« ElőzőTovább »
No. 922.-1 February, 1862.
PAGE. 1. Life and Poetry of Cowper,
259 2. My First Portrait,
274 3. Blindfold Chess,
283 4. French Women of Letters,
286 5. John Plummer,
289 6. An Old Man's Story,
St. James' Magazine,
292 7. Death and Character of Prince Albert, London Review, 296; Saturday Review, 298 ; The Press, 303; Economist, 305 ; Independent,
306 8. Funeral of the late Prince Consort,
307 9. The late Dr. Turner,
311 10. Vesuvius—at Land and Sea,
312 11. M. Thouvenel's Despatch-Arbitration, Spectator,
314 12. The Romance of a Du!l Life,
316 13. The Cyrene Marbles,
POETRY.—The Wind amid the Trees, 258. Thou art the Way, 258. Land of the Living, 258. What a Child said, 258. Life's Question, 282. Mare Mediterraneum, 282. Frosty Weather, 282.
SHORT ARTICLES.— The King and the Potter, 273. Poor Richard's Maxims, from Punch, 273. Negroes and Bourbons, 281. A Dish of Lava, 288. Indigo, Substitutes for, 291. Bursting of Fowling-Pieces, 291. Saving the Octoroon, 295. The Celestial Army, 310. New Uses of Prayer-Meetings, 313. The Blackbird, 315. Letter of Washington, 320.
NEW BOOKS. The Tribune Almanac and Political Register for 1862. New York Tribune Association.
CORRECTION.-In No. 915 we copied from, and credited to, The Philadelphia Press, a spirited poem,
“ The Countersign,” giving the name of Frank G. Williams as the author. We are now informed th: this is part of a larger poem, by Fitz Jamies O'Brien,-published in Ilarper's Magazine for August.
PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY BY LIT TELL, SON, & CO., BOSTON.
For Six Dollars a year, in advance, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING Age will be punctually forwarded free of postage.
Complete sets of the First Series, in thirty-six volumes, and of the Second Series, in twenty rolumes, handsomely bound, pu keil in neat boxes, and delivered in all the principal cities, free of expense of freight, are for sale at two dollars a volume.
ANY VOLUME may be had separately, at two dollars, bound, or a dollar and a half in numbers.
ANY NUMBER may be had for 13 cents; and it is well worth while for subscribers or purchasers to complete any broken yolumes they may have. and thus greatly enhance their value.
THE WIND AMID THE TREES.
THE LAND OF THE LIVING.
BY MRS. ABDY.
“ Beautiful was the reply of a venerable man When I looked into the night
to the question whether he was still in the land From a window at the west.
of the living. 'No; but I am almost there." And the night was still and clear
Not yet; though the fiat I feel has gone forth, Save for whispered litanies,
Not yet has the summons been spoken ; Breaking faintly on the ear
The frail, feeble link that connects me with earth From the wind amid the trees !
Not yet has been shattered and broken.
The kindred and friends of my earlier years In silence soft and deep,
Have long in the churchyard been lying ; On their stalklets every one,
I fain would depart from this valley of tears, Hung the little flowers asleep;
And pass from the land of the dying.
A few of the friends of my manhood are spared ; Not the fluttering of a feather
Alas! they are dull and repining : Or the faintest chirp from these They talk of hopes withered, of talents impaired, As they nestled close together,
Worn spirits, and vigor declining. Though the wind was in the trees ! I suffer like them yet I do not complain, Too faint to wake the sleeper,
For God the assurance is giving
That soon shall I lay down my burden of pain, Just as voiceless prayers are deeper,
And haste to the land of the living.
I weep not for those whom on earth I loved well And I whispered low and near
They are only removed to a distance ; “ When I'm gone beyond the seas,
The shroud and the pall and the funeral knell Think how I held it dear,
Were their passports to deathless existence. That wind amid the trees !”
Like them, may I soar to the realms of the blest,
And join in the angels' thanksgiving ; And now this gray November,
In the land of the dying sink softly to rest, Though your groves are thin and bare, And wake in the land of the living ! I know that you'll remember,
-Ladies' Companion. When you hear it murmuring there. Dear Island hearts that listen, There's a message in the breeze,
WHAT A CHILD SAID.
