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is quite true, also, that we do not think our nation a "whit endanger'd" by its "factories and pandemoniums of machinery." A true bill again. We are aware that manufacturing towns in general are not very pleasant places, though "pandemoniums of machinery" is rather grandiloquent than sensible; but for all that, we look upon the introduction of machinery as a great blessing to all mankind; as do most people except Mr. Morris and the misguided peasants who get themselves into trouble by breaking thrashing-machines. In truth, the nonsense is all of a piece. "We dwell in cedar-houses," and our tables are adorned with gold, and the communion-tables in our churches are not "meet for scullion's table!" Who, in the name of common sense, is to reply to such trash as this?

And at last we have something about "great Becket," and the church bowing "traitor kings before her martyr's shrine!" But this brings us to the point where we have a word to say on the head of doctrine.

We dislike hints, they are seldom if ever used, except when a man is ashamed or afraid to speak openly-and shall therefore state in plain terms what it is to which we are about to object. In the work the obnoxious doctrines are not openly avowed, but covertly hinted at and insinuated. For all this, we shall take the same notice of them as if they had been explicitly stated. If the aim and direction of the bullet are undoubtedly discoverable, it is no defence that the prisoner concealed himself while pulling the trigger, or that it was fired from an air-gun to escape detection by the report.

In one word then we say, that in this work Mr. Morris puts forward principles and opinions nearer to the doctrines of the Catholic church, than may be conscientiously maintained or advocated by a sincere clergyman of the Church of England. We care not for direct terms; what we complain of is scattered throughout the book in allusions, hints, and inuendoes, to be found in almost every page, -and perhaps more mischievous in this shape than if broadly attested; for the difficulty of refutation mentioned by Paley, as giving such power for evil to a sneer, attaches equally to a hint. We shall only give one or two samples, and then leave every one to his unbiassed judgment whether a book, filled with similar passages, ought to have in its title-page the name of a clergyman of the established church.

Only our Oxen, gendering then no more,
Must through a pure celibacy have learnt

More strength for labour ere they can tread out
The Corn mysterious.

Oxen being of the third sex, it seems rather needless to doom them to celibacy;-but this is nothing. Remembering, as above

quoted, that the " oxen are as priests," and the present passage being evidently intended as metaphorical, what is this but advocating the celibacy of the clergy? In the same book we are told we must not

now

for little ones desire

As olive branches round the table set,
Nor covet wives to be as fruitful vines.

And in the next,

How dreadful to the eyes of Holy Spirits
Must be the fierce perversion of the shrine
And temple of the body, which beneath
The curtains of the night in all estates
And ranks of life the wicked one inspires."

This, to be sure, is unintelligible enough; but we are informed what is meant to be expressed by it in the following note:

I had in my mind, when writing this, some very impressive remarks of De Maistre du Pape, as to the celibacy of the clergy, particularly his words, "Combien y-a-t-il de mariages irréprochables devant Dieu ?"

In addition to these and others on the same subject, there are innumerable passages favouring strongly the ideas of fasting and personal mortification; but we spare ourselves and readers any further extracts. Our task is done. We have given our opinion of the poetry, and mentioned the doctrines therein promulgated. It is not our province, nor would our limits allow it (though we have something to say on celibacy should an occasion offer), to discuss doctrinal points in dispute between the churches of Rome and England; but we have mentioned of what kind are those maintained in this work; the public, by its reception, must show whether they think it proper that its author should be an English clergyman : and, with a few parting words, we willingly take a final leave of "Nature a Parable," and all that it inherits.

There is not a more unvarying characteristic of real poetry than its clearness of meaning and purpose. No matter how abstracted its theme-how spiritualized its conceptions-how wide or high its flight-we never come to a sentence of which we must pause before we can discover the meaning. At every point of its comet-like path it is accompanied and illumined by the fire of genius, enabling him who runs to read, and oftentimes with a sudden glorious outburst rendering visible to the throng of admiring gazers, salient points of truth that must, but for the meteor-light of the poet's imagination, have still remained shrouded in perpetual gloom. Alas! how widely different is the case before us! Mr. Morris's creed is evidently that “poetic souls delight in prose insane;" for, except by the inference

that what is neither prose nor English must be poetry, we do not see how he could possibly have been induced to call his work a poem. Undoubtedly, as was maintained by the worthy proprietor of Dotheboys Hall, a man has a legal right-there being no act of parliament to the contrary-to assign to his house any name he may choosethat of a hall or even an island, if it so please him; and, in all probability, the same right of nomenclature would be held to be vested in authors with regard to their books; but in foro conscientiæ, they are bound to use this liberty as not abusing it; and not to advertise their productions or possessions to the world by terms conveying to the public ideas utterly remote from the articles really signified. In this court, we are decidedly of opinion, that the money paid for this book by its purchasers, could be recovered from the vendors as money "obtained under false pretences."

One curious effect produced by the Herculean labour of perusal is, that our belief in the doctrine of chances is shaken henceforth and for ever. There are, in the whole, upwards of 7,000 lines; and we should have imagined it a moral impossibility that in 7,000 lines of ten syllables each, even if taken at random from all ten-syallable combinations afforded by the language, there should not occur one that by any latitude of expression could be called a line of poetry;-yet such is the fact. Such utter nonsense-such hopeless trash-such incomprehensible absurdities—we never yet saw or heard of; and hence, a work more annoyingly difficult to review we have seldom encountered. Folly, too glaring to be exposed, too laughable to be rendered more ridiculous, and too perfectly void of meaning to afford any ground of rational comment, is indeed an impracticable subject. Our sole reason for engaging in so unpromising a task is, that the author is a clergyman and a fellow of a college at Oxford. Had the work been nameless, we should have allowed it to remain undisturbed to the moment of its natural death,—which of course would have been coincident with that of its birth; but, bearing in its title-page what the reading public would properly consider as primâ facie proof that it was the work of a gentleman and a scholar, and yet being in reality such as we have shown, it became our duty to set forth the true state of the case. It is as much our office to guard against worthless publications as to direct attention to those of merit; and it is long since we have had occasion to raise a louder and more warning voice than is now required by "Nature a Parable."

