페이지 이미지

nize the genius of the writer, that we think it strained and sensational. It must seem much more so we believe to ordinary readers, were it not for its comprehensive and consistent philosophy. This philosophy is manifest upon every page, and made the controlling motive of almost every incident. The dialogues abound in the emphatic utterance and the elaborate defense of this subtle and yet passionately held doctrine, which evidently controls the faith and the devotion of its very able author. The leading characters whom Auerbach reverences in his heart of hearts, are Spinoza, Goethe, Franklin, and Theodore Parker. The American incidents, and character, and dénoument, give abundant occasion for reference to the last two. The philosophical and poetical life of this deep thinking and strong feeling writer is nourished by the former two.

The doctrine and tendency of the book is summed up briefly in a passage from his favorite hero: “Over against monarchy, aristocracy, monotheism, stand the republic, democracy, pantheism. They are merely three different names for three phases of the same principle." Upon the possible evil that may come of the influence of tales like this, we have no occasion to comment, for comment is unnecessary.

“ The Black Forest Village Stories” are simple, homely, full of pathos and affection. And yet fair and charming as are these tales, there now and then emerges the tokens of the same defective, and worse than defective, practical philosophy, which is so obtrusive in “The Villa on the Rhine.”


New EDITION OF THE ÆNEID.* — This volume contains only the first six books of the Æneid. The general plan of the work is worthy of being well carried out. It includes a brief account of the life and writings of Virgil; a map of the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, from the Tigris on the east to Numidia on the west; the text; a Metrical Index; from fifty to sixty pages of explanatory notes, and a full Latin-English Lexicon. So far it

* The Æneid of Publius Virgilius Varo, elucidated by English notes, critical, historical and mythological, with a metrical Index and Map; and illustrated by antique statues, gems, coins, and medals. To which is added a copious dictionary, giving the meaning of all the words with critical exactness. By Nathan Co. VINGTON BROOKS LL.D., President of the Baltimore Female College. First edition. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen, & Haffelfinger. 1869.

does not differ materially from other editions of Virgil. But there are two other features of the work which give it a marked character, and which are adapted to add greatly to its value. The first is a copious addition of references in the margin of the text to similar or illustrative phrases in other parts of Virgil and in Homer, Horace, Juvenal, Lucretius, Livy, Cæsar, and twenty other authors in various languages, ancient and modern. The other and most striking peculiarity of the book is its illumination with more than two hundred and fifty engravings, drawn from the treasuries of classical archæology. Most of these engravings are of a size which permits them to appear, as they do, among the marginal references by the side of the text. Others are larger and freer compositions, representing mythological or historical scenes, or groups of Roman celebrities.

It is by no means a new thing to make use of the remains of ancient art to illustrate classical authors, but we do not remember to have seen any other work of the kind in which such engravings were by any means so numerous. We anticipate, however, a constantly increasing use of the engraver's art, as a help in conveying classical knowledge. Quite probably the Latin lexicons of the next generation will be “illustrated with 3,000 engravings," after the manner of Webster.

But it is easy to do more barm than good by attempts of this kind. What is wanted is not a good picture-book, but knowledge, and help in acquiring knowledge. This may be either the knowledge of what the men of classical times believed to be true, or the knowledge of what was true. They believed in their mythology and embodied it in their works of art; and it is worth while for us to know the length and breadth of this belief and all their forms of mythological representation. But mythological characters should be distinguished from historical characters, except where early history runs back into myths; and even then we should take care not to confound a daring fancy with well established fact. Ancient art gives us, for instance, beyond a doubt, tolerably correct likenesses of the Cæsars. Their statues and busts, and bas reliefs on coins and elsewhere, are so numerous and well preserved, that an American interested in antiquities in Rome becomes more familiar with their features in a few weeks than he has ever been with the faces of our successive presidents. Now these likenesses, copied with some good degree of correctness, may well be introduced into such a book as the manual before us, where, however, they are valuable only as they are correctly given. But what does the learner gain, on the other hand, from the group of portraits on the 173d page, where the engraver seems to have expended his choicest skill in setting before us the seven kings of Rome? Even the existence of these kings is denied, and there is probably no man in the world bold enough to claim that any likeness of any one of them is to be found anywhere. It may be said, to be sure, that they are represented in the works of ancient art. So also ancient art has preserved to us, in one of its finest works, the wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus. But who would think of copying out of that celebrated bronze group at the Roman capital this wolf, as a likeness of the particular beast which nurtured young Rome? or of presenting the face of either of those bronze babies as a correct representation of the infant Romulus or Remus, although the Romans may have called them by those names for centuries ? On the other hand, it would be quite a proper thing to give a picture of the whole of this ancient work of art on some page of an edition of Virgil, because it embodies one of the early historical myths which the Romans used to repeat.

