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124 Pages 14, 28, 41, 56, 70, 84, 100, 114, 128, 142, 157, 170, 184
The Minister at Home
165 199, 213, 226, 240, 251, 258, 281, 296, 309, 325, 338, 552,
A Clergyman's Confessions 520 366, 387, 102, 419.-App. 17, 19.
Rome, a Day in
290 LITERARY ADVERTISEMENTS, Appendix, 1, et seg.
GENERAL INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. ever been done before. The mere laborious student who
for ever quarries on the lore of nations and tongues that The literature of this country has undergone, since the are extinct, is known by the depreciating titles of the commencement of the present century, one of those peri- pedant and bookworm ;-the abstracted reveller among odical changes, which, in the revolution of years, seem theories which exclude all human sympathies, and reinseparably to connect themselves with all the intellec- late only to the mysterious laws that govern thought and tual pursuits to which the genius and talents of man are mental perceptions, is distinguished by the equivocal directed. It is not to the great ebbs and flows of mind appellation of metaphysician, which, in the lips of many, -to the golden or iron ages, which have alternately il- is meant to imply, that in devoting himself to the invesluminated and darkened the world, that we mean to al. tigation of an essence he cannot comprehend, he has lude. We refer to changes of a more limited descrip- overlooked the only part of human nature towards the tion ; but scarcely less interesting to the philosophical improvement of which his wisdem might have been useinquirer into the nature of mind, and the various phe- fully expended. Yet, whilst we perceive the errors into nomena attendant on its developement. To such a one which the over-enthusiastic scholar, or the too ardent worit must be apparent, that even when the higher powers shipper of German philosophy, have fallen, it becomes of man's nature seem to be in equal states of activity, the us not to point at them the finger of derision, or to turn leading features of those productions by which that activity away with the self-satisfied conviction of superiority. is made apparent, are widely different at different periods. Without the scholar, the wisdom of the past would have The fluctuation of taste-- the alteration in the spirit of the been buried under the ruins of fallen empires ; and times the commanding influence of one or two bold without the metaphysician, glimpses of a remoter world, and peculiarly constituted minds--are, in general, vaguely and unsatisfactorily set down, as the causes why to soine have never been revealed. a new order of thirtgs should arise in the world of intel.
The same observations which apply to different classes lect, and all the old canons of criticism, by which the of men, may with propriety be extended to different pevalue of mental labour used to be ascertained, rendered riods in the history of this or any other country. There unstable or swept away altogether. We enter not at pre- was a time when knightly daring and deeds of bold sent upon any investigation which might lead to more emprize went hand in hand with intellectual culture ; accurate conclusions upon this subject; we wish only to and he therefore stood the most conspicuous, whose sword point out the fact, and to direct attention to the influence
was seen to flash in every word, and whose resounding It is but too apt imperceptibly to exercise over all our verse seemed but an echo to the trampling of his war. judgments. And most especially ought they to be aware steed ;-there was a time when theological research and of its power, who take upon themselves the important polemical controversy gave the leading tone and colour task of attempting to guide, in any degree, the public to the mind, and when its efforts were estimated only mind.
in reference to that engrossing subject ;—there was a Whether there be in reality a definable and essential time when the quiet happiness of an agricultural and standard of tastealthough, like the precious stone
Pastoral state of society took a strong hold of the ima. sought for by the enthusiasm of early science, it may gination, and, as in the Arcadia of Greece, or of Sir Phi. have hitherto baffled discovery—it is at all events cer. lip Sidney, the whole population “babbled of green tain, that every age has had its own standard, to which fields,” and limpid rivulets murmured through a thou. an appeal was made, and by whicb its decisions were sand eclogues ;—there was a time when quaint conceits, regulated. Different as these standards have common
and strong antithesis, and startling paradox, and all the ly been from each other, it is impossible that they untrodden paths of thought, however abstract and recan all have been correct ; yet, with much error, there fined, or however dependent upon the mere play and may have been much truth in each. That man pos- jingle of conventional sounds, constituted what was desesses but a shallow and bigoted discernment who pins nominated voil, when wit meant something more than his faith upon the predominant mode and fashion, or mere quickness of fancy or readiness of repartee, and literary and scientific creed of any one country, or any when, for the reputation of possessing that wit, all the isolated portion of time. By all reflecting minds this is a dictates of a more sober, and perhaps sounder, taste, truth which is generally admitted ; yet in the practice of were willingly sacrificed ;-there was a time when the every day it is but too frequently forgotten. We are all nation once more reverted to the chaste and classical too apt to look only to what is going on around us, and models of antiquity,—when their productions, if more in the pride of our hearts to believe, that what we and subdued in tone, were more sustained in executionour contemporaries are doing is better than what has when the feelings were never violently overwrought, nor the imagination taxed to give birth to all grotesque and supported; but let us always remember, that wherever fantastic combinations, when the natural passions of there is thought, there is an exertion of the most god. the human breast were thought to possess sufficient in- like attribute which belongs to man-of all his posses. terest