« AnteriorContinuar »
On page 76 we have a copy of a letter and its maker, but of all goodness, justice, gar passion and all vile impulses are conwritten by an Indian Chief, to Cranfield, and happiness. If we may judge from his tinually uttering, is, that the love of these Lieut. Governor of New Hampshire. It is writings,-not from his prefaces and apolo- things is spirited ambition, and the ennobcurious enough to be extracted.
gies, excuses and explanations, but his prin- ling aspiration of great minds. There are
cipal works, those which have cost him care few whom this powerful lie does not at some
* May 15th, 1685. Honour gouernor my friend,
and toil, and on which he relies for fame, seasons and in some measure deceive, and You my friend I desire your worship and your –his prevalent and habitual sentiment is a there are many whom it deludes and ruins. power, because I hope you can do som great mat- thorough and bitter scorn for every thing How wholly unnecessary is it, to teach men ters this one. I am poor and naked, and I have but depravity, and an universal distrust of to forget that man is good, that his hopes no man at my place because I afraid allwayes Mohogs he will kill me every day and night. If your every thing but falsehood. Virtue, honesty, are secure and his happiness real, just in worship when please pray help me you no let Mo- respect for right, and obedience to law, are proportion as he loves peaceful usefulness hogs kill me at my place at Malamake river called with him, only cheating bypocrisy or cheat- better than stife and turmoil, and pursues Panukkog and Nattukkog, I will submit your wor:' ed folly ; he deems it an abuse and an error the path of his duty, looking not above or ship and your power. And now I want pouder and to suppose that men do themselves good by beyond him, but at his work. such alminishon, shott and guns, because I have imposing upon themselves restraints, and Earth would be heaven, if men loved forth at my hom and I plant theare. This all Indian hand, but pray do you consider considers him wise, who overleaps the their duty better than its reward, and sought
bounds which fasten in society, and dares no other recompense than the pleasure of your humble servant,
JOHN HOGKINS." to forget or defy in mad revelry all cus- doing good. This a condition which can
tom, decency, and law. It is his settled hardly be imagined and never perhaps
creed, that we know not and cannot know, be reached; still it should be perpetually apCain ; a Mystery. By Lord Byron. Bos- by what cause or to what end we are in be- proached. It should be a goal towards ton. 1822. 18mo. pp. 79.
ing; religion is with him a time-rooted which all hope and effort should tend; and The Deformed Transformed; a Drama. falsehood, to which weakness, suffering, and there is nothing good and pure in the affecBy the Right Hon. Lord Byron. First fear have given power,-a strange folly, tions, nothing true in thought, and nothing American from the second London edition. making men barter away ease, liberty, and rational in belief or expectation, which
Philadelphia. 1824. 12mo. pp. 84. pleasure for an equivalent to be repaid only does not look to it. Amid the barrenness of Few living authors exert so strong and to him who has become nothing ; he sees in earth, even as it is, there are green and wide an influence as Lord Byron. His in. hope a miserable delusion, and in death lovely spots; primeval happiness comes tellect is remarkable, not for its power nothing but the chill and darkness and cor- again, with a reality beyond the dream of alone ; with those qualities which are most ruption of the grave. These opinions of poetry or the hope of enthusiasm, to a pure sure to awaken and arrest attention, he has, his oppose the universal and hereditary heart, dwelling in a humble and a peaceful in an uncommon measure, the faculties most opinion of the world, and believing himseit home. The love of self has many forms necessary to take advantage of opportunities right, he, of course, thinks that he is wiser and many names; it is lofty ambition, noble thus gained. He is not only a poet of a high than the world, and that his views are more pride, just revenge, and many things akin order, but an original, fearless, versatile
, vain of the distinction, and regards it with dwell, for where they are, there is no room
extended and accurate. Of course he is to these ; but with them happiness cannot and sometimes mysterious character; he is therefore certain of patient and earnest much complacency, and is willing that all and no welcome for her. The companions listeners; and upon all who listen to his should see it, and he tells men earnestly and that she loves, are innocent and humble, but song, he can throw a spell which few are
eloquently what fools, cowards, or hypo- glad and grateful thoughts, and pure and strong enough to break, by his absolute crites they are for believing, hoping, fear- kind affections; thoughts and affections command over the melodies of language ing, and professing like their fathers; that which come from heaven and almost bear and all that is powerful or beautiful in iin- they may feel his superiority, his bold sa- one thither, but which Byron, and they who agery, and by his skill in waking the gracegacity, who tells them so.
