Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

to a work as author, is a sure guarantee to the bookseller that its copies will not long lie on his shelves. This work, her last publication, is written in verse and prose, and whether we should call it a volume of poetry, or of prose, we know not. It appears to be a sort of versified journal of her late tour in England and a part of France-a sort of poetical record of impressions and sentiments which she experienced or judged it proper to experience on visiting certain distinguished persons or places. It opens with a poem to the "Land Bird at Sea;" which is followed by a poetical greeting to England on approaching its coast, very pleasantly and even simply written, and though less interesting than the spirited prose which follows it, quite readable. We extract the following, which, if not very complimentary to old Ocean, is yet what most persons feel, if not what they say, at the end of a voyage across it:

"Would that I loved thee, Ocean! I had heard

Much of thy praise, in story and in song, And oft by fancy lured, was half prepared To worship thee But 'tis a weary life To be a child of thine."

Mrs. Sigourney's plan is, on approaching the object of her pilgrimage, to greet it, him, or her as it is a place, a man or a woman-with a poem or a sonnet, and then to accompany it with a plain prose account of what most interested her mind or her heart. Her prose is never prolix or tiresome, and we have read it with interest and profit. Of the poetical part, we cannot say quite so much. Fifty-two poems, chiefly descriptive of persons, places, and events, written as one writes a diary, must needs be of unequal merit, and somewhat more than anybody can be expected to read at one sitting, and more than anybody can relish in one mood of mind, and more than any poet ought even to give us in succession. Those that we have read, we have found superior to what could have been looked for under the circumstances; the versification is simple, unaffected, and easy; the imagery is delicate and appropriate; and the thoughts, if not always new or striking, if such as lie near at hand, they are, at least, for the most part, true, moral, and religious; such as become a good Christian woman, and a republican wife and mother. Indeed, the moral and religious tone, the free, simple republican spirit of the book, constitute in our eyes its principal charms; whoso reads it, will find himself holding communion with one who will quicken his finer and better feelings, and there fore make him a wiser and better man. The general influence of the book will

be to hush what is boisterous or tempestuous in the reader; to soothe his rough, angry passions, and charm him into a state of quiet, serene, unbroken repose, refreshing to the wearied spirit, and from which he shall start into active life, renewed and strengthened.

The portion of the book which has interested us the most is the account of the author's visit to Newgate prison, and of her meeting with the noble and philosophic Mrs. Fry. Mrs. Fry has proved that none of our race do ever become so abandoned that we need despair of their moral recovery. The outcasts from society are never utterly reprobate-are still human-still have human hearts beating in their bosoms; and are, even when most thoroughly depraved, capable of being made valuable members of society, would we but go to them in the true spirit of humanity and Christian love. It is a shame to us-it is a grave satire on our social state-that bolts, and bars, and dungeon walls are needed for human beings, our brothers and our sisters, as if they were wild beasts, safe only in chains.

Of the poetical pieces, none have pleased us more than the following Sonnet, a pure offering of the heart:

"TO MISS EDGEWORTH. "Tuneful and tender as thy pictured page Flows on thy life; and it is joy to me To hear thy welcome 'mid my pilgrimage, And seat me by thy side, unchecked and free; For in my own sweet land both youth and sire,

The willing captives of thy love refined, Will of thy features and thy form inquire,

And lock the transcript in their loving mind; And merry children, who with glowing cheek

Have loved thy Simple Susan,' many a day Will lift their earnest eyes to hear me speak

Of her who held them oft times from their play, And closer press, as if to share a part

Of the pure joy thy smile enkindled in my heart."

