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civilization, and enters on the career which
has at last made him an Alcalde. When
the enlightened but too confiding jurist
has revealed thus much, the wily advocate
starts up, denounces him, and orders his
instant seizure; but to no avail. The
Alcalde, who at the moment "seemed
taller than a church's spire," declines to
be handled, and grinds his drinking-glass
to powder; and then •
"He turned on his heel, he strode through the hall,
Grand as a god, so grandly tall,
We now come to the last of the poems —the semi-dramatic composition named Ina. It is a curious guazzabuglio (to use .an expressive Italian term) of picturesque iperceptions both of external nature and of the human heart, along with a chaos of vthe constructive or regulative powers of the .understanding. Every now and then there is a sort of titantic and intrinsically poetical utterance in it which reminds one of Marlowe: a like splendor and far reach of words, with a like—or indeed a greater—contempt of quiet common sense, and overstraining of the framework. Ina is a passionate young woman, in love with Don Carlos, but resolved upon marrying, in faithful espousals, a suitor of heavy puise and advanced age; with the scarcely di.-guised motive, however, of afterwards enjoying, in the arms of the ardent Carlos, a youthful widowhood which is distinctly forecast as a very early contingency. Carlos does not quite "see it," and goes off in disgust to lead a wild hunting-life in the mountains—rough good-fellowship mellowed by misogyny. Ina soon realizes the summit of her ambition. Her aged bridegroom dies; she joins the hunting party in the disguise of a young mountaineer; and, after hearing from her companions various salvoes of story-telling to the dishonor of the serpent woman, she reveals and proposes herself to Don Carlos. The Don tells her that he cannot think of demeaning himself to a lady who comes to him second-hand; and the Donna, plucking up her spirit, as well as a vigorous modicum of good sense which has from the first endeared her to the reader athwart the coarseness of her own plans and the fantasticalities of her surroundings,
informs him that he may make himself easy without her, once and for all.
Such, reduced to a caput mortuum, are the materials of this striking book, through whose veins (if we may prolong the figure) the blood pulsates with an abounding rush, while gorgeous sub-tropical suns, resplendent moons, and abashing majesties of mountain-form, ring round the gladiatorial human life. The reader will hardly need, after our summary, to be told that Byron is the poet whose spirit most sways and overshadows that of Joaquin Miller. The latter is indeed a writer of original mind and style; and there is a weighty difference between a Californian who has really engaged in, or at least had lifelong cognizance of, all sorts of wild semi civilized adventure, and a noble lord to whom the like range of experience forms the distractions of a season or the zest of a tour. Still, the poetic analogy is strikingly visible, and has a very mixed influence upon Mr. Miller's work. On one side, taking interest as he does, like Byron, in adventurous picturesque personages, with the virtues and vices of the life of defiance, full of passion and resource (for Mr. Miller has the art of making us respect the intellectual calibre of all his characters, whatever they may do, and however closely they may approximate to savages), he is lifted at once above the mild and mediocre or the merely photographic levels of work: on the other hand, he exhibits life not only under the rudimentary and incomplete conditions which his subject matter suggests, but with an effect of abortiveness and gloom due partly, no doubt, to the B)Tonic tradition, and so extreme as to be almost morbid. His interest in life seems to be very much that of a gambler, who plays a stake, conscious that the chances are against him; or, one might rather say, of a man who watches a game played with loaded dice, and who sees his friend ruined by an undenounceable conspiracy. In Ina, for instance, gratuitous misery is poured forth, as from a bucket, with a liberally cruel hand. It is intensely unsatisfactory to be told of a lovely, girlish, and wealthy widow, steeped in amorous grace, constancy, and spirit, making love to the hot-blooded youth who has adored her all his life, and whom she has confessedly adored—only to be repulsed with a. stolid obtuse morgue, and then to wrap herself round in her dignity, and close the last avenue to a right mutual understanding. We see Love assassinated before our eyes by two lovers, who can find no better employment than persistently carving the death's-head and marrow-bones over his headstone. In this tale the very motif has a twist of dislocation: in some others, as our summary will have shown, the conception, though mainly monotonous, is interesting in a high degree, but the poet shows little gift for constructing a story. In Arazonian, for example—an excellent and truly engrossing poem—the reader is unable to credit the central fact; namely, that the gold-washer, having for twenty-one years lost sight of his early love so entirely as not to know that she has been married for a long series of years, travels in good faith to search her out and wed her, and accepts at first sight her daughter as being her authentic self. It might perhaps be added, without cynicism, that the daughter, who so absolutely realizes to the many-labored gold-washer the person of his long-lost love, should really have stood to his feelings in that relation; and that his natural and compensatory course would have been to court her on the spot.
Excitement and ambition may be called the twin geniuses of Mr. Miller's poetical character. Everything is to him both vital and suggestive; and some curious specimens might be culled of the fervid interfusion of external nature and the human soul in his descriptive passages. 77ie great factors of the natural world— the sea, the mountains, the sun, moon, and stars—become personalities, animated with an intense life and a dominant possession. He loves the beasts and birds, and finds them kin to him : a snake has its claim of blood-relationship. At times he runs riot in over-charged fancies, which, in Jna especially, recall something of the manner of Alexander Smith,
whether in characterizing the objects of nature, or in the frenzied aspirations of the human spirit. It should be understood, however, that the only poet to whom he bears a considerable or essential analogy is Byron. In Arazonian indeed the resemblance of diction and versification is rather to Browning, and some passages might seem to be directly founded on the Flight of the Duchess: but I learn that this resemblance is merely fortuitous. As such, it is an interesting reciprocal confirmation of the value of the peculiarities of narrative form belonging to both poems. At times also there is a recognizable ring of Swinburne, especially as regards alliteration, and a vigorous elastic assonance, not only in the syllables but in the collocation of words and phrases.
There is little space, and not much occasion, for dwelling on verbal or other minute defects. The swing and melody of the verse are abundant: yet many faulty lines or rhymes, with some decided perversities in this way, could be cited; along with platitudes of phrase, or odd and inadmissible words. All these are minor matters. Mr. Miller has realized his poetic identity under very exceptional conditions, highly favorable to spirit and originality, but the contrary so far as completion or the accepted rules of composition are concerned. He is a poet, and an admirable poet. His first works prove it to demonstration, and superabundantly; and no doubt his future writings will reinforce the proof with some added maturity and charm. He is not the sort of man to be abashed or hurt by criticism. Let me add that the less attention he pays to objections, even if wellfounded, and the more he continues to write out of the fulness of his own natural gifts, the better it will probably be for both himself and his readers. America may be proud of him.
W. M. Rossetti.
Across my neighbor's waste of whins
You scarce can see where first begins His range of steaming furrows;
• I am not sad that he is great,
He does not ask my pardon;
I envy not my neighbor's trees,
To me it nothing matters
His "dry-tongued laurel patters."
I sleep without narcotics,
With odorous exotics.
My neighbor, those for whom you shine
Magnificent assert you;
Your venison and your virtue;
Will blaze about the thicket;
Will peer across my wicket;
For me the geese will thread the furze,
In hissing file, to follow
Across the breezy hollow;
Curls blue against the bushes,
For nightingales and thrushes!
But hark ! I hear my neighbor's drums!
Some dreary deputation
In guise of adulation.
One little pinch of care is
Of aura popularis;
Not amulets, nor epiderm
As tough as armadillo's
Betwixt your easy pillows;
Beside you shadowy sitters
Let Envy crave and misers save,
Let Folly ride her circuit;
To find one's vein and work it,
To cringe to no condition,
May bound a man's ambition.
Swell, South-wind, swell my neighbor's sails;
Fill, Fortune, fill his coffers;
And me the minnow's offers;
He need not ask my pardon; Beside his wall I cultivate—
I cultivate my garden.
HARRIET G. HOSMER.
The confiding by Congress of the statue of Abraham Lincoln to the hands of Miss Vinnie Ream was unfortunate, not merely as securing a bad statue for the nation,— the Capitol has so much bad statuary that a piece more or less could make little difference,—it was the implied assumption that when the American people would put into monumental marble a record of one of its greatest and most illustrious men, no American could be found better fitted for the task than an inexperienced girl, utterly unknown to the arts, and scarcely known at all outside of the Washington lobby. This it is that mingled such gall with the criticism which Miss Ream's work encountered, and how far it is from truth may be shown by the mention of Miss Harriet G. Hosmer. Here is an artist who is a woman, if that is what we want, who has won for herself a leading place among contemporary sculptors, and who with Hiram Powers has brought imperishable honor upon American art; her name is known and her talents respected everywhere, yet in our National Congress there was no one cultured enough to appreciate her claims, and at the same time strong enough to urge them.
It is not our purpose, however, to reopen a humiliating question whose moral has already been pointed. It is more pleasant to contemplate the actual achievements of American art, and no nobler or more brilliant record of them can be found than in the career of Miss Hosmer.
Harriet G. Hosmer was born in Waterbury, Mass., on the 9th of Oct., 1830. She was the daughter of an eminent physician of that town, who had lost his wife and only other child by consumption, and who made the preservation of health the first consideration in her early training. Her childhood and youth were spent in
occupations and pursuits more like those of a boy than of the conventional young lady; she is said to have been expelled from one school, and pronounced incorrigible at another, and it was not until she was placed in the celebrated school of Mrs. Sedgwick, at Lenox, that her bold and turbulent nature was successfully restrained. Restrained, but not eradicated; for the fearless, high-spirited girl has developed into the equally fearless, high-spirited and unconventional woman, whose "eccentricities" have for years been the standing wonder of the Romans.
She was in her sixteenth year when she entered this school, and she remained there three years. "When in her nineteenth year,"says a recent biographer, " she returned to Watertown, much improved by the wise directions given to her energies, and her early predilections ripened with a purpose to make sculpture a pursuit. She had a thought—she must make it a thing." Having this end in view, and her father consenting, she entered the studio of Mr. Stephenson, in Boston, for lessons in drawing and modelling, and subsequently, in order to perfect herself in anatomy, went to St. Louis to take advantage of the consent of the medical college there to admit female students. Here she went through the regular college course, receiving a diploma for her attainments; and the immense value of the knowledge thus acquired has shown itself in all her subsequent work.
Returning to Watertown, Dr. Hosmer fitted up a studio for her in his garden, and there she produced her first works in marble,—a reduced copy of Canova's bust of Napoleon, and an ideal work, Hesper. Hesper was much praised at the time, and on its completion Miss Hosmer resolved to carry out at once the one aspiration of all artists—namely, to go to Rome. This resolution was intensified and fixed by an acquaintance with Miss Charlotte Cushman, and in the winter of 1852, accompanied by her father, she reached "the Eternal City." There Miss Hosmer was fortunate enough to obtain a place as pupil, and a favorite one, in the studio of the renowned John Gibson, and spent her first months in modelling from the antique. Her first original work in Rome was a bust of Daphne, and another one of Medusa, both of which were completed in 1853.
In the summer of 1852 she finished her first full-length figure in marble,— a statue of the nymph OEnone. This was ordered by her friend Wayland Crow, Esq.-, of St. Louis, and gave so much satisfaction that she at once received a commission to execute a similar work for the Mercantile Library at St. Louis. This commission was filled two years later by a life-size statue of Beatrice Cenci, representing the maiden lying in her cell after the torture had been applied, and just before her execution.
Both these statues are very beautiful, the latter especially, showing a high order of creative talent, and both have been cordially admired. In them are already conspicuous the qualities which have characterized all her later work: clearly conceived ideas, marked simplicity, and directness in working them out, unfailing perception of the just limitations of her art, and a thorough knowledge of all its mechanical possibilities.
Miss Hosmer's next work, designed under the pressure of pecuniary wants,
was " Puck, " an exquisitely humorous little figure based on Shakespeare's description of the fairy. This was finished in 1855, and from that time patronage has been ample and success assured. We can do no more here than give a list of her subsequent works, most of which are sufficiently well known to need no comments. They are, "a mortuary monument" in the church of San Andrew del Fratte at Rome; "Will-o'-the-wisp;" a noble statue of "Zenobia ; " a bronze statue of heroic size of Col. Thomas Hart Benton, which now stands in Lafayette Park, St. Louis, and which has been pronounced by an able critic " the best specimen of monumental statuary in America;" the "Sleeping Faun," and a companion "Waking Faun ;" a statue of a drowned girl, illustrating Hood's Bridge of Sighs; several designs for gateways, fountains, and chimney-pieces ; and grandest of all, though not yet carried out, a design for the "Freedmen's Monument to Lincoln."
Miss Hosmer is yet in the prime of life, being scarcely forty years old, and we may hope that many more will be added to the above list before the final record of her work is made up. Her studio is said to be the most beautiful in Rome, and she occupies a leading position in the art society of the Eternal City. This studio and its owner are the most fruitful theme of the gossip-mongers who now infest Italy, and for particulars of Miss Hosmer's present work and life we may refer our readers to the next non-political letter they may happen to see dated from Rome.
Around a Spring. By Gustave Droz. New York: Holt & Williams.
For genuine Summer-reading,—reading which is interesting without being too stimulative either of thought or emotion, and which can be commenced, laid aside, or re-read at any time, we advise all our readers to get "Around a Spring." It is a translation from the French (Aiitour (Tune Source), and in it will be found most of those characteristics which mark the better class of French fiction, and which, in spite of a decided tinge of voluptuousness, and a cool, cynical analysis of human motives, will give it a strong hold upon posterity. In it, too, may be found those features which distinguish French fiction from English novels of the same class. Even in the best of these latter, there is a lavishness of substance and of color which is almost barbaric in its affluence, everything is given in its minutest details,
and a chart of each character is furnished at the start so that there shall be no possibility of mistake. In M. Droz, on the other hand, we have a good example of the exquisite finish and precision of French literary art, and of that gradual evolution of character which is part of its method. "Around a Spring," for instance, is a story of the way in which the cure of Grand Fort, a simple, sincere, earnest, and unsophisticated man, is entangled and ruined, and his work undone, by some selfish schemers from Paris who intrude upon his quiet village in the mountains; yet the chief interest of the story lies in the curb's character which is so gradually developed before us, that our study is not whether it is consistent with a "key" which the author has previously furnished us, but whether each new step accords with what has gone before, and with the general impression mode upon our minds. This, no doubt, is nature's me