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“Three high-born dames it was my lot to see,
Not all alike in beauty, yet so fair,
And so akin in act, and look, and air,
So charmed me that I loved her, and became
Her bard, and sung my passion, and her name,
Was iurned elsewhere, it was but to admire
And worship her in idols; fond desire,
As rank idolatry 'gainst LovE's true fire.” – Vol. 1. p. 17. “ 'Til L'Aura comes, who now, alas! elsewhere
Breathes, amid fields and forests hard of heart,
Bereft of joy I stray from crowds apart
Since Love has gone a rustic to the plough,
Or feeds his flocks, — or in the summer now
Happy the mead and valley, hill and wood,
Seein by her look with sense and joy endued.
The country courteous grows, the city rude,
10. - Fragments from German Prose Writers. Translated by
Sarah Austin. With Biographical Sketches of the Authors. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1841. 16mo.
Mrs. Austin's rare merits as a translator do not require to be heralded
She has done more, perhaps, than any living writer, to bring the German mind into contact with the English, and to exhibit the former in its true lineaments and proportions, - not softened down into a vague image, in which all the salient points of the original are lost, nor yet heightened into bold caricature, or copied with slavish and spiritless fidelity. A perfect mistress of German idiom, she possesses entire command, also, over the stores of our own language, and the raciness and spirit of her English style would warrant her a high reputation as an original writer. The happily chosen words and turns of expression in a particular writer do not make so deep an impression on her mind, as to slip unawares into the translation, and thus spoil the uniform and native air of the work in the eye of a reader, to whose mind the hybrid compound does not immediately suggest the foreign original. These excellences of Mrs. Austin's manner are often suggested to us by contrast, on looking over some one of the countless works translated from the German, which the press is sending forth in such rapid succession. One would suppose, that most of these translators "had been at a feast of languages, and had stolen the scraps," they treat the king's English so aboininably.
The volume before us is well adapted to show the writer's varied powers as a translator, and her taste and judgment in selecting passages from various authors. Yet it is not a book of elegant extracts, a flower culled here and there to form a nosegay all of sweets. It is rather a collection of scraps, as if a common-place book were emptied into the volume, filled with fragments that had excited attention at various times, from some peculiarity of thought, imagery, sentiment, or expression. Some of the materials are sweet, some pungent, some bright and exhilarating, and others positively acrid and offensive. There is a mixture of all humors and complexions, in which something will be found to gratify all kinds of taste. Critics and artists, novelists and historians, poets and philosophers, are all put under contribution to the contents of the book. The translator remarks, that the choice of the passages was determined by considerations as various as their character and their subjects. “ In some it was the value of the matter, in others the beauty of the form, that struck me ; in some the vigorous, unaffected good sense, in others the fantastic or mystical charm." A compound put together in such an irregular way will probably give to English readers a more correct idea of the extent, variety, and peculiar character of German literature, than a collection formed and classified upon more orderly principles. Notwithstanding the perfect English garb, with which the skill of the translator has invested these products of another clime, some peculiarity of thought or feeling invariably betrays their foreign origin ; and for this reason, among many others, the book may be recommended to those who wish to gain a general idea of the spirit and prevailing character of German literature.
We must not omit to say a word of the remarkably neat and tasteful manner in which the American publisher of the volume has executed his task. Several other publications, from the same establishment, have displayed equal taste and liberality in the mechanical execution, and we hope such enterprise will be attended and rewarded by the favor of the public. However English authors may have to complain, that their productions are stolen by American publishers, they cannot say, now-a-days, that their children are defaced by any Gipsey process, in order that what is unlawfully obtained may not be recognised.
11. - The New Hampshire Book ; being Specimens of the Liter
ature of the Granite Stale. Nashua : Published by David Marshall. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1842.
