Recent Literature

THE Legend of Jubal, in George Eliot’s new book, and the dramatic poem Armgart, have already appeared in The Atlantic; and Agatha, and How Lisa loved the King, have also been published here. The new poems are A Minor Prophet, Brother and Sister, Stradivarius, Two Lovers, Avion, and Oh may I join the Choir Invisible.

There is not much question, we think, hut they form the worthiest proof that the author has given of her right to make verse; hut we do not suppose there is much hope that they will be treated with exacter justice than her former poetic attempts. She stands with her great fame as a novelist between her work and the friendly and the unfriendly critic alike. No doubt the one will he moved by his admiration for Romola and Middlemarch, and the other hold by his persuasion that so great a writer of prose ought to let poetry alone, or else in all decency ought to make a miserable failure of it. We ourselves are prepared to say that if George Eliot had not written her novels, these poems —

Would alone render her famous ;

Or,

Would make no impression upon the public:

That —

They are full of sentiment taking the clearness of thought, that is to say, poetry;

Or,

They are cold intellectualities struggling to clothe themselves in the color and warmth of emotion, that is to say, prose.

It is a token of our high esteem for the reader’s judgment that we leave him to make his choice of these generalities, while we pass on to particulars.

The best poem in the book, to our thinking, is Brother and Sister, in which littleboy and little-girl life is so sweetly and delicately portrayed, with humorous touches of character that individualize the picture. It is thoroughly pleasant and good ; the thought is warmly interfused with tender sentiment, and it is undoubtedly poetry ; we cannot be so sure of anything else in the book.

“ I livid him wise, and when he talked to me
Of snakes and Birds, and which God loved the best,
1 thought his knowledge marked the boundary
Where men grew blind, though angels knew the
rest.
“ If he said ‘ Hush ! ’ I tried to hold my breath ;
Whenever he said ‘ Come ! ’ I stepped in faith.”
“ His sorrow was my sorrow, and his joy
Sent little leaps and laughs through all my frame ;
My doll seemed lifeless and no girlish toy
Had any reason when my brother came.”
“Till the dire years whose awful name is Change
Had grasped our souls.” . . .
“ But were another childhood-world my share,
I would be born a little sister there.”

Stradivarius is mainly talk between the old violin-maker and Naldo, a painter; good, bright, wholesome talk, like much of the Italian chat in Romola, and the burden — perhaps somewhat often insisted on—is one from which all honest workers may take heart: —

“ ’T is God gives skill,
But not without men’s hands: He could not make
Antonio Stradivari’s violins
Without Antonio.”

Armgart must strike the careful observer less as a powerful dramatic situation than as the contemplation of it. The story of the beautiful and triumphant singer who loses her voice and her lover, and must descend alone, forced by an inexorable fate, to a lower plane of life, is full of tragedy only partially evoked. The characters tell the story, they do not live it. We have the same sense of the author’s philosophical perception and analysis in the scenes, as when in her novels she plucks her people apart between their speeches, and anatomizes their motive and intention, while they pause to take breath at a comma. It is a great intellect, not a great art at work; it wants climax and effect. Nevertheless one is strongly interested. One does not feel that Armgart is, and suffers, but considers very seriously that if she were, she would suffer greatly.

About such a poem as Jubal, so far as it is a dream of primeval times and people, it is hard to know what to say. If one likes to do such poems, there is no objection, except that there are a great many poems in the world already. In the nature of the case they can only make the past reverberate the nineteenth century’s voice and features, and this does not seem quite worth while. Jubal is a plunge into remotest time, when that antediluvian invented music, and after enjoying the honor of his tribe set out on his wanderings through the earth. He returns to his home and finds a procession going toward a temple to pay him divine honors. When he says that he is Jubal, the devotees fall upon him and beat him and cast him out. His Song comes to him at death, and tells him he shall live and triumph in it. The circumstance is dimly realized, and the desolating moral does not fill the spaces left desert by the author’s lack of poetic warmth. It is the disadvantage — the artistic disadvantage, at least — of the materialistic creed, that it can appeal to nothing but the intellect; it tends to deathly allegory, and it preaches the Worm and the Grave much more tiresomely than Eternal Life can be set forth. On the whole, our poor old religion has some things to recommend it even to people of culture.

The first part of A Minor Prophet is deliciously humorous, and it is a pity that the end is somewhat overpreached. The conceit of the American vegetarian and his perfected world is charming; one almost hears his contented expatiation upon its tediousness, and this is a wonderfully good picture of him: —

“ You could not pass him in the street and fail
To note his shoulders’ long declivity,
Beard to the waist, swan-neck, and large pale eyes ;
Or, when he lifts his hat, to mark his hair
Brushed back to show his great capacity -
A full grain’s length at the angle of the brow
Proving him witty, while the shallower men
Only seem witty in their repartees.
Not that he ’s vain, but that his doctrine needs
The testimony of his frontal lobe.”

This which follows is very amusing and very good indeed: —

“ No tears are sadder than the smile
With which I quit Elias. Bitterly
I feel that every change upon this earth
Is bought with sacrifice. My yearnings fail
To reach that high apocalyptic mount
Which shows in bird’s-eye view a perfect world.
Or enter warmly into other joys
Than those of faulty, struggling human kind.
That strain upon my soul’s too feeble wing
Ends in ignoble floundering : I fall
Into short-sighted pity for the men
Who living in those perfect future times
Will not know half the dear imperfect things
That move my smiles and tears — will never know
The fine old incongruities that raise
My friendly laugh ; the innocent conceits
That like a needless eyeglass or black patch
Give those who wear them harmless happiness ;
The twists and cracks in our poor earthenware,
That touch me to more conscious fellowship
(I am not myself the finest Parian)
With my coevals. So poor Colin Clout,
To whom raw onion gives prospective zest,
Consoling hours of dampest wintry work,
Could hardly fancy any regal joys
Quite unimpregnate with the onion’s scent :
Perhaps his highest hopes are not all clear
Of waftings from that energetic bulb :
’T is well that onion is not heresy.
Speaking in parable, I am Colin Clout.
A clinging flavor penetrates my life —
My onion is im perfectness : I cleave
To nature’s blunders, evanescent types
Which sages banish from Utopia.
' Not worship beauty ? ’ say you. Patience, friend !
I worship in the temple with the rest;
But by my hearth I keep a sacred nook
For gnomes and dwarfs, duck-footed waddling elves
Who stitched and hammered for the Weary man
In days of old. And in that piety
I clothe ungainly forms inherited
From toiling generations, daily bent
At desk, or plow, or loom, or in the mine,
In pioneering labors for the world.”

The commonplace dream of this disheartening seer is so exquisitely laughed at that one longs in reading George Eliot’s own poem — Oh may I join the Choir Invisible — to have her try the fine edge of her irony upon the doctrine she there seriously celebrates. It is the idea that we are to realize our inborn longing for immortality in the blessed perpetuity of man on earth; the supreme effort of that craze which, having abolished God, asks a man to console himself when he shall he extinct with the reflection that somebody else is living on toward the annihilation which he has reached.

— In reading Mrs. Piatt’s little book of poems, one has none of the uncertainty that troubles one about George Eliot’s painfully thought-out verse. The presence of" innate poetic genius of the subtlest kind, finding its natural expression is a pensive music, is felt at once; and we wish that our praise could carry this book of poems to half the people whom the great novelist’s fame will make acquainted with her work in rhyme. But we must be content if we can find far fewer willing to listen when we tell them that here, in this volume, is poetry as delicate and purely poetic as ever was given to the world. The range is not great, we will own. It is a wife, looking sadly and questioningly to the past and future alike, while she clings for safety and rest to the love she knows; it is a mother, talking with a mystical, half-melancholy playfulness to her children, and telling them tales in which there always lurks some poignant allegory for older hearts; it is a woman softly bewailing the loss of her youth and the dreams of her youth, who sings here. But from chords few and simple, this poet wakes a pathetic music that is never monotonous, never cloys or wearies; her touch, even where it conveys a vague meaning to the intelligence, is full of significance for the hopes, the regrets which are really motions of the blood in us.

SOMETIME.

Well, either you or I,
After whatever is to say is said,
Must see the other die.
Or hear, through distance, of the other dead,
Sometime.
And you or I must hide
Poor empty eyes and faces, wan and wet
With Life’s great grief, beside
The other’s coffin, sealed with silence, yet,
Sometime.
Arul you or I must look
Into the other’s grave, or far or near,
And read, as in a book
Writ in the dust, words we made bitter here,
Sometime.
Then, through what paths of dew,
What flush of flowers, what glory in the grass,
Only one of us two,
Even as a shadow walking, blind may pass,
Sometime!
And, if the nestling song
Break from the bosom of the bird for love,
No more to listen long
One shall be deaf below, one deaf above.
Sometime.
For both must lose the way
Wherein we walk together, very soon :
One in the dusk shall stay,
The other first shall see the rising moon,
Sometime.
Oh ! fast, fast friend of mine !
Lift up the voice I love so much, and warn ;
To wring faint hands and pine,
Toil me I may be left forlorn, forlorn,
Sometime.
Say I may kiss through tears,
Forever falling and forever cold,
One ribbon from sweet years,
One dear dead leaf, one precious ring of gold,
Sometime.
Say you may think with pain
Of some slight grace, some timid wish to please,
Some eager look half vain
Into your heart, some broken sobs like these,
Sometime !

