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Mirs. Welby, and other of our more popular lady-poets. Mrs. BARRETT expresses, as her * favorite wish,' that her work 'may be received by the public as a deposit, ambitious of approaching to the nature of a security for a future offering of more value and acceptability.' That it will be so received, we cannot doubt. She adds: 'I would fain do bet. ter; and I feel as if I might do better; I aspire to do better.' We are decidedly of the fair writer's faith, and consider her aspiration as alike creditable and in its purpose feasible. The spirit in which the work has been written is most praiseworthy, as may be gathered from these closing sentences of the preface : “ Poetry has been as serious a thing to me as life itself; and life has been to me a very serious thing. I never mistook pleasure for the final cause of poetry nor leisure for the hour of the poet. I have done my work, so far, as work; not as mere hand and head work, apart from the personal being, but as the completest expression of that being to which I could attain; and as work I offer it to the public; feeling its faultiness more deeply than any of my readers, because measured from the height of my aspiration : but feeling also that the reverence and sincerity with which the work was done, should protect it in the thoughts of the reverent and sincere. We commend the volumes heartily to our readers.
THE GIFT: A CHRISTMAS, New-YEAR, AND BIRTH-DAY PRESENT, For 1845. pp. 300. Philadelphia:
CAREY AND HART. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM.
We are reminded by this beautiful volume, that the holidays are nearing us; and surely no one need wish a more pleasant remembrancer. The engravings are eight in number, from the burins of our most accomplished professors of the art of celature, and from paintings by Page, StuaRT, LESLIE, MOUNT, MALBONE, DURAND, and Huntington. In both departments the pictures are unexceptionable, and several of them possess great attraction. It would be invidious however to particularize where all are so creditable.
The literary matériel is furnished by various American writers, chief among whom appear Mrs. KirkLAND, in one of her graphic and entertaining country stories; LONGFELLOW, in a delightful poem, written in his purest and most graceful manner; JOSEPH C. NEAL, the admirable "charcoal-sketcher,' in a characteristic limning from life; the Rey, Mr. FURNESS, in a fine poem, translated with faithfulness and grace from the German; Mr. Willis, in one of his light and fanciful tales; Mr. Hoffman, in a spirited Western sketch. There are articles also by Emerson, Mrs. Eller, Mrs. SIGOURNEY, Mr. Simms, Miss Ann C. LYNCH, Mr. WATMOUGH, etc. The last article, ‘Leaves from the Diary of a Recluse,' is without a name; but the writer had no need to conceal it, for the · Diary' is among the best papers in the volume. We subjoin one or two brief extracts :
"The moon is beaming silver bright,' and the stars are looking down with a melancholy gaze : 1 have looked on them a moment since: they are the very same that inspired the fantasies of Plato and PYTHAGORAS. There they shine with their pale sad light, and PLATO and PYTHAGORAS are gone, and generations have vanished like the waves ihat have broken on the sea-shore. Myriads of eyes have looked on them; myriads of beings like myself have lived, loved and died; yet they are not changed. I look upon them to-night; a few more years and I shall see them not, but they will still shine on.
What is humanity amidst such a universe, and what am I? The very trees under my window have lived longer than I can live: my life, the very breath of Heaven can destroy it! Races and generations are nothing. The mighty machine rolls on and sweeps them away. FATHER of Light and Life! Thou alone knowest the condicting thoughts that agitate my soul: give me a right spirit, and guide me in the way of truth; Thou only canst know my desire for it.'
What thoughtful observer of the promises of immortality written in star-lines on the cope of heaven' has not been overpowered with thoughts like these? There is a valuable lesson conveyed in the ensuing sentences :
"Our friends die and change; we ourselves grow old; and as the vigor of our youth decays, and the flowers of our spring wither, some objects must supply their place; and where shall we find them,
if not in our own minds? and what shall these objects be, if not the cultivation of taste and the acquisition of knowledge? These make us independent of time and place. Like the camel in the parched desert, we bear within us the fountain to supply the wants of our solitary pilgrimage. Thus refreshed and invigorated, we travel on, while those around us languish beneath the storm, or die of feverish thirst. One might ask, will not this course make you selfish, by putting you above the necessity of sympathy? Not more than is necessary. Why, when we find nothing to lean upon, should we not support ourselves ?'
