Page images

The 'Short PATENT Sermons' of 'Dow, JR.' — The notice of, and extracts from, these lay compositions, which we gave in a recent number, have led many of our readers in the country to ask for more,' with all the eagerness of little Oliver Twist. We have not the heart of a Bumble; and as we clipped short our former article, long before we had consumed the matériel which we had prepared for insertion, we shall here resume the thread of the discourses in question. It will be observed that Mr. Dow adapts his style to the various moral delinquents of a mixed audience; being now tender and persuasive, and anon stern and threatening. 'Some men,' he reasons, in extenuation of this course, 'are as mild and peaceable as lambs, while others are worse than tigers. Some will take a lateral kick as composedly as a bag of bran, while others will shed their quills at the bare tickle of an insinuation. He is especially severe upon those who rely solely upon the external observances of virtue; who offer up thread-bare petitions, without feeling their import; who 'wear the robes of saints, with the cloven foot and switch-tail sticking out from under them ;' and upon whom the coat of religion sits very awkwardly; wrinkling in the back, hitching up behind, and cutting under the arms.' But even such as these, it should seem, cannot escape conscience :

"There is no 'balmy sleep' for those who act dishonestly, live immorally, vote spuriously, shave closely, judge rashly, condemn instantly, lounge lazily, and in short, do wickedly, in any shape. The man who back-bites his neighbor, deceives his friends, speaks ill of married women, runs down the girls, throws a quid of tobacco into the contribution-box, and takes a penny out of it to buy more, and who cares not a snap for God, man, nor the devil - I say, my hearers, such a man never ought to sleep in peace, and he never will. Let bim retire to his cat-tail couch, when sable Night bas emptied her soot-bag upon one half of this terraqueous globe; when the iron tongue of midnight bids the witches straddle their broom-sticks, and the demons of darkness start from their cells ; when his spree is over, and he seeks for repose ; and what, my friends, await him there? Bed-bugs, musquitoes, and the night-mare! Yes, amid all these troubles, he will lay down bis guilty carcass ; turn over, turn under, turn every way, in trying to coax Sleep to his bed-side ; but she won't do it. He will fall into a snooze; but the load on his conscience will cause him to groan in distress, while the skeleton of a night-mare looks in at his window, and gives a horse-laugh at his misery.'

The contrast to this picture is striking, albeit the illustration at the close is not over modestly cited :

· Now, my friends, look at the man who goes to bed with a sense of having done his duty to his Maker, his neighbor, and himself. He falls calmly asleep in the arms of Somnus, who beckons his messenger Morpheus to come, while reason slumbers, and guide his wandering fancy over that blissful world of dreams, where earth-born care is never known to enter. If he is a lover, his dearest angel is ever by his side, journeying with him through shady groves, and over elysian fields; if he is a business man, the banks all pay specie, and discount freely ; if he is a lawyer, his clients are all wealthy and full of suits; if he is a preacher, like myself, his sheep yield good fleeces, and are content with such salt as they can get. O, it's a blessed thing to lie down at night, with a light stomach and lighter conscience! You ought to see me sleep sometimes! The way I take it easy is a caution to children.

There is much of homely truth embraced in the following, as every man of experience can bear witness :


• Man never is contented: he is the fretful babe of trouble and care, and he will continue to worry and fret, no matter how pretty are the playthings with which Heaven essays to please him. He will sometimes fret merely because he can find nothing to fret about. If he were bound to live here forever, he would fret because he couldn't die and go to the other world, just for a change ; and now, secing he has got to die, and no two ways about it, he frets like a caged porcupine, and thinks he would like to live always. In fact, he don't know what he wants.'

My friends, I have seen about enough of this world, myself. For scores of years I have been searching every nook and corner for some perennial spring of happiness, instead of which I have found only a few flood-swollen streamlets, bearing upon their surface innumerable bubbles of vanity, and all along by their margins nests of young humbugs are continually being hatched. I have drank of these waters nigh unto bursting, and always departed as thirsty as ever.

