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CHARLES LOTIN HILDRETH.
EW young poets achieve distinction by their first books. Mr. Hildreth is a conspicuous exception to this rule. Not only has he won praise from those critics who are most careful in the distribution of it, but his poetry seems to have pleased minds that are seldom swayed by either rhyme or rhythm. Mr. Hildreth is a New Yorker, was born August 28th, 1856, and hence has just passed his thirty-third year. He is related, through his father (who was of Puritan stock) to President Franklin Pierce, and also to Daniel Webster, while Gen. Benjamin Butler is married to one of his near kinswomen. He was educated at the College of the City of New York. He was always noted for his desire to obtain fresh and novel experiences, this tendency sometimes leading him into strange and even perilous adventures. In 1887 he dragged a man, his wife and his child from a burning building in Brooklyn; and again in New York, during 1889, he performed a like service for a girl.
He began to write verses at a very early age, though he has been wise enough to destroy all the products of his youthful pen. He published in his nineteenth year, however, a novel entitled "Judith," and a novelette, "The New Symphony," these being followed later by "Damar's Revenge." For a considerable time he supported himself by literature; writing stories, sketches, etc., and even acquitting himself of that most unusual performance for a poet, an article of scientific character. He is passionately fond of music and is something of an amateur musician. Both on art and music he has written many critical essays. For a long time he so doubted concerning his poetry that he allowed it to be seen only by certain friendly eyes. But having once entered the lists as a lyrist for the magazines, he contributed copiously to the Atlantic, Lippincott's, the Overland, the American, the Manhattan, and Our Continent. Not until this year were his collected poems published, and a few months ago the volume appeared under the title of "The Masque of Death, and Other Poems." Its reception has been already referred to as almost unique for spontaneous cordiality on the part both of public and press. His publishers have recently issued another work of his, entitled "Oo," a story of adventure; and he has a novel nearly completed.
The beauty of Mr. Hildreth's poetry cannot be too highly commended in this age of metrical flippancies and calisthenics. His chief qualities are an exquisite dignity and chastity of expression, a fine taste for the subtlist and sweetest melodies,
and an admirable freedom from all the tricks, petty conceits and idle mannerisms with which so much English verse of the present century abounds. Hundreds of lines could be quoted in evidence of these equipments. With his nervous and sinewy hand, Mr. Hildreth should give us more in the future. Let us hope they will (some of them, at least) be pictures painted on a larger canvas. No one could have accomplished the potent lyrical effects with which we must accredit him, and fail in more sustained work. He has the right sense of reserve, the true eye and sensitive ear, the patient capacity for chiseling and polishing. I can think of no younger American poet to-day who equals him except Miss Edith Thomas; and she, with all her merit, is occasionally given to dilettante archaisms and unhappy imitations of Keats which Mr. Hildreth would never allow his muse to dally with. As for any younger English poet with whom to compare him, I know of none whom such comparison would not disparage. E. F.
THE MASQUE OF DEATH.
A FUNERAL passed me in the street to-day-
Ah, but 'twas brave! A spectacle so fine
In truth I turned away in sick disgust
With all the proud parade of plume and pall, And some small pity for the senseless dust
Consigned to earth with ghastly festival.
The savage past still clings to us, we deem
The grave is very humble, and the pride
Impartial earth receives into her breast The varied brood she bears, the great and small,
High-thoughted man and stolid brute, the best And worst unfavored, for she loves them all.
And there are flights of birds with iris wings That shed in mid-air many a brilliant plume, And scintillating shoals of swimming things That seem to float in clear green ocean gloom.
And there are diamond-crusted diadems,
And orbs of pearl and scepters of pale gold, Stored up in crystal grottoes, lit with gems And paved with emeralds of price untold. And marvelous architecture of no name,
Façades and shafts of loveliest form and hue, Keen pinnacles and turrets tipped with flame, And fretted domes of purest sapphire blue.
All these the genii of the Frost last night
And now, like dreams dispelled before the light,
THE night is stirred with liquid murmurings, That ripple softly through the silent hour,
As in a placid pool the dimpled rings
Curve round the broken petals of a flower.
From the gray steeple pointing to the stars,
Over the moonlit hills they come and go;
Re-moaning through the arches of the wood,
A pilgrim lingers there to pray alone; Mingling faint echoes with the bubbling fall Of waters in deep glens and lonely dells, As at the close of some bright festival
Soft strains of music blend with low farewells.
Whispering sweet dreams in many a sleeper's
Incarnate memories of other years; Speaking with voices he no more shall hear, So that he starts and wakes in happy tears.
AMONG THE MOUNTAINS.
YE LONE, majestic silences that keep The hoary secrets of primeval time!
Titans, that with dark frontlets ponder deep
Wrapped in a wilderness of mighty thought-
A grave repose, a cold, autumnal gleam; While past your firm feet, shod in russet green, With joyous murmur flows the broad, bright
As light and song and laughter might illume Some old cathedral's immemorial gloom.
TAKE what thou wilt and leave me love, O Fate! Take all I have-friends, honor and fair fame; Turn me to laughter in the eye of hate,
Clothe me with scorn and bind my brow with
Give me for bread the bitter fruit of care,
Give me to drink the poison-wine of pain. Seal me with sleepless sorrow and despairTake all, change all, O Fate! so love remain.
LIFE is a journey with but little rest;
A cruising bark that anchors nowhere long; A migratory bird that builds no nest, Seeking new haunts on pinions swift and strong; An endless longing, and a fruitless quest.
Ah, no, we lack the courage to be real;
Who dare say: I have neither gold nor lands,
And wailing shrilly like a childless woman,
THOMAS MAC KELLAR.
IT IS hardly necessary to acquaint our readers with the hymns of Thomas MacKellar; they are known far and wide to Christian experience. But the man himself is endeared, as Dr. Palmer was, to many hearts that have been comforted and uplifted by his power of sacred song, and to such a sketch of his life may not prove unwel
He was born in New York city August 12, 1812, of a mixed stock, compounded of Scotch, Dutch, Huguenot and English. He began life's work at the age of fourteen in the office of The New York Spy. Four "sticks" of solid brevier was the first day's foundation of his worldwide fame as a master-printer. At the age of seventeen we find him promoted to the mature position of proofreader in the office of J. & J. Harper-a place that stimulated his greed for reading, for the sake of which he had preferred the printer's craft to others. He accepted on May 1st, 1833, the position of proof-reader in the type and stereotype office of Messrs. Johnson & Smith, Philadelphia. His familiarity with all the varied work of the printing office, and his skill and taste with types, caused his promotion to the foremanship of the establishment. In 1845 he was taken into the house as a partner. In 1856 he started The Typographic Advertiser. He also wrote a treatise on practical printing, which has reached its fourteenth edition-a work which contains a great fund of historical and practical information, and has its uses for the publisher and the author as well as the practical printer. After the death of Mr. Johnson in 1860, Mr. MacKellar became the head of the firm, in a house which may now be called the largest type foundry in the world. In 1834 Mr. MacKellar married, and ten children came to bless and brighten his home. His wife and five children have been taken in death. Mr. MacKellar's hymns reach the heart of the bereaved and sorrowful, because they are the product of prayer in the time of tears. Notwithstanding the inheritance of an aching head, and the daily labors of an exacting business, Mr. MacKellar was a toiler on Sundays and at nights for the benefit of his fellows. He started one of the first mission schools in a neglected section of the city. As an elder in the old Pine-street Church, and afterwards in the First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, he frequently ministered to the sick and dying, to the poor, the vicious, the struggling. He still retains membership in the Historical Society, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, and in other organizations; and besides his
time and influence, he has been a generous giver of his money to benevolent objects.
And how, with all this pressure of business, did the literary gift within him find time for expression? "The American Printer" was written and compiled during lulls in business hours. The volume of poetry entitled "Rhymes Atweentimes" was made in the dinner-hour and at night. Sometimes the fifteen minutes' walk homeward would give birth to a sonnet, or two or three verses. Sometimes an hour or two before bedtime would hum with rhyming bees. W. C. S.
LET ME KISS HIM FOR HIS MOTHER.
Let me kiss him for his mother!
Let me kiss the wandering boy:
Left behind to give her joy.
Fall as balm upon her soul.
Let me kiss him for his mother!
"Let me kiss him for his mother!"
Loving thought and loving deed! Seek nor tear nor sigh to smother,
Gentle matrons, while ye read; Thank the God who made you human, Gave ye pitying tears to shed; Honour ye the Christian woman Bending o'er another's dead.
THE HYMNS MY MOTHER SUNG.