Text: Burton R. Pollin, “The Broadway Journal: Text (April 1845),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. III: Broadway Journal (Text) (1986), pp. 69-105 (This material is protected by copyright)


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(d) HUMAN MAGNETISM; its Claim to Dispassionate Inquiry. Being an Attempt to show the Utility of its Application for the Relief of Human Suffering. By W. Newnham, Esq., M. R. S. L., author of the “Reciprocal influence of Body and Mind,” etc. New York; Wiley and Putnam.

This is a work of cast importance and high merit, but one of which (on account of its extent of thesis) it is almost impossible to speak otherwise than cursorily, or at random, within the limits of a weekly paper.

The title explains the subject in its generalise. The origin of the work is thus stated in an Introductory Chapter:

“About twelve months since I was asked by some friends to write a paper against mesmerism — and I was furnished with materials by a highly esteemed quondam pupil, which proved incontestibly that under some circumstances the operator might he duped — that hundreds of enlightened persons might equally be deceived — and certainly went far to show that the pretended science was wholly a delusion, a system of fraud and jugglery by which the imaginations of the credulous were field in thraldom through the arts of the designing. Perhaps in an evil hour I assented to the proposition thus made — but on reflection I found that the facts before me only led to the direct proof that certain phenomena might be counterfeited; and the existence of counterfeit coin is rather a proof that there is somewhere the genuine standard gold to be imitated.” [page 70:]

Now the fallacy here is obvious, and lies in a mere variation of what the logicians style “begging the question.”

Counterfeit coin is said to prove the existence of genuine — but this is no more than the truism that there can be no counterfeit where there is no genuine just as there can be no badness where there is no goodness — the considerations being purely relative; but, because there can be no counterfeit where there is no original, does it in any manner follow that any undemonstrated original exists? In seeing a piece of gold we know it to be counterfeit by comparison with coins admitted to be genuine; but were no coin admitted to be genuine, how should we establish the counterfeit, and what right should we have to talk of counterfeits at all? Now in the case of mesmerism our author is merely begging the admission.

Such reasoning as this has an ominous look in the very first page of a scientific work-and accordingly we were not surprised to find Mr. Newnham’s treatise illogical throughout. Not that we do not thoroughly coincide with him in his general views — but that we attain (for the most part) his conclusions by different, and we hope more legitimate routes than his own. In some important points — his ideas of prevision, for example, and the curative effects of magnetism — we radically disagree — and most especially do we disagree with him in his (implied) disparagement of the work of Chauncey Hare Townshend, which we regard as one of the most truly profound and philosophical works of the day — a work to be valued properly only in a day to come.

We hope, however, that nothing here said by us will influence a single individual to neglect a perusal of the book of Mr. Newnham. It should be read, as a vast store-house of suggestive facts, by all who pretend to keep pace with modern philosophy.

In saying above that we disagree with the author in some of his ideas of the curative effects of magnetism, we are not to be understood as disputing, in any degree, the prodigious importance of the mesmeric influence in surgical cases: — that limbs, for example, have been amputated without pain through such influence, is what we feel to be fact. In instances such as that of Miss Martineau, however, we equally feel the weakness of attributing the cure to magnetism. Those who wish to examine all sides of a question would do well to dip into some medical works of authority before forming an opinion on such topics. In the case of Miss Martineau we beg leave to refer to the “London Lancet,” for March, 1845, page 265 of the edition published by Burgess & Stringer.

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A HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, compiled from its standing records, and other authentic sources, by William R. Wagstall, M. D. Part I. New York and London. Wiley & Putnam. 1845.

This is an attempt to give a History of the Society of Friends, in a form adapted to popular tastes, although we infer from the author’s prelate, that he designed it with a view to instruct the members of the Society rather than the public at large. The present volume relates solely to the history of the sect in Europe; the author intimates that in a second part he will give a full account of the trials and privations to which the Society were subjected in this western world. The book is distinguished by the external beauty peculiar to all the publications of Messrs. Wiley & Putnam.

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BLACKWOOD’S MAGAZINE, for March. New American edition. Leonard Scott & Co., 142 Fulton Street.

In addition to many articles of great interest, this number of Blackwood contains another of North’s specimens of British Critics, in which Dryden is dismissed after a most uncomfortable [page 71:] handling, and Pope is genially and reverently dealt with. It is in the very happiest vein of “Crusty Christopher;” who herein manifests as little crustiness as ever did any critical professor.

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(a) REPUBLICATION OF THE LONDON LANCET. Editor, Thomas Wakely, M. P., Sub-editor, Henry Bennet, M. D. New American series. Published monthly at five dollars per annum, by Burgess & Stringer New York.

MESSRS. B. & C. have issued the numbers of the republished “Lancet” for January, February, and March, 1845. Their edition is unabridged, and embodies, beyond a doubt, the most authentic and valuable medical and surgical information to be found, periodically, in any work in the world. The reputation of “The Lancet” is higher than that of any other similar journal. Not merely to physicians is the work indispensable, but to all persons who wish to keep up with the facts of the day. Most assuredly facts concerning human vitality are not less important, nor of less general interest than others.

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(b) THE PALAIS ROYAL. A Historical Romance. By John H. Mancur, author of “Henri Quatre,” &c. New York: Wm. H. Colyer.

SOME of Mr. Mancur’s novels have been very naturally mistaken for those of James, to whom, both in manner and in his material generally, he bears even too remarkable a resemblance. “The Palais Royal” is founded upon events in the lives of Mazarin and De Retz, and is a novel of far more than ordinary interest and value. Its great defect is the total lack of originality.

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(c) LECTURE ON IMMIGRATION AND THE RIGHT OF NATURALIZATION. By Thomas L. Nichols. New York: Burgess, Stringer, & Co. 1845. A very earnest appeal in behalf of the right of foreigners to naturalization in our country.

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THE TAKING OF NAROTH’S VINEYARD, by David Lee Child. New York: S. W. Benedict & Co., 16 Spruce street. 1845.

The name of the author of this pamphlet will remove all doubts as to the meaning of Naboth’s Vineyard. Every body will understand that Naboth is Mexico, and the Vineyard Texas.

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NEW ORLEANS AS I FOUND IT. By H. Didimus. New York; Harper and Brothers.

This is the title of one of the freshest, most piquant, and altogether most agreeable volumes which have been written by an American — for an American we take the author to be: — the name given is a pseudonym, of course. Professedly, his design is that of sketching some incidents of a first visit to New Orleans in the winter of 1835-36; but these incidents are in fact but a nucleus for very amusing gossip of all kinds, intermingled not unfrequently with some matter of [page 72:] far loftier pretension than gossip. The book is that of a thoughtful, polished and well-informed man. We are promised a continuation.

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(a) THE BOOK OF THE ARMY: comprising a general Military History of the United States from the period of the Revolution to the present time, with particular accounts of all the Celebrated Battles. Compiled from the best authorities. By John Frost, L. L. D. Professor of Belles Lettres in the High-school of Philadelphia. New York: D. Appleton h. Co.

Mr. Frost has been long known as one of our best Belles Lettres scholars, and one ofour most judicious and indefatigable compilers. There are many of his books, however. which are entitled to high consideration for as much of originality [page 73:] as is consistent with history — for thoughtful comment — and for a very — careful bringing up of the historic material to the latest dates, from the most authentic records. Of this class of his books, the “Book of the Army” is one. Its object is thoroughly detailed in its title. We may add that it is designed as a pendant to the “Book of the Navy,” lately published by the same author.

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(a) ELEMENTS OF ENTOMOLOGY, prepared for the use of Schools and Colleges, by W. S. W. Ruschenberger, M. D., Surgeon in the U. S. Navy, &c. With plates. Philadelphia: Grigg &. Elliott.

This is one of Dr. Ruschenberger’s “First Books of Natural History.” They are re-arrangements from the valuable text of Milne Edwards and Achille Comté.

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(b) KEEPING HOUSE AND HOUSE-KEEPING. A Story of Domestic Life. Edited by Mrs. S. J. Hale. New York. Harper & Brothers.

This is an ingeniously conceived and well managed narrative of ordinary life — without any thing of that pure namby-pamby, or rather pure drivel which we have been ashamed to see applauded, of late days, off the ground, for sooth, of being natural or truthful. Mrs. Hale is a woman of great force of thought and remarkable purity of style. She writes invariably well.

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THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS; and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church in file U. S. of America: together with the Psalter. or Psalms of David. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This is a truly beautiful stereotyped edition of the standard Episcopal Prayer-Book. We have only to speak of its mechanical execution, which is every thing — that can be desired. The paper is luxurious — the type bold and clear — the binding exceedingly durable and neat.

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PLAGIARISM — IMITATION — POSTSCRIPT TO MR. POE’S REPLY TO THE LETTER OF OUTIS.

IT should not be supposed that I feel myself individually aggrieved in the letter of Outis. He has praised me even more than he has blamed. In replying to him, my design has been to place fairly and distinctly before the literary public certain principles of criticism for which I have been long contending, and which, through sheer misrepresentation, were in danger of being misunderstood.

Having brought the subject, in this view, to a close in the last Journal, I now feel at liberty to add a few words of postscript, by way of freeing myself of any suspicion of malevolence or discourtesy. The thesis of my argument, in general, has been the definition of the grounds on which a charge of plagiarism may be haled, and of the species of ratiocination by which it is to be established: this is all. It will be seen by any one who shall take the trouble to read what I have written, that I make no charge of moral delinquency against either Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Aldrich, or Mr. Hood: — indeed, lest in the beat of argument, I may have uttered any words which may admit of being tortured into such an interpretation, I here fully disclaim them upon the spot.

In fact, the one strong paint of defence for his friends has been unaccountably neglected by Outis. To attempt the rebutting [page 74:] of a charge of plagiarism by the broad assertion that no such thing as plagiarism exists, is a sotticism, and no more — but there would have been nothing of unreason in rebutting the charge as urged either against Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Aldrich, or Mr. Hood, by the proposition that no true poet can be guilty of a meanness — that the converse of the proposition is a contradiction in terms.

Should there be found any one willing to dispute with me this point, I would decline the disputation on the ground that my arguments are no arguments to him.

It appears to me that what seems to be the gross inconsistency of plagiarism as perpetrated by a poet, is very easily thus resolved: — the poetic sentiment (even without reference to the poetic power) implies a peculiarly, perhaps an abnormally keen appreciation of the beautiful, with a longing for its assimilation, or absorption, into the poetic identity. What the poet intensely admires, becomes thus, in very fact, although only partially, a portion of his own intellect. It has a secondary origination within his own soul — an origination altogether apart, although springing, from its primary origination from without. The poet is thus possessed by another’s thought, and cannot be said to take of it, possession. But, in either view, he thoroughly feels it as his own — and this feeling is counteracted only by the sensible presence of its true, palpable origin in the volume from which he has derived it — an origin which, in the long lapse of years it is almost impossible not to forget — for in the mean time the thought itself is forgotten. But the frailest association will regenerate it — it springs up with all the vigor of a new birth — its absolute originality is not even a matter of suspicion — and when the poet has written it and printed it, and on its account is charged with plagiarism, there will be no one in the world more entirely astounded than himself. Now from what I have said it will be evident that the liability to accidents of this character is in the direct ratio of the poetic sentiment — of the susceptibility to the poetic impression; and in fact all literary history demonstrates that, for the most frequent and palpable plagiarisms, we must search the works of the most eminent poets.

E. A. P. [page 75:]

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Original Poetry.

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[We might guess who is the fair author of the following lines, which have been sent us in a MS. evidently disguised — but we are not satisfied with guessing, and would give the world to know. We think the “Rivulet’s Dream” an exceedingly graceful and imaginative poem, and our readers will agree with us. Kate Carol will do us the justice to note that we have preferred her “sober second thought” in the concluding line — EDS. B. J.]

THE RIVULET’S DREAM.

FROM THE GERMAN OF — SOMEBODY.

A CARELESS rill was dreaming,

One fragrant summer night;

It dreamed a star lay gleaming

With heavenly looks of light,

Soft cradled on its own pure breast,

That rose and fell, and rocked to rest,

With lulling wave, its radiant guest,

In silent beauty beaming;

And like a lute’s low sighing,

The rill sang to the star,

“Why earnest thou, fondly flying,

From those blue hills afar?

All calm and cold without thy ray,

I slept the long dark night away —

Ah! child of heaven! forever stay!”

No sweet voice rose replying.

“Oh, glorious truant! listen!

Wilt fold thy shining wings,

That softly glance and glisten

The while the wavelet sings?

Wilt dwell with me? I‘ll give thee flowers, —

Our way shall be through balmy bowers,

And song and dance shall charm the hours: —

My star-love! dost thou listen?

“No gorgeous garden-blossom,

In regal grace and bloom,

May pour upon my bosom

Its exquisite perfume;

But I may wreathe, with wild flowers rare,

That softly breathe, thy golden hair, —

The violet’s tear shall tremble there.

A fair though fragile blossom:”

Alas! when morning slowly

Stole o‘er the distant hill,

From that sweet dream, so holy,

It woke — the sorrowing rill!

No “child of heaven” lay smiling there, —

‘Twas but a vision bright and rare,

That blessed, as passed the star in air,

The rivulet lone and lowly.

KATE CAROL. [page 76:]

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PROSPECTS OF THE DRAMA. — MRS. MOWATT’S COMEDY. — So deeply have we felt interested in the question of Fashion’s success or failure, that we have been to see it every night since its first production; making careful note of its merits and defects as they were more and more distinctly developed in the gradually perfected representation of the play.

We are enabled, however, to say but little either in contradiction or in amplification of our last week’s remarkswhich were based it will be remembered, upon the original MS. of the fair authoress, and upon the slightly modified performance of the first night. In what we then said we made all reasonable allowatuces for inadvertences at the outset — lapses of memory in the actors — embarrassments in scene-shifting — in a word for general hesitation, and want of finish. The comedy now, however, must be understood as having all its capabilities fairly brought out, and the result of the perfect work is before us.

In one respect, perhaps, we have done Mrs. Mowatt unintentional injustice. We are not quite sure, upon reflection, that her entire thesis is not an original one. We can call to mind no drama, just now, in which the design can be properly stated as the satirizing of fashion as fashion. Fashionable follies, indeed, as a class of folly in general, have been frequently made the subject of dramatic ridicule — but the distinction is obvious — although certainly too nice a one to be of any practical avail to the authoress of the newcomedy. Abstractly we may admit some pretension to originality of plan — but, in the representation, this shadow of originality [page 77:] vanishes. We cannot, if we would, separate the dramatis personae from the moral they illustrate; and the characters overpower the moral. We see before us only personages with whom we have been familiar time out of mind: — when we look at Mrs. Tiffany, for example, and hear her speak, we think of Mrs. Malaprop in spite of ourselves, and in vain endeavour to think of anything else. The whole conduct and language of the comedy, too, have about them the unmistakeable flavor of the green-room. We doubt if a single point either in the one or the other, is not a household thing with every play-goer. Not a joke is any less old than the hills — but this conventionality is more markedly noticeable in the sentiments, so called. When, for instance, Gertrude in quitting the stage, is made to say, “if she fail in a certain scheme she will be the first woman who was ever at a loss for a stratagem,” we are affected with a really painful sense of the antique. Such things are only to be ranked with the stage “properties,” and are inexpressibly wearisome and distasteful to every one who hears them. And that they are sure to elicit what appears to be applause, demonstrates exactly nothing at all. People at these points put their hands together, and strike their canes against the floor for the reason that they feel these actions to be required of them as a matter of course, and that it would be ill-breeding not to comply with the requisition. All the talk put into the mouth of Mr. Trueman, too, about “when honesty shall be found among lawyers, patriotism among statesmen,” etc. etc. must be included in the same category. The error of the dramatist lies in not estimating at its true value the absolutely certain “approbation” of the audience in such cases — an approbation which is as pure a conventionality as are the “sentiments” themselves. In general it may be boldly asserted that the clapping of hands and the rattling of canes are no tokens of the success of any play — such success as the dramatist should desire: — let him watch the countenances of his audience, and remodel his points by these. Better still let him “look into his own heart and write” — again better still (if he have the capacity) let him work out his purposes à priori from the infallible principles of a Natural Art.

We are delighted to find, in the reception of Mrs. Mowatt’s comedy, the clearest indications of a revival of the American drama — that is to say of an earnest disposition to see it revived. That the drama, in general, can go down, is the most untenable cf all untenable ideas. Dramatic art is, or should be, a concentralization of all that which is entitled to the appellation of Art. When sculpture shall fail, and painting shall fail, and poetry, and music; — when men shall no longer take pleasure in eloquence, and in grace of motion, and in the beauty of woman, and in truthful representations of character, and in the consciousness of sympathy in their enjoyment of each and all, then and not till then, may we look for that to sink into insignificance, which, and which alone, affords opportunity for the conglomeration of these infinite and imperishable sources of delight.

There is not the least danger, then, that the drama shall fail. By the spirit of imitation evolved from its own nature and to a certain extent an inevitable consequence of it, it has been kept absolutely stationary for a hundred years, while its sister arts have rapidly flitted by and left it out of sight. Each progressive step of every other art seems to drive back the drama to the exact extent of that step — just as, physically, the objects by the way-side seem to be receding from the traveller in a coach. And the practical effect, in both cases, is equivalent: — but yet, in fact, the drama has not receded: on the contrary it has very slightly advanced in one or two of the plays of Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer. The apparent [page 78:] recession or degradation, however, will, in the end, work out its own glorious recompense. The extent — the excess of the seeming declension will put the right intellects upon the serious analysis of its causes. The first noticeable result of this analysis will be a sudden indisposition on the part of all thinking men to commit themselves any farther in the attempt to keep up the present mad — mad because false — enthusiasm about “Shakspeare and the musical glasses.” Quite willing, of course, to give this indisputably great man the fullest credit for what he has done — we shall begin to ask our own understandings why it is that there is so very — very much which he has utterly failed to accomplish.

When we arrive at this epoch, we are safe. The next step may be the electrification of all mankind by the representation of a play that may be neither tragedy, comedy, farce, opera, pantomime, melodrama, or spectacle, as we now comprehend these terms, but which may retain some portion of the idiosyncratic excellences of each, while it introduces a new class of excellence as yet unnamed because as yet undreamed-of in the world. As an absolutely necessary condition of its existence this play may usher in a thorough remodification of the theatrical physique.

This step being fairly taken, the drama will be at once side by side with the more definitive and less comprehensive arts which have outstripped it by a century: — and now not merely will it outstrip them in turn, but devour them altogether. The drama will he all in all.

We cannot conclude these random observations without again recurring to the effective manner in which “Fashion” has been brought forward at the Park. Whatever the management and an excellent company could do for the comedy, has been done. Many obvious improvements have been adopted since the first representation, and a very becoming deference has been manifested, on the part of the fair authoress and of Mr. Simpson, to every thing wearing the aspect of public opinion — in especial to every reasonable hint from the press. We are proud, indeed, to find that many even of our own ill-considered suggestions, have received an attention which was scarcely their due.

In “Fashion” nearly all the Park company have won new laurels. Mr. Chippendale did wonders. Mr. Crisp was, perhaps, a little too gentlemanly in the Count — he has subdued the part, we think, a trifle too much: — there is a true grace of manner of which he finds it difficult to divest himself, and which occasionally interferes with his conceptions. Miss Ellis did for Gertrude all that any mortal had a right to expect. Millinette could scarcely have been better represented. Mrs. Knight as Prudence is exceedingly comic. Mr. and Mrs. Barry do invariably well — and of Mr. Fisher we forgot say in our last paper that he was one cf the strongest points of the play. As for Miss Horne — it is but rank heresy to imagine that there could be any difference of opinion respecting her. She sets at naught all criticism in winning all hearts. There is about her lovely countenance a radiant earnestness of expression which is sure to play a Circean trick with the judgment of every person who beholds it.

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THE MAGAZINES.

(a) GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE. — The April number of “Graham” has in its Table of Contents some very well known names — those of Mrs. Os. good, for example, Mrs. Sigourney, Mrs. Embury, Mrs. Seba Smith, “Fanny Forrester,” Grund, Landor, Robert Morris, and several others. Mrs. Osgood contributes the best poem she has yet written — a more exquisitely graceful thing (Grace is Mrs. Osgood’s queendom in which she reigns triumphant) we have rarely if ever seen. Mr. Robert Morris, also, has a sweet poem of great pathos, called “The Toilers.” [page 79:] The best prose papers, we think, are those of Grund and Landor — although, in general, the contributions are either good in themselves, or meritorious in their adaptation to the tone and purpose of the Magazine. With a less objectionable form, “Graham’s Magazine” would have long ago taken a station with the most elevated and influential journals.

The most interesting feature in this number, to merely literary people, is the Critical Biography of General Morris, whose worst fault is that he has a habit of making too many and too devoted friends, who now and then do him injury by permitting their personal feelings to appear above the current of their critical opinion. We really believe that but for this fault in the General he would have attained even a higher rank in the literary world than he actually possesses. The dogged determination to praise him at all hazards will, for example, in this very Biography induce very many persons to perpetrate injustice not against the biographer (whom we should not care to see abused) but against the poet himself. Moreover the nature of that merit which is peculiarly General Morris’ own, has a tendency to increase the evil effect on which we comment — for this merit is that of rich and vigorous simplicity — a quality of all others in the world the least likely to be estimated at its full value. The world are too apt to think the critic guilty of exaggeration in praising with enthusiasm that which (however effective) appears to be easy of execution; — and simplicity has always this air. Yet of one thousand persons who should attempt to compose anything in the manner of the following truly admirable stanzas, nine hundred and ninety-nine would fail miserably in the undertaking.

THE STAR OF LOVE.

The star of love now shines above,

Cool zephyrs crisp the sea;

Among the leaves the wind-harp weaves

Its serenade for thee.

The star, the breeze, the wave, the trees,

Their minstrelsy unite,

But all are drear till thou appear

To decorate the night.

The light of noon streams from the moon,

Though with a milder ray;

O‘er hill and grove, like woman’s love,

It cheers us on the way.

Thus all that’s bright, the moon, the night,

The heavens, the earth. the sea,

Exert their powers to bless the hours

We dedicate to thee.

We regard this little song — “Where Hudson’s Wave” — “Woodman spare that Tree” — and “Near the Lake where droops the Willow“, as undeniably four of the truest and sweetest poems (independently of their idiosyncratic merit as songs) ever published in America, and we are delighted to know — that both the intellect and the popular sentiment of the country sustain us in the opinion.

The picture of the General is wretched in every respect except as a mechanical engraving. As a drawing it is unworthy of a school-boy — who ever saw feet such as these? — and the willow is of a species unknown to Gods, men, and columns. As a composition it is detestable — stiff and ill arranged. As a portrait it is a falsehood — conveying not even the most remote idea of the man. This face is impassive — with no expression beyond the absence of all — that of the General is beaming with sensibility.

The other engravings of the number are admirable indeed — the “View of Tallulah Falls” is especially so, and has seldom been excelled.

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THE LADY’S BOOK. — There is an indication of durability about the Lady’s Book which is not to be mistaken — an air of quietude — of Simplicity — and therefore of strength. Mr. Godey was the pioneer in this species of literature, and his work has the vigor which is always inseparable from originality of any kind. We do not mean to say, and we do not suppose that Mr. Godey means to assert, that the “Lady’s Book” belongs to a high order of literature, but of its kind it is as nearly perfect as can well be. It addresses itself principally to ladies, and addresses them as ladies wish to be addressed. The secret of its wonderful, because long-continued success, is tact.

The April number is not unusually good, but is a fair specimen of the general conduct of the Magazine. Miss Leslie continues the “Bloxams and Mayfields;” Mrs. Hale has “The Gold Pen” — a poem; Mrs. Embury contributes “Intimate Friends;” Mrs. Mowatt (we think) furnishes “The Mercenary Marriage,” and also A Sketch of [page 80:] Joseph Buonaparte” — both very excellent magazine articles. The “Intercepted Letter” by Mrs. Seba Smith, is a well written plate illustration. Miss Gould has a brief poem of much force and originality of expression-and there is not a bad paper in the number; which we fancy is saying a very great deal. The most valuable contribution is from Grund, who writes from Antwerp an amusing letter chiefly of theatrical gossip.

There are three engravings, inclusive of a colored fashion-plate. The best of them is the first — The Intercepted Letter, done by Dick, from a drawing by Miss Corbould. We have had an opportunity of seeing some eighteen or twenty proof impressions from plates prepared by Mr. Godey for his forth-coming numbers, and can assure our readers (our fair ones especially,) that many of these engravings are truly excellent — fully equal to any in our best annuals. This is what all have a right to expect — good pictures, or none.

