INTERNATIONAL WEEKLY MISCELLANY
Of Literature, Art, and Science.
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Vol. I. NEW YORK, AUGUST 26, 1850. No. 9.
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A magnificent work upon this subject has just been completed in Paris, where it was commenced fifteen years ago. It was begun under the auspices of M. Paul Delaroche and M.C. Lenormand, member of the Institute, and well known already as one of the first authorities in the numismatic branch of archaeology. Some faint idea of the greatness of the task may be given by stating that it embraces the whole range of art, from the regal coins of Syracuse and of the Ptolemies, down to those of our day; that such a stupendous scheme should ever have been carried into execution is not solely due to the admirable ease and fidelity, with which the "Collas machine" renders the smallest and the largest gems of the antique: but to him who first felt, appreciated, and afterward promoted its capabilities in this labor of love, M.A. Lachevardiere. Comparisons and contrasts, which are the life of art, though generally confined to the mental vision, are not the least of the recommendations of this vast work. For the first time have the minor treasures of each country been brought together, and not the least conspicuous portion are those from the British Museum and the Bank of England.
[Footnote 1: Tresor de Numismatique et de Glyptique; ou, Recueil General de Medailles, Monnaies, Pierres Gravees, Sceaux, Bas-reliefs, Ornements, &c. Paris, 1850.]
Whether we consider the selection of these monumental relics, the explanatory letterpress, or the engravings which reproduce them, we are struck by the admirable taste, science, and fidelity with which the largest as well as the smallest gems have each and every one been made to tally in size with the originals.
The collection of the "Tresor de Numismatique et Glyptique," consisting of twenty volumes in folio, and containing a thousand engraved plates in folio, reproduces upward of 15,000 specimens, and is divided into three classes—1st. The coins, medals, cameos, &c. of antiquity; 2d. Those of the middle ages; lastly, those of modern times. The details of this immense mass of artistic wealth would be endless; but these three classes seem to be arranged according to the latest classification of numismatists.
In the first class may be noticed—1. The regal coins of Greece, which contains, beside the portraits of the Greek Kings, to be found in Visconti's "Iconographie," copied from medals and engraved gems, all the coins bearing the Greek name of either a king, a prince, or a tyrant, and every variety of these types, whether they bear the effigy of a prince, or only reproduce his name. To the medals of each sovereign are joined the most authentic and celebrated engraved gems of European cabinets. Next come the series of portraits of the Roman emperors and their families, with all the important varieties of Roman numismatics, amongst which will be found the most celebrated coins of France, Vienna, Dresden, Munich, Florence, Naples, St. Petersburg, Weimar, &c.; and, moreover, those medallions which perpetuate great events. These two volumes contain eight-fold more matter than the great work of Visconti.
In the second class, containing the works of the middle ages, and showing the uninterrupted progress of the numismatic art down to modern times, and forming alone fourteen volumes, we find the source which the French artists and men of letters have studied with such predilection. First in order are the Italian medals of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, chiefly by the famous Victor Pisano, a Veronese, whom Nasari has so much lauded. The scholars and imitators of Pisano also produced works as interesting as historical documents as they are admirable in workmanship. Here also will be found the French and English seals, in which the balance of skill in design and execution is acknowledged to be in our favor.
Less barbarous, and indeed perfect works of art, in character of costume and visage, are the medals struck in Germany during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the influence of Albert Durer and his school was strongly felt. And finally, relics of ornamental art of different nations and epochs.
In the third class, two parts only are devoted to contemporary art; the medals illustrative of the French revolution of 1789; those of the "Empire" and of the Emperor "Napoleon;" generally smacking of the florid and corrupt taste of that period, they are nevertheless curious as being often the sole evidence of the facts commemorated. There is, however, a manifest improvement in the late ones, and in them may be traced the transition from the independent ideas of the revolution to the subsequent submission to one man: and not less striking is the transition from a slip-shod style of art to a pedantic imitation of the antique. The "Tresor de Numismatique et de Glyptique" is the most scientific and important work of art which has been executed and achieved of late years in France. Our great public libraries may be proud of possessing so rich, so valuable, and so curious a collection,
Most lovers of art have their favorite periods and well-beloved masters, but in this varied range of excellence it is difficult which to select for preference and admiration. The cameos have a beauty and finesse which far surpass that of busts and statues; they evince the skill of grouping, which, with rare exceptions, such as the Niobe and Laocoon, is seldom aimed at in the more important pieces of sculpture. Cameos, moreover, let us, as it were, into the secrets of indoor life. To these considerations we may add that these gems have had an immense influence on French modern art. The "Apotheosis of Augustus" especially, known to antiquarians as the "Agate of Tiberius," the largest cameo in the world, and beautifully engraved the size of the original in this collection, may be traced in more than one of their late compositions.
It is said that large medallions are a sign of taste either in the medalist or the monarch he is supposed to honor; if so, Dupre and Varin have drawn a thick vail over the effulgence of Louis XIV. We would not, however, lose their wigs and smiles for a world of historiettes.
But it is to be remembered that the more names are blazoned on works of art, the more art becomes deteriorated. In this respect the present collection shows the rapidly progressive march of this evil through twenty-five centuries—a most instructive subject of contemplation.
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THE CSIKOS OF HUNGARY.
Of the chivalry, the gallantry, the splendor, the hospitality, the courage, and the love of liberty of the Hungarian noble or gentleman, no one doubts. Of his ideas of true constitutional freedom, or the zeal with which that or Hungarian independence has been maintained first through Turkish, and then German domination for some hundred years past, doubts may be entertained. Neither do the Hungarian peasantry or people reflect high credit on their "natural superiors." Something should be deducted for the forced vivacity and straining after effect of the litterateur; but this sketch of a large class of peasantry from Max Schlesinger's "War in Hungary," just published in London, must have some foundation in truth—and very like the Red Indians or half-breeds of Spanish America the people look.
"The Csikos is a man who from his birth, somehow or other, finds himself seated upon a foal. Instinctively the boy remains fixed upon the animal's back, and grows up in his seat as other children do in the cradle.
"The boy grows by degrees to a big horse-herd. To earn his livelihood, he enters the service of some nobleman, or of the Government, who possess in Hungary immense herds of wild horses. These herds range over a tract of many German square miles, for the most part some level plain, with wood, marsh, heath, and moorland; they rove about where they please, multiply, and enjoy freedom of existence. Nevertheless, it is a common error to imagine that these horses, like a pack of wolves in the mountains, are left to themselves and nature, without any care or thought of man. Wild horses, in the proper sense of the term, are in Europe at the present day only met with in Bessarabia; whereas the so-called wild herds in Hungary may rather be compared to the animals ranging in our large parks, which are attended to and watched. The deer are left to the illusion that they enjoy the most unbounded freedom; and the deer-stalker, when in pursuit of his game, readily gives in to the same illusion. Or, to take another simile, the reader has only to picture to himself a well-constituted free state, whether a republic or a monarchy is all one.
"The Csikos has the difficult task of keeping a watchful eye upon these herds. He knows their strength, their habits, the spots they frequent; he knows the birthday of every foal, and when the animal, fit for training, should be taken out of the herd. He has then a hard task upon his hands, compared with which a Grand-Ducal wild-boar hunt is child's play; for the horse has not only to be taken alive from the midst of the herd, but of course safe and sound in wind and limb. For this purpose, the celebrated whip of the Csikos serves him; probably at some future time a few splendid specimens of this instrument will be exhibited in the Imperial Arsenal at Vienna, beside the sword of Scanderberg and the Swiss 'morning-stars.'
"This whip has a stout handle from one and a half to two feet long, and a cord which measures not less than from eighteen to twenty-four feet in length. The cord is attached to a short iron chain, fixed to the top of the handle by an iron ring. A large leaden button is fastened to the end of the cord, and similar smaller buttons are distributed along it at distances, according to certain rules derived from experience, of which we are ignorant. Armed with this weapon, which the Csikos carries in his belt, together with a short grappling-iron or hook, he sets out on his horse-chase. Thus mounted and equipped without saddle or stirrup, he flies like the storm-wind over the heath, with such velocity that the grass scarcely bends under the horse's hoof; the step of his horse is not heard, and the whirling cloud of dust above his head alone marks his approach and disappearance. Although familiar with the use of a bridle, he despises such a troublesome article of luxury, and guides his horse with his voice, hands, and feet—nay, it almost seems as if he directed it by the mere exercise of the will, as we move our feet to the right or left, backward or forward, without its ever coming into our head to regulate our movements by a leather strap.
"In this manner for hours he chases the flying herd, until at length he succeeds in approaching the animal which he is bent on catching. He then swings his whip round in immense circles, and throws the cord with such dexterity and precision that it twines around the neck of his victim. The leaden button at the end, and the knots along the cord, form a noose, which draws closer and tighter the faster the horse hastens on.
