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And view the haunts of Nature. The calm shade
Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze
That makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm
To thy sick heart. Thou wilt find nothing here
Of all that pained thee in the haunts of men
And made thee loathe thy life. The primal curse
Fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth,
But not in vengeance. God hath yoked to guilt
Her pale tormentor, misery. Hence, these shades
Are still the abodes of gladness; the thick roof
Of green and stirring branches is alive
And musical with birds, that sing and sport
In wantonness of spirit; while below
The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,
Chirps merrily.”

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Again, in his “Thanatopsis," there is too much ostentation of purpose expressed in the opening.

“ To him who in the love of Nature holds

Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware.”


While we are on this trail we may as well quote a few instances of this peculiarity, and then dismiss the subject altogether. It seems as though Mr. Bryant could not begin a subject in blank verse, without a superfluity of explanation, which materially destroys the pleasure of the perusal. It is


much like impairing the unexpectedness of a play by unnecessarily announcing the denouement before it begins. All writing, more especially poetry, is dramatic, and very much of all its interest depends upon curiosity. In addition to this besetting tendency, alike characteristic of Wordsworth and Bryant, is a prolixity in the opening sentences in many of his poems.

Few poets can write simpler, closer English than Mr. Bryant, but mark how feeble is the commencement of a very fine poem :

“ The time has been that these wild solitudes,
Yet beautiful as wild, were trod by me
Oftener than now; and when the ills of life
Had chafed my spirit—when the unsteady pulse
Beat with strange flutterings—I would wander forth
And seek the woods."

There is a homely phrase of “putting one's best leg foremost;" but our poet seems to take a delight in putting his dullest thought and feeblest verse at the porch of his otherwise fine structures of verse. We should advise the man who opened Bryant for the first time to plunge into the middle of each poem at once, and read right through to the end ; it takes him a dozen lines to get warmed sufficient to go on with his theme. We now dismiss our objections on this score, and consider the brighter side of his poetical world.

In the opening lines to that beautiful composition called "The Burial Place,” there is a piece of quiet painting very effective :

* Erewhile, on England's pleasant shores, our sires Left not their churchyards unadorned with shades

Or blossoms; and indulgent to the strong
And natural dread of man's last home, the grave,
Its frost and silence—they disposed around,
To soothe the melancholy spirit that dwelt
Too sadly on life's close, the forms and hues
Of vegetable beauty. There the yew,
Green even amid the snows of winter, told
Of immortality, and gracefully
The willow, a perpetual mourner, drooped ;
And there the gadding woodbine crept about,
And there the ancient ivy. From the spot
Where the sweet maiden, in her blossoming years
Cut off, was laid with streaming eyes, and hands
That trembled as they placed her there, the rose
Sprung modest, on bowed stalk, and better spoke
Her graces, than the proudest monument.
There children set about their playmate's grave
The pansy. On the infant's little bed,
Wet at its planting with maternal tears,
Emblem of early sweetness, early death,
Nestled the lowly primrose. Childless dames
And maids that would not raise the reddened eye-
Orphans, from whose young lids the light of joy
Fled early,—silent lovers, who had given
All that they lived for to the arms of earth,
Came often, o'er the recent graves to strew
Their offerings, rue, and rosemary, and flowers.”

We were somewhat jarred at one expression in these lines “ of vegetable beauty”-it sounded strangely out of keeping.

As a diversion from these snatches of blank verse, let us quote a song:

“Soon as the glazed and gleaming snow

Reflects the day-dawn cold and clear,
The hunter of the west must go

In depth of woods to seek the deer.

“His rifle on his shoulder placed,

His stores of death arranged with skill,
His moccasins and snow-shoes laced,

Why lingers he beside the hill ?

“Far, in the dim and doubtful light,

Where woody slopes a valley leave,
He sees what none but lover might,

The dwelling of his Genevieve.

6 And oft he turns his truant eye,

And pauses oft, and lingers near ;
But when he marks the reddening sky,

He bounds away to hunt the deer.”

We merely point out, as a singular trait in the compositions of so classical a writer as Mr. Bryant, the numerous expletive epithets he indulges in ; he very often weakens the whole force of a thought by one needless or uncharacteristic adjective. We think this line an illustration of our remark:

“ Soon as the glazed and gleaming snow.”

The words “must go” also seem deficient in naturalness of expression.

As a specimen of graceful and elaborate writing few exceed 66 The Indian Girl's Lament."

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