see what Strathfield says House has to do with the public.”

On another occasion, a person addressed himself to the Duke, sending copies of several letters and papers, all of which were enclosed in a case of tin. The Duke acknowledged the receipt of them as follows:

“The Duke of Wellington presents his compliments to Mr. —— , has received his letters and the tin case.”

These brief despatches of his Grace, are a proof of the good that maybe done by a little wholesome criticism. There was a time when the letters of “F. M. the Duke” were not such perfect specimens of style, as the readers of Cobbett’s papers will remember. The following is one of the Duke’s despatches from Paris, with Cobbet’s admiring comments, which we fear have been omitted by Colonel Gurwood in his edition of the great captain’s works. It is a letter to Lord Castlereagh, concerning the stolen pictures in the Louvre.

Having, as far as relates to the Museums, taken a sufficient view of the “greatest Statesman” of the age, I now come to that of “the greatest Captain.” The writing that I am now about to notice relates to the same subject. The Captain was one of the Commanders at Paris, at the time above spoken of; and it is in that capacity that he writes. But, we ought to observe here, that he is not only a great Captain, but a great Ambassador also; that he was Ambassador at the Congress of Vienna just before the tune we are Speaking of and that he was formerly Secretary of State for Ireland.

The paper, from which I am about to make a quotation, is a “dispatch” from the “greatest Captain” to Lord Castlereagh, dated at Paris, 23d September, 1815. Soon after the Museums had been rifled. I shall not take up much of your time with the performance of this gentleman; a Short specimen will suffice; and that shall consist of the three first paragraphs off his “dispatch.”

“MY DEAR LORD,

“There has been a good deal of discussion here lately respecting the measures which I have been under the necessity of adopting, in order to get for the King of the Netherlands his Pictures &c. from the museums; and lest these reports should reach the Prince Regent, I wish to trouble you, for his Royal Highness’s information, with the following statement of what has passed.

“Shortly” after the arrival of the Sovereigns at Paris, the Minister of the King of the Netherlands claimed the Pictures, &c. belongings to his Sovereign, equally with those of other powers; and, as far as I could learn, never could get any satisfactory reply from the French Government. After several conversations with me, he addressed your Lordship an official Note, which was laid before the Ministers of the Allied Sovereigns, assembled in conference; and the subject was taken into consideration repeatedly, with a view to discover a mode of doing justice to the Claimants of the Specimens of the arts in the Museums, without injuring the feelings of the King of France. In the mean time, the Prussians had obtained from His Majesty not only all the really Prussian Pictures, but these belonging to the Prussian territories on the left of the Rhine, and the pictures, &c., belonging to all the allies of His Prussian Majesty; and the object pressed for an early decision; and your Lordship wrote your Note of the 11th inst. in which it was fully discussed.

“The Ministers of the King of the Netherlands, still having no satisfactory answer from the French Government, appealed to me as the General in Chief of the army of the King of the Netherlands, to know whether I had any objection to employ His Majesty’s Troops to obtain possession of what was his undoubted property. I referred this application again to the ministers of the Allied Courts, and no objection having been stated. I considered it my duty to take the necessary measures to obtain what was his right.”

The great characteristic of this writing (if writing it ought to be called) is the thorough-paced vulgarity of it. There is a meanness of manner as well as of expression, and, indeed; a suitableness to the subject, much too natural, in all its appearances; to have been the effect of art.

The writer, though addressing a minister of State, and writing matter to be laid before a Sovereign, begins exactly in the mariner of a quidnunc talking to another that he has just met fit the street. “There has been a good deal of “discussion” (that is to say, talk) here;” that is to say, at Paris, Castlereagh being, at that time, in London. The phrase “to get for” is so very dignified, that it could have come only from a great man, and could have been inspired by nothing short of the consciousness of being “the Ally of all the nations of Europe,” as the writer calls himself in another part of this famous “dispatch.” But, what are “these reports,” of which the great Captain speaks in the latter part of this paragraph? He had spoken of no reports before. He had mentioned “discussion,” and a “good deal” of it; but, had said not a word about reports; and these reports pop out upon us like “these six men in buckram,” in Falstaff’s narrative to the Prince.

The Captain’s “wishing to trouble” Lord Castlereagh, “for the Regent’s information,” closes this paragraph in a very suitable mannier, and prepares the mind for the next, where the Regent would find trouble enough, if he were compelled to find out the English of it. The Dutch Minister “claimed the Pictures belonging to his sovereign, equally with those of other powers.” What! did this Dutchman claim the whole; those belonging to the Dutch sovereign and those belonging to all the other powers besides! This, to be sure, would have been in the true Dutch style: but, this could hardly be the fact. If it were no wonder that the Duke had learned, that the Minister to never could get any satisfactory reply;” for, it must have been a deal indeed that would have satisfied him.

The phrase, “he addressed your Lordship an official Note” is in the counting-house style; and then to say to Lord Castleieagh,” your Lordship wrote your Note of the 11th of September,” was necessary, lest the latter should imagine that somebody else had written the [page 121:] Note! Nor are the four ands in this paragraph to be overlooked; for never was this poor conjunction so worked before, except, perhaps, in some narrative of a little girl to her mother.

The narrative is, in the last quoted paragraph, continued with unrelaxed spirit. The Dutch Minister can still obtain no satisfactory answer; he asks the Duke whether he have any objection to use force, and asserts, at the same time, that the goods in question are his master’s “undoubted property.” upon this the Duke applies to the other ministers, and “no objection having been stated,” he considers it his duty to obtain “what was his right;” that is to say, the Dutch king’s right.

Never was there surely a parcel of words before put together by any body is so clumsy a manner. In a subsequent part of the “dispatch,” we have this: “I added, that I had no instructions regarding the Museum, nor no grounds on which to form a judgment.” In another place we have “the King of the Netherland’s Pictures.” In another place we have “that the property should be returned to their rightful owners.”

But, to bestow criticism on such a shocking abuse of letters is to disgrace it; and nothing can apologize for what I have done, but the existence of a general knowledge of the fact, that the miserable stuff that I have quoted, and on which I have been remarking, proceeded from the pen of a man, who has, on many occasions, had spine of the most important of the nation’s affairs committed to his management. There is in the nonsense of Castlereagh a frivolity and a foppery that give it a sort of liveliness, and that now-and-then elicit a smile: but, in the productions of his correspondent there is nothing to relieve; all is vulgar, all clumsy, all dull, all torpid inanity.

