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ance with the best of living and late poets speak in unvarying tones of despondency will detect in greater or less abundance in and complaint, when we have every reason nearly every piece in this volume; and of to suppose him capable of enjoying the coninstances of a recklessness in the use of meta- tent which he affects to find only in others. physical and poetic terms which most read- Mr. Mulchinock’s verses are gloomy, and ers will not fail to discover and condemn. we think their gloom studied and unnecesWe have no disposition to enter upon an sary. There are very few men of education exhibition of Mr. Mulchinock’s rhythmical whose circumstances compel them to poverrors, which swarm throughout these poems erty and neglect; and when we hear such in unstinted profusion. For these, circum- men complaining of one or both of these stances may offer a partial apology. It is conditions of misery, we are apt to believe after all more of the spirit of Mr. Mulchi- that they are practising on our sympathies, nock's rhymes than of their mechanical and are either clinging to sorrow for the execution that we would complain. We melancholy pleasure it is sometimes said to should be somewhat disposed to excuse the afford, or are prating of its stings without slovenly measure and the bungling rhyme, if actually undergoing them. To the really they were the dress of really original, poetic deserving and unfortunate, the public ear is and healthy thoughts; but if we condemn seldom closed; but it is ever the case, as it the barren or the perverted sentiment, how should be, that public sympathy neither can we approve the verse in which it is goes out spontaneously nor strongly for the borne haltingly and wearily along? man who clings to a vocation for which he
We look in vain, then, through this vol- is indifferently fitted, and which, in return, ume for any traces of that genial and gener- yields him but an indifferent support, when ous sentiment which should spring sponta- other callings, equally honorable and more neously from the heart of every man, and, productive, lie open to his exertions. most of all, from the heart of the man who Need we say we have reference to profesthinks himself specially commissioned to ad- sional verse-making—to that description of dress his fellow-men through the medium of verse-making which Mr. Mulchinock cultithe feelings and the imagination. A writer vates, and which he professes to find so unof verses, in addition to the necessary quali- profitable? It must strike every one at the fications of imagination, taste, and rhythmical first glance--without lingering long over power, should have a liberal and compre- certain obtrusive facts, the large number of hensive mind, capable of overlooking cir- writers, professional and unprofessional, who cumstances and of appreciating the good clamor for admission to the columns of every qualities to be found in every man and every magazine, the immense disadvantages under thing. It is no more necessary that he which our authors labor from reproductions should be an optimist than that he should of foreign and unpaid-for literature, the explunge into the midnight of a Byronic mis- cessive cheapness at which the home market anthropy. If his disposition is like that of for reading must be supplied—that nothing nine out of ten, it is hardly needful to cau- can be more unwise than for a man of any tion him against one or the other of these other than first-rate abilities to pursue a extremes. But as Nature produces a few career in which not more than one in a hunoptimists and misanthropes, and circum- dred can hope to earn more than a bare substances many more, so we find certain poets sistence, when easier and more lucrative whose verses are naturally optimistic or mel- paths lie before him. It is unwise for this ancholy, and a greater number—of a lesser reason, setting aside all others that will ocgrade, be it said—whose verses, purport- cur at a moment's contemplation-namely, ing to be results of their own experience, that a writer on broad and comprehensive are evidently studied pictures of the utmost topics, like those of poetry, ought to be thorof cheerfulness or Timonism that can be oughly acquainted with all classes of society, evolved from the material around them. and to have such a position as to be on easy We are always suspicious of the sincerity of and intimate terms with the great man as any writer who claims to have a larger share well as the laborer or the common citizen. of happiness or misery than his fellow-men, He should possess an independence sufficient and we especially condemn the processes by to raise him above all imputation of sycowhich a writer of poetry brings himself to phancy or meanness; such an independence
as makes a man feel always light of heart, mon books, and the great works of God, besides the and above those fretting circumstances which lessons of daily life
, have been my sole teachers. assail him whose next dinner is for ever a
With these aids, if I cannot hope to match men to
whom many languages are as familiar as their own, subject of uneasy contemplation. His means whose mornings, nights, and libraries are in the pershould give him access to libraries and gal- petual presence of the arts; men whose fame is not leries; they should allow him the necessary audience on the merits of my dear mfistress Natyre,
only American but universal; I at least may claim an stimulants of travel and public amusement;/ whose beauty, like that of the gospel, though “ever in fine, having the world for his peculiar ancient,' is also “ever new.?” study, the world should be in every way open to him. To substantiate this, we must Shelley, with infinitely more genius, hut leave great authors out of view: their genius it must be owned, with less common sense, has at all times evoked fortune and worship- for he was in no want of money, talked pers, laboring at first no matter under how somewhat like this, when he boasted of his i great disadvantages. But for how many acquaintance with the Alps and the glaciers, i men of second-rate abilities and unpromising and his unsuitableness for the companions beginnings has competence prepared the ship of his fellow-Englishmen. And conseway for literary distinction ! and how many quently Shelley is read by nobody but poets. men of aspirations beyond their natural abil. He loved the people well enough, but he ities, of a thirst for fame beyond their power never learned how to write for them. He to achieve greatness, has poverty happily let his great soul go out over mountains kept back from a career in which only the and midnights, and his poems are one promost favored can run without faltering and longed rhapsody. He is a good study, but failure !
