Page images
PDF
EPUB

pleasures of each are such as are sure to minister wholesome as well as sweet food to the young and the ingenuous. The selection of poetry and prose, and of the plates which enrich and embellish the volume, is fully equal to any that distinguished its predecessors of the same series, altogether forming a desireable work.

ART. XXI.-The Christian Keepsake and Missionary Annual. Edited by the Rev. WM. ELLIS. London: Fisher. THE themes and the direction which this Annual pursue, necessarily insure a definiteness of purpose, that is easily understood, while the writers who are contributors to it are exceedingly well calculated to do justice to the plan by their individual kindred efforts. While the triumphs of Christianity among the heathen and its conquests and gifts at home, together with objects and truths best calculated to arrest the mind, are the subjects of verse or plain but touching narrative, as well as of arousing reflections and exalted contemplations, the writers, among whom may be numbered, beside the Editor, Sarah Stickney, Archdeacon Wrangham, Josiah Conder, Mary Howitt, &c., need only to be named as a passport to general acceptation and esteem. The illustrations are numerous and of a superior quality, even for such elegant publications as the class to which the volume belongs. They are too varied and manifold, however, to admit of being distinctly characterized in this notice; but whether belonging to foreign or domestic parts, whether consisting of portraits or scenes where architecture and landscape predominate, there is in this single volume ample provision for devout meditation. There is an engraving representing African witnesses giving evidence before a Committee of the House of Commons, that, independently of its being excellently handled as a specimen of the fine arts, is sufficient to occupy the heart profitably time after time. We extract a few verses by Cambrian Jones. They are called "The Similitude," and require no recommendation on our part.

"A stream came from a mountain side,

A babbling stream, a thing of play;

And it leaped like a child, as the morning smiled,
Upon its joyous way.

It was a clear and gentle stream,

It claimed the sunshine as a brother,

And the twain did play in a childish way,
Like twins of some young mother.

And now the stream did gather strength,

And now the stream more stately flowed;
And the sunshine's heat was waxing great
That on its surface glowed.

The sunshine burns upon a river

That once a babbling stream did play;
As a thing of thought, with passion wrought,

That river takes its way.

Upon the sun a cloud is lying,
Upon the river twilight closes;

The twilight is hieing, the day is dying-
That river ne'er reposes.

And, whether it sink in its mother earth,
Or whether it melt in the boundless sea,
Or whether it mount where the clouds have birth,
It cannot cease to be.

And so the child of man comes forth,

And so he's seen a few brief years,
And so in the gloom of a closing tomb
He disappears."

ART. XXII.-Syria, the Holy Land, Asia Minor, &c. Illustrated in a Series of Views drawn from Nature. By W. H. BARTLETt, W. PURSER, &c. With Descriptions of the Plates by JOHN CARNE, Esq., Author of Letters from the East. Vol. II. London: Fisher.

It can hardly be necessary in noticing this work to do more than what we have done in copying the title of these Illustrations and Descriptions, and the names of those who have furnished and provided them for the public "Teeming with the noblest associations supplied by history and religion, the scene of the most wonderful events that can engage the human mind, Syria and the Holy Land have only recently been explored by modern artists capable of doing full justice to the infinite beauty and variety in which they abound; the sites of empires, awe-inspiring and memorable spots-interesting ruins of temples, tombs, and palaces-these, as they are seen here represented, hold forth no slight inducement to tourists to make them the favourite field of their future wanderings and researches." This, we feel, is nothing more than the truth, and not the truth in such a favourable and captivating shape as it must appear to every one who but skims over the contents of the volume. The plates which are plentiful are not surpassed by any efforts of the kind which any recent publications can boast of, while they are married to letter-press sketches that are in every respect worthy of the picturesque pen of the author of "Letters from the East," who is deservedly one of the most esteemed of those modern travellers who have with an earnest devotion striven to make the world acquainted with the scenery, the aspect, and the past as well as present condition of the most hallowed countries in the East. It is a beautiful, nay, magnificent and awakening work.

ART. XXIII.-Fisher's Drawing-Room Scrap-Book, for 1838: with Poetical Illustrations. By L. E. L. London: Fisher. SWEETNESS rather than power is the becoming characteristic of Miss Landon's imaginings; and yet what less than wonderful power as well as riches can year after year send forth such varied streams of exalting sentiment and beautiful poetry as renders "Fisher's Drawing-Room Scrap-Book" one of the choicest Anuual gems that garnish the table of the polished circles of British society. Even although this lady's genius and pen had nothing else upon which to disport themselves, we say it is wonderful how

she varies and excels herself in this one periodical work. All the world knows, however, that here there is not probably a tithe of her productions to be met with, and that in all of them there is the stamp of uncommon resources to be found.

