Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE DRAMATIC WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE. With a Life of the Poet, and

Notes, Original and Selected. In seven volumes. Boston: HilLIARD, GRAY AND COMPANY. New-York : G. AND C. CARVILL.

We have received more than one intimation, that the remarks which we recently made, in relation to the superiority in externals, which characterize the better works of the Boston press, should be taken cum grano salis ; and that Philadelphia and New-York, to say nothing of other cities, and towns, might well be represented, in a contest for the palm of typographical excellence. But we abide by our position; and triumphantly adduce this edition of SHAKSPEARE, as undeniable proof that our ground is wholly impregnable. Whether we regard the solidity and whiteness of the paper, the sloe-black ink, the beauty of arrangement, and the clearness and even. ness of the impression, the work in question may be pronounced the most beautiful specimen of the 'art preservative of all arts' ever submitted to the American public, and as fully equalling the finest productions of the London press. As Americans, we should be proud exhibit these volumes abroad. The publishers have taken care, also, that the internal should accord with the external propriety. The text of the great dramatist is given with the utmost possible accuracy; a careful examination, to this end, having been made, of all the best editions, ancient and modern. Doubtful or obscure passages are illustrated by notes, as brief as practicable, and yet comprehending all that was necessary for elucidation. In short, the whole is, by far, and in all respects, the most perfect edition of SHAXSPEARE, that ever came under our observation; and as such, we cordially commend it to the public favor. It is embellished with a superb engraving of 'the Immortal,' from the celebrated picture, in the possession of His Grace the Duke of Buckingham, at Stowe, England.

CHEVELEY, OR THE MAN OF HONOR. By Lady Bulwer. In two volumes, 12mo.

pp. 525. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.

It has been generally known, heretofore, in this country, that after a 'cat-and-dogical kind of life, for several years, the author of Pelham and his better half had taken refuge in separate lodgings, and 'refused to treat.' Hence, when it was announced that Lady Bulwer had a novel in press, giving an exposé of the whole domestic squabble, from its incipency to the final catastrophe, every novel-reader was on the qui vive to peruse the humiliating record, so soon as it should escape from the hands of the binder. The book has been published, and is now extant throughout the Union; and as it will probably begin to be laid aside for ever, by the time these pages will have reached our readers, we shall confire our notice of the work to very brief limits.

One thing is certain; if Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer be the husband and father here depicted, he deserves a far abler pen, and more caustic satire, than his sometime companion can lay claim to; but, as in the Yankee character of 'Mr. Snobguess,' which claims to be equally faithfully drawn, there is not the slightest particle of vraisemblance, we are bound to think that the book is a collection of gross caricatures; the convenient vehicle of a disappointed and revengeful spirit. As a novel, it strikes us as sui generis, unless we place it in the class of 'Home-as-Found,' which was, like 'Cheveley,' a medium for the visitation of private retribution, for real or fancied wrongs. Such a work must always be plotless and desultory, since the object is, not to entertain, but to be satirical, and 'excruciatingly severe.' There are two or three scenes, and several passages, in these volumes, which conVOL. XII.

70

vince us that the author is capable of writing a far better book; but until she does, we shall yield but little space to a display of her literary pretensions. That LADY Bulwer has had domestic wrongs, we do not doubt. The error was evidently not all on one side; yet we think we can see, that many of her grounds of complaint are the natural results of her own conduct, and were not altogether unprovoked. In short, we believe the fair lady loved her dogs better than she did her husband, after the second year of their marriage. We need not commend the work to the public, for its curiosity has already demanded two editions, and its maw is still capacious.

DEERBROOK : A NOVEL. By HARRIET MARTINEAU. In two volumes, 12mo. pp. 509.

New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.

For reasons elsewhere stated, we are unable to attempt an adequate or even a general review of this latest work of Miss MARTINEAU. We can only say, that in this, more than in any other volumes she has ever put forth, does she show that she knows'how to observe,' and how to feel. To a good degree of that progressive interest, in incident and development of character, which should distinguish a successful work of fiction, 'Deerbrook'unites some most quiet, truthful pictures of human passions and affections. In portions of the work the style is faultless, the thoughts noble, and beautiful exceedingly. As evidence of this, we ask the reader to take the following episodical passage home to the heart :

"There needs no other proof that happiness is the most wholesome moral atmosphere, and that in which the immortality of man is destined ultimately to thrive, than the ele vation of soul, the religious aspiration, which attends the first assurance, the first sober certainty, of true love. There is much of this religious aspiration amidst all warmth of virtuous affections. There is a vivid love of God in the child that lays its cheek against the cheek of its mother, and clasps its arms about her neck. God is thanked (perhaps unconsciously) for the brightness of his earih, on summer evenings, when a brother and sister, who have long been parted, pour out their beart-stores to each other, and feel their course of thouglit brightening as it runs. When the aged parent hears of ihe honors his children have won, or looks round upou their innocent faces as the glory of his decline, his mind reverts to Him who in them prescribed the purpose of his life, and bestowed its grace. But, religious as is the mood of every good affection, none is so devotional as that of love, especially so called. The soul is then the very temple of adoration, of faith, of boly purity, of heroism, of charity. At such a moment the human creature shoots up into ihe angel: there is nothing on earth too defiled for its charity, nothing in hell too appalling for its heroism – nothing in heaven too glorious for its sympathy. Strengthened, susiained, vivified by that most mysterious power, union with another spirit, it feels itself set well forth on the way of victory over evil, sent out conquering and to conquer. There is no other such crisis in human life. The philosopher may experience uncontrollable agitation in verifying his principle of balancing sysiems of worlds, feeling, perhaps, as if he actually saw the creative hand in the aci of sending the planets forth on their everlasting way; but this philosopher, solitary seraph as he may be regarded amidst a myriad of men, knows at such a nioment no emotions 80 divine as those of the spirit becoming conscious that it is beloved — be it the peasant girl in the meadow, or the daughter of the sage, reposing in her father's confidence, or the artisan beside his loom, or the man of letters musing by his fire-side. The warrior, about to strike the decisive blow for the liberties of a nation, however impressed with the solemnity of the hour, is not in a state of such lofty resolution as those who, by jining hearts, are laying their joint hands on the whole wide realm of futurity for their own. The statesman who, in the moment of success, feels that an entire class of social sins and woes is annihilated by his hand, is not conscious of so holy and so intimate a thankfulness as they who are aware thai their redemption is come in the presence of a new and sovereign affection. And these are many—they are in all corners of every land. The statesman is the leader of a nation - the warrror is the grace of an age- the philosopher is the birth of a thousand years; but the lover – where is he not? Wherever parents look round upon their children, there he has been - whereverchildren are at play together, there he will soon be — wherever there are roofs under wbich men dwell, wherever there is an atmosphere vibrating with human voices, there is the lover,

and there is his lofty worship going on, unspeakable, but revealed in the brightness of the eye, the majesty of the presence, and the high temper of the discourse. Men have been ungrateful and perverse; they have done what they could to counteract, to debase, this most heavenly influence of their life; but the laws of their Maker are too strong, the benignity of their Father is too patient and fervent, for their opposition to withstand: and true love continues, and will continue, lo send up its homage amidst the meditations of every eventide, and the busy hum of noon, and the song of the morning stars."

We are confident that we need add nothing to this extract, to prove that the work from which it was taken, is well written; and we must ask the reader to rely upon our recommendation, without adducing proof, that in most respects, as a novel proper, 'Deerbrook' will richly reward perusal.

AN INQUIRY INTO THE ORIGIN OF THE ANTIQUITIES OF AMERICA. By John DELA.

FIELD, Je, With an Appendix, Notes, etc. In one volume, royal quarto. pp. 143. New-York: Colt, BURGESS AND COMPANY.

CONSIDERING the ciro mstances under which this volume has been produced, it must be regarded as a very remarkable work, as well in its manner as its matter. In its externals of paper, printing, and pictorial illustration, for which the publishers are alone indebted to the 'queen city' of the west, it will compare with any similar publication extant. The book opens with a well written preface, from the pen of Bishop M'ILVAINE, of Ohio, in which he demonstrates the eöincidence of the sacred records with the evidences of antiquity, and satisfactorily reconciles the contradictions which many have contended existed in the different statements of the Mosaic and geological accounts of the creation. The work itself, upon which we now enter, is a chain of facts, collected from numerous authors, and other authentic sources, and is, we may believe, what it claims to be, a successful effort to prove, that the region of civilization among the aborigines of the Cordilleras and the Andes, comprehended one large family, whom the effects of climate and peculiarity of country have divided into different tribes and nations, speaking diverse dialects, and possessing dissimilar customs; and were descended from one common source, which emigrated from the North, and on its way constructed the various tumuli, embankments, fossa, etc., found in Western North America. Well-engraved and various crania support the anatomical evidence that is brought forward ; and mythological proofs, faithfully copied and colored, are numerous and conclusive. An' Aztec map,' some fourteen feet in length, the antiquity and authenticity of which is clearly established, accompanies the volume, which delineates, by figures and hieroglyphics, explained by a "key,' the travels of this race through America. It should be added, that there is a valuable appendix, containing notes, and a 'View of the Causes of the Superiority of the men of the Northern over those of the Southern hemisphere, by James LAKEY, M.D.' These ' Antiquities' are published for subscribers only; and we are glad to learn that an agent is now engaged in exhibiting the work to our citizens, who, we can well believe, will not be indifferent to so laborious and satisfactory an exposition of the 'venerable relics of the by-gone time,' which have elicited so much speculation and astonishment, both in Europe and America.

EDITORS' TABLE.

It is well that the following, from a friend and correspondent who is ever welcome to our pages, did not reach us in the time of 'moving accidents,' when the advent of May in the metropolis is heralded by bonfires of bed-straw, 'the sacrifice of the innocents,' who have there sought safety and concealment, and the rout and rabblement of carmen, enraged housewives, and sulky men-folk!

THE

OF

SAVANNAH.

FIRST

MAY IN

*How oft the village train, from labor free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree;
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending, as the old surveyed;
And still as each repeated pleasure tired,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired.'

How different is our celebration of May-day from yours! While your streets are lumbered with old bedsteads, bureaus, and side-boards, ours is bright and gay with music and military parades. While your pretty lasses shut themselves up, or run away from the city, to escape the general sacking, ours are bedecking their fair brows with flowers, for the due celebration of the great day. The morning is passed in a general parade of all the volunteer companies, followed in the afternoon by a pic-nic, in the woods, surrounding the city. About three o'clock, the whole population of the town was in motion, toward the common,' an immense lawn, near the southern suburbs, stretching away for a mile along the city, and fringed on all sides by a forest of evergreens. Just where the town and the forest meet, our two quoit-clubs have erected small white buildings, for the accommodation of the members, which peep prettily out from the green trees, the undergrowth from which has been cleared away and levelled, so as to give the surrounding groves a park-like appearance. In the rear of these, are woods, filled with roses, and jeesamines, and wild flowers innumerable. This was the scene of the rural festivities. During the preceding night, some kind fairies had erected a sylvan palace; and about a stone's throw in front of the portal, the same liberal elves had erected a May-pole, adorned in the most fantastic guise, with garlands and flowers of every shade and hue. Around this, stakes were driven into the sod, and surrounded with a cord, to keep off the pressure of the crowd from the fair inmates. The citizens now began to pour in from every avenue of the city, in carriages, gigs, 'buggies,' and on foot, all eager to arrive in season for the grand election.

"The fair candidates, too, now began to assume their places within the circle, while their mothers, scarcely less eager, sat in their carriages, awaiting the decision. One could almost see the hearts of the gay, brilliant, and beautiful creatures within the ring, fluttering through their gossamer dresses, as they promenaded around, in front of the immense throng. I have seen many assemblages of beauty in my time, but never has it been my lot to see so many really beautiful creatures, and the oldest not over fourteen. They looked like sylphs, with their long hair floating in the breeze, streaming with gay ribbons and gayer flowers, while their eyes fairly blazed with the unwonted excitement. The interest was yet too intense for the merry laugh; but the amiable

[ocr errors]

lasses smiled as brightly as their own chosen day of the year. Expectation was now on tip-toe, and the throng outside manifested symptoms of impatience, while all eyes within the consecrated circle were bent with eager expectation toward the town. Presently a cloud of dust in that direction, foretold to the fair expectants the advent of their little beaux; and such a cavalcade as it turned out to be, beggars all description. Twenty or thirty youth, between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, mounted on fine steeds, ard dressed in something like Byron's Grecian costume, in one of his portraits, each with a light blue cap, bound round with silver, and two broad white feathers, falling back from the loop, and each wearing a polished dagger, in a black shining belt, buckled tight round his waist; all together formed one of the most beautiful and imposing spectacles imaginable. These juvenilo knights dismounted and entered the enclosure; and after paying their devoirs to the fluttering and expecting little beauties, proceeded at once to the grand election of the day. It was conducted upon republican principles, notwithstanding that it was the election of a queen. The majority of votes were told in favor of little Miss F. who was crowned with all due ceremony, and conducted to her sylvan palace; thence she was escorted to the dance, by the leader of the gay cavalcade. The inspiring music struck up, and the partners ‘paired off' upon the green. It was a charming sight to see so many youthful hearts joyous and happy. Your sacked city would have stopped still, bag and baggage, to have beheld such a scene. Before night closed in, the whole green was covered with parties of dancers and waltzers; nor was it wholly confined to the 'juvenile portion of the community. Their elders soon caught the infection, and many a fair belle seemed glad to live over again her own girlish days, in a frolic upon the sward. Ices and refreshments, of every sort, circulated as freely as smiles, which were neither few nor far between. Where the comfits came from, I could never learn. The fairies seemed to have prepared every thing. The entire lawn was literally strewed with flowers, and the very trees seemed to have partaken of the universal gayety; for they too were hung with bright blossoms, and fragrant with the richest perfumes.

"These May-day celebrations form little eras in the lives of these lovely, budding creatures, to which they can recur with pleasure, through a long life time. Few of our enjoyments are of the present tense; they are mostly retrospective or prospective, and are, after a certain period, for the most part 'pleasures of memory.' Is it not wise, then, to strew these fowers plentifully along the path of life, that their brilliant hues may be occasionally caught, as we look back over the scene? Long may the beautiful ones who celebrated the first of May, 1839, in Savannah, live to look back upon it, as one of the gayest and happiest days of their lives!'

DEATH OF John Galt, Esq. — Recent arrivals from England, bring intelligence of the death of John Galt, Esq, author of 'Laurie Todd,' 'Mansie Wauch,' and other well-known works. We have been for some months prepared for this sad event; and believe it came later than even the deceased himself anticipated. In a letter which accompanied his last communication to this Magazine, the touching 'Soliloquy on Awakening in the same Bed-room, after an absence of thirty Years, while afflicted with eleven strokes and aggravations of Paralysis,' Mr. Galt spoke of his near dissolution in terms of melting tenderness. He was then well nigh as helpless as an infant, and his speech had in a great measure failed him. Indeed, his very hand-writing seemed to stammer. 'I feel,' he writes, that this helpless frame and faltering tougue will soon be silent in the grave. As the dying boy said, 'I am very cold, it is growing dark, and I long to go home! We apprized him, by return packet, of kindred cases in this country, where health had been restored, after several attacks of paralysis. A brief reply, requesting to know the course of treatment pursued in the cases alluded to, and

« PreviousContinue »