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lady-like quality, but not the invariable accompaniment of the female muse. In Elizabeth Barrett we have a rare instance of more solicitude for the idea than the words. Miss Fuller likewise treats the melody of her verses as a secondary object ; but we fear Mrs. Osgood considers it of primary importance. Music resembles poetry, all admit, and in nothing is the resemblance more complete than in this ; that the thought should be in poetry what the melody is in music, and that the versification of the one answers to the bass accompaniment of the other ; the thought and the air should of course be the controlling power.
Some of her poems are exceedingly graceful. We take this as an instance :
“ Round a lattice low, to twine,
Like a weary,
There is a great mechanical fancy in Mrs. Osgood's poems; some are, indeed, too ingenious to please us. There is a determination to work up comparisons and fables. In many we have the old style of putting “sermons in stones,” and “ breath to the brook !"
“ The brook tripped by, with smile and sigh,
And soft in music murmurs sung,
Were hushed to hear that silver tongue.
“ • Ah, virgin violet, breathed the brook,
Whose blue eye shuns the light, the air,
And see your own sweet image there.'”
This is very well for little children, but one who has pretensions to so high a station in poetry as Mrs. Osgood should not publish them for grown people.
But in the “Dying Rosebud's Lament” she has carried this prettiness to the verge of affectation. We are willing to allow a great margin to a lady's sympathy, but we cannot go the Ultima Thule of Mrs. Osgood.
“ Ah me! ah woe is me!
That I should perish now,
Upon my balmy brow.
Were quivering to unclose,
I was almost a Rose !"
We cannot forget that Keats has said all that can be said of a rose-bud or a rose.
“ As though a rose could shut and be a bud again.”
In the “ Ashes of Roses" we have a more solemn subject for
reflection. It is supposed to be written by a mother on the death of her child, and is certainly a triumph of its kind. It is, however, a painful poem to read, if we believe it is founded on fact. Dryden observes, “ great grief is dumb,” and we can hardly realize a mother making a song out of a dead child. But when we say this we make every concession the poet's nature may demand, and we know that “the ways of genius are not our ways, nor their thoughts our thoughts." Still, human nature is the same in the poet as in the ploughboy ; nay, even in the editor, that sublimation of humanity soaring above the weakness of virtue or the enormity of affection.
In years after, when some casual occurrence reminds the living of the departed, the chords of emotion may thrill at the touch, but even then the music will be fragmentary, and partake more of the accidental than the deliberate design.
It seems almost like digging the dead up from the solemn peace of the sepulchre to gaze once more on that form which should be transfigured in heaven. Nevertheless, with all these considerations, time may soften the grief, and render it susceptible of a poetical apotheosis.
“ Truly the memory of the just
The poem which has provoked these remarks is full of truthful, vigorous painting, and if written out of the ideality of the sorrow, and not its reality, secures for its fair anthoress much praise. With this proviso the whole demands unqualified admiration.
She faded, faded in my arms, and with a faint slow sigh
Her fair, young spilte *
*willy she closed
A little flower might so have died—so tranquilly she closed Her lovely mouth, and on my heart her helpless head reposed.”
The sense of security against all ills which a child feels in the presence of a mother is touchingly told.
“ For oh! it seemed the darling dreamed that while she clung to
me, Safe from all harm of death or pain she could not help but be, That I who watched in helpless grief my flower fade away, That I-oh, heaven! had life and strength to keep her from
This line contains more thought and truth than are generally found in verses of this description.
“ The soul that here must hide its face,
There lives serene in right!"
Mrs. Osgood has always a superior reference to the affections in everything she writes. In her “Deaf Girl Restored” are some charming verses.”
“ A world of melody wakes around,
Each leaf of the tree has its tremulous tone,
And the wood bird's warble are all mine own.
But nothing-oh! nothing that I have heard,
Not the lay of the lark nor the coo of the dove,
That thrills to my soul from the lips I love."
Mrs. Osgood is somewhat too profuse of her “ah’s” and " oh's;" thay mar the harmony and repose of some of her finest verses. Sparingly used and placed in their right position, they are very effective, like a cordial administered to a sick patient; but when indulged in habitually, they defeat their own purpose, and, in fact, become positively injurious.
We all know how guarded the greatest masters of composition have been in the use of exclamations, and how carefully they have selected the fitting spot for their insertion. Sheridan's MS. of a famous speech shows that it took him some time to hit upon the most appropriate place for “Good God, Mr. Speaker."
As Mrs. Osgood has not thought fit to include her drama of “ Elfrida” in the new edition of her poems, we shall not consider it critically, but pass over it with the remark that we consider it altogether a very creditable composition, more especially when the age at which she wrote it is taken into consideration. It is not fitted to the stage, being deficient in action and passion. It is more a story told by dialogues, artificially connected, but admirably written.
The chief merits of our fair writer are tenderness of feeling and grace of expression. As we observed before, she too frequently sacrifices the strength of the thought to the beauty of the words ; and even here she often fails, from her diffuseness, and wish to say all that can be said on the theme she has in