« AnteriorContinuar »
What asks the Old Dominion ? If now her sons have proved False to their father's memory, false to the faith they loved ; If she can scoff at Freedom, and its Great Charter spurn Must we of Massachusetts from Truth and Duty turn?
We hunt your bondmen flying from slavery's hateful hell
Thank God ! not yet so vilely can Massachusetts bow,
cool, She thus can stoop her chainless neck, a sister's slave and tool !
All that a Sister State should be, all that a free State may,
alone, And reap the bitter harvest which ye yourselves have sown !
If slavery be a reproach, and too just a reproach it is to the Southern States, surely the citizens of New England may justly pride themselves upon the poetry which has arisen out of the sin and shame of their brethren. Time will inevitably chase away the crime, for national crimes are in their very nature transient, whilst the noble effusions that sprang from that foul source, whether in the verse of the poet, or the speeches of the orator, are imperishable.
Another of my sins of omission is Mr. Halleck, a poet of a different stamp, with less of earnestness and fire, but more of grace and melody. How musical are these stanzas on the Music of Nature !
Young thoughts have music in them, love
And happiness their theme; And music wanders in the wind
That lulls a morning dream. And there are angel voices heard
In childhood's frolic hours, When life is but an April day
Of sunshine and of flowers.
There's music in the forest leaves
When summer winds are there,
That braid their sunny hair.
From violets of the spring,
The fluttering of his wing.
There's music in the dash of waves
When the swift bark cleaves the foam;
The mariner's song of home.
At midnight on the sea
To-day the forest leaves are green,
They'll wither on the morrow ; And the maiden's laugh be changed ere long
To the widow's wail of sorrow; Come with the winter snows and ask
Where are the forest birds? The answer is a silent one
More eloquent than words.
The moonlight music of the waves
In storms is heard no more, When the living lightning mocks the wreck
At midnight on the shore.
Still better than these verses are the stanzas on the death of his brother poet Drake:
Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days;
None named thee but to praise.
From eyes unused to weep ;
Will tears the cold turf steep.
Like thine are laid in earth,
To tell the world their worth ;
And I, who woke each morrow
To clasp thy hand in mine,
Whose weal and woe were thine,
It should be mine to braid it
Around thy faded brow ;
And feel I cannot now,
While memory bids me weep thee
Nor thoughts nor words are free,
That mourns a man like thee.
This is a true and manly record of a true and manly friendship. There is no doubting the sorrow, honourable alike to the Departed and the Survivor. May he be so loved and so mourned !
ALL my life long I have delighted in voluminous works; in other words, I have delighted in that sort of detail which permits so intimate a familiarity with the subjects of which it treats. This fancy of mine seems most opposed to the spirit of an age fertile in abridgments and selections. And yet my taste is hardly, perhaps, so singular as it seems : witness the six-volume biographies of Scott and Southey, which everybody wishes as long again as they are'; witness the voluminous histories of single events--the Conquest of Peru and of Mexico by Mr. Prescott, the French Revolution of M. Thiers, the Girondins of M. de Lamartine. Even the most successful writers of modern fiction have found the magical effects of bringing the public into intimacy with their heroes. Hence Mr. Cooper (dead I regret to say, but yet imperishably alive in his graphic novels) extended to fifteen volumes the adventures of Leather-Stocking, until every reader offered his hand to greet the honest backwoodsman as if he had been a daily visitor; and Balzac, a still greater artist, brought the same dramatis persona, the same set of walking ladies and gentlemen, to fill up the background of his scenes of the “Life of Paris and of the Provinces,” with an illusion so perfect and so masterly, that I myself, who ought to have some acquaintance with the artifices of storytelling, was so completely deceived as to inquire by letter of the friend who had introduced me to those remarkable books, whether the Horace Bianchon, whom I had just found consulted for the twentieth time in some grave malady, were a make-believe physician, or a real living man. To which my friend, herself no novice in this sort of deception, replied that he was certainly a fictitious personage, for that she had written two years ago to Paris to ask the same question.
Even in this world of Beauties, and of Extracts, I do not believe myself quite alone in my love of the elaborate and the minute; and yet I doubt if many people contemplate very long very big books with the sense of coming enjoyment which such a prospect gives me; and few shrink, as I do, with aversion and horror from that invention of the enemy-an Abridgment. I never shall forget the shock I experienced in seeing Bruce, that opprobrium of an unbelieving age, that great and graphic traveller, whose eight or nine goodly volumes took such possession of me, that I named a whole colony of bantams after his Abyssinian princes and princesses, calling a little golden strutter of a cock after that arch-tyrant the Ras Michael ; and a speckled hen, the beauty of the poultry-yard, Ozoro Esther, in honour of the Ras's favourite wife-I never felt greater disgust than at