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revolutionary enthusiast author, a benevolent old nobleman, a vinegar maiden aunt, and a very worthy young aristocratic lady, Minda Clivethe nearest approach to something like a revelation of character. The characters, manners, and incidents are all of that class that may be comprehensively styled the sham-real. There is no doubt human beings have had each of the characteristics described, and the events may all have occurred; but in this class of writing they are so unartistically and unnaturally apportioned and mingled, that they “look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,” though they are placed upon it. The following quotation of one of the first sentences will, we think, justify our assertion as to the style and sentiments :
The Eye of England, the fears of Europe, the curiosity of the world were directed to one country--that country was France. Already had anarchy, with the emblems of liberty blazing on her lying front, trampled on the hearth and the altar. The fair flag of the Bourbon had stooped to the bloody tricolour.
This is a pretty fair specimen of the language ; and we find, throughout the three volumes, phrases and catchwords we hoped our modern satirists and parodists had weeded for ever from our literature. We had flattered ourselves “ withering scorn,'* “ glorious constitution," “pollute not my ears,” had been banished for ever, at least as far as the suburb theatres : but it is not so. Men and women made to talk and act in the fashion of this sort of literature, bear almost as much resemblance to reality as the wax-work figures of barbers' shops. There is a coarse outline and travestie of humanity, but no new revelations of human nature, or even just delineation of those characteristics which have been already mapped and recorded by its great observers. There is nothing gained by their perusal, all being distorted or burlesqued, and they can only please a class of readers excited by any representation of distress or violence that is placed before them, without consideration of its probability or even possibility; as, however, there are many such left, who patronise the circulating library, “ The Eventful Epoch ” may attain its share of readers. The test we apply to all works, is the amount of instruction or new experiences they afford, and not the mere temporary interest they may create,
The Baron's Yule Feast ; a Christmas Rhyme. By Thomas COOPER,
the Chartist. Fcp. 8vo. London: J. How. As this is termed “a Rhyme,” we shall not be very severe in applying the test as to whether it be poetry. That divine essence is so seldom found even in volumes of much greater pretension, that it may
• Pronounced "skurn," in melodrame,
well be left in this instance for the reader to decide for himself. For ourselves, if we have not the essence in its most concentrated form, we prefer plain prose ; especially as, if then there occasionally arise a profound thought poetically expressed, it is so much more than is anticipated that it is doubly welcome; but when the form of poetry is given, but the essence is wanting, then all is disappointing. Many readers however prefer prose run upon castors, and are satisfied with the form alone. To say that the present collection of verses is equal, if not superior to many that have gained popularity, is not the kind of praise that will satisfy a judicious author; doubtless, many aristocratic annuals might be improved by the introduction of Mr. Cooper's poems. But better things are to be expected from him. His talents and his position both enable him to do greater service to his class and the world than either of his poems have yet manifested. The true office of such men is to record new experiences, and reveal new conditions of humanity; and this we earnestly entreat him to devote himself to. We would have him cast aside the mere machinery of literature, the set phrases, the stereotyped characteristics, the worn out formula for constructing tales. Let him show us that section of society he has had such opportunities of observing, and has apparently capacity to describe. Let us see them as they are, with all their good and bad qualities ; unvarnished, undisguised, but developed faithfully and fully, that the reflecting student of human nature may have wherewithal to study. There will be plenty of materiel to create the most intense interest and occupy the profoundest consideration. It is lamentable that literature, or rather the literary art, is used as a Lorraine glass, to give a factitious colour to facts and circumstances, rather than as a microscope to enlarge the knowledge of the student: to create a sentimental" interest, and not to record the results of experience and observation. Writing merely to excite the reader is as short-sighted as it is injurious. The pampered reader grows more fastidious as each high-seasoned dish is presented; whereas, when the pabulum is of a wholesome nature, the appetite does but increase with what it feeds on. When writers, with the talents and experiences of Mr. Cooper, neglect to apply themselves to “The Revelations” of truth and nature, which they must be enabled to make, it is deeply to be regretted, and we earnestly hope he and all such will aid the good and great cause by opening up fresh stores of information. The poor (that is nine tenths of the population) have never yet been truly represented as regards their characteristics, opinions, or condition. We know as little of their real state as of the tribes of Africa, perhaps less. Yet here is one of themselves, who has the power of utterance and speaks not of them, but of matters already exhausted by the scholars of a class who have been delineated sufficiently, and perhaps more than sufficiently. Mr. Cooper might give the poor a literature, and then we should soon find them rising in the social scale. We do not
yet despair of seeing this done for them by some vigorous and sincere spirit of their own class, and if the report of the speeches of the agricultural labourers, at their meeting on the Wiltshire Downs, has not been heightened, we may expect a genuine revelation from them at no distant day.
THE EARL OF GOWRIE: a Tragedy, in Five Acts. By the Rev. J. WHITE.
8vo. London. C. Newby. The LORD OF BURGHLEY. A Play, in Five Acts. 8vo. London, E. Churton.
THE “Lord of Burghley " has some very pleasing and beautiful writing, but as a drama it is deficient in all the requisites of passion, character, action, contrast, and plot. As a narrative poem it would have been less open to objection; and the author's genius seems more akin to this species of literature, delighting as it does in amplifying, very much in the manner, if not to say in direct imitation of Sheridan Knowles, a common-place thought and every-day occurrence in various pleasing fancies. The cadences and turn of verse are borrowed too from this popular writer. It is but justice to add, it is one of the most evenly sustained works we ever read-as level as a railroad, though not so monotonous to travel over.
The “Earl of Gowrie” is a far better drama, though inferior as a poem. The characters are well defined, and there is power and passion in some of the scenes. Still it is too much elaborated, and there is a systematic display of dramatic resources and an apparent consciousness in the personages of the play that prevent its being esteemed as the product of a truly dramatic genius.
The ENCHANTED ROCK : a Comanche Legend. By PERCY B. ST. JOHN.
18mo. London: Hayward and Adam, This is the second Series of Mr. P. B. St. John's “ Indian Tales. illustrative of American Life," and it is written in as fluent and picturesque a style as the former. It appears that the author has visited the scenes and savage people he describes, and there is a great deal of spirit and interest in his descriptions. With regard to the characters and story, there seems to be more of literary skill than personal observation and originality of invention. It would have been more pleasant to us to have met with a closer imitation of the manners of these Indian tribes, not that we are prepared to dispute the general correctness of the outline given ; but they appear to be drawn too much after the pattern of the long-received portraits of such savages, which we suspect, on a more intimate acquaintance, will be found to be as much like as the manners of Eastern life portrayed in “ Almoran and
Hamet," and other stories of the same kind, written before the east became better known to us, are to those of Hindostan or Persia. From Mr. Percy St. John's ready literary talents, and means of observation, and energy of nature, we may expect far more valuable results. To disseminate new experiences of facts or feelings is the great end of all literature, and to this highest position there is every probability of this young writer's raising himself, if he will only make it his aim. As it is, we do not think he has yet done justice to the powers he possesses. The little tale, however, is well worthy of perusal, and is written in a very right and good spirit.
MARGARET ; OR, THE GOLD MINE. From the French of BERTHET. 1 vol.
post 8vo. London : R. Weir. We might very well have excused ourselves from noticing this work, seeing that it has been published nearly a year : we have, however, looked into it sufficiently to say that it is written in a harmless spirit, and contains enough description of French manners and character to reward a perusal. The story flows more gently, not to say languidly, than most modern French novels, but is not without interest.
FOREST AND GAME Laws. By HARRIET MARTINEAU. In 3 vols. Vol. II.
London : E. Moxon. We have already recorded our opinion of the principle on which these tales are composed. In the present volume, as the subjects approach our own times, we are happy to see the author's genius shining forth more potently. The story entitled “ Heathendom in Christendom” is powerfully narrated, and we are assured it is little more than a narrative of a murder which took place thirty years ago, with scarcely any alteration but the names. If, however, there be no alteration, there must be additions to make the events cohere as a tale.
THE USES OF FOOLS.
KING SOLOMON himself was probably not so wise but that he might have been much wiser ; and we hope that the collective wisdom of the world in general, and of our own great and mighty nation in particular, will pardon us for doubting its omniscience. We believe that it has yet to learn many things—perhaps ; certainly, one thing,—the magnitude of the uses, political avd social, of the class of people called Fools. Be it our task, then, to advocate the claims of folly, to show forth its dignity, and demonstrate the services which it renders to the community at large. And if we happily succeed in our endeavour, we shall have pumped up a no small bucketful from the yet unexhausted well of truth.
The word Fool is a term of contempt. What a difference there is between names and things! The individual fool is often a person of honour. How many, by their lives and exploits, who, had the motives of their actions been examined, would have been proved arrant blockheads, have, on the contrary, gained renown in their day, and rendered themselves everlastingly famous ! We mean no offence to any worthy hero, present or defunct ; but we must say, that the fools of society are some of its finest fellows.
We would not harm a fly, much less hurt the feelings of the British, or any other lion. We trust, therefore, that no great fool will consider the comparison we are about to draw as intentionally an odious one. But we are desirous, for our argu
NO. XV.-TOL. III.