There never was poetry that more keenly searched out the hiding-places of our mute, dim fears and longings, than these mournful strains which give them voice here; and especially to whoever has known what it is tremblingly and fearfully to love children, here are appeals that cannot fail of quick response: —

THE FAVORITE CHILD.

Which of five snowdrops would the moon
Think whitest, if the moon could see?
Which of five rosebuds flushed with June
Were reddest to the mother-tree?
Which of five birds, that play one tune
On their soft-shining throats, may be
Chief singer ? Who will answer me ?
Would not the moon know, if around
One snowdrop any shadow lay ? —
Would not the rose-tree, if the ground
Should let one blossom droop a day ?
Does not the one bird take a sound
Into the cloud, when caught away,
Finer than ail the sounds that stay ?
Oh, little, quiet boy of mine,
Whose yellow head lies languid here —
Poor yellow head, its restless shine
Brightened the butterflies last year ! —
Whose pretty hands may intertwine
With paler hands unseen but near :
You are my favorite now, I fear !

BABY OR BIRD?

“ But is he a Baby or a Bird ? ”
Sometimes I fancy I do not know ;
His voice is as sweet as I ever heard
Far up where the light leaves blow.
Then his lovely eyes, I think, would see
As clear as a Bird’s in the upper air ;
And his red-brown head, it seems to me,
Would do for a Bird to bear.
“ If he were a Bird,” you wisely say,
“ He would have some wings to know him by : ”
Ah, he has wings, that are flying away
Forever — how fast they fly !
They are flying with him, by day, by night; under suns and stars, over storm and snow, These fair, fine wings, that elude the sight, In softest silence they go.
Come, kiss him as often as you may — Hush, never talk of this time next year, For the same small Bird that we pet to-day, To-morrow is never here !

These poems serve only partially to show what even one phase of the book, is; and we do not know how to choose such as shall give its entire expression. Here is one that is perhaps as true as any to the subjective yet strongly dramatized general character of Mrs. Piatt’s poetry :

LOVE-STORIES.

Can I tell any ? No:
I have forgotten all I ever knew.
I am too old. I saw the fairies go
Forever from the moonshine und the dew
Before I met with you.
“ Rose’s grandmother knows
Love-stories ? ” She could tell you one Or two ?
“ She not young ? ” You wish that you were Rose ?
She hears love-stories ? Are they ever true ? ”
Sometime I may ask you.
I was not living when
Columbus came here, nor before that ? So
You wonder when I saw the fairies, then?
The Indians would have killed them all, you know?
“ How long is long ago ? ”
And if I am too old
To know love-stories, why am I not good ?
Why don’t I read the Bible, and not scold ?
Why don’t I pray, as all old ladies should?
(I only wish I could.)
Why don't I buy gray hair ?
And why —
Oh ! child, the Sphinx herself might spring
Out of her sands to answer, should you dare
Her patience with your endless questioning.
“ Does she know anything ? ”
Perhaps. " Then, could she tell
Love-stories ? ” If her lips were not all stone ;
For there is one she must remember well —
One whose great glitter showed a fiery zone
Brightness beyond its own.
One whose long music aches —
How sharp the sword, how sweet the snake, O Queen! —
Into the last unquiet heart that breaks.
But the Nile-lily rises faint between —
You wonder what I mean ?
I mean there is but one
Love-story in this withered world, forsooth ;
And it is brief, and ends, where it begun
(What if I tell, in play, the dreary truth?),
With something we call Youth.

For others equally characteristic the reader must read The Palace-Burner, At the Play, I wish that I could go, If I were a Queen. All are perfect of their kind, and each will give the reader something to think over long after he could have forgotten whole volumes of ordinarily pleasing verse. There is indeed no poem here without its sharp suggestion, and we name a few because we cannot name them all. The Black Princess, A Doubt, This World, and that beautiful wise poem which gives its name to the book, we cannot leave unmentioned. And here is something that we must needs copy entire:

A WOMAN’S BIRTHDAY.

It is the Summer’s great last heat,
It is the Fall’s first chill : they meet.
Dust in the grass, dust in the air,
Dust in the grave — and everywhere !
Ah, late rose, eaten to the heart :
Ah, bird, whose southward yearnings start ;
The one may fall, the other fly.
Why may not I ? Why may not I?
Oh, Life ! that gave me for my dower
The hustling song, the worm-gnawed flower,
Let drop the rose from your shrunk breast
And blow the bird to some warm nest;
Flush out your dying colors fast:
The last dead leaf— will be the last.
No ? Must I wear your piteous smile
A little while, a little while ?
The withering world accepts her fate
Of mist and moaning, soon or late ;
She had the dew, the scent, the spring
And upward rapture of the wing ;
Their time is gone, and with it they.
And am I wooing Youth to stay
In these dry days, that still would be
Not fair to me, not fair to me ?
If Time has stained with gold the hair,
Should he not gather grayness there ?
Whatever gifts he chose to make,
If he has given, shall he not take?
His hollow hand has room for all
The beauty of the world to fall
Therein. I give my little part
With aching heart, with aching heart.

Such poetry as this, so fine, so true, may wait a long while for recognition; but fame is sure to follow it at last. Nevertheless, because an author is not always as immortal as his book, and because the fame that comes soonest is sweetest even when well earned, we wish that every reader of ours might pay tribute to this woman of genius by reading her book.

— Miss Hudson’s poetry reaches its best in the story called Episodes, which is also the longest in the little book. It is the history of a girl’s tragical love, and it is told simply and effectively. Her lover is killed on their wedding-day in a railroad accident. When the war breaks out she goes to nurse in the hospitals, and a young Southern Unionist amongst the wounded falls in love with her. After the war, he comes and asks her to marry him, but she, searching her troubled heart, finds it, with all its sympathy and compassion for him, true to the first love, and refuses; and so the story ends. There are many reasons why such a poem should be the best in a book of fugitive verses. It is in the first place a story, and the employment of the poet’s mind with the details of incident and situation preserves her from that fatal New England tendency to preaching which kills all joy in the bosom of the reader. Then the ground if not new is good, and is the ground of enough actual experience to make it very real; it only, indeed, wants localization, and if the scene could have been laid in some place known to the gazetteer, it would have been vastly better. However, it is very well as it is — the first parts being the best. The bride and her sisters banter each other in the morning, before it is time for the bridegroom to come, and their talk is very natural and girl-like : —

“ And saucy repartee and jest
Were tossed about among the girls:
' See, here is rue for Rogers vest,
With dandelions to trim your curls ! ’
'How beautifully wo we 'd be drest,
Jfonly grooms were knights and earls!
Pray tell us, Mary,—you know best. —
If Roger cares for crimps and quirls ?
“ 'Remember, when you 're saying yes,
You must n't glance at Maud or me !
Just count the ruffles ou your dress,
Or blossoms on the apple-tree.
Roger ’ll be grave enough, I guess, —
Grave as a bridegroom ought to be,—
I ’in sure I wish you both success
In putting ou your dignity.’
“'Roger be grave?’ 'Well, hardly that;
But graver than his wont. I trow.
I 'll give his arm a friendly pat,
If he forgets and answers, " No.”
You 'll stand just here, where father sat
When James was married, long ago,
Right on the border of the mat,
between the door and window, — so !
“'And Roger, with his careless grace,
Will look as handsome as a king ;
And you! — this rose would match your face
When first you wear the marriage-ring ! ’
Thus chattering, all about the place
They set the witnesses of spring,
And left a little, subtle trace
Of love and care on everything.
“ But she, half laughing at their talk,
Kept watchful eyes upon the gate,
The road’s far windings, white as chalk ;
Then Maud said gayly, ‘ Roger’s late. Let’s promenade along the walk
And scold because he makes us wait ;
Let ’s gather each a tansy-stalk
And wear a weed in widowed state ! ’ ”

Then when the blow has fallen, and the girl sits beside her dead lover’s coffin, the situation is enforced with some excellently suggestive strokes of description : —

“ The silence and the shadows held all the place in
thrall,
Sometimes across the meadows she heard a night-
bird’s call,
And sometimes, vaguely noted, as sounds that break
a dream,
The stamping of the cattle, the murmur of tho
stream.”

The second episode is less satisfactorily managed. We have a feeling that the writer feared to grasp the honest circumstance of her story vigorously, lest some weak, aesthetic sensibilities should suffer. But we shall never have any poetry worth while, so long as we strive to transport our American realities into the atmosphere of books we have read. We do not say that Miss Hudson strives to do this at all constantly, and we are bound to say that we read her poem to the end with satisfaction in its sort of good Wordsworthian literalness. Of course there were little fulterings in the direction of the “ poet’s corner,” as, —

“ Only a girl’s despairing cry
Ringing across the sunny air,”

which we could have wished absent even while we forgave them ; but they were anything but characteristic. In fact, Miss Hudson’s characteristic tendency, we should say, was toward what is best in the execution of Episodes: a sincere diction and a tangibility of incidents and personages. Aunt Janet and Grandma and Madame, are all fair examples and proofs of this. In some other pieces, like The Newsboy and The Peddler, the plain material is not poetical, or not patiently and thoroughly wrought. In justice to the reader, we must add that there is a large number of poems in the book which we cannot praise for any but the negative virtues.