a bad model. But Mr. Mulchinock has Now it is evident that the man who, with copied his error. Speaking of himself, he out possessing sufficient ability to raise him- says: self to the first rank in literature, sits down “ All his harpings caught from nature, lakes and to gain his subsistence by writing verses,
mountains for his schools, condemns himself to seclusion from the great
Not in city smoke begotten among rod-directed
fools." world, and therefore to barrenness of sentiment and information. That many-sided So much the worse for Mr. Mulchinock. knowledge which, in the present intensity of If poets only draw their inspirations from civilization, the writer who would reach the mountains and lakes, they may be as grand popular ear must possess, he will inevitably and mystic as they please, but they may want. His writings will be capricious, one- rest content with lakes and mountains for sided, and unfair. It will be strange if they listeners. If they will ride Pegasus occado not fall into one unvarying strain, and sionally on cross-roads and in cities, and lend that strain oftener melancholy and bitter their genius to “ adorn common things," than genial and warm. Living, it may be, they will meet with the encouragement they in back streets ; surrounded by a society deserve. whose manners are at best unattractive, and We are not surprised, therefore, at the whose language breathes a harsh and disaf- tone of Mr. Mulchinock's verses, after learnfected spirit; he cannot hope to become ac- ing the circumstances under which they quainted with the ways of those who par- were composed, and the sources of inspiratake bountifully of the higher privileges of tion whence they were drawn ; especially life, and from a secure position look compre- when we see that greater men have written hensively and unrepiningly on the world vaguely, and unfairly, and bitterly, while around them. No man of this day can ap- refusing to look at all sides of life before proach to any thing like perfection in writing making it the subject of poetical philosowhose field of observation is as limited as phizing. To be shut out from the higher Mr. Mulchinock's would appear to be, from and refined amenities of life; to be conwhat he says in the preface to his poems-stantly vexed by the thought that men of an unsatisfactory apology for a very mani- inferior minds, possessing no sympathy for fest want:
the beautiful in art or nature, are spending Fyom the stimulus of elegant society, from de money without stint on useless and unelelightful leisure, or many-path'd cultivation, I have vated pleasures, which a better owner would not obtained subjects or a style. A few good com- employ in the gratification of the noblest
rail and weep.
tastes of which our nature is capable; to be Wealthy merchants in the market; dollars clink obliged, in the teeth of the intensest compe
in every street;
Signs of pomp and signs of splendor, wheresoe'er tition, to send hurried and incomplete verses
I turn my feet. to magazines for a nominal remuneration; and to live day by day without prospect of
“Comes the winter dark and hoary, bringing sharp
and wintry cold ever gaining more than a mere living, and
To the homestead of the Toilar, owning neither with a dreary looking forward to sickness or
land nor gold. failing powers ;
this condition of things surely cannot make the poet genial and
“* 'Tis the month of dark December: fleetly fall the
flakes of snow; comprehensive, and cannot give that mel
Ice is on the running water, and the sharp winds low glow of hope and good-nature to his
keenly blow. verses which, after all, is a large ingredient in the works of every successful poet whom the “Would I were at rest, and lying in kind Death's world has seen. What influence such cir
Nevermore to war with fortune-nevermore to cumstances have, we may infer from the following verses—the like of which are profusely strewn through this volume of Mr. "Ah! my step is getting feeble, and my heart is Mulchinock's. We are willing to believe
I am weary, very weary-I will seek a little them true, for we would not accuse their
rest." author of making untrue appeals to our sympathies in lines which he tells us are Entertaining this sense of unrequited " drops of his own heart's blood, and beats merit, it is not strange that Mr. Mulchinock of his own quick pulse":
should extend his sympathy to the laboring
classes, and endeavor to rouse them to an "Now for me the silent sorrow and the loneliness and gloom,
appreciation of their own rights, in a manPhantom shapes of long-lost pleasures flit around ner which savors much more of the disafmy lonely room:
fected anarchist than of the reasonable, pa
tient, and philanthropic reformer. Te “ Days of childhood, -summer rambles through think, however, that the poor will never be
green woods and gardens fair ; Days of youthhood,—higher longings, sunny cas- helped by such bitter outpourings as these : tles in the air :
“Woe to those in lordly places, sunk in lethargy “ Days of manhood, -toil unresting, bitter want
supine, within my door,
With their fcastings and their revels, with their Crowd around me in the silence, and with anguish
music and their wine ! I deplore.
