Page images
PDF
EPUB

etry, by chance-but he will never be of the Edinburgh critics. He was able to do poetry, now, as he might right. have done it, before this, if he had 6. Sketch-Book-Irving had now been worthily tempered, year after come to be regarded as a professional year, by wind, or fire-rain-or storm. author: to think of his pen for a live He, who has grown up in the courtly lihood. His mercantile speculations tournament: He, whose warlike diss were disastrous. We are glad of it. It cipline has come only of the tilting- is all the better for him-his countryground-blunted weapons or silken our literature-us. But for that lucky armour-may have the heart of a true misfortune, he would never have been knight-may feel bravely—may think half what he now is : But for his prechivalry—but will he be able to do sent humiliation, he would never be chivalry, for more than a little time, half what he will now be, if we righttogether?

ly understand his character. The passage, to which we allude, is Strange—but so it was. The accinot, as he might suppose, that, where dental association-the fortuitous conhe goes out of his way, tries, labours junction, of two or three young men, for to be a poet; by saying, that-while the purpose of amusing the town, with the dying men lay about, upon deck a few pages a-month, in Salamagun--their eyes were all turned up to the di, led, straightway, to a total change face of Perry: no—the passage to of all their views in life. Two of them, which we allude, is unpremeditated— certainly; perhaps all three, became It is not a picture, like that, which he, professional authors, in a country, himself, declares to be “ above prose where only one (poor Brown) had poetry-it is only one thought, ever appeared before. Two of them happily uttered—said, as none but a have become greatly distinguished, as poet ever could have said it. He has writers: the third (Verplanck) somebeen talking about Lake Erie—that what so, by the little that he has writsolitude of waters—where no battle ten. had ever been heard before: over Thus it is. A single star, worthy which no warrior ship had ever gone. of attention, has hardly ever appeared He speaks of the barbarian-we do not in the skies of literature. So, in learngive the words-looking out from the ing: so in science-age after age. It wood-startled by the apparition of is a constellation-a cluster-a galaxy a sea-fightupon the waters of a soli- --or darkness. But for a similar contary lake, whereon, till that hour, he junction, we do believe that most of had never seen a vessel, perhaps, lar- the leading writers in our sturdy old ger than his own birch canoe. English literature, would never have

That, we say, is enough. That very been greatly distinguished. A man phrase-the apparition of a sea-fight should have a body of iron-a soul of is enough to prove that Irving is, by iron—to outlive a long course of solinature, a great poet.-We shall say tary trial.-But for strong rivalrymore of this, by and by.

contention-social criticism-jealousy 5. INTRODUCTION to Mr Camp- -fear-perpetual effort, no great man bell's poetry. A well-written article: would ever have known a tythe of his but Irving was never made for a cri

own power : Nay, but for such a state tic.--He is, to a critic, what a cup- of intellectual warfare, he would neper and bleeder is to a resolute sur- ver have had a tythe of that power, geon.- If he let out any blood-black, which he may have put forth, in his or natural-healthy, or pestilential full maturity. Hence, the policy of it is by coaxing it out of timid, small confederating formutual improvement, punctures-not by draining arteries, everywhere--among every class of with a fearless cut, into the very re- people. The mass of their knowledge gion of the heart, perhaps-if the case becomes a property in common. Trial, require it. One thought, only, do we exercise, power, self-assurance come of remember. He charges Mr C. with ha- it.-Every year, a man, who is thus ving been frightened, by the Edin- urged onward, will do that, which, a burgh people, during the time of ges- year before, he would have thought tation-or delivery :-or, to come impossible : see that-as the horizon nearer what he says-he charges Mr grows larger about him, at every step C. with having been too much afraid of his upward coursewhich, a year

before, he had never heard of.' He sive publisher has had all the riskmay not be so sensible of his progress, when, making a bow, perhaps, they after a time, as he was, when he went step in, with a superb, generous air ; up, first, from the level of his compa- overbid all their “less enterprizing brenions; but his progress will be, ne- thren;" subscribe off the book, before vertheless, real. He, who has had an they publish it; and pass for liberal, opportunity of measuring himself, adventurous encouragers of literature. thus, day after day, with men like -Let authors treat such people, as himself, will come, in a single twelve- they deserve : stand by those, who month, to look upon that, of which he stood by them, in spite of temptation was proud, with a feeling of shame, if they would make themselves or astonishment, or sincere sorrow. Not their brethren respectable.-We could so, if he hold himself aloof, or be held point out one of these “ patrons” aloof, by circumstances. He may go one of these “ enterprizing publishers” into his grave, without advantage to who has rejected manuscripts probahimself, or the world ; linger his four- bly, without reading them--certainly score years; or die of old age, with a without behaving like a gentleman to feeling of complacency toward all the the authors—and yet, when these very labour of his hands. God help such a authors came to be known; he has man! God help him, who does not gone out of his way, to pay them unsee, whatever he may have done-how- worthy compliments : to coax and ever proud he may be of it-however wheedle them—into a new negotiation. honest, or, the world say, however We could name one, who, some years boastful, he may be of it-God help ago, thought proper, to refuse the mahim, if he do not see, before the fever nuscript of a young author-a man of of his blood is down, that he might singular talent-with a sort of comhave done it much better. Let a man passionate-pitying-supercilious air be proud of his doing ; let him, if he --infinitely provoking, though not speak at all-speak the truth of hisown enough so to furnish a plausible excuse workmanship--whatever the world for knocking him down.--That author may say—but let him never be satisa has now become one of our authorified with himself or his work-never ties—he is a statesman-has great

