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products, etc., and a theory of their formation; agricultural productions, public domain, western steam-boats, trade, commerce, etc., these and topics incidental, are elaborately treated of, and in a style so felicitous as at once to command and fix the attention of the reader. A single paragraph, culled with doubt and misgiving from many similar passages, must serve our purpose for the present. It occurs in one of the best and most comprehensive descriptions of the character and general aspect of the great western prairies, that we have ever encountered. It depicts, as by the light of its glorious torch, a prairie on fire :
"The thick sward of the prairie presents a considerable mass of fuel, and offers a barrier to the progress of the flame, not easily surmounted. The fire advances slowly, and with power. The heat is intense. The flames often extend across a wide prairie, and advance in a long line. No sight can be more sublime, than to behold at night, a stream of fire several miles in breadth, advancing across these plains, leaving behind it a black cloud of smoke, and throwing before it a vivid glare which lights up the whole landscape with the brilliancy of noonday. A roaring and cracking sound is heard like the rushing of a hurricane. The flame, which in general rises to the height of about twenty feet, is seen sinking, and darting upward in spires, precisely as the waves dash against each other, and as the spray flies up into the air; and the whole appearance is often that of a boiling and flaming sea, violently agitated. The progress of the fire is so slow, and the heat so great, that every combustible material in its course is consumed. The root of the prairie-grass alone, by some peculiar adaptation of nature, is spared; for of most other vegetables, not only is the stem destroyed, but the vital principle extinguished. Wo to the farmer, whose ripe corn fields extend into the prairie, and who has carelessly suffered the tall grass to grow in contact with his fences! The whole labor of the year is swept away in a few hours. But such accidents are comparatively unfrequent, as the preventive is simple, and easily applied. A narrow strip of bare ground prevents the fire from extending to the space beyond it. A beaten road, of the width of a single wagon track, arrests its progress. The treading of the domestic animals around the inclosures of the farmer affords often a sufficient protection, by destroying the fuel in their vicinity; and in other cases a few furrows are drawn round the field with the plough, or the wild grass is closely mowed down on the outside of the fence."
Let this single passage, from a work full of such, send the reader to the publisher's table.
THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW. NUMBER C. July, 1838. pp. 272. Boston: OTIS, BROADERS, AND COMPANY. New-York: G. AND C. CARVILL.
A LONG life has already been vouchsafed to the North American Review, and what is more, a praiseworthy and an honorable; and it bids fair to preserve the even tenor of its way through a succession of 'years behind the mountains,' in the onward distance. Such, at any rate, let us hope will be the case; for, notwithstanding the charges which have sometimes been brought against it, of undue sectional feelings and prejudices, operating to bias its literary opinions, and warp its critical judgments, it has been of greatest service to American literature, causing it in its infancy to be known more widely at home, and more diffused and respected abroad.
The present number is a good one-beyond, as it seems to us, from a perusal necessarily cursory, the average issues of the work. 'Fifty Years of Ohio,' the first article, is a review of two works, from which much and important information is gleaned relative to the first settlement, gradual progress, and present condition, of this wonderful state; its territorial and state governments, rail-roads, canals, schools, common and collegiate, statistics, etc. 'The Poetical Works of MILTON' are next considered, by one who, looking back upon the noble poet in due perspective, has made us acquainted with his natural endowments, his education, social position, and the relations which his character bears to his poetry. The notice of CAREY's' Political Economy,' (too heavy reading, with our thermometer at ninety and upward,) we have reserved for perusal when we can 'take things coolly.' Considerable space is devoted, and worthily, to an admirable paper upon Anglo-Saxon Literature, embra
cing a sketch of the Anglo-Saxon race, and introducing to our notice several of their prominent authors, and their works, as Beöwolf, Cædmon, Alfred, etc., together with sundry beautiful and odd poetical fragments, odes, ballads, dialogues, scriptural translations, etc. The following historical synopsis is something of the briefest, but it is clear and all-embracing:
"It is oftentimes curious to consider the far off beginnings of great events, and to study the aspect of the cloud no bigger than one's hand. The British peasant looked seaward from his harvest-field, and saw, with wondering eyes, the piratical schooner of a Saxon Viking, making for the month of the Thames. A few years-only a few years afterward, while the same peasant, driven from his homestead north or west, still lives to tell the story to his grandchildren, another race lords it over the land, speaking a different language and living under different laws. This important event in his history is more important in the world's history. Thus began the reign of the Saxons in England; and the downfall of one nation, and the rise of another, seem to us at this distance only the catastrophe of a stage-play.
"The Saxons came into England about the middle of the fifth century. They were pagans; they were a wild and warlike people; brave, rejoicing in sea-storms, and beautiful in person, with blue eyes and long, flowing hair. Their warriors wore their shields suspended from their necks by chains. Their horsemen were armed with iron sledgehaminers. Their priests rode upon mares, and carried into the battle-field an image of the god Irminsula; in figure like an armed man; his helmet crested with a cock; in his right hand a banner, emblazoned with a red rose; a bear, carved upon his breast; and, hanging from his shoulders, a shield, on which was a lion in a field of flowers. Not two centuries elapsed before this whole people was converted to Christianity."
