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very extensive work and tbc concluding Odc of three thick quarto volumes, we must satisfy our readers and ourselves with a brief notice of its content*. It commences with the May of 1810, and terminates with the conclusion of the war and the restoration of King Ferdinand, of blessed memory. It is full of interest,—on we go from page to page, as if led by fiction, of battles, sieges, ** hair-breadth escapes," gallant deeds, and horrors that make as shudder. The accomplished author writes with the graceful and easy pen tie knows so well to use. We must give luin credit for the honesty of purpose to which he lays claim in the following passage, although we must hesitate to admit that he hat become an accurate, an impartial or an unprejudiced historian.
"My task is ended here; and if in the coarse of this long and faithful history it should seem that I have anywhere ceased to bear the ways of Providence in mind, or to have admitted a feeling, or given utterance to a thought Inconsistent with glory to God in the highest, and good-will towards men, let the benevolent reader impute it to that inadvertence or inaccuracy of expression from which Bo diligence, however watchful, can always he secure; and as such let him forgive what, if I were conscious of it, I should not easily forgive in myself. Laus Deo." Amen t
We rejoice lo see that this touching and beautiful picture of a truly Christian family, engaged in the various avocations, the joys, the comforts, and the duties of a domestic life, has already reached a sixth edition. It is scarcely necessary for us to dwell upon the merits of a work thus rtamped with the impress of public approbation, but to those among our readers who happen to be unacquainted with it, we may mention that the work, while breathing throughout a spirit of the most ardent and exalted piety, is perfecdy free irom either cant or affectation. The tone of the book is, indeed, everywhere solemn and decidedly religious, but it is written in simplicity and singleness of heart, distant alike from austerity of manner, and from the enthusiasm of a heated imagination. It abounds, too, in descriptions of natural scenery, vividly and faithfully drawn; and the prose is very frequently relieved by poetry of the same devout and contemplative cast. There is not much of actual quotation from Scripture, or of the direct didactic form, in tbe book; but religion is represented as becoming (that which in vvery sincere and well-taught Christian it must ever be) a pervading principle of the mind—" the orcvn to the river of our thoughts"—towards which every action of our lives, and every feejing of our hearts, must be ultimately directed.
My Old Portfolio, or Tales and Sketches. By Henry (jlassford Bell.
Mr. Bell has rummaged bis Old Portfolio to some purpose. "We have here a series of very excellent tales and sketches, many of which may be classed among the moat successful specimens of what may be termed "the free-and-easy style." He appears to have written them without much thonght or labour, and consequently gives his reader no very vast degree of trouble. We slip through page after page, always pleased, and never disappointed, aud rarely stop to ask ourselves what Mr. Bell has been writing, or what we have been reading about. Yet if we have not gaiued much of information, we have had no inconsiderable amusement; and if he be satisfied with our praise, we are well satisfied with the contents of his Old Portfolio. It is evident, however, that it will be refilled with better stuff—he will trifle less, and think more. There is matter in him, matter of a higher order than that out of which have been produced Tales and Sketches—let him produce it in a better shape; he will find no difficulty in giving it thews aud sinews — aud he will bold a station in Literature to which he ought and may aspire.
Altila, a Tragedy, and other Foetus.
The "other Poems" are better than " Attila," a tragedy. The Author evidently agrees with "That ancient sage philosopher
Who had read Alexander Ross over,
Love and murder constitute the staple of every tragedy, and here we have both in abundance; but there la no very particular mark or likelihood about" Attila."
The Death Summons; or the Rock of Martos. A Tragedy. By W. C. Wimberley.
Ferdinand the Fonrth, King of Castile and Leon, was surnamed " the Summoned," from the circumstance of having ordered for execution two brothers, named Carvajal, on suspicion of their having assassinated Benavides, a courtier high in the King's favour. The Carvajals were hurled down the rock of Martos accordingly, but died protesting their own innocence, and summoning the King to answer their appeal within thirty days before the tribunal of God himself. Ferdinand speedily sickened and died. This is, in few words, the main feature of Mr. Wimhcrley'a plot. The story is forcibly and clearly developed, and the language energetic and harmonious.
The month has produced only one novelty calling for detailed remark ; but that is more worthy of attention, in various points of view, than anything of the kind that has been produced since the "Virginius" of the same writer. "The Hunchback" is a play that would have attracted notice, and preserved itself from oblivion, even if it had been written during the Elizabethan era of our drama; and, with the single exception of the tragedy named above, we do not know that this can be said, with truth, of any other drama that any living writer has produced. Not that Mr. Knowles has hitherto shown himself capable of constructing such dramas as that day has left to us, yet he has all the qualities requisite for so doing—except one. He has, if we may so speak, the faculties, but not the power—he has the materials within him, but not the art of bringing them out. His plays have passion, but it does not burst forth of itself —it is doled out by rule and measurement. His characters are constructed—hewn out— built up—not delineated. His poetry is poetry, but it is not a springing garden, but a hortus siccus — not a welling stream flowing at "its own sweet will," but a forced-up fountain falling back coldly into the cold marble basin whence it arose. Even his language, and the rhyme of his verse, partake of this dry and mechanical character; they are hard, adust, untuneable. We have heard it noticed as a remarkable proof of merit in Mr. Knowles, that he has never studied, or even read, the poets whom he so much resembles—resembles in spirit at least, if not in form. We know not how true this may be—but if it be true, we look upon it as anything but a merit, and, moreover, as fully sufficient to account for the deficiencies which we have just pointed out in Mr. Knowles' general style. The dramatists of Elizabeth's day did not become what they were by eschewing, but by reading and admiring, and pondering over, and loving, each other. It is true a dramatic poet is not to be made by reading dramatic poetry; but it is equally true that a great dramatic poet is not to be made without that process—if not as a matter of formal study, at least as a matter of love and of delight. In a word, if Mr. Knowles were a less original writer than he is, he would lie an infinitely more valuable one.
Cut it is more than time that we attend to the new production which has been the immediate occasion of these remarks.
"The Hunchback," which was produced at Cnvcnt Garden, on Thursday, the 5th of April, is, in many respects, a remarkable work; in point of strength and variety of dramatic interest, the developement of cha
racter, and the stir and display of passion, it is the most remarkable that this writer has yet produced; but not, we imagine, comparable to what he might, to what, indeed, he must produce, if he would put himself through that course of dramatic study at which we have hinted above.
The scene is laid about the time of Charles I. Master Waller is a wealthy citizen, who, shortly after the opening of the play, discovers himself to be the rightful possessor of the Peerage of Rochdale; and he uses his knowledge and his power to make trial of his fair daughter, Julia, whom he has brought up in absolute seclusion from the world, and even from the knowledge that He, Master Walter, is her father —being urged to the latter course by the fear that his mis-shapen form may mar the affections of his child, if she knows that she is his child, before the temper of ber mind and character have been duly tried and fixed. Before his discovery of his claim to the Earldom, he has sought and found for her a fitting suitor, in the person of Sir Thomas Clifford, whom she sees, loves, and joyfully accepts while a simple country maiden, but whom, on being tried and tempted by the gaieties of a town life, she falls off from for a time, only to return to her allegiance with more strength and depth of affection than ever, when he has become disgusted with her levities, and has, on his part, renounced her. At this juncture, and while her woman's pride is smarting under the slight of being rejected by the man she still loves, the supposed Earl of Rochdale offers her his hand, which she had once refused, but which she now desperately accepts, and then as desperately dreads the consummation of her hasty and wilful act—her father all the while watching over and directing the course of events to that happy consummation to which he alone is capable of guiding them.
Out of these materials, although, as we conjecture, hastily put together, and, as we must consider, somewhat crudely and indistinctly developed, a drama has been constructed that is full of intense interest, and that of the most natural and valuable kind, and unmixed too with a single touch of that "baser matter," (of mere excitement or mere appeals to the curiosity,) which, in fart, form the staple commodity of the modern English drama. With reference to the somewhat violent change which occurs in each part of the character of Julia, we shall copy (because, though loosely expressed, we think them just in the main) the following remarks from a weekly contemporary— "The Court Journal."
