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bodying some delicately discriminating it would be difficult to find within its and suggestive description, some preg- bounds another region of such sylvan nant epithet, linger in the minds of many beauty and wild grandeur. The eye is who have forgotten or who never knew filled with images that make their own enthe name of their author.
| during places in the mind, storing it with As is so often the case the longer and rich and unfading pictures. Among more ambitious poems of this writer are these scenes, as might be supposed, Mr. of much less value than the shorter and Street ranged with a ceaseless delight, less pretentious ones, though all embody probably heightened by the strong conmore or fewer of those exquisite mosaics trast they afforded in their startling picof descriptive touch, which constitute the turesqueness to the soft, quiet beauty of principal charm of his works.
those of Dutchess. Instead of the smooth That his merits were not overlooked by meadowy ascent, he saw the broken hillthe highest authorities of the past or side blackened with fire, or just growing passing generation, some of their criti- green with its first crop. Instead of the cism on his works will best show; the yellow corn-field stretching as far as the extracts which they give in support of eye could see, he beheld the clearing their opinions, have an intrinsic and abid- spotted with stumps, with the thin rye ing beauty which will be at least equally growing between ; instead of the comappreciated now.
fortable farm-house peeping from its orAlfred B. Street was born in the vil- chards, he saw the log-cabin stooping lage, now city, of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess amid the half-cleared trees ; the dark raCounty, N. Y., well known as one of the vine took the place of the mossy dell, and most beautiful in the State, situated on the wild lake of the sail-spotted and farthe side and summit of a slope that swells stretching river. up from the Hudson. From College Hill Thus communing with nature, Mr. there is a prospect of almost matchless Street embodied the impressions made beauty. Ascene of rural and sylvan / upon him in language, and in that form loveliness expands from every point at its most appropriate in giving vent to deep base; the roofs and steeples of the busy enthusiastic feeling and high thought village rise from the foliage in which it the form of verse. Poem after poem was seems embosomed ; the river stretches written by him, and being published in league upon league with its gleaming those best vehicles of communication curves beyond ; to the west is a range of with the public, the periodicals, soon atsplendid mountains ending at the south tracted attention. Secluded from manin the misty peaks of the Highlands ; kind, and surrounded with nature in her whilst at the north, dim outlines sketched / most impressive features, his thought upon the distant sky, proclaim the domes took the direction of that which he saw of the soaring Catskills. It was among most, and thus description became the these scenes that our author passed his characteristic of his verse. Equally cut days of childhood; here his young eye off from books, his poetry found its orifirst drank in the glories of Nature, and gin in his own study of natural scenes, “the foundations of his mind were laid." and in the thoughts that rose in his own
When, however, at the age of fourteen, bosom. The leaves and flowers were his he removed with his family to Monticello, / words; the fields and hillsides were his he was immediately surrounded with pages ; and the whole volume of Nature scenes in striking contrast with those of his treasury of knowledge. This, while it his former life. Sullivan County had been may have made him less artistic, was the organized only a score of years, and was means of that originality and unlikeness scarcely yet rescued from the wilderness. to any one else which are to be found in Monticello, its county town, was sur-| his pages. rounded by fields which only a short time. But while thus employing his leisure, before were parts of the wild forest, Mr. Street was engaged in studying his which still hemmed them in on every side. profession of law in the office of his father, These forests were threaded with bright and in due time was admitted to the bar. streams and scattered with broad lakes, After practising for a few years at Monwhile here and there the untiring axe of|ticello, in 1839 he removed to Albany, the settler, during the last quarter of a where he has continued to reside until century, had been employed in opening the present time. the way for the industry and enterprise of The Foreign Quarterly Review, one of man. Secluded as Sullivan County is in the most distinguished of the English the southwesternmost nook of the State, publications, in an article which bears severely upon nearly every other Ameri- All weave on high a verdant roof can poet excepi Bryant, Longfellow, Hal- | That keeps the very sun aloof, leck, and Emerson, speaks in the follow- Making a twilight soft and green ing manner of Mr. Street: .