The reviewer approaches his subject with due reverence. 'It is difficult,' says he, with equal beauty and feeling:
"It is difficult to comprehend fully the mind of a nation; even when that nation still lives, and we can visit it, and its present history, and the lives of men we know, help us to a comment on the written text. But here the dead alone speak. Voices, half understood; fragments of song, ending abruptly, as if the poet had sung no farther, but died with these last words upon his lips; homilies, preached to congregations that have been asleep for many centuries; lives of saints, who went to their reward, long before the world began to scoff at sainthood; and wonderful legends, once believed by men, and now, in this age of wise children, hardly credible enough for a nurse's tale; nothing entire, nothing wholly understood, and no farther comment or illustration, than may be drawn from an isolated fact, found in an old chronicle, or perchance a rude illumination in an old manuscript! Such is the literature we have now to consider. Such fragments, and mutilated remains, has the human mind left of itself, coming down through the times of old, step by step, and every step a century. Old men and venerable accompany us through the Past; and, pausing at the threshhold of the Present, they put into our hands, at parting, such written records of themselves, as they have. We should receive these things with reverence. We should respect old age."
'This leaf is it not blown about by the wind?
Woe to it for its fate!
Alas! it is old.'
We e are not in error, we think, in tracing the paternity of this article to a pen which has been made familiar to our readers - that of Prof. LONGFELLOW, of Harvard University, a fine poet, 'a scholar ripe and good,' and as a prose writer, second only to WASHINGTON IRVING. 'M'Kenney and Hall's History of the North American Indians' forms the staple of the next article. The praise long since awarded in these pages to the pictorial and literary merits of this excellent work, are more than confirmed by the reviewer. We are glad to learn that it is meeting with signal success in England. Fashions in Dress,' the next paper in order, is an entertaining and instructive essay, of which Mr. Brewster's Lecture before the Portsmouth Lyceum, noticed some months since in this Magazine, forms the nucleus. We have next a review of the 'Boylston Prize Addresses,' by Oliver Wendell HOLMES, who, beside being one of our first poets, has been successful in obtaining three of these prizes, in two successive years-in the latter year, both that were offered — for his medical dissertations. A copious article, evincing great research, follows, treating mainly of the early Venetian voyages to, and discoveries in, the new world, in the latter part of the four
teenth century. The Romantic Poetry of Italy' we take, by internal evidence, to be from the pen of our valued correspondent, G. W. GREENE, Esq., American Consul at Rome. It is a sketch of Italian romance, brought down to our own times, and including notices of authors most familiar to English readers. We need not add, that the review is happily executed. Beside the articles' proper, to which we have thus briefly alluded, there are some dozen shorter critical notices of minor works, and the usual quarterly list of new publications.
MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. BY JOHN H. HEWITT. In one volume. pp. 235. Baltimore: N. HICKMAN.
A BRIEF and modest preface introduces this pretty volume to the reader; and, as is usually the case, it foretells something worth reading, in the matter which it so unostentatiously heralds. Although the book reaches us at a late hour, we cannot omit to say, that we have derived great pleasure from its perusal, nor refrain from presenting one or two extracts, in justification of our favorable judgment. A large portion of the volume is occupied with anacreontic and sentimental stanzas, which have been set to music; and it is no more than just praise to say, that they are far superior to the great mass of productions, of a kindred stamp, in this country. We were surprised to find among them 'The Minstrel's Return from the War,' a song which has been upon millions of ruby lips in America. Passing these, however, we proceed to select a few passages from poems of a different description. The subjoined lines upon 'Oblivion,' are spirited and felicitous :
The German spirit of the 'Song of the Resurrection Man' is not less remarkable than the vividness of its limning:
There are several rhythmical blemishes, and other evidences of carelessness, which ought to be looked to in a second edition. Making two syllables of flower, lyre, and fire, in fireside, and substituting' will' for shall, occur to us, as worthy of mention.
A POPULAR TREATISE ON MEDICAL PHILOSOPHY; OR AN EXPOSITION OF QUACKERY AND IMPOSTURE IN MEDICINE. BY CALEB TICKNOR, M. D., Author of 'The Philosophy of Living.' In one volume. pp. 273. New-York: HARPER and Brothers.
THIS is the production of a man of sense and of feeling, both of which are important qualifications for such a work. The first entitles him to credit as an observer of facts, and the second as a man that sympathizes with the sufferings brought upon the community by the prevalence of medical quackery. We are literally overwhelmed with empiricism, political, religious, medical, etc., and shall be greatly indebted to all those efforts of philosophic minds, that may have in them the effect to bring us back to sound, practical good sense.
