* A Distributed Proofreaders Canada eBook *

This eBook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the eBook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the eBook. If either of these conditions applies, please contact a https://www.fadedpage.com administrator before proceeding. Thousands more FREE eBooks are available at https://www.fadedpage.com.

This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. IF THE BOOK IS UNDER COPYRIGHT IN YOUR COUNTRY, DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR REDISTRIBUTE THIS FILE.

Title: Graham's Magazine Vol. XIX No. 6 December 1841

Date of first publication: 1841

Author: George Rex Graham (1813-1894), Editor

Date first posted: Apr. 11, 2021

Date last updated: Apr. 11, 2021

Faded Page eBook #20210428

This eBook was produced by: Mardi Desjardins & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net


Vol. XIX.      December, 1841.      No. 6.


Fiction, Literature and Articles
The Hawkers
Shakspeare.—No. IV
The Reefer of ’76 (concluded)
The Stolen Miniature
The Marriage of Achilles
A Chapter on Autography (continued)
Misfortunes of a Timid Gentleman
The Ideal
The Rescue at the Eleventh Hour
Review of New Books
Secret Writing
The Closing Year
The Glad Retreat
He Woo’d Me at the Fountain
The Sweet South Wind
The Lyre Bird
Lines to a Portrait
The Choice of Hearts

Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.

A lady sits pensively at a small round table

J. Hayter         Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Smillie

The Lady Isabel

Engraved expressly for Graham’s Magazine


Vol. XIX.    PHILADELPHIA: DECEMBER, 1841.    No. 6.






It was a merry day in Torbay castle. Never had a brighter sun shone on a fair lady than that which now poured its mellow beams over the gay hawking party assembled in the court yard,—while, as if all were exhilarated by the unclouded sky above, shouts, jests, and sallies, sly compliments and merry laughter saluted the ear on every hand. There was the ringing of bridles, the champing of bits, the barking of dogs, the shouts of serving men, the orders of the falconers, the low whispers of gay gallants, or the half suppressed laughter of a bevy of merry young girls, making altogether a concord of sounds, strange and yet somewhat sweet, and not a little in unison with the old grim walls around and the bracing character of the morning. Foremost in the group, and directly under the massy archway of the gate, stood a rugged old falconer, who looked as if he might have been an appanage of the castle from the time of the conqueror, sustaining several casts of toure and leses of hawks, hooded and ready for the field. To his right was the favorite page of the mistress of the castle, holding the white palfrey of the Lady Isabel, the only daughter of the Earl. A few dogs lay about awaiting the setting forth of the cavalcade. In the rear the hawking party was assembled in what seemed at first a promiscuous group, but it would have been found on a closer examination, that the younger cavaliers had each placed himself as near to his lady’s bridle as possible, while the older sportsmen were drawn apart by themselves, eagerly canvassing the chances of the day’s sport.

At length the cavalcade set forth, and leaving the castle to the right, diverged towards the hills that skirt the neighborhood of Torbay, with the object of gaining the little river Wyse, a small stream that runs through that delightful vicinity, and is bordered by high overhanging banks.

We have said that the younger gallants each sought his lady’s bridle rein, but it might have been noticed as a little singular that perhaps the two handsomest knights rode by themselves, keeping in the rear of the “goodly companie,” and seemingly engaged in earnest conversation. It might also have been noticed that the Lady Isabel rode unattended, except by her father, and that now and then, she cast a sly and perhaps uneasy glance back at the two cavaliers. She did this so often, that at length it attracted their attention, and the shorter of the two companions said to the other,

“There, Herbert, take heart, man—do you not see that my fair coz is not indifferent to you—there, as I am a knight, she is looking back again.”

“It is but to chide you for deserting her,” said the other. “I may not be so happy as to think she cares for me. Did you mark how chilling a reception she gave me this morning?”

“Faith, man, and you deserved it,” answered his more mercurial companion, “after your strange humor last evening. Do your beauties and heiresses endure all the whim of jealous suitors without resentment? Will you never take heart of grace, leave off this diffidence, and come boldly out and woo my cousin in your own true and frank character? You may depend on it she has not forgotten you since you were playmates together, and though ten years of absence have elapsed since then, and she has been sought and is now sought by a score of gentlemen, yet has she not heard of your valor continually through my letters, and does she not blush and turn pale whenever you come suddenly on her? What more would you want? Tut, man, you are as blind in love as a bat. If you had to charge a battery you would do it without winking an eye-lid, but here you cannot attack a fair lady’s heart without quaking like a friar, and being in a dozen humors a day, according as your mistress chances to smile on you or not. Take my word for it, Isabel cares very little whether her madcap cousin is at her bridle rein or away from it; but she does care whether Sir Herbert Glendower is there or not, especially just now, when her conscience is twitching her, I dare swear, for having looked coldly on him a half hour since, and thus driven the poor knight almost into the notion of hanging himself. But this jesting I see you do not like—so let us push on and join the group, or we shall be suspected of talking treason,” and with a gay laugh the mercurial young man pricked his steed and pushed forward. His companion hesitated but an instant and then followed.

Sir Herbert Glendower had known—as his fellow soldier said—the heiress of Torbay castle in childhood; for his own father dying, the Earl of Torbay had filled the place of guardian to the young orphan. At the age of fourteen, Glendower had joined the army, but even at that early period he had imbibed a passion for the young Isabel of which he was not himself fully conscious, until years of watching, strife and absence had convinced him that she was, after all, nearer to his heart than aught beside. During a separation of ten years from Isabel, his bosom companion had been her reckless cousin, and perhaps the conversation of the two young soldiers had often turned on the young heiress and thus insensibly deepened the passion felt for her by Glendower. Certain it is, that when the young knight met her on his return to England, and saw that she had grown up more beautiful than he had imagined her even in his dreams, he felt his passion for her increased to such an extremity that her love became thenceforth necessary to his very being. Yet, like too many who love devotedly, the very depth of his passion prevented his success, by filling him with uncalled for doubts and fears. Usually frank and daring, he became reserved and timorous. The slightest appearance of coldness, although unintentional, was sufficient to overthrow all his hope. At such times he would throw himself on his pride, and affect a reserve to Isabel, the consequence of which would be a coldness on her part. Such had been the case on the morning in question.

For a few minutes he mused silently, and then said to himself:

“He may be right after all; and if so, am I not a fool? I will watch Isabel narrowly to-day, and if I see the least glimmering of hope, I will know all. If not, or if she refuses me”—he paused and added sadly, “why then a foreign service and a foreign grave will be mine.”

Meantime the hawkers had gained the river, and while the serving men, with their dogs, descended into the ravine to rouse the birds from the marshy margin of the stream, the cavalcade continued its progress along the high banks above, in momentary expectation of the appearance of the prey. Foremost amongst the hawkers was the father of Isabel; but the heiress, although usually eager for the sport, appeared to-day to partake in the pastime only as a spectator, having surrendered her high-bred falcon to the hands of her favorite page. Isabel herself was silent and apparently lost in thought. And as Glendower, in pursuance of his new determination, hovered around her, he fancied he detected in her manner a slight confirmation of her cousin’s assertion. The hopes of the young knight beat high at the very thought. He drew his steed nearer to that of Isabel, and would have addressed her, but at that instant the shouts of the serving men beneath, in the margin of the river, announced that the prey had been roused, and with a scream a huge heron, followed by one of smaller size, rose above the bank, and stretching out their long thin legs behind them, the quarry sailed away up into the sky.

“Isabel,” said the Earl, “you promised to give a cast at yonder bird—quick, unhood.”

“Ay, Tremaine,” said the clear silvery voice of the maiden, assuming a sudden animation, and turning quickly away from Glendower to her page, “throw off my bird. You have often wished for the chance. Now, ladies and gallants, all, we shall see rare sport unless my falcon fails me.”

The happy page, blushing, however, to find all eyes directed towards himself, trotted out a few paces in advance of the group, and removing the hood from the eyes of the noble bird, held the falcon on his left wrist as he extended it over his horse’s head. The hawk shook himself for an instant, gazed around him until he caught sight of the herons, when he flapped his wings, and, as the page flung him off, darted away like an arrow in pursuit.

a page on horseback holding a falcon

To any other person than Glendower, the turning of Isabel from him to her page would at such a moment, have seemed trivial, but the proud and sensitive nature of the lover instantly magnified it into a rebuke, and drawing his rein around somewhat haughtily, he gave up his original intention of keeping at her side, and dashed madly on, leading the pursuit, as the cavalcade galloped off in the direction where it was expected the quarry would fall. A gallant sight it was to see that gay party sweeping along the banks of the stream. The caparisoned steeds, silken scarfs, waving plumes, and proud demeanor of the nobles, knights and pages; and the spirited palfreys, flowing robes, and brilliant costumes of the maidens, with the trains of attendants pressing in the rear, gave the cavalcade a gorgeousness which later days, in reviving this courtly sport, have in vain attempted to imitate.

“No, she loves me not,” said Glendower as he galloped furiously on—“it is folly for me to pretend to win her regard. Well—”

“Ho, sir knight of the woful countenance,” shouted the merry voice of Isabel’s cousin as he drew up by Glendower, “you are leaving the route altogether, and faith your conduct will attract notice if it has not already done so. Come, man, in despair again—away with it—if you won’t ride at Isabel’s bridle and say things such as maidens love to hear, why e’en forget her for to-day and attend to the sport—see how her falcon mounts into the clouds; shade your eyes—there—by St. George he has the heron now.”

As the knight spoke, the hawk, which had been ascending above the heron spirally, gradually narrowing the circles as it rose, suddenly stooped from its height and shooting like a thunderbolt down on the quarry bore it to the earth. The shout of the hawkers announced that all had seen the stroke, and instantly spur and whip were put to every steed to reach the spot where the quarry fell, in order, if necessary, to assist the falcon. Glendower was among the first to lead the chase, for he felt that his conduct was attracting attention, and he resolved during the remainder of the day to adhere to the advice of Isabel’s cousin, let what might take place.

“A wager that I reach the quarry first, and win a smile from Isabel for assisting her falcon,” laughingly said the mercurial soldier, “ho! Sir Glendower, do you close with me?”

“Even so,” said Glendower; “I will distance you a score of paces and more, or my steed belies his former feats. Your fair cousin shall smile on me, or rebuff me fairly, for once.”

At the word, the two cavaliers darted forwards at an increased pace; and instantly every eye, forgetful of the quarry, was directed towards the race. Both the knights rode splendid horses, and as the animals were now pressed to show their greatest speed, their riders seemed borne along the earth as if they were mounted on the enchanted steeds of fairy land. The cavaliers behind encouraged them with shouts, while the ladies waved their scarfs and laughed gaily. For a few minutes the horses scoured along head and head; but, when within a few paces of where the two birds had fallen, Glendower suddenly dashed away from his competitor and reaching the quarry first, threw his bridle to a youthful page who had just arrived from the margin of the stream below, and springing from the saddle lost not a moment in assisting the falcon to overcome the tall and powerful bird against which hitherto it had maintained a doubtful fight.

a page kneels on the ground over a dead heron

By the time Glendower had broken the legs of the hernsaw and stuck its long bill into the ground, as was the duty of the first sportsman who reached the quarry after it had been brought to the earth, the members of the cavalcade began to arrive, and as the knight rose from his stooping posture, with the prey in one hand and the falcon perched on his wrist, the silvery voice of Isabel was heard exclaiming—

“Ah! my gay coz, and so you lost your race—a very unusual thing however for a madcap like you; but pray what was the wager?”

“Yes!—the wager—the wager!” said a dozen merry voices.

“Fair ladies, I cry your mercy; but the wager must be a secret from you as yet, though perhaps I will tell cousin Isabel, to raise your curiosity;” and as he spoke, the young man bent his face to the ear of the high-born beauty and whispered a few words, whose import none could tell, but which brought the red blood, like a crimson sunset, into the maiden’s cheek.

“But here is the winner,” continued the young cavalier aloud, as he moved away to allow Glendower to approach Isabel with the prey.

The knight drew near, and, assuming as much composure as he could, tendered Isabel the quarry, in the courtly language of the day. The embarrassment of the maiden was by no means diminished at the address of Glendower, and, as the knight proceeded, her demeanor appeared to infect him with a like embarrassment, the more that every eye was directed on the maiden and Glendower. It was, therefore, a relief to both when a sudden shout announced that another quarry had been started, and in an instant one of the party cast off a falcon in pursuit. This attracted attention from Isabel and Glendower, and as the gay cavalcade dashed away they were left almost alone. For a minute Glendower had not words to speak, although something in the smile of the maiden emboldened him to venture—indeed never had Isabel greeted him more encouragingly. The maiden looked on the ground and was also silent. As usual, in such cases, the maiden was the first to speak, and, like most of her sex, she opened the conversation with a casual remark.

“Yon hawk is but an eyas,” said she, pointing to the bird which had just been cast off, “see, he flies the prey. Ah! yonder goes Tremaine to lure him down. And see, the bird is not such a foul kestrel after all, for he answers to the call.”

a page on a galloping horse waves a falcon hood in the air

As she spoke, the same page to whom we have more than once alluded already, was seen galloping away in the distance, waving around his head the tasseled hood used to lure birds of the highest training, and shouting with his voice. At the same instant another falcon was cast off, and directly the quarry and its pursuer were lost in the clouds, while the cavalcade, galloped away along the banks of the river, following the direction taken by the heron, and leaving Isabel and Glendower wholly alone.

Glendower did not for a moment reply, for a world of thoughts was in his bosom—but over them all reigned the consciousness that Isabel appeared to be less repellent than she had been for days. Why then should he not avail himself of this accidental tête à tête, and learn all? Why should he be longer tortured with doubt? He did not, therefore, directly reply to the remark of Isabel, but his eyes followed the form of the page for a while, and then he suddenly turned them full on the maiden’s face. Her glance fell beneath his own, and a blush tinged her cheeks with a deep roseate hue. This emotion added courage to Glendower.

“Isabel,” said he, speaking at first with a trembling voice, which however became firmer and more impassioned as he proceeded, “perhaps what I am about to say may offend you—but I cannot restrain the words. I love you, deeply, ardently, with my whole soul, and whatever may be your reply, my love will only cease with my life. Ever since we played together in childhood I have cherished your image in my breast—peril, absence, silence, the tumult of war, nothing has been able to drive you from my mind—my passion has grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength. Since I returned, my love has only increased. I know how far above me you are, and I have thought a dozen times you saw, and would by coldness check, my presumption. But be my punishment even banishment from your presence, I can no longer keep silence. My love will find words. You turn away from me—you despise me—you sob.—Can it?—am I?—Oh! God, is this blessing really mine?” And as the maiden, overcome by emotion, buried her face in her hands, her lover, at length conscious that he was beloved, knelt on the sward at her feet, and with a sacred feeling approaching almost to reverence—for such was the love of those days—kissed Isabel’s white hand.

A month later, and there was high revelry and feasting in the castle of Torbay; and many were the gallant knights and ladies fair who assembled to do honor to the nuptials of Glendower and his fair young bride.

“Ah, did I not tell you to take heart of grace?” whispered Isabel’s mercurial cousin, unobserved in the ear of the bridegroom, “did I not say that Isabel had not forgotten you? By the shrine of Becket you should thank me for my advice.”

“What treason are you plotting?” asked the smiling bride, approaching.

“I am only asking Glendower if you have paid the wager he won from me at the hawking party—your hand,” was the reply.






The imagination of the reader is powerfully aroused by these dark inuendoes, and the mind, prepared by a secret undefinable state of suspense and emotion, is doubly startled by the woman’s sudden, hushed

Lo you, here she comes!

It is possible that, with something of the terrors of a guilty conscience herself, the poor waiting woman at first imagines that the queen has been listening and caught her plotting with the doctor, for the second exclamation shows an otherwise unaccountable surprise at her being asleep;

This is her very guise, and, upon my life, fast asleep: observe her: stand close.

Doctor. How came she by that light?

Gent. Why it stood by her. She has a light by her continually: ’tis her command!

Observe the short sentences—as of people listening—watching—under the pressure of a powerful motive and interest. The light—the doctor’s surprise at seeing her carry it about with her, and the reply. “She has a light by her continually. ’Tis her command.

This is a new and fearful discovery of the internal state of the wretched woman’s mind. Here we have at once a view of her night-terrors, the guilty phantoms which throng her bedside. It is as if a lurid gleam had been suddenly cast upon her soul from the half-opened gates of hell itself.

Doct. You see her eyes are open.

This is so remarkable a feature in a somnambulist that, even when aware of it, we can scarcely—while looking on a countenance from which stare two wide-gazing eyes—realize that they take no note of present objects, but are bent only on the immaterial, supernatural world.

The gentlewoman who has so often seen her thus replies (at this moment more cool than the doctor):

Gent. Ay, but their sense is shut.

Doct. What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.

Gent. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands: I have known her continue this a quarter of an hour.

Lady. Yet here’s a spot!

It is not possible to call up a more harrowing type of guilt than that furnished by this bloody queen, thus haunted by the idea of what she has done, still the ordinary processes of nature themselves are interrupted, and she is driven to this species of insanity. It is the more striking in her, from the contrast it affords with her supposed callousness of character, and the haughty, masculine, I had almost said fiendish scorn of all those phantoms of guilt which her more human husband saw in advance. This is the proud and cruel mind which feared Macbeth’s softer nature could never be worked up to the commission of the deed necessary to seat them on the throne:

                    yet do I fear thy nature;

It is too full of the milk of human kindness,

To catch the nearest way: Thou wouldst be great;

Art not without ambition; but without

The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly

Thou wouldst holily: wouldst not play false,

And yet wouldst wrongly win, etc. etc.

This is the sarcastic despiser of all that would impede her “from the golden round.” This is the bloody tigress who with a deep, low joy, triumphed over the unsuspecting visit of her royal guest, king, and victim:

  The raven himself is hoarse

That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan

Under my battlements.

This is the cool, sagacious, strong-minded counsellor who urged on, advised, and superintended with a fatal firmness the dire and sacrilegious murder. This is she who, when her bad, weak husband shrank from the dangerous and horrible task imposed upon him, heaped him with contemptuous reproaches—scorching ridicule, and infidel remonstrances. This is the haughty insulter of heaven—the self-confident derider of things holy—(the scorner of God, the sneerer at virtue.) Where are now her high bearing—her bitter taunts—her bold conception, her daring courage—the strong nerve that neither earth nor heaven could shake? Where is the hand that drugged the “possets” of the “surfeited grooms”—that “laid the daggers ready”—that, scorning the childish fear of a dead face, took itself the bloody weapons back to their places? Where is the fearless tongue that hooted and laughed at the terrors of Macbeth; and that, on returning from placing back the daggers and from smearing the faces of the grooms, (triumphantly showing the hands dripping with gore) sternly said—

My hands are of your colour; but I shame

  To wear a heart so white!

There she stands—the same being, successful in her guilt—in the full possession of all for which the work was done—unpunished—undiscovered—unquestioned—disturbed by nothing but the eye of God. Behold guilt with all that earth can give of power and exemption—the terrified maid on one side—the watchful doctor on the other—herself confessing, under a torture more awful than that of the rack, the bloody secret of her soul, and the physician taking notes of what falls from her lips! Behold guilt! in its castle—surrounded by its guards, with all the sources of earthly pleasure at its command.

Doct. Hark! she speaks. I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

Lady. Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One, two; why, then ’tis time to do’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afraid? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

Doct. Do you mark that?

Here is the dream of the past scene on the night of the murder mingling with the subsequent stings of conscience—hours and days floating through her distempered imagination at the same moment—the cruel purpose, the atrocious execution—the actual presence of the fatal event, with its unrelenting determination, and guilty hope and the trembling terrors of future remorse and fear—all together—all crowding at once upon the mind, in those capricious fragments of reality which unite with such terrible probability in the solemn hour of sleep. The “damned spot” is the first—the predominant and blasting thought; the horrible fixed phantom preying on her mind. Wash as she may, the red trace will not out. She has continued in this “accustomed action with her” a quarter of an hour at a time—striving and striving—rubbing and rubbing—and dwelling upon the hour of her guilt, till the constant contemplation of it has driven her mad. Amid all the charms, the long-promised, dearly-prized charms of royalty—with the golden round at length upon her brow—at all hours of the day and night—in the sunshine and in the darkness—in solitude and at the banquet—this spot, this “damned spot,” is there—always there—and so she is destined to go on, vainly rubbing and rubbing, to her grave.

One, two.

She hears over again the clock telling the hour of that dreadful night.

Why, then ’tis time to do’t.

Here is the habit of sin. She is committing the deed over again.

Hell is murky!

In her imagination her ghastly, staggering lord is at her side uttering this exclamation in fear, which she repeats in scorn.

Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard?

But as she speaks, the deed is already long done. She is still with the trembling, spiritless, haggard partner of her crime, and seems to address him with one of those unnatural sickly flickerings of consolation and peace which only render more visible the surrounding despair.

What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account.

A sad comfort at the best, but ominously significant on the lips of this woman, at the very moment when the springs of her life are giving way under the mere load of guilty recollection. But instantly she is transported back again to the fatal hour. She is gazing upon the pale face of the butchered old king, weltering in gore. She sees all things stained, dripping, flooded—and with that kind of awful composure which one feels often in a great crisis, she pauses to make a remark of wonder:

Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

These sudden transportations from place to place—from time to time—to and fro—backward and forward—is a perfect representation of the shifting changes, the starts and fragments of a rolling dream.

The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?—What! will these hands ne’er be clean? No more o’ that, my lord; no more o’ that;—you will mar all with this starting.

Here another awful deed of her husband flashes across her recollection. But still rubbing, still toiling—still with a perseverance which shows how frightfully she is under the dominion of horror at her crime, she is striving and ever striving to efface its mark, and through all with the perception that it is in vain. Then she is at the banquet, where Macbeth’s phrenzy conjures up the ghost of Banquo, and half betrays them.

The Doctor has now seen and heard enough to show him the nature of the secret which is destroying the life of his patient, and his horror overflows immediately in a sort of confidential communication with the waiting woman.

Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.

Gentlewoman. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that: Heaven knows what she has known.

Lady. Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!

Doctor. What a sight is there! The heart is sorely charg’d.

Gent. I would not have such a heart in my bosom, for the dignity of the whole body.

Here we have the moral of this grand mighty scene. Guilt—successful guilt—guilt in the bosom, of a scoffer—an atheist—a blasphemer—guilt in the strongest impersonation of earthliness—of nerve—courage—self-confidence—power, philosophy—profound sense, and a high order of human genius. Lady Macbeth had obviously all these. She impresses you powerfully with a haughty superiority over every one around her. She would do to lead an army—to defend a citadel. Her mind is that of a Spartan dame—or a Roman matron: and the courage and understanding she displays are such as, if rightly used, if guided by the spirit of virtue and religion, might have elevated her to the dignity of a great historical heroine. None can rationally hope to bear up by philosophy and strength of intellect alone, against the consciousness of sin, if Lady Macbeth, in those rude times, could not.

Here, then, we have successful guilt. Painted by a historian, perhaps she might have excited the envy of the lowly. We should have seen her surrounded by splendor and luxury. The glittering crown upon her brow—a circle of courtiers bending around her—as she presided at state councils or gay banquets. The historian would have shown her situation, and we might have exclaimed, “see how guilt triumphs.” But Shakspeare gives us a view into her heart—her secret thoughts—her midnight dreams. If any thing could heighten the picture as he had previously drawn it, it would be these few words, “Here’s the smell of the blood still.” The smell of the blood! How deeply imbued is her imagination with the ideal! The heart sickens at it. Great as has been the crime, we are compelled to acknowledge that the poet has at a glimpse shown us the process of a penalty as great, and, with a sweetness of art peculiar to him and nature, has mingled, with our abhorrence which would be too violent by itself, a certain touch of sympathy and when that beautiful and heart-rending exclamation falls with almost the last life-drops from her utterly subdued and crushed heart—

All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!

We pity and utter a prayer for mercy which the guilty lips of the sufferer dare not form themselves.

The remark of the gentlewoman is as applicable to a class of characters as that of Lady Macbeth.

I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.

This is the voice of innocence—lowly, self-congratulating innocence. The humble dependant of the royal household is made to feel the immeasurable advantage a peaceful conscience affords over all the passing and hollow gauds of the world. She sees what a mockery are rank, wealth, power, fame—when bought by the sacrifice of that greatest of all treasures—a quiet heart. She will go gladly, after this—that honest lady, on her obscure path, turning to her God with a deeper reverence and love. She will pour out her heart to him in gratitude that she has escaped the temptations of life thus far, and humbly implored him to watch continually over her steps, to strengthen her good resolutions, to teach her to subdue her passions, and to lead her safely through the pit-falls of her mortal pilgrimage.

It seems almost impossible to carry the scene farther, but the poet does so.

The mind of the reader, stretched to a too strong tension, is relieved by the few, broken yet calm expressions of the two watchers whose health and hearts’ ease also afford a contrast which sets off more strikingly the state of the wretched lady thus floating by us like a rudderless wreck sweeping onward with a resistless current to the brink of some vast cataract or yawning and unfathomless Maelstrom.

The doctor’s “Well, well, well,—” shows embarrassment the result of amazement. He scarcely knows what to do. He, also, has now become the possessor of an astounding and dangerous secret, and he might well be supposed to hesitate as to the proper course to pursue. He does not seem decided to acknowledge the full extent of his conviction, yet he cannot deny that the patient is not to be cured by his medicine. He does not seem inclined to enter upon any confidential interchanges of opinions with the gentlewoman. He is, in all things, the man of the world—the professional man and the courtier. The very air he breathes he may imagine full of eyes and ears. He may be no more inclined to trust the gentlewoman than she had been to trust him. Guilt, gloom, and danger preside over the blood-stained castle, and envelope the principal inmates—while suspicions, fear and silent watchfulness are hugged to the anxious bosom of each distrustful servant. The doctor’s “Well, well, well”—is a kind of mask to hide what is passing in his mind: and the gentlewoman with less art, equal prudence and more piety, ventures only upon the awe-struck prayer,

Pray God, it be, sir!

The doctor then confesses,

This disease is beyond my practice!

But instantly avoids even the appearance of committing himself by the cautious reserve—

Yet I have known those which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds.

What a picture of a tyrant’s castle. These trembling slaves dare neither of them express an opinion or confess they have seen what they are seeing—even to each other in the silence and solitude of the night.

The dream of the haunted lady now quickens its flow. She is back again at the murder scene whose successful completion has gratified all her worldly hopes and ambition, and at the same time blasted her mind and soul.

Hear her nervous, convulsed reiteration of the minutest incident of that too well remembered hour.

Wash your hands, put on your night-gown;

Then the dream shifts once more.

I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out of his grave.

Then back to the night of the murder.

To bed—to bed. There’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your hand, what’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed.

Exit Lady Macbeth.

And thus, as from the new commission of a frightful crime, she returns to her bed, there to tremble—and writhe and dream—and act over again and again the bloody drama.

Doctor. Will she now go to bed?

Gent. Directly.

Then the doctor, apparently excited out of his usual reserve, utters the thoughts which are passing in his mind.

   Doct. Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds

Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds

To their deaf pillows, will discharge their secrets.

More needs she the divine, than the physician.—

And then, profoundly impressed and shocked with what he has witnessed and discovered, he adds:

God, God, forgive us all!

This prayer, bursting involuntarily from the heart of a worldly man in the mere exercise of his profession, is very expressive of the effect the scene has had upon him. He immediately returns, however, to the business which keeps him in the castle, viz: the treatment of his patient, and he gives this sagacious advice to the gentlewoman: supposing very properly that a conscience so desperately diseased might attempt self-destruction.

                    Look after her;

Remove from her the means of all annoyance,

And still keep eyes upon her;—so, good-night:

My mind she has mated,[1] and amaz’d my sight:

I think, but dare not speak.

   Gent. Good-night,—good doctor.

Notwithstanding these injunctions, however, she succeeds in committing suicide. After her exit from this scene she appears no more. She could not, indeed, again come before our eyes without injuring the impression it has left. Her death is told in a way to harmonize with this impression and to leave the excited imagination at leisure to fill up the details to the last moment. Macbeth, desperate like a baited bull, is roaring a defiance of heaven and earth, for guilt has brutalized him perceptibly, when he is interrupted by “a cry within, of women.”

