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While the trees are leafless,
Spring up here and there.
"Little hardy flowers,
Like to children poor,
Yet alert and bold;
"What to them is weather?
What are stormy showers?
Are these human flowers?
A number of pretty wood engravings enrich the volume and render it still more enticing to the eye of taste. It will be with eagerness that a twelvemonth hence its successor will be sought after, if life and health be vouchsafed to the gifted authoress. Long may she live, and many additions may she make to the Christmas Library; it is a work well adapted for every season in the year.
Friendship's Offering" abides strictly by its original plan; and it is one of the very oldest of the Annual family. It maintains, besides, its wonted steady course, being more celebrated for its literary matter than its engravings. There is a great variety of talent displayed in the present volume; both the tender and the
lordly sex contributing to its pages. Miss Roberts, in her " Blacksmith of Liege," relates an admirable story; it is quite remarkable for the vividness and boldness of its pictures. Perhaps "Charlotte de Montmorenci," by Miss Strickland, will be still more highly prized by the majority of readers. Mr. Leitch Ritchie's "Great-great-grandfather," is an absorbing legend. But we cannot particularize the names of all the writers, nor the titles of all their papers. We quote a poem by Thomas Miller, entitled "The Desolate Hall," which is in his best manner.
"A lonely hall upon a lonelier moor,
For many a mile no other dwelling near;
When the loud winds their huge broad branches tear.
The last sad heir of these broad barren lands,-
That on their rusty hinges grate and groan;
The worn and wormy wainscot flapping in the wind.
A dampness o'er the oaken-rafters throwing;
Where lichens 'mid decay are slowly growing,
I heard the old man say, 'There's something wrong,
A trampling noise-like that of human feet;
The unturned keys are rusted in the locks
Upon my hearth the brown mouse safely breeds;
And it laid open where my Ellen read
The books, the flowers, the harp she well could sound,
The harp is mute, and dust has gathered round
Their floating costumes seems to rise and fall;
The old house-clock rings out its measured sound,
Anon the rusty vane turns round and round:
No oxen lowing o'er the winding leas;
Such things have been, and now are gliding past,
A "Night Sketch taken from Newgate," by Barry Cornwall, strikes us as the noblest piece of poetry in the volume. It is stern and passionate utterance of a true poet's bitterest mood, and deserves to live in the choicest collections. The writer is wandering through the city
"And, look!-where the street-beggar crawleth,
Scarching for what the dog disdaineth,
Shoot from their chariot looks of scorn.
And, lo! unto the workhouse table
A dead old man is borne away,
Burst on our ears! Spout forth thy lightnings,
Burn on our brain Heaven's mighty lessons,
The beggar narrates the particulars of his hard lot, and is then asked-"Where dwell'st thou ?" to which he answers,
"Near this den of stone
I like to live: I scarce know why;
"Man, thou do'st well. "Tis well, 'tis wise,
Enter, and dwell from morn 'till e'en.
He who 'the right' doth think and do,
The first spot underneath the sky.
Flaunting about from side to side,
In blue or bloody colour dyed,—
Content thee. Learn, whate'er its name,
That Pride is still no more than Pride."
"The Oriental Annual" has always appeared to us to be one of the most valuable of the tribe, and to have possessed an advantage over several of them, in having something like a definite and characteristic field to occupy. In point of binding, gilding, and ornament, it has hitherto been gorgeous, while its plates are always in a firstrate style, and eminently illustrative of the glorious East. The volume before us now, we are inclined to think, excels in these particulars its predecessors, unless it be that what is present to the eye is more attractive than what dwells in the memory. According to our usual procedure, we do not labour to convey a minute description of the illustrations, knowing that all such attempts are feeble, in the absence of the pictures themselves. We may mention, however, that an Elephant fight is rendered with frightful effect, and impresses the mind with an idea of ferocity and violence, which we think no language can ever communicate.
The Rev. Author, in his part of the work, pursues his accustomed method of mingling biographical notices, descriptions of particular scenes or events, and stories illustrative of Oriental life, with affecting accounts of fanaticism and superstition, and other topics concerning the social condition of the natives, and their interests here and hereafter. Our only extract gives a spirited description of certain combats between the fiercest animals that can be found. After the creatures have been caught, they are often kept alive to provide sport for the people. To render the exhibition more striking and ferocious they are starved for some time previous to its occurrence, when hunger independent of their violent nature creates a dreadful voracity. Alligators, for example, are described as being kept in tanks, having a strong iron wire passed several times round their long muzzles, and so tightened as to keep the jaws close, thus preventing them from tasting solid food.
"During my residence in India I once saw, in a small tank, two alligators, the jaws of which had been fastened as just described, for a period, as it was said, of more than two months. They were caught, dragged upon the bank, where, the iron ligatures being cut, they were immediately released, and feeling their freedom, both plunged with equal eagerness into the water. As they had been for some weeks companions in suffering, neither manifested a disposition to commence hostilities, but occupied different parts of the tank, sinking to the bottom, and occasionally thrusting their noses above the surface to take breath. The water did not exceed five feet in depth, so that unless they kept the middle of the tank they might be seen as they lay at the bottom almost immovable. Though the place was crowded with spectators, the huge reptiles did not appear to be disturbed by so unusual a concourse, and even occasionally bore to be poked with a long pole before they would move from the mud in which