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ARt. XV.-The Hermit of Eskdaleside, with other Poems. By T. A. M. Whitby, 1 vol, Kirby, 1833.
WE deem this very neat volume to be altogether a highly creditable work to Whitby, for it marks a very exalted intellectual cultivation, as well as of perfection in art, in the social condition of that town. We could wish that the example of Whitby, in taking care to be the medium of bringing its own native genius before the world, was more generally adopted, because it would tend materially to abridge the difficulties which, under the present system of metropolitan monopoly, are calculated to check the aspirations of modest ability in the provinces. The Hermit of Eskdaleside is a poem of considerable dimensions, evidently bearing the impress of that undefinable grace which an accomplished woman alone knows how to give. As the poem has been already before the public, this being the second edition of it, we are restrained from entering at length into the events of its story, which must be by this time pretty familiar to most readers of poetry. The principal plot, however, is of so interesting a nature as to admit of a slight reminiscence. In the early part of the reign of Henry the Second two lords, and a gentleman named Allaston, of England, met by appointment to hunt the wildboar in a certain wood called Eskdaleside, which belonged to Sedman, the Abbot of Whitby. They ran the
boar about the chapel and hermitage of Eskdaleside, where there was a monk of Whitby, who was a hermit. The boar, being wounded and pressed by his pursuers, rushed into the chapel, where he died, and the hermit closed the door; the hounds outside being thus kept at bay. The lords came up and caused the hermit to open the door, and were so enraged that their dogs were kept from their prey that they ran at the hermit with their boarstaves, and wounded him mortally. They in vain sought a sanctuary to secure themselves impunity, and would have suffered for their crime but that the hermit said he would be satisfied if they performed a penance—the strange nature of which was thus set forth by the hermit himself, on his death-bed, in their presence. “You and yours shall hold your lands of the Abbot of Whitby, and his successors, in this manner: that upon Ascension Eve, you, or some of you, shall come to the wood of the Stray-head, which is in Eskdaleside, the same day at sun-rising, and there shall the officer of the abbot blow his horn, to the intent that you may know how to find him; and he shall deliver unto you, William de Bruce, ten stakes, ten strout-stowers, and ten yedders, to be cut by you, or those that come for you, with a knife of a penny price; and you, Ralph de Percie, shall take one and twenty of each sort, to be cut in the same manner; and you Allatson shall take nine of each sort, to be cut as aforesaid; and to be taken on your backs and carried to the town of
Whitby, and so to be there before nine of the clock of the same day afore-mentioned. And at the hour of nine of the clock (if it be full sea, to cease that service) as long as it is low water, at nine of the clock, the same hour each of you shall set your stakes at the brim of the water, each stake a yard from another, and so yedder them, as with your yedders, and so stake on each side with your strout-stowers, that they stand three tides without removing by the force of the water. Each of you shall make them in several places at the hour aforenamed (except it be full sea at that hour, which, when it shall happen to pass, that service shall cease); and you shall do this service in remembrance that you did [most cruelly] slay me. And that you may the better call to God for repentance, and find mercy, and do good works, the officer of Eskdaleside shall blow his horn, out on you, out on you, out on you, for the heinous crime of you. And if you and your successors do refuse this service, so long as it shall not be full sea, at that hour aforesaid, you and yours shall forfeit all your lands to the abbot [of Whitby], or his successors. Thus I do intreat the abbot, that you may have your lives and goods for this service, and you to promise, by your parts in Heaven, that it shall be done by you and your successors, as itisaforesaid."
The ground-work of this remarkable incident is very skilfully modified in her poetical tale by the clever authoress, and it forms the foundation for many striking and picturesque descriptions. Indeed, description seems to be the forte of this lady, and the whole merits of the poem will be found to resolve themselves into the excellence of the graphic power with which she is endowed. With what freshness, for example, truth, and beauty, has
she represented the worn-out theme of a morning scene in the country.
How fair is Morn, when first her rays
Of Beauty, from repose awaking. How graceful curls the misty wreath, From the blue bosom of the river! While in cool morning's gentle breath,
How softly docs the foliage quiver! Amid the east the clouds are blushing,
To hail the monarch of the day, Who soon from hidden chambers rushing,
Pours o'er the earth his glorious ray;
He gilds the forest summits tender. With the bright lustre of his beam;
And showers a flood of dazzling
splendour, On Esk's fair valley and its stream.
