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pp. 342.

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terspersed with Opinions on Domestic and Moral Economy. NewYork. E. Bliss. 12mo. pp. 322.

Sarah and her Cousin; or Goodness better than Knowledge. By the Author of the “Sandfords, or Home Scenes Boston. Carter, Hendee & Babcock. 18mo. pp. 103.

Library of Old English Prose Writers. Edited by Alexander Young, Jr. Volume I. Fuller's Holy State. Cambridge. Hilliard & Brown. 12mo. pp. 293.

English Version of the Polyglot Bible; with Marginal References. Philadelphia. Key & Meilke. 18mo.

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pp. 132.



OCTOBER, 1831.


Art. 1.-American Poets.

The American Common-Place Book of Poetry, with Occa

sional Notes. By George B. CHEEVER. Boston. 1831. The public are much indebted to Mr. Cheever for this wellchosen selection from the fresh and fragrant products of our native Parnassus. It is made in general with great taste, and a strict regard to the higher moral considerations that are sometimes overlooked in similar publications. Many of the poems contained in the volume are directly devotional, and all are of a nature to encourage the best and purest sentiments Such is the general correctness of feeling in this particular among our writers, that this object has been effected without the sacrifice, as far as we are aware, of a single work of acknowledged merit. Mr. Cheever has enriched the collection with occasional commentaries, of which we shall give some specimens, and of which the character is such, as to make us regret that they are not more full and frequent.

We have sometimes been called of late, to lament over the decline of poetry, and as far as the mother country, and Europe in general are concerned, the contemporary harvest does appear to be somewhat less abundant than that, which rewarded the labors of the last generation. Mrs. Hemans and Miss Jewsbury, with all their merit, which we are not disposed to contest, will never rival the fame of Scott, Campbell

, or Rogers. The Undying One' will, we fear, undergo the common lot long before Childe Harold. Dr. Bowring, who has so liberally translated others, will but too probably never

VOL. XXXIII.-NO. 73. 38

be translated himself; and the Gothic lyre of Mr. Alaric Attila Watts, affords no sufficient substitute for the exquisite, though too luxurious harpings of Anacreon Moore. But however the case may be in Europe, we should suppose, to judge from the contents of the present volume, that in this country, a new spring had come over the enchanted gardens of Poesy. We are here presented with selections from the works of not less than forty or fifty native writers ;-selections almost uniformly of great merit, and in numerous instances of the very first order of excellence. These writers are generally young men. The productions with which they have thus far favored us, are the early blossoms of genius, glittering with the dewy freshness which belongs to life's morning, but rather to be looked upon as the bright promise of rich fruits to come, than as fair specimens of what iheir authors will finally be able to accomplish. We doubt whether the works of the race of poets, who are now in England taking the place of the veterans of the last generation,—though perhaps more voluminous, -would furnish altogether a finer anthology. Such in fact, is the natural course of things. The spirit of Poetry can never disappear from the world. It is one of the essential elements of our nature, and must continue to live and flourish in immortal youth, so long as man preserves his present constitution. But it does not always exhibit itself with the same power and beauty in the same countries. When Poetry declines in one quarter, it begins to flourish in another. The echos of the Delphic woods,-the original seat and birth-place of the Classic Muse,-have been languishing for two thousand years in silence; while those of our own mountains, which, for aught we know to the contrary, were mute for as long a period, are now replying to strains that are no longer heard in all their former freshness on the bleak romantic hills of the mother country

Nor is it true, as some suppose, that the great demand in this country for practical talent, will prevent us from excelling in letters. The Genius of Poetry, as she takes her wayward and capricious course from region to region, forgets not to visit the abodes of active life. Politics, commerce and manufactures,-the bustle of business,--the din of crowded cities--the clang of the forge and the ship-yard, the angry contests of the bar and the senate, present no obstacles to the successful cultivation of the elegant arts. The Muses are not a set of sentimental fine ladies who are frightened at the free and open face of real life. Real lise, on the contrary, is the element in which they live and move, and have their being. The same general causes which inspire the body politic with health and vigor, and give activity to every department of moral and professional labor, develope in proportional fulness the finer germs of feeling in all their various and delightful exhibitions. Whatever in fact assumes the name of eloquence, poetry, literature, and is not the instinctive spontaneous expression of feelings awakened by the real action and passion of life, is mere imitation,—a cold mockery of the true thing,-a hot-house plant not worth the trouble of raising. Compare, for example, the orations of Chatham, Burke, or Ames, with the panegyric of Isocrates, or the declamations of Quintilian. The most brilliant exhibitions of literary talent have accordingly always coincided in place and time, with a great display of political and professional activity. Such was the case in Greece, ancient and modern Italy, France and England; such from present appearances is likely to be the case in this country.

It was not, however, our purpose in noticing the work before us, to write a dissertation on the Progress of Poesy, but rather to enrich our sober pages with some of the choice specimens which Mr. Cheever has collected, and to hold some colloquy with him on the absolute and comparative merits of their respective authors.

Bryant has been, by a pretty general consent of the lovers of poetry, crowned with our republican laurel. Mr. Cheever, though one of his warm admirers, is disposed to concede the first place to Dana. We are not sure, much as we value his taste and judgment, and highly as we think of Mr. Dana's talents, that we shall be able to agree with him in this decision. But his remarks on the question are so beautifully written, and so fair and favorable to both the parties, that we cannot resuse ourselves the pleasure of quoting them.

We are disposed to rank Mr. Dana at the head of all the American poets, not excepting Bryant; and we think this is the judgment which posterity will pass upon his writings. Not because he is superior to all others in the elegance of his language, and in the polished beauty and finish of his compositions ; in these respects, Bryant has, in this country, no equal, and Mr. Dana is often careless in the dress of his thoughts. Not because, in the same kind and class of composition to which Bryant has

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