Text: Burton R. Pollin, “The Broadway Journal: Text (October 1845),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. III: Broadway Journal (Text) (1986), pp. 265-292 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 265:]

[[BJ October 4, 1845 - 2:190]]

Critical Notices.

(a) Wiley & Putnam’s Library of American Books. No IV. The Wigwam and the Cabin. By William Gilmore Simms.

This is one of the most interesting numbers of the Library yet published — and decidedly the most American of the American books. “The Wigwam and the Cabin” is merely a general or generic title; — the volume is a collection of tales most of which were written for the Annuals, and thus have failed in circulating among the masses of the people. We are truly glad to see them in a compact form.

In a recent number of our Journal we spoke of Mr. Simms as “the best novelist which this country has, upon the whole, produced;” and this is our deliberate opinion. We take into consideration, of course, as well the amount of what he has written, as the talent he has displayed; — he is the Lopez de Vega of American writers of fiction. His merits lie among the major and his defects among the minor morals of literature. His earlier works of length, such as “The Partisan,” were disfigured by many inaccuracies of style, and especially by the prevalence of the merely repulsive, where the horrible was the object — but in invention, in vigor, in movement, in the power of exciting interest, and in the artistical management of his themes, he has surpassed, we think, any of his countrymen: — that is to say, he has surpassed any of them in the aggregate of these high qualities. His best fictions, in our opinion, are “Martin Faber” (one of his first tales, if not his very first published one); “Beauchampe” — “Richard Hurdis”; “Castle Dismal”; “Helen Halsey”; and “Murder Will Out.” “Martin Faber” has been said to resemble “Miserrimus” and in fact we perceive that the individual minds which originated the two stories have much in them of similarity — but as regards the narratives themselves, or even their tone, there is no resemblance whatever. “Martin Faber” is the better work of the two. “Beauchampe” is intensely interesting; but the historical truth has somewhat hampered and repressed the natural strength of the artist. “Richard Hurdis” is the perfection of rough vigor in conception and conduct — a very powerful book. “Castle Dismal” is one of the most original fictions ever penned and deserves all that order of commendation which the critics lavished upon Walpole’s Castle of Otranto. No man of imagination can read this story without admitting instantly the genius of its author; — still the narrative has important defects. “Helen Halsey” is more “correct” (in the French sense of the word) but less meritorious upon the whole. We believe it is a favorite with its author; and the public have received it with marked approbation. “Murder Will Out” is the first and the most meritorious of the series now lying before us. We have no hesitation in calling it the best ghost-story we ever read. It is full of the richest and most vigorous imagination — is forcibly conceived — and detailed throughout with a degree of artistic skill which has had no parallel among American story-tellers since the epoch of Brockden Brown.

The other tales of the volume are all excellent in their various ways. Their titles are “The Two Camps, a Legend of the Old North State”; “The Last Wager, or the Gamester of the Mississippi” The Arm-Chair of Tusteaugge, a Tradition of the Catawba”, “The Snake of the Cabin”, “Oakatibbe, or the Choctaw Sampson”; [page 266:] and “Jocassee, a Cherokee Legend.” The author says of them, in an advertisement — “The material employed will be found to illustrate, in large degree, the border history of the South. I can speak with confidence of the general truthfulness of its treatment. The life of the planter, the squatter, the Indian and the negro — the bold and hardy pioneer and the vigorous yeomen — these are the subjects. In their delineation I have mostly drawn from living portraits, and, in frequent instances, from actual scenes and circumstances within the memories of men.”

Mr. Simms has exercised a very remarkable influence upon the literature of his country-snore especially upon that of its Southern regions — nor do we regard this influence as in any degree the less important because a Mr. William A. Jones “regards slightingly the mass of his romantic and poetical efforts.” We shall speak again of “The Cabin and The Wigwam,” and in the meantime we quote a passage from “Murder Will Out.” Our readers must bear in mind, however, the absolute impossibility — of conveying, by extract, any just conception of a story whose main element is its skilful adaptation of parts:

“It’s very strange!” soliloquized the youth, as he wandered along the edges of the dense bay or swamp-bottom, which we have passingly referred to, — “it’s very strange what troubles me so! I feel almost frightened, and yet I know I‘m not to be frightened easily, and I don‘t see anything in the woods to frighten me. It’s strange the major didn‘t come along this road! Maybe he took another higher up that leads by a different settlement. I wish I had asked the man at the house if there’s such another road. I reckon there must be, however, for where could the major have gone?”

The unphilosophical mind of Janies Grayling did not, in his farther meditations, carry him much beyond this starting point; and with its continual recurrence in soliloquy, he proceeded to traverse the margin of the bay, until he came to its junction with, and termination at, the high-road. The youth turned into this, and, involuntarily departing from it a moment after, soon found himself on the opposite side of the bay thicket. IIe wandered on and on, as he himself described it, without any power to restrain himself. He knew not how far he went; but instead of maintaining his watch for two hours only, he was gone more than four; and, at length, a sense of weariness which overpowered him all of a sudden, caused him to seat himself at the foot of a tree, and snatch a few moments of rest. He denied that he slept in this time. He insisted to the last moment of his life that sleep never visited his eyelids that night, — that he was conscious of fatigue and exhaustion, but not drowsiness — and that this fatigue was so numbing as to be painful, and effectually kept him from any sleep. While he sat thus beneath the tree, with a body weak and nerveless, but a mind excited, he knew not how or why, to the most acute degree of expectation and attention, he heard his name called by the well-known voice of his friend, Major Spencer. The voice called him three times, — “James Grayling! — James! — James Grayling!” before he could muster strength enough to answer. It was not courage he wanted, — of that he was positive, for he felt sure, as he said, that something had gone wrong, and he was never more ready to fight in his life than at that moment could he have commanded the physical capacity; but his throat seemed dry to suffocation, — his lips effectually sealed up as if with wax, and when he did answer, the sounds seemed as fine and soft as the whisper of some child just horn.

“Oh! major, is it you?”

Such he thinks, were the very words he made use of in reply; and the answer that he received was instantaneous, though the voice came from some little distance in the bay, and his own voice he did not hear. He only knows what he meant to say. The answer was to this effect.

“It is, James! — It is your own friend, Lionel Spencer, that [page 267:] speaks to you; do not be alarmed when you see me! I have been shockingly murdered!”

James asserts that he tried to tell him that he would not be frightened, but his own voice was still a whisper, which he himself could scarcely hear. A moment after he had spoken, he heard something like a sudden breeze that rustled through the bay bushes at his feet, and his eyes were closed without his effort, and indeed in spite of himself When he opened them, he saw Major Spencer standing at the edge of the bay, about twenty steps from him. Though he stood in the shade of a thicket, and there was no light in the heavens save that of the stars, he was yet enabled to distinguish perfectly, and with great ease, every lineament of his friend’s face.

He looked very pale, and his garments were covered with blood; and James said that he strove very much to rise from the place were he sat and approach him; — “for in truth,” said the lad, “so far from feeling any fear, I felt nothing but fury in my heart; but I could not move a limb. My feet were fastened to the ground; my hands to my sides; and I could only bend forward and gasp. I felt as if I should have died with vexation that I could not rise; but a power which I could not resist, made me motionless and almost speechless. I could only say, ’ Murdered!’ — and that one word I believe I must have repeated a dozen times.”

“Yes, murdered! — murdered by the Scotchman who slept with us at your fire the night before last. James, I look to you to have the murderer brought to justice! James! — do you bear me, James!”

“These,” said James, “I think were the very words, or near about the very words, that I heard; and I tried to ask the major to tell me how it was, and how I could do what he required; but I didn‘t hear myself speak, though it would appear that he did, for almost immediately after I had tried to speak what I wished to say, he answered me just as if I had said it. He told me that the Scotchman had waylaid, killed, and hidden him in that very bay; that his murderer had gone to Charleston; and that if I made haste to town, I would find him in the Falmouth packet, which was then lying in the harbour and ready to sail for England. He farther said that everything depended upon my snaking haste, — that I must reach town by to-morrow night if I wanted to be in season, and go right on board the vessel and charge the criminal with the deed. ‘Do not be afraid,’ said he, when he had finished; ‘be afraid of nothing, James, for God will help and strengthen you to the end.’ When I heard all I burst into a flood of tears, and then I felt strong. I felt that I could talk, or fight, or do almost anything; and I jumped up to my feet, and was just about to run down to where the major stood, but with the first step which I made forward, he was gone. I stopped and looked all around me, but I could see nothing; and the bay was just as black as midnight. But I went down to it and tried to press in where I thought the major had been standing; but I couldn‘t get far, the brush and bay bushes were so close and thick. I was now bold and strong enough, and I called out, loud enough to he heard half a mile. I didn‘t exactly know what I called for, or what I wanted to learn, or I have forgotten. But I heard nothing more.


(a) Wiley & Putnam’s Library of Choice Reading, No. XXIV. Bubbles from the Brunnen of Nassau. By An Old Man.

The Old Man is Sir Francis Head. His bubbles have a sparkle about them which has insured and must insure their popularity. Few books have met with more cor dial reception. The author’s preface happily conveys the manner of the book:

The writer of this trifling Volume was suddenly sentenced, in the cold evening of his life, to drink the mineral waters of one of the bubbling springs, or brunnen, of Nassau. In his own opinion, his constitution was not worth so troublesome a repair; but being outvoted, he bowed and departed.

