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1838,* and also of the valuable pages of Hakluyt. / We consider it fortunate that he did so, for not
It is among the adventures of the early Spanish only have the Historical Society been the gainers navigators here recorded, that we would recom- thereby, but the mass of information he has col. mend all who require the seasoning of Romance, to lected will greatly extend the interest of the work. search, in order to gratify their laste, and we doubl The advantage of a chronological arrangement whether they will be disappointed in perusing the is apparent to all, and the absence of it materially extraordinary narration of Cabeça de Vaca's jour- impairs the value of the collections of other Hisney on foot from Florida to Mexico!
torical Societies in the United States, through many Making all due allowance for the perhaps natu- volumes of which the investigator is compelled to ral desire which Cabeça felt to magnify his exploit, search in order to gather the memorials of any there are too many intrinsic evidences of truth in given period. His labors are thus prodigiously inthis narrative to justify a disbelief of its general creased and the dangers of omission multiplied. veracity, and it is conjectured with strong proba- We hope that the plan thus happily commenced in bility, that while we are in the habit of according Virginia will be steadily adhered to. There is still to Ferdinand de Soto the discovery of the “ mighty a considerable chasm between the period at which Mississippi"-the “ Father of Waters,"—it is to Mr. Robinson's volume closes and that of 1607, Cabeça de Vaca that this merit belongs. At all when the settlement took place at Jamestown. events it is highly probable that he passed that We would wish to see this interval illustrated by river in his voyage along the coast of Florida, and the voyages and discoveries, the adventures and this conjecture is strengthened by the fact that in triumphs of the hardy navigators, who prosecuted his long over-land journey from Florida to Mexico their researches along the Southern, as well as the he does not mention his having encountered it. Northern coast of America. The whole country Mr. Robert Greenhow, of Washington, in a letter will take an interest in these narratives, while the addressed to the Historical Society of Virginia, " Annals of Virginia" proper, will of course be of communicating a very valuable memoir on the first a local character and appeal more particularly to discovery of the Chesapeake Bay, to which we the citizens of our own State. We confess that shall presently refer, declares that “proofs unde- we would take an honest pride in the reflection that niable, exist of the discovery of the Mississippi by Virginia, the oldest of the colonies, should be the the Spaniards many years before the expedition of first to develope the history of her sister States Ferdinand de Soto in 1541;" and in Mr. Green- prior to the period when the local bistory of each how's forthcoming “ History of Florida, Texas, commences. The great work has been well begun, and Louisiana," we may expect to see this inter- and we hope that our Historical Society will fully esting speculation more fully developed.
carry it out to its completion. We have before adverted to the massacre of the The volume before us is from the press of Messrs. French Protestants by the Spaniards under Men Shepherd & Colin of this city, and, in its mechaniendez, at the entrance of St. John's river in Flo- cal execution, does great credit to those gentlemen. rida, the scene of which is strangely mistaken by Dr. Grahame who places it at the mouth of Albemarle River in North Carolina. In the 20th and 21st chapters of Mr. Robinson's second book, we have an account of the sanguinary deed and of the extraordinary revenge taken by the Chevalier de
LADY RUSSELL. Gourgue, a gallant and chivalrous Frenchman at the same place in 1568. The length of these chap
The beautiful fidelity of the wife of Lord Russell, duters forbids our extracting them, but we recom- ring his imprisonment and trial, is well known to readers of mend them highly to our readers, most of whom English history. will find the charm of novelty in the events which they record.
It was not thine to press the path The communication of Mr. Greenhow concludes
By martyr-footsteps trod, the volume before us, in which he offers very for
When flame of burning funeral-pyre
Lit the soul's path to God; midable evidence to prove that the Spaniards and
But thine no less the martyr's faith, not the English were the discoverers of the Ches. By whom the cross was borne apeake Bay, and a desire to trace the course of the So meekly on through life, till death foriner along the Atlantic coast, led Mr. Robinson, Exchanged it for the crown. as we understand, to make the change in the plan of the work intrusted to him, upon which we have
Faith such as thine, which faltered not, commented above.
On Calvary's hallowed mound,
And by the garden-sepulchre, + “Voyages, relations et memoires originaux pour servir In olden time was found. a l'histoire de la decouverte de l'Amerique, publies pour A pure and trusting heart was thine, la premiere foi en Francais."
