페이지 이미지

man, had hysterical prostration permitted, and that was to light a candle and ask to see his bumps, as Charles Lamb asked to see those of the other man who said that he thought Milton was a good poet. Of course his lordship had a consistency and a rule of his own, and had he violated it, we should probably have felt it. But it was instinctive, and as elusive to himself as to the rest of us. That complacent vacuity, that halting and imperfect ratiocination, like George the Third's over getting the apple into the dumpling, we could all observe

it; but to attempt its analysis, to deduce the fun of it—it was striking a soap-bubble with a base-ball bat.

Lord Dundreary was the acquaintance of a night, but he will be always gratefully remembered by those who saw him. His departure has not, indeed, eclipsed the gayety of nations, but one of the springs of laughter is dried up, and those who did not see him, although they may see him represented, will never quite understand how much is said in saying, Lord Dundreary is gone.

[ocr errors]

ECAUSE it is far less difficult to pronounce dispassionately upon the quality of a man's intellectual productions than to judge impartially of his motives and actions, it has come to pass that while there is substantial unanimity as to Cicero's literary character, so that his rank as a writer, philosopher, and orator has been definitely ascertained, the widest diversity of opinion exists as to his personal character. So greatly has this been the case that it now is, and probably will remain for all time, an open question, on which sides will be taken with more or less temper, whether the great Roman civilian was materially in advance of the men of his era in far-reaching statesmanship and in public and private virtue, or whether, like the most of his eminent contemporaries, he was false, venal, servile, insincere, and more ambitious for his own fortunes and reputation than for the welfare of his countrymen and the perpetuity of the republic, and in addition to these common and universal defects, was also weak, vacillating, and cowardly, as were few great Romans in any age. Mr. Anthony Trollope has been stimulated, primarily no doubt by his genuine admiration for Cicero, but very perceptibly also by the wholesale panegyric indulged in by some scholars, the faint praise of others, the hard-and-fast judgments of still others, and in especial by the exultant vituperation of Mr. Froude, to prepare a Life of Cicero," in which he aims to be free from extremes on the one hand, and from Laodicean lukewarmness on the other, fairly crediting Cicero with his virtues, without being blind (though perhaps a “little kind”) to his defects, and defending his character and motives from the aspersions and misconstructions to which they have been subjected. This is what Mr.Trollope has attempted, and he has succeeded in part, and in part he has failed. He has satisfactorily shown that Cicero was never cruel, or venal, or perfidious, or revengeful, or impure and mendacious, as were most of his contemporaries; that he was never unjust, and that he was merciful 1. The Life of Cicero. By ANthony TRollorr. In Two

Volumes. 12mo, pp. 347 and 346. New York: Harper and Brothers.

and humane as were few others; that he was loyal to his friends, forgiving to his enemies, unfaltering in his devotion to the republic; that he was physically courageous; that he was a man with a conscience in an age when few men had such a monitor, and still fewer listened to it; and that his hands were clean when bribery, corruption, extortion, and unblushing venality were almost universal. But after all has been said, Mr. Trollope is forced to admit, with apologies and excusatory palliatives that do not break the force of the admissions, that as a statesman Cicero was timid, vacillating, and short-sighted; that he clung to the idea of the republic and strove for its existence when the republic was a fable of the past, or at least was no longer worthy to live, and clearly moribund; that as a man he lacked moral courage, was insincere, was a flatterer, and loved and solicited flattery, was a habitual boaster, oftentimes a demagogue, and sometimes, though rarely, did base actions. If Mr. Trollope's defense of Cicero is not always conclusive, it is invariably generous and manly, . and his recital of the incidents and events of the great orator's life is close and careful, and is told in a prepossessing, popular style, and with spirited straightforwardness. In preparing the work, Mr. Trollope has made full use of all the lights that could be derived from historical writers and from Cicero's own letters and orations. And of these letters and orations, as well as of Cicero's philosophical and other writings, he gives satisfactory accounts and synopses, dwelling with good taste upon their more salient features and most suggestive passages, and pronouncing upon their merits with candor and discrimination.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

to hide the ingenuity and industry and art that have been expended upon it. The letters and recollections of those of her own sex who were the companions of her girlhood or the cherished friends of her womanhood; the memoirs, journals, and letters of the queens of the salons of Paris who were her social allies or rivals; the fugitive and the more elaborate writings of contemporaneous men of letters, eminent as philosophers, statesmen, historians, political economists, critics, poets, etc.; the publications and remains of her father, children, and other relatives; numberless articles in reviews, encyclopaedias, and biographical collections; the ample stores of her own works, and of her correspondence with distinguished people of both sexes; and the unpublished souvenirs, manuscripts, and letters of her intimate friends and survivors—all this diverse mass has been levied upon by Dr. Stevens for contributions to an exact knowledge of the character and genius of this extraordinary woman, and of the extent of her influence upon opinion and society in France and in the larger world of Europe. Some readers who are not usually prone to be hypercritical will doubtless derive the impression from a cursory glance at his book that Dr. Stevens's admiration of Madame De Staël is facile and excessive, and his estimate of her character and intellectual equipment extravagant. But we can pardon much to the generous enthusiasm of a biographer, more especially when it is vindicated by evidence as disinterested and cumulative as that upon which he has formed his judgments. Certainly he has been imposed upon or biassed by his predilections much less than Madame De Staël's detractors have been by their prejudice and partisanship; and the candid reader will accept their strictures with great reserve, beeause of their manifest deliberate purpose to decry the abilities and the virtues of the woman whose eloquence Napoleon could not silence, whose spirit he could not break, and whose pen penetrated like a sword through the joints of his harness, and goaded him to fury. Those of Napoleon's idolaters who were the blind apologists for his most unpardonable meannesses and basest tyrannies have united to sneer away the reputation of Madame De Staël, and it is due to their innuendoes and ridicule, their baseless fabrications and unjust depreciation, that the prevalent impression concerning her is derived from her few foibles and imperfections rather than from her abundant virtues and splendid talents. Dr. Stevens does not conceal her foibles and weaknesses; nor, indeed, was there anything in them that needed concealment, since they were such as are common to humanity, and are not incompatible with its noblest manifestations. But while recognizing these, he displays with hearty enthusiasm the strength and beauty of a mind and character that have been rarely equalled. His biography follows Madame De Staël's career with sympathetic minuteness, increasing

at every step our esteem for her womanly virtues, heightening our admiration of her social graces and amenities, and extorting our respectful homage for her astounding intellectual activity and her wide mental range. The work also introduces us familiarly to a galaxy of the most beautiful, refined, and gifted women of the day, who were Madame De Staël's loving friends, and to a host of eminent men— philosophers, historians, and men of letters of the first rank—whose works were often suggested by her, were composed largely under her inspiration and beneath her hospitable roof, and were always submitted to her criticism. Dr. Stevens's outlines of Madame De Staël's literary productions are valuable for the lucidity and pithy succinctness of their analysis, and his criticisms of them are fair and acute. The work is profoundly interesting, rich in light and graceful entertainment, as well as in food for deep thought, and its reproductions of the life and times of the age and society in which Madame De Staël was a conspicuous figure are very vivid. The most serious blemish of the book is one of editorial taste and judgment. We refer to the repeated citations from authors of acknowledged standing, which Dr. Stevens has been at unnecessary pains to collect and parade, in support of his estimate of Madame De Staël's genius, and of the grade and influence of her writings, and which as arranged by him are more suggestive than is pleasant of the florid “certificates” with which medical empirics are accustomed to bolster up the merits of their nostrums.

A SELECTION from the correspondence between Goethe's" mother and some of her most cherished relatives and friends, translated and edited by the late Alfred S. Gibbs, has been published in an attractive volume, and gives a very agreeable impression of her life and character. The letters are not exclusively those of the Frau Rath, the title by which Goethe's mother is universally known in Germany, but embrace a number that were addressed to her by Goethe, Wieland, the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Weimar, the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the Prince of Saxe-Gotha, and others, and a few that were written to each other by several of her correspondents, showing their love and reverence for her, and their conception of her character. Although many of the letters addressed to her are pleasing specimens of epistolary writing, her own have a charm, derived from their quaint sweetness and perennial blithesomeness, which none of the others possess. The reader will agree with Mr. Clarence Cook, that, seen in the light of these letters, Goethe's mother is one of the most cheerful figures in the literary history of the last century; and that they impress us with her warmth of heart, her overflowing affection for her friends, her motherly worship of her son, her enthusiasm qualified by native commonsense, her clearness of perception, her shrewdness, her transparent honesty of speech, and her rich and inspiring old-fashioned and orthodox piety. An interesting outline sketch of the Goethe family is given by the translator, and the volume is embellished with a number of portraits, among them being those of Goethe's father, his sister Cornelia, Lawater, and several of his mother.

* Goethe's Mother. Correspondence of Catharine Elizabeth Goethe with Goethe, Lavater, Wieland, Duchess Anna Amalia of Saxe-Weimar, Friedrich von Stein, and Others. Translated from the German by ALFRED S. Gilsits. With an Introduction by CLARENCE Cook. 12mo, pp. 265. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co.

Two recent volumes of female biography will amply reward the attention of readers belonging to the gentler sex, as well for the grace and delicacy with which they are written, and the atmosphere of refinement that pervades them, as for their instructive and inspiring record of the lives of two beautiful types of womanhood—types that are the more interesting, and that appeal the more powerfully to our own sympathies, because they are real transcripts from actual life, and not ideal creations. One of these is a Memoir of Frances Ridley Havergal,” a woman in whom were united the most intense spirituality and a poetical temperament that was remarkable for its subtle delicacy, its depth and expansiveness, and its moods of rapt self-absorption and highwrought contemplativeness. The growth of her pre-eminently spiritual religious life, the unfolding of her literary tastes, and the manner in which the latter complemented and gave expression to the former (to which, indeed, they were ever subsidiary), are sketched with loving assiduity and a large share of literary skill by her sister Maria W. G. Havergal.-The other memoir is a Biography of Sister Dora" (Dorothy Wyndlow Pattison), a woman equally as refined and intellectual as Miss Havergal, and no less spiritual; but whose spirituality, reenforced by an ever-present sense of duty and an indomitable will—such a sense of duty and such a will as form the stuff of which martyrs are made—led her to practical rather than to poetical manifestations of it. The daughter of a Devonshire rector, she was distinguished for a sweetness that won all hearts, a beauty of person, an attractiveness of manners, a gentleness, an enthusiasm, a resoluteness, and a spirit that conciliated the rudest clowns and fiercest ruffians as well as the most cultivated of her own rank. The possessor of personal and mental gifts and graces which fitted her to shine in the most refined society, to these were united an intense sympathy for human suffering and ignorance, and a power of personal influence on others that was truly magnetic. In the midst of the enjoyments and

amenities of her beautiful early home life, her natural enthusiasm and her love of active work were quickened by Miss Nightingale's ministrations for the sick and wounded of the Crimea; and, conscious of her own qualifications for the office, she determined to consecrate herself to the life-work of a nurse. Before finally doing so she underwent an apprenticeship as the teacher of a humble village school, where her powers of self-control and mastery of others were put to the test. At length, the yearning to alleviate human suffering growing stronger and stronger, after a laborious training, in which she was introduced to all the hardships, and all the painful and revolting as well as touching and tender experiences of the vocation she had chosen, she finally resigned her place in society, and devoted herself to the calling of a hospital nurse. The biography of this noble and heroic woman is fragrant with self-denial, with strength in gentleness, with tact and patience, with sweetness and fortitude, with untiring energy and unconquerable spirit, with the tenderest filial love and the most buoyant piety.

PROFEssoR CoppéE, of Lehigh University, has compressed the events of one of the most important episodes of mediaeval history, The Conquest of Spain by the Arab-Moors," within the compass of two convenient volumes. Although he has only attempted to depict the Conquest, and to this end has dwelt in elaborate detail only upon the advance upon Spain by the Saracen invaders, the treason of Ilyan (Count Julian), the crossing of the strait, the defeat and fate of Roderick, the spread of the Arab-Moors over the Peninsula and beyond the Pyrenees into France, the great battles of Tours and Roncesvalles, and the careers of the successive Amirs who governed Spain until the establishment of the Spanish Khalifate, he has prepared the reader for an intelligent comprehension of these events and their consequences by a series of preliminary chapters giving a graphic and instructive outline of the conditions, on the part of the invaders, that preceded the invasion, that formed its motive force, and that gave it its irresistible impulsion, and of the conditions, on the part of the tribes who formed the Visigothic empire in Spain, that invited the invasion and contributed to its success. With a just regard to historical unity, Professor Coppée has also given a compact outline of the sequel to the conquest, covering the particulars of the men and circumstances that preserved the spark of Spanish liberty and nationality, and that finally, after the lapse of centuries, blazed out in the reconquest. This outline also comprises sketches of the breaking up of the Ommeyan dynasty into petty kingdoms, of the incursions of African invaders, of the dwindling of the Moslem power until it was limited to the little kingdom of Granada, and of its final extinction by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. The work concludes with a scholarly dissertation on the civilization which the Arab-Moors achieved and imparted to Europe, comprising a lucid and attractive account of their intellectual development, and their advances in language, poetry, science, invention, discoveries, and architecture. The work is distinguished by grace and dignity of style, candor in presenting and sifting rival or conflicting views and authorities, spirited descriptions and portraitures, and a rich under-current of philosophic reflections, analogies, and deductions.

* Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal. By her Sister M. V. G. H. 12mo, pp. 391. New York: A. D. F. Randolph and Co.

* Sister Dora. A ..o. By MARG ARET LoNSDALE. 16mo, pp. 290. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

* History of the Conquest of Spain by the Arab-Moors. With a Sketch of the Civilization which they Achieved and Imparted to Europe. By Hronzy Copper. In Two ...'..." 12mo, pp. 454 and 496. Boston: Little, Brown, tlilul Co.

IN a second volume of Anecdotes of Public Men,” Mr. John W. Forney has made a further collection from the stores of his long experience in public life, and of his extended intercourse with men prominent by their official station or eminent for talent or influence, of a large body of desultory material illustrating traits of personal character, or throwing light on important parliamentary or political occurrences and conjunctures. The volume is conceived in a kindly and genial spirit, is entirely devoid of personal or sectional asperities, and deals with men and events with dispassionate candor and invincible good-nature. If the book is neither very brilliant nor original, it is certainly very companionable and entertaining.

Those of our grave and serious readers who may be repelled from Mr. George H. Jennings's Anecdotal History of the British Parliament” by an impression that it is a book of the Joe Miller sort, and those more light-minded ones who may be attracted to it for the same reason, will be equally at fault as to its real character. Mr. Jennings does not use the word “anecdote”

in its present perverted popular sense of a live-'

ly story pointed with jest or wit or sarcasm, and sparkling with humorous incident or allusion, but in its original meaning of a brief relation, not necessarily either grave or humorous, of some particular or detached uninute incident or fact of an interesting nature, either public or private, historical, political, or moral, literary or biographical, and illustrative of the characteristics of an individual, or of any particular age, nation, or state of society. It was in this sense Lord Bacon construed the word when he made his collection of mucrones verborum, or “pointed speeches,” or “apophthegms”; it was also in this sense that the feigned “Brothers Percy” used it when they compiled the celebrated Percy Anecdotes; and it is in this

