Text: Burton R. Pollin, “The Broadway Journal: Text (July 1845),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. III: Broadway Journal (Text) (1986), pp. 1-81 (This material is protected by copyright)


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[[BJ July 12, 1845 - 2:1]]

OUR NEW VOLUME.

TO THE PUBLIC. — The suspension of “The Broadway Journal” for one week, has been occasioned by the necessity for some arrangements in which the public have no interest, but which, beyond doubt, will give increased value and efficiency to the paper.

In commencing the SECOND VOLUME, the undersigned begs leave to return his sincere thanks to the numerous friends who have lent him their aid in the very difficult task of establishing a literary and critical weekly. The success of the work, in the brief period of its existence, has been, he truly believes, beyond precedent — and from a brilliant Past, he looks confidently to a triumphant Future.

The editorial conduct of “The Broadway Journal” is under the sole charge of EDGAR A. POE — Mr. H. C. WATSON, as heretofore, controlling the ‘Musical Department.

JOHN BISCO,

Publisher.

[[BJ July 12, 1845 - 2:7]]

CRITICAL NOTICES.

(a) The Coming of the Mammoth — the Funeral of Time, and other Poems, by Henry B. Hirst, Boston: Philips & Sampson.

Mr. Hirst is a young lawyer of Philadelphia — admitted to practice, we believe, about two years ago, and already deriving a very respectable income from his profession. Some years since, his name was frequently seen in the content tables of our Magazines, but latterly the duties of his profession seem to have withdrawn him from literary pursuits. He has, nevertheless, done quite right in collecting his fugitive poems, and giving them to the public in a convenient and durable form. The day has happily gone by when a practitioner at the bar has anything to fear from its being understood that he is capable of inditing a good sonnet.

We have no hesitation in saying that Mr. Hirst has not only given indication of poetical genius, but that he has composed some verb commendable poems. His imagination is vigorous, bold, and at the same time delicate. His sense of the true provinces of poetical art is remarkably keen and discriminating, and his versification is superior to that of any American poet. We perhaps should qualify this latter remark by observing that his knowledge of the principles of the metrical art is more profound and more accurate than that of any American poet — but that his knowledge too frequently leads him into the pedantry of hyperism. He is apt to overdo a good thing. He insists upon rhythmical and metrical effects until they cease to have any effect at all — or until they give to his compositions an air of mere oddity. His other defects are, chiefly, a want of constructive ability, occasional extravagance of expression, and a far more than occasional imitativeness. This last sin, is, in poetry, never to be forgiven, and we are sorry to say that Mr. Hirst is inordinately given to it. There is not a single poem in the beautifully printed volume before us which does not remind us, instantly, of some other composition. If we except some rhythmical effects (for which the author deserves great praise) there is nothing in the book which is fairly entitled to be called original, either in its conception, execution, or manner, as a whole. Of detached thoughts, nevertheless, there are many very striking ones which are quite new, for any evidence that we have to the contrary.

As very usually happens in a case of this kind, the leading and longest poem of the collection is the least worthy of notice. It is called “The Coming of the Mammoth,” and, to say nothing of its being a mere paraphrase, in all its most striking points, of Mr. Mathews’ “Behemoth,” is feebly and incoherently narrated — narrated, indeed, very much as a schoolboy would narrate it. In fact, we understand that it is one of the earliest compositions of the author, who began to write at a very immature age.

The story runs simply thus. The aborigines are suddenly startled from the quiet of ages, by the apparition of “myriad forms” of the mammoths. These creatures carry death and desolation every where — destroying vegetation, and animal life wherever they pass. The extravagance with which their nature is delineated, may be instanced by one stanza;

We saw them hunt the buffalo,

And crush them with their tusks of steel;

The mountains rocking to and fro

Like trees that in the tempest reel,

When passed their herds; and lake and rivet

A draught of theirs made dry forever.

The aborigines themselves fall a prey and are reduced to a small band, when they bethink them of supplicating the aid of Moneddo (Mauitou) who forthwith attacks the ravagers [page 163:] with lightning, and destroys them all but one.

Bolt rushed on bolt till, one by one,

Howling in agony, they died,

Save him, the fiercest! And alone

He stood — almost a trod in pride —

Then with a loud defying volt

Leapt, like a shaft, o‘er hill and dell.

He flies at great speed; the lightnings and the Indians still pursuing. He reaches the Mississippi — leaps it at one bound (possibly at a point not very far from the source) and is at last brought up by the Rocky Mountains — but only for a few moments — he ascends the highest peak — throws rocks and trees “in the face of God” and fairly defies him, until at length the “mightiest spirits” are summoned to put an end to the contest:

They heard: with one tremendous crash

Down on the Mammoth’s forehead came

A surging sea of withering flame.

Earth trembled to its core; and weak

But unsubdued the Mammoth leapt

Furiously from that lofty peak

To where the dark blue ocean swept.

Down! down! The startled waters sever;

Then roll above him — and forever!

Our readers will agree with us that from the summit of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, is a tolerably long leap even for a Mammoth — although he had had some previous practice in jumping the Mississippi.

We are not extravagant in saying (are we?) that the “Coming of the Mammoth” which might as well have been called the “Coming and the Going of the Mammoth” is the most preposterous of all the preposterous poems ever deliberately printed by a gentleman arrived at the years of discretion. Nor has it one individual point of redeeming merit. Had Mr. Hirst written only this he should have thrown his book to the pigs without comment.

The Funeral of Time” is a forcible allegory, very indistinctly made out, but well versified in some respects, and filled with majestic images — although disfigured, too often, by something even more mad than Nat Leeism.

Isabelle” is the finest ballad ever written in this country, and but for its obvious and no doubt intentional imitations, might be called one of the best ever written anywhere. It is indeed exceedingly difficult to understand how the author of such trash as “The Mammoth” could be at the same time author of anything so widely different as “Isabelle.” Its simplicity is exquisite — its conduct could not be improved — and its versification (within the narrow limits designed) is full of original force. We quote (unconnectedly) a few of the best quatrains:

A lustrous maid was Isabelle,

And quiet as a brooding bird;

She never thought of passion’s spell —

Of love she never heard;

 

But in her lonely chamber sat,

Sighing the weary hours away

From morn till flitting of the bat

Around the turrets gray.

 

And trembling with a strange unrest —

A yearning for — she knew not what;

She only knew her heaving breast

Was heavy with its lot.

 

At last she passed to womanhood,

And sat her down on Beauty’s throne,

A statue with a beating heart

Beneath a breast of stone.

 

Her lustrous eyes grew large with love;

Her cheeks with passion flushed and bright;

Her lips, whereon no bee might rove

Undrunken with delight,

Were, &c.

 

She felt she had not lived in vain;

She saw the Eden of her dreams

Close round her, and she stood again

Beside its silver streams. [page 164:]

 

The servants followed her with their eyes,

And prayed the virgin that her hours

Might ever pass under azure skies

And over parterres of flowers.

“Geraldine” is a far better poem than “Isabelle” and is unquestionably the best in the volume. It is, however, in manner a palpable imitation of Tennyson. In justice to Mr. Hirst we quote it in full:

The martins twitter round the eaves,

The swift adown the chimney glides,

The bees are humming ‘mid the leaves

Along the garden side;

The robin whistles in the wood,

The linnet on the vane,

And down the alder-margined lane

The throsile sings, and by the flood

The plover pipes again.

 

But ah — alas! alas! no more

Their merry melodies delight;

No more along the river’s shore

I watch the swallow’s flight:

And bees may hum and birds may sing,

And silver streamlets shine,

But on the rocks I sit and pine

Unheeding all; for thought will cling

To naught but Geraldine.

 

Oh, Geraldine! my life, my love

I only wander where we met

In emerald days, when blue above

The skies were o‘er us set —

Along the glen and o‘er the vale

And by the willow tree

I wander where at even with thee

I sang the song and told the tale

Of olden chivalry.

 

I stand beneath the sombre pines

That darken all thy father’s hall,

Begirt with noisome ivy vines

That shroud me like a pall,

Aye there! — where ruin frowns around!

Until the cock doth crow

I watch thy window-panes below,

Upon the sodden blackened ground

Where nothing good will grow.

 

I‘ve watched thy lattice as before

To see the glimmer dimly pass,

(When thou wouldst open thy chamber door)

Of lamp-light on the glass;

But none from out thy lattice peeps,

And all within is gloom,

And silent as a vacant tomb,

Save when a bat affrighted cheeps

In some deserted roots.

 

Why comest thou not? Night after night,

For many a long and weary year,

‘Neath many and many a May-moon’s light,

I‘ve waited for thee here.

Aye blackest night and wildest storm

When frowning in the sky

Have looked on me with lightning eye,

And charnel figures round my form

Have gleamed and hurried by.

 

Why comest thou not? or wilt thou soon?

The crimson sun doth wax and wane

Day after day; the yellow moon

Gildeth thy casement pane

Night after night; the stars are pale

Expecting thee; the breeze

Rustling among the dreary, trees

Sighs for thee with a woful wail

Who art beyond the seas.

