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LUCRETIA MARIA DAVIDSON was born at Plattsburg, in the State of New York, on the 27th of September, 1808. Her father was a lover of science, and her mother a woman of great refinement of feeling. At a very early age her genius became manifest, and was carefully and judiciously fostered by maternal love. Possessing a soul of exquisite sensibility, she ardently devoted her newly awakened powers to the pursuit of knowledge, and, before other children are conscious of mental existence, had drunk largely and deeply from the sacred fount of Poesie. Pure, heaven-born thoughts, springing into life from her virgin intellect, were long allowed to flow forth in silence and in secret, for such was her extreme modesty, that even to her mother they were unknown for years. Not only did she possess such an angel-like spirit, "such a shrinking from the incense of praise," although sanctified by love, and such an elegant and truly classic taste, but her affections were of the highest order. She loved her friends with a tenderness rarely equaled, and her attachment to them bore more resemblance to that of the blest above, than anything to be found on earth. But what sets the seal of perfection upon her character is, that early the fire of true religion was kindled upon the vestal altar of her heart, and continued to burn brighter and brighter, undimmed and unquenched, until she was translated to a holier and a happer clime. Short and brilliant was her career; for this damp, cold, cheerless world could not long contain a spirit so ethereal. She died on the 27th of August, 1825, just a month before her seventeenth birth-day. The clay tabernacle had been gradually dissolving by the fires of genius within, and she might well have said with the most gifted poetess of the age
Till a thousand hearts are stirred,
None, none !” To show in what esteem our author's productions are held, we will quote a passage from her life as contained in the American Biography, which every one who has the least relish for the beautiful ought to peruse. “The genius of Lucretia Davidson has had the meed of far more authoritative praise than ours. The following tribute is from the London Quarterly Review—a source whence praise of American productions is as rare as springs in the desert. The notice is by Mr. Southey, and is written with the earnest feeling that characterizes that author, as generous as he is discriminating: 'In these poems [Amir Klan, &c.,] there is enough of originality, enough of aspiration, enough of conscious energy, enough of growing power, to warrant any expectations, however sanguine, which the patron, and the friends, and the parents of the deceased could have formed.'”
As a specimen of her abilities, take the following extract from a poem on “Spring :"
“ As I knelt by the sepulchre, dreary and lone,
The young leaves gleamed brightly around the cold spot;
A voice on the waters—a voice in the sky,
These were singular speculations for a beautiful girl of sixteen. Were there not spirits ministering to her from that world to which she was hastening?
The purity, excellence and simplicity of her poetry disarms criticism. None read it but to praise.
Miss Davidson is, and will ever continue to be, as long as beauty and taste are appreciated, a bright star in our literary hemisphere.
We like homely women. We have always liked them. We do not carry the peculiarity far enough to include the hideous ugly, for since beauty and money are the only capital the world will recognize in women, they are the more to be pitied than admired; but we have a chivalric, enthusiastic regard for plain women. We never saw one who was not modest, unassuming and sweet tempered, and have seldom come across one who was not virtuous and had not a good heart. Made aware in early life of their want of beauty by the slighted attentions of the opposite sex, vanity and affectation never take root in their hearts; and in the hope of supplying attractions which a capricious nature has denied, they cultivate the graces of the heart instead of the person, and give to the mind those accomplishments which the world so rarely appreciates in women, but which are more lasting, and in the eyes of men of sense more highly prized than personal beauty. See them in the street, at home, or in church, and they are always the same, and the smile which ever lives upon the face is not forced there to fascinate, but is the spontaneous sunshine reflected from a kind heart-a flower which takes root in the soul and blooms upon the lips, inspiring respect instead of passion, emotions of admiration instead of feelings of sensual regard. Plain women make good wives, good mothers, cheerful homes, and happy husbands, and we never see one but we thank heaven that it has kindly created women of sense as well as beauty, for it is indeed seldom a female is found possessing both.
