« AnteriorContinuar »
They have a hidden life, akin
To nothing in this earthly sphere;
Where nothing mortal may appear;
Yet woe for them! Oh, woe for them!
Such his perplexing grief who seeks
A refuge upon stranger shores;
In vain their sympathy implores.
Laden with gold or princely store,
With an unmeasured deep before.
Surely this was a very
woman; and these poems (there are many more of nearly equal beauty) should not be left to the perishable record of a magazine. Her earliest publications were, as I have said, of little worth ; but enough of the highest merit might be collected to forin an enduring memorial of her genius and her virtues.
One of the greatest, if not the very greatest, of the living orators of America, is, beyond all manner of doubt, Daniel Webster. That he is also celebrated as a lawyer and a statesman is a matter of course in that practical country, where even so high a gift as that of eloquence is brought to bear on the fortunes of individuals and the prosperity of the commonwealth-no idle pilaster placed for ornament, but a solid column aiding to support the building. A column indeed, stately and graceful with its Corinthian capital, gives no bad idea of Mr. Webster ; of his tall and muscular person, his massive features, noble head, and the general expression of placid strength by which he is distingaished. This is a mere fanciful comparison;
but Sir Augustus Callcott's fine figure of Columbus has been reckoned, very like him ; a resemblance that must have been fortuitous, since the picture was painted before the artist had even seen the celebrated orator.
When in England some ten or twelve years ago, Mr. Webster's calm manner of speaking excited much admiration, and perhaps a little surprise, as contrasted with the astounding and somewhat rough rapidity of progress which is the chief characteristic of his native land. And yet that calmness of manner was just what might be expected from a countryman of Washington, earnest, thoughtful, weighty, wise. No visitor to London ever left behind him pleasanter recollections, and I hope that the good impression was reciprocal. Everybody was delighted with his geniality and taste; and he could hardly fail to like the people who so heartily liked him. Amongst our cities and our scenery he admired that most which was most worthy of admiration; preferring, in common with many of the most gifted of his countrymen, our beautiful Oxford, whose winding street exhibits such a condensation of picturesque architecture, mixed with water, trees, and gardens, with ancient costume, with eager youth, with by-gone associations and rising hopes, certainly to
of our new commercial towns, and perhaps, as mere picture to London herself; and carrying home with him as one of the most precious
and characteristic memorials of the land of his forefathers, a large collection of architectural engravings, representing our magnificent Gothic cathedrals and such of our Norman castles and Tudor manor houses, as have escaped the barbarities of modern improvers. We are returning our. selves to that style now; but twelve years ago it was his own good taste, and not the fashion of the day that prompted the preference.
I owe to his kindness, and to that of my admirable friend, Mr. Kenyon, who accompanied him, the honour and pleasure of a visit from Mr. Webster and his amiable family in their transit from Oxford to Windsor ;-my local position betwcen these two points of attraction has often procured for me the gratification of seeing my American friends when making that journey ;-but during this visit a little circumstance occurred so characteristic, so graceful, and so gracious, that I cannot resist the temptation of relating it.
Walking in my cottage garden, we talked naturally of the roses and pinks that surrounded us, and of the different indigenous flowers of our island and of the United States. I had myself had the satisfaction of sending to my friend, Mr. Theodore Sedgwick, a hamper containing roots of many English plants familiar to our poetry : the common ivy-how could they want ivy who had had no time for ruins ?—the primrose and the cowslip, immortalized
by Shakespeare and by Milton ; and the sweetscented violets, both white and purple, of our hedgerows and our lanes; that known as the violet in America (Mr. Bryant somewhere speaks of it as “the yellow violet") being, I suspect, the little wild pansy (viola tricolor) renowned as the love-inidleness of Shakespeare's famous compliment to Queen Elizabeth. Of these we spoke; and I expressed an interest in two flowers known to me only by the vivid description of Miss Martineau : the scarlet lily of New York and of the Canadian woods, and the fringed gentian of Niagara. I observed that our illustrious guest made some remark to one of the ladies of his party; but I little expected that, as soon after his return as seeds of these plants could be procured, I should receive a packet of each, signed and directed by his own hand. How much pleasure these little kindnesses give! And how many such have come to me from over the same wide ocean!
I could tell another story also of a great American orator, a story told to me two or three years before this occurrence by another distinguished American visitor. He told it to me with the low tone of a deep sympathy one evening in my old garden room, the moon rising red and full above the pyramid of geraniums and the scent of a thousand flowers floating upon the air.