Dial Essays (1843)

Antislavery Poems

Antislavery Poems Antislavery Poems. By JOHN PIERPONT. Boston: Oliver Johnson. 1843. These poems are much the most readable of all the metrical pieces we have met with on the subject; indeed, it is strange how little poetry this old outrage of negro slavery has produced. Cowper’s lines in the Task are still the best we have. Mr. Pierpont has a good deal of talent, and writes very spirited verses, full of point. He has no continuous meaning which enables him to write a long and equal poem, but every poem is a series of detached epigrams, some better, some worse. His taste is not always correct, and from the boldest…

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Augustine‘s Confessions

Augustine’s Confessions by Ralph Waldo Emerson Confessions of St. Augustine. Boston: E. P. Peabody. We heartily welcome this reprint from the recent London edition, which was a revision, by the Oxford divines, of an old English translation. It is a rare addition to our religious library. The great Augustine, — one of the truest, richest, subtlest, eloquentest of authors, comes now in this American dress, to stand on the same shelf with his far-famed disciples, with A-Kempis, Herbert, Taylor, Scougal, and Fenelon. The Confessions have also a high interest as one of the honestest autobiographies ever written. In this view it takes even rank with Montaigne’s Essays, with Luther’s Table…

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The Bible in Spain

The Bible in Spain The Bible in Spain, or the Journeys, Adventures, and Imprisonments of an Englishman in an attempt to circulate the Scriptures in the Peninsula. By GEORGE BORROW. Author of The Gipsies in Spain. “This is a charming book, full of free breezes, and mountain torrents, and pictures of romantic interest. Mr. Borrow is a self-sufficing man of free nature, his mind is always in the fresh air; he is not unworthy to climb the sierras and rest beneath the cork trees where we have so often enjoyed the company of Don Quixote. And he has the merit, almost miraculous to-day, of leaving us almost always to draw…

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Channing‘s Poems

Channing’s Poems Poems by WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING. Boston. 1843. We have already expressed our faith in Mr. Channing’s genius, which in some of the finest and rarest traits of the poet is without a rival in this country. This little volume has already become a sign of great hope and encouragement to the lovers of the muse. The refinement and the sincerity of his mind, not less than the originality and delicacy of the diction, are not merits to be suddenly apprehended, but are sure to find a cordial appreciation. Yet we would willingly invite any lover of poetry to read “The Earth-Spirit,” “Reverence,” “The Lover’s Song,” “Death,” and “The…

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The Dream of a Day

The Dream of a Day The Dream of a Day, and other Poems. By JAMES G. PERCIVAL. New Haven. 1843. Mr. Percival printed his last book of poems sixteen years ago, and every school-boy learned to declaim his “Bunker Hill,” since which time, he informs us, his studies have been for the most part very adverse to poetic inspirations. Yet here we have specimens of no less than one hundred and fifty different forms of stanza. Such thorough workmanship in the poetical art is without example or approach in this country, and deserves all honor. We have imitations of four of the leading classes of ancient measures, — the Dactylic,…

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Literary Intelligence

Literary Intelligence The death of Dr. Channing at Bennington in Vermont, on the 2d October, is an event of great note to the whole country. The great loss of the community is mitigated by the new interest which intellectual power always acquires by the death of the possessor. Dr. Channing was a man of so much rectitude, and such power to express his sense of right, that his value to this country, of which he was a kind of public Conscience, can hardly be overestimated. Not only his merits, but his limitations also, which made all his virtues and talents intelligible and available for the correction and elevation of society,…

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The Spanish Student

The Spanish Student The Spanish Student. A Play in Three Acts. By H. W. Longfellow. A pleasing tale, but Cervantes shall speak for us out of La Gitanilla. “You must know, Preciosa, that as to this name of Poet, few are they who deserve it, — and I am no Poet, but only a lover of Poesy, so that I have no need to beg or borrow the verses of others. The verses, I gave you the other day, are mine, and those of to-day as well; — but, for all that, I am no poet, neither is it my prayer to be so.” “Is it then so bad a…

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Paracelsus

Paracelsus Mr. Browning was known to us before, by a little book called “Pippa Passes,” full of bold openings, motley with talent like this, and rich in touches of personal experience. A version of the thought of the day so much less penetrating than Faust and Festus cannot detain us long; yet we are pleased to see each man in his kind bearing witness, that neither sight nor thought will enable to attain that golden crown which is the reward of life, of profound experiences and gradual processes, the golden crown of wisdom. The artist nature is painted with great vigor in Aprile. The author has come nearer that, than…

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Europe & European Books

Europe & European Books The American Academy, the Historical Society, and Harvard University, would do well to make the Cunard steamers the subject of examination in regard to their literary and ethical influence. These rapid sailers must be arraigned as the conspicuous agents in the immense and increasing intercourse between the old and the new continents. We go to school to Europe. We imbibe an European taste. Our education, so called, — our drilling at college, and our reading since, — has been European, and we write on the English culture and to an English public, in America and in Europe. This powerful star, it is thought, will soon culminate…

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Past and Present

Past and Present By Thomas Carlyle. Here is Carlyle’s new poem, his Iliad of English woes, to follow his poem on France, entitled the History of the French Revolution. In its first aspect it is a political tract, and since Burke, since Milton, we have had nothing to compare with it. It grapples honestly with the facts lying before all men, groups and disposes them with a master’s mind, — and with a heart full of manly tenderness, offers his best counsel to his brothers. Obviously it is the book of a powerful and accomplished thinker, who has looked with naked eyes at the dreadful political signs in England for…

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Sonnets

Sonnets Sonnets and other Poems. By WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON. Boston. 1843. pp. 96. Mr. Garrison has won his palms in quite other fields than those of the lyric muse, and he is far more likely to be the subject than the author of good poems. He is rich enough in the earnestness and the success of his character to be patient with the very rapid withering of the poetic garlands he has snatched in passing. Yet though this volume contains little poetry, both the subjects and the sentiments will everywhere command respect. That piece in the volume, which pleased us most, was the address to his first-born child.

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America – an Ode

America – an Ode America — an Ode; and other Poems. By N. W. COFFIN. Boston: S. G. SIMPKINS. Our Maecenas shakes his head very doubtfully at this well-printed Ode, and only says, “An ode nowadays needs to be admirable to carry sail at all. Mr. Sprague’s Centennial Ode, and Ode at the Shakspeare Jubilee, are the only American lyrics that we have prospered in reading, — if we dare still remember them.” Yet he adds mercifully, “The good verses run like golden brooks through the dark forests of toil, rippling and musical, and undermine the heavy banks till they fall in and are borne away. Thirty-five pieces follow the…

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A Letter

A Letter As we are very liable in common with the letter-writing world, to fall behindhand in our correspondence, and a little more liable because, in consequence of our editorial function, we receive more epistles than our individual share, we have thought that we might clear our account by writing a quarterly catholic letter to all and several who have honored us in verse, or prose, with their confidence, and expressed a curiosity to know our opinion. We shall be compelled to dispose very rapidly of quite miscellaneous topics. And first, in regard to the writer who has given us his speculations on Rail-roads and Air-roads, our correspondent shall have…

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The Huguenots

The Huguenots in France and America The Huguenots is a very entertaining book, drawn from excellent sources, rich in its topics, describing many admirable persons and events, and supplies an old defect in our popular literature. The editor’s part is performed with great assiduity and conscience. Yet amidst this enumeration of all the geniuses, and beauties, and sanctities of France, what has the greatest man in France, at that period, Michael de Montaigne, done, or left undone, that his name should be quite omitted?

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