PRECISELY two years and a half
At Christmas will he number,
My darling boy who yonder lies
All rosy in his slumber;
In childish language molded,
Of half-blown roses folded. By each sting of daily care,
He said to me the other dayEach anxiety I bear,
We drove the roads together, By the struggles of a heart
While sleigh-bells tinkled merrily Loath with worldly joys to part,
And cheered the wintry weatherBy the inward longing love
“ Where are the leaves all gone, mamma ?” Of a purer life above,
“ Beneath the snow they're hidden;") Lord, I inly hope and pray
“ They'll come back pretty soon, mamma?” Thou art teaching me the way!
“ Yes, dearest, when they're bidden.” By each band of burning pain,
How many times I've thought since then Trampling tierce o'er heart and brain ;
Of his quick hopeful teaching, By each flood of bitter tears,
And gathered from it cheering trust Bathing all life's fevered years ;
Toward days of sorrow reaching.
If God should bid me lay my pets
Off on a colder pillow,
O’er which would droop in winter timo Thou art teaching me the truth!
The pensile leatless willow,
That gentle voice would struggle up By the closelyknitted sod,
From sweet lips lowly hidden, Over those long gone to God;
“ They'll come back pretty soon, mamma," By the nearer touch of woe,
And so my grief be chidden. When the nestling head lies low;
What wonder, since such sadd’ning thought Through the "hidden path " I tread,
Has come my heart to cumber, Ever by thy mercy led,
I drop my rhymes and vonder steal Trust I still amid the strife,
To kiss his rosy slumber. Thou art leading me to life!
H. E. K. D. -Ladies' Companion. Newburgh.
From Fraser's Magazine. and be amused--as by no means indifferent COWPER'S POEMS.
to the events of the day or the opinions of Could William Cowper, when he inscribed the world—as creating, when he did not find, his name on the title-page of Table-Talk occupation, and as vigilantly guarding, Bo and other Poems, have known that within ten long as his health and strength permitted, years from that time he would be the most against the approaches of that malady which popular poet of the age, and that after his blighted his earlier manhood and was desdeath he would be accounted one of the best tined to wrap in a shroud of woe his closing of letter-writers, he might have ranked the years. Unconsciously to be the painter of prophecy among such delusions as often his own life was the business of Cowper, and clouded his brain. The success of the Task he has drawn himself to the life as vividly proved to him that one-half of the prediction as Gray or Gibbon or even Walpole himself. was correct; but could he also have foreseen He portrayed himself equally in prose and in his epistolary reputation he might have reck- verse. His hymns are like Petrarch's sonnets oned it among his infelicities and recoiled -““ pictures in little” of his personal emofrom it with dismay. That what he wrote of tions. His Task is a poetical narrative of himself in secret chambers should be pro- his daily habits and customary meditations ; claimed upon the housetops would have his letters are prose sketches of them, often seemed to his sensitive spirit inconsistent wanting only the accomplishment of rhyme to alike with friendship and delicacy. Perhaps be as poetical as his occasional verses.
01 he might have recalled his letters in alarm, no writer, indeed, is the verse less separable and foregone a principal alleviation of his from the prose. We should have known solitude-correspondence with friends whom Cicero just as well if every verse he wrote he had never seen or whom he was never had perished. We should have known Pemore to see. Fortunately the veil was never trarch just as well if the folio of his prose lifted. No profane Curll, by surreptitiously writings had never issued from the printingpublishing his letters, visited him with a new house of Aldus. But we understand the terror of death. In his matted greenhouse, verse of Cowper better because his Letters by his fireside, summer and winter saw him are before us, and his Letters better because unconsciously chronicling the simple annals of the light reflected upon them from his of his life; and in these letters, so evidently poems. cherished because so generally preserved, With materials so abundant at hand, the we possess one of the most interesting of temptation to become a biographer of Cowautobiographies.
