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BY EDGAR A. POE.
“ Gênes dans ce temps achetait tout le blé de l'Eu -still it is a fancy of mine that much rope.”
of what people call profundity has been For an hour I have been endeavor- fairly thrown away on that ever-recuring, without success, to make out the ring topic, the decline of the drama. meaning of this passage —which I find Were the question demanded of me in a French translation of Lady Mor “Why has the drama declined ?" my gan's “ Letters on Italy." I could not answer should be " It has not ; it has conceive how or why all the corn of only been left out of sight by every Europe should have been bought, or thing else.” The dramatic art, more what corn, in any shape, had to do than any other, is essentially imitative, with the matter at issue. Procuring and thus engenders and keeps alive in the original work, after some trouble, I its votaries the imitative propensity, as read that “the Genoese, at this period, well as the imitative power. Hence bought the scorn of all Europe by," etc., one drama is apt to be fashioned too etc. Now, here the translator is by no nearly after another—the dramatist of means so much in fault as Lady Mor- to-day is prone to step too closely in gan, who is too prone to commit sin the foot-prints of the dramatist of yeswith the verbum insolens. I can see no terday. In a word there is less origiforce, here, in the unusuality of nality—less independence-less thought " bought,” as applied to scorn—(al- less reference to principles—less efthough there are cases in which the fort to keep up with the general moveexpression would be very appropriate) ment of the time--more supineness-and cannot condemn the Frenchman more bullet-headedness-more rank and for supposing the s a superfluity and a arrant conventionality in the drama than misprint.
in any other single thing in existence
which aspires to the dignity of Art. There is a double entendre in the old This spirit of imitation, developed in adage about Truth in a Well; but, adherence to old, and therefore to untaking the profundity of Truth as at couth models, has not, indeed, caused least one of the meanings—understand- the drama to “ decline," but has overing it to be implied that correct ideas on thrown it by not permitting it to soar. any topic are to be fished up only from While every other art* has kept pace great depths, and that to have common with the thinking and improving spirit sense it is necessary to be abysmal- of the age, it alone has remained 'stathis being taken as the moral of the ad- tionary, prating about Æschylus and age, I have my objections on the spot. the Chorus, or mouthing Euphuism beThe profundity of which so much is cause " the Old English masters" have said, lies more frequently in the places thought proper to mouth it before. Let where we seek Truth” than in those
us imagine Bulwer to-day presenting where we find her. Just as the mode us a novel after the model of the old rately-sized shop-signs are better adapt- novelists, or as nearly on their plan as ed to their object than those which are • The Hunchback" is on the plan of Brobdignagian, so, in at least three cases “ Ferrex and Porrex :"-let him write out of seven, is a fact (but especially a us a “ Grand Cyrus," and what should reason) overlooked solely on account of we do with it, and what should we being excessively obvious. It is almost think of its inditer? And yet this impossible, too, to see a thing that lies “Grand Cyrus" was a very admirable immediately beneath one's nose. work in its day.
I may be wrong—and no doubt I am The fact is, the drama is not now
* Sculpture, perhaps, excepted.
supported, for the simple reason that it passionate songs--such as we have
Dreams as of rapture creeping,
Smile by smile, over her eyes. even of the mob, can no longer be affronted, night after night, with impuni And this, in reference to a ship bety. If, for example, a play-wright calmed, is natural and forcible : will persist in making a hero deliver on the stage a soliloquy such as was solilo A world, from all the world apart, quized by no human being in ordinary Chained idly on the sea ! life-ranting transcendentalism at the How droops the eye-bow sinks the heart,
Vain wishing to be free! audience as nothing conceivable ever
How dread the fear that fills the thought, before ranted, short of a Piankitank can That uinds may never rise didate for Congress-splitting the ears To uafl us from this weary spot of the house and endangering the lives
Beneath these burning skies ! of the orchestra, the while that a confidential friend who holds him by the
This again is exceedingly spirited :shoulder is supposed not to hear a syllable of all that is said :if the play
Now are the winds about us in their glee,
Tossing the slender tree; wright, I say, will persist in perpetra Whirling the sands about his furious car ting these atrocities, and a hundred March cometh from afar, worse, for no better reason than that Breaks the sealed magic of old Winter's
dreams there were people simple enough to
And rends his glassy streams. perpetrate them five hundred years ago—if he will do this, and will not do
By the way, how happens it, in the anything else to the end of time--what melodious stanza which follows, (taken right has he, I demand, to look any
from an " Indian Serenade") that the est man in the face, and talk to him
sonorous Samana has been set aside for about what he calls “the decline of the the far less musical and less effective drama ?”
