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On your own mountain's side ye taught of yore, Whose honoured hand took not your gift in vain, Worthy the budding laurel-bough it bore,—* Farewell! a long farewell! I worship thee no more.
A KOKODT HADE ON Tim LATE ME. 8AHUKL PATCH, BT AN ADM1BKB OP TUK BATHOS.
By waters shall he die, and take his end.—SnAKESPEAEE. Toll for Sam Patch 1 Sam Patch, who jumps no more,
This or the world to come. Sam Patch is dead! The vulgar pathway to the unknown shore
Of dark futurity he would not tread.
No friends stood sorrowing round his dying bed; Nor with decorous woe, sedately stepped
Behind his corpse, and tears by retail shed;— The mighty river, as it onward swept, In one great wholesale sob, his body drowned and kept.
Toll for Sam Patch I he scorned the common way That leads to fame, up heights of rough ascent,
And having heard Pope and Loi'ginus say,
That some great men had risen to falls, he went
The antique rocks;—the air free passage gave,—
Upbore him, like some sea-god on its wave;
And all the people said that Sam was very brave.
Fame, the clear spirit that doth to heaven upraise,
Led Sam to dive into what Byron calls The hell of waters. For the sake of praise,
He wooed the bathos down great water-falls;
The dizzy precipice, which the eye appals Of travellers for pleasure, Samuel found
Pleasant, as are to women lighted halls, Crammed full of fools and fiddles; to the sound Of the eternal roar, he timed his desperate bound.
Sam was a fool. But the large world of such,
Has thousands—better taught, alike absurd, And less sublime. Of fame he soon got much,
Where distant cataracts spout, of him men heard.
Alas for Sam I Had he aright preferred The kindly element, to which he gave
Himself so fearlessly, we had not heard
He soon got drunk, with rum and with renown,
With demigods, who went to the Black Sea
Came back, in negro phraseology, With the same wool each upon his pate),
Of him who jumped into the perilous ditch
Which made it dangerous, and by jumping which
He made himself renowned, and the contractors rich—
I say, the muse shall quite forget to sound
She do not strike it when Sam Patch is drowned.
• HesM. Theog. 1.1. CO. 80.
The Lesbian Sappho leapt from in a miff,
Because the wax did not continue stiff;
And Helle's case was all an accident,
As everybody knows. Why sing of these? Nor would I rank with Sam that man who went Down into ^Etna's womb—Empedocles, I think he called himself. Themselves to please,
Or else unwillingly, they made their springs;
I will not be fatigued, by citing more
Nor plague the weary gliosis of boyish lore,
By their long tumbles; and if we can match
One wreath i Who ever came " up to the scratch."
And for so little, jumped so bravely as Sam Patch f
To long conclusions many men have jumped
He jumped in person. Death or Victory
Was his device, " and there was no mistake,' Except his last; and then he did but die,
A blunder which the wisest men will make.
Aloft, where mighty floods the mountnius break, To stand, the target of ten thousand eyes,
And down into the coil and water-quake, To leap, like Maia's offspring, from the skies— For this all vulgar flights he ventured to despise.
And while Niagara prolongs its thunder,
Though still the rock primaeval disappears, Aud nations change their bounds—the theme of wonder
Shall Sam go down the cataract of long years;
And if there be sublimity in tears, Those shall be precious which the adventurer shed
When his frail star gave way, and waked his fears Lest, by the ungenerous crowd it might be said. That he was all a hoax, or that his pluck had fled.
Who would compare the maudlin Alexander,
With Sam, whose grief we all can understand i His crying was not womanish, nor planned For exhibition; but his heart o'erswelled With its own agony, when he the grand Natural arrangements for a jump beheld,
And measuring the cascade, found not his courage quelled.
His last great failure set the final seal
While bravery has its honour,—while men feel
The tortured tides of Genesee descend,
(We know not that he had another friend),
The martyr of renown, hip wayward course to enii
The fiend that from the infernal rivers stole
Hell-draughts for man, too much tormented him, With nerves unstrung, but steadfast in his soul,
He stood upon the salient current's brim;
His head was giddy, and his sight was dim; And then he knew this leap would be his last,—
Saw air, and earth, and water wildly swim,
Beat down, in the huge amphitheatre
Sa-n was born free as Ciesar; and he might
No i with true leap, but soon with faltering flight,—"Deep in the roaring gulf, he plunged to endles:night"
But, ere he leapt, he begged of those who made
Should perish, such collection should be paid
Tho' she who bore him ne'er his fate should know,—
When all the streams have worn their barriers low,
And, by the sea drunk up, for ever cease to llow.
