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I need not dwell upon the necessity of Literature and Art to a people's glory and happiness. History with all her voices joins in one judgment upon this subject. Our legislators, indeed, choose to consider them of no consequence, and while the States are convulsed by claims from the loom and the furnace for protection, the demands of the parents of freedom, the preservers of arts, the dispensers of civility, are treated with silence. But authors and artists have existed and do exist here in spite of such outlawry; and, notwithstanding the obstacles in our condition, and the discouragements of neglect, the Anglo-Saxon race in the United States have done as much in the fields of Investigation, Reflection, Imagination, and Taste, in the present century, as any other twelve millions of people-about our average number for this period-in the world."
Doubtless there are obstacles, great obstacles, to the successful cultivation of letters here; but they are not so many nor so important as is generally supposed. The chief difficulty is a want of patriotism, mainly proceeding from and perpetuated by the absence of a just law of copyright. There is indeed no lack of that spurious love of country which is ever ready to involve us in aimless and disgraceful war; but there is little genuine and lofty national feeling; little clear perception of that which really deserves affection and applause; little intelligent and earnest effort to foster the good we possess or acquire the good we need.
It has been the fate of colonists in all ages to consider the people from among whom they made their exodus both morally and intellectually superior to themselves, and the parent state has had thus a kind of spiritual, added to her political sovereignty. The American provinces quarrelled with England, conquered, and became a separate nation; and we have since had our own Presidents and Congresses; but England has continued to do the thinking of a large class here,-of men who have arrogated to themselves the title of critics,-of our sham sort of men, in all departments. We have had no confidence in ourselves; and men who lack self-reliance are rarely successful. We have not looked into our own hearts. We have not inquired of our own necessities. When we have written, instead of giving a free voice to the spirit within us, we have endeavored to write after some foreign model. We have been so fearful of nothing else as of an Americanism in thought or expression. He has been deemed greatest who has copied some transatlantic author with most successful servility. The noisiest demagogue who affects to despise. England will scarcely open a book which was not written there. And if one of our countrymen wins some reputation among
his fellows, it is generally because he has been first praised abroad.
The commonly urged barriers to literary advancement supposed to exist in our form of government, the nature of our institutions, the restless and turbulent movements of our democracy, and the want of a wealthy and privileged class among us, deserve little consideration. Tumult and strife, the clashing of great interests and high excitements, are to be regarded rather as aids than as obstacles to intellectual progress. From Athens came the choicest literature and the finest art. Her philosophers, so calm and profound, her poets, the dulcet sounds of whose lyres still charm the ears of succeeding ages, wrote amid continual upturnings and overthrows. The best authors of Rome also were senators and soldiers. Milton, the greatest of the prose writers as well as the greatest of the poets of England, lived in the Commonwealth, and participated in all its political and religious controversies. And what repose had blind Mæonides, or Camoëns, or Dante, or Tasso? In the literature of Germany and France, too, the noblest works have been produced amid the shocks of contending elements.
Nor is the absence of a wealthy class, with leisure for such tranquil pursuits, to be much lamented. The privileged classes of all nations have been drones. We have, in the Southern States of this Republic, a large class, with ample fortunes, leisure, and quiet; but they have done comparatively nothing in the fields of intellectual exertion, except when startled into spasmodic activity by conflicts of interest with the North.
To say truth, most of the circumstances usually set down as barriers to æsthetical cultivation here, are directly or indirectly advantageous. The real obstacles are generally of a transient kind. Many of them are silently disappearing; and the rest would be soon unknown if we had a more enlightened love of country, and the making of our laws were not so commonly confided to a sort of men whose intellects are too mean or whose principles are too wicked to admit of their seeing or doing what is just and needful in the premises. That property which is most actual, the only property to which a man's right is positive, unquestionable, indefeasible, exclusive, his genius, conferred as by letters-patent from the Almighty,-is held to be not his, but the public's, and therefore is not brought into use.1 Nevertheless,
"All'arguments' against copyright, as universal and perpetual as the life of a book, are but insults to the common sense. Some of them are ingenious, and may be admired on the same principle that the ingenuity of a picklock is adInired. The possession of lands is, by privilege, conceded to the individual for the common benefit. The right of an author rests on altogether different grounds. The intangible and inalienable power by which he works is a direct and special
much has been accomplished; great advancement has been made against the wind and tide; and at this time the aspects and prospects of our affairs are auspicious of scarcely any thing more than of the successful cultivation of National Literature and National Art.
