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solutely turned our back to his people, it was only to think, and reason, and argue about them. How many of the hundreds of novels, published every year, leave any impression on your mind or give you one afterthought about any character in them? It is easy to take exceptions to the book we have taken our share; we might go on to pick out little slips, instances of forgetfulness, as where we are told first that Amelia Sedley is not the heroine, and two or three pages after that she is; or when the climate of Coventry Island is so bad that no office will insure Rawdon's life there, yet in the very same number it is mentioned how much his life-insurance cost him. But, say what you will, book draws you back to it, over and over again. Farewell then, O Titmarsh! Truly, thou deservest better treatment than we
can give thee. Thy book should be written about in a natural, even, continuous, flowing style like thine own, not in our lumbering paragraphs, that blunder out only half of what we mean to say. And do thou, O reader, buy this book if thou hast not bought it; if thou hast, throw it not away into the chiffonier-basket as thou dost many brown-paper-covered volumes; but put it into a good binding and lay it by — not among the works "that no gentleman's library should be without" - but somewhere easy of access; for it is a book to keep and read, and there are many sermons in it.
Literary World, June 1849.
The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich, a Long-Vacation Pastoral.
By Arthur Hugh Clough. Cambridge: John Bartlett. 1849.
THIS little book has been a puzzle to some of our Republican readers who are principled against Fraser. For as Mr. Bartlett has given no intimation whatever on the title-page that there was any such thing as an original English edition, they, seeing a book published
at Cambridge, Mass., and composed in manyfooted lines, that run
over like too copiously filled glasses (extra water will produce the fulness as well as extra spirit), thought that it must be some progeny of Evangeline, either in the way of imitation or quiz. Whereas it has about as much to do with Evangeline as with Southey's Vision of Judgment. The English have been writing English Hexameters (and Pentameters too, by the way) for several years.
We remember at least two partial translations of the Iliad, by different hands, and a number of poems, original and translated, the joint composition of three distinguished University men, Archdeacon Hare, Dr. Whewell, and (we believe) Professor Long. Indeed, there were plenty of Hexametrists before Longfellow (we speak of the present generation, without going back to Southey, much less to Sidney), but they are not often heard of on this side the water, because they want a sacred Bostonian.
English Hexameters have generally one of two faults. Either a uniformity of structure that gives them a monotony of cadence, or a carelessness of structure that leaves them no cadence at all. The former is the prevailing error of Evangeline. Every line in it is the exact rhythmical and metrical counterpart of almost every other line. There is no variety of cæsura or movement throughout the whole poem, and the monotony of the versification reminds us of a machine, invented in England a few years ago, which ground out hexameters to any extent, on the principle of the kaleidoscope somehow, and all after this pattern,
Murmura torva tubæ percellunt pectora dura, every line containing four neuter-plurals, a Mollossus of a verb, * and an lambic genitive.«The Bothie of what do you call it,” has the opposite and worse fault of using so many variations and licenses, that the majority of the lines which it contains are no hexameters at all, and can only be admitted as apologies for such by a stretch of charity rather than of courtesy. The author benevolently warns us, that every kind of irregularity
* By this formidable expression the writer appears to verb of three long syllables. Printer's D.
must be expected, and that “Spondaic lines are almost the rule;" unfortunately most of these "Spondaic lines" are rather Trochaic lines, e. g. the second in the volume. "Long had the stone been put, tree cast, and thrown the hammer.” And by way of compensation for occasionally falling short a few syllables, they now and then run over a good many, till they almost equal the notorious Alexandrine of the Scotch versifier: –
“And was not Pharaoh a saucy rascal,
little ones, their flocks and their herds, and everything
The plot of “The Bothie” is the merest thread. Six Oxford men go out on a Reading party. Reading, in the University slang, means studying, and the reading parties are so called, on the lucus a non lucendo principle, because the party do anything but read. The veritable students stay at the University, while the “parties” betake them to quiet little places (such as the Island of Jersey, for instance), where the wine is cheap and the women handsome, and the climate pleasantly enervating, and “the contingent advantages generally remarkable," as Dick Swiveller says
it may be judged how much reading they accomplish. Our party go to the Highlands, bathe chiefly, and one of them falls in love, and is ultimately married to a mountain lassie: his amatory proceedings are made the medium of introducing more Carlyle and Tennyson run mad than we have seen for many a day. However, not wishing to prejudice the reader, we shall give him a few extracts to judge for himself; and they shall be given in accordance with the more fashionable than just rule of picking out the best bits we can find:
THE USE OF DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONS OF CLERGYMEN. "Here too were Catholic Priest and Established Minister standing, One to say grace before, the other after the dinner; Catholic Priest; for many still cling to the Ancient Worship, And Sir Hector's father himself had built them a chapel; So stood Priest and Minister, near to each other, but silent, One to say grace before, the other after the dinner.”
A touching picture of concord this: it reminds us of a venerable and lamented friend, who used to give little soirées to all the ists and ories in the city, from Hughes to Bellows inclusive - and the interference of the Police was not found necessary on a single occasion:
WHAT THE "READING PARTY" DID WITH THEIR BOOKS.
“Lo the weather is golden, the weather-glass, say they, rising;
QUANDARY OF AN “EARNEST MAN," AFTER THE MANNER OF CARLYLE.
"I am sorry to say, your Providence puzzles me sadly;
Neither battle I see nor arraying, nor King in Israel,
* A literal translation of the pseudo-epitaph of Thucydides. ** Chaff is fast-man for banter.
METAPHYSIC MUSINGS AND LOVE-LONGINGS OF A POETIC YOUNG
RADICAL. "Souls of the dead, one fancies, can enter, and be with the living, Would I were dead, I keep saying, that so I could go and uphold her! Spirits escaped from the body can enter and be with the living, Entering unseen, and reliving unquestioned, they bring do they
feel, too? Joy, pure joy, as they mingle and mix inner essence with essence! Would I were dead, I keep saying, that so I could go and uphold her! Joy, pure joy, bringing with them, and when they retire leaving after No cruel shame, no prostration, despondency, memories rather, Sweet, happy hopes bequeathing, Ah! wherefore not thus with the
living? Would I were dead, I keep saying, that so I could go and uphold her; Is it impossible, say you, these passionate fervent impulsions, These projections of spirit to spirit, these inward embraces, Should in strange ways, in her dreams should visit her, strengthen
her, shield her? Is it possible rather that these great floods of feeling Setting in daily from me towards her, should impotent wholly Bring neither sound nor motion, to that sweet shore they heave to? Efflux here, and there no stir nor pulse of influx ! It must reverberate surely, reverberate idly, it may be. Yea, hath He set us bounds which we shall not pass, and cannot ? Would I were dead, I keep saying, that so I could go and uphold her; Sureley, surely, when sleepless I lie in the mountain lamenting, Surely, surely, she hears in her dreams a voice 'I am with thee ! Saying “although not with thee; behold, for we mated our spirits Then, when we stood in the chamber, and knew not the words we
were saying,' Yea, if she felt me within her, when not with one finger I touched her, Surely she knows it, and feels it, while, sorrowing here in the
moorland, Would I were dead, I keep saying, that so I might go and uphold her!" And hereabouts we fell into a doze, and dreamed that a friend asked us what we had been reading, and we told him the Bother of toping no Physick, and he said he thought the title a very strange one and not at all true, for it was the Bother of toping Physick that had disgusted him with the old school and made him a Some-thing-or-other-path, and then we woke up in the act of writing a dreary essay on English Hexameters, which would infallibly have put our public to sleep, but we shall be merciful, and only inflict on them this stray
scrap of it.