19 AUGUST 1865, Page 21

Remarks on the Sonnets of Shakespeare, with the Sonnets, showing

that- they belong to the Hermetic class of writings, and explaining their gene- ral meaning and purpose. (New York : James Miller.)—The character of this work is sufficiently indicated by the title. The author, "E. A. H.,' of Washington City, has previously expounded Swedenborg and the "Red Book of Appin," whatever that may be, with regard to which we must plead ignorance not unmingled with awe. He now takes Shake- speare in hand, and of course makes all kinds of astonishing discoveries. There is a clean sweep of the Earl of Southampton and of all other men and women to whom the sonnets have been hitherto supposed to be ad- dressed. The real doctrine set forth in them is "indicated by the interlude in the fifth act of Midsummer Night's Dream. Pyramus and Thisbe represent two principles, the spirit of the individual and the universal spirit or " over-soul " (an Emersonian word), and the wall is the dull substance of the flesh. This "triplicity in unity" is the object addressed as Beauty's Rose by Shakespeare. The author rather naively adds, "The student will readily catch the meaning of the 'moonshine.'" After this explanation of the general idea of the Sonnets, we are prepared to find that in the 122nd Sonnet "thy gift, thy tables," are "two expressions for the Law of Moses," and that in the 153rd Sonnet "Cupid" signifies love in a religious sense, the "maid of Dian" is a virgin truth of nature, and the "cold valley fountain" is the letter of the Law. We think that most people will prefer to put up with the Earl of Southampton as the solution of the mystery.