Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

There is also, and shame were it to close this short notice without mentioning them, a set of Evening Voluntaries, that come over the soul like the distant sound of a cathedral organ in some lovely and solitary scene by twilight; and a set also of moral paintings, which will be sure to find their proper place in the mind's gallery. We take one of these, as the only specimen which we need offer of a volume which every reader who can enjoy it will of course possess.

A JEWISH FAMILY.

(In a small valley opposite St. Goar, upon the Rhine.)

Genius of Raphael ! if thy wings

Might bear thee to this glen,
With faithful memory left of things

To pencil dear and pen,
Thou wouldst forego the neighbouring Rhine,

And all his majesty,
A studious forehead to incline

O'er this poor family.

The mother-her thou must have seen,

In spirit, ere she came
To dwell these rifted rocks between,

Or found on earth a name;
An image, too, of that sweet boy,

Thy inspirations give:
Of playfulness, and love, and joy,

Predestined here to live.

Downcast, or shooting glances far,

How beautiful his eyes,
That blend the nature of the star

With that of summer skies!
I speak as if of sense beguiled;

Uncounted months are gone,
Yet am I with the Jewish child,

That exquisite Saint John.

I see the dark brown curls, the brow,

The smooth transparent skin,
Refined, as with intent to show

The holiness within ;
The grace of parting infancy

By blushes yet untamed ;
Age faithful to the mother's knee,

Nor of her arms ashamed.

Two lovely sisters, still and sweet

As flowers, stand side by side;
Their soul-subduing looks might cheat

The Christian of his pride;
Such beauty hath the Eternal poured

Upon them not forlorn,
Though of a lineage once abhorred,

Nor yet redeemed from scorn.

Mysterious safeguard, that, in spite

of poverty and wrong,
Doth here preserve a living light,

From Hebrew fountains sprung ;
That gives this ragged group to cast

Around the dell a gleam
Of Palestine, of glory past,

And proud Jerusalem -p. 89—91.

CRITICAL NOTICES.

Bellchamber's Biographical Dictionary. 4 vols.

This is the prettiest little pocket epitome of universal biography that we have ever seen or heard of. It may not put the world into a nutshell, but it puts the world's most illustrious inhabitants into four walnutshells, and very neatly are they packed. The notices seem compiled with carefulness, and evince much sound sense, impartiality, and candour. As a portable work of reference, or for the use of schools, this publication deserves our hearty recommendation.

Philanthropic Economy, or the Philosophy of Happiness.

By Mrs. Loudon.

There is a notion amongst benevolent persons that the science of political economy is something quite distinct from religion, morality, or philanthropy; something too speculative to be practical, too intricate to be understood, or too dull to be endured.' To dispel this erroneous idea, or rather this confusion of ideas, to draw the attention of her own sex especially to the facts and laws which most materially influence the condition of the people, and to show that charity must concern itself with politics and political economy, or lose its moral, Christian, and useful character, are the objects proposed to herself by Mrs. Loudon in this work. Admiring the motives by which she is actuated, and rejoicing to see a woman's pen so employed, coinciding in most of her conclusions, and hoping that she may succeed in stimulating the dor mant intellects which are too often the accompaniments of charitable feelings, we must yet regret the absence of a greater precision of style and closeness of logic than we find in this volume. Such qualities are essential to the satisfactory discussion of its subjects. With a more distinct and rigorous mode of reasoning, we should have given that full approval to this volume which we now render to the author's just principles and generous sentiments.

[ocr errors]

Geography in Verse, for the Use of Young Children, By S. J. Williams. A COLLECTION of infant school chants, which may very well aid the retention of the simpler facts of geography by young children, provided they have been made to understand those facts by other means, The verses are adapted for suggestion rather than information. Geographical names are cleverly made to chime in, in the several kinds of singsong measure which have been adopted. What was the writer thinking of, at p. 23, in the remark on Judea ?

“Now subject to the unchristian Turks

Their land the Jewish people see.' The matter would scarcely be mended to the Jew were his land subjected to Christian Turks. We should take care not to give a twist to children's conceptions by our own want of distinctness. A long time is often required for correction, and occasionally much mischief done. In the poem on the Sea, the author follows the common mode of speaking of Providence; but is not the use of such language one reason why religion becomes so much an assair of words?

God who is ruling the storm is there

He heareth the waters roar;
And the sailors are safe in his kindly care,

As we in our homes on shore.' If we regard only Divine Power, that power to which the very laws of nature are subordinate, then this assertion is true ; but then it is also true that there is no such thing as danger in any circumstances; we may cling to the mouth of the cannon about to be fired, play with the adder, plunge into the crater of a volcano. Is this the lesson to be taught to children? If not, if it be only meant that Providence protects the sailor by the operation of those laws which have guided the builder in the construction of the ship, and the crew in its navigation, then the sentiment is not true. There is more insecurity on board ship in a storm than in our homes on shore.' It is God's wilt that there should be; he has decreed the danger by making land more stable than ocean, and the hurricane more destructive of human life on the one element than on the other. Why deceive children about this ? or, which is a yet worse deception, tell them, by implication, that if they trust in Providence the laws of nature may peradventure be suspended on their behalf? We are not accusing the author now before us of deception, nor any other teachers, intentionally. But such is the tendency of much that is taught under the mistaken notion of promoting religion thereby. The illustration came in our way; it would be difficult, perhaps, to find any similar publication so free as this. Those for whom it is intended may quite believe the writer's declaration,

“ 'Tis to make their school-hours pleasant,

And their tasks less hard to learn,
That short lessons, like the present,

She to cheerful verse would turn.'

Barber's Picturesque Illustrations of the Isle of Wight. We miss, in many of the engravings in this volume, that poetical distribution of light and shade which gives us the spirit of a scene as well as its material form, and for the introduction of which the island landscapes are so admirably adapted. But they are faithful representations of beautiful objects, well executed, and accompanied with historical and descriptive matter so complete as to render this a valuable and excellent guide-book to the famed Garden of England.'

Christian Phrenology. Three Lectures. By Henry Clarke. True religion and sound philosophy must needs be in harmony, and the exhibition of that harmony must be amongst the most useful agencies of the religious teacher. Mr. Clarke being at once an advocate of that view of the philosophy of the human mind which passes under the name of Phrenology and a preacher of Christianity, has lectured in a clear, logical, and popular manner upon their essential congruity. His lectures deserve attention in their published form, and his practice in delivering them we take to be a very commendable one, tending to revive and augment the usefulness of pulpit instruction.

Frithiof's Saga, or_The Legend of Frithiof. By Esaias Tegner.

Translated from the Swedish. TEGNER is the great modern poet of Sweden, and ‘Frithiof's Saga' is his great work. It is a sort of ballad epic in twenty-four short cantos, each in a different measure. The time is about the eighth century, and the superstitions of the Scandinavian mythology are introduced, although but sparingly. As a whole, the Legend has considerable power; but there are no passages which we can detach as specimens of poetical beauty of any very high order. Although we profess not to speak of the merits of the translators (there are several of them) in that capacity, it may be allowed us to say that the ease, freedom, and variety of their versification produces all the effect of an original poem. As such, the Legend will attract interest, besides that which belongs to it as a specimen of Swedish poetry which has rapidly gained European popularity.

TO CORRESPONDENTS. The Obituary of J. L. is sent to the Unitarian Chronicle.' We shall take some opportunity of expressing our own feeling of the worth of that excellent man.

Has W. L. T. left us off?

437

A LETTER TO LORD STANLEY ON CONSERVATIVE AND REFORM

ASSOCIATIONS.

MY LORD—As might have been expected, your lordship’s letter to Sir T. D. Hesketh, on the formation of the North Lancashire Conservative Association, has gone the round of the newspapers. It has fulfilled its course like a comet, drawing after it a long but varying and differently coloured tail of commentary. Had your legislative • Tail' been proportionately long, we should never have heard of the · Derby Dilly with its six insides.' But, as occasionally happens to comets,—those interlopers of the heavens, which, instead of belonging to one system, are believed sometimes to revolve into and connect themselves with two very remote systems,your lordship lacks that appendage, and is only surrounded by a thin nebulous coronal. Your lordship's magnanimity is therefore the more illustrious in declining that popular, or rather party strength, which might have accrued to you by fraternizing with the North Lancashire Conservatives, and their clubbing associates. You are so satisfied that you are a Hercules, that you determine to be Hercules without a club, even when it is presented to your grasp. You will be independent and original even in your mode of abandoning the weapon. It was thrown aside by him of old that he might handle the distaff of Omphale; you do not forego it to spin with the jennies of Peel. How your threads may eventually intertwist remains to be seen. At present you keep to your own line, deeming it sufficient to support you as a statesman. Whether

you be right or not, I have no occasion to discuss. But as credit has been claimed for your letter, and seems to be assumed by yourself

, on the ground of your being a middleman in politics, I deem it not amiss to investigate that claim, which I take to be an exceedingly fallacious one. The ancient rule wa to hang the neutrals: those who are most addicted to extremes will scarcely raise them into oracles, merely out of opposition to this portion of the wisdom of our ancestors.

There are rarely more than two sides to a great question. All the complications and cross lights of society still leave only the true and the false, the just and the unjust, the useful and the pernicious. Those who are in either of these extremes may

be wrong; those who are in neither of them cannot be right. The inducement to compromise is generally an indistinct perception of the abstract merits of the case, combined with an equally indistinct notion of practical results. It is the refuge of arbitrators in a perplexity, who split the difference,' with the certainty of thereby doing injustice. The inconsistency which commonly characterizes middle courses in politics, shows their adoption to be the result either of an unsound political philosophy, or of unsoundness, logical or moral, in the application of that philosophy. For instance, your No. 103.

2 K July

« VorigeDoorgaan »