"See how he flies along with outstretched legs, his mane whistling in the wind, his eye darting fire, his mouth covered with foam, and the dust whirling aloft on all sides! But the noble animal breathes shorter, his eye grows wild and staring, his nostrils are reddened with blood, the veins of his neck are distended like cords, his legs refuse longer service—he sinks exhausted and powerless, a picture of death. But at the same instant the pursuing steed likewise stands still and fixed as if turned to stone. An instant, and the Csikos has flung himself off his horse upon the ground, and inclining his body backward, to keep the noose tight, he seizes the cord alternately with the right and left hand, shorter and shorter, drawing himself by it nearer and nearer to the panting and prostrate animal, till at last coming up to it he flings his legs across its back. He now begins to slacken the noose gently, allowing the creature to recover breath: but hardly does the horse feel this relief, before he leaps up, and darts off again in a wild course, as if still able to escape from his enemy. But the man is already bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh; he sits fixed upon his neck as if grown to it, and makes the horse feel his power at will, by tightening or slackening the cord. A second time the hunted animal sinks upon the ground; again he rises, and again breaks down, until at length, overpowered with exhaustion, he can no longer stir a limb....
"The foot-soldier who has discharged his musket is lost when opposed to the Csikos. His bayonet, with which he can defend himself against the Uhlans and Hussars, is here of no use to him; all his practiced maneuvers and skill are unavailing against the long whip of his enemy, which drags him to the ground, or beats him to death with his leaden buttons; nay, even if he had still a charge in his musket, he could sooner hit a bird on the wing than the Csikos, who, riding round and round him in wild bounds, dashes with his steed first to one side then to another, with the speed of lightning, so as to frustrate any aim. The horse-soldier, armed in the usual manner, fares not much better; and wo to him if he meets a Csikos singly! better to fall in with a pack of ravenous wolves."
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THE PRESENT RELIGION OF PERSIA.
An account of the Expedition for the survey of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, carried on by order of the British Government, in the years 1835, 1836, and 1837; preceded by geographical and historical notices of the regions situated between the Nile and the Indus, with fourteen maps and charts, and ninety-seven plates, besides numerous woodcuts, has just appeared in London, in four large volumes, from the pen of Lieutenant-Colonel Chesney, R.A., F.R.S., &c., commander of the Expedition. It is too comprehensive a work ever to be reprinted here, or to be much read, even in England, but it is undoubtedly very valuable as an authority. The following paragraphs from it describe the present state of religion in Persia:
"The title of Mulla is conferred on a candidate by some member of the order, after the requisite examination in theology and law; and the person is then intrusted with the education of youth, as well as the administration of justice, and the practice of law. The Mullas sometimes possess sufficient power not only to influence the people at large, but even the King himself.
"Of this class of priests, those who have been successful in life are either placed in mosques or private families, waiting for advancement; but a greater number are nominally attached to colleges, and live by the practice of astrology, fortune-telling, the sale of charms, talismans, &c. They who are not possessed of the requisite ingenuity to subsist by the credulity of others, take charge of an inferior school, or write letters, and draw up marriage and other engagements, for those who are unequal to the task. They mix at the same time largely in the domestic concerns of families. But in addition to these and other vocations, a considerable number of the lowest priests derive a scanty support from that charity which no one denies to the true believer. These men wander as fakirs from place to place, carrying news, and repeating poems, tales, &c., mixed with verses from the Koran. The heterodox religions are very numerous; nor is Irian without her free-thinkers, as the Kamurs and Mu'tazelis, (Mitaulis,) who deny everything which they cannot prove by natural reason. A third sect, the Mahadelis, or Molochadis, still maintain the Magian belief that the stars and the planets govern all things. Another, the Ehl el Tabkwid, (men of truth,) hold that there is no God except the four elements, and no rational soul or life after this one. They maintain also, that all living bodies, being mixtures of the elements, will after death return to their first principles. They also affirm that paradise and hell belong to this world, into which every man returns in the form of a beast, a plant, or again as a man; and that in this second state, he is great, powerful, and happy, or poor, despicable, and unhappy, according to his former merits or demerits. In practice they inculcate kindness to and respect for each other, with implicit obedience to their chiefs, who are called Pir, (old men,) and are furnished with all kinds of provisions for their subsistence. This sect is found in the provinces of Irak and Fars.
"The Tarikh Zenadikah (way of the covetous) are directly opposed to the last on the subject of transmigration; and they believe that God is in all places, and performs all things. They likewise maintain that the whole visible universe is only a manifestation of the Supreme Being; the soul itself being a portion of the Divine essence. Therefore, they consider, that whatever appears to the eye is God, and that all religious rites should be comprised in the contemplation of God's goodness and greatness.
"On these various creeds the different branches of Suffeeism seem to have been founded. One of the most extraordinary of these sects is the Rashaniyah; the followers of which believe in the transmigration of souls, and the manifestation of the Divinity in the persons of holy men. They maintain likewise, that all men who do not join their sect are to be considered as dead, and that their goods belong, in consequence, to the true believers, as the only survivors."
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THE "OLD DUKE OF QUEENSBURY."
Mr. Burke gives in his gossiping book about the English aristocracy, the following anecdotes of this once famous person:
"Few men occupied a more conspicuous place about the court and town for nearly seventy years, during the reigns of the Second and Third Georges. Like Wilmot Earl of Rochester, he pursued pleasure under every shape, and with as much ardor at fourscore as he had done at twenty. At the decease of his father, in 1731, he became Earl of March; and he subsequently, in 1748, inherited his mother's earldom of Ruglen, together with the family's estates in the counties of Edinburgh and Linlithgow. These rich endowments of fortune, and a handsome person, of which he was especially careful, combined to invest the youthful Earl with no ordinary attractions, and the ascendency they acquired he retained for a longer period than any one of his contemporaries; from his first appearance in the fashionable world in the year 1746, to the year he left it forever, in 1810, at the age of eighty-five, he was always an object of comparative notoriety. There was no interregnum in the public course of his existence. His first distinction he achieved on the turf; his knowledge of which, both in theory and practice, equaled that of the most accomplished adepts of Newmarket. In all his principal matches he rode himself, and in that branch of equitation rivaled the most professional jockeys. Properly accoutered in his velvet cap, red silken jacket, buckskin breeches, and long spurs, his Lordship bore away the prize on many a well-contested field. His famous match with the Duke of Hamilton was long remembered in sporting annals. Both noblemen rode their own horses, and each was supported by numerous partisans. The contest took place on the race-ground at Newmarket, and attracted all the fashionables of the period. Lord March, thin, agile, and admirably qualified for exertion, was the victor. Still more celebrated was his Lordship's wager with the famous Count O'Taafe. During a conversation at a convivial meeting on the subject of 'running against time,' it was suggested by Lord March, that it was possible for a carriage to be drawn with a degree of celerity previously unexampled, and believed to be impossible. Being desired to name his maximum, he undertook, provided choice of ground were given him and a certain period for training, to draw a carriage with four wheels not less than nineteen miles within the space of sixty minutes. The accomplishment of such rapidity staggered the belief of his hearers; and a heavy wager was the consequence. Success mainly depending on the lightness of the carriage, Wright of Long Acre, the most ingenious coach-builder of the day, devoted the whole resources of his skill to its construction, and produced a vehicle formed partly of wood and partly of whale-bone, with silk harness, that came up to the wishes of his employer. Four blood horses of approved speed were then selected, and the course at Newmarket chosen as the ground of contest. On the day appointed, 29th of August, 1750, noble and ignoble gamesters journeyed from far and near to witness the wonderful experiment; excitement reached the highest point, and bets to an enormous amount were made. At length the jockeys mounted; the carriage was put in motion, and rushing on with a velocity marvelous in those times of coach traveling, but easily conceived by us railway travelers of the nineteenth century, gained within the stipulated hour the goal of victory."
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THE DECAY OF GREAT FAMILIES.
Not the least valuable parts of Burke's just published "Anecdotes of the Aristocracy," are a species of essay on the fortunes of families. The following is from a chapter on their decadence:
"It has often occurred to us that a very interesting paper might be written on the rise and fall of English families. Truly does Dr. Borlase remark that 'the most lasting houses have only their seasons, more or less, of a certain constitutional strength. They have their spring and summer sunshine glare, their wane, decline, and death.' Take, for example, the Plantagenets, the Staffords, and the Nevills, the three most illustrious names on the roll of England's nobility. What race in Europe surpassed in royal position, in personal achievement, our Henries and our Edwards? and yet we find the great-great-grandson of Margaret Plantagenet, daughter and heiress of George Duke of Clarence, following the craft of a cobbler at the little town of Newport in Shropshire, in the year 1637. Beside, if we were to investigate the fortunes of many of the inheritors of the royal arms, it would soon be discovered that
'The aspiring blood of Lancaster'
had sunk into the ground. The princely stream at the present time flows through very humble veins. Among the lineal descendants of Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent, sixth son of Edward I., King of England, entitled to quarter the Royal arms, occur Mr. Joseph Smart, of Hales Owen, butcher, and Mr. George Wilmot, keeper of the turnpike-gate at Cooper's Bank, near Dudley; and among the descendants of Thomas Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, fifth son of Edward III., we may mention Mr. Stephen James Penny, the late sexton at St. George's, Hanover Square.
"The story of the Gargraves is a melancholy chapter in the romance of real life. For full two centuries, or more, scarcely a family in Yorkshire enjoyed a higher position. Its chiefs earned distinction in peace and war; one died in France, Master of the Ordnance to King Henry V.; another, a soldier, too, fell with Salisbury, at the siege of Orleans; and a third filled the Speaker's chair of the House of Commons. What an awful contrast to this fair picture does the sequel offer. Thomas Gargrave, the Speaker's eldest son, was hung at York, for murder; and his half-brother, Sir Richard, endured a fate only less miserable. The splendid estate he inherited he wasted by the most wanton extravagance, and at length reduced himself to abject want. 'His excesses,' says Mr. Hunter, in his 'History of Doncaster,' 'are still, at the expiration of two centuries, the subject of village tradition; and his attachment to gaming is commemorated in an old painting, long preserved in the neighboring mansion of Badsworth, in which he is represented as playing at the old game of put, the right hand against the left, for the stake of a cup of ale.
"The close of Sir Richard's story is as lamentable as its course. An utter bankrupt in means and reputation, he is stated to have been reduced to travel with the pack-horses to London, and was at last found dead in an old hostelry! He had married Catherine, sister of Lord Danvers, and by her left three daughters. Of the descendants of his brothers few particulars can be ascertained. Not many years since, a Mr. Gargrave, believed to be one of them, filled the mean employment of parish-clerk of Kippax.
"A similar melancholy narrative applies to another great Yorkshire house. Sir William Reresby, Bart., son and heir of the celebrated author, succeeded, at the death of his father, in 1689, to the beautiful estate of Thrybergh, in Yorkshire, where his ancestors had been seated uninterruptedly from the time of the Conquest; and he lived to see himself denuded of every acre of his broad lands. Le Neve states, in his MSS. preserved in the Heralds' College, that he became a tapster in the King's Bench Prison, and was tried and imprisoned for cheating in 1711. He was alive in 1727, when Wootton's account of the Baronets was published. In that work he is said to be reduced to a low condition. At length he died in great obscurity, a melancholy instance how low pursuits and base pleasures may sully the noblest name, and waste an estate gathered with labor and preserved by the care of a race of distinguished progenitors. Gaming was amongst Sir William's follies—particularly that lowest specimen of the folly, the fights of game-cocks. The tradition at Thrybergh is (for his name is not quite forgotten) that the fine estate of Dennaby was staked and lost on a single main. Sir William Reresby was not the only baronet who disgraced his order at that period. In 1722, Sir Charles Burton was tried at the Old Bailey for stealing a seal; pleaded poverty, but was found guilty, and sentenced to transportation; which sentence was afterward commuted for a milder punishment."
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MADRID AND THE SPANISH SENATE.
Gazpacho; or, Summer Months in Spain, is the title of a new book by W. George Clark, published in London. Gazpacho, it seems, is the name of a dish peculiar to Spain, but of universal use there, a sort of cold soup, made up of familiars and handy things, as bread, pot-herbs, oil, and water. "My Gazpacho," says the author, "has been prepared after a similar receipt. I know not how it will please the more refined and fastidious palates to which it will be submitted; indeed, amid the multitude of dainties wherewith the table is loaded, it may well remain untasted." It at least deserves a better fate than that. The volume relates, in a pleasant, intelligent, and gossiping way, a summer's ramble through Spain, describing with considerable force the peculiarities of its people, and the romantic features by which it is marked. The clever painter could not have better materials. The party-colored costumes of the peasants, like dahlias at a Chiswick show; the somber garments of the priests, the fine old churches, the queer rambling houses, looking centuries old, the dull, gloomy streets of Madrid, the life and activity of the market-place. Such are the objects upon which the eye rests, and of which Mr. Clark was too observant to neglect any. The following passages will give an idea of the materials of which the Gazpacho is made up:—
"I left, I suppose, scarcely a street in Madrid which I did not traverse, or a church which I did not enter. The result is hardly worth the trouble. One street and church are exactly like another street and church. In the latter, one always finds the same profusion of wooden Christs, and Madonnas in real petticoats, on the walls, and the same scanty sprinkling of worshipers, also in petticoats, on the floor. The images outnumber the devotees here, as in all other Roman Catholic countries (except Ireland, which is an exception to every rule.) To a stranger, the markets are always the most interesting haunts. A Spaniard, he or she, talks more while making the daily bargain than in all the rest of the twenty-four hours. The fruit and vegetable market was my especial lounge. There is such a fresh, sweet smell of the country, and the groups throw themselves, or are thrown, into such pretty tableaux after the Rubens and Snyders fashion. The shambles one avoids instinctively, and fish-market there is none, for Madrid is fifty hours' journey from the nearest sea, and the Manzanares has every requisite for a fine trout stream, but water.
"Madrid has one peculiarity which conduces very much to the visitor's comfort, namely, that there are very few inevitable 'sights' to be gone through. The armory said to be the finest in the world; the palace, ditto (which people who are addicted to upholstering may go and see, if they don't mind breaking the tenth commandment); the museum of natural history, where is the largest loadstone in active operation between this and Medina; and the Academia, nearly complete the list. Everybody should devote a morning to the last-named, were it only for the sake of the Murillos. The famous picture of 'St. Isabel giving alms to the sick' has been arrested at Madrid on its return from Paris to Seville. As the Sevilians have instituted a 'process' for its recovery, it is likely to stay there for some time longer. 'The Patrician's Dream' is quite cheering to look upon, so rich and glowing it is. Shut your eyes to the semi-ludicrous effect of husband, wife, and dog, in a decreasing series, like the three genders in Lindley Murray, all asleep.
"The gardens of the queen, sunk in a deep hollow below the palace, deserve a visit. The head-gardener, of course a Frenchman, struggles gallantly against all kinds of difficulties of soil, climate, and lack of water. By a series of ingenious artifices he has concocted a plot of grass, some ten feet square, to the great astonishment of all natives."
NARVAEZ IN THE SENATE.
"One day my kind friend Colonel S. took me to hear a debate in the Senado, the Spanish Chamber of Peers, which holds its sittings in the chapel of a suppressed convent, near the palace. By dint of paint, gilding, and carpets, the room has been divested of its sanctified aspect, and made to look like a handsome modern room. They have not thought it necessary that a place in which a hundred gentlemen in surtouts meet to discuss secular matters in this nineteenth century, should be made to resemble a chapel of the fifteenth. Antiquity is here represented in the person of two halberdiers, who stand to guard the door, dressed in extravagant costume, like beefeaters in full bloom. Rows of raised seats extend on each side of the room; in the center, facing the beef-eaters, are the chair and desk of the president, and on each side a little tribune, from which the clerks read out documents from time to time. The spectators are accommodated in niches round the walls. Each member speaks from his place, and the voting is by ballot. First a footman hands round a tray of beans, and then each advances, when his name is called, to a table in the center, where he drops his bean into the box. The beans are then counted, and the result proclaimed by the president. On the right of the chair, in the front, is the bench assigned to the ministers; and there I had the good luck to see Narvaez, otherwise called Duke of Valencia, and a great many fine names besides, and, in reality, master of all the Spains. His face wears a fixed expression of inflexible resolve, very effective, and garnished with a fierce dyed mustache, and a somewhat palpable wig to match. His style of dress was what, in an inferior man, one would have called 'dandified.' An unexceptionable surtout, opened to display a white waistcoat with sundry chains, and the extremities terminated, respectively, in patent leather and primrose kid. During the discussion he alternately fondled a neat riding-whip and aired a snowy pocket-handkerchief. Those who know him give him credit for good intentions and great courage, but do not expect that he will ever set the Thames on fire, whatever he may do to the Manzanares. He is a mixture, they say, of the chivalric and the asinine: a kind of moral mule. His personal weakness is a wish to be thought young, and hence he was naturally angry when Lord Palmerston wanted to give him a 'wrinkle.' I saw, likewise, Mon, the Minister of Finance, smiling complacently, like a shopkeeper on his customers; and the venerable Castanos, Duke of Bailen, who, as he tottered in, stooping under the weight of ninety years, was affectionately greeted by Narvaez and others. On the whole, the debate seemed to be languid, and to be listened to with little interest; but that is the general fate of debates in July."
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Of the Servian swineherd we have heard something of late, both in history and romance; because this was the vocation of Kara George, the Servian Liberator. In Hungary the swine-keeper does not seem to be so respectable a person. Here is a sketch of him from Max Schlesinger's new book on the Hungarian war:
"The Kanasz is a swineherd, whose occupation, everywhere unpoetical and dirty, is doubly troublesome and dirty in Hungary. Large droves of pigs migrate annually into the latter country from Serbia, where they still live in a half-wild state. In Hungary they fatten in the extensive oak-forests, and are sent to market in the large towns, even to Vienna, and still further....
