ePub 版

And songs of birds which, ever as they fly,
Breathe soul and gladness to the summer sky;
Ye courts of Nature, where aloof and lone
She sits and reigns with darkness for her throne;
Mysterious temples of the breathing God,

If mid your might my earliest steps have trod;
If in mine inmost spirit still are stored
The wild deep memories childhood most adored;
If still amid the drought and waste of years,
Ye hold the source of smiles and pangless tears:
Will ye not yet inspire me?-for my heart
Beats low and languid and this idle art,
Which I have summoned for an idle end,
Forsakes and flies me like a faithless friend.
Are all your voices silent? I have made
My home as erst amid your thickest shade:
And even now your soft air from above
Breathes on my temples like a sister's love.
Ah! could it bring the freshness of the day
When first my young heart lingered o'er its lay,
Fain would this wintry soul and frozen string
Recall one wind-one whisper from the Spring!

in all his novels, took a more definite shape, in 1831, in The Siamese Twins, a poem satirical of fashion, of travellers, of politicians, London notoriety, and various other topics, discussed or glanced at in sportive or bitter mood, in verses that flow easily, and occasionally express vigorous and lively thoughts, but are wholly destitute of the elixir vitæ of poetical immortality. A few months afterwards we had Eugene Aram, a Tale, founded on the history of the English murderer of that name. In this work Mr Bulwer depicted the manners of the middle rank of life, and was highly successful in awakening curiosity and interest, and in painting scenes of tenderness, pathos, and distress. The character of the sordid but ingenious Eugene Aram is idealised by the fancy of the novelist. He is made an enthusiastic student and amiable visionary. The humbling part of his crime was, he says, its low calculations, its poor defence, its paltry trickery, its mean hypocrisy: these made his chiefest penance.' Unconscious that detection was close at hand, Aram is preparing to wed an interesting and noble-minded In the same year (1827) Mr Bulwer published his woman, the generous Madeline; and the scenes confirst novel, Falkland, a highly-coloured tale of love nected with this ill-fated passion possess a strong and passion, calculated to excite and inflame, and and tragical interest. Throughout the work are evidently based on admiration of the peculiar genius, scattered some beautiful moral reflections and deand seductive errors of Byron. Taking up the style scriptions, imbued with poetical feeling and expresof the fashionable novels (rendered popular by Theo- sion. Mr Bulwer now undertook the management dore Hook, but now on the wane), Mr Bulwer came of the New Monthly Magazine (which had attained forward with Pelham, or the Adventures of a Gentleman a high reputation under the editorship of Campbell), -a novel full of brilliant and witty writing, sarcastic and published in that work several essays and crilevity, representations of the manners of the great, ticisms, subsequently collected and issued under the piquant remark, and scenes of deep and romantic title of The Student. In 1833 appeared his England interest. There was a want of artistic skill in the and the English, a series of observations on society, construction of the story, for the tragic and satirical literature, the aristocracy, travelling, and other chaparts were not harmoniously combined; but the racteristics and peculiarities of the English people. picture of a man of fashion, so powerfully drawn, Some of these are acute and clever, but many are was irresistibly attractive, and a second edition of tinged with prejudice, and a desire to appear origi'Pelham' was called for in a few months. Towards nal and sarcastic. The Pilgrims of the Rhine-a fanthe close of the year (1828), Mr Bulwer issued The ciful and beautifully illustrated work-was Mr BulDisowned, intended by the author to contain scenes wer's next offering, and it was almost immediately of more exciting interest and vivid colouring, afterwards succeeded by one of his best romances, The thoughts less superficially expressed, passions more Last Days of Pompeii. This brilliant and interesting energetically called forth, and a more sensible and classic story was followed by one still more vigorous pervading moral tendency.' The work was consi- and masterly, the tale of Rienzi, perhaps the most dered to fulfil the promise of the preface, though it complete, high-toned, and energetic of all the author's did not attain to the popularity of Pelham.' Deve- works. With industry as remarkable as his genius, reux, a Novel, 1829, was a more finished performance. Mr Bulwer went on preparing new works of fiction. The lighter portion does not dispute the field with Ernest Maltravers (1837) illustrates what, though the deeper and more sombre, but follows gracefully rare in novels, is common in human life-the afflicby its side, relieving and heightening it. We move; tion of the good, the triumph of the unprincipled.' indeed, among the great, but it is the great of other The character of Maltravers is far from pleasing; times-names familiar in our mouths-Bolingbroke, and Alice Darvil is evidently a copy from Byron's Louis, Orleans; amidst manners perhaps as frivolous Haidee. Ferrers, the villain of the tale, is also a as those of the day, but which the gentle touch of Byronic creation; and, on the whole, the violent time has already invested with an antiquarian dig- contrasts and gloomy delineations of this novel render nity: the passions of men, the machinery of great it more akin to the spurious offspring of sentimental motives and universal feelings, occupy the front; romance, than to the family of the genuine English the humours, the affections, the petty badges of novel. A continuation of this work was given in sects and individuals, retire into the shadows of the the following year, under the title of Alice, or the back-ground: no under-current of persiflage or epi- Mysteries, with no improvement as to literary power curean indifference checks the flow of that mournful or correct moral philosophy, but still containing enthusiasm which refreshes its pictures of life with some fresh and exquisite descriptions, and delightful living waters; its eloquent pages seem consecrated portraiture. His next work was Athens, partly histo the memory of love, honour, religion, and unde- torical and partly philosophical-a book impressed viating faith."* In 1830 Mr Bulwer brought out with fine taste and research. In the same year (1838) another work of fiction, Paul Clifford, the hero being we had Leila, or the Siege of Granada; and Calderon a romantic highwayman, familiar with the haunts the Courtier-light and sketchy productions. Passof low vice and dissipation, but afterwards trans-ing over the dramas of Bulwer, we come to Night formed and elevated by the influence of love. Parts are ably written; but the general effect of the novel was undoubtedly injurious to the public taste. Our author's love of satire, which had mingled largely