ELOQUENCE OF JONATHAN EDWArds.
No assertion in regard to Edwards has been more common than the one that he was not eloquent. The mountebank declamation of these latter days has so perverted men's judgments that they cannot understand how a preacher who rested one arm upon a high pulpit, with its diminutive and delicately-moulded hand holding a small manuscript volume all the while close to his eyes, and with the other made slowly his few and only gestures, could be an orator. But he could keep a congregation that had assembled to hear a morning sermon ignorant of the approach of noon until through the uncurtained windows of the church the setting sun's red rays were shining upon its ceiling. One time, when he was discoursing of death and the Judgment, people rose up from their seats, with pallor on their faces, to see Christ descend through the parting heavens. Being requested to preach at Enfield, where he was a stranger, and the assembly were so indifferent to religion as to be neglectful of the decency of silence while he prayed, he had not half finished his sermon before the startled sinners, having "already passed through the valley of silence," began to wail and weep so bitterly that he could not go on for their distress. These are triumphs of eloquence not dreamed of by such as deem themselves masters of the art from reading the foolish recipe ascribed to Demosthenes.
PHILIP PENDLETON COOKE, 1816-1850.
PHILIP PENDLETON COOKE was born in Martinsburg, Virginia, on the 26th of October, 1816. At the age of fifteen he entered Princeton College, and on graduating pursued the study of law at Winchester, where his father was then residing. Before he was twenty-one he was married, admitted to the bar, and had very fair prospects in his profession. But he did not allow the law to engross all his time, a portion of which he devoted to writing various pieces, both of criticism and poetry, for the "Southern Literary Messenger" and other
gift to him, to be used in subjection only to the law of God, who mocks at the petty ranks which men establish, by setting the seal of His nobility and conferring His riches upon whom He will."
magazines. In 1847, he published Froissart Ballards' and other Poems, and was engaged in projecting other literary works, when he was suddenly arrested by death on the 20th of January, 1850, at the age of thirty-three.
Most of what Mr. Cooke wrote and published is beautiful in itself, but is more interesting from the promise it gave of greater achievement; for had he lived he would doubtless have risen to much higher literary distinction. One of his pieces, however, must be rescued and preserved,—the delicate and beautiful love-song of
These are versified transcripts of old Sir John Froissart's Chronicles, and are admirably done. He says in his preface, "The reader may be disposed to undervalue poems professing to be versifications of old stories, on the ground of a want of originality. I ask only, in anticipation of this, that he will recollect the fact that, from Chaucer to Dryden, such appropriations of old story were customary with the noblest poets of our language."
2" One of the daintiest lyrics in the language."-WILLIS. Literary Messenger" for June, 1858, is an excellent article on Mr. Cooke.
In the "Southern
LUCY HOOPER, 1816-1841.
"And thou art gone! sweet daughter of the lyre,
Gone like the rapture of a passing song;
Both joy and sorrow from thy Maker's hand;
And join thy anthem in the better land."-H. T. TUCKERMAN.
LUCY HOOPER, the daughter of Mr. Joseph Hooper, a highly respectable merchant of Newburyport, Massachusetts, was born in that city on the 4th of February, 1816. She very early gave indications of that sweetness of character, that purity of taste, and that brightness of intellect, which were afterwards so beautifully developed and harmoniously blended; and her father took every pains that her native powers should have the benefit of the best training, and her progress in her studies was astonishing. At the age of fourteen, the family removed to Brooklyn, New York; and here, very soon after, she became an occasional contributor to the "Long Island Star." Though anonymous, her pieces were greatly admired and widely copied; and if they had not the merit of her later productions, every one must be struck with the melody of her versification, as well as the precocious strength and nervousness of her expression.
Besides her compositions in verse, upon which Miss Hooper's fame iefly rests, she was the author of many prose articles of a high order of merit. These were collected in a volume, and published in 1840, under the title of Scenes from Real Life: among them was the prize essay on "Domestic Happiness."
But, like the Davidsons, Henry Kirke White, and others, her early brilliant career of usefulness was soon to close. Her health from her childhood had been delicate; but the loss of her devoted father, and other domestic afflictions, affected her very deeply, and accelerated the progress of her fatal malady,-consumption; and on the morning of the 1st of August, 1841, she gently fell asleep in Jesus. Seldom has the death of any one so young called forth so many testimonies of admiration. What she was, all can read and see; what she would probably have
One of these was a touching piece by J. G. Whittier, and another the few sweet lines, by H. T. Tuckerman, placed at the head of this article.