Imágenes de páginas

principle with which they were united, and a deep-rooted conviction of the justice of their cause, that they could be roused to such efforts and sacrifices through years of conflict, privation, and suffering.” — pp. XV. – xvii.

Professor Sparks has also enriched the present edition with a full list of the best works relating to the History of the United States and of the several States, to the American Revolution, and to the Constitution of the Federal Government.

It is due to the publisher to notice particularly the beautiful typographical execution of these volumes, which compares well with the best English work.

5. - A Grammar of the Greek Language. Part First. A

Practical_Grammar of the Attic and Common Dialects, with the Elements of General Grammar. By Alpheus Crosby, Professor of the Greek Language and Literature in Dartmouth College. Boston: Crocker & Brewster. 1841. 12mo. pp. 239.

Professor Crosby's high reputation as a classical scholar will be sustained and advanced by the publication of this work. It is not a mere compilation from other grammars, a pouring out of one vessel into another, after the manner in which many of the new manuals of instruction are now produced. If we were not almost afraid to characterize a Greek grammar by such a word as originality, we should say, that this quality was manifested in an eminent degree in the treatise now before us.

We do not mean, merely a novel arrangement of parts, or a new and felicitous use of language in giving prominency and clearness to principles, that, in themselves, were previously well established ; although in these two respects, the work has much merit. But it bears the marks, throughout, of profound reflection and original research. And the task is performed not in the sapless manner of a mere philologist, who has lost all general ideas, while employed in hunting up words, breathings, and accents. The writer has a hearty love of his subject, and a power of viewing it in all its bearings and relations. The work is comprehensive, at the same time that it is condensed, and the general scholar will find ample matter for consideration in it, as well as the student of Greek.

We will not affirm, that a desire of change has led to a

rather hasty removal of some of the old landmarks in a field so well trodden. Still the novel aspect of some portions of the work will be rather startling to one who clings strongly to old associations. The removal even of some old and familiar paradigms leaves a blank for the eye and the heart ; and, when some of the forms of these veterans are cashiered without ceremony, one really feels regret, as if he had witnessed the disgrace of an old friend. In our schoolboy days, we were beaten through all the moods and tenses of túnta, and it is no satisfaction, at this time of life, to be told that a portion of these forms have only an imaginary existence. Some of the old grammars, it is true, warned us of this fact, but the remark was put in small print, and not committed to memory and recited for the thousandth time. But Professor Crosby takes up the matter seriously, and deems it remarkable, that, in an age characterized by its devotion to truth, a false representation of an irregular verb should still be set forth as the paradigm of regular conjugation.” By thus abridging the labors of the coming generation, matter is afforded them for an unseemly triumph over their predecessors, who were wont to conjugate the verb, — perfects, second futures, and all, — with unhesitating credulity.

It must not be supposed, that the author has made no more important innovations, than these removals of a few interlopers. The work abounds with valuable matter, both new and old, and the mode of arranging and presenting it appears as perfect as any one can desire. The introductory portion contains a clear and condensed statement of the first principles of orthoëpy and general grammar, which is well adapted even for those students, who commence the study of Greek at a very early age. An excellent feature of the work is the full explanation of grammatical terms, in which they are elucidated both by etymology and comparison. The definitions are given in groups, so that the words assist in explaining each other, and their various relations and distinctions are more easily perceived and remembered. One great difficulty is thus materially lessened to the student, whose memory was formerly burdened with a multitude of long and harsh-sounding appellations, to the greater part of which he could attach no meaning whatever. We wish, that the nomenclature of grammar could be reformed altogether, for it was manufactured at a time, when pedantry was the uniform of scholarship. The barbarous terms with which English grammars are incumbered, unmeaning to every one except the classical scholar, remind one too painfully of the inferiority of our language to the German, in which the power of composition and derivation from native roots removes the necessity of such an embarrassing ex ent. But a thorough reform, in this respect, would be cult, if not wholly impracticable.


We cannot forbear to say one word in favor of the Tabl Declension and Conjugation, which form an important fe: of this grammar. * They are published separately in forms ; in duodecimo, for the convenience and econon beginners in learning the Greek paradigms, and in quarto, for the convenience of more advanced students in sulting and comparing them.” They answer fully the pui of the editor, to furnish the pupil with those materials, i most compact and intelligible form, the perfect maste which is absolutely essential for any progress in his studi

The present volume makes but a small portion of the v work, which Professor Crosby designs to execute. It tains only the first part of a grammar of the Attic and mon dialects, and the Syntax even of these is reserved separate publication. We hope that the author will re encouragement to prosecute the task, till he has gone ove whole ground ; and then, that it may be found worthy o tensive adoption.

6. Twice-told Tales. By Nathaniel HAWTHORNE. Bos

James Munroe & Co. 2 vols. 12mo. pp. 331 356.

