Imágenes de páginas

Of lucky slaves, in his misgiving heart,

and Southey, each after his own fashion. It thereI would have begged thy leave to give it 10,)

fore naturally occurred to him that, in order to Yet not without some claims, though far apart.”.

rival these successfully, it was necessary for bim Comment would but injure the effect of this de- to form a separate track of his own, and having no lightfully anticlimactic effusion, which proves the very decided genius to show him the way, he chose author to be most blissfully ignorant of the laws that which he deemed would best suit the spirit of which govern the true sonnet. The chief senti- criticism which was then arising. In this manner ment that it excites in us is that of wonder how he formed his " system,” and instead of modesily the author's spirit could leap and look through his confining his genius to what it was suited for, he changed color, and how Southey could manage to has been ever since pushing it into ambitious survive the vital thrust aimed at him in that long atiempts, and aspiring to sit in the chair of the parenthesis, even if he escaped the deleterious master. Like the frog in the fable, he has been effects of having “a crew of lucky slaves in his aping the ox, and though his overstrained skin may misgiving heart."

never have burst, still it has been in such a JudiIn one of the early numbers of the “ Noctes crous state of distention, that its own small but not Ambrosianæ,” Wilson has a most savage review of inelegant proportions have been completely disa poem, which he states to be by Hunt, in imitation guised. It is only when he is least ambitious that of Pomfret's “ Choice." As we have never been he is pleasing. able to meet with this in any of the collective edi- His lalent lies principally in the delineation of tions of his poems, we presume that it must have common characters, such as he could see around appeared in some magazine or newspaper, and that him any day in London or in his dearly beloved the author felt afterwards very properly ashamed Hampstead, but of any thing beyond the most of it. If we recollect aright, it commenced some every day walk of life he bas not the most distant what after this fashion

idea. If, however, he were satisfied with this, he

might have acquired some real and lasting repata“I have been reading Pomsrei's Choice'this spring, tion by confining himself in poetry to subjects such A pretty kind of sort of kind of thing, And yet, I know not; there is skill in pies,

as Miss Austin has treated in prose, or by descripIn raising crusts, as well as galleries," &.

tions of natural feeling, such as the lines 10 a Sick

Son, quoted above; but this is too low a pursuit It may, however, very likely, be but an outrageous for his ambition. He is continually attempting hoax of Wilson's, who had talent and impudence higher themes, but the cloven foot shows itself sufficient for any thing of that nature. Had it been through all, and he can never divest himself of his attributed to any one else, we should reject it with cockney accent. Thus, in Rimini, a poem which out hesitation, but there is really no knowing of gives opportunity for the highest and most exquiwhat absurdity such a man as Hunt may not be site delineation of character, there is not a perguilty.

sonage who might not be found in nine houses out of Since the date of the “ Foliage” Hunt has pub- ten throughout London. Were this intentional, it lished very liule in verse. Some eight or ten years might be excused, though it would plead sadly since he brought forth “The Legend of Florence," a against his taste, but he is evidently striving to rendrama, which was favorably reviewed at the time. der them more exalted, and, with such a mind as bis, It contains fewer faults of language and expression than his former pieces, but the characters are un

"ceratis, ope Dedalea,

Nititur pennis." natural, and the plot devoid of interest. A year or two ago, he published some lule metrical tales. The mixture of finery and vulgarity prodoced These we have been unable to procure, but as far by this is continually annoying. as we could judge from copious extracts given in a In the Legend of Florence he takes a still bolder favorable critique of the time, he had retained his flight, and, resolved to shake off the trammels of former style, and his “system” was still an incu- the common-place, he soars into the impossible. bus which weighed him down, and like Sinbad's The heroine is all goodness, self-devotion and meekold man of the sea, could not be shaken off. ness; the hero, one of those fiery, self-denying

In taking a general view of Leigh Hunt and lovers, such as one meets with in sixth-rate novels his poems, we would say that he was a man with and no where else; while the jealous hoshand, the materials for a moderately good poet, destroyed the necessary villain of the piece, is character by attempting too much. He looked around and such as the world ne'er saw; without loring his saw that all the chief poets of the age were form- wife, he is ferociously and unaccountably jealous ing schools for themselves, and writing each after of her, ready to slaughter her, or to scold her or his own genius, no longer recognizing any one as the slightest provocation, and yet mild and amiable a model or as a master. There was Byron on one to every one else. Altogether it is a tissue of path, Shelley on another, Wordsworth on a third, absurdities. Scott on a fourth, with Moore, Coleridge, Campbell With respect to his versification, nothing can be

