[To “Voices from 19th-Century America”]

Reviews of The Token for 1830

The American Monthly Magazine, September 1829

The New-York Mirror, and Ladies’ Literary Gazette, September 19, 1829

The American Monthly Magazine, October 1829

Rural Repository, 10 October 1829

The Bower of Taste, 16 October 1829

American Traveller [Boston, Massachusetts], 23 October 1829

The Ladies’ Magazine, November 1829



By the time The Token for 1830 was published, the practice of reprinting choice pieces from the gift annuals in newspapers and magazines was so well established that reviewers commented on it—and, at least in the case of The New-York Mirror, did not hesitate to perpetuate it. While the editor of the Bower of Taste manages to praise the Token without telling readers much about what’s actually in it, there was a promise that one story by a popular writer would be reprinted in the next issue. Sarah Josepha Hale, probable author of the review in The Ladies’ Magazine, found much to praise in the volume—even the work of N. P. Willis, whose poetry she usually found “mawkish” and “sentimental.” She differed greatly, however, from the reviewer in the Mirror, over “Height of Impudence,” a story that it seems reviewers either praised or despised. The long and fulsome review in The American Monthly Magazine discusses poetry in general for three pages, but apparently the words on the Token caused some controversy among other critics.



Review of The Token for 1830 (from The American Monthly Magazine, September 1829; pp. 406-420)

The Token, for 1830. Edited by S. G. Goodrich. Published by Carter and Hendee. Boston. 1830.

To those who never had the pleasure of making acquaintance with the preceding volumes of the Token, its extreme and elegant neatness will be a sufficient ‘letter of recommendation’ to bespeak good will: but we, who have had opportunity to observe its constant and rapid improvement in beauty and worth, would not unnecessarily use time in praising its exterior decoration. We are prepared to be pleased, but certainly shall not fail to exhibit the causticity proper to our nature (ex officio) when the occasion seems to require its developement. This will not often occur; for we think that a work like this, which betokens such a spirited determination to foster the public

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taste, deserves our most favorable construction, without considering how eminently successful its enterprising publisher has been in pleasing and satisfying the public mind. The volume is introduced by a handsome preface, which we were old fashioned enough to read, in which the publisher makes a sort of exposé of the comparative expense of works of the kind in this country and in England; and shows that, not only is the cost of publication greater with us, but that the encouragement, naturally to be expected for an American work, illustrative, to a great degree, of our own scenery and manners, is, notwithstanding, much less liberal. And here, we say, may be found the secret of some of this apparent illiberality towards the elegant arts, of which the more refined have been in the habit of complaining, but which a strenuous perseverance in publishing such works as the Token, will, we hope, soon remedy; namely, so much has been said of late years about illustrating American scenery and manners, without a correspondent supply of sterling material, that the public, whether they confess it or not, are tired to death of the very names. We do not mean to say, that there is not a vast number of incidents in our Revolutionary and ante-revolutionary History, which are full of interest and romance: but the difficulty is, that we are bringing them all forward too prematurely. They stand out now too prominently, so that all can examine their roughnesses, their sharp corners, and uninteresting peculiarities: they need the mellowing touch of Time, who, destroyer as he is, never fails to throw over his victims a dim but beautiful light, a veil of indistinct and misty obscurity, which, granting free room for the imagination to play in, adds half the charm to what we can examine and know. Omne ignotum pro magnifico, said Tacitus; and the noble Roman was surely not apt to form false or unphilosophical conclusions on the phenomena of the human mind. There is just this difference of interest excited by an ancient tale, with only a few of whose mysterius and, as it were, hallowed facts, we are acquainted, and one, the whole series of whose details is familiar to us: the one, is like some staring red brick house, complete in all its parts, and soiled only with the dust of to-day; the respectable habitation of any definite individual and his blooming family, with all of whose inmates we are on the best possible terms and coud detail their peculiar characteristics with due precision;—the other may represent one of those desolate dwelling-places, (of many of which, to be sure, we cannot boast, but which travellers speak of,) with its torn wall and ivied porch, and deserted chambers, all lonely and forgotten; which fancy may people with inhabitants at will, and imagine their lives, their

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feelings, and their fate. The fact is, we do not read stories for certainty or to revive our recollections of facts, but for excitement, for novelty and wonder; and, once more, there is the same difference between fHistory, as it should be, and legends, as they ought to be, as between the mathematical problem a X b=ab, in which, when we have ascertained this certainly important result, we neither know or care more about the matter,—and the gigantic foot of Alcides the victorious, on which, when once seen, we can build up his mighty proportions, and fancy his glorious prowess.

All these subjects of imagination too require strong handling; and the great minds, which only can manage such things well, cannot suffer their powers to be tramelled, or their themes to be prescribed. Their eyes ‘glance from earth to heaven,’ and over the illimitable extent of the visible and invisible universe: their subjects are men’s high achievements and God’s good works wherever they occur and are manifested. Such en do indeed feel and cherish the deepest, the most devoted feelings of true and generous patriotism, but they love virtue, all moral beauty and nobleness, better than their country, better, far better than themselves; and, growing more liberal and universal in their sympathies, the more enlarged, the wiser and purer their minds become, they delight to describe an exalted character, a gallant action, or a heroic trait, whether displayed at their own fireside, or at Nova Zembla, or the pole.

We make these few preliminary remarks, because we think and with others to think, if they will, that an American writer, like the writer of every other country ought, notwithstanding the fashion, to select such subjects for the exercise of his powers, as will allow those powers their freest play and fullest developement, whether the subject be national or otherwise; and not feel himself bound by his tenure of citizenship, to drag in for illustration, at all times and places, a provincial story or a Yankee legend, often absurd enough in itself and sometimes shockingly inapposite to the matter in hand. There are plenty of both which are really excellent: let us have only those.

The Token commences with some fanciful lines referring to the vignette title page, and these are succeeded by a splendid prose description of the various phases of the magnificent sea, in which, taking for his leader one of the most remarkable men of ancient or modern times, the poet, prophet, hero and king,—the mighty Psalmist of Israel,—the author dilates upon the uses of the ocean, and its uncontrollable power, and introduces many very just and generally striking reflections. We need only say that it is the production of the Rev. Mr. Greenwood, and quote a part of the conclusion.

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“There is mystery in the sea. There is mystery in its depths. It is unfathomed and perhaps unfathomable. Who can tell, who shall know, how near its pits run down to the central core of the world? Who can tell what wells, what fountains are there, to which the fountains of the earth are in comparison but drops? Who shall say whence the ocean derives those inexhaustible supplies of salt, which so impregnate its waters, that all the rivers of the earth, pouring into it from the time of the creation, have not been able to freshen them? What undescribed monsters, what unimaginable shapes, may be roving in the profoundest places of the sea, never seeking, and perhaps from their nature unable to seek the upper waters, and expose themselves to the gaze of man! What glittering riches, what heaps of gold, what stores of gems, there must be scattered in lavish profusion on the ocean’s lowest bed! What spoils from all climates, what works of art from all lands, have been ingulfed by the insatiable and reckless waves! Who shall go down to examine and reclaim this uncounted and idle wealth? who bears the keys of the deep?

And oh! yet more affecting to the heart and mysterious to the mind, what companies of human beings are locked up in that wide, weltering, unsearchable grave of the sea! Where are the bodies of those lost ones, over whom the melancholy waves alone have been chanting requiem? What shrouds were wrapped round the limbs of beauty, and of manhood, and of placid infancy, when they were laid on the dark floor of that secret tomb? Where are the bones, the relics of the brave and the fearful, the good and the bad, the parent, the child, the wife, the husband, the brother, and sister, and lover, which have been tossed and scattered and buried by the washing, wasting, wandering sea? The journeying winds may sigh, as year after year they pass over their beds. The solitary rain-cloud may weep in darkness over the mingled remains which lie strewed in that unwonted cemetery. But who shall tell the bereaved to what spot their affections may cling? And where shall human tears be shed throughout that solemn sepulchre? It is mystery all. When shall it be resolved? Who shall find it out? Who, but he to whom the wildest waves listen reverently, and to whom all nature bows; he who shall one day speak, and be heard in ocean’s profoundest caves; to whom the deep, even the lowest deep, shall give up all its dead, when the sun shall sicken, and the earth and the isles shall languish, and the heavens be rolled together like a scroll and there shall be ‘no more sea.’ ”

The next article, styled “Napoleon,” by Grenville Mellen, is, we think, the best piece of his we have ever had the pleasure to meet with, and his verses, certes, have always afforded us pleasure. The subject is Napoleon weeping on a bust of his son at St. Helena. The first and the two following verses are very touching and much the best.

The roar of all the world had passed—

On a sounding rock alone,

An exile, to the earth he cast

His gathered glories down!

Yet dreamt he of his victor race,

Till, turning to that marble face,

His heart gave way;

And nature saw her time of power—

A conqueror in tears!

The mighty bowed before a flower,

In the chastisement of years!

What can this mystery control!—

The father comes, as man’s high soul

And hopes decay.

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“The Maniac,” by the Editor, seems to us by no means equal to some of his previous productions.

“The Wounded Bird,” by P. is very simple, natural and affecting: worthy of Percival, if it is his, and not unworthy of any good heart or sound ind.

“The Indian Fighter,” by the author of ‘Francis Berrian,’ (Mr. Flint of Cincinnati,) is a terrible story, told with great power and pathos, and full of beautiful description of the grand and splendid scenery, the gorgeous dyes of bird and flower, which the more bountiful Nature of the West has so unsparingly and spontaneously distributed over immense prairie and forest.

“To a Bride,” by John W. Stebbins, it is hard to characterise as merely pretty, when the author meant to produce something of a higher nature: but it is, certainly, pretty, with the exception of the last stanza, which has some bad lines, unless he means to change the measure, which is hardly justifiable in a piece of this sort.

‘Innocence,” by Grenville Mellen, we like, especially the moral: better would it be for the world, if Poets, to whom God has given a higher perception of natural and moral beauty than to others, would learn not “to lavish their high gifts in vain,” but devote them to the encouragement and advance of purity and beauty of heart.

“The height of Impudence,” by James Isaacs, we do not half like to see in the Token, seeing the book is intended, mainly, to edify and amuse the fair possessors of bright eyes and delicate nerves. Stern as we are by nature and the necessary influence of this cruel business, and steel-banded as the author will think our nerves, we are fain to confess that we were compelled to own some hysterical symptoms at the unauthorised intrusion and indecorous behavior of Mr. Jedidiah Cobb, in the mansion of Mr. Amaziah Flint; and worse by far, in that very sanctum of all, the lady’s boudoir! Good heavens! not for the world would we have stood in the “muddy shoes” of Mr. Cobb, had Mrs. Flint been on the spot. The story is musing, but somewhat vulgar; rather well told, but unnatural; and unless the author will send us his affidavit, sworn to before a respectable Dutch magistrate, subscribed by a sufficient number of trust-worthy witnesses, we are determined not to credit the facts. We assure the author that we set nothing down in malice. We think the tale on the whole a good one, but unfit for the Token: we think him young in writing, but believe him capable of telling much better stories in a much better way.

We shall not have space, which we hoped, to take up in detail every piece in the book, but must point out those which strike us as at all remarkable, either for beauty or the reverse.

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“The Doomed Bride,” by Mellen, is the same old tale, always occurring and always to occur, of well requited but unfortunate affection;—of a beautiful and resolute maiden, pledging and keeping her plighted troth, in despite of the decrees of a severe father,—of a bold, wicked, and no doubt ugly suitor, one Sir Piers Staunton, favored by the father and cordially detested by the lady and her handmaids,—of an elegan[t] and chivalric gallant, bearing up manfully, as he who deserves a fair lady’s favor always does, against all discouragement and opposition, and finally doing his devoir so stoutly in some desperate feat of arms, bloody enough to make one’s veins run chill in these degnerate days, melting the heart of the cruel father into a consent to the long deferred nuptials. May such a proper and happy issue crown the fortunes of all true and devoted lovers.

Of the “Departure of the Eagle,” we like parts amazingly, but there are two faults in the last stanza, gleamy west, and the last rhyme ‘e’er,’ whichc are almost unpardonable.

There is a peculiar delicacy and elegance about the lines entitled “Snow,” which ought to recommend it to all lovers of pure and beautiful poetry.

The next piece strikes us as rather prosaic, and there is one line,

“The dawn of every sentiment revealing,”

which is exceedingly unsentimental.

The tribue to the memory of Brainard is worthy of Mrs. Sigourney; worthy of him: what can we say more? Here are the concluding stanzas:—

“Youth with gay step and liberal hand, had sown

Fresh germs of hope to cluster round his head.

Those blossoms withered, and he stood alone,

Till on his cheek the blushing hectic fed,

And o’er his manly brow cold death-dews spread;

Then on his soul a quenchless star arose,

Whose holy beams their purest lustre shed

When the sealed eye to its last pillow goes;

He followed where it led, and found a saint’s repose.

“And now farewell. The rippling stream shall hear

No more the echo of thy sportive oar,

Nor the loved group thy father’s halls that cheer,

Joy in the magic of thy presence more;

Long shall their tears thy broken harp deplore—

Yet doth thine image, warm and deathless, dwell

With those who prize the minstrel’s hallowed lore,

And still thy music, like a treasured spell,

Thrills deep within their souls. Lamented bard, farewell!”

“The Young Provincial,” is a pleasing story, told quite inartifically. The feeling expressed in the following passage is affecting and excellent:—

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“ ‘When my powder was gone, I went out on the track of the retreating army, with a high heart and burning cheek I assure you. The first of the fallen that I saw before me, was a young officer, not older than myself, who had received a wound in the breast, and was lying by the wayside. There was a calm repose in the expression of his features, which I have often seen in those who died with gunshot wounds; his lips were gently parted, and he seemed like one neither dead nor sleeping, but profoundly wrapt in meditations on distant scenes and friends. I went up to him with the same proud feeling which I had maintained throughout the battle; but when I saw him lying there in his beauty, and thought of all the hopes that were crushed by that blow, of those who were dreaming of him as one free from danger, and waiting the happy moment that was to restore him to their arms; and, more than all, when I thought that I might have been the cause of all this destruction, my heart relented within me, and I confess to you that I sat down by that poor youth and wept like a child.’ ”

Lines “To a Wave,” by J. O. Rockwell, are good, but we are sorry he should be driven to such extremity for a rhyming word, as to introduce ‘silver,’ which has long been voted unmanagable [sic] and outlawed from the realms of legitimate rhyme.

The “Song of the Bees,” by H. F. Gould, is very pretty and fanciful, like many of that lady’s previous productions.

The article, however, on which we have dwelt with more unalloyed gratification, than on any other in the book, is “The Country Cousin.” It is in Mrs. Sedgwick’s best manner, full of grace and beauty, and, what is better, full of moral truth and instruction. We would recommend to our young writers a sedulous attention to her manner of telling a story. She designs well, at first, and then completes all the parts; so that you can scarcely point your pen to a passage and say, ‘this is a fault.’ The only fault, indeed, which we find with the piece (and faults we are determined to find,) is, that it professes to be a ghost story, and the apparition turns out to be no ghost, after all; at which we were much disappointed: besides, being in the habit of understanding people precisely according to the simple import of their words, we are apt to be sorely puzzled by any postliminary departure from the facts originally laid down.

The lines by P. on page 194, we cannot avoid quoting entire:

TO ——.

“When Love and Reason dwelt together,

As forth they went, one morn in May,

Love’s heart was lighter than a feather,

But Reason neither grave nor gay.

Love told her dreams—that worst of bores—

Though Reason half was pleased to hear,

And paused to look in eyes like yours—

And how those eyes would sparkle, dear!

But soon they met a graceful youth,

His face was fair, his figure slender,

And he could tell a lie like truth,

And languishing could look, and tender.

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So Folly drew young Love away,

While Reason seemed but melancholy;

And in a mansion great and gay

Love ever after dwelt with Folly.

Since then has Reason lived alone,

Declaring Love a little traitor,

And so uncharitable grown

They say he is a woman-hater.”

Of “The Captain’s Lady,” by James Hall, we have only one word to say,—that it is capital. We do not know a happier exemplification of the small distance between the sublime and the ridiculous, nor a more laughable specimen of the anti-climax. Read it, gentle reader, if you have lungs to laugh with.

Mr. Hazard’s “West Indian Sketch,” is very well done. There is something extremely graphic and true to nature in his descriptions, whether of scenery, men, or manners.

We are well pleased with “The Grandfather’s Hobby.” It is just the sort of illustration, that the plate requires; which is no small praise, since we apprehend nothing to be more difficult than to keep up just the requisite degree of playful humor, so as neither to disappoint or disgust.

The prose article, the “Legend of the Withered Man,” by William L. Stone, is a bonâ fide ghost story, of the truth of which we have not the slightest doubt; for if the figure could elude the vigilance of a Yankee sentinel, what reasonable man could question its spirituality?

“The Minstrel,” by V. V. Ellis, is an elegant and finished production.

