Text: Burton R. Pollin, “The Broadway Journal: Text (December 1845),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. III: Broadway Journal (Text) (1986), pp. 239-264 (This material is protected by copyright)


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(a) [By the courtesy of the publishers we are enabled to present our readers with a chapter in advance from Mr. HEADLEY’S forthcoming work, in Wiley & Putnam’s Library of American Books, entitled “The Alps and the Rhine.” We can promise our friends a book of even more life and spirit than the “Letters from Italy.” Mr. Headley has a genius for mountain scenery. His Avalanches, particularly, are poetical and magnificent.]

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Editorial Miscellany.

(b) THOSE of our city subscribers who failed to receive the Journal last week, are requested to send for it to the office, 304 Broadway. We shall endeavor to have it punctually delivered in the future.

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(c) MR. THOMAS H. LANE is the only person (besides ourself) authorized to give receipts or transact business for “The Broadway Journal.”

N. B. — This notice is not intended to apply to Mr. Wm. Fairman who, for the present, is our authorized agent in obtaining city subscriptions.

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(d) MR. EDMUND BURKE, the editress of the “Frogpondian Teetotaller,” assures us, with tears in her eyes, that we are mistaken in supposing her “a little old lady in a mob cap and spectacles.”

Our present impression is that she lies. However we will take another look at her when we pay our neat visit to Frogpondium — which will be soon — as we have a fine poem that we wrote at seven months — and an invitation to “deliver” it before the Lyceum. They want it immediately — they can’t wait.

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(e) THE MANNER in which we are maltreated, of late days, is really awful to behold. Every body is at us — little dogs and all.

The littlest of all the dogs is perhaps the “Nassau Monthly” — whatever is the “Nassau Monthly.” Only hear what it says:

Every one acquainted with the literature of the day knows that we are abundantly supplied, it not in danger of being utterly overwhelmed, with a mass of writing, the characteristic of which it mere brilliancy of expression — a charming style. Examine it and you find no thought. You will find sparkling wit and an exquisite music of words, and this is all. These are the facts, we don’t intend to philosophize and so shall not seek for the causes. It may be the plentiful lack of genius in the present race of writers, the great mass of whom are mere penny-a-liners who have adopted writing as a mechanical trade, or it may be the general superficiality of the present race of readers which has induced this effect.

Our attention was attracted to this subject by an article of Edgar A. Poe, which lies among the mass on the table before us, headed “The Imp of the Perverse.” The author is an excellent illustration of the remarks we have just made. It asked to what species of the genus humbug this article properly attaches itself, we should reply to the humbug philosophical. We have not time to analyze, but would say that the author introduces himself as in pursuit of an idea; this he chases from the wilderness of phrenology into that of transcendentalism, then into that of metaphysics generally; then through many weary pages into the open field of inductive philosophy, where he at last corners the poor thing, and then most un mercifully pokes it to death with a long stick. This idea he calls the “Perverse.”

Byron somewhere says,

“ —— there’s a courage which grows out of fear

Perhaps of all most desperate, which will dare

The worst to know it: when the mountains rear

Their peaks beneath your human foot, and there

You look down o’er the precipice, and drear

The gulf of rock yawn — you can’t gaze a minute

Without an awful wish to plunge within it.”

If Mr. Poe had been content with this and the following stanza he might have saved himself his chase, and his readers the trouble of elucidating his philosophic nonsense. [page 326:]

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(a) WE COPY from “The Tribune” the truly beautiful lines which follow, not because they have not been universally copied and admired, but because we wish to place them carefully away within the leaves of our Journal as a precious record of unaffected pathos and enthusiasm.

A Farewell to Ole Bull.

BY ANNE C. LYNCH.

(b) WE MAKE no apology to our readers for occupying so much of our space with the following pregnant extracts from Mr. Simms’ editorial farewell, in the last number of his Magazine:

(There follow three columns including the following passages:)

(c) Our hope of these three, is in Unwell. But he must address himself to his work as if it were work, and abandon the making of fugitive verse. His genius will do better things in taking longer flights.* Hawthorne, a delicate, essayical prose writer, has a fine fancy of his own, which sometimes imps the soarings of the ambitious muse —

* Here we disagree A long poem is a paradox. Whatever hereafter shall be done greatly must be done in fugitive verse. — ED. B. J.

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He, therefore, whose object is pecuniary recompense, will do well to weigh cautiously the question before renouncing, for the pursuits of letters, the ordinary objects of social enterprise and industry. — The man whom nature drives, in his own spite, and in utter disregard to his neighbors, has a destiny to obey, and must submit with meekness and patience to his allotment. But to him who hankers after the creature comforts, let him turn to any other craft; securer in any other, of much more worldly recompense than he will find in this. Nor is the pay derived from periodical writing of a better character, It should be better, for no species of literary labor is more utterly exhausting, as its hahitual exercise demands constant transition of subject, and as constant transitions of the mind from thought to thought. But, of all the American periodicals, there is not one which pays all its contributors. Among the best of them, but one in a score receives any compensation, and this is usually an amount so small, as to discourage the industry of writers who set much value upon their performances. Godey’s and Graham’s Magazines, have been among the most liberal. having paid certain of their contributors for their articles, at rates which would not discredit the reported liberality of the British publishers. But the palmy days have gone by, even with these journals, and they were never marked with a white stone by the generality of contributors. These statements differ largely from some that occasionally make their way into the newspapers; but they are not the less true for all this. The vanity of authors frequently prompts them to report their anticipations as realized results; and a false civility, and something of the same passion, keeps the publisher from contradicting them. In the matter of magazine and periodical writing, we may add, that the author is constantly the victim of lying editors and publishers, who beguile him of his writings and abuse him, from their chair of criticism, if he ventures to complain. There is not a professional literary man of the country, who has not a long story [page 327:] to relate, of the arts by which he has been swindled of his contributions* by that class of insects of literature, whom Moore compares with the maggot who is said to feed and fatten upon the brains of the elk, — the noble animal perishing finally, the prey of the miserable insect which has fed upon his life.

“The New York Evangelist” — in all respects an able, and what is still more rare, an unprejudiced journal, has a strongly condemnatory review of “Festus” from which (the review) we quote a few passages, without altogether acquiescing in the opinions expressed.

In justice to the author of this poem, we ought to say that it was commenced before he was twenty years of age. This he tells us in its dedication to his father, calling it “a boyish feat,” and stating also that it took three years to complete it. This being the case, if his father read the poem before it was published, however rich might be the promises of genius which he saw in it, had he been a wise parent, he would have committed it to the flames, or locked it up for his son’s perusal some ten years older. The genius possessed by its author could have lost nothing in the destruction of this wild, deformed, perverted offspring, and the world would have lost less. As it is, the father and son must have been educated under the strangest compound of grotesque beliefs and unbeliefs that ever had existence, to have felt willing to exhibit to the world such a medley of insane speculation, ball theology, and blasphemous, immoral principles. If too many of the readers of this poem we seem harsh and severe, let it be remembered that we deny not the genius and talent manifest in many parts of It, a degree of genius that might have composed a poem which would instruct all mankind, and which the world would not willingly let die. But how can we justly praise the talents that are so wantonly, so miserably perverted and misapplied?

The genius and rich imagery in the poem will be praised by many, who care little or nothing for its moral or immoral coloring and tendency, and the gifts of imagination displayed in it are the very vehicles by which alone its poison can be carried into society Divested of that, its doctrines would be rejected as the stale acid depraved ravings of an impious mind; just as some of Byron’s productions would be seen nowhere but in filthy, festering hawkshops, were it not that genius has stooped to dip up the mud, and put it in a jeweled case for respectable drawing. rooms and circulating libraries! Depraved genius does more to deprave the world, than any other source of evil.

* We ourselves have no complaint to make on this sure — ED B. J.

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(b) THE AUTHOR OF THE “VESTIGES.” — It is said that Sir Richard R. Vyvian, Bart. M. P. author of “Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation,” is preparing for the press another philosophical work, to be entitled “The Harmony of the Visible Creation.”

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(c) NEW LITERARY PAPER. — Charles F. Hoffman, Esq., is about to assume the editorship of a new and expensive weekly journal of literature and criticism, which will be published by Hewitt, the embellisher of Shakspeare. The new paper is to be called the “Excelsior.” [page 328:]

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Critical Notices.

(a) Poems. By FRANCES S. OSGOOD. New-York: Clark & Austin.

A neat volume of 252 pages duodecimo, including many but by no means all, or even the best, of the author’s late compositions, with several of those which made up the “Wreath of Wild Flowers from New-England.

The book opens with these few words of Preface:

The Author’s chief fear, in collecting and publishing the following Poems, is that they may not be thought worthy the notice of that just and true criticism, whose praise and blame are alike valuable, and would by her be equally welcomed and appreciated.

We have no poetess among us who has been so universally popular as Mrs. Osgood — and yet, with the exception of “The Wreath of Wild Flowers,” (an English publication,) this is the first collection of her Poems. Our only regret is that she has not presented us, in one view, all that she has written in verse. In omitting so much, she is in danger of losing the credit to which she is so fairly entitled on the score of versatility — of variety in expression and invention. There is scarcely a form of poetical composition in which she has not made experiment, and there is not one in which she has not very creditably succeeded.

Of course, then, it is a task of no little difficulty to give any generalization of her powers. We may say, in the beginning, however, that in no one poetical requisite is she deficient. Her negative merits are of the highest respectability. We look in vain, throughout her writings, for an offence against taste, or decorum — for a low thought — a platitude of expression — a violation of grammar — or for any of those lapses in the mere technicality of composition, of which, in America, we meet so abundant examples. A happy refinement — an exquisite instinct of the pure — the delicate — the graceful — gives a charm inexpressible to everything which flows from her pen.

In respect to the positive merits — to the loftier excellences of the Muse — we are constrained to speak with somewhat more reserve. Deficient — that is to say markedly deficient at no point — Mrs. Osgood has, nevertheless, neither the bold and rich imagination of Maria Brooks — nor the rhythmical ear and glowing fervor of Mrs. Welby — but to no other American poetesses is she, even in these particulars, inferior. A peculiar trait of her mind is its versatility and originality of poetic invention — whether in the conception of a theme or in the manner and tone of its handling. A portion, or rather a consequence of this trait, is a certain piquancy, point, and epigrammatic terseness of phraseology — in which she is approached only by Miss Gould. But it is in that indescribable something which, for want of a more definite term, we are accustomed to call grace — that Will-o’-the-Wisp, which in its supreme development may be said to involve nearly all that is pure and ethereal in poetry — it is in this charm of charms — so magical because at once so shadowy and so irresistible — that Mrs. Osgood pre-eminently excels. It is in this that she has no equal among her countrywomen. It is this rod of the enchanter which throws open to her the road to all hearts.

In the collection now before us there occur very many of those half sentimental half allegorical or rather emblematical compositions, of which the authoress seems to be especially fond — for the reason, perhaps, that she constructs them with little facility, and that, for their mere ingenuity, they are admired by the mass of mankind. We regret to see these pieces in the volume; they are, in general, very graceful pleasantries — but no more — and quite unworthy her who could pen so truly consistent and beautiful a prosopopeia as [page 329:]

THE SPIRIT OF POETRY.

Leave me not yet! Leave me not cold and lonely,

Thou dear Ideal of my pining heart!

Thou art the friend — the beautiful — the only,

Whom I would keep, tho’ all the world depart

Thou, that dust veil the frailest flower with glory,

Spirit of light and loveliness and truth

Thou that didst tell me a sweet fairy story

Of the dim future, in my wistful youth!

Thou, who canst weave a halo round the spirit,

Through which nought mean or evil dare intrude,

Resume not yet the gift, which I inherit

From Heaven and thee, that dearest, holiest good!

Leave me not now! Leave me not cold and lonely,

Thou starry prophet of my pining heart!

Thou art the friend — the tenderest — the only,

With whom, of all, ’twould be despair to part.

Thou that cam’st to me in my dreaming childhood,

Shaping the changeful clouds to pageants rare,

Peopling the smiling vale, and shaded wildwood,

With airy beings, faint yet strangely fair;

Telling me all the sea-born breeze was saying,

While it went whispering through the willing leaves,

Bidding me listen to the light rain playing

Its pleasant tune, about the household eaves;

Tuning the low, sweet ripple of the river,

Till its melodious murmur seem’d a song,

A tender and sad chaunt, repeated ever,

A sweet, impassion’d plaint of love and wrong’.

Leave me not yet! Leave me not cold and lonely,

Thou star of promise o’er my clouded path!

Leave not the life that borrows from thee only

All of delight and beauty that it bath

Thou, that when others knew not how to love me,

Nor cared to fathom half my yearning soul,

Didst wreathe thy flowers of light, around, above me,

To woo and win me from my grief’s control.

By all my dreams, the passionate, and holy,

When thou hast sung love’s lullaby to me —

By all the childlike worship, fond and lowly,

Which I have lavish’d upon thine and thee —

By all the lays my simple lute was learning,

To echo from thy voice, stay with me still!

Once flown — alas! for thee there’s no returning

The charm will die o’er valley, wood, and hill.

Tell me not Time, whose wing my brow has shaded,

Has wither’d spring’s sweet bloom within my heart.

Ah, no! the rose of Love is yet unfaded,

Though Hope and Joy, its sister flowers, depart.

Well do I know that I have wrong’d thine altar,

With the light offerings of an idler’s mind,

And thus, with shame, my pleading prayer I falter,

Leave me not, spirit! deaf, and dumb, and blind!

Deaf to the mystic harmony of nature,

Blind to the beauty of her stars and flowers!

Leave me not, heavenly yet human teacher,

Lonely and lost in this cold world of ours!

Heaven knows I need thy music and thy beauty

Still to beguile me on my weary way,

To lighten to my soul the cares of duty,

And bless with radiant beams the darken’d day;

To charm my wild heart in the worldly revel,

Lest I, too, join the aimless, false, and vain;

Let me not lower to the soulless level

Of those whom now I pity and disdain! [page 330:]

Leave me not yet! — leave me not cold and pining,

Thou bird of paradise, whose plumes of light,

Where’er they rested, left a’glory shining;

Fly not to heaven, or let me share thy flight!

Of its kind — a kind not of the highest — there have been written few finer poems than this. It is replete with feeling, with elevated sentiment — and its versification is correct — sonorous, harmonious and well-sustained.

One of the best of Mrs. Osgood’s shorter poems is entitled

SHE LOVES HIM YET.

She loves him yet!

I know by the blush that rises

Beneath the curls

That shadow her soul-lit cheek;

She loves him yet!

Thro’ all Love’s sweet disguises

In timid girls,

A blush will be sure to speak.

But deeper signs

Than the radiant blush of beauty,

The maiden finds,

Whenever his name is heard. —

Her young heart thrills,

Forgetting herself — her duty —

Her dark eye fills,

And her pulse with hope is stirr’d.

She loves him yet!

The flower the false one gave her

When last he came,

Is still with her wild tears wet.

She’ll ne’er forget,

However his faith may waver.

Thro’ grief and shame,

Believe it — she loves him yet!

His favorite songs

She will sing — she heeds no other;

With all her wrongs

Her life on his love is set.

Oh, doubt no more!

She never can wed another

Till life be o’er,

She loves — she will love him yet!

There is in this a rich simplicity which cannot be too highly admired, and the metre is original and otherwise of peculiar excellence.

We cannot forbear quoting the noble poem entitled

ASPIRATIONS.

I waste no more in idle dreams my life, my soul away

I wake to know my better self, — I wake to watch and pray.

Thought, feeling, time, on idols vain, I’ve lavished all too long;

Henceforth to holier purposes I pledge myself, my song!

Oh! still within the inner veil, upon the spirit’s shrine,

Still unprofaned by evil, burns the one pure spark divine

Which God has kindled in us all, and be it mine to tend

Henceforth, with vestal thought and care, the light that lamp may lend.

I shut mine eyes in grief and shame upon the dreary past —

My heart, my soul pour’d recklessly on dreams that could not last.

My bark has drifted down the stream, at will of wind or wave,

An idle, light, and fragile thing, that few had cared to save. [page 331:]

Henceforth the tiller Truth shall hold, and steer as Conscience tells,

And I will brave the storms of Fate tho’ wild the ocean swells.

I know my soul is strong and high, if once I give it sway;

I feel a glorious power within, tho’ light I seem and gay.

Oh, laggard soul! unclose thine eyes. No more in luxury soft

Of joy ideal waste thyself! awake, and soar aloft!

Unfurl this hour those falcon wings which thou dost fold too long;

Raise to the skies thy lightning gaze, and sing thy loftiest song.

Here, as in nearly all the compositions of Mrs. Osgood, the rhythm is singularly good, without art, — sonorous, well-balanced and well-modulated. The “aspirations” — or more properly, perhaps, the bitter and unavailing regrets — have in them a touching — a despairing sadness which makes us shudder as we read.

Neither of the poems just quoted, however, conveys much of the ordinary manner of the poetess. This is far better exemplified in

LENORE.

Oh! fragile and fair, as the delicate chalices,

Wrought with so rare and so subtle a skill;

Bright relics, that tell of the pomp of those palaces,

Venice — the sea-goddess — glories in still.

Whose exquisite texture, transparent and tender,

A pure blush alone from the ruby wine takes;

Yet ah! if some false hand, profaning its splendor,

Dares but to taint it with poison, — it breaks!

So when Love pour’d thro’ thy pure heart his lightning,

On thy pale cheek the soft rose-hues awoke, —

So when wild Passion, that timid heart frightening,

Poison’d the treasure — it trembled and broke!

Here we have a full representation of the author’s customary turn of thought — of her grace of expression — of her facility in illustration — of her exactitude — and of her epigrammatism. The versification (except in the first quatrain) is not as good as usual. The first two lines of the third are even rough. The rhythm is anapæstic — but the anapæsts are all false and inadmissible — e.g.

So when Love | poured through thy | pure heart his | lightning,

On thy pale | cheek the soft | rose hues a | woke.

Here the necessarily long syllables love, through, heart, pale, soft and hues, should be short, and the rhythm halts because they are not so. There is, also, either a syllable too much or a syllable too little at “lightning” — but these are trivialities of which it is, perhaps, hypercritical to speak.

We conclude this imperfect notice by the citation of what we consider as, upon the whole, the finest poem in the collection.

A SONG.

Yes! “lower to the level”

Of those who laud thee now!

Go! join the joyous revel,

And pledge the heartless vow

Go! dim the soul-born beauty

That lights that lofty brow!

Fill, fill the bowl! let burning wine

Drown, in thy soul, Love’s dream divine!

Yet when the laugh is lightest,

When wildest goes the jest,

When gleams the goblet brightest,

And proudest heaves thy breast,

And thou art madly pledging

Each gay and jovial guest, —

A ghost shall glide amid the flowers —

The shade of Love’s departed hours [page 332:]

And thou shalt drink in sadness

From all the splendor there,

And curse the revel’s gladness,

And hate the banquet’s glare,

And pine ’mid Passion’s madness,

For true Love’s purer air,

And feel thou’dst give their wildest glee

For one unsullied smile from me!

Yet deem not this my prayer, love,

Ah, no! if I could keep

Thy alter’d heart from care, love,

And charm its griefs to sleep,

Mine only should despair love,

I — I alone would weep!

I — I alone would mourn the flowers

That fade in Love’s deserted bowers!

There is here a terse, concentrated and sustained energy which impresses us with a high opinion of the power of the poetess, and which warrants us in saying that she could do better — very far better than she has hitherto done. The poem would be improved, however, (as would all poems) by the substitution throughout of “you” for “thee” and so forth — the modern and colloquial for the ancient and so called poetical pronoun.

The limits of our paper warn us to bring these comments to a close. We shall resume this subject — to us a truly delightful one — at some future opportunity, in the more ample pages of Godey’s Magazine.

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(a) The History of Silk, Colton, Linen, Wool, and other Fibrous Substances; including Observations on Spinninm, Dyeing and Weaving. Also, an Account of the Pastoral Life of the Ancients, their Social State and Attainments in the Domestic Arts. With Appendices on Pliny’s Natural History; on the Origin and Manufacture of Linen and Cotton Paper; on Felting, Netting, etc. Deduced from Copious and Authentic Sources. Illustrated by Steel Engravings. New-York: Harper & Brothers.

This is a large and valuable octavo of 464 pages. We have given the title in full as the most succinct mode of conveying the nature and purpose of the work — one which no scholar can afford to do without, and which needs no recommendation from us to those engaged in manufacturing pursuits.

This able work supplies, in fact, a desideratum whose need has been long felt. No methodical treatise on Fibrous Substances has hitherto existed — and even the topic itself has very remarkably eluded the investigation of the learned. The Textrinum Antiquorum of Yates is almost the sole work devoted to the ancient history of the theme, and the nature of that treatise places it altogether out of popular reach.

We quote a paragraph from the Preface:

That a topic of such interest deserved elucidation will not be denied when it is remembered that, apart from the question of the direct influence these important arts have ever exerted upon the civilization and social condition of communities, in various ages of the world, there are other and scarcely interior considerations to the student, involved in their bearing upon the true understanding of history, sacred and profane. To supply, therefore, an important desideratum in classical archæology, by thus seeking the better to illustrate the true social state of the ancients, thereby affording a commentary on their commerce and progress in domestic arts, is one of the leading objects contemplated by the present work. In addition to this, our better acquaintance with the actual condition of these arts in early times, will tend, in many instances, to confirm the historic accuracy and elucidate the idiom of many portions of Holy Writ.