I have been kicked about like an old hat, nearly used up by the flagellations of Time, and am now feeling the way with my cane down to the silent valley of death, where I must soon pile up my poor old bones in the mouldy sepulchre; and, my friends, when you begin to groan beneath the burden of age, and find storm after storm rising dark o'er your way, you too will be glad to quit this rust-gathering world.'

We infer froin the following passage that 'Dow JR.' has aforetime been crossed in love. Possibly he may have sought a refuge in his present calling from his own thoughts, as the disappointed maiden seeks an asylum in a convent:

'Love, my friends, is neither a fluid nor a solid; it is a sort of a compound quintessence of something indescribable. I never experienced its effects myself; I only speak from observation. It bas

Editors' Table.


an attractive power, like the magnet, not yet fully understood. (Silence those boys in the gallery.) Like electricity, it pervades all bodies; comes before you know it ; creates a fluster in the breast; produces a fondness for poetry, romantic places, and shady groves ; makes a person feel queer for a time, and finally departs as calmly as a christian dies. Not unfrequently it makes complete fools of people, as in the case of Werter; causes them to commit suicide, fight duels, take to drink, and become vagabonds. Oh! my heart sinks clear into my trowsers' pocket, when I think of all the mischief that love has stirred up in this amorous world! Go ask those shattered wrecks of humanity who are now swarming in our lunatic asylums, what it was that fired the city of their senses, drove Reason from her throne, and spread anarchy over the vast empire of the mind ; and they might answer truly, 'Love, the tyrant Love! Behold the miserable sot, suffering a self-martyrdom, with the liquid fire of damnation gleaming through his carbuncle nose! Ask him why he, in the prime of life, is about to throw himself upon the funeral pyre of his hopes, and appear fuddled at the bar of judgment ? -- and he will say, it is all for love! Go read upon the stones of yonder church-yard how many of Love's victims have been consigned to the dark chambers of death, and have taken the worms of the clod as their bosom companions! Behold! lovers are weeping, upon the very turf where lovers are sleeping! I grieve for the sleepers, and O! my friends, I tremble for the weepers! They are made of soft matériel; kisses, tears, saw-dust, and soft soap ; and heaven only knows how soon they, loo, may dissolve, and amalgamate with their original clay.'

Here is an aspiration after the condition of a “gentle and voluble spirit of the air,' which would do no discredit to the muse of PERCIVAL, of whom it a little reminds us:

"O that I were the spirit of a sound, uncomeatable, untouchable, and living while I live in the same happy tone that made me! I would be the viewless spirit of the breeze, the breathing harmony of the Æolian harp; forever expiring, and forever being born anew. At one moment I might go moaning through the hollow pines, sad and disconsolate, and at another, join merrily in the chorus of gay little birds that sport in the grove, and mingle their sweetness with the perfume of flowers. Sometimes the harp that breathed me might be set in the branches of the willow that weeps o'er the grave of murdered happiness, where worms are feeding upon the lover's devoted heart. There my sister robin red-breast and I would sigh away our souls, at the pensive evening hour, singing a requiem of peace for the ashes of the dead, and filling the breast of the mourner with a host of melting sympathies. Sometimes, too, would I perform a witching serenade around the moonlit bower of Love, arousing the tiny-winged god from his rosy couch, and inviting the fairies from their hare-bell homes to dance to the inusic of the numbers that compose me. I would sing at the lattice where beauty sleeps, and whistle through the key-hole to frighten naughty children. I would be a whisper in the breeze, a sigh in the gale, a moun in the storm, and a tornado in the tempest!

O, my friends, if we were only the soul of a sound, how happy we should be! We should have no eleemosynary bodies to provide for; no voracious appetites to cloy; no shelter to procure, and no ills to suffer: but living, like chamelions and celestial spirits, on air, fashion, folly, United States' bank, and the sub-treasury, might all rage with desperate fury, while we - bubbles that burst and are born again - would still come and go, just the same as ever, and enjoy all the happiness of heaven, as though peace, piety, and plenty ruled the world below. Ah! these bodies of ours are nuisances to the soul, and the sooner we get rid of them the better."

