« AnteriorContinuar »
By passing in this way from field to field, and stopping to salute or interrogate the laborers, I was enabled to see the different stages of the whole process, and once more regained the train of the cosario, and my seat upon the donkey, as the shades of night were beginning to gather.
I now turned my attention to the muleteers, to see what promise they afforded of pleasant company during the journey. The cosario, or owner of the mules, had remained behind in Granada, and had delegated his command to the elder of the two men who assisted him. This was evidently an old roadster, for his hair was whitening under the influence of time, and, besides a broad scar upon his cheek, which he had gained in the War of Independence, his face was seamed with many a furrow. There was, however, much of good-natured expression in his features, and I felt at once at home in his company. Not so with his companion, who was somewhat younger, and far less prepossessing. He had a hard-featured and scowling face, and his careless attire seemed to indicate a reckless character. His hat, through old age and ill usage, had taken the shape of a sugar-loaf; his waistcoat was torn in the back by the end of the tough stick of grape-vine which he habitually carried, thrust under the sash of red woollen which girded his loins, and his leggins or leathern gaiters were worn out at the bottom, and left to turn about his legs at random. His shoes, too, were so broken as to admit the sand, which appeared, however, to give him no inconvenience. Indeed, his muscular and hardened frame seemed insensible to the ordinary causes of fatigue and uneasiness. He moved forward as if unconscious of exertion, while ever and anon he would draw his grape vine mechanically from his resting-place, and belabour the rear, of one of the donkeys that led our van with an energy that would cause the poor animal to move sidewise, in the vain hope of withdrawing the afflicted part out of reach of the discipline. Though the ass evidently ill-relished the application, it seemed to do good to the fellow who administered it. It was like a fresh quid of tobacco to a well-drenched sailor on watch ; for his air would become more satisfied and his step more elastic.
It may be an inducement to purchasers — though the reputation of the publishers in this regard renders this praise supererogatory to mention, that the work is well executed, and clad in a garb'neat but not gaudy.'
A TREATISE ON CONSUMPTION; embracing an Inquiry into the Influence exerted upon
it by Journeys, Voyages, and changes of Climate: with Directions for the Consumptive visiting the South of Europe, and Remarks upon its Climate. By William SWEETZER, M. D. In one volume. pp. 254. Boston: T. H. CARTER.
We cordially join in the general commendation which this work has elicited from the American press. The malady of which it treats is unhappily one of prevalent and melancholy interest; and we consider it one of the highest recommendations of the volume, that it treats the subject in a manner so clear and untechnical, that all who read may understand it. The plan laid down by the writer has been closely followed. He has given a brief and general history of consumption, the climates in which it is most prevalent, its relative mortality, etc. Next are considered, the lungs and their functions, the pathology, or nature of the disease — the physical characteristics indicating a tendency to consumption — its relative prevalence in the two sexes, and the ages during which it is most frequent. A concise account of hemoptysis, or bleeding from the lungs, an examination of the causes of consumption, their means of prevention, so far as known, and a history of the symptoms, succeed; to which are added, a consideration of the diet and regimen best adapted to the premonitory and declared state of the disease, the influence exercised upon it by sea voyages and change of climate, and the period and circumstances in which these means will be likely to exert a beneficial agency. It is not alone to the consumptive, or to those predisposed to the malady, that this volume commends itself. The large fund of information which it contains, is valuable and interesting to every reader. It is well printed, upon a large, bold type, and good paper, and both in its matter and execucution, presents the best claims to general favor.
THE TIN TRUMPET : OR HEADS AND TALES FOR THE WISE AND WAGGISH. To which are added Poetical Selections. By the late PAUL CHATFIELD, M. D. Edited by JEFFERson SAUNDERS, Esq. In two volumes, pp. 454. Philadelphia : E. L. CABEY AND A. HART.