[[BJ May 24, 1845 - 1:328]]

(a) POEMS. By William W. Lord. New York: D. Apppleton [[Appleton]] & Co.

Of Mr. Lord we know nothing — although we believe that he is a student at Princeton College — or perhaps a graduate, or perhaps a Professor of that Institution. Of his book, lately, we have heard a good deal — that is to say, we have heard it announced in every possible variation of phrase, as “forthcoming.” For several months past, indeed, much amusement has been occasioned in the various literary coteries in New York, by the pertinacity and obviousness of an attempt made by the poet’s friends to get up an anticipatory excitement in his favor. There were multitudinous dark rumors of something in posse — whispered insinuations that the sun had at length arisen or would certainly arise — that a book was really in press which would revolutionize the poetical world — that the MS. had been submitted to the inspection of a junto of critics, whose fiat was well understood to be Fate, (Mr. Charles King, if we remember aright, forming one of the junto) — that the work bad by then been approved, [page 122:] and its successful reception and illimitable glorification assured. — Mr. Longfellow, in consequence, countermanding an order given his publishers (Redding & Co.,) to issue forthwith a new threepenny edition of “The Voices of the Night.” Suggestions of this nature, busily circulated in private, were, in good time, insinuated through the press, until at length the public expectation was as much on tiptoe as public expectation, in America, can ever he expected to be about so small a matter as the issue of a volume of American poems. The climax of this whole effort, however, at forestalling the critical opinion, and by far the most injudicious portion of the procedure, was the publisher’s announcement of the forthcoming book as “a very remarkable volume of poems.”

The fact is, the only remarkable things about Mr. Lord’s compositions, are their remarkable conceit, ignorance, impudence, platitude, stupidity and bombast: — we are sorry to say all this, but there is an old adage about the falling of the Heavens. Nor must we be misunderstood. We intend to wrong neither Mr. Lord nor our own conscience, by denying him particular merits — such as they are. His book is not altogether contemptible — although the conduct of his friends has inoculated nine-tenths of the community with the opinion that it is — but what we wish to say, is that “remarkable” is by no means the epithet to be applied, in the way of commendation, either to anything that he has yet done or to anything that he may hereafter accomplish. In a word, while he has undoubtedly given proof of a very ordinary species of talent, no man whose opinion is entitled to the slightest respect will admit in him any indication of genius.

The “particular merits” to which, in the case of Mr. Lord, we have allusion, are merely the accidental merits of particular passages. We say accidental — because poetical merit which is not simply an accident, is very sure to be found, more or less, in a state of diffusion throughout a poem. No man is entitled to the sacred name of poet, because from 160 pages of doggrel, may be culled a few sentences of worth. Nor would the case be in any respect altered, if these few sentences, or even if a few passages of length, were of an excellence even supreme. For a poet is necessarily a man of genius, and with the spirit of true genius even its veriest common-places are intertwined and inextricably intertangled. When, therefore, amid a Sahara of platitude, we discover an occasional Oasis, we must not so far forget ourselves as to fancy any latent fertility in the sands. It is our purpose, however, to do the fullest justice to Mr. Lord, and we proceed at once to cull from his book whatever, in our opinion, will put in the fairest light his poetical pretensions.

And first we extract the one brief passage which aroused in us what we recognised as the Poetical Sentiment. It occurs, at page 94, in “Saint Mary’s Gift,” which, although excessively unoriginal at all points, is upon the whole, the least reprehensible poem of the volume. The heroine of the story having taken a sleeping draught, after the manner of Juliet, is conveyed to a vault (still in the same manner) and (still in the same manner) awakes in the presence of her lover who comes to gaze on what he supposes her corpse:

And each unto the other was a dream

And so they gazed without a stir or breath,

Until her head into the golden stream

Of her wide tresses, loosened from their wreath,

Sank back, as she did yield again to death.

At page 3, in a composition of much general eloquence, there occur a few lines of which we should not hesitate to speak enthusiastically were we not perfectly well aware that — Mr. Lord has no claim to their origination:

—— Ye winds

That in the impalpable deep caves of air, [page 123:]

Moving your silent plumes, in dreams of flight,

Tumultuous lie, and from your half-stretched wings

Beat the faint zephyrs that disturb the air!

At page 6, in the same poem, we meet, also, a passage of high merit, although sadly disfigured:

Thee the bright host of Heaven,

The stars adore: — a thousand altars, fed

By pure unwearied bands, like cressets blaze

In the blue depths of night; nor all unseen

In the pale sky of day, with tempered light

Burn radiant of thy praise.

The disfiguration to which we allude, lies in the making a blazing altar burn merely like a blazing cresset — a simile about as forcible as would be the likening an apple to a pear, or the sea-foam to the froth on a pitcher of Burton’s ale.

At page 7, still in the same poem, we find some verses which are very quotable, and will serve to make our readers understand what we mean by the eloquence of the piece:

Great Worshipper! hast thou no thought of Him

Who gave the Sun his brightness, winged the winds,

And on the everlasting deep bestowed

Its voiceless thunder — spread its fields of blue,

And made them glorious like an inner sky

From which the islands rise like steadfast clouds,

How beautiful! who gemmed thy zone with stars,

Around thee threw his own cerulean robe, —

And bent his coronal about thy brows,

Shaped of the seven splendors of the light —

Piled up the mountains for thy throne; and thee

The image of his beauty made and power,

And gave thee to be sharer of His state,

His majesty, His glory, and His fear!

We extract this not because we like it ourselves, but because we take it for granted that there are many who will, and that Mr. Lord himself would desire us to extract it as a specimen of his power. The “Great worshipper” is Nature. We disapprove, however, the man-milliner method in which she is tricked out, item by item. The “How beautiful!” should be understood, we fancy, as an expression of admiration on the part of Mr. Lord, for the fine idea which immediately precedes — the idea which we have italicized. It is, in fact, by no means destitute of force — but we have met it before.

At page 70, there are two stanzas addressed to “My Sister.” The first of these we cite as the best thing of equal length to be found in the book. Its conclusion is particularly noble.

And shall we meet in heaven, and know and love?

Do human feelings in that world above

Unchanged survive? blest thought! but ah, I fear

That thou, dear sister, in some other sphere,

Distant from mine will (wilt) find a brighter home,

Where I, unworthy found, may never come:

Or he so high above me glorified,

That I a meaner angel, undescried,

Seeking thine eyes, such love alone shall see

As angels give to all bestowed on me;

And when my voice upon the ear shall fall,

Hear only such reply as angels give to all.

