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were represented as children reposing in the arms of Night. On various funereal monuments of the aucients, the Genius of Death is sculptured as a beautiful youth, leaning on an inverted torch, in the attitude of repose, his wings folded, and bis feet crossed. In such peaceful and attractive forms, did the imagination of ancient poets and sculptors represent Death.
How beautifully the repose of the tomb is expressed by the folded wings ! Here is something equally good, from CHATEAUBRIAND : • Fille de Réné,' says the Indian girl to the sleeping infant, en cas que tu viennes à mourir, j'irai le matin respirer ton âme dans les parfums de l'aurore.' The idea of Death is certainly 'tout adoucie peu cette gracieuse croyance.'
The butterfly that hovered over the urn of the deceased, or the fair-winged Psyche that reclined upon it, are more poetical and more Christian, methinks, than the Death’s-head and skeleton which occupy similar positions with us. Verily, we may learn many things from the heathen.
We might safely grant permission to genuine Grief to veil itself in black. Very few, if hearts could be searched, would be found worthy of the dress. By far the greater number of our mourners' hide hypocrisy beneath the black veil, and have long since made color a barometer of feeling. Fashion, omnipotent Fashion, has established a code, which it is treason to transgress. So powerful and universal are these regulations, that if true Sorrow neglects them, she immediately is stigmatized as heartless. Our rude Saxon ancestors affixed a price to every class of men. It was three hundred marks for a corle, and 80 on up to a king. Fashion has followed their example, and affixed different periods and forms of mourning to different degrees of relationship : For a father or mother, one year,
deep black. A brother or sister, nine months,
deep black An uncle or aunt, three months,
blue-black. A grandfather, six weeks,
blue-black. A brother-in-law, three weeks, A cousin resident, two weeks,
half-mourning. For a country cousin, one week,
half-mourning And yet for a friend, an intimate and dearly-beloved friend, we are not expected to ‘mourn' at all; a conclusive proof that the mourningdress is an empty ordinance of Fashion, totally disconnected with real grief.
I never knew but one instance of a non-relation putting on 'weeds. Though somewhat ludicrous, it is not the less true. A lady who had lost an infant of eighteen months, shrouded herself and spouse in the dusky garments of wo, and then proceeded to make sombre dresses for a writing-desk and a candle-box which stood in the room! ‘Hung be the heavens in black !'
We were acquainted, too, with another family, the head of which had been a paralytic for six years, and had gradually sunk into a slate of woful imbecility. They did not mourn for the loss of the soul, because the world did not demand it. But when he died at last; when their morning and evening prayer, for six long years, had been heard; when their hearts were full of joy, and the prospect of future
pleasure dawned upon them; they loaded themselves with crape and bombazine, as the very vestments of grief!
You certainly cannot lament the death of your father ?
Because the world demands it: if we did not, we should be taxed with want of feeling, and disrespect to his memory.'
I have somewhere seen a caricature of a cat in deep mourning, weeping at the death-bed of a mouse ; a capital illustration of the prevailing fashion. A foolish regard for the opinion of a few gossiping busy-bodies, who constitute this 'world,' produces daily instances of the rankest hypocrisy. Every one knows this, you will say. Then why do you not dare to oppose such a custom ? One family in our city has set you the example. Go thou and do likewise! The *CLARK' will now please to dismiss the congregation.
The ship rode far upon the silent main; 't was night,
There is a stillness over sea and heaven;
THE COUNTESS OF IDA: A TALE OF BERLIN. By the Author of 'Norman Leslie,' etc. In two volumes. New-York : HARPER AND BROTHERS.
