13 OCTOBER 1866, Page 22

The Hoek and Other Poems. (Longmans.)—The anonymous author of this

little collection is a man of taste, of travel, and of general know- ledge. He does not indulge in stereotyped expressions, but describes what he has seen or what he feels in a way that impresses the reader with the conviction that the poem is the genuine outcome of real thought and observation. Still we cannot avoid the conclusion that the writer is not a poet, and was not intended by nature to adopt verse as his medium of communication with his fellow-creatures. The book is useful, as showing more clearly than usual how little varied and high qualifica- tions avail to enable a man to write poetry when the vis divinior is absent, or perhaps, we should rather say, as confirming with greater force the 'opinion that the number is limited indeed of those who are justified in disregarding the natural taste for retirement of the modeat muse. The following lines, from a description of the- Aurora Borealis in a poem called "The Berg," will give a taste of the author's quality and illustrate our criticism :— " A flush as of a glorious dawn suffused, A thin diaphanous cloud that soon was shaded, And lines of light spread like a fan unloosed, Then folding like a fan, grew faint and faded.

"Upon a winding-sheet of luminous mist There quivered for a moment cross and crescent And from the zenith down to west and`east Shot scintillations pale and phosphorescent.

"Bright feathery rays to central heaven returned, And pencilled forms too subtle for expression, Whilst here and there a vivid halo burned, And hues prismatic ran in quick sitccession."