*Edinburgh Review for 1832.

and Morning, Day and Night, Lights and Shadows, Glimmer and Gloom, an affected title to a picturesque and interesting story. Zanoni (1842) is more unconnected in plot and vicious in style than the previous fictions of Bulwer, and possesses no strong or permanent interest. Eva, the Ill-Omened Marriage,

and other Tales and Poems (1842) is another attempt of our author to achieve poetical honours: we cannot say a highly successful attempt; for, in spite of poetical feeling and fancy, the lines of Sir Edward Bulwer are cold glittering conceits and personations. His acute mental analysis is, however, seen in verses like the following:

Talent and Genius.

Talent convinces genius but excites;

This tasks the reason, that the soul delights. Talent from sober judgment takes its birth, And reconciles the pinion to the earth; Genius unsettles with desires the mind, Contented not till earth be left behind; Talent, the sunshine on a cultured soil, Ripens the fruit by slow degrees for toil. Genius, the sudden Iris of the skies,

[ocr errors]

On cloud itself reflects its wondrous dyes : And, to the earth, in tears and glory given, Clasps in its airy arch the pomp of Heaven! Talent gives all that vulgar critics needFrom its plain horn-book learn the dull to read; Genius, the Pythian of the beautiful, Leaves its large truths a riddle to the dullFrom eyes profane a veil the Isis screens, And fools on fools still ask-What Hamlet means?' Bulwer's own works realise this description of genius: they unfold an Iris of the skies,' in which are displayed the rich colours and forms of the imagination, mixed and interfused with dark spots and unsightly shadows-with conceit, affectation, and egotism. Like his model, Byron, he paints vividly and beautifully, but often throws away his colours on unworthy objects, and leaves many of his pictures unfinished. The clear guiding judgment, well-balanced mind, and natural feeling of Scott, are wanting; but Bulwer's language and imagery are often exquisite, and his power of delineating certain classes of character and manners superior to that of any of his contemporaries. Few authors have displayed more versatility. He seems capable of achieving some great work in history as well as in fiction; and if he has not succeeded in poetry, he has outstripped most of his contemporaries in popularity as a dramatist.


