Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE WORLD OF THE SEA.*

THAT time has passed when the sea was regarded by man as a horrid, hostile, interminable waste. Science has latterly revealed the laws of the great and wide sea and described its inhabitants--things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts; and poets now sing its varied charms. Twothirds of the globe are covered with the sea-that is to say, if the surface of our planet were divided into 1,000 parts, 734 would be water. Of this vast area, divided by geographers into five oceans, M. Moquin Tandon has constituted himself historian. He describes the huge continents, and plains, and deep valleys that lie beneath the surface; gives us an account of the plants and animals which pass their existence in this world of waters,

SEA-BIRD CATCHING.

or spend their lives on its shores; and explains the curious and imposing phenomena connected with the realms of ocean. This is a wide field, and full of difficulties to the investigator. But M. Tandon has taken a general survey of it, and communicates his experiences in intelligible form. His work, not intended to be exhaustive, is an ample review of the wondrous world of waters that surrounds us. After a few general remarks on the life in the sea and its characteristics, and a brief exposition of the causes of the curious phenomenon known as phosphorescence, we are introduced to the numerous plants of the sea, which, existing in the midst

of the waters, present such a variety of forms that, in the words of the author, "the landscape is neither less interesting nor less diversified than that of countries where the sun has induced a luxuriant tropical vegetation." After describing the Flora of the ocean, we come to the most humble. of its inhabitants, and proceed from the lowest grades of animal life up to the higher organizations, the forms, habits, characteristics, and uses of which are succinctly indicated by pen and pencil. We then approach the great sub-kingdom of the Mollusca, which stretches its limits from the fish, on the one hand, to the polypes on the other, and at each extremity glides almost imperceptibly into the adjoining classes. The author, in several in

[graphic]

The World of the Sea. Translated and enlarged by the Rev. H. Martyn Hart, M.A., from "Le Monde de la Mer," by Mons. Moquin Tandon. (Cassell, Petter, and Galpin.)

teresting chapters, classifies and describes these soft-bodied creatures, subdividing them into caphalous, those having a head, and acephalous, or those without a head. After treating the Annelida, that group of marine animals that possesses, perhaps, the most graceful forms and brilliant colours of any, he terminates his survey of the invertebrate kingdom with the crustaceans. We then enter upon the highest of the divisions-the vertebrates, and M. Tandon devotes sixteen chapters to the subject, apportioning them to fishes, sea-birds, and marine mammals. One of the most interesting divisions of the work is that which describes the several varieties of aquatic birds. Their manner of building their nests, of laying their eggs, and of rearing their young, combines to make them most interesting subjects for description; and the author has not neglected the opportunity. His chapter on

nests and eggs will be read, especially by young readers, with pleasure. Collecting eggs forms a branch of industry in many maritime countries, and, in some, the poor inhabitants feed on the eggs, the pursuit of which is frequently carried on at great risk. Of one of the most dangerous methods adopted to obtain eggs we furnish our readers with an illustration from the pages of the volume. The skill required to prevent the cable being twisted, and the means adopted by the fisherman in his descent to move himself from ledge to ledge, are such as to be acquired only after long experience in the perilous trade; and it is not surprising, therefore, to find that a large number of lives is annually sacrificed. Every section of the work is

ESOP'S FABLES.

THE question as to the authorship of Esop's Fables is pleasantly discussed in the preface to this most amusing volume; and the conclusion at which the editor arrives is that of the works of the famous Greek slave nothing is absolutely known, and that the fables attributed to him were-like the jokes of our own Joe Miller-the products of many minds

ILLUSTRATED BY ERNEST GRISET.*

plentifully illustrated. Well-executed woodcuts, large and small; lithographs, coloured and uncoloured, are employed; and we notice that they have been selected, not simply for their embellishments, but for their accuracy, and as exemplifications of the text. "The World of the Sea" is a trustworthy guide to the wonders of the ocean. The waters themselves, waves, currents, and tides, and the life which inhabits them, are all described in such a way as to arrest the attention of the most indifferent and unscientific reader. Since the original publication of the work, fresh discoveries have been made, and the results of these have been incorporated by the editor and translator.

