The Celtic Twilight, Men and Women, Dhouls and Paeries. By
W. B. Yeats. With a Frontispiece by J. B. Yeats. (Lawrence and Sullen.) —We have here a moat fascinating little book on Irish folk-lore, which will appeal to readers of very various tastes, by an author who has already done much to popularise the legends of his native land. The sketch of the blind old gleeman of Dublin, Michael Moran, whose ideal portrait forms the frontispiece to the volume, and the occasional anecdotes, will interest readers who will not care for the fairy-tales and mysticism which pervades the book. We may quote the following from the chapter entitled " The Religion of a Sailor " :—" Why, sur, we were in mid- Atlantic, and I standin' on the bridge, when the third mate comes up to me, lookin' mortial bad. Says he, ' Captain, all's up with us.' Says I, Didn't you know when you joined that a certain percentage go down every year ? " Yes, sur,' says he ; and says I, Arn't you paid to go down ? " Yes, sur,' says he ; and says I, Then go down like a man, and be damned to you ! ' " Another story is on less serious lines. It is well known that, although St. Patrick is supposed to have banished snakes from Ireland, many of the Irish lakes and rivers are believed to be haunted by a huge eel or serpent, one of which, infecting the Sligo River, does not seem to care about intruders. " My brother was a diver, you know, and grubbed stones for the Harbour Board. One day the beast comes up to him and says, What are you after ? " Stones, sur,' says he. ' Don't you think you had better be going ? " Yes, sur,' says he. And that's why my brother emigrated. The people said it was because he got poor, but that's not true." Equally amusing is the story of the man who was kicked out of a haunted house by his own boots. Ghost-tales and fairy legends are in- teresting to the folk-lorists who study them from the outside, purely from the literary or anthropological side ; but they are far more interesting to mystics like our author, who can accept them with a full conviction of their actual reality, as pertaining to other regions than those with which we are familiar It is no wonder that a cultured Irishman, fully sympathising with, and more than half believing, the stories of the people, should be able to draw them out in a way which no other collector of folk-litera- ture could hope to achieve. He even relates how he himself was put in communication with the Queen of the Fairies by a. peasant- girl, and how he himself had a dim vision of the Queen and her attendants. Legends and dreams and fancies succeed each other in a veritable phantasmagoria in Mr. Yeats's remarkable book, to which we would gladly devote more space, but that we could hardly give a fair idea of it without quoting it in its entirety. But from the point of view of comparative folk-lore, the story of the peasant-girl who was destined to be Queen of the Fairies, and remained ever young and beautiful, as the wife of seven succes- sive fairy Kings, who lived seven hundred years each, is specially interesting, as her life, like that of Meleager, lasted as long as a log which was burning on the fire soon after her birth was allowed to remain unconsumed. It is worth notice, too, that the Irish, like other peoples with whom the belief in fairies, &c., still lingers, do not regard them as immortal.
POETRY.—In the series of " Canterbury Poets " (Walter Scott), we have Canadian Poems and Lays, arranged and edited by William D. Lighthall, M.A.—Both Mr. W. W. Campbell and Mr. C. G. D. Roberts are represented in this volume, as are some thirty or more other writers of verse. The collection will certainly repay study, as it has many points of interest —Yet another collection is Later Canadian Poems. Edited by J. E. Wetherell, B.A. (Clark and Co., Toronto.)—No poem earlier than 1880 is included in it. For one short poem by the late Miss Isabella V. Crawford we must find room :-
" 0 LOVE BUILDS ON TRE AZURE SEA.
0, Love builds en the azure sea,
And Love builds on the golden sand ; And love builds on the rose•wing'd cloud, And sometimes Love builds on the land.
0, if Love build on sparkling sea— And it Love build on golden strand— And if Love build on rosy cloud—
To Love these are the solid land.
0, Love will build his lily walls, And Love his pearly roof will rear,— On cloud or land, or mist or sea—
Love's solid land is everywhere! "
Second Book of Verse. By Eugene Field. (James R. Osgood, McIlvaine, and Co.)—This is another volume of verse from the other side of the Atlantic, this time from the States. Mr. Field is best, we think, in his gayer mood, as where he gives us "Lovers' Lane, St. Jo," "Doctors," "Corinthian Hall," and the the "St. Jo Gazette."—Songs and Sonnets. By Mathilde Blind. (Chatto and Windus.)—There is some fancy in these poems, and some passion, which however does not ring altogether true ; and some power of expression, which does not avail, however, to make the form of any one piece quite complete. Here is a specimen of Miss Blind's power :— " Like some wild sleeper who alone at night Walks with unseeing eyes along a height, With death below and only stars above; I, in broad daylight, walk as if in sleep, Along the edges of life's perilous steep,
The lost somnambulist of love.
I, in broad day, go walking in a dream, Led on in safety by the starry gleam
Of thy blue eyes that hold my heart in thrall; Let no one wake me rudely, lest one day, Startled to find how far I've gone astray,
I dash my life out in my fall."