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ation. But, then, the language and the ideas subsequently are of themselves so sublime and picturesque that, dazzled with the splendor and purity of the ore, and the massiveness of the ingots, we forget to subject them to any formula, and accept them as present
Another step in the right direction, and one in advance of what is termed "blank
verse," is to be found in those compositions where we meet, in a stanza of four metrical lines, two that rhyme perfectly with each other the second and last-and two that do not rhyme in even the slightest degreethe first and second as in the following example, from Tennyson :
a poet simply as such; but what I venture to
"The rain had fallen, the poet arose,
And passed by the town and out of the street; A light wind blew from the gates of the sun, And waves of shadow went over the wheat."
Although the idea here is impoverished and rendered commonplace through the wretchedly circumstantial manner in which it is treated, the lines are properly constructed; for, with the exception of the word "temperate," which must be squeezed into two syllables to satisfy the rhythm, they are, in a mechanical sense, perfect throughout—that is, as a body without a soul. Here, however, I shall fall back a few paces, and present what I regard as an example of the first approach toward the realization of this ideal English poetry of mine. The illustration is from Milton's "Paradise Lost," and the very opening lines of that magnificent production:
"Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Who could, for a moment, suppose that so great a mass of splendor burned behind this blind wall? for here there is nothing to be dignified with the name of poetry. True, the lines are metrical, but they are not so in a highly-artistic sense, inasmuch as the first of them virtually ends in the middle of the second with the word "tree," while the fourth should obviously stretch into the fifth as far as the word " us." And so it is all the way through with this ornate and fascinating cre
This quatrain, if such it may be termed, is embarrassed with two wooden legs. Here we have prose and poetry intermingled, and the beauty and homogeneity of the verse marred consequently. How much more harmonious and finished would it have been, had the author thought proper to have so shaped the sense that the third line of the stanza read thus:
"From the gates of the sun "a light wind blows! But Tennyson has never been able to shake out all his canvas in rhyme. Whenever we encounter him in this latitude we find him almost invariably under close-reefed topsails or struggling on a lee-shore. He is at home only in blank-verse, with its immeasurable stretch of sea-room. Here there is neither the Scylla of rhyme, nor the Charybdis that restricts the choice of words, to beset his course; and here, consequently, he is at ease, with his hand laid carelessly on the helm, and the wind always blowing a pleasant gale aft.
There are, however, persons of the most exquisite taste and judgment, whose ear wearies of a constant succession of rhymes, and who enjoy those delicious sandwiches which are supplied so bountifully by the poets of the present day, as well as by those who have gone to their reward, whatever that may be. Let it be so. But shall we not call following verse of a song written, on a most things by the names proper to them? Is the suggestive subject, "Spring," by the distinguished author just mentioned, even tolerable poetry?
"Birds' love and birds' song
It seems to me that, musically speaking, Tennyson has a defective ear—that, like those who are at home in blank-verse only, he sees and feels all, but hears nothing. Hence the failure of his lyrical efforts, and the certainty of his living in his florid, metrical prose alone.
The next and a still nearer approach to the perfectly-conceived structure than any of the illustrations just given, is to be found in the following extract from Addison's "Campaign:
"Unbounded courage and compassion j'ined,
As, however, "great" was formerly pronounced "greet" by no inconsiderable number of educated persons, we can perhaps dis. pense with the Irishman here. But this the ingenious reader must decide for himself.
Without pausing to examine examples marred by false numbers or rhythm only, I shall cite one more illustration, as a very near approach to true poetry, without having attained the climax. The lines are from Byron, and will, of course, be recognized everywhere:
"The sky is changed! and such a change! O night, And storm and darkness! ye are wondrous strong,
And lovely in your strength, as is the light
Here we find the quantities, the rhythm, and the rhyme, almost perfect; but the lines are so incomplete and disjointed in themselves individually, that we at once reject them as tricky, or utterly unworthy the sublime language and ideas they embody. Again, "among" does not rhyme perfectly with "along;" while, in verification of what I have already observed, it is, through the exactions of the rhyme, forced out of its natural position in the line- although the example it affords is perhaps the least striking of its class. Read the whole passage as florid and picturesque prose, as it ought to be read, and as its construction demands peremptorily, and we shall be able to appre hend fully the strength and beauty of which it has been shorn by an attempt to warp the lines into a shape utterly foreign to them. Let us see:
"The sky is changed! and such a change! O night and storms and darkness! ye are wondrous strong, yet lovely in your strength as the light of a dark eye in woman! Far along, from peak to peak, among the rattling crags leaps the live thunder," etc.
