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fuse to swallow some lumping assertion—such as Mr. Clay's making razor-strops of Tecumseh's skin, or assert, in contradiction to the New Monthly, that Mr. Clay is bona fide alive we are called jealous of our character, forsooth,-irritable, &c. While treating of this publication, we must say a few words of the new style of writing which degrades its pages, as well as those of its cotemporaries. That is the fashionable and, it should seem, most admired style, in which the greatest number of quotations, “apt and fine,” may be introduced, to lengthen the period in “ linked sweetness”-while the writer evinces his reading by this “ artful aid." Thus we hear—too often, alas !-of " thoughts which do lie too deep for tears,”-a line :which has been quoted in every sentimental piece of writing that has appeared during the last three months, -of “heroic virtue, high seated in the heart,” &c. Nay, in one of these boasted theatrical critiques, we counted no less than ten quotations, in one page and a half. We often, it is true, meet with sentences " rich and rare," but so unsuitable to the general style, or subject, that we “wonder how the devil they come there.” There is nothing less difficult than this manner of writing : “'tis as easy as lying:” we could go on as long as our readers would listen, but "something too much of this.” Apt quotations, rarely introduced, doubtless embellish a style, as jewels, moderately distributed, adorn the beauty of a woman : but this Indian taste for finerythis style of “ shreds and patches”—must be pronounced depraved in the extreme. We have met with this ornate style in our own country; and we earnestly caution American writers to guard against it: let them aim at neryousness and conciseness; and think of the advice of an old critic, who coupselled youthful authors, when they had written any passage which they admired as very fine--to scratch it out. That style is the best, in whichwhile purity and propriety of language is found the chief decorations are the strength and beauty of its thoughts. But garbled language is not the only fault of this school of writers; they indulge in unbounded exaggeration ; they are animated, but it appears like the unnatural exhilaration produced by laudanum, not the healthy vivacity of a vigorous mind. Turning aside from nature, they describe feelings that nature does not own—and call it knowledge of the human heart. One author will carry us above all possibility, till we feel like the poor tortoise who is the eagle's prey, and, with giddy brains, wonder, how we shall descend : This is sublimity. Another will weep over a mossy stone, or a wild flower ; write almost as many sonnets to a daisy, as Sir John Davis composed acrostics on Queen Elizabeth ; and the song of a bird will throw him into indiscribable raptures : This is called simplicity. A third will exhibit skeletons, in all their rotting corruption; will paint minutely the
slow, corroding agonies of famine; or dwell, with fond delay, upon the guilty particulars of monstrous love: This is the terrible. From such an author we turn, with similar feelings, as from witnessing a dissection or an execution. The first bewilders us—and, like Baillie Jarvie, when released from our disagreeable suspension, we are glad to take breath, and adjust our wig. The second amuses, while it angers us : but the last produces loathing and disgust, in proportion to the power he pos
The Edinburgh Monthly Review is very sensible, but not always amusing. Some acute and excellent criticism has appear, ed in it, and many of its articles are extremely well written.
The Monthly is dull, and should for ever be discountenanced, for its illiberal and harsh treatment of young authors.
The Eclectic Review evinces considerable talent, and a strength and soberness of mind which entitle its writers to respect. We fear, however, that there is a little narrowness in their creed. Their article on the Monastery, while it showed much sound judgment, betrayed some illiberality of spirit.
The Gentleman's Magazine has something venerable about it, and contains some curious antiquarian researches ; but after we have noticed that, there is little more to say in its praise.
The London Magazine, (Baldwin's,) if the editor would expunge its tinsel wit and villainous jests, would be a creditable publication. It partakes largely of the faults of Backwood's Magazine, without possessing its redeeming vivacity. We are sorry to learn that the disgraceful personalities with which those publications abound, have lately led to a still more disgraceful termination.
The Literary Gazette, in its form, is an accidental or intentional imitation of our Port Folio. Its chief merit, (and it is not a little one, in this age,) is the moderate and forbearing tone from which it seldom departs. It has fallen off, of late--nor will “ wine and walnuts” revive its credit. We know not how it may please those “Cockney gray beards” who are acquainted with its local allusions; but to us, it is of course obscure and uninteresting, while the style is careless, and the language inaccurate. The editor has lately called in the aid of his Satanic majesty ; but we fear that, according to his old habit, the devil though he may make fine promises—will only plunge his employer deeper in the quagmire of dullness.
The Retrospective is highly praiseworthy in its design, and it will, we hope, succeed. It is to be regretted, however, that the style of this work should be deformed by that taste for extreme ornament, which we have noticed. Their article on Sidney's Arcadia, while it evinces a poetic spirit, accurate taste, and felicity of expression, is so often betrayed into absurd rant
and high-sounding nonsense, as to be not only ridiculous, but unintelligible. We read some sentences over repeatedly, and thought our intellect most obtuse, that we could comprehend no meaning and detect no sense among these choice and sonorous words : but after attentive consideration, we arrived at the conclusion that there was no meaning there. Perhaps our readers may be more successful, and we will offer them a passage which fully illustrates our assertion, while it affords a fair specimen of the style we have been censuring.
“His (Sir Philip Sidney's) power does not seem so much to lie in the intellect as in the heart : not so much in the conflicting strife of intellectual prowess, or in the gigantic grasp of mental migbtiness, as in the deep-drawn sighings of the soul--as in officiating as the high priest of its sanctuary—as in exhaling from thence its clouds of imprisoned myrrh and frankincense to heaven. The current of his emotions flows on in unperturbed and imperturbable serenity, undisturbed by troublous eddy or agitated ferment, catching and reflecting all the beauties which expanded nature presents, and receiving splendour and brightness from the silvery gleams which his fancy sheds upon it in its course.”
In another article, on the progress of literature, the Reviewer thus speaks of Coleridge :
"-His holy and most sweet tale of Christabel, with its rich enchantments and richer humanities—the depths, the sublimities, and the pensive sweetnesses of his tragedies—the heart-dilating sentiments scattered through his . Friend'-and the stately imagery which breaks upon us at every turn of the golden paths of his metaphysical labyrinths. And if he has a power within him mightier than that which even these glorious creations indicate, shall he be censured because he has deviated from the ordinary course of the age, in its developement; and, instead of committing his imaginative wisdom to the press, has delivered it from bis living lips !"
Mr. Coleridge might well exclaim, “protect me from my friends from my enemies I can protect myself.” Was there no other poem that the Reviewer could eulogize, but the unfortunate Christabel? In the same article, he says of Barry Cornwall
“ He sweetly illustrates that holiest of human emotions, which, wbile it will entwine itself with the frailest twig, or dally with the most evanescent shadow of creation, wasting its excess of kindliness on all around it, is yet able to look on tempests, and be never shaken. Love is gently omnipotent in his poems ; accident, and death itself, are but passing clouds, which scarcely vex, and which cannot harm it.”
There is no speculation in these sounding and numerous words. How much better is their character of Crabbe's works, where they speak like men of this world.
Art. X. Rosalie, a Tale; by PALMIRA JOHNSON. New-York.
G. Long. 1821. pp. 36.
* They,' says Lord Bacon, that desire to excel in too many 'matters, out of levity and vainglory, are ever envious; it being impossible but many, in some of those things, should surpass them.' That we excel in “many matters,” we have long insisted, and finally established; but our claims to poetical genius have been mostly either doubted or denied. The galling consciousness that poetry is the complete varnish” of mental refinement,--that its cultivation evinces the excellence of our taste, and its production the ripeness of our talents,-all these teach us to deny with earnestness and anger, the imputation of being an unpoetical nation.
That we have no poem of standard excellence, written in this country, we may admit—and still claim very fair pretensions to poetical taste and genius. When we speak of standard excellence, we mean such a poem as at once causes national pride to claim, and yields pleasure and interest in the perusal; from which splendid passages may be selected, glowing with pure and original thought ;-not the poetry of reading, and of other poets, but poetry of that unequivocal cast, which bears the hardy features of genius, and enables every reader, by the simple and natural in'struction of feeling, to say—the author of that book is a poet. In making this unreserved admission, we take from our assailants all foothold for argument, inasmuch as we have been attacked for the poetry that has been published in this country: ill nature having confined the scale of our powers to the little we have produced, without examining why we have not done better, or whether we are denied the power to improve. We are aware that all arguments that may be offered, accounting for our poetical deficiencies upon the score of our want of that refinement which belongs to older countries, will be met with the old and well established maxim—that a true poet derives his high claims, not from accidental circumstances, or refined education, but fresh and pure from the hand of nature alone. Old maxims should be received and examined with great respect, because, what has been frequently repeated for a long period, must have been cautiously investigated, by the sifting co-operation of truth and time; but we admit the old maxim, and only rely upon another view of our situation, not inconsistent with its existence.
Poetry has been in all countries produced by leisure, retirement, and a settled state of society. Leisure induced reflection, retireinent gave thought a regulated and refined direction, and a settled state of society produced peculiar wants, demanding and
encouraging intellectual amusements, to replace the anxiety of danger, or the ferocity of aggression.
In former times, agriculture and war were the chief employments of mankind : “ the pomp and circumstance” of glorious contest, as then carried on, elevated the mind to high thoughts, and the domestic and natural charms of rural life, presented those sweet reflections to which refinement can add nothing, save increased skill to impart them. Learning next followed, and a very awkward appearance she made: her captives had not yet learned to trip lightly in her gyves, and the genius of the poet halted in pedantry. Time and taste, placed learning in its proper province, showing how it improved poetry, as a fine road does a rich country—creating nothing, but facilitating all.
Commerce with its changes and chances, next gave "a deep îmmedicable wound” to poetry: trade in all her subdivided requisitions, called away many a fine poet to wealth and comfort, instead of condemning him to fame and hunger. Law flourished, science and certainties all bore commercial relations; and neglected poetry found mankind too busy to notice her
many merits and sweet delights. Still, learning received encouragement, but it was mercantile encouragement; every exertion of the human mind was encountered on the threshold of experiment, with a commercial “cui bono ?” Such was the state of poetry and learning in England, towards the end of the eighteenth century.
Amidst this melancholy prospect for learning and poetry, there still survived a redeeming power in England, arising from the nature of rank and property, which continued in familiesand left certain classes independent of commerce. By their members, literature was either directly aided from individual application-by the means they afforded to their children-or the patronage they extended to authors. Commerce raised the value of real possessions, and by simply seeking the gains of trade, conferred an undesigned benefit on poetry and learning.
Perhaps the nature of ranks in England may have no small influence in the maintaining and promotion of poetry. It is a natural feeling of human nature to respect and look up to those who are placed above us, either by worldly state or natural talents :-to recommend ourselves to them by our best exertions, incited by the hope of gain, or the desire of distinction, is no novel course to those who reflect on human wants, or the means we exert to supply them. Excellent poetry can only be found where patronage, of some kind or other, is extended to its aid. And whether such patronage flow from public or private munificence, the effect is the same, though varying in degree.
If this reasoning is correct, let it be applied to the past and present state of our own country. Have we distinct classes, to