Obrazy na stronie

an Ennuyée (memoranda made during a tour in France and Italy), 1826; Loves of the Poets, two volumes, 1829; Lives of Celebrated Female Sovereigns, two volumes, 1831; Characteristics of Women, two volumes, 1832; Beauties of the Court of Charles II. (memoirs accompanying engravings from Lely's portraits), two volumes, 1833; Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad, two volumes, 1834; Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada, three volumes, 1838; Rubens, his Life and Genius, translated from the German of Dr Waagen, 1840; Pictures of the Social Life of Germany, as represented in the Dramas of the Princess Amelia of Saxony, 1840; Hand-book to the Public Galleries of Art, two volumes, 1842; Companion to Private Galleries of Art in and near London, 1844; Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters, two volumes, 1845; Memoirs and Essays on Art, Literature, and Social Morals, 1846; Sacred and Legendary Art, two volumes, 1848; Legends of the Monastic Orders, 1850; Legends of the Madonna, 1852; Commonplace Book of Thoughts, Memories, and Fancies, 1854; Sisters of Charity, a lecture, 1855; The Communion of Labour, a lecture, 1856; with various communications to literary journals. In such a variety of works, all, of course, cannot be equal—some bear the appearance of task-work; but generally we may apply to Mrs Jameson the warm eulogium of Professor Wilson: she is ‘one of the most eloquent of our female writers; full of feeling and fancy; a true enthusiast with a glowing soul.” On the subject of art, her writing is next to that of Ruskin: to intense love of the beautiful, she adds a fine discriminating and cultivated taste, with rich stores of knowledge. A few extracts will afford some idea of her style.

[Counsel to Young Ladies—An Eastern Apologue.]

It is a common observation, that girls of lively talents are apt to grow pert and satirical. I fell into this danger when about ten years old. Sallies at the expense of certain people, ill-looking, or ill-dressed, or ridiculous, or foolish, had been laughed at and applauded in company, until, without being naturally malignant, I ran some risk of becoming so from sheer vanity.

The fables which appeal to our high moral sympathies may sometimes do as much for us as the truths of science. So thought our Saviour when he taught the multitude in parables. A good clergyman who lived near us, a famous Persian scholar, took it into his head to teach me Persian—I was then about seven years oldand I set to work with infinite delight and earnestness. All I learned was soon forgotten; but a few years afterwards, happening to stumble on a volume of Sir William Jones's works—his Persian Grammar—it revived my orientalism, and I began to study it eagerly. Among the exercises given was a Persian fable or poem—one of those traditions of our Lord which are preserved in the East. The beautiful apologue of St Peter and the Cherries, which Goethe has versified or imitated, is a well-known example. This fable I allude to was something similar, but I have not met with the original these forty years, and must give it here from memory.

“Jesus, says the story, “arrived one evening at the gates of a certain city, and he sent his disciples forward to prepare supper, while he himself, intent on doing good, walked through the streets into the market-place. And he saw at the corner of the market some people gathered together looking at an object on the ground; and he drew near to see what it might be. It was a dead dog, with a halter round his neck, by which he appeared to have been dragged through the dirt; and a viler, a more abject, a more unclean thing, never met the eyes of man. And those who stood by looked on with abhorrence. “Faugh!” said one, stopping his

nose; “it pollutes the air.” “How long,” said another, “shall this foul beast offend our sight?” “Look at his torn hide,” said a third; “one could not even cut a shoe out of it.” “And his ears,” said a fourth, “all draggled and bleeding!” “No doubt,” said a fifth, “he hath been hanged for thieving!” And Jesus heard them, and looking down compassionately on the dead creature, he said: “Pearls are not equal to the whiteness of his teeth !” Then the people turned towards him with amazement, and said among themselves: “Who is this? this must be Jesus of Nazareth, for only He could find something to pity and approve even in a dead dog;” and, being ashamed, they bowed their heads before him, and went each on his way.' I can recall, at this hour, the vivid, yet softening and pathetic impression left on my fancy by this old Eastern story. It struck me as exquisitely humorous, as well as exquisitely beautiful. It gave me a pain in my conscience, for it seemed thenceforward so easy and so vulgar to say satirical things, and so much nobler to be benign and merciful, and I took the lesson so home, that I was in great danger of falling into the opposite extreme—of seeking the beautiful even in the midst of the corrupt and the repulsive.