We give the lines as they are: their grammatical construction is faulty; and the punctuation of the ninth line renders the sense equivocal.

Of that species of composition which comes most appropriately under the head, Drivel, we should have no trouble in selecting as many specimens as our readers could desire. We will afflict there with one or two:

SONG.

O soft is the ringdove’s eye of love

When her mute returns from a weary flight;

And brightest of all the stars above

Is the one bright star that leads the night.

But softer thine eye than the dove’s by far,

When of friendship and pity thou speakest to me;

And brighter, O brighter, than eve’s one star

When of love, sweet maid, I speak to thee. [page 124:]

Here is another

SONG.

Oh, a heart it loves, it loves thee,

That never loved before

Oh, a heart it loves, it loves thee.

That heart call love no more.

 

As the rose was in the bud, love,

Ere it opened into sight,

As yon star in drumlic daylight

Behind the blue was bright —

 

So thine image in my heart, love,

As pure, as bright, as fair,

Thyself unseen, unheeded,

I saw and loved it there.

 

Oh, a heart it loves, it loves thee

As heart ne‘er loved before;

Oh, a heart, it loves, loves, loves thee,

That heart can love no more.

In “The Widow’s Complaint” we are entertained after this fashion:

And what are these children

I once thought my own,

What now do they scan

But his orphans alone?

In “The New Castalia” we have it thus:

Then a pallid beauteous maiden

Golden ghastly robes arrayed in

Such a wondrous strain displayed in,

In a wondrous song of Aideunc,

That all the gods and goddesses

Shook their golden yellow tresses,

Parnassus’ self made half afraid in.

Just above this there is something about aged beldames dreaming

— of white throats sweetly, jagged

With a ragged butch-knife dull,

And of night-mares neighing, — weighing,

On a sleepers bosom squatting.

But in mercy to our readers we forbear.

Mr. Lord is never elevated above the dead level of his habitual platitude, by even the happiest thesis in the world. That any man could, at one and the same time, fancy himself a poet and string together as many pitiable inanities as we see here, on so truly suggestive a thesis as that of “A Lady taking the Veil,” is to our apprehension a miracle of miracles. The idea would seem to be, of itself, sufficient to elicit fire from ice — to breathe animation into the most stolid of stone. Mr. Lord winds up a dissertation on the subject by the patronizing advice

Ere thou, irrevocable, to that dark creed

Art yielded, think, Oh Lady, think again!

the whole of which would read better if it were

Ere thou, irrevocable, to this d——d doggrel

Art yielded. Lord, think! think! — ah think again.

Even with the great theme, Niagara, our poet fails in his obvious effort to work himself into a fit of inspiration, One of his poems has for title “A Hymn to Niagara” — but from beginning to end it is nothing more than a very silly “Hymn to Mr. Lord.” Instead of describing the fall (as well as any Mr. Lord could be supposed to describe it) he rants about what I feel here, and about what I did not feel there — till at last the figure of little Mr. Lord, in the shape of a great capital I gets so thoroughly in between the reader and the waterfall that not a particle of the latter is to be discovered. At one point the poet directs his soul to issue a proclamation as follows:

Proclaim, my soul, proclaim it to the sky!

And tell the stars, and tell the hills whose feet

Are in the depths of earth, their peaks in heaven,

And tell the Ocean’s old familiar face

Beheld by day and night, in calm and storm,

That they, nor aught beside ill earth or heaven, [page 125:]

Like thee, tremendous torrent, have so filled

It’s thought of beauty, and so awed with might!

The “Its” has reference to the soul of Mr. Lord, who thinks it necessary to issue a proclamation to the stars and the hills and the ocean’s old familiar face — lest the stars and the hills and the ocean’s old familiar face should chance to be unaware of the fact that it (the soul of Mr. Lord) admitted the waterfall to be a line thing — but whether the cataract for the compliment, or the stars for the information, are to be considered the party chiefly obliged — that, for the life of us, we cannot tell.

From the “first impression” of the cataract, he says:

At length my soul awaked — waked not again

To be o’erpressed, o’ermastered, and engulphed,

But of itself possessed, o’er all without

Felt conscious mastery!

 

And then

Retired within, and self-withdrawn, I stood

The two-told centre and informing soul

Of one vast harmony of sights and sounds,

And from that deep abyss, that rock-built shrine,

Though mute my own frail voice, I poured a hymn

Of “praise and gratulation” like the noise

Of banded angels when they shout to wake

Empyreal echoes!

That so vast a personage as Mr. Lord should not be o‘ermastered by the cataract, but feel “conscious mastery over all without” — and over all within, too — is certainly nothing more than reasonable and proper — but then he should have left the detail of these little facts to the cataract or to some other uninterested individual — even Cicero has been held to blame for a want of modesty-and although, to be sure, Cicero was not Mr. Lord, still Mr. Lord may be in danger of blame. He may have enemies (very little men!) who will pretend to deny that the “hymn of praise and gratulation” (if this is the hymn) bears at all points more than a partial resemblance to the “noise of banded angels when they shout to wake empyreal echoes.” Not that we intend to deny it — but they will: — they are very little people and they will.

We have said that the “remarkable” feature, or at least one of the “remarkable” features of this volume is its platitude — its flatness. Whenever the reader meets anything not decidedly flat, he may take it for granted at once, that it is stolen. When the poet speaks, for example, at page 148, of

Flowers, of young poets the first words —

who can fail to remember the line in the Merry Wives of Windsor.

Fairies use flowers for their charactery?

At page he says:

Great oaks their heavenward lifted arms stretch forth

In suppliance!

The same thought will be found in “Pelham,” where the author is describing the dead tree beneath which is committed the murder. The grossest plagiarisms, indeed, abound. We would have no trouble, even, in pointing out a score from our most unimportant sell: At page 27 Mr. Lord says:

They, albeit with inward pain

Who thought to sing thy dirge, must sing thy Pæan!

In a poem called “Lenore,” we have it

Avaunt! to-night my heart is light-no dirge will I upraise,

But waft the angel on her flight with a Pæan of old days.

At page 13, Mr. Lord says of certain flowers that

Ere beheld on Earth they gardened Heaven!

