The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Yale Literary Magazine (Vol. I, No. 5, July 1836)

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Yale Literary Magazine (Vol. I, No. 5, July 1836)

Author: Various

Release date: December 12, 2021 [eBook #66934]

Language: English

Credits: hekula03, sf2001, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from images made available by the HathiTrust Digital Library.)


[Pg i]




“Dum mens grata manet, nomen laudesque Yalenses Cantabunt Soboles, unanimique Patres.”

NO. V.

JULY, 1836.



[Pg ii]


On the Simplicity of Greatness,169
The Heart,172
The Sister’s Faith,175
To ********* ******,185
Metrical Translations of a Latin Stanza,186
The Influence of Moral Feeling on the Pleasures of the Imagination, No. III,189
A Misanthrope’s Farewell to the World,192
The Coffee Club, No. III,193
Hora Odontalgica,204
Greek Anthology, No. V,207

[Pg 169]


VOL. I. JULY, 1836. NO. 5.


Great men are always simple—strikingly so; simple in their thoughts and feelings, and in the expression of them. Nor is this an unimportant characteristic. For to one who reflects how few artless men there are—how much there is that is factitious, in the character of almost every one whom he meets; most of all, in the character of those who ape this same simplicity; how much many men consult fashion, custom, and mode for their thoughts and feelings, instead of their own hearts and minds, till they almost cease to have any of their own; and when it is not so, how much rules of thinking and of feeling insensibly influence us;—to such a one, true simplicity will appear worthy the name of a rare virtue, and further, of an important one—especially, if he considers how much even the smallest act of cunning or affectation impairs the honesty and high-mindedness of him who allows it. As such, we might express our admiration of it in the great man, and derive from thence a strong recommendation.

But it may bring out more important results to ask why, especially by what peculiar mental habits it is, that minds which might, with the best reason, make a parade of their powers, are apparently so utterly unconscious of them, and so thoroughly simple. A chief reason is, that a great mind is completely absorbed in the objects before it, to the entire forgetfulness of self. The objects must be great certainly, thus to fill the mind; there must also be great powers to grasp them. Both these things are supposed in the truly great man. But the peculiar feature of his mind is this complete absorption in the objects of contemplation. It is carried forth beyond the cares and complexities of what most men call self, and for a time, at least, identifies itself with its object. His own powers, as things of selfish pride, are the last to concern his thoughts, and are only instruments of bringing before him the truth. In this he approaches what may be regarded as perfect mental action. For what are these powers [Pg 170] but instruments? And what is the mind in itself apart from its objects? Truths so plain seem to be forgotten by those who idolize mental power in themselves and others, more than they revere the truth, on which it is, or should be employed.

To this it may be added, that the great mind is generally absorbed by single objects. The one truth which absorbed the mind of Newton, was that of the law of universal gravitation. All the energies of Bacon’s mind were active in the elucidation of the single truth, that facts are at the foundation of reasoning. The same has been true of those who have made plain great moral truths. Indeed the end of every mind which acts to purpose is more or less definitely the perception of unity. But many minds mistake the single truth which explains the whole subject, or assuming that which is false, or taking up minor relations, or seeking complication for the love of it, go a-raving amid cycles and epicycles, extent of knowledge only making the confusion greater.

You shall see men disquieting themselves in vain, and plunging into hot and endless debate, all for the overlooking of some single truth which puts an end to all question. It is this tendency towards unity dimly seen in ordinary minds, which is brought out into a distinct habit, in minds of a higher order, and gives them their peculiar oneness and simplicity.

But we have not spoken of that which leads to this absorption of the mind in its objects. It is the love of truth—of all truth. Not that other minds have none of it, but it lies mixed, often insensibly, with other desires which reflect upon self, or reach out towards some foreign end, and thus mar its simplicity. There is the love of favor, the ambition of rivaling some admired forerunner or competitor, the desire of seeming superior to the vulgar crowd, the love of victory in discussion. More laudable than these, there is the desire of success in some pursuit or project, or a desire of acquiring what may be useful. More nearly affecting the mind’s operations, there is the love of novelty for novelty’s sake, the love of system, and the desire of bringing forth to the world something new. Besides these there are a thousand prejudiced feelings, aside from the simple love of the truth, which influence men in forming their opinions and in searching after truth. It is easy to see how all these differ in their nature from love of truth for the truth’s sake, and, of course, when blended with it destroy its simplicity. It is not a sense of duty even which mainly influences the great mind in its pursuit of truth. The love of it in such a mind is a passion, an appetite, which asks simply the reception of its natural food; an appetite ever enlarging itself, “growing by that it feeds on.” From these peculiar habits of mind, namely, absorption in its objects, and for the most part in single objects, guided by a simple love of the truth, there arises further, great simplicity in the feelings with which the truth is contemplated when it is discovered. There is nothing of a feeling of arrogance in the [Pg 171] great mind—a feeling that it has established a separate domain, about which it alone is competent to legislate, and which none but itself may touch or enter. Nor is there any thing like envy in such a mind. On the contrary, he is ready to welcome with the hand and the heart of a brother, and with warm gratitude, any who shall make new revelations of that which he most loves and adores. Nor has he any such love of system as would lead him knowingly to overlook any one truth. Still less is there a feeling of triumph after discussion, except as the triumphs of truth are his own. Least of all is there a feeling of pedantry, the self satisfied glee with which little minds chuckle over their small apartment in the world of mind, ready to give battle to any one who shall dispute that it is a magnificent temple. The feelings of a great mind are as different from these as possible. His is the simplicity of reverence. He gazes upon some truth, till it rises before him in its full dimensions, and to it he pays humble adoration. Inspired by this feeling he forgets himself, and comes forth with simplicity to deliver his message to others, seeking not their praise, and caring not for their censure. He needs not, and does not comprehend the arts which others use to attract applause, for he can afford to be simple.

His again is the simplicity of wonder. “Nil admirari” is a maxim of none but common minds, who can contrive to wrap themselves up in self-sufficiency of intellect, while they trust in it and laugh at the absurdity and childishness of him who finds any thing at which to wonder. Thus such an one will exultingly go forth in the full pride of scientific attainment, esteeming all things as certain when he has ascribed them to the laws of nature; not thinking of the mysterious agency ever at work to maintain those laws. Such a mind has no wonder, because it has no powers to carry it forward into the mysterious and illimitable in the universe. Another feeling of the great mind in view of great objects, is that of simple ignorance. It has gone forth, and seen its own narrow limits, and then it pauses and is humble, conscious how like a child it is. Such are some of the features which a great mind exhibits, and such the results to which it tends, the expression of which is marked by that simplicity of which we have spoken.



Give me a heart with all its wants supplied,
And those wants few—and I will ask no more;
For thus, I’m at so proud an altitude
On Fortune’s ladder, that I can look down
Upon the proudest monarch of the globe.

[Pg 172]



“A lady asks the Minstrel’s rhyme.”
The Minstrel hears—for his the prime
When words are sweet as sweet bells’ chime,
If Beauty calls;
And Love keeps sentry for the time,
In Faery halls.
And Love peeps o’er the Minstrel’s shoulder—
Love makes the Minstrel’s spirit bolder—
And Love sighs that he is not older—
Else he, apart,
Would weave a wreath of flowers, and fold her
Into his heart.
And Love is in his hey-day dress,
And Love has many a soft caress;
And laughing cheek, and glossy tress,
And dimpled hand,
Glance in the Minstrel’s eye, and bless
His dreaming land.
And softly swells, and sweet accords
The melody that earth affords—
Glee, life, the melody of birds,
And things that come
Into the heart, like childhood’s words,
Nestling at home.
Then should the Minstrel mark the tone—
The look, the tongue would half disown—
The heart, when its disguise is thrown
Freely away—
And chant his sweetest fytte, and own
His lady’s sway.
Soft was the melody it gave—
Soft, as a wind-dissevered wave—
Soft, as the melody the brave
Hear, soothing, deep,
When in the patriot’s earth-wept grave,
They sink to sleep.
Yet softer far than each, and all—
Than note of bird in forest hall—
Than angel hymns when patriots fall,
Now be the lay;
For Love must answer Beauty’s call,
And we obey.

[Pg 173]

And yet, the theme—the heart! strange thing,
And worthy of a nobler string!
Varied as is a zephyr’s wing
The lyre should be,
That sings as ever lyre should sing,
O, heart! of thee.
Thine are the thoughts that bring and bless,
Thine are the feelings that distress,
Thine are the passions that oppress
And wake our fears,
Man’s curse, and yet man’s happiness—
Man’s joys and tears.
And wonderful thy power that flings
O’er all, its moods and colorings,
Turns joy to gloom—gives grief the wings
Of Fays that, free,
Revel about the forest springs,
Or haunted tree.
The light—when morn and music come,
The bird—within its forest home,
The house-bee with its rolling drum,
Aye! and each flower,
And winds, and woods, and waters dumb—
These by thy power,
Become distinct and separate images,
Link’d to the mind by closest ties—
A treasure-house where gather’d lies
Food for long years,
When after life the spirit tries
With toils and tears.
And thus, insensibly, we feel
A soothing passion o’er us steal,
Binding for aye, for “wo and weal”
Our souls to Nature,
Till, like a mirror, they reveal
Her ev’ry feature.
And then, when comes adversity,
And loves grow cold, and friendships die,
And aches the heart, and clouds thy eye,
Shadows of pain—
The mind can on itself rely,
And live again.
And thus—above earth’s petty things,
Its gorgeous gauds, and glitterings,
Its camps, and courts, and crowds, and kings,
Castle and hall—
The mind can ruffle its proud wings
And scout them all.

[Pg 174]

Grandeur and greatness—what are they!
Playthings for fools: the king to day,
To morrow, is a lump of clay;
And yet, elate,
We worry through Life’s little way—
To rot in state.
And what is fame? Ask him who lies
Where cool Cephissus winding hies;
Ask him who shook Rome’s destinies—
Shatter’d her state!
There’s not a dungeon wretch that dies,
But is as great.
What’s the world’s pride! What it hath been—
A thing that’s groveling and unclean—
A spur to lust—a cloak of sin—
Seemingly fair;
Yet when the damp grave locks us in,
How mean we are.
What’s the world’s love! An empty boon,
Witness it, Bard of “Bonny doon.”
Witness it, He with “Sandal shoon,”
And Abbotsford—
A light burnt to its socket, soon
A quip—a word.
And then, as seeks the wounded bird
The deepest shades to moan unheard,
The heart turns from each friendly word,
And comfort flies—
Feels the full curse of “hope deferred,”
Despairs, and dies.
And such the heart’s bad passions. Let
Its greener laurels flourish yet—,
Hope, friendship, ne’er let earth forget
How sweet they are;
For the poor heart’s not desolate
When love is there.
Love—tis earth’s holiest principle!
From every thing we catch its spell!
But more, from the sweet thoughts that dwell
In woman’s breast—
Friendship and faith immutable
By her possess’d.
Then, lady! be it all thy care,
To be as wise as thou art fair;
Be wary—think each smile a snare—
Shun pleasure’s lure;
Farewell! thou hast the Minstrel’s prayer—
Be good—be pure.