A fashionable exquisite finds little favor in the eyes of our lay-preacher. Speaking of the genus dandy, he observes :

*They are mere walking-sticks for female flirts, ornamented with brass heads, and barely touched with the varnish of ctiquette. Brass heads, did I say? Nay, their caputs are only half ripe muskmelons, with monstrous thick rinds, hollow within, containing the seeds of foolishness, swimming about in a vast quantity of sap. Their moral garments are a double-breasted coat of vanity, padded with pride, and lined with the silk of urbanity; their other apparel is all in keeping, and imported fresh from the devil's wholesale and retail ready-made clothing establishment. Tinkered up of broad-cloth, buckram, finger-rings, safety-chains, soft sodder, vanity, and impudence, they are no more gentlemen, than a plated spoon is solid silver.

I detest egotism and vanity, as a cat does a wet floor. There are some vain fools in this world, who, after a long incubation, will hatch out from the hot-bed of pride a sickly brood of furzy ideas, and then ge strutting along in the path of pomposity, with all the self-importance of a speckled hen with a black chicken. I have an antipathy to such people.'

Mr. Dow is right. There is not a more contemptible personage in the world, than a professional exquisite:

Some say there's nothing made in vain,
While others the reverse maintain,

And prove it very handy,
By citing animals like these:
Mosquitoes, bed-bugs, crickets, flers,

And-worse than all-a Dandy!

One of these gentry was recently sporting a flashy exterior garment for the first time on the town; and meeting an acquaintance, began to call his attention to its costly perfections. "What-à-d'ye think I gave for it, eh? You can't guess, now.' 'I guess you gave your note!' was the reply, as his acquaintance turned upon his heel and walked

away. Metaphysical disquisitions are not shunned by Mr. Dow; on the contrary, he is evidently disposed to indulge in them often. A single instance must suffice: 'I am

inclined to the belief,' says he, 'that any animate object having the power of motion, has that of thinking; for motion is governed by will, or volition, which must act with thought. A clam has the power of opening and shutting its shell, at pleasure ; therefore I think a clam thinks; but it can't reason!' To the proneness to metaphor of our preacher we have before adverted. He seems aware of this propensity, and finds occasion now and then to 'define his position' to his auditory, as thus : "This, my friends, is metaphorical language, the same as when we say it rains pitch-forks, hails pumpkins, or snows bed-blankets.' Such was the apology for the subjoined familiar but striking imagery: 'How glorious ?t is to see Miss Luna Cynthia rise from her virgin couch, doff her night-cap, and proceed along the Broadway of heaven, with myriads of stars winking at her, as she moves majestically along!' But we are trenching again upon our available space. A summary of some of the notices at the close of the imaginary service, must close our 'report.' Those who remember the announcements of Mr. BURCHARD and 'Brother KNAPP,' will not need to be told that they are scar

carcely caricatures :

• I beg the audience to be seated a moment. Rumor has come to my ears, that a large quid of tobacco was dropped into the contribution-box last Sabbath. The man who committed that outrage, would do well to pause in his career. He is slipping down a greased plank to perdition !" • Tonight there will be preaching in most of the churches. The public gardens, I am desired to give potice, are also open. On Tuesday night there will be a fire, Providence permitting. On Thursday evening, the gates of the Battery will be thrown open for the reception of strollers and ardent lovers. There will be a Distracted Meeting held at Tammany Hall on Saturday evening, to commence at early candle-lighting. Admission gratis : on going out, a shilling will be received by a keeper at the door, for the benefit of the • Manual Labor Society for the Education of Indolent Young Men for the A. B. F. Mission, at Nootka Sound.'

• I would observe that one Miller is preaching up the doctrine that the world is to be destroyed in 1843 ; but don't you believe it. The earth is just as good as new, and will last for a hundred years yet, at the least calculation.'

Those persons who are in the habit of coming late to church, taking advantage of the proverb, ' better late than never,' would confer a particular favor upon me, and the audience generally, if they would wear pumps. The clanking of iron-heeled boots does not accord with the place, and it also disturbs those who may be taking a confortable snooze at the time!'

