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vening the whole tissue. In Homer and ceits. Since there is a pleasure of discord Chaucer, the narrative invariably suggests and contrast, as well as of harmony and the moral; but in many celebrated mod- propriety, we are wearied with a continual ern works there is either no moral at all, appearance of the same kind of beauty (and therefore no dignity,) or the author or feeling. A single passion drawn out goes out of his way to lug one in. The through a long poem, without its natural most trifling ornament of an ancient ca contrasts, wearies and soon disgusts; for thedral has a propriety, and would serve we feel that in nature every sentiment, no other design: but a skilless architect even the highest, has its proper cause and destroys the character of his fabric by beginning, and rises by opposition to its efforts to gratify the eye. The outside of climax, and falls to its ending, as natua perfect mansion agrees with the inte- rally as a piece of music. There is but rior, and even suggests it. Every inter- little pleasure in a string of pearls, or a space in the walls tells of something dinner of sweets served in courses ; or in correspondent within-pilasters and but- a human figure divested of its natural tresses remind of arches and party walls irregularities; and the greatest masters of
-casements and fire-places typify the design, as well as of poetry and music, façade. But these correspondences please mingle sharp turns and discords with the fancy only; and unless a design of their correspondent melodies. If there solid use be apparent in the whole, no be a proof that a character or ruling one respects it.
principle is the source of all that is excel. That the presence of a character is lent in art, it is in this necessity of a essential, appears in the transiency of mixture of rough and smooth ; for, to even the most admirable poems, where present a plain truism mystically, the the whole excellence lies in the ingenious character, or moral nature, rules over expression of a passion, as of love or jarring elements, and acts in the office of a grief, repeated through a variety of chan-mediator between good and ill. In nature ges. Very little of this kind of writing, nothing is more obvious than the mixture however exquisite in its kind, outlasts the of contrasts and discords; signified in century in which it was composed. Arti- mythology by the endless conflict of good ficial sentiments, originating in the philo- and evil angels. When the poets have sophy of the age or sect, or in social dif- chosen to represent a paradise they have ferences, suffer the same fate. Nothing invariably placed a hell near it, as though is found to be more dangerous to an one could not be imagined but in contrast esteem for a writer, than the discovery in with the other. Earthly paradises are him of a respect for the cliques and opin- found in islands dangerous of access, or ions of his day; as nothing is likelier to in a valley battlemented with snowy ensure it, than perceiving in him a mag- summits. Danger is the gate of delight; nanimity which regards no difference or pain the portal, or the postern, of pleadeficiency, either of intellect or fortune. sure. Night precedes and follows day; Indeed the critic himself has greatest need for every light there is a shade, for every of such magnanimity to refrain from in- sweet a bitter ; even melody itself is a sulting the want of it in his author. succession of discords and harmonies,
Authors who have ouilived their century and a soft surface a field of minute aspehave been at great pains to qualify every- rities. thing with a meaning. Excesses of pure Longinus makes exception in favor wit, melody, or sentiment, weary upon of eloquence, that it is given by nature, the second reading, and are forgotten; while all other arts are imitative and acbut in the best works, this first kind of quired. He argues that the sublime of elopleasure is succeeded by another that is quence, arising from natural character, can permanent; and what was enjoyed at have nothing of artifice, and that it prefirst for its agreeable impression, delights vails by force and not by skill. Quintimuch more for the depth and completeness lian, on the contrary, inclining more to the of its meaning. There is an inexpressi- use of rhetoric, advises the employment of ble satisfaction to be enjoyed in the con every artifice, and trusts less to nature. sistency and good sense of a great writer. These two opinions, which neither of Whatever Shakspeare says, in his best their authors entertained to the degree of moods, though not elegant or witty in absurdity, are advocated by one and anoitself, has a propriety in illustration of his ther class of writers. Essayists of the moral, which makes it excellent and valu- light and brilliant manner, who find their able; but when such passages are quoted account in an excess of fancy and inapart, they seem dwindled into mere con- vention, to set off common-place mat
ter in gay and pleasant colors, contend lustre from the purposes discovered in for nature; while rhetoricians, critics, their progress and accomplishment. and historians, feeling the weight of their In the Anabasis of Xenophon, an army topics, are willing to help their styles of mercenary troops, led by a young with artificial props and rules. The few adventurer, and stimulated by no greater who have attained a happy union of art hope than that of safety, draw our imaand nature, seem to have trusted with a gination after them in a series of advencareless confidence to the worth of their tures, remarkable only as they are obstaideas; and used no art but to exclude cles in the way of a human design. Their what was improper : but to attain such a story is a narrative of the hopes and virself-reliance, it is evident a writer must tuous acts of their leader, who inspired have discharged all trivial intentions, and them with his own spirit. But when the be bent upon something intrinsically good same leader attempts a civil narrative of and useful. His solicitude will then many complicated parts, his work becomes constrain him to employ all those reserves a mere chronicle, with only here and and cautions that are used in a conversa there a passage of interest. The affairs tion on some important affair.
