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THE THREAD OF LIFE.
Theer are those undoubtedly who may sincerely pray, with ancient Pistol,
"Abridge my doleful days,
let grievous, ghastly, gaping wounds
Untwine the sisters three. Come, Atropos, I say;"
or think, with Casca,
"He that cuts off twenty years of life,
who are unwilling patiently to wait
"Till the Destinies do cut the thread of life;"
who might even say, with Cleopatra to the asp,
"Come, thou mortal wretch, With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicato Of life at once untie;"
some, yea how many, young and loving wives, who heart-broken and in despair over a husband wrecked on the quicksand of intemperance, are ready to cry out, with Amavia in the Legend of Sir Guyon,
"Come, then; come soon; come, sweetest Death to me, And take away this long lent loathed light;"
and yet, when
"The strings of life begin to crack,"
they find the web "is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together;" they shrink, and call on Atropos to withhold a while the dreadful shears. The fear of death is the common instinct of
our nature. What images of horror does not this instinct summon to its aid?
"To die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
Nor is it fear only that asks the withholding of the fatal shears. A nobler motive often prompts the cry for life. The dying mother, as she thinks of the little ones she is to leave behind, prays, pataionately prays, for their sake to be spared; with Mrs. Osgood in one of her sweetest lays, she may say,
"Ah, let me stay!—albeit my heart is weary.
My frank and frolic child, in whose blue eyes,
Pardon, kind reader, if the picture has made us sad. Look upon that mysterious thread, and count not the question inopportune, even at this festal season—for, of the many thousands for whose eyes this paragraph is written, there are certainly some of whom it may be said before this sheet meets the light,
E. M. Ward.—This talented and rapidly rising artist, the aathor of our embellishment in this number, of "Btnjaviin Waft First Effort in Art," is a nephew to Horace Smith, one of the authors of " Rejected Addresses." He was born in London in IRlfl, and when quite young, manifested a decided love for the fine arts. At the age of fourteen he received one of the premiums of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts in his native city, on account of the merit displayed in a pen-and-ink drawing submitted to the committee, in competition with other youthful aspirants. His original designs made about
this period in illustration of the works of Washington Irving and those of his uncle, excited great expectations. Accordingly, he was placed in a situation to commence seriously and in earnest, a formal series of studies suited to prepare him for the successful pursuit of art as a profession. He advanced rapidly, and received flattering encouragement from such men as Sir Francis Chantry and Sir David Wllkie, the latter furnishing him with a recommendatory letter as a probationary student in the Royal Academy, of which institution he is now an associate, and with tho prospect of an early admission into the ranks of its Academicians. At the age of twenty he visited Rome, whero he remained upwards of two years, availing himsclfof the excellent facilities afforded there, not merely for the study of tho finest works of past time, but in that most necessary branch of study, the lifemodel. From thenco he passed to Munich, and studied fresco painting under the celebrated Cornelius. In 1839 he arrived once more in London, and made his debut with the picture of "Cimabuo and Giotto," which at once drew attention to him, and raised expectations which since then have been fully realized, although ho is yet only in his upward course.
His works have been occasionally familiarised to the American public. Hia picture of "Dr. Johnson Reading the MS. of the Vicar of Wakefield in Goldsmith's Lodgings," was engraved for the Eclectic Magazine, and published in the number for January, 1848. The Art-Union of London issued a lithographic print of his picture of "La Flour's Departure,"and "Goldsmith on his Travels," has also been engraved. The late Mr. Vernon, famous for his munificent encouragement of modern art, purchased the picture of "Dr. Johnson In tho ante-room of Lord Chesterfield," and as the whole of that superb collection is now in course of publication in the Art-Journal (a work that is doing more for the diffusion of taste in art and art manufactures in the United States than perhaps all other causes together), it will soon be accessible to all on both sides of the Atlantic.
His subjects are generally chosen from those departments of literature less frequently adopted as furnishing materials for artistic illustration, and his method of treating them displays a thorough education in all the means of his art. Industry and application are no less apparent than inventive genius, and by this happy union in Mr. Ward, the highest anticipations exist as to his future eminence in the walk of "familiar domestic history," which ho has selected as his province.—J. S.
We acknowledge our indebtedness to Messrs. Gonpil, Vibert tt Co. for their courtesy in permitting the copies for this Magazine of one or two of the prints they published from pictures belonging to the French school of art. The engravings referred to were issued last spring, and it was an oversight thatdue thanks were not tendered at the time.
