5 MARCH 1881, Page 23

POISTRY.—Corydalis 3 a. Story of tho Sicilian Expedition. By Edward

M. llstwtroy. (C. Kogan Paul and Co.)—A graceful prologue, written in a flowing verse that reminds one of Mackworth Praed, claims the reader's favourable attention to the drama that follows. The heroine is an Athenian maiden, who accompanies her brother on the fatal expedition against Syracuse, and is rescued from the slavery to which she is doomed by the happy chance which discovers in Peri- phron, tyrant of Gela, the Agathon whom, she had known in the days of his exile. In his tragical passages, the writer scarcely rises to the height that we look for ; the lighter dialogue is better, and the episodes, such as Parmenidete song of the "Orgies," and Polyxena's death from the Hecuba, are ornaments of no common beauty to the book. Corydatis shows scholarship, taste, and some poetical power. —Songs and Poems, from 1819-1879. By J. R. Planclu5. (Chatto and Windus.)—There is little here Of the speciality of humour, for which Mr. Planch6 became famous. We will confess that we do not regret its absence. The "Story of Ariadne " is of the burlesque kind, and it is quite as much, we fancy, as any reader of taste will care to have. If any one is amused with such fun as this, he is, from one point of view at least, to be envied :— " The happy'pair to Naxos sped, to peso their honeymoon,

But when it mune to forking-out, the bridegroom ceased to spoon ; And early one fine morning, I'm quite ashamed to Bay,

He left poor Ariadne with the tavern bill to pay."

The greater part of this volume is occupied with occasional verses, of the sentimental and serious kind, which Mr. Planche wrote from time to time during his long life. They are often graceful and tender, if not of any striking value ; and many will be glad to have them, as memorials of a genial and accomplished man.—Another memorial volume is Fragments of Verse. By Henrietta A. Duff. (Marcus Ward and Co.)—bliss Duff wrote some bright and clover tales, but her verso was not often better than hundreds of ladies and gentlemen can produce. It is hard to say that what reminds her friends of a gracious and cultured spirit should be suffered to pass into forgetful- ness. No one can blame the love which has suggested the publica- tion of this volume; and perhaps in such a case, it is well to think as much of the affection of the living as of the fame of the dead.— The Golden Queen : a Tale of Love, War, and. Magic. By Edward A. Sloane. (Griffith and Farran.)—This is an Indian story of war between the Creeks and the Seminoles. We must honestly say that we should have liked it better in prose. Mr. Sloane does not manage verso with the skill which is wanted to make it please a reader. It is impossible to find twenty consecutive lines where it is not obvious that the expression has been altered, and altered for the worse, made obscure, or harsh, or strange, under pressure of the exigencies of the metre. As for the metre, we do not understand what the author means. He wishes to avoid monotony, and intro- duces what he calls "a slight innovation," "introduced for the first time in rhyming pentameter verse, we believe," but "of such a lightly. marked character, and of so indiscernible to the general reader, that if left unnoticed, it might have passed unobserved." Here is a speci- men of his ordinary verse " Is island-icebergs in mid-ocean meet, Recoil with shock and backwardly retreat, Their masses rent amid the furious foam, Yet gather force age in to crashing come ; Thus Ucheo met the enemy in war, The great concussion sounding loud afar,"

This is very poor heroic verse of the common kind. Then follows about four pages of this :—

"The Seminoles resit at impetuous pace,

And charging fiercely their foemen they face

Their war-whoops they h110 . nt, the conflict notice ring,. The bravos on the foemen vengeance fierce spring.'