The confusion which we criticise as marring the most attractive feature of this school book, and which runs in a measure through the volume, appears further from the fact that the same persons are differently represented in different parts of the book, and without explanation. This would be quite legitimate in the case of divinities, who appear in varying characters. But compare the Julius Cæsar on page 26 with the same on page 171, or on page 174. Or compare the Augustus on page page 171 with the same on page 238; or the Numa on page 172 with the same personage as he appears, back to back, with Romulus in that unique group of kings on page 173.

We must add a word on the engravings themselves. The best of these are such as are done in outline, or with the fewest lines. But of those which are most elaborated, many have caught a look so modern, as they have passed under the engraver's hand, that we cannot give them the names to which they are assigned without a lively sense of the ludicrous. Think of such an Ajax as figures on the 18th page! or such a god of the fierce winds as Æolus is represented to be on page 19! or impute majesty, even under the waters, to such a Neptune as holds the trident on page 22, or

to such a feeble figure as represents the maxima Juno on page 105!

But our readers must not suppose that all such richness of illustration is wasted. The coins, although they are left without much explanation, are adapted to stimulate inquiry, and familiarize the learner with some of the material of a very interesting science, and he will also find instruction in the representations of the implements of war and of religion, and of the emblems which distinguish the various divinities. We only wish that the editor had rejected all that seems to have been introduced merely to multiply ornament and had used instead more of the really instructive material which classical archæology so abundantly furnishes. Such illustrations, presented in an unambitious style, would have added much to the real value, and no less to the attractiveness of the volume.

We had it in mind to notice some other points which have attracted our attention, but will only add that the book is beautifully printed on tinted paper, and is withal of very attractive appearance.

Ralph Waldo EMERSON'S “SOCIETY AND SOLITUDE” ETC., needs no word of ours to extol its many excellencies or to bespeak a welcome from our readers. The other topics, besides that which is the title of this volume of Essays, are Civilization, Art, Eloquence, Domestic Life, Farming, Works and Days, Books, Clubs, Courage, Success, and Old Age. Some, if not all of these Essays, have been already published. They all have a familiar look and sound, perhaps because of a mannerism which Mr. Emerson, with all his resources of illustration, and with all his freshness of genius, cannot avoid. This mannerism sometimes becomes monotonous, perhaps from the very tension which it indi. cates in the writer and requires in the reader. For Mr. Emerson, with all his apparent directness and simplicity, is anything rather than a natural thinker and writer. His thoughts seem to fall from his mind like easy and almost unconscious utterances, whereas they are in fact jerked out with an ill-concealed violence and effort. His comparisons and metaphors, though always exciting, and full of interest, are sometimes so extravagant as to be sensational. Mr.

* Society and Solitude. Twelve Chapters. Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co. 1870.

By Ralph Waldo EMERSON. Emerson is not above certain tricks of thought and expression, notwithstanding his apparent Yankee directness and simplicity. Indeed, the Yankee shrewdness is eminent in his quaint remarks on common things, and Yankee humor often twinkles in his eye, especially when he quietly strives to take down characters or opinions for which most people cherish a high esteem, as for example, Moses, and Jesus, and the Bible. Indeed we are not certain, but considering the country in which he lives, and that the people for whom he writes, are somewhat generally reputed to be ChristianConcord, perhaps, being an exception-Mr. Emerson carries this tendency a little too far, and sometimes beyond the limit which good manners, to say nothing of good morals, would perhaps prescribe. We are of course disposed to take into consideration the fact that he has become so satisfied with his own position of philosophic orthodoxy, as to be somewhat pharisaic in respect to the poor publicans who do not so much as lift their eyes to Heaven in the confident manner which he would recommend. We do not suppose he intends to wound the feelings of his unilluminated fellow-countrymen, and would therefore suggest that it is by this time pretty well understood in the most enlightened circleswhich of course are the circles which read his Essays-what he thinks about Jesus and the various scriptural worthies, and that he might as well spare their feelings and be considerate of their prejudices. It seems to us that as a matter of taste, even if the affair does not come under the statute concerning cruelty to imbeciles, he would consult his own influence and reputation as a writer, should he less obtrusively and less frequently, hoist his theological flag. We might call out from this volumc a score perhaps of passages which can serve no purpose whatever, except to illustrate his own ineffectual protest against popular faith, and to awaken towards himself feelings of neither honor nor respect, because they seem to be so thoroughly gratuitous and uncalled for.

With these abatements, which are no more applicable to this than to his other writings, this volume seems to indicate no falling off in the charm of thinking and writing which always attracts and holds multitudes of admiring readers.

« 이전계속 »