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which the muse would impart her favors; and the tragedies of Voltaire displayed the loveliness of Christianity, below indeed what a Christian would feel, but almost beyond what unbelieving Genius could conceive. Such was the victory of Poetry, when she arrested the Apostate, while marching onward to the desolation of mankind; when the champion of modern philosophy fell down before the altar she had raised, and breathed forth the incense of an infidel's adoration! When he came, like the disobedient prophet, that he might curse the people of God, and behold, 'he blessed them altogether.'
We are well assured that poetry, although sometimes seen in connection with error, even as the sons of God held companionship with the daughters of men, is one of the choicest blessings bequeathed to this imperfect world. She is not the offspring of human invention ; for unlike those arts and sciences which were given to man in an elementary state, she sprang, Minerva-like, into existence, perfect in her proportions, mature in her strength, and gorgeous in her panoply. The Christian can trace her divine origin with the utmost certainty, and behold with an unclouded vision, that she is born of God, and baptized with inspiration. She invests all things with an extrinsic glory; she diffuses a new light upon the face of nature ; she weans us from the rule of our passions, and the dominion of our lusts, and reveals the golden ladder that leads from earth to heaven.
How bright the sun's declining rays
Glitter on yonder gilded spire!.
Through those old trees, that seem on fire!
With Mary, rapture in my eyes!
'T was such an evening — this the place,
And gazed upon her angel face.
And brightened to a crimson hue;
And ah! her sun was sinking too!
THE LADY AND THE PAINTER: A FRAGMENT FROM THE 'FIDGET PAPERS,' BY THE AUTHOR of “THE DANCING GIRL.' The house of Mrs. Rivers, a beautiful widow, stood in a fashionable quartier of the fair city of Boston, and now, when it was rumored that her recent illness had yielded to seclusion; and the most charming of physicians, her door was besieged with acquaintances, eager to offer their hollow congratulations, and their baseless compliments.
The first was a pale poet, in a seedy coat ; one of that pscudo class, who bring the divine art into discredit. He rang the bell with a tremulous air, for such thread-bare followers of the muses are ever afraid of your spruce lacquey in livery. Mr. Epic was called a follower of the muses, probably because he never overtook them. He was the author of the Genius of Washington,' a poem in eightyfour cantos, which might be said to possess the gift of immortality, since it would take a man an age to read it. If poetry be indeed a drug, this was an opiate, for its effects were most somniferous, and so pervading, that even an article in the Aboriginal Review, composed chiefly of extracts from the poem, put the five old ladies, who supported that quarterly, into a deep sleep, from which they never awoke.
• Is Mrs. Rivers at home ? asked the poet.
“She is. Wipe your shoes. Walk up. You know the way:' replied the aristocratic servant.
Silently and stealthily the poor poet ascended the lordly stair-case, and was soon in the presence of his patroness.
Again the bell rang, and again the pampered lacquey, having finished a flirtation with the chambermaid, answered the door, and admitted and showed up Walter Mortham.
Miss Sallow, an old maid, and her aunt, Mrs. Caution, the former in a saffron gown and black bonnet, for she was a bas bleu, and the latter in pink silk, for she had been a beauty, next presented themselves for admission.
Another pull at the bell. Capt. Percy, an English traveller, is the present summoner. A long pause ensues, during which the captain is concocting a paragraph about American servants, and by the time he has weighed and rejected several phrases, the door opens, and he is rejoiced with the information that Mrs. Rivers receives visiters. John has now lost his temper at the number of calls upon his time, and cooly says : ‘Captain, you 're such an old acquaintance, you may as well come in without ringing.'
And now, reader, perhaps you have been left too long waiting in the vestibule, and so, performing the part of gentleman-usher, I will present you in due form. Suppose the Rubicon to be passed, and yourself to be seated — at your ease, of course – in the presence of one of the loveliest women that your eyes ever rested on.