in themselves, without being distorted into hide- sions the most valuable; and that in exact proportion to ous convulsions, or microscopically magnified into im- its value is the importance of the use to which it may be possible proportions,-when beauty was not considered put, and the deep responsibility of those who undertake less beautiful because it was simple, or sorrow less deep to superintend its progress, and advise regarding its because it was unpretending ;-and last of all, there was management. We hope that we feel as we ought the a time, and it commenced with the commencement of weight of this responsibility; we hope we are sufficientthe nineteenth century, when this order of things was ly aware that it is no light sin to send forth to the entirely reversed, when mere classical correctness was world crude and hastily formed opinions upon works pronounced tame and spiritless, and fast producing that which it took long time and much labour to produce. apathetic monotony which would never be roused into It is our most earnest desire never to attempt to influence animation, startled into energy, or surprised into de- our readers by ill-digested speculations, in which a cerlight : then came the restless longing after novelty, tain sparkling facility of diction might occupy the place however perplexing,—the never-ceasing anxiety to ex. of those solid conclusions to be alone deduced from careplore regions of thought-of sentiment-of passion-of ful and accurate inquiry. Never may we be led to speak sensation, hitherto undiscovered,—the dangerous craving of the books which come before us, until we have bestow. after strong and stimulating intellectual food, intent only ed upon them that sufficient and impartial examination, on the present excitement, and altogether regardless of which will satisfy even the authors themselves of our the consequent languor ; innumerable delineations fol. candour, and prove to our readers that we are actuated lowed, not of what human nature was, but of what it only by an honourable anxiety to lay before them their was possible it might become; genius was deified, true merits. Steadily guided by these principles, we may genius was called upon to create, and judgment and proceed boldly, and whatever worldly success may crown knowledge were taken from their thrones, and made to our labours, we shall ever carry along with us the abiding bow the knee before the idols which genius erected. happiness of a clear conscience.
In every country there have been intellectual changes such as these ; and the comprehensive mind, without al.
LITERARY CRITICISM. lowing itself to be stamped with the features of any one era, may find much profit in all. The gay wild songs
TIIE ANNUALS FOR 1829. of the Troubadour need not be despised, because Milton, lifted on the wings of religion, soared a far higher unknown to our ancestors, and of very recent and rapid
It is the peculiar feature of Annuals a class of books flight; the rural felicities in which Sidney delighted growth--that they embody in their pages all the miscel. need not be turned from as weak and girlish, because laneous, minor, and fugitive pieces of most living authors Donne and Cowley thought more intensely, if not with of celebrity. The plan, in theory at least, is a good one. a sounder estimation of the beauty of creation's works ; If the shorter productions of a Sir Walter Scott, a Wordsnor should Addison be left unread, and Pope pronounced worth, or a Coleridge, would be eagerly purchased when uninspired, because the author of “ Waverley” sprung volume will be greatly increased in interest that contains
published separately, it is but fair to calculate that the into existence, and Byron conceived “ Childe Harold.” within itself joint effusions from the pens of those and
The peculiar character which distinguishes any pass. many other master-spirits of the day. But in this, as ing generation must be interesting to it, and may afford in all terrestrial undertakings, theory is one thing and matter for much useful discourse ; but the peculiar cha- execution another. There are moments when the very racter of man, and of the mind of man--for ever active, ablest men are little more inspired than the most comyet for ever varying—is a theme of more permanent uti mon-place, and in those moments, pressed as they al
most always are for time, they are frequently tempted lity and sublimer interest. Let us not then rashly join to commit their thoughts to paper. It is natural to with those who, with a flippant cleverness, the very com- suppose that, in looking over their manuscripts to select mon endowment of inferior minds, either maintain that scraps for the Annuals, they do not always reject things the present infinitely surpasses all past ages, or, falling of this sort, which might never otherwise have seen the into an opposite extreme, affect to undervalue
light. “ Aliquando dormitat bonus Homerus ;” but
every thing that does not agree with their own ideal standard sleep are eagerly pounced on by the whole host of
even the broken mutterings that fall from him in his of excellence, and to discover nothing in the unwearying Annual Editors. Besides, it by no means follows, that, exertion of mental activity which this country exhibits because an author is a great novelist or poet, he is but extreme unprofitableness,-a mere gilding of the on that account better fitted than any body else to write external surface of thought, or vain and unjustifiable at- a short love-tale, or an harmonious copy of verses, cal. tempts to penetrate into the hidden arcana of the mate. culated to kindie the smiles or draw forth the tears of a rial and immaterial universe. Let us rejoice, rather, fair reader. Milton, we suspect, would have made but that whatever may be the imperfections attendant upon Locke, Bacon, and Jeremy Taylor, would in all pro
an indifferent contributor to the “ Keepsake;" and the mode of its dissemination, the light of knowledge, bability have ranked among the rejected writers to the and the softening influence of the litteræ humaniores, “ Forget-me-Not.” Byron failed in his attempt to estanow rest, as a sunbeam, alike upon the palace of the blish a periodical ; and Southey's articles in the Annuals prince and the cabin of the peasant.
