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Men whose boast it is that ye
Women who shall one day bear
Is true Freedom but to break
They are slaves who fear to speak
MARIA LOWELL, 1821–1853.
MARIA White, the daughter of an opulent citizen of Watertown, Massachusetts, was born July 8, 1821. In December, 1844, she was married to James Russell Lowell, and died on the 22d of October, 1853. In 1855, her husband had a volume of her poetry privately printed, of the character of which some judgment may be formed from the following beautiful and touching lines addressed to a friend after the loss of a child.
| Sung at the Anti-Slavery Picnic in Dedham, on the anniversary of West India Emancipation, August 1, 1843.
TIIE ALPINE SHEEP.
When on my ear your loss was knell'd,
A little spring from memory well’d,
And I was fain to bear to you
That it might be a healing dew,
After our child's untroubled breath
And on our home the shade of Death
And friends came round, with us to weep
The story of the Alpine sheep
"hey, in the valley’s sheltering care,
And when the sod grows brown and bare,
To airy shelves of pasture green,
Where grass and flowers together lean,
But naught can tempt the timid things
Though sweet the shepherd calls and sings,
Till in his arms his lambs he takes,
Then, heedless of the rifts and breaks,
And in these pastures, lifted fair,
The shepherd drops his tender care,
This parable, by Nature breathed,
O'er frozen brooks that flow unsheathed
A blissful vision through the night
Of the Good Shepherd on the height,
Holding our little lamb asleep,
Sounded that voice along the deep,
EDWIN P. WHIPPLE. *
This instructive and admired essayist was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on the 8th of March, 1819. His father, Matthew Whipple, dying while the son was in his infancy, his widow removed to Salem ; and there young Edwin was educated at the English High School. When he was but fourteen years of age, he published articles in the newspaper-press at Salem, and at fifteen became clerk of the Bank of General Interest in that city. When he was eighteen years of age, he went to Boston, where he entered a large banking-house, as clerk, but was soon after appointed Superintendent of the Merchants' Exchange News-Room. Such a position would hardly seem compatible with literary pursuits; and yet but few college-graduates have been as distinguished for articles of beautiful, just, and vigorous criticism, in our best reviews, as Mr. Whipple. But, besides his influence as a writer, he has appeared before the public, in most of our Northern States, as a lecturer of uncommon power and attractiveness, and has often been invited to address the literary societies of various colleges, Brown, Dartmouth, Amherst, and the New York University. In 1850, the city authorities of Boston elected him to deliver before them the Fourth of July oration. Two collections of his writings have been published by Ticknor & Fields, namely, Essays and Recieurs, in two volumes; and Lectures on Subjects connected with Literature and Life; and it would be hard to find in English or American literature three other volumes more instructive for their matter, or more captivating for their style.
THE POWER OF WORDS.
Words are most effective when arranged in that order which is called style. The great secret of a good style, we are told, is to have proper words in proper places. To marshal one's verbal battalions in such order that they may bear at once upon all quarters of a subject, is certainly a great art. This is done in different ways. Swift, Temple, Addison, Hume, Gibbon, Johnson, Burke, are all great generals in the discipline of their verbal armies and the conduct of their paper wars. Each has a system of tactics of his own, and excels in the use of some particular weapon. The tread of Johnson's style is heavy and sonorous, resembling that of an elephant or a mail-clad warrior. He is fond of levelling an obstacle by a polysyllabic battering-ram. Burke's words are con
tinually practising the broadsword exercise, and sweeping down adversaries with every stroke. Arbuthnot “plays his weapon like a tongue of flame.” Addison draws up his light infantry in orderly array, and marches through sentence after sentence without having his ranks disordered or his line broken. Luther is different. His words are “half battles;” “his smiting idiomatic phrases seem to cleave into the very heart of the matter.” Gibbon's legions are heavily armed, and march with precision and dignity to the music of their own tramp. They are splendidly equipped, but a nice eye can discern a little rust beneath their fine apparel, and there are sutlers in his camp who lie, cog, and talk gross obscenity. Macaulay, brisk, lively, keen, and energetic, runs his thought rapidly through his sentence, and kicks out of the way every word which obstructs his passage. He reins in his steed only when he has reached his goal, and then does it with such celerity that he is nearly thrown backwards by the suddenness of his stoppage. Gifford's words are moss-troopers, that waylay innocent travellers and murder them for hire. Jeffrey is a fine “lance,” with a sort of Arab swiftness in his movement, and runs an iron-clad horseman through the eye before he has had time to close his helmet. John Wilson's camp is a disorganized mass, who might do effectual service under better discipline, but who, under his lead, are suffered to carry on a rambling and predatory warfare, and disgrace their general by flagitious excesses. Sometimes they steal, sometimes swear, sometimes drink, and sometimes pray. Swift's words are porcupines' quills, which he throws with unerring aim at whoever approaches his lair. All of Ebenezer Elliot's words are gifted with huge fists, to pommel and bruise. Chatham and Mirabeau throw hot shot into their opponents' magazines. Talfourd's forces are orderly and disciplined, and march to the music of the Dorian flute; those of Keats keep time to the tones of the pipe of Phoebus; and the hard, harsh-featured battalions of Maginn are always preceded by a brass band. Hallam's word infantry can do much execution when they are not in each others' way. Pope's phrases are either daggers or rapiers. Willis's words are often tipsy with the cham
agne of the fancy, but even when they reel and stagger they I. the line of grace and beauty, and, though scattered at first by a fierce onset from graver cohorts, soon reunite without wound or loss. John Neal's forces are multitudinous, and fire briskly at every thing. They occupy all the provinces of letters, and are nearly useless from being spread over too much ground. Everett's weapons are ever kept in good order, and shine well in the sun; but they are little calculated for warfare, and rarely kill when they strike. Webster's words are thunderbolts, which sometimes miss the Titans at whom they are hurled, but always leave enduring marks when they strike. Hazlitt's verbal army is some. times drunk and surly, sometimes foaming with passion, sometimes cool and malignant, but, drunk or sober, are ever dangerous to cope with. Some of Tom Moore's words are shining dirt, which he flings with excellent aim. This list might be indefinitely extended, and arranged with more regard to merit and chronology. My own words, in this connection, might be compared to ragged, undisciplined militia, which could be easily routed by a charge of horse, and which are apt to fire into each others' faces.
WIT AND HUMOR.
Wit was originally a general name for all the intellectual powers, meaning the faculty which kens, perceives, knows, understands; it was gradually narrowed in its signification to express merely the resemblance between ideas; and lastly, to note that resemblance when it occasioned ludicrous surprise. It marries ideas lying wide apart, by a sudden jerk of the understanding. Humor originally meant moisture, a signification it metaphorically retains, for it is the very juice of the mind, oozing from the brain, and enriching and fertilizing wherever it falls. Wit exists by antipathy; humor, by sympathy. Wit laughs at things; humor laughs with them. Wit lashes external appearances, or cunningly exaggerates single foibles into character; humor glides into the heart of its object, looks lovingly on the infirmities it detects, and represents the whole man. Wit is abrupt, darting, scornful, and tosses its analogies in your face; humor is slow and shy, insinuating its fun into your heart. Wit is negative, analytical, destructive; humor is creative. The couplets of Pope are witty, but Sancho Panza is a humorous creation. Wit, when earnest, has the earnestness of passion, seeking to destroy; humor has the earnestness of affection, and would lift up what is seemingly low, into our charity and love. Wit, bright, rapid, and blasting as the lightning, flashes, strikes, and vanishes in an instant; humor, warm and all-embracing as the sunshine, bathes its objects in a genial and abiding light. Wit implies hatred or contempt of folly and crime, produces its effects by brisk shocks of surprise, uses the whip of scorpions and the branding-iron, stabs, stings, pinches, tortures, goads, teases, corrodes, undermines; humor implies a sure conception of the beautiful, the majestic, and the true, by whose light it surveys and shapes their opposites. It is a humane influence, softening with mirth the ragged inequalities of existence,—promoting tolerant views of life, bridging over the spaces which separate the lofty from the lowly, the great from the humble. Old Dr. Fuller's remark, that a negro is “the image of God cut in ebony,” is humorous; Horace Smith's inversion of it, that the taskmaster is “the image of the devil cut in ivory,”