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

This

of the author," and though not entirely
free from the marks of the rapid haste of
its preparation, it is in general as admira-
ble for the keen and bright polish of its
wit, as for the justness of its criticism and
the wholesomeness of its satire.
vein is the undoubted forte of the vigorous
and sharp-pointed pen of its accomplished
author. Is there nothing else for him to
satirize in this ever-varying infinity of
cant, humbug, vice, and nonsense, by
which we are surrounded and beset?
We strain several points to make room for
a part of the quotations instinctively
marked by our pencil for insertion. The
first is a fine manly tribute to the noble
language of which it is itself a worthy Devoutly curse Turk, Infidel and Jew
specimen :

So shall you live, without a grief or care,
And die and go-I need not mention where."

"Yet let me pay a tribute to the tongue,
That o'er our infant sleep our mothers sung.
Though much decried, there's music in the jar
Of our rough, native language; sweeter far
To ears accustomed, than the liquid glide
Of Gallic river or Italian tide.

Oh, that our tongue were limpid as at first,
When from primeval founts it purely burst!
Give me the Saxon, bubbling on the ear
Like a swift stream, that sparkles cool and clear;
I hate your Norman phrases grand and fine,
That spoil the vigor while they oil the line.
Sesquipedalian, and of foreign sound,
Transplanted logs that cumber English ground.
Words terse and simple best convey the thought,
By Genius prompted and by Wisdom taught;
And Truth, like perfect loveliness, can boast
To be, when unadorned, adorned the most."

The other presents a contrast—“ look here, upon this picture, and on this!”— whose moral is not the less useful that the author leaves it to be seen through the transparency of his verse:

"The common objects in our paths supply
Shapes that are charming to the poet's eye.
Pictures, as soft as ever Guido drew,
He finds reflected in a drop of dew,
And colors, mingled with a Titian's skill,
On a flower's leaf he traces at his will.
The golden insect, from a worm that springs,
And upward soars on frail but brilliant wings;
Type of the soul appears, released from earth,
To sport and revel in a heavenly birth.
Such happy fancies can the poet find;
They are the light and solace of his mind;
They yield him inward peace, when outward life
Is one long scene of turbulence and strife.
When friends grow cold and fortune's favors fall,
Imagination spreads her airy sail;

Her barque floats freely over cloud and mist
To purer climes, by milder sunbeams kissed.
Perch'd in a garret, nearer to the skies
Than less aspiring mortals choose to rise,
He longs for wings to cleave the blue profound,
Like Shelley's lark, a spurner of the ground.
He spends his hours, with little else to spend,
As if each six months brought its dividend,
Honest and poor, the little that he gains
Supplies him needful books and life sustains;
And free from debt, in independent state,
He feels no envy of the rich and great.
His mind, exalted by its lofty aim,
With grief may be familiar, not with shame;
For, shunning vice, he runs his mild career,
And looks to Heaven for bliss denied him here.

Contrast this portrait, not in fond conceit
Sketch'd from a model long since obsolete,
With one I might, but will not, dare not draw,
Because I rev'rence wealth and fear the law.
No boy e'er gazed with more entire respect
On martial hero in his trappings deck'd,
Than I on men by mighty Mammon made
The sons of traffic and the slaves of trade.

What can be nobler than our lives to give
To rise at morning and forget to pray,
To gain the very means whereby we live;
Intent upon the business of the day;

The day concluded, to retire to rest
And dream what stocks, what markets are the best!
What can be worthier of immortal man

Than these grand maxims: get whate'er you can,
Know well your customers, and never lend!
Keep all you get, be careful how you spend,
So shall the world upon its axle roll,

And every turn bring comfort to your soul:
So shall your bank account be figured wide,
And every figure onthe proper side:

So shall your wife in coach and Cashmere shawl

Drive down Broadway, the wonderment of all:
So shall your son, returned from foreign tour,
Hirsutely horrid, fright the gaping boor:
In all, but French and flattery, a fool:
So shall your daughter come from boarding school,

So shall you smile with ill-concealed disdain
On old, poor friends, whose presence causes pain:
So shall you, every Sunday in your pew,

The History of the Loco-Foco or Equal Rights Party, its Movements, Conventions and Proceedings, with short Characteristic Sketches of its Prominent Men. By F. BYRDSALL. New York: published by Clement & Packard, 180 Pearl street. 1842. 12mo. pp. 192.

The author of this volume is well entitled to say of the events of which he now appears as the historian

"All which I saw, and part of which I was." Mr. Byrdsall was in the movement of the Loco-Foco party revolution in the city of New York from its outset, and the Recording Secretary of the "Equal Rights Party," its own proper name, during nearly all the time of its independent existence. It embodies a great deal of minute detail of information which no other individual probably could have furnished, and which will be found of more than a mere local and temporary party interest. To the New York politician it is a book scarcely needing a recommendation. Whatever allowances may perhaps have to be made for the individual feelings, and sometimes prejudices of the writer, in his sketches of the characters of the various persons who figure more or less conspicuously on his pages, they are always honest, and-so far as we have read-possess the means of verification-in the main correct and just. "By such estimable men," says Mr. Byrdsall, as Moses Jaques, Pascal B. Smith, James L. Stratton, John M. Ferrier, A. D. Wilson, Robert Townsend, Jr., John Hecker, and many others described in these pages, was the Equal Rights Party encouraged to have a deeper love for Christian Democratic principles, to seek more knowledge of them, and to find a more abiding faith in them." Mr. Byrdsall does not seem to aim to go very

deeply into either the philosophy or the poetry of the movement of which he writes; but he does what we like better, and what will be much more useful, in giving us facts, names, dates and documents in abundance and detail, with a general liveliness of style, not deficient in force and energy, though of no high degree of elegance. The following narrative of the memorable meeting which gave rise to the nickname since so widely spread, and so gloriously raised on high, we quote both as a favorable specimen, and for the sake of the historical interest of the occasion:

"The memorable 29th of October, 1835, was drawing near, yet the encampment of the two democracies, that of monopoly, and that of Equal Rights, appeared to be undisturbed. But where was he, the fearless knight-errant of humanity? Where was William Leggett, the herald of truth? He had been beset on all sides, until the overtasked man was exhausted by superhuman exertion, and he lay prostrate on the bed of disease. The Evening Post was bereft of the mighty spirit which gave it power over men's minds, and it seemed as if the sun was standing still in the political world. So deep and intense was the interest felt by the friends of Equal Rights in behalf of the champion of the cause, that it threw an aspect of solemnity over their councils, which perhaps induced more caution in their preparations, and the more necessity for reliance on themselves in the approaching contest. Even the scheme of going to the county meeting at Tammany Hall with Loco Foco matches, and candles, which in other circumstances would have excited merriment, was resolved on in serious earnestness of mind and somewhat of solemn mystery.

On the allotted evening the people assemble; the trained troops, punctual to the minute, nominate and elect the officers; the trained chairman

cannot hear any names but those of the trained committee; who in turn make a trained eport: the trained secretary is ordered to publish the trained proceedings in the official trained newspapers, and the untrained people are then permitted to go home.'

"So much for the Ward meetings; we shall

quote from the same author on county meetings:

"Everything being arranged, the sovereign people are again called upon to approve or disapprove the acts of their nominating (appointing) committee. At the hour named, the doors of the great room are opened from the inside, to the congregated hundreds on the outside;-when lo! the actors by some secret passage are already on the stage and perfect in their parts. Order being partially obtained, the tickets are read, the vote is taken and declared in the affirmative; the farce is over, the meeting is adjourned, and the "regular ticket" is announced next day to those who always submit to the majority, and never vote any other.'

