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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 43, no. 1233, p. 538.

November 28, 1863


....Dr. Charles Mackay, who has been in England for some few weeks, is about to return to New York to resume his correspondence for the Times. As rumours from "good-natured friends" have been afloat concerning Times dissatisfaction with their correspondent's Southern tendencies, our readers will be glad to hear them so thoroughly disproved. Still more pleased will they be to hear that a new volume of poems by Dr. Mackay will be published immediately, under the artistic title of "Studies from the Antique and Sketches from Nature."

Longfellow's new book, "Tales of a Wayside Inn," has not yet set the town talking, but it certainly will not set the town to sleep. It is pretty to observe the intimacy and friendship of poets on the other side of the Atlantic, where American statesmen are something more than inclined to take Old Mother England by the hair and give her a good shaking. But poets are above party prejudices, and Longfellow proves it by not hesitating to divide poetic spoil with Tennyson. Certainly, the spoil which Mr. Longfellow generously divides was the property of Tennyson; but poets are above such considerations. Here is Mr. Longfellow describing a ride on horseback.

Now, soft on the sand, and loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
Already the lines have been admired, and deservedly admired. So, also, have these lines in Tennyson's "Maud," published 1855, been admired--when the guests are leaving the hall--
Now half to the setting moon are gone
And half to the rising day;
Low on the sand and loud on the stone
The last wheel echoes away.
It would be idle to suggest plagiarism here. It may be a coincidence. Sometimes the brain may be so beaten, so haunted by a line or idea, that it is unconsciously absorbed or assimilated. It becomes a part of ourselves--just as beef and mutton become ourselves, not ourselves who become beef and mutton....

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