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covery; master Cyril growing tipsy and introduction of comic characters, (though striking up a questionable ditty,
he must have seen by this time that humor “Of Moll and Meg, and strange experiences the Winter's Tale is not without meaning.
is not his forte ;) even the very reference to Unmeet for ladies ;"
But Tennyson is said to be a modest man, and the Prince "pitching in " to him. and it is hardly fair to tax him with such
Benson. Can you suggest any better impudence. But at any rate the Princess mode of bringing about the discovery? goes far to confirm me in the opinion I held
The General. If no better can be de- before, that long poems are not Tennyvised, that only throws the objection upon son's line, so to speak. And he must have the choice of such a subject.
an inkling of this himself, else why does he PETERS. That brings us to the point. not finish Morte d'Arthur?—which is sureCome, General, don't be nibbling all ly worth finishing, though it might not around the poem, like a mouse about a perhaps be “one of the epics of the big cheese, but tell us what you think of world," as Carl thinks. There are many it as a whole.
exquisite little gems in the Princess-many THE GENERAL. As a whole, then, let of “those jewels five-words long,” that me ask Benson if he considers it to add the author speaks of; but as a whole, I much to Tennyson's poetic reputation ? should be slow to call it a great work of art. Benson. Is it perfectly fair to expect
Bexson. There are certainly also many that each successive work of an author things in it to which the General has taken shall equal or surpass his former master- exception, and which I am not prepared to pieces ?
defend. The thought has struck me that The GENERAL. Somewhat of a Quaker for some or all of these occasional lapses, answer, that, but it involves an admission we may have to thank the so-called “Wawhich I accept as a satisfactory reply. ter Cure” which the author underwent
PETERS. I have heard it objected to between his former volumes and this. the Princess, that it was too evidently PETERS. Not a bad idea that, Carl. written with a moral and for a moral, and The result was exceedingly likely. therefore could not be a really great poem.
THE GENERAL. So then the same cause Benson. That is really too bad, Fred. will account for the difference between According to that rule, no allegorical pic- "Evangeline
” and “ The Voices of the ture can be a great painting. To go no Night,” and that between the Princess and further, what would such a critic say to Locksley Hall. Cole's Voyage of Life ?
Benson. Well, we are agreed on one The General. It certainly is not the point at any rate. And having settled so objection I should make either. The idea much satisfactorily, let us refresh our inner that a great poem cannot have a moral, man. Lift the top
of that oak windowseems to me as one-sided and untenable as seat, Fred; you are the nearest to it. the theory of the extreme Wordsworthians, What do you find there? that a great poem must have a moral. Peters. Something that looks very like My animadversion would be just of the a paté de foie gras reposing upon some old opposite kind—that the subject of the music; and a little basket with an assortPrincess is too slight. It would be well ment of soda buscuit and wafers, and enough for a semi-ludicrous trifle; it is is there a Bologna in this roll of yellowish not sufficient for an elaborate poem, the paper ? work of years. While reading this pro Benson. Precisely. Where's the Genduction, the suspicion has crossed my eral ? Oh, one naturally looks to the mind—a mere suspicion which it is per- other window-seat for the liquids. Quite haps uncharitable to utter—that Tennyson right. You will find some jolly old Cognac has intended and striven to be eminently there, and a bottle of the real “Drioli” Shakspearian in it. Hence his peculiar Maraschino, if you are not above so ladyphraseology, his changes from grave to like a vanity. Help me to clear the table, gay and from gay to grave, his rigorous Fred. Put Dr. Arnold on the top of artistic propriety combined with his almost Vanity Fair, and pitch those Boston resystematic chronological discrepancy, his / views into the chiffonier basket. Spread
this Literary World out: it will do for an THE GENERAL. We will endeavor to do extempore table-cloth. There, we have the them justice, as we have been trying to edibles and potables arranged: let us give | do justice to the Princess. a good account of them.
