ror laid down in the Pandects, and made when the feudal relations and the bar to the alienation of land property consequent upon them were . unknown, will be the law of the world." Lib. 15, ff. de re judicatá, 2, 3.

"By that law it was ordered, that a portion of the moveables equivolent to the debt, should first be sold; but if these did not suffice, that an equivalent portion of the land should be sold, and if no purchaser appeared, that the subject offered for sale should become the property forever of the creditor."

We need not add, that in most of these States, there are not even these moderate and reasonable restraints upon the involuntary alienation of land.

ART. II.-Kleine Romane von Friedrich, Baron DE LA MOTTE FOUQUE. 1er. 2er. & 3er. Theile. Berlin, 1812-1814.

WHAT is Taste? is a question, which, even in the present period of universal illumination, seems to be as far from a satisfactory solution as the more important one-What is Truth? The learned mob appear, in their decisions concerning works of judgment or of fancy, to be much in the same condition as the peasant, who constructs his habitation without the aid of compass, line or plummet, and yet presumes to admire its site, and to laud its proportions; adopting them as standards by which similar edifices are to be guaged, not measured, to be affected or avoided, not valued and approved. The only orthodox tenet in the empire of taste, the Canon Mirificus, to whose authority all defer, is, that it is a thing, concerning which nothing can be known, and, therefore, nothing be disputed or determined. Now we are very willing to allow that this offuscated vision of the sublime and beautiful, is quite sufficient for those whose business it is to see the show, but quite wide of the mark for such as desire to be workmen themselves, or expect to teach others to become so. The guests of Louis the XIV. who partook of the delicious ragout prepared from his majesty's anointed slippers, doubtless chuckled in the supremacy of their own discernment,

and were much in the right to confine the cook to his own occult science. His posterity of the kitchen, however, can never sufficiently deplore their loss of the items which composed that Api-· cian banquet.

We make no apology for these familiar allusions to the mysterious science of good eating, since it is quite plain that taste, with all its heavy and light-armed retainers, continues, to the present hour, to avouch their fealty to this lord paramount. Sir Walter Scott is fine, and so are his poems and novels fine. Who can say more, even of crimped cod and champagne ?

We may be sure that words used in such opposite senses will, in the mouths of most people, be nothing more than words. It were desirable to chain this Proteus within the limits of an ascertainable identity, so that "the form of beauty, smiling at the heart," might, on all occasions, afford something more than momentary glimpses to the entranced inquirer. Unfortunately, this is not the place for so redoubtable an encounter, and the merits of a discussion which has occupied the world for so many ages, would require a volume, and not an essay, for its developement. A few cursory observations, however, designed as the basis of the opinion which we shall pass on a foreign writer of great merit, may, perhaps, demand and receive indulgence.

Works of fiction, so far as the cast of their invention is concerned, admit of being distinctly arranged into southern, northern, oriental and mixed. The first, consisting of the ancient classics, and of the works formed upon a purely classical model. The next, deriving its substance from a period of antiquity equally remote, but receiving its form independently of, and at an era considerably posterior to the former. The third, presenting, through every age, nearly the same wild and exaggerated features, and standing in bold relief, singular and apart. The last compounded of the first two, and admitting the oriental only in minute and inappreciable elements. How comes it that in the midst of this marked diversity and opposition, they should all please in their turn, and all equally secure immortality to those illustrious geniuses who have successfully adopted any one of them? The sacred poetry of the Hebrews; the Lays of Homer and Milton; of Virgil and Racine; the dreams of Sophocles and Shakspeare and Schiller; the tales of the Arabians; the novels of Richardson and Fielding and Smollett, and the romances of Scott and Fouqué, all wing their shafts homeward to the heart. Yet how different are they in their structure, their language and embellishments!

Will it solve the difficulty to say, that all this is the effect of Taste? We apprehend not, for the question still returns-what

is Taste? We suppose that little will be got by saying with the ancients, that it is the sense of the beautiful, or with the moderns that it is the capacity of receiving enjoyment from the beauties of nature and art, or that it is the effect of the feelings of man, associated with, and diffused over external objects. These are, indeed, elements of taste, but not taste itself. Like the term constellation, taste does not represent a single idea nor a composition of ideas, but only an abbreviation of terms designating ideas, which occur simultaneously. It is in relation to the heart and to those senses of discipline, the eye and the ear, what judgment is in reasoning, and honour in morals-the rapid perception of those ultimate results, which repeated developement has so completely ascertained, as to render it no longer necessary to expand and exhibit their elements in detail. On a subject which is familiar, to him, an acute and practised reasoner decides instantaneously, and to the uninitiated, the conclusion appears oracular and even marvellous. Still he himself is at no loss to trace out the ladders and the scaffolding, which enabled him, gradually, to reach the vantage ground of truth. A man of honour, and we may add, a woman of honour too, rejects a dishonest proposal with an electric repugnance, which, to a Baotian bystander, might appear the effect of some new and particular faculty, expressly designed to afford infallible security to the probity of gentlefolks. Such worthies, however, know full well that their treasure abides in earthen vessels, and that it has only been by superinducing the wicker work and iron bands of discretion and discipline, that they have succeeded in rendering it proof against every assault. In like manner, the phrensied eye of the poet embraces, at a glance, a multitude of nice appliances, linked together on a chain of gossamer, which no orb, untouched with euphrasy, can detect, distinguish or detail. It is much less by what he expresses, than by what he suggests, that the writer of genius expects to unlock the gushing fountains of the heart, and to conduct their crystal waters over the sunny spots and verdant places of life.

Experience furnishes the man of genius with a knowledge of his own sensations and passions, and of the objects by which they are gratified or disappointed, together with a knowledge of the causes which obstruct their uniformity. Observation soon convinces him that the sources of good and evil; of pleasure and pain, are the same in others as in himself. How to excite or allay; to enhance or depress them: how to combine, and when to present them singly, is the great art, we had almost said the sole art, of the inventor of fiction. Just as the artist in ordinary 5

VOL. III.-No. 5.

stone and mortar, knows that these materials are necessary to the elevation of the fabric, but, that without care in arranging them, they must forever remain a shapeless and confused mass. In short, to awaken interest, and to inspire passion in the degree which nature has allotted to them in the subject, which a writer proposes to illustrate and adorn, is the highest praise to which genius can aspire. There may be power exhibited in the generation of associations, and yet the artist, whether poet, painter or sculptor, be entitled to small commendation. Ideas, like remedies in medicine, must be administered to us, always with a special attention to the when, the where and the how.Hence, we cannot help regarding a strong addiction to the romantic as a capital defect in many modern works. The reader is continually remanded to his horn book, to acquire the requisite knowledge, or must have his deficiences perpetually bolstered up with notes, commentaries and dissertations. In what respect is such a work as the Curse of Kehama, honourably distinguished from the works of Donne, or the pedantic effusions of Darwin. As a kind of technical aid to the memory of the reader, they may properly be ranked with the labours of Dr. Gray, or those of the renowned authors of As in præsenti. What musician would be tolerated, who should demand of his hearers an exact knowledge of thorough bass, or who should continually interrupt the delicious flow of sweet sounds, by demonstrating the accuracy of his calculation of time. We repeat it, that the materials of invention in the arts are common, obvious and accessible to the whole human race. The pleasure derived from a picture or a poem is not so much in the images themselves, as to be referred to their power over the heart. Abating our want of familiarity with the original language, what commentary does the lowest capacity require, even at the present day, in order to relish the beauties of Homer? The task of his auditors simply consisted in listening and being delighted! Widely different is the toil and the torture of the modern votary of the Muses. There is the stout battery of Greek and Roman literature to be mounted, flanked by a variety of irregulars, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and (Dii vostram fidem) perhaps Icelandick and Russian. But this is not all: the enthusiast, whether writer or reader, must be master of all possible sciences, when, perhaps, he may reach the altitude of comprehending an ode, a sonnet, or a tale. Indeed, it is almost too indulgent to say of modern fiction,

"Sera tamen respexit inertem; Candidior postquam tondenti barba cadebat: Respexit tamen, et longo pòst tempore venit."

There is then a language of the emotions and passions distinct from and paramount to every conventional vehicle, and it is the province of that attainment in any of the fine arts, which enables the individual to master and apply it, to which the term Taste is properly applied. It follows, that genius is unlimited by the nature of the language, the costume, the manners, the habits of this or that age or country. Not but that the popularity of a writer must, in a considerable degree, be limited by these circumstances. Still, to those who have the hardihood to collate and master these arbitrary expressions, there remains a perfect harmony in all the efforts of real genius. It may be justly said then of our clothes, of our furniture, as of our language, that they are Grecian or Roman; English or French; Italian or German: but of a work of fancy, which forcibly recommends itself to an enlightened taste, we ought only to say, that it is excellent in its kind.

"Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair."

We have been seduced into this train of observation, by the indignation which has frequently seized upon us whilst considering the extremely iniquitous judgments which are passed by the inhabitants of all countries, upon what are called foreign works of genius. Many of these criticisms appear to have ne other merit, than the alliterative language in which they are couched. Accordingly, a performance, if it be Dutch, is, by prescription, dull; if French, flimsy; if German, grave. This is certainly the effect of national prejudice and antipathy, since no one ever thinks of inflicting the same cabalistic censure on the ancient works of genius. We hold it to be more equitable as well as more philosophical to assert, that works of genius can be written to any purpose, only in one tongue-the vernacular language of mankind, the idiom of the heart. It is by this title only that they descend to posterity and rank their authors among the number of the immortals. To most Englishmen, and descendants of Englishmen, the language of Shakspeare is a study of some difficulty; much of it is obsolete or quaint; his plots, so far as they are native, belong to another age, to other habits and manners; so far as they are foreign, they may be said to be true to any thing but reality. No one, however, we presume, would think of estimating his merits by such standards. His faults or his misfortunes in these particulars, might have been vastly more numerous than they are, without weighing a feather against his transcendent excellencies. He is still the mighty magician, at the waving of whose potent

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