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our beloved allegorist. We have | AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LEIGH Hryi. A not noticed this edition during its
New Edition, Revised by the Autho, with further Rerision and an Intro
duction by his Eldest Son. London: greater service to its spirited pub
Smith, Elder, & Co. lisher when it was completed, and we could inform our readers, not that certain felicitous improve
This is a charming gossipping volume, ments were projected in this edition, written in Leigh Hunt's happiest but that they had been made. What style. Its entire length is a long these are we can best indicate in the picture gallery, where the portraits words of the editor, Mr. Gilfillan
of his friends are preserved, and our “ Among the learned, to whom the host, in taking us through, kindly presentation of an antique page forms
interweaves with his talk pleasant no barrier, but acts often as a zest,
reminiscences of the hours he spent there are few poems in our language
with each of them. The greatest more admired than " The Faerie
literary men of the past and present Queen,' but to the general reader, age are thus introduced and described the old spelling is felt to be so repul
to us. Coleridge, Keats, Byron, sive as to make the work appear a
Campbell, Shelley, Carlyle, and sealed book.” We have felt the Dickens. Leigh Hunt was intimate difference in reading a page of
with them all, and here, as in a this emended orthography, as com
magical mirror, we see them pass pared with the old, to be as before us, in the vraisemblance of great as the difference between the life, along with a number of others, medal rough and discoloured by rust,
their associates and friends. Leigh and when burnished and clean. The
Hunt's vapourous religious sentimentwork done by Mr. Gilfillan for
tality hangs like a mist over portions Spenser had been done long ago for
of the book, damping and darkening Shakspeare, and now Spenser is as
the reader's mind as it did the easily read as his great contemporary.
author's. Otherwise, a pleasanter The explanations given of obsolete
railway or after-dinner companion terms are neither prolix nor meagre ;
could not be desired. usually one word suffices, and the glossary being put at the side of the page, the reader glides along without the slightest interruption. Every obstacle being now removed to the
THE PUBLIC SPEAKER, AND HOW TO
MAKE ONE. By a Cambridge Man. full enjoyment of our glorious ro
London: James Nisbet. mantic poet, the flower of chivalry, we trust that every student of our language and literature will now avail If the title-page were an advertisehimself of the privilege. The intro ment, stating what the author wanted ductory essays by Mr. Gilfillan are to know, we could direct him where worthy of his high name: one exhi to get instructions how to make a bits the construction and moral of
public speaker ; but we warn our the allegories of the several works readers not to expect such instruction another, the life of the poet-a third, from this book, which only asks and a dissertation on his poetry; all of does not tell --- how ; unless this them graphic and instructive. The
advice be sufficient which we give in type is doubtless familiar to our three words what our author expands readers, and will be no mean charm to over 120 pp. Query,—How to make them when they indulge in the luxury a Public Speaker. Answer,--Resolve of buying and reading this standard and be. edition of Spenser.
MAURICE'S SOCIAL RELIGION, exemplified
in an Account of the First Settlement of Christianity in the City of Coerludd. By the Rev. Matthias Maurice. Seventh Edition. Edited by the Rev. F. Nicholas, Professor of Theology and Church History, Carmarthen College. London: Ward & Co.
A reprint and revise of a quaint, rich, old, unforgotten book, written by a contemporary and neighbour of Doddridge. Being a Welshman he reproduces an old Celtic city into which Christianity is just introduced, and illustrates the constitution and working of the apostolic churches from the fictitious history of the young church in Coerludd. The framework of the narrative is cumbrous wood-work, for the Rev. Matthias was no cunning workman in words or fancies ; but the matter enclosed is solid and precious. Like bullion-boxes, inside the rude carpentry there are pure and weighty ingots. Further, there is a severe realistic manner about the Puritan's fiction, which gives it an amazing hold on the imagination, so that these early Christians, despite their Welsh and unpronounceable names, excite deep and growing interest as we read of them.
absorbed demeanour of the romancist not unfrequently puzzled the quiet Cheshire country people. We mus own to a feeling of disappointment that after a silence of several years Mr. Hawthorne should make even Italy his first theme. He has written his name after those of De Stael, and Tieck, and Andersen, and many others from lands not Italian, who have made Italy the home of their ideal creations. Some curiosity must be felt as to the manner in which an author who succeeded in drawing a veil of old-world mystery and romance even over Boston can avail of the exhaustless materials which lie heaped around the Capitol and the Coloseum. We must frankly declare our opinion that the attempt has not been successful, and that the Romance of Monte Beni* will not add to the fame of the author of the Romance of Blithedale. Mr. Hawthorne seems to have concentrated in his latest work all the peculiar defects even of his best productions, and to have diffused over it less of his peculiar charm of thought, and style, and touch, than are apparent even in the slightest of his previous efforts. It is scarcely possible to arise from the perusal of this book without a feeling of disappointment and a sense of wasted genius.