Macbeth. What is that noise?

Seyton. It is the cry of woman, my good lord.

   Mac. I have almost forgot the taste of fears:

The time has been, my senses would have cool’d

To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair

Would at a dismal treatise rouse, and stir

As life were in’t: I have supp’d full with horrors;

Direness, familiar to my slaught’rous thoughts,

Cannot once start me.—Wherefore was that cry?

Sey. The queen, my lord, is dead.

The signification of Lady Macbeth’s sleep-walking scene is heightened by the contrast it affords to her proud overbearing demeanor in the earlier scenes of the play. There she is as bold as if, indeed, there were no God to supervise human affairs. When Macbeth, his dripping hands at length burthened with a now irreparable murder, finds himself appalled and feels that, among the other disadvantages of the crime, he has “murdered sleep,” “Macbeth shall sleep no more,” “The innocent sleep,” etc., etc., his lady is scarcely able to find words for her cool contempt of such weakness.

                Why, worthy thane

You do unbend your noble strength, to think

So brain-sickly of things:—go, get some water,

And wash this filthy witness from your hand.—

Why did you bring these daggers from the place?

They must lie there. Go. Carry them; and smear

The sleepy grooms with blood.

   Mac. I’ll go no more;

I am afraid to think on what I have done.

Look out again I dare not.

   Lady. Infirm of purpose!

   Give me the daggers:

The sleeping and the dead are but as portions:

’Tis the eye of childhood, that fears a painted devil.

If he does bleed I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withall

For it must seem their guilt.

Thus, braving heaven, denying God, laughing to derision the idea of conscience, and impiously promising that the blood may be washed from their hands with a little water, glorying in the butchery of the good old king, and accumulating murder upon murder, she rushes on her fate, and, like all who oppose the Creator and Judge of the Universe, is dashed to pieces.

“My mind she has mated.” This expression is supposed to be taken from chess playing. She has confounded my mind.





Beneath an elm, a green old elm,

  I raised a rustic seat,

The boughs low bending o’er my head,

  The green grass at my feet.

A little streamlet dancing by,

  With voice so clear and sweet;

The air-spirit’s low and mournful sigh—

  Oh, ’twas a glad retreat!


And often at the dewy morn,

  Just when the earliest ray,

That from the chariot of the sun,

  Betokened coming day—

I’d hie me to my glad retreat,

  To that old elm I’d stray,

And by that rude and rustic seat,

  I’d kneel me down and pray.


And at the sultry hour of noon,

  I’d seek the cooling shade,

And listen to the murmuring sound

  That little streamlet made.

And watched the bright birds glancing through

  The branches, old and young—

And wondered as they gaily flew,

  What was the song they sung.


But time has passed, those days are gone,

  Ay, more, long years have fled—

And lying o’er that little brook,

  A withered trunk and dead.

But memory often wanders back,

  On Fancy’s pinions free—

I’ll ne’er forget the rustic seat

  Beneath the old elm tree!






The cool breath of morning was blowing through the open casement, when I awoke on the ensuing day, and as the wind dallied with the curtains of my bed and kissed my fevered brow, I felt an exhiliration of spirits which no one can fully appreciate who has not experienced the torture of a bed of sickness.

My dreams had been pleasant during my repose, for they were of Beatrice. Overcome by exhaustion, I had sank into a slumber almost immediately after my faint attempt to address her; but I knew not how long I slept; for, although it was now early morning, I had no means of telling at what hour I had awoke the day before. No one appeared to be stirring in the room. The mild light of an October sun lay in rich masses on the carpet, while occasionally the brown vine leaves outside the casement, would rustle pleasantly in the breeze. How I gazed on the patch of blue sky discernible through that open window—how I longed to be wandering free and uncontrolled over the rich plains and up the glowing hill-sides that stretched away before the vision. Oh! there is nothing so glorious to the sick man as a sunny morning. At this instant a bird whistled outside the casement. How my blood danced at the lightsome tone! A succession of dreamy, delicious feelings floated through my soul, and I lay for some moments motionless, but dissolved in gratitude.

I raised myself feebly up, and faintly pushing aside the curtain, strove to obtain a survey of my apartment. At length my thoughts reverted to my situation. When I lost my consciousness, I was on a deserted deck—now I was lying in a spacious apartment, in perfect security. Who could explain this mystery? It was a rich, even luxurious room. The furniture was of the costliest and most tasteful pattern, and the arrangement of the different articles was made with an artist’s eye to the keeping—if I may so speak—of the whole. A stand just in front of me held a bouquet of fresh flowers, which, from their rarity, must have come from some green house. On the opposite wall hung a glorious picture of the Madonna, with her golden hair and beatified countenance, gazing down, with that smile which Raphael has made immortal, on the infant on her knee. A dim recollection floated through my brain that I had seen that smile before, only the features which then accompanied it, had been like those of Beatrice, rather than of the picture. Suddenly that angel face I had seen in my dream, flashed on me. I knew it all now. It had been, while gazing on this divine portrait in my delirium, that my fancy had imagined it the face of Beatrice, smiling down upon me from the clouds.

It was evident that Beatrice had some connexion with my present situation, for I was convinced that I had seen her the preceding day. Where was she now?—How long had I been sick in this place?—And in what manner was she I loved involved in my rescue, were questions that continually forced themselves on my mind, until my still weak brain began to be dizzy with the mystery. Putting my hands to my brow I strove to drive away such thoughts; but they only returned with ten-fold force. I would have risen to solve the mystery, but my strength proved inefficient to the task, and I sank back on my pillow. A half hour must thus have passed, when I heard a light footstep on the carpet, and in an instant my heart was throbbing, and the blood dancing in my veins. In a moment I should see Beatrice again. I gazed in the direction whence the sound of the steps proceeded, and the name of her I adored was already trembling on my lips, when a hand gathered back the curtain, and I saw, not Beatrice, but an elderly French woman, whose dress bespoke her a nurse. Never did a way-worn pilgrim, fancying he beheld the minaret of the holy city in the distance, gaze on a mirage with more disappointment than I did on the countenance of my visitor. But my curiosity soon triumphed over my disappointment. Perhaps she read my thoughts, for a smile of equivocal meaning gradually stole into the corners of her month as she returned my gaze. She was the first to speak:

“Is Monsieur better?” she inquired.

“Yes,” I replied, “I am almost well—sufficiently so, at least, to feel curiosity. In a word, how and when did I come here? Who am I to thank as my preserver?”

“Monsieur has more questions to ask than even a Parisian grisette could answer,” she replied, evasively. “Besides, his physician says he must be kept quiet. I can only tell him for the present that he is in France. Let him be patient and he shall soon know all. He is at any rate among friends, and when he gets stronger he shall hear his story from other lips than mine.”

As this was accompanied with a meaning smile that left no doubt on my mind to whom she alluded, and as she seconded her words by drawing the curtains together as if to retire, I was fain to be content. In addition to this moreover, I felt that I had already exerted myself sufficiently in conversation, for my brain was dizzy with the few words I had spoken. So I closed my eyes, and, like one wearied out with toil, in a few minutes was asleep.

Several days elapsed, during which I saw no one but the nurse, and now and then a servant or two in a rich livery, who brought in the tray. To all my inquiries I received the same answer, until at length, unbounded as was my curiosity, I gave over the attempt, comforting myself with the conviction that, in a day or two more, I should hear my story from the loved lips of Beatrice herself.

At length I was able to sit up, and when the formal old physician appeared, he announced to me with a meaning smile, that he would now permit me to receive visitors. He added that my host and hostess were anxious to pay their compliments in person, and had only been prevented hitherto from doing so by my extreme weakness, and his express commands. All this had an air of mystery about it which, however, I had not time to unravel, for the physician had scarcely ceased speaking when the door opened and my entertainers entered, announced by a servant in a rich livery. I started and crimsoned to the brow, but a hasty glance assured me that Beatrice was not there. The wonder increased,—but the physician left me no time for thought, for, advancing on the instant, he introduced my visitors to me formally as a Baron and Baroness de St. Allaire. They were both somewhat in years, at least past their prime, but their manners, apart from their former kindness to me, would have attracted me to them at once. The Baron was a stately Frenchman, of the school of le grand monarque, very formal, very dignified, but withal kind hearted. His lady possessed one of the most benignant countenances I ever recollect to have seen. Her smile was peculiarly sweet. Her years sat on her lightly, and with all the propriety of her age she had all the liveliness of youth. It was not long, therefore, before I was perfectly at ease. The Baron expressed his satisfaction at my rapid improvement for the better, complimented himself on his good fortune in being my host, hoped that I found the prospect from my window pleasant, and all this, too, with a formality, yet an affability that realized my idea of the old French chevalier. His lady was less precise, and consequently more winning. She conversed even gaily, and on a variety of subjects, all, however, having a bearing on my illness. Yet, with a tact which I could not but admire, she avoided every allusion to the means by which I had become her guest, reminding me of a skilful advocate in a bad cause, always hovering about but never approaching the issue. A quarter of an hour was thus spent and I had determined to relieve my eager curiosity by broaching the subject myself at the first pause in the conversation, but, as if anticipating my design, the Baroness suddenly rose, and still continuing her gay remarks, fairly complimented herself out of the room before I had a chance to speak without violating all etiquette by interrupting the good lady. I fancied, as she closed the door with an “adieu, Monsieur,” that there was malice in her provoking smile, betokening a lurking consciousness that she had outwitted me. At first I was half disposed to feel angry, it was so evident that my curiosity was trifled with. My patience nearly gave way at these continued disappointments. Yet I had nothing at which I could rationally get displeased. It was in vain for me to feel angry—my discomfiture had been too adroitly managed—and at length I fairly burst into a laugh at my own expense.

“You are pleased to be merry,” said a silvery voice behind me, and a low glad laugh that rung through the chamber like fairy music, echoed my own. I started up at once. I knew I could not be mistaken. The next moment Beatrice was in my arms.

The rapture of that re-union I shall not attempt to portray. If my readers have been young, and after having been separated for years from the one they loved, have met her as their preserver, they can appreciate my feelings. I draw a veil over the sacred emotions of that interview. Nor will I repeat the thousand questions which were asked and answered almost in the same breath.

It was some ten minutes before Beatrice narrated the circumstances which had transpired since I parted with her in Charleston. Nor did she, even when she began, give me a connected account. There were too many questions to be asked, and too many inquiries to be answered, all growing, it is true, out of her story, but all sadly at variance with the course of the narration, to permit a continuous tale. At length, however, I learned all, or nearly all, for there were a few things which the dear girl did not tell me until long after,—and even then not without a blush at her avowal.

My first inquiry was about her own fortunes, but she would not answer me until I had told her how I came on the wreck, and she had acquainted me with the manner of my rescue. I will give it in her own words.

“When you lost your consciousness you were, I fancy, nearer to aid than you imagine, for a French privateer that was hovering along the coast discovered the wreck, and making for it rescued you, almost exhausted it is true, but still retaining life. You were insensible, and well nigh frozen to death. But the exertions of your preservers finally restored you to life, though not to consciousness. You fell into a raging fever in which you raved in a constant delirium. The captain of the privateer, having occasion to put into port the following day, brought you on shore, and suspecting you to be an Englishman from your language, unfeelingly consigned you to the common jail hospital, among the poorest and most degraded of human beings. There you lay the whole of the ensuing night, scarcely tended even by the callous nurses of those establishments. No one knew your name; your dress was not a uniform; and death was rapidly approaching to consign you to an unknown grave. But Providence did not will that such should be your fate. An all-seeing eye beheld you; an omnipotent arm interposed to save you. And the means of your preservation were so fortuitous as to seem almost those of chance. The confessor of the Baroness was in the habit of visiting the prison—for we reside but a short drive from the town—and while giving consolation to one of those miserable wretches—oh! I shudder to think that you were once there—he heard a sick man in a neighboring ward raving of a name,” and here the dear girl covered her face in confusion, “which was familiar to him. Need I say it was mine? He listened, and heard enough to satisfy him that you were acquainted with me. He made inquiries, learned how you came there—and you can imagine the rest.”

“That I was brought here and saved from death,” said I, looking fondly into Beatrice’s face. “But you have not told me how you came here, or what tie exists between you and our hostess.”

“Oh! she is my cousin. I spent some years here in early childhood. But to tell my story I must go back to when we last parted in Charleston.”

“Very well. I listen.”

“You know,” sweetly began Beatrice, “how much I feared, when you were in Charleston, that my uncle would make himself obnoxious to the colonial authorities, and endanger perhaps his life. You knew also, that he seemed resolved to bring about a union betwixt his son and myself. The necessity of obtaining my uncle’s sanction to my marriage under the penalty of forfeiting my fortune, weighed but lightly with me, for I knew his hostility to you to be unjust. Yet, as the representative of my deceased parent, I wished, if possible, to win Mr. Rochester’s sanction. His persevering determination to unite me to his son prevented all hope of this; and it was not long after our parting that I saw he would never consent to my becoming the bride of any one but his heir. Besides, he grew every day more openly hostile to the colonies. Unjust as I felt he was to me, I yet loved him as my mother’s brother, and I trembled for his life. But death suddenly interposed and calmed my fears, only however to awaken my grief. In the grave I buried my wrongs. I saw in him then only my protector in a strange land—my nearest living relative—the one with whom my sainted mother had spent her childhood.

“My uncle’s decease at once changed my fortunes. The only impediment to my enjoyment of my father’s estate was now removed, and I was free to bestow my hand on whomsoever I wished. My cousin renewed his offer, at a decent interval after his father’s death, but, need I say, I courteously yet firmly refused it. My longer stay in Charleston was now a matter of delicacy, for I had no relatives there except the family of Mr. Rochester, and they naturally viewed my decision with feelings more favorable to my cousin than to myself. Under these circumstances I availed myself of an opportunity that just then presented to sail for this country, where my relative the Baroness, with whom I had spent some years in childhood, resided. She had continued in correspondence with me ever since, and had urged me in every letter to visit her, even if I could not come and make my home with her. Little did I think that I should meet you under the circumstances in which I did.”

I have little more to add. Of the letters which I had written to Beatrice some miscarried, some were lost in captured ships, and a few reached her months after they had been penned. Her answers came with even more irregularity, for since the day we had parted in Charleston I had received but a solitary epistle from her. Now, however, every disappointment was amply redressed. She sat beside me with her hand in mine, and her soft eyes looking smilingly up into my face.

“But why,” said I at length, “was so much mystery preserved respecting your presence here? And why, after I had recognized you on my first awaking from delirium, did you order the nurse—for you only could have done so—to avoid all mention of your name, to conceal from me in whose house I was?”

“That was a scheme adopted as much from the orders of the physician as from any other motive. He feared that the least agitation would bring back your fever, and he enjoined secresy on the nurse, as the surest way to keep you composed.”

I would have said how much he had failed of success had I not been too full of happiness to condemn even a formal old physician.

The period of my convalescence is one written on my inmost heart in characters never to be obliterated. Oh! those were delicious hours. With Beatrice beside me I would sit gazing out on the sunny landscape beneath the window, or wander through the rich garden which surrounded the chateau. Or perhaps she would ply her needle while I would read to her. And then she would sing some of the old songs of her native land. And by and by the Baroness would come in, and with her ever sunny mind join in the conversation. Years, long eventful years, have passed since then, and God knows too many of those I loved are now in their graves, but the memory of that fortnight of happiness never fails to restore gladness to my heart even in its utmost sorrow.

But I have too long forgotten the little Fire Fly. It will be recollected that I had left Holland with the intention of joining my old commander at Paris, and I now seized the earliest opportunity of communicating my present situation to him by letter. A reply soon arrived by which I learned that, although the Fire Fly had been condemned, a brig had been chartered, and that he intended returning to America with his officers and most of his crew in her. They had been in the greatest anxiety respecting my fate, and had finally given me up for lost. The letter informed me that the day of sailing had been fixed, and that before I could return an answer the brig would have broke ground. My old commander ended by hoping that I might soon be able to rejoin him in the United States—although he added a gay postscript to say that he understood there was great probability of my choosing another mistress than glory.

Meanwhile I slowly recovered, and as every obstacle to my union with Beatrice was now removed, I did not hesitate to press the dear girl to name an early day for the realization of our nuptials. With a thousand blushes she referred me to the Baron and his lady, promising in the softest whisper, as if she feared to trust herself to speak, to abide by their decision. Need I say how speedily I availed myself of the permission, or how warmly I petitioned for as short a delay as possible?

At length the day was named, and though I was condemned to wait a whole month, in the company of Beatrice it glided away almost insensibly.

The morning at length dawned. It was a bright sunny day in early winter, and never shall I forget the cheery sound of the village bells ringing to announce my approaching nuptials. The air was keen and frosty; not a cloud was in the sky; the brown woods fairly glowed in the sunlight; and, in a word, had I chosen the day a more fitting one could not have been selected. My lady readers may expect a description of the dress of the bride, the carriage, the feast, and a thousand other things, but as I am no Sir Charles Grandison, I shall pass them over without comment. I will only say that Beatrice—my own Beatrice at last—never looked lovelier than when she descended to the room, where we were all awaiting her, on that marriage morn. The smile, the blush, the look of unreserved affection as her eye was raised timidly to my face and then dropped, I shall never forget. The Baron gave her away, the nuptial vow was said, and with a tumult of feelings I cannot describe, I pressed her to my bosom, a wife. A tear was on her cheek, but I kissed it holily away.

We remained in France for nearly a year after our union, and even after that prolonged stay, could hardly tear ourselves from the Baron and his lady. But the prospect of peace daily growing stronger we availed ourselves of the kind offer of the French monarch, and sailed for America in one of our allies’ frigates. I never, however, served again, for the war was in fact terminated, but thereafter I spent my life in the bosom of my family.

As the magician after having summoned up and marshalled before him a phantasmagoria of shadowy figures, at length perceives them fading from his sight, and, conscious that the spell is fast departing, lays down his rod, so we, approaching to the end of our task, find that the charm is beginning to lose its power, and that the beings we have conjured up are melting rapidly from our vision. Even now they seem to us only as a dream. Yet there is one glimpse more afforded to us before the magic curtain falls on them forever. It is that of a happy fireside and a smiling circle around it. Nor are the principals in that domestic scene wholly unfamiliar to us, for in the mild eyes and Madonna-like countenance of the one, and in the well-known face and embrowned features of the other, we recognize two of those who have figured as the chief personages in our story. Years have not impaired the beauty of Beatrice, for they have fallen as light on her as blossoms. But she is not now alone in her loveliness, for at her knee is one, like and yet unlike her, younger but not more beautiful, gayer but with scarcely less sweetness. Need we say of whom the group is composed?

And now, reader, let me drop my disguise and come before you in my own character as

Harry Danforth.





He woo’d me at the fountain,

  When the moon shone bright above,

And with the murmuring of the stream,

  He pledged his vows of love.

I bade him to my father hie,

  The pleasing tale to tell,

Then seek again the fountain sheen,

  Down in the sylvan dell.


He woo’d me in the bower,

  When the songsters fill’d the grove,

And with the dove’s soft tones he sigh’d

  His ardent tale of love.

I bade him seek my mother’s side,

  Her blessing first to win,

Then claim me for his chosen bride,

  The trelliced bower within.


He woo’d me at the festal,

  Where music reigned supreme,

And ’mid the revel wild and light

  He breath’d his chosen theme;

Yet all unbless’d I could not yield

  To man the heart’s rich mine,

Or falsely dash the holy light

  From filial duty’s shrine.


At length ’twas at the altar,

  ’Neath the organ’s pealing sound,

He sought again my trembling hand,

  While friends were smiling round;

No more I bade him others seek,

  Or waved him from my side:

With blushes mantling o’er my cheek,

  I knelt his happy bride.





“The very head and front of my offending

Hath this extent, no more.”


It was near midnight, on one of the beautiful summer evenings that brood over our Western Land, as some fair spirit hovers near to Paradise—and which can be realized only by those who have witnessed them—that one of the numerous strangers that throng the waters of “La Belle Rivière,” paused on its upward course before a small town which lay upon the banks of the aforesaid stream. When the boat had effected a landing, a few passengers, who either blind to the charms of Morpheus, or more allied to those of sundry packs of cards, that strewed the tables of the “social hall,” stepped upon shore to enjoy a moonlight view of the village. Among the number, was a group of three individuals, who, withdrawing from the rest, strolled carelessly along one of the principal streets, until they arrived at a cross, turning down whose short but secluded walk, several large buildings, evidently the residences of the most wealthy portion of the inhabitants, were situated. As they passed into this beautiful and peaceful retreat, a slight whispering, which presently broke forth into loud and angry words, disturbed the slumbering echoes of the night.

“I tell you, Layton, it is impossible! I will not—cannot do it!”

“Spoken like a fool, and a milksop, as you are; there is a way to stop your whining scruples, and curse me if I’ll not show it you.”

Quick as thought, the first speaker turned, and confronting his companion, exclaimed in a voice trembling with passion,—“Ay, there is a way to rouse the sleeping devil, even in my coward frame; but your threats fall regardless on my ear, while I have this good blade to protect me,”—and a long glittering Bowie-knife flashed beneath the soft rays of the harvest moon.

“By Heavens! I believe you both to be mad! Put up your knife, Bradley, and you, Layton, keep your infernal tongue within your teeth, unless you want to have this goodly town about our ears.” This soothing speech was spoken by the third, and hitherto silent companion; and while the altercation is progressing in lower tones, you, my gentle reader, shall have a Daguerreotype sketch of at least one of the party.

Bradley Spencer was the son of one of the most wealthy and aristocratic planters in Louisiana, but maternal affection he never knew, at least was not conscious of it, his mother having been snatched away in his childhood, by one of the fearful epidemics peculiar to that portion of the South. His father, a high-principled, noble-minded man, richly endowed with the warm blood and chivalrous feelings of the Southerner, having thus lost that which he considered as the better part of life, gave his undivided heart to this “sole scion of his stock,” and for his boy’s sake, no second lady darkened his halls, or cast a shadow over the golden sunlight of the young heir’s youthful existence. Thus fondly nurtured and cherished, every wish indulged to the utmost, the young Bradley grew apace; but, with all his paternal prejudice, the elder Spencer could not but note the wavering acts and vacillating mind of his darling boy, betokening, even in youth, the indecision of the man. With prophetic sorrow, he saw the consequences entailed on one, who, ever willing to follow, had no projects to offer, or will of his own, to oppose those of others. To eradicate this “crying evil,” the boy was sent, at the age of fifteen, to college. There, at least, argued the parent, he will learn independence of thought and expression. But how widely was he mistaken! An universal favorite among his class-mates, winning “golden opinions” from all, by his pliant disposition, and suavity of manners, and being allowed an unlimited sum for his passing expenditures, he bore the palm, and reigned any thing but a despot, over his more firmly-minded companions. It is not our intention to follow him through the mazes of college life, and we pass in silence over the four succeeding years, when at the age of nineteen, he was re-called, to receive the last blessing and injunctions of a dying father. Still true to his erroneous system of indulgence, Mr. Spencer left his property to the undivided control of his son, fondly imagining, that unlimited sway would overcome the imbecile principles of youth, and teach him that firmness of mind, and stability of purpose, so essential to manhood.

Youth is the season of luxury and enjoyment. Joy is evanescent; and grief, in the young bosom, is but the sudden o’ercasting of a summer sky; the cloud passes away, and the bow of promise is bent in the now smiling heavens. Thus was it with Bradley’s grief; a few short weeks in New Orleans did wonders; they initiated him in the mysteries and delights of the gaming table; they did more: they introduced him to the lowest haunts of vice and infamy, cloaked, indeed, for the decoy of this rich windfall; but so thin and flimsy was the protecting veil of decency and morality, that any other than Bradley Spencer’s eyes would have pierced the wily folds, and laid bare the monsters lurking behind them. Thus early possessed with the fatal passion of gaming, night after night saw the infatuated youth wound deeper and deeper in the toils of his betrayers. Mortgage after mortgage was given,—though not having a shadow of legality about them, they were accepted as eagerly by these human leeches, as the red gold for which they had sold their souls to perdition. The men with whom it was Spencer’s fate to become connected, were most of them from thirty to forty years of age; wily, unprincipled villains, well calculated to govern the simple youth, whom they remorselessly plundered of all at his present command, and accepted his honor as pledge for the rest, when he should become of age. Nor were the months tardy in their flight. At the end of two short years, his property was formally yielded by his passive guardian, and the day that gave him house and land, stock and slave, saw him resign it to the fiends who had possessed him with a love of all that was degrading to human nature, and taught him to scoff at all who were truly poor and virtuous.

It is the same Bradley Spencer, kind reader, whose brief career we have endeavored to trace, that we left in the little village, with his knavish companions, who, fresh from the hiding places of loathsome vice, were intent on drawing the young man into yet greater depths of wickedness. But they struck upon the wrong chord—Spencer had been culpable, most culpable, it is true, but he was to himself his worst foe; he had not willingly injured others, but had been the dupe, in every instance. Thus, when his brutal comrade expressed his determination to rob one of the habitations before them, and urged his assistance, his nobler spirit that had slept so long, was aroused, and he gave vent to his feelings in the manner we have described.

Brief was their consultation, and the arguments they held with him bade fair to be of no avail, until the elder and more polite villain, declared that Bradley could not now withdraw in honor, as they should suspect he meant to betray them; that they would not require his assistance, if he had any foolish prejudice to the contrary; but he should accompany them, as a mere looker-on. Without pausing for an answer, he passed his arm in that of the young man’s, and followed by Layton, they stepped into a small yard, at the gable end of one of the mansions. There, a window had been left open by the unsuspecting inmates, for the benefit of the air. Springing lightly in, he was followed by the others. Groping their way by the light of a dark lantern, which Layton pulled from the bosom of his coat—thus showing himself perfectly au fait in such proceedings—they ascended a staircase, and pausing in a long passage, bade Bradley be watchful, and give a low whistle upon the slightest alarm. The two less scrupulous ruffians then pursued their way down the passage. What Spencer’s reflections would have been, he had not leisure to ascertain, for, fancying he heard a low breathing, like one in deep slumber, he turned and discovered, by the light of the moon, which was streaming in a window near, a door, the which, on applying his hand, yielded to the impulse. Impelled by curiosity, or some more definable feeling, he stepped softly into the room. A night-lamp was burning dimly upon a table, near a small couch, where, in her bright and youthful loveliness, slept a fair girl. Scarce had the breath of sixteen summers passed over the clear brow that lay upturned in its marble whiteness, for

“Death’s twin-sister, sleep,”

weighed down the veined lids, the long dark lashes of which rested on the faintly-tinged cheek beneath. As Spencer turned from this unexpected vision, his glance fell on a small book, that lay open on the table. Some light pencil-mark, that pointed to an admired passage, drew his attention. As he bent to read, his brow crimsoned, and his frame trembled with emotion. It was a volume of the ill-fated Shelley’s Poems, open at “Adonais,” and as he read

“Remorse and self-contempt shall cling to thee,

Hot shame shall burn upon thy secret brow,”

a full sense of his degradation, and how he had “fallen from his high estate,” rushed upon his stricken heart, and feelings that had slumbered long, were now fully awakened by the thrilling lines of the mystical poet, and the strange scene before him. As he turned quickly to leave where his presence was a sacrilege, his attention was caught by a small miniature, one glance at which showed him the waking likeness of the sleeping beauty before him. Involuntarily catching it, he fled from the room, and giving the signal agreed upon, to his companions, the next moment saw them wending their way to the boat, which, having discharged the freight that detained her, was soon flying upon her onward course.

Three years had passed away, since Bradley Spencer, leagued with common thieves, accompanied them on their nefarious night expedition, in the little village already mentioned. Bradley Spencer, then the companion of gamblers and low debauchees, was now Henry Murray, the trusted head clerk of one of the most wealthy mercantile houses in New York. From the ever memorable night of the robbery, the wretched young man forsook his unworthy associates. “Remorse and self-contempt” did indeed cling to him, and despair and shame at first conquered his remaining energy. But the spirit was present with him; it only needed to be roused into action. He had parted with his last dollar, when he arrived in New York, and the change of name was decided on to soothe the pride that came to his aid after so long a time. Deprivations only rendered him stronger in his virtuous purposes, thus proving at once the false system of indulgence adopted by his parent.

Clement Archer, Esq., was a stern, unbending, business man. Strictly moral in his walk before men, he required all around him to show the same regard for the welfare of society. With a heart filled with benevolence, though veiled with an air of sternness, he received Bradley in his counting-house, as Henry Murray, knowing it to be a fictitious name, for Spencer scorned to impose on his benefactor in this respect, and though Bradley’s past history was a sealed book which his employer never attempted to pry into, he could not help fancying some misdemeanor had driven the young man from his home and friends. He contented himself, therefore, by placing a strict watch upon his conduct, but after months had passed away, indeed, years, and saw Henry the same attentive, hard-laboring clerk he was at first, his patron took pleasure in showing him favor, and in placing the most unlimited confidence in him. Thus had the three years glided by. That Henry was comparatively happy, we admit, but many an agonizing night had passed, ere he acquired even this slight tranquility, and shall we confess it, kind reader? the stolen miniature, the witness of his involuntary crime, was cherished as a precious relic, for instead of serving to remind him of his errors, and fill him with shame, it was regarded as a mute angel, that had snatched him from ignominy and vice. And who could blame him for loving to look upon that fair countenance, with its deep and eloquent eyes forever speaking of the intellectual worth within? It was not so much the beautiful form of the features, that arrested the gaze, as the whole-soul expression that shone around them. Long would the infatuated youth gaze on the memento of his crime, but there was little penitence in his looks, and not one thought of sorrow for the grief the loss of it must have given the fair original, for enclosed in the back was a braid of dark hair, slightly silvered with grey, and beneath was engraved, “from a fond mother to her daughter, on her sixteenth birthday.”

Bradley had carefully avoided every print which he thought would be likely to contain the intelligence of the robbery, and as no communication passed between himself and the perpetrators on this subject, he was consequently ignorant of the amount abstracted, or of the names of the sufferers.

It was a cold winter morning, when Mr. Archer suddenly entered his counting-house and ordered it to be immediately closed. On Henry’s (for so must we call him) looking up, he perceived his friend’s countenance was clothed with grief, and the fresh crape upon his hat told that death had been busy with his house. Bidding Henry, who was domesticated in his family, accompany him home, he informed him he had just received letters announcing the death of an only and well-beloved brother, and added, he was hourly expecting the arrival of an orphan niece, now committed to his charge. His companion asked no questions, for fear of stirring the fountain of grief afresh. On entering the drawing-room at night, he was presented to Miss Archer, but what was his surprise and consternation on lifting his eyes to her face, to see the fair sleeper before him! The face was paler than the miniature’s, and wore a more chastened and somewhat older expression, for sorrow had indeed visited her. Both parents had slept their last sleep, since she slumbered so unconsciously in his presence. Stammering forth some faint apologies, Bradley left the room and the house, and who may say what wild visions thronged his restless couch that night!

Months glided away, and Mr. Archer beheld, with some slight misgivings, the growing intimacy between his niece and Henry. Not but that he would willingly have given her to his protégé, could the cloudy mystery which hung over the young man have been cleared to his satisfaction. But during the three years Henry had been with him, he had never received letter or communication, of any kind, from friend or foe. For a young man to stand so utterly alone, “looked strange,” to say the least of it.

Entering the room one evening, where Miss Archer and Henry were sitting, her uncle, in a light and laughing tone, said,

“How is this, Emily? Young Dalton has been making serious complaints concerning the obduracy of heart of an ungrateful niece of mine. What has he done to provoke her displeasure? ‘and why won’t she wed?’ ”

“Nay, dear uncle, you know my heart and hand have long been pledged to the restorer of my miniature.”

“And so my Emily stands pledged to a nameless robber! Would she like it to reach his ear through the walls of a prison?”

“Most sincerely do I hope he is free, for he must be a gentle ruffian, and having stolen naught but my picture, I can’t find it in my heart to be very angry; the compliment, dear uncle, only think of the compliment!”

“Ay, but the compliment paid to your father was a little more costly, was it not?”

“With that I have nothing to do,” replied Emily, blushing; “but I would willingly forgive the robber, would he restore my mother’s gift,” and the tears sprang to her eyes, at the mention of her loss. Mr. Archer saw her emotion, and said no more. But Bradley, how did he hear the secret? How often was he tempted, as he heard the beautiful and enthusiastic girl plead for him so eloquently, and regret the loss of what was so dear to her, to throw himself on her mercy and confess all, but happily he restrained his emotion, and soon after left the apartment.

“Now, gentlemen, while you are discussing your hot rolls and coffee, I will read this delightful retailer of news and scandal,” exclaimed Miss Archer, on seating herself at the breakfast table, the morning succeeding the conversation already detailed. “Here is ‘latest foreign news,’ ‘home affairs,’ ‘politics’ and ‘poetry;’ which will you have? Ah! let me see; here is a mysterious affair:

‘The Governor of Louisiana offers five hundred dollars reward to any person or persons, who will intimate any knowledge of the residence of one Bradley Spencer, or satisfactorily prove that the said Bradley is living. He having left New Orleans about three years since, in company with a party of gamblers, and not having since been heard of, it is feared by his friends that he has fallen a victim to the machinations of the said men, as through a confession lately made by one of the party, who was stabbed in an affray, Spencer will be restored his property, of which he was most nefariously deprived. Should this meet his eye, he is earnestly requested to return and take possession of the same.’ ”

As Emily read this paragraph in a clear, distinct voice, Mr. Archer fastened his eye on the young man who sat at his table. No power on earth could have controlled Bradley’s emotions, and after the reader paused, Mr. Archer arose, and taking his hand, said,

“Be candid, Henry; whatever faults you have been guilty of, these last three years have expiated——”

“You know not the half of my rash acts,” passionately interrupted the young man; “you would both loathe and spurn me, were I to tell all; but I will perform one just act. Miss Archer,” taking the miniature from his bosom, “here is the deity that has preserved me from sin, and before you stands the—robber!”

Both Mr. Archer and Emily were mute with surprise and amazement at this confession; but when they eagerly questioned him, and learned what he had to offer in extenuation, it is needless to say he was freely forgiven.

It is sufficient to add that Bradley recovered the major portion of his property, and as he gazes upon the generous and forgiving girl, who is now his bride, he invokes blessings on the being who, by the interposition of a Divine Providence, was the means of preserving him from the “gambler’s fate.”


“Oh! thou, that once was wedded to the sea—

 Queen of the Adriatic—where are thy glories now?”


Oh Death! thy palaces are here,

  Thy footsteps echo round,

And chills the heart with nameless fear

  At that unearthly sound—

And Venice, at thy outer gate,

Sits widowed, bowed and desolate,

  A queen, yet all discrowned,

With ashes heaped upon her head—

A mother wailing for her dead!


It was not thus in ages past

  Oh! mistress of the sea,

When to the wind thy banner cast

  Would rally forth the free—

It was not thus when ev’ry shore

From farthest Ind to Scylla bore

  Its richest gifts for thee—

Nor thus when at Lepanti fell

The fiery hordes of Ishmaël.


Thou saw’st proconsuls on the Rhone,

  The Gaul beyond the Rhine,

The Cæsar on his eastern throne,

  The English Alfred’s line—

Thou saw’st the first and last crusade

And Florence in her shackles laid,

  And Rome all drunk with wine,

And haughty Stamboul’s overthrow

Before the blind old Dandolo.


Thou wast when Moslems ravaged Spain,

  Thou saw’st Grenada fall,—

Thou wast when France received the Dane,

  When murder reigned in Gaul,—

Thou wast before the Turk was known,

When Huns were on the Roman throne,

  And England yet in thrall,—

And still, as nations rose and died,

Thy Titan front the world defied!


But now thou art all desolate,

  The very mock of fame,

With nothing save thy fallen state,

  Thy ruins, and—a name.

And silent are thy songs of mirth,

Thy form is prostrate on the earth,

  Thy brow is white with shame—

Oh God! a harlot in her woe!

Did ever grandeur fall so low?


And waving from thy palace walls

  The long grass rankly grows—

Lamenting, through its dull canals,

  The sluggish water flows—

And ’neath the Lion of St. Mark—

That scourge of vanished empires—hark!

  The tramp of Austrian foes.

How long, Oh! Venice, o’er thy grave

Shall jeer the coward and the slave?


I stand beside the Lion’s mouth

  And gaze across the sea,

The breeze is wafting from the south

  No argosies to thee!

Thy hundred seers, thy fearful TEN.

Are not, and shall not be again

  While God is for the free!

Yet they a deathless name shall find,

A scorn, a hissing to mankind!


Go! let her moulder where she fell—

  We only weep the brave—

Her destiny befits her well,

  A traitor, then a slave,—

Betraying all, herself betrayed,

And smote by parricidal blade,

  She sank into her grave—

Shall nations shed a tear for her

Whose life was Freedom’s sepulchre?







It was a day of Truce in the fair Troad!—the festival of the great Doric and Ionian God, sacred to either nation—it was a day of general peace, of general rejoicing! The ninth year of the war was far advanced toward its termination. Hector, the mighty prop of Troy, had fallen; yet did the Grecian host still occupy their guarded camp by the dark waters of the Hellespont; nor had the indomitable valor of the Goddess-born prevailed to level with the dust the towers of Troy divine. For fresh allies had buckled on their armor for the defence of Priam—Memnon, son of the morning, like his great rival half immortal, with his dark Coptic hosts, had rushed from the far banks of the giant Nile—ill-fated prince and hero!—rushed, but to swell the triumphs of the invincible Thessalian, to water with his life-blood the flowery pastures of the land he vainly hoped to save. Penthesilea, virgin queen of the man-defying virgins—fairest of earth’s fair daughters—had left her boundless plains beside the cold Thermodon—had called her quivered heroines from warring with the mountain pard, and chasing the huge urus of the plain, to launch the unerring shaft and ply the two-edged axe against the sevenfold shield of Salamis, against the Pelian spear. Alas! not her did her unrivalled horsemanship, in which she set her trust—in which she might have coped successfully with the world-famed Bellerophontes—not her did her skill with the feathered reed avail, against the speed of him who left the winds behind in his career, whose might was more than human. She too lay prone before him—the dazzling charms of her voluptuous bosom revealed to the broad sunshine, as he tore off the jewelled cincture—tore off the scaly breastplate—the hyacinthine tresses, soiled in the gory dust—tresses wherewith she might have veiled her form even to the ankles, so copious was their flow! Oh she was beautiful in death—and avenged by her beauty!—For the fierce conqueror wept and bore her to his own pavilion, and hung enamored for long days over those fatal charms; and pressed the cold form to his fiery heart, and kissed with fervid lips the cold and senseless eyelids, the mouth that answered not to his unnatural rapture. The fate of Troy, as on the bravest of her sons, had fallen on the best of her allies—the fiat of the destinies had long ago gone forth—the fiat which the dwellers of Olympus, the revellers on Nectar and Ambrosia,—which Jove himself, although he were reluctant, must obey! The ancestral curse was on the walls of Ilium, and all who should defend them. They fell there one by one, valiant, sometimes victorious—Sarpedon, Cyenus fell—Memnon, Penthesilea! Yet falling they deferred the ruin which they might not avert—so Troy still stood, although her mightiest were down—and when the brazen cymbals of Cybele summoned her sons to battle, they still rushed forth in throngs, determined to the last and unsubdued; and with Deiphobus to lead—worthy successor of their mightier hero—they battled it still bravely on the plain, between the city and the sea.

But now it was all harmony and peace!—the spears were pitched into the yellow sand beside the Grecian galleys, or hung, each on its owner’s wall, within the gates of Ilium. The plain, the whole fair plain, was crowded now—more densely crowded than it had ever showed, when in the deadliest fight the kindred nations mingled—for now not warriors only, but the whole population of the camp, the country and the town, traversed its grassy surface in gay and gorgeous companies. Gray headed men were there, counsellors and contemporaries of old Priam, eager to look upon the field whereon such exploits had been done—matrons come out to weep above the green graves of their sons and spouses, graves which till then they ne’er had visited, nor decked with votive garlands, nor watered with a tear—maidens in all the frolic mirth of their blythe careless youth, panting to gather flowrets from the green banks of Simois and Xanthus, Phrygian streams, to chase the gaudy butterfly, to listen to the carol of the bird—to drink in with enchanted ears the sylvan harmonies from which they had so long been shut within the crowded walls of the beleaguered city.

It was a wondrous spectacle—Yea! beautiful exceedingly! Men in those days were indeed images of the immortal—women, types of ideal loveliness!—many a form was there of youthful warriors, such as were models unto him who wrought from the inanimate rock of Paros, that breathing, deathless god, the slayer of the Python—many a girlish shape such as we worship in the poet’s dream, Psyche, or Hebe, or Europa—many a full blown figure, ripe in the perfect luxury of womanhood, such as enchants the eyes, intoxicates the hearts, enthrals the souls, of all who look upon the Medicean Venus. Then the rich oriental garbs—the half transparent robes of gauze-like Byssus, revealing all the symmetry, and half the delicate hues, of the rich charms they seemed to veil—the jewelled zones and mitres, the golden network, scarce restraining the downward sweep of the redundant ringlets!—the priests in stoles of purest snow, sandalled and crowned with gold!—the sacrificers in their garbs succinct—the spotless, flower-crowned victims!—the music—and the odors!—and the song! The wild exulting bursts of the mad Bacchic Dithyramb!—the statelier and more solemn chant, warbled by hundred tongues of boys and stainless virgins, in honor of the Pure, Immaculate God—the silver-bowed—the light-producer—the golden-haired, and yellow-sworded—the healer—the averter—the avenger!—son of Latona and of Jove—Delian and Thymbrœan King!—the blast of the shrill trumpets, blent with the deep, deep roll of the Corybantian drum, loud as the deafening roar of subterranean thunder, and the sharp clashing of the Cretan cymbal, and the shrill rattle of the systrum! the chariots and the coursers of the god!—chariots of polished brass, reflecting every beam of the broad Asiatic sun till they seemed cars of living flame—coursers of symmetry unmatched, snow-white, with full spirit-flashing eyes, and nostrils wide distended, trampling the flowery sod as if they were proud of their golden trappings, and conscious of the God their owner!

Far in a haunted grove, beneath the towering heights of Ida, where never yet, during the whole nine years of deadly strife, had the red hand of war intruded—far in a haunted grove, whither no beam of the broad day-god pierces even from his meridian height—so densely is it set with the eternal verdure of the laurel, high over-canopied by green immortal palm—so closely do the amorous vines embrace both palm and laurel weaving a vault of solid everlasting greenery—where the perpetual chant of the nightingale is mingled only with the faint sigh of the breeze that plays forever among the emerald alleys, and the sweet tinkling voice of the Thymbrœan rill, cold from its icy cradle on the cloud-curtained hill of Jove—unvisited by feet of profane visitor, stands the secluded shrine of the Pure God—a circular vault of whitest Parian marble, reared on twelve Doric shafts, their pedestals and bases of bright virgin gold. Beneath the centre of the dome is placed a circular altar of the same chaste materials, wrought with the most superb reliefs, descriptive of the birth, the exploits, and the histories of the great Deity—and in a niche immediately behind it—the Deity himself—the naked limbs—all grace and youthful beauty—the swell of the elastic muscles, the life-like, almost breathing protrusion of the expanded chest—the swan-like curvature of the proud neck, the scornful curl of the almost girlish lips, the wide indignant nostril, the corded veins of the broad forehead from which the clustered locks stream back, waved as it were by some spiritual breath prophetic, the lightning glance of the triumphant eye shot from beneath the brows half bended in a frown, proclaimed the Python killer—the Boy-god now in the flush of his first triumph!— The fierceness kindled by the perilous strife was not yet faded from the eye—yet he smiles, scornfully smiles, at the very ease with which he has prevailed over his dragon foe!

A dim religious twilight reigned through that solemn shrine; it would have been a solemn darkness, but for the pencils of soft emerald-colored light, which streamed down here and there full of bright wandering motes, among the tangled foliage—and for the pale transparent glow soaring up from the marble altar, whereon fed by the richest spices and the most generous wine, the sacred flame played to and fro, lambent and imitative of the lights that stud the empyrean.

Splendid, however, as was the picture offered by the interior of the shrine, decked with all those appliances that operate most strongly on the mind, or at least on the imaginative portion of the mind of man—pervading all the senses with a calm, sweet, luxurious languor—filling the soul with strange voluptuous fantasies—half poetry, half superstition; yet infinitely were all the splendors, all the elegance of the spot surpassed by the transcendant majesty of those who stood around the altar.

On the right hand and left, next to the statue of Apollo, ministered the chief pontiffs of that solemn and mysterious deed; they were both old, even beyond the usual old age of mortals, yet perfectly erect and stately in their forms—their long locks were indeed of perfect silvery whiteness, their wide expanded foreheads wrinkled with many a line and furrow, their lips pale as ashes, their whole complexion bloodless!—yet did their eyes beam out from the deep cavernous recesses of their sockets with a wild and spirited brilliance that savored not a little of the unearthly light of inspiration; and their whole air and bearing went far to denote that their long years had nought diminished the pervading powers of the soul, though they had wasted not a little the mere mortal clay; but rather had given freer scope to the far-darting mind, in limiting the operations of the coarser matter.

Their robes were white immaculate linen, and they wore chaplets of the green bay tree on their heads, and carried sceptres in their hands of gold, enwreathed with sprays of laurels, and bound with woollen fillets. All motionless they stood, and silent; stirring not hand, nor foot, nor even so much as winking an eyelid, save when they poured the fat spiced wine from golden pateræ upon the altar, to feed the sacred flame. Behind them were assembled the ministers, the choristers, and sacrifices of the temple, waking at times wild harmonies from many a golden lyre, many a silver flute; while, to fill up the pauses between the bursts of instrumental music, soft symphonies arose from virgin lips invisible, singing, “all glory to unshorn Apollo, and her, the sister of his soul, the unstained goddess of the groves—queen of the silver bow!”

A little way advanced by the right hand of the altar, bowed down by many years and many sorrows, yet still serene, and dignified, and king-like—for he was yet a king!—aye, and in after days, when his Troy sunk in ashes never to rise again, a king he died, right kingly—leaning on his ivory staff stood the great offspring of Laomedon—good, hapless Priam. His limbs, which had been framed in the gigantic mould of the old heroic ages, still larger than the degenerate thews of his descendants, were all relaxed and nerveless; and the great veins and sinews, which stood out upon his shrivelled hands like a network of cordage, betokened the vast strength which once must have dwelt in that large frame, so sinewless and feeble now—so impotent and helpless. His golden crown was on his lofty brow, serene and venerable in its polished baldness—a flowing mantle of rich regal purple, lined with white lambskins, flowed down from his shoulders and swept the marble pavement with its rich broidered edge and bullion fringes—a tunic of white linen, gathered about his waist by a broad belt of golden arabesques, sandals of purple leather clasped and embossed with gold, completed his attire—while, ministers of regal state, the god-like heralds stood behind him, Jalthybius, and Eurybates the sage—messengers of high kings, interpreters of gods, clad in their mystic garments, and bearing high, advanced their sacred rods, the emblems of their office—close around these were gathered the councillors and sages of the city, Antenor, and Ucalegon, and wise Anchises—reverend and grave seniors, who, having long laid by the falchion, now governed by their proved experience the realm which they had formerly protected by their enthusiastic valor—near these a dozen slaves—slaves of the royal palace, waited with offerings for the altar; two snow-white lambs, two vases of rich wine, and frankincense, and myrrh, aloes and cassia—garments of needle-work, and garlands of rich flowers, and crowns and sceptres of wrought gold.

Upon the other hand, facing her aged father, was one whom but to look upon, would have excited the coldest, dullest heart to passionate, enamored phrenzy—the young, the beautiful Polyxena, the destined bride of the goddess-born—the bravest of the brave, the noblest of the noble, victor of victors, unsurpassed of men, magnificent Achilles. He had beheld her first, before her gallant brother fell, by his hand, beside the Scæan gates, while with her aged mother, and mad Cassandra and her train, she was engaged in mystic rites upon the plain—beheld and loved upon the instant! A few days had elapsed—days of fierce strife between his patriotism and his passion—and then he had demanded of his good, gallant enemy, pledge of conciliation and of peace, the hand of his sweet sister. Oh! demand frantically rejected; oh! pledge of peace madly refused, and fatally! For fate it was, the damning fate of Troy, that steeled the heart of Hector!

Achilles had all-honorably proposed peace; Hector demanded treason—treason to Greece and the confederates, as the sole price of young Polyxena! The reply of the indignant Greek was renewed war—and Hector fell, and Troy quailed to its base and tottered! Then Memnon buckled on his armor for Troy, and he too fell! Penthesilea, and she likewise!—and now, all her chief captains down, all her allies retired, Troy was again in her extremity, and again—peaceable and courteous as he was fierce and valiant in the field—Achilles offered terms, peace for Polyxena. And now his terms were heard;—for they were old heads now to whom he made his proffers—heard and accepted. And here, in the Thymbrœan shrine, they met to plight their faith upon the treaties—to solemnize the marriage of Achilles.

She was indeed most exquisite in her young loveliness; words cannot tell her loveliness. Scarce sixteen years of age, yet a mature and perfect woman; mature in the voluptuous development of her unrivalled person; mature in the development of her luxurious oriental nature. Tall, slender, and erect as the graceful palm of her native plains, her figure was yet admirably moulded; her ample sloping shoulders; her full glowing bust, tapering downward to a waist scarcely a span in circuit, and thence the sweeping swell of her full lower limbs down to the sylph-like ankle and small, delicate foot, that peered out from beneath the golden fringes of her nuptial robe, constituted, in fact, the very perfection of ideal female symmetry. Her snow-white, swan-like neck languidly drooping with a graceful curve, like a white lily’s stalk when the sweet chalice is surcharged with summer dew, concealed, but could not hide the beauty of her head and features; the clean and classic outlines of the smooth brow, from which the auburn hair, parted in two broad, massive braids, waved off behind the small white ears, and there was clustered in a full bunch of ringlets, was relieved by the well marked arches of her dark eye-brows—the eyes themselves could not be seen, for modestly were they cast down upon the pavement; though now and then a stolen glance toward her lover would flash out from beneath the long, long jetty lashes, like the gleam of a war-sword leaping from its scabbard, or the lightning from the gloom of the thunder cloud. Her cheeks were pale as the snow on Ida—save when a rich carnation flush, emblem of overmastering passion, would suffuse brow, and cheeks, and neck, and bosom—aye, and the moulded curves of those smooth ivory shoulders, with a transparent transitory glow as rich, and, oh! as evanescent as the bright hues of sunset touching the top of some heaven-kissing hill! A wreath of orange flowers, blended with myrtle—sacred plant of Venus,—even then the bridal wreath—encompassed the fair temples, and shone out resplendently from the dark tresses of the auburn hair. The nuptial veil—a tissue as it were, of woven air, gemmed with bright golden stars—fell off in graceful waves, and floated down her back till it spread out in a long train upon the marble floor; her robe of the like gauzy tissue, fastened on either shoulder by a large stud of brilliants, covered, but veiled not the beauties of her voluptuous bosom; below her bust, plaited in massy folds, it was confined by the virgin zone, and thence flowed down five several tunics, each shorter than that next below it, each fringed with golden tassels, and looped with golden cords, down to her golden sandals. Behind her stood Cassandra, clad in one plain, close-fitting stole of linen, with her dark locks dishevelled, streaming in strange disorder about her rich, majestic person; a laurel wreath set carefully upon her head, and a large branch of the same tree in her right hand. Her full dark eye, that gleamed so often with the intolerable lustre of prophetic phrenzy, was now suffused with moisture, languid, abstracted, and even sad; but no such wo-begone expression sat on the brows or on the laughing lips of the attendant maidens, who clustered, a bright bevy of girlish forms and lovely nymph-like faces behind the beauteous bride.

Just before the altar, facing the image of the god, scarce less sublimely beautiful than that unrivalled marble, alone, and unadorned, and unattended, behold the glorious bridegroom! Language may not describe the splendor, the almost intolerable glory of his soul-fraught, enthusiastic eye—the ardor of the warrior; the inspiration of the host, the œstrum of the prophet when he is fullest of his god, were all combined in that spirit-flashing feature. You saw that eye, and you saw all—the chiselled outlines of the nose, the generous expansive nostril, the proud voluptuous lip, were all unseen, all lost, all swallowed up in the pervading glory of that immortal eye. His form was such as must have been the form of him who could outstrip the speed of the most fiery coursers; bounding along all armed, in his full panoply of gold, beside the four horse chariot; although the mettled chargers strained every nerve to conquer—although Eumelus drove them. His garb was simple even to plainness; a short and narrow tunic of bright crimson cloth, leaving his mighty limbs exposed in their own glorious beauty, was belted round his waist by a small cord of gold—his head was covered only by its long silky tresses; sandals of gold were on his feet; he wore no weapons, but a long oaken sceptre studded with knobs of gold, supported his right hand.

Such was the glorious group which tenanted the shrine of the Thymbrœan god on that auspicious day—such was the ceremonial of Achilles’ marriage! Yet was it passing strange that not one of the Grecian chiefs stood by the bravest of their nation, his comrade and his friend on that sublime occasion; it was yet stranger that not one of all her noble brethren, not one of Priam’s fifty sons stood by their lovely sister. Yet such had been the will of Priam; and with the noble confidence—the proud contempt, which were a portion of his nature—confidence in his own dauntless and unrivalled valor, contempt of any mortal peril, Achilles had acceded to the terms.

And now the rites were finished—the sacrifice complete—the bridal chorus chanted! The pontiffs slew two lambs; one for the royal prince—one for the princely bridegroom—and filled two cups of wine, and they, the sire and son, touched the dead lambs and raised the wine-cups, and grasped each other’s hand in amity, and swore eternal peace, eternal amity, and love! They stretched their right hands to the god, tasted the wine, and poured the red libations over the holy altar—praying aloud—solemn and awful prayer—“that thus his blood should flow upon the earth—his own life-blood, his wife’s, his child’s, and that of all his race—who should the first transgress that solemn vow and treaty.”

They swore, and it was ended! The hero turned to clasp his blooming bride—— Whence—what—was that keen twang—keen, shrill, and piercing, which broke the hush of feeling, that followed on that awful oath sworn between noble foes, now foes no longer? Why does Achilles start with a convulsive shudder! He reels, he staggers, he falls head-long—and see the arrow—fell and accursed deed—buried up to the very feather in the right heel of the prostrate hero! There was a moment’s pause—one moment’s!—and then, with the bow in his left hand, and the broad falchion gleaming in his right, forth from among the priests—forth from the inmost shrine—forth leaped the traitor Paris! Deiphobus, the warrior—Helenus, the priest, followed!—all armed from head to foot, all with their weapons bare and ready! There was one frantic cry—the shriek of the heart-broken bride—and then no other sound except the clash of the weapons, driven sheer through the body of the hero, against the desecrated pavement.

“Thus Hector is avenged—thus is Troy freed”—shouted the slaughterers of the mighty Greek; but if the shade of Hector was so appeased by a base vengeance, yet so was Troy not freed! For not long afterward, the flames rolled over it, that even its ruins perished, its site was lost forever!—and if Polyxena was then snatched from her spouse, yet, when in after days her living form was immolated on his tomb—their manes were united, never to part again, in the Elysian fields—the Islands of the Blessed.


When all a woman’s eye is fire,

  And ev’ry look the passions move,

The voice as sweet as Nature’s lyre—

  What can a poor man do but love?

When all his light is in one eye,

  And all his heaven within one breast—

Oh! blame him not, if he doth sigh

  For light like this to make him blest!


Then blame him not—oh! blame him not,

  For madness only is his crime,—

Oh! never will you be forgot,

  While all your image is on time.

A heart like thine—an eye so bright,

  Will ever all the passions move—

When gazing on those eyes of light,

  What can a poor man do but love?


                             J. T.



Signature of Edgar A. Poe

[In this, our second “Chapter on Autography,” we conclude the article and the year together. When we say that so complete a collection has never been published before, we assert only that which is obvious; and we are pleased to see that our exertions upon this head have been well received. As we claim only the sorry merit of the compiler, we shall be permitted to say that no Magazine paper has ever excited greater interest than the one now concluded. To all readers it has seemed to be welcome—but especially so to those who themselves dabble in the waters of Helicon:—to those and their innumerable friends. The diligence required in getting together these autographs has been a matter of no little moment, and the expense of the whole undertaking will be at once comprehended; but we intend the article merely as an earnest of what we shall do next year. Our aim shall be to furnish our friends with variety, originality, and piquancy, without any regard to labor or to cost.]

Signature of F W Thomas

F. W. Thomas, who began his literary career, at the early age of seventeen, by a poetical lampoon upon certain Baltimore fops, has since more particularly distinguished himself as a novelist. His “Clinton Bradshawe” is perhaps better known than any of his later fictions. It is remarkable for a frank, unscrupulous portraiture of men and things, in high life and low, and by unusual discrimination and observation in respect to character. Since its publication he has produced “East and West” and “Howard Pinckney,” neither of which seem to have been so popular as his first essay; although both have merit.

“East and West,” published in 1836, was an attempt to portray the every-day events occurring to a fallen family emigrating from the East to the West. In it, as in “Clinton Bradshawe,” most of the characters are drawn from life. “Howard Pinckney” was published in 1840.

Mr. Thomas was, at one period, the editor of the Cincinnati “Commercial Advertiser.” He is also well known as a public lecturer on a variety of topics. His conversational powers are very great. As a poet, he has also distinguished himself. His “Emigrant” will be read with pleasure by every person of taste.

His MS. is more like that of Mr. Benjamin than that of any other literary person of our acquaintance. It has even more than the occasional nervousness of Mr. B.’s, and, as in the case of the editor of the “New World,” indicates the passionate sensibility of the man.

Signature of T. G. Spear

Thomas G. Spear is the author of various poetical pieces which have appeared from time to time in our Magazines and other periodicals. His productions have been much admired, and are distinguished for pathos, and grace. His MS. is well shown in the signature. It is too clerky for our taste.

Signature of R Morris

Mr. Morris ranks, we believe, as the first of our Philadelphia poets, since the death of Willis Gaylord Clark. His compositions, like those of his late lamented friend, are characterised by sweetness rather than strength of versification, and by tenderness and delicacy rather than by vigor or originality of thought. A late notice of him in the “Boston Notion,” from the pen of Rufus W. Griswold, did his high qualities no more than justice. As a prose writer, he is chiefly known by his editorial contributions to the Philadelphia “Inquirer,” and by occasional essays for the Magazines.

His chirography is usually very illegible, although at times sufficiently distinct. It has no marked characteristics, and like that of almost every editor in the country, has been so modified by the circumstances of his position, as to afford no certain indication of the mental features.

Signature of E. Holden

Ezra Holden has written much, not only for his paper, “The Saturday Courier,” but for our periodicals generally, and stands high in the public estimation, as a sound thinker, and still more particularly as a fearless expresser of his thoughts.

His MS. (which we are constrained to say is a shockingly bad one, and whose general features may be seen in his signature,) indicates the frank and naïve manner of his literary style—a style which not unfrequently flies off into whimsicalities.

Signature of Benjn Matthias

Mr. Matthias is principally known by his editorial conduct of the “Saturday Chronicle” of Philadelphia, to which he has furnished much entertaining and instructive matter. His MS. would be generally termed a fine one, but it affords little indication of mental character.

Signature of Geo R Graham

Mr. Graham is known to the literary world as the editor and proprietor of “Graham’s Magazine,” the most popular periodical in America, and also of the “Saturday Evening Post,” of Philadelphia. For both of these journals he has written much and well.

His MS. generally, is very bad, or at least very illegible. At times it is sufficiently distinct, and has force and picturesqueness, speaking plainly of the energy which particularly distinguishes him as a man. The signature above is more scratchy than usual.

Signature of W. L Stone

Colonel Stone, the editor of the New York “Commercial Advertiser,” is remarkable for the great difference which exists between the apparent public opinion respecting his abilities, and the real estimation in which he is privately held. Through his paper, and a bustling activity always prone to thrust itself forward, he has attained an unusual degree of influence in New York, and, not only this, but what appears to be a reputation for talent. But this talent we do not remember ever to have heard assigned him by any honest man’s private opinion. We place him among our literati, because he has published certain books. Perhaps the best of these are his “Life of Brandt,” and “Life and Times of Red Jacket.” Of the rest, his story called “Ups and Downs,” his defence of Animal Magnetism, and his pamphlets concerning Maria Monk, are scarcely the most absurd. His MS. is heavy and sprawling, resembling his mental character in a species of utter unmeaningness, which lies, like the nightmare, upon his autograph.

Signature of Jared Sparks

The labors of Mr. Sparks, Professor of History at Harvard, are well known and justly appreciated. His MS. has an unusually odd appearance. The characters are large, round, black, irregular, and perpendicular—the signature, as above, being an excellent specimen of his chirography in general. In all his letters now before us, the lines are as close together as possible, giving the idea of irretrievable confusion; still none of them are illegible upon close inspection. We can form no guess in regard to any mental peculiarities from Mr. Sparks’ MS., which has been no doubt modified by the hurrying and intricate nature of his researches. We might imagine such epistles as these to have been written in extreme haste by a man exceedingly busy among great piles of books and papers, huddled up around him like the chaotic tomes of Magliabechi. The paper used in all our epistles is uncommonly fine.

Signature of H. S. Legare

The name of H. S. Legare is written without an accent on the final e, yet is pronounced, as if this letter were accented,—Legray. He contributed many articles of high merit to the “Southern Review,” and has a wide reputation for scholarship and talent. His MS. resembles that of Mr. Palfrey, of the North American Review, and their mental features appear to us nearly identical. What we have said in regard to the chirography of Mr. Palfrey will apply with equal force to that of the present Secretary.

Signature of R W Griswold

Mr. Griswold has written much, but chiefly in the editorial way, whether for the papers, or in books. He is a gentleman of fine taste and sound judgment. His knowledge of American literature, in all its details, is not exceeded by that of any man among us. He is not only a polished prose writer, but a poet of no ordinary power; although, as yet, he has not put himself much in the way of the public admiration.

His MS. is by no means a good one. It appears unformed, and vacillates in a singular manner; so that nothing can be predicated from it, except a certain unsteadiness of purpose.

Signature of George Lunt

Mr. George Lunt, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, is known as a poet of much vigor of style and massiveness of thought. He delights in the grand, rather than in the beautiful, and is not unfrequently turgid, but never feeble. The traits here described, impress themselves with remarkable distinctness upon his chirography, of which the signature gives a perfect idea.

Signature of Jos R Chandler

Mr. Chandler’s reputation as the editor of one of the best daily papers in the country, and as one of our finest belles lettres scholars, is deservedly high. He is well known through his numerous addresses, essays, miscellaneous sketches, and prose tales. Some of these latter evince imaginative powers of a superior order.

His MS. is not fairly shown in his signature, the latter being much more open and bold than his general chirography. His hand-writing must be included in the editorial category—it seems to have been ruined by habitual hurry.

Signature of Fitzgerald Tasistro

Count L. Fitzgerald Tasistro has distinguished himself by many contributions to the periodical literature of the day, and by his editorial conduct of the “Expositor,”—a critical journal of high merit in many respects, although somewhat given to verbiage.

His MS. is remarkable for a scratchy diminutiveness, and is by no means legible. We are not sufficiently cognizant of his literary character, to draw any parallel between it and his chirography. His signature is certainly a most remarkable one.

Signature of H. T. Tuckerman

H. T. Tuckerman has written one or two books consisting of “Sketches of Travel.” His “Isabel” is, perhaps, better known than any of his productions, but was never a popular work. He is a correct writer so far as mere English is concerned, but an insufferably tedious and dull one. He has contributed much of late days to the “Southern Literary Messenger,” with which journal, perhaps, the legibility of his MS. has been an important, if not the principal recommendation. His chirography is neat and distinct, and has some grace, but no force—evincing, in a remarkable degree, the idiosyncrasies of the writer.

Signature of Danl Bryan

Mr. Bryan has written some very excellent poetry, and is appreciated by all admirers of “the good old Goldsmith school.” He is, at present, postmaster at Alexandria, and has held the office for many years, with all the good fortune of a Vicar of Bray.

His MS. is a free, sloping, and regular one, with more boldness than force, and not ungraceful. He is fond of underscoring his sentences; a habit exactly parallel with the argumentative nature of some of his best poems.

Signature of L A Godey

Mr. Godey is only known to the literary world as editor and publisher of “The Lady’s Book;” but his celebrity in this regard entitles him to a place in this collection. His MS. is remarkably distinct and graceful; the signature affording an excellent idea of it. The man who invariably writes so well as Mr. G. invariably does, gives evidence of a fine taste, combined with an indefatigability which will ensure his permanent success in the world’s affairs. No man has warmer friends or fewer enemies.

Signature of John S Du Solle

Mr. Du Solle is well known, through his connection with the “Spirit of the Times.” His prose is forcible, and often excellent in other respects. As a poet, he is entitled to higher consideration. Some of his Pindaric pieces are unusually good, and it maybe doubted if we have a better versifier in America.

Accustomed to the daily toil of an editor, he has contracted a habit of writing hurriedly, and his MS. varies with the occasion. It is impossible to deduce any inferences from it, as regards the mental character. The signature shows rather how he can write, than how he does.

Signature of J S French

Mr. French is the author of a “Life of David Crockett”, and also of a novel called “Elkswatawa”, a denunciatory review of which in the “Southern Messenger,” some years ago, deterred him from further literary attempts. Should he write again, he will probably distinguish himself, for he is unquestionably a man of talent. We need no better evidence of this than his MS., which speaks of force, boldness, and originality. The flourish, however, betrays a certain floridity of taste.

Signature of Theo. S. Fay

The author of “Norman Leslie” and “The Countess Ida”, has been more successful as an essayist about small matters, than as a novelist. “Norman Leslie” is more familiarly remembered as “The Great Used Up”, while “The Countess” made no definite impression whatever. Of course we are not to expect remarkable features in Mr. Fay’s MS. It has a wavering, finicky, and over-delicate air, without pretension to either grace or force; and the description of the chirography would answer, without alteration, for that of the literary character. Mr. F. frequently employs an amanuensis, who writes a very beautiful French hand. The one must not be confounded with the other.

Signature of J K Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell has published several pretty songs which have been set to music, and become popular. He has also given to the world a volume of poems, of which the longest was remarkable for an old-fashioned polish and vigor of versification. His MS. is rather graceful than picturesque or forcible—and these words apply equally well to his poetry in general. The signature indicates the hand.

Signature of Geo.P.Morris

General Morris has composed many songs which have taken fast hold upon the popular taste, and which are deservedly celebrated. He has caught the true tone for these things, and hence his popularity—a popularity which his enemies would fain make us believe is altogether attributable to his editorial influence. The charge is true only in a measure. The tone of which we speak is that kind of frank, free, hearty sentiment (rather than philosophy) which distinguishes Béranger, and which the critics, for want of a better term, call nationality.

His MS. is a simple unornamented hand, rather rotund than angular, very legible, forcible, and altogether in keeping with his style.

Signature of George H Calvert

Mr. Calvert was at one time principal editor of the “Baltimore American,” and wrote for that journal some good paragraphs on the common topics of the day. He has also published many translations from the German, and one or two original poems—among others an imitation of Don Juan called “Pelayo,” which did him no credit. He is essentially a feeble and common-place writer of poetry, although his prose compositions have a certain degree of merit.

His chirography indicates the “common-place” upon which we have commented. It is a very usual, scratchy, and tapering clerk’s hand—a hand which no man of talent ever did or could indite, unless compelled by circumstances of more than ordinary force. The signature is far better than the general manuscript of his epistles.

Signature of J Evans Snodgrass

Dr. Snodgrass was at one time the associate of Mr. Brooks in the “Baltimore Museum”, a monthly journal published in the City of Monuments some years since. He wrote for that Magazine, and has occasionally written for others, articles which possessed the merit of precision of style, and a metaphysical cast of thought. We like his prose much better than his poetry.

His chirography is bad—stiff, sprawling and illegible, with frequent corrections and interlineations, evincing inactivity not less than fastidiousness. The signature betrays a meretricious love of effect.

Signature of J N McJilton

Mr. McJilton is better known from his contributions to the journals of the day than from any book-publications. He has much talent, and it is not improbable that he will hereafter distinguish himself, although as yet he has not composed anything of length which, as a whole, can be styled good.

His MS. is not unlike that of Dr. Snodgrass, but it is somewhat clearer and better. We can predicate little respecting it, beyond a love of exaggeration and bizarrerie.

Signature of W. D. Gallagher

Mr. Gallagher is chiefly known as a poet. He is the author of some of our most popular songs, and has written many long pieces of high but unequal merit. He has the true spirit, and will rise into a just distinction hereafter. His manuscript tallies well with our opinion. It is a very fine one—clear, bold, decided and picturesque. The signature above does not convey, in full force, the general character of his chirography, which is more rotund, and more decidedly placed upon the paper.

Signature of Richard H Dana

Mr. Dana ranks among our most eminent poets, and he has been the frequent subject of comment in our Reviews. He has high qualities, undoubtedly, but his defects are many and great.

His MS. resembles that of Mr. Gallagher very nearly, but is somewhat more rolling, and has less boldness and decision. The literary traits of the two gentlemen are very similar, although Mr. Dana is by far the more polished writer, and has a scholarship which Mr. Gallagher wants.

Signature of M McMichael

Mr. McMichael is well known to the Philadelphia public by the number and force of his prose compositions, but he has seldom been tempted into book publication. As a poet, he has produced some remarkably vigorous things. We have seldom seen a finer composition than a certain celebrated “Monody.”

His MS., when not hurried, is graceful and flowing, without picturesqueness. At times it is totally illegible. His chirography is one of those which have been so strongly modified by circumstances that it is nearly impossible to predicate any thing with certainty respecting them.

Signature of N C Brooks

Mr. N. C. Brooks has acquired some reputation as a Magazine writer. His serious prose is often very good—is always well-worded—but in his comic attempts he fails, without appearing to be aware of his failure. As a poet he has succeeded far better. In a work which he entitled “Scriptural Anthology” among many inferior compositions of length, there were several shorter pieces of great merit:—for example “Shelley’s Obsequies” and “The Nicthanthes”. Of late days we have seen little from his pen.

His MS. has much resemblance to that of Mr. Bryant, although altogether it is a better hand, with much more freedom and grace. With care Mr. Brooks can write a fine MS. just as with care he can compose a fine poem.

Signature of Thos H. Stockton

The Rev. Thomas H. Stockton has written many pieces of fine poetry, and has lately distinguished himself as the editor of the “Christian World.”

His MS. is fairly represented by his signature, and bears much resemblance to that of Mr. N. C. Brooks, of Baltimore. Between these two gentlemen there exists also, a remarkable similarity, not only of thought, but of personal bearing and character. We have already spoken of the peculiarities of Mr. B’s chirography.

Signature of C.W. Thomson

Mr. Thompson has written many short poems, and some of them possess merit. They are characterized by tenderness and grace. His MS. has some resemblance to that of Professor Longfellow, and by many persons would be thought a finer hand. It is clear, legible and open—what is called a rolling hand. It has too much tapering, and too much variation between the weight of the hair strokes and the downward ones, to be forcible or picturesque. In all those qualities which we have pointed out as especially distinctive of Professor Longfellow’s MS. it is remarkably deficient; and, in fact, the literary character of no two individuals could be more radically different.

Signature of W. E. Channing

The Reverend W. E. Channing is at the head of our moral and didactic writers. His reputation both at home and abroad is deservedly high, and in regard to the matters of purity, polish and modulation of style, he may be said to have attained the dignity of a standard and a classic. He has, it is true, been severely criticised, even in respect to these very points, by the Edinburg Review. The critic, however, made out his case but lamely, and proved nothing beyond his own incompetence. To detect occasional, or even frequent inadvertences in the way of bad grammar, faulty construction, or mis-usage of language, is not to prove impurity of style—a word which happily has a bolder signification than any dreamed of by the Zoilus of the Review in question. Style regards, more than anything else, the tone of a composition. All the rest is not unimportant, to be sure, but appertains to the minor morals of literature, and can be learned by rote by the meanest simpletons in letters—can be carried to its highest excellence by dolts who, upon the whole, are despicable as stylists. Irving’s style is inimitable in its grace and delicacy; yet few of our practised writers are guilty of more frequent inadvertences of language. In what may be termed his mere English, he is surpassed by fifty whom we could name. Mr. Tuckerman’s English on the contrary is sufficiently pure, but a more lamentable style than that of his “Sicily” it would be difficult to point out.

Besides those peculiarities which we have already mentioned as belonging to Dr. Channing’s style, we must not fail to mention a certain calm, broad deliberateness which constitutes force in its highest character, and approaches to majesty. All these traits will be found to exist plainly in his chirography, the character of which is exemplified by the signature, although this is somewhat larger than the general manuscript.

Signature of L. A. Wilmer.

Mr. Wilmer has written and published much; but he has reaped the usual fruits of a spirit of independence, and has thus failed to make that impression on the popular mind which his talents, under other circumstances, would have effected. But better days are in store for him, and for all who “hold to the right way,” despising the yelpings of the small dogs of our literature. His prose writings have all merit—always the merit of a chastened style. But he is more favorably known by his poetry, in which the student of the British classics will find much for warm admiration. We have few better versifiers than Mr. Wilmer.

His chirography plainly indicates the cautious polish and terseness of his style, but the signature does not convey the print-like appearance of the MS.

Signature of J.E.Dow

Mr. Dow is distinguished as the author of many fine sea-pieces, among which will be remembered a series of papers called “The Log of Old Ironsides.” His land sketches are not generally so good. He has a fine imagination, which as yet is undisciplined, and leads him into occasional bombast. As a poet he has done better things than as a writer of prose.

His MS., which has been strongly modified by circumstances, gives no indication of his true character, literary or moral.

Signature of H Hastings Weld

Mr. Weld is well known as the present working editor of the New York “Tattler” and “Brother Jonathan.” His attention was accidentally directed to literature about ten years ago, after a minority, to use his own words, “spent at sea, in a store, in a machine shop, and in a printing office.” He is now, we believe, about thirty-one years of age. His deficiency of what is termed regular education would scarcely be gleaned from his editorials, which, in general, are unusually well written. His “Corrected Proofs” is a work which does him high credit, and which has been extensively circulated, although “printed at odd times by himself, when he had nothing else to do.”

His MS. resembles that of Mr. Joseph C. Neal in many respects, but is less open and less legible. His signature is altogether much better than his general chirography.

Signature of Andrew McMakin

Mr. McMakin is one of the editors of the “Philadelphia Saturday Courier,” and has given to the world several excellent specimens of his poetical ability. His MS. is clear and graceful; the signature affording a very good idea of it. The general hand, in fact, is fully as good.

Signature of M. St. Leon Loud

Mrs. M. St. Leon Loud is one of the finest poets of this country; possessing, we think, more of the true divine afflatus than any of her female contemporaries. She has, in especial, imagination of no common order, and unlike many of her sex whom we could mention, is not

Content to dwell in decencies forever.

While she can, upon occasion, compose the ordinary metrical sing-song with all the decorous proprieties which are in fashion, she yet ventures very frequently into a more ethereal region. We refer our readers to a truly beautiful little poem entitled the “Dream of the Lonely Isle,” and lately published in this Magazine.

Mrs. Loud’s MS. is exceedingly clear, neat and forcible, with just sufficient effeminacy and no more.

Signature of Pliny Earle.

Dr. Pliny Earle, of Frankford, Pa., has not only distinguished himself by several works of medical and general science, but has become well known to the literary world, of late, by a volume of very fine poems, the longest, but by no means the best, of which, was entitled “Marathon.” This latter is not greatly inferior to the “Marco Bozzaris” of Halleck; while some of the minor pieces equal any American poems.

His chirography is peculiarly neat and beautiful, giving indication of the elaborate finish which characterises his compositions. The signature conveys the general hand.

Signature of Jno C McCabe

Dr. John C. McCabe, of Richmond, Virginia, has written much and generally well, in prose and poetry, for the periodicals of the day—for the “Southern Literary Messenger” in especial, and other journals.

His MS. is in every respect a bad one—an ordinary clerk’s hand, meaning nothing. It has been strongly modified, however, by circumstances which would scarcely have permitted it to be otherwise than it is.

Signature of Jno Tomlin

John Tomlin, Esq., Postmaster at Jackson, Tennessee, has contributed many excellent articles to the periodicals of the day—among others to the “Gentleman’s” and to “Graham’s” Magazine, and to several of the Southern and Western journals.

His chirography resembles that of Mr. Paulding in being at the same time very petite, very beautiful, and very illegible. His MSS., in being equally well written throughout, evince the indefatigability of his disposition.

Signature of David Hoffman

David Hoffman, Esq., of Baltimore, has not only contributed much and well to monthly Magazines and Reviews, but has given to the world several valuable publications in book form. His style is terse, pungent and otherwise excellent, although disfigured by a half comic half serious pedantry.

His MS. has about it nothing strongly indicative of character.

Signature of S. D. Langtree

S. D. Langtree, has been long and favorably known to the public as editor of the “Georgetown Metropolitan,” and, more lately, of the “Democratic Review,” both of which journals he has conducted with distinguished success. As a critic he has proved himself just, bold and acute, while his prose compositions generally, evince the man of talent and taste.

His MS. is not remarkably good, being somewhat too scratchy and tapering. We include him, of course, in the editorial category.

Signature of R.T. Conrad.

Judge Conrad occupies, perhaps, the first place among our Philadelphia literati. He has distinguished himself both as a prose writer and a poet—not to speak of his high legal reputation. He has been a frequent contributor to the periodicals of this city, and, we believe, to one at least of the Eastern Reviews. His first production which attracted general notice was a tragedy entitled “Conrad, King of Naples.” It was performed at the Arch Street Theatre, and elicited applause from the more judicious. This play was succeeded by “Jack Cade,” performed at the Walnut Street Theatre, and lately modified and reproduced under the title of “Aylmere.” In its new dress, this drama has been one of the most successful ever written by an American, not only attracting crowded houses, but extorting the good word of our best critics. In occasional poetry Judge Conrad has also done well. His lines “On a Blind Boy Soliciting Charity” have been highly admired, and many of his other pieces evince ability of a high order. His political fame is scarcely a topic for these pages, and is, moreover, too much a matter of common observation to need comment from us.

His MS. is neat, legible, and forcible, evincing combined caution and spirit in a very remarkable degree.

Signature of J. Q. Adams.

The chirography of Ex-President Adams (whose poem, “The Wants of Man,” has, of late, attracted so much attention,) is remarkable for a certain steadiness of purpose pervading the whole, and overcoming even the constitutional tremulousness of the writer’s hand. Wavering in every letter, the entire MS. has yet a firm, regular, and decisive appearance. It is also very legible.

Signature of P P Cooke

P. P. Cooke, Esq., of Winchester, Va., is well known, especially in the South, as the author of numerous excellent contributions to the “Southern Literary Messenger.” He has written some of the finest poetry of which America can boast. A little piece of his, entitled “Florence Vane,” and contributed to the “Gentleman’s Magazine” of this city, during our editorship of that journal, was remarkable for the high ideality it evinced, and for the great delicacy and melody of its rhythm. It was universally admired and copied, as well here as in England. We saw it not long ago, as original, in “Bentley’s Miscellany.” Mr. Cooke has, we believe, nearly ready for press, a novel called “Maurice Werterbern,” whose success we predict with confidence.

His MS. is clear, forcible, and legible, but disfigured by some little of that affectation which is scarcely a blemish in his literary style.

Signature of T R Dew.

Prof. Thomas R. Dew, of William and Mary College in Virginia, was one of the able contributors who aided to establish the “Southern Literary Messenger” in the days of its débût. His MS. is precisely in keeping with his literary character. Both are heavy, massive, unornamented and diffuse in the extreme. His epistles seemed to have been scrawled with the stump of a quill dipped in very thick ink, and one or two words extend sometimes throughout a line. The signature is more compact than the general MS.

Signature of J. Beauchamp Jones

Mr. J. Beauchamp Jones has been, we believe, connected for many years past with the lighter literature of Baltimore, and at present edits the “Baltimore Saturday Visiter,” with much judgment and general ability. He is the author of a series of papers of high merit now in course of publication in the “Visiter,” and entitled “Wild Western Scenes.”

His MS. is distinct, and might be termed a fine one; but is somewhat too much in consonance with the ordinary clerk style to be either graceful or forcible.

Signature of Chas. J. Peterson

Mr. Charles J. Peterson has for a long time been connected with the periodical literature of Philadelphia, as one of the editors of “Graham’s Magazine” and of “The Saturday Evening Post.”

His MS., when unhurried, is a very good one—clear, weighty, and picturesque; but when carelessly written is nearly illegible, on account of a too slight variation of form in the short letters.

Signature of W E Burton

Mr. Burton is better known as a comedian than as a literary man; but he has written many short prose articles of merit, and his quondam editorship of the “Gentleman’s Magazine” would, at all events, entitle him to a place in this collection. He has, moreover, published one or two books. An annual issued by Carey and Hart in 1840, consisted entirely of prose contributions from himself, with poetical ones from Charles West Thompson, Esq. In this work many of the tales were good.

Mr. Burton’s MS. is scratchy and petite, betokening indecision and care or caution. The whole chirography resembles that of Mr. Tasistro very nearly.

Signature of Richard Henry Wilde

Richard Henry Wilde, Esq., of Georgia, has acquired much reputation as a poet, and especially as the author of a little piece entitled “My Life is like the Summer Rose,” whose claim to originality has been made the subject of repeated and reiterated attack and defence. Upon the whole it is hardly worth quarrelling about. Far better verses are to be found in every second newspaper we take up. Mr. Wilde has also lately published, or is about to publish, a “Life of Tasso,” for which he has been long collecting material.

His MS. has all the peculiar sprawling and elaborate tastelessness of Mr. Palfrey’s, to which altogether it bears a marked resemblance. The love of effect, however, is more perceptible in Mr. Wilde’s than even in Mr. Palfrey’s.

Signature of G.G. Foster

G. G. Foster, Esq., has acquired much reputation, especially in the South and West, by his poetical contributions to the literature of the day. All his articles breathe the true spirit. At one period he edited a weekly paper in Alabama; more lately the “Bulletin” at St. Louis; and, at present, he conducts the “Pennant,” in that city, with distinguished ability. Not long ago he issued the prospectus of a monthly magazine. Should he succeed in getting the journal under way, there can be no doubt of his success.

His MS. is remarkably clear and graceful; evincing a keen sense of the beautiful. It seems, however, to be somewhat deficient in force; and his letters are never so well written in their conclusion as in their commencement. We have before remarked that this peculiarity in MSS. is a sure indication of fatigability of temper. Few men who write thus are free from a certain vacillation of purpose. The signature above is rather heavier than that from which it was copied.

Signature of Lew Cass

Lewis Cass, the Ex-Secretary of War, has distinguished himself as one of the finest belles lettres scholars of America. At one period he was a very regular contributor to the “Southern Literary Messenger,” and, even lately, he has furnished that journal with one or two very excellent papers.

His MS. is clear, deliberate and statesmanlike; resembling that of Edward Everett very closely. It is not often that we see a letter written altogether by himself. He generally employs an amanuensis, whose chirography does not differ materially from his own, but is somewhat more regular.

Signature of James Brooks

James Brooks, Esq., enjoys rather a private than a public literary reputation; but his talents are unquestionably great, and his productions have been numerous and excellent. As the author of many of the celebrated Jack Downing letters, and as the reputed author of the whole of them, he would at all events be entitled to a place among our literati.

His chirography is simple, clear and legible, with little grace and less boldness. These traits are precisely those of his literary style.

Signature of Jack Downing

As the authorship of the Jack Downing letters is even still considered by many a moot point, (although in fact there should be no question about it,) and as we have already given the signature of Mr. Seba Smith, and (just above) of Mr. Brooks, we now present our readers with a fac-simile signature of the “veritable Jack” himself, written by him individually in our own bodily presence. Here, then, is an opportunity of comparison.

The chirography of “the veritable Jack” is a very good, honest, sensible hand, and not very dissimilar to that of Ex-President Adams.

Signature of J. R. Lowell.

Mr. J. R. Lowell, of Massachusetts, is entitled, in our opinion, to at least the second or third place among the poets of America. We say this on account of the vigor of his imagination—a faculty to be first considered in all criticism upon poetry. In this respect he surpasses, we think, any of our writers (at least any of those who have put themselves prominently forth as poets) with the exception of Longfellow, and perhaps one other. His ear for rhythm, nevertheless, is imperfect, and he is very far from possessing the artistic ability of either Longfellow, Bryant, Halleck, Sprague or Pierpont. The reader desirous of properly estimating the powers of Mr. Lowell will find a very beautiful little poem from his pen in the October number of this Magazine. There is one also (not quite so fine) in the number for last month. He will contribute regularly.

His MS. is strongly indicative of the vigor and precision of his poetical thought. The man who writes thus, for example, will never be guilty of metaphorical extravagance, and there will be found terseness as well as strength in all that he does.

Signature of L. J. Cist.

Mr. L. J. Cist, of Cincinnati, has not written much prose, and is known especially by his poetical compositions, many of which have been very popular, although they are at times disfigured by false metaphor, and by a meretricious straining after effect. This latter foible makes itself clearly apparent in his chirography, which abounds in ornamental flourishes, not illy executed, to be sure, but in very bad taste.

Signature of T S Arthur

Mr. Arthur is not without a rich talent for description of scenes in low life, but is uneducated, and too fond of mere vulgarities to please a refined taste. He has published “The Subordinate”, and “Insubordination”, two tales distinguished by the peculiarities above mentioned. He has also written much for our weekly papers, and the “Lady’s Book.”

His hand is a common-place clerk’s hand, such as we might expect him to write. The signature is much better than the general MS.

Signature of Jms E. Heath

Mr. Heath is almost the only person of any literary distinction residing in the chief city of the Old Dominion. He edited the “Southern Literary Messenger” in the five or six first months of its existence; and, since the secession of the writer of this article, has frequently aided in its editorial conduct. He is the author of “Edge-Hill”, a well-written novel, which, owing to the circumstances of its publication, did not meet with the reception it deserved. His writings are rather polished and graceful, than forcible or original; and these peculiarities can be traced in his chirography.

Signature of Thos H. Chivers

Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers, of New York, is at the same time one of the best and one of the worst poets in America. His productions affect one as a wild dream—strange, incongruous, full of images of more than arabesque monstrosity, and snatches of sweet unsustained song. Even his worst nonsense (and some of it is horrible) has an indefinite charm of sentiment and melody. We can never be sure that there is any meaning in his words—neither is there any meaning in many of our finest musical airs—but the effect is very similar in both. His figures of speech are metaphor run mad, and his grammar is often none at all. Yet there are as fine individual passages to be found in the poems of Dr. Chivers, as in those of any poet whatsoever.

His MS. resembles that of P. P. Cooke very nearly, and in poetical character the two gentlemen are closely akin. Mr. Cooke is, by much, the more correct; while Dr. Chivers is sometimes the more poetic. Mr. C. always sustains himself; Dr. C. never.

Signature of Joseph Story

Judge Story, and his various literary and political labors, are too well know to require comment.

His chirography is a noble one—bold, clear, massive, and deliberate, betokening in the most unequivocal manner all the characteristics of his intellect. The plain unornamented style of his compositions is impressed with accuracy upon his hand-writing, the whole air of which is well conveyed in the signature.

Signature of J. Frost

John Frost, Esq., Professor of Belles Lettres in the High School of Philadelphia, and at present editor of “The Young People’s Book,” has distinguished himself by numerous literary compositions for the periodicals of the day, and by a great number of published works which come under the head of the utile rather than of the dulce—at least in the estimation of the young. He is a gentleman of fine taste, sound scholarship, and great general ability.

His chirography denotes his mental idiosyncrasy with great precision. Its careful neatness, legibility and finish, are but a part of that turn of mind which leads him so frequently into compilation. The signature here given is more diminutive than usual.

Signature of James F. Otis.

Mr. J. F. Otis is well known as a writer for the Magazines; and has, at various times, been connected with many of the leading newspapers of the day—especially with those in New York and Washington. His prose and poetry are equally good; but he writes too much and too hurriedly to write invariably well. His taste is fine, and his judgment in literary matters is to be depended upon at all times when not interfered with by his personal antipathies or predilections.

His chirography is exceedingly illegible and, like his style, has every possible fault except that of the common-place.

Signature of J. N. Reynolds

Mr. Reynolds occupied at one time a distinguished position in the eye of the public, on account of his great and laudable exertions to get up the American South Polar expedition, from a personal participation in which he was most shamefully excluded. He has written much and well. Among other works, the public are indebted to him for a graphic account of the noted voyage of the frigate Potomac to Madagascar.

His MS. is an ordinary clerk’s hand, giving no indication of character.

Signature of William Cutter

Mr. William Cutter, a young merchant of Portland, Maine, although not very generally known as a poet beyond his immediate neighborhood, (or at least out of the Eastern States) has given to the world numerous compositions which prove him to be possessed of the true fire. He is, moreover, a fine scholar, and a prose writer of distinguished merit.

His chirography is very similar to that of Count Tasistro, and the two gentlemen resemble each other very peculiarly in their literary character.

Signature of David Paul Brown

David Paul Brown, Esq., is scarcely more distinguished in his legal capacity than by his literary compositions. As a dramatic writer he has met with much success. His “Sertorius” has been particularly well received both upon the stage and in the closet. His fugitive productions, both in prose and verse, have also been numerous, diversified, and excellent.

His chirography has no doubt been strongly modified by the circumstances of his position. No one can expect a lawyer in full practice to give in his MS. any true indication of his intellect or character.

Signature of E. C. Stedman

Mrs. E. Clementine Stedman has lately attracted much attention by the delicacy and grace of her poetical compositions, as well as by the piquancy and spirit of her prose. For some months past we have been proud to rank her among the best of the contributors to “Graham’s Magazine.”

Her chirography differs as materially from that of her sex in general as does her literary manner from the usual namby-pamby of our blue-stockings. It is, indeed, a beautiful MS., very closely resembling that of Professor Longfellow, but somewhat more diminutive, and far more full of grace.

Signature of John G Whittier

J. Greenleaf Whittier, is placed by his particular admirers in the very front rank of American poets. We are not disposed, however, to agree with their decision in every respect. Mr. Whittier is a fine versifier, so far as strength is regarded independently of modulation. His subjects, too, are usually chosen with the view of affording scope to a certain vivida vis of expression which seems to be his forte; but in taste, and especially in imagination, which Coleridge has justly styled the soul of all poetry, he is even remarkably deficient. His themes are never to our liking.

His chirography is an ordinary clerk’s hand, affording little indication of character.

Signature of Ann S Stephens

Mrs. Ann S. Stephens was at one period the editor of the “Portland Magazine,” a periodical of which we have not heard for some time, and which, we presume, has been discontinued. More lately her name has been placed upon the title page of “The Lady’s Companion” of New York, as one of the conductors of that journal—to which she has contributed many articles of merit and popularity. She has also written much and well, for various other periodicals, and will, hereafter, enrich this magazine with her compositions, and act as one of its editors.

Her MS. is a very excellent one, and differs from that of her sex in general, by an air of more than usual force and freedom.





Hark, ’tis the sweet south wind!

    How soft its dewy fingers touch the keys

    Which thrill such melting music through the mind,

    Even the green leaves of the forest trees.


There is a witchery

    In the soft music, like the voice of love;

    Now gushing o’er the soul deliciously,

    Then sighing a rich cadence through the grove.


It seemeth to mine ear

    The rustling of some holy creature’s wing,

    Sent from some passionless and sinless sphere,

    Unction of peace unto the soul to bring.


My temples feel its pow’r,

    Cooling and soothing every throbbing vein;

    My spirit lifts its weary wings once more,

    And bursts the strong clasps of care’s sordid chain,


And floats all calm and free,

    Blent with the music of the bending wood,

    Fill’d with the light of immortality,

    Even the presence of the Living God.


Nature is full of Him,

    And every willing spirit feels his pow’r;

    Even as this south wind fills the forest dim,

    And bends with its rich weight each lowly flow’r.


Oh, may death come to me

    On the soft breath of such a night as this;

    To lift the thin veil of mortality,

    And let me bathe at once in perfect bliss.





[Continued from Page 123.[2]]

Book II.

Being now somewhat advanced in life, I can look back on the past with that degree of calmness and self-complacency so delightful to age. I cannot think, with Miss Landon, that a person regards the follies of his youth with more severity himself than others regard them. Indeed I feel disposed to believe that those very follies form the chief charm of our early days; and, as for myself, I can hardly regret that I was not born a Nestor. So much by way of preface to my Second Book.

The reader who has been kind enough to follow me thus far in the history of my youth, will recollect that I introduced him to a social circle at Mrs. Melville’s, one evening in the early part of summer.

Mr. Martagon, the gentleman with the large shoulders, was seated in an arm-chair, admirably adapted to his proportions. Mr. Pratt was looking unutterable things at Miss Azile, who, on the present occasion, was exceedingly unmerciful on love-stricken swains. Miss Emily Melville was warbling a soft enchanting air, which she accompanied with the guitar; and Mr. Desmond was wrapt in pleasing thoughts, the consequence thereof. Mr. Martagon being an ancient admirer of Miss Virginia Melville, enlisted her attention by a very judicious discourse on the evils of matrimony; which, of course, induced me to be very busily engaged at nothing particular.

When the music had ceased, the conversation gradually became general. Poetry was discussed—fiction voted a great evil—superstition allowed to be a universal failing—and Sir Walter Scott pronounced the king of ghost-makers; which latter allusion led to a very edifying description of the person and character of a certain ghost seen by each individual present.

Mr. Martagon, who had seen an unusual and pleasing variety of ghosts, recollected an uncommonly peculiar one which appeared to him during a twilight ramble in the woods.

This reminded Mr. Pratt of an extraordinary vision which he had once witnessed in the form of a hog; which prompted Mr. Desmond to relate an amusing anecdote of his experience in things supernatural.

Various ghost-stories were related by the company, till, by one of those unaccountable changes which so frequently occur in a lively circle, the conversation turned to love and courtship. This was a subject upon which I was very sensitive.

Miss Azile, the satirical young lady, was of opinion that all such things are highly ridiculous, and much to be regretted; in which opinion the fair portion of the company generally coincided. The reader who has read the anecdote of the Persian over whose head a sword was suspended by a thread, can imagine my anxiety to ascertain the opinion of the person in whom I was most interested. I did not long remain in suspense—“She considered it unnatural and improper for a young lady to love;” which assertion was accompanied by a very significant look at myself. The philosophy of indifference had ever been my most difficult study. I could not persuade myself that I was prepared for disappointment; and, in fact, my hopes were too sanguine to allow for many thoughts of a gloomy character. All was over now, however; and as I hurried away as miserable as Jacques, I thought there was a very pretty end to my day-dreams and night-visions. Byron’s reproach occurred to me with all its bitterness—

“Once I beheld a splendid dream—

  A visionary scene of bliss;

Truth, wherefore did thy hated beam

  Awake me to a world like this?”

Thus ended my first misfortunes, which, being the most serious, I have dwelt upon at some length. I now turn with a lighter heart to my subsequent career. To avoid all such affairs in future, I resolved to visit Texas, where, I was informed, women were uncommonly scarce. This great inducement balanced all the disadvantages of climate and warfare. I never wished to look upon a bright eye or a dimpled cheek again. Texas, therefore, was my destination.

A few months calmed the turbulence of my mind; and I believed I was now forever qualified to withstand the charms of woman, and exempt from the troubles of the heart. Experience had taught me that everything is not gold which glitters. I had also learned to doubt the lauded constancy of the opposite sex, in that tender passion to which I was so susceptible. Indeed I had good reason to believe that caprice and fickleness of heart were their ruling traits; and I fully determined to avoid, in future, building my hopes of happiness on such baseless foundations. So far I acted with prudence; and I felt very well satisfied with my embryo philosophy. During my tour, however, an incident occurred that greatly altered my opinions on this subject. It effected a wonderful change, too, in my estimation of woman’s constancy.

I had stopped to spend a few days in the city of T——. There was nothing about this place, but its picturesque situation, worthy of a traveller’s attention. I soon became satiated with the beauties of the surrounding scenery; and as the accommodations of the hotel were very limited, I determined to pursue my journey by the first means of conveyance. To my chagrin I learned that several days would elapse before I could find a stage for my place of destination. What to do with myself in the meantime, I could scarcely divine. Society had lost its charm; public amusements had become nauseous and uninteresting; and I was heartily tired of rambling about, without a congenial friend to commune with, or admire what I admired. In this dilemma I chanced to find, on ransacking my apartment, a neatly bound novel—the “Pilgrims of the Rhine.” I had read this beautiful romance, with great delight, some years previously; but I discovered, on opening the present volume, that there were criticisms and observations on the margin, which offered some room for studying the mind and character of one of its readers; and I was induced to peruse it again. The pencilings were in the delicate hand of a female. Passages, which, for their beauty of diction and refined sentiment, I recollected having greatly admired, were carefully marked; and in many instances they elicited acute observations, and eloquent eulogies from the fair reader. As I progressed, I became as much interested in these comments, as I had formerly been in the work itself. They evinced at once a highly cultivated imagination—a depth and tenderness of feeling—and a visionary turn of mind, extremely captivating to a young reader. That sympathy, which the author of Hyperion so eloquently remarks is requisite for the appreciation of genius, seemed characteristic of the fair unknown. The gradual development of her history, as gleaned from these scattered thoughts and opinions, and the general tenor of her mind, interested me far more than I was disposed to admit, even to myself. That I may not be deemed unnaturally visionary, or sentimental, I shall quote a few passages, which, though taken at random, may serve to show the source from which I drew my deductions. The delicate hand of the commentator had slightly touched the following:

“Her youth was filled with hope, and many colored dreams; she loved, and the hues of morning slept upon the yet disenchanted earth. The heavens to her were not as the common sky; the wave had its peculiar music to her ear, and the rustling leaves a pleasantness that none, whose heart is not bathed in the love and sense of beauty, could discern.”

From the remarks that were attached to this, I pictured the sympathising reader, who so feelingly dwelt upon it, as one, beautiful like Gertrude, and constituted to love with the same fervency and devotion. She was evidently young—her thoughts were tender—her sentiments lively and refined. That she was beautiful, my fancy did not permit me to doubt.

The next passage left rather a disagreeable impression:

“I look upon the world, and see all that is fair and good; I look upon you, and see all that I can venerate and adore.”

She doubtless intended this quotation for one she loved. I began to experience all the pangs of jealousy; for well convinced that she was beautiful, young, and gifted, I did not conceive it improbable that I might have a rival, whose precedence in her affections could not but materially affect my chances of success, should I ever be fortunate enough to find her. As soon as I became sufficiently calm, I pursued my task. The concluding pages were evidently stained with tears. This greatly excited my curiosity; but I fancied her grief was attributable to the recollection of some misfortune conjured up by an allusion to the grave:

“The chords of thought, vibrating to the subtlest emotions, may be changed by a single incident, or in a single hour; a sound of sacred music, a green and quiet burial place, may convert the form of death into the aspect of an angel. And, therefore, wisely, and with a beautiful love, did the Greeks strip the grave of its unreal gloom; wisely did they body forth the great principle of rest, and by solemn and lovely images—unconscious of the northern madness that made a spectre of repose!”

Here was all I could require. Her lover had died in all the promise of genius and beauty. His death was simply and solemnly commemorated by a quiet burial in some sylvan solitude. The allusion, in the passage quoted, had revived all the poignancy of his loss, and her tears were evidences of the purity and sincerity of her affection. Although there now appeared no rival to fear, I was aware that love survives death; but as I never had much confidence in woman’s constancy, this did not alarm me.

Forgetting my past experience and my vows of celibacy, I devoted myself immediately to this new chimera. On the title page of the book, which had caused such wild fantasies, I perceived the initials—“E. S. C——.” On examining the page more minutely, I found written in various places, “Emma,” which I knew must be the name for one of the initials. All further search proved vain; and I resolved to examine the “traveller’s register” in hope of procuring more exact information. About a month back, were written in a bold, free hand, the names of Col. Robert St. Clair and Sister—at least the surname of Miss St. Clair, and the name in full of her military brother. My next care was to find out their destination. With surprise and gratification, I perceived that it was precisely where I was journeying myself. My plan for an introduction was quickly made up. I would call on Miss St. Clair and restore her the lost book. My remarks on her criticisms would of course be flattering; and she could not avoid entering into a conversation. Common politeness would induce her to ask me to call again. Thus clear seemed the road to happiness! Let me now pursue it.

Nothing of interest occurred on my journey to P——. Immediately after my arrival I made inquiries for Colonel St. Clair. There was little difficulty in finding his residence. The purport of my mission induced me to devote more than usual care to my toilet; and as I knocked at the polished and brass-mounted door of Colonel St. Clair’s house, the reflection therefrom satisfied me that I was a very passable personage. I was ushered into the drawing-room. “The Colonel was not at home; but the white lady would be down directly”—so the servant informed me, grinning admiration from ear to ear. Who the “white lady” was, I could not imagine; but her appearance dissipated all suspicion that it might be Miss St. Clair herself. She was apparently a lady of forty, much worn and faded by the cares of life. Her countenance was emaciated and melancholy; but her eyes were still bright and expressive; and her features were not uninteresting. She might once have been beautiful. Her form, though somewhat ghastly, was still symmetrical; and her quiet address and dignified manners proved that she had moved in the best society. After a few preliminary remarks, I entered on the subject which was nearest my heart:

“You will pardon my curiosity, madam, when I tell you I have a particular reason for inquiring if there is a young lady in this house, who is very fond of reading? I am uncertain about her name, but I shall give you a brief description, which will enable you to judge whether I am right in my conjectures respecting her identity. She is, I presume, about eighteen; and in rather a delicate state of health, I should imagine, though I will not be certain as to that. She has lately lost a friend, dearer to her than life, and I am led to believe his death occasions her the most poignant grief. I will not say she was betrothed to him. It is not, however, improbable that she was. I have no very exact recollection of her features; but I can give you an idea of her mental traits. She is highly imaginative; and takes great delight in elegant works of fiction. Her taste is remarkably good; and I believe she has written a great deal—probably contributed to the periodicals of the day. On so slight an acquaintance, madam, I feel a delicacy in declaring my motives for the minuteness of my inquiries; but you cannot avoid perceiving that I feel singularly interested in the history and identity of the young lady to whom I allude.”

“Really, sir,” she replied, with a lurking smile, “I can scarcely divine what you are seeking for. However, I am only sorry you have mistaken the place. There is no young lady here, such as you describe. In fact I am the only female belonging to the house; and I can hardly conceive how you were misled.”

“Then,” I observed with a fallen countenance, “you are Miss Emma St. Clair?”

“That is my name, sir.”

It was evident, now, that I had been laboring under a very serious mistake. My situation was really embarrassing. It was not at all unlikely that the elderly spinster would consider me out of my senses, if I openly avowed the error my imagination had caused me to make. I therefore feigned as creditable a story as the existing circumstances would permit; and in conclusion, asked Miss St. Clair if she had lost a volume containing Bulwer’s romance of the Rhine, during her sojourn at T——?

“I believe,” she replied, blushing slightly, “my carelessness caused me to mislay a copy of that work. I regret the loss, not for its value, but simply because there were some pencillings in it which I did not wish to be perused.”

I then produced the book, and confessed having read it and the comments with great delight. This led to a general discussion on the subject of fictitious literature, in which I discovered Miss St. Clair was deeply versed; nor did the discernment and susceptibility evinced in her random pencillings, mislead me as to the character of her mind. The result of my visit was an invitation to call again. I did not neglect the opportunity thus afforded, of cultivating the acquaintance of the accomplished spinster.

In due time I learned many circumstances of her early history. At the age of eighteen, she had plighted her faith to a young officer in the navy. Before arrangements could be effected for their marriage, he was compelled to depart on an expedition to the South Seas. For nearly two years, Emma St. Clair received occasional letters—all evincing unchangeable love in her betrothed. After this period he ceased to correspond. The agony of separation was enhanced by doubts as to his fate. In a state of mind bordering on distraction, she passed many a weary year. Time at length soothed her sorrow; but her love was the true—unchangeable love of woman, and the wounds of a bleeding heart were never closed. Various offers of marriage were rejected—she could never love again.

This affecting little sketch brought tears to the eyes of the narrator. She proved to me, in her melancholy history, that the female heart is not fickle when it truly loves, and that the constancy of woman “passeth all understanding.”

No alternative was now left me, but to continue my travels. Having taken a place in the stage for W——, I set out on my journey, consoling myself with the reflection that I was destined to be miserable all the days of my life. My attention, however, was diverted from this gloomy presentiment, by a young lady of seventeen, who was returning from a boarding-school in the city, to her parental domicil at W——, and who unfortunately chanced to be the only passenger beside myself. Taking the liberty of a fellow traveller, I addressed her with becoming gallantry.

“You are travelling to W——?” I said.

“Yes, sir,” she blushingly replied.

“Have you ever been there?”

“Yes—my parents reside in W——.”

“Indeed!—you have been on a visit, then, to P——?”

“No sir—I have been to school; and I am going home to spend the vacation. Pa would have come for me, but he could not spare time.”

“Oh,” said I, “you will not be unprotected. Fortunately I am going to W—— myself.”

“But Pa says I mustn’t talk to strangers.”

“Ah, your Pa is—an old gentleman! My name is Weston—Harry Weston, so I hope I am no longer a stranger.”

“Indeed—I don’t know sir; I never heard of you before.”

This was very candid, and very discreet. I remained silent; and my fair companion seemed to be deeply engaged in perusing a little work which she drew from her reticule.

“What may that be?” I at length ventured to inquire, although I was pretty well convinced it was the ‘Young lady’s Amaranth,’ or a Pocket Lacon, containing ‘Good Advice in small Parcels.’

“This book, sir?”


“A hymn-book, I think—that is, it is a hymn-book, which Mrs. Wriggleton told me to read on the way.”

“Mrs. Wriggleton is a very accomplished lady,” I observed. By the by, I had never heard of her before.

“You know her then!” cried my fair young traveller.

“Yes—I am slightly acquainted.”

“Well,—I think I heard her mention your name!”

“Very probably. Yours is Miss Fanny Cullobe.”

“No. Mine is Corinna Wilton.”

As the reader may presume, I had never heard of either names; nevertheless, I did not like to appear ignorant. In Miss Corinna, I discovered a transient acquaintance, to whom I had been introduced at a ball; which reminded Miss Corinna that she had an indistinct recollection of my features. Not aware that I had made a vow to remain invincible forever more, she laid siege to my heart during the greater part of the journey. We soon became quite familiar. I perceived that my fair acquaintance was quite sprightly and talkative; and did not venture to remind her of her Pa’s injunction. Eventually she handed me her hymn-book, with the following passage marked for my perusal:—

“Thine, wholly thine alone, I am,

Be thou alone my constant flame!”

Fancying this was a piece of premeditated coquetry, I laughed, and acknowledged the compliment. My Dulcinea, however, encouraged by the reception of her first advance, next pointed out, with an almost irresistible smile, the verse commencing—

“Pleasure, and wealth, and praise, no more

Shall lead my captive soul astray;”

which somewhat alarmed me; but I read on—

“My fond pursuits I all give o’er

Thee, only thee resolved to obey;

My own in all things to resign,

And know no other will but thine.”

Not a little astonished, I looked up in the countenance of the besieger. She was pretty, and sprightly too; but now all mirth had fled, and I fancied a bright tear glittered in her eye. At all events she seemed a good deal agitated. I scarcely knew what to say. I was becoming incredibly nervous. At this moment, fate for once befriended me. We were in W——. The stage had stopped; and I stepped out to aid Corinna in a similar process. As I took her hand, I perceived that she trembled. The spirit of mischief induced me to ask her how she had enjoyed her journey.

She answered—“I shall never forget it!”

“Why?” I very innocently asked.

There was an embarrassing pause. She looked at me, and sighed, and I repeated the question.

“How can I forget it,” she replied, “when it has caused me to meet one whom I shall never forget?”

This alarmed me considerably; but I could only look sentimental, and give her a parting squeeze. Before our final farewell, however, she gave me an invitation to pay her a visit, which I had not the firmness to resist.

During my rambles round the village for the next few days, I learned that the Wiltons were a highly respectable family of great wealth, and that Corinna was an heiress, who had never made her appearance in the matrimonial market. Though I had not the least intention of taking advantage of my conquest, I considered myself bound in common politeness, to pay her the promised visit. After some little attention to my toilet, I set out for the residence of Mr. Wilton. This personage had formerly been an officer in the Navy; and I was not surprised to find that he was precisely such a bluff, hale-looking old gentleman, as my fancy led me to picture him.

“Sir,” said he, when Corinna had formally introduced me, “I consider you a great young rascal!”

Thunderstruck at such a reception, I answered—“May I ask, what induces you to form such an opinion of me?”

“Damme!” cried the old gentleman, “but you are an impudent dog! Haven’t you stolen my daughter’s heart, without leave or license? But I forgive you, sir, for I was just such a young scoundrel at your age. Didn’t I run away with your mother, Corinna, before I was eighteen? Ah,” continued the ex-officer, “that was a rare adventure! It was, you scapegrace!—what are you gaping at?”

“Nothing,” I replied.

“You are an impudent dog, as I said before; but I’ll be square with you. Corinna, you say he is of good family, and all that sort of flummery?”

“Oh, Pa!”

“Don’t Pa me!—you are dead in love with him!”

“Indeed, Papa—”

“Hush! you hussey—don’t I know human nature? See here, younker, you can take her; and it’s a d—d sight too good a bargain for you!”

“Really, sir,” I stammered, “she mistook my attentions. My sentiments are entirely—”

“Sentiments, fudge!—none of this palaver! You want to make me believe you’re the pink of modesty; but I’ve studied human nature. Here she is with a fortune you’ll not find every day, and I know you love her—so no more of your sentimental nonsense, but prepare to get spliced to-morrow. I go in for doing things off-hand, as the skipper of the Long-Tom used to say, when—”

“My dear, sir,” I interrupted; “this is altogether a misunderstanding. It is utterly impossible for me to marry your daughter!”

“See here!” cried the venerable gentleman, in a great rage—“I told you before that I wanted no more fandangling. Be off, sir! and let me see that your rigging be in order, by to-morrow!—I’ve studied human nature, sir!”

From the little experience I had in that line myself, I perceived that argument or remonstrance would not avail; so I bowed myself very politely out, resolved to leave W——, as soon as possible.

I could not think, however, of leaving Corinna to the desolation of unrequited love, without a word of excuse or consolation. The result of “mature consideration” on the subject was the following note:

B——’s Hotel, Tuesday Night,

My dear Friend:—Never till now did I really believe such misery as I experience, could be mine. Truly I am the most unhappy being on the face of the earth! Without the slightest design on my part, it appears that I have won your affections—at a time too, when it is utterly impossible I can requite them. Your father’s precipitancy prevented an explanation that might have saved you the mortification of a written avowal respecting my sentiments; but I assure you, however desirous I am that you should be as happy as you desire to be, I cannot love you. The contemplated union can never be. Truly grateful for your good opinion of me, and for the honor of the intended alliance,

I remain, if you permit me,

Ever sincerely your friend,

Henry Weston.

To Miss Corinna Wilton.

At four o’clock in the morning, I was in the stage, on my way to the nearest seaport town. I had made up my mind to embark for Europe. The packet ship A—— was ready to start, and awaited only a fair wind. I engaged a passage for Bordeaux; and the delay being transient, I was soon beyond the reach of Captain Wilton, and the wiles of Corinna.