We print it as printed — note of admiration and all. In a poem called “Al Aaraaf” we have it thus:

———— A gemmy flower,

Inmate of highest stars, where erst it shamed

All other loveliness: — ‘twas dropped from Heaven

And fell on gardens of the unforgiven

In Trebizond. [page 126:]

At page 57 Mr. Lord says

On the old and haunted mountain,

There in dreams I dared to climb,

Where the clear Castalian fountain

(Silver fountain) ever tinkling

All the green around it sprinkling

Makes perpetual rhyme

To my dream enchanted, golden,

Came a vision of the olden

Long forgotten time.

There are no doubt many of our friends who will remember the commencement of our “Haunted Palace.”

In the greenest of our valleys

By good angels tenanted,

Once a fair and stately palace

(Radiant palace) reared its head.

In the monarch Thought’s dominion

It stood there.

Never seraph spread a pinion

Over fabric half so fair.

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,

On its roof did float and flow

This — all this — was in the olden

Time, long ago.

At page 60, Mr. Lord says:

And the aged beldames napping,

Dreamed of gently rapping, rapping,

With a hammer gently tapping,

Tapping on an infant’s skull.

In “The Raven” we have it:

While I pondered nearly napping,

Suddenly there came a rapping,

As of some one gently tapping,

Tapping at my chamber door.

But it is folly to pursue these thefts. As to any property of our own, Mr. Lord is very cordially welcome to whatever use he can make of it. But others may not be so pacifically disposed, and the book before us might be very materially thinned and reduced in cost, by discarding from it all that belongs to Miss Barrett, Tennyson, Heats, Shelley, Proctor, Longfellow and Lowell — the very class of poets, by the way, whom Mr. William W. Lord, in his “New Castalia” the most especially affects to satirize and to contemn.

It has been rumored, we say, or rather it has been announced that Mr. Lord is a graduate or perhaps a Professor of Princeton College — but we have had much difficulty in believing anything of the kind. The pages before us are not only utterly devoid of that classicism of tone and manner — that better species of classicism which a liberal education never fails to impart — but they abound in the most outrageously vulgar violations of grammar — of prosody in its most extended sense.

Of versification, and all that appertains to it, Mr. Lord is ignorant in the extreme. We doubt if he can tell the difference between a dactyl and an anapsest. In the Heroic (Iambic) Pentameter he is continually introducing such verses as these:

A faint symphony to Heaven ascending —

———

No heart of love, O God, Infinite One —

———

Of a thought as weak an aspiration —

———

Who were the original priests of this —

———

Of grace, magnificence and power —

———

O’erwhelm me; this darkness that shuts out the sky —

Alexandrines, in the same metre, are encountered at every step — but it is very clear from the points at which they are met, and at which the ewsura is placed, that Mr. Lord has no idea of employing them as Alexandrines; — They are merely excessive, that is to say, defective Pentameters. In a word, judging by his rhythm, we might suppose that the poet could neither see, hear, nor make use of his fingers. We do not know, in America, a versifier so utterly wretched and contemptible. [page 127:]

His most extraordinary sins, however, are in point of English. Here is his dedication, embodied in the very first page of the book: —

“To Professor Albert B. Dod, These Poems, the offspring of an Earnest (if ineffectual) Desire towards the True and Beautiful, which were hardly my own by Paternity, when they became his by Adoption, are inscribed, with all Reverence and Affection, by the Author.”

What is any body to make of all this? What is the meaning of a desire toward? — and is it the “True and Beautiful” or the “Poems” which were hardly Mr. Lord’s “own by paternity before they became his [Mr. Dod’s] by adoption.”

At page 12, we read:

Think heedless one, or who with wanton step

Tramples the flowers.

At page 75, within the compass of eleven lines, we have three of the grossest blunders

Oh Thou for whom as in thyself Thou art,

And by thyself perceived, we know no name,

Nor dare not seek to express — but unto us,

Adouai! who before the heavens were built

Or Earth’s foundation laid, within thyself,

Thine own most glorious habitation dwelt,

But when within the abyss,

With sudden light illuminated,

Thou, thine image to behold,

Into its quickened depths

Looked down with brooding eye!

At page 79, we read

But ah! my heart, unduteous to my will,

Breathes only sadness: like an instrument

From whose quick strings, when hands devoid of skill

Solicit joy, they murmur and lament.

At page 86, is something even grosser than this

And still and rapt as pictured Saint might be

Like saint-like seemed as her she did adore.

At page 129, there is a similar error

With half closed eves and ruffled feathers known

As them that fly not with the changing year.

At page 128 we find —

And thou didst dwell therein so truly loved

As none have been nor shall be loved again,

And yet perceived not, etc.

At page 155, we have —

But yet it may not cannot be

That thou at length hath sunk to rest.

Invariably Mr. Lord writes didst did’st, couldst could’st etc. The fact is he is absurdly ignorant of the commonest principles of grammar — and the only excuse we can make to our readers for annoying them with specifications in this respect is that, without the specifications, we should never have been believed.

But enough of this folly. We are heartily tired of the book, and thoroughly disgusted with the impudence of the parties who have been aiding and abetting in thrusting it before the public. To the poet himself we have only to say — from any farther specimens of your stupidity, good Lord deliver us!

———

(a) The Big Bear of Arkansas, and Other Tales. — Illustrative of characters and incidents in the South and South-West — edited by W. T. Porter, with ten original engravings from Designs by Darley. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart.

Most of these sketches were originally published in the New York “Spirit of the Times,” where they attracted much attention. The two first in the volume are, we think, much overrated by the editor — they seem to us dull and forced. Many of the others are irresistibly comic and fresh. “The great Kalamazoo Hunt” is a study in this [page 128:] species of writing; and “Swallowing an Oyster” by our friend Field, of the inimitable “Reveille,” is a jewel of a thought, set to perfection. The designs by Darley (who has genius of a high order) are good, of course, but not so good as we expect to see from him.

———

(a) The Sale of a Distillery: A Pencilling of the Present Age. By Wm. Oland Bourne.

Mr. Bourne has very vigorous talent. The “Sale of a Distillery” is the best poem we have yet seen on the subject of intemperance. The conception is a most forcible one, and the execution (with very slight exception) masterly.

———

(b) The Dossay Portraits, from “Punch,” with Six Hundred Humorous Illustrations. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart.

A reprint of a series of very pungent satirical papers — the point of which will not be so fully appreciated among us as could be desired.

———

(C) THE PRIME MINISTER ; OR THE SINGULAR FORTUNES OF A PEASANT AND A PEER. By Heinrich Zschokke. author of ” Hortensia, or the Transfigurations,” etc. Translated from the German. New York. E. Winchester.

