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Blessings on them! they in me
And their small experience!” To a mind like hers the success of her laudable efforts for the young must be the best reward: still, others remain in store, and amongst them the gratitude of parents, and of all lovers and instructors of youth. The “Quarterly Review" offers on this point some clever remarks, from which we extract the following passage for the benefit of our readers, and because it so well coincides with our own opinions on a subject of such importance as the early culture of the human mind.
“ Juvenile books are as necessary to children as juvenile companionship, though nothing can be worse than for them to be restricted exclusively to either. Doubtless, the imaginary exemption from the rules and ceremonials of general literature which little books as well as little folks enjoy, has fostered a host of works, from the simply unprofitable to the directly pernicious, which would otherwise not have seen the light. But neither this nor any other consideration should forbid the cultivation of a branch of literature which, properly understood, gives exercise to the highest powers, both of head and heart, or mako us ungrateful to those writers by whom great powers have been so devoted. For children are not their only debtors; nor is the delight with which we take up one of the companions of our childhood entirely attributable to associations of days gone by, nor the assiduity with which we devour a new-comer solely ascribable to parental watchfulness; but it is with these as with some game which we join at first merely to try whether we can play as we once did, or with the view of keeping our little playmates out of mischief, but which we end by liking for its own sake, though we do not always say so,
We are happy to know that many of the exquisitely expressed emotions of parental tenderness which pervade the writings of Mary Howitt are drawn from her own domestic life, and that, in devoting her time and talents to the benefit of children, she has the blessing of being enabled to call some of these home treasures her own. One of her most attractive tales, “The Children's Year," was, in fact, written from closely observing and noting during a whole year the words and actions of two of her children, a boy and a girl, severally aged seven and five years and a half. A companion to this volume, “Our Cousins in Ohio," sets forth the doings of two English children, and is an artless journal of the duties and enjoyments attending a recently emigrated family; and this, with other works, is embellished with illustrations on steel, by Anna Mary Howitt, the talented daughter of talented parents.
Mary Howitt has always been distinguished for her happy imitation of the ancient ballad compositions; and their simplicity, earnestness, fancy, and womanly tenderness, have given them a permanent place in the poetry of England. "It is," as she remarks in the preface to her ballads and other poems, “perhaps, needless to say that I have been all my life a passionate admirer of ballad poetry. Brought up as a child in a picturesque, old-fashioned part of England, remote from books and from the world, and under circumstances of almost conventional seclusion, the echoes of this old traditional literature found their way to my ear and my heart. Few books, except those of a religious and somewhat mystical character, reached me; but an old domestic, with every requisite for a German Märchem Frau, who had a memory stored with ballads, old songs, and legends, inflamed my youthful imagination by her wild chants and recitations, and caused it to take very early flights into the regions of romance. When I married, under circumstances the most favorable for a young poetical spirit, the world of literature was at once opened before me; and, to mark the still prevailing character of my taste, I may say that the first book I read when I had my free choice in a large library, was 'Percy's Relics of Ancient Poetry,' of which I had heard, but till then had never seen. The first fifteen years of my life were devoted to poetry. My husband and I published two joint volumes of poems within the first few years of our marriage, and then, giving freer vent to my own peculiar fancies, I again took to writing ballads, which were published in various periodicals of the day; and the favorable reception they met with gave me the utmost encouragement. The happiest period of my life, however, was, when gladdened by the praise of the public, and encouraged by my husband, on whose taste and judgment I had the greatest dependence, I resolved to put forth my whole strength into one effort, which should afford me free scope for working out character, and for dramatic effect, at which I had always aimed, even in the simplest ballad. My hopes were high, and I thought to achieve a name among the poets of my country. I accordingly wrote “Seven Temptations,' a poem faulty in many respocts, and different to what I would now do, but with which at that time I spared no pains. Authors will, therefore, understand my feelings, when I say that the first review I read of this work was so unfavorable, and that without giving a single quotation in proof of its opinion, that I was cut to the heart. I never experienced a sensation like that before, and I pray that I never may again. The book, however, had its share of praise, and made me many dear and valuable friends. But from that day I tremble at the name of critic, and feel a peculiar sensation of heart when public judgment is about to be passed upon me. I have somewhat of this feeling at this moment, because, although the critics have praised my ballads, and many of them have called upon me to give them to the public in a collected form, still, I myself am not precisely the same person that I was ten or fifteen years ago, when the greater number were written. Life teaches many lessons in that time; the tastes and the feelings become matured, or perhaps greatly changed; and I also now require in poetry, to say nothing of its subject, a degree of polish and finish which, in my younger years, I cared little about. My next volume of poetry must be different in many respects from anything which I have yet done, though it must still retain that love of Christ, of the poor, and of little children, which always was and will be a ruling sentiment of my soul."