[Pictures of the Madonna.]

Of the pictures in our galleries, public or private—of the architectural adornments of those majestic edifices which sprung up in the middle ages (where they have not been despoiled or desecrated by a zeal as fervent as that which reared them), the largest and most beautiful portion have reference to the Madonna—her character, her person, her history. It was a theme which never tired her votaries—whether, as in the hands of great and sincere artists, it became one of the noblest and loveliest, or, as in the hands of superficial, unbelieving, time-serving artists, one of the most degraded. All that human genius, inspired by faith, could achieve best—all that fanaticism, sensualism, atheism, could perpetuate of worst, do we find in the cycle of those representations which have been dedicated to the glory of the Virgin. And, indeed, the ethics of the Madonna worship, as evolved in art, might be not unaptly likened to the ethics of human love: so long as the object of sense remained in subjection to the moral idea—so long as the appeal was to the best of our faculties and affections—so long was the image grand or refined, and the influences to be ranked with those which have helped to humanise and civilise our race; but so soon as the object became a mere idol, then worship and worshippers, art and artists, were together degraded.

[The Loves of the Poets.]

The theory which I wish to illustrate, as far as my limited powers permit, is this, that where a woman has been exalted above the rest of her sex by the talents of a lover, and consigned to enduring fame and perpetuity of praise, the passion was real, and was merited; that no deep or lasting interest was ever founded in fancy or in fiction; that truth, in short, is the basis of all excellence in amatory poetry as in everything else; for where truth is, there is good of some sort, and where there is truth and good, there must be beauty, there must be durability of fame. Truth is the golden chain which links the terrestrial with the celestial, which sets the seal of Heaven on the things of this earth, and stamps them to immortality. Poets have risen up and been the mere fashion of a day, and have set up idols which have been the idols of a day. If the worship be out of date, and the idols cast down, it is because those adorers wanted sincerity of purpose and feeling; their raptures were feigned; their incense was bought or adulterate. In the brain or in the fancy, one beauty may eclipse another-one *::, may


drive out another, and, tricked off in airy verse, they float away unregarded like morning vapours, which the beam of genius has tinged with a transient brightness: but let the heart be once touched, and it is not only wakened but inspired; the lover kindled into the poet presents to her he loves his cup of ambrosial praise; she tastes—and the woman is transmuted into a divinity. When the Grecian sculptor carved out his deities in marble, and left us wondrous and godlike shapes, impersonations of ideal grace unapproachable by modern skill, was it through such mechanical superiority? No; it was the spirit of faith within which shadowed to his imagination what he would represent. In the same manner, no woman has ever been truly, lastingly deified in poetry, but in the spirit of truth and love.

[The Studious Monks of the Middle Ages.]

But for the monks, the light of liberty, and literature, and science, had been for ever extinguished; and that, for six centuries, there existed for the thoughtful, the gentle, the inquiring, the devout spirit, no peace, no security, no home but the cloister. There, Learning trimmed her lamp; there, Contemplation ‘pruned her wings;’ there, the traditions of art, preserved from age to age by lonely studious men, kept alive, in form and colour, the idea of a beauty beyond that of earth—of a might beyond that of the spear and the shield—of a Divine sympathy with suffering humanity. To this we may add another and a stronger claim to our respect and moral sympathies. The protection and the better education given to women in these early communities; the venerable and distinguished rank assigned to them when, as governesses of their order, they became in a manner dignitaries of the church; the introduction of their beautiful and saintly effigies, clothed with all the insignia of sanctity and authority, into the decoration of places of worship and books of devotion—did more, perhaps, for the general cause of womanhood than all the boasted institutions of Chivalry.

[Venice–Canaletti and Turner.]

It is this all-pervading presence of light, and this suffusion of rich colour glowing through the deepest shadows, which make the very life and soul of Wenice; but not all who have dwelt in Venice, and breathed her air and lived in her life, have felt their influences; it is the want of them which renders so many of Canaletti's pictures false and unsatisfactory—to me at least. All the time I was at Venice I was in a rage with Canaletti. I could not come upon a palace, or a church, or a corner of a canal which I had not seen in one or other of his pictures. At every moment I was reminded of him. But how has he painted Wenice Just as we have the face of a beloved friend reproduced by the daguerreotype, or by some bad conscientious painter—some fellow who gives us eyes, nose, and mouth by measure of compass, and leaves out all sentiment, all countenance; we cannot deny the identity, and we cannot endure it. Where in Canaletti are the glowing evening skies—the transparent gleaming waters—the bright green of the vineshadowed Traghetto—the freshness and the glory—the dreamy, ačrial, fantastic splendour of this city of the sea? Look at one of his pictures—all is real, opaque, solid, stony, formal; even his skies and water—and is that Wenice? “But, says my friend, “if you would have Venice, seek it in Turner's pictures !' True, I may seek it, but shall I find it? Wenice is like a dream—but this dream upon the canvas, do you call this Wenice? The exquisite precision of form, the wondrous beauty of detail, the clear, delicate lines of the flying perspective —so sharp and defined in the midst of a flood of brightness—where are they? Canaletti gives us the forms without the colour or light. Turner, the colour and light: thout the forms. But if you would take into

your soul the very soul and inward life and spirit of Wenice—breathe the same air—go to Titian; there is more of Venice in his “Cornaro Family, or his ‘Pesaro Madonna, than in all the Canalettis in the corridor at Windsor. Beautiful they are, I must needs say it; but when I think of enchanting Wenice, the most beautiful are to me like prose translations of poetry-petrifactions, materialities: “We start, for life is wanting there !” I know not how it is, but certainly things that would elsewhere displease, delight us at Wenice. It has been said, for instance, ‘put down the church of St Mark anywhere but in the Piazza, it is barbarous: here, where east and west have met to blend together, it is glorious. And again, with regard to the sepulchral effigies in our churches—I have always been of Mr Westmacott's principles and party; always on the side of those who denounce the intrusion of monuments of human pride insolently paraded in God's temple; and surely cavaliers on prancing horses in a church should seem the very acme of such irreverence and impropriety in taste; but here the impression is far different. O those awful, grim, mounted warriors and doges, high over our heads against the walls of the San Giovannie Paolo and the Frari!—man and horse in panopoly of state, colossal, lifelike—suspended, as it were, so far above us, that we cannot conceive how they came there, or are kept there, by human means alone. It seems as though they had been lifted up and fixed on their airy pedestals as by a spell. At whatever hour I visited those churches, and that was almost daily, whether at morn, or noon, or in the deepening twilight, still did those marvellous effigies—man and steed, and trampled Turk; or mitred doge, upright and stiff in his saddlefix me as if fascinated; and still I looked up at them, wondering every day with a new wonder, and scarce repressing the startled exclamation, “Good Heavens! how came they there?’ And not to forget the great wonder of modern times—I hear people talking of a railway across the Lagune, as if it were to unpoetise Wenice; as if this new approach were a malignant invention to bring the syren of the Adriatic into the “dull catalogue of common things;’ and they call on me to join the outcry, to echo sentimental denunciations, quoted out of Murray's Hand-book; but I cannot—I have no sympathy with them. To me, that tremendous bridge, spanning the sea, only adds to the wonderful one wonder more; to great sources of thought one yet greater. Those persons, methinks, must be strangely prosaic au fond who can see poetry in a Gothic pinnacle, or a crumbling temple, or a gladiator's circus, and in this gigantic causeway and its seventy-five arches, traversed with fiery speed by dragons, brazen-winged, to which neither alp nor ocean can oppose a barriernothing but a commonplace. I must say I pity them. I see a future fraught with hopes for Wenice—

[merged small][ocr errors]

