« AnteriorContinuar »
gled impression of penetration and benevolence. The portrait in the last year's Literary Souvenir is an excellent likeness.
Chiefswood, July 13. “Will you not be alarmed at the sight of another portentous-looking letter, and that so soon again ? But I have passed so happy a morning in exploring the 'Rhymour's Glen' with Sir Walter Scott, that following my first impulse on returning, I must communicate to you the impression of its pleasant hours, in full confidence that while they are yet fresh upon my mind, I shall thus impart to you something of my own enjoyment. Was it not delightful to ramble through the fairy ground of the hills, with the
mighty master himself for a guide, up wild and rocky paths, over rude bridges, and along bright windings of the little haunted stream, whích fills the whole ravine with its voice! I wished for you so often! There was only an old countryman with us, upon whom Sir Walter was obliged to lean for support in such wide walks, so I had his conversation for several hours quite to myself
, and it was in perfect harmony with the spirit of the deep and lonely scene; for he told me old legends, and repeated snatches of mountain ballads, and showed me the spot where Thomas of Ercildoune
"Was aware of a lady fair,
Come riding down the glen,' which lady was no other than the fairy queen, who bore him away to her own mysterious land. We talked too of signs and omens, and strange sounds in the wind, and "all things wonderful and wild;' and he described to me some gloomy cavern scenes which he had explored on the northern coast of Scotland, and mentioned his having heard the deep foreboding, murmur of storms in the air, on those lonely shores, for hours and hours before the actual bursting of the tempest. We stopped in one spot which I particularly admired; the stream fell there down a steep bank into a little rocky basin overhung with mountain ash, and Sir Walter Scott desired the old peasant to make a seat there, kindly saying to me, 'I like to associate the names of my friends and those who interest me, with natural objects and favorite scenes, and this shall be called Mrs. Hemans' seat.' But how I wished you could have heard him describe a glorious sight which had been witnessed by a friend of his, the crossing the Rhine at Ehrenbreistein, by the German army of Liberators, on their return from victory. At the first gleam of the river,' he said, they all burst forth into the national chant'Am Rhein, Am Rhein! They were two days passing over, and the rocks and the castle were ringing to the song the whole time, for each band renewed it while crossing, and the Cossacks with the clash and the clang, and the roll of their stormy war-music, catching the enthusiasm of the scene, swelled forth the chorus' Am Rhein, Am Rhein ! I shall never forget the words, nor the look, nor the tone, with which he related this ;* it came upon me suddenly, too, like that noble bursi of war-like melody from the Edinburgh Castle rock, and I could not help answering it in his own words,
''Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,
One glance at their array.' "I was surprised when I returned to Chiefswood to think that I had been conversing so freely and fearlessly with Sir Walter Scott, as with a friend of many days, and this at our first interview too! for he is only just returned to Abbottsford, and he came to call on me this morning, when the cordial greeting he gave me to Scotland, made me at once feel a sunny influence in his society.
I am going to dine at Abbottsford to-morrow - how you would delight in the rich baronial-looking hall there, with the deep-toned colored light, brooding upon arms and armorial bearings, and the fretted roof imitating the fairy sculpture of Melrose in its flower-like carvings! Rizzio's beautiful countenance has not yet taken its calm clear eyes from my imagination; the remembrance has given rise to some lines, which I will send to you when I write next. There is a sad fearful picture of Queen Mary in the Abbottsford dining-room. But I will release you from farther description for this time, and say farewell.
“Ever faithfully yours,
"F. H." We close our quotations with an extract or two descriptive of Mrs. Hemans' personal appearance, and illustrative of points her character :
“It has been said that no woman can form a fair estimate of another's personal attractions; but in contradiction to this sweeping assertion, I shall draw upon a woman's
* Upon this aneedote Mrs. Hemans afterwards based one of the most spirited of her national lyrics, "The Rhine Song of the German Soldiers after Victory.' The effect of this, when sung with a single voice and chorus, is most stately and exciting. The air had never before been mated with suitable words; the German Trinklicd, (drinking song,) which belongs to it in the original, falls far behind the music, wbich is high-toned and spirited.
work, The Three Histories,' for a description of Mrs. Hemans, which, though somewhat idealized, is as faithful to the truth as it is gracefully written.
Egeria was totally different from any other woman I had ever seen, either in Italy or England. She did not dazzle -- she subdued me. Other women might be more commanding, more versatile, more acute; but I never saw one so exquisitely feminine. She was lovely without being beautiful ; her movements were features ; and if a blind man had been privileged to pass his hand over the silken length of hair, that when unbraided flowed round her like a veil, he would have been justified in expecung softness and a love of softness, beauty and a perception of beauty, to be distinctive traits of her mind. Nor would he have been deceived." Her birth, her education, but, above all, the genius with which she was gifted, combined to inspire a passion for the ethereal, the tender, the ima. ginative, the heroic, — in one word, the beautiful. It was in her a faculty divine, and yet of daily life; -- it touched all things, but like a sunbeam, touched them with a golden finger'. Any thing abstract or scientific was unintelligible and distasteful to her: her knowledge was extensive and various, but true to the first principle of her nature, it was poetry that she sought in history, scenery, character, and religious beliet - poetry that guided all her studies, governed all her thoughts, colored all her conversation. Her nature was at once simple and profound; there was no room in her mind for philosophy, or in her heart for ambition – one was filled by imagination, the other engrossed by tenderness. Her strength and her weakness alike lay in her affections : these would sometimes make her weep at a word, - at others imbue her with courage; so that she was alternately a 'falcon-hearted dove,' and 'a reed shaken with the wind.' Her voice was a sad, sweet melody, her spirits reminded me of an old poet's description of the orange-tree, with its
"Golden lamps hid in a night of green,' or of those Spanish gardens where the pomegranate grows beside the cypress. Her gladness was like a burst of sunlight; and if in her depression she resembled night, it was night wearing her stars. I might describe and describe for ever, but I should never succeed in portraying Egeria; she was a muse, a grace, a variable child, a dependent wo
the Italy of human beings.
"There was no more beautiful trait in Mrs. Hemans' character, than the total absence of any thing like rivalry – of the smallest shadow of a wish to depreciate or discourage the efforts of her contemporaries. Her judgment, indeed, was as fastidious as it was independent: she did not estimate the writings or the endowments of others according to the fashion of the day, but by the standard of her own wholly poetical feelings: and thus she might be sometimes too exclusive, but never voluntarily unfair, or warped by the smallnesses which creep into minds less earnest. Though so naturally rich, even to luxury, in her own imagery and forms of expression, she was wholly intolerant of all counterfeit sentiment and pretty phraseology, these she would call 'property writing,' 'painted language. She was too entirely and graciously devoted to her art ever to bear a part in the antiphony of hollow compliment. One of her favorite quotations was the satire on the Litchfield coterie, which she would repeat with exquisite humor,
"Tuneful poet! England's glory;
Mr. Hayley - that is you,'
Trust me, Litchfield swan, you do! "But in proportion as her taste was difficult and peculiar, so were her preferences strong and lasting: 'If she could see no fault in her friends,''she would playfully and ingeniously argue,' they were very few in number; and she was sure that she could not have adopied them so entirely as a part of herself without good and convincing cause."
The work is embellished with a fine portrait of Mrs. Hemans, and a view of her residence at St. Asaphs. Messrs. CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD, Philadelphia, have published the same work in one volume. The proceeds from the sale of both editions are to be devoted to the benefit of Mrs. Hemans' children.
BRYANT'S POEMs. — A third edition of Bryant's poems, with a few which were not in the first, and of which two or three have never before appeared in print, has been published by the HARPERS. We will not suppose any of our readers ignorant of productions, many of which have become almost part and parcel of the national heart. Hence, foregoing unnecessary praise, we need only say of the volume before us, that its execution is truly beautiful, and that it is ornamented with an appropriate vignette by Wele.
The Printer's Guide. — Messrs. WHITE, HAGER AND Company have published the third edition of a work of some two hundred pages, entitled "The Printer's Guide, or an Introduction to the Art of Printing :' by C. S. VAN WINKLE. This book is not alone valuable to those for whose use it is perhaps mainly intended. Those portions of the volume which are devoted to the subject of punctuation and remarks on orthography, are of great importance to writers for the public press, and indeed to all who would write correctly, for any purpose. We could wish, especially, that our author's labors were in the hands of many a correspondent for this Magazine. The advice and directions to masters and apprentices are sound, practical, and judicious. In all the writer has to say, he comprebends an important meaning in a few words, and those which are the most expressive. His work deserves well, for various merits, at the hands of the public in general, but recommends itself particularly to the professors of the 'art preservative of all arts.
MEMOIRS AND SELECT REMAINS OF Nevins. – Mr. John S. TAYLOR, Park-Row, has published, in a large and very beautiful volume, “The Select Remains of the late Rev. WILLIAM Nevins, D. D.;' with a memoir of the author. The selections from his writings here presented have never before been published. They are characterized by the same plain, simple style, and breathe the same Christian purity and affectionate tenderness which have rendered the former productions of the writer so universally popular. A portrait of the author, well engraved by PARADISE, gives additional value to the volume.
DEARBORN's LIBRARY OF STANDARD LITERATURE. — The thirteenth volume of the Library of Standard Literature forms the fourth volume of Byron's works, and contains Manfred; Hebrew Melodies; Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte ; Monody on the Death of the Ri. Hon. R. B. Sheridan; The Lament of Tasso; Poems; Ode on Venice; The Prophecy of Dante; Cain; Marino Faliero ; Sardanapalus; and the Two Foscari. A spirited picture of "Gulnare' ornaments the work. Of the execution of the book we need not speak, farther than to say, that it is not inferior to the volumes which have preceded it.
Memoirs or LUCIEN BONAPARTE: WRITTEN BY HIMELF. — This work, translated from the original manuscript, under the immediate superintendence of the author, possesses all the interest which its title would seem to import. This interest, however, is lessened, and the value of the Memoirs not a little impaired, by a style which is singularly incorrect and involved -- a style that is neither French nor English, but an awkward combination of both. The volume, however, has had an extensive sale, notwithstanding its defects of manner. SAUNDERS AND OTLEY, Ann-street.
"THE AMERICAN QUARTERLY MAGAZINE' is the title of a new quarterly publication, the first number of which was issued early in the month. It is under the supervision of an association of young gentlemen of the New-York University, who have made a very favorable début, considering the necessary drawbacks always attendant upon a
first appearance.' The typographical execution of the work is extremely neat, and reflects credit upon the press of Messrs. CLAYTON AND BUCKINGHAM.
The Roue, ETC. Messrs. CAREY AND Hart have issued a new edition of 'The Roué,' in two volumes, and a second emission of Conversations of Lord Byron with the Countess of BLESSINGTON,' in one volume. Both works have heretofore been noticed at length in this Magazine. A second edition evinces their popularity. The same publishers have issued an edition of Madame de Staël's 'Corinne.'
New Edition Of Bulwer's WORKS. – Messrs. CAREY AND HART, Philadelphia, have just published, in two large and well-prnted volumes, the complete works of this popular writer. They are embelliehed with a portrait of the author, and are handsomely, although as it seems to us frailly, bound.
TALES OF THE WARS of MONTROSE. A collection of tales, by the late JAMES Hogy, author of 'The Queen's Wake,' etc., many of which we remember to have read with much pleasure, in Edinburgh and London periodicals. Their titles are as follow : Some Remarkable Passages in the Life of an Edinburgh Baillie; The Adventures of Colonel Peter Aston : Julia M'Kenzie ; Remarkable Adventures of Sir Simon Brodie ; Wat Pringle o' the Yair; and Mary Montgomery. The execution of the volumes is of the same character as that of “The Farmer's Daughter' — or, if possible, even of a worse description.
MACKENZIE'S WORKS. - Another donation, from the ever-teeming press of the Brothers HARPER, of good old English literature. "The Man of Feeling,' "The Man of the World,' 'Julia de Roubigné,' and various papers communicated to "The Lounger,' (a periodical paper, published at Edinburgh in the years 1785-'86, and 'The Mirror,' in 1779-'80,) are here presented in a beautiful volume of upward of five hundred pages. A fine portrait of the author, from the graver of Dick, prefaces the volume.
