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material, and “accords with the dominion of brute force, of riches, and inhumanity; although it cannot be said that these evils, in their fullest extent, are at all times involved in paganism.” On the other hand, “ the law of charity—which was the grand discovery of Christianity—is the only principle by which society can exist, as it alone looks beyond the present moment to the future, and is, therefore, the only law of progress." The literature of Greece and Rome was, accordingly, " for the most part, material and selfish as well as plastic, and destitute of the principle of seriousness, which should have infused into it both heart and mind." Among the exceptions to this observation, are named the monotheism of Socrates,—the works of Plato and the Alexandrian school, and Tacitus, at least, among the Romans. For this principle of seriousness, or spirituality, he found among some of the classics of Greece and Rome, and also in the poetry of the Old Testament, because those qualities belong to human nature, although especially to be found in Christianity.
We are doing injustice to the author, in attempting to give even a hint of his exposition of this theory, because the synopsis he has written is so succinct as to approach the very brink of obscurity--succinctus esse colo, obscurus fio, says Horace-and it admits of no further compression ; while the condensation of thought is such as could come only of careful meditation. We follow, for a space, in the words of his accomplished translator.
" The origin of pagan art, including poetry, is imitation; but finite, and limiting itself to the representation of the external world, considered as a means of pleasure. The aim is reality; the art and the artist have attained their highest excellence when the bird pecks at the painted grapes, or when the Athenian would withdraw the veil to behold the lady it conceals. What marvellous puerility! what ignorance of the sublime and spiritual aspirations of art! This reality threatened the destruction of the drama, when it decreed that the duration of the action should not exceed the time of the scenic performance, and afterwards extended it to a day, or a day and a half. Poetical reality is the basis of art-naked reality is the absence of art."
We have quoted the above passage, and we contemplate to quote more, because they contain striking observations that cannot be so well developed as in the words of the author. But, for economy of space, we pass much that it would be agreeable to extract. It is shown, further, that of the one style of poetry, imitation is the origin, reality the aim, and pleasure the end. But of the other—that is, of cormental poetry, or the poetry of heart and mind—the origin is inspiration, meaning
Miss Sedgwick translated this part of the work, and Mrs. Ellet much of the poetry; as to the rest we are not informed.
such inspiration as is obtained from the contemplation of an exalted model, above and beyond the cognizance of our external senses ; beauty, or the beautiful, is the means or aim; and good, in the largest sense of the word, is the end. We cannot accompany him through the elucidation of this part of the subject; which, though ingenious and eloquent, needs, we fear, to be much more enlarged to render it perfectly clear and satisfactory. The word cormental scarcely requires any explanation, being so plainly compounded from cor, the heart, and mens, the mind; and chosen, for want of a better, to signify that union of thought with feeling—the intelligence of the mind with the sentiments of the heart—which is said to be found in some writers, but for which language has not furnished any single term sufficiently expressive. But it is necessary to observe that he guards against the inference that a good purpose will of course insure good poetry. Far otherwise: else a sermon might be considered a conspicuous production of the poetic art; and he cites the epistles of Horace as an apt example of naked philosophy in excellent verse, but having no claim to be called poetry at all. Yet philosophy may be said to be indispensable to cormental poetry; but it must“ proceed from the nature and vital principle of the subject; which in all its parts must express its aim, even when it is not directly inculcated in words. In fact, the end (good) should be infused into the poem, whether epic, lyric, or dramatic, and not taught in the didactic form.”
The position of the author, that good, or moral truth, is the direct aim and end of poetic art, brings him into conflict with two great authorities in critical learning-A. W. Von Schlegel and Victor Hugo; but he is, surely, in the right. The poet's highest praise is earned when he has made great truth delight
and this is not effected by interspersing his brilliant gems of poesy amid the dull didactics of a naked philosophy, where they will be useless and incongruous,
"Like a rich jewel in an Æthiop's ear," forming no essential part of the lesson, and but faintly recommending it; but rather by making those gems resemble, in their use, the beryl and the onyx on the breast-plate of the Levitical high-priest, which sparkled only to instruct; and whose preternatural brightness did not accompany merely, but constituted in themselves the oracles of truth.
This union of the beautiful and the true-or rather, this employment of earthly splendours to inculcate heavenly wisdom-was of divine contrivance, and may be regarded as the type of all such poetry as M. Maroncelli calls cormental, and which, though found in examples “few and far between," among the rarely gifted minds of all ages and all climes, belongs VOL. XX.-NO. 40.
most appropriately to Christian times, and Christian character. That miraculous oracle has long since ceased to shine; and direct inspiration is no more, or rarely, granted to the mind of man; but by the innate consciousness of an immortal spirit, and by the revelations of Christianity, an inspiration is vouchsafed that, if properly sought and faithfully obeyed, still leads to the use of means more beauteous than the rays of the onyx or the beryl, for the accomplishment of ends no less beneficent and sublime.