are infected by his influence, hold in utter ful play of gay or tender thoughts, or paint
Some things he has written to revenge scorn. This is a heavy accusation; let us ing the fiercest madness of passion, or con- and he has written some things merely from
an injury ; his mind is versatile and active, examine if it be not just. trasting all action and motion, whether
Who are his heroes? Who are they, to peaceful and joyous or fearful, with the caprice or in idleness; of late, some of the whom he gives beauty and courage and solemn calm of feelings, deep, 'silent, and appendages to his poems indicate alarm, if power? Who is he, that, whether his name tranquil as a reposing ocean. A man thus
not penitence; but the mass of his power- be Harold or Manfred, Conrad, Lara, or endowed, if he be,—as Lord Byron is,
ful and splendid poetry has a distinct and the Giaour, is a reflection of the character ambitious of influence and notoriety, for we for salire, or humour, or pathos, or exquisite reckless ambition is utterly regardless of
His talents which Lord Byron loves? He is one, whose will not call it fame, cannot pass through description of the beauty or sublimity of all that does not minister to its own indula his course, without giving a permanent direction to some minds and a bias to many, fully exerted as when he is fighting against others as born only for his use, and whose
nature, are never so strenuously and success- gence, whose miserable pride looks upon and thus doing much to establish his own all the best aiections and unfailing hopes ready vengeance is awakened against all fashion of regarding those topics which and sanctifying truths, which are left for who chance to cross his wayward path form * His haunt, and the main region of his song."
the strength or consolation of humanity. Such a being may exist; probably many
It is mockery to ask whether such a man, such do exist; but when these qualities beThe extent and character of his influ- writing thus, produces a good or evil effect; long to men living in society, the absurdity ence is a subject well worthy of examina- the only question is, what is the evil, which of supposing them ennobling rather than tion. We speak not of the effect of By- most naturally grows out of his works? degrading, is impossible.
Such men are ron's example upon the forms and appear. The answer is obvious. He has confounded avoided ; they feel no love and they seek ances of poetry, nor of the changes he may the distinction between all evil and all none; if they are unable or unwilling to have caused on the surface or in the depths good, and made beautiful and alluring by hide their pride and selfishness, all who ap; of literature, if any such there be ; but of specious falsehood, that which in truth and proach them, recoil with disgust; and if the influence he has exerted upon the gen- in reality is as repulsive as it is dangerous. these qualities are hidden, it is by a disguise eral habits of thinking and feeling in culti- It is the evil of man's nature, which alone, of mean and temporary suavity, which By: vated society. whatever be its features or disguise, loves ron's poetry could not endure.
Such must Lord Byron is an infidel ; a thorough and discord, tumult, and revenge, and solitary be men who, in the ruling principles of consistent infidel. Of course we say this grandeur, and uncontrolled 'power; these thought and feeling, resemble Byron's faonly of Lord Byron as an author ; as such, ibings harmonize with nothing that is good ;orites; and the falsehood of his poetry
is an unbeliever not merely of heaven and the great lie, which selfishness and vul- consists in giving to such characters unpat
ural and impossible a tractions ; in making but hatred, despairing yet untiring. Satan combat with Lucifer; they avoid him or them mild, amiable, and affectionate, lovely is invested with unimaginable sublimity; they stand before him fearful and feeble. and beloved, and happy in their ambition, but it is the sublimity of darkness illu- Now then, Byron, by the terms of his own their vengeance, or their sensuality. Thus mined with hell-fire : it is composed of seeking, is reduced within an obvious dilema character is created and strongly im- every element of awe and terror, and ma. He has given the victory to the advopressed upon the imagination, the direct is unqualified by any thing which can cate of infidelity; therefore he either would tendency of which is to produce, in the in- allure to sympathy or imitation. We feel not or could not defeat his sophistry; if he tellectual apprehension, an association be that he holds his burning sceptre because would not, it was because it is pleasant to tween things wbich approach each other he is supreme in pain;-he speaks to the him to blaspheme, and be loved the awful only in fiction, and a disunion between sun as something which had been beneath falsehoods of his hero too fondly to bring those which are seldom sundered in reality, his sphere, but curses the beam that brings them into light; if he could not, then the and never should be in the belief; between the memory of his past brightness; and we sad conclusion is inevitable, that he is inhumility and content, between usefulness are continually led to measure the height sensible to those truths and hopes and affecand happiness. It may be thought that all of his lost throne by the abyss into which tions which alone can elevate man from romantic works are liable to this charge in he has fallen. He meets the ministers of earth to happiness, and has not yet learned common with those of Lord Byron; but God in combat, in argument, and in pur- that none but the fool saith, There is no it applies to his productions with peculiar poses of evil, but he is exposed, defeated, God. aptness and force. In other works of this and punished, like a guilty and miserable It is impossible to read “ Cain," without class, the evil is commonly palliated, and, in thing; he is a rebel and a blasphemer feeling that Lucifer is a favoured and chersome sort, remedied, by a degree of regard to against the Most High, but his rebellion is ished character; it is impossible to compare those domestic charities and those duties its own punishment, his blasphemy is a cry Lucifer with the heroes of Lord Byron's and relations of society, which Byron seems of agony and despair, and his every word other works, without perceiving that he is neither to love, respect, nor understand. and action and purpose proclaims that his one with them. There is, we have already This regard is seldom very enlightened; sovereignty in wickedness and power and said, a distinct character, which every fabut, at the worst, it is a folly neutralizing torrent is one. Is it thus with Byron's vorite of the Byron school bears, and this a falsehood, which in Byron's poetry is Lucifer? Far from it; the impression he is character, strongly exaggerated, and rewholly unresisted. That Lord Byron's in- calculated to produce is precisely the oppo- lieved from a few of the incongruous amiafluence is checked and decaying, is certain; site to that which is caused by the charac-bilities which are commonly attached to it, but who can deny that it has been great, that, ter of Satan.
