Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Outlive the hour-and he has lived two weeksIt is through God who knows I am not by. Who is it makes the soft gold hair turn black, And sets the tongue, might lie so long at rest, Trying to talk? Let us leave God alone! Why should I doubt He will explain in time What I feel now, but fail to find the words?" Taken as a whole, the figure of Pompilia seems to us a master-piece of delicate power. Passionate tenderness with equally passionate purity, submissiveness to calamity with strenuousness against evil, the trustfulness of a child with the suffering of a martyr, childishness of intellect with the visonary insight of a saint, all tinged with the ineffaWe went along in, every circumstance, bly soft colouring of an Italian heaven, Towns, flowers and faces, all things helped so breathe in every touch and stroke of this

well!

great picture.

For, through the journey, was it natural
Such comfort should arise from first to last?
As I look back, all is one milky way;
Still bettered more, the more remembered, so

Do new stars bud while I but search for old,
And fill all gaps i' the glory, and grow him-
Him I now see make the shine everywhere."
How exquisitely natural that suggestion of
hers, that she could almost believe that the
young priest's "strong will" had created
for her the whole world and its every cir-
cumstance in which she journeyed from Ar-
ezzo till overtaken by her husband at the
last stage to Rome; that she was travelling
not in the broad every-day world that
thwarts, and terrifies, and wearies, but in a
world governed by the subjective law of his
tenderly adjusting mind. And then look"
how finely the religious passion of the moth-
er's heart is expressed:

The old Pope affords, perhaps, a fresher kind of subject, but one much easier, we should suppose, for Mr. Browning to draw. It is a very fine figure. There is in it all the mark of venerable age, except any failure of intellectual power. The flashes of thin, bright, Boreal kind. The Pope, Innointellectual and spiritual light are of the cent XII., as Mr. Browning draws him, is at least, no believer in the dogma which it is supposed that the Council of 1869 is to promulgate, on Papal infallibility. This is whether he shall or shall not dare condemn the gallant old man's tone in deliberating the aristocratic murderer to his rightful

fate:

As if the broken circlet joined again,
Tightened itself about me with no break,
As if the town would turn Arezzo's self,
The busband there, -the friends my enemies,
All ranged against me, not an avenue
I try, but would be blocked and drive me back
On him, this other . . . oh the heart in that!
Did not he find, bring, put into my arms
A new-born babe?- and I saw faces beam
Of the young mother proud to teach me joy,
And gossips round expecting my surprise
At the sudden hole through earth that lets in
heaven.

[ocr errors]

I could believe himself by his strong will
Had woven around me what I thought the
world

"I never realized God's birth before

How he grew likest God in being born.
This time I felt like Mary, had my babe
Lying a little on my breast like hers."

And this, again, for the spiritual perfeetion of maternal love is scarcely equalled in all our language: —

"Even for my babe, my boy, there's safety

thence

From the sudden death of me, I mean: we
poor
Weak souls, how we endeavour to be strong!
I was already using up my life, -
This portion, now, should do him such a good,
This other go to keep off such an ill!

The great life; see, a breath and it is gone!
So is detached, so lift all by itself
The little life, the fact which means so much.
Shall not God stoop the kindlier to His work,
His marvel of creation, foot would crush,
Now that the hand He trusted to receive
And hold it, lets the treasure fall perforce?
The better; He shall have in orphanage
His own way all the clearlier: if my babe

Yet my poor spark had for its source, the sun
Thither I sent the great looks which compel
Light from its fount: all that I do and am
Comes from the truth, or seen or else surmised,
Remembered or divined, as mere man may:
I know just so, nor otherwise. As I know,
I speak, what should I know, then, and how
speak
Were there a wild mistake of eye or brain
In the recorded governance above?
If my own breath, only, blew coal alight
I called celestial and the morning star?
I, who in this world act resolvedly,
Dispose of men, the body and the soul.
As they acknowledge or gainsay this light
I show them, shall I too lack courage?
leave

[ocr errors]

I, too, the post of me, like those I blame?
Refuse, with kindred inconsistency,
Grapple with danger whereby souls grow
strong?

I am near the end; but still not at the end;
All till the very end is trial in life :
At this stage is the trial of my soul
Danger to face, or danger to refuse?
Shall I dare try the doubt now, or not dare?"

