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Longfellow's Evangeline and Kavanagh

Brownson’s Quarterly Review, January, 1850

ART. III. — 1. Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie, By HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. Sixth Edition. Boston : William D. Ticknor & Co.  1848.    12mo.    pp.163.
2. Kavanagh, a Tale. By HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, & Fields. 1849. 12mo.   pp. 188.

THERE are some authors who take the world by storm, and, happening to produce at the first effort precisely what popular taste demands, escape the long probation of unrequited drudgery and unmerited neglect, and secure with one bold, brilliant leap the honor and emolument of literary success.

There are others of equal power, who steal slowly and silently into public favor, after weathering years of ridicule and indifference, in which the consciousness of strength, the conviction of ultimate triumph, and, perhaps, a fixed resolve to work out an interiorly recognized mission of good to mankind, have sustained and inspired them. Those, the few, who can discover and admit merit, in the course of some years, amount, with their proselytes, to a considerable body, often large enough to influence the world of letters, and to constitute their approval a passport to the consideration of that very exclusive, but passive and obedient creature, the reading community. To this class Mr. Longfellow, in some respects, belongs. His poetry was never destined to rapid and universal popularity, for it lacks the Satanic glare of Byron, the epicurean glitter of Moore, and the strong, natural, genuine, deep, unaffected pathos, humor, and home-interest of Burns ; while it certainly cannot boast that indefinable magic of a higher and the highest genius, which it is not in man to resist. Had Mr. Longfellow been born fifty years earlier than he was, he never could have lived to enjoy his reputation. But Wordsworth, and the whole tribe of Lakers in England, Goethe in Germany, and kindred, though lesser, spirits in Belgium and Sweden, have smoothed a path for him, and created the taste to which he appeals. During the last half-century England has contained two mutually hostile schools of poets,—one of passion, the other of reason, — and neither perfectly natural; for the one went out of its way to avoid simplicity, whilst the other went out of its way to get it.

Of late years the passion party have almost ceased to write, except in prose, leaving to France the completion of Don Juan in the deliberate orgies of Eugene Sue, and the hypocritical, seductive sentimentality of Lamartine. The reason party — the moralists, the Levites — remain in undisputed possession of the field. We rejoice at their victory only as a choice of evils, for we fear the use they will make of it. It is true that their verses are undefiled by impurity and open profanity ; but they extol natural piety until they forget revealed religion, and celebrate the dignity of the creature until they lose sight of the majesty of God.

But let us give them their due. It is not easy for a poet, un-sustained by the sacraments of the Church of God, to reject the delicate impurities that rise before him like Venus from the flashing foam of the Aegean, — to dispense with the sensual rouge which the morbid taste of the majority has made essential to beauty.    Nor is this virtue simply a want of ability to sin ; for the hand that sketched so finely the fate of poor Lucy might easily have made it a temptation instead of a warning, and the father of the Tryad might have created their opposites. It is not easy for one actuated chiefly by earthly ambition and worldly motives to write for the calm approval of the-virtuous and discriminating few, instead of the adulation and fervent applause of the many, — to be content with the attention of the old and the wise, the enthusiasm of certain metaphysical young men and transcendental young women, •— with here and there the tributary but momentary tear of a belle, whose heart may have retained a spark of feeling in spite of fashion, or a beau, whose occasional glimmerings of intellect show that he has missed his vocation. It is a noble and difficult thing to labor for the good of mankind at the expense of their applause.

Nor is it easy, while suffering from public scorn and private affliction, — while encountering the stern trials, the petty annoyances, the disappointment, shame, mortification, and regret of life, — after seeing the weaknesses of those we most admired, and exposing our own to those we best loved, — after juvenile heartbreaks and adult headaches,—independent friends and thoroughly democratic children, — to refrain from an indignant burst of universal contempt and defiance, and to compose every line to meekness, forgiveness, charity, and instruction.

What, then, has inspired the poet to attempt this difficult career ? The ambition to be a priest! The mighty mind of Goethe " set that ball in motion." Protestantism was beginning to decline, as the fanaticism of reform expired ; her churches were without an altar ; she had no hold on the skies ; she had cut away all those consoling ties with which Jesus of Nazareth united heaven and earth ; her aspect was forbidding and cadaverous ; there was no principle of life and beauty in her. Too proud to admit or to accept the guidance of an infallible Church, the great German declared, " The poet is the priest of God" ; and as such is Goethe regarded by his disciples. But there has been a change since his day. Goethe wished no union with Protestantism ; it was reserved for England and America to effect the combination. Can any thing well be plainer, than that the British bard is now the adjunct of the British parson, — that poetry is invoked to keep Protestantism alive, and supply a deficiency in her system which is every day becoming more and more evident ? " Hearken to us ! " exclaim these "priests of Parnassus ; " our numbers shall serve you instead of Gothic cathedral, chant and vestment, picture and statue, and our intelligence shall instruct where your mission fails."'

This sounds ludicrous enough when brought down into plain prose : such is the case, nevertheless. Deduct the unwitting followers of Carlyle, Wordsworth, Emerson, and Co., and you diminish English-language-Protestantism more than one half: so much more attractive is a song than a sermon.

Mr. Longfellow has something of this ambition, and his verse and prose are intended to be religious. So far as he appears in these two volumes, he is not wholly undeserving of our respect. He has a perception, if not of the truth of the Catholic Church, at least of her beauty, and writes like an upright, earnest, pure, benevolent man. He has won a large circle of admirers, and enjoys a fair reputation throughout the country ; and perhaps, in the fulness of his pride, he may turn away in self-complacency from any praise or censure of ours. But if poets do not entirely escape humanity, they cannot be indifferent to the honest opinion of any unprejudiced, capable reader, — and such an opinion he may expect from us. Our business as a critic, where morality is not invaded, is rather to instruct those who write books, than serve up to those who read them a hash, in which a thousand far-fetched spices disguise the original flavor.

Evangeline is the daughter of Benedict Bellefontaine, the wealthiest farmer of Grand-Pre, a little village in the Acadian land, on the shores of the Basin of Minas. She is thus described : —

" Fair was she to behold, that maiden of seventeen summers.
Black were her eyes as the berry that grows on the thorn by the way-side,
Black, yet how softly they gleamed beneath the brown shade of her tresses !
Sweet was her breath as the breath of kine that feed in the meadows.
When in the harvest heat she bore to the reapers at noontide
Flagons of home-brewed ale, ah! fair in sooth was the maiden.
Fairer was she when, on Sunday morn, while the bell from its turret
Sprinkled with holy sounds the air, as the priest with his hyssop
Sprinkles the congregation, and scatters blessings upon them,
Down the long street she passed, with her chaplet of beads and her missal,
Wearing her Norman cap, and her kirtle of blue, and the earrings,
Brought in the olden time from France, and since, as an heirloom,
Handed down from mother to child, through long generations.
But a celestial brightness — a more ethereal beauty —
Shone on her face and encircled her form, when, after confession,
Homeward serenely she walked with God's benediction upon her.
When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music."