Seated on an ottoman, in a half recumbent posture, which her convalescent state rendered at once graceful and appropriate, Mrs. Adelaide Rivers received her friends with the air of an unbending goddess, or an affable sultana. Hers was a form, ripe, full, and rounded, charming alike by its contours and its attitudes; large, but not over
sized; in short, such a form as we fancifully attribute to an empress. The perfect regularity of her features atoned for their want of any marked expression; and then her eye !-- soft, large, and lustrous, it beamed upon you as if its pretty owner really had a soul. Her hair was of course dark — but for her dress, (dark also, by the way,) I must refer you to her milliner. In the language of her friends, Mrs. Rivers was a very sweet woman :' those who read her verses, thought she was a dull one, but they were no test, for Mr. Epic was engaged to furnish them at a penny a line. If the lady had been content with the homage bestowed upon her charms, she would have enjoyed a due celebrity, or if her success had been proportionate to her efforts, it would have been universal. Her voice was formed to give utterance to the thoughts of poets, in the strains of music, not to dwell upon their merits or their faults in the language of the critics. When she spoke the soft nothings of fashionable conversation, you admired, but when she attempted to win applause by eloquence, you pitied her; not that she did not sometimes surprise you with a bright idea, but because her conversation was unequal, and it was thus she merited the title of the mock Corinne.'
To some of her visiters the reader has been introduced : there were others at the levee of Mrs. Rivers, of more or less importance; but as they took little part in conversation, we shall pass them over in the silence they maintained.
• This is a very extraordinary book,' said Mrs. Rivers, in allusion to the recently published journal of an actress, ' and full of talent ; but there are many reasons to prevent its popularity. I could say such things of her, if she were not your countrywoman, Captain Percy.'
Oh, 'Gad! madam,' answered the gallant captain, pray do n't spare her on that account. For my part, I think that very circumstance will give a relish to your satire. One does n't care what happens to a stranger, but the misfortune of a next-door neighbor amuses one excessively. The nearer the bone the sweeter the scandal.''
• Your position is hardly tenable, Sir,' said the poet in the scedy coat ; ‘and I think if you read my “Genius of Washington,' which contains some hints about patriotism, you will be convinced.'
• Very probably, but not till then,' replied the gallant captain. A word about Captain Percy. He was handsome, and an Englishman, and that was enough to secure admission into the first society in Boston. Moreover, he was furnished with undoubted credentials, and was allied to one of the most ancient families in Great Britain. No wonder then that aristocratic old gentlemen invited him to dine, that fashionable young men imitated his dress, and that sentimental young ladies fell in love with his black whiskers and his blacker eyes. No wonder that his very oaths became popular, and that even the orthodox professed to be hard of hearing when he swore so elegantly. What a waltzer !' cried girls with pretty feet; 'what a love ! cried girls with pretty fortunes. “A Percy !' sighed the novel-readers. • Born in Alnwick Castle !' said the admirers of Halleck — (and who does pot admire him ?)
• To return to 'wicked Fanny,'' said a lady; "she will be very unpopular. All the young gentlemen who formerly admired her, will be her enemies, because she did not marry them — and all the young ladies will abuse her, because she won the hearts of all the young gentlemen.'
• The young gentlemen were infidels,' said the slayer of men, if they forsook the true divinity,' bowing very low to Mrs. Rivers. Mrs. Rivers was enchanted. How strange that vanity should give currency to the false coin of flattery!
• You have given one reason for the fair F-'s unpopularity,' said Walter Mortham, turning to the lady who last spoke — but there is yet another — she has written a good book.'
• A good book !' exclaimed several voices.
• With a leaven of untruth, I grant — but still a good book,' said Walter.
Nothing is good which is untrue,' said the poet, with a sententious
'A very talented book then,' resumed young Mortham. “A mediocre affair is much more likely to make its author, than a very brilliant one. We may patronize mediocrity, but we cannot pardon talent. Very good books are read, but not bought; like gold, they are too precious to circulate. Yet it is from these very good books, so secretly referred to, and little talked about, that the current wit of the day is purloined ; and as we hate the sight of one we've borrowed money of, so we abuse an author, to conceal our obligation to him.'