Among the engravings which illustrate the work, is one of the Chinese Loom, a reduced fac-simile copied from a picture recently [page 333:] obtained from the Celestial Empire and now in the possession of the N. Y. Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. There is, also, a representation of an Egyptian Weaving Factory — a reduced fac-simile from Champollion.

(a) The Artist, The Merchant, and The Statesman. By C. E. LESTER. Vol. 2. New-York: Paine & Burgess.

This, the concluding volume of Mr. Lester’s entertaining book, has less unity of purpose, but greater variety of incident and anecdote, than the first. It is pervaded by a spirit of nationality which cannot be too highly commended — although the author errs in supposing that the objects for which he contends have not been urged upon the attention of the country in various quarters, with great zeal and uniformity, and for a long period of time. It is true, however, that the fruits of this exertion are only now making themselves apparent.

Mr. Lester has a heart for good and great things, as he proves by the warmth with which he addresses himself to the consideration of such men as Michael Angelo, Galileo, and Benjamin West. The paper on the Quaker painter is the most characteristic in the volume. That on British Berkeley, an early friend of America and a true prophet of her greatness, is equally marked and excellent.

This second volume is embellished by a well-executed steel engraving, the head of Americus Vespuccius. There are also wood-cuts of Galileo and Tycho Brahe.

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(b) Aids to English Composition, Prepared for Students of All Grades; embracing Specimens and Examples of School and College Exercises, and most of the Higher Departments of English Composition, both in Prose and Verse. By RICHARD GREEN PARKER, A. M. A New Edition, with Additions and Improvements. New-York: Harper & Brothers.

As this work has acquired, with justice, a very extensive reputation, we feel it necessary merely to give its title and call attention to the issue of a new and carefully revised edition.

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(c) Stable Talk and Table Talk, or Spectacles for Young Sportsmen. By HARRY HIEOVER. Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard. For Sale in New-York by Wiley & Putnam.

Who is Harry Hieover? At all events he is a judge of horses and has written a good book. Many of the Chapters are equal to the best of Harry Lorrequer’s. A reprint from the English.

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(d) A Treatise on Corns, Bunions, the Diseases of Nails, and the General Management of the Feet. By LEIGH DURLACHER, Surgeon Chiropodist (by Special Appointment) to the Queen.

A treatise which cannot fail to do a great deal of good by giving a clear explanation of the peculiar and most troublesome diseases of which it treats — thus enabling the public (it is the public who have corns) to apply their own remedies without the intervention of “corn doctors” and professors of Chiropody.

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(e) The Ambuscade. An Historical Poem. By THOMAS R. WHITNEY. New-York: J. S. Redfield.

We have not as yet read this volume so thoroughly as to hazard an opinion of its merits. A glance, however, assures us that, the author has a commendable contempt for things in general — very especially for reason and for rhyme.

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(f) The Foster Brother. A Tale of the War of Chiozza. Edited by LEIGH HUNT. New-York: Harper & Brothers.

An admirable book — No. 66 of “The Library of Select Novels.”

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(g) The Wandering Jew — superbly Illustrated. New-York: Harper & Brothers.

No. 5 is issued. The wood designs in this edition are certainly among the most magnificent we ever beheld. [page 334:]

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(a) Sermons preached in the Chapel of Rugby School, with an- Address before Confirmation. By THOMAS ARNOLD, D. D., Head Master of Rugby School, and author of “The History of Rnute,” etc. First American edition. New York: D Appleton & Co.

A neat duodecimo of 281 pages. independently of the interest attached to the mere name of Dr. Arnold, these Sermons have a rich intrinsic value. The Appletons have conferred a favor on the public in the issue of this series of books — the compositions, we mean, of Dr. Arnold.

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(b) Francis & Co’s Cabinet Library of Choire Prose and Poetry. Nos. 3 and 4. The Dream and other Poems. By the Hon. MRS. NORTON — and The Child of the Islands, by the Hon. MRS. NORTON.

Mrs. Norton is emphatically the poet of passion — even more so than Byron. No single poem ever so powerfully affected us as “The Dying Hour,” included in No. 3 of this series. The effect, however, is in no respect a properly poetical one, and the same sentiments in prose would have produced an intenser passionate effect. We will endeavor to make ourselves more distinctly understood on this topic hereafter. Of course we admit the high powers of Mrs. Norton as a poetess — even in the most legitimate acceptation of the term.

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(c) The Life of Mozart, including his Correspondence. By EDWARD HOLMES, Author of “A ramble among the Musicians of Germany.” New York: Harper & Brothers.

This is No. 4 of Harper’s valuable and beautiful “New Miscellany,” and is a book of exceeding interest even to non-musical readers. To musicians it must have a much higher charm. The preface says:

The only biographical notice of Mozart in English is a translation from the French of Bombet (M. Beyle), itself a translation from the German of Schlictegroll — a sketch too short and scanty to satisfy the interest of the subject, although quite enough to pique public curiosity. With the exception of occasional fragments in magazines and reviews, little more is known in England of the life of the musician, its struggles, varied incidents, and influence upon art, or of the brilliant reputations that clustered round him. The object of the following pages is to supply this deficiency.

We cannot conclude without once again expressing our admiration of the taste and sound judgment evinced in the whole getting up of “The New Miscellany.”

———

(d) The Treasury of History, No. 11. New York: Daniel Adee.

We receive this pamphlet with a printed slip of paper containing the following words:

THE TREASURY OF HISTORY. — We are pleased to receive the 11th number of this valuable compendium. It will be seen that as the work draws to a close it increases in interest, instead of diminishing, and will make a perfectly unique book of reference. It must be prized alike by the youthful student, or more mature scholar, and should be found in every family. This number, being the last but one, contains a profusion of facts worthy to be retained for reference. For instance, the conclusion of the History of China — the History of Japan, and the East India Islands; Palestine; Egypt, with Syria; the Barbary States; British America, Canada, and Mexico; South America, Peru, Chili, Brazil, and the Republic of La Plata; Columbia, Bolivia, &c. The West India Islands, Cuba, Havti, Porto Rico, &c. Also the commencement of the History of the United States.

Published and for sale, at cents per No., by Daniel Adee, 107 Fulton street, N. Y. [page 335:]

(a) This is a circular, and, we presume, is sent round (with the book) to editors generally. In the present instance we have no hesitation in adopting the opinion as our own — that is to say, we agree with it — but the practice of sending round such circulars is atrocious.

———

(b) The Annuals and late Magazines in our next.

(c) The Drama.

UNDER this head we have exceedingly little to observe. Mrs. Mowatt has turned the heads of the Richmondians, who, with a proper taste, appreciate her sweet tones, her excellent elocution, and her peculiar grace and beauty. She is now in Charleston.

MISS CHARLOTTE BARNES will appear at the Park probably about the middle of this month.

MR. MURDOCH is everywhere successful.

WE WERE at the Park on Monday last, to see Mrs. Kean in “Ion.” The play itself is one admirably adapted to the powers of the actress — assimilated in every respect to her genius — for genius she undoubtedly possesses — not the less great because subdued in tone.

“Ion “is no drama — if we think of what a drama should be. It never profoundly moves us. It stimulates rather the fancy than the passions. It is poetical, classical, “correct,” (in the French sense,) but no play — comparatively of course — it is better than ninety-nine plays out of a hundred.

Mrs. Kean evinces her genius chiefly in her exquisite intonation and gesture. No one, without genius, and that of a lofty order, could so thrill us by a mere tone. Her step is indeed the poetry of motion, and her limbs might put to the blush (if limbs or if marble could blush) those of the Venus of Cleomenes. Her figure, in other respects, is not particularly good-and the scarf cf Ion gives an unpleasant roundness to the shoulders.

Mr. Kean’s acting impressed us more favorably than we had been led to anticipate. There were one or two points at which his reading (not his readings) produced an evident thrill of emotion throughout the audience. The dresses of Adrastus are excessively unbecoming.

We shall see “Ion” again and speak of it less at random.

AT PALMO’S, on Thursday last, a company of fashionable amateurs made an attempt at “Hamlet.” We shall give an account of the performance in our next.

THE GERMAN Opera promises well.

THE OLYMPIC, the Bowery, the Chatham, and the Richmond Hill theatres have all, we learn, been well attended of late, but we have been prevented, by an unusual press of business, from visiting either. It is our purpose to speak somewhat at large, hereafter, of theatrical matters. [page 336:]

[[BJ December 13, 1845 - 2:357]]

Editorial Miscellany.

THE BROADWAY JOURNAL may be obtained in the City of New York of the following agents: — Taylor, Astor House; Crosby, Exchange, William street; Graham, Tribune Buildings; Lockwood, Broadway and Grand; and Burgess & Stringer, Ann and Broadway.

———

“THE HARBINGER — Edited by The Brook-Farm Phalanx” — is, beyond doubt, the most reputable organ of the Crazyites. We sincerely respect it — odd as this assertion may appear. It is conducted by an assemblage of well-read persons who mean no harm — and who, perhaps, can do less. Their objects are honorable, and so forth — all that anybody can understand of them — and we really believe that Mr. Albert Brisbane and one or two other ladies and gentlemen understand all about them that is necessary to be understood. But what we, individually, have done to “The Harbinger,” or what we have done to “The Brook-Farm Phalanx,” that “The Brook-Farm Phalanx” should stop the ordinary operations at Brook-Farm for the purpose of abusing us, is a point we are unable to comprehend. If we have done anything to affront “The Brook-Farm Phalanx” we will make an apology forthwith-provided “The Brook-Farm Phalanx” (which we have a great curiosity to see) will just step into our office, which is 304 Broadway.

In the mean time, by way of doing penance for any unintentional offence that we may have given The Phalanx, we will just [page 337:] copy, verbatim, a very severe lesson it has been lately reading to ourselves.

(a) The Raven and other Poems. By EDGAR A. POE. New York and London: Wiley and Putnam, 161 Broadway; 6 Waterloo Place. pp. 91.

Mr. Poe has earned some fame by various tales and poems, which late has become notoriety through a certain blackguard warfare which he has been waging against the poets and newspaper critics of New England, and which it would be most charitable to impute to insanity. Judging from the tone of his late articles in the Broadway Journal, he seems to think that the whole literary South and West are doing anxious battle in his person against the old time-honored tyrant of the North. But what have North or South to do with affairs only apropos to Poe? He shows himself a poet in this, at least, in the magnifying mirror of his own importance. To him facts lose their barren literality — to him a primrose is more than a primrose; and Edgar Poe, acting the constabulary part of a spy in detecting plagiarisms in favorite authors, insulting a Boston audience, inditing coarse editorials against respectable editresses, and getting singed himself the meanwhile, is nothing less than the hero of a grand mystic conflict of the elements.

