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Thoas. Thou sprung from Kings, thou hast no stronger | Her chosen Priestess. But may Dian Pardon clain
My fault, that I so long, against our Law Upon my favor or my confidence
And my own conscience, have withheld from her Than when unknown. My offer I renew.
Her ancient sacrifice. From oldest times Then go with me and share in all I have.
Death was the certain doom of every stranger, Iphigenia. My King, how can I hazard such a step?
Who touched this shore; till thou with blandishments, The Goddess who preserved me, she alone
In which I thought I saw a daughter's fondness, Has claims on my devoted life. She chose
And hoped at length to see the silent love This as my place of refuge, and, perhaps,
Of a young bride, beguiled me from my duty, Reserves me for the solace and delight
Spell-bound, with magic bonds and rocked to sleep, Of the declining years of one whom she
That I heard not the murmurs of my People. Enough has punished. Who knows, even now,
But now they charge my Son's untimely death That my deliverance is not at hand,
But as a visitation on my guilt, If I, unmindful of her holy will,
And I no more for thy sake will restrain Thwart not her plan. Devoutly have I asked
The crowd that clamors for the sacrifice. A sign by which her pleasure may be known.
Iphigenia. Not for my sake I asked it. He, who thinks Thoas. It is a sign that here thou still remainest.
The Gods delight in blood, mistakes them widely, Seek no excuses, for they speak in vain,
Charging on them his cruel purposes. Who would involve denial in smooth words.
Did not the Goddess save me from the Priest, The baffled suitor only hears the "No."
Preferring to my blood my service here?
Thoas. 'Tis not for us, with ready sophistry Iphigenia. My trust is not in words that only dazzle.
To mould our holy usage to our will. I have disclosed to thee my inmost heart:
Do thou thy duty. Leave me to do mine. And knows not thine own heart how mine must yearn
Two strangers, in a cave near to the Sea, To see my Father-Mother-Brother--Sister-
Have just been found concealed. They bring no good. To see, in that old hall, where sorrow still
I hold them captive, and the injured Goddess May sometimes lisp my name, Joy's reign restored,
Shall take them as her due,-(the first that offer,) Twining its columns with fresh blooming wreathes,
For sacrifices now so long delayed. As for one newly born? Oh! send me thither,
I send them hither, and thou knowest the rest. And give new life to them, to me, to all.
[Exit.) Thoas. Go then. Obey thy wilful heart, and spurn The voice of Heaven and of friendly counsel.
Iphigenia. Thou hast clouds, my kind deliverer, Be quite a woman. Yield thee to the impulse
Clouds to screen afflicted Virtue, Which, unrestrained, hurries her where it will;
Winds to wast the victim, rescued For let but passion hurn within her hosom,
From the iron hand of Fate, No holy tie can keep her from the arms
Aross the land across the Ocean. Of him who lures her from the faithful care
Wise art thou to scan the future; Of Father or of Husband. Let that sleep,
Still to thee the past is present; And golden-tongued persuasion pleads in vain,
And thine eye upon thy servants Tho' urged sincerely, and enforced by reason.
Rests, as thy light, the life of night, Iphigenia. Oh! King, bethink thee of thy noble word,
Calmly rules the silent earth. Nor let my confidence be thus requited.
O! withhold my hand from blood! I thought thee well prepared to hear the truth.
No Peace, no blessing can attend it. Thoas. I was; but not for this--so unexpected!
Though slain by chance, the victim's spectre But what else could I look for? Knew I not
Haunts the casual perpetrator
To dog and fright bis hour of wo.
For good men to the Gods are dear,
Wherever such on earth are found; Not lordly, like your own, but not ignoble
And they this fleeting life vouchsafe Are Woman's weapons. Trust me that in this
To mortals, whom they freely suffer To thee I am superior, that I know,
To share with them the cheering aspect Better than thou, that which should make thee happy.