Zchokke’s works have been very popular, and have in them all the elements of the best popularity. “The Prime Minister” is strongly marked with its author’s manner, and is very entertaining. The pamphlet is finely printed, and tasteful altogether.

[[BJ May 31, 1845 - 1:342]]

REVIEWS.

MRS. CHILD’S PHILOTHEA.

Overwhelmed in a long-continued laundation of Sue-ism, we turn with a species of gasping satisfaction — with a deep sense of the luxury of repose — to the pure and quiet pages of Philothea.

We regard it not only as the best work of its author — but as the best work of a class in which are to be ranked the Telemachus of Fenelon and the Anacharsis of Bariltelemi.

Its plot is simple. The scene is principally in ancient Athens during the administration of Pericles; and some of the chief personages of his tithe are brought, with himself, upon the stage. Among these are Aspasia, Alcibiades, Hippocrates, Anaxagoras of Clazomenm, Plato, Ifermippus the comic writer, Phidias the sculptor, Artaxerxes of Persia, and Xerxes his son. Philothea, the heroine of the tale, and the granddaughter of Anaxagoras, is of a majestic beauty, and of great purity and elevation of mind. Her friend Eudora, of a more delicate loveliness, and more flexile disposition, is the adopted daughter of Phidias, who bought her, when an infant, of a goat-herd in Phelle — herself and nurse having been stolen from the Ionian coast by Greek pirates, the nurse sold into slavery, and the child delivered to the care of the goat-herd. The ladies, of course, have lovers. Eudora [page 129:] is betrothed to Philemon. This Athenian, the son of the wealthy Cherilaus, but whose mother was born in Corinth, has incurred the dislike of Aspasia, the wife of Pericles. She procures the revival of an ancient law subjecting to a heavy fine all citizens who marry foreigners, and declaring all persons whose parents were not both Athenians, incapable of voting in the public assemblies, or of inheriting the estates of their fathers. Philaemon, thus deprived of citizenship, prevented from holding office, and without hope of any patrimony, is obliged to postpone, indefinitely, his union with Eudora. The revival of the obnoxious law has also a disastrous effect on the interests of Philothea. She is beloved by Paralus, the son of Pericles, and returns his affection. But in marrying she will bring upon him losses and degradation. Pericles, too, looks with an evil eye upon her poverty; and the idea of marriage is therefore finally abandoned.

Matters are thus situated when Philothea, being appointed one of the Canephorae (whose duty it is to embroider the sacred peplus, and to carry baskets in the procession of the t Panathenaia) is rigidly secluded by law, for six months, within the walls of the Acropolis. During this time Eudora, deprived of the good counsel and example of her friend, becomes a frequent visitor at the house of Aspasia, by whose pernicious influence she is insensibly affected. It is at the return of Philothea from the Acropolis that the story commences. At the urgent solicitation of Aspasia, who is desirous of strengthening her influence in Athens by the countenance of the virtuous, Anaxagoras is induced to attend, with his grand-daughter, a symposium at the house of Pericles. Eudora accompanies them. The other guests are Hermippus, Phidias, the Persian Artaphernes, Tithonus a learned Ethiopian, Plato, Hipparete the wife of Alcibiades, and Alcibiades himself. At this symposium Eudora is dazzled by the graces of Alcibiades, and listens to his seductive flattery — forgetful of the claims of Hipparete and of her own lover, Philaemon. The poison of this illicit feeling now affects all the action of the drama. Philothea discovers the danger of her friend, but is sternly repulsed upon the proffer of good advice. Alcibiades is appointed a secret interview by Eudora, which is interrupted by Philothea — not, however, before it is observed by Philæmon, who in consequence, abandons his mistress, and departs broken-hearted from Athens. The eyes of Eudora are now opened, too late, to the perfidy of Alcibiades, who had deceived her with the promise of marriage and of obtaining a divorce from Hipparete. It is Hipparete who appeals to the Archons for a divorce from Alcibiades, on the score of his notorious profligacy; and in the investigations which ensue, it appears that a snare has been laid by Aspasia and himself to entrap Eudora, and that, with a similar end in view, he has also promised marriage to Electra, the Corinthian.

Pericles seeks to please the populace by diminishing the power of the Areopagus. He causes a decree to be passed, that those who deny the existence of the Gods, or introduce new opinions about celestial things, shall be tried by the people. This, however, proves injurious to some of his own personal friends. Hermippus lays before the Themothetae Archons an accusation of blasphemy against Anaxagoras, Phidias, and Aspasia; and the case is tried before the fourth assembly of the people. Anaxagoras is charged with not having offered victims to the Gods, and with having blasphemed the divine Phœbus by saying the sun was only a huge ball of fire: — he is condemned to die. Phidias is accused of blasphemy in having carved the likeness of himself and Pericles on the shield of heaven-born Pallas — of having [page 130:] said that he approved the worship of the Gods merely because he wished to have his own works adored — and of decoying to his own house the mauls and matrons of Athens, under pretence of seeing sculpture, but in fact, to administer to the profligacy of Pericles. He also is sentenced to death. Aspasia is accused of saying that the sacred baskets of Demeter contained nothing of so much importance as the beautiful maidens who carried them; and that the temple of Poseidoa was enriched with no offerings from those who had been wrecked notwithstanding their supplications — thereby implying irreverent doubts of the power of Ocean’s God. Her sentence is exile. Pericles, however, succeeds in getting the execution of the decrees suspended until the oracle of Amphiaraus can be consulted. Antiphon, a celebrated diviner, is appointed to consult it. He is absent for many days, and in the meantime Pericles has an opportunity of tampering with the people, as he has already tampered with Antiphon. The response of the oracle opportunely declares that the sentences be re-considered. They are; Phidias and Anaxagoras are merely banished. while Aspasia is acquitted. These trials form, perhaps, the most interesting portion of the book.