THE FOX AND THE APE.

at various periods of the world's history. But to whomsoever is due the merit of inventing these curious stories, this much is certain, that nothing superior to them in the way of fables has ever been written by any other author. They have appeared, in prose and verse, in nearly every language spoken by civilized man; and, no matter by whom rendered, they still retain their ancient charm and their well-won reputation. In revising this edition, Mr. Rundell has wisely expunged all expressions likely to offend modern tastes, and exercised judicious care in excluding altogether from his collection the fables in ridicule of religion-a process which might be advantageously adopted in any new version of "Reynard the Fox," and other of the middle-age stories.

But it is to its illustrations rather than its textexcellent as is the latter-that this volume owes its

claims to distinction. Nothing so quaint as these illustrations has appeared since the days of Grandville, whose sop was till lately as well known in English as in French. Ernest Griset possesses the faculty of investing his animals with human expression, without ever causing them to lose their own identity, and of making them funny without being

[graphic]

ridiculous. This will be at once seen in the engraving we have selected.

When, at the death of Leo, the beasts of the forest assembled to choose another king, an Ape played so many pranks that he was at once selected. The Fox, jealous and envious, determined to set a trap for his new sovereign, and invited him to examine a treasure lately found in the wood. The Ape unsuspectingly accompanied his tempter, and presently came upon a trap on which was displayed some of his favourite food. Seeing this, the Ape attempted to seize the prize, when snap went the iron jaws of the instrument and held him fast by the hand. Mad with pain and shame, the Ape, turning to the Fox, asked him how he could be so treacherous. "Aha!" laughed Reynard, "you a king, and not able to know how to detect a trap!" In the present version we have the Fox baiting the trap with a piece of meat. This is clearly an error; for Æsop knew, if Mr. Rundell does not, that the monkeys are not carnivorous. Other of Ernest Griset's designs-especially those which illustrate the Two Frogs, the Wolf and the Lamb, the Cat

Esop's Fables. Illustrated by Ernest Griset. With Text based chiefly upon Croxall, La Fontaine, and L'Estrange. Revised and Re-written by J. B. Rundell. (Cassell, Petter, and Galpin).

[merged small][ocr errors]

and the Mice, the Fox and the Stork, the Wolf and the Crane, the Boar and the Ass, the Lark and her Young Ones, and the Sensible Ass-are marvels of comical ingenuity; though in the few large designs in which the caricaturist has imitated the manner of Gustave Doré, he is by no means so happy. In this, indeed, he is not singular; for when an artist has a style of his own, he is unwise to attempt that of another; and M. Griset has enough of originality and graphic power to allow him to rely on his unassisted genius. An instance will be found at page 92, where, in the fable of Mercury and the Woodman, Doré's peculiarities in the treatment of trees and figures is almost servilely copied. Imitation of excellence, however, is not peculiar to French artists. We all know how George Cruikshank's manner was pla giarized by his brother Robert; how the styles of Leech, Phiz, Harvey, and others have been followed by inferior artists; and how in the comic papers the treatment and method of Doyle, Tenniel, and Proctor have been slavishly adopted by draughtsmen who may, or may not, possess the art of depicturing scenes, incidents, and persons in a fashion of their own. In art, as in literature, the test of originality must, now-a-days, be sought in treatment rather than in novelty; and the man who has the courage to walk in a path of his own, in preference to the footsteps of another, is certain to attain fame; though it may happen that some by imitation get solid pudding, while others by originality obtain only empty praise. A line as to the mechanical production of this volume may be added. The printing, paper, and binding of "Esop's Fables" are all that can be desired; and the work, though primarily intended for the perusal of children, is in every way deserving a place of honour among the books of the season.

Life and Works of Robert Burns. By P. Hately Waddell, Minister of the Gospel. Enriched with Portraits and numerous Illustrations in colour. Two volumes, 4to. (Glasgow: David Wilson.)Burns is here treated as a great classic. The several editions of his poems have been collated, notes critical and historical have been added, posthumous and minor pieces have been brought together, and a vast amount of biographical, topographical, and philological facts have been appended, so that we may now conclude that very little is left to be hereafter gleaned concerning the poet or his works. The volume ought to be eagerly welcomed by every countryman of Burns. It is just the sort of volume to find its way into the homes of the masses. A quarto, printed in large type, with illustrations in steel and chromo-lithographs of a most realistic description, and including a "Life" written in a spirit of the most intense admiration of the poet and his genius, it will doubtless be received with favour in all sorts of households from John o' Groat's to Berwick-on-Tweed, and be regarded as a family friend. The editor, whose enthusiasm is unbounded, must have taken great pains in his work. He seems to have made himself thoroughly acquainted with all the available existing materials before sitting down to his task; and his labours bear evidence not only of conscientious care in their collection, but of considerable ability in their arrangement. In the "Life" he has confined himself to "trace the development of so great a soul, and more fully to illustrate the inner life and ultimate relation to mankind." The treatise is, in fact, a spiritual biography. The "Works" which follow have been clearly and ably distributed. First, we have the "Poems" of first and second editions, then those of the subsequent editions; then, thirdly, the posthumous and minor pieces of a miscellaneous character-each section accompanied by notes critical and historical. This division is suc

ceeded by the Poet's "Letters," including several hitherto unpublished, arranged under appropriate heads, and connected with brief biographical remarks. Lastly comes an elaborate "Appendix," containing a store of memoranda from the contemporaries of the poet or from their children, "with other matters of importance or of curiosity," for which every lover of Burns will be thankful. A chromo-lithographic portrait with autograph facsimile forms the frontispiece to the volume.

Cassell's Household Guide. (London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin.)-This Guide is intended to aid in almost every variety of domestic wants. The general management of the house, a system of careful account-keeping, for want of which many a young couple has split on the rock of adversity; house furnishing, cooking, the management of children, the garden, and domestic animals, easy methods of performing simple repairs at home, and a variety of miscellaneous matters, that a page of this work would fail to enumerate, form the subjects comprised in this new Household Guide. Among matters we are glad to see noticed are those relating to Domestic Medicine and Domestic Surgery. Many accidents that occur in the family, and which might result seriously if not at once attended to, are here dealt with in so simple a manner that materfamilias can at once have recourse to ready remedies. The annexed cut illustrates the mode in which, besides written description, the subject has been treated.

With the first number a coloured frontispiece is presented, showing eight dishes prepared for the table. The work, published in monthly parts, is to be abundantly illustrated in all its departments.

Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in Words of One Syllable. By Samuel Phillips Day. (Cassell.)— For those who have not yet arrived at that stage when they are able to master long and compound words, this edition of our most remarkable religious classic may be of great use. The whole story of Christian's journey from this world to that which is to come is told in words of one syllable, and the interest is not thereby lessened. Names of places and persons are, of course, retained, but with this exception no word of more than one syllable is admitted in the whole allegory.

The Child's Bible: Being a Consecutive Arrangement of the Principal Portions of Holy Scripture, in the Words of the Authorized Version. With upwards of Two Hundred Original Illustrations. (Cassell, Petter, and Galpin.)-A want long felt, though, perhaps, not often expressed, has been admirably supplied in this handsome volume. The difficulty of selection, so frequently experienced by parents and teachers, has been overcome, and we have here, in the exact words of the Authorized Version, the whole body of history as related in the Old and New Testaments, with merely such omissions as are not strictly necessary to a full and perfect understanding of the doctrines and teachings of Scripture. Great judgment has been exhibited by the editor in the arrangement of the several passages selected, so that from the Creation of the World to the Apocalypse of St. John the Evangelist

