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THE

EDINBURGH LITERARY JOURNAL;

No. 68.

WEEKLY REGISTER OF CRITICISM AND BELLES LETTRES.

LITERARY CRITICISM.

The History of Chivalry and the Crusades. By the Rev. Henry Stebbing, M. A. In 2 vols. Constable's Miscellany, vols. 50, 51.

OR,

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1830.

No better proof can exist of the union of sagacity and enterprise which distinguished the late Mr Constable than the fact, that the plan of this Miscellany, one of his latest speculations, has since been acted upon in all quar-principle, than any other contests which history records. ters with complete success. Nothing meets our eye but Family Libraries-classical, historical, philosophical, geographical" neat, trimly drest," in fascinating covers of crimson, brown, yellow, or pea-green. We have two reasons, however, for preferring the Miscellany to any of its brethren: First, That it has an undoubted claim to the rank of primogeniture, with its corresponding privileges;—and secondly, that it is truly a Miscellany-neither exclusively scientific, nor historical, nor classicalbut blending all subjects-original writing and translation, travels, biography, history, “quicquid agunt homines," | in short; and all arranged and combined, upon the whole, with singular good taste and judgment. Perhaps the selection of some of the earlier numbers might have been improved; but since the duty of Editor devolved on Mr Aitken, we should be at a loss to suggest any improvement in the principle of selection on which it is conduct.. ed. The public, indeed, have a guarantee for the good taste and judgment with which this task is likely to be executed, in the "Cabinet" of this gentleman-unquestionably the best collection of miscellaneous pieces in prose and verse with which we are acquainted—and we rejoice to see, from the list of forthcoming publications announced in the Miscellany, that the spirit and industry which the Editor has hitherto displayed is not on the decline. The "Life of King James the First," by Mrban Chambers, will, we trust, prove as amusing and successful as the previous Histories of the Rebellions-works for which we have occasion to know the readers of the Miscellany are indebted to the suggestions and advice of Mr Aitken.*

Chivalry, in its modern meaning, is a term applied to a peculiar system of manners and opinions, which had its origin during the middle ages, and extended its influence over the greater part of Europe. It expresses the particular creed, with regard to morals and the relations of society, of which the order of knighthood, conferred by formal ceremonies, was the external sign. It is, therefore, to be considered as distinct from feudalism. It was a system, as it were, within the feudal system,--a code of moral equity, arising out of the peculiar consequences of the feudal government, coinciding with its spirit in its great leading outlines, while it controlled its operation upon society, and reconciling, though imperfectly, its habits of warfare with that security to property, and that protection from oppression, which seem essential to the existence of every community.

The present volumes, we think, are likely to be popular, and deservedly so. They are not loaded with useless references, though they are obviously the result of no inconsiderable reading;—they are not absurdly eulogistic, nor written in that villainously affected style, which disfigures Mill's History of Chivalry; but temperate and philosophical, yet not without a kindly glow of imagination, and a style which, though betraying marks of is animated and graphical.

PRICE 6d.

of the same spirit concentrated in one channel, and poured in the direction of the East, instead of being allowed to wander at will and dissipate itself among the scattered provinces of Europe. Accordingly, the greater part of Mr Stebbing's work is devoted to a sketch of these wars, the strangest, perhaps, in the history of the human mind ; and though unquestionably by no means free from the admixture of baser motives, yet, on the whole, originating in, and supported more completely by, feeling and