 

They tell me thou wilt never come

Alas! that thou art cold and dead,

And slumbering in the green sea-foam

Upon some coral bed:

That shriekingly thy ship went down

Beneath the wailing wave,

And none were near to hear or save

And then they weep to see me frown

To hear me groan and rave.

 

Thou dead! — no, no! — it cannot be!

For if thou was, thy ghost had kept

The solemn trist thou modest with me

When all save passion slept

Thy ghost had come and greeted me

And bade me be at rest;

And long ere this upon my breast

The clod had lain; and I with thee

Were roaming ‘mid the blest.

“The Unseen River” is musical, but has the defect of being imperfectly made out. Few persons will understand [page 165:] that by the river always heard but never seen, until the traveller is overtaken by death, it is the poet’s intention to typify Happiness. We quote a fine stanza of which the whole is very poetic (in the best sense) and of which the concluding line is a specimen of exquisite versification.

From the valley — from a river

Which, like many a silver quiver,

Through the landscape stole in light —

From the bushes, shrubs and blossoms —

Flowers unfolding fragrant bosoms —

Curled the shadows out of sight,

Fading like a ghost in air; and ever the river rippled bright.

“The Burial of Eros” is a very effective allegorical poem — but all allegories are contemptible: — at least the only two which are not contemptible (The Pilgrim’s Progress and The Fairy Queen) are admired in despite of themselves (as allegories) and in the direct ratio of the possibility of keeping the allegorical meaning out of sight.

“The Sea of the Mind” is another allegory, or (what is less objectionable) an allegorical enigma. It is miserably indefinite. Its only merit lies in detached thoughts, and in its admirable management of the trochaic rhythm. The metre is heptameter catalectic — consisting of seven (trochaic) feet and a final cæsura, equivalent. The trochees are finely varied, now and then, with dactyls; only the most forcible consonants are employed; the richest vowel sounds abound; and all the effects of alliteration, with other rhythmical effects less common, are skilfully introduced. — For example:

Silvery the ocean singeth over sands of pearly glow;

Under its surface shapes are gliding-gliding fast or sailing slow

Shapes of strange supernal beauty, floating through a fairy wave

Fairer, purer, lovelier, brighter than the streams that Iram lave.

“The Birth of a Poet” is somewhat like an imitation from John Neal’s poem of the same title; the commencement, especially, is stolen.

Mr. Hirst’s conception throughout is fantastical — not to say absurd. The poem, however, is redeemed by one remarkably well-managed quatrain:

Music like what the poet hears

When, wraps in harmony, he wings

His soul away through argent spheres,

And back their melody brings.

The concluding anapæst here beautifully and most appropriately varies the iambic rhythm — making the sound “echo the sense.”

“Everard Grey” is a superb specimen of dactylic trimeter, catalectic on one syllable — three dactyls and one equivalent caesura. E. g. —

Time it has passed; and the lady is pale —

Pale as the lily that lolls on the gale

Weary and worn she bath waited for years

Keeping her grief evergreen with her tears: —

Years will she tarry — for cold is the clay

Fettering the form of her Everard Grey.

“The Fringilla Melodia” is truly beautiful throughout, possessing a natural force and grace (without effort) which would do honor to the most noted poet in the land. We quote the first quatrain:

Happy song-sparrow that on woodland side

Or by the meadow sits, and ceaseless sings

His mellow roundelay in russet pride,

Owning no care between his wings.

The “sits” here is not ungrammatical; the sparrow is not invoked. The construction is nevertheless a little equivocal.

“The Coming of Autumn” is spirited — but is a little too much in the Old King Cole way.

“The Autumn Wind” has a noble beginning, and as noble an end — but as a whole is unimpressive. [page 166:]

“Eleanore” has no merit at all except the effect of the constantly recurring refrain, “Eleanore!” and this is taken from Tennyson’s “Oriana.”

“Mary” has some fine passages — e. g.

He watched each motion of her rustling dress,

Each lustrous rnocement of her liquid eyes —

Envied the air its undisturbed caress

Of her whose presence was his Paradise.

“To an Old Oak;” “To E — with a Withered Rose;” and “The Death-Song of the Nightingale” have nothing in them remarkable — “Eulalie Vere” nothing beyond the barroques lines,

Checks where the loveliest of lustre reposes

On valleys of lilies and mountains of roses.

“To the American Sky-Lark” is professedly an imitation of Bryant’s “Waterfowl:” we need, therefore, say nothing about it.

“Ellena” has some glowing thoughts. For example,

at her word

The hushed air shook, with human passion stirred.

And again:

a maniac tune

Rang in mine cars, like songs sung in a swoon.

The Coming of Night” is excellent throughout — if we except the grammatical error in the ante-penultimate line.

Oh Blessed Night that comes to rich and poor.

Here are two admirable quatrains:

Forest and field are still

Nature seems wrapt in slumber; wholly dumb,

Save when the frog’s deep has, or beetle’s hum,

Or wailing whippoorwill,

 

Disturb her weary ear,

Or the far falling of the rippling rill

That slugs, while leaping down the silent hill,

Her dreamless sleep to cheer.

“Violet” is merely an absurd imitation of Barry Cornwall’s most absurd Tom-Foolery.

“A Gift” is well versified, but common-place.

“The Owl” opens with two finely imaginative stanzas:

When twilight fades and evening falls

Alike on tree and tower,

And silence, like a pensive maid,

Walks round each slumbering bower;

When fragrant flowerets fold their leaves,

And all is still in sleep,

The horned owl on moonlit wing

Flies from the donjon keep.

 

And he calls aloud “too-whit! too-whoo!”

And the nightingale is still,

And the pattering step of the hurrying bare

Is hushed upon the bill;

And he crouches low in the dewy grass

As the lord of the night goes by,

Not with a loudly whirring wing

But like a lady’s sigh.

Every critic — at least every poetical critic — will admit that the images in these two stanzas are such as only a true poet could conceive. At the same time they are embodied with much art.

“A Song” and “MutiusScaevola” have no particular merit. “The Forsaken” ends with nerve:

Well, go thy way! and never wake

The feeblest memory of me,

To wring thy worthless heart! I break

Thy chains and set thee free.

Thou to thy mirth! I to my gloom!

Health to the coldest of the twain!

And mine — not thine — the iron doom

Of having loved in vain.

“The Lament of Adam” is chiefly remarkable for the effect of its versification — not altogether original, to be sure, but rare, and very forcible when well-managed. The rhythm is dactylic, the lines terminating with equivalent cæsuras. The metre is generally tetrameter, catalectic on one syllable (the cæsura forming the catalexis) — but the [page 167:] lines increase towards the closing of the stanzas, and in one instance are hexameter catalectic. We give the last stanza:

Life hath its pleasures — but perishing they as the flowers

Sin hath its sorrows; and, sighing we turned from those bowers:

Bright were the angels behind with their falchious of heavenly flame:

Dark was the desolate desert before us, but darker the depth of our shame.

Here the alliteration is too obvious — quite overdone, and is an instance of the hyperism to which we alluded in the beginning of our notice.

“The Statue-Love” is not very good.

“May” is a remarkably fine poem, with an exquisite close:

— the passionate bard

Wanders away through sylvan lonelinesses,

Alive with love — his heart a silver river

On which the swan of son, floats gracefully for ever.

“Dramatic Fragments” are worth nothing. “The Song of the Scald Biorne” is, to our astonishment, badly versified. How comes Mr. Hirst in an anapæstic rhythm, or in any rhythm, with such a verse as —

My iron hand on her arm when before her I knelt?

“Summer” is quite feeble.

Twenty well-constructed sonnets conclude the volume. Among these, — “Bethlehem” and “Dead Man’s Island” may be cited as particularly good: but by way of finale to our review we quote “Astarte” as the best.

Thy lustre, heavenly star! shines ever on me.

I, trembling like Endyinion over-bent

By dazzling Dian, when with wonderment

He saw her crescent light the Latmian lea:

And like a Naiad’s sailing on the seat,

Floats thy fair form before me: the azure air

Is all ambrosial with thy Hyacinth hair

While round thy lips the moth in airy glee

Hovers, and hums in dim and dizzy dreams,

Drunken with odorous breath: thy urgent eyes

(Twin planets swimming through love’s lustrous skies)

Are mirrored in my heart’s serenest streams —

Such eyes saw Shakespeare, flashing, bold and bright,

When Queenly Egypt rode the Nile at night.

—————

(a) Wiley and Putnam’s Library of American Books. No. 11. Tales by Edgar A. Poe. New York and London: Wiley of Putnam.

This collection embraces the Gold Bug; the Black Cat; Mesmeric Revelation; Lionizing; the Fall of the House of Usher; the Descent into the Maelstrom; the Colloquy of Monos and Una; the Conversation of Eiros and Charmion; the, Murders in the Rue Morgue; The Mystery of Marie Roget the Purloined Letter and the Man of the Crowd. This is a selection from about seventy tales, of similar length, written by Mr. Poe. No particular arrangement has been made in the selection. The stories published in the volume before us, are neither better nor worse, in general, than the remain der of the seventy. In the composition of the whole series, variety of subject and manner, especially diversity of invention, were the objects held in view. Of course these objects are lost sight of, and must necessarily be sacrificed, in any mere selection of’ twelve tales from seventy.

