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THE ODD-FELLOWS' OFFERING FOR 1850. In one volume. pp. 298. New York: EDWARD WALKER, Number 114 Fulton-street.
We inadvertently omitted in our last to make the requisite mention of the appearance of this popular annual ; but the Old KNICK.' is still in the nick of time,' since now is the season for the purchase of those gifts of rare books which, in the giving and in the taking, gladden alike both the donor and the recipient. The typographical execution and matériel of this volume are of the first order of excellence, and the binding is extremely tasteful, being of gold and blue, or other bright and beautiful colors. The embellishments are eleven in number, and are executed with even more spirit and care than the engravings in preceding issues of the same work. They are upon the following subjects : • The First Reading of the English Bible,'«God's Covenant with Noah;' 'Belshazzar's Feast;' Destruction of PHARAOH's Host;' •Sunday Morning ;' • Peace;' • The Orphan's Funeral ;' Luther listening to Tetzel's Song ;' · Harvest-Home,' and • The Miser.' The contents of the volume are contri. buted by various pens, and many of them well-known to the reading community. We observe among the contributions, articles from Mrs. KIRKLAND, Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Oakes SMITH, FREDERICK SAUNDERS, B. J. Lossing, Mrs. SIGOURNEY, GEORGE W. CLINTON, and others, and have been favorably impressed with much of the * reading-matter thus contributed. In short, there is sufficient of various merit in the Odd Fellows' Offering,' literary, pictorial, and mechanical, to recommend it not only to all members of the Order, but to the public at large. It has heretofore enjoyed, and we have little doubt will continue to enjoy, as it deserves to do, an extended popularity.
THE Boston Book: being Specimens of Metropolitan Literature. In one volume. pp. 364 Boston: TICKNOR, REED AND FIELDS.
The third and last volume of • The Boston Book' appeared in 1841. volume having been very generally called for, the present well-executed work is the pleasant result. Several of the articles which it contains are now printed for the first time, their authors furnishing original contributions, both in prose and verse. We subjoin a charming poem by an old and esteemed correspondent, from whom of late we heard but too seldom : • Orion dimly burns to-night,
· And now the dreaming eye foresees I miss the starry seven,
The sculptor's final stroke, And with a mild restraint of light
The golden heaps beneath the trees, Arcturus walks the heaven;
The purpling of the oak. • The frog pipes feebly in the fen,
"Ah! might we never forward look, The whipporwill is faint
Or be like insects blind,
And in the sunshine and the brook
Sufficient glory find; • So, June is over, and the race
Nor think of icy days to come,
When sun and stream shall fail,
And all these branches, bare and numb, And welcome in July.
Creak in December's gale; "The year's great miracle is done,
Then might we hail this radiant moon The wonder of the spring,
With more confiding joy, And soon, the liberal-handed sun
Nor dread the solemn law that soon His promised fruit shall bring.
This beauty shall destroy.
So might I, dearest, fast by thee,
And breathing in thy breath,
Forget how soon thy smile must be
The sad, fixed smile of death.'