12mo. pp. 391. The restless and migratory disposition of our countrymen gives little opportunity for the formation of local peculiarities of character. The denizens of town and country too frequently change places with each other, to allow the peculiar influences of either residence to exert a marked influence on their habits, feelings, and manners. The constant interchange between the inhabitants of the several States, the facilities for travelling, and the inclination for the pursuit of pleasure, novelty, or gain, which first created these modes of rapid conveyance, and which now sustains them by constant employment, are all operative causes against the formation of provincial traits of sentiment, expression, or custom. We are almost a nomadic people, a set of wandering Tartars, with hardly a knowledge of what local attachments mean. Accordingly, when an American visits Europe, nothing strikes him with more surprise than the prominency and fixedness of those features, whether moral or physical, which have grown out of the geographical position of the people. Character is local and hereditary. The inhabitants of a small town or city manifest the same traits, which their ancestors showed centuries ago. Some fact in the early history of the place, connected with its establishment, colonization, or conquest by a particular tribe, has left a deep imprint on the character of its inhabitants, the traces of which can be clearly discerned at the present day. Go out half a dozen miles from them, and you meet with people, who appear of a wholly different race. In our own country, we travel on the wings of steam for a thousand miles, and find substantially the same class of beings, that we quitted four or five days before. The features of the country are different. We may have left the rock-bound shores of New England for the wide and fertile prairies of the West. But the men and women, in all important respects, are the same. They speak the same language, not usually varying even in accent; they discuss the same political topics ; their clothes are cut after the same pattern, · which is, for the most part, no pattern at all. The same distance in Europe, extends through the territories of balf a dozen kingdoms, and perhaps fifty provinces, the inbabitants of which, probably, speak about as many different languages and dialects. And the natives of each province have their mark, or shibboleth, which they carry with them wherever they go ; and they will detect the stranger, from bis want of it, as soon as he has entered their borders. The lively Parisians will discover a provincial, before be has passed a day in the capital, and, though he be an utter stranger to them, will often be able to tell from what particular corner of France he came. When will the inhabitants of Boston or New York be able to do the like ?
These remarks may not, at first sight, appear much to the purpose in treating of the “New Hampshire Book.” And yet they were naturally suggested by the examination of the work. Here is a volume of respectable size, filled with prose and poetry, on all sorts of subjects, proceeding from more than fifty different writers, all of whom were born and educated within the limits of one State. But strike out the names of the authors, some notices of individuals, and a few descriptive pieces, that relate to particular spots and remarkable scenery, and no one could tell in what part of the country the book originated. Knowing only that it was filled with contributions from some one State, it might be ascribed with equal probability to Maine or Missouri. The geographical features of New Hampshire are as strongly marked as those of any State in the Union. It deserves its title, as the Granite State. But its mountains of primitive rock have left no impress on the literature of the men they overshadow. It is true, that, under all circumstances, the highest order of literary talent will resist local influences, and assume a cosmopolite character. It ceases to be provincial, or even national ; it is universal, and becomes the property of all countries and of all times. But the volume before us is filled, in great part, with pieces of only modest pretensions. Its contents are made up, in general, of brief sketches, or extracts from works which were only designed to possess a temporary interest. Most of the contributors to its pages have only snatched an hour or two from other pursuits, to pen a stanza or a page, and, for this very reason, their productions are more likely than any others, to be tinged with a local coloring. Still, to our eyes at least, the State tint is nowhere visible.
The editors of the volume have executed their task with care and good taste. They have collected an agreeable miscellany, which, besides its peculiar interest to the inhabitants of one part of the country, will afford some pleasant reading
for others. The wish to show a long list of contributors has led to the admission of some pieces, the absence of which would improve the character of the volume as a whole. Some of the verses show more patriotism than poetry, and some prose articles display more good feeling than literary taste. The intellectual wealth of the State would appear to more advantage in copious extracts from a few writers, than in a heap of scraps from a multitude. And there was no want of materials of the highest merit. New Hampshire has given birth to many individuals, whose reputation is identified with that of the whole country ; though many of them, as the editors remark in the Preface," have not spent their lives in the State, but have sought their fortunes in other regions.”
12. — On the Remote Cause of Epidemic Diseases. By John
PARKIN, Honorary and Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Academies of Medicine and Surgery in Madrid, Barcelona, and Cadiz ; Fellow of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London ; Graduate in Medicine of the University of Erlangen. London : 1841. 8vo. pp. 198.
The cause of disease is involved in much obscurity, even in the simplest form in which the question can be presented ; and when we extend our view to epidemic diseases, which sometimes spread over and devastate vast regions of the globe, it is buried in mystery. This cause must be powerful, for its effects are irresistible ; it must be extensive, for its influence is felt in every part of the earth ; it must exist independently of local and temporary agencies, for it spreads its action over every variety of climate and through all vicissitudes of season. It has been sought for in the atmosphere, because that is the only known agent upon the surface of the globe, universal enough to meet all the points of its action. But, if it exist there, it has never been detected by direct inquiry. The most searching investigations of French chemistry could discover no difference in the composition of the purest air from the peak of Teneriffe, and the pestilential atmosphere of a Parisian hospital. He must be a bold man, therefore, who shall propose a theory to meet all the claims of these numerous and diversified phenomena, or an ingenious and able man, who shall from the phenomena themselves, and their affinities, discover the law that regulates them. To which of these classes