Shirlet. By the Author of "Jane Eyre." New York: Harper d& Brothers. Shirley is at once worse and better than its predecessor. It has not the faults—real or imputed—of Jane Eyre. That is to say, there is nothing in the book about which even a question as to its morality or propriety can be raised. On the other hand, as a work of the imagination, it has not the same power. The interest is divided between too many, and being divided it is of course weakened. At tho same time it contains many powerful passages. It has special scenes equal to anything in the former work. In clear and bold delineations of character—a species of writing in which the author excels —it is superior to the former. There are more characters introduced, giving the author a fuller opportunity to display in this respect his peculiar power. We refer not merely to the leading characters, such as Shirley, Caroline, Robert and Louis Moore, Yorke, and Helstone, which are conceived with a precision truly wonderful, but also to tho minor and subordinate characters, every one of which, no matter how casually introduced, has an individuality almost Shakespearian. Take, for example, the three curates, the two old maids, or the sketches of the six little Yorkes in the chapter entitled "Briarmains." Everyone of these sketches shows the hand of a master—not merely a keen observer of the externals of humanity, but a psychological chemist—a man (—or woman) capable of analyzing tho subtle workings of the human soul in its most occult processes. Still, rich as the work is in its details, and suggestive as it everywhere is of thoughts and feelings that spring up, like newly opened fountains, from the depths of one's own Internal consciousness, it does not as a whole produce that powerful impression which was left on the mind by its predecessor. The question of its authorship—or rather of the sex of
the author—seems to us no more settled than before. We read the first half of the volume with almost a conviction that the writer was a man. There was everywhere manifest a knowledge of affairs, an intimate acquaintance with the outdoor world, such as is certainly very rare among writers of the gentler sex. To this indeed there are exceptions. No man, for instance, who has ever handled pistols for real use, would have let Shirley keep her dread watch that "summer night" (p. 298) without ascertaining first of all whether the pistols in question were loaded or not. This is just one of those small things which, in weaving a work of fiction, a man who writes from knowledge always recollects, while a woman, who ea: officio knows nothing about it. is very apt to overlook. On the other hand, there are so many instances of this very kind, where the writer seems to be perfectly at home in manly affairs, that the doubt vanishes, and we feel for the moment that none but a man has written the book. Yet as we proceed towards the close of the volume, and see the familiar, the truly wonderful acquaintance which the author has with the female character, we are hnlf disposed to doubt the foregone conclusion, and to agree with Mary Howitt, who in her last letter says, in speaking of Shirley, "we suppose there can now be no doubt that the author of Jane Eyre is a woman!"
We are requested by the American publishers to say that Shirley is given by them in two forms—the Library edition, 12mo. in muslin, and the cheap popular style in paper covers.
Lipe Op Asubel Grken, D.D., LL.D. New York: Robert Carter a} Brothers. All who know anything of the character and habits of Dr. Green, and of the origin of the present publication, will be prepared even before examination to regard it as a most valuable contribution to the original and authentic materials of American history. No man living in the church of which ho was a member, except perhaps tho venerable Dr. Miller of Princeton, was more remarkable throughout his long lifo for his methodical habits. His mental and his physical machinery seemed to move with an exactitude, which we are wont to expect only in * material processes. In connexion with this, he is known to have commenced very early in life a daily register of his personal experiences and observations, which he continued till within a few days of his death. This register was mode in a cipher of his own invention, and known only to himself. A few years before his death, he commenced transcribing from this diary such passages as seemed to him worthy of commemoration. These passages form—they were intended by the author to form—his autobiography. Very few of them, however, are strictly private. The author, during much of his life, stood more intimately related than any other one man to American Presbyterianism. He was , for many years before his death, the only surviving member of the Synods by whom the General Assembly of that church was formed and its articles adopted. Besides this, he was to his latest day deeply tinctured with tho old-fashioned patriotism of the last generation. Under the iniluence of this spirit, while yet a boy, ho was impatient for the arrival of his sixteenth year, that he might be permitted to shoulder a real musket (in tho anticipation of this event he had learned the use of this instrument by drilling with a wooden one) and to march against the invaders of his native soil; he was intimately acquainted with Dr. Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration; he was one of tho two chaplains to the Continental Congress during its sessions in Philadelphia, the other being the venerablo Bishop White; he saw in this capacity much of Washington aud the other great men of that period; he always felt a deep interest, he sometimes took an active part, in public affairs. Such having been his temper and his relative position in life, bis reminiscences assume the character of public documents, while, os being based upon a contemporaneous record, they have a special character for authenticity that will always make them valuable.
