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And yet it is: I feel, Of this dull sickness at my heart, afraid ! And in my eyes the death-sparks flash and fade;
And something seems to steal Over my bosom like a frozen hand, Binding its pulses with an icy band.
And this is death ! But why
Would it not leap to fly
Yet thus to pass away ;
To waste the light of day,
Grant me another year,
I would know something here!
Vain, vain! My brain is turning
And I am freezing, burning,
Ay, were not man to die,
Could he but train his eye,
Earth has no mineral strange,
And fire no power to change,
Oh but for time to track
To hurl the lightning back;
And more, much more! — for now
To clear the godlike brow
This were indeed to feel
And death - Aha! I reel, -
'Twas morning, and the old man lay alone.
The storm was raging still; the shutters swung
The fire beneath the crucible was out ;
And thus had passed from its unequal frame
Broken with its own compass. Oh, how poor
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
BORN IN 1819, CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Mr. Lowell resides in Cambridge. He has been Professor of Modern Languages and Belles-Lettres in Harvard University since the resignation of Prof. Longfellow. Of him the editor of the English edition of his “ Biglow Papers" says, “I can not help thinking, that (leaving out of sight altogether his satirical works), fifty years hence, he will be recognized as the greatest American poet of our day. Greece had her Aristophanes; Rome, her Juvenal; Spain, her Cervantes; France, her Rabelais, her Molière, her Voltaire; Germany, her Jean Paul, her Heine; England, her Swift, her Thackeray; and America has her Lowell.” We have decided to select from The Biglow Papers," not simply because they were written by a political satirist of the first rank, but because they have reference to an important period of the nation's history; and, besides their wholesome humor, the study of the Yankee dialect will not be unprofitable to the pupil, as he will there find faults of articulation into which he may unconsciously have fallen.
PRINCIPAL PRODUCTIONS. "The Biglow Papers;” “Sir Launful;" “ Under the Willows," and other Poems; “ The Cathedral;" and " Among my Books," prose-work. NOTE."
* Sam Slick," by Thomas C. Haliburton, “ Major Jack Downing's Letters," by Seba Smith, Leiters of Petroleum V. Nasby," by John Locke, " Phænixiana," by John Phenix, "Letters of Doesticks," by Mortimer Thompson, and "Orpheus Č. Kerr," by R. H. Newell, are other productions, humorous and satirical, of American society and politics.
NOTICES OF AN INDEPENDENT PRESS.
From the Oldfogrumville Mentor. “We have not had time to do more than glance through this handsomely-printed volume; but the name of its respectable editor, the Rev. Mr. Wilbur of Jaalam, will afford a sufficient guaranty for the worth of its contents. ... The paper is white, the type clear, and the volume of a convenient and attractive size. . . . In reading this elegantly-executed work, it has seemed to us that a passage or two might have been retrenched with advantage, and that the general style of diction was susceptible of a higher polish. . . . On the whole, we may safely leave the ungrateful task of criticism to the reader. We will barely suggest that in volumes intended, as this is, for the illustration of a provincial dialect, and turns of expression, a dash of humor or satire might be thrown in with advantage. ... The work is admirably. got up. . . . This work will form an appropriate ornament to the center-table. It is beautifully printed on paper of an excellent quality."
From the Bungtown Copper and Comprehensive Tocsin (a Tryreakly Family Journal).
“ Altogether an adınirable work. . . . Full of humor boisterous, but delicate; of wit withering and scorching, yet combined with a pathos cool as morning dew; of satire ponderons as the mace of Richard, yet keen as the cimeter of Saladin.
A work full of "mountain-mirth,' mischievous as Puck, and lightsome as Ariel. . . . We know not whether to admire most the genial, fresh, and discursive concinnity of the author, or his playful fancy, weird imagination, and compass of style, at once both objective and subjective. ... We might indulge in some criticisms; but, were the author other than he is, he would be a different being. As it is, he has a wonderful pose, which flits from flower to flower, and bears the reader irresistibly along on its eagle pinions (like Ganymede) to the highest heaven of invention.' ... We love a book so purely objective. ... Many of his pictures of natural scenery have an extraordinary subjective clearness and fidelity. ... In fine, we consider this as one of the most extraordinary volumes of this or any age. We know of no English author who could have written it. It is a work to which the proud genius of our country, standing with one foot on the Aroostook and the other on the Rio Grande, and holding up the star-spangled banner amid the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds,' may point with bewildering scorn of the punier efforts of enslaved Europe. . . . We hope soon to encounter our author among those higher walks of literature in which he is evidently capable of achieving enduring fame. Already we should be inclined to assign him a high position in the bright galaxy of our American bards."
From the Onion Grove Phænit. “A talented young townsman of ours, recently returned from a Continental tour, and who is already favorably known to our readers by his sprightly letters from abroad which have graced our columns, called at our office yesterday. We learn from him, that having enjoyed the distinguished privilege, while in Germany, of an introduction to the celebrated Von Humbug, he took the opportunity to present that eminent man with a copy of The Biglow Papers.' The next morning he received the following note, which he has kindly furnished us for publication. We prefer to print verbatim, knowing that our readers will readily forgive the few errors into which the illustrious writer has fallen through ignorance of our language.
“ High-Worthy Mister, - I shall also now especially happy starve, because I have more or less a work of one those aboriginal Red-Men seen in which have I 80 deaf an interest ever taken fullworthy on the self shelf with our Gottsched to be upset. "Pardon my in the English-speech unpractice!
« • Vox HUMBUG.' “ He also sent with the above note a copy of his famous work on Cosmetics,' to be presented to Mr. Biglow; but this was taken from our friend by the English enstom-house officers, probably through a petty national spite. No doubt it has by this time found its way into the British Museum. We trust this outrage will be exposed in all our American papers. We shall do our best to bring it to the notice of the State department. Our numerous readers will share in the pleasure we experience at seeing our young and vigorous national literature thus encouragingly patted on the head by this venerable and world-renowned German. We love to see these reciprocations of good feeling between the different branches of the great Anglo Saxon race."
From the Jaalam Independent Blunderbuss. ...“ But, while we lament to see our young townsman thus mingling in the beated contests of party politics, we think we detect in him the presence of talents, which, if properly directed, might give an innocent pleasure to many. As a proof that he is competent to the production of other kinds of poetry, we copy for our readers a short fragment of a pastoral by him, the manuscript of which was loaned us by a friend. The title of it is · The Courtin'.""
ZEKLE crep' up, quite unbeknown,
An' peeked in thru the winder;
'ith no one nigh to hender.
An' in amongst 'em rusted
Fetched back from Concord busted.
Towards the pootiest, bless her!
The chiny on the dresser.
Looked warm frum floor to ceilin';
Ez th' apples she wuz peelin'.
Araspin' on the scraper:
Like sparks in burnt-up paper.
Some doubtfle o' the seekle:
But hern went pity Zekle.
It remains to speak of the Yankee dialect. And first it may be premised, in A general way, that any one much read in the writings of the early colonists need not be told that the far greater share of the words and phrases now esteemed peculiar to New England, and local there, were brought from the mother-country. A person familiar with the dialect of certain portions of Massachusetts will not fail to recognize in ordinary discourse many words now noted in English vocabularies di archaic, the greater part of which were in common nse about the time of the King James translation of the Bible. Shakspeare stands less in need of a glossary to most New-Englanders than to many a native of the Old Country. The peculiarities of our speech, however, are rapidly wearing out. As there is no country where reading is so universal, and newspapers are so multitudinous, so no phrase remains long local, but is transplanted in the mail-bags to every remotest corner of the land.