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readily if he disappointed her in a similar manner. But would the murder of either add to her virtue, or would it repair her virtue if it were injured ? Would any person capable of distinguishing right from wrong respect her more because she assassinates her seducer than if she had pursued the more modest and more womanly course of seeking to hide her misfortune from the world ? It is a precept of the wisest of mankind that frequent opportunities and importunities will overcome the greatest virtue. If this be true, it follows that a woman may be seduced and still be virtuous. At worst, the fault is one of nature; but it is only the lower animals that naturally betake themselves to mutual slaughter; but even among the carnivorous kind, including the bloodthirsty panther it is not natural for the female to waylay the male and tear out his heart, while, perhaps, he expects rather to be caressed than butchered! It is vastly better for her own sake-vastly more conducive to the cause of virtue-to inculcate on woman that, if she errs, she must bear the consequences of it; that, if she wants redress for any wrong done her, she should rather appeal to the laws of her country, like an orderly citizen, than take them into her own hands and violate them, like a disorderly
If such is her disposition, however, that is, if she is lost to the mild and generous impulses of her sex, then she should be addressed in the language which the greatest of the Greek tragic poets puts into the mouth of Orestes in addressing his own mother:
" And since thou kill'dst the man thou should'èt have spared,
The man that now should spare thee can but kill."
But we must give another extract or two from the Sybil before we close. The heroine adınits to Clifden, her second lover, in the third scene of the third act, that her hand had been wooed and won by another
" With bright audacity and subtle force,”. &c
Then she goes to the book-case for her pistol and continues ::
Sybil. Daily, for five long years, I've practised with
This is not womanly, although, as we have said, the poet has &
right to reproduce what passes in real life, however wrong or pernicious it is. But if it be true that men, far from being prevented from accepting a woman's hand by the knowledge of her dishonor, are only prompted to seize it the more eagerly, then it would follow that the loss sustained is not very great after all—at least, not so great as to render it worth while to commit murder for it. But let us hear what passes between the new lovers :
Clif. Hear me, thou just impartial heaven 1
Do not mock me,
Clif. I swear by this fair hand-
Swear not, and be free:
Clifden (recoils and drops her hand).
Sybil (with calm passion). Who takes my hand must take the weapon from it.
Clif. (clasping her hand.) Thy hand, thy hate is mine.
The man who is thus doomed is, of course, a fiend, a monster, & vile miscreant, whereas he might have been a very good sort of person had he married the lady, or could he have married her. Whether the matter was beyond his control or not, die he must; and it is not only a pardonable, but a meritorious thing to cut his throat or perforate his heart whenever an opportunity offers. Sybil relents a little, however, in the fourth act, for she addresses her lord and vindicator as follows, wishing to revoke his oath:
it For the dear sake of that new-born blessing
These little compunctions do not last long, however, for on the very next page we find her urging him as follows:
" Better he should die
Nor does she feel any remorse when he is dead; but, on the contrary, she triumphs in the deed, because she has little doubt that her husband will be acquitted when she has had time to display her charms and bring to bear
“ The fact's full force upon the jury's ear."
It is almost superfluous to say that she was entirely right in her faith in the jury, although she addresses one of that honorable body as ollows:
" You smile to think
There is no doubt bat the portraiture of our heroine is a truthful one; so is that of her husband, the very gallant person who had not brains enough to get a wife without imbruing his hands in the blood of his neighbor; but neither is truer to nature than the sketch which we are presented of the jury that so readily acquitted the assassin. Still we think that the forte of Mr. Savage does not lie in making assassins of gentle women; there are several of his poems in “Faith and Fancy," any of which possesses more genuine merit than Sybil, as we may take occasion to prove in a future number, but without any attempt to deny that the drama thus hurriedly glanced at entitles the author to high rank as a dramatist.
The Poetry of the Orient. By_WILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE ALGER. 16mo.
pp. 337. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1865.