As a mere piece of biography, a book of more general and popular interest might have been made by adopting
a plan somewhat different from that which has been pursued. At the same time, however, and in the same degree that this was done, would the value of the work have been diminished, as an original contribution to American history. We commend, therefore, the wisdom of Dr. Jones, to whom was assigned the difficult task of bringing out this biography, and also of tho family whose wishes were consulted in regard to tho matter, in retaining as nearly as possibly intact tho original record of this venerable octogenarian. Tho book may not command as many readers now, as it might have done, had the matter been thrown into the crucible of authorship, aud a new, succinct, symmetrical biography been written. But we feel assured that its permanent value is enhanced just in proportion as its temporary popularity has been sacrificed. It has that kind of value which increases, instead of diminishing, with age. Its value will be greater, and will be more appreciated, a hundred years hence than it is now. The student of history in 19oO may smile, as we do now, to find it gravely recorded that on a particular day and hour the venerable patriarch of American Presbyterianism "lost his cow," or "purchased cantelopes and oysters^" but he may also find in the same accurate record, what perhaps might not otherwise be credited, that in tho presidency of Dr. Witherspoon a student of Princeton could be admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, who did not know the Greek alphabet, and the Latin Salutatory be assigned toone who could n»tconstrue it after it had been written for him by tho President!
But we have already extended this notice much beyond what we intended. We can only say in conclusion, that while the work has not, and was not meant to have, that popular cast which would commend it to tho general reader, yet to Presbyterians, and especially to Princetonians, in whatever part of the wide republic they may be found, tho volume is one of very peculiar interest and value.
Richmond's Domestic Portraiture. Nevj York: Carter dh Brothers. It is not always those who seek distinction as authors, that succeed in being most read. Those writers ordinarily are most read and exert most influence on the minds of men, who seek authorship as a means, not as an end. Legh Richmond is an instance of this. He wrote not to win golden opinions, but as a minister of Christ to gain souls; and yet how widely haro his works been scattered, by how many millions have they been read! What novel or poem even of Scott or Byron, has had as many readers as the "Shepherd of Salisbury Plain?" Tho present volume consists of certain portions of the author's writings not heretofore published, arranged and edited by the Rev. E. Bickerstoth, with a preliminary essay. It will form a valuable addition to the stock of useful and unexceptionable religious literature.
Complete Worksop Henrt Kirke White. Robert Carter cf Brothers. 420pps., 8pom with a Portrait. To those who want a copy of Kirke White suitable for tho library, tho present edition affords a favourable opportunity. It contains Southey's Lifeof the poet, together with the Remains as edited by him. The volume is got up in a style of elegance suitable to the subject, and we hope will find its way into very many families. It is indeed one of those works which every family should aim to possess.
Gliddon's Ancient Egypt. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson. Thirteenth Edition. No American has done so much as Mr. Oliddon towards making Egypt, ancient and modern, known to us. This he has done both by his lectures delivered publicly in various places, and by the present volume containing in a condensed and very cheap form the most important results of his inquirios. The work is a quarto pamphlet of 08 pages closely printed, with very numerous engravings, and sold at tho low price of 25 cents.
Young's Night Thoughts. Robert Carter di Brothers. Arte York. With a Portrait. A most commendable edi tion of an author that every reader wants to own. It is convenient as to size, being a medium 12mo, is printed on
good white paper, with type of respectable dimensions, and
j generously leaded.
Shakespeare's Dramatic Works. New Edition. FhH! lips dh Sampson: Boston. Wo have received parts iii., iv., and v. of this edition, and find them fully equal to the expectations raised by the proprietors. Each number contains a play complete, and is ornamented with an exquisite line engraving of the leading female character. Tho edition when complete will be one in all respects admirable for private or public libraries.
The Mysterirs Op Bedlam; or, Annals of a London Madhouse. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson. We have seen very complimentary notices of this work from the English press, in which the following epithets, among others of like kind, were applied to it,u vivid and animated pictures," "astounding facts," "framework of romantic beauty," "deep and absorbing interest," "profound dramatic interest," "fine graphic style." We have not read the whole of it, in truth wo lacked patience to do so, but from what we could gather in our unsuccessful effort, we have formed the opinion that the work has been praised beyond its deserts.