The present volume is not entirely pure of this controversy, else we should ignore the late scandalous courses of the man, and speak only of the “Poetics.” The motive of the publication is too ap parent; it contains the famous Boston poem, together with other juvenilities, which, he says, “private reasons — some of which have reference to the sin of plagiarism, and others to the date of Tennyson’s first poems” — have induced him to republish. Does he mean to intimate that he is suspected of copying Tennyson? In vain have eve searched the poems for a shadow of resemblance. Does he think to convict Tennyson of copying him? Another of those self-exaggerations which prove, we suppose, his poetic imagination.

In a sober attempt to get at the meaning and worth of these poems as poetry, we have been not a little puzzled. We must confess they have a great deal of power, a great deal of beauty, (of thought frequently, and always of rhythm and diction,) originality, and drarnatic effect. But they have more of effect than of expression; to adopt a distinction from musical criticism; and if they attract you to a certain length, it is only to repulse you the more coldly at last. There is a wild unearthliness, and unheavenliness, in the tone of all his pictures, a strange unreality in all his thoughts; they seem to stand shivering, begging admission to our hearts in vain, because they look not as if they came from the heart. The ill-boding “Raven,” which you meet at the threshold of his edifice, is a fit warning of the hospitality you will find inside. And yet the “Raven” has great beauty, and has won the author some renown; we were fascinated till we read it through; then we hated to look at it, or think of it again: why was that? There is something in it of the true grief of a lover, an imagination of a broken-heartedness enough to prove a lover in earnest, a power of strange, sad melody, which there is no resisting. So there is in all his poems. Mr. Poe has made a critical study of the matter of versification, and succeeded in the art rather at the expense of nature. Indeed the impression of a very studied effect is always uppermost after reading him. And you have to study him to understand him. This you would count no loss, if, when you had followed the man through his studies, you could find anything in them beyond the than and his most motiveless moods, which lead you now here; if you could find anything better at bottom than the pride of originality. What is the fancy which is merely fancy, the beauty which springs from no feeling, which neither illustrates nor promotes the great rules and purposes of life, which glimmers strangely only because it is aside from the path of human destiny? Edgar Poe does not write for Humanity; he has more of the art than the soul of poetry. He affects to despise the world while he writes for it. He certainly has struck out a remarkable course: the style and imagery of his earliest poems mark a very singular culture, a judgment most severe for a young writer, and a familiarity with the less hacknied portions of classic lore and nomenclature. [page 338:] He seems to have lead an idea of working out his forms from pure while marble. But the poet’s humility is wanting; a morbid’ egotism repels you. He can affect you with wonder, but rarely with the thrill of any passion, except perhaps of pride, which might be dignity, and which therefore always is interesting. We fear this writer even courts the state described by Tennyson:

A glorious devil, large in heart and brain,

That did love beauty only, (beauty seen

In all varieties of mould and mind,)

And knowledge for its beauty; or if good,

Good only for its beauty, seeing not

That Beauty, Good, and Knowledge, are three sisters

That doat upon each other, friends to man,

Living together under the same roof,

And never can be sundered without tears;

And he that shuts Love out, in turn shall be

Shut out by Love, and on her threshold lie

Howling in utter darkness.

There is something in all this which we really respect — an evident wish to he sincere, pervading the whole tone of the sermon — an anxious determination to speak the truth — at least as far as convenient. The Brook Farm Phalanx talks to us, in short, “like a Dutch uncle,” and we shall reply to it, very succinctly, in the same spirit.

“Very charitable to impute to insanity.” Insanity is a word that the Brook Farm Phalanx should never be brought to mention under any circumstances whatsoever. “No more of that, Hal, an ye love me.”

“The time-honored tyrant of the North.” Very properly [[Greek text]] — not [[Greek text]]. King Log at best. The sceptre is departed.

“Insulting a Boston audience” — very true — meant to do it — and did.

“Getting singed in return.” The singeing [[sic]] refers, we presume, to the doubling, in five weeks, the circulation of the “Broadway Journal.”

“ Motive of the publication too apparent.” “The Raven, etc.,” was in the publishers’ hands a month or six weeks before we received the invitation from the Lyceum — and we read the last proofs on the evening before that on which we “ insulted the Boston audience.” On these points The Brook Farm Phalanx are referred to Messrs. Wiley and Putnam.

“Discover no shade of resemblance to Tennyson.” Certainly not — we never could discover an), ourselves. Our foot-note (quoted by the Phalanx) has reference to an article written by Mr. Charles Dickens in the London Foreign Quarterly Review. Mr. Dickens in paying us some valued, though injudicious compliments, concluded by observing, that “ we had all Tennyson’s spirituality, and might he considered as the best of his imitators” — words to that effect. Our design has been merely to demonstrate (should a similar accusation again be made) that the poems in question were published before Tennyson had written at all.

“Has acquired some renown by the Raven.” We cannot approve of the “some” — especially in the mouths of those worship pers of Truth, The Brook Farm Phalanx.

The Brook Farm Phalanx knows very well — and so do we — that no American poem gained for its author even one half so mush “renown” in the same period of time. The renown is quite as small a thing as the poem — and we have therefore no scruple in alluding to it — although we do so only because it shocks us to hear a set of respectable Crazyites talking in so disingenuous a manner. Reform it altogether, or give up preaching about Truth.

As for the rest, we believe it is all leather and prunella — the opinion of “The Snook Farm Phalanx.” We do trust that, in future, “The Snook Farm Phalanx” will never have any opinion of us at all. [page 339:]

[[BJ December 13, 1845 - 2:359]]

(a) THE MOST eminent living writer of Portugal, indeed the only one of any considerable eminence, is Senhor Almeida Garrett, a leading deputy of the ultra-liberal opposition in Lisbon, who has very high powers both as an orator and a poet; though his poetical works appear rather deficient in strength of original thought. His prose is both brilliant and powerful. His poems are of considerable extent, and not the least of their charms is that he is a good scholar and eminent for antiquarian research. Ile is of the blank-verse school, which in Portugal is a great misfortune. We extract the following as a favorable specimen, anti the more willingly because it unfolds the beauties of a word, “Saudade,” upon the exclusive possession of which the Portuguese particularly pride themselves. There is certainly, no one word in any other European language which conveys the same idea. It expresses the sweet yet painful sensation created by the contemplation of a beloved object from which we are separated: —

Oh tender yearning! bitterness of joy

For the unhappy, thorn of absence with

Delicious puncture piercing through the heart,

Awakening pain that lacerates the soul.

Yet hath it pleasure; tender yearning grief!

Mysterious power that canst awaken hearts,

And make them ooze forth, drop by drop distilled,

Not life-blood, but of soft and dewy tears

A solacing abundance; yearning grief;

Beloved name, that sounds so honey-sweet

In lips of Lusitania; sound unknown

To the proud months of these Sycambrians

Of foreign lands; — oh, tender yearning grief!

Thou magic Power that lost transport the soul

Of absence unto solitary friend,

Of wandering lover to his mistress lorn,

And even the sad and wretched exile, most

Unhappy of Earth’s children, bear’st in dreams

Back to his country’s bosom, dreams so sweet

That cruel ’tis the dreamer to awake.

If, on thy humid altar, tear-bedewed,

I laid my heart, which fast was throbbing still

When from my bleeding breast I plucked it forth

At Tagus’ mouth beloved; — come in thy car,

By gently murmuring doves gray-pinioned drawn,

And seek my heart which, Goddess, sighs for thee!

———

(b) MR. HUDSON, on Tuesday evening last, read to an audience of some two hundred persons, at the Society Library, his Lecture on Lear (or a portion of it) recently delivered at Boston, and much complimented in one or two of the Boston papers. We listened to the lecturer with profound — attention, and (for the first time) heard him throughout. He did not favorably impress us. His good points are a happy talent for fanciful, that is to say for unexpected (too often far-fetched) illustration, and a certain cloudy acuteness in respect to motives of human action. His bad points are legion — want of concentration — want of consecutiveness — want of definite purpose — want of common school education utter incapacity to comprehend a drama out of its range of mere character — an absurd passion for the lower species, that is to say, for the too obvious species of antithesis — a more absurd rage for metaphor and direct simile, without the least ability to keep them within bounds, or to render them consistent, either per se, or with the matter into which they are introduced — to crown all, a pitiable affectation of humility altogether unbecoming a man, an elocution that would disgrace a pig, and an odd species of gesticulation of which a baboon would have excellent reason to be ashamed. [page 340:]

[[BJ December 13, 1845 - 2:359]]

(a) THE TRIBUNE says: — The article in the American Review of this month, entitled, ’The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case, by EDGAR A. POE,’ is of course a romance — who could have supposed it otherwise? Those who have read Mr. Poe’s visit to the Maelstrom, South Pole, &c., have not been puzzled by it, yet we learn that several good matter-of-fact citizens have been, sorely. It is a pretty good specimen of Poe’s style of giving an air of reality to fictions, and we utterly condemn the choice of a subject, but whoever thought it a veracious recital must have the bump of Faith large, very large indeed.”

For our parts we find it difficult to understand how any dispassionate transcendentalist can doubt the facts as we state them; they are by no means so incredible as the marvels which are hourly narrated, and believed, on the topic of Mesmerism. Why cannot a man’s death be postponed indefinitely by Mesmerism? Why cannot a man talk after he is dead? Why?why? — that is the question; and as soon as the Tribune has answered it to our satisfaction we will talk to it farther.

———

(b) HON. WM. C. PRESTON has been elected President of the South Carolina College at Columbia. It is understood that he will accept and commence the duties of the Presidency early in the ensuing year. In the meantime, Rev. Dr. Hooper will discharge them. Rev. Dr. Henry has been offered the Greek Professorship, and we sincerely hope that he may accept it. The accession of Mr. Preston is of course, per se, and without reference to the secession of Dr. Henry, a subject of congratulation to the College — but upon the whole, some injustice, we think, has been done to the late President. We shall speak more fully in our next.

THE MIRROR says:

(c) The editor of the Philadelphia North American has “ scared up “a feminine genius — a poetical wonder — hear him: “ The greatest poet of her sex who ever lived, is Maria Brooks. She is as much above Mrs. Hemans, Miss Landon, Mrs. Norton, et id omne genus, as they are above the sickliest sentimentalists of the chambermaids’ gazettes!!

There is, perhaps, some exaggeration in the North American’s estimate of Mrs. Brooks, but far more in the Mirror’s attempt at depreciation. Mrs. Maria Brooks, author of “Zophiel, or The Bride of Seven,” is fairly entitled to be called the greatest of American poetesses. Her imagination and audacity of thought and expression, are not far behind Miss Barrett. Her chief faults are bombast and extravagance.

———

(d) CONNOISSEURS and amateurs of Tea would do well to look over the Catalogue of Teas on sale at the warehouse of the Pekin Tea Company, No. 75 Fulton street. See advertisement in this week’s Journal. Hitherto it has been impossible to procure really good green tea at less than a dollar per pound. The Pekin Company afford an exquisite article at 75 cents-other teas at proportionate rates. We can conscientiously recommend them.

