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MISS FRANCES JANE CROSBY,
AN AMERICAN AUTHORESS.
"Tis bright where'er the heart is;
The poems of this blind lady have been so much and so justly admired by all who have read them, and have so frequently drawn from the pen of reviewers acknowledgments of their superior excellence, almost amounting to adulation, that a few glimpses of her early history will be received no doubt by our readers with interest. To her assiduous efforts as a teacher, the Institution for the Blind at New York, with which she has long been connected, owes much of its present prosperity; and to her aid in many other respects it is, no doubt, indebted for its worldwide reputation.
No one can read her poems and not be struck with the simple beauty and elegance of her style, the correctness of her imagery, and her giddy flights of
fancy, as may be seen in the poem entitled, “ Visit to a Fixed Star.” And more particularly is she happy in the choice of enphonic words, and in the construc tion of musical and well rounded sentences, which is said to be a characteristic of the blind. In the preface of her first work, the writer of it observes: “That one who, from the earliest period of infancy, has been deprived of sight, and whose entire knowledge of external objects, from which to paint with the imaginative pencil, has been derived from oral description, should be able thus faithfully to present scenes from nature, and in colors so vivid and true as to render the reader incredulous as to the originality of the production, is a subject of surprise, as well as admiration.
As an evidence that Miss Crosby is in some degree a a reasoner, as well as poetess, we copy the following lines from her last work, entitled, “Monterey and other Poems:
TIME CHRONICLED IN A SKULL
Wny should I fear it? Once the pulse of life
• Thoughts suggested to our authoress on facing her watch in a human skall bich was one day put into her hands.
And hatred-all are buried in the dust:
The novel circumstance which formed the subject of this poem, though trivial in itself, was well calculated to inspire our authoress with deep and sublime emotions, and at once suggest to her a train of mel ancholy reflections.
“Why should I fear it? Once the pulse of life
What terror must she have feit, on placing her hands on the dry, hard bones, which once formed the prison house of an immortal mind! Ilow reluctantly must she have placed her watch in the dark cavity where once sat enthroned a reason, an ever-active intelligence, that thinks, that wills, that knows, and yet knows not itself, or its own destiny !
“I hear thy voice, and tremble as I hear;
Among her many creditable performances, this poem unquestionably excels in point of what we conceive to be true merit. It certainly stands unrivaled by any modern production of the blind we have yet seen. It not only possesses many intrinsic beauties, but discovers in the writer a depth of thought, and an appreciation of the sublime truly surprising
Miss Frances Jane Crosby, an élève of the New York Institution for the Blind, was born in 1820. At the early age of six weeks she lost her sight, by a tit of severe illness. Nor was this her only misfortune. Losing her father about this time, and her mother being left in indigent circumstances, scarcely able to provide for her own maintenance, the early education of her sightless daughter was entirely neglected.
Her unhappy condition at this period we cannot better describe than she herself has done in the ollowing:
“She sat beside her cottage door,
While their young hearts were light and gay,
That he all merciful and mild,
This is a sad but no doubt true picture of her childhood. Possessing from her infancy a poetica! temperament, quick perceptions, and a sensitive nature, she perhaps felt more deeply her privation. This is not the case, however, with all blind children; their inventive genius soon suggests methods for joining other children in their sports. Parents should
. be careful to encourage their little sightless charges, who seem to them so helpless, in healthful and playful exercises ; allow them to r!ın at will about the yards where they are not exposed to danger, and dovote at least a small portion of their time each day to their mental training. In this way they would soon become as active and vigorous, both physically and mentally, as seeing children, and be guilty of quite as many mischievous pranks.
Strange notions have been entertained, by writers of all ages, in relation to blindness. Some suppose it to be not only the greatest calamity that can befal one, but to preclude the possibility of a strong and