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There is one aspect, however, of this conscious hundred years, and is now so great, that it may be and methodical wooing of the Muses which has re- justly said that the necessity of increasing the store ceived less cordial recognition than it seems to us to is no longer so pressing as the necessity of learning deserve. In what we may call technical proficiency how to use the instruments that have already been -in workmanlike mastery of his art-Bayard Tay- provided. Much of that aimless, unsystematic, and lor is in our opinion superior to any other American frivolous reading, which our public libraries have poet. His skill and facility in versification are truly fostered rather than restrained, is no doubt due to extraordinary ; and, though he tried a much wider the utter inability of the great majority of readers range of forms and combinations than almost any to select for themselves those books which are best of his rivals, there will be found, even in the most worth attention ; and it should be regarded as not difficult ones, remarkably few of those strained mean the least important of the regular duties of a libra. ings, limping lines, and imperfectly expressed ideas, rian to furnish such readers with advice, guidance, which so often disfigure the work even of the great and assistance. Under this guidance, wisely and dismasters of the art. We have reread a considerable creetly applied by properly accredited persons, it is portion of the collected poems with attention directed not unreasonable to believe that a large part of the especially to this point; and the result is that we are time and energy now wasted in daw ling over books more profoundly impressed than ever with Mr. Tay- of mere amusement might be diverted to studies lor's wonderful dexterity in the art of verse-making. which would widen the mental horizon of the indi
It is due chiefly to this exceptional skill in ver- vidual reader, and which could hardly fail to elevate sification that Mr. Taylor's translations from other the general standard of culture in the community. poets are in general so satisfactory. We imagine Fortunately, some of the most influential of our that his translation of Goethe's "Faust" is the work librarians are beginning to take this view of their by which Mr. Taylor will be longest kept in remem- functions. Mr. Justin Winsor, the able and accombrance ; and in it the skill of which we have spoken plished Superintendent for many years of the Boston is exhibited in its highest and richest development. Public Library and now of the Harvard University The translation is not only verbally literal in its ex. Library, has lent to it the weight of his name, and actness, but it reproduces the meter, the rhythm, the what is more, of his example ; and there are indicavery movement and music of the original verse in all tions of a speedy conversion on the part of others. its varied and intricate forms. The sufficiency of the “I believe it to be,” says Mr. Winsor, “ a part of English language to all possible demands that can the duty of a public librarian to induce reading and be made upon it has seldom or never been more gently to guide it, as far as he can, because I know signally demonstrated ; and the translations of the that as a rule there is much need of such inducement selected passages with which he embellished his lec- and guidance. I am no great advocate of 'courses tures on German literature are only less remarkable. of reading. It often matters little what the line of For this reason, too, his imitations of other poets one's reading is, provided it is pursued, as sciences were good in a quite unusual degree. The parodies are most satisfactorily pursued, in a comparative which he introduced into his “ Diversions of the way. The reciprocal influences, the broadening efEcho Club" are the best of the kind with which we fect, the quickened interest arising from a compari. are acquainted—reproducing not merely the external son of sources and authorities, I hold to be marked forms (which is a comparatively simple matter), but benefits from such a habit of reading. It is at once the dominant moods and tendencies of feeling in the wholesome and instructive, gratifying in the pursuit, authors chosen for experimenting upon.
and satisfactory in the results." These translations and parodies are omitted from As a specimen of the way in which such assistance Mr. Boker's collection, and so are the drama of “The may best be rendered, Mr. Winsor has compiled a Prophet " and the dramatic poems of the “Masque little book, which is a monument of patient industry of the Gods” and “Prince Deukalion." With these and extensive knowledge. In 1875, when the first exceptions, the volume contains the entire poetical servor of the centennial period impelled many read. works of Bayard Taylor, including all the poems ers at the Boston Public Library to follow the his. published in a collected or separate form during the tory of our Revolutionary struggle, Mr. Winsor, then author's life, and also "a not inconsiderable number Superintendent of the Library, prepared some notes of heretofore unpublished poems, which were found which should aid them in their researches. These among his manuscripts, in a more or less finished notes admirably subserved their immediate purpose ; state.” In arranging the contents of the volume, no but they were rightly regarded as too valuable to be particular scheme seems to have been followed, the confined to one library or to answer the requirements poems being neither grouped according to subjects of a merely transient interest, and he has accordingand treatment nor placed in their chronological se. ly expanded them into “The Reader's Handbook of quence. This seems to us a disadvantage.
the American Revolution," * The book may be described with tolerable accuracy as a sort of index to the entire literature of the Revolutionary period,
The accumulation of the instruments of knowl
* The Reader's Handbook of the American Revoluedge in our public and private libraries and in minor tion-1761-1783. By Justin Winsor. Boston: Houglıcollections of books has been so rapid during the last ton, Osgood & Co. 16mo, pp. 328.
pointing out all the original sources, and including It is a pleasure to be able to say that these re. most of the second-hand authorities. Taken as a quirements are fully met in the new Riverside Ediwhole, it covers with completeness the leading events tion,* which may be pronounced unqualifiedly the from 1761 to 1783 ; but it is also subdivided into best edition of Chaucer in existence. The editorial topics which, arranged in their chronological order, work of Mr. Gilman is admirably adapted to the enable the reader to confine his researches to any needs of the general reader, while furnishing at the particular period or event in which he may happen same time a complete and carefully collated version to feel an especial interest. A citation of a few of for students. The body of the text is that of the the topics at the beginning of the book will convey Ellesmere manuscript, which has long been regarded an idea of its arrangement: "In Massachusetts, by scholars as the best, but which has only recently 1761-1765—Writs of Assistance"; "In the South, been rendered accessible to the public ; and for com1761-1765 ” ; “Stamp Act, 1765-1766” ; “In Gen- parison and correction the great Six-Text edition of eral, 1767-1775"; “ Boston Massacre, March 5, the “Canterbury Tales" has been utilized for the first 1770"; "The Tea Party, December, 1773"; "Bos- time. The chronological order of the poems adopted ton Port Bill, 1774"; "Continental Congress, 1774," by the Chaucer Society is followed, and also Mr. etc., etc. In order to indicate the method of treat- Furnivall's arrangement of the “Canterbury Tales.” ment in detail, we will describe the section under The poems of doubtful authenticity, which have al“Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775." Its contents are ways hitherto been printed with the others with no classified as follows: “Earliest Accounts,'
,” “British indication of their possibly spurious character, are Accounts," ;" “ Later Special Accounts,"
;" "Accounts in placed at the end in a group by themselves. An exGeneral Histories,' In Biographies,"
,” “ New Hamp- tended introduction comprises a sketch of “The shire Troops,” “Connecticut Troops,” “Who com- Times and the Poet," a brief essay on “ Astrological manded ?” “Death of Warren," “ Plans and Maps,” Terms and Divisions of Time,” another on “ Biblical “ Views, etc.,"
" " The Monument,” “In Fiction." References," and a valuable section on “Reading The references are not merely by title to a par. Chaucer,” containing simple and comprehensive rules ticular book or pamphlet, but to the chapter and for pronunciation, based upon the researches of Propage; and a word or two of descriptive analysis fessor Child and the elaborate work of Mr. A. J. usually indicates what may be found there. The Ellis on “Early English Pronunciation.” An espeusefulness of the book to students of the Revolu- cially commendable feature of the work is the plan tionary history can hardly be over-estimated ; and it adopted by Mr. Gilman of placing the notes and exis to be hoped that Mr. Winsor will be encouraged planations of difficult words at the bottom of each to prepare those other handbooks on themes of his page, thus saving the reader the perpetually recur. tory, biography, travel, philosophy, science, literature, ring annoyance of turning to a glossary, where he and art, which he promises should the present vol. must often distinguish the different parts of speech ume succeed.
and choose between conflicting definitions. If the explanations seem at times inadequate, the reader
must bear in mind the editor's pertinent suggestion SINCE Dryden attempted to substitute for the that a good edition of Webster or Worcester is as genuine poems of Chaucer a translation of them into useful in reading Chaucer as in reading Shakespeare, what he considered better English, various efforts and is often necessary to the intelligent reading of have been made to “modernize" and otherwise ren- much more modern writers. der them acceptable to the general reading public ; Lovers of that “sacred and happy spirit " who but, fortunately, in this as in many similar cases, the led the morning choir of English song will be genusane instincts of literary taste have refused to toler- inely grateful to both editor and publishers for this ate such tampering with the work of a great master, beautiful edition of his work. In mechanical execuand those who really love poetry and care to read tion, nothing more tasteful could be desired, while Chaucer at all, prefer to drink directly from that
as regards scholarly excellence it is sufficient to say “well of English pure and undefiled.” To the of it that it will take rank at once with Professor average reader, however, who can not be expected Child's unrivaled edition of Spenser, by the side of to possess a special knowledge of early English, which it is to stand in this noble edition of the Chaucer's poems present unquestionable difficulties. “ British Poets." The obsolete words, the antiquated spelling and grammatical forms, and the unusual meters, discour. age and repel ; and, for lack of a little scholarly Of the group of “Holiday Books" which we knowledge which would impart to these seeming find upon our table this season, the most unique, barbarisms a flavor and a fragrance of their own, he perhaps, and certainly one of the most pleasing, is is cut off from one of the richest and freshest sources “In Berkshire with the Wild Flowers," + by the of poetical enjoyment in our language. A popular edition of Chaucer's poems must, therefore, not only which are appended Poems attributed to Chaucer.
* The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. To
Edpresent a pure and complete text, but must also be ited by Arthur Gilman, M. A. Riverside Edition. Bosfurnished with such aids in the way of notes and
ton: Houghton, Osgood & Co. Three Volumes. 8vo, interpretative comments as will render the reading Pp. cxxvi.-598, 691, 708. of the original text comparatively easy.
+ In Berkshire with the Wild Flowers. By Elaine
authors of " Apple Blossoms." The conception Cooke, near Philadelphia : “ Lochiel," the home of which it carries out is a remarkably happy one, the Hon. Simon Cameron, at Harrisburg ; the Ohio that of linking the native wild flowers of New Eng- home of President Hayes; the Probasco mansion at land, in the order of their procession through the Cincinnati ; a Planter's home on the Mississippi ; year, with descriptions of them in verse and picto. a house and garden in Charleston, South Carolina ; rial representation. The verse is ingenious and and a home in Florida. The frontispiece is a large graceful, but derives its chief interest from the fact and very beautiful view of the main front of the that it is the work of two children, rather than from White House at Washington. Mrs. Lamb's deany intrinsic merit. Many readers will doubtless scriptive text is judicious in its comments and very compare it with “ Apple Blossoms,” in the hope of interesting in its historical reminiscences; and the finding indications of poetic growth on the part of book, as a whole, is one whose value will far outlast the youthful authors; but in this, we imagine, they the festive season which calls it forth. will be disappointed. The facility of versification Another superb volume, which in a certain sense is as striking as ever ; but the verses, especially complements the last, is “ Landscape in American those of the elder of the two sisters, appear to us Poetry,”* with illustrations after original drawings to have lost much of that simplicity and naturalness by J. Appleton Brown, and descriptive text by Lucy which constituted the chief charm of the earlier vol- Larcom. The great majority of the pictures repreume. Self-consciousness, that bane of spontaneity, sent actual scenes described in the verses of Bryant, has supervened, and it is painful to find a child talk. Longfellow, Lowell, Whittier, Bayard Taylor, and ing about “aching brows," and "conscious pangs," others of our poets ; thus securing, in addition to and “dumb yearnings," and the other cant of the their artistic beauty, the interest of personal and ecstatic school. For such a poem as that on “ Blood. literary associations. Merely as pictures, however, root,” a rigid diet of Crabbe and Goldsmith should their value is very great—anything more exquisite be prescribed. Mr. Gibson furnishes twenty-four than some of the designs being difficult to imagine, illustrations, which are tasteful in design and artis- while the engraving is fine and delicate. Miss Lartic in treatment.