THERE is much that is curious, interesting, and beautiful in this little volume; but it is very awkwardly arranged. This is all the more to be regretted because the book is clearly and neatly. printed on fine paper, and tastefully bound. With a little care, the reader will, of course, be able to find all; but from its peculiar character an index would have greatly enhanced the value of the work. Instead of an index, however, the editor has given us an exceedingly clumsy and imperfect table of contents; and such as the latter is, it is devoted almost exclusively to the topics which occur in his own Introduction. Thus the contents fill two pages, but only three lines refer to the body of the work; the differ-, ence being, that while the introduction, with its copious extracts, extends only to ninety-two pages, the remaining matter occupies two hundred and forty-five pages.
True, in one sense this is an advantage, for the reader will meet with many a gem in his explorations to which there is not the slightest allusion in the table of contents. It is, indeed, better that we should be obliged to search in this way than to be led to expect what is not to be found, by either misrepresentation or exaggeration. If the book were but one of the inanities which are most common at the present day, we should not care whether it had an index or table of contents, but think it was well if it had neither; but when we know that the larder is
unusually rich and varied, we decidedly prefer to have a bill of fare, só that we may be able to gratify our taste at once with just the dish we want.
We have, however, no further fault to find with Mr. Alger. In his introduction he gives an interesting sketch of the progress made in recent years in enabling the matter-of-fact and logical West to avail itself of the literature of the imaginative and dreamy East, treating us to a delicious sample here and there of the works of some of the best Oriental poets. As far as his researches have extended, he has made judicious selections; but he has confined himself too exclusively to English and German sources, and generally to such versions as are to be found in periodicals. We do not mean that the latter are less valuable than other versions or selections, for such is not the fact; but a compiler of a work of this kind should always aim at freshness as much as possible, and try to present his reader something they have not previously seen, rather than what they are familiar with from other sources, even though the latter should have more merit than the former. We should not blame Mr. Alger for having overlooked so many fine French versions of the masterpieces of the East had he not informed us that the French language is one of those in which Oriental literature has been accessible to him; and also told us that his habit has been to translate into English whatever favorite specimen he happened to meet in any of the European languages with which he is acquainted, for he does not pretend to understand any Eastern tongue.
We will now give a few specimens from Mr. Alger's selections, but shall be guided more in doing so by peculiarity of thought or sentiment, than poetical merit, since the elements of poetry are everywhere the same. Among no Christian people is the necessity of forgiving even our enemies more strongly inculcated than it is both in Persia and Arabia. Precepts like the following are to be found in a hundred forms throughout the East:
The thoughts contained in the following lines apply with quite as much force to the West as they do to the East; but we do not remember to have met with them in so striking a form in any European or American poet as that in which they are here presented:
“What is the good man and the wise ?
Ofttimes a pearl which none doth prize;
All who have paid any attention to the literature of the East are more or less familiar with the character of Firdousi, the Persian Homer and author of the famous Shâh Nâmeh; but his satire on the upstart king who failed to reward him as he had promised for his labor, and added insult to injury, is not so well known in the West, although a more trenchant or withering invective has scarcely ever been penned by an indignant member of the genus irritabile. We transcribe one stanza from the five given by Mr. Alger:
“Place thou within the spicy nest,
Where the bright phænix loves to rest,
The Sufis are as much celebrated for their stoical virtue and piety as they are for their strange mysticism. The way of one of their poets of saying “Get thee behind me, Satan,” is :
“ Turn thou thine eyes from each seducing sight,
For looking whets the ready edge of appetite."
Of a different character is the following, and a better advice could not be given by all the divines that ever preached :
“Seek wisdom while on earth, as if you were immortal there;
We had marked many other passages, each of which is remarkable for merit of some kind; but these the reader will have to discover for himself; we have already given more specimens than the claims of other books lying on our table.would justify. We can only add that, if, in getting out a new edition, the editor would examine the French versions a little more carefully than he has yet done, calling a gem from them here and there, and then prepare a careful index of the whole, that large and growing class of his countrymen who have a taste for poetry would amply reward him for his pains.
Sixth Annual Report of the Superintendent of the Insurance Department
of the State of New York. Albany, 1865.
WHEN going to press with our last number, the Superintendent did us the courtesy of sending us as much of the proof sheets of this report as