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Its principle is to annoy the foe,
But still we say, how vile
Turn the storied page,
Oh! this, we say,
“ But why heaves the Earth?
The greatness of the Roman ?”—pp. 117. 120. The author next considers the accusation of cruelty brought against the Indian character.
“ This strong charge is brought,
We dare the unarm’d, and conquer them at once.
That quench'd their battle thirst.”—pp. 121, 122. After an enumeration of some of the most atrocious cruelties recorded in ancient and modern history, the author asks what has been the example of her own country.
-The answer speeds
Where'er ye turn'd?-p.126. The author has the hardihood to add to this bloody list the memorable destruction of the Chehaw villages, in 1818.
It is to be hoped that she will not have the opportunity, in a future edition, to increase her catalogue of treacheries and wrongs, committed against these unfortunate tribes, by the story of the Creeks dispossessed by a pretended treaty and driven from their fair territory, the land of their fathers, whose fertile bosom they were learning to cultivate, and where, after having contracted the vices, they were beginning to practice some of the virtues, and enjoy some of the blessings of civilization.
The labours of the earlier missionaries, and the later and more successful attempts to christianize and civilize the savage tribes of our country, are the subject of the two concluding cantos. There is good sense in the following passage.
“ Hail, holy hearts,
pp. 156, 157. The following also is good advice, if not good poetry :
your life evince
The prophets, and the law.”—pp. 165, 166. The poem closes with a fervent and eloquent exhortation to the citizens of the United States, to aid in conveying to this unfortunate race the blessings of knowledge and religion. We would give some extracts from this part of the poem, were it not that the copious ones already made will give a sufficient idea of the characteristic merits and faults of the work. With respect to the faults, they do not seem to arise so much from any deficiency or perversion of taste, as from a want of steadiness and diligence in its application. The author is inclined to revert too often and dwell too long upon the common-places of her sub ject, and to repeat in verse many things which had grown exceedingly trite in prose. There is too much wordiness in the style ; the adjective is too prominent a part of speech ; and numerous epithets are introduced tending in no degree to heighten the beauty or the force of the expression, and which are therefore so many incumbrances and deformities.
In some instances, they seem employed merely for the purpose of eking out the measure; a fault for which there can be no excuse in the composition of blank-verse. There is also a tincture of what may properly be called the cant of poetry-a set of conventional phrases, formerly called poetic diction, but which, being something worn and threadbare, has been laid aside by the poets of the present day as a cast off garment. We are sorry that the author has condescended to pick up any of these gaudy rags, and to use them as ornaments to her own
natural and flowing dress. Nearly allied to this fault, if not reducible to it, is the practice in which we have sometimes detected her, of saying very homely things in a certain stately circumlocutory way, with great pomp and noise of words, and very little distinctness of meaning. The following is a curious instance of this sort.
“ That unpitying pain
The horrid thorn.”—pp. 101, 102. The riddle is duly explained in two several notes, to which we refer the reader, after he has sufficiently puzzled himself over this cabalistic passage. The author is not always more fortunate when she would speak out, and call things by their right names; as for example
“ The healers sought the cell,
The rigid sinew.”—p. 102. Enough, however, of these examples. We must allow that the work has sufficient merit to make ample amends for all the faults we have noticed. Amidst much that is commonplace, there is a great deal that is striking and original. In these passages it is that the author appears to the best advantage, and shows a prompt conception of the beautiful and pathetic, a compass and fertility of illustration, and a freedom, force, and unaffectedness of diction, which bring them into strong contrast with the exceptionable parts, upon which we have animadverted. In short, the poem is one which needs only a little pruning and cutting down to make it a very beauful and interesting work. We admit that a larger book may be made by printing all that one writes; but it is a false economy which cannot afford to lose what is only cumbrous and worthless. It is idle to say that taste is any restraint upon the flights of genius; we should rather say that taste is the guide and support of genius. The strong love of the noble, the beautiful, and the impassioned, and the ready discrimination of these from their opposites—faculties which are only another name for taste-are the sources to which we owe all that is excellent and admirable in poetry. They whose writings have been the delight and
wonder of the world for ages, did not certainly possess a smaller share of these qualities than those who in later times have set themselves, from the observation and meditation of those immortal works, to construct the canons of criticism. We can, therefore, assure the author, that whenever she writes again, she need apprehend no abatement of the vigour of her fancy, or of her power over the feelings, from the unsparing excision of every thing tame, tumid, or unnatural, which may escape her pen.
Art. XXVII. Memoirs and Recollections of Count SEGUR, Ambassador
from France, to the courts of Russia and Prussia, &c. Wri!ten by himself. Boston : Wells and Lilly; and E. Bliss and E. White, New-York. 1825. Books of this kind possess a peculiar charm over the minds
Possess a peculianti of readers. There is scarcely any thing to which we recur more often and more willingly, and which detains us longer and wearies us less in the perusal, than the written recollections of one who has seen a great deal of men and things, and who, at the evening of a long life, occupies those moments, which can no longer be devoted to action, in recording the events of his youth and bis manhood. Old men are their own best biographers. What they write is generally written in the silence of the passions, when the false lights in which things were seen, and the false values which the parties and the interests of the moment affixed to them, have ceased to exist. It is then that trifling events are devested of the disproportionate importance once conferred upon them by accidental circumstances, and the animosities which prevented a just estimate of the characters and talents of men are healed by time or covered by the grave. At this stage of life too, the events of the day begin to lose their hold on the memory ; the man lives in the past rather than the present; the scenes and incidents which he has witnessed as a spectator or as an actor arrange themselves in his mind in their original order and distinctness, and the vividness of their impression is renewed when the passions which they excited are laid asleep forever. He has nothing in life upon which to look forward; and his advanced age is a sort of quiet post of observation, from which he may indulge the love of retrospection natural to that period, and take both a clearer and calmer view of his past history than any other stage of bis life could have offered him. Under these circumstances the self-biographer writes with something of the impartia