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Title: The Yale Literary Magazine (Vol. I, No. 3, April 1836)

Author: Various

Release date: December 12, 2021 [eBook #66936]

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.”


APRIL, 1836.



[Pg ii]


Prejudice and Scepticism, 81
Sonnet, 85
Dramatic Fragment, 86
The Coffee Club, No. I. 89
The Fairies’ Bower, 97
The Influence of Moral Feeling upon the Pleasures of the Imagination, Essay No. I. 98
Columbia’s Banner, 100
Story and Sentiment, No. III. 101
Sonnet, 111
Review—Drake’s Poems, 111
The Double Disappointment, 120
Greek Anthology, No. III. 125

[Pg 81]


VOL. I. APRIL, 1836. NO. 3.


“A little learning is a dangerous thing: Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”

This hackneyed distich is most frequently used to convey an idea of that arrogant confidence which attends the first superficial acquisitions in knowledge, and the characteristic diffidence of the profound mind. Whether this is the impression intended to be conveyed by its excellent author, it is not necessary to inquire: it evidently involves a principle, which is illustrated by the history of every nation, and has an important application to our own.

In tracing society through the various stages of its progress from barbarism to civilization, we observe, almost universally, a point intermediate between the two, where the foundations of the social system seem to be broken up, and anarchy and confusion prevail. Among men in a state of the greatest rudeness and ignorance, customs and manners are comparatively permanent. Ages on ages roll away, and the same simple institutions are handed down from father to son with the most scrupulous care, and with scarcely a perceptible change. In this condition of man prejudice holds universal sway. The practice, or the ‘ipse dixit’ of a superior is the foundation upon which they rest their belief, and the rule by which they govern their actions; and in opinions resting upon such a basis, there is no doubt or wavering. No intricate maze of reasoning leaves a dark corner to beget distrust, but like the insect upon a flying fragment, the contracted vision of the savage reaches not beyond the established creed of his predecessors; and upon that, however far it may be from reason and truth, he rests in secure repose. But when he has obtained one glance beyond that rude fabric, he feels the trembling of his basis, and his inquisitive mind becomes alive to all the realities of his situation. He begins to reason—he begins to doubt—and confidence once shaken in former belief, scepticism becomes[Pg 82] universal. He is thrown upon the resources of his own rude mind; prejudice wars with passion and impressions from the world, and reason roams, and often roams in vain, in search of those pure principles from which spring the happiness of enlightened communities.

In this incipient stage of knowledge, the field from which individuals derive their impressions and opinions is contracted; and influenced as they are by different circumstances and associations, it is not surprising that their ideas should rarely concur. Mind clashes with mind, and from this collision necessarily arises a popular effervescence. But as knowledge advances, the horizon of each individual extends farther and farther, and consequently coincides to a greater extent with that of those around him. Hence, after this fiery ordeal of revolution, in proportion as intelligence prevails, the sentiments of the community harmonize, civil institutions become more permanent, and society settles down into a peaceful, happy condition.

This is, indeed, but the brief outline of a theory; and like all other theories, it requires great modification in its application to the world. Man in his progress to civilization is not always influenced by the same principles operating in the same way. In one instance, as he breaks through the spell of prejudice—grasps the sword of reason, and enters upon his rude analysis of mind and matter, he is directed by some apparently fortuitous agency, at once to the elements of peace and happiness, and advances in rapid strides from barbarism to refinement. In another instance, in the same rude contest—the same clashing of mental and physical energy, a nation falls exhausted in the struggle, and sinks, if possible, to a state even more hopeless than before. Nor is this period of revolutions confined to the incipient stage of science in all its branches. Nations, that have apparently past this eventful period, and settled down into the uniformity of civilized life, are sometimes shaken to their very foundations, by the agitation of some subject that had before escaped the trying test of reason, and from some peculiar cause, been suffered to remain upon the rotten foundation of prejudice and superstition. Indeed, no nation is entirely secure from revolution until all its institutions are established upon the basis of truth—of truth that is seen and felt by the great body of the community.

The French revolution is, perhaps, as good an illustration of this subject, as can be found in the annals of history. There we behold a people not utterly buried in ignorance, but even taking the lead in the sciences and arts, and apparently approaching the peace and security of an enlightened state. But presently we are startled at a horrid revolution sweeping over her. Religion and politics had not yet undergone a strict examination. It is true, religious controversies had been carried on, and wars, bloody and protracted, had been waged between the Huguenots and Catholics; but they were little more than the collision of prejudices, and the quarrels of priests[Pg 83] and princes. But when that doubting, ridiculing philosophy had rent the veil of superstition, and, united with a gleam of liberty from across the waters, had opened to the gaze of the multitude those sinks of corruption, the people were exasperated at the wrongs which they had before piously endured; they swept the land with unprecedented fury, and hurled to one promiscuous ruin every monument of royalty, nobility and priestcraft. But—alas for France! in that eventful moment no kind genius appeared to direct the awakened mind to the fountains of truth. Disgusted and maddened by the absurdities and impositions of the church and state, they were driven into the dreadful abyss of infidelity, and at last, in the recklessness of despair, they relinquished the contest, and were ready to kiss a yoke even more galling than the former. It is not our intention to convey the idea, that the French revolution was in no way beneficial. This is a question for a future age to decide. But we do intend to assert, that a knowledge of literature and science merely, however much they may contribute to it, is not sufficient for a nation’s security; and that when man has been roused to investigation, unless inexperienced reason is aided in its search after truth, he is liable to fall into the most fatal errors. This height of civilization has been attained only by the accumulated wisdom of ages, and it is not, therefore, to be expected that unassisted reason will arrive at it at once. Had not the French been left to be carried headlong by the first transports of passion, or had the pure principles of religion and freedom been presented in such a way as to be imbibed and felt, they might have risen to a lofty elevation, and been able to look back upon that horrid scene of anarchy and bloodshed only as the harbinger of liberty and peace. As it is, she has only added another illustration to the many that before existed, of the truth of our motto—of the danger of rousing the inquisitive mind of man, without providing the means and the opportunity of arriving at correct conclusions in his inquiries. Man’s reason is not infallible; and thus to awaken the attention of the ignorant or the inexperienced, destroy their confidence in established institutions, and then leave them to grope their own way to the fountains of truth, is like committing to the breeze a ship without a helm, and expecting it to arrive safe at its distant destined port.

It may be supposed that this subject has little application to a country so enlightened as ours, and so accustomed to submit every thing to the scrutiny of unbiassed reason. When we consider that our institutions derive their origin from the most profound minds our country has ever produced, and that they have prospered, for more than half a century, beyond the most sanguine expectations of their founders, we are apt to forget that the prosperity of all institutions depends upon the attachment of the people, and to imagine that ours are inherently secure. It would be Natural also to suppose, that the discrepancies between different portions of the country[Pg 84] would gradually wear away by continual contact and free intercourse, and that the longer we existed in our present condition, the more consolidated and unanimous we should become. But the crisis has not yet arrived. We have received these institutions upon the faith of our fathers, and, hitherto, been engaged, not in fairly discussing, but in eulogizing and defending them, without ever allowing ourselves to doubt their excellence and superiority over all others. These venerable fathers have now gone down to their graves; our enemies have become our friends; the distorting medium of prejudice through which we have hitherto viewed the world is removed, and we are left to scrutinize at our leisure the fair fabric which has been committed to us. Were this investigation to be candid and serious, we should be safe. But he who has the least acquaintance with human nature is aware, that when our complacency proceeds from an influence prepossessing us in favor of an object, there is a re-action in sentiment when that influence is removed: complacency becomes disgust, and the more extravagant it has been, the more powerful is the opposite bias. Upon this principle, we may account for that complete change in the means by which power and influence are sought from the people. Formerly, the only method of finding favor with the multitude, was to enlist heart and hand in supporting and extolling our glorious institutions; but he who would succeed in pursuit of the same object, at the present day, must find some real or imaginary imperfection, and by a torrent of ranting eloquence, display, on every occasion, his superior sagacity in detecting the errors of our fathers. Besides, the greater this blind confidence we have acquired in our institutions, the more negligent shall we be in support of them, and the more severe in exposing and decrying their imperfections. Already we begin to hear, on the one hand, the sneering taunt at the fickleness, inefficiency, and illiberality of our proceedings, and the high encomium upon aristocracy and its concomitant advantages, and on the other, the expression of envy towards rising wealth and power, and utter contempt towards law and all wholesome restraint. These floating insinuations are the seeds of future public sentiment, and unless counteracted by a salutary influence, the effect will be ruinous. It is true, we are an intelligent people, and by no means blind to our own immediate interests; but it is also indisputably certain, that the deliberate judgment and profound thought of our predecessors have been, in some measure, supplanted by a mere smattering of other men’s ideas. Precocious demagogues and priests are taking the places of grave statesmen and a sound, revered clergy. It is an idea instilled into us in our childhood, and which we carry with us throughout our career, that the present is an age far more effulgent than any that has before dawned upon the world; and we therefore think ourselves warranted in laying aside all past experience, and forming our conclusions upon our own notions of expediency. The course of reasoning, [Pg 85] which led to the establishment of the noble institutions and customs which have been handed down to us, is not at once comprehended, and we resolve immediately to demolish, and substitute the frail creations of our own fancy, which past experience and further reflection show to be ruinous. In short, we have enjoyed the blessings of our government just long enough to lose sight of the evils of others, and are just wise enough to detect the imperfections of our own system, without being able, from a deep sense of the injuries under which every other people groans, to appreciate its excellence. It becomes, then, every lover of his country, and, especially, him who, in the prime of youth, is looking forward to it as the scene of a happy life, with high hopes of honor and power, to beware how he lends his aid to alienate public sentiment from this parent of his present joys and future hopes, and to enlist heart and hand in support of a government which has certainly, for more than half a century, secured to this community a greater amount of happiness than was ever before enjoyed by any portion of the earth’s population. The popular judgment will be sufficiently severe under the most favorable circumstances. When that is passed, and the people are satisfied from their own examination, that the regulations which govern them are the most perfect in existence, then, or at least not till then, may we esteem the crisis past, and our country safe.



’Tis beautiful to-day. There’s not a cloud
To mar this sweet serenity of sky:
In Beauty’s arms all nature seems to lie:
Earth smiles, as though the Deity had bowed
To wrap her form in loveliness, and crowd
The air with spirits of the waking spring.
How meet that man his gift of homage bring,
With Nature praise, and be no longer proud!
Oh, lovely day of rest! how sweetly thou
With joys of Heaven canst fill the thirsting soul!
As out from rocks the gushing fountains roll,
So from the heart of flinty hardness, now
Does burst, unbidden, the pure, fervent prayer,
And, with the morning dew, ascend the viewless air.

[Pg 86]


SceneAn Orange Grove.

Enter Muza.
Muza, solus.
Hark! heard I not her step, or was it nought
But Fancy’s wild creation? Ah! tis gone,
And still she’s absent. Ye odor-breathing groves,
Aslant whose dewy bloom the virgin moon
Pours her mild radiance, what though ye are fair,
And rich in all the fragrance nature yields?
Ye bring no balm to soothe my anxious mind—
But soft! she comes—my Isabel—
Enter Isabel.
Oh, Muza! Muza! pardon, I beseech you,
This rash, misguided step, that unbecomes
My virgin modesty and maiden pride.
Muza, I’ve erred. Oh let me now depart;
’Tis not a fitting time.
Say why not, dear maid? This is the hour
I’ve longed, I’ve prayed for; and thank Allah now
’Tis come at last.
Sweet Isabel, my heart is wholly thine.
I love thee more than life. Nay, do not turn
Those lovely eyes away; still let them beam
With gentleness on me. List, dear one, list—
Cease, Muza, cease. These glowing words of love
Savor too much of thine own sunny clime,
That makes the tenderest passions of the heart
Burn with a fiercer flame. But ’tis not meet
That we should hold such converse at this hour;
And death awaits thee, Muza, if thou’rt found
Within these groves.
Is then my safety of concern to thee?
And does the pang of fear thrill through thy breast
For Muza’s sake?
[Pg 87]
Oh yes.
Thinkest thou that Isabel can look with coldness
Upon the brave preserver of her honor?
Thy welfare, trust me,
Shall ever be the object of my care;
And still the tender tie of gratitude
Shall bind my heart to thee.
Say, dear one, say the tender tie of love.
Urge me not, Muza, urge me not too far.
But come, I claim a promise: wilt thou not
Fulfil it now? I long to hear thee tell
The wild, romantic history of thy life;—
For such it must be, if I can surmise
Aught from the hints which thou hast thrown around thee.
I will obey thee, Isabel,
Though I would rather pour into thine ear
The breathings of my soul, than now recount
A dull detail of cold and lifeless facts.
Know, then, I spring not from the Moorish race,
But Christian blood bounds freely through these veins.
No more I know; the secret of my birth
Is wrapt in mystery;
But yet within my mind faint traces live,
When the paternal hand upon this head
Rested with fondness, and a mother’s eye,
Radiant with love, beamed brightly on my heart;
But then, there comes a blank in memory’s page:
And next, dark visions flit before my mind
Of bloodshed, death and slaughter, while to view
The swarth and fiery visage of the Moor
Starts up, attended with appalling horrors.
A truce to memory. What I am I know;
Thou askest, and shalt know. A warrior bold
I dwell upon the banks of fair Xenil,
Where that bright river, with its winding stream,
Laves proud Granada’s walls. Ask Muza’s name
Within Alhambra’s towers. ’Tis he whose heart
Is boldest in the fight, whose daring valor
Oft sweeps the plains of fertile Andalusia.
Oh, boast not of these actions, where the cross,
The sacred symbol of my holy faith,
Bows down before the crescent. Tell me, Muza,
Does not thy heart reproach thee when this sword
Is stained with Christian blood—perhaps the blood
Of friends and kindred, who would gladly lose
Their lives to rescue thee?
[Pg 88]
No, Isabel. The ties of blood are severed;
The tie of gratitude alone can bind
My heart to others. Shall I not live for those
Who’ve fostered in this breast the spark of honor,
And roused my soul to deeds of noble daring?
Aye, the Moor!
Though your proud chivalry may curl the lip
In haughty scorn, claims gratitude from me,
And shall this be uncancelled? No, by Allah!
His cause is mine, his holy faith is mine—
But did I say the ties of gratitude
Alone could bind my heart? Ah! there I erred.
There is another bond still closer, dearer,
Entwining with the very strings of life,
A bond I would not break to gain the world—
Canst thou not guess it, Isabel? Ah, yes;
That timid, down-cast eye, that tell-tale glance
Unfolds the mystery. Strange, indeed, ’twould be,
If the bright maid that twined the silken bonds,
Knew not her captive. Would to heaven I knew
What noble parents, happy in their love,
Possess so fair a daughter!
I know not what to say; my fearful heart
Is full of dread forebodings for the future.
I see thee now in arms against my country,—
A scoffer and despiser of my faith;
And with thy hand yet stained in Christian blood,
Thou com’st to woo me! Alas! what can I do?
I cannot hate thee; gratitude forbids it.
Heaven aid me in the conflict!
But seek not, Muza, I beseech thee, seek not
The knowledge of my rank. ’Twould only widen
The breach of separation. Will’t not suffice
To know that in the breast of Isabel
The cherished name of Muza ne’er shall die?
One moment stay; we ne’er may meet again.
(Exit Isabel.)
She’s gone, and nought but solitude remains.
Angel of hope! come on thy downy wings,
Descend and be my comforter and guide!
(Enter a Moorish guard.)
My lord!
The torches of a Spanish band are flashing
Upon the westward of the orange grove!
Away, then! follow me!
(Exeunt omnes.)

[Pg 89]


No. 1.

“Of all the several ways of beginning a book which, are now in practice throughout the known world, I am confident my own way of doing it is the best;—I’m sure it is the most religious—for I begin with writing the first sentence, and trust to Almighty God for the second.”—Tristram Shandy.


Should you, on any one of these gloomy spring evenings, chance to traverse the college yard, between the hours of nine and ten, among the many glowing windows, with which the sombre buildings are then radiant, you may notice two, shining with transcendent brilliancy. Of the situation of these windows, and the occasion of so intense a glow, as to distinguish them from the dull light diffused by the solitary study-lamp, it suits not with our purpose to tell thee more than this: 1st, that they occupy a central position in that building, which, in college mythos, holds the rank of the third heaven; (to south middle we can assign no gentler appellative than purgatory;) 2nd, that, in the day-time, they admit the light to, and in the night season emit it from, one of the most literary, best furnished, and withall best peopled rooms, which our well stocked University can boast; and 3d, that at the hour above specified, within this room are assembled four as merry, yet thoughtful fellows, as your eye (especially if you be a little cynical) would desire to look upon. But to speak of them in the high terms which they deserve, would expose me to the charge of base flattery in the case of three, and arrant egotism for the fourth. Further than this, curious reader, except so far as may serve to elucidate the characters of these Dii superi, we shall never communicate.

But, stop—my better judgment whispers me, that ’twould be safer to satiate thy curiosity, at once, than have thee continually peering about and asking troublesome questions. Enter, then, this mysterious room—erect thy crest—quicken thy memory, for it must serve thee in good stead. Thou hast free permission,

‘Each corner to search, and each nook to scan.’

Well, you have made your bow with such a trigonometrical flourish, as proves indisputably your claim to a rectilineal descent from the Angles—if I intended a pun, may I eat a dinner of cabbage and quicksilver, and then, with my heels higher than my head, take a [Pg 90] siesta beneath a Nubian sun on “Damien’s bed of steel;” (Dante would have chuckled over so original a punishment, for the embellishment of his Inferno.) Now you are in the room don’t open your mouth with such a convulsive gape. Did you never see a classical studio before? Drop your arms by your sides with perpendicular propriety, and, if you wish to note the aspect of the room, and its occupants, do it by quiet, occasional glances, and not by an Hibernian stare. Take a seat—you have done it indeed, and with a most rheumatic grace; one would think you had been studying the ‘Poetry of motion’ all your days. If you wish to take an inventory of the novelties you see, “Accipe jam tabulas”—pull out your memorandum book,—“detur nobis locus, hora, custodes”—sit down, and take your time about it, but be careful,—“videamus, uter plus scribere possit”—see how fast you can write; that’s what my old paedotribe used to call a free translation.

But we must hasten to a description of the room, and its contents.

Item. Your infernal extremities are sublevated by a carpet, somewhat homely, but thick and warm, while from an open stove a blazing pile of ‘divina Hickoria’ (as Virgil would call it) diffuses a salutary warmth.

Item. Abutting upon either window, stand two tall and open book-cases, “filled to the brim of contentment.” Beside the dull and thumb-worn volumes of the ‘college course,’ which constitute but a small portion of their burden, you will find a choice selection from the infinity of books, which the wit of man has perpetrated. The stolidity of wisdom, and the levity of wit, equally find there a place.

Item. In the centre of the room rests a substantial table, around whose broad circumference an astral lamp sheds its fluent splendors upon a literary chaos, where taste and fancy have collected their aliment,

‘In embryon atoms
Light-armed, or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow’—

The meditations of Hervey, and the sparkling humor of Butler,—the regal Virgil,

‘With the sounding line—
The long, majestic march, and energy divine,’—

the smart antithesis of Martial—the luscious flow of Ovid, and the delicate indelicacy of Terence, and the ‘curiosa felicitas’ of Catullus—(the phrase was first applied to Horace.) But we are exhausting our critical knowledge, and thy patience—suffice it to say, that, strown in elegant confusion, lie a motley assemblage—Milton and the Comic Almanac—Coleridge and the President’s Message—Kent’s Commentaries between the two volumes of Rienzi—Shakspeare [Pg 91] and John Bunyan—the Yale Literary Magazine and Tristram Shandy, open at the page whence we extracted our motto.

Item. Stretching along the back side of the room, is a sofa, of most dyspeptic virtues—hard by, is an arm-chair, expansive enough for an alderman—and next, beneath a mirror, stands a dressing table, which, besides the appliances of adscititious beauty, eau de cologne, and “thine incomparable oil, Macassar,” supports a load of cups and spoons, and other paraphernalia for the fruition of that rich beverage,

‘Which Jove now drinks, since Hebe spilt his nectar,
And Juno swears most bravely does affect her.’

At the same time, on the coals, is sweating and snoring a huge pot, (the conica tridentata of naturalists,) like an uneasy slumberer, ‘flagrantis atroce horâ caniculæ’—that is, about fly-time. Pray, reader, remark my classic taste, which I have thus thrice developed for your amusement.

We have thus slightly touched upon some of the most striking phenomena which meet your eye. The living appurtenances of the room demand a more careful and individual notice.

Close to one side of the stove, with his feet on the fender, and his body ‘squat like a toad,’ in the easy embrace of an arm chair, sits a singular personage, known to thee, at least, reader, by the fanciful cognomen of Apple-Dumpling. He bears upon his plump visage and stout frame, the impress of sensuality, struggling with, and almost triumphing over, a good natural portion of intellect and refinement. As you see him now, with a cigar in his mouth, and a volume of Lamb’s in his hand—equally relishing the beauties of both—gazing now and then, with pleasant anticipation gleaming in his eye, upon the bubbling, hissing fountain, at his feet—and again with intellectual delight, joining in the keen raillery of his companions—from this short sketch, we say, you may divine his character. His personal appearance is no less queer than his mental organization. He is beneath the middle height, but owing to an odd habit, which he has, of bobbing his head up and down, like a startled bullfrog, his height is incessantly vibrating, between five feet, and five feet six. His hair seems constantly electrified, and points in all directions, like glory in the primer. A low forehead, thick lips, and a dull face, redeemed only by the brightness of his eye, are the only peculiarities, which deserve our notice. The worst thing about Apple is, that he is an inveterate punster, and plumes himself on his proficiency in this execrable art. You can always tell when to expect his artillery of wit. He gives utterance to a sudden, energetic whiff, and knocks the ashes fiercely from his cigar, whilst from his kindling eye there darts a quick premonitory flash. He is frequently placed under our satirical dissecting knife, and is, certainly, at times very ridiculous—yet, with all his oddities and failings, we love Apple, ‘even as the apple [Pg 92] of our eye,’ and should as soon think of throwing away our coffee-pot, as of excluding him from our Quartette. Note with careful eye the individual next him. He is an exquisite in personal appearance and mental conformation. What ‘Poor Yorick’ said of Dr. Slop and his pony, ‘that he never saw a better fit in his life,’ might with equal propriety be predicated of this gentleman’s mind and body. ‘Il Pulito’—for such is his appellative, drawn from his own favorite Italian—possesses all the accomplishments of person and intellect, which are essential to the perfection of a fine gentleman in this most fastidious age. He has a very general knowledge of ancient literature, and can talk fluently about French, Spanish, Italian, and what not; but should one descend to particulars, he is most wofully ignorant, or, as he calls it, forgetful. Dante, and Tasso, and Schiller, and Richter, are names ever on his lips; but of any just conception of their character, and their works, he is totally innocent. In truth, his high pretensions will hardly bear a strict examination, except in one particular. His knowledge of English literature is thorough and extensive. He has drunk deep of those well-springs of beauty and truth, the ‘Old English prose writers,’ lingered long about the haunts of our vernacular Castalia, and plunged over head and ears in the muddy pool of ‘transient literature.’ He is at no loss for an opinion—most commonly a correct one, too, upon Lord Bolingbroke, or Captain Marryatt—gentle Philip Sydney, or Porcupine Cobbett—the cacophonous Chaucer, or the sweetly sentimental ‘L. E. L.’ With such attainments, and a certain seductive grace in language and manners, Il Pulito is a most agreeable collaborateur in our nocturnal toils. Were we to omit altogether a passing notice of his external recommendations, and a sly hint at some of his ‘labors of love,’ he would never forgive us! for on these he prides himself incontinently. I would not hint that all his self-complacency is absorbed in dress—yet he certainly peacocks himself, as the Italians say, when he throws back the collar of his coat, displaying thereby a fair round chest, from the middle of whose glossy, dipectoral envelope glitters the golden symbol of craniossal love. Dancing, music, drawing, and all the other equivocal graces of ‘the gentleman,’ are as ‘familiar things’ to him. He can give you a masterly criticism on a pretty foot, or a well turned arm, and has caused alarming symptoms of a disease of the heart in more than one of ‘Nature’s fair defects.’ I have often known the fellow fling his dark locks around his brow in clustering beauty, and saunter with unstudied carelessness among some half dozen of his fair acquaintance, while the graceful dignity of his carriage, the significance of his tone, and the eloquence of his eye, sent to the innocent young heart a disturbing thrill, and called to the cheek a warm flush of unconscious pleasure. Then, too, how perfect he is at turning a sonnet. Il Pulito is a fine tasteful fellow, with a slight touch of the dandy. In our coterie, however, he keeps his coxcombry, and [Pg 93] his love affairs pretty much to himself; for we would be loth to admit any feminine sentimentalism, to mar our hearty, masculine hilarity.

On the opposite side of the stove sits the immortal Ego. Shall I describe him—i. e. myself? I will, and that, too, in a manner equally free from vanity and familiarity; for I have a respect for myself not much inferior to that of the polite Spaniard, who took off his hat whenever he spoke of or to himself. But to spare my feelings, which are like the sensitive Mimosa—oh! simile most original and sweet!—I must recur to the third person. His name is Nescio Quod. His face when alone is grave and thoughtful; in company, it is jolly and careless, yet crossed here and there by lines of serious reflection, which, on the whole, form the general expression of his countenance. He, as well as Il Pulito, has dipped into almost every thing, and gone deeply into some—he has read extensively and foolishly, and is, very naturally, infected with the itch of quoting. He is apt to mistake strangeness of expression for originality of thought, and when he has revived some obsolete phrase, or brought forth some new-coined word, to which there are already a dozen synonymes, he hugs himself as fondly as if he had struck out a brilliant witticism. He is vague and anomalous—every thing except wise—sometimes misanthrope, sometimes pedant, sometimes a musing poetico-philosopher, but always his own miscellaneous self. He is fond of books, as much from their generic nature, as from any specific merits they may possess, and has always some conclusive reason for thinking the last book presented to his notice, the best he ever saw in his life. Is the book an old one? ’Tis the voice of antiquity—a message from the past. Is the work fresh from the literary mint? It breathes of novelty—its odor is refreshing. He is a very fluent writer, and for this reason, though by no means the most elegant of the four, he has been selected to commit to paper the annals of our doings.

