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one does gain some knowledge, she is flattered; she exalts herself, and loses the merit, by the indulgence of a passion as common to men as to women. A learned man is not unfrequently to be met with; if it were so in regard to women, we should see the ugliness and the oddity of such a figure vanishing together.'
In 1794, our author commenced a history of his own life, and continued it from childhood down to the close of his first collegiate term. It is fortunate,' says he, 'that I proceeded no farther; for the undertaking was commenced under the influence of feelings which ought surely never to mark a performance of the kind, under the still vigorous influence of impressions hostile to virtue, and destructive of energy. Had they continued, they would have diffused over my narrative, as they then already had over my soul, an air of melancholy, and querulous repining, unbecoming a man.' The introduction to this autobiography is transcribed, and serves to mark the progress of the writer's mind from error to truth; from despair and inactivity, to assurance and energy.' A few extracts are subjoined, which will find an answering appeal in many a bosom. The last paragraph but one, may be taken as a synopsis, in part, of the volumes from which we are quoting :
When, with a retrospective eye, I survey the days which are past; when I arrest the fleeting images of former times, and consider what I have done, and what I have felt; though ruddy youth still blooms upon my cheek, I become astonished at the length of my
existence ; and can scarcely believe that I am not already in the wane of life, and near the termination of its strange, eventful period. To me, however they may appear to others, the years which are gone seem numerous and long; they exist, to my imagination and memory, in all their extension ; nor does the future elongate itself so far in perspective, as the past stretches back toward the commencement of my being. And if the consciousness of duration depend rather on the succession of ideas in the mind, than on the diurnal and annual revolutions of the earth, an obvious solution of this paradox appears; for my life, though outwardly neither very deeply or curiously variegated, has been marked with many revolutions of opinion and sentiment, of success and delight, of passion and distress. Events, considerable in number, and powerful in effect; events operating on my mind with uncontrollable and afflictive energy, and dressed by my imagination, and arrayed by my heart, in fearful and ruinous importance ; have exercised over every power of my soul, and every action of my life, a wondrous though mostly a concealed influence.
Sweet were the days of my childhood, embittered only by little anxieties and trifling disappointments ! Hope swiftly succeeded to distrust, and the dimple hollowed itself under the tear which yet stood on my cheek. War, which then ravaged my country, was to me rather a pastime than a terror. Unconscious of its many and dire calamities, my heart exulted in the sound of the trumpet, the fife, and the drum; the glistening arms pleased my eyes; and tales of victory ravished my fancy. My bosom beat, and my soul panted to follow the soldier to the field; to mingle in the glorious conflict; to wrest the sword
from the destroyer, and turn the thunder of the oppressor upon himself. ‘Delightful days ! with what fond enthusiasm do I look back, and reflect, upon them ? What joy does it still convey to my bosom, to review and reconsider the innocence which reigned in my heart; the wanton and guileless frolics of the day; the peace which waited on the hours of serene repose; the tranquillity which welcomed the departure of refreshing sleep, and the approaches of awakening morn! O days of bliss ! days crowned with delight! Few and transient indeed ye were; yet still does your recollection refresh and invigorate my mind. With melancholy pleasure do I love to compare your calm, contented progress, with the stormy and afflicting advances of later years ; to trace the origin of error, to view the birth of misfortune, to lift the concealing veil from treasured griefs, and dissolve the mystic charms which bind, in stern enchantment, the melancholy thought to near and pressing miseries.
• To see what I have been, and to have a connected view of actions, feelings, and opinions, from my earliest years, are, in part, the motives which have influenced me to undertake the composition of the history of myself. I would record what are my present sentiments of those things which have already passed, and which are daily passing; I would trace the rise, and delineate the progress, of all those connections with my fellow-beings, which have been to me such fertile sources of delight and grief; I would fix, while yet the recollection lives in my mind, the sentiments, the actions, the characters of my friends, of their friends ; finally, of all those distinguished personages, with whom accident or design has made me acquainted.
• Minute circumstances rapidly escape, how lasting soever may be their coincident impressions. But how important are these minutiæ ! How much does the explication of every considerable event, depend on these very things, which common minds regard as too trifling to deserve attention! With mingled sensations of pleasure and distress, do I commence, and shall I continue, this undertaking. To record every thought, wish, action, and suffering - how arduous yet how useful the task! How many pleasing, how many mournful, images must I recall ! What instances of folly and of vice!
What moments of wisdom and of virtue!'
The first of the following paragraphs refers to the scenery in autumn, near Litchfield, (Conn.,) and evinces our author's ardent love of nature; while the second is not without interest, even at this late period. Gen. MIRANDA will be remembered by many of the readers of this Magazine, in the cities of the Atlantic sea-board :
• The woods are pleasant, even yet, all stripped, as they are, of leaves. What name shall we give to that warm, and soft, and gentle sensation and sentiment, which is inspired by being buried in the embowering shades of thick woods! I never felt it fully on York island. The view on the road I passed over this morning, is remarkably fine. I was so forgetful of the transcendently excellent prospect, that it struck me like something new. What a picture of majestic and beauteous repose did the western view present! The town of Litchfield, the west mountain, the lake, the blue and distant ridges of New Milford, the chasm by which they are, in part, exposed to the
But I will not trust my untutored pen with a description of
Thy pencil, Charles, my friend Charles Brockden, to thine doth it belong.'
