« ZurückWeiter »
names were engraved in cyphers on the out for it. Can you live happily with a cornelians.
wife injured first by your own fòlly, and Admittance to Ellen had become im- then by the treachery of a false villain to possible under any pretext.
She denied whom you gave power over her, without herself to every person. By the advice of full and ample reparation ? enduring for her a physician, as I learned from common ru- sake and honor the danger of the law and mor, her child was brought back and re- the anger of the people-revenging her stored to her.
own and your injuries as no law will or can The preparations for the wedding con- avenge them? tinued. It was said, that a moderate Struggling with these doubts, and longfortune had been expended on them. ing with a keen desire for their peaceful The furniture and hangings of the new and happy solution, I wandered all night mansion, which I took pains to get a through the streets of the city. The sight of at the maker's,—thinking, indeed, closeness and silence of my chamber was that the right owner of the property might, intolerable. Toward morning I came to at least, look at it,—was of the very rich- the house where my wife was, and sat est kind. These preparations, thought I, down upon the marble steps. A kind of are for my proper use and convenience. sleep came upon me like a trance. I fanWhen my false friend has furnished my cied that Ellen leaned out at the window, house, and is about to marry my wife, I and with a pale and dejected countenance will step forward and take possession of besought me for her sake not to become a both. What farther ought to be done, murderer. The watchman passing, aroused seemed uncertain. That Eustis deserved It was just dawn. The gloom of an death, was clear, and at my hands; but | October storm, darkened by a foggy haze, whether it were wiser to let him live, rather agreed with and diminished the horwhether it were not more prudent to do so, rors of my mind. A gleam of divine considering the character of the people mercy shot athwart the darkness of my about me and the strictness of their laws soul. I resolved that Eustis should not against homicide, gave me much doubt. die. . I would be present in church to Whether to live quietly and happily with forbid the bans, but without weapons Ellen, and leave God to punish her false Ellen, thought I, is feeble, and the horrors guardian, or whether to listen to the dark of a scene of death might destroy her. suggestions of revenge, I struggled hard to Let him live, and God be the
avenger. know. I meditated through nights of The hour of the ceremony was ten in fever, and days of gloom, and could arrive the morning. The precious interval was at no conclusion. During a long acquain employed by me in restoring my person as tance with misery I had forgotten the taste far as possible to its former appearance. I of peace and happiness. The prospect of it procured a suit such as I had been accusseemed dim and uncertain. Of the sweet- | tomed to wear when I first knew Ellen. ness of revenge, on the other hand, I had no My great beard shaved away, and every doubt, and the question of right or wrong attention given to restore my person to its never once presented itself. I thought former looks; I fortified myself with food, only of pleasing the paramount desire. which I had not tasted for thirty-six hours.
Å fever excited by these dreadful agita- An hour before the expected time I stood tions kept me in doors until the day pre- upon the steps of the small chapel appointceding that which was announced for the ed for the ceremony. The doors were alwedding The marriage was to be in ready open, and a throng of people of all church, in the morning, with every cere- conditions, attracted by the scandal of the mony. The bride would then enter the match, and the fashionable notoriety of the mansion prepared for her by her new lord Eustises, were assembled in the galleries and and master.
aisles to witness the marriage. After some “Vengeance ! vengeance !" I whispered difficulty, and with a tempest of secret constantly to myself. “ Can you live agitation, I found a place suitable for conshameless without it? God, who made you, cealment behind a pillar, from which I could commands it. He punishes the deceiver step forward at the right moment. Having by the hand of the deceived. Nature cries a long time to wait, I employed the dreadful interval in again revolving the resolu- A dead silence followed. Ellen turned tion that had so long occupied me. The her head slowly, as if roused from a trance, spirit of mercy prevailed a second time, and seeing me directly behind her, sank and I resolved chiefly for her sake to let down silently, as it were, all of a heap. I him live. That I was myself more guilty sprang forward and caught her in my arms. than he, conscience had not yet suggested. She was still conscious, and murmured in That was an after thought.
a voice hardly audible," why not sooner The strokes of the great bell, counting dearest ?” After that came for her an the tenth hour, smote one by one through eternal silence. Fool! I had killed her. my brain, and silenced the pulses of my I remember nothing distinctly that folheart. There was a murmur in the crowd lowed. Eustis had turned to support Ellen as they gave way on either hand for the as she fell, and I struck him at the same inthe bridal party. Of these I saw and re- stant a blow upon the neck. He too, died member two only, as they stood before the soon after, of the injury: My life since altar. The solemn voice of the clergyman then has been one of solitude and repenrepeating the forms of prayer and exhor- tance, but now as I relate these things, a tation sounded idly and tediously in my gleam of comfort crosses the night of reears.
collection. My wife loved me to the last. Eustis stood upright, with a countenance I was the tempter of my friend, and if he affecting coolness and resolution. It was a fell under too strong a temptation, I had look that defied congratulation. His glances surrendered under a less one. The fiend went scornfully from side to side. And Jealousy overmastered yet no feelings of hatred, nor any stir of God, I have what I had not then, a Conrevenge possessed me. Pale and trembling, SCIENCE.” and with a face of death-like sadness, El- The features of the hermit, which had len stood by him, supported on either side become pale and agitated as he approached by Eustis and one of the bridesmaids. the conclusion of his story, regained their Her eyes were heavy, and sank constantly. sober tranquillity. He looked at me with I stepped gradually nearer during the first an abstracted gaze, as if he had been part of the ceremony, until I could have speaking only to himself, and when I made caught her in my arms had she fallen, for an effort to reply, he rose and went into the throng was great around us. When the house, closing the door after him as it was bidden by the clergyman to all pre- though no one had been near. The shasent, if they knew of any obstacle why those dows were already descending the
hill sides two should not be joined together, to declare and lengthening in the vallies. I arose, it, an involuntary voice rose to my throat, and returning almost unconscious of the and pronounced the words, “this lady has way, pursued my journey full of sad but a husband living, and I am he.”
POEMS AND PROSE WRITINGS OF RICHARD H. DANA.*
Having several times, through these his poems appeared in 1827. That year columns, joined in the solicitations which he contributed a review of Brockden Brown, have been frequently made to Mr. Dana to the United States Review and Literary for many years past, to collect and repub- Gazette, and in the four following years, lish his writings, we hardly need commence three other reviews to other magazines. In a notice of them by saying that we are 1833, he published the second edition of glad to possess them at last, in this conve- his poems, and tales from the Idle Man, nient and beautiful form. But we must and the same year furnished an essay to not be suspected of having urged their re- the American Quarterly Observer. Two publication from any other motive than the years after, in 1835, he sent another essay, wish to read them; as for reviewing them “ Law as suited to Man,” to the same there was no such design.
publication. Since that time he has not And we undertake the task now with a come before the public as an author until very lively sense of the force of the line now, in these volumes, which include all
non omnis fert omnia tellus.” To that we have enumerated, with some addianalyze the characteristics, and present a tions. The poems and tales had been for fair portrait of such a writer as Dana, is some years out of print, and the reviews a labor from which we recoil with a feeling were mostly unknown ; of some of them of being too old and worn. There might we never saw the names until we saw them have been a time, so the mind flatters it here. self, but not now. We can only read him These volumes may therefore be regardand derive vigor from contact with his spir- ed as almost a new publication. They are it, and prattle discursively of his excellen- new to most readers, and are in themselves cies and defects, without attempting to sum as fresh as if written yesterday. They bethem or classify them. In a word, we can gin with the poems, which, though they are examine him critically only as we do a the best known, and have been commented landscape in nature, under different as- on before in these pages, (three or four pects; such a cloud is fine, such a river years ago,) we must be permitted to linger beautiful, such a rock harsh, we say, mere- over awhile before speaking of the essays. ly as they happen to strike us, without The first and largest of the poems, the presuming to unify or find causes for these Buccaneer, has long since taken its rank effects. Even this much we enter upon among our descriptive classics. It is a with a kindred misgiving as to the result, piece of remarkable originality, power and though not precisely in the same spirit beauty—the most purely artistic, that is, with Macbeth, when he abandons his impersonal, and remote from individual castle for the plain—and our only excuse experience, of any of its author's writings. with the reader must be, that it is our vo- The conception of the story, and the cation—" it is no sin for a map to labor in world it takes us into, are as new and pehis vocation."
