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Mirror, and a frequent contributor not only to its me, the author records more than one hundred columns, but also to the pages of cotemporary names, against which he has written American magazines. So early as his seventeenth year, he poet! Posterity may draw on this capital only a wrote several fragmentary pieces, which he pub- very small dividend perhaps, but still they all lished anonymously, and which attracted, at the belong to the present day, and their names are fatinie, much attention. One of the earliest of these miliar to every one at all conversant with light juvenile productions, and the only one that he has literature. How far the establishment of the preserved, in a volume of poems recently pub- New York Mirror, has gone toward producing lisbed, is called, “The Miniature.” This we this result, it is difficult to say, but that it has shall copy, when we come to notice the book in contributed very materially to this increase in the question. In 1822, his name first became known ranks of literature, will not be denied even by to the public through the Mirror, which, this year the most cavilling. It is not our purpose to go he commenced, under circumstances, every way into a history of the establishment of the Mirror: discouraging to the success of this species of literary we have alluded to it as a work that has done property. At this period, beside one or two reviews, much for the poetical literature of the country, there was not a periodical in the United States and which for ten years was under the sole editodevoted to light literature. The “ Port Folios,” rial direction of Col. Morris. Recently be bas the "Athenæums," the "Olios" of the day, whose resigned its editorship, successively to John Inpages were loaded with heavy political and philo- man, Charles F. Hoffman and Epes Sargent, sophical essays, and devoted to the discussion of Esq's, contenting himself with remaining an occapuzzling queries in science, and the dismember- sional contributor to its columns. The last of the ment of metaphysical subtleties, whose poetical above named gentlemen, now fills the editorial department shone with elegies, ditties, sonnets, chair, and the later numbers of this valuable peand acrostics, and whose “amusing head,” de- riodical, show, that although so long identified with lighted readers with riddles, conundrums, apho- the name of Col. Morris, (whose good sense and risms, and stale anecdotes of the court of Charles modesty, will not be offended with what follows,) II-periodicals to which we cannot now turn it possesses the seeds of perpetuity without it. without a smile—had had their day, and were In 1827, Col. Morris, wrote a drama, in fire forgotten. They were followed by other ephemera, acts, founded on events of the revolutionary war, which likewise lived their day—and died. When called “ Brier Cliff.” This piece was a great fathe New York Mirror was established, periodical vorite with the public, and at the Chatham Thealiterature in the United States was such only in tre, then a playhouse, of no mean celebrity, it name. To Col. Morris is due the honor of being was produced under the direction of Mr. Wallack, the pioneer in almost every thing relating to this and had a run of about forty nights. At one time species of literature. He was the first to foster during its triumphant career, it was performed and encourage American genius, and to him we on one and the same night, at four theatres in New believe, we are indebted for several of our younger York, namely, the Park, the Bowery, the Lafayliterary men, who in all probability would never ette, and the Chatham theatres ; a thing unprecehave written, or, at least, would have laid down dented in the theatrical annals of this country. their pens, but for this vehicle for their fugitive The piece was attributed to Noah, Halleck
, compositions, and for the kind encouragement of- Woodworth, and the other popular dramatic wrifered them by its editor. One of these instances ters and poets, of that time; and more than one is Theodore Fay, Esq., who, in his dedication of aspiring gentleman “who would win fame, without the “Dreams and Reveries of a Quiet Man,” which work or wit,” confident in the preservation of the is addressed to the subject of this biography, says, author's incognito, came forward, and boldly claim“I can never forget that but for your encourage-ed the authorship. It is with pleasure, therefore, ment and liberality, these light sketches never that we are able to state that Col. Morris, is the would have been written. Many indeed, wor- sole, and unassisted author, of “Brier Cliff:"thier than I have experienced the benefit of your for on one occasion we remember his saying to unwavering exertions to employ talent already some friends at table, who rallied him on the subestablished, and to infuse confidence into the timid ject, “Gentlemen, that play is entirely my own; and inexperienced.”
