Page images

In this volume Mr. Taylor has undertaken to present a resumé of the chief discoveries which have from time to time furnished those grand explanations of the phenomena of nature that have shed such lustre on the savants of the nineteenth century: with that aim he has reviewed, in a summary way, the triumphs of science in various branches; all of which tend to establish the great proposition which lies at the foundation of natural religion. He gives us a coup dæil, first, of the discoveries in regard to the Nebular Hypotheses; second, Astronomy; third, Geology; fourth, Comparative Physiology; fifth, Physical Geography: a large, a boundless field of investigation is each of them, truly. But it is not to attempt new theories or discoveries in them that Mr. Taylor proposes to himself or his readers. It is to count up what we have gained already, to set down and reckon up the victories won in the cause of science, and to apply them to the service of a yet higher and holier cause.


This is the most elaborately dramatic, if we may judge from perhaps a some what too cursory perusal, of all of Professor LONGFELLOW's writings. The frequent change and variety of scene, and the contrasts of character, are remarkable and striking. The language, generally highly poetical, sometimes rises to the extreme of imaginative, rhythmical eloquence, and sometimes, again, sinks to the mere platitudes of babbling juvenility. The measure is singularly irregular and various. The work, indeed, is a sort of museum of ical styles; and yet in each the reader will be struck with gems that he would scarcely desire to encounter in any different setting. Designing again to advert to the 'Legend,' we content ourselves for the present with two extracts; the first an episode on a scene at Strasburg, in which we have this picture in little of the great cathedral: "Lo! with what depth of blackness thrown Only the cloudy rack behind, Against the clouds, far up the skies

Drifting onward, wild and ragged, The walls of the cathedral rise,

Gives to each spire and buttress jagged
Like a mysterious grove of stone,

A seeming motion undefined.
With fitrul lights and shadows blending, Below on the square, an armed knight,
As from behind the moon, ascending,

Still as a statue and as white,
Lights its dim aisles and paths unknown! Sits on his steed, and the moon-beams quiver
The wind is rising; but boughs

Upon the points of his armor bright, Rise not and fall not with the wind

As on the ripples of a river. That through their foliage sobs and soughs;

Our second extract, and all, save one, we are sorry to say, for which we can find room, represents a night-scene from a terrace overlooking the sea at Genoa : It is the sea, it is the sen,

And they depart, and come no more,
In all its vague immensity,

Or come as phantoms and as ghosts.
Fading and darkening in the distance!
Silent, majestical, and slow,

Above the darksoine sea of death
The white ships haunt it to and fro,

Looms the great life that is to be, With all their ghostly sails unfurled,

A land of cloud and mystery, As phantoms from another world

A dim mirage, with shapes of men Haunt the dim confines of existence!

Long dead, and passed beyond our ken. But ah! how few can comprehend

Awe-struck we gaze, and hold our breath Their signals, or to what good end

Till the fair pageant vanisheth, From land to land they come and go!

Leaving us in perplexity, Upon a sea more vast and dark

And doubtful whether it has been The spirits of the dead embark,

A vision of the world unseen,
All voyaging to unknown coasts.

Or a bright image of our own
We wave our farewells from the shore, Against the sky in vapors thrown.'

How forcibly is the spiritual deduction from this outward scene of nature presented in this precious extract! We select one more passage from a graphic scene, 'A farm in the Odenwald:' One morning, all alone,

And from the gronnd Out of his convent of gray stone,

Rose an odor sweet and fragrant Into the forest older, darker, grayer,

Vines that wandered,
His lips moving as if in prayer,

Seeking the sunshine, round and round.
His head sunken upon his breast
As in a dream of rest,

"These he heeded not, but pondered Walked the Monk FELIX. All about

On the volume in his hand, The broad, sweet sunshine lay without,

A volume of SAINT AUGUSTINE, Filling the summer air;

Wherein he read of the unseen And within the woodlands as he trod,

Splendors of God's great town The twilight was like the Truce of God

In the unknown land, With worldly woe and care;

And, with his eyes cast down Under him lay the golden moss;

In humility, he said: And above him the boughs of hemlock-trees 'I believe, O God, Waved, and made the sign of the cross,

What herein I have read, And whispered their Benedicites:

But alas! I do not understand!'

But we must draw our notice, brief and inadequate as it is, to a close; commending to general perusal, however, in the mean time, the excellent but unequal dramatic poem upon which it is based.

upon us.

THE LAND OF BONDAGE: its Ancient Monuments and Present Condition: being the Journal of a Tour in Egypt. By J. M. WAINWRIGHT, D.D. New-York: D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.

