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From the Higginbottomopolis Snapping-turtle.
A collection of the merest balderdash and doggerel that it was ever our bad fortune to lay eyes on. The author is a vulgar buffoon, and the editor a talkative, tedious old fool. We use strong language, but should any of our readers peruse the book, (from which calamity Heaven preserve them!) they will find reasons for it thick as the leaves of Vallumbrozer, or, to use a still more expressive comparison, as the combined heads of author and editor. The work is wretchedly got up....We should like to know how much British gold was pocketed by this libeller of our country and her purest patriots.
From the Oldfogrumville Mentor.
We have not had time to do more than glance through this handsomely printed volume, but the name of its respectable editor, the Rev. Mr. Wilbur, of Jaalam, will afford a sufficient guaranty for the worth of its contents. .....The paper is white, the type clear, and the volume of a convenient and attractive size. ......In reading this elegantly executed work, it has seemed to us that a passage or two might have been retrenched with advantage, and that the general style of diction was susceptible of a higher polish. .....On the whole, we may safely leave the ungrateful task of criticism to the reader. We will barely suggest, that in volumes intended, as this is, for the illustration of a provincial dialect and turns of expression, a dash of humor or satire might be thrown in with advantage. .The work is admirably got up. . . . . . This work will form an appropriate ornament to the centre-table. It is beautifully printed, on paper of an excellent quality.
From the Dekay Bulwark.
We should be wanting in our duty as the conductor of that tremendous engine, a public press, as an American, and as a man, did we allow such an opportunity as is presented to us by " The Biglow Papers" to pass by without entering our earnest protest against such attempts (now, alas ! too common) at demoralizing the public sentiment. Under a wretched mask of stupid drollery, slavery, war, the social glass, and, in short, all the valuable and time-honored institutions justly dear to our common humanity and especially 10 republicans, are made the butt of coarse and senseless ribaldry by this low-minded scribbler. It is time that the respectable and religious portion of our community should be aroused to the alarming inroads of foreign Jacobinism, sansculottism, and infidelity. It is a fearful proof of the wide-spread nature of this contagion, that these secret stabs at religion and virtue are given from under the cloak (credite, posteri!) of a clergyman. It is a mournful spectacle indeed to the patriot and Christian to see liberality and new ideas (falsely so called,—they are as old as Eden) invading the sacred precincts of the pulpit. .....On the who we consider this volume as one of the first shocking results which we predicted would spring out of the late French " Revolution" (!).
From the Bungtown Copper and Comprehensive Tocsin (a try
weakly family journal).
Altogether an admirable work. . ....Full of humor, boisterous, but delicate, of wit withering and scorching, yet combined with a pathos cool as morning dew,-of satire ponderous as the mace of Richard, yet keen as the scymitar of Saladin. . . . . .A work full of “mountain-mirth,” mischievous as Puck and lightsome as Ariel.
.We know not whether to admire most the genial, fresh, and discursive concinnity of the author, or his playful fancy, weird imagination, and compass of style, at once both objective
and subjective. . . . . .We might indulge in some criticisms, but, were the author other than he is, he would be a different being. As it is, he has a wonderful pose, which flits from flower to flower, and bears the reader irresistibly along on its eagle pinions (like Ganymede) to the “ highest heaven of invention.”......We love a book so purely objective. .Many of his pictures of natural scenery have an extraordinary subjective clearness and fidelity...
.....In fine, we consider this as one of the most extraordinary volumes of this or any age. We know of no English author who could have written it. It is a work to which the proud genius of our country, standing with one foot on the Aroostook and the other on the Rio Grande, and holding up the starspangled banner amid the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds, may point with bewildering scorn of the punier efforts of enslaved Europe. .We hope soon to encounter our author among those higher walks of literature in which he is evidently capable of achieving enduring fame Already we should be inclined to assign him a high position in the bright galaxy of our American bards.
From the Saltriver Pilot and Flag of Freedom.
A volume in bad grammar and worse taste. . . ...While the pieces here collected were confined to their appropriate sphere in the corners of obscure newspapers, we considered them wholly beneath contempt, but, as the author has chosen to come forward in this public manner, he must expect the lash he so richly merits. . ....Contemptible slanders. . . . . . Vilest Billingsgate.
Has raked all the gutters of our language. .. ...The most pure, upright, and consistent politicians not safe from his malignant venom. .... General Cushing comes in for a share of his vile calumnies. .The Reverend Homer Wilbur is a disgrace to his cloth.
From the World-Harmonic-Æolian-Attachment.
Speech is silver: silence is golden. No utterance more Orphic than this. While, therefore, as highest author, we reverence him whose works continue heroically unwritten, we have also our hopeful word for those who with pen (from wing of goose loudcackling, or seraph God-commissioned) record the thing that is revealed. . ....Under mask of quaintest irony, we detect here the deep, storm-tost (nigh shipwracked) soul, thunder-scarred, semiarticulate, but ever climbing hopefully toward the peaceful summits of an Infinite Sorrow. . . . . .Yes, thou poor, forlorn Hosea, with Hebrew fire-flaming soul in thee, for thee also this life of ours has not been without its aspects of heavenliest pity and laughingest mirth. Conceivable enough! Through coarse Thersites-cloak, we have revelation of the heart, wild-glowing, world-clasping, that is in him. Bravely he grapples with the life-problem as it presents itself to him, uncombed, shaggy, careless of the “ nicer proprieties," inexpert of “elegant diction,” yet with voice audible enough to whoso hath ears, up there on the gravelly side-hills, or down on the splashy, Indiarubber-like salt-marshes of native Jaalam. To this soul also the Necessity of Creating somewhat has unveiled its awful front. If not Edipuses and Electras and Alcestises, then in God's name Birdofredum Sawins! These also shall get born into the world, and filch (if so need) a Zingali subsistence therein, these lank, omnivorous Yankees of his. He shall paint the Seen, since the Unseen will not sit to him. Yet in him also are Nibelungen-lays, and Iliads, and Ulysses-wanderings, and Divine Comedies,—if only once he could come at them! Therein lies much, nay all; for what truly is this which we name All, but that which we do not possess ?
.Glimpses also are given us of an old father Ezekiel, not without paternal pride, as is the wont of such. A brown, parchment-hided old man of the geoponic or bucolic species, gray-eyed, we fancy, queued perhaps, with much weather-cunning and plentiful September-gale memories, bidding fair in good time to become the Oldest Inhabitant. After such hasty apparition, he vanishes and is seen no more. . ....Of "Rev. Homer Wilbur, A. M., Pastor of the First Church in Jaalam,” we have small care to speak here. Spare touch in him of his Molesigenes namesake, save, haply, the-blindness! A tolerably caliginose, nephelegeretous elderly gentleman, with infinite faculty of sermonizing, muscularized by long practice, and excellent digestive apparatus, and, for the rest, well-meaning enough, and with small private illuminations (somewhat tallowy, it is to be feared) of his own. To him, there, “ Pastor of the First Church in Jaalam,” our Hosea presents himself as a quite inexplicable Sphinx-riddle. A 'rich poverty of Latin and Greek, --so far is clear enough, even to eyes peering myopic through horn-lensed editorial spectacles,-but naught farther? O purblind, well-meaning, altogether fuscous Melesigenes-Wilbur, there are things in him incommupicable by stroke of birch! Did it ever enter that old bewildered head of thine that there was the Possibility of the Infinite in him? To thee, quite wingless (and even featherless) biped, has not so much even as a dream of wings ever come? * Tal-, ented young parishioner "? Among the Arts whereof thou art Magister, does that of seeing happen to be one? Unhappy Artium Magister! Somehow a Nemean lion, fulvous, torrid-eyed, dry-nursed in broad-howling sand-wildernesses of a sufficiently rare spirit-Libya (it may be supposed) has got whelped among the sheep. Already he stands wild-glaring, with feet clutching the ground as with oak-roots, gathering for a Remus-spring over the walls of thy little fold. In Heaven's name, go not near him with that flybite crook of thine! In good time, thou painful preacher, thou wilt go to the appointed place of departed Artillery-Election Sermons, Right-Hands of Fellowship, and Results of Councils, gathered to thy spiritual fathers with much Latin of the Epitaphial sort; thou, too, shalt have thy reward; but on him the Eumenides have looked, not Xantippes of the pit, snake-tressed, finger-threatening, but radiantly calm as on antique gems; for him paws impatient the winged courser of the gods, champing unwelcome bit; him the starry deeps, the empy. rean glooms, and far-flashing splendors await.