———

(b) A System of Latin Versification, in a series of progressive exercises, including specimens of translation from English and German poetry into Latin verse. For the use of schools and colleges. By Charles Anthon, L.L.D., professor of the Greek and Latin languages in Columbia College, N. Y. New York: Harper and Brothers.

This excellent work is intended as a sequel to the Treatise on Latin Prosody, published a few years ago. It is a very full and useful manual — useful, that is to say, if we can regard the making of Latin verses in any respect, or under any circumstances, as a useful occupation. The materials have been collected from a great variety of sources. [page 168:] As a text book the volume cannot be too highly commended. The exercises form a regular and progressive course. A key has been prepared, and can be obtained from the publishers on personal application. The work is trot up in the usual admirable manner of Professor Anthon’s Classical Series.

———

(a) The Trials of Margaret Lindsay. By John Wilson, author of “Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life.” Boston: Saxton & Kelt. New York: Saxton & Miles.

In England and Scotland there is scarcely any book more universally popular than this, and we have often wondered why it has not been reprinted in this country. The story is one of the most intense yet natural interest. The American edition is prefaced with a very judicious commentary from the pen of Mr. Hamilton.

———

(b) The Foresters. A tale or Domestic Life. By Professor Wilson, author, etc. Boston: Saxton & Kelt. New York: Saxton & Miles.

“The Foresters” has been nearly, if not quite, as popular as “The Trials,” and is equally pathetic. The American edition of this work, also, has an excellent preface by Mr. Hamilton. The two volumes are handsomely printed.

———

(c) The Modern British Essayists. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart.

Messrs. Carey & Hart have issued in three large volumes, the Critical and Miscellaneous Essays of Macaulay, Sidney Smith, and Allison. Each volume is accompanied with an admirable portrait. This collection is invaluable. For sale in drew York by Messrs. Wiley & Putnam.

———

(d) Republication of the London, Edinburgh, Foreign and Westminster Quarterly Reviews, No. 176. The Westminster Review, No. 85, for June, 1845. American Edition Vol. 20, No. 2. New York: Leonard Scott and Co.

We can hardly say too much in praise of the admirable neatness and accuracy of Messrs. Scott & Co’s reprints. They furnish for the small sum of eight dollars all the four invaluable reviews mentioned above — any one of them for three dollars — any two for five — any three for seven. The Julie number of the Westminster (just issued) contains many deeply interesting papers — among others, “Old and New London,” and an examination of Mrs. Norton’s “Child of the Islands.”

———

(e) The London Lancet for July. New York: Burgess, Stringer and Co.

The July number commences the second volume of the New Series of this excellent work. Messrs. B. & S. have still for sale a few copies of the first volume.

———

THE MAGAZINES.

The American Review for July has some very admirable papers, among which we notice especially “Marshal Macdonald” by the clever author of “Letters from Italy,” and a discriminative review of Mr. Griswold’s “Poets and Poetry of England,” by Mr. Whipple, undoubtedly one of our finest critics. We are truly delighted to find him so keenly appreciating the magnificent genius of Tennyson. This number contains, also, a poem, “The Gods of Old” which does high credit to its author, Mr. Wm. Wallace. Speaking of it the editor of the Review says: —

The following highly imaginative poem adds a third to the list on a beautiful and suggestive subject. It is a little remarkable that neither of them bears any resemblance in the conception or execution. Miss Barrett’s idea is the absolute death of the ancient Divinities — [page 170:] Schiller laments the decay of their influence — the following Ode is based on their continued existence as poetical creations which delight the human mind.

It cannot be doubted that Mr. Wallace’s conception is the best of the three, and he has handled it in a masterly manner. We quote the concluding stanza:

V.

Like far off stars that glimmer in a cloud,

Deathless, O Gods! shall ye illume the PAST:

To ye the Poet — Voice will cry aloud,

Faithful among the faithless to the last: —

Ye must not die!

Long as the dim robes of the Ages trail

O‘er Delphi’s steep or Tempe’s flowery vale —

An awful Throng —

Borne upward on the sounding wings of Song

That cast the Beautiful o‘er Land, o‘er Sea,

Ye shall not die:

Though Time and storm your calm, old temples rend,

And, rightly, men to the “ONE ONLY” bend —

Your Realm is MEMORY!

The Knickerbocker for July has also some meritorious contributions — but neither man nor devil can dissuade its editor from a monthly farrago of type so small as to be nearly invisible, and so stupid as to make us wish it were quite so. In three lines devoted to the “Broadway Journal” intended to be complimentary, we believe, although we sincerely hope not, he snakes use of what he supposes to be a French proverb, and writes it Chaçun à son gout, taking great pains to place a grave accent on the verb, mistaking it for the preposition, and complimenting the hard c with a cedilla. Within the compass of the same three lines, he talks about a nil admirari critic; some person, we presume, having quizzed him with the information that the meaning of nil admirari is “to admire nothing.” We certainly do not admire Mr. Clarke — nor his wig — but the true English of the Latin phrase is “to wonder at nothing,” and we plead guilty to having wondered at nothing since we have found the Knickerbocker sinking day by day in the public opinion in despite of the brilliant abilities and thoroughly liberal education of Mr. Lewis Gaylord Clarke.

[[BJ July 12, 1845 - 2:148]]

(a) ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT’S “COSMOS.”

The publication of Alexander von Humboldt’s “Cosmos,” has engaged the attention of the most distinguished public writers in Germany. The late number of the “Deutsche Schnellpost” contains a critique of the world from Berlin, addressed to the editor of a newspaper in Cologne.

The following is a true translation of it. — EDs. B. J.

(Plus four paragraphs of Cosmos translated (2:15L). [page 170:]

[[BJ July 19, 1845 - 2:26]]

Alfred Tennyson.

(a) We do not know when we have seen in any American or British Journal an article we have so much admired, or one with whose opinions we have so thoroughly accorded, as with a late review, by Mr. Whipple, of Mr. Griswold’s “Poets and Poetry of the Nineteenth Century.” The paper appeared in the last number of the Whig Magazine. We extract some passages relating to Tennyson. They seem to us the very echo of thoughts which hitherto we have had an opportunity of expressing only in conversation. The injustice done in America to the magnificent genius of Tennyson is one of the worst sins for which the country has to answer.

Of all the successors of Shelley, he possesses the most sureness of insight. He has a subtle mind, a keen, passionless vision. His poetry is characterized by intellectual intensity, as distinguished from the intensity of feeling. He watches his consciousness with a cautious and minute attention, to fix, and condense, and shape fit to form the vague and mystical shadows of thought and feeling, which glide and flit across it. He listens to catch the lowest whisperings of the soul. His imagination broods over the spiritual and mystical elements of his being, with the most concentrated power. His eye rests firmly on an object, until it changes from film into form. Some of his poems are forced into artistical shape, by the most patient and painful intellectual processes. His utmost strength is employed on those mysterious facts of consciousness, which form the, staple of the dreams and reveries of others. His mind winds through the mystical labyrinth; of thought and feeling, with every power awake, in action, and wrought up to the highest pitch of intensity. The most acute analysis is followed, step by step, by a suggestive imagination, which converts refined abstractions into pictures, or makes them audible to the soul through the most cunning combinations of sound. Everything that is done is the result of labor. There is hardly a stanza in his writings, but was introduced to serve some particular purpose, and could not be omitted without injury to the general effect. Every thing has meaning. Every idea was won in a fair conflict with darkness, or dissonance, or gloom, The simplicity, the barrenness of ornament, in some of his lines, are as much the result of contrivance a. his most splendid images. With what labor. for instance, with what attentive watching of consciousness, must the following stanza have been wrought into shape;

“All those sharp fancies, by down-lapsing thought

Stream‘d onward, lost their edges, and did creep,

Roll‘d on each other, rounded, smooth‘d and brought

Into the gulfs of sleep.”

This intense intellectual action is displayed in his delineations of nature and individual character, as well as in his subjective grossings into the refinements of his own consciousness. fit describing scenery, his microscopic eye and marvellously delicate ear, are exercised to the utmost in detecting the minutest relations and most evanescent melodies of the objects before him, in order that his representation of it shall include everything which is important to its full perception. His pictures of English rural scenery, among the finest in the language, give the inner spirit as well as the outward form of the objects, and represent them. also, in their relation to the mind which is gazing on them; but nothing is spontaneous; the whole is wrought out elaborately — by patient skill. The picture in hi. mind is spread out before his detecting and dissecting intellect, to be transferred to words, only when it can he done with the most refined exactness, both as regards color, and form and melody. He takes into calculation the nature of his subject, and decides whether [page 171:] it shall he definitely expressed in images. or indefinitely through tone, or whether both modes shall he combined. His object is expression, in its true sense; to reproduce in other minds the imagination or feeling which lies in his own; and he adopts the method which seems best calculated to effect it. He never will trust himself to the impulses of passion, even in describing passion. All emotion, whether turbulent or evanescent, is passed through his intellect, and curiously scanned. To write furiously, would to him appear as ridiculous, and as certainly productive of confusion, as to paint furiously, or carve furiously. We only appreciate his art, when we consider that many of his finest conceptions and most sculptural images, originally appeared in his consciousness as form less and mysterious emotions, having seemingly no symbols in mature or thought.

If our position is correct, then most certainly nothing can be more incorrect than to call any poem of Tennyson’s unmeaning. Such a charge simply implies a lack in the critic’s mind, not in the poet’s. The latter always means something, in everything he writes; and the form which it is embodied is chosen with the most careful deliberation. It seems to us that the purely intellectual element in Tennyson’s poetry, has been overlooked, owing perhaps to the fragility of some of his figures and the dreariness of outline ap parent in others. Many think him to be a mere rhapsodist, fertile in nothing but a kind of melodious empiricism, No opinion is more contradicted by the fact. Examine his poetry minutely, and the wonderful artistical finish becomes evident. There are few author who will bear the probe of analysis better.

The poetry of Tennyson is, moreover, replete with magnificent pictures, flushed with the finest hues of language, and speaking to the eye and the mind with the vividness of reality. We not only see the object, but feel the associations connected with it. If is language is penetrated with imagination; and the felicity of his epithets leaves nothing to desire. “Godiva” is perfect as regards taste and the skill evinced in compelling the mind of the reader to sympathize with all the emotions of the piece. Like the generality of Tennyson’s poems, though short, it contains elements of interest capable of being expanded into a much larger space. But the poem which probably displays to the best advantage his variety of power, is “The Gardener’s Daughter.” It is flushed throughout with the most ethereal imagination, though the incidents and emotions come horse to the common heart, and there is little appearance of elaboratiou in the style. It is bathed in beauty-perfect as a whole, and finished in the nicest details with consummate art. There is a seeming copiousness of expression with a real condensation; and the most minute threads of thought and feeling, — so refined as to be overlooked in a careless reading, yet all having relation to the general effect, — are woven into the texture of the style, with the most admirable felicity. “Locksley Hall,” “Uenurne,” “The May Queen,” “Ulysses,” “The Lotus Eaters,” “The Lady of Shalott,” “Marianna,” “Dora,” “The Two Voices,” “The Dream of Fair Women,” “The Palace of Art,” all different, all representing a peculiar phase of nature or character, are still all characterized by the cunning workmanship of a master of expression, giving the most complete form to the objects which his keen vision perceives. The melody of verse, which distinguishes all, ranging from the deepest organ tones to that

“Music which gentlier on the spirit lies,

Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes,”

is also of remarkable beauty, and wins and winds its way to the very fountains of thought and feeling.

———————

Young America.

Regretting the necessity of employing a phrase which is not only borrowed, but redolent of affectation, we still have the most earnest sympathy in all the hopes, and the firmest faith in the capabilities of “Young America.” We look upon its interests as our own, and shall uniformally uphold them in this Journal. What these interests are — what should be the aspirations of the new men of the country, and of the country through them in especial, it has been our intention to express fully in our own words, at the first convenient opportunity — but we have now lying before us an address which embodies all that there is any necessity for saying.

We allude to a paper read by Mr. CORNELIUS MATHEWS at the late annual meeting of the Eucleian Society of the University of New York. We shall be pardoned for making some extracts:

I do take it for granted, Gentlemen, that there are some new influences to here presented in Literature by the authors of this country. I am foolish enough to believe and insist that we are a province to another country on the face of the world. I therefore, in [page 172:] behalf of this young America of ours, insist on nationality and true Americanism in the hooks this country furnishes to itself and to the world: nationality in its purest, highest, broadest sense. Not such as is proclaimed in taverns, ranted of in Congress, or made the occasion of boasting and self-laudation on public anniversaries. It need not (though it may) speak of the Revolution — nor Washington — nor the declaration of independence — nor Plymouth Rock — nor Bunker Hill. Nor Bunker Hill Monument. And yet it may he instinct with the lite of the country, full of a hearty, spontaneous, genuine home feeling; relishing of the soil and of the spirit of the people. It will not be petty. I can assure you: in poetry, the echo of effete and by-gone English schools, nor in history, the re-production of French rhetoric, nor in humor, the popular authors of the time in another country. It will not, in a word, grow cross-eyed with straining its vision on models. three thousand miles away, while it makes a show of busying itself with a subject spread on the desk before it. If I read aright, the journals and periodicals of this country begin to indicate a weariness of the petty standards, by which they have been accustomed to measure and adjudge books of home production to he dissatisfied with the mere elegance in writing which has been the prevailing demand and fashion of our literature. They feel that here is a giant speaking in a piping treble, and dancing a child’s hornpipe, to the universal contempt and mockery of the world. The writings of a great country should sound of the great voices of nature of which she is full. The march of a great people in literature should be majestic and assured as the action of their institution is calm and secure. The discovery begins to be made that the life Or a young Continent is not to be represented, nor its heart moved, by tinkling rhymers and sketches with sparrow’s quills. It is not necessary to enter, now, upon causes which have kept us in servitude so long to men not worthy of us; nor to show why it is that you may wander through whole bodies and collections of (so called) American literature, and find no word or verse worthy of the nation. The cause (allowing duly for the absence of great individual genius) must at least be general, which produces so constant and melancholy a uniformity of result. In the drama the people begin to exhibit a like weariness and aversion to the cunstunt iteration and re-iteration of plays written for another people, another state of society. and to speak not unfairly. in many of the true elements of manhood and progress, far behind ourselves. That spirit which disdains defeat in war, in commerce or in science, cannot much longer rest content with all ignominious vassalage in literature. The mere growth of the country will burst the bonds, and leave it free to re-assume the vigorous step of it country yet in its prime. Here in New York, is the seat and strong hold of this young power: but, all over the land, day by day, new then the emerging into activity: who partake of these desires, who scorn and despise the past pettiness of the country, and who are ready to sustain any movement towards a better and nobler condition.

They contend for home-writers, home-writings, and house criticism: and it is their belief that the world is yet to receive at the hands of the authors of America works which it will be willing to add to its catalogue of illustrious influences; to Homer and Dante, Shakspeare and Milton, and whoever else has laboured in the broad field of human nature building on a base of sure good sense, and embracing in a catholic spirit all that is good and of good influence in all the world; drawing it home to their native land in a true nationality, and returning it again to the world that gave it to bless, and cheer, and purify all mankind. It is not a vain desire, I hope, that we may yet live to see the world waiting the steps of authors, of our own, watching the motions of their spirit, and hanging on the birth of their labors: as of men who make a part of their daily pleasure and happiness, as they do now of outs.

And in art, shall we not have schools of our own? Partaking of the climate, the rocks, the woodlands, the rivers and the human faces of our own country? Chosen from what ever region of the world the subjects may be, will there not be something in the form and spirit, in the skill and kind of execution, to inform its that their origin is in the American heart and the American genius? I would not here, any more than in the writing of hooks, restrict the artist to parallels of latitude and longitude; nor insist that his subjects be American, even in name. But what am I to think of a country whose very caricatures — the little pieces illustrative of the great national incident of the election of a President — are made up from the odds and ends of English designers: as though we were made thankful for the crumbs and ends of dry crust that drop front the table of a master and superior. A stranger visiting its, might argue against our character, with almost irresistible success, from that single circumstance. A people whose mirth — in a question where all are ready to think for themselves, and laugh for themselves, one would suppose, — is the charity gift of foreigners. There is room and occasion — no more room, no better occasion, any where in the world — for a school of comic design, here in New York, which shall be truly national, characteristic, and eminently successful. I have not yet had the good fortune to encounter a single person capable of a respectable performance in this way, although I am told there are such.

In sculpture, and some departments of painting, we have already accomplished something in the true spirit of Young America, and [page 173:] the world is ready to acknowledge it. But in;tnntlicr province of art, that of engraving„ we have played the copyist and servant with it vengeance. For fifty rears, at least, I take it, the whole force of engravers of the United States has been employed in the intelligent imitation and copying and re-production of worn-out and cast-off platc: of France and England. There are a few examples of creditable effort annually; but the eye for the long interval between, is pained and wounded by the reddest parodies and extravaganzas, in steel, and copper, and wood. And in music are we never to have melodies that shall fix us with links, invisible, yet wronger than steel. to our native land; whose sounds swelling over the sear as we draw near, or chaunted in far lands, away from home, or sounding here at our ow o firesides, shall awaken in us every tender, and pleasing, remembrance of this dear country that is ours? You see the spirit of what I am attempting to enforce? The business of Young America in this regard, is then, as I understand it, to nourish, and encourage, and sustain, by a harmonious combination of all the true young influences, the manly young writers of the country:

A Home Literature, national, vigorous, of the suit and the spirit of the people: and a popular press, ready to sustain it and itself, by showing that it is worthy to form the guido and the friend of the country, through which, and to which, it speaks;

National Drama, free of the conventionalities, abuses, and false usages of the stages of the old world; a drama, which all Americans of all classes, without distinction of sect or party, may attend not only without wound or dishonor, but to be moved, and made proud and glad by pictures and appeals trite to their own experience, and to that which they, as Americans, desire and long for;

Schools of Art in Portraiture, Humor, History-Painting, Sculpture, Music, which shall grow like these out of the national spirit, elevating and enlivening our daily life: making mirth, and similitude, and enduring forms of that which we know to be true, and worthy, and our own.

