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THE BEECHEN TREE. A Tale told in Rhyme. By F. W. THOMAS, author of 'Clinton Bradshaw,'
etc. In one volume. pp. 96. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
The fame of Cincinnati · for pork and poetry,' the author of this very neat and tasteful volume informs us, in one of his notes, ‘ is spreading fast.' Mr. Thomas is quite right; and being himself aforetime a Cincinnatian, although now a resident at the national capital, he may claim no little credit for enhancing and extending the literary reputation of the "Queen City of the West.' We have already, as our readers will remember, expressed our favorable opinions of the contents of the volume before us; having been kindly permitted by their author, many months since, to peruse them in manuscript, and to make an extract or two for our pages. We intended, notwithstanding, to have given a deliberate review of our friend's book, accompanied by copious extracts, when it should have attained the dignity of types; but as it is a tale, and made up of various and connected incidents; and as we desire to keep the reader's curiosity unsated, we shall not trench upon the story proper, but content ourselves with an episode or two, which will afford an example of the writer's facility of versification and the pleasant naturalness and ease of his style :
You take this, Sir, for a digression;
'Is not the scene surpassing fair ? But were you ever westward driven,
And when the wintry storms intrude, Where Pittsburgh, like a deep trangression, And those dark forests tiout the sky,
Looks black, and smells and smokes to heaven? Their dwellers look, like Tell, on highThen have you crept from stage o'erset,
And smile, as the dark storm goes by,
Proud of their home's wild liberty.
..And Liberty is proud of them;
Her eyrie is with eagle hearts! In broken stage, with broken bone.
(For long she cannot bless the plain)
And they for her will sternly stem * At first Joe noticed not the scene,
The hosts that press from servile marts, But thought of those from whom he'd tore him, Slaves to some stolen diadem; Of what he was, and might have been,
And greet her with a loud acclaim, And of tramontane lands before him.
And plant her banner on the steep, But when on Laurel-hill the stage
And light her beacon fires, and keep Stopped for a while to rest the steeds,
Such watch as those free Spartans kept 0, how his poel-fancy feeds
When Xerxes and his millions slept.
* Joe thought of him, a madcap wight, O'er tlood and forest, hill and river,
Who, from a Bedlam broke away, He looked with kindling rapture bound,
(There's method in this madman's say,) And felt that he could look forever:
And wandered to this glorious height, From Nature's altars to the skies,
When o'er it broke a summer's day; How beautiful the mists uprise
Aud stretching forth to enstern land O'er the deep-wooded mountain's side;
Prophetic voice and listed hand, While in the valley's verdant breast,
(For madmen once were held to be As quietly the waters rest
The instruments of prophecy) As an encircled bride:
Spoke loud the words of high command; And far away in distant view,
As if, to marshalled men in order, Rests the blue sky on mountain blue.
He bade 'blue honnets cross the border,'
And called on nations, empires, states, * There's champaigne in this mountain air!
To listen to his voice and fates; Behold those bumble dwellings there,
To right about and follow far, Perched in the mountain solituda;
Far Westward, Freedom's guiding star!'
And with the lifc-long high romance,
Indwelling in her happy eye;
flow of consumption steals the sigh
On which Love reasons whence or why
With a self-pleasing phantasy;
Thinking that sigh is all his own,
Yet wondering at its saddened tone:
More anxious still to wear the rose
Whose hectic color comes and goes,
Because on lonely stem it blows:
And so her sighs are all for him, *How often, when the ball is over,
Love changes not with changing breath;
And such are like the martyr's hymn,
That proves the sufferer truo in death.'
The songs, interwoven in the narrative, will prove very agreeable reading, especially to lovers. The 'Stanzas to Helen,' from which we take a few verses, afford a clever specimen:
* Yet ofttimes, when I sorrowing pine
For those I've left behind me;
And reason left for rhyme;
And of our trysting time.
"I'm from thee many a weary mile,
Where rolls · La Belle' along;
"T is like thy smile and song.
The clear o'erhanging heaven;
"Till I have thought love given.
. And when I clasp a friend's warm hand,
Who, like me, loves the West; Leaving afar our father land,
Where thou art loveliest;
Thy beauty, and thy art;
So very calm's my heart.
