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MARY E. HEWITT.
I am not aware that Mrs. Hewitt has written any prose; but her poems have been many, and occasionally excellent. lection of them was published, in an exquisitely tasteful form, by Ticknor & Co., of Boston. The leading piece, entitled “ Songs of our Land,” although the longest, was by no means the most meritorious. In general, these compositions evince poetic fervor, classicism, and keen appreciation both of moral and physical beauty. No one of them, perhaps, can be judiciously commended as a whole; but no one of them is without merit, and there are several which would do credit to any poet in the land. Still, even these latter are particularly rather than generally commendable. They lack unity, totality-ultimate effect, but abound in forcible passages. For example:
Shall I portray thee in thy glorious seeming,
O’erawed and wonder-whelmed I stand,
That opens on the shadowy land ?"....
Though Time's cold hand should cast
Over the idol Past,
O'er Memory's ocean wide,
On Ganga's sacred tide.
Many of her best poems turn upon sea adventures or have reference to a maritime life. Some portions of her “God bless the Mariner” are naïve and picturesque : e. g.–
God bless the happy mariner !
A homely garb wears he,
Like a ship before the sea.
He hath piped the loud “ay, ay, Sir !”
O'er the voices of the main
Of the rising hurricane.
From out his clear blue eye,
Like an angel from the sky.
Between the sky and sea,
A merrier who than he ? The tone of some quatrains entitled " Alone," differs materially from that usual with Mrs. Hewitt. The idea is happy and well managed.
Mrs. Hewitt's sonnets are upon the whole, her most praiseworthy compositions. One entitled “Hercules and Omphale” is noticeable for the vigor of its rhythm.
Reclined, enervate, on the couch of ease,
No more he pants for deeds of high emprize ;
For Pleasure holds in soft voluptuous ties
Hesperia's dragon slew with bold intent,
Robed like a nymph, her brow enwreathed with vine,
Its worth forsakes—its might foregoes for aye. The unusual force of the line italicized, will be observed. This force arises first, from the directness, or colloquialism without vulgarity, of its expression :-(the relative pronoun " which" is very happily omitted between “skin” and “the ") --and, secondly, to the musical repetition of the vowel in “Cleonæan", together with the alliterative terminations in “Cleonæan” and “lion.” The effect, also, is much aided by the sonurous conclusion“ wore.”
Another and better instance of fine versification occurs in gotten Heroes.”
And the peasant mother at her door,
To the babe that climbed her knee,
Sang of Thermopyle-
Of proud Platea’s day-
Echoed the glorious lay.
Song-borne afar on every breeze,
Leonidas! Miltiades! The general intention here is a line of four iambuses alternating with a line of three ; but, less through rhythmical skill than a musical ear, the poetess has been led into some exceedingly happy variations of the theme. For example ;-in place of the ordinary iambus as the first foot of the first, of the second, and of the third line, a bastard iambus has been employed. These lines are thus scanned :
And the peas | ant moth | er at | her door |
To the babe | that climbed | her knee |
The fourth line,
Sang of | Thermo | pylæ, is well varied by a trochee, instead of an iambus, in the first foot ; and the variation expresses forcibly the enthusiasm excited by the topic of the supposed songs, " Thermopyla". The fifth line is scanned as the three first. The sixth is the general intention, and consists simply of iambuses. The seventh is like the three first and the fifth. The eighth is like the fourth ; and here again the opening trochee is admirably adapted to the movement of the topic. The ninth is the general intention, and is formed of four iambuses. The tenth is an alternating line and yet has four iambuses, instead of the usual three; as has also the final line-an alternating one, too. A fuller volume is in this manner given to the close of the subject; and this volume is fully in keeping with the rising enthusiasm. The last line but one has two bastard iambuses, thus :
Ye are sounds | I to thrill | like a battle shout I. Upon the whole, it may be said that the most skilful versifier could not have written lines better suited to the purposes of the
poet. The errors of “ Alone,” however, and of Mrs. Hewitt's poems generally, show that we must regard the beauties pointed out above, merely in the light to which I have already alludedthat is to say, as occasional happiness to which the poetess is led by a musical ear.
I should be doing this lady injustice were I not to mention that, at times, she rises into a higher and purer region of poetry than might be supposed, or inferred, from any of the passages which I have hitherto quoted. The conclusion of her “Ocean Tide to the Rivulet” puts me in mind of the rich spirit of Horne's noble epic, “ Orion.”
Sadly the flowers their faded petals close
Waiting in vain to hear thee onward press ;
Pining for thee amid the loneliness.
They call me back unto my parent main.
Joy ! joy !—my breast receives its own again ! The personifications here are well managed. The “Here ! 'neath the o'erhanging rock !" has the high merit of being truthfully, by which I mean naturally, expressed, and imparts exceeding vigor to the whole stanza.
The idea of the ebb-tide, conveyed in the second line italicized, is one of the happiest imaginable; and too much praise can scarcely be bestowed on the “ rushing" of the "fair white feet.” The passage altogether is full of fancy, earnestness, and the truest poetic strength. Mrs. Hewitt has given many such indications of a fire which, with more earnest endeavor, might be readily fanned into flame.
In character, she is sincere, fervent, benevolent-sensitive to praise and to blame; in temperament melancholy; in manner subdued; converses earnestly yet quietly. In person she is tall and slender, with black hair and full gray eyes ; complexion dark; general expression of the countenance singularly interesting and agreeable.
RICHARD ADAMS LOCKE.
ABOUT twelve years ago, I think, “ The New York Sun," a daily paper, price one penny, was established in the city of New York by Mr. Moses Y. Beach, who engaged MR. RICHARD ADAMS Locke as its editor. In a well-written prospectus, the object of the journal professed to be that of “supplying the public with the news of the day at so cheap a rate as to lie within the means of all.” The consequences of the scheme, in their influence on the whole newspaper business of the country, and through this business on the interests of the country at large, are probably beyond all calculation.
Previous to “The Sun,” there had been an unsuccessful attempt at publishing a penny paper in New York, and “The Sun” itself was originally projected and for a short time issued by Messrs. Day & Wisner; its establishment, however, is altogether due to Mr. Beach, who purchased it of its disheartened originators. The first decided movement of the journal, nevertheless, is to be attributed to Mr. Locke ; and in so saying, I by no means intend any depreciation of Mr. Beach, since in the engagement of Mr. L. he had but given one of the earliest instances of that unusual sagacity for which I am inclined to yield him credit.
At all events, “The Sun” was revolving in a comparatively narrow orbit when, one fine day, there appeared in its editorial columns a prefatory article announcing very remarkable astronomical discoveries made at the Cape of Good Hope by Sir John Herschell. The information was said to have been received by “ The Sun” from an early copy of “The Edinburgh Journal of Science,” in which appeared a communication from Sir John himself. This preparatory announcement took very well, (there had been no hoaxes in those days,) and was followed by full details of the reputed discoveries, which were now found to have been made chiefly in respect to the moon, and by means of a telescope to which the one lately constructed by the Earl of Rosse is a plaything. As these discoveries were gradually spread before the public, the astonishment of that public grew out of all bounds;