26 AUGUST 1876, Page 25

The Comedy of the "Nodes Ambrosiance." By Christopher North. Selected

and arranged by John Skelton. (Blatiltwood.)-" My design," says Mr. Skelton in his Introduction, "has been to compress into a single manageable volume whatever is permanent and whatever is universal in the comedy of the Nodes Ambrosias:a." This compres- sion has been carried out with no little severity, about two-thirds of the original work having been excised. It must be confessed that those readers who "labour under the disadvantage of having been born on the south side of the Tweed" will for the most part be inclined to think that some part of what has been left might have been spared. There is still "a monstrous quantity of sack," descriptions of quite heroic eating and drinking which seem to us not at all witty or amusing. Indeed, wo must own that the humour of the Nodes does not corn. mend itself to our taste. This is a criticism which has been made more than once, and was answered, we remember, on one occasion in a way which seemed to confirm its truth. How could it be affirmed, it was said, that there was nothing truly humorous in the Noetes, when such a passage as the death of two cockney bagmen in the snow could be quoted to the contrary. What a singular idea of humour was re- vealed hone! We suspect that it needs an actual recollection of the

markable personality of John Wilson thoroughly to enjoy these conver- sations. Yet when all deductions have been made, there remains much of sterling value, and we are obliged to Mr. Skelton for the discriminating skill with which he has shaped it into form acceptable to this generation.