« AnteriorContinuar »
of those of the sovereigns and princes, to the private cabinet of Professor which are always accessible to scholars. Blumenbach, nor so rich in AmeriAmerica contains 10 millions of peo- can productions. As yet they have ple, who have 150 thousand books for no observatory, and hence do not know the same purpose. But the 2 millions the longitude of their own meridian ; in Germany are more read than the and, lastly, there is but one gallery of 150 thousand in America, and the re the fine arts, and that is mentioned sult of the comparison will form the only to show that its existence is second part of our subject.
known. Every thing else, which belongs to We have now finished the sketch education, may be described negatively, of the schools and other means of eduthey exist not. There are but two cation in America, in which we have botanic gardens in the whole country, carefully avoided increasing the dark one at Cambridge, and one near New colouring of the picture. În the view York, neither of which is extensive to be taken of the state of learning, enough to be of great use, and what is we shall point out the improvements, still more discreditable to them, they which have been made of late in the contain but a very small number of institutions, and the proofs, which the indigenous plants of the country. have been given of an awakening spiIt is the same with their cabinets of rit for science and literature, and the natural history. The only good one is causes and consequences of the exista Peale's museum in Philadelphia, a pri- ing defects will be more particularly vate collection seen for money. All examined. the rest in the country are not equal
HUMAN LIFE, A POEM.
BY SAMUEL ROGERS. We are all happy to receive a poem brings them forward into mellowed from Mr Rogers, as from a benefactor light, or keeps them back in glimmerwhose delightful genius bestowed on ing shadow; and when we lay down us some of the purest moral and in- the witching book, we feel as if waking tellectual enjoyments of our youth. from a dream in which the past had We have long ceased to regard his been restored to us with all that we poetry as the subject of criticism, and long ago sighed to lose, and a world we think of it as of the pictures of spread around us composed only of some great master,--the sun-setting what was pure, serene, and beautiful. landscapes of a Claude Lorrain,-solely It is thus that all men, however for the perfection of its own mild and strangeor wild their destinies may have melancholy beauty, that seems, though been, find something in that poem in truth the very height of art, to be applicable to themselves; and that, the very reflection of nature.
simple as its music is, the same low We could almost suspect the man key, which, when struck, awakens of having a bad heart, who could think, within gentler hearts only a please without delight, of that exquisite poem, ing sorrow, calls up to those of the “ Pleasures of Memory.” There “ sterner stuff" feelings of a more we see pictured with a fleeting, profound regret, and a more overa and aerial pencil, all the soft, fleeting, whelming melancholy. Accordingly, and aerial joys of childhood and youth; the “ Pleasures of Memory” is not the and none but hearts either originally favourite poem of young minds alone, insensible by nature to those pure de- nor of those gentler spirits, for whose lights, or since hardened against their sakes its music seems to flow ; but it recollection by worldly pursuits and has, in an especial manner, taken hold evil passions, could peruse, without of the hearts of men of the very
lofti. many deep emotions, those records est intellects, and breathed its magic kept by genius of the bright spring- into minds successfully devoted to the time of its existence.
pursuits of high worldly ambition. Short as that poem is, yet how won Perhaps no other poem ever accomderfully comprehensive! All the multi- plished so much with so little ostenfarious pleasures of human life success tatious labour. This is owing to the sively pass before us for a moment, and exquisite art of the poet. There is then disappear, as the poet's mind nothing abrupt, imperfect, or mis
* Printed for John Murray, London. 1819. 4to. 12$.
placed,--the plan, which a fine philo “ Of brede ethereal wove,” sophy conceived, a fine poetry execut, and give our readers something better ed-the simplicity of the thought and than our reflections--some extracts language is at all times preserved from from the new poem of “ Human Life.” the slightest tinge of meanness by a Nothing can be simpler than the detaste purely and natively classical sign of the poem, which is to give us so that, while the most ordinary rea an image of Human Life, by means of der finds every thing intelligible and a rapid and general sketch of its great clear, and believes that graceful and outlines. Mr Rogers, accordingly, afelegant diction to be familiar to his ter a beautiful introduction, in which ears, the scholar experiences an inef- he says of his theme, fable pleasure in the beautiful adap- Yet is the tale, brief though it be, as strange, tation of sounds to all the various Asfullmethinks of wild andwondrous change, meanings of the soul,-and, blended As any that the wandering tribes require, with the enjoyment arising from the Stretched in the desert round their eveningobjects described; is conscious of many noble reminiscences brought to life by To minstrel-harps at midnight's witching
As any sung of old in hall or bower the attic character of the composition.
hour ! It is to this perfection of art and proceeds immediately to the delineaskill that the universal popularity of tion of a human being, this poem is, at last, to be ascribed.
“ Schooled and trained up to wisdom from Even they who know nothing of the his birth, principles of taste, feel the power of in whose destiny he intends to shadow them during its perusal,—and while out the great features of human sufferthey ascribe all their pleasure to this ing and happiness. or that touching passage, they know The hour arrives, the moment wished not that it is the plastic skill of the
and feared ; poet that moulds all the forms of past The child is born, by many a pang endeared.
And now the mother's ear has caught his cry; life into a more mournful beauty, and
Oh grant the cherub to her asking eye ! his inspiration that breathes over them
He comes-she clasps him. To her bosom the magical light through which that
pressed, beauty smiles out with such winning He drinks the balm of life, and drops to rest. and irresistible influence.
Her by her smile how soon the Stranger The very subject of the “ Past"
knows; gives a touching unity to the poem. How soon by his the glad discovery shows ! “ Sweet but mournful to the soul is
As to her lips she lifts the lovely boy, the memory of days that are gone."
What answering looks of sympathy and joy ! So loath is the soul to part with any of He walks, he speaks. In many a broken
word its own thoughts, that it cannot bear even the oblivion of its wretchedness, And ever, ever to her lap he flies,
His wants, his wishes, a nd his griefs are heard. and we look back with something like When rosy Sleep comes on with sweet surprise. regret even on our darkest hours of Locked in her arms, his arms across herflung, trouble and misfortune. They are (That namemost dear for ever on his tongue) gone for ever; and having been part As with soft accents round her neck he clings, of ourselves, therefore do we almost And cheek to cheek, her lulling song she love and lament them. Sorrow her
sings, self, when laid in the grave of time, Breathe his sweet breath, and kiss for kiss
How blest to feel the beatings of his heart, seems to have been a mistress of whom
impart; we were enamoured ; and pain and Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding pleasure, when left behind us on the
dove, dark road of life, seem to be children And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love ! of one family. It was therefore an After a beautiful picture of the inUnphilosophical thought to write a nocent delights of infancy, Mr Rogers poem, called the “ Pains of Memory,” thus speaks of the growing youth of as a counterpart to that of Mr Rogers his hero. --because mere pain can never be de Thoughtful by fits, he scans and he reveres scribed in poetry for its own sake alone, The brow engraven with the Thoughts of and there is always, to our imagina- Close by her side his silent homage given tion, enough of real sadness in the memory of departed joy.
As to some pure Intelligence from Heaven ;
His eyes cast downward with ingenuous But we must leave, however reluc
shame, tantly, the contemplation of that in- His conscious cheeks, conscious of praise or comparable work
At once lit up as with a holy flame ! Doubling his pleasures, and his cares diHe thirsts for knowledge, speaks but to in viding ! quire ;
How oft her eyes read his ; her gentle mind And soon with tears relinquished to the Sire, To all his wishes, all his thoughts inclined ; Soon in his hand to Wisdom's temple led, Still subject-ever on the watch to borrow Holds secret converse with the Mighty Dead; Mirth of his mirth, and sorrow of his sorrow. Trembles and thrills and weeps as they in. The soul of music slumbers in the shell, spire,
Till waked to rapture by the master's spell ; Burns as they burn, and with congenial fire ! And feeling hearts-touch them but rightly Then is the Age of Admiration—Then
-pour God walks the earth, or beings more than A thousand melodies unheard before ! men !
Nor many moons o'er hill and valley rise Ha! then comes thronging many a wild desire, Ere to the gate with nymph-like step she flies, And high imagining and thought of fire ! And their first-born holds forth, their darThen from within a voice exclaims “ As.
With smiles how sweet, how full of love Phantoms, that upward point, before him pass,
To meet him coming ; theirs through every As in the Cave athwart the Wizard's glass ;
year They, that on Youth a grace, a glory shed Pure transports, such as each to each endear-! Of every Age the living and the dead ! And laughing eyes and laughing voices fill The influence of love on a fine and
Their halls with gladness. She, when all
are still, noble nature—that passion to which
Comes and undraws the curtain as they lie,, human beings owe so much of their In sleep how beautiful! “ heaven or hell on earth,” is then painted, in our opinion, somewhat too
But this Elysium is yet in a mortal fancifully, and with too great an ad-world--and the sickness and death of mixture of romance; but nothing can
a child breathes over it the sanctity of be more beautiful than the description
Here Mr Rogers, with his of the happiness of the betrothed lov- usual felicity, alludes to a domestic
affliction of his own, in a passage which ers, their marriage, and first married
recalls to our minds that affecting inlife.
vocation to his deceased brother in the Then come those full confidings of the “ Pleasures of Memory.” It brings us past;
at once into the very bosom of afflicAll sunshine now where all was overcast.
tion. Then do they wander till the day is gone, 'Twas thine, Maria, thine without a sigh Lost in each other; and, when Night steals
At midnight in a Sister's arms to die ! on,
Oh thou wert lovely-lovely was thy frame, Covering them round, how sweet her accents
And pure thy spirit as from Heaven it came! Oh when she turns and speaks, her voice is Thou diedst a victim to exceeding love,
And, when recalled to join the blest above, far, Far above singing !-But soon nothing stirs Nursing the young to health. in happier
hours, To break the silence Joy like his, like hers,
When idle Fancy wove luxuriant flowers, Deals not in words; and now the shadows
Once in thy mirth thou badst me write on
Mr Rogers was deTill her young Sisters wreathe her hair in flowers,
sirous, we suppose, of breaking the Kindling her beauty--while, unseen, the tedium and wearisomeness of an unleast
interrupted calm, by those sudden and Twitches her robe, then runs behind the rest, unexpected military exploits—but we Known by her laugh that will not be sup- really cannot compliment him on the pressed.
expedient hit upon, which, in our Then before All they stand--the holy vow humble opinion, is a very awkward And ring of gold, no fond illusions now, one, both in itself and the manner of Bind her as his. Across the threshold led,
its introduction. He, however, bez And every tear kissed off as soon as shed, His house she enters, there to be a light
comes himself again in his description Shining within, when all without is night;
of the happiness of his wedded pair, A guardian-angel o'er his life presiding,
after the return of the hero from his
most unlooked-for and uncalled-for very few persons, is not very judicicampaign.
ously selected from all the other adverSuch golden deeds lead on to golden days, sities of human life, to distinguish the Days of domestic peace—by him who plays fate of him who is chosen to be, as it On the great stage how uneventful thought; were, its general representative. But Yet with a thousand busy projects fraught, A thousand incidents that stir the mind
be this as it may, the sufferings and To pleasure, such as leaves no sting be. liberation of the patriot are given with hind!
much spirit and animation. Such as the heart delights in and records The poem now hastens to a close, Within how silently-in more than words! and we feel that the hero of it, by this A Holiday—the frugal banquet spread time a gray-headed sage, is no more On the fresh herbage near the fountain-head to be disturbed in the abode of peace, With quips and cranks—what time the and love, and virtue, till death rewood-lark there
moves him from the scene. In the Scatters her loose notes on the sultry air, What time the king-fisher sits perched below, passage which follows, we think that Where, silver-bright, the water-lilies blow: Mr Rogers has very happily breathed A Wake the booths whitening the village- a wild, romantic, and poetical light, green,
over a scene which, in the hands of an Where Punch and Scaramouch aloft are seen; ordinary writer, would have been one Sign beyond sign in close array unfurled, merely of common enjoyment. It has Picturing at large the wonders of the world; all the truth of Cowper, with a fine And far and wide, over the vicar's pale,
poetry of its own. Black hoods and scarlet crossing hill and dale, All, all abroad, and music in the gale:
And such, his labour done, the calm He A Wedding-dance-a dance into the night
knows, On the barn-floor, when maiden-feet are
Whose footsteps we have followed. Round light;
him glows When the young bride receives the pro- An atmosphere that brightens to the last ; mised dower,
The light, that shines, reflected from the And flowers are flung, • herself a fairer
Past, flower :'
-And from the future too! Active in A morning-visit to the poor man's shed,
Thought (Who would be rich while One was wanting Among old books, old friends ; and not unbread?)
sought When all are emulous to bring relief, And tearsare falling fast—but not forgrief :- When gentle airs stir the fresh-blowing flow
By the wise stranger--in his morning-hours,
Graver things Come in their turn. Morning, and Evening, He muses, turning up the idle weed ; brings
Or prunes or grafts, or in the yellow mead Its holy office; and the sabbath-bell, Watches his bees at hiving-time; and now, That over wood and wild and mountain-dell The ladder resting on the orchard-bough, Wanders so far, chasing all thoughts unholy Culls the delicious fruit that hangs in air, With sounds • most musical, most melan
The purple plum, green fig, or golden pear, choly,' Not on his ear is lost. Then he pursues
Mid sparkling eyes, and hands uplifted there.
At night, when all, asseinbling round the The pathway leading through the aged yews,
fire, Nor unattended ; and, when all are there,
Closer and closer draw till they retire, Pours out his spirit in the House of Prayer, A tale is told of India or Japan, That House with many a funeral garland Of merchants from Golcond or Astracan, hung
What time wild Nature revelled unrestrained, Of virgin-white-memorials of the young,
And Sinbad voyaged and the Caliphs The last yet fresh when marriage-chimes were
reigned ; rung ; That House where Age led in by Filial Love, Rings in the shrouds and beats the iron sail,
Of some Norwegian, while the icy gale Their looks composed, their thoughts on
Among the snowy Alps of Polar seas things above,
Immoveable--for ever there to freeze ! The world forgot, or all its wrongs forgiven- Or some great Caravan, from well to well Who would not say they trod the path to
Winding as darkness on the desert fell,
In their long march, such as the Prophet This perfect happiness is at last a
bids, gain broken in upon, for he becomes To Mecca from the Land of Pyramids, the object of political tyranny, and, And in an instant lost a hollow wave being tried for some supposed state Of burning sand their everlasting grave ! crime, his life is in jeopardy. We can
Now the scene shifts to Venice-to a square not help feeling that a calamity which, Glittering with light, all nations masking in the course of things, happens to so
With light reflected on the tremulous tide, And now by those he loves relieved, restored,
past, A strain breaks forth (who hears and loves How eloquent he is! His thoughts flow fast; it not !)
And while his heart (oh can the heart grow From lute or organ ! 'Tis at parting given, old ? That in their slumbers they may dream of False are the tales that in the World are Heaven :
told !) Young voices mingling, as it floats along, Swells in his voice, he knows not where to In Tuscan air or Handel's sacred song We have then some cheerful and Like one discoursing of an absent friend.
But there are moments which he calls his solemn pictures of his declining years. Of this retired philosopher Mr Rogers Then, never less alone than when alone, says, in a note,
Those that he loved so long and sees no more, "That every object has a bright and a dark Loved and still loves--not deadbut gone side, and I have endeavoured to look at
before, things as Cicero has done. By some, how. He gathers round him; and revives at will I may be thought to have followed Scenes in his life that breathe enchantment
still too much my own dream of happiness; and in such a dream, indeed, I have often pass
That come not now at dreary intervals ed a solitary hour. It was Castle-building
But where a light as from the Blessed falls, once ; now it is no longer so. But whoever
A light such guests bring ever-pure and would try to realise it, would not, perhaps, Lapping the soul in sweetest melancholy!
holy repent of his endeavour.”
-Ah then less willing (nor the choice con In accordance with the principles of demn) this creed, Mr Rogers so writes of old To live with others than to think on them ! age as to make it both loving and
At last he dies and is gathered to his lovely—and he begins his concluding
fathers. description of the venerable old man, with an apostrophe to that most elo
'Tis past! That hand we grasped, alas, quent and most feeling of all philoso. Nor shall we look upon his face again !
in vain ! phers, who has written so divinely of But to his closing eyes, for all were there, the last season of life.
Nothing was wanting ; and, through many Oh thou all-eloquent, whose mighty mind Streams from the depth of ages on mankind, We shall remember with a fond delight Streams like the day—who, angel-like, hast The words so precious which we heard toshed
night; Thy full effulgence on the hoary head, His parting, though awhile our sorrow flows, Speaking in Cato's venerable voice,
Like setting suns or music at the close ! “ Look up, and faint not-faint not, but
The last lines of the poem are, we rejoice!” From thy Elysium guide him. Age has now think, exceedingly beautiful, and leave Stamped with its signet that ingenuous brow; on our minds an impression like that And, 'mid his old hereditary trees,
spoken of at the close of the former Trees he has climbed so oft, he sits and sees quotation, His children's children playing round his knees :
“ Like setting suns or music at the close." Then happiest, youngest, when the quoit is We give them to our readers, nor flung,
shall we weaken their solemn effect When side by side the archers' bows are
by any observations on a poem which, strung ; His to prescribe the place, adjudge the prize, must have already felt assured is cha.
from all these extracts, our readers Envying no more the young their energies Than they an old man when his words are
racteristic and worthy of the genius of
Rogers. His a delight how pure . . . without alloy ;
But the day is spent ; Strong in their strength, rejoicing in their And stars are kindling in the firmament,
To us how silent--though like ours perNow in their turn assisting, they repay
chance The anxious cares of many and many a day; Busy and full of life and circumstance,