• My friends are particularly requested not to hang round the doors after service is over, as it not only gives the house the appearance of a grog-shop, but is extremely annoying to many ladies.'

• It may be proper here for me to state, that a part of the receipts arising from the circulation of the Sunday Morning Mercury, (in which my sermons are printed,) are appropriated to my benefit : therefore I wish you all to patronize that entertaining little paper, for my sake, and your own especial good.'

THE 'AMERICAN Eclectic.' -- The first number of a work thus entitled, to appear every two months, has recently made its appearance. It is edited by Absalom PETERS and Salah B. TREAT, editors of the 'American Biblical Repository,' and is to consist of selections from foreign reviews, accompanied by original remarks. The editors take occasion justly to observe, in their address to the public, that' our literary men are not doomed to toil for the few, the privileged class, but they labor for the many -- for the people. The department of periodical literature presents the richest and most various sources of instruction and entertainment; it comprises all topics, whether of books or of active life. The highest talents have been and are enlisted in this class of writings, and the most distinguished authors have derived not a little of their celebrity from their contributions to periodical publications.' Among the articles in the present number, is one on Swedish literature, being a notice of Rudbeck's 'Atlantica,' from the 'Skandinariske Literaturselskabs Skrifter,' by Prof. NYRUP, pronounced a 'great gun' by Brunet, whose valuable opinion is confirmed by FORTIA DE Piles! A much more interesting paper is that of Mr. EliHU BURRITT, 'the learned Blacksmith,' on Icelandic literature, introducing the sagas of the eminent Norse writers, in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The description of the Norsemen and their wild region is striking. Under the shadow of mountains that lifted their everlasting bulwarks of ice against the sky, or set the clouds on fire with their volcanic flames; 'shut out from the stormy theatre of the great world; scattered over one of the most inhospitable islands on the globe; separated into little colonies by intervening barriers, which seemed to have remained there from the birth of time; obliged to economize and improve the meagre provisions which nature had there made for the sustenance of man and beast ;' the Norsemen had all the fire of patriotism and of freedom, and the chivalric energy of a heroic age, and more than perpetuated the marked characteristics of their ancestors. The sources of the Icelandic sagas, or narratives of the lives and adventures of their most distinguished men, are thus felicitously sketched by Mr. BURRITT:

* Each of their little communities maintained the character, and, almost literally, the connection of a single family. The Scandinavian patriarch, who presided at their head, still felt the blood of a long succession of heroes stirring in his veins. The feats of his youth and manhood, and the prowess of his ancestors, were recited and sung beneath a common roof or in the convivial hall, till hearts caught fire at the tale. From another seat at the rustic board or fireside, another, whose head wus frosted with fewer winters, spoke of wars beyond the seas; of the bended bow, and the braying trumpet; of fields fought, won or lost; of encounter

In angry parlance with the sledded Pole,' with the tartaned Scot, or the steel-clad Southron.

Then there were those that told of journeyings in lands close under the sun; where perennial verdure clad both hill and dale; where no snows fell nor sleet, nor any biting breath from icy wastes passed by; but where all was soft and serene; where the air that had tasted of the honey of delicious fruits, and dallied with an Eden full of flowers, breathed on the cheek and fanned the brow. Another took up a tale of hair-breadth 'scapes among dark Norse mountains, which the sun scarcely ever looked at; of leaps 'o'er precipices huge, smoothed up with snow;' of great fiery eyeballs of howling wolves, peering out of deep, dark caverns, and deadly clutches with the northern bear. Next came those who could tell of perils hard upon the breaking gulf; of broken-ruddered vessels tossed upon the billows of the northern seas, or dashed among the icebergs, or upon the ice-girdled rocks of some desert island; of 'ventures among the Orkneys, the Faroe islands, and along the coasts of Scotland.'

Among the remaining papers, is one in which the opium question in China is elaborately treated. The 'Eclectic' is published at the corner of Fulton and Nassau streets, at six dollars per year.