Mr. Hawthorne is unquestionably a man of genius, and of characteristics thoroughly unborrowed and original. When his name first became known in English literature, a place among the foremost of his own art was readily and justly accorded to him. There appeared something in his writings which indicated the latent existence of a power yet to be developed and made profitable to the world. With the lapse of time it seemed almost certain that this vagueness and want of purpose would crystalize into clearness and well-directed force.
AFTER Mr. Hawthorne's long residence in this country, many of his admirers no doubt expected from him some work embodying his impressions of English scenery and English life. Liverpool, with its intense business energy and its entirely modern character, was scarcely a fitting home for the poetic or the romantic, but there were phases of its life of which we should all gladly have received his impressions. Picturesque glimpses of scenery there are too in its neighbourhood, as Mr. Hawthorne learned in his wanderings on the New Brighton shore, and among the Eastham woods, where the dreamy,
“ Transformation : or, the Romance of Monte Beni." By Nathaniel Hawthorne. London : Smith, Elder, & Co.
It is not surprising that Mr. Haw- , out without judgment, and either de thorne's earlier works aroused the generating into melancholy monoattention of a public languid from mania or breaking out into a wilder very satiety of novel reading. There madness. was genius in them entirely peculiar, But the author ought to have grona and almost inexplicable. Hawthorne to something still better, artistically took his reader with him into the and morally. The defects of previous centre of busy, bustling, and modern labours would have been compensated Boston, drew his magic circle, spake had the interval of years which fol his conjuration, and the very spirit lowed the publication of the " Blithe of the antique arose in gloom and dale Romance" been the precurser cloud upon the scene. In his descrip of a work wholly healthy and manly tions of some old Massachussetts in tone, and which while developfamily name, or some Governor's ing to the fullest the high imaginacouncil chamber, the very soul of the tion and the spiritualized feeling of elder world seems to descend and the author should borrow no unreal, hold communion with the reader. delusive, and disappointing attracOccasional glimpses, too, of a gentle tions from the morbid, the mystic and and tender feeling revealed them the supernatural. Such a work the selves. The opening chapter of the “Romance of Monte Beni" emphati“Scarlet Letter,” describing the little cally is not. It has all the special custom-house of Salem and its offi-| defects of its predecessors, and not cials, was as quaint and genial as if it many of their peculiar merits. were a lost leaf from the essays of The “ Romance of Monte Beni" is poor Elia. But there was a power in at least original in its structure. 10 the “Scarlet Letter” rarely united is the story of a being almost euwith such quiet pathos. Scarcely is tirely 'animal in its origin, de there in literature a contrast and a veloped into emotion, painful struga junction more terribly dramatic than gles, and final exaltation by the those which separate and yet link to remorse which follows a sudden deed gether the Puritan preacher and the of crime. In the old classic legend branded wearer of the fatal symbol. the higher life lights up in the animal Is it not Maclise's painting of the nature at the first glimpse of human play-scene in “Hamlet,” in which the beauty. In the German story a soul artifice of the painter has caused the enters the sprite-form of Undine with shadow of the stage-murderer to fall the visitation of human love. In dit. across the chamber right upon the Hawthorne's novel the nature of the figure of the fratricide King? It is Faun grows humanized and ennobled thus that in the “Scarlet Letter” the through the painful medium of reshadow of the degradation and the morse and despair. It is not difficult guilt of the lost woman darkens the to see how the story gradually de form of the preacher, and seems to veloped itself in the author's mind mark out a black space upon which Mr. "Hawthorne when gazing on the those two beings stand alone, appal marble Faun of Praxiteles in the lingly distinguished from the pure sculpture gallery of the Capitol tel brightness all around.
