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not but chide her gently for exposing her Thomas Austin and Jessie have been self to so great a danger.
blessed since their marriage with many They walked homeward in silence, happy years. He has at times thrown off though not sadly. Austin especially had some poetical fragments of high and ungone through that which might well make usual promise, but if a friend urge a more him grave and thoughtful. He had re entire surrender to his genius, he is acceived a fearful lesson in the mystery of customed to say that experience has the human soul.
taught him that happiness is more surely The marketman, at his own request, re attained by the laborious exercises of the ceived the frequent visits of a venerable reason, than by giving the reins to a fervid clergyman, and, as that good man thought, imagination and an impulsive temperaevinced marks of genuine penitence and ment. It is observable that Jessie always faith. That something of superstition was joins in the praise of moderation and tranintermingled with his best sentiments, quillity. The very few who are acquaintthough certainly to be regretted, is scarcely ed with the events of the memorable eighth a subject for surprise. He underwent the of June are able to perceive that Austin sentence of the law with meekness and | has peculiar reason for his caution. contrition.
AN APOLOGY FOR THE LAST COMER.
THERE are those who affirm that all of the times. If they look abroad, it is poetry is comprehended in Homer, and all only to be grieved to the heart by the rephilosophy in Aristotle. We might submit | flection that a dreary dearth is spreading to the dogma, and yet maintain that later over the land.
The grass and evergreen writers may deserve both pardon and com- appear to be withering, and those living mendation. Sunshine is doubtless better in streams that might irrigate and refreshen itself than any substitute, but if the vision of the face of nature, and cause even the this twilight age have become too feeble to sand to shoot forth bud and blossom, flow endure the blazing splendors of the luminary along in obscure channels unregarded, if of day, “weary travellers” like us may not unknown. Let us suppose that such a surely hail without displeasure “ the bor- sincere worshipper of real poetry chances rowed beams of moon and stars.” Though it in some desponding hour to take into his be great folly in men not to avail themselves hand a volume of popular poems. It is of the best light, we should bear in mind easy to imagine him languidly turning over that it would be still greater folly to choose the leaves and sweeping whole stanzas total darkness.
at each careless glance. Let it be that he The older poets, it is said, are neglected ; now strikes upon a passage which he rewe admit the sad truth ; but what then ? | cognizes as drawn from some favorite Will the multitude throw aside the Cor- master, perhaps from Milton, or Spenser, sair and take up Comus at our suggestion ? or Chaucer. He at once gives it the The critic who places himself directly greeting of an old and cherished friend; counter to popular opinion, will spend his the vacant expression flies from his counbreath in vain. He may be able, indeed, tenance, and sparkling eye and animated now and then to cleave down a young gesture testify to the pleasure which thrills sprout of authorship, and so accomplish a through the whole man. With awakened little by way of prevention, for it is in interest, he is tempted to read further, human nature to obey prohibitions less re and if he find more noble borrowed luctantly than positive precepts, probably thoughts, each additional instance increases because experience teaches us from infancy his gratification. Does he think of chidthat we are much more likely to meet evil ing the writer of the book as a plagiarist ? things in this world than good ones. Not at all, but instead would heap thanks Assure a man that there is poison in the upon him for his efficient service in the platter and he will cast it from his table; cause of the Muses. The volume, we but though figs freshly plucked from the have said, is a popular one. That term tree be both luscious and wholesome, no which grated harshly on his ear before persuasion can produce a relish for them the perusal and the discovery, sounds now in a person with whose taste they do not like sweetest music. The world, become agree. He who tells men what they childish in its love of novelty, will not ought nol to read, may possibly receive look at the Odyssey or the Fairy Queen ; attention, whilst he who tells them what but poetry has not lost its charm, and it is their duty to read, effects nothing those very things which excited the The few remaining true lovers of olden highest admiration in the first readers of song seem therefore to have no better any of the great works of genuis, are resource than to sit down under the wil- found to be even yet the surest elements lows, and weep and sigh for the degeneracy of popularity. Good taste did not forsake
the earth with Astræa. Even the original | and plagiarist of the nineteenth century, or portions of the book receive a share of of the age of Anne, or of the age of the favorable notice of our enthusiast, Augustus—we must nevertheless acknowfor he cannot believe the setting unworthy ledge them benefactors of their race. of the gems. The fragments of “ Poesy's Possibly we may class them as vassals in most precious ore," from the first the the literary host; as dim-sighted spirits, objects of his reverential affection, seem, as who cannot look upon mountain or sea, or now arranged, to possess a new brilliancy starry firmament, except in the pictures —they shine “like apples of gold in a drawn by other men. Yet it should be picture of silver.”
