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and concede that Shakspeare may, after all, young Ascanius from her arms by night ?* have been as learned as Daniel ?
Does Shakspeare confound the rites of modSo much for the English histories; now ern chivalry with the practices of ancient for the Roman and GREEK.
warriorship? Which of his contemporaries The concluding observations on the fore- did not do the same? He arrays Troilus going head will suffice for these. They are for the field with the sleeve of the inconstant not professed chronicles; they are built on Cressida in his helmet; but is he not matched the "famam”—the popular account
of the by George Peele, “ Maister of Artes in Oxcharacters and events they record ; and as enforde,” as he underwrites himself, who, in North's “ Plutarch” then stood in that rela- his "Arraignment of Paris," brings in upon tion, and was, without concealment, the Mount Ida“ nine knights in armour, treadsource from whence Shakspeare drew, the ing a warlike almain, by drum and fite," for poet, if true to that, was as true to history the entertainment of the three rival godas he intended to be ; and for the errors desses ? And doth not the same George into which he may have fallen, his authority Peele, in his poem entitled " The Beginning, is to be held in fault, and not himself. Even End, and Accidents of the War of Troy,” in this respect, we doubt whether Ben Jon- exhibit, on the banks of the Scamander, son's Roman plays, though drawn directly from the fountains of Sallust and Tacitus, be
“Sir Paris, mounted, in his armour bright,
Prick forth, and on bis helm his mistress' sleeve ?" more correct. We have already shown that his recourse to a translation is no proof of his Again, do not Beaumont and Fletcher, inability to consult the original. He did in both of them university scholars of repute, this case precisely what Lodge had done ; in their “ Humorous Lieutenant,” make and his performances in this branch of his- Leontius desire the king's son to tory are certainly as correct as that of his learned contemporary, the author of "The “ Hang all his ladies' favours on his crest, Wounds of Civil War.” In truth, compared
And let them fight their shares” with any of the historical plays of his time, for him in the ensuing battle? And this whether of ancient or modern story, the pro- battle, by the way, reminds us of another ductions of Lylie, Greene, Marlow, Peele, Lodge, Nash, &c., &c., those of Shakspeare
* Ben Jonson equally confounds the ancient my. are infinitely superior, not merely in poetical thologies of Greece and Rome with those of modpower, which is a gift, but in historical ern Europe in our author's time. In his masque knowledge, which is an acquirement of study of the "Fairy Prince," (written for Prince Henry.) Why, then, should he be held inferior to the first person introduced is “a Satyr calling them in this branch of the accomplishments upon Chromis and Mnasy!" (two young Satyrs,"
as he tells us, "found in the 6th Eclogue of of a scholar?
Virgil,") “ to know whether they have seen any But his gross violations of chronology thing of late of Silenus, the pædagogue of Bacchus." prove his deficiency in learning! Do they, Receiving no response, he winds his horn, and indeed? Then the reproach cannot reach forth with enter Cercops, and Silenus, and Sylvanus, him till it has pierced through the ribs of ensues, in which Silenus informs the good company
and groups of Satyrs and Silvanes ; and a dialogue Virgil, who, notwithstanding his synchronism that of Dido and Æneas, stands invulnerable as
«« These are nights
Solemn to the shining rites a poet, accomplished in all the learning of
Of the Fairie Prince and Knights, his times. Then will he only bear the
While the moone their orgios lights.
Satyr 2. Will they come abroad anon? reproach of ignorance in common with most Satyr 3. Shall we see young Oberon ?" &c. of the poets and dramatists of his day. Does After much more of this, and some singing and he, in the “ Midsummer Night's Dream,” dancing, the whole palace opens, and the nation people Athens and the woods adjoining with of Fays (Elves and all] are discovered, and knights fairies? And do not Christopher Marlow
and masquers sitting in their several sieges; and
at the farther end of all, Oberon, in a chariot drawn and Thomas Nash—the one a master and by two white bears ; and finally, the whole party, the other a bachelor of arts in the Univer- Satyrs
, Sylvans, Nymphs, Silenus and Sylvanus sity of Cambridge—in their joint production and the rest
, together with
Oberon and the greater of“ Dido, Queen of Carthage," represent her and the lesser Fays
their majesty's nurse complaining that “some appears, and the whole, with its machinery, van
measures, corantos, galliards, &c., until Phosphorus fairies have beguiled her," and stolen the lishes!