The last of our coterie is called by mortals—no matter what; among the Gods his name is Il Tristo. His soft hair hangs about his face “unkempt” and tangled. His eye is faded, his cheek colorless. Across his uneasy forehead flits momently, from dark to light, each shade of passion.

“And o’er that fair, broad brow are wrought
The intersected lines of thought—
Those furrows which the burning share
Of sorrow plows untimely there.”

Now his face is dark with some bitter remembrance—now softened by some tender thought—now lightened by some glorious purpose. Tristo is pure and passionate. But his thin, light frame is too weak for the agitations of his burning spirit. So far as I can learn, he has been from boyhood the child of the feelings—“chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancies.” He has lived in an artificial world—a [Pg 94] world of poetry and romance. In spite of his good taste, his excitable feelings and craving wishes lead him to dwell upon fictions of wild and outrageous extravagance. This is not a world for the gentle or wayward in heart, and Tristo’s plans and fancies are daily crossed and crushed. Indeed, I sometimes think that his heart-strings have been jarred by a terrible concussion, and will never vibrate more, save in tones of mournful music. When in society, he usually represses his moodiness, and his thoughts come forth with a fluent brightness, which is purified and enhanced by their melancholy tinge. In our company he is more frank and cheerful than elsewhere, and will, at times, by his eloquence of feeling, call forth our sympathies and excite our admiration. He never speaks heartlessly—his literary opinions, his views of society, are all colored by his feelings—and he will condemn a worthless publication, or espouse the cause of a favorite author, with as much earnestness as if he were a party in the case. His vehemence adds greatly to the life of our discussions, and his caustic, yet good-natured wit, to the merriment of our lighter moods.

Thou hast by this time a clear idea of the room, its occupants and their occupation. Now do the amanuensis.——

“A fine essay that,” said Dumpling, as he threw down a volume of Elia, accompanying the movement with a prolonged emission of breath and smoke. “A masterly essay, that upon Shakspeare. (Puff.) Lamb is, or was, by far the best critic of the nineteenth century, not excepting Kit North himself. Wilson rants too much. He leads us all over creation for treasures which he might as well have given us at first. But the deep, quiet Lamb—(Puff, puff, puff.) By the way, how advances the coffee, Nescio?” Nescio roared, Pulito stroked his chin and laughed, while a quick, bright smile beamed over the face of Tristo, at the characteristic transition.

“Why,” said Nescio, “I think it has reached its maximum of excellence.”

“An excellent maxim that remark of yours,” said Apple, complacently, thinking he saw a handle for a pun.

Nescio. “Oh! Dumpling, don’t be witty, at least in that line. Addison used to say that punning was the lowest species of wit.”

Apple. “Addison was an ass. (Puff.) Infund some coffee instanter. How beautifully clear! ’Tis pure as Heaven.”

Nescio. “Yes! I’ll wager my Kent’s Commentaries against Nat. Willis’s poems, that not the ordinaires of London, the restaurateurs of Paris, or the cafès of Madrid, can furnish better.”

Pulito. “Ha! ha! One would think from that long array of ‘instances,’ that you were really a ‘man of travel,’ and were perfectly at home in St. James’ Square or the Rue de St. Honorie.”

Nescio. “I have heard of them, which is just as well.”

Apple. “Do you know, friend Quod, that we do wrong in drinking coffee so transparent?”

[Pg 95]

Nescio. “No! how, I pray? Instruct us.”

Apple. “Why, we ought always to see the grounds of what we imbibe.”

Pulito. “Oh! spare us, incorrigible wretch. ‘Wilt never cease?’”

Nescio. “How long were you loading that gun, Apple?”

Apple. “Rest you content, fair sir. ’Twas an improvisation—a direct inspiration from Mercury.”

Nescio. “The mercury must have been some degrees below zero, I should guess.”

Apple. “Oh! most miserable! (Puff.) Physician, heal thyself. You are like the man that preached against dishonesty with a stolen shilling in his pocket.”

Pulito. “Cease this ‘childish treble’—take another cup of coffee, and then tell me what you think of ‘Tristram Shandy,’ which I have found lying here on the sofa, ‘dejected and alone.’”

Apple. “Think of it? (Puff.) What should I think of it, but that it’s the finest book in the world? I prefer it to both Swift and Smollett.”

Nescio. “Well, now, in candor, I do not like it very much, nor did I ever. I have sometimes stared at his strange conceits, and laughed at his queer conjunctions, and been, in a few instances, actually ravished by his beauty and his naturalness. But, then, look at the astounding proofs of his thievish propensities—at his plagiarisms from Rabelais, which were traced out by his English bloodhound; and, whether original or borrowed, look at his tedious and fruitless wanderings, enlivened, it is true, by conceptions as beautiful as they are new, yet putting one out of patience and out of breath.”

Apple. (Puff.)

“‘Cease: no more.
You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man’s nose.’

I’ll tell you one thing, Mr. Quod. You and I must part if you say any thing prejudicial to my beloved Laurence. Shakspeare, Fielding and Sterne are my favorites par eminence, and ‘let my tongue cleave,’ (puff)—‘let my right hand forget,’ (puff)—if I do not defend them till—my last cigar—that is, in a quiet way, by swearing to my belief, which is as firm as the laws of the Medes, or the determination of a pig. As for logic, hang your silly syllogisms—hem!—I would not argue the point, if Sterne were my grandfather.”

Nescio. “Well, if you will not defend him, perhaps Tristo will. What say you?”

Tristo. “Oh! There are parts and passages of glorious beauty! The episodes of the Monk, Maria, and the dead Ass—I confess it—draw tears at the bare remembrance.”

Nescio. “Yes—but those are in the Sentimental Journey.”

[Pg 96]

Tristo. “Right. It is some years since I read it. I have of late been absorbed in poetry, wild fiction, and idle thinkings. Friend Pulito, however, if you can waken him from his trance, will, doubtless, be glad to enter the list with you—lance in rest.”

Nescio. “He must speak for himself. Come, Pulito, what think you of the proposal?”

Pulito. (Musing.) “Why, I have hardly thought, yet, of proposing, though she’s a deucedly pretty girl—Phoebus! what a face, and what a dewy lip!”

Apple. (Chuckling.) “You and she then might play a fine dew-wet together.”

Pulito. (Still gazing in his coffee-cup.) “True—she does sing well—and then, such glossy hair, and that eye of jet.”

Apple. “From that eye, then, we might expect to see a fine jet d’eau.” [At this last discharge, Pulito was thoroughly awakened, while the others wished they had been asleep.]

Nescio. “Now you’re awake, Pulito, you will, perhaps, answer my challenge.”

Pulito. “Your challenge, my dear fellow? I heard none. But, if it related, as Paley says, ‘either remotely or immediately’ to the drinking of coffee, I’m ready for you ‘when and where thou wilt, lad.’”

Tristo. “Pulito is either strangely forgetful, or ridiculously perverse to-night. Let us enlighten the fellow. While your eyes were in ‘dim suffusion veiled,’ and you were reverising upon ‘sweet seventeen,’ Nescio has offered Apple and myself, pitched battle over Sterne’s ‘Tristram Shandy.’ Apple refuses to fight, being like Knickerbocker’s fumigating warriors, more valorous with the pipe, than the sword, while I retire, inglorious, knowing nothing of this ‘bone of contention.’ Quod, who is determined to have ‘war of words,’ next offers you the challenge.”

Pulito. “Your pardon, Quod, for my inattention, and thanks to you, Tristo, for your kind mediation. By the dark-eyed houries of Mahomet’s heaven—by the beauty congregated in the harem of the Sultan, (Pooh, interjected Dumpling,)—I never—what was I going to say?—Oh! I never felt better disposed in my life to do literary battle—for I have read the book through, within the last month, and, faith, I believe I introduced the subject myself. I’ll uphold the old novelists against all gainsayers and Bulwerites.”

Nescio. “I do defy thee, stripling. As I myself once said, (rather foolishly though,)

‘I wouldn’t give the peeling of an onion
For all they wrote, from Fielding back to Bunyan.’

The old novelists against Bulwer! Why, man, Bulwer is a genius—the soul of Wit, Philosophy, and Poetry.”

[Pg 97]

“Bulwer a poet,” said Tristo—“have you read the Siamese Twins?” “Bulwer a wit,” said Apple—“in all his novels, he has no more than ten puns to a volume, on the average.” “Bulwer a philosopher,” said Pulito—“Oh! shade of Locke!”

What further open maledictions or sly hits, the ‘favorite of the periodical press’ and circulating libraries, might have received is uncertain.—Just then a shout of Fire, which rung through the reechoing halls of the building, roused our sympathies, and joining in the cry, we rushed from the room.



When the stars are watching high in Heaven,
And silence has thrown, with a magical power,
Her mystic spell o’er the face of even,
Thou may’st not come to the Fairies’ bower.
Though the star of thy fate shine lovely and bright,
And smile like a seraph just loosed from its sphere,
Yet visit not thou that bower by night,
For the spirits of evil are hovering there.
Though the seraph smile, and the voice of Love,
Should call thee forth to indulge its dream,—
Oh! go not there! though the moon from above,
Should beckon thee forth with her quivering beam.
For the flowers that grow in that silent spot,
With their lovely hues, are laden with tears,
And the birds that sing in that Fairy grot,
Will hasten away when the evening appears.
And the smile of Love will lose its light,
And the voice of the lover will lose its tone,—
And the stars that lumine the gloom of night,
Will cease to smile from their ruby throne.
And the star of thy fate will cease to shine,—
And the flowers will weep a dewy shower;
And the smile of joy will desert its shrine,
When thou strayest at eve in the Fairies’ bower.
Then, go not thou to the Fairies’ bower,
When evening is drawing her curtains round;
For the spirits that rule the midnight hour,
Are tripping at eve on that haunted ground.
April 1st, 1836.

[Pg 98]


Essay No. I.

By moral feeling, we mean a recognition of those great principles of right and wrong, which form the basis of our relation to each other as social beings. When it is exhibited in our varied character of members of a community, citizens of a commonwealth, and brethren of the human family, we give it the specific names of benevolence, patriotism, and philanthropy. Since then, these relations are so comprehensive, and so necessarily blended and interwoven with all our habits of thought and action, the influence of this feeling must extend to most, if not to all the powers of the mind. It will be our object in this series of essays, to demonstrate this influence as affecting the pleasures of the imagination.

By the benignity of our Creator, we have been endowed with the powers of taste and imagination, to throw a charm over the ruggedness of human life, and bring in a thousand tributes of enjoyment to cheer our hearts in our journeyings through this ‘vale of tears.’ These pleasures, as long as the powers themselves are uncorrupted by vice, and their purity free from the taint of unhallowed passions, are of a kind the most pure and innocent. We believe it to be an immutable law, in all the operations of the mind, that the exercise of our virtuous affections, as far as it is carried, induces the highest possible degree of happiness which we are capable of feeling. Our most exquisite enjoyments in Literature and the Fine Arts, will be found to receive their origin from something which most directly calls up virtuous associations; and in the beauties of the natural world, those scenes prove the most delightful, which elevate our contemplations to the infinite perfections of the ‘great First Cause.’