Let no sedate or sensible reader in fer from the title of this work that it is without claim to general consideration. It contains the reflections and opinions of a mind various in knowledge, and fertile in attractive acquirements, arranged alphabetically, in the form of a dictionary, and interspersed with touches of sentiment, pathos, and genuine humor. To the manifestation of strong common sense, the writer adds an acute observation of men, manners, and things-- the power to reason closely and with plainness -- and withal, a style the most terse and sententious. His antitheses are often equal to the happiest of Lacon. A few passages will serve better to illustrate the character of the volumes, than the most elaborate criticism:
“ ABLUTION — a duty somewhat too strictly inculcated in the Mahometan ritual, and sometimes too laxly observed in Christian practice. As a man may have a dirty body, and an undefiled mind, so may he have clean hands in a literal, and not in a metaphorical sense. All washes and cosmetics without, he may yet labor under a moral hydrophobia within. Pleasant to see an im-puritan of this stamp holding his nose, lest the wind should come between an honest scavenger and his gentility, while his own character stinks in the public nostrils. Oh, if the money and the pains that we bestow upon perfumes and adornments for the boay, were applied to the purification and embellishment of the mind! Oh, if we were as careful to polish our manners as our teeth, to make our temper as sweet as our breath, to cut off our peccadilloes as to pare our nails, to be as upright in character as in person, to save our souls as to shave our chins, what an immaculate race should we become! Exteriorly, we are not a filthy people. We throw so much dirt at our neighbors, that we have none left for ourselves. We are only unclean in our hearts and lives. As occasional squalor, is the worst evil of poverty and labor, so should constant cleanliness be the greatest luxury of wealth and ease; yet even our aristocracy are not altogether without reproach this respect. It is well known, that the celebrated Lord Nelson had not washed his hands for the last eight years of his life. Alas! upon what trifies may our reputation for cleanliness depend! Even a foreign accent may ruin us. In a trial, where a German and his wifo were giving evidence, the former was asked by the counsel, 'How old are you?' — I am dirty.' -'And what is your wife?' — Mine wife is dirty-two.'. Then, Sir, you are a very nasty couple, and I wish to have nothing further to say to either of you.'
ABSCESS - a morbid tumour, frequently growing above the shoulders, and swelling to a considerable size, when it comes to a head, with nothing in it. It is not always a natural disease, for nature abhors a vacuum; yet fools, fops, and fanatics are very subject to it, and it sometimes attacks old women of both sexes. 'I wish to consult you upon a little project I have formed,' said a noodle to his friend. I have an idea in my head – Have you ?' interposed the friend, with a look of great surprise;, 'then you shall have my opinion at once: keep it there! — it may be some time before you get another.”
“ DRUNKENNESS A beastly, detestable, and often punished vice, in the ignorant lower orders, whose ebriety is thrust upon the public eye as they reel along the streets, but softened into a ' a glass too much,' or being a little elevated,' when a well educated gentleman is driven home, in his own carriage, in a state of insensibility, and put to bed by his own servants. The half-starved wretch, who finds in casual intoxication meat, drink, clothing, fuel, and oblivion, may be fined, or put in the stocks, because he cannot afford to conceal his offence; but the bon vivant, whose habitual intemperance has none of these excuses, shall
escape with impunity, because he sins in a dining, instead of a tap-room. ' A drunkard,' says Sir Edward Coke, 'who is a voluntary madman, hath no privilege thereby;'
but he should have added, except he be a gentleman in station.”
The concluding poems impress us less favorably than the prose portions of the work. They often lack harmony, and in one or two instances have not even originality to recommend them. VOL. VIII.
Pelayo: OR THE CAVERN OF COVADONGA. A Romance. By ISABEL. One volume. pp. 204. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
The inimitable Sands once remarked, that when an unusually large supply of new publications had accumulated upon his table, he was wont to adopt a summary method of criticizing them — namely, by running his nose through the damp leaves. If they imparted a grateful flavor, he praised them : if, on the other hand, they were a little sour or musty, he shaped his comments accordingly. Now we should act in bad faith by our readers, were we to adopt this criterion in a notice of the volume whose title we have given above. So far as regards the odor which its fair, fresh leaves exhale, nothing could be more pleasant; but having read the book, we cannot conscientiously avail ourselves of the system of criticism made easy' which our lamented friend laid down for the benefit of that corps of which he was so admirable a member.
