صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

And hope, though in the grave laid low,
A flower of heavenly hue 't will yield."

We say almost doubtfully, because they do not necessarily imply anything more than the reviving of earthly hopes and possessions, that had perished under the calamities of the world. Mr. Dwight has expressed the true thought with great beauty.

"But costlier seed we bury weeping,

While in meek faith to heaven we pray,
That from the coffin's loathsome keeping,
It may spring forth to brighter day."

We could wish to hear the vesper bell a little clearer, stealing through the shades of evening, than it is brought to our ears in Mr. Eliot's verse. Something like the following might represent the original with more life;

[blocks in formation]

We will end this criticism of ours, not a presumptuous one, we hope, by referring to a passage which is at least very obliquely rendered;

"Darkness hovers
O'er the earth;

Safety still each sleeper covers

As with light,

That the deeds of crime discovers;

For wakes the law's protecting might."

We see clearly enough the temptation that here led the translator to deviate. It was the formidable appearance of a double rhyme thrice repeated. Who would not have gone so little out of his way, to get round such an obstacle? We apprehend the true idea to be, that the black night, which allows not the guilty to repose, has no terrors for the safely sleeping citizen, since the eye of the law is always watchful.

A good work has been wrought for the public, in thus presenting them with the "Song of the Bell," in such a form that it can be sung to Romberg's celebrated music. This is the first attempt of the kind, we believe, in the English tongue, and we congratulate the translator on having surmounted so

many impediments, and executed his task with such great success. The music has been censured by some of the German critics as wanting in power of expression, and betraying the style of one who produced his chief enchantments by his purely instrumental compositions. But it is always agreeable, and in some of its parts extremely beautiful and affecting. We think it will grow in the favor, with which it has so prosperously started. We are sure that it cannot be heard well performed, without interesting the heart as well as delighting the ear.

We alluded, in the beginning of this article, to a translation by Lord Leveson Gower. It is a singularly loose and inaccurate performance, though with, at rare intervals, strong and well-turned lines. We should surprise and amuse our readers, if we set before them all his strange mistakes. He makes his bell toll" like flattery's voice," and "murmur o'er the land." His English is so bewildered, that he can speak of a house "rifted on the rock;" and his German is so imperfect, though he has done into English the "Faust," that he can translate "speicher," corn-barn, "spice," in two several instances. The fruit of the tropics would be a strange phenomenon in the fields of "Deutschland." He was, perhaps, misled by the similarity of sound; but he might as well have called the ragende bäume" of Schiller's same flourishing proprietor "raging trees." These, however, are only offences against language. Who will believe that he has been wholly unaware of the admirable type of the resurrection, suggested by the raising of the bright bell from its broken mould and tomb in the earth? He seems to think that the only comparison is between the founder and the farmer, the fabric of bell-metal being nobler and more enduring than the fruits of harvest. After such a specimen of incapacity, one is almost ashamed to go back and tell how, in the description of the fire, he has been able to entertain us with such a delectable quartette as the following;


"Like a furnace glows the air,
Windows shiver, kennels glare;
Roaming like the salamander,
Children whimper, mothers wander."

We are certain that our readers have had already enough of his lordship, and will close this article with a single word upon Mr. Sotheby's translation, to which we have incidentally al

luded. It appears in "A Collection of Poems, chiefly manuscript, and from living authors; edited for the benefit of a friend, by Joanna Baillie." It is hardly worthy of its author's fame. It is stiff without being literal. It is often slovenly in the construction of the verse, and abounds with words of poetical common-place. It has neither the liquid flow and musical "availability" of Mr. Eliot, nor the fervid ease of Mr. Dwight, of whom we now take leave with our best thanks.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

N. L. F.

By the

ART. VII Physical Theory of Another Life.
Edition. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1836. 12mo.
pp. 278.

We have read this book with surprise and disappointment. It is to a great degree free both from the faults and the excellencies, which have characterized the other works of its gifted author. It is written in a less involved, less rhapsodical, and more logical style than they; but it wants their fervor and unction, their power of thought, their cogency of persuasion. It is a labored treatise, and one in the preparation of which the writer seems to have felt but little of his wonted enthusiasm, nay, to have hardly cherished that faith in his own speculations, without which it is vain for him to hope for the acquiescent suffrages of his readers. His real views and sentiments all tend towards spiritualism; but in the book under review he has taken up the gauntlet against it, and in favor of the popular notions of a corporeal future state, and a material resurrection. His text is the words of St. Paul, "There is a spiritual body; and it is manifest that on the literal interpretation of this and a few similar passages of Scripture, he has built a "physical theory," at which his philosophy relucts.

