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such works, given to the world with the sanction one remarkable quality ;- it is not an imitation of a famous name on the title page. we mean as of any previous Christmas story; which is a the biographer not as the subject — has the his- quality we prize highly, because so very few of tory of a public man been that of England, or the genus are good reading, or indeed good for even of a great portion of Europe, during the anything but to be made presents of and to be time he flourished. This is no doubt necessary forgotten. «The Triumph of Woman' does not to a degree, but it has been carried to a grievous place woman in any very elevated or triumexcess. G. G. S. wisely omits all mention of phant point of view; and a reader of timid mind the thousand and one witticisms attributed to need not shrink from the title under an idea that Sheridan, many of which, given to him by heavy the book is about Amazons, or women who will compilers in the Joe Miller line, may be traced have the upper hand and the last word in every pretty well up to Hierocles! Some of them, thing. The tale teaches and suggests many too, have been given of late to Canning, Hooke, things, and, not pre-eminently, but merely inter and Sydney Smith! The dramatic works re. alia, the fact that Love (under the form of woquire no critical notice, only two are not known man) to the stage, and they are inferior to his other
"Hath o'er all things maistrie." productions - excepting of course that conglomeration of German fustian and British claptrap, Over all things, even over beings not of this * Pizarro,' — we allude to the • Trip to Scar- earth; for the hero is supposed to be descended borough' and · St. Patrick's Day. The first from Le Verrier's newly-discovered planet, and mentioned is but an alteration of Sir John Van- to be speedily subjected to the influence of woburgh's • Relapse.' It was brought out after man's love. The extraordinary origin of his Sheridan had commenced his career as a man- hero gives the author an opportunity for endowager, and, after his wont, had promised great ing him with extraordinary powers both of body things. His laziness was uch exclaimed against and mind; and for introducing all sorts of novel at the time a mere adaptation after • The Ri- speculations in physics and psychology. The vals' and . The Duenna !" It should always be interest of the tale does not lie in the plot, which borne in mind, however, that Sheridan was by is nothing, but in the new ideas suggested to the no means a lazy, careless wit; he was hardly reader's mind, and in the strange adventures of even of the mob of gentlemen who write with its asterial hero. ease; he wrote slowly and studiously, set his thoughts, as it were, and re-set them, until he conceived that the frame-work of his words bril
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EVANGELINE, A TALE OF ACADIE.
Evangeline, a Tale of Acarie. By HEN Indeed, if there be any general character of
RY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. Bos- imitation in Evangeline, it is rather with referton.
ence to German than to English models. Some
features of the story, or rather of the pictures, This is an American poem, full of beauties of and of the mode of narration, bear so much of really indigenous American growth; and we similarity to Goethe's Herman and Dorothea, hail its appearance with the greater satisfaction, that we cannot doubt Mr. Longfellow to have inasmuch as it is the first genuine Castalian derived suggestions and impulse from that exfount which has burst from the soil of America. quisite poem. Nor is it at all an unworthy The verse-writers who have arisen among our course for an American poet, to take for his Transatlantic cousins have produced many very model the most perfect of domestic epics, the graceful and pleasing lines, and some animated Odyssey of the nineteenth century, and stirring strains : but still they have done more likely to be familiar with our grandlittle more than imitate favorite poets of the old children than any other which the past generacountry. Echoes of the notes of Mrs. Hemans, tion has produced. and in blank verse, of Mr. Wordsworth, have There is, as we have said, a considerable simbeen the most poetic sounds which the western ilarity in several of the pictures of Herman and gales have brought to us. Nor are we surprised Dorothea and of Evangeline. In both we have at this. Some persons, perhaps, would expect the details of a simple rural life, and the loves that the new conditions and prospects of man
of dwellers in small towns presented to us; and, and of society in the United States should give perhaps, the little village of Grand-Pré, in Acarise to a new spirit in every branch of literature; dia,“ on the shores of the basin of Minas,” had but those who have reflected how deep in past a closer resemblance in its names to the Rhine history lie the roots of all literary excellence, valleys, than could easily be found in England will not expect that any thing of value can soon
in modern times. In both the German and the be produced by Anglo-American poets, which American poem, the rural population is disturbed does not draw most of its life-blood from the by the inflictions consequent upɔn a wide-wastancient national heart, the English poetry of ing war;
- that of the end and that of the midpast ages : and though this is true of modern dle of the last century. In both, the trials English poetry also, English writers seem bith arising from this calamity bring into view the erto to have more completely incorporated the strength and beauty of the beroine's character. historical life of the national mind into their be. But in the course of the two stories there is a ing, so as to be ready to go on to new stages and wide difference. In the German poem, it is the forms of poetical thought and expression. How wanderings of the exiled villagers which bring ever this may be, it cannot, we think, be denied, Herman and Dorothea together; and after a that the poetry hitherto published in America few impediments and trials of temper, the narrahas been strongly marked with a derivative and tive ends with their betrothal. The American imitative character; and that its beauties have legend commences with the betrothal ceremony been rather felicitous adaptations of the jewels of Evangeline Bellefontaine, the daughter of a of the English Muses than any new gems brought wealthy farmer, and Gabriel Lajeunesse, her to light from the rocks of the Alleghanies or the neighbour, “ the son of Basil the Blacksmith.” sands of the prairies. To this general remark, Immediately after this event the lovers are sepwe conceive the poem of Mr. Longfellow, now arated by the public calamity of which we have before us, to be a happy exception. Not only spoken ; and the rest of the poem is occupied are the scenes and the history American, - an with Evangeline's faithful endeavours to rejoin interest which belongs to many preceding poems her lover, whom, after many years, she finds, (though quite as much to English as to American only to tend him on his death-bed. This story, ones, witness Wyoming, Madoc, and Paraguay); it will be readily imagined, interests rather by but the mode of narration has a peculiarand na the successive scenes and traits of character tive simplicity; the local coloring is laid on with a which it presents, than by the progress of the broad and familiar brush, and heightened fre-action, which is only the general progress through quently by livelier touches which “stick fiery a life of sorrow to the repose of the grave. Inoff,” and light up the whole picture.
deed, we cannot help wishing that Mr. Long
fellow had found the history of his villagers con about the catastrophe are more truly poetical
Down the long street she pass'd, with her chaplet of beads and her missal,
When she had pass'd, it seem'd like the ceasing of exquisite music. The description of Evangeline after the calam- | cast. The exiles were scattered to various ity of her people, her father being dead and her quarters :lover lost, is naturally of a deeply saddened
Long among them was seen a maiden who waited and wander'd,
Camp-fires long consumed, and bones that bleach in the sunshine. We have taken the liberty of marking one phase, when she had sought her Gabriel through sluggish passage in the versification, and one long years, amid the tents of Moravian missions, somewhat ungraceful repetition of phrase. We or the camps of hostile armies, in towns and in must trace poor Evangeline to her concluding | hamlets, and all in vain :
Fair was she and young, when in hope began the long journey;
As in the eastern sky the first faint streaks of the morning. As we have already intimated, this melancholy highly picturesque local character. Such, for progression is, perhaps, likely to be felt as op- instance, are these fine expressions which depressive by common readers. But all, we think, scribe the Mississippi, where the exiles, among must be pleased with the vivid pictures of rural other dreary wanderings, roam, scenes and incidents, which have generally a
From the bleak shores of the sea to the lands where the Father of Waters
Deep in their sands to bury the scatter'd bones of the mammoth.
Now through rushing chutes, among green islands where plume-like
Stood the houses of planters, with negro-cabins and dove-cots. Many of the peculiar traits of American ex- simile, descriptive of the sad and indistinct foreternal nature come out in the way of images of bodings of the exiles at a particular period of internal feelings; as in the following beautiful their wanderings :
As at the tramp of a horse's hoof on the turf of the prairies,
Shrinks and closes the heart ere the stroke of doom has attained it. Such images as these, so applied, are real Again, we must give another fine prairie additions to the ancient stock of poetical wealth. scene:
In the rear of the house, from the garden gate, ran a pathway
Stood a cluster of cotton-trē es with cordage of grape-vines. We have, perhaps, given sufficient specimens with her guide, Father Felician, once more disof the peculiar picturesqueness of this poem. cover their old friend, Basil the blacksmith, Of the story, after what we have said, it will transformed into an opulent herdsman in the hardly be expected that we should give extracts. southern part of the course of the AtchafalaWe may quote a passage where Evangeline, / ya:
Just where the woodlands met the flowery surf of the prairie
Gazed on the peaceful scene, with the lordly look of its master. Basil — for this was he – informs Evangeline dent like this (for, as we have said, their terresthat his son Gabriel, sorrowful and restless with trial happiness is finally marred) is felt by the the memory of her, had set out a few days before reader as a perverse and vexatious stroke of on a voyage up the river down which she had Fortune, or of the poet, as he ascribes it to the descended. It appears that they had missed one or the other. Evangeline, however, is lured each other only by taking opposite sides of one on by her hopes, and by the influences of nature, of the islands which lie in the river.
to follow the track of her wandering lover:ring the happiness of the lovers by a mere acci
"Patience!" whisper'd the oak from oracular caverns of darkness;
And, from the moonlit meadow, a sigh responded, “ To-morrow!" Again, we have beautiful and characteristic | derer is lost. After years of grief, Evangeline descriptions of the scenery through which the becomes a Sister of Mercy in Pennsylvania. A journey lies; a picture of an Indian camp, where pestilence falls on the city. Among the sick a Shawnee woman repeats the tales current in and the dying she finds one whose aspect calls her tribe; a visit to a Jesuit mission, where it from her a shudder and an involuntary cry. It appears that Gabriel had been only six days was Gabriel, — previous ; finally, however, the trace of the wan
Vainly he strove to rise, and Evangeline, kneeling beside him,
As when a lamp is blown out by a gust of wind at a casement. All is over, and Evangeline is left to her meek | descriptive poetry, and deprive them, in a great resignation. The tomb of the lovers still exists, degree, of the simplicity and truth of reality. unknown and unnoticed, the poet tells us, in the The images so presented seem as if they came heart of the city of Philadelphia.
fresh from nature. Moreover, this kind of verse We have given such specimens as our space requires, and in Mr. Longfellow's hands has, an allowed of the pictures of rural life and scenery, idiomatic plainness of phraseology, which apwhich are the peculiar charm of this poem; the proaches to the narratives in the book of Genereader will find many others of equal beauty. sis, and which prevents the most trivial details of But in taking our leave of the poem here, we ordinary life from being mean or ridiculous. In cannot help remarking the great advantage this respect, also, Mr. Longfellow has most hapwhich Mr. Longfellow has derived from his use pily followed Goethe, and many of his descripof the hexameter. This kind of verse has the tions ring in our ears as echoes of things which privilege of liberating the poet from the conven- are told of Herman’s “good intelligent mother," tions of the usual forms of versification, which and “ the host of the Golden Lion.” In general, cling so closely to modern writers, especially in | Mr. Longfellow's hexameters are good. They