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ble or imposing? Our primary schools are numerous, each professing to have its own system, but we have no uniformity, no one standard, no aim in our education. A system of drilling, such as prevails at Harrow, in England, is not practised in this country. How many of our graduated youths could compose Latin verses such as are found in the ‘Arundines ?' On the score of quantity of words, we imagine that work will bear a pretty rigid scrutiny. Yet this particular, to transgress in which is considered a grievous sin among English scholars, is almost wholly disregarded among us. There are scarcely any scholars at our universities, who, as regards quantity, could read a single passage in an ancient author without outrage to the most unscrupulous ears.* We believe that we are stating nothing more than the truth on this subject. We know it from personal observation, and regret that it is so, only hoping that the time may not be far distant when candor may be enabled to render a better verdict. There are too few among us who pursue learning for its own sake. But perhaps the cause for this is to be sought in the peculiar stage of advancement to which we are arrived. The nation, as such, is poor, and the whole energy of the people is naturally bent on the development of the great resources of the country, and, true to their English origin, on the promotion of individual weal. Arts and the refinement of letters are secondary, and riches and all luxury but the representatives of so much mortal toil. Wealth is accumulated first, and then, overflowing, it summons to its aid the resources of genius, and delights in the treasures of art. But until it waves its magical wand, the Muses are found in a sacred privacy. Men live in their unadorned dwellings. There are few among them to give the language of Fancy utterance, to embody in enduring forms the delicate creations of an old mythology, whose essence was a passion for the Beautiful, the very religion of the Greeks. Where shall we look for the three forms of Art, which are, in fact, one, and may be comprised under the name of Poet? For the marble and the canvas are creative, and eloquent as
thoughts that breathe,' or words that burn. But as yet few worship art. There is no Claude to diffuse his delicious tints over the canvas; no artist to sculpture the lovely Venus from the stone; no genius to upheave the dome which makes infinity comprehensible; no Angelo to hang the Pantheon in air. A few ages pass away, and sordid gain has amassed its treasures, when, sinking into its despised grave, it leaves the legacy of tears and toil to others. But a new race has arisen, not born to labor. Witness then the transfusion of the gold. Wealth speaks the word, and whatever we choose to imagine is accomplished. Nature and Art submit to the allegiance of Taste. The very fields are regulated in their wild luxuriance, and the landscape is neat with culture. Painting, sculpture, architecture, embellish the splendid cities. Music breathes voluptuously. The theatre reflects the manners of the age, which a higher education polishes. The lofty mansion bespeaks pride. Lines of ancestors are on the walls. It may be a very museuin, where Art has collected her most precious gems; every nook contains some triumph, and every niche a master-piece. The humane letters indeed may flourish under every discouragement. Penury and cold neglect cannot make the genius dim which struggles to shine. But every congenial element must be brought to bear to raise up a body of learned men, and to make the seats of learning rival those of old renown. In the mean time let us as far as possible correct what is deficient, and plant the seeds at least of good systems, in hopes that time shall develop their fruits, and that the treasures which are now attainable by a few, may be diffused among the many.
* COLUMBIA COLLEGE, in New York, forms, as we believe, a solitary exception to the above reinarks.
THE WISS A HICON.
A REMINISCENOE: FROM TIE PORTFOLIO OF A VOYAGER.
SWEET WISSAHICON! dear romantic stream!
'T was then, with springy step and laughing brow,
Dear to my heart was then the varied scene
In genial Spring I early sought thy shades,
And oft I loved, at Summer's eventide,
And when at last dark Autumn's hour drew near,
Where'er around my wandering eyes are cast,
Here is the oak, beneath whose spreading shade,
Ah! even now, as pensive Memory strays,
Changed art thou, Wissahicon! since the hours
And must the lingering charms that still remain
Stay, if thou canst, Improvement's ruthless sway,
Sweet Wissahicon! swiftly fades the day,
And when these eyes are dim, this hair is gray,
Shall join to swell the pleasing symphony.
R, TM VOL. XXXVIII.
A SKETCH OF G ULF-SERVICE.
BY THE WANDERER.
It was a lovely morning in the month of March; not that cold, bleak, rainy March, which chills the bones of the dweller in higher latitudes, but the March of the Gulf of Mexico, interspersed indeed with icy northers,' but between them the air is of that delightful temperature which sometimes blesses the Manhattaner in the latter part of April and early part of May; being neither too hot nor too cold.
Our stately vessel was anchored off Tuxpan river, about nine miles from shore, under the lee of the rees that would defend it in bad weather from the force of the sea, which during storms rolls in with great violence, gathering strength as it comes along the whole extended surface of the widest part of the Gulf, and wastes its fury in snow-capped billows on the coral reefs that rise to arrest its progress.
Old father Sol had just shown his smiling head about a handspike high in the eastern horizon, and threw a golden streak of sunshine over the waters that now lay tranquil as a sleeping infant, as if to form a pathway by which we might pass from the ship to the footstool of his resplendent majesty. A light breeze scarce ruffled the face of the ocean, as if the zephyr wished to greet old Neptune with a morning kiss; but the lazy fellow was so locked in slumbers that he scarce felt the chaste salute.
The officer of the watch sauntered up and down the holy-stoned deck, whose snowy whiteness seemed almost insulted by the touch of his négligé high-lows. The sentry at the captain's door reports six bells, and in a moment the echoes of the gun-deck are awoke by the measured sound of the old brazen-tongued time-teller. “Messenger-boy, tell the boatswain to call away the barge and second cutter.' 'Ay, ay, Sir;'and now are heard the merry notes of the pipe as it peals thrillingly on the air. 'Away there, barges, away! Away there, second cutters, away!' Each boatswain's mate in turn, or rather in tune, takes up the burden of the song : ‘Away there, barges, away! Away there, second cutters, away!' Quick at the word, the well-disciplined crews fly to the gangway and descend to their respective boats, which have been hauled alongside the accommodationladder by their keepers. “Pass those arms into the boats !' 'Ay, ay, Sir !' and a musket, cutlass and pair of pistols for each man were handed down the side.
In a few minutes we all had taken our seats in the stern-sheets, armed in like manner with the men, save the musket, which was exchanged for a short carbine that loaded at the breech, and thus was rendered much more convenient for service, not needing the use of the ramrod for sending the charge home. Shove off,' says the captain, and now, the word given, the oars, that had been held erect with their blades pointing to heaven, fell all at once splashing into the quiet waters, and threw the drops, rainbow-dyed, high into the air. “Give way!' cries the coxswain ;