And to further these objects: to bring on their accomplishment speedily and happily, let me counsel perfect union and harmony among this young brotherhood; let every writer and every man having an influence in art and literature, look upon his fellow-laborer as his brother, Let him insist that he shall be respected, and that his labor he worthily rewarded. Let such as are the auxiliaries of literature and art, be given to understand that the writer and the artist is something in the nature of a Principal in transactions relating to his craft, and that he will and must be dealt with as such. Let him demand his station among men, and let men know that, one of the ruling powers of the world. wilt not have his weapon of authority made, when out of actual service, a scourge for his degradation and overthrow.

United, the authors and artists of America, the unelected, but self-sustained governors of a free people, will he the noblest body, the manliest phalanx that walks the earth; at the head of a movement, to whose march the whole world will, ere long, be beating joyful time.

————————————————

Critical Notices.

(a) Wiley and Putnam’s Library of Choice Reading. No. XIII. The Age of Elizabeth. By William Hazlitt.

We cannot help regarding the thorough success of Wiley and Putnam’s Library of Choice Reading, as the harbinger of a better day for the interest of American Letters. It has at length been fairly shown, that not only our educated classes, but our public at large, will purchase, and have capacity to enjoy, a kind of books immeasurably superior, in all that renders a book valuable, to the species of literature with which we have been latterly deluged.

The experiment of free paper, well-sized type, and a tasteful form of getting up generally, has been attempted, and not in vain. The day of “cheap literature” is, we thank Heaven, happily over; and for this much-desired result it is difficult to say how much we are indebted, or rather how much we are not indebted, to the liberality and good judgment of Messrs. Wiley & Putnam. To have failed in this enterprise would have been to throw us back for several years into the quagmire of the yellow-backed pamphleteering. Of course a great deal depended upon the tact with which books for the series were selected. There was a juste milieu to be attained — a happy medium between the stilted and jejune — between the ponderous and the ephemeral. Works were required of a piquancy to render them at once popular, (for [page 174:] the immediate and extensive sale of the Library was indispensible) and at the same time, of a gravity which would enable them to make their way as volumes not only sufficiently well gotten up, but of a sufficiently standard character to warrant their preservation in our book-cases. This difficult task fell into the best hands; and the result has been one whose importance to the present interest of literature in America, can scarcely be overrated. Booksellers in this country have a trick of as implicitly following a good lead, as did les moutons de Panurge, and the fancy that we already perceive, in all quarters, a disposition to prosecute the good work of readable books, so auspiciously commenced.

Perhaps the very best, although not the last volume, of the European series, is No. XIII — “Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth, by William Hazlitt.”

It is indeed a rich work. We cannot, to be sure, agree with some of its author’s admirers, in calling him “The best critic which England has produced in the nineteenth century,” for in almost every point, except the vivida vis of glowing fancy, we look upon him as the inferior of Macaulay — a than who, if he has not written the best criticisms ever penned, has at least shown the capacity to write them; — but we would rank him next to Macaulay, and very far before Leigh Hunt, who was a dexterous but unanalytical, and somewhat confused prosodist — or Charles Lamb, who thought brilliantly, and never troubled himself with thinking if he thought to any purpose — or Wilson who always considered himself most honest when be was the fullest of prejudice, and who had cultivated rhodomontade into a passion. Of Jeffrey and Gifford we say nothing — for between these men and Hazlitt there are no points of approximation and they cannot be compared.

The criticisms of the latter are, the think, his best compositions: — his best book is “The Age of Elizabeth.” Upon the whole he is singularly vivid, forceful, acute, discriminative, and suggestive. His honesty is wonderful in an age of dishonesty. His courage is very well as things go. His judgment is never for one moment to be depended upon in any connected or consecutive series of opinions. He is often profound — but his profundity is invariably detailed or particular.

We quote a few highly characteristic passages from his disquisition on the German Drama:

“I have half trifled with this subject: and I believe I have done so because I despaired of finding language for some old rooted feelings I have about it, which a theory could never give nor can it take away. ‘The Robbers’ was the first play I ever read; and the effect produced upon me was the greatest. It stunned me like a blow, and I have not recovered enough front it to describe how it was. There are impressions which neither time nor circumstances can efface. Were I to live much longer than I have any chance of doing, the books which I read when I was young I can never forget. Twenty years have elapsed since I first read a translation of ‘The Robbers,’ but they have not blotted the impression from my mind: it is here still, an old dweller in the chambers of the brain. The scene in particular in which Moor looks through his tears at the evening sun from the mountain’s brew, and says to his despair, “It was my wish like him to live, like him to die: it was an idle thought, a boy’s conceit,’ took fast hold of my imagination, and that gun has to me never set! The last interview in ‘Don Carlos’ between the two lovers, in which the injured bride struggles to burst the prison-house of her destiny, in which her hopes and youth lie confined, and buried, as it were, alive, under the opposition of unspeakable anguish, I remember gave rue a deep sense of suffering and a strong desire after good, which has haunted me ever since. I do not like Schiller’s late style go well. His ‘Wallenslein,’ which is admirably and almost literally translated by Mr. Coleridge, is stately, thoughtful, and imaginative: but where is the enthusiasm, the throbbing of hope and fear, the mortal struggle between the passions; as if all happiness or misery of a life were crowded into a moment, and the die was to be cast at that instant? Kotzebue’s best work I read first in Cumberland’s imitation of it in ‘The Wheel of Fortune,’ and I confess that that style of sentiment which seems to make of life itself a long-drawn endless sigh, has [page 175:] something in it that pleases me, in spite of rules and criticism. Goethe’s tragediea are (those that I have seen of them, his ’ Count Egmont,’ ’Stella,’ &c.) constructed upon the second or inverted manner of the German stage, with a deliberate design to avoid all possible effect and interest, and this object is completely accomplished. He is however spoken of with enthusiasm almost amounting to idolatry by his countrymen, and those among ourselves who import heavy German criticism into this country in shallow, flat-bottomed unwieldy intellects. Madame de Stael speaks of one passage in his ‘Iphigenia,’ where he introduces a fragment of an old song, which the Furies are supposed to sing to Tantalus in Hell, reproaching him with the times when he sat with the Gods at their golden tables, and with his after-crimes that hurled him from heaven, at which he turns his eyes from his children and hangs his head in mournful silence. This is the true sublime. Of all his works I I [[sic]] like his ‘Werter’ best, nor would I part with it at a venture, even for the ‘Memoirs of Anastasius the Greek,’ whoever is the author; nor ever cease to think of the tunes, “when in the fine summer evenings they saw the frank, noble-minded enthusiast coming up from the valley,” nor of “the high grass that by the light of the departing sun waved in the breeze over his grave.”

———

(a) Orthophony: or Vocal Culture in Elocution; a Manual of Elementary Exercises, adapted to Dr. Rush’s “Philosophy of the Human Voice,” and designed as an Introduction to “Russell’s American Elocutionist.” By James E. Murdoch, Instructor in Orthophony and Vocal Gymnastics; and William Russell, author of “Lessons in Enunciation,” etc. With an Appendix containing directions for the cultivation of pure tone, by G. L Webb, Professor in the Boston Academy of Music. Boston: William D. Ticknor & Co.

“The design of the exercises presented in this manual,” say the authors in a well-written Preface, “is to furnish the groundwork of practical elocution, and whatever explanations are needed for the training of the organs, and the cultivation of the voice.” We have looked through the work with great interest, and believe it to be the best American treatise on the subject discussed. There are some passages, (relating chiefly to metre), with which we totally disagree, and of which we may take an opportunity of speaking more fully hereafter — but in general the book appears to us remarkably accurate and valuable. The elocutionary abilities of Mr. Murdoch are of a high order. We rejoice to learn that he is about returning to the stage.

(b) A Dictionary of the English Language, containing the Pronunciation, Etymology, and Explanation of all words authorized by Eminent writers: to which are added a Vocab ulary of the Roots of English words, and an Accented List of Greek, Latin and Scripture Proper Names. By Alexander Reid, A. M., rector of the Circus-Place School, Edinburgh; author of “Rudiments of English Composition,” etc. With an introduction by Henry Reed, Professor of English Literature in the University of Pennsylvania. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

This is a neat and valuable volume of about 500 pages duo-decimo — fine type, but distinct. It comprises 40,000 words. Its Preface speaks of four material improvements. First, the primitive word is given, and then follow the immediate derivatives in alphabetical order, with the part of speech appended. Secondly, after the primitive words, is inserted the original term whence it is formed, with the name of the language from which it is derived. Thirdly, there is a vocabulary of the roots of English words, by which the accurate purport of them is discoverable — a very important improvement. Fourthly, there is an accented list of 15,000 Greek, Latin, and Scripture proper names. As a text book for schools the volume cannot fail of being useful. It is well recommended.

