« PreviousContinue »
by which he would imply that the lady has so much soul within her form that she is more luscious than luscious summer days.
Were we to quote specimens under the general head of " utter and irredeemable nonsense,” we should quote nine-tenths of the book. Such nonsense, we mean, as the following, from page 11 :
I hear thy solemn anthem fall,
Of richest song upon my ear,
As this wide sun flows on the mere. Now let us translate this : He hears (Mr. Channing,) a solemn anthem, of richest
and this anthem clothes the individual who sings it in that individual's golden pall, in the same manner that, or at the time when, the wide sun flows on the mere—which is all very delightful, no doubt. At page 37, he informs us that,
- It is not living,
And a life of toys,
Better to be forgotten
Than lose equipoise. And we dare say it is, if one could only understand what kind of equipoise is intended. It is better to be forgotten, for instance, than to lose one's equipoise on the top of a shot tower.
Occupying the whole of page 88, he has the six lines which follow, and we will present any one (the author not excepted,) with a copy of the volume, if any one will tell us what they are all about:
He came and waved a little silver wand,
He dropped the veil that hid a statue fair,
His grace confind that beauty in the air,
Those quiet eyes now musing on the night.
Dry leaves with yellow ferns, they are
Shivers in twinkling points
Of thin celestial hair
This we think we can explain. Let us see. Dry leaves, mixed with yellow ferns, are a wreath fit for autumn at the time when our frosty air shivers a still, bright, and pure star with twinkling points of thin celestial hair, and with this hair, or hair plaster, anoints one side of the sky. Yes—this is it—no doubt. At page 123, we have these lines :
My sweet girl is lying still
In her lovely atmosphere;
With pure silver warm and clear.
Would it not, O! comfort thee,
By that virgin chastity ?
Pages 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, and 41, are filled with short “ Thoughts" in what Mr. C. supposes to be the manner of Jean Paul. One of them runs thus :
How shall I live? In earnestness.
And life shall flow as merry as a dance. All our readers will be happy to hear, we are sure, that Mr. C. is going “ to flash out.” Elsewhere at page 97, he expresses very similar sentiments :
My empire is myself and I dyfy
The external; yes, I rule the whole or die ! It will be observed here, that Mr. Channing's empire is himself, (a small kingdom, however,) that he intends to defy “the external," whatever that is--perhaps he means the infernals—and that, in short, he is going to rule the whole or die; all which is very proper, indeed, and nothing more than we have to expect from Mr. C.
Again, at page 146, he is rather fierce than otherwise. He says:
We surely were not meant to ride the sea,
Skimming the wave in that so prisoned small,
Boom like a roaring sunlit waterfall.
Humming to infinite abysms: speak loud, speak free! Here Mr. Channing not only intends to “speak loud and free" himself, but advises every body else to do likewise. For his own
says, he is going to “boom”—“to hum and to boom"to “hum like a roaring waterfall,” and “ boom to an infinite abysm.” What, in the name of Belzebub, is to become of us all ?
At page 39, while indulging in similar bursts of fervor and of indignation, he says:
Thou meetest a common man
With a delusive show of can, and this passage we quote by way of instancing what we consider the only misprint in the book. Mr. Channing could never have meant to say :
Thou meetest a common man
With a delusive show of can; for what is a delusive show of can? No doubt it should have been,
Thou meetest a little pup.
With a delusive show of tin-cup. A can, we believe, is a tin-cup, and the cup must have been tied to the tail of the pup. Boys will do such tricks, and there is no earthly way of preventing them, we believe, short of cutting off their heads—or the tails of the pups.
And this remarkable little volume is, after all, by William Ellery Channing. A great name it has been said, is, in many cases, a great misfortune. We hear daily complaints from the George Washington Dixons, the Socrates Smiths, and the Napoleon Buonaparte Joneses, about the inconsiderate ambition of their parents and sponsors. By inducing invidious comparison, these prænomina get their bearers (so they say) into every variety of scrape. If George Washington Dixon, for example, does not think proper, upon compulsion, to distinguish himself as a patriot, he is considered a very singular man; and Socrates Smith is never brought up before his honor the Mayor without receiving a double allow. ance of thirty days; while his honor the Mayor can assign no sounder reason for his severity, than that better things than getting toddied are to be expected of Socrates. Napoleon Buonaparte Jones, on the other hand, to say nothing of being called Nota Bene Jones by all his acquaintance, is cowskinned, with perfect regularity, five time a month, merely because people will feel it a point of honor to cowskin a Napoleon Buonaparte.
And yet these gentlemen--the Smiths and the Joneses-arg wrong in toto as the Smiths and the Joneses invariably are. They are wrong, we say, in accusing their parents and sponsors. They err in attributing their misfortunes and persecutions to the prænomina–to the names assigned them at the baptismal font. Mr. Socrates Smith does not receive his double quantum of thirty days because he is called Socrates, but because he is called Socrates Smith. Mr. Napoleon Buonaparte Jones is not in the weekly receipt of a flogging on account of being Mr. Napoleon Buonaparte, but simply on account of being Mr. Napoleon Buonaparte Jones. Here, indeed, is a clear distinction. It is the surname which is to blame, after all. Mr. Smith must drop the Smith. Mr. Jones should discard the Jones. No one would ever think of taking Socrates--Socrates solely—to the watchhouse; and there is not a bully living who would venture to cowskin Napoleon Buonaparte per se. And the reason is plain. With nine individuals out of ten, as the world is at present happily constituted, Mr. Socrates (without the Smith) would be taken for the veritable philosopher of whom we have heard so much, and Mr. Napoleon Buonaparte (without the Jones) would be received implicitly as the hero of Austerlitz. And should Mr. Napoleon Buonaparte (without the Jones) give an opinion upon military strategy, it would be heard with the profoundest respect. And should Mr. Socrates (without the Smith) deliver a lecture or write a book, what critic so bold as not to pronounce it more luminous than the logic of Emerson, and more profound than the Orphicism of Alcott. In fact, both Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones, in the case we have imagined, would derive through their own ingenuity, a very material advantage. But no such ingenuity has been needed in the case of Mr. William Ellery Channing, who has been befriended by Fate, or the foresight of his sponsors, and who has no Jones or Smith at the end of his name.
And here, too, a question occurs. There are many people in the world silly enough to be deceived by appearances. There are individuals so crude in intellect—so green, (if we may be permitted to employ a word which answers our purpose much better than any other in the language,) so green, we say, as to imagine, in the absence of any indication to the contrary, that a volume bearing upon its title-page the name of William Ellery Channing, must necessarily be the posthumous work of that truly il}ustrious author, the sole Willian Ellery Channing of whom any body in the world ever heard. There are a vast number of uninformed young persons prowling about our book-shops, who will be raw enough to buy, and even to read half through this pretty little book, (God preserve and forgive them !) mistaking it for the composition of another. But what then? Are not books made, as well as razors, to sell ? The poet's name is William Ellery Channing—is it not? And if a man has not a right to the use of his own name, to the use of what has he a right? And could the poet have reconciled it to his conscience to have injured the sale of his own volume by any uncalled-for announcement upon the title-page, or in a preface, to the effect that he is not his father, but only his father's very intelligent son ? To put the case more clearly by reference to our old friends, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. Is either Mr. Smith, when mistaken for Socrates, or Mr. Jones, when accosted as Napoleon, bound, by any conceivable species of honor, to inform the whole world—the one, that he is not Socrates, but only Socrates Smith; the other, that he is by no means Napoleon Buonaparte, but only Napoleon Buonaparte Jones
WILLIAM WALLACE. Among our men of genius whom, because they are men of genius, we neglect, let me not fail to mention WILLIAM WALLACE, of Kentucky. Had Mr. W. been born under the wings of that ineffable buzzard, “ The North American Review," his unusual me. rits would long ago have been blazoned to the world--as the far inferior merits of Sprague, Dana, and others of like calibre, have already been blazoned. Neither of these gentlemen has written