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in 1844; and a long and honorable course, stock green,' which makes us repine at forseemed to open to her; the up-hill toil was tune, and almost at nature, that seem to overcome, and the reward for the exertion set so little store by their greatest favorappeared abundant.
ites. The life of poets is, or ought to be At length the time, long looked for with (judging of it from the light it lends to tremblings of hope and fear, when the holy ours), a golden dream, full of brightness name of Mother would be her's, was usher- and sweetness, lapt in Elysium; and it gives ed in with the opening of the New year one a reluctant pang to see the splendid (1845). The trial came-it passed and vision, by which they are attended in their all seemed well. Convalescence took the path of glory, fade like a vapor, and their place of debility; and, with the birth of her sacred heads laid low in ashes, before the babe, all suffering was forgotten, and every sand of common mortals has run out.” joy received its completeness. But the Yet, mere duration is, after all, no true decree had gone forth ; and suddenly, in standard for judging; and Ben Jonson well the midst of returning security, severe reminds us : heart-spasms terminated her life, on the morning of January 28. The “ mother of
“It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be, a momento was permitted to embrace her
Or standing long, an oak, three hundred year, boy, and was then summoned to leave him Tu fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear. on earth behind her.
A lily of a day Thus, early in years, but not unripe for
Is fairer, far, in Mav,
Although it fall and die that night, heaven, a gentle, loving spirit passed away. It was the plant and flower of light! “Here,” as Hazlitt says of the poet Beau- In small proportions we just beauties see mont, was youth, genius, aspiring hope,
And in short measures life may perfect be.” growing reputation, cut off like a flower in
Mrs. Gray's remains were deposited in its summer pride, or like the lily on its
the vaults of St. Paul's church, Cork. No printed in this volume, and originally given in our monumental stone has yet been raised to pages (January, 1813), long ante-dated the “Song her memory; nor needs she it in any wise, first to call public attention to the weary toils of the for her name will live in her own immortal London sempstresses.
THE CONDITION OF AUTHORS IN ENGLAND, GERMANY, AND
LITERATURE has become a profession. It wards bettering the condition of English
great fact,” now that it is so no way lucrative enough to tempt speculafirmly established. We may deplore, but tors. As soon as its rewards are high we cannot alter it. Declamation in such a enough and secure enough to tempt men to cause is, therefore, worse than idle. enter the lists for the sake of the reward,
Some inquiry into the respective condi- and parents think of it as an opening for tions of Literature in England, Germany, their sons, from that moment it becomes and France, may not be without interest; vitiated. Then will the ranks, already so and in the course of that inquiry we shall, numerous, be swelled by an innumerable perhaps, meet with some suggestions to-host of hungry pretenders. It will be
and, indeed, is now fast approaching that earn by literature the income of a gentlestate-like the army of Xerxes, swelled man. We owe this to SAMUEL JOHNSON-and encumbered by women, children, and all honor to him! He was the professional ill-trained troops. It should be a Macedo-author—the first who, by dint of courage nian phalanx, chosen, compact, and irre- and ability, kept himself free from the sistible.
slavery of a bookseller's hack, and free Let not this be thought chimerical. By from the still worse slavery of attendance on a calculation made some years ago, the the great. He sought his subsistence in authors of England amounted to many public patronage, not in dedications to thousands. These, of course, included men of rank. By his pen he created a barristers with scarce briefs, physicians with distinctive position for himself, and his few patients, clergymen on small livings, brethren. It would now be difficult to idle women, rich men, and a large crop of count the numbers of those who, in this aspiring noodles; the professional authors respect, imitate him. formed but a small item in the sum total. To put the ameliorated condition of auYet we have only to suppose the rewards of thorship since Johnson's time in a striking literature secure and the pursuit lucrative, light, let us observe that when Marmontel's and we have then the far greater proportion Contes Morarx were circulating all over of this number quitting their own profes- Europe, something like 50,000 copies havsion, and taking seriously to that of litera- ing been sold, when kings and kaisers were ture.