remembered that the value of the service A reviewer cannot, of course, look quite is not always proportioned to the quality so mildly upon a poem containing borrow- of him who renders it; the alms of the ed treasures. If he have predetermined publican may save from starvation, and to impale it for the entertainment of his the Samaritan's ointment heal the bruised readers, his joy at the detection of the limb. theft is no doubt equal to that of our Let it not be said that a universal and kindly friend under the willow. It pro- unsparing prosecution of the charge of ceeds, however, from a different motive. plagiarism is demanded by any regard for Plagiarist is a term of dishonor, and every the honor of the original writers whose body who has felt recentment, knows how works have been drawn upon without great is the pleasure of being able to give acknowledgment. Very few modern an ill-name to the dog that one wishes to authors, an almost inappreciable proporhang. Yet the reviewer is not without tion of the whole number, can be expectthe feelings of a man. He cannot with ed to attain to a “life beyond life," and complacency see the world growing worse, the names that do hereafter win a place nor can he altogether refuse his good will on “fame's eternal beadroll” must be into any judicious effort to arrest such a cribed lower on the column than those tendency. In a surly mood, he may care of the giants of old. In despite of relittle for the mental health of the grown- form, innovation and progress, the right up men who obstinately reject invaluable of the first-born stands. The great poets medicine after it has been a thousand times are lifted beyond rivalry.
The world may shown them; but does not the welfare of cease to read their works, but it will never innocent, unthinking, belpless childhood cease to esteem them worthy of being deserve a thought? The volumes which read. are daily purchased and placed on the There are other considerations which centre-table or the family book-shelf, are should not be overlooked. The stigma of the objects of hearty, though unconscious plagiarism, besides being followed by more study, to myriads of young minds, who, obloquy than any other, is capable of beat an age far more curious and susceptible ing fastened on the most innocent. Nathan any other, are attracted to them by ture is the same that it was ages ago, and leaded print and the dazzling whiteness of is suggestive of the same emotions. The modern paper. It is incumbent on us, noble beech which throws its drapery over therefore, to hesitate before endeavoring the summer stream is to us, as to all who to destroy books which, under the guise of preceded us, an image of quiet beauty and novelty, instill into a public that refuses to refreshment. The oak that still rears its look at aught but what is new, those rugged trunk to heaven, though the desostrains of ancient song
lating tempest has torn away the branches
which were its ornament and pride, repre
“that raised sents as naturally now as heretofore, a To height of noblest temper, heroes old; strong, heroic spirit, enduring the nearest Nor want the power to mitigate and suage Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and
and most afllictive calamities immovable
and unbent. Man and the world were pain.
adapted to each other at the beginning, Call the men who have nourished our and century after century has rolled by own or our ancestors' infancy with such without altering the relation. When we food by what names we may-imitator | behold the majestic march of the storm
cloud, when our eyes are dazzled by the owing merely to a faithful adherence to lightnings which play around it, and our nature on the part of both writers. If ears deafened by the thunder whose rever- several painters represent on canvas the berations shake the steadfast hills, our same landscape or cathedral, or make breasts, like the breasts of the first de- portraits of the same person, no one is scendants of Noah, fail not to swell with surprised to perceive a similarity in their
When at another time we look productions. Things that resemble the forth just as the last beams of the placid same thing cannot but resemble one ansun shed a softened glow over the land- other. Secondly, there
be an imitascape, and watch the increasing shadows tion which is undesigned, and of which of the stately beeves that graze at the the author is unconscious and of course bottom of the vale,* or follow the ewes innocent; for the writings of the poets and skipping lambs as by many a path contribute like other objects of the exterthey seek the less humid atmosphere of nal world to fill up the blank mind of inthe summit; at such a sight gentle fancy. Many a man every day calls the thoughts steal upon the mind, passion sub- opening which admits light into the room a
sides, the cares and labors of the day are window, who yet could not tell for his life | forgotten, and we too turn to repose, whether it was nurse Jane or his mother
grateful, tranquil, trusting. It is the poet's who taught him to designate that object office to seize these fleeting lessons of by that sound. A poetical mind receives nature, and to fix and perpetuate them in impressions as readily from the poetry of verse. But he must catch them as they description as from the poetry of nature. spontaneously arise, not having recourse If neither of these enumerated causes to research nor to painful deduction. He be adequate to account for the likeness can touch the hearts of other men only by under consideration — and only in this that wherewith his own heart has been event-we may rightfully refer it to the touched. He paints nature, and he paints last, which is a downright intention to the soul. Both nature and the soul are imitate, what they were when the old Chian chant Discarding therefore, as contradictory to ed his rhapsodies, and when an Athenian all justice, the notion that every passage audience listened breathless to the Pro- must be copied from any previous one metheus Desmotes or the Edipus Tyran- which it may happen to resemble, let us nus. Using as they must the same mate- proceed a step further in the path of jurials, and appealing to the same passions dicial decorum. Instead of distracting and emotions, it is not wonderful that co our judgment by a vague and transient incidences should be found in poets of glance at a large number of passages every age. Were the case otherwise po- which we suspect to be stolen, let us conetry would not be what is—the common fine our attention for a while to some one blessing of all mankind.
particular image or sentiment, and decide, The charge of plagiarism is a charge of if possible, upon the ownership of that. theft. Our venerable Anglo-Saxon law It happens that many persons in describpresumes every man who is brought be- ing moral firmness have used the same fore its tribunals to be innocent until con illustration. So far there is nothing by victed. The critic ought not to be less which we can determine very positively humane, nor less just. If then an accused which of the three possible causes this corauthor be allowed the benefit of such a respondence is owing to.
Let us now presumption, he will have a better chance seek some untutored settler of the backof escape
than we are in many instances woods who never read a sentence in his apt to suppose. Any resemblance to an- life, and ask him to describe an individual other work may obviously be attributed to of known inflexibility of character. There either one of three causes. Two out of are ten chances to one that the answer this trio would justify the seeming pla- will be, “ He's stiff as a rock.” Hence, giarist. First, the resemblance may be there is evidently no occasion to go back
to Homer for this comparison. Next, * _“in reducta valle mugientium.
what is the most natural illustration of the Prospectat errantes greges."
rush of an army in battle ? Almost every 10
one's mind flies instinctively to the move A resemblance certainly ; what have ment of great waters. The soliloquy of you to say for yourself, Virgilius Maro ? Henry the Sixth, in Shakspeare, is well The poet, gracefully wrapping his toga known. Scott, who is as good a repre- about him, replies in a tone more deferensentative as can be found of the inartificial, tial than might be expected from Roman unfettered, manly spirit, never, perhaps, lips: “It is rather hard, my friends, to in his metrical romances, describes a bat- bring me into court for lines which were tle without an allusion to some of the given to the world against my will. All forms of water. Now it is the torrent over the inhabited earth it is known that dashing down the linn, now the vast flood my last six books were not”of Orinoco contending with the ocean it " Ah, but,” interrupts the judge, who, self. The steadfast man, it has been seen, for the nonce, may be Minos or Rhadais most like a rock. Place him in battle, manthus, or, perhaps, Chief-justice Jefwhat is he then? Obviously a rock beat fries—“Ah, but, sir,” says the judge, en by the surge. But water is not the · have you the assurance to declare that only element which can furnish a fitting you intended to blot out that passage ?" image of a vehement assault. The wind “ The Ipsa immota manens, is equally furious and impetuous, and pre murs Virgil, half aloud, “ does come in sents itself still oftener to our notice. very well, I must say. . It seems to stand
These are certainly very obvious mate-up boldly when one reads the passage, rials for a comparison, yet Goldsmith in like the rock itself I meant it to represent. using them has subjected himself to the I don't think I would have touched that rebuke of a critic of much acuteness as figure.” well as extensive reading; who, however, The judge, not seizing the point of his quite impartially involves Dryden and Vir- remark, continued: “In those books which gil in the same accusation. No small have received your final approval are number of other poets, as a very slight there not many gross imitations ? That investigation may show, stand in equally descent into Hades now, where". suspicious circumstances.
“But,” says Virgil, quickly, “I The passage in the Iliad to which so indicted for anything in that balf of my many succeeding writers are thought to poem, nor do I conceive that it can be exbe indebted, is thus put in English by actly proper." Pope :
How sir!" exclaims the judge, now
unmistakeably Jeffries, “am I to learn my “ As some tall rock o'erhangs the hoary main, duty from you; you a vile heathen, brought By winds assailed, by billows beat in vain;
up to know nothing of law but the babUnmoved it hears above the tempest blow,
ble of your wretched prætors; you, who And sees the watery mountains break below."
never read Bracton, nor Glanvil, mor Sir
Edward Coke? Learn manners, sir, before As this is a matter in which we cannot you presume to open your lips at the bar
of criticism !” be too accurate, let us attend to another
Our honey-lipped Virgil plucks up interpreter, Cowper:
spirit enough to answer, that he does not
deny the fact of the imitation in the lines “ As some vast rock beside the hoary deep,
cited, but would justify it. “Imitation, so The stress endures of many a hollow wind, And the huge billows tumbling at his base.”
far from being a cause for reproach, is, if properly managed, a proof of the highest
excellence.” At this word he was about Now for the culprits. The bard of to release his right arm for a gesture, but Mantua first steps forth with all the ease the justice cut him short. of an accomplished courtier :
Enough, sir; out of your own mouth “ Ille velut rupes, vastum quæ prodit in
stand condemned. Seek a remedy in
æquor Obvia ventorum furiis, expôsiaque ponto,
the Court of Equity if you choose; but for Vim cunctam atque minas perfert cælique
the present, at least
, this passage is expung, marisque,
ed from the Æneid and from the minds of Ipsa immota manens.