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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-Hedged 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 jourcals, 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 diudem. The following is an eloquent tribute to one whose name and works are familiar w the 'sons of ocean,' in every civilized land :
• And shall we leave unsung his honored name,
The name of Bowditch triumphs over time.'
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE ERODELPHIAN SOCIETY OF MIAMI UNIVERSITY, at
its Thirieenth Annual Celebration, in August, 1838. By F. W. Thomas. pp. 22. Oxford: W. W. B19HOP.
Tuis, 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 mor 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 lowerel in their younger years, to be placed among those who did not under. stand their characters or their merits, 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 shuured, nor Hercules subducd;' that ill-omened bird, that like the raven o'er the haunted house, is always croaking evil; that will tower at the bighest names, and burrow for the lowest ; that twin sister of jealousy, which has so many buts and its to throw, like stumbling-blocks, in the way of rising talent. Al that time, too, when the cheering voice of a friend falls upon the ear like a ble-sing; when darkness and doubt are before the aspirant, and behind him all the ills of lite,
• Despair, and fell disease, and ghastly poverty,' like blood-hounds let loose froin 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 aspi. ring genius How easily, like the chameleon, she can change her colur, and fawn the parasite of the successful I remember once hearing a sycophantic hanger-on at the skirts of the bar, who was neither here nor there, one thing nor the other, but between the two, like Mahomei's coffin, compliment the late William Wirt on an effort which that gentle nan had then just made, and which was certainly not one of his best. "Sir,' said Wiri, in a deep tone which came from the boulom of his heart, when a youth, in Virginia, in a little debating society, to an audience of six, and one iallow candle, about fourteen to the pound, I have made a better speech than that, when there was no one to discover ihe inerit of it, and none to say, 'God speed you !'
'Doctor Parr, the celebrated teacher, who lised io hoast 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 gentleman 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. Afierward, when Richard felt ambitious of such honors, he was thrown, as Dr. Parr says, ' upon the town,' without resources, and left to his own wild impulse's. 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 sludy, 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.'
The subjoined will afford the reader a favorable idea of the aptness of illustration, of which we have spoken:
"The mind, its purposes and impulses, previous to receiving its bias, is in the state of a mass of water ibat has been diked in, and which, when it forces its way, rolls an irresistible food, hearing on the bosom of its onward wave every leaf and stem, so naturally, that in contemplating it, either of us would say, nature surely formed that channel. See how beautifully the willow bends over it, how gracefully it winds around the hill, expanding with such ample volume as it stretches through the plain! Surely it must have rolled there when time was young. No, not su; if it had found vent in another place, that willow would not have grown there; there would have been no flower at the foot of the bill, and that fertile plain would now be a barren waste, berbless, fruitless, treeless. Thus it is with the mind. Corregio, no doubt, felt many stirrings of ambition very different from an artist's, previous to becoming a painter; but when he saw the painting which struck him more than any thing he had ever seen before, the whole tide of his feelings burst forth, and starting back, he exclaimed with enthusiasm, 'And I also am a painter!' devoted himself to ihe art, and became one of the greatest painters that ever lived. Where a man has talents, and firmly applies himself , he must be great.
It is deep, heartfelt enthusiasm, and larreaching aspiration, and high hope, that make the greai man. As soon as his mind has received its bias, and he has determined his particular pursuit, with a devotion that falters not; with a toil that never tires; with a singleness of love that nothing woos him from winning, he pursues his purposes; and is it to be wondered ihat he gains his point ?'
We are sorry to remark, that the printer and proof-reader have here and there sadly disfigured this excellent address with stupid blunders. Worse, for example, than the misprint of freshly-blown noses' for 'freshly blown roses,' is the error in the quotation of Cassius' boast to Brutus:
I can endure the winter's heat
'Cold his feelings, cold the weather!' could scarcely be written of such a man, in such a winter.
Memoirs of Charles Mathews, Comedian. By Mrs. MATHEWS. In two volumes.
pp. 536. Philadelphia : LEA AND BLANCHARD.
'Many and many a time,' since the death of this admirable mime, while sitting alone in our apartment, or walking in the streets, have his face, voice, and gait, been before us, as if palpable to the senses; but the volume under notice, with these recolJections of the past, make the illusion complete and irresistible. There is much, it is true, of uninteresting detail, and mere twaddle, in these pages; much of irrelevant and episodical incident, in the lives of sundry of the theatrical profession; that
"Sad, happy race, soon raised and soon depressed,
Not warned by misery, nor enriched by gain;' yet is there more that is instructive, entertaining, and humorous. Mr. Mathews moved in the best society, and was the boon companion of some of the finest minds of his age; while his professional carcer, and particular róle, gave him ample opportunities, and an acuteness of observation, which he turned to the best advantage, both on the stage, and in the convivial circles of private life. But who does not know Charles MATHEWS, and to what end are we enlarging upon his 'points ?' Let us to his ‘Memoirs,' for one or two characteristic extracts. The annexed anecdote of George FREDERICK COOKE is a rich morceau. It should be premised, that the great actor has exceeded even O'Flannigan's 'drop in moderation,' and that he has just resisted Mathews' attempt to fit, for fear of still greater excess :
I have much more to say to you, my dear boy. Sit down. You do n't know me.
The world do n't know me. Many an hour that they suppose I have wasted in drinking, I have devoted to the study of my profession; the passions, and all their variations; their nice and imperceptible gradations. You shall see me delineate the passions of the human mind.'' The power of the whiskey punch, however, acted in diametric opposition to the intent on his strong and flexible features, and only produced contortions and distortions, of which he was unconscious. He, nevertheless, endeavored to illustrate the passions, while his visiter was to guess them.
"What's the meaning of that, eh ?' said the tragedian, with a most inexplicable twist of his face. 'Sir!' said the timi! spectator, puzzled what to call it. Cooke reiterated, 'What's the meaning of that? What passion does it express? Does it not strike you at once? There! What's that?' While he to whom he appealed could only say, 'Very fine, Sir!' 'But,' persisted Cooke,' what is it?' He was then answered, 'Oh! 'I see, Sir; anger! to be sure!' 'To be sure you 're a blockhead! said Cooke, showing him the genuine expression of what he imputed to him before. ? Fear, Sir!'it was fear! Now, then, what is that?' 'Oh, Sir, that, I think, is meant for jealousy. Again the passionate man declared that the guesser was wrong. ' Jealousy! Pooh, man! Sympathy! You’re very dull, Sir. Now I will express a passion that you can't mistake. There! what's ihat?'
Fearing to increase Cooke's anger by another misconception, the young man apologized, blamed the portion he had swallowed of the punch; declared that it had stolen away his brains, and left him unfit to judge of Cooke's representations. But Cooke was not in a humor to be so put off. Look again, Sir! Look again, Sir! he exclaimed, in a terrific voice; and he then made up a hideous face, compounded of mulignity and the leering of a drunken satyr, which he insisted upon being guessed ; and his visiter, trembling for the consequences of another mistake, hesitatingiy pronounced it to be, 'Revenge!' 'Despite o’erwhelm thee!' cried Cooke, in his most tragic rage. 'Revenge! Curse your stupidity! That was Love! Love, you insensible idiot! Can't you see it is love ?' Here he attempted t e same ex: pression, in order to strike conviction of its truth; when a mixture of comicality with the first effect so surprised the risible muscles of the young man, that he laughed outright.'
We should like to have heard Mathews relate the following occurrence, which happened on board a vessel in the Irish channel, and in which a dandy friend incurred the displeasure of an 'old salt,' by what the latter seems to have deemed an effeminate luxury, out-Brummelling Brummell, if not a sacrilegious innovation :
'Indeed, it was plain that they leered at him from time to time with ill-disguised contempc, if not aversion. One morning, while pursuing his elaborate toilette, a noise on deck attracted his attention, and running up with his tooth-brush in his hand, he inquired the cause of such unusual sounds, which being simply explained as arising from some necessary process in the ship, he remained looking on al what had drawn him upon deck, resuming the action of brushing, which had been interrupied. One of the men, an old, gruff sailor, looking askance at Talbot, with an expression of ineffable astonishment in his face, inquired of Mr. Mathews, who stood at some distance from his friend, 'What his coinpanion there was about ?' 'About!' asked Mr. M., not quite comprehending the question. 'Ay, pursued the inquirer,' what is he at, with that thing in his mouth?' Oh! replied Mr. M., ' he is cleaning his teeth.' • What! cleaning his teeth!' thundered out the man: 'Well, it's the first time I ever heard of such a d-d nasty trick as that! Cleaning his teeth!!! the milksop!' and away he rolled, putting a quid of tobacco in his mouth, by way, as it seemed, of compensation for the disgust he had fell, and which, if possible, appeared to exceed even his wonder. When the alarm was afterward given of the ship's danger, and the captain with clasped hands in the agony of despair declared that he knew no more where they were than 'Tom the devil, the old sailor, who had remarked so pointedly upon Talbot and that thing in his mouth,' exclaimed aloud with an oath, I knew we should have no luck, when I saw that lubber cleaning his teeth!'
Inexorable space compels us to confine our remarks and extracts to the above "little measure.' Small as it is, however, it will afford our readers a foretaste of what may be expected from the volumes themselves; and to these we commend them, anticipating thanks for an acceptable service.
KNICKERBOCKERIANA. A warm spring rain patters lullingly against the blinds of our sanctum sanctorum, awakening mingled sensations of security and repose, as we sit down at our accustoined 'table,' to indulge in a little familiar gossip with the reader. Very grateful the while, and pleasant, are our emotions. A portofolio of mss. lying near, is distended with a feast of fai things, with which we shall regale our friends from time to time; agreeably surprising them, noi less with the papers themselves, than the distinguished sources, unknown hitherto to our pages, whence many of them
But aside from these, and the unrivalled corps of contributors whose names have heretofore been given to the public — a corps in which we have the pride of a monarch on his throne there is yet another acquisition to our literary force, which it would scarcely be proper 10 pass by in silence! In the words, then, of a brief circular to our agents, which made the gratifying fact known alınost simultaneously in every quarter of the country, we may state, that'Washington IRVING, Esq., author of The Sketch-Book,' KNICKERBOCKER's ' History of New-York,' etc., has associated himself with this Magazine, as a regular and permanent contributor; and that there will appear, in every subsequent number, original articles from the pen of this delightful author, who is placed, by the unanimous verdict of native and foreign critics, at the very head of English prose writers.' The programme of GEOFFREY Crayon, in preceding pages, will assure the reader that his heart is in the matter; and if a new aud copious SketchBook,' with abundant 'Tales of a Traveller,' to say nothing of impuriant additions to KNICKERBOCKER's veracious History, and anonymous tributes to different departments of the work, be not introduced to our readers through the pages of the KNICKERBOCKER, then are we nu seer. And hence the complacency of wbich we spake; for we cannot disguise the high gratification it affords us, to be the chosen medium of communication with the public, of an author who 'trails the flowery vines of poetry along the formal walks of prose, tiil the scene brightens like a garden to the vision, and the air seems redolent of celestial odors;' who thoroughly penetrates into the ridiculous, wherever found; and who, journeying wherever he will, makes the reader gallop off with him, at his own free pace, gathering something, like the industrious bee, from every flower by the way, and inaking a flower of every thing; while his rich liquidity of style illustrates and adurns his thoughts,' as light streaming through the oriel window, heightens the brilliancy of the objects it falls upon. Indeed, whether giving veni to finely-tenspered and pungent satire, or oblique and quiet humor; indulging in a generous and captivaling strain of feeling, or painting scenes from nature, the result is the same; a fascinating species of composition ever, fullest of matter with least verbosity, that comes to the heart like a neighbor or familiar. A noble bust of Crayon looks down from our library, as we write, with an aspect of modest reproval of our adsciuitious praise; and glancing at the picture of Wolferi's Rest,' which adorns a recess, we cannot help fancying that the figure sitting by the window of that peerless retreat, apparently listening to
- 'the breezy sound or the tall poplars whispering round,'