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ultimate goal whither all steps are wending, as the dark opening of some bright and glorious perspective, and not recoil into the giddy world, to escape its lessons of morality. Were the grave rendered more attractive, it might be better than the words of the preacher. The old man, as he passed by, would remember, without shuddering, that he was dust, nor would the youth hurry on, 'whistling to keep his courage up.' It should entice more readily than the lips of some 'old man eloquent,' and instil its stern lessons into willing ears. It should have a voice and an eloquence of its own. More sublimely than human thought ever conceived of, and in a language 'sweeter than all tune,' it should discourse of death, judgment, and eternity. Oh! bring flowers, bring flowers! Disdain not to encourage what is so refined in its tendency, though Reason, in her despicable pride, may sneer at you, and account it a weakness to honor the casket, when deserted by the gem!
Let us visit often the burial-places of the dead, recall our minds from the grossness of earthly cares, commune with them, and then, scattering our sweet emblems, go back with a cheerful heart into the world, and endeavor to emulate their virtues. We shall be better affected by this, than by rearing any cold mausoleum. That may be intrusted to the artist, and may excite the gaze, if not the sneer, of the passer. It is better to present our own offerings.
What are the proudest piles of sculptured marble? Will not the beating storm, and the effacing moss, and the corrosive hand of time, soon blot out these vain memorials, and destroy the short-lived characters which are inscribed upon them? But the willow and the rose will be ever returning, and ever blooming on the approach of spring; thus quickening our affections, and almost enticing us to linger at the grave. And who would not prefer these natural monuments, to the cold marble which the hand of man has fashioned? the romantic beauties of 'Père la Chaise,' to the long-drawn aisles of Westminster Abbey? Yes, surely if there is a place where simplicity possesses a charm, and where every approach to arrogance should be avoided, it is that last narrow house:
'where side by side,
The poor man and the son of pride,
Lie calm and still!'
To throw around the grave the gorgeous paraphernalia of living haughtiness, appears a kind of horrid mockery. It is the unseemly paint daubed upon the ghastly features of death. It is creating a distinction, where every distinction is alike levelled with the dust. And there are better memorials than the gilded marble, or the sculptured stone; for the tear, as it trembles in the eye of affection, or sparkles on the tomb of the dead, is worth all the 'pomp of heraldry, and boast of power;' and the deep-graven characters which are inscribed upon the living tablets of the heart, are better than the most vaunting epitaph upon Parian marble.
F. W. S.
LIVE well, and die never
FROM 'KYTTENHAWTEN,' AN UNPUBLISHED POEM BY J. H. BRIGHT, ESQ.
HIGH on the quarter-deck the master stood,
His slender frame form'd less for use than show:
A soft blue eye, light hair, of gentle mood,
And small thin hands and feet, a forehead low;
He looked a figure for a lady's beau
The neat appendage of the drawing-room;
A quite convenient thing, when Miss must go
To purchase ribbons, laces, and perfume:
You'll find such when 't is fair, in Broadway, in full bloom.
This leads me to digress upon the way
In which those objects live on land; they toil
They credit Shakspeare, when they quote from Job, or Moses.
HOME AS FOUND. By the Author of 'Homeward Bound,' 'The Pioneers,' etc.' In two volumes, 12mo. pp. 582. Philadelphia: LEA AND BLANCHARD.
