MISS PRESTON has done well to collect in one volume 1 the various essays which have appeared from time to time in the pages of this magazine, treating at some length of those French poets who in recent and older days have been fullest of real poetry. Thanks to her research and her skill in translating, we are enabled to enjoy the writings of the little school of Provencal bards, who in the middle of the nineteenth century have disproved the hasty generalization that civilization has driven out of existence all naïve poetry. In the beginning of the book is found an analysis with copious translations of Mistral’s Calendau, the poem which succeeded his Mirèio, itself known to us by Miss Preston’s complete version. Next to this is an account of Aubanel, followed by a very interesting notice of Jasmin and his works. What Miss Preston herself writes is to the point, and well calculated to give to the reader what would otherwise be almost inaccessible information. She makes a brief synopsis of the writings of these different authors, and illustrates her comments and criticisms with specimens of their work done into English verse. These bits of translation are admirable; generally the essayist who tries his hand at translating poetical extracts from another tongue thinks he is doing well if he can end his lines with rhyming words, but there is no such unsatisfactory work here, Miss Preston writes verse which shall very accurately and agreeably represent the original, and the value of her book is very much greater on that account, for she does not merely tell us this or that author is good, or touching, or wise; she gives us the testimony, or a part at least of the testimony, on which she makes up her mind, and thereby enables us to judge for ourselves.
These authors about whom she has written so well are certainly interesting men. Their simplicity is unlike the labored naturalness of those English poets who, in order to escape being artificial, apparently go over their writings and substitute short words for long ones; that is to say, they have natural, not affected simplicity. Nor yet, furthermore, is it merely facility of execution ; Jasmin disproved that in a letter, quoted by Sainte-Beuve, in which he declined a competitive examination in writing verses on a given subject, or rather three given subjects, with a would-be literary rival. He spoke therein of the slowness with which he worked: “ My five poems,” he said, “ have cost me twelve years of work, and yet they contain only two thousand four hundred verses.” The merit of these men is their originality, their bursting into song under what would he considered adverse circumstances. Jasmin, for instance, was a barber, and one who carried on his business while writing. In English literature such an apparent discord is by no means unknown. Burns is the most prominent example, but it was certainly a surprise to the literary circles of France when there, appeared these writers in a dialect for Which Parisians need a translation as well as ourselves.
There is a distinct difference between these three writers who are here mentioned, which Miss Preston has made clear in her translations. They are alike, of course, in many ways, and especially in the directness and richness of their language, but while one arranges his rhymes in original but rather cloying measures, another uses directer methods; yet they all are put with equal success into English. We need not quote what has so recently appeared in these pages, but the reader cannot open the volume without coming upon some ingenious, smooth, and poetical version of the poetical original.
The essays already mentioned take up half, and the most interesting half, of the volume. They bring us something absolutely new, while the rest of the book goes over tolerably well-trodden ground. The Troubadours are chiefly the subject of the remaining chapters, which give us in a brief form some of the researches of modern scholars, with again Miss Preston’s always good translations. The book closes with a chapter on the Arthuriad. While it is true that there is nothing novel or very profound in the last part of the book, it forms altogether a valuable addition to works on modern literature, and it has something which most erudite books are pretty sure to lack in the grace of the verses with which it is well filled. We hope Miss Preston will go on in the field where she has so well begun and give us more books which shall so well combine poetry and learning. Such gifts are not too common together, nor even apart, for that matter.
— There is no question, we think, that Philip Nolan’s Friends 2 is Mr. Hale’s completest and best novel. The scene is laid in New Orleans and Texas at the beginning of the present century, and the story is founded on the troubles incident upon the transfer of Louisiana to the United States. Mr. Hale seems entirely to have mastered the details of that puzzling political situation, and if the lazy reader sometimes finds himself perplexed among them, it is probably no more than he would have done had he been alive and present at the time. At all events, they furnish the ground-work for a good plot and a series of unusual and romantic incidents. The characters, too, are for the most part well drawn, and several of them are admirable, especially the two women, Eunice and Inez Perry, the one twice the other’s age, yet both technically young women, and united by a bond of generous and tender friendship much more common in life than heretofore in books. But the true hero of the story is the proud, positive, loyal, defiant, and ungrammatical old family servant, Ransom, with his furious patriotism, and his reckless contempt of all foreigners, whom he included in a single class and characterized indifferently as “niggers” and “eyedolators.” The strength of Ransom’s national prejudices and his forcible manner of expressing them involved him in some trouble, as the reader may imagine from a single specimen of his eloquence.
“ ‘ Yes’m. This man always wins. Say his soldiers come over here to learn fightin’. Say General Washington had to show ’em how. Say Roshimbow ’s coimn’ over to the islands now. I knew that one, Roshimbow, myself; held his hoss for him one day down to Pomfret meetin’-house, when he stopped to get suthin’ to drink at the tavern. General Washington was showin’ him about fightin’ then, an’ so was old General Knox and Colonel Greaton; and now he’s tellin’ this other one. That’s the way they knows how to do it. French is nothin’. Don’t know nothin’. This other one, he’s an Eyetalian.’ ” in conversation, their utter worthlessness. The Gold of Chickaree is a continuation of Wych Hazel, and the two stories are as much alike as two halves of a slate pencil. Wych Hazel herself is rich and insufferably pert; her lover, Rollo, Dane, Duke, or Olaf, as he is called indifferently, is rich and in his ways “masterful.” The earlier novel ends with the engagement of these two, and here is described their sudden marriage, which they forebore announcing even to their guests at dinner, who were unexpectedly delighted by witnessing this wedding later in the evening. This is a capital notion for entertaining company, and far superior to music, singing, or charades. The other incidents of the novel are of the flimsiest sort; round dancing and the theatre come in for intolerant abuse. All the poor people get Christmas presents, and one son of Belial, who is anxious to run away with his neighbor’s wife, is bought off for thirtythousand dollars, a mere bagatelle in this moral Monte Christo. For the same sum of money it might have been possible to close a theatre for a winter or to bribe penniless young men to give tip dancing a dozen Germans. Besides their lavish extravagance, the most noteworthy thing about the people is their morbid self-consciousness; they are never at their ease; they are forever trying to impress one another with their own brilliant wit. It is a poor story.
“ This other one, who thus received the art of war at second-hand from Colonel Greaton, of the Massachusetts line, and from George Washington, was the person better known in history as Napoleon Bonaparte.”
Concerning Philip Nolan himself, the ostensible hero of the book, we have, however, to protest. He was a good man, doubtless, but he is a great artistic mistake. All who remember The Man without a Country — and let us hope that nobody of this generation has forgotten, or will ever forget it — know that this was the name chosen at hap-hazard for the imaginary hero of that powerful and sorrowful tale, which brought the worth of their country home to so many hearts at one of the darkest hours of her history. Afterwards, Mr. Hale discovered that the name was actually borne by a rather famous frontier’s-man at the beginning of the century, and he was moved to try and repair the injustice which he felt he had done the name of Philip Nolan by associating it with the crime of treason. But by conscientiously explaining away his Philip Nolan, he runs the risk of invalidating the singularly solemn lesson which his creature’s fate conveyed : that a great conception like that is a vast deal more alive and real than the memory of any man once forgotten can be made after the lapse of seventy-five years; if the veritable Philip Nolan were really alive somewhere and cognizant of mundane affairs, and if he were indeed the simple, dauntless patriot whom Mr. Hale endeavors to present in the present expiatory volume, he would, doubtless, much rather have the lesson of his double’s life enforced, than the memory of his own career revived.
