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REVIEW OF NEW WORKS.
Athens, its Rise and Fall, with Views of The philosophy of the Atheniaus—including
the Literature, Philosophy, and Social religion and ethics – is not so felicitously treated. Life of the Athenian People. By E. L.
It does not appear that Mr. Bulwer carried bis Bulwer, Esq., M.P., A.M. &c. 2 vols.
researches sufficiently far into remote and external London, 1837.
sources of knowledge to enable him to give the
necessary weight to his dissertations; he takes too An historical work, exhibiting profound erudi- much for granted, and too much as he found it at tion, and enriched with the fruits of laborious his hands. But the most serious objection against thought, was scarcely to be expected from Mr. this portion of the work is, that he has evidently Bulwer, whose productions hitherto have rarely suffered bis mind to be tinctured by the crude and done more than indicate the veins of the ore of speculative opinions of German commentators, the learning, without plunging into the depths of the most unsafe guides he could have adopted in refermine. Here are two volumes of a publication, ence to questions of philosophical inquiry. The however, which establishes Mr. Bulwer's clain advantages derived from them in the search after higher consideration than any of his previous facts, and the settlement of conjectures, are balanced efforts, which reveals the novelist and poet engaged by the errors and speculations into which they have in the abstruser studies of the historian, and de- led him in this part of the subject. veloping qualifications for his task for which Upon the literature of Athens, as might have nobody ever gave him credit, and which we may at been expected, Mr. Bulwer exhibits powers of the once say, no other writer of the present day pos. highest order, and here, although many of his sesses, or at least has given the world reason to opinions are open to criticism, because the data on believe that he possesses. The classical reader will which they proceed is of necessity apocryphal, the find in this history of the Rise and Fall of Athens, great charm of the work will be found to lie. The the spring, progress, and decay of civilisation amongst analysis of Athenian tragedy, of the progress of the the Greeks, described with an eloquence such as drama—which certainly existed in an irregular recondite men have rarely brought to such labours ; form before the time of Thespis - and of the plays while the lovers of a lighter style and more of Æschylus and Sophocles in particular, are conimaginative subjects will be tempted by the pas- ceived in the most enthusiastic spirit, and discover sionate spirit of the author into the acquisition of critical abilities that give Mr. Bulwer a new and more sound knowledge than they will often find unexpected lien on the admiration not only of the under a garb so brilliant and seducing. As it contemporary age, but of posterity. would be impossible to point out the characteristics The pictures of the social life of the Athenians, of a work like this in detail, within the brief which we catch at intervals through these volumes, limits of our pages, we will touch each of the great seems to be just and accurate.
It cannot be condivisions in a few lines, to shew summarily their
cealed that Mr. Bulwer's prepossessions are in special merits or defects.
favour of those institutions that gave enlarged The collation of the historical narrative is in the power to the voice of the people, and that he cannot highest degree admirable; not merely for its im- repress the pleasure with which he records every partiality in its treatment of institutions, parties, advance towards the recognition of popular rights; and individuals, but for the fulness of its facts and but what historian of Greece has been free from a the extent of its research. Grecian history has of bias one way or the other? or rather, how could late years received large accessions from the labours any writer undertake a disquisition of this nature of German writers, who, whatever may be their without being prepared by previous principles to faults (and they are manifold) in other respects, make the inquiry conducive to some results have contributed more largely to dispel the igno- favourable or unfavourable to the abstract theories rance in which the early ages of antiquity were that agitated mankind quite as much before the obscured, than any of the savans of Europe, not days of Solon, as in the more experienced ages, even excepting those of France. Mr. Bulwer has after all possible forms of constitutions had been judiciously availed himself of their assistance, and tried and exhausted ? We have no hesitation in drawn into the elucidation of his work all the pronouncing, as a deliberate judgment upon this scattered materials that had been gathered by publication, that it is infinitely more impartial, previous enquirers, so that this book, as far as more strict in the distribution of applause and history is concerned, may be considered not only censure, and more scrupulous in the assertion of the most elaborate of its kind, but the very best opinions founded upon the state of society, than that is extant in any European language. This is any previous history, of Greece with which we are high praise, but it is not inconsiderate, and it is not acquainted. It does not exhibit so much learning stronger than the actual merits of the narrative as the recent history by Mr. Thirlwall, but it deserve.
transcends it in taste, in discrimination, in severe
truth, and in deep classical feeling. The two the subject, this book would dispel that doubt. If volumes before us bring down the history to the the volumes were of no further value, this would administration of Pericles, and it is proposed to be enough to render them acceptable to every conclude the whole in two volumes more. We thinking and educated reader. Perhaps we ought suspect, and need not add that we hope, Mr. to add, that Miss Martineau writes somewhat Bulwer will discover as he proceeds, that he has coarsely on topics that ladies do not usually conmiscalculated his materials, and that he will sider to come within the sphere of their inquiries; find it necessary to enlarge the scope of his but abundant allowances must be made for female original design.