"It is a true enjoyment to live in these shady forests. The oak attains a finer and more luxuriant growth on the Hungarian soil than in any part of Germany. The hogs find food in profusion, and commonly stuff themselves to such a degree that they lose all desire for roving about: so that dog, master, and ass, lead a comparatively easy life, and are left to the quiet enjoyment of nature. But the lot of the Kanasz is a pitiable one when, at the close of summer, he has to drive his swine to market. From Debreczin, nay even from the Serbian frontier, he has to make a journey on foot more toilsome than was ever undertaken by the most adventurous traveler, pacing slowly over the interminable heaths in rain, storm, or under a burning sun, behind his pigs, which drive into his face hot clouds of dust. Every now and then a hog has stuffed itself so full as to be unable to stir from the spot; and there it lies on the road without moving, whilst the whole caravan is obliged to wait for half a day or longer, until the glutted animal can get on his legs again; and when at length this feat is accomplished, frequently his neighbor begins the same trick. There is truly not a more toilsome business in the wide world than that of a Kanasz.... The fokos is a hatchet, with a long handle, which the Kanasz hurls with great dexterity. Whenever he desires to pick out and slaughter one of his hogs, either for his own use or for sale, the attempt would be attended with danger, in the half-savage state of these animals, without such a weapon. The fokos here assists him; which he flings with such force and precision, that the sharp iron strikes exactly into the center of the frontal bone of the animal he has marked out; the victim sinks on the earth without uttering a sound, and the drove quietly proceeds on its way. That he can strike down a man with equal precision at eighty to a hundred paces, is proved by the gallows at the entrance of the forest—the three-legged monument of his dexterity. During recent events, too, the surgeons of the Austrian army will readily furnish the Kanasz and Csikos with certificates of their ability and skill."
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THE "WILD HUSSAR" OF HUNGARY.
France, Russia, Prussia, and other countries, have introduced the Hussars into their armies; but these soldiers are merely Russian, French, and Prussian cavalry, dressed in the Hungarian laced jacket: they want the spirit, the horse, and—the 'Magyar Isten.' For this reason, the Hungarian Hussar will not acknowledge them as brethren; and whenever he comes in contact with foreign Hussars, he lets them feel in battle the full force of his contempt. A story is told, that during a campaign against the French in the war with Napoleon, the bivouacs of the Prussian and Hungarian Hussars were near to one another. A Prussian came over to his neighbors in a familiar way with a glass of wine, and drank it to the health of his 'brother hussar.' But the Hungarian gently pushed the glass back, and stroked his beard, saying, 'What brother?—no brother—I hussar—you jack-pudding.'
This expression is not to be mistaken for a brag. The Hungarian hussar is no fanfaron like the French chasseur, but he is conscious of his own powers, like a Grenadier of the Old Imperial Guard. The dolmany, the csako, and the csizma, have grown to his body; they form his holyday dress even when off duty—the national costume transferred into the army; and as he is aware that this is not the case in other countries, the foreign Hussar's dress is in his eyes a mere servant's livery; and logically the man is not altogether wrong.
The Hussar, like the Magyars in general, is naturally good-tempered. The finest man in the service, he is at the same time the most jovial companion in the tavern, and will not sit by and empty his glass by himself when a Bohemian or German comrade at his side has spent all his money. There is only one biped under the sun who is in his eyes more contemptible and hateful than any animal of marsh or forest. This is the Banderial Hussar—that half-breed between Croat and Magyar, that caricature of the true Hussar, who serves in the cavalry, as the Croat in the infantry, of the Military Frontier. Never was an Hungarian Hussar known to drink with a Banderial Hussar; never will he sit at the same table: if he meets a snake he crushes it under foot—a wolf he will hunt in the mountains—with a buffalo he will fight on the open heath—with a miserable horse-stealer he will wrestle for a halter; but as for the Banderial Hussar, he spits in his face wherever he meets him.
It was at Hatvan, or at Tapjo-Bicske, that Hungarian and Banderial Hussars were for the first time in this war—the first time perhaps in the recollection of man—opposed to one another in battle. If looks could slay, there would have been no need of a conflict, for the eyes of the Magyars shot death and contempt at their unworthy adversaries. The signal of attack sounded; and at the same instant, as if seized by one common thought, the Hungarian Hussars clattered their heavy sabres back into the scabbard, and with a fearful imprecation, such as no German tongue could echo, charged weaponless and at full speed their mimic caricatures whom fate had thrown in their way. The shock was so irresistible, that the poor Croats could make no use of their sabers against the furious onset of their unarmed foe: they were beaten down from their saddles with the fist, and dragged off their horses by their dolmanys; those who could save themselves fled. The Hussars disdained to pursue them; but they complained to their Colonel at having been opposed to 'such a rabble.'—Schlesinger.
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* * * * *
BY ELIZABETH OAKES SMITH.
"Quorum pars magna fui."
Oh! loveliest of the stars of Heaven, Thus did ye walk the crystal dome, When to the earth a child was given, Within a love-lit, northern home; Thus leading up the starry train, With aspect still benign, Ye move in your fair orbs again As on that birth long syne.
Within her curtained room apart, The pale young mother faintly smiled; While warmly to a father's heart With love and prayer was pressed the child; And, softly to the lattice led, In whispers grandams show How those presaging stars have shed Around the child a glow.
Born in the glowing summer prime, With planets thus conjoined in space As if they watched the natal time, And came to bless the infant face; Oh! there was gladness in that bower, And beauty in the sky; And Hope and Love foretold a dower Of brightest destiny.
Unconscious child! that smiling lay Where love's fond eyes, and bright stars gleamed, How long and toilsome grew the way O'er which those brilliant orbs had beamed; How oft the faltering step drew back In terror of the path, When giddy steep, and wildering track Seemed fraught with only wrath!
How oft recoiled the woman foot, With tears that shamed the path she trod. To find a canker at the root Of every hope, save that in God! And long, oh! long, and weary long, Ere she had learned to feel That Love, unselfish, deep, and strong, Repays its own wild zeal.
Bright Hesperus! who on the eyes Of Milton poured thy brightest ray! Effulgent dweller of the skies, Take not from me thy light away— I look on thee, and I recall The dreams of by-gone years— O'er many a hope I lay the pall With its becoming tears;
Yet turn to thee with thy full beam, And bless thee, Oh love-giving star! For life's sweet, sad, illusive dream Fruition, though in Heaven afar— "A silver lining" hath the cloud Through dark and stormiest night, And there are eyes to pierce the shroud And see the hidden light.
Thou movest side by side with Jove, And, 'tis a quaint conceit, perchance— Thou seem'st in humid light to move As tears concealed thy burning glance— Such Virgil saw thee, when thine eyes, More lovely through their glow, Won from the Thunderer of the skies An accent soft and low.
And Mars is there with his red beams, Tumultuous, earnest, unsubdued— And silver-footed Dian gleams Faint as when she, on Latmos stood— God help the child! such night brought forth When Love to Power appeals, And strong-willed Mars at frozen north Beside Diana steals.
BROOKLYN, August, 1850.
[Footnote 2: "Lachrymis oculos effusa nitentes."]
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How oft the burdened heart would sink In fathomless despair But for an angel on the brink— In mercy standing there: An angel bright with heavenly light— And born of loftiest skies, Who shows her face to mortal race, In Friendship's holy guise.
Upon the brink of dark despair, With smiling face she stands; And to the victim shrinking there, Outspreads her eager hands: In accents low that sweetly flow To his awakening ear, She woos him back—his deathward track. Toward Hope's effulgent sphere.
Sweet Friendship! let me daily give Thanks to my God for thee! Without thy smiles t'were death to live, And joy to cease to be: Oh, bitterest drop in woe's full cup— To have no friend in need! To struggle on, with grief alone— Were agony indeed!
August. WILLIAM C. RICHARDS.
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THE BALANCE OF LIFE.
All daring sympathy—clear-sighted love— Is, from its source, a ray of endless bliss; Self has no place in the pure world above, Its shadows vanish in the strife of this.
The toil—the tumult—the sharp struggle o'er,— The casket breaks;—men say, "A martyr dies!" The death—the martyrdom—has past before: The soul, transfigured, finds its native skies.
The good—the ill—we vainly strive to weigh With Reason's scales, hung in the mists of Time: Yet child-like Faith the balance doth survey, Held high in ether, by a hand sublime.
May, 1850. HERMA.
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The SPANISH ACADEMY OF SCIENCES have announced the following subject for competition: "An experimental investigation and explanation of the theory of nitrification, the causes which most influence the production of this phenomenon, and the means most conducive in Spain to natural nitrification." The prize, to be awarded in May 1851, is to be a gold medal and 6000 copper reals—about seventy pounds sterling; and a second similar medal will be given to the second best paper. The papers, written in Spanish or Latin, are to be sent in before the 1st May, with, as usual, the author's name under seal.