———

(e) A late “Tribune” has a very just review of Longfellow. We quote a few passages: —

The portrait which adorns this volume is not merely flattered or idealized, but there is an attempt at adorning it, by expression thrown into the eyes, with just that which the original does not possess, whether in face or mind. We have often seen faces whose usually coarse and heavy lineaments were harmonized at times into beauty by the light that rises from the soul into the eves. The intention Nature had with regard to the face and its wearer, usually eclipsed beneath bad habits or a bad education, is then disclosed and we see what hopes Death has in store for that soul. But here the [page 341:] enthusiasm thrown into the eyes only makes the rest of the face look more weak, and the idea suggested is the anomalous one of a Dandy Pindar.

Such is not the case with Mr. Longfellow himself. He is never a Pindar, though he is sometimes a Dandy even in the clear and ornamented streets and trim gardens of his verse But he is still more a man of cultivated taste, delicate though not deep feeling, and some, though not much, poetic force.

Mr. Longfellow has been accused of plagiarism. We have been surprised that any one should have been anxious to fasten special charges of this kind upon him, when we had supposed it so obvious that the greater part of his mental stores were derived from the works of others. He has no style of his own growing out of his own experiences and observations of nature. Nature with him, whether human or external, is always seen through the windows of literature. There are in his poems sweet and tender passages descriptive of his personal feelings, but very few showing him as an observer, at first hand, of the passions within, or the landscape without.

This want of the free breath of nature, this perpetual borrowing of imagery, this excessive, because superficial, culture which he has derived from an acquaintance with the elegant literature of many nations and men, out of proportion to the experience of life within himself, prevent Mr. Longfellow’s verses from ever being a true refreshment to ourselves. He says in one of his most graceful verses:

From the cool cistern of the midnight air

My spirit drank repose;

The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,

From those deep cisterns flows.

Now this is just what we cannot get from Mr. Longfellow. No solitude of the mind reveals to us the deep cisterns.

* * * * * * *

Yet there is a middle class, composed of men of little original poetic power, but of much poetic taste and sensibility, whom we would not wish to have silenced. They do no harm but much good, (if only their minds are not confounded with those of a higher class,) by educating in others the faculties dominant in themselves In this class we place the writer at present before us.

We must confess a coolness toward Mr. Longfellow, in consequence of the exaggerated praises that have been bestowed upon him. When we see a person of moderate powers receive honors which should be reserved for the highest, we feel somewhat like assailing him and taking from him the crown which should be reserved for grander brows.

* * * * * * *

———

(a) ERRATA. — Several, of a vexatious character, occurred in our last week’s Journal — especially in the fine poem “Epicedium,” by Mr. Rowley; among other blunders, a whole line was omitted. We have taken measures to prevent anything of this kind for the future.

———

(b) MR. THOMAS LANE is the only person (besides ourself) authorized to give receipts or transact business for “The Broadway Journal.”

———

(c) To CORRESPONDENTS. — Many thanks to the author of “The New Generation” — also to P. P. C.; we will write him fully in a few days. Our friends F. W. T. and P. B. shall also soon hear from us — if indeed they have not already quite given us up.

We are forced to decline “Remembrance” [[,]] “Autumn,” and the Lines to Estelle — the Sonnet may appear.

The proposition of I. R. O. is respectfully declined.

The numbers desired by our friend A. M. I. can be obtained. We thank him sincerely for his late favor. [page 342:]

[[BJ December 20, 1845 - 2:365]]

The Facts in the case of M. Valdemar.

An article of ours, thus entitled, was published in the last number of Mr. Colton’s “American Review,” and has given rise to some discussion — especially in regard to the truth or falsity of the statements made. It does not become us, of course, to offer one word on the point at issue. We have been requested to reprint the article, and do so with pleasure. We leave it to speak for itself. We may observe, however, that there are a certain class of people who pride themselves upon Doubt, as a profession. — Ed. B. J.

[[BJ December 20, 1845 - 2:373]]

Critical Notices.

(b) Biographical and Critical Notices. By WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT, Author cf “The History of Ferdinand and Isabella,” “The Conquest of Mexico,” etc. New York: Harper & Brothers.

An octavo of 638 pages — uniform with the previous works of Prescott issued by the same house. In all respects this beautiful volume is a valuable addition to our literature.

The essays included are purely of a literary character, with little reference to local and temporary topics, and with a single exception are from “The North American Review” — styled by the author, in the Preface to the British edition, “the most consider able journal in the United States.” We fear that its consideration, at present, is confined chiefly to the precincts of Faneuil Hall.

Of the essays themselves it is quite superfluous to speak. They have been justly and universally admired, and in our own view are, generally, the best American papers of their kind. Their titles are, Charles Brockden Brown — Asylum for the Blind — Irving’s Conquest of Granada — Cervantes — Sir Walter Scott — Chateaubriand’s English Literature — Bancroft’s United States — Madame Calderon’s Life in Mexico — Moliere — Italian Narrative Poetry — Poetry and Romance of the Italians — Scottish Song and Da Ponte’s Observations. The first of these articles is from Sparks’ “American Biography,” and is of unusual interest, conveying a just and forcible picture of one of the most singular and powerful of American intellects. The memoir can scarcely be termed critical, but it abounds in passages evincing the keenest discrimination in respect to the literary position of the author reviewed.

The papers next in value are, perhaps, those on Sir Walter Scott, and Chateaubriand’s English literature — but, in all, the the [[sic]] taste, judgment, and scholarship of Prescott are rendered manifest. We shall speak again of this volume, next week:

———

(c) Trifles in Verse: a Collection of Fugitive Poems. By Lewis J. Cist. Cincinnati: Robinson & Jones.

This is a duodecimo of 184 pages, well printed and bound. We regret to say, also, that it has for frontispiece a very greasy-looking lithograph portrait of the author — we cannot conceive what could have beguiled Mr. Cist into the perpetration of such absurdity.

The collection is so modestly prefaced as to disarm criticism. Mr. C. says:

To the high and honored title of POET, in the legitimate sense of the term, the writer of the following pages makes no pretensions. Engaged, from his earliest youth, upwards, in a daily round of mercantile [page 343:] pursuits, the “Trifles” which he thus offers to the public the offspring of moments stolen from the desk of the banking-house and the counting-room — can, at the best, only entitle him to the more humble name of Versifier. Conscious of his want of those qualifications which might justify him in seeking to enter the inner temple of the sacred Nine, he has but ventured to loiter around the base of the flowery mountain; contenting himself with occasionally gleaning — here, it may be, a weed, and there, perchance. a flower — from such by-nooks and out of the way corners of the field of Fancy, as had been passed over by the more worthy and accredited gatherers of the golden-hued harvests of Parnassus.

The poems themselves are not particularly imaginative, but evince much purity of taste and fervor of feeling. We copy one of the best:

OLDEN MEMORIES.

They are jewels of the mind;

They are tendrils of the heart,

That with being are entwined —

Of our very selves a part.

They the records are of youth,

Kept to read in after years;

They are manhood’s well of truth,

Filled with childhood’s early tears.

Like the low and plaintive moan

Of the night-wind through the trees,

Sweet to hear, though sad and lone,

Are those “Olden Memories!”

Like the dim traditions, hoary,

Of our loved and native clime;

Like some half-forgotten story,

Read or heard in olden time;

Like the fresh’ning dew of even

To the parched and drooping flower;

Like the peaceful thought of Heaven,

In life’s tempest-stricken hour;

Like the cadence of a song; —

Yet, oh! sweeter far than these

Are the thoughts that round us throng

With those “Olden Memories!”

In the solitude of even,

When the spirit, lone and dreary,

Turns from Earth away, to Heaven,

As the refuge of the weary;

In the dreamy twilight hour,

When the world is calm and still,

And light zephyrs fragrance shower

Over dewy vale and hill;

Oh! then, sweeter than perfume

Borne on aromatic breeze,

To the softened spirit come

Those dear “Olden Memories!”

In our days of mirth and gladness

We may spurn their faint control,

But they come, in hours of sadness,

Like sweet music to the soul;

And in sorrow, o’er us stealing

With their gentleness and calm,

They are leaves of precious healing,

They are fruits of choicest balm.

Ever till, when life departs,

Death from dross the spirit frees,

Cherish, in thine heart of hearts,

All thine “Olden Memories!” [page 344:]

———

(a) The Diadem for 1846. A Present for All Seasons. With Ten Engravings, after Pictures by Inman, Letaze, &c. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart.

The Diadem is a quarto of very rich appearance in every respect, and especially well adapted for a Christmas Gift. It is edited by the Rev. W, H. Furness of Philadelphia. Its engravings are, for the most part, of high merit. The frontispiece is particularly excellent — a mezzotint in Sartain’s best manner, from Inman’s painting, “The Page.” The face is one of great sweetness and dignity of expression — but there is a pursiness about the chest and shoulders which slightly displeases. The title-page is from Leutze — an emblematical design — an angel presenting various devices. The editor speaks justly of the figure’s “serene and earnest eyes” — but the composition of the whole work is confused. “The Momentous Question” by Sartain is from a well-known painting by Miss Setchal, representing a vivid scene from Crabbe — admirable altogether. — The Fisherman’s Daughter” and “The Falconer’s Son” are somewhat rashly taken from Landseer’s picture of Bolton Abbey, the composition of which is so remarkably meritorious. In cutting out portions from such a work, there should have been fresh accessories, etc. What is admirable in its due position in a large picture, is very often displeasing when taken by itself, or merely with the points immediately surrounding it. “The Heart’s Misgivings” by Sartain from Frank Stone, is excellent. “The Early Dawn” also by Sartain from Joshua Cristall is, we think, the best picture in the Annual, with the exception of “The Mask” from Inman the mezzotinting in this last, is exceedingly good. “The Homeless” is from a picture by P. Poole an English artist, and has much force. The only engraving left unmentioned is a portrait of the deceased Edward L. Carey, drawn and engraved by Sartain. As a likeness we do not think it does full justice to the original. but we learn that it was partially taken after death.

The literary matter is supplied by the Editor — by Miss Lynch, Emerson and others. In general it is superior to the literature in Annuals. Here is something exceedingly piquant and naive.

A FABLE.

BY R. W. EMERSON.

The mountain and the squirrel

Had a quarrel,

And the former called the latter “little prig”;

Bun replied,

“You are doubtless very big,

But all sorts of things and weather

Must be taken in together

To make up a year

And a sphere;

And I think it no disgrace

To occupy my place.

If I’m not so large as you,

You are not so small as I

And not half so spry.

I’ll not deny you make

A very pretty squirrel track;

Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;

If I cannot carry forests on my back,

Neither can you crack a nut.

———

(b) The Missionary Memorial: A Literary and Religious Souvenir. New-York: E. Walker, 114 Vulton St.

