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It is well that the following, from a friend and correspondent who is ever welcome to our pages, did not reach us in the time of 'moving accidents,' when the advent of May in the metropolis is heralded by bonfires of bed-straw, 'the sacrifice of the innocents,' who have there sought safety and concealment, and the rout and rabblement of carmen, enraged housewives, and sulky men-folk!
'How different is our celebration of May-day from yours! While your streets are lumbered with old bedsteads, bureaus, and side-boards, ours is bright and gay with music and military parades. While your pretty lasses shut themselves up, or run away from the city, to escape the general sacking, ours are bedecking their fair brows with flowers, for the due celebration of the great day. The morning is passed in a general parade of all the volunteer companies, followed in the afternoon by a pic-nic, in the woods, surrounding the city. About three o'clock, the whole population of the town was in motion, toward the common,' an immense lawn, near the southern suburbs, stretching away for a mile along the city, and fringed on all sides by a forest of evergreens. Just where the town and the forest meet, our two quoit-clubs have erected small white buildings, for the accommodation of the members, which peep prettily out from the green trees, the undergrowth from which has been cleared away and levelled, 80 as to give the surrounding groves a park-like appearance. In the rear of these, are woods, filled with roses, and jessamines, and wild flowers innumerable. This was the scene of the rural festivities. During the preceding night, some kind fairies had erected a sylvan palace; and about a stone's throw in front of the portal, the same liberal elves had erected a May-pole, adorned in the most fantastic guise, with garlands and flowers of every shade and hue. Around this, stakes were driven into the sod, and surrounded with a cord, to keep off the pressure of the crowd from the fair inmates. The citizens now began to pour in from every avenue of the city, in carriages, gigs, 'buggies,' and on foot, all eager to arrive in season for the grand election.
"The fair candidates, too, now began to assume their places within the circle, while their mothers, scarcely less eager, sat in their carriages, awaiting the decision. One could almost see the hearts of the gay, brilliant, and beautiful creatures within the ring, Auttering through their gossamer dresses, as they promenaded around, in front of the immense throng. I have seen many assemblages of beauty in my time, but never has it been my lot to see so many really beautiful creatures, and the oldest not over fourteen. They looked like sylphs, with their long hair floating in the breeze, streaming with gay ribbons and gayer flowers, while their eyes fairly blazed with the unwonted excitement. The interest was yet too intense for the merry laugh; but the amiable lasses smiled as brightly as their own chosen day of the year. Expectation was now on tip-toe, and the throng outside manifested symptoms of impatience, while all eyes within the consecrated circle were bent with eager expectation toward the town. Presently a cloud of dust in that direction, foretold to the fair expectants the advent of their little beaux; and such a cavalcade as it turned out to be, beggars all description. Twenty or thirty youth, between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, mounted on fine steeds, ard dressed in something like Byron's Grecian costume, in one of his portraits, each with a light blue cap, bound round with silver, and two broad white feathers, falling back from the loop, and each wearing a polished dagger, in a black shining belt, buckled tight round his waist; all together formed one of the most beautiful and imposing spectacles imaginable. These juvenile knights dismounted and entered the enclosure; and after paying their devoirs to the futtering and expecting little beauties, proceeded at once to the grand election of the day. It was conducted upon republican principles, notwithstanding that it was the election of a queen. The majority of votes were told in favor of little Miss F -, who was crowned with all due ceremony, and conducted to her sylvan palace; thence she was escorted to the dance, by the leader of the gay cavalcade. The inspiring music struck up, and the partners ‘paired off' upon the green. It was a charming sight to see so many youthful hearts joyous and happy. Your sacked city would have stopped still, bag and baggage, to have beheld such a scene. Before night closed in, the whole green was covered with parties of dancers and waltzers; nor was it wholly confined to the 'juvenile portion of the community. Their elders soon caught the infection, and many a fair belle seemed glad 10 live over again her own girlish days, in a frolic upon the sward. Ices and refreshments, of every sort, circulated as freely as smiles, which were neither few nor far between. Where the comfits came from, I could never learn. The fairies seemed to have prepared every thing. The entire lawn was literally strewed with Aowers, and the very trees seemed to have partaken of the universal gayety; for they too were hung with bright blossoms, and fragrant with the richest perfumes.