Within the columned, vaulted scene. “ He is a descriptive poet, and at the
Sweet forest odors have their birth head of his class. His pictures of Amer
From the clothed boughs and teeming earth; ican scenery are full of gusto and fresh
0 | Where pine-cones dropped, leaves piled and ness ; sometimes too wild and diffuse, }
dead, but always true and beautiful. The open | Long tufts of grass and stars of fern ing of a piece called the • Settler’ is very With many a wild-fower's fairy urn striking.
A thick, elastic carpet spread;
Here, with its mossy pall, the trunk
Resolving into soil, is sunk;
There, wrenched but lately from its throne, And rushing, thundering down were flung | By some fierce whirlwind circling past, The Titans of the wood;
Its huge roots massed with earth and stone, Loud shrieked the eagle, as he dashed
One of the woodland kings is cast.
Above, the forest tops are bright
But now a fitful air-gust parts
The screening branches, and a glow His poems are very unequal, and none of Of dazzling, startling radiance darts them can be cited as being complete in Down the dark stems, and breaks below; its kind. He runs into a false luxuriance
ins into a false luxuriance | The mingled shadows off are rolled, in the ardor of his love of nature, and in
The sylvan floor is bathed in gold; the wastefulness of a lively, but not
Low sprouts and herbs, before unseen, large imagination ; and like Browne, the whor of the · Pastorals,' he continually | Tints brighten o'er the velvet moss,
Display their shades of brown and green; sacrifices general truth to particular de- Gleams twinkle on the laurel's gloss; tails, making un-likenesses by the crowd. The robin, brooding in her nest, ing and closeness of his touches. Yet | Chirps, as the quick ray strikes her breast, with all his faults his poems cannot be And as my shadow prints the ground, read without pleasure."
I see the rabbit upward bound, The Westminster Review also noticed With pointed ears an instant look, the poems in the following manner :
Then scamper to the darkest nook,
Where, with crouched limb and staring eye, “It is long since we met with a volume,
He watches while I saunter by. of poetry from which we have derived so much unmixed pleasure as from the col-la nor
A narrow vista carpeted lection now before us.
With rich green grass invites my tread; " Right eloquently does he discourse of | Here, showers the light in golden dots, Nature her changeful features and her | There, sleeps the shade in ebon spots, varied moods, as exhibited in his own So blended that the very air · America with her rich green forest. Seems network as I enter there. robe ;' and many are the glowing pic- The partridge, whose deep rolling drum tures we would gladly transfer to our] Afar has sounded on my ear,
| Ceasing its beatings as I come, pages, did our limits permit, in proof of Ce
Whirrs to the sheltering branches near; the poet's assertion that Nature is
The little milk snake glides away, man's best teacher. But we must only. The har
| The brindled marmot dives from day; quote
And now, between the boughs, a space
Of the blue laughing sky I trace ;
On each side shrinks the bowery shade;
Before me spreads an emerald glade ;
To the cool forest's shadowy bowers; | Merrily hums the tawny bee,
| The glittering humming-bird I see; Traced by the browsing herds, I choose, | Floats the bright butterfly along, And sights and sounds of human kind,
The insect-choir is loud in song ; In Nature's lone recesses lose ;
A spot of light and life, it seems The beech displays its marbled bark
A fairy haunt for fancy dreams. The spruce its green tent stretches wide, While scowls the hemlock, grim and dark, Here stretched, the pleasant turf I press
The maple's scalloped dome beside. i In luxury of idleness ;
Sun-streaks, and glancing wings, and sky He is a true Flemish painter, seizing Spotted with cloud-shapes, charm my eye ; upon objects in all their verisimilitude. While murmuring grass, and waving trees As we read him, wild flowers peer up Their leaf-harps sounding to the breeze,
froin among brown leaves; the drum of And water tones that tinkle near Blend their sweet music to my ear;
the partridge, the ripple of waters, the
| flickering of autumn light, the sting of And by the changing shades alone, The passage of the hours is known."
sleety snow, the cry of the panther, the
roar of the winds, the melody of birds, A complete and beautiful edition of and the odor of crushed pine-boughs, are Mr. Street's poems, in a large octavo vol- present to our senses. In a foreign land. ume of more than three hundred pages, his poems would transport us at once to was published by Messrs. Clark & Austin home. He is no second-hand limner, of the city of New York. The following content to furnish insipid copies, but criticism of it appeared in the Demo-draws from reality. His pictures have cratic Review, and we cannot better im- the freshness of originals. They are part to the general reader an idea of Mr. graphic, detailed, never untrue, and often Street's mental characteristics, than by | vigorous ; he is essentially an American transferring it, beautifully written as it is, I poet. His range is limited ; but he has to our pages. It was originally published had the good sense not to wander from anonymously, but is understood to be bis sphere, candidly acknowledging that from the fine and graphic pen of H. T. the heart of man has not furnished him Tuckerman, and was republished in “A the food for meditation, which inspires a Sketch of American Literature," by Mr. higher class of poets. He is emphaticalTuckerman, appended to Shaw's “ Com- ly an observer. In England we notice plete Manual of English Literature :” that these qualities have been recog.
“God has arrayed this continent with nized ; his 'Lost Hunter' was finely a sublime and characteristic beauty, that illustrated in a recent London periodical should endear its mountains and streams — thus affording the best evidence of the to the American heart; and whoever picturesque fertility of his muse. Many ably depicts the natural glory of America, of his pieces, also, glow with patriotism. touches a chord which should yield re- His Gray Forest Eagle' is a noble sponses of admiration and loyalty. In lyric, full of spirit; his forest scenes are this point of view alone, then, we deem minutely, and, at the same time, elabothe minstrel who ardently sings of forest rately true ; his Indian legends and deand sky, river and highland, as eminently scriptions of the seasons have a native worthy of respectful greeting. This zest which we have rarely encountered. merit we confidently claim for the author Without the classic elegance of Thomof these poems. That he is deficient son, he excels him in graphic power. occasionally in high finish — that there is There is nothing metaphysical in his turn repetition and monotony in his strain of mind, or highly artistic in his style : that there are redundant epithets, and a but there is an honest directness and corlack of variety in his effusions, we con- dial faithfulness about him, that strikes fess, at the outset, is undeniable ; and/ us as remarkably appropriate and manly. having frankly granted all this to the Delicacy, sentiment, ideal enthusiasm. critics, we feel at liberty to utter his just are not his by nature; but clear, bold. praise with equal sincerity. Street has genial insight and feeling he possesses to an eye for Nature in all her moods. He a rare degree ; and on these grounds we has not roamed the woodlands in vain, welcome his poems, and earnestly advise nor have the changeful seasons passed our readers to peruse them attentively. him by without leaving vivid and lasting for they worthily depict the phases of impressions. These his verse records Nature, as she displays herself in this with unusual fidelity and genuine emo land, in all her solemn magnificence and tion. We have wandered with him on a serene beauty." summer's afternoon, in the neighbour- We extract also a portion of an elabohood of bis present residence, and rate and exquisite criticism upon the same stretched ourselves upon the greensward volume, which appeared in a late number beneath the leafy trees, and can there- of the American Review, written by its fore testify that he observes, con amore, editor, George H. Colton. the play of shadows, the twinkle of sway- “The rhymed pieces are of different ing herbage in the sunshine, and all the degrees of excellence. There are quite phenomena that make the outward world too many careless lines, and here and so rich in meaning to the attentive gaze.' there is an accent misplaced, or a heavy
word forced into light service ; but the As, on his flapping wing, the crow
All steeped in that delicious charm and there is often — not in the simply
Peculiar to our land,
That comes, ere Winter's frosty arm narrative pieces, like 'The Frontier in
Knits Nature's icy band; road' or · Morannah,' but in the fre
The purple, rich and glimmering smoke quent minute pictures of Nature - a
That forms the Indian Summer's cloak, heedless but delicate movement of the When, by soft breezes fanned, measure, a lingering of expression corre For a few precious days he broods sponding with some dreamy abandon Amidst the gladdened fields and woods. ment of thought to the objects dwelt upon, or a rippling lapse of language See, on this edge of forest lawn, where the author's mind seemed con
Where sleeps the clouded beam, scious of playing with them — caught, as
A doe has led her spotted fawn
To gambol by the stream; it were, from the flitting of birds among
Beside yon mullein's braided stalk leafy boughs, from the subtle wander
They hear the gurgling voices talk; ings of the bee, and the quiet brawling While, like a wandering gleam, of woodland brooks over leaves and peb The yellow-bird dives here and there, bles.
A feathered vessel of the air. "Some liquid lines from · The Wille
“So also of a short piece called “Midwemoc in Summer' are an example, at summer :' if an ethereal and dreamy once, of Mr. Street's sweetness of versifi-loand
!- landscape' by Cole or Durand is a cation, in any of the usual rhyming measures, and still more of his minute pictur
painting, why not this a poem ? ing of Nature.
An August day! a dreamy haze
Films air and mingles with the skies; Bubbling within some basin green
Sweetly the rich dark sunshine plays, So fringed with fern the woodcock's bill Bronzing each object where it lies. Scarce penetrates the leafy screen,
Outlines are melted in the gauze Leaps into life the infant rill.
That Nature veils; the fitful breeze
From the thick pine low murmuring draws, Now pebbly shallows, where the deer
Then dies in flutterings through the trees. Just batles his crossing hoof, and now
“ Another piece of a different style, but Broad hollowed creeks that, deep and clear, Would whelm him to his antlered brow;
equally vivid and felicitous, is the prelude Here the smooth silver sleeps so still
to a scene of 'Skating. It is impossible The ear might catch the faintest trill,
not to admire it in every line. It is, by The bee's low hum — the whirr of wings, the way, an example almost faultless of And the sweet songs of grass-hid things. measuring the melody by accents, not by
syllables. Blue sky, pearl cloud and golden beam Beguile my steps this summer day,
The thaw came on with its southern wind, Beside the lone and lovely stream,
And misty, drizzly rain ; And mid its sylvan scenes to stray;
The hill-side showed its russet dress, The moss, too delicate and soft
Dark runnels seamed the plain; To bear the tripping bird aloft,
The snow-drifts melted off like breath, Slopes its green velvet to the sedge,
The forest dropped its load, Tufting the mirrored water's edge,
The lake, instead of its mantle white, Where the slow eddies wrinkling creep
A liquid mirror showed ; Mid swaying grass in stillness deep.
It seemed, so soft was the brooding fog,
So fanning was the breeze, “ Still more exquisite - exquisite in
You'd meet with violets in the grass, every sense of the word – unquestion
And blossoms on the trees. able poetry – is 'The Callikoon in Au-! “ In the use of language, more espe
« In the use of tumn. The last verse in particular is of
cially in his blank verse, Mr. Street is the finest order.
simple yet rich, and usually very felici
tous. This is peculiarly the case in bis Sleep-like the silence, by the lapse
choice of appellatives, which he selects of waters only broke,
and applies with an aptness of descriptive And the woodpecker's fitful taps Upon the hollow oak;
beauty not surpassed, if equalled, by any And, mingling with the insect hum,
poet among us — certainly by none exThe beatings of the partridge drum,
cept Bryant. What is more remarkable With now and then a croak,
– quite worthy of note amid the deluge of diluted phraseology bestowed on us than some passages from “A September by most modern writers —- is the almost Stroll’? exclusive use, in his poems, of Saxon There
on The thread-like gossamer is waving past, words. We make, by no means, that Borne on the wind's light wing, and to yon loud objection to Latinisms which many branch feel called upon to set forth. In some Tangled and trembling, clings like snowy silk. kinds of verse, and in many kinds of prose, The thistle-down, high lifted, through the rich they are of great advantage, mellowing Bright blue, quick float, like gliding stars, and the diction, enlarging and enriching the then power of expression. Unquestionably 'Touching the sunshine, flash and seem to melt They have added much to the compass of
s of: Within the dazzling brilliance. the English language. This is more, however, for the wants of philosophy than
That aspen, to the wind's soft-fingered touch,
Flutters with all its dangling leaves, as though of poetry – unless it be philosophical
Beating with myriad pulses. poetry. For in our language nearly all the strongest and most picturesque 1 “Besides this observation, keen as the words, verbs, nouns, adjectives, are of Indian hunter's, of all Nature's slight and one and two syllables only; but, also, simple effects in quiet places, Mr. Street nearly all such words are of 'Saxon origin. has a most gentle and contemplative eye Descriptive poetry, therefore, to be of for the changes which she silently throws any force or felicity, must employ them; over the traces where men have once and it was this, no doubt, that led Mr. been. For instance, in “The Old Bridge' Street – unconsciously it may be – to and The Forsaken Road.' So of a paschoose them so exclusively. For the sage in · The Ambush,' which sinks into same reason, Byron, who in power of the mind like the falling of twilight over description is hardly equalled by any an old ruin. other English poet, used them to a loid winding
a Old winding roads are frequent in the woods, greater extent, we believe, than any other By the surveyor opened years ago,
moulder of verse' since Chaucer, unless | When through the depths he led his trampling we may except Scott in his narrative band, verse ; Wordsworth, on the other hand, Startling the crouched deer from the underwhose most descriptive passages have brush, always a philosophical cast, makes con- With unknown shouts and axe-blows. Left stani draft on Latinized words, losing as again much in vigour as he gains in melody
To solitude, soon Nature touches in and compass. In all Mr. Street's poems
Picturesque graces. Hiding, here, in moss
The wheel-track — blocking up the vista, the reader will be surprised to find scarce
there, ly a single page with more than three or | In bushes - darkening with her soft cool tints four words of other than Saxon derivation. The notches on the trees, and hatchet-cuts
This extraordinary keeping to one only Upon the stooping limbs — across the trail of the three sources of our language -- Twisting, in wreaths, the pine's enormous for the Norman-French forms a third is owing, in great part, to the fact that And twining, like a bower, the leaves above. his poetry is almost purely descriptive ; Now skirts she the faint path with fringes deep yet not wholly to this, for any page of
e of Of thicket, where the checkered partridge Thomson's
Its downy brood, and whence, with drooping • Task,' will be found to have four times
s! wing, as many. It is certain, at least, that the It limps to lure away the hunter's foot. use of such language has added im- Approaching its low cradle ; now she coats mensely to the simplicity, strength, and the hollow stripped by the surveyor's band picturesque effectiveness of Mr. Street's To pitch their tents at night, with pleasant blank verse ; and, as a general considera- grass, tion of style, we recommend the point to So that the doe, its slim fawn by its side, the attention of all writers, whose diction | Amidst the fire-flies in the twilight feeds ; is vet unformed, though we hold it a mat. And now she hurls some hemlock o'er the
track, ter of far less importance in prose than in
Splitting the trunk that in the frost and rain poetry,
Asunder falls, and melts into a strip " It will not be, difficult to make good all we have said, by choice extracts, except for the difficulty of choosing. What, “As the painter of landscapes, lowfor example, could be finer in its way ever, can never rank among the greatest
f umber dust.