Over the Hills Away ! Poems by Frederic E. Weatherley.
Illustrations by Harriet M. Bennett. (Hildesheimer and Faulkner.) —That the pictures are pleasing, there can be no doubt. There is a certain quaint mannerism about them; the faces are pretty, the colouring harmonious. Of the verses we cannot say quite as much in praise ; but though hardly as good in their way as the drawings which illustrate them, they may pass. There is some gaiety about them, and an agreeable fluency. But why are these little creatures represented as lovers ? In " A River-Story," the girl may possibly be eight, and the boy perhaps a couple of years younger. When will people learn that this premature sentiment takes off a bloom that never can be put on again?— From the same publishers we have A Book of Modern Balsas, Illustrated by Alice Havers. This volume contains nearly thirty ballads which have been actually set to music. (The music is not given, but the names of composers and publishers are sup- plied.) The first is an old favourite, of which the authorship seems to be unknown, " When the thorn is white in blossom." Among the others we see : " A Parted Presence," by D. G. Rossetti ; "The sea hath its pearls," by Longfellow ; " Ask Nothing More," by A. G. Swinburne ; and "An Old Garden," by Miss H. M. Burnside. In the illustrations, the figures seem to us the least meritorious part.—To another volume from the same source, Some Well-Known Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens, illustrated by J. Clayton Clark, we can give some hearty praise, though here, too, the work seems unequal. "Mark Tapley," for instance, is excellent, but " Major Bagstock " seems to us on the wrong side of caricature, as do " Mr. Bailey Junior " and " Montague Tigg," who certainly, had he worn such a guise, never could have swindled any one. " Jo," on the other hand, is good, a truly pathetic sketch ; and " David Copperfield" is a happy creation. There is some vigorous work in all, whether or no we consider them to be fair presentments of Dickens's conceptions. Perhaps the best in the volume are " Codlin " and " Short."