On reaching the point of his destination, he found not only water-bibbing — bathing — and ambulation to be the order of the day, [page 268:] but it was moreover insisted upon, that the mind was to be relaxed inversely as the body was to be strengthened. During this severe regimen, he was driven to amuse himself in his old age by blowing as he tottled about, a few literary Bubbles. His hasty sketches of whatever chanced for the moment to please either his eye, or his mind, were only made — because he had nothing else in the world to do; and he now offers them to that vast and highly respectable class of people who read from exactly the self-same motive.

The critic must, of course, declare this production to bo vain empty-light-hollow-superficial . . . . but it is the nature of Bubbles to be so.

The earth has bubbles, as the water has,

And these are of them.

Macbeth, Act I. Scene 3.


(a) Lady Mary; or Not of the World. By the Rev. Chas. B. Tayler, M. A., Author “The Records of a Good Man’s Life,” etc. New-York: Stanford & Swords, 139 Broadway.

Since our last number, in which we announced the issue of this beautiful little work, we have read it through with deep interest. It is admirably written and well adapted to its end — the rebuke of vice and folly among the more cultivated classes of society. We have seldom, if ever, seen a more appropriate gift-book, especially for the young.


(b) Sermons on Certain of the Less Prominent Facts and References in Sacred Story. By Henry Melvill, D. D., Principal of the East India College, and Chaplain to the Tower o London. Second Series. New-York: Stanford & Swords.

These are very peculiar, and for this reason, as well as for others, very interesting discourses. We give the titles of the several sermons, as the best way of conveying, in brief, the character of the book: — The Young Man in the Linen Cloth;” “The Fire on the Shore;” “The Finding the Guest-Chamber;” “The Spectre’s Sermon, a Truism;” “Various Opinions (about Christ);” “The Misrepresentations of Eve;” “Seeking after Finding;” “The Bird’s Nest;” “Angels our Guardians in Trifles The Appearance of Failure;” “Simon, the Cyrenian The Power of the Eye;” “Pilate’s Wife;” and “The Examination of Cain.” These sermons are brief. The volume consists of only 130 pages octavo.


(c) A Latin Grammar, Comprising all the Rules and Observations necessary to an Accurate Knowledge of the Latin Classics. By James Ross, LL. D. With Latin Idioms and a New Prosody, and other Important Additions and Emendations, by N. C. Brooks, A. M., Professor of the Latin and Greek Languages, and Principal of the Latin High School, Baltimore. Philadelphia: Thos. Cowpperlhwait & Co.

This is a judicious attempt on the part of Mr. Brooks (no less distinguished as an imaginative and graceful poet than by his classical acquirements) to restore the Latin Grammar of Dr. Ross to the position it once held in our Academies and Colleges. There can be no doubt that the book, in its original form, bad many demerits, but we believe that these were far more than counterbalanced by merits not elsewhere to be found.

Mr. Brooks, in his edition, has omitted, as superfluous, the author’s Remarks on English Articles, Nouns and Pronouns. In Orthography he has given the division of the letters, with more particular rules for their pronunciation. In Etymology he has made many new arrangements — placing, for example, under the head of “Gender,” its rules and exceptions: — these in the original work were interspersed at random, throughout. In Verbs, too, there are several important alterations and additions [page 269:]deleo is conjugated in place of doceo; the latter, not being accurately regular. Mr. Brooks gives, also, (what is essential) an explanation of the nature of the Gerund and Supine. In Syntax the rules are much simplified and abridged, and some Remarks on Latin Idioms. Syntactical Arrangement and Analysis are, with great judgment, introduced. The Prosody of Ross is entirely remodelled, and for this portion of his labor, Mr. Brooks is entitled to very especial credit. His work, upon the whole, is one of high value, and we are happy to hear of its general introduction into schools.

We must do Mr. Brooks the justice of appending to this very imperfect notice, the opinion of a scholar whose good word is of weight; the letter annexed will speak for itself:

BALTIMORE, September 13, 1845.

Dear Sir — Having carefully examined Ross’ Latin Grammar, as revised and amended by you, I find the book every way equal, if not superior to any that are used in our schools. After a thorough perusal of your “Latin Lessons,” I take pleasure in acknowledging that never, even in my “fatherland,” have I read a book better calculated to facilitate the study of the Latin language. It should be in the hands of every beginner. Moreover, the many sentences it contains embracing facts in the history of my adopted country, must make it interesting not only to the student, but dear to every patriotic heart. Yours respectfully,

A. FRIETOO, LL. D. [Of the University of Gottingen]

Of the “Latin Lessons” here alluded to, we spoke in a previous number. They are admirably adapted to their purpose. Messrs. Thomas Cowperthwait & Co., of Philadelphia, are the publishers.


(a) Blackwood’s Magazine for September, has been republished by Leonard Scott & Co. It has several interesting articles — among which are “English Landscape”; “The Historical Romance”; “A Few Words for Bettina”; and “Margaret of Valois.” “North’s Specimens of the British Critics” is continued in a paper replete with coarse malignity, and the customary Wilsonic rant.


(b) The Book of Useful Knowledge. A Cyclopædia of Several Thousand Practical Receipts etc. in the Arts, Manufactures and Trades, including Medicine, Pharmacy and Domestic Economy. etc. etc. By Arnold James Cooley, Illustrated with Numerous Engravings. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

No IV of this invaluable work, is just issued. It has now proceeded as far as the word Lead. The numbers are sold at 25 cts. each.


(c) The Treasury of History. New York: Daniel Adee.

This is Maunder’s noted work. To be completed in 12 numbers. No IX is issued.


(d) The Young Man’s Mentor on his Entrance into Life; with Rules for his general Conduct after leaving School, etc. etc. By A Friend to American Youth, New York: William H. Graham.


(e) Simms’ Monthly Magazine for September is, as usual, excellent. It contains, among other able papers, the conclusion of “The Epochs and Events of American History as suited to the Purposes of Art in Fiction” — No. 3 of “A Foreigner’s First Glimpses of Georgia” — No. 7 of “The Marion Family,” and some remarkably fine poems. We allude especially to “The Maiden’s First Dream of Love” and “Elodie, a Ballad.” These are anonymous, and we attribute them to the same hand. We quote the first stanza of the one first named. [page 270:]

Soft, O! how softly sleeping,

Shadowed by beauty she lies,

Dreams, as of rapture, creeping,

Smile by smile, over her eyes;

Lips, O! how sweetly parting,

As if the delight between,

With its own warm pulses starting,

Strove to go forth and be seen,

Whoever has written these two poems, will undoubtedly be distinguished.


(a) Godey’s Magazine for October, has a good engraving of “The Battle of Concord Bridge” from a painting by Frankenstein — also a clean-looking plate by Ellis, illustrating the Scriptural words, “Behold the place where they laid him.” The customary fashion-plate is very well done. The contributions of “The Lady’s Book” have been steadily rising in merit for the last year, and are now, generally, better than those of any Magazine of its class. They seem to be carefully written — less dependence being placed upon the mere name of the author, and more upon the intrinsic merit of his composition. The best article in the present number is “The Duchess of Bavaria,” a story of the highest romantic interest, beautifully told by Mrs. E. F. Ellet. Mrs. Hale, Miss Leslie, Mrs.Hentz, Mrs. Adams, Miss Rand, Mrs. Lee, Tuckerman, Frost, Sullivan and others have, also, very excellent contributions. Mr. Godev, we learn, is making unusual exertions for next year’s campaign. His Magazine has about it a “keeping,” a consistency, which is one of the surest indications of long and prosperous life. We miss one or two of his old contributors. What has become of Mrs. Osgood? Her papers were wont to be the charm of the “Book.”


(b) Graham’s Magazine for October, has a portrait and biography of Robert Morris, the gentlemanly editor of the Philadelphia “Inquirer.” This is the best likeness of the series. There is also a spirited engraving of a Mœunitarri Warrior. Grund contributes an interesting paper on “The Continental Historians”; Alfred B Street has “A Day’s Fishing in the Kalikoon” — very picturesque; and Mrs. Osgood furnishes “Leonora L‘Estrange,” one of her invariably graceful compositions. We purloin from it an epigrammatic song:

I have been true to all I loved —

To Honor, Love and Truth;

These were the idols of my soul

In my believing youth —

And these I worship fondly still,

With vows all pure and free

Alas! that truth to them involves

Unfaithfulness to thee.


(c) The Aristidean for September looks and speaks remarkably well. Its papers are all pointed and forcible. “Travels in Texas” is one of the most interesting sketches we have seen in a year, and puts us in mind of the vigorous and imaginative “Jack Long” and the “San Saba Hills.” There is a scorching review of Hirst’s Poems — a good thing for everybody but Mr. Hirst: — this is a very laughable article. “Tourists in America” is also exceedingly pungent: — both these papers, we presume, are from the pen editorial. We notice, also, as especially meritorious, “Popular Governments and Institutions”; and “Leaves from a Lug-Book.” The Notices [page 271:] of New Books are unusually full and particularly independent. The poetry of the number is, nevertheless, its chief feature. “Sir Albert De Veniter” is capital. Here is an excellent epigram:


To work like a Turk — what a life is an editor’s!