becomes Lucifer. with any knowledge of human nature, has Milton's arch-fiend is opposed to the Al- There is a use in most things; and Lord any recollection of the admiration, which mighty as evil to good, as falsehood to truth, Byron may do some good, even as an author. his poems excited, and of the forgetful as misery to peace and happiness; but Lu- The limits which are put to his success, the ness of their moral character in the ac- cifer is triumphant and exulting. Th is decay of his fame, the obloquy which is knowledgement of their power and splen- nothing of wretchedness about him, and he gathering about him, prove that there is dour.
declares himself to be miserable only that among those for whom he writes, a sense of We may appear to have pushed the he may better illustrate bis proud scorn his folly and wickedness, which will not be charge of infidelity and impiety too far. and successful defiance of that Almighty wholly blinded even by the splendour of his Byron, as we have already remarked, has vengeance which cannot inflict so much as poetry. In his earlier works Byron appearof late made many protestations and excus- he can endure. The cause of truth and ed as a poet of extraordinary powers, who es, which, with some critics, appear to have goodness is argued by Cain, feebly and foolishly affected much melancholy, and a degree of weight. In the preface to against his will; Adam and Eve are repre- who unhappily failed to discover that the Cain he seems to anticipate the horror sented as unresisting victims of God's in- time had gone by, when an author could which the foul blasphemies of Lucifer must justice, worshipping him rather in fear than advance his reputation for talent and origiexcite, and endeavours to excuse or defend in love. Abel, Adah, and Zillah are very nality by indulging his spleen in sneers at them, by saying that “it was difficult to good and peaceful, but rather weak and every thing holy, virtuous, or honourable. make hiun talk like a clergyman.” He else- quite unable to aid Cain in his wordy con- He wrote a series of delightful tales, unitwhere refers io a grea i precedent for his test with Lucifer. The spirit of evil is ing to great novelty in point of character justification : he appealik Milton; and by alike triumphant in argument and in temp- every species of poetic beauty. At this the example of Miltont, ve far as two spirits tation ; and his weapons are the same in period his reputation was at its height; he so discordant can be bro-ght into compari- both. He tempts to disobedience and sin, had indeed discovered the traits of character son, let him judged.
by promising knowledge; and overcomes which he has since shown more openly, but The Satan of Paradise Lost, is the sub- the habits of devotion in which Cain had he had not then obtruded them upon public lime of evil. It was a thought which mark- been educated, by performing his promise, notice; he had not yet written Don Juan ed the character of Milton's intellect, to by compelling the reason of Cain to admit and Cain, as if to show that the finest poetregard a pure hatred of God, as the crown- that man is miserable because God is essen- ry might be used to decorate vulgar licened and sovereign sin. Had the subordinate tially unjust and cruel! This tremendous tiousness or the sophistry and curses of devils been the creations of a less mighty blasphemy is repeated in many forms and blasphemy. But he has since gone so far mind, they would have differed from their with all possible distinctness, and adorned as to alarm and shock every feeling of love leader and from each other, only as they with all the poetry and enforced with all for goodness or respect for sanctity. Pubwere tainted with more or less wickedness. the eloquence which Lord Byron could lic sentiment is decidedly against him; his But it is not so: each one represents some command. It is no palliation, that Lucifer's last books do not sell; they remain on the elemental vice, and, in all that he says or arguments are altogether trite and futile, booksellers' shelves instead of being dedoes shows, with excee ling truth, the im- for they are all that infidelity bas yet found. manded with an avidity which could hardly pulse and tendency of the sin he personi- To the excuse which Byron offers in his be supplied. The last cantos of Juan are fies. Avarice, Ambitior , and Sensuality are own defence, that he was obliged to make almost unread here, and were it not for the there in vivid but disgusting reality. They his persons speak in character, we need not newspapers, which extract their best pasare there with their brethren, leading the answer that he was nowise required to sages, it would hardly be known that Byron armies of hell; but they bow with willing write that which could not be written with continued to write. In this fact there is inself-abasement to the preeminence in sin out blasphemy,—for the excuse wholly fails finite encouragement for them who hope and in suffering of him, on whom they rest of itself. If Lucifer must speak in charac- that men will one day learn to prefer good their hopes and from whom they derive ter, why must not Adam and Abel and to evil, and who would add their mite of their strength; of him, who is the life, the the Angel of the Lord ,- for he too is a effort, to bring about this blessed consumessential spirit of all ill, as he is nought person of this Mystery? But they do not mation.
There is an attempt to liken “Cain” to He is my father: but I thought that 'twere In the clear waters, when they are gentle, and the ancient Mysteries or Moralities; per- Never to have been stung at all, than to A better portion for the animal
When thou art gentle. Love us, then, my Cain! haps to give it the sanction of some exam. Purchase renewal of its little life
And love thy self for our sakes, for we love thee.
Look! how he laughs and stretches out his arms, ple; but it differs from them about as much With agonies unutterable, though
And opens wide his blue eyes upon thine, as from our common, acting plays. It is a Dispell'd by antidotes."
