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vulgar description. Mr Longfellow “ Beside the master, when he spoke, has relied too much, for an inde
A youth, against an anchor leaning, pendent and permanent reputation,
Listened to catch the slightest meaning. on his German and his Spanish
Only the long waves, as they broke
In ripples on the pebbly beach, friends. An elegant and accom- Interrupted the old man's speech, plished writer, a cultivated mind-a critic would be justified in praising his
Beautiful they were in sooth, works, more than the author of them.
The old man and the fiery youth! He has studied foreign literaturo
The old man, in whose busy brain
Many a ship that sailed the main with somewhat too much profit. We Was modelled o'er and o'er again ; have no critical balance so fine as The fiery youth, who was to be would enable us to weigh out the
The heir of his dexterity, two distinct portions of merit which
The heir of his house and his daughter's
hand, may be due to an author, first as an
When he had built and launched from land original writer, and then as a taste- What the elder head had planned. ful and skilful artist, who has known how and where to gather and trans
Thus,' said he, will we build this ship ! plant, to translate, or to appropriate.
Lay square the blocks upon the slip, It is a distinction which, as readers,
And follow well this plan of mine :
Choose the timbers with greatest care, we should be little disposed to make, Of all that is unsound beware ; but which, as critics, we are com- For only what is sound and strong pelled to take notice of. We should
To this vessel shall belong. not impute to Mr Longfellow any
Cedar of Maine and Georgia pine
Here together shall combine. flagrant want of originality ; but a
A goodly frame and a goodly fame, fine appreciation of thoughts pre- And the UNION be her name ! sented to him by other minds, and For the day that gives her to the sea the skill and tact of the cultivated Shall give my daughter unto thee !'" artist, are qualities very conspicuous in his writings. Having once taken
Under such auspices the vessel notice of this, we have no wish to grows day by day. The mention of press it further; still less would we
the tall masts, and the slender spars, allow his successful study, and his
carry the imagination of the poet to bold and felicitous imitations of the
the forest where the pine-trees grew.
We cannot follow him in this excurwritings of others, to detract from the merit of what is really original in
sion, but here is a noble description his own.
of some part of the process of the What a noble lyric is this, “ The building of the ship :Building of the Ship!” It is full of the spirit of Schiller. A little more
“ With oaken brace and copper band of the file—something more of har
Lay the rudder on the sand,
That, like a thought, should have control mony—and it would have been quite
Over the movement of the whole ; worthy of the name of Schiller. The And near it the anchor, whose giant hand interweaving of the two subjects, the Should reach down and grapple with the building and launching of the vessel,
And immovable, and fast with the marriage of the shipbuilder's
Hold the great ship against the bellowing daughter, and the launching of that other bride on the waters of life, is very skilfully managed ; whilst the
At length all is finished
the name of the ship, The Union, gives vessel is built:the poet a fair opportunity of introducing a third topic in some patriotic “There she stands, allusions to the great vessel of the With her foot upon the sands, state :
Decked with flags and streamers gay,
In honour of her marriage-day; “Build me straight, O worthy Master ! Her snow-white signals fluttering, blendStanch and strong, a goodly vessel,
ing, That shall laugh at all disaster,
her like a veil descending,
The bride of the grey old sea. to the master-builder, who forthwith On the deck another bride proceeds to fulfil it.
Is standing by her lover's side,
Shadows from the flags and shrouds, the Seaside.” A series of companionLike the shadows cast by clouds,
pictures bear the name of, " By the Broken by many a sunny fleck, Fall around them on the deck.
Fireside.” We may as well proceed with a few extracts from these. The
following are from some verses on Then the master
" The Lighthouse."
“ The mariner remembers when a child Loud and sudden there was heard,
On his first voyage, he saw it fade and All around them and below,
sink ; The sound of hammers, blow on blow, And, when returning from adventures wild, Knocking away the shores and spurs.
He saw it rise again on ocean's brink. And see! she stirs ! She starts-she moves-she seems to feel Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same The thrill of life along her keel,
Year after year, thro’all the silent night And spurning with her foot the ground,
Burns on for evermore that quenchless With one exulting joyous bound
flame, She leaps into the ocean's arms !