[Pg 175]


‘Our affections are
Heaven’s influences, that by the good they do,
Betray their origin.
‘So I have seen
A frail flower that the storm has trampled on—
Lovely in ruins; for though broken quite
With its affliction, ’twas a flow’ret still,
And ask’d from me affection.’

The allotments of providence are as various as are our several necessities. To one is granted wealth, to another talents, to a third family; every man, however humble, finds himself the possessor of some separate good the which has not been equally vouchsafed to all, and in that particular good whatsoever it be is treasured his individual sum of human happiness. It is a beautiful thing that this is so, for hence a greater degree of comfort among men, as each is pleased with his own; and to a thinking man it is fraught with deep and powerful truths, that tell greatly both upon the understanding and the heart. In it is seen the kind plan of an ever present, ever watchful Deity, studious for our comforts; and the mind is at once fired with a nobler energy, and the heart is quickened with newer faith to works of obedience, and taught to look with renewed confidence and an unclouded eye through sorrows here, and rest on that star of hope beyond the grave.

Among the blessings of providence, there is none which exceeds the rich love of a sister. He who has been blessed with such, whether he knows it or not, has ever had near him a fountain of sweet thoughts and gentle sympathies, that could have made the darkest day cheerful. Especially has he been blessed, if circumstances have contrived to break him from all other ties of consanguinity, and in joys and sorrows he has witnessed the development of those beautiful principles which enter so largely into the composition of her character, for the development of those principles must have been attended by such love and considerateness on her part, as only served to make them more beautiful, and bring them nearer the attributes of angels.

A sister’s love is disinterested, and therefore invaluable. No one has ever doubted but that the female heart generally is richer in feelings than a man’s; that among our sweetest consolations when earthly ties are sundered, and ‘thick coming fancies’ crowd in upon the brain till it is black with sadness, are placed those alleviations which her tenderness and her solicitude can offer. But yet the love [Pg 176] of another than a sister, from the very grounds of such preference and its means of perpetuity, cannot be other than a selfish and mixed passion. It is far more the result of circumstances; these have power to modify it, and they are eternally changing. With a sister there is nothing of this; with her it is the involuntary promptings of nature, and to call such a selfish or mixed passion, is to call truth falsehood. There is no chilling calculation, no selfish wish for a reciprocate sympathy, and a latent purpose within to be ruled by this in the degree of her own affection. She never thinks to ask if there is a chance of the better feelings of her heart’s running to waste; nor can she lean to the side of an overweening prudence, and coolly measure out her love in just proportion to the worth of him to whom she gives it. No! she can do none of these;—on the contrary, the most eminent instances of her warmest devotion are found, where the recipients of it were the least worthy. Cases innumerous might be cited, in which, against difficulties to daunt other than her, her love has seemed to grow purer and more enduring, even as a green and luxuriant vine seems to take newer beauty, as it clambers about a scathed oak or melancholy ruin.

A sister’s love is pure, and therefore invaluable. No truth is more obvious than this, that those who have been favored with the sweet sympathies and affections of a sister, and educated in that unrestrained intercourse so favorable to the development of domestic virtue, possess a softness of character and purity of feeling, to which other men are strangers. I know it has been objected to this, that such a character is effeminate, and altogether unfitted for the sphere to which men are called. Now were the charge of effeminacy admitted, we have yet to learn that true fortitude is not equally the property of gentle as well as rugged natures, and that the manifestation of it in one person more than another, is not traceable altogether to other and opposite causes. But we do not admit it; the characteristic above referred to is not effeminate; it is too sacred not to be a treasure, and it is too beautiful to be an error. It is a spirit like His who stood upon the waves, passing over and stilling the angry waters of human passion; a breath of spring sent upon the world calling the moss and ivy to their high dwellings, and scattering the flowers upon the slopes and in the vallies; a beam of sunshine thrown down from a summer sky, casting into shade the roughness of the landscape, and softening all into beauty. A character matured under the circumstances referred to, need lose nothing of its firmness by the process. On the contrary, the native energies of the mind may expand with greater freedom (for many of those things which usually retard it are removed) and it can ruffle its wings with a wider sweep, and stoop for the quarry with a nobler vision. As for the charge, that our capacities for misery are increased in an increased ratio by that refinement of feeling which is induced by feminine intercourse, we hardly think it worth the refutation. [Pg 177] The fact that that French fool, Rousseau, could start a question which involves this, has not succeeded in raising it above contempt; and we shall quit the subject therefore with the simple statement of our own belief, viz.—that Heaven never endowed man with any superfluous faculties, that at every successive stage of moral and mental culture there is more than a proportionate increase of positive happiness, and that it is only when every power of the mind is in requisition and each taxed to its extreme capacity, that the mind approaches its perfection.

A sister’s love is eternal, and therefore invaluable. Much ink has been wasted on the subject, of the power of female affection—for which subject we have the current phrases of ‘dying for love,’ ‘broken hearts,’ ‘Cupid’s achievements,’ and other such classical appellatives. Poets have worn the matter thread-bare, and novelists have picked up the shreds to patch garments for their heroes. One gentleman less scrupulous than another, has dared raise a doubt of the matter, somewhat withholding from the ladies the exclusive privilege of dying thus heroically; another conceiving this a challenge to his gallantry, has most manfully seized the crab-stick and fallen to work pell-mell on the other side. Now amid such a clash of fire arms as this we suppose it behoves us to walk circumspectly, and somewhat question whether the fair bevy of our acquaintance would not cry us heretic, did we call in question this same right, viz., of dying for this or that thing just as suits them without asking leave of judge or jury. But the truth of it is we have a belief on the matter, and sorry are we to say that for lack of something better we feel called upon to divulge it, deprecating however from our souls every intention of making any unpleasant expositions, and professing a love for the truth and nothing but the truth. To begin then;—we boldly make the remark, that many a woman has gone to her grave from ill-requited affection. The man who denies this, has either never mingled in society, or has kept his eyes shut while there, or is a fool. But—and here is the rub—whether the passion which resulted in the breaking of this or that heart was an unmixed one, a thing which of itself destroyed the heart, this I say ‘puzzles the will,’ and is a sad problem for solution. We make the following remarks: any one who looks closely at society, and looks at the little springs which operate on this side and on that to keep the whole machinery in operation, will be wonderfully struck with the great discrepancy betwixt real truths and those admitted as such by the world. He will see that to trace an act to its cause, to find that principle and trace it into generalities, is to frighten him at the artificiality of society and the extreme ignorance of the human race. Effects which he had been accustomed to assign to certain causes as things of course, he finds are traceable altogether to other causes. The strangest phenomena does he meet with; causes producing effects as opposite to their apparent tendencies as possible; causes misnamed [Pg 178] effects; effects taken for causes; in short, terms misapplied and jumbled together with most admirable confusion. Now to apply these remarks, we beg leave to add—that men may have made a mistake in reference to the subject in question. For ourselves we have known a case of misplaced affection—a lovely girl, fair as the first star that peeps through the net-work of twilight, and gentle as the bonniest May flower of the season. And yet she died; and when the first burst of a generous indignation had passed off and space was given for reflection, for the life of us we could not make other conclusion, than that the pity of the world and her extreme susceptibility to ridicule were enough of themselves to destroy her. The truth of it is, it is one of the subtlest passions of our nature, yet not the most powerful; and though it gain the same end, first subjecting the other powers to itself and thus breaking down the spirit, it does this rather by its extreme cunning than by any energies of its own. But a sister’s deep faith, what alloy find we here! what sentiment that the pure heart might not offer at the throne of God! This is that star which brightens and brightens as it comes up from the horizon and pours its undimmed beauty upon the world! It is one of those flowers that sometimes spring up by the path-way of life to tell us how bright was the primitive world, and give us a glimpse of the brightness and profusion of the one to come! And the eye brightens, the heart expands, and the soul bounds exultant on its heavenward mission as we gaze upon it, till the veil seems rent in twain, and we think and see and feel our certain immortality!

A circumstance fell under my observation not many years since in a part of the state of New York, with which I shall close these remarks—indeed, it forms not an inappropriate conclusion. It made a great impression on me at the time, and the reader perhaps will thank me for rescuing from oblivion one of those touching incidents in real life which sometimes occur, and cast into shadow the wildest dreams of fiction.

Any one who has visited the little town of P—— in Ulster County, remembers well enough that there’s no way of entering it from the west, save through a long defile cut as it would seem by art through the heart of a mountain, and he also remembers what a scene of beauty is presented as he emerges from the pass and sends his gaze before him. A common of about half a mile square, surrounded by neat and in some instances very elegant dwellings, in the center of which with its neat bow windows and little spire, is the only church of the village. The village has an air of life and business; a stream tumbles off from the hills on the north supplying a large factory on the lower grounds, and from the more elevated parts may the eye catch the bends of the lordly Hudson in the distance, and in clear still mornings may the ‘yo-heave-yo’ of sailors or the clatter of steam boats be faintly heard, as they pass and repass on the river.

[Pg 179]

It was into this little village that I jogged with a quiet pace one warm afternoon, and began to look around for an inn. It was the heat of summer, and for no less than forty good English miles had myself and horse stumped it since morning, and over as dusty a road withall as one would like to travel on; and my horse seeming to feel his necessities as well as myself began to move a little faster, and by a sort of instinct, point his ears straight towards a large sign board swinging directly over the road, on which was a rampant lion large as life his fiery tongue lolling part way from his mouth, and a sort of dare-devil threat in his eye that he was about to leap down on the passengers. This however was yet a good half a mile off; and as I passed along, the village church-yard lay upon the left. I had come nearly to the end of this, when a light form sprang over the wall, and running up to me seized my horse by the bridle, while it said—

“O, sir, do come—they’ve left him all alone there, and I’ve called to him and sung to him, and he wont hear me—do come, sir, won’t you?”—and it pulled gently by the bit as it spake, and my horse stopped.

I was thunder-struck. The creature before me was a faded girl, and as I should think in the last stages of the consumption. She must have been exceedingly beautiful once, for her form was still symmetry itself, and her features were as regular as if shaped with a chisel. Her face however was very pale. The blue veins were traceable on a forehead of silver by the ridges they made, though almost as white as the skin about them. Her eye-brows were regular as if struck out with a compass, and beneath them her eyes large, dark, and full, flashed as bright and as wild as stars in a wintry night. Her lip was as thin as paper. Her dress lay loose and low, and surely no lovelier neck and bosom (though they were shrunken) ever came into a poet’s vision, than that which rose and sank there painfully rapid as she stood waiting my answer. The hand which still lay on my bridle-bit was so thin and attenuated, that actually the sun shone through it almost as easily as if it were a piece of glass; and her small feet and ankles which were without covering, gave equal evidence of sorrow and abandonment. The only thing about her which still retained all its former beauty, was her hair, long, dark, and silky—that ornament of woman which death cannot destroy—which she still possessed, and in thick masses of luxuriant brown it hung about her with all the grace of a Madonna.