— The Trust and The Remittance are two slight stories of which it would be hard to speak well and yet harder to speak ill, if one keeps in mind the graceful and valuable services the author has rendered to literature. If Mrs. Clarke liked to write these tales, she had earned the right to offer them to the public, which can read them or not as it pleases. She frankly calls them metred prose, and to the greatest kindness they cannot appear otherwise. They are blank verse to the eye; but it is a blank verse which does not scruple to end with a preposition, an adjective, even an indefinite article; and it is rather odd that Mrs. Clarke should not have so profited by her school in making her Shakespeare Concordance as to have found the writing of such verses impossible.

— The reader will thank Mr. William Carew Hazlitt for the letters of Mary Lamb, and for one or two of Charles Lamb’s letters and “notelets,” which are about all the new things in the volume of much value or iuterest. Must of the poems, letters, and other matter, which Hazlitt is pleased to call “the inedited remains of Charles Lamb,” are included in the last English edition of Lamb’s works. The sonnet on Work, the pretty, characteristic little poem entitled The Christening, the delightful letter to Patmore about Dash, the dog, the remarkable letter to George Dyer describing the Vulcanian Epicure of Enfield, and one or two more articles, were published long ago by Talfourd.

Notwithstanding that he has done so much to make one believe to the contrary, the editor and compiler of this work is affectionate to Charles Lamb’s memory, and if he were only correct and trustworthy in his details, statements, and citations, his reminiscences and notes would not he altogether contemptible, though lacking in judgment, discrimination, and appreciation. We dislike and distrust most of his theories and speculations concerning the Lambs, and have mighty little faith in what he writes of the less known events of their “checkered history.” He says he “should not be inclined, certainly, to place the visitto Margate, when they both [Charles and Mary Lamb] saw the sea for the first time, very early: perhaps it took place about 1818.” Lamb, in mentioning this first sea-side trip in the paper on The Old Margate Hoy, says that “we [Elia and Bridget] had never been from home so long together in company.” Therefore this visit to Margate must have been previous to the well-known one to the lakes of Cumberland in 1802, when they spent three weeks with Coleridge tit Keswick. Of this memorable excursion, which is so delightfully described in a letter to Manning, there is no mention in the chapter or rather part of a chapter about The Lambs from Home. In a note to this chapter it is said that Lamb was at Margate again in 1831, and for proof of this the reader is referred to a letter to John Taylor, one of the publishers of The London Magazine. If the editor or compiler had read this letter he must have seen that it could not have been written in 1831, because it was sent with the proof of Elia’s Mackey End in Hertfordshire, an article which was published in 1821— the correct date of this late visit to Margate, “I am here at Margate,” writes Lamb to Taylor, “spoiling my holidays with a review I have undertaken for a friend.” If the editor had rescued this article from oblivion he would have done a commendable thing. But he has not been very successful in his attempt to “gather up” all that “still remained uncollected of Elia’s writing.” We have seen half a dozen articles, at least, which he seems never to have heard of. We hope they will be collected some day. He says Lamb has described the visit to Oxford, with the Hazlitts, in 1809, at some length in one of the essays of Elia, Oxford in the Vacation. Lamb has done no such thing. The visit to Oxford, described by Elia, was made in 1820. Indeed, the essay seems to have been written in that heart of learning, “under the shadow of the mighty Bodley.” The paper, upon its publication in the London Magazine, was dated “August 5, 1820. From my rooms facing the Bodleian.”

The compiler is also in doubt about the date of Lamb’s Continental tour. Talfourd says it was in the summer of 1822, and he is proved to be right by a passage in Crabb Hobinson’s diary briefly describing an interview with Miss Lamb at Paris iu August, 1822. We are informed that “Mr. Patmore has preserved some record of this strange pilgrimage in a letter from Lamb to him, in which the writer says he has tasted frogs.” This letter, which is wellknown to the lovers of Elia, does not contain anything about the Lambs’ invasion of France, nor does the writer say he has tasted frogs, hut asks Patmore, then sojourning in Paris, if he has ever tasted them. But the epistle to Baron Field, written soon after Lamb’s return, which Mr. Hazlitt has ignored or forgotten, contains a characteristic brief description of Elia’s impressions of Paris, and some pleasant matter concerning Talma, when Lamb had to breakfast with him in Paris.

What is said of White —Elia’s “ pleasant friend Jem White” — and his Falstaff’s Letters, is, to put it mildly, highly unsatisfactory, if not mostly worthless or untrue. Because the work was dedicated to “Master Samuel Irelaunde ” some criticaster or other, whom Mr. Hazlitt quotes and indorses, conjectures that White wrote the Falstaff correspondence to denote his contempt for the Ireland forgeries. Lamb, however, who was “in familiar habits” with the author, says, in his review of the book in The Examiner, which Mr. Hazlitt knows nothing about, that the Letters were dictated “from the fullness of a young soul, newly kindling at the Shakespearean flame, and bursting to be delivered of a rich exuberance of conceits.” But perhaps this that follows is the boldest and utwisest supposition in these hypothetical chapters on the life and character of Charles Lamb; we say perhaps, because their author or compiler is fertile in such things, and it is not always easy to say which one of them is preëminent in ignorance, error, or audacity. “Spurious as White’s lucubration was, and unsatisfactory, in some respects, as we may consider Lamb’s connection with it to have been, we must not be sure that it has not the merit of having first directed the attention of the latter to Shakespearean letters. For White was an earnest and warm admirer of the great poet, and his acquaintance with Lamb had not improbably the useful effect of imparting a share of this enthusiasm and love.” We admit that White was “an earnest and warm admirer of the great poet; ” his book proves it. But “ this enthusiasm and love” was kindled by Lamb, who really introduced Shakespeare to White. “ We remember,” writes Elia in his uncollected paper on White, “when the inspiration came upon him; when the plays of Henry Fourth were first put into his hands. We think at our recommendation he read them, rather late in life, though still he was but a youth.” We are told that nowadays White’s book is “ common enough.” We know not Mr. Hazlitt’s idea of commonness in a book, but Falstaff’s Letters was getting to be a scarce work in its author’s lifetime, and Lamb thought he was lucky when he picked it up at the stalls for eighteen pence, as he did once or twice. About thirty years ago an English literary gentleman, a lover of Charles Lamb and Charles Lamb’s friends, searched London through for a copy of it, and could not find one at stall or bookshop. He had to go to the British Museum to read it. Later he succeeded in borrowing a copy, and had it entirely transcribed and bound in a volume. Later again he was so fortunate as to meet with a copy for sale for which he paid a deal more than eighteen pence, though not quite as much as the Roxburgh copy brought at the sale of that magnificent library. The work turns up as seldom now as then. You rarely find it at the stalls or in the catalogues of the dealers in old and second-hand books. If it ever gets into an auction —and it seldom does in these days—it is eagerly bid for, and is knocked down at a good quotable sum.

It is possible that “ Lamb may not have been a very careful corrector of the press,” though compared with Mr. Hazlitt he was a Wilson or a Nichols. For Mr. Hazlitt can seldom touch a poem or essay without marring its beauty or spoiling its sense by gross typographical errors. Lamb’s poem on The Christening, which is wrongly included in his “ inedited remains,” is disfigured by having the word “vests,” in the second line, printed “ nests : ” —

“ Arrayed — a half-angelic sight —
In nests of baptismal white.”

In correcting one of Mr. Percy Fitzgerald’s mistakes regarding Lamb — it would be an almost Herculean task to correct all of them — Mr. Hazlitt quotes thus from that gentleman : “ K— who, with his wife—'that part French, better part Englishman’ — carried off Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle.” By the literal accuracy with which the extract is made, Mr. Hazlitt repeats the absurdly bad misprint which makes K—’s wife a man! Of course Elia, from whom Fitzgerald quotes, wrote Englishwoman. In the beautiful letter to George Dyer, which is familiar to all readers of Talfourd’s Life and Letters of Lamb, there is what Elia would call a damnable erratum : “ Poor Enfield, that has been so peaceable hitherto, that has caught no Inflammatory fever,” and then Lamb goes on to describe the great fire blazing “last night ” in the barns and haystacks of an Enfield farmer, which shows conclusively that Enfield had caught the inflammatory fever then prevailing in rural England. The correct reading is: “ Poor Enfield, that has been so peaceable hitherto, has caught the inflammatory fever.” In attempting to correct another of Mr. Fitzgerald’s mistakes about Lamb, Mr. Hazlitt makes a greater one himself by saying that nobody ever heard of such a book as Scott’s Critical Essays on some of the Poems of Several English Poets, “for the excellent reason that it never existed.” But notwithstanding this confident assertion to the contrary, such a book does exist. Allibone includes it among the works of John Scott the Quaker, But the MS. annotations with which Lamb’s copy of the work was enriched were all written by Lamb himself, and not by Ritson, as Elia gravely said in The London Magazine, somewhat to the confusion and sorrow of those simple souls who, like Mr. Percy Fitzgerald, believe all that is told them by such a “ matter-of-lie man ” as Charles Lamb.