|

the narrative is continuous and consecutive, without that arbitrary division into books, chapters, and verses, which proves so trying to the minds of children. As now arranged, it is astonishing, even to those who are thoroughly familiar with its language, how beautifully simple and comprehensible are the words in which the Bible is written. There is absolutely nothing in this Child's Bible which a child can fail to understand; while, but for its title, there is no reason why the text as it stands should not be made an introduction to the regularly admitted version. Printed in large and beautifully clear type, and illustrated with a great number of graphic designs on wood, this Child's Bible may be truly pronounced a most valuable addition to our Sunday library.

Pictorial Scenes from the Pilgrim's Progress. Drawn by Reignier Conder. (Hodder and Stoughton.)—Than this work perhaps no more worthy tribute to the value of John Bunyan's famous allegory has ever been paid. Other illustrators of the wonderful story have endeavoured to represent the personal appearance of Christian, Great Heart, Giant Pope, the Confessor, the Conqueror, Saint George, Saint Peter, and Evangelist; but Mr. Conder has illustrated the tinker's dream in quite a different fashion. Instead of making the several actors in the life-story the prominent figures in his pictures, he has supplied an imaginative background of landscape, and thus given a reality to the scenes represented which they never before possessed. In sixteen large quarto pages we have the Slough of Despond, the Wicket Gate, the Delectable Mountains, the Country of Beulah, and other scenes and incidents of the allegory, with the extract to which the scene refers printed separately on the opposite leaf. This method of treatment gives a pleasant reality to the subjects. The employment of lithography, instead of wood or steel engravings, has also many advantages, not the least among which is an intensity of light and shadow of which neither of the other modes of production is capable. The scale of the drawings, too, is such as to give the artist full scope for the exercise of his facile pencil; and a happier result, in this particular direction, has seldom been attained. Mr. Conder has a style of his own-a style which sometimes reminds us of Turner, sometimes of Martin, and sometimes-as in the instance of plate 8, the Lions -of the German artist, Moritz Retsch.

Madam How and Lady Why; or, First Lessons in Earth-lore for Children. By the Rev. Charles Kingsley, M. A. With Numerous Illustrations. (Bell and Daldy.)-Madam How and Lady Why are the titles employed by the Rev. C. Kingsley for two fairies, each of whom has her functions to perform in the economy of the universe. Madam How in a general sense may be taken to represent Nature, who, if patiently and reverently studied, is ever ready to reveal her secrets. Lady Why is mistress of all things, and must not be confounded with her servant. She it is whose secrets are not to be discovered. Above and controlling all things, she sits on her throne, impenetrable as the Sphinx. To Madam How, Mr. Kingsley in this volume introduces all those who wish for the privilege, and he lifts her veil and exhibits her at work in a variety of ways. To speak without metaphor, his book gives a popular account of some of the marvels of nature. There are twelve chapters, and in them we have dissertations, in Mr. Kingsley's peculiar style, on botany, geology, natural history, &c., designed and suited for all boys and girls of intelligence.

this excellent publication another volume has made its appearance. It is not only distinguished by the merits which characterized its predecessors, but exhibits improvement. The portraits, especially that of Guy Patin, are admirable for their effectiveness, and the literary contents are full of interest. A paper, on the "Hemiad " of Voltaire, by Alfred D'Almbert, exhausts the subject, and would be well worth translating into English. The illustrations of book covers produced when bookbinders were artists, and of the armorial bearings of well-known covers of books, which have now reached as far as Du Vache, are still important features of the work, and the illustrations of the satiric art of the middle ages and of the renaissance, as represented in the sculpture and carving, are continued. In the December number are two chromo-lithographs, which in themselves are worth the cost of the part. These are "St. John the Evangelist" and "Noah's Ark," and are taken from a MS. commentary of the 12th century on the Apocalypse, belonging to the library of Altamira. They are printed in gold and colour to represent the original, and are splendid specimens of the lithographer's art. "Le Bibliophile Français" ought to have a wide circulation among lovers of books in England.

Le Bibliophile Français. (Paris and London : Bachelin-Deflorenne.)-Since our last notice of

The Westons of Riverdale: or, The Trials and Triumphs of Temperance Frinciples. By E. C. H. Allan, authcress of "Echoes of Heart-Whispers." (Manchester: John Heywood.)—The scope and character of this well-written and interesting story are made apparent by its very title. Many of the circumstances related of the trials and misfortunes of the characters introduced are real; and the writer's object has becn--she honestly avows to show the perils to which the happiness of a whole family may be exposed by even what is called a moderate drinker, ""since" she goes on to say, "from many of our most respectable and honoured families, and many of our brightest, happiest firesides, have passed forth those who have become the outcasts of society-who have brought disgrace and ruin upon themselves, and dishonour upon their connections by an undue indulgence in those drinks, the taste for which was first acquired under the home roof and fostered by home influences."

Sunbeam Stories. A Selection of the Tales by the Author of "A Trap to Catch a Sunbeam." Fourth Series. With Illustrations. (London: Lockwood & Co.) The author of "A Trap to Catch a Sunbeam" rejoices in a wide constituency among juvenile readers; and the present volume, which consists of two stories, is not less attractive than any of the former series. The principal story is "Minnie's Love;" the other, "Married and Settled," being a much shorter narrative of domestic life. All the scenes are remarkable for their homeliness, and the pictures of conjugal felicity are so charming that we have no doubt many young persons will, after the perusal of "Sunbeam Stories," decide in favour of matrimony as opposed to "single blessed

ness.

[ocr errors]

Picture Natural History. (Cassell, Petter, and Galpin.)—The old game of "Birds, Beasts, and Fishes" may be played with the six hundred and more pictures in this useful octavo, with the additional advantage to the young folk of a clear and understandable text in which every cut is described in easy words. book is divided into three sections-Zoology, including quadrupeds, birds, fishes, reptiles, and insects; Fossils and Corals; and Botany-the latter, so far as concerns the engravings, being the best.

[ocr errors]

39

are,

66

33 66

MR. TENNYSON'S NEW POEM. In this poem the Poet-Laureate resumes an early and long-cherished notion, and brings the "Idylls of the King" to a conclusion. The several poems "The Coming of Arthur*,' "Geraint and Enid," "Merlin and Vivien," "Lancelot and Elaine," The Holy Grail," "Pelleas and Ettare, Guinevere," and "The Passing of Arthur;" those to which an asterisk is appended forming the volume just now in course of issue. "The Passing of Arthur," though last in order of publication, was first in order of writing modelling of the "Mont d' Arthur;" and if the whole series be read consecutively, we have the poet's notion of the adventures of the mythic King of the Britons.

-a re

The story of Arthur, though told in several ways by the ancient chroniclers and bards, as well as by later poets, is perhaps hardly so well known by modern readers as it might be ; and even admirers of Mr. Tennyson may be at some loss to follow him without a prose explanation, which they will certainly not find in any modern History of England. The story, then, goes thus :-Arthur, King of the Britons, is said to have been a son of Uther Pendragon, by Igerna, wife of Gorloïs, Duke of Cornwall. This lady was the greatest beauty of her time, and the scandal went-for there were scandals even in those early days-that she loved Pendragon before her lawful lord. Gorloïs dying before the birth of Arthur, his queen married Pendragon- the magic of Merlin being brought in (says Buchanan) to cover the lady's shame, and enable Arthur to ascend the throne :

