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We are not going to descant at large on the charms of the budding and opening Spring, as is usual at this time. In sooth, we are not particularly enraptured with the season, taking it " for all in all.” W e are then periodically visited with our portion of the “ills that flesh is heir to,” in the shape of colds, agues, and that execrable pain in the masticatory organs, which Burns, with more truth than propriety of expression, calls the “hell o'a' diseases." Ay, we can well say with him,
“My curse upon thy venom'd stang,
That shoots my tortured gums alang;
Wi' gnawing vengeance ;
Like racking engines !" If we affect any of the vernal period, it is only the pleasant days of the “merry month of May.” There is some little pleasure in a country excursion then. A poet in another institution thus rhapsodizes.
“”T is wondrous fine, I calculate,
To sit upon an oak;
In one almighty croak!”
" Jain satis.” Enough already! A pleasant vacation to you, brethren, one and all ; and plenty of laughing and bright-eyed cousins to kiss and flirt with. They are just the creatures for kissing. You don't have to bite it off and dodge back before you have fairly tasted it, for fear of a tingle in your ear ; but they will allow you to take it in “ link-ed-sweet-ness-long-drawn-out,” as the man said of his canine sausages. Kind reader, fare thee well!
TO — A REPLY. Roguish Eros gave his bow
And now it rankles in my breast,
And with my blood 't is warm;
Ah! who shall heal my harm?
They say, who've seen the little hand The arrow to its head;
That wrought me all this wo,
Is she who twang'd the bow :
And generous as she's puro :-
And, Lady, work my cure ?
“ What's in a name? that which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Such was the language of Sbakspeare's Juliet And Shakspeare seems to us to have exercised all his usual prudence, in ascribing this, at best doubtful sentiment, to Juliet. Juliet, as he painted her, was a love-sick damsel, lamenting that so trivial a circumstance, as the name of her lover, should be the only great barrier to their union. She was sighing with all love's fureur, in anticipation of the stern refusal, which that haughty Capulet, her father, would make to an alliance with the house of Montague. In the full phrenzy of her passion she cried, “'Tis but thy name, that is my enemy; * * * What's in a name ? * * * 0! Romeo, doff thy name ; and for that name, which is no part of thee, take all myself.”
With due deference now to Shakspeare's almost inspired knowledge of human nature, we are willing to admit the entire appropriateness of such a speech to a maiden of Juliet's years and in Juliet's circumstances, But separate from her, or as a sentiment by itself, her words were grossly false. Nor can we believe, knowing the general wisdom and learning of the ladies of Shakspeare's days, that even this beauty of“ fair Verona," Juliet herself would, in a less excited mood, have given to such thoughts utterance. Indeed, but a moment previous she had eloquently declared the importance of a name. " What's in a name ?” There's every thing. There's wealth and friends and power. Our world itself is but a mass of names, and from these very names derives its value. " What's in a name ?" Go, ask that pale and care-worn author, uprooting in his agonies the few hairs that straggle on his thinly-covered temples, in search among them, as it would seem, of a title for his unpublished papers. Let him repeat to you with ready memory, the thousand and ten thousand books consigned to hopeless obloquy by their ill-chosen names; and in the face of such testimony as this, be still a disbeliever, if you can, of the mighty value of a name. In truth, we know not but that this choice of name may be the most difficult of all the author's tasks. Dickens, whom all of us, as much as we may censure or lament his injudicious attack upon America and Americans, are still ready to admit to be possessed of great and peculiar talents, has been singularly happy in the choice of names for his books and his characters, and if we think aright, to this may owe not a little of his wide-spread popularity. We cannot by any possibility explain in what the charm consists ; but there is for us“ magic in the sounds” of Weller, or Pickwick, or Tupman, or Snodgrass, or Winkle. The very names of these immortal, personages, (and that they are or rather shall be immortal, there can be no manner of doubt; for in what reader's mind we would ask can their memory ever die ?) their very names we say speak, and explain their several distinct characters. And
not alone in the “ Pickwick Papers,” but, in like manner, in any of the other equally meritorious works of Mr. Dickens, we shall find the same pleasant feature as prominent. One of our own countrymen too, Washington Irving, to whom we need apply no complimentary epithet, possesses in an equal degree the same happy talent.
