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critic who has laboured so hard in his The reviewer backed St. John in a different service. Would you know the journal on style from that in which St. John backed whose honesty least dependence can be his patients, and St. John was regular in placed, go into a literary company and find paying the price. The doctor broke down, out that which is most praised. The au- and the critic left him in the mire. What thors know that those who raise idols feel a pity that, “as they were lovely in their always a strong desire to destroy their lives, they should " in their deaths be handy work. Trading criticism has cen- divided.” sure, abuse, and vilification for sale, as well We have alluded to this wretched quack as praise ; and woe be to its protégé if, trust- only to shew how low the trading critic ing to his pride of place, he forgets the will stoop if he only has the prospect of hands that raised him to his elevation. profit. Poor Robert Montgomery !he had a fair
Right worthy he of Egypt's wise abodes, portion of poetical taste, considerable skill
A decent priest where monkeys are the gods. in smooth versification, and more power of expression than of thought. Trading criti- It is with no pleasant feelings that we recism undertook to place him on a pedestal cord this degradation of criticism, but we beside Milton. His great poem, the Omni- write of what the world has seen as well as presence of the Deity, became itself an ourselves; were we to enter still deeper into omnipresence; turn where you would, it the “secrets of the prison house” we could stared you in the face; every body was a tale unfold,” which would more than persuaded that Montgomery would be, if justify the contempt with which the world he was not already, the Christian Byron, treats the squabbles of critics and authors. and serious apprehensions were entertained A less disgraceful, but scarcely less injufor the safety of all publishers in London, rious, style of criticism is becoming very but one ; it was supposed that they would common: indifference is its great characdie of apoplexy through sheer envy of the teristic, the leading principle is not to fortunate individual who had purchased “commit the paper:”—“ censure not an the copyright of the wonderful poem. author too severely, he may have powerful Montgomery, like Jehurun, “ waxed fat friends :”—“ praise him not too lavishly, and kicked;" he would not allow trading he may have bitter enemies.” The indifcriticism to stand on terms of equality, he ferent critic is a rigid formalist, he has told the venal hireling that as a slave he catalogued all the phases that imagination should keep his distance, and in an instant ought to assume, and he has prepared a the architects of his fame began to under- theory of invention far more precise than mine the foundations of their own edifice. any that has yet been devised by geologists. “ There once was a man,” says a Coptic He knows the primitive ideas from the legend,“ who ascended Cleopatra's Needle, alluvial deposits, and his chief care is that by a ladder of ropes, and when he got tó the stratum should not be disturbed. The the top, kicked away the cordage; but his indifferent critic is of course conceited, a head was turned by the dizzy height, he kind of literary and very often a literal fell down and was dashed to pieces.” Such dandy; he affects perfect nonchalance, for was Montgomery's fate; in the hour of enthusiasm would dislocate his system, and his prosperity he literally " played the he lisps out his prettyish commonplaces devil,” that is to say, he wrote Satan, and with a delicate effeminacy which is just quarrelled with the reviewers : one of the suited to the atmosphere of a lady's boardtraders, who had been the first to baptize ing school. Before men of letters can estihim a Milton, added an epithet to the mate a critic of this class, these doubts word; Montgomery became “ the Brum- respecting the sex must be solved. magem Milton;" the phrase was decisive, Come we now to the slashing critic; with the poor idol was hurled from its pedestal all his faults he is a very amusing fellow, amid a tempest of laughter and hisses, and too much indeed like an Irishman in a fair, then trading criticism turned off to find some resolved to beat somebody, and caring little new object of worship and profit.
whether it be friend or enemy. His first It was a thousand pities that St. John object is to have the laugh at his side, as to Long did not start as a poet; he had trade the argument it never enters into his head; criticism fettered fast in his service, for he no scruple checks him, onward he dashes bought the horses that drew its chariot. through thick and thin, the spectators are
but too happy to be amused, and long be- he might have called to illustrate the chafore his career is terminated the fun of the racter
of the Italians during Rienzi's reign ! spectacle has made all parties forget its but he did not read deeply, he only object.
skimmed the surface, and his picture is But the slashing frequently degenerates consequently like nothing that ever exinto the butchering critic; his object then isted.” He does not confine himself to these is only to inflict pain, though he hopes that generalities, he enters into the most petty the public will laugh at the contortions of details of manners and costume; these are his victim. The butcher is restrained by differently stated in many instances, but he no principle; if he cannot cut up the chooses those whom the author has negauthor he attacks the man, and if there is lected, for his first purpose in criticism is not yet food enough for malice he falls foul to display the extent of his own learning. of his family through all past generations. With genius or energy the erudite critic He is of course a politician ; he writes for his has no sympathy; he cannot conceive how party, and, like the Indian warrior, hopes to any body could find poetry in the character win the chieftainship of his tribe by exhi- of Attila, or inspiration in the ruins of biting a goodly array of scalps, and to ter- Pompeii. He execrates Martin Luther berify opponents by dexterous flourishes of cause abhorrence of humbug was the chief his tomahawk. But the butchering trade characteristic of that singular man, and he is on the decline ; the indifferent lady-like looks coldly upon the reformation because critic is driving him from the field, by it diminished the number of his beloved sneering at the stains that his bloody trade chronicles. The race of the erudite critics has left upon his clothes.
was once almost extinct, but it has been Far different from all these classes is the revived since the study of German became grave erudite critic ;-make room for the popular, for the Germans are natural memlearned doctor ;–let him be received with bers of the school, and they can always all due reverence. Lord help the historian supply its followers with a goodly number whose work he is going to review! The of ready-made references. erudite critic will drag the whole British That poets and novelists pay little regard Museum about his ears. He will tell you
to the recommendations or the censures how Sir Walter Scott mistook the colour of of erudite criticism is notorious, and in Saladin's charger, did not rightly under- truth we cannot blame them. The mere stand the statutes of the Templars, gave a scholar is no more fit to pass sentence on wrong hood to his monk, made heraldic the man of genius, than the mathematician errors in emblazoning shields; and, after is to judge of a piece of music. There is edifying you with a thousand such minute no doubt that reminiscences form a condetails, ends with the exclamation, “Behold siderable portion of experience, and that the how popular writers falsify history !” But most wondrous inventions of fiction are those do not trust to the accuracy of this walking that have been based on close observation encyclopædia; he is very likely to venture of actual life ; but books are not experience, on misquotation, for no one but such a neither are chronicles living testimonies; in pedant as himself would dream of disturb- fact, knowledge of actual life is necessary to ing the venerable dust on the original the revival of the past or the approximation chronicles. If, however, his misstatements of the distant. Between the mere acquisiare detected, he shields himself under tion of knowledge and the exhibition of its Dominie Sampson's plea, “I was oblivious;" elements moving, living, and breathing, and the good-natured world, already amazed there is a great gulf fixed, and the erudite
one small head could carry all he critic is about the last person likely to disknew," laments that the wondrous scholar cover the secret channels by which memory cannot know every thing.
flows into imagination. The historical novel is the true game for It is not extraordinary, under these ciryour erudite critic, he will prove to you cumstances, that writers of fiction should that the author has totally mistaken the have recourse to trading criticism for a character of the epoch he has chosen for supply of puffers; a train of worshippers, his fiction. But he is enraptured with the each bound to the service of his respective wisdom of the choice. “ Oh, what a fine idol. Disgusted by the attempt to confine subject has been spoiled! Had Bulwer the living soul under the ribs of death, to studied the chronicles, how many anecdotes limit them to the dry bones of history,
many have openly set antiquarian truth at the dialectician explains the creations of defiance, and have found followers to ap- the poet, and the poet realizes the predicplaud them for asserting the inherent pri- tions of the dialectician. vileges of genius. The erudite school of Let us not be accused of an unworthy criticism has generated the servile, which, effort to depreciate our critical cotempomore in appearance than reality, identifies raries, when we complain that the total itself with trading criticism. The servile neglect of dialectics is the source from class is on the increase, and it has elements which all the evils of which we complain of popularity with which the erudite can- have flowed. Vague generalities are the not compete. The reading public is not staple of modern reviews, logical principles inclined to be troubled too much with the are the only sure basis of a valuable critask of thinking ; the erudite critic is too ticism. In our last number we showed fond of abstruse reasoning and scholastic that Victor Hugo's errors, the faults that logic, the servile dazzles his reader with a obscure his brilliant genius and make his few pompous phrases which seem to mean gorgeous creations mere phantasmagoria everything and really mean nothing ; but that “ overcome us like a summer cloud,” the world is pleased to avoid labour, and and excite “our special wonder," but disthough your pure no-meaning puzzles appear unregretted and forgotten, result more than wit,” it satisfies those on whom simply from his neglect of statistical laws, meaning would impose the disagreeable from his refusal to acknowledge that fiction task of mental exertion.
is purely a generalisation of facts. His There remains a school of criticism, rare servile critics and he has a tail that the in all ages, and almost unheard in our own; proudest Highland chief might envy-not severe, vigilant, impartial, yet ever ready only excuse his faults, but call upon us to to foster rising merit, and encourage the admire the wondrous powers of creative earliest efforts of genius “ to imp its feeble genius; we say that they are ignorant both wing;" acknowledging no law but con- of the nature and functions of genius, bescience, no aim but truth. Such criticism cause invention is a process regulated by would be the ally of genius, not its rival, known laws, and the only staple on which and much less its enemy: it would not it can work is reminiscence. check the onward movement of mind, but In superadding the title of Monthly would
forward with the intellectual pro- Critic to that of Court Magazine, we have gress, 6 share in the triumph and partake been chiefly actuated by a desire to estathe gale." Invention would belong to the blish what we conceive to be a beneficial critic as well as to the author, and both school of criticism, one that would not would join in exploring the untravelled merely report progress but aid developpaths of space.
ment. Besides giving an impartial view of There is no mistake more common and the current literature of the day, it should more fatal than to suppose that the proper rescue all that is really valuable from the business of criticism is to measure roads and fleeting publications which come like set up land marks, to map past discoveries shadows, so depart," and register every new and not shew the way to acquire new lands. acquisition made to the domain, however There is a dialectical as well as a poetic small and apparently trifling. process of invention, and it has often rea- We make no profession of critical faith, lized what the former has failed to accom- we register no creed, we sign no articles : plish. The geographical critic has more in the progressive advance of mind we hold than once anticipated the discoveries of the that it would be injudicious to “trace the traveller, and astronomical reasoning had wizard ring,” and say genius shall not pass taught that a planet was wanting in our the cireumference without condemnation. system, long before telescopes discovered Truth alone shall be our standard of meathat its place was supplied by the asteroids. surement; but while we steadfastly adhere While genius acts, true criticism delibe- to all fixed principles, we shall zealously rates ; both work in their proper vocation, labour as intelligence is developed to extend and there is no reason why one should in- and improve our scale. More
apterfere with the other. Dialectical inven- plaud than to censure, more desirous to tion is employed in the establishment of encourage than to chastise, we shall ever principle, poetic invention in the acquisi- be ready to give merit its meed, to cheer tion of fact; when they are in harmony, the modest and raise the humble. Above
all things, we shall endeavour to base every the historical novel ; it is the most prejudgment on an intelligible principle, to vailing class of fictions, and it is capable of give the reason of every judicial sentence, being made the most beneficial. The time We have no idol to worship, no patron to
has arrived when its laws need to be invesgratify, no trading interest to serve; we tigated, and we shall undertake the task have never been mixed up with any of the without a reference to the productions of parties or factions that divide the literary any particular author, but by an examinarepublic, and removed from the distorting tion of the entire class. Historical fiction atmosphere of faction we can see the me- is, we assert, the bent of the age, and not a rits and the faults of all.
moment should be lost in analyzing its Our earliest attention will be devoted to scope and tendency.
THE SUNIASSI; A HINDOO LEGEND.
(Continued from page 124.)
Though Yougal had, for the first few under the most unsightly aspect of death. hours after his return to the palace, been Her appeals to those instruments of inoccupied with the pleasures of eating and flexible justice, by whom she was surdrinking, and in calculating the various rounded, moved not their stony hearts; enjoyments in store for him, he neverthe- she was again replaced in the hackery, and less had not forgotten his determination to the putrid body of her late lover cast beside revenge himself upon Mariataly for her her. She sat in the abstraction of speechdefection, as he was pleased to term it, for- less grief, and was so absorbed in the agony getting that she could no longer recognize of her sorrows as to be insensible to what the slave Yougal, under the form and was passing around her. Being again lineaments of the saint Veramarken. He placed under the balcony before the inresolved to visit her with a signal chas- flexible spirit of her once fond Yougal, she tisement, especially as the superior charms was asked by the stern judge, how she had of the princess had entirely effaced the contrived to put her victim to death. impression once excited by the far inferior “I am innocent,” she replied, “ of a crime beauties of the pariah. In consequence of so revolting to humanity. I am incapable this determination, he commanded the in- of violating, by so detestable an act, the nocent Mariataly to be brought before him. dignity at once of woman and of human She was placed under a balcony, in order nature. Besides, how could the weak overthat her polluted frame might not conta- power the strong? Some enemy has done minate the atmosphere breathed by the me this wrong." royal Fakeer.
As she stood trembling be- “ Take her hence,” said the prince, “and fore the imagined potentate, he asked her let the sepulchre be prepared for the body of with a stern voice, “ Where is Yougal ?" my unhappy slave, who has become the
The trembling girl, astonished at this victim of a woman's treachery.” question, not supposing that her intimacy Mariataly was immediately removed to with the Suniassi's slave was known to the a remote apartment in the palace, where she master, protested with solemn earnestness was left to the solitude and silence of her that she knew not.
own unhappy thoughts. In the course of that “ Take her to the cavern in the jungle, evening, the door of her dismal chamber and let her see the mangled remains of that was unexpectedly opened, and to her astounhappy man!” cried the fictitious saint. nishment the venerable Suniassi stood be
Mariataly was confounded at hearing that fore her. Yougal was dead, and the more so at an “ I am come,” said he, “ Mariataly, to imputation so direct of her having mur- convince thee that the love which thou dered him. She was borne rudely from hast so lately slighted deserved a more the presence of her royal judge, placed in grateful requital.” à hackery, and driven direct to the cavern “Why this mockery of one whom your where the headless trunk of Yougal tyranny has doomed to an unjust and cruel lay, in a state of dreadful decomposi- death? Does it become the sanctity of your tion. She gazed upon it with terrified order to steal into this miserable prison, astonishment. Tears of anguish streamed where I am to await the doom which you down her quivering cheeks, as her eye fell have pronounced upon me, and insult me upon the mutilated corpse of one whom she with the mockery of love ? Degraded had really loved, with a fondness not at all though I am, in the eyes of all but those of common among Hindoo women. When my own tribe, I am not, however, so lost to asked if she had not murdered her lover, the decencies of my sex, as to listen to the she declared her innocence; and enquired unhallowed vows of a saint by profession, how it was possible that a feeble girl like whose profanation of his sacred calling herself should have been able to over- shows him to be a mere mocker of the power a young, strong, healthy man like divinities whom he pretends to serve.” him, whose livid corpse lay before her, “ Ha, ha, ha!” burst forth the intem