"These May-day celebrations form little eras in the lives of these lovely, budding creatures, to which they can recur with pleasure, through a long life time. Few of our enjoyments are of the present tense; they are mostly retrospective or prospective, and are, after a certain period, for the most part 'pleasures of memory.' Is it not wise, then, to strew these flowers plentifully along the path of life, that their brilliant hues may be occasionally caught, as we look back over the scene? Long may the beautiful ones who celebrated the first of May, 1839, in Savannah, live to look back upon it, as one of the gayest and happiest days of their lives!
DEATH OF John Galt, Esq. — Recent arrivals from England, bring intelligence of the death of John Galt, Esq, author of 'Laurie Todd,' 'Mansie Wauch,' and other well-known works. We have been for some months prepared for this sad event; and believe it came later than even the deceased himself anticipated. In a letter which accompanied his last communication to this Magazine, the touching Soliloquy on Awakening in the same Bed-room, after an absence of thirty Years, while afflicted with eleven strokes and aggravations of Paralysis,' Mr. Galt spoke of his near dissolution in terms of melting tenderness. He was then well nigh as helpless as an infant, and his speech had in a great measure failed him. Indeed, his very hand-writing seemed to stammer. 'I feel,' he writes, 'that this helpless frame and faltering tongue will soon be silent in the grave. As the dying boy said, 'I am very cold, it is growing dark, and I long to go home!' We apprized him, by return packet, of kindred cases in this country, where health had been restored, after several attacks of paralysis. A brief reply, requesting to know the course of treatment pursued in the cases alluded to, and
breathing something more of hope, was the last we heard of Mr. Galt, until we learned that he had gone home.' The desired information, which was immediately forwarded, doubtless reached him too late to be of service to him, as might indeed have been anticipated. Mr. Galt was universally and favorably known as an author, and as a man, was highly esteemed by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. He has left numerous friends in America, and several in this city, who cordial testimony to his amiable manners, and his goodness of heart.
The Late Dr. John CUMMING, Of Savannah. - It has not been our custom, since we have generally had neither the space nor leisure, to notice a moiety of the many elegiac tributes, to the memory of persons distinguished for private and public worth, which are, and have been, sent us, from almost every section of the country; but the 'Eulogy on the late Dr. John Cumming, of Savannah, delivered before the Hibernian Society, on the Festival of Saint Patrick, by the Hon. Robert M. CHARLTON,' is a production of too much merit, to pass wholly unregarded. Dr. CUMMING was an Irishman, an early emigrant, of fine education, and a graduate of the Edinburgh Medical University, who subsequently relinquished his profession for that of a merchant, and afterward a factor, at Savannah, where he acquired wealth and distinction, and was honored for his probity, his noble republican principles, and the discharge of high military, civil, and moral duties. But it is not so much with the memory of the la. mented deceased, which is in a measure local, that we have to do, as with the style of the 'Eulogy,' of which an impression may be formed from the following passage:
"How truly does the journey of a single day, its changes and its hours, exhibit the history of human life! We rise up in the glorious freshness of a spring morning. The dews of night, those sweet tears of nature, are hanging from each bough and lear, and reflecting the bright ani myriad hues of the morning. Our hearts are beating with hope, our frames buoyant with health. We see no cloud, we fear no storm; and with our chosen and beloved companions clustering around us, we commence our journey. Step by step, the scene becomes more lovely; hour by hour, our hopes become brighter. A few of our companions have dropped away, but in the multitude remaining, and the beauty of the scenery, their loss is unfelt. Suddenly we have entered upon a new country. The dews of the morning are exhaled by the fervor of the noon-day sun; the friends that started with us are disappearing. Some remain, but their looks are cold and estranged; others have become weary, and have laid down to their rest; but new faces are smiling upon us, and new hopes beckoning us on. Ambition and Fame are before us, but Youth and Affection are behind us. The scene is more glorious and brilliant, but the beauty and freshness of the morning have faded and for ever. But still our steps fail not, our spirits droop not. Onward and onward we go: the horizon of happiness and fame recedes as we advance to it; the shadows begin to lengthen, and the chilly airs of evening are usurping the fervor of the noon-day. Still we press onward : the goal is not yet won, the haven not yet reached. The bright orb of Hope that had cheered us on, is sinking in the West; our limbs begin to grow faint, our hearts to grow sad: we turn to gaze upon the scenes that we have passed, but the shadows of twilight have interposed their veil between us : we look around for the old and familiar faces, the companions of our travel, but we gaze in vain to find them : we have outstripped them all in our race after pleasure, and the phantom yet uncaught, in a land of strangers, in a sterile and in hospitable country, the night-time overtakes us : the dark and terrible night-time of death, and weary and heavy-laden, we lie down to rest in the bed of the grave! Happy, thrice happy is he, who hath laid up treasures for himself, for the distant and unknown to-morrow. And sich duty, we fondly hope, our aged and revered companion had accomplished ; and with regret for his fate, sorrow for our loss, sympathy for his relatives, and respect for his memory, we drop the curtain over his morial career, and leave him with bis Father and his God."
