Графични страници
PDF файл

head, to tell that he died for the republic, yet on the hearts of his countrymen his name is engraved, in living characters. Let his memory be cherished. Let it be transmitted to the latest posterity. crumbled into dust, his story shall survive.

F. W. S. Xud brass shall have



W. C.

The lady who has kindly presented the author of 'Ship and Shore' with a KNICKERBOCKER Pipe, will accept, as a slight token of his gratitude, the following lines, in eulogy of its beauty and breath.

Rev. Zattinshooo
Come, sweet, melodious Muse! sole source of song,

And aid this once my bold, adventurous strain;
Teach me to roll the liquid verse along,

Full and o'erflowing, as through Egypt's plain
Rolls the rich Nile, which time and death defies
Pipes are my theme, and woman's love the prize!

[blocks in formation]

Thy purple wreaths, in solemn ringlets curled,

Float on the breeze to join that pall of cloud,
'Neath whose sepulchral gloom, this restless world

Will lie at last, in its unheaving shroud.
Thou 100 wilt then that last sad change reveal,
Which follows fast, where death hath set its seal.

Away, poor trifle ! what with thee is death ?

Only the spark put out, that lit thy bowl,
The fragrance fled, that mingled with thy breath ;

With man, it is a summons for his soul
To leave its work, for that awarding state,
Where boundless bliss or endless woes await.


Perhaps no young writer in this country has produced a more promising volume of poetry than the one before us.

There is a great deal more than ordinary merit in it; and hence it is deserving of cordial commendation. The reception which some of our critics have given this book, is not a little to be wondered at. Although it is, as we have said, a volume of poetry evincing undoubted genius, yet there has been an attempt, as it seems to us, to depreciate it, and that too without intelligence or justice. Some of the critics have seemed to shut their eyes, and with a book in their hands, on almost every page of which there is much of genuine poetry, they have thought fit to denounce the author; accusing him of faults which he does not possess, and denying him excellencies of which his book bears abundant testimony. There are some passages in this volume which would do credit to any American poet. They have a vigor of thought, a delicacy of sentiment, a siniplicity and strength of diction, and withal a moral dignity, worthy of all praise.

The reception of young American writers among us is by no means always what it should be. There is not sufficient attention given them. Their faults are not kindly pointed out, and their excellences commended; and they have too often no other way but to get along as they can, and find at last, that if success does crown their efforts, it is so embittered, that they would almost as soon do without it. In support of this position, we might adduce the reception of Mr. Bacon. He has not been without liberal supporters ; still, one or two critics of reputation bave come down upon him with such ponderous bludgeons, as might well have beaten his brains out. We trust, however, that his brains are safe, and we are glad of it; for, in our opinion, such brains as his should not be scattered, unless he makes a worse use of them than appears in this volume. As a first effort, the work, as might well be expected, has not the uniformity and finish of older writers; still there is such manifest ability in it, as makes us confident the author can do much in future. There is a soundness in his thoughts; the language evinces much taste and talent; while the great moral independence of the volume gives it an additional claim upon our attention.

* Poems by WILLIAM Thompson Bacos. Bostou: WEEKS, JORDAN AND COMPANY.

One of the first requisites for the production of good poetry, is a good understanding; we mean by this, common sense. We give Mr. Bacon credit here. Indeed, the mind that could produce the essay at the end of the volume, would leave prettinesses, affectations, and languishings, to moon-struck lovers. The subject there discussed is one about which many young poets have made themselves ridiculous; but the last sin of that very sensible and elegant essay, is a poetic mania. Mr. Bacon writes with enthusiasm, yet as if he thought the world had at times something else to do, beside read verses; and though our admiration of Wordsworth is not of the same temperature as our author's, yet bis views are propounded in such a manly style, that we will praise his sense, though we like not his system. Some of the critics have seized this to his disadvantage ; yet they have certainly failed. Not one twentieth of the book is at all Wordsworthian, either good or bad ; and the pieces selected as such, and censured, are altogether of another school. The following poem has been censured as tinctured with the Lake Spirit.' man who has a heart, read it :

Let a

[ocr errors]

"'Tis very strange, 't is very strange,

The fancies of our early years,
Despite of chance, despite of change,

Can thus melt manhood into tears!
'Tis very strange, the simplest things,

No matter what they were, we loved,
Are those the memory cagerest brings,

And those the last to be removed.
'A word, a tone, a look, a song,

A bird, a bce, a leaf, a flower;
These to the self-same class belong,

And all of them they have this power;
And all about the heart they bring.

Their memories -- a potent spell!
As parting friends still kiss and cling,

And must, yet cannot say, farewell.
"Now 't is not, that there is not found

As much to see, and feel, and love;
The earth is just as fair around,

The sky is just as blue above;
' Birds sing, bees hum, brooks prattle near,

Music is of the world a part,
And warm, warm words are in the ear,

And heart beats fondly unto heart.
'And yet, the heart lies cold and dead

Its finer feelings will not glow;
The blossoms all are withered,

We once did love and cherish so;
"And we look round, and we look back

At things of Life's young morning-hour,
And wonder those of manhood's track,

Have not as soft and sweet a power.
"And then we ask, since this we see,

If thus, in ruvning out life's span,
We must be what we would not be,

That cold, care-fretted creature, man?

'If earth must change as on we go,

If life, and loveliness, and truth
Must pass from every thing below,

With the delightful days of youth?
'Alas, alas, as we move on,

If thus the heart from bliss must sever,
Better were manhood not begun

Better we children be for ever!'

The only thing like Wordsworth here, is that it is poetry. It would be well for some of the writer's critics, if they were tinctured' with a little of the same folly.

We give Mr. Bacon great credit, likewise, for the vividness and power of his imagination. We would select the last half of. Thanatos,' a poem of much power and beauty, and the Vision of War,' as undeniable proofs of his claims, in this regard, to general admiration.

We give Mr. Bacon credit, also, for that which is the best test of poetic genius ; power of description. Ilere he must speak for himself. The following is from “A Forest Noon Scene :'

• This is indeed a sacred solitude,
And beautiful as sacred. Here no sound,
Save such as breathes a soft tranquillity,
Falls on the ear; and all around, ihe eye
Meets nought bui hath a moral. These deep shades,
With here and there an upright trunk of ash,
Or beech, or nut, whose branches interlaced
O'ercanopy us, and, shutting out the day,
A twilight make they press upon the heart
With force amazing and unutterable.
These trunks enormous, from the mountain side
Ripp'd roots and all by whirlwinds; those vast pines
Ath wart the ravine's melancholy gloom
Transversely cast; these monarchs of the wood,
Dark, gnarl'd, centennial oaks, that throw their arms
So proudly up; those monstrous ribs of rock
That, shiver'd by the thunder-stroke, and hurld
From yonder cliff

, their bed for centuries,
Here crushed and wedged; all by their massiveness,
And silent strength, impress us with a sense
Of Deity. And here are wanted not
More delicate forms of beauty. Numerous tribes
Of natural flowrets blossom in these shades,
Meet for the scene alone. At ev'ry step,
Some beauteous combination of soft hues,
Less brilliant though than those that deck the field,
The eye attracts. Mosses of softest green,
Creep round the trunks of the decayed trees;
And mosses, hueless as the mountain snow,
Inlay the turf. Here, softly peeping forth,
The eye detects the little violet,
Such as the city boasts -- of paler hue,
Yet fragrant more. The simple forest flower,
And that pied gem, the wind-flower, sweetly named,
Here greet the cautious search ; while, bending down
Right o'er the forest walk, the wild syringa
Displays its long and tufted flower, and swings
In the soft breeze. And these soft delicate forms,
And breaths of perfume, send th' unwilling heart
And all its aspirations to the source
Of life and light. Nor woodland sounds are wanting,
Such as the mind to that soft melancholy
The poet feels, lull soothingly. The winds
Are playing with the forest tops in glee,
And music make. Sweet rivulets
Slip here and there from out the crevices

Of rifted rocks, and, welling 'mid the roots
Of prostrate trees, or blocks transversely cast,
Form jets of driven snow. The housing bee,
The plunderer of the uplands, has come out
Into these cooler haunis, and sweetly fills
The void air with his murmurings. Soft symphonies
Of birds unseen, on every side swell out,
As if the spirit of the wood complained,
Harmonious and most prodigal of sound;
And these can woo the spirit with such power,
And tune it to a mood so exquisite,
That the enthusiast heart forgets the world,
Its strifes and follies, and secks only here

To satisfy its thirst for happiness.'
We extract, also, The Indian Summer ;'

"The Indian summer has come again,
With its mellow fruits and its ripened grain :
The sun pours round on the bazy scene,
His rays half shorn of their golden sheen,
And the birds in the thicks seem too sad to sing,
And sad is the sound of the wild wind's wing.

"And hither and thither, an ash leaf sear
Goes slowly off through the atmosphere -
And there may be heard, when the breeze steals out,
The hum of the bee and the torrent's shout
And the caw of the crow wakes the solitudes,
And the hill fox barks in the faded woods.

* And over the hill to his patch of grain,

The reaper goes with his empty wain-
His lash resounds, his wagon rings,
The steep re-echoes the catch he sings-
And the long drawn vales seem to take the strain,
And send it up to the hill again.

And here where late the dog-wood threw
Its berries forth of a crimson hue
And deep in the dell where the birch was seen,
With its fragrant bark and tassels green
The colors are gone, the leaves are gray,
They fall, and are swept by the brook away.

"The daisy low on the bank is lying,
The leaves of the brier are dead and dying,
The lea has never a blossom blue,
Where late the rose and violet grew,
And life is passing from glade and glen :
The Indian summer has come again.'

The following passage from 'A Fragment of an Epistle,' we offer with unaffected pleasure. There is painting by words in it, which will win all suffrages : 'I sat me where the window threw And, as the flashing sun rose bright, The distant landscape into view.

They seemed like crystals in the light. The snow was on each living thing, Where wound the maple colonnade, The birds were mute nor moved a wing, The leafless boughs still cast a shade, And 'neath a garment clear and cold, Curious, for on the crust of snow Each flower slept locked in frozen mould. They vipers seemed toss'd to and fro. Here long drawn vales in silver white Where ran the rill in early spring, Glistening, were offered to the sight. Beneath those maples glittering, Where ran the hedge, or old stone wall, Singing and dancing as the wave The icy sheet had covered all,

Went bickering o'er its sandy pave, And all along the rails and hung

And catching on it, shadows dim Downward, the icicles were strung, Of violets along its brim,

« ПредишнаНапред »