power, and great reputatiou.—Lately The American cities are towns- --not long ago.the publisher was the largest, only towns; the smallest, lucky enough to meet him, for a few villages. Altogether they do not con- minutes, in a large company. He tain one half so great a population as went up to him ; spoke to him ; said that of London. There was no op- a great many delightful things: reportunity, for Irving, in America : no minded him of the time, when he was chance of association. Therefore, he in such, or such an obscure situation, came here.

overlooked of all the world ; begging The Sketch-Book was written for him to believe, by the way, that he America. It was refused here by two had not overlooked him: that he had or three booksellers - Mr Murray seen his talents of which, bowing, among the number, we believe: was he world had now such abundant published, on Irving's account, we proof-&c. &c. &c.-"Yes"—was the also believe, by Mr Millar.-It met reply—“Yes, Mr:-so and so- -You with unexpected favour : Millar was certainly did shew your estimation of “unfortunate:"wherefore Mr Murray, my talents— bowing-once."--This whose“ enterprize," where there is no very publisher too, refused Hunter's sort of risk-we would never question Narrative. It was published on ac-made a proposal for the SKETCH- count of the author. It succeeded. Book; following it up, with a “muni. Hem-the publisher, who had refused ficent” 1000 guineas for BRACEBRIDGE it, was cunning enough to give HunHALL-and a L.1500 for the TALES ter a hint or two-immediately-con-(Irving had learnt how to deal, in cerning his future publications.—A the meantime.)- These" enterprizing curse on such “enterprize!"publishers," by the way, are a plea- The Sketch-Book-is a timid, sant kind of adventurers, to be sure- beautiful work; with some childish very desperate-very.—They lie by, pathos in it; some rich, pure, bold till a man's reputation is up; till some poetry : a little squeamish, puling, laless "enterprizing,” wealthy, or exten- dy-like sentimentality : some courage

never.

[ocr errors]

a

ous writing
some wit-and a world

us ; never go, a-rippling to our finof humour, so happy, so natural-so ger-ends;" but are always

agreeable altogether unlike that of any other affecting us, like the sweet quiet lustre man-dead or alive, that we would of the stars, or moon. When we come rather have been the writer of it, fifty upon the epithets of Hunt, we feel as times over, than of everything else, if we had caught something-a butthat he has ever written.

terfly, or a bug, perhaps, while runThe touches of poetry are every- ning with our mouth open; or dewhere; but never where one would look tected some hidden relationship of for them. Irving has no passion : he things : But when we come upon the fails utterly, in true pathos cannot epithets of Geoffrey, we feel as if we speak, as if he were carried away, by had found, accidentally, after we had anything. He is always thoughtful; given up all hope—some part or parand, save when he tries to be fine, or cel, which had always been missing sentimental, always at home, always (as everybody could see, though nonatural.-The dusty splendour" of body knew where to look for it),

of the Westminster Abbey-the “ ship stag- very thoughts or words, with which gering" over the precipices of the he has now coupled it for ever. Let ocean--the shark durting, like a us give an illustration. spectre, through the blue waters._'All Who has not felt, as he stood in the these things are poetry-such poetry solemn, strange light of a great wilas never was—never will be surpass- derness; of some old, awful ruin-a ed. We could mention fifty more world of shafts and arches about him, passages_epithets-words of power, like a druidical wood-illuminated by which no mere prose writer would the sunset-a visible bright atmoshave dared, under any circumstances, phere, coming through coloured glass to use. They are like the “invinci- —who has not felt, as if he would give ble locks” of Milton-revealing the his right hand for a few simple words God, in spite of every disguise. They --the fewer the better--to describe the remind us of Leigh Hunt, who, to do appearance of the air about himn ?him justice-notwithstanding all his Would he call it splendour ? --- It isn't “tricksey” prettinesses, does talk more splendour : dusty ? - It would be rigenuine poetry, in his epithets, than diculous.—But what if he say, like any other man, that ever lived. We Irving, dusty splendour ?"-Will he know well what we say-we except

