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thy. He surrounds a person with circumstances precisely fitted to weaken resolution, by raising vague apprehensions of danger, but incapable of producing so strong an excitement as to inspire desperate and inflexible energy. The mind must then fortify itself, calmly estimate the evil that seems to be approaching, and contemplate it in its worst forms and consequences, in order to counteract it effectually. He is peculiarly successful in describing a deserted house, silent and dark in the day time, while a faint ray streams through the crevices of the closed doors and shutters, discovering, in a peculiar twilight, that it had been once occupied, and that every thing remained undisturbed since its sudden desertion. The sentiment of fear and melancholy is perhaps never more lively, nor the disturbed fancy more active, than in such a place, even when we are strangers to it; but how much more if we have passed there through happiness and suffering; if the robber bas alarmed our security, or if a friend has died there, and been carried over its threshold to the grave. The solemnity of our minds is not unlike that which we feel when walking alone on the seashore at night, or through dark forests by day ; for here there is no decay, nothing that man had created, and wbich seems to mourn in bis absence ; there is rapture as well as awe in our contemplations, and more of devotion than alarm in our fear.”
WASHINGTON Irving, as yet a young man, and who is at this moment in London—is a man of a much more happy and genial order of mind than Brown; and his works are much greater favourites amongst his own countrymen than the best of Brown's
He is the sole author of the SKETCH Book-a periodical work, now in the course of publication at New-York; from which numerous extracts have appeared in the Literary Gazette, and in many of the Magazines; none of which, however, seem to have known from whose genius they were borrowing so largely. We are greatly at a loss to comprehend for what reason Mr. Irving has judged fit to publish his Sketch Book in America earlier than in Britain ; but at all events he is doing himself great injustice by not having an edition printed here, of every Number, after it has appeared at New-York. Nothing has been written for a long time, for which it would be more safe to promise great and eager acceptance. The story of “Rip Van Winkle,”-the “Country Life in England,”—the account of his voyage across the Atlantic-and “the Broken Heart,”—are all, in their several ways, very exquisite and classical pieces of writing, alike honourable to the intellect and the heart of their author. "Another sketch of the same class, we shall venture to quote from a later Number of this work, as we have not yet seen it extracted by any of our contemporaries.
[Here the Editor copies the whole story of “ A Royal Poet, from No. III. of the Sketch Book.]
The style in which this is written may be taken as a fair speci
men of Irving's more serious manner-it is, we think, very graceful-infinitely more so than any piece of American writing that ever came from any other hand, and well entitled to be classed with the best English writings of our day. There is a rich spirit of pensive elegance about the commencement, and every sentence that follows increases the effect. In some of the pieces of pure imaginative writing we have named above, the author strikes a deeper note, and with a no less masterly hand. He, too, has a strange power of mingling feelings of natural and visionary terror with those of a light and ludicrous kind-and the mode in which he uses this power is calculated to produce a very striking effect upon all that read with enthusiasm what is written with enthusiasm. He is one of the few whose privilege it is to make us "join trembling with our mirth.”
[" THE COUNTRY CHURCH,” furnishes the Editor with another quotation.)
Our limits prevent us from entering at present at greater length on the merits of Mr. Irving; but in our next Number we propose returning to him, and giving our readers some account of his largest and most masterly work, the History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker, a singular production of genius, the existence of which is, we believe, almost entirely unknown on this side the Atlantic.
(We do not print this, because we esteem it for liberality. The same writer who would extol the genius he discovers in the Belles-lettres productions of Brown and of Irving, would deny to any of our distinguished public characters either scientific acquirement or political excellence-or to any of our judiciary, wisdom or virtue. The following quotation from an article upon “ The late king,” in the same number of this Magazine, will give an idea of the Editor's sentiments. The misstatement contained in the second sentence, suits the colour of his eulogium. He would allow us more merit in effecting our separation from the thrall of tyranny, than we claim ourselves. Ed. L. & S. R.]
“ The American war formed the test at once of the monarch's principles and of his spirit. The universal voice of his people resented, in the first instance, the audacious pretensions, and the factious machidations of the revolted colonies; and the late king, when he frowned opon the infant seditions of his transatlantic subjects, appeared but as the index of the mind and soul of England. The chance of war declared indeed in favour of rebellion ; but the most renowned of our inodern statesmen—the man of the people—the illustrious advocate of popular rights,—but the proud spirit also which spurned from it popular license with disdain, was the foremost to declare that the sovereignty of England over her rebel colonies ought never to be abandoned; and that, in the glorious struggle, it was her duty to nail the colours to the mast. It is well enough to say now, that it was not a limb but an excrescence that was lopped off, and that it was folly to attempt to retain it, and from what the world has seen of the spirit and tendencies of American patriotism, it may be concluded that England has suffered little by being dissevered from the mighty mass of occidental pollution. But such were not the sentiments natural to the injured Monarch-for they were not the sentiments of what was great and high-spirited among his people. He vindicated the dignity of his crown by pushing, to the farthest verge, that coercion which aimed at upholding the integrity of its dominions--he deserved success, although he could not command it; and while the difficulties of a savage and remote warfare baffled all rational calculation-when rebellion raised its triumphant crest over the disasters of legitimate powerwhen fortune had decided contrary to every anticipation of reason, and had established a new order of things, which it was scarcely worth while to lament, and vain to resist, the sagacity as well as the magnanimity of the Sovereign were conspicuously displayed in that memorable remark to the first of his American subjects, wbom be saw in the novel dignity of the ambassador of an independent state,that he, the King of England, had been the last man in his dominions to recognise the independence of America, and would also be the last to violate it."