WE shall devote but brief space to a notice of this work, than which we have seen nothing worse from the pen of its author- not even excepting 'The Monikins.' It will be remembered that, in a late number of this Magazine, in closing a notice of 'Homeward Bound,' we expressed the hope that its author would hereafter forget the unpleasant wranglings of the past, and that 'the fine genius of our countryman, now in the prime of life and manhood, would play out its variations, unfettered by kindled prejudices, and untrammelled by awakened remembrance of real persecution or fancied wrong.' We regret to say, that our anticipations were not well founded. Indeed, the warmest personal friend of Mr. COOPER cannot but deeply regret the publication of the work under notice. As a novel proper, it is, to say nothing of more venial faults, plotless and desultory - utterly' without form and void.' Our author seems to anticipate this verdict, in his preface; and hazards an apology for his failure, which can in no wise avail him. It will not do for the author of the 'Pioneers,' 'The Spy,' 'I ''Lionel Lincoln,' etc., who has derived so much repute from his labors on American ground, to turn round, at this late day, and, as an excuse for giving us the lees of his good wine, pronounce our country 'the most barren field on earth for a writer of fiction.' It is true, that if Mr. COOPER's fame were to depend upon the volumes before us, it would ultimately be found vastly to resemble infamy. He evidently sat down to his task with all his vanities and grievances, imaginary or real, thick clustering about him; and no reader can resist the conclusion, that the discharge of ink was necessary to avoid a most plethoric congestion. Scenes and conversations, in which American society is elaborately caricatured, make up the staple of the work. The writer indulges liberally in satirical digressions, and is not at all scrupulous about the tie which connects them together. The spirit of the book could not well be worse. It is full of nuts for the tories of England, and all enemies of republican equality and institutions, every where. Doubtless, as our author has often averred, there is something too much of national boasting among us. It has been well remarked, that there is enough of honest triumph for the republic, in her actual position, and reasonable prospects, without sending up our writers and statesmen to the high places of the American Pisgah, to enjoy the prospective subjugation of the globe. But on the other hand, is there need of underrating? Is there need of native dogmatism and arrogance, in treating of our people? Is there cause for an American to represent the mass of his countrymen as fools or clowns ?-to speak slightingly of our scenery, and disparagingly, nay, contemptuously, of our society, in particular and in the mass? But we must pause. A long notice of these volumes would be out of all proportion to their importance; and we gladly leave them to the oblivion which awaits them, and from which nothing can rescue them.
THE MOTLEY BOOK: A SERIES OF TALES AND SKETCHES.-By the late BEN. SMITH. With Illustrations. One volume. pp. 190. J. AND H. G. LANGLEY, Chatham-street. WE have already alluded to this work, in the fragmentary form in which it first appeared; and now that the' tales and sketches' are collected by the author into a volume, where they may be read consecutively, we find no cause to modify the conscientious verdict which we have heretofore rendered against them. The author's head is capacious enough of dreams and similitudes of humor; but there is no naturalness in his descriptions, and no distinctness in his pictures. His observation of men and things, is cursory and superficial; and there is a perpetual tendency with him to exaggeration or dilution of thought; until the reader is sometimes led to doubt whether he always affixes any very precise ideas to the language he employs. Under such a process, even the best of scenes or ideas would become as flat as champaigne in a decanter. We will illustrate the justice of our comments, by a single extract from a sketch entitled 'Greasy Peterson,' a grocer, described, with characteristic vraisemblance, as 'a smooth, unctious, fish-faced being,' which we shall take the liberty to place by the side of a natural picture, drawn by a master of the humorous, and ask the reader to compare the 'odd patch-work fancy' of our motley author, with the clear limning, which he has elsewhere aped, but signally aped in vain :
'Greasy Peterson vulgar mortals have named thee, knowing not the true sweetness and blessedness of thy life in its even flow. Judged by thy garments, thou art in truth a poor-devil. Ablue coat, patched like the sky with spots of cloudy black, oil-spotted drab breeches, cased in coarse overalls of bagging, are not the vestments in which worldly greatness clothes itself, or worldly wisdom is willing to be seen walking streets and highways. True, thou hast a jolly person and goodly estate of flesh and blood under such habiliments. Glide on, glide on, Oleaginous Robert- like a river of oil, and be thy taper of life quenched silently as pure spermaceti! Robert Peterson, Esq., greengrocer and tallow-chandler, possessed the most incongruous face that ever adorned the head of mortal. His nose thrust itself out, a huge promontory of flesh, at whose base two pool-like eyes sparkled small, clear and twinkling, while a river of mouth ran athwart its extreme projection, flowing almost from ear to ear, with only a narrow strip of ruddy cheek intervening. Within, greasy Bob possessed a mind as curiously assorted as his countenance. It was composed of fragments of every thing, bits of knowledge of one kind and another strangely stitched together, and forming an odd patch-work brain, whose operations it was a merry spectacle to observe.