political economist. When a woman once tres
passes in this way, beyond the legitimate province The Pirate of the Gulf; or, Lafitte.
of her sex, there is no saying into what extremities
she may be carried. 3 vols. London, 1837. A REPRINT of an American novel, in which the
The Arethusa, a Naval Story. By Capwriter, emulative of the glories of Scott, endeavours to seek, in the brief annals of his country, materials,
tain Chamier, R.N., author of of historical romance. America is too new a land
Brace,” “ Life of a Sailor," &c. 3 vols. to take hold upon the imagination. It wants age,
London, 1837. traditions, characters, and transitions in the past, The name of this novel does not convey to the to justify such efforts as these to impart interest to reader the slightest notion of its contents. The its literal and recent events. The antiquity of refrein of Dibdin's song, America is but as the recollection of yesterday ;
On board of the Arethusa ! do what we can to try to grow romantic over her records, we shall try in vain. Even if it were
will immediately occur to the mind of the reader; otherwise, the author of this work is not the most
but except that this is a naval story, there is likely person to succeed in the path he has chosen. nothing in it to link it to that glorious recollection, It is remarkable for ignorance of the world, and
nor does the name of this vessel indicate the purthe worst taste in the art of composition.
port of the story. The main object of this fiction
is to shew how an obstinate and self-willed disposiSociety in America. By Harriet Mar- tion is to be tamed by the discipline on board a
tineau, author of “ Illustrations of man-of-war, developing not merely the influence Political Economy.” 3 vols. London, of severe regulations upon ill-regulated minds, but
incidentally the nature of life in the naval service. This work is in part the most amusing, and in
A moral very similar to this was still more ably part the most reflecting, work that has hitherto
illustrated in the Midshipman Easy of Captaiu been published by any English traveller upon
Marryatt, which is in all respects a better picture, America. The worst feature in it is its view of
so far as it goes, of the profession. This, however, the institutions. Miss Martineau loses herself in
is the best of Captain Chamier's productions; the generalities, she theorises too largely, and it is
progress from tyrannical and headstrong youth to a difficult to extricate from the cloud of speculations
subdued and somewhat selfish age, is naturally and the particular views which she desires to apply to
forcibly drawn; and if it were not that there is a the state of society and parties amongst the re
little too much of the coarseness of nautical truth publics. One inference, however, of the highest
in it, the novel would well deserve to take a place importance may be drawn from this publication amongst the most interesting of its class. that Miss Martineau went to America highly prepossessed in favour of the democratic principle, and
Adventures of Captain Bonneville ; or that she came away quite out of love with its
Scenes beyond the Rocky Mountains of transatlantic operation. This is something gained
the Far West. By Washington Irving. for a better-ordered form of government. Her
3 Vols. London, 1837. dissertation on slavery exposes a multitude of
The descriptions of the scenery and tribes of the cruelties and inconsistencies, and proves that the Far West that appeared in former volumes written people who, above all others, espouse the cause of by Washing Irving, are felicitously followed up liberty, violate it above all others in practice. She in this veritable history of the adventures of Captain also shews that in America, where the cry for Bonneville beyond the Rocky Mountains. The freedom of thought and the expression of opinion temptations to fur-trading in that neighbourhood is loudest, the most savage and intolerant despotism temptations that led to the enterprises of Mr. Asis exercised by the mob. No man dare avow him- toria, already celebrated by the same graphic penself in favour of Slave Emancipation in the Southern induced Captain Bonneville to solicit permission States without risking his life, and many murders from the government to embark in a journey of have been committed arising from this cause. We discovery ; and having obtained leave of absence need not now to be told that the worst despotismn from the regiment to which he belonged, he ad. on the face of the earth is the despotism of the vanced into the remote tracts, to which so many multitude ; but if any doubt were entertained on daring explorers had previously directed their foot
After spending a considerable period of letters, which are numerous and various, certainly time in the country, he returned full of marvellous assist the delineation in no slight degree ; but anecdotes, traditions of the wild, and a whole we cannot help feeling that Mr. Lockhart does not budget of personal escapes, rencontres, and disas- appreciate the man truly, that he does not enter ters.