In an early letter to Coleridge, Lamb thus writes concerning Fairfax’s translation of Tasso’s Godfrey of Bulloigne: “ Fairfax I have been in quest of a long time. Johnson, in his Life of Waller, gives a most delicious specimen of him.” To this passage Mr. Hazlitt says, in afoot-note, “ There is no specimen of Fairfax in Johnson’s Memoir.” No specimen of Fairfax in the memoir of Waller! If the reader will consult the Lives of the Poets he will find eighteen stanzas of Fairfax’s fine old translation in the Life of Waller, which are introduced by Johnson in these words: “ As Waller professed himself to have learned the art of versification from Fairfax, it has been thought proper to subjoin a specimen of his work.” In a note to a letter to Baron Field (one of the few new letters of Lamb’s in the volume) Mr. Hazlitt says that “ Lamb had been asked for a catalogue of Mr. Field’s gallery,” If Mr. Hazlitt had read this letter, or even the sentence to which his note particularly refers, he must have seen that it was Mathews’s gallery, not Field’s, Lamb had been asked to make a catalogue of. “For Mathews, I know my own utter unfitness for such a task,” Lamb writes to Field. “ I am no hand at describing costumes, a great requisite in an account of mannered pictures. I have not the slightest acquaintance with pictorial language even. An imitator of me, or rather pretender to be me, in his Rejected Articles, has made me minutely describe the dresses of the poissardes at Calais! I could as soon resolve Euclid. I have no eye for forms and fashions. I substitute analysis, and get rid of the phenomenon by slurring in for its impression. I am sure you must have observed this defect, or peculiarity, in my writings; else the delight would be incalculable in doing such a thing for Mathews, whom I greatly like—and Mrs. Mathews, whom I almost greatlier like. What a feast ’t would be, sitting at the pictures, painting ’em into words! but I could almost as soon make words into pictures. I speak this deliberately, and not out of modesty. I pretty well know what I can’t do.”

Mr. Hazlitt says that Lamb “ was very possibly more than semi-serious when he once said, in a letter to a friend, ‘ Hang the age ! I will write for posterity ! ’ ” We think he would have been a good deal more than “semi-serious,” could he have known how cruelly this editor would misquote him. To appease Elia’s troubled shade we will give the joke or jest, or whatever you prefer to call it, just as he told it in a letter to Barry Cornwall, with the writer’s own characteristic comments and explanations: “Did you see a sonnet of mine [The Gypsy’s Malison] in Blackwood’s last! Curious construction! Elaborata facilitas! And now I’ll tell. ’T was written for The Gem, but the editors declined it, on the plea that it would shock all mothers; so they published The Widow instead. I am born out of time. I have no conjecture about what the present world calls delicacy. I thought Rosamund Gray was a pretty modest thing. Hessey assures me the world would not bear it. I have lived to grow into an indecent character. When my sonnet was rejected, I exclaimed, ‘Hang the age, I will write for antiquity ! ’ ”

There are more of these blunders, but enough—perhaps more than enough — has been said of Mr. William Carew Hazlitt’s slips and inaccuracies.

— “ No man,” said Selden, with that strict sense of predestination belonging to a Calvinistic age, “no man is the wiser for his learning; wit and wisdom are born with a man.” If this was true of any man, it certainly was of Theodore Parker; and as Mr. Frothingham has told the story of his life, the fact plainly appears. The secret of his greatness was that he so well incarnated and gave voice to the native, homebred New England genius. The humor, the conscience, the moral sense, and the intrepid courage, not less than the eager thirst for knowledge, partial insensibility on the æsthetic side, and the countryman’s simplicity, were all embodied in Parker, as they have been before and will be again in representative men of New England. It was not so much his opinions, theological, philosophical, or political, that drew men unto him and held them fast; it was this inborn quality by which he showed them their own consciousness, their own aspirations, mirrored or realized in the life of another. Not that opinion was indifferent to him or to them ; for except the Scotch, possibly, no people hold more tenaciously to their beliefs than do the New Englanders. Bnt there is something in human nature more inward and permanent than intellectual belief— the structure of character itself; and there is often a complete unity in this, among those who hold widely diverse dogmas in religion or politics. “It is well known,” says Emerson, “that Parker’s great, hospitable heart was the sanctuary to which every soul conscious of an earnest opinion came for sympathy, — alike the brave slave-holder and the brave slave-rescuer.” Perhaps the best illustration of this was the undoubting faith in Parker’s sympathy with which John Brown, an Old Testament Calvinist, if ever there was one, came in secret to the arch-heretic of Boston, when his heroic dream of destroying slavery by violence was about to manifest itself in action.

Still it need not be denied that Parker was near the head of an advancing wave in religious opinion. Where he stood almost alone, thirty years ago, whole sects and communities now stand ; while some of his disciples, or old opponents even, have got so far beyond him that he already begins to look like a conservative in theology. He held firmly and warmly to the personal element in religion. The universe did not seem to him governed by an algebraic formula, or capable of being reduced to a chemic reaction ; it was created and upheld by a loving parental will. When the churches excommunicated Parker’s form of heresy, Startling and annoying as it seemed, they could not have foreseen these days of protoplasm and the Ascidians, when science does not so much as condescend to leave a place for God at all, even as a caput mortuum. And one of the few faults in this biography of Mr. Frothingham’s is the too recent and Darwinian point of view from which he chooses to regard Parker. Another is too strong a desire, or at least too great a willingness, to perpetuate the memory of the sectarian squabbles over Parker’s position when he first left the Unitarian ranks. What happened then, though keenly felt and well remembered by Parker, was but a trifling episode in his career, as it will be viewed by posterity, if we may be permitted to judge by the way it impresses us after this brief interval of a single generation.

As a brave, devoted friend of mankind, and a political leader of rare courage and sagacity, Parker now presents himself to the knowledge of those who have grown to manhood since he left his country never to return, fifteen years ago. In the long and dismal conflict with slavery, he stood between Garrison and Sumner,—the agitator his friend on one side, and the statesman his companion on the other. He was hardly less an agitator than Garrison, and quite as profound and well trained in statesmanship as Sumner. Among his friends also were Phillips, the matchless orator, and he whom Mr. Frothingham well calls “ a colossal figure ” — John Brown. This man was neither orator nor statesman, but one who could do what eloquence and policy had failed to accomplish. He cut the Gordian knot at which statesmen for seventy years had fumbled, and once cut, it could never he tied again. In Brown’s enterprise, as Mr. Frothingham shows, Parker took an important part, and the two names, neither of them soon to be forgotten, will go down in history together.

— The readers of this magazine know better than we could tell them the general character of Mr. Parton’s Life of Jefferson, for it formed the most popular feature in twenty-one successive numbers of The Atlantic. People turned to it before they read the serial stories, or even cut the pages whose jealous fold concealed the instruction and delightful ness of the book-notices. It is quite idle then to say that it is most entertainingly written, and if we leave this perfectly safe ground we could hardly say anything else in praise of it which would not be disputed by others. There are people who believe not only that Jefferson was no saint, but that he was a vastly mistaken statesman, and but indifferent honest as a politician. For these, apparently, Mr. Parton has not written except in so far as he has thought well to afflict them by the attribution of nearly all the good qualities to his hero, surrendering the bad ones with a generous profusion for division among Jefferson’s enemies. He is an advocate, there is no question of that, and probably would be the last to claim finality for his words about any man, measure, or event. He states the case as it seems to him, and no doubt he is swayed by his passion, his preference. But he makes people read, and we hope that he makes them think and provokes them to the very inquiry which, if he is wrong, will enable them to refute him. He rescues our annals from dullness, and the memories of the fathers from weariness, and weaves so pleasant a story about them that they seem almost as interesting to us as each one of us is to himself. In all this we consider him thoroughly honest, however partial he may be. Mr. Parton may not be the man to do justice to such men as Adams and Hamilton, who, in their turn, were not the men to do justice to Jefferson ; but whether Mr. Parton is not the man to do justice to some tendencies which those two eminent patriots represented, and which Jefferson opposed, is by no means so certain. We rather fancy that he is, the more so that he shows himself able to see and deplore the unlimited power which the success of some of the Jeffersonian ideas has thrown into the hands of the ignorant, Universal suffrage now seems our evil, not because suffrage has not been limited by a property qualification, or some other aristocratic device, but because it is not limited by the only democratic device, that of education. Our case, bad as it is (and it is not so bad as it is represented), is no worse than that of our Canadian neighbors, who have the check of a property suffrage ; and our case might be very much worse than it now is if the press were fettered by such regulations as several of the most honest and patriotic men of the Revolution thought necessary. The fact is simply that Hamilton held by the old monarchical traditions which surrounded government with state and with awfulness; and Jefferson conceived the notion of a businesshouse in which the affairs of the nation should be transacted without show and without ceremony, by persons chosen to do their duty and to expect no honor merely for their office’ sake, and no easier glory for it than men achieve by the proof of their supreme fitness for art, for letters, for commerce, for war. He made such a government possible, and such a government will finally be ours. This is the central truth enforced by Mr. Parton’s work ; this is its moral and its value.

— Mr. Beavington Atkinson’s qualifications for recording his Art Tour to Northern Capitals certainly do not consist in any remarkable ability for drawing useful or interesting conclusions, nor in describing with anything like pictorial skill the various towns, public buildings, pictures, and statues which he has seen. In this latter particular, indeed, he is very deficient; he begins with an intention of describing something and ends with giving us only a few detached objections to certain features of the object under notice. Still, it is apparent from his variety of reference, and his free use of proper names, that he has had unusual opportunities for comparison of artproducts in widely different localities, and has personally encountered a great many painters. And in spite of his short-comings, in spite of an inconsequent manner of stringing all sorts of observations together, as if he were about to come to some complex conclusion, — a manner which seems to be a sort of disordered imitation of M. Taine’s aggregations of multitudinous fact, — the fields through which he has wandered are so new to us, and have been so little written about in English from the art-critic’s point of view, that his volume really becomes very interesting for the large number of new items it contributes to our knowledge. And doubtless it, will appeal as strongly to the American reader as to the audience originally addressed by the author through The Portfolio, The Saturday Review, and other English periodicals in which these chapters first appeared. In fact, there is a special reason why any review of the achievements in art of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia, should attract our notice more than that of any other public ; for these countries stand, in some respects, in much the same position as ourselves with regard to the development of art in other portions of Europe — a resemblance which Mr. Atkinson in one place expressly points out, speaking of Russia. Here, too, is a sentence not without some application to the state of art in this country. “The Danish idea of the grand is superficial size, or cubic contents ; hence large pictures are unusually rife, and the dimensions of the canvas are wholly in excess of the magnitude of the thought.”

In Denmark, also, there are notions afloat about some phase of art which shall he purely national; notions which seem to have resulted in little good, and to have caused considerable discord. “ By all means,” says Mr. Atkinson, “let them be national from backbone to fingers’ ends, in everything but national ignorance.” This is a discriminating admonition which we should do well to keep in mind, in view of the tendency of young artists and thoughtless on-lookers to suppose that originality is endangered by study of previous originality. In Norway, a style of “ landscape heroics ” is in vogue.

“ Pictures are systematically composed out of mountains, lakes, deep valleys, vast rocks, and stormy skies. Bierstadt, the American, serves up such materials with the like dressings.”

The case seems to be somewhat better in Sweden, where the artists horn previous to this century were nerveless classicists, but those born since its opening have strengthened their cause by an alliance with subjects drawn from peasant life. In the matter of portrait-statues, also, something appears to have been effected of a genuine kind. But, as a whole, the development remains an hybrid one, as is apt to be the case where the arts are nurslings of royal patronage. The putting a civilized community into readiness for yielding artistic fruit is as yet less understood than the chemical preparation of soils in agriculture. Meantime, must we conclude that fine pictures and noble statues are to be looked for only in certain latitudes where such beauties are indigenous? Mr. Atkinson inclines to consider climate supreme in these matters, following M. Taine. For ourselves, we are disposed to hold out against the weather, a while longer. The history and science of æsthetics are at present too little understood to enable Such an organization of intellectual, emotional, and physical conditions as would insure the growth of a self-sustaining art in any of the regions intermediate between the frigid zones. But it may be that we shall sometime discover how to bring forth, under the skies of different countries, the different fruits which will best thrive there.

The progress ot Russia toward forming a school of creative art is, it must be confessed, not encouraging. In that empire there is an academy, with a branch at Rome; and students are dispatched to the latter city with an allowance of $800 a year, for six years, and $200 extra for the journey out, and the same for the return. Nor are they ill-provided with objects of study at home; for the palace of the Hermitage at St. Petersburg contains a collection of 1500 paintings, more than half a thousand drawings, 1700 vases, the largest collection of gems in existence, and 361 ancient marbles, many of them from Kertch, in the Crimea, and excellent examples of Greek sculpture. “ The Hermitage,” says our author, “ does not suffer by comparison with the Vatican, the Museum of Naples, the galleries of Florence, the Louvre in Paris, or the Great Picture Gallery in Madrid ; ” while “ the Dutch pictures are not to he equaled save in Holland or in Dresden.” Notwithstanding this, and that these institutions have been in operation for a century, Mr. Atkinson not only finds nothing genuinely new and distinctive in Russian art, but even pronounces himself hopeless as to the future of such art as has already been brought to growth there.

It is true, that an obstacle to advance exists in Russia which we shall not have to encounter here, namely, in the restriction put upon sculpture of the human figure by the Greek Church, and the traditional Byzantine style of religious painting. Also, it may be that Mr. Atkinson does not look far enough ahead. From his own account, we gather that there has been an appreciable advance upon the work of Bruin and Neff, who began early in the present century; an approach to something not merely derivative. We must not overlook the historic value of partial successes in art. A people just making its way into the arts will naturally impress upon its artistic work something of the prevailing incompleteness characteristic of any nation without good art of its own. For example, Walt Whitman may not improbably come to be looked upon hereafter as exactly typical of the unfinished, unwieldy, somewhat boastful, and earnest attitude withal, in which, it we regard ourselves impartially, we shall see that we at present stand, in the United States. Further, it appears to us that Mr. Atkinson has not done justice to Vereschagiue (whose name is spelled in the book Wereschagin and Warestschagin, indifferently). So far as we can gather from woodcuts of his powerful compositions exhibited in England at the Crystal Palace, and from verbal report, we suspect not only originality in his choice of subjects, but in treatment also. In decorative art, it is admitted that the Russians are likely to accomplish much that is genuine and beautiful. In 1825, Count Stroganoff founded a school of design at Moscow (supported for eighteen years at his own expense, and now in a flourishing condition) which forms the centre of growth in decorative and industrial art. This school is based upon the school at South Kensington. But Mr. Atkinson has some fear that the tendency of the management is to stifle originality by a too assiduous insistence upon strict South Kensington methods. Here is a caution which comes directly home to ourselves ; and with the more force because we have not, like Russia, three different historic lines of ornament to choose from — the Northern (Finnish), Byzantine, and Oriental. The Oriental tendency is urged by Mr. Atkinson as the only one which ean lend to real and rich originality. The situation does not, then, appear altogether dark.

We must protest against the execrable Gallicism of Mr. Atkinson’s writing. He indulges in preposterous constructions, abounds in redundancies, and burdens the comma to madness with the appointed duties of the semicolon. His book is also marred by errors of spelling, like " Pireus ” for Piræus, “ Mr. Power,” for Powers, the American sculptor; and by a phrase like this (in the chapter preceding the entertaining essay on Thorwaldsen): .... “lies moldering fires and latent forces.” We are unable to conceive how fires could molder. This chapter, we learn with some surprise, originally appeared in The Saturday Review.

— Six years ago, Mr. Edwards of West Virginia began a series of publications intended to illustrate only the perfect form of new or hitherto unfigured American butterflies. These have lately been collected into a quarto volume of elegant and attractive form, and of no ordinary scientific interest.

Up to the seventh number the work was chiefly noted for its wonderful illustrations of our species of Argynnis, Colias, and Grapta, which compose more than half of the species described in the whole work, and twenty-eight of the fifty plates. But during the publication of this series unusual interest arose in the transformations of butterflies, and Mr. Edwards was led to make an essential change in the character of his work, which has also increased its value. In this seventh number he illustrates the earlier stages of two western butterflies ; and in the succeeding parts nearly half of the species depicted are accompanied by drawings of some or all of the early stages. The letterpress had hitherto been in great measure confined to the mere description of the butterflies. But in tracing the life-histories of these beautiful objects, our author becomes an investigator, and in the ninth part of his work adds more to our knowledge of butterflies than any other observer has done for vears past. He finds that Papilio Ajax appears under three forms, which he distinguishes as Walshii, Telamonides, and Marcellus. His attempt to trace their relationship leads to most curious results: the progeny of Walshii and Telamonides (which appear in spring only) becomes Marcellus ; and the progeny of Marcellus, if perfected the same season, also becomes Marcellus; but if wintering as a chrysalis, it changes the next year to either of the three, according to the time of its eclosion. Then all the individuals of a single brood do not behave alike. Of one set of seventy chrysalids, which suspended at the end of May, a part produced butterflies during the first week in June; one butterfly appeared June 23, another July 12 ; while the rest lived unchanged through the winter, and such as did not die emerged early in spring.

In the same number of his work he gives the details of a somewhat similar case in Grapta interrogationis. Naturalists had been disputing which of two American butterflies should bear this name, when these plates put an end to the discussion by showing its utter unimportance; the two socalled species were one ; each could be raised from the eggs of the other ; yet the case was not parallel to that of Ajax, for both varieties were simultaneously produced from one parent, and appeared at any season of the year.

