Imágenes de páginas


[The following poem is from a little volume published by Ed. C. Pinckney, of Baltimore, some years since. It has long seemed to us to be one of the most exquisite poems ever written by an American. The attempts to interest us in Indians, generally, only disgust us, by their false and sentimental view of the Indian character. They make out of the red man a Sir Charles Grandison, or a Romeo. But in the present case there is no such mistake. The true elements of Indian character are seized and idealized; and brought into stronger light by the contrast of the civilized character. We have many poems and novels founded on the very same idea of love between an Indian and a European, but this is the only one I have seen in which the union does not appear unnatural and disgusting. Ed.]

Why is that graceful female here
With yon red hunter of the deer?
Of gentle mien and shape, she seems
For civil halls designed,
Yet with the stately savage walks
As she were of his kind.
Look on her leafy diadem,
Enrich'd with many a floral gem
Those simple ornaments, about
Her candid brow, disclose
The loitering s ring's last violet,
And summer's earliest rose;
But not a flower lies breathing there,
Sweet as herself or half as fair.
Exchanging lustre with the sun,
A part of day she strays-
A glancing, living, human sinile;
On nature's face she plays.
Can none instruct me what are these
Companions of the lofty trees?

Intent to blend with his her lot
Fate formed her all that he was not,
And, as by mere unlikeness thoughts,
Associate we see,
Their hearts from very difference caught
A perfect sympathy.
The household goddess here to be
Of that one dusky votary,
She left her pallid countrymen,
An earthling most divine,
And sought in this sequestered wood,
A solitary shrine.

Behold them roaming hand in hand,
Like night and sleep along the land;
Observe their movements:-he for her
Restrains his active stride,
While she assumes a bolder gait
To ramble at his side.
Thus even as the steps they frame,
Their souls fast alter to the same.
The one forsakes ferocity,
And momently grows mild;
The other tempers more and more
The artful with the wild.
She humanizes him, and he
Educates her to liberty.

III. Oh, say not, they must soon be old, Their limbs prove faint, their breasts feel cold! Yet envy I that sylvan pair, More than my words express, The singular beauty of their lot, And seeming happiness. They have not been reduced to share The painful feelings of despair: Their sun declines not in the sky, Nor are their wishes cast Like shadows of the afternoon, Repining towards the past: With nought to dread, or to repent, The present yields them full content. In solitude there is no crime; Their actions all are free, And passion lends their way of life The only dignity. And how should they have any cares? Whose interest contends with theirs!

The world, or all they know of it,
Is theirs: for them the stars are lit;
For them the earth beneath is green,
The heavens above are bright;
For them the moon doth wax and wane,
And decorate the night;
For them the branches of those trees
Wave music in the vernal breeze;
For them upon that dancing spray
The free bird sits and sings,
And glittering insects flit about
Upon delighted wings;
For them that brook, the brakes among
Murmurs its small and drowsy song;
For them the many colored clouds
Their shapes diversify,
And change at once, like smiles and frowns,
The expression of the sky.
For them, and by them, all is gay,
And fresh and beautiful as they:

The images their minds receive,
Their minds assimilate,
To outward forms imparting thus,
The glory of their state.
Could ought be painted otherwise
Than fair seen through her star-bright eyes?
He too, because she fills his sight;
Each object falsely sees;
The pleasure that he has in her,
Makes all things seem to please.
And this is love;—and it is life
They lead—that Indian and his wife.




The Editor is permitted to gratify the readers of the Messenger with the following interesting extracts from a journal kept by the poet, John Keats. It was sent, in letters, to his brother, during a pedestrian tour through parts of England and Scotland, in the year 1818, when he was 22 years old. He died three years afterwards, in Rome.

The poetical writings of this young author are fresh and living in the hearts of the lovers of poetry in this country and Europe. They have the genuine aroma which denotes the immortalizing presence of genius. They have derived no transient popularity from a fashionable dress, or from sentiments conformed to the sickly taste of a weak generation, craving for excitement. Keats' style was formed chiefly by a diligent study of the old English poets, especially of Spenser. It is an entire mistake to call him a follower of Leigh Hunt. He was a follower of no man. In an age which almost idolized Byron, he had the sense to conceive and the independence to express opinions like the following:

[blocks in formation]

Of poesy, that it should be the friend
To sooth the cares, and lift the thoughts of man."

Poems, p. 68, Galignani Edition. To these just and profound views of the nature of poetry, the critics and amateurs of Great Britain seem to be just awaking out of the charmed sleep into which they had been thrown by the wonderful genius of Byron. The preface to Philip Van Artevelde, contains the clearest statement of the errors of the Byronic school which we have yet seen. There iz still wanted a clear and just criticism upon Bryon's poetry, and upon his character, as the basis and fountain of his poetry. Scott's beautiful and generous essay upon Childe Harold, though the best which we have, does not touch the centre of the problem. He who alone did, in our judgment, fully understand the errors and excellencies of the unhappy Poet, has left us without giving such a criticism. We allude to Gothe, who, separated from all English party feeling, and having himself passed through the mazes of error which entangled Byron, has frequently indicated how thoroughly he understood both the bright and dark side of his poetical character. But we are rambling from our subject. We wished to say a word of the prose writings of Keats.

These have not hitherto been published, but it appears to us, from the specimens which we have seen of them, that they are of a higher order of composition than his poems. There is in them a depth and grasp of thought; a logical accuracy of expression; a fulness of intellectual power, and an earnest struggling after truth, which remind us of the prose of Burns. They are only letters, not regular treatises, yet they touch upon the deepest veins of thought, and ascend the highest heaven of contemplation. There is, in one of them, the idea of a system of theology, the basis of which is the pure Christian doctrine of regeneration; which shows a sincere depth of religious sentiment; though he seems by no means satisfie with the outward forms of religion about him. How could he be so? We feel a little proud that we, in this western valley, are the first to publish specimens of these writings; and cannot but mention it as one example among a thousand of our finding in this new country things we should least expect to meet with. Mr. Flint mentions an old lady in Arkansas who was reading Plato in the Greek. Almost as strange is it to meet with the original papers of John Keats, at the Falls of the Ohio. We hope that they will ere long be put into the possession of the public. Our next number will contain a description of the cave of Staffa. In another part of the present number, we have given a poem

of the same author. There is much pathos in the sentiments of despondency, self-accusation, and distrust of his own genius which it expresses.

These feelings which wore down his strength and hope, and made him a more susceptible victim of a cruel and unjust criticism, are by no means to be confounded with weakness of mind, or a natural deficiency of courage. His genius was exuberant; he was of a lion-hearted spirit; but the excess of sensibility, ideality, and reverence over the practical faculties, caused him often to fear, where he should have hoped. He had conceived a vast idea, and its very magnitude oppressed his spirit, and palsied his arm. He says himself

-There ever rolls
A vast idea before me, and I glean
Therefrom my liberty; thence too I've seen

The end and aim of Poesy." His tender heart, his vivid imagination, his soaring spirit, consumed the springs of life, when his day had hardly opened, and so his bright sun was overclouded by baleful mists, and eclipsed by the black orb of death, long ere it reached its zenith; and in the words of Artevelde

“He was one
Of many thousand such who die betimes,
Whose story is a fragment known to few."


Here beginneth my journal, this Thursday, the 25th day of June, Anno Domini 1818. This morning we arose at 4, and set off in a Scotch mist; put up once under a tree, and in fine, have walked wet and dry to this place, called in the vulgar tongue Endmoor, 17 miles; we have not been incommoded

by our knapsacks; they serve capitally, and we shall go on very well.

June 26—I merely put pro forma, for there is no such thing as time and space, which by the way came forcibly upon me on seeing for the first hour the Lake and Mountains of Winander--I cannot describe them--they surpass my expectationbeautiful water-shores and islands green to the margemountains all round up to the clouds. We set out from Endmoor this morning, breakfasted at Kendal with a soldier who had been in all the wars for the last seventeen years—then we have walked to Bowne's to dinner-said Bowne's situated on the Lake where we have just dined, and I am writing at this present. I took an oar to one of the islands to take up some trout for our dinner, which they keep in porous boxes. I enquired of the waiter for Wordsworth—he said he knew

« AnteriorContinuar »