A thick duodecimo of 372 pages, fine paper, richly bound, and embellished with an illuminated frontispiece presenting a specimen of Baxter’s new process of printing in oil colors — subject [page 345:] the Destruction of the Tanjore by lightning off Ceylon. In its literary contents the volume is especially rich. Among the names of contributors we notice Mrs. Sigourney, Whittier, Lowell, Hoyt, Tuckerman, Miss Gould, Simms, Mrs. Mowatt, Mancur, Epes Sargent, and others. The papers are, without exception well written, and principally of a religious cast. The volume is inscribed to “The Friends of Missions.” Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the editorial conduct and general getting up of this truly beautiful and valuable Annual.

———

(a) The Rose, or Affection’s Gift for 1846. Edited by EMILY MARSHALL. Illustrated with Ten highly finished Steel Engravings. New-York: D. Appleton & Co.

A 16 mo of 252 pages — beautiful paper, type and binding — upon the whole one of the most meritorious gift-books of the season. The literary contributors (authors’ names not affixed) are all replete with interest, and there is not one of the ten en gravings which is not a bijou. The Frontispiece and Title-page are exquisite, and the finest taste is displayed throughout.

———

(a) The May flower for 1846. Edited by ROBERT HAMILTON. Boston: Saxton & Kelt. For sale in New-York by Saxton & Miles and Saxton & Huntingdon.

We have twice before noticed “The May-flower” but, while we are on the subject of Annuals, cannot refrain from once again calling attention to its merits.

It opens with a very beautiful frontispiece — a mezzotint by Sartain from a painting by Winterhalter. The engravings throughout are by Sartain, and all are excellent — particularly so — in the way of small mezzotints we have never seen anything better. One of them, “Cup-Tossing,” from Crowley, is truly exquisite.

The contributions are, in general, from the most noted pens in America.

———

(c) Elinor Willys; or the Young Folk of Longbridge. A tale. By AMABEL PENFEATHER. Two volumes. Edited by J. FENIMORE COOPER. Philadelphia: Carey &. Hart.

Mr. Cooper, in an Editor’s preface, says very seriously:

The writer of this book is a valued female friend, who had a right to ask, and did ask, its editor’s advice and assistance in presenting it to the public. That advice and assistance have been cheerfully afforded, though neither has properly extended to the literary character of the work. As the author has not wished to appear, the name of the editor has been used in obtaining the copy-right, and his assistance given in forwarding and returning proof-sheets. Over a few of the last the editor has cast his eye; but believing the author fully competent herself to superintend her own work, this supervision on the part of the editor has been very slight.

The author (real or supposititious) says afterwards in her own preface:

It will be more honest to confess at once, before the reader undertakes the first chapter, that the talc now before him is a first appearance in print, etc.

And subsequently:

If there are books which must be read, stupid or not, owing to the claim of some great name on the binding, the present story is not one of the number, etc.

All which only makes it apparent to our mind that Mr. Cooper is both author and editor. The names, as well as grammar, throughout, are exceedingly Cooperish — and the dialogue is especially so. The narrative is one of much interest.

———

(d) Wiley & Putnam’s Library of Choice Reading, No. 38. The Book of Christmas. By THOMAS K. HERVEY.

The book of Christmas is descriptive of the “Customs, Ceremonies, [page 346:] Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling, and Festivities of the Christmas Season.” The volume now published is, we believe, only an initial one; being limited to a review of the festival and its observances as they exist in England — adverting to the practices of other countries only incidentally. The book is full of interest, and is very seasonably put forth.

———

(a) First Lessons in English Composition; or, a Help to Young Writers. By E. NOTT, D. D., President of Union College. Sixth Edition.

First Lessons in Political Economy, for the Use of Schools and Families. By JOHN M’VICAR, D. D., Professor of Political Economy, Columbia College, N. Y. Seventh Edition.

First Lessons in Chemistry, for the Use of Schools and families. By UNCLE DAVY. Sixth Edition.

These little works have been received with great favor, and It would be difficult to conceive any similar Lessons better adapted to the instruction of very young persons. The two volumes first mentioned are guaranteed by the names of the authors. The last (by Uncle Davy) may be by Humphrey Davy, or his ghost, for anything that we know to the contrary, but with a fund of accurate chemical information it contains some unusually loose grammar. On the very first page, for example, we read:

Heat means the substance, that, when enough of it gets into anything, it makes that thing feel hot.

We will put this sentence (punctuation and all) against anything written by Thomas Carlyle.

These three valuable little volumes are published in New York, by Saxton & Miles.

———

(b) The Illustrated History of Palestine, from the Patriarchal Age to the Present Time. By JOHN KITTO, Editor of the “Pictorial Bible,” the “Cycleptedia of Biblical Literature,” etc. New York: Wm. H. Graham, Tribune Buildings.

A duodecimo of 223 pages, illustrated by various engravings on wood. The history reaches from the Deluge to the Restoration of Syria to the dominion of the Porte — is well written, succinct and yet sufficiently comprehensive.

———

(c) Love and Mesmerism. By HORACE SMITH. New York: Harper & Brothers.

A really admirable work, by an author who never did anything ill. No. 67 of the “Library of Select Novels.”

———

(d) The Wandering Jew. Superbly Illustrated by the most eminent Artists of Paris. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This admirable edition will be completed in about 18 numbers. No. 7 is issued.

———

(e) Harpers’ Illuminated and Illustrated Shakspeare. Nos. 71 and 72.

The conclusion of Timon, and commencement of Coriolanus[[.]] It is quite impossible to exaggerate the merit of the engravings, or of the paper and type.

———

(f) Republication of the London Lancet. New York: Burgess, Stringer & Co.

The December number is issued — forming No. 6 of Vol. 2.

———

(g) Pictorial history of the World. By JOHN FROST, L. L. D. Philadelphia: Walker and Gillis. For sale in New York by Wm. H. Graham.

No. 11 is issued — commencing the History of the Middle Ages. [page 347:]

———

(a) The Vigil of Faith, and other Poems. By CHARLES FENNO HOFFMAN. Fourth Edition. New York: Harper & Brothers.

We have received this volume of true poetry at too late a period to do more than announce it.

(b) From J. S. Redfield & Co., we have received, also, too late for more than announcement, a beautiful edition of Shelley, with a well-written Prefatory Essay by G. G. Foster — and from Messrs. Clark & Austin, a handsome collection of Poems by Alfred Street.

[[BJ December 20, 1845 - 2:376]]

Editorial Miscellany.

(c) THE BROADWAY JOURNAL may be obtained in the City of New York of the following agents: — Taylor, Astor House; Crosby, Exchange, William street; Graham, Tribune Buildings; Lockwood, Broadway and Grand; and Burgess & Stringer, Ann and Broadway.

———

(d) A NEW VOLUME of the Broadway Journal, will commence on Saturday, the tenth of January next.

———

(e) MR. THOMAS H. LANE is the only person (beside ourself) authorized to give receipts or transact business for The Broadway Journal.

———

ERRATUM. — In speaking, last week, of Mrs. Osgood’s Poems, we used the word anapaestic, when we intended dactylic.

IN THE “Southern Literary Messenger” for December, we find a review (signed L.) of Leigh Hunt’s “Imagination and Fancy.” The critic is severe, and not unjustly so, although there are fifty points, at least, in which we disagree with him. The truth is, Hunt has exposed his weakness in “The Imagination and Fancy” which is a pitiable book — a mere jumble of crude, contradictory, unformed opinion — the opinion, too, of an ignorant man. We quote a passage or two from the review: — [page 348:]

Hunt has somewhat improved his language since his palmy days, when he wrote the Lingua Cockneyana, and was truculently blackguarded by Christopher North. He still retains, however, a portion of the old leaven, and some of his vulgar smartness and “jauntiness,” may be discerned with no microscopic eye in many of the passages quoted. His old coined words, “sphery,” “prosaicalness,” “unsuperftuousness.” “one-ness,” &c., still occasionally flutter round his pen, and force themselves in, despite his better judgment. He speaks of “Bottom and his brother mechanicals” in Midsummer’s Night Dream, and defines Count Cenci, in Shelley’s magnificent tragedy, to be a “potent ruffian.” Sometimes, indeed, he ambitiously attempts a higher flight than his ordinary, careless, slip-shod, chatty, rambling style, and then his hippo-griff, ascending into unaccustomed regions, becomes so utterly bewildered, that its devious course can scarcely be traced. How lucid is the following final definition of verse. He evidently feels that in it he has exhausted the subject; there is nothing more to be said concerning it, and that from so self-evident a decision there is no appeal.

Verse, in short, is that finishing and rounding, and ’tuneful planeting’ of the poet’s creations, which is produced of necessity by the smooth tendencies of their energy, or inward working, and the harmonious dance into which they are attracted round the orb of the beautiful.

Well done! We especially like that idea of the poet’s creations skipping it on the light fantastic toe, and many-twinkling feet, round the “orb of the beautiful.” The only regret it leaves with us is, that we have not been there to see it.

Of Leigh Hunt, it may verily be said “nihil quod, teligit non inquinavit.”* He attempts to praise nothing that he does not tend to lower in our estimation. His panegyric on Shelley, in “Byron and his Cotemporaries,” for a while almost gave us a dislike to that noble and nearly blameless character. He has a trifling, childish manner of praising, that frequently disgusts one with the objects of his admiration. How disagreeable are the following remarks concerning Shakspeare, whom he is comparing with Dante!

It is far better, that as a higher, more universal, and more beneficent variety of the genus Poet, he should have been the happier man he was, and left us the plump cheeks on his monument, instead of the carking visage of the great, but over-serious and one-sided Florentine. Even the imagination of Spenser, whom we take to have been a “nervous gentleman” compared with Shakspeare, was visited with no such dreams as Dante. Or, if it was, he did not choose to make himself thinner, (as Dante says he did,) with dwelling upon them. He had twenty visions of nymphs and bowers, to one of the mud of Tartarus. [page 349:]

[[BJ December 27, 1845 - 2:385]]

Critical Notices.

(a) The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. First American Edition (Complete); with some remarks on the Poetical Faculty, and, its influence on Human Destiny. Embracing a Biographical and Critical Notice, by G. G. FOSTER, New York. J. S. Redfield, Clinton Hall.

This is a very beautiful edition of a poet whom all poets, and whom poets only, appreciate. The volume is a pendant of the Carey’s Dante lately issued by D. Appleton & Co., and includes 750 pages duodecimo — fine type and exquisite paper. It is, as asserted, a complete edition of the works of the author — rather too complete, perhaps; for many of the Fragments are utterly destitute of intrinsic value, and have no other interest than what appertains to them as relics of Shelley. The Biographical and Critical Notice by Mr. Foster, is well written, (barring a little justifiable furore) and evinces a keen discrimination, and, very especially, a thorough appreciation of the excellences of the subject of the memoir. We shall be pardoned for copying some passages embodying Mr. Foster’s opinions on “The Revolt of Islam” and affording, also, a fair specimen of his style:

(Three quoted paragraphs follow:)

[[BJ December 27, 1845 - 2:386]]

(b) The Opal: a Pure Gift for the Holidays — 1846. Edited by JOHN KEESE. With illustrations by J. Chapman. New York: J. C. Riker.