which Thucydides described are but illusSome writers, and these the best, seem trations, in his hands, of the Greek char. to have taken a hint from the musicians : acter, and the spirit of rival States; beginning modestly and rising, upon oc- Xenophon's continuation of them resemcasion, to the height of grandeur, yield- bles a compilation from various authors, ing at intervals to softer impulses. Few put together under no one idea. passages of actual life can be marked There is a power in some writers and with heroic sentiment; and therefore, in speakers, which proceeds either from sinworks which represent life, we expect gleness of idea, or from that versatile the grand and marvelous only at wide force which gives unity to the most intervals, and are satisfied, for inter- rambling efforts of fancy. Either nothing mediate portions, with ingenuity or good occurs but what is proper, or by sheer sense. Skilful artists subdue the body wit they find the same meaning in all that of their piece to a tone of mediocrity, the appears. Milton is an example of the better to set off the principal figures, tak- first, and Shakspeare of the second kind ing care that the shadows on either of power; for the one never says any. hand, like the collaterals of a poem, shall thing aside from the point, and the other pass into obscurity or indefiniteness. wrests every thing to bear upon it. Other
Historians sometimes observe an in- writers, though powerful, seem, like Herverted order, and instead of making the cules, to have no purpose of their own, circumstances illustrate the characters, but rather obey the occasion, than make subject the characters to the circumstan or master it. ces, as though the actors in their drama A great writer or speaker engages seriwere introduced for experiments' sake; ously with his topic, as with an enemy or as if men had been created for the uses which he must subdue, and brings against of philosophy. If there be any philoso- it every weapon of which he is master. phy of history, it must be a part of ethics, He relieves the intervals of declamation and not of physiology or mechanics. with serviceable wit or anecdote; but all To treat the characters of his nation as a point one way and have one effect. His chemist employs his substances, for the unity is real, his variety only apparent; purpose of a theory, discovers either a and his rhetoric is the art of a cannonier, vast superiority, or as great modesty, in which directs the missile, not urges it. the historian. A chronicle without char When the master of his own thought acter is perhaps the dullest of human heaps epithet on epithet, each exceeds works ; but in an interesting history, the last, and doubles its force. In a human will appears, tending to success complex narrative he is in no danger of or ruin, in the degree of its virtue ; and losing the connection, but goes on involvthis spirit in the story of each event, ac. ing periods, till we are in fear for him and complishing or failing of its ends, divides anticipate the end ; where, with a single the narrative, like an epic poem, into word, he strikes all home. There is a books and episodes. The rise and fall of regular swell and flow in fancy, as it a great chief, the pride and ruin of a were a sea, over which the soul breathes, wealthy city, marches of armies, battles, and moves it. As the depth of this sea, revolutions, institutions, seem but so so are its waves; and under a great spirit many vents of human character, subor- they are raised and borne forward with a dinate themselves, and receiving all their slow and majestic motion—as in Milton,
whose vast force moves the deepest depths and the whole arranged in such a and carries forward the whole mind. method, (though, it may be, with no de
When the variety of a subject is very liberate design on the author's part,) as great, a greater degree of the consoli- constantly to impress his governing idea. dating power must have been exerted to The literature of an age may be so bind it in a whole. By this power, the thoroughly tainted with the moral obgenius of a great writer is discovered liquities of that age, as to ensure its more than by any other. In the tragedies oblivion; and, on the contrary, certain of Shakspeare, for example, the entire ages have been fired with such a liberhistory of each character is expressed in ality and generosity of sentiment, as had a few remarks, that seem dropped without power to preserve a great number of their design; and the fate of each is made to authors, even to the fifth in rank. A hang upon some accident, so slight and reader, who understands his author's natural, it would attract no attention but spirit, forms an involuntary judgment of for its consequences. The unity of Shak- him, be he never so charitable or cautious speare's dramas, is a unity not of time, in expressing it. Nor is the world altoor place, or circumstance, but one far gether deceived by the finest pretences, more profound, of character. Each event, brought forward with the most delightful and the catastrophe, are accomplished, ingenuity. A rough honest writer full not by a chain of natural and fatal ne of sense and devoid of vanity may outcessities, but by elements of character live his century with no attractions of prevailing in the persons of the drama. art, while mellifluous poets sink with all This writer, like Homer, seems to have their elegances into contempt. But there been inspired with that perfect generosity is a something in works of true genius of sentiment, which takes nature and for which our language has no name, unhuman beings, without cavil, as they are. less it be the misapplied one of inspi. Under this feeling he unfolds, without ration: a spirit in so close alliance with sarcasm, every variety and change of freedom, it has hitherto appeared only in character; as the painter, with equal ages of civil and religious liberty. To sobriety represents either beauty or de- characterize this admirable quality by formity. The least partiality or preju- saying that it excites love in us for him dice, infects a writer's reputation with a in whom it appears, would be to do it mortal decline. Even delicate sentiment, great injustice; for we not only love but because it is conventional, has only a venerate him, and are won to an admiperishable excellence; a mixture of in- ration of all that he says and does,—of nocent falsehood causes its decay. Graces his name, his nation, and his age; this and philosophies pass away with fashions spirit must be a rarer essence of love, so and superstitions, but the moral spirit universal as to embrace not only friends breathes life into a work, and enables it and country, but all mankind, and even to endure.
