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himself to the Annuals; and the man who is unable to enter into the deep things of Coleridge, though he may pass for an alert dialectician, must no longer think of dictating from the philosopher's chair : To profess to differ from Coleridge may be safe, but to profess to hold him to be incomprehensible, would now savor less of a profession than a confession, to be kept for the ear of some ghostly father alone.”- pp. 148-149.
This view of the progress already made is by no means more cheering than the facts warrant. Every where there are rising up men who welcome into a genial soil the seeds of “a more spiritual philosophy, and a poetry twin with it,” which Mr. Dana and a few others have scattered for years with such patient waiting.
The greater part of these poenis have been published before; but the number of readers to whom they will be like the voice of a friend, has increased beyond all hope, since they have been in market. The additions, too, are by no means unimportant. There are passages in “Factitious Life," the longest of the new poems, which are equal to any thing that Mr. Dana has written. The following extracts suroish together a good illustration of the spirit and tendency of the whole volume :
“ With etiquette for virtue, heart subdued,
Ah, fool, let but a passion rise in war,
Her strong one captive. The Philistines came;
You strive in vain against the eternal plan.
“ Earth yields to healthful labor meat and drink, That man may live-for what? To feel and think'; And not to eat and drink, and like the beast, Sleep, and then wake and get him to his feast. Over these grosser uses nature throws Beauties so delicate, the man foregoes Awhile his low intents, to soft delights Yields up himself; and lost in sounds and sights, Forgets that earth was made for aught beside His doting; and he wooes it as his bride. -Beautiful bride! thou chaste one, innocent ! To win and make man like thee, thou wast lent. Call with thy many pleasant voices, then ; The wanderer will turn to thee again. Yes, now he turns! And see! the breaking day! And in its dawn, the wanderer on his way!
Thou who art Life and Light, I see thee spread
Ah! man shall read aright when he shall part With human schemes, and in the new-born heart
Feel coursing new-born life; when from above
Perhaps we ought, in the exercise of our prerogative, to look about for something to find fault with ; which indeed we could easily do in the abruptness, obscurity, and want of ease and finish that are too frequent in many of the poems. But to do that to any good purpose, would require more than the last page of an article ; and we therefore take our leave of Mr. Dana, for the present. We do it in the hope that we may soon meet him again in a path which he has every year abundant reason to tread with stronger confidence and higher hope, both for himself and for the literature of his country.
1.-Nubia and Abyssinia; comprehending their civil history,
antiquities, arts, religion, literature, and natural history. By ihe Rev. Michael Russell, LL. D. author of Palestine, fc. New York : J. & J. Harper. 1833. pp. 331.
We are surprised that the intelligent author of this volume makes no use of the information which the individuals connected with the Church Missionary Society have lately communicated, respecting Abyssinia. The preface was written in March, 1833, yet Mr. Russell speaks of 'Sebegadis, the prince of Tigré, as alive, and preparing for a march to Gondar ; to establish his power in that quarter of the country; whereas Sebegadis was taken prisoner, in a battle with the Galla, soldiers of the interior, on the 14th of February, 1831, and was killed on the following day. This event took place more than two years before Mr. Russell completed his volume. A number of interesting occurrences transpired immediately after the death of Sebegadis. His servant, Aligas Faris, avenged the death of the king, and obtained possession of the interior. The prospect is, that Wolda Michael, a son of Sebegadis, will obtain quiet possession of Tigré, a province which lies near the Red sea, and further from the risk of invasion from the interior. Michael, like his father, seems to be a sincere friend of the missionaries, as well as almost a single example in the country for adherence to his word. By a letter of November 7, 1832, it appears that Mr. Gobat, the missionary, had twenty scholars, who were travelling about the country, instructing the people.
Mr. Russell finds reason to conclude that Egypt ́received her civilization from Ethiopia, or the countries which are situated at the sources of the Nile. The vast works at Carnac, Luxor, and Medinet Abou, in Egypt, are much less ancient than the buildings which have been discovered above the cataracts. From Meroë and Axum, downwards to the Mediterranean, there arose, as is testified by Diodorus, improved and powerful states, which, though independent of each other, were connected by the same language, the same writing, and the same religion.
Mr. Russell thinks that the Travels of Bruce are entitled to credit, and that his principal statements have been amply corroborated by succeeding travellers. The fact related by Bruce, and denied by Salt, that the Abyssinians are in the habit of cutting flesh from living animals, and eating it raw, has been frequently witnessed by subsequent travellers, particularly by Coffin and Pearce. It was upon the recital of this fact, that Bruce's reputation was, for a time, lost. Because he would neither suppress nor modify the description, he was denounced as a dreamer of dreams. Mr. Salt's charges against Bruce are regarded by Dr. Russell as unsupported.
Bruce colored his narrations too highly, and for that reason, some deductions are to be made from his statements. But great credit is due to him for the mass of information which he supplied concerning Abyssinia. It is now supposed that he did not discover the real source of the eastern or Abyssinian branch of the Nile, but that that river rises much further south than any point visited by Bruce. This branch enters the Bahr el Abiad, or White river, nearly at right angles; but such is the mass of the latter, that the former cannot mingle its waters with it for many miles below their junction; and as the one is light colored and the other dark, the eastern part of the united river is black and the western side white for more than a league after their meeting.
1834.] Women of Persia—Pres. Dwight's Decisions.
2.-Customs and Manners of the Women of Persia, and their
domestic superstitions, translated from the original Persian manuscript. By James Atkinson, Esq. of the East India Company's Bengal medical service. London. 1832. pp. 93.
This is a specimen of Persian humor, founded upon female customs and superstitions. It pretends to be a grave work, and is in fact a circle of domestic observances, treated with the solemnity of a code of laws, by five matron law-givers, assisted by two others. The customs of an eastern country, puerile as they may be thought, show the actual state of Persian life behind the curtain. It must be confessed,” says Mr. Atkinson, " that little is understood in England of the real situation of women in the East, beyond the impression of their being every where absolute slaves to their tyrant-husbands, and cooped up in a harem, which to them it is supposed, can be nothing better than a prison ! Like some enthusiasts, who fancy England the only land of liberty and happiness, because other countries do not act and feel in the same way, we think the women in Persia or India oppressed and degraded, because they do not possess and exercise exactly the same rights and privileges as our own.
But they are wrong. For what is the faci? 'Many persons in England,' observes a native Persian on this subject, believe that Mohammed has declared women have no souls! If you read the Korán,' he adds, you will find that our prophet not only ranks women with men as true believers, but particularly ordains that they shall be well treated and respected by their husbands; he has, indeed, secured that, by establishing their right to dowers, as well as claims of inheritance.'"
The book is on the whole an amusing specimen of Persian female gossip, and probably gives us a more correct idea of domestic manners, than the elaborate descriptions of the tourist and historian. It does not afford us, however, any new conceptions of the dignity or virtue of Persian females. Their life is the consummation of the trivial and fantastic, while the allowed deviations from a course of moral purity are not few.
3.- President Dwight's decisions of questions discussed by the
senior class in Yale College, in 1813 and 1814. From stenographic notes, by Theodore Dwight, Jr. Boston: Crocker & Brewster. 1833.
This volume derives its value from the interesting facts with which Dr. Dwight illustrated bis arguments. His extensive personal acquaintance and correspondence, with his strong powers of memory, enabled him to cast powerful and diversified lights on the various topics which came up before his classes. A part of VOL. 11.