SUBLIMITY OF A Rail-ROAD TO THE Pacific. - More than eleven years ago the Editor hereof, in a review of Parker’s ‘Journal of an Exploring Tour beyond the Rocky Mountains,' predicted the ultimate building of a rail-road to the Pacific. After a condensed description of the interesting scenes, objects, and adventures depicted by the author before and after reaching the Black Hills, there occurred the subjoined passage:
“THERE would seem to be no insurmountable barriers to the construction of a rail-road from the Atlantic to the Pacific. No greater elevations would need to be overcome than have been surmounted on the Portage and Ohio Rail-Road. And the work will be accomplished! Let the prediction be marked. This great chain of communication will be made, with links of iron. The treasures of the earth in that wide region are not destined to be lost. The mountains of coal, the vast meadow-seas, the fields of salt, the mighty forests, with their trees two hundred and fifty feet in height, the stores of magnesia, the crystallized lakes of valuable salts, these were not formed to be unemployed and wasted. The reader is now living who will make a rail-road trip across this vast continent. The granite mountain will melt before the hand of enterprise; valleys will be raised; and the unwearying fire-steed will spout his hot, white breath, where silence has reigned since the morning hymn of young creation was pealed over mountain, flood and field. The mammoth’s bone and the bison's horn, buried for centuries, and long since turned to stone, will be bared to the day by the laborers of the 'Atlantic and Pacific Rail-Road Company;' rocks which stand now as on the night when Noah's deluge first dried, will heave beneath the action of villanous saltpetre;' and where the prairie stretches away like the round ocean, girdled with the sky,' with its wood-fringed streams, its flowerenamelled turf, and its herds of startled buffaloes, shall sweep the long, hissing train of cars, crowded with passengers for the Pacific sea-board. The very realms of chaos and old night will be invaded; while in place of the roar of wild beasts, or howl of wilder Indians, will be heard the lowing of herds, the bleating of flocks; the plough will cleave the sods of many a rich valley and fruitful hill, while from many a dark bosom shall go up the pure prayer to the GREAT SPIRIT.!!
This passage was copied at the time of its publication into one or two metropolitan daily journals, and while its manner was courteously commended, it was pronounced visionary and absurd in its speculations. Now, however, one of the ablest and most influential of those journals is led by unmistakable events to declare its conviction that the time is close at hand when this nation will put forth its strength and commence the greatest and most important national work ever devised or contemplated by man. A national rail-road, designed to connect the inhabitants on our Atlantic border with our colonists lying on the coast of the Pacific; a national rail-road traversing a mighty continent, and passing over two thousand miles of wilderness, still in the undisputed possession of the red man, the buffalo and the bear; a national rail-road which shall be
come the highway of nations for the commerce of the eastern world, and make NewYork its great dépot; a national rail-road, the cost of which will not fall much short of an hundred millions of dollars, but which will not really cost the nation one dollar, but increase its actual revenues inore than five times its cost, by reason of the actual value it will impart to our public domain ; such an enterprise is indeed a project worthy of the age in which we live. The subject is now wholly before the nation; it will soon be one of the prominent themes of congressional debate and action; and with such minds engaged upon it as those of Senators Seward and Benton, and others of kindred eminence, we look to find ample assurance of an early commencement and the earliest practicable completion of the road. The reader will admire with us the eloquent peroration of Senator Benton, in his speech before the Pacific Rail-Road Convention, recently held at Saint Louis:
"We live in extraordinary times, and are called upon to elevate ourselves to the grandeur of the occasion. Three and a half centuries ago the great COLUMBUS, the man who was afterward carried home in chains from the New World which he had discovered, this great COLUMBUS, in the year 1492, departed from Europe to arrive in the East by going to the West. It was a sublime conception. He was in the line of success, when the intervention of two continents, not dreamed of before, arrested his progress. Now, in the nineteenth century, mechanical genius enables his great design to be fulfilled. In the beginning, and in barbarous ages, the sea was a barrier to the intercourse of nations. It separated nations. Mechanical genius, in inventing the ship, converted that barrier into a facility. Then land and continents became the obstruction. The two Americas intervening have prevented Europe and Asia from communicating on the straight line. For three centuries and a half this obstacle has frustrated the grand design of COLUMBUS. Now, in our day, mechanical genius has ágain triumphed over the obstacles of nature, and converted into a facility that which had so long been an impassable obstacle. The steam-car has worked upon the land, und among enlightened nations, and to a degree far transcending it, the miracle which the ship, in barbarous ages, worked upon the ocean. The land has now become the facility for the most distant communications, the conveyance being invented which annihilates both time and space. We hold the intervening land : we hold the obstacle which stopped COLUMBUS: we are in the line between Europe and Asia!
•We have it in our power to remove that obstacle, to convert it into a facility, and to carry him on to his land of promise and of hope, with a rapidity, a precision, and a safety unknown to all ocean navigation. A king and a queen started him upon his great enterprise. It lies in the hands of a Republic to complete it! It is in our hands; we, the people of the United States, of this first half of this nineteenth century. Let us rise to the grandeur of the occasion. Let us complete the grand design of COLUMBUS, by putting Europe and Asia into communication, and that to our advantage, through the heart of our own country. Let us give to his ships, converted into cars, a continuous course, unknown to all former times. Let us make the iron road, and make it from sea to sea; states and individuals making it east of the Mississippi, the nation making it west. Let us now, in this convention, rise above everything sectional, personal, local. Let us beseech the National Legislature to build the great road, upon the great national line which unites Europe and Asia; the line which will find, on our continent, the Bay of San Francisco at one end, St. Louis in the middle, the national metropolis and great commercial emporiums at the other; and which shall be adorned with its crowning honor, the colossal statue of the great COLUMBUS, whose design it accomplishes, hewn from the granite mass of a peak of the Rocky Mountains, overlooking the road; the mountain itself the pedestal, and the statue a part of the mountain ; pointing, with oustretched arm, to the western horizon, and saying to the flying passenger, .There is the East! there is India !''
This closing conception is as sublime as the proposition of the Macedonian sculptor to cut Mount Athos, and to make with it a statue of the king, holding a town in his left hand, and in his right a spacious basin to receive all the waters which flowed from it. The majesty of the thought is only equalled by the grandeur of the enterprise which elicited it. VOL. XXXIV.
PRETENTIOUS DIGNITY. — We dare say the reader may be able to recognise in the following some pseudo-dignified person, in his or her neighborhood, who makes up in manner what he lacks in intellect, and who has the gravity of the owl with as little to think about. What dreadful bores such people are ! We have a person of this sort in our mind's eye at this moment. But listen to Mr. WHIPPLE, his description of the genus. We quote from his admirable volumes of • Essays, Reviews and Lectures,' recently published in Boston: AMONG the countless deceptions passed off on our sham-ridden race,
let me direct tention to the deception of dignity, as it is one which includes many others. Among those terms which have long ceased to have any vital meaning, the word dignity deserves a disgraceful prominence. No word has fallen so readily as this into the designs of cant, imposture and pretence: none has played so well the part of verbal scare-crow, to frighten children of all ages and both sexes. It is at once the thinnest and most effective of all the coverings under which duncedom sneaks and skulks. Most of the men of dignity, who awe or bore their more genial brethren, are simply men possessing the art of passing off their insensibility for wisdom, their dulness for depth, and of concealing imbecility of intellect under haughtiness of manner. Their success in this small game is one of the stereotyped satires on mankind. Once strip from these pretenders their stolen garments, once disconnect their show of dignity from their real meanness, and they would stand shivering and defenceless objects of the tears of pity, or targets for the arrows of scorn. But it is the misfortune of this world's affairs, that of. fices, fitly occupied only by talent and genius, which despise pretence, should be filled by respectable stupidity and dignified emptiness, to whom pretence is the very soul of life. Manner triumphs over matter; and throughout society, politics, letters and science, we are doomed to meet a swarm of dunces and wind-bags, disguised as gentlemen, statesmen and scholars. COLERIDGE once saw, at a dinner table, a dignified man with a face wise as the moon's. The awful charm of his manner was not broken until the muffins appeared, and then the imp of gluttony forced from him the exclamation: Them's the jockey's for me!' A good number of such dignitarians remain undiscovered.
