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

Reviews of The Token for 1837

The Knickerbocker, October 1836

American Monthly Magazine, October 1836

Maine Monthly Magazine, November 1836

Though earlier reviewers of The Token had mentioned Nathaniel Hawthorne’s contributions with pleasure, reviews for the 1837 volume were more enthusiastic—if sometimes confused. The reviewer for the Maine Monthly Magazine mentioned three of Hawthorne’s eight pieces, though his judgment of them was mixed. The reviewer for The Knickerbocker liked two pieces, though he apparently didn’t realize that both were by the same writer. The reviewer for the American Monthly Magazine—probably Park Benjamin—repeated his performance of 1836 by praising Hawthorne at the expense of Samuel Goodrich. Here, though, he names Hawthorne—whose stories in the Token were unsigned—and identifies seven of the eight works Hawthorne had in this volume.

Review of The Token, for 1837 (from The Knickerbocker, October 1836; pp. 484-487)

The Token and Atlantic Souvenir: A Christmas and New Year’s Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich. pp. 348. Boston: Charles Bowen.

The tenth volume of the Token, although in some respects better than its immediate predecessor, is by no means what it should be, considering its age, and the liberal patronage which has hitherto been extended to it. We allude now more particularly to its embellishments, and externals of printing, binding, etc. Taken as a whole, we think that in regard to these features, at least, this annual has certainly not improved. The publisher deserves credit, however, for setting the good example of introducing engravings only from original American pictures; but let him guard against the fault of issuing bad engravings, by incompetent or unskilful artists, under the impression that their being ‘native here’ will excuse the defects of bad and perhaps cheaply-purchased pictures. But let us glance briefly at the plates of the present volume.

‘Annette Delarbre,’ engraved by Andrews, from a painting by West, is exceedingly well executed, and is a fine embodiment of the pathetic story by Irving, whose title it bears. The composition is full; but throughout there is a calm, clear breadth of light ahd shade, and the cutting is delicate and soft. The vignette, painted by Chapman, and engraved by Gallaudet, is also well achieved by both artists. The bow, as a token of promise, resting over the sea and a romantic headland, is a happy conception. ‘Katrina Schuyler,’ engraved by Andrews from a painting by West, is another excellent picture. There is much good execution and a great deal of spirit and expression in ‘The Lost Found,’ painted by Leslie, and engraved by J. Cheney. ‘The Whirlwind,’ from the pencil of Cole, and the graver of Gallaudet, we cannot admire, although we have no fault to find with the manner of its production. Like a picture of a water-fall, it cannot satisfy the mind. True, there are the twisted tree—the prostrate forest—the black and frowing sky; but we lack the ‘rushing of a mighty wind’—the motion of the storm-clouds—the all-pervading roar of the elements. The scene is beyond the blazon of the pencil. There is little of invention, and no especial merit in ‘I went to gather Flowers.’ ‘The Mother’ is well but coarsely cut. The ‘infant’ in her arms, however, has the appearance of a naked boy of five years, if one might judge from the countenance. ‘The Indian Toilet’ is a clever design by Chapman; it has, however, a serious blemish in the physiognomy of the Indian maid, who looks like a stout white girl, clad in the garb of a savage. The attitude of the figure in ‘Pleasant Thoughts’ is the only creditable feature about it. The less we say of the merits of the engraving, the kinder we shall be to the artist’s reputation. There are sublimity and power in ‘The Wrecked Mariner,’ but the figures detract from the performance. If there be any thing like honor in precedence, the ‘Aqueduct near Rome,’ engraved by Smillie, from a painting by Cole, occupies a very undeserved position as the last place in the book. There is not a finer or more elaborately-finished engraving in the volume.