earth itself. Hence the universality of A great deal has been said in praise of Homer and Shakspeare ; for, whatever eloquence, as the most powerful of all they knew and loved—that they repre. instruments for guiding and controlling sented; but they knew and loved all that the multitude; but the orator is limited could be known and approved. There to a topic and occasion, and cannot deal is a word, now almost disused, but an. much in principles. An author on the ciently of great and serious import, which contrary may treat his subject as he likes, comes nearer to expressing the whole spirit and is sure of a deliberate hearing. As of genius than any other; and that word it is rather the conduct and character of is Honor: when it unites a feeling of an orator that persuades, so there is a deference and veneration with a sentisecret something in the spirit of a book, ment of liberal equality. It exercises the which influences the reader in a manner of same justice in matters of the heart, that which he is for the most part unconscious. conscience does in those of business. As the spirit of a proud man affects every- By valuable considerations men of ability thing he says and does, through all pre- may be drawn into the defence of a bad tences of humility, we feel his presence cause ; but their heart rebels against their accordingly, and are swayed hy it in a head, and their genius forsakes them; peculiar manner. But this power is ex-' enlist, on the other hand, a weak ability ercised at the best advantage behind the under the colors of Honor, at once every mask of a novel or a history. The cir power comes in play, and the whole man cumstances, are so chosen and narrated, is aroused. This sentiment, in its purity,
falls almost exactly under Cicero's de- earlier than revolutions. There is hardly scription of friendship, “Est autem nihil a character in his dramas that fails, either aliud, nisi omnium divinarum human- directly or by contrast, to impress these arumque rerum, cum benevolentia et sentiments. As good proof may be drawn coritatē, summa consensio :-quâ quidam from Homer, that it is the moral spirit of haud scio, an excepta sapientia quidquam a work which perpetuates its fame and melius homini sit a diis immortalibus fixes its rank; for in him two virtues, daturum." “ It is nothing else than the prudence and the love of glory, shine in exalted harmony of all things human and rare union; so mingled and tempered by divine; and I know not if heaven has respect for every degree of worth, his given man anything more precious, if we poem seems permeated with an ichor, except wisdom.” It is more than probable that shines in it as in the bodies of the that Cicero, himself inspired with this gods. A prose version of Homer, in the principle, intends it under the name, common dialect, loses nothing of this ex« amicitia ;" since every degree of friend- cellence; for these principles are but the ship depends upon a sensibility to this more conspicuously grand, when stripped more universal sentiment.
of all ornaments—like the mountains, If an author or an orator is bold enough divested of their forests. to resolve upon outlasting his century, With such examples to inspire him he will perhaps be wise enough to search with that generous emulation which is out the secret of fame; and once master the life of literature, a man of letters who of it, and of its contraries, will cultivate understands the liberty he enjoys, will the one and avoid the other. As soon as · doubtless use it as becomes a man. It is the intermixture of invention and opinion, his privilege to assume no disguises: a behind which a bad sentiment has forti- free people delights in a free speech; for fied itself, is perished by the effect of re our freedom is of the heart as well as of volutions in taste, the fame of it declines, the hands, though all are not quick to and all its labored excellences are for- claim their birthright. We are at liberty gotten ; but what is intrinsically good, to speak truth, the most difficult and dancan fall only by the accidents of time.