flagrant anachronism of our poet. Does he ladies, held at the Grecian tents during an not, in his 1st Henry IV., represent the interval of the siege—does he not we say, Douglas amusing himself at sparrow-shoot- make Iphigenia (however that lady came ing with a pistol,* long before the invention there) frump the Trojans for their want of of gunpowder? But Beaumont and Fletcher an "academie" like to the Grecians, and are at it much earlier; for, in the aforesaid commend the moral philosophy of Appian “Humorous Lieutenant,”--the time of which to their study? and doth not Andromache, is the close of the reign of Alexander the waxing " a little pleasaunt and satyricall," Great, Demetrius enters with a loaded reply with a “quip modest” against the pistol in his hand, presents and fires it at the "self-conceit of the Grecian ladies in their Lieutenant. The victim falls, indeed, but wysedome ?” “ Our ladyes," quoth she," like only to rise a better man than before! And homely huswyfes, beguile time with the à propos to such anachronistic weapons, can dystaffe; but your dames apply their myndes it be forgotten that Thomas Heywood, Fel- to their books, and become so well lettered, low of St. Peter's College, Cambridge, pro- that after long study they proove as vertuous vides his Psyche with " a sharp-set razor” to as Helena." Iphigenia of course blushes, cut Cupid's throat withal ?t or that Marlow apologizes, and defends. Cassandra takes and Nash furnish Æneas with a “tinder- up her parable, and spouts Latin ; and box," and represent him as a civil engineer, the wily Ulysses quotes Horace ! And laying down plans and elevations of Carthage moreover, doth not the same worthy, in with "paper," and doubtless with pen and conjunction with Thomas Lodge, A.M., Canink, in his hand ? Could those "art-mas- tab., in the “Looking-Glass for London," ters” have seen as far forward into time as make Rasni, the King of Nineveh in the they looked back into its records, we should days of Jonas the prophet, quote from Virprobably have beheld the hero of the play gil's celebrated distich ; "and to show himtaking gradients for a line of railway be- self perfect master of the language, modify tween the capitals of the Sidonian Dido and it (without the aid of Lilly's Syntax) to the Getulian Tarbas.
his own purpose? And are not the rab“Yes, that's all very true ; but does not blement of that doomed city as intimate Shakspeare make Hector quote Aristotle ?" with Galen as their monarch with Maro ? He does. But does not Robert Greene, And do they not, moreover, prate as fami"in artibus magister utriusque Academiæ," liarly (though it is rather out of place, both in " a philosophical combat" or conversatione here and there) of rapiers, ale-houses, parish between Hector and Achilles, with the chief churches, sextons, squires, and christening tains on both sides and their respective cakes, as Parson Adams or Doctor Paley, in
more modern times, could do for their lives? * "And with his pistol shoot a sparrow flying.” But enough of this. Even a more serious -1st Hen. IV.
charge against his chronology, involving the +“ Love's Mistress, or Cupid and Psyche,” by occasional misplacing of historical facts with Thomas Heywood.
reference to the real order of their occurrence, “ Dido, Queen of Carthage,” by Christopher Marlow and Thomas Nash.
must be postponed for a more convenient 8 " Troilus and Cressida," ii. 2.
BAYARD TAYLOR'S POEMS.
Messrs. Ticknor, Reed & Fields are doing cess, and which, united with his talents, the community a great service in their pub- have proved the harmony of the union lication of a uniform edition of American between labor and genius, and the wisdom Poets. As the poetical works of many of of employing the one to minister to the full our eminent countrymen have successively development of the other. His steady and appeared from their press, we have taken onward course furnishes one more instance pleasure in committing them to our library to disprove the oft-alleged inseparableness and to our memory, as worthy of being pre- between poetical talent and moral enfeebleserved and of being remembered. We have ment, and to establish the fact that a favoraccustomed ourselves to regard their names ite of the Muses may be also an upright, upon the title-page of a volume of poems laborious, practical man. If men were not as a guaranty of its excellence. We have by nature disposed to look obliquely at any always believed them eminently disposed to qualification which they do not themselves lend a helping hand to all efforts of real and possess, and to ally the worst of faults with persevering genius. We have always found the most eminent of capabilities, whenever them considerate toward the rights of Ameri- such a union is sanctioned by a single precan men of letters, and very sparing in grat- cedent, we should think it worth while to ifying our unnational taste for pirated liter- spend a little time in combating a popular ature. When to this it is added, that the notion that a poet must be visionary, spendpublications of their house are uniformly thrift, or dissipated; that he must rave with refining and pure in their tendencies, and Shelley, scatter with Savage, or tipple with unexceptionable alike in the internal spirit Byron; that he must be a child in practical and the external letter, we must feel assured affairs, unfit to manage a household, disthat whatever volumes thay may continue qualified for the duties of an active citizen, a to publish are worthy of being commended day-dreamer, and an idle participant in the to the attention of all readers.
