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ble, selfish pleasure ; and it would have the same tendency to unspiritualise, to degrade, and to harden the higher faculties, that a course of grosser sensualism would have to corrupt the lower faculties. Both dull the edge of all that is fine and tender within us."
“The bread of life is love; the salt of life is work; the sweetness of life, poesy; the water of life, faith."
“I bare seen triflers attempting to draw out a deep intellect; and they reminded me of children throwing pebbles down the well at Carisbrook, that they might hear them sound."
“All love not responded to and accepted is a species of idolatry. It is like the worship of a dumb beautiful image we have ourselves set up and deitied, but cannot inspire with life, nor warm with sympathy. No!-though we should consume our own hearts on the altar. Our love of God would be idolatry if we did not believe in bis love for us_his responsive love."
“ In the same moment that we begin to speculate on the possibility of cessation or change in any strong affection that we feel, even from that moment we may date its death :-it has become the fetch of the liring love."
" Blessed is the memory of those who have kept themselves un. spotted from the world !--yet more blessed and more dear the memory of those who have kept themselves unspotted in the world!”.
" Venus, or rather the Greek Aphrodite, in the sublime fragment of Eschylus (the Danaides) is a grand, severe, and pure conception; the principle eternal of beauty, of love, and of fecundity-or the law of the continuation of being through beauty and through love. Such a conception is no more like the Ovidean Roman Venus than the Venus of Milo is like the Venus de Medicis."
" In the Greek tragedy, love figures as one of the laws of naturenot as a power, or a passion ; these are the aspects given to it by the Christian imagination.
Yet this higher idea of love did exist among the ancients-only He must not seek it in their poetry, but in their philosophy. Thus we find it in Plato, set forth as a beautiful philosophical theory; not as passion, to influence life, nor as a poetic feeling, to adorn and exalt it. Nor do we moderns owe this idea of a inystic, elevated and elevating love to the Greek philosophy. I rather agree with those who trace it to the mingling of Christianity with the manners of the old Germans, and their (almost) superstitious reverence for womanhood. In the Middle Ages, where morals were most depraved, and women most helpless and oppressed, there still survived the theory formed out of the combination of the Christian spirit, and the Germanic customs ; and when in the 15th century Plato became the fashion, then the theory became a science, and what had been religion became again philosophy. This sort of speculative love became to real love what theology became to religion; it was a thesis to be talked about and argued in Universities, sung in sonnets, set forth in art ; and so being kept as far as possible from all bearings on our moral life, it ceased to find consideration either as a primæval law of God, or as a moral motive influencing the duties and habits of our existence; and thus we find the social code in regard to it diverging
into all the vagaries of celibacy on one hand, and all the vileness of profligacy on the other."
"At dinner to-day there was an attempt made by two very clever men to place Theodore Hook above Sydney Smith. I fought with all my might against both. It seems to me that a mind must be strangely warped that could ever place on a par two men with aspirations and purposes so different, whether we consider them merely as individuals, or called before the bar of the public as writers. I do not take to Sydney Smith personally, because my nature feels the want of the artistic and imaginative in his nature ; but see what he has done for humanity, for society, for liberty, for truth,—for us women! What has Theodore Hook done that has not perished with him ? Even as wits--and I have been in company with both–I could not compare them; but they say the wit of Theodore Hook was only fitted for the company of men—the strong. est proof that it was not genuine of its kind, that when most bear. able, it was most superficial. I set aside the other obvious inference, that it required to be excited by stimulants and those of the coarsest, grossest kind. The wit of Sydney Smith almost always involved a thought worth remembering for its own sake, as well as worth re. membering for its brilliant vehicle : the value of ten thousand pounds sterling of sense concentrated into a cut and polished diamond.
It is not true, as I have heard it said, that after leaving the society of Sydney Smith you only remembered how much you had laughed, not the good things at which you had laughed. Few men-wits by profession-ever said so many memorable things as those recorded of Sydney Smith.”
It will have been observed that we have written of this book rather than upon it; and in all honesty we must state that to do justice to it in any other way than that which we have adopted would be impossible. Mrs. Jameson makes no pretensions, and her epigraph, from brave old Montaigne-"Un peu de chaque chose, et rien du tout, à la française,” disarms criticism, (if criticism were needed)—who would hurl thunderbolts upon a butterfly ?
Since the publication of Lockhart's Spanish Ballads we have not seen any work issued in so beautiful a style as this Commonplace Book. It contains numerous wood cuts, separating the different subjects noted; and has, in addition, eleven etchings, done in the same style, or in one more finished, as that of the larger illustrations to Mrs. Jameson's volumes on Sacred and Legendary Art.
1. Poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. New Edition.
London: David Bogue. 1854. 2. The Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant, with Gris
sald's Memoir. Edited (with an introduction) by F. W.N.