'Tis the wail for life they waken “ The Alphadelphia Tocsin !"*
By Bonita's silver shore(Phæbus, what a name to fill the sound With the tempest it is skaken :ing trump of future fame!) and “ de The wide ocean is in motion, voted to the interest of the laboring
And the song is heard no more. classes !”—by which, I presume, are intended the classes who have to pro
When in the mouth of Vasco Nunez, pounce, every morning, the great appel- in
The Damsel of Darien” (its aulation of the paper itself. Such a work thor's least meritorious novel, by the should not want editors, and according- bye) the like originally ran, ly we are informed that it has eight. What on earth is the meaning of Alph
By Samana's yielding shore. adelphia! Is the "Alphadelphia Tocsin" the tocsin of the city of the double
Sounding shore would have been A's !--if so, the idea is too easily slip
still better. Altogether I prefer this ped into that of the A double S.
“ Indian Serenade” to any of Mr. Simms' poems.
These and other imitations, however, I fully agree with Simms (W. Gil- are but the inevitable sins of the youth more) that the Provençal troubadour of genius-which invariably begins its had, 'in his melodious vocabulary, no career by imitation-animitation, nevertitle more appropriate than the Cuban theless, interspersed with vivid origin" Areytos" for a collection of tender or ality. I think I have before observed
Title of a new journal published at Alphadelphia, Michigan. f " Ayretos, or Songs of the South."
that, in letters, a copyist is, as a general rule, by no means necessarily unoriginal, except at the exact points of the copy. Mr. Simms is, beyond doubt, one of our most original writers.
Some have dark and drooping wings,
Children all of sorrow;
Could see no cloudy morrow-
Must from the other borrow.
It is really difficult to conceive what One by one they come to me must have been the morbidity of the
On their destined mission; German intellect, or taste, when it not
One by one I see them fade
With no hopeless visiononly tolerated but truly admired and
For they've led me on a step enthusiastically applauded such an
To their home Elysian. affair as “ The Sorrows of Werter." The German approbation was, clearly, There is, here, a great deal of natural in good faith :-as for our own, or that fancy-I mean to say that the images of the English, it was the quintessence are such as would naturally arise in the of affectation. Yet we did our best, as mind of an imaginative and educated in duty bound, to work ourselves up man, seeking to describe his “ thoughts." into the fitting mood. The title, by the But the main charm of the poem is the way, is mistranslated :-Lieden does nice, and at the same time, bold art of not mean Sorrows but Sufferings. its rhythin. Here is no merely nega
tive merit, but much of originality-or, The works of Christopher Pease if not precisely that, at least much of Cranch are slightly tinged with the freshness, and spirit. The opening spirit of mixed Puritanism, utilitarian- line, barring an error to be presently ism, and transcendentalism, which mentioned, is very skilful—and, to me, seems to form the poetical atmosphere the result is not less novel than happy. of Massachusetts—but, dismissing this The general idea is merely a succession one sin, are among the truest of Ameri- of trochees (for the long syllable, or can poetry. I know nothing finer of cæsura proper, at the end of each odd its kind (and that kind is a most com
line, is a trochee's equivalent) but, in prehensive one) than one of his shorter lieu of a trochee, at the commencement pieces entitled,
of the opening verse, we have a trochee and a pyrrhic_(forming the compound foot called, in Latin, Pæon primus, and
in Greek, aospoloyos.) Here is a very Many are the thoughts that come to me
bold excess of two short syllables—and In my lonely musing ;
the result would be highly pleasurable And they drift so strange and swift if the reader were prepared for it—if
There's no time for choosing he were prepared, my monotone, to Which to followfur to leave
expect variation. As it is, he is at fault Any seems a losing.
