Books of the Month

Poetry and the Drama. The Foray of Queen Meave, and other Legends of Ireland’s Heroic Ages, is the title of a volume of verse by Aubrey de Vere. (Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., London.) The other legends are The Sons of Usnach and The Children of Lir. It is not given to every one to enter with hearty sympathy into Irish legendary poetry; the barbaric quarrel seems scarcely more attractive to many than the Kilkenny row, but Mr. de Vere is always smooth, and sometimes musical, in his verse. He sings, however, for patriot ears. — In the Saddle (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) is a capital collection of the best English and American poems which a lover of riding may read with delight. The motion of the subject forbids these poems from being dull, and it is curious to see how often the poet has unconsciously fallen into a canter in his verse. — Atlas, by Charles Leonard Moore (John E. Potter & Co., Philadelphia), is a dramatic poem which has been deliberately conceived in dignity, and if it lacks a compelling reason possibly the fault is in the nineteenth century.

Science. Essays on the Floating-Matter of the Air in Relation to Putrefaction and Infection (Appletons) is the latest of Professor John Tyndall’s works. It contains chapters on Dust and Disease, Optical Deportment of the Atmosphere in Relation to Putrefaction and Infection, Fermentation and its Bearings on Surgery and Medicine, and Spontaneous Generation. — To the various series of science made easy and interesting must now be added Science Ladders, edited by N. D’Anvers (Putnams), of which two numbers have been issued: Forms of Land and Water and Vegetable Life. These books are intended for children, to be used by them as readers, but they need the interpretation of an intelligent teacher. — The fortysecond volume of the International Scientific Series (Appletons) is Sir John Lubbock’s Ants, Bees, and Wasps, containing records of experiments made in a series of years with the purpose of testing the mental condition and powers of sense of these little creatures. The gravity with which Sir John goes into the experience of an ant is amusing as well as instructive. One would like to believe that the ant was not wholly aware of what his historian was doing.

History and Biography. Mitslav, or The Conversion of Pomerania, is a historic tale, carefully squared with the authorities, by Bishop Milman, of Calcutta. It was published in 1854, before Milman had become bishop, and has now been reissued, after lying some time out of print. The time of the tale is the twelfth century, and it purports to be told by a contemporary. It is spirited, and yet hampered by the author’s recurrence to his old clothes, whenever he remembers himself. — Charlemagne, by the Rev. Edward L. Cutts, is a popular historical survey of the period of which he is the conspicuous person, and is furnished with a good map. Both of these volumes are publications of the London Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. (E. & J. B. Young & Co., New York.)

Law. A Treatise on the Law of Stock-Brokers and Stock-Exchanges, by John R. Dos Passos, of the New York bar (Harpers), is devoted to a discussion of the legal nature and character of stock exchanges, to a history of the various transactions made in such places, and to a consideration of the reciprocal legal rights and duties which are evolved from the relation of broker and client, as well as to the nature and kind of securities dealt in on the exchanges. The appendix contains the Constitution and By-Laws of the New York Stock Exchange, and the Rules and Regulations of the London and the Paris Exchanges.

Travel and Chorography. China is a volume of popular encyclopædic character, by Robert K. Douglas, Professor of Chinese at King’s College, London, and published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the New York agents for which are E. & J. B. Young & Co. It is furnished with a clear map and a few illustrations. — Camps in the Rockies is further explained on the title-page as a narrative of life on the frontier, and sport in the Rocky Mountains, with an account of the cattle ranches of the West, by Wm. A. Baillie-Grohman, K. C. E. H. and member of the Alpine Club. (Scribners.) Mr. Grohman, in spite of his trail of letters, is a lively writer and sensible traveler, who takes his hard knocks goodhumoredly, and makes the reader agree with him in thinking nothing in life quite so worth while as roughing it in the extreme West. —Paul Dreifuss, his Holiday Abroad, by John W. Allen, Jr. (Geo. H. Ellis, Boston), is a nondescript book of travels and personal reflections, the assumed work of a man who did not go abroad to write a book, but to enjoy a holiday. It is in effect a sketch of contemporaneous life in Paris, and may be read as the notes of an intelligent American with literary affectation.

Fiction. Marjory Graham (Putnams) is a story of the war, a domestic story, with sincere if not always controlled sentiment. — Bright Days in the Old Plantation Time, by Mrs. Mary Ross Banks (Lee & Shepard), is a volume of reminiscences and stories of the ante-bellum times in Georgia. Its artlessness and uuliterary character give one greater confidence in its general fidelity to manners, though there is evidently a desire on the writer’s part to put in a plea in defense of Southern life.— Lady Beauty, or Charming to her Latest Day, by Allan Muir (Putnams), is probably to be taken as a summer novel. At any rate, it would not stand the calm light of a cold winter day; the author has been much too desirous of lightness and wit. — A Woman’s Perils, or Driven from Home, by Mrs. James C. Cook, of Columbus, Georgia, as the title-page announces parenthetically (Petersons), is one of those fearful and wonderful Southern novels which lead one into the deepest mazes of improbability. — The Marquis of Carabas (Roberts) is the title of a new romance by Mrs. Harriet Prescott Spofford. — Leone is the title of a new novel in the Round Robin Series. (Osgood.) It reads curiously like a poor translation of a poor Italian story. There are brigands and artists and Americans, and all are faintly washed in on a dull canvas. — The latest two novels in the Trans-Atlantic Series (Putnams) are At the Eleventh Hour, by Annie Edwardes, always an acceptable writer, and Abbé Constantine, by Ludovic Halévy, translated from the twentieth French edition by Emily H. Hagen. — The latest numbers of the Franklin Square Series (Harpers) are Marjory, by the author of James Gordon’s Wife, and The Lady Maud, Schooner Yacht, by W. Clark Russell, the prince of nautical story-tellers, whose portrait, topped by an insolent hat, is a frontispiece.