I am not indebted to any one for a single line or At the time the New York Mirror was estab-comma, ifl except Mrs.Caroline Matilda Thayer," lished, there were not ten men in the United States on whose story it is founded. If it belongs to any who lived by their pens. At the time we write, one else, however, I wish he would come forward, their name is “ legion.” At that period Samuel prove property, pay charges, and take it away.” Woodworth, Esq. then more popularly known as Besides“ Brier Cliff," which has never been the author of the “ Champions of Freedom," was the American poet. In a recently printed book,
* One of the earliest contributors to the New York Mirror, and entitled “Specimens of American Poetry,” before in Clinton, Mississippi.
now, and for some years past, principal of a female seminary
published, Col. Morris has written much and suc- fon the housetop, and in the halls, I deemed it prucessfully for the stage, in the shape of odes, ad-dent to follow the advice just given to me, so at dresses, epilogues, &c. During the visit of Lafay- once commenced disrobing, and was soon stowed ette to this country, he composed a popular ode, away in a snug corner, and it was not long before which was sung eighteen nights successively at I found myself gradually and imperceptibly sinkthe theatres in New York, by all the company in ing under the power of the gentle god. I began appropriate costume. There is an on dit, that to congratulate myself—to commiserate the ungeneral Lafayette was so delighted with the lines, happy condition of my less fortunate companions, that he himself was in the habit of humming them and to bid good night to all my cares, when that whenerer occasion offered. In the composition of short, thin, merry little Frenchman, came dancing songs adapted to popular airs, Col. Morris has into the room, and after cutting a pigeon wing or shown himself exceedingly happy.
He wrote two, humming a passage from a popular opera, songs and addresses, from time to time, for Mrs. and skipping once or twice around the vacant beds, Entwistle, Kean, and other well known perform- sat himself upon the most commodious, with the ers, all of which possessed an enviable popularity exclamation," Ah, ha! I find him—this is himand are embodied with the musical literature of number ten,-magnifique! Now I shall get some the day. Of these we shall speak when we come little sleeps at last.” Again humming part of a to notice the volume of poems he has recently tune, he proceeded to prepare himself for bed. published.
After divesting himself of his apparel, and careAs a prose writer, he has repeatedly distin- fully depositing his trinkets and watch under bis guished himself, holding a flowing, graceful and pillow, he fastened a red bandanna handkerchief humorous pen. His" Sketches from the Springs,” around his head, and slid beneath the counterpane, in “The Atlantic Club Book," of which also he as gay and lively as a cricket. “It is superb,” was editor, are in a vein of admirable humor. he once more exclaimed aloud. “I have not bad We give an extract to illustrate the style to which some rest for six dozen days, certainment-and we allude.
now I shall have some little sleeps. But, waiter!”
bawled he, suddenly recollecting himself. John THE LITTLE FRENCHMAN.
came at the call. “What is it o'clock, eh ?” Ah, ha! my little Frenchman! That fellow is Nearly ten, sir.” a character. I will tell you a story about him. I “ What time de boat arrive?" stopped at West Point, not long since, and found “ About two.” the hotel crowded with visitors. It was late in “When he do come, you shall wake me some the evening when I arrived, and being almost worn little minute before?” out with the fatigue of the journey—for I had been “Yes, sir.” the inmate of stages, rail road cars and canal boats, “And you shall get some de champaign and without closing my eyes for the last two days-I oysters all ready for my suppare?” repaired with all convenient haste, to the solitary
“Very well, sir; you may depend upon me, sir," couch that had been assigned me in the basement said John, as he shut the door, and made his exit. story, in the hope of passing a few comfortable “Ah! très bien, now for de little sleeps.” hours in “the arms of Morpheus.” But one Uttering which, he threw himself upon the pillow, glance at the “ blue chamber,” convinced me of and in a few seconds was in a delightful doze. the utter folly of any such expectations. I found The foregoing manæuvres and conversation had it nearly crammed with my fellow lolgérs, who, attracted the attention of all, and aroused 'me if I might judge from the melancholy display of completely. hats, boots, socks, and other articles of wearing “D-n that Frenchman,” growled a bluff old apparel, scattered over the floor in most "admired fellow next him, as he turned on the other side, disorder," had evidently retired with unbecoming and went to sleep. Most of the other gentlemen, eagerness to secure their places to themselves, and however, raised their heads for a moment, to see thereby guard them against the possibility of in- what was going on, and then deposited them as trusion from others, doubtless believing, that in before, in silent resignation. But one individual, this, as well as similar cases, possession is nine- with more nerves than fortitude, bounced out of tenths of the law. As the apartment was very bed, swore there was no such thing as sleeping confined, and all the inhabitants wide awake, I there, dressed himself in a passion, and went out thought I might as well spend an hour or two in the of the room in a huff. This exploit had an elecopen air, before going to bed, and was about to retiretric effect on the melancholy spectators; and a for that purpose, when a voice called, “ If you do general laugh, which awoke all the basement, was not wish to lose your berth, you had better turn the result. For some minutes afterward, the in.” Observing that nearly all the cots, sofas, merriment was truly appalling. Jokes, mingled seltees, chairs, &c., were occupied, and hearing with execrations, were heard in every direction, that several of my fellow passengers were sleeping and the uproar soon became universal. Silence,
