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imagination !) the idea of a huge alligator, lacerating his own jaws in furious snatches at a bladder, filled with-air.
At last we are in Cloud-Land. Heavy banks of smoke hide us from the world and leave us alone with the shades that come and go before our eyes. We are monarchs—more, we are Autocrats, and over beings of our own creation! Our subjects approach to do us homage, and curl about our faces with reverential curiosity. Take care! Let them not come too near, be not too familiar, or you may chance to indulge yourself in a cough or an unromantic-sneeze.
Our subjects still throng around us. Myriads of twisted, bending forms unite and wave before our eyes. Their heads are inclined, perhaps in homage, and then they jerk themselves back, as if ashamed to worship a being of lower earth. But soon they float away and their places are filled by crowds of gigantic, shapeless monsters. Now our kingly fancy colonizes new regions. Shadows, dim and silent, toss in wild surges around. With half-closed eyes and still delight, we gaze upon the strangeness of Cloud-Land. We behold more horrible sights, wilder visions than even Robert Montgomery ever conceived; more wonders than Horatio ever “ dreamt of in his philosophy.” But suddenly they float away before a mightier one. He appears, alniost enrobed in smoke: his vast limbs are dimly defined through the cloud. The expression of his face is hidden from us. By the long leaves wreathed upon
his brow, by the roll in his hands, we recognize the Spirit of the GREAT PLANT. Is it Fancy or the Shade that speaks? His voice sounds in soft, sighing tones, like the gentle puffs which just part from lazy lips.
“I am the Universal Friend of Man. I have come from the poet's lonely"_
Ah! what is this? Cloud-Land disappears: the Spirit makes a horrible grimace and vanishes, without finishing his speech. Ugh! Your mouth is filled with ashes! Your pipe has gone out !
The Secundus, who perpetrated that fiendish pun on Tobacco, should be compelled to smoke • Anderson's” or “ Yara” forever. He was lecturing to an unsophisticated Novus upon the manifold qualities of this Plant of Peace, (as he styled it,) and finally offered to demonstrate from Shakspeare, that Tobacco was musical. “ How so?” cried astonished Novus. “ Doth not Richard,” replied the wretch,"mention this weak, pip(e)ing time of peace ?" Agonized, the Novus rushed, sneezing precipitately. Fact!
It was the Great Plant, which Raleigh, the scholar, the wit, the Epicurean, first introduced: which the clergy of Virginia accepted in payment of their clerical services,—the blessings of earth for dispensing the blessings of heaven,-10 which Newton thought a lady's finger might not unworthily minister: which delights the sweet-mouthed Senoritas of New Mexico: which posterity links with the remembrance of Lamb. Well did he sing the pleasures of
-“ a seat amid the joys
Of the blest Tobacco Boys." Let not the shade of Cicero blush while we quote : “ Hæc (sc. planta) adolescentiam alit, senectutem oblectat, secundas res ornat, adversis perfugium ac solatium præbet, delectat domi, non impedit foris, pernoctat nobiscum, peregrinatur, rusticatur.” Then, fill up to the brim your-pipes, (these are temperance days,) and smoke to a sentimentToBACco! ΣΕ-ΓΑΡ φιλέω.
UNCLE JOHN'S RULES FOR COMPOSITION.
My Uncle John was a man of profound learning; that is to say, he had been through college, had studied law, published a volume of poems, edited a newspaper, and written for reviews. Owing to the versatility of his genius, and the possession of a small independence, he never continued long in any department of business, but fitted about from one occupation to another, as he felt himself moved by the whim of the moment. He was always, however, a literary man; he read voraciously every new book, as it came from the press; he went to all the public lectures, and talked of hardly anything but authors, theories, works, and criticisms. His pen, moreover, was never allowed much of a furlough. He was perpetually in print, somewhere or other, as long as he lived. Among other things, he used to write extensive biographical notices of almost all the obscure individuals in his neighborhood, whenever they happened to die. It was perfectly surprising how many gigantic geniuses had, according to Uncle John's account, silently sprung up and flourished and passed away within the circle of his acquaintance, utterly unbeknown to the great mass of mankind. “ eath, relentless Death, has snatched from earth another master-mind—Smith has fallen!!"—such, when he had an obituary subject on hand, was the style in which he generally commenced his article. Few, I believe, besides himself and his little coterie of friends, ever read his productions; consequently his ears were never pained by censure, while the compliments of those good-natured acquaint. ances, who knew his weak side, and were willing to take advantage of it, were liberally bestowed, and gave him inordinate satisfaction. It was wicked in me to trifle with him, for never beat in human breast a kinder heart than his, as none knew better than I.
But I was fond of sport, and loved nothing so well as trotting him on his hobby. of his literary powers, I professed the most exalted opinion. I flattered his vanity by the most exorbitant and open praise. I pretended to
discover new beauties in every thought and every word of his writings, and often, while reading them in his presence, (for I read them nowhere else,) asked the loan of his pencil to mark a splendid passage for insertion into my common-place book. As will be readily guessed, I was his prime favorite. He frequently discoursed to me at great length, and with no little grandiloquence, on his favorite themes. Once, in particular, when I had asked his advice about an essay which I was going to write, he gave me the outline of his own system of composition, in terms nearly as follows.
" Before you begin to write, my dear Charley, you ought to be familiar with certain fixed rules, which every author of the present day finds it absolutely necessary to observe. Literature is no longer, as it was of yore, the visible thought of great minds poured forth in the natural, easy flow of unconscious freedom. It has become an intricate art, a thing to be studied scientifically, and practiced mechanically. Genius is by nature like the wild ass, free;' the range of the mountains is his pasture ;' but “the spirit of the age' now gets hold of him as soon as he is born, tames him, puts the bit in his mouth, and turns him into an obedient, serviceable donkey. Those ,rude old authors whose boldness we are forced to admire, even while we despise their ignorance of the rules of composition, were like the early navigators, who, putting forth in their clumsy barks, upon unknown seas, and guessing their way, by the uncertain light of stars, to lands unvisited before, teeming with strange fruits and flowers and gems, used to roam about from one green island to another, in quest of adventure, to come back at last laden with the wondrous wealth of new and beautiful worlds. But mystery no longer overhangs the waves-no rich realms of Cathay remain to be discovered-old Ocean has become a common highway for all the plodding servants of commerce, and the author of the present day is like the captain of a steamer, who works for wages, and shapes his course with mathematical precision by the aid of chronometer, chart, and sextant.
“So much by way of introduction, to dispel from your mind all romantic notions of liierary freedom, and to prepare you for taking a plain, matter-of-fact view of the subject before us. I would have you then regard the business of the author as a mechanical trade, requiring of him who would follow it, not so much the possession of capital, as of skill in handling a certain kind of machinery. My purpose will be to explain to you what that machinery is, and how it may be most effectively employed.
“ First, in order to start fair, let me ask what you expect to accomplish by this essay of yours. I shall take it for granted that your object is simply to convey to your readers the idea that you are a very extraordinary man. A sensible person, like yourself, could have no other end in view. I commend you for it. You labor for your own benefit, not that of other people. You wish to make a grand impression; to have the public call you an original thinker,'a.master mind,' or something of that sort. Very well. Now the way to effect this, is not merely to amuse or instruct, but to astonish. Therefore never let
your reader fully understand you. Play with him, lead him along pleasant paths, but never keep company with him long at a time. Soar above or sink below his comprehension, at suitable intervals. Remember that as ‘no man is a hero to his valet,' so no writer can be a wonder to a reader who clearly sees the meaning of what he has written. Only contrive to make him believe there is something unfathomable about you, something altogether too deep for the sounding-line of his intellect, and your triumph is achieved; a triumph, which, by proper care, any man of tolerable industry may readily gain.
* Your success will depend somewhat on your title, somewhat on your subject, and somewhat upon your style. If you wished to try your hand at poetry, for instance, I would advise you to entitle your performance Translation from the German.' If you understand that language, make a bona fide translation from some poet with a hard name. If not, write a few mystical stanzas and give them the proper heading. Now, I don't know a word of German, except a few proper names, but I flatter myself that I have succeeded tolerably well in this species of poetry, notwithstanding. A friend of mine, as ignorant of German as I am, used to manufacture the originals and publish them side by side with his translations. The only advantage you gain by being acquainted with the language, is that you are thereby saved the trouble of throwing into your poem an artificial confusion of ideas. However, this difficulty is easily got over by practice.
“Next to the title just mentioned, the best, perhaps, is Fragment from an unpublished Poem. There is something in this beautifully indefinite; bordering, I may say, on the sublime. For it suggests to the reader the idea of a whole poem, interminably long, of which he sees only a comparatively brief extract. Thus you get the credit of having written, nobody knows how much ; and of course you are considered a very remarkable man.
“ Another excellent description of title, is the affectedly simple. It matters not what your real subject is, provided it has no connection with the title. It is the contrast between the two which gives your poem an air of originality, not otherwise to be obtained. A passionate love song on an Oid Broomstick, a sacred hymn addressed To a Fly in the Cream-pot, a tragic ode To a Piece of Packthread, or a string of pathetic verses about the · Butcher of Boylston Market,' will often create considerable sensation. I have known at least one of the Poets of America' to make several decided hits in this way. You see how it works. When people perceive that a man can write tolerable rhymes under such absurd titles, they argue from what he has done, to what he can do, and hope he will be induced,' for the sake of his country's literature, 'to attempt some subject more worthy of bis powers.'
“ In prose, your title, by itself considered, can seldom be wielded as effectively as in poetry. In general, I would say, let it be, if possible, enigmatical, otherwise quaint, or else alliterative.
"The themes of poetry are numberless. I do not know that I can give you any rules for selecting them, which will not apply equally well to the subjects of prose, concerning which I shall speak directly. “Now I think of it, a word on old ballads, which, you know, are generally metrical narratives of chivalrous adventure. Having written them frequently myself, I can assure you that they may be made with perfect ease.
Your point, in writing such things, is to get up a reputation for antiquarian learning. The grand rule to be observed here, is to spell as badly as possible; next, besprinkle your verses well with goodde broadde swordes,' ' ladyes fairre,' ' I trow's,''I ween's,' and a few similar expressions, and your old ballad' will be perfect. I shall only add, respecting poetry, that the old saying, poeta nascitur, is now universally admitted to be absurd, unless you choose to construe it literally, in which case it is undeniably true.
“I shall now give you a few directions especially adapted to your present wants. If your object were less elevated than it is ; if you were only desirous of giving entertainment or instruction to others, I should say, first hang your mind, like a compass needle, loosely upon its pivot, and it will turn to the right subject of its own accord; for it will settle on the one in which your feelings are most deeply interested, on which you have bestowed the most thought, and about which you can write most clearly. But in order to produce an impression, by creating a suitable degree of bewilderment and wonder in the minds of your readers, it will be advisable for you to hunt up some subject with which you are not familiar, or to fix upon one so broad and indefinite that neither you nor any one else shall be able to comprehend it. Of the former class, I will mention but one example. I suppose you
have never read • The Faery Queen;' I never knew anybody that had. You can hardly employ yourself to better advantage than by writing a critical essay upon it. Read half a dozen stanzas, nib your pen, and dash away. Begin, perhaps, by expatiating upon the delightful emotions with which, in childhood's sunny days, you used to drink in the flowing numbers of your favorite, Spenser. I once saw a capital article commencing, as nearly as I remember, in the same way. I certainly doubted the writer's veracity, yet I could not but admire the boldness of his imagination. Subjects of the second class, however, were always my favorites ; they give so wide a range of reflection, and afford, especially to the beginner, so many opportunities for the display of learning. For instance, what think you of-An Inquiry into the various Systems of Philosophy, Ancient and Modern—'The great Movements of the Past and Present Ages—The Influence of the Writings of Plato and other Eminent Men-Essay on Science and Literature—The Universe-Man, considered Physically, Intellectually and Morally ;- I might mention a thousand subjects equally vast and interesting with these, but they will readily occur to you, or if not, you can find them in the index of the first magazine ibat falls in your way.
Having chosen your theme, your next business will be to mark passages of various works for quotation. In doing this, you are allowed considerable latitude, under one or two restrictions. You must never fail to quote from Homer, Virgil, Dante, Cervantes, Corneille, Moliere, Goethe and Schiller, but you are not confined to any particular