We can now perceive how detrimental to the true structure of poetry is. the absence of even one of the characteristics I have mentioned-although that one might be considered the most unimportant. The truth is, after the manner of the three primary colors in a pencil of white light, rhyme, rhythm, and numbers combined, are the architecture of poetry; and hence the absence of any one of these elements is, I am of the belief, fatal to the whole fabric.
And here I shall venture to state that, possibly from the year 1180, when the gray dawn of the English language first became perceptible, to the time of Milton, no writer in that tongue ever thought of presenting to
ture to think, was the first English writer ABOVE a checkered table they bent—
that claimed all the honors of poetry for his blank verse or metrical prose. Ignoring the solid Saxon spirit of Chaucer and Spenser, and avoiding the difficult structural paths that they had followed in relation to pure English poetry, he found it convenient to adopt for his larger works Greek or Latin models in which there were no restrictions in the way of rhyme-that five-barred gate that has brought many an ambitious Pegasus to a dead balt. But, after all, Chaucer is the father of English poetry, and any composition that does not display the structural characteristics which he has left us as abiding ensamples in his works, cannot, from an English point of view, be properly designated a poem. And, most assuredly, his authority ought to have infinitely more weight with us than that of Milton. For the subject of the greatest work of the latter was a poem already made, or was so suggestive and beyond the reach of logical criticism as to secure from so profound a scholar its own effective treatment, perforce, as it were; while "The Canterbury Tales," very unlike "Paradise Lost," were mainly created out of such materials of every-day life as could be subjected to the test of human reason. This fact is worthy of consideration, for it is in its light alone that we can truly measure the merits of both works, or the genius of their respective authors.
I shall now complete these brief observations by quoting a stanza from Longfellow, which, in my opinion, contains all the elements essential to the perfection of poetry in every possible relation. I do not cite the extract in any invidious spirit, for I have met, from other pens, quite as perfect specimens of rhythm, rhyme, and numbers. But so superb is the idea that animates it, and so original, harmonious, and impressive its treatment, that I select it without hesitation. It is from the "Psalms of Life: "
"Art is long and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
This is poetry in all its structural perfection-in all its intrinsic worth-in all its unsurpassed loveliness. Here we find no prosaic justification of paltry "allowable rhymes" or stupid "poetic licenses." Here, though sombre the subject, the gems of thought burn through the pall with a brilliant lustre. How unapproachable the simile "like muffled drums!" It is only from some eminence such as this that we can catch a glimpse of the true point where the line should be drawn between English poetry and English prose. in relation to the former, there is not one other height to climb, we, of necessity, must turn our eyes downward, and, how
A man in his prime and a maiden fair, Over whose polished and blue-veined brow Rested no shadowy tinge of care. Her eyes were fountains of sapphire light; Her lips wore the curves of cheerful thought; And into her gestures, and into her smile, Grace and beauty their spell had fraught.
Above the checkered table they bent,
Watching the pieces, red and white, As each moved, on in appointed course, Through the mimic battle's steady fightThe queen, in her stately, regal power; The king, to her person friendly shield; The mitred bishop, with his support,
And the massive castle across the field;
The pawn, in his slow and cautious pace,
To the right and left, and left and right.
Was the little monosyllable "check!"
Pawns, and bishops, and castles, and knights,
Trembled together in sad dismay, While a pair of hearts were pulsing beside To a deeper, wilder, sweeter play. Yet the gaze of each-the man and the maid
On the board was fastened for turn of fate, When she archly whispered, with radiant glance,
And a sparkling smile, "If you please, sir,
And gently her fluttering triumph-hand,
And on it imprinted a trembling kiss;
What the maiden answered 'twere treason to
As her blushes deepened to crimson glow, Mounting, like lightning-flashes quick, Till they burned on checks, and ears, and brow.
And in three months' time the church-bells rang,
And the parson finished the game begun, When both wore the conqueror's triumphsmile,
And both were happy, for both had won.
SALLIE A. BROOK.
E find in a recent number of the Golden Age the following paragraph: "One of the leading editors of this city objected to Mrs. Howland's article, suggesting a plan for teaching the rudiments of science to the people by courses of systematic instruction under the auspices of the government, that it contains a sentiment which is very mischievous and likely to bring the country to ruin.' The particular sentiment in question is that the government should use its resources to promote public instruction. Mrs. Howland responds as follows: 'What better possible use can there be for the people's wealth-the wealth which their labor has created, for there is no magic under heaven whereby to create wealth except the magic of human labor-what better possible use for this wealth than that of increasing the education of the people? Considering the fierce conflict of political parties now raging, the repeated exposures of governmental short-sightedness, folly, and general incompetence, the present terrible financial and industrial collapse of the country, one may well ask, And what if the government should be ruined? Does it follow that a better and more nobly democratic government might not succeed? I, for one, have sufficient faith in the virtue of this people to rest assured that they will yet work out their salvation, and all the better if less "encumbered with help " such as the government affords. That a government can be ruined by any policy tending to increase the scientific culture of the people, is the best possible proof that it ought to be ruined, and the sooner the better. A true government of the people must be strengthened by every sentiment and every policy that increases the general intelligence; just as certainly as that an oligarchy must be weakened by every ray of knowledge that permeates the masses.'
We may as well acknowledge that the editor here referred to is the editor of this JOURNAL, who does not, however, object to this publication of a portion of a private letter, inasmuch as he is thereby afforded an opportunity of being a little more explicit in his views upon the subject referred to. In doing so it will be necessary to repeat arguments that have already been frequently uttered in these columns, but important principles have to be restated many times before they obtain an intelligent hearing.
We believe that the progress of civilization has been very nearly commensurate with the subordination of government, and that even now, although great results in this direction have been achieved, the most important task before the world is the rigid limitation of the powers and the duties of the state. The legitimate function of government is the preservation of order and the maintenance of justice that is, to secure the safety and protect the rights and liberties of each individual. Just to the extent in the past that it has gone beyond these duties it has wrought mischief, and to the extent that it now persists in going beyond them it threatens still
further mischief. The history of religion is a signal exemplification of this fact. The history of trade and commerce is another. In truth, trade and the arts have flourished pretty nearly in direct ratio to the extent that government has let them alone. If the state now and then has interfered to advantage, these cases have been exceptional; as a rule, its interposition in affairs beyond the maintenance of order, and the protection of the weak against the strong, has been disastrous. Moreover, it has ceaselessly interfered where it should not, and left undone those things for which alone its existence is desirable or even endurable. There have been periods in history when roads swarmed with robbers, and neither life nor property was safe, and yet the whole energies of king, ministers, Parliament, and all the political forces, have been given up to a struggle for the domination of a priesthood.
But, notwithstanding the plain lessons of history, people seem beset with the idea that it is the province of government to attempt every thing and to regulate every thing. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that everybody is beset with the idea that it is the province and duty of government to carry out his own special notion, whatever it may be. No one seems to see that if the state attempts any one thing beyond its legitimate duties it must and will attempt other things, until at last its busy intermeddling makes a host of mischiefs. If government, in obedience to a clamor from one quarter, is to establish scientific schools, then it will be urged by another class to found artschools, and by still another class to organize music-schools. In undertaking the education of the people at all, there is sure to be a continual pressure upon it to carry out this or the other favorite project by people who think that government ought to be not only paternal, but paternal in the particular direction which they advocate. Some people want colleges and schools supplied by government; others want art-galleries and museums fostered by the state; others think that the theatre and the opera should have the aid of the state; still others ask why literature is not patronized by Congress; more practical people insist that canals must be dug, and railways and ships built, by government; there are still others who think that the telegraph and the express business should fall under state control; and so on, until, if all suggestions were carried out, pretty nearly the whole functions of society would be in the hands of our rulers.
Very few, indeed, seem to see the dangers that arise, and the greater ones that threaten, from this ill-instructed public sentiment. Out of it has come an aggregate of public debt that threatens half the States
and municipalities of the country with bankruptcy. The disposition to rush into things at the prompting of ignorant clamor must be arrested, or the whole country will soon be in financial ruin. Even now the present aggregate of the public debt is startling; it is daily increasing; and yet from every quarter comes a public cry for undertakings that will still further greatly increase it. And then, as we multiply the functions of government, we increase the opportunities for fraud and corruption. Our Legislatures are even now mainly organized to further this or that mendacious project, and out of this readiness to attempt things beyond their province has arisen the most corrupting force in our midst—we mean the lobby. By limiting government to its legitimate boundaries we shall reduce corrupt legislation to its minimum. And we shall find ere long that we must so reduce it or bring upon us the flood.