•You are fond of paradoxes,' said Mrs. Rivers. Mais apropos des bottes, have you read the new poems by an old publisher ? They are the most charming things, and bound so prettily, that the very outside enchants you.'
*I dislike the poems,' said the poor poet. · Why?' inquired Captain Percy.
Because the author is rich,' replied the bard ;' and for another reason — because he put his name to a book of which I was the author.'
'Egad!' cried Percy, ‘you were much indebted to him. He might have ruined you.
How ? inquired Mr. Epic. * By saying that you wrote it.'
"The age of poetry has passed away,' said Miss Sallow, sentimentally.
•Say rather this is the old age of poetry,' observed Mrs. Caution.
• The golden age of poets has been gone for centuries,' said Mr. Epic.
•You say truly,' said Mr. Mortham. “Poems were the luxuries of a knightly age. The minstrels then were loved and cherished as they should be, for the noblest and the bravest vied in their endeavors to do them honor. Their songs of war cheered the rude sol. diers on the march, and nerved their arms for battle - nor did the minstrels shrink from plunging into the conflict, to dignify even valor by their countenance.'
How the times are altered !' said the man of war. •For now instead of fighting with their enemies, they only squabble with each other.'
• Then when the battle was fought and won,' continued Mortham, 'with what pride were they received in the festal halls ! — with what exultation did they strike their harps in honor of the noble lords who led them on to victory!'
Now-a-days,' said Percy, they only sing of themselves.' "And then their reward,' continued the orator; the smiles of lovely ladies — and sometimes the honor of knighthood conferred for minstrelsy and prowess.'
•The reverse is now the case,' said Percy, 'for instead of poets becoming knights, knights become poets.
It is not my intention to detail the conversation of the guests of Mrs. Rivers. It is sufficient to remark that they did not separate until she had proposed a visit to the studio of a young painter on the following day
RAPHAEL RANDOLPH was one of those unfortunate young men of genius, whose lot it is to struggle with the most distressing embarrassments, before their talent is acknowledged — an artist who for many years found it difficult to obtain even the materials wherewith to work. From his very boyhood, a love for the fine arts had been his passion and his bane — at once his solace and his torment. He had wasted away the golden hours of his youth in dreams of the bright ideal — wasted, did I say? Pah! I am speaking in the common-place language of this working-day world. His visionary fervor bore him onward through struggles that would have crushed a riper mind and a more robust body. What reality was to others, imagination was to him. Its purple light hovered over his head, and shed a gleam upon his way. Yet there were times when the rays of hope faded entirely away, and left him with all his genius darkling like Milton deprived of sight. These were moments, when the idea flashed upon him — scorching his heart and brain, and almost crazing him — that he had mistaken his abilities — that his pencil was destitute of skill, and his mind of genius, and that, despised by his contemporaries, he should go down to the cold grave, forgotten. It is this fear, common to all men of true genius, which carries the bitterness of death with it, and which not even popular applause can banish.
The painter strode to and fro in his confined study. It was crowded with pictures, because they were worthy of a purchaser. Here was the Venus Anadyomene, lovely as a poet's dream ; there the bride of Neptune floating in her sea-shell. In another corner, frowned the gloomy countenance of a knight of the middle ages, clad in iron mail, with eyes following the movement of the artist who had called him to life, like the demon of Frankenstein, asking for a soul. Noble and lady, warrior and priest, looked side by side from their mysterious canvass. You might lose yourself in the contemplation of battles, if you were of a military turn — of storms and shipwrecks, if you loved the sea — of Arcadian loveliness, if you were enamored of the land. Over these the painter passed a hurried glance of pride; but he paused before one picture, and viewed it with the rapt gaze of love. It represented a fair being, young, but yet a woman, soft and ethereal as the snowy cloud that floats over the blue