per has been frequently indulged; yet with Nor is it less fortunate that these records one exception he has not been happy in his of a life spent in “the cool retreat — the limners. For the most part they have selected silent shade” are so numerous and diversi- one or two features of his character, and fied. Had only his correspondence with omitted others no less essential to a good Newton survived, though it would still be likeness of him. He has been drawn as a clear that the writer possessed no ordinary suffering saint, as a latter-day hermit, as one powers of humor, yet the general impression literally complying with the apostolic premust have been that Cowper and Mary Un- cept to flee from the world, as one who win were a pair of moping personages whose purposely reformed the poetic diction of his society it were desirable to shun. Had day, as one whose proper place was Bedlam, only his letters to Hayley come down to us, as one who was only as mad as all serious we might fairly have set him down for a fine Christians who pondered rightly on time and gentleman complimenting another fine gen- eternity should desire to be. In the followtleman with some of the ostentation but ing remarks we shall be able to show that without the finished style of the Younger although health and circumstances rendered Pliny. But the letters addressed to Lady seclusion from the world unavoidable, CowHesketh and Unwin, to Mr. Bull and Mrs. per did not cease to feel interest in its moveKing, to Rose and Norfolk Johnnie, prove ments; that if his will bent before the iron Cowper to have been as nearly inclined to will of John Newton, he displays little or mirth as to melancholy—as content, if not no sympathy with Newton's narrow creed; happy, in his seclusion, and willing to amuse, and that so far from making a hermitage of
Olney or Weston, he gladly greeted every lins was mad. Johnson, again, could poin occasion of surrounding himself with the a moral and beat out a text into a stanza ; genial society of his kindred and neighbors, but he thundered at Geneva discipline, and provided always they were not hard riders or fasted and did penance like a shaveling hard drinkers; that is to say, neither the friar. Of devotional poetry there was more ordinary squires nor parsons of Bedfordshire than enough; but Doddridge, Newton, and in the middle of the eighteenth century. Toplady were in verse“ mere cobblers in re
It was at one time the fashion to call spect of fine workmen ;” and if Isaac Watts Hayley an elegant biographer. To us he were a genuine poet, he was one of the feeappears to have been most forcibly feeble. blest and most tedious of the laureate band. That he loved Cowper there can be no doubt, About the author of the Task, Expostulafor Hayley, though a coxcomb, had a gener- tion, Charity, and the Olney hymns there ous nature, and at least knowledge enough could be neither doubt nor demur. He had of his art to see that the Task was worthy a sat at the feet of Gamaliel; he had been a dozen Triumphs of Temper, and John Gilpin lay curate to Newton. He had put on recbetter than any or all of his own Comedies ord his escape from the Vanity Fair of Lonin Rhime. He rendered homage equally to don life, the contamination of literary assoCowper's genius and character. But he was ciates, the profane contact of drums and infelix opere in toto—he has drawn the por- routs, of Ranelagh and the playhouse. If trait of a mere littérateur. The poet's relig- less sublime, he was more sound in doctrine ious biographers, however, have been even than Milton. If in no one of his devotional less successful than Hayley. Calvinism is pieces he had reached the dignity of the little less adverse to poets generally than “ Veni Creator” of Dryden, he had not Plato himself. Of Dante's theology in verse pleaded for Rome in the “Hind and Panthe disciples of Newton, Scott, and Venn ther,” he had not defiled literature with the had never probably heard, or if it had “ Spanish Friar." Here indeed was at reached their ears, rumor whispered into length a sweet singer for the English Israel ; them that the poet was a papist born out of here was a poet to be read, marked, and due season and given over to Antichrist. learned virginibus puerisque, by the young Of Spenser and the Fletchers as religious ladies who filled the pews of St. Mildred's poets they had perhaps heard as little, for in the Poultry, by the young men who called between our early literature and the saints Shakspeare unclean and Plato's Republic of the eighteenth century there stood a wall“ foolishness.” In this track have nearly of partition as impervious as that fabled all Cowper's later biographers walked, until wall of brass which Friar Bacon is said to Southey came to the rescue with a narrative have built in one night round the palace of scarcely less excellent than his lives of NelSigismund the emperor. Milton was
