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other " The course of true love never did run smooth / ' is 'illustrated by a fat runaway , or rather crawl-away pair , who are making for the church on an old horse who seems asleep , and who treads winterly upon loose blocks of stone , like the steppin g-stones of a brook . We wind up with "All ' s , welt that ends well , " in which the actors on a-stage seem all to have been killed , for they lie on their backs , with their feet projecting beneath the curtain . These descriptions will give some faint idea of the design of the book , though a dash of the pencil can of The book is
convey more than a page writing . intended for the drawing-room table , and the engravings are printed on the finest paper . The notions of the artist do not always lie broadly upon the surface , and a second or third inspection of the pictures will bring but much that is not seen in the first . We might suggest to Mr . Bennett that he has portrayed pigs too often , and that he has shown a strong disposition to dwell upon the conventional idea of the battered , crape-circled , white sher iff ' s officer ' s hat ; but taking the book altogether , it is calculated to advance the well-earned reputation of the author of Shadows .
DEBORAH'S DIARY . DtboraJis Diary . A Sequel to " Mary Powell . " A . -Hall , Virtue , and Co . The quaint narrative of . Mary . Poire ! I—afterwards Mrs . Milton—with its ancient binding , type , and spelling , is not likely to be forgotten by readers of literary taste and poetic associations . And here is a sequel thereto ; we have Deborah ' s Diary , the diary of Milton ' s daughter , the blind poet ' s chief amanuensis . There is something marvellous in the facility with which the author 1 ms impersonated , the
filial journalist , her secret feelings , her suppressed aspirations , her docility ; her restlessness , her reverence , and yet her free-thinking , and all those opposite moods which a daughter so placed wiih such a father and such ^ stepmother would naturally experience . Her sisters , the stepmother , and the mischievous maid-servant are also sketched in with admirable effect . There is . no force , no ostentation in the introduction of minute traits , but all take their place in the easiest and most orderly manner . It is a moving p icture of Milton ' s domestic life , charming in itself , and wondrously
Given a blind old poet with a third wife , and his three daughters restive under the dominion of a stingy stepmother , and the answer is precisely as Deborah states it . The household is ,-as we have said , ] niost faithfully depicted * ; but wjiat say we of its . central figure ? Here have we Milton , not , as we have- already intimated , as a hero , but a man . The portrait is , truly , most human and touching . He meets us at the very opening of the book—" Father in his tall arm-chair , quite uprighte , as his fashion is when very thouglitfulle "—proposing to make himself and children , in the absence o the stepmother ,
comfortable with some egg-flip , and chatting about the fairies , and his use of the god Pail in his "Hymn on the Nativity , " and his conversations with Charles Diodati , and other details of his former days . We next have him waking up Deborah at night , to jot down some new verses of his immortal poem . Soon after , the stepmother , an illiterate woman , appears on the scene ; but even to her , though annoyed , he is considerate . Then come news of the plague , and the desirability of
their retiring to Chalfont to escape its perils ; all the preliminaries of the journey , arid the magnanimous bearing of the ever-patient , though sometimes angered and ever much-persecuted Bard . A thousand touches arc thrown in , which bring out the character , clearly , distinctly , admirably . In a word , the readers of Mary Powell must read this sequel . The one book is incomplete without the other . Of the two , the present , perhaps , is .. the- more artistic . We detect ,, here and there , a few modern phrases ; but this . is a defect that is inevitable . In other regards , the book is almost faultless .