however, was at length restored ; but all symp- considerations; for the gentleman from Cabawba, toms of repose had vanished with the delusion that realized the description of the “determined dog,'' gave them birth. The poor Frenchman, however, mentioned in the comedy, who “lived next door whose slumbers had been sadly broken by the to a churchyard, killed a man a day and buried nervous man, had actually gone to sleep once his own dead.” Was this then a man to be trifled more! He began to breathe hard, and, finally, to with? Certainly not. Better to cram the sheets snore--and such a snore !—it was enough to have down your throat, and run the risk of suffocation awakened the dead! There was no such thing as from suppressed laughter, than to encounter the standing that. The equanimity of his immediate displeasure of a person who wears such a bat. neighbor-a drowsy fellow, who, on first lying They are always to be avoided. down, said he “was resolved to sleep in spite of But to return to the Frenchman. He was no thunder,” was the first to give way. He sprang sooner in his resting-place, than John came to inbolt upright, hastily clapped both hands over his form him that his champaign and oysters were ears, and called out at the top of his compass, for ready. Like one in a dream, he arose, sat upon the the Frenchman to discontinue “that diabolical side of the bed, and slowly dressed himself, withand dreadful sound.” Up jumped the red night out a single murmur at bis great disappointment. cap, rubbing its eyes in mute astonishment. He had hardly finished, when the steamboat bell After hearing the heavy charge against it, with sounded among the highlands, and he received the “a countenance more in sorrow than in anger,” gratifying intelligence that in consequence of the and making every apology in its power for the time he had lost in dressing, he had none left to eat unintentional outrage it had committed, down his supper-and that if he did not hurry, he would it sunk once more upon the pillow, and glided be too late for the boat! At this he arose away into the land of Nod. But new annoyances yawned-stretched his person out at full length, awaited my poor Frenchman; for scarcely had and with the ejaculation—" I shall get some little this event happened, when the door was flung open sleeps, nevare”-bid us good night and slowly and in came a gentleman from Cahawba, with a took his leave. fierce-looking broad brimmed hat upon his pericranium, that attracted general attention, and struck would make several volumes, and we trust that,
The prose writings of Col. Morris, if collected, awe and consternation to the hearts of all beholders. for the entertainment of the public and in justice He straddled himself into the middle of the floor, to his own reputation, all unambitious of authorthrust both hands into his breeches pockets, ship as he may be, he will, at no distant day pubpressed his lips firmly together, and cast his eyes lish them in this shape. The tale entitled the deliberately around the apartment, with the ex
Monopoly and the People's Line," and the racy pression of one who intended to insist upon his
jeu d'esprit called " The Little Frenchman and his rights. “Which is number ten?” he demand-Water-Lots,” are two of the prose sketches from ed, in a tone which startled all the tenants of the his pen, which are fresh in the memory of every basement story. “Ah! I perceive,” continued reader. There is nothing superior for wit and he, approaching the Frenchman, and laying vio- humor, to these two tales, in the works of any lent hands upon him. “ There's some mistake American writer. Their universal acceptation here. A man in my bed, hey? Well, let us see by the press on both sides of the water, speak dewhat he is made of. Look here, stranger, you're cidedly in favor of their intrinsic merit
. in the wrong box! You've tumbled into my bed
Our author's miscellaneous literary history, 80 you must shift your quarters." Who shall must be one of intense interest, associated as he has depict the Frenchman's countenance, as he slowly been, by his station, for so long a period, as editor raised his head, half-opened his drooping organs of of a leading literary periodical, with most of the vision, and took an oblique squint at the gentleman literary men of this country, and also many
of from Cahawba! “ You are in the wrong bed," those of England, who have, from time to time, repeated he of the hat—"number ten is mỹ proper- visited America, all of whom have frequently ty; yonder is your’s; so have the politeness just to borne testimony to his genius and worth
. For hop out." The Frenchman resigned himself to his the drama and its professors, for literature and fate, and gathering his limbs together, transported those who pursue it, he has doubtless done as his lengthy person to the vacant bed, without the much as any other American living; and we see slightest resistance, and in eloquent silence. It that Mr. Dunlap in his “ History of the Arts and was very evident to him, as well as the rest of us, Artists,” has bestowed on him unqualified comthat there was no withstanding the persuasions of mendation for what he has done for the fine arts, his new acquaintance, who had a fist like a mallet, These facts we can only allude to in passing, it and who swore that he always carried loaded being our object throughout the remainder of this pistols in his pocket, to be ready for any emergen- article, to view Col. Morris alone as a poel. cy. The inhabitants of the basement, would have i The Deserted Bride, and other Poems," is an screamed outright this time, but for prudential elegant thin octavo volume put forth by our author
early the present year; and though his name has “Deep the wo that fast is sending long been familiar, his songs sung from Louisiana
cheek its healthful bloom;, to farther Maine, it is the first time he has come
Sad my thoughts as willows bending bodily before the public, in a “bounden booke.”