Bayley, Esq. London: Geroge Routledge and Co. 1852. 3. The Poetical Works of Mrs. L. H. Sigourney. Edited by
F. W. N. Bayley. London: George Routledge and Co.
1852. 4. The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes. First
English Edition, London : George Routledge and Co. 1352.
It is not altogether four hundred years since Columnbus was quoting, in Lisbon, such authorities as Strabo, Ptolemy, Aristotle, Seneca, and Pliny, in support of that meditated voyage which has resulted not only in the discovery, but also in the civilization of the noblest of earth's continents, and in the foundation, if permanently united, of a people destined to be the mightiest the earth has ever beheld. Yet, still more extraordinary, it is little over seventy years since that people sprung into existence, and already they have accomplished the work of ages in the growth of their civil constitution, and in the development of every leading characteristic which marks the progress of a nation. The impulse which the Poets of America may have already given to the great work of organization which has been so rapidly effected in their country, cannot with any accuracy be deterioined, and though it would be equally as difficult to hazard an opinion on the amount of their VOL. V.-NO. XVIII.
future influence on Transatlantic society, it is wonderfully evident that such influence will be immense. Greatness of capacity, apparently justifiable as such a basis would be, does not form the groundwork of this belief, which, on the contrary, has naturally grown from observing the adaptation of that capacity, to the wants and aspirations of the people, and from the unceasing vigilance with which it cherishes the bulwarks of the country's freedom. We search in vain through the records of European Literature, for instances such as the majority of these Poets afford us, where each inspiration of the Bard, seems consecrated at the shrine of public utility, and transferred into an oracle for the dispensation of the most invaluable truth. In like manner we are completely unsuccessful in discovering any other generation of Poets, who have been so generally distinguished for the vestal purity of their patriotism, or their manly advocacy in its behalf. The care with which those subjects are selected, most calculated to improve the intellect, and the heart, the paternal solicitude which is evinced in their treatment, and the practical ameliorations they suggest, have rendered the Poetry of America sacred, and have embued its people with a reverence for their Poets totally distinct from the admiration which their genius has elicited.
Inasmuch as the predominance of these shining virtues has not received due appreciation in this country, and as the works of the authors themselves, from Longfellow to Read, have not been collectively reviewed, so as to give the reading public an opportunity of glancing at their many various peculiarities, and thus deducing the characteristics which stamp the whole, we are induced to give our aid in sketching their literary portraits, and illustrating their solid beauties. The time will inevitably come when the greatest of our critics will enter the lists as rivals in their praise, and in the meantime let us be content if in bringing them forward in "serried rank,” we are, at least, the first who have introduced them to the world as a literary class.* This in itself will form sufficient matter for self-complacency, for assuredly the introduction to the reading world of the leading Poets of a country, in a collective form, unchequered by any invidious distinctions, unworthy partiality, or unpardonable omissions,
Our readers will therefore be easily enabled to solve the otherwise difficult problem, why the works of a Poet so well known as Longfellow should be included in this paper.
is a task entitled to indulgence and calculated to fill the mind of him who undertakes it with the most pleasurable and consoling reflections.
The cause of philanthropy is assisted by inducing contemplation on novel principles of a salutary kind, and the interests of civilization are observed in opening the sluice gates for a grateful current of ideas, which are about to re-animate the weary laborers in the vineyards of art, and to revive the drooping leaves and tendrils they contain,
“ From the moist meadow to the wither'd hill,
And swells, and deepens to the cherished eye.” It is like Elysian happiness after tasting the rank and uninviting food of the transcendentalists with their starry nothings, and impossible essences, to inhale the revivifying sweetness which proceeds from those "Fresh fields, and pastures new;" to exchange the glittering inanities of the one, for the unfading splendors of the other, to barter those simulated gems which resemble the
“ Dead Sea fruits, that tempt the eye,
But turn to ashes on the lips," for those real treasures which will shine with steady and unfailing lustre, while virtue commands respect, and genius veneration.
But while we eulogise their merits, let us not shut our eyes to their imperfections. In common with the whole race, a peculiar species of emphatic egotism which decidedly does not tend to impart elevation to the subject, is strongly apparent in a great number of the productions of American Poets. This injurious weakness it is to be hoped, and, indeed, expected, will gradually wear itself away: while it lasts it must act as a weighty drag chain on even the most splendid efforts, and cannot but deteriorate their merit. Another disadvantage under which these Poets labor, is the want of a native style, sufficiently robust and dignified: their deficiency in this respect obliges them to fall back on the idioms, and rythmical peculiarities of the mother country, which consequently lessens the compass of their originality, and the raciness of their expression. Time, however, the great teacher, will rectify this defect, for, as their ideas become more settled, and their character more developed, the increased improvement will necessarily be reflected in their literature.