are in general among the very worst they contain. The Much may we have to say, ere the labours which we
truth seems to be, that they who, at the promptings of now commence be concluded, concerning the errors or views of all subjects, find it extremely difficult to con.
nature, have accustomed their minds to take enlarged excellencies of many systems and schools, as well of
tract their thoughts into a narrower compass, and to the merits or imperfections of those by whom they are content themselves with a more microscopic range of
To smile at last."
vision. A much humbler degree of talent accomplishes disagreeably felt, although want of experience might this task with far greater facility.
fail to suggest the remedy. In like manner, the paper. It is upon these principles that we are inclined to ac- maker may have his own partialities for ribbed paper, count for the disappointment we commonly experience for wove paper, for cream-coloured paper, for thick pain looking over an Annual. For weeks before, our ex- per, or for thin paper; but there is only one sort of p2. pectations have been raised by advertisements of all kinds, per which, under the circumstances, is the paper that and announcements of the splendid preparations which should be used ;-the binder also may prefer plain bind. theeditor and publishers are making ;-long lists of names ing, or rich tooling, or crimson, blue, or green silk, but are circulated ; and every name is a household word in nothing which he proposes may be exactly that which our lips, and seems in itself a host. But when at length ought to be adopted ;—and the engraver may see beauties the expected volume is put into our hands, and we anxi- in certain paintings which no one else sces, and may in. ously turn over leaf after leaf, till we come to the end, sist on making them the subjects of his burine, until a our exclamation, with the countryman in the fable, is superior mind either convinces him of his mistake, or one of mingled regret and surprise,–Quale caput! cere- declines making use of his assistance. When we give brum non habet !_There is, at the same time, an ele- praise to a book, therefore, for its nearly unequalled ex. gance and grace about these little books-a lucky choice cellence in all these particulars, the praise is of some in the time of their appearance-and a pleasant feeling consequence ; and certainly a lovelier volume than the in their intended appropriation, all of which are apt to Keepsake" we could never wish to hold in our hands. soften the critic's heart, and to
It is to the admirable artist, Charles Heath, that it is “ Win the wise, who frown'd before,
chiefly indebted for its exquisite embellishments. Line
engraving was undoubtedly never before carried to the When there were only one or two of these New Year's perfection it has attained in this country within the last Gifts, it was perhaps right to treat them thus leriently; few years. We do not mean to assert thai finer specimens but now that their numbers have so amazingly increased, of the art have been recently produced upon that larger -that so much money is expended on them,--and that so scale, which till lately was rarely deviated from by en. much time is occupied in preparing and in reading them, gravers of celebrity. But the rapidly-increasing taste we are far from thinking that this over-indulgence should for combining pictorial embellishment with literary pro. be continued. Wherever there is competition to so great ductions, and the lucrative employment thus afforded to an extent, it becomes the duty of the public to ascertain artists, have induced an attention to minuteness of detail which of the parties are most entitled to support, and and inimitable delicacy of execution, which have not hiinstead of scattering their unprofitable favours among therto been paralleled. The largest picture is reduced
the whole, bestow upon the really deserving a liberal to the size of a duodecimo page, with a degree of accuand steady patronage. We cannot, therefore, in the racy so complete, that the smallest leaf does not disappresent instance, join with those who repeat the hack pear from a landscape,-nor is the slightest shade of difneyed proverb, that “ comparisons are odious,” and ference in the expression of the individual features of a refuse to point out any distinctions, because all possess magnificent portrait ever perceived. There is here a a greater or less degree of merit. We think that more very great triumph of human ingenuity; and it is imAnnuals have been published this year than will ever possible to avoid feeling obligation to the artist who be again ; and as some must perish, we consider it our thus not only gives to perpetuity, but sends into our duty to assign to each its comparative rank, and thus own closet bound up with the books we read, all the give those that deserve it the best chance of remunera. most brilliant creations of painting. Judging by the ting their respective proprietors, both now and after- numerous engravings in the Annuals before us, the
perwards. We shall say a few words upon each, and shall sons to whom England is most indebted for their suc. endeavour to point out all the substantially good articles cessful exertions in this way are, Charles Heath, Charles it contains ;-of the inferior pieces, we shall either be Rolls, E. and W. Finden, E. Goodall, J. H. Robinson, silent, or express in passing our disapprobation. We H. Le Keux, F. Engleheart, F. and E. Portbury, shall take them up not in any particular order ; but J. Romney, R. Graves, J. Goodyear, and one or after reviewing the whole, we shall class them as their two others who, we doubt not, deserve to be named, merits seem to deserve.
though we have not had the same opportunities of discovering their abilities. There are nineteen embellish.
ments in the “ Keepsake,” of which Heath himself has The Keepsake, edited by F. M. Reynolds. Hurst, supplied ten, and on the whole the best,-if we except Chance, and Co. London.
“Anne Page and Slender,” by Rolls, who is an artist This Annual is of a larger size, and sold at a higher of first-rate talent. It is unnecessary to particularize price, than any of the rest, with the exception of the the engravings which please us most—they are all * Anniversary.”. All that it is in the power of typo- beautiful. “ Lucy and her Bird” is probably the most graphy, paper, binding, and engraving, to do for a commonplace, both in subject and execution ; whilst the book, has been done for the “ Keepsake," of which one portraits of the Duchess of Bedford and Mrs Peel are of the earliest copies that has been sent to Scotland is of that sort which set criticism at defiance. now before us. When we give the “ Keepsake" this Though we have dwelt thus long on the embellish. praise, we say a good deal more than some of our read-ments, we are happy to have it in our power to say, that ers may be inclined at first sight to suspect. It is no the literary contents of the “ Keepsake” are in many easy matter either for editor or publisher, and implies respects little less deserving of notice. None of the Anno trifting degree of taste and judgment, to get up a nuals exhibits so strong a list of names, though several work which, in so far as external beauty is concerned, of them contain a greater number of articles. There is will, in all respects, do honour to the drawing-room of scarcely a contribution in the “ Keepsake" to which a the fairest and the noblest of the land. This is a talent well-known signature is not attached. Sir Walter Scott of itself, which ought not to go unnoticed. Printers, comes first. He has contributed four pieces of prose, however excellent, may, to the cultivated eye, destroy two of which are little more than anecdotes ; the third the appearance of a whole page, by making the margin is only a new edition of a story he heard many years ago too long or too short by a single line, too broad or too from Miss Seward; but the fourth is a very powerful and narrow by a single letter, by misarranging a title, by highly graphic sketch, occupying the first forty-four using capitals instead of italics, by inserting a single pages of the book, and entitled “ Ny Aunt Margaret's space more or a single space less, by a thousand minute Mirror.” It is a tale of necromancy; and the scene is laid errors of judgment, the general effect of which would be in Edinburgh, about the beginning of the eighteenth
century. It is one of those productions which, however fuller of words than of ideas. There are two sonnets, hurriedly the Author of Waverley may occasionally however, by the same author, which possess much simple write, are continually presenting themselves to convince beauty and force.—Lord Nugent's “ A propos of Bread” us that no man living possesses the same graphic and ex. is clever, but not quite so good as we had hoped.traordinary powers. The three other pieces are of a much L. E. L. (Miss Landon) has this year wisely written inferior kind. That called the “ Death of the Laird's much less in the Annuals, and consequently what she Jock," which was written to furnish a subject for the pen- has written is better, and has a more vigorous tone. cil, does not, we think, supply very successfully what was She has two copies of verses in the “ Keepsake," both wanted ; and accordingly, we perceive by Heath's en- of which are good.-Moore is the only living author graving after Corbould, that the attempt to make a fine who seems resolutely to have held out against the picture out of it has entirely failed,—the effect produced temptations offered by the Editors of Annuals. We do is overstrained, disagreeable, and unnatural. Sir Walter not remember ever to have seen a single line of his in Scott is not altogether to blame for this : the incident, any of these books. There is a trifle entitled “Extemas he relates it, is poetical, but not resting on any known pore" by him in the “ Keepsake," but we are informhistorical foundation, it does not possess any point suf. ed in the preface it was obtained from a friend, in whose ficiently striking to merit its being embodied on canvass. possession it happened to be—not from the author him. -Some posthumous fragments of Percy Bysshe Shelley self. We are not sure that Moore's conduct is not more next attract our attention. The few remarks, in prose, dignified, and evinces higher self-respect, than that of “ On Love,” are pregnant with thought, as indeed is those who, from motives either of gain or vanity, allow all that Shelley has ever written. Yet the remarks will their name and productions to be continually bound up not be popular, for the thoughts do not lie at the sur- with so much that is trifling and ephemeral. But this face, and ordinary readers will not give themselves the is matter of opinion, upon which we would not too dog. trouble to penetrate deeper in search of them. There matically insist. If we did, a strong argument would are three scraps of poetry, too, by the same author, which start up against us in Coleridge. He has several contri. we perused with interest; for all that remains of Shelley butions in the “ Keepsake,”—and one of these, “ The tends to throw some light upon the peculiar idiosyncrasy Garden of Boccaccio,” is out of all sight the finest poem of one of the most remarkable and original minds that in the book,mindeed, we regard it as one of the finest this country ever produced. Our readers will be glad to minor pieces which even Coleridge himself, with all his see one of those effusions, which, though on a lighter variety of imagery, and fine flow of strong and original subject, bears the strong impress of Shelley's usual cur. thought, has ever written. We cannot deny ourselves rent of thought :
the pleasure of quoting at least a part of it :
THE GARDEN OF BOCCACCIO. “ Do you not hear the Aziola cry?
Of late, in one of those most weary hours, Methinks she must be nigh,”
When Life seems emptied of all genial powers, Said Mary, as we sate
A dreary mood, which he who ne'er has known In dusk, ere stars were lit or candles brought;
May bless his happy lot, I sate alone;
And, from the numbing spell to win relief,
Callid on the Past for thought of glee or grief. Ask'd,“ Who is Aziola ?”—How elate
In vain! bereft alike of grief and glee, I felt to know that it was nothing human,
I sate and cower'd o'er my own vacancy!
And as I watch'd the dull continuous ache,
Which, all else slumb'ring, seem'd alone to wake, And laugh'd, and said, “ Disquiet yourself not ;
O friend ! long wont to notice yet conceal, 'Tis nothing but a little downy owl.” And soothe by silence what words cannot heal,
I but half saw that quiet hand of thine
Place on my desk this exquisite design,
Boccaccio's garden and its Faery,
An Idyl, with Boccaccio's spirit warm,
Framed in the silent poesy of form.
Like flocks adown a newly-bathed steep,
Emerging from a mist: or like a stream Loved thee, and thy sad cry.
Of music soft, that not dispels the sleep,
But casts in happier moulds the slumberer's dream, From Shelley the transition is easy to his widow- Gazed by an idle eye with silent might, one of the daughters of Godwin-and well known as The picture stole upon my inward sight. the author of “ Frankenstein,” and “ The Last Man." She has furnished two tales to the “ Keepsake,” writ
The brightness of the world, O thou once free, ten in a less wild and gloomy style than that in which
And always fair, rare land of courtesy !
O Florence! with the Tuscan fields and hills, she usually indulges, and bearing evident indications
And famous Arno, fed with all their rills; of a well-cultivated and masculine mind, with here and
Thou brightest star of star-bright Italy ! there some touches of a softer description, which do as
Rich, ornate, populous, all treasures thine, much credit to the heart as the rest does to the head.
The golden corn, the olive, and the vine. There is a good deal of poetry from Wordsworth, but Fair cities, gallant mansions, castles old, we have seen the bard (as his more enthusiastic admirers And forests, where beside his leafy hold have christened him) to greater advantage. There are The sullen boar hath heard the distant horn, some fine thoughts, sprinkled here and there like flowers And whets his tusks against the gnarled thorn ; over a meadow, in the pieces alluded to; but between
Palladian palace with its storied halls; these thoughts there is too much of the bare sodor,
Fountains, where Love lies listening to their falls ; to talk less metaphorically, a little of the prolixity and
Gardens, where flings the bridge its airy span, feebleness of advancing life. “ The Triad,” in parti
And Nature makes her happy home with man; cular, is rather a long poem, and is meant to contain a
Where many a gorgeous flower is duly fed
With its own rill, on its own spangled bed, highly poetical description of three beautiful nymphs ; And wreathes the marble urn, or leans its head, but to us we confess it is, on the whole, exceedingly A mimic mourner, that, with veil withdrawn, mystical and unintelligible, and, moreover, considerably Weeps liquid gems, the presents of the dawn,