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Doctor Griswold introduces Mr. Cary to the appendix of “The Poet and Poetry,” as Mr. Henry Carey, and gives him credit for an Anacreontic song of much merit entitled, or commencing, “Old Wine to Drink.” This was not written by Mr. C. He has composed little verse, if any, but, under the nom de plume of “ John Waters," has acquired some note by a series of prose essays in “ The New York American,” and “ The Knickerbocker.” These essays have merit, unquestionably, but some person, in an article furnished " The Broadway Journal," before my assumption of its editorship, has gone to the extreme of toadyism in their praise. This critic (possibly Mr. Briggs) thinks that John Waters “is in some sort a Sam Rogers”—"resembles Lamb in fastidiousness of taste" -“has a finer artistic taste than the author of the “Sketch Book?" —that his “sentences are the most perfect in the language-too perfect to be peculiar”—that “it would be a vain task to hunt through them all for a superfluous conjunction," and that“ we need them (the works of John Waters !) as models of style in these days of rhodomontades and Macaulayisms!”
The truth seems to be that Mr. Cary is a vivacious, fanciful, entertaining essayist--a fifth or sixth rate one-with a style that, as times go---in view of such stylists as Mr. Briggs, for examplemay be termed respectable, and no more. What the critic of the B. J. wishes us to understand by a style that is “ too perfect," "the most perfect," etc., it is scarcely worth while to inquire, since it is generally supposed that “perfect" admits of no degrees of comparison ; but if Mr. Briggs (or whoever it is) finds it “a vain task to hunt” through all Mr. John Waters' works "for a superfluous conjunction,” there are few schoolboys who would not prove more successful hunters than Mr. Briggs.
“ It was well filled,” says the essayist, on the very page containing these encomiums, “ and yet the number of performers," etc. “We paid our visit to the incomparable ruins of the castle, and then proceeded to retrace our steps, and, examine our wheels at every post-house, reached,” etc. “After consultation with a mechanic at Heidelberg, and finding that,” etc. The last sentence should read, “Finding, after consultation,” etc.—the “ and” would thus be avoided. Those in the two sentences first quoted are obviously pleonastic. Mr. Cary, in fact, abounds very especially in superfluities-(as here, for example, " He seated himself at a piano that was near the front of the stage”)—and, to speak the truth, is continually guilty of all kinds of grammatical improprieties. I repeat that, in this respect, he is decent, and no more.
Mr. Cary is what Doctor Griswold calls a “gentleman of elegant leisure.” He is wealthy and much addicted to letters and virtů. For a long time he was President of the Phønix Bank of New York, and the principal part of his life has been devoted to business. There is nothing remarkable about his personal appearance.
CHRISTOPHER PEASE CRANCH.
THE REVEREND C. P. CRANCH is one of the least intolerable of the school of Boston transcendentalists—and, in fact, I believe that he has at last “ come out from among them,” abandoned their doctrines (whatever they are) and given up their company in disgust. He was at one time one of the most noted, and undoubtedly one of the least absurd contributors to “The Dial,” but has reformed his habits of thought and speech, domiciliated himself in New York, and set up the easel of an artist in one of the Gothic chambers of the University.
About two years ago a volume of “ Poems by Christopher Pease Cranch" was published by Carey & Hart. It was most unmercifully treated by the critics, and much injustice, in my opinion, was done to the poet. He seems to me to possess unusual vivacity of fancy and dexterity of expression, while his versification is remarkable for its accuracy, vigor, and even for its originality of effect. I might say, perhaps, rather more than all this, and maintain that he has imagination if he would only condescend to employ it, which he will not, or would not until lately—the word-compounders and quibble concoctors of Frogpondium having inoculated him with a preference for Imagination's half sister, the Cinderella Fancy Mr. Cranch has seldom contented himself with harmonious combinations of thought. There must always be, to afford him perfect satisfaction, a certain amount of the odd, of the whimsical, of the affected, of the bizarre. He is full of absurd conceits as Cowley or Donne, with this difference, that the conceits of these latter are Euphuisms beyond redemption-flat, irremediable, selfcontented nonsensicalities, and in so much are good of their kind; but the conceits of Mr. Cranch are, for the most part, conceits intentionally manufactured, for conceit's sake, out of the material for properly imaginative, harmonious, proportionate, or poetical ideas. We see every moment that he has been at uncommon pains to make a fool of himself.
