Page images

very copious catalogue of books, drawn up in the same order of subjects, occupies the Appendix ; so that any one whose curiosity is excited by the outline of any art or science given in the text, by referring to this portion of the volume, will find the means of pursuing the study of it to any extent that he desires. Such a catalogue, though necessarily incomplete, it was thought might be of some service in the formation of libraries.

We may easily infer, that the labor of preparing such a work as the “ Pantology” must have been great, and there is every indication that it has been faithfully performed. It is not made up of extracts in the way which now so often renders the art of book-making a mere mechanical process ; but the information obtained from a vast variety of sources has been carefully worked over in the writer's mind, clothed in his own language, and condensed into the smallest possible compass. As a work of general reference, it will be of great use; and the reader who has the patience to study the volume as a whole will doubtless acquire some new views of the connexion and mutual dependency of the sciences, and some insight into the method of pursuing them to the best advantage. When a single laborer traverses such a wide field, it is to be expected that he will make some mistakes, for no one can be equally well informed in all departments of knowledge. But the errors which we have noticed are few and slight, and the reputation of Professor Park as a diligent and accurate scholar, is a sufficient guaranty against the fear of gross blunders.

2. — The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, an Offering for Christ

mas and the New Year. Boston : D. H. Williams.

1842. 8vo. pp. 320. This new volume of the "Token"comes to us in a very attractive form. It is beautifully printed, tastefully bound, and illustrated with engravings from distinguished artists. We do not think these are by any means the best part of the book. They do not come up to the demands of the present time. In fact they are decidedly poor. The group of objects on the first title-page is certainly out of drawing. Either the “Token" as there represented is a prodigious folio, very different from the copy now lying before us, or the framed portrait resting upon it, is a miniature of the smallest size.

But when we pass on to the literary contributions, we can conscientiously award the “Token" liberal praise. There is hardly a single piece from beginning to end which is not in good taste, and several of them, both in prose and verse, have eminent merit. The first piece, under the title of “ The Lesson of a Moment,” is happily conceived, and written with remarkable and most scholarlike elegance of style. The translation from the German of Pfizer, entitled “ The Two Locks of Hair," by Longfellow, is done in his best style, and is a most exquisite and tender poem. “The Seen and the Unseen,” by Ephraim Peabody, is a piece that would have done honor to Washington Irving, in the flower of his genius. It is full of the deepest thought, and the thought is clothed in the most glowing and eloquent expression. We have elsewhere spoken of this writer, and we refer the reader to this paper for proof of all we have said in praise of his poetical powers. There are many other well-written articles, both in prose and poetry, which will not be suffered to pass away with the occasion which produced them. Mr. Percival has here some admirable pieces in imitation of ancient classical metres. The first of these, a paraphrase of the warlike elegy of Tyrtæus, strikes us as the best English representation of the Hexameter and Pentameter, that we have ever seen. The lambic trimeters, owing to a defective arrangement of the cæsura, are not so good. The Anacreontics and Anapæstics are excellent. The “ Exiles of Acadia,” by Mr. Bancroft, an extract from an unpublished volume of his History, is a fine piece of historical painting, and presents a beautiful picture of that innocent and interesting people, and a touching account of their captivity. But there is one sentence which greatly mars the beauty of this delineation, by suggesting the “ angry parle” of our own party conflicts. The sentence, part of which is most inappropriately introduced, is as follows; “ Their exchanges were chiefly by way of barter; very little coin circulated among them ; 'no custom-house was known on their coasts, and paper money had not extended its curse to their peaceful abodes." Does Mr. Bancroft really think that the Acadians were any happier for being without the facilities of commercial intercourse with the rest of the world, and thus destitute of the most essential blessings of cultivated lise ?

The old readers of the “ Token" will be glad to see it revived. The present volume is very superior in literary merits to any of its predecessors. The least valuable contribution is the scraps selected from the works of that great literary motley, Jean Paul Richter; an author who is chargeable with a prodigious quantity of nonsense on his own account, and with all the imitation nonsense of Thomas Carlyle, and whose whimsical, drunken extravagances are fancied by some persons to be great original thoughts. He has probably put more people out of their wits than any other great author of the bedlamite school. 3. — An Account of the Magnetic Observations made at the Obser

vatory of Harvard University, Cambridge. By Joseph LOVERING, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and W. CRANCH BOND, Astronomical Observer of the College. Communicated by Joseph Lovering, A. M. [Memoirs of the American Academy.] 4to. pp. 84.

The progress of practical astronomy in this country is plainly evinced by the sudden growth of its observatories, of which until very lately it was entirely destitute. It can already boast of many thorough and persevering observers, as Bache and Walker of Philadelphia, Bartlett of West Point, * Loomis of the Western Reserve College, Bondler and Paine of the Massachusetts Survey, Graham of the army, Wilkes of the navy, and others, all of whom deserve higher praise than such a passing notice as the present. To this scientific advance, the University of Cambridge should contribute powerful aid, and we rejoice to find her Observatory so well appointed, and in such active and successful operation. The numerous stated duties of the Hollis Professor and Lowell Lecturer rendered it impossible for him to devote much time to the nice details of practical astronomy, and the University was therefore compelled to look around her for some one to be associated with him in the charge of the Observatory, and may be warmly congratulated upon having secured the services of so distinguished an observer as Mr. Bond. This gentleman has been employed by the general government to observe in connexion with the Exploring Expedition, which he had done in a small observatory of his own, where it was his chief delight and happiness to watch the heavens ; and few scientific men bring to the cause so much of enthusiasm and energy, so much of the self-sacrificing earnestness requisite to the advancement of all great ends.

Professor Lovering has given to the public, in the work before us, a well-digested account of the general system of magnetic observations, and particularly of those in Cambridge since their commencement. His comparison of the thermometric and magnetic curves is interesting, and suggests much speculation, which we think will sooner or later prove of fundamental value in explaining the phenomena of terrestrial

We are glad to learn that the observatory at West Point is completed, and believe, that, under the control of the accomplished officers of the school, it will, as the leading observatory of the country, add to the reputation of that celebrated institution, and show itself worthy of the most liberal palronage of government.

magnetism. The labors of these gentlemen and the results at which they have arrived are bighly creditable both to their industry and ability, and we confidently hope that the aid required for the furtherance of objects so important to science will be generously extended. A greater number of instruments as well as more observers, are necessary to the perfection of the plan, and although some public-spirited individuals have already contributed liberally in its behalf, the funds are yet quite insufficient.

4. — Selections from the Poetical Literature of the West. Cin

cinnati : U. P. James. 1841. 12mo. pp. 264.

Our fellow-citizens of the West have found time, in the midst of the labors attending the settlement of a new country, to do not a little towards increasing the stores of American poetry. This neatly printed volume is a very valuable work, containing as it does, specimens from all the principal poetical writers of that great and growing region. Some of the names in the table of contents prefixed to this volume can hardly be said to belong to the West. Ephraim Peabody, for example, was an inhabitant of Cincinnati only a short time. He is a New England man, by birth and education, and now by residence. He has shown powers, both as a beautiful poet and a brilliant prosewriter, that bid fair to carry his fame far beyond all local boundary lines, and to place his name high on the list of great national writers. Still, it was a very proper thing for the editor, to select from such pieces of Mr. Peabody as were written while he was a citizen of the West, or were suggested by Western subjects, or the associations with his Western life. Seyeral other writers whose works have furnished materials for this volume, were born on the eastern side of the mountains. We should therefore, naturally expect but little in the literary style or tone of feeling, to mark the greater part of these productions, as peculiarly the offspring of Western genius. But here we should find ourselves somewhat mistaken. These pieces are most of them redolent of the Western soil. They bear unquestionable marks, not merely of Western intellect, but of Western lands. The richness and grandeur of Western scenery make a strong and peculiar impression upon the mind of the emigrant, when he is first brought under their influences. They work a change in his intellectual being, modifying all his ways of thinking, and coloring all his expressions. If he becomes a writer, he becomes a very different one from what he would have been had he remained at home.

In short, VOL. LIII. NO. 113.


he becomes strongly assimilated to the native-born sons of the West.

The thinkers and writers of the West start fresh in matters of intellect, as well as in matters of domestic life. They set out from a stage in the progress of thought, which older communities have left far behind them. We find in their works inany images and trains of sentiment reproduced, which belong to the earlier periods of the literature of a more ancient society. They take less for granted, as in political disquisitions they go back to first principles, and prove over again what long-established institutions presuppose as on all hands admitted. We find in this volume, for example, many pieces devoted to the commonplaces of love and gallantry, that in this part of the world we have long gotten through with safely ; and we speak of this by no means in the spirit of censure, but simply to show how perfectly natural has been the origin and growth of Western poetry. Patriotic feelings, too, come up again among the effusions of the Western muse, with a freshness and originality, which belong to the recent possession of a country to be patriotic for. Both these qualities are far from indicating any want of poetical genius, or any tendency to repeat the commonplaces, which elsewhere are worn threadbare ; on the contrary, they show the independent action of the Western mind, and present interesting phenomena to the observer who curiously traces the steps of the poetical spirit.

Undoubtedly there are faults and imperfections in Western poetry. We notice, for instance, what to be sure is not unknown to some of our own bards, many of those absurd comparisons of things known, to things unknown, - that is to say, attempts to illustrate things that we have seen, or may see, by telling us they look like things that we never have seen, and cannot possibly see. We open the book at random, and find on page 55 these lines, upon an infant sleeping on its mother's bosom.

“ It lay upon its mother's breast, a thing

Bright as a dewdrop when it first descends,
Or as the plumage of an angel's wing

Where every tint of rainbow-beauty blends." The dewdrop is uniimpeachable, though rather small ; but the angel's wing with the rainbow-tints is an unfit object to compare an infant to, because it irresistibly suggests a peacock's tail, that being the only thing in the feathered line that we can think of, as at all resembling a rainbow, and if the child looked in the least like this, all that can be said is, it must have been a very uncommon infant phenomenon.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »