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Published at the request of the Society. Boston. Marsh, Capen & Lyon. 12mo. pp. 48.
An Address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Rhode Island. By William G. Goddard, Professor of Belles-Lettres in Brown University. Boston. J. H. Eastburn. 8vo.
An Address delivered before the American Whig and Cliosophic Societies of the College of New Jereey, Sept. 26, 1837. By Samuel L. Southard, L. L. D. Princeton. Robert E. Hornor. 8vo. pp. 50.
An Address delivered before the Literary Societies of the University of Vermont, August 2, 1837. By George G. Ingersoll, and published at their Request. Burlington. Hiram Johnson & Co. 8vo.
Address delivered in Columbia College Chapel, at the Alumni Anniversary, October 4th, 1837. By John McVickar, D. D., Professor of Moral Philosophy, Columbia College. New York. G. and C. Carville & Co. 8vo.
An Address delivered before the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, 20th Sept. 1837, on Occasion of their First Exhibition and Fair. By Edward Everett, Hon. Member of the Association. Boston. Dutton & Wentworth. 8vo. pp. 24.
Lecture Introductory to the Course on Pathology, and Practice of Medicine in the University of Virginia, for the Session of 1837-8. By R. Eglesfield Griffith, M. D. Published by the Members of the Class. Charlottesville, (Va.) 8vo. pp. 16.
An Address to the Philermenian Society of Brown University, on the Moral Character of the Literature of the Last and Present Century. Delivered at Providence, R. I. Sept. 4, 1837. By Alexander H. Everett. Published by Request. Providence. Knowles, Vose, & Co. 8vo. pp. 54.
POETRY AND THE DRAMA. Poems. By Isaac C. Pray, Jr. Boston. Weeks, Jordan, & Co. 8vo. pp. 42.
Poems. By William Thompson Bacon. Boston. Weeks, Jordan, and Co. 12mo. pp. 134.
The Tragedies of Sophocles, literally translated into English Prose, with Notes. Third Edition improved. New York. William Jackson. 12mo. pp. 307.
The Spirit's Life. A Poem, delivered before the Literary Fraternity of Waterville College, and the Porter Rhetorical Society, Andover, at their Anniversary, August and September, 1837. By Rev. Ray Palmer. Boston. Whipple & Damrell. 8vo. pp. 16.
Pocahontas; a Historical Drama, in Five Acts, with an Introductory Essay and Notes. By a Citizen of the West. New York. George Dearborn & Co. 12mo. pp. 246.
The Sacred Offering ; A Poetical Gift. Boston. Joseph Dowe. 18mo. pp. 216.
POLITICAL ECONOMY. Principles of Political Economy. Part the First. Of the Laws of the Production and Distribution of Wealth. By H. C. Carey, Author of an Essay on the Rate of Wages. Philadelphia. Carey, Lea, and Blanchard. 8vo. pp. 342.
overturning some old barbaric dynasty, were full as extraordinary as the wildest chimeras which Ariosto ever sang, or Cervantes satirized.
“ His countrymen who remained at home, feeding greedily on the reports of his adventures, lived almost equally in an atmosphere of romance. A spirit of chivalrous enthusiasm penetrated the very depths of the nation, swelling the humblest individual with lofty aspirations, and a proud consciousness of the dignity of his nature. • The princely disposition of the Spaniards,' says a foreigner of the time, delighteth me much, as well as the gentle nurture and noble conversation, not merely of those of high degree, but of the citizen, peasant, and common laborer.' What wonder that such sentiments should be found incompatible with sober, methodical habits of business, or that the nation indulging them should be seduced from the humble paths of domestic industry to a brilliant and bolder career of adventure! Such consequences became too apparent in the following reign.
“ In noticing the circumstances that conspired to form the national character, it would be unpardonable to omit the estabJishment of the Inquisition, which contributed so largely to counterbalance the benefits resulting from Isabella's government; an institution which has done more than any other to stay the proud march of human reason ; which, by imposing uniformity of creed, has proved the fruitful parent of hypocrisy and superstition ; which has soured the sweet charities of human life, and, settling like a foul mist on the goodly promise of the land, closed up the fair buds of science and civilization ere they were fully opened. Alas! that such a blight should have fallen on so gallant and generous a people! That it should have been brought on it too by one of such unblemished patriotism and purity of motive, as Isabella ! How must her virtuous spirit, if it be permitted the departed good to look down on the scene of their earthly labors, mourn over the misery and moral degradation, entailed on her country by this one act ! So true is it, that the measures of this great queen have had a permanent influence, whether for good or for evil, on the destinies of her country,
“ The immediate injury inflicted on the nation by the spirit of bigotry in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, although greatly exaggerated, was doubtless serious enough. Under the otherwise beneficent operation of their government, however, the healthful and expansive energies of the state were sufficient to heal up these and deeper wounds, and still carry it onward in the career of prosperity. With this impulse, indeed, the nation continued to advance higher and higher, in spite of the system of almost unmingled evil pursued in the following reigns. The glories of this later period, of the age of Charles the Fifth, as it is called, must find their true source in the measures of his illustrious predecessors. It was in their court, that Boscan, Garcilasso, Mendoza, and the other master-spirits were trained, who moulded Castilian literature into the new and more classical forms of later times. It was under Gonsalvo de Cordova, that Leyva, Pescara, and the other great captains with their invincible legions were formed, who enabled Charles the Fifth to dictate laws to Europe for half a century. And it was Columbus, who not only led the way, but animated the Spanish navigator with the spirit of discovery. Scarcely was Ferdinand's reign brought to a close, before Magellan completed, what that monarch had projected, the circumnavigation of the southern continent; the victorious banners of Cortes had already penetrated into the golden realms of Montezuma ; and Pizarro, a very few years later, following up the lead of Balboa, embarked on the enterprise which ended in the downfall of the splendid dynasty of the Incas.
