Memoir of Benjamin, Lord Bloomfield. Edited by Lady Georgiana Bloomfield. 2 vole. (Chapman and Hall.)—These pleasantly-written memoirs afford an interesting picture of the Court of Bernadotte, and contain some vivid sketches of Swedish and Norwegian lifesome sixty years ago. The peasantry, though not probably oppressed, were kept well in hand. Posting was only sixpence a mile, with four horses, inn expenses included. The horses were requisitioned, and the peasant who remonstrated took a thrashing from the coachman with the equanimity of expectation. Servants are described as dirty and drunken ; their masters had fall license to bastinado or flog them at will. The culture of the country was wholly French, as is still the case ; but of the masses, the civilisation was and is Purely Scandinavian, with less of foreign admixture probably than any country west of Russia. Bernadotte, as King Charles John XIV., was an eminently sensible personage, thoroughly honest, somewhat autocratic, but not in the least despotic, a very respectable, though not brilliant, monarch, who kept his head on the throne as he had done throughout his military career, and completely justified the country's choice of him as a defender of its liberties against Napoleon. He leaned almost wholly on England, for which country he had a strong admiration. On one occasion he declared it his object to keep the Scandinavian peninsula, as far as possible, like an integral part of England. On another he went so far as to say that in the event of a misunderstanding arising between England and Russia he should not hesitate to range himself on the British side. This friendliness was in no small measure due to Lord Bloomfield's personal qualities. His post was not an arduous one, but if it was not difficult to keep out of hot water, it was far from easy to establish such amicable relations as Lord Bloomfield's successor found to exist between the kindred nations. Lord Bloomfield was a good observer, and his letters and journals afford many interesting glimpses of Scandinavian manners. At Cronberg (Denmark) the convicts were fed on horseflesh and appeared "remarkably healthy." The description of a Session of the Norwegian Storthing is full of local colour, not less so that of a Swedish congregation, given a few pages farther on,—the women in white head-dresses and yellow petticoats, the men in long, straight, white coats with blue cuffs, and wearing parti-coloured gloves coming half up the arm. Sixty years ago the curious "bride. exposition" was a universal custom. "She stands in all her finery, with a mareschal on each side, each holding a wax-taper, the maids of honour all in attendance behind ; and this tiresome display lasts an hour." The show was open to the public, and no wonder the brides rebelled against it, but to no purpose, for the mob would not be deprived of the spectacle. Finally, the contents of these volumes abundantly justify their publication, and constitute a worthy record of an eminent public servant and unostentatiously pious and good man.
Verses from Japan. By G. W. Thomson. (Wyman and Son.)— These verses, if from, are hardly of, Japan. In form and substanc they are Western, not Eastern ; but they are fall of pretty conceits, melodiously presented, such as the following :
" Like golden lilies dreaming in the gin, Fond women slumber in the arms of those 1Vhose love lies round them as the sapphire sea Circles the fragrance of an isle of flowers."
Bat the best piece, perhaps, in this dainty volume is the pretty tirade entitled, " Famifera, Japonica." The poet reproaches Ohana (Mlle. Fleur) with her love of tobacco :
"With samisen upon her knees,
And randy fan to coax the breeze, She sits beneath emboiv'ring trees— A little Eastern beauty."
But, alas !
" She smoke', I trow, if she smokes one, Of pipes a hundred daily."
Well may he exclaim :
" In circling clouds your graces fade, No fervour shall your peace invade,
0 exquisite Ohana! But on my knees I'd pray and pine, In passion's agonies divine, If only, sweet, you would resign That Tile nieotiana."
On the cover is an " uta," or distich, in the Japanese character—for Mr. Thomson is a true "Kajin "—in which we are told how the poet, lying on his couch, holds again in his dreams pleasant converse with the gentle folk of Yamato.
