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-Doré (Harper & Brothers) is one of the liveliest and most sparkling of the late books of travel. Half of the volume, and the best half, is devoted to life in Paris, and overflows with shrewd and sympathetic observation and criticism of French character and habits. The title of the book expresses the gilded surface of things which is most obvious to every spectator, and which the author occasionally pierces to show us that, after all, it is only doré, and that the smile is not a rose, but a bit of scented muslin. There is thus a kind of philosophy in the book, not obtrusive, hardly intentional, but which redeems it from being pure persiflage. The author is himself, evidently, one of the jeunesse dorée. He speaks familiarly of Oregon, and the West Indies, and New Orleans, showing that he is no cockney-critic. The cockneycritics, indeed, have no mercy at his hands. The silly Frenchmen and women, who have written silly little books about this country, are pleasantly spitted and roasted. Especially, perhaps, our old friend Léon Beauvallet, tragedian, whose mission it was to introduce Rachel and Racine to the Choctaws of Broadway, and whose great national drama of Vashington was not performed, is treated quite without ceremony by our author. Why, then, we must ask, with this clear perception of the absurdity of the amiable Léon, why did the author of Doré condescend occasionally to become a Beauvallet himself? His philosophizing about the slavery question is as wise as that of the tragedian upon American life and society. His argument is, that since immediate emancipation would be disastrous, and since he believes the slave to be fat and jolly, while he thinks the European laborer is not, therefore, although slavery be "abstractly wrong," it is much better for the slave to remain a slave. If the question were one of pork, the argument of fatness would be good. But our author forgets that, amid all the ineffable twaddle about the benefit of bringing the African to this country, and the general beatifying influence of slavery, the fact is, that not a single law in a single state provides for the emancipation of the slave, in propor
tion as he emerges from his African barbarism; but, on the contrary, laws are expressly enacted forbidding his education, and, consequently, perpetuating his barbarism. It is a pity that a man of humor, like our author, should have failed to see this extravagant practical jest. He falls into the same error as the Reverend Irenæus Prime, who published two dreadfully dull books of foreign travel, a year or two since, which were most justly condemned in these pages. We beg pardon of Doré, for even hinting that so succulent a dish resembles, in any degree, so dry a one; but when the author speaks of the sad European laborer and the gay American slave, he is only echoing the emotion of the Reverend Irenæus Prime, who, seeing women at work in the field, instantly thanked God that women did not work in American fields, and exclaimed that such a state of things was quite as bad as American slavery. Is it any justification of wrong in one place that there is also wrong in another? Is it any more agreeable to break your leg because your cousin broke his arm? There is an endless stampede of the candidates from this Christian opportunity, called slavery, and, while we write, the region in which it exists trembles with terrible doubt, like a city upon a volcano. It is not difficult for a gentleman, who studies the doré aspect of the world, to enjoy gilding, and to say, as he saunters on, "Come, let us be fat and jolly. You, my dear Cuffee, are no worse off than many other men. Think what you might have been bad you and your ancestors staid in Africa. Now, you are sold, and your wife and children-you are made a thing, by law, and have no interest in, or right to, your own labor, and so will it be with your children forever and ever, world without end. But then, if Providence allots your Christian education to the state of Louisiana, you shall have one barrel of Indian corn and a pint of salt per month; and, if you don't get it, your oath is not valid against your master, if in North Carolina, you shall have a quart of corn per day-you lucky dog!— you may also be 'moderately corrected,' and, if you resist, you may be put to death;
and, above all, you shall not be taught to read, but you shall enjoy the glorious privileges of the Gospel. Come, therefore, my black brother, let us rejoice together that women do not work in American fields." This is Doré with a witness. But the author chooses to philosophize in this way, and so we must needs criticise. If the poor gilding at home can thus deceive him, the reader instinctively becomes a little skeptical of his foreign criticism. But the same reader cannot fail to enjoy the spirit and humor of the book-a humor which is never forced, but genial and gushing, with an occasional strain of tender sentiment, not unlike Sterne. Had the author given his work a more narrative form, and treated his material more artistically, Doré would have been a more permanent addition to our literature of travel than it is now likely to become.