I know not but nature has given me an undue quantum of sensibility, but I was melted to tears by this poor creature before me. I have described her features—these the reader will see; but the whole expression, the thing which cannot be conveyed to paper, that must be imagined. Its wo, its extreme wo; the circumstances too, so near a populous village, and yet alone; the church yard at hand, and the few incoherent words dropped from her lips; these at first [Pg 180] came over me with a sort of sickening fear, and I trembled lest the figure before me should, like the witches that met Macbeth on the heath, ‘change into the air.’

Just at that moment a dull dolt of a farmer came along the common, cracking his whip and bellowing most lustily. Seeing me stopped in the road, the girl by my bridle gently pulling it and eyeing me with a beseeching look, he cried out, “Hillo, you Luce! what the d—l are you at there with that gentleman’s bridle? out of the way ye’—using a term I shall not repeat—‘and let me get by, wont ye?” Seeing my cheek burning with an indignation that tempted me to knock the rascal down, he said as he drove by and in a much softer tone, “It’s only Luce Selden, the mad gal—don’t mind her, sir.”

I turned towards her thus designated—poor creature! she had sunk down at my horse’s feet like a young flower which the wind has passed over too roughly, her long hair disheveled in rich masses on the turf, and her hand grasping a few dead flowers she had brought with her. Springing to the ground I lifted her delicate form in my arms, and bearing her to a runnel of water which wimpled near, I cast some of it upon her face and bosom. Slowly opening her eyes she seemed at once to feel my kindness, and wreathing her emaciated arms about my neck, her pent heart poured itself forth into my bosom.

O never tell me of the equal distribution of happiness in this world! Let the mad dreamer preach it if he list to those equally mad, and for his own sad purposes; but let not man, immortal man, man gifted with reason and obedient to the voice in every enlightened one’s soul, herald such a monstrous absurdity! What had this young and faded creature gained—what joy—what blessing—what blissful moments had been hers—what bright dream had she dwelt in—what fond hallucination had enrapt her young being in her few brief days of infancy and childhood, that now just bursting into the pride and prime of woman, such a cloud should come over her fair sky, and with its folds, its thick folds, shut from her gaze every star of hope forever! Dwelt she in a fairy-land—where bright wings glanced hither and thither, touching and retouching its soft airs—its mellow sunsets—its streams and golden fountains with a newer beauty! and had her life like an unshadowed current in Eastern fable, moved on in one unbroken flood of happiness! Had fancy been hers—and imagination—and the dangerous gift of poesy—and the faculty to shape out her own existence unmoved by the realities of life—and her being been lifted up in high revel and communion with the great and good of former days, and the far remote treasures of purer existences! Had such blessings been hers! and in return for them must the wick of the lamp thus early burn to its socket—must society cast this flower from its bosom—must reason lose her dwelling place—and her young life just opening upon her [Pg 181] with its flowers, and feelings, and passionate thoughts, and innocent gushes of tenderness, turn out a blank, a dead letter, and at one fell blow be cut off—and she like a useless weed or wreck tossed up by Ocean, be thrown out from her proper sphere—scorned—crushed—slandered—an insulted yet still beautiful thing—a mark for the rabble’s jeers, the clown’s coarse brutality, and the damning pity of a mock-charity close-fisted world! Let her unambitious story give answer.

Luce Selden was a twin child. Her mother died in giving her birth, leaving her and a beautiful boy to their remaining yet now broken hearted father, and a victim to those sad crosses which motherless children must meet with from the very nature of the case—though that father was all in all to them, and though it was his pride to watch over and nourish these beautiful blossoms of a love, as pure as it was imperishable. He had married in New York, and came to P—— while a young man and just starting in life, and by industry and very fine talents had by the time he reached the meridian of life, amassed a splendid fortune. His talents and wealth forced the meed of praise from the rich, and his very uniform disinterested and noble charities won the blessings of the poor, and fortune seemed to have nothing to do but shower down her favors on his head.

But prosperity cannot always last. No! let the prosperous man ever tremble at any long succession of blessings; for it is then that sorrows are nearest, and those sorrows the worst and heaviest. If it is not so in reality—if the reverses which we witness here and there coming upon the rich and the fortunate—if they are not worse than those which overtake other men, they are so at least to all intents and purposes, for the hackneyed adage is a true one despise it who may, ‘prosperity unfits us for adversity.’ The noble scorn with which this or that man learns to look upon a run of ill luck, or the heroism and devotedness of woman, may take a charm when hallowed by the pen of Irving, but they are after all but as the creations of the poet, mere creations having no parallel in real life. That there is philosophy enough in the human soul even this side of stoicism, to enable a man to look unmoved on the changes about him, we do not doubt; but that the philosopher has yet risen who has discovered the treasure, of this we do as unhesitatingly declare a disbelief.

If it is so, Mr. Charles Selden had never learned it, and it was at the demise of his wife that he began to date the commencement of his ill fortunes, which like rising waves seemed heavier and heavier as the shattered bark was less and less able to endure their fury. This was the first blow, the death of his wife—and he bent beneath it. Yet his character seemed to have that elasticity, that springiness in it which recovers itself again; and he once more mingled with men, pursued his profession, and smiled with the same cheerfulness. Yet there were times when his language seemed too light, too rapid, too artificial, so to speak, for a perfectly happy [Pg 182] man; and his friends sometimes whispered to their own hearts that all was not as it should be, that there was something wrong within, that that fine and delicate organization, his mind, did not act as formerly; and they sometimes marked a kind of perverse vehemence, which did not tally well with that uniform sound sense and remarkable discrimination which had characterized the efforts of his earlier years. Ah! they guessed well—there was something wrong. There was a fountain in his heart which had been chilled, and which kept bubbling up its cool waters to remind him continually of his wretchedness; and there were moments, when withdrawn from business and the world shut out, he gave himself up to that deadly yet sweet sorrow which sooner or later saps the springs of existence.

Grief should never be alone. It is one of the most selfish of our passions. The man of sorrows should be forced into the world—into the bustle, and roar, and change, and activity of life, where against himself outward and passing events shall catch his eye, and force him off if but for a moment from his wretchedness. It will finally loose the grasp of the disease, and thought by degrees may be turned into other channels, and the heart beat with its accustomed excitation.

But even this did not save the bereaved husband. Perhaps it might had no other ills assailed him; but he had become reckless—had risked much—had entered largely into the excitements and speculations of the day; and every thing working against him, losses succeeding losses, the poor man sank under it and died—a bankrupt.

But the saddest of my story is yet to come.

There are some men in this world from whom nature seems to have withholden the commonest feelings of our race—men who have no humanity about them—men who despise and disclaim every thing like sympathy as troublesome and out of place, and who would as lief dwell in a desert or on an island shut out from the whole world, as any where else—save perhaps that they should not have their fellow creatures to prey on. In short, your cool, calculating, miserly souls, whose feelings all begin in self and end in self, and who can like Judas or Shylock, coolly set off so much suffering and so many ounces of human blood against so much money, with the same callousness that they could barter dog’s flesh.

It was into the hands of such a wretch, a Mr. Saxelby, that these orphan children fell now entering upon their twelfth year, and their privations it may be relied on were proportionate to his wickedness. The little that had been saved from the wreck of their once splendid fortune he contrived to sink by one means and another, and by the time they were sixteen it was formally announced that their means were exhausted, and that master Lyle Selden and his sister—must either work or starve.

[Pg 183]

It was like a thunder clap. The brother had hoped to study his father’s profession; his talents were commanding, his industry unexampled, and he had proudly looked forward to the moment when he should redeem that father’s lost reputation, and lift his lovely, ah, how lovely sister! into the station which her exceeding beauty seemed so eminently to fit her for, and of which she would become such a witching ornament.

This brother was a marked character. His person was manly, his voice firm, and his countenance the index of a soul that showed plain enough he was not born to be overlooked in the world. He was sensitive and exceedingly proud, yet a nobler heart never knocked against the ribs of mortality. But such a character as this is not calculated to gain friends. He was too open—gave his opinions too freely—and his talents were altogether too commanding and brilliant. Your popular fellows are your middling ones. Lyle Selden was no middling fellow—you would find it out by the first word that fell from him though he were half asleep at the time, and though the subject were as trite as those about which we witness the first volitation of your incipient poetasters. He was an original—a marked man—and his opinions though they might be sneered at, had nevertheless more weight than half the school put together. As he was sensitive so was he often unhappy, and though he met the taunts brought to his ears by his few real friends, with ‘I care not,’ yet he did care—his heart inly bled, and his lonely hours were often embittered. As he was proud, this got him into difficulties; for though it was quite the reverse of vanity and self was the last one he thought of, yet it made his character a complex one which none understood unless he chose to enlighten them, and this save to a few his pride would not descend to. Hence he was thought callous and distant, when in reality his heart was the seat of every gentler feeling; and to those that had skill to look beneath the surface, he was linked by a friendship as unyielding as it was noble. But these were few, and his character is best told in one sentence,—he was respected and disliked.

His sister was an opposite character. She scarcely ever thought for herself, and in person she was rather lovely than beautiful, and had that touching feminineness about her which is rather to be felt than told of. She was too gentle to be independent, one of those rare specimens of loveliness that are shaped by associations, that can be moulded into any thing by the energies of a master mind. In short, she was too trusting, and had a spice of that credulous confidence in her composition, which, if fortune does not try it sorely, makes a woman a perfect nympholepsy and a vision.

Such were these orphan children, and in a world as we well know not famous for its charities. It will be taxing my reader’s patience—who is anxious I see to come to the end of my story—to trace their lives minutely through the two or three following years. Their [Pg 184] lot was a hard one. Thrown out of a station to which their birth entitled them, the trials to which they were exposed had the same effect on them as it does upon every body else under similar circumstances, viz. made young Selden suspicious and fretful, soured his temper, and took from him even the little amiableness which the world had ever allowed was in his composition. While his sister, his too gentle sister, like the vine round the tree which supports it and moves with it as that is moved by the forest wind, so she changed with her brother though winning still, for in her any thing like harshness was softened down by a sweetness which nothing could destroy.

What I am now about to lay before the reader, is one of those black passages in the catalogue of human suffering that may well make me shudder as I write, and if the facts are doubted as here laid down, my authority for them shall be given hereafter.

Lyle Selden, despised and trampled on by the world, neglected and contemned by those that had abundant reasons for loving him, opposed by fortune in every shape, and seeing that all his best and most strenuous exertions to win his way availed not, but served only to heap up greater difficulties, committed a forgery, and that too under the signature of his guardian. That he was in a measure justified in taking some means to gain back the fortune stolen from him, may be admitted by all; but the law is not supposed to make any distinction in favor of such circumstances, and its dread sentence now hung over him, with nothing but the selfish griping hand of Saxelby to stay the blow. The event was not yet public, and here only was the last desperate hope of mercy.

The agony of Luce’s mind at this dread climax of suffering, must be imagined, not written. Every means was thought of—every compromise was proffered—every suggestion that a tender and delicate girl almost maddened by the threatening evil could suggest, was resorted to, but they availed not. The hard hand of Saxelby could not yield—his ear could not catch the voice of mercy—his heart responded not to any cry—he must have justice.