(c) A History of the Protestant Episcopal Churches in the City of New York. By Henry M. Onderdonk. Embellished with a highly finished engraving of each Church, on steel, [page 176:] executed by different artists. New York. Henry M. Onderdonk & Co.

This beautiful work is published in the serial form. No V, is received, containing Trinity Church and St John’s. The engravings, and type, and paper are excellent, and the literary matter of value.

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The Drama.

MRS. MOWATT. at Niblo’s, has been the great theatrical attraction of the week. She has been very successful, drew large and fashionable as well as intellectual audiences, and elicited boisterous applause, with much of a kind less equivocal.

She has erred, we think, in making this arrangement that is to say, she has somewhat injured the prestige of her name, first in appearing at a summer theatre, and secondly in appearing again at all after so brief an interval. Mrs. Mowatt owes it to herself to maintain a certain dignity; and, although this certain dignity be preposterous, in fact in the fiction of the world’s view it is all important. A lady so well-connected, and so well established in the public eye by her literary reputation, could have had no difficulty in coming upon the stage in her own fashion, and almost on her own terms. The Park, as the place of her débút, was, of course, unobjectionable, although in a negative sense. She lost no caste by coming out here, but the fact cannot be disputed that she would have gained much by first appearing in London, and presenting herself to her countrymen and countrywomen with the éclat of a foreign reputation. We say this, with a bitter sense of our national degradation, and subserviency to British opinion: — we say it, moreover, with a consciousness that Mrs. Mowatt should not have done this thing however much it would have furthered her interests.

On another point she has beyond doubt acted unwisely. Mr. Crisp is in many respects an excellent actor, but he is by no means of that degree of eminence which we should have desired in the supporter of Mrs. Mowatt. With Mr. Forrest she would have had advantages which can never be afforded her by Mr. Crisp.

We have no sympathies with the prejudices which would entirely have dissuaded Mrs. Mowatt from the stage. There is no cant more contemptible than that which habitually decries the theatrical profession-a profession which, in itself, embraces all that can elevate and ennoble, and absolutely nothing to degrade. if some — if many — or if even nearly all of its members are dissolute, this is an evil arising not from the profession itself, but from the unhappy circumstances which surround it. With these circumstances Mrs. Mowatt has, at present, no concern. With talents, enthusiasm, and energy, she will both honor the stage and derive from it honor. In the mere name of actress she can surely find nothing to dread — nothing, or she would be unworthy of the profession — not the profession unworthy her. The theatre is ennobled by its high facilities for the development of genius — facilities not afforded. elsewhere in equal degree. By the spirit of genius, we say, it is ennobled — it is sanctified — beyond the sneer of the fool or the cant of the hypocrite. The actor of talent is poor at heart indeed, if he do not look with contempt upon the mediocrity even of a king. The writer of this article is himself the son of an actress — has invariably made it his boast — and no earl was ever prouder of his earldom than he of his descent from a woman who, although well-born, hesitated not to consecrate to the drama her brief career of genius and of beauty.

At Niblo’s,as at the Park, Mrs. Mowatt made her first appearance [page 177:] as Pauline, in “The Lady of Lyons;’ and this is the only character she has yet sustained. On the play itself we have lately seen some strictures which seem to us unjust. We regard it as one of the most successful dramatic efforts of modern times. It is popular, and justly so. It could not fail to be popular so long as the people have a heart. It abounds with sentiments which stir the soul as the sound of a trumpet. It proceeds rapidly, and consequentially: the interest not for one moment being permitted to flag. Its incidents are admirably conceived, and wrought into execution with great skill. Its dramatis personae throughout, have the high merit of being natural, although, except in the case of Pauline, there is no marked individuality. She is a creation which would have done no dishonor to Shakspeare — and she excites in us the most profound emotion. It has been sillily objected to her that she is weak, mercenary, and at points ignoble. She is — and what then? We are not dealing with Clarissa Harlowe. Bulwer wished to paint a woman, and has done so. The principal defect of the play lies in the heroine’s consenting to wed Beauseant, while aware of the existence and even of the continued love of Claude. As the plot runs, there is a question in Pauline’s soul between a comparatively trivial, because mere worldly, injury to her father, and utter ruin and despair inflicted upon her husband. Here there should have been not an instant’s hesitation. The audience have no sympathy with any. Nothing on earth should have induced the wife to give up the living Melnotte. Only the assurance of his death could have justified her in sacrificing herself to Beauseant. As it is we hate her for the sacrifice. The effect is repulsive — at war with the whole genius of the play.

Of Mrs. Mowatt, and of her acting, we have to speak only in terms of enthusiastic admiration. We have never had the pleasure of seeing her before — and we presume that there are many of our readers who have never seen her. Her figure is slight — even fragile — but eminently graceful. Her face is a remarkably fine one, and of that precise character best adapted to the stage. The forehead is the least prepossessing feature, although it is by no means an unintellectual one. The eyes are grey, brilliant, and expressive, without being full. The nose is well formed, with the Roman curve, and strongly indicative of energy; this quality is also shown in the prominence of the chin. The mouth is somewhat large, with brilliant and even teeth, and flexible lips, capable of the most effective variations of expression. A more radiantly beautiful smile we never remember having seen. Mrs. Mowatt has also the personal advantage of a profusion of rich auburn hair.

Her manner on the stage is distinguished by an ease and self-possession which would do credit to a veteran. Her step is very graceful and assured — indeed all her movements evince the practised elocutionist. We watched her with the closest scrutiny throughout the whole play, and not for one instant did we observe her in an attitude of the least awkwardness, or even constraint, while many of her seemingly impulsive gestures spoke in loud terms of the woman of genius-of the poet deeply imbued with the truest sentiment of the beauty of motion.

Her voice is rich and voluminous, and although by no means powerful, is so well managed as to seem so. Her utterance is singularly distinct — its sole blemish being an occasional Anglicism of accent, adopted probably from her instructor. Her reading could scarcely be improved. In this respect no actress in America is her equal — for she reads not theatrically, but with the emphasis of Nature. Indeed the great charm of the whole acting of Mrs. Mowatt is its naturalness. [page 178:] She moves, looks, and speaks with a well-controlled impulsiveness as can be conceived from the customary rant and cant — the hack conventionality of the stage. If she does not suffer herself to be badgered out of this good path it will lead her inevitably to the highest distinction — a very proud triumph will assuredly he hers.

Mr. Crisp snakes a respectable Melnotte, but little more. His action and general manner in this part, are not we think, sufficiently calm. Claude is not so much impetuous and impulsive, as the man of profound passions and deliberate purposes. Where he takes the character of the Prince Mr. Crisp very improperly makes him assume the coxcombical airs of the Count in “Fashion.” He should be made to sneer — but no more. His true dignity should never be left out of sight. In light comedy Mr. Crisp is, indeed, a very admirable actor.

(a) At the Park, the French troupe have been very successful, and have unquestionably deserved success.

(b) At Castle Garden, the chief attraction has been the admirable dancing of Mademoiselle Desjardins. Since Ellsler we have had no one more graceful.

(c) The Chatham Street and the New Bowery are both, we believe doing well. At the latter, Mrs. Flynn (an excellent actress) has been winning new laurels in such pieces as “Perfection” and “The Four Sisters.”

(d) Mr. Flynn’s new theatre at Richmond Hill will be opened in a few weeks. It will be large and airy, accommodating a more numerous audience, perhaps, than did the Old Bowery.

[[BJ July 19, 1845 - 2:31]]

TO CORRESPONDENTS. — Many thanks to the author of the Correspondence with a Governess — also to F. M.

[[BJ July 26, 1845 -2:39]]

(a) A Chaunt of Life and other Poems, with Sketches & Essays. By Rev. Ralph Hoyt. In Six Parts. Part II. New York: Le Roy and Hoyt.

The Publishers’ Advertisement to this beautiful volume informs us that “the first part was very kindly received by the reading public and the press, but a considerable number of elegantly bound copies being destroyed by fire, the author became embarrassed and unable to proceed” — until aided or urged to do so, we presume, by the present publishers. It would have been, indeed, a great pity to abandon an enterprise so flatteringly commenced. We shall look with interest for the completion of the series.

Part II. contains the second Canto of a very fine poem, “The Chaunt of Life.” From the first stanza we quote the three remarkably beautiful lines:

Slow droop the eyelids of the drowsy day;

All weary life and every heart oppressed,

In soothing slumber now may sink to rest.

The fourth and fifth stanzas are very noble: —

Give me to love my fellow, and in love,

If with none other grace to chaunt my strain,

Sweet key-note of soft cadences above,

Sole star of solace in life’s night of pain.