Who, that has ears, has never taken delight in pronouncing again and again, for his own gratification, the expressive and euphonious appellations given to our lakes, our rivers, and our lands, by the poor and simple Indians ? We have often wondered at that strange, and to us almost unaccountable taste, which apparently can prefer the harsh sounds of our own language, to the soft and musical names in the Indian. And in our speculations on the matter, we have often asked ourselves, could it have been Taste which wrought the change ? Ah! no, it was something else. Perhaps it was, that the first settlers of our country, who made these lamentable changes, who possessed these singular preferences, to their shame be it spoken! wished to destroy every memento of that once noble race, who were the innocent victims of their treachery and their cruelty. But heaven be praised, the attempt was vain. “ Their name is on our waters, and we cannot wash it out."
The fault lies not so much in the world's theory upon this point of names, as in the world's practice. Most men, when fairly tested, will acknowledge to the full extent all that we may urge upon the importance and the beauty of a name ; nay more, discontent perchance with acknowledgment alone, may even so far forget themselves as for a moment to grow rapturous, and throw off their little temporary enthusiasm in a few stanzas of very loving poetry. Most men we have said, for we would not include in our remark that sweet-tempered class of men, who blessed themselves with ill-starred names, would insist that there is nothing especial in a name. That one name is, “ as fair, or doth become the mouth as well, or is as heavy," as another. Who would tell us, in their zeal, that a Wiggins could have led to victory, as successfully as a Washington, and could have lived as green and glorious in the hearts of his countrymen ? Poor misguided men! we pity them.
But it is the world's practice that is wrong. A bad divine, it follows not its own preaching. We have often been amazed, as we have fol. lowed with our eyes the young couple, the father and the mother, as up the long church-aisle they bore in a very graceful or very graceless manner, to the baptismal font, their first-born child, the centre of their future hopes, perhaps their future joy, we have often been amazed, we repeat, at the impudence, the effrontery, the shamelessness with which they would brand their boy with a bad, ill-omened name. Again and again, in our amazement, we have tried to divine their reason for the name. Was it a suggestion of their double tastes ? Could it be such ? Could two persons be so much at fault in taste as this? Or was it an involuntary exhibition, a violent out-burst of the glowing patriotic feelings, that throbbed the parents' breasts ; a slight tributo which they would thus pay, by the adoption of his name for their heir, to one of those heroes of their adoration who had fought and died, ay, possibly, and bled in their country's cause ? Oh! ill-directed patriotism! Appear,
ye modern Cæsars, ye Catos, and ye Bonapartes, and tell what mill-stones to your necks, these mighty names have been.! And is it religious zeal, that impels them again to the choice of an odd Scripture name or two for their offspring ? Oh! how much better for the cause they love, were such zeal differently displayed, in christian benevolence and christian charity, perhaps. And yet the reason, which we are in search of, may be none of these. It may be, and probably in most cases is sheer thoughtlessness. Parents little think, at the altar, of the future importance of good or bad names to their children. They are willing to load them with one, two, three, or four, as their whims suggest, to the utter disregard of taste, euphony, sense, ay, every thing, for “ What's in a name"? Ah! what a load has that poor knight to bear, whose parents dubbed him “N. Bonaparte Smith”! How much better than all these far-sought, high-sounding epithets, are the plain and common christian names in daily use! Would that the world might think and act so. But a truce to this trifling. Reader, Adieu.
FASHIONABLE as it has been of late years to decry eloquence, we are glad to believe that a better opinion of its true worth is rapidly gaining ground. Men have become convinced that it is something more than an empty sound- a trick of the schools." Strange that such an idea of it should ever have been entertained! Strange that men of broad and enlightened views should ever have formed a contemptible opinion of this noble and desirable acquirement! Strange, too, that while the power of close and vigorous thought has always been considered of the highest importance, so little attention has been given to what is of equal importance—the power of expressing that thought, in a clear, forceful, and pleasing manner!
Eloquence, what is it? What is that power by which one mind may enchain ten thousand others, and hold men “fixed and motionless," as by a spell ? What is it, which sends the blood shivering along its courses ; which makes the heart leap, and the eye sparkle with intensest lustre? What is it, which sways with such a potent influence assembled multitudes; which hushes to a sudden calm the waves of contending passion, and anon lashes them into a tenfold fury? It is eloquence, we know ; but it is easier to feel than describe it. All who have listened to an eloquent man; who have watched the speaker's countenance as the workings of his soul were successively pictured there ; who have marked the lightning of his eye, and caught the words as they fell hot and glowing from his lips ; all these have felt its influence. They could not, perhaps, define their emotions ; they could not tell what it was that produced the impression upon them. It might not have been the intonations of the voice-it might not have been any peculiarity of manner or gesture ; but something had fixed their attention, and wrought up their minds to the highest pitch of excitement. We are often truly told, that the great secret of the power lies in this : the speaker himself first possesses that deep feeling, that lively interest in his subject, which he wishes to awaken in his auditors. Without this, he will produce little more effect than a marble statue. Let his tones be ever so rich and well-varied, let his action be ever so graceful ; unless his own sympathies are deeply enlisted in his cause, there will be no eloquence. There is no such thing as acquiring it by study and practice merely: one may thus become a ready, fluent speaker, but without the grand requisite before mentioned, he will not be eloquent, in the ordinary acceptation of the term. When, and only when, he has a warm and earnest interest in his subject-when the sentiments he would enforce on others have been drawn from the depths of his own soul—when his thoughts come crowding thick and fast in the intensity of his own feelings; then are witnessed the highest exhibitions of eloquence.
We would not overrate the importance of eloquence; but when we recollect the weariness with which we have endured the dull and spiritless efforts of some of our public speakers, and the intense pleasure we have felt in listening to others, we cannot help feeling that eloquence has no little importance. Were it of no farther use than to contribute to the rational enjoyment of mankind, its value would still be great. The man who adds to the real happiness of his fellows, does not live in vain. The eloquent man is that one. As he rises to address an intelligent assembly, every breath is hushed, every countenance beams with eager expectation, every eye is fixed on that single form, as it stands erect before them. The first tones of his voice fall like a charm on every ear; and as he proceeds, his soul warming and rising with his subject, thrill after thrill of delight runs like an electric spark through all his audience. At some more than wonted burst of eloquence, every face is lighted up, and every eye is sparkling with pleasure. As he touches some sympathetic cord, as he calls up some stirring association, every heart glows with fiery feeling; and thus he goes on, “ wielding at will” the whole assemblage, till, at his close, one general burst of applause breaks from every lip, and all go away with a feeling of satisfaction that they have been there. Say not the eloquent man is of little importance to society.
What is the true aim of eloquence? It is to impress truth with greater power on the minds of men. In truth's grand conflict against error, should it ever be enlisted. In behalf of injured and suffering humanity, should it ever be heard. Our state of society is such, that there are always opportunities for its exercise, in enforcing correct sentiments and moulding public opinion. It may be instrumental in creating a thirst for knowledge-political, moral, and scientific. Not only should it be found in the pulpit and at the bar, but in the public lyceum and lecture room, and wherever men may gather for instruction. But truth, it may be said, stands in no need of such an auxiliary. It is of itself powerful. It is of itself attractive. It needs not this gaudy drapery of words, this glittering tinselry of ornament, to secure