The literary contents of the Token, with some few exceptions, are much above the average of annual literature. Taken together, the prose is far better than the verse. Without essaying to do full justice to the reading department of the volume, we will briefly record our impressions of some of the more prominent articles. ‘Katrina Schuyler,’ by Fay, is a tale of early American times, and is marked by that flowing style and fine dramatic effect for which the writer is distinguished. ‘Monsieur du Miroir,’ although the veil chosen by the writer is somewhat of the thinnest, is ingeniously devised, and well sustained throughout. Commend us to the author of ‘Sunday at Home!’ Such writers are the salt of the literary earth. They are con-

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tent to describe Nature as they find her, without lugging in unnatural embellishments of their own. A few extracts will justify our encomiums:

“Every Sabbath morning, in the summer time, I thrust back the curtain, to watch the sunrise stealing down a steeple, which stands opposite my chamber window. First the weathercock begins to flash; then, a fainter lustre gives the spire an airy aspect; next it encroaches on the tower, and causes the index of the dial to glisten like gold, as it points to the gilded figure of the hour. Now, the loftiest window gleams, and now the lower. The carved frame-work of the portal is marked strongly out. At length, the morning glory, in its descent from Heaven, comes down the stone steps, one by one: and there stands the steeple, glowing with fresh radiance, while the shades of twilight still hide themselves among the nooks of the adjacent buildings. Methinks, though the same sun brightens it, every fair morning, yet the steeple has a peculiar robe of brightness for the Sabbath.”

The writer spends a pleasant Sunday at home, behind the curtain of his window, near the church, whence he scrutinizes with the eyes of a painter:

“Though my form be absent, my inner man goes constantly to church, while many, whose bodily presence fills the accustomed seats, have left their souls at home. But I am there, even before my friend, the sexton. At length he comes—a man of kindly, but sombre aspect, in dark gray clothes, and hair of the same mixture—he comes, and applies his key to the wide portal. Now, my thoughts may go in among the dusty pews, or ascend the pulpit without sacrilege, but soon come forth again, to enjoy the music of the bell. How glad, yet solemn too! All the steeples in town are talking together, aloft in the sunny air, and rejoicing among themselves, while their spires point heavenward. Meantime, here are the children assembling to the Sabbath-school, which is kept somewhere within the church. Often, while looking at the arched portal, I have been gladdened by the sight of a score of these little girls and boys, in pink, blue, yellow, and crimson frocks, bursting suddenly forth into the sunshine, like a swarm of gay butterflies that had been shut up in the solemn gloom. Or I might compare them to cherubs, haunting that holy place.

“About a quarter of an hour before the second ringing of the bell, individuals of the congregation begin to appear. The earliest is invariably an old woman in black, whose bent frame and rounded shoulders are evidently laden with some heavy affliction, which she is eager to rest upon the altar. Would that the Sabbath came twice as often, for the sake of that sorrowful old soul! There is an elderly man, also, who arrives in good season, and leans against the corner of the tower, just within the line of its shadow, looking downward with a darksome brow. I sometimes fancy that the old woman is the happier of the two. After these, others drop in singly, and by twos and threes, either disappearing through the door-way, or taking their stand in its vicinity. At last, and always with an unexpected sensation, the bell turns in the steeple overhead, and throws out an irregular clangor, jarring the tower to its foundations. As if there were magic in the sound the sidewalks of the street both up and down along, are immediately throned with two long lines of people, all converging hitherward, and streaming into the church. Perhaps the far-off roar of a coach draws nearer—a deeper thunder by its contrast with the surrounding stillness—until its sets down the wealthy worshippers at the portal, among their humblest brethren. Beyond that entrance, in theory at least, there are no distinctions of earthly rank; nor, indeed, by the goodly apparel which is flaunting in the sun,w ould there seem to be such, on the hither side. Those pretty girls! Why will they disturb my pious meditations! Of all days in the week, they should strive to look least fascinating on the Sabbath, instead of heightening their mortal loveliness, as if to rival the blessed aangels, and keep our thoughts from heaven. Were I the minister himself, I must needs look. One girl is white muslin from the waist upward, black silk downward to her slippers; a second blushes from top-knot to shoe-tie, one universal scarlet; another shines of a pervading yellow, as if she had made a garment of the sunshine. The greater part, however, have adopted a milder cheerfulness of hue. Their veils, especially when the wind raises them, give a lightness to the general effect, and make them appear like airy phantoms, as they flit up the steps, and vanish into the sombre door-way. Nearly all—though it is very strange that I should know it—wear white stockings, white as snow, and neat slippers, laced crosswise with black ribbon, pretty high above the ankles. A white stocking is infintely more effective than a black one.”

The close of the afternoon service, and the dispersion of the congregation, is not less felicitously described:

“Suppose that a few hours have passed, and behold me still behind my curtain, just before the close of the afternoon service. The hour-hand on the dial has passed beyond

p. 486

four o’clock. The declining sun is hidden behind the steeple, and throws its shadow straight across the street, so that my chamber is darkened, as with a cloud. Around the church door, all is solitude, and an impenetrable obscurity beyond the threshold. A commotion is heard. The seats are slammed down, and the pew doors thrown back—a multitude of feet are trampling along the unseen aisles—and the congregation bursts suddenly through the portal. Foremost, scampers a rabble of boys, behind whom moves a dense and dark phalanx of grown men, and lastly, a crowd of females, with young children, and a few scattered husbands. This instantaneous outbreak of life into loneliness is one of the pleasantest scenes of the day. Some of the good people are rubbing their eyes, thereby intimating that they have been wrapt, as it were, in a sort of holy trance, by the fervor of their devotion. there is a young man, a third-rate coxcomb, whose first care is always to flourish a white handkerchief, and brush the seat of a tight pair of black silk pantaloons, which shine as if varnished. They must have been made of the stuff called ‘everlasting,’ or perhaps of the same piece as Christian’s garments, in the Pilgrim’s Progress, for he put them on two summers ago, and has not yet worn the gloss off. I have taken a great liking to those black silk pantaloons. But now, with nods and greetings among friends, each matron takes her husband’s arm, and paces gravely homeward, while the girls also flutter away, after arranging sunset walks with their favored bachelors. The Sabbath eve is the eve of love. At length, the whole congregation is dispersed. No; here, with faces as glossy as black satin, come two sable ladies and a sable gentleman, and close in their rear, the minister, who softens his severe visage, and bestows a kind word on each. Poor souls! To them, the most captivating picture of bliss in Heaven, is—‘There we shall be white!’ “

‘The Tiara’ is interesting in incident, excellent in its moral, and in its style natural and pleasing. It is sufficient recommendatiion of ‘The Man of Adamant’ to state, that it is by the author of ‘Sunday at Home.’ ‘Annette Delarbre’ is a lame multilation of a well-known story from the Sketch-Book, which the editor would have shown more taste and judgment in publishing entire. We confess ourselves charmed with ‘All is not Gold that Glitters.’ There is a home-bred feeling about it, which will find an echo in all true hearts. Withal, there is a correct appreciation of refined domestic comfort—some agreeable criticism, touching potables and edibles, and all the paraphernalia of a proper home—which we especially admire. That the writer describes that he has seen—and we may add, himself enjoys—we can very readily believe:

‘He knows what all those comforts mean,

For he has got the same.’

‘Full Thirty’ is by Miss Sedgwick. That it is good, we need not affirm. It is equal to the best fugitive efforts of the writer, and includes, among other incidents, a graphic description of the great fire in this city. We extract two or three paragraphs. The first is timely, and corrects a common error in relatioon to a body of men second to none in any commercial community in the old world or the new:

“Many persons suppose that a library is not a natural appurtenance for a merchant. This is a mistake. Our merchants constitute a cultivated class, and many among them indulge in the refined luxury of books to an extent that would be incredible to those who have formed their opinion of the body from some of the impotent members. We happen to know that one of our merchants has a fine library at his house, and another, for his leisure moments at his counting-house, where there are duplicates of books of reference—expensive editions of such works as Boyle’s Dictionary. This is indeed the luxury of fortune—if that can be called luxury, which, as the political economists say, is reproduced by its consumption.”

The others enforce what we have often, but less successfully, endeavored to set forth:

“Man has been justly called an imitative animal. Here we are, a young nation, set apart from the families of the old world, with every incitement to, and facility for making a new experiment in the economy of human life, and like the Chinese, who made the new shoes slip-shod, after the pattern, we copy the forms of European society, bad enough where they exist, but as ill adapted to our use as the slip-shod shoes to the wearer—as fantastical for us as a fan for an Iceland belle.

p. 487

“For example, in this working country, where the gentlemen must be at their offices and counting-houses by nine o’clock—where the domestic machine must stop, or the springs be set in motion by the mistress of the family before that hour—with the pressure of this necessity upon us, we assemble at our evening parties at ten and eleven, because forsooth the fainéants of Europe do so! And for the same sufficient reason, our young ladies must have their comings out!