But perhaps I am wrong in supposing that I am at all in condition to decide on the merits of Mr. C.'s poetry, which is professedly addressed to the few. “ Him we will seek,” says the poet
Him we will seek, and none but him,
This is all very well, fanciful, pretty, and neatly turned-all with the exception of the two last lines, and it is a pity they were not left out. It is laughable to see that the transcendental poets, if beguiled for a minute or two into respectable English and common sense, are always sure to remember their cue just as they get to the end of their song, which, by way of salvo, they then round off with a bit of doggerel about “wisdom that o'erlooketh sense” and “the clairvoyance of Innocence.” It is especially observable that, in adopting the cant of thought, the cant of phraseology is adopted at the same instant. Can Mr. Cranch, or can anybody else, inform me why it is that, in the really sensible opening passages of what I have here quoted, he employs the modern, and only in the final couplet of goosetherumfoodle makes use of the obsolete terminations of verbs in the third person singular, present tense ?
One of the best of Mr. Cranch's compositions is undoubtedly his poem on Niagara. It has some natural thoughts, and grand ones, suiting the subject; but then they are more than halfdivested of their nature by the attempt at adorning them with oddity of expression. Quaintness is an admissible and important adjunct to ideality-an adjunct whose value has been long misapprehended—but in picturing the sublime it is altogether out of place. What idea of power, of grandeur, for example, can any human being connect even with Niagara, when Niagara is described in language so trippingly fantastical, so palpably adapted to a purpose, as that which follows ?
I stood upon a speck of ground;
Before me fell a stormy ocean.
A universe of sound
Down, down forever-down, down forever
Something falling, falling, falling;
Boiling up forever,
It is difficult to conceive anything more ludicrously out of keeping than the thoughts of these stanzas and the petit-maitre, fidgety, hop-skip-and-jump air of the words and the Liliputian parts of the versification.
A somewhat similar metre is adopted by Mr. C. in his “Lines on Hearing Triumphant Music,” but as the subject is essentially different, so the effect is by no means so displeasing. I copy one of the stanzas as the noblest individual passage which I can find among all the poems of its author.
That glorious strain !
Oh, from my brain
flitting like scared ghosts.
And the black cloud is rent in train
Before the ascending strain. Mr. Cranch is well educated, and quite accomplished. Mr. Osborn, he is musician, painter, and poet, being in each capacity very respectably successful.
He is about thirty-three or four years of age ; in height, perhaps five feet eleven ; athletic; front face not unhandsome-the forehead evincing intellect, and the smile pleasant; but the profile is marred by the turning up of the nose, and, altogether is hard and disagreeable. His eyes and hair are dark brown—the latter worn short, slightly inclined to curl. Thick whiskers meeting under the chin, and much out of keeping with the shirtcollar à la Byron.
Dresses with marked plainness. He is married.
SARAH MARGARET FULLER.
Miss Fuller was at one time editor, or one of the editors of “The Dial,” to which she contributed many of the most forcible and certainly some of the most peculiar papers. She is known, too, by “Summer on the Lakes,” a remarkable assemblage of sketches, issued in 1844, by Little & Brown, of Boston. More lately she has published “ Woman in the Nineteenth Century," a work which has occasioned much discussion, having had the good fortune to be warmly abused and chivalrously defended. At - present, she is assistant editor of " The New York Tribune," or rather a salaried contributor to that journal, for which she has furnished a great variety of matter, chiefly notices of new books, etc., etc., her articles being designated by an asterisk. Two of the best of them were a review of Professor Longfellow's late magnificent edition of his own works, (with a portrait,) and an appeal to the public in behalf of her friend Harro Harring. The review did her infinite credit; it was frank, candid, independentin even ludicrous contrast to the usual mere glorifications of the