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Life's little world of bliss was newly born;
We knew not, cared not, it was born to die;
With dancing heart we gazed on the pure sky,
Like our own sorrows then-as fleeting and as few.
Half realised, her early dreams burst bright,
Its days of joy, its vigils of delight;
And the red lightnings threaten, still the air
The rainbow of the heart, was hovering there.
Her wreath the summer flower, her robe of summer green.
There's more of heaven's pure beam about her now;
Which the heart worships, glowing on her brow;
That points our destined tomb, nor e’er depart
And hushed the last deep beating of the heart ;
A moon-beam in the midnight cloud of death." The moral idea of this poem is as charming as its execution. The subject is common enough; but it is the treatment which gives it unction and acceptance. One naturally loves to contemplate the setting sun, when, after describing one of his long summer-arches, his red forehead plunges adown the west, and gorgeous companies of clouds, "contextured in the loom of heaven,” begirt him round, waiting in painted liveries about his royal throne. Heaven seems nearer at hand; the creeping murmurs of the dark appear preparing to stir from their caverns; the twilight breeze is lifting its wings from the white crests of the ocean, and poising them for a rush over the interminable inland ; and the crescent moon, with the largest stars burning in her train, hangs herself in the dark depths of heaven, dividing with the farewell light of day that aerial abyss. At an hour like this, we cannot help exclaiming, with the tranquillizing Glück
“ Methinks it were no pain to die
O’ercanopies the west;
On earth, my mother's breast.
Those clouds are living things;
I trace their veins of liquid gold-
Their soft and fleecy wings.
Life's tedious noubings o'er,
On death's majestic shore." « The Field of the Grounded Arms, Saratoga," is a production which has all the spirit, without any of the poetry, of music around or within it. We are surprised that one so accustomed, both by practice and the habitudes of his thought, to harmonious numbers, as Mr. Halleck is, should have written verses like these, which halt so tediously away. Had he treated his theme in blank verse, all would have been well; but as the piece now stands, it is a truly amphibious and hermaphrodite composition. The sentiment is stirring and patriotic; the conceptions, fine; but the construction is a species of composite order, whose constituents it would be difficult indeed to explain or trace home. We copy one quotation as an illustration.
Stranger! your eyes are on that valley fixed
When the mind's wings o'erspread
The spirit-world of dreams. We
may be prejudiced against this nondescript sort of quantity ; but the mode strikes us as very nearly akin to the annexed specimen of a verse which we offer with the aid of an indiscriminate memory, from an effusion of Warren, or Day and Martin-a polished press-gang, who are famous for compelling the Nine into their service:
Sixpence a pot, we
Makes a deduction." The reader will bear in mind that we may not quote the foregoing verbatim ; but we have preserved the pauses and the system. With respect to structure and motive power, the parallel is almost complete.
It gives us pleasure to continue our course through Mr. Halleck's volume, and to find that a weakened gust for one poem, may be succeeded by the strongest admiration for another. Red Jacket is one of those lofty and fervid effusions, that one reads to remember. The author's humorous propensity creeps out in it occasionally; but, as a whole, it is
magnificently done. There is a pathetic under-song in this production, which leaves its echo in the heart. The author has represented Red Jacket very much to the life; though the transatlantic allusions might have been well dispensed with. That noble old chief had a spice of the philosopher about him, which would have done honour to the wiliest potentate that ever bent the million to his beck, or swayed a party with his nod. There was a natural grandeur about him, forest-born; the air that circulates over interminable wildernesses, and sweeps in freedom across inland seas, was the vital aliment for which his free nostrils thirsted; the perfume that goes up to the sky from vast reservations, as it went from the flowery tops of Carmel in the olden time, was his chosen element of respiration; the anthem for his ear was the voice of Niagara. We can readily believe that he admired his own untrammeled way of life ; revered Manitou ; and, perhaps, loved the fire-water which drowned the memory of his wrongs. In a part of his tenets, he had wisdom on his side. The man who chooses to run wild in woods, a noble savage, can find many enlightened wights in the purlieus of Christendom to bear him out in his partialities. The dress of Red Jacket, in his primitive condition, was of the simplest kind. He was not in the straitened, tailor-owing condition of many at the present day. “I have thatched myself over,” says a modern European writer, perhaps in the predicament just hinted at," with the dead fleeces of sheep, the bark of vegetables, the entrails of worms, the hides of oxen or seals, the entrails of furred beasts, and walk abroad a moving rag-screen, overheaped with shreds and tatters, raked from the charnel-house of nature.” In his best days, Red Jacket had no fancy for integuments like these : and his bard should not have stooped to compare his dress at any time with that of “George the Fourth, at Brighton;" for Halleck is a man who cannot easily conceal from himself the fact that there are noblemen of nature,—and that a drawing-room, whether of the British monarch, or of le Roi Citoyen, “is simply a section of infinite space, where so many God-created souls do for the time meet together.” But we keep the reader from our quotation.