“But what is to be done? How are their school-days and society compatible? The processes of nature are to be imitated. The dawn preludes the day: the bud slowly unfolds to the sun, gathering strength with every expanding leaf to bear its rays.

“We are aware that there are no Quixottes more extravagant than those who preach revolutions in manners and customs; but where, as in our case, they are not the natural result of the condition of the people, may we not hope for modifications and ameliorations?—for the dawn of a millennium on our social world, when the drawing-room shall no longer be an arena, where there is a short contest for a single prize, (what are the modes of that contest, and what the prize so obtained?) but shall become the social ground where men and women shall be players, as well as spectators—where rational Christian people may meet without a sacrifice of health or duty; and where young people and children shall come for the formation of their social character, and where all may enjoy on equal terms the very highest pleasure of our gregarious natures? But we beg pardon! our tale is becoming a homily.”

‘The Old Farm House’ has most of the beauties and some of the faults of its agreeable sketcher. Miss Leslie is prone to the extra-minute in description, and to the over-chatty in colloquy—and yet she seldom comes short in her endeavors to provide good entertainment for a numberous band of admirers. There is a spirited tale by the author of ‘The South-west, by a Yankee,’ illustrating the plate of ‘The Wrecked Mariner,’ and several articles of good poetry. Those by Mrs. Sigourney and Miss Gould are the most to our taste. The following is by the latter, and must close our quotations:


Alone I walked the ocean strand:

A pearly shell was in my hand;

I stooped and wrote upon the sand

My name, the year, the day.

As onward from the spot I passed,

One lingering look behind I cast;

A wave came rolling high and fast,

And washed my lines away.

And so, methough, ’t will shortly be

With every mark on earth from me!

A wave of dark oblibion’s sea

Will sweep across the place

Where I have trod the sandy shore

Of time, and been to be no more;

Of me, my name, the name I bore,

To leave no track nor trace.

And yet, with Him who counts the sands,

And holds the waters in his hands,

I know a lasting record stands

Inscribed against my name,

Of all this mortal part has wrought,

Of all this thinking sould has thought,

And from these fleeting moments caught,

For glory, or for shame.

We commend the Token to our readers—despite the blemishes we have indicated—for numerous merits. The publisher and editor deserve encouragement for American spirit which they would extend and foster, and for the many edifying intellectual dishes which they have served up at their annual feast.

Review of The Token, for 1837 [probably by Park Benjamin] (from American Monthly Magazine, October 1836; pp. 405-407)

The Token and Atlantic Souvenir; a Christmas and New-Year’s Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich, Boston. Published by Charles Bowen.

The Token for the coming year is very creditable to the publisher, and, in many respects, creditable to the editor. It is printed on firm, clear paper, with very beautiful type; indeed, the dress of the volume is altogether in good taste. The engravings are well chosen, though only one or two are very well executed. That of “Katrina Schuyler,” by J. Andrews, from a painting by W. E. West, is perfectly charming. We have seen no picture with which we have been so entirely delighted, in any annual, either English or American. The figure of the Dutch girl is faultless—the expression of the face most sweet and winning. Her hands are folded before her, and over them falls a transparent apron of lace, which is exquisitely engraved. The foliage, the sky, the wall—every thingis excellent, and proves Mr. J. Andrews a first-rate artist. Mr. S. W. Cheney, whom we so highly commended last year for his “Pilot’s Boy,” has made wretched work with Mr. Allston’s fine picture, “The Mother.” It is stiff and bad throughout. The infant is worse than a child’s drawing. Had we discovered the engraving in a printseller’s shop, we should have taken it for an early, rude attempt of some novice. “The Lost Found” is by J. Cheney, from one of Leslie’s admirable illustrations of Sterne. It is pretty well done. “The Whirlwind” is a less felicitous subject than any in the volume. E. Galla[u]det shows a wonderful degree of improvement upon his former attempts in the annuals. “I went to gather Flowers,” from G. L. Brown, by V. Balch, is bad—dark, dingy, and conglomerated. “The Indian Toilette,” by J. B. Neagle, from Chapman, has faults, but they are those of the painter. The figure has no fore-shortening—it is a lump. The face is fat and ugly; and what was intended for a romantic Indian girl, has the apperance of a loutish Indian squaw. “Pleasant Thoughts” has neither the name of painter or engraver in the copy before us,—and a very wise omission it is! The print looks as if the artist had been ashamed of it, and had scratched it half out before it was rescued from the rubbish of his drawer, and made [“]to do” for “the Token.” “The Wrecked Mariner” is a well-chosen subject, whose composition, however, reflects little credit upon T. Birch, who painted it. It is well engraved. “The Roman Aqueduct,” from Thomas Cole, by James Smillie, is very beautiful. As a specimen of the art, it is not inferior to “Katrina Schuyler,” and places Smillie with Andrews, at the head of their profession.

We shall not observe the order of the volume in commenting upon the literary pretensions of the work. The stories are, for the most part, written in a chaste and agreeable style; and are superior, as a whole, to those of any previous American Souvenir. They are as interesting as many others are stupid, which is very exalted praise. “Katrina Schuyler,” by the author of “Norman Les-

p. 406

lie,” is very spirited. If Mr. Fay would respect his own abilities so much as to disdain an occasional imitation of writers to whom he is decidedly superior, he might win a much higher and more permanent reputation for himself. The author of “Sights from a Steeple,” of “The Gentle Boy,” and of “The Wedding Knell,” we believe to be one and the same individual. The assertion may sound very bold, yet we hesitate not to call this author second to no man in this country, except Washington Irving. We refer simply to romance writing; and trust that no wise man of Gotham will talk of Dewey, and Channing, and Everett and Verplanck. Yes, to us the style of Nathaniel Hawthorne is more pleasing, more fascinating, than any one’s, except their dear Geoffrey Crayon! This mention of the real name of our author may be reprobated by him. His modesty is the best proof of his excellence. How different does such a man appear to us from one who anxiously writes his name on every public post! We have read a sufficient number of his pieces to make the reputation of a dozen of our Yankee scribblers; and yet, how few have heard the name above written! He does not even cover himself with the same anonymous shield at all times; but liberally gives the praise which, concentrated on one, would be great, to several unknowns. If Mr. Hawthorne would but collect his various tales and essays into one volume, we can assure him that their success would be brilliant—certainly in England, perhaps in this country. His works would, probably, make twice as many volumes as Mr. Willis’s! How extended a notoriety has the latter acquired on productions, whose quantity and quality are both far inferior to those of this voluntarily undistinguished man of genius!

“The Token” would be richly worth its price for “Monsieur du Miroir,” “Sunday at Home,” “The Man of Adamant,” and “The Great Carbuncle,” if every other piece were as flat as the editor’s verses. “David Swan” is, if we mistake not, from the same graphic hand; and so is “Fancy’s Show-Box;” we are sure of “The Prophetic Pictures.” A little volume, containing these stories alone, would be a treasure. “The Great Carbuncle” is eminently good; and, like all the rest of our author’s tales, both here and elsewhere, conveys an important moral.

“The Token” is further recommended by a tale from Miss Sedgwick, and one by Miss Leslie, about which we need not speak, as the authoresses’ names are sufficient. We are happy to perceive that the Editor of “the Token” has this year followed the sagacious advice with which we gratuitously favored him in the “New England Magazine,” viz.—that he should rest the claims of his work to public favor on the ground of its intrinsic merits, and not on the celebrity of contributors. We therefore stand in the interesting light of a kind monitor, and not of a reproachful critic. We are pleased; we therefore applaud. We commend the Editor for his good taste in the selection of his prose papers, and we can think of only one method by which he can do better than he has done;—this is, next year to employ Hawthorne to write the whole volume, and not to look at it himself till it be for sale by all booksellers in town and country.

The attempts at poetry, with the exception of Mr. waterston’s pieces, are failures. “The Claudian Aqueduct” has some merit. When will writers learn that rhymes are not poetry? Of the pieces in “the Token,” we should much prefer them without the capital letters at the beginning of the lines; indeed, in one piece, entitled, “A Word at Parting,” it is a relief to find them partly omitted. This is so rank an imitation of Thomas Haynes Bayley, that we think, on reading it, we have seen it before in the corners of a thousand newspapers. The most execrable piece of stuff in the book, except one anonymous set of verses—“The Whirlwind,”—is “The Two Shades,” by S. G. Goodrich. The idea is,

p. 407

that the inspired poet sees two individual shades, who are Napoleon and Byron, walking leisurely on the banks of Styx—

“Along that gloomy river’s brim

Where Charon plies the ceaseless oar,

Two mighty shadows, dusk and dim,

Stood lingering on the dismal shore.”