These observations naturally attracted great attention; but the chief permanent value of the work lies unquestionably in the richness and wonderful accuracy of its illustrations. These, have increased in excellence as the work has advanced ; compare, for example, the plates of Argynnis Diana and A. Nokomis issued in Part 1, with corrected plates of the same in the supplementary part. And then what a wealth of illustration ! There is an average of four or five drawings for each species described ; to represent the varieties of Papilio Ajax we have eleven pictures of the imago, seven of the caterpillar, and five of the chrysalis ; or take Parnassius Smintheus, where we have no less than fifteen exquisite drawings of the butterfly alone ; no work ever illustrated So richly a single European species. And what can exceed the softness of finish in figures four and five of Plate Parnassius IV.? or the evenness of the coloration and its delicate tone? And then the tasteful arrangement of the whole upon the plate; it is as if one had but just startled a bevy of these Alpine beauties. Notice too how well the artist has rendered the bloom on the under surface of some of the Graptas, scarcely veiling the darker marbling or the ragged, party-colored bands beneath; and contrast them with the decided brilliancy of the spots on some of the Parnassians, or the crimson of the under surface of Ajax. There is nowhere any excess of color, no exaggeration of nature; the precise tone is caught, whether sober or vivacious. The iconographic works on butterflies now publishing in England are tame and lifeless beside these figures, which seem to live upon the plates. In truthfulness of outline and sobriety of color, Butler’s illustrations far surpass Hewitson’s; yet both lack altogether the delicacy and precision of the work Miss Peart has done for Mr. Edwards. Millière’s plates are done on steel by the most expert of Parisian engravers; yet even these iti no way surpass the lithography of Miss Peart; to parallel her achievements we must go back to Hübner, that prince of iconographers, whose art seemed lost half a century ago. In outline, and in the delineation of the neuration, these drawings are faultless; and in this the scientist takes a pride; for his art is to transcribe nature and fix upon paper her hidden beauties of color and form ; he glories as much in the truthful pictorial representation of an object as in its faithful delineation with the pen.

An appendix to the volume contains a “ Synopsis ” of American butterflies ; it would better have been named a classified list, since it is unaccompanied by any characterization of the groups employed. Merely to serve as a cheek-list and as a guide to the specific synonymy, it is valuable, although we cannot but regret the typographical inelegancies with which it abounds, and the poverty of its references. As an accompaniment to such a work, however, it should have been much more than a list. ; it should have been a correct expression of the latest studies upon the structure and affinities of butterflies; whereas it sets them all at defiance. The Fieri dm,, for instance, are not distinguished from the Papilionkbe, although such groups as the Agerouidæ (founded on an error of observation long since corrected) and the Danaidæ are separated, respectively, from the Nymphalidæ and Heliconidæ. The Erycinidm are placed below the Lycænidæ, as is done by no author, ancient or modern, excepting in a discreditable compilation on American butterflies, by Morris ; and the same compiler is followed in other strange and devious paths, as where the Coppers are placed between the Blues and the Hair-streaks, and where the Libytheidæ, or Long-beaks, are found in an association they never knew before, in or out of a book. If our author had but followed Bates, of whom he professes admiration, he would not have drawn the young student into so many quagmires. The treatment of the different parts of the list is very unequal, for while one author is followed in a somewhat minute subdivision of the Skippers, another is followed in distributing the Lycænidæ among three or four genera only, of unwieldy proportions and heterogeneous material.

Where the synonymy refers to the earlier authors, the reference is usually given with sufficient fullness; but references which must have been made at first hand are almost invariably too meagre; generally, too, there is no mark enabling one to judge whether an author quoted places the species in a different genus from that of the list or not; any one wishing to know this is obliged to search authorities for himself; whereas one special object of lists is to save others such researches. A very little more pains on the author’s part would have doubled the value of the Synopsis.

A similar neglect of details detracts from the ready use of the body of the work ; the want of any paging, and the complicated numbering of the plates, is an unnecessary defect, rendering reference to the work awkward and cumbersome ; again, several illustrations on a plate are sometimes marked with the same number; in the page devoted to “ dates of issue,” this want of care is shown in the simple transference of the dates printed on the cover of each part; whereas the parts often appeared months after the time indicated.

These exquisite illustrations seem too little known outside the circle of naturalists, and we therefore the more urgently call attention to them here; every lover of the beautiful in nature will he enchanted with them. The first part of a new series has just been issued, and is equal to the best standard of the previous parts. It is similar in design, but the author distinctly states his intention of following the plan of the later numbers of the first series and illustrating the transformations of the older known butterflies, as well as of those more recently described. He has already shown himself as good a historian as an monographer, and these new illustrations with their accompanying text hold out a good promise. The same artists are employed, and three of the five plates illustrate caterpillars and chrysalids as well as butterflies ; among them we find a Papilio from California, an Anthocaris from the West, and the Libythea of the Eastern States; the history of the latter is especially interesting and carefully detailed; the author tells us that at the slightest innovation in the larval life of this species, the caterpillars at once change to chrysalids, even though they are but half grown, and have cast their skins less than the regular number of times. Illustrations of butterflies from Virginia, British Columbia, and the red wood forests of California, make up the series ; the notes on the natural history of the insects are much fuller than usual, and add greatly to the interest of the plates.

— John Andross is certainly a very readable novel. Mrs. Davis writes well; with all her grimness she has a very agreeable humor, and if about all the men there is a certain exaggeration of their prominent qualities, the women —both the serious and sensible one whom the men of the story consider dull, and the frivolous and pretty one whom they with equal unanimity take for charming and loving—are very well described. The scene of the story is laid in western Pennsylvania, in the coal and oil region, and in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, and the local color is very well given. We may expose ourselves to the danger of being thought to be in the pay of a rich and powerful corporation — we only wish we were!—when we say that there is a chance that the power of a “whisky ring” is somewhat exaggerated, for the plot of the novel turns on the sufferings of an amiable but weak man, who, partly by his own fault and partly by force of circumstances, has got into the power of a “ring,” which needs his glib tongue and ready manners for aid in doing its dirty work, in buying up Pennsylvania representatives. One should remember, however, that even in works of fiction it would be very hard to exaggerate the evil doings of Pennsylvania legislators and rings. The hero, John Andross, is the victim and tool of the ring, and the position in which he is placed is certainly a very dramatic one; he is struggling to free himself from its clutches; he has fled to this unknown region, where he has found a benefactor in Dr. Braddock, who in his ungainliness and shyness is a trifle overdrawn, although his principal qualities are well set before us. Even in this obscure retreat he is traced out by the myrmidons of the ring, and to get his freedom Andross steals a large sum of money from Braddock, indeed nearly all the latter’s earnings, the sum he had laid by to get married on. With some ingenuity we are spared being made accomplices to his hesitation — if there was any — before committing this crime; but we have instead his remorse, not when he was alone, but when, after lonely wanderings through the mountains, he gets back to civilized life and tries to make a confession of his guilt. The struggle between his somewhat lax sense of duty and his easy enjoyment of all that is comfortable about him make his fault seem like some remote incident of ancient history, with which he has no right to disturb the pleasure of his friends, and he is only too ready to let time smooth everything over. The acquiescence of a weak man is admirably given, better than the idealized patience of Dr. Braddock. It is alone quite good enough to make the novel a success.

The weak woman, Anna Maddox, is, as we have said, well drawn; with a vein of malice perhaps, which, however, does not outweigh the lavish amount of praise the vine-like young woman gets from men when they write novels, and in real life. The woman who writes novels has no patience with such as she, and the authoress’s scorn for the blindness of men in being so easily hoodwinked is very great. All the love-making is well told, and full weight is given to the momentary influence which such women get over men. Very different is Isabella. The interest rather flags, it must be said, in the last half of the novel; but on the whole the book is verv entertaining. It is an American novel in which the American part does not outweigh everything else ; it has those other qualities more important than geographical accuracy; it is clever and interesting.

— The Record made by Miss E. P. Peabody of the methods and teachings in Mr. Alcott’s school, in the year 1834, has lately gone into a third and revised edition ; and its peculiarity demands perhaps a move thorough and extended notice than we can give.

Mr. Alcott aimed to impart moral and religious, as well as intellectual instruction to the young children of his school, and this chiefly through conversations, No one can fail to note the pure, lofty, sympathetic, and unsectarian character of the spiritual lessons here recorded. Still, without assuming to know much experimentally of the best methods of teaching the young idea how to shoot, the impression the book leaves on our mind is that sometimes there may be a little too much of a good thing ; that though self-inspection and self-analysis are excellent habits at all periods of life, there is a possible danger of carrying the practice a little too far with children of a very tender age — especially us in Mr. Alcott’s method a very lofty and umnixed ideal right was uncompromisingly insisted upon. Not that a lofty ideal is not a good thing; but that there may be more judicious and complete methods, in which the whole nature of the child, including appetite, emotion, love of variety, freedom of experimental knowledge, and spontaneous growth, shall he recognized, as well as the ideal element of conscience and deep self-scrutiny. That very young children are easily susceptible to the influx of purely ideal truth is a hint that this susceptibility should be wisely trained. There is reason to believe from this Record that Mr. Alcott was eminently conscientious, and from his point of view discreet; and that by this Socratic plan of questions and answers a far more powerful impression was made upon the young learners than could have been obtained by any formal, old-fashioned courses of drilling. But that there must have been habits of self-inspection fostered, somewhat at the expense of free and spontaneous development, and that the practice of requiring the children to speak out. without reserve all their half-shaped thoughts, in words and phrases beyond their range of solid experience, may have tended to flatter individual love of praise, or spiritual pride, or self-abasement, is a suspicion one has difficulty in resisting while perusing this Record. The reading and analysis of Wordsworth’s Ode on Immortality one would think is not exactly a text for the simple thoughts and dreams of a very young child; yet Mr. Alcott seems to have paraphrased a good deal of it to the satisfaction of his school.

We note that Miss Peabody herself, though at this period, nearly forty years ago, when she was an instructor in this school, she sympathized strongly with Mr. Alcott, states in her Preface to the third edition that though she believes now as then that education must be moral, intellectual, and spiritual, as well as physical, from the very beginning of life, she has come to doubt the details of Mr. Alcott’s method of procedure. And even in her explanatory essay in the second edition, she also criticises with some justice Mr. Alcott’s tendency to mental and moral dissection.