ARCTURUS.' -- The first number of a monthly 'journal of books and opinion,' thus entitled, made its appearance on the first ultimo. It is edited by EVERT A. DUYCKINK and Cornelius Mathews, Esquires, both of whom have been represented in these pages. The first named gentleman has made himself otherwise favorably known to the public, by various articles in the 'New-York Review,' which indicated a philosophical and reflective mind, a love of the beautiful in old English literature, and a familiar acquaintance with the labors of its choicest spirits. The paper upon 'Old English Books,' in the number before us, will afford the reader an adequate idea of Mr. DUYCKINK's cultivated taste and critical powers, as well as an example of his pleasing style. Mr. Mathews is the author of The Motley-Book,' a volume of sketches, which has been already noticed in these pages, and of 'Behemoth, or the Moundbuilders,' a work which displayed talent in its descriptive portions, but which, both in scope and execution, partook of that vagueness which we have heretofore mentioned as characteristic of the writer's humorous conceptions and style. And here we may remark, that our friend and umqwhile correspondent, and the author's editorial coadjutor, in an article upon the 'Writings of CORNELIUS MATHEWS,' in the last number of the 'NewYork Review,' has mistaken, as we conceive, this very vague grotesqueness for genuine humor; these dim, unsatisfactory glimmerings, for direct rays; and he may be assured that all the reviews in the world could not enforce the admiration which he manifests for his friend and associate's writings. We will not go so far as to say, with an accomplished critic in one of our daily journals, that 'the pathos of the author of "The Motley-Book’always makes us laugh, while his humor makes us cry;' for his pathos is not ill-defined, and is often effective; but we should be doing injustice to our honest .convictions, not to repeat them here. Yet we do not ask the reader to rely upon these solely: we would safely trust a verdict in this matter with those who may peruse the very extracts cited by the reviewer as the most favorable specimens of his client's powers. The 'Arcturus' is neatly executed, upon a large type. We cordially welcome our clever contemporary into the literary field, nothing doubting that we shall find in it an efficient auxiliary in the cause of letters.


LIFE AND WRITINGS OF JOHNSON Two late numbers of HARPERS' Family Library contain the 'Life and Writings of Samuel Johnson,' selected and arranged by Rev. William P. Page. The 'life' is that by GIFFORD, as affording the best summary account of his career and genius; and in the selection of the 'writings,' the compiler, while he has retained the greatest variety, has nevertheless successfully concentrated the whole in a single object, the moral amendment of the heart. Speaking of Johnson, reminds us of his sycophantic and craven biographer, but entertaining gossip, BoswELL, and of an admirable imitation of his minute transcriptions from the lips of the 'great leviathan,' embodying much of his dogmatism and sesquipedalian mannerism, written by ALEXANDER CHALMERS. It purports to be 'an extract from the Life of Dr. Pozz, in ten volumes folio, written by James Bozz, who flourished with him for nearly fifty years.' We annex a few passages, which, as a most feliciious burlesque, we commend to the reader as an exercise in risibility:

"We dined at the chop-house. Dr. Pozz was this day very instructive. We talked of books. I mentioned the History of Tommy Trip. I said it was a great work. Pozz. · Yes, Sir, it is a great work; but, Sir, it is a great work relatively; it was a great work to you when you was a little boy: but, now, Sir, you are a great man, and Tommy Trip is a little boy. I felt somewhat hurt at this comparison, and I believe he perceived it; for, as he was squeezing a lemon, he said, “Never be affronted at a comparison. I have been compared to many things, but I never was affronted. No, Sir, if they would call me a dog, and you a canister tied to my tail, I would not be affronted.' Cheered by this kind mention of me, though in such a situation, I asked him what he thought of a friend of ours, who was always making comparisons. Pozz. 'Sir, that tellow has a simile for every thing but himself. I knew him when he kept a shop ; hic then made money, Sir, and now he makes comparisons. Sir, he would say that you and I were two figs stuck toguther; two figs in adhesion, Sir ; and then he would laugh.'