Lipe Op Alpred The Great. By Jacob Abbott. New York: Harper dh Brothers. Wo cannot but regret the frequent instances of carelessness manifest in the composition of these otherwise excellent books. "It was tho landing, Ac., which constitutes the great event of the arrival of tho Anglo-Saxons in England, which is celebrated in English history as the epoch which marks, Ac," p. 45. "ThcsacredncssutfjicA invested them from the storms of violence and war which swept over everything which tho cross did not protect," p. 77. "The contest which ensued was a terrible struggle, which continued for two centuries, during whiclt the Anglo-Saxons, Ac.," P-52. "It was more than two hundred years after this before the Britons were subdued," p. 57. "Physiologists consider that there are five of these races," p. 35, (he means "suppose" or "believe.") "Was hurled by one of Brutus's followers from the summit of one of the chalky cliffs which bound the island into the sea," p. 19, (docs he mean the cliffs bind the island into the sea?—that is what ho says,) "Tolerable authentic," p. 14, (for tolerably.) Wo quote these at random, to show the kind of faults to which wo allude. We could multiply tho instances indefinitely, but it is unnecessary. We know not to how many volumes the series will be extended. But we do hope that in the preparation of those yet to come, the author will not lend tho weight of his popularity to such a slip-shod style of writing.
Hume's History Op England. New Edition. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, d h Co. We renew our notice of this edition of ilume with much pleasure. It is in a form and style which seems to meet with very general favour. Being uniform with the edition of Macaulay commenced by tho same publishers, it will when completed be an excellent standard work for the library. Vols. V. and VI. have been received. For sale by J. W. Moore, also by Thomas, CowperthwaiU di Co., Philadelphia.
Sacred Scenes And Characters. By J. T. Headley. New York: Baker d- Scribner. Mr. Headley has faults of style which even lus best friends and most ardent admirers admit. At the same time ho has many and great excellencies, and he is without doubt among our most acceptable writers. In the present volume he has chosen a task well suited to his powers. He has selected a few of the most familiar scenes and characters of sacred history, ■aud made them topics for that species of fervid and glowing rhetoric in which he delights. Each topic is also illustrated with a handsome engraving from original deby Darley. The volumo is a moderate sized octavo. It is printed on thick white paper, is neatly bound and gilt, and makes a very pretty gift-book.
Lights A»d Shadows Op Scottish Lipe. By Prof. Wilson. New York: Robert Carter dh Brothers. Thero is a peculiar charm about these Tales, distinguishing them beyond any
of the other writings of the same author. They belong to the Tory few which one likes to read over again. There are few readers who will not be pleased with the opportunity of obtaining a copy in such aconvenientand tasteful form. The edition is in small 12mo., and is ornamented with twelve original designs by Croome, Billings, and others.
Coopke's Complete Works. Tlu Pilot. New York: George P. Putnam. We notice this volume not, of course, to speak of the work, but of the very excellent uniform edition of all of Cooper's novels now going through the press. Mr. Putnam is certainly doing a public service in giving these fine standard editions of the works of our leading authors. In these, the works have received what we presume will be the final revision of the writers, and are presented in the form in which they will go down to posterity.
Mazelli And OreIe Poems. By Geo. W. Sands. Philadelphia, Lindsay a}Blakiston. The two leading poems in this volume are " Mazelli, A Tale of Indian Life;" and "The Misanthropo Reclaimed," a drama in lour Acts. In addition to these there is quite a number of short poems, stanzas, album verses, Ac., the whole making a neat volume of lu6 pages.
Anecdotes OF THE Puritans. New York: M. W. Dodd. A very excellent and amusing little volume. No author's name is given, but the publisher assures us that the facts related have been drawu from authentic sources, and wo feel sure that most of them will be quite new to the great majority of our readers.
Lipe Op Charlotte Klizabeth. New York: M. W. Dudd. Chaucer wrote a long narrative poein, entitled "The Praises of Good Women." Had ho lived some centuries later, he might have found materials for his work of a much less questionable character than some that he has introduced. In nothing has England been more distinguished in these later days than in its remarkable women. We refer to such women as Hannah More and Maria Edgeworth, who, by their writings, their conversation, their personal character, and thi-ir active beneficence, became towards the close of their lives a distinct element of power in the state. .Such U the position which, among others, Harriet Martineau and Mary llowitt are at this moment cither possessing or acquiring. Of all the eminent Englishwomen who have very recently engaged the attention of the Araorican publie, none, perhaps, have engaged it so much as the lady generally known as "Charlotte Elizabeth." Previously to her death, which occurred in 1846, she prepared an autobiography under the title of "Personal Recollections," which brought her Life down to very nearly its close. Since hpr decease the memoir has been completed by her surviving husband. The work will be read with much interest by Americans. It is ornamented with a newly-engraved portrait of h-.:r, said to be an excellent likeness.