On him who chooses to jump down cataracts,
Why should the sternest moralist be severe \ Jndge not the dead by prejudice—but facts,
Such as in strictest evidence appear.
Else were the laurels of all ageo sere. Give to the brave, who have passed the final goal,—
The gates that ope not back,—the generous tear;
Therefore it it considered, that Sam Patch
His name shall be a portion in the batch
Of Fame's old bells, long as they truly ring,
And found it Thou, who with the eagle's wing
Being a goose, would'st fly,—dream not of such a thing!
Toe Dead or 1882.
Hot always in the storm of war,
From the plague-smitten realms afar,
In crowds the good and mighty go, And to those vast dim chambers hie:—
Where mingled with the high and low,
Dread Ministers of God! sometimes
In all earth's ocean-severed climes,
When all the brightest stars that burn
Men sadly ask, when shall return
For where is he*—who lived so long—
And showed his fate, in powerful song,
Where he—who backwards to the birth
Aud in the mingled mass of earth
Where he—who in the mortal head,|
The soul's vast features, that shall tread
Where he—who struck old Albyu's lyre,§
And swept, with all a prophet's fire,
Where he—who read the mystic lore,|
And dared presumptuous to explore Secrets four thousand years could keep I
Where he—who with a poet's eyc^f
And made even sordid Poverty
Classic, when in ms numbers glazed t
Where—that old sage so hale and staid,**
Who in his garden mused, and made
And thou—whom millions far rcmovedf f
Thy ashes sleep, adored, beloved,
He too—the heir of glory—where Hath great Napoleon's scion fled?
Last of the brave who perilled all
They go, and with them is a crowd,
For human rights who Thought and Din,
We rear to them no temples proud,
All earth is now their sepulchre,
Young in eternal fame they are—
GRENVILLE MELLEN. GRENm.tB Mbllex was born at Biddeford, Maine, June 19, 1799. He was the eldest son of Chief-justice Mellen, of the court of common pleas in that state. He was graduated at Harvard in 1818; studied law with his father, and settled at Portland, Maine. In 1823 he removed to North Yarmouth, in the same state, where he remained for five years. His poems at this period and subsequently to his death, appeared frequently in the periodicals, the magazines and annuals, of the time. In 1826 he pronounced before the Peace Society of Maine, at Portland, a poem, The Rest of Empires, and in 1828 an Anniversary Poem, before the Athenian
Society of Bowdoin College, The Light of Letters. He wrote for the United States Literary Gazette, supported by Longfellow and others of Cambridge. In 1827 he published Our Chronicle of Twenty-Six, a satire, and in 1829 Glad Tale* and Sad Tales, a volume in prose, from his contributions to the periodicals. The chief collection of his poems appeared in Boston in 1833, The Martyrs Triumph, Buried Valley, and other Poems.
From Boston he came to reside in New York. His health, which was always delicate, was now much enfeebled; he was lingering with consumption when lie made a voyage to Cuba, from which he returned without benefit, and died in New York September 5, 1841, at the residence of his friend, Mr. Samuel Column, for whose family he felt the wannest affection, and whose house he had called his home for the latter years of his life. Before his death he was engaged upon a collection of his unpublished poems, which still remain in manuscript.
A glance at his poems shows a delicate susceptibility to poetical impression, tinged with an air of melancholy. He wrote with ease, often carelessly and pretentiously—often with eloquence. With a stronger constitution his verse would probably have assumed a more condensed, energetic expression. With a consciousness of poetic power he straggled with a feeble frame, and at times yielded to despondency. The memory of his tenderness and purity of character is much cherished by his friends.