-The name of HENRY T. TUCKERMAN is justly conspicuous in our literature; but by nothing has Mr. Tuckerman more justly deserved his distinction than by the volume of Essays, Biographical and Critical (Phillips, Sampson & Co.), which has just been issued in a style worthy its merits. They are what they are called-studies of character; and those who have always remarked Mr. Tuckerman's peculiar power of analysis and statement, his calm and wellbalanced discrimination, eulogistic without extravagance, and critical without bitterness, will find the present volume an enduring monument of his characteristic talent. It is a gallery of interesting portraits, thirty in number; and the subjects are chosen with a happy variety, which shows the extent and quality of the author's studies and sympathies. Indeed, everything from Mr. Tuckerman's pen has the air of fine scholarship and affectionate acquaintance with the best literature. His style is simple and transparent. It is the essay style-the manner of a mau whose carly loves and later approval linger with the Spectator and the London wits. But this preference by no means excludes from his appreciation the highly-colored rhetoric of other times and manners. Our author's mind is eminently judicial. His judgments are just, whatever the age or character of the subject before him. All these remarks are illustrated in the Biographical Essays, the latest, and, we think, the best of Mr. Tuckerman's books. Our readers will dis
cover that they have met some of these essays before. No student of English literature will have forgotten the paper in the North American Review upon Laurence Sterne, which, appearing so soon after Thackeray's delineation of the famous sentimentalist, took a different view, with as much force and skill as Thackeray gave to his trenchant and amusing portraiture. Thackeray's object was to show, at one stroke, the peculiar significance of Sterne in English literature, which is an inherent necessity of a lecture, and of the end Thackeray had in view. But this kind of treatment creates, necessarily, an appearance of injustice. It is true, indeed; but then other things are true, also. Mp Tuckerman's essay contemplates the particular, as well as the general, truth; and the greater detail is, therefore, a greater value. His estimate of Southey, too, is the best we know. It gives a very clear and very complete view of his life, talent, and performance. We may say the same of the papers upon Lord Jeffrey and Jenny Lind. Indeed, we have found them all singularly graphic and entertaining-for they are biographical as well as critical-the material being so wisely mingled that the attention is constantly allured and beguiled from page to page. We cannot omit to notice the tone of sincerity and modesty which pervades the work. It is hard to sketch character without flippancy. Even Macaulay is brilliantly, and Carlyle savagely, unjust. The one must sparkle, the other loves an Olympian sneer. And so of the smaller critics, according as they call one or the other master. But Mr. Tuckerman's sketches are not the less vivid because they are simple and modest. They are like an introduction to celebrities by a gentleman, and not by a chasseur or a recluse.
-A book has lain upon our table for a month or two, which is not for a season but for all seasons; not only for all seasons of the year, but for all moods of the mind. Selections from books are here sometimes called a dangerous experiment, but more and more a necessary one. "Come, now, show me your best pictures," says the connoisseur to the art-collector, in Goethe's "Essays upon Art." And who, if he wished to see something peculiarly characteristic of Turner, and had but a day in London, would not willingly confide himself to
Ruskin, and look at what that critic designated, and knew that he had seen Turner? Now, our chances of reading, among all the books and in all the libraries, are but a day in London. Of all the men who have libraries of a thousand books, how many have read them all? How many, even of those who have a true scholarly love of letters, do not buy many and many a famous book, and put it upon the shelves, against that happy millennial day, when they shall read all they wish to read? In the degree of the impossibility of reading all the good books, even, is the value of a work which collects the best things from many good ones, and, with the skill of the selection, inspires perfect confidence in the taste of the compiler, so that the work becomes a collection of choice, and not of chance, extracts. Such, among all similar books, is eminently Seed Grain, for Thought and Discussion. A compilation. By Mrs. ANNA C. LOWELL, author of "Theory of Teaching," "Thoughts on the Education of Girls," etc. (Ticknor & Fields). It is in two neat volumes, which contain nothing paltry, or pretty, or sentimental, but are full of the truest and most beautiful things of the wisest men. We have but one little fault to find, and that is, that the names of the authors are not placed against the titles of the extracts, in the index. But this is a small defect in a work so valuable upon the table of the many cultivated and accomplished persons who have small opportunity of reading, but who wish sometimes to see a pearl, to remind them that they once sailed the Persian Gulf.