Chapter X1. introduces us to Anaxagoras, the contented resident of a small village near Lampsacus in Ionia. He is old, feeble and poor. Philothea watches by his side, and supports him with the labor of her hands, Plato visits the sage of Clazomenae in his retreat, and brings news of the still beloved Athens. The pestilence is raging — the Pirmus is heaped with the unburied dead. Hipparete has fallen a victim. Pericles was one of the first sufferers, but has recover ed through the skill of Hippocrates. Phidias who, after his sentence of exile, departed with Eudora to Elis, and grew in honor among the Eleans — is dead. Eudora still remains at his house, Elis having bestowed on her the yearly revenues of a farm in consideration of the affectionate care bestowed upon her illustrious benefactor. Philæmon is in Persia instructing the sons of the wealthy satrap Megabyzus. Alcibiades is living in unbridled license at Athens. But the visiter has not yet spoken of Paralus, the lover of Philothea. “Daughter of Alcimenes,” he at length says — we copy here a page of the volume as a specimen of the grace of the narrative:

“Daughter of Alcimenes, your heart reproaches me that I forbear to speak of Paralus. That I have done so, has not been from forgetfulness, but because I have with vain and self-defeating prudence sought for cheerful words to convey sad thoughts. Paralus breathes and moves, but is apparently unconscious of existence in this world. He is silent and abstracted, like one just returned from the cave of Trophunius. Yet beautiful forms are ever with him in infinite variety ; for his quiescent soul has now undisturbed recollection of the divine archetypes in the ideal world, of which all earthly beauty is the shadow.”

“He is happy, then, though living in the midst of death,” answered Philothea. “But does his memory retain no traces of his friends?”

“One — and one only,” he replied “The name of Philothea was too deeply engraven to be washed away by the waters of oblivion. He seldom speaks; but when he does you are ever in his Nigions. The sound of a female voice accompanying the lyre is the only thing that makes him smile; and nothing moves him to tears save the farewell song of Orpheus to Eurydice. In hit drawings there is more of majesty and beauty than Phydias or Myron ever conceived; and one figure is always there — the Pythia, the Muse, the Grace, or something combining all these, more spiritual than either.”

The special object of Plato’s visit is the hearing of a message from Pericles. Hippocrates has expressed a hope that the presence of Philothea may restore, in some measure, the health and understanding of Paralus, and the once ambitious father has sent to beg the maiden’s consent to a union with the now deeply afflicted son. [page 131:]

“Philothea would not leave me even if I urged it with tears,” replied Anaxagoras, “and I am forbidden to return to Athens.”

“Pericles has provided an asylum for you, on the borders of Attica,” answered Plato, “and the young people would soon join you after their marriage. Ile did not suppose that his former proud opposition to their loves would be forgotten; but he said hearts like yours would forgive it all, the more readily because he was now a man deprived of power, and his son suffering under a visitation of the gods. Alcibiades laughed aloud when he hearts of this proposition; and said his uncle would never think of making it to any but a maiden who sees the zephyrs run, and hears the stars sing. He spoke troth in his profane merriment. Pericles knows that she who obediently listens to the inward voice, will be most likely to seek the happiness of others, forgetful of her own wrongs.”

“I do not believe the tender hearted maiden ever cherished resentment against any living thing,” replied Anakagoras. “She often reminds me of Hesiod’s description of Leto:

Placid to men and to immortal gods;

Mild from the first beginning of her days;

Gentlest of all in Heaven.

She has indeed been a precious gift to my old age. Simple and loving as she is, there are times when her looks and words fill me with awe, as if I stood in the presence of divinity.”

“It is a most lovely union when the Muses and the Charitioe inhabit the same temple,” said Plato. “I think she learned of you to be a constant worshipper of the innocent and graceful nymphs, who preside over kind and gentle actions. But tell me, Anaxagoras, if this marriage is declined, who will protect the daughter of Alcimenes when you are gone?”

The philosopher replied, “I have a sister, fielidora, the youngest of my father’s flock, who is a Priestess of the Sun, at Ephesus. Of all my family, she has least despised me for preferring philosophy to gold; and report bespeaks her wise and virtuous. I have asked and obtained from her a promise to protect Philothea when I am gone; but I will tell my child the wishes of Pericles, and leave her to the guidance of her own heart. If she enters the home of Paralus, she will be to him, as she has been to me, a bounty like the sunshine.”

Philothea assents joyfully to the union, although Chrysippus, the wealthy prince of Clazomenae, has offered her his hand. Anaxagoras dies. His grand-daughter attended by Plato and some female acquaintances, departs for Athens and arrives safely in the harbor of Phalerum. No important change has occurred in Paralus, who still shows a total unconsciousness of past events. The lovers however, are united. Many long passages about this portion of the narrative are of a lofty beauty. The dreamy, distraught, yet, unembittered existence of the husband, revelling in the visions of the Platonic philosophy — the anxiety of the father and his friends — the ardent, the pure and chivalric love, with the uncompromising devotion and soothing attentions of the wife — are pictures of which the rare merit will not fail to be appreciated by all whose opinion Mrs. Child would be likely to value.

Hippocrates has been informed that Tithonus, the Ethiopian, possesses the power of leading the soul from the body, “by means of a soul dissecting wand,” and the idea arises that the process may produce a salutary effect upon Paralus. Tithonus will be present at the Olympian games, and thither the patient is conveyed, under charge of Pericles, Plato, and his wife. On the route to Corinth, a letter from Philaemon. addressed to Anaxagoras, is handed by Artaphernes life Persian, to Philothea. At the close of this letter the writer expresses a wish to be informed of Eudora’s fate, and an earnest hope that she is not beyond the reach of Philothea’s influence. The travellers finally stop at a small town in the neighborhood of Olympia, and at the residence of Proclus and his wife Melissa, “worthy simple-hearted people with whom Phidias had died, and under whose protection he had placed his adopted daughter.” The meeting between this maiden and Philothea is full of interest. The giddy heart of Eudora is chastened by sorrow. Phidias had designed her marriage with his nephew Pandœnus — but her first love is not yet forgotten. A letter is secretly written by Philothea to [page 132:] Philæmon, acquainting him with the change in Eudora’s character, and with her unabated affection for himself, — “Sometimes,” she writes, “a stream is polluted at the fountain and its waters are tainted through all its wanderings; and sometimes the traveller throws into a pure rivulet some unclean thing which floats awhile and then is rejected from its bosom. Eudora is the pure rivulet. A foreign stain floated on its surface, but never mingled with its waters.”

The efforts of Tithonus are inadequate to the effectual relief of Paralus. We quote in full the account of the Ethiopian’s attempt. Mrs. Child is here, however, partially indebted to a statement by Clearchus, of an operation somewhat similar to that of Tithonus, performed either by the aid or in the presence of Aristotle. The subject has derived additional interest of late, from the manner in which it has been touched by Hare Townshend and Newnham.