This, we suppose, is dactylic. Does Mr. Sloane imngine that to the " general reader," with even a rudiment of an ear, this difference will be indiscernible, or that he is carrying out his intention not to " vary the construction of the verse." It could not, it seems to us, be varied more thoroughly, and, we may add, with worse result.— Dolores : a Theme with Variations. (C. Kogan Paul and Co.)—Here is a long, versified story of love and hatred. But what are we to say of such verse as this P-

" Dolores rushed to save ; But her weak arm, though with Love's magnet freighted,— Her agonised voice, to which wild terror gave Unearthly tones,--not in the least abated

The vengeance Rex poured forth upon the man lie hated." It is not all on so low a level ari this ; but how any one who has pre- sumably read the groat master.pieces of English poetry could let such lines as these pass into print, is inconceivable.—Marie Antoinette. (0. Kegau Paul and Co.)—The writer should have taken one point of interest in the unhappy Queen's career, and male it the centre of a drama. As it is, he has given us a sort of historical play, beginning with the affair of the diamond necklace and ending with the scaffold. We see traces of power in his work, but it has been dissipated on a subject which has proved unmanageably large.—Ezze/in : a Dramatic Poem. By Two Brothers. (Bell and Sons.) We do not see that Ezzelin, the hero of this piece, is a type of any class whatsoever. Ho is a lawless youth, such as might be found in any age, and gets the merest outside colour from the circumstances of his time. Father Dante, the right-minded Inquisitor, is a more characteristic and vigorous portrait. The poem does not gain from its dramatic shape, but it is not without force, and the verse has sometimes a dignity which raises it above the level of mediocrity.— Antiope : a Tragedy. (C. Kegan Paul and Co.)—This is a classical tragedy, in subject and form ; we cannot say that the resemblance goes much further. The writer has some power of expression, and some command of verse. But he is not equal to his theme, and ho suggests a comparison which is not by any means in his favour. Hero is a specimen of his choral odes :— "Wen in rapturous groves of Pieria, where odorous garlends and Syrian gales Wreathe caressingly round the fine tendrils, and sweep thy glad brow, thy ear's

emit with wails

Of the frost-Ertrieken Borean breezes, which wind with a biting end icy embrace Round Coryens' sharp crags, towering em-or your mystical dances, your beauty and grace."

We arc reminded as we read of the grand rush of Mr. Swinburne's verse in Atalanta in Calydon ; but the reminder does not help us to like Antiope.—The Conventiad, and other Poems, by "A. B. E." (Samuel Tinsley.) — The Cones,:tied is a coarse and vulgar at- tempt at satire, aimed, as far as we can gather its meaning, at the Church Congress at Brighton. The other poems are somewhat in the Ingoldsby style, and are bettor than that which they follow. What does "A. B. E." mean by "old Sir Coverley's mystic whirl F" The dance called" Sir Roger de Coverloy " may possibly be " mystic," —which depends on whether it has a moaning and conceals it,—but it is certainly not a " whirl."—Poetas, Grave and Gay, by Joseph Verey (Tinsley Brothers), is a volume of moderate verse, the "gay" being, perhaps, a little better than the " grave."—Tho Crucifixion, and other Poems. By Benjamin George Ambler. (W. Poole.)—Mr. Ambler's principal poem is, perhaps, the worst in his volume. We do net even know whet authorities he follows. One of the Evangelists says that "many bodies of the saints which slept arose," after the Crucifixion ; but we find here St. Peter saying,— " Dead men's bones, Stir, rattling in the tomb, or rising join ; And clothed again in flesh, with eyes that chill The warm blood of the living, ghastly stare. Telling of miseries they dare not speak."

—Sketches in. Verse, by Henry Gramshaw, L.R.C.P. (A. Stebbings, Lowestoft.)—Theso are the amusements of a man of some culture and power of expression, smoothly running verso, with now and then a touch of humour.—The Art of Poetry of Horace, with free and explanatory translations in prose and verse, by tho Rev. Daniel Begot, D.D. (Blackwood and Sons), has reached a third edition.

The Statesntan's Year-Book, by Frederick Martin (Macmillan), has reached its eighteenth year of publication. Little need be said of a book which has made itself an indispensable book of reference for those who have to deal with political matters. The present volume has boon put together with the customary care, and has all the corn. pletencss and freshness of information which we are now accustomed to expect in it The chronicle of events has been brought up to the end of last year, and the budgets, statistical returns, &c., are as recent as could be obtained. There is an interesting comparative table of wheat-producing countries, from which we learn that the United Kingdom, holy, and Austro-Hungary are about on n. level, and to- gether fall considerably short of the United States.