15 MAY 1880, Page 20

Shorter Works in English Prose. Selected, edited, and arranged by

Henry Morley. (Cassell, Petter, and Galpin.)—This volume is part of the very useful and valuable "Library of English Literature," which Professor Morley has now been for some time conducting. A brief preliminary chapter deals with what was written "before the rise of Printing." In this we find the account of "The Land of Prester John," by Sir John Mandeville, of whose general veracity Professor Morley takes a characteristically kindly view. We have also seen extracts from the "Paston Letters." The second chapter takes the reader from William Caxton to Roger Ascham, a period of something less than a century. More, Eliott, and Rogers (the martyr) are among the names which are prominent in this section. And so we are conducted down to the present time, the last extract being from Thomas Carlyle. It is difficult to give an idea of the industry, reading, and judgment which have contributed to produce this volume. There are few readers who will not here make acquaintance with works, often of no little value, which before were wholly strange to them ; and who will not also—a far more important matter—have their views corrected and enlarged by Professor Morley's liberal and candid criticism. Even Aphra Beim, whose name has suggested hitherto none but odious associa- tions, though not exactly rehabilitated, has a kind and judicious meed of praise bestowed on her. She had at least a heart to feel the horror of the slave-trade, and so far, with all her faults, was a long

way in advance of grave moralists and divines. Professor Morley gives us "The History of the Royal Slave," from her pen.