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And now that bold and hardy few,
And danger and doubt I have led them through,
And over their bright and glancing arms,
On field and lake and sea,
With an eye that fires, and a spell that charms,
I guide them to victory."
The Memorial' is a volume of the same kind as the Souvenir, which was prepared in Boston at a short notice, and which reflects credit on the diligence and taste of the editor and publishers. We hope that these works will not interfere with the sale of each other; and we do not believe that they will. There ought to be abundant support for both. Though a handsome book, the Memorial cannot vie in beauty with the Souvenir. The engravings in it are few, and not very well executed. Its literary contents, however, may come into competition with those of the Philadelphia publication. The prose may not be quite so good, but the poetry is better. From this department we select a specimen of more than common beauty, entitled, On the Axe with which Anna Boleyn was beheaded, still exhibited in the Tower of London.'
'Stern minister of fate severe !
Who, drunk with beauty's blood,
Like beacon on destruction's flood-
Hadst thou but once arisen in visage dread,
From glory's fearful cliff, her startled step had fled.
Ah! little she reck'd when St Edward's crown
That with sleepless wrath its thorns of care
In her beauty's power,
She came, as a lamb to the lion's lair,
As the light bird cleaves the fields of air,
And carols blythe and sweet, while treachery weaves its
Think! what were her pangs as she traced her fate,
Retouch'd the deepening scene;
Her stately father's feudal halls,
Where proud heraldic annals deck'd the ancient walls.
Wrapt in the scaffold's gloom,
Brief tenant of that living tomb,
She stands,-the life-blood chills her heart,
In the smile of innocence is there,
It clings to her soul 'mid its last despair,
How far a mother's grief transcend's a martyr's woe.
Say, did prophetic light,
Illume her darkening sight,
Wise, energic, bold, serene?
Ah no! the scroll of time,
Is seal'd, and hope sublime
Rests but on those far heights which mortals may not climb.
The dying prayer with trembling fervor speeds,
For that false monarch by whose will she bleeds,
For him who listening on that fatal morn,
Hears the death-signal o'er the distant lawn,
Then springs to mirth, and winds his bugle-horn,
For him she prays, in seraph tone,
"Oh! be his sins forgiven!
Who raised me to an earthly throne,
VOL. XXIV.No. 54.
9.-1. The Classical Reader; a Selection of Lessons in Prose and Verse. From the most esteemed English and American Writers. Intended for the use of the Higher Classes in Public and Private Seminaries. By Rev. F. W. P. GREENwood and G. B. EMERSON. Boston. Lincoln & Edmands. pp. 420.
2. The Class Book of American Literature; consisting principally of Selections in the Departments of History, Biography, Prose Fiction, Travels, the Drama, Popular Eloquence, and Poetry; from the Best Writers of our own Country. Designed to be used as a Reading Book in American Schools. By JOHN FROST. Boston.
Books of this description have within a year or two been multiplied amongst us. The earliest in our recollection of a former period, were 'Webster's Third Part,' the Columbian Orator,' and the American Preceptor.' Notwithstanding the many associations with which the memory of these last is blended, we cannot but acknowledge, that the more recent collections seem to answer the design of such works much better than the earlier. This design is to teach the true art of reading. We say art, because reading, in a very just sense, is one. If natural reading be contended for, nothing more can be meant by it than reading correctly without arbitrary rules; and there are individuals, who can so read. These individuals we believe are not many; and to instruct is nothing more nor less than an arbitrary application of the correct and natural method, where this is in a great measure wanting.
If we are required to define the best and most natural method of reading, we should say, that is so, which most nearly approaches the ordinary conversation of an individual. He will speak with most effect, who gives the truest account of the effects which have been produced upon him by the whole external world, and of all the strictly intellectual operations to which they have given rise. And he will read best, whose whole manner of reading shall best correspond with the effects of all these upon himself. It is then as one would relate to another his experiences, or his reflections, that he must read, if the whole effect of reading is to be produced. The question now fairly occurs, of which of the two periods before referred to, do the works best answer the purpose of teaching this art? and this involves the character and a comparison of the collections of each. In making the comparison, the ages of the individuals for whom the collections are made, are to be borne in mind.
The earlier books were made up principally of declamatory and passionate prose, and of solemn and not unfrequently dull poetry. The Conquest of Canaan, the Vision of Columbus, and verse of the like cast, contributed much to the poetical department, while the prose was principally extracted from the popular political writers of the day, the orations which commemorated the Boston massacre and the fourth of July. Shakspeare, and Milton, and Pope, filled a few pages, and the pathetic and beautiful writings of Mackenzie and Sterne, and of a far inferior school, contributed a share. The patriotism of the day had much influence in the choice from many of these writers. But it was a harsh, though then a commendable patriotism, and produced a style of eloquence, which was anything but good taste, and which it has been the labor of the succeeding years to get rid of as fast as possible. As an objection to the selections from the other writers named, it has been said, that they wanted adaptation to the classes for whom the collections were made, that they did not always supply what was understood, and that what was best comprehended by the reader, was not very frequently felt. These objections might be obviated with ease. But we shall only say, that if these portions were not fully understood, and were badly read, they were still doing something as good, if not better; they were filling the memory of the young from the fullest and best treasuries to which the human intellect has ever contributed, and creating and cherishing a sympathy with the great and the good, which nothing might destroy.
Our later selections for school reading have been made from better sources, and with a better taste. They retain much that was the most valuable in the earlier; particularly extracts from the best of the older English poets, and have added much from more recent authors of the same class. The prose department is especially changed for the better works; of mere temporary interest are rarely used, and the very best of our own country and of Europe only are admitted. There is perhaps less variety than formerly, and grave pieces abound. But these are not really objections, if there be variety enough; and if a moral use may be made of what the work contains, the intelligible and the serious cannot be objected to. Of the works named at the head of this notice, the The Classical Reader' appears to us especially to deserve the above commendations. It is selected from the very best authors, and the quantity from each, or the number of pieces of a similar character by different authors, affords all that can be required for classes; and in sufficient variety, too, of manner, to facilitate greatly the formation of correct habits of reading, and a good taste. From each of these considerations we give it our cordial recommendation.
The 'Class Book' has something more in view, than to improve youth in the art of elocution.' Another purpose of the work, according to the author, is 'to cherish the love of liberty, of virtue, and our country.' The latter considerations appear to have had a special influence on the author in the choice of his materials, and in part of the title. His work consists of selections from the best writers of our own country,' and is designed, to be used as a Reading Book in American schools.' Now, however praiseworthy these motives may be in their general application, we are by no means sure, that they will produce their best effects as applied by the author. They have led him to exclude entirely from his work everything, however valuable, which is foreign to our own country. His chief purpose should have been to make the best selection possible from the whole and the best literature of the language, and it has not been left for us to determine what this is or where it is to be found. We may claim some of it, in some departments, but as a whole, and as various as full, we must look for it abroad. Under these impressions, we cannot but say, that we regard the Class Book' as less valuable from the voluntary restrictions of the compiler in selecting his materials; and farther, that if we would not only aid by such works to form correct habits in reading, but aim also to affect vividly and permanently the minds of the young, and excite in them the perception and enjoyment of the sublime and beautiful in our literature, our selections must always be made from the whole and the best of that literature.
10.-Report of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs to the Congress of Buenos Ayres, as contained in the Mensagero Argentino' of July 6th, 1826.
THE document here mentioned relates to the new form of government, which the Congress of Buenos Ayres have had it in agitation to adopt for the Argentine Provinces. It is well known, that among the different kinds of government, which have prevailed in these provinces, since their release from the tyranny of Spain, none has been attended with complete success. For about two years a Congress, composed of delegates from the provinces, has been in session, for the greater part of the time, in the city of Buenos Ayres, deliberating on the general concerns of the country, and endeavoring especially to institute a constitutional system, which shall meet the views of the people, and attain the desired objects of union, strength, and prosperity.