To hail his father; while his little form poem in dialogue; the interlocutors are
Soon after, Cain, in vengeance for the The childless cherubs wel might envy thee
Flutters as wing’d with joy. Talk not of pain! Adam, Cain, and Abel,-Eve, Adah, and Zillah, and Lucifer and the Angel of the preference paid to Abel's sacrifice, endea- The pleasures of a parent ! Bless him, Cain! Lord.' There is very little story in the cours to destroy Abel’s altar, and slays him As yet he hath no words to thank thee, but poem. It begins with a sacrifice which all for defending it. The Angel of the Lord His heart will, and thine own too."
The “ Deformed Transformed” is the last the mortals offer in conjunction ; Cain is appears and pronounces the curse upon Cain,
There are passa- work which Byron has published ; it is not left alone, and Lucifer soon comes to him, who departs, a fugitive. and enters upon a long argument, which ges of poetry in this “ Mystery,” which strongly characterized by the poet's pecufinally appears to convince Cain that God Byron has never surpassed. The scenes liarities, and many have doubted whether
between Cain and Adah are always beauti- it were his, but there are parts of it which is merciless, and that it is a valiant and excellent thing to defy him.
We will quote
ful. She meets him, after Lucifer had left only a poet could have written. The story him, thus.
is simple enough. A hunchback sells hima part of this dialogue, which may show not only the exquisite beauty scattered over Adah. Hush ! tread softly, Cain.
self to the devil for beauty; the “Stran.
Cain. the whole, but the character of the dia
I will; but wherefore ? ger," brings before him the eminent of past
Adah. Our little Enoch sleeps upon yon bed logue, that is sustained throughout the
ages, that he may choose whose form to Of leaves, beneath the cypress.
He finally determines to be as poem.
Achilles was; assumes his form, joins the Lucifer. Approach the things of earth most a gloomy tree, which looks as if it mourna O'er what it shadows; wherefore didst thou
army of Bourbon, and assists in the assault beautiful,
of Rome. And judge their beauty near. For our child's canopy?
Anthony and Demetrius Poliorcetes are
thus described ;
Arnold. What's here? whose broad brow and that,
whose curly beard Which being nearest to thine eyes is still
And longest; hut no matter-lead me lo him. And manly aspect look like Hercules,
[They go up to the child. Save that his jocund eye hath more of Bacchus
Than the sad Purger of the infernal world,
Leaning dejected on his club of conquest,
As if he knew the worthlessness of those
And his lips, too,
For whom he had fought.
Stranger. It was the man who lost
The ancient world for love.
Arnold. I cannot blame him,
Since I have risked my soul because I find not The forest shade—the green bough—the bird's 'Tis closed.
That which he exchanged the earth for.
Since so far The vesper bird's, which seems to sing of love,
My heart till then. He smiles, and sleeps! You seem congenial, will you wear his features? And mingles with the song of cherubim,
Arnold. No. As you leave me choice, I am difAs the day closes over Eden's walls ;And smile, thou little, young inheritor
ficult, All these are nothing, to my eyes and heart, Like Adah's face. I turn from earth and heaven of a world scarce less young : sleep on, and smile! If but to see the heroes I should ne'er
Thine are the hours and days when both are cheer- Have seen else on this side of the dim shore To gaze on it.
Whence they float back before us.
Thou know'st not thou art naked! Must the time Thy Cleopatra's waiting.
[T'he Shade of Anthony disappears : anothCan make its offspring ; still it is delusion. Which were not thine nor mine? But now sleep
er rises.) Cain. You think so, being not her brother.
Who is this?
Who truly looketh pee a demigod,
Blooming and brigłowith golden hair, and stature,
In all that nameless bearing of his limbs,
Which he wears as the Sun his rays—a something
Which shines from him, and yet is but the flashing
Emanation of a thing more glorious still.
Was he e'er human only.
Let the earth speak, Why art thou wretched ? why are all things so? Ev'n he who made us must be, as the maker
Adah. Dear Cain! Nay, do not whisper o'er If there be atoms of him left, or even
Of the more solid gold that formed his urn.
Arnold. Who was this glory of makind?
Of Greece in peace, her thunderbolt in war. Then why is evil-he being good? I ask'd
Demetrius the Macedonian and This question of my father; and he said,
Cain dwells upon the sufferings and des- Taker of cities. Because this evil only was the path
tinies of man until he declares it were better Arnold. Yet one shadow more.
Stranger. (addressing the shadow.)
“Adah. Oh, do not say so! Where were then
Achilles, thus. And piteous bleating of its restless dam;
I must commend My father pluck'd some herbs, and laid them to The mother's joys of watching, nourishing, Your choice. The god-like son of the Sea god. The wound; and by degrees the helpless wretch And loving him? Soft! he awakes. Sweet Enoch! dess, Resumed its careless life, and rose to drain
[She goes to the child. The unsborn boy of Peleus, with his locks The mother's milk, who o'er it tremulous
Oh Cain! look on him; see how full of life, As beautiful and clear as the amber waves Stood licking its reviving limbs with joy.