We need not ask the reader to admire with us the grace and beauty of this passage. It is only equalled by the admirable comparison of luman life to a river, made by Bishop HEBER, in one of his touching discourses.
A M'GRAWLER CRITICISM.— The last number of Blackwood's Magazine has a scorching review, which must make Mr. Gardner's last work any thing but' Pleasant Recollections of a Dilettanti,' to him, at least. A tory bias, however, seems to lie at the bottom of the attack, and especially a little pique, that the author was not better pleased with Edinburgh, which the reviewer defends against his animadversions. Nevertheless, we abide by his sketch of the 'Old Town;' for we have heard his outlines filled up by other travellers. One has said, speaking of the high houses, in a narrow "close' of the ancient part of Edina :
"You may call on a friend of some ton, and discover him,
THE FINE ARTS.
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF Design. - This exhibition is not so good as the four or five preceding ; partly because several of the best contributors, among them Mr. Cole, bave sent nothing; and partly because most of the artists have become moro corrupted by a manner which has grown up of late, prompted and encouraged by an aberration of the public taste, in which the artists sympathize to a certain extent, and to which they yield, from want of manliness to oppose it. This manner originated among the degenerate Italians of the present century, and was brought hither by some of our own 'enterprising' spirits, who fancied that the country which produced the renowned artists of Leo's age, would furnish all applicants with ample instruction, whether they could understand it or not. Beside these worthies, who traversed Italy and France with the expedition of money-collectors, and peoped at England through spy-glasses, sundry Italian, French, aud German humbugs have come among us, to astonish the natives with pictures that have enough likeness of Dature to appear very natural' to superficial observers, and sufficient villavous contradiction of nature, to be very striking' to all who have the misfortune to see them. Tbis wretched manner has infected nearly all the New-York artists, and several in other cities, and has done more than all other causas to destroy the power of pleasing which they otherwise might have possessed. But I will postpone farther remarks upon it, until I have occasion to notice it iu some of the pictures.
No. 69. Mrs. Wood, as Amina,' full length portrait, by T. Sully, is hung in so bad a light, that I cannot well see its prominent effect. The varnish glistens on the upper part. The face possesses considerable beauty of form and character, and the coloring about the neck has purity and transparency. The general effect of light, dark, and color, is not fine; the ligbts want brightness, the shades want depth and purity, being too much tinted with vermilion, and other red and redish-brown colore. The picture was not intended to be brilliant, as it should not be; but it should have been rich and mellow, and the back.ground more like nature. The flesh seems dry, as if the perspira. tion were obstructed ; the drapery sullied; and the dark masscs, generally, are not transparent and rich, but powdery and dull. He has relied too much on the actress and the scene-painter, and not enough on himself, to produce a dramatic representation of the Somnambula; but still there is much in it that is agreeable, and even beautiful. The figure is well drawn, saving the hands and foot, which are somewhat defective.
No. 57. A child, by Sully, has still more the defect of dryness and feebleness of color, and no redeeming qualities, of much consequence. Generally, this artist gives an air of dignity and gentility to his portraits; and, though defective in color, he is the best portrait-painter in the country,
No. 58, by James Freeman. Iwo boys' heads, with boyish character, but not very refined. The flesh is very well colored, and possesses brightness, without that sacrifice of softness which is genorally made for the purpose of getting this quality in excess. The hands are well imitated; the light on the hair is bad ; too much like a piece of gray-wool stocking; and the drapery is of the same character.
No. 68, by T. C. R. A. Healy, (not George Healy,) portrait of a man, but not a gentleman, if this picture is to be trusted. The right hand is very moderately well drawn, for a portrait-painter. I do not know what muscles can turu up the corners of the mouth in this way, or what flesh bears
much resemblance to the substance of this face. There are many better pictures in the upper tier, and few worse any where. I am therefore unable to see why this should be in so good a place.
No. 63, a Landscape, by H, C. Hows. This picture has many of the merits, and some of the defects, of the present English landscape painters. It has good management of light and dark, good imitation of objects in the fore and middle grounds, and considerable spirit and boldness of execution; but its tone of color is cold ; its shadows, in the flesh and some other objects, are made impure, by excess of red and other colors. The sky is too blue, when seen by common daylight, the clouds are proportiouably cold, and the light in the fore-ground, inteuded for weak sunlight, is in the same proportion remote from the warmth of real sunlight. When illumined by gas, it is probably even too warm; but this kind of light is fit only for suck pictures as are painted expressly for it, and has been applied to others only by the 'well-enough-for-the-public' poJicy of American exhibitions. Clear day-light is much inclined to blue ; and pure white and gray pig. ments, when illumined by it, reflect the same excess of blue, and are therefore cool enough for the azure tints of the sky; but when the orange-colored light of gas is applied, a great excess of blue paint is necessary, to compensate for the difference of color in the light; and beside this intolerable evil, gas-light makes yellow, orange, and red tints appear much lighter, and blue tints much darker, than they do by daylight, and thus changes the effect of light and dark, and often impairs the har. mony of coloring. Some years ago, an Englishman obtained a patept for a mode of qualifying gaslight for panoramas, by transmitting it through blue glasses, of such thickness as to absorb the excess of red and yellow rays; and, if there were not more quacks than men of science among the managers of this feeble ape of the Royal Academy, this method would have been adopted here, if known, or invented, if not previously known. But to return to Mr. Hows, (whose name has been misspelled in the catalogue.) Ile paints skies very blue, and clouds, distances, etc., of corresponding coldoess; consequently, the general hue appears much colder than nature, which may be a great improvement, but which seems to me a great defect; and in this practice, he agrees with most of his countrymen, and nearly all the French and Americans, who study the paintings of their contemporaries more than the optical treatises of Newton and Brewster, or the paintings of Titian, Claude, and the Dutch, or the source of all beautiful art, Nature. The two other pictures of this artist aro better than this, in the main ; indeed they are very clever; and although I can see defects in them, I can perceive excellencies that afford me great pleasure. The light and dark, (chiaro-scuro,) he manages well, as English artists generally do; and this alone will make a picture pleasing, if not prevented by offensive color, or some other disagreeable quality.
Nos. 188, 45, 23, 36, by INGHAM, MARSIGLIA, GAMBARDELLA, and MAYR. These gentlemen possess, in perfection, the manner I alluded to, which may be much better than any thing in Titian, Correggio, Paul Veronese, or any of the celebrated masters of color, or even in nature; but which I cannot see in any of those authorities. It consists in excessive brightness, smoothness, and minuteness, and total absence of mellowness, freshness, tone, and richness. Could I say what it results from, I should expose a chief cause of the corruption of taste and the decay of art, and render a most im. portant service to the world; but I confess my inability to give any thing more than the conjecture, that it arises from bad taste and false theories, and from that narrowness of mind, which, in pursuing some good qualities, tramples on all others, and pushes to an offensive excess the few it notices at all. In the fine fine art of painting, or as the French and Italians more aplly term it,' the beautiful art,' the spiritual predominates, the physical is subordinate, as its vehicle; and each physical element keeps its rank, and gives its proper aid in bodying forth the emotions of the soul, but is never shown for its own sake. “Beautiful art' is essentially ideal; it makes composition subordinate to expression, imitation to composition, copying to imitation, and has nothing to do with fac-simile. The trade of copying, which these men mistake for art, subjects all things to itself, and never thinks of soul or character. I ask any seusible person if Mr. Ingham's portraits do not generally appear seeble in intellect, affected and ungraceful in expression and action, without just resemblance in substance and color, and false, even in mere sbape? And the others of this sect, and more who might be named, are not much more or less distinguished by merit, or by vulgar popularity, than is this idol of those silly women, who chalk their skins until they produce the delicate whiteness' of kid gloves. Take any of their pictures, regard them with your own eyes, unaided by reciprocated puffery, and see if they possess dignity or refinement of character and expression, beauty of form, or the dewy freshness and bloom of healthy flesh; see if they discriminate between the substances of vegetables and minerals; the juicy flower and the sapless rock; the transparent atmosphere and the painted wall; the liquid and the dry; or mark the degrees of transparency which distinguish filesh from images of crockery-ware, or painted wood; inarble from plaster, or muslin from paper ; and do not allow any excuses on the score of defective pigments ; for in the hands of Titian, Bassano, Paul