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Ganymede) to the “highest heaven of invention.”... We love a book so purely objective. . . . Many of his pictures of natural scenery have an extraordinary subjective clearness and fidelity. . . . In fine, we consider this as one of the most extraordinary volumes of this or any age. We know of no English author who could have written it. It is a work to which the proud genius of our country, standing with one foot on the Aroostook and the other on the Rio Grande, and holding up the star-spangled banner amid the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds, may point with bewildering scorn of the punier efforts of enslaved Europe. ... We hope soon to encounter our author among those higher walks of literature in which he is evidently capable of achieving enduring fame. Already we should be inclined to assign him a high position in the bright galaxy of our American bards.
From the Saltriver Pilot and Flag of Freedom. A volume in bad grammar and worse taste. . . . While the pieces here collected were confined to their appropriate sphere in the corners of obscure newspapers, we considered them wholly beneath contempt, but, as the author has chosen to come forward in this public manner, he must expect the lash he so richly merits. . . . Contemptible slanders. ... Vilest Billingsgate. . . . Has raked all the gutters of our language. .. The most pure, upright, and consistent politicians not safe from his malignant venom. .... General Cushing comes in for a share of his vile calumnies. The Reverend Homer Wilbur is a disgrace to his cloth.
From the World-Harmonic-Æolian-Attachment. Speech is silver : silence is golden. No utterance more Orphic than this. While, therefore, as highest author, we reverence him whose works continue heroically unwritten, we have also our hopeful word for those who with pen (from wing of goose loud-cackling, or seraph God-commissioned) record the thing that is revealed. . . . Under mask of quaintest irony, we detect here the deep, storm-tost (nigh shipwracked) soul, thunder-scarred, semi-articulate, but ever climbing hopefully toward the peaceful summits of an Infinite Sorrow. Yes, thou poor, forlorn Hosea, with Hebrew fire-flaming soul in thee, for thee also this life of ours has not been without its aspects of heavenliest pity and laughingest mirth. Conceivable enough! Through coarse Thersites-cloak, we have revelation of the heart, wild-glowing, world-clasping, that is in him. Bravely he grapples with the life-problem as it presents itself to him, uncombed, shaggy, careless of the “nicer proprieties,” inexpert of “elegant diction,” yet with voice audible enough to whoso hath ears, up there on the gravelly side-bills, or down on the splashy, indiarubber-like salt-marshes of native Jaalam. To this soul also the Necessity of Creating somewhat has unveiled its awful front. If not Edipuses and Electras and Alcestises, then in God's name Birdofredum Sawins! These also shall get born into the world, and filch (if so need) a Zingali subsistence therein, these lank, omnivorous Yankees of his. He shall paint the Seen, since the Unseen will not sit to him. Yet in him also are Nibelungen-lays, and Iliads, and Ulysses-wanderings, and Divine Comedies, if only once he could come at them! Therein lies much, nay all ; for what truly is this which we name All, but that which we do not possess ? . . . Glimpses also are given us of an old father Ezekiel, not without paternal pride, as is the wont of such. A brown, parchment-hided old man of the geoponic or bucolic species, gray-eyed, we fancy, queued perhaps, with much weather-cunning and plentiful September-gale memories, bidding fair in good time to become the Oldest Inhabitant. After such hasty apparition, he vanishes and is seen
. . Of “Rev. Homer Wilbur, A. M., Pastor of the First Church in Jaalam,” we have small care to speak here. Spare touch in him of his Melesigenes namesake, save, haply, the-blindness! A tolerably caliginose, nephelegeretous elderly gentleman, with infinite faculty of sermonizing, muscularized by long practice, and excellent digestive apparatus, and, for the rest, well-meaning enough, and with small private illuminations (somewhat tallowy, it is to be feared) of his own. To him, there, “ Pastor of the First Church in Jaalam,” our Hosea presents himself as a quite inexplicable Sphinx-riddle. A rich poverty of Latin and Greek, — so far is clear enough, even to eyes peering myopic through horn-lensed editorial spectacles, — but