blessings provided by others. But our estimate of Mr. Taylor's poems is But without stopping to make war upon not based upon the name of his publishers. a very ill-founded theory, we may say that We have watched Mr. Taylor's poetical | Mr. Taylor has probably written better career for some years with no ordinary inter-verses, and that his mind is in better order est, and with each of his successive effusions, for the production of good poetry, than if he our confidence in his powers and in his suc- had devoted himself entirely to poetical cess has been strengthened. There is nothing labor from the day he began to write verses of feebleness in Mr. Taylor; he is never at all, and, shutting himself up among bis strained, never affected, and never untrue to books, had entered upon a life of intellectual a fine vein of healthy sentiment, which per- seclusion. Mr. Taylor, as is very well known, vades the entire composition of his mind. is a prominent member of the editorial corps From the day on which he embarked for of a leading daily journal of this city, and, Europe, a mere stripling, with no advan- in his professional duty, performs day by tages of education beside those which, with day an amount of work which might amply infinite difficulty, he had provided for him- justify any man in entire relaxation during self, with very little money in his pocket, all his intervals of leisure. But as a life of and very unsubstantial prospects of obtain- idleness makes no man a poet, so the poetiing more, until now, when the literary ambi- cal spirit of no man is stifled by daily exertion of most men would be satisfied with cise in the conflicts of life. While the busy the honors he has gained, he has continually man labors, he can not only think, but he shown a perseverance, a self-reliance, and a can gather materials for after-thought. Amid willingness to work, which of themselves the most active duties, the intellect is never could scarcely have failed to command suc- debarred from noticing all that is noticeable,
and analyzing all that challenges its power. I adorning fragments of legendary narrative, And it is more than probable that the very or mythological fable, where the other bent points on which it seizes, under such a con- its powers under the weight of the gravest dition of its use, are the points most calcu- matters of history or metaphysical speculalated to interest the majority of men, but tion. And, regarding the portentous volupon which they may not have time or umes of our earlier poets, we cannot wonder ability to comment for themselves. It must that their descendants are not as emulous be true, that the writer who mingles most of their untiring prolixity as of their poetiwith men is able, other things being equal, cal ambition. From any other than the to write most acceptably to the majority of briefest of volumes, the reading community readers. If Shelley had passed six hours a of the present day start back in positive disday with his fellow-Englishmen, the number may. We have no time for poems comof his readers would have increased a hun- prising twelve or twenty-four books, though dred-fold. If Southey had been a merchant, built according to the precepts of Boileau or a practitioner at the bar, he might have and the example of Milton, and though they written less poetry, but what he might have may treat of the greatest of national or hiswritten would have been vastly more read- torical affairs. We ask for the pith of able. Abstraction, and a misguided aver- volumes in sentences; history, philosophy, sion to the duties of common life, destroyed scientific speculations are alike subjected to the power of the marvellous genius of Keats. a universally demanded compression, and Similar traits of character, but partially sub- poets find that the shorter and the more dued, neutralize the effect of many of the vigorous are their effusions, the more nuefforts of Tennyson. Poets cannot know merous and the better pleased are their every thing by intuition ; and the greatest readers. and most prolific of all their themes, human If the only recommendation of our rising character, requires an amount of study which poets, beyond that which we award to their can only be successfully and fully performed forerunners in American letters, consisted in by constant intercourse with the world, by brevity, we should feel that we were saying cheerfully participating in its duties, and but little in their praise. But, happily, we sharing whatever of rational pleasure or are not obliged to stop here. We hazard inevitable sorrow its unceasing revolutions nothing in saying that the productions of may bring.