This passage, copied with Chinese fidelity, is a fair specimen of the author's beauties and blemishes. " Black were her eyes as the berry," is still deliciously pastoral; but " Sweet was her breath as—," like " ox-eyed," is classical no longer. Whatever may be the taste of the South of Europe, an American has little love for garlic. The next two lines are unexceptionable. The figure of the bell sprinkling the air with holy sounds, as the priest sprinkles the congregation with hyssop, seems a little fantastic at first; but in spite of cavil, the similitude exists, and is visible to the poet's eye : if it cannot exactly be expressed, it is owing to the inferiority of language to thought. Thus a very difficult question arises, — whether these subtile perceptions of a fine fancy shall be suppressed, because when pent up in words they dwindle into airy nothingness, or whether they shall be bodied forth as accurately as may be, to suggest to kindred spirits the vision of beauty that was floating clear, but undefinable, in the poet's brain. Let them have a body, however imperfect, say we, in spite of Horace. We feel certain that no amount of human censure could induce Mr. Longfellow to strike out that image, — at least we hope so. " Her chaplet of beads and her missal, her Norman cap, and her kirtle of blue, and the ear-rings,"—all this is exquisite, and makes us see and love the maiden of seventeen summers. The three following lines are filled with truth, sweetness, and the best poetry, — they breathe a Catholic purity and elevation ; we can pay no higher compliment.

" Homeward serenely she walked, with God's benediction upon her."
The soft flow of this single line is poetry of the highest order. Yet how little valued in ordinary criticism is this music by which the imagination, flooded with beauty, imparts the feeling which millions of metaphors are impotent to convey !    Mr. Longfellow was conscious of this, or he would not have added the last period, —
" When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite

This line, though most admirable, is far from being original in itself. We remember many like it, particularly a passage in one of Maturin's plays. But in the connection in which we presume it to exist, it is eminently original. We shall not pursue our minute investigations farther, lest the criticism of the passage be as Chinese as our copy of it. Take the whole, we doubt whether Wordsworth ever surpassed it in simplicity or spirituality.

The lines, if we are not mistaken, are hexameter : at all events, they can be scanned as such by ear, if not by rule. Our prosody is too variable and irregular to permit this metre, — the genius of our language is averse to it. It never grew up with our literature, — it is too late in the season to engraft it. The words form their fixed, familiar combinations before we reach the end of the long line, and come to us in old melodies that utterly ruin the hexameter. Whatever it may be in Homeland Virgil, when transplanted into English, the hexameter is far inferior to our blank verse, and to our taste intolerable.

Our authors have been striving to vary the monotony of rhyme for many years. Before Pope's time it was difficult to write single lines smoothly and sweetly; there was much awful ruggedness even in celebrated poets. Pope's great merit was in moulding the language to such pliancy and softness, that any dabster could pour it into verse. We see every schoolboy fancying that he is a Walley or Raleigh at least, — forgetting the part they played in the formation of a poetic language, — forgetting that what is now trite and stale then had the merit of freshness and invention, — forgetting that the numbers which now flow so easily were then not attained without infinite pains.
Latterly, many of our masters of rhyme have disdained the facility of turning out faultless couplets, gliding on in the same everlasting, unchanging cadence. Byron and Moore stuck fast to Pope, — Byron particularly echoes his heroics with slavish fidelity. Coleridge, who excels them all in richness of melody, introduced a golden rule, that the proper musical quantity is far more important than the standard number of syllables. South-ey attempted the improvement of rhyme by rapidly changing the length of the line, plumping down from twelve feet to two, and from ten to one.    Poor Keats had the glorious ambition
of uniting all the beauties of rhyme and blank verse, —using all the pauses of the one, and all the jingle of the other; but this was impossible ; for the pause which the rhyme demands destroys the effect of the cacsural resolution, which, in turn, impairs the other. Henry Taylor speaks of subtler melodies than those which the ear expects ; but if the interlude in Philip Van Artevelde is an illustration, it is a failure. How far rhyme is susceptible of improvement we know not. We hate its artificial suggestiveness, its gilt fetter, and the constant temptation it creates to reject the first true, spontaneous thought, and take a secondary thing that assumes with more ease and a better grace " the tinkling bells of rhyme," as Churchill so admirably terms it in Kavanagh. But still we prefer any of our metres, well used, to the crawling, cumbrous Anglo-hexameter.

Why go out of our own glorious, magnificent blank verse, — with its endless power of harmony, its infinite combinations, its exhaustless melody, dignity, variety, and beauty, — where the single lines are nothing in comparison with the grand masses of harmony that gush, as if from an organ ? The hexameter of Homer may be above it, but the English language can go no farther. Milton and Shakspeare alone knew and employed all the range and volume of this majestic instrument. It is likely that Mr. Longfellow thought it sacred to higher flights, and unfit for the pastoral; but the difficulty is hardly removed by employing the stately hexameter.

But let us resume the narrative, already unpardonably interrupted, and in doing so test the measure practically.
" At peace with God and the world, the farmer of Grand-Pre lived on his sunny farm, and Evangeline governed his household. Many a youth, as he knelt in the church and opened his missal, fixed his eyes upon her, as the saint of his deepest devotion ; happy was he who might touch her hand or the hem of her garment! "
There is a tinge of impiety here which the author has lived, or will live, to regret and correct in another edition. Though in unconscious hexameters, now we perceive we have said it.

" Many a suitor came to her door, by the darkness befriended,
 but, among all who came, young Gabriel only was welcome;
Gabriel Lajeunesse, the son of Basil the blacksmith. ..... Basil
was Benedict's friend. Their children from earliest childhood grew up together as brother and sister; and Father Felician, priest and pedagogue both in the village, had taught them their letters out of the selfsame book, with the" hymns of the Church and the plainsong.

All this appears to be plain prose, spoiled by attempting to give it all the characteristic dress and inflexion of metre.
Wordsworth was right; prose has its numbers and inspiration, as well as verse ; what it loses in regularity, it gains in variety. Undoubtedly the finest measure or stanza is that in which as much of the capacity of prose is attained as the music of verse permits. Such is our blank verse. Whoever aspires to improve it will, like Ossian, do what Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme thought he had done, — utter neither prose nor verse. So think we now ; but it is impossible to predict with any certainty. Poetry may undergo an utter revolution within a century: the champions that assail the canons of literature are not less sturdy than those who are overthrowing the political constitutions of the world. - But the English ships at their anchors ride in the Gaspereau's mouth, with their cannon pointed against the village. What their design may be is unknown ; but all are commanded on the morrow to meet in the church, where his Majesty's mandate will be proclaimed as the law of the land.
That evening the notary,

" Bent like a laboring oar, that toils in the surf of the ocean,"
entered the cottage of Benedict Bellefontaine, where Basil was smoking. The brazen lamp was lighted, the pewter tankard filled till it overflowed with home-brewed, nut-brown ale, and the notary, drawing forth from his pocket his papers and inkhorn, prepared and sealed the contract between Gabriel and Evangeline.

Pleasantly rose next morn the sun on the village of Grand-Pre Pleasantly gleamed in the soft, sweet air the Basin of Minas, where the ships, with their wavering shadows, were riding at anchor. Life had been long astir in the village, and clamorous labor knocked with its hands at the golden gates of the morning.

Under the open sky, in the odorous air of the orchard, bending with golden fruit, was spread the feast of betrothal. So passed the morning away. And lo ! with a summons sonorous sounded the bell from its tower, and over the meadows a drum beat. Thronged ere long was the church with men. Without, in the church-yard, waited the women. They stood by the graves, and hung on the head-stones garlands of autumn-leaves and evergreens fresh from the forest. Then came the guard from the ships, and, marching proudly among them, entered the sacred portal. The royal proclamation is read, the villagers are sentenced to
transportation, their lands, dwellings, and cattle declared forfeit to the crown.    The offence of the Acadians is not stated.

However, after a long pause of speechless wonder, and a wail of sorrow and anger, Basil the blacksmith, his face distorted with passion, rose, and wildly shouted : —

"' Down with the tyrants of England ! we never have sworn them allegiance!
Death to these foreign soldiers, who seize on our homes and our harvests ! '
More he fain would have said, but the merciless hand of a soldier
Smote him upon the mouth, and dragged him down to the pavement.