Luce was in the prisoner’s dungeon, and worn with watching and grief and suffering, hung clinging to the neck of that brother who had wept and toiled for her so many years. She saw that brother broken down, the high purpose had flagged at last, the spirit had quailed, the spring had broken, and the heart that had beat so true and firm for her was now at her feet, and the storm had beaten it nigh to its death. Was there no hope? Could she do nothing? Was there nothing left for a brain on the brink of madness? No dreadful, desperate, damning resort? Ah! there was—it smote her like lightning—she lingered a moment—rose—clasped her brother—kissed him—and with a wild look burst from the prison.

In a moment she was at the door of Saxelby, in the next at his feet. There she poured out her soul—proffered him all—all that woman values, life, soul, honor—it was accepted.

[Pg 185]

It broke her brother’s heart.

She became a maniac.

Such is a story of facts, and the half dead creature I held in my arms was that same unfortunate sister. I conveyed her to the inn of the village where I learned that she was a great trouble to the place, and to one or two excellent families who treated her with every affection. They were obliged to confine her. Yet she always baffled them and resorted immediately to her brother’s grave, where she would spend night and day sitting on the turf, and singing some little ditty of former days. I learned also to my eternal indignation, that save these two or three families, the village thought her little better than a wanton—for Saxelby had died, and the facts were known. Oh, cursed, and doubly cursed be this queasy prudery of the world! Cursed be the spirit that casts out the repentant lost one, who craves our forgiveness! Cursed be they who rant so noisily of virtue, and prate of self-government! Tremble, and be merciful!—ye have not been tried.

The story of this girl made an impression on me never to be forgotten, and having so well as I was able made arrangement for her future comforts, I left the village.

I afterwards passed through the place and learned that she was dead. She had continued as formerly to spend her time at the church yard, pulling the flowers from this or that mound to scatter them over her brother, singing her little songs and talking half-reasonable and half-wild to every chance passenger. Thus she continued until late fall, when she was found one cold morning stiff upon his grave—one arm bent beneath her and her lips softly apart, as if the last words that passed them was her brother’s name.


TO ********* ******.

I love to watch the twilight sky
When in it glows the star of even,
For then it seems that Love’s own eye
Is looking kindly down from heaven;
But oh, more deeply love I far,
Than twilight sky or evening star,
The soul-reflecting beam to view,
That sweetly lights thine eye of blue.
I love to watch the waving grain
When o’er it floats the summer breeze;
I love to view the rippling plain
When winds are sporting on the seas;
Yet love I more the smile divine

[Pg 186]

Which flits across that face of thine,
When o’er thy soul doth gently move
The breathing joyousness of love.
I love to read in Eastern lore,
About the goddess-queens of old,
So fair that Nature never more
Could forms of equal beauty mould;
Yet, more than all, I love to know
There is not on this earth below,
Nor in the deep, nor in the air,
A form that can with thine compare.
I love to hear the gentle swell
Of music on the midnight air;
I love to tread the lonely dell—
I love the torrent-music there;
But oh, more charming far to me
Than music’s sweetest notes can be,
Is that confiding, trembling tone,
Which hangs upon thy lips alone.


On the cover of the Magazine is a picture of old Governor Yale, with two lines of Latin poetry beneath it. These lines are part of an inscription sent to the College at an early period by the Governor, and are written beneath an engraving which now hangs in the Trumbull Gallery. The engraving, we understand, was for many years mislaid, and was at last discovered, so much injured that it could scarcely be deciphered. The inscription is as follows:

Effigies clarissimi viri D. D. Elihu Yale,
Londinensis Armigeri.
En vir! cui meritas laudes ob facta, per orbis
Extremos fines, inclyta fama dedit.
Aequor arans tumidum, gazas adduxit ab Indis,
Quas Ille sparsit munificante manu:
Inscitiæ tenebras, ut noctis luce coruscâ
Phoebus, ab occiduis pellit et Ille plagis.
Dum mens grata manet, nomen laudesque Yalenses
Cantabunt Soboles, unanimique Patres.

[Pg 187]

Here is a translation in the old Spenserian stanza:

Behold the man whose honored name enrolled
On Fame’s proud tablet ever ought to stand,
For deeds illustrious through the world extolled.
His riches, brought from India’s distant land,
He scattered widely with a liberal hand.
The night of Ignorance from the West he drove
As morning rays the clouds from Ocean’s strand.
While gratitude exists, still with their love
Yale’s generous deeds shall Sons and Sires unite to approve.


Behold the man to whom praise well deserved
Illustrious fame has given for actions wrought
In Earth’s remotest regions. Wealth, preserved
In India, o’er the boisterous seas he brought,
And lavished wide from hands with bounty fraught.
The shades of Ignorance, as the sun the night
From western climes he drove, by Justice taught.
While gratitude exists Yale’s glory bright,
And spotless name, shall Sires and Sons to praise unite.

We will bid farewell for the present to Spenser, for after all, the intricacies of his stanza are least of all adapted to the mere translator. We will now take the common ten syllable verse, and endeavor to give as accurate a line-for-line and word-for-word translation, as is consistent with the measure.

Behold the man whose deeds illustrious claim
Through Earth’s extremest bounds the meed of fame;
His Indian wealth o’er swelling seas he bore,
Then freely shared it, from this Western shore
To drive the clouds of Ignorance away,
As flies the night at Phœbus’ dawning ray.
Let Sires and Sons, till gratitude shall fail,
Together sing the praise and name of Yale.


Behold the man whose fame illustrious stands
For deeds performed in Earth’s remotest lands;
Ploughing the deep, from India wealth he bore,
And scattered widely from a bounteous store;
The clouds of Ignorance he banished far,
As flies the night before the morning star.
While grateful hearts remain, the name of Yale
Let Sons and Sires with praises join to hail.

[Pg 188]

There is a difference in the translation of a part of the first two verses in these two stanzas; orbis
Extremos fines, * *

To what does this clause refer? We are rather inclined to give our preference to the former reading, though after all it must be a question of taste rather than of criticism. But have we succeeded the better for confining ourself to fewer lines and to the easier stanza? We think not. In particular, we have entirely omitted, in the second stanza, all mention of His munificent designs upon the Western shores; which in a son of Yale is indeed an unpardonable omission. We will e’en go back to Spenser, and try our luck again under the banner of this prince of versifiers.

Behold the man whose deeds with justice ring
Through Earth’s remotest bounds, deserving fame;
O’er boisterous seas did he his treasure bring
From India’s shore, and scattered round the same
With liberality where’er he came;
The clouds of Ignorance, like the shades of night
From morning rays, flee from before his name.
While gratitude exists, with luster bright
Yale’s praise and name shall Sons and Sires to sing unite.
Behold the man, whose deeds on every shore
Fame’s hundred tongues are whispering to the wind!
Asiatic wealth o’er boisterous seas he bore,
With just munificence to bless mankind.
The clouds of Ignorance which veiled the mind
Of this wide West, he burst; as Phœbus’ rays
Light up the night. Yale’s fame and name combined,
Till gratitude expires, shall fire our lays,
While Sons and Fathers join in sweet accordant praise.

This last translation has at least the merit of getting over the difficulty in the translation of the first and second verses. Reader, we have done. We have finished our chime. We have rung all the changes we could at present upon our little bell. We throw down the rope. Draw from it if you choose still sweeter music, and so brighten the love you bear to her who will hereafter be your Alma Mater.

For “praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear.”

G. H.

[Pg 189]


No. III.

The influence of moral feeling tends to heighten the pleasure which we derive from beholding the works of nature.

“Our sight,” says Addison, “is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses. It fills the mind with the largest variety of ideas, converses with its object at the greatest distance, and continues the longest in action without being tired or satiated with its proper enjoyments.” Hence those pleasures of the imagination which are perceived through the medium of this sense, must necessarily be of a high order. Besides, they have this advantage above their fellows, that they are more obvious, and more easy to be acquired. We have but to open our eyes, and the scene in all its beauty and power enters. The colors paint themselves on the fancy, with scarcely a single effort of thought, and each object in the view, as it catches our glance, sends its appropriate impression to the mind, with an approach as gentle, and almost as imperceptible as the dawn of the morning.

This exhibition of nature is free to all. It is unfolded with equal beauty and variety to the humble peasant, as he treads homeward his weary way from the labors of the field, and the man of science and taste who can enjoy it at his leisure. For each the same glorious sun rises and sets, the same landscape of hill and valley and river is spread out, the same rich colors glow, the same fragrance perfumes the air.—In its full and ever changing variety, there is something to suit the disposition and character of every one. The sons of sorrow, whose only inheritance is melancholy and gloom, and in whose minds the bright things of earth meet no response, may find in the still sadness of the lonely vale, or in the steeps of the giant hill, a spirit in unison with their own. And they, over whose fair visions the cloud of disappointment has never flung its shade, whose souls are radiant with the hope and gladness of life’s young morn, may find their companions too in the joyous revels of nature. The gentle whisperings of the summer breeze, the gay sparkle and the rushing fall of the cascade, the mellow richness of the grove, the gorgeous drapery of sunset, with these, with every thing that breathes the spirit of joy, they can claim a kindred feeling.

The scene is ever before us in its unchanging beauty. It is not like the bright shadows that charm us on in boyhood and youth, only to vanish for ever from the sober realities of manhood. The breeze, [Pg 190] that cooled the brow of the child in his early sports, plays with the same freshness around the wrinkles of age—the meadows wear as rich a green—the flowers bloom with equal loveliness—and nature, still fair and attractive, as when the morning stars first sang together, feels no decay from the lapse of years. What a barren and cheerless waste would be presented to the eye of man, were all this world of coloring to disappear with its ever varying distinctions of light and shade—what a rich source of innocent gratification had been wanting, if these had never been created. But

“The feet of hoary time
Through their eternal course, have traveled o’er
No speechless, lifeless desert;”

and the confidence of the future is founded upon the promise that seed time and harvest, summer and winter, shall never fail.

This power in the beauties of the natural world to excite and gratify the imagination, is emphatically the poetry of nature, sending out its appeal from every object which greets the eye. There is poetry in the pathless wood, when the summer breeze sweeps over the waves of its dark green foliage—in the bold scenery of the mountain’s height, inspiring the soul with feelings of grandeur and sublimity—in the green valley throwing a charm of hallowed tranquility around the spirit. It dwells in the rising and the setting sun, in the wild flowers of the forest, in the mighty winds, in the dark blue skies, in the golden and silver clouds of heaven, in the rainbow, in the seasons.

“Coming ever more and going still, all fair,
And always new with bloom and fruit,
And fields of hoary grain.”

It is written like a legible language on the broad face of the unsleeping ocean. It dwells among the stars of heaven. It is abroad in the tempest, girt with the stern magnificence of the storm-cloud, careering on the vollied lightning, and uttering its voice of sublimity in the deep-toned thunder.