“ Thus it is, that the seed sown under a good system continues to yield fruit in a bad one. The season of the most brilliant results, however, is not always that of the greatest national prosperity. The splendors of foreign conquest in the boasted reign of Charles the Fifth were dearly purchased by the decline of industry at home, and the loss of liberty. The patriot will see little to cheer him in this 'golden age of the national history, whose outward show of glory will seem to his penetrating eye only the hectic brilliancy of decay. He will turn to an earlier period, when the nation, emerging from the sloth and license of a barbarous age, seemed to renew its ancient energies, and to prepare like a giant to run its course ; and glancing over the long interval since elapsed, during the first half of which the nation wasted itself on schemes of mad ambition, and in the latter has sunk into a state of paralytic torpor, he will fix his eye on the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, as the most glorious epoch in the annals of his country.” — Vol. 111. pp. 490 – 496.
The mere literary style, so far as it depends on choice and collocation of language, as may be seen from our extracts, is both perspicuous and attractive ; the particular narrative fluent and spirited ; the argument consecutive and forcible ; and the generalizing portions adequately adjusted to the elevation of the subject, often rising with it to a high degree of grace and elegance. We may refer to the foregoing extract from the chapter on the Arabs for an example. Upon the whole, it preserves very nearly the just historic medium, neither redundant in ornament, nor yet reduced to the extreme dryness of Dunham. It may not have the uniform accuracy and beauty of Robertson, - more generally accurate in his style than in his facts, - but it avoids the slight classical primness also of that writer, which is a defect, and wholly eschews the gorgeous stateliness of Gibbon. The precise degree of elevation proper for the historian, in his mere narrative, is difficult to hit; and it is a subject upon which tastes would very widely differ. For ourselves, we pitch at the first degree above the conversational and epistolary styles, too low for the dignity of history, and, among our old standard historians, adhere to the graceful negligence of Hume. And although we see some trifling inaccuracies in our author to correct, (as where shall we not ?) our fastidiousness may upon the whole be well enough content with a writer who makes himself both intelligible and agreeable, with language copious and expressive, arrangement generally correct and grammatical, while the march of his sentence is neither buskined nor slipshod. And the rather may we be content, since we have chosen to try him by the highest standards, both in matter and manner.
But since we have praised him highly, as he deserves, we must also instruct him to respect our authority and discernment; and flatter him with the assurance that we are not wholly undiscriminating in this matter, nor at all disposed to let him off for his literary sins, merely because, being one of us, he has dared to produce a work for the world. Let us see, then, what we may fairly quarrel with ? Why, like true-blooded reviewers, we should begin with the title-page. We complain of that, as not accurately descriptive of the book. “History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic,” — a very well-sounding title ; but, in truth, the book comprises the reigns of John the Second of Aragon, John the Second, and Henry the Fourth of Castile, Ferdinand and Isabella jointly, Philip and Joanna, in her right, and the regencies both of Ferdinand and Ximenes. How all this may best be compressed into one brief title, we shall leave to the author for his second edition. The reign of the two Johns and of Henry perhaps need not be indicated, because they are merely introductory. It is less easy to see why the reign of Philip the First, short though it were, or the remarkable regency of Ximenes should be excluded. It can only be by viewing them as mere appendages to the principal reign; and yet that reign was closed, before the regency of Ximenes commenced. However, it is not every author, who among the features of romance which nature has scattered over the external aspect of the country. And still deeper are the principles which she has implanted in the hearts of its inhabitants. How then has it come to pass, that they have accomplished so little, where every thing would seem to promise the highest success ?
The character, which the literature of every nation assumes, fron first moment of its formation, depends upon a vaFiety or loccidental causes. Its strongest traits, those which it preserves through every period of its revolutions, will necessarily be derived from the peculiarities of national character; and the same causes, which contribute to the formation of the one, will act constantly and effectually upon the other. It is thus that climate and natural scenery acquire their influence, giving a distinctive tone to its poetry, and forming as it were the shade and coloring of its pictures. It is thus, also, that the political situation of every country, or, more properly speaking, its political character, takes a part in that of its literature, and is manifested with more or less fulness in all its literary productions. Language too comes in for its share in this general formation, and while it borrows many of its peculiarities from those of the minds that employ it, communicates to them, in turn, a portion of its own original spirit ; like the stream, which, in part, derives its beauty or its grandeur from that of the landscape through which it flows, and at the sanie time shares with that landscape its own distinctive features, softening its beauty, or adding new majesty to its grandeur.
The influence of these causes may be considered as general, and can easily be traced in the early history of every literature. Others, scarcely less important, were peculiar to the revival of letters in Italy. But none have so immediate a bearing upon our subject, as the direction which the three great men, by whom this revival was accomplished, gave to the studies of their contemporaries, and through them to those of the following century.
First among them was Dante, who came at once to guide and be guided by the passions which were in action around him. In him the romantic gallantry of the Troubadours was refined into the pure and devoted love that led to the deification of his Beatrice. The subtile metaphysics of the schoolmen were elevated to the profound and sublime, though often obscure and extravagant, theology of the “Paradiso ” ; while the