O'er the borders of the tomb. In putting this book together, he appears to have
Without Clifford not a blessing
In the world is worth possessing.” been governed more by the quality than the quantity of his pieces. His numerous poetical effusions We quote one more stanza, which has just struck written within the last sixteen years, doubtless us with the harmony of its numbers, the womanly would have made six such volumes as the present. and spirited tone that he has given to every line. Many of these fugitive pieces are beautiful, and
“ Titles, lands, and broad dominion, we regret that his fastidiousness of taste should
With himself to me he gave ; hare led him to deny a place among them, to seve
Stoop'd to earth his spirit's pinion, ral popular songs that bear the stamp of the genu
And became my willing slave! ine spirit of minstrelsy, and which should have
Knelt and pray'd until he won mebeen preserred as valuable additions to this vo- Looks he coldly now upon me?" lume. We observe that nearly all that he has seen fit to sanction in the book before us, hare been
The second article, is a short poem entitled stamped by the public approbation.
“Woman.” It is a just, manly and deserved The volume contains only thirty poems; but as compliment to the sex. What a touching and the poet has seen fit to found his claims, as such, beautiful thought is that when the heart turns back altogether on these, we shall not go out of the way to departed mother or sister, and finds both to to look after any thing he has rejected, whatever live again in the wife ! might be its merit, but from what he has given us “But when I look upon my wise, under his name, alone decide upon his claims to My heart-blood gives a sudden rush, poetic rank. Although the “Deserted Bride” And all my fond affections blend holds the first place in the volume, it is surpassed In mother-sisters-wife and friend !" by four or five other pieces, in the lyrical grace There are some common-place expressions in the and delicacy of sentiment (though not in harmony poem, but a liquid ease gives a polish even to the of numbers,) that are the marked features of our iritest phrases. The concluding stanzas redeem poet's productions. The exquisite passage in Sheri- it, however, from mediocrity or tameness : dan Knowles? “Hunchback," where Julia (whose coquetish indiscretion has caused her betrothed "Were I the monarch of the earth, husband Sir Thomas Clifford, to desert her,) so
Or master of the swelling sea, liloquises on his conduct, suggests the poem.
I would not estimate their worth, "Love me?
Dear woman! half the price of thee!" He never lov'd me! If he had, he ne'er
Our poet has the graceful talent necessary to the Had given me up! Love's not a spider's web
success of all lyric writers, of expressing the comBut fit to mesh a fly—that you can break
monest and most familiar thoughts, in a way that By only blowing on 't! He never lov'd me !
shall make them touch the heart, and hang long He knows not what love is—or if he does, He has not been o'er chary of his peace;
afterward about the memory. His lines are alAnd that he'll find when I'm another's wife.
ways poetical, though exceedingly simple in their Lost !- lost to him forever! Tears again!
construction, and are almost always either playful -what have I to do with tears ?”
or touching, and aimed at the feelings rather than
Knowles. the fancy. It is talents like these that constitute The poem founded on this passage is too long for the lyric poet. His pen is in poetry what the harp transcription, nor, compared with many other is in music,-gentle and soothing, light and gracepieces in the volume, does it merit it. If prece-ful, shedding a twilight over the soul, rather than dence were regulated by intrinsic worth, the dazzling it with the splendor of sunlight. « Indian Poem” should have taken the lead. “LINES, AFTER THÐ MANNER OF THE OLThere are herein, nevertheless, some fine lines, DEN-Time,” is the third article in the volume. and one or two entire stanzas of great beauty. It is an exquisite poem throughout. In justice to We extract two verses, which are characteristic the poet it should either be copied here entire, or of the musical cadence that gives a peculiar charm left unmutilated. We will, nevertheless, that to almost every thing from the pen of this poet.
some further idea may be formed of the style, “Wrecked and wretched, lost and lonely,
quote a few passages. The thoughts and often the Crush'd by grief's oppressive weight,
language, are of the olden time: if the antiquated With a prayer for Clifford only,
orthography were also assumed, the illusion would I resign me to my fate.
be successful, and one might believe he was peruChains that bind the soul I've proven
sing a "newly-discovered manuscript poem" of Strong as they were iron-woven.