This popular naval writer-the best painter of sea characters since Smollett-commenced what has proved to be a busy and highly successful literary career in 1829, by the publication of The Naval Officer, a nautical tale, in three volumes. This work partook too strongly of the free spirit of the sailor, but, amidst its occasional violations of taste and decorum, there was a rough racy humour and dramatic liveliness that atoned for many faults. In the following year the captain was ready with other three volumes, more carefully finished, and presenting a well-compacted story, entitled The King's Own. Though occasionally a little awkward on land, Captain Marryat was at home on the sea, and whether serious or comic-whether delineating a captain, midshipman, or common tar, or even a carpenter, he evinced a minute practical acquaintance with all on board ship, and with every variety of nautical character. His vivid and striking powers of description were also displayed to much advantage in this novel. Newton Foster, or the Merchant Service, 1832, was our author's next work, and is a tale of various and sustained interest. It was surpassed, however, by its immediate successor, Peter Simple, the most amusing of all the author's

works. His naval commander, Captain Savage, Chucks the boatswain, O'Brien the Irish lieutenant, and Muddle the carpenter, are excellent individual portraits-as distinct and life-like as Tom Bowling, Hatchway, or Pipes. The scenes in the West Indies display the higher powers of the novelist, and the escape from the French prison interests us almost as deeply as the similar efforts of Caleb Williams. Continuing his nautical scenes and portraits, Captain Marryat has since written about thirty volumes-as Jacob Faithful (one of his best productions), The Phantom Ship, Mr Midshipman Easy, The Pacha of Many Tales, Japhet in Search of a Father, Poor Jack, Frank Mildmay, Joseph Rushbrook the Poacher, Masterman Ready, Percival Keene, &c. In the hasty production of so many volumes, the quality could not always be equal. The nautical humour and racy dialogue could not always be produced at will, of a new and different stamp at each successive effort. Such, however, is the fertile fancy and active observation of the author, and his lively powers of amusing and describing, that he has fewer repetitions and less tediousness than almost any other writer equally voluminous. His last work, Percival Keene' (1842), betrays no falling-off, but, on the contrary, is one of the most vigorous and interesting of his 'sea changes.' 'Captain Marryat,' says a writer in the Quarterly Review, 'stands second to no living novelist but Miss Edgeworth. His happy delineations and contrasts of character, and easy play of native fun, redeem a thousand faults of verbosity, clumsiness, and coarseness. His strong sense and utter superiority to affectation of all sorts, command respect; and in his quiet effectiveness of circumstantial narrative, he sometimes approaches old Defoe. There is less of caricature about his pictures than those of any contemporary humorist-unless, perhaps, Morier; and he shows far larger and maturer knowledge of the real workings of human nature than any of the band, except the exquisite writer we have just named, and Mr Theodore Hook, of whom praise is equally superfluous.' This was written in 1839, before Charles Dickens had gathered all his fame;' and with all our admiration of Marryat, we should be disposed at present to claim for the younger novelist an equal, if not superior-as clear, and a more genial-knowledge of human nature-al least on land.

To vary or relieve his incessant toils at original composition, Captain Marryat made a trip to America in 1837, the result of which he gave to the world in 1839 in three volumes, entitled A Diary in America, with Remarks on its Institutions. This was flying at higher game than any he had previously brought down; but the real value of these volumes consists in their resemblance to parts of his novels-in humorous caricature and anecdote, shrewd observation, and lively or striking description. His account of the American navy is valuable; and so practical and sagacious an observer could not visit the schools, prisons, and other public institutions of the New World, without throwing out valuable reflections, and noting what is superior or defective. He is no admirer of the democratic government of America: indeed his Diary is as unfavourable to the national character as the previous sketches of Mrs Trollope or Captain Hall. But it is in relating traits of manners, peculiarities of speech, and other singular or ludicrous characteristics of the Americans, that Captain Marryat excels. These are as rich as his fictitious delineations, and, like them, probably owe a good deal to the suggestive fancy and love of drollery proper to the novelist. The success of this Diary induced the

[blocks in formation]

'Well, Mr Cheeks, what are the carpenters about?' "Weston and Smallbridge are going on with the chairs the whole of them will be finished to-morrow.' 'Well?'

Smith is about the chest of drawers, to match the one in my Lady Capperbar's bed-room.'

'Very good. And what is Hilton about?' 'He has finished the spare-leaf of the dining-table, sir; he is now about a little job for the second-lieutenant.'

A job for the second lieutenant, sir! How often have I told you, Mr Cheeks, that the carpenters are not to be employed, except on ship's duty, without my special permission.'

His standing bed-place is broke, sir; he is only getting out a chock or two.'

Mr Cheeks, you have disobeyed my most positive orders. By the by, sir, I understand you were not sober last night?

Please your honour,' replied the carpenter, I wasn't drunk-I was only a little fresh.' "Take you care, Mr Cheeks. Well, now, what are the rest of your crew about?'

Why, Thomson and Waters are cutting out the pales for the garden out of the jibboom; I've saved the heel to return.'

Very well; but there wont be enough, will there?' 'No, sir; it will take a hand-mast to finish the


Then we must expend one when we go out again. We can carry away a top-mast, and make a new one out of the hand-mast at sea. In the meantime, if the sawyers have nothing to do, they may as well cut the palings at once. And now, let me see-oh, the painters must go on shore to finish the attics.'

[ocr errors]

Yes, sir; but my Lady Capperbar wishes the jealowsees to be painted vermilion; she says it will look

more rural.'

Mrs Capperbar ought to know enough about ship's stores by this time to be aware that we are only allowed three colours. She may choose or mix them as she pleases; but as for going to the expense of buying paint, I can't afford it. about?'

What are the rest of the men

'Repairing the second cutter, and making a new mast for the pinnace.' "By the by-that puts me in mind of it-have you expended any boat's masts?'

Only the one carried away, sir.' 'Then you must expend two more. Mrs C has just sent me off a list of a few things that she wishes made while we are at anchor, and I see two poles for clothes-lines. Saw off the sheave-holes, and put two pegs through at right angles-you know how I mean?' 'Yes, sir. What am I to do, sir, about the cucumber frame? My Lady Capperbar says that she must have it, and I haven't glass enough. They grumbled at the yard last time.'

'Mrs C must wait a little. What are the armourers about?'

"They have been so busy with your work, sir, that the arms are in a very bad condition. The first-lieutenant said yesterday that they were a disgrace to the ship.' "Who dares say that?'

[blocks in formation]

and the two little hoes for the children; but he says that he can't make a spade.'

'Then I'll take his warrant away, by heavens, since he does not know his duty. That will do, Mr Cheeks. I shall overlook your being in liquor this time; but take care. Send the boatswain to me.'

A few other authors have, like Captain Marryat, presented us with good pictures of maritime life and adventures. The Naval Sketch-Book, 1828; Sailors and Saints, 1829; Tales of a Tar, 1830; Land Sharks and Sea Gulls, 1838; and other works, by CAPTAIN GLASSCOCK, R. N., are all genuine tales of the sea, and display a hearty comic humour and rich phraseology, with as cordial a contempt for Bound, or a Merchant's Adventures, by MR HOWARD, regularity of plot! Rattlin the Reefer, and Outward are better managed as to fable (particularly 'Outhave not the same breadth of humour as Captain ward Bound,' which is a well-constructed tale), but Glasscock's novels. The Life of a Sailor, and Ben Brace, by CAPTAIN CHAMIER, are excellent works and humour. Tom Cringle's Log, by MICHAEL SCOTT, of the same class, replete with nature, observation, and The Cruise of the Midge (both originally published in Blackwood's Magazine), are also veritable productions of the sea-a little coarse, but spirited, and showing us things as they are.' Mr Scott, who was a native of Glasgow, spent a considerable part of his life in a mercantile situation at Kingston in Jamaica. He died in his native city, in 1835, aged about forty-six.


and fashionable novels. Her first work (published This lady is a clever and prolific writer of tales anonymously) was, we believe, a small volume containing two tales, The Lettre de Cachet, and The Reign of Terror, 1827. One of these relates to the times of Louis XIV., and the other to the French They are both interesting graceful tales-superior, we think, to some of the more


In 1830 appeared Women as they Are, or the Manners of the Day, three volumes-an easy sparkling narrative, with correct pictures of modern societymuch lady-like writing on dress and fashion, and some rather misplaced derision or contempt for novel soon went through a second edition, and Mrs 'excellent wives' and 'good sort of men.' This Gore continued the same style of fashionable portraiture. In 1831 she issued Mothers and Daughters, a Tale of the Year 1830. Here the manners of gay life-balls, dinners, and fêtes-with clever sketches of character, and amusing dialogues, make up the customary three volumes. The same year we find Mrs Gore compiling a series of narratives for youth, entitled The Historical Traveller. In 1832 she came forward with The Fair of May Fair, a series of fashionable tales, that were not so well received. The critics hinted that Mrs Gore had exhausted her stock of observation, and we believe she went to reside in France, where she continued some years. Her next tale was entitled Mrs Armytage. In 1838 she published The Book of Roses, or Rose-Fancier's Manual, a delightful little work on the history of the rose, its propagation and culture. France is celebrated for its rich varieties of the queen of flowers, and Mrs Gore availed herself of the taste and experience of the French floriculturists. A few months afterwards came out The Heir of Selwood, or Three Epochs of a Life, a novel in which were exhibited sketches of Parisian as well as English society, and an interesting though somewhat confused plot. The year 1839 witnessed three more works of fiction

elaborate and extensive fictions of the authoress.

and she regarded it as a propitious dispensation of Providence to her parents and to herself, that the comparative proved a superlative-even a high sheriff of the county, a baronet of respectable date, with ten thousand a-year! She felt that her duty towards herself necessitated an immediate acceptance of the dullest 'good sort of man' extant throughout the three kingdoms; and the whole routine of her afterlife was regulated by the same rigid code of moral selfishness. She was penetrated with a most exact sense of what was due to her position in the world; but she was equally precise in her appreciation of all that, in her turn, she owed to society; nor, from her youth upwards—

Content to dwell in decencies for ever

had she been detected in the slightest infraction of these minor social duties. She knew with the utmost

from this indefatigable lady, The Cabinet Minister, the scene of which is laid during the regency of George IV., and includes among its characters the great name of Sheridan; Preferment, or My Uncle the Earl, containing some good sketches of drawingroom society, but no plot; and The Courtier of the Days of Charles II., and other Tales. Next year we have The Dowager, or the New School for Scandal; and in 1841 Greville, or a Season in Paris; Dacre of the South, or the Olden Time (a drama); and The Lover and her Husband, &c. the latter a free translation of M. Bertrand's Gerfaut. In 1842 Mrs Gore published The Banker's Wife, or Court and City, in which the efforts of a family in the middle rank to outshine a nobleman, and the consequences resulting from this silly vanity and ambition, are truly and powerfully painted. The value of Mrs Gore's novels consists in their lively caustic pictures of fashionable and high society. The more respect-accuracy of domestic arithmetic-to the fraction of a able of her personages are affecters of an excessive prudery concerning the decencies of life-nay, occasionally of an exalted and mystical religious feeling. The business of their existence is to avoid the slightest breach of conventional decorum. Whatever, therefore, they do, is a fair and absolute measure of the prevailing opinions of the class, and may be regarded as not derogatory to their position in the eyes of their equals. But the low average standard of morality thus depicted, with its conventional distinctions, cannot be invented. It forms the atmosphere in which the parties live; and were it a compound, fabricated at the author's pleasure, the beings who breathe it could not but be universally acknowledged as fantastical and as mere monstrosities; they would indeed be incapable of acting in harmony and consistence with the known laws and usages of civil life. Such as a series of parliamentary reports, county meetings, race-horse transactions, &c. they will be found, with a reasonable allowance of artistic colouring, to reflect accurately enough the notions current among the upper classes respecting religion, politics, domestic morals, the social affections, and that coarse aggregate of dealing with our neighbours which is embraced by the term common honesty." Besides the works we have mentioned, Mrs Gore has published The Desennuyée, The Peeress, The Woman of the World, The-was naturally superior to seeking its pleasures in Woman of Business, The Ambassador's Wife, and other novels. She contributes tales to the periodicals, and is perhaps unparalleled for fertility. Her works are all of the same class-all pictures of existing life and manners; but the want of genuine feeling, of passion, and simplicity, in her living models, and the endless frivolities of their occupations and pursuits, make us sometimes take leave of Mrs Gore's fashionable triflers in the temper with which Goldsmith parted from Beau Tibbs- The company of fools may at first make us smile, but at last never fails of rendering us melancholy.'

[Character of a Prudent Worldly Lady.]

[From Women as they Are."]

Lady Lilfield was a thoroughly worldly woman-a worthy scion of the Mordaunt stock. She had professedly accepted the hand of Sir Robert because a connexion with him was the best that happened to present itself in the first year of her début the best match' to be had at a season's warning! She knew that she had been brought out with the view to dancing at a certain number of balls, refusing a certain number of good offers, and accepting a better one, somewhere between the months of January and June;

*Athenæum, 1839.

course or an entrée-the number of dinners which
Beech Park was indebted to its neighbourhood-the
maintenance of its county dignity-the aggregate of
complement of laundry-maids indispensable to the
pines by which it must retain its horticultural pre-
cedence. She had never retarded by a day or an
hour the arrival of the family-coach in Grosvenor
Square at the exact moment creditable to Sir Robert's
senatorial punctuality; nor procrastinated by half a
second the simultaneous bobs of her ostentatious
Sunday school, as she sailed majestically along the
aisle towards her tall, stately, pharisaical, squire-
archical pew. True to the execution of her tasks-
and her whole life was but one laborious task-true
and exact as the great bell of the Beech Park turret-
clock, she was enchanted with the monotonous music
of her own cold iron tongue; proclaiming herself the '|
best of wives and mothers, because Sir Robert's rent-
roll could afford to command the services of a first-
rate steward, and butler, and housekeeper, and thus
insure a well-ordered household; and because her
seven substantial children were duly drilled through
a daily portion of rice-pudding and spelling-book, and
an annual distribution of mumps and measles! All
went well at Beech Park; for Lady Lilfield was 'the
excellent wife' of 'a good sort of man!'

So bright an example of domestic merit-and what country neighbourhood cannot boast of its duplicate!

the vapid and varying novelties of modern fashion.
The habits of Becch Park still affected the dignified
and primeval purity of the departed century. Lady
Lilfield remained true to her annual eight rural
months of the county of Durhain; against whose
claims Kemp town pleaded, and Spa and Baden
bubbled in vain. During her pastoral seclusion, by
a careful distribution of her stores of gossiping, she
contrived to prose, in undetected tautology, to sue-
cessive detachments of an extensive neighbourhood,
concerning her London importance-her court dress
-her dinner parties-and her refusal to visit the '
Duchess of -; while, during the reign of her
London importance, she made it equally her duty to
bore her select visiting list with the history of the
new Beech Park school-house-of the Beech Park
double dahlias-and of the Beech Park privilege of
heads of the rival political factions the Bianchi e
uniting, in an aristocratic dinner party, the abhorrent
Neri-the houses of Montague and Capulet of the
county palatine of Durham. By such minute sections
of the wide chapter of colloquial boredom, Lady
Lilfield acquired the character of being a very charm-
ing woman throughout her respectable clan of dinner-
giving baronets and their wives; but the reputation
of a very miracle of prosiness among those

Men of the world, who know the world like men.
She was but a weed in the nobler field of society.

Among the other female novelists may be mentioned MISS LANDON (Mrs Maclean), authoress of Francesca Carrara, and Ethel Churchill-the latter a powerful and varied English story: MISS ELLEN PICKERING, whose novels-Who shall be Heir, The Secret Foe, and Sir Michael Paulet, 1841-42-evince great spirit and liveliness in sketching scenes and characters.

In humorous delineation of town and country manners and follies, the sketches entitled Little Pedlington and the Pedlingtonians, by MR JOHN POOLE, two volumes, 1839, are a fund of lively satire and amusement. The Ingoldsby Legends, or Mirth and Marvels, by MR THOMAS INGOLDSBY, 1840; and My Cousin Nicholas, by the same author, 1841, are marked by a similar comic breadth of humour. MR DOUGLAS JERROLD, author of Men of Character, three volumes, 1838, has written several amusing papers in the same style as the above, but has been more successful in writing light pieces for the stage. Mr Jerrold now edits a periodical-the Illuminated Magazine. MR W. M. THACKERAY has published (under the Cockney name of Michael Angelo Titmarsh') various graphic and entertaining works-The Paris Sketch-Book, 1840; Comic Tales and Sketches, 1841; and The Irish Sketch-Book, 1842. The latter is the most valuable; for Titmarsh is a quick observer, and original in style and description.


MISS HARRIET MARTINEAU, an extensive miscellaneous writer, published in 1832 and 1833 a series of Illustrations of Political Economy, in the shape of tales or novels. One story represents the advantages of the division and economy of labour, another the utility of capital and machinery, and others relate to rent, population, &c. These tales contain many clever and striking descriptions, and evince much knowledge of human character. In 1837 Miss Martineau published the results of a visit to America, and a careful inspection of its institutions and national manners, under the title of Society in America. This she subsequently followed up by a Retrospect of Western Travel. Her first regular novel appeared in 1839, and was entitled Deerbrook. Though improbable in many of its incidents, this work abounds in eloquent and striking passages. The democratic opinions of the authoress (for in all but her anti-Malthusian doctrines Miss Martineau is a sort of female Godwin) are strikingly brought forward, and the characters are well drawn. Deerbrook' is a story of English domestic life. The next effort of Miss Martineau was in the historical romance. The Hour and the Man, 1840, is a novel or romance founded on the history of the brave Toussaint L'Ouverture, and with this man as hero, Miss Martineau exhibits as the hour of action the period when the slaves of St Domingo threw off the yoke of slavery. There is much passionate as well as graceful writing in this tale; its greatest defect is, that there is too much disquisition, and too little connected or regular fable. Among the other works of Miss Martineau are several for children, as The Peasant and the Prince, The Settlers at Home, How to Observe, &c. Her latest work, Life in the Sick-Room, or Essays by an Invalid, 1844, contains many interesting and pleasing sketches, full of acute and delicate thought and elegant description.

The following notice of our authoress appears in a recent publication, A New Spirit of the Age: ⚫ Harriet Martineau was born in the year 1802, one of the youngest among a family of eight children. Her father was a proprietor of one of the manufactories in Norwich, in which place his family, origi

nally of French origin, had resided since the revocation of the edict of Nantes. She has herself ascribed her taste for literary pursuits to the extreme delicacy of her health in childhood; to the infirmity (deafness) with which she has been afflicted ever since, which, without being so complete as to deprive her absolutely of all intercourse with the world, yet obliged her to seek occupations and pleasures within herself; and to the affection which subsisted between her and the brother nearest her own age, the Rev. James Martineau, whose fine mind and talents are well known. The occupation of writing, first begun to gratify her own taste and inclination, became afterwards to her a source of honourable independence, when, by one of the disasters so common in trade, her family became involved in misfortunes. She was then enabled to reverse the common lot of unmarried daughters in such circumstances, and cease to be in any respect a burden. She realised an income sufficient for her simple habits, but still so small as to enhance the integrity of the sacrifice which she made to principle in refusing the pension offered to her by government in 1840. Her motive for refusing it was that she considered herself in the light of a political writer, and that the offer did not proceed from the people, but from the government, which did not represent the people.'

[Effects of Love and Happiness on the Mind.]
[From Deerbrook."]

There needs no other proof that happiness is the most wholesome moral atmosphere, and that in which the immortality of man is destined ultimately to thrive, than the elevation of soul, the religious aspiration, which attends the first assurance, the first sober certainty of true love. There is much of this religious aspiration amidst all warmth of virtuous affections. There is a vivid love of God in the child that lays its cheek against the cheek of its mother, and clasps its arms about her neck. God is thanked (perhaps unconsciously) for the brightness of his earth, on long been parted, pour out their heart-stores to each summer evenings, when a brother and sister, who have other, and feel their course of thought brightening as it runs. his children have won, or looks round upon their inWhen the aged parent hears of the honours reverts to Him who in them prescribed the purpose nocent faces as the glory of his decline, his mind of his life, and bestowed its grace. But religious as is the mood of every good affection, none is so devotional as that of love, especially so called. The soul is then the very temple of adoration, of faith, of holy purity, of heroism, of charity. At such a moment the human creature shoots up into the angel; there is nothing on earth too defiled for its charity-nothing in hell too appalling for its heroism-nothing in heaven too glorious for its sympathy. Strengthened, sustained, vivified by that most mysterious power, union with another spirit, it feels itself set well forth on the way of victory over evil, sent out conquering and to conquer. There is no other such crisis in human life. The philosopher may experience uncontrollable agitation in verifying his principle of balancing systems of worlds, feeling, perhaps, as if he actually saw the creative hand in the act of sending the planets forth on their everlasting way; but this philosopher, solitary seraph as he may be regarded amidst a myriad of men, knows at such a moment no emotions so divine as those of the spirit becoming conscious that it is beloved-be it the peasant girl in the meadow, or the daughter of the sage reposing in her father's confidence, or the artisan beside his loom, or the man of letters musing by his fireside. The warrior about to strike the decisive blow for the liberties of a nation, however impressed with the


« 上一頁繼續 »