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ENSENORE : A Poem. In one volume. pp. 104. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM.
The writer of the beautisul volume before us, in the course of a modest and well-written preface, takes occasion to observe : 'Although this is his first appearance before the public, the author is not prepared with any plea, by which to propitiate their favor. If arraigned by those public prosecutors in behalf of the literary world, the critics, he has but little to say, beyond what his work itself may present, why sentence should not be passed against him; although he claims that the fact of this being a first offence, shall be received in extenuation of his guilt, and in mitigation of his punishment. Yet, to such of his friends as may be cognizant of the authorship, he takes this opportunity of saying, that a poem, necessarily written and revised at intervals of business hours, could not well be free from blemishes; and he believes that his efforts in a cause which he has much at heart - that of giving more of a national feature to American poetry - will be appreciated by them, at least, and rewarded by their approbation? It would be an easy and a grateful task for us, had we space for the purpose, to draw so largely upon the romantic narrative of 'Ensenore,' as to include the main and striking points of the story; and we have little doubt that should it fall into the hands of some tasteful melo-dramatic artist, he will be tempted to elaborate for the stage, what we refrain from presenting in the KnickERBOCKER, lest the progress and the dénouement of the poem should transpire, before the publishers' end is answered the general diffusion of the whole in a saleable form. But this objection will not apply to the several episodes and picturesque descriptions of nature, which are frequently interwoven with the narrative. Leaving therefore the hero, the 'disastrous chances of the heroine, the record of her 'being taken by the insolent foe and sold to slavery,' and her deliverance thence, we proceed to select a few passages from the work, which will afford the reader evidence of the easy flow of the verse, and the melody of the language. The faithfulness of the following description of the beautiful Owasco Lake, in the county of Cayuga, in calm and storm, will be acknowledged by all who have ever seen that 'picture of silver in a frame of emerald:'
"T was evening - O'er the waters blue
Owasco's waters sweetly slept,
Owasco's banks were bright and green,
The wild-fowl on her wave were seen,
Al morn, across the water's breast;
At eve, around the glowing west. But seldom then the white man's eye
Imbibed the beauties of that view; Unnoticed, spread the cloudlese sky
Its canopy of spotless blue; Unnoticed back to Heaven, the wave That azure sky's pure semblance gave.
Came from the lake the sullen roar
A sudden glory o'er the scene,
And all the watery waste between,
This day-view in calm, and night-view in storm, which we have segregated and placed in contrast, although briefly sketched, show our author to be a minute observer and a correct limner of nature. He excels, we think, in presenting a sudden or laconic picture, so to speak, before the mind of the reader. The night-chase upon the lake strikes us as a forcible example of this characteristic; and the same praise will apply to the sketch of a chief in council, who detailed to his savage companions
• The charging shout, the fatal blow,
A single passage, representing the heroine a captive in the hands of a savage foe, must close our extracts. The interior of the Indian tent, as here depicted, night be irans. ferred to the canvass, with little additional graphic aid from the pencil :
*As some lone rose by summer blast
She seemed a being all divine,
One sunbeam in Siberian mine,
The gentle deer yet scarcely dead,
That fruroned defance e'en in death,
And struggling with its failing breath.
These extracts will sufficiently enforce our remarks upon the style of 'Ensenore;' while the narrative, upon which we have not trenched, will commend itself forcibly to the attention of the reader. The poem is not without its faults, certainly; some of which we had intended to indicate; but these are such as are natural to a first performance, and do noi detract from the poem as a whole. The volume is inscribed to a valued friend, in the following neat and well-turned dedication : "To His Excellency William H. SewaBD, Governor of the State of New York, etc., this poem, the scene of which is principally upon the beautiful lake in the vicinity of his country residence, is (by permission) respectfully inscribed, by his friend, the Author.' The book is tastefully enveloped, and its typographical execution reflects credit upon the press of Mr. OSBORN, and the care of the publishers.
Howard PINCKNEY: A Novel. By the Author of 'Clinton Bradshaw,' 'East and
West,' etc., elc. In two volumes. pp. 443. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM.