“’Tis in the gentle moonlight—
’Tis floating mid day’s setting glories; night
Wrapt in her sable robe, with silent step
Comes to our bed and breathes it in our ears.”

In all these dwells the spirit of poetry, and it is the highest office of the imagination, to extract from these the divine element. Is she the less able to do this, when from nature’s works she looks up with filial awe to nature’s God? By our admiration of the character and attributes of the Great Creator, are we led to regard the works of his hand, with emotions less enthusiastic and poetical? Strike out of our minds, when contemplating the features of the natural world, [Pg 191] those ideas of system, order, and adaptation to wise and beneficent purposes so clearly expressed by them all—bid us ascribe all this glorious mechanism, so exquisitely formed and so skillfully arranged, to the unguided instinct of blind chance—and the tie that bound us in such an endearing relation to the scenes of earth, and sanctioned the communion of our better feelings with their ever eloquent spirit, is sundered for ever. There is a religion in every thing around us—and the spirit of poetry, that spirit which carries home to the imagination the pleasures of uncorrupted taste, is almost one and the same with the former. It is a religion which the creeds of men have never perverted, or their superstitions overshadowed. It is fresh from the hands of the Author, and is ever reminding us, with its still small voice, of the Great Spirit, whose presence pervades and quickens it. It glows from every star that sparkles in the far concave. It is among the hills and the vallies of the earth, where the desert mountain-top rears his snow-crowned summit into the frosts of an eternal winter, or the lowly dell slumbers in the quiet of a summer’s sun. It is this, uttering its appeal from the unbreathing things of nature with an ever faithful voice, that fills the spirit with lofty aspirings, until it struggles to cast off the chains which this earthly has thrown around her giant, though infant energies, and soar away beyond the influence of the cold sluggish atmosphere of sense—to attain something etherial and thrilling—something which shall satisfy her large desires, and open to the imagination a world of spiritual beauty and holiness.

And he, who reads the volume of nature’s works, a stranger to this blessed influence, does not read aright. He is blind to that peculiar grace and loveliness which characterize them as a part of the great system of universal order and harmony. It is to the imagination, chastened and elevated by moral feeling alone, that nature makes her choicest revelations. Indeed it is a libel upon the Author of the human mind to suppose that He has endowed it with powers that are to receive their most exquisite gratification without the pale of virtue. We are of those, who believe that the intellect of man is to receive its highest and noblest, as well as purest energies, in its nearest moral conformity to the first, infinite and eternal Intellect. And if the character of this creating Mind is impressed on the visible creation, he who sees the most excellence in the former will feel the strongest love for the latter. Those aspects of nature, which to the unsanctified taste are without form or comeliness, are to him invested with a most religious charm.

“Not a breeze
Flies o’er the meadow, not a cloud imbibes
The setting sun’s effulgence, not a strain
From all the tenants of the warbling shade
Ascends, but whence his bosom can partake
Fresh pleasure unreproved.”

[Pg 192]


“Ferte per extremos gentes, et ferte per undas,
Qua non ulla meum femina norit iter.

Hoc, moneo, vitate malum.”
To distant climes of earth I flee,
Mid savage wilds my home to make,
Away beyond the raging sea,
Where man my quiet ne’er shall break.
For now my hardened heart to feeling steeled,
No more to human sympathy will yield.
No more shall woman’s witching smile
E’er haunt the recess of my cell;
No more my trusting heart beguile,
Which now has learned these tricks—too well:
For I have found her fickle, false, and vain,
And once deceived, will never be again.
Nor shall she in my summer bower,
When day has sped with all its care,
E’er greet me—at soft twilight’s hour,
In love to hold sweet converse there.
For passions rage and burn without control,
Where love, like poisoned daggers, stings the soul.
Fair Wisdom be the lovely maid
Whom I shall call to my embrace,
In whom my hopes of bliss are laid,
Since other love I now efface.
And happy thus, I then will spend my life
Free from the world’s temptation, toil, and strife.

[Pg 193]



“At last he is as welcome as a storm; he that is abroad shelters himself from it, and he that is at home shuts the door. If he intrudes himself yet, some with their jeering tongues give him many a gird, but his brazen impudence feels nothing; and let him be armed on free-scot with the pot and the pipe, he will give them leave to shoot their flouts at him till they be weary.”

Fuller’s Profane State.

Summer, with its transforming influence upon all things natural and artificial, has come, and the Coffee Club feels somewhat of its power. We introduced you, reader, to our room in the depth of winter, we welcomed you with a blazing hearth and the cheerful light of an astral, and our mystic tripod lustily bore witness to the strife of the hostile elements. But now the aspect of the room and the temper of its occupants is changed. A solitary taper with all its light, can scarce effect a dim obscure—the thick warm carpet is superseded by a flimsier texture of straw—the point of concentration is transferred from the glowing fire to the open window—the center-table is drawn back and relieved from its superincumbent load, that the eye may not be oppressed with a sense of heaviness—in every chair you find a lazy pillow, and even the sofa which would once contain all four, will scarce suffice for the extended length of Apple Dumpling—our coffee simmers over the sickly flame of a spirit lamp, and is quaffed in cooler draughts, and from comparatively tiny cups.

The temper of its occupants is likewise changed. That equable hilarity which seldom rose to jollity and never sank below cheerfulness, is gone; and its place is ill supplied by a fitful state of noisy mirth and moody silence. Tristo is alternately more melancholy and less so—Nescio, more entirely sensual, or more acutely intellectual, as the whim seizes him—Pulito is absorbed in attention to earthly nymphs one week, and shuts himself up in his room with the heaven-born muses the next—and Apple, who formerly, like some auxiliary verbs, had but one mood, is now variable through the whole paradigm. The disturbing influence of warm weather and bewitching moonlight is also perceptible in the irregularity of our meetings. But few, very few times have we been together this term, and then we have employed ourselves in the most random conversation. Even to-night we have but an unpromising prospect before us. Pulito and Apple are not here, and Tristo and myself have hitherto kept our [Pg 194] thoughts to ourselves with most unsocial chariness. But hark! Pulito’s ‘light fantastic toe’ is on the stairs, and he must say something as he enters.

Pulito. “Good evening, gentlemen. You certainly have the true atrabilious aspect; ’twould spoil my face for a week to sit in close proximity with two such melancholy phizes. With your leave, therefore, Messieurs, I will take a cup, adjust my flowing locks, and be off. What beautiful little acorn-goblets you have here, Nescio, and then the delicacy of the beverage, so nicely adapted to the season. You have a rare taste in these matters, Quod.”

Tristo. “Ah! Pulito, you are always the same careless fellow, and ’twere vain to hope for any thing else from you; but cannot you sit down for one evening and have a long and sober talk. You know some of us leave town soon, and we may not have another opportunity.”

Pulito. “Indeed, Tristo, I am sorry to disappoint you; but this evening I have an engagement from which I really cannot get excused; the rest of the term I am entirely at your service.”

Nescio. “I’ll wager any thing from a pin’s head to ‘this great globe itself’ that there’s a lady in the case.”

Pulito. “Weel, an there be, gude Maister Quod.”

Nescio. “Why you remember your boastful resolution to eschew all connection with any thing more substantial than ‘Fancy’s daughters three,’ during the hot weather.”

Pulito. “And whether these be ‘Faith, Hope and Charity,’ or ‘Wine, Women and Coxcombry,’ depends very much upon the fancier’s temperament.”

Tristo. “I am afraid, my dear Pulito, that your aspirations after learning are becoming less ardent; and unless you are more earnest, your poetic ambition will fain be contented with being laureate of the Coffee Club.”

Pulito. “‘What is learning but a cloak-bag of books, cumbersome for a gentleman to carry? and the muses fit to make wives for farmers’ sons?’ What Fuller, in his ‘degenerous gentleman’ says in irony, I would adopt in sober earnest.”

Nescio. “Well, I perceive we shall get nothing from you to-night, so you may go. But first tell us if you have seen any thing of Apple.”

Pulito. “Indeed, I have, and bring quite a message from him, which, but for your suggestion, I should have forgotten. By my troth, in my head, ‘dies truditur die,’—one idea thrusts out another. But for the story—I met Apple walking most abstractedly with the huge roll of his autobiography under his arm. When I asked him what he was thinking about, he obstinately confined his information to the mysterious remark that he was ‘coming up’ this evening. As soon, however, as he discovered that I did not intend to be there, he unfolded his whole purpose—under an express injunction of secrecy, [Pg 195] which I ought to keep, and which I will keep—though I will give you an inkling of it, as it may afford you some sport. He will probably appear particularly brilliant, and converse more like himself, his peculiar self. Verb. sat sap. Make fun of him if you can, for I owe him a grudge for a spiteful pun, which he made on a lady’s name. However, my masters, after I have given my neck-kerchief the blameless tie, and curled my hair with the twist extatic, I will leave you to your dull coffee, and bask me in the warmth of thy sunny eyes, oh beautiful *—— *——.”

Here Pulito made his exit, singing “di tutti palpiti,” with an air of Cox-comical affectation, half assumed, half natural.

Tristo. “A handsome fellow, and a bright. But the day will come when a strong mind, and a well-stored memory, will be worth more than the vanished rapture of a woman’s smile. What a pity youth can never temper pleasure with——, hist! that stumbling step sounds like Apple’s.”

Nescio. “’Tis his,—let’s slip into the bed-room and see what Dumpling will do.”

Tristo. “Agreed; I promise myself materiel for laughter.”

[Enter Apple, with a look of pleased importance, and a mouth apparently ready to discharge a witticism.] “Ha! Pulito! Tristo! Quod! What, not a soul here but myself, who am solus, he! he! pretty good! I’ll lay that by, and use it when they come. What an ass that Tristo must be, never to laugh at my puns. However, he cannot help himself to-night. I have various good things, aside from puns. If the conversation turns upon wit, I shall say, ‘A witty sentence should be like a scorpion, the sting in the tail, but should not, like a scorpion, sting itself to death!’ If Tristo goes to rating me for smoking, I shall say, ‘A cigar is the summum bonum, pity its fumes are not perfumes!’ If Nescio says, ‘I am your host’—‘Yes,’ quoth I, ‘and in yourself an host.’ That stone will kill two birds; it is at once a pun and a compliment. Ah me! what is the literary world coming to? They all seem bent upon being dull, and the greatest of scriptorial (scriptural?) sins is to say a witty thing. Volumes of poetry and philosophy and oratory and the like come forth, and never a bit of fun in ’em all. Now in my view even a sermon would be vastly better, if the preacher, especially in the application, would discharge at the hearer a few judicious puns of a devotional cast. Bless me! where—where—confusion worse confounded! where are my cigars? I can never shine without them. I should be like Sampson shorn of his locks. I shall have to go by a dozen colleges to ——’s to get some. Well! ‘leve fit, quod bene fertur,’ ‘that’s a light fit, which is well borne.’ Ha, ha, good! remember that.”

As Apple leaves the room, Quod and Tristo, bursting with laughter, issue from their latebræ.

Tristo. “Bravo, Dumpling, bravo.”

