Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 1: No 2) >> John Esten Cooke's Sketch of Simms >> Page 37

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Page 37

Reviews/Essays | 1858 - 1859
Transcription 37

their union; a seat in the State legislature; Fancies," a collection of sonnets : " Asey-
the reception of LL. D. from the Univer- tos : or Songs of the South : " 18.16 : Lays
sity of Alabama : frequent addresses, lec- of the Palmetto," a series of ballads cele-
tures, and visits to the Northern cities. brating the chivalric deeds of the South
These are nearly all the circumstances Carolina regiment in the Mexican war.
connected with Mr. Simms' life which we The Eye and the Wing : Poems chiefly
find to notice. Nor is the fact singular. imaginative ;"" The Cassique of Accabec :
The author's existence is that of the soul, a Tale of Ashley River, with other pieces :"
the life of the brain, the imagination, the New-York, 1849; a new edition of Ata-
fancy. He may never travel into foreign lantis," 1848 ; and in 1850," The City of
countries, or have any adventures to re- the Silent," a poem delivered at the con-
late, but how far he has penetrated into secration of Magnolia Cemetery, Charles-
the land of dreams ! His career may be ton, and full of solemn music and elevated
distinguished by no single public act, or thought. These poems are characterized
striking incident, but what a hurrying, by a delightful freshness, and elasticity of
bustling universe has been that of his im- measure, picturesque and vivid handling,
agination ! Mr. Simms has never donned and, in many places, marked vigor and
the warlike plume of the soldier, but how sweetness. The reader is often led to re-
many times has he fought, shoulder to gret the evident haste with which many
shoulder, beside Marion, or Sumter, or were plainly written, and to wish that their
Singleton ! He has never " sailed the too great luxuriousness had been pruned.
Spanish seas," it may be, but what won- But there is a youthful bound and rebound
derful scenes has he witnessed in the far in them which will make them favorites
mysterious islet of the Atlantic," where with all lovers of lyrical poesy.
Onesimarchus wielded his sceptre In addition to the " Partisan,"" Melli-
"of holiest sapphire, which at evening burns champe," and " Katherine Walton," Mr.
Deeper than ever sunlight, and around Simms has published " The Scout,"
Lights up the sable waters many a league " Woodcraft,"" Eutaw," and " The For-
From sea to shore!" avers," in the same field. Works of a dif-
It is this inner life of wonderful adven- ferent character and scene are Guy Riv-
ture, moving incident—of passion, poetry, ers : a Tale of Georgia ;"" Richard Hur-
and romance—which makes the apparently dis, or the Avenger of Blood : a Talc of
commonplace existence of the author in Alabama ;"" Border Beagles : a Tale of
reality a strangely varied and eventful Mississippi ;"" Charleumout and Beau.
one. But it affords no material for the chainpe : a Tale of Kentucky." Other
biographer. The least captain of an works of Mr. Simms we shall be obliged
army has the battles he has fought in. for to set down as they occur to us, without
illustrations of his life. Shakspcarc has vouching for their order of publication.
little more than his plays. These are : " Carl Weiner ;"" Confession :
We cannot here undertake an elaborate or the Blind Heart ;"" Helen Halsey : or
criticism of Mr. Simms' productions ; a few the Swamp State of Conelachita;""The
notes must suffice. In addition to " Ata- Yemassee ;"" Pelayo : a Story of the
lantis," he has published, in poetry-, Goth," and its sequel, " Count Julian,""Southern Passages and Pictures," lyrical, where the author ventures upon Spanish
sentimental, and descriptive : New-York, ground in the days of Don Roderick ; " The
1339 ; " Donna Florida : a Tale," in the Damsel of Darien," the hero of which is
Don Juan style and measure : Charleston, Vasco Nunez de Balboa ; " The Lily and
1343 ; " Grouped Thoughts and Scattered the Totem : or the Huguenots in Florida :"" Vasconcelos," including the career of De