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ART. VIII.-WESTERN POETRY-No. V.
HAVING a little leisure the other day, we undertook to trace out the time and place of the first glimmering of the star of Poesy in the West. It was an interesting, and part of the time, a really intellectual amusement; and we are happy to say, that our antiquarian researches were crowned with sucFor a time we feared we should have to pause upon the rude boat-songs and wild choruses of Mike Fink, and his redoubtable companions: "Hard upon the beach oar," "All the way to Shawneetown," "Row! row! on the bright 'Hio!" &c. &c. But at length our eye discerned something glimmering -but, neglected, and "alone in its glory"-away back in the dim shadows of half a century. We very soon had it safely deposited in our case of antique gems, for future examination; and we now exhibit it to our friends, with considerable pride at having rescued a thing so worthy of preservation, from the oblivion to which it had been so long consigned. It is a fragment of a poetical address, which was delivered at Marietta, on the Fourth of July, 1789, "by Return Jonathan Meigs, Esq., Attorney and Counsellor at Law." It is of the old school class of poetry: the imagery is pleasant, and the versification very beautiful. We doubt if Independence Day has called forth anything among us, superior to this extract, from that time to the present.
ENOUGH of tributary praise is paid;
The oak and tall beach thunder to the ground.
Here swift Muskingum rolls his rapid waves;
Along our banks, see distant villas spread;
Here may religion fix her blest abode,
One of the earliest Western writers, whose poetical efforts won any share of public attention, was Mr. John B. Dillon.The "Prophet's Dream," "Burial of the Beautiful," and "Orphan's Harp," of this gentleman, have been widely circulated, and greatly admired. They are indeed very creditable to our literature, and worthy of their author's fine genius.The "Orphan's Harp" was first published in the "Western Souvenir for 1828," and from that really superior but neglected annual we copy it.
Perhaps the "Prophet's Dream" gives better evidence than the above, of a cultivated and poetical mind. It is greatly to our liking; but we are aware that others do not appreciate it so highly. The versification, though varied, is easy throughout; and the language is always strong and appropriate. We regard parts of it as very superior; and we think it but seldom, indeed, that better justice is done a scripture subject.
THE PROPHET'S DREAM.
"The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled. "-Isaiah xxiv, 3.
WHERE fell the palm-tree's clustering shade,
A vision of the flight of Time-
A dark'ning cloud of sin and crime.
"Let the sword go forth"-and forth it went,
And helms were cleft, and shields were broke,
The warriors met--but not to part
And the sun glared redly on the scene;
Lay mouldering heaps of slaughtered men-
Earth drank the blood of her offspring then.
"Go forth Disease "-and at the word,
Grew as deeply dark, and sear'd and dead,
Stood locked in the arms of Death,
"Famine go forth "--and at the name,
Rose a feeble shriek, and a fearful laugh, And a tottering fleshless monster came,
The lingering stream of life to quaff-
As the shrivelled skin hung loose on the bones,
Old Earth was lone--for her offspring lay
All tones of life were hushed-
The dreamer woke, and the glorious day
And the joyous birds from each green spray
With its clustering groves and emerald plains,
To the throne where the Rock of Ages reigns.
The "Burial of the Beautiful" is one of those delightful productions, which strike upon the feelings like the mellow notes of distant music, or the calm breathings of the sweet southwest at eventide. We shall always feel great respect for that One canmind, which furnishes us with such reading as this. not but be a better member of society, after communing for a time with such a spirit--for the kindlier sympathies of his nature are awakened, and his heart feels a yearning towards whatever is beautiful and lovely in existence. We experience this feeling whenever we bend over the pages of Mrs. Hemans, or Wordsworth, or Bishop Heber; and it is this which gives their poetry one of its greatest charms.
BURIAL OF THE BEAUTIFUL.
WHERE shall the dead, and the beautiful sleep?
Where shall the dead, and the beautiful sleep?
Where is heard the voice of the sinless dove,