페이지 이미지

three hundred authorities which is placed at the beginning of his book is remarkable, indeed, for the omission of many of the ablest and best-known books on his subject in English, and the entire absence of all authorities in French and German. Elsewhere the errors of the author seem to be due to an indifference to details and an aim at fine writing. Thus we are told in one place that Sidney wrote the Arcailia “in the shelter of the forest oaks,” and in another place that the Arcadia was written“ in an old castle," as it certainly was not; the careful student would be willing to exchange the rhetoric for a simple statement of the fact that the Arcadia was written at Wilton. Mr. Welsh makes Esther Johnson fifteen years old when Swift first met her; she was six or seven. He calls the other woman of Swift's romance Esther Vanhomrigh; her name was Hester. He says that De Foe, after having lost his ears in the pillory, retired from polities in 1716, bankrupt, to devote his energies to fiction. Had he remembered any thing written on De Foe since 1869, he would have known that De Foe in 1716 was in politics deeper than ever, that he was far from bankrupt, and that he never lost his ears at all. These are minor errors, perhaps; but they are just the kind of errors that a well-informed and careful writer would successfully avoid.

The style of the book throughout is not eminently chaste. It is vague, diffuse, florid. Mr. Welsh does not say a plain thing in a plain way.

His labored efforts after animation of manner lead him now into turgid declamation, now into ludicrous flippancy. This is the way by which the tedium of a discussion upon Hume is enlivened : “And now, Mr. Ilume, we cannot refrain from wishing that along with your incisive intellect you possessed more heart and soul; along with your self-reliant majesty more reverence and trust. ... You carry in your bosom no sheaves of sunbeams, no carols of birds, no plaintive cadence of Æolian harp.” Which is, doubtless, true. Perhaps, however, the most amusing of Mr. Welsh's rhetorical peculiarities is the habit he has of dropping now and then into exhortation rather odd than edifying. This is the way in which the life of good Joseph Addison is “improved ”: “You and I may not have much intellectual power, our thought may never fill the world's soul ; but if we have stimulated a generous wish or a noble aspiration, if we have even furnished a medium in which handsome things may be projected and performed; if we have added one leaf to the tree of humanity, one blossom to its wealth of bloom, or anyht

to its harvest of fruit, we may rely upon the eternal law that neither things present nor things to come can deprive these outgoing particles of their immortality.”

C. T. W.

Alexander Pope. By LESLIE STEPHEN. (Morley's series.) 16mo, pp. 207. New

York: Harper & Brothers. 1880. It was said of Mr. Lincoln that he seemed to have a lower and a higher self; that in contemplating the former you could scarcely realize the latter; and the historic world has preferred, in the contemplation of the higher, to largely dismiss the reminiscences of the lower. The same double self close research finds, in some degree, in Pope; but Mr. Stephen, from some peculiarity of his nature, prefers to dwell mainly in the lower story, we might say in the down-cellar, of Pope's character and history. He never tires, however thoroughly his readers may, of vituperative epithets, (among which “liar” and “thief” are average specimens,) of depreciatory clauses, and of intentionally damning the great poet “with faint praise.” And all this, though patently Pope's errors were largely based in his physiological make, in his dwarfed frame, his sickly habit, and his tremulous nervous system. He is charged, and apparently proved, as being abundantly guilty of multiplied prevarications and dissimulations in his literary dealings. Within his professional line he garbled documents, denied the truth, and practiced frauds. And yet, as Mr. Stephens admits, these under-cover practices so little affected his ordinary character or reputation that "he was the welcome companion of all the most eminent men of his time.” Pope himself seemed to view these peccadilloes as mere parentheses in his moral character, of which he could easily absolve himself, and which left him free for the full feeling and expression of the loftiest sentiments and purest moralities of our nature.

Pope had a desire to have his correspondence published without seeming to have done it himself. For the purpose of concealing from the public his own agency in the publication, he started a deceptive scheme. As the devil will often have it, one deception had to be covered with another, until a whole snarl of prevarications had come into existence. Pope measurably succeeds, and finally enamels the whole over with a varnish of pseudo-morality. Over these effeminate hypocrisies for an effeminate purpose, Mr. Stephen parades a most magniloquent morality hardly less hypocritical. “The most audacious hypocrite of fiction turns pale

at this.” It “is altogether a picture to set fiction at defiance." That is, Iago inveigling his master to the murder of his own wife, Guy Falk conspiring to blow up Parliament, are white lambe compared to Pope intriguing to conceal his hand in the publication of his own over-elegant epistles, and making believe they were purloined for the purpose !

Mr. Stephen does scant justice to the great genius of Pope, . and that under the form, usually, of reluctant and piecemeal admissions. The poet's unsurpassed ability to clothe thought in lines of most perfect finish has made it seem easy to be done by any body; and we have known versifiers of fifth-rate ability cherishing the idiocy that they “ could write as good poetry as Pope's.” And yet, perhaps, Shakspeare alone has left so many masterstrokes of condensed thought, stereotyped by our constant quotation into proverbs, as Pope.

Mr. Stephen's philosophy and theology are more inverted even than his literary and ethical criticism. The following great passage of Pope's he styles “frankly pantheistic”:

All are but parts of one stupendous whole
Whose body nature is, and God the soul;
That changed through all and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth as in the ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads individed, operates unspent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns;
To Him, no high, no low, no great, no small,

He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all. Mr. Stephen's statement that this magnificent passage is "hardly orthodox” and “pantheistic” sadly exposes his incapacity for such subjects. The passage describes, in terms of wonderful truth and sublimity, the pervasive omnipotence of a personal Deity throughout all the objects and operations of nature; and every line might be repeated from any orthodox pulpit in full accordance with sacred truth. Pope has left two lines in his poetry which, putting self-conceit for “pride,” admirably describe the peculiarities of his biographer's case:

Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defense,

And fills up all the mighty void of senso. FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XXXV.-13

Preparatory Greek Course in English. By WILLIAM CLEAVER WILKINSON, 12mo,

pp. 294. New York: Phillips & Hunt. Cincinnati: Walden & Siowe. 1882. The writer gives frank credit to Dr. Vincent for the origination of the idea of this volume, as well as ample suggestions in its production; and the compliment might be reciprocated that he has filled out, and more than filled out, the programme with eminent ability and success. Its “aim” is to furnish to the popular reader a clear and full idea of what is going on in the “college course.” But it well succeeds in accomplishing the further aim of furnishing to the young student, for himself, a clear idea of what he is going about. In former days, and we suspect down to the present day, the unfortunate candidate is obliged, very much, to go it blind. In the olden time his Latin grammar was put into his hands, then his manual of selections with dictionary, then his Virgil, and he plodded like a miner cutting a tunnel through a rock. A book like this would have thrown an illumination around his path, revealing to him where he was, and what the surroundings of the route he was obliged to pursue. Mr. Wilkinson has done his work in the best manner, varying his style through a variety of changes, now cheerily colloquial, now running an even level, and anon rising with graceful ease into a strain of lofty eloquence. The volume is first of a series.

Character Sketches. Arnaud, Macaulay—Klopstock and His Meta-Mary Somerville-Madame De Staël- Voltaire—Channing-Wesley. By A BEL STEVENS,

LL.D. 12mo, pp. 397. New York: Phillips & Hunt. 1882. Several of these admirable sketches have already been published in our Quarterly. The remaining three have for their subject Voltaire, Channing, and Wesley. In some respects the Voltaire, whose life and character Dr. Stevens has evidently made a study, will be found not the least interesting. Upon Channing he is fresh, liberal, and graphic, blending general criticisms with personal recollections. We need not say that upon Wesley he is at home; and no pen has done more to revolutionize public opinion to its present high estimate of him than this same Dr. Stevens

Poems. By Rev. Dwight WILLIAMS. 8vo, pp. 397. New York: Phillips &

Hunt. 1892. Readers who have been accustomed now and then to see a spirited poem peering out in the columns of our papers, by Mr. Will

iams, will be glad to welcome them in complete volume. They will find a collection of the productions of a true poet on a rich variety of subjects, and in a brilliant variety of styles.

The Power of the Invisible, and other Lectures and Addresses chiefly Educational

and Baccalaureate. By Rev. H. A. THOMPSON, D.D., President of Otterbein University. 12mo, pp. 100. Daytou, Ohio: United Bretiiren Publishing House. 1832.

The President of Otterbein has collected a volume of public performances of his own before the students of his college, before various institutions, literary and religious, and one before the Ecumenical Assembly of Methodism. They are marked by the traits of high culture, elevated religious tone, and a large share of independent remark. The reader finds himself in communion with an elevated style of thought; and the volume will exert an efficient and beneficent intluence on the public mind.


Final Causes. By PAUL JANET, Member of the Institute, Professor at the Faculté

des Lettres of Paris. Translated from the Second Edition of the French by WILLIAM AFFLECK, B.D. With Preface by ROBERT Flint, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. Second Edition. 8vo, pp. 520.

Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. 1883. It is gratifying to know that a new issue of this able treatise is required. We have already given our opinion, which we here repeat, that it is a very effective refutation of the Agnosticism, alias Atheism, of the hour.

The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament. Considered in Eight Lectures De

livered before the University of Oxford on the Bampton Foundation. By THOMAS DEMANY BERNARD, M.A., of Exeter College, and Rector of Walcot.

12mo, pp. 258. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers. 1883. This fine volume we have noticed years ago, and are glad to welcome its fresh issue. In a small compass it brings together a series of fresh views of the unity and progressive unfoldings of the New Testament, expressed in a style of beautiful clearness and simplicity. It is timely as correcting the errors of an overdone method of so-called Biblical Theology which virtually denies that the New Testament is an organic book, and reduces it to a chance series of pamphlets floated together.

« 이전계속 »