« PreviousContinue »
what a mind he must have !' ... Will our friend R. H., of Belleville, Illinois, permit us cordially to thank him for his kind exertions in behalf of this Magazine ? Would that we had a thousand such disinterested friends! The truth is, that nearly every one of our subscribers could add another one to our list, if he would try. Will you try, gentlemen, friends, for the sake of one who, melting with fervent heat, 'invades the night-watches' with this little ‘hint ? So shall the KNICKERBOCKER be made more abundantly worthy of your acceptance. As Mr. Ellis' pleasant post-coach approaches on the plank-road the mountain - ‘notch,' through which you are to debouch' upon Lake George, you do agnize a prompt alacrity,' a kind of juicy feeling about the heart, which it is quite impossible to describe, and which you would not willingly part withal. The cool bracing mountain air; the distant view of the Adirondacks, so admirably daguerreotyped by HEADLEY ; the far-off Green Mountains, and the tumbling highlands in the blue distance before you, which you feel must surround Lake George ; these are the secret of your emotions ; when lo! by a single reverse of the kaleidoscopic-glass, a single turn in the mountain road, the scene is before you; the crystal waters of the lake - O beautiful Lake Horicon! – the mountains resting in the blue distance upon its bosom, as if so many up-rolling smothered smoke-volumes in a great conflagration had suddenly been congealed while their intermingled folds were in motion; the white · Lake House' gleaming among the trees where it nestles in comfort and beauty ; and beyond it the little village church, county edifices, and dwellings of the few villagers. But we have alighted, and are now luxuriously bestowed at SHERRILL’s, of whom, and whose,“ more anon.' The HARPERS have published, from the pen of a brother of Thomas CARLYLE, a prose translation of • Dante's Inferno,' side by side with the original text, collated from the best editions. The translator claims to have given the real meaning of Dante as literally and briefly as possible ; ‘no single particle having been wittingly left unpresented in it for which any equivalent could be discovered.' It is doubtless a close and • warm' version of a hot poem, the principal scene of which is laid in a very hot place. The portrait of Dante which fronts the title-page is a very fine one. Examine it:
SEE from that counterfeit of him
Whom Arno shall remember long,
The father was of. Tuscan song.'
Some of our readers will remember a capital French story, from the pen of an esteemed friend, which appeared three or four years since in these pages, entitled 'Ganguernez, the Capital Joker.' Some such a wag it was who startled every body on the deck of the John Mason' steamer the other day, on her way from Albany to Troy, with the inquiry, in a loud nasal tone: · Hear of that dreadful accident to-day aboard the Greenbush hoss-boat ? No!' exclaimed half a dozen by-standers at ' once; 'no! - what was it ?' •Wal, they was tellin' of it down to the dee-pot; and nigh as I can cal’late, the hoss-boat had got within abeöut two rod of the wharf, when the larboard-hoss bu'st a flue; carryin' away her stern, unshippin' her rudder, and scaldin' more ’n a dozen passengers! I do n't know as there is any truth into it ; praps 't aint so; but any way, that 's the story. The narrator was less successful, according to his own account, with a rather practical joke which he undertook to play upon a Yankee townsman of his, a week or two before, in New-York. He never liked me much, 'xpect,' said he, nor I did n't him, nuther. And I was a-walkin' along Pearl
street in ’York, sellin' some o' these little notions ’at you see here, (a 'buck-wheat fanning-mill,' a ' rotary-sieve' to sift .apple-saäce,' etc.,) when I see him a-buyin' some counter-goods in a store. So I went in and hail'd him: "Says I, right off, jest as if I'd seen him a-doin' the same thing a dozen times ’afore that mornin', says I, • Won't they trust you here, nuther?' Thunder! you never see a man so riled. He looked right straight at me, and was 'een-ainost white, he was so mad. The clerks laäfed, they did — but he did n't, I guess. 'I want to see you a minute,!' says he, pooty solemn, and comin' toward the door. I went; and just as soon as I got on to the gridiron-steps he kicked me! I did n't care — not much then; but if his geese do n't have the Shatick cholera when I get home, you can take my hat,' as they say in ’York. I was doin' the merchant he was tryin' to buy calicoes on a good turn, any for I ’xpect he was goin' to get 'em on trust, and I know'd he was an allmighty shirk. I ruther guess he did n't get 'em, but I do n't know
not sartain.' ... A clever occasional correspondent sends us some pleasant readings in . rhyme, under the title of “Transcriptions from the Wrappers of Proof-sheets sent to a Connecticut Poetess,' whom it is not difficult to divine may be Mrs. SIGOURNEY. We present a few stanzas, all for which we have space, as a “sample of the entire production :
•WHERE the flints are made of horn,
There, oh I there let me be borne:
Is snugly hid herein:
And he shall have the tin.'
