페이지 이미지
PDF

We mart object, however, to the development the plot taking place at the commencement of the second volume. The interest Is always over when the frame-work is discovered; and Captain Marryatt could easily have avoided the early denouemmt of a story which otherwise might have Increased in interest to the end. With the ex* ception of Cooper, there is no novelist so "at home" upon the waters as the Author of " The King's Own" and " Newton Forester;" and he has also the happy knack of making his readers at home there, as well as himself. Pleasing and entertaining as these works are, we look upon them only in the light of promissory notes, and believe that, if it so please him to take a little more pains, Captain Marryatt would rank second to no one in his tales of the sea. Naatical novelists deserve well of their country. Those who love the wooden walls of Old England must, in proportion, love those who chronicle their fame. Cordially recommending ** Newton Forester" to all good patriots, we bid the Captain go on and prosper, which, we repeat, he can do, if he will.

Cavendish, or the Patriciau at Sea. 3 vols.

We should find it difficult to be very angry with the Patrician, even if he had fifty times his real number of faults, on account of the jovial, easy, reckless, off-hand style of character that seems to belong to him. Our sea portraits multiply so fast, and advance so rapidly in excellence, that we become fastidious, and insist upon a likeness where formerly wc were contented with a caricature. "Cavendish" partakes of both—the caricature preponderating. There is some naval nature, and a good deal of naval nonsense in it; but if the crew are not always comical, and the look-out not always alluring, the vessel is seldom becalmed; it flies on before the wind with all sails set, and the passenger (that is, the reader) has no time to detect any want of symmetry in the bull, or exactness In the rigging. But we detest metaphors on such matters, and nautical ones more than any. All we meant to say was, thit the author is careless as to the means by which his effects are to be produced, and thinks that while the action of his story is not permitted to stand still, It mnst of necessity be going on to some purpose. To move, with him, is to advance. His plan, if it can be called one, has this advantage, that it never permits us to sleep; and la the course of a volume or so, we become as inrlifferent as himself upon the minor points of order and method, and take our amoscment very content, edly as we find it. The " Patrician" is a youth who, at fifteen, bis age being the only " tender" thing about him, is ripe for every possible species of mischief; and though only the son of a peer, is quite self-willed and wicked enough for a prince. The good Marquis his father, (by no means a complimentary delineation of Tory dignity,) is lost in admiration and awe of his son's prodigious qualifications for the peerage, and in return for some insult, sends him a bank-note, and an assurance that it is the last be will ever receive from his affectionate father, &c. The sea Is of course the only, or at least the most natural resource of such a genius as that of Cavendish; and here a field opens, wide enough for his dis

position for devilries to revel in, without more restraint than is sufficient to keep it in unceasing excitement. Into these thousand, or rather ten thousand and one scrapes, we cannot follow him, but the reader may, much to bis advantage. If be finds our author's sea-sketches not always masterly, be will be sure to find them generally amusing; he will forgive the coarseness on account of the comicality; and the flippancy and frivolity for the sake of the humour and animal spirits out of which they spring. The Navartuo narrative, in particular, will be read with an interest proportioned to the troth and spirit with which it is told.

Fisher's Drawing-room Scrap-book, with Poetical Illustrations. By L. £. 1,.

A volume containing thirty-six poems from the pen of Miss Landon, upon subjects as varied as subjects can be, is indeed a valuable addition to the literary banquet of the season. It la to as doubly welcome, because we have been apprehensive that she had deserted the muse, and was content to array her vigorous judgment and rich fancy in the more bumble garb of prose. Her heart and soul still are with the Nine. Let her be ever so successfol—and that she will be sue* cessfnl Is certain—as a novelist, she will not be removed from her station as a poet. Her hold over the feelings and affections will endure as long as language is capable of exciting either. In the work before us there is ample proof that rime and experience have produced their natural effects; if we miss something of the free, and joyous, and careless revellings in verse, that characterized her earlier productions, we have here the more matured thoughts and reflections of a, riper age. Many drops from the rock of reason have mingled with the fountain of imagination, and it has sent forth a purer and more refreshing stream to gladden and exhilarate the lovers of true poetry. We hope that the Christmas of every future year will enable ns to lay such another " Scrap-book" upon our " drawing-room" table, and congratulate the publishers upon having obtained the assistance of one so capable of effectually rendering it.

We cannot so highly praise the pictorial portions of the volume. The prints arc, we believe, all republications of plates that have appeared elsewhere; and are chiefly selected from the Indian views of Captain Elliott and the National Portrait Gallery. Now, although the works from which they are taken are, according to the Preface, "fountains sealed" to the many, the plan looks too much like " book-making" to meet with the cordial approbation of the critic. If, however, the prints as well as the poems had been all original, we could not have expected thirty-six plates for a guinea, and the purchaser may easily reconcile himself to the waut of novelty by the knowledge that be has at least "plenty for his money." The publication Is •* got up" with considerable taste; It is altogether one of great elegance and value, and will prove a most delightful gift from the old to the young— or, indeed, from the young to the old. It is dedicated by" special permission'' to the Duchess of Kent.

THE DRAMA,

Mrs. Gore's New Comedy.—A comedy, entitled " Lords and Commons," from the prolific pen of Mrs. Charles Gore, is the last and most noticeable novelty of the Drama since oar last report. Mrs. Gore is the only female writer of the day who has indicated the capacity to produce a sterling comedy, representing the actual manners of the day, and the state of society out of which those manners spring. But Mrs. Gore has "indicated" that capacity merely, not evinced it; and she has done this in her novels only, not in the two comedies which she has produced. The reason of this (and it is well worth inquiring inlo, in a case like the present) is twofold: first, and chiefly, Mrs. Gore lias been so accustomed to write currente calamo, and to be uniformly successful notwithstanding, or it may be in consequence of employing this method, that she sees no reason why the plan should fail in respect of a comedy any more than of a fashionable novel, or an article for an Annual. Why should it 1 she may perhaps ask herself. The answer is simple and decisive: a comedy, fitly so called, is essentially different from each and all of the kinds of writing that Mrs. Gore has hitherto practiced with success—<o different, that an essentially different mode and tone of composition, and an equally different condition of sentiment and of mind, is necessary to the production of it. There is nothing like car

2ring an erroneous theory to an extreme— le reductio ad absurdum is decisive in these cases. Let Mrs. Gore try to write a tragedy as fast as she can lay pen to paper, and see how that succeeds. No; she has too much taste and judgment. Her failure in producing a sterling comedy, then, results from the error under which she labours as to the specific nature of that production, which is tie second reason to which we have alluded. A sparkling scene in a novel may—we might almost say it should—be a transcript of an actual scene of the life which it professes to depict—an actual portion of actual society —a real reflection of real manners, and characters, and humours, and sentiments, dressed in the very "compliment extern" which they wear in the actual life of the day to which they may refer, and which should always be the present day. But a comedy, a sterling and durable comedy, should be, not a portion of real life—an emanation from it—but an extract from it, a quintessential spirit of it; and this, not in dialogue, or in character, or in action, merely and severally, but in each and all of these particulars. Mrs.Gore maybe assured, thmt to write a good comedy is no slight task. It is not one among those classes of "easy writing" which persons may prac

tise with equal amusement to themselves and others. It is a labour—one of those which, doubtless, "physics pain" by the "delight" which it engenders, no less in its practice than in the contemplation of its results, but still a labour. If, therefore, the accomplished writer of "Pin-money," "Mothers and Daughters," &c. writes for amusement merely, let her abstain from attempting to educe it (for herself we mean) from the regular Drama, but keep to novels, "fashionable" ones, if she must, or philosophical ones, as she may, or (best of all) those pretty-fancy and fanciful tales with which she used to favour us—(a "fairy-tale without a fairy," for instance—the prettiest of prose prettinesses). On the other hand, if she really desires to establish a reputation at once brilliant and solid.—not to mention profit to herself and benefit to the literature of her country—let her (having first satisfied herself as to the true nature of the task) turn her whole attention to the production of a sterling and original comedy; and if she do not succeed to admiration, let her say that we are no critics—a dictum which we can scarcely hope she will delay pronouncing till the period contemplated, seeing that we are compelled to pronounce her present attempt a comparative failure, a failure, however, solely with reference to what she might, and therefore ought to do; not as respects similar attempts at the hands of the other dramatists of the day, any one of whom would be sorely puzzled to produce so pleasant a sketch as " Lords and Commons," at so short a notice, and with such slight materials.

The plot of" Lords and Commons" is very simple, very much too simple; for there can be no "stage"-effect, any more than any other effect, without a cause. An "old Indian," one Sir Caleb Cabob—(we seem to remember the identical name and character running a brief career through two or three lively papers in the "Court Journal")—Sir Caleb Cabob returns from India laden with wealth, to find his favourite protege and adopted heir, Frank Melville (whom he had sent to England before him, to make his own fortune in a great commercial house in the City) the centre of a regular " system" of satellites, who shine upon only to lead him to his ruin, which the shrewd old gentleman permits them to do, and thus convinces his favourite of the folly of his ways. There are, of course, a couple of love-affairs: the " Lords" who figure in the title-page are of the mingled dandy and black-leg species. Who stand for a while in the way of the hero's " reform," and expose themselves on his supposed change of fortune: there is a dandy valet, who fancies himself (what, in fact, he is) a great deal more of a philosopher and a gentleman than his master; two pattern young ladies, a pretty lady's maid, a prosy merchant, and one Dennett—a machine as useful as its namesake, and (being performed by Harley) moving on an equal number of cross springs. Out of this plot and persons Mrs, Gore has elicited a very fair amount of amusement for the time being of its representation, but not a lasting comedy, that will raise or extend her well-deserved reputation.

"Lords and Commons " was admirably acted in some of its characters—particularly those of Sir Caleb, by Farren, and the dandy valet, Birmingham, by Brindall;—and a dandy lord, by a new actor named Jones (from Edinburgh) was more than well acted—it was well-dressed.

"The Bride Of Ludgate." Such is the title of another novelty which has been produced with unqualified success at the same house, and which has merits of a superior description to the common run of those pieces with which it seeks to compete. It is a little drama full to overflowing of bustle and incident, most of it well imagined (which is easy), and some of it not ill executed (which is difficult) ;—the whole growing out of the unregal propensity towards miscellaneous gallantry which is said to have characterized the "Merry Monarch," who equally escaped the saying of foolish things and the doing of wise ones. In one of his amorous adventures in the city, he encounters a certain Melissa, the beautiful ward of a rich old Usurer, whom she is (seemingly) about to wed, though she is in heart devoted to an outlawed rebel, who, not daring to woo her openly, is compelled to fall in with the blunder of her guardian and pass for the lover of her maid, —unknown, however, to the fair one herself, and therefore at the expense of certain doubts, fears, and jealousies, which end in the generosity of the King pardoning both the rival and the rebel, and making the marriage palatable to all parties. A great number of incidents arise collaterally out of these circumstances, the whole of which are brought out by a dialogue of unusual terseness, and put together with an excellent notion of stage-effect. There are also some touches of character here and there— and one complete and consistent sketch— which merit entire commendation. The part of Captain Mouth, though a sort of revival of the Parolles, &c. of the old drama, has some originality about it, and though extravagant, is infinitely more acceptable

than the mere milk-and-watery characters that usually fill up the interstices of a modern farce. The scene in which the Vintner relates, in the presence of the King (of which he, the Vintner, is not aWare) what the Captain is in the habit of saying of the said King —the Captain notdaring either to disclose the King's presence or escape from the exposure, —is extremely well written, and still better acted; and the effect is really like that of a scene in some of the old writers. Cooper played the Captain with a mixture of humour, spirit, and judgment, that we do not wish to see surpassed in extravaganzas of this kind—which, in the absence of any one of those qualities in the actor, liecome impertinencies. Wallack, too, was sufficiently gallant and kingly in Charles 11.—considering that the scene does not escape from the city. In fact, the piece was perfectly well acted throughout, and we are rather surprised to perceive that it is not played so often as we anticipated from its various deserts. It is the production of Mr. Jerrold, and gives promise of still better things hereafter.

"Country Quarters." This is another one-act trifle, which has been got up for the purpose of calling into use the abilities of Miss Poole,—a little personage whom, with all our liking for her frank looks and our admiration of her cleverness, we would fain see elsewhere than at a '* regular" theatre, unless she is to occupy the exact place there which her age, &c. would naturally point out. There are numerous characters which she would play infinitely better than they ever are played, and which, notwithstanding her engagement in the Company, are given' to others—while what she does play is admired only on the principle of the fly in the amber, and in spite of the incongruity which it throws into almost every piece in which she is introduced—at least at this theatre— for at the English Opera she was much more naturally employed.

"Country Quarters" is a light but not very lively affair, turning upon the intrigues of a gay cavalier who makes love to his own wife without knowing her. It has no merit but that of brevity.

The Pantomimes. Before our Journal appears the Pantomimes will have mingled their pleasing monstrosities with the imaginations of thousands of little boys and girls, who in virtue of the same will remain little boys and girls all their lives,—at least during the first week of these best of all " comic annuals."

FINE ARTS.

ROYAL ACADEMY.

At a general assembly of the academicians, held at Somerset House, the following distributions of premiums took place —To Mr. Daniel M'CHse, for the best Historical Painting, the gold medal and the "Discourses of the Presidents Reynolds and West," handsomely bound and inscribed.— To Mr. Sebastian Wyndham Arnald, for the best Group in Sculpture, the gold medal and the " Discourses of the Presidents Reynolds and West."—To Mr. Eden Upton Eddis, for the best Copy made in the Painting School, the silver medal and the " Lectures of the Professors Barry, Opie, and Fuseli.— To Mr. Robert Martin, for a Copy made in

tie Painting School, the silver medal To

Mr. William Edward Frost, for the best Drawing from the Life, the silver medal and the " Lectures of the Professors Barry, Opie, and Fuseli."—To Mr. Charles West Cope, for a Drawing from the Life, the silver medal. —To Mr. Edgar George Papworth, for the best Model from the Life, the silver medal. — To Mr. Henry Fenning, for the best Drawings of the London University, the silver medal and the " Lectures of the Professors Barry, Opie, and Fuseli."—To Mr. John Crake, for Drawings of the London University, the silver medal.—To Mr. Edw. Ridley, for the best Drawings from the Antique, the silver medal and the " Lectures of the Professors Opie and Fuseli."— To Mr. John Sluce, for a Drawing from the Antique, a silver medal.—To Mr. Frederick Orson Rossi, for the best Model from the Antique, the silver medal and the " Lectures of the Professors Opie and Fuseli."—To Mr. Henry James Hakewill, for a Model from the Antique, the silver medal.

After the distribution, the President addressed a discourse to the candidates and students; and the General Assembly appointed officers for the ensuing year, when Sir Martin Archer Shee was unanimously re-elected President.

The "Literary Gazette," in stating the distribution of these premiums, thus alludes to the gentleman to whom was awarded the gold medal for the best Historical Piloting: —

"It has been our fortune to know Mr. M'Clise from the commencement of his London career, and we were the first to be attracted by, and publicly to notice, the promise of his talent. Four years since, with doubt and diffidence, be presented to that Academy, from which he has now taken the higbt-st degree in the arts, a probationary drawing to enable him to become a student; and he has since annually carried away the first medals in his respective classes. Last year Mr. M'Clise obtained, at the same time, Jan.Vol. xxxvi. No. Cxxxiii.

the first medal in the painting school, and the first medal in the life—a circumstance, we believe, without p-rallel in the annals of the institution. He has now gathered the last laurel. The steadiness of this youth in the pursuit of his object, is a pledge against the otherwise startling rapidity with which he has attained eminence. We have, upon more than one occasion since our earliest mention of him, noticed with commendation some of the earjy works of Mr. M'Clise, and we trust that our anticipation of his ultimate success may be as brilliantly realized as he can himself desire."

Mr. Parris has been appointed Historical Painter to the Queen; her Majesty having previously purchased a work which he had just completed. We believe it will be universally acknowledged that a more judicious selection could not have been made from among the numerous professors of British art. Until lately, Mr. Parris was known only as the painter of one of the most astonishing productions of modern times—the Panorama of London at the Coloseum ;• but he has recently exhibited productions of a very different nature; the mind that could conceive and execute so vast and grand a work as that to which we have referred, was equally capable of delineating the more simple graces of nature, the beauty of form and countenance, and the attractive scenes and circumstances of every-day life. His picture of the " Bridesmaid" is doubtless well known to our readers. It is a pleasant task to record the appointment of such a man to a distinguished station in his profession; but while we congratulate Mr. Parris upon the honour obtained by industry and talent, it will not be considered disrespectful if we add, that the circumstance is also honourable to her Majesty. It is the proudest and the most enviable privilege of power and wealth that their possessor is enabled to display a right estimate of their value.

FINE ARTS PUBLICATIONS.

Brockedon's Route from London to Naples. Part II.—from Paris to Turin.

The high expectations excited by the first part of Mr. Brockedon's newwork, will be fully gratified by the excellence of the second number, which contains the r'jnte from Paris to Turin by Fontaineblcau, Montar^ia, Nevers, Nfoulins, Lyons, Clumberry, and the Mont Cenis. The letter-press, which is as admirably adapted to the pnrpoBe intended, as before avoiding the mi

* His Panorama of Madras, exhibited near the London University, although upon a much smaller scale, is perhaps of equal excellence.

merous Impertinences which Bo often render a road-book more like a ponderous statistical treatise, than an agreeable travelling companion, displays, in an entertaining manner, ail that can conduce to pleasure or instruction by the way; while of the engravings, as works of art, we cannot speak too favourably. They are five in number, and so equally executed, th it it would be a matter of tiiilir.uU> to select any one among them of greater or less merit than the rest. Lyons, from a drawing by C. Stanfield, is the first which occurs, a calm and peaceful landscape, treated with due justice by Mr. Finden. Chamberry from the road to Aix succeeds, a plate executed with the utmost degree of softness and elegance. We would particularly direct attention to the exquisite finish of the middle ground, and the gradual diminution of shade upon the mountains on the right, until they are almost blended with the tranquil heaven above them. Lanslebourg, from the ascent to the Mont Cenis, with the picturesque little town, reduced to a mere spot amidst the bold mountain scenery which surrounds it, is a noble prospect, and the figures introduced remarkably appropriate. The approach to Susa from the Italian side of the same ridge is equally entitled to commendation, and presents such a sky as the possessors of this elegant engraving ought to consider themselves privileged to look upon. Last appears Turin, stretched along the banks of the Po, with its regular and stately architecture, rendered yet more imposing by the magnificent chain of Alps which forms the back-ground of the picture. We have before bestowed our warmest praise upon Mr. Brockedou's efforts to retain the patronage he so deservedly enjoys. We have only room to repeat the commendation, and to congratulate all who have the advantage of procuring such a valuable director in their travels, or so favourable an opportunity of contemplating at home the finished efforts of an art, which renders the moat attractive or sublime scenery little less than present, with its full beauty and richest associations. We should not omit to mention, that the engravings are all by the band of the same skilful artist.

Scenery of the Rivers of Norfolk—the Yare, the Waveney, and the Bure, from Pictures painted by James Stark.

British artists are too fond of roaming abroad in search of the picturesque; we hope it is not because the public mind is indifferent to that which is easy of access; or rather that which is considered so, for the number of those who have seen and examined the beauties of their own land, is exceedingly limited. We venture to affirm that the Rhine, the Danube, and the Po, h*ve had more visitors from England than the Yare, the Waveney, and the Bure. Yet these rivers of Norfolk are rich in beauty, and possess attractions for the traveller, little short of those to behold which he is satisfied to journey a thousand miles. We have been comparing British scenery with that of France, in the works of Mr. Stark and Mr. Brockedon; and, taking for granted that they have both selected the most attractive subjects, the result of our comparison is by no means to the disadvantage of Old England. Mr.

Stark Is evidently a faithful and an agreeable copyist of nature; there is much grace and elegance in his pictures, blended with no trifling degree of power and effect. We are unacquainted with the works of his pencil, hut It is not often that the engraver improves upon the painter, and if our opinion may be formed from what Is before us, Mr. Stark may hold a high rank as a landscape painter—either in Norfolk or in London. The engravings are, moreover, of the very best class. Goodall, Millar, Cooke, C. Fox, W. R. Smith, Brandard, &c. have the chief merit that belongs to this department. The letter-press descriptions, although necessary limited, are written in a very pleasant style; and, altogether, the work is one of exceeding excellence—that may be safely recommended to all admirers of art and lovers of nature.

The Gallery of the Society of Painters in Water Colours. Part I.

No class of art has been cultivated with such eminent success in this country as that of pointing in water colours. The annual exhibition of its more distinguished professors, at their gnllery in Pall Mall, is one of the richest treats of a London season. It is, therefore, with extreme pleasure we welcome the first part of a work, intended to contain a selection of the choicest specimens that have, from time to time, delighted us afar off, but which are now to be within our reach at a verymoderate sacrifice. No. 1. contains a view of Venice, by Samuel Prout, engraved by E. Goodall ; the Gamekeeper, by W. Hunt, engraved by E. Smith; and Rembrandt in his study, by J. Stephanoff, engraved by C. Lewis. They are three admirable proofs of what the water-colour painters have done; and it is obvious that the publisher desires to render justice to their talents by placing tbem in the hands of the most skilful engravers. The print of Venice is worthy of Samuel Prout, an artist who, if less fanciful than some of his younger competitors, is for truth and delicate correctness still without a rival in his profession. We never behold the tracings of his pencil without enjoyment; and it seems as if he at once transported us to the scene he has described. His influence over our feelings and our judgment has never grown less, although dozens of accomplished draughtsmen have grown up around us since we first cultivated acquaintance with the powerful and delicious pencil of Samuel Prout.

Landscape Illustrations to the Waverley Novels. Part XX.

This beautiful work is n >w completed, and forms either an exquisite volume for the drawingroom, a fine set of prints for the portfolio, or a valuable series of accompaniments to the novels of Walter Scott They correspond in sixe with the new edition of his works, which can scarcely be considered perfect without them. They will add but little to the expense of a library, hut greatly indeed to the pleasure and information of the reader. As works of art we have so frequently praised them, as to render now unnecessary a more detailed notice of their merits. We shall, however, take an early opportunity of reviewing the printed work, explanatory of the subjects.

« 이전계속 »