Our readers would not thank us for devoting a very large portion of our space to a review of a work which, in critiques and extracts, if not in its entire form, has already been made familiar to the public. But we owe it to our friend and correspondent to say, that the volumes before us fully justify the estimate which his countrymen had formed of his talents, and realize the promise and improvement which were visible in, and anticipated from, his previous productions. The following clear synopsis of the story, we derive from a contemporary, from whose opinions we find little ground of dissent. The hero is Mr. Wyndham, an English gentleman, remarkable of course for talent and good breeding, as all heroes should be, but more peculiarly so for a degree of moral courage and self-command, which is not so often manifested by heroes, either in romance or reality. Our author has stepped out of the beaten track in making his courage consist in forbearing rather than in doing, in suffering rather than in violence. Mr. Wyndham is an orphan, ignorant of his parentage, and living on an annuity supplied by unknown hands. The scene is laid in Berlin, that beautiful city, of which most Americans know nothing but the name; and Mr. Fay's long official residence there is a sufficient guarantee of the faithfulness of his descriptions. Mr. Wyndham goes into the best society in Berlin, and meets there an old aristocratic prig, Count Carolan, and his daughter, the Countess Ida, who is betrothed to Lord Elkington, a young English roué. Wyndham falls desperately in love with Ida, till warned of the folly and guilt of his conduct by Mrs. Wharton, the young lady's governess, who admires the young stranger's character, and takes a motherly interest in his welfare. Wyndham feels how wicked it would be for him, a houseless, nameless adventurer, to disturb the peace of a noble family, and separate an affianced pair. He resolves to put in practice the hard lesson 'to bear and to forbear,' and to atone for his ardor by equally extreme coldness. He is willing even to be despised by Ida, so she will cease to prefer him. His altered demeanor, and the slanderous reports which Lord Elkington spreads concerning him, lead her to believe that Wyndham never loved her, and is unworthy of her love; but his image is so deeply printed on her heart as to efface all others, and the marriage with Elkington is unaccountably but decidedly broken off. The ruffi in hopes to get rid of his fancied rival by a pistol-bullet, and tries every means to provoke him into a duel; but here he is frustrated by Wyndham's coolness and self-command. Our hero endures taunts, threats, nay even a blow, with an unmoved courage, which, by a common error, is mistaken for cowardice by his acquaintance. His friend Denham, a man of fiery temper, interferes to prevent Elkington's rudeness, is challenged by him, and killed on the spot. The sad scene when he is brought home a corpse to his young wife, the despair and destitution she is made to suffer, and all the terrible consequences of his fool-hardiness, are powerfully told. The moral lesson inculcated is a high one; that of mastery of passion, forbearance under wrong, and forgiveness of injury. Such a story as that of the duellist Denham will preach a better sermon than many å treatise of morality. Wyndham is despised as a coward, and shunned as an adventurer ; he is banished from society; his annuity is cut off; he falls into debt, and is thrown in prison. A friend, the only one he can call by that name, releases him, and he sets to work with the proud determination of earning his bread by honest labor. The accomplished and admired Mr. Wyndham gives English lessons, and lives in contented poverty ; but bis means fail, he is again cast into prison, and utter ruin stares him in the face. He struggles manfully against the pressure of misfortune from without, and despair from within. Fortune at last grows tired of persecuting him, or to speak more reverently, the unseen hand of Providence becomes visible. He entered that prison a penniless schoolmaster ; he leaves it as Earl of Beverley, for it is discovered that the Mrs. Wharton, who loves bim so well, is his own mother, the first wife of the Earl of Beverley, abandoned by him on groundless suspicion, and supposed to be dead. Thus he attains, as rightful heir, the title and estates usurped by his enemy Elkington, and retribution begins to visit the innocent and the guilty. Before this discovery, however, he is fortunate enough to rescue İda from the fury of a madman ; and even Count Carolan is forced to admit that a man is not necessarily a coward, because he has fixed principles, and acts up to them. Wyndham is once more surrounded by splendor and by troops of summer friends; but he finds small comfort in the change, for Ida is carried off to Paris by the count, who has entered the service of Louis XVI. The revolution is at hand, with all its horrors; but Wyndham determines to seek Ida out, and save her at all hazards. His adventures in Paris, the many trials to which the lovers are exposed, and his courage in every emergency, are well depicted. Wyndham has an opportunity of serving the famous Danton, who more than repays the debt, by enabling him to escape to Holland with the count and his family. From Holland they proceed to England, where the earl of Beverly enjoys rest and happiness after his trials, by the side of his beloved Ida. Even the old count, subdued by misfortune, lays aside his hauteur, and condescends to be good and affectionate.
There is one prominent objection to the 'Countess of Ida ;' an error of taste rather than of execution : the distress of the hero is too prolonged, and unvaried ; in this particular reminding us of one of those modern melodramas, in which the principal character is 'clothed with suffering,' from the first moment he presents himself before the audience; in which the whole performance consists of scenes of 'piled-up’agony; and in which the scene-shifters come in now and then to pick up the dead bodies, and sweep the stage for more distress in the next act. A judicious and tasteful novelist, like BULWER or DICKENS, would have put our friend upon such an allowance of dolor as would have given to mainly kindred scenes the advantage of surprise and relief. But fault-finding apart: "The Countess of Ida' is a well-written production, and every way worthy the talents and reputation of the author. To such of our readers as have not perused the volumes, we cordially commend them. A speedy second edition attests the favor with which they have been received by the public.
THE WORKS OF WASHINGTON Irving. In two volumes. pp. 1050. Philadelphia:
LEA AND BLANCHARD.