"The clock has just struck seven, and the doors of Tammany Hall are opening for the democracy. What a mass of human beings rush forward into the room! Yet they are late, for George D. Strong, who came up the back stairs, has already nominated Isaac L. Varian, who also ascended the same way, for the chair, and the latter is hastening towards it before the question is heard by a fifth part of the crowd. Joel Curtis is nominated as the room is filling up, and the loud 'aye' of the Equal Rights Democracy calls him to the chair. The honest workingman approaches it, and now begins the contest between monopoly and its opponents. There is a struggle of gladiators on the platform around the chair;the loudest vociferations are heard, and Tammany trembles with intestine war. The contest at length becomes more furious; men are struggling with each other as if for empire, while the multitude in the body of the room are like the waves of a tempestuous sea. But who is he, that man of slender form and youthful appearance, the foremost in the struggle? Equal Rights men, your chief should be a man of stalwart frame; but there is hope, for your cause is good, and the indomitable spirit of equality is in that slender man. Cheers for MingWhat is that the office-holder? He who is always up with every rising of the people? He openly dares the majesty of monopoly, even in its temple-he disregards the tenure of his office, for the elevating principle of Equality of Rights-the honest war-cry of opposition to all monopolies' has aroused the democratic enthusiasm of his heart, and he counts not the cost. It is so he is unconsciously, for the occasion, and the time being, the natural hero of humanity, striving with all his energy of character to place Joel Curtis in the chair, as the representative of the masses. Unquestionably it is a contest for empire between man and monopoly.

"Behold! a broad banner is spread before the eyes of the vast assemblage, and all can read its inscription: Joel Curtis, the Anti-Monopolist chairman'

"At length the evening of the 29th October is come, on which the Democratic Republican Electors of the city of New York are to assemble in Tammany Hall, to decide on the nomination of their agents, into whose hands they have foolishly confided their political right of conscience, as regards the right of suffrage. There is a dense throng collecting in front of the hall, and the leading passage and great stairway to the large room, is crowded to a perfect jam, as if human beings were wedged together and bound fast. Already those at the head of the stairs, hear the tramp of persons in the room. How comes that? Know you not, questioner, that there are back stairs, and that up those back stairs the caucussed officers with the caucussed proceedings, (for the democracy must not be left to do its duty to itself), have ascended into the room? But in order that you may have a clear knowledge of the mode of doing business under the regime of the time-honored usages in times gone by, the following is quoted from a sagacious politician - On every political occasion, a caucus composed of the "oldest and wisest" is convened in anticipation of any announcement to the people. These obliging and immaculate sages, with the most paternal and disinterested motives, consult and exchange opinions with each other on the course necessary to be pursued for the good of the whole. Once decided upon, the wires are put in motion. If in New York, the Tammany Society, a secret and select one by the by, commences its operations; the Ward leaders have a private interview, and decide upon the chairman, the secretary and the retiring committee; the officeholders receive their instructions to be present with their dependents, and a call is finally published for the Independent Democratic Republican electors to meet and transact the business.

"The efforts of Isaac L. Varian and the monopoly democracy are futile to obtain order, or to read their ticket of nominations so as to be heard, or any decision had thereon. They are struck with amazement at the sight of another banner with the inscription, Anti-Monopolist Democrats are opposed to Gideon Lee, Ringgold, West, and Conner; and another with We go all gold but Ringgold.' What a desecration of the usages!

"But behold-there is the broadest banner of all, and it is greeted with cheers. It is the whole of the anti-monopoly ticket for Congress and the Legislature, so that all can see and read where none can distinctly hear. The shouts of the Equal Rights Democracy are still more deafening. But heartfelt cheers are given to that ban

ner which declares for Leggett: The Times must change ere we desert our Post."

The struggle is drawing towards a close.

Isaac L. Varian believes the evidence presented to his senses, and in attempting to leave the chair, to which he is forcibly held down by George D. Strong and a member of the Common Council since dead, he exclaims, 'Let me get out, gentlemen, we are in the minority here! They held him fast-but there! the chair is upset, and Isaac L. Varian is thrown from it. Instantly Joel Curtis, the true-hearted workingman is in it, both by right and fact, while two banners speak to the Democracy, Don't adjourn'-'Sustain the chair.' There is clapping of hands and triumphant cheers. What can the discomfited do?

"They have done it. When they got down stairs they turned off the gas. It is half-past seven, and the darkness of midnight is in Tammany Hall. Nothing but the demon spirit of monopoly, in its war upon humanity, could have been wicked enough to involve such an excited throng in total darkness.

"Let there be light, and there is light" A host of fire-fly lights are in the room-loco-foco matches are ignited, candles are lit, and they are held up by living and breathing chandeliers. It is a glorious illumination! There are loud and long plaudits and huzzas, such as Tammany never before echoed from its foundations. Reader, if this were not a victory over Monopoly, a blow, at least, was struck upon the hydraheaded monster, from which it never recovered."

river of life, which runs through it in a thousand little rills of peace and joy."

The Seasons. By JAMES THOMSON; Gems from American Poets; A Collection of the Promises of Scripture, under their proper heads, &c. By SAMUEL CLARKE, D.D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. These pretty little 18mo. volumes are the commencement of a series which the same publishers have in progress, entitled Appleton's Miniature Classical Library, comprising chiefly works and selections whose sterling merit is attested by their wide and long established popularity. The Gems from American Poets appear to be in general tastefully selected. Of Dr. Clarke's "Promises," a book of which the circulation has been probably second to no other of the various manuals of devotion that have been prepared by many a pious hand, we are induced to quote the following from the recommendation to the original edition, by Dr. Watts, in 1750: "The materials which are collected here are all divine, and the disposition of them is elegant and regular; so that it is an easy matter to find something suited to the frame of our souls, or our present wants, upon every occasion. . . Those who have little leisure for reading, may find their account in keeping this book always near them, and with the glance of an eye they may take in the riches of grace and glory, and derive many a sweet refreshment from hence, amidst their labors and travels through this wilderness. It is of excellent use to lie on the table in a chamber of illness, and now and then to take a sip of the

Historical Tales and Illustrations. By AGNES STRICKLAND, authoress of "The Rival Crusoes," &c., &c. With Engravings. 12mo. pp. 276. Boston: Munroe & Francis, J. H. Francis, 128 Washington street, Boston. New York: C. S. Francis.

It is needless to add to the recommendation contained in the name of the authoress of this entertaining little volume. Combining the instruction of history with the pleasure of amusing story-telling, it is a sort of juvenile application of the principle of the historical romance. Well conceived, well executed, well printed, it will also be very welcome to the class of readers for whom it is destined.

Tales from the Arabian Nights' Enter

tainments, as related by a Mother for the amusement of her children. With Forty Engravings by BUTLER, from designs by J. GILBERT. Third Edition. New York: J. & H. G. Langley, 57 Chatham street. 1843.

Robin Hood and his Merry Foresters. By STEPHEN PERCY, author of "Tales of the Kings of England." With ten finely colored plates. Fourth Edition, improved. New York: J. & H. G. Langley, 57 Chatham street. 1843.

The popularity of these really very pretty perennials, calling forth repeated editions, is not likely to diminish at the present season, when they will be found among the most appropriate presents of this kind which the crowded tables of the bookstores present.

The Young Islanders, a Tale of the Last
Century. By JEFFERYS TAYLOR. 12mo.
pp. 306. New York: D. Appleton &
Co., 200 Broadway.
Work and Wagès, a Tale. By MARY
HOWITT. 12mo. pp. 178. Same.

The first of these little volumes is a Robinson Crusoe sort of story, of a company of lads cast away on a desert island, illustrated by pretty wood cutsa never failing source of interest to that class of readers for which it is designed. The other is another number of the publishers' series of "Tales for the People and their children"-a continuation of Mary Howitt's former story of "Little Coin, Much Care."

MONTHLY LITERARY BULLETIN.

AMERICAN.

