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and harmonies has observed. The largest and enduring the deep, Nature seems to have assisted most powerful of these live within the torrid zone. him in a very extraordinary manner, for the spaces The Mediterranean contains four species of elec- between his fingers and toes were webbed, as in a trical torpedoes, but the shocks which they com- goose ; and his chest became so very capacious, municate cannot be compared in violence to those that he could take in at one inspiration as much of the Gymnoti, which inhabit the rivers and stag- breath as would endure a whole day. nant pools of South America. It is related that “An account of so extraordinary a person did not some years ago it became necessary to change the fail to reach the King himself; who, actuated by direction of a road from Urituca, in consequence of the general curiosity, ordered that Nicholas should the moles of burden lost in fording a river in which be brought before him. It was no easy matter to large quantities of these creatures were found. find him, for his time was mostly spent in the boThe temperature of the water in which they ha- som of the deep, but at last, after much searching, bitually live, is from 780 to 800; their electric force he was found. The King ordered a golden cup to is said to diminish in proportion to the decrease in be thrown into the gulf of Charybdis; conceiving the heat of the water. The Torpedo is regarded it would be a proper opportunity to test his powers. as an animal formidable and dangerous, but the The diver, though not insensible to the danger of manner of its operating is to this hour a mystery. the whirlpool, remonstrated at first, but actuated To all appearance, it is furnished with no powers; with the hopes of the reward and a desire to please it has no muscles formed for particular exertions, the King, jumped into the gulf and was swallowed that perceptibly differ from the rest of its kind ; up. He continued three quarters of an hour bepet such is the unaccountable power it possesses, low and at last appeared holding the cup in one that the instant it is touched, it benumbs not only hand and buffetting the waves with the other. When the band and arm, but the whole body. Handling requested to give an account of his voyage, he deit, says Kempfer, is accompanied with an univer- scribed the dangers as far greater than he anticipasel tremor, a sickness of the stomach, and a total ted. The water bursting up from the gulf made it suspension of the faculties of the mind.
dreadful even for the fishes. The abruptness of Goldsmith, in his “ Animated Nature,” in speak- the rocks on every side threatened destruction, and ing of divers who have explored the depths of the the force of the whirlpool dashing against those ocean, relates the following wonderful circumstan- rocks made it appalling. The account, however, ees. “Of all those divers,” he says, “ who have did not satisfy the King; he was induced to repeat brought us information from the bottom of the deep, his voyage, to make farther discoveries, and was the famous Nicola Pesce, whose performances are never seen more." told us by Kircher, is the most celebrated.” Kirch-! How much there is in the “ vasty deep” yet to er's account purports to have been taken from the be explored and set forth ; of the manners, customs, archives of the Kings of Sicily. True or false, habits, affinities of the mighty family, of which we It may serve to lighten the mind and amuse the at present know nothing, except their mere classireader. “In the times of Frederick, King of Si- fication. An Audubon of Icthyology may yet apcily, there lived a celebrated diver, whose name was pear, in whose suggestion and illustration we may Nicholas, and who for his amazing skill in swim- recognize the same presiding power manifested in ming, and his perseverance ander water, was sur- the great artist's work on the choired minstrels of named the Fish. This man had, from his infancy, the air. The beauty and harmony of the wonders been used to the sea ; and earned his scanty sub- of the deep, are clothed in hues and forms which sistence by diving for corals and oysters, which he the human imagination can scarcely grasp, and it sold to the villagers on shore. His long acquaint- is not unnatural to presume that some poet of the ance with the sea, brought it to be at last al. seas may yet solemnize and adorn her multiplied most his natural element. He frequently was perfections. Nature, or the God of Nature, is forknown to spend five days in the midst of the waves, ever unfolding her simple round of action and mainwithout any food, but the fish which he caught there taining her relative importance in every link; the and ate raw. He often swam over from Sicily to congruity of every part flows from the harmony of Calabria, a tempestuous and dangerous passage, the whole. Diffused through every organ of the livcarrying letters from the King. Some mariners out ing fabric of life and nature, an informing soul as at sea, one day observed something at some dis- the chief elementary principle runs, guiding us fance from land, which proved to be Nicholas; he through the varied degrees of endless inquiry from sbowed them a packet of letters which he was car- earth to heaven, from sea to sky, from dust to rying to one of the towns of Italy, exactly done Deity. up in a leather bag. They took him into their ship, and he kept them company some time on their Penitus prorsum latet haec natura, subestque : voyage, conversing and asking questions; and after! Nec magis hac infra quid quam est in corpore nostro, eating a hearty meal, jumped into the sea and pur. Atque anima est animal proporro totius ipsa. sued his voyage. In order to aid these powers of
constitution to the surgeon who took delight in the SONNET.-VIRGINIA.
deformities and bodily sufferings of his patients :
who could gloat over the wounds and mangled Thee, thee alone in every thing I seek.
limbs of those who required his art, because the Each bright dew.drop, star and cloud and flower,
study of such sad misfortunes was essential to the pure, Symbol thy grace, glow with thy beauty's power;
knowledge and practice of his profession? Shall The rose is but the bloom upon thy cheek;
we, then, take delight in brooding over the mental
and moral maladies of others ? Surely not: To Pale violets, thy dreamy eyelids meek, When lender melancholy rules the hour.
meditate upon the frailties of man-to nowind the
labyrinthine mazes of self-deception with which be And sunbeams feign thy bright hair's golden shower, While lilies only of thy brow can speak.
beguiles himself into the commission of crime—to The sky is but the heaven of thine eyes,
trace the growth of intellectual depravity from the And when the stars in silent glory rise,
first feeble germination of the seeds of evil till Each more resplendent orb is ofttimes fraught
they have sprung up into poisonous and deadly With thy dear mem'ry, or with hopeful thought
maturity—these are no sources of gratification to
the taste, which has not yet been otterly perverted of the fair future! But what shall fitly show The beauties rare that in thy spirit glow.
by habitually feeding on garbage. We cannot wan
der through the charnel house without being chilled
C. C. L. by its noxious vapors and oppressed by the stilling Virginia, 1848.
odors of death—nor look upon the festering plaguespots and loathsome diseases of the lazaretto without sickening at the repulsive sight. But a still deeper horror awaits the heart rightly trained and
the mind conscious of the tremendous responsibili
ties entailed upon the exercise of the intellectual BULWER, BULWER'S LUCRETIA, faculties, when we are compelled to scrutinize
and probe the sores, and ulcers of mental or moral AND SOME STRANGE PHENOMENA OF THE MARCH
corruption. Shall we seek enjoyment in the atOF INTELLECT.'*
mosphere tainted by the breath of the pestilence, Suave mari magno, turbantibus æquora ventis,
or look for bliss amid the heaps of the dead and E terra magnum alterius spectare laborem ;
the dying? If our nature revolts at soch things, Non quia vexari quemquam est jocunda voluptas, can we anticipate gratification from poring over Sed, quibus ipse malis careas, quia cernere suave est. moral diseases ? It is with no feeling of elation that Suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri
we are about to enter upon such a task, and occupy Per campos instructa, tua sine parte pericli: Sel nil dulcius est, bene quam munita tenere,
ourselves for a while with pointing out new forms Edita doctrina sapientum, templa serena;
of moral contagion. With repugnance we underDespicere unde queas alios, passimque videre take to expose the dangerous tendency of Bulwer's Errare, atque viam palanteis quærere vitæ ;
Lucretia, and unravel the tangled web of infamy Certare ingenio, contendere nobilitate,
which its author has woven. It is too late to alNocteis atque dies niti præstante labore Ad summas emergere opes, rerumque potiri.
tempt a methodical review of the novel, but it is
not too late to unveil the pernicious influences Such, in the lofty poetry of Lucretius, was the which may be anticipated from this and similar language of that selfish and blighting philosophy, works. It is necessary to do so, even at this day, of which he was the most profound and eloquent for no one has yet spoken out fully, boldly, and interpreter. But to those whose views of human freely, in deprecation of this new assault the
opon life and human destiny are built upon broader and fundamental principles of virtue. We do not denobler foundations, no spectacle can be fraught with sign a formal review of the work, but we are dedeeper melancholy than the contemplation of the termined to record our feeble protest against the dangers, the follies, and the vices of men. It is a Protean forms of literary demoralization with which gloomy picture, which it may be our duty carefully the world is now threatened. The Literature of to study; but the precious instruction thus derived an age should endeavor to remove the prejudices cannot teach us to regard human aberrations with and purify the feelings of the people to whom it is any feeling of pleasure. Such selfish and pre- addressed :-wretched, indeed, is the condition of sumptuous complacency always indicates corrup- the time, when that, which should be the safetion within : it is only Mephistophiles who can jest guard, becomes the channel of pollution. "If the and jeer over the weaknesses and iniquities of salt have lost its savor, wherewithal shall it be mankind. Could we attribute a healthy, moral salted ?"--if the water of purification become patrid
by what means shall the uncleanness be washed * Lucretia, or the Children of Night. By Sir E. Bul-away? Some resistance must be offered to the torwer Lytton. New York, 1847.
rent of corruption which is sweeping over our literature, or there will be no hope of redemption pos- [phy of Bulwer's remarks be true, as we believe it sible. Our insufficient aid shall be freely given, to be, neither in the reading nor the reprehension although the dam which we may be able to oppose of his novel can we look for gratification. The to the desolating stream may not for a moment tale is a vast diorama of iniquity-and the tencheck the gathering deluge of infamy. But the dency of the work is as much to be dreaded as the censorship of letters, which we profess to hold, is, depravity of its leading characters. We can deor should be, a sentinel upon the watch-tower to rive no pleasure from wandering through the hortell us of the night, and to give instant notice of rible maze of real or fictitious crime. It is with peril or invasion :-it should espy danger afar off, reluctance that we trace back our footsteps, and and give warning to those within the City. Its again dwell upon the dark details which are emfunctions are of the most sacred and solemn charac- bossed on the still darker canvass. It is with ter—it is the intellectual priesthood of an enlight- shuddering we stand upon the threshold, for the ened age—and when the Courts of Literature are cave of the Cyclops is before us, and we have aldefiled by the offerings of the corrupt or the in- ready penetrated the gloom of its hideous recesses. fected, those who minister, however humbly, at the altar, must be ever ready to sound the alarm, and
Domus, sanie dapibusque cruentis,
Intus opaca, ingens. cry out with the heathen priestess of old, procul, o procul ite profani. We have listened in vain for There is a sympathy which, despite of compasthe more potent voice of those whose seat is in the sion, makes us dread and avoid the miseries we higher places of the Synagogue of Literature : no behold. The consciousness of a common nature, cry has been raised; but it is the duty of the aco- the knowledge that in every heart are implanted lytes to repel pollution, when their superiors are the seeds of the same wickedness and frailties, either negligent of the ministrations of the Temple, should repel us from familiar association with crime, er indisposed to perform them. Let this be our at the same time that it softens the harshness of excuse for recalling at this late day the considera- our judgment of the criminal. But there is anotion of the principles and tendencies of Lucretia. ther species of sympathy which makes us gloss
In alluding to the beautiful passage from Lucre- over iniquity, and draws us into closer approximatios with which we commenced our remarks, Bul- tion with the vicious, so that the sin and the sioner wer exclaims, in language rich with the graces of are confounded together, and the pity which we his better days,
feel for the latter operates as an attraction towards
the former. Thus, that tolerance and indulgence " And now, O Poet of the sad belief and elo- are extended to the offence which Christian charity qoence, like ebony, at once dark and splendid,' commands us to show only to the offender. The how couldst thou, august Lucretius, deem it but distinction between the one and the other species sweet to behold from the steep, the strife of the great sea, or safe from peril, gaze on the wrath of
