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liarly Teutonic in such a fancy. We shall next hear of a pudding-headed German poet in New Holland, making rhymes about ornithorhynchi and kangaroos.

Mr. Story has narrowly escaped being a poet; but it is one of those cases in which a miss is as good as a mile. He has great facility and smoothness of versification, considerable fancy, and an almost unlimited command of poetical expression. But he is quite deficient in strong feeling and a creative imagination. We find abundance of sentiment, and occasionally some tenderness; but no powerful and vivid emotion, no passion, and consequently, nothing of the rapture and energy divine which belong to the true poet. His perception of the beautiful, both in nature and art, is delicate and tasteful, but is expressed in a form somewhat too abstract and æsthetic, too elaborately cultivated and disciplined by rule, to be ever mistaken for the spontaneous and fervid admiration of the naturally gifted mind. The contents of his volume appear not so much like poems, as like studies in the art of poetry. We do not mean that they show excessive labor; quite the contrary; Mr. Story's extraordinary fluency has rather betrayed him into great carelessness. He has a torrent of words and images ready to be poured out upon any topic; but he exercises little discrimination, and seeks to produce effect more by redoubling his strokes than by aiming a single decisive blow. He is constantly striking quite near the mark, but never actually hitting it. And one quickly sees that he is not much in earnest in the affair; he is exercising himself rather for his own amusement, than with a view of kindling emotion or imparting delight to others. His verses show a fanciful exuberance of matter, but no inspiration.

An instinctive perception of the limits of his powers has led to a very fortunate choice of subjects for two of the longer pieces in the book. These are entitled Music, and The Painter's Dream; they contain descriptive catalogues in verse of the great painters and composers, with an attempt to set forth and analyze the effects produced by their respective arts. The idea is not a novel one, but it affords fine scope for a cultivated taste, and a studied appreciation of the beauties of art; and the characteristics of the several schools are brought out with some discrimination and effect in Mr. Story's luscious and redundant style. He is more successful with music than with the sister art, probably because he has more familiar acquaintance with the masterpieces of the great

composers than with the productions of the old painters. We have room to quote only this fanciful description of a grand and intricate musical composition as performed in full orchestra.

"Hark! the whole orchestra is in motion,

And before its tongue the once blank air
Trembleth like a moving, musical ocean,
All alive with longing and with prayer.
Now the mass of music is advancing

Like a huge white cloud across the blue,
With its domes and spires in sunlight glancing,
Shifting as the swift winds hurry through.
Now it surgeth onward like the ocean,
Bursting in wild foam along the shore,
Hurrying on in vehement, restless motion,
Crowding back in spray and wild uproar.
Now ascending, higher still it ranges,
And the far-off music of the spheres
With angelic tones and interchanges

Pierce the labyrinths of these human ears.
From the soul swarm forth its fair creations,
Infinite seekings, vague and undefined,
Thousand outward-stretching aspirations,

Wooed like blossoms by the soft spring wind."

Mr. Story's great fault arises from his extraordinary copiousness of expression, leading to a vague and rambling diffuseness, which obscures and weakens his finest conceptions. He is by no means a lover of mysticism, but the poetry and the meaning of his verses are often effectually shrouded from view under a mere fog of words. Can any one, for instance, find rhyme or reason in the following?

"Imagination must abide content in nature's limit, the Ideal give its heart to the Real; the highest artist owneth her actual limitation, and builds the triumph of his art in them."

But change the collocation a little, without altering one of the words, and we have this stanza.

"Content in nature's limit,

Must abide Imagination,

The Ideal to the Real give its heart;

The highest artist owneth

Her actual limitation,

And in them builds the triumph of his art."

This may be called the typographical art of poetry.

Mr. Story's most ambitious efforts are his least successful ones; he is daring enough, but has not sufficient strength of pinion to sustain him in a long and lofty flight. The idea of The Island Home requires the poem to be of "imagination all compact"; but it is so unequally executed, that a portion of it reads like the journal of an unlucky fishing excursion, and the remainder like a fanciful allegory adumbrating some passage of human life. The Mistake is an humbler effort, and consequently a far more pleasing one; it betrays very plainly a study of Tennyson's Talking Oak and Locksley Hall; but it is prettily versified, and some of the stanzas tingle with earnestness, as if the poem were built on reality instead of fiction. Marian and Geraldine is a study after specimens by the same master; it is a mere echo of the Claribels, Lilians, Madelines, and Arianas of the same fantastic poet. Mr. Story's "fatal facility" of verse easily lapses into imitation. When he imps his wings for a nobler light, as in Prometheus, The Exhumation of Napoleon, and Niagara, the result is an entire failure. The lines addressed to "the thundering cataract" begin in this wise.