Puppets. By Percy Fitzgerald. 3 vols. (Chapman and Hall.)— There are two stories in this novel, connected together by a tie which seems little more than mechanical. There is the fate of Mr. Spencer Benbow and his family, and the love-story of Jessica Bailey and George Conway. Mr. Benbow is presumably intended for a perplexing character, and succeeds in being so. He begins life, if we read aright, with the best intentions, bat has everything against him, and ends with being a scheming villain. In fact, he is a " puppet." Circumstances make him what he is His son, whom he compels to commit bigamy (we speak again with reserve, not being quite clear as to the story), is evidently another puppet. We cannot make out, however, that Lydia Effingham, his first wife, or the hero and heroine of what we have called the second story, can be so described. Mr. Fitzgerald's merits lie, we think, rather in execution than conception. His satire is often very incisive,—the character of Dr. Bailey, the watering-place popular preacher, if somewhat broad in outline and dark in colour, is not wanting in force. Generally, we may say that open the book where you will, it will be found readable, so easy and bright is the style, and so frequent the flashes of lively satire or humorous description ; but that taken continuously, it "drags " somewhat.
Thirty Thousand Thoughts. EditeI by the Rev. Canon H. D. M. Spence, Rev. Joseph Exell, Rev. Charles Neil. (Kegan Paul, Trench, and Co.)—This third volume, with its 516 pages, brings us down as far as " Thought 10,791." We begin to suspect a certain want of critical acumen in the gentlemen who conduct this gigantic enterprise. In their Preface to the present volume they say :" The moral sketch-books, or rather, the moral paint-boxes of masterminds and of keen, appreciative observers of their fellow-men, would be simply invaluable." We do not exactly know what is meant by Li moral paint-boxes," but it may be allowed that "master-minds and appreciative observers of their fellow-men " are invaluable assistants in a work of this kind. In fact, the power of discerning these, and of selecting their best work, is the primary qualification of any one who would conduct it. Where do the editors find what they want P The next sentence runs :—" Among the nearest approaches to this desideratum are the works of S. T. Coleridge, Sir Arthur Helps, Ruskin, Jacox. ' A. K. II. B.,' Hain Friswell, Smiles, Cotton, Carlyle, Richter, Goethe, the Author of the Schomberg.Cotts.
George Eliot, Sydney Smith, Henry Ward Beecher, W. H. Davenport Adams, and F. Perry." Now, there are names here which are absolutely fatal to the critical character of the editors who put forth this programme. One might as well say Virgil and Bevies and Maevius were the greatest Augustan poets. We cannot undertake to criticise the contents of this huge "omninm-gatheram." But we take a specimen almost at random. "In the fourth century Constantinople was the principal seat of Arianism. The loquacious zeal of the people on religious subjects was thus described by an intelligent observer (Gibbon)." Then follows the well-known passage from chapter xxvii. "The city is full of mechanics and slaves," &c. Now, any one would think that the intelligent observer was Gibbon himself. The fact is, that Gibbon could not quote his authority, and tells us so in his note. As no one ever has found the passage, the "correct and liberal scholar" on whose faith ho quoted it, either hoaxed the historian or was hoaxed himself. But this is not the way to make extracts. We are tempted to say of these massive volumes, /.a.ya OffiNiov, falCOY.
What shall we do with Our Daughters? Superfluous Women, and other Lectures. By Mary A. Livermore. (Triibuer and Co.)— Lectures are far more popular in the United States than in England, and Mrs. Livermore states that the substance of this book consists of addresses delivered hundreds of times to audiences in all sections of the country from Maine to California. The novelty of the topics, it is said, "gave them a large hearing ;" but English leaders will probably think there is less in them of novelty than of shrewd sagacity and common-sense. The chapter, for example, on " Physical
Education," is sensible ; but it contains nothing apart from peculiarities of expression and local illustrations that are not to be found in the pages of Kingsley and other English writers. "Signs multiply about us," says Mrs. Livermore, " that the women of the future will have healthy and strong physiques." It is to be hoped that she is right. The statement, however, hardly tallies with an assertion in the same chapter that the dress of women at the present time " is about as damaging to health as it well can be," and that the corsets now in vogue, with their "steel front-pieces all stitched in," are "more objectionable than those worn even half a century ago." Mrs. Livermore asserts, with justice, that women ought to be instructed in business matters enough at least to understand the ordinary forms of business transactions ; and she expresses her regret that American women are taught little and care little about the affairs of their country and about the politics of the day. It is otherwise, the author says, in England. In this country, we are told, intelligent women of the middle class take a lively interest in politics, and are accurately informed about them. " You will find them versed in the affairs of the English Church, even when they are Nonconformists. They are familiar with Colonial affairs, and have an opinion of their own concerning the wisdom or unwisdons, justice or injustice, of English management in India." It is to be feared that this eulogy of middle-class women in England a little exceeds their deserts. English girls are as free now-a-days as their brothers to study politics, since the old notion that such a pursuit is unwomanly has been long ago exploded, but it may be doubted whether, save in exceptional cases, they find the pursuit attractive. The most significant chapter, or lecture, in the book, is on "'Industrial and Technical Training," in which Mrs. Livermore deplores the backwardness of the United States in these respects, when compared with European countries.