-Our poets are winter-birds, and burst into song with the coming of snow. A silent chorus of them sit patiently at our side. Patience, still, poets! There is a more terrible critic than we, sitting in judgment upon all of us, night and day. The race-course of literature is like the bridge in Mirza's dream-the blithe figures are forever disappearing, silently going under. Not the hottest-pressed paper, not the antiquest type, not the comeliest binding, not even the cheapest price avails to save us. We write our books and print them; our cheerful companion prophesies for us fame and immor- -; pop! the trap slides, and we are gone before his sentence is ended. This is, perhaps, not the liveliest exordium for the poets, of whom we are about to say a word. But, considering Mirza's dream,
ought we to trust ourselves to say so long a word as immortality? Mr. JOSIAH QUINCY, the author of "Lyteria," grandson, as we learn, of the old man eloquent, has written Charicles (Ticknor & Fields). The subject is classical. It concerns the death of Tiberius, and the title of the poem is the name of the physician. This is unfortunate; for Becker's "Charicles" has given the name another kind of familiarity. This drama is a good academic exercise, but not much of a poem. Talfourd's "Ion" was the best specimen of this style of performance, and that is poor enough. Talfourd and Mr. Quincy are modern men-why should they write upon ancient subjects, in an ancient way, except to show how skillfully they can do it? If you have strength in your arms, it is a pity to expend it upon climbing poles, with nothing at the top.
-André, a tragedy in five acts, by W. W. LORD (Charles Scribner), is a very different drama, both in topic and treatment, from Mr. Quincy's. It was the great misfortune of Mr. Lord, upon his first essay, several years since, to be prematurely praised. Before his book of poems was published, it was announced that a new American poet had been born. But fame carnot be antedated, and it seemed as if Mr. Lord were about to disappear before his immorhad fairly been pronounced.
In the thin, handsome volume before us, he now presents grave claims. The attempt is certainly audacious, to treat a familiar incident of our revolutionary history as Shakespeare treated the story of Othello and the history of Queen Catharine. Mr. Lord does not enter upon the task blindly or inconsiderately. He acknowledges, in his preface, the obvious difficulty. But he declares that neither "rhyme nor reason forbid that dramatic verse should now approach as near to our spoken language, as it did in the age of Elizabeth to a now obsolete but then familiar diction." A poct should never write a preface involving a theory; for the proof of his theory and its illustration necessarily lie in the performance. If that be good, there is no need of saying upon what principles it was wrought. If it be bad, the principle remains undetermined. We think that Mr. Lord has told the story of André with interest and force. His poem has fine lines; it is clear and continuous, but it gives the tale no dignity or
grandeur that it had not before, and, as a drama, it is faulty, because the chief interest is not in the hero, André, but in Arnold, the betrayer. The character of Arnold is well-conceived, and developed with power; but André, whose interest in history is an interest of situation more than of character, has obviously not the stuff for the hero of a drama. Major André was a gallant youth, who lived and died a gentleman. His story is one of the sad episodes that occur in all wars; but his situation, however sad, is never really tragic. His fate is exterior to himself, not evolved from his character. Had this been so, the author himself could not have suffered the drama to continue after the death of André, which is its natural end. The poet, in fact, follows the truer dramatic development of the tale, and leads us on to the proper culmination of the circumstances, which is not the death of the lesser man that being only an event -but the consummation of the dishonor of Arnold, the stronger agent.
-By the side of the two slight volumes of Mr. Quincy and Mr. Lord, stand two goodly books, Plays and Poems, by GEORGE H. BOKER (Ticknor & Fields). Mr. Boker's is no new name in our literature, and his reputation, as the most fertile and successful of American dramatists, is already cstablished. We are glad that he has collected his works into so handsome a form, and that his literary claims may thus be properly asserted. If the theory of the article in this issue of the Monthly be correct, Mr. Boker has not erred in his choice of subjects for his various dramas. He has not hesitated to go to the same historical sources even at which Shakespeare drank, and in his Anne Boleyn restores to us again the court and the circumstance of Henry VIII., while in Francesca da Rimini we trench upon the gloomy grandeur of the great Tuscan. All these dramasand they are six in number-seem to us written with consummate ability. The plot is always precise and well developed, the characters dramatic and consistent, the costume and the accessories of circumstance, the details of local and contemporary knowledge, remarkably affluent and accurate. The plays have the full flavor of the old drama, and the author may fairly be ranked in the best school of dramatists. Mr. Boker's poetry is all marked
by a dry, fibrous strength, which is very unusual, and bas little sympathy with the current manner of the time. Sympathetic study of a sturdier literary epoch may thus have left its mark upon him, but the tendency to that epoch was, of course, in his nature. This manly tone is one of the pleasantest characteristics of Mr. Boker's muse. It gives a kind of marrowy sweetness to his verse, besides inspiring a personal respect for the poet. No mau interested in our literature will fail to acquaint himself with these poems and dramas, of which, in illustration of what we have said, we can only find room for this sonnet:
"Not when the buxom form, which nature
Is fragrant with the lusty warmth of spring.
