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dwarf bearing the armour of a giant, or Atlas with the heavens on his shoulders ; and this feeble effort may be compared to that of a child playing with the limbs of a Colossus. In the present age, however, when the press groans with works tending rather to degrade than to exalt human nature, rendered doubly dangerous by the talent which forces them into notice, a writer may claim some indulgence from bis mere choice of a subject, calculated to raise every noble sentiment of our nature, and to induce the aspiring artist and the classic youth to visit those favoured shores, which art has enriched with her choicest treasures, and nature blessed with every charm.'
Without further preface or further comment, we shall lay before our readers some specimens of the skill with which the Poet has executed his task. They will shew that his talents want only the guidance of a maturer judgement and the genial sunshine of Fortune, to rescue him from obscurity. The following is part of the description of St. Peter's.
• The Nave appears. Bramante's matchless art
• With gradual step we mount the airy height,
Wild as the task to search the rolling main,
• The murmuring sounds that from the Corso rise,
Rend with delicious pains the classic breast.' pp. 73-77. Some of the most pleasing lines in the poem, are those which introduce the home-sick Traveller's apostrophe to the land of bis sires.
• Alas! from home, from friends and country torn,
In vain Italian skies serene expand
Lie pictur'd clear in Como's glassy breast.' pp. 102-104. In a note to this passage, intended to meet the objection, that the Author has said nearly as much about his own country as about the antiquities of Rome, he frankly confesses that, in
truth, with all due respect for the natural and artificial beauties to be met with on the Continent, one of the greatest ad
vantages an Englishman reaps from his tour, is a conviction of “the superiority of his own country.'
Art. VIII. Incidents of Childhood. 24mo. pp. 186. (frontispiece)
Price 2s.6d, half-bound. London. 1821. THE word. December staring us in the
face on the first page of our present Number, and startling us with the recollection that we are touching upon the close of another year, and another volume of our critical labours, has summoned up a host of slumbering recollections, among which have naturally turned up the incidents of childhood. Methinks the venerable snowcrowned form of Christmas rises before us, with his good natured old countenance and holiday smile, at which the heart of
schoolboy tears with joy. the toymen and the pastry-cooks are already busily preparing for their harvest; and Mr. Joha Harris, successor to the illustrious Newberry, and his estimable Quaker rivals in Gracechurch street, have, we doubt, not, in readiness a delightful variety of green-backed and scarlet-backed tomes, and neat yellow-covered picture books, (for alas ! the days of gilt covers are gone bys) for good boys and good girls of all tastes and ages. Nor let it be imagined, because we have seldom noticed publications of this bumble yet teritorious description, that we are insensible of either the attractionis or the importance of juvenite literature. We confess that our apparent ingratitude to the anthors of several excellent little storybooks, which have from time to time been transmitted to us, and which we have not found leisure to review, may have seemed to justify such an imputation. It has not been without compunctious feelings, that we have now and then looked towards the neglected shelf where lie Harry's Holiday, and Aunt Mary's 'Tales, and the amusing Works of Arabella Argus, and some other neat little
volumes of which certain little critical friends of ours, Reviewers'in embryo, have reported favourably. But what is to be done? Unless, like good Mrs. Trimmer, whose very name bespoke her peculiar qualifications for the task, we devote a portion of our monthly Number expressly to the review of children's books and school books, or commence a new series of the ". Guardian of “Education," it is clearly impossible to obviate the charge either of partiality or of total neglect. Besides which, we shrewdly-suspect that Mr. Harris's or Mr. Holdsworth's young customers would be very apt, without waiting for our critical sentence, to choose, after all, for themselves. We cannot be angry with thém: they will know better by and by.
To'shrew our good will, however, to the rising race, as well as by way of general apology for former omissions, we have made choice of these admirable little stories as the subject of an article for our present Number. In making our selection, we have been partly influenced by finding tlie sentiments of the Author on the style proper to Children's Story books somewhat in unison with our own, and we are glad of the opportunity afforded us of making a few general remarks on the subject:
* Fictitious narratives,' says the Preface to this volume, designed for the perusal of children, should (in the opinion of the Writer) be familiar in their subjects as well as in their style, and slight in their construction. They should hardly aim to excite more than a very transient or superficial emotion. If they are highly wrought, or la. Poured with dramatic interest, they will rarely be read without injury by children whoše imaginations are lively, or whose feelings are strong. In other cases, they will be harmless only in proportion as they are useless.
• It is desirable that children should be tempted to seek a portion but never a large portion—of their amusement in books, as well as in active sports. That this species of amusement should be harmless, is, perhaps, its best praise. While it avoids the hazard which must al. ways attend any fictitious excitement of the imagination or the stronger feelings, it may safely aim to illustrate the minor vittues, to exhibit the less important faults to which children are liable, or to give a playful exercise to the understanding.
In what way religious principles may be advantageously presented to the minds of children through the medium of fiction, is a question upon which the Writer has no wish to give an opinion : he has only to say, that he has not deemed himself qualified for the task.'
It will be immediately perceived that our Author is decidedly opposed to the bot-bed system of modern education,
the forcing of the mind by stimulants applied either to the faculty of attention or to the feelings. It has generally been considered as a most important reformation in the annals of the Nursery, which bas exploded the apocryphal narratives of Mother Bunch, the tales of giants and giant-killers, love-lorn damsels and princely lovers, ögres and white cats. Nor can it be concealed that the morality of some of those tales is very bad, whatever may be their professed moral. But the poison is so completely sheathed in the delicious nonsense, that we question whether, at the very early age at wbich alone such narratives are capable of amusing, there was much danger of their corrupting or polțuting the fancy: And then, they were avowedly works of mere entertainment, and were dismissed with the doll and the wooden horse, as soon as the mind bad outgrown them. The moral and instructive tales by which they have been succeeded, make higher pretensions, and ·bave in them a greater efficiency for good or evil. A child listened to the story of Cinderella or Ricket with the Tuft, with broad-eyed wonder, as to poetry. He is summoned to hear or read the more rational story as a moral lesson ; and it then be comes for the first time a question, whether stories are the best mode of conveying such lessons, and whether, if story-books, are thus elevated into tools and vehicles of grave instruction, they are not the more likely to usurp too large a space in the library, and at once to produce a distaste for the less pleasing task, and to supplant the more harmless toy.
We do not quite understand our Author's paradox, that, in certain cases, such books' will be harmless only in proportion • as they are useless; but we agree with him, that mischief is done by stimulating the love of reading in children, by interesting their feelings or working on their imagination, A child's amusements cannot be too simple. His every sensation is pleasurable; his own voice is music to bim ; tbe simplest incident is then fraught with all the interest of romance; and every inanimate object that surrounds him, is readily invested with