Text: Anonymous, [Review of Graham's Magazine for February], Boston Morning Post (Boston, MA), January 29, 1842, vol. XXI, no. 25, p. 1, cols. 6-7


[page 1, column 6, continued:]

Graham's Ladies and Gentleman's Magazine for February — Jordan & Co., Agents. — This magazine is in one respect better than its contemporaries. It has literary notices, which, if not always just, are spirited and well written. Its editor betrays considerable pedantry, and flippancy, and prejudice in his compositions, but also exhibits much critical acumen and sincerely. The works noticed in the present number are “Barnaby Rudge,” and “Wacondah, a poem,” and both are fairly treated with but one or two exceptions. Among the articles in the number are continuations of the “Two Dukes,” “Daughters of Dr. Byes,” and “Agatha, a necromaunt,” all of which we pass by, for the reason given in our notice of the Lady's Book. Miss Leslie, however, in her sketch of the Misses Byles, makes one true remark which we cannot help noticing. Speaking of a visit which Lord Percy, in the revolutionary days, paid to the ancient ladies, (young then) she says —

“I imagined the heir of Northunberland, taking [column 7:] his tea in the old parlor, by the old fire-place, at the old tea-table, — entertained by the witticisms of Dr. Byles, and the prettinesses of his daughters; who, of course, were the envy of all the female tories of Boston, at least of those who could not aspire to the honor of being talked to by English noblemen. — Moreover, Lord Percy frequently ordered the band of his regiment to play under the chesnut trees, for the gratification of Miss Byleses, who then, as they said, had “God save the King” in perfection. By the bye, I have never heard either God save the King or Rule Britannia well played by an American band; though our musicians seem to perform the Marseillois con a more.”

The satire is very quiet. Did you ever hear an Englishman allow or orchestra did or could play these tunes properly? We pause for a reply. The fact is curious, and it nicely reveals John Bull's nationality or prejudice, we care not which. “Harry Cavendish,” the “Duello,” and the “Blue Velvet Manitlla,” are all readable sketches Among other things in the number is an original letter of Dickens, which may interest our readers. It is in reply to one addressed him by a a [[sic]] Western gentleman, and, as we take it, a perfect stranger, thanking him for the pleasure he had received from the perusal of his works. The reply of Boz is as follows:

“1 Devonshire Terrace, York Gate.

Regent's Park, London.

Tuesday, Twenty-third February, 1841.

DEAR SIR: — You are quite right in feeling assured that I should answer the letter you have addressed to me. If you had entertained a presentiment that it would afford me sincere pleasure and delight to hear from a warm-hearted and admiring reader of my books in the back-woods of America, you would not have been far wrong.

I thank you cordially and heartily, both for your letter, and its kind and courteous terms. To think that I have awakened a fellow-feeling and sympathy with the creatures of many thoughtful hours among the vast solitudes in which you dwell, is a source of the purest delight and pride to me; and believe me that your expressions of affectionate remembrance and approval, sounding form the great forests on the banks of the Mississippi, sink deeper into my heart and gratify it more than all the honorary distinctions that all the courts in Europe could confer.

It is such things as these that make one hope one does not live in vain, and that are the highest reward of an author's life. To be numbered among the household gods of one's distant countrymen and associated with their homes and quite pleasures — to be told that in each nook and corner of the world's great mass there lives one well-wisher who holds communion with one in the spirit — is a worthy fame indeed, and one which I would not barter for a mine of wealth.

That I may be happy enough to cheer some of your leisure hours for a very long time to come, and to hold a place in your pleasant thoughts, is the earnest wish of Boz. — And with all good wishes for yourself, and with a sincere reciprocation of all your kindly feelings, I am, Dear Sir,

Faithfully Yours,



Park Benjamin has contributed a sketch of Mrs Norton, and a slight review of her principal poem, the “Dream.” Mr Edgar A. Poe has also inserted a wretched notice of Brainard. We say wretched, but our readers may judge of its ability when we tell them that the writer ranks Brainard below Longfellow. We dislike to impeach men's motives, but it really seems as if Mr Poe delights to under-rate everything which people before him have praised for the mere purpose of being original, or rather, eccentric. We expect to see him attempt, ere long, to prove that Shakespear and Milton were no poets.

As for the poetry in this number, it may be said, in the words of Peter Pindar, with a slight alteration, “the good are pretty good, the bad too bad to give the pigs,” and in the latter predicament stands “Rosaline,” by J. R. Lowell. We sincerely hope this gentleman will refrain from writing in this affected style. He has as much poetry in him as any of our writers, but most of his published compositions are sadly disfigured through haste, carelessness, affection and false imagery. The mezzotint in the present number is beautifully executed, but is wretchedly designed. The “Bonnie Steed” is long enough to accommodate two or three equestrians, without the least strain on the neck or tail of the beast.





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