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below, in whom he sees the instruments of his power. They witness the progress of Harold's assault and see him scale the walls, and disappear within the city, a success anything but satisfactory to the bloodthirsty idolater, who

* Paling frown'd upon the sun, Though the sky deepen'd and the time rush'd on.' When suddenly from the camp at their feet rose strange cries of wrath, and wonder; and lo! the Saxon fleet moored beyond the distant forest is in flames. This is the work of Arthur, who, with his followers, had lain in ambush awaiting Merlin's appointed signal from the dragon keep of Carduel. While the Saxon camp rouses itself to arms, through the forest hastens the deliverer. They are amazed by shouts of Arthur's name, and at the same moment the conquerors within the city are driven back and dispossessed; the Pale Horse of the Saxons, which had waved triumphant for an hour, once more yielding to the Dragon Standard. At length Harold, still facing the foe, is driven forth from Carduel, to the savage joy of the watchful priest, who from his height witnesses his retreat and the sun passing the meridian. He summons Crida to the sacrifice : but the spirit of patriotism has seized the aged king, he leaves the priest to do his worst; his own place is by the retreating standard ; his people are his children. His enthusiasm diffuses a glow amid their discouraged ranks.

• The wide mass quickens with the one strong mind.' The priest had descended to complete the sacrifice, already the knife gleams over Genevieve, when a shaft sent as by the Fates from invisible hands slays the slayer, and the priest falls bathed in his own blood. While all stand suspended in wonder and terror, wild clamours are heard without. The fane is besieged by a dismayed multitude flying before the victor ; Arthur himself - in his own person Victory.

Roused by the very extremity of the moment, the idolaters seek for the hand that has slain their chief, when suddenly sprang upon the altarstone a grim fiend-like image. It is the wild Aleman, who as Genevra's escort to the Saxon camp, had heard the rumours of Genevieve's approaching sacrifice. Following unseen in Harold's train, he had concealed himself behind the altar till the moment came to save. Springing from the altar he cut the victim's bonds, and before their vengeance had time to wreak itself, Arthur the deliverer treads the threshold, gleams through the nave a destroying angel,- and now the Silver Shield rests over Genevieve.

• Amid the thousands stood the conquering One
Still, lone, and unresisted like the Sun.'

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The fane soon becomes the last theatre of war. Crida rushes in with all his tributary kings. Arthur, still in ignorance of his relationship to Genevieve, makes his way in wrath to where he stands. The old king's sword, wielded with all his strength shivers before the diamond glaive. The conqueror's foot is on his breast when the maiden springs forward to intercept the descending blow, and declares herself the daughter of his prostrate foe. At this juncture Harold appears :-his of all that host the only undaunted breast. He had assembled and reorganized his broken bands on the brow of a neighbouring hill, and now enters the temple to make honourable terms for the vanquished, and to offer peace. The scene is drawn which there meets his eye-the idol god overthrown amid pools of blood, and the Cross exalted in its place; the captive Teuton kings haughty and in chains; Crida apart and unbound, one hand concealing his face, the other resting on the head of his kneeling child; Genevra by her side, mourning her father's and her country's woe, and Lancelot whispering such comfort as love could dictate : the circle of knights; the rigid form of the Aleman, like some uncouth image of the gods he had renounced, and in the midst the hero king, the impersonation of honour and fame. assemblage Harold proudly offers his terms—peace, their captives released, and their kings restored; or war while life shall

Arthur, wise and magnanimous in his triumph, accepts peace from his noble foe, a choice welcome to all, though

• Dark scowl the priests ;-with vengeance priesteraft dies !' Standing by the fallen idol's altar, under the holy rood, Merlin now utters prophetic words of comfort, and foresees the time when the two conflicting races will blend in lasting peace, promising to his countrymen the possession of their mountainous empire while time shall last. To Harold he foretels that from him shall descend a race of Scottish kings, and Lancelot is accepted by the bold heathen as his son-in-law.

King Crida does not yield to the dictates of fate so readily, but the hero condescends to sue, and his heart relents. Arthur pleads

““The pride of kings is in the power to bless,

The kingliest hand is that which gives the most;
Priceless the gift I ask thee to bestow,-
But doubly royal is a generous foe!”
" Then forth-subdued, yet stately, Crida came,

And the last hold in that rude heart was won ;-
“Hero, thy conquest makes no more my shame,

He shares thy glory that can call thee 'Son!'
So may this love-knot bind and bless the lands!"
Faltering he spoke, and join’d the plighted hands.

• There flock the hosts as to a holy ground,

There, where the dove at last may fold the wing!
His mission ended, and his labours crown'd,

Fair as in fable stands the Dragon King,
Below the Cross and by his prophet's side,
With Carduel's knighthood kneeling round his bride.
• What gallant deeds in gentle lists were done,

What lutes made joyaunce sweet in jasmine bowers
Let others tell:-Slow sets the summer sun;

Slow fall the mists, and closing droop the flowers;
Faint in the glooming dies the vesper bell,