Of strength, of bloom, of beauty, and of joy, Of rich Pactolus rolled o'er sands of gold, Behold, my son! said Adam, how from evil How like to me-how like to thee, when gentle, Softened by intervening chrystal, and Springs good!
For then we are all alike; is't not so, Cain? Rippled like flowing wa'ers by the wind, Lic. What didst thou answer?
Mother, and sire, and son, our features are All vowed to Sperchius as they were-behold them! Cain. Nothing; for Reflected in each other; as they are
And him--as he stood by Polixena,
With sanctioned and with softened love, before “ Book.—I have told you my author knows that occasionally, but which, repulsive as they may be The altar, gazing on his Trojan bride, you are ; moreover, he foresaw that I should meet
to some whom I would fain conciliate, I have not With some remorse within for Hector slain you at this time, in this place, and that we should dared to exclude altogether from a work principally And Priam weeping, mingled with deep passion bave such conversation together; for which he pre intended for intellectual dissipation in leisure For the sweet downcast virgin, whose young hand pared me with the answers already given to your hours. Trembled in his who slew her brother. So very natural inquiries.
I have done my part to please you; and if you He stood i' the temple ! Look upon him as
Reader.--Humph! no small proof of sagacity! do half as much to be pleased, neither of us will Greece looked her last upon her best, the instant -But how are you sure that I am the person whom have reason to complain. Readers in general are Ere Paris' arrow flow.” he had in his mind's eye!
little aware how much of the entertainment of such • Book.-Only because you can be no other; works depends upon themselves. If you, my gentle
and though you assume a thousand forins, and be friend, are one of these, make the experiment with Prose, by a Poeta
2 vols. 12mo. pp. 411. as many ladies and gentlemen as you please, at my little book : do your best to be delighted with Philadelphia, 1824.
once, or in succession-indeed, the more the merit; and if there be stars in heaven, or flowers on We believe that Montgomery is supposed the very person, to whom he has sent a direct mesrier for him,--yet are you invariably the person, earth, you shall not lose your labour.'
“So saying, my author dismissed me. I have to be the author of these pleasant little sage by nie.
come from his hands to place myself in yours, volumes; they are attributed to him in the * Reader.-A message!-what is it?
where I lie at your mercy. English journals, and are well worthy of “ Book. Why, when he turned me out alone into Reader.--I will do you justice." him. Whoever the author may be, he is a vain efforts to write a character for me, in the shape the wide world, io seek my fortune,--after twenty
There is a very pretty and playful “ Life man of fine sense and taste, and an excel- of a preface, which should justify my title, apolo- of a Flower,” narrated in two letters from lent writer. There is infinite variety in gize for my contents, anticipate criticism, and soft- a violet to a lady; we will venture upon a the matter and manner of the pieces; some en the sternest reviewer into graciousness, he long extract from this autobiography. are humorous, some pathetic, and some ar- tropt his pen on the floor in despair, and with a gumentative; there are tales, allegories, look of forlornness that cast a shade of melancholy My dear Madam, journals, dialogues, and essays,--all of which the blight of it there still, he took me up in his trived to write its own history: How in the course
over my lightest pages --I wish you may not find "Do not ask me by what means a flower has conare pretty good, and some very excellent arus, I was then in my manuscript or chrysalis of my short lise, -one week, five days, nine hours The author says that the different pieces state, and a vast dteal more bulky than in my pre- and twenty-three minutes, at this moment, - I learn. have been written at different times, and sent butterfly form, --I say he took me up in his ed so much of men and things, as to qualify me to principally on private occasions, within the arms, like an affectionate parent, which I assure tell you my little tale in language intelligible to be. last ten years; and they are now printed, ou he is, loving me for my very faults, because I ings so exalted in the scale of creation as you are,
fear in his heart he loves them,--was there ever you will hear in the sequel. I can assure yon, on because he had accumulated so many of such a zigzag sentence of digressions?-to make the word of one among innumerable millions of a these miscellanies, that it seemed probable all straight, my author took me up and thus ad- race by whom a lie was never told since Adam a selection might be made which would be dressed me:
plucked the first flower in Paradise,--and that, you acceptable to the public. The preface is
*My little Book,
know, was before he was married, -that every syl. in the shape of an amusing dialogue be with my incorrigible indolence and constitutional myself ever lived. Who has lent me his pen, as
I have done all that I could for you, consistent lable of the following record is as true as that I tween the book and the reader.
imbecility. I have given you a moderate education, amanuensis on this occasion, I shall not tell; for " Reader.–Prose!-so it is; at least the greater --to me a very expensive one, and made you as if you are not sufficiently well acquainted with the part of it; and that which looks like verse may be much like myself as such a child ought to be like hand-writing at once to recognise it as that of a the most prosaic of all.
such a father. This, I fear, may be no great recome friend, he has deceived me, or you have deceived * Book.True; but to make amends, you may mendation; and yet it cannot be quite unavailing, him. I have only to premise further, that if there expect that the prose of a poet will be poetical. since that which is genuine, however humble in its be any thing in my narrative unworthy of a violet,
Reader.-It I thought so, I would fling you kind, will not be entirely unwelcome where it en- or what a violet could not have known, spoken, or into the fire at once; for next to maudlin verse Icounters human sympathy. I send you abroad, a done, you will be pleased to attribute it to his ig. hate drunken prose.' Your title, to be sure, is a stranger among strangers; and your success hence- norant or impertinent interpolation. little ominous ; --what does it mean?
forward must depend partly upon yourself, but "I do not recollect being born, nor do I remem“ Book.-Every book must have a title, as every chiefly upon a certain personage whom you will ber my parents ; for we violets, being only spring, man must have a name.
meet on your travels to the worlu's end (and to the flowers, die nine months before our children come " Reader. But the title ought to be significant end of the world, if you can live so long), in as into the world. But this is idle prating ; for, to tell of the contents.
many shapes, colours, and sizes, as there are clouus the truth, there are no such things as fathers and " Book.-No more than a man's name need be in the firmament. This person, wherever tound, mothers among us: we love ourselves, and our indicative of his character, which, however fash- and under whatever disguise, you will always know posterity are the offspring of self-love ; consequentionable among savages, could not be tolerated in at first sight; for I neeu not teach you the signs of ly, there can be no fear of our own issue failing, civil society.
freemasonry between a Book and a Reader: but while this ruling passion is the universal inherit. “ Reader. --No, indeed; we should soon be all remember, that the latter must always be addressed ance of all our tribe. The first event that I can savages again, if it were so :—who would choose as 'gentle;' and the more crabbed in reality your call to mind was, the fall of an icicle from the old to be reminded of what he wasma tiger, a bear, or patron appears, the more courteous you must be, oak tree under which I grew, upon my head, when a buffalo, like a wild Indian who glories in the re- both for my sake and your own. Wherefore, it was no bigger than a pin's. The pain of this un-, semblance,-every time his name was pronounced ? | when you come into the presence of this multitu- couth accident was to me the earliest consciousness But it is quite ano her thing with books, which have dinous and ubiquitarian being, say thus from me:-- of existence; I was then, according to the best no feelings to be hurt.
chronology, exactly eight and forty hours old, by * Book. But we have characters to lose, and it *Take this Book as a token of sincere esteem the church-clock of our parish, which struck six, would be infatuation to throw them away on the from one whom you may never have known, but A. M. just as the icicle was shaken from a branch outset. Great authors, who ought to be the best who, while invisible as your guardian angel, like above, by the sudden rising on the wing of a crow, judges what to call their offspring, have often given him has long been employed in secret oftices of that had roosted on it all night, and who, having ihem titles which were masks rather than manifes- kindness on your behali. Believe me, all the time, overslept himself, was startled out of a pleasant tations of their purpose. •The Diversions of Purlabour, study, watching, and, if you will allow ih dream, by the report of a gup, which farmer Gripe's ley,'—who could expect to be tasked with a game all the talent expended on its composition, were son fired at him over the adjacent hedge. As the at hard words after such a holiday decoy? Take fervently devoted to your service. Though you poor bird lost nothing but the remainder of his nap, the other aspect of this double-faced sphinx- may deem some of these pages too trifling, others and his tail, which was shot sheer away, he will "Erix Frigéifre ;' make • winged words' of these, too grave, a tew too fiorid, and many too cull, yet in not be any worse, or wiser either, for ihe misadanú suit, so idr as concerns the subject (happily all moods and vagaries of mind, I have had the two-venture;-the feathers will grow again, no doubt; hieroglyphic at they are), they will be · Heathen fold object in view,—to amuse if I could, and ben, and so far from profiting by the warning, I saw him Greek,' not to the yulgar only, but to the learned erit if I might, the good-natured reader. When I sitting on the very same bough, the day before yesthemselves.
have succeeded in one of these, I cannot have mis- terday, and cawing as if he were king of the re* Reader.-Wes; but when you have got into carried altogether in the other; for in the wildest gion. This happened on the third of April, 1814; the spirit of the treatise, you will understand the humours, amidst reveries of egotism, sallies of fancy, I therefore conclude that I must have been born on propriety of the one title, and pardon the affecta- and mazes of description, I have never lost sight of the first, -as good a day as can be found in the tion of the other.
some moral aim, though I have not always placed whole calendar, for the coming forth of a flower. * Book.--My author asks no more for me and it ostentatiously before your eye:--at the same From the instant that sense and reason were thus mine.
time, in my most portentous lucubrations, I have awakened in me, I became a quick and diligent ob" Reader.Who is your author?