7 Anecdotes of Public Men. By John W. For Nry. Vol. II. 12mo, pp. 437. New York: Harper and Brothers.

* An A necdotal History of the British Parliament. From the Parliest Periods to the Present Times. With Notices of Eminent Parliamentary Men, and Examples of their Oratory. Compiled from Authentic Sources by Grough Hrsity JENNixos. 8vo, pp. 530. New York: D. Appleton and Co.

sense that Mr. Jennings employs it in the excellent collection under notice. Mr. Jennings's compilation does not take the extensive range of the Percy Anecdotes, but is rigidly confined to its subject; and within this limitation it is commendable for its fullness and for the substantial value and interest of its materials. The volume is a useful and entertaining commonplace-book, containing a large amount of varied information relative to the rise and origin of Parliament, and the history of Parliamentary institutions, usages, practices, powers, precedents, and privileges; concerning the royal prerogative, its encroachments and limitations; illustrative of critical historical conjunctures, such as the conflicts of the two Houses of Parliament with each other, their conjoint or separate conflicts with the crown, and the debates and other passages that attended these conflicts, and other important occurrences; and comprising the celebrated utterances of public men, their personal traits and oratorical peculiarities, and an account of the origin of political allusions, phrases, proverbs, and sayings that have become “current coin of the realm.” Few incidents of consequence that throw light on Parliament as an institution, or upon the more prominent characters who have figured in it, have escaped the diligence of the compiler; but that there have been some inadvertencies and omissions those who are familiar with the Percy Anecdotes, and with Bacon's Apophthegms, and the lives of Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Edward Dering, and others, will not be slow to discover. Mr. Jennings's volume is rendered additionally serviceable as a reference hand-book of Parliamentary knowledge by an appendix containing lists of the Parliaments of England and the United Kingdom from John (A.D. 1213) to Victoria (A.D. 1880), of the Speakers of the House of Commons from 1260 to 1872, and of cabinet ministers from 1715 to 1880.

It is one of the most precious fruits of Christian civilization that, whenever any of the human family, in respectable numbers, are the victims of wrong and injustice which they are too weak to redress, and too feeble, too lowly, and too ignorant to publish to the world, some generous and earnest philanthropist, moved by the enthusiasm of humanity, will descry their case, and, making their cause his own, will advocate it with an ability that arrests attention, coupled with a zeal that inspires righteous anger or profound sympathy, with a courage that no difficulties or odds can daunt, and with a tenacity (obstinacy, his adversaries style it) which holds fast to its steadfast purpose in spite of repeated and apparently overwhelming discouragements and defeats. Such a philanthropist Mrs. Jackson (“H. H.”) approves herself in her recently published “Sketch of the Dealings of the Government of the United States with some of the Indian Tribes,” which she appropriately designates A Century of Dishonor.” The book has been inspired by the wrongs our aborigines have suffered alike at the hands of our military and civil authorities and of our people, and is a record of the repeated cruelties, perfidies, and violations of faith of our government in its dealings with the Indians, that should cause the face of every high-minded American to tingle with shame. The bald statement of facts, to which the author chiefly confines herself, in her outline sketches of the history of the principal tribes, and of the wars and massacres that have signalized the century, is in itself a damning and conclusive arraignment, more effective than it could be made by any rhetoric, and we trust it will not appeal ineffectually to the hearts and consciences of the American people. In addition to these careful historical sketches of the Indian tribes and their pitiful fortunes, the volume is of value for its excellent condensed summaries of laws, treaties, of ficial reports, and statistics relative to the Indians, and for its variety of information concerning their condition, needs, and capabilities, considered respectively from an industrial, educational, political, and religious stand-point.

ALTHOUGH Mrs. Gertrude L. Wanderbilt's Social History of Flatbush" has primarily and preeminently a local interest, there is no portion of it that is without its fascination for those, wherever they may be domiciled, who find pleasure in raking up the embers of by-gone times, and who delight to trace in their glowing ashes the story of the simple daily life and manners of the generations who lived in the early days of our country. Even those parts of the volume which are the most exclusively local and personal, relating as they do to the Colonial, Revolutionary, and early post-Revolutionary periods, are affluent of material that can not fail to be attractive to those whose ancestors lived outside the special limits within which Mrs. Vanderbilt has concentrated her attention. For despite the different nationalities from which they sprang, whose peculiar habits and customs they inherited and perpetuated, the external circumstances and conditions—geographical, climatic, political, or resulting from common foes—that bore steadily upon our ancestors in the several colonies were substantially the same; and these, combined with their constant friendly or adverse contact with each other, and the unconscious or conscious imitations and adaptations that ensued, softened down their points of difference, and imperceptibly but irresistibly kneaded them into a homogeneous social body, and impressed upon them a general family likeness. This particu

larly manifested itself in their virtues, tastes, food, dress, demeanor, domestic habits and usages, and their social manners and observances; and traces of each may be still discovered in widely separated portions of our country, whither they have been transmitted by inheritance or by adoption. The originals of these traits, and of many that have not survived, are reproduced by Mrs. Wanderbilt with the vividness and fidelity of a photograph. She lifts the veil that divides the past from the present, and familiarly introduces us to the houses and inside the homes of the men and women of Long Island of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; seats us beside their ample fire-places; glances with us at their antiquated clocks and mirrors; visits with us their capacious garrets, their well-stored cellars, and their cheery and hospitable kitchens; helps us ransack their massive cupboards and sideboards, and their quaint treasures of china, delf, and silver; accompanies us to their weddings, christenings, and funerals, and reveals to us all the phases of their simple public and private life. The volume is a copious repository of curious and interesting material, most attractive to the cultivated reader of catholic tastes, and of sterling value to the antiquarian.

IF we were asked to name a companion volume to Shakspeare, suitable to the needs of those who are desirous of supplementing their current reading of his plays by a more critical inspection and study of them, we should not hesitate to recommend Professor Dowden's Critical Study of Shakspeare's Mind and Art” as, on the whole, the best and most convenient work that has yet appeared, for those lovers of our great poet who do not aspire to be pundits or critics, but who simply desire a reasonably close acquaintanceship with his productions, his artistic methods, the sources of his plays, and his intellectual equipment and poetical merits. Dr. Dowden's book is comparatively brief; it may be read continuously for the light that it throws on the whole subject, or disconnectedly for its exposition and illustration of particular plays or passages; and it is free from the acrimonious but puerile asperities, the vexatious parade of pedantic trivialities, and the fantastic extravagances of interpretation which have too generally characterized Shakspearean commentators. Dr. Dowden lacks neither learning nor subtlety, but his subtlety is the outcome of vigorous commonsense, and his learning is restrained and regulated by the same invaluable faculty. His interpretations of Shakspeare's meanings, and his conclusions as to Shakspeare's mental and personal characteristics, and as to the composition, order, rank, and motives of Shakspeare's plays, appear to us to be reasonable and sagaClOlls.

* A Century of Dishonor. A. Sketch of the United States Government's Dealings with some of the Indian Tribes. By “H. H.” 12mo, pp. 457. New York: Har

per and Brothers.
10 The Social History of Flatbush, and Manners and

Customs of the Dutch Settlers in Kings County. By Grit

TRUDI. LEFrrrts VANDERbilt. 12mo, pp. 351. New York:

D. Appleton and Co.

11 Shakspeare: A Critical Study of his Mind and Art. By Edwamp Downrn, LL.D. 12mo, pp. 386. New York: Harper and Brothers.

« 이전계속 »