We would remark, that the influence of moral feeling tends to heighten the pleasure which we derive from Eloquence and Poetry. The pleasure which flows from these sources belongs to the highest and purest order of intellectual enjoyments. They bear with them a voice that wakes the soul to intense interest, now throwing over its powers the inspiration of sublimity, and now floating around it in tones as mellow and gentle as the last whisper of a summer breeze. Who, as he has listened to the voice of the living speaker, and been borne along on the full tide of eloquence at the will of the moving spirit, has not felt his heart swell within him to a loftier expansion, and his bosom throb with the pulsations of a new and more glorious [Pg 99] intelligence? Who, as his imagination has drank in the sweet and thrilling strains of the poet’s lyre, and his own spirit has caught the glow of his burning aspirations, has not felt a yearning to soar above and beyond the cold, sluggish atmosphere of sense, and mingle in the fancied existence portrayed so winningly before him? There is something in the ideal but splendid creations of poetry, embodying in its images all that is sublime, and all that is beautiful in the world of thought and of nature, that must ever strike within us a kindred chord. It bids the dim and far off past roll back its tide of vanished years, and centuries of almost forgotten ages pass again, with their memorials, across the theatre of existence. Palmyra rises before us from her ruin of ages, and her long deserted streets are thronged once more by the congregated strangers from a thousand lands. Rome, too, shakes off the yoke of Goth and Vandal, and resumes her proud title of ‘mistress of the world.’ Again the lofty Capitol is reared on the Tarpeian rock, the long and splendid triumphal procession enters the gates of the temple of Jupiter, and Rome is once more the ‘eternal city.’ Then we turn toward the classic shores of Greece, and Athens, the ‘mother of the arts,’ opens her splendors before us. The stately Parthenon, sublime in its proportions and chastely beautiful in its Doric simplicity, still surmounts the summit of the Acropolis. We roam with Plato through the shades of Academia; we stray with Socrates along the banks of the Ilissus; we enter the crowded forum, and listen to the soul-thrilling eloquence of the ‘prince of orators.’ We need not waste words to prove, that to the man of sensibility, there is a rich repast of intellectual luxuries in such exercises of the imagination. But rich as it is, there is one thing which can bestow a still higher flavor. It is only when the orator rises in the kindling majesty of virtue, when the soul of a patriot lightens in the flashing eye, when the wrongs of the oppressed pour the flush of noble indignation over his brow, and a nation’s voice is heard in the thunders of his eloquence, that we can know the full power of his appeals, and receive our most exquisite gratification. For by the very constitution of our mind, our deepest sympathies can be excited only when the holier and lovelier sensibilities of our being are awakened by the exhibition of moral beauty. There is something so commanding, so godlike, in this subservience of great talents to high and noble ends, that while the graces and the fire of the orator delight the fancy and the taste, all our better feelings are enlisted in the purity and exaltation of his purpose. Thus also with the poet—it is only when a spirit from above has breathed the inspiration over him, and his harp is tuned to the minstrelsy of Holiness,—when in the glories of antiquity, the ravages of time, and the mighty revolutions of empires, he leads us, with tender sublimity of feeling, to trace the wonder workings of that wisdom which ‘sees the end from the beginning’—that the imagination revels in the fullness of its enjoyment.


[Pg 100]


Bright banner of Columbia,
A fragment of the sky,
Torn down with all thy glitt’ring stars—
Angelic blazonry!
Stream onward, like the fiery cloud
That hung o’er Egypt’s sea,
Terror and darkness to the proud,
A light to guide the free.
Bright banner of Columbia!
Thou glory’st not in blood;
Yet, if the foe invade our land,
The foe shall be withstood;
A death-grasp shall his welcome be,
A bloody turf his pillow,
And on the battle-wave he’ll find
A tomb in every billow.
Dark banner of oppression,
Droop o’er thy millions slain!
All stained with floods of human gore,
Thou ne’er shalt wave again;
Save when the wail of misery,
The orphan’s plaintive cry,
And the widow’s moan amid thy folds,
Shall breathe in agony.
But thou, my country’s banner,
Unstained by guilt or crime,
Shalt wave o’er every tyrant-flag,
Until the end of time:
For Peace lies nestling in thy wings,
And each emblazoned star
Sheds down its sweetest influence
To heal the wounds of war.
Then wave thou on for ages,
O’er mountain, lake and sea,
For God has stamped upon thy folds
His word—Eternity.
Yet when the earth’s by thee forsaken,
No mortal shall weep o’er thee,
For the dread Archangel’s trump shall be
The requiem of thy glory.
[Pg 101]
Then, banner of my country,
Shalt thou be upward borne,
To gild again thy native skies,
From which thou once wert torn;
For thy earthly mission’s over,
To the dust oppression’s hurled;
Thou’st struck to none but a deathless power,
’Mid the wrecks of a falling world.


No. 3.


[1] This tale is in the hand writing of my friend.

In one of my journeys through the western part of New Hampshire, I chanced to put up for the night at a small farm-house about five miles from the little village of W——, and meeting with a somewhat curious adventure there, I have resolved to record it. My host was a little, fat faced, bustling, bandy-legged fellow, running here and there, studious for my comforts, my humble servant, &.c. &c.; and succeeding with his wife, a long, lank, sidling, vinegar-looking creature, he made out to obtain for me the only spare room in his house. Into this I was ushered with due importance, and having taken a survey of the apartment, its nice new bed, newly dusted candle-stand, oak bottomed chairs, and a high huge wardrobe, which from its antiquated appearance I judged to have been an heir-loom in the family for three centuries at least, I tossed my saddle-bags into one corner, kicked off my heavy boots into the other, and slipping my released feet into a pair of soft squirrel-skin slippers, returned again to the kitchen. There I found my host and his wife cosily seated over a sparkling fire, and from the abrupt breaking off of their conversation and half guilty countenances, I concluded they had been talking over the character of their new comer. I was never difficult to please, especially when I had fallen in with any of the peasantry, so to speak, of dear New England, and admitted to the calm content which reigns around their fire sides—so planting myself upon a settle, perhaps a dye-tub, a thing indispensible to a New England farm-house, I entered into conversation with them.

[Pg 102]

I found my host a well bred, sensible fellow, somewhat free in the use of provincialisms, and not wanting in love to a good broad-faced joke; somewhat witty withal, and a memory in which he had stored many an odd story, some good and some bad, which stories he told (when solicited) with a tolerably good grace.

I pause here to record my observations on one of the peculiarities in the New England character—I mean its modesty. Foreigners, and residents of other parts of this widely extended territory may talk of Yankee impudence, but for the life of me, in all my wanderings, I could never find the genuine modesty of a native New Englander. They may cheat you—that is, some of them may, some of their outlawed, who with trunk and tin wagon travel into other States to prey on the unwary; but where turn you and find not some, who do and ever will disgrace the soil that nursed them? For New England I claim no entire exemption; perfection is not beneath the sun: but there is more of it here than elsewhere—and in proof of it I adduce, their superior sagacity, their nobler intelligence. Where intelligence is found, will you find least of the weaknesses of human nature.

But to return: having bid Bessy, a short, flaxen-haired, chubby-cheeked damsel, of about fourteen, the very image of her father, bring him a cup of cider; and poking our chairs close into the fire—so close that the wind which came down chimney, would now and then puff out the smoke and curl it up about mine host’s neck and shoulders, making him look for all the world like Vulcan peeping through the clouds of his own smithy—he began as follows.

‘Late last March and on one of the coldest nights in my memory, my wife and me were startled by a loud knock at the door, about nine o’ the clock; and more so by the abrupt entrance of a stranger, who had been as it seems just ceremonious enough to knock, but not sufficiently so to wait until bidden a welcome. Marching directly up to the fire he doffed his cap, and then in a bland, gentle voice, and the language of a gentleman, prayed our pardons for his boldness, and craved our hospitality.

‘Now Biddy here is not the most hospitable in her feelings, but even she was softened by the coldness of the weather, and the soft accents of the stranger. So, bidding him welcome and placing before him such entertainment as we best could, he ate his meal and then sat himself down—right where you are, sir, at this moment—as if for conversation.

‘His age, I should think, was about forty five. In person he was strikingly handsome, yet care-worn; his hair was black—his eyes likewise, and a somewhat cynical curl about his small mouth made you hesitate to address him, thinking he was perhaps a person of strong prejudices. His skin was as fair as a girl’s; a fine set of teeth were displayed when he smiled; in short, his appearance was such that I should have taken him, perhaps, for a scholar; for, [Pg 103] though his dress was rich it was careless, and there was a sort of method in what he said though the subjects were simple, as I am told is ever found in men of education. At first, he was very taciturn.

“You find it a cold air, sir,” said I, breaking the silence.

“Yes—yes, sir.”

“You’ve ridden far?”

“Yes—yes, sir.”

“You’re come from the south, eh?”

“Yes—yes, sir.”

“You’re not from York, I guess?”

“Yes—yes, sir.”

‘Well, thinks I, you may be a scholar for aught I know, but hang me! if I think there’s much variety in your talk.

‘I took him on another tack.

“You have, at least, sir, come where hearts are warm, and hospitality is proffered cheerfully.”

‘He started at this; a gentle flush tinged his cheek; and he seemed struck with an ingenuous consciousness of his want of courtesy. Turning to me he took my hand in his, and pressing it, replied—

“An honest heart, sir, is its own reward. Small boots it then, that I add my sense of your hospitality to that of your own consciousness. Yet such as I have, I give, and that is but small; for I am one, sir, who cares but for a few, and one who is as little cared for by others. Once I had a heart that—that—yes! that felt—in every pulsation felt the beauty that is in morals and in virtue. Nothing lived, but it gave me happiness; nothing died, but it gave me pain—That time is past.”

‘There was something so earnest, yet unstudied; so easy, yet solemn, and ‘heart-twinging,’ to use a phrase of Biddy’s, in this, that both she and me began to water about the eyes like two babies.

‘Returning the kind pressure of his hand, I said—

“But you are young, sir—too young to feel that life has no claims upon—”

“Too old—too old, sir,” interrupted he with emphasis, “too old for earth, and too wise to do any good in it. Some of the world, sir, live faster than others. Grief can crowd twenty years into ten, and care make the vigor of manhood, the tottering imbecility of four score. Believe it not—believe it not; they err, sir, who measure life by years. Events, events notch it right—these notch the chronicle of human life.”

“And yet, sir, ’tis man’s right to be always happy.”

“Aye! and ’tis the right of the singing bird to skim the blue ether, and pour its music in concert with the harmony of the stars—but how many things invade that right! The bird that sings sweetly of a morning, may be jammed into the wallet of the clown, by evening—its music hushed, and its mottled plumes dabbled with dirt [Pg 104] and gore. Man’s prerogative to be happy! aye—but ’tis his necessity to be miserable.”

‘This, sir,’ said my host, ‘may give you some idea of his character. The evening passed off—though not very happily; for there was that about him which took hold of my feelings, and when I shook hands with him for the night there was an ache in my bosom, I could’nt well get rid of.

‘In the morning, he was up betimes—breakfasted—and rose to depart. Before he went however, he took from his bosom a paper; and handing it to me, bade me keep it till his return. ‘It is a short sketch of some of the events of my life,’ rejoined he, as he mounted his horse, ‘and though it benefit you not, it will perform at least one good office—make you remember me.’ He bowed, and rode away.

‘That paper I have now somewhere, and if you wish, sir, I will read it to you.’ My host rose, and going to a huge cat-hole, or cupboard in the corner of the room, he succeeded in finding it—not forgetting by the way, to tumble out sundry articles of house-wife memory, such as balls of yarn, woollen stockings, flannels, and night-caps, and strewing them over the floor. Seated again by the comfortable fire, he now put on a huge pair of brass spectacles, blew his nose thrice, and proceeded to decipher—


‘I pass over my boyhood.

‘I had now entered upon my sixteenth spring, and with less unhappiness, perchance, than ordinarily meets us in this world. Sadness I had known, but unkindness I had never felt; nor had a suspicion of how very opposed the heart is to rectitude, found a lodgment in my mind. I was on the point of visiting the metropolis; and I know I felt as boys mostly do on their entering into the great world—elated with the thoughts of what I was to see and meet with, in a scene I had heard so much about. I talked of little else; and when the day came heralded by a morning of unusual loveliness, my happiness almost sickened me. I remember I went out into the fields, and every thing looked gayer and brighter than I had ever seen it. The flowers looked prettier—the dew was brighter—the birds chirped to me as I passed them—and a subtle spirit of life seemed to pervade all things and participate in my happiness. I returned home happy, and strove to while off the hours preceding my departure (for I was not to leave till the afternoon)—but ere that afternoon came, a dingy, dusky atmosphere, spread itself all about the earth, and the very sky looked, as I thought, fiendish—threatening. I shall not soon forget how soon it was communicated to my feelings. My spirits sunk down. A fearful change seemed working itself through my disposition, which amazed and maddened me. I answered those sharply, who interrogated me as to the cause of it. I [Pg 105] gave my orders harshly. I ran from room to room, absent and thoughtful. In fine, all my characteristic amiableness had gone from me, and I seemed transformed into something devilish. I was changed as I suppose those spirits will be at the last day, when they turn half hoping to the judgment seat, and, reading their condemnation there, instantly become fiends.

‘A gentle tap was heard at the door, and my mother glided silently into the room; and seating herself beside me, she laid my head upon her bosom. She parted the dark curls from my forehead, and I felt her lips pressed feverishly upon it, and a tear fell upon my face—one of her tears! I opened my eyes at this and looked her full in the face—O! how she looked—pale—wan—beautiful.

“My son—my son—speak to me”—Staring her full in the face, I drew my hand half unconsciously over my eyes—then, recollection suddenly returning, I knelt wildly at her feet—

“Your blessing—Mother!” I gasped.

“Bless thee—bless thee—my boy!” I started up—screamed—and fled from the room. It seemed as if I was mad at her—mad even in my idolatry; and I verily believe I struck her, for I heard her groan and fall heavily upon the floor.

‘Before I slept I was upon the ocean—and I have a dim recollection that there was a storm—that the green and crested billows hissed angrily as the thunder growled over them—that the ship went forward like a mad horse plowing through whole mountains of water, and shaking off the white surf from her bows in sheets of silver—and I remember that the violence of the tempest seemed to harmonize awfully with the loud passions within me.

‘Years had passed. The bright enthusiasm of youth had gone off with them. The glowing thoughts, passions, sympathies, consuming themselves in their own fire—my whole character had saddened down into the melancholy, homeless wanderer. I was no longer the sunny featured boy that had spent so many pleasant hours on the hill side—by the sandy margin of the lake that washed its base and sent up there with every wind that fanned it, a gentle lullaby—by the rivulet that in early days had caught my laughing features as I bent over it to gather water flowers—no! I was that boy no longer. The peace which had once lived in my heart, had become a worthless and withered flower, scentless as a shadow; the innocency which once gave a zest to every thing had gone from me; the gray hairs of premature age were intermingled with the dark ones of my youth—no! I was that boy no longer. I had traveled—but what was travel to me? I had been in the north and south, in the east and west; I had wandered over the solemn grounds of Corcyra, [Pg 106] and amid the classic ruins of Italy; I had stood beneath the sky of Africa and sat me down like Marius amid the relics of her better days, and tried to wake in my heart some of that dormant enthusiasm belonging to young minds; but it was like seeking to resuscitate the dead dust in the earth beneath, or to call life into the mouldering mausoleums and temples around me—no! I was that boy no longer.

‘The time of the grain gathering had gone by, and later Autumn had fully set in; for the trees were more than half stripped of that gorgeous covering peculiar to this season; and no music came out from the forest save the whistle of a single quail, and this too in that pensive cadence which is heard only at the close of the year. I was revisiting the scenes of my childhood—a spot I had not seen for twenty years, and during which period I had been a wanderer where no tidings of the weal or wo of my family reached me. It is not necessary to recount the circumstances which had made me thus long a voluntary exile. It need only be said, I parted from home and all I held dear, in anger—angry with self—angry with man—angry with that pure and exemplary being who had borne me on her heart, and by whom I had been so often taught to kneel and pray even before I could myself frame a benediction—‘with her who taught me that God loved obedient children.’ O! that one offence! Any thing else—had it been any thing else, I had suppressed the groans over my nightly pillow, and borne it like a man while it grieved me. But she, she in whose character unkindness had no part—a blow, a damning blow—God! God! this was unmitigated misery. And yet I had suffered—God knows it, year after year, and seen it preying on my health, and felt it withering up all my finer sensibilities—and yet I would not return. I could not. I felt as if a power was upon me, against which my united energies were nothing. I felt as if it was my destiny, and strange as it may appear, I thought it right. I felt it certain that home was not for me, and though I would wake from an unrefreshing sleep, and recount for hours as a miser his gold every early association, it brought the wish but not the purpose to return. Sickness came—O! what a leveler is sickness of all the petty passions and enmities which creep into the dispositions of men! How it tears up the character, wrings out from the hardened heart the bitter gall of contrition, and forces into amendment! Sickness accomplished in me what reason and conscience could not do, and broke down that indomitable barrier which had so long interposed betwixt me and duty. I rose from my bed, a habitant rather of another world than the denizen of this, and my first thought was home. This cherished for a few weeks grew into a passion, and the fear that the grave had closed over all I loved magnified the wish a thousand fold, while every obstacle which now interposed betwixt me and a return sent a chill through me, like that which we may suppose lies on the heart of the dead. [Pg 107] The swiftest speed seemed but delay, and it was only on the last day of my journey and I neared home that my impatience subsided, and my anxiety began to assume another form—something terrible and strange, foreboding and oppressive.

‘The tread of the post horses down the gravelly slope which led directly to the village, roused me from a lethargy I had fallen into, and I sprang to the coach window like a madman. We were opposite the village inn. The same old antiquated elm creaked before the door, and the same old sign board flapped in the blast, and upon the high step stones that led to the main body of the building, sat a human form. A staff lay on the ground beside him—his ragged scrip was at his feet—and his form was doubled up with age. I looked closely—God of Heaven!—it was my brother.

‘But my cup was not yet full. We drew up at the inn door, and I heard the guard rudely order the beggar from the spot, and curse him for an idle mendicant. This was too much for my swollen heart to bear, and leaping from the opposite side of the carriage, I took my way forward alone. I came to the small hill which ran along by the side of the village, from the top of which the immediate valley where lay my father’s dwelling appeared in view; and as I paused there for a moment, and memory ran over the thousand senseless objects that lay around me with each of which I could associate a forgotten happiness, I thought death a boon I could have prayed for. At that moment the village school poured forth its groups of noisy and innocent children. This was as it was wont to be—this seemed natural. But looking nearer, I knew them not—they were strangers. Here and there I thought I recognized a face I had once known, but it was transient and soon passed—all was strange. A celebrated ‘Retreat for the Insane’ was in our village, and reaching the summit of the hill I stood by its walls. The door was closed but not fastened; and I know not why, but an indefinable feeling led me to enter there. I know not but it was the unbreathed wish of my heart to witness some spectacle of human suffering—hoping thereby to lessen my own; perhaps I thought I might soon make it my own dwelling, and I wanted to familiarize the objects I should meet with;—but I entered. Seated upon the ground with scarce a mat to cover them, was a lot of wretched beings busied as their several dispositions prompted them. One was blowing bubbles—he said he was maturing a system of astronomy, whereby Galileo should be forgotten and the world profited. Another was heaping up sand, and hoarding it in his bosom—he called it gold. A third it seemed had been a lay preacher, and now and then he howled forth a torrent of truth and error, interlarded with imprecations and blasphemies the most horrid. And there was one there, a tall and handsome youth, with eyes as black as midnight, and his brow drawn down into the scowl of a demon—He said he was ANALYZING A HUMAN HEART. Sudden my ears were saluted with loud and piercing shrieks that made my whole frame shiver, and betwixt each scream [Pg 108] I thought I recognized the shrill echo of a lash as applied to the naked skin. Another—and an old man came tottering round an angle of the building; and seeing me, he ran to my feet and cowered down like a whipped hound seeking for protection.

“Curse them for inhuman wretches”—groaned, or rather screamed the old man—“They chain me up like a vile beast—a dog to murder me. They drag me into that black den and shut me there, and say I’m crazed—mad. What is mad? Who?—O! yes,—my children, they broke my heart—one went from me, and the other—Ah! save me—save me”—His keepers came in sight, and in their hands were the scourges they had been using, the sounds of which had rung in my ears so appalling. “O! don’t—don’t—I’ll follow—you won’t whip me, will you master—I’m good—good”—and the old man actually knelt down, and like a beast licked the feet of his tormentors. I fell to the earth senseless.

‘A long and doleful night followed—a blank—a vacancy; so long, it seemed ten thousand eternities; so gloomy, it seemed as if the darkness was consolidated. O! what a night is that, when the helm of reason breaks—the unshackled faculties wander forth—and the maddened powers invoke images of horror, only to madden themselves the more by gazing at them! All that is grand—all that is terrible—all horrible, loathsome, fearful images, that the mind had ever while healthy repulsed, then come back on the heart like vultures that have been scared awhile from their prey, whose fasts have only whetted their ungorged appetites. At one moment, I seemed borne through the Eternal void chained to the lightnings; at another, I was dashing downward towards a tremendous barrier of cavernous rocks, and their serrated pinnacles seemed waiting to embrace me. Now I was tossed on billows of fire, and a tremendous surge would hurl me on a jagged precipice; then with its reflux suck me down through unimaginable depths, and the hot fires scorched me as they shot into my brain. Again I heard peals of laughter, and howlings of formless, shapeless beings that hovered around me; they had snakes and basilisks twisted round their foreheads, and the flames that issued from their forked mouths seemed to burn into my very soul. Then came the sense of a release—the gasping, choking, horrible consciousness, that you are struggling on the confines of two worlds, and not knowing which is to be yours—whether earth or death shall have you. Suddenly a fountain seemed tossing its cool spray over me—the fires that withered up my brain went out—the fiends that howled about me passed away—the subtlest life began to dance through my veins—and I awoke!

My first thoughts were true to their mark, and my first words, “Mother, lives she? The rest—father, brother—God of Heaven! why was I reserved for it?”

‘A form stood by me—a little maid. O! how the innocent words and kind attentions of infancy, soothe the pillow of an irritable sickness! We can’t bear the cold studied kindness of such as we are, [Pg 109] we are jealous of them; we fear they will condole with us, curse us with their stinted pity; and that too in the measured phraseology which speaks of the head and not of the heart. But a child, a gentle child—to see its little form gliding about your couch—to feel its little arms about your pillow—to catch its warm breath on your cheek as winds breathed from flowers—and see the kind and touching solicitude of the eye unused to sights of sorrow, yet enduring it like a martyr, and for ourselves too,—these make irritable diseases tolerable—may I not say happy? for the evidence of a pure and devoted affection in a human being, makes a misanthrope (and such I then was) contented with misery. And my disease was of this nature: it was a nervousness induced by excess of suffering, and my faculties had become so exquisite, that the least thing sent a dart through me that seemed tearing flesh and soul asunder.

“Mother! is she—?” excessive weakness forbade me finish the sentence.

“Your mother lives”—but she placed her finger upon her lips in token of silence. I attempted to answer—she laid her hand upon my mouth with a sweet smile, then turned and left the room.

‘Weeks passed, and still was I the denizen of a sick room; and but slowly regaining my pristine energies. My form had shrunk away—my eyes were sunk—my voice was almost entirely gone; and as I slowly paced my apartment and from the window threw my eyes on the dreariness without, (for the year had gone far into later fall, and the loud winds whistled bitterly through the naked poplars) I felt as if I had but little to do in the world, and would as lief go from it. But yet, one thing held me back, one thirst, one burning desire—the wish to see my mother. She I had not seen, and for reasons I could not unravel, her name was never mentioned. And though I was told she was in the house, I was not suffered to visit her. She was sick, but not dangerous—received my messages of love daily—returned them—this was all.

‘One dark night (I shall not forget that night) I was sitting up in bed, and counting off the weary hours as they limped laggingly by me. A weight had been on my heart all day, and racking fires had seemed scorching my brain; and so acute was the suffering, as if a band of hot iron were riveted closely round my forehead. I sat thinking—thinking of self—of my sorrows—of my strange destiny; and then there came back to me the remembrance of other days, and with them my mother—her care, love, and early tenderness, until my eyes were suffused with tears. Sudden I was startled by a low sigh breathed as it were close in my ears. I thought it delusion, but was soon undeceived—for it was repeated, and that too so audibly I could not mistake. I turned my eyes in the direction from whence it came. Again I caught it, and a strain of music rose soft and sweetly as if an angel sang it, and I saw indistinctly a shadow gliding past me. Then my name was distinctly sounded, and in a voice I knew too well. Terror had chained the powers of utterance, [Pg 110] and I only gazed at vacancy with all the horrors of some dark, indefinite foreboding. The same sigh was repeated and the name, and then as a cloud passed over the moon, a figure stood in the apartment clad in the habiliments of the grave. It smiled sweetly upon me—it was my mother! I knew she must have passed from this to a better world, and the truth came over me with a cold sweat while the palsy of my limbs made the very bed tremble. I spread out my arms in agony, and wildly clasped the air. There was another sigh, the repetition of my name—and the figure vanished.

‘I rose and threw my night garments round me, and grasping my own flesh to be sure I dreamed not, I took the light from my table and commenced a search to find—what? my mother’s corse! for such I felt I must find her, if at all—the warning was not for nothing. I traversed room after room—met no one—and came to the wing of the building where I had ever deemed she lodged; and leaving the light at the door, I slowly lifted the latch and entered the apartment. On a bed in the centre of the chamber, she lay lifeless. There was no light there, but the moon broke forth at the moment, and I saw she was shrouded for the grave.

‘O! death!—death!—how solemn thou art! How awful, when thou comest on those we love! How thought at such moments crowds on the living! How the words that once issued from the lips that lie there, come up to recollection! How the eye that looks so chill and glassy, gleams again—and the face marble-cold and as expressionless, radiates with love, hope, happiness! There she lay dead, dead—and I not forgiven. She was gone. I had not heard her say, ‘I forgive thee, boy.’ Not a word—not a look—not a blessing—God! God!—what next! O, what next!

‘I crept up to the bier and laid my cold face down to hers, and moaned in all my heart brokenness of sorrow. I kissed her—I shrieked her name—I stamped—I threw myself upon her corse. There was no Promethean heat that could reanimate it—and I felt I was alone.

‘Had I heard her say, ‘I forgive—I bless thee, child’—life were tolerable, and I would have breasted the forceful waves of misery as they came tumbling in upon me, like a man. This was denied me, and in its place is blazed in shapes of fire—That one offence.’

The evening wore away, what with the reading of the manuscript and my many inquiries concerning the stranger, and my host now showing me to my room, where with many expressions of his happiness to wait upon me, &c. &c. he bade me good night, I jumped into bed. In the morning I met him again and tried my hand with him at a good, honest, hearty, New Hampshire breakfast; afterwards I shook hands with his family, mounted my horse, and continued my journey—and such was my ‘Night at the Farm House.’

[Pg 111]



It hath been said that music is a dream,
A soft creation and a witchery
Made for earth’s happier climes, where peacefully
Men’s thoughts go by as goes a pleasant stream:—
It hath been said too, that the favored
And bright ones who so sing us into bliss,
And witch out from our souls unquietness,
And place a Sabbath softness in its stead—
It hath been said that these not mortal be,
But are of the same nature with the sky—
Ethereal, volatile, as clouds that play
About the sinking sun at shut of day:—
But sure they lie—for this soft hand in mine,
And this soft strain I hear—why, both are thine!


The Culprit Fay, and other Poems; by Joseph Rodman Drake. New York: George Dearborn, Publisher. 1835.

Over the grave of a highly-gifted and a youthful poet, gathers many a delightful and yet saddened reminiscence. It should ever be regarded as a consecrated spot—crowded with associations of no ordinary character—hallowed by the deepest and the tenderest of feelings. It is holy ground,—better fitted, it may be, than any other to allure us to reflection,—to summon into active exercise each deep emotion of the heart,—to draw out into living forms of beauty each hidden power, each finer sensibility,—and to leave us, better, purer, nobler, for its warnings and instructions. And yet, why should it be so? The grave even of the young, the gifted, and the beautiful, differs not in outward fashion or adornment, from the many which surround it. It is hollowed out from the same earth with them—closes over the same lifeless and decaying bodies—furnishes the same victim for the worm, the same banquet for corruption. The sculptured stone that marks it, is as soon to sink or crumble as another—the grass grows over it no greener—the steps of the idle and [Pg 112] the thoughtless fall not round it with a lighter tread—and the flower that blooms upon it, is as soon to fade or wither.

The grave of a youthful poet is indeed a holy spot, but it is so not alone in reference to the moldering body it enshrouds, or to the impressive comment that it reads on death. That grave is sacred, rather as a remembrancer of intellect. That body was the outward vesture of a mind. It was the drapery that imprisoned in its folds a restless and a struggling spirit, burning with the fires of heaven, yet amid the gloom of earth, and was thrown aside when tarnished, as unfitted for its purpose. In the departure of that spirit, who can tell our loss. How brilliant, yet how rapid, has been its career. Meteor-like, it has vanished from our sight, while the hopes that we had cherished have gone down for ever.

The volume, whose title we have placed at the commencement of this article, and whose merits we propose to examine with our readers, is a beautiful memorial of departed genius. The perusal of its pages has naturally led us to indulge in those reflections we have hitherto pursued. The memory of Drake—his early and untimely grave—has tended to associate with his, the same sad fate of others. We have thought of Sands, of Wilcox, and of Brainerd. Of the former, it is true, we know but little—nothing more than a few casual examinations of their works afford us. Of the latter, we know more. We delight to speak of him, not only as a poet—and as such he had few equals—but still farther, as a friend. In the first of these characters he has now been long before the public, and has gained from their decisions a conspicuous distinction—a rank higher we believe than his own expectations, although one of strictest justice and commensurate with merit. To us it is a matter of no slight regret, that a mind so richly-gifted, should have garnered up its beauties, and have been so very sparing of its splendid treasures. Brainerd was distrustful of his own abilities. The hope of approbation, was with him no motive to exertion. He cared not to lay bare the workings of a heart, perhaps too warm and sensitive, or to send abroad those finer feelings which might meet no kindred sympathies, and return to him companionless from contact with the world. It was only in those moments given up to the full flow of friendship—to the interchange of sentiments with more intimate associates—that the noblest of his qualities became developed. As a poet, he reminds us forcibly of Burns. His was the same appreciation of the charms of nature—the same exquisitely tempered sensibility—a like generosity of disposition, and as much of poignant wit and versatility. The tribute paid to the memory of Burns, may with equal justice be applied to Brainerd.

“His is that language of the heart,
In which the answering heart would speak—
Thought, word, that bids the warm tear start,
Or the smile light the cheek.
And his that music to whose tone

[Pg 113]

The common pulse of man keeps time,
In cot or castle’s mirth or moan,
In cold or sunny clime.”

When an edition of Drake’s poems, containing many pages hitherto unpublished, was announced as nearly ready for the press, we received the information with great pleasure. We expected much, and we are glad to say our expectations have been realized. The first thing which arrested our attention was the dedication, and it struck us at the time as unusually appropriate. It is a happy testimonial of respect, from a daughter to her father’s friend—to one who, perhaps, above all others, best deserved the appellation. To whom should it have been dedicated, if not to Halleck? To the community at large the loss of such a man as Drake may be regarded as a great calamity,—but to the cause of literature it is still more. It is taking from the latter one of its highest ornaments, and leaving a wide vacancy, which time may never fill. Of his general merits, as a writer, there can be but one opinion. The precise rank to which he is entitled we propose not to examine, or to venture on comparisons with critical minuteness. The exact extent of his abilities, or the results to which his genius might have led him, we would leave as questions to be settled by the taste of his admirers, and proceed to mention some of those peculiar features which stand out in his productions. In our view, his poems are distinguished for uncommon ease of diction, and the richness of their imagery. Over the wide realm of imagination our author seems to hold unlimited control, and to gather from it beauties, which he scatters with profusion. In whatever spot his fancy may detain him he is found at home, lingering around each scene with the familiarity of long acquaintance, and a perfect knowledge of each object and allurement. He is ever changing, too, in the visions he presents us. Now, he is hovering over an ideal land, sweeping forward with a wing, which, like that of the untiring Huma, is not folded upon earth. Now, he leads us forth to gaze upon the witcheries of nature,—to view the gorgeous colorings of her varied landscapes,—to break the silence of her forest solitudes,—to tread the mountain height, or to repose beside the streamlet that runs whimpering at its base. Again, he summons up our energies for a still bolder flight—carries us away to the bright fields of upper regions, onward and still onward, till our world is lost in distance, and we walk upon the star-lit plains of heaven. Anon,

“Fleet as the swallow cuts the drift,
Or sea-roc rides the blast,”

he plunges with us far within the bosom of the heaving deep, where the wrath of the storm spirit is unheard—down to the coral towers of “snail-plated” warriors, or around the amber beds of ocean sylphs and mermaids.

[Pg 114]

But exuberance of fancy, though perhaps the most prominent, is not the only quality inherent in these poems. We have before alluded to the beauty of their rhythm. This we regard as almost faultless. There is a fitness in the choice of each word, and a care in its location, which imparts to every sentence a high finish and proportion. Each line seems flowing onward, with a light and rapid motion, as it were to blend in union with a graceful whole. There are no rough corners that can meet us at the turn of each expression. The eye reposes upon nothing but a surface of unbroken symmetry, and the ear drinks in a music grateful as the murmurs of some meadow stream. We may deny it, if we choose, but there is a “charm in numbers,” and the one who holds it lightly is deficient in his judgment. The profoundest argument that man can frame, or the proudest monument of pure mind that he can offer, derives much of its impressive force from the garb in which it is presented. Unadorned it is the naked statue, modelled thus far by the youthful pupil, and that needs a master’s polish to display it in perfection. The materials for this statue, abstract intellect may, indeed must furnish, but it yet demands the touches of a cultivated taste. That education which has taught us how to reason has done well, but a different knowledge should be added ere we reap its full advantage. He who has cast loose from the firm rock of thought, that his bark may toss on summer seas to fancied shores of pleasure, has exposed himself to shipwreck—but as sad may be the fate of him, who, relying solely on the native strength of his entrenchment, has erected there no battery to render it impregnable. It would be a source of satisfaction, did our time allow the privilege, to trace still farther the idea which we have started, and to make its application to a multitude of cases, but we leave it, with reluctance, to complete our undertaking.

As specimens of graceful diction, and an almost boundless play of fancy, there are many of Drake’s pieces which remind us of the brilliant compositions of another poet—one whose harp has breathed forth strains than which there are none sweeter, and whose life has been one revel around sentiment and song. Who of us can say, whether the young poet of America might not have been to her what Moore is now to Ireland—that he would have loved her with less fervor of devotion, or have sounded forth her praises with a feebler lyre. His would have been a soul to dwell upon her charms with rapture, who when pleading for his parent soil exclaims,

“Shame! that while every mountain, stream and plain
Hath theme for truth’s proud voice or fancy’s wand,
No native bard the patriot harp hath ta’en,
But left to minstrels of a foreign strand,
To sing the beauteous scenes of nature’s loveliest land.”

From the numerous pieces which compose the volume, we select the Culprit Fay, as best adapted to exhibit the true merits of our [Pg 115] author. It is, to say the least, an elegant production—the purest specimen of ideality that we have ever met with, sustaining in each incident a most bewitching interest. Its very title is enough to kindle the imagination, and to send us wandering amid the bowers of elfin land, reviewing the traditions of our boyhood years. We recall to recollection many of those “old world stories,”—tales of brownies and the bogle burns of Scotland,—of the elves and sprites of merry England, or the mystic Wasser Nixen of the German fable. We trust ourselves with pleasure to that guidance which once more will introduce us to this region of enchantment.

The poem opens with an elegant description of the spot our author has selected for his “spell-bound realm.” It lies beside the waters of the lordly Hudson—a river whose whole shore is rich in scenes of beauty, and many of whose deep receding bays and jutting headlands have derived a lasting interest from the pen of Irving. The time is midnight—we stand upon the summit of Cronest, gazing upon a cloudless sky—every thing around us is now lulled to sweet repose—

“The winds are whist, and the owl is still,
The bat in the shelvy rock is hid,
And naught is heard on the lonely hill,
But the cricket’s chirp, and the answer shrill
Of the gauze-winged katy-did.”

Suddenly the voice of the sentry-elf, awakened from his slumbers, (how he came to be asleep our author does not tell us,) breaks in upon the stillness, as he hastens to announce the dawning of the fairy day—and crowds of tiny Fays fly answering to his summons.

“They come from beds of lichen green,
They creep from the mullen’s velvet screen;
Some on the backs of beetles fly
From the silver tops of moon-touched trees,
Where they swung in their cobweb hammocks high,
And rocked about in the evening breeze;
Some from the hum-bird’s downy nest—
They had driven him out by elfin power,
And pillowed on plumes of his rainbow breast,
Had slumbered there till the charmed hour;
Some had lain in the scoop of the rock,
With glittering ising-stars inlaid;
And some had opened the four-o’-clock,
And stole within its purple shade.
And now they throng the moonlight glade,
Above—below—on every side,
Their little minim forms arrayed
In the tricksy pomp of fairy pride!”

It is not, however, to the dance or revel that we are invited. No wild gambol is to rivet our attention. We are summoned to the trial [Pg 116] of an erring ouphe. Before us stands the throne of judgment, supported on its pillars of the “mottled tortoise shell,” and covered by a curtain of the “tulip’s crimson drapery.” Upon it sits the fairy monarch, surrounded by the nobles of his realm—before him is the culprit Fay. Weighty is the crime alledged against the prisoner. Unmindful of his vestal vow, he has dared to love an earthly maiden. He has

—“left for her his woodland shade;
He has lain upon her lip of dew,
And sunned him in her eye of blue,
Fanned her cheek with his wing of air,
Played with the ringlets of her hair,
And, nestling on her snowy breast,
Forgot the lily-king’s behest.”

His condemnation follows. The loveliness and purity of her for whom he had thus sinned, go far to mitigate the punishment to which he is obnoxious—a punishment than which none could be severer or more terrible. His sentence is pronounced.

“Thou shalt seek the beach of sand,
Where the water bounds the elfin-land,
Thou shalt watch the oozy brine
Till the sturgeon leaps in the bright moonshine,
Then dart the glistening arch below,
And catch a drop from his silver bow.
The water-sprites will wield their arms,
And dash around, with roar and rave,
And vain are the woodland spirits’ charms,
They are the imps that rule the wave.
Yet trust thee in thy single might,
If thy heart be pure and thy spirit right,
Thou shalt win the warlock fight.”

With this explanation of the nature of his penance, we leave the sentenced Fay to enter on his toilsome journey and meet us in its progress at a different quarter.

We have heard often of the circumstances which led to the production of this poem, and of the astonishing rapidity with which it was composed. How this may be we know not. Judging from the beauty of its several parts, and still more from its finish as a whole, it strikes us as the result of long continued labor, polished and perfected with a scrupulous attention. The subject which our author has selected, is one admirably fitted to display his genius. It is one, however, that demands unceasing effort, and requires the constant workings of his brilliant fancy. From the ordinary range of illustration he is certainly excluded, while the path to the attainment of his object is both difficult and devious. He has drawn around himself a magic circle, into which no human form can enter. Nothing earthly is to mingle in the scenes to which he calls us. Each action, [Pg 117] in its origin, continuance, and termination, must be fitted to the beings he has chosen for his actors. With this view of his undertaking, we may fear for the result, and watch with much anxiety its full accomplishment. It is not long, however, that we feel this apprehension. We soon discover that our author is prepared for each adventure—that he gains a ready conquest over every opposition, while his flight continues onward with an undiminished ardor.

Here again we are to greet our pilgrim fairy. Long and wearisome have been his wanderings. Hour after hour has he toiled amid the passes of the mountain, and fearful are the perils he has been compelled to meet. He has followed out a dangerous track,

“Through dreary beds of tangled fern,
Through groves of nightshade dark and dern,
Over the grass and through the brake,
Where toils the ant and sleeps the snake,”

till he has reached the spot appointed for the trial of his courage. He has found the treasure that he sought, protected by the warriors of the deep, and been baffled by their forces in the efforts he has made.

It is in this crisis of affairs that we meet with a deliverance as ingenious as it is successful. It is necessary, for our author’s purpose, that his hero, though thus far defeated, should yet gain his object, and with that intention he has brought him to his present situation. The events which we have compressed into the narrow space of a few lines, have been presented in detail up to the period in which the Fay, driven from his purpose, stood despairing on the river’s brink. It is thus the history continues,—

“He cast a saddened look around,
But he felt new joy his bosom swell,
When, glittering on the shadowed ground,
He saw a purple muscle shell;
Thither he ran, and he bent him low,
He heaved at the stern, and he heaved at the bow,
And he pushed her over the yielding sand,
Till he came to the verge of the haunted land.
She was as lovely a pleasure boat
As ever fairy had paddled in,
For she glowed with purple paint without,
And shone with silvery pearl within;
A sculler’s notch in the stem he made,
An oar he shaped of the bootle blade;
Then sprung to his seat with a lightsome leap,
And launched afar on the calm blue deep.”

Guarded in this manner from the machinations of his enemies, whose power was bounded by the wave, our adventurer holds on his course uninjured, and effects his purpose. His return, surrounded by a[Pg 118] crowd of ocean nymphs, is beautifully represented. We refer our readers to the volume for the passage.

Here the scene of this poem changes, and we find our Fay is still destined to another duty—one far more difficult than any he has yet accomplished. The remainder of his sentence now demands attention.

“Thy flame-wood lamp is quenched and dark,
Thou must re-illume its spark.
Mount thy steed and spur him high
To the heaven’s blue canopy;
And when thou seest a shooting star,
Follow it fast, and follow it far—
The last faint spark of its burning train
Shall light the elfin lamp again.
Thou hast heard our sentence, Fay;
Hence! to the water-side, away!”

To the execution of this last injunction all his powers are now directed, and we find him thus equipped for this most daring enterprise.

“He put his acorn helmet on;
It was plumed of the silk of the thistle down:
The corslet plate that guarded his breast
Was once the wild bee’s golden vest;
His cloak, of a thousand mingled dyes,
Was formed of the wings of butterflies;
His shield was the shell of a lady-bug queen,
Studs of gold on a ground of green;
And the quivering lance which he brandished bright,
Was the sting of a wasp he had slain in fight.
Swift he bestrode his fire-fly steed;
He bared his blade of the bent grass blue;
He drove his spurs of the cockle seed,
And away like a glance of thought he flew,
To skim the heavens and follow far
The fiery trail of the rocket-star.”

From the passage above quoted to the close of the poem, is extended a long series of most exquisite description. Each instant of our flight, unfolds to our enraptured vision scenes ever changing, and increasing in their splendor. Already have we hurried by the misty region of the cloud.

“The sapphire sheet of eve is shot,
The sphered moon is past,
The earth but seems a tiny blot
On a sheet of azure cast.”

We rest not till we stand beside

—“the flood which rolls its milky hue,
A river of light on the welkin blue,”

surrounded by the brightness of celestial realms.

[Pg 119]

As specimens of fanciful illustration, we give a description of the palace chosen for the empress sylph of heaven, which our author introduces by way of episode before proceeding to fulfill his purpose.

“Its spiral columns gleaming bright
Were streamers of the northern light;
Its curtain’s light and lovely flush
Was of the morning’s rosy blush,
And the ceiling fair that rose aboon
The while and feathery fleece of noon.”

Again, we have a notice of the queen’s apparel.

“Her mantle was the purple rolled
At twilight in the west afar;
’Twas tied with threads of dawning gold,
And buttoned with a sparkling star.”

In looking back upon the numerous quotations we have made, we fear that we have trespassed, it may be too long, upon the patience of our readers. To analyze the poem fully—and such was our first intention—would conduct farther than our limits will allow. We shall therefore hasten to a close, and from several passages which still remain unnoticed, select one most distinguished for the richness of its coloring. It contains the greater part of the address of the queen sylph to our wandering Fay, when endeavoring to detain him in her presence, she draws a glowing picture of prospective bliss.

“Within the fleecy drift we’ll lie,
We’ll hang upon the rainbow’s rim;
And all the jewels of the sky
Around thy brow shall brightly beam!
And thou shaft bathe thee in the stream
That rolls its whitening foam aboon,
And ride upon the lightning’s gleam,
And dance upon the orbed moon!
We’ll sit within the Pleiad ring,
We’ll rest on Orion’s starry belt,
And I will bid my sylphs to sing
The song that makes the dew-mist melt;
Their harps are of the umber shade,
That hides the blush of waking day,
And every gleamy string is made
Of silvery moonshine’s lengthened ray;
And thou shalt pillow on my breast,
While heavenly breathings float around,
And, with sylphs of ether blest,
Forget the joys of fairy ground.”

The emotions which this burst of burning passion excited in the doubting Fay, are well described. The remembrance of his earthly [Pg 120] love, joined to the recollection of a sentence unperformed, enables him at last to utter a reply declining even such enjoyment. The impassioned queen, too generous to enforce her wishes, surrounds him with a spell that guards from every evil, and then bids him a reluctant and heart-felt adieu. Rapid is his progress to the termination of his labors. The conflict is soon over, and the prize is won. Already is he on the confines of his native land, and we listen to the music that proclaims his welcome. Gladly would we follow him still farther.

“But hark! from tower on tree-top high,
The sentry elf his call has made,
A streak is in the eastern sky,
Shapes of moonlight! flit and fade!
The hill-tops gleam in morning’s spring,
The sky-lark shakes his dappled wing,
The day-glimpse glimmers on the lawn,
The cock has crowed and the Fays are gone.”



No one, save he who has witnessed with a heart all susceptible to the beauties of nature, can even picture to himself the delightful scene of a summer’s evening in the fair region of Granada. The mellowed tints of the declining sun gilding every object with a fairy brightness; the gushing fountains sending forth their drops of ruby light; the thick groves of citron and pomegranate, casting their deep shadows in the distance, seemingly inviting to repose, almost transport with rapture an inhabitant of our northern clime.

It was on such an evening, that a betrothed pair sat beneath the marble arcade at the dwelling of the Alcalde of the district. Their hearts seemed in unison with the delightful scene around them; their words were music to each other’s ears; their thoughts were of bright joys of the future,—and no one could have looked upon their innocent embrace, or listened to their words of love, without deeming their happiness complete. The youth rose to depart.

‘Nay, Muza, do not leave me yet,’ exclaimed the happy girl, as she turned her bright, half-smiling, half-imploring eyes, upon her lover; ‘but a short hour have we been together, and wilt thou leave me so soon?’

‘Leave thee, Zareda? nay, I would never leave thee.’

‘Why then dost thou look thus anxiously towards Hafiz, as if waiting but for thy steed to depart?’

[Pg 121]

‘Love, art not thou ever with me, as well in the raging of the conflict and in the exultation of victory, as when, side by side, we sit beneath the overhanging bower and by the cooling fountain? Am not I still with thee; and do not the thoughts of thee lead me on to glory? Allah be praised, that he has given me such a presiding angel.’

‘Thy praise is far too high, Muza, else, why shouldst thou not be willing to pass some longer portion of thy time in the immediate presence of such an angel?’

‘Love, think of our race, and lament not these too short moments of bliss; our race, scorned and trampled upon by the Christian, fast falling into the chains of slavery, and compelled to toil for him;—shall we endure it? No! rather let the desert be our home,—the home of our ancestors,—barren and desolate though it be, still may we breathe the air of freedom.—Yes, my country needs my sword, my country and my love. Do not then grieve for this short interview; am not I wholly thine,—and will not to-morrow join us never more to part? Farewell then, for a few short hours, made doubly brief by thoughts of thee.’ So saying, Muza sprang lightly upon his horse, which his faithful attendant had already led forward, and soon disappeared behind the trees that o’erhung the path. Zareda stood gazing in the direction, so long as the sound of trampling hoofs was audible, as he flew over the plain, and then, full of bright anticipations of the morrow, retired to her chamber.

That what follows may be readily understood, it is necessary to state, that the incidents of the present sketch occurred about the year 1450, when Mohammed X. ruled over the kingdom of Granada, but who, together with his people, was in turn experiencing the ill fortunes of war from the increasing power of the Christians, as had, nearly eight centuries before, the Goths from his predecessors. Though, at the time of which we write, the army of the Christians was not in force against them, still, a kind of partizan warfare continued,—sometimes, indeed, to the temporary triumph of the Moors, but always, eventually, to the permanent advantage of their enemy. The Christian leaders, attended by a few hundred followers, were continually ravaging the country; and one of them, Fernando Narvaez, with less than two hundred men, had more than once spread alarm to the very gates of Granada.

It was on the eve of an expedition of one of these partisan bands, as some twenty cavalry were scouring the country, seizing upon such travelers as were so unwary, or rather unfortunate, as to fall into their hands, that upon turning an acclivity rising abruptly from the road, and skirted by a grove of citrons, they came full upon a young Moorish horseman, riding leisurely forward, as though unconscious of danger. He appeared to be just in the prime of manhood; in stature rather above middling, yet finely proportioned. His noble bearing, together with the richness of his dress, proclaimed him a [Pg 122] person of distinction and a warrior; his turban and scarf were wrought of the most costly materials, and spangled with jewels, whilst a sword and buckler of exquisite workmanship hung by his side;—his horse was in every respect worthy of his rider. No sooner did he perceive the band of the enemy, than he turned in flight with the speed of the wind; winding rapidly round the edge of the hill, until, for a moment, he was obscured from sight, he dashed headlong into the grove, trusting to art and his knowledge of the country to elude their pursuit. But escape was vain. They hurried eagerly forward, piercing the grove in every direction, following each winding path, and seized upon him as he was emerging from the opposite side. Resistance he saw would be useless; but he deigned not a word to his captors, and there was nought betrayed emotion, save a slight curl of contempt upon his lip as he delivered his arms into their hands, and quietly took his station, as he was bid, between two of their number. They continued about an hour reconnoitering the country, but no enemy appearing, returned to their quarters, bringing with them their prisoner.

During this interval, the young Moor had had leisure to reflect upon his situation. He was a brave warrior; and like every one who is truly brave, he possessed not only a spirit of boldness and daring during the raging of the battle, and in the hour of triumph, but could yield to disappointment and defeat, and meet the reverses of fortune with equal fortitude. So now, though he knew from the first that slavery would be the mildest lot for which he could even hope, nevertheless, he willingly yielded to necessity, and seemed to the observer, as if regardless of his situation. But this appearance was not long maintained;—a tinge of melancholy stole over his countenance; the stern and fearless look of the warrior was changed to the appearance of thoughtful anxiety and inward grief;—some more powerful emotion, and apparently unconnected with the feelings of a soldier, was working at his heart. Such was his situation as they arrived at their quarters, and conducted him immediately to the presence of their leader.

All the decision and sternness of a Spanish general was depicted in the countenance of Narvaez. His authority was usually severe, and his will not to be questioned; but, at times, he would exhibit a natural disposition of kindness and benevolence, which endeared him to his followers, and rendered him none the less fitted to command.

‘Who art thou?’ said he, as the prisoner was led before him, ‘and whither wert thou going, thus unattended, through a hostile country?’

‘Christian,’ said the Moor, as he endeavored to assume an appearance becoming his rank, but which, it was evident at the time, cost him no slight exertion,—‘know that I am the son of the Alcalde of Ronda; and I was going, this very night, to claim—’ but the effort was too much for him; he burst into tears.

[Pg 123]

‘Thou astonishest me!’ cried Narvaez,—‘thy father I knew well, and, though an enemy, yet will I acknowledge him as brave a warrior as ever crossed a lance; but thou weepest like a woman! Seest thou not that this is but one of the chances of war; one, which thy noble father would have met, had fortune so ordered, with as calm a brow as if greeted with the tribute of success? Is the son so far degenerated from the sire!’

‘Nay, Christian,’ answered Muza, for it was he, ‘I hope in all things to be worthy of the fame of my father; and among my own people, the name of Muza ben Hassan is not spoken with contempt. ’Tis not for the loss of liberty that I grieve, but for something a thousand times dearer than that, of which I must be deprived;’—and as he concluded the sentence, his spirit, which for a moment had been aroused by the taunting allusion to his degeneracy, sank again. But Narvaez saw the marks of a noble mind within, as he drew up his manly figure to its height, displaying to the best advantage his finely proportioned limbs, whilst his brow contracted with a look almost of defiance. He saw that there was something more than his present misfortune which so powerfully affected him,—and at once he became deeply interested in the youth.

‘And what is that,’ said he, as he saw him a little more composed, ‘which thou valuest at a price so much dearer than liberty?’

‘Know then, since thou wishest it, that I have long been in love with the daughter of a neighboring Alcalde; that love was crowned with success, and this very night was to have made her mine, but thy arms have detained me. She is even now waiting in suspense, or perhaps accusing me of inconstancy,—wretched, wretched fate! would that I might see her yet once more.’

‘Noble cavalier! if thy wish is granted thee, wilt thou promise to return before to-morrow’s sun?’

‘Allah bless thee, generous Christian!’ exclaimed Muza, overjoyed at the proposal, ‘upon the word of a Moor, whose word, when sincerely given, has never been broken, I promise faithfully to return. Generosity, I see, belongs not to one race alone.’

‘Go then,—and remember thy promise,’ said Narvaez, as he gave orders to permit him instantly to depart.

Let us change the scene, and introduce once more the fair lady of our tale, whom we have already too long neglected. Throughout the day all had been bustle and preparation in the house of her father. The halls had been richly hung with tapestry, and put in readiness for the giddy dance; the tables were loaded with the choicest productions of that fruitful clime for the marriage banquet. Zareda had been all gayety and happiness; but towards evening she appeared more thoughtful, and her accustomed laugh and words of mirth were no longer heard. She expected to have seen him ere this, and to have met that embrace, which would crown all her love. An hour passed away, yet still he came not:—her watchfulness was [Pg 124] fast verging to anxiety. Another long half hour is gone—in gloomy sadness she sat herself down ’neath the arcade, where they had so often met together. ‘Why comes he not?—has any mischief befallen him?—has he fallen into the hands of any marauding company of the enemy? has he—can it be, that he has deserted me?—away, ungrateful thought! it cannot be; some accident surely has overtaken him.’ As these, and various like reflections, were passing in her mind, a song of plaintive melancholy fell softly on her ear.

The rainbow’s brightest tint
Soonest fades away;
The tenderest floweret’s bloom
Quickest meets decay.
The first bright rose of spring,
That exhales its morning breath,
Returning dews of even
Strike with the chill of death.
So I, my love, must soon
Ne’er meet with thee again,—
Our marriage tie is changed
To slavery’s cruel chain.
Thy ruby cheek will fade,
Tears dim thine eye of blue,
For I, my love, must bid
A long, a last adieu.

So deeply melancholy was the strain—so much in unison with her own increasing fears, that Zareda recognized not the cheerful voice of her Muza, till the song was finished, and he himself stood before her.

‘Muza, is it thou?—thanks to Allah! now will we indeed be happy. But why so late? Is this the eagerness with which to meet thy bride?—or why didst thou fright me with that gloomy song?’

‘Zareda, I am a prisoner; perhaps a slave—two hours ago I fell into the hands of the enemy, and I am now to behold thee for the last time.’

‘A prisoner! how so, even if thou hast been with the enemy, since thou now standest here free before me? Thy bonds are loose for a Christian’s hands to inflict. Oh Allah! hast thou too proved faithless to thy country! art thou a—’

‘Traitor! and from thee! Zareda, hear me: accuse me not of faithlessness either to thee or to my country. Though I am now before thee, still am I no less a prisoner; I must return before to-morrow’s sun—my word is pledged. Then doubt me not, but take my last farewell. Would that I might see thee happy; then would I be content.’

[Pg 125]

‘I will not doubt thee, Muza. Oft hast thou given me proofs of thy love, but this surpasses all.—Nay, thou shalt not say farewell; I will go with thee, perhaps they may listen to my prayers. I have wealth and jewels,—they shall purchase thy freedom, or together we will share thy fate.’ Muza saw that to oppose her wishes would only increase her zeal; and, though he had no hopes for his own freedom, he knew that to her at least no injury would be suffered by his enemies. Zareda was soon in readiness to depart, and long before morning they had arrived at the station of their enemy. Narvaez was ready to receive them.

‘Ha,’ exclaimed he, as Muza again appeared before him, supporting on his arm the trembling Zareda, ‘thou hast brought thy mistress with thee, to cheer thy spirits, and soften the ills of confinement?’

‘Christian,’ said Zareda in a faltering voice, falling at the feet of Narvaez, ‘if thou hast an eye to pity, a heart to feel, do not separate us. Here is money: here are jewels—take them all, but let him go free.’

‘Generous maiden, fear not;’ and he raised her gently as he spoke;—‘thy devotedness is worthy the fidelity of thy lover. Cruel should I indeed be, had I the heart to mar such happiness as is in store for thee. Go, and may ye both live long to enjoy your happiness.’

But the goodness of Narvaez was not alone manifested in words. He loaded them with presents, and furnished an escort to conduct them in safety to Ronda. And long was the name of Narvaez celebrated in song and romance, as the generous-hearted Christian.



Bless thee, reader—Let us live and love, since brief is our time for either. Of course, I wish to please thee. I might make a huge boast of independence: but the boast would be as false as foolish. I might feign contempt of thee, and of the public: but it would be a wicked lie. So far as I am an author, thy smiles, and their favor, are my life. I may read, think, act, to please myself; but it is clear that I write to please thee. This blows sky-high all scornful prefaces, such as some modern authors paste on the foreheads of their little bantlings, which they send forth to angle for favor in the muddy and shifting stream of popular applause. How mortified are these scribbling autocrats, when their very cartels of defiance are unanswered, and unread! Yet, on the other hand, is there something of courtesy,—nay, of indulgence, due to him, who neither assumes, nor dictates, but offers, in the words, and with the spirit of humility, what he hopes may please, and possibly instruct. I steal not—I [Pg 126] borrow not. Scanty though be my cloak in breadth, and coarse in texture, yet I wove it in mine own loom, and with mine own hands. Whatever I give is mine, or rather, was—for it is thine now. It is all I have—the widow’s mite—and, as such, receive it. I would not bring a “vain oblation” to the literary altar—that blood-stained shrine, on which so many a helpless victim is dissected by unfeeling butchers. I have not time to give thee much, (I fear me thou art not sorry,) nor can I ‘lick into shape’ what I do give.

I have thought of essaying a few remarks on the principles of translation, and the practice of translators, that thou be not inordinately surprised, if on comparing my version with the original, thou dost not find in both all the same words, and in the same order—meeting, tooth to tooth. I do so to satisfy the scruples of the well-disposed, and not to blunt the arrows of small-beer wit, or to elude the aim of pop-gun ammunition. “Out! out! brief candle!” says the immortal Shakspeare. “Get out! get out! you short candle!” says the spruce Frenchman. The Frenchman was literal; but he had better have understood the spirit of his author, and given that, though it were with a periphrasis. The truth is, you cannot render any passage in a Greek or Latin poem religiously into English—preserving the precise form, attitude, expression and size—if you attempt the absurdity, you present to the eyes of your readers, not a living body, but a lifeless corpse. All, that can be done with works written among nations at so wide a remove from our own in age, character, customs, and religion, is to breathe the spirit and manner of the original into English as elegant, yet close and strong as possible. Their works are full of phrases and allusions, which, with us, are dry and barren, while to them they were instinct with poetry, and eloquent with meaning. To the heart of the Grecian the history of his country was sanctified, and made dear by a long line of traditionary glories. Familiar to them, though lost to us, were a thousand memories of mystic interest, and patriotic pride—tales of the gods and heroes, who had lived and moved in their land, amid the days of its splendor—histories woven from facts, but tinged in the multitudinous colorings of fancy—fables, that stretched far back through the haze of ages, from wonder to doubt, and from doubt to darkness. Here had Jupiter been cradled in the mountains—there gushed a fountain from the foot-print of Neptune’s charger—here, from the sown teeth of the slaughtered dragon, sprang to life and fell in battle a field of steel-clad warriors—and there had Orpheus charmed the stones to life, and made the forests dance in chorus to his lyre. These were so many chords of interest, which the poet had but to touch, and the souls of his readers responded with a thrill. Now all these springs of passion are sealed to us—for, in the first place, the history of another and a buried nation excites but a feeble sympathy, compared with that which ponders and glows above our own—and, secondly, we rarely feel deeply what we do not thoroughly [Pg 127] believe, or fully comprehend. Deprived, then, of these advantages, unaided by fancy, and unadorned by language, a translation would be about as touching as a table of tangents. And this is what has made English translations so insipid compared with English originals, and has induced in some the belief that even the master-pieces of antiquity are poor and pointless—the fondled god-children of pedantic book-worms. This deficiency the translator must labor to supply. It is to be supplied—not by stripping the original of its nationality, and making it apply as well to New England as to Greece—but by preserving it bold, free, and spirited, as it is in its native language—by clothing it in words sufficiently glowing and graceful to arouse sympathy, yet exhibiting, through all, the body of the original, like a lamp flame, shining through its glassy vase—in short, by having it still Greek, but English-Greek.

This accords with the practice of all the best translators. No translator ever gave, or intended to give every word, or even shade of idea, that he found in the original. I appeal with confidence to any page in Dryden, or Cowley, in Addison, or Pope. They have, I acknowledge, generally carried their liberality to a fault—still, if they do not translate correctly, who does? Open at any page of Pope—say the last four lines of the Iliad. Read the simple original. “And after having heaped up the (sepulchral) mound, they went back. And then, happily assembled, they banqueted upon a very splendid banquet in the dwelling of Priam, Jove-nourished king. Thus did they attend to the burial of Hector, tamer-of-horses.”

“All Troy then moves to Priam’s court again,
A solemn, silent, melancholy train.
Assembled there, from pious toil they rest,
And sadly shared the last sepulchral feast.
Such honors Ilion to her hero paid,
And peaceful slept the mighty Hector’s shade.”

Too wide, I grant—yet it is Pope, the king of translators.

Addison, dear reader, was not a bad translator. Yet take his rendering of that grand Horatian—the third of the third book. “Not the heat of the citizens, commanding crooked things, not the countenance of an urgent tyrant, shakes in his solid mind the man just and firm to his purpose.”

“The man, resolved, and steady to his trust,
Inflexible to all and obstinately just,
May the rude rabble’s insolence despise,
Their senseless clamors, and tumultuous cries:
The tyrant’s fierceness he beguiles,
And the stern brow, and the harsh voice defies,
And with superior greatness smiles.”

[Pg 128]

He has rendered literally but four words, and them I have italicised. Is it, therefore, a bad translation? No. It is good—though, with all due deference to thy shade, Oh! Joseph, I must think it a little diffuse—still, it is good, because it expresses the spirit and manner of the original in fine, forcible English. I give thee a literal translation—not that one better and as close might not be made—but to exemplify the difference between transfusing the spirit and the words of an author from one language into another.

The upright man, who to his purpose clings,
No rabble’s heat, commanding crooked things,
Nor urgent tyrant’s countenance can shake
In his firm mind——

Almost perfectly literal, and—sweet reader—how spirited! I might multiply my remarks, were I not loth to divide thine attention.

I give thee two or three things—such as an aching head and sleepy eyes made them.

By Lucillius, to Nicylla.
Those, who affirm that thou dost dye
The ringlets of thy jetty hair,
Can easily be proved to lie—
Thou bought’st them black as now they are.
By the same, to a Miser.
Thou hast, indeed, the rich man’s pelf,
But dost possess the beggar’s soul,
Oh, thou, who starvest for thyself,
And for thine heirs in wealth dost roll.
By the same. Envy.
When Flaccus on the gallows swung,
And chanced to see a brother-thief
Upon a loftier gibbet hung,
He grinned, and died in envious grief.
A quodam, mihi ignoto.
A man, that once before has married,
And longs again the noose to splice,
Is one, that has at sea miscarried,
And wishes to be shipwrecked twice.

Be this a caveat to all amorous widowers.


[Pg 129]


“Charles K.” is a well written tale, and, as it is apparently founded upon facts, would undoubtedly interest those personally acquainted with the scenes which it describes; but, unless we misjudge, it would strike others differently.

“Evening Thoughts,” an article on William Wirt, and a “Sonnet,” are declined.

“The Seminole,” with some metrical alterations, may appear in our next.

“A Rhyming Mood,” is accepted.

The author of “Niobe,” and “Spring,” (we suppose them both from the same pen,) would do well to use the ‘file’ a little more freely, and also, read, at his leisure, a chapter or two of some treatise on Perspicuity.

“My Village Home,” “The Pleasures of Innocence,” and “The Future,” (which, from the paper and chirography, we judge to be the productions of one and the same intellect,) might, perhaps, be creditable to the powers of an Infant School poet; but, Dii Immortales! can it be possible they have been perpetrated by any one of riper years? Take a specimen or two.

“But ah! where’s now their boyish pranks
Since last I saw those sloping banks;
Time’s stern mandate, bid to hardy toil,
Some with Fame—the rest on Nature’s soil.”
“Oh! ’tis that off distant hill
By the shady grove, all leafless—still
Where I’d seek an humble place
To lay low my care-worn face.”

[Pg 130]



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 3 sheets. Postage, under 100 miles, 4½ cents; over 100 miles, 7½ cents.

Transcriber’s Notes

A number of typographical errors were corrected silently.

Cover image is in the public domain.