[Pg 196]

Nescio. “Capital! capital! What if we appear to have just come in when he returns, and give him a chance to be witty—ha, ha!”

Tristo. “Constat—it is a covenant. But here he comes.”

[Enter Apple, puffing with haste, a bunch of cigars in his hand, and a lighted one in his mouth.]

Apple, (amazed.) “What! you here.”

Tristo and Quod. “Yes, we’ve just stept in. You, I suppose, didn’t think there was a soul here.”

Apple, (chuckling.) “No, faith: I expected to be solus, myself!”

Quod. “Why, Dumpling, you are witty to-night.”

Apple. “A witty sentence should be like a scorpion, the sting in the tail, but should not, like a scorpion, sting itself to death, ha! ha!”

Tristo. “Excellent! but do, dear Apple, fling away your vile cigars.”

Apple, (winking.) “A cigar, my dear fellow, is the summum bonum—pity its fumes are not perfumes.”

Tristo. “Your wit should not hinder your politeness. I dislike them, and I am your host.”

Apple. “Yes, and in yourself an host, ha! ha!”

Nescio. “Why, Apple, where on earth do you get so many good things?”

Apple, (vainly.) “Oh! I don’t know: I believe it comes natural—impromptus.”

Nescio. “Impromptus! Ha! Ha! Why, Apple, we were in the bed-room here, when you came in before, and heard you practising on your impromptus!”

Apple, (coloring with shame, vexation, and alarm.) “How—how—what, you did, did you? Pretty good hoax, though, wasn’t it? Don’t tell the fellows ’twas your hoax. But being Dumpling, I’ve got the dumps, ha! ha! so I think I’ll go home and write on my autobiography.”

Tristo. “Do so, and don’t forget this chapter.”

(Exit Apple with a hang-dog air.)

Tristo. “Incorrigible!”

Nescio. “Utterly! ha! ha! it’s worth a dozen comedies.”

As if by a secret and common impulse, the laugh and jest ceased, and both became silent. Nescio sat by one window, emitting from a fragrant Havana languid and infrequent puffs. His varying countenance expressed a train of thoughts as motley as his mind, where the weighty and the sober were linked and mingled with the light and the ludicrous, and feelings and reflections came trooping by, robed in a livery of serio-comic strangeness. He was thinking of the mystic links that bind together the seen and the unseen—of the glorious, expansive, elastic mind—that ‘sine fine fines’—of the invisible shadings of the mental into the passionate, and of the passionate into [Pg 197] the corporeal—of the attenuated conduits that bear reciprocally between the mind and body a gush of joy or a thrill of anguish. He turned from the puzzling maze, and by no unnatural diversion, his thoughts passed to some of the most wonderful emanations from this mysterious source—the productions of the ‘world’s sole demigod’—Ariel and Caliban and Puck—the sisters three, and Titania with her faery train—and Falstaff, and the good king Malcolm, and the maddened Lear—poor, shattered Hamlet, and Othello ‘the dusky Moor,’

——“Whose hand,
Like the base Judæan, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe.”

Then came up in re-awakened life the fond musings of his own early boyhood, and he was pleased with the contemplation, all groundless and fruitless as they were, for he smiled at his former folly, and thought himself too wise to be again deceived.

They had crowded one after another upon ‘Fancy’s ardent eye,’ bright and incessant like waves from the sun; and as he thought of their number and their futility, his mind was neither spent with weariness, nor darkened by regret. His feelings were still as vigorous and varied, as they were, before they went forth in quest of happiness and returned without even an olive-branch, as an earnest of security and peace. He had been thus vibrating between thought and revery for perhaps an hour, when he started from his waking dream, and remembered that he was not alone. Tristo was sitting at the other window, with averted face and eyes gazing on vacancy, while in his hand lay an open volume of the sensitive and melancholy Cowper. Nescio, I grieve to say it, is not always felicitous in his address. He lacks that quick tact, which may be denominated an instinctive sense of present propriety. He felt a reaction in himself, and wished to confirm the dominion of mirth in his own breast, by awakening it in that of others. He laid his hand on Tristo’s shoulder, and giving him a friendly shake, said “Wake up, man, what are you dreaming of? Come, sing us a song, pour passer le temps. Pray Heaven, no pretty girl has crossed your line of vision. If so, be not thou cast down—I can give you a charm, a very talisman to gain her, in the whiff of a cigar, ut ait Apple. Sigh and flatter, sit up late o’ nights so as to appear pale—seem for a time to prefer another, and then assure her that your heart is, was and will be all, all her own. In that moment of delighted conviction press hard—the fort is yours.” Tristo was too sad to be angry. He merely replied while his lip quivered with emotion—“Nescio, you know not how you wound me.”

Nescio. “Indeed, indeed, I did not mean it, you know I could not. But why should you be always so gloomy? It vexes me to [Pg 198] see you thus. Why should you not smile more often and more willingly?”

Tristo. “Do I not smile?”

Nescio. “O such a smile! ’tis worse than tears—’tis like the forced laugh in the play. ‘Male qui mihi volunt, sic rideant.’ But why should your thoughts be so dark amidst the glittering activity of life?”

Tristo. “And why should they not be entirely dark? The breath of this vast world sounds in my ear as the up-going of one deep and universal sigh, and can the thought be other than a thought of pain. My grief is not for myself alone, though that were enough. But where is the man who is happy at all? unless, indeed, it be the happiness of apathy. Where is the man of open heart and aspiring mind, whose plans succeed even in the outline, or if the outline be realized, the filling up is not a mixture of care and vexings—and failure and regret? When we have reached some fancied goal of youthful promise, which shone to the far off eye like the battlements of Heaven, does not widowed hope put on her weeds, and mourn over her children, and refuse to be comforted because they are not?”

Nescio. “With such views of human life, where do you find any relief from your melancholy?”

Tristo. “To what should a mind saddened by its own afflictions look for consolation. The world of realities, as I have said, presents but a gloomy and scarred waste. Ah! then the greatness of the poet’s power and the dignity of his art are most manifest. Then, that which in our grosser moods, we had deemed light, pretty, and only fit to while away an hour, becomes mighty, and almost adorable. For the wearied and broken spirit, which all the riches of learning could not soothe, nor the gift of kingdoms elate, may by the witchery of poetry be wrapt into a calm, satisfied enjoyment.”

Nescio. “I wonder not that an early father, in holy abhorrence, called poesy, vinum dæmonum, the wine of fiends, if its influence be such as you assert. For surely it supplies to the educated and refined, the same refuge from corroding thought and disturbing conscience, which the intoxicating cup offers to the sensual and brutish.”

Tristo. “It is so in some measure, but with this difference, which will immediately rescue this ‘divina facultas’ from injurious reflections. The inebriating draught, the actual ‘uvæ succus’ offers its poor and transient relief to all. The unfortunate and the guilty, those upon whom melancholy has settled like a mist from the ground, causeless and undeserved, though unavoidable—and those upon whom an outraged conscience inflicts its scourgings in righteous retribution, may there seek and find oblivion. But only a pure life, a cultivated mind, a religious nature, (let not the phrase breed heresy,) can secure to one the healing influence of poetry.”

[Pg 199]

Nescio. “The idea is a sublime one. But is it not merely a beautiful idea? Can you bring forward any evidence to make it manifest, or even any illustration to render it probable?”

Tristo. “With ease. Indeed, were I to search far and wide through the whole circle of English poetry, I could not find a more pertinent illustration than in the passage which I have just been reading, and on which my finger now rests.”

Nescio. “What is it? Read it.”

Tristo. “Even its title is affecting. ‘On the receipt of my mother’s picture.’ It must be familiar to you, yet I will read a few lines.

‘O that those lips had language! Life has pass’d
With me but roughly since I saw thee last.
Those lips are thine—thy own sweet smile I see,
The same, that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else how distinct they say,
‘Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!’
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
(Blessed be the art that can immortalize,
The art that baffles Time’s tyrannic claim
To quench it) here shines on me still the same.’

Suppose now the case of two individuals, of equal refinement, intellect, and sensibility, (save that in one the edge of all these qualities must have been blunted by moral defection) nay—that by making the parallel closer, the contrast may be more obvious—suppose them to be brothers. In early life they both were trained in the path of moral rectitude, from which the one has never swerved, but the other has been constantly making wider and wider deviations. Place them now in the situation of the poet, and let them read these lines. The image recalled, the object of their contemplation is the same—their early associations are the same. But the effect is far different. The conviction is present with one, that he has persevered in that course, which his mother toiled and wept to place him in, and in pleased sadness he will repeat with Cowper,

‘And while the wings of Fancy still are free,
And I can view this mimic show of thee,
Time has but half succeeded in his theft—
Thyself removed, thy power to soothe me left.’

The other is melancholy, but his is the melancholy of remorse. Each vivid recollection but ‘adds hot instance to the gushing tear,’ and all that soothed his brother, but protracts his pain. He feels in all its force the solemn truth, so quaintly expressed by the old dramatist, Suckling:

[Pg 200]

‘Our sins, like to our shadows
When our day is in its glory, scarce appeared:
Towards our evening how great and monstrous
They are!’

His feelings are sympathetically described by Byron:

‘So do the dark in soul expire,
Or live like scorpion girt by fire;
So withers the mind remorse hath riven,
Unfit for earth, undoom’d for heaven,
Darkness above, despair beneath,
Around it flame, within it death.’

Nescio. “You have quoted Byron, rather unfortunately for your argument, I think, Tristo. For he is an instance of the existence of high poetic power, in a mind depraved by the baseness of his moral sentiments.”

Tristo. “You mistake my meaning, if you infer from it that I think the existence of poetic power incompatible with moral degradation, for there are many, too many instances of this kind. My position was that a pure and unsophisticated character was essential to the enjoyment of this faculty in one’s self, or as displayed by others. And of this Byron is as strong a case as I could wish. Every spark of genius, but assisted in lighting the flame, which scathed and consumed his heart. ’Twas so with Shelly, and in the later years of his life, with Burns. Moore is the only similar author who approaches to an exception to this rule. But how widely different with the opposite class of poets. Can you read a page of Cowper, or Wordsworth, without feeling that they derive pure and exquisite pleasure from their inspiration. Indeed to the former it was almost his only source of enjoyment—without it he would have been wretched, in truth, for his nature was too sensitive for a rough and jostling world.”

Nescio. “I cannot deny it. You have, however, a higher idea of the value and interest and influence of poetry than is current now-a-days. I myself have been disposed to regard the high pretensions of this ‘divina gens’ with something of distrust. I have dipped into our poetic literature as extensively, probably, as most of my age; I have been pleased and profited, but never have I been blessed with an admission into the penetralia. My most diligent search (as Pausanias records of the petitioner at Pion’s tomb) has been rewarded by smoke.”

Tristo. “I know that to the unreflecting crowd the life and labors of the poet seem poor and paltry. He is one by himself—a flower-gathering, shade-loving idler in a garden, where others are busily plying the mattock and the spade. To them he appears engaged neither in lessening the evils, nor in adding to the blessings of [Pg 201] life. His musings they deem like the dreams of the sleeper, where fancy, and vanity, and passion, draw scenes of glory and of pleasure with the bold tracery of an unfettered hand; but to the waking eye in the light of reason, those pictures are changed to the ungraceful lines, and uncolored objects of ordinary life.”