Through neglect, discourtesy, or something else, on the part of somebody, or perhaps of Nobody — we have received no copy of this year’s Opal, and have no opportunity, therefore, of speaking of it in full. In glancing it over we find some very spirited contributions — by Mrs. Osgood, for example, Miss Lynch, Mrs. Mowatt, Mrs. Seba Smith, Mrs. Embury, Miss Gould, Tuckerman, Hoffman, Paulding, Schoolcraft, Whittier, and others. Our attention is especially arrested by Miss Anne C. Lynch’s thoughtful and vigorous poem,

BONES IN THE DESERT.

Where pilgrims seek the Prophet’s tomb

Across the Arabian waste,

Upon the ever shifting sands,

A fearful path is traced.

(Plus twelve more quatrains.) [page 350:]

[[BJ December 27, 1845- 2:386]]

(a) Miscellanies, by WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT. New York: Harper & Brothers.

We said a few words, last week, of this admirable collection of essays, and now take the liberty of extracting some portion of the interesting paper on the genius of Brockden Brown:

(Four long paragraphs are quoted.)

[[BJ December 27, 1845 - 2:387]]

(b) The Poems of Alfred B. Street. Complete Edition. New York: Clark & Austin.

Most of the poems here included, are familiar friends, and we cordially welcome their re-appearance. A modest Preface says:

The early life of the author was spent in a wild and picturesque region in the southwestern part of New York — his native state. Apart from the busy haunts of mankind, his eye was caught by the strongly marked and beautiful scenes by which he was surrounded: and to the first impressions thus made may be attributed the fact that his subjects relate so much to Nature and so little to Man. Instead, therefore, of aiming to depict the human heart, he has endeavored to sketch (however rudely and imperfectly) the features of that with which he was most familiar.

These are the impulsive words of a true poet. Man is, in fact, only incidentally a poetic theme: — we mean the heart and intellect of Man — matters which the pseudo-transcendentalists of Frogpondium are perpetually attempting to force into poetry — with no other object than to impart to their doggrel an air of profundity.

Mr. Street’s subjects are invariably poetical ones — but they belong not to the loftiest order. They are descriptive altogether not sufficiently ideal. Mr. Bryant seems to have been the model — although the Beauty of Nature may have been the inspiration. The volume is a very handsome octavo of 319 pages, and does credit to the taste and liberality of the publishers.

———

(c) Hyperion, a Romance. By HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. Second Edition, Cambridge: John Owen.

This is one of the most tastefully printed books we have seen for many a year: — a thick duodecimo of 370 pages-delightful type, unusually good paper-well bound. The work itself is sufficiently well known. It has all Mr. Longfellow’s distinctiveness [page 351:] of drought and manner — is graceful, scholar-like, at times pointed, and always artistical, but neither original, nor very interesting. Its tone is a palpable imitation of the German spirit. One of its marked peculiarities — and an idiosyncrasy, in fact, appertaining to all that the author does — is its entire want of suggestiveness. The book does not go beyond itself. Mr. Longfellow’s works seem to some minds greater than they are, on account of their perfection of finish — on account of the thoroughness with which their designs are carried out. They exhaust limited subjects. His books are books and no more. Those of men of genius are books and a dream to boot. These men do not exhaust their subjects, because their subjects expand with every touch. The volume is for sale in New York by D. Appleton & Co.

———

(a) Wiley & Putnam’s Library of American Books. No. 10. The Alps and the Rhine. By J. T. HEADLEY.

This is one of the most entertaining books yet issued in the American series. The vivacity and brilliant fancy of Headley throw a charm over all his descriptions — a charm that has all the effect of novelty — if indeed it is not.

A marked peculiarity of the author is the Irishy abandon or neck-or-nothingness of his manner. He writes as if he held it a sin to keep us waiting a moment — either for grammar or any thing else.

“I have never felt” says his Preface “the need of stronger Saxon more than when standing amid the chaos of an Alpine abyss or looking off from the summit of an Alpine peals. Like the attempt to utter a man’s deepest emotions, words for the time shock him.”

Why “off?” — is not “from” enough? The “summit of a peak” is something, we presume, like the end of an extremity. As for the subsequent sentence, we give it up.

Mr. Headley is only committing a very common error, we think, in saying: “We get a definite idea of very few things in the world we have never seen, by mere naked details” — etc., etc.

Here we are forced to say, imprimis, that Mr. H. has really no reference to things in the world we have never seen — but to things in the world we have seen. It is not the grammatical construction of the sentence, however, but its philosophy to which we allude. When details fail to convey distinct impressions, it is merely because the details themselves are indistinct. But all this is hypercriticism: — the book is an admirable book, and Mr. Headley is an admirable man.

———

(b) Appleton’s Literary Miscellany. Nos. 6 and 7. Sketches of Modern Literature and Eminent Literary Men: Being a Gallery of Literary Portraits. By GEORGE GILFILLAN. Reprinted entire from the London Edition. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

This is in all respects a valuable work-containing some of the most discriminative criticism we have ever read. We refer especially to a parallel between Shelley and Byron. The portraits are those of Shelley, Jeffrey, Godwin, Hazlitt, Rob. Hall, Chalmers, Carlyle, De Quinsy, John Foster, Wilson, Edward Irving, Landor, Campbell, Brougham, Coleridge, .Emerson, Wordsworth, Pollok, Lamb, Cunningham, Elliott, Yeats, Macaulay, Bird, Southey, and Lockhart.

Perhaps the most original and judicious of these sketches is that of Godwin — a very remarkable man, not even yet thoroughly understood.

———

(c) A Practical Treatise on Healthy Skin: with Rules for the Medicine and Domestic Treatment of Cutaneous Diseases. By ERASMUS WILSON, F. R. S. etc. Illustrated with six Steel Engravings. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

“In the following pages,” says the author, one of the most [page 352:] eminent of British physiologists, “I propose to make my reader acquainted with the structure and uses of the skin, in the hope of awaking his attention to the necessity and manner of training it to the purposes of health. I trust, moreover, by laying down correct and simple laws, to enable him to comprehend the principles upon which a sound and effective domestic treatment of its diseases may be conducted.”

A large duodecimo of 263 pages — in the customary neat style of the Appletons.

———

(a) Montezuma, the Last of the Aztecs: An Historical Romance on the Conquest of Mexico. By EDWARD MATURIN. Two volumes. New York: Paine & Burgess.

In private literary circles there has been much talk about this novel — the MS. of which, it appears, has either been seen or heard by a great number of individuals — some of whom abuse, while others highly commend it. We have not yet had time to read the volumes, but a glance assures us that (barring a little Maturinism or Bertramism) they are at least well-written, in the ordinary sense of the phrase.

Mr. Maturin, it is understood, is the son of the author of Melmoth — a very powerful book, beyond doubt.

———

(b) Chances and Changes; or Life as it is, Illustrated in the History of a Straw Hat. By CHARLES BURDETT, A. M. Author of “Never too Late,” etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

The series of moral tales lately given to the public by Mr. Burdett have all been well received, and have accomplished a great deal of good, independently of their interest as fictions. “Chances and Changes” is, perhaps, the best of the six yet published. It is in the manner of “Chrysal or The Adventures of a Guinea,” and quite as good a book in every respect.

———

(c) Voltaire and Rousseau against the Atheists; or Essays and Detached Passages from those Writers, in Relation to the Being and Attributes of God. Selected and Translated from the French, by J. AKERLY. New York: Wiley & Putnam.

An openly printed duodecimo of 131 pages, neatly bound. The intention is, beyond doubt, a commendable one — but we cannot help regarding the work as one of supererogation. Men deny a God only with their lips.

———

(d) Harpers’ Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible, No. is issued, and maintains the high character of the publication.

———

(e) Graham’s Magazine, for January, has a very rich and tasteful engraved title-page, from a design by J. McPherson — tasteful at all points except the centre, which has too much the air of the label on Day & Martin’s Blacking. The number opens with an admirable mezzotint by Sartain, and a good line engraving by Smillie, — subject Washington at Princeton. There is also a plate of Fashions — two figures — the whole well-drawn, well arranged and skilfully colored. In a Magazine designed in great part for ladies, a fashion-plate, such as this, is not only not objectionable, but a valuable addition.

Among the contributors we notice Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Butler, Fanny Forrester, Lowell, Eames, Street, Brooks, Chivers, and others. Lowell has a poem full of nerve and grace. Here is a magnificent stanza:

Titanic shapes, with faces blank and dun,

Of their old Godhead born,

Gaze on the embers of the sunken sun,

Which they misdeem for morn;

And yet the eternal sorrow

In their unmonarched eyes says day is done,

Without the hope of morrow. [page 353:]

And here a melodious one:

Here, ’mid the bleak waves of our strife and care

Float the green Fortunate Isles,

Where all our hero spirits dwell, and share

Our martyrdoms and toils;

The present moves attended

With all of brave, and excellent, and fair

That made the old time splendid.

The number contains, also, other excellent poetry. We mention, in especial, the “Proem to the Froissart Ballads” — although this is strongly tinctured with imitation. For example:

The dappled fawns upon the plains,

The birds that love the upper sky

Lived not in lovelier liberty.

Every one remembers the lines ending

Know no such liberty.

———

(a) Hunt’s Merchants’ Magazine, for December, is one of the very best numbers yet issued of the most decidedly useful of American Magazines. This issue completes the thirteenth volume. The contents are — The Value and Prospects of Life in the United States — The Cotton Trade — The System of Mutual Insurance examined with Reference to the Question of Individual Liability — Maritime Law, Piracy and Financiering — Electricity as the Cause of Storms — The March of Our Republic — The Consular System — Pot and Pearl Ashes — and The Progress of Population in Boston. Besides these papers we have Mercantile Law Cases — Commercial Chronicle — Commercial Regulations, etc. etc. — and several pages of judicious literary criticism. A very commendable point about this Magazine, is its strict nationality. No sectional bias, of any kind, is apparent. It is addressed emphatically to the people of the United States.

———

(b) The Columbian Magazine, for January, is really very creditable to all concerned in its issue. There are two very excellent mezzotints, one by Doney and one by Sadd — the latter from a design by Matteson: — subject, a scene from The Pioneers. This is the first of a series of similar illustrations of American works of history or fiction.

The contributions are from many of the best of our littérateurs. Mrs. Osgood, for example, has an article — also Mrs. Ellett, Mrs. Sigourney, Mrs. Embury, Mrs. Child, Miss Sedgwick, Miss Gould, Neal, Paulding, Tuckerman, Inman, and others. Miss Blackwell furnishes both words and music of a very fanciful and sweet ballad called “Fairy Kandore.” [page 354:]

[[BJ December 27, 1845 - 2:389]]

The Drama.