Undeterred by the unwarranted rebuff which this unscrupulous criticism gave to the production of Mary Howitt's poetical genius, she persevered in her intellectual efforts, and numerous have been the works of amusement and utility, both in poetry and prose, which have been thus added to our literary stores. To her knowledge of the German, Danish, and Swedish languages, we owe the acquisition of many "pearls of price," amongst them the Improvisatore of Hans Andersen. We are told that the modern Danish and Swedish are so much like English that some sentences of those languages, as uttered by a Dane or Swede, would be intelligible to an Englishman who might not have learnt them; but no language so closely resembles another, either in vocabulary or in construction, as not to require considerable skill and judgment in rendering the sense as the author intended it should be taken, without any appearance of constraint, any leaning to that patchwork style arising out of the use of
words unfamiliar in their own language, which force on the mind the fact that it is a translation we are reading. Such skill and such judgment are shown in all Mary Howitt's translations. They speak no " broken English." We feel that we are introduced to the real thoughts and sentiments of the writers as they themselves would have spoken them. We read the English book as an original, and thus pay the highest compliment to its translator.
This diffusion of foreign literature by means of English translations, which are daily increasing in number, has had the effect eloquently attributed by Canning to steam power, that of "creating unexpected neighborhoods, and new combinations, of social relation. Foreign languages are no longer a bar to our knowledge of foreign works. The patience of the translator, like the magician's spell, flings wide the pages hitherto sealed from our eyes; interpreters have risen up between us and our fel low-workmen in the world's great Tower of Babel." And to none of them do we owe a larger debt of gratitude than to Mary Howitt, for her interpretation of works composed in the language in which Hamlet spoke and thought, "that melancholy Prince of Denmark, whose doubtful existence Shakspeare's glorious dream has taught us to look upon as a familiar reality.” The study of this language has probably inspired a work, in which the literature and romance of Northern Europe are most ably treated and described. It is the joint production of Mr. and Mrs. Howitt; has just appeared; and we can confidently recommend it to the notice of our readers as one in which they will not fail to find the profit, interest, and amusement which may always be gathered from works bearing the name of Howitt.
NEBUCHADNE Z ZAR'S DEE AM.
BY WILLIAM E. SCREVEN, ESQ., AUTHOR OF “ CHRISTIANITY, AND ITS RELATIONS TO POETRY AND PHILOSOPHY."
How often is history read in a superficial and faithless spirit. The mere facts are marked upon the memory, as though written with a pen on senseless paper. The significant soul of the solemn and eventful Past enters not into the heart which has been deadened by the sceptical maxims of the Present.
Let us, in considering the touching episode of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, escape for a brief space from the modern atmosphere of mockery and unbelief; that unbelief of the heart which often prevents ds from realizing the impressive events of the miraculous epoch, even when we have given our intellectual assent to the certainty of their past occurrence.