naught farther? O purblind, well-meaning, altogether fuscous Melesigenes-Wilbur, there are things in him incommunicable by stroke of birch! Did it ever enter that old bewildered head of thine that there was the Possibility of the Infinite in him ? To thee, quite wingless (and even featherless) biped, has not so much even as a dream of wings ever come ? “ Talented young parishioner”? Among the Arts whereof thou art Magister, does that of seeing happen to be one ? Unhappy Artium Magister! Somehow a Nemean lion, fulvous, torrideyed, dry-nursed in broad-bowling sand-wildernesses of a sufficiently rare spirit-Libya (it may be supposed) has got whelped among the sheep. Already he stands wild-glaring, with feet clutching the ground as with oak-roots, gathering for a Remus-spring over the walls of thy little fold. In Heaven's name, go not near him with that Aybite crook of thine ! In good time, thou painful preacher, thou wilt go to the appointed place of departed Artillery-Election Sermons, Right-Hands of Fellowship, and Results of Councils, gathered to thy spiritual fathers with much Latin of the Epitaphial sort ; thou, too, shalt have thy reward ; but on him the Eumenides have looked, not Xantippes of the pit, snaketressed, finger-threatening, but radiantly calm as on antique gems ; for him paws impatient the winged courser of the gods, champing unwelcome bit; him the starry deeps, the empyrean glooms, and far-flashing splendors await.
From the Onion Grove Phæniz. A talented young townsman of ours, recently returned from a Continental tour, and who is already favorably known to our readers by his sprightly letters from abroad which have graced our columns, called at our office yesterday. We learn from him, that, having enjoyed the distinguished privilege, while in Germany, of an introduction to the celebrated Von Humbug, he took the opportunity to present that eminent man with a copy of the “ Biglow Papers.” The next morning he received the following note, which he has kindly furnished us for publication. We prefer to print it verbatim, knowing that our readers will readily forgive the few errors into which the illustrious writer has fallen, through ignorance of our language. “ HIGH-WORTHY MISTER!
“I shall also now especially happy starve, because I have more or less a work one those aboriginal Red-Men seen in which have I so deaf an interest ever taken full-worthy on the self shelf with our Gottsched to be upset. “ Pardon my in the English-speech un-practice !
« VON HUMBUG." He also sent with the above note a copy of his famous work on “ Cosmetics,” to be presented to Mr. Biglow; but this was taken from our friend by the English custom-house officers, probably through a petty national spite. No doubt, it has by this time found its way into the British Museum. We trust this outrage will be exposed in all our American papers. We shall do our best to bring it to the notice of the State Department. Our numerous readers will share in the pleasure we experience at seeing our young and vigorous national literature thus encouragingly patted on the head by this venerable and world-renowned German. We love to see these reciprocations of good-feeling between the different branches of the great Anglo-Saxon race.
[The following genuine “notice" having met my eye, I gladly insert a portion of it here, the more especially as it contains one of Mr. Biglow's poems not elsewhere printed. - H. W.]
From the Jaalam Independent Blunderbuss. ... But, while we lament to see our young townsman thus mingling in the heated contests of party politics, we think we detect in him the presence of talents which, if properly directed, might give an innocent pleasure to many. As a proof that he is competent to the production of other kinds of poetry, we copy for our readers a short fragment of a pastoral by him, the manuscript of which was loaned us by a friend. The title of it is “The Courtin'."
ZEKLE crep' up, quite unbeknown,
An' peeked in thru the winder,
'ith no one nigh to hender.
Agin' the chimbly crooknecks hung,
An' in amongst 'em rusted
Fetched back frum Concord busted.
The wannut logs shot sparkles out
Towards the pootiest, bless her!
The chiny on the dresser.
The very room, coz she wuz in,
Looked warm frum floor to ceilin',
Ez th' apples she wuz peelin'.
She heerd a foot an’ knowed it, tu,
Araspin' on the scraper, -
Like sparks in burnt-up paper.
He kin' o' l'itered on the mat,
Some doubtile o' the seekle ;
But hern went pity Zekle.
An' yet she gin her cheer a jerk
Ez though she wished him furder,