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(a) THE MONTHLY ROSE — A periodical sustained by the present and former members of the Albany Female Academy. Albany; S. H. Pease and W. C. Little. We have received the April number of this magazine. It is a tastefully arranged and well printed journal of no little literary merit.

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THE LADIES’ GARLAND, AND CABINET OF THE DAUGHTERS OF TEMPERANCE. — This is a weekly Journal, whose purpose is explained in the title. The first number, as yet, is the only one issued, and it promises well. The publishers are Messrs. Piercy & Reed, New York.

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A NEW NAME FOR THE NATION. — The committee appointed by the New York Historical Society, consisting of David Dudley Field, Henry R. Schoolcraft, and Charles Fenno Hoffman, “upon the subject of the irrelevant appellation at present used for the country,” made their report on Tuesday evening last, in which they recommend, with many sound arguments, that “ALLEGANIA” be adopted by the nation as its distinctive name hereafter. The subject is of greater importance than our people generally think it to be, and the hope that the report of the committee will meet with the consideration which the subject and the gentlemen making it are entitled to.

The London papers are paying compliments to the “Hon. John Harper, mayor of New York,” who sent “a large deal case” to the Lord Mayor of London, “containing an arm-chair made in that city by order of its literary inhabitants to be presented to bliss Jane Porter, the English Authoress.” Doubtless the “Hon. John Harper” and the “literary inhabitants” of New York, will be sufficiently rewarded for the cost of the “Arm-Chair” by seeing themselves noticed in this distinguished manner in a London paper.

MR. J. T. HART, (of Lexington, Ky.) who won so much reputation by his bust of General Jackson, has nearly completed one of Mr. Clay, which the friends of the latter pronounce of very great excellence. Mr. Hart, in mechanical skill, is the equal of the late Mr. Clevinger, and perhaps surpasses him in his sense of the ideal. [page 81:]

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REVIEWS.

A DICTIONARY OF GREEK AND ROMAN ANTIQUITIES. Edited by William Smith, Ph. D., and illustrated by numerous engravings on wood. Third American edition, carefully revised, and containing numerous additional articles relative to the Botany, Mineralogy, and Zoology of the Ancients. By Charles Anthon, LL. D. New York: Harper and Brothers.

This invaluable work is designed to supersede, and must entirely supersede the compilations of Potter and Adams. In order to facilitate this design, there is appended an Index Raisonné, in which the whole subject (of Greek and Roman Antiquities) is classified under appropriate heads, so that, by means of the Index, the book, although retaining the advantages of a dictionary, may be made to answer readily all the college purposes of a text-book. In every respect this work is the most valuable of its class — or rather it is a class by itself. It includes all the recent discoveries of the Germans, and has all the fulness and accuracy for which the German scholars are noted. Dr. Anthon has enriched the American edition by a fund of information on scientific topics, distinguishing his own matter by asterisks. He has also introduced some most obvious improvements in form and method, of which latter he is a master at all points. He is not only the best scholar in America — but perhaps the most absolutely accurate one in the world. Independently of the high opinion we cannot help entertaining of his erudition and acumen, we would stand by his decision in any mere matter of classical fact, in preference to that of any man in Europe, or elsewhere. His books are universally circulated, and universally approved, except by those who have an obvious interest in decrying them. Dr. Anthon would, no doubt, have given more satisfaction, in certain quarters, had he thought more of his own merely literary reputation, and kept his eye less steadily fixed on the true purpose of compilations such as he has undertaken — the purpose of making a useful book. His talents, nevertheless, have long ago placed him in a position at which he is left free to pursue this good purpose, in his own manner, and without fear of doing injury to his reputation as an original writer, in the opinion of any one having sense enough to understand that there is a point at which originality ceases to be a virtue. We presume he is by no means ambitious of the fame of a mere littérateur. [page 82:]

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A PLAIN SYSTEM OF ELOCUTION, or Logical and Musical Reading and Declamation, with Exercises in Prose and Verse, &c., &c. By G. Vandenhoff, Professor of Elocution in the City of New York. Second edition. C. Shepard, 191 Broadway. I vol. 12mo. pp. 327.

We must defer to another time a full notice of the merits of this very excellent work. We are happy to learn that a second edition has been called for, because it shows a just appreciation in the public of a work of unpretending utility, and because it is a pretty good assurance that a certain number of persons have been benefited by its use. It is a rare thing to find a good reader, yet no person who is not afflicted by a malformation of his organs, can have a good excuse for reading badly. The directions in Mr. Vanderhuff’s book are so simple, so easy of comprehension, and may be so readily practised, that there should be no mercy shown, hereafter, to any slovenly or inelegant reader, who has the means to possess himself of a copy of this excellent system.

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SHELLEY’S GRAVE AND OTHER POEMS. By John Tomlin.

A very neat and unpretending volume, containing much of the truest poetry. We have space only to give an extract from the leading piece of the collection

What a silence fills the sky

As they build that attar high,

Silence wraps the deep;

Night is solemn, earth is still,

Echo, on the lonely hill,

Yields herself to sleep,

With a never-ceasing strain

Murmurs drowsily the main;

And the sea-birds there,

Have a chaunt o‘er him that died

In his beauty and his pride,

Child of Genius-child of Care! [page 83:]

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THE CHEMISTRY OF ANIMAL AND VEGETABLE PHYSIOLOGY. By Doctor G. T. Mulder, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Utrechi. Translated from the Dutch by P. F. H. Fremberg, First Assistant in the Laboratory of the Scotch Agricultural Chemistry Association of Scotland. With an Introduction by Prof. I. F. W. Johnson, F. R. SS. L. & E. First Authorized American Edition, with notes and corrections, by B. Silliman, Jr. Vol. 1. Part 1. No. l. New York: Wiley and Putnam.

A very important work, which has attracted much attention in Europe. Its objects are fully explained in the title. The second number will be issued by the time our paper goes to press.

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A GRAMMAR OF THE GREEK LANGUAGE, principally from the German of Kuhner, with selections from Matthiae, Buttmann, Thiersch, and Rost. For the use of schools and colleges. By Charles Anthon, LL. D. New York: Harper and Brothers.

This is an enlargement of Dr. Anthon’s previous grammar, and is chiefly a translation and abridgement from the various grammars of K├╝hner — presenting a compend of all that is essential for the student.

The work has the novel feature of frequent reference to the Sanscrit and other cognate languages — without which reference no Greek grammar can be considered complete. This is decidedly, for American students, the best book of its class extant. It is published in the peculiarly neat and durable form which distinguishes all the classical works of its author.

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(c) PHRENO-MNEMOTECHNY; OR THE ART OF MEMORY: The series of Lectures explanatory of the Principles of the System, delivered in New York and Philadelphia, in the beginning of 1844, by Francis Fauvel-Gouraud, D. E. S., of the University of France. Now first published without Alterations or Omissions, and with Considerable Additions in the Practical Application of the System. New York and London: Wiley & Putnam.

This is a large and handsome octavo of some 700 pages. As yet we have not fully read the work, and are of course unable to speak of it with decision. Its subject is certainly an important one; and if the views of M, Gouraud be carried out, they must lead to magnificent results. That his theory (we use the word in its widest sense) has been vigorously opposed, is by no means a proof of any defect in the theory itself — on the contrary it is a proof it is worthy at least very serious examination — although to be sure, it is merely a non distributio medii thence to infer that all vituperated books are meritorious. We confess, however, that in our rapid survey of M. Gouraud’s system, we became impressed with a sense of his philosophical ability; and one thing is certain that his volume, if only for the amount of well-digested and various information it embodies, is worth double the sum demanded for it. We shall speak of it more fully hereafter.

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(d) ANASTATIC PRINTING.

It is admitted by every one that of late there has been a rather singular invention, called Anastatic Printing, and that this invention may possibly lead, in the course of time, to some rather remarkable results — among which the one chiefly insisted upon, is the abolition of the ordinary stereotyping process: — but this seems to be the amount, in America at least, of distinct understanding on this subject. [page 84:]

“There is no exquisite beauty,” says Bacon, “without some strangeness in the proportions.” The philosopher had reference, here, to beauty in its common acceptation — but the remark is equally applicable to all the forms of beauty that is to say, to every thing which arouses profound interest in the heart or intellect of man. In every such thing, strangeness — in other words novelty — will be found a principal element; and so universal is this law that it has no exception even in the case of this principal element itself. Nothing, unless it be novel — not even novelty itself — will be the source of very intense excitement among men. Thus the ennuyé who travels in the hope of dissipating his ennui by the perpetual succession of novelties, will invariably be disappointed in the end. He receives the impression of novelty so continuously that it is at length no novelty to receive it. And the man, in general, of the nineteenth century — more especially of our own particular epoch of it — is very much in the predicament of the traveller in question. We are so habituated to new inventions, that we no longer get from newness the vivid interest which should appertain to the new — and no example could be adduced more distinctly showing that the mere importance of a novelty will not suffice to gain for it universal attention, than we find in the invention of Anastatic Printing. It excites not one fiftieth part of the comment which was excited by the comparatively frivolous invention of Sennefelder; but he lived in the good old days when a novelty was a novel. Nevertheless, while Lithography opened the way for a very agreeable pastime, it is the province of Anastatic Printing to revolutionize the world.

By means of this discovery any thing written, drawn, or printed, can be made to stereotype itself, with absolute accuracy, in five minutes.

Let us take, for example, a page of this Journal; supposing only one side of the leaf to have printing on it. We dampen the leaf with a certain acid diluted, and then place it between two leaves of blotting-paper to absorb superfluous moisture. We then place the printed side in contact with a zinc plate that lies on the table. The acid in the interspaces between the letters, immediately corrodes the zinc, but the acid on the letters themselves, has no such effect, having been neutralized by the ink. Removing the leaf at the end of five minutes, we find a reversed copy, in slight relief, of the printing on the page — in other words, we have a stereotype plate, from which we can print a vast number of absolute fac-similes of the original printed page — which latter has not been at all injured in the process — that is to say, we can still produce from it (or from any impression of the stereotype plate) new stereotype plates ad libitum. Any engraving, or any pen and ink drawing, or any MS. can be stereotyped in precisely the same manner.

The facts of this invention are established. The process is in successful operation both in London and Paris. We have seen several specimens of printing done from the plates described, and have now lying before us a leaf (from the London Art-Union) covered with drawing, MS., letter-press, and impressions from wood-cuts — the whole printed from the Anastatic stereotypes, and warranted by the Art-Union to be absolute fac-similes of the originals.

The process can scarcely be regarded as a new invention and appears to be rather the modification and successful application of two or three previously ascertained principles those of etching, electography, lithography, etc. It follows from this that there will be much difficulty in establishing or maintaining a right of patent, and the probability is that the benefits of the process will soon be thrown open to the world. As to the secret — it can only be a secret in name. [page 85:]

That the discovery (if we may so call it) has been made, can excite no surprise in any thinking person — the only matter for surprise is, that it has not been made many years ago. The obviousness of the process, however, in no degree lessens its importance. Indeed its inevitable results enkindle the imagination, and embarrass the understanding.

Every one will perceive, at once, that the ordinary process of stereotyping will be abolished. Through this ordinary process, a publisher, to be sure, is enabled to keep on hand the means of producing edition after edition of any work the certainty of whose sale will justify the cost of stereotyping — which is trifling in comparison with that of re-setting the matter. But still, positively, this cost (of stereotyping) is great. Moreover, there cannot always be certainty about sales. Publishers frequently are forced to re-set works which they have neglected to stereotype, thinking them unworthy the expense; and many excellent works are not published at all, because small editions do not pay, and the anticipated sales will not warrant the cost of stereotype. Some of these difficulties will be at once remedied by the Anastatic Printing, and all will be remedied in a brief time. A publisher has only to print as many copies as are immediately demanded. He need print no more than a dozen, indeed, unless he feels perfectly confident of success. Preserving one copy, he can from this, at no other cost than that of the zinc, produce with any desirable rapidity, as many impressions as he may think proper. Some idea of the advantages thus accruing may be gleaned from the fact that in several of the London publishing warehouses there is deposited in stereotype plates alone, property to the amount of a million sterling.

The next view of the case, in point of obviousness, is, that if necessary, a hundred thousand impressions per hour, or even infinitely more, can be taken of any newspaper, or similar publication. As many presses can be put in operation as the occasion may require: — indeed there can be no limit to the number of copies producible, provided we have no limit to the number of presses.