The Drawing-Room Scrap-Book" is so well known, in as far as regards its plan and general getting up, that it is unnecessary to dilate upon its splendour in these particulars. It may safely, however, be asserted that in the long list which each year's publication presents, there is a majority of subjects, which, to most poets, would seem unmanageable in verse, and exceedingly barren of points for the excitement or birth of sentiment. Without more prefatory matter, we shall now give a few specimens of the manner in which Miss Landon acquits herself whatever be the task. The first will show how melodiously and richly she can discourse of the "Tombs of the Kings of Golconda."

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

What do our readers think a portrait of Captain Cook suggests?

*

*

*

*

"It was an August evening, with the sunset in the trees,

When home you brought his voyages, who found the fair South Seas,
We read it till the sunset, amid the boughs grown dim;
All other favourite heroes were nothing beside him.

For weeks he was our idol, we sailed with him at sea,
And the pond amid the willows the ocean seemed to be,
The water-lilies, growing beneath the morning smile,
We called the South-sea islands-each flower a different isle.
No golden lot that fortune could draw for human life
To us seemed like a sailor's, amid the storm and strife;
Our talk was of fair vessels that sweep before the breeze,
And new discovered countries amid the Southern seas.
Within that lonely garden what happy hours went by
While we fancied that around spread a foreign sea and sky;
Ah! the dreaming and the distant no longer haunt the mind-
We leave, in leaving childhood, life's fairy land behind."

Rydal Water and Grassmere Lake draw forth a burst of homage, which we can easily believe Miss Landon cordially cherishes towards Wordsworth. We quote two of the verses.

*

[blocks in formation]

ART. XXIV.-Letters to Brother John on Life, Health, and Disease. By EDWARD JOHNSON, Surgeon. London: Saunders and Otley. 1837. THIS work relates to subjects which of late years have obtained an unusual measure of study on the part both of moralists and statistical writers, as well as medical practitioners. This attention, however, has frequently shown itself to have been at fault, and to have led to treatises that were either absurd in their details, or impracticable as regarded the rules laid

down, or ridiculous from the parade of technical learning which the candidate for scientific or literary honours indulged himself in making. None of these objections, however, can be taken to Mr. Johnson's letters to Brother John; for while they evince a familiar acquaintance with medical science, and with the constitution of human nature in all its parts, physical and mental, there is so much common sense and plain reason pervading every portion of the work that the learned and unlearned may equally be benefited by its lessons. Besides this, the author is such a lively and entertaining writer that at any hour of the day his work may be taken up, and to the constant enhancement both of the reader's pleasure and information. We really consider it to be a volume of extraordinary merit.

ART. XXV.-The Sketcher's Manual; or the Whole Art of Picture Making reduced to the Simplest Principles. By which Amateurs may instruct themselves without the aid of a Master. By FRANK HOWARD, London: Darton and Clark. 1837.

MR. HOWARD Complains that amid the numerous works that exist upon the Art of Drawing and Painting, that some are utterly useless, while those that do possess merit, "in every instance require a certain degree of proficiency or previous tuition in the reader to serve the purpose intended." He says, "they describe the mode of holding the pencil; represent the particular touch adapted to delineate certain trees, provide drawings varying in complexity and difficulty, as examples for the student; but they give no principles upon which the examples are, or drawings in general should be made; they give no indication of what constitutes a picture." How to produce pictorial effect is the great point which our author endeavours to illustrate and explain; and although we believe that a species of natural genius and taste is requisite to the attainment of this principal object; and although it presupposes certain postulates, which we think Mr. Howard in his advanced knowledge and proficiency has overlooked, there can be no doubt that his Manual goes to the root of the matter in as far as written directions can extend, and supplies a deficiency that has hitherto been allowed to exist. His rules, lessons, and principles, are not only short, clear, and pointed, but the pictorial illustrations are, with few exceptions, engraved in a manner to meet and to fulfil the author's doctrines. The volume is altogether a beautiful one, not less attractive than some of the Annuals, and charged with valuable information as respects the art, which almost every person desires to understand and practise. We are glad to learn that the subject of Colour is reserved for a future work by Mr. Howard, than whom few can be supposed more competent to deliver lessons in his favourite department.

ART.XXVI.-The Little Conchologist; an Introduction to the Classication of Shells. By the Rev. T. WILSON. London: Darton and Clark. 1837. "THE Little Conchologist" is, in form, getting up, and substance, one of the sweetest tiny volumes that ever was published. Without pretending to the completeness of a minute scientific work, it possesses the principal characteristics, as a manual, upon the nature and habits of Molluscous Ani

« PreviousContinue »