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them; the plaintive melancholy of their tone, in general; the gentleness of their fancies; will unite to gain the ear, which occasional roughnesses might offend, and those severer tastes which other faults might offend. That there are faults, we have not sought to deny, and they are not infrequent. We find, scattered throughout our copy, sundry brief comments, such as "mauvais," alternating with "bon," which sufficiently proves (to ourselves, at least) the perfect impartiality with which we judge. Some lines we have underscored—others we have felt greatly moved to score. Over some—as "Le Cimelierc Abandonnec," "Au Capitaine Destebcchio," "Le Salem"—wc find that we have pencilled: "Among the best in the volume ;" others, for example the "Regrets de Paris," "A un jeune voyager," are inscribed "bon!" and "assez bon" while over others, entire pieces as well as detached passages, we have written "mauvais," and other epithets not less expressive of dissatisfaction, to which we shall give no further expression. Enough that the reader of French verse will, in most cases, be quite as able as ourselves to detect the weaknesses and the holes in our author's armour. That he will still continue to read on, will be suggestive of the author's atonement. We trust that M. Rouquette's verses do, and that they will continue to, find gratified readers among the French. As an American Creole, writing in French, he ought to find a large audience in our country. They will be pleased to take our word for it, that, in his poems, they will discover much delicate and graceful beauty, many pleasant sketches of domestic life, which are as sweet as they are simple and natural, much pure and elevated thought, many genial and refreshing fancies, and a spirit always void of offence. At parting with our Abbe we beg to commend him to a series of picturesque and religious sketches of the Missionary life among the Indians in the Mississippi valley from the first discovery—not a long poem, contemplating a continuous narrative, but a series of sketches, which may be all, in some degree, strung together by links which the author carries in his own hand, and to be seen only when he chooses to present himself in his proper person. J. H. G.
Art. VIII.—Passion Flowers Of Poetry.
Passion Flowers. Boston : Ticknor, Reed & Fields.
There is no more remarkable trait of the present age than the new and increasing activity of the female mind, and the enlargement of its sphere. In literature, wit, science and social economy, woman now exerts a positive, influence. This is one of the best evidences of an advancing, and a Christian civilization; and among its ulterior benefits we deem the improvement in female education the chief. Nearly all that is inadequate or superficial in the written expression of woman's mind, may be ascribed to her inferior mental training and her limited acquirements. When knowledge and discipline have been added to natural gifts, we find the intellectual product as vigorous and individual in the one sex as in the other. The mass of poems written by women are worthy of praise, chiefly for their unexceptionable morality, their musical versification, their gentle tone, or playful fancy. Usually, they are strongly imitative, and do more credit to the taste and refinement than to the poetical genius of the writers. The volume named above is a remarkable exception to this general rule. The art is subordinate to the feeling; the thought more prominent than the rhyme; there is far more earnestness of feeling than fastidiousness of taste;—instead of being the result of a dalliance with fancy, these effusions are instinct with the struggle of life; they are the offspring of experience more than of imagination. They are written by a woman who knows how to think as well as to feel; one who has made herself familiar with the higher walks of literature; who has deeply pondered Hegel, Comte, Swedenborg, Goethe, Dante, and all the masters of song, of philosophy, and of faith. Thus accomplished, she has travelled, enjoyed cultivated society, and gone through the usual phases of womanly developement and duty. Her muse, therefore, is no casual impulse of juvenile emotion, no artificial expression, no spasmodic sentiment; but a creature born of wide and deep reflection ; of study, of sorrow, yearning, love, care, delight, and all the elements of real, and thoughtful, and earnest life.
There is a singular maturity in her poetry, considered as the utterance of a woman's heart; it is impassioned, but the dignity of intelligence redeems the fervour, and the solemnity of faith makes musical the wail. A masculine grasp of thought and originality of expression, lift these poems far above the level of common-place rhymes. Their genuineness is self-evident. Her theory of the art may be gathered from this poem:
I never made a poem, dear friend—
Men often came to me and prayed
Reluctantly I bade them go,
But not a word I breathe is mine
Yet all my thoughts to rhythms run,
Tis thus—through weary length of days,
It greatens, till its hour has come;
These children of my soul I keep
And elsewhere she says:
Oh! tremblingly I sit to sing.
To sing for praise, to sing for gold,
Or ev'n for mere delight of singiDg,
Were as if empty joy of smell
Should prompt the censer's fragrant swinging.
Dear soul of bliss, and bliss of song,
What a depth of sorrow, and an eagerness for peace, are revealed in the following profound lyric:
THE DEAD CHRIST.
Take the dead Christ to my chamber,
The Christ I have brought from Rome;
He has reached his Western home;
And lay him solemnly
He shall bear me company.
The name I bear is other
Than that I bore by birth,
Who'll grow and dwell on earth;
(Nor do I bid it stay,)
Than all I hold to-day.
Lay the dead Christ beside me,
Oh press him on my heart;
Till the weary tears should start;
Till the divine contagion
Heal me of self and sin,
The pulse that chokes within.
Reproof and frost, they fret me,
Toward the fieo, the sunny lands,
I stretch these feeble hands;
Pray God would not be wroth,
And strength of labour both.
Thou'rt but a wooden carving,
Defaced of worms, and old;
Wert thou all wrapt in gold;
Which, at the Twelfth day noon,
To a merry dancing tuue.
I ask of thee no wonders,
No changing white or red;
I love and prize thee dead.
I seek through want and pain,
Our virtue rise again.
We have seldom read a love poem more alive and touching than that suggested to the author of ' Passion Flowers,' by the Tomb of Abelard and Heloise, in Pere la Chaise. We cannot imagine a more delicate avoidance of the exceptionable, combined with so natural an expression of the human and the real ; in a similar vein are these verses:
Oh I happy he who never held
In trembling arms a form adored,
Oh! happy he who never yet
On worshipped lips love's kisses poured!
Though worn in weary ways of thought,