The tendency of all this to cheapen information, to diffuse knowledge and amusement, and to bring before the public the very class of works which are most valuable, but least in circulation on account of unsaleability — is what need scarcely be suggested to any one. But benefits such as these are merely the immediate and most obvious — by no means the most important.

For some years, perhaps, the strong spirit of conventionality — of conservatism — will induce authors in general to have recourse, as usual, to the setting of type. A printed book, now, is more sightly, and more legible than any MS. and for some years the idea will not be overthrown that this state of things is one of necessity. But by degrees it will be remembered that, while MS. was a necessity, men wrote after such fashion that no books printed in modern tithes have surpassed their MSS. either in accuracy or in beauty. This consideration will lead to the cultivation of a neat and distinct style of handwriting — for authors will perceive the immense advantage of giving their own MSS. directly to the public without the expensive interference of the type-setter, and the often ruinous intervention of the publisher. All that a than of letters need do, will be to pay some attention to legibility of MS. arrange his pages to suit himself, and stereotype them instantaneously, as arranged. He may intersperse them with his own drawings, or with anything to please his own fancy, in the certainty of being fairly brought before his readers, with all the freshness of his original conception about him.

And at this point we are arrested by a consideration of infinite moment, although of a seemingly shadowy character. [page 86:] The cultivation of accuracy in MS., thus enforced, will tend with an irresistible impetus to every species of improvement in style — more especially in the points of concision and distinctness — and this again, in a degree even more noticeable, to precision of thought, and luminous arrangement of matter. There is a very peculiar and easily intelligible reciprocal influence between the thing written and the manner of writing — but the latter has the predominant influence of the two. The more remote effect on philosophy at large, which will inevitably result from improvement of style and thought in the points of concision, distinctness, and accuracy, need only be suggested to be conceived.

As a consequence of attention being directed to neatness and beauty of MS. the antique profession of the scribe will be revived, affording abundant employment to women — their delicacy of organization fitting them peculiarly for such tasks. The female amanuensis, indeed, will occupy very nearly the position of the present male type-setter, whose industry will be diverted perforce into other channels.

These considerations are of vital importance — but there is yet one beyond them all. The value of every book is a compound of its literary value and its physical or mechanical value as the product of physical labor applied to the physical material. But at present the latter value immensely predominates, even in the works of the most esteemed authors. It will be seen, however, that the new condition of things will at once give the ascendancy to the literary value, and thus by their literary values will books come to be estimated among men. The wealthy gentleman of elegant leisure will lose the vantage ground now afforded him, and will be forced to tilt on terms of equality with the poor devil author. At present the literary world is a species of anomalous Congress, in which the majority of the members are constrained to listen in silence while all the eloquence proceeds from a privileged few. In the new régime, the humblest will speak as often and as freely as the most exalted, and will be sure of receiving just that amount of attention which the intrinsic merit of their speeches may deserve.

From what we have said it will be evident that the discovery of Anastatic Printing will not only not obviate the necessity of copy-right laws, and of an International Law in especial, but will render this necessity more imperative and more apparent. It has been shown that in depressing the value of the physique of a book, the invention will proportionally elevate the value of its morale, and since it is the latter value alone which the copy-right laws are needed to protect, the necessity of the protection will be only the more urgent and more obvious than ever. [page 87:]

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THE MAGAZINES.

(a) THE AMERICAN REVIEW for April announces that a body of the Whig senators, including Messrs. Webster, Berrien, Mangum, Evans, Morehead, Crittenden, Archer, John M. Clayton, and several others, “have voluntarily consulted respecting its establishment, and pledged themselves to support it by monthly contributions — each engaging his attention for a month assigned.” With assistance of such character Mr. Colton cannot fail in securing a very eminent position for the Review, which, we are happy to know, is in other respects securely established.

The first paper (in the number for April) we sincerely regret to see — nor can we see its necessity in any respect. Its subject is “The Last Chief Executive.”

The paper on Thiers’ Revolution is somewhat too long for a Magazine article of so solid a character, but neither its discrimination nor its vigor can be doubted. “About Birds” and “Waltoniana” are both very amusing, and “How shall life be made the most of?” is full of admirable suggestion. “The Commercial Intercourse with Eastern Asia” is one of the most valuable (if not the most valuable) of all. With the exception of “Some Words with a Mummy” which had the misfortune to be written by “one of us,” there is only one really bad article in the number — but that one is ineffable, and how the good taste of Mr. Colton could have admitted it, is a mystery. It is entitled “Sir Oracle,” and seems to have been composed in a fit of spleen, amounting almost to mania, by some microscopical littérateur whose last effusion has been maltreated by the critics. We might, in fact, ascertain the author by finding out who, of late, has written the stupidest book. The gentleman thinks that all critics are “asses,” and declares that “Greek shall meet Greek,” ending with something about the Kilkenny cats. But it is impossible, without an extract, to convey any idea oftbe pitiable drivel of this essay. Here is a specimen. The author (who calls himself Nosmetipsi) is ridiculing the critical pre tensions of somebody whom he met at Washington. A conversation occupying three or four pages of “The American Review!” is detailed at length as follows — the writer pledging his word that he is “strictly faithful” in the account:

N. “Well, don‘t you think Crittenden, Rives, Preston, and Buchanan are strong men?” C. “guess they are! Ain‘t it fun to hear them great speakers?” N. “Oh, capital! There’s Colonel Benton, too, a gentleman, and a great egotist.” C. “Yes, sir; he’s great any how.” N. “He’s the great author of the ‘Gold Humbug.‘” C. “So he is — a great author, very great, indeed.” N. “But there’s another Colonel, who has run for Lieutenant-General in the Loco army, but who is willing to serve as kettle-drum Major, or even to march in the ’ rank and file.’ He is a great man; and, like a true soldier, has shown a deep attachment to the colors.” C. “Yes, he likes the colors, I tell ye, and he‘ll die by ‘em.” N. “But don‘t you think Wright, and Van Buren, and Tyler, and Polk are great men!” C. “Yes, sir, all of ‘em; very great men.” N. “The first, is the great Magician; the second, the Little Magician; the fourth, the Great Unknown.” C. [page 88:] “Jest what I‘ve often said, sir.” N. “It seems to me, that we have more great men than we need. Isn‘t it a pity some three or four of them — for instance, Calhoun, Benton, and Van Buren — had not been born in other countries, to diffuse the blessings of ‘progressive democracy?’ ” C. “I think it is now. a very great pity, very great, in deed. We could supply the world with Presidents, not to mention Vice-Presidents and Governors.” N. “Yes, indeed. What a pity, too, that here and there one of our great men indulges too freely in unnatural excitements, instead of remaining strictly ‘aquæ potator!” You understand me?” “Oh, yes,” said he, with great gravity, but eyeing us very closely. “Oh, certingly. Though I can‘t say I like to see men such very ‘queer potatoes.’ The greatest men, though, are always a leetle queer. But, queer or not, the men we‘ve named ain‘t small potatoes, are they?” N. “No, sir, I consider them all to be large ones.” C. “That they are, the thumpin‘est kind of big ones, or else I don‘t know nothing about it.” After a pause of about a minute, with a violent, but invisible and noiseless inward cachination, we said, “From your very remarkable taste and knowledge. I should hope you are a Loco — that is — a Democrat.” C. “I ain‘t nothin’ else, I guess.” “That shows your judgment. All great men are Locos, ’ except six.’ ” C. “So I think. I s‘pose you‘re a Loco, of course?” N. “I‘m almost afraid to say. for fear you‘d tell on me, if we should be beaten.” C. “Indeed, I wouldn‘t, friend. I‘m dark as a wolf’s mouth.” N. “Well, now, don‘t mention it. Fin m a WHIG, sir — a Whig now and always, here and everywhere.” C. “The d — 1, you are! Now, who‘d have thought it? Wall, ’ many men of many minds.’ I‘m not a very strong Democrat, myself. Henry Clay’s a great man, very great, very great, indeed.” N. “Yes, sir, too great for us to criticise, or for his country to appreciate. Good day, sir.” C. “Wh now, you ain‘t a-going a‘ready? Take another cigar.” N. “I than you, Sir. I have had sufficient enjoyment in ’smoking’ the biped.” And thus we parted, — he apparently pondering over the occult meaning of our last remark; and we thoroughly diverted at the ex cathedra decisions of the fellow, who found his bliss not in his real ignorance, but in the dubious conceit that he was wise.

Now this is seriously intended as satire on criticism in general. The whole article will put the reader in mind of the scratching, biting, kicking and squalling of a very fat little booby while getting flogged. For our own part, had we been editor of even the “Paul Pry,” we should have rejected “Sir Oracle” as too undignified, and immensely too stupid for its columns. Such things seriously injure in degrading a Magazine.

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THE SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER, for April, has its usual array of good papers, and among them we notice in especial — “A brief Vindication of the Government and People of the United States from the Accusations brought against them by the Author of ‘Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North American Indians. Written during eight years’ travel among the wildest tribes of Indians in North America. By George Catlin.‘” Mr. Catlin’s book was published in 1841. The Vindication, etc. is, we think, from the pen of one of the ablest men in Virginia, and we have only to regret its terminating sentence.

The review of Miss Barrett will be well received by the unpoetical alone. The critic merely shows that her poetry is no poetry to him. She is unquestionably, in spite of her numerous faults, the most glorious woman of her age — the queen of all female poets.

“The Carolinas During the Revolution,” is the title of another very valuable article, the paternity of which we are quite at a loss to designate. There is also an original letter from Baron Von Washington, containing some interesting particulars respecting the Washington family.

The Poetry of the Messenger is not at all times equal to its prose — but in the present number we observe some very effective stanzas (The Child’s Grave) by Mrs. Jane Tayloe Worthington — also a sweet poem by Miss Mary G. Wells. The Critical Notices are brief, and to the point — although in many particulars we disagree radically with the opinions of the critic. We should be inclined, for example, to think far more highly than he, of the “Vestiges of Creation.” If not written by Dr. Nichol, this work is at least worthy that great man.

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THE DEMOCRATIC REVIEW has a characteristic article by Hawthorne, — a semi-critical essay in which he has prolonged the lives, to the present day, of all the dead authors of the century, [page 89:] giving their imagined peculiarities in their dotage, and sent all the living writers to the tomb, giving the imaginary obituaries which their decease would have elicited. There are several other good papers in the magazine, the best of which are an admirable disquisition on plagiarism, an essay on Hawthorne, and an article on Marshal Ney. The embellishment is a well executed portrait of General Cass.

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(a) HUNT’S MERCHANT’S MAGAZINE contains the full amount of valuable statistical matter which we have been accustom ed to find in its pages, but it contains one article, the spirit of which should, in some form, always be found in a work intended, like this, for the eye of the merchant. It is a review of Dymond’s essays, but is called “Morals for Merchants,” which would be a startling term to those who did not know that the laws of the State, by interposing their authority between individuals in the adjustment of private claims, have created a mercantile immorality, and given rise to what are called debts of honor, which are generally the most dishonorable of all obligations, but which, being placed beyond the cognizance of statute law, are taken in charge by the law of honor. It is a subject of great astonishment that men will not learn from this anomalous class of debts, that if all debts were made debts of honor, there would be fewer debts unpaid than there are now. The present number of the Merchants’ Magazine, contains an announcement, as a rare occurrence, that two merchants who had been legally released from their business obligations, had recently paid their debts with interest. What more need be said for the morals of a profession, when one of its members is publicly applauded for a simple act of honesty which the lowest gambler feels himself bound to perform. It is but a year or two since men who could not pay their debts, were shut up in prison, and note that we have left that barbarous practice behind us, so strange and unnatural does it seem, that we can hardly believe that the stuccoed temple in the Park has contained within its walls thousands of human beings, who were shut up in killing confinement, for no other cause than an inability to pay their debts.

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(b) THE ANTIGONE AT PALMO’S.

Our readers are aware that the “Antigone” of Sophocles has been lately brought out at Berlin, at Paris, and at Lon don. In the two former cities the success might be called decided, in the usual theatrical acceptation of the term — that is to say, the house was sufficiently full every night, and the nights of representation were sufficiently numerous to remunerate the management. At London there was less enthusiasm (whether true or false) and the announcement that the tragedy was there — performed with extraordinary success” must be swallowed cum grano salis: — the phrase, indeed, is by far too strong for either the Berlin or Parisian attempt.

A thing of this kind is always a mere “attempt,“and must necessarily so be — on account of its anomaly. We shall not pretend to enter into a discussion of the merits of “Antigone” as “Antigone” was written by Sophocles and performed at Athens — we shall not do this for the simple reason that that “Antigone” is a matter about which we moderns happen to know nothing — the proof being, that no two of the scholiasts agree in any one point respecting it. Of the “Antigone” as we have it, there is really very little to say — although of that little the Germans, as usual-Augustus William Schlegel in particular — Lave contrived to make a very great deal of elocution. The tragedy, in all the elements of tragedy (as we, the moderns, comprehend it) is vastly inferior to any one of the dramas of Æschylus — and, perhaps, any play of Euripides [page 90:] would have been more acceptable to a modern audience. But, apart from all this, there is about the “Antigone,” as well as about all the ancient plays, an insufferable baldness, or platitude, the inevitable result of inexperience in Art — but a baldness, nevertheless, which pedantry would force us to believe the result of a studied and supremely artistic simplicity alone. Simplicity is, indeed, a very lofty and very effective feature in all true Art — but not the simplicity which we see in the Greek drama. The simplicity of the Greek sculpture is every thing that can be desired, because here the art in itself is simplicity in itself, and in its elements. The Greek sculptor chiselled his forms from what he saw before him every day, in a beauty far nearer to perfection than any work of any Cleomenes in the world. But in the drama, the direct — the straight forward, un-German Greek had no Nature so directly presented, from which to copy his conceptions. He did what he could — but that was exceedingly little worth. The profound sense of one or two tragic, or rather melo-dramatic elements (such as the idea of inexorable Destiny) — this sense, gleaming at intervals from out the darkness of the ancient stage, serves, in the imperfection of its development, to show not the dramatic ability, but the dramatic inability of the ancients. In a word, the simple arts spring into perfection, at their origin. The complex as inevitably demand the — long and painfully progressive experience of ages.

To the Greeks, beyond doubt, their drama seemed perfection — and this fact is absurdly urged as proof of their drama’s perfection in itself. It need only be said, in reply, that their art and their sense of art must have been necessarily on a level.

The idea of reproducing a Greek play before a modern audience, is the idea of a pedant and nothing beyond — that is to say, if the producer dreams of creating in the modern audience any real interest in the play. Of adventitious interest there will be of course, some little. Many persons will be curious to understand the mode in which the Greeks wrote dramas and performed them — but, alas! no person should go to Palmo’s for such understanding. Others again will like it to be imagined that they have a scholastic taste, and could discourse learnedly on certain classical themes. if there were occasion. Others enjoy a good joke-and to all such the recommend the “Antigone” at Dinneford’s theatre, which we take it for granted is fifty or sixty feet in diameter — none of the Greek theatres being more than six or seven hundred.

We overheard Mr. Mitchell on the first night of the representation, plotting direful schemes in the way of burlesque — but we would suggest to him that such trouble is altogether superfluous. We are serious in saying that if, before the performance had taken place at Palmo’s, he had brought out the very “Antigone” brought out at Palmo’s, with the understanding that it was meant for a burlesque on the play as produced at London or Berlin, it would have been received (as all his capital parodies are received) with shouts of rapturous laughter. The only modification he need have made, would have been the substitution of Holland for Vandenhoff, and De Bar for Miss Clarendon. The latter, with Mr. V., (who is beyond doubt, a capital elocutionist) did all that could be done for the play — but what, in the name of common sense, was there to be done?

We are really ashamed of having wasted so much space in commenting on this piece of folly. Had the “Antigone” been produced with all classical appliances — a monstrous folly still it would have been — but of the numerous schoolboys who were present on the opening night, there was not [page 91:] one who could have failed to laugh in his sleeve, at the medley of anachronisms — solecisms — sotticisms — which rendered the whole affair an unintentional burlesque. On the first night, there was a very respectable attendance — on the second (very naturally) there were not a hundred paying spectators in the house.

The most singular feature in the performance is, undoubtedly, the accompanying music. Mendelssohn must have been inspired when he conceived the plan; it was a bold and lofty flight, and one not to be carried out by an ordinary mind. He had many difficulties to contend with; his own natural style must be abandoned, and the cramped and unmelodious system of the Greek unisonious sinning adopted. To preserve that distinctive character, and still render the music acceptable to modern ears, must have taxed the utmost ingenuity of the composer. But he has succeeded to a marvel the music is Greek thought adapted into German. The choruses are sung by male voices only; they are in a great measure sung in unison, but where they are harmonised, the harmonies seem to be the natural result of the inflections of the voice. The subject of every chorus is simple, unadorned and majestic; partaking of the varied character of the words; serious and reflective, grave and prophetic, spirited and triumphant, religious sentiment mingled with the overpowering awe which ever accompanies benighted superstition.

We purpose speaking of this music in a separate paper, and shall therefore only make at present a few remarks upon its performance.

The only excuse that can be offered for the miserable way in which the choruses were executed, is the want of sufficient time to study them. But this excuse is, after all, no excuse to the public; they did not urge the manager to produce the tragedy in an imperfect state; on the contrary, they expected to witness a representation as near perfection as the means employed would admit; but instead of this, a large number of men are paraded upon the stage, scarcely one third of them singing correctly, while the other two thirds either do not sing at all, or vamp the words and music. The semi-chorus Oh Eros! one of the most beautiful compositions in the tragedy, was entirely ruined by the wretched manner in which it was executed. Indeed, the whole of the musical arrangements reflect but little credit upon Mr. Loder’s reputation as an energetic and skillful conductor. He certainly did all that a man could do, under the circumstances; but these circumstances had no right to exist. He should either have demanded sufficient time, or have refused to lend the guarantee of his well known fame to a performance which must disappoint the public expectation. [page 92:]

[[BJ April 12, 1845 - 1:238]]

LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.

The Mess. Appletons have ready “The Farmer’s and Emigrant’s Hand-Book” by Josiah T. Marshall — 1 vol. 12mo. illustrated — (We shall notice it in our next); they are also preparing Dr. Arnold’s Lectures on Modern History, with an Introduction and Notes by Henry Reed, of the Pennsylvania University-also anew edition of Cary’s Dante, forming one of their Cabinet edition of Standard Poets — also a new Standard Edition of the Book of Common Prayer of the P. E. Church (finely illustrated) — also Wordsworth’s Poetical works (illustrated) uniform with their previous edition of Hemans — also Leibig’s Familiar Letters on Chemistry (second series) — also the English Dictionary of Alexander Reid. — Michelet’s History of the Roman Republic, translated by Victor G. Bennp A. B. — a volume of Poems by Wm. W. Lord, of Princeton N. J. — Saul, a dramatic Mystery by Arthur Cleve land Cox (announced some time since, by mistake, as in press by some other house) — and The History of Germany by F. Kolrauch, Chief of the Board of Education of the Kingdom of Hanover and late Professor of History in the Polytechnic School, translated by James D. Haas — a very important work to appear in monthly parts, forming a portion of Appleton’s Historical Library.

Mess. Carey & Hart, of Philadelphia, will publish next week a new and very cheap edition of the Waverley Novels — the whole in five volumes for two dollars and a half —— in the course of the month, a new edition of “The Modern Essayists” — Macaulay — Allison — Wilson and Sidney Smith — each complete in a single volume. Carlyle, in a fifth volume, will appear next month. The same enterprising publishers have also in press “The Literary Men of the Time of George the Third” by Lord Brougham, and Thierry’s Historical Studies and Merovingian Era.

The Library of Choice Reading,” issued by Mess. Wiley and Putnam, is received everywhere with approbation. The selections are eminently judicious. The first number of the American series, will be put to press in a few days.

“The London Lancet.” — Burgess Stringer & Co. have just issued their re-print of the April number. It is full of valuable matter. No medical periodical equals The Lancet.

———

THE LATE LAMAN BLANCHARD. — This popular English essayist is so well known on our side the Atlantic, by his satirical sketches, which have formed one of the chief features of our light republishing magazines for the past ten years, that a sketch of him must be an acceptable bit of biography for magazine readers. We give the following condensed account of his life and labors from the last number of the New Monthly Magazine: —

“Samuel Laman Blanchard was born at Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk, on the 15th of May, 1803, the only boy of seven children. His father was in respectable circumstances, and removed to London when his son was about five years old; here he received his education at St. Olave’s school, Southwark, and became distinguished when a youth for an exquisite appreciation of the English poets.

“Mr. Blanchard married in 1824, Hiss Anne Gates, a young lady of considerable personal attractions and good family. His first literary undertaking was a Small volume of poems, published in the year 182, called ‘Lyric Oderings,’ a collection that exhibited unquestionable evidence of high poetical talent. Indeed, as a poet, Laman Blanchard deserves to be placed in a front rank; for some of the lyrical pieces he has since produced possess the highest merit. This work made him favorably known. He began to write for one or two periodicals, and [page 93:] as at this time he had been appointed Secretary to the Zoological Society, he had sufficient employment for his leisure in cultivating his literary talents. The secretaryship was given up in 1831, and almost immediately afterwards he was engaged in editing both the Monthly Magazine and La Belle Assembles. This employment brought him in connexion with literary men of different parties, among whom his sociality exercised an irresistible influence. He rose rapidly in the estimation of his more influential friends, and was selected to assist in establishing a new evening paper called The True Sun, in which he wrote for nearly two years with remarkable liveliness and spirit, and from which he withdrew a little before it ceased to exist. He was soon engaged upon other papers. The Constitutional and The Shipping Gazette, he tried in vain to establish, but there was no hope in a struggle with such competitors as already possessed the field. He was also editor of The Courier — this was when the Whigs were in office, and he fought their battles with great energy and talent.

“We next find him editor of the Court Journal. Here he was rather out of his element. Fashionable Literature was of much too light a texture for him to manufacture successfully; nevertheless, he endeavoured to meet the wants of such a journal, and for a long time continued to write graceful trifles in a style that charmed his elegant readers, and made them believe that a second Addison had been created for their entertainment. After a year or two, he left the Court Journal for more congenial employment. — he became a constant contributor to the New Monthly Magazine, edited George Cruikshank’s Omnibus, was engaged on the Examiner, and furnished occasional papers for several other publications both political and literary. He was always occupied, and in such a variety of ways as must have been destructive to the hopes his friends entertained of a true developement [[sic]] of his genius. — Now engaged upon a leader for a newspaper — now upon a paper for a magazine — a poem for an annual, or a review for one of the principal journals. The only volume which was completely his own was his first; but there were two works to which he contributed materials; these were’ The Literary Remains of L. E. L.’ in two volumes, to which he contributed the’ Life; and Dr. Maginn’s posthumous work, ’ John Manesty, the Liverpool Merchant,’ in three volumes, of which he wrote occasional chapters.“

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(a) THE UNITED STATES HOTEL. — This very fine establishment has been leased by Mr. Johnson, who is already well known to the travelling public. The lessee has reduced the prices, a very important feature in a first class hotel.

———

(b) A PROLIFIC AUTHORESS. — The late Mrs. Hofland, author of “The Son of a Genius,” wrote seventy different works, besides contributions to magazines and periodicals, the gross sale of which, estimated from the returns of the publishers, has been about 300,000 copies, not including the translations into German and French, nor those sold in America where her works have been as popular as at home. Mrs. Holland visited Paris in the summer of 1843, and soon after published her last work, “Emily’s Record of a Trip to Paris.” She died at Richmond on the 9th of November last, of inflammation in the brain, brought on by a fall about a fortnight before.

(c) A REMARKABLE PARTIALITY FOR MUD. “The Hon. James Harper” in declining an invitation of the Native Americans of Philadelphia to pay them a visit recently, informed them that he had not spent two days out of the city since his election to the Mayoralty.

The Columbus (Mississippi) Democrat publishes some very beautiful lines written by Mrs. Sarah B. Danbridge, a grand-daughter of Patrick Henry. Their subject is “Buonaparte’s Retreat across the Rhine,” The Democrat also announces that “she has left many fugitive pieces among her acquaintances, the most of which have been carefully collected by one of her relations, who is now preparing them (with a biographical notice) for publication.”

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(d) NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS. — Many thanks to R. S. N., of Cin. — also to H. H. W. — we shall attend to his request, for our own sake, as well as for the sake of auld lang syne. The communication of X we are obliged to decline, not for its lack of merit, for we enjoyed the reading of it exceedingly, but because it has already appeared in another paper.

An eastern paper thinks we have broken our neutrality, because we incidentally mentioned a fact to illustrate a principle; but we have made no declaration of neutrality, On the contrary, we hold ourselves free to discuss any measure of public interest without regard to political predilections.

R. C. has strangely misinterpreted our whole course, as well as made two or three very gross misstatements, which, we must believe, were unintentional — although we cannot conceive how a person, even of his lively imagination, should have built up such a solid looking superstructure of falsehoods upon such an exceedingly slender foundation. He spells us backwards and cross-wise, every way but straight forward, and imputes to us motives and designs which we never dreamed of or uttered. R. C. like many other innocent people who have but one idea, is quite harmless as an enemy, but very dangerous as a friend; a blind man will never shoot anybody at a distance, though when you come near him he may knock you dozen with his fist. The next time that he intends to do us a service, we should be glad to have timely notice of his designs, that we may guard against his favors. We shall reply in another place, to the paper in which he has made his misrepresentation. [page 94:]

[[BJ April 19, 1845 - 1:241]]

STREET-PAVING.

There is, perhaps, no point in the history of the useful arts more remarkable than the fact, that during the last two thousand years, the world has been able to make no essential improvements in road-making. It may well be questioned if the Gothamites of 3845 will distinguish any traces of our Third Avenue: — and in the matter of street-pavement, properly so called, although of late, universal attention has been directed to the subject, and experiment after experiment has been tried, exhausting the ingenuity of all modern engineers, it appears that we have at last settled on a result which differs in no material degree, and in principle not at all, from that which the Romans attained, as if instinctively, in the Via Appia, the Via Flaminia, the Via Valeria, the Via Tusculana, and others. There are streets in Pompeii to-day constructed on the very principle which is considered best by the moderns: or if there be any especial variation, it certainly is not to the credit of modern ingenuity.

The most durable and convenient of the Roman roads were thus composed: — The direction and breadth were first marked out by two shallow parallel furrows or trenches (sulci) from to 8 feet apart, according to the importance of the via. The loose earth between the trenches was then taken away, and the soil farther removed until a sufficiently solid foundation was reached upon which to deposit the materials of the bed: — if from any cause, such as swampiness, no such natural basis was atttainable [[attainable]], piles (fistucationes) were driven. Above the natural or artificial basis (the gremium) four strata were laid, of which the first (statumen) consisted of stones about three times the size of those employed by us in Macadamizing; next came the rudus, broken stones, cemented with lime (answering to our rubble-work) — this was generally nine inches thick, and densely rammed. Then came the nucleus of broken earthen-ware, six inches thick, and also cemented with lime. Lastly came the true pavement, (pavimentum) which was composed of irregular polygons of silex, commonly basaltic lava. These blocks, however, were fitted together with great nicety, and presented just such an appearance as do our best built polygonal stone walls. The centre of the way was slightly elevated, as with us, above the curb-stones. Now and then, in cities, rectangular slabs of softer stone were substituted for the irregular lava polygons — and here the resemblance to the favorite modem mode was nearly complete. When the road or street passed over or through solid rock, the statumen and rudus were neglected, but the nucleus was never dispensed with. On each side of the way were elevated foot-paths, gravelled, and well supported; and at regular intervals were stone blocks, corresponding to our own steps, for the convenience of horsemen or carriages. Our mile-stones were also employed.

We are aware that all this is very school-boyish information — but we venture to place it before our readers by way of fairly collating the ancient and modern ideas on the general topic of road-making, and by way, also, of insisting on [page 95:] the observation with which we commenced — that it is exceedingly remarkable how little we have done to advance an art of so vast an importance, notwithstanding the continuous endeavors which have been made, and are still making, to advance it.

The Roman road (and our own quadrangular stone-block pavement is but a weak imitation of it) is beyond doubt exceedingly durable; and, so far, wherever the experiment has been tried, it has fully succeeded. By so far we mean so far as concerns durability. The objections are first, its cost, which is very great when the proper material is employed; and secondly the street din which is wrought by the necessity of having the upper surfaces of the blocks roughened, to afford a hold for the hoof. The noise from these roughened stones is less, certainly, than the tintamarre proceeding from the round ones — but nevertheless is intolerable still. The first objection (cost) is trivial where funds are at command; for in the end this species of pavement is the cheapest which has ever been invented, or probably ever will be invented — for repairs are scarcely needed at all. But it is cheap only in a save-at-the-spigot understanding of the term — for our second objection is one of a vital importance. The loss of time (not to mention temper) through the insufferable nuisance of street-noise in many of our most frequented thoroughfares, would overwhelm all reasonable people with astonishment if but once fairly and mathematically put; and that time is money — to an American at least — is a proposition not for an instant to be disputed. Nor have we dwelt upon the vast inconvenience, and often fatal injury resulting to invalids from the nuisance of which we complain — and of which all classes complain, without ever mentioning the necessity of getting it abated.

It is generally admitted, we believe, that as long as they last, the wooden pavements have the advantage over all others. They occasion little noise (we place this item first and are serious in so placing it as the most important consideration of all); they are kept clean with little labor; they save a great deal in horse power; they are pleasant to the hoof and thus save the health of the horse — as well as some twenty or thirty per cent. in the wear and tear of vehicles — and as much more, in time, to all travellers through the increased rapidity of passage to and fro.

The first objection is that of injury to the public health from miasmata arising from the wood. Whether such injury actually does occur is very questionable — but there is no need of mooting the question, since all admit that the source of the miasma (decay) can be prevented. It is demonstrated that by the process very improperly called Kyanizing (since Kyan has not the slightest claim to the invention) even the greenest wood may be preserved for centuries, or if need be for a hundred, or far more. The experiments by which this fact is, as we say, demonstrated, have been tried in every variety of way, with nearly identical results. Blocks properly prepared, for example, were subjected for many years, in the fungus pit of the dockyard at Woolwich, England, to [page 96:] all the known decomposing agents which can ever naturally be brought to act against a wooden pavement, and yet were taken from the pit, at the close of the experiments, in as sound a condition as when originally deposited.

The preservative agent employed was that of corrosive sublimate — the Bi-chloride of Mercury. Let a pound of the sublimate be dissolved in fifteen or sixteen gallons of water, and a piece of any wood (not decayed) be immersed for seventy-two hours in the solution, and the wood cannot afterwards be rotted. An instantaneous mineralization can be effected, if necessary, by injection of the fluid in vacuo into the pores of the wood. It is rendered much heavier, and more brittle by the process, and has altogether a slightly metallic character.

The cost of the Bi-chloride of Mercury is we presume, at present, something less than one dollar per pound-but the cost would be greatly reduced should the mineralizing pro cess occasion an unusual demand. The South American quicksilver mines, now unworked, would be put into operation, and we should get the article, perhaps, for forty or even thirty cents per pound. But even now the cost of Kyanizing is trifling in comparison with that of cutting, squaring, and roughening stone — to say nothing of the difference in cost between wood itself, and such stone as our present pavements demand.

Decay being thus prevented, all danger from miasma is of course to be left out of question; and although it has been frequently asserted that the mercurial effluvium is injurious to health — the assertion has been as frequently refuted in the most positive and satisfactory manner. The mercury is too closely assimilated with the wooden fibre to admit of any perceptible effluvium. Even where sailors have lived for months in the most confined holds of vessels built of the mineralized wood, no ill consequences have been found to arise. We write this article with no books before us, and are by no means positive about the accuracy of our details. The general principles and facts, however, are not, we believe, matters of dispute. We confess ourselves, therefore, at a loss to understand how, or why it is, that a Kyanized wooden pavement to a limited extent, has not been laid (if only by way of a forlorn-hope-like experiment) in some of our public thoroughfares. Or are we merely ignorant of the case — and has the experiment been fairly tried, and found wanting?

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[[BJ April 19, 1845 - 1:251]]

ACHILLES’ WRATH.

(a) At “No. 8 Astor House,” in a style (no doubt) of luxurious elegance and ease, resides a gentleman and a scholar, who (without paying his postage) has forwarded us a note, (through the Despatch Post,) signing it either Mr. W. Dinneford, or Mr. P. or Mr. Q. Dinneford — for he writes a shockingly bad hand, and we are unable to make out all his capitals with precision. It is not always the best scribe, however, physically considered, who is capable of inditing the most agreeable note — as the note of Mr. Dinneford will show. Here it is:

SIR!

In your note of the 2d inst. you request of me the favor of being place on the free list of this theatre, because (as your letter says) were anxious “to do Justice to ‘Antigone’ on its representation.’ Your name was accordingly placed on the free list. Your [page 97:] Critique has appeared, in the Broadway Journal, characterized, much more by ill nature and an illiberal spirit, than by fair and candid, or even just criticism. —

In justice therefore to MYSELF, I have withdrawn your name from the free list. I am always prepared to submit, as a catererer for public amusement, to any just remarks, though they may be severe, but I do not feel MYSELF called a lion to offer facilities to any one, to do me injury by animadversions evidently marked by ill feeling. I am SIR!

With very great respect, Your most ob‘t serv‘t

W. DINNEFORD.

To Edgar Poe Esq. &c &c &c

Author of THE RAVEN.

New York APL 15, 1845. No 8 Astor House.

We are not wrong (are we?) in conceiving that Mr. Dinneford is in a passion. We are not accustomed to compositions of precisely this character — (that is to say, notes written in large capitals with admiration notes for commas — the whole varied occasionally with lower case) — but still, we think ourselves justified in imagining that Mr. Dinneford was in a passion when he sent us this note from his suite of boudoirs at the Astor House. In fact, we fancy that we can trace the gradations of his wrath in the number and impressiveness of his underscoring. The SIRS!! for example, are exceedingly bitter; and in THE RAVEN, which has five black lines beneath it, each one blacker than the preceding, we can only consider ourselves as devoted to the Infernal Gods.

Mr. Dinneford is in a passion then — but what about? We had been given to understand, that it was usual in New York, among editors newly established, to apply (by note) for the customary free admission to the theatres. The custom is a wretched one, we grant, but since it was a custom, we were weak enough, in this instance, to be guided by it. We made our note to this Dinneford as brief and as explicit as possible — for we felt that the task was a dirty one. We stated distinctly that we wished to be placed on his free list for the purpose of “doing justice to Antigone” — just as he says himself. To this note the inhabitant of No. 8 Astor House condescended to make no reply. Supposing that the man “knew no better,” and pitying his ignorance from the bottom of our hearts, we proceeded to the theatre on its opening night, in the full certainty of at least finding our name on the free list. It was not there. And the blatherskite who could behave in so indecent a manner, as to fail first in answering our note, and secondly in paying attention to the request it contained, has the audacity to find fault with us because we dared to express an unbiassed opinion of his stupidity — that is to say, of the stupidity of a play gotten up by himself, Mr. Dinneford.

He failed in his duty — there was no reason that we should fail in ours. We told him that we meant to do him justice and we did it.

We are not wasting words on this Quinneford — it is the public to whom we speak — to the editorial corps in especial. We wish to call their attention to the peculiar character of the conditions which managers such as this have the impudence to avow, as attached to the privilege of the free list. No puff no privilege, is the contract. That is to say, an editor, when admitted to the theatre, is to be understood as leaving his conscience in the street. He is admitted not to judge — not to criticise — but to adulate. He is to put himself to the inconvenience of quitting his business, or his amusement, for the purpose of observing and reporting, for the management, whatever is occurring at the theatre. On entering, he is to content himself with standing where he can — his usual position being in the lobby, where he peeps, as well as he may, through the Venetian shutters of the boxes — for usually he cannot go until late, and no accommodations are afforded him — no seats are reserved for his use. And for the honor of doing all this, he is complimented with what? — the [page 98:] privilege of entering the doors of the Temple consecrated to the Quinneford — the value of the privilege in actual money, ranging from one dollar to twenty-five cents per night; admitting that circumstances are at the very best, and that the editor is so fortunate as to secure such a seat as he could procure for the twenty-five cents or the dollar, paid at the door. Deducting the difficulties and inconveniences to which he is necessarily subjected, the privileges may be estimated as from 6 1/4 to 12 1/2 cents per evening — a price quite sufficient, we presume, in the opinion of the Quinnefords, for the conglomerated consciences of all the editors within the limits of Christendom.