Shallow triflers, morrice-dancers in the earnest “ When shall worth have fitting honor and a neverfading wreath?
Bearded children, still disporting with some gewHark! in tones that soothe the spirit, echo an
gaw drum and fife; swers, 'After death!'
Brothers of the order Witling, with Unreason for « Truthful echo-mournful echo of the thought
its rule, within my brain;
For a cap and bells contending, which shall best I am wedded to my sorrow—my repinings are
play out the fool in vain. “Come the ills of life the faster and the darker for my tears,
"Where be all the gifts God gave them-health Falling ever as they've fallen now for long and
and strength, and land and gold? weary years.
For some false, illusive phantom, soul-destroying,
trucked and sold! “Woe is me! befooled by fancies, and a sorrow at “ On their Rights, not Duties, standing, earthly my door;
game of life,
rulers one and all Morn and even moaning ever—that 'twill leave Grind and scourge their poorer brother, as an
outcast and a thrall. Wealthy homes are all around me, homes of “ Human eagles, from their eyries swooping down luxury and ease,
with hungry beak, Wine and music, mirth and laughter; but, alas ! Wayside sheep without a shepherd still the only we've none of these
prey they seek.
Comes the day of rich reprisal, comes the day of we may be pardoned for saying that we think vengeance due ;
he has mistaken his vocation, in setting up for As they laid on load with scourges, we will play with scourges too.
a professional poet. To write verses as a pastime is one thing, and to make a business
of writing verses is another; and between the In your suits of homely broadcloth, though you two we should not hesitate long to choose.
take the shilling side, Ye shall flout those silken rustlers prankt in If Mr. Mulchinock will pause, he will see that purple and in pride.
he is almost alone in the business he has
chosen, and which, to use his own words, * When you winced beneath the tauntings of the “ yields so poor and scant a pay.” Among rich and better-born,
our own foremost poets—names with whom I have taught you to repay them with intenser, it is no light honor to be classed—we know bitter scorn.
of none who depend on versifying for a live
lihood. Longfellow is a college officer. “Be but hopeful, be but trustful, be but loyal to Holmes is in good practice as a physician. the cause:
Bryant and Willis are at the head of jourDown with wrong and with injustice, down with nals of wide circulation. Halleck's poems tyrants and their laws."
were not written with a view to pecuniary And this in free America!
profit. Poe relied chiefly for support on his
prose compositions. Bayard Taylor is on If we apprehended any mischief from such the editorial staff of a daily paper. Our effusions, which it would be charitable to poets of a generation or two back were in attribute to a morning headache, or an over- established professions. Trumbull was an flow of bile,—we should quote more of eminent lawyer. Dwight was president of them, and devote a few moments to showing a college. Hopkins was a physician, and their unreasonableness and uselessness; but Humphries and Barlow enjoyed handsome the common sense of the reader, we are estates. Surely it is no abuse of instances sure, bas forestalled us.