“Chocorua’s Curse,” by the author of Hobomok, is another of those masterly exhibitions of the influence of wild and ungoverned passion upon the children of the forest, and the almost equally stern and deadly feelings, which constant, and for the most part, hostile intercourse, gradually introduced into the breasts of the whites,—which the accomplished author has so finely described in Hobomok, and several of her later tales. With respect to the influence of the Indian Prophet’s malison, we would beg leave, with due deference, to express our dissent. The old Greek well observed that “curses were like young chickens which generally come home to roost;” they do sometimes affect the imagination, but we believe they can have no effect, certainly not the curses of the wicked, upon one who is protected by innocence, and assured by reason. The tale is short, but told in beautiful language and with great skill and effect.

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The lines entitled “The Leaf,” by S. G. Goodrich, are, we think remarkably fine, and worthy the good taste of the editor of the Token.

The “Huguenot Daughter,” by Hannah Dorset. It is strange enough, that the poetry of our Annuals should be so inferior, for inferior, after all, much of it is, while we get plenty of such well told prose stories as this. The tale is founded, of course, on religious persecution, the incidents are of a grave and affecting character and the whole subject happily handled.

In the “Ode to the Russian Eagle,” by george Lunt, we suspect that in the last line but one, “path-bound,” is an error of the printer for oath-bound.

“The Utilitarian,” by John Neal, is, we are glad to see, freer than is usual with the author’s productions, from his more objectionable peculiarities, while it has the same powerful writing, the same startling incident and the same eager and rapid, yet free conversation, which are, we take it, three great merits in a story-teller, and are common to all his prose writings. We object to the introduction of the child’s language, and we generally demur to his use of most unheroic Christian names for his heroes, which names are not more common with us than elsewhere,—and, moreover, to the barbarous phraseology, which he sometimes puts into the mouths of New Englanders, as samples of their language, when this mode of speaking is seldom to be heard, even in the remotest parts of New England, now, if it ever were, and certainly deserves not to be kept up.

“The Bubble,” by J. O. Rockwell is very pretty and descriptive.

The Token concludes with a prose piece by the Rev. John Pierpont. “The fashion of this world passeth away” is his subject, and the commentary is a most eloquent and touching appeal to the desolated feelings which acknowledge and the universal experience which confirms the melancholy truth.

“But there are alterations in the fashion of the world which time is more slow in producing, and which, when we witness them, are more striking, more melancholy, and of more abiding influence. Who will doubt this? for who has not felt it? and who is he that has ever felt, and has now forgotten it? Surely not you, my friend, who, by the appointments of an overruling Providence, have been compelled to spend your days as a stranger and a pilgrim in the earth. Did you, in your young manhood, leave your home among the hills, the scenes and the companions of your youthful sports or of your earliest toils? Were you long struggling with a wayward fortune, in distant lands, or in seas that rolled under the line, or that encircled the poles in their cold embrace? Did sickness humble the pride of your manhood, or did care whiten your temples before the time? How often, in your wanderings, did the peaceful image of your home present itself to your mind! How often did you visit that sacred spot in your dreams by night! and how faithful to your last impressions was the garb in which, when you were far away, your long forsaken home arrayed itself! The fields and the forests that were around it, underwent no change in their appearance to your imagination.

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The trees that had given you fruit or shade continued to give the same fruits and the same shade to the inmates of your paternal dwelling; and even in those objects of filial or fraternal affection, no change appeared to have been wrought by time during your long absence.

“But when, at length, you return, how different is the scene that comes before you in its melancholy reality, from that which you left in your youth, and of which a faithful picture has been carried near to your heart, in all your wanderings! Those who were once your neighbours and school-fellows, and whom you meet as you come near to your father’s house, either you do not recognise, or you are grieved that they do not recognise you. The woods, which clothed the hills around, and in which you had often indulged the vague, but delicious anticipations of childhood, have been cleared away; and the stream that once dashed through them, breaking their religious silence by its evening hymn, and whitening as it rushed through their shade, ‘to meet the sun upon the upland lawn,’ now creeps faintly along its contracted channel, through fields that have been stripped of their golden harvest, and through pastures embrowned by a scorching sun. The fruit trees are decayed. The shade trees have been uprooted by a storm, or their hollow trunks and dry boughs remain, venerable, but mournful witnesses to the truth that the fashion of this world passeth away. More melancholy still are the witnesses that meet you as you enter your father’s house. She, on whose bosom you hung in your infancy, and whom you had hoped once more to embrace, has long been sleeping in the dark and narrow house. Your father’s form, how changed! Of the locks that clustered around his brow, how few remain! and those few, how thin! how white! His full toned and manly voice has lost its strength, and trembles as he inquires if this is indeed his son. The sister whom you left a child, is now a wife, and a mother; the wife of one whom you never knew, one who looks upon you as a stranger, and one towards whom it is impossible for you to kindle up a brother’s love, now that you have found so little in the scenes of your childhood to satisfy the affectionate anticipations with which you returned to them.

“While you are contemplating these melancholy changes, and the chill of disappointment is going through your heart, the feeling comes upon you, in all its bitterness, that the mournful ravages which time has wrought upon the scenes and the objects of your attachment, will not, and cannot be repaired by time, in any of his future rounds. Returning years can furnish you with no proper objects for the fresh and glowing affections of youth; and even if those objects could be furnished, it is too late now for you to feel for them the correspondent affection. The song of your mountain-stream can never more soothe your ear. The grove that you loved shall invite you to meditation and to worship no more. Another may, indeed, spring up in its place, but you shall not live to see it. It may shade your grave, but your heart shall never feel its charm. Your affections are robbed of the treasures to which they clung so closely and so long, and that forever. The earth, where it had appeared most lovely, is changed. The things that were nearest to your heart, have changed with it. The fashion in which the world was arrayed when it took hole on you with the strongest attachment, has passed away; its mysterious power to charm you has fled, all its holiest enchantments are broken, and you feel that nothing remains as it was, but the abiding outline of its surface, its vallies where the still waters find their way, and the stern visage of its everlasting hills.”

Who does not feel the sad and solemn truths of this language? Who could not weep, as it forces itself into his very heart? So fleeting are the vanities of the world:—so pass its idle fashions and its heartless follies;—and, sorrowing not for their decay, we might say, without regret,

“Pass on relentless world!”

But so passeth not whatever is truly valuable and excellent. The monuments of man’s pride may crumble; the temples of his glory may decay; his navies may be thrown upon a barren beach, his armies

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whelmed in eternal stow; the wayward dreams of youth, the daring hopes of manhood and the crafty schemes of worldly old age may utterly fail and perish; but though his bones be buried beneath a mountain avalanche, or rest under the broad bosom of the unfathomable sea,—no generous impulse, no lofty action, no ardent and virtuous aspiration shall pass away: his fervent enthusiasm, his noble deeds, his magnificent thoughts, his pure life, his charity to man and his high trust in God, may gladden the hearts of millions to come, till time is a lost and forgotten thing, and be recorded for eternity where the fashions of the world have no part nor lot.

We have thus examined, as well as we were able, the literary matter of the Token, and would now say a few words of the plates. They are generally above all praise, and might fearlessly be compared with the best plates in the English Annuals. The first plate, “The Doomed Bride,” ought, we think, to be an exception to this remark. Good as it is in parts, the attitude of the figure, together with the drapery, are extremely stiff, and the drawing of the left arm, especially, very bad. Of the vignette title-page we have seen only an unfinished copy, but from that can determine that the design is full of truth to nature and beauty, and that the execution will be excellent. Perhaps our favorite among them all is “The Sybil.” The drawing is perfect, and the whole plate executed with remarkable softness and felicity. Mr. Goodrich recommends, in the preface, a consultation with this Sybil. We fear he means to flatter us with vain hopes; but we should delight, above all things, to have our fortunes read to us by such eyes. The next plate, “Innocence,” has the common faults of Westall’s designs, and is not deficient in their beauties. The engraver has executed his part well. “The Lost Children” is one of the most beautiful things we ever saw. The improvement of Mr. Cheney is astonishing. We hardly know if he need now fear a rival anywhere The introduction of portraits into works of this class is new, but there can be nothing more proper than to preserve the features of a poet, dead, alas as he is, amidst the trophies of his country’s literature. The likeness is said to be faithful, and the work is beautifully done. Wherever we had happened to meet “Meditation,” and “The Banks of the Juniata,” we should have no hesitation in setting them down as the productions of the most distinguished English artists. “Grandfather’s Hobby” is delightful. “Chocorua’s Curse” is grand, striking, and well managed in all its details. A great and desirable improvement is manifested in the delineation of minute human figures, wherein our plates have generally been very faulty.