A love which passeth show,
Oh, would that unto all were given Such blessed might to know.
LAMB AND KEATS.*
BY H. T. TUCKERMAN.
Not from that heurt which beat for thee
-Thou salt'st within the council hall
And sternly spake those judges forth-
Oh! hopefully thy brow looked up
There are aspects of literature which almost justify a noble mind in recoiling from its attractions. As the genuine record of individual experience, from the objective scenes of adventure to the most refined inward emotions,-as a legitimale contribution of ideas, on subjects of universal interest and immediate utility, and even as one of the fine-arts,-giving scope to taste and invention in the combinations of imagery and the moulding of language, --There is an essential dignity in literature. But when we glance at its daily emanations and perceive the crude, extravagant and venal productions which bear its name, we cannot but impatiently turn to a green field, a leafless tree or a dis. tant cloud, -to any object or thought which, by its reality and truth to its own relations, freshens our spirits by manifesting the contrast between to be and to seem. The most important phase of literature is psychological. The letter, poem, or biography which opens to us the soul's arcana, without disguise or illusion, is one of those repositories through which we make sure advances toward primal truth. The secret and enduring charm of poetry is founded upon the idea that it is a deeper and more significant utterance than any other form of literature; that it is by a kind of necessity, sincere—and breathes the most unalloyed spirit of beauty and truth. It is like a torch passed from hand to hand with fraternal care, because its flame was kindled at a divine altar; and should be preserved to enlighten and warm the universal heart. In proportion as the records of the mind are drawn from its inner recesses and the revelations of the pen are individual, spontaneous and genuine, they excite sympathy and deserve regard. The highest forms of literature as an art are shaped upon this principle-the drama being the intimate and history the picturesque reflection of life. Hence Shakespeare has furnished a vocabulary for the passions and woes of men; in the polpit, at the bar and the fireside, in conviviality and bereavement—the utterance of his characters instinctively fly to the lips. One reason for the decline of the drama is, that, in modern times, genius has so often written its own tragedy and comedy, in its actual development. We have been admitted so fraokly into the life of beings, endowed with the keenest sensibilities and the richest intellects, that a drama, how
Thy love ! that pure and holy thing ! He felt its hallowed power Around him, as an Angel's wing, In the last bitter hour. And though each prayer went up to Heaven Blest with thy widowed cry, It told that Faith and Hope-not DeathHad won the victory!
Years passed-but had no power to wean
Thy form was bent with age and care,
Matilda F. DANA. Boston, Mass.
1 * Literary Sketches and Letters : being the Final Memorials of Charles Lamb, never before published. By Thomas Noon Talfourd, one of his Execulors. New York. D. Ap. pleton & Co. 1848. | 2. Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats. Ed. iled by Richard Monckton Milnes, New York. George P. Putnam. 1848.
ever imposing or brilliant, especially when acted, task. They come forth at an auspicious moment, seems comparatively inadequate and cold as a rep. when death has canonized the names, and time resentation of human existence. What tragedy, sealed the reputation of the essayist and poet; when for instance, ever written can equal the pathos in- a growing taste for the higher qualities of mind has volved in these last memorials of Lamb and Keats ? somewhat modified superficial and indiscriminate What chapter of mental philosophy more strikingly views of literature; and when the spirit of the age unfolds the mysterious laws of the moral nature readily prepares the way for the reception of whatthan the glimpses here unfolded of inward strog- ever vindicates and hallows the memory of those gles, intense consciousness and life-long conflict whom renown has made familiar. The facts of with evils too sacred to be discussed until the suffer- consciousness are, to the student of man and life, ers had passed away? How tame and insignificant what the phenomena of nature are to the scientiappear the outward obstacles, over which coarser fic observer. Lamb and Keats, both from idionatures triumph, compared to the secret misery syncrasy and circumstances, realized and dwelt which these gentle yet heroic men so long endured ! opon their inward experiences. Their outward lot The essence of Lear and Hamlet is here incarnated; baffled action only to intensify thought and emoand we realize perfectly how in beings so delicate lion. “I love my sonnets," says the former, " beand aspiring, in the grasp of a destiny so strange cause they are the reflected images of my feelings and mournful, suicidal reveries may alternate with at different s." For the same reasop his letcomic talk.