HEMANS. THE mind of man is so constituted that it unconsciously imbibes from the objects of nature, with which it is familiar, a portion of their character. Hence we find that the dwellers in mountains generally possess souls as noble as that of the eagle, which soars on wide sweeping wing far above the highest summits of the ice-capped peaks—energetic as the wild-dashing torrent, fearless as the chamois, bounding from the dizzy brink of one precipice to that of another; and in all their characteristics grand, lofty, and sublime. Hence, these giant monuments of creation have ever been the refuge of the oppressed, and the nurses of tyrant-quellers. Witness Suli, and thou, Republic of San Marino! perched on thy rock-built citadel, which, amidst the thousand desolations and changes that have swept over Italy, hast remained, during fourteen centuries, firm and unmoved; whilst Genoa, with all her wealth and splendor— Venice, the queen of cities, sitting upon the waters—and even proud Rome, whose mandates made the nations tremble, are numbered with Tyre, Carthage, and Babylon, the glory of Assyria! The voice of Liberty has cried from the fastnesses of Caledonia, where has been her home from time immemorial; it has called from the crags of Asturias, the heights of Tyrol, and may now be heard rolling in thunder from the jagged cliffs of Caucasus; but no where has it declared to the world her hatred of despotism in such emphatic terms as from amid the everlasting Alps. There never has been a time in which the bold spirits were wanting to stand upon their summits and say, “We are free, and who can chain us?” Although leaguered by the mail-clad busts of many a victorious chief, still have its peasants and its shepherds, in the true dignity of human nature, uttered defiance to their enemies, and fought like heroes in defence of their hamlet-hearths, their wives, and their beloved children. Every age has seen them struggling with their titled foes, and in every age the echo of the mountain horn has roused their lion hearts to battle; yet never was there a more glorious triumph than that accomplished by William Tell and his immortal compeers. Albert of Austria, the proud and cruel, had poured down upon her his numerous legions of bearded ruffians, who possessed themselves of every stronghold, and were rejoicing over the conquest of a country hitherto deemed unconquerable, when the resistless storm-cloud, which had been silently gathering above, burst in wild fury, and swept them like chaff before it, to the utter dismay and confusion of their haughty sovereign. The Switzers, sent forth and encouraged by their wives, whose bosoms throbbed with feelings the most heroic and patriotic, felt for what they fought, and Morgarten stands to this day, and will forever stand, an imperishable mountain pillar to tell the deeds of valor wrought by champions of liberty. Since then, the most powerful monarchs of Europe have repeatedly endeavored to subjugate the cantons of Switzerland; but as long as the Alps remain as the bulwarks of freedom, the Helvetians will be Helvetians still.
HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE. We have always regarded stealing the fruits of a man's brain the mean. est kind of theft. It is not only mean but also wicked; for the scriptures command us to give honor to those to whom honor belongs. Accordingly we are thankful to Mr. Plumly for setting us right, and we cheerfully set our readers right on the same subject. We were led wrong by others. We saw the exceeding beauty of the poem which we selected, and consequently gave it in The Guardian. We now give the letter and poem as corrected, and are sure they will both be read with interest. The beauties of the poem will strike any reader at once; but they lie not all on the surface Like a true friend “they bear aequaintance.”
PHILADELPHIA, March 10, 1856. DEAR SIR: In the February number of The Guardian appeared a poem with the title, “Lines by Milton in his old age,” by which, I per. ceive, you have been led into the prevailing error respecting the author. ship of these lines. They were written by Mrs. Elizabeth Lloyd Howell—then Miss Lloyd, of this city-about five years ago, and published here. Their extraordinary beauty and fitness attracted much attention to them, and subsequently they were re-published in England, without credit, as is usual with English periodicals, especially if the matter be American ; and in frequent republishing them they were an. nounced as having been found among the “first of Milton's posthumous works.”
The Home Journal, and various papers here, copied them with the above statement from the English journals, and the trip over the sea had thus given to the poem the name and fame of Milton.
I wrote to Mr. Morris of the Home Journal, who at once corrected the error, adding “that one who could write so as to be taken for Milton on his own soil, should be satisfied with the world's criticism."
Mrs. Howell is a Quakeress, a native of this city—who writes too little -of high abilities and ample culture, just now stricken by great sor. row in the loss by death of her husband.
Feeling quite assurred that you would prefer to be right as to the authorship, I have taken the liberty to write you, and to send the copy corrected. Very respectfully,
B. RUSH PLUMLY. Rev. H. HARBAUGH, Editor of The Guardian, Lancaster.
LINES ON MILTON IN HIS OLD AGE.
I am old and blind !
Yet I am not cast down.
I am weak, yet strong ;
Father Supreme, to thee!
A Night Thought.
O merciful One!
Thy chariot I hear.
Thy glorious face
And there is no more night.
On my bended knee
Thyself, Thyself alone.
I have naught to fear;
Can come no evil thing.
Oh! I seem to stand
Which eye hath never seen.
Visions come and go,
Of soft and holy song.
It is nothing now;
That earth in darkness lies.
In a purer clime
Break over me unsought.
Give me now my lyre!
Lit by no skill of mine.
A NIGHT THOUGHT.
BY THOMAS MOORE.
How oft a cloud with envious veil,
Obscures yon bashful light,
Along the waste of night.
'Tis thus the world's obtrusive wrongs,
Obscure with malice keen,
To live and die unseen.