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poems

And unalloyed by aught that can defile
Or darken. No mean interest bath a place
In the still worship offered up to them,
Whether we meet them in the vaulted sky,
Or the invisible air-or see them round us,
Creatures of earth, as we are, but informed
With this unquestioned title to command

The heart's obedience.”—pp. 3, 4.
The poet proceeds to speak of the power of these great
principles of beauty and grandeur over the heart and the ima-
gination, in all periods, even in those of which history has pre-
served no record, but of which the poetry is yet looked upon as
the highest effort of human genius. He dwells upon the in-
fallible certainty with which the human mind again recurs to
them whenever, for a time, they have been obscured by the ig-
norance and false taste of the age. Their effect upon the
happiness of those who love them with the warmest affection,
and study them with the greatest ardour, is then touched upon,
and illustrated by instances from the lives of the most celebra-
ted poets. This part of the poem is written with great feeling,
and though we cannot quite assent to the position which the au-
thor seems to lay down, that a good poet is, of course, good
for nothing else than to write poetry; yet we cannot help en-
tering into the pathos with which he dwells upon the story of
their fortunes. At the close of this melancholy review, he ex-
claims

“O! it is painful,
To think the very chiefest of the mighty,
Heroes in song, as there are those in war--
How they were made the butt and sport of fools,
Trampled and crushed by such as would have perished
Utterly, had not they asserted thus
An impious fame-0! 'tis enough to deaden
All the fond hopes, the generous desires,
The emulous strivings of a heart awake
To high ambition, and with early glow
Bearing itself up the proud eminence
Of intellectual fame. Go on, fond youth,
While yet the charm is on thee, and the power
Of virtue is unquestioned—let no thought
Of what may come, disturb thee—there is in thee
A buoyancy, that can awhile sustain
The world's cold burden-let this time of respite
Be filled up well, for it may give to thee
Fit leisure for attaining such a height
As after violence cannot wrench thee from.
Know too the bigh-strùng hopes of youth impart
An energy, and passion to the song,
That they inspire. There may be nicer art,

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And a more fitting harmony of sounds,
And words of better choice in riper strains ;
But youth, and much too often, hope is gone
At least the hope of greatness, and for this
Nothing is left, but what the erring light
Of a far-distant glory, or the call
Of instant need, can waken. Therefore seize
The undoubting moment, and may heaven befriend thee,
And lead thee in the shadow of thy faith,
Nor quite desert thee, till the point is gained,
When thou canst say, a victory is won,

That none should scorn."-pp. 20, 21. From this part of his subject, he turns to more delightful themes. The following, if we are not mistaken, is a just, as well as most beautiful sketch of the genius of a great living poet:

" There is a life
In all things, so a gifted mind hath told
In most oracular verse--and we may well
Forgive a heart, that could not brook the sight
Of any suffering thing, that he indulged
Such fond imaginings, as gave to him
Companions, whereso'er he took his way
Through hill or valley. He beheld himself
Surrounded by a multitude of friends,
Who with familiar faces welcomed him
In the blank desert- for the changing sky,
Cloudless, or overshadowed by all shapes,
That grow from air—the sun who walks at noon
Untended, and the lesser light that binds
Her brow with stars, and all her retinue
Of living lamps, had each a voice for him
Distinctly audible, though to other ears
They had no sound. The mountain, whose bald forehead
Looked o'er a host of hills, each compassing
A grassy vale, and in each vale a lake
Of crystalline waters, and a busy brook
Winding in ever shifting light along
The daisy-tufted meadows, now asleep
In a smooth-mirrored pool, then all awake
To leap the cascade, and go hurriedly
Over the sparkling pebbles and bright sands-
The mountain, and its train, had all for him
A welcome, and they uttered it with smiles
All the long summer, and they told to him
In winter such high mysteries, he learned
To speak a holier language, and his heart
Was ever haunted by a silent power,
In whose immediate presence, he became
Thoughtful and calm--and so his lofty faith,

Which some of poorer spirit have pronounced
A madness, was to him the quickening spring
Of Poesy, such as we cannot read

Without a sense of awe.”—pp. 23, 24. The poem concludes with a magnificent vision, in which we have a view of some of the most illustrious masters of song, seated in the midst of that imaginary beatitude which is conferred by posthumous fame, and the hold which their immortal writings keep on the hearts of every successive generation. We have had a little difficulty in making out one or two of these personages from the description of our author, and in our turn recommend the attempt to our readers as a trial of their ingenuity. One of them, of whom it is said that he had suffered foul and cruel wrong from his fellow men, till the natural kindness of his heart had departed, and his mind became filled with musings of fierce resentment and dreams of horrible vengeance on his enemies, is thus supposed to address the author, in the following passage, with which the poem concludes :

“ Hear
Carefully what I utter, and retain it
Deep in thy heart of hearts. We are a band,
Who gave ourselves, in life, to the high art
Of song. For this we left the flowery walks
Of pleasure, and forewent the better aims
Of wealth and power--and some of us were doomed
To bear the burden of consuming care,
And wrestle onward to a welcome grave
Through poverty and scorn—and yet we bore
Mansully all our wrongs, and never broke
The allegiance we had vowed, but rather chose
To leave all the world covets most, and keep
The honourable service of the lyre,
Whose rich reward is fame. And we have gained it,
And thus far we are happy. If thy heart
Feel aught of longing to be one of us,
Be cautious and considerate, ere thou take
The last resolve. If thou canst bear alone
Penury and all its evils, and yet worse,
Malevolence, and all its foul-mouthed brood
Of slanderers, and if thou canst brook the scorn
And insolence of wealth, the pride of power,
The falsehood of the envious, and the coldness
Of an ungrateful country—then go on
And conquer. Long and arduous is the way
To climb the heights we hold, and thou must bide
Many a pitiless storm, and nerve thyself
To many a painful struggle. If thy purpose
Is fixed, then welcome. We will hover o'er thee,
Thy guardian spirits, and thy careful ear
May often listen to our friendly voice,

After thy earnest toils. We now are with theem
Thou hast the records we have left behind,
And thou canst read them, as we wrote them down,
Fresh from the heart and this it is to hold
Communion with us. Let it not depress thee,
That few will bid thee welcome on thy way,
For 'tis the common lot of all, who choose
The higher path, and with a generous pride
Scorn to consult the popular ear. This land
Is freedom's chosen seat, and all may here
Live in content and bodily comfort, yet
'Tis not the nourishing soil of higher arts,
And loftier wisdom. Wherefore else should He,
Who, had he lived in Leo's brighter age,
Might have coni manded princes, by the touch
Of a magician's wand, for such it is
That gives a living semblance to a sheet
Of pictured canvass—wherefore should he waste
His precioas time in painting valentines,
Or idle shepherds sitting on a bank
Beside a glassy pool, and worst of all,
Bringing conceptions, only not divine,
To the scant compass of a parlour piece-
And this to furnish out his daily store,
While he is toiling at the mighty task,
To which he has devoted all his soul
And all his riper years—which, when it comes
To the broad light, shall vindicate his fame
In front of every foe, and send to ages
His name and power-else wherefore lives he not
Rich in the generous gifts of a glad people,
As he is rich in thought? There is no feeling
Above the common wants and common pleasures
Of calm contented life. So be assured,
If thou hast chosen our companionship,
Thou shalt have solitude enough to please

A hermit, and thy cell may show like his.”-pp. 38-40. These are by no means comfortable words. Our citizens are not, to be sure, much in the habit of buying historical pictures. We hope they will contract the habit by and by—but, in the mean time, they certainly buy and read a great deal of poetry-transatlantic poetry we mean. The works of the principal living British poets, are things which every body must have; they are a sort of classics among us; every body would be ashamed not to have read them. Those who can afford it, procure the most elegant English editions, with beautiful designs; those who cannot, content themselves with the cheaper editions of our own country, where they often run through several impressions. If, therefore, the native literature of the United States is not patronised as it ought to be, it

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is not owing to the want of a strong appetite for literature among our citizens. The great difficulty is, that we are afraid of committing ourselves. We do not like to praise a thing, till we see the seal of transatlantic approbation upon it. like those singers at a church, who do very well while sustained by a few skilful and powerful voices, but feel excessively awkward at being obliged to sing alone. We are greatly distressed, and are apt to be wonderfully feeble and faint in our applauses, when we are obliged to utter them without the chorus of the British literati to keep us in countenance. One would be apt to suppose, that as the meritorious productions of our native literature are by no means numerous, they would be sought after with great avidity, and that no well educated man among us would be willing to acknowledge himself unacquainted with their contents. Such, however, is unfortunately not the case. Fashion has almost as much to do in directing what books shall be read, as what dresses shall be worn; and a large class of people look into none but such as her dictates make it necessary to read. It is the fashion throughout the United States, to read the tolerable English works of the day—but fashion has not made it indispensable to read Amecan works of the same degree of merit. A very good book may be published in one of our principal cities, and acquire a considerable reputation there, and yet be scarcely heard of in the others. Within a twelvemonth, there appeared in this city a treatise on a very important subject, one of the best compositions of its kind, both for matter and style, of which the English language has to boast. We think very highly of it here, but we cannot learn that any body to the east or the south of us has read it. We did ourselves the pleasure of paying the tribute of our approbation to its merits in the first number of the New-York Review, but as we have seen no record of it in the other chronicles of literature, which are so respectably conducted in different parts of the union, we conclude that the book has not come to the knowledge of either the editors or their contributors.

Of the malevolence which obstructs the patronage of our literature, spoken of in the passage last quoted, we must be permitted to have our doubts. Personal enemies and rivals a man of genius may have, who might be glad to lower his reputation; but it seems to us, that all the neglect of talent in our country, and all the unfortunate criticisms upon works of merit, of which there is any great reason to complain, may be traced to other causes than enmity or rivalry. They have their origin, no doubt, in that indecision and uncertainty of

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