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a character would seem to justify the he must, too, impress his readers sufextremest opinion on light literature, ficiently with the idea of reality. and hence it will not be entirely useless This cannot be looked upon as panderto recall something of what can be said ing to any of the frailties of human in its favor.
nature, as many think. It satisfies a The source of the power which a desire which serves as a supplementnovel confessedly exercises for evil, is ary faculty of the mind. A judicious not in itself evil. The basis of what-indulgence of it often conveys a ever emotions a painting is capable of meaning too subtle for the mental awakening, is, the feeling of wonder powers; and the occasions are rare with which the ideas of substance, where its agency may, without loss, distance, and size, are received from a be dispensed with. Food for it is the limited portion of flat surface. This is vital principle of every branch of the first and essential impression. rhetoric. No discourse, speech, or Without it, others would be impos- sermon, no essay, moral or scientific, sible. Until the properties of reality can be said to be more than half are identified in the painting the sub-complete in the absence of the telling ject will not win a thought, and then, anecdote or illustration which exhibits the effect is in proportion to the the practical working of the opinions recognition. Daubs of noble concep-advocated. If one lesson of Holy Writ tions are sufficiently abundant to have may be compared with another, those empowered the world to state how of them which are exemplified in a small is the satisfaction they yield. parable are undoubtedly the most effecBut, in the presence of one of the tive. The efficacy of the allegory great masterpieces, say “the Descent to make truth clear and virtue from the Cross,” the thrilling illusion attractive" is proverbial. The “Pilfascinating the eye and entrancing the grim's Progress” won commendations brain becomes to a breathing from all creeds; and, for its author, reality. Then, retracing the centuries, an ignorant and violent fanatic of the we stand upon Calvary, a witness to Baptist sect, a high place amongst the last scene of that sublime sacrifice, the writers of English literature. -the perfect expression of a perfect“ Dame Europa's School,” the most love. What the painter strives to modern specimen of any consideration, place before the sight, the writer of raised a prolonged hubbub throughout fiction attempts to bring before the the British Islands, realizing quite a imagination, on a much more extensive fortune for its author though scarcely scale. Words his only material, he exceeding the dimensions of a primer. undertakes to display, not one scene, What species of composition may, with but a series of scenes connected, to impunity, reject the aid of figures of represent the course of an episode speech! These minister to the same or a lifetime, preserving the natural taste in a concentrated fashion of their sequence of cause and effect.
A good speech, in which they task is difficult, yet it must be perform- abound, leaves the effect of a well-ared. To succeed in securing attention, ranged phantasmagoria.
It is true that it is in these things | The consequence was, that it became that poetry consists ; and nobody a staple topic of conversation for thinks of emancipating us from their months, and, as it approached its conglamour under the collective title. It clusion, so highly wrought were the is conceded that they may be employed feelings of its readers, that they beon the wrong side ; but the foolishness sieged Richardson with entreaties to of flinging away a weapon because the make all end happily for the heroine. foe is similarly armed is pretty fairly The odds are that if it had been given recognized. Now somebody describes entire at first, most readers would have the novel as an “epic poem.” It skipped the intermediate torturing appeals to the poetic sense in the most bounded by the first and last chapters. powerful manner possible. The al- It is, however, the work of a genius. legory is stiff and strained, and the Its moral is worked out in wonderful parable must dispense with detail. It consonance with nature and logic, is the novel alone which really suc- through a most delicate elaboration of ceeds in bringing its lessons home to detail. But it wants that pleasing our minds, through the instrumentality variety of incident, and alternation of of the events of real life.
grave and gay, which give to each Some consider Defoe, and others part a value of its own, while contribRichardson, to be the father of the uting to the intention of the whole. English novel. “Robinson Crusoe,” Fielding observed this fault, and in the celebrated work of the first-men-avoiding it, falls not unfrequently on tioned author, owes little more than the other side of the fence. It is said the occasion of its birth to the adven- of him that, for “the skilful constructures of Alexander Selkirk. It is tion of a plot, for the address with mostly the product of the writer's which every incident bears upon and vivid imagination; and yet how real- advances the catastrophe, at the same istic the impression on the mind of the time illustrating the character of the reader! Who has not given up belief persons concerned, he is a model." in it with regret? No doubt it depicts Smollett, with inferior ability, follows in human energy under unusual condi- the footsteps of Fielding. Admirable tions, but it is the naturalness, the sentiment and pungent humor distincomplete consistency with which Cru- guish Sterne. But the grossness of all soe's life fits them, that extorts our three renders them simply unreadable honest sympathies. The work which to-day. The character of their time is has made Richardson famous seems to their apology. Pitch cannot be defiled. have suited the times in which it was “The Vicar of Wakefield,” by Oliver written;