sending him complimentary letters and inIt may, perhaps, be objected to our ar- vitations, he was still indebted to the gument respecting literature as a profession bounty of the crown for a great part of his for which parents should train their sons, income ; whereas Scott, though his success that without great talent there could be no never equalled that of Marmontel, received success; consequently, the undeserving in one year something like 15,0001. Makwould pay the penalty of misplaced ambi- ing all deductions for greater activity on tion. To which we answer, that in lite- Scott's part, the difference is still enormous. rature, as in everything else, personal in- In money payments to literary men Engterest will always precede anything short land far surpasses either France or Gerof splendid talents in obtaining the quiet many. The booksellers are more generous lucrative positions, especially when govern- in England; abroad, the governments. In ment rewards are numerous. We have making this assertion, we purposely exclude only to cast our eyes around us to see, even such exceptional cases as those of Dickens, in the present small amount of patronage, Eugène Sue, and Thiers; the extraordinary how little falls to the share of real merit. success of their works warrants extraordiIt was only the other day that fifty pounds nary payments. Yet even here the advana year were accorded to the widow of Colo- tage is greatly on the side of England ; nel Gurwood, in consideration of the. Dickens received 30001. for one of his tiny literary merits of her husband;" these Christmas stories, whereas Eugène Sue only merits being the editing of the Wellington received 40001. for the ten volumes of his Despatches. How many battered authors Juif Errant. are there-men who have grown grey in
But to descend into the ordinary current, fighting the great battle, now almost too we find able literary men in England makfeeble to wield their arms, whose declining ing incomes averaging 3001. a year, some years this pension would have rescued from less, of course, and some more; the same toil and sorrow? To Mrs. Gurwood this men would scarcely be able to keep body sum must be utterly insignificant; sufficient, and soul together in France or Germany. perhaps, to pay for her flowers. But she A few curious facts will illustrate this. had friends to interest themselves for her ; While Bulwer receives his 10001., and, and who cares for the broken-down author one or two instances, even 15001. for a He, poor wretch ! has “ written himself out” novel, and James probably little less, Balzac has become a “bore” or a“ twaddler”—let (and we have it on his own authority), with him rot on a dung-hill!
all his popularity, with all his fecundity, If literature were a lucrative profession, has a hard task to make 300l. a year. it would be deeply vitiated, and its earnest While our Quarterlies were paying often professors would be worse off than they are 501. and, in some cases, even 1001. for one now. In the present state of things a man article, and, to their ordinary contributors, who has health, courage, and ability, can sixteen and twenty guineas a sheet, the
French Quarterlies were paying ordinary to say of the German reviews ? When the
translator of Bulwer's novels (which have
with the idea of its excessive cheapness, exOne great reason of this low payment for cept in luxuries and amusements. contributions is, of course, the limited sale Cigars and concerts are cheap enough, but of the Revue. At the time when the Revue joints of meat (such meat!) and coats (such des Deux Mondes had only one rival in coats !) are very little under our prices. France, its circulation, we believe, never But let the point be conceded-suppose exceeded 3000 copies, in spite of its having eight dollars equal to eight-and-forty shilall France, Germany, England, and Italy, lings, and then ask, What English reviewer for a public. In England at the same time would write for that honorarium ? there were five Quarterlies, with Regina, As to poets living on black bread and Blackwood, Tait, &c., most of them count- potatoes, some unhappy individuals are, ing their subscribers by thousands, in spite doubtless, doomed to such fare ; but we of a public limited to our island. The ex- have yet to learn that Germans relish such planation of this somewhat remarkable fact banquets any more than beef-eating Engis, that in France, Paris is only to be reck- lishmen. And we point to the sad fact, oned; the provinces purchase novels and that black bread and potatoes is the fate of such books as produce“
a sensation ;” but most of those who venture to trust to litethe reviews are scarcely ever seen out of rature for a subsistence. A case was menParis. In England the reverse is the case tioned not long ago in the Algemeine Zeiour provincial subscribers exceed the me- tung, of a journalist, who had for seven tropolitan
