Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

himself to the Jewish people as Messiah and leader, nineteen years prior to the time of his entering upon his public ministry. But it is to this latter period that his appearance as Messiah is assigned by all expositors; and the whole current of representation and argument in the New Testament would seem to disallow any other time as the date of his manifestation in that character and office. We cannot approve of Dr. Stonard's version and interpretation of the 87th Psalm, which seems to him, plainly enough, to describe or allude to the early leadership of Messiah.

Dr. Stonard's referring the leader that cometh' to the Jewish rulers and the entire ecclesiastical and civil polity of the Jewish people, is a novelty in his exposition which will surprise some of his readers.

There are other particulars which we might notice in the work before us; but, on the whole, we feel bound, both on account of the interest, importance, and difficulties of the subject to which it relates, and of the manner in which it is executed, to recommend it to our theological readers as highly deserving of their attention.

Art. IV. Le Literateur.......Choice Extracts from the best French Writers, preceded by a Treatise on Pronunciation and a Treatise on Versification. By E. Mansart. 12mo. pp. 216. London. 1824 T should seem that to put together such a series of extracts from the great writers in any language, as should at once exemplify their respective talents and the powers of the particular medium in which they expressed their ideas, must be a very simple and easy process. Judging, however, from evidence, nothing can be more difficult, since most of the attempts that have been made in this way, have failed either in arrangement or discrimination, or, in some particular department, have admitted something that has injured the general character of the compilation. One of the best executed works of this kind, as far as English poetry is concerned, that we have met with, must be irretrievably banished from every respectable library, for its admission of some of the most licentious tales of Prior; and another, of considerable popularity, is contaminated by the nauseating grossness of Somerville. We do not refer to these more particularly, because we have not the present means of consulting the books in question, and we are unwilling to give implicit trust to memory, where the interest of others is at stake; but we feel it right thus far to put our readers on their guard in in a matter peculiarly important, since it is by young persons that these collections are principally used. With Dr. VOL. XXVI. N.S. Y

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

Aikin's publication, we are but slightly acquainted; the plan

l; appeared to us deficient in comprehension, and not sufficiently miscellaneous; but he was a man of sound taste, and his name is a security against either obscenity or physical impurity.

After all, when we consider how many qualifications go to the making up of a thorough and well-compacted critic, and how much knowledge and effective criticism are requisite in the construction of a florilegium that shall be at once popular and instructive, answering both the purposes of reference and light reading, we cease to wonder at the inferiority of our average selections, and though we think we could lay down a plan which should comprise a larger and better distributed array both of our prose and poetical riches than has yet been exhibited, it would require in its execution so much care and tact, that we despair of witnessing its accomplishment.

With respect to the volume before us, there is something almost ridiculous in prefixing to it this grave preface, since it is a mere bagatelle, requiring little skill, and manifesting less than that little in its compilation. It is absurd to give this handful of scraps as a 'recueil,' adequate to the exhibition of the beauties of the French language, as well as the genius and the style of the authors who have given it celebrity.' How long have Colin d'Harleville and Danchet been among the classic authors of France ?

The only French. Elegant Extracts’on a large scale that we have any acquaintance with, is the Bibliothéque Portative?

. The first edition, by Maysant, was indifferently executed, but the second, by Levizac, is a very respectable work. Some twenty or thirty years ago, there was a small square closelyprinted book published under the title of the Petit Parnasse, which, as far as we remember, was excellently adapted for a school-book, as containing a collection of French poetry, excellent in quality and by no means deficient in quantity. This, however, contained nothing but verse, while the Bibliothéque, like the volume before 'us, gave both verse and prose. -A very foolish puff of the high and various excellencies of the French language, quoted by M. Mansart from the Journal de Trevoux, compliments his countrymen on their possession of a poetical dialect. They had one in former days, but they have lost it. Their old poets, and especially their old dramatic writers, used a language essentially poetical, and characteristically differing from their prose; but all this has been gradually pared and trimmed away, until nothing remains but a harsh and sterile substitute, a forced and inharmonious accommodation of prosaic terms to poetic forms. Some of their great writers have, by consummate art, concealed, if not conquered this deteriorated quality of the language. But these rare instances are the exception only; they do not invalidate the rule ; and even these, every now and then, break down in their rugged and difficult track.

Art. V. Ordlines of the World. By A. Arrowsmith, Hydrographer

to His Majesty. Imperial 4to. London, 1825. THOUGH in a few points the science of Geography may be

stationary, yet, on the whole, it has been, at least in an equal degree, participant in the general advance of the scientific branches of human knowledge. Accurate surveys have given precision both to local positions and to the great outlives of the globe. Documents of the highest value have been secured by individual enterprise, and enlightened application has, by dint of persevering inquiry and skilful adaptation, given à probable form and bearing to regions as yet unexplored by European activity. Perhaps one of the finest specimens of this kind of construction is to be found in the invaluable map prefixed to Mr. Elphinston's embassy to Caubul ; and we might enumerate a long series of charts, geographic and hydrographic, that reflect the highest credit on the able and enterprising men who obtained and arranged the materials.

How is it then that, with all these advantages, our general map-makers are still so deficient, and that, so far as history is concerned, we can scarcely mention a set of diagrams that will enable a reader'to trace the progress of events upon their face, How is it that even of Europe, of which nearly the whole sur. face has been militarily surveyed, we can hardly take up any average section that will serve as a reading companion. Å good map, large or small, ought to have a threefold referenceto chronology, to history, and to geography. As far as possible, the changes effected by the lapse of time should be indicated; and this

is practicable to a much greater extent than the indolence of routine artists may be willing to allow. Without, however, at present laying any stress on this point, we would advert strongly to the necessity for attention to historical detail in the construction of maps, as a feature of primary importance, For instance, the central parts of Germany have been, to say nothing of less marking, though possibly not less important, circumstances, the conspicuous theatre of two great struggles ; the invasion of Gustavus Adolphus and its consequent events, and the wars of Frederick of Prussia. Now a sheet map of Germany should be so constructed as to give a minute picture

a of those active and influential conflicts; and a small one might be so managed as to give distinctly their principal localities.

a

But what manufacturer of charts, unless employed to copy a military draft for the express purpose of illustration, ever troubled his head about this matter? How few, in fact, of our geographical mechanics are well-read historians! and yet, of what importance is it that they should either themselves be expert in this way, or that they should employ such as are. Nor are gigantic dimensions indispensible, since a principle of judicious selection will, in a great degree, supersede extent of surface and accumulation of names which we should term insignificant, if any thing in geographical detail could be otherwise than valuable. On the third point referred to above, we shall say nothing more than that, although technical geography be the proper business of maps, it is not always their distinguishing excellence.

We seem, however, more particularly called upon by the work in our hands, to make a few observations on those collections which profess to be multum in parvo, and to supersede unwieldly size and formidable purchase, by furnishing, in reasonable dimensions, as much as may be necessary for ordinary purposes in the course of general reading. It is obvious that publications of this kind require skill and care, greater even than is necessary in regular atlases ; and we are sorry to find ourselves compelled to cite this elegant publication as a case of failure. The execution is excellent, but the choice is in perfect violation of every recognizable principle. We have Holland twice over,-once of fair comparative dimensions, as part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, and once by itself on a scale equal in extent to that of all Russia in Europe, France, Germany, or Spain. These important countries should have been given, as is done in the small Atlas to the Edinburgh Gazetteer, with respect to two or three of them, on a fourfold page. If there be any map of Hungary, we have overlooked it. 'The United States have only one sheet to the share of their immense territory, while the district of Darien iu the isthmus of Panama, is deemed entitled to an equal portion. Japan has a map to itself, and is as minutely laid down as if it had been the subject of regular survey. In short, the division of the work is altogether arbitrary, and strikes us as erring grossly, both in excess and in defect. The maps themselves are in general beautifully executed, but those of the European states are so small as to be nearly useless: they are crowded with letter, and indistinct in determination. We wish we could abate from this censure, by unqualified eulogy on the selection of names historically important. In the map of Syria, there was ample space for more judicious insertion and arrangement, while China and the Birman Empire are finished up to the effect of a picture

with details of doubtful accuracy. There are, however, some maps which

go

far to redeem the work. The Punjab is a beautiful compilation. Hindostan is good, but should have been on more sheets than one. · New Holland contains all that is yet known of that strange region, and Van Diemen's Land is equally satisfactory. Nubia is excellent, and Abyssinia is an exquisite reduction of Salt.

All this may be deemed somewhat hypercritical. We cannot think so ; the work, from its price and mode of execution, is evidently not designed for mere school-boys, and the defects we have noticed are important to the general reader. More critical acumen, guided by a more judicious plan, with equal care in the execution, would have made it an almost indispensible companion.

Art. VI. Flora Conspicua ; a Selection of the most ornamental

flowering, hardy, exotic, and indigenous Trees, Shrubs, and Herbaceous Plants for embellishing Flower-gardens and Pleasuregrounds. By Richard Morris, F.L.S. &c. With coloured Figures, drawn and engraved from living Specimens, by William Clark.

Parts I. to XII. 3s. 6d. each. London. 1825. WHATEVER may be the state of things in other countries,

it is unfortunately too true of our own, that there is a vast deal more bad flower-painting going forward than its perpetrators are willing to admit. We can sit down with most entire command of countenance to the inspection of a young lady's portfolio ;---we can steady our nerves to a firm facing of the tremendous mass of blue, red, green, and orange, that blazes on us from the glass and gold of a tawdry frame ;-all this we have sustained, and are willing to encounter, as often as courtesy may demand from us the evasive compliment paid to the artist's diligence. The performance may be pitiable enough, but it

, claims from us nothing in the way of criticism, except a lamentation that valuable ime should be so grievously wasted. The feal subject of displeasure lies in the miserable ignorance of the masters who pass current as qualified to teach all possible branches and varieties of drawing, without a real scientific acquaintance with the elements of any single department. We have seen samples of the skill of some of these gentry who have stood high in their profession; and even when they may have been able to work up a landscape or a groupe of flowers to a tolerable effect, there has too frequently been such a deplorable absence of all artist-like feeling or handling, as to indicate that they were utterly untrustworthy as teachers of the arts of de

« VorigeDoorgaan »