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he had resisted the temptation to publish these, and had treated them as private communications, which they clearly were. The practice of publishing private letters is unfortunately too common in this country. It deserves the rebuke of Cicero ; “Quis enim unquam, qui paulum modo bonorum consuetudinem nosset, literas ad se ab amico missas, in medium protulit, palamque recitavit ? Quid est aliud, tollere e vitâ vitæ societatem, quam tollere amicorum colloquia absentium ?”
18. — The Poems of John G. C. BRAINARD. A New and Au
thentic Collection ; with an Original Memoir of his Life.
Hartford : E. Hopkins. 1841. 12mo. pp. 191. MR. BRAINARD was one of those poets, whose works gave promise of something better in the future than the performances of the past. Every thing he wrote was hastily written amidst the pressure of editorial labors, and to serve a present purpose. Time and labor are as necessary to the poet as to the painter, if he would produce finished works. There is no such thing as striking out a poem for immortality at a heat. Single thoughts of exquisite beauty, stanzas of ravishing melody, may spring from the poet's pen, (like sparks from the blacksmith's anvil,)
while he is hammering out, with desperate speed, something to fill a corner in the daily or weekly sheet. But a well-proportioned work of poetic art, – the thoughts fully unfolded, and linked together by the golden chains of harmony; - each part well-proportioned, and nicely adjusted to the rest, -expressed in language fitly chosen, through which, as through a transparent medium, the thought shines undimmed and unrefracted, - cannot be wrought by the finest genius without toil and care, and nice comparison and selection.
Mr. Brainard never had time to do full justice to his powers. But his works contain many passages that show a brilliant genius. Several of his shorter pieces, are marked throughout by very melodious rhythmical movement and felicitous imagery.
His lines on Niagara Falls have often, but not very judiciously, been referred to as remarkable. They are what any one, who had never seen the Falls (as was the case with Brainard) might have written ; very commonplace and vague. But “ The Sea-Bird's Song,” and “ The Storm of War," shine with all the vividness of his genius. Some of his humorous pieces are excellent.
The present edition is very neatly and correctly printed. The “ original memoir," is not a tasteful tribute to a poet's memory. The poetical character of Brainard is not drawn in it with any force, or finished with discriminating touches.
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