endeavoured to embellish, though I may have often server of all that passed within me and around, so “ Book. That is a secret with which you see, failed to illustrate those solemn and eternal verities, far as opportunities were afforded for gratifying my he has not entrusted me. * ***
which I will not say I have ventured to introduce I curiosity and improving my mind. The authentic
particulars respecting the crow and the icicle above | If I do not remember the moment of my birth, this pounded to me and my sisters (for the rest of our mentioned, I was told, while yet smarting under moment I should never forget, were I to live to the vegetable neighbours were asleep) the next momthe pain of the accident, by my neighbour and gos- age of the oak. Amidst the innumerable objects, ing; and though a violet's existence is computed sip, a withered sprig of spear-grass, which had al-all beautiful and new, above and around, -the birds by minutes instead of years, I thought it worth ready outlived two winters, and was notoriously fitting through the air, the insects creeping among while having been born a flower to see this. the greatest gossip that grew for ten fields round. the herbage, the flowers of many hues that blos- " But the charın was abruptly broken by a hideBy this merry blade I was taught the rudiments somed on my native bank, mine ancient gossip, ous scaring noise directly over our heads. "To. of useful knowledge; and whether you believe the spire of dry grass with two withered blades hoo! Tohoo! Tohoo!' it cried, and forth from the me or not, I will venture to affirm that my precep- hanging down, and high over all, the patriarchal hollow of the oak issued a giant of a screech-owl. tress was as good a schoolmistress as any old wo- oak, towering, and, as it appeared to me, touching Plumb into the midst of the rejoicing assembly he man of eighty within the ring of our bells
, and the sky,—nothing caught my attention longer than plunged, when all the fays and fairies (for so I un myself as good a scholar, at the week's end, as any while 1 cast a glance across it. As soon as I had derstand they are called in the language of men) little boy or girl three hundred times my age, and looked thus hastily about me, I fixed my eye on with a sound as if the strings of a thousand musical ten thousand times my bulk. During my minority, the sun, coming forth from his golden palace :-as instruments were at once snapt asunder, vanished that is, till my blossom opened, I was blind; and he rose in the firmament, my petals spread wide to in the twinkling of a dew-drop, except Robert in truth I had then only two of the five senses by receive his ray, and my breath grew sweeter; while Goodfellow, the merriest elf among them all, who which you animals vainly imagine that you are dis- 1 sighed in the delight of beholding him all day had been playing
his antics with me and my sisters tinguished above us vegetables : but let me tell you, long, with the occasional intervention of a cloud, all night, and was then standing on his head, fiddling that I could feel as exquisitely as yourself, Madam. and the floating shadows of taller plants around with his legs in the air, on one of my topmost peIndeed I doubt whether an icicle a quarter of an that alternately crossed and cleared my sight, 1 tals. Neck and heels, in his fright, poor Robin! inch long, falling upon your head, would have cost traced the splendid luminary in his course to the he tumbled, a height of three statute-inches at you half the anguish, that such an infliction cost meridian, and downward through a crimson colour- least, into the hollow of one of my footleaves, me. And as for hearing, certainly you will not ed sky, till behind the old oak he vanished from me. where he lay stunned for a full half-second, and pretend to measure your ears with mine : I dare I felt my lively spirits sinking as he declined: when then I saw no more of him. say you never heard a stalk of grass speak in your he was gone, vision began to fade; the objects near “ The owl, with another cry of triumph more life; I have heard one uttering oracles all day long, me lost their colour, then their form; I was alarm- horrible than the first, hurried back to his den -aye, and all night too; for my neighbour talked ed; I thought that my primitive blindness was re- among the ivy of the oak; the moon was becloudas much in her sleep, and as much to the purpose, turning; the air grew chill ; I bowed upon my bed, ed, and I fell asleep again. Lest you should do as when she was awake.
and oppressed with indescribable dejection, I fell the same,--or rather that you may do the same,“ Now while I was blind, I had nothing to do but into a deep slumber.
Madam, I will here make a break in my narrative to grow wiser and bigger every day ;-bigger I did “Thanks to the sweet deceiver, Sleep! In my to you. But I must continue it by myself, and begrow, for I could not help it, and wiser,---but I must dream (for flowers dream as well as sleep, whatever queath the remainder to you in my will; for though not boast, lest I should prove myself a fool: I may botanists may say,) the glorious image of the sun Iam up to the neck in water,--the only means of say, however, that I do not recollect that I ever arose on my imagination, and I spent my day over prolonging my life, after I had been mortally lost a moment in all my schooling, with the old again in the night. From this delicious trance, I wounded by one of the fairest hands in the world, beldame of our bank-side, or under a much higher was awakened by strains of music so inspiring, as you will learn hereafter,--I feel that I shall not and more accomplished tutor, at whose feet I was that I found myself and sisters involuntarily,—and live till to-morrow morning. Meanwhile, and with brought up, and by whom I was as carefully instruct yet, oh! how willingly !_dancing with all our my sweetest breath, and last, I am, ed, as if, instead of a few spring-days, my life was leaves and blossoms to the melody, which came
Yours, for ever, to equal your grandmother's. This august and ven- nearer, and grew merrier every moment. There
VIOLA. erable personage was no other than 'a majestic was a very pale twilight in the air, when glancing oak, that had outlasted twenty generations of your upward, I perceived a dark cloud with a silver mar