suggestive . The mighty poet is here no hero , but a poor blind man , dependent on his daughter for the register qf his mental operations—loved , but little respected by his wife , who suffers too much from the sting of poverty to be able to believe in her husband s greatness— -and a rather irascible parent to his daughters Mary and Anne , somewhat less gifted than JDeborah , the latter , too , being slightly deformed . Such is the group , a perfectly natural one , hiding the greatness that it really contained . The moral of the whole is couched in a few sentences . They are beautiful sentences , and worth quoting , if only for the concluding image , which is remarkably happy : — I grievo to think Mary can sometimes bo a little
epightfull as well as unduteous . She is ill at her Pen , and having To-day made some Blunder , for which Father chid her , not overmuch , she rudely made Answer , " I never had « Writing-master . " Jietty , being by , treasured up , as I could see , this ill-natured Speech : and ' twas unfair too , for , if wo never had a Writingmaster , yet my Aunt Agar taught us ; and 'twas our own Fault if we improved no more . Indeed , we have had a scrambling Sort of Education ; but , in many 10-epects , our Advantages have exceeded those of many
young Women ; and among them 1 reckon , first and foremost , continuall Intercourse with a superior mind . — If a Piece of more Leather , by frequent Contact with Silvor , acquires a certain Portion of the pure and brig ht Metal ; sure , the Children of a gifted Parent must , by tho Collision of their Minds , insensibly as ' twero , imbibe somewhat of his "nor parts . Ned Phillips , indeed , sayth , we tire ^ Uke People livmg so close under a big Mountain , at not to know how high it is ; but I think wo .,.... nt leaat , I do . Yoa that grand thing to make tho
, yes ; was a filial Deborah sot down in her diary , ami throws a commanding light on tho whole subjuot . Under indirection , tho autlior lends us to interpret Milton's MWlttot towards . ! his ohilciren , particularly . in tho matter of " tho nuncupative will , " and to relievo them from tho aspersion of having acted " un-Wnclly" towards their father . The falsehopd of ¦ Betty Eisner ' s ovidonco is , in particular , demonstrated , and Deborah ' s motives for leaving the paternal roof are cleared of all suspicion . Tho solution is , indeed , easy enough of tho wholo .
BALLADS AND SONGS . Ballads and Songs . — Edward Capern , Rural postman of Bideford , Devon . ^ W . Kent and Co . The distinction " nia < le by the Gerrhan _ critics between the Singer and the Poet becomes more needful with the extension of intelligence . Wherever a man has begot the ' love of reading and the habit of writing , with an education limited in other respects , it is natural for him to express himself in lyrical measures . It is thus he registers his rising thoughts , his
momentary feelings , his casual observations . No learning is demanded for all this ; nothing but so much poetical diction as . may be gathered even from the popular songs of a . district . A little practice will give a certain degree of facility of expression , and , with a little encouragement from a friendly , however humble circle , a sensitive thinker may easily acquire a local reputation as a singer : add tp all this some probable accidental patronage , and he may rise into a sort of fame as such ; productions thus generated are properly enough esteemed as songs , it is not necessary that they should rise to the dignity of
district of his native country . " Such , in his own words , are the author ' s simple claims , and it would be absurdly unjust towards him to overstate them , or to mistake his verses for more than they are . Mr . Capern ' a songs are distinguished for their sweetness and cheerfulness . They are also to be regarded for the fitness to the themes which they treat . The singer is not ambitious of being a political reformer , whether in Church or State ; but he is content with celebrating the natural aspects of things , all of which appear to him to be equally good , whether the objects of nature or the customs of the village are to be regarded . He sympathises
thoroughly with country folk . He enters into their sports , their loves , their humble hopes and fears , their difficulties and dangers . He would see , likewise , their social position improved , but is not solicitous to bring into strong relief the contrast between them and the wealthy classes . The latter , indeed , he accredits with a sincere desire to help them in every possible way ; nay , it is clear he lias a reverence for rank and riches . He dedicates bis book to Miss Burdett Coutts ; and probably ascribes her " large-hearted benevolence" to every member of the Order to which she belongs . Mr . Capern is not only a sweet singer , but one perfectly inoffensive and innocent .