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They are much better done, however, in the “Juniata” than in this. “The Schoolmistress” is one of those pictures which must suit and satisfy every body. The patient and placid expression of the ancient dame, (blessings be on her head,) the puzzled and anxious air of the youth on the stool, and the thoughtless hilarity of the other urchins, at their own momentary freedom from the task, are all inimitable. But “Genevieve,” the bright, beautiful, laughing Genevieve,—reclining amongst roses, as is her due,—how shall we speak of her? It is exquisite indeed. Her taper,—no!—We can hardly avoid cutting up our lines into verse, in which we always feel at liberty to give ore minute descriptions than in homely prose; but we forbear. This, with the “Greek Lovers,” which is on the whole, remarkably well designed and executed, and which we like very much, notwithstanding some obvious defects, complete the list of embellishments. It is “got up.” as the saying is, with great taste and beauty, in a manner highly creditable to the editor and publishers.

We had almost forgotten to mention that the Toke is not yet published, but will be out, about the first of October. Before closing, we wish also to make a few remarks upon a subject adverted to above; namely, How is it that the poetical articles in all our Souvenirs are generally so inferior in sterling value to the prose? How is it that, while our writers of legends and the multitudes of tales, with which our press annually teems, need not fear competetion with writers of the same class in any country, we have little poetry to compare with the productions of the mighty masters of the rhyme on the other side of the Atlantic? Have we no claim upon the mantle sent down from the great bards of old? Have we no eyes to see the ‘chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof?’ Have we, in fine, no souls to drink in the inspiration which bounteous heaven has showered upon all men of all ages and climes? Let us not so believe. The fault is in ourselves. With the blush of shame and conscious inferiority upon our cheeks, at the unfeeling lash of a foreign reviewer, we have still turned a deaf ear to our own ‘native wood-notes wild.’ Instead of looking with a favorable eye upon our young aspirants for literary excellence, we have been too apt to turn upon them the face of cold and severe rebuke: and they, instead of holding on their way with undaunted energy, regardless of present praise and renown, and careful only to fulfil with zeal and courage the high purposes of their being, have idly suffered our censure, like a deadly spell, to benumb their faculties and chill their hearts. But if we do not encourage and foster the talent of our youth, what right have we to look for the ripe fruit of

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maturity? It is a common but injurious notion, that young men should be cautious of publishing before a certain period of supposed excellence in mental cultivation: before the mind becomes subject to severe self-control under the discipline of the world. But we are far from thinking so. There are certain subjects, indeed, asking a knowledge to be acquired only by long continued and judicious observation: but that man will not, probably, be eminent in literature at forty, who could think nothing worth telling through a score of summers. At this first blush of manhood, the young poet does not and ought not to wield worldly maxims for his weapons: he knows nothing of their use in the social system and cares little for their value. Poetry is with him but an overflowing gush from a heart-spring of noble and generous thoughts and nicely-toned sensibilities. But he has not lived without much of that communion which must make us wiser. He has conversed most with himself. He has thought, long and frequently, of the secret springs of his own impulses,—of the wild play of human passion,—of the emotions of heart,—of the capacity of mind,—till startled and bewildered in speculations, which have astonished the very wisest, he has gone out amongst the “liberal elements,” to ask of Nature to unravel the mystery, and she was herself a marvel. But she, bountiful forever, has poured at his feet the glorious current of tumbling rivers; shown him the gorgeous drapery of autumnal forests and the broad verdure of green fields. He has looked on the blue distant hills and felt that they were his; and the song of birds was his own, and the tremendous ocean, with its terrible foam, or calm and golden with departing glory; and the jewelled ether and the revolving brightness of the silent course of Night. And he has then sought the companionship of books; the converse of those unchanging friends, whose silent but eloquent thoughts, whose soothing and comfortable welcome are ever at his command. He has read of the times, when monarchs loved to tune the lyre; when the valiant champion did his devoir none the worse, because he would frame a tender lay to his ladye-love; when poets, by their songs, raised woman from her state of savage degradation in a barbarous age and gave her her rightful place in the scale of being: he has gone back still farther, and thought of the days when the best and the wisest,—the magnificent and mighty princes of the house of Israel, drank large inspiration at Siloa’s fount and sung the high praises of God, to the psaltery and harp. And so, rich in an unbounded treasury of thoughts and affections, he goes out into the world, with life before him, lovely as a summer’s day, with a fresher morning about him than the hackneyed world ever saw,—and then, may be, one

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beautiful vision fades, and another follows its fellow, till nothing but the light of common day lingers around his darkened mind. But it is while the vision is still upon him; before the flush or ardent enthusiasm has vanished, that he should pour forth those generous sentiments, whose office it is to refine and purify our nature; which men read, and, with softened hearts, forget for a while their hatred, their envying and their strife, and mingle with kinder feelings with their fellows in the common lot. Many faults of style there will, no doubt, be; many crude conceits; many hasty and ill-digested thoughts, at a period, when he has not yet learned to weigh opinions, or acquired sufficient severity of taste and strength of determination, to reject false and glittering ornament. But it is while this child-like simplicity is still in his mind, that the boy should exercise his power to instruct men; to bring them back, from the toil and care and bustle of life, to pure and pleasant things, which they had there forgotten. It is then that he must dwell upon those thoughts which will be to him a foundation whereon higher and better things shall arise.

Above all, let not the young poet despair, because all his fanciful visions are not in a moment realized. If, with high mind and a warm heart, he is true to whatever is worthy and excellent in life, true to his own nature, true to Truth herself, he need not fear but he will find “audience fit though few,” in his own life, and glorious renown in after times. Neither let him complain that there are no themes to excite his mind and employ his powers: To one who thus thinks, there are none. But let him cele brate the valiant and noble deeds of great and virtuous men and nations, triumphing or falling in a good cause. Let him tune his harp to the praise of brave people everywhere, struggling for freedom, or standing up manfully to keep the destroyer and polluter from their fathers’ hearths and the altars of God. Let him take his station, as he should do, in the van of an advancing age, and raise the triumphal song to future intellectual and moral improvement, or, if so it must needs be, with the prophetic fervor of ancient bards, foretell the mournful history of political degradation. The character of man in all ages is a fertile theme for the sounding lyre: or if its strings are tuned to gentler strains, let him play upon the thousand exquisite chords, which thrill about a woman’s heart. That unlooked-for strength and fortitude, which, in times of trouble and danger, has sustained the frailest and most lovely beings, who ever shrunk from the cooler breeze that could scarcely have twirled the slightest forest-leaf; a mother’s infinite love; a maiden’s high-souled devotedness, and that almost superhuman pride, when scorn has once estranged her from the

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lord of her affections. Let him cultivate an unadulterated and enthusiastic love of nature, and she will well repay him from an illimitable treasury of joy and affection: let him not check, for the world’s sneer, any free and generous enthusiasm: and, loving the visible world ardently, for this is the very life and light of a poet’s visions, and will throw over them a spring-like joyousness and freshness, let him not forbear to cherish a devotion to books, remembering that the greatest poets have generally been amongst the most learned men of their age: such were Chaucer, and Spenser, Jonson and Milton, Dryden and Pope; such are Southey and Coleridge; and such was Shelley, and, in a less degree, such was Byron. Let him remember that Sir Walter Scott is a profound student, and that Mr. Moore is prouder of his Greek than of Lalla Rookh. Neither let him fear, what some have said, that the day of poetry has gone by, and that he will want readers. This cannot be, while there is a hue of melancholy on any spirit or a spring of joy in any heart. The sailor thrills on the bounding sea; the solitary student revels in the luxury of grief; the husbandman gladdens in the freshness of spring. All these are poetical: and the day-break scattering the silence of darkness; the descending splendor of evening; the gray twilight; the array of night; hill and valley, stream and forest, flower and ocean; whatever is noble in the history of thought; whatever is lovely and melancholy in the story of life.

Who need fear to push his bark, if it be laden with the riches of heart and nature, upon such an abounding ocean of sympathies?