Shines on that inextinguishable light ! And lo! from the assembled crowd
The startled waves leap over it ; the storm There rose a shout prolonged and loud,
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain, That to the ocean seemed to say
And steadily against its solid form * Take her, O bridegroom old and grey,
Press the great shoulders of the hurriTake her to thy protecting arms, With all her youth and all her charms!'
This is bold and felicitous: the How beautiful she is! How fair She lies within those arms that press
following, to “ The Twilight," is in a Her form with many a soft caress
more tender strain. The first verse Of tenderness and watchful care !
we cannot quote : we suspect there is
some misprint in our copy. Mr Sail forth into the sea,
Longfellow could not have written Through wind and wave right onward
Flash the white caps of the sea."
Whether women's caps or men's
nightcaps are alluded to, the image Thy comings and thy goings be !
would be equally grotesque. The poem For gentleness, and love, and trust, continues Prevail o'er angry wave and gust.
" But in the fisherman's cottage Thou too, sail on, O ship of state !
There shines a ruddier light,
And a little face at the window
Peers out into the night.
Close, close it is pressed to the window, We know what master laid thy keel,
As if these childish eyes
Were looking into the darkness
To see some form arise.
And a woman's waving shadow
Is passing to and fro, Fear not each sudden sound and shock!
Now rising to the ceiling, 'Tis of the wave, and not the rock ;
Now bowing and bending low.
What tale do the roaring ocean,
And the night-wind, bleak and wild, In spite of false lights on the shore,
As they beat at the crazy casement,
Tell to that little child ?
And why do the roaring ocean, tears,
And the night-wind, wild and bleak, Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
As they beat at the heart of the mother, Are all with thee--are all with thee !"
Drive the colour from her cheek?" This noble ode leads the van of a Mr Longfellow understands how to ill collection of poems called, “By leave off-how to treat a subject so
THE OLD CLOCK ON THE STAIRS,
that all is really said, yet the ear is “ Suspiria," solemn as the subject is, left listening for more. "By the the thought trembles on the verge of Fireside" is a series, of course, of the ridiculous. But, leaving these mere domestic sketches. The sub
poems, By the Seaside," and "By jects, however, do not always bear the Fireside," we shall find a better any distinct reference or relation to instance of this tendency to a certain this title. That from which we feel quaintness in another part of the most disposed to quote is written on volume before us. The * Old Clock some " Sand of the Desert in an on the Stairs" is a piece which invites Hour-Glass.” It has been always a a few critical observations. It is favourite mode of composition to let good enough to be quoted almost some present object carry the imagi- entirely, and yet affords an example nation, by links of associated thought, of those faults of haste and negligence whithersoever it pleased. This sort and incompleteness which even Mr of reverie is natural and pleasing, but Longfellow has not escaped. must not be often indulged in. It is too easy ; and we soon discover that any topic thus treated becomes endless, and will lead us, if we please,
“ L'éternité est une pendule, dont le balan
cier dit et redit sans cesse ces deux mots seuleover half the world. At length it
ment dans le silence des tombeaux : 'Toujours ! becomes indifferent where we start
Jamais !--Jamais ! Toujours !'"-JACQUES from. Without witchcraft, one may BRIDAINE, ride on any broomstick into Norway. But the present poem, we think, is a
“ Somewhat back from the village street
Stands the old-fashioned country-seat: very allowable specimen of this mode
Across its antique portico of composition. The poet surveys Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw; this sand of the desert, now confined And from its station in the hall within an hour-glass; he thinks how An ancient time-piece says to allmany centuries it may have blown
· For ever-never!
Never-for ever!' about in Arabia, what feet may have trodden on it-perhaps the feet of Half-way up the stairs it stands, Moses, perhaps of the pilgrims to
And points and beckons with its hands,
From its case of massive oak, Mecca; then he continues
Like a monk who, under his cloak,
Crosses himself, and sighs, ' Alas !! * These have passed over it, or may have With sorrowful voice to all who pass passed!