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IMPROVEMENTS IN THE TELEGRAPH.—The Presse gives some account of experiments made at the house of M. de Girardin, in Paris, with a new telegraphic dictionary, the invention of M. Gonon. Dispatches in French, English, Portuguese, Russian, and Latin, including proper names of men and places, and also figures, were transmitted and translated, says this account, with a rapidity and fidelity alike marvelous, by an officer who knew nothing of any one of the languages used except his own. Dots, commas, accents, and breaks were all in their places. This dictionary of M. Gonon is applicable alike to electric and aerial telegraphy, to transmissions by night and by day, to maritime and to military telegraphing. The same paper speaks of the great interest excited in the European capitals by the approaching experiment of submarine telegraphic communication between England and France. The wires, it says, on the English side are deposited and ready for laying down. It is probable that in a very few days the experiment will be complete.
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AUTHORS AND BOOKS.
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NEW ORLEANS AS SEEN BY A GERMAN PRINCE is very naturally not quite the same city as in the opinion of her own pleasure-loving citizens, nor can the republic whose South-western metropolis is condemned with the rigidity of a merciless judge and the jaundice of an unfriendly traveler, hope to get clear of censure from the same super-royal pen. It seems that his serenest highness Major-General Duke Paul William, of Wirtemburg, is traveling in America, and that the Ausland, a weekly paper, of Stuttgart, is from time to time favored with the results of his experience on the way. From some recent portions of his correspondence The International translates the subjoined morceau, which, however, despite its great exaggeration, is not altogether devoid of truth: "It is not necessary here to mention how much New Orleans has altered, increased, and deteriorated, for it is an established thing that cities which grow to such gigantic proportions gain nothing in respect to the morals of their inhabitants. Here drunkenness and gambling, two vices of which the Americans were ignorant in the time of the founders of their great federation, have taken very deep root. The decrease of the inflexible spirit of religion, and the increase of vice and luxury, gnaw the powerful tree, and are fearful enemies, which cannot be resisted by a structure that might resist with scorn all foreign foes, and would have played a mighty part in the world's history had the spirit of Washington and Franklin remained with it. The annexation of Texas, the war with Mexico, and now the gold of California, have transformed the United States. A people which makes conquests, loses inward power in proportion to the aggrandizement of its volume, and the increase of its external enemies."
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AN ARABIAN NEWSPAPER, with the title Mobacher. has lately been commenced in Algiers, at the expense of the French Government. It is edited in the cabinet of the Governor-General, issued weekly, and lithographed, as less expensive than printing, which in Arabic types would be quite costly. It contains political news from Europe and Africa, the latest advices from Constantinople, all those laws and decrees of the Government which in any way concern the Arabs, and descriptions of such new discoveries and inventions as can be made intelligible to the readers for whom it is designed. A thousand copies are printed weekly and sent to the chiefs and headmen of all the tribes that are under French rule or influence. At first it was not read much, but now the vanity of the Arabs has been excited by it as a mark of special attention from the Governor-General, so that they take it as an honor, and a degree of curiosity has been excited to obtain news from other parts of the world.
Within a short time, also, an additional importance has been given to the paper by the publication in it of the amount of the tribute which each tribe is required to pay to France. Formerly this was known only to the chiefs who would accordingly exact from their people whatever amount they deemed best, under the pretense that it was for the government, while the greater part was retained by themselves. These tribes have profited greatly by the French conquest; it is estimated that of the eighty millions of francs which the army in Algeria costs yearly, from twenty to twenty-five millions remain in the hands of the Arabs. The Arab sells his corn, dates, horses, sheep, the baskets he weaves, &c., to the European population, but never buys anything from them in turn, except it be arms and powder. The rest of his money he carries home and buries where no one knows but himself, so that, if he dies suddenly, it is lost. Only the chiefs of the tribe know how to extort anything of these hidden sums. According to the most moderate estimates the tribes must have from two to three hundred millions of French money. The gains which the chiefs draw from this wealth is considerable; some of them have from a hundred to a hundred and fifty thousand francs income. They are beginning to build large houses, and cultivate gardens around them, a disposition which the government favors, because it is easier to keep tribes in order that are settled and have dwellings to lose which they cannot take with them. The publication of the tribute in the Mobacher, is, under these circumstances, of great value for the Arabs, because it enables them, as it were, to supervise their chiefs, and to refuse to pay exorbitant taxes laid under pretense of a high tribute. This has increased the respect generally felt for the paper, though it has not rendered it more a favorite with the chiefs. The power of these leaders is very great in the various tribes, having been in most cases hereditary, at least since the tenth century, and although not always inherited in direct line, the tribes have never suffered it to pass into the hands of new families. Hitherto nothing has diminished it; the war rather gave it new strength, and it is only by means of the chiefs that the French can keep Algiers quiet. It would be a remarkable fact if the dissolving power of publicity through the press should be manifested here as elsewhere, and begin the overthrow of the long standing influence exercised by the great Arabian families.
* * * * *
MRS. M. ST. LEON LOUD, of Philadelphia, has in the press of Ticknor, Reed & Fields, of Boston, a collection of her poems, entitled, "Wayside Flowers." Mrs. Loud is a writer of much grace and elegance, and occasionally of a rich and delicate fancy. The late Mr. Poe was accustomed to praise her works very highly, and was to have edited this edition of them.
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THE LITERATURE OF SOCIALISM occupies the press in France. The subject is warmly debated, pro and con. In a pamphlet called Despotisme ou Socialisme, M. Pompery rapidly sketches the alternative which, he says, lies open to those who rise against despotism. There are but two religious doctrines according to him: the one absolutist, represented by De Maistre, and the Catholic school, which is, logically enough, desirous of reestablishing the Inquisition; the other professed by all the illustrious teachers of mankind, by Pythagoras, Jesus, Socrates, Pascal, &c., which, believing in the goodness of the Creator and the perfectibility of man, endeavors to found upon earth the reign of justice, fraternity, and equality. A more important work on Socialism is that of Dr. Guepin, of Nantes, Philosophie du Socialisme; and M. Lecouturier announces a Science du Socialisme.
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MR. G.P.R. JAMES has taken a cottage at Jamaica, Long Island, and is domiciliated as an American—we hope for a long time. He has made troops of friends since his arrival here, and is likely to be as popular in society as he has long been in literature. We are sure we communicate a very pleasing fact when we state that it is his intention to give in two or three of our principal cities, during the autumn and fall, a series of lectures—probably upon the chivalric ages, with which no one is more profoundly familiar, and of which no one can discourse more wisely or agreeably. His abilities, his reputation, and the almost universal acquaintance with his works, insure for him the largest success. We are indebted to no other living author for so much enjoyment, and by his proposed lectures he will not only add to our obligations, but furnish an opportunity to repair in some degree the wrong he has suffered from the imperfection and injustice of our copyright system.
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"THE LIFE, CHARACTER, AND GENIUS OF EBENEZER ELLIOTT," is a volume by January Searle, author of Leaves from Sherwood Forest, &c., who knew the corn-law rhymer well, and has been enabled to give very characteristic sketches, original descriptions, correspondence, &c. There are in it many judiciously selected specimens of Elliott's poems, prose productions, and lectures. Mr. Searle observes of him, that "he was cradled into poetry by human wrong and misery; and was emphatically the bard of poverty—singing of the poor man's loves and sorrows, and denouncing his oppressors." Again: "He has one central idea—terrible and awful in its aspect, although beautiful and beneficent in spirit—before which he tries all causes, and men, and things. It is the Eternal Idea of Right; his synonyme of God. And this idea is perpetually present in his mind, pervades all his thoughts, will not be shuffled nor cheated, but demands a full satisfaction from all violators of it."
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THE LATE MRS. OSGOOD was in a very remarkable degree respected and beloved by those who were admitted to her acquaintance. Without envy or jealousy, or any of the immoralities of the intellect which most commonly beset writers of her sex, she occasioned no enmities and was a party to none, but was regarded, especially by the literary women of this country, with a feeling of tenderness and devotion probably unparalleled in the annals of literature or of society. Immediately after her death, therefore, a desire was manifested to illustrate the common regard for her by some suitable testimonial, and upon consultation, it was decided to publish a splendid souvenir, to consist of the gratuitous contributions of her friends, and with the profits accruing from its sale to erect a monument to her memory in the cemetery of Mount Auburn. This gift book, edited by Mrs. Osgood's most intimate friend, Mary E. Hewitt, will be published by Mr. Putnam, on the first of October, under the title of The Cairn, and it will contain original articles by George Aubrey, Lord Bishop of Jamaica: the Right Rev. George W. Doane, the Right Rev. Alonzo Potter, the Hon. R.H. Walworth, the Hon. J. Leander Starr, the Rev. C.S. Henry, D.D., G.P.R. James, Esq., N.P. Willis, Esq., W. Gilmore Simms, Esq., Bayard Taylor, Esq., J.H. Boker, Esq., Alfred B. Street, Esq., R. H. Stoddard, Esq., Miss Fredrika Bremer, Mrs. Sigourney, Mrs. Oakes Smith, Mrs. Embury, Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Neal, Mrs. Willard, Mrs. Whitman, Miss Lynch, Miss Hunter, Miss Cheesebro', and indeed nearly all the writers of her sex who have attained any eminence in our literary world. The volume will be illustrated with nine engravings on steel, by Cheney and other eminent artists.