We have spoken, altogether, of “such managers” as Quinneford — but fortunately such managers are few. There is certainly not in New York, at the present moment, any other member of the theatrical profession, who either would have behaved with the gross discourtesy of this gentleman, or who, in inditing the preposterous letter published above, could have proved himself, personally, so successful a “catererer for the public amusement.”

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REVIEWS.

NIGHT: a Poem. In two Parts. New York: Alexander V. Blake, 77 Fulton street. 1845. pp. 60.

Alexandre Dumas, in the preface to one of his tragedies, says: “Ce sont les hommes, et non pas l‘homme, qui in ventent. Chacun arrive à son tour et à son lieure, s‘empare des choses connues de ses peres, leg met en ceuvre par des combinaisons nouvelles, puis meurt apres avoir ajouté quel-ques parcelles à la somme des connaissances humaines. Quant a la creation compléte d‘une chose, je la crois impos sible. Dieu lui même, lorsqu‘il crea l‘homme, ne put ou n‘osa point l‘inventer: il le fit à son image.’

We should be unwilling to charge the author of the poem before us with the profane sentiment of the audacious plagiarist whom we have quoted, but it is very plain that the two authors entertain very similar feelings respecting des choses connues de ses pères.

The author of Night has chosen an infelicitous title for his poem, for the word “Thoughts,” must pop into the minds of his readers as soon as they open his volume: yet it would have mattered nothing if he had chosen a different one, for the same title would have been inevitably suggested by the poem itself.

We can safely pronounce the author a good man and a scholar, which is higher praise than can be bestowed upon every good poet. Isis withholding his name from his combinaisons nouvelles proves him to be a ‘modest man, at least. The volume makes a favorable appeal to the eye, if not to the heart, by its beautiful externals. It is one of the handsomest books that we have recently handled.

There are many lines like the following in the poem, which might be vastly improved by the alteration of one word:

“From morn to noon, from noon to dusky eve.”

if dewy were substituted for dusky, the line would then be quite perfect and original. As an example of the author’s art and feeling, we make as long an extract as we can afford room for.

Even now the gale that stirs this humid air.

Is wet with sighs and tears that rise to heaven,

Despatch‘d, how vain, to sue for mercy there.

Gay-hearted sufferers! such are not to me

The sounds I love the most; for I am of you:

Lay but the master his cold hand on me,

Press but these chords, and lo! what plaintive airs

Running through all my compass, judge me true. [page 99:]

A sharer in your lot; partner with all

Of human kind, the common nerve of life

That knits all nature, country, race, in one,

And makes us comrades as in fortune joined;

Each bound to each, and one to all, then why

Less sad for other’s sorrows than my own?

———

IMAGINATION AND FANCY. By Leigh Hunt. No. IV of the “Library of Choice Reading,” published by Mess. Wiley and Putnam.

A better work than this, for the purpose of the “Library” could scarcely have been selected.

The delicate taste and fine fancy of Leigh Hunt are, at the present day, as warmly admitted, as many years ago they were clamorously denied. His exquisite sensibility to all impressions of the beautiful; his scholarship (by no means profound, yet peculiarly available); and his general vivacity of intellect — render him an admirable critic on all points within the compass of these qualities. No man living can put a truly good book of ordinary literature, in a better light than he. In poetical criticism, especially, he is at home — to the extent we have suggested. His mode is to give a running commentary on the poem, citing largely, Italicizing such passages as strike his fancy, and expatiating on the effects produced: his sole object, apparently, being to extort from the work the greatest amount of beauty which it can be made to yield. This, undoubtedly, is a very captivating method, and mankind are by no means the more disposed to quarrel with it on the ground that it is sometimes less useful (if the term may be here applied) than delightful.

But these are not all the capacities of Hunt. He theorises with great ability. An instinct of the fitting — a profound sentiment of the true, the graceful, the musical, the beautiful in every shape — enables him to construct critical principles which are thoroughly consistent with Nature, and which thus serve admirably as a substructure for Art. But it is in the power of passing behind his principles, that he utterly and radically fails. Of their composition — of their machinery — he is as ignorant as a child. If any thing goes wrong with his critical clock-work, he remains profoundly and curiously embarrassed — not leaving the commonest idea of the steps to be taken to set it in order. He tells us that a passage is beautiful, and very usually (though not always) we admit that he is right. He insists on its beauty, and we still coincide. He expatiates on it until we grow warm in his warmth. He demonstrates to our satisfaction how it is beautiful and at what particular points it is beautiful, and sometimes adventures so far as to assure us (while we agree with him) that it would be still better at certain other points if written so and so — and then should we be so inconsiderate as to ask him why it is beautiful, he would be altogether at a loss for an answer.

In a word the forte of the author of Rimini is taste — while his foible is analysis. Of this latter quality — absolutely indispensable in all criticism that aims at instruction or reformation in letters — he is radically deficient. Ile himself feels his own ability to construct a fine poem, and is content to be assured of the validity of the principles upon which he constructs it, without caring to understand the ultimate character of the natural laws (of the heart and intellect) upon which the validity of the principles depends. Feeling thus, he is prone to suppose that in all men the ability may exist without the understanding — and his criticisms therefore take no account of the latter. He neglects it first, because he does not appreciate its necessity (since it is no necessity for him) and secondly through absolute incapacity for its discussion. Now the one cause predominates in him and now the other. We can at all time trust his comments of love and admiration, [page 100:] and we may put faith to a very great extent is his definitions or general conclusions in art, but we must never ask of him too inquisitively, by what process they have been attained, or request him to put us in a condition for the attainment of similar conclusions for ourselves.

Now we are quite sure that the author of “Imagination and Fancy” would deny in a great measure the utility of that analysis for which we contend — but he would deny it just as a man born blind might be led to deny the utility of light. A far greater than Leigh hunt has, in fact, denied it as far as he could, through implication, in the case of Lord Verulam. We allude to Macaulay, who is at much pains to detract from the wisest and brightest (we will not say the meanest of mankind) on the ground that the inductive processes of reason teach us to reason no better in teaching us the modes in which we reason. It is Macaulay who maintains, in other words, that a man is enabled to labor to no greater advantage by any understanding of the tools with which he labors, or of the material upon which his labor is bestowed! The reply to all this is, that Thomas Babington Macau lay is not a man of genius. He is a critic, but no more than a critic. We grant that the “Lays of Ancient Rome” would have received little or no improvement front any understanding, on the part of their author, of the processes of thought which enabled him to put them together. Their merit or demerit, in fact, is quite independent of any such understanding — the truth, after all, seeming to resolve itself into this that the value of the comprehension of which we speak, is in the direct ratio of the creative ability which employs or takes advantage of the comprehension. In this sense, there are few who would deny that to Leigh Hunt the faculty of analysis would be of greater moment than to Macaulay: and if we have expressed ourselves of the admirable work before us less warmly than may seem fitting, it is not that we fail to appreciate, or are unwilling to admit its merits, but that we feel a sentiment half of grief half of vexation, at perceiving how very narrowly it has missed being more meritorious, by a hundred fold at least, than it actually is, as we now see it.

It would be doing our subject injustice not to give our readers at least one extract from the volume. We choose the concluding paragraphs of an answer to the query “what is poetry?”

I cannot draw this essay towards its conclusion better than with three memorable words of Milton; who has said, that poetry in comparison with science, is “simple, sensuous, and passionate.” By simple, he means unperplexed and self-evident; by sensuous, genial and full of Imagery; by passionate, excited and enthusiastic. I am aware that different constructions have been put upon some of these words; but the context seems to me to necessitate those before its. I quote, however, not from the original, but from an extract in the Remarks on Paradise Lost by Richardson.

What the poet has to cultivate above all things is love and truth; what he has to avoid like poison, is the fleeting and the false. He will get no good by proposing to be at in earnest at the moment.” His earnestness must be innate and habitual; born with him, and felt to be his most precious inheritance. “I expect neither profit nor general fame by my writings,” says Coleridge in his Preface to his Poems; “and I consider myself as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its ‘own exceeding great reward:’ it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me?” — Pickering’s edition, p. 10.

“Poetry,” says Shelley, “lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar. It reproduces all that it represents; and the impersonations clothed in its Elysian light stand thenceforward in the minds of those who have once contemplated them, as memorials of that gentle and exalted content which extends itself over all thoughts and actions with which it co-exists. The great secret of morals is love, or a going out of our own nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another, and of many others: the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is imagination; and poetry administers to [page 101:] the effect by acting upon the cause.” — Essays and Letters, vol. i. p. 16.

I would not willingly say anything after perorations like these; but as treatises on poetry may chance to have auditors who think themselves called upon to vindicate the superiority of what is termed useful knowledge, it may be as well to add, that if the poet may be allowed to pique himself on any one thing more than another, compared with those who undervalue him, it is on that power of undervaling [[undervaluing]] nobody, and no attainments different from his own, which is given him by the very faculty of imagination they despise. The greater includes the less. They do not see that their inability to comprehend him argues the smaller capacity.

No man recognizes the worth of utility more than the poet: he only desires that the meaning — of the term may not come short of its greatness, and exclude the noblest necessities of his fellow-creatures. He is quite as much pleased, for instance, with the facilities for rapid conveyance afforded him by the railroad, as the dullest confiner obits advantages to that single idea, or as the greatest two-idead man who varies that single idea with hugging himself on his “buttons” or his good dinner. But he sees also the beauty of the country through which he passes, of the towns, of the heavens, of the steam-engine itself, thundering and fuming along like a magic horse, of the affections that are carrying, perhaps, half the passengers on their journey, nay, of those of the great two-idead man; and beyond all this, he discerns the incalulable [[incalculable]] amount of good, and knowledge, and refinement, and mutual consideration, which this wonderful invention is fitted to circulate over the globe, perhaps to the displacement of war itself, and certainly to the diffusion of millions of enjoyments.

“And a button-maker, after all, invented it!” cries our friend.

Pardon me — it was a nobleman. A button-maker may be a very excellent, and a very poetical man, too, and yet not have been the first man visited by a sense of the gigantic powers of the combination of water and fire. It was a nobleman who first thought of it, — a captain who first tried it, — and a button-maker who perfected it. And he who put the nobleman on such thoughts, was the great philosopher Bacon, who said that poetry had “something divine in it,” and was necessary to the satisfaction of the human mind.

———

Phreno-Mnemotechny; or the Art of Memory: the series of Lectures explanatory of the Principles of the System, delivered in New York and Philadelphia, in the beginning of 1844, by Francis Fauvel Gouraud, D. E. S. of the University of France. Now first published without alterations or omissions, and with considerable additions in the practical application of the System. New York and London; Wiley and Putnam.

This is a very large volume of nearly 700 octavo pages, and to pronounce on it hastily would be something worse than folly. We merely mentioned, in our last paper, the fact of the publication. Since then we have given the whole a careful perusal, and have no hesitation in declaring the work one of the most extraordinary ever issued in this country or elsewhere. M. Gouraud is of that class of men who, through intensity of enthusiasm, accomplish great things, but who again, through the very peculiarity, or markedness, of this enthusiasm, excite against them a thousand prejudices in the minds of the mass of mankind — who have usually a dislike to be startled by new propositions, and cannot comprehend the possibility of a man’s being at once great, and what they think proper to denominate “eccentric.”

The system of Mnemotechny invented by M. Gouraud compares with those of Grey and Feiuagle as Hyperion to Satyrs — and yet it was the immortal Lalande who said he knew of nothing so profoundly consequential as the system of Feinagle.

We are now merely speaking at random, for we intend to recur to this subject again, and perhaps even again. We shall endeavor to convey to our readers some idea of what this remarkable volume really is, without reference to any opinions of prejudiced persons respecting it.

———

(b) The Farmer’s and Emigrant’s Guide-Book: being a full and complete guide for the Farmer and the Emigrant. Comprising the clearing of forests and prairie land, gardening, farming generally, farriery, cookery, and the prevention and cure of disease. With copious hunts, recipes, and tables. By Josiah F. Marshall, author of the “Emigrant’s Guide. Second edition, revised. Appleton & Co., 200 Broadway.

WE have rarely seen a book that so fully redeemed the promise of its title as does the “Farmer’s and Emigrant’s Guide;” it contains directions and recipes for every thing that a farmer or a farmer’s wife would care to know, from the construction of a house down to directions for mixing buck-wheat cakes. One of the most novel among the recipes is directions for making bread out of pine bark.

———

(c) Voices of the Night. By H. W. Longfellow. Redding & Co., Boston. Price 12 1-2 cents.

