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The “ Forest Sanctuary" is one of the longest of her poems, and is written in Spenserian
It has been pronounced among her best by some of her admirers. We do not think so. The poem is good, but we should be unwilling to rest her reputation as a poet on this alone, or this mainly Yet should we be sorry to have the “ Forest Sanctuary” lost from the bright constellation of her works. It is too good to die, and it never will die. The following stanza happily exhibits the poet's power of description.
“Silence upon the mountains ! but within
rain, That plashes on the roof of some vast echoing
Mrs. Hemans' poetry—its virtuous and religious influence. Its tendency is to refine, elevate, ennoble the mind not only, but to purify the heart. It never appeals to our baser passions ; it addresses itself to the better feelings of our nature. Parents can commend it without qualification, to their children, without a fear of the stain, and blight, and mildew of vice. Mrs. Hemans lived the life of a Christian, and she died a Christian's death. Her genius had been to Mount Zion, and had caught the inspiration of Gethsemane and Calvary; and her works are scarcely less remarkable for the sanctified spirit they breathe than for their glowing imagery, simple and tender pathos, natural and chaste versification, and artless elegance.
Mrs. Hemans, it should seem, must be dear to every true American heart, for the interest she has manifested in our country and our institutions. We cherish the author of the “ Pilgrim Fathers” as a kindred spirit, and we forget almost that we listen to a trans-Atlantic bard-she seems in a sense our own, as she sings, " What sought they thus afar ?
Bright jewels of the mine?
They sought a faith's pure shrine.
The spot where once they trod ! They have left unstain'd what there they found
Freedom to worship God.”
We know not how we can better sum up all we wish to say of Mrs. Hemans as a poet, than to employ the language some time since used by the Edinburgh Review, that “ she is the most touching and accomplished writer of occasional verses that our literature has yet to boast of.” Some may think there is in this language a trifle too much of enthusiasm-we believe it is true-true to the letter, and now that she has
In the few dramatic poems which Mrs. Hemans has produced, we think she is least happy. Her male characters are not masculine enough, and the interest is not sufficiently sustained throughout the plot. She has, however, in her “ Siege of Valencia,” and “ Vespers of Palermo,” succeeded as well as any female writer of tragedy with whose works we are acquainted, Mrs. Joanna Baillie, perhaps, excepted.
It has been objected to the poetry of Mrs. Hemans, that there is an air of sadness pervading it all. It is true her strains have much of sorrow in them. She may not have been
“ One of the spirits chosen of heaven to turn The sunny side of things to human eyes.”
" Affection's cup hath lost the taste of tears, "* we may apply to her the eulogy which she so generously bestowed upon another. None better deserves it than herself.
Grief became an early inmate of her heart. Her union with Captain Hemans was an unhappy one—it was an unfailing fountain of sorrow to her. But why should we complain of this feature in her poetry? She but sung from the deep founts of suffering in her soul. Her grief chastens her heart, too, and makes it better. Her spirit was an Æolian harp. Its chords were naturally fine, and easily moved by the breath of every breeze. But when the winds of adversity sweep those chords, the music is richer, chaster, holier. It is often thus. The best of poems are written, if this is not too bald a figure, with the hearts blood.
And here we must notice another feature in
" True bard and holy! thou art e'en as one Who by some secret gift of soul or eye, In every spot beneath the smiling sun, Sees where the springs of living waters lieUnseen awhile they sleep-till touched by thee, Bright waves flow forth, to each glad wanderer free.”
* Forest Sanctuary.
which within a few years has obtained so much have felt at the first discovery of two of our celebrity among the medical profession, espe- own native flowers. One was the Trillium cially those who have adopted the peculiar } Erectum, with large purple flowers, in the
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best of poems are written, if this is not too vala a figure, with the heart's blood.
And here we must notice another feature in
* Forest Sanctuary.
One of the most interesting families of plants views denominated Thompsonian. The Inflata in bloom at this season of the year, is that to is strongly emetic, and occasionally cathartic. which botanists have given the name LOBELIA. Its taste is very acrid and unpleasant. This It belongs to the class Pentandria, order Mono- species, too, like the preceding one, was first gynia, of the Linnæan system, and to the order employed in medicine by the American Indians, Campanulaceæ of Jussieu. It was named in from whom its virtues became kuown. The honor of Matthias Lobelius, a European natu- Rev. Dr. Cutler, of Massachusetts, is said to ralist of some eminence. The general charac- have first directed the attention of the medical teristics of all the species are--calyx five-cleft; profession to this plant, since which time the corolla irregular, five-parted, cleft on the upper use of it has been very general. In its operaside nearly to the base ; anthers united into a tion upon the system, it bears a close resemtube; stigma two-lobed; capsule inferior or blance to tobacco. It is so powerful an emetic, semi-superior, two or three-celled, two-valved according to the Dispensatory of Professors at the apex. There are several North Ameri- Wood and Bache, that in ordinary cases, it is can species, all of which are herbaceous, hairy, deemed hazardous to employ it indiscriminately. with alternate leaves, and flowers uniformly The same authors say that fatal results have disposed in terminal racemes.
followed the injudicious use of it. It is an upAmong these, the most distinguished are the land plant, generally growing in uncultivated Syphilitica, the Inflata and the Cardinalis—the fields. Its flowering season commences about first two on account of their medicinal virtues, the middle of July. In its appearance it is the last for its beauty.
very similar to the L. Claytoniana, and the latThe L. Syphilitica is found in many places ter is sometimes mistaken for it, but it is not as in the middle and western States, and is not so large, is less branching, and has but a slightly common in New England and New York. acrid taste. This species attains the height of upwards of The' L. Cardinalis, or CARDINAL FLOWER, is three feet, and is the largest of the family. Its the most beautiful of the family. It being one flowers are of a beautiful blue color, very large of the most splendid of the wild flowers of the and showy. Formerly it was a celebrated season, we have at considerable expense and specific with the Indians in this country, and pains-taking procured a colored engraving of it in consequence it has been brought into use by for our present number. It is seldom or never scientific medical practitioners; but its virtues used in medicine ; but its princely, almost unriwere doubtless overrated, and it is now rarely valled splendor, makes it an object of universal employed. It inhabits low moist soils, and admiration by every lover of nature. flowers in July
found growing to the height of two feet and The L. Inflata, commonly known as the upwards, in marshy locations, or on the dry Indian Tobacco, is found very generally from bed of some small stream. It is said to be a Canada 10 North Carolina. It grows to the very general favorite in European gardens. It height of about eighteen inches, has a fibrous has been cultivated in Europe for upwards of root, and a solitary, erect, angular, very hairy two centuries. Its flowers are a beautiful scar. stem, very branching about the iniddle, but ris. let; the plant is erect, simple, pubescent; leaves ing considerably above the summits of the high- lance-ovate, acuminate, denticulate; racemes est branches. The leaves are scattered, sessile, somewhat one-sided, many-flowered ; stamens oral, acute, serrate and hairy. The flowers are longer than the corollas. numerous, in leafy racemes. The corolla is It is said that when the great Linnæus first of a delicate blue color, with the upper lip di- discovered a rare and beautiful tropical plant, in vided into two, the lower into three acute seg- its own native haunt, he fell on his knees, in menis. After the flower, succeeds an oval, his enthusiasm, and blessed the God of nature inflated capsule, from which circumstance the that he had thus adorned the earth. The same species takes its name. This is the plant enthusiasm in kind, less in degree, perhaps, we which within a few years has obtained so much have felt at the first discovery of two of our celebrity among the medical profession, espe- own native flowers. One was the Trillium cially those who have adopted the peculiar Erectum, with large purple flowers, in the
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wilds of the interior of this State-the other the magnificent Lobelia, along the margin of the brook where we were wont to ramble in the sunny days of boyhood. And now as we gaze upon the gay Cardinal Flower, it calls up a hundred scenes connected with that stream by the side of which it grew. Some of the sweetest recollections of childhood are associated with this flower, and when we meet it, it seems to smile upon us as a familiar friend. Oh, what blessings to the pilgrims of earth are the fair flowers that grow along the pathway to eternity! How many rills of pleasure that now flow into the soul, would be dried up, if our beautiful flowers should cease to bloom, and earth
should put off her robe of green, to be arrayed in it no more !
“O Father, Lord ! The All-Beneficent! I bless thy name, That thou hast mantled the green earth with
flowers, Linking our hearts to nature ! By the love Of their wild blossoms, our young footsteps first Into her deep recesses are beguiled, Her minster cells; dark glen and forest bower, Where thrilling with its earliest sense of thee, Amid the low religious whisperings And shivery leaf sounds of the solitude The spirit wakes to worship, and is made Thy living temple. By the breath of flowers, Thou callest us from city throngs and cares, Back to the woods, the birds, the mountain
streams, That sing of Thee !"
THE INFANT'S MISSION.
It is the beautiful theory of Christianity that all things work together for good to them that love God. Every creature, intelligent or otherwise, every atom enters as an agent and instrument into the great and benevolent plan of the Deity in reference to the universe, and works, intelligently or ignorantly, voluntarily or by an overruling direction, in the great field of benevolence. God's government being absolutely perfect, nothing defeats his plan. Every atom is made law and subserves its purpose, and whatever appearances of derangement may strike our eye and stagger our faith, the firm voice of the great watchman of the universe proclaims “ all is well.”
To our limited view, as might be expected, appearances are often inexplicable, and the most pious and experienced have their faith tried, so that in reference to the very events which are working out for them peculiar and incalculable good, they exclaim “all these things are against us.”
Few things that occur in the ordinary course of earthly events, perhaps, appear more perplexing than the sickness and death of infants. The tender, dependent, delicate little creature comes into the world all unconscious and helpless. In the bosom of its parents its presence awakens a thousand new emotions and pleasurable feelings, and opens a new world of hope and ambition. The interest and love for the little stranger becomes daily more deep and passionate, and in a few months that infant has imbedded itself in its parents' hearts, and be
come, as it were, a part of them, so that its removal is like tearing a living limb from the living, quivering body. And yet just at this point in the history of their love, disease and death, the stern ministers of mysterious Providence enter to perform the most awful office, to slay and not spare,—to cut off, unheeding the anguish and the agonized cry of parental affection that implores for its life. Childhood, death-stricken amid its playthings, infancy amid smiles and tears turned back from the sunny precincts of life, and overwhelmed with the cold shadows of death; these, we say, are dispensations full of perplexing ambiguity. We see a living existence cut off so early that we must tax our minds to imagine what single end it was sent into the world to accomplish, or what possible object relating to this world was proposed in its creation, that has not been balked and rendered abortive; and the difficulty of our reasonings will be greatly augmented when we further consider that not here and there at distant intervals only does infancy perish, but that in all ages and climes a vast proportion of the human family die almost as soon as born, and surrender life long before they can be conscious of life's great end.
What shall we say then to these things ? Hold fast our faith, certainly, and believe that even dying infancy has its mission which it accomplishes as distinctly as the hoary man of threescore years and ten. Sometimes that mission is immediately to its own.