Forget.Me-Not Ackermann. Literary Souvenir • . .. Longman and Co. Friendship's Offering Smith and Elder. Amulet Westley and Davis. Winter's Wreath Whittaker and Co. Ainethy4 Oliphant, Edit,.
New YearN Gift Longman and CO. Juvenile Forget-Me-Not Ackermann. Mrs. Hall's Juvenile Forget•Me-Not Westley and Davis.
MA. N II PA CT L' ft ES,
Treatise ou the Origin, Progressive Improvement, and
Present State of the Silk Manufacture. (Larciner's Longman and Co.
Cabinet Cyeloptedia, No. V.) THE SPECTATOR'S LIBRARY.
IT is a defective arrangement that produces all the little volumes which have acquired the name Of ANNUALS at one period of the year. The autumn of the year suffers a glut of this tender pro- duction: the delicacy has a brief season, but while it lasts, no scarcity can he complained of ; when it is to be had at all, it is as plentiful as white bait ; and is not ()illy- to be found in abundance, ike that luxury, in the season, but, like it, is composed of so frail a
re as to demand instant consumption, and that too on the spot.
We have already considered these publications as works of art ; their literary claims must now be passed in judgment. To write a criticism on the Annuals, is pretty nearly as difficult as it must be to write a preface to them. This is a task under which each editor seems to labour : neither are we surprised. For the eighth or ninth time, these gentlemen have to usher into the world a fac- simile of their first effort : they naturally seem to think, since all the It is the saute, why should there be a difference in the preface or announcement ? Indeed, amidst all the excellence, the beauty, and even the uniqueness of these works, there is no peculiarity so remarkable as their extreme similarity to each other, and to them- selves of the previous years. They have now been established pretty nearly ten years ; numbers have started; several have ailed, and many now flourish ; and yet they are all alike. They are written by a large, but nearly common body of contributors; in the choice of subjects they are almost identical ; and the writers vary nothing from themselves, and continue only to vary as much from their companions as they did at first. Mrs. HEMANS chants a lay, as she always did, something between an anthem and a ro- mance. Mr. PRAED is still chivalric and graceful, throwing over all a spell of glamoury. L. E. L. is " rapt, inspired"—animated by visions of unearthly love, or else depressed by the hollowness of terrestrial joy. Miss MITFORD, true to Our Village, gives us a tale of Honest Ned or Gentle Jessy ; and Mrs. HOFLAND, still truer to the romance of provincial life, details, with an air of sin- cerity worthy of the witness-box, how a drunken parent ruined his hopeful son, and ultimately broke the heart of an amiable wife, and exposed a lovely girl to the arts of the seducer and the mi- serable splendour of vice. BARRY CORNWALL is fanciful and lux- urious. HOOD is profuse of pun. Howirr is hearty and simple; his daughter, as chaste in her pleasant humour as in her dove- coloured robe and many-folded muslin. Mrs. BOWDICH tells of Africa ; Miss EstsiA ROBERTS of India. PRINGLE sings of the wilds of the Cape, the Bushmen, and the Lion Hunt. ALLAN CUNNINGHAM raises his voice cheerily like a sailor at a rope, and sings a stave or two full of lyric joy. Mr. HAYNES BAYLY is plain- tive and genteel. Mrs. BARON CORNWELL WILSON is domestic and touching. Mrs. S. C. HALL is gentle and true, full of plea- sant reminiscences of her Irish village ; and all the other mas- ters and mistresses have their virtues, which it might be supposed they had sworn to abide by. They compose by line and rule; they work upon a pattern ; their flourishes are measured by the com- pass ; and their touches of grace and fancy are put in on a system of decoration. Taking them up singly, without reference to their predecessors or to each other, they are beautiful little works, that remind one of all that is exquisite and luxurious in the fairy-land of genius : looking at them altogether, and as continuations of a long series of former efforts, they appear like the productions of some curious machinery—as if the invention of man had reached so high a pitch that plates and poems could be turned or ground in a lathe, as a table of logarithms has come to be, under the in- ventive genius of Mr. BABBAGE. With genius
their similarity, however, there are wide distinctive differences in the Annuals ; and it is another curiosity that they have preserved their consistency in this respect in the most re- markable manner.
The Forget Me Not is unambitious in its style : it aims at pleas- ing a domestic circle : it is fearless of critics, because it is sure of humbler praise. It abounds in the variety of its contributors, and revels in the comparative obscurity of their fame : they seem to step out of their privacy only once a year, to make one of the family party of the Forget Me Not. The pieces of this work are short and sim- ple, chiefly; their object is to please the easily-pleased ; and the appeal is made to the common and natural feelings of the young and the amiable.
The Literary Souvenir may be considered as a pretty fair stan- dard of the poetical genius of the day. The character of its verse is, in general, deep and sustained, and the prose is on the whole composed with eare, as if under a sort of responsibility. The number of the contributors is small comparatively, and select. The editor is himself a poet of feeling and taste, and his friends appear to write as if they were writing with and for a brother bard.: We may consider that the compositions of the contributors to the Literary Souvenir are the best of the kind their authors can pro- duce after the received model. The editor, too, evidently purposes to meet the critical tribunal : while he trembles, he obeys, and we do not think that his nervous fear of censure at all contributes to the value of his work.
Friendship's OlAring has a more miscellaneous character. Many of its contributors are men of great talent, but it is neither so exclusive as the Literary Souvenir nor so easy as the Forget Me Not. The editor is also a poet, and not inferior in the gifts of the imagination to the editor of the Souvenir; but he is not so completely the master of his corps of coliaborateurs—is not so united with them ; and neither do they seem to have so much sympathy with him. He has not, we believe, had so much time or opportunity to ally himself with them. In Friendship's Offering alone we observe the signs of improvement : the number for the next year is richer in poetry than any that has preceded it; and we think, as well as such a thing can be brought to compa- rison, bears away the palm from its rivals. The Amulet is a charm which draws a portion of its power from the other world. It concerns itself in sacred things, but at the same time turns an eye of considerable vivacity on sublunary joys. Its angels are countesses, and there is a trinity of them this year. However, the two characters of divine and merely human, are as well blended as they well can be ; and the junction gives the editor an opportunity of insinuating a taste for art anti a spice of ro- mance into family circles, which may not be the worse for such graces. There are always papers of permanent value in the. Arnold;i more especially on the subject of ecclesiastical :antiquities, to which its attention is a good deal turned. It possesses a copious and valuable contributor in the Rev. Dr. WAnsu. He has this year described a visit to Nietea, in a paper peculiarly interesting to those curious ill ille ililOr'.* 01:the Church.
The iriittei's I;"i'ea'ii has gl . adually risen from being a very humble attempt, to rivalry ;vith the onleinal and expensive works of its class. Its characteristic is gravity : we du not say that its hue is sombre, neither is it pure drab—it is primitive, and yet somewhat brilliant. it may be likened to that colour whi li we have understood to be named Esterhazy—why, we know not, nor seek we to explore the unfathomable mysteries of millinery. The present number has decidedly reached the Table land of Annuals : it lies on a level in all points with the best and most fortunate of the race; still preserving its character by the seriousness of its tone, and by keeping more continually in view objects of instruc- ci ion and information.. The Amethyst is a new work : it is an annual without plates :
what it wants in art it makes up in holiness. It seems almost en- tirely composed by clergymen ; and probably contains a good many / extracts from their unpublished sermons. We do not know whom t is intended to please—there is no want of religious books of the kind : the absence of engravings seems to deprive the work of its support. An annual without pictures is a butterfly without wings.
The Humorist is not quite so serious as the Winter's Wreath; occasionally, it may be said to be sad, like other professional jes- ters; sometimes it succeeds in extracting a reluctant laugh. To us, there are few more serious things than a joke of two or three hundred pages. It would be unjust to Mr. HARRISON, and his colleague Alr. BROOKE, the designer of the plates, if we did not allow, that were many of their jokes, which are here written and cut in wood, to occur among other and various matter, they would be greatly provocative of fun. Is it that second childishness comes on earlier than has been usually supposed, or what can be the cause, that we take a sincerer delight in the Juvenile than the Senile Annuals ? Is the task better performed ? are the materials of a sincerer description? This is our opinion. The Juvenile Annuals were desiderata : they fill up a gap in early literature; and the three or four now existing richly deserve extensive patronage. They are all in good hands : we should be at a loss which to choose. The one edited by Mrs. ALARIC WATTS used to be our favourite, and certainly has not this year lost ground.
Coming to particulars, in order to make a choice of specimens from these Annuals, we do not find the task of selection lightened by any very prominent merits. Some tales and some poems have indeed struck us more than others, but the impression made has been scarcely deep enough to justify any very decided preference.