'Good morning, neighbor Peterson,' said as mall, pie-shaped fruiterer from next door, 'Good morning! I hope we shall have fine weather, now the wind has shifted his tail to the Nor'-west,'
Who ever saw a 'fish-faced' or a 'pie-shaped' man, or one, elsewhere mentioned, with features 'like a dried codfish, suddenly animated?' Compare the foregoing obscure and plethoric picture- a single specimen from a numerous class, of kindred genus and characteristics — with the subjoined, by IRVING, whose drawings in this kind seem always, in contrast with those of other would-be humorists, (we except NEAL, the charcoal-sketcher,) like a Michael Angelo in a picture-gallery. The passage is familiar to the reader, being a sketch of Ichabod Crane, and his steed 'Gunpowder,' as they sat off for old Baltus Van Tassel's party:
'The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scare-crow eloped from a cornfield. * * * It is meet should, in the true spirit of romantic story, give some account of the looks and equipments of my hero and his steed. The animal he bestrode was a broken-down plough-horse, that had outlived almost every thing but his viciousness. He was gaunt and shagged, with a ewe neck and a head like a hammer; his rusty mane and tail were tangled and knotted with
burrs; one eye had lost its pupil, and was glaring and spectral, but the other had the gleam of a genuine devil in it. Still he must have had fire and mettle in his day, if we may judge from his name, which was Gunpowder. He had, in fact, been a favorite steed of his master's, the choleric Van Ripper, who was a furious rider, and had infused, very probably, some of his own spirit into the animal; for, old and broken-down as he looked, there was more of the lurking devil in him than in any young filly in the country. Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pommel of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like grasshoppers'; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand, like a sceptre, and as the horse jogged on, the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. A small wool hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his scanty strip of forehead might be called, and the skirts of his rusty black coat fluttered out almost to the horse's tail.'
We have expressed our conviction, and given the grounds for our belief, that the forte of the writer of these 'motley' outlines, is not the humorous; and we say it in all kindness, and with a due remembrance, that it is to our own pages that 'BEN. SMITH' is indebted for the small amount of capital in literary repute, upon which he subsequently began to trade. We may believe, moreover, that were some judicious friend to clip, amend, and emend, as in the case of the trifle which gives our author his nom de guerre, it would be the better for the writer's success. He is far more felicitous in serious compositions. The 'Potters' Field,' for example, is very spirited and pathetic, and shows the true vein of our author; the same is true of the little sketch entitled 'The Unburied Bones.' And we cannot but hope, that he will for ever renounce, for this species of composition, the 'things of shreds and patches,' which he must needs imagine to possess, what they assuredly do not, the spirit of genuine wit and humor. We need not say, that Mr. SMITH has our best wishes for his success, in any pursuit which involves no waste of his energies upon a species of literature, which, though not perhaps foreign to his taste, is certainly beyond his grasp.
VELASCO; A TRAGEDY, IN FIVE ACTS. BY EPES SARGENT. pp. 110. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
THE author of this play - which has already received the stamp of public approbation, having been performed with entire success, before the critical audiences of the 'literary emporium'- informs us, in a brief introduction, that its basis is historical, although many of its scenes and situations are purely imaginary. 'All that may seem strange or unnatural,' says Mr. SARGENT, 'in the conduct of the drama, is in strict accordance with popular tradition. The general action of the piece is derived from incidents in the career of Rodrigo Diaz, the cid, whose achievements constitute so considerable a portion of the historical and romantic literature of Spain.' Until now, however, the subject has never been successfully introduced upon the English stage. As the play, when produced at the Park Theatre, will fall under the province of our theatrical reporter, we shall avoid sluicing off any portion of its interest, by attempting a synopsis or analysis of its character; but leaving this task to abler hands, we may, in a few words, express our convictions of its general merits. The whole is, to our conception, managed with judgment and good taste. The unity of the drama is well preserved throughout, while the plot or business of the piece advances gradually and naturally. Unlike too many native productions, of a similar description, it is not glaringly unequal in portions of the acts or scenes-half ice and half fire; but the subordinate interests are well maintained, and not remotely accessary. The language of passion is bold and figurative, yet for the most part brief and concise. There is little or nothing of disproportioned and injudicious ornament; and in these days of rant and fustian, to avoid these, deserves no small praise. We can well imagine, as we read, what fine effect must have been given to