com's text shows both familiarity and sympathy with More substantial viands are provided for the pub- her subject, and is made the vehicle for some of the lic appetite in “ The Homes of America,"* edited choicest morsels of descriptive poetry to be found in by Mrs. Martha J. Lamb, and elaborately illustrated American (or in any) literature. In the volume, as with upward of a hundred engravings, presenting in a whole, Art and Poetry are very gracefully wedded, one connected view a sort of picturesque history of and seem destined to live a long and happy life toAmerican domestic architecture. The first section, gether. covering the “Colonial Period,” includes views of
Still another book in which utility and beauty the Philipse manor house at Yonkers, of the Roger are very happily combined is “Art in America,” | by Morris house, of “Beverley," of the Van Rensse- S. G. W. Benjamin. In it the author has aimed to laer manor - house, and the Schuyler mansion at give an historical outline of the rise and growth of Albany, of Sir William Pepperell's house at Kit. American painting and sculpture, and, by a critical tery Point, Maine, of “Hobgoblin Hall" at Med. comparison of the work of the leading artists, to in. ford, Massachusetts, of the old Bryant homestead dicate the characteristic qualities of each. He has, at Cummington, of Washington's headquarters at
as is usual with him, brought together many facts Morristown, New Jersey, of the home of John which the student of art will find it convenient to Howard Payne, of nine mansions in Virginia, in- know; but his text is chiefly important as furnishing cluding Mount Vernon, and of many others in vari. the vehicle for a series of woodcuts whose execution ous parts of the country. The second section, en
is a marvel of delicacy and beauty. It would really titled “Later Period," contains views of the resi- seem that the art of engraving on wood could be dences of General Worth, the Hon. John Jay, and carried to no higher point than is attained in some Alexander Hamilton ; several views of “Old Mor- of them. These pictures were much and justly adrisania”; the Adams homestead; "Cedarmere,” mired as they appeared originally in the pages of the residence of William Cullen Bryant ; the homes “Harper's Magazine," but, as here printed on thick, of Longfellow and Lowell at Cambridge ; and the laid and tinted paper, one gets a new sense of their residences of Ralph Waldo Emerson and A. Bron. excellence. son Alcott. The “Modern Period” is more copi. Strictly speaking, Colonel Waring's “Tyrol and ously illustrated, comprising no less than fifty-two the Skirt of the Alps " | does not belong in the list views, among which are nearly all the more noteworthy mansions and villas along the Hudson River * Landscape in American Poetry. By Lucy Larcom, and at Newport; “Armsmear,” the famous Colt With Illustrations on Wood from Drawings by J. Apple
ton Brown. mansion ; “Cedarcroft,” the home of the late Bay
New York: D. Appleton & Co. Large ard Taylor; “Ogontz," the former residence of Jay
Svo, pp. 128.
† Art in America. A Critical and Historical Sketch. and Dora Read Goodale, authors of “ Apple Blossoms." By S. G. W. Benjamin. Illustrated. New York: HarNew York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 4to, pp. 92.
per & Brothers. 4to, pp. 214. * The Homes of America. With One Hundred and 1 Tyrol and the Skirt of the Alps. By George E. Three Illustrations. Edited by Mrs. Martha J. Lamb. Waring, Jr. New York: Harper & Brothers. 4to, New York: D. Appleton & Co. 4to, pp. 256.
of holiday books, but its unusually rich and tasteful usually early age of eighteen he received his appointbinding, and its truly exquisite illustrations, would ment of lieutenant. Promotion in the navy is nedoubtless render it a graceful and acceptable me- cessarily slow during peace, and it was not until mento of the gift-making season. The pictures, in- 1842, when he was already forty-one years old, that deed, are so copious and so admirable as to relegate Farragut obtained a commission as commander; and the text to a somewhat subordinate position, the au- but for the civil war this was the highest grade to thor's simple and direct but rather home-spun style which he could have hoped to attain. Long before being a scarcely appropriate vehicle for such pomp of this, however, he had shown that he possessed exornamentation. Colonel Waring is always judicious actly those qualities which are requisite in a great and sensible, with a special aptitude for those details emergency; and when in January, 1862, the naval which interest the “practical man”; and he has expedition against New Orleans-was organized, he written an animated and no doubt perfectly accurate was selected as the officer best fitted to conduct it to account of his travels in the Tyrol, in Venice, and a successful issue. in the lake region of Italy and Switzerland. But he Much the larger part of the earlier portion of the has the practical man's contempt for fine writing, biography is composed of selections from a journal and his usual way of dealing with a particularly im- which Farragut began to keep when only fourteen or pressive or picturesque scene is to say that it would fifteen years of age; and all this part of the narra. be hopeless for him to attempt to describe what an tive is extremely fresh and interesting. Few things artist in words would describe, or has described, so of the kind in naval literature are more graphic and much better, but that he enjoyed it as much as one realistic than the description of the cruise of the who might be more voluble about it. The pictures, Essex in the Pacific, and of her heroic defense however, compensate for all such deficiencies in the against the combined attack of the Phoebe and the text; and the book as a whole has this advantage Cherub; and the later entries give us a very close over most holiday books—that it will maintain its view of life on board a man-of-war. The chapters, interest all the year round.
constituting the bulk of the work, which describe in detail Farragut's achievements during the civil
war, are hardly so interesting to the general reader Few books in our military biography are more accurately written, and they cover the most mem
as the earlier narrative; but they are carefully and readable than “The Life and Letters of Admiral orable period in the history of our navy Farragut,”* and the men whose life and deeds were equally deserving of record are probably fewer still. The career of Admiral Farragut extended over nearly the entire period of the existence of the
THE second volume of the series “ Classical WritAmerican navy. As a boy he served in the War of ers" is a monograph on Euripides by Professor J. P. 1812; as a youth he participated in those Mediter. Mahaffy, A. M. As was explained in our notice ranean cruises which first made the United States of the first volume (“ Milton "), this series is designed known to Europe as a great naval power; and in the primarily for use in schools and to meet the wants full maturity of his years and powers he directed the of special students, and elegance of expression and most important of those brilliant naval operations originality of view are less aimed at than the systewhich contributed so largely to the overthrow of the matic and thorough presentation of facts which have Southern Confederacy.
stood the test of criticism. Judged by this standard, The early life of Farragut was full of adventure Professor Mahaffy's monograph is a praiseworthy and romance. By his father's side he was descended and practically useful work. It is less interesting from a good Spanish family, whose record can be to the general reader, perhaps, than Mr. Stopford traced back to the fifteenth century; and his mother Brooke's similar volume on Milton ; but the student was a North Carolinian. At the age of eight he was will find in it all that he needs to know of the man adopted by Commodore David Porter, who had re- Euripides, of the times in which he lived and the ceived kindnesses at the hands of Farragut's family circumstances under which he wrote, of his distinwhile in New Orleans; and when little more than guishing characteristics as a dramatist and poet, and nine years old was appointed midshipman in the of the history and fortunes of his works. Especially navy. In this capacity he accompanied Commodore valuable, not merely to the student of Euripides, Porter in his famous cruise in the Pacific Ocean, and but to all students of the golden age of Greek poeserved as captain's aide in the terrible fight of the try, is a chronological table of Euripides's life and Essex with the British ships Phoebe and Cherub. times, giving a political and a literary and artistic His professional precocity was such that at the age chronicle in parallel columns. of thirteen he was intrusted by the Commodore with
Under the title of “Gems of Thought," * the temporary command of a vessel ; and at the un
* Gems of Thought: Being a Collection of more * The Life of David Glasgow Farragut, First Admi- than a Thousand Choice Selections, or Aphorisms, from ral of the United States Navy. Embodying his Journal nearly Four Hundred and Fifty Different Authors, and and Letters. By his Son, Loyall Farragut. With Por- on One Hundred and Forty Different Subjects. Comtraits, Maps, and Illustrations. New York : D. Apple. piled by Charles Northend, A. M. New York : D. Apton & Co. 8vo, pp. 586.
pleton & Co.
Mr. Charles Northend has brought together a col- from lullabys and nursery rhymes to selections from lection of more than a thousand selections from the old English ballads, and fills a large and handnearly four hundred and fifty authors, classified somely printed volume. All the old favorites are under a hundred and forty different heads, from there, together with many new pieces which deserve “Abstinence" (which had better have been cailed to become favorites; but in his desire to secure comTemperance) to “ Zeal.” The selections are all prehensiveness, the editor appears to have dispensed brief, and for the most part moral and didactic, and, with any theory of selection or standard of merit. while some of them are gems of the purest water, Everything in verse that referred to children or others are a very inferior quality of paste. The au. dealt with child-life has been gathered in, and a thor's reading appears to have been curiously limited considerable portion of the volume is children's in range, nearly all the more modern passages be- poetry only in the sense that none but children ing taken from sermons or theological works, while could be induced to regard it as poetry. under “Heroes,” Carlyle, the great apostle of hero- .... Few things in the way of fiction that have worship, who has written more fine things about appeared in “Harper's Half-Hour Series " are so heroes and heroism than all other writers combined, good as Mr. Barnet Phillips's novelette “Burning is not even mentioned. No doubt, however, the their Ships."* It is a piquant and animated story of book will be found useful where a more copious American life, with some good character-drawing on collection would only repel.
a miniature scale, and written in a crisp and vivacious .... The incomparable Chronicles of Froissart style, which affords a pleasure quite independent of have been the great storehouse from which nearly the interest felt in the narrative itself. ... Under all later writers have drawn their stories of chivalry the title of “Sealed Orders and Other Stories," + and adventure, and are themselves not less fascinat. Miss Elizabeth Stuart Phelps has gathered nearly a ing to-day than when they charmed the court circles score of the short stories and sketches which she has of Edward III. of England and King John of contributed to the various magazines since the apFrance five hundred years ago. Unfortunately, how- pearance of her last collection. They show much ever, like so many other good and interesting books, ingenuity of invention, and a surprisingly uniform they have long been crowded aside by the fleeting level of merit; but there is none, we think, quite so generations of ephemeral literature, and have been original and forceful as some of her earlier stories. the occasional reward of a literary knight-errantry ....“A Gentle Belle, "I by Christian Reid, is a lovescarcely less daring than that which Sir John him- story of a pleasing if somewhat conventional kird, in self records. In “The Boy's Froissart," * Mr. Sid. which it is duly exemplified that the course of true ney Lanier has undertaken the pleasant task of ren- love never does run smooth, but that the virtues and dering this famous work acceptable to the class of vices are duly rewarded in the end. ... Additional readers by whom its peculiar fascination will be best volumes in the “New Plutarch" series, which started enjoyed. By eliminating the drier descriptive pas- off so grotesquely with Mr. Leland's “Life of Linsages and the somewhat tedious dialogues of the ori- coln,” are “Judas Maccabæus,” ş by Claude Reignier ginal work, and by rearranging what remains, he Conder, R. E., and “Gaspard de Coligny,” | by Wal. has produced a version which is much briefer than ter Besant, M. A. The story of Judas Maccabæus the original, and more intelligible, while retaining forms one of the most important episodes in Jewish all its spirit, and fire, and romance. His own in- history, “if only,” as the author says, “because it troduction to the volume is very good, though he explains how the nation first developed that peculiar would have done well to bear in mind Dickens's phase of character which marked it at the time when earnest protest against “writing down ” to any class Christianity was given to the world.” The life of of readers; and the illustrations are remarkably vig- Admiral Coligny, the martyr of St. Bartholomew's orous and animated.
day, affords the opportunity for describing that great Encouraged by the success of his general catastrophe which proved to be the death-blow of anthology, Mr. Henry T. Coates has compiled a the French Reformation, and which constitutes the “Children's Book of Poetry,” – which he is perhaps most lurid page in the annals of the Church. correct in claiming to be the most comprehensive collection of the kind that has yet been made. It * Harper's Half-Hour Series. Burning their Ships. contains upward of five hundred poems, ranging By Barnet Phillips. New York: Harper & Brothers.
18mo, pp. 120.
+ Sealed Orders and Other Stories., By Elizabeth * The Boy's Froissart: Being Sir John Froissart's Stuart Phelps. Boston: Houghton, Osgood & Co. Chronicles of Adventure, Battle, and Custom, in Eng 16mo, pp. 345. land, France, Spain, etc. Edited for Boys with an In- IA Gentle Belle: A Novel. By Christian Keid. troduction by Sidney Lanier. Illustrated by Alfred New York: D. Appleton & Co. 8vo, pp. 142. Kappes. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons. 8vo, & Judas Maccabæus, and the Jewish War of IndePP. 422.
pendence. By Claude Reignier Conder, R. E. New + The Children's Book of Poetry: carefully selected York : G. P. Putnam's Sons. 16mo, pp. 218. from the Best and most Popular Writers for Children. | Gaspard de Coligny (Marquis de Chatillon). By By Henry T. Coates. Illustrated with nearly 200 En- Walter Besant, M. A. New York: G. P. Putnam's gravings. Philadelphia : Porter & Coates. 8vo, pp. 525. Sons. 16mo, pp. 232.