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less creditable to his feelings as a man, than it was honorable to his character as the representative of a free nation.
But we would not point to particular parts of this volume, as worthy of exclusive attention. The whole is written with a dignity, a freedom of remark, an independent tone of opinion and investigation, together with an intimate knowledge of the subjects brought under notice, which give it strong claims to respect and confidence ; at the same time it communicates a mass of curious and important facts, not before presented to the reading public. It has not been common for an agent from any country, possessing the author's intelligence, frankness, and talents, to be employed in the diplomatic affairs of the Barbary States ; nay, a capacity for low intrigue, chicanery, and artifice, has usually been considered the primary qualification for such a post. And when we consider the principles, on which the respective governments have required their agents to act, and the extraordinary transactions to which this intercourse has uniformly led, it is not surprising, that no one has been found willing to reveal the dark policy, by which his instructions compelled him to be guided, if his own spirit did not prompt him to it. By the concurrent sanction of all the christian powers, growing out of their mutual jealousies, such has been the system adhered to in treating with the Barbary pirates, that no public agent would dare to unfold and spread it out before the world. Concealment and duplicity were essential parts of the system itself. But the mind and pen of the American Consul General were bound by no such ignoble chains as these ; he has scrutinized deeply, and declared freely what he discovered, and what he thought. The disclosures he has made, and which others will make, by pursuing the track on which he has entered, will afford a key to many parts of European bistory that are yet hidden. If all the diplomatic proceedings of the christian governments with the Barbary States, Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, could be brought to light, and recorded for the inspection of the world, we doubt whether more signal evidences of the abuse of power, the force of base passions, and the wickedness of rulers, could be collected from the annals of the civilized world.
ART. IX.-Miscellaneous Poems selected from the United States
Literary Gazette. Boston. Cummings, Hilliard, and Co; and Harrison Gray. 18mo. pp. 172. This little volume, as the title imports, is composed of a selection from the poetical department of the United States Literary Gazette, embracing the period from the beginning of that work down to the end of the past year. When originally published, these pieces appeared as anonymous contributions, but in the present collection the names of the authors, except in a few instances, are prefixed. The principal contributors are Bryant and Percival ; in addition to whom are Longfellow, Mellen, Jones, and Dawes; and, without invidious comparison or exaggerated praise, it may with great truth be said, that there are from each of these writers specimens of much poetical beauty, and that the volume itself is a rich acquisition to the elegant literature of the country. We know not but our partiality for whatever excellence is of American growth, may cause us to feel the more gratified with a work like this, but we would not bestow on it extravagant praise, merely because it is American. Such praise would be injurious to the cause of letters among us. We would not that our poets be easily satisfied, but rather that they aspire to rival the richest strains, which have been breathed from the country of Shakspeare and of Milton. We would have them strictly American; their productions should retain a flavor of the soil in which they were formed. The feelings they express, and the outward forms they portray, should partake of something of the air of the place. But we would not have them pleased with a low measure of excellence; nor would we have our men of genius remain content with moderate merit, because, possibly, moderate merit may be sufficient to meet the immediate and coarser demands of the public.
Mr Bryant, who has contributed the largest number of pieces to the volume before us, has been for several years a favorite with the American public. We have, on former occasions, expressed our opinion of his genius and writings. As a poet, he possesses rare gifts. His poetry has truth, delicacy, and correctness, as well as uncommon vigor and richness; he is always faithful to nature ; his delineations are accurate, vivid, and forcible; he selects his groups and images with judgment, and sketches with spirit and exactness. He writes as one, who, in the love of nature, holds communion with her visible forms.' Nothing is borrowed, nothing artificial ; his pictures have an air of freshness and originality, which could come from the student of nature alone. He is alive to the beautiful forms of the outward world. These forms hold a language to bis heart. Nature to him is not an inert mass, mere dead matter; it is almost a feeling, and a sentiment. His poetry is always refreshing ; the scenes of stillness and repose, into which he introduces us, seem fitted to exclude care and sorrow; he draws us from haunts of men, where we become familiar with loathsome forms of vice and misery, where our hearts are torn with anxiety, or wounded by neglect and ingratitude, and makes us partake of the deep contentment,' which the mute scenes of earth breathe. He is less the poet of artificial life, than of nature, and the feelings, There is something for the heart, as well as for the understanding and fancy, in all he writes; something, which touches our sensibility, and awakens deep toned, sacred reflections.
Again, Mr Bryant charms us by his simplicity. Like all true lovers of nature, he is fond of those chaste beauties, which strike on the heart at once, and are incapable of being heightened by any extraneous ornament. His pictures are never overcharged. Nothing is turgid or meretricious, strange or fantastic. His heart is open to the healthful influences of nature; he muses among her gay and beautiful forms, and throws out upon the world his visions and feelings in a garb of attractive simplicity and grace. His strains, moreover, are exquisitely finished. He leaves nothing crude and imperfect; he throws off no hasty sketches, no vague, shadowy, and ill assorted images. His
portraits have a picturesque distinctness; the outlines are accurately traced, and the colors laid on with delicacy and skill. We are never disgusted with grossness; nothing appears overstrained or feeble, deformed, misshapen, or out of place.
To write such poetry at any time would be no trifling distinction. Mr Bryant deserves the greater praise, as he has exhibited a pure and classical standard in an age, the tendency of which is, in some respects, towards lawless fanaticism and wildness. There is a fashion in literature, as in everything else. The popular style is now the rapid, the hasty, the abrupt, and unfinished. The age is certainly not a superficial one. It is distinguished beyond any former period for habits of deep, earnest thought. But one of its characteristics seems to be an impatience of restraint. It is fond of strong excitement, however produced. Whatever excites the mind into a state of fervor, whatever powerfully awakens the feelings, is listened to and applauded. It may be vague, fantastic, and shapeless, produced by a sort of extemporaneous effort, and sent abroad without the labor of revision. It will not have the less chance of becoming, for a time at least, popular. The press was never more prolific than at present. A great deal is written, and, as might be naturally supposed, much is written in haste. The mass of popular literature is swelling to an overgrown bulk ; but much of it is crude, coarse, and immature. Mr Bryant has not been seduced by the temptations to slovenliness and negligence, which the age holds out to view; but, on the contrary, he affords a happy specimen of genuine, classical English. We are gratified to meet with such examples, especially among the distinguished and favored poets of our own country. It augurs well for the interests of taste and letters.
We cannot express in too strong terms our approbation of the moral and devotional spirit, that breathes from all, which Mr Bryant writes. Poetry, which is conversant with the deeper feelings of the heart, as well as the beautiful forms of outward nature, has, we conceive, certain affinities with devotion. It is connected with all our higher and holier emotions, and should send out an exalting, a healing, and sustaining influence. We are pleased to find such an influence pervading every strain, uttered by a poet of so much richness of fancy, of so much power and sweetness, as Mr Bryant. No sentiment or expression ever drops from him, which the most rigid moralist would wish to blot. His works we may put into the hands of youth, confident, that in proportion as they become familiar with them, the best sympathies of their nature will be strengthened, and the moral taste be rendered more refined and delicate. Much of his poetry is description; but his descriptions are fitted to instruct our piety,' and impart a warmth and glow of moral feeling. We hasten to one or two extracts, as contained in the volume
“The Murdered Traveller'is picturesque, affecting, and solemn. The scene is portrayed with a distinctness, which causes the heart to shudder.
When Spring to woods and wastes around,
Brought bloom and joy again ;
Far down a narrow glen.
The fragrant birch, above him, hung
Her tassels in the sky;
And nodded, careless, by.
His hanging nest o’erhead,
Her young the partridge led.
And gentle eyes, for him,
Grew sorrowful and dim.
The fearful death he met,
Unarmed, and hard beset.
The northern dawn was red,
To banquet on the dead.
They dressed the hasty bier,
Unmoistened by a tear.
Within his distant home;
For joy that he was come.
His welcome step again,
Far down that narrow glen. pp. 9, 10. We need not point out to those, who are familiar with the appearance of our forests in spring, the exquisite truth and beauty of the two lines,
• The fragrant birch, above him, hung
Her tassels in the sky;' which occur in the second stanza. Such minute and inimitable beauties are scattered over every page of this author's narrative and descriptive poetry. They go to show his careful observation