— It is hard to criticise The Gold of Chickaree,3 or stories like it, without making use of such violent methods as excite the scorn of those who criticise the critics. They say mere denunciation is of no service and should never be employed ; as if there were not too many books already without truth or beauty, which cry aloud for some one to point out in print, as every one does
— In the matter of luxuriance the vegetation of California is miserably barren — in spite of its enormous grapes, figs, oranges, squashes, trees, etc. — compared with the style of Mr. Fisher when he writes of the much-favored land where only man is vile.4 What he has to say is often sensible enough, but his way of saying it, of accumulating titbits of French, Spanish, German, Latin, and Greek words and phrases, which he handles in the jauntiest manner possible, his irrepressible joviality, his air of a man of the world who has read Rabelais, Sterne, and Carlyle and the encyclopædia in order to acquire the grace of G. A. Sala, all combine to enrage the reader whom these arts were intended to delight. No one ever saw such declamatory writing outside of the columns of The London Telegraph. Here, for instance, are a few of Mr. Fisher’s remarks on domestic unhappiness in California: “Thousands have bruised their heels in love affairs, in ill - assorted marriages; the comedians of the world live by these things ; but tens of thousands have bruised their heads in a lonely living death, — and this is where the real tragedies begin. It was a pity the fates hindered Goethe of Frederica, or of Lili, or of the Frau von Stein; but better even the vulgar Christiane Vulpius at the head of his table than no one. Rousseau might have been a greater man had he won Julie; or, for a while, a happier man had the De Warens married with him ; but failing these, better Thérèsa Levasseur than a cold hearth and a homeless heart. Henry Fielding, Robert Southey, Tom Moore,Heinrich Heine, William Blake, were more fortunate in lowly marriages than most emperors have been with thrones to choose from. But the poor Californian has neither the throne to choose from nor the cottage.”
This paragraph is a very fair example of the way the book is written, and shows just about what proportion of it is devoted to California, and how much to a rehash of miscellaneous information about the rest of the world. After all, we ought to be grateful that Mr. Fisher did not speak of Harry Fielding, Bob Southey, and Bill Blake.
After this specimen of the author’s powers, it may seem like empty flattery to say that this brief compendium of ancient and modern history really does contain a good deal of information about the State which gives the title to the book, but it is true. Every fact is a text for fine writing, and metaphors and illustrations from all quarters of the globe distract the reader, but the kernel underlying them all shows that Mr. Fisher has noticed some of the prominent traits of Californian civilization. The errors of democracy do not demand careful examination to be seen, and he has seen them. The men are fierce money-getters, the politicians are what everybody knows them to be, and they and other elements of that society are clearly shown up here. Unfortunately, the book contains nothing that will be new to pessimistic Americans, and abroad it will doubtless be welcome for its exposure of our sins; still we can console ourselves with the thought that in time it will be forgotten.
— The subject of the geographical distribution of animals5 was one with which naturalists formerly concerned themselves but little. Taking it for granted that animals were especially adapted to live in certain localities, or were created with especial reference to their fitness for the localities in which they are found, it was not surmised that there could be any reason for the existence of a given species in a given place further than its fitness for the physical conditions of the place; and as this fitness was assumed once for all, there was an end of all scientific investigation of the matter. It was supposed that, in general, certain groups: of animals were made to live within the tropics, others in the temperate and others in the frigid zones, but that the groups living within the tropics or in the temperate zones were similar all around the world. If it had been pointed out that the living edentata of South America or the living marsupials of Australia strikingly resemble the extinct edentata and marsupials of these two continents, the fact would have been taken only to imply that, after one group of animals had been annihilated, another similar group had been created in the same region, because in the eternal constitution of things South America is fitted to be the home of edentata and Australia to be the home of marsupials.
This kind of classification by zones had all the crudeness of the old classification of languages its classical, modern, and Oriental; and as long as such a single theory of adaptation was entertained as final, there was not likely to be much intelligent or fruitful scrutiny of the habitats of animals. But facts brought to light during the past forty years have quite upset these crude and simple theories, and have shown that the distribution of animals is an exceedingly complex phenomenon, and of the greatest interest, moreover, for the light which it throws on the past history of life on the globe. For example, the native animals of Australia and New Zealand are beginning very rapidly to retreat and disappear before the corresponding animals which Europeans have carried to those countries; and this shows that there is no especial or peculiar relation of fitness between the animals and their habitat. Again, while deer range all over America, Europe, and Asia, through the greatest diversities of climatic conditions, there are none in Africa south of the desert; and the case is similar with bears and pigs. So, on the other hand, though the physical conditions of life are very similar in Australia, South Africa, and the Argentine Republic, there is no similarity whatever between the faunas of these regions. In the seas separated by the Isthmus of Darien, the conditions of life are almost identical, yet the marine faunas the entirely distinct. And in general the range of any group of animals is found to be limited strictly and constantly by natural barriers, such as high mountain-chains or impassable seas, but only vaguely and irregularly by alterations in climate or soil. In view of such facts, the geological succession of similar organisms in the same locality is now held to imply that the later organisms are the slightly modified descendants of the earlier ones, both the earlier and the later having been kept within their habitat by the same persistent natural barriers. The present and past distribution of animals becomes thus a curious and interesting illustration of the Darwinian theory, and at the same time throws considerable light on the history of the geographical changes which have taken place on the earth’s surface To the naturalists of our own time the native country of a group of animals is a matter of as much importance as its structure and habits; atul the study of distribution has become as much a recognized part of biology as the study of embryology or classification. Those who studied carefully the able and fascinating work of Mr. Wallace on the Malay Archipelago cannot have failed to recognize with what a masterly hand the problems of distribution were there treated. There is no other field of natural history which the illustrious author has made so thoroughly his own. In the two volumes before us he exhibits an erudition fairly comparable with that which characterized Mr. Darwin’s remarkable treatise on domesticated animals ; and he has given us a work which quite throws into the shade everything else that has been published on the subject. The four grand divisions of the work treat of the means of dispersal of animals and the geographical condition which affect distribution ; of the distribution of extinct animals; of the zoölogical regions of the earth’s surface; and of the geographical relations of the chief families of land animals. For students of biology such a book needs no other recommendation than is given by the name of its author: all such students will welcome it as an invaluable and much-needed manual for daily reference. But to the general reader also it is of great interest, for it is a most powerful contribution to the defense of the famous theory which Mr. Wallace thought out simultaneously with Mr. Darwin, and it is written in that simple and winning style which makes all Mr. Wallace’s books so pleasant to read.
— The anonymous author of The Jericho Read6 is clearly a person of strong, honest sympathies, possessed of a keen insight into several phases of character and of skill for the setting forth of his story. The book has been ascribed to several wellknown Western writers, Robert Collyer and David Swing amongst others; the style being so simple as to sustain the imputation of baldness. But whoever the writer may be, the little book is one which we think he might safely and with satisfaction acknowledge “ While reading,” he says in his preface, “ of the poor fellow who had so hard a time on the road to Jericho, I have often wondered what would have happened had not the good Samaritan come along.” The story is a vivid illustration of what might have happened, in that emergency, in Eastern Illinois, some twenty years ago, and has of course a general truth which the reader can easily apply to other circumstances under which helpless, inoffensive men are crushed out of life by men and women pretending to be Christians. The first half of the tale is less good than the latter half, in which a greater variety of character appears. The counterfeiters are especially well represented, there, and the figure of Lem Pankett, the wretched hero, assumes an interest which the author fails to give it in the beginning. A richer, stronger style and a greater degree of art would have remedied this as well as other defects; and if the writer is not too old to learn, we think there is reason to expect from him work of equal interest with this, and more lasting value.
— The author of Student Life at Harvard 7 has attempted, he tells us in the preface, “ to give a faithful picture of student life at Harvard University, as it appeared to under-graduates then, rather more than half a score of years ago.” He also feels that “ he will be found to have given a full, if not a brilliant, exposition of the subject. Memoranda made immediately after the occurrence of the incidents described form the basis of the book, while a large portion of the chapters on boating were borrowed from the diary of a well-known Harvard oarsman.” Nobody will deny the fullness of his treatment of the subject; everything finds its place in the book, from the agony of the entrance examination to the series of engagements that distinguish Class Day; everything, that is, except the studies to which just so much reference is made as will enable the inexperienced reader to perceive that the scene is laid at a place devoted to the instruction of youth. It is, perhaps, possible to suggest that in aiming at fullness certain other qualities which are yet of considerable importance in a work of fiction have been overlooked. It is true that a number of incidents have been strung together which once gave considerable delight to callow youth, but it is hard to imagine any one retaining for a dozen years sufficient pride or sufficient interest in them to consider these specimens of rowdyishness worth being lugged from their deserved neglect to serve as fair examples of the amusements at the college in that time. A novel is not necessarily good, because most of the events described are true, and it is not a crushing answer to an unfavorable criticism to say that if the things really happened no one has a right to blame the man who recorded them. Those who were in Harvard College at the time, not photographed, but, if the expression can be used, tin-typed this novel, will recall much of the book ; but they are greatly to be pitied if they have no pleasanter recollections of those four years of their youth, recollections that find no place in this chronicle of horse-play aud worse. The tone of the book, in spite of the priggishness of Villiers, is bad and demoralizing, for even in the remote antiquity of a dozen years the life of the students was not wholly made up of running away with horse-cars, abusing fellow-students, gambling, and general rakishness; and even the carefully disemboweled oaths this author uses give no fair specimen of the ordinary conversation of the time. It is not a trivial matter, the injustice done a great college by a novelist who lets his scrapbook take the place of invention, and a boyish pride in things he ought to have been ashamed of a dozen years ago take that of the imagination. Moreover, serious objection should be raised against the free caricature of the faculty of the college; it is surely anything but good manners to put into print anecdotes about a number of gentlemen still living, and what anecdotes! They are absolutely decrepit with unvenerable old age, and however entertaining they may have been to this author during the first week of his residence at Cambridge, there would seem to be no pressing need for this renewal of his childish delight in calling his instructors by derisive nicknames, and for trying to misrepresent their ways and turn them to ridicule.
Serious condemnation of the construction of the novel is superfluous, for it falls to pieces by its own weight; languid love affairs, enlivened by the merry game of Copenhagen, form part of the book, and the faithful reading of Tom Brown at Oxford is shown by the diluted passion of the hero for a milliner girl on Harvard Square, — really an heiress defrauded of her rights, and restored to them by the exertions of an undergraduate who transacts what business is necessary at the probate court. It is singular to find the students of that time reported as using the word chum when addressing one another; they might equally well say comrade so far as naturalness goes. We may add, too, for the benefit of those who were contemporaries in college of Sam and Villiers, etc,, that the most noticeable flight of the author’s imagination is that which represents the class flimsily disguised in this book as victorious in all its boat races.
— In reading over again Mr. Lowell’s three Centennial odes,8 now collected from the pages of The Atlantic into book form, we have been struck anew with the great number of great lines in them. The poems are all in a lofty air, and the passages that mark a still vaster height are to be best appreciated when one’s sympathy has attained the mood from which they spring, through study of the entire poems, But they are also of that instant fitness which makes verse memorable, and serviceable for common minds visited by glimpses of things too fine and good for common phrase ; and it seems as if they must become the language of all those who wish to speak as strongly as they feel concerning our country and her fame. Of men who rush on death in a high cause, what better can bo said than is said of the “ embattled farmers ” at Concord : —
Beneath their feet, and on they went,
Unhappy who was last.
Man’s Hope, star-girdled, sprang with them,
And over ways untried the feet of Doom strode on.
“Whose choice decides a man life’s slave or king.
For manhood is the one immortal thing
Beneath Time’s changeful sky,
And, where it lightened once, from age to age
Men come to learn, in grateful pilgrimage,
That length of days is knowing when to die.”
As for the magnificent passage beginning “I, Freedom, dwell with Knowledge,” it might fitly be the vade mecum of every American who would think as coolly as he feels warmly about America; it seems to us a final expression of common sense and political wisdom; and as for the following lines from the Centennial Fourth of July ode, when was ever one sort of truth about our country half so sweetly and nobly said ? " She builds not on the ground, but in the mind, Her open-hearted palaces.
The golden sheaf, the self-swayed commonweal;
The happy homesteads hid in orchard trees
Whose sacrificial smokes through peaceful air
Rise lost in heaven, the household’s silent prayer ;
What architect hath bettered these ?
With softened eye the westward traveler sees
A thousand miles of neighbors side by side,
Holding, by toil-won titles fresh from God
The lands no serf or seigneur ever trod,
With manhood latent in the very sod,
Where the long billow of the wheatfield’s tide
Flows to the sky across the prairie wide.”
In another line the poet sums up and utters the best that America means for the race, where he says, —
“ That none can breathe her air nor grow humane,” — a truth that broadens and deepens as you think of it.
Not merely the patriotic inspirations are memorable in these poems ; there, are other lines and passages whose beauty and freshness and wisdom must commend them to more universal moods: —
A power abides, transfused from sire to son.”
That its grave depths seem obvious and near.’’
To some sad instict in the breast.”
Look from too far behind the eyes,
Too long-experienced to be wise
In guileless youth’s diviner way j
Life sings not now but prophesies.”
Art, and shalt bo when those eye-wise who flout
Thy secret presence shall be lost
In the great light that dazzles them to doubt.”
Such verses are the points that must always take the light first, but to praise them alone would be meagre recognition of the odes, in which power and grace are allied in a beauty strong and distinct as that of bronze. The Commemoration ode came before them, and that remains supreme; but it does not obscure them ; and we think most will agree with us that these three odes have an advantage in being grouped together for a continuous reading. Their variety and their harmony are at once apparent, and perhaps the reader will revise his judgment, as we own we have done, concerning their comparative merits. The Fourth of July ode now seems to us richer in special passages than either of the others, and its fragmentary character is less striking than it was when first printed ; it has a fine unity which will more and more appear. Of course the lyrical superiority of the Concord ode is obvious; there is a thrilling and picturesque expression, as in the lines, —
The gathering buzz of the drums,”
which the other odes lack; and they contain no strophe so good in their way as those beginning, “ Whiter than moonshine upon snow,” and “ Our fathers found her in the woods.” But the ode Under the Old Elm is easily better in perhaps better things; certainly it seems to have come from a tranquiller mind, and in its broad, strong movement is the sense of repose which one misses in the Concord ode. Shall we own also that we like it better for those touches of irrepressible humor which freak its gravity here and there ? If it were well to have Washington characterized in his great completeness, surely it was also well to have his men’s quaint manliness sketched so deliriously as in these lines : —
In raiment tanned by years of sun and storm,
Of every shape that was not uniform,
Dotted with regimentals here and there ;
An army all of captains, used to pray
And stiff in fight, but serious drill’s despair,
Skilled to debate their orders, not obey ;
Deacons there were, selectmen, men of note
In half-tamed hamlets ambushed round with woods,
Ready to settle Freewill by a vote,”
— Of the first eight volumes of Mr. Longfellow’s happily imagined collection of Poems of Places,9 four are devoted to England and Wales, one to Ireland, and three to Scotland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The first volume opens with a few — too few — introductory passages of the editor’s exquisite prose, touching travel and the companionship in famous places of the poets without whom the world would be unstoried, and then, except in some of his sparingly quoted verse, he appears no more throughout the work. But his taste, catholic and generous as it is refined, is constantly felt; and the touch of his delicate fancy is no less perceptible in the arrangement of certain features, he is to make, in this collection, the tour of the globe, and he begins with Montgomery’s poem of A Voyage Round the World. Then comes Allston’s America to Great Britain ; his own Lighthouse watches us out of sight of shore ; Dr. Holmes’s fine interpretation of the poetry and picturesqueness of The Steamship follows, with Whittier’s poem on The Atlantic Cable ; then with Byron’s lines on the Ocean, passages from Shakespeare and Goldsmith on Traveling and The Traveler, and other poems of like associations, we make our imaginary voyage across the Atlantic, and are landed in England at the Inn of which Shenstone wrote.