'It was with great pleasure that I learned, from Miss W- e's letters, that Gen. MIRANDA was safe. This man travelled through part, if not all, of the United States. It was my second year in college, that I saw him, at New-Haven. He was then meditating a revolution in South America. This strongly impressed me in his favor, and his demeanor was calculated to heighten the favorable impression which a knowledge of his design had made. I recollect with what keen regret I heard a fictitious account of his having fallen into the hands of the Spanish court, by means of their emissaries.'
In resuming this ‘Salmagundi of the Olden Time,' we shall be enabled to present a greater variety of topics and interest than marks the initiatory number, which demands, on the score of hurried preparation, the indulgence of the reader.
Sweet lady, thanks! my stream of life
Ran brighter when I read the line
Thai could respond to mine:
My eyes may vainly rove o'er all
Nor on thee cbance to fall;
All graceful shapes, and hues ideal,
Gaze till I deem it real.
The ribbon blue, that sweetly bound
Those words of magic sound;
My poor desert is far below
So freely would bestow ;
My valentine, my fair unknown,
Confessed to me alone?
SURELY nature intended that I should have been born among the Camanchees or Pawnees! From my earliest years, I have preferred the company and habits of our stern and hardy huntsmen, to all the advantages which polished society could offer. The wild notes of the horn never failed to send the warm blood tingling through my veins, and the bayings of a gallant hound are to me more musical than the sweetest note which ever fell from woman's lip. Never do I feel more vividly the pride of existence, than when, mounted on my swift-footed Cherokee, I fly through the wild forest, ever accompanied by my faithful hound Bravo. At such times, I have often been tempted to use the Kentucky hunter's boast, the swiftest horse, the surest rifle, the best dog;' omitting the prettiest wife,' as an article finding no place in my inventory of chattels.
Though custom and duty have interfered with my natural propensities, and made me a semi-civilized man ; though years
life have been spent in poring over the dry details of the law; yet methinks some portion of the dare-devil spirit which once actuated me yet remains. Oftentimes, throwing aside the records of legal lore, have I, with one or two choice spirits, buried myself in the depths of
our noble forests, whose echoes, for weeks, rang to the report of our fatal rifles. Volumes would not picture the scenes which were then enacted. The gallant spirits who shared these sports, are now scattered over this wide Union, and many of them are battling their way to fortune and renown. But with us all, these 'campings out' will ever be a bright spot in the wide waste of things departed. Who of us will ever forget the parting feast; the last night's revel; when, gathered around the mossy knoll in front of our camp-fire, we pledged each other in the bright juice of the grape ? Poets have sung the parting-cup, the stirrup-cup, the cup which beauty's lip had first touched; but give, O! give me the cup that was drained at midnight, in the depths of the old forest; true friends around, and the mild stars looking down upon our innocent revelry! Busy memory, be still! nor seek to make me garrulous ! 'T is not to bring back scenes long flown, that I now write, but to record an adventure which happened to me a few days since.
Who ever saw Bravo, without loving him ? His sloe-black eyes, his glossy skin, flecked here and there with blue; his wide-spread thighs, clean shoulders, broad back, and low-drooping chest, bespoke him the true stag-bound; and none who ever saw his bounding form, or heard his deep-toned bay, as the swift-footed stag flew before him, would dispute his title. List, gentle reader ! and I will tell you an adventure, which will make you love him all the more.
A bright frosty morning in November, 1838, tempted me to visit the forest hunting-grounds. On this occasion, I was followed by a fine-looking hound, which had been presented to me, a few days before, by a fellow sportsman. I was anxious to test his qualities, and knowing that a mean dog will often hunt well with a good one, I had tied up the eager Bravo, and was attended by the stranger dog alone. A brisk canter of half an hour, brought me to the wild forest hills. Slackening the rein, I slowly wound my way up a brushy slope, some three hundred yards in length. I had ascended about half
way, when the hound began to exhibit evident signs of uneasiness; and at the same instant a stag sprang out from some underbrush near by, and rushed like a whirlwind up the slope. A word, and the hound was crouching at my feet, and my trained Cherokee, with ear erect, and flashing eye, watched the course of the affrighted animal.
On the very summit of the ridge, full one hundred and fifty yards distant, every limb standing out in bold relief against the clear blue sky, the stag paused, and looked proudly down upon us. After a moment of indecision, I raised my rifle, and sent the whizzing lead upon its errand.
A single bound, and the antlered monarch was hidden from my view. Hastily running down a ball, I ascended the slope, and my blood ran a little faster, as I saw the "gouts of blood' which stained the withered leaves where he had stood. One moment more, and the excited hound was leaping breast high on his trail, and the gallant Cherokee bore his rider like lightning after them.
Away — away! for hours, did we thus hasten on, without once being at fault, or checking our headlong speed. The chase had led us miles from the starting point, and now appeared to be bearing up