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from Collins, and others, do honour to British art; and the discrimination of the public will not fail to discover and reward the assiduity displayed in getting up the present and fifth volume of this elegant work. The following sonnet, entitled “ Contemplation," is from the pen of Mary Howitt, “X Sketch from old John Bunyan.”
He sate within a silent cave, apart
From men, upon a chair of diamond stone;
Which evermore within his hands he held;
And the dim curtain rose, which had conceal'a
A glorious country stretching round about;
Feeding his feeble faith till it grew strong. The second of the family of Annuals, " The Friendship's Offering,” makes its appearance this month in a more superb binding than before. Truly elegant, solid, and unique, last year, it is now rendered splendid by the addition of a profusion of gold. Mr. Pringle, the Editor, has introduced several novelties into the literary part: a dedication to a lady of rank, in rhyme, and a prologue, in the way of the olden time, are prefixed to the volume. The plates consist of a beautiful engraving of Turner's view of Vesuvius during an eruption; it is engraved by Jeavons, and is well worthy of the artist, whose manner is accurately conveyed to the spectator by the copper: we have rarely been more pleased with any engraving. The frontispiece, “Lyra," by Dean, after Wood, is a pleasing, soft picture. “Echo,” is charming ; quite Italian. “ Reading the News,” from Wilkie, by Robinson, we prefer to " Catherine of Arragon," by Humphreys, from Leslie. “Mine Own;" “ Early Sorrow;" “ The Honeymoon;" and "Mary Queen of Scots presenting her Son to the Church Commissioners,” &c. are very pleasing engravings, and do credit to the work. The literary part, it is needless to repeat to our readers, evinces high judgment and taste. The contents are more choice than they were last year, and more care and aptitude have been displayed in their arrangement. “ The Friendship's Offering" for 1830 will be a general favourite, we are persuaded, on the triple ground of its literary merit, its beautiful engravings, and its elegant garb. The literary part is furnished by well-known writers of no small literary merit: James Montgomery, of Sheffield, T. Roscoe, the Howitts, Banim, Mitford, Hall, Dale, Delta, Clare, Frazer, Mrs. Norton, Mrs. Godwin, Bowring, Hofland, Hogg, St. John, Kennedy, Cunningham, &c. The editor has also contributed several poetical pieces of his own, which abound in sweetness, and that simple beauty, which is, after all, the great charm in such works. There is nothing suffered to pass which is not tasteful and elegant; and this is, in our eyes, the great secret of making up an annual. Every thing should be good; nothing is expected that shall astound, and nothing can be excused which is low and coarse. We might cite as an illustration of this, the editorial tact displayed in an annual of great pretensions last year, one of the most exquisite in art ever got up the illustrations spirited and superb, and well deserving patronage, but the effect of them deteriorated by unredeemed vulgarity in the literary department. We know not, from having no skill in heraldry, to whom Mr. Pringle has dedicated his volume; but as we are certain, from the description, that it cannot be her who "dignifies the ducal place” of his Grace of St. Alban's, we are satisfied. The prologue, in imitation of the olden time, is very happy. “Spoleto," by the editor, is the only piece we have room to copy, for it must be recollected we have, in this article, to dispose of ten or a dozen works, all similar, yet all different; all agreeable and beautiful, though perhaps not all equally so.
So rose the scene on ROGERS' classic eye-
Whom 'tis a pride and grace to call my Friend. The prose compositions harmonize well with the poetry in point of merit, and the simple elegance of the volume. “Il Vesuviano,” is well written and impressive. “The Voyage Out,” is a pleasing narration. “The Lover's Leap," is a terrible story, but not so faithful to the truth of nature, as it should have been. The White Bristol,” by Banim, is good, as are all the other tales-equable and agreeable reading. But we must end, and proceed to the next Annual, in the order in which they reached us, and this is the " Gem."
Last year this Annual was remarkable, rather for the puns and conceits which were bestrewed over it without mercy by its editor, than for careful selection, or a literary excellence rivalling its compeers. Its engravings, however, were truly elegant, and are understood to have been superintended by that distinguished artist, A. Cooper, Esq. R. A. This has been now acknowledged in the modest preface of the editor; and the plates, which are thirteen in number, are elegant specimens of art. “The Ruins of Trionto," by Martin, engraved by Smith, is an effective specimen of a subject, in which that painter does not often figure. He has abandoned the gorgeous, gloomy grandeur of the East for a Salvator Rosa scene, of wild sublimity, which we could wish he would pursue farther; the success of his pencil so directed is certain. Lightning, it is true, is introduced, but if it were not, the character of the picture would remain the same. "The Love Letter," by Smirke, is a fine engraving of Warren's. “ Verona," the sweet Verona, after Bonington, is good ; and Cooper's “ Mameluke,” by Warren, is excellent; so is “Rose Malcolm,” by the same artist, engraved by Rolls; nothing can be more spirited than the horses ; the whole of the figures, too, are good. The infant “ Bacchus," brought by Mercury to the Nymphs, after Howard, by Edwards, is only outdone, if it be outdone, by the “ Oberon and Titania,” of the same artist, in the present year's “Literary Souvenir.” “The Coquette,” from Chalon, and the “Stolen Interview," from Stephanoff, are very pleasing. “Tyre” is, to our seeming, a better engraving than painting, in the matter of composition. Where are her immense fleets and warehouses, the bustle of commerce, and the riches of the world? We suppose the former are at sea, and the latter in the cellars. Wilkie's “ Saturday Night” is Wilkie himself, in his very best vein. The “ Halt on the March" is good, and the “Gipsey Belle" very interesting and characteristic. We now advert to the literary department, and find a very great improvement indeed. We have Keats, Horace Smith, Delta, Malcolm, Norton, Bowring, Hogg, T. Roscoe, Don T. de Trueba, C. B. Sheridan, James Montgomery of Sheffield, Cunningham, Lord Nugent, Miss Bowles, J. Carne, Wrangham, Harvey, the indefatigable Howitts, Clare, Kenney, and several other well known writers, either in verse or prose; as usual, it is difficult to select, so as to have a due regard to our limits, and not be deemed partial. The following is from the pen of the late John Keats. The sonnet by Richard Howitt.