"Like hell-hounds from their slumber waking,
And panting madly for their prey,

Their whitening manes in fury shaking,

And howling down their rocky way,

From Erie's sleep in rushing rapids breaking,
Storms down Niagaray."

Horses, not hounds, have manes, though considering the peculiar locality of the breed here referred to, there is no telling what infernal appendages they may have had about them. Such lines are mere sound and fury, signifying nothing; they are in Mr. Forcible Feeble's most characteristic style. What follows is little better.

"Thy hoary locks thou shakest wildly forth,

And scarless, in eternal youth, dost rage."

We must pass very hurriedly over the remainder of our tuneful Nine. Mr. Read is an artist, a young sculptor, whose earlier designs were of great promise, and are said to have been very skilfully transferred to the marble. We can readily believe it, for his verses show taste and feeling, with occasional gleams of fancy; and he seldom offends, even

when he fails to please. But they are mere sketches, evidently committed to paper only in the hours of relaxation, when his hand was weary of holding the chisel. It was a hazardous undertaking to gather them from the magazines and newspapers, in which they probably first saw the light, and to send them forth to the world in this collected form as if to challenge comparison and criticism. For the most part, they are mere copies, reflections in water, of the more popular effusions of favorite contemporary poets. Mr. Read is not a conscious plagiarist; if he had thought that a single line or image on his page was not his own, he would probably have blotted it out. But remnants and shadows of songs which he had loved appear to have haunted his memory, and to have become in a short time so incorporated with his own fancies, that he could no longer distinguish them; so that when he comes to hammer out a poem on his own anvil, the result is a strange compound, which is neither his own property nor that of any body else. Thus, Miss Barrett's fine poem of Lady Geraldine's Courtship has given birth to Mr. Read's Christine, in which the sentiment, the leading idea, the metre, the plot, the characters, are all, mutatis mulandis, borrowed from the English exemplar. But the first few couplets show that Mr. Read sometimes mingles very pretty fancies with his illegal acquisitions. Yet we are not sure that even these fancies are his own; we have a dim recollection of having seen something very like them elsewhere. The story is supposed to be related by a young sculptor on the hill-side, between Florence and Fesolé."


"Come, my friend, and in the silence and the shadow wrapt


I will loose the golden claspings of this sacred tome, the heart.

"By the bole of yonder cypress, under branches spread like


We will sit where wavering sunshine weaves a romance in the leaves.

"Here by gentle airs of story shall our dreaming minds be swayed,

And our spirits hang vibrating, like the sunshine with the shade."

Mr. Longfellow asks his lady-love to read to him,

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"Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo

Through the corridors of time."

This is pretty and musical, and conveys rather a striking image; Mr. Read thus appropriates and mars it :

"Ye mighty masters of the song sublime,

Who, phantom-like, with large unwavering eyes,
Stalk down the solemn wilderness of time."

Miss Barrett's Vision of Poets suggested to Mr. Read The Bards, supplying not only the manner and form, but many of the more striking expressions in it. As some of the stanzas are quite successfully executed, we will quote a few of them, as specimens of his best manner.

"Old Homer's song, in mighty undulations,

Comes surging, ceaseless, up the oblivious main ;
I hear the rivers from succeeding nations

Go answering down again :

"Hear Virgil's stream in changeful currents strolling,
And Tasso's sweeping round through Palestine;
And Dante's deep and solemn river rolling
Through groves of midnight pine.

"I hear the iron Norseman's numbers ringing
Through frozen Norway, like a herald's horn;
And like a lark, hear glorious Chaucer singing
Away in England's morn :

"The world-wide Shakspeare the imperial Spenser, Whose shafts of song o'ertop thè angels' seats; While delicate, as from a silver censer,

Float the sweet dreams of Keats!

"Nor these alone; for, through the growing present,
Westward the starry path of Poesy lies,-

Her glorious spirit, like the evening crescent,
Comes rounding up the skies."

The sixth Muse on our list is that of Mr. James F. Colman. He writes in a modest and sensible tone, putting forward no offensive pretensions, and not aiming to startle his readers by any eccentricities of thought or expression. His poems have no conspicuous merits, and no glaring faults; and we

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