We do not believe that two such restless geniuses would “linger” any where; “yet,” continues the narrator,

“—— ere they severed life’s last thrall,
Each spirit spoke one parting sigh.”

Now, we were always, before this, so ignorant as to suppose that the ancients never reached the Styx till “Life’s last thrall” had been severed by those cross old spinsters, the three Miss Fates. Napoleon proceeds to speak his “one parting sigh,” which we will do our author the justice to say is not in the least degree imitative of the language usually attributed to the world’s subduer. Neither does “the sigh” of the Right Honourable George Gordon, Lord Noel Byron, at all approximate to the peculiar style of the noble bard’s verses. We should think, that if any thing could make his residence in the other world more uncomfortable than it now is, it would be the reflection that he could possibly be supposed to have uttered such a stanza as this, even in Hades—

“He cannot chide, and though he feel,

While listening to the magic verse,

A serpent round his bosom steal,

Shall raptured hug the coiling curse.”

The reader will please to notice the introduction here of one of our author’s pets, the “wild beastesses.” We beg leave to suggest as a title-page for his next volume—“The Boa Constrictor, a Poem, and occasional Lizards, by the Author of ‘the Outcast.’ ”

Review of The Token, for 1837 (from Maine Monthly Magazine, November 1836; pp. 235-237)


The Token and Atlantic Souvenir: A Christmas and New Year’s Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich. Boston: Charles Bowen.

Annuals do not appear to be so much in vogue as in former years, now that the novelty of the thing has worn off. The fact that the market was, at one time so greatly over-stocked, tended, as we think, to create a disrelish for this class of works. That they are not so eagerly sought for as formerly is, on the whole, a matter of regret, inasmuch as these volumes aid in building up a national literature in the great company of periodicals. They ought for this reason, if there were no other, to be well patronized that the publishers may have it in their power to bring out and foster American talent.

The Token’ for the coming year appears in a very neat dress. The engravings, as a whole, are well executed, and the publisher has already received the meed of praise for having obtained them from American Pictures only. So far all is very well, but had he gone a step farther—and a very important one, too—and procured more American subjects for the pictures, he would have been entitled to still higher praise. Let the suggestion be noted. The presentation plate is very neat and appropriate—decidedly American in every feature. ‘Annette Delarbre’ is a highly finished plate—its light and shade is admirably disposed of. The ‘Rainbow’ engraving on the title page is exquisitely delicate and happily conceived. ‘Katrina Schuyler’ is a beautiful thing—but we dislike the unbecoming article which covers her head. It looks ‘very like’ an antique wig shorn of its locks. ‘The Lost, Found’ is true to life—the dog should have stood a little farther in the rear, and he would have displayed a little less of his proportions. ‘The Whirlwind’ would have appeared quite as well minus the riven tree, which, to our eye, is not true to nature. ‘I went to gather flowers’ is decidedly a grave affair—too dark by half. ‘The Mother’ looks as if she was about taking a siesta. Her babe, in its natural costume, judging from its countenance, has seen some six or eight summers. ‘The Indian Toilette’ we like much—it is a pretty picture, though a portion of the back ground is rather too dark. ‘Pleasant thoughts’ is a coarse thing—about equal to a decent wood cut. ‘The Wrecked Mariner’ is finely executed by one of the first of American artists—it is one of the best in the book. The ‘Aqueduct near Rome’ is exceedingly delicate.

Of the literary portion of ‘The Token’ we can speak only as far as we have read. As for despatching the whole contents of an annual at two or three sittings, it would be a surfeit we could by no means undergo. It would be like making a hearty meal on sweet meats. For this reason we have but partially read this volume. First in order comes ‘The Rainbow,’ a poetical effusion by R. C. Waterston, and a fine article it is. He has contributed in addition, ‘To a Child,’ and ‘Lines,’ the former of which is a sweet effusion, and forcibly reminds us of Willis’s ‘Saturday afternoon,’ published in a former number of this work. The following is the concluding stanza.

p. 236

‘Infant angel!—Pilgrim fair!

Joyous spirit bright and free!

Fold thy little hands in prayer,

And ask a blessing upon me.

So pure thou art, I feel more prone

To gain thy blessing, than bestow my own.’

We are exceeding partial to Mr. Waterston’s poetry, strongly characterized as it is, by a continuous vein of purity of thought and expression, always having some moral good in view. Would that we had more such writers. Our valued correspondent, Miss H. F. Gould, has contributed four articles. She is to her sex what Wordsworth is to the other, as we think. Her writings are distinguished for their purity, and native simplicity. The following is one of the best of her late productions, thought not equal to some we have seen.


Alone I walked the ocean strand,

A pearly shell was in my hand.

I stooped and wrote upon the sand

My name, the year, the day.

As onward from the spot I passed,

One lingering look behind I cast;

A wave came rolling high and fast,

And washed my lines away.

And so, methought, ’twill shortly be

With every mark on earth from me!

A wave of dark oblivion’s sea

Will sweep across the place

Wher I have trod the sandy shore

Of time, and been to be no more,

Of me, my day, the name I bore,

To leave no track nor trace.

And yet, with Him who counts the sands,

And holds the waters in his hands,

I know a lasting record stands

Inscribed against my name,

Of all this mortal part has wrought,

Of all this thinking soul has thought,

And from these fleeting moments caught,

For glory, or for shame.

‘The Ancient Family Clock’ is worthy of its author, Mrs. Sigourney. ‘The Claudian Aqueduct,’ illustrative of the engraving, by Dr. O. W. Holmes is a chaste, and graceful production. ‘Eternity’ by Rev. J. H. Clinch, is a magnificent poem. The following, by I. C. Pray, Jr., is worthy of a place beside that of Drake’s on the same subject. It is much the best poem our esteemed friend has written.


Hail! Standard of the free and bold

I love thy waving gorgeousness.

Which seems, like changing skies, to fold

Thy satrs, which fixed, both guide and bless!

They are the emblems true of states

Linged fast in league well known to fame—

Whose souls thy glory emulates—

Whose sons shall never read their shame

Till, as a pleiad gone from Heaven’s own blue,

A star be lost from thy holy hue.

p. 237


Float ever, Flag, as when at first,

Our fathers bore thee though the air,

And pledged their lives, while on them burst

Thy glorious stars in splendor there—

Ay, pledged their lives and liberty,

While thou their canopy shouldst stand,

To guard, protect, and honor thee—

The emblem of our rising land;

Ay! float as when each soldier in his tent

Dreamed that his flag was the firmament.


Thou lofty ensign of the free—

May every land thy glory know,

And every freeman trust in thee

While breezes mid thy folds shall flow.

May hand, and heart, and hopes, and zeal

Be ever by thy form inspired—

And if shall shake the common weal,

May every soul by thee be fired—

Each patriot heart discern amid thy form

A beacon-star in the battle-storm!

We have selected these as being among the best. The poetical department generally is not so well sustained as it ought to be.

As a whole, the prose portion of this work is uncommonly good. ‘Katrina Schuyler,’ by Theo. S. Fay, Esq., is a well-written tale. This author is destined to occupy a prominent place among American writers. ‘Monsieur du Miroir’ is one of the best written articles in the book, and happily conceived. It is an ingenious thing. ‘Mrs. Bullfrog’ is better suited to the pages of a Magazine. The first sentence contains the whole sum and substance, viz:—‘It makes me melancholy to see how like fools some very sensible people act, in the matter of choosing wives.’ ‘Sunday at Home’ is a natural, unaffected sketch, written in a perfectly easy style. ‘Study of Nature’ is excellent. ‘The Genius of Poetry’ is beautiful, both in thought and expression. ‘David Swan’ is rightly named ‘a fantasy.’ ‘Full Thirty’ is a delightful story by Miss Sedgwick, her country’s pride. ‘The Old Farm House,’ by Miss Leslie, is written in her usual graphic style—always agreeable and interesting. There are two or three other articles which we mean to read at leisure.

As we have before said American works of this nature ought to be supported, and whatever may be the defects of ‘The Token’ for 1837, it is well worthy of being purchased for a friend. It is desirable that the editor and publisher may have a sufficient inducement to make their work more and more valuable.

[The rest of the piece focuses on other gift annuals.]

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