Having failed to receive our copy of this work until a late hour, and long after it was in the possession of all our contemporaries, we are compelled either to pass it by unnoticed, or to avail ourselves of the subjoined comments upon its character, from a competent and disinterested hand: "This is one of the modern fashion of novels, intended to illustrate American society, scenery, and manners. The author has heretofore met with considerable success in his romance of 'Clinton Bradshaw,' and the public is decidedly inclined toward giving him a reading, and a favorable reception. We have cursorily looked over these pages, and we must admit with more than ordinary interest. The story is lively and well told, interspersed with stirring adventures, and love scenes enough to satisfy the most craving appetite. The hero, Howard Pinckney, though in early lise somewhat wild and fickle, proves a miracle of constancy in his attachment for the heroine, Frances Fitzhurst. The underplot of the story and the subordinate characters are skilfully worked into the body of the tale, and form part of it, in an easy and natural manner. The character of Gordon, a low villain, and that of Bronson, his accomplice, in higher though still vulgar life, are well drawn, and their shades of difference skilfully contrasted. The sentimental portions are spirited and lively, and for the most part untinctured with that besetting sin of novelists, mawkishness. The character of Sarah Grattan is, we think, the inost interesting in the book. We have taken up no novel of recent production to which we could make so little objection; especially on account of the moral tendency of the tale, and its influence on the social feelings and affections. We have pleasure in commend. ing ‘Howard Pinckney' to the attention of our readers. VOL. XVI.
LIFE AND WRITINGS OF GOLDSMITH. — We hail, with sincere pleasure, an edition of the 'Life and Writings of OLIVER GOLDSMITH,' from the hand of Mr. WASHINGTON Irving, now passing through the press of the Brothers HARPER. The work will be contained in two large and handsome volumes of the 'Family Library,' and will be given to the public in all the present month. We have been kindly favored by the publishers with the stereotype proof-sheets of some two hundred pages of an original Biography of GOLDSMITH, by Mr. Irving, from which we have selected a few extracts, that our readers may be regaled with a foretaste of what is in store for them. In this biography, the writer says he has 'undertaken, as a 'labor of love,' to collect from various sources a tribute to the memory of one whose writings were the delight of his childhood, and have been a source of enjoyment to him throughout life.' The result of this enthusiasın of research – which was aided by the most minute particulars of Goldsmith's history, recently collected and collated to his hand - is, a work which we predict will have a more general and permanent popularity, and a wider and more constant sale, than any previous numbers of the excellent 'Library' which it adorns. There are few writers, says Mr. Irving, for whom the reader feels such personal kindness as for GOLDSMITH, for few have so eminently possessed the magic gift of identifying themselves with their writings:
We read his character in every page, and grow into familiar intimacy with him as we read. The artless benevolence that beams throughout huis works; the whimsical yet amiable views of human life and human nature; the unforced humor, blended so happily with good feeling and good sense, and singularly dashed at times with a pleasing melancholy, even the very bature of his mellow, and flowing, and softly-tinted style, all seem to bespeak his moral as well as his intellectual qualities, and make us love the man at the same time that we admire the author. While the productions of writers of loftier pretensions and more sounding names are suffered to moulder on our shelves, those of Goldsmith are cherished and laid in our bosoms. We do not quote them with ostentation, but they mingle with our minds, sweeten our tempers, and barmonize our thoughts; they put us in good humor with ourselves and with the world, and in so doing they make us happier and better men. An acquaintance with the private biography of Goldsmith lets us into the secrets of his gifted pages. We there discover them to be little more iban transcripts of his own heart und picturings of his own fortunes. There he shows himself the same kind, artless, good-humored, excursive, sensible, whimsical, intelligent being that he appears in his writings. Scarcely an adventure or character is given in his works that may not be traced to his own parti-colored story. Many of bis most ludicrous scenes and ridiculous iucidents have been drawn from his own blunders and mischances, and he seems really to have been buffeted into almost every maxim imparted by him for the instruction of his reader.'
The following characteristic passage of the biography reveals to us the original of that inimitable sketch, the village pedagogue:
Oliver's education began when he was about three years old ; that is to say, he was gathered under the wings of one of those good old motherly dames, found in every village, who cluck together the whole callow brood of the neigliborliood, to teach them their letters and keep them out of harın's way. Mistress Elizabeth Delap, for that was her name, flourished in this capacity for upward of fifty years, and it was the pride and boast of her declining days, when nearly ninety years of age, that she was the first that bad put a book (doubtless a horo-book) into Goldsmith's hands. Apparently he did not much profit by it, for sbe confessed he was one of the dullest boys she had ever dealt with, insomuch that she had sometimes doubted whether it was possible to make any thing of him: a common case with imaginative children, who are apt to be beguiled from the dry abstractions of elementary study by the picturings of the fancy. At six years of age he passed into the bands of the village schoolmaster, ona Thomas (or, as he was commonly and irreverently
named, Paddy) Byrne, a capital tutor for a poet. He had been educated for a pedagogue, but had enlisted in the army, served abroad during the wars of Queen Anue's time, and risen to the rank of quartermaster of a regiment in Spain. At the return of peace, having no longer exercise for the sword, he resumed the serule, and drilled the urchin population of Lissoy. Goldsmith is supposed to have had him and his school in view in the following sketch in the Deserted Village :
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, Yet he was kind, or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault; There, in his noisy mansiou, skill'd to rule, The village all declared how much he knew, The village master taught his little school; 'I'was certain he could write and cipher loo; A man severe be was, and stern to view,
Lands he could measure,terms and tides presage, I knew him well, and every truant knew : And e'en the story ran that he could gauge : Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace In arguing, too, the parson own'd his skill, The day's disasters in his moruing face ; For e'en though vanquish'd he could argue still ; Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee While words of learned length and thuud'ring At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; Amazed the gaziug rustics ranged around, (sound Full well the busy whisper circling round, And still they guzed, and still the wonder grew, Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd: That one small head could carry all he knew.'
The campaigning stories which the romantic Byrne had brought with himn from the wars, his superstitions, and the love of poetry, in which he dabbled, were devoured and imitated by our pupil. We pass a delightful portion of the biography, a description of the youth and college life of GOLDSMITH, with the following characteristic anecdote:
• Among the anecdotes told of him while at college, is one indicative of that prompt, but thoughtless and often whimsical benevolence which throughout life formed one of the most endearing yet ecceotric points of his character. He was engaged to breakfast one day with a college intimate, but failed to make his appearance. His friend repaired to his room, knocked at his door, and was biddeu to enter. To his surprise, he found Goldsmith in his bed, immersed to his chin in feathers. A serio-comic story explained the circumstance. In the course of the preceding evening's stroll he bad met with a woman with five children, who implored his charity. Her husband was in the hos. pital; she was just from the country, a stranger, and destitute, without food or shelter for her helpless offspriog. This was too much for the kind heart of Goldsmith. He was almost as poor as herself, it is true, and had no money in his pocket; but he brought her to the college gate, gave her the blankets from his bed to cover her little brood, and part of his clothes for her to sell and purchase food ; and, finding himself cold during the night, bad cut open his bed and buried hinself amoug the feathers.
After the termination of his struggling and eventful college career, it was determined that it was high time for him to strike out some course of life:
His uncle and others of his relatives, urged him to prepare for holy orders. Goldsmith had a setiled repugnance 10 a clerical life. This has been ascribed by some to conscientious scruples, not considering himself of a temper and frame of mind for such a sacred office; others attributed it to his roving propensities, and his desire to visit foreign countries; be himself gives a whimsical objection in his biography of the Man in Black:'. To be obliged to wear a long wig wben I liked a short one, or a black coat when I generally dressed in brown, I thought was such a restraint upon my liberty, that I absolutely rejected the proposal.' Whimsical as it may seem, dress did in fact form an obstacle to his entrance into the church. Throughout life he had a passion for arraying his sturdy but somewhat awkward little person in gay colors; and when, in compliance with the persuasions of his uncle Contarine, he al length presented himself before the Bishop of Elphin for ordination, he appeared luminously arrayed in scarlet breeches! He was rejected hy tbe bishop; some say sor want of sufficient studious preparation; others from accounts which had reached the bislıop of his irregularities al college; but others shrewdly suspect that the scarlet breeches was the fundamental objection.'
Aster various fortunes; wandering through towns, cities, and villages; at one time entertained at the mansions of the rich and noble, and at another seeking hospitality at the cottage of the peasant; sometimes attracting attention by his philosophical disputes, and again delighting the ear with the pensive breathings of his flute; we find GoldSmith in London. Some idea of his early residence in a metropolis which afterward rang with his name, may be gathered from the following extract:
'I called on Goldsmith at his lodgings in March, 1759, and found him writing his 'Inquiry,' in a miserable, dirty-looking room, in which there was but one chair; and when, from civility, he resigned it to me, he himself was obliged to sit in the window. While we were conversing together, some one tapped gently at the door, and beiog desired to come io, a poor, ragged little girl, of very becoming demeavour, entered the room, and dropping a courtesy, said, “My mamma sends her compliments, and begs the favor of you to lend her a chamber.pot full of coals.