"It is curious to note how these pompous gentlemen rule in society and government. How often do history and the newspapers exhibit to us the spectacle of a heavy-headed stupiditarian in official station, veiling the shecrest incompetency in a mysterious sublimity of carriage, 80lemnly trifling away the interests of the state, the dupe of his own obstinate ignorance, and engaged, year after year, in ruining a people after the most dignified fashion! You have all seen that inscrutable dispensation known by the name of the dignified gentleman,' an embodied tediousness which society is apt not only to tolerate but worship; a person who announces the stale common-places of conversation with the awful precision of one bringing down to the valleys of thought bright truths plucked on its summits; who is se profoundly deep and painfully solid on the weather, the last novel, or some other nothing of the day; who is inexpressibly shocked if your eternal gratitude does not repay him for the trite information he consumed your hour in imparting; and who, if you insinuate that his calm, con. tented, imperturbable stupidity is preying upon your patience, instantly stands upon his dignity, and puts on a face. Yet this man, with just enough knowledge “to raise himself from the insignificance of a dunce to the dignity of a bore,’ is still in high favor even with those whose ani. mation he checks and chills. Why? Because he has, all say, 'so much of the dignity of a gentleman!' The poor, bright, good-natured man, who has done all in his power to be agreeable, joins in the cry of praise, and feelingly regrets that nature has not adorned him, too, with dulness as a robe, so that he likewise might freeze volatile into respect, and be held up as a model spoon for all dunces to imitate. This dignity, which so many view with reverential de. spair,must have twinned, two at a birth,' with that ursine vanity mentioned by COLERIDGE, which keeps itself alive by sucking the paws of its own self-importance.' The DUKE OF SOMERSET, was one of these dignified gentleman. His second wife was the most beautiful woman in Eng. land. She once suddenly threw her arms round his neck, and gave him a kiss which might have gladdened the heart of an emperor. The DUKE, lifting his heavy head awfully up, and giving
his shoulders an aristocratic square, slowly said, 'Madam, my first wife was a HOWARD, and she never would have taken such a liberty!''
We have heard a good joke perpetrated upon the personal bearing of a painfully elaborate-manner'd gentleman of our State, who is however a man of marked ability, and much esteemed by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance. Where is Mr. B .?? asked a friend of a gentleman in the executive-chamber at the capital ; • He will be up in a few moments, I suspect,' was the reply. • He started to come up when I did, but I left him making a bow near the door!
GOSSIP WITH READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. - The Thirty-fifth Volume of the Knickerbocker will commence with our next number. It will be printed upon entirely new and beautiful types, and fine white paper. Our port-folios are groaning with accepted articles, in prose and verse, of a quality which we may confidently predict will be found never to have been surpassed in any previous volume of the work; while for our single self,' we do not hesitate to promise increased exertions, in our own immediate departments, to reward the enhanced patronage of the American public. . . . 'The Penitent,' by our Dover, (Del.) correspondent, is in portions extremely well written; but then it is marred in the fifth and seventh stanzas by false rhythm and infelicitous images. How much more of melody is there in these stanzas from a little piece of poetry in the London Baptist Magazine' upon the text, ' I will arise and go unto my Father:' • WHEN I have wandered far
• And when my cheek turns pale,
And when I sink in death,
Though heart and flesh may fail,
With my expiring breath,
I'll whisper, Jesus died for me;
FATHER! I rise and come to thee!'
Putnam, our American MURRAY, has been excelling himself.' He has just issued • Knickerbocker's History of New York,' in a superbly-illustrated volume, which forms one of the most desirable books of the season. The illustrations by Darley are in the best style of that popular artist, and the paper, printing and binding are in the publisher's best style, which is saying all that is necessary to be said. The same praise will justly apply to the very elegant volume containing the first of Goldsmith's Miscellaneous Writings, from the English edition of Prior. The increased interest created for GOLDSMITH's writings by the biographies of Foster and Irving, will give renewed eagerness to possess his works, in so elegant and convenient an edition as this of Mr. Putnam. "The Illustrated Scripture Gift-Book,' from the same house, with twelve fine engravings, from scripture subjects, on steel, and replete with appropriate contributions from eminent literary and religious sources, is another beautiful book, which will find numerous purchasers at this especial season. A very beautiful edition of the writings of Frederica Bremer is also in course of publication by Mr. PUTNAM. Few writers of any age have acquired a firmer hold upon the affections of our people than Miss Bremer, whose charming and instructive novels have already been widely and most admiringly read. The present edition is very beautifully printed, and must be universally welcomed. . . . Read thisSurf and Sea-Weed, a School-Room Collo