A NEATLY printed edition, in pamphlet form, of a book too universally known to require any comment.

(d) A Practical Treatise on the Organic Diseases of the Uterus: being the prize essay to which the Medical Society of London awarded the Fothergillian gold medal for 1843. By John B. W. Lever, M. D. New York; Burgess, Stringer & Co. 1845. pp. 240.

———

(e) The Mysteries of London. Translated from the French. By Henry C. Deming, Esq. New York: Burgess, Stringer & Co.

WE have not read this work, but if any thing could induce us to do so, it would be the name of the translator on the title-page, who has the [page 102:] rare art in his translations, of preserving the spirit of the original language, while he invests it with his own graceful and elegant style.

———

The Warwick Woods, or things as they were there ten years ago. By Frank Forrester. Henry William Herbert. Philadelphia: Zieber & Co. 1845.

THE essays in this little volume are already well known to the readers of the New York Turf Register, and other sporting magazines; and the popularity of the author’s name will doubtless give them a wide circulation among readers in general.

———

The Westminster Review, for March has just been reprinted. Contents: The French Political Economists; Shakspeare and his Editors; Commercial Policy of England and Germany; Chronology of Egyptian History; Ship-Owners; Lunatic Asylums; and City Administration.

[[BJ April 26, 1845 - 1:266]]

A GENTLE PUFF.

IF we copied into our Journal all the complimentary notices that are bestowed upon us, it would contain hardly any thing besides; the following done into poetry is probably the only one of the kind that we shall receive, and we extract it from our neighbor, the New World, for the sake of its uniqueness.

Then with step sedate and stately, as if thrones had home him lately,

Came a bold and daring warrior up the distant echoing floor;

As he passed the COURIER’S Colonel, then I saw THE BROADWAY JOURNAL,

In a character supernal, on his gallant front he bore,

And with stately step and solemn marched he proudly through the door,

As if be pondered, evermore.

With his keen sardonic smiling, every other care beguiling,

Right and left he bravely wielded a double-edged and broad claymore,

And with gallant presence dashing, ‘mid his confreres stoutly clashing,

He unpityingly went slashing, as he keenly scanned them o‘er,

And with eye and mien undaunted, such a gallant presence bore,

As might awe them, evermore.

Neither rank nor station heeding, with his foes around him bleeding,

Sternly, singly and alone, his course he kept upon that floor;

While the countless foes attacking, neither strength nor valor lacking,

On his goodly armor hacking, wrought no change his visage o er,

As with high and honest aim, he still his falchion proudly bore,

Resisting error, evermore. [page 103:]

[[BJ April 26, 1845 - 1:268]]

THE MAGAZINES.

THE LADY’S BOOK for May has several very excellent papers — among which the most valuable if not altogether the most interesting is the “European Correspondence” by Grund. Mr. Grund is one of the most remarkable men we ever met, — possessing a wonderful faculty of observation, and a memory which stands in little need of Professor Gouraud. His analytical power is also great, and as a critic few men are entitled to greater consideration. Take as a specimen his account of Kaulbach’s “Destruction of Jerusalem.”

“Kaulbach, in his ‘Destruction of Jerusalem,’ seizes not only on an historical moment or catastrophe in the downfall of the Jews, but on its poetical signification and its connection and relation to the human mind, which, after all, is the great laboratory of history. The most accurate description of an event by an eye-witness is yet far from being an historical account of the same, and so is the representation of an historical event far from being an historical picture. Kaulbach shows us the awful calamity of the destruction of the holy city in its historical signification, in its relation to our religious consciousness and to ourselves. The figures which he presents to the eye of the beholder were never in life thus grouped together, and yet — his painting is eminently historical.

“In the middle of the picture you see a group of dead bodies, dying men and women, and some who, in their despair, attempt to destroy themselves. This is the high priest, with his family; on both sides and behind him you behold the cause of their distraction — the sources of these rivers of blood. The Roman imperator enters in triumph the holy city: the horrors of heathenism are planted on the altar of the only living God; the daughters of Zion are robbed; mothers, in des. pair, attack their own flesh and blood; and the people, in wild dismay, throng the streets leading to the temple of Jehovah, whose burning columns threaten to bury them under its burning ruins. But the painter, in producing this wild confusion, has introduced the unity of design by the higher religious source from which these evils spring. The religious faith of the world saw in the destruction of Jerusalem a visitation of Divine Providence, which was expected as it was prophesied. This idea is introduced into the picture by the angels with burning swords which descend from Heaven, and the holy prophets which are there enthroned. The destruction of the holy city, therefore, is an act of poetic justice — the last act of the Jewish drama which reconciles the beholder to her fate. But, also, the relation of the catastrophe to our own times is admirably indicated. It deprived [page 104:] the people of Israel of their home: what remained of their faith was doomed to endure the yoke of perpetual slavery. This fact the middle apes have dressed into the Story of ‘The Wandering Jew,’ and him, scourged by demons, the artist has introduced into his picture. But what of the people of Israel belongs to the New Testament, destined in the name of the Saviour to possess the world, our Christian ancestors leave, under the guidance of angels, the burning town. This group concludes the picture.

“The design is, as you may conclude from this description, conceived in the most elevated and philosophical sense. It is, as regards that conception, unique and unsurpassed by any work of art, ancient or modern. The whole is as it were, a picture to motion.”

Miss Leslie continues her “Bloxhams and Mayfields,” which loses nothing of its interest as it proceeds. “La Cubana,” by the Poor Scholar, has some passages of glowing poetry, intermingled with some that are any thing else. “The Gazelle of the Menagerie,” by Miss Gould is particularly happy, and so is the “Horae Otiosae.” The engravings are a mezzotint by Sadd, (Charles I. tatting leave of his children,) and a Mountish-looking design entitled “The Recruit” — engraved by Ellis.

In the “Editors’ Book Table” there are some very just remarks on the subject of taking out copyright for Magazines. It is really very difficult to see how any one can, in conscience, object to such a course on the part of Mess. Godey and Graham. To our apprehension a mere statement of the facts of the case should stand in lieu of all argument. It has been long the custom among the newspapers — the weeklies especially — to copy Magazine articles in full, and circulate them allover the country — sometimes in advance of — the magazines themselves. In other words Godey and Graham have been at all the cost, while the papers have enjoyed, if not all the advantage — at least the most important item of it — the origination of the articles. To such an extent had this piracy been carried, that many magazine subscribers ceased to be such, because they could procure all that was valuable in these works from the newspapers very little later and often at less cost, than from the magazines themselves.

Graham’s Magazine for May is peculiarly rich in contributions. Cooper’s sketch of Preble is worthy the best days of its author. Mrs. Stephens’ “Zuleica” is, also, an excellent article, and Grund’s“Foreign Literary News” will be read with interest by all: — it is sadly disfigured, however, by typographical mistakes. We venture to correct one or two of these, in copying the annexed exquisite ballad. It is quoted by Mr. Grund from “La Normandie Romanesque, Traditions, Legendes et Superstitions Populaires de Celle Province;’

Le rot a une fille a marier

A un Anglois la veut donner

Elle ne vent; mot

— Jamais ruari n’ epouserai s’ il West François.

La Belle ne voulant ceder,

Sa Sceur s’ en vint la conjurer,

— Aceeptez, ma Scour, cette foil

C‘est pour pail a France donner aver l‘Angloia.

Et quand cc vint pour s’ embarquer

Les yeux on lui voulut bander;

— Eh! die-tot, retire- toi, franc traitre Anglois,

Car je veux voir jusqu’ a la fin le sot Franpois.

Et quand cc vint pour arriver

La chatel etait pavoise

— Eh! ote-toi, retire-toi, franc traitre Anglois,

Ce n’ est pas la le drapeau blanc du roi Franyois.

Et quand ce vint pour le souper

Pas ne voulut bone on manger

— Eloigne-tot, retire-tot, franc traitre Anglois,

Ce n‘est pas la le pain, le vin du roi François.

Et quand cc vint Nur se coucher

L’ An, lois is voulut dechau.sser

— Eloigne-toi, retire-toi, franc traitre Angelois,

Jamais homme n’ y touchera s’ il n’ est Frangois.

Et quand ce vint sur la minuit

Elle fit entendre grand bruit

En s’ ecriant avec douleur — O Roi ties Rois,

Ne me laissez entre les bras de set Anglois.

Quatre l,cures sonnant ii la tour,

La Belle finissoit ses jours,

La Belle finissoit ses jours d’ an cœur joyeux

Et les Anglois y pleurotent tons d’ on air pitieux.

Besides the articles above noticed, there are papers from Headley. Whipple, Fanny Forrester, Mrs. Seba Smith, Tuckerman, Lowell, Mrs. Caroline Butler, and others.

In Mr. Lowell’s poem, “An Incident of the Fire at Hamburgh,” there are some very noble images. For example:

Not Nature’s self more freely speaks in crystal or in oak,

Than through the pious builder’s hand in that gray pile she spoke;

And as from acorn springs the oak, so, freely end alone,

Sprang from his heart this hymn to God. sung in obedient stone.

The engravings are “The Proposal.” by Cowperthwait, from a drawing by Miss Corbould, and a very excellent view of the Cut-Off [page 105:] River (a Branch of the Wabash) engraved by Smillie from a design by Bodmer.

The Columbian opens with a very good domestic tale by Fanny Forrester. “The Double Rose,” by Mrs. Caroline Butler, is perhaps equally good in a different way. “Thoughts on the Poets” by Tuckerman, is especially well written. The other prose contributors are Mrs. Ellet, John Brougham, Miss Browne, Arthur, Miss Brawner, E. J. Porter, and Rob. A. West. Of the poems the best, by very far, is Mrs. Osgood’s “Golden Rules in Rhyme.” We fancy, however, that we perceive in it some misprints.

Think not to aim the shafts of wit

At all that’s mean or narrow —

should be undoubtedly

Shrink not — &c.

Let more than the domestic mill

Be tuned by Feeling’s river —

should as undoubtedly read

Be turned — &c.

The engravings are “The Wedding” by Forrest from a drawing by Morton, “The Idle Servant” mezzotinted by Sadd from a painting by Alaes, and a “Fashion Plate,” with three figures, colored. There are also two pages of original music by Saroni.

The present number of The Southern Quarterly Review contains a greater amount of subjects interesting to the South, than any other that we have seen. There is an article on the Union of Races, one on Mr. Hoar’s mission, and another on South Carolina politics. Besides these subjects of sectional interest, there are several of general literary interest, which we shall notice more fully hereafter.

In the review of the “Spirit of the Age,” although “Orion” is heartily appreciated (and it is indeed one of the noblest poems of this or any age) some injustice is, upon the whole, done to its author. Mr Horne is not, as supposed, the writer of all the papers in the “Spirit of the Age,” Very many of them are neither his, nor worthy him.

[[BJ April 26, 1845 - 1:271]]

MISCELLANY.

(a) PUNS FROM THE BOSTON POST. — This witty paper makes the most wicked puns of any periodical in the Union; we cut three out of the last week’s paper as specimens.

EARLY. — We notice the connubialization of Ezra T. Jones with Miss Sally Ladd, in Chillicothe. Ezra has supplied his table with Sal-Ladd at a very early day in the season.

The “Razor Strop Alan” is now in the Monumental City. He bawled to a good many in Philadelphia, and then went to Baul-to-more.

Said a gentleman to Digby, at the Shades the other day, “the General is a fine, noble-hearted fellow, and the prince of landlords; but he has one fault, and that is he gives you such a tremendous squeeze of the hand” “Very true,” replied Digby, “[[sic]] “that is the only vice he has.”

———

IMPROMPTU.

TO KATE CAROL.

When from your gems of thought I turn

To those pure orbs, your heart to learn,

I scarce know which to prize most high

The bright i-dea, or bright dear-eye.

———

MR. MURDOCH’S LECTURES. — We have always regarded Mr. Murdoch as the best elocutionist in America. As an actor he is, perhaps, somewhat deficient in naturalness — vigor — and fulness of abandonment to his character, but he always compensates us, in great measure, by effective delivery and grace of gesture. He comprehends, we think, the whole rationale of elocution as well as any man of his time, and his physical powers enable him to give effect to his conceptions. We shall look with much interest for a work on Elocution which we understand he is preparing.

His lectures at the Society Library have been well attended, and never fail to elicit applause from those whose approbation is of value.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - BRP3J, 1986] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (April 1845)