“ Is strength a monarch’s merit, like a whaler's ?
Thou art as tall, as sinewy, and as strong.
Heroes in history, and gods in song.
But the love-legends of thy manhood's years,
Are—but I rhyme for smiles and not for tears.
“ Is eloquence ?-Her spell is thine that reaches
The heart, and makes the wisest head its sport ;
The secret of their mastery—they are short.
The birth-hour gift, the art Napoleon,
The hearts of millions till they move as one;
The road to death as to a festival;
With banner-folds of glory the dark pall.
Lies the dear charm of life's delightful dream;
That all things beautiful are what they seem.
Would, like the patriarch's, sooth a dying hour,
As e'er won maiden's lip in moonlit bower;
With motions graceful, as a bird's in air ;
That e'er clenched fingers in a captive's hair!
Deadlier than that where bathes the Upas tree;
Is calm as her babe's sleep, compared with thee!
Its lip as moveless, and its cheek as clear,
Love, hatred, pride, hope, sorrow-all save fear.
Her pipe in peace, her tomahawk in wars;
Pride—in thy rifle-trophies and thy scars ;
Remembered and revenged, when thou art gone;
Thy name, thy fame, thy passions, and thy throne !" We now take our leave of Mr. Halleck, with the expression of a hope that he will not keep his light, which sends its beams so far, under the bushel hereafter. We counsel no neglect of his day-book ; but we entreat him not to let his inspiration expire over the entries therein. He must have a good share of leisure after all. Let him not waste it in society ; let him bear in mind that, with respect to his commodity at least, poetry will sell as well as peltry ; that he has a mine of inalienable bullion in his brain, which no pressure can drive away,
no commercial revulsion diminish. The paper in his escritoire, if he choose to stain it with poetic notes of hand, will always command a premium. He can serve both Apollo and the Syrian god; and to him each will be true. He has written enough to secure that fame hereaster, of which he has already had a not disgracious foretaste. He has no right to stifle the stirrings of the power within his soul. We speak this more in reference to his duty to the public than to himself; since in the selfish sense, so far as fame is concerned, he might contemplate his dissolution with composure; assured by the past, that when his death-hour comes, be it soon or late, he will leave behind a name which his countrymen, and the lovers of genius every where, would not willingly let die; and that even now he might enrobe himself in the cere-cloth, and contentedly 66 take his farewell of the sun."
ART. VII.- The Life and Services of Commodore William
Bainbridge, United States Navy. By Thomas HARRIS, M. D., Surgeon, United States Navy. 8vo. Philadelphia : 1837.
The brilliant and perhaps unexpected success which attended our naval conflicts with Great Britain during the war of 1812, rendered the names of the principal commanders familiar as household words throughout the land. Their well-fought battles were at the time hastily chronicled, and soon followed by the various demonstrations of a well-spread and thoroughly popular fame. The mixed emotion of national exultation and gratitude to the victors, sought to express itself in illuminations, public receptions, presentation services of plate, and the various manifestations of that joyousness which sprang up in the bosom of every citizen, from a sense of the honour of his country, and of the exploits of his countrymen. Neither did this feeling appear in mere demonstrations of the more formal and speechaccompanied description-it mingled itself with domestic doings and with household feelings : parents and sponsors borrowed, from the honoured navy-list, names for the little Christians who were brought in those days to the baptismal font. If the rage for multiplying collegiate institutions throughout the country