We are struck with the force and truth of the following: ‘Is it not a proof that we are low in the scale of being, that any thing like greatness of mind, nobility, or generosity, strikes us as something strange? The world gazes in as much astonishment to see a man perform a really generous action as if he had suddenly mounted in the air on wings. It must be a low state of existence when the beautiful, the holy, and the elevated excite such emotions of novelty, rather than that which is base, cowardly and low. The latter surround us like the air we breathe. Show us the contrary, and we wonder and praise; praise a good action ! - praise virtue !- praise a man because he has done just as he should do! Brief as we have been, we must yet bring our notice of • The Gift' to a close. We can make no better end than like the dying swan to ' fade in music with these most melodious lines by LONGFELLOW, which he with truth entitles 'A Gleam of Sun-shine;'
The last stanza of this charming poem reminds us of one of the earliest lyrics of the late Willis GAYLORD CLARK, which is not included in his poetical writings, lately published, and which Mr. LONGFELLOW has doubtless never encountered. It closed as follows; and the stanza developes an instance of coincidence of thought between two poetical minds, which we are sure would have greatly gratified the Departed:
*YEt still I gaze, and feel like one
Who, travelling, marks a landscape passed,
While cloud and storm are round him cast.'
The typography, paper, and binding of "The Gift,' are of the very best and most tasteful description, and reflect credit upon the care and liberality of the publishers.
*WHITE LYING' AND ITS VICTIMS. - We have been not a little amused, and we think our readers will be, and instructed beside, in the perusal of an account, given in a freeand-easy epistle from an eastern friend, of the evils of white-lying.' He tells his own story so well, that we shall plunge at once into his pleasant missive: “Walk in and take pot-luck with us,' said friend A - In an unlucky moment I accepted the invitation, forgetting that a fine turkey awaited me at home. On entering the parlor we met Mrs. A — who received me very politely, but seemed rather disconcerted when her husband announced that I had dropped in to dine with them. I turned away to give her time to recover her equanimity, but in the opposite glass saw her dart a reproachful look at her spouse, accompanied with a gesture of vexation; and at the same time I saw him elevate his hand in an imploring attitude, and cast at her a beseeching look. All this was seen at a single glance — but it was sufficient. I was miserable from that moment. I thought of the turkey, and said to myself: . What a goose, not to have thought of it before !' But what could I do? It was plain that the gude-wife had only a poor dinner to offer me, and was greatly mortified thereat. I uttered an internal vow that I would never again accept an informal invitation to dine. I pretended to be looking at some engravings on the centre-table, but was all the while trying to invent a scheme by which to extricate myself from my unpleasant position, and had nearly come to the conclusion that I would suddenly pretend to recollect a previous engagement, when a domestic announced that dinner was ready. It was too late: in another minute I was in the dining-room; and there I smelt 'em out! I was about to partake of a salt-fish dinner! My heart sank within me, at the thought that I had left a real gobbler at home, to come here and dine on a “Cape-Ann turkey! Of all articles tolerated on a dinner table, I most abominate boiled salt fish; and now it was to be seasoned with the sauce of misery and the pepper of domestic irritation. 'I must get rid of these two last ingredients, at any rate,' thought I, “and the only way to accomplish it, is to swallow the former with a good grace.' 'Shall I help you to some fish?' said the lady. . Certainly,' replied l; there is nothing of which Iam so fond.' Here I observed her countenance to brighten. "Some onions ?' * Thank you, yes; I always eat onions with fish. (Face brighter still.) · Beets ? carrots ? parsnips?' 'Yes, yes.' (Another shade vanished.) * Eygs? butter? potatoes ? etc., etc. “Yes, that's exactly right; you understand these things, I see; I could not be suited better. What a lucky fellow I was, A—, to fall in with you to-day!'