But alas! what hope is there for the unfortunate? I discovered to my sorrow that new troubles awaited me. As I sat one evening on the bulwark, brooding over my past career, a female voice of exquisite pathos, accompanied by the guitar delicately and tastefully touched, ascended from the ladies’ cabin. I fancied there was something heavenly in the soft, melancholy strain that was wafted from the lips of the songstress. The words were beautiful and touching, and entirely in unison with my feelings. Under any circumstances, the performance would not have appeared commonplace; but at a moment like this, sounds which alone were the soul and essence of poetry, borne to my ear so softly, so unexpectedly, entranced my senses, till I voluntarily exclaimed—

“Can any mortal mixture of earth’s mould

Breathe such divine, enchanting ravishment?

Sure something holy lodges in that breast

That with these raptures moves the vocal air!”

Not a breath ruffled the calm, swelling ocean. The rays of a departing sun gilded every object around me, with a mellow lustre. A scene of such expanse and grandeur completed the effect which the music had wrought upon me; and I was overpowered with the tenderest emotions. Visions of Home and its happy associations, came upon me in rapid succession. But these “thick-coming fantasies” were verging me towards the melting mood. To hide my weakness, I entered into a sociable dialogue with one of my fellow passengers.

“Yes—a very delightful voice,” he observed in answer to an observation of mine.

“Is she ill?—I have not seen her at the dining table,” said I; for I felt more than ordinary interest in her.

“Delicate, I presume, she prefers the solitude of her cabin.”

“Ah, yes: her voice indicates a pensive disposition.”

“Just hers, exactly, sir.”

“Then you are acquainted with her?” I observed.

“I ought to be,” said my travelling acquaintance.

“Is she young?”

“Yes—about nineteen.”

“And pretty?”

“Beautiful, I think.”

Now I really began to imagine I was deeply in love. This unknown songstress had created strange sensations in me. I had some thoughts of asking an introduction; but my acquaintance was almost too slight with my new friend. After a moment’s thought, I observed—

“I should like to know her.”

“Would you? I shall introduce you, sir, with pleasure,” was the generous reply.

“In fact,” I whispered, drawing my quondam acquaintance aside, “to tell you the truth, I am very much in love with her!”

“The devil you are!” cried he, with a hearty laugh.

“Yes—I fancy she is a most fascinating woman.”

“Ah, you may say that,” replied Mr. Templeton, whose name I discovered on the corner of his pocket handkerchief.

“Shall we go down now?” said I, for I was very anxious to see her.

“Just as you please;” and we were soon in the presence of the fair unknown. She was quite as beautiful as I expected. Mr. Templeton having learned my name, presented me with due ceremony—“Mr. Weston, I’ll introduce you to my wife. Mrs. Templeton, allow me to introduce to you Mr. Weston.”

I was thunderstruck! Mr. Templeton enjoyed a hearty laugh at my confusion; but I was too cruelly disappointed to join in it. Making the best apology in my power, I hurried upon deck to conceal my chagrin. It is needless to add that during the rest of the voyage I kept aloof from all company—especially that of the fascinating Mrs. Templeton.

I shall not dwell upon my tour through Europe. I spent the winter in France; and proceeded thence through Spain to Italy. Nearly a year was devoted to this part of my continental ramble. After my visit to Italy I embarked for England, whence I proceeded to the highlands of Scotland. I spent an adventurous season here; and set sail for America. Three years of my early life thus glided away. On my journey home, I passed through W——. Captain Wilton, I learned, had died about a year previously, of an apoplectic stroke. Corinna had married a country merchant, a month after my departure. Her fortune was only nominal; the Captain having deeply involved himself in debt; but she made amends to her disappointed spouse by presenting him, a few months after their marriage, with a fine pair of twins. So much for the charms of lucre!

My old friend Desmond informed me of various changes which had taken place during my absence. I shall only allude to one or two, in which the reader may feel an interest.

Mr. Martagon, the poet, won the heart of a Southern lady, rich, accomplished and beautiful. The natural result was marriage; although, in extenuation, he wrote a poem, in the style of Ovid, showing that such a course was necessary at a certain period of life.

Miss Emily Melville became a nun; and enjoyed thenceforth the quiet charms of a life of peace and devotion.

      “——Waking as in sleep,

She seemed but now a lovely dream;

A star that trembled o’er the deep,

Then turned from earth its tender beam.”

My early flame, Miss Virginia Melville, at length found one whose talents she admired—whose virtues and personal gifts won her affection. She discovered that love, with all its follies, is neither unnatural or improper; and in yielding her hand to the possessor of her heart, found that the greatest source of happiness, in this life, is the pure and sacred affection of two devoted souls.

And now, kind reader, a word more and we are done. Impressed with the belief that a faint heart never would procure me a wife, I managed to get rid of my timidity as age progressed; and popped the question at various times. But, alas! some objected that my hair was getting gray—others that my complexion was too dark—and one cruel little beauty told me I looked better as a bachelor, than I would as a husband. So here I am, verging to a very uncertain age, with every prospect of a life of single blessedness. I can only say to those of my fair readers, who are opposed to bachelorship, that I am not in fault; and that it is in their power to remedy the evil by addressing me a word of hope.

To all who have found anything amusing or interesting in these memoirs thus far, I beg leave to remark that when I am snugly settled, enjoying the sweets of matrimony, I shall present them with the third and last book, of the Misfortunes of a Timid Gentleman.

See September Number.





The Menura Superba, a species of the Bird of Paradise, is also called the Lyre Bird, from the perfect resemblance of the tail to an ancient lyre. Its powers of song are very great. It commences singing in the morning, and gradually ascends some eminence as it sings.—Shaw’s Zoology.

  Bird of the forest, thy form is fair

As a summer cloud on the evening air,

And the golden plumage upon thee lies

In tintings rich as a rainbow’s dyes;

Yet fairer wert thou when thy form, at first

From the hands of God like a sunbeam burst,

When the velvet shades of the forest glooms

Were lit with the light of thy golden plumes,

And angel eyes as they passed were turned

To the place where thy plumy glory burned.

But Sin, that with curse upon all hath lain,

Has dimmed thy gloss with many a stain;

And the summer’s heat, and the winter’s storm

Have blighted and blasted thy early form.


  Bird of the forest, thy song is sweet

As breezes that summer wavelets greet,

And thy liquid notes melt into one,

Like hearts of lovers in unison.

Yet sweeter far were thy tones that broke

The spell of silence when Eden woke,

And angel forms on their plumes delayed,

To list to thy notes ’mid the garden shade;

And, ceasing to sweep their chords of fire,

In wonder gazed on thy mimic lyre.


  Since the eve when the stilly grove was stirred

By the voice of God in the garden heard,

And the cherubs waved the fiery sword

At Eden’s gate ’gainst its banished lord—

Since the brow of the guilty Earth was bent

’Neath the sentence of sin’s dread punishment,

A spell of woe on thy heart has lain,

Sorrow has saddened thy dulcet strain;

And the grief of the exile that pines alone

Is heard in the breathing of every tone.


  Still pour thy song; and still mount higher

With the day-god. Bird of the plumy lyre!

And know as thou pourest thy saddened strain,

That the meek heart is purified by pain,

And at length will rest on a palmy shore,

Where grief and suffering are no more.

In that sweet land from all sorrow free,

There’s a place of bliss, lone bird, for thee;

With the beasts of the field and the birds of the shade,

Immortal as first when God had made.

There shall the strains of thy music flow

In a ceaseless stream, without note of woe;

And the gloss of thy pinions forever play

In the glorious beams of eternal day.






I perceive with regret that it has of late become fashionable among the critics and mediocre authors, on both sides of the water, to decry German literature. Having rifled the gems—and bright and precious are they—the casket is now to be kicked aside as useless lumber. Even Blackwood—so long an oracle almost of the literary world—even Kit North himself, than whom a better man or truer poet never existed—has turned cynic and snarler in his old age, and after having marched side by side with Scott, Göethe, Byron, Coleridge, Schiller, Schlegel, and Shelley, through the brightest era of literature that has dawned and blazed upon the world since Johnson, has at last sunk to the level of a literary parvenu, and laughs at German literature! He should not have done it! I tell you, Christopher, that the inspiration of a century was concentrated in a few mighty brains, which, within the last century, have returned to dust. For another hundred years to come, human intellect will seldom rise above the mere practical concerns of life—railroads, manufactures, and machinery. Practical science and natural philosophy will progress; but not that sublime and immediate gift of God, the embodying of the Ideal Perfect. The old world is exhausted. Greece, and her mouldering monuments of classic beauty—Rome, and her magnificent mementos of the shadowy past—Spain with her high romance, and Asia with her gorgeous grandeur—who will venture again to explore? Chateaubriand, Byron, De Stäel, Moore, Rogers—are not such names barriers to frighten all aspirants? No—not till America—the new world—becomes rich and settles herself down in quiet grandeur—not till her thousand mountains, her mighty lakes, her stupendous cataracts, and her boundless prairies, become invested with the magic of intellectual association—not until history begins to lose itself in dreamy and indistinct fable, to cast a vague interest over every charmed spot—will the bright-winged Ideal rouse from her sleeping nest. She shrinks from every thing practical, palpable, and common-place, as the rainbow loses its hues as it approaches the earth.

Let us then cherish and protect the thoughts and aspirations which these mighty minds have bequeathed us. Never did I think to find Wilson depreciating German literature. He is old, and should almost fear that posterity will retort upon him! A remnant of the old worshippers of the Ideal yet remain, haunting the ploughed fields of modern improvement, like the scattered and timid deer which are sometimes seen bounding along the margin of civilization. Like the White Lady of Avenel, they are year by year fading away—the golden zone which binds their misty drapery is becoming smaller and smaller—the clack of the useful mill, or the clashing of machinery, drowns their voices at their favorite fountains; and they are forced to shut up the beautiful visions which haunt their breasts, in the deep sources of emotion which glow and bubble in silence.

The source of our most exquisite happiness is the cause of our keenest sufferings. The constant and feverish search after perfection soon disgusts the seeker. Expecting every thing for which the heart panteth, we rush onward from disappointment to despair. Hope’s false mirror is reversed; and pleasure appears as much diminished as it was before enlarged.

He who is blest with an organization in which Ideality holds a conspicuous place, will be sure to form a complete system of metaphysics, graduated upon its impulses. If he be permitted to inhale the odor of the German Ideology, or of Platonism in its sublime beauty, he will thence be satisfied; and will yield up his own dreamings to the more powerful enchantments which the beautiful dead have thrown around him—for Ideality is the least conceited of the feelings. It is only proud of its capacity to enjoy.

It was my fortune to be born and educated on the banks of the Hudson, where the noble river makes a long sweep westward, affording now an excellent landing for steamboats; but which, when I first snuffed up the free mountain air, resounded to nought but the wild warbling of the merry birds, or the occasional halloo of the far-off husbandman, as he urged his reluctant plough through the rich soil. There is now a nail-factory on the very spot where I used to stand, watching the glorious sunrise as its golden light filtered through the trees which crowned the eastern hill, and lit up the joyous brook which danced at my feet—while I felt that the broad and whirling river at my back, was leaping and quivering in the gleam. Each tiny grot and harbor which my young imagination erst peopled with denizens from the land of dreams, now resounds to the uncouth “clink of hammers,” or the sacrilegious wheezing of a steam-engine! When I last visited my native village—’tis ten years ago—to seek once more the remembered haunts of childhood, I found a railroad dépôt on the very spot where the church in which I was christened once stood, and a cotton factory on my former bathing-ground by the margin of my dear old lake.

Vexed and disappointed, I flung myself along an old heap of logs which had escaped the demon of improvement, and were still in their old position, crumbling quietly and decently to dust. Here I lay until the sun clambered awkwardly down the western sky, and the shadows of evening came out from their hiding places to meet the bat and owl, and hold their nightly revels in the moonshine. Gradually I sunk into a new and pleasing state of existence. I had been reading “Undine,” a literary gem of so pure and perfect a form and structure, that the only wonder is how it should have been created by the mere spontaneous working of the imperfect human brain. It is now ten years since I read it—nor have I presumed to look into a modern “translation,” of which I have heard—and yet you shall see how well I remember it.

Undine is the favorite child of a water-goddess, and like all fairies with whom I was ever acquainted, holds her ethereal attributes only at the expense of her natural affections, and becomes mortal at the touch of man. Well—her mother being an exception of a fairy woman, has no small degree of curiosity in her composition, and places this darling daughter of hers under the protection of an old anchorite who lived in a beautiful green island, all alone, as he thought; but he was mistaken, as you shall see: for this very island was the most frequent haunt of the fairies, gnomes, salamanders, and other such grave and respectable people—a sort of coffee-house, in fact, where they met nightly to talk over the politics of Elfinland, criticise the Queen’s last head-dress, laugh at Puck’s latest epigram, toss off their bumper of “mountain dew,” and stagger soberly to bed under the violet.

And so, in this wild, fragrant solitude—unknown to vulgar eyes and therefore unsoiled and untrampled upon—grew up this flower in all the luxuriant beauty of mortality, softened and spiritualized by her yet immortal nature. And, as the grape is most luscious and tempting the very moment ere it is tainted by the sun’s unhallowed kisses, and drops, a disgusting thing, from the green and immortal vine, so she grew ripe with loveliness and so intense in beauty, that, Narcissus like, she fell enamored of her own sweet image, as it was reflected in the pure spring sacred to the innate Ideal which bubbled within her own bosom. The old hermit marked anxiously and tenderly the growth of his young charge: and when, in the evening time—when the rose’s bosom swelled and panted beneath the night wind’s passionate embrace—she came and kissed his brow and nestled her beautiful curly head in his bosom, the old man was wild with joy, and his heart beat again as it did in youth, like the sleeping tide awakened to convulsions by the gentle moon.

But anon a brave and beautiful knight—whose ancestral castle still frowns above the Rhine, parting reluctantly, like a decaying beauty, one by one, year after year, with its fair proportions—came dashing through the foam to our dainty islet. He had been hunting in the forest; and a terrible storm coming up—no doubt set on foot by the mischievous fairies, who, like all other supernatural beings, are accused of frequently overturning the economy of a whole world to advance some particular whim of their own—he rode wildly through the intricate labyrinths of the woods for some hours to no purpose, and at length gave up the reins to his noble steed, who bore him wherever he would: and, landing on our beautiful island, the knight saw the twinkle of the anchorite’s torch, which he had lighted to tell his rosary at the midnight hour. The stranger was kindly welcomed, and the hermit’s homely fare cheerfully set before him.

And now, out peeped Undine—the little rogue—from her fairy slumbers, with her night-dress scarce hanging about her beautiful shoulders, and her large eyes dazzling and sinking into shade like the opal. Such visions may have broken upon Guido’s dreams, ere yet his hand had been trained by art to grasp the impalpable lightning of his mind, and chain it to the canvas. In vain the old man pleaded and expostulated—nay once in an angry tone commanded her to go back instantly. I wish you could have seen her then. It was like the uncoiling of a beautiful snake, disturbed in its playfulness by the rash intruder’s foot. With eye-balls darting fire—throat swelling and falling with beautiful rage—and every movement indicating the contortions of a fiend, who had in vain endeavored to disguise himself in the robes of spiritual beauty—she rudely pushed the old man aside, sprung lightly into the room, and stood, in an attitude of wild and timid repose, directly in front of the stranger knight.



And the knight, being entranced with the supernatural beauty of Undine, rushed eagerly towards her with his arms extended, as if he would clasp her to his bosom; but she shrunk from his approach like the sensitive plant, which thrillingly feels, yet dares not meet, man’s touch—and the eager knight embraced the empty air.

When I was a little child, I once tried to catch a beautiful bird that sat singing in a green bush; but when my hand, certain of its victim, closed to grasp it, a gleam of loveliness shot across my eyes—a wild burst of joyous melody smote my ears—and that bird like a midnight dream, passed from my sight forever. Hope ceased her guardian watch, and as she turned her face from me, threw deep black shadows far into my heart. So felt the strange knight, as he stood with extended arms motionless and eyes gazing wildly in the direction whence Undine had vanished, until the good old hermit came and laid his hand upon the youth’s shoulder, and spoke kindly to him—for he knew that his guest was in a charmed spell, and could no more control his thought.

So he led the knight, as he would have done a child, to a beautiful arbor at the bottom of the garden, where the moon-beams had stolen through the vine leaves, and were dallying with the dew—for the tempest had suddenly ceased, and the majestic night had come forth uncovered, to hold her starry court—and pointed to a rustic bed made of dry leaves and moss. Then he blessed him and departed—and the stranger slept sweetly beneath the sheltering wings of night. But it was his body alone that slumbered: for no sooner had he closed his eyes than a thousand faces, radiant with smiles and witching tenderness, clustered around him—and, oh rapture! among them was Undine, who came joyously towards him, and flung herself confidingly into his arms; and, as she looked up in his face, he thought he had passed the cloudy shadows which separate earth from heaven, and was already in the abode of immortal bliss.

But I will not protract my story. The knight fell impetuously in love with the little fairy girl, who told him that she had sacrificed her immortality out of pure love for him, and promised him every delight that physical or intellectual longing could possibly conceive—so long as he was faithful to her: and the little witch kept her word, and had told him the truth, too, as you shall presently see—for her father, Kuhleborn, and all the rest of her fairy acquaintances, gradually forsook her, and she held no more communion with the winged spirit of the ideal world, save with that one who is ever near the object of her anxiety and love—her mother! Aye, that fairy mother, in the still star-light, when Undine slept like a rose upon the bosom of her lord, would come and fan her with her musical wings, and breathe fragrance over her, and spangle her hair with tears of love and fondness—and then the knight would wake and kiss them up, and fold her more closely to his breast; and the mother would glide noiselessly away, and sit in pleasant sadness by the river’s bank, until the garish day-light frightened her back to her haunts in the deep forest.

Well—this lasted for some time; the old hermit sanctioning with his smiles the endearments of the fond pair; for he knew that Undine’s only chance of happiness was in the constancy of the stranger knight—for she had forfeited her immortal nature, and trusted all her rich treasure of hope and happiness to a human love! How precious the cargo! how frail the bark! what a little tempest will shatter this slight vessel, and strew the glittering fragments of its freight upon the sands!

Anon came a gallant array of knights from his father’s court, to conduct our bewildered lover back to life. Congratulations upon his safety, and the evident joy which dwelt upon the features of his friends, at length subdued him, and he consented to return to the gay world. He sought once more his Undine in her favorite bower; and as he approached, a strain of most exquisite music stole upon his ear. He listened, and heard the voice of his own—his beloved—pour forth her soul:

“Farewell, farewell! ye dreams which were my being,

  And are no more—at least, no more to me;

I see ye dimly from my presence fleeing—

  I know—I know—ye never more can be

Solace or joy of mine! How weak to trust

Undying love like mine to mortal formed of dust!


“Farewell, farewell! ye bright-winged sister spirits,

  Immortal in your beauty and your truth!

I cannot envy ye—my soul inherits

  A dowry dearer than immortal youth,

E’en from the fulness of my present joy,

While yet I linger near my beauteous island-boy!


“Ah! for one thrill of love to wring with bliss

  The delicate fibres of a heart like mine,

I’d pay again the price I pay for this!

  And, though for me no more the stars shall shine,

Or flowers around their odorous breath distil,

Or nightly revels on the moon-lit hill


“Awake me with their echoes—yet the sense

  Of human love, and that I was adored

With warm and human energy, shall dispense

  Fragrance immortal o’er me, when I’ve poured

The essence of my being out, and died—

The victim of immortal love and mortal pride!”

Wildly he rushed into the arbor, and clasped the fairy woman over and over to his breast—swearing and protesting most vehemently that he would only go and see his father and receive his blessing, and his mother’s kiss, and his sister’s farewell embrace, and then straightway return to the island and his fairy bride. And so, he again pressed her little bosom to his own, and kissed her lips, and she, poor thing! believed him—for she was nothing but a woman then, and had lost her fairy sagacity—and twining her beautiful limbs around him, as if she would grow there forever, she flooded his bosom with her pure warm tears; and gently removing her now insensible form to a green bank, strown with violets, and calling the good old hermit from the hut, he rushed out, and mounting his gallant steed, dashed wildly across the Rhine, and bent his way to his father’s castle.

And now I must let you into a very important secret; which is, that our gallant knight had already wooed and won the daughter of a powerful nobleman, whose castle was on the opposite bank of the river to his father’s,—and the marriage contracts and settlements had all been made and ratified by the old people. The lady was a pretty, unmeaning, blue-eyed girl, and knew no better than to fall in love according to law and the command of her father; and she therefore made no opposition, but merely waited in listless indifference, till her husband should release her virgin bosom from its bursting boddice, and lead her to the nuptial chamber. Of what that was, she had no possible idea—or, if she had, nobody was ever the wiser of it.

And so the knight dashed onwards, outstripping all his friends, until he arrived breathless at his father’s castle, scarce knowing where he was or where he had been. But all question or surmise was smothered in the joy occasioned by his return. Feasts and festivals were the order of the day—and our knight was eternally stuck alongside of the blue-eyed girl he was to marry. But he thought of nothing but a pair of large black orbs that used to dart lightning into his soul, when he was on the little island; and he never heard his intended bride utter a word without thrilling, by contrast, all over, with the memory of that fairy music which soothed him in Undine’s bower. And he saw her in his dreams—and even when he was wide awake, his soul still lingered round that charmed spot, hallowed by the presence of immortal love. But earthly ties are more palpable than the air-wrought links of the soul’s affections, and find a stronger hold in our gross and earthly nature; and so, day after day, the dream of his sweet Undine became dimmer and more fleeting; and at last, like one intoxicated with glorious wine who sinks to sleep dreamless, he tumbled listlessly back to earth, and his fairy bride was remembered no more. The day for his marriage was fixed, and the time was spent in a continual round of feasting and merry making.

Where was Undine all this time? What did she? Tell us all about her. In good time you shall hear the whole sad story.



Have you ever, dear reader, journeyed in the hot sun-shine, your brain literally broiling in the heat, and the dust driving, like a sleet-storm, into your face, filling your eyes, ears and throat with minute particles, which irritated you almost to phrenzy—and, when almost ready to drop down dead with fatigue, thirst and despair, suddenly seen, upon turning an abrupt angle in the path, a fair smiling woodland lawn stretching before you, and a cool, limpid stream of water gushing out from among the flowers, and a whole orchard of birds singing gaily in the branches? So, after the dusty and perplexing toils of life, return we to Undine and her strange fortunes.

Ah, she was a guilty thing—that beautiful and fairy girl! for what right had she to sacrifice her celestial nature, and become a mere thing of earth for worms to feed upon, just for a few mortal kisses? True, true—but those kisses! oh, what rapture lies hidden in the spell of that hour when the divine soul, with its cold immaculate brightness, yields to the warmer thrillings of terrestrial love, and melts away in ecstasy beneath the glance of passion-lighted eyes—the pressure of warm sweet lips! Immortals live in a bright round of perpetual purity and lustre. No o’erwrought heaving of the breast—no momentary thrilling of agonising bliss—no melting climax of joy, concentrating in its burning focus a whole life of hope and aspiration—repays the weary soul for all her watchings. Undine had drunk of the intoxicating draught till her lips grew to the goblet.

Ah, who can blame her? Who has not tasted moments of earthly bliss so intense that were immortality’s brightest visions spread palpably before him, he would spurn them all?

Soon after the knight left the little island, our good old hermit, upon going to Undine’s apartment, as was his wont, saw her not. He searched every where—the garden, the river bank, the thicket which surrounded his little plantation, were all examined in vain. She had fled away upon the wings of love, and, panting with toil and exhaustion, came at last to her knight’s castle, and ran like lightning through the court. What saw she? Lights were glancing in every niche,—loud and boisterous noises of merriment and gaiety echoed through the passages—and, bracing her little heart with the strength of despair, Undine rushed wildly to the great saloon, and saw the knight—her own beloved—him for whose love Heaven and its joys she had lightly thrown away—leading the pretty blue-eyed German girl to the altar. The white-robed priest was there—and, as he completed the ceremony, he raised his unconscious hands and blessed them in the name of the virgin. And the harp and tambour struck up their wild music—and away fled the bride and bride-groom with the joyous throng of revellers to the dance.

Undine was not yet all a woman. Revenge, as it were the dying spark of her immortal nature, burst brightly up in her bosom; and, rushing wildly out into the forest, she fell upon her knees and cried vehemently for her mother. She was at her side, and gazing wistfully and fondly upon her, ere the echoes had ceased whispering in the woods.

“Execute me this first and only prayer, dear, dear mother!” said Undine—“and forever I release you from the charge of your most miserable child!”

“What would you, sweet?”

“Strike him dead!—aye! but wait——” and her eyes flashed and her whole form seemed convulsed with demoniac passion—“wait till he enfolds her to his heart, as he has done me so often—and kisses her—hell and furies! as he has kissed me so many thousand times—then strike him, mother—let him wither in her arms, like a dead viper, until they shall both sink in base, earthly corruption together. Mother! mother! grant me this, as you love your child!”

On went the marriage feast—and never had Rhine’s blue waters wafted gayer notes or wilder revelry than echoed from the old baronial castle, where our young knight was immolating the beauteous dove that had nestled in his bosom on the altar of worldly pride and miscalled duty.

But when the feast was over, and the bride was led blushing to her chamber, a strange thrill shot through the bosom of the knight as he was about to follow, and he almost staggered into the room. The bride, frightened at his convulsive motions, ran and put her naked arms about him, and he unconsciously leaned his head upon her bosom—when suddenly a terrific burst of thunder shook the castle to its foundation, and the face of the knight became livid and distorted—and, even as Undine had prayed, he withered away ghastily in his bride’s arms, and they both fell shrieking to the earth.

The morning sun rose clear and beautiful over the old ivy crowned castle—but there were mourning and tears beneath that venerable roof; and when the sun slanted across the sighing forest tops at evening, they bore the young and noble knight to his peaceful home, and laid him to rest among the flowers of the green valley—and when all had departed with sorrowful footsteps from the spot, and the stealthy moon came with her bright limbs scantily clad in gauzy clouds, to meet her lover on the hill, she looked upon the celestial form of Undine, bending in sorrow and repentance o’er her lover’s grave—and the dew and the star-light mingling together, dissolved her frail and beautiful outline, until it mixed with the invisible odors that played above the flowers—and the next day there was bubbling a bright spring at the knight’s head, the waters of which, diverging into two graceful channels, clasped like loving arms the form of him Undine so fatally had loved.

And now, thou beautiful spirit, farewell forever! In thy companionship have we found solace from the weight of mortality’s burthen—and while sympathising with thy unhappy and yet blissful fate, have learned to feel that to preserve an immortal nature, it is necessary to forget that we have mortal passions.





It must be life which sits upon that brow

  So calm—so full of mind’s nobility:

For I do gaze with homage even now,

  As if her living lustre beamed on me.

There sleep the folds of her unrivalled hair—

  There bloom those lips whose charm no words may speak,

And her divinest smile, which mocks at care,

  Blends sweetly with the tints which clothe her cheek.


Rich rooms were lighted, and I wandered long,

  Seeking a solace with the fair and bright;

But ever, as I moved amid the throng,

  Thy large eyes haunted with their gentle light.

Ev’n through my fevered sleep, in wildest dreams,

  Those features all seem’d over me to brood:

Alas! when midnight fails to hide those gleams,

  How vainly seeks the heart a solitude!


But she was there—thy living counterpart:

  Why gaze on thee, when I might look on her?

Ah, often in this world, the mourning heart

  Seeks least, thro’ fear, the things it would prefer!

For when unto my lip there rose the jest,

  And I seemed coldest, to the throng around,

Then most love burned within my wearied breast,

  And strongest, with its chain, my heart was bound.


As o’er Italian seas the “Vesper Hymn”

  Comes gently:—so her voice in music stole;

My tongue did falter, and mine eyes grew dim;

  For fainting joy was throned within my soul.

I all forget the end; how we did part;

  Or if she frowned on me—or if she smiled;

I slept with her bright image in my heart,

  And the fair morning found me chained—beguiled!





Ask not for life, ’tis vain at best,

A period fraught with bitter woe,

A gaudy fiction when ’tis blest,

A constant struggle here below;

But Death! it bears the weary home,

Where sin and sorrow cannot come.