The subject of 'Pelayo' is not without its capabilities; but the execution of the poem, we are compelled to say, is indifferent enough. Perhaps little else ought to be expected from a writer who takes frequent occasion to advise the reader that she is not yet seventeen, and who makes it a matter of boasting, that her restless, impatient muse eschews all pruning or revision. These facts would have been readily inferred from the preface and introduction alone - the first of which — 'a thing of shreds and patches' — is as remarkable for its lavish expenditure of artificial vivacity, as for the utter absence of that easy humor which it affects. If it were not rather ungallant to dissect the first “unpruned' effort of a lady of sixteen, and moreover, if it were not dangerous withal — for our fair authoress threatens to give two words for one in reply to the hapless critic who shall dare to incur her resentment by adverse
we should be induced to point out and serve up numerous blemishes, and not a few glaring faults, which judicious revision might have amended, if not obviated altogether. Among the rank shoots, however, that demand the extirpating hoe of criticism, it must be confessed there are a few tolerable flowers; but who would voluntarily labor in an unweeded garden, where every stroke he aims at a useless or noxious plant is to be followed by a blow or two on the ear, from a fair female hand, that shall' make all sing again ? This would be a bad box,' which we fain would shun.
PHILOTHEA. A ROMANCE. By Mrs. Child. In one volume. pp. 272. Boston: Otis,
BROADERS AND COMPANY. New-York: GEORGE DEARBORN.
Mrs. Cuild has in various ways contributed valuable additions to the literature of this country. Her · Frugal Housewife' and 'The Mother's Book' have acquired a popularity which their merits were well calculated to command; while her occasional and less voluminous writings have met with similar favor, by reason of the sound principles, proper national feelings, and domestic virtues or graces which they inculcate.
In the work before us, our author treads upon new ground, but with the air of one familiar with all she sees and describes. She has stretched a potent wand over the dark backward and abysm of time,' and brought the era of Plato, and Pericles, and Alcibiades, freshly before us; and, what is a rare quality with writers who annihilate the past in fiction, she has imparted an air of real life to her romance, which a thorough acquaintance with her materials alone could have given. We can but counsel all lovers of a pure, classical style, and of a narrative imbued with more than common power and interest, to posses themselves of a volume which reflects honor upon the taste and genius of the author.
AMERICAN POETRY. — We have endeavored, more than once, to impress upon our readers - and especially upon our correspondents – the truths so well and vigorously expressed in the following extract from an able article in a late number of the Western Literary Journal.' We cannot but hope that these sensible remarks will have some effect in curbing that spirit of imitation which is the bane of many of our young American poets, and in checking that sort of thoughl-saving process, which, in great deal of our native verse, follows close upon the physical labor-saving movements of the age. We can afford to be original — to make our own literary wares, “and find the stuff,' for we have it in rich abundance, and of every variety:
“There is among us an abundance of poetical talent - some of it of a high order, and very considerable compass -- but there is great danger of its being rendered of no account, if not worse than useless, for want of proper direction. Our poetry - and indeed it is the fault of the poetry of the age- reminds one not of the blue sky or the green earth — of babbling brooks or singing waterfalls -of the quiet hamlet, embowered in trees and covered with vines, or the peaceful landscape — of the velvet valley or the rock-ribbed mountain of Nature's magnificent repose, or her awsul awakenings to earthquake and tempest: but of the wealthy city, where thought is sick lied with senti
of the splendid mansion, where too frequently sloth prevails, and the high aims and glorious impulses of life are exanimate- of the rich hall
, carpeted, and picturehung, and glittering with mirrors of the green-house, with its varied and beautiful but forced and unhealthy flowers. To say nothing of breadth or compass, philosophical depth or intellectual elevation, compare the simple character of the poetry of to-day with that of the masters of the English lyre: pretty conceits, beautiful turns of expression, and monotonous smoothness and regularity of versification, have taken the place of manly ideas, abrupt and thrilling transitions, and sonorous lines; and for the rush, and energy, and wholesomeness of a former day, we look in vain.
"This ought not to be - it need not be. We do not expect ever to see the fathers of English Poetry surpassed, or often equalled; yet they may be approached ; and the nearer they are so, the greater will be the success of that individual who fixes his eye on the mountain, and attempts the ascent. To approach them, need not be to imitate them. The study of a model does not necessarily force imitation, except upon inferior minds. Mediocrity may not be able to comprehend the soul that stirred them; and consequently may be led inio an imitation of ihe mere body: but genius will approach them only to light its torch at their altar; its future course will have no relation to the paths they trod, other than being guided by the same light. Let us, then, who are in the enjoyment of a tri-youthfulness – being young as a people, young in years, and young as a literary community -- endeavor to approach them. Let us discard the affectation of parlor prettinesses, waxwork niceries, and milliner-like conceits. Let us turn our lady-pegasuses out to pasture, and mount coursers of speed and mettle. Let us give over our pacing and ambling, and dash off with a free rein. Let us abandon the luxurious couch, and the glittering hall, and the garden of exotics -- and away to the grassy meadows, and the breezy
slopes, and the inspiring hills. And above all, let us strike at once for the wells undefiled' of English Poetry, and not pause by the way to quench our thirst at the many puny fountains that shall beset our paths, decked out with all manner of gaudy trappings, in the miserable taste of an effeminate day.