The order of the selections is alphabetical, but in the case of each country the more strictly local poems are preceded by some pieces generally patriotic and descriptive; in the case of England, where alone this does not happen, there follows the alphabetic close a number of compensatory miscellaneous poems. The editor has not confined himself to such poems as could be given entire, but has availed himself of passages concerning places wherever he has found them in longer poems ; and he uses translations as well as pieces originally English, as soon as he leaves the air of English speech. Doubtless because of their length and the difficulty of quoting from them, few of the old ballads or extracts from ballads are given ; but the reader has nowhere to complain of the meagreness of the collection. The editor’s trouble must have been to keep it within any reasonable bounds; and though it was not possible to make any selection of the sort without omitting pieces dear to the taste or affection of some one, we think the editor will be blamed rather for the liberality of his choice, by the hasty critic. We think, also, that this critic will reconsider his judgment on a second or third examination of the volumes, and will find himself in a grateful and contented mind with them. He need not on this account, of course, relinquish the secret conviction that he conld himself have done much better. The collection is, indeed, not only remarkably successful, but is, aside from the proper interest of the various poems, curiously entertaining and instructive. In the volumes devoted to England and Wales alone, Wordsworth is quoted no less than eightyfive times, so much more universally descriptive is that poet than one would have thought; and yet we missed from poems on Durham the ballad of the little girl whose cloak caught ruinously in the wheel of the chaise ! Of Byron there is as singularly little as there is curiously much of Wordsworth ; we only find him five times ; but he will doubtless appear the more abundantly abroad, when we come to the Latin lands and the favorite haunts of the guide-books. It is odd, also, to observe how much more localized the modern poetry is than the old ; perhaps the exclusion of the ballads leaves the balance greater, but the taste for landscapewriting, brought in by Rousseau, must account for a vast real preponderance. The old poets name the place where something happened ; the moderns seem to fondle the scenes with which they have personal or literary associations.
The English poems are better than the Scotch, and the Scotch better than the Irish, for the reason that the Scotch and English are better poets. After Moore, in his cream-laid verse, Mr. Aubrey de Vere seems chiefly to support the claims of Ireland to a place in serious and polished poentry ; there is enough of the Father Prout and the half-comic sort, and a little of the really sweet and pathetic, with much of the tiresomely patriotic and the indefinitely lyrical. Kitty of Coleraine seems one of the best poems of places ever written about Ireland ; the less strictly localized pieces under the title of Miscellaneous at the close of the volume are finer than any equal number of the others, except those by Allingham and Campbell.
Among the Norwegians poems, the reader will give a high place to those by Mr. Boyesen, which were written in English and first published in this magazine.
We shall have more to say of this collection as the succeeding volumes appear. But it is not now too early to recommend it as a poetic library of an unique and charming kind. It is the fit companion of every cultivated and sympathetic traveler; to homekeeping wits of the same quality it should equally approve itself; and it cannot help teaching all readers to love poets and poetry more.
— There is a good deal of sameness about Mr. Chadwick’s metrical pieces.10 They have the air — though it may be a misleading one — of having been written with too great an ease ; they are lucid and limpid statements of emotion, rather than poems. Witth but few exceptions they start from some slender basis of fact and thought, and pass by similes or abrupt transitions into a closing strain of devout aspiration. The suggestion is often extremely slight; anything, apparently, will serve ; and the Picnic Song and many of the other pieces headed Times and Seasons contain absolutely nothing entitling them to preservation. A vein of sentimentality runs through the whole of this small volume, which will be distasteful to readers who look for the deeper dignity of poetic feeling. The Harbor Lights is a pretty ballad which escapes this taint; The Golden Robin’s Nest would be wholly captivating by its pensive fancy were it not for the uncalled-for silliness of calling birds “birdies;” and some of the sonnets have a gravity that lifts them above the general level of the collection.
— The American Architect and Building News,11 which has completed its first volume, is a publication which ought to reach many readers outside of the profession to which it is more directly addressed. Hardly any person desirous of a really liberal art culture can afford not to read it. Apart from the interest which all people who have built or hope to build a house must have in seeing and reading of houses which other people are building, it has claims of a genuine sort on the otherwise general reader. We have observed in The Architect a constant purpose to treat professional questions in their largest relation to the interests of the community, while not neglecting their technical discussion. The selections and notes are always interesting, and the conscientiously thorough editing of the periodical is apparent in every number. Its literature is of a high order, and its treatment of such questions as come within its scope invariably good-tempered and dignified. As a record of what is doing in architecture throughout the whole country it is indispensable. It gives each week three or four designs for private houses and pulilic buildings in heliotype illustration and with letterpress Comment and description; and these designs of actually completed or projected structures form a most interesting testimony to our advance in the art which probably is the first to convey the idea of beauty to the common mind. We heartily commend The Architect to our readers. Its prosperity will be to the credit and advantage of the public no less than that of the architectural profession and all the building trades.
— To people used to the positive poverty of our own pictorial publications, and the comparative meagreness of the English illustrated periodicals, it will not be easy, by means of a literary notice, to give an idea of the choice richness of L’Art,12 the Parisian art journal, now in its second year. We have at hand the four large quarto volumes into which the fifty-two numbers for 1876 are necessarily divided — a library of information and criticism which it will be the reader’s fault if he does not make measurably an education in matters of art, Each weekly installment contains twenty-four pages of letterpress, the text abundantly illustrated with cuts which give a new sense of the beauty and force of wood-engraving; and to this liberal provision are always added one or more full-page engravings on wood, and one full-page etching. The subjects of the etchings are oftenest from modern French painters, but sometimes they are reproductions of older pictures in galleries little visited by the copyist. For example, in the first volume for 1876 three or four etchings — the best of the whole year, to our thinking— are from portraits in the collection of Mr. William T. Blodgett, of New York (to whom, in connection with the Metropolitan Art Museum, an article is devoted); and private collections all over Europe are laid under contribution to make these etchings interesting. L’Art is kept informed, by correspondence and by careful editorial observance, of all that is of moment in art, not only in Paris and London but in all countries of the Continent and in our own ; there is sometimes a letter from New York, and always notes of what our artists have done. In the preceding year, the two papers on Contemporary Art in Europe, contributed by Mr. William H. Hoppin to The Atlantic Monthly, which had been translated in full and republished in an art journal in Brussels, were reviewed and flatteringly commented upon by L’Art; in a number for 1876, space is given to a long extract from articles whose singular value naturally found its best recognition where art-criticism is best understood. But these are very minor features of L’Art, however gratifying to us, so long used to being left out in the cold by Europeans where questions of art are concerned. Among its principal facts are the articles on eminent modern sculptors and painters, chiefly French and English; and among these we may invite the reader’s attention first to the papers on Carpeaux, — that vigorous genius who seems to have been born to reveal in his portrait busts and heads a new hope for his art, so strong, so vivid, so real, and so original are they all. These papers, fully illustrated from his works, are three in number, but they only suggest the abundance of L’Art in such things. There is an article on Meissonier, now so well known here and destined to be known still better by the engravings of his famous picture, “ 1807,” purchased by the late A. T. Stewart, which forms the text of the criticism, and from which two figures of fiery action, the colonel and the trumpeter of the 12th Cuirassiers, are given. Frederick Walker, the English painter, is the subject of a long paper; Du Maurier, so familiar to us all by his book-illustrations and his pictures in Punch, of another; Turner and Claude Lorraine are considered together; there is a paper on Regnault and his method. It is useless to catalogue these things; the reader sees the scope and variety afforded. Another exceedingly interesting series of contributions to L’Art are the illustrated studies by different critics of villas, palaces, and churches in Italy, famous for a special richness of their decorations in picture and sculpture, studies whose charm for the Italian traveler, and whose use for all, whether they have seen the originals or not, one could not exaggerate. But it is not to the arts of design alone that L’Art is devoted; there is in these volumes a number of delightful sketches of great French actors in character, with notices of their lives and criticisms of their performance; and music is represented in papers on the great composers, conspicuously Verdi,
We touch L’Art at points, merely; as we said, it is hard to convey an adequate sense of its abundance and variety. It is simply a treasure ; whoever has it knows all contemporary art and its springs; without it so much knowledge is scarcely accessible.
— Miss Owen’s volume13 will be found an interesting hand-book for travelers who in their search for the picturesque are casting about for those guides which shall enable them to dilate with the proper emotions before the masterpieces of early painting. This is, however, hardly a strictly accurate statement, for the picturesque is not what she has chosen for especial comment. She is a devout, unflinching follower of Ruskin, and that eminent authority has edited her work and so given it the stamp of his approval. His active work in the book is very slight; he has contributed a few notes here and there, correcting little matters of detail, but he has not inserted what in his brief preface he calls “ the stormy chiaroscuro of my own preference and reprobation.” This disclaimer, however, does not affect the main importance of the book, for Miss Owen is but the mouthpiece of Ruskin ; she has imbibed every one of his theories with no attempt at discrimination, and consequently she disdains with rigid severity any compromise with such inferior excellence as is seen in Raffaelle’s pictures, for instance, where, according to Miss Owen, " exaggerated dramatic representation . . . is visible above all moral and spiritual qualities,” a remark which has called forth Mr. Ruskin’s warm approval and induced him to write, in a foot-note, “ Intensely and accurately true.” It is strange that he does not recognize the origin of this view, which is that of the whole book, namely, his own writings. But if we treat the book on its own merits, as if Mr. Ruskin had never put pen to paper, it will be found of value as a compendium of the history of art from its rude appearance in the Catacombs down to the time of the Renaissance. It does not supersede, nor is it intended that it should, books of greater research, like Mr. C. C. Perkins’s Tuscan Sculptors, or the works of Lord Lindsay and others, but it condenses the information they contain, and so is well calculated to serve as the foundation for severer labor or to condense in the reader’s mind a great deal of scattered reading. It does more than this, however ; outside of Mr. Ruskin there is no slavish copying, and the author handles well a large amount of material, with not unfrequent gleams of originality, and certainly with a zeal far superior to that seen in many art manuals. But rigid adherence to her creed and its founders carries her very far. While she is a sympathetic guide to Byzantine, Italian, and Teutonic art before the period of the great men who stand at the summit, she treats them with considerable scorn. Raffaelle, as was to be expected, from Miss Owen’s enlisting with the followers of Ruskin, comes in for the heaviest denunciations, and here most readers will part from her. Fortunately the main part of the book deals with his predecessors, whose merits are well and sympathetically written about. Some will admire her style, others again will be colder towards the sort of semi-eloquent sing-song into which English writers are apt to fall when they begin to write about pictures they like. Ruskin is more often really eloquent than not, but some later writers are confusing and obscure. Miss Owen inclines to this fault, but escapes its worst appearance.
If Rafftelle is treated with undue severity, Mr. Holman Hunt has no cause to be displeased with what is said about his merits. Thus, in a foot-note we find, “ The highest ideality is consistent with the fullest naturalism, as in many of Botticelli’s pictures, or as in Hunt’s Finding of the Saviour in the Temple.” In comparison with these pictures Raffaelle’s “ insipid sentimentality ” marks his “ work indelibly with the stamp of vulgarity; the vulgarity of minds capable of approaching familiarly the most ineffable subjects, without being detained by awe or inspired by love.” Those who do not know Mr. Hunt’s work cannot do bettor than look at some engraving of one of them at any picture-dealer’s, and they will be able to judge for themselves of the great inconvenience of a theory to those who write about the fine arts.
— The central thought of A Living Faith,14 by Mr. George S. Merriam, is that religion has mainly to do with right living. That conduct is the substance of religion; that religious emotion is not the staple of religion, but only a result and incident, and is in no way to be sought for itself, but is to come at the end of a long continuance in right living; that love is the principle of the universe; that justice is beneficent; that there is implanted in the breast of man the light of conscience, which guides, him, — these thoughts are presented by Mr. Merriam with such freshness and originality as to make them appear almost novel. The various chapters of the book were not written, the author tells us, with the intention of publishing them together, but the writer has nevertheless such a large sense of the relationship of his leading ideas that the book leaves upon the mind a very strong and unique total impression. It has great grasp and lucidity of thought and depth of feeling. It has also a quality which is the highest that a work of the kind can possess, and one which is rare — authority. The thoughts which with many writers are only thoughts, in Mr. Merriam’s hands become realities. This authority is associated with an unusual degree of moderation. Along with the author’s controlling sense of the vital difference between right and wrong, there is that tenderness which belongs to so much of the best literature of the time. The reader will be glad of the contact of such a firm and hopeful mind, and will be glad to look out with the eyes of one who has such faith in the soul and in the future of society, and who is able to assign such weighty reasons for his faith.
— The Rev. Mr. Field’s volume15 is not, properly speaking, a book. It is merely a series of letters written from Europe to a weekly paper, and now printed together. There is matter of interest in them, but they are often tedious and in no way remarkable. We had supposed that the day had gone by for incorporating even in collections of this sort an account of the Atlantic voyage so feeble as that in Mr. Field’s opening letter. There seems to be no good reason why every one who goes abroad for health and is deluded into writing letters for the papers should fall in with the wasteful and idle custom of reprinting them with a binding.