Of their own eternal Heaven.* Full of fond hope as well as good intentions,
(End of Act I.] Thou urgest me to yield: and I have cause To thank the Gods that they have given me firmness
* The translator is aware that this hymn sounds strangely To shun a union not approved by them.
in English. Perhaps it will be as unacceptable to his Thons. It is no God that speaks. 'Tis thy own heart. readers as to himself. It was his wish to have preserved Iphigenia. 'Tis only through the heart they speak to us. the measuré, giving a rhyming close to the lines, but he reThoas. Should not I hear that voice as well as thou? linquished this purpose in compliance with the request of a Iphigenia. It speaks in whispers, and the storm out. German friend, at whose suggestion he undertook the transroars it.
lation. It was the wish of that gentleman to exhibit Goëthé Thoas. Then 'tis the Priestess only that can hear it. to the American public in a dress resembling as nearly as Iphigenia. The Prince, above all else, is bound to listen. possible his German costume. His metre, therefore, is
Thoas. Oh no! Thy holy office, and thy claim exactly copied throughout. Hence, too, the translation is Hereditary to the Thunderer's table
literal to a fault, as it sometimes happens that certain words Have placed thee nearer to the Gods than me,
are quite unpoetical in one language, while the correspondAn earth-born Savage.
ing word in another is consecrated by custom to the Poet's Iphigenia. Thus it is I suffer
use. The translator is not conscious of any greater liberty For confidence that thou hast wrung from me.
than that of rendering“ grasp" for "faust" " fist," and "nod" Thoas. I'm but a man. 'Twere betier we stop here. for “wink,” which means the same in German as in EnMy word is steadlast. Serve the Goddess still
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT LAW. that it has honored the country abroad, and has
been serving it at home; and that, to American Viexs in regard to an extension of the privileges of Copy. rd in the United States, to the citizens of other coun.
authorship, not yet thirty years old, the nation tres, in a Letter to the Hon. Isaac E. Holmes, of South is largely indebted for much of its public morality, Carolina, member of Congress. By the author of “The its private virtues, its individual independence, and Yerassee," " The Kinsmen,” “ Richard Hurdis,” “ Dam- that social tone which prevents the absolute and k of Darien," &c.
general usurpation of opinion, in matters of taste, Hos. I. E. Holmes:
by foreign and inferior models ;-to the rank inHouse of Representatives, Washinglon. fluence of which we are particularly exposed by Dear Sir :-You have done me the honor to the premature and excessive growth of our comrequest my views of the effect of the Copyright mercial tendencies. Law, as it exists at present, upon the interests of I trust that it will not be demanding too violent domestic authorship, and of such an extension of a concession from any citizen, when we assume, its privileges, as will enable the citizens of foreign that a Literature of some kind is absolutely necountries to partake of its securities, in common cessary to every nation that professes to be civiwith our own. Upon a subject of so much doubt lized. It is, perhaps, the highest, if not the only and disputation, I should have been better pleased definite proof of national civilization. It is conto refer you to more experienced writers than my- tended that a foreign Literature is not only not self-10 those whose greater knowledge of the enough for the wants of such a people, but that, basiness of Literature, and higher distinction in its in all cases where it is suffered to supersede their walks, would entitle them to speak with more au- own, it must prove ultimately fatal to their moral, thority, and with less doubtful claims to the res- if not their political independence. It is contendpect and consideration of the country. But, re- ed, and on sufficient grounds, that a people, who garding the question as a vital one, and in the receive their Literature exclusively from a foreign silence of those whom I myself should much pre- land, are, in fact, if not in form, essentially gofer to hear, I do not feel altogether at liberty to verned from abroad ;—that their laws are furnished, decline the task to which I am invited. Believing, if not prescribed, by a foreign and, frequently, a as I do, that the condition of the law as it now hostile power; and that, as it is only through our stands, endangers, and will long continue to jeo- own minds that we can be free, so, when these are pard, the best interests of the country, as regards surrendered to the tutelage of strangers, we are, its intellectual progress, not less than the minor, to all intents and purposes, a people in bondage. bot still important interests of the American au The proposition, however startling it may seem, thor, considered simply as an individual, -I feel, as is by no means too strongly put. Unhappily, our own an additional incentive to your application, the national experience furnishes us with an illustrasense of a pressing, not to say imperious duty, lion, which is beyond the denial of the most bigoted which obliges me to speak. I am not conscious, mind. It applies, with singular force and directhowever, that I can throw any new lights upon the ness to the actual relation, in which we have long subject. I do not know that I can furnish one ad- stood, and still measureably stand, to the controlditional argument to those which have been so fre- ling intellect of Great Britain. There is no disquently set before the American people, and, seem- guising the pernicious influence, which, to this day, poglv, in vain ; but, I can, at least, in good faith, she maintains over our moral and mental character. present an additional witness in the cause, and ar- There is no concealing, as there is no defending, ray, in simple order, those suggestions of my rea- the odious servility with which a large portion of son and my experience, which have inclined me, our population, in the great cities, contemplare her afler frequent deliberation, to place myself on the haughty aristocracy; borrow their affectations, ape present side of the question.
their arrogances, adopt their prejudices, and shackle Perhaps, as a preliminary to this discussion, im- themselves, hand and foot, in the miserable folds portant, if not absolutely essential to a just percep- of their meretricious and highly artificial society. tion of all its bearings, it would be well to take a The disgusting meanness which hangs upon the hasty sorvey of the past history and present con-heels of her travellers,—which beslavers them with dition of American Literature. It is important lo caresses, and, subsequently, requites their natural show, that something has been done by native au- scorn with blackguardism, is shocking to the nathorship, to justify what might else seem to be an tional pride and debasing to the national characimportunate and impertinent clamoring at the doors'ter. Unhappily,—though I am pleased to think of Congress, for a species of bounty and shows of that the great body of our people, particularly favor, for the benefit of those who can exhibit no the rural portions-revolt at such proceedings and proper title to consideration. We admit the ne- keep from participation in them,—the few who are cessity, on the threshold, of showing that Ameri- guilty of this servility find too facile a sanction for can Literature, is not a name merely, but a thing ;- its exercise, in the readiness with which, as a whole, lba! it has been a thing of works and triumphs ; we receive the opinions, adopt the laws, and bor
row the institutions of a country, the entire habits, among us, and to justify our complaint, is, unbapand objects of which are singularly adverse to the pily, beyond all question. Such a condition of leading ideas upon which our own government is dependence must always prove a difficult, but not, founded. We still, as a people, entertain most of I trust, an impassable barrier to the moral prothose feelings of implicit deference for the men gress of any nation which has not gone through an and measures of Great Britain,--her opinions and infancy of its own. Iis feelings, tone and characsome of her worst prejudices—which distinguished ter, however different may be its necessities, its our provincial dependency upon her; and so con objects, its climate and condition, will still be imscious is she of this fact, that, but recently, within pressed and determined, in the absence of an indea few months, one of her leading reviews has had pendent native Literature, by all the qualities which the audacity to assert, that we cannot confer repu- marked it as a colony. The mere severance of tation at all ; that domestic opinion, in the United that public interest which bound it to the maternal States, cannot, in Literary History, distinguish a nation, by no means constitutes mental, or even favorite son ;-that the verdict of British autho- political independence ; and the enfranchised peority is absolutely necessary before we can dare ple, may, in most respects, be as thoroughly, if not take to our hearts, and acknowledge with pride, as explicitly, the subject people still, as at that the intellectual achievements of a native. Mr. humiliating period when their proudest distinction Alison, in his recent History of Europe, –a work was to prove their loyalty under stripes, and to add in which it is difficult to say whether the ignorance, the tribute of free gifts, to the unsparing exactions or the malignity of the author, in all that concerns of a power of which they felt little but the weight. the United States, is greatest,--adds his testimony It was the policy of the Mother Country then, as to the same effect.
