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can scarcely be considered poetical, since and sparkling with Boardo and Pulci; the sharpness and scorn which it is neces- mirthful and wise with immortal Cervantes sary for it to possess before it can be sa and Le Sage; strong and coarse with tire, are inconsistent with that tenderness Dryden; polished and elegant, yet bitter and beauty which are the soul and body of and revengeful, with Pope; personal and poetry It is the office of poetry to build up scurrilous with Churchill, Gifford, and and support; it is the office of satire to Byron ; and so on, and down, with occacast down and destroy : the one is a scof- sional intervals of dullness, till she at last. fer and image-breaker, the other an image- crossed the water, and made her appearmaker, and the very priest of nature; not ance in our midst in the person of Oliver dealing in bitter laughter and stinging sar Wendell Holmes. From the antique casms, but in gentle smiles and loving comedian in his rude go-cart, to the mod-: words, and whatever else is beautiful and ern doctor in his stylish buggy, the chain
is complete. Thespis at one end and Again, and this is to us proof positive Holmes at the other, with Horace and that it is not poetry, its effect does not Juvenal, and Dryden and Pope as interdepend upon the rhythm and rhyme in mediate links. What shocks have they not which it is commonly embodied. True, given, these electric geniuses!—those who there are occasions when they seem to have been raslı enough to venture within deepen its effect, and to give it additional reach of their batteries—and what shocks force, poisoning, as it were, the already are yet to come! barbed arrow; but for the most part it is Of Holmes, the satirist, we cannot say just as effective in prose as in verse, as much that is new, so often and so well has any one can convince himself by turning he been reviewed within the last few from Pope and Dryden, our greatest Eng- years. He looks at folly and pretension, lish poetical satirists, to the prose come says one of his critics, from the highest dies of Congreve and Sheridan. Indeed, pinnacle of scorn. They never provoke comedy seems its most natural mode of his indignation, for to him they are too expression; for, not forming the ground mean to justify anger, and hardly worthy work of plot or dialogue, it is relieved by of petulance. His light glancing irony both, and dropping as it does from the and fleering sarcasm are the more effective mouths of many different speakers, its from the impertinence of his benevolent opposing phases and very natural exaggera- sympathies. He wonders, hopes, wishes, tions are laid to their peculiar idiosyncra- titters and cries with his victims. Не sies, and understood accordingly; while in practices on them all the legerdemain of poetry it is always general, and often too contempt. He kills with a sly stab, and sweeping in its denunciations, condemning proceeds on his way as if “ nothing parweakness and folly as harshly as error and ticular" had happened. He picks his teeth crime. Besides, what right has the poet, with cool unconcern while looking down an individual, to satirize us, a class ? to on the captives of his wit, as if their desay to the world, with whom he is equally struction conferred no honor on himself, culpable, “Go to, I am holier than thou!" and was unimportant to the rest of man
But if satire is not poetry, she is her kind. He makes them ridicule themselves bond-slave and handmaiden, and often her by giving a voice to their notions and pioneer, clearing away whole forests of manners. He translates the conceited evil and prejudice, and whatever “wounds sinirk of the coxcomb into felicitous, the tender palms of her invisible feet ;" words. The vacant look and the trite and from the earliest time she has been a talk of the bore he links with subtile analofavorite of poets. Indeed, we fear they are gies. He justifies the egotist unto himfrequently too fond of her society, so prone self by a series of mocking sophisms. lle are they to irascibility and ill-humor. From expresses the voiceless folly and affectathe Roman poets, to whom we have already tion of the ignorant and brainless by cuntraced her, she passed to the Troubadours, ningly-contrived phrases and apt imagery. who satirized the abuses of ihe Romish He idealizes nonsense, pertness, and aspir-clergy; and thence, grave and stern, to ing dullness. The movement of his wit. Dante, whose Divina Commedia is a stu is so swist that its presence is known: pendous satire against an irrational, un- only when it strikes. He will sometimes, reasoning dogma. Then she became light' as it were, blind the eyes of his victims
Vol. III, No. 6.--NN
with diamond dust, and then pelt them art are common to all satirical writers, helplessly with scoffing compliments. He but his humor is exclusively his own. He passes from the stinging gibe to the most has both wit and humor, but on the whole grotesque exaggerations of drollery with a more true humor than wit, and of a richer bewildering rapidity.
kind. His nature is too fresh and genial, It is not in single passages however too full of the milk of human kindness, to striking, but in their general unity and be witty long. effect, that Holmes's satires appear to the There is often something ill-natured and most advantage. A few scattered lines, unscrupulous in wit, while humor is always however, like those below, may be de- pleasant and cheerful, and always beautitached without injury to the main design ; ful--the twin of pathos and feeling. Witis they run up and down the gamut of wit and sharp and keen, humor broad and deep: humor, and over the whole world of ludi- the one often the result of education, the crous poety and satire.
other always soul-born. We can conceive “ Hard is the job to launch the desperate pun, communion with the world, but never of
of a man's being made a wit by books and A pun-job dangerous as the Indian one."
his being made a humorist, no matter how "Shave like a goat, if so your fancy bids,
skillfully he may be cultivated, and in what But be a parent, do n’t neglect your kids."
intellectual green-house. Wit is to humor “ Virtue may flourish in an old cravat, what a jet of gas-light is to the worldBut man and nature scorn the shocking hat;
embracing, space-pervading sunshine. Mount the new castor, ice itself will melt: Boots, gloves may fail, the hat is always felt!" There is an inimitable air of freshness and
jollity in Holmes's humorous poetry, a feel“For only water flanks our knives and forks.
ing of sound health and a good conscience. So sink or float, we swim without the corks !"
We feel that we should like to know the " Hands that the rod of empire might have man who wrote it; he is, we say to oursway'd,
selves, a good fellow, a fine fellow, and we Close at my elbow stir their lemonade.”
give him our hearts at once. We are not " The speaker, rising to be seen,
afraid of his laughing at us, for he is “ one Looks very red, because so very green !" of us" himself. But even if he does “ And crippled couplets spread their sprawling laugh, we care not; we can afford a joke charms,
at our own expense when Holmes is the
To classify his humorous poetry, and
require too many subtile distinctions, and Go off, you've mounted your percussion cap."
too many different specimens. How fine
in its way is the poem Evening, by a
Tailor. Notice the poor snip's inability
“ sink the shop," and the pompous But common metre does n't answer long." simplicity of his blank verse. We warrant
him a sincere fellow who reads The Er. “ Thus great Achilles, who had shown his zeal In healing wounds, died of a wounded heel;
cursion in his leisure moments. Unhappy chieftain! who, in childhood doused,
Day hath put on his jacket, and around Had saved his bacon had his feet been soused.
His burning bosom button'd it with stars. “Essays so dark, Champollion might despair
Here will I lay me on the velvet grass, To guess what mummy of a thought was there; That is like padding to earth's meager ribs, Where our poor English, striped with foreign And hold communion with the things about me. phrase,
O me! how lovely is the golden braid Looks like a zebra on a parson's chaise !
That binds the skirt of night's descending Lectures that cut our dinners down to roots,
robe! And show (by monkeys) men should stick to
The thin leaves, rustling on their silken threads, fruits ;
Do make a music like to rustling satin, Mesmeric pamphlets which to facts appeal,
As the light breezes smooth their downy lap. Each fact as slippery as a fresh-caught eel."
“Ha, what is this that rises to my touch Admirable as are the satires of Holmes, So like a cushion ? Can it be a cabbage ?
It is, it is that deeply-injured flower it is, we think, in burlesque and humorous
Which boys do flout us with; but yet I love poetry that his strength and originality
thee, mostly lie. The prominent signs of his Thou giant rose wrapp'd in a green surtout.
* The song.
Doubtless in Eden thou didst blush as bright has a deep vein of serious sentiment in his As these thy puny brethren, and thy breath nature, and a broad undercurrent of pathos Sweeten'd the fragrance of the spicy air ;
and feeling. Pathos and feeling often But now thou seemest like a bankrupt bear, Stripp'd of thy gaudy hues and essences,
seem to us the truest expression of his And growing portly in thy sober garments. soul, the flower and fruit of his genius,
and wit and humor merely grafts thereon. "Is that a swan that rides upon the water?
Perfect gems are many of his songs and O no, it is that other gentle bird Which is the patron of our noble calling.
lyrics ; such, for instance, as The Last I well remember, in my early years,
Reader, Our Yankee Girls, Qui Vive, La When these young hands first closed upon a Grisette, and The Last Leaf. The Last goose :
Leaf is probably Holmes's most successful I have a scar upon my thimble finger Which chronicles the hour of
ambition. poem, for in it he best exemplifies and My father was a tailor, and his father, unites his two distinguishing traits, humor And my sire's grandsire, all of them were and pathos. It is inerry enough to make tailors :
one smile, and, in its essence, sad enough They had an ancient goose, it was an heirloom From some remoter tailor of our race.
to make one weep ;—the smile and tear are It happen'd I did see it on a time
blended as we read it. When none were near, and I did deal with it,
The serious part of the machinery of And it did burn me, 0, most fearfully!
verse in Holmes's poetry is not always " It is a joy to straighten out one's limbs, equal to, nor proportionate with, the comic; And leap elastic from the level counter, he has more fancy than imagination, and Leaving the petty grievances of earth,
is apt to overlay his subject with it. The breaking thread, the din of clashing shears, Instead of a blaze of light, a full picture, And all the needles that do wound the spirit, For such a passive hour of soothing silence.
he gives us shooting gleams, streaks and Kind nature, shuffling in her loose undress, clouds of color; isolated bits of fancy, like Lays bare her shady bosom ; I can feel
the many-hued pieces of tinsel in a kaleidoWith all around me; I can hail the flowers That sprig earth's mantle; and yon quiet bird,
scope. When he is happy, however, he That rides the stream, is to me as a brother,
comes near “the perfect loveliness of art.” The vulgar know not all the hidden pockets Altogether, he is one of the sweetest and Where nature stows away her loveliness. rarest poets that America has yet produced But this unnatural posture of the legs
-certainly the finest satirist—and has not Cramps my extended calves, and I must go Where I can coil them in their wonted fashion." yet reaped his full fame. Poetry such as
his, of no school and no one age, is always Of a different stamp is the character sure to be popular—to be popular at once poem My Aunt, reminding us of the every- and forever. Witness that of Gray and day characters of Praed, between whom Collins. Success, then, to Oliver Wenand Holmes are many points in common. dell Holmes, poet, physician, and goodIts tone of half-contempt and good-natured fellow generally! pity are very effective. Different again, and perfectly unique as a mock heroic Curiosity.—Whenever M. de la Condapoem, is The Ballad of the Oysterman. mine, the French mathematician, visited a It is the poem par excellence of the kind; friend, he would employ his time in inas complete a burlesque and as pungent a specting and handling every article in the satire on a certain style of ballads as the cupboard and drawers. One day being at best things in the Rejected Addresses, or Chanteloup, in the study of M. de Choiseul, Ben Gaultier. Ranging from the broadest the prime minister of Louis XV., at the burlesque to the quietest humor, and equally time of the arrival of the letters and disgood in their various styles, are the poems patches, he, during the momentary absence To an Insect, The Mysterious Visitor, of the minister, opened the letters on the The Spectre Pig, Lines by a Clerk, Daily table, some of which doubtless treated of Trials, To the Portrait of a Gentleman, the most secret interests of the different The Comet, A Noontide Lyric, The Hot states of Europe. “Ah, Monsieur,” cried Season, The Height of the Ridiculous, M. de Choiseul, in horror, what are you The Treadmill Song, The September about ? You are opening my letters." Gale, The Music-Grinders, and On Lend “ Pooh! it's nothing at all,” replied his ing a Punch-Bowl. But Holmes does not visitor, with the utmost unconcern; “I confine himself to wit and humor. As is was only looking to see if there was any the case with all truly comic writers, he news from Paris !"
MORxIxG--CORPULENCY-WESTERN CARS AND ROADS
-AGRICULTURE-MANUFACTURES-MAN IX THE
nal to be fat? Was there ever a fat man EDITORIAL JOTTINGS IN THE WEST.
known to be hung? We do ’nt venture an
affirmative on the subject; we only ask a WEST-Western WOMEN-ACCLIMATION-INDIAN question. We doubt very much whether RONAXCE.
there are any fat demons. The old painta brilliant morning about the begin- ers, while they give a very puff to the
ning of the autumn, we waked up and cheeks of their cherubs, always paint evil found ourselves in Mount Vernon, quite spirits as sadly lacking in facial integuin the interior of Ohio ; we had been ment. Shakspeare makes Cæsar tremble whirled thither with hardly any “ note of almost at the lean aspect of Cassius :time" from the State of New York, as
“Let me have men about me that are fat; we had been whirled about for months Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights. before by “lightning trains" in various Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look ; other parts of the Northern States. He thinks too much ; such men are dangerous. Raising ourself on our elbow after a sweet
Would he were fatter." night's repose, we rubbed our eyes with a momentary and an agreeable bewilderment, We have known fat men subject to then leaped out of bed and thrust our sudden, but never to prolonged passions ; head rather ostensibly out of the half-open their vices, even, are usually the excesses window, for the air was genial with the of generous and indulgent dispositions. morning sun and fragrant with the perfume Give us a “portly" man for the enterof flowers. We were in the commodious tainment of an after-dinner leisure hour mansion of our friend Sapp, who, we regret --for politics or polemics, and, above all, to say, has had the foolish patriotism to for a traveling companion. leave his beautiful home temporarily for a With such sentiments, we set ourselves seat in Congress, and a residence in the aright to receive, with all possible corlimbo of the capital. Gazing for a moment diality, the approaching personage. He at the tastefully laid out gardens below- turned out to be our personal friend F., which were laughing with gay flowers and a gentleman whose capacious cheeksswarming with bees and humming birds, rounded and tinted with health, and surand up at the skies, which seemed exultingly mounted by eyes which are really beautiful responsive with smiles, we drew in our head with kindliness—are a genuine index to his with a tolerable consciousness of our where- capacious heart. We had last met him in abouts, and a remarkably agreeable sense another part of the West, and was then of satisfaction with “ all the world” and entreated by him to go some hundred miles ourself“ besides." Our brother editor of to his home to " eat salt " under his roof. the Repository, (Cincinnati,)—our“ chum” He was now come to repeat the same for the ronce,-was greeted as he opened invitation, and to propose an excursion his eyes that morning with our very among the Indians of upper Michigan. We blandest salutation.
were in a mood for any adventure with
such a man; and as we had been working We had bestirred ourself during the day, desperately hard for some months in our and at “the evening tide was lounging official duties, and had some days of leiin a good arm-chair, book in hand, under sure before us, we accepted both his propa tree amid the flowers that had regaled ositions. us in the morning, when we espied ap- The next day-another brilliant morning proaching us, with something of the -we were on board the cars and away; but " roiling gait” which Boswell ascribes to while flying out of Ohio, let us “drop the “the majestic Samuel Johnson," a gen- thread " of our sketch and bethink ourtleman of unusually respectable dimensions. selves a little. We are an old traveler, We confess a profound respect for cor- good reader, and two things we always do pulent men. Our pen has, indeed, some- when we get fairly seated in a car or times caricatured them, but—let us steamboat--they are not unworthy, perknowledge it-only through envy. Fat- haps, of your imitation. One is to take off ness is physical, to be sure, and therefore our hat, as a good Quaker would, and inno substitute for virtue; but if there is any wardly pray a little. Uncle Toby says corporeal index of a big soul, it is a big that a soldier, above all men, should be a body. Who ever knew an habitual crimi- saint, and always ready to die. Had he
lived in our day he would have qualified north. Ohio and Indiana are intersected the remark and applied it to the traveler. everywhere with iron lines. They enter Every man should make his will, and mend Cincinnati from every point except the fully his conscience, when he undertakes south, and they fairly radiate from Indiana steam excursion, whether by land or apolis. As you pass through the chief water, now-a-days. “The spirit of the age' places of the West-the great junction is abroad, and cannot stop for so trivial a points-you are stunned with the din of consideration as the safety of human life. enterprise. It reminds you of the high
Having thus committed ourselves to the ways of advancing armies in the campaigns divine protection, we next banish all anxiety of the great European wars. It seems a whatever, and adjust ourself in our seat for national outburst of energy, as if to overa brief siesta, and then for the wide-awake throw at once and forever every obstrucobservations of a trained traveler.
tion to the purposes of men; and in the Our first observation was of the superb jostling fray and hilarious excitement, cars which were bearing us along-as you feel like throwing up your hat and commodious and as elegant even as we huzzaing for your country and your age. had seen anywhere in the East. Those There is one question that comes to you of the “ State of Camden and Amboy especially v
with power: What will the future would hardly be fit for “ second passenger
be here ? What will the little fellow pretensions in the same train. Every- sitting there before you witness, when, where in the West we notice this improve- with spare gray locks, he shall pass over ment-a mark of not only good taste but of this highway of the march of the world good sense and good enterprise. The at that day which, according to the laws roads, too, what grand ones they are! of statistics, he, with at least eight hundred They have the advantage, to be sure, of thousand now living, shall behold when the the level of the prairies in many places; population of this republic shall equal that hut where they have it not, they are con- of all present Europe? God be with our structed, especially the more recent ones, children in that day! on that scale of grand ideas and calcula- Looking out of our flying vehicle, our tions with which everything else is next observation was of the glorious founded and destined in the West. How country—the realms of natural opulence comfortably and magnificently is one borne through which we were passing. What onward in the lightning trains along the fields extended right and left! Why, your shore of Lake Erie, or across the wide eastern farms are but garden-patches in prairie-sweep from Lake Erie to Lake comparison with these. What think you, Michigan, or down the long lines of iron Brother Jonathan, amid your obstinate that stretch over the whole length of Ohio rocks and narrow-sliced • lots," of a and Indiana. The Michigan Southern and six-hundred-acre corn-field, and miles of Central Roads are the most finished and scarcely interrupted golden grain, “shakmost noble passages in the nation. They ing like Lebanon,”—waving, exulting with are even beautified-grassed as a protec- an out-bursting luxuriance that might tion against dust, their depôts located and feast the eyes of gods and the mouths of constructed with reference to landscape and nations! And then look down at the soil, architectural effect as well as convenience, especially on this “Grand Prairie;" it has and planted about with the beautiful locust- never known manure, it will never need tree—the ornament and shelter of the to know it; it is a vast field of richest north-western prairie farm-house generally. manure itself, a continent of the best guaAnd then where can you find the ends of all no. Open the surface, put in the seed, these magnificent roads? They are stretch- and next shout the “ harvest home;" that's ing everywhere. In the greater Western farming here. States you are lost in a maze of them, and It is “a great country,” this, for agriit is becoming a problem with even a vet- culture, doubtless; but not that only. You eran traveler how to choose his route. blunder egregiously when you complaThe neighing of the steam-horse sounds cently look upon it as a mere granary for into the cities of Cleveland and Sandusky you, the manufacturers of the East. Why, at every angle on the land, while steam here, with a surface upon which Ceres leaves continually its cloud-trace on the and the "jocund Hours" may riot forever, skies, or cuts its wake on the waters, to their ! is an underground foundry where Vulcan