said that will be too harsh, nor any thing that can lies in a nut-shell. Byron's vanity, and Hunt's be harsher than it is itself. He is continually cen- intense self-esteem and egotism could not, of course, suring all the poets of the eighteenth century for coalesce, and Byron's powerful mind naturally bore their smoothness and harmony, and giving us to down the weak one of his companion. To such a understand that he alone understands the true man as Hunt, this would take the form of a posilaws of rhythm and melody, while, in the numerous tive injury, aggravated by his brooding over it, and and copious passages that we have quoted, the by the sense of real benefits received from the inreader can scarcely find half a dozen really melo- jurer. This feeling long rankled in his mind, dious lines; his ear, indeed, seems to have been growing stronger and stronger each day, until it singularly defective, and what he wanted in know- finally burst forth in mingled froth and venom in ledge he made up in assumption. He even seems the volume mentioned, after the removal by the ignorant of the fundamental law, that the further death of Byron of the barrier which kept it in. in the line that we place a misaccentuation the The chief curiosity in the book, however, is the more glaring it becomes, for, when he wishes to “ Notices of the Author's Life," appended to it. relieve us from the pains of regular versification, Hunt seems to have felt the same reverence towards he usually sobstitutes a trochee for the iambus of himself that Boswell did for Johnson, and accordthe fourth foot, in the heroic line. In one place, ingly he, “ Boswells" himself most completely, be compares Pope and the subsequent poets to a relating every little anecdote of bis infancy, his boychurch-bell, where the Elizabethan men represent bood and his maturer years, and giving copious the organ. If this be the case, he may truly be portraits and anecdotes of his ancestors, relations, likened to a set of pan-pipes, emulating the latter, friends and schoolmates, with their acquaintances, but without the regular fulness and power of the servants and tutors. The English language may one, or the varying and spirit-moving harmony of challenge the world to produce such another biogthe other.

raphy—the only one that has a chance of rivalling Another thing which militates strongly against it is Goëthé's, with its tiresome portrait galleries. Hunt's taking a high rank as a poet, is his want of That of Hunt is interesting in one point of view, imagination. He seems to be aware of this him- at least, as it enables the observer to trace out all self, and to have generally endeavored to get on the small passions and motives of his little soul; without it. The only pieces of any length in indeed, he frequently does this himself, and anatowhich he has endeavored to exercise any play of mizes and lays bare his petty feelings with a canimagination are the “ Descent of Liberty," “ Feast dor quite remarkable. Rather than have nothing of the Poets,” and “The Nymphs,” and these, at to say of himself, he would say ill. least in our humble opinion, are utter failures. We suspect that, notwithstanding his unpleasant To this constitutional coldness we may also attri- literary course, Leigh Hunt has always been a happy bute his inability to project himself into the cha- man. He is a good husband and father, (if we take racters of his story, a power so necessary to the his own word for it,) and a pleasant friend where success of a great poet. When we take up one of his vanity is not concerned. His views of life are Byron's poems, we see that he identified himself, singularly just and cheerful, much more so than we for the time being, with the character which he should expect in one with the bitter experience he was describing, and that he felt the same passions, has had. We can not resist quoting a few lines griefs and triumphs which he was depicting. This from the preface to “Foliage" as a good instance is the true secret of success, and without it, it is of his way of thinking, and of the execrable style impossible to awaken the interest and sympathies of his prose. “For my part, though the world as of the reader. Shelley's Revolt of Islam, though I found it, and the circumstances which connected beautiful as a poem, and full of the most exquisite me with its habits have formerly given me no small passages, never thoroughly arrests the attention, portion of sorrow, some of it of no ordinary kind, while his unpretending Rosalina and Helen, or my creed, I confess, is not only hopeful, but cheermagnificent “Cenci” moves the deepest recesses ful; and I would pick the best parts out of other of the spirit. The poet must feel, or seem to feel creeds too, sure that I was right in what I believed, what he is writing, and he will then write in ear- or chose to fancy, in proportion as I did honor to nest. This is the art beyond all art of which the beauty of nature and spread cheerfulness and a Hunt was totally ignorant.

sense of justice among my fellow creatures." We began with the intention of only considering How few are there who, after the continual Hant's poetical works, or we should certainly ven- attacks which Leigh Hunt had borne, could have ture some remarks upon that miserable book, triply given utterance to such a sentiment! born of monstrous egotism, sickly vanity and envious hatred- the “ Notices of Lord Byron and

HENRY C. LEA. some of his Contemporaries." The true secret of Hunt's course in respect to this book, we think, Philadelphia, July, 1844.