Chief gem of Eden, fractured in that fall

That ruined two fond hearts, and tarnished all!

Redeemer! be thy kindly spirit mine;

That pearl of Paradise to me restore,

Pure, fervent, fearless, lasting, love divine,

Profound as ocean, broad as sea and shore.

While Man I sing, free, subject, and supreme,

O! for a soul, as ample as the theme!

 

Sad prelude I have sung, by Sorrow led

Along the mournful shades that own her sway,

Where, by a strewn that weeping eyes have shed,

Low chaunted I my melancholy lay,

In pensive concord with the sootheless wail

Of sighing wanderers in that lonely vale.

Ah, chide not those whose wo seems hard to bear,

The heart must hover where its treasures sleep;

I saw the great, the wise, the gifted there,

With humbler multitudes compelled to weep;

No penury, no wealth commands relief!

No Serf, no Sovereigns in the realms of grief!

We Italicise two passages, however, for their defects, and not for their merits. We can conceive that a gem may be “fractured in a fall” and even (imperfectly) that in so falling it may “ruin two fond hearts“, but how it can “tarnish all” or anything, in so falling, does not appear. The stream of tears is in shockingly bad taste. But the stately and pensive thought and well-sustained modulation of the stanzas amply redeem these demerits.

Mr. Hoyt is occasionally halting in his metre, although rarely or ever in his rhythm. In stanza VIII. a foot is missing in the fifth line: [page 180:]

Rise! with heroic strength be strong.

In stanza XII. there is a superfluous foot in the second line:

Echatana and Babylon and Tyre remote —

although the stanza as a whole is particularly sonorous and Miltonic.

The poem entitled “Old” has so many rare and peculiar excellences, that we shall venture to copy it in full. It will forcibly remind our readers of Mr. Durand’s exquisite picture “An Old Man’s Recollections” — although between poem and painting there is nothing more than a perfectly admissible similarity. The quaintness is, in our opinion, to be defended as a legitimate effect, conferring high pleasure upon a numerous and cultivated class of minds. In his continuous and absolutely uniform repetition of the first line in the last of each stanza, he has by much exceeded the legitimate limits of the quaint, and impinged upon the simply ludicrous. The poem, nevertheless, abounds in lofty merit, and has, in especial, some exquisite passages of pathos and of imagination. We Italicise some of these.

OLD

By the way-side, on a mossy stone

Sat a hoary pilgrim sadly musing;

Oft I marked him sitting there alone,

All the landscape like a page perusing;

Poor, unknown,

By the way-side, on a mossy stone.

 

Buckled knee and shoe, and broad-rimmed hat,

Coat as ancient as the form ‘twas folding,

Silver buttons, queue, and crimped cravat,

Oaken staff, his feeble hand upholding,

There he sat!

Buckled knee and shoe, and broad-rimmed hat.

 

Seemed it pitiful he should sit there,

No one sympathizing, no one heeding,

None to love him for his thin grey hair,

And the furrows all so mutely pleading,

Age, and care

Seemed it pitiful he should sit there.

 

It was summer, and we went to school,

Dapper country lads and little maidens,

Taught the motto of the “Dunce’s Stool,”

Its grave import still my fancy ladens,

“HERE’S A FOOL!”

It was summer, and we went to school.

 

When the stranger seemed to mark our play,

(Some of us were joyous, some sad-hearted,

I remember well, — too well, — that day!)

Oftentimes the tears unbidden started, —

Would not stay

When the stranger seemed to mark our play.

 

One sweet spirit broke the silent spell

Ah! to me her name was always heaven!

She besought him all his grief to tell, —

(I was then thirteen, and she eleven,)

Isabel!

One sweet spirit broke the silent spell.

 

Angel, said he sadly, I am old;

Earthly hope no longer path a morrow,

Yet why I sit here thou shalt soon be told;

Then his eye betrayed a pearl of sorrow, —

Down it rolled!

Angel, said he sadly, I am old!

 

I have tottered here to look once more

On the pleasant scene where I delighted

In the careless, happy days of yore,

Ere the garden of my heart was blighted —

To the core!

I have tottered here to look once more! [page 181:]

 

All the picture now to me how dear!

Even this gray old rock where I am seated,

Is a jewel worth a journey here;

Ah, that such a scene must be completed

With a tear!

All the picture now to me how dear!

 

Old Stone School-House! — it is still the same!

There’s the very step so oft I mounted;

There’s the window — creaking in its frame,

And the notches that I cut and counted

For the game;

Old stone School-House! — it is still the same!

 

In the cottage, yonder, I was born;

Long my happy home — that humble dwelling;

There the fields of clover, wheat, and corn,

There the spring, with limpid nectar swelling;

Ah, Forlorn!

In the cottage, yonder, I was born.

 

Those two gate-way sycamores you see,

Then were planted, just so far asunder

That long well-pole from the path to free,

And the wagon to pass safely under

Ninety-three!

Those two gate-way sycamores you see

 

There’s the orchard where we used to climb

When my mates and t were boys together,

Thinking nothing of the flight of time,

Fearing nought but work and rainy weather;

Past its prime!

There’s the orchard where we used to climb!

 

There, the rude, three-cornered chestnut rails,

Round the pasture where the flocks were grazing,

Where so sly, I used to watch for quails

In the crops of buckwheat we were raising,

Traps and trails, —

There, the rude, three cornered chesnut rails.

 

There’s the mill that ground our yellow grain;

Pond, and river still serenely flowing;

Cot, there nestling in the shaded lane,

Where the lily of my heart was blowing, —

Mary Jane!

There’s the mill that ground our yellow grain!

 

There’s the gate on which I used to swing,

Brook and bridge, and barn, and old red stable;

But alas! the morn shall no more bring

That dear group around my father’s table;

Taken wing’

There’s the gate on which I used to swing!

 

I am fleeing! — all I loved are fled;

Yon green meadow was our place for playing;

That old tree can tell of sweet things said,

When around it Jane and I were straying; —

She is dead!

I am fleeing! — all I loved are fled!

 

Yon white spire — a pencil on the sky,

Tracing silently life’s changeful story,

So familiar to my dim old eye,

Points me to seven that are now in glory

There on high!

Yon white spire, a pencil on the sky!

 

Oft the aisle of that old church we trod,

Guided thither by an angel mother;

Now she sleeps beneath its sacred sod, —

Sire and sisters, and my little brother

Gone to God!

Oft the aisle of that old church we trod!

 

There I heard of Wisdom’s pleasant ways,

Bless the holy lesson! — but, ah, never

Shall I hear again those songs of praise,

Those sweet voices, — silent now forever!

Peaceful days!

There I heard of Wisdom’s pleasant ways. [page 182:]

 

There my Mary blest me with her hand,

When our soul drank in the nuptial blessing,

Ere she hastened to the spirit-land;

Yonder turf her gentle bosom pressing

Broken band!

There my Mary blest me with her hand.

 

I have come to see that grave once more,

And the sacred place where we delighted,

Where we worshipped in the days of yore,

Ere the garden of my heart was blighted

To the core!

I have come to see that grave once more.

 

Angel, said he, sadly, I am old!

Earthly hope no longer hath a morrow;

Now why I sit here thou hast been told;

In his eye another pearl of sorrow, —

Down it rolled!

Angel, said he, sadly, I am old!

 

By the wayside, on a mossy stone,

Sat the hoary pilgrim, sadly musing;

Still I marked him sitting there alone,

All the landscape, like a page perusing;

Poor, unknown,

By the way-side, on a mossy stone

The stanza commencing “Buckled knee and shoe,” &c. puts us somewhat too forcibly in mind of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “Old Man.” The exclamation “Ninety-Three!” introduced, as it is, independently of the observations which surround it, must be regarded as one of the happiest instances either of refined art or of natural pathos.

“The stanza beginning “Yon white spire” cannot be too warmly commended.

“New” is a pendant to “Old,” but its artificiality of construction is even more displeasingly apparent. We quote one or two sweet passages:

Ah, June can only charm her eyes

With flowers of paradisial dyes

And azure skies.

This, however, should read, “Ah, only June,” &c.

The glowing tranquil summertime;

The summertime;

Too listless in a maiden’s prime;

Dull melancholy pantomime

Oh for a gay autumnal clime!

Too listless in a maiden’s prime

The summertime.

 

Love nestles in that gentle breast —

That gentle breast.

Ah Love will never let it rest —

The cruel sly ungrateful guest

(A viper in a linnet’s nest)

Ah Love will never let it rest —

That gentle breast!

“Boemus” is the concluding poem of the volume, and is marked by the same peculiarities of metre — peculiarities, however, which, in a composition such as this, must be considered out of place. We conclude our review with the quotation of a very spirited stanza — a stanza which would do no discredit to Campbell, and is much in his vein:

O’er all the silent sky

A dark and scowling frown;

But darker scowled each eye

When all resolved to die!

When (night of dread renown!)

Three thousand stars went down

———

(a) The Mysteries of Berlin. To be Completed in Ten Parts. Part VII.