As we have said, there is among us an abundance of poetical talent; and occasionally we find it walking in the right path; but for the most part it has received a wrong direction; and constant watching, and repeated efforts, will be necessary to set it aright. We cannot go to work in this respect a moment too soon. Habits are stubborn things; and habits of writing after a bad model, when once confirmed, are quite beyond ihe reach of reform. Let us, therefore, begin now to ask ourselves, Is there nothing beautiful, but the face of woman ? nothing to apostrophize, but a penciled eyebrow? nothing symmetrical, but a female form? nothing worth praising, but a well-turned ankle?
nothing that floats upon the heart, but dishevelled tresses ? nothing whose touch thrills us, but the soft white hand? Is the soul, which animates all these, a cipher? is the heart, which alone can make them lastingly beautiful, unworthy of a thought ? And finally, is this wide earth so glorious, and not made for our worship? Let us — and we seriously urge it upon our young writers - let us answer these questions in a right spirit, and, as poets, we shall soon do something of which we may well be proud. We have the power within us : the inspiratlon is around.'
DRAMATIC Prospects. — There can, we fear, be but little doubt, that the important personage, known so widely and so well, under the significant appellative of COMMON RUMOR, will prove herself, the coming season, to be what many very sensible people have long ago declared her, a common liar. We beg her ladyship’s pardon, however, . for thus unceremoniously announcing her honors, and should the future falsify our anticipations, we shall, as in duty bound, hasten to make the amende honorable, with the prompt devotion of a true cavalier. This lady declares, with all the solemnity which usually characterizes her assertions, that the American public generally, and the NewYork Park public particularly, are, within the coming year, to be lifted up to the very pinnacle of harmonious delectation - to be enthusiastically erstacized, beyond all precedent — by the heaven-born, earth-bought tones of the seraphic MALIBRAN Garcia. That, secondly, they are to experience that exquisitely-pleasant horror, that excruciating agony of delight, which has already titilated about the hearts and eke the heads of all the dilletanti of all Europe, who have listened to the ravishing strains of the never-to-besufficiently-paid-for-notes of Paganini's fiddle. That, thirdly, - this good public — are one and all of us 10 he utterly divested of every particle of that gross matter which is, being of the earth, earthy -- our souls cleansed from the dull, heavy, dirty, clay of humanity – our animal senses purified, and every thought, feeling, and fancy distilled in the immaculate alembic of sentiment, and thus etherealized, to be wasted away from earth, beyond the realms of the elf and the fairy, higher than Olympus, leaving the Phocian Mount a speck in the low distance - Apollo and the muses less than the moles of Parnassus - looking upward with worder and admiration, while we go whirling away - higher still higher - even to the ninth Heaven – upon the toe of Taglioni! We breathe again!
Views IN PALESTINE. — Fisher's 'Views of Syria, the Holy Land, Asia Minor,' etc., if we may judge from the numbers we have examined, bid fair to excel in beauty of drawing and execution, any similar work of art from the British press. They are published in monthly parts, each part containing four large engravings, from drawings by BARTLETT, PURSER, and other eminent English artists. The two numbers before us contain the following plates : Mecca Pilgrims encamped near Antioch, on the banks of the Orontes; Damascus, from above Salah yeh ; Fall of the River Cydnus, near Tarsus; Ruins of Balbec; A Turkish Divan, Damascus; Village of Eden; a view of Tarsus ; junction of a tributary stream with the Orontes; and Antioch from the West. The letter-press department is in the capable hands of Carne, the celebrated eastern traveler, whose style is the acmé of poetical prose. We make an extract from the illustrations of the first engraving, tending startlingly to show the spirit of the present age. The reigning Pacha is about tearing down one of the Egyptian pyramids, to improve with its stone the dykes of the Nile, and rail-cars are to hiss along the ways once slowly and painfully traversed by many a Christian pilgrim :
"To the course of the Orontes new interest is now imparted by the enterprise of Colonel Chesney, who begins his overland communication with India at Suadeah, where