Tus superbly executed and illustrated volume will attract a large share of the admiration and patronage of book-buyers, in the holidays which are now nearly

The title of the work, in the first place, strikes us as felicitous. “We cannot look,' says the author, in explanation of its choice, ‘upon the colossal works which remain to fix our attention and excite our wonder, without the painful remembrance that they are to Egypt mighty land-marks of her ancient servitude. The very greatness of the pyramids is a speaking proof of the despotic power of an iron will, brought to bear with a crushing and irresistible force upon a population of bond-slaves. How futile would prove the attempt to raise, in a free land, structures so vast, and of such comparative inutility! Thus the very wonaers that attract the footsteps of the pilgrim, and seem to be the glory of Egypt, distinguishing her from all other lands, cannot be contemplated without a reminiscence of her ancient degradation. The starting point of our author was Rome; and all the details of his journey to and through Egypt, although minute, are replete with interest. Indeed, we are not sure that the agreeable manner in which he records little things does not very materially help to make up the charm of his book. The little desagrémens of travel are given with perfect simplicity; as witness, among other instances, the reverend doctor imparting his first practical lesson in washing, starching, and ironing, to a stupid servant on board the boat, going down the Nile; a scene which will win many a smile from his readers. The engravings, of which there are twenty-eight, embrace all the principal scenes and objects to be met with in Egyptian journeying or voyaging, and are executed with spirit and elegance; while the printing and paper of the work ar the very luxuı y of typography. Again we commend the volume to the liberal acceptance of the public. Although many kindred works have appeared, there are none which we have encountered that will better reward perusal.




We may

A HUMANE AND BENEVOLENT PROPOSITION. -Our friend and correspondent, the quaint and felicitous ‘Richard HAYWARDE,' has sent us the following essay upon Societies for Ameliorating the Condition of the Rich.' Our welcome guest came at too late an hour to take his seat among his compeers who had preceded us, so that we make room for him at our little end-table. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. RICHARD HAYWARDE. With your kind permission, he will now address a few words to the assembled company.

"The quality of mercy is not strained:
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;

It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.' It has long been a matter of surprise to me, that amidst a multitude of benevolent institutions we have none for ameliorating the condition of the rich. A large class is certainly left out of the sphere of popular charity, which, from a careful examination of the smallest camels in various menageries, and a personal inspection of John HEMMING AND Son’s best drilled-eyed cambric needles, seems to stand more in need of our sympathies than any people under the sun. also observe, when one of these highly-respected citizens is on his way to the other world, he is generally followed by an unusual concourse of clergymen; and this, like a consultation of physicians, would appear to indicate that the person was in more than ordinary peril, and therefore needed greater care and skill than one within the reach of customary medicines.

I am impelled to make this suggestion more particularly now, from the fact that this class is growing upon us: the evil is spreading, and to a greater extent than many good people imagine. I have been surprised lately to find many persons whom I did not imagine worth a copper, freely acknowledging themselves to be wealthy; and others, of whose poverty I had not a doubt, confessing, with some little tribulation and blushing, there was no truth in that report; that money was with them, yea, abundantly. Such being the case, a common sense of humanity should induce us to relieve our opulent brethren from a portion of their distress, in order to prevent extension of the mischief. 'Homo sum; nihil humani d me alienum puto.' We, who belong to the ancient and honorable order of poverty, must not be neglectful of such claims upon us. Yet we should do it tenderly and affectionately; not haughtily, and with an air of superiority, but 'Poverty,' saith Austin, “is the way to heaven, the mistress of philosophy, the mother of religion, virtue, sobriety, sister of innocency and an upright mind.' True; I dispute not the words of the Father: but need we therefore exult and vain-gloriously contemn those who have the misfortune to be rich? Should we not rather take them by the hand, and show them the way to be better, wiser, happier? Should we not teach them that riches are only relative blessings; poverty a positive one? Should we let them struggle on for years and years in a wrong path, without endeavoring to pluck them ‘as brands from the burning?'

with a grace.

Riches are relative: our little domestic flashes of wealth pale their ineffectual fires before the dazzling opulence of the India House; nay, show like poverty itself, compared with that treasury of empires, which seems to realize

the royal state which far Outshone the wealth of Ormus or of Ind.'

And yet Tempus edax rerum: its ingots and tissues, its barbaric pearl and gold, will be scattered; oblivion will set its seal upon it; obscurity, with dust and ashes Stay

The India House has a name connected with it - an humble and unpretending name - whose influence will draw pilgrims thither while one crumbling stone rests upon another; and when the very ground where it now stands shall be forgotten, when its illustrious line of nameless nabobs lie neglected with the common multitude, upon that ancient edifice will rest, like a sunset glory, the fame of CHARLES LAMB.

If the above should seem to bear rather hard upon our wealthy brethren, I trust it will be forgiven me. I know that many are jealous of position, and derive no little self-respect from what they call their ‘circumstances ;' yet the suggestion came so pat, the comparisons followed so naturally, that I felt it a duty to proceed, and show how mutable is pecuniary fame; although I confess the idea I have broached, of 'wealth being only relative,' will make many of them show like paupers beside those eastern magnificats. Still, it is not in my nature to cast reflections. I could scarcely forgive the spiteful allusion of H. the other day to a certain Gothic building, which he called 'the ecclesiastical rattle for grown-up children ;' an epithet unworthy of a poor man glorying in the power of his literary affluence. No, far be it from me to countenance uncharitable reflections: let us remember we are all human, and, humanus est errare, many cannot help being rich; and souls vibrating between the opera-house and such places as the one above alluded to, drifting as it were upon tides of harmony any whither, are objects, not of our derision, but of our pity.

My intention had been to refer to the miseries of the rich in this paper, but a mere allusion to so fruitful a subject will doubtless suggest enough to awaken the sympathies of the benevolent. Avarice - mere avarice, in itself — is bad enough; a powerful astringent, it produces constipation of the mind, from whence comes ignorance, the mother of mischief. But Avarus dies and endowsbenevolent institutions, and thereby the world is bettered. It is the tinsel show of real or affected wealth ; its currents of folly, its ebbs and flows, tides, eddies and whirlpools; its generations, rising up in young misses who have not left off the rocking motion acquired in the cradle; its squab-dandies, stilting along on legs you might thrust in your double-barrel gun: its elders, with a reversion in Greenwood for the benefit of their heirs; it is this show, this pageant, to the philanthropist pitiable beyond the mimic efforts of the stage, the fictions of : imagination, or the supplications of the professional pauper who begs, with God knows how much content in his heart. I fear I also may be amenable to the charge of

-boasting poverty, with too much pride,' as Prior hath it, and therefore will turn to the main part and body, or rather head, of my subject.

I propose to the benevolent, to establish societies for ameliorating the condition of the rich. I would suggest that a board of directors be appointed, with visiting committees, to inquire into the condition of the more opulent families, to call upon them personally, and give such advice and assistance as their several cases seem to require. To the board of visitors, I would refer the motto above quoted:

'The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is TWICE blessed;

It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.'
Therefore take what you can, and be merciful.

I would recommend an asylum to be provided for those whose opulence is excessive, and whose mental incapacity prevents them taking proper care of themselves

I would suggest the purchase of substantial woolen garments for those who need them; gymnasiums for youth; and that a proper care be had for the moral culture of both sexes.

But, above all, I suggest the immediate organization of the society. The miseries of the rich afford so copious a field for the exercise of true benevolence, that I leave the matter to those more experienced and better able to advise than the humble writer of this paper.

CARLYLE ON COLERIDGE. – We recollect being greatly “taken to task' and be-rated, several years ago, for venturing to intimate in these pages, on the best authority, that COLERIDGE, whose ‘utterances,' as they were called, were just then the ‘present rage,' was after all (and great intellect as he was) a good deal of a bore, what time he was wont to‘set in with his steady stream of talk.' Now hear what Carlyle, his friend and admirer, says on this very ‘sum’ject:'

'I still recollect his ‘object' and subject,' terms of continual recurrence in the KANTEAN Province; and how he sung and snuffled them into “om-m-mject' and 'sum-m-mject,' with a kind of Bolemn shake or quiver as he rolled along.

"To sit as a passive bucket and be pumped into, whether you consent or not, can in the long-run be exhilarating to no creature, how eloquent soever the flood of utterance that is descending. But if it be withal a confused, unintelligible flood of utterance, threatening land-marks of thought, and drown the world and you I have heard COLERIDGE talk, with eager musical energy, two stricken hours, his face radiant and moist, and communicate no meaning whatsoever to any indivi. dual of his hearers ; certain of whom, I for one, still kept eagerly listening in hope; the most had long before given up, and formed (if the room were large enough) secondary humming-groups of their own. He began any where; you put some question to him, made some suggestive observation; instead of answering this, or decidedly setting out toward answer of it, he would accumulate formidable apparatus, logical swim-bladders, transcendental life-preservers, and other precautionary and vehiculatory gear, for setting out; perhaps did at last get under way; but was swiftly solicited, turned aside by the glance of some radiant new game on this hand or that, into new courses, and ever into new; and before long into all the universe, where it was uncertain what game you would catch, or whether any.'

« PreviousContinue »