5 DECEMBER 1885, Page 25

Onnalinda : a Romance. By J. McNaughton. (Kegan Paul and

Co.)—One of oar greatest living poets has said that "any one can write verse." Unfortunately, it is too true. The author of Onnalinda can write verse for the space of 242 pages. And before his volume has seen the light of common day, he has induced the Right Hon. the Earl of Lytton, G.C.B., G.C.S.I., the Right Hon. John Bright, M.P., Charles Mackay, M.D., Daniel Wilson, LL.D., F.R.S.E., and the Rev. Andrew White, D.D., to read his verse, and to express, in varying degrees of approval, their opinion of it ; and these opinions adorn the first page of the book. As the best parts of Onncainda remind us of Lord Lytton at his worst, we may conclude that Mr. McNaughton is an admirer of the author of " Glenaveril." But we look in vain for ally touch of the grace and delicacy to be found in "Fables in Song" amidst the jingle of rhyme before as. The story of the loves and adventures of a beautiful Iroquois Princess in the time of the invasion by the French under Deuonville, ought to have been a fruitful subject ; and in the hands of, say, Mr. Edwin Arnold, it would have been invested with pathos. But the hopeless commonplaces of Mr. McNaughton would divest the noblest theme of all its natural poetry ; and we tare away from " Onnalinds, sweet"

(for such the exigencies of our author's rhymes, " meet " and 'repeat," compel her to be), with a feeling of intense weariness. Here are the best lines we can find

A winsome girl of natlrevrace, And a moulded form the loveliest ; Scarce two.and-twenty Junes had kirsed With breath of the rose her charming face—

Brunette, with crimson tinged and blent ; As if 'neath Saxon fans there glowed The warm. maroon of .Indiau blood And stirred a doubt of her descent,— Adoubt that still intenser grew' With her rich garb of Tyrian hue. But her queenly gram and soft attire BoToke a line from noble-sire."

And here is Mr. McNanghton when his theme overmasters him, or rather when Onnalinda becomes overmastered, and takes refuge in the ineffable :— "But brief I'll tell (As one would look But for Italics in a book.) That yeoman wooed He won Thtrysed • Her largess, sank, she.forteited4

They fled Utipityingaire ! nor, tear, -nor prayer, Could touch one tender fooling there. Her tears he spurned,— Redeemed her dead To lcve she turned— And nought their-bread !"

We have the greatest sympathy fer the well-nigh extirpated Red- Indian races ; but we wish their sorrows and -their heroism had a better champion than Mr. McNaughton.

Messrs. Marcus Ward and Co. send us a box of their pretty and elaborately executed Christmas Card, containing cards at all prices, from a halfpenny up to a group of eight cards for a shilling. Some of the little ideal figures of ' Christmas ' and the New Year are very graceful, others less so. The extremely chubby children are not always very taking in expression, though they undoubtedly represent children with a very excellent circulating. system.

Messrs. De la Rae'S very useful and convenient pocket-books, diaries, and-calendars for 1886 have been. seams: Miore.convenient elegant, and useful diaries .ate not easy to conceive than those of Messrs..De la Hee and Co.