As to Mrs. Howland's special inquiry, "What better possible use can there be for the people's wealth than that of increasing the education of the people?" we reply, None! But why put their wealth into the hands of the politicians for the use suggested? Is it not certain that the work under state control will be badly done, and the wealth greatly wasted? This disposition to call upon government to undertake all sorts of enterprises evidently arises from a vague idea that the money spent by government is in some occult way created, and is not derived from the people, or is derived in such a way as to lay no pressure upon them. By all means let it be remembered that it is the wealth of the people which the government is distributing, and that there are wiser and more economical means of distribution than any which the politicians can give us.
How is it, of all peoples, that Americans so disregard their own traditions and their own example in this matter? Have we not triumphantly shown what voluntary energies can do? Nowhere in the world is the Church so well supported, so active in its mission, so energetic and prosperous, as it is by the voluntary system in America; and yet the time was when every statesman thought it indispensable to give the Church the alliance and support of the state.
be certain that the success of the voluntary method in the Church gives assurance that it would also be successful for education, aesthetic culture, and all practical enterprises. The wonderful growth of America has been largely due to the fact that here more than elsewhere government gives every man free play and elbow-room; let it hereafter do so in all things, and our future progress shall transcend the dreams of the most hopeful.
WE hear a great deal of complacent talk about the superiority of American oratory. Those who utter this sentiment are not usually thinking of the extravagances of provincial politicians; they are mentally comparing our best speakers in the pulpit, on the platform, in the legislature, at the lecture-desk, with English speakers in similar places; and they congratulate themselves that our public men are not such hesitating, awkward, sturbling, and lethargic speakers as their cousins of England are. Is this congratulation justified? If we avoid some of the defects of English orators, is it quite certain that our own methods have any thing in them more truly worthy of applause? If it may be as sumed that there is such a thing as the art of the platform, is this art understood any better here than abroad? Without attempting to answer these questions directly, we will endeavor to throw a little side-light upon them by describing a special display of a certain kind of popular American oratory that we recently witnessed and listened to.
It was a lecture, so called, but in reality it was an oration. The lecturer-this is the term he applies to himself, and hence we must use it, whether correct or not-is one of the best-known men in the country. He is known as a reformer; he is supposed to be an "advanced thinker; his name has been unpleasantly conspicuous in a great and widely-discussed scandal. He is a tall, wellmade, handsome man. His face is intellectual in expression; his brow is wide and handsome; Hyperion locks cover his head, and fall upon his neck. He is a very comely picture to look upon in these particulars, but he does not dress well. In England lecturers, just as musicians and readers do here, usually appear in evening-dress. This might seem with some people an affectation in a popular lecturer-nor is it, in fact, necessary —but a tasteful and appropriate attire would be objected to by nobody. The lecturer we are describing was very clumsily and awkwardly dressed, thereby partially negativing the advantages of his personal appearance. This may be a small matter, but the art of the platform, like other arts, must condescend to take note of little things.
But our main concern is with the lecturer's manner. The address glittered with telling periods and brilliant fallacies uttered with clamorous voice, turbulent gestures, histrionic attitudes, and manufactured passion. The speaker flung his arms about; shook his fists at the ceiling, at the air, at his auditors; threw himself into violent theatrical posi tions; and fairly stunned his listeners with explosive vehemence. The virtues of simplicity, repose, and moderation, were unknown to him. Commonplaces shared with " glittering generalities" in the wild turbulence of
atterance; and, although the speaker got nuch applause-for noise and declamation are always sure of the crowd-the address was unworthy an intelligent audience. It was of that style of oratory that has its root in the lamorous methods of the camp-meeting and he political stump; it was wholly barbaric; t was of a character that people of genuine ulture and aesthetic taste could never tolerite. If we boast of our oratory simply beause it is pungent and sensational, we argue or ourselves a very low place in the intelectual scale. It is customary to talk of heatre-goers as largely composed of people of inferior social place; but our theatregoers, as a rule, are accustomed to exact of performers at least a measure of artistic propriety, whereas our lecture-goers seem to permit platform-men to indulge in a hundred riolations of taste. There is a great deal of exaggerated passion on the stage, but the noisiest actor is never violent in entire disregard of the requirements of the language. The stump-speech style of oratory, on the contrary, is violent in and out of place, and the pupil of that vicious school here considtered had not bettered his instructions. If the dramatic manner is permissible at all at the lecture desk, it should at least be artistic; there should be repose, light and shade, and passion only at culminating periods. As to the false and bad method we have described, Ewe should by all means prefer the hesitancy and stammering of English speakers, if these conditions are necessary in order to secure good sense and good taste.
VICTOR HUGO has been lecturing his countrymen again—this time about the prospects and blessings of peace. He is nothing if not millennial in his ideas and aspirations; and he will find few to disagree with him that when man has become so perfect that conquests and royalty have vanished, when the "understands the necessity of 1 poor man work and the rich its majesty," when "the gross side of man is ruled by the spiritual," and when a great many other things glowingly enunciated by Victor Hugo take place, there will indeed be that peace on earth which his spirit craves. What is likely to sadden those who venerate the great author for his past works, is the appearance, in an ggravated, indeed almost maniacal form, of his old vain and preposterous idea of the ndispensable importance of France as the only possible leader of modern civilization. There are two efforts," he says, "working n civilization, the one for, the other against: the effort of France and the effort of Germany. The choice of the future is made between these two worlds, the one gloomy, the other radiant-the one false, the other true." This is rather a cool way of waving aside
any feeble claims the Anglo-Saxon race may have to aid in moulding the form of modern civilization. Victor Hugo will have it that there are but two controlling spirits in the world, struggling and to struggle with each other - Germany, the spirit of darkness; France, the spirit of light. Then he goes on with a good deal of vaporing about France belonging not to herself, but to the world, and that "a province lacking to France is not a force that fails to progress, but an organ missing to the human species," and that "her mutilation mutilates civilization." We are left to infer, on the other hand, and no doubt Victor Hugo would admit, that a province filched from Germany by France would be a province saved from political perdition. There is more about "the city of Frederick II. insulting the city of Voltaire," as if the city of Voltaire would not have gone wild with exultation had its soldiers applied the torch to that of Frederick II.! If we mistake not, Victor Hugo has more than once berated the Emperor Napoleon for precipitating war in 1870; but would he not do well to consider whether the disastrous result of that war was not in large part due to the inordinate national self-conceit which Victor Hugo has done perhaps more than any other writer, living or dead, to puff to the absurd proportions it has assumed? It was the exaggerated idea of the prowess and greatness of France which has been dinged into the ears of Frenchmen for fifty years, by the so-called "romantic" school, of which Victor Hugo himself is the Nestor, and was almost the founder, carried into the operations of the state, and flattering the self-esteem of the army, that indirectly led to Sedan and the capture of Paris; and Frenchmen will do well to beware of accepting Victor Hugo's estimate of the part taken by France, or any other one country, in forming modern civilization a work in which, it is to be hoped, all nations have a more or less conspicuous share.
tion at the outrage on the agent Margary, is probably to secure greater commercial advantages in the Orient than she now possesses. The present Chinese Government is unfriendly to the English, and, worse still, is friendly to the Russians. The Russians are England's commercial rivals in the East, and hence jealousy may naturally be another motive for giving the Chinese a drubbing.
"R. ALVANS. SOUTHWORTH'S" Four Thousand Miles of African Travel" * is not such a book as one would expect the secretary of a geographical society to write. In the first place, its title, if not actually misleading, certainly at first glance seems to promise more than is performed in the subsequent pages. One would hardly conjecture, for instance, that four thousand miles of African travel and nine lines of title cover no more than a journey up the Nile to Khartoum, a short excursion up the White Nile, and a camel-ride from Berber to Suakin, on the Red Sea. Of course such a route is not a "beaten highway" in the same sense as the Rhine is, but it has been traveled far too often and described much too fully for it to afford any thing especially novel or exciting to the observation of a casual tourist.
When we discovered the true dimensions of the journey, indeed, recalling the fact that the author is secretary of a geographical society, we naturally supposed that he would use his own experiences as a sort of thread on which to hang a summary or redaction of our knowledge of Central Africa; but Mr. Southworth was determined to make a book of adventure or nothing, and, without Mr. Stanley's excuse, shares the latter gentleman's contempt for "arm-chair geographers." Perhaps, however, it is as well that Mr. Southworth did not make it his chief function to impart useful knowledge, as the little with which he does present us is likely to cost the reader a good deal of bewilderment and careful balancing of one portion of the book against another. It is quite evident that Mr. Southworth was completely "taken in," as the phrase goes, on his first arrival in Egypt, by the éclat with which he was received by government functionaries, and the attentions which were bestowed upon him as Herald correspondent; and he begins by lauding the khédive to the skies, representing him as the savior of Africa, and as the greatest genius among modern rulers. Further on in the book we find this ardor considerably cooled, and, incidentally, encounter some facts which reveal the khédive in his true character-as an energetic, rich, and liberal-handed despot. Toward the close Mr. Southworth recovers himself completely, and the air of condescension and consciousness
of superior wisdom with which he interviews the khédive, and measures the powers" of Nubar Pasha and other high officials, is the amusing feature of a book which is deficient in humor.
But the author's habit of self-contradiction is displayed most strikingly in his record of what he supposes to be facts. On page 163, et seq., in treating of "the popular fallacies concerning the Soudan," he denies that it is unhealthy, declares that he saw as many old men there, in proportion to the population, as he had seen in New York, Paris, or London; traces most of the suffering from the climate, on the part of Europeans, to intemperance in eating and drinking; says that Khartoum is "unhealthy only during two months;" and sums up with the affirmation that the Soudan "is as healthy a country as there is in the tropics." After this, it is certainly surprising to encounter on page 226 the following entry in the author's journal:
66 July 15th.-Adieu Soudan! Adieu to your flames that men call winds, to your burning coals that men call sands! Adieu to your malarial zephyrs, your poisoned streamlets, your corrupted pools, your polluted flowers! Adieu to all your complex infamies; to your extortion, your extravagance, your commerce in slaves, your poisoned cup, your strangler's wrist, and your cruel bastinado! Adieu to the sudden chill, the wasting fever, the enfeebled stomach, and adieu to vaporizing vitality! Adieu to all those unbridled forces which prostrate, diminish, and kill! How few, like myself, have been able to make this last adieu; have been able to stand by the shores of a wholesome sea and thank God' that I, too, am not a victim!' No one pillowed upon silk and down can appreciate my joy in thus escaping with life. Ninety per cent. of all Europeans perish from the climate-the majority from sudden deaths during the first month in the country! This is worse than war, plague, or famine."
A precisely similar difficulty is encountered when we find it estimated on page 179 that "there remain in Central Africa one hundred thousand elephants, more or less," and on page 191 that there are thirty million in the region around Fachoda alone! And the guesses about population are equally wild-Mr. Southworth assigning thirty million Inhabitants to a region for which Dr. Schweinfurth, an exceptionally cautious and trustworthy observer, estimates but seven million.
IT is difficult to define M. Viollet-le-Duc's "Annals of a Fortress." * Ostensibly a chronicle of the successive transformations and sieges which a supposititious fortress has undergone from the earliest historic times to the Franco-German War, it is at once a history of military architecture, a history of the art of war, a history, in outline, of the French people, and a political pamphlet. To his unrivaled talent as an architect, M. Viollet-le-Duc adds the highest qualifications of the military engineer; and, judging from its closing chapters, we should say that the present work was intended to arouse the atten
*Annals of a Fortress. By E. Viollet-le-Duc. Translated by Benjamin Bucknall. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co.
tion of his countrymen to the changed conditions of the warlike art, to urge upon them the necessity of preparing in time for the national defense, and, at the same time, to indicate the means by which this defense may best be secured. If this be his object, however, why, when he is already recognized as an authority in this branch of applied science, go back almost to prehistoric times for a subject? and why deal with a hypothetical fortress when an actual one would apparently have subserved the purpose so much better? Under ordinary circumstances, we should conclude that we had to deal with a familiar type of literary manufacture; but M. Viollet-le-Duc is quite above the vulgar arts of the mere book-maker, and such a suggestion, therefore, affords us no help.
Ceasing, then, to guess at his motives, we have to thank the author for a very instructive and very interesting, if somewhat puzzling and heterogeneous book. Beginning with the primeval inhabitants of a valley, whose supposed situation is on the Cousin, an affluent of the Saône, he describes their patriarchal life and their first encounter with invading strangers (Gauls), who dispossessed them and occupied their land; coming then to a period two centuries later, he shows how the growing insecurity of the people gave birth to a soldier-class, who built and garrisoned an oppidum (most primitive style of fortress) on a commanding promontory, which forms the locale of the entire narrative. Thirty years afterward occurs the first siege, in which men with bows and arrows, swords, and clubs, confront stockades and earthworks, defended by men similarly armed. Two centuries and a half intervene between the first siege and the second, which latter is conducted by one of Caesar's lieutenants, and is typical of the Roman conquest of the Gauls.
into a fortified city on the Roman plan, the fortress passed in the course of time into the hands of the Burgundians, who, about the year 500 A. D., sustained the third siege The against Clovis, king of the Franks. twelfth century finds the fortress transformed into a feudal castle, the lord of which revolts against the Duke of Burgundy, and is subjected to the fourth siege; in this siege Greek fire was first used in Western war. The fifth siege occurs in the fifteenth century, and is notable as marking the advent of fire (gunpowder) artillery. A century later, the fortress, again become a fortified city, belonging to France, undergoes the sixth siege at the hands of the imperialists (Germans). The seventh and last siege occurs in 1813, as part of the operations of the allies under Prince Schwartzenberg against Napoleon; and the book closes with a final chapter discussing the style of fortification best adapted to prevent such an invasion as that of the Germans in 1870.
The different styles of fortification are described minutely and with the precision of a military treatise, and the description of the battles and sieges are as vivid as any thing of the kind in Alison. Numerous charts, plans, and pictures-some of them colored and exquisitely engraved-illustrate the text; and the book, as a whole, is a sort of panorama of the successive phases of the art of
war-doubtless the best thing of the bind ever written, and scarcely less interesting to Americans than to Frenchmen.
A closing word should be said in praise of Mr. Bucknall's translation, which is excellent.
AFTER searching his vocabulary for an ad equately descriptive term to apply to Mr. E S. Nadal's "Impressions of London Social Life" (New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.), the critic will probably find himself compelled to resort to the one which first occurred to him, namely, "amusing." The book is emphatically, and in the best sense, amusing. It makes small demand upon the thinking faculty; it scarcely even pretends to instruct, and, singular to say, it propounds no physico-psychological theory concerning the influence of "race," climate, roast-beef, and an aristocracy, upon the character of the modern Englishman. The function which Mr. Nadal sets himself to fulfill is simply to i describe things as they actually appear; and the several essays composing his volume are just the sort of rambling monologue with which a cultivated gentleman and traveled in man of the world regales a congenial circle of listeners-personal gossip and personal experiences, running off occasionally into generalization, and mildly flavored with epigram.
Description, then, being the forte of the book, substantially the only test that can be applied to it is its fidelity, and this test it seems to bear remarkably well. As secre tary of legation Mr. Nadal had the most fa vorable opportunities of becoming acquaint ed with London society (than which, he says, a "the descendants of Adam, the world over, could show nothing better ") and other phases of English social life; and the entire frankness and impartiality of his observations are evident upon the very face of his writing. Besides this, the London critical journals, which seem to have gotten hold of the book before our own, concede that, while the author has made minor mistakes both in fact and inference, the work, as a whole, is temperate, accurate, and fair. In fact, Mr. Nadal seems to have accomplished the unprece dented feat of writing a book comparing the social customs and personal traits of Englishmen and Americans, which satisfies the latter and at the same time avoids giving offense to the rampant amour propre of John Bull Whether this is attributable to Mr. Nadal's superior tact and discrimination, or to a de crease of that truculent self-consciousness which has hitherto characterized the two na tions, we shall not attempt to decide; but the fact is both significant and encouraging for it indicates a dawning perception of the truth that differences are not necessarily infe riorities.
Most of the papers in the volume lare already appeared in one or other of the mag azines, and it is only fair to say that reader who are familiar with these will hardly find the book otherwise desirable. A suspicion of padding attaches to the shorter papers, which appear to have been put in to fill space, an which seem to be preliminary studies of arti cles rather than articles in a finished state To such readers, however, as are still una