Literature. Hood’s Own, with its antiquated fun and pictures and perennial good-temper, has been issued by the Putnams in the three-column style which seems to make an easy descent from the shelf to the kindling barrel. — Bird-Bolts, Shots on the Wing (George H. Ellis, Boston), is a little volume of brief essays, by the Rev. Francis Tiffany. He takes his title from the passage in Twelfth Night, “To be generous, guiltless, and of a free disposition is to take those things for bird-bolts that you deem cannon-bullets ; ” and so the author applies his light and kindly philosophy to thirty or more topics which have an attachment to great themes. The reading is pleasant and not over-fatiguing to the mind.—MrsOliphant, who is always to be spoken of with respect, has written The Literary History of England in the End of the Eighteenth and Beginning of the Nineteenth Century. (Macmillan.) The work is in three volumes, and is inclusive of Cowper and Father Mahoney. “ The aim of the author has been throughout rather to give, as fully as she was able, a history of the new departures, in poetry above all, in criticism, in fiction, and to the extent of her ability to indicate those which have occurred in history and philosophy, than to undertake an absolute commentary upon every individual writer.” Mrs. Oliphant’s training as a character-novelist has qualified her for a certain side of her task, and her strong sympathy with great ethical movements peculiarly fits her for tracing the under-currents of that English renaissance which was contemporaneous with the tempestuous French upheaval.

Criticism and Scholarship. The Harpers have issued in a convenient form the Revised GreekEnglish New Testament, containing Westcott & Hort’s Greek Text and the Revised English version on opposite pages, with an introduction by Dr. Philip Schaff. As nearly as possible the English and Greek pages correspond in contents; a sized paper has been used and a wide margin given, so that the student can annotate his copy; the thinness of the paper, with ample back margins, and the good quality of the binding allow the book to lie open well on the table. The finish of the binding is not what it should be when so much pains has been taken, but in most respects this is a well-made and serviceable book. On the whole, the American student has a convenient hand-book in this edition. — An edition of Beowulf, edited by Prof. J. A. Harrison, is published by Ginn, Heath & Co. The present installment includes the text alone which follows Heyne’s fourth edition. It is proposed to publish shortly a glossary. ’T is a pity that text and glossary could not have appeared together.—A Preparatory Book of German Prose, by Hermann B. Boisen (Ginn, Heath & Co.), is planned upon the principle of a gradation of difficulties. The editor has drawn largely from the profuse German literature for the young, and has perhaps given a surfeit of the fantastic and sentimental.

Theology and Philosophy. Natural Religion, by the author of Ecce Homo (Roberts), will attract attention, but nothing like the attention given to the author’s former work. That was in a sense a pioneer work; this comes to readers accustomed to the rudest and softest attacks upon traditions. Moreover, a book which discusses a system and an organism has nothing like the power of one which deals with a person. Meanwhile the book will interest many as an attempt at getting the bearings of current Christianity. — A new volume of sermons by H. W. Beecher (Fords, Howard & Hulbert) has been issued, including those preached between September, 1873, and March, 1874. Besides the sermons, Mr. Beecher’s accompanying prayers are reported: it is hard to avoid criticising them; it is equally hard to imagine any one who reads the book using the prayers as means of devotion. — National Religions and Universal Religions, by A. Kuenen, Professor of Theology at Leiden (Scribners), is the title of the Hibbert Lectures for 1882.

Public Affairs and Politics. Our Merchant Marine, how it rose, increased, became great, declined, and decayed, with an inquiry into the conditions essential to its resuscitation and future prosperity, is an essay by David A. Wells. (Putnams.) Mr. Wells recognizes the complex character of the problem, and apparently does not transpose cause and effect. — Mr. Herbert Spencer issues his Political Institutions: being Part V. of the Principles of Sociology, the concluding portion of Vol. II. (Appletons.) Using the theory of evolution, he proceeds to develop his subject from Political Organization in general to the subsidence of the military and supremacy of the industrial type. — Political Economy, with Especial Reference to the Industrial History of Nations, is a treatise by Professor R. E. Thompson (Porter & Coates), who is a pronounced Protectionist, or, as he would prefer to be called, a Nationalist. It is a revised edition of a previous work, and is written by a man who warms to his subject.

Wit and Humor. William Penn, by Robert J. Burdette, is the latest issue in Lives of American Worthies. (Holt.) The dates 1644-1718 on the title-page at once raise an uneasy apprehension. May there not be something funny in them ? If, however, one takes the book as a specimen of rank good humor and can once settle the score with his sense of shame, he may find his entertainment quite uninterrupted. It is sometimes hard, however, to take one’s history in a slouch, and we do not take kindly to such elaborate burlesque.