Amongst the miscellaneous poems which form a considerable portion of the volume, we find several noble effusions, in which the highest feelings of patriotism, virtue, and freedom, are decorated with all the graceful ornaments of a well-disciplined fancy. We were particularly struck with the short poem entitled "Meta; or the Power of Joy." We feel no small degree of pride in having contributed, even in an humble way, to help the authoress to the inspiration in which this beautiful composition originated. The story, she states in a note to the poem, is founded on an authenticated circumstance, the account of which she extracted from the Monthly Review. (See Number for March, 1833, Art. "Hints to Medicine Takers;" in which an example from Zimmerman is related of sudden death from
It is not necessary that we should augment our extracts to show the peculiar qualifications of the authoress as a pleasing and elegant poet. We recommend the reader to make a trial of the work itself, and we shall be much mistaken, provided he be a judicious critic, if he do not wish to have "more out of the quarter this book came from."
Abt. XVI.—A Journey from London to Odessa, with Notices of New Russia, SfC. By John Moore. Paris: Galignani. 1833.
In this unpretending volume the author professes to do no more than contribute an itinerary of the road from London to Odessa, for the convenience of travellers, he himself having experienced the great disadvantages of being without such a guide. The work is written currente calamo, being addressed in tlie form of familiar epistles to a confidential friend, and on this account offers very little of interest to the reader. Perhaps we might except the description of Odessa itself, which is copious and minute, but yet destitute of any nuvelty.
The most valuable portion of the work consists of tables, giving the names of the towns on the route between Calais and Odessa, and then on a new route from Odessa to Calais, together with the distance of each from the other. These dis tances are expressed either in French postes, German miles, and Russian werstes, each of the foreign terms being resolved into English miles. It appears, that a French poste is, by a very minute fraction, more than a German mile: a German mile is equal to four and a half miles English: half an English mile is very nearly, but not quite, equal to a Russian werste, so that eight werstes are equal to one poste, one German
mile, and four and a half English miles. The following particulars respecting the coin of foreign countries cannot but prove very serviceable to travellers. They are taken from Mr. Moore's notes, and as they are the result of actual observation, they must be regarded as of increased value:
20 sols or 100 ceu!imes=l franc or lOrf. sterling.
Prussia. 12 pfe>mings=l silbergros. 30 silbergros= 1 thaler. 24 gudengros=\ thaler. 5 t/ialers and 18 or 19 silbergros are equal to 1 friederich's d"or. 5 thalers and 12 or 14 guden grot (or tons gros) are equal to 1 friedirich's d'or. The thaler is worth about 3 francs 81 centimes of France, or say 3s. 2d. English.
The same as Prussia; excepting that they count always iu guden gros (bans grus); and, as the two frontiers are passed and repassed, the traveller is exposed to loss, unless he be prepared with a a stock of the small money of each state.
Austria. 60 guden kreutzers=\ guden florin. 4 guden florins and 30, 36, or 40 guden kreulzers are equal to I ducat.
11 paper florins and 30 to 34 kreutzers are equal to 1 ducat.
The paper-money is worth about two-fifths of the gudengelt:— thus, the silver (guden gelt) is worth about 2 francs 50 centimes of France, or 2s. to 2s. Id. English: and the value of the paper florin is about 1 franc of France or lOrf. English: these differences occasion much confusion to the foreign traveller. The florin is divided into pieces called zwanzigers, or pieces of twenty guden kreutzers; and these are subdivided into half and quarter zwanzigers; this is the most convenient change to take. It is necessary to see that your ducats be of the full weight.
100 kopeks=\ rouble.
The silver rouble is equal to three paper roubles and 70 kopeks, or 3s. Id. English. The paper rouble is equal to lOrf. English or 1 franc of France ;—the kopeks represent the centimes; thus 10 kopeks are equal to about 2 sols of France or a penny English.—pp. 319, 320.
Art. XVII.—A Discourse on the Sufferings of Our Saviour. By Charles Dotne Sillery. 1 vol. 12mo. Edinburgh: Waugh and Innes. 1833.