a son and John Wesley. Mr. Robert Bell's doubtful prize. He had indeed sung of careful and graceful sketch of the poet will either Paradise, but then he was an Arian; suffice for many readers ; but all who desire and if his prose writings were liberally stud- to know Cowper as he lived, thought, and ded with texts, he for the last twenty years wrote, the causes of his melancholy, the of his life, had never entered church or character of his humor, the positive and relchapel. Dryden had composed some of the ative merits of his writings, his position in noblest hymns in the language, but he had literature at the time and now, will resort to also composed some of the most abominable Southey's pages. He had a true sympathy plays. Addison had occasionally sung the with the poet; his vision was unclouded by songs of Sion, but the Spectator's morals theological mists; he had no theory to sussavored more of Seneca and Epictetus than tain or prop up; he discerns amid the acciof Paul, of the covenant of works more than dents of disease the genuine nature of the of the covenant of grace. Cowley had writ- man; he displays his weakness and his ten an epic on the story of David, and Prior strength, and exhibits William Cowper as he on that of Solomon, but both Addison and appeared to Joseph Hill, to Thornton and Prior were utter worldlings; and if Collins Thurlow, to Harriet and Theodora his cousread latterly “no book but the best,” it was ins, to his co-mates at Westminster, the notorious, lippis tonsoribus atque, that Col- | Inner Temple, and the Nonsense Club, “ere
melancholy marked him for her own.” In it does not appear that Unwin was ever a the following remarks we shall deal imme- guest at Olney, or that friendship ever diately with none of Cowper's biographers, attracted Cowper to Unwin's parsonage. but offer a brief commentary on some por- When, however, Lady Austin or Lady Hestions of his life and writings. It may be keth are guests to be expected at either possible, even at the eleventh hour, to cor- Olney or Weston, his spirits rise, neither rect certain prevalent mistakes, or at least pains nor forethought is spared in preparato bring out some new lines in a portrait tion, for them the house is garnished, the which has long attracted, and may long con- garden is made trim, good accommodation tinue to attract, a numerous class of readers. is provided for servants and horses, cellar
It is remarkable that while Cowper speaks and larder are replenished, and“ gauoccasionally of his mother, of whom he can deamus” is written legibly in every lethave had only a vague recollection, he has ter in which their visit is mentioned. To a only once mentioned his father, of whom he spirit so cleavimg to female society, the must have retained a distinct and lively im- crowning infelicity of his unhappy life was pression. And this is the more remarkable, perhaps that which met him at the very because Cowper is by no means chary in threshold of it—the death of his mother mentioning his nearest relatives on the pa- while he was yet an infant. ternal side. To the memory of a parent. If we may judge of their characters by whom he lost almost in his infancy, he ad- their portraits yet extant, Anne, wife of John dressed the most pathetic of his shorter Cowper, was a graceful, tender, and loving poems. Her kindred in the second genera- woman, endowed with some humor, with a tion he received with open arms; on her vein of melancholy, and with much sympapicture he gazed with the rapture of a devo- thy; whereas John her husband, “ Chaplain tee. But to the parent who was alive when to King George II.,” has the look of a shrewd Cowper had attained to man's estate, he says and stirring personage, who could elbow his nothing beyond a simple notification of his way with the best at a levee, and who was decease in 1756. John Cowper, indeed, never sad without a reason-such as a remarried a second time ; yet there is no rea- buff from his bishop, or a cold reception from son for assuming this second marriage as a lay-patron. The Cowper family had althe cause of his son's reticence, since he re- ready produced one lord chancellor, and, fers to his “mother-in-law at Berkhamp- besides an earldom, held sundry good apstead," as sometimes troubling him with pointments, as befitted sound Whigs. Wil"shopping” in London, but without any liam Cowper had displayed at Westminster charge or insinuation of novercal injustice. school fair scholastic abilities; and idle At Berkhampstead, of which parish Dr. though he undoubtedly was in a solicitor's Cowper was rector, the poet's school holi- office, Mr. Newton says of him years afterdays and law vacations were often spent ; ward that he was by no means so ignorant but neither the parish, the parsonage, nor of law as he represented himself to be. It the pastor, seems to have been classed is possible that his father conceived hopes among his pleasant recollections; whereas that there might be a well-briefed barrister, of the native home of his mother he never if not a second lord chancellor in the fam. writes without interest, and sometimes with ily, may have pressed on him the virtue of yearning emotion. We have no grounds rising in the world, may have cited the exfor assuming the doctor to have been “a ample of his ancestors and kinsfolkhard man,” for though Cowper has chronicled his own sufferings at school, he says
“Te pater Æneas et avunculus excitet Hecnothing of any discomforts at home. Perhaps we may find a probable solution for this and have been rexed, if not wroth, when his unequal division of filial retrospect. Through- son evinced such evident propensities for the out his life Cowper exhibits a predilection life contemplative. “ The world,” says Pisfor female rather than for male companions. tol,“ is mine oyster, which I with sword will To Unwin, indeed, he writes as to a brother ; open.” But Cowper's mood was less magand he deplores the early death of a “friend nanimous than “mine Ancient's.” The diftorn from him "-Sir William Russell. But fidence and inconstancy of purpose which a