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182 NOTICES OF BOOKS.
. * 6 Lucile, By Owen Meredith. Chapman ...
deed liave taken many months to write , may well be allowed also many months in which to circulate , receiving * its tribute of ordinary
praise and criticism from the press , and its measure of discussion from the mouths of numerous readers , before those who study it with
a special interest and curiosity like ours , ask what effect it is likely to produce : —
liucile is a romance in verse;— -a rapid passionate story , which ends far more seriously than it begins , a compromise between a
French novel and Evangeline , or Aurora Leigh . The double element is most curious;—the world of wealth and fashion and
sentiment touching on what people are now wont to call " the problems of the age" ;—though we suspect they have been very much the
problems of every age ; only we in England in this nineteenth century are apt to consider that we possess a monoply of the " earnestness "
of the last two thousand years ; Owen Meredith touches whimsically enough on this very topic in the following lines ; yet he hardly does
himself and his aims justice ; for he becomes very serious and even philanthropic in the latter half of his poem .
And Tea and the toast erudite , wi ladies th aesthet who ics take , precisel , now y at ten then , , M Have odel avouch school ' d that in nay -houses song is for not earnest because laws gpauperspoor
The progress of , woman g , the great working , classes , , And All the Miss age Tilburina is concern who 'd in , in unnot sand iced it passes badl .
My earlier verses , si , ghs " Commonp g , lace sadly y !" And Tell them aver , that tell ' th tis earnest , my song because is as it ol is true as ' . new ,
But Strip the from old Fashion human the heart garment , with its she joys wears and : its what pains remains ? Owen Meredithin the latter half of his poem is , with or
with-, out his own consent , " brought to book " upon the serious and prosy questions he disclaims . How , indeed , shall he redeem his hero , in
these latter days , without giving him a tinge of the philanthropic dye ? And one of the finest and most forcible passages in the work
is that wherein is described the many-acred and long-descended country gentleman plodding out the sunshiny months on wearisome
parliamentary committees ; uncheered by interest , for he takes none in their doings untempted by ambitionfor he desires no pee - rage ;
unstimulated by , ambition , for his common , sense assures him he has no genius for politics . Yet contentedly leaving his country sports ,
his simple home pleasures , his dignity of the great man of his district , to merge himself in a crowd where he counts only as " a
vote , _" simply because it is his duty to _rejDresent his county . The plot of Lucile is laid in the highest realms of fashion . A
duke , and a lord , and a countess are the prominent dramatis persona-The scene is laid firstly in the Pyreneesat the small towns where idlers
, resort for the air and the water ; secondly , at Ems ; thirdly , before Sebastopol . The story is painful in its insight , in its intensity , and
in the continuous tension of the deepest feelings from first to last _j
182 Notices Of Books.
182 NOTICES OF BOOKS .
English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Oct. 1, 1860, page 132, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/ewj/issues/ewj_01101860/page/60/