O Lady! in this changing world,
With varying fate along!
But yester-eve, this bounding river
Now rolls it darkly free;
As wildly unto thee!'
These extracts will afford a foretaste of our author's quality : au roste, the reader must seek out for himself the mysteries of each canto of the story; vaguely shadowed forth in such hints as . Love in Country and Town,' • The Challenge,'' The Way of the World,' • Emigration, etc. Meantime, they may take our word for it that they will have a matter-full little tome before them, if they will take our advice, and secure a perusal of “The Beechen Tree.'
THE LAND OF ISRAEL, ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB. By
ALEXANDER KEITH, D. D., author of Keith on the Prophecies,'etc. In one volume: pp. 388. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
Tuis interesting treatise, as we gather from the author's preface, was commenced with the intention on the part of the author of drawing out a few retrospective and prospective sketches of Judea and Judaism. On his return from Palestine, he was urged by Dr. ABERCROMBIE to publish the subject of an evening's conversation at that eminent person's house. He naturally reverted to the covenant with ABRAHAM, as the ground-work of such an essay; and this subject, in connection with kindred themes, called for a more full illustration than was at first anticipated. In the work before us, the perpetuity of that covenant concerning the land, and its connexion with that which was made with the Israelites when the Lord brought them out of Egypt, and with the new and everlasting covenant which he will make with the house of ISRAEL, and with the house of Judah, and also with the covenant which the Lord made with David concerning his throne, is brought clearly within the view of the reader. The borders of the land, not as it was anciently possessed, but as set of the Lord, form the immediately succeeding theme, which is treated at great length. In the sequel of the volume, proof is adduced from its past history and actual condition, of the goodliness of the land ; of its natural fertility, not impaired but increased; and also of the facility with which its fallen cities may be raised from their foundation, and forsaken cities, although not fallen, even cities still existing, although without inhabitants, and houses still standing, although without man, may be repaired or restored to dwell in. The volume is illustrated by numerous engravings, many of which possess great interest. We were especially impressed with the representations of the majestic ruins of Baalbec and Palmyra. The well-known ‘Letters' of our correspondent, the Rev. Mr. WARE, purporting to come from the latter city, would seem not to have exaggerated the splendor, the more than princely grandeur, of the · Pride of the Palmyrenes.'
The Burns FESTIVAL IN SCOTLAND. – We have just finished the perusal, in the • Il. lustrated London News,' of the glowing description of the late festival at Ayr, Scotland, in honor of the memory of Burns. It was a spirit-stirring event. The day opened brilliantly: the scene was a field near Ayr, on the banks of bonnie Doon,' and in the
ry midst of the place where Tam o'Shanter saw such sights. For the main body of diners a pavilion calculated to accommodate two thousand persons was erected, and ornamented with flags; booths supplied the poorer visiters with refreshments. Early in the day, people flocked from all parts, in steamers, sailing-vessels, steam-carriages, on horseback and on foot. At eleven o'clock, they formed in long procession, at the Low Green, by the sea-side, and headed by bands playing the airs of Burns' songs, marched to the field; where, led by professional singers, the whole company sang ‘Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon,' and 'Auld lang syne.' Bands and bagpipes were then dispersed over the field, and dances were formed: while the pavilion-folk sat down to their banquet. The chief guests were Burns' relatives; his sons, Robert, lately in the Stamp-office at Somerset-House, Colonel Burns, and Major Burns; and his sister, Mrs. Begg, with her son and two daughters. Mrs. Thompson, the ‘ Jessie Lewars' of his verse, was also there, with her husband. The Earl of Eglintoun presided; Professor Wilson was croupier; Mr. Alison and some leading Scotchmen were among those who came to render homage due ; but of the eminent literary men invited from a distance few attended. Letters however were received from many of them; one especially from CarlyLE, in which he hints that if his countrymen had done better justice to Burns while he was living, it would not have been amiss. We could not ourselves help reverting to the time when Burns, rejected and dismayed at his debts and misfortunes; with none to encourage or to assist him, and in constant fear of the jail, was on the eve of going to the West-Indies to oversee a plantation. Joyless by night and wretched by day; skulking from house to house to avoid the sheriff's deputies, he looked even upon such an office, in a torrid climate, as a haven of rest. It is true that after his first volume of poems appeared, Edinburgh welcomed the poet to her choicest circles. The nobility of the northern metropolis, emulous to honor themselves, feasted and fêted the now popular poet; but this barren homage became his ultimate ruin. The constant excitement begot in him that love of dissipation, which hastened his progress to an early grave. We subjoin an extract from the opening remarks of Lord EGLINTOUN, the chairman of the occasion :