This is a very weak and absurd imitation, or rather exaggeration [page 183:] of all the most reprehensible features of “The Mysteries of Paris.”

———

(a) The Roman Pontif, or a Sketch of the Lives of the Supreme Heads of the Roman Catholic Church. New York. H. G. Daggers & Co.

A pamphlet of great interest. Its title so fully explains its design that we need say little about it. The work is well translated from the French.

———

(b) Two Letters on Slavery in the United States, addressed to Thomas Clarkson, Esq. By J. H. Hammond. Columbia, S. C. Allen McCarter & Co.

A nervously written pamphlet, the design of which is to show that slavery is an inevitable condition of human society.

[[BJ July 26, 1845 - 2:43]]

The Drama.

(c) At Niblo’s, Mrs. Mowatt is still delighting large, fashionable, and very intellectual audiences, who testify their sympathy with the woman, not less than their approbation of the actress, by the most profound and respectful attention.

Last week the had seen the fair débutante only in Pauline, but we have since been charmed with her delineations of Juliana, in “The Honeymoon,” and Lucy Ashton, in “The Bride of Lammermoor.” The former of these plays has very little to recommend it — especially to Mrs. Mowatt. Its leading incident is grossly absurd. A duke (Aranza,) wedding, in his character of duke, a haughty gentlewoman (Juliana) makes her believe, after marriage, that he is not only a peasant, but more entirely brutal and disgusting than peasant ever yet was. He maltreats her in almost every way — sneers at her — insists upon her standing up in his presence and attending his friends in the capacity of a slave — locks her up in her chamber — refuses her communication with her parents — does every thing in short but strike her — and makes his brutality only the more odious by putting on, at one point, the airs of a man of honor — drawing down the rapturous approbation of the audience by certain rhodomontade to the effect that

“Whoever lays his hand upon a woman.

Save in the way of kindness, is a villain

Whom‘t were base flattery to call a coward.”

— as if the severest personal chastisement he could have inflicted would not have been less cowardly than his other bestial affronts to her dignity and honor. But all this would be nothing, if we were not required to believe that, by such conduct, the duke finally subdues the haughty temper of his wife, and actually secures her most passionate love! These things are so grossly unnatural as to destroy all the verisimilitude of the play — and the total irrelevancy of the under-plots confirm the difficulty and strengthen the disgust. “The Honeymoon,” in short, is a wretched affair, which has been unluckily — saved to the stage (for its sins) by a number of sparkling points well adapted to tell with audiences too ill-cultivated to estimate merit otherwise than in detail — and especially by a quality which, so far from saving it, should have secured its instant condemnation — we mean its palpable plagiarism of all the worst demerits of “The Taming of the Shrew.”

In Juliana — because Juliana is a rôle altogether out of nature — we did not expect Mrs. Mowatt to do much — for not much is there for any one to do. So far as a gracefully dashing demeanour goes, she nevertheless accomplished something — and

Oh what a deal of scorn looks beautiful

In the contempt and anger of her lip!

We were delighted, however, to find her announced as Lucy in “The Bride of Lammermoor,” for our remembrances of this opera were connected only with the music of Bellini and the glowing romance of Scott. If, in all the literature of fiction, there is a character for which Mrs. Mowatt is peculiarly adapted, it is the Lucy Ashton of the original “Bride of Lammermoor.” If the authoress of “Fashion” knew her own strength. she would confine herself. nearly altogether, [page 184:] to the depicting in letters, as well as on the stage, the more gentle sentiments and the most profound passions. Her sympathy with the latter is evidently intense. In the utterance of the truly generous — of the realty noble — of the unaffectedly passionate-we see her bosom heave — her cheek grow pale — her limbs tremble — her chiselled lip quiver — and Nature’s own tear rush impetuously to the eye. Now it is this freshness of the heart which will provide for her the greenest laurels. It is this enthusiasm — this well of deep feeling — which should be made to prove to her an exhaustless source of fame! As actress, it is to her a mine of wealth worth all the dawdling instructions in the world. Mrs. Mowatt, as she now stands, is quite as able to give lessons in stage routine to any actor or actress in America, as is any actor or actress to give lessons to her. Let her throw all support to the winds — trust proudly to her own grace of manner — her own sense of art — her own rich and natural elocution — and let her be assured that these qualities, as she now possesses them, are all sufficient, when considered simply as the means by which the great end of natural acting is to be consummated — as the mere instruments by which she may effectively and unimpededly lay bare to the audience the movements of her own passionate heart.

Feeling this — being well assured, from first seeing Mrs. Mowatt as Pauline, that her forte lay in the depicting of passion, we were anxious to see her in Juliet (a part which will yet render her immortal) and were delighted when we saw her announced for Lucy Ashton. But alas! it was Scott’s Lucy and not the Opera Lucy of which we dreamed. The play, as we saw it on Tuesday, is miserably ineffective — and the remembrance of that most passionate and romantic of novels, will intrude itself to render the defects of the dramatization more palpable. We even fancied that we could perceive the depressing influence of this remembrance in the countenance of Mrs. Mowatt. With a bosom full of emotion, she seemed to suffer from the total insufficiency of the words of the dramatist, to give utterance to her thought. But what was to be done was done to admiration. The actress lost no opportunity. The appeal to the mother was very noble acting. The signing of the contract, and the wild shriek at the sudden entrance of Edgar, would have done honor to any one. The apathetic and mute despair at the conclusion of the play, and during the interview with Eavenswood in the mother’s presence — the dumb uncomprehending wretchedness — the half-conscious rendering up of the broken gold — the laboring anxiety for the relief of words — the final maddening confession, heart-breaking, and death in the lover’s arms — were the teachings not of Mr. Crisp, but of Nature herself — speaking in tones that could not be misunderstood. The audience grew pale, and were betrayed into silence and tears — and if any one went away sneering that night, it is at least quite certain that he felt ashamed of the sneer.

[[BJ July 26, 1845 - 2:45]]

MR. WILLIS. — Nothing for along time has given us so true a pleasure as to learn that this distinguished gentleman has entirely recovered his health. He is now busily at work — and has commenced his anxiously expected Letters for “The Mirror” — four of them having been already received. Among all our men of literature there is not one whose laurels have been more nobly earned than have been those of Mr. Willis. The country has a right to be proud of him — and is.

It is extraordinary, says Mr. W. in one of his late letters, how little the English change! Regent-street, after four or five years, is exactly what Regent-street was. The men have the same tight cravats, coats too small, overbrushed whiskers, and look of being excessively washed. The carriages and horses exactly the same. The cheap shops have the same Placard of “SELLING OFF” in their broad windows. The blind beggars tell the same story, and are led by the same dogs; but what is stranger than all this sameness is, that the ladies look the same! The fashions have perhaps changed — in the milliner’s shops! But the Englishing that is done to French bonnets after they are bought, or the English way in which they are worn, overpowers the novelty, and gives the fair occupants of the splendid carriages of London the very same look they had ten years ago.

Still, there are some slight differences observable in the street, and among others, I observe that the economical private carriage called a “Brougham,” is very common. These are low cabs, holding two or four persons, with a driver, and perhaps a footman in livery on the outside seat, and one horse seems to do the work as well as two. This fashion would be well introduced into New York — that is to say, if our city is ever to be well enough paved to make a drive any thing but a dire necessity. The paving of London is really most admirable. Vast city as it is, the streets are as smooth as a floor all over it, and to ride is indeed a luxury. The break-neck, hat-jamming and dislocating jolts of Broadway must seem to English judgment an inexcusable stain on our public spirit. And, àpropos of paving — the wooden pavement seems to be entirely out of favor. Regent street is laid in wooden blocks, and in wet weather (and it rains here some part of every day,) it is so slippery that an omnibus which has been stopped in going up the street is with difficulty started again. The horses almost always come to their knees, though the ascent is very slight, and the falls of cart and carriage-horses are occurring continually. Nothing seems to “do” like the McAdam pavement, and wherever you find it in London, you find it in as perfect order as the floor of a [page 186:] bowling-alley. I see that all heavy vehicles, (by the way) are compelled to have very broad wheels, and they rather improve the road than spoil it. A law to the same effect should be passed in New York, if it ever has a pavement worth preserving.

[[BJ - July 26, 1845 2:46]]

Items — Literary of Scientific

Mr. Charles Green, the aeronaut, made his three hundredth ascent in his large balloon, from the ground of the Albert saloon, at Hoxton.

———

Punch complains that some one of the English Magazines has stolen (from Hood’s) a story called “The Red Herring” or some thing of that kind, and details the incidents. We read the whole matter years ago in the original French.

[[BJ July 26,1845 - 2:47]]

(c) TO THE AUTHOR OF THE “LINES ON THE GRECIAN FLUTE.” We fear that we have mislaid the poem.

———

INDEX TO OUR FIRST VOLUME. — We did not purpose to publish an Index to our first volume, but by the numerous requests for one, we have been induced to change our mind. We shall accordingly forward a complete Index to our subscribers in the next number of the Journal.

 


[[Footnotes]]

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Notes:

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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) (July 1845)