2 DECEMBER 1911, Page 39


Mn. 'BENSON'S title was not suggested by the 'Homeric °Ye ars!, ep6XAcev yeveC loin Si Ka! avSpay, but by reasons touching the moral and spiritual foundations of life which our readers may study with much profit to themselves, as set forth in the "Epilogue." Tor our present purpose it is enough to say • Canned Classics. By-Harry Graham. With-:Illustrations brEewia Balmer. Loudon and Boon. [Ss. &I. net.] The Leaves of the Tree: Studies in Biography. By Arthur Christopher Benson. London : Smith, Elder and Co. [713. 66l. net] that Mr. Benson gives us here some short lives—they number eleven in all—of men known to -himself, and known in such a way that their influence and character really 'touched 'him. 'Curiously enough, the most interesting study,.as far -at least as we are able 'to judge, is that -of the man who, in point of time, is most remote from the biographer, Sishop-Obriatopher Wordsworth. But then Mr. Benson -had opportunities not so much of forming judgments about -the man as of -receiving impressions from him. When hewas- a -child he went, te live in a little world of which-the 'Bishop was -the -central ,fgrire,— somewhat. incomprehensible, it is 'true, but -not -a little imposing, and -certainly never to be forgotten. 'The result is a very vivid picture. We see the smile -on the ascetic face, which did -not seem "to he-connected -with any particularly humorous- events or Ideas, but was just expressive of an .attitude 'to the -world:" 'We can -imagine -the astonishment of- the boy -when he waetold that this wonderful man, who seemedto be out of the reach of-every-human interest, had been a great cricketer -in-his youth—he caught out Man- ning, the Cardinal that was to be, for one in the Eton v.. Winchester match. We can sympathize with the young star- es he sat with " a handful of rustics " in Riseholme Church and heard the great man -preach for something like an hour about the Maccabees. If -this is the most attractive of all the portraits, there is not one that does not deeply interest us. We should put high among them that -of 5. K. Stephen, who stands nearest in point of time to the biographer, as the Bishop is the -most remote. -The 'two were together at Eton, and Mr. Benson.sticeeeded him in his -rooms -at 'Cambridge. Here, too, we-have vivid personal impressions. And-then there is the,perplesinglragedycf the-man's later-years. Ilereeeived ,a blew on theitead which set up some -subtle :mischief tho brain. There:is.a'similar-story, even more tragical, of -one -of the Tennyson-eh-cleat:Cambridge, a sane, -pure soul distorted into .evil lay some injury to -the body. We must be content with mentioning -the .other names. 'They are Bishop West- cott, Henry Sidgwick, Bishop Wilkinson, Professor'Newton, Frederic Myers, Bishop Lightfoot, Remy Bradshawffehatiles Kingsley, Matthew Arnold.