gerous of acts. To despise violence, and In the writings of Bacon, there is a the narrow heart; to venerate that ansomething that makes us feel continually, cient wisdom which raised us to this and breeds in us a reverence for all that height; to believe in the unalterable name is excellent in nature and in man. It of truth, and in the permanency of those discovers great consequences in little mat. principles on which all literature, and ters, and teaches to despise nothing'; so indeed all human arts, are a faint and that this author, by reason of his spirit, broken comment; to avoid uncouth novelmore than of his invention, became the ties, and to value nothing that cannot be patron of a new epoch in reason; having converted to an ethical use; above all, to turned the wisest minds to observe those cultivate the liberal mind; these are the common particulars, which were before aim of letters in our own as they have contemptuously overlooked. A profound been in all free ages. but sagacious reverence appears in every Republics seem to be governed, or at action of his life, and seems to have been least guided, by writers and speakers; for the cause as much of his misfortunes as these alone, of professions, cultivate in of his prosperity. But there is a sentiment themselves ideas which govern and ormore delightful than this, (though it be ganize States. The spirit of a self-eduless the mark of intelligence,) which gives cated moralist is of necessity one of pertheir peculiar charm to the characters of fect liberty. Such a republican spirit we Shakspeare, and since his day to all the conceive to have animated the heroes and finer parts of our literature. It had its patriots of old, who knew no mode of rise in the national feeling of England, policy but religion and virtue. These refined to a social virtue; a sentiment of they would have paramount to all constiliberty and tolerance, the precursor and tutions; they would not suffer monarchs, parent of civil and religious freedom; and or senates, or popular assemblies, under in no author are these so perfectly dis- pretences of dignity, or authority, or freecovered as in Shakspeare. Honor and dom, to throw off those moral riders which liberty are the subject of his story: an reason has appointed to govern every sort honor not testy nor finical, but original of rude power."*
J. D. W. in the breast; and a liberty that began
* Burke, Letter to Wm. Elliot.
ADVENTURES ON THE FRONTIERS OF TEXAS AND MEXICO.
BY CHARLES WINTERFIELD,
Events now taking place in the region miles east of Bexar, and spend a few days of Texas and Mexico, the peculiar posi- with him. As we did not mention this tion of our Government toward those personage before, it will be well enough countries, and the near prospect-if not now to make known who he was. The of a long war—of numerous fierce skir- Col. was an old acquaintance. Far away mishes at least, among the strange mix- in our callow boyhood we remember him ture of wild Indians, Mexicans, negroes, as among the oldest sons of a family, as half-breeds, Spaniards, and Americans, remarkably prolific as vicious, and which inhabiting that region-united with the occupies a not inconspicuous place in the singular magnificence and freshness of annals of Southern Kentucky, (we prothe vast scenery—combine to form a field, pose to do full justice to them at some at this time, of equal attraction to the future time.) Our earliest recollection of sketcher and interest to the American him is as a gawky, large-limbed, and reader. Some years ago-five or six- awkward youth, with sandy hair, a pim. we were occupied, as our readers know, pled face, and excessively shy of the in certain graceless and long wanderings girls.” We next remember to have heard through those parts of the world. The in- some confused story about a love affair of cidents and characters we encountered are his, with a sly, but extremely plain and still entirely fresh in our memory; and as prudish young maiden-portionless withthey are completely illustrative of the al. This last was a sin not to be forgiven present condition of things through all by the merciless father-and the youth that country, we have resolved to throw disappeared very mysteriously, not to be together a connected series of sketches, heard of for several years. We next recomprising the sum of our experience. member him as an athletic “whiskerando,” If they prove as interesting to the reader just“ returned from his wars,” with wild as the recollection of them has always stories of strange and marvelous robeen to us, it will be sufficient. In the mance. Many a time in the twilight we course of them we design to present a sat upon the steps of his father's mansion, full view of the scenery-both mountain and listened in breathless eagerness to his and prairie—the character of Texan civ. curious tales !--for all about Mexicans ilization--and especially the nature of and Southron Indians was vague to us the strangely mingled population of Mex- then. Much of our restless passion for ico, and the wild tribes--Comanches and adventure took its origin, and grew into others—that have thoroughly maintained our life, under the stimuli of these strange their savage independence among the stories of his. Now that I found myself, Cordilleras and the immense deserts at after infinite vicissitudes, approaching the their bases.
house of this man who had exerted so We would add that some passages strong an influence upon my boyish imahave been before published in an epheme- gination, (for he returned again to Texas, ral form--but nothing was ever finished. and for nearly twenty years had mainWe intend now to present the whole tained his position upon its extremest connectedly and in order The com- frontier, ) I found myself unconsciously mencement may be found in a sketch, in recurring to the childish conjurations his the March No. of the American Review, recitals had called up. What fantastic introducing ourself and the reader to that images were they which then filled my reckless and curious brotherhood, the Bex- fancy, of a country where such scenes ar Rangers. We propose now-in a gos- could occur—of a people capable of deeds siping way we have—to follow up that so savage as he described! I recalled “ First Day with the Rangers” with those pictures vividly enough now, for succeeding incidents covering a whole here was the reality to contrast them week.
The lights and shadows were After the affair with Gonzalese-as there strong and deep, in good earnest, which seemed to be nothing else on hand-I had composed them—and it was amusing concluded to go back alone to the Rancho to compare them with the truth around of Col. P—, who lived about eighteen me. Then I had before me a dim twilight