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even in those days of expectation. The second tale turns the tables on the Christians, who fail in impressing their superiority on Pagan judges: still it is only in the natural course of things that the shadow cast before by the coming book should have represented it in an inverted form.
Mr. Landor's superior perception of the conditions under which classical romance is possible, is shown, we think, by the fact that he alone has thought it necessary to give his tale a fictitious setting, instead of introducing it at once to the public without any medium. Such expedients — making, in fact, a narrative within a narrative — have been in pretty frequent use among our imaginative writers, since the Canterbury Tales' and the Taming of the Shrew.' They are evidently artificial contrivances, intended to produce an effect which could not be secured without them to apologise, as it were, for something in the character of the work which follows; and, consequently, their propriety must be measured by their necessity or utility. It is not enough that they should be pleasing and beautiful in themselves, they must be seen to be in strict congruity with that which they introduce; nor, indeed, is mere congruity enough, if it should appear that they could have been safely dispensed with. The rule which Mr. Pugin has laid down in . architecture, holds good in other departments of creative art: the artist cannot be absolved from the duty of regarding utility, - that is, in other words, the purpose and imperative requirements of the work which he is contemplating. This principle excludes an artificial introduction to a story in some cases, as surely as it demands it in others. Thus, it may be questioned whether Mr. Tennyson, who is nowhere more happy than in such preparatory sketches, has not occasionally been led by that temptation to employ them where they are not absolutely needed. What is there in the Morte D'Arthur to make it come more properly from the poet Everard Hall’ than from Alfred Tennyson? Where, indeed, do the respective positions of the two poets differ? Or, again, to take a more illustrious instance, is there anything in the Princess' which requires to be understood as the product of an idle interval during a fête champêtre? Or, if the poet himself was not to be supposed competent to produce a Medley' under ordinary circumstances, such as a reader in the nineteenth century could appreciate without special information, where was the need of imagining a plurality of authors
• Seven people being set a tale to tell
Which one might have related just as well ?' Scott, in his first great poem, communicated with the public
be understood or, if the poedley under ofury could appining a champêtret to produce the nineteent
through the intervention of a Last Minstrel :' afterwards he SAW that, with a very slight modification of the ballad language, a chivalrous story might be told by himself in person; and, accordingly, he showed his judgment by dropping the fiction. But where the events to be described are such as those of classical antiquity, the case is altered. A writer stands in a certain relation to his subject, and that relation must be accounted for and disposed of. Where the subject belongs to no time at all, like that of the · Princess,' it may be approached by any person of any time who has the capacity to conceive it. Where it simply belongs to past time, the Middle Ages, for example, a modern author may introduce himself as a mere spectator, and not be perceived to be actually out of place. But where the time to be described is really past, and yet separated from us by another and a wider chasm than that of years, the presence of the writer becomes questionable, and possibly inconvenient. He is liable to be asked not only concerning what he saw but what he felt, and his feelings are sure to be a history in themselves. There seems to be but one alternative,- he must throw off his modern feelings altogether, or he must have them specially allowed for and recognised. Mr. Landor has given us an example of each of these courses. In The Fawn of Sertorius' he is not only anonymous, but, for the purposes of the tale, characterless. He appears only as the English editor of a manuscript. That manuscript is assumed to be the substance of a Roman narrative, reconstructed by an Italian who had not the opportunity of copying it entire. Thus, by a sufficiently probable fiction, we are prepared for a story classical in its general spirit, but not destitute of later touches. In the Fountain of Arethusa,' on the contrary, the modern narrator is everything. He is virtually identical in his antecedents with Mr. Landor, who might have been himself the hero,- if indeed he could have avoided being thereby in a manner pledged to the authenticity of a very marvellous tale. The subject of the work is the ancient world viewed by the light of modern experience, and reflecting back its own light on modern society. It cannot properly be called an historical fiction, as, though most of its persons are historical, and retain their historical character, they are not represented as existing in historical time: but it indicates, if we mistake not, a way in which historical fiction may be treated, and that, on the whole, perhaps the best way. The innocent forgery of a lost classical work, legitimate as it is in theory, is not likely to succeed in practice. A writer of any independent genius will never be able to tie himself so closely to his supposed model as to produce a really speaking counterfeit. It is hard enough to
execute a sufficiently exact translation, spirited and yet thoroughly antique; but when both the dream and the interpretation have to be discovered, the difficulty is more than doubled, and the chances that the expositor will be found drawing on his own invention are infinitely increased. The very form of a prose tale will have to be borrowed to a certain extent from later times; and no human combination of profound knowledge with profound self-restraint will prevent the sentiments from becoming occasionally the writer's own, both in manner and matter. Some Giraldo Cornacchini will always have to be brought in: and though the excuse furnished may be honourable to the artist's adroitness, the necessity of any excuse must be fatal to a work where there can be no triumph short of perfect success. And even perfect success can have but few laurels to bestow. The difficulty of the task is preternatural, and the labour that is spent in thwarting nature must be labour misapplied. We do not want to have the lost books of Livy supplied by a modern historian, especially when we know that the genius which could perform anything so ungenial must have far richer stores of his own at command. Mr. Merivale is much better employed, in bringing all the strength of recent knowledge and accumulated research to bear on the latter days of the Republic, than in endeavouring to re-produce the views entertained of it by the ancients themselves, – views highly important historically, but intrinsically narrow, and already known, or capable of being known, sufficiently for all practical purposes. So we would have the writer of the next classical romance set to work in the spirit of Mr. Meriyale or Mr. Grote,-writing as a modern for moderns, armed with modern scholarship, and able to compare modern with ancient institutions, though not on that account deviating into such modernisms as we have so repeatedly censured, and describing the Greeks and Romans disguised by modern peculiarities. As we saw just now, it will require some artifice to render such a mode of treatment tolerable — an artifice similar to that which Mr. Landor has used in his second work, but not the same. It is possible that we may be ourselves in possession of suggestions towards a scheme of the kind, as the question happens to have occurred to us some time before the publication of The Foun
tain of Arethusa ;' but we certainly shall not so far forget the province of critics as to think of communicating them.
Our four authors, perhaps, will hardly thank us for thus noticing their respective performances, rather with reference to certain points of design and execution which have impressed themselves upon us as important, than according to their own profession as substantive and independent works, to be tried by
general, not by special, tests. We can only say that, if we have thought too little of them, we have thought the more of their subject-a plea which we adopt with less reluctance, as we fancy it will be most readily admitted by that one of their number who has appeared to us most successful. Whether any of them will hereafter fully realise the high conception which we entertain of a classical romance, we dare not prophesy. But we would not discourage any one of them from prosecuting the career that they have begun, though we may be allowed to tell Miss Lynn that her power of language and force of passion, to which our plan has not suffered us to do justice, would probably be better displayed in some story from the less sunny and more prosaic life of modern England. If they should venture to proceed, they have vast fields of history before them yet unworked. The age of Pericles, though not exhausted, will perhaps be the better for a little repose; but there are the times immediately succeeding it, the latter part of the Peloponnesian war, less distinguished by large historical figures, which would seem to defy the power of fiction while they provoke it; more tempting, at the same time, from the partial glimpses which their records afford of the internal condition of that astonishing people in its wild fits of panic self-distrust, and its repeated bursts of heroic energy. Republican Rome is rather hard and formal, and the corruptions of the declining empire are not attractive: but the civilisation of the Augustan era is well worthy of all the skill which the ablest artist can bestow on it; and the period which Tacitus and Juvenal represent has many episodes more truly answering to the title of Les Mystères de Rome than any French story of the Conspiracy of Catiline. • The Waverley
Novels of Antiquity' are yet to be written by a modern hand; and when they appear, though they can never be so extensively read as their predecessors, they may do much to create the taste which they will not find.
heriod which Tacitus at the title of Les Myse
ART. VII. – 1. Minutes of the Committee of Council on Educa
tion: Schools of Parochial Unions, England and Wales. 1850. 2. Second Annual Report of the Committee of the United In
dustrial School. Edinburgh: 1850. At all hands it seems now admitted that Emigration can no A longer be left to blind chance or the unaided impulses of unthinking multitudes. It has become, at least in our age and country, one of those great operations, which affect too seriously the destinies of mankind. Though opinions may be little in
harmony as to the extent and nature either of the encouragement or the regulations which may be necessary, yet all rational men agree that, for the sake as well of the public as of the individuals immediately concerned, there is great need of more reflection, advice, and arrangement in these proceedings, than they have yet been in the habit of receiving, - that if there be no absolute right and wrong, there are some paths better than others, – that, in short, there is, or should be, a political economy of Emigration, and if not a system, something like one in its principle and method. There are few matters of extensive daily practical operation, in which the public mind is in so chaotic a state, as this of the best economie application of the human drain. The first impression is generally a very simple one. There are too many human beings on these two islands, and a certain number must be removed to bring their population to a reasonable level. But some one who has a turn for statistics remarks, that the removals by the drainage in three years do not equal the increase of the population by the excess of births over deaths in one year; and, if he have also read a little political economy, he asserts that the widest room which can possibly be made by mere emigration will be speedily filled up; and that population, when it has sufficient empty space around it, has a tendency to double itself in some five and twenty years; so that if we exported a million of people in a year, — more than all the ships in the world could hold, we should soon again be as we were. Thus the first simple theory is thrown into confusion, and the prospect of relief becomes desperate, unless some other view can be taken of the subject.
Amid all the theories which admit of being started and hunted to nice or doubtful conclusions, it may surely be safely asserted that emigration is a valuable resource in two cases; — first, in that of a morally damaged population, which, from its state of social disease, cannot find the means of living at home but may possibly live abroad: and, secondly, in the case of classes of men who, though not actually starving, have been so far left behind in the great race of competition which an old country like ours is running, that they are here on the verge of poverty, - notwithstanding that they possess capacities and dispositions which would enable them materially to raise their position and increase their usefulness in a new and open land.
It cannot but protract the confusion and uncertainty adhering to the common notions on over-population to find men, whose names are quoted in Parliament on the subject of emigration, speaking of the advantage of removing skilled, able, self-sup