The relation of Clearchus mentions a diviner with a spirit drawing wand and a youth whose soul was thereby taken from the body, leaving it inanimate. The soul being replaced by the aid of the magician, the youth enters into a wild account of what betel him during the trance. The passage in “Philothea” runs thus: —

Tithonus stood behind the invalid and remained perfectly quiet for many minutes. He then gently touched the back part of his head with a small wand, and leaning over him, whispered in his ear. An unpleasant change immediately passed over the countenance of Paralus. He endeavored to place his hand on his head, and a cold shivering seized him. Philothea shuddered, and Pericles grew pale, as they watched these symptoms; but the silence remained unbroken. A second and a third time the Ethiopian touched him with his wand, and spoke in whispers. The expression of pain deepened; insomuch that his friends could not look upon him without anguish of heart. Finally his limbs straightened, and became perfectly rigid and motionless.

Tithonus, perceiving the terror he had excited, said soothingly, “O Athenians, be not afraid. I have never seen the soul with drawn without a struggle with the body. Believe me it will return. The words I whispered, were those I once heard from the lips of Plato. ‘The human soul is guided by two horses — one white with a flowing mane, earnest eye, and wings like a swan, whereby he seeks to fly; but the other is black, heavy, and sleepy-eyed-ever prone to lie down upon the earth.’ The second time I whispered, ‘Lo, the soul seeketh to ascend!’ And the third time I said, ‘Behold the winged separates from that which has no wings.’ When life returns, Paralus will have remembrance of these words.”

“Oh, restore him! restore him!” exclaimed Philothea, in tones of agonised entreaty.

Tithonus answered with respectful tenderness, and again stood in profound silence several minutes, before he raised the wand. At the first touch, a feeble shivering gave indication of returning life. As it was repeated a second and a third time, with a brief interval between each movement, the countenance of the sufferer grew more dark and troubled, until it became fearful to look upon.

But the heavy shadow gradually passed away, and a dreamy smile returned like a gleam of sunshine after storms. The moment Philothea perceived an expression familiar to her heart, she knelt by the couch, seized the hand of Paralus, and bathed it with her tears.

When the first gush of emotion had subsided, she said in a soft, low voice, “Where have you been, dear Paralus?” The invalid answered, “A thick vapor enveloped me, as with a dark cloud; and a stunning noise pained my head with its violence. A voice said to me, ‘The human soul is guided by two horses; one white, with a flowing mane, earnest eyes, and wings like a swan, whereby he seeks to fly; but the other is black, heavy, and sleepy-eyed — ever prone to lie down upon the earth.’ Then the darkness began to clear away. But there was strange confusion. All things seemed rapidly to interchange their colors and their forms — the sound of a storm was in mine ears-the elements and the stars seemed to crowd upon me-and my breath was taken away. Then I heard a voice saying, ‘Lo, the soul seeketh to ascend !’ And I looked and saw the chariot and horses, of which the voice again said, ‘Behold, the winged separates from that which hath no wings !’ And suddenly the chariot ascended, and I saw the white horse on light, fleecy clouds. in a far blue sky. Then I heard a pleasing silent sound — as if dew- drops made music as they fell. I breathed freely, and my form seemed to expand itself with buoyant life. All at once I was floating in the air above a quiet lake, where reposed seven beautiful islands, full of the sound of harps; and Philothea slept at my side, with a garland on her head. I asked, ’ is [page 133:] this the divine home whence I departed into the body?’ And a voice above my head answered: It is the divine home. Man never leaves it. He ceases to perceive. Afterward I looked downward, and saw my dead body lying on a couch. Then again there came strange confusion — and a painful clashing of sounds — and all things rushing together. But Philothea took my hand and spoke to me in gentle tones, and the discord ceased.”

The mind of Paralus derives but a temporary benefit from the shill of Tithonus, and even the attendance of the patient upon the Olympian games (a suggestion of Pericles) fails of the desired effect. A partial revival is indeed thus brought about — but death rapidly ensues. The friends of the deceased return to Athens, accompanied by the adopted daughter of Phidias. Philothea dies. Not many days after the funeral ceremonies, Eudora suddenly disappears. Alcibiades is suspected (justly) of having entrapped her to his summer residence in Salamis. The pages which follow this event detail the rescue of the maiden by the ingenuity of two faithful slaves — the discovery of her father in Artaphernes the Persian, whom she accompanies to the court of Artaxerxes — her joyful meeting there and marriage with Philemon, after refusing the proffered hand of Xerxes himself.

In regard to the species of novel of which “Philothea” is so fine a specimen, we may say that no powers can render it, at the present day, popular. Nor is the voice of the people, in this respect, to be adduced as any evidence of corrupt ed taste. We have little of purely human sympathy in the distantly antique; and what little we have is weakened by the necessity for effort in conceiving appropriateness in manners, habits, costume, and modes of thought, so widely at variance with those around its. The “Pompeii“of Bulwer cannot be considered as altogether belonging to the species, and fails in popularity only as it does so belong to it. This justly admired work owes what it possesses of attraction for the mass, to the stupendousness of its leading event — an event rendered only the more thrillingly interesting by the obscurity which years have thrown over its details — to the skill with which the mind of the reader is prepared for ibis event — to the vigor with which it is depicted — and to the commingling with this event human passions wildly affected thereby-passions the sternest of our nature and common to all character and time. By means so effectual we are hurried over, and observe not, unless with a critical eye, those radical defects or difficulties (coincident with the choice of epoch) of which we have spoken above. The fine perception of Bulwer endured these difficulties as inseparable from the ground-work of his narrative — did not mistake them for facilities. The plot of “Philothea,” like that of the “Telemachus” and of the “Anacharsis,” should be regarded, on the other hand, as merely the vehicle for the “antique manners, habits and modes of thought” which are at variance with a popular interest to-day. Regarding it in this, its only proper light, we are justified in speaking of the work as an honor to our country, and a triumph for our country-women.

“Philothea” might be introduced, with advantage, into our female academies. Its purity of thought and elevation of tone are admirably adapted to scholastic purposes. It would prove an effectual aid in the study of Greek antiquity, with the spirit of which it is wonderfully imbued. We say wonderfully — for the authoress disclaims all knowledge of the classical tongues. There are some points, to be sure, at which a pedant might cavil — some perversions of the character of Pericles — of the philosophy of Anaxaguras — and there might be found more than one flaw in the arrangement of Aspasia’s symposium. On the other hand the work affords [page 134:] evidence of an even intimate acquaintance with the genius of the tittles, places, and people depicted; and with the many egregious blunders of so fine a scholar as Barthelemi still fresh in our remembrance, it will never do to find fault with a few peccadilloes on the part of Mrs. Child. As a mere narrative, “Philothea” is, moreover, entitled to high praise, and its exceeding purity of style should especially recommend it to the attention of teachers.

