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in it. For (and this is a point to authors, and to relapse upon them, which I have not yet come, and it not unaided by tobacco perhaps, is one on which I should be sorry when you have done, these are to be silent) reviewing is very pleasant things and good. I do fascinating work, and its very fas- not say, Be it mine often so to spend cination increases its perils of all my days, because change is good, kinds, not least those of which we and it is a mistake to reopen closed have just been speaking. To a

To a accounts. But I do say most person who really loves literature heartily and sincerely that I have and knows something of it, who never in any kind of work enjoyed bas a fairly wide range of tastes days more than such as these, and beyond mere books, and takes that a very large proportion of some interest in life likewise, I days of ostensible pleasure seem know no occupation more to me very dreary things in comstantly delightful. I never myself parison. got tired of it—with a slight ex. Sometimes, too, these generally ception, I must admit, in the case pleasing labours become something of the lower class of novel—in the more than merely pleasing, and the course of twenty years' unceasing reviewer, like Lockhart's Wanderpractice. The words of that locus ing Knight in his “ride from land classicus of reviewing, the middle to land,” his “sail from sea to part of . Pendennis': “As for Pen, sea,” finds fate more kind at last. he had never been so delighted in his He may, when scarcely out of his life; bis band trembled as he cut apprenticeship, open upon such a the string of the packet and beheld matchless stanza aswithin a smart new set of neat calico-bound books — novels, and

“As a star sees the sun and falters,

Touched to death by diviner eyes, travels, and poems”—remain true

As on the old Gods' untended altars (except, perhaps, as to the tremb

The old fire of withered worship dies.” ling of the hand) of some of us to the last. To find such a package He may a little later discover in by your table at breakfast; to be the “Voyage of Maeldune” how fortunate enough (which seldom half a century of constant poetical happens to reviewing man) to production need impair neither a remember that you have got no poet's mastery nor even his comhorrid fixed engagement to spoil mand of new measures and methods. the fair perspective of the day; He may, after for years delighting to dip into the books before you in another poet's verse, see how Mr settle which you will formally read William Morris, like Sir Walter first; to select that temporary Scott, though not with like welsultana; to diverge from her and come from the vulgar, could close look along your shelves for an the volume of poetic romance only older favourite which may settle to open that of romance in prose. some point, or suggest a compari. He may hear almost simultaneson, or fill up a gap in your mem- ously the raising of two such ory; to ejaculate “What an ass swan - songs as the prologue to the man is !” when you disagree Asolando' and “Orossing the with him ; or nod approval when Bar”; and he may discover, as he puts your sentiments neatly; at last in Catriona,' the only to find luncheon-time coming just grace that had been missing to when the books have given you an make perfect the work of the most appetite for something else besides brilliant of his younger contem

VOL. CLXI.-- NO. DCCCCLXXV.

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poraries. These things are but a less réclame or puff to which it has selection of the good fortunes that sunk in more than one country, at fell to the lot of one reviewer : and more than one time, to a chorus doubtless the lucky - bag is not of unintelligent exaltation of our closed for others.

noble selves, to a jangle of inconI should therefore be sorry- sequent snarls, merely intended to very sorry indeed—if the occupa- gratify spite and the appetite for tion which has given me so much spite, or, worst of all, to a Dead pleasure, in which I have learnt Sea of colourless writing "about it, so much, which has helped me to and about it,” with little outbreaks pay, as it were, double debts, by of temper or vanity or caprice didoing a momentary duty and add- versifying it here and there, -that ing a little to more permanent any such decline and fall would stores of knowledge and habits be in many ways a disastrous of practice, should go out of thing, I have no doubt. It would fashion. I hope it may never deprive authors--and let it be recease to be one in which a man membered that the author who is may engage without loss of self- at no time a reviewer, or the rerespect, and with that feeling viewer who is at no time an author, which, though none but prigs par. is an almost unknown creatureade it, necessarily accompanies all not merely of occasionally valuable honourable occupations, that the censorship, but of very commonly work is of use to others as well as valuable practice. It would leave of honour and of decent profit to literature, to a far greater extent oneself. I can see no reason why than is commonly understood any such evil day should come,

