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enable him to devote the requisite time and attention to the accomplishment of his design.
In noticing Mr. Yates's productions, we have been led away from the work of Professor Conant. We are much gratified to observe, that the Professor promises a Hebrew Phrase-Book and Exercises in Writing Hebrew, for which he has been some time collecting materials, and which, with the exercises in reading already furnished, must prove of signal use to the Hebrew student. It is with very sincere pleasure, that we regard these efforts made to supply the growing demand for an acquaintance with a department of theological education, hitherto too much neglected.
Voices of the Night. By H. W. LONGFELLOW. Cambridge: Published by John Owen. 1839. 16mo. pp. 144.
The beautifully printed little volume with the above title, will be an acceptable offering to all lovers of poetry. The “Voices of the Night” constitute properly but a small part of the book ; the rest is made up of the author's early poems, and of translations from the foreign modern languages.
The “ Voices of the Night” are eight poems, lately written, and most of them printed first in the New York “Knickerbocker." These are among the most remarkable poetical compositions, which have ever appeared in the United States. They are filled with solemn pathos, uttered in the most melodious and picturesque language. For instance, how rare is it to find poetry to compare with this of the " Psalm of Life.”
“ Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
And things are not what they seem.
"Life is real! Life is earnest !
And the grave is not its goal;
Was not spoken of the soul.
“Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
Find us farther than to-day.
46 Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
“ In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be a hero in the strife!
“Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
“ Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
Footsteps on the sands of time ;
“Footsteps, thal perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
With a heart for any fate;
Learn to labor and to wait."
- pp. 5-7.
“When the hours of Day are numbered,
And the voices of the Night
To a holy, calm delight;
And, like phantoms grim and tall,
Dance upon the parlour wall;
Enter at the open door;
Come to visit me once more;
Noble longings for the strife,-
Weary with the march of life!
Who the cross of suffering bore,
Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more!
“ And with them the Being Beauteous,
Who unto my youth was given,
And is now a saint in heaven.
“With a slow and noiseless footstep,
Comes that messenger divine,
Lays her gentle hand in mine.
With those deep and tender eyes,
Looking downward from the skies.
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer,
Breathing from her lips of air.
All my fears are laid aside,
Such as these have lived and died !
- pp. 14-16.
The poem called “Flowers,” is not so much to our taste ; it has a tang of mysticism, which some might call transcendentalism. "The Beleaguered City” is a highly imaginative piece, which we should be glad to quote if we had
The poetry of Mr. Longfellow is marked by a very vivid imagination, great susceptibility to the impressions of natural scenery, and a ready perception of the analogies between natural objects and the feelings of the human heart. But, besides this, he possesses an extraordinary command over the powers of language, and turns it to any form at will ;
“ Untwisting all the chains, that tie
The hidden soul of harmony." If we analyze any one of the poems above quoted or referred to, we shall find that each thought, and each illustration, is clothed in the words that precisely fit it; that the author's tact in this respect is most felicitous. And we shall observe the same general fact, which we have pointed out in our remarks upon the style of “ Hyperion," namely, a great preponderance of the pithy Saxon words over the Latin element of the English. To this fact, Mr. Longfellow's poetic, as well as prose style, is indebted for much of its descriptive charm.
The earlier pieces, which make the second division of the volume, are already well known to the readers of poetry. They are beautiful compositions, characterized by good taste, a flowing and easy versification, and quiet and gentle feelings ; but they are occasionally rather timid and subdued, and show here and there traces of the influence of the recent schools of English poetry ; an influence perfectly natural, and almost irresistible to a youthful poet's mind. They show the same nicely attuned ear, the same lively susceptibility, the same descriptive powers, though not fully unfolded, that have appeared in his later productions.
The last division consists of a series of translations from various modern languages. The first is the well-known version of the “Coplas de Manrique,” from the Spanish ; a poem that has been justly admired, both in the original and in the translation. Mr. Longfellow's version is much superior to Dr. Bowring's, both in elegance and fidelity. The passages translated from Dante keep pace, line for line, and even word for word, with the Italian; and, when we consider the severe grandeur of the stern old poet, the condensation and fire of his expression, the piercing flashes, that break out from single immortal words in his poem, we must confess, that to render him with tolerable spirit and fidelity, is a work of uncommon talent ; but to unite the closest fidelity to the sense and the forms of the original, with an easy movement in English verse, is enough to task the best powers of genius. These fragments are followed by translations from the French, Anglo-Saxon, Danish, and German, all of which are executed with a high degree of skill.
We cannot, however, forbear a word of protest against a form of speech, here occasionally used, which is threatening to invade us from Germany ; we mean, the omission of the personal pronoun, as, “ Am a prince of mighty sway” (p. 138). It is too foreign to the English idiom to be defensible, even in a translation ; and it demands notice so much the more, as translations are notoriously the great corrupters of the purity of a language.
3. - A Wreath of Wild Flowers from New England, by Fran
CES SARGENT Osgood. London : Edward Churton. 1838. 12mo. pp. 364.
The poems in this volume are mostly of the kind called fugitive. They are marked by the usual defects of poems of this class, but the defects are compensated by more than the
usual merits and beauties found in them. In fact, these hasty productions of our countrywoman show uncommon liveliness of fancy, a ready and flowing style, and very happy descriptive powers. But of her poetical genius, it would be unfair to judge from these specimens.
Written as they were, from time to time, for various periodical publications, a critical eye cannot but observe grave defects, which a more elaborate method of composition would have removed. The author occasionally falls into a confusion of metaphors; for instance where she says,
“Farewell, my bark! yet once again
I would my wish might guide thee still,
Who'd blight thy tender freight at will." Perhaps the idea of a critic confused the fair writer's imagination. She personifies her book as a ship, and the critic, naturally enough, as a pirate ; but next she would have the ship clear his den; was she thinking of a wild beast or a pirate ? and would either have a den in the ocean on which her ship was launched ? Not satisfied with this, she next figures the Proteus of a critic as a frost, we suppose so, at least,
and then, this frost blights, not the flowers of poesy, but the “ freight” of the ship. We do not find fault with the taste of the separate metaphors. We do not insist that a critic is neither a pirate, nor a monster, nor a blighting frost, but a very harmless and Christian-like sort of person. It is the confusion of figures only, to which we object.
These poems abound, also, too much in such splendid and dazzling things as jewels, pearls, golden locks, and flashing eyes. These do well in their places, but ought to be sparingly used, take a whole volume together. One is exceedingly apt to write about such matters in the annuals; — the style is an epidemic, and very catching. All proper preventive measures ought to be taken against it. We should like to draw a cordon sanitaire against all British annuals whatever ; or, at least, to establish a quarantine for the benefit of our poets and poetesses. There are, besides, certain pet words and phrases constantly recurring in these poems ; for instance, “the while” ends, we know not how many lines, — and rarely has any particular meaning, but serves merely to be rhymed with. The author has often been led astray by mere jingle, and uses prettily sounding words and combinations of words, which, when analyzed, add nothing to the sense of the stanza. This is a fault which lively young