We will quote a passage from these conversations, which may illustrate Some of the practical deficiencies to which we have alluded.

“ Mr. Alcott asked which was most interesting, such conversation as this (about aspiration) or conversation about steamengines or such things. Many said such conversation, but some did not reply. Mr. Alcott put the question in another form: and at last a little boy exclaimed, I never knew I had a mind till I came to this school ; and a great many more burst out with the same idea.”

In spite of many such passages, we think this book in the hands of a judicious teacher cannot fail to suggest a vast deal that may be useful in the education of the young.

— We are very glad to welcome an American edition of Mr. Tylor’s charming volumes on Primitive Culture. The alterations in the second English edition are very slight, so that those who, three years ago, bought the book when it first appeared, need not feel as if that was money thrown away. Those who are not yet familiar with this work will find it one of the most remarkable and interesting books of the present day. It belongs to tire Darwinian school, inasmuch as it makes application of the doctrine of evolution, and it is also, move literally, a follower of Darwin’s book, since it takes up man, where that leaves him, at the remotest periods of which we have any knowledge, and traces his intellectual growth as shown in his actions, his philosophy, his religion, etc., from that time forth. A comparison is made of all that we have been able to learn of early times and Of the savage races now extant; their myths and stories are collected and studied, and those amusements and customs of our own which are survivals of the doings of our uncivilized ancestors are shown to be landmarks in the history of the human race. It is the growth of civilization which the book illustrates. The first volume shows us how many of our children’s games are simply what was in former times the occupation of all ; now, for instance, the bow is merely a means of amusement, while formerly it was the ordinary weapon in warfare; and again, our custom of wishing well to any one who sneezes is a memorial of the belief that spirits could enter the human body. Light is thrown on some points of the question of the origin of language. Certain mythological matters are discussed, and the study of what the author calls animism is begun, a subject which occupies the greater part of the second volume. By animism is meant the opinions regarding the soul of man, its relation to the living, and its probable fate after death.

In the discussion of these matters, Mr. Tylor has collected an enormous mass of material, of which, however, he always remains the perfect master. He is never borne down by his facts; he arranges them in an orderly way, and he never maintains an opinion without plenty of support for it, nor without adducing enough proof to convince the most incredulous. Not only is the book entertaining in its explanation of what we ourselves do, but it is also extremely valuable in enabling us to see the way in which the human mind grows from abject ignorance, through every kind of embarrassing superstition, to a position of scientific knowledge. In this respect it is without an equal, and when we add that it is admirably written, often with great humor and at times with eloquence, and never with a dull line, its importance can be readily estimated. In fact it is a model scientific book ; it is based on firm facts, the deductions are wise, novel, and temperate, and the style is attractive as well as intelligible. The many students of Darwin and Spencer in this country cannot do better than to supplement the books of these writers by this work on Primitive Culture ; and those who are averse to the main point of their philosophy will be able to judge, from the study of these really delightful volumes, how fruitful is their method in certain of its applications.

OTHER PUBLICATIONS.

Harper and Brothers, New York: Northern California, Oregon, and the Sandwich Islands. By Charles Nordhoff. — FiveMinute Chats with Young Women and certain other Parties. By Dio Lewis. — The Heart of Africa. Three Years’ Travels and Adventures in the Unexplored Regions of Central Africa, from 1868 to 1871. By Dr. Georg Schweinfurth. In two vols. with maps and wood-cuts. — The Queen of Hearts. A Novel. By Wilkie Colins.

Henry Holt & Co., New York: The Sacred Anthology. A Book of Ethical Scriptures, collected and edited by Moncure Daniel Conway.— The Cretan Insurrection of 1866—7—8. By Win. J. Stillman, Late U. S. Consul in Crete. — Waldfried. A Novel. By Berthold Auerbach. Translated by Simon Adler Stern. — Recent Art and Society, as described in the Autobiography and Memoirs of Henry F. Chorley. Compiled by C. H. Jones.

Scribner, Armstrong & Co., New York: Forgiveness and Law, grounded in Principles interpreted by Human Analogies. By Horace Bushnell.—Bric-à-Brac Series. Personal Reminiscences by Chorley, Planché, and Young. Edited by R. H. Stoddard.

Dodd and Mead, New York: David Crockett, his Life and Adventures. By John S. C. Abbott. — Fetich in Theology; or, Doctrinalism Twin to Ritualism. By John Miller. — Prayer and the Prayer Gauge. By Rev. Mark Hopkins, D. D.

James S. Burnton, New York: My Visit to the Sun; or, Critical Essays on Physics, Metaphysics, and Ethics. By Lawrence S. Benson.

J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia: On Civil Liberty and Self-Government. By Francis Lieber, M. D. Third Edition, Revised. Edited by Theodore D. Woolsey.

— A Concordance to Shakespeare’s Poems. An Index to every Word therein contained. By Mrs. Horace Howard Furness.

— A History of the Conquest of Peru. By Wm. H. Prescott. New and revised edition. Edited by John Foster Kirk.

L. L. and Moses King, St. Louis : Dean’s Interest and Equation Exponents. A System of Equation, governed by the Principle of Decimal Notation, by means of which the Correct Interest of any Sum, at any Rate Per Cent., for any given Time, is ascertained almost at a Glance. Fifth Edition. Computed by A. F. Dean.

William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh : Rome or Death; and The Madonna’s Child. By Alfred Austin.

J. B. Ford & Co., New York: The Sermons of Henry Ward Beecher, in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn. From verbatim Reports by T. J. Ellinwood. Ninth and Tenth Series.

New York Bird Store, Boston : Holden’s Book on Birds. By Charles F. Holden.

John P. Jewett, New York: Papa’s Own Girl. A Novel. By Marie Howland.

Enander and Bohman, Chicago: Förenta Staternas Historia. Utarbetad för den Svenska Befolkningen i Amerika. Af Joh. A. Enander.

Roberts Brothers, Boston: Phantasmion, a Fairy Tale. By Sara Coleridge. — Sea and Shore. A Collection of Poems.— Some Women’s Hearts. By Louise Chandler Moulton.

J. C. Hotten, London: A Life’s Love and Poems and Sonnets. 3 vols. By George Barlow.

J. K. Osgood & Co., Boston: Prudence Palfrey. A Novel. By T. B. Aldrich.

FRENCH AND GERMAN.1

The state of mind of Benedix towards Shakespeare, as shown in his Shakespearomanie, does not differ materially from that ot the youth in Leslie’s caricature, who regarded “ Shakespeare as a very much overrated man.” He professes to attack nothing but the absurd exaggerations of unwise enthusiasts, who look upon every word irt every one of Shakespeare’s plays as the product of direct inspiration, and who, from various ulterior motives, look down upon the writers of their own country; but in point of fact he finds very little to approve in the great poet (as he is still popularly considered), and for one word against the empty phrases of Shakespeare’s defenders, he has ten against the empty phrases of Shakespeare himself. The cause that he has taken needs only more defenders to make it part of a controversy which in time might do more towards defining the exact merits of the poet in question, than can thousands of books filled with nothing but reechoing praise. As matters stand now, it is impossible for us to form a wholly unbiased opinion of Shakespeare’s worth ; we cannot discriminate what we have felt ourselves from what we have heard preached to us since we were children, and if we try to be independent we are likely to fall into whimsicality. One should not be too sure that this form of superstition is harmful. There would seem to be no reason why we should not profit by the critical experience of our forefathers, as well as by their skill in carpentering, tilling the earth, eschewing poisonous food, or in painting, building, and the other arts. The world is too large to be made wholly over again by every young man. At times, it is true, the world worships false idols, but, on the whole, literary taste shows an excellent record for impartiality. At any rate, when the time for examining an idol comes, a great deal depends upon who the person is that attacks the prevailing belief. In this case it is a German playwright, who is perhaps as well known to those of us not familiar with the German stage, by the paraphrase of his Aschenbrödel, which was performed very often in this country under the name of School, as by any other of his pieces. We believe that the friends of the late English dramatist, Robertson, claim that he was innocent of any plagiarism from the German ; if that is true, the resemblance of their two pieces is one of the most remarkable eases of coincidence on record. None of Benedix’s plays are of the highest merit, but almost all are entertaining, and carefully fitted for the stage. The Shakespearomanie is a posthumous work of his; what the editor of the book calls “ a legacy to the German nation.”

A great deal of the book is written for the Germans alone; he uses, for instance, nothing but the German translation, never once referring to the original, indeed, pointedly barring out any reference to it, on the ground that the plays have won their position in their new dress, and so must be judged in that form. Again, he has a very strong feeling of patriotism in his criticism of Lessing’s, Goethe’s, and Schiller’s plays, which forbids his judging them with the severity the English poet must. In general, however, his attack goes much further than that, and he tries to show that the plays, in whatever language they are expressed, are full of faults, and, more than that, radically undeserving of the highest praise.