[ocr errors]

Our author assumes, almost without the show of argument, that body is the necessary means of bringing spirit into connexion with space and time, of giving birth to the imaginative sentiments and emotions, and of circumscribing the individuality of

[ocr errors]


each separate spiritual existence. It seems to have escaped his reflection, that the Infinite Spirit, without bodily organization, retains his connexion with space and time, and has a strictly individual being; and that these are not among the attributes which he is incapable of imparting. These assumptions once made, Mr. Taylor fairly infers from them that the future life, revealed in the Scriptures, will be a corporeal state. He then proceeds to depict the "probable prerogatives" which the future spiritual body will enjoy over the bodies, which we now possess; and in stating these, he so completely etherealizes the idea of body, as to leave it doubtful what he means by the term, Indeed he divests it one by one of every material attribute, all the while asserting at every step its distinctness from spirit, until, at the end of the ninth and last " probable prerogative," he informs us that "the spiritual body shall be so purely the instrument of the master power, that it will barely, if at all, enter into the consciousness as a separate existence; and that "perhaps beings who have never been subjected to the conditions of animal life may, though actually corporeal, need to be informed of their corporeity; or they may know it, rather by reflection and inference, than by immediate consciousness!" So then, this little book teaches us more of our future condition, than we shall be likely to learn when we enter upon the life to come. We, who have read it, shall be aware of our "corporeity "; as for others, their confession must be, "Whether in the body, or out of the body, we cannot tell ; God knoweth." Our author grounds on these speculations the doctrine of a local hell, where material fire is let loose upon the incorruptible bodies of the reprobate, and seems impressed with the conviction that the idea of future punishment is, on any other theory, divested of all its horrors. He, however, assigns no location to the place of torment, and otherwise occupies those subterranean regions, where it is usually located.

Most of the latter part of the volume is occupied by three "conjectures concerning the material universe, viewed as the theatre of an intellectual system." The first conjecture is grounded on a literal interpretation of St. Paul's classification. of the Messiah's subjects into those "in heaven, in earth, and under the earth."* According to this, " man is destined to pass through three stages of life; the first upon the surface of the

* Phil. ii. 10. Επουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων.

earth, and subject to the conditions of animal organization; the second under the earth, and in a transition form, of attenuated and inactive corporeity; and the third, and ultimate, in a region of power, incorruptibility, and full activity." Of this last and most perfect state the suns of the several systems are named as the probable theatres. With regard to the second, we are told, as the result of a calculation of forces, that our own planet, and others, are not solid globes, but hollow spheres, or spherical shells, including a perhaps irregular, but vast cavity, and this cavity occupied by some elastic fluid or gas." We cannot say but that since our college days modern science may have "changed all this;" but certain are we that the solidity of our own planet, nay, its increasing density towards the centre, was then considered as mathematically demonstrable.

The "second conjecture is,―That within the field occupied by the visible and ponderable universe, and on all sides of us, there is existing and moving another element, fraught with another species of life, corporeal indeed, and various in its orders, but not open to the cognizance of those who are confined to the conditions of animal organization,-not to be seen, nor to be heard, nor to be felt by man." Under this head, the reality of spectral apparitions is admitted, and accounted for by the yearning of those, who have emerged into this attenuated life, to resume their former grosser mode of being, and to reënter their wonted theatre of activity.

The third conjecture relates to the destruction by fire of the present universe, to give place for a new and more perfect creation.

We have thus given a fair, though a condensed analysis of this eccentric "physical theory of another life;" and will request the attention of our readers for the residue of this article to the development and defence of that spiritual theory, which seems to us most in accordance with the voice of reason and of revelation.

In the first place, the Savior and his apostles, in numerous passages of the New Testament, expressly teach that man after death enters immediately upon a conscious state of retribution. It may suffice to quote the following texts. "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die." "The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, he is not a God of the dead, but of the living, for [they] all live unto

« السابقةمتابعة »