LITERARY CURIOSITY.-One of the smallest specimens of bibliography ever attempted is the forthcoming miniature edition of Shakspeare, the type of which is half the size of diamond, the smallest in use-so minute, indeed, as to render the aid of a glass indispensable. This, which will not exceed in size the dimensions of the present paragraph, inverted, will cost between two and three thousand dollars, the entire fount of type being cast expressly for the work, independent of the other expenses incident to so novel and difficult a fabrication. W. H. Colyer, of this city (the publisher) will, doubtless, receive the thanks of the curious, and reap a rich harvest from his great enterprise. SCOTSMEN IN THE REVOLUTION.-The prospectus of a new and interesting work on the times of seventy-six has just been issued by H. Montgomery, Adam Ramage, J. K. Mitchell, and E. D. Inghram, a Committee of the St. Andrews' Society of Philadelphia, entitled "Biographical Memoirs of the Scotsmen, who by their Civil or Military Services, assisted in achieving the Independence of the United States." It will contain the memoirs of Doctors Wilson and Witherspoon (signers of the Declaration), and of Paul Jones, Generals Lord Stirling, M'Intosh, Mercer, and St. Clair, Colonels Macpherson, McLane, Lenox, &c., and be issued at cost to the Society-$1, or thereabouts. A copy of the prospectus may be seen at the Mechanics' Institute, City Hall, where Wm. Lyon Mackenzie, the Actuary, will receive the names of persons who wish to become subscribers, and forward them to the publisher at Philadelphia.

New editions are now ready of those popular juveniles, "Robin Hood and his Merry Foresters," with eight brilliantly colored plates, and "Tales from the Arabian Nights," adapted for the use of children, and embellished with about forty beautiful wood-cuts. Both these works seem to possess a kind of perennial freshness and novelty, and we doubt whether anything in the way of Gift Books for the holidays can vie with their lasting attractions. IS Redfield announces a translation of

the celebrated "Clinical Lectures on Surgery" of Lisfranc by A. Sidney Doane, A.M., M.D. The same gentleman is also engaged in the translation of a new French production, by Regnault, of great interest, "The Criminal History of the English Government from the Massacre of the Irish to the Poisoning of the Chinese." The following are among the new Christmas Gift-Books published by that wellknown caterer for literary taste, Mr. Samuel Colman, of this city,-all of which are distinguished by great beauty of embellishment and internal excellence: Thulia," a poem, by Dr. J. C. Palmer, of the U. S. Navy. Splendidly embellished with a series of twelve highly finished engravings, and elegantly bound. The literary merits of this new production are, we are informed, of no mean order, and the novelty of the subject,-comprising the only recorded account of the exploring expedition of the "Peacock" to the South Seas, will doubtless constitute a work of peculiar attraction, especially during the ensuing holidays. The new juveniles, which form an elegant little series, and at very low prices, are entitled "Arthur's Story-Book for 1843," "Little Gift," "Useful Stories," "Poems for Little Folks," "Little Keepsake," and the new issue for 1843 of the "Ladies' Annual Register." "The Dawnings of Genius," by Miss Pratt, and Adventures of Captain Jno. Smith," are now ready, forming part of Appleton's Series of Juveniles, entitled a "Library for my Young Countrymen "-also Mary Howitt's new and very interesting tale, called "Work and Wages"-" The Young Islanders," with beautiful cuts, a story of the Robinson Crusoe school: and new numbers of "Handy Andy" by the laughter-loving Lover, and "Hector O'Halloran." They announce as in the press, "The Minister's Family," by Mrs. Ellis; "Masterman Ready," by Marryatt, concluding part; "Life of Hernan Cortez," by the author of "Life of Henry Hudson;"" Parochial Sermons," by John Henry Newman, B.D., to form two vols. 8vo., by subscription; and the complete Poetical Works of Milton and Scott, uniform with Cowper and Burns. Ure's Dictionary of the Arts has just ar

« FöregåendeFortsätt »