21 NOVEMBER 1840, Page 15

A II A. Tell Or ANNI'l I.S.

Or the eight splendid volumes laid out before us, six are edited by ladies fr,un the (1:tshing Countess of BLEssixt;rox to simple MART 11M1Ler31r. 11.)acalr, whoae polished fluency assorts with the fair CI111111:1111 Ile is in, being the only author of the ruder sex. The avoca- tion of editing Annuals is properly a feminine out': and the et mtri- biet ire. celled from e the mob of gentlemen who write with ea ae," vie with the ladies in the gliding, glancing style, that skims lightly over the surface of thotIght, and indicates the salient points of external objects with glittering elegance : here and there some poet throws in an idea, but it is clad in drawing-room ceatume, so as not to

offend by violent contrast. It strikes one as a singular result of the trading system of authorcraft, to see the " noble" and highly-gifted of the gentle sex harnessed to the gilded wains annually launched by the speculators in this flimsy merchandise : the fair ones sport as freely round the pictured lumber which it is their task to drag into notice, as the doves that draw the car of Venus flutter in their silken bonds. But there is no soaring with such a tether, even for the wing of genius.

The Keepsake maintains its pretensions to be the " aristocratic Annual," by an array of titled and fashionable contributors that reads like a - list of Court visitors; though Mr. AINSWORTH takes precedence of the Marquis WELLESLEY, and BARRY CORNWALL eclipses Viscount MAIDSTONE. " The Two Roses," by the Honour- able E. Niters, is a story of fashionable flirtation, of the proper staple for such wares, and more readable, because more real, than the romantic legends. Its illustration, too, by EUGENE LAM, is a remarkable representation of a scene in the comedy of coquetry as acted daily in the fashionable world, and the best picture of modern costume and manners that we have ever met with : the affected languid indifference of the coquette, and the assumed nonchalance of her favoured visitor, both conscious of though they do not recognize the vexation and scorn of the intruder, are capitally expressed ; and the persons are gentlefolks too. Lady BLEssisoToN's " Scenes in the Life of a Young Portrait-painter," is a clever sketch of the sitters to a Dinner: but the ignorance of the vulgar is caricatured, the sentiment of the refined is namby-pamby, and the whole is artificial and unreal. The poetry is neither better nor worse than the generality of album verses. Sir E. L. BULWER, in "The Last Separation," evinces that supe- rior command of words which enables the practised author to dilute an epigram into an ode, without giving the reader occasion to suspect the infinitesimal quantity of thought diffused through the limpid stream of verse. The lady lyrists, Mrs. MABERLY, Mrs. FAIRLIE, Mrs. TORRE IIOLME, Mrs. ADDY, and Lady E. STUART WORTLEY, are all outshone by Miss TIIEODOSIA GARROW ; who, like the debutante fresh from the country, has not lost her healthful bloom, that may disappear perhaps by the next Annual season. From her charming poem, " Imagine's Reward," in which a tender and gentle inspiration, and a quick and delicate perception of natural beauties, are no less remarkable than the graceful and musical style and vivid painting of images, we quote a few stanzas of description.

" Soft be the beams of the summer sun, Fresh be the bowering shade, And pleasant the greensward under foot, And the clear sky over head; ' For the Lady Imagine whiles the time In the fair gardens of Ildesheim." * * * " She watches the bees in the woodbine wreath, And the lizard's golden green; She lists to the chant of the grasshoppers

That sing in the leaves unseen — When, hark 1 there rises a piteous cry

Of some wild creature's misery.

" Up look'd the Lady Imagine, As the small shrill voice she heard, And fluttering round and round again • She saw a little gray bird, Nearer to earth, and yet snore near, Circling, and crying for pain or fear.

"She parted the green leaves silently, She put back the rosebuds sweet, Till she saw a serpent's gem-like eye Gleam close beside her feet, Where coiled in a hideous knot it lay Watching the flight of its trembling prey.