LETTER II. long-lived race, and five hundred of ours; nay, it gin; in the middle of which there appeared a bright “Dear Madam, had stood so long against the strokes of time and spot, that became thinner and thinner, as if melting “I did not awake out of this second sleep till death, that it had survived two-thirds of itself
, be- away, till a beautifu.. orb broke through it. It was the sun had given his own colour and lustre to the ing only a ruin, yet, even in decay, more magnificent the moon, a little on the wane, which had risen morning-clouds; but the dew, into which an early than a forest of brambles in their glory. This oak, after my eye closed, and was now half-way up the boar-frost had resolved itself, lay white upon the which was, or pretended to be, -—for I could not sky. She was not so gorgeous as the sun bit in ground, and there was a globule, as big as a lady's help suspecting some unacknowledged gaps in the the first joy of discovering her, I thought her a tear, in my eye, that entirely filled it. * * * avenue of his genealogy, my honoured tutor having thousand times more lovely; for just then I recol- “At half-past nine o'clock in the forenoon, a only one weak point about him, and that was a lected, that while I was falling asleep, I had fancied butterfly, the first that I had seen,-indeet the first certain pride of ancestry incomprehensible to us that I was losing my sight. In the transport of of the season, --came fluttering over us. Our chat ephemeral things,-a very commendable pride, having this restored, I had no ear for music: I was was immediately suspended, and every eye follow. you will perhaps say, in the stump of an old tree! all eye, and that eye was all moon, for I saw noth- ed the brilliant stranger, while he sported to and --Be it so,--but I must begin the last sentence ing else ; till suddenly her beams appeared alive, fro, displaying his elegant form and gay apparel in again. This oak, which was, or pretended to be, and in motion toward me. Millions, aye millions, every attitude; hovering here, descending there, the twelfth in descent from one that grew on the of little beings, in form like the lords of creation, alighting nowhere. We violets breathed our siglis same slope at the creation, was a marvellous lin- and as brilliant as if they had been born in ladies' of sweetness to allure him; the daisies,-poor guist, having in the course of its own five centuries, eyes, came pouring upon our bank-side, and cover. things, how I pitied them !-blushed to the tips of acquired all the knowledge that had been accumu- ed it as thick as dew-drops. The music, which their petals, for it was plain that he despised them; lated in its family, and transmitted by due inherit- was as much too exquisite for human ears as these the primrosss shivered with spleen, for they were ance from sire to son, for nearly six thousand shapes were too fine for human sight, continued in the shade, and he never went near them; the
meanwhile to swell and fall
, and float, an, quicken, butter-cups blazed out in golden splendour, and My Royal Oak, however, was very kind and and languish. It seemed a moving spirit among they seemed his favourites, for now he dipt towards condescending to me; and from his sage lessons I these lively little things; sometimes they ran out one, then towards ano herof them, till, fto tire chagrin learned as much of the works of nature and art, of in lines all the way up to the moon and back again; and astonishment ut all, he at length settled on a the actions of animals human and brute, of ethics anon they wheeled in rings so swift as to be indi- glaring yellow dandelion, the vulgarist tower on the and English grammar, as you might suppose a violet vidually indistinguishable ; again they intermingled bank, -with which not one of us would even exof tolerable parts, improving every instant, could ac- in measures so slow, that every feature of the small change a word; and there he sate in the sun, openquire in ten days; so that when I came of age on est face was easily discerned. Love, joy, grief, ing and shutting his burnished wings, with ineffable the eleventh, I was prepared to begin the world to hope, fear, and every passion, were expressed in self-complacency; for it was soon evident that the advantage, having pretty clear ideas of every thing their countenances, carolled in their songs, and coxcomb chose the gaudy weed, not for the love of I might expect to behold when the universe became represented in their dances. They flew among us it, but because its broad disk afford led him a convisible to ine,-for you will recollect that I was and over us, with steps so light that we bent not venient resting-place, on which he could expand blind during the whole of my nonage.
our heads beneath their volatile feet; but when his gold and purple finery to the ad iration, as he * At sun-rise on the eleventh of April, my eye- they touched us, we felt in ourselves the very affec; thought, of all that beheld him. We were so prolids were opened on the creation; and in the same tion, whether joyous or mournful, that possessed voked, that we tried to look any way and every moment when I first saw the light, I first breathed them at the time. It would take more hours than way, rather than at him; and yet we caught our the air, fresh, cool, and fragrant, amidst a thick I have to live, to describe all the scenes of this eyes continually turning, as it were by instinct, group of sister-violets, "stealing and giving odours,' wonderful spectacle ;-it was a pantomime in min. again to him, for really he was a very preity fellow, as the breeze of morning swept the dew-drops from iature of your great world, in which all the horrors and would have been a thousand times more so if our leaves. Heretofore I had only felt the warmth and glories of war, the labours and pastimes of he had not known it. At last he whisked away. ** of the sun, and the pleasantness of the breeze, cher peace, the business of the field, the court, the sen- “ We were very silent and pou ating for nearly an ishing and expanding my bud; now the light of ate, the bar, the college, the town, and the country, hour, when a bee came humming along the late heaven seemed to dart not only into my eye, but were at once exemplified. In a word, there was and soon as he had wheeled around the compart of on my veins down into my very root, and the then presented to us a perfect masquerade of hu- the old oak, darted down upon one of us, it was
of the wind was like a living soul within me. man life, the detail of which the reverend oak ex. I upon me. I was frightened out of my write the 16
years. * * *