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trying to knock the corners off that it may fit into the structure, the spirit is gone. Any one at all familiar with writing knows also, that the thoughts suggested in the heat of composition seem original often when they are not; and we take up many a manuscript after laying it by to cool, and find a work valueless which cost us a deal of labor. Mr. Holmes has steered clear of all this. Dean Swift's definition of a good style fits him exactly, ‘proper words in proper places.’ His words are well chosen, the rhythm is smooth, and in most cases the thought apparent at a glance. In his hands the language is made to twist itself many ways; yet the collocation is always natural and the spirit preserved. The conclusion we come to is, that Mr. Holmes is a poet of very fine powers, and that he deems his art of importance enough to be studied and studied well. His book has delighted us, and as we said before we thank him for it.

But we have not done with him. The reader will perceive we have all along carried the impression, of humor and manly sentiment being his chief characteristics. This is true of his book, in which, with one or two exceptions, these qualities are mostly promiment. But we said something back, of some different notions entertained by us about the true character of his genius—which we now return to. Nothing is more glaringly apparent in literary history, than the wonderful discrepancy we sometimes find, when we compare the works with the ways of literary men. An author before the public is like a belle in a drawing-room, in his very best; every thing offensive is put out of sight, out of compliment to the company. But this supposes the author's character bad—let us change the illustration. An author before the public is like a well educated lady, who out of favor to certain prejudices of the company avoids certain topics of conversation which are offensive to them. This suits our purpose better, and it is here we believe where our poet is. There is a delicate vein of the most melancholy witchery in him, which so far as we can judge he keeps aiming to suppress, and his reason is doubtless the fact, that the common mass of mankind speak coldly of or do not understand it. We believe we can understand him here; we believe that poetry with him is a sacred feeling; and is he ever brings it up and lets it gush forth in the full freshness of its own deep melody, he feels very much as the ancients did when strangers laid hands on their household gods, it seems to him like a kind of desecration. We believe this the secret of our poet's not indulging himself in this kind of writing, and yet in this vein we believe lies his power. We are strengthened in this by the fact, that the very finest specimens of real poetry in the book are of this character; and, also, that in the humorous pieces there is an under current of simple pathos, the more fascinating perhaps from the stinted quantities dealt out to us. The following is a specimen of what we In ean.


“I sometimes sit beneath a tree,
And read my own sweet songs;
Though nought they may to others be,
Each humble line prolongs
A tone that might have passed away,
But for that scarce remembered lay.

“I keep them like a lock or leaf,
That some dear girl has given;
Frail record of an hour, as brief
As sunset clouds in heaven,
But spreading purple twilight still
High over memory's shadowed hill.

“They lie upon my pathway bleak,
Those flowers that once ran wild,
As on a father's care-worn cheek
The ringlets of his child;
The golden mingling with the gray,
And stealing half its snows away.

“What care I though the dust is spread
Around these yellow leaves,
Or o'er them his sarcastic thread
Oblivion's insect weaves;
Though weeds are tangled on the stream,
It still reflects my morning's beam.

“And therefore love I such as smile
On these neglected songs,
Nor deem that flattery's needless wile
My opening bosom wrongs;
For who would trample, at my side,
A few pale buds, my garden's pride?

“It may be that my scanty ore
Long years have washed away,
And where were golden sands before,
Is nought but common clay;
Still something sparkles in the sun
For Memory to look back upon.

“And when my name no more is heard,
My lyre no more is known,
Still let me, like a winter's bird,
In silence and alone,
Fold over them the weary wing
Once flashing through the dews of spring.”
“Yes, let my fancy fondly wrap
My youth in its decline,
And riot in the rosy lap
Of thoughts that once were mine,
And give the worm my little store,

When the last reader reads no more ”

Now this is exquisite poetry. It melts into the heart like the melody of a dream when that heart is aching; and had our author written nothing else we should not soon forget him. The verse beginning

‘And when my name no more is heard,'

is perfect; and what Coleridge says of Shakspeare, that you cannot add or diminish by a word to advantage, is true here. Would any one believe after reading the above beautiful poem, that the same pen could trace the following, speaking of an old man—

“My grandmamma has said,

Poor old lady, she is dead,
Long ago,

That he had a Roman nose,

And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow.

“But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.

“I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer"

or this, of a girl's losing her lover:

‘Down fell that pretty innocent as falls a snow white lamb,
Her hair drooped round her pallid cheeks like sea-weed on a clam ;’

or this, entitled
‘the height of the Ridiculous.”

“I wrote some lines once on a time
In wondrous merry mood,

And thought, as usual, men would say
They were exceeding good.

“They were so queer, so very queer,
I laughed as I would die;

Albeit, in the general way,
A sober man am I.

“I called my servant, and he came;
How kind it was of him,

To mind a slender man like me,
He of the mighty limb.

“‘These to the printer, I exclaimed,
And, in my humorous way,

I added (as a trifling jest,)
“There 'll be the devil to pay.'

“He took the paper, and I watched,
And saw him peep within;

At the first line he read, his face
Was all upon the grin.

“He read the next; the grin grew broad,
And shot from ear to ear;

He read the third; a chuckling noise
I now began to hear.

“The fourth; he broke into a roar;
The fifth ; his waistband split;

The sixth ; he burst five buttons off,
And tumbled in a fit.

“Ten days and nights, with sleepless eye,
I watched that wretched man,

And since, I never dare to write
As funny as I can.”

Ye ghosts of Momus look at it. The sellow holding his sides, frothing like a puppy got the hydrophobia, and the breeches flying. There's a scene for you to give tragedy the hysterics, or set the carved face on a brass door-knocker grinning. Well done, Mr. Holmes. We take occasion here to defend ourselves for not having quoted more; especially as the book is made up of such opposites, and would have illustrated our subject as we went along. But we altogether object to this, and hold it to be a grievous error in reviewing. If we were writing for columns that could afford to pay well, we would do so perhaps; the thing helps to fill out, which is the reason doubtless why reviewers dose us so, and that their papers generally are worth nothing. Reviewers take no pains to analyze books, sum up the subjects, and give you the mind brought out there; but it is dashing helter skelter, plastering here and daubing there, a few high flown words, about so much censure, concluding the whole with copious extracts, and this they call a review and get a dollar a page for it, quotha-pah we object to this. We are young, truly, and should therefore be modest. But we deem a review the spot for a reviewer's wits, not the reviewed altogether; that he who does not come to the work with this view had better let it alone ; and that vol. II. 16

he were far better employed teaching adults black letter lines, or the initiatory mysteries of the horn-book. A review of a work ought to be a discussion of the principles of the work, which the author has chosen to show his judgment on ; always allowing, of course, sufficient room to do the author justice, and give the public just so much knowledge as they shall be able to judge whether or not to buy him. This we believe the proper object of reviews; such would be instructing; the points and principles of a volume may be condensed into a few pages, and a discussion take place over them that should elicit much information. We come now to the most disagreeable part of our work, viz. to censure; but, by the way, we think the ‘why and wherefore’ of our fault-finding will be that which reviews generally have passed over. We shall not stop to point out certain obscurities we have heard urged, though they may be urged perhaps with some propriety. There are a few passages which require to be re-read to be understood clearly ; but when the reader will explain certain passages in Milton, and hundreds of them in Byron we can point him to, why then let him blame Mr. Holmes is he chooses. Nor shall we stop to mention an evident sailure, in the winding up of one or two of the humorous pieces. A humorous composition, one that hits, one that gets hold of you, one that makes you laugh “in resolution's spite ; such a poem must open ambiguously, begin to smoke in the middle, and go off with a flash. As a general thing he is very successful. As a specimen of genuine English humor we instance ‘The Music Grinders,’ and the ‘Oysterman,’ and sor one evincing the true Elian spirit, we instance ‘The Song of the Tread-mill.” In fact this little morceau gave us as much pleasure as some of Lamb's finest. We wish the last verse was better however—still, it is tart, pithy, and gloriously humorous. But the conclusion of the “Mysterious Visitor’ is altogether unworthy the body of that poem; and, as we understand it, the lines to the ‘Portrait of a Lady,’ are but little better. But for all this we are well compensated on the whole by the rest of the book, so we let it go. But what we have to blame our poet for is, a fault which himself has confessed, viz. the admission of certain confessedly mediocre poems, to fill out the volume. Our remarks shall be rather severe here, as the thing particularly offends us. In the preface he says, “having written comparatively little, and nothing of late years until within a few months, I could ill asford to be over nice in my selection.” Now this is a most odious confession—odious because a man of his genius has no business to make it, and odious because the last part of the statement is false. He can afford to be nice in his selection : however, if he cannot, he has no business to select at all. The thought appendaged, also, that the publisher must be gratified, is abominable—just as if, in building up the cause of literature, the object is to well line the pockets of book-sellers. This is twisting things about with a ven

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