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It is conjectured by reviewers nearer to Boston than we that the author of The Heart of the Weed' is a lady of that city. already known by certain fine translations from Turgénieff. At this distance, the book comes entirely as a surprise for to open to such poems in looking through the collection of "maiden volumes " before him is a most unusual experience to a reviewer. They are firm and strong in touch, full of thought and of feeling, grave, pure, and simple in manner. Without the penetrating beauty and power of great poetry, they are nevertheless poetry, real and valuable. They are almost all peculiarly personal, expressing again and again two or three phases of human feeling with a note of experience that calls to mind the "Love Sonnets of Proteus," or Mrs. Browning's sonnets, and sets the reader involuntarily on the illegitimate effort to distinguish what is personal confession and what dramatic fiction. We prefer to let a few cited poems speak for themselves, rather than comment further:

A Look.

You raised your eyes grown dark with unshed tears,
With straight sad look they gazed into my own,
And though till then your love I had not known,
I know it now and for all coming years!
A love that asks no hope, but lives by fears,
And in renouncing is but stronger shown.
That look struck on my heart as might a tone
Of some deep solemn bell, from tower that rears
Its slender height to heaven, calling to prayers
Those careless souls who sing and dance below.
So did your gaze of sweet and solemn woe;
And from my mirth I ceased as one who hears
With quickly beating heart that solemn call,
And from my eyes that smiled, slow tears 'gan fall.
The Heart of the Weed. Boston Houghton, Mifflin
& Co.

1886. For sale in San Francisco by Chilion Beach.

Song.

Your eyes are eloquent
Though your lips silent be,
And from those eyes is sent
Sad love to me.

Sad love that darkens there
Like violets after rain,
But renders them more fair,
Loving in vain.

Your lips that closed be
Such piteous sweet curves take,
As touch the heart of me

And bid it ache:

And bid it dream and guess
Your grieving heart, and share
Its yearning tenderness,
Its sweet despair.

My Dearest Sorrow.

These poignant hours of darkest woe Are all of joy I ever find;

'T is saddest pleasure thus to know That still I hold thee in my mind. I hug my pain, since, caused by thee, 'Tis all of thee to me is given ; My memories are more to me Than all my hopes of Heaven.

Careless and happy once I seemed,

Nor knew my heart such grief could fill;
Then for a few short days I dreamed
That mine thou wert-that dream lives still
The joyous heart that ne'er knew pain

I wish not, since it knew thee not.
Give me my own sad heart again,
And let me be forgot.

Wishes and Prayers.

Our wishes and our prayers are not
Always the same;

Alas! we often wish for what
We dare not name.

We strive to pray with bitter tears
For what we should,

But sadder than all else appears

The prayed-for good.

Lord! pardon me if I deplore

My granted prayer;

Lord, what thou taught'st me to pray for, Teach me to bear.

Switzerland.

Where snowy peaks on peaks reach to the sky,
And giant solitudes stretch far around,
Where undulating whiteness on the ground,
And clouds scarce whiter far above me lie,
What is it that so lifts my soul on high?

While all is silence but for the faint sound
Of mountain torrents in yon chasm profound
That seek the ocean, though they know not why.

Great Life above us all, does my soul seek
Thee, as the unconscious torrent seeks the sea?
Is it Thy greatness that I feel in me,
This sense of life and beauty, that doth speak
To every fibre of my bounding heart,
That leaps to know Thee whole, myself a part?

By a sharp descent, we come to The Temple of Alanthur by Isaac R. Baxley, and then to Poems by Marcella Agnes Fitzgerald. The Temple of Alanthur contains romantic stories and meditative poems. The opening poem, from which the title is taken, is of the futile love of an Egyptian demigod for a mortal maiden. It is not

told in consecutive narrative, but chiefly in a series of songs by the characters. There is

Rise to heaven the soaring spires and the stately domes that tell us

We are near our goal and entering thy fair city, San José!

San José! the name like magic calls to mind the olden Pueblo,

With its quaint, white-walled adobes, and its quiet streets and lanes

Through which toiled the rude carretas, and the covered wagons bearing

To new homes the household treasures of the Pilgrims of the Plains.

Columbus is an historical play, founded on the life of the great discoverer. Mr. Booth (whose letter on the subject is given. in part, in an appendix) thought it well adapted to the stage, and expressed a wish

that he could take the part; and other critics have praised it highly. It certainly has

a certain vague splendor in these, but they unity and dramatic force in construction;

are obscure and confused, and hardly worth the effort of following them. Perhaps this fairly represents the quality of the other

poems:

Dark, dark are the eyelids of Islam's sad daughter, And swiftly her tear-drops encumber the strings, Low, low is her voice as the moonlit sweet water That runs where the garden of Dalmedar clings. Miss Fitzgerald's poems are Californian in many of their subjects, devoutly Catholic, loyally Irish, but also patriotic as toward. America, full of amiable and virtuous sentiment, and of no value as poetry. They are the sort of verse that among a circle of not too critical friends are welcome tributes of affection upon a birthday or wedding day; or that give pleasure to audiences of neighbors when read at local celebrations. They are

at their best and that is sometimes quite good in the simple narrative of ballad;

--

for the rest, they are such as this:

Lo! beyond the stately poplars in their flaming robes of yellow,

And the grove-like groups of foliage all in autumn tintings gay,

1 The Temple of Alanthur and Other Poems. By Isaac R. Baxley. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1886.

Poems: By Marcella Agnes Fitzgerald. New York: The Catholic Publication Society Company. 1886.

but otherwise it does not impress us as anything very good. The diction is not simple. and forcible, as one expects in an acting drama; there are no passages of real eloquence; and the appearance of Columbia in the clouds, dressed in red, white, and blue, and mounted on an American eagle, to prevent the sailors turning back, seems a pretty cheap effect still more the more elaborate fireworks of the same sort on which the curtain falls.

We reviewed some months ago a curious book called The Perpetual Fire*, supposing it complete in the four pamphlet parts we had received. It seems, however, that there are two parts more, which have since been received. The poems, as we have said, are the work of a religious mystic, who believes he writes under inspiration. The topics are the divinity of the visible world and the call of man, especially in New York City, to righteousness and simplicity. The curious thing about them is that through all their crudities, some of the qualities of the genuine mystic, the poetic fervor and insight

3 Columbus: or A Hero of the New World. An Historical Play. By D. S. Preston. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1887.

4 The Perpetual Fire. Published by W. E. Davenport, Brooklyn, New York. 1887.

and the self-surrender and veracity, do appear to be present. This is a most unusual phenomenon for the time and place, and worthy of note. The honesty and the elevation of spiritual mood of a true mystic infuse almost of themselves some element of literary merit into his work; and there is more of this in the portion of The Perpetual Fire now before us than in that which we reviewed previously. Thus:

Meditations in the Country.

Once more again I greet the lifted skies
And the still splendor of the hidden Light,

Vailed in the mists that shroud the distant Sound.

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Not modern, dull and commonplace and worldly;
But holy still, and solemnly transfigured!
Thence, thence I look, and all forget my sorrow,
The misery of the flesh that shall not hold me,
Now that I turn and cry with expectation,
As if the heavens were surely to be opened.
What is it, O thou Flesh? Beauty and glory,
And the strange wonder full of all suggestion
And meaning deep; and high signification-
What is it? The whole world of sense and science
And men and thinkers, say that it is nothing.
And thou art weak to entertain the feeling.
And yet it is so. It is my experience!

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It is because this city we call New York
Has no belief, that all men are unhappy.
Would that I had the power of human speech
And an unconscious heart of Christian love,
And thousands might be saved. But I am mean
Because I am not thoughtless of my person,
And who can live who thinks himself important?
Ah, I desire! Give me the power to do!

In Civitas' is to be found a political allegory that is, to say the least, ingenious. Young Civitas, "surnamed America," at the end of the Revolution, meditates anxiously upon his future course. He is accosted by Anarchia, who urges her system upon him, telling him that as the country must ultimately come to this, she would bring him to his goal without the race.

"Together we will march the nations through And turn them upside down with manners new, Our armies singing, as they sweep along,

The inspiring truth - 'Whatever is, is wrong!'”

Civitas repels her and her advice with scorn, and she retires, with threats of return some day. Next Monarchia appears and urges him to take the opportunity to found a powerful empire: he will have to come to it in the end, as a refuge from anarchy, and better now.

"The world is old, has many lessons taught; I'll tell thee one, though wisdom be unsought: Start as thou wilt the end will be the same, A monarch rules or anarchy's thy shame." Her advice, also, is rejected; and after another argument with one Democrates, young Civitas sets out to woo the goddess Libertas. The goddess is favorably disposed, but remarks that a great many young nations have made vows to her, and when (in consequence of her favor they grew strong and great, they have invariably

1 Civitas: The Romance of our Nation's Life. By Walter L. Campbell. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Co.

proved faithless; and as another such experience would not only result, as in previous cases, in his government perishing from the earth, but also in her death,

"For this, O Civitas, I say to thee,

In thee's the world's last hope of liberty," it behooves her to be extremely careful. He offers to make all possible pledges of fidelity, and she binds him by strait Vows to herself, including a specific promise never to prefer riches to her and her laws; and then consents to wed him. Alas,

As firm as Civitas had stoutly vowed,
Temptation meeting, he as weakly bowed.
Before one century his life had spanned,
Shrewd flatterers his vanity had fanned
Until it burned a furnace, raging hot
Within his soul, condemning every jot
Of aspiration after nobler things

Than wealth, whose seeming strength with poison stings.

His worship of the almighty dollar" led to very strained relations with Libertas, and to some narrow escapes from destruction for both; all of which narrated at length, fill out one hundred and thirty-four pages of the volume which, if it does not contain any poetry, does contain a good deal of political sense on the way to the senseless and pernicious final conclusion that the anarchists should kill off the subsidized corporations, and then Liberty will rule again.

A small book' in which a rabbi offers some hopeless doggerel in English as a substitute for the Hagodoh Shel Pesach recited in Hebrew at the Passover, and I Am that I Am and Glances at the World3, two all but unreadable volumes, close our list of "first books." I Am that I Am-a metrical essay under the nine canto titles, "The Infinite Unity," "The Infinite Plurality," "The Infinite Diversity," "The Idea of Person," "The Idea of Trinity in Person," "The

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Idea of Extension and Diversity in Person," "The Elements of I," "The Elements of Am," "The Elements of That"-fills one hundred and sixty-seven pages with such

verse as,

To say I Am, except I Am present
An image to the mind, were meaningless.
Without an object nothing could be meant
By any subject. Subject must express

A meaning, else 't were only emptiness.
Hence, every I must have a that, a way,
And every body must a soul possess ;
Each word or image must a thought convey;
And I in words and images itself portray.

While Glances at the World describes itself on the title page as "a book in which there is something about everything," and proceeds through nearly four hundred pages to "glance" at "America," "Authors, Lovers, Politicians, etc., (twelve "glances" in all) in such wise as this:

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Against vicious and depraving literature, against the dime novel or the novel of gush, against the social science of the fanatic and ignoramus, we seem to have no protection; but against almost every variety of really bad poetry there is an infallible nobody will read it. When, therefore, the writer of such has the audacity to appear again and again, in large, pretentious books, each adorned with a fine portrait of the author (and the latest one with two or three very cheap and worthless pictures beside), the reviewer greets his reappearance

one

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with exasperation. J. Dunbar Hylton, M.D., LL.D., author of "The Bride of Gettysburg," Betrayed," "The Praesidicide," "The Heir of Lyolynn," "Etc., Etc.," and now of Arteloise is the persistent bard of whom we speak. We have had occasion to express a low opinion of one or two of these volumes heretofore, and need not spend much time on Arteloise. It is a romance of the Round Table, is nearly three hundred pages long, and is told in such verse as this:

Here ceased the song, but ere had died
Its echoes o'er the valleys wide,

A lay of deeper, stronger tone
Was over all the valleys thrown;
But what spot, or place around

Burst forth that song and music's sound, The knight and maiden could not tell, Nor guess the least from whence they swell. Professor Raymond is doubtless a much more accomplished and critical person than J. Dunbar Hylton; but in following up one dull and ineffective volume of verse

by another, he has in his better degree classed himself with that gentleman. Ballads of the Revolution is not worthy of print. The subjects are good, but the verse is halting, involved, and tedious almost beyond patience; and to make it worse, the author attaches to the title a foot

Arteloise. A Romance of King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table. By J. Dunbar Hylton, M. D., LL.D. Palmyra, New York: The Hylton Publishing Company.

1887.

2 Ballads of the Revolution, and Other Poems. By George Lansing Raymond. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1887.

note calling attention to the "definiteness of aim," the "directness of execution,” the simple and vigorous language, the "musical swing," "rush of rhyme," spontaneity and vividness, necessary to the ballad. Can it be possible that Professor Raymond believes such writing as this to be definite, direct, simple and vigorous, ful of musical swing and rush of rhyme, spontaneous and vivid?

"Our laws are in our charters

For scores of years enjoy'd;

Nor court, nor king, nor mere consent
Of merely King and Parliament,
Has power to make them void."

The ballads are moreover sprinkled to very absurdity with historical footnotes on every page. The "other poems" are somewhat better than the "ballads," but they are too labored and wordy.

3

We note here, too, a pretty volume of very thin Society Verse by American Writers The collection is mildly entertaining, but not nearly as good as one would have expected; and remembering the bright things that from time to time appear in the journals, one cannot but suspect that the fault lies with the compiler. Neither F. D. Sherman, John Vance Cheney, nor Joel Benton appear at all; Aldrich only by "On an Intaglio Head of Minerva"; and Helen Gray Cone by "An Ivory Miniature," and "The Ballad of Cassandra Brown."

3 Society Verse by American Writers. Edited by E:nest De Lancy Pierson. New York: Benjamin & Bell. 1887.

ETC.

IT NOT infrequently happens to THE OVERLAND to receive contributions accompanied by notes that urge the editor to accept the story or poem, on the ground that the writer is a native Californian, or that he intends hereafter to make California his home. On the other hand, contributors or critics in the East occasionally inquire if THE OVERLAND is not encouraging a provincial spirit by discriminating in favor of Pacific writers and subjects;

if the best writing ought not to have the proference, wherever written. It is perhaps difficult for any one outside the active management of a magazine like THE OVERLAND to understand just why or where it must draw its line between the local and the provincial; but there are a few considerations in the matter clear enough, and from time to time we find it desirable to re-state them. One may be very promptly put:

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