By day its voice is low and light,
But in the silent dead of night, And as I gaze, these narrow walls expand; Distinct as a passing footstep's fall, Before my dreamy eye
It echoes along the vacant hall, Stretches the desert, with its shifting sand, Along the ceiling, along the floor, Its unimpeded sky,
And seems to say at each chamber door
• For ever-never ! And, borne aloft by the sustaining blast,
In that mansion used to be
Free-hearted Hospitality ; And onward and across the setting sun, His
up the chimney roared, Across the boundless plain,
The stranger feasted at his board ; The column and its broader shadow run, But, like the skeletons at the feast, Till thought pursues in vain.
That warning timepiece never ceased
For ever--never ! The vision vanishes! These walls again
Never--for ever!' Shut out the lurid sun, Shut out the hot immeasurable plain; There groups of merry children played, The half-hour's sand is run !"
There youths and maidens dreaming strayed:
O precious hours ! O golden prime, We notice in Mr Longfellow an
And affluence of love and time! occasional fondness for what is quaint,
Even as a miser counts his gold,
Those hours the ancient timepiece told as if Quarles' Emblems, or some such
• For ever--never ! book, had been at one time a favour
Never--for ever!' ite with him. In the lines entitled
All are scattered now and fled,
the pendulum explains itself distinctSome are married, some are dead ;
ly, the sentiment is diluted into wbat And when I ask, with throbs of pain, • Ah, when shall they all meet again!'
Jacques Bridaine would have thought, As in the days long since gone by,
and what we think too, a very tame The ancient timepiece makes reply- commentary on human life. At the • For ever-never !
fifth verse, as it stands in our quotaNever-for ever!'
tion, the old clock quite forgets his Never here, for ever there,
character of monitor, and occupies Where all parting, pain, and care,
himself with registering the happy And death and time shall disappear- hours of infancy. Very amiable on For ever there, but never here!
its part; but, if endowed with this The horologe of Eternity Sayeth this incessantly
variety of sentiment, it should be • For ever--never!
allowed to repeat something else than Never-for ever!! »
“ Even as a miser counts his gold, Mr Longfellow has not treated Those hours the ancient time-piece toldJacques Bridaine fairly-certainly not
• For ever-never! happily. The pious writer intended
Never-for ever!'" that his clock, which represents the
These remarks may seem very voice of Eternity, or the Eternal gravely analytical for the occasion Destiny of each man, should, the that calls them forth. But if it were solemn ticking of its pendulum, utter worth while to adopt a conceit of this to the ear of every mortal, according description as the text of his poem, to his conscience, the happy “Tou- it was worth the author's pains to jours !" or the mournful “ Jamais !" carry it out with a certain distinctness for the joys of Heaven are either and unity. “ Always or “Never.”
But no Considering the tact and judgment clock could utter to the conscience of which Mr Longfellow generally disany man a word of three syllables, plays, we were surprised to find that and by translating the “ Tou-jours! the longest poem in the volume, with -Ja-mais!" into " For ever!- the exception, perhaps, of " The Never!” we lose the voice of the Spanish Student, a play in three pendulum. The point of the passage acts," has been written in Latin hexis the same, in this respect, as that of ameters—is, in fact, one of those the well-known story of the Dutch painful unlucky metrical experiments widow who consulted her pastor whe- which poets will every now and then ther she should marry again or not. make upon our ears. They have a Her pastor, knowing well that, in perfect right to do so: happily there these cases, there is but one advice is no statute which compels us to read. which has the least chance of being A man may, if he pleases, dance all followed, referred her to the bells of the way from London to Norwich : the church, and bade her listen to one gentleman is said to have perthem, and mark what they said upon formed this feat. We would not the subject. They said very distinct- travel in that man's company. We ly, “ Kempt ein mann ! "_" Take a should grow giddy with only looking husband! Thereupon the pastor upon his perpetual shuffle and cinq-are-echoed the same advice. Jacques pace. The tripping dactyle, followed Bridaine intended that, according to by the grave spondee, closing each line the conscience which the listener with a sort of curtsey, may have a brought, the swinging pendulum of charming effect in Latin. It pleased his eternal clock would welcome him a Roman ear, and a scholar learns to with the “Toujours !” or utter the be pleased with it. We cannot say knell of “ Jamais !" This conceit that we have been ever reconciled by Mr Longfellow does not preserve. But, any specimen we have seen, however what is of far more importance, he pre- skilfully executed, to the imitation of serves no one distinct sentiment in his it in English ; and we honestly conpiece; nor is it possible to detect, in all fess that, under other circumstances, cases, what his clock means by the so- we should have passed over Evangeline lemn refrain, “Forever-never! Never unread. If, however, the rule de gus-for ever!" When at the last verse tibus, &c., be ever quite applicable, it
is to a case of this kind. With those All this quiet happiness was to who assert that the imitation hexa- cease. The village itself was to be meter does please them, and that they depopulated. like, moreover, the idea of scanning
“ There o'er the yellow fields, in silent and their English, no controversy can mournful procession, possibly be raised.