" Back started the lady with quicken'd breath, As nigh the victim came To the wide red slimy jaws beneath, And the eager eye of flame. Her beautiful check with tears grew wet To think of the poor bird's cruel fate.

"She rustled the boughs, she shook the flowers, That still in the sunshine lay ; She seared the serpent with hand and voice,

And he slid in the grass away—

While the little gray bird, with powerless wing, Fell on the green earth shuddering.

" "bras pleasant to see that lady bright Sit under the clustering shade, Smoothing its plumes with her fingers white, And lifting its languid head, And watching the light in its half-closed eye Chase terror's glazed agony.

" For there was a glow in her heart the while, Which brightens the homeliest face, Which addeth a charm to the highest lot, And lends to the rudest grace- lers the kind heart and the helpful arm, Which acorn not to succour the lowest worm.

" She watcli'd its life return again,

As it lay in her fair warm hand,

Till the dull stupor left its brain, And it strove to rise and stand; Then fluttering for awhile, at length Soar'd upwards with recover'd strength.

" On the topmost branch of a slender tree It sat in the golden light : The lady look'd back as she homewards went, But the bird war still in sight, Swaying and singing and glistening there,

Bathed in the love of the sunny air."

The " little gray bird" proves to he a shape assumed by a spirit, who rewards the fair lady by delivering her lover Count Otto from

captivity. In the embellishments, Messrs. Macrasn, HERBERT, ConnouLn, and 'Tress, vie with each other in theatrical displays of costume ; and an apotheosis of Lady Blessington in the frontispiece seems to represent the presiding genius of some ideal world of fashion, casting a look of pitying regard on the mortals who are doomed to wear the form of imperfect nature, instead of the per- fections of CHALON.

The Book of Beauty is distinguished by a bevy of Cusr.ox's splendid monstrosities bedecked in a style that must be the despair of the modiste and the ti'iseur. The ladies are evidently of taut ton, for none of them can be less than seven feet high : their amplitude of bust tapers into a span of waist like the neck of a balloon ; the colossal structure of silk and gauze being crowned by tangled bushes of hair, and strewed over with a shower of bows and a heavy fall of lace. The charm of art, strange to say, gives pictorial attraction to these ludicrous deformities of figure and the meretricious air of the faces attached to them : nevertheless, we prefer such portraits as

that of the Countess Ziechi, by GRANT ; and Mrs. White, whom Mr. W. FISHER, a limner content to picture beauty as she is,

has represented apparently so engrossed with the thoughts that give

life to her handsome features, that she is not conscious of her atti- tude or dress. Mr. JOHN HATTER, too—whose mannerism is

limited to a stringy playfulness of pencil, as though he wove his draperies out of tangled thread or vine-tendrils, and a peculiar pat- tern of eyes set round with spiky lashes—sometimes manages to give a look of unsophisticated nature ; as in the sweet ingenuous face of Miss Isabella Montgomery, who, all innocent of the know- ledge of' her own charms, looks like a simple wondering gazer at those throned idols of fashion the Dutchess of Beaufort, Mrs. B.

D'Israeli, and Mrs. C. Martyn, stuck up by the high priest, Mr. CIIALON, to be worshipped as divinities of beauty. We had

almost overlooked the Queen, who leads the host of beauty ; and,

as represented by Mr. W. DRUMMOND, might almost be mistaken for one of the maids, (not of honour,) seeing how she looks

in the royal bridal-dress, involuntarily lifting her band in stupid admiration. The prose literature of the volume includes several clever papers : "Westover Court," a sketch of a deserted old mansion going to decay, and haunted by the last of his race, the only descendant of a long line of illustrious ancestry, is a bit of the romance of real life, pleasantly narrated by Mr. BERNAL;

" A Rencontre," a story of a broken nose, smartly told by Captain MARRYAT ; " The Usher," a portrait from school life, by BARRY CORNWALL; and an imitation of "Chesterfield's Letters," by Lord POWERSCOURT. The verses are not so choice ; neither the spirit of friendship nor the charms of art having inspired the writers of tri- butary strains to the "Beauties."

