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Roar on ye
Spirit! thou comest; he lies as dead,
Where foes are met in the rush of fight.
Along the sheeted plain,
And the boughs have budded ag
Who the shadow hath seen, he the substance shall view.' The apostrophe of Yamoydeu in the Fifth Canto is eloquent. p. 189.
voice must be
The introductory stanzas-impressively descriptive of the departing voice of the Indian race-lead the imagination to extend the catastrophe of their destruction and expulsion from our original colonies, to their entire extermination, in the course of ages, from the whole Continent.
• Hark to that shriek upon the summer blast!
moon, nor stars are glimmering in the sky,
Which man can ne'er recall, but which the muse may mourn.' We cannot swell this article with any further extracts from this interesting poem. We have reason to be proud of it; and although we are not unfrequently reminded of Campbell and Byron, of
Southey and Scott, in the undefinable shadowing of the imagery, or in the fall of the verse, yet this is no detraction from its merit :-it would be well for such as are disposed to make this an objection to the work, to remember that some of the highest praise which any author of our country has received, is, that he has successfully copied the style of Addison, Goldsmith and Mackenzie. But its style is the least of its merits. It is a complete and consistent poem. It aims at dressing some of the facts of our early history, in the bright robes of poetical fiction. “A mixture of a lie (says Lord Bacon-meaning a lie of poetical invention) doth ever add pleasure.” And those who have attempted, with any degree of success, to give a romantic interest to the matter of fact occurrences of our national history, deserve well of all who love to pause upon the striking features of the annals of their country; or who have at heart the advancement of its character in the intellectual world.
Art. VI. The Brief Remarker on the Ways of Man; or Com
pendious Dissertations respecting social and domestic relations and concerns and the various Economy of Life. Designed for the use of American Academies and Common Schools. By EZRA SAMPSON. 12mo. pp. 264. A. Stoddard, Hudson. 1820.
To those who are familiar with the character of Mr. Sampson, as a citizen, a scholar, and a divine, our commendation of this work is unnecessary. For opinions and principles, political, moral, and religious, he is an excellent guide to the youth of our country. The work in question is fraught throughout with good sense and judicious practical allusions to American manners, circumstances and interests, and will be found not only instructive for the young, but amusing to those more advanced in life. As a series of moral essays, in a style of unassuming simplicity, it ranks with the best which have appeared on either side of the water during the present age. As a literary composition, though not faultless, it is highly respectable. For a work on such subjects, it has the merit of much originality, and in its new dress as prepared for a class book in academies and schools, is well adapted to its purpose.
We have great pleasure in recommending this little volume-and are gratified to see it publicly approved by the Superintendant of common schools and the Regents of the upiversity of New York; because this course, while it does justice to the work, manifests an increased attention to the interesting, but too much neglected, subject of elementary instruction.
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF LANGUAGE AND Belles LETTRES.
The origin and objects of this National Institution will be best explained and most fairly understood, by the circular letter of the learned gentleman who has since been elected to the station of Corresponding Secretary. The prelude to this letter requests the attention of the person to whom it is addressed, “ to an association of scholars for the purpose of improving American Literature."
New-York, October 1, 1820. “ This association, though yet at its commencement and unknown to the public, has been the subject of an interesting correspondence for some months past; and it is believed will not be deemed unimportant as connected with the best interests of our country.
“ To settle at once a point on which some difference might exist, it is not designed, independent of England, to form an American language, farther than as it relates to the numerous and increasing names and terms peculiarly American; but to cultivate a friendly correspondence with any similar association or distinguished individuals in Great Britain, who may be disposed to join us in an exertion to improve our common language.
“ The objects of such an institution which directly present themselves, are, to collect and interchange literary intelligence; to guard against local or foreign corruptions, or to correct such as already exist; to settle varying orthography; determine the use of doubtful words and phrases; and, generally, to form and maintain, as far as practicable, an English standard of writing and pronunciation, correct, fixed, and uniform, throughout our extensive territory. Connected with this, and according to future ability, may be such rewards for meritorious productions, and such incentives to improvement, in the language and literature of our country, and in the general system of instruction, as from existing circumstances may become proper.
“These objects will not be thought trifling, by those who have spent much time in the cultivation of literature, or attended to its influence on society. Such persons need not be told how directly they are connected with our progress in general knowledge, or our public reputation ; or that their influence may extend from social to national intercourse, and to our commercial prosperity. Perspicuity in language is the basis of all science.' The philosophy that prosesses to teach the knowledge of things, independent of words, needs only be mentioned among enlightened men to be rejected.
“Most of the European nations have considered the improvement of language as an important national object, and have established academies, with extensive funds and privileges, for that purpose.
An interference of the government has, perhaps, been omitted in England, from a singular and rather accidental reliance on the acknowledged superiority of a few leading individuals; and so long as all the literature in the English language had its origin and centre in London, there was less danger in thus leaving it to the guidance of chance. Science may be comparatively recluse ; but literature is social; and American scholars, spread over 2,000,000 square miles, are not to be drawn to a virtual and national association without the form.
“ It is very properly said of France that its literature has frequently saved the country when its arms have failed. The advantages resulting to that nation, from the exertions of a few academicians, have been incalculable, and may serve to show, in some degree, what such a confederacy of scholars is capable of performing. The effect of their influence was not barely to elevate France in the literary world, and to improve its learning within itself; but to extend their language throughout Europe; to introduce, at the expense of other nations, their books, their opinions, and, in aid of other causes, their political preponderance. The Philological Academies of Italy and Spain, though unaided by the same powerful co-operation, have effected very great improvements in the language and literature of their respective countries. The great work now performing by the German scholars, in addition to what they'have before done, is a noble example to other nations, and calculated to elevate the condition of our nature. With how much greater force does every consideration connected with this subject, apply, in a free community, where all depends upon the virtue and intelligence of the great body of the people.
“ Without dwelling a moment on invidious comparisons between England and the United States, the time appears to have arrived, in reference to ourselves, when, having acquired a high standing among nations, having succeeded in a fair trial of the practicability and excellence of our civil institutions, our scholars are invited to call their convention and to form the constitution of national literature.
“We have some peculiar advantages in an attempt to establish national uniformity in language. Happily for us, our forefathers came chiefly from that part of England where their language was most correctly spoken, and were possessed of a good degree of intelligence, according to the learning of that time. Though in a country as diversified as ours, there are,
from various causes, many