The large, clear type, fine paper, and beautiful printing, of this edition of Mr. Irving's works, render it one of the most convenient and desirable we have ever yet encountered. It contains the 'Sketch-Book,' 'KNICKERBOCKER's History of NewYork,' 'Bracebridge Hall,' "Tales of a Traveller,''A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada,' and 'The Alhambra.' We shall not so far question the intelligence of our readers, as to add a word in commendation of productions which, not to speak of numerous translations, have made the author affectionately known wherever the English language is read or spoken ; which have won for him, from the highest critical sources in Europe and America, the distinction of being the first writer of English prose, since the days of GOLDSMITH and Addison; and which have done so much to diffuse a delicate and refined taste, on both sides of the Atlantic. A faithful engraving from STUART Newton's excellent portrait embellishes the work. VOL. XVI.
THE PROSPECTS OF ART IN THE UNITED STATES. An Address before the Artists'
Fund Society of Philadelphia, at the Opening of their Exhibition, in May, 1840. By GEORGE W. BETHUNE. Published by Request.
We welcome this Address with no ordinary pleasure; and may reasonably hope that the admirable spirit which it breathes will be widely awakened and stimulated in the bosom of every lover of American art. A few extracts, with a brief and desultory chain of commentary, will enable the reader to share the conviction which prompts our eulogy. The good effects of associations for the exhibition of native pictures, by exciting the public appetite for the pleasures of art, are well set forth. Epic composition, intermingled with the superabundance of portraits, from pencils capable of higher achievements, is urged upon our artists, and commended to public favor. Our author hails with pleasure the general diffusion of Art in its cheaper forms among us, as tending to lessen the merely utilitarian spirit of the age; to form a public taste; and to bring within the reach of many what must otherwise have remained the privilege of the few, and thus preparing the way for a wide-spread influence of higher art. In relation to engraving, as a kindred art with painting, our author observes :
“ The painter should regard the engraver as his best friend, and one who, never aspiring to be a rival, is content to serve under his shadow, for a humble portion of the larger profit and praise which he assists to win. It is certainly most pleasing for the generous admirer of Art, and jover of huinan happiness, to think of the vast numbers whom the ingenuity of recent years has admitted to a share in his enjoymeuts. The prolific family of Annuals, long after their feeble literature has ceased to attract, amuse and delight by their elegant embellishments the vacant hours of those who have received those offerings of affection, and of the visiter who awaits, beside their centre tables, the anxious toilet's slow delay. The very bullionist smoothes his brow while contemplating the bank note's graceful ornaments, and though lamenting that
And be not what it seems,' must confess that the vignette is worth something, though the security be never so doubtful. The invention of lithography, and the great advance in wood-cutting, beside the service they render to science, have enlivened with glimpses of Art the walls of many a humble dwelling, once poor and mean; and allure the tasteful school-boy through a flowery maze to orthography and syntax, which it required his utmost courage to approach. The Penny Magazines carry to the poorest of the people, wood engravings of master pieces in Art, and specimens of natural history, which the most finished critic would not disdain to admire; aud there may be as much heart-felt enjoyment in the evening circle of the poor man's home, around a fresh cut number of the weekly visiter, as an amateur can feel before a Corregio or a Claude. I bave often thought that I could forego the pleasure of listening to Mozart's best overture, for the sake of witnessing the delight dancing in the eyes, and dimpling the cheeks of a group of country children around a Savoyard's hand organ, or some unwashed minstrels singing the songs of their far-off Rhine ; but I am sure that I never see an Italian cast-monger staggering beneath his load of Graces and Napoleons, Tuscan vases and Dianas, without wishing him well, as an unconscious missionary of Art, copie from his sunny land to minister pleasure to the lowly, and refinement to the rude ; for, though the moulds from which they are taken be worn and old, his casts yet retain something of the stamp of genius, and give sufficient gratification to excite a wish for more. The lithographs may be rude and gaudy, cinerary urns be turned into flower vases, goddesses made to hold candles, and cross-legged Cupids to read little books; but you will rarely find, in a humble family, a taste for these ornaments unaccompanied by neatness, temperance, and thrift. They are like the cherished plants in the window, the green creepers in the yard, or the caged singing-bird on the wall, signs of a fondness for home, and a desire to cultivate those virtues which make home peaceful and happy."
Cheap exhibitions, and a knowledge of the estimate placed upon Art by the ancient republics, and the best minds of all ages; 'the glory with which it has invested nations ; the patriotism it has inspired, and the lucrative advantages it has secured ;' will, the writer with good reason believes, cause our people to become as distinguished for a generous taste, as they are for a love of freedom. 'Obscure genius, which might otherwise have died unknown in some distant forest hamlet, may be called forth and encouraged into successful vigor, as was the talent of young West by a few engravings of Greveling; and each new aspirant after the distinctions or pleasures of Art, would be a centre of new influence over the minds of others.' In allusion to the future success of Art among a people who, when excited in any pursuit, allow no limits to their enthusiasm, Dr. BETHUNE remarks :
"Hitherto our attention has been compelled to engagements of more immediate usefulness, by the