The Children of the Nobility are a set of after-dinner delights— miniature enormities with haycocks of curls and rivers of sash girdling groves of " vile standing tucks"; from out which poke a pair of doll's legs below and a precocious specimen of juvenile intelligence above. The little Miss Lascelles looks as if scru- tinizing a candidate for the office of lady's maid; instead of weaving a daisy-chain. The abridgment of Beef-eater in the frontispiece presents a sad case of water on the brain ; and the children of Lord Chesterfield ought to be in a hair-cutter's shop. CIIALON, however, would make a portrait of a doll a pleasing pic- ture, and give Mr. Punch himself an air of ton; and Ile has shown, in the head of Viscount Anson, that he can do justice to a nice face, though he is so false one knows not how to trust him, and one suspects his peacocks to be only daws in borrowed plumes. Seeing what havoc other limners make of infantine characters—Lucss has put Lord Morpeth's grave head on the shoulders of little Lord Ca- vendish—it is not surprising that his flashy mannerisms should be preferred. The poetical tributes to the little darlings shall be sacred even from ridicule.

Finden's Tableaux are just such versions of rustic scenes as might be got up in a drawing-room by the peasants of a fancy-ball, costumed under the superintendence of a theatrical "dresser," and grouped by a clever artist. The poor widow gleaning appears to have just stepped from her carriage ; the ploughman making love is a squire of high degree ; the gipsy-party are evidently people of fashion ; and time head-dresses of the two village-lasses in the har- vest-field are in full toilette. With all this, there is a feeling of the graceful in the pictures, that pleases, despite the affectation and effianinacy of the artist's mannerism. The father's return home is a group that would have done honour to the rustic character; and the joyous spirit of the dancers in the title-vignette of " Har- vest-Home" only wants a snore pastoral simplicity and better draw- ing to make it satisfactory. Miss MerFoun's scenes of village life are fresh and bright with sunshine, and animated with reality, though her pictures are en beau; but no one hits off the little traits of rustic character and the hedgerow beauties of rural scenery with Bo gay and buoyant is touch. Of the poetry, " Returning from Milking," and the " Harvest-Home," by Miss Hannisos, are the choicest : the latter indeed, with its wayward and airy fancies, comes over time mind like the breath of autumn from the golden harvest- field, laden with sweets and freshness, and bearing the merry sounds of rejoicing, by distance made beautifbl—it is a genuine English pastoral.

MARY HOW ITT'S poetry, in the Drawing-Room ,9crap-Book, flows with time calm and even flow of a sweet melody ; not stirring the feelings deeply, nor entrancing the sense, but dulcet, voluble, and more genuine and fervid than might be expected from the very miscellaneous subjects supplied by Mr. Frames stock of second-

hand pictures. But in many cases the print is only a peg whereon to hang a copy of verses : thus a print of the " Valley of Sweet Waters" gives rise to this glad effusion.


Summer's full of golden things! Youth it wearetli angel's wings! Youth and love go forth together,

In the green-leaved summer weather,

Filled with gladness!

Summer, rich in joy it is, Like a poet's dream of bliss ; Like unto some heavenly clime! For the earth in summer time Dotli not wear a shade of sadness!

Radiant youth, thou art ever new! Thine 's the light, the rose's line ; Flower's perfume, and winds that stir, Like a stringed dulcimer, All the forest Joyous youth ! thou art fresh and fair, Wild as wildest bird of air; Thou, amidst thy ringing laughter, Look'st not forward, look'st not after, Knowing well that joy is surest !

Brighter than the brightest flowers; Dancing down the golden hours; Thus it is in every land, Youth and love go hand-in-band, Linked for ever!

Youth, thou never lost decay ! Summer, thou dust not grow ,gray.!

We may sleep with Death and Time, But sweet youth and summer's prime From the green earth shall not sever!"

Of the portraits, that by C. INGRAM, of " The Missionary's Wife," is worth a score of fashionable beauties, for the mild, steady light of goodness that suffuses the clear and open brow and sweet frank thee : and of the views, one in the Himalaya, by TURNER, is better than a bookful of commonplaces, so vast, an idea of distance and altitude is conveyed by the billowy waste of mountains mingling with the clouds.

In the Juvenile Scrap-Book, Mrs. ELLIS ingeniously contrives to

weave the publisher's odds and ends of old stores into illustrations of narratives. Thus the story of Mary Queen of Scots, and a gossip about old castles, include three or tint'.; and a discourse of reli- gious rites, another trio of pictures. The conscientious authoress, however, cannot help expressing apologetically in the preface, her sense of the disadvantageous nature of this compelled labour, and her preference for an unfettered choice of themes.

Belgium has been so often traversed and described, that Mr.

ROSCOE could scarcely be expected to do more than furnish for

the Picturesque Annual a readable melange of historical and

descriptive notices of the beaten route from Ostend to Brussels.

His travelling-companion, an enthusiastic young Belgian Count, furnishes a plentiild stock of eulogy of every thing Flemish; and his high-flown rhapsodies accord with the florid though foruml elegance of Mr. lloscoe's style, while they vary its level

character. This is rather an intelligent guide-book than a work of original thought or observation ; and Mr. ALLOM'S careful and matter-of-fist views of the fine and curious old buildings of the various places, are just sufficiently picturesque to be above commonplace : his architectural drawing is masterly, and he in- troduces figures well—us his interior of the Palace of Justice, Bruges, and the Town-hall, Ghent: occasionally, too, he gives us a striking piece of effect—as in a street view in Ghent, show- ing three old towers by moonlight. The whole book has more of the aspect of a business speculation than sonic of the former volumes.

Mr. lloseoe's L(' pmts of Venice do not breathe the soul of passion or partake of the fierce character of the incidents, but may be read with as little expense of sensation as possible; and Mr. Ileattser's illustrations are reduced to the quietude of still-life, so that the sensual and material portion of the art shall make a stronger impression than the pathos. Nothing can be better than the drawing and relief of his forms, the selection of his costumes, the arrangement of his groups, and the scenic back- grounds and accessories : all these suggest the time and place of the legends admirably. But the persons resemble the paralyzed actors of stage tableaux ; their fixed look and suspended action mocking the show of energy and emotion : we long for the prompter to beckon them to move out of their painfid attitudes. Thus, in the story of " The Brides of Venice," the ravishers are motionless though in attitude to move ; and their lovely burdens seem so carefill to preserve their prescribed postures in the sem- blance of struggling, that they forget to assume the proper degree of frantic terror and anguish. Marino Faliero, instead ot' cursing the slanderer of his wife, seems rather swearing at some mischiev- ous monkey beyond his reach ; and his wife, instead of reading with indignation the libel on the chair-back, reminds you of Guist beside LARLACIIII, looking out of her part and casting a sly glance at a cavalier in a side-box. The Doge Faliero, sentencing his son to banishment, might be mistaken for a benovolent old signor apolo- gizing to a wounded man tbr the poor accommodation of the prison where he is lodged, while the wife looks her thanks for the old man's kindness. "The Ambassador's Daughter," horrified at sud- denly seeing the death-gondola bearing the headless corse of her lover, lifts up her hands as if she had merely seen a boat upset ; and " Bianca Cappello" eloping with her uncle's cashier, steps as quietly into the gondola us it' she were going to pity a visit of

course. This is the pageantry of painting, of which the vignette in the title, representing the " Doge Wedding the Adriatic," is a pretty example. The engravings of all Mr. Thanes publications are in the most finished style, and Messrs. FINDENS' also are excellent ; those of Messrs. FISHER are unequal, and too often inferior.