صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

reminds us of Pope, and in the other that reminds us of Hood. We do not mean that Mr. Saxe borrows from either; we only allude to the vein in which he writes. He is too genial to sting, like Pope; his satire is of that character which "instructs but hurts not.” He is as cheerful and joyous as Hood—as much disposed to look at the bright side of life ; but he lacks the sustained humor of the author of “Song of the Shirt.” Before we explain, however, why it is that we do not like the longer poems of Mr. Saxe, as well as some of his shorter pieces, we will proceed to make an observation or two on the latter. And the first that occurs to our mind is, “I'm Growing Old.” We neither know nor care what others think of this; but it strikes us that there is true pathos in it. Seldom has the approach of age been more happily described than it is in the following stanza:

" I'm growing fonder of my staff;

I'm growing dimmer in the eyes ;
I'm growing fainter in my laugh;

I'm growing deeper in my sighs ;
I'm growing careless in my dress ;

I'm growing frugal in my gold;
I'm growing wise ; I'm growing-yes

I'm growing old." “The Old Chapel-Bell” is an effusion of kindred character, but in the ballad style, of which it is a truly excellent specimen. The lady whose prose tale suggested this fine poem may well lay claim to the faculty of inspiring others—at least one—if she is not inspired herself. But after all, it is when he woos the comic muse, that Mr. Saxe is most successful. In proof of this, we think we need only refer to the pieces entitled “Comic Miseries, Guneopathy," “The Ghost Player,” and “The Briefless Barrister.” As there may be some, however, who will not take our word for the fact, we transcribe


A Contemplative Ballad.
Right jollie is ye tailyor-man,

He pulleth at ye busie threade,
As annie man may be ;

To feed his loving wife
And all ye daye upon ye benche

And eke his childe; for unto them
He worketh merrilie.

• It is ye threade of life.
And oft ye while in pleasante wise He cutteth well ye rich man's coate,
He coileth up his lymbes,

And with unseemlie pride
He singeth songs ye like whereof

He sees ye little waistcoate in
Are not in Watts his hymns.

Ye cabbage bye his side.
And yet he toileth all ye while

Meanwhlle ye tailyor-man his wife,
His merrie catches rolle


To labor nothinge loth,
As true unto ye needle as

Sits bye with readie hande to baste
Ye needle to ye pole.

Ye urchin and ye cloth.
What cares ye valiant tailyor-man Full happie is ye tailyor-man,
For all ye cowarde feares ?

Yet is he often tried
Against ye scissors of ye Fates

Lest he, from fullnesse of ye dimes,
He pointes his mightie sheares.

Wax wanton in his pride.

[ocr errors]

He heedeth not ye anciente jests

Full happie is ye tailyor-man,
That witlesse sinners use;

And yet he hath a foe,
What feareth ye bolde tailyor-man

A cunninge enemie that none
Ye hissinge of a goose ?

So well as tailyors knowe.
It is ye slipperie customer

Who goes his wicked wayes,
And weares ye tailyor-man his coate,

But neyer, never payes l.

There is genuine humor in this, and the effect is greatly heightened by the quaintness of the style. Of a similar character is “Ye Pedagogue," of which at least one stanza contains more truth than poetry :

"Sometimes he heares, with trembling feares,

of ye ungodlie rogue,
On mischieffe bent, with felle intent,

To licke ye Pedagogue.” In the “Cockney," the usual good-nature of our poet seems to forsake him. Much of the picture is true, considered as a caricature of a grombling Englishman; but, in the name of jastice, we protest against the closing stanza-especially against the last four lines:

" When slept the man-in-gaiters,

He was grumbling o'er his gin,
At the charges of the hostess

or that famous Flemish inn ;
And he looked a very Briton

(So me thinks I see him still), As he pocketed the candle

That was mentioned in the bill !” If this were said of a North Briton, we are not sure that we could deny the impeachment; but, whatever may be the faults of John Ball, he is certainly not a miser. That he likes to make money is very true; but it is equally true that he has the heart to spend it. As for sticking the candle, he gets at an inn, into his pocket, merely because he has paid for it, no one, in our opinion, would be less likely to be guilty of so shabby a trick.