It appears to us that M. Maroncelli resembles the miner, who, in searching for silver, has struck upon a vein of golden
It is for him to work the mine that he has opened ; we shall await the product. Enough has been assayed to show that the vein is rich and the metal pure.
But our limits require that we should conclude; and we forego any examination of the few specimens of his poetry, inserted in the appendix. We can only say, that they are marked with tenderness as well as depth of feeling, and originality of illustration, in the free and harmonious lines of the Italian ; but they suffer sadly, by a transfer to a different structure of verse, in the translation. The version is unexceptionably well performed—but the difficulty is intrinsic, and insuperable.
We read, in the biography before us, that “Byron borrowed Pellico's manuscript tragedy of Francesca, and translated it into English verse. You should have given a translation of Manfred, in verse,' said he. But Silvio thought differently. In his opinion, this could not be done ; at least in such a language as the Italian, without adding and taking away so much as to substitute another work for the original.” He was not far from right; and the difficulty, when lyric poetry is in question, is not confined to the Italian language.
Art. III.-1. Necessity of Popular Education, as a National Ob
ject; with Hints on the Treatment of Criminals, and Observations on Homicidal Insanity. By James Simpson. New York
and Boston : 1834. 2. On the Mental Illumination and Moral Improvement of Man
kind; or, an Enquiry into the Means by which a general Diffusion of Knowledge and Moral Principle may be promoted. Illustrated with Engravings. By Thomas Dick, LL. D. Philadelphia: 1836.
We have before us a lean and imperfect memorandum of books and periodicals on the subject of popular instruction, (in the strictest sense of the phrase, which have been published or republished in the United States since 1820. Collected together, they would make, perhaps, one hundred respectable duodecimo volumes. And as to school-books, which have been issued from the press in the same period, a mere catalogue of them would form a considerable pamphlet.
It is cheerfully admitted that invaluable improvements have grown up with this rank crop of school-books, school-treatises, &c. &c. A comparison of the spelling books which were used twenty years ago, for example, with a little book just republished in Philadelphia from the English press, under the title of " Butter's Gradations in Reading," will show this improvement under a striking contrast.
Schools have greatly multiplied, too, especially those of a higher grade—higher, at least, in pretension; and there is, unquestionably, a spirit of enquiry abroad, of which it would be easy to avail ourselves, to carry improvement still farther and higher, if there were a strong current of enlightened popular feeling in our favour.
But, on the other hand, the materials which are to be wrought into form, by the process of education, are more than proportionably increased. Not only has our native population overdoubled within the period just named, but it has drawn to itself an immense mass of ignorance and vice from abroad; and has, at the same time, spread out, in every direction, over our boundless territory. Such a prodigious increase of weight requires a corresponding increase in the length and strength of our lever, as well as in the power which is applied to it.
Are our children educated? We mean the children of the people of the United States.
An answer to this enquiry may be obtained in various ways; as, for example, by a visit to a manufactory or a mechanic's shop, (we care not where, and an examination of the children and youth who are labouring there-who “are done going to
school," as they say, and are now preparing themselves for the active business of life. Suppose we go into a newspaper or book printing office in New York, or Philadelphia, or Pittsburg, or St. Louis, and select an intelligent lad of fifteen, who has just been indentured, and who has had a fair chance at an ordinary school in town or country, public or private.
Let him read the first paragraph of the first column of the paper he is folding for the mail. Here it is :
NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA PACKETS,
“ The subscriber respectfully informs the regular shippers and the public generally, that he will continue his line of packets by sea, as heretofore; and in conjunction with Mr. G. O. VAN AMRINGE, agent for this line at New York, will endeavour to render every facility to the speedy transmission of merchandize to and from New York.
“** By this line goods will, if desired, be insured at a half per cent. premium on an open policy for the season. This advantage, and that of the vessels having all possible despatch, with prices of freight inuch less than can be afforded by any artificial navigation, offer inducements to the shippers above any other mode of conveyance. “For freight, apply to
6 AARON B. COOLEY, “ New York Packet Office, No. 544 South Wharves.
16 Or to
“GEORGE O. VAN AMRINGE,
"No. 70 Water street, New York.
" Mar. 31-d."
As the lad reads, observe his pronunciation, tones, pauses, emphasis, &c. Then let him spell shippers, packets, facility, merchandize, despatch, freight, artificial, inducement, &c. Then let him write two or three lines of it, at your dictation, and observe the orthography, points, capitals, &c. &c. These exercises embrace the three elementary branches of the most ordinary education in reading, spelling, and writing. But, as his education is completed, we may properly pursue the examination. Let him tell us what a packet is, a line of packets, a shipper, a regular shipper, an agent, merchandize, conjunction, policy, open policy, freight, navigation, artificial navigation, packet office, south wharves, &c. &c. Let him test us why artificial navigation is printed in different looking letters or type : what that different type or letter is called, and why? Why No. stands for number, and