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It may be, when this heart is cold -
Some better name may on me wait ;' &c.
• Too full of soul to live amid the world;' And how
* all the richer feelings of the soul
Are but its torment'; And what a curse poetry is, (which, of some poor stuff we wot of, is certainly true, so far as the reader is concerned ;) and all about the 'fiends asleep within the breast,' that
wander in their wild unrest Throughout the heart, which is their nest, And, worse than this, the wasting food
Of these, the vulture-eyed, and all their ravening brood ;' And a great deal more of well-expressed nonsense, of the same sort. And then he pretends to hate and despise all the world, excepting those who like him, of course. He
All that I now have left,
Unknown, unnamed.' &c.
When all that malice knows is told,
Some better name muy on me wait,' &c. Perhaps it may; we hope so. But, why affect to contradict this natural and most commendable aspiration ? And, if it were not natural and commendable, if the real disposition were to be forgotten of the world, why publish a book, like this, to force the memory of the man and his poetry on the minds of all who can be induced to read it? This is a poor way to be forgotten, if there be anything in the volume worth remembering ; and if there is not, what is the purpose of publication ? It ought to be forgotten — danned, utterly — like any other stupid thing; and it will be.
But the truth is, we hope better of the author of these poems. . As we have already intimated, there is not only genius in themsterling and shining genius - bright jewels of the mine,'- but a strong substratum of sound soil - the soil of common sense; and, in addition to this, ambition, taste, harmony, natural feeling, and a fancy, of amazing fertility. Witness the following, from the Lines to the planet Jupiter :
• The dove, with patient eyes,
such do notice give
And go on tiptoe.' These stanzas exhibit a rare power over language, adequate to the teeming richness of the thought. And so he speaks of a widow –
· Wasting her mournful life out at her eyes;' And of heavenly eyes, dim with the dew which wastes away the heart;' and the song of the robin, in a far land,
as sweet As a fairy's feet
Stepping on silver sand.' The book is full of happy little touches of this sort - not laboriously,' (as Dryden says of Shakspeare) but “luckily 'expressed. Mr. Pike does not appear to work much, nor to correct at all. He finished any thing in his life
but his book; and if he writes many more such, they will finish him — only for the lack of a modicum of application, such as a sensible man commonly devotes to a matter which he wishes as our author plainly wishes his poetry – to live. To make amends for this lecture, we quote once more from the Planet Jupiter.'
• The mother, watching by her sleeping child,
Soothing his thin, blue eyelids into sleep.
Work happier, when flattered by thine eye.' This last idea furnishes an instance of the apparent appropriation of foreign thought, alluded to above. Everybody must remember, in one of Shakspeare's sonnets, the splendid notion of the sun 'flattering the mountain-top.' Perhaps Pike never heard of it ; but more probably he had melted it down in his memory, till it was no longer distinguishable from the coin of his own imagining.
But enough of quotations and criticism. We have no space to speak of the prose parts of this volume — the narratives of journies through the prairies, &c. — great curiosities though they be, highly interesting, and entirely free from the faults of the poems. Nor can we but allude to the extraordinary circumstances, under which the whole of this composition was written, Think of the subjects : Dirge over a companion buried in the prairie,' &c.— written in the bosom of the desolate wilderness, which, to the dweHers even on the Mississippi, is still the far-off West ; — written by one who has abandoned society a buffalohunter - alone.
In fine, what we have to advise our author is this. Let him travel and trap, if he plcases, till he gets rich ; let him suffer, if he will, the stern hardships of the life he now leads, or has led, till his minor and his imaginary evils shall be, as they soon will be, forgotten, and the pilgrim shall have grown weary for a sight of the land of sunny eyes ;' but, whenever it may
be and he is yet in the prime of his life, learning many things which will do him great good — then
• Ere death shall close his quenched eyes,' let him turn homeward to the dear region, whose son he is so proud to be, and whose glories he pores upon, while yet his VOL. IX.
feet sound sadly' in the western wild. Let him scout
Some one or two are left,
Some one above the wanderer's grave may sigh.' There is sense, as well as sensibility, in this ; and it will bear examination. And so will the noble spirit of true New-Englandism, in which he addresses his father-land, and promises to be true to its memory forever. Let him, then, like his robin, come back on his track. If the eyes that he left, to grow dim months ago, will not
'greet him again,
with their idolized glow,'— as we wage our life they will we know of one good fellow, at least, who will take him by the right hand, and give him (with a bit of tender advice) a breakfast, as much better than the meat of the buffalo-cow, as the nectar of the immortal gods is superior to the puddle, drunk up, on his knees, from a hedge-hog's hole in the prairies.
THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF MUSIC.
Various theories have been formed respecting the origin of music ; and, indeed, in attempting to account for it, we meet with difficulty which does not occur in the other fine arts. Architecture, for instance, originated in the earliest wants of man : the first houses were only more convenient than the dens of wild beasts; afterwards, from a principle inherent in our nature, attempts were made to beautify what at first was only useful. The objects of nature suggested the ornaments employed in architecture. The trunk of some tall and graceful tree was the model of the Grecian column ; a few saplings, bound together, form the Gothic. A basket of votive offerings, left on the tomb of a
Greek girl, round which the Acanthus had gracefully spread its leaves, is said to have given the idea of the Corinthian capital ; and the interweaving of the branches of a forest, which is clear of brushwood, seen in winter with a sunset sky for the background, presents the most exquisite specimens of the Gothic arch. Painting and sculpture are also strictly imitative arts.
This is not the case with music: no imperious physical want first called it into existence ; no models constantly prompted its cultivators to improvement. We might almost say, there is no type of it in nature ; for what, compared with music as we now possess it, is the roar of the ocean, the sighing of the forest, or the warbling of birds, which form the music of nature ? examine music as a science, we find it involving some of the deepest mathematical calculations, proceeding upon principles as invariable and goverened by laws as intricate as those by which the planets move on in their orbits. If we view it as an art, we are astonished at its variety and power; we observe that genius alone, aided by years of patience and toil, can excel in it. We find it a universal language, written and uttered alike by all civilized nations: no translations are needed for it: the distant Russian, of the north-west coast, and the inhabitant of sunny Italy, read it with ease.
It cannot perish with length of time; it can never become a dead language, for there is no mystery about its pronunciation ; it is written in characters which suggest tones as well as thoughts, and which will never cease to do so, until the very nature of the art shall be changed. This sublime and perfect art, therefore, seems to have grown up out of nothing - a solitary monument of unaided genius.
A common thing respecting its origin is, that it was first produced by the imitative propensities of men. Hearing the notes of birds, the rushing of streams, or the whistling of the wind, they endeavored to produce the same sound with the voice, or upon some rude instrument, and, gradually improving upon these beginnings, brought music to its present perfection. This theory is ingenious, but not probable. We might as well account for language in the same manner, and infer, that speech was suggested to man by the growl of the bear, the barking of the dog, or the more homely sounds of more homely animals. I much prefer to suppose, that music is born within us ; that it is indissolubly allied to our nature, and belongs to us as peculiarly as language itself. Instead of being merely imitative, and addressed to the senses alone, I prefer to invest it with a high intellectual character. The
cry of horror, at sudden and fearful events, the loud shout of thanksgiving and jubilee, the soft, sweet tone that lulls the cradled infant, are more than imitative sounds; they address themselves directly to the understanding and feelings. Music