To die in youth, to ’scape the pain

That like a shadow marks our way,

To die, aye ’tis to live again

In brighter regions far away;

Where unknown glories ceaseless roll

Their floods of pleasure o’er the soul.


We weep above the early dead,

And crown the scanty grave with flowers;

We feel affliction when we tread

Amid the churchyard’s silent bowers:

But could we hear the spirits’ song

How blithely should we move along?


Free’d from the mockery of earth,

In the Almighty’s glory drest,

How mean appears their spot of birth?

How beautiful their place of rest?

Their voices ring ’mid angel choirs,

And love in sweetness tunes their lyres.


Then ask not life, but joy to know

That sinless they in heaven shall stand;

That death is not a cruel foe

To execute a wise command.

’Tis ours to ask, ’tis God’s to give.—

We live to die—and die to live.





I have a tale thou hast not dream’d—

If sooth—its truth must others rue.


It was one of those lovely autumnal days of which we all often dream, and so fondly wish to enjoy, when lying upon the bed of sickness; such a day as we love to dwell upon in imagination, when we are closely housed and sitting by a sparkling fire during the long freezing winter nights.

Well, it was such a day as this that my friend Ned K—— and I started through the rich country which lies north of Dayton. The sun was just rising, glorious and unobscured by cloud or mist, his early rays dancing gaily upon the parti-colored foliage, like millions of those little bright elfins which people the glowing imagination of the oriental improvisitore.

Feeling the influence of the early morning air upon our spirits, we pricked forward our steeds; and as the noble animals danced over the earth, our hearts leaped to our lips, and we gave forth their joyousness in the glowing language which the poets numbered before us.

We gazed up into the deep blue vault of heaven above us; we saw the moon sailing along in cloudless majesty, and the stars peeping through their lingering drapery of darkness, and we raised our voices, and in gladness and lightness of heart, we shouted aloud. And the birds—those ceaseless lutes of the summer morning air—warbled a response.

We soon became short of breath; our lungs had expanded too freely, and our blood was too fiery after its slow and even circulation during the lethargy of the late night—our spirits boiled over, and like everything which boils over, they soon sank into a contrasting calmness, and we discovered that we were riding side and side with all of the sedateness of a Quaker preacher when he arrived in sight of the meeting house.

“How far does your old uncle reside from here?” I asked anxiously of my friend Ned.

“Be patient, my good fellow, and we will soon get there.”

“I wish we were there now, I am so anxious to see the old hero. You say he was an active participator in some of the principal incidents of our revolution?”

“He was, and that old musket which I showed you yesterday, accompanied him in many of his adventures. From the first bloodshed at Lexington till the final capture at Yorktown, did that hero bare his breast to the storm of the revolution. His blood has bathed the soil of many a battle-field, and innumerable are the hair-breadth perils which he has passed through. You are partial to these tales of perils, L——, and you shall now be gratified to your heart’s content.”

My heart leaped with joy, and I began already to calculate the time and expense which it would require to write a volume of his adventures; and what edification it would be to the devourers of omnivorous literature.

“Is he a great talker?” I immediately asked, for, but a short time previous I had made several trips to see pioneers solely for the purpose of committing to paper their adventures; and others, after much trouble I had reached their domicils, I found as uncommunicative as a Saracenic mute.

“He loves to talk, and nothing pleases him more than to have such patient and willing listeners as you are; with you he will talk from morning till night.”

I rubbed my hands with delight; the volume which had danced before my imagination for a few minutes past, now swelled in size from an octavo to a folio; and my impatience to see the hero, almost became insupportable.

“There is one failing which my old uncle has,” continued my friend, “and that is, he possesses a very exuberant imagination.”

“So much the better,” I exclaimed, “then his recitation will not continue on that dead level, which gives such prolixity to a narrative; now and then a flight of the imagination adds a marvellous spice to such things; a single narration, you know, only draws the picture and shades it—it is left for imagination to paint it.”

“But you do not precisely understand me; I mean that my uncle—who is getting old now, you know—is in the habit, if allowed to commence in that way, to dwell for hours together upon the most marvellous adventures, which he draws solely from imagination, and confounds with his real ones; but leave this to me, and I will set him on the right track; by the way, there is one incident connected with his very mutable life which I must prevail upon him to relate; I call his imagined adventures yarns—so let us ride forward, for yonder is the house.”

We dashed down the long lane—lined on each side with towering poplar trees, whose pointed tops reached far above the surrounding trees—and we soon stood at the door of the old soldier’s house.

We dismounted, and giving our horses to an attendant, we entered the house, and the first person that we saw was the old veteran himself. He hurried towards us—by aid of a stout cane—and bade us welcome.

Truly was the old man’s appearance equal to my ideal of him; his form—though somewhat bent with age—had once, I could easily perceive, been tall and sinewy; and his limbs still retained a degree of that muscular power, which had so repeatedly contributed to bring him safe from melées, where weaker men had perished. The old man’s hair was white as the snow, and accumulating years had continued to thin it, till only two small locks were left.

With sparkling eyes and animated features, the veteran grasped our hands, and gave us a true soldier’s welcome; and then leading us to a small room, he introduced us to his sister—a venerable and corpulent matron of fifty—and then to what was still more pleasurable, a smoking breakfast.

After partaking of as luxuriant a déjeuner as ever caused an epicure’s eyes to dance, we wandered around the farm—the old soldier limping along with us—and after bestowing the necessary eulogiums upon the fine appearance of his Berkshire pigs, his imported stallion, and his Durham cattle, we returned to the house; and then partaking of a glass of cider wine, (which excellent fluid needs but a high price to become as regal as champaigne) we got the old man seated.

“This young friend of mine,” began my cautious companion, “is passionately fond of revolutionary tales, and as he is now engaged in writing sketches embodying all the adventures of the revolution,” here Ned gave me a meaning look, “he wishes to hear a few of your adventures; couldn’t you gratify him, uncle?”

The veteran propped his rheumatic leg upon a chair, and laid aside his cane.

“Ha! he wishes to hear tales of the wars, does he? Well, then, ’spose I tell him about the death of poor old Joshua Brews——”

“Oh, no, uncle! I think something less melancholy will please him.”

“I don’t like melancholy tales,” I said.

“Then, ’spose I tell him about the fight that Ben Bunker and me had——”

“That I know wouldn’t please him,” and Ned quickly whispered in my ear “a yarn.”

“Ah, I have it now; tell him about ‘The Rescue at the Eleventh Hour.’ ”

“I hate to tell that; my blood freezes whenever I think of it.”

“ ’Tis surprising,” thought I, “how compatible it is for old men to delight in lies.”

“Which of the tales mentioned would you rather hear; we will leave the decision to you, won’t we, uncle?”

“Certainly, my son; but recollect that the fight which Ben Bunker and me had is mighty entertaining.”

“I have no doubt of it, sir; still, as I have taken a fancy to ‘The Rescue at the Eleventh Hour,’ you would oblige me by relating that.”

The old veteran bowed, swallowed a glass of wine, and commenced the tale.

“The days of which I now speak, my son, were pregnant with perils. When we retired to our beds at night, we knew not what the morning might bring forth. We might hear of the death of a father, mother, or sister, by the ruthless hand of a British forager, or equally sanguine tory. Or else our ears would be greeted with the wail of some outcast, who had travelled all night to flee the ravagers of his property. Every hour was pregnant with news, either in favor or against the interests of our country. The British, at the time of which I speak, were overrunning the land, devastating the fairest farms, and murdering or making captive their inhabitants.

“I was then young—but twenty years had passed over my head, and, of course, I possessed all the sanguine nature of youth: added to which, my soul was kindled to anger by the horrid accounts which reached us daily of British brutality. My father, who had fought in the old French and Indians wars, had taught me to despise oppression, but to worship freedom.

“Early impressions seldom fade from the mind, but become more vivid with the increase of our years, and so had the sentiments which my father had taught me.

“The next farm to that of my father’s, belonged to Charles Worthington, who had but one child, a daughter, about three years younger than I was. Even yet, after a lapse of fifty years, the blood bounds through my veins, and my heart heaves with an unusual emotion, as I think of that fair girl. Ah, she was surpassing fair, but yet her beauty was rivalled by her goodness of heart and her amiability. With a skin of the fairest white, deep blue eyes, forehead high and expansive, and features altogether classical, she was one whom any one could love; and, excuse me, my son, for indulging in reflections which may be of no interest to you, but these pictures, when they do arise in the memory, are still intensely vivid, while their being so long ago enacted, gives each small incident an interest with me, which to you may appear unworthy of a single thought.

“Lucy Worthington and I met, and we loved, and it was that deep love which casts its hue over all our future actions. It was the first love—when those whirlwind passions of the mind are first awakened to activity, and, like the sun rising over the landscape, throws its hues upon every object, and tinges them of its own peculiar color.

“For months Lucy and I were almost inseparable companions—we consumed the greater part of our days wandering in the fields and woods, gathering flowers and listening to each other’s words; and my greatest ambition was to please her, my only thoughts to elicit a smile of love from her bright eye. Thus passed away the days till the destroyer came.

“It was a bright morning in summer. The sun had just risen, and I was gazing upon its early rays, as they threw the shadows of the dancing foliage through the window upon the opposite wall; when I heard a distant crack of a gun, which was immediately followed by another, then another, and then others, in such quick succession that I could not count them.

“Suspecting that all was not right at our neighbor’s house, I sprang out of bed, hurriedly drew on my clothes, and, without speaking to any of our family, hastened over to Worthington’s. Before I reached the house I saw a blue smoke hanging over it; but not a human being was to be met; all was as lonely as a city of the dead. I leaped the fence and hurried to the house, and, oh! what a scene was suddenly presented to my sight! The father, the mother, and their only child, were stretched on the floor and weltering in their blood. The parents were dead, but the daughter—although evidently dying—still retained her speech and consciousness.

“Language would convey but a very faint impression of the agony which tortured my breast. I threw myself by her body and groaned aloud. It was the first misery which I had ever experienced, and it came upon me as the long accumulating avalanche upon the family of the mountaineer, and I was suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with misery; and in the poignancy of the moment I cried like a child. But that poor girl—although gradually dying—whispered hope into my ear, and pointing to heaven, she bade me gaze there, where we would, ere long, meet to be separated no more. And for the first time in my life, did I direct my thoughts to the footstool of the everlasting throne, and addressed a prayer to its King for the gentle soul which was about to be placed in his hands.

“ ‘Charles,’ she exclaimed faintly, as she observed my agony, ‘I am dying: let all this pass, for I forgive those who committed the deed, as I hope to be forgiven myself in heaven. Do not seek to retaliate upon those deluded soldiers, who know nothing but to obey the behests of their king; why this useless grief? You see that I do not weep, although the pale face of my poor old mother lies at my side,’ and she placed her pale hand upon the rigid face of her parent, and, despite her efforts to prevent it, a tear forced itself from under her eyelid, and rolled down her cheek, as she gazed upon those dear features, now calmed in death.

“ ‘Charles, I am going—I forgive—forgive—’ and thus she expired. I threw myself on her body and groaned aloud, but in a moment a thought flashed through my mind, and immediately I was as calm as a statue. I arose and then sinking on one knee, I swore a solemn oath, and I prayed that the Dispenser of life might grant me mine together with health, till I should have fulfilled that oath, and so long as life lasted, I vowed to devote all my energies and means to its consummation; and then, with a pale face but a calm brow, I hastened home. Knowing that those who had committed this diabolical deed, would travel rapidly for fear of that just retribution which they knew would follow them, I hurriedly seized my rifle, and taking with me but a few bullets, I rapidly followed the tracks of the murderers. I ran at my greatest speed during the whole of that day. Their tracks led me into the depths of a thinly settled country, but the soil being loose, I could trace the deep impressions of their horses’ feet with the greatest ease. At dark I had not overtaken them, but with all the indefatigableness of one seeking revenge for a deadly and vital injury, I now groped my way over a rocky country, often stooping to examine whether I was still on their tracks. Finally the country became so rocky that I entirely lost all traces of my victims, and with a brain burning from disappointed revenge, I prepared to pass the night under a ledge of rocks which protruded in the road.

“I had heard the name of the leader of this party, and although I could not seek reparation at the present, yet I prepared to lie down with a stern determination to follow him to the four corners of the earth before I would forego the revenge I had in store for him. With a heart aching with grief and disappointment, I prepared to throw myself upon my flinty bed, when, casting my sight to the left, I observed a lurid hue dwelling upon the tops of some tall trees below me, and plainly indicating that a fire was burning beneath them. This fire might have been kindled by the very person whom I sought. I immediately shouldered my rifle, and, in my eagerness to reach the spot, nearly ran over the brow of a high precipice, down which had I fallen, I would have been dashed to atoms against the rocks below. Avoiding the impending danger by deviating to the right, I reached the level country, where travelling was comparatively easy, and started at a rapid gait for the distant light.

“The country—now so thickly settled—was almost a wilderness, and still abounded with wild and savage animals, which—as I was aware—seek their prey by night. I observed the strictest caution, lest some lurking panther should pounce upon me; and then, being necessitated to shoot it, I would alarm my enemies. By the greatest exertion, I avoided one of these animals, and in the course of several hours, I approached the fire. The country was studded thickly with giant oaks, whose matted branches and thick foliage cast a deep gloom beneath them; but from this contrast the fire appeared more brilliant, and shot far out into the surrounding darkness, a gleam of brightness.

“I neared the fire unobserved, but what were my sensations upon perceiving arrayed around it the very persons I sought. For the first time since morning, I felt a degree of hope swell my breast, as I gazed upon the murderers of all I loved.

“Ten horses were hobbled close by me, and scenting me if they did not see me, they snorted and gazed in the direction where I was hid, but their masters were so busily engaged in conversing and boasting over their day’s exploits, that they heard not these never-failing omens, that danger was nigh.

“The spirit of revenge grew strong in me as I beheld those whom I had labored all day to see; and that wish which troubled me now was, that I had not brought along with me a party sufficiently formidable to have taken them all prisoners, and thus revenge would be gratified by piece-meal. I was not long in deciding what to do. Observing the officer who commanded the party sitting among the rest, I singled him out as the first victim to be offered upon the altar of my vengeance. I cautiously cocked my gun, and taking a deliberate aim at his breast, I pulled the trigger—but the sparks missed the pan, and the gun did not go off. The men heard the noise, and several saw the sparks fly, and in a moment every man was on his feet, and gazing intently at the spot where I stood; but in a second of time I had re-cocked my gun, and taking another aim, I fired. The officer sprang up, screamed, and fell upon his face. With curses, several of the soldiers rushed forward towards the spot where I lay, but with superior woodsmanship I evaded them and fled into the depths of the woods, and taking a circuitous route, I came to the fire again at the other side. Every man had left in pursuit of me but two, who were busily stripping off the coat of the officer. I again fired and one of the soldiers fell. With a yell and a fearful oath, I was met as I turned to flee, by one of the soldiers who had been pursuing me.

“I drew a knife, the soldier drew his bayonet, and we engaged in a desperate encounter. Knowing that the noise we made would soon guide others to the spot, and that I would assuredly be captured, I commenced a retrograde movement for the purpose of effecting my escape, when I was clinched by an iron hand from behind, and the person missing at the same time a firm foot-hold, he fell to the earth, bearing me with him.

“Oh, how I struggled! how fearfully I wielded my knife! but it was not that I feared dying—what was life to me then? It was that I feared being foiled in my revenge, and with this fear uppermost in my mind, I hurled my knife about me with giant energy; with the maddened and thoughtless desperation of the panther, when she struggles for her screaming young, did I battle for my revenge; but now they rushed up upon every side—they threw themselves upon me—they bore me again to the earth, but this time senseless, and when I became conscious, I was lying on my back, and bound hands and feet.

“The soldier whom I had shot, died a few moments after receiving his wound; but the officer still survived, although mortally wounded—the ball having broke, in its course, the sternum and ribs, and passed directly through his lungs.

“The soldiers soon gathered around the spot where I lay—their eyes gleaming hate, and their rough features expressing all the atrocity of their nature.

“ ‘Accursed Yankee!’ exclaimed one, ‘would to God you were possessed of nine lives, that we might glut our hatred of you, by depriving you of each by inches,’ and the monster ground his teeth, and kicked me with such force as to nearly deprive me of breath.

“ ‘Depraved and blood-thirsty rebel!’ thundered another, ‘what fiend from hell tempted you to this diabolical act?’

“ ‘The same fiend which tempted you to murder my family,’ I answered.

“Immediately the man’s gaze of hatred began to soften in its expression, and my keen eyes detected a slight emotion dwelling, for an instant, upon his features, as he turned to the first speaker and muttered:

“ ‘I told you not to commit that murderous deed; still you would persist, and now you see how speedily retribution has winged its flight to you. By heaven, this man has served you justly, and ought not to perish for it.’

“ ‘No power save that of heaven can prevent his dying this day,’ muttered the other through his clenched teeth.

“ ‘Beware how you speak to me, sir,’ said the other; the man made an inclination of the head, and walked off.

“The young man—for he appeared to be no older than myself—again cast his glance upon me, and what a change was there in the expression of his eyes! It was like the mother’s glance when her sleeping infant lies upon her lap; or the father’s, as he looks for the last time upon his condemned son, who was the hope and the pride of his declining years.

“ ‘What age are you?’ he kindly asked.

“ ‘Had you not murdered all I held dear on earth, I would next autumn be twenty years old; as it is, I never expect to be older than nineteen years and nine months.’

“ ‘So young, and yet so determined and brave! It must not be; they shall not deprive you of life, when you might make such a powerful auxiliary to our cause. Listen to me, young stranger. Would you be willing to repudiate all your rebel prejudices and join the cause of your king, if you could obtain your freedom?’

“Life is sweet, and who would not at that age dissemble a little and play the hypocrite for such a precious boon? I pretended to undergo a great internal emotion, and spoke long of the glory and righteousness of our cause; but my policy at last made me a proselyte to his arguments, and I yielded to his proposal; and the young man left me. My eyes sought him constantly after that, and several times I discovered him in earnest conversation with the wounded officer. Towards noon the young man obtained an opportunity to speak with me.

“ ‘I have been trying,’ said he, ‘to prevail upon our officer to release you upon the conditions which I proposed this morning, but he obstinately refuses, and persists in making you the victim of his revenge; but be of good cheer. I think he cannot last long, his countenance momentarily changes, and when he dies I will free you at all hazards,’ and with these words he left me.

“An hour had not passed away when the young man’s suspicions were fulfilled. The officer was seized with the most violent paroxysm; his features worked fearfully, and it required several men to hold down his writhing limbs. Strange as it may appear to the tender-hearted, there was one who gazed upon that man’s terrible throes with feelings partaking of pleasure, although the sufferer was my fellow mortal. Under any other circumstances, I would have stood by that man’s side with tearful eyes, but the cause of my present stoicism is evident. The officer soon expired, and immediately after his burial I was set at liberty; and soon afterwards signed my name to an instrument binding me a liege subject and soldier of his Majesty King George.

“What a change was there now in the conduct of these soldiers towards me! Instead of the brutal language and fearful threats which they had hurled at me, they were now declared friends and ready to share with me their last morsel. We ate together, we drank each other’s health, and we slept upon the same blanket.

“The deeds which I had perpetrated, and which had deprived two of their number of life, were apparently forgotten, for they looked upon me now as a formidable addition to their party.

“Many an expression which dwells upon the risible faculties, belies the secret thoughts of the breast, and it was so with the glad expression which mantled my features as I travelled along with them, externally appearing joyful, but heavy and sad within.

“I did not neglect the oath which I had made; I had not forgotten the pale serene features of one whom I had ever worshipped, as they lay in the calmness of death; but whenever I closed my eyes those mild and fading eyes were before me, with their love and holy resignation vividly expressed, and their glow rapidly fading.

“ ‘The time will soon arrive,’ I thought as I looked upon my reckless comrades, ‘when you will all be stiffened in death, pale monuments of the revenge of one whom you have so vitally injured—thoughtless fools! do you imagine that I am but as a brute which perishes, that I can so soon forget the misery which you have caused me?’ And in the secret chambers of my breast there was a wild orgie of passions, in anticipation of the rich feast which my revenge would soon enjoy.

“The next morning we started over a mountainous country, committing several depredations on the way. With the rest I fired several valuable barns, for all of which I afterwards remunerated their owners. This depraved spirit upon my part gave great joy to my companions, and when we reached a section of the royal army under command of Cornwallis, I received a smile of approbation from the general, as reward for my loyalty.

“Now the wishes of my heart were about to be gratified. I was dispatched on a secret service, in company with several of the murderers of Lucy Worthington, and now I determined to put into execution that revenge, whose flame could no longer lie smothered in my breast.

“About sunset we arrived in a deep gorge—the bed of many a mountain torrent—where we prepared for our night’s lodging. At midnight I cautiously arose; the fire had died away to embers, and every thing around was wrapped in gloom. The deep and regular breathing of the sleepers promised me an uninterrupted opportunity for the execution of my purpose. I seized a pistol; the principal murderer lay locked in total unconsciousness of his fate. I cautiously drew near him, and placed the muzzle of the pistol against his temple, and even then the poor wretch smiled! Perhaps at that moment he was wandering in his dream to the home of his parents, and beheld the smiles of a glad mother, and felt upon his lips the warm kiss of a welcoming sister; or, perhaps, he imagined that he held in his arms the fragile form of some loved one, and smiled as he gazed upon the glow of her welcoming eye, and felt the sealing kiss of her love. Is it not happier to leave the world under these bright illusions than when the mind is awake, and cold judgment already calculating the chances of an immortal and happy future?

“I pulled the trigger; the loud explosion started every man to his feet, but with a yell of the wildest joy I cleared the spot, and soon was buried among the tangled bushes, which grew plentifully around.

“Now the deep-mouthed bay of a blood-hound, which we had brought with us, reverberated among the old rocks in the gorge, and soon I heard the voices of those who were following the animal, close by my lurking place. At once I comprehended my danger—that the dog was on my track, and with my teeth clenched, with desperate determination I rushed from my place of concealment, closely followed by the excited and enraged animal. In a few moments the dog reached me, and springing, seized me by the coat collar. I grasped him by the throat, and with all the nervous energy of one in my circumstance, I throttled him; but the furious animal—as if he was aware of the importance of his grip—retained his firm hold, despite my powerful efforts to free myself.

“The soldiers rushed up, and with many a fearful oath and rude blow, they forced my hands behind my body and securely bound them in that position; and then with furious cries of exultation they dragged me back to camp.

“In the morning I was unanimously condemned to be shot, but in all the plenitude of their mercy, they granted me two hours to make my peace with heaven.

“Now I was left alone with but my own thoughts for company. I was condemned and must die in two hours—but two short hours had I left, to take my leave of this world, and prepare for a voyage, I knew not where—to leave this world which had ever been before but a garden of roses. Then the dreadful truth at once flashed on my mind! to leave all, my father, mother, sisters, friends, and all those who had ever met me with a smile; whose roughest words were blessings, whose prayers were ever my own. Ah, how hard it is to die when the bright clouds of youth cluster around our horizon; when the mind is yet young and free from the diseases which the experiences of a rude world engender! When the physical faculties are all active, and most capable of contributing to our enjoyment; and when death appears but a monster to the young mind whose riper faculties teach us to hope for a glorious future.

“It is hard indeed, and the rapid approach of my last moments only enhanced my agony. The time drew nigh and I saw no hope of succor; and it was now that the dreadful thought intruded itself, that there was no longer hope—that I must die, and before many minutes more be but a pale bleeding corpse. My heart ached, my feelings grew insupportable, and I groaned aloud in the bitterest agony. Ah! the horrors of that moment! All the most poignant sufferings of a life time, if converged in one breast, could not have tortured more.

“While in this state of horror, I chanced to look towards the top of the rocks which lined the gorge, and with surprise I beheld the same young man who had previously saved my life. He caught my glance, and with his hand motioned me to silence, and then instantly disappeared. What could this mean? We had left that individual in the army when we left it. Let it mean what it might it augured well, and immediately a complete reaction of feelings took place in my breast. I became calm and apparently careless of my fate, for I felt that I had a friend close by, who was willing and able to save me.

“The time for the execution of my sentence arrived, and with a file of soldiers as a guard, I was led to the fatal tree. A bandage was brought forward, but I refused it, and bade them with a loud voice hurry with the execution. The file of soldiers, with loaded muskets, were drawn in a line fronting me, and I was bade to kneel.

“Now all was a deep silence; you might have heard a pin drop, and then was heard the voice of the one in command—‘Attention, men! make ready, take aim—fire’—and I rolled on the earth a bleeding corpse——.”


“That is one of my uncle’s yarns,” said my friend Ned.






Ye laughing nymphs! ye bright-ey’d girls!

    Triumphing in your beauty,

Who blush beneath the shining curls

That round your brows the zephyr furls,

    What kind of hearts will suit ye?


“True Valor’s heart,” says one anigh,

    “Upon his war-horse dashing—

That rous’d to fight will never fly,

With sword, and plume, and ardent eye,

    In battle brightly flashing.”


“Soft Pleasure’s heart,” another’s word,

    “Alive to each emotion—

That can be blythesome as a bird,

Caress or sigh, and oft be heard

    Proclaiming its devotion.”


“Ambition’s heart,” one maiden says,

    “That loves in strife to riot—

That spurns control in every place—

That rushes on its daring race,

    And rules ’midst life’s disquiet.”


“The generous heart,” says one fair elf,

    “That thrives amidst confusion—

That never hoards or life or pelf,

But gives its all, then gives itself,

    And revels in profusion.”


“The cheerful heart,” doth one declare,

    “With sense and wit united—

That joys in music, laughs at care,

Still pleased and mirthful every where,

    And never undelighted.”


“Proud Honor’s heart!” another cries,

    “That brooks no man’s dictation—

That’s quick to seek the hero’s prize,

And stand, though with the deed it dies,

    ’Gainst wrong and usurpation.”


“The constant heart!” says one fair maid,

    While blushes crown her beauty:—

“To ask for more I am afraid,

But take the heart that thus is swayed,

    And trust it for its duty!”


Sweet girls! If I might dare express,

    A word for your discretion,

’Twould be, that you should favor less

The flatterer’s, gamester’s, rake’s address,

    And man of mere profession.


Men’s lives are in their daily deeds—

    Thought oft disguises action.

Choose then the heart that clearly reads

Its glory where its duty leads,

    Amidst the world’s distraction.


To such resign’d, of that fair band

    Of daughters fit to cherish,

Each shall be cheer’d in heart and hand,

And feel love’s holy fires expand

    Till lost to things that perish.


Poetical Remains of the late Lucretia Maria Davidson, Collected and Arranged by her Mother: with a Biography by Miss Sedgwick. Lea and Blanchard: Philadelphia.

Some few months since, we had occasion to speak of “The Biography and Poetical Remains of the late Margaret Miller Davidson”—a work given to the public by Washington Irving. In common with all who read, we had been deeply interested in the narrative set forth. The portrait of the young and beautiful enthusiast, simply yet most effectively painted by one who touches nothing which he does not adorn, could not have failed to excite our warmest sympathies; and we dwelt upon the pleasing yet melancholy theme with a lingering delight. Of the biographical portion of the book we said, indeed, what every one says, and most justly—that nothing could be more intensely pathetic. In respect, however, to the “Poetical Remains,” the tone of our observations was not fully in accordance with that of the mass of our contemporaries. Without calling in question the extreme precocity of the child—a precocity truly wonderful—we were forced, in some slight measure, to dissent from that extravagant eulogium, which had its origin, beyond doubt, in a confounding of the interest felt in the poetess and her sad fortunes, with a legitimate admiration of her works. We did not, in truth, conceive it to be either honest or necessary, to mislead in any degree the public taste or opinion, by styling “Lenore,” as it exists, a fine poem, merely because its author might have written a fine poem had she lived. We emphasize the “might”; for the history of all intellect demonstrates that the point is a questionable one indeed. The analogies of Nature are universal; and just as the most rapidly growing herbage is the most speedy in its decay—just as the ephemera struggles to perfection in a day only to perish in that day’s decline—so the mind is early matured only to be early in its decadence; and when we behold in the eye of infancy the soul of the adult, it is but indulging in a day dream to hope for any farther proportionate development. Should the prodigy survive to ripe age, a mental imbecility, not far removed from idiocy itself, is too frequently the result. From this rule the exceptions are rare indeed; but it should be observed that, when the exception does occur, the intellect is of a Titan cast even to the days of its extreme senility, and acquires renown not in one, but in all the wide fields of fancy and of reason.

Lucretia Maria Davidson, the subject of the memoir now before us, and the elder of the two sweet sisters who have acquired so much of fame prematurely, had not, like Margaret, an object of poetical emulation in her own family. In her genius, be it what it may, there is more of self-dependence—less of the imitative. Her mother’s generous romance of soul may have stimulated, but did not instruct. Thus although she has actually given less evidence of power (in our opinion) than Margaret—less written proof—still its indication must be considered at higher value. Both perished at sixteen. Margaret, we think, has left the better poems—certainly the more precocious—while Lucretia evinces more unequivocally the soul of the poet. In our August number we quoted in full some stanzas composed by the former at eight years of age. The latter’s earliest effusions are dated at fourteen. Yet the first compositions of the two seem to us of nearly equal merit.

The most elaborate production of Margaret is “Lenore,” of which we have just now spoken. It was written not long before her death, at the age of fifteen, after patient reflection, with much care, and with all that high resolve to do something for fame with which the reputation of her sister had inspired her. Under such circumstances, and with the early poetical education which she could not have failed to receive, we confess that, granting her a trifle more than average talent, it would have been rather a matter for surprise had she produced a worse, than had she produced a better poem than “Lenore.” Its length, viewed in connexion with its keeping, its unity, its adaptation, and its completeness (and all these are points having reference to artistical knowledge and perseverance) will impress the critic more favorably than its fancy, or any other indication of poetic power. In all the more important qualities we have seen far—very far finer poems than “Lenore” written at a much earlier age than fifteen.

“Amir Khan,” the longest and chief composition of Lucretia, has been long known to the reading public. It was originally published, with others, in a small volume to which Professor Morse, of the American Society of Arts, contributed a Preface. Partly through the Professor, yet no doubt partly through their own merits, the poems found their way to the laureate, Southey, who, after his peculiar fashion, and not unmindful of his previous furores in the case of Kirke White, Chatterton, and others of precocious ability, or at least celebrity, thought proper to review them in the Quarterly. This was at a period when we humbled ourselves, with a subserviency which would have been disgusting had it not been ludicrous, before the crudest critical dicta of Great Britain. It pleased the laureate, after some squibbing in the way of demurrer, to speak of the book in question as follows:—“In these poems there is enough of originality, enough of aspiration, enough of conscious energy, enough of growing power to warrant any expectations, however sanguine, which the patrons and the friends and parents of the deceased could have formed.” Meaning nothing, or rather meaning anything, as we choose to interpret it, this sentence was still sufficient (and in fact the half of it would have been more than sufficient) to establish upon an immovable basis the reputation of Miss Davidson in America. Thenceforward any examination of her true claims to distinction was considered little less than a declaration of heresy. Nor does the awe of the laureate’s ipse dixit seem even yet to have entirely subsided. “The genius of Lucretia Davidson,” says Miss Sedgwick in the very volume now before us, “has had the meed of far more authoritative praise than ours; the following tribute is from the London Quarterly Review.” What this lady—for whom and for whose opinion we still have the highest respect—can mean by calling the praise of Southey “more authoritative” than her own, is a point we shall not pause to determine. Her praise is at least honest, or we hope so. Its “authority” is in exact proportion with each one’s estimate of her judgment. But it would not do to say all this of the author of “Thalaba.” It would not do to say it in the hearing of men who are sane, and who, being sane, have perused the leading articles in the “London Quarterly Review” during the ten or fifteen years prior to that period when Robert Southey, having concocted “The Doctor,” took definitive leave of his wits. In fact, for any thing that we have yet seen or heard to the contrary, the opinion of the laureate, in respect to the poem of “Amir Khan,” is a matter still only known to Robert Southey. But were it known to all the world, as Miss Sedgwick supposes with so charmingly innocent an air;—we mean to say were it really an honest opinion,—this “authoritative praise,”—still it would be worth, in the eyes of every sensible person, only just so much as it demonstrates, or makes a show of demonstrating. Happily the day has gone by, and we trust forever, when men are content to swear blindly by the words of a master, poet-laureate though he be. But what Southey says of the poem is at best an opinion and no more. What Miss Sedgwick says of it is very much in the same predicament. “Amir Khan,” she writes, “has long been before the public, but we think it has suffered from a general and very natural distrust of precocious genius. The versification is graceful, the story beautifully developed, and the orientalism well sustained. We think it would not have done discredit to our most popular poets in the meridian of their fame; as the production of a girl of fifteen it seems prodigious.” The cant of a kind heart when betraying into error a naturally sound judgment, is perhaps the only species of cant in the world not altogether contemptible.

We yield to no one in warmth of admiration for the personal character of these sweet sisters, as that character is depicted by the mother, by Miss Sedgwick, and by Mr. Irving. But it costs us no effort to distinguish that which, in our heart, is love of their worth, from that which, in our intellect, is appreciation of their poetic ability. With the former, as critic, we have nothing to do. The distinction is one too obvious for comment; and its observation would have spared us much twaddle on the part of the commentators upon “Amir Khan.”

We will endeavor to convey, as concisely as possible, some idea of this poem as it exists, not in the fancy of the enthusiastic, but in fact. It includes four hundred and forty lines. The metre is chiefly octo-syllabic: At one point it is varied by a casual introduction of an anapæst in the first and second foot; at another (in a song) by seven stanzas of four lines each, rhyming alternately; the metre anapæstic of four feet alternating with three. The versification is always good, so far as the meagre written rules of our English prosody extend; that is to say, there is seldom a syllable too much or too little; but long and short syllables are placed at random, and a crowd of consonants sometimes renders a line unpronounceable. For example:

He loved,—and oh, he loved so well

That sorrow scarce dared break the spell.

At times, again, the rhythm lapses, in the most inartistical manner, and evidently without design, from one species to another altogether incongruous; as, for example, in the sixth line of these eight, where the tripping anapæstic stumbles into the demure iambic, recovering itself, even more awkwardly, in the conclusion:

Bright Star of the Morning! this bosom is cold—

  I was forced from my native shade,

And I wrapped me around with my mantle’s fold,

  A sad, mournful Circassian maid!

And I then vow’d that rapture should never move

  This changeless cheek, this rayless eye,

And I then vowed to feel neither bliss nor love,

  But I vowed I would meet thee and die.

Occasionally the versification rises into melody and even strength; as here—

’Twas at the hour when Peris love

To gaze upon the Heaven above

Whose portals bright with many a gem

Are closed—forever closed on them.

Upon the whole, however, it is feeble, vacillating, and ineffective; giving token of having been “touched up” by the hand of a friend, from a much worse, into its present condition. Such rhymes as floor and shower—ceased and breast—shade and spread—brow and wo—clear and far—clear and air—morning and dawning—forth and earth—step and deep—Khan and hand—are constantly occurring; and although, certainly, we should not, as a general rule, expect better things from a girl of sixteen, we still look in vain, and with something very much akin to a smile, for aught even approaching that “marvellous ease and grace of versification” about which Miss Sedgwick, in the benevolence of her heart, discourses.

Nor does the story, to our dispassionate apprehension, appear “beautifully developed.” It runs thus:—Amir Khan, Subahdar of Cachemere, weds a Circassian slave who, cold as a statue and as obstinately silent, refuses to return his love. The Subahdar applies to a magician, who gives him

                    a pensive flower

Gathered at midnight’s magic hour;

the effect of whose perfume renders him apparently lifeless while still in possession of all his senses. Amreeta, the slave, supposing her lover dead, gives way to clamorous grief, and reveals the secret love which she has long borne her lord, but refused to divulge because a slave. Amir Khan hereupon revives, and all trouble is at an end.

Of course, no one at all read in Eastern fable will be willing to give Miss Davidson credit for originality in the conception of this little story; and if she have claim to merit at all, as regards it, that claim must be founded upon the manner of narration. But it will be at once evident that the most naked outline alone can be given in the compass of four hundred and forty lines. The tale is, in sober fact, told very much as any young person might be expected to tell it. The strength of the narrator is wholly laid out upon a description of moonlight (in the usual style) with which the poem commences—upon a second description of moonlight (in precisely the same manner) with which a second division commences—and in a third description of the hall in which the entranced Subahdar reposes. This is all—absolutely all; or at least the rest has the nakedness of mere catalogue. We recognize, throughout, the poetic sentiment, but little—very little—of poetic power. We see occasional gleams of imagination: for example—

And every crystal cloud of Heaven

Bowed as it passed the queen of even.


Amreeta was cold as the marble floor

That glistens beneath the nightly shower.


At that calm hour when Peris love

To gaze upon the Heaven above,

Whose portals bright with many a gem

Are closed—forever closed on them.


The Subahdar with noiseless step

Rushed like the night-breeze o’er the deep.

We look in vain for another instance worth quoting. But were the fancy seen in these examples observable either in the general conduct or in the incidents of the narrative, we should not feel obliged to disagree so unequivocally with that opinion which pronounces this clever little production “one which would not have done discredit to our most popular poets in the meridian of their fame!”

“As the work of a girl of sixteen,” most assuredly we do not think it “prodigious.” In regard to it we may repeat what we said of “Lenore,”—that we have seen finer poems in every respect, written by children of more immature age. It is a creditable composition; nothing beyond this. And, in so saying, we shall startle none but the brainless, and the adopters of ready-made ideas. We are convinced that we express the unuttered sentiment of every educated individual who has read the poem. Nor, having given the plain facts of the case, do we feel called upon to proffer any apology for our flat refusal to play ditto either to Miss Sedgwick, to Mr. Irving, or to Mr. Southey.

The Seaman’s Friend; Containing a Treatise on Practical Seamanship, with Plates; A Dictionary of Sea Terms; Customs and Usages of the Merchant Service; Laws Relating to the Practical Duties of Masters and Mariners. By R. H. Dana, Jr. Author of “Two Years Before the Mast.” Little and Brown: Boston. Carey and Hart: Philadelphia.

The publishers of this neat little volume have very prudently stereotyped it; anticipating an extensive and continuous demand. In truth, the work belongs to the class of the obviously needful, and its circulation and appreciation are matters of certainty. Ever since men “went down to the sea in ships,” there has been a difficulty in procuring exact, compact, and universally intelligible information on the very topics which Mr. Dana now discusses. The necessary knowledge was to be gleaned, imperfectly and superficially, from amid a mass of technical jargon, diffused over a world of questionable authority. Books on Seamanship are extant, to be sure—works of the highest scientific merit and ability—and the writings of Captain Basil Hall give, incidentally, a vast fund of intelligence on naval subjects; but the true desideratum was a work which could only be written by an individual placed exactly in the circumstances which surrounded Mr. Dana. It is well known that he is a man of talent and well educated; that ill-health induced him to try a sea-voyage in the capacity of common sailor; and that thus he has been enabled to combine the advantages of theoretical and practical science. His “Two Years Before the Mast” was, very deservedly, one of the most popular books ever published, and proved immensely profitable—at least to his booksellers. It gave, in a rich strain of philosophical observation, all the racy spirit, as the present volume conveys all the exact letter of the sea.

There is only one improvement which we could wish to suggest. An appendix, we think, should be added; embracing, first, in as popular, that is to say, in as untechnical a form as possible, the philosophy of latitude and longitude—the general principles of which may be rendered intelligible to almost any understanding—and, secondly, the formulæ employed in the application of these principles to navigation, with concise rules for the use of the sextant and chronometer, and for solar, lunar, and stellar observations.

The Miser, or the Convicts of Lisnamona. By William Carleton, Author of “Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry.” Two Volumes. Carey and Hart: Philadelphia.

This story originally appeared in the “Dublin University Magazine,” under the title of “Fardorougha, or The Miser.” It was much copied and admired, and has all the Irish merit for which its author is so famous.

Fragments From German Prose Writers. Translated by Sarah Austin. With Biographical Sketches of the Authors. D. Appleton and Company. New York.

This is a book about which little can be said, except in the way of general and pointed commendation. Its title fully explains its character; although the fair authoress is at the trouble of enlarging upon the nature of the fragmentary contents. These scraps embody specimens of every variety of the prose literature of Germany—convey, in petto, its whole soul. The lives of the authors are invaluable. The volume is, in point of mechanical appearance, one of the most beautiful ever issued, even by the Appletons.

Confession; Or the Blind Heart. A Domestic Story. By the Author of “The Kinsmen,” “The Yemassee,” “Guy Rivers,” etc. Two Volumes. Lea and Blanchard: Philadelphia.

In general, Mr. Simms should be considered as one giving indication, rather than proof of high genius. He puts us in mind of a volcano, from the very darkness issuing from whose crater we judge of the fire that is weltering below. So far, with slight exceptions, he has buried his fine talent in his themes. He should never have written “The Partisan,” nor “The Yemassee,” nor his late book (whose title we just now forget) about the first discovery of the Pacific. His genius does not lie in the outward so much as in the inner world. “Martin Faber” did him honor; and so do the present volumes, although liable to objection in some important respects. We welcome him home to his own proper field of exertion—the field of Godwin and Brown—the field of his own rich intellect and glowing heart. Upon reading the first few pages of “Confession,” the stirring words of Scott arose to our lips—“My foot is on my native heath, and my name is McGregor.”

It is our design to speak in full of the volumes before us; but we have left ourselves no space for the task, and must defer it, perforce, until the new year.

Cecil; Or The Adventures of a Coxcomb. A Novel. Two Volumes. Lea and Blanchard: Philadelphia.

This work is an obvious but very spirited and excellent imitation of the Pelhams and Vivian Greys. It abounds, even more than either of these works, in point, pungency and vivacity, but falls below them in true wit, and in other higher qualities. Altogether, it is richly entertaining, and will meet with success. The theme is a good one well managed.


The annexed letter from a gentleman whose abilities we very highly respect, was received, unfortunately, at too late a period to appear in our November number:

Dear sir:

I should perhaps apologise for again intruding a subject upon which you have so ably commented, and which may be supposed by this time to have been almost exhausted; but as I have been greatly interested in the articles upon “cryptography,” which have appeared in your Magazine, I think that you will excuse the present intrusion of a few remarks. With secret writing I have been practically conversant for several years, and I have found, both in correspondence and in the preservation of private memoranda, the frequent benefit of its peculiar virtues. I have thus a record of thoughts, feelings and occurrences,—a history of my mental existence, to which I may turn, and in imagination, retrace former pleasures, and again live through by-gone scenes,—secure in the conviction that the magic scroll has a tale for my eye alone. Who has not longed for such a confidante?

Cryptography is, indeed, not only a topic of mere curiosity, but is of general interest, as furnishing an excellent exercise for mental discipline, and of high practical importance on various occasions;—to the statesman and the general—to the scholar and the traveller,—and, may I not add “last though not least,” to the lover? What can be so delightful amid the trials of absent lovers, as a secret intercourse between them of their hopes and fears,—safe from the prying eyes of some old aunt, or it may be, of a perverse and cruel guardian?—a billet doux that will not betray its mission, even if intercepted, and that can “tell no tales” if lost, or, (which sometimes occurs,) if stolen from its violated depository.

In the solution of the various ciphers which have been submitted to your examination, you have exhibited a power of analytical and synthetical reasoning I have never seen equalled; and the astonishing skill you have displayed,—particularly in deciphering the cryptograph of Dr. Charles J. Frailey, will, I think, crown you the king of “secret-readers.” But notwithstanding this, I think your opinion that the construction of a real cryptograph is impossible, not sufficiently supported. Those examples which you have published have indeed not been of that character, as you have fully proved. They have, moreover, not been sufficiently accurate, for where the key was a phrase, (and consequently the same character was employed for several letters,) different words would be formed with the same ciphers. The sense could then only be ascertained from the context, and this would amount to a probability—generally of a high degree, I admit—but still not to a positive certainly. Nay, a case might readily be imagined, where the most important word of the communication, and one on which the sense of the whole depended, should have so equivocal a nature, that the person for whose benefit it was intended, would be unable, even with the aid of his key, to discover which of two very different interpretations should be the correct one. If necessary, this can easily be shown; thus, for example, suppose a lady should receive from her affianced, a letter written in ciphers, containing this sentence, “4 5663 967 268 26 3633,” and that a and n were represented by the figure 2,—e, m, and r by 3,—i by 4,—l by 5,—o, s, and v by 6,—u by 7,—w by 8,—and y by 9; a moment’s inspection will show that the sentence might either be “I love you now as ever,” or “I love you now no more.” How “positively shocking,” “to say the least of it;” and yet several of the ciphers that you have published, have required a greater number of letters to be represented by one character, than any to be found in the example before us. It is evident, then, that this is not a very desirable system, as it would scarcely be more useful than a lock without its key, or with one that did not fit its wards.

I think, however, that there are various methods by which a hieroglyphic might be formed, whose meaning would be perfectly “hidden;” and I shall give one or two examples of what I consider such. A method which I have adopted for my own private use, is one which I am satisfied is of this nature, as it cannot possibly be solved without the assistance of its key, and that key, by which alone it can be unlocked, exists only in my mind; at the same time it is so simple, that with the practice in it which I have had, I now read it, and write it, with as much facility as I can the English character. As I prefer not giving it here, I shall be compelled to have recourse to some other plan that is more complicated. By a CRYPTOGRAPH, I understand—a communication which, though clearly ascertained by means of its proper key, cannot possibly be without it. To most persons, who have not thought much upon the subject, an article written in simple cipher, (by which I mean with each letter uniformly represented by a single distinct character,) would appear to be an impenetrable mystery; and they would doubtless imagine that the more complicated the method of constructing such a cipher, the more insoluble—to use a chemical expression—would be the puzzle, since so much less would be the chance of discovering its key. This very natural conclusion is, however, erroneous, as it is founded on the supposition that possession must first be obtained of the key, in order to unravel the difficulty,—which is not the case. The process of reasoning employed in resolving “secret writing” has not the slightest relation to the form or description of the characters used, but refers simply to their succession, and to a comparison of words in which the same letters occur. By these means any cipher of this nature can be unriddled, as experience has fully shown. A very successful method of avoiding detection, would be to apply the simple cipher to words written backwards and continuously. This, I conceive, might be called a perfect cryptograph, since from the want of spaces, and consequently the impossibility of comparing words, it would utterly perplex the person attempting to discover its hidden import, and yet with the help of the key, each letter being known, the words could easily be separated and inverted. I give a short specimen of this style, and would feel much gratified with your opinion of the possibility of reading it.

a cryptograph

Should this not be considered perfect, (though I suspect it would puzzle even the ingenious editor to detect its meaning,) I shall give another method below, which I can show must be, and if I am successful I think you will do me the justice to admit that “human ingenuity” has contrived “a cipher which human ingenuity cannot resolve.” I wish to be distinctly understood; the secret communication above, and the one following, are not intended to show that you have promised more than you can perform. I do not take up the gauntlet. Your challenge, I am happy to testify, has been more than amply redeemed. It is merely with an incidental remark of yours, that I am at present engaged, and my object is to show that however correct it may be generally,—it is not so universally.

Agreeably to a part of my foregoing definition, that cannot be a proper cryptograph, in which a single character is made to represent more than one letter. Let us for a moment see what would be the result if this was reversed,—that is, if more than one cipher were used for a single letter. In case each letter were represented by two different characters, (used alternately or at random,) it is evident that while the certainty of reading such a composition correctly, by help of the key, would not be at all diminished, the difficulty of its solution without that help, would be vastly increased. This then is an approach to the formation of a secret cipher. If, now, the number of the characters were extended to three or four for each letter, it might be pronounced with tolerable certainty that such a writing would be “secret.” Or, to take an extreme case, a communication might be made, in which no two characters would be alike! Here all reasoning would be entirely baffled, as there would evidently be no objects of comparison; and even if half a dozen words were known, they would furnish no clue to the rest. Here, then, is a complete non plus to investigation, and we have arrived at a perfect cryptograph. For, since any given cipher would stand for but one letter in the key, there could be but a single and definite solution; and thus both conditions of my definition are fully satisfied. In the following specimen of this method, I have employed the Roman-capital, small letter, and small capital, with their several inversions, giving me the command of 130 characters, or an average of five to each letter. This is to “make assurance doubly sure,” for I am satisfied that were an average of three characters used for each letter, such a writing would be emphatically secret. If you will be so kind as to give my cipher a place in your interesting Magazine, I will immediately forward you its key. Hoping that you will not be displeased with my tedious letter,

I am most respectfully yours.


To Edgar A. Poe, Esq.

a cryptograph

The difficulty attending the cipher by key-phrase, viz: that the same characters may convey various meanings—is a difficulty upon which we commented in our first article upon this topic, and more lately at greater length in a private letter to our friend F. W. Thomas. The key-phrase cryptograph is, in fact, altogether inadmissible. The labor requisite for its elucidation, even with the key, would, alone, render it so. Lord Bacon very properly defines three essentials in secret correspondence. It is required, first, that the cipher be such as to elude suspicion of being a cipher; secondly, that its alphabet be so simple of formation as to demand but little time in the construction of an epistle; thirdly, that it shall be absolutely insoluble without the key—we may add, fourthly, that, with the key, it be promptly and certainly decipherable.

Admitting, now, that the ingenious cryptograph proposed by our correspondent be absolutely what he supposes it, impenetrable, it would still, we think, be inadmissible on the first point above stated, and more so on the second. But of its impenetrability we are by no means sure, notwithstanding what, at a cursory glance, appears to be the demonstration of the writer. In the key-phrase cipher an arbitrary character is sometimes made to represent five, six, seven, or even more letters. Our correspondent proposes merely to reverse the operation:—and this simple statement of the case will do more towards convincing him of his error than an elaborate argument, for which we would neither have time, nor our readers patience. In a key-phrase cryptograph, equally as in his own, each discovery is independent, not necessarily affording any clue to farther discovery. Neither is the idea of our friend, although highly ingenious, philosophical, and unquestionably original with him, (since he so assures us,) original in itself. It is one of the many systems tried by Dr. Wallis and found wanting. Perhaps no good cipher was ever invented which its originator did not conceive insoluble; yet, so far, no impenetrable cryptograph has been discovered. Our correspondent will be the less startled at this, our assertion, when he bears in mind that he who has been termed the “wisest of mankind”—we mean Lord Verulam—was as confident of the absolute insolubility of his own mode as our present cryptographist is of his. What he said upon the subject in his De Augmentis was, at the day of its publication, considered unanswerable. Yet his cipher has been repeatedly unriddled. We may say, in addition, that the nearest approach to perfection in this matter, is the chiffre quarré of the French Academy. This consists of a table somewhat in the form of our ordinary multiplication tables, from which the secret to be conveyed is so written that no letter is ever represented twice by the same character. Out of a thousand individuals nine hundred and ninety-nine would at once pronounce this mode inscrutable. It is yet susceptible, under peculiar circumstances, of prompt and certain solution.

Mr. T. will have still less confidence in his hastily adopted opinions on this topic when we assure him, from personal experience, that what he says in regard to writing backwards and continuously without intervals between the words—is all wrong. So far from “utterly perplexing the decipherer,” it gives him no difficulty, legitimately so called—merely taxing to some extent his patience. We refer him to the files of “Alexander’s Weekly Messenger” for 1839—where he will see that we read numerous ciphers of the class described, even when very ingenious additional difficulties were interposed. We say, in brief, that we should have little trouble in reading the one now proposed.

“Here,” says our friend, referring to another point, “all reasoning would be entirely baffled, as there would evidently be no objects of comparison.” This sentence assures us that he is laboring under much error in his conception of cipher-solutions. Comparison is a vast aid unquestionably; but not an absolute essential in the elucidation of these mysteries.

We need not say, however, that this subject is an excessively wide one. Our friend will forgive us for not entering into details which would lead us—God knows whither. The ratiocination actually passing through the mind in the solution of even a simple cryptograph, if detailed step by step, would fill a large volume. Our time is much occupied; and notwithstanding the limits originally placed to our cartel, we have found ourselves overwhelmed with communications on this subject; and must close it, perforce—deeply interesting as we find it. To this resolution we had arrived last month; but the calm and truly ingenious reasoning of our correspondent has induced us to say these few words more. We print his cipher—with no promise to attempt its solution ourselves—much as we feel inclined to make the promise—and to keep it. Some of our hundred thousand readers will, no doubt, take up the gauntlet thrown down; and our pages shall be open for any communication on the subject, which shall not tax our own abilities or time.

In speaking of our hundred thousand readers (and we can scarcely suppose the number to be less), we are reminded that of this vast number, one and only one has succeeded in solving the cryptograph of Dr. Frailey. The honor of the solution, is however, due to Mr. Richard Bolton, of Pontotoc, Mississippi. His letter did not reach us until three weeks after the completion of our November number, in which we should, otherwise, have acknowledged it.


Perhaps the editors of no magazine, either in America or Europe, ever sat down, at the close of a year, to contemplate the progress of their work with more satisfaction than we do now. Our success has been unexampled, almost incredible. We may assert without fear of contradiction that no periodical ever witnessed the same increase during so short a period. We began the year almost unknown; certainly far behind our cotemporaries in numbers; we close it with a list of twenty-five thousand subscribers, and the assurance on every hand that our popularity has as yet seen only its dawning. But if such is the orient, what will our noonday be? Nor, if we may for once play the egotist, is this success wholly undeserved. Everything that talent, taste, capital, or energy could do for “Graham’s Magazine” has been done, and that too without stint. The best typography, the choicest engravers, the finest writers, the most finished artists, and the utmost punctuality in our business department, have lent their aid to forward our enterprise; and what neither could have done singly, all combined have effected. Nothing has been spared. The splendor of our embellishments has never been equalled: the variety and richness of our literary matter are not to be surpassed. We not only present a choicer list of contributors than any other magazine in the country, but we rejoice in more than one writer whom we alone have been able to tempt from their retreats, and who cannot be induced to contribute to any cotemporary. We have secured the exclusive services of Sartain, and have made a permanent engagement with Sadd. Our Fashion Plates have become the standards in that department, and the line engravings we have furnished have been universally cited as superior to those of the richest Annuals. In literary rank we are assigned the first place of our class, and our criticisms on books are deferred to as the best in the country. We may speak thus boldly, because, although we may be only Snug the Joiner, yet whenever we roar as now, it is in the character of the lion. Reviewing, therefore, our past success, and taking it—and why not?—as an earnest for the future, we can afford, we opine, to sip our cup of choice Mocha at ease, and if not to “shoulder our crutch,” at least to “tell how fields were won.”

We shall begin the new year determined to surpass even what we have done. As we have introduced a new era into magazine history we shall not pause until the revolution is complete. We shall not follow the namby-pamby style of periodical literature, but aim at a loftier and more extended flight. For this purpose we shall increase the amount of our reading matter, although, at the same time, our embellishments shall even be superior in beauty to what they are at present. We have made arrangements by which the graceful pens of two lady-editors will be added to our strength. Our editorial list will then be as follows:

Geo. R. Graham,

Chas. J. Peterson,

Mrs. E. C. Embury,

Mrs. A. S. Stephens,

Edgar A. Poe.

Our Prospectus will show the number of American writers, in addition to the editors, enlisted in the work. With such a corps we may make any promises.

To ensure a supply of the best original engravings we have, in addition to Messrs. Sartain and Sadd, procured the aid of Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Smillie, and Mr. Dick,—all well known for the elegance of their work. Our chief illustrations shall, however, be as heretofore, mezzotinto engravings,—they being decidedly the most effective, elegant, rare, and desirable. This field we shall enjoy without even an attempt at serious competition, it being impossible for any other like magazine to bring out the same or equal talent in this way.

And now, as the play is over and we have spoken the epilogue, we will draw the curtain with a single wish: “a happy new year, and many of them, to our subscribers.”

Transcriber’s Notes:

Table of Contents has been added for reader convenience. Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Obvious punctuation and typesetting errors have been corrected without note. Other errors have been corrected as noted below.


page 259, remark of the gentleman ==> remark of the gentlewoman



[The end of Graham's Magazine Vol. XIX No. 6 December 1841 edited by George Rex Graham]