years been largely connected with the But if the French reviews are stinting newspapers, who had worked like a sugarin their payments in writers, what are we slave, whose ability was recognised, and
who, without any improvidence on his part, good authorities, Augustin Thierry and le had, during the whole period, been barely Bibliophile Jacob (Lacroix), declare, that, able to subsist by his labor. What would except Panckouke (whose fortune is colosour accredited journalists say to this? sal) and Firmin Didot, there was scarcely
The reader may, perhaps, suppose, that a solvent publisher in Paris. much of these differences in the emoluments We have asked the question far and wide of authorship may arise from the differences -of authors, of journalists, and of bookin the mercantile profits of publishing. It sellers; and the unhesitating answer has is not so, however. While publishers in always been, that, in Germany, no decent England and France are very seldom weal- subsistence is to be gained by the pen, unthy, those of Germany are generally rich less by a popular dramatist. men. Of the hundred and fifty publishers The same answer, though with some quaat Leipsig, one hundred, at least, are men lification, did we receive in France. Inof money; some of them immensely rich deed, a tolerable idea may be formed from (for Germany). Let any one, who strolls what we just named as the terms paid by about the streets of Berlin, turn down the the Revue des Deux Mondes. To this let Wilhelm Strasse, and at the palace us add, that contributors to newspapers, which rears its proud front next to the pa- when not regularly engaged on the staff, are lace of Prince Radzivil, and whose stately paid well when they are paid five francs a park extends to the gates of the town : that column; fifteen shillings à column in Engpalace belongs to the publisher Reimer. land would be considered low terms. Jules
The German publisher's profits are large. Janin-justly considered as the most enterHe pays scarcely anything for copyright. taining of the feuilletonistes, and one of the The printing does not cost a fifth of what it mast sagacious of critics, the “J. J." of costs in England. The paper is such as in the Journal des Débats, the first newspaper England we use to tie up parcels. Yet, in France-receives a yearly salary of only cheap as German books appear to us, they 6000 francs (2401.) for his weekly twelve are really a hundred per cent dearer. In- columns of criticism ; and he is thought to deed, one example will strikingly exhibit be extravagantly paid. Whereas a London this. A young publisher announces at this journal, that was about to be established, moment a voluminous work—a translation offered him the same sum for his name,
and of the sacred books of India. The King of a few paragraphs of chit-chat, under the Prussia has consented to take fifty copies, head of “ Paris Correspondent.” the East India Company another fifty not a little astounded at the magnificence copies. With these hundred copies, should of the offer, which even Frenchmen's nohe never sell another, he will clear all his tions of English wealth had not prepared expenses of printing, paper, advertising, him for. and copyright. And yet his prices do not A French publisher, not long ago, apseem high to Englishmen. In fact, the plied to a friend of ours for contributions cost of production in Germany is trifling : upon English literature. The lowest terms hence the quantity of works upon dry sub- upon which our friend would consent to jects which publishers will undertake. Pa- write were at the rate of 81. a sheet, and per is so cheap, that no one ever regulates this with a full knowledge of the difference his impression by the number he calculates between France and England. He heard upon selling He only calculates how many no more of the matter ! The Revue des he can send all over Germany, “ on sale or Deux Mondes once applied to a well-known return :” he knows a great quantity of his German writer for contributions, and offered impression will be mere waste-paper; and, 200 francs a sheet. This was high pay for in consequence, he sends the work out in a German, even with deductions made for sheets, so that, as waste-paper, it may have the translation ; but the arrangement was its value. It is worth stating, also, as a never concluded. matter of comparison, that the German pub- With such a press as that of France, if lisher never publishes for an author, as is so a man have somewhat more than the ordifrequently the case in England. He either nary ability of journalists, he may earn a buys the book outright, or declines med- subsistence. But it is harassing work. In dling with it.
Germany, he has not a chance. In EngIn France, publishers have, mostly, nei- land, he will be very unlucky, or very“ imther money nor probity. We heard two practicable,” if he do not earn an income
which will support him and his family,--the rugged path of investigation ? Simply, an income varying from a thousand down to because he is a periodical writer; and two hundred a year.
though, perhaps, as ready to sacrifice truth, It may reasonably excite some surprise, occasionally, to what he may foolishly deem how two such very literary countries as more effective (always a questionable proFrance and Germany should suffer literature cess), as any foolish writer of books, yet in to remain in so miserable a condition; the present instance, at any rate, it is clear whilst in England affairs look far more en- to him that truth is worth all the rhetoric couraging. It cannot be our greater wealth that could be brought to bear upon the which makes the difference, because if our subject. wealth be greater, our expenses are also The truth then is, that, in these muchheavier ; because, moreover, our wealth, decried days of ours, there is no lack of only a few years ago, did not operate at all laborious, thoughtful writers, devoting the in that way; our authors were as beggarly fairest years of their lives to the production as those of our neighbors. The real cause of works, which may stand beside those we take to be the excellence and abundance composed in any time,-so far, at least, as of periodical literature. It is by our re- mere labor, honest inquiry, and weighty views, magazines, and journals, that the consideration of the matter, can be reckonvast majority of professional authors earn ed; ability, for obvious reasons, we put out their bread; and the astonishing mass of of the question. And these serious, labotalent and energy which is thus thrown into rious works, meet with success as great as periodical literature is not only quite un- those of former times. If trash does get a exampled abroad, but is, of course, owing hearing, so also do books of real worth. to the certainty of moderate, yet, on the That is no small consolation. At no time whole, sufficient remuneration.
in the history of literature, that we can We are not deaf to the loud wailings set learn of, was there ever a greater desire to up (by periodical writers, too!) against produce books of solid excellence, nor a periodical literature.
We have heard— greater sale for them when produced. And not patiently, indeed, but silently-the de- now beside this unquestionable fact let us clamations uttered against this so-called place the fact of periodical literature, and see disease of our age; how it fosters super- how it bears out the jeremiads of those who ficiality-how it ruins all earnestness regard it as the hotbed of literary corruption. how it substitutes brilliancy for solidity, Periodical literature is a great thing. It and wantonly sacrifices truth to effect; we is a potent instrument for the education of have listened to so much eloquence, and a people. It is the only decisive means of read so much disquisition on the subject, rescuing authorship from the badge of serthat, were we only half as anxious to sacri- vility. Those who talk so magniloquently fice truth to effect as are the eloquent de- about serious works, who despise the essayclaimers whom we here oppose, we might like and fragmentary nature of periodical round a period, or produce an essay on the literature, forget that while there are many evils of periodical literature, which (to men who can produce a good essay, there speak it with the downcast eyes of modes- has at all times been a scarcity of those ty) should call forth the approbation of all who can produce good works. A brilliant those serious men who view with sorrow the essay, or a thoughtful fragment, is not the squandered ability of our age. Why should less brilliant, is not the less thoughtful, we not? It would be far easier than to because it is brief, because it does not exlook calmly, closely into the matter. It haust the subject. And yet the author, in is always a cheap thing this declamation. all probability, could neither continue his It covers a multitude of deficiencies. It is brilliancy through the “ vast expanse paid for as highly as honest labor in in- work, nor could he, in attempting to exquiry, and saves so much time! In the haust his subject, continue in the same present instance, it could be done with so thoughtful strain, but would inevitably fall sittle fatigue, and would fall in so softly into the commonplaces which bolster up the with the commonplaces of every reader, and heads of all but very
remarkable men. would flatter the “seriousness
How many of us are there who feel quite zine readers, to whom great works are capable of saying something worth listening “sacred,”—men who scorn “cheap litera- to on several topics of art, philosophy, or ture," and read none other. Why should history; but would shrink from undertakthe present writer quit so easy a path for ling a work on any of these subjects;
w of a