ters are interesting to us. We knew of his irkIt is also remarkable that "final memorials” some clerkship, his economical lodgings, his deshould have appeared almost simultaneously, of lightful literary circle, his fraternal love,—and that two individuals peculiarly endeared to the lovers of it was his wont to “gather himself op into the old originality of mind and grace of character: and things.” But we knew not of his unostentatious the coincidence extends to many particulars. Each charities, nor of the darkest thread in the web of had been inisinterpreted-the one as deficient in his destiny-the allusions to which, in this corres-, reverence, the other in courage ; and in both in- pondence, shed a new and almost supernatural light stances the idea is triumphantly refuted-Lamb upon the peculiarities of his genius. having guided himself by a severe line of duty based These revelations are, indeed, eminently Shakes. on reverence, and Keats given an uncommon ex- pearean, especially in unfolding that myslical relaample of fortitude. In each, 100, pain was magni- tion between humor and pathos, wherein the great fied and cheated of illusion by acute consciousness, dramatist approaches nearer than any other writer in the one case of the latent signs of mental aberra- to the very heart of nature. Lamb's essays are retion, and in the other, we are told, “ his knowledge arkable for genial humor. He seems peculiarly of anatomy made every change tenfold worse.” to enjoy the quaint, ridiculous and, if we may so The man who indited sportive comments on death, call it, relishing side of life. And yet his personal, felt that he “must be religious;" and he who in- domestic, familiar existence contained an element dulged in moods of sentimental languishment, with of profound wo. He relinquished in early youth his dying gasp, reassured the sinking courage of his his dream of love forever, to watch over a sister friend!
afflicted with periodical fits of insanity, in one of The philosophy of human suffering is, as yel, which she had killed their mother. A situation unwritten. Theological literature and poetry af- more harrowing to a mind of rare susceptibility, is ford but glimpses whereby we may vaguely esti- scarcely to be imagined ; and it was from the apmate its scope and subtlety ; but the materials from palling scenes of this tragic destiny that, by the inwhich it is educed are chiefly to be discovered in stinct of self-preservation, the voluntary martyr volumes like these. The writings which these men fled, on the wing of fancy, into a realm of curious chose to give to the world, form part of their artis- observation and playful wit. “I hope," he writes, tic, deliberate and expressed development; and as “ (for Mary I can answer) that I shall, through such have been analyzed and estimated by refined life, never have less recollection, nor a fainter imcritics and loving readers. The facts of their ca-pression of what has happened than I have now. reer and the unstudied, confidential letters of friend. It is not a light thing, nor meant by the Almighty ship yield the necsssary collateral light which to be received lightly. I must be serious, circumbrings into relief the native impulses of character spect and religious through life, and by such means and finishes the interpretation that the emanations may both of us escape madness in falore if it so of genius but partially, though exquisitely revealed. please the Almighty." A few significant passages Both have been fortunate in their biographers. give us a vivid idea of the extent and influence of Talfourd and Milnes, filted by their kindred gifts 10 his calamily. “Being by ourselves is bad and realize the intrinsic worth of their subjects, have going out is bad. I get so irritable and wretched brought together these scattered mementoes and with fear, that I constantly hasten on the disorder. given them an intelligible shape, with the rever. You cannot conceive the misery of such a foreence, affection and delicacy required for such a sight.” We know of no incident in the whole range
of literary biography so stariling and painful, as he says, “of poems to come, bring the blood frethat here recorded of Lamb, associated as it is with quently into my forehead;" and again “ I have writthe geniality and wit of Elia,—that on one occa- ten independently without judgment. I will write sion Lloyd met him and his sister—"slowly pacing independently and with judgment hereafter." Yet together a little footpath in Hoxton fields, both he had his own theory of the art-founded upon weeping bitterly, and found, on joining them, that the nature of his own gifts, from which no indisthey were taking their solemn way to the accus- criminate reproach could drive him. “Poetry," he tomed asylum !”
declares, “ should surprise by a fine excess and not It is seldom that we thus clearly see the recip-by singularity.” rocal interchange of homor and pathos—the one re- He evidently possessed the magnanimity of geacting on the other and thus maintaining the equili- nius. “Is there no human dust-hole,"—he asked, brium of reason. Lamb's idolatry of Shakespeare in reference to some mean conduct,-" into which and his metaphysical insight as regards the true we can sweep such fellows?" And although he principle of his creations, is thus explained. Few felt that “a man must have the fine point of his men ever realized, in their consciousness, such a soul taken off to be fit for this world"-it was not testimony to the essential genuineness of the hard's in the spirit of misanthropy that he looked upon his conceptions. Others may interpret the moods of race. "I find there is no worthy pursuit," he Hamlet, the murderous reveries of Macbeth, or the writes, “but the idea of doing some good in the agony of Lear through observation of human na- world.” He alludes earnestly to the “ultimate ture in general, or according to a code of philo. glory of dying for a great human purpose" as a sophical criticism ; but Lamb did so by his individual prevailing desire, and eloquently observes, “Scesympathies. Love, duty, madness, had pressed nery is fine, but human nature is finer; the sward upon his earliest youth and wrestled in his manly is richer for the tread of a real nervous English and sensitive heart, robing life in a "sceptred pall,” foot; the eagle's nest is finer for the mountaineer driving him to minor comforts, isolating his be having looked into it." In one letter he refers to ing, and, with a kind of dramatic facility, causing his “ delight in sensation" as an inferior state to the day's oppressive responsibility to vibrate with his friend's “hunger after truth.” But these elethe evening's airy mirth, as a huge and frowning ments—both essential to the poetic nature, were mountain echoes the cheering notes of a horn. more happily blended in him than he seems to have
The same characteristic is made known by the new considered. Time had not yet chastened the one, memoir of Keats. His domestic bereavements, or made him vividly conscious of the other. With critical persecution, hopeless love and physical suf- all his urbanity and ingenuousness, he confesses to fering, combined with a temperament that quivered that instinct of seclusion whereby, like the snail's to every impression-afford a gloomy background shell
, a protection is afforded such beings, in social to the picture of his life ; and yet this is constantly intercourse, from what might otherwise wound or irradiated by his exquisite sense of beauty and harden. “ Think of my pleasure in solitude in flashes of humor. Nearly all that his letters sug- comparison with my commerce with the world : gest of the actual circumstances which environ there I am a child, there they do not know me, not him, is painful; while the very record is often so even my most intimate acquaintance ; I give into lively with hints of vast imaginative pleasure and their feelings as though I were refraining from imisparkles of gay conceit, that the same relief is tating a little child. Some think me middling, given to the sympathies which arises from the self- others silly, others foolish; every one thinks he possessed energy of a well delineated character in sees my weak side against my will, when in truth, tragedy; pity is elevated into admiration; the it is with my will. I am content to be thought all struggle with fate appears grand; the resources of this, because I have in my own breast so great a rethe victim lend a dignity to his misfortunes; and source.” He seems inclined in one letter to deny we have a latent feeling that it is " nobler in the the individuality of genius, and, if we separate the mind to suffer” thus than to stagnate in an ignoble quality or attributes so designated, from character, prosperity.
the position is tenable. It is, however, not unusual The familiar epistles, like the conversation of to confound the two. Keats recognized, probably the author,—" a delightful combination of earnest- from circumstances, the truth that intellectually as ness and pleasantry,"—are quite satisfactory in ex. well as spiritually, the attitude of human being tohibiting the thorough manliness of the poet's char. wards life and nature should be receptive. These acter. He possessed, indeed, all the trails which psychological facts—the universal assimilating nawe associate with his vocation. His sentiments ture of genius and the recipient capacity of mind, were candid, generous, free and humane. All that are hinted with striking beanty, in the following the critics have said in regard to the carelessness and passage : “Men of geníus are great as certain promise of his verse is included in his own just self- ethereal chemicals operating on the mass of neuestimation, indicating at once a deep sense both of tral intellect-but they have not any individuality, power and imperfection. “The faint conceptions,”'any determined character. Now it is more noble
to sit like Jove than fly like Mercury :- let us not emotion. That excessive sensibility to associatherefore go hurrying about and collecting honey, tions which is so characteristic of this feeling, bee-like, buzzing here and there for a knowledge makes us aware how alive he was to everything of what is to be arrived at; but let us open our even remotely bearing on this subject. In one of leaves like a flower, and be passive and receptive, his first letters from Italy he says: “I can bear to budding patiently under the eye of Apollo, and la- die-I cannot bear to leave her. Oh, God! God! king hints from every noble insect that favors us God! Every thing I have in my trunks that rewith a visit. Sap will be given us for meat and minds me of her goes through me like a spear. dew for drink."
The silk lining she put in my travelling cap scalds " These pages,” says Mr. Milnes, “concern one my head. There is nothing in the world of soffwhose whole story may be summed up in the com- cient interest to divert me from her a moment. 0 position of three small volumes of verse, some that I could be buried near where she lives! It earnest friendships, one passion, and a premature surprises me that the hunian heart is capable of death.” But to the reader of thought and feeling, containing and bearing so much misery as this." how much is involved in the brief chronicle! The Mr. Milnes, with becoming delicacy, is silent in reverse is chiefly dedicated to mythological fables; gard to the object of this wone passion," except to and yet the poet was ignorant of Greek, but adopt-give the assurance that the consciousness of has. ing the heathen divinities, because around them he ing inspired it, “ has been a source of grave delight could freely throw the drapery of his imagination, and earnest thankfulness through the changes and he gives each a life more fresh and lovely than that chances of her earthly pilgrimage.” We allude to afforded by the literature which embodies them; it chiefly to note what strikes us as a most touchbeings of a “creed outworn,” he breathed into ing instance of that want of recognition which them the vitality of his own sensations, and thus seems to attend human beings in life in proportion placed the cold and brilliant gems of a Pagan the. as they are ardent and genuine,-that, at the very ocracy, on the warm bosom of Christianized hu- lime Keats was half-scorned as the victim of woundmanity. The distinetion between genius and schol-ed self-love, his death was accelerated by the ferarship was never more eloquently revealed. The vor of his devotion to another; and the thought of finish of the complete bard, is only occasionally fame had no power to win his desires from the manifest,-in the Eve of St. Agnes, for instance, grave. and some of the sonnets ; but the rich fancy, novel of his “premature death,” we have a more elabmetaphor, and kindling aspiration gleam and glow orate and authentic record than ever before. His on every page in wild luxuriance. We have else- sufferings were prolonged and severe ; but, for an where discussed the claims of Keats as a poet and exile, he enjoyed the benefit of extraordinary medithe volume before us irresistibly attracts us to him cal skill and affectionate nurture. The celebrated as a man. The “ earnest friendships" to which Dr. Clarke was his constant attendant,-- generhis biographer alludes, seem from the letters to ous artist, the friend of years, scarcely left his bedhave been the great consolation of his life ; and side; the sky of Rome canopies his grave, and their ingenuous and manly exposition is a new evi. Shelley wrote for him an immortal elegy. It is dence of that power, which seems the compensa with the sensation of an intolerable pressure lifted tory award of heaven for the inevitable sufferings from the heart, that we close the story. After of genius, to attach others to its possessors with tracing that feverish life--its keen appreciation of singular tenacity and exclusiveness. The "one the pleasurable in sensation, its ravishing sense of passion" of Keats confirms our belief in the indi. I the beautiful in thought and nature, ils noble imviduality of affection of the poetical character. Jis pulses and constrained environdient,—the eagerkindliness, admiration and sympathies are, indeed, ness of the soul and the fragility of the body-ve universal; and their exhibition is often mistaken see no happy goal for it on earth, scarcely a chance for that of another sentiment. But the very char- for harmonious tranquillity; and it is soothing to acteristic of a poetic mind is concentration. It is know that the ceaseless pleadings of that weary the exercise of this faculty in which consists its heart, are stilled forever beneath the daisy-growa power; and fearful is its intensity when instead of turf! being directed lowards abstract theories or philan- We agree with his biographer in regarding the thropic aims, it becomes identified with a human want of correspondence between the world of object. Nothing more clearly indicates the ab- thought and that of action as a benign law incident sorbing nature of this experience in Keats, than to human life and for a benign end. The gifts of his obvious avoidance of the subject, except when Lamb and Keals redeemed their outward desting; necessity compelled an allusion. It was the con- and in this great fact so impressively demonstrated trolling thought of his mind, the haunting dream of in the volumes before us, we find a new and perhis fancy, and the almost exclusive sentiment of suasive evidence of the innate worth of genius. To his heart. The few hints which drop from his let- what realms of fancy and awe, 10 the sweet conters are enough to suggest a world of passionate' viction of how many sublime truths, into amity