Perhaps no system has ever spread more widely, or exercised a stronger influence over human opinion, than Chivalry; and yet none has left fewer traces of its progress from infancy to maturity. The scattered elements from which its institutions were framed, are indeed occasionally to be found both in the early records of the Gothic tribes, and in the classic authors of Greece and Rome. The spirit of fraternity and clanship which connected the body of knighthood, finds a parallel in the TheLegion of Xenophon as well as the Sagas of Scandinavia; the preparatory course of discipline and reverential obedience which it exacted, is shadowed out in the customs quoted by Athenæus, in his treatise on the Manners of the Celts; the practice of admitting candidates into the Order of Knighthood at a certain period, and even the peculiar ceremonies on that occasion, correspond with the custom of the German tribes on the admission of their young men into the military profession ;† the devotion and religious veneration with which it regarded women, was a distinguished feature in the character of the northern nations, even during the days of Tacitus ; the singular and sometimes ludicrous vows which it enhaste,couraged, are to be traced both in the Scriptures and in the historians of Greece and Rome; the principle of Knight Errantry appears in the labours of Hercules, of Theseus, and Perseus; the joust and tournament are but the games of antiquity, modelled to suit another climate and other manners; the system of judicial combat appears to have been known to the Germans in the days of Augustus, and forms part of the Burgundian code of the sixth century; in short, there is scarcely a feature

From the consideration of Chivalry itself, its use, progress, character, and influence, the transition is natural and easy to the Crusades, which were but the emanation

We are not afraid that our character for impartiality will suffer by the praise given above to a work which issues from the house of our own publishers. We are as independent of Messrs Constable and Co. as we are of any Booksellers in the country; but as we have never shrunk from pointing out what we conceived to be the faults of their publications, so we shall not shrink from bestowing upon a work, so deservedly popular as the Miscellany, the commendations it deserves.

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which has been considered distinctive of Chivalry of which traces are not to be found either among the classical or the northern nations. It was in their combination alone that Chivalry could be considered as an original institution. By the union of virtues of different kinds, each acquired a higher lustre ; humility and obedience appeared more dignified when united to strength and valour; scrupulous honour, and undeviating veracity, were doubly honoured in those who were bound to performance by no stronger obligation than that of conscience and opinion; and valour itself, the point in which Chivalry may be said to have added least to the ages which preceded it, derived a nobler character from the objects to which it was now applied, and its union with the softer virtues of mildness, temperance, and chastity.

It is true, however, that this general theoretical outline of the chivalrous character, imposing as it appears, was disfigured by practical defects and absurdities inseparable from a period of limited knowledge and unbounded superstition; that the religion of the knight was seldom unmingled with bigotry, and always alloyed by degrading superstition; that the valour which in theory was to be applied only to the defence of his country, his sovereign, his lady, or his brother in arms, was too often dissipated in absurd and meaningless encounters; and that, even in the purest period of chivalry, no intelligible line of distinction appears ever to have been drawn between licentiousness and love.

We differ from Mr Stebbing in his supposition, that Chivalry acquired its peculiar devotional character so early as the reign of Charlemagne. On the contrary, however intimate may have been the relations which subsisted between the Emperor and the church, we do not see the least traces of this character in any of the ceremonials of Chivalry during his reign. The earliest notice, from which we can infer that the military character of the institution had become combined with the religious, is in the tenth century.

voted to destruction, and paved the way for the extravagances of the Crusades. To slay an infidel was, in itself, a positive virtue, which, in the middle ages, was allowed to counterbalance a positive vice; and thus the knight was enabled to indulge in an extreme laxity in the moral duties of religion, by submitting to the gentle penance of destroying a few supernumerary Jews, Turks, infidels, or heretics. Even the virtues inculcated on the knight, were allowed to be in abeyance in the case of an infidel. Generosity and courtesy, mercy, and even fair dealing, he had no right to expect. "If an infidel," says St Louis, a great authority, "impugn the doctrines of the Christian faith before a churchman, he should reply to him by argu ment; but a knight should render no other reason to the infidel, than six inches of his falchion thrust into his accursed bowels." Even the ladies ran some risk, if they laboured under the fatal stain of heresy. Sir Bevis of Hampton declines the invitation of the Princess Josiane, whom he terms "an heathen hound," and absolutely refuses to hold any communication with her, till appeased by her offer,

*

erament.

