This first major work of the famous author is a travelogue of his journeys to Europe. It is a form, which, as every reader knows, has been recommended by the high example and success of Mr. Irving; and, in recording only such circumstances as suit his fancy, an accomplished traveller is certainly more likely to preserve the proper measure of spirit and freshness, than when he enters on the task of preparing an elaborate and formal narrative. It must not be supposed, that, in adopting the form of Mr. Irving, Longfellow has been guilty of any other imitation. They have both entered on the same field, in different directions.
The Pays à Outre-Mer was the name, by which the Holy Land was known to the pilgrims and crusaders; and the author describes himself as a pilgrim of the Land beyond the Sea. This land filled the visions of his youthful fancy, and when he first beheld its shores, it was with the same emotions, with which the wandering palmer used to hail the bounds of Palestine. It does not appear, however, that in roaming over classic ground, he felt as if he were undergoing penance; on the contrary, he seems to have pursued his journey with a tolerably cheerful spirit, and when it was fairly over, to have sat down to embody and preserve the recollection of the scenes he had passed through.