• We are reminded in this anecólote, of Golilsmith's picture of the lodgiogs of Beau Tibbs, and of the peep into the secrets of a make-sbist establishment given to a visiter by the blundering old Scotch woman :
"By this time we were arrived as high as the stairs would permit us to ascend, till we came to what he was facetiously pleased to call the first floor over the chimney; and, knocking at the door, a voice froin within demanded · Who's there?' My conductor auswered that it was him. But this not satisfying the querist, the voice again repeated ihe deinand, to which he answered louder than before; and now the door was openej by an old woman with cautious reluctance.
· When we got in, he welcomed me to bis house with great ceremony ; and turning to the old woman, asked wbere was her lady. Good troth,' replied she, in a peculiar dialect, she's washing your twa shirts at the next door, because they have taken au oath against lending the tub any longer.' My two shirts,'cried be, in a tone that faltered with confusion ; 'what does the idiot mean?' • I ken what I mean well enough,' replied the other; "she's washing your twa shirts at the next door, because -- Fire and fury! no more of this stupid explanation! cried be; 'go and inform her we have company. Were ihat Scotch hug to be forever i. ny family, she would never leara politeners, nor forget that absurd poisonous accept of hers, or testify the smallest specimen of breeding or high life ; and yot it is very surprising too, as I had ber from a Parliament man, a friend of mive from ihe Highlands, one of the politest men in the world ; but that's a secret.'
We are glad to perceive that Mr. Irving has exposed the lurking hostility to GoldSmith discernible in the writings of Boswell, a pushing, presumptuous, en vious, selfish Scotchman, whose only merit is, that he was a satellite of a great man, and has been handed down to posterity, through his ambition to 'illustrate his own mental insignificance, by continually placing himself in perpetual juxtaposition with the great lexicographer.' But not to waste words and space upon this literary magpie,' we pass to a passage in the history of a 'household book,' which, from its first appearance, has • widened in a popularity that has never flagged, that has extended from country to country, and language to language, until it now embraces the whole reading world :'
'I received one morning,' says Jobusop,' a message from poor Goldsmith that he was in great distress, and, as it was vol in his power to come to ine, begging that I would come to him as soon as possible. I sent him a guinea, and promised to come to him directly. I accordingly went as soon as I was dressed, and found that his landlady had arrested him for his rent, at which he was in a violent passion : 1 perceived that he had already changed my guinea, and had a bottle of Madeira and a glass before him. I put the cork into the bortle, and desired he would be calm, and began to talk to bim of the means by which he might be extricated. He then told me that be had a novel ready for the press, which he produced to ine. I looked into it and saw its merit; told the landlady I should soon return; and, having gone to a bookseller, sold it for sixty pounds. I brought Goldsmith the money, and he discharged his rent, not without rating his landlady in a high tone for bay. ing used him so ill.'
This novel was the 'Vicar of Wakefield,' which was so little appreciated by the book. seller who purchased it, that he kept it by him for two years unpublished. When, with many doubts and fears, it was at last given to the public, its popularity was so immediate, that it ran through three or four large editions in the brief space of three months.
Mr. Inving has illustrated the character of GOLDSMITH by numerous anecdotes, many of which will be new, we may believe, to the American reader. There is one, however, which we have either seen recently recorded, or heard related, that is so forcibly illustrative of his simplicity and goodness of beart, that we should have been glad to see it in the work before us, and which we shall venture to repeat. Walking one day through a retired street in London, GOLDSMITH encountered two gentlemen, who, when mere lads, were his temporary pupils. They knew him at once; and when the recognition became mutual, his joy was apparently unbounded, for he loved children, and the memories of boyhood. He called them by their christian names, and in a pleasant abstraction, reduced his conversation to their capacity; and when he arrived at a fruit-stall, stopped and purchased some apples and bon-bons, and pressed their acceptance upon his old favorites. We close our extracts with the close of Mr. Irving's biography:
* From the general turo of Goldsmith's biography, it is evident that his faults, at the worst, were but negative, while his merits were great and decided. He was no one's enemy but his own; his errors, in the main, inflicted evil on koge hut himself, and were so blended with humorous, and even affecting circumstances, as to disarm anger and conciliate kindness. Where eminent talent is united to spotless virtue, we are awed and duzzled into admiration, but our admiration is apt to be colti and reverential; while there is something in the harmless infirmities of a good and great, but erring individual, that pleads touchingly to our nature; and the heart yearns more kindly toward the object of our idolairy, when we find that, like ourselves, he is mortal and is frail. The epithet so often heard, and in such kindly tones, of poor Goldsmith,' speaks volumes. Few, who cousider the real coinpound of admirable and whimsical qualities which form his character, would wish to prune away his eccentricitios, trim its grotesque luxuriance, and clip it down to the decent for