And first let us remember, as a matter of indubitable truth, that there was once a miraculous epoch
in the history of our world; a time when God did veritably make himself manifest by signs and wonders, by dreams and miracles. It was an awful period; how can imperfect man endure, without horror-struck emotions, a direct communication from his almighty and eternal Creator! That wonderful dispensation has passed away: we live under one of mercy and compassion, in which God,“ remembering that we are dust, and pitying our infirmities," has veiled himself in the flesh, manifesting himself to us only through our gracious Mediator. But let us not forget, in the clearness and peace of this “later day,” that there was once, in very truth, a miraculous and chaotic stage in the history of mankind, and let us receive the fragmentary relics of that portentous time with childlike simplicity of faith. Let us listen to the “low sad music of humanity" which comes
to us so solemnly out of the night of remote ages, and “be not faithless, but believing."
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Assyria, by his valor and enlarged policy, had extended the already vast kingdom inherited from his illustrious ancestors, into an empire whose boundless extent, in the expressive language of Scripture, embraced “all nations and all tongues.” Among the latest of his conquests he had subdued Jerusalem, the Holy City; being the unconscious instrument, in the hands of God, of the fulfilment of the prophecy, made by the inspired Jeremiah, of the seventy years' captivity of the Jews. The king's heart had become enlarged: he viewed the wide extent of his empire; the effulgent glory of Babylon, his splendid capital, and the recent reduction of Jerusalem, the far-famed city of the Unknown God, with boundless pride. He had ordered that certain of the ill-fated children of Israel should be reared to become his astrologers and wise men, and the order of the king in those wild days was as the voice of fate. Among others of God's chosen people, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were selected for this purpose, from the tribe of Judah.
A dream which had visited the king, and which Daniel alone of all the w men could interpret, had set him up as second in Assyria only to the king himself. The wondrous miracle of the fiery furnace had established Shadrach, Mesbach, and Abednego at the head of the provinces. But, unhappily for Nebuchadnezzar, while acknowledging the inspired wisdom of Daniel, and convinced that his Jewish companions had been rescued from the fiery furnace only by the hand of the God of Israel, his heart was not subdued to the sovereign authority of the Supreme and Holy One. He still regarded himself, with oriental arrogance, as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. If he had recognized the supremacy of God, it was only in a moment of panic and awe: as soon as these transient emotions ceased, his heart was surrendered to its customary atmosphere of adulation and self-glory.
Nebuchadnezzar was not an ordinary man, and still less an ordinary prince. The selection of "certain of the children of Israel," "understanding science,” to become his advisers; the unvarying favor with which he regarded Daniel, even when telling the most unpleasing truths, and the instant readiness of his acknowledgment of God's almighty hand in the miracle of the furnace, exhibit a sagacity and loftiness of mind altogether remarkable in the annals of paganism. Heaven had marked him out to be at once a monument of its miraculous power and boundless grace. He was about to pass through an ordeal, strange and wild beyond description, but of which he had not previously the faintest conception.
The king "saw a dream which made him afraid, and troubled him.” He beheld, in the visions of the night, a tree, which was flourishing, and very luxuriant. While he gazed, “a watcher from hea
ven" descended, and commanded that it should be hewn down. Nevertheless, the stump, and the vital roots, should be left, to the intent that, when "seven times” had passed over it, it should again grow and be strong.
The Chaldeans and magicians being called in, failed to interpret the dream. Finally, Daniel was consulted, who, being “astonied for one hour" by the overwhelming destiny of the unhappy monarch, declared that his empire should be taken from him, and that he should become as a beast of the field for seven years: that at the end of the appointed time his understanding and his sceptre should be restored to him, and he should then know that the God of Israel is the creator of man, and the ruler of kings.
Nebuchadnezzar was oppressed by strange and solemn thoughts. For many days, even in the midst of his splendid court, surrounded by all the pomp and adulation of that barbaric age, his visage wore a subdued and troubled expression. But, week after week, month after month, rolled away, and he still sat, undisturbed, on the magnificent throne of Babylon, worshipped as an idol, almost as a god, while nothing as yet indicated the fulfilment of Daniel's appalling prophecy.
As time thus passed, the king's heart waxed stronger and stronger, until, in the stoutness of his self-content, he felt that his empire was immovable, and that he was independent even of heaven itself.
“At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty ?"
“While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; the kingdom is departed from thee."
The king had risen from his couch fresh and radiant in the glory of his beauty and his might. It was as he passed, in the brightness of early morn, to his council-chamber, where his lords awaited him, that he had uttered the impious boast which called down the long-threatened vengeance of heaven. A change, loathsome and frightful beyond conception, came over the mighty monarcb: his countenance ceased to be human : ferocity, mingled with vacant imbecility, usurped the place of intelligence : he fell prone upon his hands, and grovelled at the feet of his attendants. The counsellors assembled in an adjoining apartment were instantly summoned, and, crowding into the gallery, surrounded in speechless amazement the abject and shocking figure of the once regal Nebuchadnezzar. The recollection of the hitherto despised but now fulfilled prophecy of Daniel rushed across their minds, and their anointed king was borne away by their own hands to the gates of the city, and thrust forth to herd with the beasts of the field.
At the time of Nebuchadnezzar's debasement, Daniel occupied a position in the Assyrian government, as was before remarked, second only to that of royalty. To this post he had been raised by the king's edict, in consequence of his unerring interpretation of the monarch's frequent dreams, and doubtless also on account of the stern and unbending integrity of his character. His companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it will be remembered, were at the same time filling the highest posts in the provincial departments. It was doubtless owing to this remarkable condition of the Assyrian government that Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom was preserved to him until his restoration to reason; otherwise, it were impossible to explain so singular a fact, when the cruel and unscrupulous ambition of those barbarous days is considered. The inference, however, is easy from the simple recital of facts in the Sacred Volume, that Daniel, from his supreme authority in the absence of the king, was enabled to preserve his empire for him in all its integrity during the awful interregnum. In this he was assisted by his Hebrew brethren, who, together with himself, were induced to make every necessary effort to that end, from their firm conviction, that the entire prophecy would be fulfilled, and the king restored, eventually, both to his reason and his empire. They therefore administered the Assyrian government, for seven years, with that wisdom and unblemished virtue for which they had become so renowned throughout the entire realm.
For years, the once princely Nebuchadnezzar had herded with the beasts of the field. With them he came forth at early dawn to the fat meadows of the Euphrates: with them he grazed the luxuriant grass, and with them retired to the fold at "dewy eve," or sought repose under the shelter of some neighboring copse. The change which had passed over him go suddenly in his palace had gradually increased: his entire aspect was transformed. His hair bad grown like "eagles' feathers,” and his nails like “birds' claws;" intelligence had retrograded into instinct, and as he grovelled in the muddy pools, or cropped the green herbage, there was no thought but for the present want, or the present enjoyment. His face had assumed the dull and staring fixedness of the “beast that perishes," and, even as he moved, the position of man was exchanged for that of the quadruped.
Behold him, as he feeds with the oxen, among the sedges, by the river's brink. The intense stillness of noon has hushed every sound, except the rippling of the sluggish stream, and the distinct cropping of the grass, at regular intervals, by the herd at their mid-day meal. A loud plash of the water breaks the silence. Some large fish has risen to the surface, and exultingly returned to his native depths, after waking the echoes for many & rood. The berd raise their heads in listening wonder: the cropping of the grass has given way to mute ex
pectation. Among the dumb and intent faces, behold the once majestic countenance of Nebuchadnezzar, lifted above the sedges, full of vacant surprise end apprehension. His matted hair falls like a mass of coarse feathers over his broad and naked shouldere; his eyes gleam with intense fire, yet are inexpressive of the least spark of human intelligence, while his mouth closes upon the unchewed herbage just browsed from the meadow. Instinct suggests that there is nothing to fear, and he and his brute companions move leisurely on, as they feed through their accustomed range.
Strange, wonderful spectacle! but as true and certain once, as that God liveth always.
“Seven times" had passed over him: God had completed his terrible but gracious work: the king's heart was subdued: pride had taken its everlasting flight: meekness and love were enshrined forever in all its high places.
“And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes unto Heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation:
“And all the inhabitants of the earth are repnted as nothing: and he doeth according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His band, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?
“At the same time my reason returned unto me : and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me: and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
“Now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, and extol, and honor the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment; and those that walk in pride He is able to abase."
BY G. L. PARSONS.
In the springtime of her being,
When her laugh was free and light, Was she called to leave this prison,
And to wing her upward flightWhen ber beart knew naught of sorrow,
And her soul was free from sin, Was she in her beauty gathered
Underneath Jehovah's wing. Oft I think I see her standing,
Clad in robes of spotless white, And a band of angels round her,
With their crowns of glory bright Now I think I hear them singing
Singing songs of joy aboveEver round that happy throne
of our Saviour's endless love.
COSTUMES OF ALL NATIONS. THIRD SERIES.
THE TOILET IN PALESTINE AND SYRIA.
IN Dr. Clarke's “Manners and Customs of the Ancient Israelites,” he says, that “the shape of their dress cannot be exactly known. There is every reason to suppose that it was similar to that of the ancient Egyptians, which consisted of a tunic,
or mitre; and in Isaiah iii. 18, &c., we have a long account of their costume in all its varieties, when the prophet reproaches the daughters of Sion for their vanity and corruption; and truly, at that time, the love of dress and ornament must have been very prevalent, as we find by the numerous accessories to their toilet enumerated by the prophet.
The dress of the Jewish women was splendid with gold and embroidery. The Queen of Judea was arrayed in a garment of wrought gold. “Thus," observes Fuller, “such gallantry was fashionable amongst the Jews long before any thereof was used in the western parts, or Rome itself; indeed, a mantle of cloth of gold we find mentioned by Pliny as a great novelty, though such a one had been worn by the Jewish queens a thousand years before.”
Their trowsers and tunics were made of fine linen, and rich silks embroidered in gold and jewels; they woro also a veil, which fell over the whole person down to the feet. The anklets of gold or silver, often alluded to in Scripture, were very heavy, and made a ringing sound as the wearer walked. The pride and pleasure that the Jewish ladies took in making a tinkling with these ornaments are severely reproved by the prophet Isaiah. It is supposed that the caul alluded to by the prophet was intended to describe the peculiar manner of dressing the hair. It was at that time divided into tresses plaited with silk threads, gold ornaments, and golden coins.
Besides the anklets, the Jewish women wore earrings, noso-jewels, chains of silver and gold, and bracelets. The ear-rings probably contained a verse from the Scriptures, to serve as an amulet or charm, in which most Orientals place much faith, as they believe these amulets have power to avert evils and obtain blessings. They also wore from the waist boxes or bottles containing rich perfume ; these they fastened to a chain and hung to their girdles. The Jewish women are still very fond of jewels and ornaments of every kind, and, wherever they dwell, are usually as much celebrated for the costliness and splendor of their dross as for their great beauty.
We must give the description of a court-dress, which is exactly according to the Jewish fashion, and is borrowed from the “ Tale of Zillah," which, though a novel, abounds in interesting and faithful records of the manners, costumes, fashions, and many other details of the Holy City.
“She accordingly wore the parti-colored robe, which she had herself embroidered with flowers and gold thread, and of which the sleeves were of the
a pallium or cloak, and a girdle.” All ancient nations seem to have had the same costume, formed of long garments, without much shape or ornament; and, as these were all much alike, they descended from father to son for many generations. The colors most valued among the ancients appear to have been purple, red, and violet; but white was the most used by the Israelites. Young people wore variegated clothes, like the coat of Joseph (Gen. xxxvii. 23). “And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph of his coat, his coat of many colors, that was on him."
Their garments, however, were richly ornamented with fringes, borders of color or embroidery, and jewels; and they were ordered to put borders on their robes, to remind them continually of the law of God. On their heads they wore a sort of tiara, like that of the Persians; for, among this people, to be bare-headed was a sign of mourning. Their hair was long, for shaving the head marked sorrow and affliction.
In the Scriptures, in various parts, we find descriptions of the manner in which the Jewish women attired themselves. We read in Ezekiel of the fine stuffs of different colors, a silken girdle, purple shoes, bracelets, a necklace, ear-rings, and a crown