Young Beauty at the altar 1 Oh! kneel down
All ye that come to gaze into her face,
And breathe low prayers for her. See at her side
Stand her pale parents in their latter days,
Pondering that bitter word—the last farewell 1
The father, with a mild but tearless eye—
The mother, with both eye and heart "in tears 1
He, with his iron nature just put off,
Comes from the mart of noisy men awhile,
To witness holier vows than t)ind the world,
And taste, once more, the fount of sympathy I
She from the secret chamber of her sighs,
The home of woman I She has softly come
To stand beside her child—her only child—
And hear her pale-lipped promises. She comes
With hands laid meekly on her bosom—yet
With eye upraised, as tho' to catch one glance
Like that of childhood, from that pallid face
That hung for hours imploringly on hers,
In the long, watchful years of trial. Now,
She would endure those cruel years again,
To take her as an infant back to arms
That shielded and encircled her—ere she
Had blossomed into life. But lo! she stands
A plighted lovely creature at her side—
The child nil lost in woman 1 The whole world
Contains for her no glory, now, like that
That centres in her full and thrilling heart.
Her eye roves not—is fixed not—but a deep
And lovely haze, as tho' she were in vision,
I Has gathered on its dark transparency.
; Roses and buds are struggling thro' her hair,
j Of pure luxuriant youth—ere yet the sun
And doth she tremble—this long cherished flower 1
As friends come closer round l.er, and the voice
Of adulation calls her from her dream!
Oh 1 wonder not that glowing youth like this,
To whom existence has been sunshine all.
A long, sweet dream of love—when on her ear
The tale of faith, of trial, and of death,
Sounds with a fearful music—should be dumb
And quake before the altar! Wonder not
That her heart shakes alarmingly—for now
She listens to the vow, that, like a voice
From out of heaven at night, when it comes down
Upon our fevered slumbers, steals on her
And calls to the recalless sacrifice 1
Young maidens cluster round her; but she vows
Amid her bridal tears, and heeds them not.
Her thoughts are tossed and troubled—like lone barl.s
Upon a tempest sea, when stars have set
Under the heaving waters:—She hears not
The very prayers that float up round her; but
Veiling her eyes, she gives her heart awny,
Deaf to all sounds but that low-voiced one
That love breathes through the temple of her sou!!
Young Beauty at the altar 1 Ye may go
And rifle earth of all its loveliness,
And of all things created hither bring
The rosiest and richest—but, alas!
The world is all too poor to rival this!
Ye summon nothing from the place of dreams,
The orient realm of fancy, that can cope,
In all its passionate devotedness,
With this chaste, silent picture of the heart 1
Youth, bud-encircled youth, and purity,
Yielding their bloom and fragrance up—in tear?.
The promises have past. And welling now
But still the dingle's hollow throat.
Lady qf the Lake
O, wild enchanting horn I
Till a new melody is born.
Wake, wake again; the night
Intense and eloquently bright 1
Night, at its pulseless noon!
Barks at the melancholy moon!
Hark! how it sweeps away, Soaring and dying on the silent sky, As if some sprite of sound went wandering by,
With lone halloo and roundelay.
Swell, swell in glory out I
As boyhood's old remembered shout.
Oh, have ye heard that peal, From sleeping city's moon-bathed battlements, Or from the guarded field and warrior tents,
Like some near breath around ye steal 1
Or have ye, in the roar
Where wings and tempests never soar.
Go, go; no other sound,
On midnight's fathomless profound I
PEOSPEE M. WETMOBE. Pbospee Moxtgomeby Wktmobe was born at Stratford on the Housatonic, Connecticut, in 1799. At an early age he removed with his parents to New York. His father dying soon after, he was placed, when scarcely nine years of age, in a counting-room, where he continued as a clerk till he reached his majority. He has since that period been engaged in mercantile business in the city of New York.
With scant early opportunities for literary culture, Mr. Wetmore was not long in improving a natural tendency to the pursuits of authorship. He made his first appearance in print in 1816, at the age of seventeen, and soon became an important aid to the struggling literature, and, it may be added, writers of the times. He wrote for the magazines, the annuals, and the old Mirror; and as literature at that period was kept up rather as a social affair than from any reward promised by the trade, it became naturally associated with a taste for the green-room, and the patronage of the theatrical stars of the day. Mr. Wetmore was the companion of Price, Simpson, Brooks, Morris, and other members of a society which supported the wit and gaiety of the town.