into his peculiar and dreamy meditaThe "Blithedale Romance," in tions upon the mythic nature of the many respects the best, was surely being who held that strange place the saddest of the author's produc- between man and animal, having tions. It is a dreary retrospect of some of the form and some of the enthusiasm uselessly expending its character of each, capable of & powers, and prematurely expiring : | higher joy and love than the one race, passion misdirected, and turning back | incapable of the aspiration, the sorro: to prey upon itself : principles the the exaltation of the other. .1 most unselfish and exalted worked strange desire seized upon the autho
imagination to weave a modern romance around a central figure in whose being the elements of the wild joyous Faun nature were blended from a hereditary source. “The being here represented is endowed with no principle of virtue, and would be incapable of comprehending such, but he would be true and honest by dint of his simplicity." Donatello, the hero, is the heir of a line of Etruscan ancestors whose origin is traced back by the legends of the region in which their hereditary castle stands to the vanished race of the Faun which once peopled and made living the darkling depths of Tuscan forests. A sudden deed of blood, in defence of one he loves, first wakens sorrow and remorse and finally human aspirations and hope in the joyous, animal being of the nineteenth century Faun. By a dim mystical method brightened indeed by some flashes of beauty and gleams of genuine feeling is this moral wrought out. The theme is repulsive in itself, and Mr. Hawthorne has not endeavoured to soften or relieve, except in rare instances, its repelling features. The other creatures of the story are unfortunately but too familiar to Mr. Hawthorne's readers.
The highly-gifted, beautiful, proud woman, hunted down by some vague and terrible destiny, and eternally haunted by a mysterious and abhorred persecutor ; the fragile, spiritualized girl ; the earnest, aspiring artistthese are forms we have met in all our author's previous works. But their colours have begun to fade.
Artistically, as well as in a higher sense, this book seems to us a failure. The moral it professes to teach is surely open to the gravest exception. Never before, at least in the literature of our day, has crime been made the purifying furnace from which the soul comes out refined and glorified. Artistically the story is complicated and confused, its characters feeble, and only its incidents and reflections striking, while its conclusion is scarcely intelligible. Why should a man of genuine and natural power convert
himself into a kind of literary Cagliostro ? Might not the words Mr. Hawthorne has applied to our English sculptor be, with far greater strictness, now applied to himself ? “ Gifted with more delicate power than any other man alive, he has foregone to be a Christian reality, and perverted himself into a Pagan idealist, whose business or efficacy in our present world it would be exceedingly difficult to define.”
It would, indeed, be unjust not to declare that there are many scenes of great power, vivid descriptions of town and forest sights, quaint scraps of suggestive thought, and gleams of irresistible pathos scattered over these volumes. Some of the sketches of Italian scenery remind the reader of Mr. Brett's marvellous Vale of Aosta, with its sun and shadow, its thunderclouds, its vines, its rocks, and its radiant colours ; and here and there a stray passage of a quieter and homelier kind reminds us that we are communing with the author of the “Twice-Told Tales.” Here, for instance, are a few genial sentences in which Mr. Hawthorne meditates over his heroine, as she sits and mends a glove : There is something extremely pleasant and even touching -at least, of very sweet, soft, and winning effect-in this peculiarity of needlework, distinguishing women from men. Our own sex is incapable of any such by-play, aside from the main business of life ; but womenbe they of what earthly rank they may, however gifted with intellect or genius, or endowed with awful beauty -have always some little handiwork ready to fill up the tiny gap of every vacant moment. A needle is familiar to the feelings of them all. A queen no doubt plies it on occasions ; the woman-poet can use it as adroitly as her pen; the woman's eye that has discovered a new star turns from its glory to send the polished little instrument gleaming along the hem of her kerchief, or to darn a casual fray in her dress. And they have greatly the advantage of us in this respect.
The slender thread of silk or cotton keeps them united with the small, familiar, gentle interests of life, the continually operating influences of which do so much for the health of the character, and carry off what would otherwise be a dangerous accumulation of morbid sensibility. A vast deal of human sympathy runs along this electric line, stretching from the throne to the wicker-chair of the
humblest seamstress, and keeping | high and low in a species of commo
nion with their kindred beings. Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew, especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied."