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mingling of coarse humor and affected pathos, a similar use of slang terms and vulgar expressions, the same striving after oddity of rhyme, with equally shocking success. There are, moreover, repeated attempts at the tender, the devotional, and the sublime, which, unlike those of Don Juan, are bombastic failures.
If the following commissions are not enough to send to the tomb of the Capulets any poem by any poet, then are slang, silliness, and smut, "tolerable, and to be endured."
"The goose that has the largest share of stuffing,"
"And very often went to bed a beast."
"And many, who to ruin are turned over,
"Who awes the great menagerie of fops,
"Throw off your modesty, and damn your eyes."
And save the shoe from telling where it pinches
"And so the city Fair of matrimony
Blazes forever, and the bids run high,
A hundred thousand in the stocks! who'll buy?-
"Poor devil that was married for his Bentons,
"But now-a-days, instead of wasting pearls,
Sprinkling with rosy light the dewy lawn.'".
As there are wares, from porcelain to 'Brummagem';
And others, the museums, should you rummage 'em."
"While o'er the blue, macadamised rotundo,
These four last are the most shocking violations of Nick Bottom's rule we ever heard of; though the sense can hardly be said to be sacrificed to sound. They are infinitely worse than the Yankee distich
"There goes our old mill down the water
A darn sight faster than it ought to."
We shall cheerfully bid adieu to this ridiculous performance with the quoting of certain passages which read, not as if they were imitations, but as if they were "scissorized" out of the whole cloth of Don Juan.
Her dimpling hand of snow, where one warm kise
"The morn is up again-the dewy morn!
Fresh from the bed of night in matron bloom,
And walk out rosy from the soda-room;"
"Not that there's any pleasure in the danger,
The while we wish that we were feeding pullets.
Yet when a man survives, he feels the better."
"Long did the combat last, till only five
Were left within the Vulture; they at length
Were overpowered by numbers yet alive,
Faint with the loss of blood and without strength,
But while the pirate was of plunder thinking,
"The hot sun blazed upon their naked heads,
"Arm locked in arm, they turned them from the crowd,
And gazed upon each other.-"
Like the Irishman's portrait, each one of them may be said to be more like than the original.
Turn we now, with a feeling as grateful as "the cool plashing of a plangent wave" to one who is travel-sore, and nearly stifled with the dust of the desert, unto "Athenia of Damascus." Here is a delightful dramatic poem, the flow of whose lines, like that of a mountain rivulet, is pure, limpid, and sparkling.
The subject is too lofty for the modern stage, although with judicious curtailment, it can doubtless be represented with effect. The
beautiful thoughts and language, with which it is rife, would be lost in recitation; yet it has a sufficiency of incident to keep alive a pleasant interest.
It is deep tragedy. We are trespassing beyond our limits, and can gratify the reader with but one charming extract.
"Act II-Scene 1. A pleasure-ground in Damascus. (ATHENIA alone.)
"Ath. I will not pluck thee from thy parent tree,
Sweet rose of beauty! while the rain-drops hang
And when the daylight dies, the queen of heaven
I fear I love the very thought of love!
Oh, childish joy-indefinite delight!
That I should dream so sweetly-and at morn
Cal. Say, then, thou lovest me still, Athenia!
And thou wilt save our altars, Caloüs!
So shall we wander in our hours of joy,
Cal. What grief can throw a shadow o'er our way,
Young Halcyon, on its marble resting-place!
There is no fear, Athenia, that the foe
Can harm Damascus ;-though his arm is strong,
The arm above is stronger-even now,
Cal. Chase these vain fears!—and dost thou maiden, think,
The soil where Adam trod in majesty
The land Jehovah guarded, when the fiend
Drove Saul to persecute-and where the light
And breath of God softened his heart of steel,
Cal. Let not such thoughts plant lilies on thy cheek,
Come, let me bind a chaplet of fresh flowers
To deck thy temples-I will steal an hour
Shall bind our wedded hearts;-till then, my love!
After "Athenia" comes "Lancaster," a poem that has many excellencies, and is worthy of the genius of the writer. It is, however, upon his miscellaneous pieces that Mr. Dawes' reputation as a poet mainly depends. The melody of their versification is truly enchanting. The ideas, too, are worthy of such exquisite expression. The public are aware of the beauties of all these productions, for none have been more liberally transferred to our literary journals. We have space for the shortest only.
ART THOU HAPPY, LOVELY LADY?
"Art thou happy, lovely lady,
In the splendour round thee thrown;
Can the jewels that array thee
Bring the peace which must have flown 7
By the vows which thou hast spoken,
By the faith which thou hast broken,
I ask of thee no token,
That thy heart is sad and lone.
"There was one that loved thee, Mary!
A hope which could not vary,
Till in agony it slept.
He loved thee, dearly loved thee,
And thought his passion moved thee,
But disappointment proved thee,
What love has often wept."
Had Mr. Dawes been a common-place poet, or simply a new claimant for distinction, we should have been more prodigal of commendation, and more niggard of blame. Bind up this volume,
without "Geraldine," and you have an admirable collection of poetry, fit to appear worthily, if not the first, in a "Library of American poets."
Some asinine individual, who must have been as partial to paradoxes as his long-eared archetype to thistles, has taken upon himself to remark that there are few or no materials for romance in America. This critic must be nearly related to the observing person of whom Wordsworth remarks:
"A primrose by the river's brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
It would, perhaps, not be too extravagant to say that the poetical resources of our country are boundless. Nature has here granted every thing to genius which can excite, exalt, enlarge, and ennoble its powers. Nothing is narrow, nothing is confined. All is height, all is expansion. Cliffs throw aloft mighty bastions; mountains lift impregnable parapets to the sky; rivers "roll in majesty;" lakes spread abroad like seas; and prairies meet the wide horizon all around with undulations of magnificent verdure. Here, too, are forests, in whose vast, dim cloisters the mind may feel a sense of loneliness and an overwhelming awe, which no fabrics of human rearing could impart; for here, in ancient days, man came to build his altars and to worship. These trees are glorious columns; their leaves are gorgeous tracery; here is a majestical roof, fretted with golden fire;"
"The groves were God's first temples!"
In America, too, are diversities of climate, yielding diversified delights. Here winter erects his palaces of glittering ice; while there spring displays her flowery avenues and her green arcades; here summer shows her silver fountains and her billows of golden grain, when in another region of our vast domain, autumn pours from her exhaustless horn the copious harvest, and transmutes, with a subtle alchemy, the emerald of the woods into ruby and topaz, and
"All the hues that mingle in the rainbow."
Our history, too, is poetical. Let time but wrap it in his mighty shadows, and what were the fables of old compared to our familiar story! How inspiring, how sublime the contemplation of those few brave hearts who, led by one greater than Leonidas, dared to cast themselves into the rocky defile of freedom, opposed advancing armies, died not, but conquered! The blood tingles and rushes through our veins as we trace these words. Dull, cold, critical as we are, we are almost incited to the utterance of burning thoughts. Shall there, then, be no more poets in our "dear, dear country?" Shall there not be one great poet-that man whose eye can roam over the borders of our land, and see these things of which we have poken? Needs not the spirit of prophecy answer, "Yes?"