In 1830 Mr. Wetmore published in an elegant octavo volume, Lexington, with other Fugitive Poems. This is the only collection of his writings which has been made. Lexington, a picture, in an ode, of the early revolutionary battle, is a spirited poem. It has fire and ease of versification. The Banner of Murat, The Russian Retreat, Greece, Painting, and several theatrical addresses possessing similar qualities, are among the contents of this volume.
In 1832 Mr. Wetmore delivered a poem in Spenserian stanza on Ambition, before one of the literary societies of Hamilton College, New York, which has not been printed.
In 1838 he edited a volume of the poems of
James Nack, prefaced with a brief notice of the life of that remarkable person.
Mr.Wetmore, however, has been more generally known as a man of literary influence in society than as an author. He has been prominently connected with most of the liberal interests of the city, both utilitarian and refined—as Regent of the University, to which body he was appointed in 1833, promoting the public school system; as chairman of the committee on colleges and academies in the State Legislature, to which he was elected in 1834 and 1835; as member of the City Chamber of Commerce; as an efficient director of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb; as President of the American Art-Union, which rapidly extended under his management to a national institution; and as a most active member and supporter of the New York Historical Society. These varied pursuits, the public indexes to more numerous private acts of liberality, have been sustained by a graceful personal manner, a sanguine temperament which preserves the freshness of youth, and a wide versatility of talent.
The military title of General Wetmore, by which he is widely known, is derived from his long and honorable service in the militia organization of the state, of which he was for many years Paymaster-General.
Peopling, with art's creative power,
Tis to the pencil's magic skill
Life owes the power, almost divine, To call back vanished forms at will, And bid the grave its prey resign: Affection's eye again may trace
The lineaments beloved so well; The speaking look, the form of grace,
All on the living canvas dwell: Tis there the childless mother pays
Her sorrowing soul's idolatry;
A talisman to memory I
To shed the halo light of truth;
Still flourish in immortal youth— The long forgotten battle-field,
With mailed men to people forth; In bannered pride, with spear and shield,
To show the mighty ones of earth— To shadow, from the holy book,
The images of sacred lore; On Calvary, the dying look
That told life's agony was o'er— The joyous hearts, and glistening eyes,
When little ones were suffered near— The lips that bade the dead arise,
To dry the widowed mother's tear: These are the triumphs of the art, Conceptions of the master-mind; Time-shrouded forms to being start, And wondering rapture fills mankind I
Led by the light of Genius on,
What visions open to the gaze 1 Tis nature all, and art is gone,
We breathe with them of other days: It alias victor leads the war,
And triumphs o'er the ensanguined plain: Behold! the Peasant Conqueror Piling Marengo with his slain:
That sun of glory beams once more.
But clouds hnve dimmed its radiant hue.
The splendor of its race is o'er,
What scene of thrilling awe is here!
No look of joy, no eye for mirth; With steeled hearts ana brows austere,
Their deeds proclaim a nation's birth. Fame here inscribes for future nge,
A proud memorial of the free; And stamps upon her deathless page,
The noblest theme of history!
JAMES LAWSON, A Citizen of New York, and for many years connected with its literary interests, was born November 9, 1799, in Glasgow, Scotland. Ho was educated at the University of that city, and came early in life, at the close of the year 1815, to America, where he was received at New York in the countting-house ofamaternaluncle. Mr.Lawsonseems early to have taken an interest in American letters; for in 1821 we find him in correspondence with Mr. John Mennons, editor of the Greenock Advertiser, who was then engaged in publishing a miscellaneous collection of prose and verse, entitled the Literary Coronal. Mr. Mennons desired to introduce specimens of American authors, then a novelty to the British public, into his book, and Mr. Lawson supplied him with the materials. It was through this avenue and one or two kindred publications, that the merits of several of the best American authors first became known abroad. Halleck's "Fanny" was repul Is ' >d by Mr. Mennons in September, 1821, a fac-oiiuile of the New York edition. In a second volume of the Literary Coronal of 1823, it w;is again re-published with poems by Bryant, Percival, James G. Brooks, and Miss Manley. An English edition of Salmagundi was published in the same year in the style of the Coronal, by Mr. Mennons, who was, perhaps, the first in theold world to seek after American poetry, and introduce abroad those felicitous short pieces of verse which have since become household words in England, through collections like his own. In this, he had a willing co-operator in Mr. Lawson, whose literary and personal friendship with the authors of the country has been a marked trait of his life.
A third Edinburgh publication followed, "The American Lyre," composed entirely of American poetry. It opened with Ontwa, the Son of the Forest, a poem first published in New York in 1822, the curious and interesting notes to which on Indian character and antiquities, were written by the Hon. Lewis Cass, then Governor of Michigan. Ontwa is a spirited poem, an eloquent commemoration of tho manners and extinction of the nation of the Eries.
Another volume of the Coronal, liberally supplied with American verse, appeared in 1826.
About this time the failure of the mercantile house in which Mr. Lawson was a partner, led him to turn his attention to literature. He had been
already connected with the poet and editor, Mr. J. G. Brooks, in writing for the literary p 'nodical of the latte r, the New York Litciary Q.isette, and American Athena>um*
In this, Mr. Lawson wrote the first criticism on Mr. Edwin Forrest, who had then jnst made his appearance in New York at the Bowery Theatre, under the management of Gilfert. This opening performance, in November, 1 826, was Othello; and Mr. Lawson's criticism of several columns appeared in the next number of his friend's paper. It was shrewd, acute, freely pointing out defects, and confidently anticipating his subsequent triumphs.
The Literary Gazette, on its discontinuance, was immediately succeeded by an important newspaper enterprise, founded by Mr. J. G. Brooks, Mr. John B. Skilman, and Mr. James Lawson, as associates. This was the Morning Courier grown into the New York Courier and Enquirer. The first number of this journal was issued in 1827; and its first article was written by Mr. Lawson. The joint editorship of the paper continued till 1829, when new financial arrangements were made, and Noah's Enquirer was added to the Courier. Mr. Brooks and Mr. Lawson retired, when the latter immediately joined Mr. Amos Butler in the Mercantile Advertiser, with which he remained associated till 1883.
In 1830, a volume, Tales and Sketchcsby a Cosmopolite, from the pen of Mr. Lawson, was published by Elnm Bliss, in New York. In these the writer finds his themes in the domestic life and romance of his native land, and in one instance ventures a dramatic sketch, a love scene, the precursor of the author's nert publication, Giordano, a tragedy; an Italian state story of love and conspiracy, which was first performed at the Park Theatre, New York, in Nov. 1828. The prologue was written by the late William Leggett, and the epilogue, spoken by Mrs. Hilson, by Mr. Prosper M. Wetmore.
This is Mr. Lawson's only dramatic production, which has issued from the press. He has, however, in several instances, appeared before the public in connexion with the stage. He was associated with Mr. Bryant, Mr. Halleck, Mr.Wetmore, Mr. Brooks, and Mr. Leggett, on the committee which secured for Mr. Forrest the prize play of Metamora by tho late J. A. Stone,t for which
• This weekly periodical was commenced by Mr. Brooks Id the octavo form", Sept. 10, 1S25. as the New York Literary Gazette and Phi Beta Kappa Iicpository; the latter portion of the title being taken from some dependence upon the support of members of that Society, which turned out to be nugatory. At the end of the volume, witli the twenty-sixth number, the Phi Beta title was dropped, and an association effected with a similar publication. The American Athen*am, also weekly In quarto, conducted by George Bond, which had been commenced April 21, 1^25. of which forty-four numbers had been Issued. The joint publication bore the title "The New York Literary Gazette and American Athencum," and as such was published in two quarto volumes, ending March 8, 1827.
t John Augustus Stone, the author of Metamora, was bora in 1801. at Concord. Mass. He was an actor as well as dramatic writer, and made his first appearance in Boston as "Old Norval" in the play of Douglas. lie acted in New York in 1S26, and in Philadelphia afterwards at intervals. He received five hundred dollars from Mr. ForTest for Metamora. He wrote two other plays in which Mr. Forrest performed, The AnHt-ni Briton, in which betook the part of Brfgantius. and for which he paid the author a thousand dollars; aud FauntUroy, The Bunker of Iiouen.&versian of the storyof the English personage of that name. In tho latter, the hero was executed on the stage by a machinebearingaclose resemblance loan actual guillotine. The loaded knife descended; the private signal was imperfectly given, and the young American tragedian saved his head by a quick motion at the expense of his locks, which were closely