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HARK! UPON THE PASSING GALE.
THIS is not good enough to praise, nor bad enough to find fault with. The writer, no doubt, is an amiable young man, fit to please the ladies, and speak soft things. We insert it merely because there is nothing studied or affected in it. It is the language of a young man who occasionally mixes in the fashionable world, and can talk nonsense naturally, we mean, with a natural air, for he believes it to be the best sense in the world. The last stanza, however, is pure and unmixed nonsense, not conveying a particle of meaning.-ED.
Hark! upon the passing gale
"Tis, that in the trembling notes,
THE following beautiful extracts are from an American poem, called Yamoyden; a tale of the wars of King Philip, by the late R. James Wallis Eastburn, M. A. and his friend. Mr. Eastburn, who was the original suggestor of it, died before its completion, which devolved on his friend, who, in several parts of the work, expresses, in the most impassioned and poetic language, the sorrows of a heart still feelingly alive to his memory. The passages we shall quote are taken from Dr. Drake's "Evenings in Autumn," a work of considerable merit, and written in a chaste and elegant style. A copy of the " Yamoyden" was sent to him from New York, by Mr. Eastburn's father, with a short account of his son's life. Of the young gentleman who assisted him, and completed the work after his death, we are only told that he was his friend at college, that he was but twenty years old,* that he was considered the best scholar in New York, and that he was then entering upon the practice of the law, a circumstance which the writer regrets, but hopes, at the same time, he will be induced to quit it and "follow his natural bent for polite literature." The first ex-tract we shall make is from the proem to the Yamoyden, the production of this extraordinary young man. is one of those passages in which he laments the loss of his departed associate, and is exquisitely beautiful and pathetic.
Go forth, sad fragments of a broken strain,
The last that either bard shall e'er assay!
The hand can ne'er attempt the chords again,
Where sweeps the Ocean's breeze its desert way,
* The letter was written in 1821.
His requiem murmurs o'er the moaning wave;
Towards the close of the proem, after a description of the aboriginal inhabitants of America, he reverts to this favorite part of his theme, in the following beautiful stanzas.
Friend of my youth! with thee began my song,
Such triftless pastime should with youth be o'er;
But no! the freshings of that past shall still
Sacred to memory's holiest musings be;
He rov'd, and gathered chaplets wild with thee;
That sail by moonlight o'er the tranquil sea ;
And downward, far, reflected in the clear
Blue depths, the eye their fairy tackling sees; So buoyant, they do seem to float in air
And silently obey the noiseless breeze ;—
They part for distant ports: Thee, gales benign
The second Canto commences with the following description of Evening.
Hail! sober Evening! thee the harassed brain
And aching heart with fond orisons greet: The respite thou of toil; the balm of pain;
To thoughtful mind the hour for musing meet: "Tis then the sage, from forth his low retreat, The rolling universe around espies ;
"Tis then the bard may hold communion sweet, With lovely shapes, unkenned by grosser eyes, And quick perception comes of finer mysteries.
The silent hour of bliss! when in the west
Her argent crescent lights the star of love: The spiritual hour! when creatures blest
Unseen return o'er former haunts to rove; While sleep his shadowy mantle spreads above, Sleep, brother of forgetfulness and death, Round well-known couch with noiseless tread they rove.
In tones of heavenly music comfort breathe,
And tell what weal or bale shall chance the moon beneath.
Let others hail the oriflamme of morn,
O'er kindling hills unfurled with gorgeous dyes! O mild, blue evening! still to thee I turn,
With holier thought, and with undazzled eyes ;Where wealth and power with glare and splendour rise, Let fools and slaves disgustful incense burn! Still memory's moonlight lustre let me prize; The great, the good, whose course is o'er, discern, And, from their glorious past times, nightly lessons learn!
It would be difficult to find sublimity and imagination more happily combined with the picturesque, than in the following Night scene.
'Tis night; the loud wind through the forest wakes, With sound like ocean's roaring, wild and deep, And in yon gloomy pines strange music makes,
Like symphonies unearthly, heard in sleep; The sobbing waters dash their waves and weep; Where moans the blast its dreary path along, The bending firs a mournful cadence keep; And mountain rocks re-echo to the song, As fitful raves the storm, the hills and woods among.
The first Canto of Yamoyden opens with a description of Rhode Island, or Aquetnet, and the opposite shore of Pocasset. This description alone would be sufficient to redeem America from the Abbe Raynal's charge, that "it has not as yet produced a good poet, an able mathematician, or a man of genius in any individual art or science;" at least it shews that the assertion no longer holds good.