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and breathes through all the glorious works of creation, mental or physical, raises his voice in notes tuned to the music of the stars when they sang in the fulness of perfected glory, and calls on all his fellow-mortals to listen and be glad. His song warms the heart with the genial glow of imagination and fancy, causing it to throb in unison with heroic deeds and virtuous actions. To perfect his mastery over these attributes of the “ lyre and the palette," by the exercise of his genius, has been the aim and ambition of a man glorying in the proud title of an American citizen, and honored by his loyal countrymen as an unswerving patriot and a distinguished artist.
Thomas Buchanan Read has attained to the honors of both poetry and painting in a high degree. In boyhood a dreamer and a wanderer, he sought the far West (or what was the far West a quarter of a century since), to find amidst the excitement of artistic labor that knowledge of the world which comes to men so often through the channels of privation and suffering.
Toiling for daily bread amid the wrangle and the strife of the jostling crowd, or revelling in the bliss and beauty of nature, with no care for the present, wholly absorbed in that wealth of pleasure possessed by the youthful mind, that knows " no such word as fail,” writing sonnets to ideal loveliness, and making faces” practically, were the employments of the future man. His pleasures in relaxation were sought, angle and line in hand, beneath the scorching sun by a meadow brook, or lounging with pen and pencil in the moist shade of some primeval forest, where tangled undergrowth and exuberant foliage served to temper the heat of the day and invite man to communion with the spirit and beauty of the Maker's works.
There is not, perhaps, a living artist in either department
in which Mr. Read shines so conspicuously who is so entirely and exclusively an offspring of natural growth and culture as is the subject of these remarks. If they could sit and listen, as I have done in my log cabin in the West (till “Chanticleer has piped his challenge to the morn"), to the fervent and eloquent pouring out of a nature “steeped to the very lips” in poetic and pictured gifts, his readers would know how little Mr. Read has placed on recordalthough his published works are not inconsiderable—" of that world of wealth” in the spiritual, the fanciful, and the beautiful, by which his nature is etherealized and compacted. The wonderfully exuberant and gorgeous fancy of Shelley, the romantic and chivalric spirit and the national pride of Scott, and the sweetness and simplicity of Burns, all blend and breathe in gentle sympathy in the inner life and soul of the painter-poet,—of whom I have heard a giant in American literature say, "His poetry is the embodiment of nature's fanciful creation, of the exquisitely bright and the delicately beautiful, as expressed in the loves of the fairies and the poetry of the stars, in maiden purity and youthful heroism. His pictures are poems, and his poems are pictures."
Mr. Read has not been overwhelmed with a superabundance of impartial and generous notices from the public press, in certain localities; and yet critical endorsement of the highest and best authority has not been wanting, in both hemispheres, to make good his title to the rank he holds in the estimation of his admirers as one of America's most gifted poets and distinguished painters. The artist who as a boy, from pure love of art, donned the staff, the scallop-shell, and sandal shoon of the true disciple will not be likely to weary in his pilgrimage; but, if I mistake not the spirit of the man, he will ever be found bearing aloft the banner of his boyhood's love and ambition, “ Excelsior !"
Victory does not always reward Palor.
(EXTRACT FROM MR. MURDOCH'S LECTURES.) I SHALL never forget the pleasure with which I read Mr. Boker's poem commemorating the crossing of the Rappahannock by our brave troops under the gallant Burnside.
The soul of the true poet, burning with sympathy for heroism, romance, and chivalry, glowing with the rosecolored tints of hope and faith, poured forth all its freshness and beauty to honor the brave men who were seeking to achieve, not “the bubble reputation,” but the glory and honor of their country's cause," " in the cannon's mouth." Mr. Boker, with a generous and hopeful spirit, has caused his muse to sing the praises not only of those who have
won the battle for the free," but of those also who have valiantly fought the fight, trusting in the strength of the “God of Battles” to turn the tide of war in their favor. It was this noble impulse which prompted him to sing “Hooker's Across!" not waiting to know the result of the expedition.
And is not this the province of the poet's art,—to arouse, encourage, and sustain the warrior who draws his sword and couches his lance for justice and truth whenever the herald's trump proclaims the conflict? To win a battle is his glory; but to do or die, contending for the victory, is his honor and duty. True to his glorious mission, Mr. Boker (not in the vain spirit of boasting, but in the ardent desire to cheer and encourage) sang the praises of those
who crossed the Rappahannock and struggled and bled to achieve that victory which, though it failed to alight upon our banner, refused to perch on that of the enemy. They returned, if not victorious, at least not dishonored.
Burnside and Hooker (true types of the patriot soldier) have won renown enough for their gallant soldiers to make amends for the ungenerous censure of “the people," who award no honors but where victory claims the laurel. Both of these sturdy chieftains have, since their repulse before the massed and intrenched columns of the foe at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, wrenched from the fickle goddess Fortune the well-earned honors of the gory field, and compelled “the many-headed and the manyminded” to bring garlands and decorate their brows, and, through them, to cheer and honor the gallant soldiers who do and die that others may live and be honored.
The Battle of Lookout Mountain.
BY GEO. B. BOKER.
“Give me but two brigades,” said IIooker, frowning at fortified
Lookout, “And I'll engage to sweep yon mountain clear of that mock
ing rebel rout!” At early morning came an order that set the general's face
aglow: “Now,” said he to his staff, “ draw out my soldiers. Grant
says that I may go!"
IIither and thither dash'd each eager colonel to join his regiFor the long-roll was sounding in the valley, and the keen
ment, While a low rumor of the daring purpose ran on from tent to
trumpet's bray, And the wild laughter of the swarthy veterans, who cried,
“We fight to-day !”
The solid tramp of infantry, the rumble of the great jolting
gun, The sharp, clear order, and the fierce steeds neighing, “Why's
not the fight begun?”— All these plain harbingers of sudden conflict broke on the
startled ear; And, last, arose a sound that made your blood leap,—the ring
The lower works were carried at one onset. Like a vast roaring
Of steel and fire, our soldiers from the trenches swept out the
enemy; And we could see the gray-coats swarming up from the moun
tain's leafy base, To join their comrades in the higher fastness,—for life or death
the race !
Then our long line went winding round the mountain, in a
huge serpent track, And the slant sun upon it flash'd and glimmer'd, as on a
dragon's back. Higher and higher the column's head push'd onward, ere the
rear moved a man; And soon the skirmish-lines their straggling volleys and single
Then the bald he of Lookout flamed and bellow'd, and all
its batteries woke, And down the mountain pour'd the bomb-shells, puffing into our eyes their smoke;