(a) THE MOST noticeable event in prospectu is the bringing out of Richard the Third at the Park, by the Keans, immediately upon their return from Philadelphia. The tragedy, we learn, is to be produced in a style of splendor and perfection of detail altogether unexampled in this country. No pains or expense will be spared. Mr. Simpson will be at an outlay of three thousand dollars, and Mr. Kean will expend perhaps double that sum — equipping, for instance, a hundred supernumeraries. All the world will “be there to see.”

———

(b) SOME of the Charleston papers make allusion to the number of “communications” sent in to them in praise of “Mr. Crisp and Mrs. Mowatt” — very properly declining to insert them. We say “very properly,” for anonymous laudation of this kind, is always injurious in the end, if not immediately, to the interests of the party lauded. The public (or at least that portion of it whose opinion is of any value) have a sad habit of taking it for granted that the “communications” are the work directly, or indirectly, of the persons bepuffed. If they be, then, of course, their insertion is to be regretted on the ground that such attempts at self-praise are contemptible in the last degree; if they be not, their insertion is even still more to be regretted, on account of the unjust suspicions inevitably excited.

———

(c) WE PRESENT our readers, this week, passages from the Boston Press, on the Hamlet, Benedick, Claude Melnotte, and Othello of Mr. Murdoch. We are happy in this matter to agree with the Bostonians, and to find ourselves sustained so fully, in the judgment we had occasion to express, on Mr. M’s appearance before New York audiences.

(Almost two columns of press reviews follow.) [page 355:]

[[BJ December 27, 1845 - 2:390]]

Editorial Miscellany.

(a) THE BROADWAY JOURNAL maybe obtained in the City of New York of the following agents: Taylor, Astor House; Crosby, Exchange, William street; Graham, Tribune Buildings; Lockwood, Broadway and Grand; and Burgess & Stringer, Ann and Broadway.

A new volume will commence on Saturday, the tenth of January next. A very few sets of the first volume are still for sale at the office, 304 Broadway.

———

(b) MR. THOMAS H. LANE is the only person (beside ourself ) authorized to give receipts or transact business for The Broadway Journal. For Prospectus, Terms, etc. see end of the paper.

———

(c) DR. COLLIER, the eminent Mesmerist, has written to us in reference to the extraordinary case of M. Valdemar. We quote a portion of his letter

———

Boston, December 16, 1845.

DEAR SIR — Your account of M. Valdemar’s Case has been universally copied in this city, and has created a very great sensation. It requires from me no apology, in stating, that I have not the least doubt of the possibility of such a phenomenon; for, I did actually restore to active animation a person who died from excessive drinking of ardent spirits. He was placed in his coffin ready for interment.

You are aware that death very often follows excessive excitement of the nervous system; this arising from the extreme prostration which follows; so that the vital powers have not sufficient energy to react.

I will give you the detailed account on your reply to this, which I require for publication, in order to put at rest the growing impression that your account is merely a splendid creation of your own brain, not having any truth in fact. My dear sir, I have battled the storm of public derision too long on the subject of Mesmerism, to be now found in the rear ranks — though I have not publicly lectured for more than two years, I have steadily made it a subject of deep investigation.

I sent the account to my friend Dr. Elliotson of London; also to the “Zoist,” — to which journal I have regularly contributed.

Your early reply will oblige, which I will publish, with your consent, in connection with the case I have referred to. Believe me yours, most respectfully,

ROBERT H. COLLYER.

Edgar A. Poe, Esq., New York.

[[BJ December 27, 1845 - 2:391]]

We have no doubt that Mr. Collyer is perfectly correct in all that he says — and all that he desires us to say — but the truth is, there was a very small modicum of truth in the case of M. Valdemar — which, in consequence, may be called a hard case — very hard for M. Valdemar, for Mr. Collyer, and ourselves. If the story was not true, however, it should have been — and perhaps “The Zoist” may discover that it as true, after all.

———

(a) THE TRULY beautiful poem entitled “The Mountains,” and published in our last Journal, will put every reader in mind of the terseness and severe beauty of Macaulay’s best ballads — while it surpasses any of them in grace and imagination. Not for years has so fine a poem been given to the American public. It is the composition of Mr. P. P. Cooke of Virginia, author of “Florence Vane,” “Young Rosalie Lee,” and other exquisitely graceful and delicate things. Mr. Cooke’s prose, too, is nearly as meritorious as his poetry.

For the deeply interesting paper “On the Poetical Literature of Germany,” (also published in our last number,) we are indebted to Professor T. L. Tellkampf, of Columbia College, in this city — brother of the celebrated German poet Adolphus Tellkampf.

———

(b) THE DAILY NEWS — Speaking of Dickens’ projected paper, thus entitled, the correspondent of the Liverpool Chronicle says:

I told you some time ago, if I recollect aright, that a new daily paper of ultra liberal politics was to be started, with Charles Dickens as the editor, and his father as field marshal or conductor. Messrs. Bradbury and Evans, the proprietors of Punch, are the spirited men ostensibly known in the new paper — that is to be. A number of “crack” reporters, all short-hand men, of the metropolitan journals, have been engaged, at salaries of seven, eight and ten guineas a week, for three years certain. Dickens is to have two thousand a year! Jerrold, Mark Lemon, and others of “mark” and “likelihood,” are to be among the chief writers. There is plenty of cash in bank, and the parties are all men of undoubted honor. After a little “hitch,” the effects of which lasted only twenty-four hours, everything has gone on cheeringly. Charles Dickens had a dinner party the other day, composed of the principal lads engaged; each gentleman invited had come with six names for the future journal: after dinner these were discussed with the champagne and claret; some of the titles were funny enough, and your readers must lose a good laugh by my withholding them. By general consent, “The Daily News” was adopted. The paper is to be a rival of the old Whig Morning Chronicle.

A capital of £100,000 was required to commence operations — so great, in England, is the risk and difficulty of establishing a daily paper. The first number will be issued on the first day of the new year. Among the collaborators is “an American gentleman who has acquired much note as a Magazinist,” — possibly John Neal.

———

THE BOSTON POST says:

We have just learned of a most flattering compliment that has been recently paid by a crowned head of Europe to an American writer, Mr. A. J. Downing, of Highland Gardens, New York, who published, not long since, a most charming book on landscape gardening. Mr. Henry Wikoff, who arrived yesterday in the Acadia, from Liverpool, has brought over with him an autograph letter from the Queen of Holland, together with a magnificent ruby ring encircled by three rows of fine diamonds, in acknowledgment of the pleasure she had derived from the late perusal of Mr. Downing’s book. A compliment like this from a royal personage to an American author is certainly quite novel, and what enhances its value is the new mode made choice of. The gift of a jewel is the familiar form that a crowned head usually selects to express royal approbation, but it is the first instance of the kind we know of where an autograph letter was added to give a stronger emphasis to [page 357:] such a testimonial. We record with great pleasure this marked compliment to the talents of a fellow countryman, and congratulate Mr. Wikoff upon his honorable commission.

For our own parts we are glad that Mr. Downing has received the ring — especially as it consists of diamonds and rubies and has, therefore, much intrinsic value. We use the words “intrinsic value” not rigorously, but in distinction from the factitious value which, in the public eye, appertains to the present as that of a monarch — and which in our own sincere opinion is precisely nothing at all — unless, indeed, we are to understand that the individual monarch, in this case, is a very especial judge of the merits of a work on “Landscape Gardening.” What we mean to say, is simply this: — that the value of any approbation, or any testimony of approbation, for a book, is in the ratio not of the worldly eminence, but in that of the judgment and good faith of the person who commends.

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(a) THE BOSTON COURIER says:

It is with deepest regret that we learn the death of Mrs. Maria Brooks, the authoress of “Zophiel.” She died on the 11th of Nov. last, at Matanzas, in the island of Cuba, from the debility consequent upon a severe fit of sickness. Mrs. Brooks was, at the time of her decease, about fifty years old. She was born at Medford, in this state, and for a considerable period resided in this city. About fifteen years ago she visited France and England, and while there formed many friendships with distinguished persons in both countries, among others with Lafayette, Wordsworth, and Southey. Of late years she has resided principally in Matanzas.

Mrs. Brooks was one of the most remarkable women that ever lived. To great attainments in literature, she joined a powerful and original genius, and a character of singular energy and individuality. Both in England and the United States, she has been considered by all who have read her writings thoughtfully, as unmatched among poets of her sex. Southey, who superintended the publication of her “Zophiel,” had the most exalted opinion of her powers, and pronounced her “the most impassioned and imaginative of all poetesses.” When “Zophiel” was published, Charles Lamb wrote to a friend, that Southey was trying to pass off the poem as the production of an American woman, as if, he said, “there ever was a woman capable of writing such a poem.” This is high praise, but it is borne out by the poem itself. It is one of the few compositions written during the present century, destined for durable fame. It is one of the most original, passionate and harmonious works of imagination ever conceived — and there breathes through the whole the vital life of genius. Though it has not been extensively circulated in the United States, there are very few American productions which shed so much glory on our literature, or which are so often quoted abroad as evidences of American genius.

That a mind of so much power and brilliancy should have departed — that one of the lights of our literature should have been quenched, we consider an occasion for the most sincere regret. But the image of that mind, stamped on her productions, will not de part. The light that illumines the records of her genius will not be quenched. Her memory will never return to the dust; her mind, even on earth, will have no grave and no tomb. Silently and surely her genius will work its way into the great public heart of the country, and her fame grow with time. And we cannot conceive of the period when an American, in reviewing the causes which have conducted to place his country in a proud intellectual position, and assisted in giving to it the immortality which springs from literature, shall cease to regard with peculiar gratitude and admiration the name of the authoress of “Zophiel.”

The critic who writes this is somewhat given to excess of enthusiasm, and we certainly are very far from agreeing with him in his opinion that Mrs. Brooks was “considered by all who have read her writings thoughtfully as unmatched among poets of her sex.” The author of “Zophiel” was a truly imaginative poet, but no one, “who read her writings thoughtfully,” would [page 358:] think of comparing her with Miss Barrett — or even with Mrs. Norton. As for Lamb’s pert query — “was there ever a woman capable of writing such a poem?” — it merely proves that Lamb had little understanding of the true nature of Poetry — which, appealing especially to our sense of Beauty, is, in its very essence, feminine. If the greatest poems have not been written by women, it is because, as yet, the greatest poems have not been written at all.

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(a) TO CORRESPONDENTS. — Many thanks to our friend, W. D. G. We assure him that our paper has been regularly mailed to the Gazette. Thanks, also, to A. M. F. and H. T. L.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 348:]

* Mem. This is not our Latin. — Ed. B. J.


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Notes:

None.


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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) (December 1845)