And Dream-land sleeps round golden Carduel.'—P. 451. We have thus at some expense of the reader's time attempted to give an idea of the fable of the poem, without which no proper view of its merits can be gained. We are aware that an abstract cannot do justice to its subject, yet a full perusal leaves the same impression, of a lack of human interests, and of vigorous power to arrest and sustain attention. With many striking, effective, beautiful parts, the poem fails as a whole. At no time do we feel the hero a real personage; we seldom can sufficiently believe in his existence to sympathise in his trials, or to feel truly concerned for him. His fairy mystic guide greatly aggravates this evil, not only from the additional haze of unreality she diffuses round him, but that we feel well satisfied she will keep him from all real peril, whatever dangers may seem to threaten his path. This unerring guardian is open to the objection Dryden makes to the machinery of all Christian poets. Like Ariosto's angel in contest with Discord, 'who soon makes her know the difference of strength between a nuncio of heaven and a minister of hell,' we know and surely the hero also that giants may threaten, and fiends gibber, and death inevitable may seem to oppose his path, but she will in fact bring him nowhere where he may not pass safely through.

The rules of criticism, in common with all dogmas, often offend by a seeming technicality and trivial attention to forms; a sacrifice of real worth and beauty, to dry correctness : yet experience teaches us the substantial truth of many a dictum which at one time we deemed merely arbitrary; and amongst these is the paramount necessity of the subserviency of parts to the whole. This our author has not regarded; he has said whatever suited him at the time to say, or seemed to enhance the effect of the particular portion he was engaged upon. Whether it be a point of erudition to be displayed, a fling at a political opponent suggested by the matter in hand, a train of speculation or sentiment appropriate to modern times, but professedly from the lips of ancient wisdom—if it roughly dispel an allusion ; if it weakens our faith; if it loosens our hold and our interest on

the main theme, however dear to the author, the mistimed show of wit or wisdom should have found no place. In the words of Waller, 'a poet ought not to say all he can, but only all he ought.' The present writer has wished to make his poem the depository of all his thoughts; to say all he can say ; to record his view of every topic which has engaged his own or the popular attention; to display acquaintance and sympathy with the whole field of modern inquiry.

In the preface to his second edition he complacently observes upon the charge of too much learning, answering it in the words of a modern critic, 'that an epic poet ought to possess all the learning of his age. A poet ought unquestionably to possess learning, but every man's own experience tells him that the most learned do not commonly talk most learnedly. We presume that it is learning out of place of which the critics complain. What is yet crude and of recent acquirement is obtrusively exhibited; the accumulated stores of an observant mind, what have matured the understanding and formed the judgment, are no subjects for display. They enrich and illustrate every theme, but they are only manifest when the occasion asks for them.

We agree with the author in thinking the choice of his metre a happy one. He quotes Dryden's emphatic praise of the 'quatrain, or stanza of four alternate lines ;' but those who are acquainted with the only long poem in which Dryden has used it, The Annus Mirabilis,' will feel how greatly the monotony of this measure is relieved by the rhyming couplet which concludes the stanza, allowing more scope too, for the completion of the thought or picture. Many of the preceding examples prove that our author has understood its capabilities. His diction, if not poetical in the highest sense, is easy, graceful, and eloquent, well-fitted for the alternations of thought and narrative through which his subject leads him.

In conclusion, though we have no expectation that the mass of Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's readers will acquiesce in his judgment, we are inclined to agree with it so far as to believe that of all his works 'King Arthur' has perhaps the most claim to a lasting reputation. What hindrances we see to the realization of his sanguine hopes for this darling of his latest care, we have explained elsewhere. But a long poem is a great venture, and it is something even to fail with credit, where the stake that is tried for is lasting fame.

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ART. III. Commentary on the Psalms. By Dr. E. W. HIENG

STENBERG, Professor of Theology at Berlin. Translated from the German by the Rev. P. Fairbairn and Rev. J. Thompson. Edinburgh : Clark.


OUR object at present is not so much to weigh the character of this work of Dr. Henstenberg, whose high merits as a most learned and strenuous asserter of Orthodoxy in the Lutheran School are well known, as to lay before our readers a few thoughts on a subject connected with the Sacred Psalter, on which earnest minds are sometimes disposed to seek for assistance. Indeed we believe there are but few, amongst those who have been accustomed to make a devout and considerate use of these inspired poems, that have not often felt embarrassed and perplexed by the tone, in which the sacred penmen are wont to speak when referring to enemies. The difficulty is, how to reconcile the feeling which such passages seem to breathe, with the prescriptions which abound on the subject in the New Testament. There we find sentiments of long-suffering, of forgiveness, even of positive love, enjoined upon us, alike by the teaching and by the example both of our blessed Lord and of his Holy Apostles; and this, too, so constantly and in so great a variety of ways, that the impression of no one quality of our holy religion is left more distinctly on the minds of all who come into contact with it, than that of the great leniency and even kindness which it requires of us, even in dealing with our bitterest foes. But when we turn to the Book of Psalms, what is it that we seem to find there?

In order that we may have the facts of the case fairly before our minds, let us first collect some of the passages in which enemies are spoken of by the holy Psalmist, disposing them under the several heads under which they naturally class themselves; and then we will proceed to consider how they are to be regarded.

In the first place, then, there is a considerable number of instances, in which the Psalmist simply implores deliverance on his own behalf, and his adversaries' disappointment and confusion. Thus, for example, ‘Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed : let them return and be ashamed suddenly,' (vi. 10.) 'Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil,' (xl. 14.)

Now, so far as such prayers express a desire that the

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