and its success even then must Goldsmith, was understood to have have been in some measure due to the been elicited by the abominations of peculiar manner of its publication. It Sterne, as a proof that true art might came to the public in instalments, advantageously avoid foulness, howwhich did not fatigue while they inter- ever faithful to fact. Dr. Johnson, the ested, and at intervals calculated to friend of Goldsmith, in his “Rasselas” refresh while they provoked desire. acknowledges the influence of the novel. It is a classic in our language, but it has that rapid increase which has resulted not many temptations for those who in our present glorious wealth of fiction read and run. Walter Scott! So illus- literature. New ground was broken trious a name ought, one would think, in every direction. Some, following to establish forever the legitimacy of Scott, searched history for material ; the novel. Not many months ago, it and others, more daring, took the preswas the boast of England's premier, that ent for their model. New lands and in his youth he had conversed for a peoples, all grades of society and short time with Walter Scott. And here, civilization, every species of fortune, in this far western city, divided from were laid under contribution. Camp. the scene of his life and labors by the and court were unceremoniously inwidth of an ocean, one of its noblest vaded, town and country ransacked, monuments perpetuates his memory. and tales from the sea were left no His name marks a bright epoch in longer corked up in bottles. Now, the history of the novel. He has fiction engrosses some of the most been classed first of all who have cultivated intellects and ablest pens of yet appeared in this field. He took the day. Moralists, scientists, and history, and, breaking the vital spark statesmen write it. All opinions seek of his genius into it, had it reënacted expression through it. There is no for our amusement and instruction. branch of knowledge which is not repThe reading of Scott's novels, dis- resented in it. Mitford, Edgeworth, creetly controlled, serves as a stimulant Douglas Jerrold, Griffin, Lover, Lever, to the study of history. Historical Cooper, Hawthorne,' Mayne Reid, novels cannot be recommended for the Marryat, Trollope, Collins, Disraeli, amount of historical knowledge which and Lytton, are but a few of the many they impart. At most they but illus- talented writers who have been occutrate events which are encompassed by pied in producing it. These may
be a lifetime, unless a wandering Jew be forgotten ; but the names of Thackeray, invented. They will not suit to cram Dickens, and George Eliot, with that for a civil service examination ; but of Scott, have become immortalized. they certainly create an appetite for This quartette wield a power over the historical information. Macaulay, in minds of men, through their writings, one of his reviews, says the historian which kings cannot attain. might borrow from the novelist with The novelist makes a special study great benefit. For this he commends of his reader. He thoroughly acHerodotus ; whilst, in carrying out the quaints himself with his passions and same principle himself, he has written prejudices, his likings and dislikings, one of the most brilliant, and decidedly his sympathies and affections, and the most attractive history, worthy these in all their moods and tenses. of the name, the world possesses. He He squarely sets himself the problem has had many imitators since his of how most effectively to withdraw time; notoriously Motley and Froude the mind from the present. And the
result of his effort is, that the English Scott may be said to have initiated language possesses in a preëminent
of the present.
degree, a literature which will enable copses ; breathes the invigorating air, the wretched denizen of the squalid drinks in the pleasant sights and tenement, with his spluttering candle, sounds, and is actually inspired with in spirit to sally out from his miserable a feeling of thankfulness and reverence surroundings-out from the poisonous toward the Being who made the world atmosphere, the scanty board, and the so beautiful. By means of this literadiscontented sharers of his poverty— ture the respectable slave of business out from himself, his ragged apparel, routine may emancipate himself; upon degrading associations, and the mean his own hearth-rug he may trample but soul-wearing anxieties of his con- the fetters with which office and Mrs. dition, and luxuriate for a time in Grundy so heavily weight him, and all the enjoyments which wealth and wander through the world, a man among power may command. Over the rich his fellow men. Foreign lands he may carpets, through fragrant air, under the visit. At the tropics or the poles he gorgeous lustre of the saloons of the may spend a season; waltz with an great and the noble, he treads unques-empress or mingle in the wild sports of tioned ; splendor, beauty, and wit, Cathay. By his own fireside he may surround him in a dazzling throng. securely encounter the most daring adA transfigured being, silken dresses ventures of the flood and the field. He luminous with jewelry rustle at his may descend the Maelstrom astride a passage. Upon his ear the subdued cask, or mount to the clouds upon a conversation breaks in a continuous water-spout. He may climb to the sumripple of music ever and anon penetrat- mits of sky-piercing mountains, or delve ing to his brain in flashes of light. He into the workshop of the earthquakes is one of them; their thoughts and and volcanoes. Through love, battles, feelings are his, aye, and that ex-wrecks, fires, and famines unscathed he quisite refinement which so relentlessly may pass, environed by the comforts ostracizes him in the hard reality, and seclusion of his own parlor. It is This literature will enable, at the wish, a literature which by seductive cheats the overworked factory hand or con- will wile the mourner from his griefs, sumptive clerk, in the few minutes the invalid from his pains, and
prove which he may snatch from his mid- an unrivalled consoler to both. It day meal, or dare to deduct from too will soothe the discontented, needful repose, to revel—to riot in the courage the hopeful, and tempt the beauties of nature. At a bound he wicked into the paths of virtue. It may pass from the din, the dust; and will furnish exciting occupation to the smoke—the wilderness of brick- the dull, lively companions to the work and humanity, and plunge into lonely, and set flowing the impulses of the sunshine and solitude of the nature in the frozen hearts of the selcountry. Second to the reality only fish and the sordid. And, while renin physical results, he roams in imagi- dering these services, it is still the nation over breezy hill and dale, down right arm of progress, the true social the green lanes, through the meadows, reformer and political educator of the by the streams, amongst the woods and masses.
BY F. P'RE
Come, swallows come,
For banished is the snowThe winter is behind us : Don't let the summer find us
Before you let us know !
Without her pretty harbingers appear;
Since now you are not here.
Come, swallows come
When tempests long have blown, We love the spirits that greet us, That come half-way to meet us,
And make their message known. The first sweet word that's spoken, When wrath's dark reign is broken,
Is ever to the yearning heart most dearThen bring your welcome warning; Our long-expected morning
Without you can't appear.
See, now they come !
The sun's bright reign is sure;
Our hearts feel more secure.
Until the promised sign of hope appear-
Is ever doubly dear.