Dr. Ticknor presents us with a brief history of the healing art; a general view of the human body and its divisions; the anatomy of the digestive organs, and their diseases; a description of the organs of respiration, of the cutaneous system, of the eye, with separate chapters on female complaints, rheumatism, deafness, cancer, measles, natural bone-setters, comparative powers of vegetable and mineral medicines; on the errors, exclusiveness, and ultraism of medical men; and finally touches up the clergy, for their influence in occasioning the spread of medical quackery. This book is, in the first place, philosophical, in the best sense of the term, and practically so. Next, it can be understood by all- a most commendable attribute. It is descriptive where it needs to be, and comprehensively so. It suggests. We think it will be approved by the faculty, and that it ought to be useful to the public. It is a good family book. If it does not mention and describe all the ailments that flesh is heir to, and appoint a remedy, it at least treats of those most common, and lifts a warning voice against medical humbug, in all its forms. It is a good sequel to the author's 'Philosophy of Living,' and an earnest, as we hope, of the continuance of his labors in this department of human science and art.
SKETCHES OF YOUNG LADIES AND YOUNG GENTLEMEN. By Quiz. Philadelphia : CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD. The same, with six Illustrations by PHIZ, and Original Sketches, by Tız, Rız, and Bız. New-York: WILEY AND Putnam, and G. DEARBORN AND COMPANY.
THESE are very clever sketches, and indicate close observation of odd male and female' humans.' The style of the several 'pictures in little' reminds us continually of 'Boz,'and we are by no means sure that they do not proceed from his prolific pen. Whoso shall scrutinizingly read the 'literary,' the 'interesting,' and the 'petting' young lady, and the 'bashful' and 'political' young gentlemen, will become, we venture to predict, of our opinion in this matter. The New-York edition of the volume, beside containing characteristic engravings of the 'funny,' the 'domestic,' and the 'poetical' young gentleman, with the 'interesting' and 'abstemious' young lady, has a half dozen original sketches, two or three of which beguiled us of several dismal yawns. Their forced attempts at humor, far-fetched and of little worth, are remarkable. A dim conceit of something which the writer considers funny, is foreshadowed, for a half page or more, by a lurking uneasiness in the style, indicating the present foisting in of the labored interpolation, which after all turns out to be unworthy the writer's trouble. The 'buckish young gentleman,' however, as well as the 'mercantile' and the 'ticking,' redeem these original sketches from the class of 'total failures.'
Intermingled LEAVES OF NOTE - BOOK AND TRAVEL. With considerate regard for the reader, desiring not to 'bestow all our tediousness' upon him, in the excerpta of our note-book, we shall here transcribe, and liberally intersperse, from a few blank leaves of that salmagundish receptacle, certain records of travel, hurriedly jotted down in a recent excursion to the Great Cataract, and other noted resorts. Indulgently receive these memoranda. A special request. Reverently respect and obey it.
'HERE,' said we, as with a delightful sense of freedom we took a chair upon the airy promenade-deck of one of our noble Hudson steam-craft,
'Here have we 'scaped the city's stifling heat,
Its horrid sounds, and its polluted air ;'
and, please the Fates, we part company for some score of days, at least!' The steam monster, pent in his dungeon, groans and growls, and 'sighs like a furnace,' till,
'Like a pawing horse let go,
He makes a sudden bound,'
and, with rushing waters before and wake-foam behind, we are in mid stream, the cool breeze flapping the awnings, fluttering the green veils, and stirring the hair of sable silver, and lifting the bright locks of childhood. The city fades into dimness; the Palisades lift their frowning walls, their long shadows sleep on the western shore, and the distant uplands begin to undulate against the horizon beyond. Beautiful scene! With care banished, a friend at your side whom you have 'buckled to your heart with hooks of steel,' and a glad face, beaming with youth, beauty, innocence, and love of nature, for your perusal - her arm in yours, as you walk the elastic deck, and her voice, soft and low, in your ear- (for thus, reader, by most pleasant accident, it chanced,) — who would not feel the full value of that blessed boon, existence? There were a few promenaders on that deck, when the crescent moon walked forth into the night. But we 'prattle out of season.'
LIGHTS were twinkling in 'Kosciusko's Garden,' as we rounded West Point. We thought of Col. KNAPP- -now alas no more! — and his interesting volume of stories named of that romantic spot, and there written. And here, in introducing a passage concerning this writer, which we once considered noteworthy, let us pay a passing tribute to his memory. He was distinguished for much research, and as a voluminous and successful author. Of his merits as a miscellaneous prose writer, our readers are not ignorant. Many of his best efforts, in this department of literature, have appeared in this Magazine. As a man, he was kind, ingenuous, and warm-hearted. His mind was full of various knowledge, and his colloquial powers made him the favorite of the social circle; while as a public speaker, he was remarkable for his extempore efforts, having always at command an abundance of illustrative facts, with apposite anecdotes or allusions. But to our story. Colonel KNAPP had penned an article for the dapper VOL. XII. 11