our earlier poets are at once less powerful We consider Mr. Taylor a very eminent and less natural, less imbued with the true example of the poetical talent of Young poetical fervor, the hearty abandon to the America, classing him among those writers impulses of the imagination or the fancy, who have appeared since the commencement and therefore less fitted to produce that of the decade recently passed ; a decade effect upon the reader which is the aim of whose early barrenness gave but slight all poetry, than the works of our living token of the richness of its latter half. The writers. Our present poets sweep the lyre writers of whom we speak (Saxe, Stoddard, with a bolder and a stronger hand, are truer Fields, Lowell,)—are distinguished for lyri- to their native instinct, are more fervid, more cal fire, a practical vein of metaphysics, a passionate, less regardful of critical codes, happy boldness of language, sensuousness of and less distrustful of a response from their fancy, deficiency in all but the more earthly hearers. From the very nature of what they qualities of imagination, and, in common with write, they become self-reliant, and hopeful their transatlantic brethren, for inability or of favor from the world. If they were obliged unwillingness to undertake epical or even to devote years to a single piece, whose prolonged efforts. When we compare these success should determine their reputation writers, not with their elders in poetical lit- for ever, we can imagine the diffidence, the erature, but with the poets of an carlier frequent heart-sinkings, the oft-recurring generation, the Trumbulls, the Dwights and temptations to a total abandonment of their the Barlows, we cannot but notice a great work, under which they would inevitably and a peculiar difference. We see one gen- labor; we can readily see that they would eration, occupying a field which lay barren grow timid, would prefer safe mediocrity to before the eyes of the other, composing perilous brilliancy, would often become dull songs where the other elaborated epics; I from fear of being thought profane, and would imitate well-known models rather than of interest, and each one has felt himthan risk their fame by trusting to an un- self obliged to devote more or less labor to tried and uncertain originality. How differ- the task of making a savage, unimaginative, ent from this is the courage of a writer who and cowardly race appear intellectual, aspirfeels that he may commit many failures ing, and heroic. And whatever of rude before he is condemned; who is conscious interest may exist in the aboriginal nature, that, if he errs to-day, he may correct his no poetical efforts have as yet been successful mistake to-morrow; whose path is guided, in commending it to our admiration, or even not by one, but by many verdicts upon to our sympathy. And our prose writers have his past course, and whose ripening and fared scarcely better in their dealings with so improving powers are for ever employed unpromising a theme. Mr. Cooper is the only on fresh efforts, instead of being hampered exception to the long list of failures. Yet, even by a connection with some protracted and in Cooper's novels, we are willing to leave it feebly commenced undertaking, which it is with the reader to determine whether the scarcely possible to improve without total backwoodsman is not a more heroic and a reconstruction, and which cannot be aban- more interesting character than the Indian; doned without a sacrifice of much toilsome whether we do not watch his career with and as yet unremunerated labor!
more enthusiasm; whether we do not grieve Mr. Taylor has included in the volume more readily over his misfortunes; and whose title forms the heading of this article, whether, in spite of all the dignities that art nearly all the poems he has written since has attempted to throw over the red man's the publication of his former work, the nature, we do not constantly regard him “Rhymes of Travel.” Many of these poems with distrust and aversion, even if he is have appeared in the Philadelphia maga- made too conspicuous for indifference, and zines, to which Mr. Taylor is a regular con- too generous to be met with our natural tributor; and having been extensively repub- hostility. We trust that Mr. Taylor, having lished by the newspaper press, have aided in satisfied his conscience and freed himself no small degree to increase the reputation of from all obligation towards a very unsatistheir author. The few of his productions factory subject for poetry, may hereafter which he has seen fit to omit, are precisely abstain from a theme so uncongenial to the those in which we have found least to admire, muse. either from the presence of positive defects, “Iylas," a few pages beyond, is a producor from the absence of any thing that could tion of great beauty, full of fire, strongly and distinguish them from the general run of graphically written, and abounding in those magazine poetry. We should have been fine rhetorical passages which constitute one pleased, however, to have seen the “Song of of Mr. Taylor's peculiar excellences. Most the Dreams," originally published in Sar- of our readers will recollect the story. A tain's Magazine, with some slight alterations, Greek boy, while bathing in the river included in this collection; and we regret that Scamander, is spied by water-nymphs, and it has been condemned by its author to share in spite of his struggles is made a prisoner the same fate with that much-talked-about to their violent love, and, like the unwary offering to the Queen of Song, which for the voyagers upon the Rhine, who have been time placed Mr. Taylor's name in such close fascinated by the melodious voice of Loralie, juxtaposition with the names of Messrs. I is for ever detained below the waters. We Genin and Barnum.
have only room for one or two extracts from "Mon-da-min, or the Romance of Maize," this poem, and we select the following lines an Indian legend, the longest poem of the as a specimen of Mr. Taylor's powers of volume, placed, in conformity to poetical description :usage, in advance of all the others, is a very unfortunate effort. As a work of art, it is And felt with sbrinking feet the crispy verdure,
Then, stooping lightly, loosened he his buskins, unquestionably good; but the subject is Naked, save one light robe, that from his shoulder uninteresting and prosaic, and would have Hung to his knee, the youthful flush revealing remained so in the hands of much more of warm, white limbs, half nerved with coming eminent poets than any now living. The
manhood, Indian character seems to have been with The thick, brown locks, tossed backward from his
Yet fair and smooth with tenderness of beauty. American writers a subject of duty rather forehead,