Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

of painters. so the merely descriptive | O'er the branch-sheltered stream, the laurel poet can never stand with the highest in

hangs his art. It needs a higher power of the

Its gorgeous clusters, and the basswood

breathes, mind, the transforming, the creative. /

te: From its pearl-blossoms, fragrance. Mr. Street endeavours only the pictures of external things. He rarely or never But now the wind stirs fresher ; darting round idealizes Nature ; but Nature unidealized The spider tightens its frail web; dead leaves never brings a man into the loftier re- | Whirl in quick eddies from the mounds; the gions of poetry. For the greatest and highest use of material Nature, to the Creeps to its twisted fortress, and the bird poet, is that she be made an exhaustless | Crouches amid its feathers. Wafted up, storehouse of imagery ; that through her!

ough her The stealing cloud with soft gray blinds the multitude of objects, aspects, influences, | And in its vapory mantle onward steps

sky, subtle sources of contrast and compari- 1 The summer shower : over the shivering grass son, he should illustrate the universe of It merrily dances, rings its tinkling bells the unseen and spiritual. This is to be | Upon the dimpling stream, and, moving on, TOINTIS Maker, CREATOR. It is that It treads upon the leaves with pattering feet strange power of

| And softly murmured music. Imagination bodying forth

“ Again in Autumn :The forms of things unknown.

The beech-nut falling from its opened burr

Gives a sharp rattle, and the locust's song It is to interpret, idealize' Nature.

Rising and swelling shrill, then pausing short, “ This is what Mr. Street never at- Rings like a trumpet. Distant woods and hills tempts. He never gives wing to his im- Are full of echoes, and all sounds that strike agination. He presents to us only what Upon the hollow air let loose their tongues. nature shows to him - nothing farther. The ripples, creeping through the matted Or, if he makes the attempt, striking out

grass, into broader and sublimer fields, he is

Drip on the ear, and the far partridge-drum

Rolls like low thunder. not successful. He is not at home, in

The last butterfly,

n. Like a winged violet, floating in the meek deed, when describing the grander fea- | Pink-coloured sunshine, sinks his velvet feet tures of Nature herself, but only as he is / Within the pillared mullein's delicate down, picturing her more minute and delicate | And shuts and opens his unruftled fans. lineaments. He can give the tracery of Lazily wings the crow, with solemn croak, a leaf, or the gauze wings of a droning From tree-top on to tree-top. Feebly chirps beetle, better than the breaking up of a The grasshopper, and the spider's tiny clock world in the Deluge, or the majesty of Ticks from its crevice. great mountains —

“How exquisite are these pictures !

with what an appreciation, like the miThroning Eternity in icy halls.

nute stealing in of light among leaves A remarkable example of this is the first does he touch upon every delicate feapiece, “Nature.' Through the first part, ture! And then, in how subtle an alemwhere he is describing the Creation, the bec of the mind must such language bave Deluge, the sublime scenery in parts of been crystallized. The curiosa felicitas' the world with which his senses are not cannot be so exhibited except by genius. actually familiar, his imagination does “Mr. Street has published too much ; not sustain itself, and his verse is com- he should have taken a lesson from Mr. paratively lame and infelicitous. But Bryant. He constantly repeats himself, when he comes to the quiet scenes in too, both in subjects and expression. America, which he has seen and felt, he His volume, therefore, appears monotohas such passages as these, passages nous and tiresome to the reader ; withwhich, in their way, Cowper, Thomson, out retrenchment it can hardly become Wordsworth or Bryant never excelled. popular. But we shall watch with much “ Thus of Spring:

interest to see what he can do in other

and higher spheres. Meanwhile, howIn the moist hollows and by streamlet-sides ever, we give him the right hand of felThe grass stands thickly. Sunny banks have lowship and gentle regard, for he has burst

filled a part at least, of one great departInto blue sheets of scented violets.

ment of the field of poetry, with as exThe woodland warbles, and the noisy swamp

quisite a sense, with as fine a touch, with Has deepened in its tones.

as loving and faithful an eye, heart and “ And of Summer :

'pen, as anyone to whom Nature has

ever whispered familiar words in solitary | the volume a poem in a vein somewhat places.

different from Mr. Street's usual descrip“ In addition to the above, we quote ative efforts. few felicities of thought and expression from the volume before mentioned.

THE HARMONY OF THE UNIVERSE.

God made the world in perfect harmony, A fresh damp sweetness fills the scene, Earth, air, and water, in its order each,

From dripping leaf and moistened earth; With its innumerable links, compose The odor of the wintergreen

But one unbroken chain ; the human soul Floats on the airs that now have birth. The clasp that binds it to His mighty arm. The whizzing of the humming-bird's swift A sympathy throughout each order reigns wings

A touch upon one link is felt by all Spanning gray glimmering circles round its Its kindred, and the influence ceaseth not shape.

Forever. The massed atoms of the earth,

Jarred by the rending of its quivering breast,
When the strawberry ripe and red, Carry the movement in succession through
Is nestling at the roots of the deep grass. To the extremest bounds, so that the foot,

Tracking the regions of eternal frost,
The trees seem fusing in a blaze

Unknowing, treads upon a soil that throbs Of gold-dust sparkling in the air.

With the Equator's earthquake. Merrily hums the tawny bee.

The tall oak,

Thundering its fall in Appalachian woods, The wind that shows its forest search

Though the stern echo on the ear is lost, By the sweet fragrance of the birch.

Displaces with its groan the rings of air,

Until the swift and subtle messengers
The moving shades

Bear, each from each, the undulations on
Have wheeled their slow half circles, pointing | To the rich palace of eternal Spring
now

That smiles upon the Ganges. Yea, on pass To the sunshiny East.

The quick vibrations through the airy realms,

Not lost, until with Time's last gasp they die. A landscape frequent in the land Which Freedom with her gifts to bless,

The craggy iceberg, rocking o'er the surge, Grasping the axe when sheathing brand, Telling its pathway by its crashing bolts, Hewed from the boundless wilderness.

Strikes its keen teeth within the shuddering

bark And the faint sunshine winks with drowsiness. / When night frowns black. Down, headlong,

shoots the wreck; Where, grasping with its knotted wreath

Lost is the vortex in the dashing waves, Of roots the mound-like trunk beneath,

And the wild scene heaves wildly as before ; In brown, wet fragments spread,

But every particle that whirled and foamed A young usurping sapling reigned ;

Above the groaning, plunging mass, hath Nature, Mezentius-like, had chained

urged The living with the dead.

Its fellow, and the motion thus bequeathed

Lives in the ripple, edging flowery slopes Within the clefts of bushes, and beneath

With melting lace-work; or with dimples The thickets, raven darkness frowned, but still

rings The leaves upon the edges of the trees Smooth basins where the hanging orangePreserved their shapes.

branch

Showers fragrant snow, and then it ruffles on
A purple haze,

Until it sinks upon Eternity.
Blurring hill-outlines, glazing dusky nooks,
And making all things shimmer to the eye.

Thus naught is lost in that harmonious chain, The sunshine twinkles round me, and the wind

That, changing momently, is perfect still.

God, whose drawn breaths are ages, with those Touches my brow with delicate downy kiss.

breaths Through the dark leaves the low descending

Renews their listre. So 'twill ever be,

low descenang Till, with one wave of his majestic arm, sun Glows like a spot of splendour from the shade

He snaps the clasp away, and drops the chain Of Rembrandt's canvas.

Again in chaos, shattered by its fall.” Listen - a murmuring sound arises up ;

In 1842, appeared “The Burning of 'Tis the commune of Nature – the low talk

Schenectady and other Poems” from the She holds perpetually with herself.

pen of Mr. Street.

William Gilmore Simms in the Maga“We end our notice with selecting from / zine he established, " The Southern and Western Monthly Magazine and Review,” | Baker and Scribner, since Scribner, Welthus remarks:

ford & Co. " It is not, however, in the epic or the Of this poem “ The Britannia," a Londramatic, but in the descriptive that Mr. don periodical, thus speaks. Street excels. He is not even contem- “ Nr. Street is one of the writers of plative — solely descriptive, and as nice whom his country has reason to be proud. and as elaborate in details as any of the His originality is not less striking than Flemish Masters. His delineations are his talent. In dealing with the romance as close and correct as if Nature herself of North American life, at a period when had employed him as her chief secretary. the red man waged war with the Euro

“ Here is a spirited picture of the guard-pean settler, he has skilfully preserved room revel.

ihat distinctive reality in ideas, habits,

and action characteristic of the Indian Circling a table flagon-strewed

Tribes, while he has constructed a poem The soldiers sat in jocund mood ;

of singular power and beauty. In this Around the fort the tempest howls ;

respect ‘Frontenac' is entirely different Thick, solid-seeming darkness scowls :

from Gertrude of Wyoming,' which But what reck they! with song and shout

presents us only with ideal portraiture. Merrily speeds the festive scene, Loud laughter greets the tawny scout,

| Mr. Street has collected all his materials As, startling, when, more shrill and keen

from Nature. They are stamped with Swells on the air the furious gale,

that impress of truth which is at once He mutters of the morning's trail.

visible even to the inexperienced eye, One, the most reckless of the band,

and, like a great artist, he has exercised Viewing the scout with scornful eves, his imagination only in forming them into Fierce smites the table with his hand,

the most attractive, picturesque, and beauAnd swinging high his goblet, cries

tiful combinations. “Fill, comrades, fill, the wine is bright,

· “We can best give an idea of Mr. We'll drink the soldier's life to-night!

Street's production by saying that it reSing, comrades, sing, the wind shall be The chorus to our harmony !

sembles one of Cooper's Indian roThis talk forbear — no trails we fear!

mances thrown into sweet and varied Thy boding's naught, no foe is near !

verse. The frequent change of metre is A guardian kind is Winter old !

not we think advantageous to the effect He rears his barriers white and cold;

of the poem as a whole, and the reader His frozen forests fill the track

uninitiated in the pronunciation of Indian Between us and fierce Frontenac !

proper names may find the frequent reHark to the blast, how wild its sweep !

currence a stumbling block as he reads ; He shouts his chorus strong and deep;

but the rapidity of the narrative, the exHow beats the snow! we envy not

citing incidents of strife and peril which This bitter night, the sentry's lot! Our comrades at the gates must feel

give it life and animation, and the exquisThe driving sleet like points of steel !

ite beauty of the descriptive passages Fill, and let thanks to fortune flow

must fascinate the mind of every class of For wine and fire, not blast and snow! readers, while the more refined taste will Fill, till the brim is beaming bright !

dwell with delight on the lovely images We'll drink — the soldier's life !-to-night! and poetic ideas with which the verse is

thickly studded.” “ We note several pieces of exquisite Thus speaks Duyckinck's “ Literary description. Nice bits of scenery occur World” published some years ago. in frequent pages - glimpses of wood and “When Europeans first penetrated the water, rude mountain and cultivated valley, valleys of the Hudson and the Mohawk, slips of prospect such as a painter's eye they found a confederacy of Red men, would seize upon and fasten in autumnal / who, by the power of union, bore sway tints upon the intelligible canvas. Occa- over all the surrounding tribes. The sionally, too, our author moralizes well | Ho-de-no-son-ne, once consisting of nine upon the things he describes, with a pure united nations, for a time, according to spirit and that gentle solemnity which Algonquin tradition, were known as the soothes and satisfies, without chilling or Eight Tribes. At the period of the Dutch oppressing, the heart.”

discovery, they called themselves the Five in 1849, Frontenac, a long narrative Nations, Akonoshioni; or, as more corpoem from the pen of Mr. Street was pub- rectly written, Ho-de-no-son-ne. Ordinalished by Richard Bentley, London, and rily, when speaking of themselves, they subsequently ushered to the American used the term Ongwe Honwee, a generic public by the then publishing firm of word, equivalent to Indian, and which

applied to the whole red race, just as we, He has been most happy in the choice of appropriating the name of the continent, his subject. call ourselves Americans. Subsequently, “Street has a peculiar power to see, and and within our written history, another to describe in words and rhythm, visible tribe, the Tuskaroras, was adopted into nature. He paints to the eye of mind as the Union, and the confederacy became Cole and Durand paint to the bodily known as the Six Nations. The polity sight, the woods and waters, the sunny which regulated these United Red Men glades and solemn caverns, the distant is hardly known. So far as ascertained, landscape, and the group just by. Bethe number of tribes might be increased sides, like Cole and Durand, his heart or diminished, according to circumstan-adores his native land. He studies and ces. The power of war and peace was loves our America. His images, bis hegiven up by each member of the Confed-roes, his similes, his story, all are Amerieracy: votes were given by tribes. The can; and therefore I love him, and want singular bond of the totem, or family to make you and all true readers of native name and device, ran through all the na-books, love him too. Even as the bold tions, Algonquins as well as Iroquois. I leaguers, whose successors we are, paintIt bore some analogy to coats of arms.ed on some barked tree or whitened doeDescent was by the female side. The skin, the brave deeds of their sires and son of a chief could not succeed him. comrades, and by their Ho-no-we-na-to, His brother, or, in default of a brother, or hereditary Keeper of the Records, the male child of his daughter, was the kept alive perpetual tradition from father heir-apparent; and his claims were sub-to son, so has the author of Frontenac mitted to a council for approval, without recorded one chapter of the history of which he was not inducted into office. the United People,' and married it to Married women among them retained verse, which I would fain wish immortal. their name or totem, as well as their prop- I hail this pale-faced Ho-no-we-na-to, erty. Matrons might take part in coun- who has filled his mind with the lore of cil. There were Council Fires or Delib- the Iroquois, and whose diction might erative Assemblies in each tribe, and a have been the utterance of a Ho-de-noGrand Council of the Confederacy made / son-ne soul. Hear him : up of delegates from the tribes composing it, as our Senate consists of representa

As Thurenserah viewed the lovely sky, tives of the States. Over all presided

i It looked, to his wild fancy-shaping eye, ucu Like holy HaH-WEN-NE-Yo's * bosom bright

, the Atotarho or “ Convener of the Coun- With his thick-crowded deeds, one glow of cil ;” an office, in some respects, not un- light like that of President of our Republic. And his rich belt of wampum broadly bound This system was democratic in practice. White as his pure and mighty thoughts, around. The independence of the individual tribes was jealously guarded. All war

“What an image! The broad expanse -riors were volunteers, without pay or re- of starry sky, belted with constellations, source from the public The people to the untutored Indian's mind, suggested were trained to war as the business of

the broad chest of the mighty brave, life. Hunting was merely foraging.

whose thick-crowded deeds could scarce « The thirst for glory,' says 'Mr. School. I find room to be emblazoned there in glory. craft, the strife for personal distinction The milky way was the rich belt of wamfilled their ranks, and led them through / pum, white as His pure thoughts. desert paths to the St. Lawrence, the Illi

“ Again : the ATOTARHO is appealing nois, the Atlantic seaboard, and the to his warriors, who, overawed by the acsouthern Alleghanies. They conquered counts they receive of the Frenchman's wherever they went. They subdued na- artillery, hesitate to resist :tions in their immediate vicinity. They Have you forgot that here is burning exterminated others. They adopted the The pure Ho-de-110-son-ne fire ? fragments of subjugated tribes into their Rather than, from its splendor turning, confederacy, sank the national homes of Leave it to Yon-non-de-yoh's spurning, the conquered into oblivion, and thus re

Around it, glad, should all expire ! paired the losses of war.'

See! its smoke streams before your eye “Of the great deeds of this noble race

Like HAH-WEN-NE-YOH's scaip-lock high ! sings our poet. Mr. Street has, in Fron “The Atotarho, Thurenserah (Anglice, tenac, attempted only the metrical romance, and a capital one he has written.!

• God.

