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*Nearly all my little pieces have been written in my mind, while my hands were ongaged in the avocations of the farm. How well I remember the localities of each! Que was composed while stacking corn; another was sung while sitting beneath an apple-tree, the fruit of which I came to gather, with the sack about my shoulders, to screen mc from a piercing north wind. Indeed, the winds have strung my humble lyre, and the birds have tuned it.'
LETTER TO THE Editor.
When I survey, with backward view, For with the Muse I cannot part ;
If not the same,
She stirs its fire, its throbbings start,
And beat to flame!
If through the vista dim of years,
My bosom's gloom;
Hath been its tomb!
I feel her in my rushing blood,
Around me spread;
Above my bead!
But, ' Alpha,' unknown friend, and fair,
And undressed fiction.
But now, 'just now,' she has ta'en a fit,
I own it so ;
Before you go
Now while with thirst my spirit fought, Bard of the monumental plain!
High thoughts of thee;
The Life of Washington. By JARED SPARKS. In one volume, octavo. pp. 562.
Boston: FERDINAND ANDREWS.
The admirable biographical sketch with which our great annalist has prefaced that national monument, his edition of the Writings of Washington,' is now sepa. rated from the larger work, and issued by itself, with such additions as seemed necessary to its completeness. The beautiful volume, rivalling in paper and in letterpress the recent works of Prescott and BANCROFT, bears a stamp of conscious workmanship; nay, looks as if it were proud to have seen the light in the cradle of liberty, within hail of the hero's head-quarters, of Boston and of Bunker-Hill. The world indeed moves on apace; and Time, in the moment of agony, or the hour of pleasure, when both have passed, seems like an enchanter, whose passion and nature are change; whose wand has empire over events and destinies, but is defied by the human spirit, which with the breath of life is transmitted immutable through ages; for, sixty years after Washington, from Cambridge, directed the movements of the American army, then besieging the British in Boston, one of the ensuing generation, a faithful historian and impartial biographer, aided by the numerous records of his actions, which the hero seems purposely to have bequeathed to his country, indices his life, amidst the scenes of his early glory; in presence of the very trees and hills, among which then arose the weather-beaten tent of the continental, and where now, from a thousand free and happy hearths, the peaceful smoke ascends to heaven. For ten years and more, Mr. Sparks has dwelt at Cambridge, and toiled unremittingly at the pious work of rescuing from forgetfulness the memories of our forefathers. In that space of time, more authentic materials of history, more illuminated questiones vexatæ, more of biography and of verified narrative, have left his hand, than perhaps any other man has gathered in a life. And he who, in the face of the tumultuous cares and interests of this ardent generation, invites them, when the future seems within their reach, to pause and contemplate the past, and, unmoved by their thirst or their indifference, holds history up to their view, is no ordinary chronicler of events.
The work before us is adorned with fourteen plates, which, as we glance through its pages, may not inaptly serve to illustrate the epochs in Washington's career. The frontispiece is Mount Vernon, the charming nucleus of his fondest hopes, the oasis on which his eye ever dwelt, when the war was hottest, and the prospect gloomiest, as a resting place, when his labors should end. In this very anticipation, may we see that he put his whole trust in the favorable issue of the contest, and never doubted the attainment of that liberty, without which he would have preferred death, a thousand times, to inactivity. Next comes our hero at the age of forty; a face full of determination and benignity; a tall and manly form; the unconscious future liberator of his native land. The hour of danger is nigh; and he who is shortly to lead a great nation to independence, seems hardly to suspect his destiny. Already had his name been honorably mingled in the sad history of Braddock's fate, and bestowed upon the beautiful and amiable woman, whose affection gladdened his life. The head-quarters at Cambridge, remind us that the strife already registers Lexington, Concord, and Bunker-Hill; the house is still shaded by the elm trees which then flourished there, and daily meets the eye of Mr. SPARKS, whose abode is not far distant. A medal presented on the evacuation of Boston, commemorates this great event, and the head-quarters at Morristown, remind us of the brilliant victories at Trenton and Princeton, which so gallantly retrieved the laurels fortune refused us at Long-Island. On viewing the sketch of the humble abode which held the commander-in-chief at Newburgh, one shudders for humanity's sake, for a tragedy has been enacted there, and a proud name stained with treachery; and at the same time, we cannot help rejoicing for America, and for freedom, which escaped such peril.
It is 1785; peace has been two years in force, and an interesting drawing exhibits the outline of those farms on which our Cincinnatus would fain have spent the remainder of his days. Hondon's bust testifies to the gratitude of his native state, which thus followed him to his retreat, and the portrait of Martha WASHINGTON, by Stuart, displays the serene countenance of its charming mistress. There is something touching in the comparison one involuntarily makes between the young wife just released from her weeds, with a smile dwelling among the rounded outlines of blooming womanhood ; and the calm expression which interprets the devotion of a heart given, and never withdrawn. Her life must have been one of privations and of proud sacrifices. How could it be otherwise with the partner of him who freely offered his best years and hopes to his country?
Behold the wise and placid civil magistrate; the first and greatest President. Again have domestic joys been relinquished, and the helm of state is now grasped by the firm hand which so ably wielded the sword. Washington's star glows with the same silver radiance; a cloud veils it for a moment from certain eyes; and the discussions stirred up by Mr. Jay's treaty, embroil the national councils. But the chief remains immoveable, and the circumstances which could not influence him, await their turn until the day when JEFFERSON was carried up on the wheel of fortune to the presidential chair.
And we are through the volume, so sadly terminated by the death of the patriot, the soldier, the statesman, with a feeling that a part of his glory is our glory, nor all of it his country's, for, such a being ennobles humanity, and will be handed down with Timoleon and Cincinnatus, through all time.
WINTER STUDIES AND SUMMER RAMBLES IN CANADA. By Mrs. JAMESON, Author
of Characteristics of Women,' etc. In two volumes. pp. 680. New-York': WILEY AND PUTNAM.
We had liberally pencilled an early copy of these admirable volumes, received at a late hour, for our last number, but were reluctantly compelled to postpone the notice. Since then, every one of our marked extracts have been given to the public by the tasteful critics of the daily and weekly press; indeed we fancy that quite twothirds of the work have already appeared in the journals of the day. Reserving the volumes, therefore, for incidental retrospective review, we shall content ourselves, for the present, with commending them warmly to our readers, assuring them that purer sentiments, more beautiful criticism, vivid descriptions of scenery, pleasing incident, and acute observation, we have not found in any modern work that has come under our observation. The kind and flattering opinions, therefore, which Mrs. Jameson expresses of this Magazine, are far more than reciprocated, by the high estimate we have ever placed upon all the efforts of her fine and well-balanced intellect.
ANNIVERSARY POEM, DELIVERED BEFORE THE MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION of
Boston, September 13, 1838. By James T. Fields, Member of the Association. Boston: WILLIAM D. TICKNOR.
This poem, delivered before the Mercantile Library Association of Boston, at the conclusion of the noble address by GOVERNOR EVERETT, which we have already noticed, is a production of no common merit. The versification is smooth and flowing; the subjects embraced are appropriate; and taken as an earnest of what the author may accomplish, when time and experience shall have given his young muse a stronger and a bolder wing, we look upon it as well worthy of cordial praise. The modesty with which it is introduced to the public, so different from the pompous style in which the labors of some of our half-fledged and unfledged bardlings are buoyed up in their brief hoverings over the gulf of oblivion, is no less worthy of commendation. The author says, in reply to a flattering letter from the committee of arrangements: requesting a copy of the poem for publication, that he'is sensible his production is quite unworthy to appear in print, and that he should certainly withold the manuscript from the press, were he not satisfied that youth and inexperience would form a sufficient apology for its defects of style, and errors of judgment.' Ushered before the public eye in this simple and unpretending manner, we have such poetry as that annexed. Our extracts, limited to those not already quoted in the public journals, are necessarily brief; but we greatly err in judgment, if our readers do not find in those we are enabled to present, a dignity of thought and clearness of expression, which should at least place them far above the unassuming estimate of the author:
'Look to the West - the Elysian borders view!
Oh, glorious stripes! no stain your honor mars,
Is not wealth's boon or glory's diadem. The following is an eloquent tribute to one whose name and works are familiar to the 'sons of ocean,' in every civilized land :
And shall we leave unsung his bonored name,
The name of BowdITCH triumphs over time.'
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE ERODELPHIAN SOCIETY OF MIAMI UNIVERSITY, at
its Thirteenth Annual Celebration, in August, 1838. By F. W. Thomas. pp. 22. Oxford: W. W. Bishop.
This, of its species, is a performance of the first file. The arguments of the writer are sound and clear, and are enforced by felicitous language, and the most apposite illustrations; the combined result of various reading, the suggestions of active original thought, and unexceptionable taste. We shall content ourselves with this general praise, while we proceed to fortify it by one or two striking extracts. The following is but too true a picture, as many a reader can verify, from his own observation. I do not think, says a learned writer, in substance, that there is any thing more interesting on this globe, than a boy of genius, in humble life; generous, elevated, virtuous; resisting the allurements of pleasure; with a scanty education, no director of his studies, few books, and those frequently ill-chosen ; overlooked by the rich, worn out by toil, and sometimes dissuaded from his pursuits by a weak adviser; ever sifting, doubting, and comparing, and often puzzled, it may be, with difficult passages in an obscure author. It is to such, we may believe, that our orator alludes below. A correspondent who treats of phrenology elsewhere in the present number, would indicate a remedy for the sin of ignorance, in parents and guardians, hinted at in the close of the extract:
'It has been the misfortune of a great many young men of talents, over whom the dark cloud lowered in their younger years, to be placed among those who did not understand their characters or their meriis, and who would rather crush than assist them. And there is a passion in this world called envy:
That fiend that haunts the great and good,
Not Cato shunned, nor Hercules subdued ;' that ill-omened bird, that like the raven o'er the haunted house, is always croaking evil; that will tower at the highest names, and burrow for the lowest ; that twin sister of jealousy, which has so many buts and ifs to throw, like stumbling blocks, in the way of rising talent. At that time, too, when the cheering voice of a friend falls upon the ear like a blessing; when darkness and doubt are before the aspirant, and behind him all the ills of life,
* Despair, and fell disease, and ghastly poverty,'
like blood-hounds let loose from the slip. Then it is that envy goes forth, like the assassin at night, with the felonious intent hot at heart against the youthful and aspiring genius. How easily, like the chameleon, she can change her color, and fawn the parasite of the successtul I remember once hearing a sycophantic hanger-on at the skirts of the bar, who was neither bere nor there, one thing nor the other, but between the two, like Mahomet's coffin, compliment the late William Wirt on an effort which that gentleman had then just made, and which was certainly not one of his best. 'Sir,' said Wirt, in a deep tone which came from the bottom of his heart, 'when a youth, in Virginia, in a little debating society, to an audience of six, and one tallow candle, about fourteen to the pound, I have made a better speech than that, when there was no one to discover the merit of it, and none to say, 'God speed you !
Doctor Parr, the celebrated teacher, who used to boast that he had flogged all the bishops in the kingdom, and who, whenever it was said that such and such a person had talents, would exclaim: Yes Sir, yes Sir, there's no doubt of it; I have fogged him often, and I never threw a fogging away ;' this reverend gentleinan was remarkable for discovering the hidden talents of his pupils. He was the first who discovered Sheridan's. He says: 'I saw it in his eye, and in the vivacity of his manner, though as a boy, Sheridan was quite careless of literary fame.' Afterward, when Richard felt ambitious of such honors, he was thrown, as Dr. Parr says, ' upon the town,' with. ont resources, and left to his own wild impulses. This, no doubt, was the cause of many of Sheridan's errors and wanderings, which chequered the whole of his splendid but wayward career. A teacher, wanting the observation of Doctor Parr, might have concluded, that because Sheridan would not study, and no inducements could make him apply himself, he wanted capacity. This was the case with Doctor Wythe, his first teacher, who did not distinguish between the want of capacity and the want of industry.