of sympathy is both nice and difficult—it is one the battle, or serene in the temples of the wise, rarely made with due caution, and to which the look afar on the wanderings of human error? Is blind, incautious, and unreflecting spirit of the day it so sweet to survey the ills from which thou art is wholly adverse. It is the latter and pernicions delivered? Shall not the strong law of sympathy form of sympathy which Lucretia is calculated 10 find thee out and thy heart rebuke thy philosophy excite : and from this cause, coöperating with the Not sweet, indeed, can be man's shelter in self, when he says to the storm, 'I have no bark on the moral confusion of the two, principally arises its seas!' or to the gods of the battle, “I have no son dangerous tendency. The weak or the imprudent in the slaughter when he smiles unmoved upon may easily have been beguiled into too deep an inwoe, and murmurs,' weep on for these eyes know terest in the tale : they may have imbibed the poi. no tears ;' when onappalled he beholdeth the black son without having been aware that they were sipdeeds of crime and cries to his conscience, . Thou art calm!' Yet solemn is the sight to him who lives ping the juices of aconite : they may have forgotten in all life ; searches Nature in the storm, and Provi- that the voice of the Syren swelled most melodidence in the battle ; loses self in the woe ; probes ously on the ear when the hidden rocks menaced his heart in the crime: and owns no philosophy instant shipwreck. While the sunshine laughs that sets him free from the fetters of mao! Not in upon the summer sea we dream not of the fury of vain do we scan all the contrasts in the large frame the tempest, or the dangers of the treacherous work of civilized earth, if we note. when the dust groweth into hardness and the clods cleave fasl to-, calm. We yield to the fascination which genius gether.""
wreathes around immorality, without heeding the
viper which lurks beneath the flowers. The involSi sic omnia—if such were the whole tenor of untary admiration which talent inspires insures our Locretia, and there was no refluent lide beneath partiality to the work in which its power is disthe surface, we should be silent, or we should ap- played : and the universal sympathies of our complaad. Certainly we should never have taken this mon nature entice us unwillingly into closer comnovel as a text for our denunciation of the impuri- munion with the vicious and the criminal than we ties of our modern Literature. Still, if the philoso-'would coolly or knowingly permit. We must rouse ourselves from this trance of death and shake off|expected from the author of Eugene Aram, Rithe baneful influence of the growing delusion. We enzi, and Zanoni. At first we were strongly dismust dispel the treacherous mists which hover posed to doubt the authenticity of the book, and we temptingly before our eyes, and awaken to the re- did not admit it without many scruples. The ality. It is thus only that we may avert the dan- characteristics of Bolwer's style and tone are in gers of the corrupting literature of the day-thus such excess as almost to constitute a caricature; only that we can discover the deadly contagion while the usual richness of imagination and music that festers beneath the surface of such novels as of expression are seldom exhibited : " the hands are Lucretia. We are willing to concede that this last the hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of production of Bulwer's genius has a lofty scope-Jacob." This exaggeration itself excited doubt, that its professed aim is noble; but unfortunately, which was of course laid aside when we found that the aim and the tendency are altogether at variance. we had no valid foundation for our surmises. The The test of La Bruyère is the only one by which peculiarities which occasioned it may have been the purity as well as the excellence of a work can due solely to the approaches of age, which render be estimated. * The whole difference rests in the natural defects more prominent and obvious, while heart and not in the genius of the writer. Hence they dry up the abundant juices of youth. arises the germ of truth contained in the paradox Lucretia is, as we have intimated, characterized of Quintilian, pectus est ingenium. We do not by all the mannerism of Bulwer. We should not mean to charge upon Bulwer any deliberate inten- return to this were it not that his peculiarities are tion to minister to vice; but we will say that, from closely connected with the morals of his writings. inattention, from want of skill, from the absence of His novels have been invariably characterized by true artistic feeling, or more probably, from the de- a very high degree of metaphysical subtlety, and ficiency of his moral enthusiasm for virtue, for jus- by the display of remarkable acumen in the analytice, and for right, he has not only neglected all the sis of human motives and human character. These precautions that might have neutralized the noxious are his strong points, and the undue cultivation of influences of the tale, but he