* We supped that evening at his house. I showed him some lines I had made upon a pair of breeches. Pozz. 'Sir, the lines are good; but where could you tind such a subject in your country?' Bozz. “Therefore it is a proof of invention, which is a characteristic of poetry. Pozz. “Yes, Sir, but an invention which lew of your countrymen can enjoy.' I reflected afterward on the depth of this remark : it affords a proof of that acuteness which he displayed in every branch of literature. I asked him if he approved of green spectacles ? Pozz.

• As

green spectacles, Sir, the question seems to be this: if I wore green spectacles, it would be because they assisted vision, or because I liked them. Now, Sir, if a man tells me he does not like green spectacles, and that they hurt his eyes, I would not compel him to wear them. No, Sir, I would dissuade him. A few months after, I consulted him again on this subject, and he honored me with a letter, in which he gives the same opinion. It will be found in its proper place.'.

Next day I left town, and was absent for six weeks, three days, and seven hours, as I find by a memorandum in my journal. In this time I had only one lemer from him, which is as follows:

"TO JAMES BOZZ, ESQ. “Dear sir : My bowels have been very bad. Pray buy me somei Turkey rhubarb, and bring with you a copy of your Tour. "Write to me soon, and write to me often. I am, dear sir, yours, affectionately,

"SAM. Pozze'

It would have been unpardonable to have omitted a letter like this, in which we see so much of his great and illuminated mind.'

• We talked of wind. I said I knew many persons much distressed with that complaint. Pozz. Yes, Sir

, when contined, when pent up." I said I did not know that, but I question if the Romans ever knew it. Pozz. “Yes, Sir, the Romans knew it.' Bozz. 'Livy does not mention it.' Pozz. “No, Sir, Livy wrote History. Livy was not writing the Life of a Friend.'

This explanation threw me into a violent fit of laughter, in which he joined me, rolling about as he used to do when he enjoyed a joke; but he afterward checked me. Pozz. Sir, you ought not to laugh at what I said. Sır, he who laughs at what another man says, will soon learn to laugh at that other man. Sir, you should laugh only at your own jokes ; you should laugh seldom.' • We talked of a friend of ours who was a very violent politician. I said I did not like his company. Pozz. ' No, Sir, he is not healthy; he is sore, Sir ; his mind is ulcerated ; he has a political whitlow; Sir, you cannot touch him without giving him pain. Sir, I would not talk politics with that man ; I would talk of cabbage and peas : Sir, I would ask him how he got his corn in, but I would not talk politics' Bozz - But perhaps, Sir, he would talk of nothing else. Pozz" * Then, Sir, it is plain what he would do. On my very earnestly inquiring what that was, Dr. Pozz answered, 'Sir, he would let it alone.'

I mentioned a tradesman who had lately set up his coach. Pozz. · He is right, Sir ; a man who would go on swimmingly cannot get too soon off his legs. That man keeps his coach. Now, Sir, a coach is better than a chaise, Sir; it is better than a chariot.' Bozz. Why, Sir ?' Pozz. 'Sir, it will hold inore. I begged he would repeat this, that I might remember it, and he complied with great good humour. 'Dr. Pozz,' said I, ' you ought to keep a coach.' Pozz. Yes, Sir, I ought.' Bozz. But you do not, and that has often surprised me.' Pozz. “Surprised you! There, Sir, is another prejudice of absurdity. Sir, you should be surprised at pothing. A inan that has lived half your days ought to be above surprise. Sir, it is a rule with me never to be surprised. It is mere ignorance ; you cannot guess why I do not keep a coach, and you are surprised. Now, Sir, if you did know, you would not be surprised. I said, tenderly, I hope, my dear Sir, you will let me know before I leave town.' Pozz. Yes, Sir, you shall know now. You shall not go to Mr. Wilkins, and to Mr. Jenkins, and to Mr. Stubbs, and say, why does not Pozz koop a coach ? I will tell you myself ; Sir, I can't afford it.'

I mentioned hanging : I thought it a very awkward situation. Pozz. 'No, Sir, hanging is not an awkward situation ; it is proper that

« PreviousContinue »