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THE MAGAZINES.

[Not by Poe]

(a) The only Magazine of the better class which has reached us, for June, is the Knickerbocker, which has an unusually good table of contents. It contains a long and well-written criticism on the young English poetry, from the pen of Mr. Bristed, a grandson of John Jacob Astor’s, of whose scholar ship we have often heard most extravagant reports. The Knickerbocker also contains an original poem by Tennyson, which the editor received from the same gentleman.

The Blackwood for May has been issued by Leonard Scott & Co., Fulton street.

[[BJ May 31, 1845 - 1:348]]

An American gentleman who has lately returned from Europe, brings with him the following anecdote of Tennyson. At a German inn he met with an Englishman remarkable in a three-fold manner; for his appearance, which was interesting and striking — for his conversation, which was markedly peculiar — and for his hat, which, for the length of time it had been ignorant of a nap, might have balanced the seven sleepers in the economy of nature. One day the two strangers were put into the same vehicle to visit a ruin or a waterfall, and, then, for the first time, the Englishman discovered that his companion was an American. Upon learning this, he drew a note-book from his pocket, and taking from it a copy in MS. of “Tennyson’s Mariana in the Moated Grange,” asked the American if he had ever seen it. “Certainly,” was the reply; “I am very familiar with it.” “But is Tennyson much esteemed in America?” “He is admired by all whose admiration is an honor.” “Is he?” exclaimed the Englishman, with boyish delight glowing from his face, “Why, I‘m Tennyson!”

The anecdote is highly characteristic of Tennyson ; he appears to be in the habit of showing his poems in manuscript to his acquaintances. The last number of the Knickerbocker contains a poem which an American gentleman in England obtained from him in this manner. As it has never appeared before in print, we copy it for its novelty.

MY EARLY LOVE.

OH that it were possible,

After long years of pain,

To find the arms of my true love

Around me once again!

When I was wont to meet her

In the silent woody places

Of the land that gave us birth,

We stood tranced in long embraces,

Mixed with kisses sweeter, sweeter

Than any thing on earth! [page 135:]

A shadow (?its before me

Not thou, but like to then

Oh, CHRIST ! that it were possible,

For one short hour, to see

The souls we love, that they might tell us

What and where they be !

It leads me forth at evening.

And lightly winds and steals

In a cold white robe before me,

When all my spirit reels

At the shouts, the leagues of light,

The roaring of the wheels !

Half the night I waste in sighs,

Half in dreams I sorrow after

The hand, the lip, the eyes,

The winsome laughter;

And I hear the pleasant ditty

That I heard her chaunt of old

But I wake — my dream is fled!

Without knowledge, without pity,

In the shuddering gray behold,

By the curtains of my bed,

That dreadful phantom cold.

Pass, thou deathlike type of pain

Pass, and cease to move about

‘T is the blot upon the brain,

That will show itself without.

Now I rise ; the nave-drops fall,

And the yellow vapors choke

The great city sounding wide;

Day comes; a dull red ball

In a drift of lurid smoke,

O‘er the misty river tide.

Through the hubbub of the market

I steal a wasted frame;

It crosseth here, it crosseth there,

Through all that crowd confused and loud,

That shadow still the same;

And on my heavy eyelids

My anguish hangs like shame.

Alas! for her that met me,

That heard me softly call,

Came glimmering through the laurels,

At the quiet evening fall,

In the garden by the terrace

Of the old memorial hall.

The broad light glares and heats,

And the sunk eye flits and fleets,

And will not let me be;

I loathe the squares and streets,

And the faces that one meets,

Hearts with no love for rote;

Only I long to creep

To some still cavern deep,

And weep, and weep, and weep

My whole soul out to thee !

——————————————

MISCELLANEA.

ANASTATIC PRINTING. — We extract the — following interesting particulars in regard to Anastatic Printing, from Appleton’s Literary Bulletin.

On the 25th ult., I attended a Lecture at the Royal Institution, by Prof. Faraday, on the Philosophy of the Anastatic Process of Printing, in which all the details of the practice were explained and exhibited. The principle rests on some of the properties of the articles employed: ac as water attracts water, oil oil, though they mutually repel each other. Metals are much more easily welted with oil than with water; but they may readily be moistened by a weak solution of gum, and still more when a portion of phosphatic acid is added.” (The lecturer here alluded to some remarkable investigations recently made on these phenomena, by Prof. Henry, of Princeton, N. J.) To these properties of oil, water, and the metals, may be added, as one of the principles of the Anastatic Process, the readiness with which part of the ink of any newly printed book, &c., can be transferred by pressure to any smooth surface, an effect well known to bookbinders. The subject to be copied is first moistened with diluted nitric acid, the superfluous moisture pressed out between folds of bibulous paper, and then pressed with sufficient force in a rolling-press on a sheet of clean polished zinc. The acid etches the metal, and the printer portion is left slightly in relief. The principles above stated are now brought into operation. The zinc plate is washed with a weak solution of gum and phosphatic acid, by which the etched surface is completely wetted, while that portion to which the ink has adhered remains perfectly dry. An inked roller is now passed over the surface, inking only those parts untouched by the water; the strong repulsion between the oily and watery surfaces preserves the design in the clearest manner. In this condition of the plate impressions can be taken in the same manner as from [page 136:] lithographic stone, and as many as three thousand impressions have been taken without any deterioration being apparent. Should, however, the impressions yielded prove deficient in clearness, it is only necessary to wash the zinc plate with turpentine, when it is immediately restored to its pristine condition. Old books, in which the ink fins become hardened, are first soaked in a solution of potass, and then of tartatic acid, producing the bilattrate of potass; this permeating the texture of the paper, resists oil, and the ink-roller passed over its Surface, the ink only adheres to the printed parts. The tartrale is then washed out, and the copy proceeded with as before, commencing with the nitric acid.

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The “Dashes at Life” by Mr. Willis were received at so late a period, that we have been unable to do more than announce it. We shall, of course, speak of it very fully hereafter. Our opinion of Mr. Willis is well known.

———

The beautiful “Unseen River,” published in this week’s Journal, is the composition of HENRY B. HIRST. We extract it, by permission, from a volume of forthcoming poems.

 


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[S:0 - BRP3J, 1986] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (May 1845)