has woven a wide and these talents has, in a great measure, impaired his dangerous net that will surely entrap the feet of merits as an artist. There is a passage in Pelham, the weak, the erring, or the unwary. It is our which shows how deliberately, from the outset of purpose to detect and explain the perils to be ap- his career, he has been laboring to introduce a metprehended from this and similar works, which are aphysical complexion into the literature of fiction. becoming lamentably numerous and popular—to Scott had rendered romance at once antiquarian unravel the tangled threads of error--to untwist and historical, without neglecting the portraiture the reticulated web of sophistry which has beguiled of real life :-he had made it the magic mirror, in equally writers and readers--and in the case of Lu- which the figures and the social condition of past cretia to trace the secret causes which have, pos- ages were recalled from the oblivion of the grave, sibly without the knowledge of the author, con- and exhibited 10 our astonished vision with all the spired to produce its immoral tendency, and 10 hues, and motions, and passions of the every day leaven with contagion his previous works. On world. Bulwer was anxious to render romance former occasions we have given free utterance to psychological also. The various elements had been our great, but not unqualified, admiration of Bul- wonderfully and harmoniously united in the Drawer's previous novels, for until now we have not mas of Shakspeare, and Bulwer was desirous of seen clearly the direction of his course : but, hav- producing a counterpart to Hamlet and King Lear
. ing discovered our own delusion and his aberra- Every novel which he has written, with the probtions from the narrow path of moral rectitude, it is lematic exception of Pelham, has been written with our duty to sing our palinodia, and to put others on a conscious metaphysical aim. Yet all his exertheir guard, especially when so glaring a danger tions have been insufficient to create a character calls for immediate warning. With these views, whose metaphysical propriety or profundity could but with little disposition to accuse Bulwer of in- rival the Madge Wildfire or ihe Black Dwarf of tentional malignity, we will enter upon the exami- the Great Magician of the North. Bulwer has nation of Lucretia.
pushed his attempt too far :-it has become a manWe have never thought that this novel was cal- nerism and an idiosyncrasy. The knife is ever in culated to add much to Bulwer's reputation. It his hands. He dissects and anatomizes most skilwould certainly have been a very remarkable pro- fully, but he does so continually :-and the scalpel, duction from any other writer; but it is in very which lays bare the mysteries of human organizamany respects inferior to what might have been tion, and separates the delicate nerves which de
termine the action of the human microcosm, dis* Quand une lecture vous élève l'esprit, et qu'elle vous
figures and mutilates at the same time the subject inspire des sentiments nobles et courageux, ne cherchez pas une autre règle pour juger de l'ouvrage : il est bon, et upon which it is employed, and destroys that hidfait de main d'ouvrier. La Bruyère. Caractères. Des den spark by which the organization is preserved Ouvrages de l'Esprit.
and the nerves put in play. When the scrutiny is ended and the result is to be exhibited, we are at | metaphysical evolution of a long series of causes last presented with the dead and dissevered mem- and effects is intended to engross the attention rabers, instead of the living, breathing, glowing, har- ther than the dramatic progress of the action, and monious unity of nature and of true art. It is the the succession of events. skeleton in the dissecting room, with its bones con- To illustrate this in a fuller and more satisfacnected by wires, and its limbs jerked about by tory manner, we will transcribe Bulwer's own exsprings and mechanical contrivances, which alone position of his designs. His aims, and the feelis brought before us. This is the first great defect ings by which he was actuated in the composition of all Balwer's writings :—the breath has escaped of Lucretia, are thus stated in the Preface : from the body, while he has been prying into the
“ There had long been a desire in my mind to seat of the disease, or the mysteries of organiza- trace, in some work or other, the strange and setion. The only motion is the result of inanimate cret ways, through which that arch-ruler of civilimechanism or galvanic excitation. We may ad- zation, familiarly called • Money,' insinuates itself nire bis works as profound or ingenious essays in into our thoughts and motives, our hearts and acmetaphysics; but we are compelled to admit that tions : affecting those who andervalue, as those they are not wholly satisfactory as pictures of men the spendthrift no less than engendering vices in
who over-rate its importance ; ruining virtues in and society :
the miser. But when I half implied my farewell
to the character of a novelist, I had imagined that We start :--for soul is wanting there.
this conception might be best worked out upon Sundry unexpected excellencies have indubita- unite some exhibition of what seems to me a prin
With this design I desired to bly sprung op from this psychological tendency; cipal vice in the hot and emulous chase for happibat they sapplant or overlay other excellencies more ness or fame, fortune or knowledge-which is alimperatively required. They render these fictions most synonymous with the cant phrase of the a more intellectual
, and perhaps more useful study: March of Intellect, in that crisis of society to bat, at the same time, they render them less pleas- which we have
arrived. The vice I allude io is ing and effective as representations of life. They not so much to conquer obstacles as to elude them;
Impatience. That eager desire to peep forward, lower the subject from the empyrean region of the that gambling with the solemn destinies of life, imagination to the more terrestrial atmosphere of seeking ever to set success on the chance of a die; the pure reason. They introduce philosophy, but that hastening from the wish conceived to the end they exclude vitality, and clip the wings of art, accomplished ; that thirst after quick returns to inColeridge characterized the experiments of the genious toil, and breathless spurrings along short French Savans upon dead animals in search of the
cuts to the goal, which we see everywhere around
characterizing the books of our writers, principle of life, as a folly similar to that of "mon- the speeches of our statesmen, no lees than the keys, which put their hands behind a looking-glass.” dealings of our speculators, seem, I confess to me, There is something of the same delusion in Bul- to constitute a very diseased and general symptom wer's mode of depicting character and passion ; he of the times.” is looking at the reverse side, and analysing the
It was fortunate for Bulwer that he did not prosamalgam behind, instead of turning to us the mir-ecute his intention of elucidating and developing For of life, and exhibiting therein “the very body these views upon the stage. The Drama is an imiand pressure of the times.” Analogous to this was tation of actual life :-the truthfulness and breaththe blander of Euripides ;—and such has ever been ing harmony of life are essential to success; and the first step in the downward progress of litera- in no form of literature is it more dangerous to sub
stitute the analytic for the synthetic—the metaThis method of treating subjects of fiction con- physics for the fact. The stage, too, is in a great stitutes the most marked peculiarity of Bulwer, measure out of date : it was useful and popular at and one hitherto almost exclusively characteristic a time when few could read, and fewer obtain anyof himself. In Deverenx, in the Disowned, in Eu. thing to read—when the only means of communigene Aram, in Paul Clifford, in Rienzi, in the Last cating with multitudes was in the theatre or on of the Barons-eminently in Zanoni-nay, in all the tribunal : but in our day men read and examhis writings, this is the most prominent feature. In ine, instead of hearing and feeling. Novels have Lucretia he is more metaphysical than ever :-His taken the place of Plays, and they have the advanaim is a metaphysical one ; namely, to show the tage over them of offering a wider canvass. The inflaence exercised upon the intellect and morals, action of Lucretia might easily have been coinby the auri sacra fames, which is the ruling pas pressed within the Five Acts of a Tragedy, but sion of the day. For the attainment of this end, the Philosophy would have been cramped for want he traces the gradual development of evil from the of room, and the Metaphysics would have been hoor in which the seed was dropped into the soil, glaringly inappropriate. prepared for it, till it attained its full growth, and The passages quoted from the Preface to Lucrebore its luxuriant harvest of fatal fruit. The scope tia sufficiently indicate the highly metaphysical of the work is thus purely metaphysical : and the scope of the novel, but along with the aims therein
ture and art.