culiar as they are in the Ancient Mariner. Dana's earliest productions were an es- The sea views are as exact as Crabbe's, say called “Old Times," and several re- and far more beautiful; the pirates, the view articles, contributed to the North hero, the scenery, and more than all, the American Review in the years 1817–19. spirit steed, were uncreated before ; they “ The Idle Man" was published in New are all the genuine offspring of the poetic York in 1821-22. The first edition of fancy, and are managed with that power
* Poems and Prose Writings. By RICHARD HENRY Dana. In two volumes. New York:
Baker & Scribner. 1850.
which brings them all in as congruous parts , Save where the bold, wild sea-bird makes her uniting in a harmonious whole. The piece Her shrill cry coming through the sparkling is also full of beauties in detail, of the
foam. highest order; it is full of examples of painting by words, and of the power of
But when the light winds lie at rest, flashing a scene upon the eye by a single
And on the glassy, heaving sea, phrase. It bears evidence throughout to a The black duck, with her glossy breast, rare delicacy and refinement of character;
Sits swinging silently, there is nothing common in it, nothing that How beautiful! no ripples break the reach, lets the reader unpleasantly down, or gives And silvery waves go noiseless up the beach. the sense of feigning which comes from pseudo-poetry.
And inland rests the green, warm dell; On the contrary, the most remarkable The brook comes tinkling down its side; quality to us in it, is the power with which
From out the trees the Sabbath bell it is carried through over a very rough and Mingling its sound with bleatings of the flocks,
Rings cheerful, far and wide. jagged roadway of style. The wonder is, That feed about the vale among the rocks. that we are not thrown out. For the metre is a difficult one to manage with effect, Nor holy bell, nor pastoral bleat, owing to the fullness of its cadence; and In former days within the vale; the abrupt transitions, strange inversions, Flapped in the bay the pirate's sheet; and tumultuous utterance of the sentences Curses were on the gale; are beyond all example. It is an instance Rich goods lay on the sand, and murdered of a poem conceived in the boldness and
men; free power of high genius, and executed Pirate and wrecker kept their revels then. in the constraint of “slow endeavoring
But calm, low voices, words of grace, art.” If we may apply the word as it is
Now slowly fall upon the ear; frequently used in common parlance, it is
A quiet look is in each face, a "nervous” poem ; it is strong and fine, Subdued and holy fear; occasionally free, and easy sweeping, but Each motion gentle; all is kindly done.generally over rigid. It does the thing it Come, listen how from crime the isle was won.” attempts, but does it laboriously. On the whole, it is a rare example of genius soar- The first three stanzas of this are exquiing with fettered wings, and ranks among site ; in the fourth, we do not like “ pasdescriptive poems, as Milton's Ode on the toral bleat,”—perhaps from a remote sugNativity does among lyrics—a piece which, gestion of something heard before, e. g. though it has many stanzes quite above ad- “oaten stop, or pastoral song.” “Flapmiration, was yet felt by its author to be ped in the bay," is like an unexpected somewhat harshly executed.
blow; and the having every line a clause The Introduction to the Buccaneer has by itself in the sentence, seems to give it a always been justly admired. To all who sudden unnatural intensity. But the next grew up through youth on the shore of the resumes and concludes the melody with a Narraganset, it, and indeed all the sea beautiful half-cadence in the last line. scenes in the poem, must have the power We have not space to follow through the of reality ; with us their impression is in- piece; it has many such beautiful stantermingled with views about Newport; we zas as the following: have always an indistinct notion that there is an island somewhere between Gayhead “Who's sitting on that long, black ledge, and Brenton's reef, to the south-west of Which makes so far out in the sea, Cuttyhunk, (romantic name!) which is Feeling the kelp-weed on its edge? this island and this idea is nó less vivid
Poor, idle Matthew Lee! than the one derived from actual observa
So weak and pale? A year and little more, tion.
And bravely did he lord it round the shore. * The island lies nine leagues away.
And on the shingle now he sits,
And rolls the pebbles ’neath his hands;
Now walks the beach ; now stops by fits, No sound but ocean's roar,
And scores the smooth, wet sands;
Then tries each cliff
, and cove, and jut, that the Shakspearian“ strange alteration,” bounds
does not the accent with which we are The isle ; then home from many weary rounds. forced by the measure to prolong the word
" alteration” weaken the line? And is
not the last couplet, and especially the He views the ships that come and go, form in which the idea of the last line is Looking so like to living things. expressed, more singular than natural ? 0! 't is a proud and gallant show
At all events, if we may judge from our Of bright and broad-spread wings,
own experience, this peculiarity of style Making it light around them, as they keep Their course right onward through the un
and thought in the Buccaneer must always sounded deep.
hinder the mass of intelligent readers from
doing it justice, or feeling and acknowl. And where the far-off sand-bars lift edging its beauty as a whole; it is only we Their backs in long and narrow line, who have omnivorous stomachs, and have The breakers shout, and leap, and shift,
long indulged them, who can relish food in And toss the sparkling brine
which is mingled sweet and bitter, each of Into the air; then rush to mimic strife:
such acrid strength. Glad creatures of the sea, and full of life!
For a different reason, the Changes of Home will also never be a favorite with
the multitude. It springs from a character A sweet, low voice, in starry nights, too sincere, too intense and delicate in feelChants to his ear a plaining song; ing, and shows such a command of grief, Its tones come winding up the heights,
grief which the soul must have felt or be Telling of woe and wrong ; And he must listen till the stars grow dim,
capable of conceiving, in order to per
ceive the The song that gentle voice doth sing to him.
power of him who can depict it
that it cannot touch directly and comO, it is sad that aught so mild
pletely the common heart. Few could Should bind the soul with bands of fear; suffer what is here controlled. The genThat strains to soothe a little child, eral breast of humanity, at least in these
The man should dread to hear. But sin hath broke the world's sweet peace,- fortunately perhaps, to the soothed anguish
days of enterprise and bustle, is insensible, unstrung The harmonious chords to which the angels of spirit which colors this poem. sung.”
We talk a great deal about love between
men and women ; we understand it-on There are also many by which we might the stage.
But how little are its powers illustrate our notion of the roughness, the and the necessities of them thought of in too sudden changes of thought and the actual life. Go mad for love, like Jane general tone of the style, which requires Vere! The girl must have a weak head. the use of too many interrogations and ex- Suffer for love, like Dalton! The young clamations.
man's crazy”-a phenomenon. There
are no such creatures in nature. We be“ It scares the sea-birds from their nests; lieve that to more than half the world the They dart and wheel with deafening genuine passion is a mere name; and that screams,
to another large proportion it is wholly conNow dark,—and now their wings and breasts
ventional-something which they can conFlash back disastrous gleams.
ceive of, as we do of the extravagant honFair Light, thy looks strange alteration wear;
or in Kotzebue's heroes, or the magic of The world's great comforter,—why now its Prospero's wand—but which is never supfear ???
posed to exist in, much less influence, our
real life, we being put here just to be pruThe fourth line intends a fine picture, but dent—to invent new machines, make mothe “ disastrous gleams” afflicts us, we ney and be invited to larger parties. hardly know why, unless because it bears an And as with love, so with all the tender indistinct resemblance to the “ thundering affections. They are much talked of but voice, and threatening mien, and scream- little felt. The peculiar home-sickness ing horror's funeral cry,” of Gray; also in which pervades this poem, the mellow au