News-clipping, ink-dipping,

Pasting and wasting,

No rest ever tasting,

And pestered to death with his creditors.

Go toll on the soil, or dig cellars like DAN NICHOLS;

Plough a field, trowel wield,

Worry and flurry,

And live in a hurry,

But wear not an editor’s manacles.

Many of the other poetical pieces interspersed throughout the number, are of a high order of excellence. “The Aristidean” is, upon the whole, an admirable journal, and will yet do good service.


(a) A Popular Treatise, on the Science of Astrology, Embracing all that is Requisite for erecting a Horoscope, and resolving a Horary Question. New York: T. J. Coowen.

This treatise is prepared by a gentleman who has given many year’s attention to the subject. It is not to be classed with the Oracula and Napoleon-Books of fate, but is a straight-forward analysis and exposition of the Science of Astrology. The name of Lord Bacon, the last great avowed adherent of the belief, casts a certain interest on the subject even at this distant day.


(b) As we were going to press we received from Messrs. Lea & Blanchard, of Philadelphia, the first volume of the Historical Sketch of the Second War between the United States of America and Great Britain, declared by Act of Congress, the 18th of June 1812, and Concluded by Peace, the 15th of February 1815. By Charles J. Ingersoll. In 3 volumes.

Vol. I embraces the events of 1812-13.


Received, also, too late for notice, Herbert’s admirable translation — Winchester’s edition — of the Wandering Jew.

[[BJ October 4, 1845 - 2:198]]

(a) THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH, the editor of the “Aristidean,” wrote fur the “New Mirror,” a short time after it was established, a poem called “Bell Bolt” to which he appended his initials. Front its simplicity of diction and touching truthfulness of narrative, it became popular, and being extensively copied, induced the author to acknowledge it. It runs thus:

Don‘t you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt?

Sweet Alice whose hair was so brown,

Who wept with delight when you gave her a smile,

And trembled with fear at your frown?

In the old churchyard in the valley, Ben Bolt,

In a corner obscure and alone,

They have fitted a slab of the granite so gray,

And Alice lies under the stone.

Under the Hickory tree, Ben Bolt,

Which stood at the foot of the hill,

Together we‘ve lain in the noonday shade,

And listened to Appleton’s mill.

The mill-wheel has fallen to pieces, Ben Bolt,

The rafters have tumbled in,

And a quiet which crawls round the walls as you gaze,

Has followed the olden din.

Do you mind the cabin of logs, Ben Bolt,

At the edge of the pathless wood,

And the button-ball tree with its motley limbs,

Which nigh by the door-step stood I

The cabin to ruin has gone, Ben Bolt,

The tree you would seek in vain;

And where once the lords of the forest waved,

Grow grass and the golden grain.

And don‘t you remember the school, Ben Bolt.

With the master so cruel and grim,

And the shaded nook in the running brook,

Where the children went to swim?

Grass grows on the master’s grave, Ben Bolt.

The spring of the brook is dry,

And of all the boys that were schoolmates then,

There are only you and I.

There is change in the things I loved; Ben Bolt.

They have changed from the old to the new;

But I feel in the core of my spirit the truth,

There never was change in you.

Twelve-months twenty have past, Ben Bolt.

Since first we there friends; yet I hail

Thy presence a blessing, thy friendship a truth —

Ben Bolt, of the salt-sea gale.

Several musical people have attempted to adapt an air to these words; and there are, in consequence, five editions of the song afloat, issued under the auspices of various publishers. In some of these a portion of the stanzas are taken — and in all there are various errors. They are such errors, however, as seem to be without intention, and bear every evidence of their accidental nature. The one before us is of a different kind. It occurs on two pages of music and words, published by Oliver & [page 273:] Ditson, Washington street, Boston, with the following title: —

There’s a change in the things I love. Composed and respectfully dedicated to his friend B. F. Baker, Esq., by Joseph P. Webster.

The evident intention of Mr. Webster is to claim the authorship of the words as well as the music — which latter has in it nothing remarkable. But whether this is, or is not, the intention of Mr. Webster, he has committed a most vile fraud upon Mr. English. Instead of printing the poem as given above, he gives four of the stanzas only, and in the following form — the italics, which mark the alliteration and additions, being our own: —

O don‘t you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt,

Sweet Alice with hair so brown;

Who wept with delight when you gave her a smile,

And trembled with fear at your frown.

In the old church-yard in the Abbey, Ben Bolt,

In a corner obscure and alone,

They have fitted a slab of the granite so gray,

And Alice lies under the stone.

O don‘t you remember the wood, Ben Bolt,

That green on the green sunny hill;

Where oft we have played ‘neath its wide-spreading shade,

And listened to Appleton’s mill.

The mill has gone to decay, Ben Bolt,

And the rafters have fallen in,

And a quiet has settled on all around,

In the place of the olden din.

O don‘t you remember the school, Ben Bolt,

With the master so cruel and grim;

And the quiet nook and the running brook,

Where the school boys went to swim.

Grass grows on the master’s grave, Ben Bolt,

And the running brook is dry:

And of all the boys who were schoolmates then,

There is only you and I.

There’s a change in the things I love, Ben Bolt,

A change from the old to the new;

But I feel in the core of my heart, Ben Bolt,

There never was change in you.

Twelve months-twenty have passed, Ben Bolt,

But still with delight I hail

Thy presence a blessing, thy friendship a truth,

Ben Bolt of the salt sea gale.

Now, in the name of the craft of authors we protest against such impudent thieving as this. The thing is growing to a nuisance. No sooner does a literary man produce anything worthy of especial note, than some lack-brained fellow — some Mr. Joseph P. Webster — takes it up, and either passes it off as his own, or mangles it shamefully in an attempt at emendation — or perhaps both. If caught, he sneaks off in silence, like a detected robber of hen-roosts — if not, he chuckles at his successful rascality, and enjoys a reputation obtained for him by alien brains.


(a) MUCH HAS been said, (if late, about the necessity of maintaining a proper nationality in American Letters; but what this nationality is, or what is to be gained by it, has never been distinctly understood. That an American should confine himself to American themes, or even prefer them, is rather a political than a literary idea — and at best is a questionable point. We would do well to bear in mind that “distance lends enchantment to the view.” Ceteris paribus, a foreign thence is, in a strictly literary Sense, to be preferred. After all, the world at [page 274:] large is the only legitimate stage for the autorial histrio.

But of the need of that nationality which defends our own literature, sustains our own men of letters, upholds our own dignity, and depends upon our own resources, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt. Yet here is the very point at which we are most supine. We complain of our want of an International Copyright, on the ground that this want justifies our publishers in inundating us with British opinion in British books; and yet when these very publishers, at their own obvious risk, and even obvious loss, do publish an American book, we turn up our noses at it with supreme contempt (this as a general thing) until it (the American book) has been dubbed “readable” by some illiterate Cockney critic, [[.]] Is it too much to say that, with us, the opinion of Washington Irving — of Prescott — of Bryant — is a mere nullity in comparison with that of any anonymous sub-sub-editor of The Spectator, The Athenæum or the “London Punch“? It is not saying too much, to say this. It is a solemn — an absolutely awful fact. Every publisher in the country will admit it to he a fact. There is not a more disgusting spectacle under the sun than our subserviency to British criticism. It is disgusting, first, because it is truckling, servile, pusillanimous — secondly, because of its gross irrationality. We know the British to bear its little but ill will — we know that, in no case, do they utter unbiassed opinions of American books — we know that in the few instances in which our writers have been treated with common decency in England, these writers have either openly paid homage to English institutions, or have had lurking at the bottom of their hearts a secret principle at war with Democracy: — we know all this, and yet, day after day, submit our necks to the degrading yoke of the crudest opinion that emanates from the fatherland. Now if we must have nationality let it be a nationality that will throw off this yoke.

The chief of the rhapsodists who have ridden us to death like the Old Man of the Mountain, is the ignorant and egotistical Wilson. We use the term rhapsodists with perfect deliberation; for, Macaulay, and Dilke, and one or two others, excepted, there is not in Great Britain a critic who can be fairly considered worthy the name. The Germans and even the French are infinitely superior. As regards Wilson, no man ever penned worse criticism or better rhodomontade. That he is “egotistical” his works show to all men, running as they read. That he is ignorant” let his absurd and continuous schoolboy blunders about Homer bear witness. Not long’ ago we ourselves pointed out a series of similar inanities in his review of Miss Barrett’s poems — a series, we say, of gross blunders arising from sheer ignorance — and we defy him or any one to answer a single syllable of what we then advanced.

And yet this is the man whose simple dictum (to our shame be it spoken) has the power to make or to mar any American reputation! In the last number of Blackwood, he has a continuation of the dull “Specimens of the British Critics,” and makes occasion wantonly to insult one of the noblest of our poets, Mr. Lowell. The point of the whole attack consists in the use of slang epithets and phrases of the most ineffably vulgar description. “Squabashes” is a pet term. “Faugli!” is another. “We are Scotsmen to the spine!’ says Sawney — as if the thing were not snore than self-evident. Mr. Lowell is called “a magpie,” an “ape,” a “Yankee cockney,” and his name is intentionally mis-written John Russell Lowell. Now [page 275:] were these indecencies perpetrated by any American critic, that critic would be sent to Coventry by the whole press of the country, but since it is Wilson who insults, we, as in duty bound, not only submit to the insult, but echo it, as an excellent jest, throughout the length and breadth of the land. Quamdiu Catilina? We do indeed demand the nationality of self-respect. In Letters as in Government we require a Declaration of Independence. A better thing still would be a Declaration of War — and that war should be carried forthwith “into Africa.”


(a) A FRIEND “who knows,” writing to its in reference to the Whittier and Bulwer parallel, says,

En passant the gem which you present in your last, as attributed to both Whittier and Bulwer “went the rounds,” some years ago, as the property of George D. Prentice, to whom by the way, more than one of the Abolition poet’s waifs have been awarded. A few years back “The Hesperian,” (Gallagher’s Magazine, at Columbus, Ohio,) contained a little poem “To a Lady,” beginning “We are not strangers,” &c., over the signature of George D. Prentice, which had previously appeared in the “New England Review,” then conducted by Whittier, over the initials, J. G. W. But why speak of these things? — “de minintis non carat lex.”


(b) THE UNWORTHY cabal lately entered into by some of our most “influential” citizens, to foist upon the public attention, through a concerted movement of puffs anticipatory, a collection of rather indifferent and very unoriginal verses by one Mr. William W. Lord, has met, we rejoice to find, the most signal and universal rebuke. Tricks of this kind will scarcely be attempted again. A mere trick it was. Mr. Lord had written some matters of which he had an exalted opinion. In New Jersey he had for neighbour a very gentlemanly personage connected with the press. To him application was made, and the whole scheme was immediately arranged. Auspice Teucro nothing was to be feared. The press as a matter of course, would be dumb-or open its mouth only to echo the vos plaudite of the King. Mr. Appleton is invited to dinner. Mr. Lord is invited to recite his poems; he reads them, we have been informed, with remarkable unction. It is decided in full conclave, that henceforth he shall be the “American Milton.” No member of that illustrious assembly ever dreamed that there was anything farther to do — for this whole thing had, to a certain extent, been repeatedly managed before.

The result has placed Mr. Lord in a very remarkable, and certainly in a very amusing position. There is no immediate need, however, of his cutting his throat. The letter to Mr. Wordsworth, was the most absurd of all moves; or if a letter was to be sent to Mr. Wordsworth, why did Mr. Lord think it necessary to make use of Bishop Doane as an amanuensis — or a catspaw? This was hardly fair play. To “one Mr. Lord” beseeching a complimentary letter about his own poems, the patriarch of the Lakes might have had no scruple in replying — “Mr. Lord, it is my honest opinion that your book is not much better than it should be” — but an answer of this kind was clearly impossible from so well bred a man as Wordsworth, to his personal acquaintance, the Bishop of New Jersey. This letter then — or this presentation copy of the Poems — to Wordsworth — was. after all, nothing in the world but trick No. 2. The fact is, we are ashamed both of Mr. Lord and of his book. His chicaneries have done more to convince the public of his utter want of poetic (or of any other kind of) spirit, [page 276:] than even the bombast, egotism, and inanity of “Niagara” itself.


THERE is a rumor that the plates of the Natural History Department of the Exploring Expedition book are in course of preparation either in London or Paris. Have we no artists at home — or no soul to sustain them? Perhaps the amiable “superintendent of the plates” at Washington can afford us some information about the truth or falsity of the report in question.


(b) AMONG THE American books of exceeding merit which, through accident, have been nearly overlooked, we may mention “George Balcombe,” a novel by Judge Beverly Tucker, of Virginia, and “The Confessions of a Poet,” a very vigorous and powerful fiction by the author of “The Vision of Rubeta.”

(C) IN OUR LIST, last week, of contributors to “The Broadway Journal,” we made some important omissions. We have published original articles from Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Ellet, Mrs. Kirkland, Mrs. R. S. Nichols, Mrs. Child, Mrs. Lowell, Mrs. Hewitt. Miss Fuller, Miss Mary Orme, Miss Colman, Miss Lawson, Miss Wells, W. GSimms, J. R. Lowell, H. R. Schooleraft, H. T. Tuckerman, Park Benjamin, E. A. Duyckinck, T. D. English, Wm. Page (the artist), Wm. Wallace, A. M. Ide, Jr., Henry B. Hirst, Wm. A. Jones; the author of the Vision of Rubeta, Henry C, Watson, Littleton Barry and Edgar A. Poe. Our corps of anonymous correspondents is, moreover, especially strong.


(d) IN A VERY complimentary notice, by Miss Fuller, of “Tales by Edgar A. Poe,” the critic objects to the phrases “he had many books but rarely employed them” — and “his results, brought about by the very soul and essence of method, had, in fact, the whole air of intuition.” We bow to the well-considered opinions of Miss Fuller, whom, of course, we very highly respect — but we have in vain endeavored to understand, in these cases, the grounds of her objections. Perhaps she will explain.


(e) THE LONDON BUILDER, speaking of extraordinary mosaics, mentions an exquisite specimen — a portrait of Pope Paul V., in which the face alone consists of more than a million and a half of fragments, each no larger than a millet seed; and from this size up to two inches square, pieces are employed in various ways. Another celebrated specimen is that which Napoleon ordered to be made when his power was paramount in Italy. It was to be a mosaic copy of the celebrated “Last Supper,” by Leonardo da Vinci; and to be of the same size of the original, viz, 24 feet by 12. The artist to whom the task was entrusted was Giacomo Ratraelle, and the men under his direction, eight or ten in number, were engaged for eight years on it. The mosaic cost more than seven thousand pounds — and afterwards came into the possession of the Emperor of Austria.


WE ARE DELIGHTED to hear that Wiley and Putnam’s “Library of American Books,” is meeting with unequivocal success. We had feared that Americans would condescend to read nothing less than English. Even of our own hook, more than fifteen hundred copies have been sold here.


THE EDITOR, of “Graham’s Magazine” assures us that certainly he has paid, (according to Dr. Griswold’s contract,) for Mr. William Jones’ articles — but that he (Mr. [page 277:] Graham) has not the slightest intention of ever using them. No doubt they are at Mr. Jones’ service.


(a) TO CORRESPONDENTS. — Shall we not again hear from M. O.? Her many excellences are appreciated by no one more fully than by ourselves. A thousand thanks to W. G. for the beautiful lines without a title — also to the author of “Constance.”

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Critical Notices.

(b) The Broken Vow and Other Poems. By Amanda M. Edmond. Boston: Gould, Kendall & Lincoln.

An octavo of more than 320 pages, beautifully printed on fine paper, “embellished” with six expensive steel engravings (including a portrait of the authoress,) and showily as well as substantially bound.

The name — Amanda M. Edmond — is quite unknown to us: although if we may judge from the number of poems contained in the volume (110) the fair poetess must have been for several years before the public. Perhaps, however, she may have employed a nom-de-plume, or written altogether anonymously. We do not remember having before seen any one poem of the collection. They are by no means impressive. The subjects, generally, are such as find favor in boarding-schools. Many of the pieces are on abolition topics. Some of them, from their character, have no right to the title of poem, and should not have been included in the volume: we refer to such things as “Washing-Day” and “Illi cui Carmina applicent” — mere doggrel. In the minor merits Miss Edmond is not particularly deficient. Her English, her versification, and her imagery, are at least respectable — but in the virtues of the Muse — in the loftier and distinctive attributes, we are pained to say that she is totally wanting. We look in vain throughout her volume for one spark of poetic fire. In justice, we cull what we consider the best specimen of her powers:


Beautiful moon! oh, how I love to hail

Thy glorious coming in the eastern sky,

When starry gems along thy pathway lie,

Trembling and turning in thy presence pale;

Brightest adorner of Night’s pensive brow,

Fairest of all her radiant jewels,

Wreathing with light the fleecy cloud that veils

With its thin mantle, for a little space,

The full-orbed lustre of thy beaming face —

Casting thy splendor on the sleeping dales,

Fields, woods and waters that beneath thee rest,

With Night’s dark shadows on thy peaceful breast —

Oh, I do love thee! but the most, sweet moon,

In the still hour of midnight’s sacred noon;

Calm then are spirits that with day have striven,

And Earth’s repose seems kin to that of Heaven!

We have said that the English of Miss Edmond is generally [page 278:] respectable; but in the very first sentence of the Preface there is an ambiguity which, in a second edition, should be cleared up. “A poetical contribution” says the poetess, “offered to the public, presupposes in the author the existence of the true spirit of song.” Now a poetical contribution, so offered, presupposes in the author only about the ten thousandth part of what bliss Edmond (no doubt through mere grammatical inadvertence) has maintained it to presuppose. The “poetical contribution” presupposes in the author not the existence but the conviction of the existence, of “the true spirit of son;” — and ]sere there is about the same difference as between Peter Schlemil and his Shadow.


(a) Oracles from the Poets: A Fanciful Diversion for the Drawing-Room. By Caroline Gilman. New-York: Wiley & Putnam.

This is the third edition of a book which has been exceedingly popular, and justly- so. Nothing could be better adapted for the amusement of an evening party. The game is composed of fourteen questions with sixty answers each, numbered. The Oracle, for example, demands of a gentleman — “What is the personal appearance of her who loves you?” The gentleman answers with any number from 1 to 60 — say 20. Turning to 20, the oracle reads as follows, from Washington Allston:

Every thought and feeling throw

Their shadows o‘er her face,

And so are every thought and feeling joined,

‘Twere hard to answer whether thought or mind

Of either were the native place.

The volume is beautifully printed and bound, and forms a most appropriate present.


(b) Wiley & Putnam’s Library of Choice Reading. No. XXV. Table-Talk. By William Hazlitt. Second Series Part I.

Of the first series of the Table-Talk we spoke so fully in a previous number, that it will be needless to say anything of the second — which is, of course, a continuation. In lieu of any comments from ourselves, therefore, we make a quotation of some length, on a topic of deep interest treated as Only Hazlitt could treat it:

Capacity is not the same thing as genius. Capacity may be described to relate to the quantity of knowledge, however acquired; genius to its quality and the mode of acquiring it. Capacity is a power over given ideas or combinations of ideas; genius is the power over those which are not given, and for which no obvious or precise rule can be laid down. Or capacity is power of any sort: genius is power of a different sort front what has yet been shown. A retentive memory, a clear understanding is capacity, but it is not genius. The admirable Crichton was a person of prodigious capacity; but there is no proof (that I know of) that he had an atom of genius. His verses that remain are dull and sterile. He could learn all that was known or any subject; he could do anything if others could show him the way to do it. This was very wonderful; but that is all you can say of it. It requires a good capacity to play well at chess; but after all, it is a game of skill, and not of genius. Know what you will of it, the understanding still moves in certain tracks in which others have trod before it, quicker or slower, with more or less comprehension and presence of mind. The greatest skill strikes out nothing for itself, from its own peculiar resources; the nature of the game is a thing determinate and fixed; there is no royal or poetical road to checkmate your adversary. There is no place for genius but in the indefinite and unknown. The discovery of the binomial theorem was an effort of genius: but there was none shown in Jedediah Buxton’s being able to multiply 9 figures by 9 in his head. If he could have multiplied 90 figures by 90 instead of nine, it would [[. . .]]

(Two full columns are omitted.) [page 279:]

If, as the French tell us, he in consequence attained to the perfection of tragic composition, this was better than writing comedies as well as Moliere and tragedies as well as Crebillon. Yet I count those persons fools, who think it a pity that Hogarth did not succeed better in serious subjects. The division of labor is an excellent principle in taste as well as mechanics. Without this, I find by Adam Smith, we could not have a pin made to the degree of perfection it is. We do not, on any rational scheme of criticism, inquire into the variety of a man’s excellences, or the number of his works, or his facility of production. Venice Preserved is sufficient for Otway’s fame. I hate all those nonsensical stories about Lope. de Vega, and his writing a play in the morning before breakfast. He had time enough to do it after. If a man leaves behind him any work which is a model in its kind, we have no right to ask whether he could do any thing else, or how he did it, or how long he was about it. All that talent which is not necessary to the actual quantity of excellence existing in the world, loses its object, is so much waste talent, or talent to let. I heard a sensible man say, he should like to do some one thing better than all the rest of the world. Why should a man do more than his part I The rest is vanity and vexation of spirit. We look with jealous and grudging eye at all those qualifications which are not essential; first because they are superfluous, and next, because we suspect they will be prejudicial. Why does Mr. Kean play all those harlequin tricks of singing, dancing, fencing, &c.? They say, “It is for his benefit.” It is not for his reputation. Garrick, indeed, shone equally as well in comedy and tragedy. But he was first, not second-rate in both. There is not a greater impertinence than to ask if a man is clever out of his profession. I have heard of people trying to cross examine Mrs. Siddons. I would as soon try to entrap one of the Elgin Marbles into an argument. Good nature and common sense are required from all people; but one proud distinction is enough for any one individual to possess or to aspire to!

Of course we admire all this — it is pointedly put — but we assent to only about one half of it.


(a) History of the War in France and Belgium, in 1815; Containing Minute Details of Quatre-Bras, Ligny, Wavre, and Waterloo. By Captain W. Siborne, Secretary and Adjutant of the Royal Military Asylum; constructor of the “Waterloo Model” First American from the Second London edition. With Plans of the Battles and Maps. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard.

A beautifully printed volume of nearly 650 pages. Captain Siborne, it is well understood, had access, through his staff appointment, as well as through private interest, to the most authentic sources of information, and his work was looked for with the greatest interest in England, as one that would settle a great many disputed points in reference to the Waterloo campaigns. Since the issue of the book, much has been said against it — but a very great deal more in its favor, and we are inclined to side with its supporters. An unmistakeable air of candor pervades every page, and the accuracy of detail seems to be self-demonstrated. The manner is exceedingly good.


(b) Historical Sketch of the Second War between the United States of America and Great Britain, declared by Act of Congress, the 18th of June 1812, and Concluded by Peace, the 15th of February 1815. By Charles J. Ingersoll. In Three Volumes. Vol. I. Embracing the Events of 1812-13. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard.

A volume of more than 500 pages octavo. It is rather a series of vivid pictures on the subject of the late War, than an Historical Sketch of it. Force and novelty abound, and we are never permitted to doubt the honesty of the narration, but there is a slight tinge of the whimsical about the book which may operate, in the first instance, [page 280:] to prevent a very general appreciation of its merits — which are undoubtedly great. By way of exemplifiing [[exemplifying]] our meaning we quote a brief passage from an account of Timothy Pickering.

His reputation was that of a consistent upright man, who lived and died firm to the conviction he cherished; hard but honest. On a great field day debate in 1811, on the Loan Bill, when the House, in committee of the whole, gave six weeks to those speeches for political capital at home and abroad, which are among the ways and means of free countries with a free press — much preferable to more serious combats — Mr. Pickering, in the course of his harangue, looking through his spectacles full in the chairman’s face, said, with great emphasis, swinging his long arm aloft, that he stood on a rock. “I stand on a rock,” said he “from which all democracy” — then raising his voice and repeating it — “not all democracy and hell to boot, can move me — the rock of integrity and truth.”

“These things are more honored in the breach than in the observance” — by silence than by historical record. The passage, too, will afford some idea of Mr. Ingersoll’s style which, like Mr. Pickering’s character, is “hard but honest” — as well as (more definitely) of his mere English, which is loose and uncouth to a very reprehensible degree. Take, for instance, the first paragraph of the volume:

In this historical sketch I shall endeavor to submit the truth in an account of the contest between Great Britain and the United States of America, declared by Act of Congress, approved the 18th of June, 1812. It enacted that war was already declared to exist between the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Dependencies thereof, and the U. S. of America and their territories; and that the President of the U. S. was thereby authorized to use the whole land and naval force of the U. S., to carry the same into effect, and to issue to private armed vessels of the U, S., commissions, or letters of marque and general reprisal, in such form as he should think proper, and under the seal of the U. S. against the vessels, goods and effects of the government of the said United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the subjects thereof.

Here a “contest” is “declared.” Whether the “thereby” in “thereby unauthorized” refers to the territories, the war, or the act, it is difficult to determine. “The same” is equally ambiguous as regards its reference, and it seems to be the “Seal of the U. S.” which is set “against the vessels, goods and effects” of the British. The whole paragraph is awkward in the extreme.

But happily the value of the book does not depend upon trifles such as these. It gives a plain, discerning and evidently faithful view of the events of the war, and will be received with favor by all who are competent to decide upon the worth of an historical treatise.


(a) Ollendorfs New Method of learning to read, write, and speak the German Language; to which is added a Systematic Outline of the Different Parts of Speech, their Inflection and Use, with full Paradigms and a Complete Table of the Irregular Verbs. By J. G. Adler, A. B. New-York: D. Appleton & Co.

The New Method of Ollendorf affords, unquestionably, the best means of studying the German. In no other grammar do we obtain so much information, so luminously given. His great merit is that he does not plunge in medias res, but begins at the beginning. He presupposes no knowledge on the part of the beginner. Other German grammarians take for granted, among other gratuities, an intimate cognizance of the English. The work before us is especially rich, too, in its system of idiomatic instruction — and in every respect is invaluable. We speak feelingly on this subject; for we have felt the [page 281:] thousand difficulties and ambiguities of other grammars, which have been written by good Germanists, certainly, but, at the same time, by indifferent metaphysicians. — To instruct, demands a thorough metaphysical education.

We shall speak of this volume at length hereafter. In the meantime we cordially recommend it. It is admirably gotten up — printed with accuracy in large type, and neatly bound.


(a) Norman’s New-Orleans and Environs: Containing a Brief Historical Sketch of the Territory and State of Louisiana, and the City of New-Orleans, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time: Presenting a Complete Guide to all Subjects of General Interest in the Southern Metropolis, with a Correct and Improved Plan of the City, Pictorial Illustrations of Public Buildings, etc. etc. New-Orleans: B. B. Norman.

We give the full title to show the design of the work; which is all that it professes to be — and a little more. — A very excellent and satisfactory volume, of about 200 pages duodecimo, neatly bound. There is a fine steel frontispiece of New-Orleans. Mr. Norman proposes to issue, on the first of next month, a map of the city to accompany the book now published.