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THE REV. WALTER COLTON has just published through A.S. Barnes & Co. "Three Years in California," a journal of experiences and observations in the gold region, from the period when it first attracted the attention of the Atlantic cities. Mr. Colton was some time alcade of Monterey, and he had in every way abundant opportunity to acquire whatever facts are deserving of preservation in history. His "Ship and Shore," "Constantinople and Athens," "Deck and Port," and other works, have illustrated his genial temper, shrewdness, and skill in description and character writing; and this book will increase his reputation for these qualities. It contains portraits of Capt. Sutter, Col. Fremont, Mr. Gwin, Mr. Wright, Mr. Larkin, and Mr. Snyder, a map of the valley of the Sacramento, and several other engravings, very spirited in design and execution.
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MR. GEORGE STEPHENS, author of the "Manuscripts of Erdely," has been struck by ill health and reduced to poverty, and an amateur play has been prepared for his benefit at the Soho Theater. He wrote "The Vampire," "Montezuma," and "Martinuzzi."
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The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, conducted by Mr. Lester, continues with every number to increase in interest. The work is designed to embrace folio portraits, engraved by Davignon, from daguerreotypes by Brady, of twenty-four of the most eminent American citizens who have lived since the time of Washington. The portraits thus far have been admirable for truthfulness and artistic effect. It may be said that the only published pictures we have, deserving to be called portraits, of the historian Prescott, or Mr. Calhoun, or Colonel Fremont, are in this Gallery. The great artist, naturalist, and man of letters, Audubon, is reflected here as he appears at the close of the battle, receiving the reverence of nations and ages. In the biographical department Mr. Lester has evinced very eminent abilities for this kind of writing. He seizes the prominent events of history and the strong points of character, and presents them with such force and fullness, and happy combination, as to make the letter-press as interesting and valuable as the engraved portion of the work. We are pleased to learn that the Gallery is remarkably successful. No publication of equal splendor and expensiveness has ever before been so well received in this country. The cost of it is but one dollar per number, or twenty dollars for the series of twenty-four numbers. It is now half completed.
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M. Max Schlesinger, author of "The War in Hungary, in 1848-9,"—a work which, from what we read of it in the foreign journals, is much the most striking and attractive of all that have appeared upon its subject in English,—is described in the Athenaeum, as by birth a Hungarian, by the accidents of fortune a German. For some time a resident in Prague, and more recently settled in Berlin, he has had excellent opportunities of seeing the men and studying the questions connected both in the literary and political sense with the present movement of ideas and races in Eastern Europe. His acquaintance with the aspects of nature in his native land—his knowledge of the peculiar character of its inhabitants, their manners, modes of thought and habits of life—his familiarity with past history—his right conception of the leading men in the recent struggle—are all vouched for as "essentially accurate" by no less an authority than Count Pulszky. It would be an injustice merely to say that M. Schlesinger has given in an original and picturesque way a general view of the course of events in the late war, more complete and connected than is afforded in any account hitherto presented to the public. He has done more: he has enabled the German and English reader to understand the miracle of a nation of four or five millions of men rising up at the command of a great statesman, and doing successful battle with the elaborately organized power of a first-class European state, shaking it to its very foundations, and contending, not without hope, against two mighty military empires,—until the treachery from within paralyzed its power of resistance.
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Dr. Mayo's new novel, "The Berber, or the Mountaineer of the Atlas," published by Putnam, promises to be scarcely less popular than his "Kaloolah." The Evening Post says of it: "Kaloolah was a sprightly narrative of the wanderings of a Yankee, who seemed to combine in his person the characteristics of Robinson Crusoe with those of Baron Munchausen; but the Berber professes to be nothing more than a novel; or, as the author says in his preface, his principal object has been to tell an agreeable story in an agreeable way. In doing so, however, an eye has been had to the illustration of Moorish manners, customs, history, and geography; to the exemplification of Moorish life as it actually is in Barbary in the present day, and not as it usually appears in the vague and poetic glamour of the common Moorish romance. It has also been an object to introduce to the acquaintance of the reader a people who have played a most important part in the world's history, but of whom very few educated people know anything more than the name. As Dr. Mayo has traveled extensively over the regions he describes, we presume that his descriptions may be taken as true. His account of the Berbers, a tribe of ancient Asiatic origin, who inhabit a range of the Atlas, and who live a semi-savage life like the Arabs, is minute, and to the intelligent reader quite as interesting as the more narrative parts of the work. It is, perhaps, the best evidence of the merits of the book, that the whole first edition was exhausted by orders from the country before the first number had appeared in the city."
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Col. Forbes, who was in Italy during the revolution, and many years previous, and who was himself, both in a military and civic capacity, one of the actors in that event, the Evening Post informs us, is about to give public lectures on the subject of Italy in the various cities and towns of the United States. Col. Forbes was intimately connected with the revolutionary chiefs during the brief existence of the Roman Republic, and was directly and confidently employed by Mazzini. His knowledge of the country, its people, its politics, and its recent history, will supply him with materials for making his lectures highly interesting and instructive.
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The Gem of the Western World, edited by Mrs. Hewitt, and published by Cornish & Co., Fulton street, is a very beautiful gift-book, and in its literary character is deserving of a place with the most splendid and; tasteful annuals of the season. Mrs. Hewitt's own contributions to it embrace some of her finest compositions, and are of course among its most brilliant contents.
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FRENCH PERIODICALS.—A Parisian correspondent of the London Literary Gazette observes, that if we exclude the Revue des Deux Mondes—a, sort of cross between the English Quarterly and the monthlies,—if we exclude also a few dry scientific periodicals, and one or two theatrical or musical newspapers, we shall seek in vain for any Quarterly, or Blackwood, or Art Union, or Literary Gazette; and that even the periodicals and journals which make the nearest approach to the weekly, monthly, or quarterly publications of England, are either wretched compilations, or abominably ill-written and ill-printed. The feuilleton system of the newspapers is no doubt the principal cause of the periodical literature being in such an extremely low condition. But though literary and scientific periodicals be, generally speaking, vile in quality, they can at least boast of quantity. There are, it seems, not fewer than 300 of one kind or another published in Paris alone. Among them are 44 devoted to medicine, chemistry, natural science, &c.; 42, trade, commerce, railways, advertisements; 34, fashions; 30, law; 22, administration, public works, roads, bridges, mines; 19, archaeology, history, biography, geography, numismatics; 19, public instruction and education; 15, agriculture and horticulture; 8, bibliography and typography; 10, army and navy; 7, literary; the rest theatrical, musical, or of a character too hybrid to be classified.
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THE ILLUSTRATED DOMESTIC BIBLE, edited by the Rev. Ingram Cobbin, seems to us decidedly the best family Bible ever offered to the trade in this country. It is printed with remarkable correctness and beauty; illustrated with a very large number of maps and engravings on wood; and its notes, written with much condensation and perspicuity, are such as are necessary for the understanding of the text. Indeed, all that is added to the letter of the Bible is legitimate and necessary illustration. It is being published in a series of twenty-five numbers, at twenty-five cents each, by S. Hueston, publisher of The Knickerbocker, Nassau-street.
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THE VIENNA UNIVERSITY, long one of the best in Europe, has not been reopened since the insurrection of November, 1848, its principal edifice having been occupied as barracks for a regiment of soldiers. It is now proposed to restore it to its proper use, but great difficulty is experienced in finding professors. The old ones are scattered, some as exiles in foreign countries, on account of democratic opinions,—some in prison for the same reason, others employed elsewhere. Wackernagel, the eminent professor of the German Language and Literature at Basle, Switzerland, tempted by liberal offers, had promised to come to Vienna, and lend the aid of his reputation and talents to the restoration of the University, but being lately at Milan, on a wedding tour, as he and his wife were passing through the Piazza d'Armi, their ears were saluted by cries of pain, which on inquiry they found to proceed from sundry rebellious Italians, of both sexes, who were receiving each from twenty-five to fifty blows of the military baton, or cane, employed by the Austrians in flogging soldiers. Madame Wackernagel at once declared that she would never willingly inhabit a country whose laws and habits suffered women to be so brutally punished for patriotism, and her husband could only agree with her. He has accordingly broken off the engagement, and the Government cannot hope to supply his place.
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HINCKS ON LITERARY LARCENY.—A Canadian friend sends us the following extract from a speech by Francis Hincks, a leading member of the Canadian Ministry, touching the International Copyright question:
"The American publisher steals the works of British authors, because he is immoral enough to do it, because he is scoundrel enough, and the nation is scoundrel enough to permit it. (Ironical cheers.) Yes, because the nation is scoundrel enough to permit it."
Our unknown friend who sends us this wants us to give Hincks a thorough roasting for it, and evidently expects every hair on our head to bristle with indignation. Now we have not the least objection to roasting the Minister aforesaid, and will do it when a fair chance presents itself, but we don't consider this such a chance. In fact, though we think Francis has drawn rather a strong draught from "the well of English undefiled," yet essentially we regard his observations above quoted as rather more than half right. It is rascally to steal a man's book, print it, sell it, read it, and refuse him any pay for the labor of writing it; and we don't see that his being an Englishman makes any material difference. There may be a cheaper way to get the proceeds of another man's toil than by paying for it, but we don't think there is any other strictly honest way.—Tribune.
