Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CRITICAL NOTICES.

:

" LIFE OF SMITH!"

genius and worth, gathered by the assidu

ous care of friendly hands. We found upon our table, a few days

“ Heu ! quanto minus est cum reliquis versari since, a work of more than respectable ex

quam tui meminisse!” ecution and dimensions, having the above

(Which we take the liberty to translate : title impressed upon its back in conspicu

Alas ! how much less it is to live with all ous letters. We did not open the book,

the other Smiths, than to remember thee!) we were so struck with the announcement.

We ended our soliloquy; we hastily Life of Smith!” Ah! thought we,

opened the volume: this, possibly, is the history of that notorious rascal, “ John Smith"—that same Life of the Hon. Jeremiah Smith, LL.D. sad wight, who, in one short month, if the

Member of Congress during Washing

ton's Administration, Judge of the Uninewspapers are to be trusted, took to his

ted States Circuit Court, Chief Justice embrace three wives, robbed traveler

of New Hampshire, etc. By John H. in Texas, passed counterfeit money in MORRISON. Boston, Charles C. Little Missouri, stole a horse in Kentucky, fired

and James Brown. 1845." a barn in Ohio, and presided at a “ large and

We were glad, at least, to see that the enthusiastic” meeting of the “unterrified world was not at once partially depopuDemocracy " at the capitol. If so, we

lated ! shall now have a history that will be at

It is not always wise, in modern days, to tractive and interesting, even to Mephisto- publish the biography of a man. So many philes himself. The world will now be

are issued, setting forth the qualities of enlightened, and if the rogue is dead, there

persons known and unknown, that they is an end of his voting more than forty

are apt to be promiscuously neglected. times at one election—a reflection that will

The volume before us was evidently greatly increase the lamentations of the published for circulation amongst the

But if not the real Johannes, particular acquaintances and personal (se ipsissimus) it is doubtless one of his friends of the deceased, and to them, we kith and kin--the almost equally notorious believe, it will prove an acceptable offering. Tom, Dick, Bill, or Bob Smith, who kicks We do not see in its pages much that is up a row now and then in our peaceable calculated to interest the general reader, emporium, and figures in the vicinage of any further than as the example of a virtuthe Tombs, with sundry aliases of classic ous, humane and prudent man is always of euphony. Or, possibly, it is the genus public interest. We do not find in it any Smith that is celebrated in sober biography.

new or striking views of philosophy, natuAlas, then, for the profits of directory and ral or moral, nor of science, literature or other publishers to whom names are a sta

law, nor any information or facts touching ple in trade. Take away the family of the history of government, that are not alSmiths, and what is there left ?

ready well known. There is nothing in

the record that would induce one to place A sadder reflection came over us. The him in any rank of great men. The copious finest wit of his age, the accomplished extracts given from his private journal, and critic, the generous and eloquent advocate from his correspondence, show him to have of the rights and liberties of man, the sure possessed a serene, contemplative mind, and steadfast enemy of whatever is oppress. well balanced and stored with practical ive and unjust-SYDNEY SMITH-has gone wisdom, a generous heart, and a temperato his final rest. Cant, hypocrisy, tyranny, ment that created for him a circle of warm can trouble him no more, Doubtless, friends; but little further is to be gathered within these covers are tributes to his from the work. Several pages are filled

mourners.

with specimens of his wit and humor; we the author is thus expressed in his own confess, that in our obtuseness of intellect, language :we cannot, in general, discover the point

“My sole object has been to produce a or force of either. We imagine that they succinct and connected development of the can only be appreciated by those who, from vivid and eventful course of our country's their superior opportunities, can associate history, written in a style calculated to ex

cite the interest and sympathy of my readthem with the personal and peculiar pri- ers, and of such especially who, not seek. vate characteristics of the worthy judge. It ing to enter upon a very profound study of is an error not at all uncommon with the sources and more elaborate works conbiographers, and into which Mr. Morrison nected with the annals of our empire, are

nevertheless anxious to have presented to has fallen, to insert anecdotes and sayings them the means of acquiring an accurate of the subjects of their memoirs, which knowledge of the records of our Fatherlose all their force the moment they are

land, in such a form as to leave upon the committed to paper. Mr. Morrison seems

mind and heart an enduring, indelible im

pression.” to have half-suspected the same thing, uttering a lamentation to the point; “ Alas !

Accordingly, Professor Kolrausch's His. that there is no way to catch and make tory-not, indeed, very eloquent in diction tangible the aroma of such wit.” If Judge

-is concise and luminous, crowding into Smith was truly a gentleman of great hu- brief limits the varied annals of a great mor, no one would suspect him of it by clearly before the mind the peculiar ele.

race for many centuries, and bringing looking into his obese biography. Trans

ments out of which have arisen several of ferred for safe keeping to such a receptacle, the most important States of modern Euit seems to have exuded through a variety

rope. of loose pores, like the flavor of Samian

The work is for the most part well transwine decanted into an American jug. But we close the book, putting it up on

lated, and published in a form and manner a shelf by itself. Its back will always be worthy of attention from those even whose

fastidious wealth is disposed to snuff at towards us, presenting a sublimely comprehensive memento:

anything cheaply furnished. “ LIFE OF SMITH !!"

Records of the Heart. By Mrs. SARAH HISTORY OF GERMANY, from the earliest LEWIS. New York: D. Appleton & Co.,

period to the present time. By FRED 200 Broadway. ERICK KOHLRAUSCH, Chief of the

It is always with hesitation that we take Board of Education for the Kingdom of Hanover, and late Professor of His up a volume of poems by a lady, whatever tory in the Polytechnic School. Trans. may have been her known advantages of lated from the German, by JAMES D. education and opportunities. They make Haas. New York: D. Appleton & Co., so much greater use of sentiment than of 200 Broadway.

a kindled reason-of fancy than inventWe have received from the publishers ive imagination—of sensibility, in short, several numbers of their serial re-publi. than broad, perceptive sensewhich, after cations of this very valuable History, all, must be at the bottom of all intellectThe History of Germany is to be completed ual achievements—that we always fear in five numbers, and will form a most wel. an evident falling short of the “ Divine come accession to any library. There are Heights." We do not agree with all that no good histories of Germany in the Eng- a writer has urged, in relation to the femilish language. Such of them as are not nine mind, in a passage of an article mere compilations are interwoven with the in the present number; but we are conhistories of other countries. We speak, of strained to think that the grace and beauty course, of'a complete history, from the which belong to them are also in outearliest ages, and not of detached intervals; ward objects so attractive to their thoughts, for of the latter kind there are numbers of that they are seldom led to the massive and every variety of excellence. The aim of sublime. Sappho and Miss Barrett, we

think, are really the only ones of the gen. Amid the myrtle and the palm tle race who have breathed a very rare

And ilices its margin hiding;

Now sweeps it o'er the jutting shoals atmosphere. The others, including even

In murmurs like despairing souls ; Mrs. Hemans, whom certainly we greatly Now deeply, softly flows along, admire, never get much beyond the region of Like ancient minstrel's warbling song; the affections and passions---of whispering Then slowly, darkly, thoughtfully,

Loses itself in the mighty sea. winds and flowers, moonlight and tinkling The sky is clear, the stars are bright, waters. They have never stood on the diffi- The moon reposes on her light; cult “iced mountain-tops,” looking over On many a budding, fairy blossom, the vast world, with clouds below and the

Are glittering evening's dewy tears,

As gleam the Gems on Beauty's bosom, great heavens just above. Joanna Baillie

When she in festal garb appears. used, indeed, a masculine style ; but she had not, in fact, much of the spirit of

The citron-trees along the strand, poetry.

With golden fruitage brightly teem; Like the best of female poets in this The lilies in the water stand, country, Mrs. Lewis stands somewhat in Watching their shadows in the stream, proof of these remarks.

And ring the while their tiny bells,
She lives, and

As round their feet the billow swells." attempts to live only in a land of fancy and the affections. She is taken with the We would suggest, in passing, that Mrs. murmur of leaves and waters; she sees Lewis do not write too much in the ocalways the image of young Love beckoning to-syllabic. It is really a fatal measure, her onwards. Of these, however—though though she has generally managed it well. her strains are often unequal and inartistic One or two stanzas, however, from a Mo--she sings naturally and sweetly enough; nody on L. E. L., may show that she is and a place will not be denied her among not confined to that measure. The verses the poetesses of our country. She has feel. are fine, ing enough, which is one of the chief ele

“ Shelley and White, and all the tuneful ments of poetry. What she chiefly lacks is greater power of condensation, and more Behold their death-bed, their untimely attention to the forms of verse. If she has

doom! not written, she has at least printed too From Missolonghi one went to his tomb

In India three have found a resting-place, much--a fault common to many others. How sad ! Two hapless sons repose in There are many passages in the book so good Rome, as to warrant her expending much greater Torquato fell by Este’s cruel hand, care and labor on shorter efforts. Let her Dark Sappho sleeps beneath th’lonian

foam, avoid, also, a tendency to imitation-the The immortal Dante in the exile's land, great fault of our poets. We might put And thou, fair Albion's child, midst Afric's down more points of praise; but we have not

burning sand ! space. As it is, we believe the fair author Genius on thee had shed his starry beams, will be better pleased with these few And lit within thy breast his quenchless simple indications. “ Look into thine

fire; own heart and write.” We can only make Thy young heart filled with Fancy's bright

est dreams, room for two or three brief extracts, which Whatever Hope, and Faith, and Truth will show the character of her verse, and inspire. that she has the poet's eye for the pictur- But Fate, before whose breath must all esque, and the poetic heart. In the story to ruin hurled thy high expectancy,

expire, of “Florence,” we find :

The laurel tore from thy impassioned lyre,

Extinguished love, thy soul's divinity, “The waves are smooth, the wind is calm, And wrung thy bleeding heart till it was Onward the golden stream is gliding,

bliss to die."

race

니니

« AnteriorContinuar »