In the Literary Souvenir, our attention was arrested by a paper called the " Conversazione," which is composed in a spirit of angry satire, very unusual in these beautiful productions. It is a ge- neral attack on the critics, and those who pretend to be such. With the justness of it we may not quarrel—for the state of criti- cism, monthly and weekly, cannot be much lower or more contempt- ible than it is : with the indignation expressed we can also sym- pathize—for we have often felt it : we doubt, however, the propriety of introducing a poem of-the kind into a Souvenir, the emblem and pledge of none but amiable feelings : it is far too combustible an affair for a Keepsake: who would make his wrath, or that of another man, a Friendship's Offering I' Setting the " Conversa- zione" aside, there are many other contributions which we could mention with approbation. The paper on Female " Friends," by Mrs. ALARIC WATTS, the editor's wife, is a charming description of the peculiar manners; the peculiar feelings, and the peculiar loveliness of Quaker ladies. It is, however, too long for quota- tion. We prefer, by way of specimen; Mr. ,Ixoz.rs's "Iteminis- cences of Andalusia." This gentleman has become an active and very valuable contributor to the Annuals. His " Incident at Gibraltar," in the Winter's Wreath, greatly pleased us ; and in- deed scarcely one of his numerous compositions may not be
quoted with praise.
" Seville—gay Seville,—with its serenades,
And masks, and convent chimes, and castanets, And flashing eyes of Andalusian maids, And Gothic towers, and Moorish minarets: Bright orange groves, and light acacia bowers, Whose tufted blossoms far their fragrance throw, And stately palm, that like a giant, towers Above the dwarfish trees that cower below; Desert sierras, where the flex spreads On rocky steeps ; where odours, strange, yet sweet, Are wafted from the aromatic beds Of thousand flowers that spring beneath the feet : A train of straggling mules,—a muleteer,
Winding their way adown some mountain side; And sound of tinkling bells, that on the car
Fall sweetly, at the hour of eventide :
A group of boys, seated beneath a tree—
Such as Murillo sketched—urchins at play, With ragged coats, but faces full of glee, With bread and melon, making holiday : Goats, milk-white, feeding 'mid rosemary bushes, On prickly pear, upon a craggy steep ;
And time half-naked goatherd, plaiting rushes, Or stretched beneath an olive tree, asleep :
An Andaluz, with gun upon his shoulder, Wading, with sturdy stride, at close of day; Or bandit, with an eye, and step yet bolder, Starting faun out a thicket in your way.
Grey-bearded friars, with idle step, and slow, Strolling in pairs about their convent gates ; Or tatter'd beggar, looking up, to throw
A well- aimed stone amJng tha clustering dates:
A dark-eyed girl, within her doorway sitting, Singing wild snatches to her cracked guitar ; While peasant, with an air and smile befitting, Stands listening to the song of love or war.
Bright land of sunshine,—clime of cloudless skies; Fairest and loveliest of the lands that be- llow many pictures to my fancy rise, When memory turns,—as turn it will,—to thee !"
The following two poems are on the same subject, by different writers, and in different styles. The writers are indebted for the idea to MERY and BARTHELEMY'S poem. Mr. NEUKOMM has treated it also admirably, but in notes.
TILE MIlEs.ZIGIIT REVIEW OF NAPOLEON.
"'Tis dead of night, and the full moon's light Is struck with eclipse pale, And deep and low, like a voice of woe, Through the forest conies the gale.
'Tis like the hour when things have power
Of might and mystery; When reason shakes, and man awakes To all he dreads to see.
And on yonder cloud, like a mighty shroud Hung o'er the lifeless earth, Are shifting bright, on the dazzled sight, Strange scenes of grief and mirth; Plays, battles, banquets in high halls, Wild plains with corses strewed, Kings crowned, kings stretched in funeral palls, Feast, pageant, frenzy, blood.
There to the deep thy waters sweep, Soft Seine, through myrtles wound; There to the brown Italian plain The Alpine torrents bound ; There through the Austrian's pleasant field Thy billows, Danube, pour, The Turkish lance, the Roman shield, Lie mouldering on thy shore.
And there the Nile bathes many a pile Of old Egyptian kings ; There Dnieper's bed is gory red ; There, Don, thy chrystal springs Are dark and faint with the corse's taint ; And the wild cossack sweeps by ; For the judgment has come, and the snow's the tomb Where the murderer's host must lie.
But what is the sound rolling round and round?
'Tis the beat of a midnight drum :
And from many a land the spectre band,
At the sound of that larum come.
From South and from North they are flocking forth,
From the field, from the ocean wave; For there are all who held earth in thrall, Dark battalions of the grave.
And they come on the plain, like the drops of rain Falling thick in a thunder shower ; But no footsteps fall, no trumpet call, Is heard through the sons of power. The moon's last light just quivers white On a harvest of helm and spear ;
But no eye of man could stretch from the van
Of that host to the cloudy rear.
Still on they come-from the earth's deep womb,
In column and square and line; All fleshless bone, with eyes of stone, The moonbeams through them shine. But their fingers grasp, with deathless clasp, The bridle and lance and sword;
And the eagles wave o'er the ghosts of the brave,
Which once o'er their glory soared. And on front and on wings, their chieftains and kings On their pawing chargers ride : There he whose crown was cloven down • On the Calabrese mountain's side; There he who fell when Austria's yell Rang wild from Marengo's plain; There he whose blood dyed the Leipsic flood, When the German shivered his chain.
And he, the last on whom death had cast The grasp of his icy hand, With eyes that smite like the arrow's flight, In the front of the host takes his stand. On his brow of gloom is waved no plume, On his breast is no steely mail, But an iron crown throws its flashes down On his spectral visage pale.
And by his side is simply tied A little long-sheathed sword; No gold is there, no jewel rare Betrays the battle's lord: But the lightnings wreathed round that steel unsheathed, And the thrones of Europe reeled, For the sickle of death was in that sheath, And the world was its harvest-field.
On his charger white, through the livelong night, He passes in pale review The skeleton's to whom earth's thrones Were once but dust and dew ; And the banners stoop, as each ghastly troop Moves before its silent lord ;
And one word of wo each murmurs low, SAINT-HELENA iS that word!
Still on they crowd from the worm and the shroud, In fleshless-millions on ;
And the star of pride is on each side, And the spear in the grasp of bone ; Till the march decays on the chieftain's gaze, And the thistle alone is stirred,
As the wind comes low with one word of wo, SAINT-HELENA is that word !"
The author of the foregoing, in the Friendship's Offering, is anonymous. Mr. ALARIC WATTS is the author of the "Review of the Victims;' in the Literary Souvenir, which follows- " It was the dead midnight ; No star was in the sky ;
The struggling moon shed a troubled light, As she won her way on high ; And deepest silence hung, Like a garment, o'er the land ; When a loud, and shrill reveille rung From a grisly drummer's hand!
It rolled through the startled space— That wild, unearthly sound;
Till the martyred dead of a doomed race Uprose, and crowded round.
From the sleeping city near;—
From the warm and genial south ;— From the sands of Egypt's deserts drear ;— From the Danube's stormy mouth ;— From the ice-realms of the North;— From devoted Moscow's plain ;— Trooped the might of armed thousands forth To that stirring call again !
From the depths of Indian seas ;— From the Tyrol's hills of blue ;— From the base of the snowy Pyrenees; From the " deadly Waterloo : "- For many a far-off land, • And many a wandering wave, Had heard that stern and loud command, And had yielded up its brave !
The trumpet's peal is blown; Those scattered hosts combine ; And the soldier-slaves of the iron crown Arise and make their sign !
On shadowy chargers mounted, With swords uplifted high, From battle-fields uncounted, Th' Imperial Guards draw nigh !
A legion old and hoary, With cheeks all ghastly white ; With bosoms gashed and gory, But eagles golden bright ; They raise their pallid brows In the wan moon's sickly glare ; But vain the once loved sight to rouse Their leader's deep despair !
With folded arms he stands, As they pass him in review; And sadly he looks on those gallant bands,.
As he thinks on Waterloo!
Still the drummer by his side Plies his bleached and fleshless arm ; Till surging on like the ocean tide, Those grisly phantoms swarm.
They shout no rims now
For the chieftain once so dear; But 'curses deep, though murmured low, Alone salute his ear.
They clench their bony hands, As they wheel beneath his sight ; Where, with folded arms, absorbed, he stands
On Montmartre's frowing height.
Ha ! whence that phantom throng, That file before him now ; And drag their maimed limbs along So painfully and slow.
From Jaffa's burning plain, That shadowy host hath wended ; In cool and savage triumph slain, When the battle strife was ended He shuts his conscious eyes Their shrinking sense to save ; But a darker scene within them lies- 'Tis the gallant D'Enghien's grave !
The torches glare around, Where the dauntless Bourbon kneels ; In the castle fosse, on the damp chill ground, As the murderous volley peals !
And the muffled drum tolls out The youthful hero's knell ;—
The chieftain starts—'t is the battle shout, And the roll of the deep reveil !
Myriads before him spread, Their standards rear on high ; But the flags are white as the charnelled dead, For the grave hath the victory !
He strains his glance to look Beyond that grisly train ; What :loth he see but a barren rock, A vulture, and a chain !
The drum bath ceased to roll, That despot's dreams are oer ; And the conflicts of his stormy soul, Are stilled for evermore !
His empires all are gone ; His trappings, once so proud; A rock- bound grave is his only throne ; His kingly robe a shroud!
And he, whose dread commands To millions once were doom, Hath claimed, at length from alien hands, A lone, unhallowed tomb !"
In the Amulet is a good account of the actual state of the Slave Trade, by a naval officer who has been three years on the coast of Africa. We were pleased to find that it contains a report of the condition of Liberia, which precisely confirms the account derived. from the publications of the American Colonization Society. " The Moss-pits," by the editor's wife, is a clever and effective tale. "The Betrothed," by L. E. L., has some of those touches of thought and observation which betray the woman of genius : but we have not left ourselves-any room for quotation. Mr. BANDI is not happy this year ; the Friendship's Offering has more than one of his tales. " The Orphan," by Mrs. NOR- TON, in the same work, is a simple story, worthy of Mrs. OPIx herself. We were also greatly pleased with a fanciful little paper on Green Grass, by the Rev. CHARLES TAYLER.
In the Forget Me Not is a good account of a very remarkable character, such as France alone could have produced—La lifire des Soldats. It is by Mrs. BowniCH, and derives its interest from its truth. We must make room for a composition of Hoop's- in the Forget Me Not; it is the only one we can detect from his pen in the whole parterre of Annuals : his attention has, of course, been occupied by the one he is rearing for himself. It is the " Stage-struck Hero ;" and is an illustration of a clever plate, in which a tailor's apprentice is represented standing on the shopboard and spouting, with the master just entering from behind with a cane in his hand.
" It 's very hard 1 ch, Dick, my boy,
It is very hard one can't enjoy A little private spouting ; But, sure as Lear or Hamlet lives, Up comes our master, bounce! and gives The tragic Muse a routing !
Ay, there he comes again I he quick And hide the book—a playbook, Dick, He must not set his eyes on I It 's very hard, the churlish elf Will never let one stab one's self, Or take a bowl of poison !
It 's very hard, but when I want To die—as Cato did—I can't,
Or go non compos mentis-
But up he comes, all fire and flame— No doubt he'd do the very same With Kemble for a 'prentice !
Oh, Dick ! oh, Dick ! it was not so, Some half a dozen years ago !
Melpomene was no sneaker, When, under Reverend Mister Poole, Each little boy at Enfield school Became an Enfield Speaker !
No cruel master-tailor's cane ' Then thwarted the theatric vein; The tragic soil had tillage. O dear dramatic days gone by ! You, Dick, were Richard then—and I Play'd Hamlet to the village.
Or, as Macbeth the dagger clutch'd, Till all the servant-maids were touch'd- Macbeth, I think, my pet is ;
Lord, how we spouted Shakspeare's works—
Dick, we had twenty little Burkes, And fifty Master Betties ! Why, there was Julius Ctsar Dunn, And Norval, Sandy Philip—one Of Elocution's champions- Genteely taught by his mama To say, not father, but papa, Kept sheep upon the Grampians !
Coriolanus Crumpe—and Fig In Brutus, with brown-paper wig, And Huggins great in Cato, Only he broke so often off, To have a fit of hooping-cough, While reasoning with Plato.
And Zanga too—but I shall weep, If longer on this theme I keep, And let remembrance lome, Dick— Now, forced to act—it's very hard— Measure for Measure with a yard—
You, Richard, with a goose, Dick !
Zounds I Dick, it's very odd our dads Should send us there when we were lads To learn to talk like Tullies;, And now, if one should just break out, Perchance into a little spout, A stick about the scull is.
Why should stage-learning form a part Of schooling for the tailor's art ?
Alas ! dramatic notes, Dick, Too well rccord the sad mistake Of him, who tried at once to make
Both Romeo and Coates, Dick !"