Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

share of illustration and criticism, and much valuable practical information on this subject is here furnished, as the result of personal observation, in different countries. While the philanthrophist and the Christian will find in the book a vast amount of religious intelligence, in all the departments of benevolence and piety, which is no where else accessible, the civilian, the statesman, the political economist, and the scholar, to whatever profession he may belong, may glean much that may tend to his edification and profit. The style of the work is unaffected and pleasing, and its descriptions have a charming air of nature and life about them, which bespeak an observant eye, and an artist-like pencil. We can commend the volume as one which does honor to the head and heart of its author, and as altogether worthy of his wellearned reputation. Dr. Fisk is an AMERICAN, by birth, education, principle, and atiection; nor was he bewildered by foreign travel, or bewitched out of his preference to his own country, as too many have been before him. Neither do his national partialities blind his eyes to the excellence, or even the superiority, of transatlantic countries, wherever such attributes may be justly claimed; nor does he condemn every thing foreign, or ridicule it by caricature, as is sometimes done, by those whose prejudices dethrone their candor and their reason. The work is executed with great typographical neatness, and embellished with several gcod engravings of well chosen objects or scenes.

WORDS OF THE ORATORIO OF 'THE SKEPTIC.' By HENRY RUSSELL. Boston: KIDDER

AND WRIGHT.

The readers of this Magazine are aware of the high rank in which we place Mr. Russell, as a vocalist. The fulness and richness of his voice, the clearness of his pronunciation, and the bewitching simplicity of his manner, stamp him a singer of the first file. “The Skeptic,' an oratorio, composed by Mr. Russell, has recently been brought out in the literary emporium,' and public report speaks favorably of its success. Of its merits as a musical composition, however, we are not prepared to speak; but the character of the literary portion of the oratorio, demands a few words of rebuke; the more, because we have somewhere seen it stated, and reiterated, that our vocalisi's 'poetical like his musical genius seemed to have no limit!' or modest terms, to the same effect. Every true critic and well-wisher of Mr. Russell, who is at all intimate with his literary attainments, owes it to the credit of the 'divine art,' not less than to himself, to prevent so gross an error from taking possession of our author's mind, or the imaginations of his many musical admirers. If any should doubt hereafter, we pledge ourselves to sustain our position by additional proofs in our possession, which will place its correctuess beyond all cavil or gainsaying. Mr. Russell has certainly not commenced poet by rule, for his verse is neither more nor less than prose, and very poor prose, too, divided into unequal cuttings, of several syllables; while the matter is a mixture of tameness, declamatory exaggeration, and disorder. If our vocalist desires to marry music to immortal verse,' he has the power, we think, to do so, so long as his fine voice and good taste shall be spared to him ; but he should select the productions of other bards than himself, or be content to support his music and his rhymes on a separate maintenance. There is certainly some originality in the words of this oratorio, especially in the part assigned to the principal voice. What, for example, can surpass the beauty of the following line, which may also be found in Byron's Cain:'

Leave thee? why all have left thee!"

Now that which we herein most particularly admire, is the amendment wbich the author has seen proper to effect in his lordship's grammar:

*Leave thee? why all hath left thee!

stands, a line unrivalled for its adventurous originality. But lest we be thought hypercritical, we subjoin the consecutive lines: The Italics are the author's:

*Leave thee ? All hath left thee, but I fear thee not;
Skeptic, hast thou given one serious
Thought to either Hell or Heaven?
Has Heaven no charms to win thy carnal breast ?
Has Hell no torments to destroy thy rest?
Is this life all ? No! alas for thee,
Life's but a shrub eternity a tree!
Seek for mercy from thy Saviour high,
The time will come when thou must die.'

Is not this true poetry? Does it not sparkle like the 'tonic and refrigerent salubrious stomachic effervescent ginger beverage,' known in simpler days as 'ginger pop?' What but an Herculean imagination could generate, what but a hand gloved in mail, and writing as it were with an iron stylus, upon a rock of adamant, could trace, that graphic and sublime idea:

'Life's but a shrub - eternity a tree! With what a sudden transition of thought, descending from a lofty altitude to depth profound, he exclaims:

• Man's mind is a pit, and nothing sees!" We know of no line equal in pathos and sublimity to this, unless indeed it be contained in the subjoined couplet, from the same pen:

• The sum of man, of god-like man,

To be nailed down in a narrow place, and there rot! The general rhythm and melody of language are worthy of especial praise. What, for instance, could be more felicitous than the following:

• Thou 'lt cry when darkness round thee comes,
Have mercy on a fallen one !

Some of the lines require a long ear to take them in. The annexed may be cited, as sufficiently extended to fill the auricular vestibule of a mule — supposing that sagacious animal willing to admit such glaring false quantities, in what purports to be, and was evidently intended for, blank verse — and blank enough it is:

Religion is mistake ; duty ? - there's none, but to repel the cheat.'