“ Literature and it is her hate now, which sought to keep down the intellectual ability of the highest class meet with national intellect, to suppress thinking, to throw little encouragement in America, the names of every impediment in the way of knowledge, and Cooper, Channing and Washington Irving, indeed, to perpetuate her tyranny over American industry, amply demonstrate that the American soil is not by paralyzing, to the utmost extent of her power, wanting in genius of the most elevated and fasci- the original energies of American genius. The nating character, but their works are almost all declaration against printing presses and newspapublished in London-a decisive proof that Euro- pers, so bluntly made by one of the Colonial Gopean habits and ideas are necessary to their due vernors—Berkeley, of Virginia-was the insidious, development." As if the same writers, and a if unavowed, principle of the powers which he thousand more, were not also published in Ame- represented, in all that related to the concerns of rica! But the assertion, and not its correctness, is America. That the colonies should be officered what we have to deal with. That it is not wholly from abroad—that the provincial should neither correct, we know—that it is sufficiently so, how- preside in the cabinet, nor command in the field, ever, to prove the servility of an influential class was one of the admirable means by which she * The ability to create, should be, we think, prima facie
contrived for so long a season to maintain this evidence of an equal ability to judge of the thing created. policy. It was this portion of her scheme, howThe country which produces the genius cannot be incapa- ever, more than any other-more than tea-acts or ble of determining his degree. One faculty seems inevita- stamp-acts, or butcher acts—that led to the final bly to involve the other. The reflection of a single mo throwing off of her authority. It was the native ment would stifle the absurdity which denies it; and, if it cannot silence the malignant sneer of our enemies, should
mind of America beginning to assert its claims to be sufficient to overcome the doubts and cavils of our friends. self-government—beginning then, to assert in poliOur own people, at least, may learn from the fact a satis. rics that which the same native mind, within the factory lesson of confidence in themselves, which should last twenty years, has, for the first time, begun tend very much to free them from the usurpations of fo
nobly to assert for itself in letters and the arts. reign judgment. But the statement of Mr. Alison, quoted above, goes one stride further in absurdity. That the wri. It is still the policy of Great Britain that we should tings of certain American authors are published in London, not succeed in this assertion—that we should still " is a decisive proof that European habits and ideas are ne- be her subject province, in one respect, if not in cessary to their due development." It is impossible to say all. Her ihought, on this subject, is very much where that law of logic is to be found, which leads to any the offspring of her wish! such conclusion. As well may we say that, as the writings
A native Literature is the means, and the only of Walter Scott and Bulwer are published in New York, it is “ a decisive proof that American habits and ideas are ne- means, of our perfect independence. Of the imcessary to their due development." The fact is, that this view portance of this agent to a people, and to the Ameof the case presents an additional argument in its favor, rican people in particular, it may
be necessary derived from the greater diffusion of their books among us than is probably the case in England. The number of co- those of a deservedly great anthority. We are the
we should fortify our own views, by reference to pies in an American edition of a successful novel writer is very far greater usually than the English editions-a fact more anxious to do this, as it appears to us that arising not froin any superior appreciation of the merits of the our people have really but a very imperfect appreauthor, but simply froin the greater cheapness of the volumes.'ciation of the subjeci, and regard with a strange
indifferenee, as if the matter did not in any ways | sure? Shall America be only an echo of what is concern them, the great and singular struggle, now thought and written under the aristocracies beyond in progress, between the native and the foreign ge- the ocean ?" Dius ;-the genius loci now, for the first time, strug No language could put the importance of this gling into birth and claiming to be heard ; and that subject more clearly before the mind; and, withmaternal mind, throned in the empire of song and out dwelling upon the point, we will proceed to thought, and upheld by the mightiest masters of show that the necessity of a national Literature, art that ever made a nation famous, from which great as it is, to the people of every country, is of we proudly claim to have derived all the qualities far more importance to the people of the United which should accord, in the progress of time, a States, than it can, by any possibility, be to any like eminence to the genius of our country! We other. In our case, the colonial habit of deferring take, from the writings of Dr. Channing, the fol- to the Mother Country is maintained and strengthlowing lucid and comprehensive paragraph. ened, in spite of our political emancipation, by our The facility,” says that great writer, “ with employment of the same language.
Could we which we receive the literature of foreign coun. bave found a new dialect-a tongue of our own, tnes, instead of being a reason for neglecting our suitable to our condition, and expressive of our own, is a strong motive for its cultivation. We liberties, on the same battle-field where they were Dean not to be paradoxical, but we believe it would won, we should, by this time, have been in possesbe better to admit no books from abroad, than tosion of a Literature, in which they might have make them substitutes for our own intellectual ac- been proportionably and permanently enshrined. tivity. The more we receive from other coun- The securities for mental independence on the part tries, the greater the need of an original literature. of France, Germany and other great nations of A people, into whose minds the thoughts of fo- Europe, are to be found chiefly in the obstacles reigners are poured perpetually, needs an energy which their several languages present, as it were, within itself to resist and to modify this mighty in- upon the very threshold, to the invasion and usurAuence; and without it will inevitably sink under pation of strangers. The unknown tongue stands the worst bondage-will become intellectually en- to the intruder in the guise of a bearded sentinel, saved. We have certainly no desire to complete jealous of every approach, and resisting the inour restrictive system, by adding to it a literary gress of all not possessing the parole. We have non-iotercourse law. We rejoice in the increasing no such securities. The enemy approaches us Intellectual connexion between this country and with the smooth and insidious utterance of our the old world. But sooner would we rupture it, mother tongue, and we are naturally slow to susthan see our country sitting passively at the feet of pect hostility in any such approach. How admiforeign teachers. Beiter have no Literature than rably may we illustrate the important bearing of to form ourselves unresistingly on a foreign one. this isolated fact, by a reference to the social and T'he true sovereigns of a country are those who political relation in which we stand, comparatively, determine its mind—its modes of thinking—its with France and England. The former we know, taste, ils principles; and we cannot.consent to lodge almost entirely, by acts of kindness. By her aid, this sovereignty in the hands of strangers. A coun- we struggled into national individuality. With the try, like an individual, has dignity and power only in exception of the quasi war with the Directory, the proportion as it is self-formed. There is a great stir result of that Ishmaelite aspect in which that body to seenre to ourselves the manufacturing of our own stood to all the world, she has borne towards us, clothing. We say, let others spin and weave for from the first day of our political freedom, the 2, but let them not think for us. A people, whose most encouraging and friendly countenance. Such, government and laws are nothing but the embody- too, has been the aspect of her people. The books bg of public opinion, should jealously guard this and bearing of her distinguished travellers among ofinion against foreign dictation. We need a Lite- us have been marked by an equal sense of urbanifalure to counteract, and to use wisely, the Lite- ty and justice.* England, on the contrary, almost rature which we import. We need an inward fuifer proportionate to that which is exerted upon
* Would the British people desire the best, the most #s, as the means of self-subsistence. It is par- honorable and impartial commentary on the character of ticularly true of a people, whose institutions de
their feelings toward this country, let them compare-con
trast rather-the deportment of the distinguished Frenchmand for their support a free and bold spirit, that men who have honored us with their presence, and that of they should be able to subject to a manly and in their own travellers. Let them read the Beaumonts and dependent criticism whatever comes from abroad. De Tocquevilles, and turn from their thoughtful, candid, These views seem to us to deserve serious atten- and elevated views, to the sickening spite, the low mation. We are becoming, more and more, a read- lice, the cavilling and querulous peevishness, the dishonest ing people. Books are already among the most
representation, the perverse will, which cannot be made to
see the brighter aspects of the object, but turns perpetupowerfal influences here. The question is, shall ally to the more grateful survey of those which may offend, Europe, through these, fashion us after its plea-''y which the volumes of the Marryalts, the Trollopes and
from the beginning, has put forth all her energies |“ You cannot be kicked into a war with Great Brito enslave or destroy us. Failing in this attempt, tain.” What was the language of the British Comshe resorts to others, which, if less dangerous and missioners at Ghent, met just after war had been dehurtful, are as little legitimate, and prove the cha- clared, to treat with our own, for the consummation racter of her feelings to have remained unchanged. of peace ?-a proceeding which smacked so much To this day, her writers, her travellers, her lead- of national timidity, as almost to justify the insolent ing men, with few exceptions—the officers of her demands of the enemy! The substance of their navy—ihe agents of her government, and those language was, “we do not care to grant you peace, who give utterance usually to her feelings and opi- 'till we have subjected you to a sound thrashing."
nions-speak of us, habitually, in terms either of But that the honor of the nation' was entrusted to . frank hostility, or downright scorn and contempt. sound native minds,-men of stubborn, independent
Yet the affinities suggested by the employment of intellect—it must have been dishonored. * But a language in common, make us tolerate all the what must have been thought of the morale of the insults of the one, as if we still yearned for the an- nation when, even in time of war, its special reprecient wallow of colonial dependency ;-and with sentatives were approached in such a spirit by the what miserable time-serving sycophancy does a very people with whom we were in conflict! The large and active class among us contrive to solicit intellect of the nation was despised, rather than its the contumelious expression of such among them, spirit. The spirit of a civilized nation depends so as deign to look in person upon us.-examining our greatly upon its intellect, that the estimate which ways and means—our manners and customs, as if we make of the one, involves the other also. What we were in reality, by nature, an inferior people, had the United States done in intellectual matters, and not, unfortunately, too nearly like themselves to compel the respect of other countries ? Nothing ! not to be confounded with them in every other part literally nothing! Our orators were numerous and of the world !* On the other hand, dealing with the able, it is true—but the achievements of the tribune French, and prompted by the hostile sentiments and the forum are usually of domestic recognition which a foreign tongue seems naturally to inspire, only. They present no enduring, or obvious memowe are ready to quarrel on the slightest provoca- rials, before the eyes of foreign nations. Our comtion. Of their Science, Arts, Literature,—their merce was increasing our manufactures. We had inventions and discoveries, we have littlé, or no shown no mean ingenuity-no inferior skill, in congeneral knowledge, except throngh discolored Bri- iending in most of the arts of trade, with rival nations. tish media, the prejudices of which we uncon- Bat in the superior arts, in the sciences, in poetry, sciously imbibe, and thus form antipathies to a great painting, statuary, classical and general Literaand friendly nation, with the same unhappy facility, ture, the nation was totally unrepresented abroad! with which we take on trust all the tastes, senti. There was no sign-manual, characteristic of Amements and opinions of a master, by whom we are rịcan genius, to be placed before the eyes of legitimuch more frequently reviled than instructed. máte and reluctant Europe. Before this sign-ma
The birth of a home Literature is the great and nual could be made, it was 'necessary that the sufficient remedy for all these errors and absurdi. American mind should be emancipated from its ties-and that Literature is born! The war of memories of colonial servitude. The war of 1812 1812 gave an important blow to the mental supre- gave the first impulse to a consummation - so demacy of Great Britain over this country. Prior to sirable. The scornful deportment of Great Brithat war, what was the humiliating position in which tain forced upon our people, in their own spite, a we stood to that nation ? Politicians will not have painful, but proud feeling, of their individuality; forgotten the scornful reproach, uttered, it is said, made them sensible of what was due to national in the very ears of our President, (Madison,) character and national pride." . Perhaps, the lesson
was only taught and learned in part,--but it was a the Dickens's, are blackened and branded. The commen- first lesson ;-to be followed up by others. The tary is not less fatal to the nation which receives, than to the travellers who write, with such gồut, narratives, whick, savage excesses in which the British soldiery inif true, should give pain rather than pleasure, to the people, dulged-their horrible outrages at Hampton and who are told such enormities of their kindred and de- other places, and the Hunlike brutalities at Washscendants.
ington, contributed to disturb our sympathy with * This, so far as our relation to the people of Great Bri- British superiority; while making us properly retain is affected, is an amusing truth which reflects the hap sentful of their arms. The very disgraces to which piest commentary upon the ridiculous pretensions of the latter, on the subject of manners and politeness : on the the nation was subjected in Canada, were produccontinent, John Bull and Brother Jonathan are usually put into the same category, and pronounced equally incorrigi. # The commissioners at Ghent were Clay, Adams, Bay. ble. If, in the estimation of the politer nations of the ard, Gallatin and Russell --statesmen, who, whatever may South, there be any difference between them, it is that Bull be the estimate put upon their course and abilities in home is more insolent, and his descendant more impertinent. matters, it must be admitted, were about the best persons We know not, so far as other nations are concerned, that who could have been chosen to treai with an insolent foeither of them, on this score, has any thing to boast. reign enemy.