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HERR SCHUMANN's opera, "Genevieve," was produced at Leipsic on the 28th ultimo. "This work," says the Gazette Musicale, "after having been much recommended beforehand, does not seem to have satisfied public expectation, being concert music, without any dramatic force." For the verdict which will finally be passed on "Genevieve" every one must be curious who has at all followed the journals of Young Germany in the recent crusades which they nave made, not so much to establish Schumann as a great composer, as to prove him greater than Mendelssohn.
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THE GRAND LITERARY TRADE SALES are now in progress in New York: and the catalogues of the rival houses are the largest ever printed. Cooley & Keese at their splendid hall in Broadway present this year a richer and more extensive series of invoices than has ever before been sold in America.
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THE FINE ARTS.
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Bavaria is a sort of artists' paradise, both the late King Louis and the present Maximilian being determined to leave behind them the glory of munificent patrons of art. In this they have so far succeeded, that Munich, which before their time was by no means among German cities the most worthy a traveler's attention, may now dispute the palm even with Dresden, notwithstanding the unrivaled gallery of paintings, possessed by the latter. For students of modern art, and especially of the German schools, Munich is incomparable, while its collection of ancient sculptures cannot be equaled out of Italy. We now learn that King Maximilian has conceived the plan of a grand series of pictures to comprehend the prominent epochs and events of history. The most eminent German and foreign artists are to be invited to assist in carrying out this immense undertaking; so that thus the series will not only represent the great experiences of mankind, but will, it is hoped, contain specimens of all the great schools of modern painting.
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An exhibition of indisputable works by the old painters is now open at Valenciennes, in France. It consists of pictures belonging to the family of the Belgian general Rottiers. They are for sale, either single or together. Among them is a St. Denis, bearing his Head, by Rubens, said to have been painted by order of Pope Urban VIII. It was deposited in the Convent of the Annunciades, at Antioch; in 1747, Louis XV. offered 100,000 francs for it, but was refused, the convent having no right to dispose of it. Afterward, on the suppression of the convent, it fell into the hands of the family to which it now belongs. The exhibition also contains a landscape by Salvator Rosa, representing a scene in the Appenines; a Magdalen kneeling in a Cavern, by Kneller; two Allegories, by Giulio Romano; several portraits by Rubens and Van Dyke, besides other works of less value.
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Darley's "Sleepy Hollow."—The London Art Journal, for July, has the following notice of Mr. Darley's illustrations of Irving's "Legends of Sleepy Hollow," published by the American Art Union: "The charmingly quaint original legend told with so much quiet humor by Washington Irving, is here illustrated by a native artist in a congenial spirit, and his scenes realized in a manner which must give its author satisfaction, and redound to the credit of the designer. We have before noticed the great ability exhibited by Mr. Darley for the mode of illustration he adopts, which we may add is that rendered famous by Retzsh. The series we are now noticing are quite as meritorious as that designed by the same artist to Rip Van Winkle; but the subject matter is not equally capable of such broad contrasts in drollery as that legend presents. Nevertheless, Mr. Darley has executed his task in the truest appreciation of his author; and his hero is the veritable Ichabod Crane of Irving; his love-making scene with "the peerless daughter of Van Tassel" is exquisite in its quiet humor; so also is the merry-making in the Dutch Farmer's home. Altogether, the series is extremely good, and does the greatest credit to the designer. American literature thus illustrated by American artists cannot fail to achieve honor to that country in the old world as well as the new. We believe Mr. Darley, in his line, to be as great as any American artist whose works have fallen under our notice."
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Chaucer's Monument.—The Athenaeum says, "One of the objections formerly urged against taking steps to restore the perishing memorial of the Father of English Poetry in Poet's Corner was, that it was not really his tomb, but a monument erected to do honor to his memory a century and a half after his death. An examination, however, of the tomb itself, by competent authorities, has proved this objection to be unfounded—inasmuch as there can exist no doubt, we hear, from the difference of workmanship, material, &c., that the altar tomb is the original tomb of Geoffrey Chaucer,—and that instead of Nicholas Brigham having erected an entirely new monument, he only added to that which then existed the overhanging canopy, &c. So that the sympathy of Chaucer's admirers is now invited to the restoration of what till now was really not known to exist—the original tomb of the Poet—as well as to the additions made to it by the affectionate remembrance of Nicholas Brigham."
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Lessing's new picture.—A letter from Duesseldorf under date of 9th July, in the Courier and Enquirer, says that Lessing's great painting, "The Martyrdom of Huss," Sad just been finished and had been exhibited for the last few days at the Academy of Fine Arts, where it was visited by thousands. When it became known that orders for its immediate shipment had arrived from New York, the desire to obtain a last view of this truly great work became so intense that it was found necessary to put the Police in requisition to keep back the throng, and the gates of the Academy had to be closed. It causes general regret that it is to be sent out of the country. The Cologne Gazette calls this picture the most sublime production of the great artist, and expresses the conviction that a speedy fortune might be realized by its exhibition in Europe.
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Mr. George Flagg has just completed a portrait of Mrs. E. Oakes Smith, which will be ranked among the first productions of his pencil. We know of scarce a picture as beautiful or a portrait as truthful. It is to be engraved, we believe, by Cheney.
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Mlle. Rachel.—The wonderful accuracy of the death-scene in "Adrienne Lecouvreur" has been the object of universal praise in London, not merely from the thrilled and thralled public, but from men of art and science. A physician, it is said, was complimenting Mademoiselle on her amazing truth to the symptoms of mortal agony: "You must have studied death closely," said he. "Yes, I have," was the quiet reply; "my maid's. I went up to her—I stayed with her—she recommended her mother to me!—I was studying my part." This is probably merely one of those cynical stories with which the sharp people of Paris love to environ and encircle every one who stands a dangerous chance of becoming too popular. But smaller artists than Mademoiselle Rachel have sometimes had recourse to curious expedients to give their dramatic personations a show at reality. The French prima donna, who not very long ago appeared in M. Clapisson's poor opera, "Jeanne la Folle," is said to have shut herself up in the Salpetriere, by way of studying her part, and to have been rewarded for her zealous curiosity by receiving a basin of scalding soup dashed in her face by one of the poor miserable objects of her examination.
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A Frankfort journal states that the colossal statue of Bavaria, by SCHWANTHALER, which is to be placed on the hill of Seudling, surpasses in its gigantic proportions all the works of the moderns. It will have to be removed in pieces from the foundry where it is cast to its place of destination,—and each piece will require sixteen horses to draw it. The great toes are each half a metre in length. In the head two persons could dance a polka very conveniently,—while the nose might lodge the musician. The thickness of the robe—which forms a rich drapery descending to the ankles—is about six inches, and its circumference at the bottom about two hundred metres. The Crown of Victory which the figure holds in her hands weighs one hundred quintals (a quintal is a hundred-weight).
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The death of SIR ROBERT PEEL, says the Literary Gazette, has awakened a busy competing spirit for the production of articles relating to him, and especially in connection with Literature and the Arta. In the one, Memoirs, Speeches, Recollections, Anecdotes, &c., have been abundantly supplied; and in the other, every printshop window in London displays its Peels of every style and every degree, but mostly very indifferent, absolutely bad, or utter caricature.
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Goupil, Vibert & Co. have published a series of portraits of eminent Americans which is deserving of the largest approval and sale. The head of Mr. Bryant is the best ever published of that poet; it presents his fine features and striking phrenology with great force and with pleasing as well as just effect. A portrait of Mr. Willis is wonderfully truthful, in detail, and is in an eminent degree characteristic. The admirers of that author who have not seen him will find in it their ideal, and all his acquaintances will see in it as distinctly the real man who sits in the congress of editors as the representative of the polite world. The head of the artist Mount, after Elliott, is not by any means less successful. Among the other portraits are those of Gen. Scott, President Fillmore, Robert Fulton, J.Q. Adams, Mr. Clay, Mr. Webster, and President Taylor. They are all on imperial sheets, and are sold at $1 each.
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The Paris papers tell a story of a young actor, who finding no engagement in that city, came to America to try his fortune. From New Orleans he went to California, was lucky as a digger, embarked in business and got immensely rich. He is now building in the Champs Elysees a magnificent hotel for his mother. All actors are not so fortunate.
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Expected arrivals from Nineveh.—The Great Bull, and upward of one hundred tons of sculpture, excavated by Dr. Layard, are now on their way to England, and may be expected in the course of September. In addition-to the Elgin, Phigalian, Lycian, and Boodroun marbles, the British Museum will soon be enriched with a magnificent series of Assyrian sculptures.
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Mr. Burt has nearly finished the "Anne Page and Slender" of Leslie, which is to be the annual engraving of the Art Union. It will be an admirable picture, but we cannot but regret that the managers selected for this purpose a work so familiar.
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The French Minister of the Interior has decided that marble busts of M. Gay-Lussac and of M. Blainville shall be executed at the expense of the government, and placed in the Institute.
