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into the human heart could never have written " In Memoriam.' We find in that poem many passages where evanescent or rudimentary feelings are represented with a matchless subtlety of apprehension and expression. As we read it, we learn to know ourselves; we recognize states of mind that have belonged to our own past experience, but were so obscure, shadowy, undeveloped that we were never properly conscious of their existence.
There is a place, doubtless, for negative critici-m. It is proper to point out the deficiencies even of the greatest minds. But it is more gracious, more instructive, more useful, to criticise them from the positive side, to acknowledge and appreciate what is valuable in their works. What have they given to the world? What elements of truth and beauty, what sources of enjoyment or incitement, have they added to the common stock? Let the critic look at Tennyson in this way, duly considering the variety of his works both in substance and in form, considering their finish of workmanship, their perfection of rhythm, their condensed fullness of meaning, their moral elevation and purity; and, if he thinks as we do, he will conclude that, with the exception of Shakespeare, no English poet has been on the whole more richly endowed, or has left a more precious legacy to after times. Many, we know, will regard this as a most exaggerated estimate. We cannot here debate the point, even if any debate could be expected to give a result which all would accept. We will content ourselves with giving one more extract, taken from "The Passing of Arthur;" and if any one, having read it attentively, thinks that any but a great poet could have written it, we shall be willing to differ from him in opinion.
"Then rose the king and moved his host by night,
Nor ever yet had Arthur fought a fight
The Earthly Paradise—Part III.*—Here is Mr. Morris's second volume, with only half the number of stories that the first contained. He promises another to complete the full set of two for each month in the year. What a marvel of productive power he is! Can any other poet be named who would undertake such a task and perform it so successfully? The very promise to versify these ancieut tales, and to supply a fixed number of them without losing his hold on the interest of his readers, has some hardihood in it. Would Scott have ventured to predict the number of the Waverley novels, or Tennyson that of the Idylls of the King? Not less to be admired than this confidence is the success which justifies it. Readers of poetry know what the first volume was, and we can safely assure them that they need not fear disappointment in going on to the second. The skill in selection, the variety of treatment, the simple, steady progress of narrative, the delicate, sympathetic reproduction of ancient stories, the purity and power of feeling— all are here as they were there. But in this second instalment the proportion of classic to Norse stories is changed. Only 88 pages out of 382, if we may be pardoned for having counted, are given to the Greek myths, and they seem to us less valuable than the others. Yet the first one of all, the Death of Paris, we could not spare, and the third one, the story of Rhodope, unclassical as it is in its tone, carries the reader on with singular fascination and will linger long in his memory. If any one will look at the original story in a few lines of Strabo copied by /Elian, he will see on how slight a hint Mr. Morris has built up this striking poem. It suggests the story of Cinderella by the main feature of its plot,
• The Earthly Paradhe. A Poem. By William Morbis, author of "The Life and Death of Jason." Part III. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1870.
yet how unlike is the strange character it develops. A woman of perfect beauty in a lowly home.living her daily life in a cold, mechanical way, inspiring love in many hearts yet returning it not at all except in scant measure to her old father, a puzzle to others and to herself, and all because she has a mysterious consciousness that she is destined for a higher life—is it not a strange conception? It seems almost an allegory of the conflict between love and ambition. To us the most perfect work of art in all the book is the description of the killing of Paris in the first two pages. The picture of the Greek and Trojan armies, tired of the war and only keeping it alive by skirmishing, the gloomy discouragement of the Greeks, the awkward coming out of Philoktetes, the aimlessness of his shooting, the contrast between him and the dainty warrior whom he slays in the very feathers of their arrows, the weather itself in sympathy with the deed,—such things make the narrative wonderfully vivid and impressive. It strikes us as Homeric; there can be no higher praise.
When we turn to the Norse stories in this volume, we find ourselves in a very different world. The first and second have the same character that marked most of those in the first volume. A sort of magic rules in them, quite different from the supernatural action of the gods in Greek myths. In both appears the dream of a union of man with beings of another race, that wide-spread idea which shows the power of our desire to penetrate the mystery of the invisible world about us. In both too we find in different forms the deep feeling of unsatisfied longing which breathes in all modern literature. In each a man is f,ut on probation, to show whether he can deny himself present gratification; he fails, and loses all his happiness. He fails because he has not
"The calm, wine heart that knoweth how to rest,
And what is the "land east of the sun?" Is it not the land to which at first John was taken by his love? Is it not the unattainable land of our dreams, the "Earthly Paradise" itself? The last story in the book is the one which will probably most interest the majority of Mr. Morris's readers, because it is the most real and human. It is a story of Iceland life at the time of the introduction there of Christianity. There is no magic in it. It is a plain story of human love and hate, with the wildness of the race and the time, but with the nobility and tenderness of the men and women of the North in it too. It reminds one, in spite of the many points of difference, of the story of King Arthur and Guinevere. Both spring from the same general stock; both show nearly the same ideals of human character. Both are healthier reading than the morbid fantastic novels of our day.
Who will tell us whence Mr. Morris draws his Norse stories? No oneofhis reviewers condescends to so much pedantry, so far as -we have seen. Yet we confess we should be very glad to be told. Are they all to be found in the '" folk-lore" of northern Europe, or are they the rich outgrowth of his own Norse-born imagination? The power of invention shown in the prologue to the whole poem, proves him not incapable of producing them, yet we would rather believe that the germs of them all lie somewhere in the mass of stories with which the world delighted and instructed itself in the days of its ignorance. Who will answer our questions?
He who seeks charming stories, told in varied rhythm, for a leisure hour, can find thera nowhere better than here. Here is the sensual love of the old world without impurity, the domestic love of the Germanic race without sentimentality; here are mysteries of fate and energies of human will; here are friendship, valor, truth, in all their might; and falsehood, self-seeking, and meanness, in their short-lived power; here is the tangled web of human life as men of all ages have looked upon and wondered at it.
Leigh Hunt's "day By The Fire, Etc."* proves the words of Charles Lamb concerning him, to be literally true, that he was "matchless as a fire-side companion." The present volume contains almost the last gleanings from various periodicals, as " The Reflector," "The Examiner," "TheIndicator," "The London Journal," "The Monthly Chronicle," and "The New Monthly Magazine," and "were written at widely different periods of the author's life —in his early manhood, middle life, and old age." Their topics are as various as the subjects of a midsummer night's dream, and bizarre, grotesque, and amusing, and they are as disconnected with one another. But they are all treated with a similar delicacy of handling—with a touch as light as that of a fairy's pencil, and the odor that is is emitted from one and all is as sweet and as evanescent as that which is breathed in a summer's evening. The mingled humor and wit—the subtle satire and kindliness, are as interesting as the graver sentiment of love and duty which underlies many of the seemingly half profane and broadly spoken essays. Leigh Hunt is not to be judged or condemned for an occasional sneer at what he should have more carefully considered and would in that way have better understood. He was remarkable for his purity and elevation, considering the sad set of authors and critics of the Byron school with whom he was so intimately associated. The occasional slips which he makes bear no comparison with that which is good and charitable and soothing—and on the human side, and in the sphere of the minor moralities, is truly Christian.
* A Day Bt Tuk Fire; and other papers, hitherto uncollected, by Lkigh Hunt' Boston: Roberts & Brothers.
Goethe's "Hermann And Dorothea."*—Miss Frothingham's translation of the favorite Idyll "Hermann and Dorothea" comes to us in beautiful form, which it well deserves for its skillful execution. To write English hexameters is not an easy task. We are by no means certain that it is any the easier because the original German is in the same measure. So far as we have compared the translation with the original, we find it not only faithful, but very dexterously composed, and the English is certainly as smooth and well chosen as could be conceived possible. Such a work is a positive addition to our literature, as it will give pleasure and tears to many readers, young and old. The simplicity, truthfulness, the wisdom and tenderness, of the poem will win many hearts.
Auerbacu's WoRKS.f—Leypoldt & Holt seem to be the legitimate and authorized American publishers of the tales of the celebrated Auerbach, which are now well known to multitudes of readers in our country. The Villa on the Rhine is a novel of great power in its description of scenery and its portraitures of character. We must confess, while we own its power and recog
* Goethe's Hermann and Dorothea. Translated by Ellen Frothtnghax. With Illustrations. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1870.
f The Villa on the Shine. By Bkrthold Aukrbacd. Author's edition witn a portrait of the Author, and a Biographical Sketch. By Bayard Tatlor Two Volumes. New York: Leypoldt <fc Holt. 1869.
J Black Forest Village Stories. By Berthold Auerbach. Translated by Charles Goepp. Author's edition. Illustrated with facsimiles of the original German Woodcuts. New York: Leypoldt A Holt. 1869.