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ADAMS (Dr) Female Medical Adviser
Bond's (Alvan) Memoirs of the Rev. Pliny Flisko
Conway's (Derwent) Journey through Norway
Hall's (Honourable Judge) Letters from the West
Hetherington's (W. M.) Dramatic Sketches
Huie's British Drama
sving's (Dr David) Elements of English Composition 47
Knight's Heraldic Works
Lawson's (John Parker) Life and Times of William Laud,
Letters to the Parochial Schoolmasters of Scotland
Magazine, New Monthly, for February 1829
Meaning-book, the Child's First
Pitsligo's (Lord) Thoughts, &c.
Roland (George) Treatise on Fencing
Sanders' (John) Happiness Found
Sheppard's (John) Origin of Christianity
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 wisdom 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, vague
--of a higher origin,—and of a far nobler destiny, might ly and unsatisfactorily set down, as the causes why to soine have never been revealed. a new order of things should arise in the world of intel.
The same observations which apply to different classes leet, 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 taste-although, like the precious stone Astoral state of society took a strong hold of the imasought for by the enthusiasm of early science, it may gination, and, as in the Arcadia of Greece, or of Sir Phihave 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 thouan 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 de. sesses but a shallow and bigoted discernment who pins nominated wit, 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 bearts 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 godthe 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 bestowafter 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
THE ANNUALS FOR 1829. of the Troubadour need not be despised, because Mil. ton, 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 enibody in their pages all the miscelneed 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; worth, or a Coleridge, would be eagerly purchased when
If the shorter productions of a Sir Walter Scott, a Wordsnor should Addison be left unread, and Pope pronounced published separately, it is but fair to calculate that the uninspired, because the author of “ Waverley” sprung volume will be greatly increased in interest that contains 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 every
light. “ Aliquando dormitat bonus Homerus ;” but 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, father,
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 bave 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
nature, have accustomed their minds to tako enlarged excellencies of many systems and schools, as well as of tract their thoughts into a narrower compass, and to
views of all subjects, find it extremely difficult to con. the merits or imperfections of those by whom they are content themselves with a more microscopic range of