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THE DISOWNED."

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A SHREWD old friend of ours used to say, "Recommend whatever else you please, but never recommend a husband or novel,-they are a matter of taste." Now, like all other opinions, we are not disposed to allow but one half of their truth. We will allow that it is well not to interfere with the choice of another person's husband: but a novel,—no ; we must advise the reading of our favourites. We must say why they are favourites, bring forth their merits, and show good cause for our liking. Literary love is a social passion; we desire to share our pleasure; it has also something of a chivalric feeling: we like the beauty of our book to be universally admitted. Thus it is, not content with enjoying "The Disowned" ourselves, we must canvass 66 golden opinions from all sorts of men "for its dear sake. We do not say that it is the best, but we like it the best of Mr. Bulwer's works. It has an interest which every succeeding volume of his will increase,-it is, as it were, the early picture of his mind wherewith to contrast all after ones. author's youth is in "The Disowned," with all its romance, its generous enthusiasm, and its poetry, all "the golden exhalations of the dawn." There is much in it that we are persuaded he could not write now. We deny that ever the beautiful has vanished" to return not; but our keen feeling of it has. We no longer welcome it with fancies. No more (to use a pretty love-conceit in these very pages) do we believe that the butterfly bears on his painted wings a message from Oberon. Such pleasant dreamings relieve not twice the commonplace of life. "The Disowned" is redolent of first love,-of first hope,-beneath whose fairy feet flowers spring up, destined by their very nature soon to perish, but whose sweetness never wholly passes away. A life without youth would be like a year without spring; there would be no music to remember,-no fragrance to recall. We know of no tree that brings forth fruit without blossom. The necessity of the lovely is felt throughout nature. There are some books that do, some that do not, interest you personally in the writer. "Pelham" belonged to the last, and "The Disowned to the first class. Much of the enthusiastic admiration which Mr. Bulwer has inspired belongs to the volume now before us. It spoke of the heart within, and such a manifestation is the bond between the writer and the reader. We delight to trace the individual in his compositions, because it shows their reality. It has been truly said, we take but feeble joy in the merely transitory, and only truth can give duration. In "The Disowned were first felt the energy, the benevolence, and the depth that characterise all Mr. Bulwer's writings, but with more of poetry. We never knew a young person who did not delight in this work; it gave them back all their better impulses and higher aspirations with a "diviner shape." This power of exciting the enthusiasm of the young is the first stepping-stone to an author's fame. Their opinion will in time be that of the old, and in the meanwhile its warmth gradually diffuses itself.

A singular variety of talent was shown in the four volumes, now reduced to two of the prettiest tomes that ever carried in their personal appearance what Lord Chesterfield calls "a letter of universal

recommendation." The young artist was conceived in the finest spirit of poetry-at once ideal and true. It called attention to distress little known, and too little pitied. No career has more positive suffering, than that devoted to any imaginative pursuit. It has the difficulties, the privations, that harass all who have to make their own way in the world, and it brings to endure them a temperament the least fitted for such endurance-feverish, irritable, and sensitivefeeling everything keenly, and exaggerating everything. The most unremitting labour is required. The popular fallacy of genius and idleness being constant companions has long been exploded. The artist or the literary man must, and do work far harder than any clerk in any office; look at all our principal names, whether in literature or in art, and then remember how much work they have done, and to how large a portion of toil the mere manual exercise of writing has amounted. Labour, too, the worst requited of all in a worldly sense. Half the exertion, and half the energy as a tradesman, would have realised immense fortunes. The Rothschilds of the mind rarely secure even independence; still we deny not that "verily they have their reward." The triumphs of genius are the noblest that mortality can achieve; and the smallest sharer of such spoil may not complain that the wind has been rough, and the strife has been hard. We are all ready enough to sympathise with the success, but we are all too apt to forget the struggle. It is that struggle which is painted so forcibly in Werner, the youthful artist. He goes down to the grave unguerdoned and ungarlanded; and such is the lot of many. Go through the minor streets of our vast metropolis how many dim lights will you see in the upper windows burning through the melancholy midnight! We know no more touching associations than surround the single candle, gleaming hour after hour. Either it speaks of the vigil by the sick pillow, where the faint breath is made doubly precious by the danger of its atmosphere; or else it tells of the page which, though loved, is dwelt upon even to weariness; the drawing contemplated till its outlines become confused to the over-taxed sight a pale and hectic world is around that lonely light. What a general and human feeling is given to the ethereal and dreaming life of Werner, by the strong love felt for the wayward child by his old and devoted grandmother. There is something singularly touching in the few lines that close the poem, for such it is, of the artist's existence. "There

are two tombs close to each other in the stranger's burial-place at Rome; they cover those for whom life, unequally long, terminated in the same month. The one is of a woman, bowed with the burden of many years; the other darkens over the humble dust of the ambitious artist."

Perhaps characters were never more finely analyzed than in "The Disowned." The vanity of Talbot-the fierce partisan spirit of Wolfethe mean, fraudulent, and weakly-cunning Crauford, are drawn with a master's hand; but Algernon Mordaunt is the triumph-we feel the better for dwelling on such nobleness of nature. Mr. Bulwer has, however, somewhat idealised the poverty. He writes as has never experienced it. We doubt whether it be possible to give an interest beyond painful pity to a real picture of poverty. Its wantthough that brings out all that is most animal in our nature—is its least suffering. It is the moral debasement which we hold to be inevitable-the shrinking misery with which first one wretched expedient

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is adopted and then another-the horror of the first loan-the craving for the second-the hatred against our kind, which takes the place of all the once-ready affections-the grudging eye which we turn upon the blessings of others—the fierce vindictive joy which finds comfort in their misfortunes-the departure of shame, of gentleness, even of common civility-the meanness, the coarseness, that come in their place; all these are the attributes of those who, from better days, sink down into abject want. But these Mr. Bulwer has not painted. We must, however, admit, that in Algernon Mordaunt he has drawn the exceptionnot the rule. By-the-bye, we cannot but advert to the rare beauty of the love-letters-love-letters, generally speaking, the most luckless compositions, that ever made the false step that merges the sublime in the ridiculous. But here they are exquisite-tender, simple, and passionate. Another grace are the delicious touches of description that lie scattered through the pages. There are one or two bits of London, as real as a painting, and as imaginative as a poem.

A very clever essay on fiction is prefixed, full of acute and fine observation. There is one striking remark which we do not ever remember to have seen before the surmise that when Shakspeare described his characters, he described not so much his own conception as the person of the actor. The parallel between Shakspeare and Scott is drawn with admirable acumen; but not even Plutarch himself ever reconciled us to parallels. Opposition is the essence of genius-he were no great poet who resembled a predecessor. There is, however, one distinction too true to be past over, viz., we are most familiar with the appearance of Scott's heroes, and with the hidden heart of those in Shakspeare. The bodily presence of Romeo or Hamlet are not imaged to the fancy as those of "the stately Leicester and the swart Templar." This is partly from the narrative giving scope for description not allowed by the drama-partly because the one was master of the internal, as the other was of the external world. No one ever described like Scott; you do not see the scene, you act in it. He himself tells a story of a Scotch country gentleman who broke in upon the description of the hunt in the "Lady of the Lake," by exclaiming, when the hounds swim after the boat in which Ellen and the knight seek "the enchanted hall," By God, Sir, it will kill the dogs to take the water after such a day's work!" Who among us has not been equally carried away? But Shakspeare was as true and more profound; we know not the human emotion that might not find in him some most fitting expression. Scott delights in oddities, and he is more national than individual. But this is digressing. We cannot do more than allude to the notices of other writers scattered through this preface; they are as liberal as they are nicely discriminating. The fine mind delights in generous appreciation, and Mr. Bulwer never misses an opportunity of pointing out a merit or evincing a kindly interest in his cotemporaries. He concludes the exposition of his views in "The Disowned" by saying, "I was too young when I wrote it." Is not this rather an excellence? Every succeeding work will make us turn with a deeper interest to that which embodies the youth-the first, fresh, and enthusiastic feelings of Mr. Bulwer.

THE BLUNDERS OF THE REMARKABLY SKILFUL;

With a little Praise of the Press, and a Word on
behalf of the World.

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If it be true that a little learning is a dangerous thing, it follows that a little more may be a little more dangerous; and that human liability to perpetrate blunders increases in the ratio of a capability to avoid them. We want a new version of the song of "Common Sense and Genius," which is good, as far as it goes-that is, just half-way towards truth. Its accomplished author, whose lively fancy is still exercising itself in new songs, ought to bestow upon this favourite among his old ones another catastrophe, which should do justice to Common Sense as well as to Genius, by making both heroes of the ballad walk into the river arm in arm. The truth would be doubled by doubling the tragedy. The only difference between the two-their fate being the same-consists in the place where, and the manner how. Genius, scrambling up Vesuvius, for the sake of saying that he had flung a summerset at the top, makes a magnificent exit down the crater. Common Sense, whose circuit is bounded by Temple-bar, Oxford-street, Hyde-parkcorner, and the House of Commons, on the east, north, west, and south, crosses the Regent-circus, and, with all his eyes fixed inquiringly upon Piccadilly, is run over by an omnibus suddenly emerging from the Quadrant. Genius acquires an ague in the Hellespont; while Common Sense takes the cramp in the Serpentine. "His genius was astonishing!" we all exclaim, when a man contrives to hang by the neck a few minutes too many in a slack-rope performance. "He was remarkable for his common sense!" is the invariable verdict, when a person achieves the distinction of setting fire to his house while reading the last "penny magazine" of useful knowledge in bed, with the candle rather near the curtain, on account of the small print.

Certain it is that exceeding skill is the prolific parent of exceedingly woful failures. The newspapers "teem," all the year round, with shocking accidents and calamitous occurrences, that would seem to have no origin on earth but the uncommon caution and peculiar ability of the parties who suffer by them. If we hear of a disaster above the average scale of calamity, we are sure to hear also that the ill-starred victim to it had a natural turn for averting danger, and a particular knack at keeping on the safe side of things. If a heavy waggon come in contact with a frailer vehicle, the waggoner is sure to be on his own side of the road, and not on the shafts; and if a gentleman happen to overturn his cab, and dash it to pieces, we know that he must be a driver of no ordinary skill and experience. If we are told of a horse gallopping over a few people in a crowded thoroughfare, we are sure to be informed at the same time that the rider is celebrated among his acquaintance for his equestrian accomplishments. In like manner, if a boat be run down by a craft, or carried away by the tide and upset, the feat is infallibly achieved under the auspices of somebody who had sounded all the depths and shoals of the river, and left no aquatic mystery unmastered. Would it not seem-(we beseech the reader to lay down his Magazine Sept.-VOL. XLV. NO. CLXXVII.

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for a moment, and refer to any newspaper that may be near him)would it not seem that all the carriages which are demolished are driven by the more expert and cautious professors of the art, and that all the boats which are lost are managed by crack watermen ? From this we must necessarily conclude, either that a character for excessive prudence and ability is only to be gained through the medium of a glaring mistake, and a fearful calamity as its consequence, or else that there is no danger so great as that of committing our destinies to hands best adapted to ensure our safety and keep us out of harm's way. Indeed, we may come to both conclusions. To the last we are led by the fact, that nine-tenths of the damage we have sustained in rubs against the sharp edges of the world, we owe to nothing else than the amazing cleverness and profound experience of our pastors and masters. The prodigiously-accomplished pilot by repute, is he who in practice brings you in safety almost to the very shore. Cunning people are admirable hands at an almost. Such knowledge as theirs supersedes the necessity of watchfulness, and they consequently fall fast asleep just as they arrive in the vicinity of a sand-bank. The greater the trust in our guide, the deeper the pit we walk into. If we would come to the other conclusion, we have only to open our eyes to the truth, that the world is abundantly beneficent to error, and waits only for a due exhibition of our vices, to give us credit for a prodigious degree of virtue. A man should make a fool of himself now and then, if he would attract attention to his wisdom. The "soberest creature alive" is a creature whom nobody notices or knows anything about; but let him parody the poet's celebrated maxim about error and forgiveness, and take for his motto

"To drink is human; to get drunk, divine;

and the world, immediately discovering all his previous sobriety, attributes his little falling-off to a natural generosity and liveliness of disposition, acted upon by a virtuous abhorrence of the cant of those Temperance Societies. A speculation suddenly fails. "Well, who would have guessed that?" cries everybody. "Such an admirable scheme!" says No. 1; "So ingenious and so original!" observes No. 2; "It was managed throughout with wonderful skill and knowledge of business!" remarks No. 3; "Especially that last movement which has so unluckily ended in ruin!" insinuates No. 4; "He is decidedly the most practical man in Europe!" asserts No. 5; "His judgment, it must be owned, is infallible!" pronounces No. 6. People never obtain a reputation for being infallible until they have undeniably failed; your bankrupt is worth two solvent men; he seldom wants backers when he has once fairly broken down. The road to success lies through defeat, as prophets flourish by the non-fulfilment of their predictions. To be the victim of an 66 unforeseen" accident is the surest way to procure a reputation for forethought. Who would think of placing implicit reliance on the construction of a safety-lamp that has not been celebrated by an explosion? Those safety-coaches that are renowned for the regularity of their upsets exactly opposite every twentieth milestone, are always inquired for with peculiar avidity by the knowing passenger. "Book me for the 'Safety' that overturned yesterday," is the demand most common among the various enterprising speculators by whom the stability of affairs is sustained. It tells the story of most of our fellowpassengers to the land's end of life.

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