poems . Poetry , properly so called , requires something more ; and the poott truly so named , is a far higher style of man , Not only the aptitude for lyrical expression is demanded , but such a cultivation in the art of metrical composition that the widest ranges of knowledge and the deepest reaches of philosophy may readily find a plueo , in tho best order and method , with the most eloquent utterance that the poetic mind can invent . Poetry produced under these conditions is fairly the subject of criticism , but the effusion of tho singer appeals to sympathy ; it demands neither admiration nor analysis , but
simply support and recognition . Among the latest of this class may be honourably ranked Mr , Cupern , tho Devonshire postman , who has received considerable patronage fur a volume of spontaneous effusions published not long ago . Of that volume he now sensibly observes , in his preface to tho preeont , that its favourable reception was due to a kindly sense of its author ' s diflloultios ; but that in n second venture tho case is changed . «• It is not the Postman , " ho says , "but the Poet , whom critics will now review . " The meaning of this is good , though the phraso ia a little too fust . Concurring in nil tho praise bestowed on his former productions , and in muoh that tho present will deto observe that
Borvedly command , wo are compelled , were ho yet taken at his word , ho would bo unjustly treated . It is not as the Poet that Mr . Caporn can yot safely invite attention at present " , and perhaps always ho must bo content with tho humbler , but still highly honourable , appellation of tho Singer . Nor will hej'we are confident , demur to tho proposed arrangement ; for'ho scorns to-luivo boon conscious of tho truth wo are enforcing , when writing his prcfiieo . In this tho author states that hia rustic songs " should bo judgod as songs , originally written to be sung rather than to bo read . " Furthermore , ho tells us , that "ho haa endeavoured to illustrate that singing element which still lingors in tho northern
OUR VETERANS OF 1852 . Our Veterans of 1852 . By a Regimental Officer . C . J . Skeet . The " Regimental Officer" should have given us his experiences a little earlier . The disasters and disgraces of Sebastopol are by this time a well-worn story . Three' years have served to blunt the appetite and the resentment of the nation towards details of national or rather of official failure . The discussions and investigations-which have occurred have pretty well laid bare the sources of our -mishaps * and the harrowing and humiliating tale of the dreadful sufferings of our brave soldiers , which prudence and foresight might have mitigated , if they could
not wholly have prevented , is pretty familiar to all . But still personal experiences will continue to be welcome . They either add soniething to our previously large stock of information .- or they corroborate facts which'have-, been made public through other sources . The present volume will be valuable in this point of view . We cannot doubt that we have the results of actual experience ; and though a good part of the hook is evidently made up from newspaper statements and official inquiries , enough of originality is to be found to cause the work to be widely read , and to be found deeply interesting . The narrative commences with the embarkation of the troops for Malta , and closes just after the battle of
Inkermann and the storm i : » the Black Sea , The writer possesses great descriptive powers ; he has the rare talent , of bringing scenes vividly before the reader ; he tells the story of the three important battles , Alma , Balaklava , and Inkermann in true soldierly fashion ; and he shows with fearful truth the dangers which the British army encountered through want of proper military management and handling , and the miraculous way in which British honour and the British army were saved by stern , unflinching , uilstirpassed British valour . Whenever the writer touches on purely military subjects he is at home , and he creates a vivid and lasting interest .
Whenever he steps out of purely military details we have attempts at fine writing , which is the besetting sin of writers of the present da }' . Neither can we wholly bow to his decisions on the respective merits of the various commanders in the Crimea . The " Regimental Officer" underrates tho ability of Lord Raglan ; he has too high an opinion of the merits of Generals Do Lacy Evans and Colin Campbell as leaders . We will not , however , enter upon this debatable ground . Wo have said the " Regimental Officer" has considerable literary powers ; we add that ho can write with energy and feeling whenever the occasion demands the exercise of those qualities .. With some reservations as to style and dicta , we cordially recommend this work .
A FEW OUT OF THOUSANDS . A Few out of Thousands : their Sat / ings and Doings By Augusta Johuson . Groombridgo and Sons . Twenty atones illustrative of men and . manners in various grades of society , have exercised Miss Johnstone ' s pen . Wo cannot with a proper regard for truth tell tho public that these sketches have any very high literary merit , or that they botray a practical acquaintance with tho classes , and tho individuals which thoy attempt to illustrate . Miss Johnatone possesses considerable facility of composition and a good deal of graphic power . It' she would oxerciso her undoubted abilities on subjects with which she is personally conversant , no doubt wo should have something to say of a moro thoroughly laudatory character than we can conoiontiously say with reference to this work .
No . 458 , Januaby 1 , 1859 . 1 THE 1 / E AD EjlL _ _ __ .... _____ : _^ . _ . ^ * JL
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 1, 1859, page 13, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2275/page/13/