The lovers of delicate humor, natural feeling, observ “ like a blind man's touch," unerring taste, and magic of style, will greet with pleasure this new, improved, an larged edition of Hawthorne's "Twice-told Tales.” The volume appeared several years since, and received notice fit commendation in a former Number of our Journal.* second volume is made up of tales and sketches, simil character to those of the first volume, and not inferi merit. We are disposed, on the strength of these volum accord to Mr. Hawthorne a high rank among the writers o country, and to predict, that his contributions to its imagin literature will enjoy a permanent and increasing reputë Though he has not produced any elaborate and long-sust: work of fiction, yet his writings are most strikingly chara ized by that creative originality, which is the essential lifeof genius. He does not see by the help of other men's m

* See North American Review, Vol. XLV. pp. 59 et seq.

and has evidently been more of an observer and thinker, than of a student. He gives us no poor copies of poor originals in English magazines and souvenirs. He has caught nothing of the intensity of the French, or the extravagance of the German, school of writers of fiction. Whether he writes a story or a sketch, or describes a character or a scene, he employs his own materials, and gives us transcripts of images painted on his own mind. Another characteristic merit of his writings is, that he seeks and finds his subjects at home, among his own people, in the characters, the events, and the traditions of his own country. His writings retain the racy flavor of the soil. They have the healthy vigor and free grace of indigenous plants.

Perhaps there is no one thing for which he is more remarkable than his power of finding the elements of the picturesque, the romantic, and even the supernatural, in the every-day, common-place life, that is constantly going on around us. He detects the essentially poetical in that which is superficially prosaic. In the alembic of his genius, the subtile essence of poetry is extracted from prose. The history, the traditions, the people, and the scenes of New England, have not generally been supposed favorable to the romance-writer or the poet ; but, in his hands, they are fruitful and suggestive, and dispose themselves into graceful attitudes and dramatic combinations. In his little sketch called “ David Swan,” the subject is nothing more or less than an hour's sleep, by the way-side, of a youth, while waiting for the coach that is to carry him to Boston ; yet how much of thoughtful and reflective beauty is thrown round it, what strange and airy destinies brush by the youth's unconscious face, how much matter for deep meditation of life and death, the past and future, time and eternity, is called forth by the few incidents in this simple drama. As illustrations of the same power, we would refer to The Minister's Black Veil,” “ The Seven Vagabonds,” and “ Edward Fane's Rosebud,” not to speak of many others, in which this peculiarity is more or less perceptible.

One of Mr. Hawthorne's most characteristic traits is the successful manner in which he deals with the supernatural. He blends together, with a skilful hand, the two worlds of the seen and the unseen. He never fairly goes out of the limits of probability, never calls up an actual ghost, or dispenses with the laws of nature ; but he passes as near as possible, to the dividing line, and his skill and ingenuity are sometimes tasked to explain, by natural laws, that which produced upon the reader all the effect of the supernatural. In this, too, his originality is conspicuously displayed. We know of no writings which resemble his in this respect.

His genius, too, is characterized by a large proportion of feminine elements, depth and tenderness of feeling, exceeding purity of mind, and a certain airy grace and arch vivacity in narrating incidents and delineating characters. The strength and beauty of a mother's love are poured over that exquisite story, which we are tempted to pronounce, as, on the whole, the finest thing he ever wrote, “ The Gentle Boy." What minute delicacy of touch, and womanly knowledge of a child's mind and character, are perceptible in “Little Annie's Ramble.” How much of quiet pathos is contained in “ The Shaker Bridal,” and of tranquil beauty in “The Three-fold Destiny." His female characters are sketched with a pencil equally fine and delicate ; steeped in the finest hues of the imagination, yet not

“ too bright and good

For human nature's daily food." Every woman owes him a debt of gratitude for those lovely visions of womanly faith, tenderness, and truth, which glide so gracefully through his pages.

All that Mr. Hawthorne has written is impressed with a strong family likeness. His range is not very extensive, nor has he any great versatility of mind. He is not extravagant or excessive in any thing His tragedy is tempered with a certain smoothness; it solemnizes and impresses us, but it does not freeze the blood, still less offend the most fastidious taste. He stoops to no vulgar horrors or physical clap-traps. The mind, in its highest and deepest moods of feeling, is the only subject with which he deals. There is, however, a great deal of calm power, as well as artist-like skill, in his writings of this kind, such as “Howe's Masquerade,” “ The White Old Maid,” “ Lady Eleanor's Mantle.” In his humor, too, there is the same quiet tone. It is never riotous, or exuberant ; it never begets a laugh, and seldom a smile, but it is most unquestioned humor, as any one may see, by reading a “A Rill from the Town Pump,” or “ Chippings with a Chisel.” It is a thoughtful humor, of kindred with sighs as well as tears. Indeed, over all that he has written, there hangs, like an atmosphere, a certain soft and calm melancholy, which has nothing diseased or mawkish in it, but is of that kind which seems to flow naturally from delicacy of organization and a meditative spirit. There is no touch of despair in his pathos, and his humor subsides into that minor key, into which his thoughts seem naturally cast.

As a writer of the language merely, Mr. Hawthorne is entitled to great praise, in our judgment. His style strikes us as

« AnteriorContinuar »