Nor when hot summer, sunk with what she bears,
Lics panting in her flowery offering: Nor yet when dusky autumn sadly fares In tattered garb, through which the shrewd winds sing.
To bear her treasures to the griping snares Hard winter set for the poor bankrupt thing;
Not even when winter, heir of all the year, Deals, like a miser round his niggard board,
The brimming plenty of his luscious
No, not in nature, change she howsoe'er,
Of the fair maid in whom my heart is
-And here, dedicated to George II. Boker, in smooth, sweet verses, in antique type, is a book of Songs of Summer, by RICHARD HENRY STODDARD (Ticknor & Fields). The antique type runs through the book, and gives it a quaint, dainty air, harmonious with the dainty sentiment and melody of the poetry. We may be pardoned for an especial tenderness toward this volume, when the reader finds in it some of the most beautiful poems that have been printed in Putnam. The first song in the collection,
"There are gains for all our losses," is a gush of the purest pathos and music, which our readers will well remember. As the eye wanders along the pages, it secs that there is a kind of dramatic interest in the poems-the subjects and the treatment being, so to say, studies in different lands, moods, and languages. There are songs that would have sparkled as gems in the old dramas-us thus:
"The sky is a drinking cup,
That was overturned of old,
Till the last drop is drained up,
And, again, strains as mournful as the sighs of Heine-tbus:
"Down at the end of the long, dark street,
I sat with my sweetheart on the pier,
"The moon was climbing the sky that night, White as the winter's snow;
We kissed in its light, and swore to be true, But that was years ago.
"Once more I walk in the dark old street,
But I sit no more on the desolate pier,
It is in these bursts and jets of song, that Mr. Stoddard's peculiar talent lies. His songs are not so ingenious as Hoffman's, nor so elaborate as Pinckney's, nor so popular as Morris's; but they have a truer poetic sense, a finer poetic feeling than all of them together. Our poet is not so happy in the longer poems. They have all his excellence of melody, and feeling, and delicate perception, but they have a foreign flavor. Even the last poem in the book, affectionate, and graceful, and beautiful, as it is, has yet a touch of Tennyson which teases the memory. This is something, however, that Mr. Stoddard shares with all young authors; the inspiration of books rather than of actual experience. But a song like the following is wholly his own, and shows the poet :
"In-doors, on a summer day like this,
"The brave, bright sun, so merry and old-
Every poem in this book is full of the most passionate feeling, strained with intense emotion. The verse is the very inadequate expression of a longing, restless, imperious, and affectionate nature; it is full of reality, full of the deepest pathos and pride. It is a purely private and personal book, showing, certainly, the vision, but not proving the faculty divine. By this we mean only that the faculty is not commensurate with the vision, not that it does not exist; for, of all the many volumes of poetry recently published, Mrs. Howe's seems to us by far the most startlingly real. It is a leaf out of life. She sings what she is. It is a troubled and tearful book-the song of a mind that is yet struggling, and an unsatisfied heaft. All the best things in it are personal apostrophes and dirges, until, in "High Art," all the subtle sarcasm of a shrewd wit, hampered by monotonous conventions, bursts forth, and balances any account of criticism that may be made upon the book, by forestalling the utmost severity. Let whoever is going to say smart things about these poems read High Art," and pause. Think of what a brilliant, withering, satiric onslaught upon all of us, public and private, easy dilettante litterateurs, and ditto ditto private readers and judges of books, this talent is capable of! Think how we might all have been spitted upon puns and stung with sarcasm! But this band writes with "a sad sincerity," and this heart of exuberant passion cannot free itself from itself. After the reign of the myriad Lady Magazine poetesses (the mongrel word is proper here), ladies who have written the most graceful good grammar about emotions they never had, it is truly refreshing to encounter a torrent of lava streaming out of the heart of real experience. Evidently an ardent personal friend of Senator Sumner, and of the cause in which he has suffered, the author devotes several poems to the national disgrace of last May at Washington, and enthusiastically idealizes her friend as the representative of the cause. There is a stately music in "The Senator's Return" worthy the senator and the occasion. It was, doubtless, written before his return; but that event was unparalleled in the history of New England for its simplicity and sublimity. We find, also, an exquisite reminiscence of a friend