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ings of self-reproach--repinings after misspent time and neglected talent, together with intimations of domestic griefs. We know not what it may all mean, but certain are we that there is an air of sad reality about it—it is no fantastic wo-none of the old fashion of melancholy that may be traced from the days of Ben Jonson's “Master Stephen” down to the times of Lord Byron. is not possible to suspect Hartley Coleridge of play: ing any such small game-of following the wornout device of enacting « Il Penseroso" for effect. His allusions to his poverty do him honour, and we cannot believe that one who has learned to depict nature with the delicacy and fidelity which mark this volume, has been idle, or unprofitably employed. At all events he has before him the time and the power of self-recovery. Throwing aside all distrust of the poetic power of the English tongue, let him not waver or be drawn down by any despondency. Let him call to mind “the labour and intense study," which Milton looked upon as his portion in life, when he conceived the thought of “a work not to be raised from the heat of youth, nor to be obtained by the invocation of dame memory and her syren daughters, but by devout prayer to that eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim, with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases." Let him look to his favourite Wordsworth, and see what that career is which befits him who meditates the great achievements in verse -and we have no fear but that at some future day we shall behold him on higher ground than the beautiful effusions in the present volume. It has been our object to make our readers acquainted with a name that is well worth the knowing, and we have thus, we flatter ourselves, been helping Mr. Hartley Coleridge to gain some of his distant fame, à commodity that loses none of its value because it comes from far away. We take our leave of him for the present, by quoting a poem of exquisite finish and beauty, which we have reserved for a final impression :
" THE SABBATH-DAY'S CHILD, To Elizabeth, infant daughter of the Rev. Sir Richard Fleming, Bart. “Pure, precious drop of dear mortality, Untainted fount of life's meandering stream, Whose innocence is like the dewy beam Of morn, a visible reality, Holy and quiet as a hermit's dream: Unconscious witness to the promised birth Of perfect good, that may not grow on earth, Nor be computed by the worldly worth And stated limits of morality, Fair type and pledge of full redemption given, Through Him that saith, “Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.'
"Sweet infant, whom thy brooding parents love
“ To see thee sleeping on thy mother's breast,
It were indeed a lovely sight to see-
A bliss, my babe, how much unlike to thine,
Save in the silent depths of calm eternity.
The blessed Sabbath eve when thou wast born;
Fit music this a stranger to receive;
Art. X.-Poems by WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
York : 1836.
Mr. Bryant's poetical fame is established. He never published an epic, it is true, or even a “six canto quarto tale," but he has long ago inscribed his name as a feeling and tasteful poet upon the Ămerican Parnassus, and has even obtained some bays from the father-land on the other side of the ocean. But it is the misfortune of almost all our native bards, that their efforts are desultory and fugitive. Many write poetry-none write poems. Some of their scraps are very beautiful, opulent in imagery, and characterized by rich and even majestic thoughts; but they are still scraps--occasional, transitory, ephemeral verses,
c" born and dying
With the blest tone that made them." They are sketches, not pictures—little gems that should, on the old poetic rule, be carefully bestowed, until the great effort shall place them where they shall crown the author's life with glory. We are very unwilling, not that such effusions shall be published, but that nothing else shall be published; that American poets of merit should seem afraid and ashamed to concentrate their energies upon some great theme—to study its capabilities, to shape its incidents, to group its characters, and to throw over
it that silken veil of poesy which the true son of the muses fabricates through the mysteries of his imagination. It is comparatively an easy and a humble task to weave a silvery thread or two through twisted flowers, and the effort may fill a page with sweet and tender imagery; a throb or a tear may repay the small pains, the tenuis labor, of such an effort, but it will not preserve the bard in the memories of men, nor carry up his name to the seats of the gods. It hopes not for a high reward, as it emanates not from high deservings; it contemplates no duration of fame, nor does it gain it; it seeks a humble end, like the bee among the gardens, not a daring and lofty flight, like the bird above the clouds; it aims to soften the aspect of time, not to exist among the monuments of eternity.
We fear that Mr. Bryant's ambition is of this order—that he affects the myrtle more than the laurel. The longest effort in the book before us, (which, by the way, is merely, or for the most part, a second edition,) is the poem called " The Ages," consisting of thirty-five Spenserean stanzas. Where would the name of Spenser have been, had he limited the Faery Queen to five-and-thirty stanzas? Yet this very little poem, though boasting no great originality of conception, has passages in it that show Mr. Bryant's power of sustaining a stronger flight with an unwearied wing. We are happy to quote such verses as the following:
“Has nature, in her calm majestic march,
Faltered with age at last ? Does the bright sun
In her fair page; see, every season brings
This, though a general and obvious, is a true and happy picture, in sound moral keeping and in healthy tone, worth all the misanthropy in Percival's Prometheus, of which the similarity of measure reminds us. What was to prevent Mr. Bryant from VOL. XX.—NO. 40.
devoting his faculties to the sentiment he evidently had in his mind in this little poem,
- to vindicate Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to man,” and to inculcate hope in the sustaining benevolence of the Divinity?—what was to prevent him, we say, from developing this grand there at large, and stamping his name upon a noble poem dedicated to the best interests and hopes of humanity? The attempt, we are sure, would not be below his ambition; that it is not above his powers, the melody and cadence of the following stanzas, as well as the high order of thought which pervades the poem as it is, can witness:
The emulous nations of the west repair,
Amid the forest, and the bounding deer
Sends up, to kiss his decorated brim,
And belt and beads in sunlight glistening,