To the Editor of the Sou. Lit. Messenger.
They tell me, in the giddy crowd

Sir :-Having just received by your welcome
No laugh is balf so loud as thine,

Messenger for August “Fair Play's" reply to "a And that the homage of the proud

Subaltern,” and believing that even he has made Is frequent at thy shrine

some mistakes in the statement of the Augasta That mid the dance, and in the song,

Arsenal case, I send you herewith a short history And where the red wine freely flows,

of that affair, which I will substantiate by docoThy step is light, thy voice is strong,

ments. Thy cheek with pleasure glows.

On the 1st of April, 1843, the company of ArThey tell me beauty smiles to hear

tillery in question arrived at Augusta Arsenal, GeorThe magic music of thy tongue;

gia, and its Captain assumed command thereof, by That, when thou singest, the votive tear Falleth frorn old and young

virtue of General Order, No 21 of 1843, which They tell me this and smile to sce

was issued at Washington on the 8th of March of My heaving breast and heavy eye,

the same year; and which, previous to being isThough well they know that loving thee,

sued, was laid before the Honorable J. C. SpenI love until I die.

cer, then Secretary of War, for his consideration Well, go thy way; and never wake

and approval, both of which he gave to it. On The feeblest memory of ine,

the 14th of March, 1843, the Acting Chief of the To wring thy worthless heart-I break

Ordnance Corps remonstrated against the above Thy chains and set thee free.

order, in a letter, addressed to the authority issuThou ! to thy mirth! I, to my gloon!

ing it, which said letter was also laid before the Health to the coldest of the twain !

Honorable Secretary of War, J. M. Porter, and
The fennel draught be mine, the doom
Of those who love in vain.

was returned with the following endorsement therePhiladelphia, Sept., 1843.


“General Worth will be required to detain the company of Artillery destined to Augusta Arsenal, till the necessary arrangement of the Ordnance

Bureau can be made for removing the Ordnance LINES, WRITTEN AFTER SICKNESS. officer and discharge of the hired men, when he

will leave there a store-keeper and two or three

ordnance men to assist in the care of the arms. I.

The store-keeper and his men will have quarters,

so as not to interfere with the company, or be lia1 bless Thee, O my God! That from the shadowy path of sickness thou hast led

ble to exclusion or charge.” My faltering feet once more, tho' with slow step to tread

The above endorsement was sent to the Acting The haunts so long untrod.

Chief of the Ordnance Corps, with the following That thou hast sufferer, these clouded eyes again instructions in a letter from the proper officer, dated To rest with Hope renew'd, on nature's green domain :

Washington, March 17th, 1843--viz :
That yet there is a spell in balmy breeze and bough,
To still the throbbing veins upon this aching brow-

"Orders having been dispatched to detain the That the soft summer sod

company at St. Augustine until the arrangement And all its loving flowers, a welcome seem to give, referred to has been made, you will please give all So to my trembling touch they cling, and bird me live; the necessary orders and instructions conformably I bless Thee, O my God!

with the Secretary of War's endorsement, and reII.

port, for the information of the Commanding Gene

ral, when the arrangement is completed, which it I bless Thee, O my God!

is supposed will be within a few weeks." That thou hast listed up this weary head, long bow'd,

With the view of giving the Ordnance DepartAnd shone upon me through the stormy trouble-cloud

ment a chance to carry out the above instructions, That thy chastizing rod Hath to deep low liness subdued this soul of mine- and with the expectation of returning to their That sorrow's “long still work” hath drawn me to thy quarters in “a few weeks," the company of Artilshrine.

lery evacuated the post on the 17th of May, 1843, Hence thou the murmurs of my erring heart hast stillid,

and took op lodgings in an old dilapidated farmAnd with a Sabbath calm my fainting life-pulse fillidThat from its dim abode,

house outside the military post ; after which, the (Whate'er the trials of my earthly lot shall be,)

following state of things presented itself-riz: Ta My Spirit may go forth, and find its strength in Thee

the east of the Arsenal and about a mile off, (I am I bless Thee, O my God!

thus particular to gratify my friend " Fair Play), July, 1844.

