Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

in our heart that for years has lain dormant, and which was first awakened by that great embodiment of song, MalibraN! Years have since rolled over us, and never until this fair pilgrim from the sunny clime had made her advent among us, had that silver chord vibrated to the touch of a master-hand. It came ; the latent spark was kindled; and now are we once more ourselves again:' Messrs. Kyle and GROENVELDT played a sort of pot pourri en duo, consisting of Scottish Melodies, Strauss' Waltzes, etc., very beautifully, accompanied by that most practical of all pianists, Mr. Timu, who is a treasure to performers, for they always know where to find him. Any transposition needed at sight, no matter in what key, can be effected, when Timm is present. But to return to Kyle and GROENVELDT, the Fidus-Achates of musicians. The former gentleman is an improving player. His style is more chaste than formerly, and his articulation more rapid and correct : as an orchestral player he has few if any superiors in this country. Mr. GROENVELDT is one of the most admirable clarionetists to whom we have ever listened.'

AN OMITTED POEM OF THE LATE WILLIS GAYLORD CLARK. We were greatly surprised on being informed the other evening, by one who is himself a poet, and who had noticed the omission with much regret, that the following musical and feeling lines, from the pen of the lamented Willis GAYLORD CLARK, were not included in his Literary Remains,' heretofore published. We can account for the omission only in one way. In making the selections for the poetical division of the volume, we must have been impressed with a belief that this poem, like several others of the writer's most admired effusions, had been introduced into some one of the various subsections of the 'Ollapodiana' papers, with some allusion to the train of thought or event which awakened them:

[blocks in formation]

In the `leafy month of June,' when all nature has burst forth into verdure and bloom and song; when remembrances of the past throng upon the mind — thoughts of those whom we have loved and whom we mourn - it may be that many will feel with us the truthfulness and beauty of these stanzas: few however will' appreciate the peculiar force with which they impress the heart, in obedience to whose promptings they are placed before the reader.

Men without Soul.s. — Can any of our readers inform us who is (or was) the author of an admirable satire entitled “Men without Souls ?" We encountered it for the first time many years since, and again about a twelve-month ago in a New-England journal, where it appeared as original. The writer argued that men might live without souls, from certain facts which he adduced. • Who does not know,' said he,' that a single instance outweighs a thousand theories? Human bodies then, I assert again, may be without souls. Why not? EPIMENIDES, a Cretan, had indeed a soul, but then he had a power of dismissing and recalling it ; which shows that he had a power of doing without it. It is remarkable that both himself and his countrymen thought him quite as good a philosopher without his soul as with it. Is the truth of EPIMENIDES questioned ? I answer, He was a Cretan. Again, St. ANTHONY saw his own soul ascend to heaven and descend upon earth. Will any one question St. ANTHONY's authority? I answer, He was a saint. Again, a philosopher, a professor, and an inhabitant of Rostock, affirms his soul to be wedded to his body by no stricter bonds than a female nerve, a modern marriage, or an alliance between states. He himself resides with his soul, and speaks of his body, like CÆSAR of himself, in the third person. When his body is tortured with hunger our professor says only: “He seems hungry, I must feed him.' Racked with disease, he only whispers, . He seems distressed, I must physic him.' If his authority be contested, I maintain it upon three several grounds : He is a philosopher, a professor, and an inhabitant of Rostock. Before you draw any conclusions from these facts, I will mention a theory which it has been supposed would solve many of the phenomena of the world.' Assuming the ground that the souls of people may have so degenerated as to dispose them to tenant their fleshly cabins, even upon terms which the body may propose, the writer proceeds to draw up an imaginary contract for the union, in which it is stipulated on the part of the body:

* First : That although the soul dwell in the body, it shall never interfere with it in any of its enjoyments; particularly in eating, drinking, and licentiousness. Agreed.

*SECOND: That the soul, as in fashionable marriages, shall never show itself in public with the body. Agreed; 'if the body will, at least once a year, acknowledge the soul's existence in a church.

*Third: That the soul shall never perplex the body in private, except when it is sentimental, or in low spirits. Agreed.

* Fourth: That the body shall be suffered to sleep while the soul listens to sermons. Agreed, if the body will keep watch should the soul also be disposed to sleep.

"Fifth: That the soul shall not attempt to warp the body to any fanatical practices, such as pros. tration, kneeling, giving away money. Agreed.

"Sixth: That the soul shall not employ the eyes of the body in reading the Bible. Agreed.

* SEVENTH: That the soul shall take all the burden of religious duties upon itself. Agreed, if the body will eat the bread at the Sacrament, and kiss the book for an office under government.

* Eigith: That the soul shall never dixfigure the face with a blush. Agreed, when the soul shall be a little hackneyed in the ways of the world.'

The reflections upon the nature of this contract are eloquent, and insinuate a salutary lesson. On the above conditions the body capitulates, and consents to receive the soul into garrison. “I see,' continues the writer, that you reject my theory as visionary and disgraceful; but pray reexamine the cases I have advanced. That men have been with. out souls, is a proof that you may be ; and your conduct will admit of no other solution. This point then being established, enjoy, I beseech you, every moment of your bright

Ye puppets of an empty show! ye figures of an useless series! ye shadows of threescore years ! ye moving dust and ashes! dead to virtue and furious with appetite, deem the breath of life an enduring substance, and eternity a bubble! Proceed, illostrious Bodies, to your glorious destination; eat, drink, sleep, and perish!' A little pondering, reader, will show you more in this contract than will meet the eye in a hurried and careless perusal.

career.

Gossip with READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. — Next month's number will commence the Twenty-Sixth Volume of the Knickerbocker. It will appear upon types that have never before been printed upon ; so that the communications of our correspondents will be found to appeal as well to the eye as to the mind. As it regards the literary attractions in store for the volume, our readers may be assured that at no former period have they been so ample and various. 'On this point we rest;' desiring only that this promise may be remembered, and craving judgment' thereupon when the fulness of time shall require the rendi. tion of a verdict. But we need not ask our readers' credence. Never had Magazine such a list of subscribers as the KNICKERBOCKER. Our readers know us, to a man, we cannot but think; for while the acquisitions to our books have been most gratisying, we have scarcely had a discontinuance within the year. • Be ever thus,' ladies and gentlemenkind friends! - and whatsoever the Editor can secure, whatsoever he can perform, by still more arduous exertion in his own humble departments, shall not be wanting to requite your continued confidence and good-will. We cannot resist the inclination, in this connexion, to thank our contemporaries of the Public Press for their gratifying commendations of our labors. Praise from influential literary conservators stimulates us to renewed endeavors to merit their approbation. We have ventured to annex to the advertisement of our Twenty-Sixth Volume, on the cover of the present number, a few of the notices which bave appeared of the volume now brought to a conclusion. They will afford to our readers seme evidence of the estimation in which the KNICKERBOCKER continues to be held by the public. · The following affecting sketch comes to us in the hand-writing of a correspondent in Boston, to whose pen our readers have been indebted for many a pleasant communication. We call upon our friend for the name of the prosecutor in the case referred to. We desire to assist in handing it down to perpetual infamy: 'There are scenes occur. ing almost daily in our Police Court that are well worthy of more than a passing record, if but for the glimpses they give us of poor humanity under some of its more melancholy phases. A week or two since, I happened to be present when an Irishwoman was brought before one of our police justices on a charge of stealing. She was young, had a pleasing and rather handsome countenance, was clad very tidily, and altogether looked like one who had seen better days, and still in her poverty preserved some of the pride of that more happy period. In her arms she held a little boy of some three or four years, with a profusion of light curly hair clustering about his temples, but whose pale cheek and sunken and lustrous eyes told too plainly that Disease and pinching Want had even thus early marked him for their own. The mother was charged with stealing bread from the door of a grocer. The complainant, a hard-featured, shrewd-looking man, with a long nose, and sharp, restless eye, was called to the stand. He told a straight-forward, circumstantial story, the substance of which was, that his baker was in the habit of leaving bread for him at the shop.door before it was opened in the morning. For several days past he had missed part of it; sometimes a whole roll, sometimes more, and once or twice, only part of a roll. In order to put a stop to these depredations on his property, he one morning lay in wait for the trespasser; when, about daylight, he saw the prisoner come out of her miserable ander. ground abode, leading her sickly boy by the band. Passing by where the witness was concealed, she stopped at his door, took up a roll, and breaking it in two pieces, gave one to her boy, and restored the other to its place. She then turned back, when the complainant seized, and hurried her immediately to the watch-house ; taking care, in the mean time, to snatch from the half-famished boy the moiety of the loaf he was so eagerly devouring. The witness here produced the piece of bread, and pointed to the marks of the child's teeth, in part corroboration of his testimony. After hearing the story, the judge turned to the woman, and asked her if she had any thing to say in denial of the truth of the charge. • Nothing, nothing, your Honor,' replied the poor woman, laying her face on her boy's head, and straining him to her bosom, while her body swayed to and fro in the agony of shame and grief: 'I am guilty, guilty! But it was not for meself I took it. Ah, Sir! I'm a poor

lone woman, and work hard when I can get work. But for the last ten days I have had nothing to do, and my money was all gone; and since yesterday morning we had n't had a morsel to eat. I am used to it meself; but I could n't hear little Dennis cry for bread, and not give it to him! The Judge was evidently touched by the woman's distress, and, turning to the eomplainant, asked him if, under the circumstances, he should persist in the prosecution. *If,' said he, ‘you will withdraw your complaint, it will be performing an act of mercy which I should be very glad to second.' Vain appeal! Though the eye of every man in court was fixed upon the prosecutor with looks that pleaded for his vietim, no emotion stirred the repose of his hard and selfish features. He kept no account with Mercy. The right of property had been violated, in his eyes the most sacred of human rights, and he claimed the penalty of the law. “This is a cruel case,' said the Judge; "and really, I feel extremely loth to punish this poor woman for an act so venial, crime though it be in the eye of the law. But although this plaintiff might have pursued a very different course, without doing any injury to the cause of justice, or impairing in the least degree whatever title he may have to the love and respect of his fellow-men, still my duty in the case is imperative; the law allows me no discretion. I would it were otherwise. Put her down for one month in the House-of-Correction, Mr. Clerk.' 'Oh, DENNIS, DENNIS!' exclaimed the poor woman, in a paroxysm of grief, as she strained her boy still closer to her bosom, and bathed him with tears; 'what 'll you do now, my poor child, when you ’ve no mother to look after you, and keep you from harm's way?' 'Do n't grieve yourself about that, Mrs. McGinniss,' said one of her own country-women, who had hitherto stood in the background, but now came forward, and took the prisoner by the hand ; 'don't grieve for the likes of that, Ma’am; I'U take care of your boy; and while I've a petaty in the pot, he shall bave his mouth full.' 'God bless you!' exclaimed the mother, wringing the woman's hand; 'may the Holy Virgin smile on you!! • Come, step along, Ma'am,' said the officer, as he put the mittimus in his pocket ; 'do n't stand growling here; the cart is waiting for you.' The woman slowly and mechanically obeyed, followed by little DENNIS, with one hand clasped in that of his new friend, and the other pulling at the skirts of his mother's dress. Arrived at the outer door, the little fellow was resigned with many tears' to the care of his kind protector; the mother went slowly and droopingly down the steps, without again listing her head, or looking back upon her half-weeping, half-wondering boy; and in a moment more she was seated in the covered hearse-like wagon that was to carry her across the bridge of sighs' to the felon's home.' . . . "The Duel,' by JESSE —, embodies a good story, but the poetical garb in which it is clothed is 'not much to speak of.' In justice to our readers, therefore, we cannot give them Jesse’ literally: the prose of the matter, however, is this: NAPOLEON, when he was told that a cannon ball had killed a sailor who had hid himself in a coil of rope in the hold of a man-of-war, observed, 'A man can never avoid his fate ;' a fact well illustrated by the following circumstance: An Englishman, “brave as JULIUS CÆSAR,' challenged a Frenchman to mortal combat. Knowing John BULL to be a dead shot, the Frenchman, being the challenged party, and having the choice of place, time, and weapons, selected night, a large dark apartment, and pistols. The seconds were to remain outside, and give the word, after receiving which, each was to fire when he pleased. 'Fire!' cried the seconds, when the combatants had been locked in, and declared themselves 'ready.' But no sound was heard. JOHNNY BULL could find no hint for an aim; and his adversary, hearing him groping round the room, fired at random. John was safe enough now; and after searching every corner of the room in vain, for any indication of the whereabout of his antagonist, he at length exclaimed: 'Come, I'm tired of this fun ; beside, I'm satisfied.' He had groped his way to the fire-place, and now placed the muzzle of his pistol up the mouth of the chimney, and fired. There was a shriek, a yell, and down came the Frenchman, dead as a door-nail! ... Why is it, that with the bright sunshine, the blossom and bloom, the bland airs and all musical sounds' of summer, there comes back upon the heart, with such irresistible power, the memory of friends long since . faded and gone? Why rises up before the mind the funeral pall, the

breathless darkness, and the narrow house? This summer morning on which we write, how sunny and beautiful it is ! - how bright the verdure on the distant slopes, over the sparkling waters ! - how melting the incense-laden airs that steal in at the open window! Why does Memory go back to only one spot of greenness, and that a place of graves ?' Why is it impossible, at this joyous season, not to remember, that

•White clouds o'er that spot will pass

As freely as elsewhere,
That sunshine on no other grass

A richer hue may wear;
That, formed from out the very mould

In which the Dead doth lie,
The daisy with its eye of gold

Looks up into the sky!

But of serener summer influences he yet speaketh, 'our brother and our friend,' by whose last resting-place we have been standing in thought, as on that brightest day of the year's brightest month, when he made his bed in darkness, and closed his eyes forever upon the brightness of the sun:'

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

We have an inkling, we think, of the sort of feeling which, in a piping time of peace, sometimes comes in aid of making war. An esteemed friend and correspondent, belonging to the water-service of our excellent · UNCLE SAMUEL,' writes us : "Are we to have a war? If so, I must be afloat again! What think you of the probability ? Shall I have tails put to my round jacket, and have that old sword, which even now hangs, greased and buckskin-robed, before me, burnished and sharpened even to great thirstiness? Advise us, you who are upon the borders. I would to heaven I was within ten fathoms of you this sunny morning! No peace would ‘OLD KNICK.' have, till he had tested my seamanship by a stretch down to the Hook, or through Hell-Gate eddy, in one of those pretty bay boats which lie at Fulton-Ferry. I long to smell the salt air once more; to rise and fall

« PředchozíPokračovat »