"But she, a stainless wife to Gorloïs,

So loathed the bright dishonour of his love,
That Gorlois and King Uther went to war:
And overthrown was Gorloïs and slain.
Then Uther in his wrath and heat besieged
Ygerne within Tintagil, where her men,
Seeing the mighty swarm about their walls,
Left her and fled, and Uther entered in,
And there was none to call to but himself.
So, compassed by the power of the king,
Enforced she was to wed him in her tears,
And with a shameful swiftness: afterward,
Not many noons, King Uther died himself,
Moaning and wailing for a heir to rule
After him, lest the realm should go to wrack.
And that same night, the night of the new year,
By reason of her bitterness and grief
That vext his mother, all before his time
Was Arthur born, and all as soon as born
Delivered at a secret postern-gate

To Merlin, to be holden far apart

Until his hour should come; because the lords
Of that fierce day were as the lords of this,
Wild beasts, and surely would have torn the child
Piecemeal among them, had they known; for each
But sought to rule for his own self and hand,
And many hated Uther for the sake

Of Gorlois. Wherefore Merlin took the child
And gave him to Sir Anton, an old knight
And ancient friend of Uther; and his wife
Nursed the young prince and reared him with her own;
And no man knew."

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

"Then at the marriage feast came in from Rome-
The slowly fading mistress of the world-
Great lords who claim'd the tribute as of yore.
But Arthur spake Behold, for these have sworn
To fight my wars, and worship me their king;
The old order changeth, yieldeth place to new;
And we that fight for our fair father Christ,
Seeing that ye be grown too weak and old
To drive the heathen from your Roman wall,
No tribute will we pay :) So those great lords
Drew back in wrath, and Arthur strove with Rome.
"And Arthur and his knighthood for a space
Were all one will, and thro' that strength the king
Drew in the petty princedoms under him,
Fought, and in twelve battles overcame
The heathen hordes, and made a realm and reign'd."

Readers of "Merlin and Vivien" and "Guinevere" know how the tale progresses: how the king, too happy in his love, won fame and greatness, and became the conqueror in all his wars. In the "Holy Grail" we find Arthur mourning the death of Sir Percivale, "whom Arthur and his knighthood called the Pure," a vision of whom is seen by many, and among others by a nun :--

66 For on a day she sent to speak with me,
And when she came to speak, behold her eyes
Beyond my knowing of them, beautiful,
Beyond all knowing of them, wonderful,
Beautiful in the light of holiness.
And O my brother Perivale,' she said,
'Sweet brother, I have seen the Holy Grail:
For waked at dead of night, I heard a sound
As of a silver horn o'er the hills
Blown, as I thought, "It is not Arthur's use
To hunt by moonlight;" and the slender sound
As from a distance beyond distance grew
Coming upon me-O never harp nor horn,
Nor aught we blow with breath, or touch with hand,
Was like that music as it came; and then
Stream'd thro' my cell a cold and silver beam,
And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail,
Rose-red with beatings in it, as if alive,
Till all the white walls of my cell were dyed
With rosy colours leaping in the wall;
And then the music faded, and the Grail
Pass'd, and the beam decayed, and from the walls
The rosy quiverings died into the night.
So now the Holy Thing is here again
Among us, brother, fast thou too and pray,
And tell thy brother knights fast and pray,
That so perchance the vision may be seen
By thee and those, and all the world be heal'd."

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

"Or thought he saw, the speck that bore the king
Down that long water opening on the deep,
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light,
And the new sun rose bringing the new year!"

It will be seen from the extracts we have made that there is no lack of the old power; no fading of the charm that has won for the verse of Tennyson a world-wide fame; no sign of weakness-but a promise of still greater things to come.

The "other poems" in the volume consist of reprints (including "Lucretius") which the Laureate has of late contributed to the magazines ; among these, one will be read with the greatest curiosity. +6 It is the Northern Farmer: New Style," and forms a capital pendant to the former poem. The humour, descriptive felicities, and characteristic individualization which were the features most admired in that, are all preserved in this, in a new aspect, in which "proputty, proputty, proputty" is the burden and end. Sixtyfour pages of the volume are occupied with the "Miscellaneous Poems."

[merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »