21 JULY 1866, Page 22

Dramatic Stu lies. By Augusta Webster. (Matemillan.)—Eros. By

Lorenzo Somerville. (Trubner.)— Verses, Serious, Humorous, and Sati- rical. By W. Buchanan, M.A. (Menzies, Edinburgh ; Campbell, Glas- gow; Dick, Ayr.)—Of this little chaplet of poetry the first two bay leaves resemble one another closely in externals, but there the resem- blance ends. Mrs. Webster has cultivated evidently with great care a talent for expressing with the utmost rhythmical finish the outpourings of a thoughtful mind. She has also considerable dramatic power, and in her " studies " appeals successfully to the taste of the day, which is impatient of prolonged attention, and prefers a series of tableaux vivants to an elaborately developed play. Joan of Arc in her prison, Sister Antmaciata in her cell, a morally disquieted preacher, and a physically disquieted painter appear in succession, followed by persons in equally exciting situations; and as every line of the graceful little volume may be read with pleasure, a more genial companion for a July day in a shady copse (on the suave marl magno principle) has not appeared this season. Mr. Somerville has drank deeply from the fount of inspiration supplied to our fathers (may we not rather say our spinster aunts ?) by Bosvles and Miss Landon, but he has also ventured on the bold experiment of launching into the stanza of In Memoriam, so suited for the expression of concentrated thought, so distinctly unfitted to act as a vehicle for con- ventional prettinesscs. The book, as its title imparts, is devoted to the praises of love in general, and it chiefly treats of the admiration of the author for a young lady who, like himself, was left motherless in child- hood. This is quite as it should be, but the following, "on her descend- ing from the gallery of a certain church," might well have passed into oblivion before the pair got home to lunch:—

" The gold from the mine and the pearl from the sea Some worship with heathenish love, God grant them such rubbish, but give unto me The blessing that comes from above 1" Mr. Bachanan's verses are, we assume, a rerchauffe from the Ayrshire Observer. They are quite up to the average of the poetry to which time-honoured usage has consecrated one corner of a county paper, and possibly the readers of the journal in question may be glad to have in a permanent form a versified comment on local scenes and occurrences. When the poet soars beyond this it is mostly into an atmosphere of common-place. "Oh, give me back the freshness of those early days again!" is a sentiment we sadly re-echo, but we have read something like it before.