MORAL PHILOSOPHY. – Mr. T. H. CARTER, Boston, has recently published 'The Philosophy of the Moral Feelings, by JOHN ABERCROMBIE, M. D., F. R. S., etc., together with an introductory chapter, with additions and explanations, to adapt the work to the use of schools and academies; and also analytical questions for the examination of classes. By JACOB ABBOTT. It is a valuable work, and calculated to be widely useful in American schools.
ARITHMETICAL GUIDE. – Mr. HENRY PERKINS, Philadelphia, and Messrs. HALL AND VOORHIES, New-York, have given to the public a valuable aid to the every day business of life, in a small volume, entitled 'An Arithmetical Guide, in which the principles of Numbers are inductively explained.' From a cursory examination of the book, it appears to us simple and clear in its arrangement, and well adapted to the practical purposes for which it is intended.
SCHOLAR'S REFERENCE Book. — The same publishers have issued 'The Scholar's Reference Book,' containing a Dictionary of English Synonymes, tables of Greek and Latin Proper Names, and men of learning and genius, with a variety of other useful matter. The work comprises in a small space a large amount of matter connected with those subjects which are necessary to be known by the scholar, and for which he has frequently to search works of a more expensive description.
'VIOLET WOODVILLE, OR THE DANSEUSE,' is the title of a re-published novel, in two volumes, from the press of Messrs. CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD, Philadelphia. It is a
portraiture of human passions and character,' and possesses such merit as to elicit high encomiums, we perceive, from the London Examiner - - a journal of repute, and one not given to indiscriminate puffery, like many of its contemporaries:
The Farmer's DAUGHTER, AND OTHER LAND AND SEA Tales. — These tales have far more merit than might be inferred from a first glance at the volumes which they comprise. The publishers' estimate of their value - to judge from the execution of the work – must be low enough. It is miserably printed, upon coarse brown paper.
ETIQUETTE. A second edition of "The Laws of Etiquette, or Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society,' with numerous additions and alterations, has just been published by Messrs. CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD. The first edition was favorably noticed in this work, and the second is worthy of still higher praise.
'Astoria.' --- This last and long-expected work of Washington Irving has been published in two large and handsome volumes, by Messrs. CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD, Philadelphia. We shall notice it more in detail in the next number of this Magazine. New-York : WILEY AND LONG.
AMONG the subjects of those disputes which now agitate the literary world, to the destruction of many quills, and the waste of much Christian ink, modern poetry is one of the most prominent. Its title to esteem has been denied, and even its genuineness questioned by some, while the adverse majority revenge themselves by crying out against antiquity, and accusing their opponents of laboring under a fantastical affection for every thing which has been set aside as useless by public opinion.
Probably in some cases this accusation is true. The human mind is a thing obeying few regular laws, and its preferences are frequently not to be accounted for. It would be difficult to explain the reason why many men place their whole happiness in the collection and possession of worthless rarities. But whatever may be its cause, this passion may be supposed to be not unfrequently the source of that queer perversion of mind under which some labor, who are afflicted with a hankering after old books, and can find neither sense nor beauty in any thing written after the time of Queen Elizabeth. Many of those who fill up the ranks of that little phalanx, (whose every leader, however, is in himself a host,) which still stands firm in the cause of the old English classics, no doubt belong to this class, and therefore may be universally held in little esteem, according to general custom in such a case; since it is certainly nothing but reasonable that any body presuming to occupy himself with things in which the world can see no value, should be laughed at for his pains. But such persons actually compose but a small part of the mass to which they belong -a body whose combined information, judg. ment, and taste, may safely challenge competition with the whole literary world. When Brougham, Coleridge, Lamb, and Jeffrey, in England, and our own Irving, at home, give their full voice on one side of any question of taste, it requires no great measure of sagacity to decide it: and it would probably argue not much modesty in any one who should treat their verdict with that mixture of pity and merriment which might be supposed to meet an antiquarian - supposing such a monster to have yet been discovered in the list of American animals.
It is universally admitted, that we are not a poetical nation. It is also highly probable that we never shall be, to any great extent. Our natures are not fitted to it. To be a poet, one must have a mind rather imaginative than argumentative, and rather credulous than inquiring - or, at least, must be able to assume such a disposition