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'If earth must change as on we go,
If life, and loveliness, and truth'
With the delightful days of youth?
If thus the heart from bliss must sever,
Better we children be for ever!'
The only thing like Wordsworth here, is that it is poetry. It would be well for some of the writer's critics, if they were 'tinctured' with a little of the same folly.
We give Mr. Bacon great credit, likewise, for the vividness and power of his imagination. We would select the last half of. Thanatos,' a poem of much power and beauty, and the · Vision of War,' as undeniable proofs of his claims, in this regard, to general admiration.
We give Mr. Bacon credit, also, for that which is the best test of poetic genius ; power of description. Here he must speak for himself. The following is from ‘A Forest Noon Scene :'
“This is indeed a sacred solitude,
of rifted rocks, and, welling 'mid the roots
"To satisfy its thirst for happiness.' We extract, also, The Indian Summer :'
• The Indian summer has come again,
' And hither and thither, an ash leaf sear
*And over the hill to his patch of grain,
The reaper goes with his empty wain
' And here where late the dog-wood threw
"The daisy low on the bank is lying,
The Indian summer has come again.' The following passage from · A Fragment of an Epistle,' we offer with unaffected pleasure. There is painting by words in it, which will win all suffrages :
"I sat me where the window threw And, as the flashing sun rose bright, The distant landscape in to view.
They seemed like crystals in the light. The enow was on each living thing, Where wound the maple colonnade, The birds were mute nor moved a wing, The leafless boughs still cast a shade, And 'neath a garment clear and cold, Curious, for on the crust of snow Each flower slept locked in frozen mould. They vipers seemed toss'd to and fro. Here long drawn vales in silver white Where ran the rill in early spring, Glistening, were offered to the sight. Beneath those maples glittering, Where ran the hedge, or old stone wall, Singing and dancing as the wave The icy sheet had covered all,
Went bickering o'er its sandy pave, And all along the rails and hung
And catching on it, shadows dim Downward, the icicles were strung, Of violets along its brim,
Or lily fair or water-cress,
A fane as by some artist reared, That stooped its cheek for a caress, With polished shaft, and architrave, Now o'er that gentle stream was cast And glittering porch, and crystal nave, The snow ridge by the mountain blast, And gleaming as the light shone on, Till all the valley level seemed
It seemed a palace of the sun. Save here and there the ice-bridge gleamed. Where spread the lake all sheeted wide But farther down that valley glen, Sheer to the ragged cliff's steep side, The brouk burst up to light again; Whose hoary summits glitter'd there, For there, pitch'd from its dizzy edge, Like giants in the frosty air, The wave shol down a rocky ledge, [brake, The light laugh came upon the wind, And foamed and thundered through the And all that spake the vacant mind.' Until its waters joined the lake.
There, like a young and metiled horse, And there, no Fairy in her cell
The skilful skaiter plies his force. Had dreamed or fancied half so well, Anon he shoots, and wheels, and turns, Or half so beautiful a thing,
As if the element he spurns, Or given it teint and coloring,
As if, a glorious thing of air, As that wild brook had fancied there, His own proud will sustained him there: And fashion'd in the frosty air.
And now again he circles neat, That brook had flung on either side, And wheels and wheels again more fleet, Its fairy frost-work far and wide,
Till far across the lake he swings, Till upward ʼmid the rocks appeared, While loud and shrill his iron rings."
One extract more, and we have done. The public have received this book as the work of a young man. We suppose it is such ; and yet we may err here. There is a maturity of thought in some of these poems, not common with young men. Take, for example, the following from. Thoughts in Solitude :
‘But there's a half-way virtue in the world
"A feeble virtue is a vice, adorn'd
Why linger then betwixt the two extremes
The reader will agree with us when we say, that if this is the work of a boy, he is a promising child.
We cannot extract farther; although 'Other Days,' • Life,' the *Lines to a Little Boy,' Morning,' 'Fanny Willoughby,' and · Lines in Dejection,' are well worthy to be transplanted. But we leave the rest to the reader.
To sum up our notions of Mr. Bacon, we are deceived if his talents do not secure for him a prominent place among our future poets; and we cannot forbear thinking, that the specimens we have given, take from this remark every appearance of extravagance. We do not think there has been a first work presented by any of our young poets, of fairer promise than this ; and though we do not assert that this volume raises the writer at once to the front rank, yet we do assert, and will maintain, that there are poems in it worthy to place him in a station of honor, among his contemporaries. His language has strength and simplicity; his style clearness and force. His thoughts are elevated; his habits are those of serious contemplation ; and for these we award him praise. In a day wben we have so many vicious models, it seems to us a proof that a man must have something superior in himself, who steers clear of them. Of his susceptibility to beauty, and of the correctness of his taste, we have not heard a dissenting voice; and, moreover, Mr. Bacon is a Christian.
Before we close, we have a word to say, lest our notice lose its authority. We do not think the volume without faults. There are inequalities in it. The metre is sometimes faulty; the author does not, in some instances, refine and polish enough; and his own judg. ment will no doubt suggest these things in a future collection, should he make one. But faults were to be expected in a first work; and nothing surely can be more unbecoming a judicious critic, than to seize on an initial effort, and attempt, by exaggerating its faults, to throw contempt upon the whole. This we think has been done, in some instances, with Mr. Bacon ; and this is the reason we have stepped forward to do him justice, and cordially offer him the hand of encouragement,
0. P, Q
PRETEXTS AND MOTIVES.
Dost think those gilt and hollow cones
WRITTEN UPON SEEING THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, PAINTED BY C. G. THOMPSON.
There is a sweetness in those up-turned eyes,
Sure nothing real lives, which thus can charm the sight!
NAV AL SKETCHES.
BY THE AUTHOR OF 'SHIP AND SHORE,' CONSTANTINOPLE AND ATHENS,' ETC.
The winter had passed — the time of the singing of birds had come, and the voice of the turtle was heard in the land — when we, as if obeying these awakening instincts of nature, weighed our anchors from the safe bed in which they had long been planted, and in company with the flag-ship which had first caught the moving infection, floated quietly from the harbor of Mahon, with recollections that endeared the past, and anticipations that brightened the future. The last voice I heard was that of a bird singing from a tree that shades an extreme cliff, and where it would seem as if the little warbler had come to give us his parting cheer. I admired that bird for several reasons; for its plumage — it was gay as hope; for its voice — it was full of sweetest melody; for its courage it was one of the few that had escaped the shot and snares of our wicked pastimes; for its spirit of forgiveness — we had been all winter picking the bones of its fellows, and perhaps had deprived it of its vernal mate; yet it came forth to breathe its farewell, with the forgiving, clinging affection of the female heart for the one no longer worthy of her love and confidence. If the doctrine of the Samian sage be true, I would ask that at death my spirit may pass into the form of such a beautiful bird as this : not that I would, in that event, sing to those who bad plotted my death ; but I would fly to the convent of Santa Clara, and perching close to the grated window of the imprisoned Maria, relieve with my notes the solitude of her cell; and so sweet and impassioned should be the strain I would sing, that the wondering nun should every night murmur in her very dreams :
"A lovely bird with azure wings,