Review of The Token, for 1830, by “C.” (from The New-York Mirror, and Ladies’ Literary Gazette, September 19, 1829; p. 83)

“Take time by the forelock,” is a very excellent and commendable proverb, but like many other excellent and commendable things, it is liable to much abuse; for example, this is the middle of September, and we have already received a christmas present, in the shape of a choice specimen of that beautiful and costly division of the book tribe, denominated “the annuals.” If the competition amongst these pleasant little “hot-pressed darlings” continues, it is probable there will be no bull in the Irish gentleman’s expression, of “two annuals in one year.” We all know that Christmas is the season of good cheer—of mirth and music—blazing hearths and merry faces—when men begin to live and turkeys cease to do so—when little boys enjoy the sweetest pleasure of what poets term “happy childhood,” that is, gormandizing to their heart’s content—when lasses expect presents, and swains evince their tact and delicacy, by gratifying those expectations amid all the change and mutability of human affairs—the getting up and putting down of princes and potentates, powers and principalities; the rise and fall of stocks, statesmen, generals, and plenopotentiaries—this season has been invariably set apart for joy and hilarity—for a mutual interchange of good offices—for giving and receiving—and the policy and propriety of putting a book, expressly intended for this season, into the hands of the public before the dog-days are well over, is not exactly apparent. It does not accord with the natural fitness of things; and when the proper time for their presentation arrives, instead of the lady receiving her Token or Talisman with the gloss of novelty fresh upon its silken leaves; it has become little better than an old song, and the contents of its delicate pages have been transferred into half the vile white-and-brown newspapers in the country, and jumbled up with politics, law-suits, quack-advertisements, and other ill-flavoured and anti-sentimental concoctions. But what avails it to say these things? This is the age of competition, and one half of mankind are assiduously employed in pulling the bread out of the mouths of the other half, frequently without securing a crumb for their own, and it is about as much use talking reasonably to them on such subjects, as to make a set speech, touching the virtues of moderation and forbearance, to two hungry dogs over an unpicked bone.

Mr. Goodrich, of Boston, has fallen in with the prevailing custom, and his “Token” has been sent into this breathing world “before its time,” though we cannot continue the quotation and say that it is either “half made up,” or “lamely and unfashionabley.” We have been politely favoured with an early, that is, a very early copy, and will do our best to give somewhat of a tolerably impartial account of it. We say tolerably impartial, because the public are so unused to an altogether unbiased opinion on a subject, that it might seem strange to them, and moreover be deemed presumptuous in us to commence such a startling innovation. As, however, from dear-bought experience, they have got into the habit of making a deduction of ninety-nine per cent. from what is said in favour of any thing, it would be unfair not to keep up a small balance of praise in favour of the present handsome volume.

In classing the American annuals of last year, we would put the Token first as regards the texture of the paper, neatness of binding, and general appearance; and place it between the Talisman of this city, and the Atlantic Souvenir of Philadelphia in point of literary merit. As compared with itself of last year, there is no falling off in the former particulars, and a visible improvement is apparent in the latter. Many of the articles not only good in themselves, but such as will add to the already well-earned literary reputation of their authors; for instance, the “Country Cousin,” a beautiful tale, told with all the unaffected and graceful ease of the authoress of “Hope Leslie;” the “Withered Man,” by William L. Stone; and the “Utilitarian,” by John Neal; though utility is rather a mal-apropos subject for the beautiful and expensive little volume which contains it. The poetry, though not impregnated with any great quantity of the fire of genius, evinces considerable talent; it is very pretty and agreeable, and reads as smoothly as it looks. Some of the best of it is from the pen of the editor himself and Mrs. Sigourney. Willis, Mellen, and other popular poets have also furnished contributions. One thing is against it; a good part of it has been “made to measure,” that is, written to suit the plates, instead of the plates being engraved to illustrate the subjects.

There is one story, which, being altogether out of the common, we have copied, entitled the “Height of Impudence.” This is an unique affair, and evidently written by one that knows something; such a man as people intend to describe when they wink their eye and say, “He’s no fool;” thereby meaning to distinguish the person so indicated from the mass of his fellow-mortals. The writer of this article ought to indite a duodecimo on phraseology, illustrated with examples, for he certainly has the knack of forming the most ludicrous and out-of-the-way combination of words imaginable. But this is by no means his principal qualification; he has an uncommonly fine eye for the ridiculous; for instance, the democratic, revolutionary, worthy Jedidiah Cobb, in his borrowed boots, “waiving all considerations of rank” towards his bootless, shoeless, stockingless, and consequently bare-legged henroost-robbing comrade.

The embellishments are thirteen in number, and many of them are executed in a manner highly creditable to the artists. The Doomed Bride, painted by H. Inman and engraved by G. W. Hatch, forms the frontispiece. The bride is a glorious looking woman. The ample and elegant proportions of her figure—her swanlike neck, and beautifully intelligent countenance, form altogether a very desirable object. Though leanness in a woman is ever to be abhorred, the arms, we think, are rather too substantial. The Banks of the Juniata is a sweet and tranquil scene, engraved by G. B. Ellis, from a painting by the justly admired Doughty; and a fine contrast to it is a bold and striking picture entitled Chocorua’s Curse, from the vigorous pencil of Cole, also engraved by Hatch: the scene is laid amid the wilds and fastnesses of the New-Hampshire hills. The best plate, however, in the volume, is, we think, the Lost Children, engraved by J. Cheney, from a painting of Scheffer. The portraits of J. G. C. Brainard and Grandfather’s Hobby, have somewhat of a gray and misty appearance, though this may perhaps be the fault of the printing of these two plates in the copy now before us. Altogether the Token is well worthy of the patronage of the public.

[In this issue, the Mirror selected from the 1830 volume “The Height of Impudence,” by James Isaacs, as one of its “Desultory Selections.” (pp. 85-87)]


“The Editor’s Table”: Reaction to reactions to review of The Token for 1830 (from The American Monthly Magazine, October 1829; p. 515)

[excerpt]

After writing the Editor’s Table to our last number, we left the whole affair, proof, copy, and our locum tenens, in the hands of a stern, retired scholar, while we rambled away a month pour la bagatalle. It has amused us since to see the criticisms upon the result. The “Review of the Token,” written by this same grave, severe student, was found, in the hands of the critics, to possess all the qualities so harped upon in the productions of the regular Editor, and “Black Barbary,” by the same hand, the most spirited specimen of periodical poetry we remember, was written down ‘lack-a-dasical’ with the unlucky love verses we indited when in our university green-hornage. It is surprising with what facility people detect style and classify peculiarities. The sonnet at the end of the number, though printed without a signature, is going the rounds with our name attached to it in staring capitals, and a certain authentic critic, in an elaborate article, advises us to write no more reviews, our review of the Token being so very like every other that we have written! …


“The Annuals” (from Rural Repository, 10 October 1829; p. 79)

Several of these elegant and tastefully arranged little volumes, for the ensuing year, so appropriate for holiday presents, are already published. The “Token” of Mr. Goodrich, as compared with the one of last year, though not much improved in its appearance, of which in truth there was no need, is decidedly so in point of literary merit. Among the prose contributions that enrich its pages are the “Country Cousins,” [sic] a beautiful tale by Miss Sedgewick; [sic] the “Withered Man” by W. L. Stone and the “Utilitarian” by John Neal; all calculated to advance the literary reputation of their respective authors. Some of the best pieces in the poetical department are from the pen of the editor; which, with the productions of Mrs. Sigourney, Willis, Mellen and other popular poets, add much to the value of the work. The embellishments of the Token are thirteen in number, most of them elegantly executed.—The “Talisman” is said to more than sustain its last year’s reputation, which is high praise, it having been considered by competent judges as first on the list of annuals, with regard to its contents.—The “Atlantic Souvenir” too, we learn is much improved, especially in its general appearance—paper, typography, plates, &c. uniting in its binding both elegance and durability. We hope the enterprising publishers of these expensive, but popular little works, will be amply rewarded.


Review of The Token for 1830 (from The Bower of Taste, 16 October 1829; pp. 666-672)

The Token for 1830, edited by S. G. Goodrich, and pubished by Carter and Hendee.—We will not assert that this beautiful ‘Christmas and New-year’s present’ is greatly superior to its predecessor of last year—although in some points, it is decidedly so. The Prose is better—at least of a more solid character, which many will esteem in its highest recommendation. The Poetry, perhaps, not so good; it possesses fewer of those eccentricities of fancy which charm the lovers of song. However, merely to say the third volume of the Token is equal both in point of literary merit and mechanical execution to those which have preceded it is sufficient praise.

It is no less a truth, than a subject of regret, that there is too often a falling off in our periodical literature, even where the highest expectatins of excellence have been indulged. Many works which have been commenced with a spirit, and a show of enterprize, and promised well, both for their future literary standing, and pecuniary success, have ultimately disappointed the public, and been suffered to pass unregretted to oblivion. In some instances, this may be partially ascribed to a decline of that energy of mind, versatility of talent, and above all, that obvious desire of pleasing, which at first, perhaps, characterized these works. The flame of genius when once enkindled, either on the altar of Science, or at the shrine of Fancy, should never be suffered to grow dim for want of nourishment.—Neglect it, and it sinks—to rise no more.

But we predict a better fate for this elegant annual. The editor is unremitting in his labours, and independent of his own contributions, has succeeded in gathering about him many of the most gifted spirits of the age, to adorn his pages; and we have no doubt that the ‘Token’ will be received here, as a rich and valuable GIFT, and be greeted by our transatlantic brethren, as an honour to American literature.

The Token—referring to the Vignette. We extracted this in our last number—pretty and fanciful:—but as an introductory Poem, not so expressive as it ight be of the general character of the work.

The Sea.—By F. W. P. Greenwood. We have not made the following copious extract merely from its being the first prose article presented, but because we consider it as the best in the book. There is in this gentleman’s writing, a sublimity untinctured with bombast—a pure and beautiful simplicity, free from affectation, which all must feel, but which few can describe. It is, to use a rather new expression—the true poetry of prose, possessing all the charms of both.

“The sea is his, and he made it.” Its majesty is of God! what is there more peacefully sublime than the calm, gently heaving, silent sea? What is there more terribly sublime than the angry, dashing, foaming sea? Power—resistless, overwhelming power, is its attribute, and its expression, whether in the careless, conscious grandeur of its deep rest, or the wild tumult of its excited wrath. It is awful when its crested waves rise up to make a compact with the black clouds, and the thunder, and the thunderbolt, and they sweep[ ]on in the joy of their dread alliance, to do the Almighty’s bid-

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ding. And it is awful, too, when it stretches its broad level out to meet in quiet union the bended sky, and show in the line of meeting the vast rotundity of the world. * * * * * Its depth is sublime—who can sound it? Its strength is sublime—what fabric of man can resist it? Its voice is sublime—whether in the prolong song of its ripple, or the stern music of its roar; whether it utters its hollow and melancholy tones within a labyrinth of wave-worn caves, or thunders at the base of some huge promontory, or beats against the toiling vessel’s sides, lulling the voyager to rest with the strains of its wild monotony; or dies away with the calm twilight, in gentle murmurs on some sheltered shore. * * ‘The sea is his, and he made it.’ Its beauty is of God. It possesses it, in richness, of its own; it borrows it from earth, and air, and heaven.—The clouds lend it the various dyes of their wardrobe, and thrown down upon it the broad masses of their shadows, as they go sailing and sweeping by. The rainbow laves in it its many colored feet. The sun loves to visit it, and the moon, and the glittering brotherhood of planets and stars; for they delight themselves in its beauty. The sunbeams return from it in showers of diamonds and glances of fire; the moonbeams find it in a pathway of silver, where they dance to and fro, with the breeze and the waves, through the livelong night. It has a light, too, of its own, a soft and sparkling light, rivalling the stars; and often does the ship which cuts its surface, leave streaming behind a milky way of dim and uncertain lustre, like that which is shining dimly above. It harmonizes in its forms and sounds, both with the night and the day. It cheerfully reflects the light, and it unites solemnly with the darkness. It imparts sweetness to the music of men, and grandeur to the thunder of heaven. What landscape is so beautiful as one upon the borders of the sea? The spirit of its loveliness is from the waters, where it dwells and rests, singing its spells, and scattering its charms on all the coast. What rocks and cliffs are so glorious as those which are washed by the chafing sea? What groves and fields, and dwellings are so enchanting as those which stand by the reflecting sea? * * * * * And oh! yet more affecting to the heart and mysterious to the mind, what companies of human beings are locked up in that wide, weltering, unsearchable grave of the sea.—Where are the bodies of those lost ones, over whom the melancholy waves alone have been chanting requiem? What shrouds were wrapt around the limbs of beauty, and of manhood, and of placid infancy, when they were laid upon the dark floor of that secret tomb? Where are the bones—the relics of the brave, of the fearful, the good, and the bad? The parent, the child, the wife, the husband, the brother, the sister, and the lover? which have been tossed, and scattered, and wasted by the wasting, wandering sea? The journeying winds may sigh as year after year they pass over their beds. The solitary rain-cloud may weep in darkness over the mingled remains which lie, strewed in that unwonted cemetery. But who shall tell the bereaved to what spot their affections may cling; or where human tears shall be shed throughout that solemn sepulchre—it is mystery, all.

Napoleon.—Grenville Mellen. “Napoleon, when at St. Helena, beheld a bust of his son and wept.” This theme is worthy of awakening the inspiration of poetry, and the author has done it ample justice. The following are powerful lines—

He who had tearless rode the storm

Of human agony,

And with ambition, wild and warm,

Sailed on a bloody sea;—

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He, bent before the infant’s head,

And wept!—as a mother weeps her dead!

also—

Alone before that chisselled [sic] brow,

His proudest victories

Flit by, like hated phantoms now,

And holier visions rise—

The empire of the heart unveils,

And lo! that crownless creature wails

His days of power!

The Sibyl.—N. P. Willis. This poetry is “a lap full of roses without stems.” Therefore, difficult to arrange in a classic vase.

* * * * * * * I would forget

The heaviness of these delaying hours

Of waking,—and go up with you awhile

Into the walks of air, and, like a cloud,

Give myself up to the passing wind,

To float away on its invisible wings.

very like his ‘Idleness’—in the last year’s Token.

The Maniac.—S. G. Goodrich. Such poetry as this, is worthy reading. We hate a mere senseless chime of words, pressed into service for the single purpose of manufacturing a rhyme.

The Wounded Bird.—P. Prettily fancied—who is P? not Percival, as some have said—he could never talk to calmly—at least, not upon paper.

Yet might it make the Fowler weep,

To see me fold my crimson wing

Upon a barb, before too deep,

And hasten death to hide the sting.

The Indian Fighter.—By the author of Francis Berrian, is an excellent story, (for an Indian one,) and has an air of truth, with a sufficient spice of the romantic, to render it interesting. It is a tale of the western world, well conceived, and ably written. Our best novelists should often choose this field for the display of their talents, where much may be imagined, although but little is yet known.

To a Bride.—John W. Stebbins. A new luminary in the poetic galaxy. Is he young, or proud, or bashful, that he has not oftener appeared among us? Such talents are not “born to blush unseen.” ‘To be admired, he has but to be known.’

The height of Impudence.—James Isaacs. This is exactly the story which we should like to read, or rather listen to, on a winter evening—

‘When friendship draws her circling zone

Mid lakes of ice and fields of snow.’

It is told with much humour and spirit, and does credit to the author.

The three ages of Life.—Author of the “New-England village choir.” This writer has his minds eye on Pope, and does not disgrace his model. There is a poignancy in his satire and a refinement in his wit, which cannot fail to please, even the most fastidious.

The Doomed Bride.—Grenville Mellen. We have been more interested with this story than any other in the book. The author has chosen the age of chivalry as the most appro-

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priate field of romance. The characters are well imagined and supported, and the language in good keeping throughout. One of the most interesting situations of the Heroine is thus described. See the Frontispiece.

She had dismissed her attendant, and seated herself upon the terrace which overlooked the surrounding country. Here then she was to await the issue of her fate. After her father’s stern and irrevocable determination had been made known to her, and until this moment, she had been supported by the very excitement, and intensity of her feelings. There was something in the sense of abandonment to her fate that had given her a sort of reckless courage, that begun to subside and quail, as the allotted hours passed on, and the possibilities of ultimate escape from her cruel doom seemed to diminish or grow dim. The high spirit that had flushed her as she parted from her father, sunk down, as she saw his forces mingle in the distant mass, and thought upon the doubtful strife upon which he was entered. Languid and pale, she sat still as a statue—surrendered to the terrible mastery of fears. It need not be said that the image of her lover floated before her again, and again, and was as often greeted with prayers and hopes that died almost in the breathing.

Truly,—cried she, her heart leaping against her girdle, as the truth of her situation flushed upon her,—Truly this would be a sore sight or a long tale for him who holds my plighted faith. Yet would to Heaven he were here! he would see me decked indeed for sacrifice!—and she glanced impatiently upon portions of her rich and stately costume; but then, she murmured to herself—but then he might bear me from the hated altar. As she spoke and drew the fold of her dress about her, some token of his sealed troth that was suspended by a heavy and curiously wrought chain of gold, fell from her bosom upon her clasped hands and glittered in her eye. Long and intently did she peruse it, and then raised her look upward in silent supplication as she thought that this simple accident might portend something fortunate in her coming fate.

The above extract can give but a partial view of the story of the ‘Doomed Bride,’ but will serve as a specimen of the style.

Departure of the Eagle,—is written in the ballad style. We never read modern Ballads.

The lost children.—Mr. Willis is capable of producing an article more worthy of this most interesting and beautiful picture; but he has given us little else than a brief illustration of the painter[’]s design, which of itself, is so clearly expressive, that other explanation seems superfluous. A wide field is here presented for the excursions of imagination, which we cannot forbear wishing had been improved by Mr. Willis.

On the death of a friend.—G. Many truly poetical ideas may be found here; but why will people put fine thoughts into such measure as this?

The eye that shone so calmly blue,

And deep as yonder sky,

As if a world of thought it knew,—

Is closed for aye.

And the cheek that kindled with fresh feeling,

As the hills redden into day,

The dawn of every sentiment revealing,

Is now unconscious clay.

This reminds us of the commencement of a poem by a writer of no inconsiderable merit, bating his over weening passion for the Dithyrambic.

“With our first sire, through Edens [sic] balmy grove

Strayed beautiful Eve—

With all the confidence of love,

When lo! mankind’s dark enemy, prone to deceive

Coil’d at her feet.—&c.

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Now, if this favourite story of the delinquency of our first mother, (which continues to be a choice theme of poets and scribblers of every class) had been only told in rational poetry—or even sober prose, it might have been read the thousandth time with patience.—But few love to hobble thus through the paths of poesy, which should be ‘ways of pleasantness.’ Dithyranbic’s are awakened things to school into gracefulness, and often acquire the character of prose run mad, rather than that of poetry.

To the Memory of J. G. C. Brainard.—Mrs. Sigourney. These tributary lines are not inferior to any former production of this lady’s pen. There is in her poetry so much purity of thought—such flow of soul, that it is impossible to read it without being partially inspired with the same spirit. She is a devoted worshipper of Nature, susceptible alike of her tenderest sympathies, and most sublime truths. Few could better comprehend, or portray the peculiar graces of mind, which distinguished this talented poet.

Each sylvan haunt he loved—the simplest flower

That bears Heaven’s incense on its bosom fair,

The crested billow, with its fitful power,

The chirping nest that woo’d a mother’s care,

All woke his worship, as some altar rare,

Or sainted shrine, both win the Pilgrim’s knee;

And he has gone to rest where earth, and air,

Lavish their sweetest charms, while proud and free,

Sounds forth the wind-swept harp of his own native sea.

To Mrs. Hemans.—G. B. C. A just and delicate tribute to the superior talents of the British poetess. These are spirited lines—

Thou hast a voice, a glad voice for the spring—

And harvest hath a song of music quick,

And joyous chords the bridal morning ring;

But other notes than these for the sad wreck,

The faithful boy on that still burning deck,

The last long look to him who was so dear,

The settled paleness on the cold dead cheek,

The solemn chant, slow pealed by the sad bier—

The reft ones [sic] grief that is too deep to speak,

Woman’s strong love, all words but thine are weak.

And thou hast thrown o’er all thy blessed songs

A veil of feminine thought that still doth greet

The soul with joy that not to earth belongs

A charm from thine own heart that when we eet,—&c.

We do not like this lazy Alexandrine—

“Which like a wounded snake drags its slow length along”—

it ruins the harmony of the verse.

The Young Provincial—is a tale of the Revolution; every thing relative to that eventful period of our history is interesting. It is written in an easy and familiar style—such as should always be used in narrative. Some passages are very fine.

To a wave.—J. O. Rockwell. The closing Stanzas are beautiful—

Faded wave! a joy to thee,

Now thy fllight and toil are over—

Oh! may my departure be

Calm as thine, thou ocean rover!

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When this soul’s last joy, or mirth,

On the shore of time is driven,

Be its lot like thine on earth,

To be lost away in Heaven.

Mr. Rockwell is a young poet of uncommon promise; he possesses an original mind and a luxuriant fancy. We predict that he will one day wear the proudest wreath which poesy can confer upon her votaries.

Song of the bees.—H. F. Gould. Is a pretty effort of Fancy.

The Country Cousin.—By the author ‘Hope Leslie.’ Miss Sedgwick is unquestionably the best female novelist in our country. Her acquaintance in polished society, and her general knowledge of the American character, acquired by observation and travel, rather than from books, render her an able delineator of our national peculiarities, her ‘Sketches’ are those of truth, and finished in a masterly style.

Here comes P. again, with a whimsical affair about ‘Love and Reason.’ We are half sure it is not Percival; however, he writes good poetry.

The Juniata[.]—S. Griswold. Smooth and harmonious, but rather a common place subject; the flow of a river is always compared to human life.

Thoughts at Sea.—S. G. Goodrich. We have seen some things from the pen of this author which have pleased us better; it may be because the subject is a common one; there is however much true poetry in this verse—

God of the waters! Nature owns her king!

The sea thy sceptre knows;

At thy command the tempest spreads its wing,

Or folds to repose.

The Captain’s Lady.—James Hall. Spirit of Momus! what a story! we defy even apathy herself to read it without laughing. It has no plot—no method—yet it is full of wit of a certain kind. If our limits would allow, we would amuse our readers by giving them a taste of its humour.

The wag-water.—S. Hazard. We suppose this to be a good story, for it is well told, but we have read it with less pleasure than several others in the book.

Grandfathers [sic] Hobby.—A pretty illustration of Sully’s beautiful picture.

A dream of the Sea.—W. G. Clark. With the exception of a few bad lines, there is much merit in this poem; we do not like—

Shook his stern pinions by my startled ear.

The Withered Man.—This will be a bonne bouche for the lovers of the mysterious. It is of the same class of Peter Rugg, the storm herald of Middle Street memory.

The Minstrel.—V. V. Ellis, is a poet of the highest order. If our limits would permit we would transfer his poem to our pages. We cannot resist the wish of copying the concluding stanzas.

His life had been a tale,

Well told, where every line and word is bright,

A silver tissue of unshaded light—

Then weep ye not—nor wail!

Bury him in a spot

Where the first sun-beam lights, where birds sing,

The wild flowers blossom, and the green vines cling—

He shall not be forgot.

Chocorua’s curse,—by the author of Hobomoc [sic]: we like this story, and shall present it in our next number.

The Leaf. S. G. Goodrich,—is a beautiful effusion of sentiment, and does honour to the editor of the Token.

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The Huguenot Daughter.—Hannah Dorset. This is a sober, well told story; it is of a religious character, and conveys instruction as well as amusement.

The School Mistress.—Mrs. Sigourney. There are no retrospections so delightful to the heart as those which call up before us the scenes of early youth. Amidst the sorrows and perplexities of life, we feel a relief in reverting to the days of careless happy childhood, as ‘the greenest spot on memory’s waste.’ On perusing Mr[s]. Sigourney’s poem—

These all, on heart, and ear, and eye

Come throning back, from years gone by.

Ode to the Russian Eagle.—George Lunt. Is a glorious production; not that the verse is truly harmonious, or strictly poetical, but there is a freedom of thought a boldness of expression which we love to meet with in poetry.

The Utilitarian.—J. Neal. We should know this to be his story even from the first line; there is a certain colloquial ease a freedom of expression in all his compositions, which almost leads us to imagine him of our circle, sociably drawing up his chair, and talking his story, rather than writing it. With him, thought keeps pace with language—no small compliment for Mr. Neal! “Gods! how he does talk!” his conclusions on every subject are also no less rapid. And just—or unjust, forth they come, with a sort of oracular decisiveness which seems to say ‘there is no appeal from my judgment.’ So great is Mr. Neal’s passion for criticism, that in his zeal to note the errors of others, he sometimes forgets to correct his own; however, such sins, by half a page of Errata, may be easily transferred to the shoulders of the compositor. But we like his writings much, and always read them in preference to those of some others. His ‘Utilitarian’ is not so much to our taste as his story in the last Token,, it is nevertheless marked with his characteristic wit and originality, and is worthy of its place.

The Bubble.—Mr. Rockwell. A brilliant little affair.

Genevieve—N. P. Willis. A very successful effort of his muse, we knew he would write well on so fair a subject.

Extract.—John Pierpont. A fine specimen of the rich and glowing style of that gentleman; there is a harmony in his periods, a grace and finish in his compositions which entitle him to the highest rank, both as an essayist and a poet.

Our notice of this beautiful annual, which requires nothing but its own sterling merits to recommend it, has indeed so far overstepped the boundaries usually prescribed in our department, that we shall be under the necessity of omitting several articles prepared for publication till our next number. The truth is, so gratified have we been with its perusal, that we felt a desire to point out to the reader such parts of the work as most engaged our attention, with the hope of imparting to them a share of the pleasure which it has afforded us. The Token will make its public debut the first of November at the store of Messrs. Carter and Hendee, when we hope to find it gracing the libraries of all who have a taste for elegant literature.


The Token.” (from American Traveller [Boston, Massachusetts], 23 October 1829; p. 3)

As the season of holidays and good wishes, of gifts and memorials of friendship, though yet at some distance in perspective, will soon be here, it may not be unacceptable to remind our young friends of some of the beautiful keepsakes in preparation or already completed, for their special gratification and use. First and foremost comes the Token; of which the number for 1830, is the third of the series, and the highest in excellence of any American Annal that has yet appeared. It is several weeks since we had a glimpse of an unfinished copy; and took the liberty to transfer to our columns some specimens, both in prose and verse, of the contents; but the edition being large, and the style of binding rich, its publication has been protracted, and the volumes were not till yesterday, on sale at the bookstores.

Mr. S. G. Goodrich, the former publisher, has wisely, we conceive, assumed to himself the editorial labors and responsibilities of the work, and transferred the publishing department to our enterprising booksellers, Messrs. Carter & Hendee. In this way, exercising his approved taste, he has been able to bring to the literary department greater st[r]ength of talent than was exhibited in the former volumes, compiled, as they were, by a person of juvenile mind and girlish fancy. The names of the writers and of the subjects introduced, on perusal, will show that more care has been taken in the selection and revision, and a deeper interest embodied than heretofore.

The engravings are numerous, and all on steel. The subjects for these were selected with much care, and the artists are the most distinguished in the country. It is believed several of the plates are executed with greater delicacy and beauty than any thing of the kind of which our countrymen can yet boast. So much pains [sic] has been taken, that some of the subjects are actually from original paintings executed expressly for the work. the whole edition is substantially bound; a portion in morocco, and the remainder in rich wavy silk, manufactured in France for the purpose.

The following is a list of the engravings:—Vignette Title drawn for the work, by Inman, engraved by Cheney; the Doomed Bride, painted for the publishers by Inman, do. Hatch; Chocorua’s Curse, do. do. do., Cole, do. Hatch; Banks of the Juniata, do. do. do. Doughty, do. Ellis; the Greek Lovers, do. do. do. Weir, do. Durand; Sybil, from a painting in the possession of Dr. Binney, Guido, do. Cheney; Grandfather’s Hobby, after C. B. King, from a painting belonging to J. Fullerton, Esq., Sully, do. Gallaudett; Schoolmistress, Owen, do. Kelly; Lost Children, Scheffer, do. Cheney; Innocence, R. Westall, do. Pelton; Meditation, —, do. Ellis; Portrait of J. G. C. Brainard, painted for the publishers, Tisdale, do. Longacre; Genevieve, A. M. Ruffman, do. Andrews.

It may in addition be mentioned, that The Doomed Bride, Sybil, Meditation, and Genevieve, are pictures of beautiful women; Chocorua’s Curse is a bold and striking landscape, with figures; Banks of the Juniata, is a view on that delectable river, and is thought to be Mr. Doughty’s happiest effort; the Greek Lovers, is a picture of the rescue of a Greek girl from the Turks, and is charmingly engraved by Durand; Grandfather’s Hobby, Lost children, Schoolmistress, and Innocence, are interesting pictures of children. The portrait of J. G. C. Brainard, one of our best poets, on account of his recent death, must be particularly acceptable to the public.

We enumerate the names of some of the contributors to this number, from which it will be seen that the most popular talent in the country has been enlisted:—Miss Sedgwick, Rev. J. Pierpont, Rev. T. Flint, (author of ‘Francis Berrian,’) Mrs. Child, (author of ‘Hobomok,’) N. P. Willis, John Neal, Grenville Mellen, Rev. F. W. P. Greenwood, W. B. O. Peabody, Rev. S. Gilman, (author of ‘Memoirs of a New England Village Choir,’) besides many others of scarcely less distinction.


Review of The Token for 1830 (from The Ladies’ Magazine, November 1829; pp. 529-531)

[excerpt]

The Annuals. We have, on our table, quite a boquet [sic] of these flowers of art and intellect; but to think of describing, elaborately, the elegant things is quite out of the question. We have not room; and besides our fair readers must before this have become familiar with the kind of knowledge such literary notices can import. They will, we hope, speedily enjoy the more exquisite gratification of possessing one, at least, of these same beautiful annuals. The season will soon make these gifts, which taste has so splendidly embellished, the appropriate offering of friendship and affection. Then every writer and artist who has contributed to make the gift so worthy may hope for separate and individual praise. But we cannot thus particularise, partly because we are somewhat cloyed with the profusion of sweet fancies thus offered to our taste at once; and partly because, in virtue of our office, we are obliged to be a little critical. Now, were we to proceed in the manner adopted by some reviewers, naming each writer, and reviewing separately each article, we could not eulogize all that these volumes contain; and besides we should never finish our notices in time for this number of the Magazine. So we will only glance at the different books, and in the order we received them. Those of our readers who feel dissatisfied with this brief survey will, we hope, do justice themselves; and justice requires that they who are endeavoring to improve the public taste, and thus elevate our national character should be generously sustained in their effort. To do this the books must be paid for as well as praised.

The Token.—Edited by S. G. Goodrich. Boston, Carter & Hendee. We begin with the preface, which is a very sensible exposition of the present management and future plan of the Token. To make it ‘strictly American’ has been, and will be the aim of Mr. Goodrich. This, in our opinion, is its most valuable recommendation.

The effect the annuals have in calling forth, by rewarding in some degree, the exertions of native talent, is the chief merit which has hitherto sustained these publications, expensive as they are, in public favor.

The literary department of the Token is respectable: the prose is however superior to the poetry. A few articles of the latter are very good,—such as

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‘Napoleon,’ ‘To the memory of J. G. C. Brainard,’ ‘Song of the Bees,’ and a few others; but these have all been extracted by those fortunate reviewers who had the first peep at the book, or the first opportunity of noticing it. We must have one little gem from its mine to enrich our cabinet and break the monotony of a solid page of leaded matter. We will take ‘Lines,’ by Signora, which, without much pretension, are pretty and touching.

“A cloud lay near the setting sun,

As he smiled on the glowing west;

And his glorious beams, as he slowly sunk,

Fell full on its shining breast;

And it sent him back again his rays,

And grew brighter, and more bright,

Till it seemed, as its glowing colours changed,

An embodiment of light.

But the sun sunk down at the close of day,

And in rain-dops it wept itself away.

A fair young bride at the altar stood,

And a blush was on her cheek;

And her voice was so low, that the vows she vowed

Seemed scarce from her lips to break.

Yet joy sat on her placid cheek,

And in her downcast eye,

For a long—long life of happiness

Before her seemed to lie;

But her lord soon bowed to Death’s stern doom,

And she wept herself to her silent tomb.”

The prose articles are generally of a superior character. ‘The Sea,’ is a beautiful sketch from the pen of one of our most elegant writers, F. W. P. Greenwood. ‘The Indian Fighter’ is written in the bold, graphic, easy style that so eminently distinguishes Rev. T. Flint, and possesses a thrilling interest for those who admire tales of ‘bloody murder.’ Such are not our favourites, but we like them far better than those which aim to be witty at the expense of common sense, delicacy, and we might almost add decency. We allude to the “Height of Impudence,” which we think is indeed impudent to intrude its low humour among such graceful and elegant companions as the “Country Cousin,” and the “Doomed Bride.” The former of these charming stories was written by Miss Sedgwick,—the latter by Grenville Mellen. “Chocorua’s Curse” is worthy of being from the pen of Mrs. Child—it is boldly drawn and touched with those true yet seemingly fanciful tints that genius only knows where to place advantageously. We think this lady peculiarly gifted with the powers of romance writing: had she lived in the 16th century she would probably have rivalled the celebrated Madeline De Scudery. Alas, that the days of romance should be over! The story of the “Captain’s Lady,” however, implies that the reveries of romance are not yet quite merged in those of cent per cent. The tale is really witty, and we thank Mr. James Hall for the entertainment he afforded us. The ‘Huguenot Daughter’

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is written in a pure style; but the story is rather heavy—though the subject did not admit of sprightliness, it might have been less grave. But there is the Utilitarian—(Phœbus, what a name for a love story!) in the very best manner of John Neal, which we think very clever. The closing article, furnished by Rev. J. Pierpont is appropriate and beautiful. “The fashion of this world passeth away” is its burden. That sentence is surely descriptive of an “Annual.” And yet who can look on the “Token” in its splendid covering of crimson and gold, and contemplate its rich ornaments of pictured scenes and sentiments and not regret that it is so soon to be laid on the shelf!

We are consoled by the hope of seeing a new one more beautiful.

“Man never is, but always to be blest.”

So we expect, next season, that the Token will be vastly improved; in the literary department it surely may be; the engravings it will be more difficult to excel. “The Lost Children,” as regards effect, is an admirable thing—and the explanation of the scene is finely written. Mr. Willis has, in that little piece, displayed some of the highest attributes of genius; the intuitive perception of the just (which is always the beautiful) in character, and the pathos, (call it the electric power of mind!) which can convey his own impressions to the feelings of his readers. It is worth a folio of his mawkish sentimental poetry. …

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