Page images

impart. And so it is with every other object. Each of us is, but for the present moment, the same as he in this instant of his personal existence through which he is now passing. He is the child, the boy, the man, the aged one, bending feebly over the last few steps of his career. You wish to possess him as he is now, in his youthful vigor, or in the maturity of his wisdom, and a Rembrandt, or a Titian, or a Herbert, seizes that moment of grace, or of beauty, or of sage experience; and he stamps indelibly that loved image on his canvas; and for generations it is gazed on with admiration and with love. We must not pretend a fight against Nature, and say that will make Art different from what she is.

Let us therefore look on Art but as the highest image that can be made of Nature. Consequently, while religion is the greatest and noblest mode in which we acknowledge the magnificent and all-wise majesty of God, and what he has done both for the spiritual and the physical existence of man, let us look upon Art as but the most graceful and natural tribute of homage we can pay to him for the beauties which he has so lavishly scattered over creation. Art, then, is, to my mind, and I trust to you all, a sacred and a reverend thing, and one which must be treated with all nobleness of feeling, and with all dignity of aim. We must not depress it; the education of our Art must always be ending higher and higher; we must fear the possibility of our creating a mere lower class of artists which would degrade the higher departments, instead of endeavoring to blend and harmonize every department; so that there shall cease to exist in the minds of men the distinction between high and low art.


Sir Edward George Earle Lytton is the son of the late General William Earle Bulwer, but on succeeding to the estates of his mother he was allowed by the crown to exchange the name of Bulwer for that of his mother, which he now bears. He was educated at Cambridge, and gained the chancellor's prize for a poem in 1825. A year after he published some of his early effusions in verse. His novels, however, attracted more favorable attention, and are still widely read, especially by the young and impressible. The first one of note was Pelham, whose hero is a professed dandy, but not without good points. Among other popular works of his earlier days are The Disowned, Devereux, Paul Clifford, Pilgrims of the Rhine, Last Days of Pompeii, Rienzi, Alice or the Mysteries, Ernest Maltravers, Leila or the Siege of Grenada, Night and Morning, Zanoni, and the Last of the Barons. None of these can be commended to the reader without qualification. They are not only unduly romantic, but are pervaded by an unhealthy moral tone. The stories are all constructed with skill, and hold the attention strongly until the climax is reached; but the book once finished has lost its charm. The characters may interest us during the perusal, but not one of them is ever remembered. The author's next successes were in his admirable plays, of which Richelieu, The Lady of Lyons, and Money hold their place on the stage with undiminished popularity. The New Timon, of which short extracts are here given, is a satirical poem, containing the plot of a high.y-wrought story, and is not without merit. The reference to the Poet Laureate is a fine specimen of honest antipathy, with perhaps a dash of that old-fashioned envy which we had hoped modern authors are free from. The attack, in fact, is a sad anachronism, belonging to the era of The Dunciad. The retort may be read among the specimens of Tennyson's verse ; it is of the Tu quoque sort (as classified by Charles Reade), which may be freely rendered You're another! It differs from the blackguardism of Punch's typical cab driver only in being written by a scholar and in verse.

In 1850 Sir Edward wrote a novel called The Caxtons, evidently suggested by Sterne's Tristram Shandy, but of far greater power than his former stories, and mainly free from the moral objections which attach to them. This was followed by My Novel and What Will He Do With It? both in a similar vein, and both deservedly popular. He has been in Parliament for many years, and has gained some credit as a specch-maker; but his political influence has not been greatly effective or conspicuous.

(From the New Timon.)

Well, let the world change on — still must endure
While Earth is Earth one changeless race — the Poor!
Within that street, on yonder threshold stone,
What sits as stone-like ? — Penury, claim thine own!
She sate the homeless wanderer

- with calm eyes
Looking through tears, yet lifted to the skies ;
Wistful but patient - sorrowful but mild,
As asking God when he would claim his child.
A face too young for such a tranquil grief,
The worm that gnawed the core had spared the leaf;
Though worn the cheek, with hunger or with care,
Yet still the soft fresh child-like bloom was there -
And each might touch you with an equal gloom,
The youth, the care. the hunger, and the bloom;

As if, when round the cradle of the child
With lavish gifts the gentler fairies smiled,
One vengeful sprite, forgotten as the guest,
Had breathed a spell to disenchant the rest,
And prove how slight each favor, else divine,
If wroth the Urganda of the Golden Mine!

A SHOT AT THE LAUREATE. Me Life hath skilled !- to me, from woe and wrong, By Passion's tomb leapt forth the source of Song. The Quicquid agunt Homines," — whate'er Our actions teach us, and our natures share, Life and the World, our City and our Age, Have tried my spirit to inform my page; I seek no purfled prettiness of phrase, A soul in earnest scorns the tricks for praise. If to my verse denied the Poet's fame, This merit, rare to verse that wins, I claim; No tawdry grace shall womanize my pen! Even in a love-song, man should write for men ! Not mine, not mine (O Muse, forbid !) the boon Of borrowed notes, the mock-bird's modish tune, The jingling medley of purloined conceits, Outbabying Wordsworth, and outglittering Keats, Where all the airs of patchwork.pastoral chime To drowsy ears in Tennysonian rhyme ! Am I inthralled but by the sterile rule, The formal pupil of a frigid school, If to old laws my Spartan tastes adhere, If the old vigorous music charms my ear, Where sense with sound, and ease with weight, combine, In the pure silver of Pope's ringing line ; Or where the pulse of man beats loud and strong In the frank flow of Dryden's lusty song? Let School-Miss Alfred vent her chaste delight On “darling little rooms so warm and bright !” Chaunt, “ I'm aweary,” in infectious strain, And catch her “blue-fly singing i' the pane." Though praised by Critics, though adored by Blues, Though Peel with pudding plump the puling Muse, Though Theban taste the Saxon's purse controls, And pensions Tennyson, while starves a Knowles,

Rather be thou, my poor Pierian Maid,
Decent at least, in Hayley's weeds arrayed,
Than patch with frippery every tinsel line,
And flaunt admired, the Rag Fair of the Nine !

What charms the ear of childhood ? — not the page
Of that romance which wins the sober age ;
Not the dark truths, like warning ghosts, which pass
Along the pilgrim path of Rasselas;
Not wit's wrought crystal which, so coldly clear,
Reflects, in Zadig, learning's icy sneer;
Unreasoning, wandering, stronger far the thrall
Of Aimée's cave, or young Aladdin's hall;
And so the childhood of the heart will find
Charms in the poem of a child-like mind,
To which the vision of the world is blind!
Even as the savage, 'midst the desert's gloom,
Sees, hid from us, the golden fruitage bloom,
And, where the parchéd silence wraps us all,
Lists the soft lapse of the glad waterfall !

JAMES MARTINEAU. Rev. James Martineau, a younger brother of Harriet Martineau, was born in Norwich in 1805. He was educated at the Unitarian College in York, and at once devoted himself to the ministry. He has achieved great distinction as a preacher and theological writer; and, what is much more to our purpose, has enforced and illustrated the highest mural truths in a style of exceeding beauty. Few religious writers have so thoroughly entered into the thinking of the age - not to be swerved by it, but to understand its tendencies, an i to guide the thought'ul into the realm of spiritual and eternal things. The observations of naturalists, the speculations of philosophers, the teachings of history, — all the best fruits of intellect are employed with an unobtrusive art to enrich his sentences, and to rivet attention upon the sublime doctrines that are linked with our immortality. The selections in this volume are from a work entitled Endeavors after the Christian Life.


The corporeal frame is but the mechanism for making thoughts and affections apparent, the signal-house with which God has covered us, the electric telegraph by which quickest intimation flies abroad of the spiritual force within us. The instrument may be broken, the dial-plate effaced; and, though the hidden artist can make no more signs, he may be rich as ever in the things to be signified. Fever

may fire the pulses of the body; but wisdom and sanctity cannot sicken, be inflamed, and die. Neither consumption can waste, nor fracture mutilate, nor gunpowder scatter away, thought, and fidelity, and love, but only that organization which the spirit sequestered therein renders so fair and noble. To suppose such a thing would be to invert the order of rank, which God has visibly established among the forces of our world, and to give a downright ascendency to the brute energies of matter above the vitality of the mind, which, up to that point, discovers, subdues, and rules them; to proclaim the triumph of the sword, the casualty, the pestilence, over virtue, truth, and faith ; to set the cross above the crucified; to surrender the holy things of this world to corruption, and shroud its heaven with darkness, and turn its moon into blood. Think only of this earth as it floats beneath the eye of God, - a speck in the blue infinite, -a precious life-balloon freighted with the family of spirits he has willed to come up and travel in this portion of his universe. Remember that at this very moment, and at each tick of the clock, some fifty souls have departed hence, gone with their tempestuous passions, their strife, their truth, their hopes, into space and silence; not either with the appearance of forces spent and finished; for there are children fallen away, with expectant look on life, nothing doubting the secure embrace that seems to fold them round; there is youth, raised up to self-subsistence, not without difficulty and sorrow, with the clear deep light of thought and wonder shining from within, quenched in sudden night; there is many an heroic life, built on no delusion of sense and selfishness, but firm on the adamant of faith, and defying the seductions of falsehood and the threats of fear, - sunk from us absolutely away, and giving no answer to our recalling entreaties and our tears. And will you tell me that all this treasure, which is nothing less than infinite, is cancelled and puffed away, like a worthless bubble, into emptiness? Does God stand ahead of this mighty car of being as it traverses the skies, only to throw out the boundless wealth of lives it bears, and plunge them headlong into the abyss midway on their voyage through eternity ?

he question in conjunction with any overwhelming calamity, which perceptibly plunges into sudden silence a multitude of souls ; like the dreadful destruction, just announced from the western world, of a ship freighted with priceless lives, with the wealth of homes, the hopes of the oppressed, the lights of nations. Let any one think over the contents of that fated ship, when it quitted the port

1 The steamboat Lexington, burned on Long Island Sound, January 13, 1840

« PreviousContinue »