Nescio. “I am by no means satisfied that their view is not a correct one. It seems to me that the allurements of poetry and the splendors of romance are all lymphatic draughts to inebriate the mind, and, as ‘the subtle blood of the grape,’ exalts and quickens the animal spirits, only thereafter to retard and depress, so do these unearthly potations elevate the soul, but leave it dull, drooping and disgusted. Especially pernicious in their influence are the trashy productions of ephemeral minds, which ‘dream false dreams and see lying visions,’ which clothe the children of their fancy in perfections to which man is a stranger, and fill the untaught soul with hopes and aspirations, which earth can never realize. Byron certainly, and, I think, even Shakspeare, exert an evil influence in their portraitures of character. Their actors are so sublime, or so lovely, that they first inspire the mind with false hope, and then fill it with vain despair.”

Tristo. “You speak the language of a half philosopher, who generalizes a few isolated facts into an all-embracing theory. Even Byron’s evil influence results not from the unnatural beauty of his characters and scenery, but rather from the fact that he does not seem to conceive of virtue even in the abstract; he no where shows regard for aught but self, and no where recognizes even by accident a standard of right and wrong. As for Shakspeare, nature is visible in all his writings; virtue and vice are strangely mingled, even as among the scenes and occurrences of life. If he ever deviates from the actual and the known, it is either in the delineation of some creature of professedly ideal existence, such as Ariel and Puck; or else in the combination of circumstances which produces characters, that all will allow to be natural, though such they have never seen in actual life and motion.”

Nescio. “Suffer me for a moment to interrupt you, and ask what is nature? Shakspeare is certainly more natural than most of his successors, and yet, for the life of me I cannot point out the difference, where it is, or in what it consists. For the incidents of that great master are sometimes not merely improbable, but impossible.”

Tristo. “The difference is this, Shakspeare brings together improbable occurrences in almost impossible conjunctions; yet he always makes the words and actions of his characters consistent. Other dramatists have their plots sufficiently probable, and their junctures and transitions natural and easy—this is the effect of study; but their actors have no individuality—and this is a defect of genius, that no study nor midnight watchings can supply: their figures are sometimes one thing, sometimes another: the contour, air, and attitude, [Pg 202] are all shifting and various. This is more particularly observable in works of the tragic or semi-tragic cast, than in the comic productions of the older writers. In Dryden, for instance, the comedies are many of them laughable and good; but the tragedies, saving here and there a splendid spangle, are cold, inflated fustian. Even in scenes of the most intense excitement, when grief is wrought up to agony, and passion foams with ungovernable rage, he makes his characters talk, talk, talk, instead of acting. In place of some brief and stormy exclamation, such as nature prompts and passion utters, they stand still, gesticulate by rule, and bring out long similitudes of studied elegance, and elaborate perfection. Their ruined hopes they liken to a blighted tree, and coolly pursue the track of the lightning from the topmost leaf to the downmost root, showing you how here it grazed, and there cut to the very heart. Oh agony! Their words are hot—hot enough in all conscience, when taken one by one—minutatim—but collectively they are verbiage, not pathos.”

Nescio. “I have been thinking that a natural may be distinguished from an unnatural author, in that you can not only clearly conceive, but distinctly remember the form and bearing of the characters in the one, while the actors in the other leave no definite impression. The Falstaff of Shakspeare, and the Arbaces of Bulwer, are good illustrations of my meaning. Both are characters, which, we are certain, never did exist. How, then, is Falstaff natural, and Arbaces the reverse? The former might exist; the latter never could have being. The former is a collection of qualities, carried, it may be, to excess; the latter is a union of contradictions. The former is witty and sensual and boastful beyond reality, but not beyond possibility; the latter is a lumbering conception of a grand and gloomy something—a shadow of magnificent shapelessness—it has no identity, and its shifting outline it would puzzle Proteus to trace. In the language of the schools, Falstaff is in posse, but not in esse—while Arbaces is neither in esse, nor posse, nor any where else save in Bulwer’s head.”

Tristo. “I believe you are right. But I was about to state why poetry is a valuable—aye, an in-valuable gift. Now, observe—I mean, not rhyme, ‘the drowsy tintinnabulum of song’—nor the display of those poetical words, which, like trite coins, have no image nor superscription left—nor yet, ‘in linked sweetness long-drawn out,’ those brilliant figures, which have come down unimpaired from Homer, and serve to conceal the deficiency of sense—but I mean the pure ‘poetry of the heart’—the rich essence of feeling and of thought—whether its expression be prose or verse, ‘oratio soluta,’ vel ‘constricta.’ It is true, without exception, that the purer and less hackneyed are the feelings, the richer and more gushing is this ‘poetry of the heart.’ And this proves its excellence. To the eye and the ear of childhood, the ‘visible face of nature,’ the green beneath, [Pg 203] and the ‘skyey blue’ above, with the thousand voices, that come quivering from the forest-depths, are all one vast poem, modulated to a measure of dulcet melody, and awakening sympathies inexplicably sweet. Thought to them is a rambling revery, and existence is a thrilling dream. As they lie upon the green grass, and view the sky, and gaze, and gaze upon the unutterable depths, the yearnings for something beyond, beyond, beyond, are quick, and strange, and powerful within them. As they grow old, and hardened, and thankless, and wicked, does not poetry vanish, and fancy flee? Are not the dreams of purity, and kindness, and affection, which were but the strugglings of the youthful spirit to attain the blessedness it was made for, supplanted by hard plans, and cold calculations of wealth, and luxury, and restlessness, and pride? Hope and Love, the birds of Paradise, that nestled in the boyish heart, and fluttered with many-colored wings over their warm progeny of kindling wishes, and bright resolves, are banished from their early home, and in their place, with gloomy pinions, settle a thousand cormorant birds, with the vultures of remorseless Ambition, and Greediness for more. Who does not feel that it is only in his holier and nobler hours that poesy creeps through him like a spirit, and thoughts of grandeur cause his flesh to quiver, even as the forest is shaken by the footsteps of the wind? Can one, who has but now stained his soul with knavery or meanness, read that unparalleled monologue of Hamlet, and surrender his heart to the greatness of its power? Can any, save he whose spirit is daily and deeply filled with the sublimity of rectitude, appreciate Milton’s sonnet upon his blindness, a specimen of moral grandeur in thought and purpose, which has found no equal in the walks of mind? I say not that even in the bosoms of the vicious and the hardened, the perusal of sublime or lovely conceptions will fail to produce emotion—deep, strong emotion—for, wound and abuse it as you may, there will still, even at three-score years and ten, remain something of that ardent pulse, which, in boyhood, burned at the sight of beauty, and bounded at the voice of song. But poesy will no longer gush continually upward from the fountains of his heart, like refreshing waters from a perennial spring. And what a glorious thing must it be for a Pitt or a Webster, when worn in the defense of Freedom, and weary with the hopelessness of their toil, in the pages of Scott to bury for a time the projects of ambition, and the chicanery of courts! When they bow their own mighty intellects at the still mightier shrines of Milton or of Shakspeare, is not theirs the sacred thrill of the eastern pilgrim, when he falls and worships at the tomb of his fathers? Wo be to him, who would lessen his hours of poetic enthusiasm; for those hours are a backward vista to an earlier and better state. True poetry is the basis of devotion; and devotion added to poetry is the ‘Pelion upon Ossa,’ by which mortals may climb once more to the heaven from which they fell.”


[Pg 204]


“Again the play of pain
Shoots o’er his features, as the sudden gust
Crisps the reluctant lake.”

(Throbthrobthrob—) Oh this marrow-piercing, jaw-torturing, peace-destroying pain!—(throbthrobthrob—) Sure the rack were a plaything, lunar-caustic a balsam, aqua-fortis the very essence of pleasure, compared with this soul-and-body-distracting torment—this anguish double-refined, this agony of agonies. “A little patience, my dear sir,” interrupted a soothing voice. ‘Patience!’ exclaimed I, ‘talk of patience to a cubless bear, a dinnerless wolf, an officeless demagogue—but not to me. Would you look for moderation in a maniac? wisdom in an idiot? gentility in a clown? Who expects patience of a man driven to distraction by the tooth-ache?—(Throbthrobthrob—) Oh! that arrow-like pang——the most excruciating of all!—And I clapped my hands to my jaws, and springing from my chair, shrieked in agony. “Let’s see your tooth,” grumbled a rough unfeeling voice—and before me stood a veteran Esculapian, with his lancet and forceps fearfully conspicuous. ‘On with your instrument, Doctor,’ exclaimed I, ‘and out with it, though I die under the operation.’ My head was soon made stationary between two brawny hands, and my jaws extended to their widest angle; the knife had unbared the offending dental, and the dreaded instrument was ready for its work—but suddenly the pain subsided—my feelings changed—I looked on the ‘cold iron’ with horror—‘No! I’ll not have it out now;’—and the man of forceps left me.

Again felt I the pangs of a ‘jumping’ tooth-ache. Powders—drops—essential oils—remedies of every genus and species were tried in vain. Even red-hot iron was of no avail—the nerve was fire-proof. Throwing myself into a rocking chair, with elbows on my knees and hands on my jaws, I leaned over the fire in moody anguish. “The mind,” say physicians, “exerts a sympathetic influence upon the body.” ‘Perhaps then,’ thought I, ‘the disease may not be wholly physical, after all;’—and I began to reflect that suffering often apparently finds relief in association and sympathy. The hard-featured mariner takes delight in tales of naval misery; the veteran warrior, in descriptions of battles; the love-lorn maiden, in ‘doleful tales of love and woe;’ the disappointed suitor in dark maledictions and long-drawn vituperations, against all that bear the name of woman.

[Pg 205]

With this in mind, I glanced at my book-case for some treatise adapted to my own circumstances. Nothing presented itself more to the point than the ‘Works of Robert Burns.’ His ‘Address to the Tooth-ache’ was soon before me. I read it from beginning to end with profound attention. The difficult Scotticisms were explained in the glossary. I sought the meaning of every word—I entered fully into the spirit of the piece. How beautiful!

“My curse upon thy venom’d stang,
That shoots my tortur’d gums alang;
An’ thro’ my lugs gies monie a twang,
Wi’ gnawing vengeance;
Tearing my nerves wi’ bitter pang,
Like racking engines!
When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colic squeezes,
Our neighbor’s sympathy may ease us,
Wi’ pitying moan;
But thee—thou hell o’ a’ diseases,
Ay mocks our groan!
Adown my beard the slavers trickle!
I throw the wee stools o’er the meikle,
As round the fire the giglets keckle
To see me loup;
While raving mad I wish a heckle
Were in their doup.
O’ a’ the num’rous human dools,
Ill har’sts, daft bargains, cutty-stools,
Or worthy friends rack’d i’ the mools,
Sad sight to see!
The tricks o’ knaves, or fash o’ fools,
Thou bear’st the gree.
Where’er that place be priests ca’ hell,
Whence a’ the tunes o’ mis’ry yell,
And ranked plagues their numbers tell,
In dreadfu’ raw,
Thou, Tooth-ache, surely bear’st the bell
Amang them a’!
O thou grim mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes of discord squeel,
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel
In gore a shoe-thick;
Gie a’ the faes o’ Scotland’s weel
A towmond’s Tooth-ache!”

