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reviewer, and the dazzling rhetorician are not only useless, but pernicious, when applied to the formation of the poetical character. We have examples of orators dwindling into versifiers, in the history of two of the most famous speakers—one of ancient and the other of modern times. Antony might have repulsed the fiercest attack of Cicero if he had charged him in an ode; and Jeremy Taylor himself might have been put to flight before a stanza of Toplady!

We pass over the notices of Hood and Hook, nor feel in any way fascinated by the very manly portrait which introduces the writings of Miss Martineau to our regard. Her recent publication of

essays, written in the chamber of sickness and suffering, has, however, excited a sympathy towards her which her numerous political writings, if remembered, would only tend to diminish. The biographical particulars here collected are not destitute of interest. Miss Martineau, the youngest of eight children, was born in the year 1802. Her father was a manufacturer in Norwich, where his family, originally of French origin, had resided since the revocation of the edict of Nantes. To the infirmity of deafness, with which she has been afflicted since early childhood, she traces that taste for literary Occupation for which she has been so long distinguished. Å commercial disaster, that overthrew the prosperity of her family, called all these intellectual acquirements into active employment. She realized an income sufficient for her simple wants, 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 the Government, in 1840." The religious and political opinions advocated in all the works of Miss Martineau cannot be expected to receive either our approval or our praise; but we are not insensible to the occasional outbreaks of sweet fancy, to the passages of earnest eloquence, or the sketches of vivid description, that, at long intervals, illuminate her pages.

We admit, with her present panegyrist, that it is possible to be poetical without being a poet, and quote the following verses-probably new to all our readersas an interesting specimen of serious imagination flowing unwillingly into rhyme. They are entitled, “A Song for August :"

o Beneath this starry arch

Nought resteth or is still,
But all things hold their march,
As if by one great will.

Moves one, move all ;
Hark to the footfall!

On, on, for ever.

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“ Yon sheaves were once but seed;
Will ripens into deed;
As eave-drops swell the streams,
Day-thoughts feed nightly dreams;
And sorrow tracketh wrong,
As echo follows song.

On, on, for ever.
“By night, like stars on high,

The hours reveal their train ;
They whisper and go by ;
I never watch in vain.

Moves one, move all ;
Hark to the footfall!

On, on, for ever.
“ They pass the cradle head,

And there a promise shed;
They pass the moist new grave,
And bid rank verdure wave;
They bear through every clime
The harvests of all time.

On, on, for ever.” The Sick Room, from which Miss Martineau now sends forth her thoughts to the world, reminds us of another authoress-Miss Barret—whose poetical and critical writings have displayed not only considerable taste, beauty, and feeling, but whose variety and depth of erudition might seem to recall the days when fair pupils studied Plato with Roger Ascham. It is not possible, without a feeling of lively interest, to read of one, “ confined entirely to her own apartment, and almost hermetically sealed, in consequence of her extremely delicate state of health, and scarcely seen by any but her own family.” But though thus separated from the world, and often, during many weeks at a time, in darkness almost equal to night, Miss Barret has yet found means, by extraordinary inherent energies, to develope her inward nature ; to give vent to the soul in a successful struggle with its destiny while on earth; and to attain and master more knowledge and accomplishments than are usually within the power of those of either sex who have every adventitious opportunity, as well as health and industry. Six or seven years of this imprisonment she has now endured, not with vain repinings, though deeply conscious of the loss of external nature's beauty; but with resignation, with patience, with cheerfulness, and generous sympathies towards the world without; with indefatigable work of thought, by word, by pen, and with devout faith and adoration, and a high and hopeful waiting for the time when this mortal frame "putteth on immortality.” Such a passage is worth fifty pages upon the humour of Mr. Dickens, or the festivity of Mr. Hook. We should be most happy to believe that resignation so holy and trustfulness so serene might in any sense be received as re

ections of our age. Certain we are, that it ought then to be designated, with the strictest accuracy-a new spirit !

We have no power to estimate the claims of Mr. Robert Browning and Mr. J. W. Marston to be exhibited in the niche of a separate chapter to the gaze of the nation, as representatives of its present mind and poetical capacity. Our acquaintance with their compositions is wholly gathered from the criticisms in these volumes. Mr. Marston has written the “ Patrician's Daughter;" and Mr. Browning is answerable for “ Paracelsus." Of the last poem we are informed that a Promethean character pervades it throughout —“in the main design, as well as in the varied aspirations and struggles to attain knowledge, and power, and happiness for mankind; but at the same time there is an intense craving after the forbidden secrets of creation, and eternity, and power, which place * Paracelsus' in the same class as · Faust,' and in close affinity with all those works, the object of which is an attempt to penetrate the mysteries of existence — the infinity within us and without us. Need it be said that the result is in all the same? And the baffled magic—the sublime occult--the impassioned poetry, all display the same ashes which once were wings. Paracelsus' is an original work : its aim is of the highest kind-in full accord und harmony with the Spirit of the Age.The italics are our own; and when, in anxious hope, we search for an explanation of this harmony, we find it to consist in refining and elevating others, and in "giving a sort of polarity to the vague impulses of mankind towards the lofty and the beneficent. It also endeavours to sound the depths of existence for hidden treasures of being.O rare and incomprehensible “ Spirit of the Age," and expounder of that spirit equally rare, and still more incomprehensible! It is in such passages as these that the real temper of this book displays itself, and we read not the spirit of an age, but of a clique. Every chapter contains an interchange of civilities ; every defect has its corresponding charm; and we can almost catch the sound of that voice in our ear which once scattered such dismay among the poetical foplings of a

former age :

“I cough like Horace, and though lean, am short;

Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high ;
Sach Ovid's nose ; and, Sir, you have an eye:

Go on, obliging creatures, make me see
All that disgraced my betters meet in me :
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,

Just so immortal Nero held his head.” We have said that we know nothing of Mr. Browning's poetry, except from the quotations in the volume before us; these are brief, and we should be unjust if we refused to them all merit for melody and strength of sentiment; they display glimpses of both, and the way to enlarge them will be to imbibe the spirit of a better age, and to shape them by the rules of a better criticism.

We shall not offer any comment upon the chapter which is devoted to the ridicule of Mr. Robert Montgomery; the grotesque absurdity of the satire destroys any force it might otherwise possess; and the daring blasphemy with which the writer presumes to speak of things encircled by the most solemn sanctity and awe, awakens only a sensation of anger subdued by compassion. Mr. Montgomery has many faults, as well as merits and has committed some literary errors, of which we sincerely hope that no person is more conscious than himself; if anything be calculated to confirm him in the wrong, it would be such criticism as that before us.

While hastening to a conclusion, the remarks upon Mr. Thomas Carlyle induce us to pause for a moment. e ked with doubtful forebodings for some clear and informing review of this very singular author's habits of thought and manner of expression. We need scarcely say that we looked in vain. The paper on Carlyle is written by one of his school-one with imagination more extravagant, logic more inconclusive, and language, if possible, more barbarous. To us, who are accustomed to contemplate any new book of Mr. Carlyle with an instinctive shudder of apprehension at the terrible discord that awaits us, every imitation of his harshness has in it something frightful.

It is a

severe case of intellectual chorea, rehearsed with many adáitional convulsions. The following is the inimitable review of Carlyle's style of composition-of its shape, if that can be called shape which shape has none.

We recommend this passage to our readers, in the hope that they will overlook its want of piety in its still more evident want of sense. “ Yet if the grammarians and public teachers could not measure it out to pass as classic English, after the measure of Swift or Addison, or even of Bacon or Milton—if new words spring gauntly in it from strange deriavtions, and rushed together in outlandish combinations—if the collocation was distortion, wandering wildly up and down

--if the comments were everywhere in a heap, like the pots and pans' of Bassano, classic or not, English or not, it was certainly a true language-a language μεροπων ανθρωπων- the significant articulation of a living soul; God's breath was in the vowels of it: and the clashing of these harsh compounds at last drew the bees into assembly, each murmuring his honeydream: and the hearers who stood longest to listen became sensible of a still grave music issuing like smoke from the clefts of the rock. If it was not style and classicism, it was something better—it was soul-language. There was a divinity at the shaping of these rough-hewn periods." What next? Now we have never thought of complaining that Mr. Carlyle did not write according to Addison and Temple, or Burke and Barrow, or Hooker and Tillotson, or Bacon and Milton; but that he wrote like no other Englishman, in time past, present, or, as we earnestly hope, to come: not that he neglected or despised the harmony of periods, the connection of sentences, and the fitness of phrases which had become consecrated to the ear of Taste by the lip of Genius, through so many successive generations; but that he introduced a manner of composition which, being neither English, German, or Latin, was a mixture of allnot a mixture in which the different elements of style were held in solution, and which, therefore, presented the active infusion of different salutary qualities of thought; but containing them in their natural state, unmodified, unsubdued, confusing, irritating, and baffling one another. The most famous of all our writers have been avowedly indifferent to the precision and uniformity of their expression. In Bishop Taylor we recognize the presence of Latin idioms continually melted into the coarser material of English thought; or, to take a very different example, in Bishop Hurd we see a frequent use of French phrases blended with the gravity of the academic manner: in both cases, however, the strong current of the original style sweeps these foreign acquisitions along with it in the depth of the stream—they are not suffered to swim upon the surface, and so discolour and hide the entire argument. Nor does this Gothic extravagance of Carlyle contribute, in any degree, to the true development of his thoughts. It makes them remarkable, simply by making them dark.

One might suppose him to write with that illustrious critic, Mr. Martinus Scriblerus, constantly at his elbow.

“A genuine writer of the profound is the observation of that distinguished person will take care never to magnify any object, without clouding it at the same time. His thought will appear in a true mist, and very unlike

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