The White Witch. (Bentley and Son.)—This novel will be best described by saying that it belongs to the school of Mrs. Wood, and is a very creditable study in the style of that artist in fiction. It is obviously difficult to criticise a story of this kind. It depends upon its plot, and a plot can hardly be criticised without being revealed. Something, however, may be said. Mr. Mayne, a fine old country squire, marries, as his second wife, a lady of whose antecedents little is known. She has a daughter, but she is evidently unwilling that the daughter should come to her husband's house. But her husband overbears her, and the daughter comes. Then it becomes evident that thero is some secret. What this can be will certainly puzzle a reader of average ingenuity. The girl stoops to craft and deceit, yet she is manifestly of a noble temper ; and it seems impossible to say what is the explanation of a contradiction so strange. The ddnouement is not an altogether satisfactory explanation. It seldom is. It is generally here that the novelist who has been most successful iu preparing an elaborate surprise will be found to fail. One doubts whether the heroine, in this case, could ever have been capable of the folly with which she is credited. One may object, too, to the villain, that he is far too successful in his daring. Such coolness and audacity could scarcely have been possible in a man, lying, so to speak, under sentence of death.
Notes of Sermons. Preached by the Right Rev. E. Steere. Edited by the Rev. R. M. Heanley. (Bell and Sons.)—These " Notes " come with the highest commendation from the life and work of their author. Dr. Steere spent sixteen years of his life as a missionary in Africa. During the last eight years of that time he was Bishop of Central Africa. This life of activity was not incompatible with a habit of severe thinking. Bishop Butler was his favourite author; and he had something at least of that great divine's clearness and power. " Sermon-Notes" are not, indeed, a very favourable way of judging of a preacher. There can be no question of literary power about them. It is not easy to judge whether these dry bones, when they are clothed upon, will show a shapely and attractive form. Still we can see that they are bones. Some sermons are clearly without these necessary foundations. The " Notes " are arranged, we should say, in the order of the Christian year. They number exactly ono hundred.
In The Conventional Lies of Our Civilisation (Free Thought Publishing Co.), we have an excellent American translation of the seventh edition of a work by Max Norden, which has been officially proscribed in Austria. The author, who holds that the world is utterly out of joint, believes the discontent and pessimism everywhere prevalent to be due to the perpetual conflict between our secret convictions and our outward life. This inconsistency he treats under its various forms —the lies of Religion and of a Monarchy and Aristocracy, political, economic, matrimonial, and miscellaneous lies. If we admit his pi-emisses, as no reasonable Englishman will, that all cultivated people, consciously or unconsciously, accept the Materialistic theory of the universe, then no doubt it must be allowed that there is a vast amount of self-deception afloat. Apart from this, he deals some telling blows at obvious anomalies in our civilised societies in a trenchant fashion, and with the aid of a style
far more incisive and epigrammatic, even in the translation, than we expect to find in a German writer. But many of his onslaughts lose their point to an English •reader. His sketch of political life is obviously drawn from his experiences of American professional politicians; and his picture of the galling restrictions of bureaucracy, under which the working-classes suffer, may be true of Germany, but is a gross caricature of England. Finally, we would point out that his panaceas for the evils—physical, social, and economic—of civilised humanity, are partly Utopian, and mainly consist of a revolution in the land system, on conditions under which the purely physical excellence of the race would have the freest development. Now, the logical outcome of the evolution theory, in which he firmly believes, precludes the possibility of our ever reverting to such a regime of " physiocracy " as he describes. And Herr Nordan is by way of being nothing if not logical. Nevertheless, though more successful in the destructive than the constructive portions of his book, he in both compels our respect, though seldom our assent, by the sincerity and earnestness with which he propounds his views, even when they are most startling.
POETRY.—Dryburgh Abbey, and other Poems. By Thomas Agar Holland, M.A. (Hatchards.)—Precedence may fairly be given to a veteran, whose first poem dates as far back as 1820, and gained some kindly commendation from Sir Walter Scott himself. Mr. Holland's verso is always graceful and easy, and at its best when it is slightly tinged with humour. "Crumbs for the Birds," for instance, with its sprightly description of the winged visitors that come to a window in hard weather, is particularly pleasing. As it is too long to quote, and does not well bear division, we quote a sonnet on a kindred subject :
" HOUSE SWALLOWS.
['Ant arg,nta lams cirenmvolitavit hirundo.'—Vmu. Geer. 1.]
Lower not the topmost sash, lest you should breach Our Martins' wigwam, Lamed of rough-cast rude, But deftly wove and lined within, close glued To conjoined wall and window, whence they pleach A dome inverse; wherein with gargling speech Ventriloquous, yon chartered pair may brood
Over their callow young : let none intrude
Upon their home, nor its staunch fee impeach.
Then shall another tribe, on pillions fleet, Skimming green meadow and quick-dimpled mere, In mid-air kiss and whisper as they meet : Till, bound for distant climes, they shall compeer With kindred thousands on each ridgy height, Revolve their course, and preen their plumes for flight. September, 1872."
—Poems. By Arthur Reed Ropes. (Macmillan.)—By way of contrast, we notice next in order Mr. Ropes's volume, an utterance of the newest school in poetry. The verse is skilfully wrought; it is full of ingenious fancy and feeling, somewhat morbid perhaps, and tinged with a pessimism which does not seem quite genuine, but is often powerfully expressed. In short, there are abundant proofs in this little book of real ability. We only feel as we read that we should like to breathe a fresher, freer atmosphere, and get quit of a certain sickly perfume which seems to surround us. Perhaps as good a specimen as we can give to justify both praise and blame may be found in "Drone Honey " :— " I know a land whereto few go to dwell, About whose loveliness there breathes a spell Through ranks of reeds and whispering waves of grasse,',
And many a hazy bill and dreaming deil.
And all that country like a sorceress seems, Who murmurs mystic spells nalown the streams, And in her shadowy treasure-house amasses The sweetness and the sleep of all men's dreams.
Therein the drones make honey—not as ours, Nor drawn from bloom of garden beds and bowers, But from a land of poppy and lotos, l' dug Unnakened by the freshness of spring flowers.
With all the richness of her leaves unrolled The poppy dreams through every glossy fold, More frequent than in fields of harvest, s'ghing To the soft wind that ripples all their gold.
Therefrom is drawn the honey of rest or pain, Like that strange sweetness of the Colchian Whereof who tasted were as men made drunken, And some that tasted overmuch were slain.
And they that overmuch delight in sleep, The house of such shall be a ruinous heap, Even as the Cities of the Plait, down-sunken Beneath the horror of a leaden deep.
But he that tastes not more than man may hear Shall have sweet dreams about him everywhere, And in the beat and drouth of dusty summer Shall breathe pure perfume of a cooler air.
The scandals waking troubles overworn, The petty strifes whereby the most are tore, These shall he look on as a casual corner, And pass them with a smile, but not of scorn."
—A Minor Poet, and other Verse. By Amy Levy. (T. Fisher Unwin.)—The " Minor Poet" is the last soliloquy of one who finds the pain and burden of powers which cannot find an adequate expression in anything that he can achieve, too great to be borne, and seeks to escape them by suicide. The " Epilogue " is the utterance of a sober-minded friend, who is content to take life as he finds it. " Xantippe " is an apology for the woman in whom a hastily-judging world has seen only a philosopher's scolding wife. In Miss Levy's verse she is the aspirant after truth, whom the sage, filled with the Greek's belief in a woman's inferiority, relegates to household drudgery. " Medea " is an adaptation and sequel to Euripides, and is
as genuinely classical in its spirit as anything that we have seen for some time. Miss Levy writes with no small power. Her longer poems must be read in their entirety before they can be judged. A stanza from one of the shorter pieces—" A Greek Girl"—will give some notion of her gift of expression
Thrice-blest, thrice-crowned, of gods thrice-lova she— That other, fairer maid, who tombward brings
Her gold, shorn locks and piled-up offerings Of fragrant fruits, rich wines, and spices rare, And cakes with honey sweet, with saffron fair ; And who, unchecked by any thought of shame, May weep her tears, and call open his name, With burning bosom prest to the cold ground, Knowing, indeed, that all her life is erowted, Thrice-crowned, thrice-honoured, with that love of his No dearer crown en earth is there, I wis."
Told in a Coble, and other Poems. By Susan K. Phillips. (J. S. Fletcher, Leeds.)—There is a freshness and vigour about Miss Phillips's poems of the sea (and these make up about half the volume) which are worthy of high commendation. " Told in a Coble," a story of smuggling ; " Spoken in Haste," with its sad theme, repeated in so many ways, of "died by drowning ;" and " Why They Kept Holiday," with its happier ending of wonderful returns of those that had been thought lost, are excellent specimens of their kind. In these ballads, or short metrical tales, Miss Phillips is at her best. As our space will not admit of their quotation, we must be content with a shorter specimen :—
" ON THE SEABOARD.
The drift-wood fire blazing High on the cottage hearth ; The flames through the twilight gleaming Like spirits awake to mirth;
A babe in a cradle lying, With a flush on its rounded cheek ; And a woman at the lattice,
Whose eyes through the darkness seek,
Yet glance from the wild waves tossing Their snowy crests in the gloom, To see that the kettle is boiling, The board fair spread in the room.
And eat on the waste of waters, A boat adrift on the tide, And a dead man rising and falling
As the great seas heave at her side."
—Songs after Sunset. By William Staniland. (Elliot Stock.)— Mr. Staniland has fancy, but it is not very happy. In his principal poems, " The Betrayal," the thoughts of Judas, as be wanders, waiting for the end, are described by this strange simile :— " As in stagnant pools
When, in its turbid bed, the restless eel Uneasily meanders, airy globes Haste from the charnel-house, and straight explode, Rejoicing in a parer life."
Nor can we say that he is happier in narrative. What lines are these, that finish the story !—
"Then. oversfrained, The girdle broke; and that, accursed ern pse, Careering through the air, emote on the earth ; And in the plain eviscerated Isy."
Turning to another effort, we find a lifeboat credited with a "hand outstretched in tenderness to save some sinking soul," and next with feet, at which the poet lays his praises.—The Confessions of Hermes, and other Poems. By Paul Hermes. (David McKay, Philadelphia.) —The writer has considerable power of expression, especially in his mastery of rhyme. Many of his combinations are novel without being ludicrous, an achievement not altogether easy. But his power wants a more rigid discipline than it has hitherto received.— Somnia Medici. By John A. Goodcbild. (Kegan Paul, Trench,. and Co.)—There is a facility in these verses, but it is what has been called a "fatal facility." What is easy writing is often very hard reading ; and Mr. Goodchild's verse, fluent and not without grace and tenderness as it sometimes is, is, for the most part, no exception to the rule.—Dayald Buchanan's Spiritual Songs, translated into English verse by L. Macbean (Maclachlan and Stewart, Edinburgh), derive a certain interest from the source from which they come, but do not exhibit, at least in the form which they present to the English reader, much literary merit.—The Hollanders in Nova Zembla : an Arctic Poem. Translated from the Dutch of Hendrik Tollens by Daniel van Pelt, M.A. (G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York.)—Here we find the interest rather in the "Historical Introduction," supplied by Mr. S. R. van Campen, than in the poem itself. The subject is the expedition sent from Amsterdam in 1396, under the leadership
of Jacob van Heemskerck, William Barents, and John van der Ryp. The tale will never lose its interest ; but that interest is not heightened by the metrical form which it takes in this volume.—Ifusa
Silveslris. By Gerald Bendall. (Kegan Paul, Trench, and Co.)— Mr. Beudall celebrates in his verse beauties almost as numerous as
those whom Waller enumerates in his famous catalogue of his loves.
This is well enough where the characteristic of the poems is chiefly fancy, as it is in those which the Laureate addresses to "Adeline,"
" Lilian," and the rest ; but it repels where the language is, as it is,. for the most part, in this volume, that of serious passion. The poems are often graceful, and, this exception allowed, pleasing. We quote a specimen, which is, perhaps, a little above the average : "Con UNIIM, VIA UNA.
My mistress shall go with me through the day, When I am walking in the busy street ;
Two soft eyes and a whisper all the way To solace me ; while people that I meet Will seem like painted actors in a play, oft seen and marked no more; the words they say Unheeded, and unfelt their woe, their mirth Because there dwells in my most constant sight A sweeter campany than theirs, or they. What is my rare imagination worth. . If in my love it yield me no delight ? "
—We have received :—Poems and Swedish Translations, by Frederick Peterson, M.D. (Peter Paul and Brothers, Buffalo, N.Y.) ; Rienzi, and other Poems, by the Rev. W. H. Winter (W. McGee, Dublin.)
NEW EDITIONS AND REPRINTS.—Poems. By Charles Kingsley. 2 vols. (Macmillan.)—The first of these two volumes contains "The Saints' Tragedy," first published iu 1848, and the second " Andromeda and Miscellaneous Poems." " Andromeda " was written in 1832. The ten years of which this occupies about the middle seem to have been the period of Kingsley's chief poetical activity, about two-thirds of the poems dating between 1847 and 1857. Between this year and 1862 was a barren period, broken by the Installation Ode when the Duke of Devonshire was made Chancellor of Cambridge.
The last poem in the volume bears date, "Colorado, June 30th ;" the earliest belongs to 1835, when the author was sixteen, and is written mostly in very fair blank verse. We quote a poem (September 21st, 1870) of which our readers may be glad to have their memory refreshed :— Speak low, speak little ; who may sing While yonder cannon-thunders boom ? Watch, shuddering, what each day m ty bring, Nor pipe amid the crack of doom.'
And yet the pines sing overhead, The robins by the alder-pool, The bees about the garden-bed. The children dancing home from school.
And ever at the loom of Birth The mighty Mother weaves and sings ; • She weaves—fresh robes for mangled earth ; She sings—fresh hopes for desperate things.
And thou, too if through Nature's calm Some strain of music touch thine airs, Accept and share that soothing balm, And sing, though choked with pitying tears."
—The Temple, Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations, by George Herbert (Parker and Co.), is a reprint of the first edition, supposed to belong to 1632, the spelling having been modernised, and a few other alterations made in the printing.—A Smaller Biblia Pauperum (T. Fisher Unwin) is a reproduction, in a reduced size and with various additions, of a memorial volume which Mr. Unwin brought oat at the Caxton Celebration of 1877. Both within and without the volume is a highly ingenious and successful imitation of antiquity.—The November volume of " Morley's Universal Library" contains Voltaire's Candide and Samuel Johnson's Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.—We have also a second edition of The Bread-winners a Social Study (Frederick Warne), a novel from the other side of the Atlantic which has achieved considerable success.-Six Thousand Illustrations of Moral and Religious Truths, by the Rev. J. Bate (Jarrold and Co.), has reached a "ninth edition ;" and The Charities Register Digest, with an introduction by C. S. Loch (Longmans), a second edition, revised up to date.
The Art Journal, 1884. (J. S. Virtue.)—The Art Journal is too old a favourite with the publie to need any special recommendation. Little more is needed than to say that this massive volume of nearly four hundred pages is not below the level of its predecessors. Thirteen etchings, twelve line engravings, six fac-similes, as many engravings from sculpture, and a number of minor illustrations, with the usual variety of articles on artistic and kindred subjects, make up the contents. When one sees a year's issue thus put together, one begins to realise what an amount of trouble and skill is expended on the Art Journal, and its contemporaries that have a like object.
The Post-Office London Directory for 1885. (Kelly and Co.)—This, the eighty-sixth annual publication, now contains upwards of 2,650 pages. As examples of recent revision the following may be cited:— Mr. Sampson S. Lloyd, the new Member of Parliament for South Warwickshire, who was gazetted November 11th, is entered in the Parliamentary section and Court section ; and Professor Stuart, the new Member of Parliament for Hackney, gazetted November 21st, appears in the same divisions ; Mr. Courtney's resignation of the Financial Secretaryship of the Treasury, confirmed in the papers of December 3rd, kas been attended to in the official directory ; Mr. Campbell-Bannerman, whose appointment to the Privy Council was gazetted December 5th, appears in the list of Privy Councillors, also as Chief Secretary for Ireland in the Parliamentary list.