* This is not a meeting for the purpose of recreation and amusement; it is not a banquet at which a certain number of toasts printed on paper are to be proposed and responded to, which to-day marks our preparations; it is the enthusiastic desire of a whole people to pay honour to their countryman; it is the spontaneous offering of a nation's feelings toward the illustrious dead, and added to this the desire to extend a hand of welcome and friendship to those whom he has left behind. Here, on the very spot where he first drew breath, on the very ground which his genius has hallowed, beside the Old Kirk of Alloway, which bis verse has immortalized, beneath the monument which an admiring and repentant people have raised to him, we meet, after the lapse of years, lo pay our homage to the man of genius. The master-mind who has sung the Isle of Palms;' who has revelled in the im
mortal · Noctes ;' who has already done that justice to the memory of the bard, which a brother poet can alone do; CHRISTOPHER himsell' is here, anxious to pay his tribute of admiration to a kindred spirit. The historian who has depicted the most eventful period of the French empire, the glorious triumphs of Wellington, is here; Clio, as it were, offering up a garland to Erato. The distinguished head of the Scottish Bard is here ; in short, every town and every district; every class, and every sex, and every age, has come forward to pay homage to their poet. The honest lads whom he so praised, and whose greatest boast is to belong to the Land of Burns, are here. The bonny lasses whom he so praised, those whom he loved and sung, are here; they have followed hither to justify, by their loveliness, the Poet's worth, while the descendant of those who dwelt in the 'Castle of Montgomerie,' feels himself only too highly honored in being permitted to propose the memory of him who then wandered there unknown on the banks of Fail. How little could the pious old man who dwelt in yonder cottage, with his " Iyart haftets' o'erspreading his venerable brow, when he read the
big ha' bible' could have guessed that the infant prattling on his knee was to be the pride of his nation, the chief among the poetic band; was to be one of the brightest planets that glows around the mighty sun of the Bard of Avon; in knowledge and originality ; second to none in the fervent expression of deep feeling, in the genuine perception of the beauties of nature ; and equal to any who revels in the fairy land of poesy. Well may we rejoice that Burns is our own!- that no other spot can claim to be the birth-place of our Homer except the spot on which we stand. Oh! that he could have foreseen the futurity of fame created for him this day, when the poet and the historian, the peer and the peasant, vie with each other in paying the tribute of their admiration to the humble but mighty genius of him whom we hail as the first of Scottish Poets. Such a foresight might have alleviated the dreary hours of his sojourn at Mossgiel; might have lightened the dark days of his pilgrimage on earth. Well does he deserve our homage who has portrayed the 'Cottar's Saturday Night;' not in strains of inconsiderate mirth, but in solemnity and truth; who breathed the patriotic words that tell of the glories of our WALLACE, immortalizing alike the poet and the hero;
he who could draw inspiration from the humble daisy, breathed forth the heroic words of 'The Song of Death ;' strains, the incarnation of poetry and love, and yet of the bitterest shafts of satire and ridicule! - obeying but the hand of nature, despising all the rules of art, yet trampling over the very rules he set at nought. At his name every Scottish heart beats high. He has become a household word alike in the palace and the cottage. Of whom should we be proud - to whom should we pay homage, if not to our own immortal BURNS. But I feel I am detaining you too long in the presence of a Wilson and an Alison. In such a presence as these, I feel that I ani not a fit person to dilate upon the genius of Burns. I am but an admirer like yourselves. There are others present, who are brother poets, kindred geniuses ; men who, like Burns, have created a glorious immortality to themselves; to them will I commit the agreeable task of more fully displaying before you, decked out with their eloquence, the excellence of the poet and the genius of the man, and to extend and welcome his sons to the land of their father; and I will now ask you, in their presence, on the ground his genius has rendered sacred, on the banks and braes o' bonny Doon,' to join with me in drinking one overflowing bumper, and in joining to it every expression of enthusiasm which you can, to *THE MEMORY OF BURNS.'
This was followed by ‘Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonny Doon,' sung with enthusiastic applause by TEMPLETON, and by a brief speech from Robert BURNS, Jr., the eldest son of the poet, in which he gracesully returned his 'grateful and heart-felt thanks for the honor that had that day been paid to his father's memory. He pleasantly contrasted the modest obscurity of the cbildren with the lustre of the father's fame; observing that “genius, especially poetical genius, was not hereditary; and that in this case the mantle of ELIJAH had not descended upon Elisha.' CHRISTOPHER North, who was most enthusiastically received, remarked as follows:
WERE this festival to commemorate the genius of BURNS, and it were asked what need of such commemoratives since his fame is co-extensive with the heroes of our land, and inherent in every soul? I must answer that, though admiration of the poet be indeed wide as the world, yet we, as compatriots to whom it is more especially dear, rejoice to see that universal sentiment concentrated in the voice of a great assemblage of his own people; that we rejoice to meet in thousands to hovor him who has delighted each single one of us all at his own hearth. But this commemoration expresses too, if not a profounder, yet a more tender sentiment: for it is to welcome his sons to the land which their father illustrated; it is to indulge our national pride in a great name, while, at the same time, we gratify in full hearts the most pious of affections. It was customary, you know, in former times, to crow n great poets. No such ovation honored our bard; yet he, too, tasied of human applause; he enjoyed its delights, and he saw the trials that attend it. Which think you would he himself have preferred ? Such a celebration as this in his life time, or fifty years after his death? I canuot doubt that he would have preferred the posthumous, because the timer incense. The honor and its objects are thus seen in their just proportions; for death gives an elevation which the candid soul of the poet would himself have considered, and that honor he would have reserved rather for his manes than encountered it witb his living intirmities; and yet, could he have foreseen the day when they for whom his soul was often sorely troubled, should, after many years of separation, return to the hut where himself was born, and near it, within the shadow of his own monument, be welcomed for his sake by the lords and ladies of the land: and dearer still, far dearer to his manly breast, by the children and the children's children of people of his own degree, whose hearts he sought to thrill by the voice of his own inspirations, then surely would such a vision have been sweeter to his soul even than that immortal one in which the genius of the land bound holly round his forehead - the lilac-leaved crown that shall flourish forever. Of his three sons now sitting here, one only, I believe, can remember his father's face; can remember those large, lustrous eyes of his, so full of meaning; so full of melting melancholy, or kindling in mirth, but never turned on his children, nor the mother of his children, but with one expression of tenderness, or most intense affection.'
Mr. Wilson's remarks are cut short at this point by the London reporter; and like him we leave the maiter, as it stands, with the reader.
DIARY OF A VOYAGEUR. We gave in our last number some interesting extracts from a pleasant gossipping article upon the late lamented Thomas CAMPBELL, from the pen of Mr. John Ross Dix, a young English gentleman, recently arrived in this country. We have since had the pleasure to "forgather' with the writer, and have been obligingly favored with his · Diary of a Voyage Across the Atlantic,' from which we extract a few entertaining passages.
• TUESDAY, JUNE 18. – Very fine weather; too fine, indeed, as we want more wind. I find rough weather is much pleasanter than that which landsmen term'fine.'
The only living things beside ourselves about us, are some petrels and a shoal of bottle-noses, tumbling about in the water, much to the amusement of the passengers. Yesterday a little landbird alighted on our deck: the poor thing seemed much fatigued, as well it might be, considering that it must have flown seven hundred miles at the least. An attempt to secure it made it once more speed its weary wing, and we saw it no more. The note of the petrel is very mournful; and by some it is supposed always to be the precursor of a storm. I have taken advantage of this opinion in the following sea-song :
It is really amusing to see some of the emigrants pull their idle hands out of their empty pockets for the purpose of helping the sailors! How they handle the ropes! I saw a tailor to-day fingering a halyard as if it had been a bit of thread; and then the fun was heightened by the sly look of the second-mate, whom I have named after the redoubtable Long Tom Coffin, because in height and length of limb he bears a most astonishing reVOL. XXIV.