" In the midst of the strife and the tumult of angry contention,
Lo ! the door of the chancel opened, and Father Felician
Entered, with serious mien, and ascended the steps of the altar.
liaising his reverend hand, with a gesture he awed into silence
All that clamorous throng 
Few were his words of rebuke, but deep in the hearts of his people
Sank they, and sobs of contrition succeeded that passionate outbreak ;
And they repeated his prayer, and said, ' O Father, forgive them!'

" Then came the evening service.    The tapers gleamed from the
allar. Fervent and deep was the voice of the priest, and the people
Not with their lips alone, but their hearts; and the Ave Maria Sang they, and fell on their knees, and their souls, with devotion
translated, Rose on the ardor of prayer, like Elijah ascending to heaven."
Meanwhile the tidings of ill had spread in the village, and women and children wandered, wailing, from house to house. But we must pass over this season of desolation, and Evange-line's sorrow, charity, meekness, love, and hope, and forgiveness and patience, while still, in spite of the calamity,

" Sweetly over the village the bell of the Angelus sounded."

On the fourth day, the villagers are forced to the sea-shore ; there, heart-broken, on the beach the wealthiest farmer of Grand-Prd dies, and Evangeline " Knelt at her father's side, and wailed aloud in her terror. Then in a swoon she sank, and lay with her head on his bosom."

She and Father Felician are carried to one ship, Gabriel and Basil to another.

" Then recommenced once more the stir and noise of embarking ; And with the ebb of that tide the ships sailed out of the harbour, Leaving behind them the dead on the shore, and the village in

Many a weary year had passed since the burning of Grand-Pre. Far asunder, on separate coasts, the Acadians landed; scattered were they, like flakes of snow. Friendless, homeless, hopeless, they wandered from city to city, from the cold lakes of the North to sultry Southern savannas, — from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.
" Long among them was seen a maiden who waited and wandered) Lowly and meek in spirit, and patiently suffering all things.
Fair was she and young ; Something there was in her life incomplete, imperfect, unfinished ; As if a morning of June, with all its music and sunshine, Suddenly paused in the sky, and, fading, slowly descended Into the east again, from whence it late had arisen."

It was Evangeline seeking her lover ; sometimes in churchyards straying, she sat by some nameless grave, thinking that perhaps in its bosom he was already at rest. Sometimes a rumor, a hearsay, an inarticulate whisper, came with its airy hand to point and beckon her forward. Sometimes she spake with those who had seen her beloved and known him, but long ago, in some far-off, forgotten place. Some would say, "He has gone to the prairies " ; others, " He is a Voyageur in the lowlands of Louisiana. Why dream and wait for him any longer ? Are there not other youths as fair as Gabriel ? Give thy hand to another !

" But Evangeline ever answered, serenely but sadly, " I cannot ! " A voice whispered, " Despair not ! " and, in want and cheerless discomfort, she still pursued Gabriel.

In the month of May we find her and Father Felician, her faithful protector, floating in a cumbrous boat down the golden stream of the broad, swift Mississippi, past the Ohio shore and the mouth of the Wabash. Day after day they glided down the turbulent river; night after night, by their blazing fires, encamped on its borders, until they entered the Bayou of Plaque-mine.

" Nearer and ever nearer, among the numberless islands, Darted a light, swift boat, that sped away o'er the water, Urged on its course by the sinewy arms of hunters and trappers. Northward its prow was turned, to the land of the bison and

At the helm sat a youth, with countenance thoughtful and careworn.
Dark and neglected locks overshadowed his brow, and a sadness
Somewhat beyond his years on his face was legibly written. Gabriel was it, who, weary with wailing, unhappy and restless, Sought in the Western wilds oblivion of self and of sorrow."

But the lovers met not; the stars were in the heavens ; they passed each other on opposite banks of an island, with a screen of palmettos between them ; and Evangeline dreamed that Gabriel had been near her.
Slowly they entered the Teche, where it flows through the green Opelousas, and saw, near to the bank of the river, secluded and still, the house of a herdsman.

" A garden Girded it round about with a belt of luxuriant blossoms, Filling the air with fragrance."
Here, mounted upon his horse, with Spanish saddle and stirrups, the wanderers saw and recognized Basil the blacksmith. But Gabriel came not ! Far to the Western wilds has he gone ; but to-day he departed ! Over Evangeline's face a shade passed ; tears came into her eyes, and, concealing her face on Basil's shoulder, all her overburdened heart gave way, and she wept and lamented.

But she followed him, — followed him until she saw the moon rise slowly over the tops of the Ozark Mountains. Still far to the North had he gone. Then Basil left her, and Evangeline remained at a Jesuit Mission, still hoping that in the autumn Gabriel would appear. Slowly, slowly, slowly the days succeeded each other, — days, and weeks, and months !

" So came the autumn, and passed, and the winter, — yet Gabriel
came not; Blossomed the opening spring, and the notes of the robin and
blue-bird Sounded sweet upon wold and in wood, yet Gabriel came not.
But on the breath of the summer winds a rumor was wafted 
Far to the north and east, it said, in the Michigan forests,
Gabriel had his lodge by the,banks of the Saginaw River 
Saying a sad farewell, Evangeline went from the Mission."
After long and perilous marches, she attains the depths of the Michigan forests, and finds the hunter's lodge deserted and fallen to ruin !

" Thus did the long, sad years  glide  on, and |in  seasons and
Divers and distant far was seen the wandering maiden ; — Now in the tents of grace of the meek Moravian Missions, Now in the noisy camps and the battle-fields of the army, Now in secluded hamlets, in towns, and populous cities. Like a phantom she came, and passed away unremembered. Fair was she and young, when in hope began the long journey; Faded was she and old, when in disappointment it ended. Each succeeding year stole something away from her beauty, Leaving behind  it,  broader and deeper,  the  gloom  and the
shadow. Then there appeared and spread faint streaks of gray o'er her
Dawn of another life that broke o'er her earthly horizon, As in the eastern sky the first faint streaks of the morning."
Thus, in the evening of life, we find her in the city washed by the Delaware's waters. Gabriel was not forgotten. Within her heart was his image, clothed in the beauty of love and youth, as last she beheld him, only more beautiful made by his deathlike silence and absence. Thus many years she lived as a Sister of Mercy; frequenting lonely and wretched roofs in the crowded lanes of the city, where distress and want concealed themselves from the sunlight, where disease and sorrow in garrets languished neglected.

" Then it came to pass, that a pestilence fell on the city ;
     the poor     
Crept away to die in the almshouse, home of the homeless 
Thither, by night and by day, came the Sister of Mercy.    The
Looked up into her face, and thought, indeed, to behold there Gleams of celestial light encircle her forehead with splendor, Such as the artist paints o'er the brows of saints and apostles."

One Sunday morn, wending her quiet way, she entered the almshouse, — entered the chambers of sickness.
" Many a languid head, upraised as Evangeline entered,
Turned on its pillow of pain to gaze while she passed, for her
presence Fell on their hearts like a ray of the sun on the  walls of a

" Suddenly, as if arrested by fear or a feeling of wonder, Still she stood, with her colorless lips apart, while a shudder Ran through her frame, and, forgotten, the flowerets dropped
from her fingers, And from her eyes and cheeks the light and  bloom  of the

Then there escaped from her lips a cry of such terrible anguish,
That the dying heard it, and started up from their pillows.
On the pallet before her was stretched the form of an old man.
Long, and thin, and gray were the locks that shaded his temples;
But, as he lay in the morning light, his face for a moment
Seemed to assume once more the forms of its earlier manhood 
Motionless, senseless, dying, he lay, and his spirit, exhausted, Seemed to be sinking. .....
Heard he that cry of pain, and through the hush that succeeded Whispered a gentle voice, in accents tender and saint-like, ' Gabriel 1 O my beloved !' and died away into silence. Then he beheld, in a dream, once more the home of his childhood ;
Green Acadian meadows, with sylvan rivers among them, Village, and mountain, and woodlands ; and, walking under their
As in the days of her youth, Evangeline rose in his vision. Tears came into his eyes; and, as slowly he lifted his eyelids, Vanished the vision away, but Evangeline knelt by his bedside. Vainly he strove to whisper her name, for the accents unuttered Died on his lips, and their motion revealed what his tongue would
have spoken.
Vainly he strove to rise ; and Evangeline, kneeling beside him,
Kissed his dying lips, and laid his head on her bosom 

" All was ended now, the hope, and the fear, and the sorrow, 
And as she pressed once more the lifeless head to her bosom, Meekly she bowed her own, and murmured, ' Father, I thank Thee!'"

Thus ends Evangeline. We have been led by the beauty of the narrative, by an unwillingness to do it too much injustice, and by a desire to present it as a whole to our Catholic readers, to give a connected epitome, instead of a straggling outline, of the story. We have omitted many faults, and more beauties-Mr. Longfellow must pardon the jumble we have made of his
language, since, even in our compound of prose and verse, and what is neither prose nor verse, the pathos, simplicity, and fervent purity of the poem are not entirely lost.

Of the tale itself, — the incident, the plot, — we need not speak, — it is subordinate ; the portraiture of the finer feelings of the heart, — the contemplation of the beautiful in man and in nature, — give value and fascination to the book. The fervent way in which the author is seen to feel what he creates gives a charm to his characters which no art can bestow, and they live because he loves them.

Evangeline, as a Sister of Charity, is as pure a conception as Protestantism permits. Indeed, her whole character is vastly more Catholic than that of most of our own theologico-romantic heroines, so innocently invented, now-a-days, for the edification of youths, by too zealous converts, who write before they have well tasted the first sweet waters of Catholic purity.

Before passing to Kavanagh, we must briefly notice some glaring faults. Mr. Longfellow himself has said, " In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity," — and yet it is against this very excellence that he sins the oftenest. It is lamentable to see a man of fair proportions straining himself out of all symmetry for the sake of being original. In society, eccentricity is originality, but scarcely in literature.
Speaking of Basil, he says : —

" And all his thoughts congealed into lines on his face, as the
vapors Freeze in fantastic shapes on tho window-panes in the winter."
Again : —

" Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels."
This is exquisitely dainty, but overwhelmingly artificial ; we admire, and yet we despise. However, few authors would blot it out.    But here is something utterly unjustifiable : —

" She saw serenely the moon pass
Forth from the folds of a cloud, and one star follow her footsteps, As out of Abraham's tent young Ishmael wandered with Hagar."

Again, a fine passage we have quoted is spoiled by adding to "Rose on the ardor of prayer," "like Elijah ascending to heaven."    Again : —

" And from the fields of her soul a. fragrance celestial ascended."
Wherever the following came from, — German it seems to be, — let it be anathema : —

" And in tlie flickering light beheld the face of the old man, Haggard, and  hollow, and wan, and without either thought or
emotion, E'en as the face of a clock from xohich  the hands have leen

In Sam Slick, the illustration would be capital.    So,

" Where the Father of Waters Seizes the hills in his hands, and drags them down to the ocean."
And that morning in June, with all its music and sunshine, is too fantastic and improbable, though the conception shows genius of no ordinary power.
But what can be said of this ? —

" The trumpet-flower and the grape-vine Hung their ladder of ropes aloft, like the ladder of Jacob, On whose pendulous stairs the angels ascending, descending, Were   the  swift humming-birds,  that  flitted  from  blossom to blossom."
It is a vision, but a dream too much like the forget-me-nots of the angels not to be indorsed by the author. Again : —

" The manifold flowers of the garden
Poured out their souls in odors, that were their prayers and confessions Unto the night, as it went its way like a silent Carthusian."

And again, the last meeting of Gabriel and Evangeline is half ruined, thus : —

" Hot and red on his lips still burned the flush of the fever, As if life, like the Hebrew, with blood had besprinkled its portals, That the Angel of Death might see the sign and pass over."
We could laugh at all these conceits, if they did not contain glimmerings of a fine fancy run mad, — if they did not spring up unaccountably in the midst of the most delicious simplicity. Sometimes he is much happier, as, —

" And clamorous labor
Knocked with its hundred hands  at the golden gates of the morning."
This is equal to Homer.. Nor is the following without sublimity : —

" Down sank the great red sun, and in golden, glimmering vapors Veiled the light of his face, like the Prophet descending from Sinai."

Again : —

" And the bluest of heavens Bending above, and resting its domes on the walls of the forest."
And again : —

" And over all is the sky, the clear and crystalline heaven, Like the protecting hand of God inverted above them."
But even in these instances, the fantastic injures the sublime. These are exceptions. When Mr. Longfellow is in his element, — when he is content with being himself, — he lavishes on us some of the sweetest pastoral in any language. How much pathos and power in this touch, when the villagers are embarking:—

" Then, as the night descended, the herds returned from their pastures ;
Sweet was the moist, still air with the odor of milk from their udders;
Lowing they waited, and long, at the well-known bars of the farm-yard, —
Waited and looked in vain for the voice and the hand of the milkmaid."
Or, more beautiful still, —

" Now recommenced the reign of rest, and affection, and stillness.
Day with its burden and heat had departed, and twilight descending
Brought back the evening star to the sky, and the herds to the homestead.
Pawing the ground they came, and resting their necks on each other,
And with their nostrils distended inhaling the freshness of evening.
Foremost, bearing the bell, Evangeline's beautiful heifer,
Proud of her snow-white hide, and the ribbon that waved from her collar,
Quietly paced and slow, as if conscious of human affection.
Then came the shepherd," &c.

" O ! si sic omnia." — Too much cannot be said in praise of that passage.
Often, too, there is a touch like this, where the blacksmith
" Takes in his leathern lap the hoof of the horse as a plaything."

And often, too, are sprinkled lines like these : — " Bright was her face with smiles, and words of welcome and glad-

Fell from her beautiful lips, and blessed the cup as she gave
But we pass from Evangeline, on which we have lingered long, to Kavanagh, the other work on our list, and the last that has reached us from its author.

" The flighty purpose never is o'ertook, Unless the deed go with it."
The choice of this motto indicates, what the context sufficiently confirms, that Churchill is the real hero of the book, whatever Kavanagh may be allegorically. In Churchill, a singular class of beings is most felicitously described. By two fine touches he is brought vividly before us : — He thought himself a great man, — "for we judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, whilst others judge us by what we have already done. And, moreover, his wife considered him equal to great things. But to the people in the village, he was the schoolmaster, and nothing more. They saw him daily moiling and delving in the common path, like a beetle, and little thought that under that hard and cold exterior lay folded delicate golden wings, wherewith, when the heat of the day was over, he soared and revelled in the pleasant evening air."