In a drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy Tree !
T'heir green felicity.
From budding at the prime !
Too happy, happy Brook!'
Apollo's summer look ;
About the frozen time!
A gentle Girl and Boy!
Writhed not at passed joy ?
Was never told in rhyme
SONNET TO AN EARLY VIOLET.
Fair comer of rude March! the first to show
White in the winds as is the drifted snow.
Cheerful as unto kindred sweets allied ;
With thine own worth and grace self-satisfied,
In shapeless wrecks about the restless sea :
From oaks, and pines lie prostrate on the lea.
Is in thy lowliness, sweet simple flower! The prose tales of the “Gem” are also very fair in merit, and we may justly hail this Annual as well established in its claims to public favour.
Since last year the “ Anniversary” is defunct. The “ Bijou," which came to our hands the last of the series, is this year got up with increased elegance. If we have fault to find with it, it is that we miss the stamp of antiquity about its beautiful embellishments which gave it before such an air of the olden time. One, indeed, we have, in Lady Jane Grey, from De Heere, engraved by Dean, most charmingly. We wish Mr. Pickering had kept up this unique feature of his Annual. The first engraving is by Ensom, from Laurence, a likeness of the King, when a much younger man than at present; the second a beautiful little head by the same artist, called “ Ada," quite a gem. The “ African Daughter," from Bonington, follows, well engraved by Sangster. The « Bag Piper,” by Fox, from Wilkie ;“ Milton's composing between his two Daughters," by Ensom, from Stothard, and “ Rosalind and Celia," (not at all to our mind,) from Stothard, by Phelps; with the “* Blue Bell," by Fox, from Hastings, complete this elegant little Annual. In the literary part, at which we could only cursorily glance from lack of time, there does not seem to be any failure of past character. We have only space to copy a striking sonnet by a man remarkable for talent and error. Ugo Foscolo, on himself.
A furrow'd brow, intent and deep-sunk eyes,
Fair hair, lean cheeks, and mind, and aspect bold;
Bent head, and fine-form'd neck-breast rough and cold.
Swift or to move, act, think, or thought unfold ;
Adverse to the world, adverse to me of old.
Most pensive-all unmoved by hope or fear :
Twixt vice and virtue, hardly know to steer :
Death may for me have FAME and rest in store. Since last year, we have heard that another religious Annual is to appear, for which, of all names, that of “ The Emanuel” has been selected. This, from its title, will, no doubt, be something startling to the “faithful”— we say nothing about the adoption of the name till the work is before us. A zoological Annual has also appeared, which we have not yet seen. . Mr. Roscoe has brought out his “Juvenile Keepsake,” which we noticed last year, when it commenced. It is designed for youth of more advanced years than that of Mrs.Watts, and is got up with care and attention truly praiseworthy. Its contributions are from pens of known celebrity ; it is scrupulously pure in sentiment, as may be expected from the high moral character of its editor, and may be safely put into the hands of those for whom it is designed. Mrs. Watts's “ Juvenile Souvenir" is foremost in the excellence of the engravings this year, and is admirably adapted for children, the contents being as simple and clear as possible ; a thing it requires tact to manage, and a knowledge of infant years to arrange. There are eleven pictures, none of which will accustom the young eye to distortion of form and ill-proportioned outline. The contents are by well-known authors, and the preface exhibits correct views of the true nature of such a work.
Mrs. S. C. Hall has bronight out her “ Juvenile Forget me Not” for 1830, in a superior style even to that of last year, which we then commended. The engravings are good, and the contributors distinguished in the literary world. The activity of this lady is highly commendable, and the powers she displays in many of her compositions are of the first order. Mr. Ackermann has also this year published a “Juvenile Annual,” under the same title as Mrs. Hall's. The engravings are good ; it is edited by Mr. Shoberl. A sort of literary sparring has commenced respecting the adoption of the title, which it is not our province to enter upon, wishing all and every of these attempts the success they merit, and hailing them all as vast improvements upon the old works for youth.
We have now mentioned of these beautiful works all published, we believe, save one. We hear that a new and interesting work, called “ The Landscape Annual," of which we have seen several of the plates, is about to appear; and it is sufficient to say they are of the first order, being got up by that excellent artist Mr. Heath, whose activity and talent are so well known. There are to be twenty-six fine engravings of celebrated scenes; and in this work the literary department is in experienced hands, and the artists' engravings will have justice from the pen of Mr. T. Roscoe, whose ability for such a task it is not for us to question. We must now take leave of these interesting volumes until 1831, when we have little doubt we shall hail farther improvements. Such is the effect of honest rivalry, or, as Mr. Pringle has it in this year's “ Friendship's Offering,” “A generous rivalry in merit,”-the bold and emulative spirit of British enterprise and industry.