in a first attempt at perusal, and it is
only on a second or third trial, that he When they come, they come in flocks,
appreciates the effect. To be sure, he As, on glancing feather, Startled birds rise, one by one,
then wonders why he did not at first In autumnal weather,
catch the intention :--but the mischief Waking one another up
has been committed. The fact is that From the sheltering heather.
the line, which would have been singu
larly beautiful in the body of the poem, Some so merry that I laugh ;
is in its present position, a blemish. Some are grave and serious ;
Mr. Cranch has violated a vital law of Some so trite, their last approach rhythmical art, in not permitting his Is enough to weary us:
rhythm to determine itself, instantaneOthers flit like midnight ghosts, Shrouded and mysterious.
ously, by his opening foot. A trochaic
rhythm, for example, should invariably There are thoughts that o'er me steal,
commence with a trochee. I speak Like the day when dawning;
thus at length on this apparently trival Great thoughts winged with melody,
point, because I have been much inCommon utterance scorning;
terested in the phenomenon of a marked Moving in an inward tune
common-place-ness of defect, involving And an inward morning.
as marked an originality of merit.
(Concluded.) But Don Pedro VII., although pro- ing their origin in the disposition of the claimed with the highest enthusiasm, regal power during the minority of the never fixed himself firmly in the affec- heir to the throne. Several changes tions of his people. He continued to were made in the regency, and disposireign about ten years, during which tions to cast off the imperial yoke were time the country was prosperous, and manifested in different parts of the advanced rapidly in the path of im- empire. One party succeeded another provement. His war against Monte- in the administration with great rapidvideo was, however, unsuccessful ; and, ity, but none of them had the good forwhile it checked the prosperity of Bra- tune long to satisfy the expectations of zil, resulted in the loss of a province the people. to the empire. There were also sev The constitution provided that the eral insurrectionary movements in the minority of the Emperor should termindistant provinces during his reign. But ate when he had attained the age of it was, probably, his continual interfer- eighteen. He was now fifteen, but a ence in the affairs of Portugal, and his motion was made by the opposition in partiality to native Portuguese in the the House of Deputies, in favor of aboldistribution of his public favors, that ishing the regency, and vesting him at most excited against him the prejudices once with the imperial sovereignty of of a people, whose success in rebellion Brazil. This movement was highly had made them at once bold and res- satisfactory to the populace ; and the tive.
constitutional objections to it, though A variety of popular agitations suc- urged with great power and eloquence, ceeded each other, widening the breach were urged in vain. The people were between the emperor and the patriots, seized with the idea—the popular extill the latter, in a tumultuous assembly, citement became intense—the deputies demanded the dismissal of the minis- yielded to the clamor of the multitudetry. This demand brought the affairs the regency was declared to be at an of the empire to a crisis. The Empe- end, and young Pedro, in defiance of ror, after a variety of subterfuges, finally the fundamental law of the empire, declared that he would suffer death ra was brought before the deputies, took ther than consent to the dictates of a the oath of office, and acceded to the mob, and gave utterance to the offensive full exercise of his prerogatives as remark, that he was willing to do Emperor. He was crowned on the everything for the people, but nothing 18th of July, 1841, with great cereby the people." As soon as this answer mony, parade and splendor. was made known at the Campo where Since this event, there have been the multitude had assembled, the most several changes in the ministry, and the seditious cries were raised, and the affairs of the empire do not appear to troops of the Emperor deserted his have been more stable than before. cause and went over to the populace. There have been disturbances in Rio Pedro, at length, finding that all was Grand do Sul, San Paulo, Minas Geraes lost, and that he must either yield to and Ceara ; but for some time past the the people or abandon the crown, chose country has been more quiet. In 1842 the latter alternative, and abdicated in the Emperor was married to the Prinfavor of his son, Don Pedro II., then a cess Donna Theresa, sister to the king lad of six years old; and immediately of the Two Sicilies. In the foltook his departure for Portugal. lowing year, 1843, the Emperor's sis
These events took place in April, ter, Donna Francesca, was married to 1831, and the next nine years were the Prince de Joinville, son of Louis signalized by violent party contests, hav- Philippe, king of France. In 1844,
* SKETCHES OF RESIDENCE AND TRAVELS IN BRAZIL ; Embracing Historical and Geographical Notices of the Empire and its several Provinces. By Rev. Daniel P. Kidder, A. M. In two volumes, with Dlustrations. Philadelphia: Sorin & Ball. London: Wiley & Putnam. 1845. VOL. XIX.-NO. XCVII.
another sister, Donna Januaria, Impe- nishes so bountifully to their hands, rial Princess and heir to the Brazilian they could not avoid being rich. If enthrone, was married to the Count of terprising cultivation were added to Aquilla, of Naples, brother to the Em- that degree of industry, there is no press. These alliances are regarded limit to the vegetable wealth which as giving strength and respectability to might be drawn from this treasury of the Brazilian throne, and have given nature.” much gaiety to the court scenes at Rio, Although wheat may be grown in though they have not materially im- the southern provinces, yet no attenproved the finances, or relieved the tion is paid to its cultivation. Large treasury.
quantities of four are imported from “ No one,” says Mr. Kidder, the United States, and bread is used reflect upon the history of these chil- for food in the cities and towns along dren, the descendants of the Braganzas, the coast; but in the interior there are without emotion. Never was parental thousands of people who have never solicitude more intense than has been tasted, or even seen, what in this counthe unwavering anxiety of the Brazil- try is regarded as the staff of life. Mr. ian nation in their behalf. Thrown upon Kidder relates an anecdote of a Matuits protection in a state of virtual aban- to from the far Sartao, who, in one of donment and orphanage, they were
his visits to the coast, resolved to gracherished as the fondest objects of the tify his curiosity, and test for himself nation's hopes," and during the eight the qualities of that bread of which he years of the Emperor's minority, had heard so much. He accordingly "amid all the political agitations and went to a baker and purchased a hatparty intrigues of so long a period, full of rolls. He then seated himself neither individuals nor factions presum- under the shade of an out-spreading ed to question the prerogatives of the tree, and commenced paring them as he youthful monarch,” but all bore towards would have done an orange or banana. him the “warmest affections and the But even at that, the taste did not please most enthusiastic reverence."
him, and he threw them away as unThe Palace of Boa Vista, occupied by fit to be eaten. the young Emperor and his bride at Rio, In some parts of Brazil melaneia, or is a building of considerable size and water-melons, grow to a large size, splendor, located in a suburb about four and are produced in such unwonted or five miles from the denser portion of profusion, as to be sold at 18 or 20 cents the city. It was originally a private per hundred. The inhabitants, esperesidence, and was presented by its cially the Indians and mixed races, use generous owner to Don John VI. It them as a principal article of food.has been gradually enlarged and im- But a better and more usual substitute proved, and rendered very suitable to for the bread of the north is mandioc, the purposes to which it is devot- the principal farinaceous substance of ed. The Emperor and his sister here Brazil. It is an indigenous plant, and received their education, under the di was known to the Indians long before rection of a tutor appointed by the go- the discovery of the country by Eurovernment.
peans. The Portuguese, on taking There is probably no country in the possession of the country, soon acworld where a subsistence is so easily quired the habit of using it, and by approcured as in Brazil. Mr. Kidder ob- plying to its cultivation and preparation serves, “ that the stern voice of neces the arts of a more advanced condition, sity-work or die-never disturbs the greatly improved it, and brought it into day-dreams of the Brazilian as he very general use as food. It is now to yawns in his hammock during the be found on every Brazilian table, formbright hours of sunshine. The great ing a great variety of healthy and palmass of the lower classes live as they atable dishes. list. Their wants are few and simple, The striking peculiarity of this valuand to a great degree confined to the able plant is the union, in its fibrous spontaneous productions of nature." structure, of a deadly poison with a This circumstance is undoubtedly the substance highly nutricious and healthchief bar to the advancement of the ful. The root is the part used. It is country. “ If the people were only in- ground into a pulp, then subjected to dustrious in collecting what nature fur- high pressure, by which means the