With this exception, however, the “Cockney” is a good specimen of the comic ballad. But, now we must explain ourselves as to the longer poems. To come to the point at once, they contain too much slang. This is particularly true of “Progress.” The quotation marks, to be found in almost every couplet, make no amends for the error, but rather aggravate it. Mr. Saxe is all the more to blame, for indulging so largely in derbis vulgaribus, because it is evident that he has the advantage of a liberal education. In most of his poems we meet with classical allusions, and, in general, they are judiciously applied; but the quoted phrases, of which the poet is so fond, spoil their effect. It is very well to satirize “ Ladies' Schools,” if they deserve it; also the rage, among a certain class of parents, for cramming learning into their daughters; but it strikes us that the following is rather a forced way of doing either :

• Where hapless maids, in spite of wish or taste,

On vain accomplishments' their moments waste ;
By cruel parents here condemned to wrench
Their tender throats in mispronouncing French;
Here doomed to force, by unrelenting knocks,
Reluctant music from a tortured box;
Here taught, in inky shades and rigid lines,
To perpetrate equivocal designs ;'

Drawings' that prove their title plainly true,

By showing nature. drawn'and quartered' too !We fear that, if this is satire, it recoils on the author. The owners of the “tender throats” might say that they might “ wrench" them by other


means, quite as much as by mispronouncing French ; and there is said to be such a thing as a tortured Pegasus as well as a “tortured box,” while “unrelenting knocks" may be applied in vain to a head as well as to a box. But Mr. Saxe could well avoid such as this, if he chose. Were it otherwise, we should say nothing about it. He does not seem to remember, in his longer poems, that affectation disfigures a poem as inuch as it does a fine face. When he eschews affectation, as in his ballads and other lighter pieces, few minstrels are sweeter, more natural, or more tender. He is a great admirer of Horace, and Flaccus justifies him somewhat when he tells us that it is difficult to speak of common things properly :

Difficile est propriè communia dicere. But Horace condemns the sermo pedestris ; so does Longinus; the latter regarding well-chosen words as the proper light of the mind (ta nala óvojata). Were Mr. Saxe a valgar versifier, we should not quote either Dionysius or Flaccus to convince him that he can afford to be simple and unaffected in his style. We readily admit, at all events, that the defects we have pointed out-nay, all that are contained in the beautiful little volume in blue and gold) before us—bear but a small proportion to its beauties.

The Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Albans,

and Lord High Chancellor of England, collected and edited by JAMES
SPEDDING, M. A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, ROBERT LESLIE ELLIS,
M. A., late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Douglas DEN-
NON HEATH, Barrister-at-Law, &c. Vol. II. Boston: Brown &
Taggart. 1861.

It is pleasant to observe that this complete and beautiful edition of Bacon's works is being appreciated, notwithstanding the heavy depression under which the book trade in general has been laboring since the beginning of the rebellion. Most other enterprises of a similar kind have had to be postponed, while more than one have failed altogether. This is the best evidence that could be adduced in proof of the high estimation in which the works of the great inductive philosopher are held in America ; and it is regarded in the same light in England, several English journals expressing their surprise to learn that the publishers can find any inducement to proceed with the work, at all, in times of civil war, wliile Southerners could get no books, however willing they might be to buy, and Northerners are so much absorbed by the daily papers. The fact is deemed all the more strange, because, in the best of times, Bacon has comparatively few readers in England. It will be remembered that among the highest aspirations of Lord Brougham, in his educational efforts, has been the hope that the people would soon be able to read Bacon. It was in reply to this laudable boast on the part of his Lordship that William Cobbett remarked in the House of Commons that it would be much better that the people were first enabled to eat bacon. Then, he said, they would be in a more comfortable frame of mind to stndy the philosopher's writings, and to turn their teachings to practical account. There was considerable force in this. But not only is there less poverty in America among the masses than in England; there is also less ignorance, or, what amounts to the same, more general intelligence. It is not alone that the American masses can afford comfortable food; the poorest of them also enjoy the benefit of free education. In these facts we have the solution of the problem which has puzzled so many. Besides, in the present case, the American edition is remarkably cheap, seeing that it is not surpassed in tastefulness or elegance, more than in completeness, by the best English editions, which cost nearly twice its price.

Of the manner in which the present editors have accomplished their task, we have spoken at length in a former number.* It is needless to repeat, now that the enterprise has progressed so far, that they have severally given proof of the highest qualifications-of sound judgment, the strictest impartiality, and that they are by no means blind to the great philosopher's faults, while, at the same time, none are better capable of appreciating his merits. The former and the latter are, in turn, discussed; nor is the balance, greatly as it preponderates on the right side, a whit exaggerated. This, indeed, was not necessary. The simple facts—those that have been acknowledged by the best judges that Europe or America has produced for nearly three hundred years—are quite enough to show that Bacon is one of the master spirits of the world—one of the profoundest thinkers of ancient or modern times.

It is not necessary for us to note even the contents of the present volume, which, with the exception of the preface and some notes, are all in Latin. We are glad to see that the Latin text has been given the American publishers. It is time that we should have some proof of the efficiency of our numerous colleges and universities, whose proudest boast it is that they teach the languages of Greece and Rome, especially the latter. There are few that study Bacon who would not be offended at the imputation that they are not liberally educated; yet no one ignorant of the language of Cicero is. Be it remembered, besides, that there are many who, for the life of them, could not read Lucretius or Horace, nay, Livy or Sallust, who would find little difficulty in understanding the Latin of Bacon. It presents fewer difficulties to the learner than the most flowing ordo to a classical work; in short, it is English Latin. Thus, we take a sentence or two at random, as an example: “Inquiratur quæ sit linea et Directio Motus Gravitatis ; et quatenus sequatur vel centrum terræ. id est massam terræ vel centrum corporis ipsius, id est, nixum partium ejus.

* December, 1860. VOL. IV.NO. VII.


Centra enim illa ad demonstrationes apta sunt; in natura nihil valent" (p. 393). To this we need only add, that the second volume of the philoso.. phical works—that before us-contains some of the author's noblest thoughts—those which, in spite of his many faults, have rendered him immortal among the benefactors of mankind.

A Woman's Wanderings in the Western World. A series of Letters ad

dressed to Fitzroy Kelly, M. P. By his Daughter, Mrs. BROMLEY. London: Saunders & Otley. 1861.

We do not like to find fault with the efforts of the ladies, especially when it is evident that they mean well; but we are compelled, in the name of outraged common sense, to protest against this book. It contains forty-seven letters, of more than ordinary dimensions, each written from different places in the United States, British America, the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, &c.; but one letter, from the “ own correspondent” of a respectable newspaper, would be worth the whole batch. The author and a young friend were travelling all the time by sea or land. They saw a great many things that interested them, and from this they concluded that Mrs. Bromley could interest the public by attempting to describe the same. No doubt the letters were very agreeable to the old baronet to whom they were addressed; but he should never have allowed them into the printer's hands. The principal facts we learn from the book are: that the author and her friend were always in a hurry; often late for the cars, nearly as often late for the steamboat; that Mexican ladies are somewhat different in their manners and customs, if not in their morals, fron the ladies of the United States; that the Canadian ladies are supposed to be somewhat taller than the ladies of the West Indies, but that the eyes of the latter have the advantage of being at once darker and brighter than those of the former; that the curious eye may detect similar diversities among the men, though, as a general thing, the ruder sex have not so many faults as the gentler-at least, they do not paint so much, nor do they talk so ill of their neighbors, &c., &c. It seems to us that all this could have been learned without travelling twenty thousand miles in search of it. At the same time, Mrs. Bromley is not deficient in talent; besides, she is evidently a lady of culture and refinement; but it was necessary that she should think before writing. Had she undertaken a novel, she might have gained fame; but ethnology and the delineation of the manners and customs of foreign nations are not her forte.

Poems by Amy W.

A small volume of poems, with this unpretending title, is now passing through the press of one of our principal publishers. Through the courtesy of the fair author, we have been permitted to examine a portion of the manuscript, and we can truly say that seldom, if ever, have we derived

« السابقةمتابعة »