" Nature had made Mr. Churchill a poet, but destiny made him a schoolmaster. This produced a discord between his outward and his inward existence. Life presented itself to him like the Sphynx, with its perpetual riddle of the real and the ideal. To the solution of this dark problem, he devoted his days and his nights. He was forced to teach grammar, when he would fain have written poems ; and from day to day, and year to year, the trivial things of life postponed the great designs which he felt capable of accomplishing, but never had the resolute courage to begin. Thus he dallied with his thoughts and with all things, and wasted his strength on trifles ; like the lazy sea that plays with the pebbles on its beach, but under the inspiration of the wind might lift great navies on its outstretched palms, and toss them into the air as playthings."
Here we have a tangible character, familiar to every one from experience of others or himself. The power to accomplish much, and the actual accomplishment of nothing, is seen in some phase or other at every step in life.    Thus the foot of a college
class contents himself with the flattering reproach, — "You might be head with ease, Sir." Many, again, are seduced by wealth, or fettered by poverty, from a career of usefulness and distinction. This is true, in spite of the fact, that, when a man of ordinary ability throws himself away, the glimmering of talent set off by the darkness that surrounds him is generally hailed as an emanation of the highest genius. Mediocrity in the gutter is apt to be mistaken for fallen greatness.
But Mr. Longfellow aims at a rarer and more delicate combination of strength of mind and weakness of will.    The fruits of the brain, like those of the earth, are not produced without labor : the curse pronounced in Eden is on mind as well as matter.    Man is originally averse to both mental and physical labor.    In some, this antipathy is overbalanced by ambition, corrected by education and the rod, and eradicated by habit, until exertion becomes a pleasure ; in others, it is overcome by necessity, avarice, or duty.    But the man of genius who has tidings to impart, and who feels his mission, is different from all these.   Place him in the ordinary pursuits of life, he languishes after time and opportunity for the full, free play of his powers, and pines to climb the blue hills so soft and alluring in the distance.    But unshackle him, let him roam at large ;—he wanders to the base of the mountain, — he finds all those soft outlines gone, — the ascent rugged, steep, and forbidding ; — there are  sweet springs murmuring overhead, — but then the toil, the labor, of reaching them !    The few, who have the requisite will, reach the summit; the rest, with poor Churchill, wander in penniless spirituality along the base.

Poetry and music have their tedious details, as well as science and the counting-house ; and it is over these details that genius sickens, droops, and dies. It is instinctively impelled by the delight of conceiving and creating beauty, but deterred by the pang, the labor, of bringing it forth. In vain did Churchill exclaim, "I shall write a romance!" — he remained for ever barren. When he wandered to the old windmill, and saw below him the lights of the village, and around him the great landscape sinking deeper and deeper into the sea of darkness, — when he passed the orchards where the air, filled with the odor of the fallen fruit, seemed as sweet to him as the fragrance of the blossoms in June, — when a few steps farther brought him to an old, neglected church-yard, and he paused a moment to look at the white, gleaming stone, under which slumbered the old clergyman who came into the village in the time of the Indian wars, — then, O, then ! he felt that he could write. But when he entered the village street, and encountered the booted centipede, — when the steam of strong tobacco-smoke, exhaled from a laboror's pipe, saluted him up to his own door^— then, alas ! the inspiration departed.
Mrs. Churchill, a pretty, motherly, intensely literal personage, was not eminently qualified to recall the fine frenzy, as the following morsel of dialogue will demonstrate : —

"' Ah ! these children, these children!' said Churchill, as he sat down at the tea-table, ' we ought to love them very much now, for wo shall not have them long with us ! "

" • Good heavens!' exclaimed his wife, ' what do you mean ? Does any thing ail them ?    Are they going to die ?'

" ' I hope not. But they are going to grow up and be no longer children.'

" ' O you foolish man !    You gave me such a fright!'

" ' And yet it seems impossible that they should ever grow to be men, and drag the heavy artillery along the dusty roads of life.'

"' And I hope they never will. That is the last thing I want either of them to do.' "
There is much contained and suggested in that brief passage, bald and artificial as it seems. Churchill continues to teach school and do every thing else but begin his romance ; — here we find him discoursing on the beautiful arithmetical system contained in the Lilavvati of Bhascara Acharya, — there answering the young lady who sent him the poetry to look over and criticize, — now diverted by Mr. Hanson's cooking-range, or intercepted by Mr. Wihnerdings, the butcher, with his cart and five pensionary cats, — again, after extinguishing the Vesuvius of the prospective editor of the projected Niagara, deliberately consenting to write him a series of papers on Obscure Martyrs. To use the best image in the book, and one of the best on record, —" Such was the schoolmaster's life ; and a dreary, weary life it would have been, had not poetry from within gushed through every crack and crevice in it. This transformed it, and made it resemble a well, into which stones and rubbish have been thrown ; but underneath is a spring of fresh, pure water, which nothing external can ever check or defile." How different this from that outrageous metaphor in which my Lord Coke 'appears to inflict a death-wound on literature on the threshold of law ! The subordinate characters of the story, like Churchill, are merely sketched. We do not say this in condemnation : far from it. We cannot easily describe our pleasure to find Kavanagh but one small volume, — we cannot express our delight to discover that the author meant to tell his tale by a few brief masterly touches, instead of inflating pages with useless expatia-tion, explanation, and analysis, conformably to the prevailing vicious fashion. As books multiply, they ought to be brief: a well-read community want suggestiveness, not repetition. It is time now that the author should trust something to the reader. If we must have fiction, let it consist of meaning outlines, that in a glance we may enjoy it. Let the author lift us to the eminence he occupies, that we may see at once the prospect he would unfold, instead of compelling us to wade through description and reflection as endless and deep as a Florida everglade, before we catch a glimpse of what he is pointing at. Let genius leave dilution to mediocrity, and bend itself to condensation.
What is the condition of English and French fiction at this moment ? Volume after volume, fine print, rolled off with incredible velocity, — vast masses of love, lust, and battle, heaped up high as a pyramid. Every thing for quantity, nothing for quality, — a given amount must be read before a certain interest can be obtained. If there is one green spot in the book, the author has surrounded it with a desert of dulness to make it an oasis, — to give it a zest, which, standing alone, it could not have ; whilst, camel-like, the patient reader plods along, without even a mirage to relieve him.
Had Mr. Longfellow's book no other merit, his bold, rapid attempts at delineation would entitle him to gratitude and encouragement. His intention is thus handsomely expressed in Kvangeline : —

" Let me essay, O Muse ! to follow the wanderer's footsteps; — Not through each devious path, each changeful year of existence ;

But as a traveller follows a streamlet's course through the valley: Far from its margin at times, and seeing the gleam of its water Here and there, in some open space, and at intervals only."
We know Mr. Pendexter perfectly well by his sermon ; we can see his old white horse shaking from his feet the dust of the ungrateful village; there is a dramatic distinctness in his subsequent return to the village, in the same old ark of a chaise, drawn by the same white horse, with the same disdainful fling to his hind legs. Sally Manchester, Mr. H. Adolphus Hawkins, and his sister, are equally well sketched, and kept in proper subordination to the superior actors on the little stage. With Lucy he has been eminently happy.

" Lucy was a girl of fifteen, who had been taken a few years before from an orphan asylum. Her dark eyes had a Gypsy look, and she wore her brown hair twisted round her head, after the manner of some of Murillo's girls. She had Milesian blood in her veins, and was impetuous and impatient of contradiction."

Lucy lived with Mrs. Churchill, and came one evening to ask permission to go down to the village to buy some ribbon for her bonnet. As she left the room, Churchill thought of the ill-looking creature he had seen. A year passed by. Lucy, the pretty orphan girl, had disappeared with the centipede, — but whither gone and wherefore remained a mystery. Autumn came, and brought an unexpected guest, — the forlorn, forsaken Lucy. She returned alone in destitution and despair ; and often, in the grief of a broken heart and a bewildered brain, was heard to say, —

" ' O how I wish I were a Christian ! If I were only a Christian, I would not live any longer; I would kill myself! I am too wretched!'

" A few days afterwards, a gloomy-looking man rode through the town on horseback, stopping at every corner, and crying into every street, with a loud and solemn voice, —' Prepare! Prepare! Prepare to meet the living God.' Then numerous camp-meetings were held in the woods, to whose white tents and leafy chapels many went for consolation, and found despair."

" Then rose the voice of Elder Evans high above the rest, clear and musical as a clarion, —
' Don't you hear the Lord a-coming To the old church-yards, With a band of music, With a band of music, With a band of music, Sounding through the air ?' "

A figure stood below, in the shadow of the bridge, —

" on the brink of the stream, watching wistfully the steady flow of the current. It was Lucy ! Her bonnet and shawl were lying at her feet; she waded far out into the shallow stream, laid herself gently down in its deeper waves, and floated slowly away into the moonlight, among the golden leaves that were faded and fallen like herself,— among the water-lilies, whose fragrant white blossoms had been broken off and polluted long ago. Without a struggle, without a sigh, without a sound, she floated downward, downward, and silently sank into the silent river. Far off, faint and indistinct, was heard the startling hymn, with its wild and peculiar melody, —

" O, there will bo mourning, mourning, mourning, mourning,— O, there will bo mourning at the judgment-seat of Christ!' "
To us there is a strange power and pathos in this brief sketch, which, if minutely expanded, would have been a temptation instead of a warning. Here, as in other places, Mr. Longfellow displays the rare faculty of revealing, as if through a magic glass, the incident as it is felt by the mind that first conceived it, — of revealing to the reader the same spirit of beauty and tenderness that animated the writer when words were far unequal to the vision of his mind.
After Churchill and Kavanagh, the principal characters are Alice Archer and Cecilia Vaughan. They are placed in striking contrast. Alice is a fair, delicate girl, whose life has been saddened by a too sensitive organization, and by somewhat untoward circumstances. She had a pale, transparent complexion, and large, gray eyes, that seemed to see visions. Her figure was slight, almost fragile ; her hands white, slender, diaphanous. She was thoughtful, silent, susceptible ; often sad, often in tears, often lost in reveries. She led a lonely life with her mother, who was old, querulous, and nearly blind. She, herself, had inherited a predisposition to blindness, and in winter the power of vision failed her. The old house they lived in, with its four sickly Lombardy poplars in front, was one of those houses that depress you as you enter, as if many, persons had died in it, — sombre, desolate, silent.

Cecilia Vaughan had been Alice Archer's bosom friend at school; and, after they left school, in spite of social disparity, the love between them had rather increased than diminished. Endowed with youth, beauty, talent, fortune, and, moreover, with that indefinable fascination which has no name, Cecilia Vaughan was not without lovers, avowed and unavowed ; — young men who made an ostentatious display of their affection; boys, who treasured it in their bosoms, as something indescribably sweet and precious, perfuming all the chambers of the heart with its celestial fragrance. Whenever she returned from a visit to the city, some unknown youth, of elegant manners and varnished leather boots, was sure to hover round the village inn
for a few days, — was known to visit the Vaughans assiduously, and then silently to disappear, and be seen no more.
The old family mansion of the Vaughans stood a little out of town, in the midst of a pleasant farm. The country road was not near enough to annoy ; and the rattling wheels and little clouds of dust seemed like friendly salutations from travellers as they passed. In this old-fashioned house had Cecilia Vaughan grown up to maidenhood. The travelling shadows of the clouds on the hill-sides, the sudden summer wind that lifted the languid leaves, and, most of all, the mysterious mountain, whose coolness was a perpetual invitation to her, and whose silence a perpetual fear, fostered her dreamy and poetic temperament. Her mother had been dead for many years, and the memory of that mother had become almost a religion to her. Her father was a kindly old man ; a judge in one of the courts ; dignified, affable, somewhat bent by his legal erudition, as a shelf is by the weight of the books upon it.

Alice is more distinct, and better drawn than her friend, for this very obvious reason, — that it is infinitely easier to portray the real feeling of a melancholy child of nature, than catch and convey the true character of a woman with a light heart and something of the world in her. It required quite as much genius to delineate Julia Mannering, as Rebecca the Jewess or Minna Troil, and far more care and experience.

We have now prepared the village of Fairmeadow for Kavanagh's reception. Mr. Pendexter, the old-fashioned Evangelical parson, has evacuated, at the request of his parishioners, but not without preaching a pathetic and withering valedictory. Then, as the school-girl's letter has it, — which, by the way, is one of the cleverest and best-contrived performances of its kind we know of, —

" The church has been repaired, and we have a new mahogany pulpit. Mr. Churchill bought the old one, and had it put up in his study. What a strange man he is! A good many candidates have preached for us. The only one we like is Mr. Kavanagh. Arthur Kavanagh ! is not that a romantic name ? He is tall, very pale, with beautiful black eyes and hair! Sally — Alice Archer's Sally — says ' he is not a man ; he is a Thaddeus of Warsaw !' I think he is very handsome. And such sermons! So beautifully written, so different from old Mr. Pendexter's."
So much for public impression ; now for the author's conception : —

" Arthur Kavanagh was descended from an ancient Catholic
family. His ancestors had purchased from the Baron Victor of St.
Castine a portion of his vast estates, lying upon the wild and won
derful sea-coast of Maine. There, in the bosom of the solemn
forests, they continued the practice of that faith which had been first
planted there by Iiasle and St. Castine 

" In these solitudes, in this faith, was Kavanagh born, and grew to childhood, a feeble, delicate boy, watched over by a grave, taciturn father, and a mother who looked upon him with infinite tenderness, as upon a treasure she could not long retain. She walked with him by the sea-side, and spake to him of God. She taught him his letters from the Lives of the Saints; she explained to him the pictures ; she read to him the legends ; the lives of holy men and women, full of faith and good works ; things which ever afterward remained associated together in his mind. Thus, holiness of life, and self-renunciation, and devotion to duty, were early impressed upon his soul. To his quick imagination, the spiritual world became real; the holy company of the saints stood round about the solitary boy ; his guardian angels led him by the hand by day, and sat by his pillow at night. At times, even, he wished to die, that he might see them and talk with them, and return no more to his weak and weary body.

" Of all the legends of the mysterious book, that which most delighted and most deeply impressed him was the legend of St. Christopher. Later in life it became more and more evident to him, and remained for ever in his mind as a lovely allegory of active charily and a willingness to serve,

" But the time at length came, when his father decreed that he must be sent away to school. He must go to the Jesuit College in Canada, leaving behind him all the endearments of home, and a wound in his mother's heart that never ceased to ache ; a longing, unsatisfied and insatiable, for her absent Arthur, who had gone from her, perhaps for ever.

" At length his college days were ended. He returned home full of youth, full of joy and hope ; but it was only to receive the dying blessings of his mother. Then the house became empty to him. Solitary was the sea-shore, solitary were the woodland walks. But the spiritual world seemed nearer and more real. For afl'airs he had no aptitude; and he betook himself again to his philosophic and theological studies. He pondered with fond enthusiasm on the rapturous pages of Molinos and Madame Guyon, or, in a spirit akin to that which wrote, he read the writings of St. Theresa.

" In such meditations passed many weeks and months. But mingled with them, continually and ever with more distinctness, arose in his memory the old tradition of St. Christopher, the beautiful allegory of humility and labor.    It became more and more
evident to him, that the life of man consists, not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and ivilling service. " Moreover, the study of ecclesiastical history awoke within him many strange and dubious thoughts. It was impossible to hear of Calvin without hearing of Scrvetus; to read Athanasius without reading also of Arian. The search after Truth and Freedom, both intellectual and spiritual, became a passion in his soul. By slow degrees, and not by violent spiritual conflicts, he became a Protestant. He had but passed from one chapel to another in the same vast cathedral. He was still beneath the same ample roof,*(footnote: * If the difference was so slight, and the change no more than represent- ed, why did Kavanagh cease to be a Catholic and become a Protestant, or rather Fuseyitish Unitarian 1 Does not the author perceive, that, just in proportion as he diminishes the importance of the change, does he weaken the motives to make it? If Kavanagh remained in the same building, continued to worship under the ample roof of the same spacious temple, he continued to retain substantially his Catholic faith, and then, in professing himself a Protestant, must have believed that he was incurring the damnation of his own soul. Moreover, if he still recognized his former religion as substantially true, he could not have supposed that he at all endangered his salvation by remaining a Catholic, and then he could have been influenced only by worldly motives, or temporal interests, in avowing himself a Protestant. Does Mr. Longfellow mean to teach that there are only worldly reasons for being a Protestant rather than a Catholic, and thus, by implication, avow that he himself would be a Catholic, if he consulted only the salvation of his soul 1 This is no strained inference from his doctrine, and we have not the shadow of a doubt that it is true with regard to Protestants generally. They would all be Catholics, if they consulted only their own spiritual welfare, and are Protestants only because they wish to enjoy the world, and live without having to practise the rigid self-denial Catholicity enjoins.) still heard the same divine service chanted in a different dialect of the same universal language. Out of his old faith he brought with him all he had found in it that was holy, and pure, and of good report. Not. its bigotry, and fanaticism, and intolerance; but its zeal, its self-devotion, its heavenly aspirations, its human sympathies, its endless deeds of charity. Not till after his father's death, however, did he become a clergyman. Then his vocation was manifest to him. He no longer hesitated, but entered upon its many duties and responsibilities, its many trials and discouragements, with the zeal of Peter and the gentleness of John."

We shall briefly conclude the story, and return to this most important chapter. With the spring, and the flowers, and the birds, came Kavanagh to the village. The first thing he remarked, and it cheered and consoled him, was the pale countenance of a young girl, whose dark eyes had been fixed upon him, during the whole discourse, with unflagging interest and
attention. She sat alone in a pew near the pulpit. It was Alice Archer.

Alas for Alice ! he soon met Miss Vaughan at the taxidermist's. She had come to purchase a carrier-pigeon to conduct a correspondence between herself and Alice. As she departed, he said, half aloud, — " Of course she would never think of marrying a poor clergyman ! "

A week later Kavanagh was installed in a little room in the church-tower. He had become intimate with Churchill, and completed the first great cycle of parochial visits, besides working assiduously at his sermons. His words were always kindly; but while he was gentle, he was firm. In short, he completely enchanted the congregation. He did not suggest many changes, but showed that some relics of Catholic good taste and feeling were in him, by desiring the organist to relinquish the old and pernicious habit of preluding with triumphal marches, or playing scraps of regular music very slowly to make them sacred, and substitute, instead of this and his own barbarous conceptions, some of the beautiful symphonies of Pergolesi, Palestrina, and Sebastian Bach.

Meanwhile, the church-bells of Fairmeadovv, like those of Varennes, kept sounding, " Marry thee, marry thee, marry, marry! " and the Roaring Brook responded sympathetically to the peal. We cannot narrate all the incidents of the pleasure-party ; but this one circumstance makes us wish Cecilia a little more gifted or a little less in love : —

"' How indescribably beautiful this brown water is!' exclaimed Kavanagh. ' It is like wine, or the nectar of the gods of Olympus ; as if the falling Hebe had poured it from her goblet.'

" ' More like the mead or metheglin of the Northern gods,' said Mr. Churchill,' spilled from the drinking-horns of Valhalla.'

" But all the ladies thought Kavanagh's comparison the belter of the two."
We half suspect the humor of that passage to have been obtained more by accident than design ; the touch is so exquisitely fine, that it suggests the sponge of Protogenes.

Cecilia's hand trembled in Kavanagh's, and his soul was softened within him.    The day passed delightfully with all.
But Alice Archer ? The carrier-pigeon was flying from her to Cecilia, when, pursued by a kingfisher, it darted into Kavanagh's room. A billet was beneath its wing addressed "Cecilia."   The bird was then on its way to her.    Seizing a pen, he wrote his love, and fastened the note to the silken band around the messenger's neck.
Disordered by its flight, the dove flew back to Alice, who, mistaking Kavanagh's epistle for Cecilia's answer, opened and read it. It was an impulse, an ejaculation of love, every line quivering with electric fire, signed " Arthur Kavanagh." But in the ecstasy of her joy and wonder that her prayer for Kavanagh's love should have been answered, her eye fell, for the first time, on the superscription ; — it was " Cecilia Vaughan." Alice fainted. Her first act on recovering was to reseal the note, and send the bird to its proper destiny.

Cecilia's answer was brief, — "Come to me ! "— and the magic syllables brought Kavanagh to her side.
That afternoon Cecilia went to Alice to tell her of what had happened, and accept her congratulations. In her happiness Cecilia saw not her poor friend's agony, but mistook her tears of blood for tears of joy. The snow of that winter fell on the happy home of Cecilia Vaughan and the lonely grave of Alice Archer.

The wedding did not take place till spring. And then Kavanagh and his Cecilia departed on their journey to Italy and the East. They intended to be absent one year ; they were gone three.

When they returned, they found Churchill still correcting school exercises, —his romance not yet begun, —his Obscure Martyrs yet unrecorded, though Alice Archer had perished broken-hearted under his eye. The curtain is then drawn over the actors for the present.    Will it rise to unfold a sequel 9
Mr. Longfellow had the good taste to make Kavanagh's
conversion to Protestantism sentimental instead of logical.    It
was mainly effected by the legend of a giant who wished to
J serve Christ, but knew not how, until he heard the voice of a
child crying out, " Plant thy staff in the ground and it shall blossom and bear fruit." This is emblematic of active charity and willing service,—and active charity and willing service are not to be found in Catholicity; therefore Kavanagh became a Protestant ! The application of the legend is akin to that of Hawkes-worth's celebrated tale of the dervise, — "No life pleasing to God that is not useful to man." It is assumed that the Catholic-Church is a collection of lazy monks, nuns, and hermits, and concluded that a set of creatures politically and socially useless cannot be acceptable to God. Really, it is impossible to argue  this  point seriously.    If rational beings,  knowing well
that the Catholic Church saved Europe from barbarism, and reduced it from chaos to peace and order,— to something very different from its present condition,—knowing well that the monasteries were the model farms, the colleges, the inns, the sanctuaries of Christendom,— knowing well that Catholicity converted all Europe, and a great portion of Asia, Africa, and America, to Christianity, — if rational beings, knowing all this, and a great deal more, and having before them the Jesuit missions in North America, and Protestant exterminations in the Sandwich Islands, are still so jaundiced by prejudice as to prate of Catholic supineness and Protestant activity, we care not how soon we are complimented on our insanity.
It is extremely difficult to get Protestants to feel that the kingdom of God is not of this world, — that we are permitted to give up all and follow our Redeemer, — that we may live, not for time, but for eternity. They never will comprehend that there is still a Church that is commissioned to teach, and a body to be taught. They are incapable of perceiving that it is not every man's vocation to be a missionary ; that many of us have trouble enough to save our own souls, and have to fly all contact with the temptations of society to escape defeat. Serving man is the main thing, — their primal virtue ; pleasing God, secondary. Would to Heaven they would begin by loving and serving God with their whole souls ! They would soon discover that whatever is pleasing to God must be useful to man, individually and collectively. They refuse to see, that if every individual purifies himself, society must be pure. They shrink from believing the salvation of a single human soul of infinitely more importance than the prosperity and glory of a nation. They never suspect that the prayers offered up on Catholic altars every minute in the year may, like the prayer of the high-priest on the battle-field, avail more than armies, and preserve a people from destruction. They little believe that the fervent aspiration of some pale, feeble daughter of St. Vincent, breathed out at the foot of the cross, for her neighbour and her country, is far more useful to mankind than pyramid, aqueduct, railroad, or telegraph, and all the committees of ways and means who were ever appointed to enlighten or bewilder themselves or their constituents.