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Mr. Powell, who is living in Paris, engaged upon his picture for the capital, has been in ill health nearly all the summer.
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The French papers report the death, at Paris, of M. MORA, the Mexican Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of St. James. M. Mora was the author of a History of Mexico and its Revolutions since the establishment of its independence, and editor-in-chief of several journals in Mexico.
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MR. B. SIMMONS, an amiable and accomplished writer, whose name will be recollected as that of a frequent contributor of lyrical poems of a high order to Blackwood's Magazine, and to several of the Annuals, died in London on the 20th of July.
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[FROM GRAHAM'S MAGAZINE.]
ON A PORTRAIT OF CROMWELL.
BY JAMES T. FIELD.
"Paint me as I am," said Cromwell, Rough with age, and gashed with wars— "Show my visage as you find it— Less than truth my soul abhors!"
This was he whose mustering phalanx Swept the foe at Marston Moor; This was he whose arm uplifted From the dust the fainting poor.
God had made his face uncomely— "Paint me as I am," he said. So he lives upon the canvas Whom they chronicled as dead!
Simple justice he requested At the artist's glowing hands, "Simple justice!" from his ashes Cries a voice that still commands.
And, behold! the page of History, Centuries dark with Cromwell's name, Shines to-day with thrilling luster From the light of Cromwell's fame!
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[FROM THE EXAMINER.]
WORDSWORTH'S POSTHUMOUS POEM.
This is a voice that speaks to us across a gulf of nearly fifty years. A few months ago Wordsworth was taken from us at the ripe age of fourscore, yet here we have him addressing the public, as for the first time, with all the fervor, the unworn freshness, the hopeful confidence of thirty. We are carried back to the period when Coleridge, Byron, Scott, Rogers, and Moore were in their youthful prime. We live again in the stirring days when the poets who divided public attention and interest with the Fabian struggle in Portugal and Spain, with the wild and terrible events of the Russian campaign, with the uprising of the Teutonic nations and the overthrow of Napoleon, were in a manner but commencing their cycle of songs. This is to renew, to antedate, the youth of a majority of the living generation. But only those whose memory still carries them so far back, can feel within them any reflex of that eager excitement with which the news of battles fought and won, or mailcoach copies of some new work of Scott, or Byron, or the Edinburgh Review, were looked for and received in those already old days.
[Footnote 3: The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet's Mind; an Autobiographical Poem. By William Wordsworth. London, Moxon. [New York, Appletons.]]
We need not remind the readers of the Excursion that when Wordsworth was enabled by the generous enthusiasm of Raisley Calvert to retire with a slender independence to his native mountains, there to devote himself exclusively to his art, his first step was to review and record in verse the origin and progress of his own powers, as far as he was acquainted with them. This was at once an exercise in versification, and a test for the kind of poetry for which he was by temperament fitted. The result was a determination to compose a philosophical poem containing views of man, of nature, and of society. This, ambitious conception has been doomed to share the fate of so many other colossal undertakings. Of the three parts of his Recluse, thus planned, only the second, (the Excursion, published in 1814,) has been completed. Of the other two there exists only the first book of the first, and the plan of the third. The Recluse will remain in fragmentary greatness, a poetical Cathedral of Cologne.
Matters standing thus, it has not been without a melancholy sense of the uncertainty of human projects, and of the contrast between the sanguine enterprise and its silent evaporation (so often the "history of an individual mind"), that we have perused this Prelude which no completed strain was destined to follow. Yet in the poem itself there is nothing to inspire depression. It is animated throughout with the hopeful confidence in the poet's own powers, so natural to the time of life at which it was composed; it evinces a power and soar of imagination unsurpassed in any of his writings; and its images and incidents have a freshness and distinctness which they not seldom lost, when they came to be elaborated, as many of them were, in his minor poems of a later date.
The Prelude, as the title-page indicates, is a poetical autobiography, commencing with the earliest reminiscences of the author, and continued to the time at which it was composed. We are told that it was begun in 1799 and completed, in 1805. It consists of fourteen books. Two are devoted to the infancy and school-time of the poet; four to the period of his University life; two to a brief residence in London immediately subsequent to his leaving Cambridge, and a retrospect of the progress his mind had then made; and three to a residence in France, chiefly in the Loire, but partly in Paris, during the stormy period of Louis the Sixteenth's flight and capture, and the fierce contest between the Girondins and Robespierre. Five books are then occupied with an analysis of the internal struggle occasioned by the contradictory influences of rural and secluded nature in boyhood, and of society when the young man first mingles with the world. The surcease of the strife is recorded in the fourteenth book, entitled "Conclusion."
The poem is addressed to Coleridge; and apart from its poetical merits, is interesting as at once a counterpart and a supplement to that author's philosophical and beautiful criticism of the Lyrical Ballads in his Biographia Literaria. It completes the explanation, there given, of the peculiar constitution of Wordsworth's mind, and of his poetical theory. It confirms and justifies our opinion that that theory was essentially partial and erroneous; but at the same time it establishes the fact that Wordsworth was a true and a great poet in despite of his theory.
The great defect of Wordsworth, in our judgment, was want of sympathy with and knowledge of men. From his birth till his entry at college, he lived in a region where he met with none whose minds might awaken his sympathies, and where life was altogether uneventful. On the other hand, that region abounded with the inert, striking, and most impressive objects of natural scenery. The elementary grandeur and beauty of external nature came thus to fill up his mind to the exclusion of human interests. To such a result his individual constitution powerfully contributed. The sensuous element was singularly deficient in his nature. He never seems to have passed through that erotic period out of which some poets have never emerged. A soaring, speculative imagination, and an impetuous, resistless self-will, were his distinguishing characteristics. From first to last he concentrated himself within himself; brooding over his own fancies and imaginations to the comparative disregard of the incidents and impressions which suggested them; and was little susceptible of ideas originating in other minds. We behold the result. He lives alone in a world of mountains, streams, and atmospheric phenomena, dealing with moral abstractions, and rarely encountered by even shadowy specters of beings outwardly resembling himself. There is measureless grandeur and power in his moral speculations. There is intense reality in his pictures of external nature. But though his human characters are presented with great skill of metaphysical analysis, they have rarely life or animation. He is always the prominent, often the exclusive, object of his own song.
Upon a mind so constituted, with its psychological peculiarities so cherished and confirmed, the fortunes and fates of others, and the stirring events of his time, made vivid but very transient impressions. The conversation and writing of contemporaries trained among books, and with the faculty of speech more fully developed than that of thought, seemed colorless and empty to one with—whom natural objects and grandeurs were always present in such overpowering force. Excluded by his social position from taking an active part in the public events of the day, and repelled by the emptiness of the then fashionable literature, he turned to private and humble life as possessing at least a reality. But he thus withheld himself from the contemplation of those great mental excitements which only great public struggles can awaken. He contracted a habit of exaggerating the importance of every-day incidents and emotions. He accustomed himself to see in men and in social relations only what he was predetermined to see there, and to impute to them a value and importance derived mainly from his own self-will. Even his natural good taste contributed to confirm him in his error. The two prevailing schools of literature in England, at that time, were the trashy and mouthing writers who adopted the sounding language of Johnson and Darwin, unenlivened by the vigorous thought of either; and the "dead-sea apes" of that inflated, sentimental, revolutionary style which Diderot had unconsciously originated, and Kotzebue carried beyond the verge of caricature. The right feeling and manly thought of Wordsworth were disgusted by these shallow word-mongers, and he flew to the other extreme. Under the influences—repulsive and attractive—we have thus attempted to indicate, he adopted the theory that as much of grandeur and profound emotion was to be found in mere domestic incidents and feelings, as on the more conspicuous stage of public life; and that a bald and naked simplicity of language was the perfection of style. Singularly enough, he was confirmed in these notions by the very writer of the day whose own natural genius, more than any of his contemporaries, impelled him to revel in great, wild, supernatural conceptions; and to give utterance to them in gorgeous language. Coleridge was perhaps the only contemporary from whom Wordsworth ever took an opinion; and that he did so from him, is mainly attributable to the fact that Coleridge did little more than reproduce to him his own notions, sometimes rectified by a subtler logic, but always rendered more attractive by new and dazzling illustrations.
Fortunately it is out of the power of the most perverse theory to spoil the true poet. The poems of Wordsworth must continue to charm and elevate mankind, in defiance of his crotchets, just as Luther, Henri Quatre, and other living impersonations of poetry do, despite all quaint peculiarities of the attire, the customs, or the opinions of their respective ages, with which they were imbued. The spirit of truth and poetry redeems, ennobles, hallows, every external form in which it may be lodged. We may "pshaw" and "pooh" at Harry Gill and the Idiot Boy; but the deep and tremulous tenderness of sentiment, the strong-winged flight of fancy, the excelling and unvarying purity, which pervade all the writings of Wordsworth, and the exquisite melody of his lyrical poems, must ever continue to attract and purify the mind. The very excesses into which his one-sided theory betrayed him, acted as a useful counter-agent to the prevailing bad taste of his time.