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watchful nights and weary days-so many specimens of a noble genius, and of a benevolent heart? In the letter which Petrarch addressed, a few months before his death, to posterity, as his last legacy, and as the ultimate result of his long studies, he declares, that he never found a philosophical system which was satisfactory to him; and scarcely an historical fact, on the truth of which he could depend; and thus concludes: "To philosophise is to love wisdom; and true wisdom is Jesus Christ." The power of executing his resolutions was not equal to his ardour in planning them, and his faculties were exhausted by conflicting impulses. After he had accustomed himself to look on death without dread, it again appeared to him under fearful forms. He was seized with sudden lethargies, which rendered him absolutely insensible; and for the space of thirty hours his body appeared like a corpse. When he revived, he testified that he had experienced neither terror nor pain. But, by his intemperate meditation on eternity, as a Christian and as a philosopher, he provoked Nature to withhold the boon which she had designed for him, of dying in peace. "I lay myself in my bed as in my shroud-suddenly I start up in a frenzy-I speak to myself I dissolve in tears, so as to make those weep who witness my condition." Whatever he saw or heard in these paroxysms of grief, made him experience "the torments of hell." By degrees he found delight in nourishing his sorrows, and resigned himself during the rest of his life to those reveries which beset ardent minds, and make them ever regret the past, and ever repent-ever grow weary of the present, and either hope or fear too much from the future. Four years before his death, Petrarch built a new house at Arqua, near Padua; and on the 20th day of July, 1374, the eve of the seventieth anniversary of his birth, he was found dead in his library, with his head resting on a book.'

IV. The parallel between Dante and Petrarch is ingenious, but we have already run our extracts to so great a length, that if we did not now pause we should have no space for inserting some beautiful translations by Lady Dacre, which are placed in the Appendix :

The eyes, the face, the limbs of heavenly mould,

So long the theme of my impassion'd lay,
Charms which so stole me from myself away,
That strange to other men the course I hold:

The crisped locks of pure and lucid gold,

The lightning of the angelic smile, whose ray
To earth could all of Paradise convey,
A little dust are now!-to feeling cold!
And yet I live!-but that I live bewail,

Sunk the loved light that through the tempest led
My shatter'd bark, bereft of mast and sail :
Hush'd be the song that breathed love's purest fire!
Lost is the theme on which my fancy fed,
And turned to mourning my once tuneful lyre.'

'Not skies serene, with glittering stars inlaid,
Nor gallant ships o'er tranquil ocean dancing,
Nor gay careering knights in arms advancing,
Nor wild herds bounding through the forest glade,

Nor tidings new of happiness delay'd,

Nor poesie, Love's witchery enhancing,
Nor lady's song beside clear fountain glancing.
In beauty's pride, with chastity array'd;

Nor aught of lovely, aught of gay in show,
Shall touch my heart, now cold within her tomb
Who was erewhile my life and light below!

So heavy tedious-sad-my days unblest,

That I, with strong desire, invoke Death's gloom,
Her to behold, whom ne'er to have seen were best.'

It is impossible to praise too highly the elegance, the fidelity, and the spirit of these translations; it would be difficult to say whether the original or the English version possesses most merit.

The volume is enriched also with a fac-simile of Petrarch's handwriting, singularly clear for the period at which he lived.

We close the volume with feelings of obligation to Signor Foscolo for the able and interesting manner in which he has communicated the particulars, hitherto unknown, of the life of his illustrious countryman.

DECEMBER TALES.

THERE is no species of writing more favorable to the attempts of essayists in literary composition than short tales; and when they are even tolerably executed nothing is more agreeable to that numerous class of persons called light readers, for whom we profess unbounded respect. The flight is not too high either to tire a light wing, or to lose sight of the humble but real enjoyments which strew our lower earth. Sublimity is not looked for; but that good taste, ease, and elegance, which are created by education and society, supply nearly all that is requisite to ensure success in this sort of writing. The tales of Goldsmith are, perhaps, the most beautiful which have been written in English: the Vicar of Wakefield is a production sui generis,—there is no work in the language which possesses so irresistible a power over the sensibilities, and which excites with so infallible a charm the tears and the smiles of every description of readers. But it is in the tales of the elder Italian writers that may be seen what treasures this style contains, and of what it is susceptible. It would be foreign to our present purpose to do more than allude to these rich and, unhappily, rare productions; and we mention them now only because it seems to us that their authors discovered that of which our own are not yet convinced; that the first qualification for tale-writing is simplicity;and upon this alone they relied. Whatever other talent they possessed enhanced the merit of their productions; but without this difficult gift, this faculty which is natural and not acquired, they would not have gained the deathless reputation which now belongs to them. It is because Goldsmith possessed this in an eminent degree that he mates with them in fame, and that the Vicar of Wakefield is better than all the rest of his works put together. It is a study for all writers who would attempt a similar style.

The author of the book before us seems to have all the other qualifications we have mentioned, in a very respectable degree; but he is deficient in simplicity. This weakens the effect of his labours; and although all his tales are pleasing, and some of them elegant, they do not make any strong impression upon the readers. It would be unfair to speak of them in terms of censure, but it would be difficult to praise them highly. He professes only to have endeavoured to make them amusing, and in this we must confess he has entirely succeeded. He possesses, however, powers of a higher rank, and he should exert them.

It is not enough for him to be second in such a class; and if it be worth his while to write such December Tales as he has now sent into the world, we look for some of a superior order from him.

In his tale of the Falls of Ohiopyle, he has displayed considerable fancy and eloquence. It is the story of a sportsman, who is pursuing the amusement of shooting, on the banks of the Youghiegeny river, and enters a small boat which he finds on the bank. His dog, who is strongly averse to the voyage, is at length compelled to accompany him. They approach, without knowing it, the falls of Ohiopyle; the descriptions offer so favorable a specimen of the author's style that we insert them with great pleasure :

The sun was sinking behind the mountains in the west, and shone from amidst the surrounding clouds: his last rays glittered on the waters, and tinged with a mellow and sombre lustre the embrowned foliage of the trees. The whole scene spoke of peace and tranquillity and I envy not the bosom of that man who could gaze upon it with one unholy thought, or let one evil feeling intrude upon his meditations. As I proceeded, the beauty of the surrounding objects increased: immense oaks twisted about their gigantic branches, covered with moss; lofty evergreens expanded their dark and gloomy tops, and smaller trees and thick shrubs filled up the spaces between the larger trunks, so as to form an almost impervious mass of wood and foliage. As the evening advanced, imagination took a wider range, and added to the natural embellishments. The obscure outline of the surrounding forest assumed grotesque forms, and fancy was busy in inventing improbabilities, and clothing each ill-defined object in her fairy guises. The blasted and leafless trunk of a lightningscathed pine would assume the form of some hundred-headed giant, about to hurl destruction on the weaker fashionings of nature. As the motion of the boat varied the point of view, the objects would give way to another and another-and another, in all the endless variety of lights and distances: distant castles, chivalric knights, captive damsels and attendants, dwarfs and 'squires, with their concomitant monsters, griffins, dragons, and all the creations of romance, were conjured up by the fairy wand of fantasy. On a sudden, the moon burst forth in all her silvery lustre, and the sight of the reality effectually banished all less substantial visions; thin transparent clouds, so light and fragile that they seemed scarce to afford a resting place for the moonbeams that trembled on them, glided along the sky; the dense masses that skirted the horizon were fringed with the same radiance, while, rising above them, the evening star twinkled amid its solitary rays. I could not be said to feel pleasure-it was rapture that throbbed in my heart at the view: my cares, my plans, my very existence, were forgotten in the flood of intense emotions that overwhelmed me, at thus beholding, in their pride of loveliness, the works of the Creating Spirit.

"In the mean time, the boat sailed rapidly onwards, with a velocity so much increased that it awakened my attention. This, however, I attributed to a rather strong breeze that had sprung up. My dog, who had, since his entrance into the boat, lain pretty quiet, began to disturb me with his renewed barkings, fawnings, and supplicating gestures. I imagined that he wished to land, and, as the air was becoming chill, I felt no objection to comply with his wishes. On looking around, however, and seeing no fit place of landing, I continued my course, hoping

shortly to find some more commodious spot. Very great, however, was the dissatisfaction of Carlo at this arrangement; but, in spite of his unwillingness, he was obliged to submit, and we sailed on.

Shortly, however, my ears were assailed by a distant rumbling noise, and the agitation of my companion redoubled. For some time he kept up an uninterrupted howling, seemingly under the influence of great fear or of bodily pain. I now remarked that, though the wind had subsided, the rapidity of the boat's course was not abated. Seriously alarmed by these circumstances, I determined to quit the river as soon as possible, and sought, with considerable anxiety, for a place where I might, by any means, land. It was in vain; high banks of clay met my view on both sides of the stream, and the accelerated motion of the boat presented an obstacle to my taking advantage of any irregularities in them, by which I might otherwise have clambered up to land. In a short time my dog sprung over the side of the boat, and I saw him, with considerable difficulty, obtain a safe landing: still he looked at me wistfully, and seemed undecided whether to retain his secure situation, or return to his master.

Terror had now obtained complete dominion over me. The rush of the stream was tremendous, and I now divined too well the meaning of the noise which I have mentioned. It was no longer an indistinct murmur; it was the roar of a cataract, and I shuddered and grew cold, to think of the fate to which I was hurrying, without hope of succour, or a twig to catch at, to save me from destruction. In a few moments I should, in all probability, be dashed to atoms on the rock, or whelmed amid the boiling waves of the waterfall. I sickened at the thought of it. I had heard of death; I had seen him in various forms; I had been in camps, where he rages; but never till now did he seem so terrible. Still the beautiful face of nature, which had tempted me to my fate, was the same; the clear sky, the moon, the silvery and fleecy clouds, were above me, and far high in the heaven, with the same dazzling brightness, shone the stars of evening, and, in their tranquillity, seemed to deride my misery. My brain was oppressed with an unusual weight, and a clammy moisture burst out over my limbs. I lost all sense of surrounding objects; a mist was over my eyes; but the sound of the waterfall roared in my ears, and seemed to penetrate through my brain. Then strange fancies took possession of my mind: things of whose shape I could form no idea would seize me, and whirl me round till sight and hearing fled; then I would start from the delusion as from a dream, and again the roar of the cataract would ring through my ears. These feelings succeeded each other with indefinite rapidity; for more than a very few minutes could not have elapsed from the time I became insensible to the time of my reaching the waterfall. Suddenly I seemed rapt along inconceivably swift, and, in a moment, I felt that I was descending, or rather driven headlong, with amazing violence and rapidity; then a shock, as if my frame had been rent in atoms, succeeded, and all thought or recollection was annihilated. I recovered in some degree to find myself dashed into a watery abyss, from which I was again vomited forth to be again plunged beneath the waves, and again cast up. As I rose to the surface, I saw the stars dimly shining through the mist and foam, and heard the thunder of the falling river. I was often, as well as I can remember, partly lifted up from the water; but human nature could not bear such a situa

tion long, and I became gradually unconscious of the shocks which I sustained; I heard no longer the horrible noise, and insensibility afforded me a relief from my misery.

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It was long before I again experienced any sensation. At last I awoke, as it seemed to me from a long and troubled sleep; but my memory was totally ineffectual to explain what or where I was. So great had been the effect of what I had undergone, that I had retained not the slightest idea of my present or former existence. I was like a man newly born, in full possession of his faculties; I felt all that consciousness of being, yet ignorance of its origin, which I imagine a creature, placed in the situation I have supposed, would experience. I know not whether I make myself intelligible in this imperfect narrative of my adventure, but some allowance will, I trust, be made, in consideration of the novel situation and feelings which I have to describe.

I looked around the place in which I was; I lay on a bed of coarse materials, in a small but airy chamber. By slow degrees I regained my ideas of my own existence and identity, but I was still totally at a loss to comprehend by what means I came into such a situation; of my sailing on the river, of my fears and unpleasant sensations, and of being dashed down the falls of Ohiopyle, I retained not the slightest recollection. I cast my eyes around, in hopes of seeing some person who could give me some information of my situation, and of the means by which I was placed in it; but no one was visible.'

Upon his recovery he finds himself in the cottage of a Pennsylvanian farmer, whose son had rescued him from his perilous situation in the river, below the cataract, and to the care of whose daughter he was indebted for his recovery. The tale ends by the hero's marriage with his fair physician. In the Wanderings of an Immortal, or a man who has discovered the elixir vitæ, he is less happy. The subject is a painful one, and it requires such a master-hand as Godwin to give it interest as well as force. The description of a storm, and the wreck of a vessel, is the best part of it. The pain of drowning, increased tenfold by its duration, and by that gate which is the relief of mortal agony being closed upon it, is well painted :

'In little more than a minute after we had left the ship, I saw her sink. Her descent made a wide chasin in the waves, and the rush of the parted waters was dreadful, as they closed over, and dashing up their white foam as they met, seemed to exult over their victim. I was dashed about in the water till I was exhausted: I could no longer take my breath, and began to sink; I struggled hard to keep up, but the tempest subsided, and I was no longer borne up by the force of the waves. I descended-they were the most horrible moments of my life. I gasped for breath, but my mouth and throat were instantly filled with water, and the passage totally obstructed; the air confined in my lungs endeavoured in vain to force an outlet; I felt a tightness at the inside of my ears; the external pressure of the water on all sides of my body was very painful, and my eyes felt as if a cord were tied tightly round my brows. At last, by a dreadful convulsion of my whole body, the air was expelled through my windpipe, and forced its way through the water with a gurgling sound :again the same sensations recurred and again the same convulsion. Then I cursed the hour when I had obtained the fatal possession which hindered me from perishing. Ardently did I long for death to free me

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