We hope we are wrong in suspecting Mr. Longfellow of insinuating that active charity and willing service are not Catholic      \ t virtues ;   for he recognizes  " the zeal, the self-devotion, the      ^ heavenly aspirations, the human sympathies, the endless deeds of charity," of the Church of Christ. He seems really to have a share of Catholic feeling, — he is free from most vulgar prejudices respecting us, —he loves to speak of the sweetly sounding Angelus, and of the bells that recalled "the ages when in all Christendom there was but one Church ; when bells were anointed, baptized, and prayed for, that, wheresoever those holy bells should sound, all danger of whirlwinds, thunders, lightnings, and tempests might be driven away." Perhaps the legend is meant only to excite Kavanagh to action as well as meditation ; still we fear not, since, immediately afterward, the author has the heart to accuse us of " bigotry, fanaticism, and intolerance."
Of Mr. Longfellow the writer of this knows nothing, save from these two little volumes. His private and public life, his pursuits, his ordinary conversation and habits, his religion, his social reputation, even the bulk of his writings, are unknown to him. Before reading Evangeline, he only knew him by hearsay and these three lines : —
" And our hearts, though bold and brave, Still like muffled drums are beating Funeral marches to the grave."
But in Evangeline we fancied that we discovered that yearning after Catholicity, so conspicuous in Wordsworth, Young, Coleridge, Shelley, and Walter Scott, — a yearning that every man of genius has often felt and expressed. In Mr. Longfellow it seemed profounder, and blended with a keen relish of the beauty of Catholic life. In Kavanagh this yearning is still more conspicuous.

The symbolical meaning of Evangeline is not very evident ; it seems to be a vain pursuit of earthly happiness, never attained until the soul is consecrated to God,—whilst, reactively, with Gabriel it represents man ever losing the happiness that pursues him, by his own impatience and want of resignation. Mr. Longfellow is German enough to conceive these double allegories.

In Kavanagh the allegory is palpable. Kavanagh is a liberal aesthetic church. He brought out of the old faith all that was holy, pure, and of good repute, and left behind all its bigotry, fanaticism, and intolerance ; he embraced the duties and responsibilities, the trials and discouragements of the ministry, with the zeal of Peter and the gentleness of John, and found a reasonable amount of temporal felicity in the eyes and arms of Cecilia Vaughan.    He is a higher than the C urch of England, — higher even than Puseyism. He pines after the universality of Catholicity, — he longs for the union of all sects into one universal church, — in short, he wishes for all the truth, and grandeur, and beauty, and unity he has abandoned, without the resolution to retrace his steps and become the Catholic that he was. Is this Mr. Longfellow's case ? Is Kavanagh to have a sequel ? The author wished to represent a fusion of Catholicity with Protestantism : — let him mix the clouds and the sun. The Church of God is not compound ; it can have no union with error ; it is pure, unchangeable, complete ; the gentleness of John is hers just as well as the zeal of Peter.

We must now conlude. The faults in Kavanagh resemble those in Evangeline, — both proceeding from a severe strain after originality resulting in deformity. For instance : — " The setting sun stretched his celestial rods of light across the level landscape, and, like the Hebrew in Egypt, smote the rivers and the brooks and the ponds, and they became as blood." There is sublimity in that, however. But this is inexcusable: — "And on the threshold stood, with his legs apart, like a miniature colossus, a lovely, golden boy." But, not to multiply instances, worse than all is Mrs. Churchill showering kisses, like roses, on her husband's forehead and cheeks, "as he passed beneath the triumphal archway of her arms, trying in vain to articulate,— 'My dearest Lilavvati, what is the whole number of the geese ?' "

But there are other faults from which Evangeline is free. The description of H. Adolphus Hawkins and Sally Manchester is too evidently Dickens; and though much of the imitation is successful, there is some of it singularly unhappy. Mr. Churchill's dream smacks too strongly of Hans Christian Andersen, and in many passages there is a vein of Goethe. Still, we read and remember these volumes with pleasure, and as we recall their many beauties, their brevity, and their purity, are proud in feeling that this product of our own country is so much superior to all the imported fabric of Bulwer, James, Sue, Dumas, or even the authoress of The Neighbours. It has removed our antipathy to American literature, — an antipathy generated, perhaps, by old-fashioned prejudices, and an early, exclusive, and jealous devotion to the older English writers.
We have done Mr. Longfellow great injustice in abridging his narratives, and laid a severe stress upon the patience of our readers ; but we could not do otherwise. We have had two objects in view.    One, to show the Catholic reader how easy
it is for genius to mould the simplest elements of Catholic life into a story full of instruction and beauty, without cramming it full of inconsequent controversy and questionable theology. How easy it would be for a pious Catholic, even of inferior genius, to present a still more charming picture, and introduce portraits of more real and solid excellence than either Evangeline or Father Felician ! No one is fit to write fiction, unless endowed with imagination; and it is the province of imagination not to convince the reason, but to attract the heart. If our religious novelists could get Protestants to feel the beauty of Catholic customs and Catholic life, they would accomplish much in thus removing a load of prejudice that impairs the proper exercise of reason. This is their legitimate sphere, and more than this they cannot effect. An acquaintance with the interior loveliness of Catholic life may remove the bigotry of Protestants, but reason, prayer, and the grace of God can alone convert them to Catholicity.

Our other object, however imperfectly pursued, has been to caution our author against the originality of extravagance and distortion ; to stimulate him to higher things, yet confine him where he is truly excellent and original, — in the delineation of pastoral simplicity, and in the masterly use of action by which the most delicate shades of thought and feeling become visible ; to protest against introducing characters, as he does over and over again in Kavanagh, merely as the media of some of the author's opinions utterly apart from the purpose of his work, — excrescences, digressions, patchwork, — matter made up and laid by long ago, — old cloth fringed with new lace. There is little incident in his books, — we care not for that; so much the better, though the taste of the age covets it, — but what incident there is should have regularity, proportion, and unity. We saw that all most beautiful, holy, and pure in these volumes emanated from an acquaintance, however imperfect, with Catholic life and feeling, and we had a faint hope, an earnest ambition, of inducing him to study more closely a Church to whose truth and splendor he is not insensible. Then would he discover beauty and majesty, purity and t.rulh, far beyond a poet's conception ; then would he discover'that her ornaments, her music, her painting, her statues, her aisles, and her bells, are but the offerings of piety and genius which she alone can inspire, — that she is not dependent on them, but they on her, — that all that is noblest in man must surround her, because she is invested with eternal beauty, — that she  cannot  avoid what Protestantism never can attain, for they follow and cling to her like verdure and lilies and date-trees over the Nile, as, scattering blessings, she rolls steadily along in majesty and usefulness, adorning and redeeming the desert of life. Then would he find the true application of the Shawnee's legend, that Protestantism is Movvis; —

" Mowis, the bridegroom of snow, who won and wedded a maiden, But, when the morning came, arose and passed from the wigwam, Fading and melting away and dissolving into the sunshine, Till she beheld him no more, though $he followed far into the forest."

And when he   has  found that,  let  him   apply   to himself the farewell warning he gives to Churchill : —

" Stay, stay the present instant! Imprint the marks of wisdom on its wings ! O, let it not elude thy grasp, but, like The good old patriarch upon record, Hold the fleet angel fast until he bless thee !"