Still more striking and finer is the old
Pope's interpretation of the sense in which

the "

weak things of this world" shall con- | The picture of the courageous old man's found the mighty." It is the apparent slight hesitation in the discharge of his terriweakness, he says, in a faith which appeals ble duty, of the deep questions as to the to the help and brings forth the love of truths whereon he and his office rest which man, till he finds at last that it was in its that hesitation stirs, of the plumbing of weakness that its strength consisted, in its the most difficult problems of philosophy imploring appeal to the heart that the mar- and faith as his mind travels round the vellous power lay which could not have lain intellectual horizon of his lonely eminence, hid in the fiat of almighty strength: — of the gratitude with which he fixes his "What but the weakness in a faith supplies glance on Pompilia's spiritual loveliness as The incentive to humanity, no strength the one blossom "vouchsafed unworthy me, Absolute, irresistible, comports? ten years a gardener of the untoward How can man love but what he yearns to ground," of the anxious and doubtful adhelp? miration with which he notes Caponsacchi's And that which men think weakness within impulsive nobleness, and of the half-anxiety strength, and half-trust with which he observes the signs of moral decomposition ―omens for those who are to come after him, - all is drawn so as to leave an indelible impression on any moderately sensitive imagination.

But angels know for strength and stronger
What were it else but the first things made

yet

new,

But repetition of the miracle,

The divine instance of self-sacrifice
That never ends and aye begins for man?"

Of a piece with this suggestion is the old
Pope's fine presage that the power of Christ
can only be restored through an approach-
ing age of doubt, which shall shake the
towers of the Church till they tremble, and
dissipate the formal and conventional mono-
tony of orthodoxy,

"Till man stand out again, pale, resolute,
Prepared to die, that is, alive at last.
As we broke up that old faith of the world,
Have we, next age, to break up this the new-
Faith, in the thing, grown faith in the report
Whence need to bravely disbelieve report
Through increased faith in thing reports be-
lie?"

[ocr errors]

A System of Physical Education. By Archibald Maclaren. (Clarendon Press Series.) Mr. Maclaren, who stands first among the professors of the Gymnastic Art, gives us in this volume his theory, with the arguments and proofs on which it rests, and a practical system of exercises, with the necessary rules and instructions. It is of the former only of these two divisions of his treatise that we can express any opinion, and we may say at once that we have read it with very great pleasure and profit. "It is health," he says, rather than strength, that is the great requirement of modern men at modern occupations." This is the right note to strike; gymnastics, as distinguished from athletics, are a part of education which we probably lose vastly by neglecting. Mr. Maclaren points out a fact which will probably be new to many readers, but which will at once commend itself as evidently true, that our common games and exercises fail to have a proper influence on the growth of the whole body, that the lower limbs

As a work of art, we think Mr. Brownbefore, the truth of the picture is too ening's poem imperfect. As we have noticed tirely on one side to render the numerous pleadings on so many sides at all subservient to the result. Nearly half might, we think, have been omitted, not without the loss of marvellous work of its kind, but with great gain to the popularity of what remained. Still there is nothing in all his former works that will stay imprinted so indelibly on our minds as the four great and Innocent. figures of Guido, Pompilia, Caponsacchi,

get the chief development, and next to them the
right arm; and that consequently in nearly
every case, even of healthy persons, the upper
part of the body fails to reach its due propor-
tions. This seems to be true even of rowing and
'fives,' of which one would not naturally have
supposed it. Again, Mr. Maclaren tells us, as a
matter of course, that he can tell from the con-
formation of a man's chest whether he has been
rowing stroke or bow side of his college boat.
Some of his experiences of the action of gymnas-
tics in correcting irregular growth and promot-
ing development are very curious. One of them
was that twelve non-commissioned officers, vary-
ing from nineteen to twenty-nine years of age,
and of every variety of size, were so enlarged by
the system of exercises through which he took
them that before four months were finished
several of them could not get into their uniforms.
The former part of the book is so very sensible,
that we can readily believe that the latter part
will be very useful.
Spectator.

THE APPRENTICES' LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA. -The Apprentices' Library is lodged in an old historic building at the corner of Fifth and (now called) Arch streets, in the north wall of which is set a marble slab bearing this quaint legend:

BY GENERAL SUBSCRIPTION

FOR THE

FREE QUAKERS.

ERECTED IN THE YEAR
OF OUR LORD 1783
OF THE EMPIRE 8.

The founders of the building were originally members of the Society of Friends, from which they became separated by taking part in the war of the Revolution. When the war was ended, they formed a religious society, and erected the present library building for a meeting-house. There they assembled after the manner of their sect, but Time, gently covering old wrongs and bitternesses, obliterated their misdeeds against the Spirit of Peace, and either they or their children were taken back at last into the old beloved fold, and then the building fell into disuse, and afterward into the possession of the library. But the galleries where the ministers and elders sat, and the massive benches for the rest of these grim, old fighting Quakers, are still preserved with very loving care.

Lippincott's Magazine.

But I do not rest my case upon these high metaphysical grounds. I rest it upon three other grounds. First, that, in investigating these so-called spiritual phenomena, we should ascertain more about the laws of evidence; secondly, that we should ascertain whether there are any powers, forces, or influences, of which we are at present not aware, that have their place in the creation; and, thirdly, whether disease brings into operation faculties of hearing, eyesight, or imagination, of which we have at present no adequate conception, medically, morally, metaphysically, or scientifically. These questions demand the most careful investigation from our best weighers of evidence, and from our most accomplished scientific men.

Author of Friends in Council.

Poems and Ballads. By Janet Hamilton. rise above the average of occasional verses, both (Maclehose, Glasgow.) These poems certainly as to melody and as to expression. A peculiar interest is given to them by the circumstances of the author, a woman of the peasant class, who did not seriously begin to compose till she was considerably past her fiftieth year, and who had then to acquire the accomplishment of writing. She had, however, managed to acquire a considerable amount of culture by reading. Her English poems show the traces of this, and though not positively imitations, have not much that is characteristic about them. When she writes in Scotch she becomes much more vigorous and original. Dr. Wallace prefixes to the poems an interesting and unaffected account of a visit to the author; Dr. George Gilfillan, of Dundee, supplies the essays on her writings, which might very well have been spared. Why cannot we be allowed to read a book like this, without being told "that the dungeon or the hovel is a fitter atmosphere for the higher order of imagination than the library of the British Museum," and "that Courts rarely rear a great poet or thinker "? Surely there is something between courts and dungeons, and genius cries, like the wise man, "Give me neither poverty nor riches." Spectator.

I WISH I could persuade men of science and men who have peculiar gifts of investigation and examination, that it would be most desirable for them, and a worthy employment of their gifts, to examine what, for want of a better term, we may call spiritual phenomena. Let them remember, that to dispel error may be nearly as important as to ascertain truth. Then, let them recollect, that almost all great discoveries have been accompanied by a great deal of quackery and imposture. Let them think how much these investigations might tend to promote medical science. Let them reflect how important a thing it is to investigate the value of testimony. Let them further reflect what a world of mystery we live in. Now look at the powers of memory. It is not too much to say, that if the records of memory, even of a peasant, were written out in full, the weight alone of the ink would probably be greater than the weight of the brain that remembers. After this, can they say that any I AM lost in astonishment when I contemplate process of the human mind is astonishing? the "questions," as they are called which are There are numbers of statements, apparently debated by the different religious parties, and well authenticated, in which it appears that the respecting which they become furious. Vestlast thoughts and wishes of a dying person have ments, intonings, processions, altar-cloths, roodhad great influence over relatives and friends, screens, and genuflections, are made to be matdivided from these dying persons by large dis-ters of the utmost importance; and all the while tances of land and sea. Let us carefully record the really great questions are in abeyance. It and examine into all these statements. It would reminds me of children playing at marbles on be an unutterable comfort to many minds to the slopes of a volcano, which has already given have it well ascertained that there was any sure signs of an approching eruption. influence after death of one mind upon another.

Author of Friends in Council.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

JUST PUBLISHED AT THIS OFFICE :

A HOUSE OF CARDS, by Mrs. Cashel Hoey. Price 75 cents.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY BY

LITTELL & GAY, BOSTON.

168

173

179

181

183

184

186

190

192

130

PREPARING FOR PUBLICATION AT THIS OFFICE:

HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF THE REIGN OF GEORGE II. These very interesting and valuable sketches of Queen Caroline, Sir Robert Walpole, Lord Chesterfield, Lady Mary Wortley Montague, The Young Chevalier, Pope, John Wesley, Commodore Anson, Bishop Berkeley, and other celebrated characters of the time of George II., several of which have already appeared in the LIVING AGE, reprinted from Blackwood's Magazine, will be issued from this office, in book form, as soon as completed.

LETTICE LISLE.

THE BROWN LADY, a Tale by the Author of the House of Cards, will soon be published at this Office.

NEW BOOKS:

HOW NOT TO BE SICK. By Albert J. Bellows, M. D., author of "Philosophy of Eating," late Professor of Chemistry, Philosophy, Hygiene, &c. Second edition. New York, Hurd & Houghton.

TERMS

OF

SUBSCRIPTION.

FOR EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage. But we do not prepay postage on less than a year, nor where we have to pay commission for forwarding the money.

Price of the First Series, in Cloth, 36 volumes, 90 dollars.

66

""

66

"

Second "
Third
The Complete Work,

""

"6

66

20 66
"6
32
66
100

50 66
66
80
250 ""

Any Volume Bound, 3 dollars; Unbound, 2 dollars. The sets, or volumes, will be sent at the expense of the publishers.

PREMIUMS FOR CLUBS.

For 5 new subscribers ($40.), a sixth copy; or a set of HORNE'S INTRODUCTION TO THE BIBLE, unabridged, in 4 large volumes, cloth, price $10; or any 5 of the back volumes of the LIVING AGE, in numbers, price $10.

[blocks in formation]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »