By J. B. Lippincott & Co.. Philadelphia :
THERE are at least two pieces in this collection of verse that show a dramatic power, namely, “The Duel” and “Garden and Balcony ” ; but both of these are arrangements of familiar and conventional themes, rather than original performances. We shall do our utmost for the poet, and shall give the reader a clearer idea of our meaning, by quoting the last of the poems mentioned: —
“GARDEN AND BALCONY.
“ I have sealed the outer wall,
I have passed the secret gate,
Yonder shines the signal lamp,
There my love waits —
“ No, my hate !
“Stars, my dim and kindly guides,
Through the darkness of the night,
Veil your telltale brightness now —
“Look your last upon their light !
“Roses round her lattice twined
Wooing me with scented breath,
Hid behind your perfumed shade,
Love awaits me —
“ No, ’t is Death ! ”
From this we think the justice of our praise and of the detraction from it is plain enough ; and it does not seem a good omen for the poet that she should have done her best in a thing so remote from reality, and so near the footlights of the operatic stage.
It is not literary facility or poetic form which is wanting in her or in most other American poets ; but the creative sense of a relation between these and life, — life seen, felt, and known, not life read about, conjectured, and borrowed. In the mean time, as we have half allowed already, here is grace, sentiment sweet and bitter, pretty passion, hallowed and unhallowed (for one is quite as much the mode now as the other in all polite literature), pretty loveliness, pretty horror.