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roots removes the necessity of such an embarrassing expedient. But a thorough reform, in this respect, would be difficult, if not wholly impracticable.
We cannot forbear to say one word in favor of the Tables of Declension and Conjugation, which form an important feature of this grammar. They are published separately in two forins ; in duodecimo, for the convenience and economy of beginners in learning the Greek paradigms, and in large quarto, for the convenience of more advanced students in consulting and comparing them.” They answer fully the purpose of the editor, to furnish the pupil with those materials, in the most compact and intelligible form, the perfect mastery of which is absolutely essential for any progress in his studies.
The present vo ime makes but a small portion of the whole work, which Professor Crosby designs to execute. It contains only the first part of a grammar of the Attic and Common dialects, and the Syntax even of these is reserved for a separate publication. We hope that the author will receive encouragement to prosecute the task, till he has gone over the whole ground ; and then, that it may be found worthy of extensive adoption.
Twice-told Tales. By NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE. Boston:
pp. 331 and
The lovers of delicate humor, natural feeling, observation “ like a blind man's touch,” unerring taste, and magic grace of style, will greet with pleasure this new, improved, and enlarged edition of Hawthorne's “ Twice-told Tales.” The first volume appeared several years since, and received notice and fit commendation in a former Number of our Journal.* The second volume is made up of tales and sketches, similar in character to those of the first volume, and not inferior in merit. We are disposed, on the strength of these volumes, to accord to Mr. Hawthorne a high rank among the writers of this country, and to predict, that his contributions to its imaginative literature will enjoy a permanent and increasing reputation. Though he has not produced any elaborate and long-sustained work of fiction, yet his writings are most strikingly characterized by that creative originality, which is the essential life-blood of genius. He does not see by the help of other men's minds,
* 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 remark-, able 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, 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 buman 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
1842.] Washburn's Judicial History of Massachusetts. 499
one of marked and uncommon excellence. It is fresh and vigorous, not formed by studying any particular model, and has none of the stiffness which comes from imitation; but it is eminently correct and careful. His language is very pure, his words are uniformly well chosen, and his periods are moulded with great grace and skill. It is also a very perspicuous style, through which his thoughts shine like natural objects seen through the purest plate-glass. He has no affectations or prettinesses of phrases, and none of those abrupt transitions, or of that studied inversion and uncouth abruptness, by which attention is often attempted to be secured to what is feeble or commonplace. It is characterized by that same unerring good taste, which presides over all the movements of his mind.
We feel that we have hardly done justice to Mr. Hawthorne's claims in this brief notice, and that they deserve an extended analysis and criticism ; but we have not done this, partly on account of our former attempt to do justice to his merits, and partly because his writings have now become so well known, and are so justly appreciated, by all discerning minds, that they do not need our commendation. He is not an author to create a sensation, or have a tumultuous popularity. His works are not stimulating or impassioned, and they minister nothing to a feverish love of excitement. Their tranquil beauty and softened tints, which do not win the notice of the restless many, only endear them the more to the thoughtful few.
We commend them for their truth and healthiness of feeling, and their moral dignity, no less than for their literary merit. The pulse of genius beats vigorously through them, and the glow of life is in them. It is the voice of a man who has seen and thought for himself, which addresses us; and the treasures which he offers to us are the harvests of much observation and deep reflection on man, and life, and the human heart.
7. - Sketches of the Judicial History of Massachusetts, from 1630, to the Revolution, in 1775. By Emory WASH
Boston. C. C. Little & James Brown. 1840. 8vo. pp. 400.
This work has evidently been a labor of love, and we trust that Mr. Washburn has found his own reward in the prosecution of his inquiries ; because, from the nature of his subject,
he can otherwise hope for no adequate return for the time and toil he has expended in them. Few, even of the legal profession itself, have any curiosity to trace its history to its early sources; and, out of the pale of the profession, none but a professed antiquary will duly appreciate the disinterested zeal with which Mr. Washburn has gathered up the scattered fragments of the past, and combined them into a connected form. He has done the State good service by his book. It is a conscientious and judicious compilation from original sources, both in print and in manuscript, written in a good style, and, we should judge, with great accuracy of statement and carefulness of detail. It contains a number of brief and comprehensive biographical notices of distinguished ante-revolutionary judges and lawyers, and curious sketches of the primitive forms of administering justice in the earlier days of the Commonwealth, when law was in the gristle, and not hardened into the bone of manhood.” The work becomes doubly honorable to Mr. Washburn in the view of those who know that he is not a mere legal student, but is engaged in an arduous and extensive practice, which, with most men, would be a sufficient excuse to themselves for “ daffing aside ” all the curious and unprofitable learning of their profession as mere surplusage, and that he has given inuch valuable time to the State in a legislative capacity.
Chapters on Churchyards. By CAROLINE SOUTHey, Authoress of “ Solitary Hours,” &c. &c. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1842.
The author of this work (we cannot subscribe to the authority of the title-page, and say authoress) is better known to the world of readers by her maiden name of Caroline Bowles. She is now the wife of Robert Southey. The title of the book is not exactly an index to its contents, for the greater part of it has nothing in particular to do with churchyards, except that the pervading tone is melancholy, and many of the narratives have a tragical termination. The larger portion of it is occupied with three desultory narratives, called “Broad Summerford, “ Andrew Cleaves," and the “Grave of the Broken Heart.” We have read it with a good deal of pleasure. The writer is evidently a person of strong and correct religious feeling, well-regulated sensibility, expansive benevolence, and a decided poetical temperament. She has suffered a good