Washington Irving met him at the table of with the necessary relish into his feelings, and that Mr. Astoria, where he was so struck with the the estimates which we insensibly make of Scott originality of his character, and the strange stories as we proceed in the perusal, is made, not in consehe related, that he ultimately cultivated his confi- quence of what Mr. Lockhart has written, but in dence; and this work, founded on Captain Bonne- spite of it. Still the book is full of interest -its ville's notes, but evidently enriched, not only by contents are of a kind that will not suffer us to lose the author's picturesque style, but by information a fraction of that singular spell which is attached to obtained from a variety of other sources, is the every thing connected with the name of our great result. It is full of curious details, and is especially novelist; and if we object to the spirit in which it important, as it affords a clear and a complete view is put together, we are bound at the same time to of a vast line of country that has hitherto been but observe, that the materials of which it is composed little known, and much misrepresented. Taken triumph over that spirit by the mere force of their along with the “ Astoria,” and the “ Far West,”
own intrinsic value. it may be said to complete our information on the The industry of Scott, as a mere producer of picturesque and interesting subjects to which it writings, was marvellous. A considerable part of refers ; and it has the unusual merit of combining,
his time—expecially after he obtained the appointwith a great quantity of geographical and local in
ment of Clerk of Session-was devoted to the formation, the most essential and fascinating cha. drudgery of an irksome profession : yet he conracteristics of a romance.
trived to pour out treasures of invention, and to
prosecute his researches into a great diversity of Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, subjects, with a fertility and assiduity that cannot Bart. Vol. 2, Edinburgh, 1837.
be sufficiently prized except by those who, like him,
have devoted themselves to literature. The rapidity The period embraced in this volume is from with which his creations followed each other, seem 1804-5 to 1811-12, including some of the most to have given a new impulse to the genius of the interesting events in the Life of Scott-the publi- times-considered apart from the impress which cation of the Lay of the Last Minstrel—the their originality made upon the public. Previously partnership with James Ballantyne, and the to the appearance of the Waverley novels, authornumerous literary projects to which it led—Scott's ship was a quiet and indolent pursuit, which men appointment as Clerk of Session--the publication seemed to fall upon only in hours of sunshine and of Marmion—the new editions and lives of Dryden relaxation. Scott made it the business of life, and Swift--the secession of Scott from the Edin- and his example has been followed by others, who, burgh, and the origin of the Quarterly, Review if they cannot emulate his powers, tread closely in the commencement and abandonment of Waverley— the footsteps of his facility. As remarkable in. the vision of Don Roderic—the purchase of Abbots- stances, we may refer to Bulwer and D’Israeli the ford, and the beginning of Rokeby. These are younger, who, in whatever class their productions some of
principal circumstances to which we may be ranked, are at least amongst the most pro. are introduced, but the mass of particulars, the lific writers, for the term during which they have episodes, correspondence, excursions, and minor occupied attention, to be found in our language. details that are so profusely strewn through the Yet, although Scott wrote so much, and although work, constitute an amount of interest which has his enquiries evidently spread over a very large been rarely concentrated in a single biography. surface, we do not find that throughout his life he Scott's high reputation, and still more his excellent sacrificed any of the ordinary pleasures that camo disposition, acquired for him, not merely the ac
In his house he was cheerful, and quaintance, but the close friendship, of the leading gave up more time than might be expected to comspirits of the age : hence, the narrative of his life
pany and every-day recreations. He was fond of comprehends a wide review of the literary charac- exercise, chiefly on horseback, and frequently ters and productions of the time. The great quali. made excursions of enjoyment into different parts fication which Mr. Lockhart possesses for the task
of the country.
Then bis correspondence was he has undertaken, is the opportunity afforded him voluminous, and his personal engagements appear of collecting information by his relationship to Sir to have engrossed a large proportion of his leisure. Walter Scott's family—a relationship which we But the more we examine the process by which he sincerely regret to say has recently terminated in was enabled to become so extensive and constant a the death of Mrs. Lockhart. But his tastes, his contributor to contemporary literature, the more we pursuits, and above all his temperament, essen- shall be surprised. The secret, perhaps, lies in his tially unfit him for the responsible and important regular habits, and his uniform practice which he office of depicting to the world Sir Walter Scott, did not adopt, however, until professional avocations as he really was in private, surrounded by friends pressed upon the hours of the day-of rising very who loved him for the qualities of his heart even early, and giving the whole of the morning to litemore than for the powers of his mind. Scott's
Yet this would not be enough, in VOL. X.-N0. VI.-JUNE, 1837.
in his way.
itself, to explain satisfactorily the means that that he returned to Scotland a dishonoured man. enabled him to compose such a quantity, since we His mother received him with the forgiving tenderkuow that the same habits have been persevered ness of a mother's love, but Scott would not even in by distinguished authors without leading to see him. He always spoke of him as his relation similar results. The truth is, that his mind was in letters to his court friend Ellis, and never acof vast capacity, his memory was of extraordinary knowledged him as his brother, which was a piece tenacity, his fancy was elastic and restless, and he of poor pride unworthy of a lofty mind. But this was so embued with traditions and lyrical relics, was not all.
When the unfortuate Daniel, broken and fragments of historical legends, and family down by indulgence and shaine, gave way and died, narratives, that the work which would have been
as yet a young man, Scott refused to attend his to others oppressive and laborious, was to him light funeral or to wear mourning for him! It is but and fascinating. It was like story-telling, or talk- just to add, however, that twenty years afterwards ing upon paper. It did not fatigue him, nor make
he expressed to the biographer his sorrow for the any new and troublesome demands upon his in- austerity with which he had treated his wretched vention : on the contrary, it was a relief to bini
and neglected brother. We admit that it was due it took off a weight from his imagination, and left to truth to place this fact before the world—but him free from day to day to embark in fresh ven- we wish the veil had been drawn by any other tures, and explore yet undiscovered regions.
hand than that of his son-in-law. Scott's political tendencies were much stronger than the public are generally aware of. They do
Attila. By G. P. R. James, Esq. not appear in his fictions, where, with admirable tact, he entered into all the prejudices of every The last remnant of heroism in an expiring party, and embodied them truly in character, with- empire, the period where memory, not hope, out giving a triumph at the expense of dramatic inspires virtue, the struggle between reverence for vraisemblance to any; but in his private cor- " the shadow of a mighty name," and respect for respondence the deep interest he took in the pro- the new power that threatens to plant a healthy gress of events breaks out with irrepressible ardour. sapling over the withering roots of the ancient tree, We mention this without any desire to derive an and draw from it all the moisture which enables it inference from it unfavourable to the universality to preserve the semblance of vitality;—such appears of his genius or his fame; but rather as a proof to have been the intellectual germ that Mr. James that he felt a decided sympathy in the affairs of bas developed in these volumes. Though Rome this country, which it is gratifying to know that be trembled, and Constantinople shrank; though the regarded not rashly but judiciously, and with a full western empire was sunk in senility, and premature sense of the responsibilities of men in power. We debauchery prevented the eastern from ever accannot, however, avoid observing that he sometimes quiring the vigour of manhood ; there were in some carried his predilections—for he had predilections of the provinces a few bold spirits that struggled -a little too far : on the occasion, for instance, of against the degradation of their age and country. Lord Melville's acquittal from the impeachment The Dalmatian family, whose adventures the author brought against him by the Whig Ministers in delineates, are creatures of imagination that had 1806, Scott wrote a song which was sung by James living archetypes in every empire that sunk under Ballantyne at a public dinner given in honour of the weight of its own vices. Those who paint vice the event, and afterwards published by his per- and virtue in masses, who describe one age as a mission in the newspapers. This song is a rough Saturnian reign, and another as wholly demoralized, bold transcript of Scott's feelings as a politician, are ignorant both of history and of human nature. but it betrays also his feelings as a Scotchman. The darkest crimes sully the annals of the brightest Half of its energy may fairly be attributed to na- periods; the noblest virtues lend a momentary tionality and a personal regard for Lord Melville, beauty to the chronicles of demoralization. This but if we assign only the other half to party ardour, generic truth is the basis of the romance, and it is it will be enough to shew that Scott was much worked out with great effect; but we must not more earnestly impressed with prejudice than the attend merely to the part that belongs to all ages world has been hitherto willing to believe. The and nations, we must examine the specialties by publication of this song offended many of his which this abstract truth is invested with vitality, friends in the antagonist section of politics.
and made to occupy a fixed time and a determined We cannot dismiss this volume without alluding space. to the only circumstance in the life of Scott that Attila is the time-piece rather than the hero of darkens his memory, and that is likely to shake the story ; he interests us not for himself, but for him in the love of mankind. His brother, Daniel the age which he represents, the age in which reScott, was a man of dissipated habits, who, as an finement sunk into effeminacy, encountered barescape from the ruinous courses he was pursuing barism which had not yet ceased to be brutal. To at home, was sent by his friends to the West a certain extent Attila fulfils his chrouological Indies. His evil genius still clung to him, how. functions, he represents the coarse virtues and the ever, in Jamaica ; and once being employed in a gloomy sternness that belong to uncivilised resoluservice of some danger against a body of refractory tions ; he appears before us with no attribute more negroes, he exhibited such a deficiency of spirit prominent than savage fix Iness of will. Neither be very acceptable to the lovers of nature, especially The minor points of manner and costume are at this season of the year, and in the autumn, generally accurate, but they have been touched by when those picturesque objects—trees which it too light a pencil. The Scythian village, the describes, assume their most beautiful hues and Hunnish encampment, the march of the barbarian outlines. Trees form not only one of the most armies, are free from the revolting circumstances prominent features in a landscape, but they open that accompanied them in reality. With authors, an inexhaustible subject for contemplation to the as with men in ordinary life, good nature is a naturalist, and are available for so many purposes source of weakness; in the overflowing of his of utility, that the interest they excite extends philanthropy Mr. James is reluctant to record any- over a much larger space than any other production thing that disgraces humanity; he gives the virtues of the soil. The absence of foliage is the mark of of the period their full strength, but he hurries as sterility_its presence is an enduring bounty. fast as possible from the vices.
his friendship nor his enmity is founded on calcu- Arithmetic illustrated by wood-cuts; by lation, and yet he is never the slave of caprice. which system the Principles of CalcuHe feels a secret consciousness of greatness, and
lation may be acquired as an amusement. this consciousness is at once his poetry and his
Mounted and arranged by Arthur Parlogic. Such is the true conception of Attila as the
sey. Longman & Co., London, 1837. representative of his age, and such was his first appearance in the mind of the author ; but Mr.
MR. PARSEY is in error in claiming the merits James subsequently softened some harsher traits, of an invention in this brochure. This system of and though he improved the delicacy he also dimi. explaining arithmetic by models is one of those nished the fidelity of the portraiture. We miss palpable methods of impressing the value and Honoria from the picture ; we look in vain for the nature of quantities upon the young mind that polygamy which the Huns practised, and the brutal people were in the habit of reverting to it before Just that gave the worst honours to their career. Mr. Parsey was born. It struck him, no doubt, It is probable indeed that the fiction would have as it struck others, but it was in existence and in lost in interest what it gained in accuracy, but we use many years ago. It consists simply in exmust note the omission, for this is not the only plaining by separate models the value of progressive occasion on which Mr. James has shown reluctance
notation, and the operations of the different rules to spread very dark shades on his canvass.
of arithmetic. Thus one block represents oneThe change in the character of Attila marks the two blocks two-three blocks three, and so on : progress of time in the piece with accuracy and they may be added or taken away in practical truth ; Mr. James has shown considerable power illustration of the rules, and by divisions in the of moral analysis in tracing the intellectual process surface, the nature of parts and fractions is at once by which suspicion is made the source of indecision, rendered clear to the child. Mr. Parsey is entitled and cunning is super-added to obstinacy; and he to credit for arranging this obvious method of has displayed great artistic skill in arranging the instruction in a more regular form than, perhaps, circumstances by which the change is developed. it has hitherto taken; and his little work will be But the time in its origin and its progress has too found very useful both to learners and teachers. much of the sun, it is not an age sufficieníly dark for the Scythian conqueror.
Woodland Gleanings. By the Editor of The selection of place deserves much higher “ The Sentiment of Flowers.” C. Tilt, praise, there is scarcely a more exquisite bit of London. 1837. painting in words than the description of the Dalmatian landscape at the opening of the first volume, This pretty volume, without much pretension to and few scenes of greater power than the earthquake originality of design, and still less of matter, will at Salona.
What would the rock, the valley, the plain be, Notwithstanding this drawback Attila is a his- were it not for trees ? naked, cold, and lifeless. torical romance that merits, and will obtain, popu- The tree, too, is the type of the fertility or barrenlarity; its pictures of domestic love, and family ness of the earth. In proportion to the depth and endearments, have a charm of truth and simplicity richness of its foliage is the luxuriance of the which touches our best feelings too deeply for the mould. Then, if we trace the various species spell to be easily broken.
through the different kinds of soil in which each History, however, is compounded of lights and most effectually takes root, we shall find an endless shadows; Mr. James must learn to give us more variety of harmonies in nature that escape observaof the latter, before we can say that he has com- tion in the surface enjoyment of cultivated scenery. pleted all his task. Perhaps it is a want of our The willow is, in particular, an instance of this nature to have something to hate as well as some- kind. It loves to hang over the waters of a brook, thing to love ; real life assuredly furnishes objects where its fibres may dip into the stream, and its for both passions, and so we conclude should every root be refreshed with perpetual inoisture. Another fiction which professes to be a historical delineation peculiarity in trees, worth recollection for practical of real life. The worst fault we find in Mr. purposes, is that the time when the buds open and James's romance is that it does not contain a expand their leaves is the moment for the huscharacter which we can bring ourselves to detest., bandman to sow. Ignorant farmers who, by the