(b) The Prince and the Pedler. A Novel. By Miss Ellen Pickering, Author of “Nan Darrell,” etc. New-York: E. Ferrett, & Co.

Miss Pickering has written some of the most praiseworthy and popular novels of the day; and “The Prince and the Pedler is one of her best.


(c) The Modern Standard Drama. Edited by Epes Sargent, New York: William Taylor, No. 2 Astor-House.

All play-goers and play-readers should be careful to take this series, as it is issued. It is an exceedingly neat and accurate one. We have seen nothing of the kind so good. The plays already published are Ion, Fazio, The Lady of Lyons, Richelieu, The Wife, and The Honeymoon — the latter to be out this day, (Saturday). The editor’s well-known taste, especially in dramatic matters, should answer for the fidelity and for the success of his labors.


(d) Pictorial History of the World. By John Frost, L. L. D.. Philadelphia: Walker & Gillis. New-York: William H. Graham.

No. 9 is issued. To be completed in numbers, at 25 cents.


(e) The Knickerbocker for October is unusually good, but we are too much pressed for space to do more, just now, than recommend to the especial attention of our readers the paper entitled “Who are our National Poets?”


(f) The Westminster Review for September has been reprinted by Messrs. Leonard Scott & Co., and contains its usual amount of valuable matter: — among other things, a review of Humboldt’s “Kosmos” — a review of “Sybil” — and a paper on “Shaksperian Criticism and Acting.”


(g) The Southern Lit. Messenger for October contains a very condemnatory and in our opinion a very just review of “Poems by William W. Lord.”


(h) The Democratic Review for October has a fine mezzotint of Cave Johnson, and one of the most exciting stories we ever read, “The Monomaniac,” by Mrs. E. F. Ellet. [page 282:]


(a) Wiley & Putnam’s Library of American Books. No VI. Wanderings of a Pilgrim under the Shadow of Mount Blanc. By George B. Cheever, D. D.


(b) History of France from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. By M. Michlet, Professeur-suppliant à la Faculty des Lettres, etc. Translated by G. H. Smith, F. G. S. No. 5. New York: D Appleton & Co.


(c) A Cyclopedia of Several Thousand Practical Receipts, etc. By Arnold James Cooley. No 5. New York: D. to Appleton & Co.


(d) A Plea for Social and Popular Repose; Delivered before the Literary Societies of the University of the City of New York. By D. D. Barnard.


(e) The Songs of our Land, and other Poems. By Mary E. Hewitt. Boston: William D. Ticknor & Co. For sale by Langley.

We have received these five last publications at too late a period to do more than announce them this week. To Mrs. Hewitt’s beautiful book, in especial, we shall attend very particularly in our next.

[[BJ October 11, 1845 - 2:214]]

To all lovers of the true and beautiful in art we recommend a visit to the Ivory Christ, brought from Italy — by C. Edwards Lester, our Consul at Genoa, and now being exhibited in Broadway opposite the Park. This figure (it cannot properly be called a statue) is the work of an Italian Monk, an educated man, but with little knowledge of art. A deep enthusiasm — an overwhelming passion to do justice to the intellectual and physical character of the God-man, seems to have been in this case at once the instigation and the instruction. The material is the tusk of an antique elephant — a tusk of enormous size. Much of it had to be cut away on account of its carious condition, and yet the figure is 32 inches long, (we believe) and 5 inches broad through the shoulders: — all this solid — the arms are wrought from separate pieces.

The first point noticeable in this Christ is the intellectuality of its expression. All other representations of the Saviour make him merely benevolent, dignified, meek, self-sustained, and beautiful in feature. In this, mind genius — predominates. The whole face is eminently intellectual.

The second thing to be observed is the absolute truth of the entire design. The figure depends from the cross precisely as the human form would depend under the circumstances. The moment chosen is that immediately succeeding death. We are made to fancy that the last sigh has just issued from his lips — on which is now fading a divine smile. We can see, nevertheless, that the death has been agonizing. The contraction of the muscles, more particularly about the calves, toes and lumbar regions, are absolute in the truth of their expression. In anatomy the whole figure is perfect. We doubt if a better model of the human frame is to be found anywhere. The work altogether is of a very high order of genius.

In our next we shall endeavor to do justice to the inimitable Sortie du Bain — De Kuyper’s — now to be seen at the Society Library-. We have no patience with those who decry it.

P. [page 283:]

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Editorial Miscellany.

(a) THE NEW-YORK MIRROR has been much enlarged, and in some respects greatly improved — although we regret the necessity of the brevier in place of the bold bourgeois — and although we miss the original and racy editorials of Willis. In newspaper not less than in theatrical management we think the * system is a bad one.

[[BJ October 11, 1845 - 2:216]]

Mr. or Mrs. Asterisk honored us lately with half a column which we have been sadly at a loss to comprehend. Can any of our readers help us out?

POE-LEMICAL. — In the last number of the Broadway Journal, the critical and learned editor reiterates his opinion of Mr. Simms, whom he considers the “best novelist that this country has, upon the whole produced.” Mr. Poe seems to have quite an original and peculiar standard of judging of the merits of men and books. Success is the common measure of talent, not only in regard to the productions of literary men, but in business also, in works of art or of usefulness; and in all the varied pursuits of life. It is the victory that confers fame on the hero, rather than brave bearing, and manly courage on the battle-field. We are too apt to look at results merely, and to honor and praise the successful, rather than the meritorious man. In business, the millionaire, into whose lap fortune has poured her treasures, and to whose prosperity the winds of heaven have seemed subservient, gains with his wealth the reputation of being wiser and shrewder than his competitors, who may perhaps have struggled harder, and reasoned better, and yet been thwarted in their efforts beyond avoidance or control. And in literature, also, the popular man, is the great man, — the author who sells best — who is most read — and oftenest quoted, — he is the man whom the people will honor in spite of all the critics. But then one class of philosophers tell us that the judgment of the million is always wrong — that the great majority of men, blinded by passion, and swayed by prejudice, are wholly incapable of deciding in matters of taste or morals, in politics or religion. On the other hand, there are many “learned Thebans,” who as strenuously maintain that the voice of the multitude is the voice of truth and God; and that in all cases it is the duty of the minority to acquiesce in the verdict of the people. Here, we take it, is the great rock on which politicians, moralists, and critics split and separate. Leaving this primal question as undecided as it is likely to remain until the “World’s Convention” shall eradicate from human nature all the causes which lead to differences in the opinions of men, we are inclined to believe that it is above the power of any single critic — or of all the critics in the country combined, to convince the world that William Gilmore Simms is a better novelist than Cooper, or Brockden Brown. He is certainly less known and read at home and abroad. We doubt if the copy-right of all Mr. Simms’ collected works would bring as good a price in America or England, as the “Norman Leslie” of Fay, or the “Sketch Book” of Irving. But our surprise at Mr. Poe’s estimate is some what diminished, when, on turning to another article, we find him speaking of our old friend, “Christopher North,” as “the ignorant and egotistical Wilson!” and adding, that, “with the exception of Macaulay and Dilke, and one or two others, there is not in Great Britain a critic who can be fairly considered worthy the name!” This is indeed, “bearding the lion in his den;” and as Mr. Poe is preparing to publish an edition of his “Tales” in England, (omitting the story of the Gold Bug, we suppose,) he can expect but little mercy from the back-biting reviews of the Lock harts and Fonblanques, those bull-dogs of the English press. It is, however, a matter of some pride that we have, at least, one critic, who is brave and Quixotic enough to attack any mind-mill, either in Europe or America, however formidable it may appear; and our good wishes go with our valiant neighbor. [page 284:]

[[BJ October 11, 1845 - 2:216]]

Mr. (or Mrs.) Star suggests here first, (if we are not mistaken) that success is (or is not) the test of merit, and secondly, that it is not (or is). Are we right in this interpretation? No doubt of it.

The separation of our passage about Mr. Simms from its context, brings about a total misrepresentation of our ideas.

Mr. Simms is “better known” than Brockden Brown.

Putting the author of “Norman Leslie” by the side of the author of the “Sketch-Book,” is like speaking of “The King and I” — of Pop Emmons and Homer — of a Mastodon and a mouse. If we were asked which was the most ridiculous book ever written upon the face of the earth — we should answer at once, “Norman Leslie.”

We are not “preparing to publish” our Tales in England; we leave such manœuvres to those who are in the habit of, bowing down to the Golden Calf of the British opinion. Our book, to be sure, has been re-published in England — long ago — but we had nothing to do with its republication, Should we ever think of such a thing, however, we should undoubtedly give The “Bug” a more prominent position than it even occupies at present. We should call the book “The Gold-Bug and Other Tales” — instead of “Tales,” as its title stands. However highly we respect Mr. Willis’ talents, we feel nothing but contempt for his affectations.

But we have a curiosity to solve the anonymous of the * . The star-dust theory is exploded — but can any one tell us which is the very smallest of all the stars to be found in the “Milky Way“? [page 285:]

[[BJ October 18, 1845 - 2:227]]

Editorial Notices.

(a) THE editor’s temporary absence from the city, will account to our publishing friends for present neglect of several new works. These will be attended to on his return.


(b) Wiley & Putnam’s Library of American Books. No. VIII. Big Abel and The Little Manhattan. By Cornelius Mathews.

