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Upon the peacock’s plumage ; taste refined,
There is always, however, something to be said on the wrong as well as on the right side of the question, and there is a foundation of truth for every prejudice, nay, for even every error. The world is a shrewd beast, and knows well that a poor man who raises himself to wealth has some faculties in him superior to them. It is not because the man is rich that they listen, it is because they feel he knows more than they do. Before he achieved his wealth they knew not his power. He rises to a loftier station, and consequently has earned the right to speak, and to be listened to with attention.
We do not make this defence out of any affection for the opinion of a rich man per se, but out of a desire that every question should be fairly tested.
It may, certainly, on the other hand be argued, that the possession of the wealth had no real influence on the man's intellect, and that his remarks must have been as brilliant before his money-making as after ; but even here it may be said, “ that nothing gives one so much confidence as gold, and nothing allows a freer play for the mind than confidence.” We will illustrate this by an anecdote we were told the other evening, by a clergyman whose knowledge of human nature is more extensive than generally falls to that class.
A poor parson was in the habit every Saturday of borrowing of a friend a five dollar note; this was invariably returned, with wonderful punctuality, early every Monday morning. What astonished the lender more than all, was, the singular fact, that he was always repaid in the very same bill he lent. Being a very curious man, this puzzled him amazingly. He felt sure that the parson could not want the money for household expenses, because the note was never changed. After a time, he resolved to seize the first opportunity of begging for an explanation of só unaccountable a proceeding. Shortly after, the parson himself came on Saturday evening, and asked for the loan of a ten dollar note. His friend seized the opportunity of demanding the solution of the mystery. After a pause, the borrower said: “You must know, my dear Smith, that my income is so small that I never have at the end of the week one cent I can call my own. Now, some cannot preach or pray on an empty stomach : I am one who cannot do so on an empty pocket. When I have nothing in them I feel a poor, miserable devil, and afraid to look my congregation in the face, much less to denounce their wickedness ; but with a five dollar bill in my pocket, I feel a man and a Christian, and I preach with great eloquence and force. Now, as the President is coming to hear me to-morrow, I intend to try the effect of the double money power, and I shall feel obliged by your lending me a ten dollar bill to put in my pocket for this grand occasion!"
Absurd as this sounds when reduced to a confession, it is the undoubted truth, and is the foundation of every rich man's arrogance, and every poor man's despondency.
Despite the desultory writing of this poem, there are scattered here and there some beautiful thoughts, tenderly expressed.
“ There are some happy moments in this lone
And desolate world of ours, that well repay
The toil of struggling through it—and atone
For many a long, sad night, and weary day. They come upon the mind like some wild air Of distant music, when we know not where,
“ Or whence, the sounds are brought from, and their power,
Though brief, is boundless. That far, future home, Oft dreamed of, beckons near-its rose-wreathed bower,
And cloudless skies before us. We become Changed in an instant—all gold leaf and gilding.
This is, in vulgar phrase, called castle building.” Now and then he has a sly hit at a brother author :
“ Dear to the exile is his native land,
In memory's twilight beauty seen afar :
Collaterally secured—the polar star
“ Brokers of all grades—stock and farm—and Jews
Of all religions, who at noonday form
-for many bosom friends, it seems,
To pay-indeed, they have not paid him yet. “ But these he deemed as trifles—when each mouth
Was open in his praiso, and plaudits rose
Upon his willing ear, like the sweet south
Upon a bank of violets, from those
Moore himself must smile at the parody on his well known song of
“ There's a bower of roses by Bendemeer's stream, but the American poet's
“There's a barrel of porter at Tammany Hall,” is too well known to need quoting. It is certainly a capital specimen of that species of verse. Mr. Halleck sometimes makes the same sound rhyme a couplet. In the course of a few stanzas we meet with these :
Upon a lovelier scene, than the full eye
“ He can hear
“ When life is old
The poem concludes with the failure of Fanny's father. The following stanza is one of the last.
“ Some evenings since he took a lonely stroll
Along Broadway, scene of past joys and evils,
He felt that withering bitterness of soul
Quaintly denominated the blue devils,'
So ends Halleck's longest production. There is much fine poetical thought in it, elegant versification, and an occasional unexpectedness of “ rhyme and reason,” but the author lacks that range of the pathetic and the humorous which rendered Byron the most characteristic poet of the present age. Don Juan is the undoubted modern epic. The want of earnestness of the times is admirably mirrored in that wonderful poem. Half jest, half superstition, the world's face is there seen in all its incongruous phases. The mixed and uncertain state of the human mind had its epitome in Byron. Capable of the mightiest and the meanest actions, and often performing them well nigh together, the gloomy, infidel, devotional poet was the perfect representative of his age. It is this wonderful mobility of character which has made him the most popular writer since Shakspeare. He has an aspect for all classes of men. In his earlier efforts we behold the boy imitating his favorite authors. An insult roused him, and he rushed, under the inspiration of rage, into a field where he felt his strength. He then knew his power, and worked out, as caprice or accident prompted, his mighty poetical nature. The chivalric and romantic, the pathetic, the humorous, the satirical and supernatural, the gloomy pastoral and the historical or traditional, all were successfully thrown before the public, in different poems. At last,