— Every one who likes autobiography will be glad that the Earl of Albemarle reached the age of seventy; for on his doing so depended, as he tells us, his undertaking to write the volume of reminiscences just published in this country.16 It is a thoroughly pleasant, entertaining book, containing much that is fresh and interesting in a biographical way, and many excellent anecdotes. The author, born in the last year of the last century, is the descendant of the Keppels of Guelderland, and of that Keppel who removed to England with William of Orange in 1688, and became the king’s trusted confidant and the first Earl of Albemarle. Being the third son of his parents, he did not succeed to the earldom until he was fifty-two; and, indeed, the whole story of his life is that of a person who has advanced in importance through a tenacious hold on life and the circumstance of his aristocratic connection, rather than by means of any very striking qualities of his own. Having been dismissed from Westminster school for a truancy, he found himself commissioned as an ensign in the army at the age of sixteen, and just in time to take part in the brief campaign of Waterloo. His record of personal experience in this great battle is exceedingly vivid and interesting. It appears, however, to have been the only occasion on which he saw active service. Most of his military life was passed as an aid in India; he was also Grand Equerry to the Duke of Sussex; his journey from India overland through Russia in 1824 supplied the material for a book which brought him some fame, and his visit to the Balkan in 1830 was the occasion of another volume. The first procured his promotion to an unattached majority ; he sat in Parliament for a time, and was gradually advanced to be a full general of the army. The account of his earlier years gives a lively picture of the little Princess Charlotte, George IV.’s daughter, and some glimpses of Charles James Fox; but nearly every chapter is seasoned with reminiscences of the many distinguished and brilliant people whom the author, in his various capacities, had such excellent opportunities for meeting. Among these appear Tom Moore, Mrs. Norton, Theodore Hook, and Horace Smith, the only literary people who seem to have come nearer than the horizon of the writer. All is told with praiseworthy simplicity. The whole style and tone give one the impression of a very amiable person. The author has that faculty essential to autobiography, and apparently frequent in English men and women, which helps him to contemplate the smallest incidents with a pleased absorption. But there appears here and there a slight insensibility which may perhaps be inseparable from this disposition to pass one’s life in review as a simply picturesque succession of anecdotes and encounters. For example, the earl, after narrating a most touching stoiy of Napoleon’s harshness to a page, and his speedy contrition, on the morning of Waterloo, alludes to the emperor a little farther on as not possessing “ a single redeeming trait,” and as being “utterly devoid of human sympathy.” It happens somewhat oddly that the other instance relates to the Duke of Wellington. It seems that Mrs. Patterson (afterwards Lady Wellesley), granddaughter of Carroll of Carrollton,was with Wellington at Brussels the year after the battle, and was very urgent to visit the field in company with the conqueror. He complied, and was so depressed by the memories thus recalled that he could scarcely speak a word during the whole evening afterward. One is naturally indignant at the sensational curiosity that could propose such an ordeal to a great general, merely to gratify a whim; but Lord Albemarle informs us with an air of urbanely surprised interest that the American lady often told him “that, desirous as she had been to visit so famed a spot under such auspices, she would not have made the request she did if she could have foreseen” the consequences. But the Earl of Albemarle makes himself entertaining enough to be forgiven this sort of shortcoming,
— Now that so many writers and publishers are engaged in pressing brand-new histories of the United States into the market, it becomes important to recall with what masterly completeness Mr. Bancroft has treated so great a theme; and the recent centenary edition of his history17 gives emphasis to the recollection. This edition has been thoroughly revised by the author, and considerable excisions have been made; at the same time the several portions of the work have been gathered into greater uniformity and printed in a compact, excellent shape. Mr. Bancroft, as his old readers know, is at times diffuse, though this fault has been in part mitigated. He is less philosophical in the professedly philosophical portions of his writing than in his general mode of dealing with the subject: in the latter — that is, the comprehensive grasp of the whole matter, both in outline and in detail — he takes, we need hardly say, extremely high rank. Mr. Hildreth’s history is more succinct; it is a little more facile in the reading; but no one can slight the widespread surroundings of our history without narrowing its horizon very uncomfortably. It was a grand insight on Mr. Bancroft’s part that he recognized this in the very inception of his plan. The history of the colonies, he says, was the history of the crimes of European governments; but it was also that of charters, and the minutiæ of these are insufferably dry to all but professional students. Yet Mr. Bancroft had the independence of popularity which enabled him to push on indefatigably through this prerevolutionary débris of documents; and no one who has not read the earlier volumes of his work can by any other means arrive at so perfect a conception, as they supply, of the fundamental nature of popular government in this part of the world. And American readers cannot be too grateful for the Iuminousness with which Mr. Bancroft has made clear the ultimate relations of our story with the story of the world. His European chapters, admirably forceful compends in themselves, continually throw open the portals which connect the annals of our northern half-continent with the great record-hall of the Old World. Nor do his descriptions of the war period of the Revolution fall short; they are rich in that impetuous accumulation of fact combined with reserve of statement which constitutes the best eloquence of historians. Our first great native historian will probably prove our best in his chosen direction. He is the explorer who has traced the great outline. Others may supplement and in part improve what Mr. Bancroft has done; but it is as true today as when Edward Everett first declared it, that this writer has superseded the necessity of any other attempting the same work.
— The Carlyle Anthology 18 is an excellent collection of pithy extracts from the works of a man whose views on many subjects have become a part of our inevitable inheritance of thought. Of Scott, Carlyle repeats, “ No man has written so many volumes with so few sentences that can be quoted.” Curiously enough, that is one reason why he can’t be “condensed.” Like suits like, in this matter, and detachableness is a characteristic of Carlyle’s style, often transiently concealed by a fuliginous cloud of words. This anthology, therefore, is a legitimate and useful work.
FRENCH AND German.19
Un Coin du Monde20 is the title of as bright and amusing a French novel as has appeared for some time. To call it even a novel is to treat it with possibly excessive courtesy, for it has hardly the stuff to make an item in a newspaper; but the story, slight as it is, is so well told, with such pleasing grace and naturalness, that those who for a long time have missed the once abundant supply of French novels will gladly take up the book, and let themselves be entertained and possibly puzzled by its wellconstructed plot. All that the story tells is the social contest between a charming marquise, Madame de Livonne, whose character is beyond reproach, and Madame de Garges, whose reputation is slightly tarnished. In the letters of these two women and of the other characters, we have set before us the wrath of the first-named lady at finding that the other has succeeded in getting herself invited to act with her in a play which is soon to be performed, and Madame de Garges’ joy at being successful in her little intrigue. With this the hook opens, but soon more important game is started, and gradually the plot unrolls into something more serious. Still, it nowhere takes the reader into very deep water, and it is not the story which will give him especial pleasure, but rather the neat way in which it is told. The device of constructing a novel out of the letters of the people is one that has survived a good deal of abuse, and when it is employed, as it is here, to let the story tell itself, as it were, rather than be told, where formality would seem absurdly pompous, it does very well. It should be remembered, however, that it needs a light hand to avoid in the letters that solemnity which has its equivalent on the stage in the serious conversations between two characters, where bringing chairs to the footlights prefaces a long recital of the past and tiresome explanation of the present. Even in this little book it is possible to wonder whether an accomplished intriguer would ever confess to a friend quite such guile as is expressed in some of the letters of the evil-minded heroine; but yet it is possible in fact and is necessary for the good of the story, and so may be pardoned. This objection being done away with, there is no further complaint to be made against the little novel, of which after all the sole merit is that it does what it undertakes to do in a neat way. It brings a whiff of elegantly easy workmanship to the reader and then it stops, and one wonders at its triviality and finds it hard to see what he fancied so much. The book itself is a cipher, but it is useful as a reminder of some of those qualities which the French alone possess and which have a value in the eyes of those who care for grace and ingenuity. It is easy to exaggerate their importance, but it is also easy to overlook them entirely.
— In Les Maîtres d’Autrefois 21 the late M. Fromentin collected the essays he had written for the Revue des Deux Mondes recording the impressions made upon him by a visit to the art galleries of Holland and Belgium. There is this great merit in the book, that it was written by an artist and not by a literary man; for an artist when he can write at all is surely the man best fitted to discourse upon pictures. Although the painter paints for the world at large, the average opinion of the world at large with regard to his work is not necessarily of the highest value, and is naturally made up of dilutions of the opinions of different critics who have given the pictures more or less study. These often do well, and it would be foolish to decry them as a class, but all of them, save such as are exceptionally accomplished, must be insensible to many of the qualities which a painter, from his tastes and training, is capable of perceiving without difficulty. His testimony then is likely to be of value, for he can come nearer to putting himself into the artist’s position and to seeing what it was he tried to express and the way he set about expressing it than can the literary critic, who may be sensitive to the impression made upon him by the work of art, and may comprehend its picturesqueness, while he is comparatively insensible to the artistic value of its execution. A musician will always be the best judge of the beauty of Beethoven’s symphonies, for instance, not merely because he will have the best understanding of the technicalities of composition, which is, however, a great deal, but because his nature is one to which music especially speaks ; and in the same way an artist will derive from a picture a sympathetic pleasure which laymen will perhaps feel, but with less intensity. Any question of this sort is to be settled, if it is to be settled at all, by examination of the individual cases rather than by statement of general principles, and, putting this test to Fromentin’s book, the balance will be found to turn in favor of the artist’s judgment about the pictures he visited and wrote of. His whole merit would fall to the ground if it were not that he is also the master of a fine literary style. His books had already brought him a good deal of fame; Un ÉEté dans le Sahara is in its way really a masterpiece, so brilliant and glowing are the descriptions of the tropics, and his novel, Dominique, is a very able production. Consequently, he was well equipped for his task ; he had something to say and he knew how to say it, for his style in this book is wonderfully inspiriting and earnest. He spoke from a full heart.
The first part of the volume treats of Rubens at considerable length, and it is really pleasant to find a good word said for a master who receives a great deal of formal admiration and very little that is really felt. All the rest of us acknowledge his greatness and echo more or less rapturous praise of his skill and talent, but there are few who can say why they admire him. Now Fromentin praises Rubens with real eloquence ; he admires him as a man and as a painter, and he sets forth all his merits clearly and enthusiastically. It is with especial zeal that he descants on his value as a painter, on his swift and ready invention, on his mastery of color. A few lines may serve to exemplify his manner: “Continually to make use of nature, to take individuals in real life and introduce them into his fictions, was with Rubens a habit, because it was one of the necessities, a weakness as much as a power of his mind. Nature was his great, inexhaustible store house. What was it he really sought ? Subjects? No ; he borrowed his subjects from history, from legends, from fable, from Holy Writ, and always more or less from his fancy. Attitudes, gestures, expressions ? Still less; the gestures and expressions came naturally from him, and by the logic of a well-conceived subject were derived from the necessities of the action he had to represent, which was generally dramatic. What he asked of nature was what his imagination furnished only imperfectly, when he had to represent a person alive from head to foot, that is to say, definite characters, individuals, and types. These types he accepted rather than chose. He took them as they existed about him in the society of his time, in all ranks and classes, indeed in all races, — princes, soldiers, ecclesiastics, monks, tradesmen, blacksmiths, boatmen, hardworking men especially.” This disconnected fragment is hardly of more service to the reader than would be a sentence of a speech he might hear in passing by the open door of a public hall, but it may indicate Fromentin’s energy. When he comes to speak of Rembrandt’s Ronde de Nuit, we find him critical, and he refrains from praising the picture, as is generally done, on account of its unsatisfactoriness in representing that painter at his best. The portraits, he claims, can hardly be held to be life-like, the construction of the picture was one enforced upon the artist rather than one chosen by him, and the coloring which has been so extravagantly admired is not impressive. At any rate, Fromentin’s views are more fairly found in his book, and he always gives his reason for praising or blaming what he sees. He does not simply record inconsequent impressions, nor if he does not like a man’s pictures does he rest contented with putting all the blame on that man.
— M. Chotteau has written a history of what was done by the French, in America during the war of the Revolution.22 It bears marks of having been put together to fill the popular demand for information, in France, about what we are now celebrating with much fervor; but this does not harm the book, even if it excludes it from the rank of real authorities on the subject. M. Laboulaye has written a characteristic preface.
— A hook on Corneille 23 is not one that is likely to call forth rapturous expressions of joy from most English-speaking readers of the French. That great dramatist has a reputation that is carefully handed down from one generation to another, inclosed in a number of admiring adjectives, and is seldom put to the test of a new examination. His plays are read by those who are learning the language and hardly by others, and there are not many foreigners who enjoy them as they are enjoyed by the author’s fellow-countrymen. Even in France his fame rests on a few plays only, and not on his whole work. M. Jules Levallois considers this exclusion of part of Corneille unfair, and in his interesting book, Corneille Inconnu he undertakes to show how much injustice has been done the poet. His book is interesting, because Levallois has a very real admiration for the dramatist, and although he fights what must be a losing battle, he does it with ingenuity and enthusiasm. He introduces some valuable chapters treating of different sides of Corneille. He shows how there grew the tradition that but a part of his work was good, and how unfairly Voltaire left his mark on the popular verdict concerning the greater part, of which it is not impossible that he felt some jealousy. It is pointed out, as has been done before, that the qualities which went to Voltaire’s composition were by no means those which best capacitated him for comprehending a man of the seriousness, the dignity, and the reserve of Corneille, and the narrow quibbling of much of Voltaire’s commentary is set in its true light. When Levallois undertakes to teach how much excellence there is in many of the unread plays he makes a very good show, and would seem to convict the French of excessive readiness to leave untouched a good part of the work of one of the greatest of their authors. That he proves his point can be both affirmed and denied : while he shows that much he presents almost for the first time to the reading public is of real merit, he yet does not make it certain that Corneille is a writer of uniformly equal excellence, but he does what is really as good in throwing light on the personal relations between Molière and Corneille, and the growth of the comedy from its beginnings in the Menteur until it was afterwards fully matured by Moliere. The other chapters of Corneille’s life, the manner in which he filled his plays with distant reference to the politics of the time, his contest with Richelieu, his love matters, his money troubles, the account of his translation of the Imitatio Christi, are all set forth here, not always as anything new, but in such a way as to bring out what was finest in the great poet. This finest, too, was very fine ; for, to leave the incidents of his life out of the question, there is no lack of nobility in his tragedies. It is interesting to read about his life because the most artificial speeches of his Gallicized Romans are full of so much that is noble, and in a way heroic, that we cannot help admiring the poet who wrote them, whose personality, moreover, is only half concealed under all the flowers of rhetoric of the conventional eloquence. But apart from that interest, there are all sorts of qualities in the poetry, which deserve praise. It is full of a sort of grandeur which is not one common in the world, and when all the objections are made and it is proved, as has been done by Lessing,that Corneille altered history without improving it, or that nothing could be less natural than this writing, there is a charm which ardent foes would acknowledge to be anything except a poetical one. But there are not so many books in the world from which a certain sort of pleasure is always to be derived, that we can afford to shun books because they do not come up to our notion of poetry. How many people are really sensitive to the beauty of a Greek play? And Corneille, in a less degree, should be taken on trust in the same way and without endeavoring to make him Over again. If there are any who admire him, let them take up Levallois’s book and they will learn to like him more. Those who despise him may in the same way learn to look upon him with less impatience.
American Unitarian Association, Boston: Endeavors after the Christian Life. Discourses by James Martineau. Reprinted from the Sixth English Edition.
Annual Report of the President of Harvard College. 1875-76.
Aurora Public School. Course of Study and Manual of Instruction. Published by order of the Board of Education.
A. S. Barnes & Co., New York: The History of Liberty: A Paper read before the New York Historical Society, February 6, 1866. By John F.
Richard Bentley and Son, London : Studies in English Art. By Frederick Wedmore.
J. W. Bouton, New York: The Epicurean. A Tale. With Viguette Illustrations by J. M. W.
Turner, Esq., R. A.; and Alciphron, A Poem. By Thomas Moore.
Robert Carter and Bros., New York : The Development Hypothesis : Is it Sufficient? By James McCosh, D. D., LL. D.
Catholic Publication Society, New York : Poems ; Devotional and Occasional. By Benjamin Dionysius Hill, C. S. P.
Centennial History of Erie County, New York: Being its Annals from the Earliest Recorded Events to the Hundredth Year of American Independence. By Crisfield Johnson.
Glaxton, Remsen, and Haffelfinger, Philadelphia : The Centennial Frog, and other Stories.
Columbia College, New York : An Historical Sketch of Columbia College.
Darwin. By Robert McK. Ormsby.
Dodd, Mead, & Co., New York : Near to Nature’s Heart. By REV. E. P. Roe.— Jehovah-Jesus : The Oneness of God : The True Trinity. By Robert D. Weeks. — Religion and the State ; or, The Bible and the Public Schools. By Samuel T. Spear, D. D. — Elsie’s Motherhood. By Martha Farquharson.
J. B, Ford & Co., New York : Mothers and Daughters. Practical Studies for the Conservation of the Health of Girls. By Tullio Suzzara Verdi, A. M., M. D. — Footsteps of the Master. By Harriet Beecher Stowe.
William P. Gill & Co., Boston : The National Ode: The Memorial Freedom Poem. By Bayard Taylor. Illustrated. — Hold the Fort. By P. P. Bliss. With Illustrations by Miss L. B. Humphrey and Robert Lewis.
S. C. Griggs & Co., Chicago: Viking Tales of the North. The Sagas of Thorstein, Viking’s Son, and Fridthjof the Bold, Translated from the Icelandic by Rasmus B. Anderson, A. M., and Jón Bjarnason. Also Tegnéir’s Fridthjof’s Saga. Translated into English by George Stephens.
Grim and Heath, Boston : A Manual of Instruction in Latin, on the Basis of a Latin Method. Prepared by J. H. Allen and J. B. Greenough. — Addison and Goldsmith. Pamphlet Sections of Hudson’s Text-Books of Prose and Poetry.
Hanscom & Co., New York : A Song of America, and Minor Lyrics. By V. Voido.
History of the Public School System of California. By John Swett.
Henry Holt & Co., New York : Condensed Classics. Our Mutual Friend. By Charles Dickens, Condensed by Rossiter Johnson.
Hurd and Houghton, New York : Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, and Kindred Papers. By Thomas De Quincey. — Autobiographical Sketches. By Thomas De Quincey. — Literary Criticism. By Thomas De Quincey. — Colony Ballads. By Georgo L. Raymond.—Public Health Reports and Papers. Volume II. Presented at the Meetings of the American Public Health Association in the years 18741875.
Legend of Nonnenwerth, and other Poems. By Mary T. Maloney.
Lindsay and Baker, Philadelphia; Poems. By Clement Biddle.
J. B. Lippincott &. Co., Philadelphia : The Teachings of Providence; or, New Lessons on Old Subjects. By Rev. J. B. Gross. — The Century: Its Fruits and its Festival. Being a History and Description of the Centennial Exhibition, with a Preliminary Outline of Modern Progress. By Edward C. Bruce. With Numerous Illustrations. — Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius. By Rev. James Davies, M. A.
Lockwood, Brooks, & Co., Boston: Christ in the Life. Sermons. With a Selection of Poems. By Edmund H. Sears. —Long Ago. A Year of Child Life, By Ellis Gray. illustrated from Designs by Susan Haile, Julia P. Dabney, and Ellen Day Hale.
Macmillan & Co., London and New York: A Course of Practical Instruction in Elementary Biology, By T. H. Huxley, LL. D., See. R. S., assisted
by H. N. Martin, B. A., M. B., D. Sc. — Historical and Architectural Sketches: chiefly Italian. By Edward A. Freeman, D. C. L., LL. D. With Twenty-two Illustrations from Drawings by the Author — Rambles and Studies in Greece. By J. P. Ma haffy. — Modern Physical Fatalism and the Doctrine of Evolution, including an Examination of Mr. H. Spencer’s First Principles. By Thomas Rawson Birks, M. A., Professor of Moral Philosophy, Cambridge.— Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, afterwards First Marquess of Lansdowne. With Extracts from his Papers aud Correspondence. By Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice. Volume III,
James Miller, New York: The Two Great Commandments. Sermons by the Rev. Orville Dewey. — Washington : A Drama, in Five Acts. By Martin F. Tupper.
Nelson and Phillips, New York: King Saul. A Tragedy. By Byron A. Brooks.
Noyes, Snow, & Co., Boston: Long Look House. A Book for Boys and Girls. By Edward Abbott. Silhouette Illustrations by Helen Maria Hinds.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York: Captain Sam; or, The Boy Scouts of 1814. By George Cary Eggleston.— Boys of Other Countries. Stories for American Boys, By Bayard Taylor. Illustrated.— The Barton Experiment. By the Author of Helen’s Babies. — The Plains of the Great West and their Inhabitants. By Richard Irving Dodge, LieutenantColonel U. S. A. With an Introduction by William Blackmore. Illustrated.
Report of the Commissioners of Education for the Year 1875.
Report on the Geology of the Eastern Portion of the Uinta Mountains and a Region of Country adjacent thereto. With Atlas. By J. W. Powell.
Roberts Brothers, Boston: Reason, Faith, and Duty. Sermons preached chiefly in the College Chapel. By James Walker, D. D., LL. D., late President of Harvard College. — Sappho. A Tragedy in Five Acts. By Franz Grillparzer. Translated by Ellen Frothingham. — Goethe’s West-Easterly Divan. Translated, with Introduction and Notes, by John Weiss.
A. Roman & Co., New York and San Francisco: Archology; or, the Science of Government. By S. V. Blakeslee.
Scribner, Armstrong, & Co., New York: Roman History. The Early Empire. From the Assassination of Julius Cæsar to that of Domitian. By W. W. Capes, M. A. With Two Maps. —The Adventures of Captain Mag ; or, A Phoenician Expedition, B. c. 1000. By Léon Cahun. Illustrated by P. Philippoteaux, and translated from the French by Ellen E. Frewer.
Sheldon & Co.. New York : A Complete Life of General George A. Custer, Major-General of Volunteers, Brevet Major-General U. S. Army, and Lieutenant-Colonel Seventh U. S. Cavalry. By Frederick Whittaker.
D. Van Nostrand, New York : Notes on Life Insurance. Third Edition, Revised, Enlarged, and Rearranged. By Gustavus W. Smith. —The Fleets of the World. The Galley Period. By Foxhall A. Parker, Commodore U. S. Navy.
- 24Troubadours and Trouvères, New and Old. By HARRIET W. PRESTON, Author of Aspendale, Love in the Nineteenth Century, Translator of Mirèio, etc Boston; Roberts Brothers. 1876↩
- Philip Nolan’s Friends. A Story of the Change of Western Empire. By EDWARD E. HALE. New York: Scribner, Armstrong, & Co. 1877.↩
- 25The Gold of Chickaree. By SUSAN and ANNA WARNER. Authors of Wide, Wide World, Dollars and Cents, Wych Hazel, etc. New York : G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 1876.↩
- The Californians. By WALTER M. FISHER, London : Macmillan & Co. 1876.↩
- The Geographical Distribution of Animals. With a Study of the Relations of Living and Extinct Faunas as elucidating the Past Changes of the Earth’s Surface. By ALFRED RUSSELL WALLACE New York: Harper and Brothers. 1876. Two vols 8vo, pp. xxiii., 503 ; ix., 607↩
- The Jericho Road; A Story of Western Life. Chicago : Jansen, McClurg & Co. 1877.↩
- Student Life at Harvard. Boston: Lockwood, Brooks, & Co. 1876.↩
- Three Memorial Poems. By JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL. Boston : J. R. Osgood & Co. 1877.↩
- Poems of Places. Edited by HENRy W, LONGFELLOW. Boston : James R. Osgood & Co. 1877.↩
- A Book of Poems. By JOHN W. CHADWICK. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1876.↩
- The American Architect and Building News Vol. I. Boston : J. R. Osgood & Co. 1876.↩
- Libraire de l' Art. Revue hebdomadaire. Illustrée. Deuxième Année. Paris : A. BALLUS, Éditeur. New York : J. W. Bouton.↩
- The Art Schools of Mediœal Christendom. By A. C. OWEN. Edited by .J. RUSKIN, Ch. Ch., Oxford, Slade Professor. London: Mozleyand Smith. 1876.↩
- A Living Faith. By GEORGE S. MERRIAM. Boston : Lockwood, Brooks, & Co. 1876.↩
- From the Lakes of Killarney to the Golden Horn. By HENRY M. FIELD, D. D. New York: Scribner, Armstrong, & Co. 1877.↩
- Fifty Years of my Life. By GEORGE THOMAS, Earl of Albemarle. New York : Henry Holt & Co. 1876.↩
- Bancroft’s History of the United States of America. Centenary Edition. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 1876.↩
- The Carlyle Anthology. Selected and arranged, with the Author’s sanction, by EDWARD BARRETT. New York : Henry Holt & Co. 1876.↩
- All books mentioned under this head are to be had at Schoenhof and Moeller’s, 40 Winter St., Boston, Mass.↩
- Un Coin du Monde. Paris: Calmann Lévy. 1876.↩
- Les Maîtres d'Autrefois. BeLgique, Hollande. Par EUGÈNE FBOMENTIN. Paris; E. Plan et Cie. 1876.↩
- Les Français en Amérique. Par LEON CHOTTEAU. Paris : Charpentier (New York : F. W. Christern).↩
- Corneille Inconnu. Par JULES LEVALLOIS. Paris Didier. 1876.↩