And the second is like unto it:

“Yes; give the pulse full empire! - live the brute, since as the brute we die! There are certain brief portions of this distinguished literary performance, which too nearly resemble familiar stanzas in collections of church psalmody, for both to be original. The 'Faith in God, soprano solo,' will be readily recognised, and kindred passages elsewhere — transformed in some such wise as a shoe-maker makes a pair of new shoes out of an old pair of boots — might be multiplied. But we forbear. We venture, in conclusion, to proffer the author of the Words of the Skeptic,' (words, words, my lord,') this piece of advice; never to attempt poetry, while Hope has a bone to gnaw upon; for he may rest assured, that the last thing of which the public is likely to complain, will be that he writes too little. The'oratorio’ is printed upon whitish paper, with blackish ink, and a 'very aggravated type,' and may be obtained at the music stores.

GLEAVINGS IN EUROPE. ITALY. BY AN AMERICAN. In two volumes, 8vo. pp. 500.

Philadelphia : Carey, LEA AND BLANCHARD.

This is certainly the most entertaining of Mr. Cooper's series of 'gleanings.' Italy may be, as the author observes, a hackneyed theme; yet we are bound to thank him for causing his readers to lose sight of the fact. With an eye ever open to the beauties or grandeur of nature, and with a power, always active, of research into, and observation of, the spirit and condition of the people among whom he journeys, it is not surprising that in a field so rich and ample, in these respects, as Italy, Mr. Cooper should have written a most agreeable work. There is very little also, in these volumes, of political or personal prejudices, which have heretofore, in some instances, detracted greatly from the pleasure of the general reader. Several spirited extracts, although in type, are omitted, by reason of an oppressive 'sense of fulness' in this department of our Magazine.

Cæsar's COMMENTARIES ON THE GALLIC WAR, AND THE First Book OF THE GREEK

PARAPHRASE. With English Notes, Critical and Explanatory, Plans of Battles, Siegcs, etc.; and Historical, Geographical, and Archæological Indexes. By CHARLES ANTHON, LL. D. In one volume. pp. 493. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.

We perceive, with sincere pleasure, that the enterprising publishers, from whose press this valuable classic was issued a few weeks since, are turning their attention steadily to the promulgation of classical knowledge, through the medium of a series of works, edited under the supervision of that sound and ripe scholar, Professor ANTHON, of Columbia College. It has, until within a few years, been too justly remarked, that, while the facilities of a common education were extended to the whole community, the higher branches of learning were rarely if ever carried beyond an extent so limited as to be in fact almost useless; a slight knowledge of the Latin, and a still slighter acquaintance with the Greek tongue, being nearly the whole results of a scholastic and collegiate education, and being thrown aside, as things to be forgotten, on the first step made by the student beyond the thresh hold of his alma mater. Many reasons have been cited, in explanation of this fact; and unquestionably the most solid of these, is that which throws the blame on the very gross deficiencies of the teachers in general, and on the miserable character of the school books; the former being, for the most part, young men sent out, half educated themselves, from some of our colleges, to spread faulty latinity and false quantities over the whole continent; and the latter being edited, by thousands, by every petty usher, whose self conceit was equal to the task, for which his abilities were in truth wholly disproportionate. Hence, as we have said, it was with sincere pleasure that we welcomed the excellent school edition of Sallust and Cicero, heretofore put forth by the HARPERS, and especially the work whose title stands at the head of this notice. The Horace of the same author – a work displaying entire acquaintance with his subject, the deepest research, and the soundest judgment, united to a severe and practised taste — has already received the stamp of general approbation; being admitted, even on the continent of Europe, to be the best existing edition of that poet, and being almost universally adopted in the schools and colleges of . England. With regard to the Sallust and Cicero, they fully equalled, in ability and fitness for that scale of intellect to which they are intended to apply, their predecessor; and the Cæsar, with its admirable notes, full of all that boys can require, and of much that men may read with interest and profit; with its indexes, clear, comprehensive, and at the same time highly entertaining; with its well executed plans and sketches, affording felicitous illustrations of the text, and with the curious

and rarely-published paraphrase, is in no degree inferior, or rather is so far superior to the earlier numbers of the series, that it may safely be pronounced the best school book ever published in this or in any other country. The work is admirably executed, in its externals; indeed the editor and publishers seem to have vied with each other, and both have been eminently successful, and may justly be proud of their beneficial labors ; for if he has been termed the most useful member of a state, who causes two blades of grass to spring up where but one grew before, what name shall be applied to him who calls forth two ideas in the place of one, from that most noble field, when cultivated duly — the mind of rational and thinking man?

THE ORIGIN AND History of Missions. A Record of the Voyages, Travels, Labors,

and Successes, of the various Missionaries who have been seni forth by Protestant Societies to evangelize the Heathen. By Rev. John O. CHOULES, A. M., and Rev. Thomas Smith, London. In two volumes, large quarto. Boston: Gould, KENDALL AND LIncoLN. New-York: Johạ S. TAYLOR.

It was our purpose to have devoted liberal space to a notice of this work, a fifth edition of which, enlarged and improved, has just been published. But truth to say, the volumes scarcely need our humble recommendation, after having received the highest praise from most of the eminent divines in this country, as well as that of the American secular and religious press, without distinction of party or sect. It need only be said, that these copious volumes are signally complele, embracing every thing that could with relevancy or propriety be included under their comprehensive title. The work is wholly without sectarianism, and contains nothing offensive to the religious opinions of the Christian, to whatsoever denomination he may belong. The type is large and clear, and impressed in double columns, and in blackest ink, upon paper of a beautiful texture and color. The engravings, which are very numerous, are large, mostly executed in the best style of the art, upon steel, and are remarkably clear and distinct. The volumes are afforded at not only a reasonable, but considering their great value, a remarkably cheap price. We commend them cordially to the religious, of every class, as well as to the mere general reader.

Great BRITAIN, FRANCE, AND BELGIUM: A Short Tour in 1835. By HEMAN HUM

PAREY, D. D., President of Amherst College. In two volumes, 8vo. New-York : HaBPER AND BROTHERS. A. K. BERTRON, 451 Broadway.

VERY many of the qualities which we have elsewhere enumerated, as characterizing the travels of Dr. Fisk, are to be found in these unpretending volumes. Going over a beaten track, it was scarcely to be expected that the author would be enabled to present us with much that was entirely new; yet he has imparted an air of freshness even to that which had nothing of novelty to recommend it, while the spirit of his work is every where worthy of especial commendation. He has not attempted to underrate the countries he visited, nor has he obtruded overestimates, by contrast, of the importance of his own. The volumes are replete with valuable information, in relation to the state of religion, the physical and moral condition of society, as well as agriculture, manufactures, and the arts. The 'Scraps from my Note-Book,' with which they close, are not the least interesting portion of the work. They possess a sprinkling of satire, and mean more than the superficial reader would at first imagine.

71

VOL. XI.

EDITORS' TABLE.

Pulpit ELOQUENCE. — The pages of this periodical have borne frequent evidence of the popular interest which is felt, and is every day growing to be more widely felt, in relation to pulpit eloquence, as a great mean of enforcing and extending the doctrines and blessings of the Christian religion. It has at length come to be considered, that a divine, to be eminently useful, should not only be 'sound in the faith,' but that he should possess the ability to awaken and keep alive the attention of his bearers, by those rbe torical adjuncts, which are powerful auxiliaries of success in every kindred department of mental action. How can the preacher hope to influence his hearers, when, to adopt a theatrical phrase, he merely' walks through his part ? No matter how important his inculcations, or how clear his arguments; if both be not enforced by a manner bcaring some proportion to the nature of the lessons or principles set forth, many hearers must be utterly indifferent to them. They have not been made to feel, by the earnest eloquence of the speaker — that true eloquence which springs from feeling, and without which all attempts to catch the aura popularis will prove unavailing – that he him self was firmly persuaded of the truths he taught. These thoughts have been suggested, by a recent attendance upon the discourses of one or two eminent divines, in the Meibodist connexion, during the anniversary conference of that large and respectable denomination, lately held in this city. We allude more particularly to the Rev. HENRY Bascom, of Augusta college, Kentucky, and the Rev. Mr. Taylor, of the Seamen's Bethel, Boston. Of the former, we had before repeatedly heard gond report. His fame had evidently preceded him ; for, a long time previous to the appointed hour of service, the immense church in Greene-street was crowded to the outer steps, with more standing in the aisles, perhaps, than were seated in the pews, and on the temporary benches. When the hymn was concluded, Mr. Bascom arose. That'first appeal, which is 10 the eye,' was greatly in his favor. His person has a commanding presence, and as well in this particular, as in the firm, compressed mouth, the ample brow, and large, searching black eye, he bears a very striking resemblance to DANIEL WEBSTER. The expression of his countenance was thoughtful and impressive:

"deep on his front engraven,
Deliberation sat, and public care ; his look
Drew audience and attention still as night,
Or summer's noontide air.'

Naming his text, in a voice deep, but slightly husky, he proceeded, somewhat tamely, as it appeared to us, although systematically, to lay down his premises, array his arguments, and marshal his proofs. While we were yet in a state of dubiety' whether or no his audience were not to be treated to a merely nebulous disquisition, of no particular merit, and asking, mentally, whether this could be the man whom Henry Clay had pronounced the greatest natural orator he had ever heard, when a brilliant thought, wreaked upon eloquent and original expression, enchained our attention; and thenceforward, to the close of the discourse, we wist not that we were occupying a narrow

« ПредишнаНапред »