“The Dawn of Day '), the hero of the HYMN TO THE DEITY. - AN IROQUOIS HYMN. romance, is a heroine — LUCILLE, the Mighty, mighty HAH-WEN-NE-YO, spirit pure daughter of Sa-ha-wee, Priestess of the

and mighty, hear us ! Sacred Fire of the Onondagas, who had | We thine own Ho-de-no-son-ne, wilt thou be been carried a captive to France, and forever near us, wedded there Frontenac ; this Lucille Keep the sacred flame still burning! guide becomes Atotarho of the Iroquois, and our chase, our planting cherish! after performing all chivalrous and gal- Make our warriors' hearts yet taller! let our lant acts, according to Indian warfare, at foes before us perish! last overcome, is about to be burnt at the

Kindly watch our waving harvests! Make stake with Indian torments, a prisoner.

each Sachem's wisdom deeper !

Of our old men, of our women, of our children The sacred fane has been destroyed and

be the keeper ! the fire gone out, when her sex is discov

Mighty, holy Hah-wen-ne-yo! Spirit pure ered, and her mother avows herself in

and mighty, hear us — the priestess, and the wife of the con- We thine own Ho-do-no-son-ne, wilt thou be queror, the long-lost and long-renowned I forever near us ! Sa-ha-wee. Here we have the romance. Yah-hah ! forever near us! Wilt thou be for. The interest of the story is well sustained, ever near us! and the improbabilities are so artfully car-! « A single stanza from the description of ried out, of our modern notions of what Cavuga ke: would be likely, into olden Ho-de-no-sonne days, that no one but an Iroquois has

Sweet sylvan lake! beside thee now, any right to say aught against them. The

Villages point their spires to Heaven,

Rich meadows wave, broad grain-fields bow, versification is varied; not always perfect,

The axe resounds, the plough is driven; nor even carefully conducted - but full of

Down verdant points come herds to drink, - . substance, needing the file, yet worthy of Flocks strew. Like spots,

Flocks strew, like spots of snow, thy brink; that toil which, in another edition, the The frequent farm-house meets the sight, rhyme-builders ought to bestow.

'Mid falling harvests scythes are bright, “ As for instance :

The watch dog's bark comes faint from far,

Shakes on the ear the saw-mill's jar; Now by smooth banks, where, stretched be. The steamer, like a darting bird,' neath the shade

Parts the rich emerald of thy wave, The Indian Hunter gazed with curious eve, | And the gay song and laugh are heard Now catching glimpses of some grassy glade, | But all is o'er the Indian's grave.

Rich with the sunshine of the open sky; Pause, white man! check thy onward stride!
Now by the vista of some creek, where stood Cease o'er the flood thy prow to guide !
The moose mid-leg, and tossing high his Until is given one sigh sincere
crown

For those who once were monarchs here,
Hazy with gnats, and vanishing in the wood, And prayer is made, beseeching God
Waking to showers of white the shallows | To spare us his avenging rod
brown.

For all the wrongs upon the head
Thus on they passed by day.

Of the poor helpless savage shed;

Who, strong when we were weak, did not Alter the words italicized into he van- | Trample us down upon the spot, ished, and both sound and sense are im- But weak when we were strong, were cast proved, for it was the moose and not the Like leaves upon the rushing blast." gnats that vanished. Now you see how hard I have striven to find fault, and after

The following is from “ The Albion." all my quotation draws a picture beauti

“ There is something in a name, and ful as Durand can paint. The word-pic

Mr. Street has chosen one that has this tures of Street are marvels. Listen - he

recommendation. It is peculiar and yet is looking over the battlements of Quebec. /

euphonious, begetting some curiosity in

those not well read in Canadian story to The lower city's chimneys rose

| learn who or what Frontenac might be. Along the marge in long array,

“ The scenes are laid in the castle and Whilst, in its calm and smooth repose city of Quebec ; in the deep forests of Like air the broad curved river lay.

the then uncleared wilderness, and on A brigantine was creeping round,

the waters of the Canadian rivers and With its one sail, Cape Diamond's bound;

lakes ; these afford ample scope for deBy Orleans' Island a bateau Was like a lazy spider, slow

scription, which is evidently Mr. Street's Crawling. The boatmen, spots of red,

forte. The poem contains not fewer Pushing their poles of glimmering thread.

| than seven thousand lines, mainly in the

octosyllabic metre, but pleasingly varied. “ But here is a graver strain : - I “Mr. Street must surely have made perLIVING AGE. VOL. VII. 316

« ПредишнаНапред »