JoHN RUSKIN, author of several remarkable works on art, was born in London in 1819. His father was connected with the firm of Ruskin, Telfer, & Co., wine-merchants, agents for the famous sherry of Peter Domecq, Mr Ruskin was entered at Christ's Church College, Oxford, where he graduated, and in 1839 took the Newdegate prize for English poetry. Impressed with the idea that art was his vocation in life, he studied painting under Copley Fielding and J. D. Harding; but the pencil has long since become merely the auxiliary of the pen. In 1843 appeared the first portion of his Modern Painters, by an Oxford Graduate, which, though published when the author was only twentyfour years of age, bears the impress of deep thought, and is written with rare eloquence and in choice English. The second part was published in 1846, and the third and fourth voiumes ten years later, in 1856. Many other works appeared in the interval. Indeed, Mr Ruskin is now one of the most voluminous writers of the day; but it may be questioned if he has ever risen to the level of the first two volumes of the Modern Painters. Latterly, his works have been little more than hurriedly written pamphlets, reviews, and revisals of popular lectures, which, though often rising into passages of vivid description and eloquence, and possessing the merit of great clearness, are generally loose and colloquial in style. The Seven Lamps of Architecture, 1849, and the Stones of Venice, three volumes, 1851–53, are the principal of Mr Ruskin's works, besides the Modern Painters; but we may also mention the following—Letters in Defence of the Pre-Raphaelites, published at various times since 1851; The Construction of Sheepfolds (the discipline of the church), 1851; The Opening of the Crystal Palace, 1854; Notes on the Academy Exhibitions, published in the month of May for the last few years; The Elements of Drawing, 1857; The Political Economy of Art, 1858; The Two Paths, 1859; besides contributions to the Quarterly Review, the Art Journal, the Scotsman, &c. Mr Ruskin's influence upon art and art literature has been remarkable. The subject has received a degree of consideration among general readers that it had not previously enjoyed in our day, or perhaps in any period of our history; and to Mr Ruskin's veneration for every work of creation, inculcated in all his writings, may be ascribed the origin of the society of young artists, known as the PreRaphaelites. Protesting against what they conceived to be lax conventionalism in the style of most modern painters, the innovators went back, as they said, to nature, preferring her in all her moods and phases, to ideal visions of what she occasionally might, or ought to appear. Mr Ruskin seems often to contradict himself; but on this point his own mind is easy. “I never met with a question yet, he says in the inaugural address to the Cambridge School of Art, ‘which did not need, for the right solution of it, at least one positive and one negative answer, like an equation of the second degree. Mostly, matters of any consequence are three-sided, or four-sided, or polygonal; and the trotting round a polygon is severe work for people any way stiff in their opinions. For myself, I am never satisfied that I have handled a subject properly till I have contradicted myself at least three times. With this clever apology we may pass over apparent incongruities in the details of his system, and rest satisfied with the great principles which he so eloquently inculcates. These are singularly pure and lofty. The aim and object of his teaching, he says, is to declare that ‘whatever is great in human art is the expression of man's delight in God's work, and he insists upon a pure heart and earnest mind as essential to success.

[ocr errors][merged small]

that which your work represents—if, being a landscape painter, it is love of hills and trees that moves you—if, being a figure painter, it is love of human beauty and human soul that moves you—if, being a flower or animal painter, it is love, and wonder, and delight in petal and in limb that move you, then the spirit is upon you, and the earth is yours, and the fulness thereof. But if, on the other hand, it is petty self-complacency in your own skill, trust in precepts and laws, hope for academical or popular approbation, or avarice of wealth—it is quite possible that by steady industry, or even by fortunate chance, you may win the applause, the position, the fortune, that you desire; but one touch of true art £ will never lay on canvas or on stone as long as you We.

The following eloquent passage is from Modern


[The Dangers of National Security.]

That is to everything created pre-eminently useful which enables it rightly and fully to perform the functions appointed to it by its Creator. Therefore, that we may determine what is chiefly useful to man, it is necessary first to determine the use of man himself. Man's use and function (and let him who will not grant me this, follow me no further; for this I purpose always to assume) is to be the witness of the glory of God, and to advance that glory by his reasonable obedience and resultant happiness.

Whatever enables us to fulfil this function is in the pure and first sense of the word useful to us. Preeminently, therefore, whatever sets the glory of God more brightly before us. But things that only help us to exist are in a secondary and mean sense useful; or rather if they be looked for alone, they are useless and worse; for it would be better that we should not exist than that we should guiltily disappoint the purposes of existence. And yet people speak in this working-age, when they speak from their hearts, as if houses and lands, and food and raiment, were alone useful, and as if sight, thought, and admiration were all profitless; so that men insolently call themselves utilitarians, who would turn, if they had their way, themselves and their race into vegetables. Men who think, as far as such can be said to think, that the meat is more than the life and the raiment than the body, who look to this earth as a stable and to its fruit as fodder; vinedressers and husbandmen who love the corn they grind, and the grapes they crush, better than the gardens of the angels upon the slopes of Eden; hewers of wood and drawers of water, who think that the wood they hew, and the water they draw, are better than the pineforests that cover the mountain like the shadow of God, and than the great rivers that move like His eternity. And so comes upon us that woe of the Preacher, that though God “hath made everything beautiful in His time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. This Nebuchadnezzar curse, that sends us to grass like oxen, seems to follow but too closely on the excess or continuance of national power and peace. In the perplexities of nations in their struggles for existence, in their infancy, their impotence, or even their disorganisation, they have higher hopes and nobler passions. Out of the suffering comes the serious mind; out of the salvation, the grateful heart; out of the deliverance, the faith. But now when they have learned to live under providence of laws, and with decency and justice of regard for each other; and when they have done away with violent and external sources of suffering, worse evils seem arising out of their rest— evils that vex less and mortify more, that suck the blood, though they do not shed it, and ossify the heart, though they do not torture it. And deep though the causes of thankfulness must be to every people at pe: with


others, and at unity in itself, there are causes of fear also—a fear greater than that of sword and seditionthat dependence on God may be forgotten because the bread is given and the water sure, that gratitude to Him may cease because His constancy of protection has taken the semblance of a natural law, that heavenly hope may grow faint amidst the full fruition of the world, that selfishness may take place of undemanded devotion; compassion be lost in vainglory, and love in dissimulation; that enervation may succeed to strength, apathy to strength, and the noise of jesting words and foulness of dark thoughts to the earnest purity of the girded loins and the burning lamp. About the river of human life there is a wintry wind, though a heavenly sunshine; the iris colours its agitation, the frost fixes upon its repose. Let us beware that our rest become not the rest of stones, which so long as they are torrenttossed and thunder-stricken maintain their majesty; but when the stream is silent and the storm passed, suffer the grass to cover them, and the lichen to feed upon them, and are ploughed down into dust. And though I believe we have salt enough of ardent and holy mind amongst us to keep us in some measure from this moral decay, yet the signs of it must be watched with anxiety in all matters however trivial, in all directions however distant. And at this time * * there is need, bitter need, to bring back, if we may, into men's minds, that to live is nothing unless to live be to know Him by whom we live, and that He is not to be known by naming His fair works, and blotting out the evidence of His influence upon His creatures, not amidst the hurry of crowds and crash of innovation, but in solitary places, and out of the glowing intelligence which He gave to men of old. He did not teach them how to build for glory and for beauty; He did not give them the fearless, faithful, inherited energies that worked on and down from death to death, generation after generation, that we, foul and sensual as we are, might give the carved work of their poured-out spirit to the axe and the hammer; He has not cloven the earth with rivers, that their white wild waves might turn wheels and push paddles; nor turned it up under, as it were, fire that it might heat wells and cure diseases; He brings not up His quails by the east wind only to let them fall in flesh about the camp of men; He has not heaped the rocks of the mountain only for the quarry, nor clothed the grass of the field only for the oven.

We give another extract from the same work:

[What is Truly Practical.]

All science and all art may be divided into that which is subservient to life and which is the object of it + -, practical —, or theoretical + +. Yet the step between practical and theoretic science is the step between the miner and the geologist, the apothecary and the chemist, and the step between practical and theoretic art is that between the bricklayer and the architect, between the plumber and the artist; and this is a step allowed on all hands to be from less to greater, so that the so-called useless part of each profession does by the authoritative and right instinct of mankind assume the superior and more noble place. Only it is ordained that, for our encouragement, every step we make in the more exalted range of science, adds something also to its practical applicabilities; that all the great phenomena of nature, the knowledge of which is desired by the angels only, by us partly as it reveals to further vision the being and the glory of Him in whom they rejoice and we live, dispense yet such kind influences and so much of material blessing as to be joyfully felt by all inferior creatures, and to be desired by them with such single desire as the imperfection of their nature may admit; that the strong torrents which in th: own gladness fill the hills with hollow thunder

* /

and the vales with winding light, have yet their bounden charge of field to feed and barge to bear; that the fierce flames to which the Alps owes its upheaval and the volcano its terror, temper for us the metal vein and quickening spring; and that for our incitement, I say not our reward, for knowledge is its own reward, herbs have their healing, stones their preciousness, and stars their times. It would appear, therefore, that those pursuits which are altogether theoretic, whose results are desirable or admirable in themselves, and for their own sake, and in which no further end to which their productions or discoveries are referred, can interrupt the contemplation of things as they are, by the endeavour to discover of what selfish uses they are capable (and of this order are painting and sculpture), ought to take rank above all pursuits which have any taint in them of subserviency to life, in so far as all such tendency is the sign of less eternal and less holy function.

MR CHARLEs KNIGHT (born at Windsor in 1790), both as publisher and author, has done good service to the cause of cheap popular literature. His Etonian, and Knight's Quarterly Magazine, drew forth many accomplished young scholars as contributors—including Macaulay—and his Pictorial England, the Bible, London, shilling volumes, and other serial works, supplied a fund of excellent reading and information. As editor of Shakspeare, Mr Knight took higher ground, and acquitted himself with distinction. A collection of his essays has been published under the title of Once Upon a Time, and another is named The Old Printer and the Modern

688. The Biographical and Critical Essays of MR ABRAHAM HAYwARD, Queen's Counsel, published in 1858, are lively, interesting papers, originally communicated to the Edinburgh F' Mr Hayward has also translated Goethe's Faust, and is author of a number of professional treatises.


The following notice of Miss MARTINEAU appears in Horne's Spirit of the Age: ‘Harriet Martineau was born in the year 1802, one of the youngest among a family of eight children. Her father was a proprietor of one of the manufactories in Norwich, in which place his family, originally of French origin, had resided since the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. She has herself ascribed her taste for literary pursuits to the extreme delicacy of her health in childhood; to the infirmity (deafness) with which she has been afflicted ever since, which, without being so complete as to deprive her absolutely of all intercourse with the world, yet obliged her to seek occupations and pleasures within herself; and to the affection which subsisted between her and the brother nearest her own age, the Rev. James Martineau, whose fine mind and talents are well known. The occupation of writing, first begun to gratify her own taste and inclination, became afterwards to her a source of honourable independence, when, by one of the disasters so common in trade, her family became involved in misfortunes. She was then enabled to reverse the common lot of unmarried daughters in such circumstances, and cease to be in any respect a burden. She realised an income sufficient for her simple habits, 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 government in 1840. Her motive for refusing it was, that she considered herself in the light of a political writer, and that the offer did not proceed from the people, but from the government, which did not represent the people.’ The literary career of Miss Martineau displays unwearied application, as well as great versatility of talent and variety of information. It commenced

Harriet Martineau.

in 1823, when she published Devotional Exercises for Young Persons. From this time till 1831 she issued a number of tracts and short moral tales, and wrote some prize essays, which were published by the Unitarian Association, to which body the authoress belongs. In 1832–34 she produced Illustrations of Political Economy, Taxation, and Poor Laws. A visit to America next led to a more elaborate work, Society in America, 1837, and Retrospect of Western Travel, 1838. In the same year she published a Letter to the Deaf, and two small Guides to Service, to which she afterwards added two more of similar domestic manuals. To 1838 also belongs a small tract, How to Observe. In 1839 appeared Deerbrook, a novel, containing striking and eloquent passages, one of which we subjoin.

[Effects of Love and Happiness on the Mind.]

There needs no other proof that happiness is the most wholesome moral atmosphere, and that in which the immortality of man is destined ultimately to thrive, than the elevation of soul, the religious aspiration, which attends the first assurance, the first sober certainty of true love. There is much of this religious aspiration amidst all warmth of virtuous affections. There is a vivid love of God in the child that lays its cheek against the cheek of its mother, and clasps its arms about her neck. God is thanked—perhaps unconsciously—for the brightness of his earth, on summer evenings, when a brother and sister, who have long been parted, pour out their heart-stores to each other, and feel their course of thought brightening as it runs. When the aged parent hears of the honours his children have won, or looks round upon their innocent faces as the glory of his decline, his mind reverts to Him who in them prescribed the purpose of his life, and bestowed its grace. But religious as is the mood of every good

affection, none is so devotional as that of love, especially so called. The soul is then the very temple of adoration, of faith, of holy purity, of heroism, of charity. At such a moment the human creature shoots up into the angel; there is nothing on earth too defiled for its charity—nothing in hell too appalling for its heroism -nothing in heaven too glorious for its sympathy. Strengthened, sustained, vivified by that most mysterious power, union with another spirit, it feels itself set well forth on the way of victory over evil, sent out conquering and to conquer. There is no other such crisis in human life. The philosopher may experience uncontrollable agitation in verifying his principle of balancing systems of worlds, feeling, perhaps, as if he actually saw the creative hand in the act of sending the planets forth on their everlasting way; but this philosopher, solitary seraph as he may be regarded amidst a myriad of men, knows at such a moment no emotions so divine as those of the spirit becoming conscious that it is beloved—be it the peasant-girl in the meadow, or the daughter of the sage reposing in her father's confidence, or the artisan beside his loom, or the man of letters musing by his fireside. The warrior about to strike the decisive blow for the liberties of a nation, however impressed with the solemnity of the hour, is not in a state of such lofty resolution as those who, by joining hearts, are laying their joint hands on the whole wide realm of futurity for their own. The statesman who, in the moment of success, feels that an entire class of social sins and woes is annihilated by his hand, is not conscious of so holy and so intimate a thankfulness as they who are aware that their redemption is come in the presence of a new and sovereign affection. And these are many—they are in all corners of every land. The statesman is the leader of a nation, the warrior is the grace of an age, the philosopher is the birth of a thousand years; but the lover, where is he not? Wherever parents look round upon their children, there he has been ; wherever children are at play together, there he will soon be; wherever there are roofs under which men dwell, wherever there is an atmosphere vibrating with human voices, there is the lover, and there is his lofty worship going on, unspeakable, but revealed in the brightness of the eye, the majesty of the presence, and the high temper of the discourse.

The democratic opinions of the authoress—for in all but her anti-Malthusian doctrines Miss Martineau is a sort of female Godwin-are strikingly brought forward, and the characters are well drawn. Deerbrook is a story of English domestic-life. The next effort of Miss Martineau was in the historical romance. The Hour and the Man, 1840, is a novel or romance founded on the history of the brave Toussaint L’Ouverture; and with this man as hero, Miss Martineau exhibits as the hour of action the period when the slaves of St Domingo threw off the yoke of slavery. There is much passionate as well as graceful writing in this tale; its greatest defect is, that there is too much disquisition, and too little connected or regular fable. Among the other works of Miss Martineau are several for children, as The Peasant and the Prince, The Settlers at Home, Feats on the Fiord, and The Crofton Boys—all pleasing and instructive little tales. Her next work, Life in the Sick-Room, or Essays by an Invalid, 1844, presents many interesting and pleasing sketches, full of acute and delicate thought and elegant description.

[Sea View from the Window of the Sick-Room at Tynemouth.]

Think of the difference to us between seeing from our sofas the width of a street, even if it be Sackville

Street, Dublin, or Portland Place, in London, a'irty 775

« PoprzedniaDalej »