not have said all that can be said ? nobody.We hate his affectation; Who ever saw those two words assodespise-pity his daintiness, trick and ciated before? who would ever wish foppery, but cannot refuse to say, that to see them separated again? in his delicate, fine, exquisite adapta- The bravest article that Irving ever tion of descriptive words, to the things wrote, is that about our ENGLISH described, in his poetry he has no WRITERS on AMERICA. There is equal.—The loosened silver” of the more manhood: more sincerity: more fountain; the “ golden ferment" of straight-forward, generous plain-dealthe sunshine, upon the wet grass ; ing in that one paper, than, perhaps, the large rain-drops, that fall upon in all his other works.- He felt what the dry leaves, like “twangling pearl” he said ; every word of it: had no-all these, with a thousand others, thing to lose; and, of course, wrote are in proof.

intrepidly.--Did we like him the The epithets of Hunt are pictures, worse for it? No, indeed. It was portraits-likenesses: those of Geof- that very paper, which made him refrey, shadows. Those of the former fre- spectable, in this country. quently take off your attention from RiP VAN WINKLE is well done ; the principal object: outshine, over- but we have no patience with such a top, that, of which they should be only man, as Washington Irving. - We the auxiliaries: Those of the latter cannot keep our temper, when we never do this—they only help the catch him pilfering the materials of chief thought. The associations of other men ; working' up old stories. Hunt startle us, like Moore's “

We had as lief see him before the pected light;" in the cool grass—the public, for some Bow-street offence. trodden velvet of his poetry : those of The Wife is ridiculous, with some Irving never startle us; never thrill beautiful description : but Irving, as VOL. XVII.

I

unex

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

we said before, has no idea of true " Of mighty Shakspeare's bith, the passion--suffering-or deep, desola- room, we see; ting fervour.

That, where he died, in vain to find we The MUTABILITY of LITERATURE try : - the art of Book MAKING, &c.—are Useless the search for all immortal he only parts of the same essay: it has And those, who are immortal, never no superior in our language.

die." The SpectRE BRIDEGROOM, is only We know not if these be his; but worth mentioning, because, we attri- we have good reason to believe them bute our TRAVELLER's Tales, en- At any rate-we shall pass them tirely to the success which that påper, to his credit, for the present, adding and the Stout GENTLEMAN, met two lines by a countryman of his, with.

(Neal) which really were impromptu VOL. II.-- Irving, though he is con- the only, impromptu, that he ever tinually at work, never gives one a wrote in his life. They were written, good solid notion of the English cha- after he had forsworn poetry-(on racter. All his pictures want breadth going into the room, where Shakspeare La sort of bold, bluff humour-with- was born)-because, if we are to beout which a man of this country is lieve him, “ he couldn't help himlike the man of every other country. self.” The Stage-Coachman, for example- “ The ground is holy, here !-the very what is it, as a whole ?-parts are fine

air! touches are fine-but, as a whole, Ye breathe what Shakspeare breathed it is anything but one of our good-na

-rash men, forbear!" tured, subberly, powerful coachmen: 7. BRACEBRIDGE-HALL. STOUT one of those fellows, who fight with GENTLEMAN--very good ; and a pretout losing their temper: who love ty fair account of a real occurrence ; their horses more heartily than their STUDENT OF SALAMANCA : beneath wives : touch their own hats, or knock contempt: Irving has no idea of geoff those of other people, with precise- nuine romance; or love—or anything ly the same good-humoured air : say else, we believe, that ever seriously

-“ Coach, your honour ?"-And- troubles the blood of men:-ROOKERY -66 Go to the devil !” in the same -struck off in a few hours ; contrary drowsy, hoarse, peculiar voice. to what has been said : Irving does

One of the best papers that Irving not labour as people suppose-he is too ever wrote--if not,'in reality, the very indolent--given, too much, we know, best, is John Bull. Yet is it, never- to revery : Dolph HEYLIGER; THE theless--a coloured shadow only—an HAUNTED House ; Storm Ship-all imaginary portrait; not our John Bull in the fashion of his early time: per--not he-the real, downright John haps-we are greatly inclined so to Bull, whom we see every day in the believe--perhaps the remains of what street.

was meant for Salamagundi, or KnickTRAITS OF INDIAN CHARACTER. erbocker :-the rest of the two voVery good-very--so far as they go: lumes quite unworthy of Irving's reHistorically true : Irving has done putation. himself immortal honour, by twice 8. TALES OF A TRAVELLER. We taking the field in favour of the North hardly know how to speak of this American savages. He has made it sad affair-when we think of what fashionable.

Irving might have done--without loSTRATFORD - UPON - Avon. This sing our temper. It is bad enough brings to our mind a piece of poetry- base enough to steal that, which would four lines-by Irving, which he left make us wealthy for ever: but-like as an impromptu, on his last visit, a the plundering Arab-to steal rubfew months ago, we believe, to Shak- bish — anything -- from anybodyspeare's room. They are very good; everybody-would indicate a hopeless and being, we have a notion, the only moral temperament : a standard of · poetry of his, actually counted off, to self-estimation beneath everything.– be found, are worth preserving. No wonder that people have begun to

a

a

[ocr errors]

But, oddly enough, there seems to be another original account of the same ocquestion his originality--when they have a good foundation. It is literally find him recoining the paltry material true, that people are now diggingof newspapers-letters-romances. have been, for years—upon desolate In the early part of these two vo- islands, in America, for money, which lumes we should never see any merit, the traditions of the country declare knowing as we do, the sources of to have been buried, with formalities, what he is there serving up, however which are terrible enough, to be sure. admirable were his new arrangement Irving is not indebted, as people supof the dishes ; however great his im- pose, therefore, to a German storyprovement.

eurrence.

Look into the HERMIT IN LONDON. We have a mysterious character, and a rainy day, there, too,

book, for this part of his late work. A part of the book~a few scenes - The pirate--who goes off in a boata few pages are quite equal to any- which one may see rocking, under the thing, that he ever wrote. But we land-is decidedly the finest bit of cannot agree with anybody, concern- Geoffrey, that we know of. But he is ing those parts. Irving is greatly to only one of several characters wrought blame-quite unpardonable, for two into old, moth-eaten tapestry, the or three droll 'indecencies, which weaving of his youth-which was not everybody, of course, remembers, in worth patching up. these TALES :-not so much because One word of advice to him, before they are so unpardonable, in them- we part-in all probability, for ever.-selves-not so much on that account No man gets credit by repeating the --as because the critics had set him story of another : It is like dramatis up, in spite of Knickerbocker ; in spite zing a poet. If you succeed, he gets of Salamagundi ; in spite of the Stout all the praise : if you fail, you get all Gentleman -as an immaculate crea- the disgrace.-You-Geoffrey Crayon ture for this profligate age.--He knew. -have great power-original power. this. He knew that any book, with -We rejoice in your failure, now, his name to it, would be permitted by because we believe that it will drive fathers, husbands, brothers, to pass you into a style of original composiwithout examination : that it would tion, far more worthy of yourself.be read aloud, in family circles, all Go to work. Lose no time. Your

our country.-We shall not foundations, will be the stronger for readily pardon him, therefore, much this uproar. You cannot write a as we love him, for having written novel ; a poem ; a love tale; or a traseveral passages, which are so equivo- gedy. But you can write another cal, that no woman could bear to read SKETCH-Book-worth all that you have any one of them aloud-or, to re- ever written : if you will draw only member that she had—by reason of from yourself. You have some quaher great confidence in the author, lities, that no other living writer has been upon the point of reading one a bold, quiet humour-a rich beaualoud. -- Irving has a good, pure heart. tiful mode of painting, without cariHow could he bear to see a woman cature-a delightful, free, happy spifaltering over a passage of his

at her rit-make use of them. We look to own fire-side-while she was reading see you all the better for this trouncing. to her husband; her children-daugh God bless you ! Farewell. ters, perhapsm-or to the newly mar- JAY-JUDGE. One of the men who ried?-Wehate squeamishness. Great wrote the FEDERALIST. See HAMILmischief comes of it. We love hu

TON: p. 56; a Judge of whom Lord mour, though it be not altogether so Mansfield spoke, like a brother chaste. But we cannot applaud any- (while Judge Jay was minister to St body's courage or morals--who under James's)-after having had a consula look of great modesty, with an tation with him. His correspondence 'over-righteous reputation - ventures with our cabinet was able, and sharp. to smuggle impurity into our dwell. It may be found in the AMERICAN ings-to cheat our very household STATE-PAPERS. gods.

JEFFERSON-THOMAS. Late PreThe latter part of these TALES, we

sident of the United States : now upfirmly believe, were old papers lying wards of 80: the ablest man, we beby. New cloth has been wrought lieve, in America : author of many ceinto old garments-New wine, put lebrated STATE-PAPERS:of the Notes into old bottles." The money-diggers' ON VIRGINIA, (a small duodecimo vo

over

C

« PreviousContinue »