In our notice of this work, a week or two since, we promised a quotation, by way of instancing the author’s very peculiar style and tone. We proceed now to redeem our word, by copying some passages from the episode, or rather interlude, of the Poor Scholar and his Mistress. These passages are, perhaps, as idiosyncratic as any in the volume:

Turning, at a bend, they found, in the heart of the bend itself, the very thing they looked for, a little garden or house of refreshment. Not much of a garden; a slip of the size of a handkerchief; green, too; and a fountain (something very small in the way of a fountain); and bowers, ever so many of them, at least three in number. And here, while they were getting served by a nice mistress of the place, as busy in all her motions as though she had opened that morning, and heard a couple of hundred calling her all at once, with cream, and cakes, and fruit (Lankey’s part was fruit alone), there drew nearer to a bower; it was the centre, and pride of the garden that was waiting for them; two young persons, one of them very pale, the other all a-glow.

Was ever a Poor Scholar’s mistress in such spirits before! And then the way in which she took possession of the bower; if the green chair had been of solid gold she couldn‘t have treated it more grandly. Three raps of the knuckles, and there was a banquet — not much of a one, to be sure-but what of that! William had something to say, that was clear; but such spirits as Mary’s — why the stoutest man living would have quailed before them, much less a poor scholar.

“The Book’s to be printed, Will 1 I believe you admit that at last!”

“To be sure it is — they‘ve accepted it.”

“A happy time of it for the printers, now! turning all your gentle fancies out upon the page; making your mirth laugh, your sorrow weep; your little men and women grow again in light, and take a shape to every human eye, all the wide world over! Oh what dreams they‘ll have the first night. They‘ll not sleep a wink, I fear, with all your magic over!”

Foolish Mary!

“And then the binder’s girls, who have the folding of them daintily! Many a clipping of. wages will they lose this very week, lingering, as they should not, naughtily about that wicked Book!”

Mary, too fanciful by half.

“Tuesday, now! By Friday, at the latest, that little bright-eyed, clean-apparelled gentleman (your Book, I mean, Shill) must come down stairs, and begin to see company! Oh for the first look at his sweet and cheerful face!” [page 286:]

In the young Scholars heart that was settled long ago.

“The show-bills, now! All over town, speaking up, with fresh, clean looks! Coaxing every one to stop and read! Every one to hurry in and buy! and then away to taste the dainty to his core!”

Was there ever such a foolish, thoughtless mistress to a Poor Scholar; all the world over?

She stopped and looked at Will as though she saw a Blessed Spirit, stepped out from the sun, and not a mortal man. But he was very pale, and still had something to say, and now could say it.

You forget Germany, Mary!” That was what he had to say.

No: she didn‘t She re collected it perfectly well; it was in all the maps, upon the globes, and hung up in the window . But in this connection she didn‘t recollect it, she confessed. What was Germany to this?

She hadn‘t heard of a famous Rendering or Translation out of that country, that was talked about, a mighty book, with such a power of chains, by way of binding up and riveting the reader; such a thrilling, enchanting, wonderful and miraculous book? Strange, she hadn‘t heard of that? That was the Book?

What, to come betwixt this Book of William’s and the light of day?

William was pale, I said, and Mary now, too. Had those men who played these changeful tricks stood there, or sate within that bower, they must have been torn piece-meal, limb by limb, by little angry devils, leaping out of Mary’s eyes, a score at once, and many score!

When they had gone forth, Big Abel and Lanky (how Poor William and his mistress got away, heaven, whence it came from, knows!), the shower was deepening, and they made quickly for a house not far away. And there it was. That little, tidy, shining palace of brick; palace it is in all the spirit within; sitting by itself; in cleanliness and purity, and through all the falling rain eyeing calmly all passers-by with his little winking knob and bell-pull.

At home? The ladies of this mansion are always at home, and have been any time these fifty years. A snug parlor, every thing tidy, everything in a high state of polish, everything demure and settled calmly in his place. The plaster-rabbits on the mantel, not zoologically perfect, inasmuch as the necks are movable, and have no visible appurtenance to the bodies; and yet, to the mind, all that could be reasonably expected of rabbits under such circumstances. A little door is slided open, and out of a back room a nice, comfortable, smiling body — Seventy! Yes; this was the youngest of the two maiden sisters, Big Abel’s friends, living here. Pretty good for Seventy! Cheerful, quick of speech and gait, and cordial; too, as the days of hearty June are long. Another appearance out of the back room — Eighty! Not so tall, nor quite so stout, but more cheerful, quicker of motion, decidedly more cordial. There was a great shaking of hands, I tell you, there! No difference made between fair-looking Abel and the swarthy Lankey — not the least! Talk! Plenty of it; and after that there came, out of the back room, too, a little square table, which was suddenly clothed (by Eighty) with a snowy cloth, and put in possession (by Seventy) of a little family of cups and saucers, then of a dainty pile of toast, then of a cold ham, then of a steaming pot, and the little table was set up in the world, and ready to do business [page 287:]

[[BJ October 18, 1845 - 2:228]]

(a) Littell’s Living Age. No 73.

Mr. Littell is the compiler of a valuable miscellany published in Boston, of generally liberal sympathies, but has not entirely escaped provincial preferences. This is shown by the apparent eagerness with which unfriendly notices of writers without New England are spread upon his pages from the English journals. A singular example of this occurs in the present number, where an unfavorable notice of a New-York author is picked out of many favorable odes, and a favorable notice of a New England historian is picked out of many unfavorable ones.

(b) Wiley & Putnam’s “Foreign Library.

A Prospectus has been issued of this new undertaking, which has grown out of the popular series of books in “The Library of Choice Reading,” with an eye to a convenient division of the volumes for the Library. The Foreign Library will be published uniformly with the other, with equal attention to the beauty of the typography, and the excellence of the editions, and at equally low rates. By the publishers’ announcement it will include the leading classic works of the Foreign languages, both ancient and modern — the latter being a new and important feature of the undertaking — with such works of miscellaneous literature as may be worthy a permanent place in the Library. The historical works of Schiller are announced, Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, Mitchell’s Translation of Aristophanes, &. The first numbers will be Benvenuto Cellini’s Memoirs, the full and elaborately illustrated edition of Roscoe; a valuable and delightful work, for its historical and personal interest, which Horace Walpole pronounced “more amusing than any novel,” and of which a complete translation is included in the works of Goethe. We shall have more to say of the plan and the books hereafter.

The Fine Arts.

(c) We are indebted to the kindness of Mr. C. Edwards Lester, for permission to extract some passages, this week, from his forthcoming work, “The Artist, the Merchant, and the Statesman.” The quotation will speak for itself: — the words are those of Powers.

I have endeavored in these two statues to avoid anything that could either by form or import offend the purest mind; and to accomplish my design better, I have left out any expression in either of them of a consciousness of their nudity. In the Eve this is inferred of course — “for they were naked and were not ashamed” — indeed, they knew not that they were naked. But in the Slave, as it is a subject of our own times, we could not suppose this under ordinary circumstances — but there are circumstances under which it might be supposed, and I selected a subject that would justify this.

(Two more columns of excerpts follow.) [page 288:]

[[BJ October 25, 1845 - 2:247]]

Critical Notices.


(a) The Songs of our Land and Other Poems. By Mary L. Hewitt. Boston. William D. Ticknor & Co.

In point of external taste, this is the most exquisite volume of poems published in America since “The Spanish Student,” of Longfellow. The unusual width of the page is especially to our fancy, and the general arrangement of the matter could not be improved. The small pica type, however, is perhaps a trifle too large for the size of the page.

The volume contains fifty pieces, of course varied in excellence, but all speaking, in unmistakeable terms, of the author’s poetic fervor, classicism of taste, and keen appreciation of the morally as well as physically beautiful. No one can read the book without a desire to become acquainted with the woman.

Mrs. Hewitt has evidently a strong partiality for the sea — and this partiality has given color to some of the most forcible, although, in our opinion, by no means the most generally meritorious compositions in the volume. “The Yarn,” we believe, is a favorite with its author, and is certainly replete with vigorous thought and expression. “God Bless The Mariner,” we quote as the best of this species of poem to be found in the collection.

God’s blessing on the Mariner!

A venturous life leads he —

What reek the landsmen of their toil,

Who dwell upon the sea?


The landsman sits within his home,

His fireside bright and warm;

Nor asks how fares the mariner

All night amid the storm.


God bless the hardy Mariner!

A homely garb wears he,

And he goeth with a rolling gait,

Like a ship upon the sea.


He hath piped the loud “ay! ay sir!”

O‘er the voices of the main,

Till his deep tones have the hoarseness

Of the rising hurricane.


His seamed and honest visage

The sun and wind have tanned,

And hard as iron gauntlet

Is his broad and sinewy hand.


But oh! a spirit looketh

From out his clear blue eye,

With a truthful, childlike earnestness,

Like an angel from the sky.


A venturous life the sailor leads

Between the sky and sea

But when the hour of dread is past,

A merrier who, than he?


He knows that by the rudder bands

Stands one well skilled to save;

For a strong hand is the STEERSMAN’S

That directs him o‘er the wave.