Blackwood's Mag. No. 35. p. 576.
[From the Eclectic Review.-Lond. Jan. 1820.] 2. The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Nos. I. II. 8vo.
pp. 169. New-York. 1819. This publication, we guess, may be taken as a rather favourable specimen of American fugitive literature. We shall afford our readers some quotations from it.
We pass over “The Voyage,” which is a little too fine. The first occasion on which the eye of an American is presented with a demonstration of his previous belief in the antiquity of the world above the date of two hundred years, cannot fail to be recorded. In approaching the English coast, the Author saw with delight, the mouldering ruin of an abbey overrun with ivy.'
But the Author had even a more eager desire to see the great, men and the writers of Europe, than the abbeys and the ivy.
' In this respect he was presently gratified at Liverpool; and his admiration of Mr. Roscoe barely spends itself in fourteen pages.
We cannot abridge, so as to make it intelligible, the characteristic and very well told legend of Rip Van Winkle, derived from the authentic Diedrich Knickerbocker, of New York. A short quota, tion is all we can give. Rip Van Winkle, it seeins, was afficted with incurable idleness, and also, as he well deserved, with a scolding wife. [Here a part of this story is given.]
What follows is entertaining enough ; but one would have thought that the observant Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. might, with Europe fresh before him, have found other matter wherewith to fill his Sketch Book. In the Second Number, however, we find more of what we expect from a traveller, under the titles of “ English Writers on America,” and “Rural Life in England.”
In reference to the first of these subjects, the Author says— It is with feelings of deep regret that I have noticed the literary ani'mosity daily growing up between England and America. Great
curiosity has been awakened of late with respect to the United States, and the London press has teemed with volumes of travels " through the republic; but they seem intended to diffuse error rather than knowledge, and so successful have they been, that notwithstanding the constant intercourse between the nations, there 'is none concerning which the great mass of the British people
have less pure information, or more prejudices......It has been the * peculiar lot of our country, to be visited by the worst kind of
English travellers. While men of philosophical spirit and culti'vated minds, have been envoys from England to ransack the 'poles, to penetrate the deserts, and to study the manners and customs of barbarous nations, with which she can have no permanent intercourse of profit or pleasure ; it is left to the broken down tradesman, the scheming adventurer, the wandering mechanic, the Manchester and Birmingham agent, to be her oracles respecting America-to treat of a country in a singular state of moral and physical development; where one of the greatest political ex'periments in the history of the world is now performing, and which presents the most profound and momentous studies for the statesman and the philosopher.'
The Author goes on to state several causes to which may attributed the unfairness of the reports relative to the States which are current in England, and then adds— One would suppose, how"ever, that information coming from such sources, on a subject where the truth is so desirable, would be received with caution by "the censors of the press; that the motives of these men, their ve'racity, their opportunities of inquiry and observation, and their
capacities for judging correctly, would be rigorously scrutinized, 'before their evidence was admitted, in such sweeping extent, against a kindred nation. The very reverse, however, is the case, • and it furnishes a striking instance of human inconsistency. No*thing can surpass the vigilance with which English critics will test the credibility of the traveller who publishes an account of some distant, and comparatively unimportant country. How warily will they compare the measurements of a pyramid or the descriptions of a ruin, and how sternly will they censure any discrepancy in these contributions of merely curious knowledge; Vol. I.
• while they will receive, with eagerness and unhesitating faith, the 'gross misrepresentations of coarse and obscure writers concerning a country with which their own is placed in the most important and delicate relations. Nay, what is worse, they will make these * apocryphal volumes text books, on which to enlarge, with a zeal .and an ability worthy of a more generous cause.'
Viewed as an expression of American feeling on a subject doubtless of some importance, we feel disposed to continue our quotations. Some of the Author's remarks are well worthy of attention. He proceeds to expostulate with his countrymen.- But why are . we so exquisitely alive to the aspersions of England ?-It is not in
the opinion of England alone that honour lives, and reputation 'has its being. The world at large is the arbiter of a nation's
fame : with its thousand eyes it witnesses a nation's deeds, and * from their collective testimony is national glory or disgrace es•tablished. For ourselves, therefore, it is comparatively of little
importance whether England do us justice or not: it is, perhaps, • of far more importance to herself. She is instilling anger and resentment into the bosom of a youthful nation, to grow with its growth, and strengthen with its strength. If in America, as some of her writers are labouring to convince her, she is hereafter to find "an invidious rival and a gigantic foe, she may thank those very 'writers for having provoked that rivalship, and irritated that hos
tility. Every one knows the all-pervading influence of literature ' at the present day, and how completely the opinions and passions • of mankind are under its control. The mere contests of the sword
are temporary; their wounds are but in the flesh, and it is the 'pride of the generous to forgive and forget them: but the slanders
of the pen pierce to the heart; they rankle most sorely and permanently in the noblest spirits; they dwell ever present in the mind, and make it morbidly sensitive to the most trifling collision. • It is not so much any one overt act that produces hostilities be*tween two nations; there exists, most commonly, a previous jealousy and ill will, a predisposition to take offence. Trace these to their cause, and how often will they be found to originate in the "mischievous effusions of writers who, secure in their closets, and ' for ignominious bread, concoct and circulate the venom that is to inflame the generous and the brave.'
The Author refers to the idea prevailing in England, that the people of the United States are inimical to the parent country. It
says, one of the errors that have been diligently propagated by designing writers. Though the illiberality of the English Press may have excited hostile feelings, the prepossessions of the people are strongly in favour of England.'
It must be granted, that the people of the United States have been represented to us, of late, by travellers of an inferior class,