“ Helmless in middle turn of tide" even if prospects be at the moment a little downcast. There is still drifting about anyhow as the popuplenty of excellent reviewing to lar breeze chooses, without protest be found; and if it is rather more and without correction; and it scattered than it should be, there would leave the public absolutely is no reason to despair of seeing guideless. Reviewers, according it once more concentrated. The to their unfriends, are but onegeneral reviewing of England, after eyed guides; yet the one-eyed are improving immensely between the kings in the kingdom of the blind, beginning of the century and that and it is inevitable that the public fatal period of 1830 to 1835 which should be very nearly blind in the Wordsworth from another point case of books, if not wholly so. of view celebrated in the very last It simply has not time, if it had effusion of his really great poetry, the other necessaries, for reading fell off astonishingly for some everything; it wants to be told, twenty years and more, and only and ought to be told, what to began to improve again about the read, not perhaps without the admiddle of the fifties. It has had dition of a few remarks how to read vicissitudes since; and if it is not it. That is the function which a -I do not say that it is not--at good review ought to perform. its very best to-day, there is all Whether the review be good the more reason for hoping that enough or not depends, I verily to-morrow may see it better. believe, more on the editor than

That the disuse of reviewing, or on the reviewer, just as the triits relegation to the sort of value- umphs of an army depend infinitely more on the general than on plan which I have known to be the soldier. A bundle of even in- practised, and which is, I believe, dividually good criticisms will have even rather common, the plan of little weight or authority if they not "sending a book out,” as the be simply pitchforked together; technical phrase goes, till someif the principles enunciated on one body asks for it, seems to me an page or in one week's issue be set exceedingly bad one;

and that at nought in another; if animus, which, if not common, certainly mannerism, and other plagues be has existed, of letting contributors allowed to get the better of fair come and pick and choose at their dealing and sober sanity. And it pleasure from the review bookis very seldom that an editor will shelves, seems to me utterly suibe able even to get such a bundle cidal. The allotting of a book of together unless he picks his men any consequence—there must alcarefully, unless he keeps them as ways, of course, be a certain ruck far as possible to himself by good to be left to the judgment, not of pay and plenty of work, unless he the office-boy, but of some reviewer manages to indoctrinate them with of rather unusual trustworthiness esprit de corps, and to get them, like and general knowledge-should be other soldiers, to do what he wants a matter of distinct deliberation, a and not what they want—the most deliberation from which the reabsolute liberty of conscience being viewer himself is, as a rule, better of course reserved. No man ever excluded, and from which, unless writes his best against his con- he is very unwise, he will certainly science unless he has got none at not resent his exclusion. all—which is a bull, but of the Fewer reviews; greater concennobler breed ; and a man who has tration of power and authority in no conscience very seldom has those which are given; something much else that is worth having. like despotism, provided it be vigiAnd while a good editor will lant, intelligent, and benevolent, on never wantonly or idly alter his the part of the editor; better traincontributor's work—while he will ing in the history and methods of certainly not alter it from & criticism, in general literature and childish fancy for writing every- knowledge — this may serve as a thing into his own style, or summary of the things which may adjusting everything to his own be reasonably demanded in the crotchet no good editor will review of the future. As for the ever hesitate to alter, and no reviews of the present and the contributor who is worth much past, in which I have taken a part, will ever object to seeing altered, I think they have been not exthings which do not suit the atti- actly perfect, perhaps in some cases tude or policy of the paper, which rather far from perfection, but a show signs of undue private grudge good deal better than they have or excessive private favour. seemed to some, and bad, if bad

Lastly, I may say that as a gen- at all, in ways rather different eral rule a good editor will take from those for which others have care to allot books for review ac- reproved them. That they have, cording to his own judgment, and as they most undoubtedly have, not according to the requests of re- served as a staff to many stout viewers. Of course there are cases aspirants, if also as a crutch to where the two coincide. But the many useless cripples, in letters is,

poraries. These things are but a less réclame or puff to which it has selection of the good fortunes that sunk in more than one country, at fell to the lot of one reviewer : and more than one time, to a chorus doubtless the lucky - bag is not of unintelligent exaltation of our closed for others.

noble selves, to a jangle of inconI should therefore be sorry- sequent snarls, merely intended to very sorry indeed—if the occupa- gratify spite and the appetite for tion which has given me so much spite, or, worst of all, to a Dead pleasure, in which I have learnt Sea of colourless writing “about it, so much, which has helped me to and about it,” with little outbreaks pay, as it were, double debts, by of temper or vanity or caprice didoing a momentary duty and add- versifying it here and there, -that ing a little to more permanent any such decline and fall would stores of knowledge and habits be in many ways a disastrous of practice, should go out of thing, I have no doubt. It would fashion. I hope it may never deprive authors--and let it be recease to be one in which a man membered that the author who is may engage without loss of self- at no time a reviewer, or the rerespect, and with that feeling viewer who is at no time an author, which, though none but prigs par. is an almost unknown creatureade it, necessarily accompanies all not merely of occasionally valuable honourable occupations, that the censorship, but of very commonly work is of use to others as well as valuable practice. It would leave of honour and of decent profit to literature, to a far greater extent oneself. I can see no reason why than is commonly understood — any such evil day should come,