ART. V.-The Rural and Domestic Life of Germany, with Characteristic Sketches of the Cities and Scenery. By WILLIAM HOWITT. Longman.

THIS book has a decided claim to attention in our pages; for it abounds with information of a useful kind as well as with entertainment that

must be welcomed by every English reader. Besides, it is by one of the most deservedly popular authors of the day, and in his very best manner. Indeed, we think that William Howitt's "Rural and Domestic Life of Germany" is deserving of being placed in the very first rank of his writings, if not of taking precedence even of his "Rural Life of England;" fresh, genial, and gladsome as that production was. Certainly there is more novelty in the subjects of the present work, and not less of what is new in the treatment, or felicitous in the minuteness of detail,—a minuteness possessing strictly the character of individuality even as respects localities, and a marked truthfulness of air that may be felt. The stranger to the scenes is instantly impressed with the conviction that there is verisimilitude in the sketches, and fails not to go along heartily with the author's sympathies.

There is, we admit, still the fault of long-windedness in the details, arising from literal enumeration, when, in obedience to the requisites of high art, the spirit and life of the thing should be vividly represented by means of happy strokes in the seizure of essential points. At the same time William Howitt's minute habit of description becomes him and his subjects much better than it would do any one else, whose feelings are less healthy, whose manner is more affected, and whose innate sense and cultured love of the beautiful and the good are less ardent and clear. Our author's judgments may on occasions be narrow and his prepossessions obtrusive; but in the book before us, there is at any rate more room for novel decisions, while there is a greater number of them than characterize his other views of the rural and the domestic at home. In short, Germany not only furnished a new field for the writer, but one which he could not but continually find himself called on to compare and contrast with Old England; and hence we have both the positive and the relative for the themes, the speculation, and the criticism of our enthusiast in these pages. And yet a difference will be felt in the execution, according to the change of subject; a difference both in regard to novelty and soundness. In short, his sketches of the rural, whether as regards scenery, life, or character, appear to us to be much superior in regard to originality and penetration, to those of what he observed in cities, whether art, authors, or manners be the subject. Green fields and the hearths as well as hearts of the peasantry and country-abiding classes are far more agreeable and familiar to William Howitt's sympathies and habits than picturegalleries or the men and ways of capitals and large towns. Whoever wishes to test his book in regard to this distinction need scarcely do more than compare his by-way rambles in Germany with his commonplace route and too frequently superficial sketches in relation to the principal cities, spas, and remarkable objects of the country visited.

The book is one of travels, after a fashion; it eontains the notes and journalizings of an assiduous tourist, consisting, however, of two parts. One of these may be characterized as general, with appropriate individual illustrations, wherein we have descriptions of German scenery, and of the life or peculiar customs of the German people, together with the circumstances which the author maintains has given character to them, whether taken in their in-door or out-door existence, and, of course, particularly embracing the industrious classes. Belonging to this general division of the work, we have an account and exemplification of the more important events in the life of the people, such as weddings and funerals, pastimes and prevalent methods of pursuit.

The other part, or division of the book, consists of a narrative of "a general tour," which is in the ordinary manner of regularity both as to order and subjects; although, inseparable from the author's mannerism, general conclusions are often drawn from the individual topics of the tour; just as, on the other hand, the little ramblings and random excursions into sequestered nooks are made the subjects of precise narrative, as well as for suggesting general results in the way of description or of judgment. We proceed to furnish speciBegin with a general sketch of the characteristics of the country of Germany, and as compared with that of England.

mens.

Here you look in vain for anything like the green fields and hedgerows of England, with their scattered trees, groups of beautiful cattle or flocks grazing in peace, and sweet cotages, farm-houses, and beautiful mansions of the gentry. It is all one fenceless and ploughed field. Long rows of trees, on each side of the roads are all that divide them from the fields, and in the South these are generally fruit-trees. The beauty of Germany lies only, or with few exceptions, among its hills. There, its woods and green vallies and clear streams are beautiful; but from one region of hills to another extend only huge and open plains, marked with the road-side lines of trees. The population is not scattered along as in England, over hill and dale, in groups and single residences, of various grades and degrees of interest; while the luxuriant fences, the meadows and uplands charming with grass and flowers, old, half hidden lanes, and trees standing here and there of the noblest size and in the freedom of natural beauty, make the plainest part of the country enchanting. All here is open and bald: the people are collected into villages of the most prosaic kind, and no gentry reside among them. In fact, what we call country life in England is here unknown.

Far and wide, the country, without a single fence, covered with corn and vegetables, as seen from the heights which bounded it, presented a most singular appearance to an English eye. Its predominating colour, at that time of the year, was that of ripening corn, but of different hues according to its different degrees of ripeness and the different kinds of grain. This is not planted in those vast expanses which you see in the corn-farms of Northumberland and Lincolnshire, but in innumerable small patches and narrow stripes, because belonging to many different proprietors. Some is also sown

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