was quartered the Captain of the company, to


wards the south-east, and about three quarters of and with a moity of it proceed to a distant post in 2 mile off, was stationed the Assistant Surgeon; North Carolina, which can scarcely furnish comand to the north, and about half a mile off, were fortable accommodation for one company, much stationed the subalterns and the body of the com- less for one and a half, its present garrison. pany, there not being sufficient quarters in its im- But let me return to the instructions of the mediate vicinity for the Captain and Surgeon. All President given on the 21st of December, 1843 ; these separately hired buildings. Instead of the and ask " Fair Play” if unofficial intelligence of troops returning to their proper public quarters in a these instructions did not reach Augusta Arsenal, " few weeks," as was ordered, this state of things Georgia, on or about the 26th of December, 1843, continued all summer, and in the fall, the Captain and if it were not after this time, and about a had to give up his quarters and crowd himself, month or six weeks from the time of their having subalterns, men, and all, into the same building, signed this petition, that some fifteen of the four which had formerly been used to accommodate, as hundred who had signed said petition, “ withdrew a summer residence, one family; and some cor- their signatures by letter;" and who it was ? that rect idea can be formed of its value, when I inform thus, and about this time," made known and eryou, that the rent paid for it was only one hun-plained to them the operation" of said petition ; dred dollars a year, and such was its shattered and finally, if it were not upon the reception of condition, that this rent had, according to agree- these asked for, counter letters, that the Honorament, to be expended in repairing the house before ble Secretary of War, J. M. Porter, changed the it could be made habitable at all; whilst the public President's instructions of the 21st December. building occupied by the subaltern of Ordnance, A " hired guard" of fifteen men was established cost the Government eleven thousand dollars, the at Augusta Arsenal, in the spring of 1841, to prolegal interest on which, in Georgia, would be eight tect the public property therein deposited, becanse hundred and eighty dollars. Thus we have a sub- a company of Artillery could not then, as formeraltern of Ordnance, luxuriating in quarters at ly, be spared from the field for this purpose, (see nearly nine hundred dollars a year, whilst a senior letter of the chief, I mean senior officer, of the Captain of Artillery, three subalterns, and a whole Ordnance Department, dated Washington, March company, are furnished at the rate of one hundred ; 24th, 1841); and although this was a species of yet “ Fair Play" can not see the odious distinc- soldiery not known to the laws of our country, yet tion referred to by " a Subaltern."

the exigencies of the service at that time required In August or September, 1843, the Mayor and its employment. But did not this necessity cease City Council of Augusta petitioned the Secretary to exist after the arrival of the company at the of War to have the company restored to their pro- post ? and if so, as was most undoubtedly the case, per quarters in the Arsenal, but finding that this why were not these men at that time discharged, had no effect, they sent on a petition to the Presi- as we have seen above was directed by the Honodent of the United States, signed by themselves rable Secretary of War? But so far from this and about four hundred respectable citizens of Au- having been done, we find by the following extract, gusta and its vicinity, praying the President to re- taken from the letter of remonstrance of the Acmove the company from its uncomfortable quarters ting Chief of the Ordnance Corps, that these hired and to put them in the Arsenal. This petition was men had increased to twenty-five-viz : “ The sent to Washington early in December, 1843, and force now at the post consists of one officer and on the 21st of the same month the President grant- seven ordnance men, and twenty-five hired persons, ed their prayer by giving directions for the whole making in all thirty-three ; a night guard or watch company of Artillery in question, to be ordered is maintained, and it is believed that the safety of back into Augusta Arsenal. These instructions of the stores is assured by the means adopted and purthe President lay dormant somewhere in the War sued for some time past." Department, not having reached the proper pro- For the nine months, commencing with April 1st, mulgating authority until the 5th of January, 1844, 1843, the day on which the company of Artillery at which time an order came out from the Hono- first took up its quarters within the walls of the rable Secretary of War, J. M. Porter, a mutilation Arsenal, to the 31st of December of the same year, of the one above referred to, by which the company the amount, for wages alone, paid to these hired of Artillery was divided, one half of it sent into the men, was six thousand one hundred and sixty-three Arsenal under a Subaltern, who was junior to the dollars, and forty-one cents, of public money: "generous, courteous, magnanimous above all praise, which for the year, at this rate, would make eight and gallant” subaltern of Ordnance; thereby secu- thousand two hundred and four dollars and fiftyring to this gallant young soldier the command of four cents; to say nothing of all the incidental exthis military post, with the additional benefit of its penses connected with the purchase of timber, being made a double ration one, by this very ac- metals, paints, tools, &c., &c., necessary to keep cession of troops; whilst the senior Captain of up this show of the mechanic operations which are Artillery was forced to dismember his company,'nominally expected to be going on at this post-I say nominally, for in reality, there is little or no- to petitions signed by large numbers of the most thing done here of a public constructive nature, respectable and enlightened inhabitants of the and indeed I think it would puzzle “Fair Play,” | place; to the repeated efforts of distinguished senaand even the "gallant, generous and magnani- tors and other members of Congress from Georgia, mous" Lieutenant himself, to point out half a dozen for the last six years, to have a company of troops gun carriages or other implements of war, that stationed at this military post. I appeal to the have been constructed at this Arsenal since his opinion of a late distinguished Secretary of War, stay there. It is true, that in 1842, some ten thou- the Honorable J. R. Poinsett, vho, seeing the imsand dollars were appropriated by Congress for portance of having a company at this post, prothe repair of the public quarters, and the erection mised the civil authorities of Augusta, that as soon of a timber-shed” and “gun-house" at this Arse- as the exigencies of the service in Florida would nal, but so utterly unnecessary as a store-house, permit, he would withdraw a company from that for guns, was this latter building, that it was, soon quarter for this station ; to the gallant Commanderafter its erection, converted into a stable and car-in-Chief of the Army; to the two Lieutenant Coriage-house, and used for these purposes by the lonels of Artillery, under whose immediale aus. Lieutenant of Ordnance, though borne on the offi- pices and care this military post was established; cial returns of the post as a " timber-shed" and and indeed to every enlightened officer of the Army “gun-house.” Report says too, that of these ten do I appeal for the propriety and expediency of the thousand dollars, thus appropriated, six thousand measure; and I would appeal to the clear and diswere expended on the individual quarters of the criminating mind of a certain " Acting Chief," one Commanding Lieutenant, and the other four on whose standing, during thirty years service, has this " timber-shed" and "gun-house," leaving the been above reproach,” were it not that the simi. men's Barracks very much in want of repairs. larity of names has led me to suspect a relationShould we be misinformed on this head, perhaps ship between this officer and the Lieutenant of “ Fair Play" can set us right.

Ordnance, whom “Fair Play" represents as the "Fair Play” makes quite a to-do about the an- personification of a courtesy and magnanimity, important error of "a Subaltern,” in stating that above all praise." But I must carry my appeal a the company was quartered three miles, instead of little further, from older and enlightened heads, to half a mile off; but it would naturally strike one older and enlightened nations, and endeavor to as an additional argument against his cause, for light our path by the lamp of experience. Does had the company of soldiers been three miles off, England trust large collections of arms and modithere might have been some shadow of excuses for tions of war to the safe keeping of a handful of keeping this " hired guard" still in service at the mechanics ? Does France ? or in fact, do we find Arsenal. The company, however, being “scarce any of the old and experienced governments thus half a mile off," how can “Fair Play” justify the lax in their duty to the peaceful communities, enormous abuse of keeping in the employment of amongst whom they have established their depots Government, at an expense of nearly ten thousand of Arms? It may be said that the cases are not dollars a year, this heterogeneous soldiery, unau- analogous; that we are a peaceful people. Tis thorised by the laws of the country; against the true we are a peaceful people, and peace should be, instructions of the President; against the orders as it always is, the polar star of our policy; but we of the Honorable J. C. Spencer, who was well are nevertheless human nature, and subject to its acquainted with the duties of the Department of outbreaks, as the recent unfortunate circumstances War; against the first and unbiased orders of the in a neighboring city, but too clearly show. Near Honorable J. M. Porter, Secretary of War; and to this city is an United States Arsenal, and like against the reiterated orders of the Commander-in- that of Augusta, is made the repository of millChief, on the authority of these two Honorable tary stores; and previous to these riots was not Secretaries of War?

supplied with a garrison of soldiers, but it was "Fair Play," says, speaking of the Head of the found necessary to send near a hundred miles for Ordnance Bureau, “He earnestly urged upon the a company of Artillery to guard these stores herein Secretary of War the impropriety and inexpediency deposited. of the occupation of the Arsenal by the company To show the utter fallacy of the objection on the intended as its garrison;" and " he stated the utter score of insufficiency of quarters, it is but necesinsufficiency of quarters to accommodate, both those sary to state the fact, that from the time the post employed in the public service for Ordnance pur- was established up to the time the troops were poses, then at the Arsenal, and the additional force withdrawn for service in Florida, its regular garrinot yet arrived."

son was never less than one company, and, that fer Now, as to the propriety and inexpediency of nearly a year, it accommodated from two to fire the nieasure, I must beg leave to appeal from the companies. During this time too, there was much opinion of “Fair Play” 10 the repeated applica- more duty of an Ordnance nature to be performed tions of the Mayor and City Council of Augusta ; 'than at present, but instead of hiring men at de

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