Imágenes de páginas

with the manners and sentiments and ideas of the close of the 16th century. The characters are very ill disguised mummers, rigged out in the dress of that period, but using the language of this; having about the same affinity of spirit as there is between the guests of a fancy dress ball and the real personages they seek to represent. Had the pure passions and emotions of too. been shown one might (unpleasant as it is) have forgiven the falsification of manners; but as it is, there is no compensation of the kind. The common drudging reader who wades through novel after novel in hopes of a new excitement will find but little of even that kind of merit, the ambition to be historic and didactic precluding even that relief. It may be supposed that we have a prejudice against the work, but we have not the remotest idea who is the writer of it. We only perceive that a sentimental, deluding, and enfeebling class of fiction is gaining ground; and feel that it is certainly the duty of all those solicitous for the promulgation of principles beneficial to the progress of the many to expose and denounce it. We have already said that the author has powers and capacities, but neither will ever be truly serviceable until all the false sentiment is abandoned, and human character and transactions are depicted in their just relation to existence.

Musixgs of A Musician: a Series of Popular Sketches Illustrative of Musical Matters and Musical People. By HENRY C. LUNN, Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. 12mo, London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.

This is a very agreeable book, and only requires to be known to be popular. The young author, for we believe his brother is the author of that very clever volume “Bizarre Tales,” has an agreeable style, light, flowing, and sensible, bearing a family resemblance to works already known to the world as connected with the light literature of our times.

By the means of dialogues, occasional scenes, anecdotes, a little dissertation, and a considerable amount of practical and theoretical knowledge, a great deal of sound information is given in music. The subject too is treated of in an elevated style, not as a mere sensual amusement, but as an intellectual art. The motive for writing the book is well sustained and developed, which was to aid in the extension of the humanising influence he believes music capable of exerting. There will be found hints serviceable to all classes, both to those who have to listen as well as to those who have to perform, and to the latter, especially to what may be termed the domestic amateurs, we would particularly recommend the second essay upon the music of society, where, amongst many pertinent observations, it is very humanely urged that “it is true that in the present day all ladies can play, but it is equally true that they can all read. It is no more necessary then, that a young lady should play to the company because she knows her notes, than that she should read to the company because she knows her letters.”

Did our space permit we should have liked to quote “The Itinerant Musicians” of the town, who are capitally hit off from “the man with the flute" to “the sentimental man with the white apron.” The remarks on boarding-school music are also well worthy the attention of “parents and guardians.” The article on “English operas” is also equally judicious, and indeed all the papers furnish proofs of the author's excellent sense and knowledge, and his agreeable powers of style. The following anecdote, no doubt perfectly true, will serve to enliven our pages:—

“To show the utter absurdity of these “cues, and the total want of thought with which many vocalists will learn and speak them, as if they were the finest specimens of sentimental writing in the world, I recollect an instance of a theatrical manager who, merely in joke, wrote one of them for a young lady who wished to introduce the song of ‘Kelvin Grove, in a piece, the scene of which was in London. The “cue, intended as a jest, was taken by the lady in earnest; and, to the surprise of the author of it, during the progress of the piece at night, when she was deserted by her lover, and repining at her destiny, she advanced to the front and, with a solemn, expression of countenanee said, ‘I can bear my fate no longer. Forsaken by the being I adored, what care I now for the glare of fashionable life I will go down immediately to the “Black Bull” in Holborn, and took a place to Kelvin orove.” 27 - *

But to prove it is not only the lightness of the style that recommends the work, we shall add the following just and sound remark:—

“Whilst no place exists where the finest compositions can be heard by all classes for a sum which they can afford to pay, it is a matter of course that those persons who undertake to supply them with inferior specimens, should at once become popular with the public. The truth is, that they will have music of some kind, and if dignity in the art can only be preserved, like game, by fairly forbidding the common people to approach it, let those who can feast upon it to satiety, at least do so without laughing at the coarse fare of their less fortunate brethren. The really intellectual mind is ever that which sympathises with the minds of others, and as true poetry is universal, so does the true poet seek his own gratification by drawing within his magic influence all who surround him. Beethoven was as much a people's composer as Shakspere was a people's author; and, as we have now begun to erect statues to his memory, we should also begin to reflect, whether-theimmortal legacy which he has bequeathed to us, has yet been applied to its proper purpose.” - * : *t

There is also probably a great deal of truth in the following:—."

“Why, let me ask, are Beethoven's piano-forte sonatos scarcely ever performed at concerts to Not because the public do not like to hear them, but because the pianist does not like to play them. Because he feels' that the audience will go away talking more of Beethoven than of himself; and because, like the great actors of the present day, he will insist upon it that the creatorshall invariably be secondary to the executor.” - -

Having said enough, as we hope, to induce the reader to seek the work itself, we shall merely add that the comparatively plain, not to say humble, way as regards the paper and the printing, in which it is produced will be taken as another proof that the author trusts to the intrinsic merit to make its way with “a judicious” public. We predict for the author a distinguished place amongst the writers for the many, which by no means implies that he should be neglected by those who consider themselves of the choice few.


CHRISTENDom AND HEATHENDoM : or, Sound AND SENSE. An Allegory. 18mo. London: John Ollivier. .

ALTHough this volume is written in a form and style of language somewhat obselete, and too apt to run into inflation, it is worthy of perusal. It is the product of one who has investigated the condition of modern society, and who deeply sympathises with those suffering from the multitudinous and monstrous wrongs and miseries that almost induce a crusade against what is termed civilisation. It is appalling to consider the amount of agony of spirit and misery of body that is suffered even “in our free and happy country.” A yearly collection of the coroners' inquests alone, would produce such a volume of horrors as must arouse the o of the most sensual, and even operate on the indurated feelings of the sturdiest disciple of Adam Smith and the political economists.

The Allegory consists of the visits of an angel in search of Christianity amongst the dwellings of civilisation, whence an opportunity is taken to show how utterly the divine spirit of religion is banished from modern society. So far we can well go with the author; but if individual religion is the only purifying cure for social evils, what is to become of those who cannot believe? Or again, if all our evils arise from a want of proper religion, what is to bring about that blissful uniformity, which, if we are to consider the innumerable bulls issued by the popes in their most dominant days, never existed for a single month. We cannot but suspect that this littie work is the product of an amiable enthusiast, who considers things as they should be, with too little reference to what they are. It breathes a strong Young England odour in every page, in its tendency towards and indeed advocacy of a

ternal government, guided and informed by Christian philanthropy; ut this is a system which has singularly failed, sometimes in its insufficiency to support itself, but more frequently from its being a machine to gratify the worst vices of the vilest governors. It has never been advocated in England since the days of “our most Christian King” Charles the Second, and his short-reigned brother, “James the Second,” when every virtue was outraged, and every vice that bloodthirstiness, lust, and avarice could suggest was perpetrated. It is in vain to say that these vices formed no part of the theory, for it is not in theories but in their results that the people are interested. There are certain quotations from the Tablet, and Sybil, which would seem to mark the F. creed that is to regenerate society as the Roman Catholic. ow to seek to revive a faith, in what has hitherto signally failed is a notion that savours too much of the fanatic, and too little of the philosopher for us. The old cant of “power for the few to be held for the good of the many,” is a doctrine so contradicted in practice according to the history of the whole world, that we suspect a newer species of fanaticism must be broached to catch any influential portion of the present or future generations. That the present state of society is productive of great and distressing evils we freely confess, but we do not think a return to barbarism is the way to cure them, and of all species of barbarism we believe priestcraft and kingcraft to be the most injurious. They might be necessary evils in the progress of society, but they were and are always evils, and while common sense remains a portion of human nature, and the moral sense is not utterly depraved, we have every faith that society will cast the slough of her disease, and that indeed it is at present working and writhing in a state of transition to health. Such notions as this little work and other amiable authors promulgate, seem to us like the injudicious kindness oftentimes exercised towards the sick, by which sweet condiments are administered instead of wholesome bitters; nostrums to lull not cure the patient. The Appendix contains proofs of the dreadfully disorganised state we are in, and the vile morals that still influence our governors as regards war and political morality.


THIRTY-six NoncoNFORM1st SoNNETs. By A Young ENGLANDER. 12mo. London: Aylott & Jones. This work is by a professed Young Englander, but one of a different shade of creed to that which is generally supposed to inspire the muse of this new political sect. This is an #. Young Englander, and in doubt whether the Roman Catholic Young Englander will not consider the assumption of his party name as an usurpation. In the previous work (“Heathendom and Christendom, an Allegory,”) we have lamentations that the “Te Deum no longer rolls in peals of harmonious thunder along the lofty aisles, and swells through the high arched portals;” the present “Young Englander" commences in the following abrupt strain:“With stealthy mien the Babylonish whore, Clad in rich garments, treasure in her hand, As superstition thickens o'er the land, Comes from her lengthened banishment once more. Upon high places she begins to stand, As she was wont to do in days of yore.”

In the one work we have eulogistic rhapsodies to Hampden and Pym; in the other, sly remarks that ship money was a blessing, and the excise and custom duties a curse to the poor.

As we have found two “Young Englanders” so virulently opposed to each other, let us hope there may be a third set, who, without fanaticism for old fantastic forms, and with a firmer and higher spirit, work energetically for the promulgation of that spirit of universal justice, which, by a wiser distribution of the goods and blessings of the earth, will produce a state of society accordant with the nature of man, and the position he holds in creation.

With respect to the literary merits of these thirty-six sonnets, we cannot say they are in general above the average of those produced b students acquainted with great writers, whose formula can be acquired, but whose powers no art can attain. It is strange that such perpetual reliance should be placed on a form of versification, and that so many should suppose the manner and not the matter is what kindles the spirit of the reader. There are, however, occasional gleams of poetry, and we may cite the Sonnet on “A Ramble upon the Chilterns,” where a fine power of personification is shown in the lines—

“Rapt in the quiet which lone eve distils
O'er the far landscape, glimmering twilight fills
With softened radiance, shadowy, dusky, grey,
The pensive eyes of slow departing day.”

For a gentleman possessing so much Christianity there is, however, a strange inclination towards battle and blood-shedding.

PoEMs AND BALLADs. By John Purchas, B.A. of Christ's College, Cambridge. Medium 8vo, London: W. Smith.

In 1839, we remember a volume of much greater bulk than the

resent being sent to us, containing “a Comedy and Miscellaneous

oems, by John Purchas, a Rugbaean,” in which were indications of a pure taste and a power of versification, joined with a fervent and enthusiastic temperament. The “Rugbaean” has now duly progressed to a “Cambridgian;” and as he has grown older he has grown wiser. He now publishes a very carefully-selected number of his verses in an unassuming shape, and seeks an extended popularity through the medium of Mr. Smith's popular form, giving much less, in quantity, but much more in quality, for one shilling, than he did before for seven shillings and sixpence. The present “Poems and Ballads” consist of twenty-three pieces, all pleasing and carefully executed. The writings of Tennyson and Browning have evidently moulded, probably unconsciously, the form and tone of his compositions. There is a similarity of style and manner to these true poets, without anything like servile

« AnteriorContinuar »