« ForrigeFortsæt »
. But I admire the Laocoon; I appreciate the Apollo; and the Antinous took me at first sight.'
SEATSFIELD: . That may be : it was partly from having been taught to admire the drawings of them. You have doubtless educated yourself to look on those things as beautiful; you know that they are so; you feel secure in admiring them, and they suit your expectations: but you must be fundamentally wanting in the natural feeling for art. Pardon my freedom; I do not say this in the slightest disparagement. Men of the greatest abilities and keenest faculties are often void of this delicate sense of the To kalov. Doctor JOHNSON had no ear for music, yet he loved the drone of a bag-pipe. His love for the bag-pipe was a fact per contra, yet it altered not the original principle that he had no ear for music. Many men are naturally ungifted with a talent for mathematics: they may learn the multiplication-table, and acquire a little insight into algebra; yet the radical lack of the mathematical faculty does not the less remain. Now, your natural constitution debars you from the true appreciation of excellence in sculpture.'
I was unwilling to admit this, for I really am fond of the Fine Arts, and felt a little nettled at being held deficient in this point. I therefore endeavored to combat SEATSFIELD'S notion, by arguing that in mere matters of taste two men might not agree, though each might be equally sensible of the To kalov,
SEATSFIELD: No, Sir; a man who is dull to the sublimity of BEETHOVEN, cannot truly relish BELLINI.
I cannot agree with you. The Roman ladies dislike exceedingly the smell of a rose, yet they are excessively fond of perfumes. You might as justly say that the ladies of Rome had no noses.'
SEATSFIELD: with energy: “No, Sir; I would not say that they had no noses, anatomically speaking; but I would say, Sir, and insist upon it, Sir, that they have d d bad noses.'
I will acknowledge then, that I have a bad taste; but I certainly am an admirer of a fine statue.
SEATSFIELD: 'You may think so, but it cannot be. Let me try you now by an architectural test. Are you an admirer of the little Episcopal church in Cambridge?'
“I must avow that I never could see in it the beauty of St. Peter's, or the cathedral of Milan.'
SEATSFIELD: “Then I am sure — I am more convinced than ever— that you are deficient in eye. The Episcopal church has in it all the elementary æsthetic principle that you can find in either of the edifices you have cited. Why is it then that you admire Saint Peter's more? Superior size, Sir; height, carving, and gilding; that makes the difference. What is it that charms you in the duomo of Milan ? The white marble, the tall steeple; not the development of the inward art-germ into the To kalov; not the unfolding of the radical essence of grace in outward manifestation, all which you find clearly uttered in the little wooden chapel of Cambridge. But this is the way men judge. They think they are admiring the art-germ and they are admiring something else. A New-York citizen will tell you that the City-Hall is a finer building than the Park Theatre. Why? Because it is bigger; because 't is made of marble. But, Sir, the true votary of the To kalov, the ardent appreciator of that which is esthetically conceived, would see in the plain wooden pile, in the modest stucco of the play-house, more true development of the inward principle of beauty than in the most gorgeous heap of Parian blocks, where the art-germ was poorly developed. Give me the cheap, unpretending pine edifices of my native land; the fair Ionic of Staten-Island; the timber-temples of Poughkeepsie, and the clap-board simplicity of Cambridge-Port or Bangor, before all your “trabes Hymettiæ,' or trabes Sing-Singiæ of vulgar architects.
Here SEATSFIELD paused; and as he appeared as exhausted by talking as I was weary of contending with his singular opinions, I proposed to compound a cordwainer of Xeres, and we retired to the Schnapp-und-bier-haus, or bar-room of the establishment.
Gossip with READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. – It is a subject of great delectation to an Editor who loves his readers, that he is enabled (through the thoughtful attention of obliging correspondents) to present them with such daguerreotype transcripts from nature as the annexed welcome communication; doubly welcome, let us gratefully add, that its receipt lightens the labors and lessens the fervors of the summer solstice: *Doubtless there is a cool time of life, when the question as to how much game we may have bagged, and whether it has been worthy of the chase, is one of some importance. We may live long enough to rejoice even at having failed in some particular run, or some close shot, that missed only by a hair’s breadth: and so also in other matters, there are those who live beyond hope, and who for the first time begin to remember; and such generally look with a different eye upon the various ways in which they have attitudinized the great world; and if they have lost all capacity for any farther attitude, are very apt to be struck with a certain paralytic morality, and condemn in toto all matters of sport. But up to this time of life, you will have remarked that excitement is the object of the sportsman. For myself, I confess that in matters of this sort, I think more of the quantum of agreeable sensation, no matter how produced, than the contents of my game-bag. In this sense, when being cajoled after fox-squirrels some five miles from Augustine, I found myself in the centre of a large rattle-snake patch, (the burrows being as thick as fiddler's holes on the beach,) my sensations were quite as acute as though I had bagged my half-dozen squirrels ; and when still farther on, I mounted a high tumulus, discovered a new grave on the top, and saw a column of smoke rising close by, doubtless from some Indian encampment, the sport was complete. Indeed, I made no farther adventure in that direction. So also in duck-shooting on the St. John's; it is ten to one that you will not hit, or in case you do, that you will lose your game; but if you are unaccustomed to the paddle, and while a mile and a half from shore, the wind comes on to blow, and a thick fog sweeps down the river, your efforts at getting ashore, remembering what point the wind hailed from, and steering by the roll of the sea, will be highly exhilarating. Mistaking a buzzard for a wild turkey is also very pleasant while it lasts; and when, as every body knows, there are very many who love dearly to be deceived, there is here a great opening, and always available. When my friend Harry brought down his buzzard, after a long chase, in a swamp near St. Mary's, he never suffered the fact to disturb his foregone enjoyment; indeed his anticipations were so indelible that he still has an aster-dinner account of the number of turkeys which he brought in on that occasion. Next to this, perhaps, I prefer marsh-hens, and for the locality the banks of the Altamaha. It is difficult to say what your sensations are as you approach a marsh-hen. Standing at the edge of the grass, you hear her calling to you thirty yards off, and you start in pursuit. You know that she will not break her cover, but you may think it just possible that she may wait for you to scoop her up with your hat, as you remember of catching bumble-bees when a boy; but as you reach the spot you hear her calling again from another quarter, and are quite at liberty to speculate anew; and if in rambling about you sink suddenly waist-deep in the mud, and find the descent produce a more shocking than pleasurable emotion, there is always the pleasure of getting out again, and the marsh. hen is the most enticing of birds. The flamingo also has his attractions ; ditto the pelican, the parrot, and many other strange birds and beasts, common to low latitudes. The alligator is too clumsy, too easy to hit, and too difficult to harm. He is only interesting to the anatomist, or the curious, who like to look at a terrible giving up of the ghost. But to those who are on the look-out for new sensations, the above are tame and common-place. I take great pleasure therefore in recommending something quite original ; something which, in the way of elaborate excitements, I do not hesitate to say, is decidedly the nonpariel, the most exquisite of any thing yet discovered. I allude to shooting red squirrels with a lead-pistol, touched off with a sun-glass. You require for this purpose a walnut-grove, on a hill-side if possible, with a crooked rail-fence running through it; as many large rocks
scattered about as you may fancy; a clean sod under foot, sprinkled with last year's remains, and over head a sky that is spotless. If the morning is soft and warm, as it should be, to contrast strongly with your murderous design, you will find the grove very quiet, except that as you enter and look around for your patch of sunshine, there may be a scampering among the leaves for a few moments ; but after this, the woods about you are quite still, and amid the slumberous noises that seem to exhale from the landscape with the morning dew, the cock-crow from the distant farm-house is distinct and effortless as the babble of the neighboring brook. Not a sound round about that is rough or labored in the slightest degree. If the bull on the hill-side should undertake to roar, he would finish like an interrupted sneeze, with a vowel sound, and forego his ferocity. But in about five minutes, if you are quite motionless, there will be a very sudden and fierce · Chur- r-r-r. womuck, womuck, uck, uck, zeet!' and directly before you, with his hind-quarters cocked up on a bald rock, is a red squirrel, taking observations. But do n't shoot now; certainly not. If you raise an eye-brow even, the game is lost. Breathe through your pores for a moment or two, and you will see the little fellow's cheeks expand suddenly and his body going into convulsions with the effort: he will again ring out a variety of martial exclamations, and then if your eyes are good, you will discover at a dozen different points a bit of a nose, a pair of ears perked up, or a tail whisking about; while here and there on the leaves you hear a pattering like the first drops of a shower. After each one has had his look, and declared you not worth notice, they all rush together helter-skelter, scratching, hugging, and chasing tails, till one of them takes the fence, and all following the lead, away they go down the grove, with tails up, and a chattering that would make Ole Bull perfectly happy. Now is the time to get your rest; take aim at the third rail of the fence, and bring your glass to operate on the powder, for very shortly the oldest of that scampering family will come back. It is useless to speculate why he comes; he may have given his comrades the slip, or he may wish to take another look at you; but come he will, and seating himself midway of the rail, proceed to wash his face, and perhaps sneeze once or twice with peculiar energy. I pause here to remark, that you may hope nothing, expect nothing, unless to be wretchedly disappointed, if you lack self-possession. And by this I mean, not the mere instinct of self-preservation, which on great occasions is mistaken for presence of mind, but the kind of nerve which bears without flinching the trifles which are commonly considered too contemptible for human endurance. If in whirling bumble-bees over your head, you have had the nerve to hold fast while some of the stragglers were crawling over your thumb and fingers; if you have done this, knowing they would soon be too drunk to sting, you may proceed. And now, the squirrel having sneezed perhaps for the third time, you approach the climax. With one eye taking the deadly aim, the other is eagerly watching the small white spot playing about on the edge of the powder; and what with a certain blushing sensation that will pervade your whole system just at this moment, the beautiful smoke-curl that rises previous to the flash, the passage of a cloud over the sun, the twisting of the saltpetre, and the bound of the squirrel just before the explosion; I say, if in all this you do not reach a most excruciating thrill, a sensation incomparable, then
DESPAIR! your name is written on
The recent death of Thomas CAMPBELL, at an advanced age, at Boulogne in France, will not have escaped the notice of our readers; nor will they need to be reminded that in him the world has lost one of the noblest poets of Christendom. He has ‘solved the great mystery ;' he has gone to satisfy the aspirations of that undying faith, which while on earth his pen contributed so much to confirm and to strengthen. He has
"Sought new worlds untravelled by the sun,
Where Time's far-wandering tide has never run;' and there we doubt not, through evidences which 'eye hath not seen nor ear heard, and
the heart of man hath not conceived,' has be found his immortal conceptions verified, and the full fruition of that Hope, of which he sang in strains of such heavenly sweetness. How forcibly, while we think that he is dead, come back upon the memory his striking lines :
• THERE live, alas ! of heaven directed mien,
Of cultured soul and sapient eve serene,
Oh! if the warring winds of Nature's strisc
Such, in all his works, and to the last, were our author's hopes and aspirations. In • The Last Man,' one of the sublimest of all his poems, he breathes the same trusting, fervent spirit: • THE spirit shall return to Him
"Go, Sun, while Mercy holds me up
On Nature's awful waste,
To drink this last and bitter cup
Of grief that man shall taste;
Go tell the night that hides thy face
Thou saw'st the last of Adam's race,
On earth's sepulchral clod,
The darkening universe defy
To quench his immortality,
Or shake his trust in GOD!'
It would be trite, were we to dwell upon the general characteristics of CAMPBELL'S poetry. His . Pleasures of Hope' are familiar to every reader; and many of his lyrics, as • The Battle of the Baltic,' • The Soldier's Dream,' • Hohenlinden,' "The Mariners of England,' etc., are as familiar as household words, wherever the English tongue is spoken. Nothing can exceed the force and purity of his language, or the melody of his diction. His intimate acquaintance with the literatures of Greece and Rome, no doubt added greatly to the high attributes of his style. Ilis translations from the ancients are uniformly correct, and replete with the spirit of their originals. His imagination sometimes revelled in the unrelieved Horrible ; witness · The Death Boat of Heligoland,' which always struck us as more open to criticism on this score, than even the well-known revolting passage in Byron’s ‘Siege of Corinth.' "The Spectre-Boat' is somewhat kindred in character with the Death-Boat, but is far less objectionable in its supernatural features. The ensuing stanzas, which we take from it, are very picturesque and striking:
''Twas now the dead watch of the night the helm was lashed a-lee,
You may guess the boldest mariner shrunk daunted from the sight,
How artistic the closing line; 'down they went, as the cock crew from the land. The poem "On a Dead Eagle, written at Oran,' was originally published in the KNICKERBOCKER ; yet we cannot avoid recalling the reader's attention to a few of its admirably graphic lines :
DOWNWARD, faster than a falling star,
But we are forgetting our tether, and that we have ‘metes and bounds' which it behooves us to observe. Let us simply add, in closing, that CAMPBELL, though dead, is immortal, even in this world. He has ‘linked himself to undying fame. He needs no monument ; for in his own matchless words:
"What hallows ground where heroes sleep?
Their turf may bloom;
Their coral tomb.
But strew his ashes to the wind
Lifts thine on high ?
Is not to die!'
INDULGE us in a little gossip, reader, touching a pleasant trip which we lately made, in company with agreeable friends, to the Cherry-Valley country. Beautiful Otsego !-- not soon shall we forget her lofty mountains, from the summits of which landscapes may be commanded second only in beauty and extent to those beheld from the Kaatskills; her pleasant valleys, sleeping in pensive quietness between swelling hills, crowned with a profusion of richest verdure ; her placid streams; her blue lakes, reflecting the calm sky, and the summer-clouds that fleck it, in its glassy bosom; her neat villages, with their church-spires pointing to heaven; her accomplished and beautiful-womankind;' the cordial hospitality of her people; all these are matters to be remembered and cherished. It so chanced, moreover, that during our sojourn in the 'Valley of Cherry-Trees,' a sight was vouchsafed to us, which was not less novel than striking. In one of ‘God's first temples,' a grove of vast extent and surpassing beauty, we were initiated into the mysteries of those political gatherings, so familiar to the people of the West under the name of Barbecues. For hours in the morning, from every direction, came streaming into the village the yeomanry of the county, singly or in companies, with flags flying and martial music resounding; and when they all took up their position around the platform in the grove, verily there was spread around that verdant amphitheatre an‘army with banners.' The mass were farmers, with their sons and daughters; then there were visitors from far and near; the spruce city denizen, and the languishing invalid from adjacent summer resorts; together (very possibly also) with not a few fervent patriots, who were ready to die at any moment for their country and a fat office; men who went' for the consolidated JEREMY BENTHAM principle, the greatest good of the greatest number,' but with whom the greatest number happened to be * Number One.' Our own political principles were intact, being those of '98; of the speeches therefore we 'something heard' only, and not intentively;' being moved continually with pity for the big ox, revolving over a slow fire in the near vicinity, with a large peeled sapling thrust through his person and out at his mouth; his teeth grasping the huge spit, as 't were in mortal agony. It was a painful sight; for knowing that he had been roasting, to the music of a most melancholy creak, all night, we could not help reflecting how much he must have endured while we had been reposing in the arms of Sleep. Surely, he must have been impaled alive; that expression of agony was not born of a dead. VOL. XXIV.