"It is a shallow criticism to accuse her sudden change,— from a devoted attachment to a country life, to a mad appetite for that of the town,—of being too violent to be natural: it is because it is violent that it is natural. Had she been duly wedded to the first, in heart and soul, she would not at all, much less not suddenly and at once, have fallen off from it to the second; it was the fondness of custom, not the force of passion. Those women (we speak not of men,) who have known but one mode of life, like those who have seen but one man, cannot tun that one. Whether they will love the first, having tried the second, depends on character and temperament; but till they have seen more than one, they cannot love any. In the first scenes she loves Clifford just as she loved a country life, because she had seen no other, and she falls off from him as readily and as suddenly as she did from it. But observe the force and depth of her passion for him afterwards, when she had (unconsciously, perhaps, but not the less scrupulously,) compared him with others, weighed him in the infallible balance of a woman's judgment as to personal worth, and found all others wanting." These remarks are just, but they would not have been necessary had there not been a great defect in the dtctloptment of the points of character to which they refer. We see Julia, in the first act, devoted to a country life, and, without any the slightest preparation for, or expectation of it, we find her in the second still more devoted, not merely to a town life, but to all the most heartless features of it. Here is no "developement" at all, but a blank change: it is jumping to a conclusion which, however natural, is never arrived at after this fashion. This is the main fault in the detail of the drama. Another, and the only other that is of sufficient importance to claim separate notice, is the obscurity that hangs over the projects of Walter, in connection with the re-introduction of Clifford in the two last acts. We shall not, however, quarrel with an arrangement which gives us two among the most admirable scenes that the recent English drama can boast, and this no less in relation to the construction than the performance of them. The scene between Julia and Clifford, when the latter comes to her as the (supposed) secretary of the Earl of Rochdale, (now the accepted suitor of Julia,) and the subsequent scene between Master Walter and Julia, when she abjures the coming nuptials, and calls upon him to save her from the perdition that is linked with them, are admirably conceived, and nobly executed; and the interest excited by them, while it is as pure and legitimate as any connected with the drama, is as intense as if it were not legitimate; for we have no hesitation in admitting that at least as active a momentary dramatic interest may lie excited on the
stage, (and with a tithe of the talent,) by "foul" means as by fair,—the difference being that in the one case the result is unmixed mischief, in the other unmixed good,—that the one draught is a balm, the other a poison.
With respect to the other chief characters connected with the serious part of the play, that of Master Walter, though a sketch merely, is a powerful and a true one, and accordingly it commands a remarkable degree of attention and interest, considering its slight degree of developement; and that of Clifford, though still more slight, is perfectly consistent and coherent, and consequently produces an impression as lasting as it is distinct. We must not take leave of this drama without referring, with almost unmingled praise, to the under-plot, which interposes a lightness and variety between the graver parts. It is that of two cousins, man and maid, who, howbeit they love each other with all their hearts, (the phrase may pass, for, after all, the human heart is made of flesh;) but who would stand a poor chance of coming together if "the weaker vessel" were not, in this instance, also the stronger. The way in which the arch and lively Helen, finding that she is not likely to suffer love, contrives to make it, and with entire success too, is highly clever and amusing, and the more so that it touches on the very verge of conventional propriety, without for a moment passing it.
We have left ourselves but little space to speak of the admirable manner in which this play was acted in its three principal parts. Miss Kemble's Julia was a noble, and at the same time a most touching performance; noble in the sustained energy of its passion in some of the scenes, and touching in the pure depths of its pathos in others. Her exclamation (in the scene with Master Walter,) of "Do it!" with reference to the breaking off the hated match with the Earl, was the most remarkable instance of the first; and her cry—half fond, half froward and impatient—of "Clifford, is it you V was an exquisite example of the other.
But the great novelty of the night was the acting of Mr. Knowles himself, in the character of Master Walter; and we are most gratified in being able to agree with all the praise, and but little, if any, of the censure, which have been bestowed upon his performance. It was in many parts the most natural that we remember to have seen on the English stage: it was in some parts vigorous, and even dignified, and it was intellectual and original in all. We speak of the mellowed performance, not that of the first night, in which the actor commenced under an erroneous impression as to the effect and capability of his physical powers with reference to the locality on which they were to be employed.
Finally, Mr. Kemble's Clifford was a delightful specimen of graceful and gentlemanly propriety; and Miss Taylor's Helen, though greatly overdone, was full of sterling comic humour and vivacity.
The Easter piece at each house has been produced with entire success, and with a considerable share of desert in both instances. That of Covent Garden is de
cidedly the best; but both are well enough adapted to their temporary purpose of gratifying the eyesight of those who are either too young or too far off to be " capable " of exercising any other faculty on these holiday occasions. Some of the scenery of both is splendid, but we miss the master-hand of him who can alone make it more than splendid.
The Summer Fete, a Poem, with Songs. By Thomas Moore, Esq.
This last poetical production of Out great lyric poet is very aptly and happily inscribed to Mrs. Norton. When we call to mind how much both Music and Poetry are indebted to Thomas Moore, we hail with t'eelings of increased pleasure any new effort of his genius in the field where bis greatness originated. Had the author of the Irish Melodies and "Lalla Rookh" never wandered from the sweet paths of Poesy—never essayed to triumph in Prose—or record, what in many instances would have been better unrecorded—his fame would have stood upon a firmer basis. If ever there existed a poet who could "add perfume to the violet," and melody to the song of the nightingale, it is the author of " The Summer F£te;" and if his flowers are not as fragrant as in former years—if the warblings of his lute be less tender and eloquent than heretofore, it is because he has failed to cultivate the one and neglected the other. We would not have it so—we would see the poet as we do now, calling back the gay mod happy days of our youth by the magic of his music, so that, by the power of bis song, Time may be robbed of his dominion.
The musical compositions introduced are eleven in number, and sufficiently varied to suit Ibe grave and the gay. Our favourites are, first, "Array thee. Love I" music, as well as words, by Moore; and nothing can be more exquisite than his play tul, except it be his tender,ballads. " The Waltz Duet;"—" On one of those Sweet Nights ;*' and ■' Oh ! where art thou Dreaming?" "Who'll Buy?** is a clever song, hut it ought to be sung by a clever person, inasmuch as to be effective, it must be given with great expression. "Onr Home is on the Sea," is a feeble trio, Into which no three singers could infuse spirit. We are the more astonished at this tameness of music, when we read the animated poetry. What has Mr. Bishop been doing lately T
We do not mean to analyze the poem, but advise our readers to purchase it immediately; assuring them—onr fair friends especially—it will form an exquisite addition to their bookcase or music-stand.
Songs of Captivity. Written by Mrs. Ik-mans, and composed by her Sister.
What an exquisite nnion 1—Mrs. Hemans and her Sister! It perfectly disarms criticism; but it gives us honest pleasure to say that there is no necessity for courtesy, for both poetry and music
are beautiful. We have never met with occasional sharps and flats so judiciously, so effectively introduced, as in the pathetic passages of "The Alpine Horn:" the word "mournfully'* cornea like a wail—
"A wild, shrill, wailing lone,"
upon the ear. And again, in "The Brothers' Dirge," how touching the little appasionato movement—
"But thoa—but thou, my brother!
This it rendered still more effective by the spirited manner in which the song commences. We like it, however, better transposed into three flats, than when played fn its original key, four sharps, which', nnless accompanied by a rich, mellow voice, is very sharp indeed.
"O, ye Voices!" puts us somewhat in mind »i "O, ye Dead I" though it is by no means an imitation. The collection concludes must appropriately with "The Song of Hope," itself concluded by a spirit-stirring chorus. Indeed we have never met with six more delightful songs than those produced by these delightful sisters. It is pteasant to know that two such women are so employed— they Bet a fine example of harmony in every sense of the word ; and every body loving mnaic ought to purchase the " Songs of Captivity" forthwith.
Select Airs from "Preciosa:" arranged for the Piano-forte, by Ferdinand C. Panormo.
We are glad to have an opportunity of speaking of Pauormo, not only with reference to the Preciosa airs, which are arranged with his usual skill and talent, but because it brings to our remembrance so much of what is good and excellent in composition. He has the happy art of adapting his style to the melodies he harmonizes, be they of Italy, of Germany, of Scotland, or of Ireland; and of producing an effect that few arrangers have ever aimed at. much less succeeded in.
The airs now under our consideration are sufficiently simple for the generality of drawing-room, and even juvenile players, and are quite free from that straining and painful execution by which his early compositions arc generally characterised ;— himself a most powerful and extraordinary performer, he had little mercy for (he fingers of other?; but that very defect, if detect it can be called, rendered his music more valuable to tho*e who desire to be something better than players of waltzes and quadrilles.
Songs of the Seasons. The Music by the Author of "The Musical Illustrations of Ibe Waverley Novels."
Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, are characterized in this graceful collection by pleasing and appropriate airs. The sudden change from one flat Id the key of D major in "Aalumn," is, to our taste, abrupt—bat it was evidently done to give due effect to the poetry. "True Hearts I the time is cheery" pleases us the best of any— there is a joyous spirit in it truly inspiring.
Barcarola, a due Voci Musica del Signor Mo Vaccaj.
A great many persons, possessing a moderate knowledge of music, are deterred from attempting Italian compositions by their extreme difficulty
—it has been our privilege to hear many of Signor Mo Vaccaj *s Duos and Coros, and we have been much pleased by their melody and arrangement.
Parochial Psalmody—Sacred MelodiesArranged by John Doss, Organist of Saint Luke's, Chelsea.
Two small pocket-volumes, well worthy the possession of all who cultivate sweet and holy psalmody ; the first contains ISA psalm tunes, besides hymns, responses, and chants; the second, some of the best music of Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, and other eminent com posers—in fact, sixty-seven beautiful melodies—and each of these miniature music-books to be had for the small sum of six shillings!—it is quite wonderful. The little volumes are tastefully got up, and the print is exceediugty distinct and clear.
SEW SOCIETY OF PAINTERS IN WATER
There is ample room for this society, and we trust it will prosper. In no class of art hare British artists made so much progress during the last twelve or fifteen years. It is not therefore either just or expedient that the Society in Pall Mall East, consisting of some twenty exhibitors, should have the harvest all to themselves. The New Society have commenced well—under the highest patronage in the kingdom; let them be active and industrious, and they will soon acquire as beneficial a reputation as that enjoyed by their successful predecessors. They state in their address that "the formation of this Institution has arisen out of the natural progress of Society towards a higher degree of refinement, and also out of the great necessity that was found to exist for extending the means by which men of talent may have a fair opportunity of exhibiting their Works to advantage, and thus be enabled to share in that patronage so liberally bestowed on this branch of the Fine Arts. » • • • *
"It is, therefore, solely by the talents displayed in his Works, that the Artist can claim any preference—and that the unfriended man of merit, who is unknown to the Public, will receive equal attention, and will have a fair opportunity of publicly displaying his Works without any restraint, except such as reason, good feeling, and impartial justice require."
The first Exhibition has been opened at No. 16, Old Bond Street, and consists of 330 drawings—we did not expect that all would be of high excellence, and consequently were not disappointed. The collection was, however, better than we had anticipated, and does great credit to the
May.—Vol. xxxvi. No. Cxxxvii.
members by whom it has been formed. If they improve as they ought, we shall within a very few years find it scarcely second to any exhibition in the metropolis. As it is, it will succeed in attracting all who can appreciate so interesting a branch of art, and we venture to assert that few will be dissatisfied.
The more successful of the exhibitors are Mr. Powell, Mr. G. S. Shepherd, Mr. Stanley. Mr. Fuge, Mr. Bentley, Mr. T. Boys, Mr. Derby, Mr. Parris, Mr. Knight, Mr. Patten, Miss Corbaux, Mr. Rochard, Mr. Stark, Mr. Uwins, Mr. Wageman, Mrs. Withers, &c.—many of these names are but partially known to us. We have met them elsewhere, but under circumstances by no means favourable to their talents. Here they have the advantage of room and light —matters to which they have been altogether unaccustomed.
Our space will not permit us to enter into a detailed criticism. We must content ourselves with recommending the society to the patronage of the public, which they well deserve and will amply repay.
EGYPTIAN HALL. Haydon's Painting Of Xenophon.
Mr. Haydon has produced a fine work' It sustains his reputation, and that is much. It is, however, but an episode in the story of the retreat of the ten thousand, but as far as he has desired to tell it, he has told it well. It is in the background of the picture that the wearied warriors behold " the sea—the sea." In the foreground we have the aged men and the tender women who hear the sound that gives them freedom. The group is happily conceived, and executed with that matured skill and accurate