The form he has chosen to express his views in is the one best adapted for an easy victory on paper, that, namely, of having the different sides defended by different men, whose colloquies compose the book. They are three friends: Hellmuth, who is hostile to Shakespeare ; Reinhold, who supports Hellmuth in his apostucy with the learning a wider culture has given him; while the opposite side is taken by Oswald, a man of straw, easily overthrown, abandoning every position at the first attack, or after making only a sham defense by quoting some stock phrase from the most laudatory pages of the copious Shakespeare literature of Germany. This is manifestly unfair, for we cannot imagine that Benedix supposed no one really enjoyed Shakespeare, that his worship was only a fashionable superstition, which his so-called admirers only wanted an excuse to drop. Between them Hellmuth and Reinhold have an easy victory.

There is hardly a play of Shakespeare’s which escapes their hostile criticism ; those which get off best are Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, King Lear, and Midsummer Night’s Dream. They charge Shakespeare with faults of construction, bombastic use of language, pompous and absurd metaphors, lack of invention in his plots, ignorance of what he was proposing to himself to write, and manifold violations of psychological laws. If there is any reason in the book, one wonders why we do not at once hurl our Shakespeares into the fire and bow our heads for shame at our wasted enthusiasm. At times, their, or rather Benedix’s, criticism is of the narrowest sort; for instance, in what is said about the Tempest, he finds fault with the first scene in the sinking ship ; he says it cannot be represented on the stage, that on board of a ship in such a storm no talking could be heard, that it is a piece of the absurdest folly for the passengers to abuse the sailors on whose efforts their lives depend, etc., etc. He has never read anything more miserable in the way of poetical narration than the next scene between Prospero and Miranda, and he compares it unfavorably with Schiller’s attempts in the same manner, and Goethe’s in the Iphigenia, and Nathan the Wise with his story of the three rings. He shows us how, if Shakespeare had only been a Benedix, Prospero might have described his being driven out of the palace, his agony on the water, etc., and then, surpassing almost everything in the book, he asks why Prospero, if he were really a magician, did not detect and withstand the attack made upon him ! Oswald, and this is a good example of that young man’s force, suggests that he acquired his knowledge of magic upon the island, which Hellmuth refutes, and Oswald says no more. So the criticism rnns on, and we need not wonder that Hellmuth says he never has taken any pleasure in the piece. Wo can be sure he would vastly prefer Crossing the Quicksands, or The Stranger.

Of Hamlet he says it is absurd to speak of the mysteriousness of his character ; it is not that which makes the play hard to understand ; he lias, on the contrary, a very simple, transparent character; it is the numerous episodes that have caused all the trouble; if you cut them out, you have the key at once. The superfluous episodes that have wrought all the confusion are the embassy to Norway, Laertes' journey to Paris, the march of Fortinbras through Denmark, and the sending of Hamlet to England; cut them out, and there is no trace of Hamlet’s indecision; he had good grounds for delay: it he had killed the king at once at the bidding of the ghost, we should have had no play; and so he doubts the ghost, and all the episodes are willfully thrust iu to spin out the play after Hamlet has made sure of his uncle’s guilt by the device of the play he has represented before him. Shakespeare, he says, is inconsistent in his delineation of character, and here, between following the tradition which makes Hamlet return from England victorious and oust his uncle, and his own invention, he falls to the ground. He acknowledges the play has its merits, but they are mainly dramatic effects, such as the feigned madness of Hamlet, and the real madness of Ophelia. The ghost, too, makes the play attractive. Besides these charms, there are the play within the play, the grave-yard and the funeral, a fight and half a dozen corpses, and a great deal of pompous language.

For Antony and Cleopatra he has also nothing but abuse ; Shakespeare has followed Plutarch with slavish fidelity ; battles, even naval battles, are begun and ended in a few minutes. Cleopatra was a woman unworthy to be written about; the principal characters repel us; and if the greater part of the minor characters were removed, the play would be only the better for it, etc.

Othello has perhaps some merits. To be sure, the whole of the first act is superfluous; in the second act the scene changes to Cyprus; and here we are offended by another impossibility, the speed with which the ships arrive. At last, in the third scene of the third act, the action fairly begins and goes on with energy. The delineation of character to be noticed in this play did not please Benedix; to be sure, Othello’s jealousy is well represented, but the reason of his growing jealous is insufficient.

In this way the criticism, or rather, the commentary, runs on, stripping Shakespeare of every good quality, convicting him of all manner of inaccuracies and errors, and the final conclusion reached is that Shakespeare has produced no characters to be compared, in respect to the pleasure to be derived from them, with Karl Moor, Philip II., Stauffacher, and Wallenstein, of Schiller; Faust and Orange, of Goethe; and Lessing’s Nathan, The Cloister-Brother, Saladin, etc. Benedix says the Shakespeare-maniac will shrug his shoulders at that statement. He was right; he will.

That Benedix should prefer Schiller’s simpler creations to the characters of Shakespeare is not surprising when one reads his critical remarks, and especially when one makes out the apparent animus of half his hostility, which is his strong unwillingness to praise foreign poets. Schiller is more truly a national poet than Shakespeare; he represents that quality to be found among the young of all nations, and, more or less, among the Germans of all ages, namely, a certain generous enthusiasm which is very different from the complexer view of life to be found in Shakespeare. In general, as indeed Benedix’s book shows, there is among the Germans a deeper love of Shakespeare than even among the English; they discovered him at an important time in the intellectual development of their nation, and they have certainly devoted to his study that immense research of which they are such wonderful masters, and which, it may be safe to say, is only now rivaled among his fellow-countrymen. Benedix does his best to moderate what Lessing said in his praise, but with little success. Of course there has been a tendency among later Germans to exaggerate what was the popular feeling, and there has often been indiscreet and foolish praise lavished on Shakespeare, for which he least of all is to blame ; but these excesses, which are the nominal object of Benedix’s attack, get very little blame from him. It is Shakespeare whom he really dislikes.

The unfairness of his attack we have tried to show without sharing his fault; no one, it would seem, who starts from his stand-point can hope to have any influence; he does not speak an intelligible language; he gets no pleasure from The Tempest, and yet he asks us to prefer what he is fortunate enough to be able to comprehend. He is always pained in reading Othello by the feeling that Othello cannot fairly be jealous without being something else than Othello, — this sounds much like prejudice seeking some excuse for its bitterness.

No one would for a moment maintain that Shakespeare stands on a pinnacle which makes it blasphemy to criticise him, that he is wholly without flaws ; even his admirers are obliged to confess that ; but Benedix, starting to show he is not perfect, leaves him with hardly a leg to stand on ; one might judge that he thought that in a dramatic point of view, there was no play of Shakespeare’s to be compared with Lessing’s didactic Nathan the Wise; which is a moral tale in dramatic form, with much beauty, it is true, but void of even any theatrical merit. We cannot be grateful for Benedix’s book; it may have been a conscientious piece of work, but it fails of its object. It merely shows how a man who has written really very good plays, can entirely misunderstand the theory of the stage. It seems impossible that one who has studied his kind, as every successful dramatist must, could be so ignorant of human nature. He only saw the trifles.

What he says about the general ignorance of Shakespeare that exists among the Germans is something that he should know better than any foreigner, but the way in which, every winter, many of Shakespeare’s plays are performed in almost all of the best theatres, would seem to argue against his remarks. The Germans certainly have excellent and frequent opportunities of judging the English poet, and it is their own fault if they do not take advantage of them. If they do not, why are the plays given ? Then, too, it is to be remembered that the highest fame does not always accompany the greatest popularity. Benedix’s plays are oftener given, but no one would on that account put him above Shakespeare. We remain Shakespearemaniacs in spite of the book.

  1. The. Legend of Jubal and other Poems. By GEORGE ELIOT. Author’s Edition. Boston; J. R. Osgood & Co. 1874.
  2. A Voyage to the Fortunate Isles, etc. By MRS. S. M. B. PIATT, Author of A Woman’s Poems. Boston ; J. R. Osgood & Co. 1874.
  3. Poems. By H. R. HUDSON. Boston : J. R. Osgood & Co. 1874.
  4. The Trust and The Remittance. Two Love Stories in Metred Prose. By MARY COWDEN CLARKE. Boston : Roberts Brothers. 1874.
  5. Mary and Charles Lamb: Poems, Letters, and Remains. Now first collected, with Reminiscences and Notes. By W. CAREW HASSUTI. London: Chatto and Windus, 1874.
  6. Theodore Purler. A Biography. By OCTAVIUS BROOKS FROTHINGHAM. Boston : James R. Osgood & Co. 18(4.
  7. Life of Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States. By JAMES PARTON. Boston; J. R. Osgood & Co. 1874.
  8. An Art Tour la Northern Capitals of Europe. By J. BEAVINGTON ATKINSON. New York : Macmillan & Co, 1873.
  9. The Butterflies of North America. Vol. I. Vol. II., Part i. By WILLIAM H. EDWARDS, Member of the American Entomological Society. 4to. New York and Cambridge: Hurd and Houghton; The Riverside Press. 1868-74.
  10. John Andross. By REBECCA HARDING DAVIS. New York : Orange Judd & Co. 1874.
  11. Record of a School. By A. BRONSON ALCOTT. Third Edition. Roberts Brothers. 1874.
  12. Primitive Culture : Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and Custom. By EDWARD B. TYLOR. First American from the second English Edition. In two volumes. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1874.
  13. All books mentioned under this head are to be had at Schoenhof and Moeller’s, 40 Winter Street, Boston. Die Shakespearomanie. Zur Abwehr. Von DR. RODERICK BENEDIX. Stuttgart. 1873.