A Wheat Sheap: gaUicrcl from our own Fields. By F. C. Woodworth and T. S. Arthur. New York: M. TV. Dodd. Among the many books intended for young people, there is no one which we can recommend with more satisfaction than this. It is made up of some forty or fifty short stories, written alternately by Mr. Woodworth and Mr. Arthur; each story being illustrated with some apt pictorial device. The authors are extensively and very favourably known. They are skilful in narrative, the kind of writing which with children always bears away the palm, and their writings have the distinct object to enforce duty or inculeate truth. No parent need hcsitato who wants for his child a book at once attractive and useful.
Redburn: His First Voyage. By Herman Melville. New York: Hacper & Brothers. There is a wild, fascinating spirit of adventure about Mr Melville, not only in what he relates, but in his manner of relating it. He glories in doing nothing secundum artem. His manner of telling a story is as original as his manner of acting it. His pranks, whether among the parts of speech, or on the deck of a brig, are such as bring their owu forgiveness in
the very breath that says "the graceless scampi" His
adventures, and his descriptions of them, are like nothing living or dead. He imitates nobody; he is evidently ua law to himself." Surely it is refreshing in this age of stereotyping and foe-similes, to meet with one so unique, so perfectly individual.
Froxtenae, a Metrical Romance. By Alfred B. Street. New York: Baker drScribner. The early colonial history of this country, and the incessant border warfare between the colonists and the aboi igines, have already receded so far into the distance as to become legitimate' subjects of romance. Mr. Struct has chosen for his poem the struggles between the French Canadians under Count Frontenae, and the Iroquois, or the famous Five Nations, wbo occupied the vast region lying south of Lake Ontario. To the historical materials at his disposal he has added others of his own invention, and has worked them up with much skill, into a graceful and interesting Metrical Romance. It is in nine cantos, and is accompanied with illustrative historical notes.
Roland Cashel. Harper «C- Brothers. This capital story by Lever, is at length completed, to the joy of all lovers of fun on both sides of the Atlantic.
Pastoral Reminiscences. By Shepherd K. Kollock. New York: M. W. Dodd. To young clergymen just entering upon their ministerial duties, a volume of "pastoral reminiscences'' is like the report of u medical casas" to the young physician. In both cases, they give tho new practitioner the opportunity of profiting by the experience of those who have been longer engaged in the work. In the opinion of the venerable Dr. Alexander of Princeton, who has introduced the present volume to the public with a very characteristic preface, Mr. Kollock's book contains nothing which will be found offensive to any real Christian of any denomination, while his views are uniformly sound and evangelical, and his style plain and perspicuous, without any ambition to say fine things. It is accordingly cordially recommended to the attention and careful perusal of all into whose hands it may come, but especially to young pastors and candidates for the ministry.
Latin-english Lexicon. By the Rev. Joseph Esmond Ridille, and the Rev. Thomas Kerchever Arnold. New York; Harper d) Brothers. We would fain say a word— the limited space allotted to these notices unfortunately allows us to say only a word—in behalf of the object of such a publication as this. If our scholars are ever to hold a reputable rank as Latinists, it must be by a freer use of Latin composition as an exercise in studying the language. No language is effectually loarned but bycomposing in it. Reading and translating a language merely can never give one a command of it. We might as well expect to become dancers by seeing others dance, or mechanics by inspecting a toot-shop. Use is the law of language, in a wider sense even than Horace meant it. We must ourselves use a language as a vehicle of thought, before we really and thoroughly understand its usages and idioms. Not till we begin to think in a language, do wo begin to understand and appreciate it. We hope to see the time—and the evidences of its approach are not few nor doubtful—when tho classical languages will be studied in this country in a manner more accordant with tho true philosophy of language—when the boy will commence writing Latin and Greek as soon as ho com men cos reading them—when the translation from English into Latin and Greek will proceed pari pas.ru with the translations from those languages into English, and that, not only in a few elementary grammatical phrases, but in the higher walks of free original composition. Then, and not till then, shall we have a scholarship among us that is no longer one-sided and curt, but full, symmetrical, and exact.
For tho more elementary exercises in the art of Latin composition wo have many excellent manuals—An thou'e, M'Clintock's, Arnold's, and others. But beyond the range of mere exercise books, tho means within the reach of students have been very meagre and unsatisfactory. In