Sentiments like if we point Mr. Mulchinock to the fact that these stand in the way of true reform, and the Muse is more pleasant and facile as a are powerless to overturn the sober reason companion than a slave; and that active of the mass, which is happily strong enough exertion in steady and practical employment, to keep down, if not to destroy, the mon- by which one is brought daily in contact strous hydra of anarchical bitterness. But with the world, is no hindrance to the growth none the less strongly do we condemn them and triumph of the genuine poetic faculty. in a book of poems, where, in addition to The critic counselled poor Keats to desist their native deformity, they are most sadly from making verses, and return to his galliout of place. But Mr. Mulchinock has pots. We have no such advice to offer Mr. taken his cue, in this instance, from Whit- Mulchinock. If he enjoys poetry, we wish tier, whom he is pleased to term the “ bold- that he may never cease to realize the pleaest Thinker of the Age;" and as he has over- sures which the Muse confers on her votadone Tennyson and others in their original ries. We are afraid, however, that if he peculiarities, so he has grossly outraged the persists in rhyming as an occupation whereexample which that very clever versifier, with to earn bread for himself and his family, Whittier, has unwittingly set him.
his tone will never become less austere and We give Mr. Mulchinock the credit of repulsive, nor his field of view less conwriting an occasional vigorous couplet, par- tracted; we greatly fear that his imitations ticularly on topics which make the most will become more frequent, and that, pressed ordinary men talk strongly. We do not down by cireumstances which he will not doubt that, in common with many other consent to escape from, he will never attain men of more reasonable ambition, he takes to that standard of perfection to which we pleasure in reading and writing poetry. But I will not refuse him the credit of aspiring.
LIFE AND CHARACTER OF WILLIAM S. MOUNT.
Tue classic comic painters of all countries | Edmonds, and Clonney, all of whom are are few in number. A score of masterly subsequent to him, in point of time; and artists in portraiture may be enumerated for although several of their paintings are of every single humorous genius in the art of great merit, evincing observation and study, design. The Flemish school, with Teniers, full of character and expression, yet none of Ostade, Jan Steen, Gerard Douw, Brouwer, them can justly be compared, in point of and Moëns, is undoubtedly the richest, both equality, or with any fair pretensions to riin number of artists and in variety of comic valry, with the comic designs of Mount. subjects. The Spanish school, with Murillo Doctors of Law and Divinity, Fudges and at the head, comes next. And although, in Bishops, can be easily created by conventions respect to character, expression, thought, and councils, but a true humorist is worth a satire and dramatic power, no one master in county of such dignitaries. What does the this department can, for a moment, be com- world' know or care about the Dutch theopared with Hogarth, the English school has logians or commentators, who carried their few others to boast of. Wilkie, who ap- heads high during the sixteenth and sevenproaches most nearly, was a Scotchman, as teenth centuries ? But the Dutch school of well as the great predecessor of Cruickshank, art of that period is as well known as any (the inimitable caricaturist of this cent iry,) thing in Holland, to all out of it. Those Gilray, who was the Cruickshank in political dull, learned Professors, who lecture on the caricature of his day. Maclise is, we believe, genius of the very men, after death has an Irishman; and Leslie, with Newton, (de- made them immortal, upon whom living licious humorists of the school of Addison, they would affect to look down, talk of Goldsmith, Sterne, and Irving,) delicate comic pictures as of the Ethiopian farces, limners, graceful, spirited and Virgilian, dis- as the lowest phase of intellectual effort. playing in their charming productions, the But how many libraries of sermons, and amenity, gentle beauties, and subtle refine-controversial theology, and Church history, ments of those masters of authorship, we may be bought for the smallest collection claim as American, partly from their early of Teniers and Ostade ! education here, and partly from their Ameri- Among those, too, who affect a liking for can illustrations of Irving.
art in this walk, how few correctly appreciThe French pride themselves, and justly, ate it; placing the department of humorous on the possession of the genteel as well in description and comic satire below portrait painting as in style; but with all his courtly and landscape, to say nothing of what passes elegance, neither can Watteau be fairly con- under the style and title of bistory. In sidered a humorist, nor Coypel, though he painting, however, as in literature, familiar has illustrated Don Quixote with so much history is in general far more valuable and vivacity and effect.
directly interesting than the so-called heroic The paintings of W. S. Mount, one of the phases of art. Every thing depends on the few American artists that deserve to be called artist and his mode of treatment of a subpainters, are of a strictly national character; ject. A great artist will make more of an ordithe pride and boast, not only of his native nary scene than the inferior genius will be able Long Island, nor yet of the State of New- to create out of the noblest materials. True, York solely, but of the whole country. Of an the grand style, in the hands of a Raphael, inferior grade, in the same department, are a Titian, a Rubens, is above any thing of the pictures of Bingham, Ranney, Woodville,' Dutch or Flemish art. We are not institu