Mr. Sillery is well known as the author of an essay on the great subject of The Creation of the Universe, and The Evidences of the Existence of God, and of two extensive poems entitled Vellery, or the Citadel of the Lake, and Eldred of Erin. The present discourse is not unworthy of the ardent and sentimental mind which characterises Mr. Sillery. He dwells with great feeling and beauty of language on the chief events of the Saviour's career, and earnestly directs his admonitions to all those who desire to lead pious and useful lives, to study those events as having so powerful a tendency to excite in the mind a due estimate of the benefits conferred on man by the mission of the Divine Messenger.
Art. XVIII.—The Voyage, a Poem. By Henry Christmas. 1 vol. London: Longman, Hees, and Co. 1833.
This is a collection of poems, purporting to be contributions made during a voyage in the Baltic sea, by a society of the passengers, who seem to have sojourned on board in a pretty harmonious way. One of the best of the poems is that entitled The Slave, which is stated to be founded on a real incident. The particulars are these :—During the long American war, two ships, the one a merchant-man, the other a man-of-war, sailed from Calcutta for Europe. The merchant ship had on board a family consisting of a gentleman, his wife, and two infant children, with a young negro for a servant, whose poetical name in the poem is Zarafah. It happened that the lady died on the passage, so that the care of the children devolved exclusively on Zarafah. Some time afterwards, the father one day left his ship on a visit to the man-of-war, and was unable to return at the moment he wished to do so, on acconut of a thunder storm which abruptly came on. The merchant vessel, in which his children were, he saw soon placed in imminent danger, and boats were sent off from the man-of-war to save the crew. When the whole of the party on board had been put into the boats, it was found that sufficient room could not be obtained for the negro and the children, so that either the former or the latter must be sacrificed. Zarafah did not hesitate about which the choice was to fall on, for he most nobly placed the children in the boat, exclaiming, "Go tell massa, Coffin do his duty." Coffin was the real name of this negro. The remainder of the volume consists of minor poems from the German and the Latin, as well as from the French and Italian.
Art. XIX.—Tales for an English as far as our judgment goes, in Home. By G. M. Steenb. 1 vol. other respects its qualities are highly 12mo. Bristol: G. Davey. Lon- respectable, don: Longman, Kees, and Co.
In this small volume are contained six tales, chiefly calculated to excite feelings of sympathy with misfortunes. Julia St. Orville is a very impressive narrative which interests us for the perplexity into which a sweet-tempered young woman is thrown by the extreme difficulty she experiences in indulging her love and discharging her filial duty. The second tale, "Elizabeth of York," is historical, and founded on a curious episode in the history of Queen Elizabeth, involving her acquaintance with the Earl de Montmorency. In the the third tale, entitled "David," we have an imitation of the oriental style of narrative, which is very successful. It is the longest of the whole, and, in our opinion, is the best, inasmuch as the manners and customs of the period when King David lived are very well preserved. "The Sisters" is the name of the fourth tale. It is peculiarly worthy of perusal by young ladies, as affording an example of considerable practical value in one of the most delicate transactions in which they can be engaged. By the fifth of the narratives called the "Lonely Tower," we are brought back to the days of chivalry, when all Christendom could think of nothing else than the detention of Kichard the First by the Duke of Austria. The last tale, "The Condemned," is one of deep distress, and as containing a few such spices as murder and highway robbery, willnecessarily be(welcomed by no inconsiderable number of readers. Thus we see that the work has claims to attraction, at least on the grounds of variety, and
Art. XX.—On the Human Mind and Nature of Human Knowledge being the substance of a Paper read to the Literary Society, Bromley House. By Gbosqe Cox, M.D. London: Simpkis and Marshall. Nottingham: Sutton. 1833.
The object of this learned pamphlet is to prove that the mind of man is not a result produced by organization, but that it is an acquisition superinduced on an organized body, and in fact that the brain has nothing to do with the formation of the mind. Anatomy and physiology are brought to the investigation, and the author appears to possess the degree of knowledge which would enable him to determine questions of this nature with strong promises of sutcess. Mr. Cox forcibly condemns the tendencies of craniology, for he says, if the human disposition is always the result of a compulsory state of every man's particular organization, then volition, education, and religion would be of no manner of use. So far, therefore, is he from believing in the doctrines of craniology, that it is his firm opinion that the brain has nothing whatever to do with the formation of the mind. The doctrine sought to be established by the author deserves the attention of physiologists, inasmuch as it contains nothing which can be regarded as inconsistent with the spirit or text of the sacred scriptures.