* By this time his wife's face was as bright as a sunny day in May, and the perturbation so long visible on the countenance of my friend had given place to a smiling calm. I fe. licitated myself on the happy turn of affairs, and the thought of having made my entertainers easy, almost made me happy myself: almost, but not quite, for right before me lay an enormous plate of salt-fish and accompaniments, which I must devour as'a proof of the truth of my declaration that there was nothing of which I was so fond as a salt-fish dinner. I put on a smiling face, and addressed myself to the task. Mustard and vinegar alone saved me from loathing. Host and hostess were now on excellent terms with each other and with me; and we discussed at large the merits of dun-fish, pickled fish, pollock, hake, cusk, haddock, and salmon; also lump, halibut, mackerel, lobster, shad, and trout; but we unanimously agreed that there was nothing so delicious as the dun-codfish, served up exactly like the one on which we were then dining! By and by my friend brought forth a bottle of excellent Maderia and some fine Havanas. We were quite a happy party; and when I reflected that this was owing entirely to a little innocent falsehood of which I had been guilty, I took great credit for my benevolent artifice, and thought, ' Here is a case which would prove, even to Miss EDGEWORTH, that good can come out of a white lie.' Just then the voice of that dear good woman seemed to whisper, · Wait a little !!
Just a fortnight from that day, I received from A - a written invitation to dine with him; to which, owing to an unfortunate repugnance to say 'No,' which is my besetting sin, I returned an affirmative answer. To tell the truth, I had no objection ; for I thought it likely that he was going to show me that he did dine sometimes on other things than salt fish. I expected a sumptuous dinner, and was accordingly very punctual. There were no frowns now; no gestures of vexation, no perturbed visages; all seemed smiling, peaceful, happy. There was an air of ill-concealed triumph in the countenances of my friends, which seemed to say, 'We will show you to-day what a good dinner is.' I expected venison at least. “Dinner is ready, if you please, Ma’am,' said the servant; and we proceeded at once toward the dining-room. I was a little surprised that there were no guests except myself, for I had expected to meet a large company; but, on reflection, I felt it to be a higher compliment to be invited to dine alone with my friends - on venison. How kind they were! By this time we were in the hall. “Is it possible,' thought I, that the odor of that salt-fish dinner can have hung about this place a fortnight? It's rather too strong for that. It can't be that we are to dine on salt-fish again to-day! My doubts increased at every step. We entered the dining-room, my friend a little before me, as if to prevent my seeing what was on the table, until I was close to it, when he stepped aside, and she withdrew her arm from mine; and both turned and looked, first at the table and then at me, with an air of mingled triumph and friendship, which was particularly vexatious; for on the table lay a dinner identical with the one of which I had reluctantly partaken a fortnight before! The blood rushed to my face, as if determined to find vent there, and then as suddenly retreated. A seat was most acceptable. I am sure I looked very pale, for I felt as if fainting; but recovering soon, I complained of being subject to vertigo, declared I had not felt well all day, and made this white lie’ a plea for eating very sparingly. During the whole time I sat at table, I could not get Miss EDGEWORTH out of my mind. “She is avenged,' thought I; “my white lie has brought its own punishment.' . Not long after this, I was again invited to dine with the A—-'s. Would you believe it, I was fool enough to accept; and again a salt-fish dinner was set before me, “because I was so ill as not to have been able to enjoy my favorite repast the last time I was there ! Cape Cod! how I groaned in spirit! Neither my friend's wine nor his flavorous cigars could elevate me. I was about to say, in reply to a commisserating remark, that my mind was preöccupied with very serious business matters; but I thought of Miss EDGEWORTH, and was silent. I tried to smile, but I have no doubt the result was a grimace. I escaped as soon as possible, and hoped, as I left the house, that I had taken my farewell of salt-fish dinners forever. But, by Jove! “the end was not yet! This was about two years ago ; and since then, I have been inveigled into the acceptance of no less than seventeen invitations to salt-fish dinners, which I have now the general reputation of being passionately fond of! I am sure, if such a thing were possible, I should have acquired a taste for them long ago; but on the contrary, my dislike of them increases in a geometrical ratio. I have been several times on the point of feigning dyspepsia, as an excuse for declining all invitations, but the thought of Miss EDGEWORTH has prevented me. I have prayed that I might have a slight touch of it; just enough to swear by; but my chylifying function continues as strong as that of an ostrich or an anaconda. I begin to think that Fate itself is against me. Without doubt
I am 'doomed for a certain time to walk the earth,' during which I shall be compelled to accept invitations to cod-fish dinners! They will be the death of me' at length, however; I shall be found gone for good’ some pleasant night; the crowner's quest' will sit on my corpus; and the verdict will be,“ Died of a white lie, and a suffusion of salt-fish dinners on the brain !
Osceola, THE SEMINOLE War-CHIEF.— The paper upon Osceola, in preceding pages, is from the pen of one fully conversant with his theme; and it will arrest and enchain the attention of the reader. The following remarks, which accompanied the article, will prove of general interest, in connection with its developments: “The difficulties attending an attempt to give an account of the life and exploits of an Indian warrior are manifold, and greater than a hasty observer is apt to imagine. The absence of historical memorials to which one might reser for a knowledge of past events, creates a necessity for resorting to oral tradition, which is not to be depended upon implicitly, or to the verbal opinion of cotemporaries of the same tribe, whose judgment is often perverted by jealousy. Unhappily for the Indian, the only record of his exploits is necessarily made by his enemies; and here the difficulty of arriving at truth is greatly increased. The pale-faced historian begins with pre-conceived notions, perhaps aversion; and even those who are well-disposed, or capable of forming a favorable judgment, are unwilling to bestow the attention necessary to obtain a thorough knowledge of the character of their subject; while a class of persons who come into the closest contact with, and who from their position are best able to see the peculiarities of savage life, are ignorant and sordid traders, intent only upon the gain they can wring from those immediately within their grasp. A few missionaries have written the history of savage tribes, but their accounts are of those that were, rather than of the semi-barbarous races by which we are surrounded, and with which we are in later times brought into collision. Notwithstanding our means of better knowledge, we are prone to marvel why the Indian does not think or act as we do, and we blame him for not cultivating the arts of peace, and conducting his wars on the same principles we have acquired by study and experience. We make no allowance for defects of education, as we term them, or rather for his no education, and wonder he does not curb his passions, or if he must give vent to them, do so by such rules as we are taught. This is exactly the thing the Indian cannot do, for he does not know the art, nor has he ever felt the necessity of practising it. Whatever he does, either of good or evil, he does of right good will. Even in his deadly hatred, he is without hypocrisy ; for his adversary is made to know, by his uniform habit, that execution follows thought as soon as opportunity offers. He is of a race which cannot assimilate with ours; neither is he of himself willing to adopt our manners and general habits, and become one of us. The mode of treating the Indians was laid down wisely as early as the formation of our present government; and the intentions of the several administrations that have succeeded have ever been good ; but interested traders, joined to greedy speculators, have at times had power to thwart or misdirect these intentions, and several of the persons who were charged to carry them out have proved faithless to their duty. During the campaigns in Florida some of the acts of the traders came to light, which were of most unblushing rascality. The following are among a number :
* An Indian wishing to obtain a sum of money that was due to him at Washington, gave to a white man a paper which he signed, and which he was told was an order for the amount : it proved to be a receipt in full, on which the man received the money, and kept it, in spite of the Indian's exposition of his villany. Another case, even worse, was one of a friendly Indian, who held several slaves, whom he desired to assign to a white man in trust, for better security during the troubles, and for this purpose gave what he believed was as assignment. The instrument was drawn up by the white man, and proved to be a bill