Came from the neighbouring hamlets and But although Evangeline has not
farms the Acadian women, reconciled us to this experiment, there Driving in ponderous wains their household is so much sweetness in the poetry Pausing, and looking back to gaze once more
goods to the sea-shore, itself, that, as we read on, forget on their dwellings, the metre. The story is a melancholy Ere they were shut from sight by the windone, and forms a painful chapter in ing roads and the woodlands.
Close at their sides their children ran, and the colonial history of Great Britain. Whether the rigour of our Government
urged on the oxen,
While in their little hands they clasped some was justified by the necessity of the fragments of playthings." case, we will not stop to inquire; but a French settlement, which had been low has hazarded a trial upon our
If in “Evangeline,” Mr Longfelceded to us, was accused of favouring our enemies. The part of the coast
patience, in the “ Spanish Student," they occupied was. one which could dramatic form, had a certain privi
on the contrary-which, being in the not be left with safety in unfriendly lege to be tedious—he has been both hands; and it was determined to indulgent and considerate to his remove them to other districts. The reader. It is properly called a play, village of Grand Pré was suddenly for it does not attempt the deep pas, swept of its inhabitants. Evangeline, sion of tragedy. It is spirited and in this dispersion of the little colony, vivacious, and does not exceed three is separated from her lover; and the
acts. Hypolito, a student who is not constancy of the tender and truehearted girl forms the subject of the those who are, and Chispa, the
in love, and therefore can jest at poem. Our readers will be curious, per
roguish valet of Victorian, the stu
dent who is in love, support the comic haps, to see a specimen of Mr Long portion of the
drama. Chispa, by his fellow's hexameters. Evangeline is Spanish proverbs, proves himself to be one of those poems which leave an agreeable impression as a whole, but we must give a specimen of Chispa ;
a true countryman of Sancho Panza. afford few striking passages for quotation. The following is the descrip- he is first introduced giving some tion of evening in the yet happy whom he is leading to the serenade :
very excellent advice to the musicians village of Grand Pré:
“ Chispa.—Now, look you, you are gen“ Now recommenced the reign of rest and tlemen that lead the life of crickets ; you affection and stillness.
enjoy hunger by day, and poise by night, Day with its burden and heat had departed, Yet I beseech you, for this once, be not loud, and twilight descending
but pathetic ; for it is a serenade to a damsel Brought back the evening star to the sky, in bod, and not to the Man in the Moon. and the herds to the homestead.
Your object is not to arouse and terrify, but Pawing the ground they came, and resting to soothe and bring lulling dreams. Theretheir necks on each other,
fore each shall not play upon his instrument And, with their nostrils distended, inhaling as if it were the only one in the universe, but the freshness of evening.
gently, and with a certain modesty, according Foremost, bearing the bell, Evangeline's with the others. What instrument is that ? beautiful heifer,
1st Mus.-An Arragonese bagpipe. Proud of her snow-white hide, and the
Chispa.--Pray, art thou related to the ribbon that waved from her collar, bagpiper of Bujalance, who asked a maravedi Quietly paced and slow, as if conscious of for playing, and ten for leaving off ? human affection.
1st Mus.—No, your honour. Then came the shepherd back with his
Chispa.- I am glad of it. What other inbleating flocks from the sea-side, struments have we? Where was their favourite pasture. Behind 2d and 3d Mus.-We play the bandurria. them followed the watch-dog,
Chispa.-A pleasing instrument. And Patient, full of importance, and grand in thou? the pride of his instinct,
4th Mus.--The fife. Walking from side to side with a lordly Chispa.- I like it; it has a cheerful, soul.
stirring sound, that soars up to my lady's