Ingulph observes, that among the Anglo-Saxons at that time, it was customary for the candidate, who desired to be admitted among the milites, to confess his sins to the bishop, and to pass the night in the church in prayer and mortification, before his sword was blessed by the priest. The knight, after his admission, received the saIn the eleventh century, the religious character of the institution was still more decidedly fixed, by an ecclesiastical decree of the Council of Clement, ordaining | all persons of noble birth, on attaining the age of twelve, to take a solemn oath before the bishop of the diocese to defend the oppressed, the widow, and the orphan,—to pro- | tect the traveller, and to check oppression and tyranny. The candidate for knighthood was now taught to consider himself, in the first place, as the defender of the church; he watched his arms on hallowed ground; he assumed the white robes of the neophytes; vigils, fasts, and confessions, prepared him for the rite in which he was to participate; his godfathers became sponsors for him in knighthood, as they had done at his baptism; the weapons with which he was invested were blessed by the priest, and the knight bound himself, by the oath of Chivalry, to defend the rights of the holy church, to respect religious persons and institutions, and to obey the precepts of the Gospel.†

The religion of the knight, as it was generally founded, not on reasoning, but education and habit, was necessarily debased by superstition; and if the common occupations of life acquired a higher and more elevated character, from their connexion with religion, there is reason to believe that religion itself lost much of its spiritual and solemn impressions, by being perpetually blended with the affairs of common life. God and the saints held a divided empire with the eyes of the ladies, and the knight appealed to each, in turn, with the same confidence and devotion. The names of the saints formed the watchword of particular champions. St Michael, St George, and St James, all of whom tradition had invested with the order of knighthood, were in peculiar request. Tournaments were proclaimed in honour of the Virgin Mary, and, indeed, the knights never seem to have considered her in any light very different from that in which they viewed their mistresses. At a tournament held at Valladolid, in the year 1428, the King of Castile was accompanied by twelve knights, who personated the twelve Apostles.† Even the patriarchs and remarkable personages of Scripture were invested with the attributes of knighthood, by the same wide-spreading extravagance which placed Alexander the Great at the head of a court of Macedonian Paladins, similar to that of Charlemagne, and represented Jason as distinguishing himself at a tournament, given in honour of the admission of Prince Hercules into the order of knighthood. § In the Visions of Pierce Plowman, a passage occurs, which shows how completely Chivalry had become incorporated with the whole opinions and habits of thinking at that period; for the poet, describing the crucifixion, and speaking of the person who pierced our Saviour's side, calls him a knight, who came forth spear in hand, and jousted with Jesus; and afterwards, for the base act of wounding a dead body, he is pronounced a craven and recreant knight. When such revolting absurdities characterised the religious belief of the day, it is difficult to conceive that the subject of religion could exercise over the minds of its votaries that solemn and awful effect, which, in a purer form, it was calculated to produce, or to doubt that the union of the religious with the military character, however plausible in theory, had led to the most absurd and impious consequences in practice.

In our estimate of the influence of the religious character thus impressed on Chivalry, we are very much at one with Mr Stebbing. The religion thus connected with the spirit of Chivalry, exercised a strong, though not al- | ways an amiable, influence on the knightly character. If But leaving the feeling of devotion, we come now to it animated his patriotism and self-devotion, it created a another strong ingredient in the character of the knight determined spirit of bigotry and intolerance, taught man-his devotion to the fair sex, and, in particular, to the to consider infidels and heretics as vessels of wrath, de- lady whom he selected as the chief object of his affections.

*P. 512.

† Du Cange v. Miles, and 22 Dissertation sur Jourville. St Palaye Mem. sur la Chev. Part ii. Fabliau. Ordene de la Chevalerie. Barbazan, T. i. p. 59.

66 My false gods I will forsake,
And Christendom, for thy love, take."

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The feeling of peculiar respect for women, was certainly only heightened, not created, by the institutions of Chivalry. The equality of the sexes, unknown among the Greeks and Romans, was recognised amidst the dreary wilds and forests of the Cimbri and the Teutones. There the women, instead of being the slaves of men, were their friends and their advisers. They were intrusted with embassies and governments;* they held their place in the council and the field; they mingled in battle with their husbands, their brothers, and their parents, † and preserved a noble independence of character, unknown to the female society of Athens or Rome. The strict rules of chastity, so early inculcated upon the youth of both sexes by the laws of the Gothic tribes; the diffidence and respect, the patient assiduity and anxiety, with which the lover prosecutes his suit, where his mistress possesses the power of choice and rejection-these might be reduced to system and rule by the institutions of Chivalry, but they existed long before in the character of the Northern tribes. They were, undoubtedly, in harmony with the character of an institution so enthusiastic and romantic as that of Chivalry, and accordingly, in that system, a very marked and prominent place was assigned to them.

|

The defence and protection of the fair sex in general, formed, of course, part of the obligations of the knight in his vow of Chivalry. But this was not enough. The knight was obliged, in order to complete his qualifications, to select some individual fair one, to whom his more especial reverence and affection was to be devoted. Don Quixote, a great authority in these matters, was quite aware that the choice of a mistress was as necessary a preliminary to his expedition, as his steed and his arms. She was to be the polar star, to which his thoughts were to be directed amidst all the chequered scenes of his knightly career. Even her caprices were to be held sacred. Her word was law; and whatever enterprise of difficulty she might impose upon the hapless knight, who was honoured with her favour, he was bound to perform. The dialogue between the Dame des belles Consines and Jean de Saintre, quoted by Sir Walter Scott and Mr Mills, and which has every appearance of being a transcript from real life, proves that every knight was compelled to be in love on system; while it illustrates pretty fully, what we shall afterwards have occasion to advert to, the very accommodating principles of gallantry which regulated the conduct of the fair sex towards their lovers.

beauty of his lady, and to break a lance on such an occa→ sion was a challenge not to be declined. Nor was it sufficient that he should be ready to act on the defensive; the champion of the middle ages was called upon to become the challenger, and to proclaim in the lists his readiness to maintain his mistress's quarrel against the world in arms. Nothing could exceed the pomp, the splendour, and solemnity, of these occasions. The knight was generally adorned with some device conferred by the hand of his mistress; a scarf, a ribbon, or glove, conspicuously displayed on some part of his helmet or his armour: all the magnificence of the age was lavished in the decoration of his person, the adornment of the lists, and the preparations for the reception of the noble company before whom his valour was to be displayed. The lady, in her turn, delivered the prizes of the tournament, and rewarded the bravery and devotion of her knight, by such approved public favours as were sanctioned by the custom of the age. These were such as might in modern times be considered sufficiently trifling. But the passion which is founded on imagination only, requires little to support it; a ribbon or a scarf, a smile or a ceremonious salute, are sufficient nourishment to such creatures of the fancy. Absurd and fantastic, however, as this compulsory gallantry appears, there is little reason to doubt that it exercised a considerable, and, on the whole, a favourable, influence upon the conduct of the knight. In reference to society, it matters little whether a man perform great and good actions from a sincere feeling of affection towards a particular object, or from mingled considerations of pride, ambition, jealousy, and inclination, which he is pleased to embody under the general term of love. And, on the whole, it seems undoubted that the gentleness and courtesy, the high sense of honour and generosity of feeling, which resulted from this feature of the knightly character, produced a favourable effect on society, whatever might be the reality of that devotion to which, nominally, they owed their origin.

But while these ideas on the subject of love, fantastic as they appear, must be admitted to have had their influence in softening and refining the warlike character of the times, the notions which prevailed in the best days of chivalry, and which were most unquestionably sanctioned by its practice, if not by its principles, with regard to the intercourse of lovers, were in the highest degree lax and accommodating. Though devotion to one mistress, and The love which was thus inculcated by rule, was, of exclusive and unhesitating obedience to her wishes, were course, not intended to be confined to the breast of the exacted from the knight by the customs of chivalry,→→→ knight. It was not of that modest and retiring charac- and although the lover, apparently contented with the ter which shuns the observation of strangers, and, to use slightest mark of favour, seemed to exist only for a pure the fine expression of an old Fablier, "resembles the sap and spiritualized affection, there is sufficient reason to bewhich gives life and vigour to the tree, yet is seen by lieve, both from the chronicles of the times, and the ronone." It was intended to be proclaimed on the house-mances, (which, as general pictures of manners, are good tops, and to be paraded in the glare and sunshine of tilts evidence in such cases,) that nature revenged herself for and tournaments. And hence, there is strong reason to the force which was put upon her by these public exhibisuspect that it was in many cases a conventional and fac- tions of stoicism, and that in the real life of chivalrytitious feeling, exercising little real influence over the heart, apart from the show and glitter of the tournament—amidst and existing chiefly in the imagination. Certainly, if we may the stillness and ennui of baronial castles, less refined ideas draw any inference with regard to the character of chival on the subject of love regulated the conduct of these fair rous affection from the love poetry of the Troubadours, we Platonists. Were these instances of licentiousness conshall form as high an opinion of its reality; for in the Canzos fined to a few individuals, it would be unjust to charge and Tensons of Provence, that country where Chivalry had the institution itself with having either caused or encouits peculiar seat, where love, according to its approved rules, raged such irregularities; but when we find that this was taught in courts and parliaments, and its precepts em- laxity of principle was common even among those who bodied in legal judgments,¶ nothing, in general, is more were considered as the splendid ornaments of chivalry— shadowy, unreal, and unnatural, than the poetry of love. that the romance writers, whose works reflect the feelBut whatever might be the reality of the feeling, its ex- ing of the age, dilate with as much pleasure on the galternal manifestations were sufficiently pompous and im- lantries of Lancelot, of Tristan, of Arthur, and of Gasing. was the especial duty of the knight to main- lour, as on the constancy of Amadis and Huon-we are tain against all the world the honour and surpassing at least entitled to conclude, that, in this particular at least, it had failed to effect any material improvement on the morals of the time. Still more striking proofs of the union of pretended sentiment with real sensuality, occur in the work already alluded to, "The Chronicle of Jean de Saintrê," a work of which Tressan remarks, “That

* Strabo, Lib. iv. Pomponius Mela, Lib. iii. c. 6.
+ Germ. Taciti.
Germ. Taciti.
L'Histoire et plaisante Cronique du Petit Jean de Saintré. V.
I. c. 3, 6.

Lai du Conseil. Le Grand. Fab. v. 3.
Arresta amorum.

it gives a great deal of insight into the real life of Chi-
valry;"
;"* and which is mentioned in similar terms by
Warton. If further proofs of the inefficiency of chi-
valric theories to refine the manners or correct the irre-
gularities of the age in matters of this nature were want-
ing, they are to be found in the character of the works of
fiction which, we know, were then read and applauded
by those fair ones, who, in the lists or at the banquet,
were such models of delicacy and refined sentiment. Many
of the romances of the Round Table, besides the uniformly
objectionable moral which they inculcate, are such as no
female would now peruse, far less listen to; and the later
romances of chivalry, Tirante the White in particular, are
scandalous beyond belief. The Canterbury Tales of Chau-
cer, much of the love poetry of the Troubadours, and
almost all the fabliaux of the Trouvers, which we know
were recited by these itinerants at the banqueting table
of nobles, and in the society of honourable and accom-
plished ladies,† are no less objectionable. Such, also, are
those tales which formed the favourite amusement of the
brilliant courts of Italy, the Decameron of Boccaccio, and
the Novels of Bandello; the latter of which are specially
inscribed to the most distinguished ladies of the time.
Thus in Bandello, the 46th novel of part 3d is said, in
the introduction, to have been related by the Spanish am-
bassador Navagero, to the Duchess of Urbino and the
Princess of Mantua; and yet it is the most obscene story
in the whole circle of Italian novels. Facts, such as these,
dissipate at once the theories of manly virtue and female
purity, which we would wish to connect with the times
of chivalry, and compel us to say with Gresset,-

"Ce n'est donc qu'une belle fable,
N'envions rien a nos aïeux;

En sont temps l'homme fut coupable,
En sont temps fut il malheureux."

In these general views, we find we agree substantially with Mr Stebbing, whose estimate of the comparative importance and influence of Chivalry, we consider as a very fair and candid one.

To his History of the Crusades, we shall probably return on a future occasion.

Sketches from Nature. By John M'Diarmid. Edinburgh. Oliver and Boyd, 1830. 8vo. Pp. 388.

Hist. of Eng. Poetry, vol. i, p. 334.
Usage est en Normandie,
Que qui herbegeiz est, qu'il die
Fable ou chanson a l'oste.

a better teacher than our worthy author. In the second part of his work, Mr M'Diarmid presents us with a number of miscellaneous papers, the greater part of which, however, have a reference to the scenery and localities of the south of Scotland, particularly Dumfries-shire and Galloway. Among these are excellent wet-day articles on Gretna-Green, Sculpture, Curling, Ballooning, the General Assembly, together with a number of biographical sketches of persons well known in their own district, and whose names have, to a certain extent, obtained a wider influence.

He pos

MR M'DIARMID informs us in his preface, that the object of his work is to " garner and reduce to a connected form, fragments of Scottish scenery and character, and along with these, anecdotes illustrative of the habits of animals, that appeared to be hurrying fast into oblivion." This, though a comparatively unambitions, is a pleasing task; and, as far as he has gone, Mr M'Diarmid has performed it skilfully and satisfactorily. sesses a lively fancy, an unfailing good-nature, and a pic. turesque style, by which he is enabled to lay hold at once of the most prominent points in the subjects he discusses, and to attach a degree of interest even to insignificant matters. In the first part of the volume, which contains various sketches illustrative of different departments of natural history, we find a number of amusing and instructive anecdotes. These relate principally to the eagle, the gull, game, different kinds of fish, the fox, the elephant, the otter, the cat, bees, the monkey, the heron, and the crow or rook. Mr M'Diarmid's contributions to the science of natural history are written still more popularly, and not less graphically, than those of the celebrated Gilbert White himself. He who wishes to make himself acquainted with the habits of different animals, without any trouble, as boys learn the alphabet by eating gingerbread, cannot have

Fab. Sacristain di ciuni.

Mr M'Diarmid's besetting sin is, a tendency to attach too great an importance to trifles, and consequently a fondness for what, to the world at large, can appear little better than mere gossiping. In an idle dreamy mood, such a tendency is rather agreeable than otherwise; but when the mind is active, and its energies aroused, the food appears weak and vapid as the caudle that stands beside the sick-bed of an old woman. From the volume before us we could very easily select a good number of instances of the fault to which we allude; but one will suffice. Talking of some ducks kept in a pond at the villa of Terraughty, in the neighbourhood of Dumfries, Mr M'Diarmid delivers himself in the following sonorous and well-arranged sentences:-" Curs and mongrels of every degree, whose courage was never doubted before, have recoiled under a flap of the drake's wing; and when the maidens, during washing days, innocently enough wish to turn the pond and its banks to the best account, the stock-gannets not only dispute their right, but take every opportunity of pecking at, and biting, their naked feet. Even the ladies of Terraughty are regarded as intruders in their own grounds, and more than once the venerable Mrs Maxwell and her relative, Miss Hislop, have been beset in their walks, and openly insulted, by the feathered tyrants of their silvan domain." The historical gravity of this passage strikes us as highly amu sing; but that which immediately follows is yet more impressive:"Still, where a bold front is shown, it is easy to keep the enemy at bay; and when the birds attempt to molest Mr Bogie, he offers them his foot or hand in sport, and merely laughs at their impotent malice." This is altogether a fine picture;—we have first the " venerable Mrs Maxwell and her relative, Miss Hislop," actually insulted and discomfited by the ducks; and then we have the heroic Mr Bogie calmly allowing them to peck at his foot, and laughing in scorn at their "impotent malice." Probably Mr M'Diarmid will now understand what we mean when we complain of his making too much out of nothing.

But we must not dismiss our readers with any disagreeable impression of this work, which, as we have already said, is full of entertainment. As a specimen of the lively style in which it is, for the most part, written, we shall make the following extract :

THE TWELFTH OF AUGUST.

"The Twelfth of August! Are there four words in the English language that call up such a host of agreeable associations? The fair one's whisper must be particularly sweet when she first articulates the consenting Yes; yet I have known youths, and men of mature years too, who ap peared to be in much higher spirits while putting every thing in order for the moors, than when about to depart on their marriage jaunts. And I do not wonder at all at the circumstance. To see the sun rising from the ocean at half past four in the morning,-ourselves stationed on a high hill top,-the congregated vapours curling and disper sing far below,-measureless tracts of heather around, glistening with dew, and tipped with pearls of new-born light, more radiant than its own purple bells,-to surprise the shrill skylark at his matins, and the hare as she steals upon her early fare; why, these are enjoyments that would be poorly exchanged for slothful slumbers on the softest couch that ever derived its elasticity from down filched from the eider-duck's breast. Add to this the high gratification of having your cheek fanned by the first breeze that is chased into action by the morning's breath; the independence im

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plied by the possession of manly and vigorous powers; the admirable docility and tactics of animals which bring their instincts to bear upon their master's pleasures, and then, in place of enquiring who would, rather say, who would not be a sportsman? Topers, we are told, drive at every fresh debauch, an additional nail into their coffin; but as every proposition has its converse, he who repairs annually to the moors, must draw, at least, one nail out; and there is more over more reason for believing that there are many who would sink under the winter's toils, but for the seasonable and needful repair which their constitutions undergo during the autumn. As the viol strings are slackened by the friction of the bow, so a strictly sedentary life impairs and unhinges the most elastic frame; but air and exercise are the pegs or knobs that screw us into tune-that restore the wonted harmony of the system, and give to all the springs that minister to health a higher tone and a freer play. And if these reasons fail to satisfy you, only think of the sportsman's evening comforts, for then you see him in all his glory. He who never trod the moors, knows nothing comparatively of the luxury of dining-not of picking like a bilious citizen, but of eating like a hale and healthy man. An individual, we shall say, who but a week before hung languidly over the breast of a chicken, now acquits himself so super-excellently as a trencher man, that you would not give a pin's fee for the reversion of his interest in a heaped platter of beef steak. While recounting with a friend the events of the day, he may perhaps take a cup extra, but his slumbers are refreshing notwithstanding. The very depth and breadth of his inspiration may convince you that he has acquired an accession of strength, and that you would find it rather difficult to awaken him, even were you to employ the town drummer to strike a march under his ear.

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But there are persons who tell us that the sports of the field are cruel and barbarous, and even indite homilies against them. Was ever objection so idly made, or so easily Bauswered? Barbarous and cruel! Is it cruel to poison rats and drown kittens,-to prevent the land from being overrun with vermin? Is it cruel to prevent such an increase of pheasants and partridges as would leave but little food for the use of man-the nobler animal undoubtedly of the three? Has the farmer, who tills and sows the ground, no better right to the crops it bears than the fowls of heaven, which neither do one nor the other-which respect not even ecclesiastical rights? The wood-pigeons of America are welcome to breed in millions in the back-settlements, so long as the land is uncultivated and uncleared; but when the empire of civilization extends so far, they must give way to a nobler class of citizens. But it would be idle to enlarge on such a topic. Lord Byron understood matters better, and was, doubtless, imbued with the feelings of a sportsman, when he wrote the following animated lines:

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LITTLE argument would suffice to prove that schoolbooks are really deserving of a far greater share of notice than many other volumes of more ambitious pretensions, though it somehow happens that they are very apt to be considered as in a great measure excluded from the pale of regular criticism. The first edition of the work which forms the title of this notice, we had heard highly spoken of; and the extending popularity which we know it has progressively acquired in the schools throughout Great Britain and Ireland, since the brief date of its first publication, was to us the surest test of its excellence. As to the second edition, we may be permitted to say, that our enquiries for some time past having led us into rather an intimate acquaintance with the manuals which are most commonly employed in modern tuition, on the subject to

which this elementary work is devoted, we are thereby enabled to form an opinion of this Compendium with more than ordinary confidence. As the result of this scrutiny, we have no hesitation in affirming, after subjecting it to the ordeal of a careful comparison with a variety of others, that the work before us is decidedly the most successful effort which has been hitherto made to impart geographical instruction to the youthful mind. The name, experience, and acknowledged ability of the author,-the success of whose labours, in the composition of elementary works, is now so well appreciated by the public,— was in some sort a guarantee for this result. One of our School Geographies, and that also a Scottish one, we are aware, has met with success so distinguished as to be now very generally adopted as a class-book on the other side of the Atlantic; but we shall be surprised indeed, if, ere long, the present work does not attain the same proud distinction. The labour bestowed on this edition has evidently been very great. The plan and framework, it is true, are the same with the former; but the additional matter now incorporated throughout is, in a high degree, both ample and valuable.

We have been particularly struck with the contrast this volume presents with the cumbrous and ill-assorted accumulation of materials given by one School Geography lately published in the South-defying and defeating every aim and purpose of effective tuition-and with the jejune and unsatisfactory catalogue of names, and really little more than names, given by others. Malte Brun's Universal Geography, as regards philosophical classification, labour and extent of research, and perspicuous vivacity and condensation of style, is perhaps the first work of the kind extant; and when we say that the work of Mr Stewart, making allowance for its necessarily contracted scale as a school-book, is a counterpart in miniature of that admirable work, we only state the truth; while, in consequence of the accuracy and freshness of its details, we are acquainted with no compilation which, as a manual of ready and familiar reference, will bear a moment's comparison with it. A very superficial examination, indeed, will serve to show with what vigilant care the most recent information has been collected; for in almost every page we find facts and discoveries noted and registered, which we have seen only as of yesterday in the works of our most distinguished travellers by land and by sea.

The pronunciation of the names, too, as far as we are able to judge, is unchallengeable. At first sight, we were inclined to think that some of the accentuations in the Descriptive Tables of England, and particularly in those of Ireland, were at least doubtful; but a little enquiry proved we were too hasty. There is only one objection which occurs to us in the plan of the volume, and that is the references between the different countries and their corresponding cities and towns being made by means of figures, which, as it so happens, often point to a subseWe are aware that this arrangement is quent page. adopted in some similar works, but are quite at a loss to know the reason of it. Why not arrange them in opposite columns?-a juxtaposition which would certainly be far more agreeable to the eye, and consequently, as we imagine, much more accessible to the memory. We would strongly suggest that this should be remedied.

The Introductory Remarks, we ought to add, are written with singular discrimination and judgment,—the style, at the same time, being remarkable for vigour, conciseness, and vivid beauty of portraiture; while the Descriptive Tables, for luminous compression, and a felicitous exhibition of the leading features of the place described, are models of their kind.

In a word, we hesitate not to say, with the fullest confidence and most perfect sincerity, that in all those respects which can confer value on a work of the kind, the volume under consideration is the best and cheapest Compendium of Geography ever published in Europe.

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