“Helmless in middle turn of tide”. even if prospects be at the moment a little downcast. There is still drifting about anyhow as the popuplenty of excellent reviewing to lar breeze chooses, without protest be found ; and if it is rather more and without correction; and it scattered than it should be, there would leave the public absolutely is no reason to despair of seeing guideless. Reviewers, according it once more concentrated. The to their unfriends, are but onegeneral reviewing of England, after eyed guides; yet the one-eyed are improving immensely between the kings in the kingdom of the blind, beginning of the century and that and it is inevitable that the public fatal period of 1830 to 1835 which should be very nearly blind in the Wordsworth from another point case of books, if not wholly so. of view celebrated in the very last It simply has not time, if it had effusion of his really great poetry, the other necessaries, for reading fell off astonishingly for some everything; it wants to be told, twenty years and more, and only and ought to be told, what to began to improve again about the read, not perhaps without the admiddle of the fifties. It has had dition of a few remarks how to read vicissitudes since; and if it is not it. That is the function which a -I do not say that it is not-at good review ought to perform. its very best to-day, there is all Whether the review be good the more reason for hoping that enough or not depends, I verily to-morrow may see it better. believe, more on the editor than

That the disuse of reviewing, or on the reviewer, just as the triits relegation to the sort of value- umphs of an army depend infin

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itely more on the general than on plan which I have known to be the soldier. A bundle of even in- practised, and which is, I believe, dividually good criticisms will have even rather common, the plan of little weight or authority if they not "sending a book out," as the be simply pitchforked together; technical phrase goes, till someif the principles enunciated on one body asks for it, seems to me an page or in one week’s issue be set exceedingly bad one ; and that at nought in another; if animus, which, if not common, certainly mannerism, and other plagues be has existed, of letting contributors allowed to get the better of fair come and pick and choose at their dealing and sober sanity. And it pleasure from the review bookis very seldom that an editor will shelves, seems to me utterly suibe able even to get such a bundle cidal. The allotting of a book of together unless he picks his men

any consequence—there must alcarefully, unless he keeps them as ways, of course, be a certain ruck far as possible to himself by good to be left to the judgment, not of pay and plenty of work, unless he the office-boy, but of some reviewer manages to indoctrinate them with of rather unusual trustworthiness esprit de corps, and to get them, like and general knowledge-should be other soldiers, to do what he wants a matter of distinct deliberation, a and not what they want—the most deliberation from which the reabsolute liberty of conscience being viewer himself is, as a rule, better of course reserved. No man ever excluded, and from which, unless writes his best against his con- he is very unwise, he will certainly science unless he has got none at not resent his exclusion. all—which is a bull, but of the Fewer reviews; greater concennobler breed; and a man who has tration of power and authority in no conscience very seldom has those which are given ; something much else that is worth having. like despotism, provided it be vigiAnd while a good editor will lant, intelligent, and benevolent, on never wantonly or idly alter his the part of the editor; better traincontributor's work—while he will ing in the history and methods of certainly not alter it from a criticism, in general literature and childish fancy for writing every- knowledge — this may serve as a thing into his own style, or summary of the things which may adjusting everything to his own be reasonably demanded in the crotchet — no good editor will review of the future. As for the ever hesitate to alter, and no reviews of the present and the contributor who is worth much past, in which I have taken a part, will ever object to seeing altered, I think they have been not exthings which do not suit the atti- actly perfect, perhaps in some cases tude or policy of the paper, which rather far from perfection, but a show signs of undue private grudge good deal better than they have or excessive private favour, seemed to some, and bad, if bad

Lastly, I may say that as a gen- at all, in ways rather different eral rule a good editor will take from those for which others have care to allot books for review ac reproved them. That they have, cording to his own judgment, and as they most undoubtedly have, not according to the requests of re served as a staff to many stout viewers. Of course there are cases aspirants, if also as a crutch to where the two coincide. But the many useless cripples, in letters is,

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