*Gentle post-man, if you know
The substratum of the lines whence the above are segregated is somewhat thin: a large piece of bread is covered with a small piece of butter. Our correspondent has done much better, and he has the ability, we must believe, to accomplish more than he has ever yet attempted. ... •Four merry men I trow were we,' who on as bright a forenoon as ever shon' (as the player-people pronounce it,) upon the world, went a-fishing upon the translucent waters of Lake George. The mountains resting in the distance upon the calm bosom of the lake were braided together in light and shadow, like those thunderous clouds of "cumuli' that roll up in the west, toward the close of a sultry day in summer. Some two miles up, in a picturesque bay, we dropped anchor, baited our hooks, and with • 'bated breath'cast our lines in pleasant places into the water, and waited for the luck that should be vouchsafed us. And it was luck! Scores of Oswego bass, sweet perch, and an occasional trout, attested the efficiency of our efforts to lure the finny prey.' Lure? By’r lady, not 'lure;' for albeit the water was some twenty-five feet deep, we could see every fish in the neighborhood of our lines, and if they had looked up they might have seen us. We scorned any thing like an ambush, but selected our friends, and placing our hooks at their noses, left them as 'free moral agents’ to dispose of the bait. Now it came to pass that while Old KNICK' was standing up at the prow of the sail-boat, watching far down in the crystal flood a big bass coquetting with his seductive hook, holding left handwise in the mean time by a loosened sail, the jib-halliard gave way, and the liberated
sheet came down by the run;' and with it, and over the side of the boat, the affrighted jotter-down hereof! Oh, how deep, how clear, how fearsul, looked at that instant the matchless waters of the Horicon! I sink in deep waters, and the floods overwhelm me!' exclaims the psalmist; and even in that fearful moment, holding by the convulsive grasp of a single hand the gradually-yielding sail, the sacred passage came to mind. Thanks to the alertness of friends, who hastened to the rescue, 'the undersigned' was picked up,' whiter than a sheeted ghosť- so they said. 'T was LINUS the skipper's fault. He was thinking over his experience in General Taylor's column in Mexico, and forgot to secure the ‘jib-halliard.' Always fasten the ‘jib-halliard,' or something of that sort, as near as we can recollect. .. Oh, dictionary! (to make use of a profane expression,') what does our Boudoin correspondent mean by putting so many hard words into his algebraical and trigonometrical • Thoughts on the Planetary System? We began to experience a sort of mental dyspepsia before we had read the first three pages of his manuscript. What is our correspondent ? -- a sophomore student, or a dictionary-compiler, that he does n't feel, with Deyden, that it needs all we know to make things plain? We have come to the conclusion that he is a 'planeticose and exallotriote spirit:' he must be! One or two of his longest words look a little like those employed in the bill of an illiterate livery-stable keeper, being a charge for a horse for a day, and for bringing him back to the stables : Anorsforada,' two dollars : Agitinonimome, 'fifty cents ! • Puilo Le VERRIER,' (modest signature that!) has a writer within perhaps a stone's throw of him, an occasional anonymous contributor to these pages, who could teach him the value of what he himself exemplifies; combined force and simplicity in literary composition. ... Sitting in the little church near the ‘Lake House, Lake George, to-day, with congenial friends, we were taken back, on the wings of memory, to the days and the scenes of our boyhood. We were once more at the old homestead, once again at the old countrychurch ; for here were the high-back'd pews, of the native color of the wood; the pulpit without adornment; the jack-knife initials of boys, carried about by no • wind of doctrine' heard at conventicle, but contrariwise, full of the very old Scratch' during sermon-time; nay, here were the very psalm-and-hymn books, in the dientical sheepskin-binding of yore. But no Mother came into that homely pew with us, unfolding from around her fan the sweet-smelling white handkerchief, redolent of the aroma of dried orange-peel, that scented the very drawer whence it was taken, and taking thence sprigs of fragrant caraway' and fennel to give to her little twin-boys; no Brother sat there, with his young heart even then full of unuttered and unwritten poetry, as he looked through an open window upon the green contented fields of summer, or surveyed on the fan the fair pictured damsel in vermillion robes and blue hat, assisting a little boy, in bright yellow round-about and white sailor-trowsers, to fly a scarlet kite with a green tail. All these associations were of the Past :
"Oh, TIME! how in thy rapid flight
Do all Life's phantoms flit away:
Fame's meteor-beam and fancy's ray!'
Onward driveth Time, and in a little while our lips are dumb ! All things have their season,
and ripen toward the grave; ripen, fall, and cease. But we are forgetti the little church and its services. After the usual offices of the day, the clergyman, pastor of a church in an adjoining town, arose.
without pretence of oratory, was self-possessed and impressive. He spoke from these words,
which are to be found in the seventh chapter of Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians :
• But this I say, brethren, the time is short : it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away.'
We have seldom heard a more unpretending and yet effective discourse. The speaker rose at times to impassioned eloquence. We noted, as well worthy of remembrance, the following very felicitous illustration : - Mark, upon the stump of that mighty tree which the woodman has fallen, those hundred concentric rings. Here we may read the history of its life, which each successive year has indelibly recorded. So does each successive year record upon the heart of man its history, in characters which shall endure forever! Every event, every thought, every act, has left its mark; and under the influence of these the heart has been insensibly hardening and growing callous to all influences for good, or it has been growing tender, and more susceptible to the gentle whisper of the Spirit of Truth.' The steps of the present,' said he elsewhere, in the continuation of his subject,“ are crumbling beneath us every moment; the foot-hold of the past is gone; the steps of the future tremble as we attempt to climb.' In the course of his observations touching the inculcation of the Apostle, ' Buy as though you possessed not,' he said: “You may look out upon your broad lands, and count your heaps of gold and silver, and in the pride of your heart you may say · These are mine! But God says: “The silver and gold are MINE, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.' A very small space of your land will soon serve for your grave; a very small portion of your wealth will purchase your shroud and coffin. But of even these you cannot say, “ They are mine ;' for even these
corruption and the worm’shall seize upon, wasting your only inheritance ; your own clay shall be mingled with the common dust.' We had the pleasure afterward to find, in the person of the speaker, the Rev. Mr. Eastman, a “stated preacher of Sandy-Hill, a distinguished scholar from the Vermont University, who, had he been earlier called, would certainly well have supplied the blessing so much desiderated by Mr. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, when he was leisurely counting out the pennies and six. pences in the Washington and Warren Bank. In the fashionable locality of Broadway,' writes Mr. ARCHIBALD Prentice, a recent English traveller in the United States, whose • Tour' has lately appeared in London, 'I found Stopart, the pianoforte maker, whose reputation here is equal to his uncle's in London, when he and the Broadwoods had almost the monopoly of the trade.' This reminds us to say, that any one curious in such matters would find great interest in visiting Adam Stodart's Piano-forte Manufactory, occupying four large lots of ground in Tenth-street, near Sixth Avenue, with a backward wing seventy feet by thirty, and four stories in height. This, the most complete establishment of its kind in the United States, if not in the world, is the only manufactory where Stopart's pianos are made, he having no longer a partner in business. His sales-room is at 343, Broadway. A dozen or more piano-fortes are made every week at this manufactory, which for tone, dura. bility, brilliancy and finish are pronounced by the best musical professors to be equal to any, and superior to most others, manufactured either here or in Europe. They are sold as fast as they can be manufactured
-a sufficient evidence of their excel. lent quality. .. Tuere is a certain friend of ours, now in an upper drawer of one of the 'bureaus' at Washington, through a sensible piece of cabinet-work by the present administration, whom we should like to have had alongside of us to-day,
under the flickering shadows of leafy trees, and amidst the sound of falling waters, on the banks of a wide, clear and rapid trout-stream that runs into Lake George. Ah, ha! rather better luck than we had in the Shinglekill:
• WHERE the stream ran dark and deep,
And the gray trout lay asleep,' and would n't bite. «How oft-times' we thought of the difference! Under a small dam, a recent profane improvement,' the water rolling musically over in a thin sheet of silver, amidst dark olive-colored rocks, making and enclosing some twenty slowly revolving eddies, we dropped our red-hackle.' Eight noble trout, that were then disporting there, in ten minutes thereafter were on our birch string-stick ;' and so all along down, almost to the lake. How the eyes of our companion, who had been whipping the stream above, and on t other side,' glistened, when, toward our appointed place of rendezvous, we raised our string of painted beauties, gleaming in the sun, for his inspection ! No drawing out, C- at Lake George, other people's trout, surreptitiously 'hooked' and reëstablished in 's native element while the owner happens to be sleeping on a log, backed by a tree! Nobody has any inducement' to cut up such rusties' there. Comprehend the force of the observation ? We name no parties. : . There is something very touching and beautiful in these Thoughts of a Dying Hebrew,' addressed to his Maker: “I HAVE known THEE in the whirlwind, "Shut out from THEE and Heaven; I have known THEE on the hill,
Must I the whirlwind reap, because I have loved Thee in the voice of bird,
My fathers sowed the storm; Or the music of the rill;
Or sink, because another sinned, I dreamed THEE in the shadow,
Beneath Thy red right arm ? I saw Thee in the light.
Oh! much of this we dimly scan, I heard Thee in the thunder-peal,
And much is all unknown, And worshipped in the night;
But I will not take my curse from MAN, All beauty, while it spoke of THEE,
I turn to THEE alone! Still made my soul rejoice,
Oh! bid my fainting spirit live, And my spirit bowed within itself
And what is dark reveal, To hear Tax still small voice.'
And what is evil, oh ! forgive, I have not felt myself a thing
And what is broken heal! Far from thy presence driven;
And cleause my nature from above By flaming sword, or waving wing,
In the deep Jordan of Thy love !'
By an argument based upon known facts in natural philosophy, in relation to the transmission of light, it has been established, in a work entitled “The Earth and Stars,' recently published in London, and exciting great attention there, that:
* ACCORDING to physical science, a person dying on this earth might by the CREATOR be im. mediately placed in a new body, on a distant world, in such a manner that he might see with his own eyes the whole of his own past life! Let the soul, for example, at death, be reëmbodied on a planet at such a distance that the light is seventy years in passing to it from our earth, and it is evident that the first ray which reaches it there left the earth seventy years before. That is, in its new body, it may see its own birth, youth, manhood and age, in its former body; review any scene in its past career; be present at the commission of past sins; see the youthful and innocent face becoming dark with bad passions, the clear eye dulled with polluting sins.' * At any period of our existence we may be made to behold again the commission of any past sin. A thousand years hence we have only to be placed on a star so distant that its light is a thousand years in coming to us, and the sin committed a thousand years ago is again present, again visible! The Past also may not only be recalled, but it may be kept before our eyes, If a ray of light travels at a certain rate, as we know it does, that is, about two hundred thousand miles in a second, we have only to move at the same rate to keep any transaction fixed before our eyes for any length of time. One may be in this way placed before his own evil deed, and his eye kept upon past recalled, and rendered permanent !
• These speculations,' remarks “The Christian Inquirer' religious weekly journal, may seem fantastic and wild; if so, we have in them only the wildness of mathematics, the fantasy of scientific deduction. It is perfectly idle therefore to deny a future judgment from its supposed impossibility ; when, without resorting to any help but a telescope and a ray of light, the most terrible of judgments may be shown to be