Chaucer or Spenser :
“Love vibrates in the wind-harp's tune, the tree should stand as long as she lived. We With fays and fairies lingers he
would, if our limits permitted, here quote the exGleams in the ring of th’ watery moon, quisitely touching ballad this incident suggested. Or treads the pebbles of the sea:
Under the title of "Woodman, Spare that Tree,” Love enters court and camp and grove;'
it can, however, be found in every music-store Oh, every where we meet thee, Love!
and on almost every piano in the country. No “And every where he welcome finds,
American song, we believe, has ever been received To cottage-door, or palace-porch- with such approbation, as this has universally met Love enters free as spicy winds,
with. It has been repeatedly parodied here and With purple wings and lighted torch ; in England, which is one of the strongest tests of With tripping feet and silvery tongue, unequivocal popularity. On this delightful little And bow and darts behind him shung! lyric, and two or three others, will Col. Morris's “He tinkles in the shepherd's bell,
reputation as a lyric poet principally rest. And charms the village maiden's ear;
“ Rosabel,” is next in order, after the "Oak." By lattice high he weaves his spell
It is a graceful production, but neither remarkable For ladye-fair and cavalier.
for originality or that concentration of thought As sunbeams melt the mountain snow, and conciseness of expression, which lyrics call for. So melts Love's rays the high and low. There is repetition and “profuseness of wordiness" “Oh, boy-god, Love!-an archer thou
in it, a tissue of pleasing numbers, gratifying the Thy utmost skill I feign would test;
ear, but seldom interesting the feelings. We quote One arrow aim at Lelia now,
what we consider the best stanza. It is marked And let thy target be her breast !
with that sweetness of versification which nerer Around her heart, oh fling thy chain,
déserts the poet, which smoothness, though desiOr give me back my own again!"
rable in odes and ballads, where strength and enIn the third stanza above quoted, several figures ergy of expression are misplaced, in sterner themes are introduced, (appropriately here in imitation it must be exceedingly difficult for the author to of an old ballad) which serve to illustrate the use divest himself of, that he may give the necessary of foreign images, alluded to in the commencement vigor to the subject. of this article; these are, namely, “shepherd's “I miss thee every where, beloved, bell," " lattice," and "cavalier,” (and perhaps
I miss thee every where ; “ lady-love,") when neither are known in the
Both night and day wear dull away, United States. We are surprised to discover'in
And leave me in despair. the writings of one usually so accurate as our au
The banquet-hall, the play, the ball,
And childhood's gladsome glee, thor, in the second line of the last stanza the use of
Have lost their charms for me, beloved the verb “ feign,” for the adverb "fain,” which
My soul is full of thee! means gladly, and is the word that is wanted here: We are not given to hypercriticism, and should A sad and weary lot is mine, have passed this instance by unnoticed, were not To love and be forgot, this a very common error, among both American A sad and weary lot, beloved, prose and poetic writers.
A sad and weary lot.” The next article in the book, is the popular In the last stanza, which is the last one of the song entitled “The Oak." It was suggested poem, the second and fourth lines should change by a touching incident, which the poet relates in places, to give force and finish to the whole ; thus: the“ notes,” which form entertaining and humor
" A sad and weary lot, beloved, ous addenda to the volume. A friend of the wri
To love and be forgot.” ter returned in after life to visit his paternal abode,
Instances of this inattention to sounding his now passed into stranger hands. It was shaded by an aged“ roof-tree,” under wbich he had played verses, are, however, rare in this author ; and in childhood. Just as he came in sight of it, the from their infrequency strike us more forcibly owner was sharpening his axe, preparatory to cut
when they do occur.
An ode "ON THE DEATH ting it down. Why do you do this?” he gasped. and highly creditable to the head and heart of the
OF GENERAL DELEVAN,” is martial and spirited “I am getting old, the woods are far off, and the tree is of some value to me to burn." “ What is
poet. As a poem, its unity and purity are desit worth for fire wood?” “ About ten dollars.” troyed by the introduction of the name of the "If I give you that, will you let it stand?” deceased—always, in such cases, brought in with “Yes.” “Then give me a bond to that effect.” very questionable taste. Consequently, the two
The paper was drawn up, it was witnessed by his concluding lines,
God's noblest work-an honest man! looked as smiling and beautiful as a Hebe,” that are the two weakest in the poem. Willis bas