“Alone” evinces, we think, more of the true poetic inspiration — and undoubtedly more of originality in conception than any other of Mrs. Hewitt’s poems. We copy it in full:

There lies a deep and sealed well

Within yon leafy forest hid;

Whose pent and lonely waters swell,

Its confines chill and drear amid. [page 289:]


It hears the birds on every spray

Trill forth melodious notes of love —

It feels the warm sun’s seldom ray

Glance on the stone its wave above —


And quick the gladdened waters rush

Tumultuous upward to the brink;

A seal is on their joyous gush,

And back, repressed, they coldly shrink.


Thus in their caverned space, apart.

Closed from the eye of day, they dwell —

So, prisoned deep within my heart,

The tides of quick affection swell.


Each kindly glance — each kindly tone,

To joy its swift pulsations sway;

But none may lift the veiling stone,

And give the franchised current way.


Smite THOU the rock, whose eye alone,

The hidden spring within may see;

And bid the flood, resistless one!

Flow forth, rejoicing, unto thee.

The pieces, however, which will prove most decidedly popular with men of taste, and which, upon the whole, convey the most pleasing impression of the author’s ability, are the three sonnets entitled Cameos.. [[sic]] We make no apology for quoting them:


With springing hoof that would the earth disdain,

Broad, swelling chest, and limb with motion rife,

From Lapithaean banquet and the strife,

Fleetly he bounds along Thessalia’s plain.

And on his back, in rude embrace entwined.

A captive bride he bears. Her trait‘rous veil

Reveals her brow, as Juno’s roses pale,

And floats like scarf of Iris on the wind.

And vainly struggling ‘gainst that bold caress,

Her outstretched arms essay the air to grasp;

But firm the captor holds his iron clasp,

And strives, with ruthless lip, her lip to press.

Thus vice hath power to sway the feeble soul,

And bear it on in measureless control.


Reclined enervate on the couch of ease,

No more he pants for deeds of high emprise;

For pleasure holds in soft, voluptuous ties

Enthrall‘d, great Jove — descended Hercules.

The hand that bound the Erymanthian boar,

Hesperia’s dragon slew, with bold intent —

That from his quivering side in triumph rent

The skin the Clecnaean lion wore,

Holds forth the goblet-while the Lydian queen

Robed like a nymph, her brow enwreathed with vine —

Lifts high the amphora, brimmed with rosy wine,

And pours the draught the crowned cup within.

And thus the soul, abased to sensual sway,

Its worth forsakes — its might foregoes for aye.


Oh! wondrous marvel of the sculptor’s art!

What cunning hand hath culled thee from the mine,

And carved thee into life, with skill divine!

How claims in thee humanity a part —

Seems from the gem the form enchained, to start,

While thus with fiery eye, and outspread wings,

The ruthless vulture to his victim clings,

With whetted beak deep in the quivering heart.

Oh! thou embodied meaning, master wrought!

Thus taught the sage, how, sunk in crime and sin,

The soul a prey to conscience, writhes within

Its fleshly bonds enslaved: — thus ever, THOUGHT,

The breast’s keen torturer, remorseful tears

At life, the hell whose chain the soul in anguish wears. [page 290:]

Of these sonnets we much prefer the “Hercules and Omphale.” It is full of a truly classic grace — both of thought and expression, and would do honor to any poet in the land. It has that common fault of American Sonnets — the fault of a termination feeble in comparison with the body of the poem — but even in this respect, it is superior to most compositions of the kind. Its general versification is worthy of all praise; we have rarely, if ever, seen it surpassed. Such lines as

The skin the Cleonean Lion wore,

have about them a directness which never fails to impart strength.

Upon the whole, we are favorably impressed with the book.


(a) Morse’s Cerographic Maps. No. 1. New-York. Harper & Brothers, 82 Cliff-street.

We look upon this enterprise as one of the most important, if not the most important, ever undertaken by an American publisher. The plan of the publication is as follows:

1. The size of the Maps will be about inches by 12.

2. The subjects illustrated will embrace the whole field of Ancient and Modern, including Sacred Geography, Chronology, and History.

3. The work will be edited by Sidney E. Morse, A. M., and when finished, it is intended, shall be a Universal Atlas in the most comprehensive sense of the term.

4. Each number will contain four colored Maps, the price of which will be twenty-five cents, being about one-fourth the cost of copperplate Maps of a similar size.

5. More than forty Maps are already engraved, consisting chiefly of countries in North America, and embracing separate Maps of nearly every State in the Union.

6. The American Maps have been prepared with great care, and to a great extent from new and original materials, collected during the last four years by Samuel Breese, A. M., from a correspondence embracing more than 2000 letters and several hundred manuscript local maps.

7. Many thousand dollars and years of labor, having been de. voted to perfecting the new art by which these maps are executed, as well as in collecting and arranging the valuable information they contain, the publishers confidently rely upon the most extended patronage for the work.

8. if practicable, from two to three numbers will be issued every month.

9. The first ten numbers will form a comprehensive and elegant North American Atlas for the Library, the Counting House and the School Room.

The Contents of No. 1 embrace the Indian Territory, Northern Texas, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arkansas. The price of each number is cents. Nothing can exceed the beauty and accuracy of the whole work.


(b) The Vision; or Hell, Purgatory and Paradise of Dante Alighteri. Translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary, A. M., with the Life Dante, Chronological View of his Age, Additional Notes and Index. Illuslutrated [[Illustrated]] with Twelve Engravings, from Designs by John Flaxman, R. A. From the Last Corrected London Edition. New-York: D. Appleton & Co., 200 Broadway.

This is one of the most truly beautiful volumes ever issued even from the press of the Appletons. It is a duodecimo of nearly 600 pages, exquisitely printed on very fine paper, embellished with a dozen carefully engraved plates from Flaxman’s inimitable designs, and the whole tastefully and durably bound. The title fully conveys the contents of the book, with the exception of the frontispiece — which is a likeness of Dante, engraved by Phillibrown, [page 291:] from the “last portrait,” by Giotto. This picture was discovered in the ancient castle of the Podesta, at Florence, in July, 1840. When found, it was encrusted with whitewash.

The Messrs. Appletons in giving us this edition, have rendered a very important service to the literature of the country.


(a) Appleton’s Literary Miscellany; a Series of Books for Popular Reading. Nos. II. and III. I Promessi Sposi. The Betrothed. By Alessandro Maznoni. A New Translation, Reprinted Entire from the Last English Edition. In Two Volumes. New-York: D. Appleton & Co.

Practical Piety; or the Influence of the Religion of the Heart on the Conduct of the Lie. By Hannah More. In Two Volumes. New-York: D. Appleton & Co.

Irish Melodies. By Thomas Moore. With the Original Prefatory Letter on Music. From the Thirteenth London Edition. New-York: D. Appleton & Co.

The Wreath of Wild Flowers, from the Literary Miscellanies of John Milton Stearns. New-York: Edward Walker, 114 Fulton-street.

Alice Ray; a Romance in Rhyme. By Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, Author of Northwood, etc. Philadelphia.


(b) We have received Graham’s Magazine for November — also The Columbian — and shall notice them [with the Lady’s Book,] very particularly in our next. “Graham” is unusually good — the Letters of his German Correspondent are a treasure in themselves.

We shall not fail to attend, in our next number, to Mrs. Hale’s highly meritorious poem. Several other friends will, we hope, have patience with us for the present.


Editorial Miscellany.

(c) WITH THIS number, it will be seen, that we assume the sole control (proprietary as well as editorial) of the “Broadway Journal.” May we hope for the support of our friends?

(d) WE HAVE been quizzing the Bostonians, and one or two of the more stupid of their editors and editresses have taken it in high dudgeon. We will attend to them all in good time.

(e) WE MAKE room, with much pleasure, for the following explanation:

To the Editor of the Broadway Journal:

SIR — A copy of your Journal dated October 4th, was handed me this evening, containing some observations respecting alterations made in the song of Ben Bolt, to which some music was adapted by J. P. Webster. The facts were as follows. The song was in a New-Haven paper, and came into my hands as an envelope. It was without signature or reference of any kind, to the author. I was pleased with the poetry, and gave it to Mr. Webster, as he said he would compose some music for it. Before he had completed it, he lost the copy, and asked it I could give him another from memory. The words published were written down by two or three persons, as no one remembered the whole. As Mr. W. did not know, the author’s name, he could not of course give it. But from what I know of him, I am certain that no thoughts of claiming the authorship ever crossed his mind; and what may so appear in the publication, is the result of carelessness.

Having been (though indirectly) the cause of the censure cast upon Mr. Webster, I felt bound to make this statement, which I doubt not you will have the justice to publish. I am ready to give satisfactory reference, if you require it.

Respectfully, yours, E. S.

Derby, Conn., October 11, 1845. [page 292:]

[[BJ October 25, 1845 - 2:249]]

(a) TO CORRESPONDENTS. — A great pressure of business has prevented us from paying attention to several communications of value, and from cherished friends. All shall hear from us next week, or the week after.


“THE following beautiful conception,” says a city paper, “is one of Samuel Lover’s”:


And there, whence there’s never returning,

When we travel, as travel we must,

May the gates be all free for our journey,

And the tears of our friends lay the dust.

This “beautiful conception” we had been hitherto mistaking for a most pitiable conceit.



[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page ???:]

* Xxxxxx Xxxx





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