HUDSON'S LECTURES ON SHAKSPEARE.*
In reading Mr. Hudson's assurance in his The writer intimates that he could have dedication, that he has," in writing these been original, in the transcendental sense, lectures, rather studied to avoid originality i.e. unique, outre, odd, absurd, nonsensical than to be original,” we know not, to use or ridiculous, had he chosen, but that being a part of one of his characteristic sentences, a man of honesty, and having some reve"whether it be more incredible, that he rence for the learning of thinking, he has should say what he did not believe, or that endeavored to study his subject with the he should believe what he said.” For it assistance of other students, and then to is of the very essence of his mind to be travel on with them in the great highway original, and to allow it to be seen that he of wisdom. It is the false originality then tries to be so. His very avowal is original; | which he studied to avoid, that which the thought, it is true, is not new, but the mistakes Deviation for Progress, and selflight in which it is presented is colored illumination for general enlightenment. In with a peculiar personal shade. It was this sense only can he say of himself with meant to tell in a particular direction, and truth that he has studied to avoid originit does so. How it must startle the drowsy ality. senses of those who have fallen into that But if going ahead in the right path of state of morbid conceit, which it is the thought, that which runs parallel with fashion of the soi-disant transcendentalists what men understand by common sense, to develop and nourish, to read a senti in a peculiar characteristic fashion, be true ment so directly in opposition to one of originality, then Mr. Hudson has tried to their cardinal dogmas, as the following - be original, and has succeeded. He is
“He who is always striving to utter himself, consciously peculiar in his thought and will of course be original enough; but he who expression, more from a natural idiosynwishes to teach will first try to learn; and as, crasy than because he intends to be strange. to do this, he will have to study the same ob He writes antitheses, and makes points, and jects, so, unless his eye be a good deal better or scatters shot here and there, because he is a good deal worse than others, he will be apt to see, think, and say very much the same things style and thought; but in the general,
a wit. He is full of individuality both in as have been seen, thought, and said before."
though many of his traits as author are This is a plain common-sense thought against good usage, he is on the right side, put into a Johnsonian wrapper and fired the old, true side, the side of honesty and out of the Hudsonian rifle at a particular sincerity. He is neither a Weeper nor a object, viz., the worshippers of certain Seeker. He does not bear his candle aloft avowed Self-Utterers in New England and and cry, “Behold the sun!” he merely lets elsewhere; which object this thought is it so shine that men may see his good works. peculiarly adapted to hitting, (as silver bul With our Progressing friends Mr. Hudlets are for witches,) and which, in this in son is not a particular favorite; they do not stance, it hits, in the very point aimed at. consider him a “perfect person.
This * Lectures on Shakspeare. By H. N. HUDSON. 2 vols. New-York: Baker & Scribner, 1848.
question respecting his originality, which as his own. Except in the instances althey were the first to raise, affords a curious luded to, which though in bad taste could instance by which to observe a character- not have been written to mislead, there is istic motion of the advancing Mind. Mr. no charge which could be brought against Hudson has made a free and generally a these lectures with less foundation in truth fair use of the thoughts of other writers on than that of wanting originality. Shakspeare; in a few instances, one of Yet such is the nature of the mental which we shall extract, it seems that he progression of the “some people” aforehas, instead of quoting, given the thoughts said, that they cannot be brought to admit of others in his own language. This could aught which tends to lessen them in their not have been intended for plagiarism, since own esteem. Something must be said those thoughts have now become so com- against Mr. Hudson, because he does not mon that there could have been no feloni- subscribe to the Harbinger ; but his pious intent; still it was unnecessary, and is quant sallies are too cutting not to be aca blemish.
knowledged to have some force ; the shift Not relishing, when these lectures were then is, to pretend to feel no smart, and delivered, the blunt sense and pointed sar- assuming a high level of self-respect,” to casm which characterize almost every para accuse him of want of originality. This is graph of Mr. Hudson's writing, and make especially the modus operandi of “some it very original—the advancing Mind, or people,” the imitators of Mr. Emerson and rather some of those nameless persons Lord Nozoo, who are perpetually “wellto whom he frequently alludes as some ing out” in our newspapers and magazines. people,” fastened upon these instances, Lacking utterly all basis of good sense, and pronounced him a mere laborious and all respect for study, they are in our compiler. We did not hear the lectures, lierature the exact counterpart of the Dembut remember seeing them spoken of in ocratic party in our politics-only, thanks that wise in sundry newspapers, by individ- to the mighty dead who repose in our uals as inferior to him in wit, good taste, libraries, to the nobler qualities of the huscholarship, and industry, as superior to man soul, and to the chivalry of such valhim in the wisdom which is born of con orous knight-errants as Mr. Hudson, they ceit, and is engendered by fanning the in are not quite so formidable. For our own ward light.
part, we are so much disposed to trust in Now, since his book has appeared, and the natural vigor of the understanding, that it has been seen that he professed to have we look upon the vagaries of these prostudied to be un-original, in their sense gressives as mere harmless manifestations only, they have been rather taken aback; of weakness that will always be showing they have been obliged at least to com itself in some form or other; we as little mend his prudence. They imply (we have think of allowing transcendentalism to disread thus in a newspaper notice) that as turb our repose as Mormonism ; we defy he was accused of wanting originality, he all attempts to be drawn into seriously dishas now very adroitly met that objection pelling any such momentous Nonsense that by confessing it was intentional.
is always obscuring the air of the soul. It All this while the progressing Mind, is nothing but fog; though at a distance it some people,” must be as perfectly aware looms heavy, and seems to envelop all as he is himself
, that he is truly one of the things in Cimmerian gloom, yet, if we walk most original writers that has for a long boldly on, we have always a clear space while come before the public. His style around us. We believe in Bigotry: the is quite peculiar; no one else has ever ignorant are to be pitied and benevolently written it. His course of thought is like instructed, not contended with. The Pinel that of no other mind which had contrib- method of treating the insane should be uted to enrich our literature; it is a beauti- extended to many other infirmities. Still, ful spray of innumerable little jets of wit. when boys have behaved very badly inAs for what he has borrowed from other deed, not studied well, but relied on their writers, he has so remodelled it in the mould effrontery to carry them through, and been of his fancy that he has a right to pass it altogether vain, assuming and disagreeable,
there is a degree of pleasure in beholding sion, because he has done it.
“ Some them “ settled with," not at all incompati- People” have fared hardly under his hands; ble with a kind and forgiving spirit. he has shown them up and made them
The providence of Heaven graciously ridiculous. He has "settled with them.” raises up from time to time men who seem The manner in which he has done this especially commissioned to correct certain is so delightful, that we cannot refrain from special errors. Thus Howard the philan- giving a few examples before speaking thropist had a “mission” to reform the of his merit as a Shakspeare critic. English prisons, and Father Mathew was lately moved to stay the plague of drunk- ters inferior to his characters of men.
Many think Shakspeare's female charac
Doubtenness in Ireland. Mr. Hudson, though he less, in some respects, they are so ; they would has not probably been aware of it, is as not be female characters if they were not : but signal an instance as either of these. He then in other respects they are superior ; they was sent forth into New England to over
are inferior in the same sort as woman is infethrow and utterly demolish the vanity of rior to man; and they are superior in the same that class of speculators, whom he and we, question probably cannot see how woman can
sort as she is superior to him. The people in for want of a more specific title, have des- equal man, without becoming man, or how she ignated as “some people”—which must can differ from him without being inferior to be understood as including all that class, him. In other words, equality with them inwhether transcendentalist or orthodox, who volves identity, and is therefore incompatible think that they know Something when in with subordination, and runs directly into substitruth they do not. This is a class so
tution ; and such, in truth, is the kind of equality abounding in New England that it has been which has been of late so frequently and so
excruciatingly inculcated upon us. On this supposed by many to originate in a sort of ground, woman cannot be made equal with aftergrowth or second edition of the ancient man, except by unsexing and unsphering her; puritanical Pride, which made the essence ---a thing which Shakspeare was just as far of all piety to consist in a state of mind from doing as nature is. To say, then, that expressible by the formula, “I am holier Shakspeare's women, according to this view than thou!" This pride, now that creeds of the matter, are inferior to his inen, is merely have changed, develops itself in various be, and not men, as he meant they should not
to say that they are women, as they ought to shapes, in philanthropy, literature, morals, be, and as we have reason to rejoice that they divinity, and the like; but in essence it are not. The truth is, Shakspeare knew very is the same old self-adoration. Others, well (and it is a pity some people do not learn among whom, for the sake of several of the same thing from him or some other source) the earliest names in the Plymouth colony, that equality and diversity do by no means newe should desire to be numbered, refer cessarily exclude one another; and that conthis pride to a source further back than sequently, the sexes can stand or sit on the
same level without standing in each other's the Puritans, who they think were upon shoes, or sitting in each other's seats. If, the whole more sinned against than sin- indeed, he had not known this, he could not ning; they rather consider it only a new have given us characters of either sex, but only modification of the original Adam, shapen wretched and disgusting medlies and caricaand colored by the peculiarities of New
tures of both, such as some people, it is thought, England character and education. Be that
are in danger of becoming." as it may, Mr. Hudson was evidently sent If one of the tenets of the faith in which forth against this pride, from whatever all sound orthodox New Englanders are 'source it sprung. One may see the im- educated, be true in proportion to the pulse operating upon him from the outset. hearty and frequent zeal with which it is What else could induce a young man, inculcated from the pulpits of country without a literary name, to prepare lectures churches--if it be actually to be believed on Shakspeare, and go about to deliver a principal ingredient in the perfect bliss them ? But the reality of his commission of heaven, that the saints shall behold and is most irrefragably asserted, after the enjoy the just punishment of the finally fashion of most special providences, by impenitent--then we, and, if we mistake what he has accomplished. We are bound not, a large majority of our readers, may to believe that he was sent forth to punc- derive great comfort from this quotation. ture pride and let the wind out of preten- The lively relish with which we contem.
plate the fate of “some people,” cannot | he felt. For the sentimentalist is one who arise from a sinful malice, for we are con
thinks he has very fine feelings, and means scious of the kindest feelings towards them, everybody shall know it; he therefore puts his and hope this will do them good; we are
feelings on the outside, dresses himself in them,
and so goes about calling on all to observe and at liberty to consider it, therefore, a faint admire them; all of which, by the way, is foretaste of the eternal fruition which is among the very lowest and meanest forms of to reward the good hereafter. Let us then conceit and selfishness." enjoy it in a proper manner, with grateful
But in the following our author gives ness to our author for his truth, and thankfulness to Heaven for raising up so doughty city of his mission. He is not here de
one of the surest proofs of the authentia defender of common sense.
picting “some people" from a fancied “ Polonius is virtuous inasmuch as he keeps vision in his mind, but is evidently drawing below vice, (for there is a place down there and from life. some people in it;) is honest, because he thinks
Great novelists have sometimes been honesty to be the best policy,-a maxim which, by the way, is far from being universally true :
accused of putting actual living characters for honesty sometimes carries people to the into their tales, and clergymen often exstake, (queer policy that;) and perhaps it would pound the sacred text, without being aware carry more of us to the stake, if we had it; of it, in so forcible and applicable a manner if it did not carry us to the stake, it might that conscience-burdened hearers construe carry us to poverty, and that, some people think, it as a personal insult: it would not be at is the next thing to the stake.”
all surprising if Mr. Hudson was accused Again :
of having had in his eye when writing
what is below, certain particular individu“ The reason, therefore, why some men see als—men and women-especially women, nothing valuable in nature but cornfields and resident not more than five hundred and cotton-plantations, is, they have none but corn
fifty-five thousand miles from the capital eating and cotton-wearing faculties to view her with. To such men nature is, properly
of Massachusetts. We say it would not speaking, no nature at all, but only a sort of be surprising if he were to be thus accused huge machine, put in motion by some omnipo —not that the reader is at liberty to undertent diagram, to manufacture useful articles stand that such is our own opinion, for and agreeable sensations for them."
there are “ beautiful spirits” in New York
as well as Boston, and we do not know In the following instance the phrase is a
any little varied, but it is sufficiently plain who of them; only this we say, and say it are intended :
boldly : we should not wonder if Mr. Hud
son were accused of having had individuals, shions of that age may seem foolish living somewhere or other, distinctly present and affected enough to us, and ours may seem in his mind while he was putting this parequally so two hundred years hence. Perhaps
agraph on paper :it is for this reason that those people who look no deeper than dress, either of body or mind, “It is by gilding or varnishing over impurity and who make it their being's end and aim to with the superficial graces of style and sentiwear clothes, and look sleek, and be fashiona- ment, by wrapping up poison in an envelop of ble, are always thinking that human improve honey, so that it may steal a passage into the ment is now in its quickest march, and that the mind without offending the taste or alarming present has first exemplified the perfection of the moral sentinels of the heart,—it is in this human reason.'
way that death is conveyed into the system ;In the following no people are alluded doing than Shakspeare : if we wish to see it
a thing which no man was ever farther from to but sentimentalists ; yet they are inclu: done in perfection, we had better go to the ded under the generic some people,"
of Byron and Bulwer; who do indeed and form a very considerable class. What discover no little fondness for delineating noble, is said will apply admirably to the ideal generous, magnanimous villains; gentle, amiatranscendental Poet :
ble, sentimental cut-throats,--in a word, devils
sugared over. Yet it is questionable whether “Of all men, therefore, Shakspeare was per even these, bad as they are, are so bad as the haps the least a sentimentalist; strove not at all late importations from France, so much in favor to reveal the truth and beauty of his feelings, with the more beautiful spirits ' of the time, but only to reveal the truth and beauty which | where the laws of morality are not so much