Never before had it appeared in half so favorable a light. Never before was I so thoroughly convinced that to appreciate the beauties of an author, we must enter into his feelings—possess his spirit. This I could now do perfectly. And those brief stanzas—where was there ever such genuine poetry as in them? Byron, in comparison, was fustian; Milton bombast; Shakspeare a mere poetaster, and Homer a sleepy-head—‘quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus.’

The effect was astonishing. Ere I had finished the fifth reading, my sufferings were so much alleviated, that I could even recognize my own countenance in a mirror—though still somewhat distorted. After the tenth reading, however, the kindly influence ceased. In vain did I persevere; the fifteenth perusal was accomplished; but all to no purpose. The twang—twang—twang—and the gnawing, wrenching, screwing sensation still continued. Again I leaned over the fire in silent despair. I revolved in my mind the poem I had just read—the sentiment—the meter—the rhyme. A thought struck me. This eternal snap, snap, snap, said I to myself, is meter; this perpetual recurrence of similar pains is rhyme; these momentary cessations of agony are intervals of stanzas. Surely the tooth-ache, thought I, is a poetical subject. Coleridge lay open on my table. My eye rested on a scrap of rhythmical Latin.

[Pg 206]

“Dormi, Jesu! Mater ridet,
Quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
Dormi Jesu! blandule!
Si non dormis, Mater plorat,
Inter fila cantans orat
Blande, veni, somnule.”

The hint was sufficient. Ainsworth and the glossary soon enabled me to metamorphose Burns’s Scotch into Monkish Latin. If the meter appear sometimes lame, or the syntax barbarous, the blame be on the torturing pulsations that guided the movement—on the disorganizing twinges that convulsed my whole mental fabric.


Exsecrandum venenatum
Hunc dirumque mî dolorem,
Qui maxillam cruciatam
Nunc percurrit; ac sonorem
Dat in auribus frequènter,
Cum sevitiâ rodente;
Nervi quoque lacerantur,
Quasi machinâ torquente!
Febri, quidèm, aestuante,
Rheumatismo commordente,
Vel rigore congelante,
Sive colicâ premente,
Nos vicini miserentur,
Luctuoso comploratu;
Sed, Inferne morbos inter,
Nostro ludis ejulatu!
Barba madet mea sputis;
Atque sterno locum sellis,
In cachinnum nunc solutis
Antè foculum puellis,
Cùm saltare me viderent;
Memet interim volente
Ut in pectines urgerent,
Ex dolore, tam demente.
Inter omnes cruciatus,
Quibus homines premuntur,—
Sive messes devastates,
Sive pacta quae franguntur,
Sive funus amicorum,
Sive poenitentium sedeis,
Sive dolos improborum,—
Longè plurimùm tu lædis!
Ubicunque locus iste—
Orcum sacerdotes ferunt—
Unde planctus fremunt tristè,
Ac in ordinem sederunt
Mala valde luctuosa—
Istìc, uti mî videtur,
Odontalgia probrosa!
Istìc palma te tolletur.
O, maligne tu torveque
Cacodæmon, instigare
Tot rixarum soliteque,
Ut in tabo saltitare
Cæci homines cogantur!
Fac, qui hostes sunt Scotorum,
Anni spatium cruciantur
Dirum dentium per dolorem!

Before I had finished the closing stanza, the pain entirely left me—whether it was owing to the exorcizing qualities of the Latin, the soothing influence of the verse, the defiance-breathing spirit of the sentiment, or to the length of time requisite for the performance, I am unable to decide. Suffice it to say, that if any one, in making trial of the remedy himself, after translating ten English stanzas into Latin rhyme, experiences no relief, let him take an hundred stanzas. If after this performance the pain still continues, let the prescription [Pg 207] be a thousand stanzas; and unless the patient be an uncommonly rapid, or an unpardonably careless versifier, we hesitate not to predict that ere he has accomplished half his task, one of two things will prove true—either the tooth-ache will have left him for ever, or he will have bidden farewell to the tooth-ache, and, with it, to all the pains, and sorrows, and sufferings of this ‘vale of tears.’


Whew! baked, parched, roasted, toasted, seethed, stewed, boiled, broiled, and all the other synonymes of igniferous horror. Oh! ye dark-skinned Ethiops, how I love you! Verily I am an amalgamationist. “Ye are black, but comely as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.” Though angry Phoebus did once pour his fierceness upon your sweating brows, till they were dusky as the wings of night, yet are ye not misimproved thereby; for your impenetrable nigritude, surmounted by your oily fleece—more precious than that golden one, after which sailed Jason and the Argonauts—can bid defiance to the heat of Hyperion. One would think young Phoebus had again mounted the car of the far-flinging Apollo, when, as Ovid has it,

“Inferiusque suis fraternos currere Luna
Admiratur equos; ambustaque nubila fumant.”

The winds are currents of fused lead, and the atmosphere is a huge sudorific. What relation has the weather to Greek Anthology? “Much every way.” The heat unnerves the body, the body depresses the mind, and the weakness of the mind deteriorates Greek Anthology. Yet now that the god of day is on the outmost skirts of the horizon, let me invoke thy still descent, Oh! Muse of Evening, in the exquisite words of Collins.

“Oh, Nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
With brede ethereal wove,
O’erhang his wavy bed—” &c. &c.

’Tis of no use. Inspiration cannot be awakened to-night. The summit of Soracte is no longer ‘white with snow’—the waters of Helicon stand at blood-heat—the fountain of Bandusia, “splendidior vitro,” has seethed its own frogs—and the gushings of Arethusa herself are hot enough to boil eggs. Nevertheless, one draught, oh goddess.

‘Extremum hunc, mihi concede laborem.’

[Pg 208]

Upon Magnasus, by Lucillius.

With nose so huge, Olympicus, beware
How thy mad feet approach a fountain cool,
And in thy wanderings, shun with heedful care
The sleeping mirror of the mountain-pool,
For, like Narcissus of unhappy fate,
Thy wondrous phiz will through the waters shine,
And as he died of love, so thou of hate
Wilt gaze astonished, and with anguish pine.

The following is trite, yet true. The ambitious might, but will not profit thereby. What is so obvious is forgotten.

All names, all ranks are levelled by the grave,
The bloom of beauty, and the pride of state,
And he, who, living, was a humble slave,
Death renders even as the monarch great.

To a statue of Venus at Cnidos, by Praxiteles.

No! not the artist’s skillful hand,
Nor chisel wrought that form divine;
For thus didst thou on Ida stand,
And thus before the shepherd shine.

Around the pillar, that surmounts my tomb,
No garlands wreathe, and scatter no perfume,
Nor burn the watch fire—’tis an empty stone—
Thy waste is useless, for my race is run.
Give what thou hast, while life is in its bud—
These late libations turn my dust to mud.
The buried drink not; for, with life’s last charms,
Forgetfulness enshrouds them in her arms.

There is very little poetry in the following commemoration: but, if the poor fellow did actually perform the subscribed feats, and that for fame, he deserved to be immortalized.

To the statue of Phayllus, a Crotonian, and victor in the five games.

Feet fifty-five Phayllus leaped,
(At which the Muses wondered)
And when the disc he raised and hurled,
He conquered full five hundred.

The tettix (a species of balm-cricket) to its shepherd-captors.

Why, oh ye shepherds, from the dew-moist boughs
With thriftless chase the tettix do ye take,
The Dryads’ wayside singer, who arouse
The lonely echoes, till the woods awake,
And chant at mid-day, where the wood-nymph dwells
Among the mountains and the darkling dells.
The black-bird, starling, and the thrush assault,
For they are daily plunderers of you;
’Tis right that they should perish for their fault;
But who is jealous for the morning-dew?

[Pg 209]


An essay “On the reason of animals not the reason of man,” is accepted, and shall appear soon.

An essay “On the study of human nature in the works of the imagination,” is under consideration.

Lines “to Miss W.” and a “Vision,” are declined.

“Washington,” and “Poetica Falsa,” both possess considerable merit; but from press of matter, we are compelled respectfully to decline them.

“The Weather,” and a “Review of the past, No. 1.” are inadmissible.

P.’s remonstrance is received. Upon reconsideration, we perceive the impropriety of publishing the stanzas without the “Prolegomena;” and the Prolegomena are too long for insertion. The inference is obvious.

“On Death,” by D., in several respects is unsuitable for publication.

“On the death of an aged friend,” is received, and shall appear. We would request, however, the liberty of making a few alterations.

“An address to the Sun,” the counterpart of the “Apostrophe to the Moon,” from which we quoted in our first number. The author must have suffered from a ‘stroke of the sun,’ before he wrote his address, e. g.

“Great and glorious Sun!
High ’mid etherial mete
Thou dost wheel thy burning car,
And through all thine empire afar,
Dost diffuse light and heat,
For this begun,
Thy course is run,
Till time shall be no more, and thou art done.”
“And what though thou, fair Sun!
May’st boast a mighty sway?
That earth, moon and every planet
Roll round thee their imperial seat,
And thy power obey?
From him begun
Thou brilliant Sun,
And all ye hosts of heaven your course to run.”

We have been accused of too great severity in our notes to correspondents. We ask pardon of our contributors for our impoliteness, and offer no further justification than that afforded by the old proverb, ‘Evil communications corrupt good manners.’

[Pg 210]



An apology for establishing a Literary Magazine, in an institution like Yale College, can hardly be deemed requisite by an enlightened public; yet a statement of the objects which are proposed in this Periodical, may not be out of place.

To foster a literary spirit, and to furnish a medium for its exercise; to rescue from utter waste the many thoughts and musings of a student’s leisure hours; and to afford some opportunity to train ourselves for the strife and collision of mind which we must expect in after life;—such, and similar motives have urged us to this undertaking.

So long as we confine ourselves to these simple objects, and do not forget the modesty becoming our years and station, we confidently hope for the approbation and support of all who wish well to this institution.

The work will be printed on fine paper and good type. Three numbers to be issued every term, each containing about 40 pages, 8vo.

Conditions—$2,00 per annum, if paid in advance, or 75 cents at the commencement of each term.

Communications may be addressed through the Post Office, “To the Editors of the Yale Literary Magazine.”

This No. contains 2½ sheets. Postage, under 100 miles, 3¾ cents; over 100 miles, 6¼ cents.

Printed by B. L. Hamlen.

Transcriber’s Notes

A number of typographical errors were corrected silently.

Cover image is in the public domain.

There are two instances where the name “Tristo” was substituted for “Pulito” in the original publication. They can be seen here and here. Earlier in the text, here, Pulito exits and there is nowhere in the text where he returns. It is likely this substitution restores the intent of the author.