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The grape in rich clusters hung, promising mirth,
pp. 110, 111.
The following stanzas by Mr Dawes will be enough to prove, that he has the imagination and taste of a poet.
THE SPIRIT OF BEAUTY.
At eve, she hangs o'er the western sky
The Spirit of Beauty is everywhere! pp. 54, 55. Mr Mellen's fancy appears to delight in scenes of grandeur and wildness. The following lines on · Mount Washington, the loftiest peak of the White Mountains in New Hampshire,' are not destitute of spirit and energy. We refer to the two first stanzas and the last; the third, which speaks of the dim forms of the mighty dead, we do not profess to understand, and consider it an essential defect in a description, otherwise striking and natural.
Mount of the clouds; on whose Olympian height
Save where with silvery flash the waters flow
Thine is the summit where the clouds repose,
The storms come forth—and hurrying darkly on,
And when the tumult of the air is fled,
The stars look down upon them--and the same
And lights the cold tear of the glorious brave-
Mount of the clouds! when winter round thee throws
Thy battlements stand clothed in Heaven's own hue,
pp. 128, 129. Some of the anonymous pieces in this collection have merits, that would bear a critical examination. But we choose to refer our readers to the volume itself, and this we do with the entire conviction, that all lovers of poetry will find abundance in its pages to reward a diligent perusa).
Art. X.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1.-- The Atlantic Souvenir; a Christmas and New Year's Offering.
Philadelphia. Carey and Lea. 1826. pp. 353. This is a beautiful little book, in imitation of the year books, which have so long been made up in the same style in Germany, and lately in England. It differs from them, however, by being entirely original in its matter, and of course depending for its value on American artists.
The German works of this kind, which we have seen, were composed principally of extracts from the poets of their own country, the popular ballads and tales new versified, or translations from foreign literature. The growing taste in Germany for Shakspeare is shown, by the very copious drafts made on him in these works; and we observed in a book of the kind, printed at Leipsic in 1821, some translations, of an accuracy, occasionally equal to that of Foscolo, in rendering Sterne's Still, slavery, still,' &c, which he signifies in Italian to mean, Slavery, though thou art peaceful,' &c.
It is an agreeable thing to see all the occurring festivals of society partake something of a literary character. It appears to be a return to the delicate taste of the ancients in this respect, who marked every public or private era of importance with some joyous testimonial. If the law did not always provide, that an occasional ceremony should be observed with the signs of rejoicing, the custom did; and the warrior, who returned · brow bound with the oak' by right, found his friends crowned with roses at their friendly banquet.
The more practical habits of modern society, lead us to be more indifferent than they, to all but that which is real and effectual; and it is not certain, whether we gain by the change. It seems certain, however, that the domestic and social ties were more tenderly prized with the ancients than with us; and a vast part of their history is interested in events, which arose from this feeling, where modern annals would give the reader an account of a stormy debate, or a cabinet intrigue. One of the French wits avers it to be impossible to found the plot of a tragedy on a Grecian story, except by calling into requisition the eternal family of Pelops,' with whom it is clear the French stage must be by this time pretty familiar. The taste, which tends to make all domestic intercourse as delightful as possible, by not merely employing the arts as the ministers or trophies of pride and wealth, but as the ornaments of affectionate intercourse, is excellent. If it is our ambition to equal the ancients in the simplicity and freedom of our institutions, it may also be worth while to divest ourselves as far as possible of the heartless directness, which the competition of modern society produces. There is little danger, in our country, of the study of what may be called the minor branches of the fine arts being carried too far. With so extensive a commercial capital, and the more than Agrarian laws, which regulate the vast territories of the West, there will not be soon the crowded population, which is pleased or supported by shows and toys. A man who, in Paris or Vienna, would live by gilt paper and pasteboard, in America would take his axe and rifle, or if less adventurous, set up a store, or command a steamboat. But, with all this, our countrymen are beginning to grow a little fastidious, and demand something like refinement; and in a community, that can support the Italian Opera in a full corps, there must be a real or affected taste for some of the fine arts. This taste, as regards the Opera, has been, we suspect, a little factitious in New York ; for we observed the papers filled for some time before its opening with explanations of the common musical business, and exhortations to the public to be pleased with the Garcias.
The little book before us does not need any such preparation to be liked. It is a beautifully printed duodecimo, executed with great neatness, and very prettily embellished. It contains some charming views of American and foreign scenery. There is a beautiful view of the burying place of Père la Chaise at sunset, a view of Athens, of the Bay of Naples, and the Falls of Montmorenci, with other decorations. But the value of this little volume does not depend on these. The literary execution of its matter is well finished, though the different articles of it are very unequal. The · Eve of St John, a tale of the Grecian Islands,' is the first in order, and among the best of the pieces. It turns on the oppressive barbarity of the Ottoman rulers, towards the interesting people inhabiting these islands. A Grecian maiden, Adiante, though warned by an omen, fearful for a lover, on the eve of the feast of St John, betroths herself to Demetrius, who, it seems,
in stature was tall and as straight as a palm,' easy in his carriage, active and graceful in his walk, fiery in the eye, and impatient of insult to the last degree. He was eloquent, poetical, romantic, enterprising, and a lover of the arts. With these qualifications, it is not wonderful that he won the fair Adiante to forget the mysterious omen, by which she had been warned that their love would be fatal, and that they were not destined to be united. But VOL. XXII. -N0. 51.