Page images
PDF
EPUB

“Res Judicatæ," in the collected popular edition of his books, a truly delightful volume of literary essays ; and M. Alphonse Daudet’s “Recollections of a Literary Man," one of the reissue in English form of his better known books.

Three new volumes of verse are out this month-volumes I have myself thoroughly enjoyed, and which I do not think that any one who cares at all for modern poetry can afford to disregard. Two are by Mrs. Woods, already well known as a novelist, and, to a smaller circle, as a poet. “Wild Justice : a Dramatic Poem,” has that atmosphere of profound, impenetrable gloom that hung over “ A Village Tragedy." But the power of it, the impressiveness ! All pathos, and horror, and the poignant anguish of some women's fate is in the play, which can be compared to the work of no other modern but Ibsen. Indeed, Shakespeare himself is, I should think, the model Mrs. Woods placed before her. There is more than a note of that kind of art of suggestion and terror he exercises in “Macbeth” in this tragedy of the lonely Welsh coast. Mrs. Woods is not so depressing a writer in “ Aëromancy, and Other Poems." It contains one poem, "The Child Alone,” that will stand with the best work of Mr. Stevenson's, whose point of view in regard to children it has; and it is a sort of companion in verse to Mr. Grahame's “The Golden Age.” “An April Song,” and “ March Thoughts From England," are both keenly beautiful, but “ Aëromancy" itself is too obscure for the ordinary reader. The third volume, “ A Shropshire Lad,” is by a new writer, Mr. A. E. Housman, a very real poet, and a very English one at that. His book is really a biography in verse, in sixty-three short poems, dealing with the loves and sorrows, the dramatic incidents, the daily labors of a Ludlow boy. Simplicity is the note of Mr. Housman's style-simplicity and a dignified restraint. Open at page 38 and read the poem that begins “Is my team plowing ?" and then tell me if you do not consider Mr. Housman a distinct acquisition to the little body of young men who are worthily doing their utmost to keep alive the traditions of English song. And I send a new edition of Mr. Edward Carpenter's Whitmanesque volume “ Towards Democracy,” and a new and complete collection, under the title of “ Lapsus Calami, and Other Verses," of the late J. K. Stephen's poetical work. There is a portrait in the volume, and an introduction by his brother. You do not need to be told that “ J. K. S.” carried on in his own day that tradition of Cambridge verse that C. S. Calverley made for an earlier generation.

Two or three very entertaining, and a couple of very learned, scientific volumes are published this month. The one most likely to be popular is Mr. C. J. Cornish's “ Animals at Work and Play : their Activities and Emotions," a delightful collection of papers on the everyday life of animals, which have been appearing in the Spectator. Mr. Cornish treats such subjects as “ Animals Beds,'

," “ Animals' Toilettes," “ Military Tactics of Animals," and “Dangerous Animals of Europe" with uafailing vivacity. The papers are illustrated. Sir John Lubbock's “ The Scenery of Switzerland and the Causes to which it is Due(Macmillan), with a number of maps and illustrations, appears very opportunely and its appeal is as much strictly scientific as popular. Mr. Lydekker's “ A Geographical History of Mammals" is a volume, well illustrated, of course, of the Cambridge Geographical Series, containing a very clear view of its subject, presented in a thoroughly readable manner.

By the way, “ The Royal Natural History" (Warne), of which Mr. Lydekker is editor, is appearing in sixpenny weekly parts.• There is no popular work of its kind cheaper or better illustrated, and what is particularly important, the text is always the work of a specialist who can be entirely trusted to give the very latest in. formation on each subject.

Geographical works of one kind or another have a peculiar interest just now. Thus you will welcome Mr. Douglas Sladen's unconventional guide book, “Brittany for Britons," with its “newest practical information about the towns frequented by the English on the Gulf of St. Malo.” And there is Mr. H. R. G. Inglis' “ The * Contour' Road Book of Scotland," a series of eievation plans of the Scottish roads for the convenience of cyclists, with measurements and descriptive letterpress. “ Two Knapsacks in the Channel Islands," by Mr. Jasper Braithwaite and Mr. Maclean, explains itself. It is a fully illustrated, somewhat humorous description, and may be useful. Major A. F. Mockler-Ferryman's “ In the Northman's Land : Travel, Sport, and Folk-lore in the Hardanger Fjord and Fjeld,” is a very capable interesting book, whose map and illustrations add to its value. Travel of a different kind is represented by Mr. Julius M. Price's “ The Land of Gold : the Narrative of a Journey through the West Australian Gold Fields in the Autumn of 1995.” Here too is a map, with many illustrations by the author.

Nothing in the way of theology that I have seen is likely to be more interesting than Mr. F. A. Malleson's new edition, with a considerable number of hitherto unprinted letters of Mr. Ruskin's “ Letters to the Clergy on the Lord's Prayer and the Church, with Replies from Clergy and Laity, and an Epilogue." But you will like to have Mr. Richard Lovett's “ Primer of Modern Missions,” in the Present Day Series, although “considerations of space have forbidden any reference to modern Roman Catholic Missions." One cannot fail to connect this omission with the fact that the Religious Tract Society publish at the same time “ The Papal Attempt to Re-convert England,” by “one born and nurtured” in the Church whose "new aggressive movement” he seeks to coinbat.

There is a delightful series of the old standard authors which the publisher has fitly entitled “ Books to Have." The latest edition is the ever-green“ Arabian Nights' Entertainments,” in six eminently companionable vol

The text chosen is that of E. W. Lane, and there are clever and characteristic illustrations by Mr. Frank Brangwyn, while Mr. Joseph Jacobs, that very erudite scholar, has prepared a critical introduction, in which he claims to have “traced the author" of the “Nights." A better edition than this, one better printed, or of a be shape, could not be imagined. In the Golden Treasury Series has appeared the edition of Sir Thomas Brown's beautiful treasuries of seventeenth century wisdom and of English prose, tha “Hydriotaphia" and “The Garden of Cyrus” (Macmillan), on which Dr. Greenhill was engaged up till the time of his death ; and the same publishers have added to their series of Illustrated Standard Novels a reprint of Captain Marryat's “Mr. Midshipman Easy," with an introduction by Mr. David Hannay, and a great number of illustrations-such good illustrations—by Mr. Fred. Pegram, No better book exists as a present for a boy than this, perhaps Marryat's best novel, and it could not appear in more attractive garb.

umes.

[blocks in formation]

German Songs of To-day. Edited, with an introduction

and literary notes, by Alexander Tille, Ph.D. 16mo, pp. 185. New York: Macmillan & Co. $1.

The aim of this volume is to supply to American students of German literature a collection of the best and most representative poems in that language. The collection is divided into poems of “Modern Life, * Modern Love" and "Modern Thought," and there is a valuable introduction by the editor, with a list of poets and a condensed biography of each. Songs, Chiefly from the German. By J. L. Spalding.

Chicago : A. C. McClurg & Co. $1.25.

There are few literary tasks so rashly undertaken as the translation of poetry. Can a man translate Heine unless he be a Heine in his own tongue ? An examination of all the English versions of Heine songs would bring to light some remarkable monstrosities. Bishop Spalding is not worse than dozens of his predecessors, yet it seems as if some one ought to rise and protest against giving to the English-speaking public such an idea of the great foreign poets, Heine in particular, as is obtained by perusing these emasculated jingles. Take that immortal verse of the "Auf Flügeln des Gesanges where the roses whisper to each other " duftige Mährchen ins Ohr." We have here :

“The violets whisper and kiss,

And gaze on the starry sheen ;
The roses tell their bliss

The fragrant leaves between." This is no more Heine than a hand organ's rhythmical wheezings are Beethoven. Again, in the “Palm" the translator gives us the following version :

“ On northern hill a fir-tree stands

And slumbers all alone;
Winter round him his icy bands

And mantle white has thrown.
He dreams of Oriental palm,

Who, on her rocky seat,
All solitary mourns and calm

Amid the desert's heat." This has been translated-by a poet-and any one unfamiliar with German who wishes to see how completely and absolutely all the subtle feeling of the thing has been destroyed may compare these lines with the following:

“In the far north stands a pine tree;

Lone upon a wintry height
It sleeps ; around it snows have thrown

A covering of white.
It dreams forever of a palm

That, far in the morning land,
Stands silent, in a most sad calm,

Midst of the burning sand."
If We Only Knew, and Other Poems. By Cheiro. Paper,

octavo, pp. 39. Chicago: F. Tennyson Neely.

There are a great many “ifs" and Fates" in the verses produced by the worthy palm-reader. It might not be inapt to compare his Pegasus to a trotting horse who occasionally breaks. There is a good deal of a suddenness about the last line of this last verse of "If":

“If Fate were naught--and we were wise,
All things our wondrous eyes would see ;

We'd make the present'change • to be';
We'd write it must'across the skies.
If Fate were naught-and we were wise

Ah! What a hash all things would be !
Acrisius, King of Argos, and Other Poems. By Horace

Eaton Walker. Octavo, pp. 95. Claremont, N. H.:
George I. Putman Company.

Acrisius, having been told by an oracle that a son of his daughter Danae shall depose him, has her made away with by Hardspur and Brasker ;

Hardspur : Silence, lady, for the fates are 'gin thee. Brasker : And thou, squalling nurse, hush thy babbling, or

Hardspur'll marry thee."

Later when Hardspur, thinking Zeus has left, enters the brazen chamber and flees at sight of the King of Heaven, the god soliloquizes as follows: “Zeus: Great Heaven! Did mortal dare intrude? A silence As tomb of death doth now encompass me. Can god as I be thus deceived ? 'Twas wind, The wheels of time in swerveless revolutions, Or busy death, with sixty funerals to The hour.

A little of this goes a long way. Constancy, and Other Poems. By Naaman R. Baker.

12mo, pp. 150. Mt. Morris, Ill.: Brethrens' Publishing Company.

It is rather a novel sensation to light upon a poem headed “In Memory of my Little Daughter," and then, upon being referred to a footnote, to discover that the lines were produced by the author's mother, and are inserted on account of their connection with his own tribute, just preceding, "To the Memory of my Little Sister." The title page of the volume announces that it is "published for the author," which is a very wise and satisfactory arrangement. The River Bend, and Other Poems. By Tacitus Hussey.

12mo, pp. 168. Des Moines: Tacitus Hussey.

Sonnets and lyrics and epics, many of them illustrated from photographs of the actual people or places sung of, are to be found here. There is plenty of dialect, with its humor. ous concomitants, and there is a tragedy called “Disillusion," which attests the arduousness of Cupid's labors in the midst of Iowan corn fields :

Her eyes were of the deepest blue,

Her teeth were white as pearls ;
My heart beat at a furious rate;
My eyes were fastened to my plate;
My ego said : 'She is your fate-

This prettiest of girls !'
And when she raised her faca to mine,

What sweetness filled my cup!
But when with ears of corn between
Her lily hands were toying seen,
She gnawed the rows off, slick and clean,

I sighed and gave her up!"
Out of a Silver Flute. By Philip Verrill Michels. 16mo,

pp. 81. New York : J. Selwin Tait & Sons.

There are a number of quatrains, sonnets and rondeaux in this volume, of which the best has been said when one admits that they might be worse. For the similes are oppressively strained, sometimes ludicrously so, as in the "Sun set":

"Old Sol dipped low and red through clouds he burst,

And all adown a ripple path he trod
Till lo ! 'gainst purple lights appeared, reversed,

The golden exclamation point of God."

It is hard to believe that this one could be worse ! The Collected Poems of S. Weir Mitchell, M.D., LL.D.

12mo, pp. 353. New York : The Century Company. $1.75.

Dr. Mitchell is perhaps most generally known in the literary world as the author of “ Characteristics," yet even had we never had that fascinating work the present volume would call for more than an ordinary share of our attention. The collection comprises all of the author's published verses, the first editions of the seven separate volumes in which they originally appeared being out of print.

Perhaps the finest thing among them is the initial

Francis Drake," which tells of the renowned admiral's execution of his mutinous friend, Thomas Doughty. The scene where Doughty and the rest sit down to a banquet, at his request, prior to his execution is most dramatic and the poem is well sustained throughout, a most unusual circumstance in such undertakings. Dr. Mitchell will always be sure of an audience whether he address them in verse or prose. Field Flowers. Octavo, pp. 75. Chicago : Field Monu

ment Souvenir Fund, 180 Monroe St. $1. (By mail, 10 cents additional.)

“ Field Flowers" is the title of a collection of Eugene Field's verses published by the Field Monument Committee of Chicago. The illustrations are the work of more than thirty of our leading artists, and to say of them, as we truth. fully may, that they furnish a graceful and appropriate set'ting for the "flowers" of Field's poesy, is surely high praise. The book is sold for the benefit of the children's monument to Mr. Field, and is an appropriate souvenir. Some of the Rhymes of Ironquill (A Book of Moods).

Fifth edition. 12mo, pp. 334. Topeka, Kan. : Crane
& Co.

“When back into the alphabet
The critic's satire shall have crumbled,
When into dust his hand is humbled

One verse of mine may linger yet." Thus "Ironquill,” and it is truly an effective preface and a needed. For, despite the fact that the publishers announce this as the fifth edition of this “ book of moods," and despite the bits of real poetry which may be found therein, the general tendency will probably be toward satire upon laying down the volume. There is an affecting address to a telegraph wire, which contains the following verse : “Why in the moonlight, 0 wire, so sadly, so constantly

moaning? Brightly in Argentine's smelters numerous crucibles bubble ; Proudly uprears in Topeka the bronze of the dome on the

tholus ; Gaily Pueblo appears with rolling-mills crowning the mesa."

It is hard to keep one's hands off such stuff as this, but it is a more grateful task to turn to the opening lines of "The Kansas Herder," which are really fine :

" He rode by starlight o'er the prairies dim,
While Melancholy with an aimless whim
Through trackless grass was blindly leading him."

Poems of the soil these and no mistake, and, above all, of Kansas soil ; for the poet is an almost rabid patriot, declaring that Massachusetts, Virginia and Kansas will " alone live in story"-the first two for their history and Kansas for “ her woes and glory.” One naturally wonders in which of these categories should come “Sockless Simpson "and Mrs. Lease and “ Whiskers Peffer" and the rest of that shining band of statesmen and "stateswomen." The Story of Rosina, and Other Verses. By Austin Dob

son. 12mo, pp. 120. New York : Dodd, Mead & Co.

New Poems by Christina Rossetti, hitherto unpublished

or uncollected. Edited by William Michael Rossetti. 16mo, pp. 397. New York : Macmillan & Co. $1.75.

Mr. Rossetti divides these new poems" of his sister's into four classes : General, Devotional, Italian and Juvenilia, the latter including all the verses written before the age of seventeen-for Christina Rossetti was singing of love and life problems before she was in her teens, and the first example given of her work is dated April 27, 1842, when she was a little over eleven. Her brother explains her own failure to print most of the poems, a majority of which have not already been published, either privately or in magazines, on the score of her modesty, since, many of them resembling in substance or form other of her productions, she hesitated to put them before the public. However this may be, we surely cannot have too much of Christina Rossetti. She is always deep and true and womanly, with a Browning-like intricacy of thought which at times verges on tortuousness, but is always worth probing, and the rhythm and color of many of these new poems are fascinating. It is noteworthy that the lily, which her great painter brother used with such subtle effect, appears in poem after poem. The frontispiece to the volume is a comparatively unknown sketch of the poetess by Dante Gabriel Rossetti-probably a study for the Ecce Ancilla Domini. Poems and Ballads by Robert Louis Stevenson. 16mo,

pp. 367. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons. $1.50.

Mr. Stevenson's most ardent and affectionate admirers would surely be the last to present him to the world as a great poet. The longer one reads his works, the more intimate one becomes with the brilliant and fascinating personality of the man, the more incongruous must his name appear in such a connection. An English reviewer has recently recorded, with infinite self-complacency, how he once wrote to Stevenson, pointing out to him that he could never write a great novel owing to his lack of a "strong, firm moral standpoint," and how the author at once replied, acknowledging that the critic was right. And this moral indefinite. ness, though admitting, as Stevenson himselt shows it does, of the most masterful literary feats, is far more fatal to the highest poetry than to a great novel. Ethics can be no “ veiled mistress "to him who would wear the bays, and the very qualities which make all Mr. Stevenson's readers feel such a strong, unreasoning affection toward him probably incapacitated him for poetry. It would, of course, be impossible to give utterance to such opinions as these but for our Scotchman's many other shining literary achievements; sure it is the reader will find few of those exquisite felicities of expression, those unerring and incisive sentence thrusts which make Stevenson's prose unlike anyone else's. Most of the poems are undeniably commonplace; only in the whimsi. calities, the humorous oddities, does the author's personality seem to rid itself of the trammels of versification and walk with freedom and certitude. In this, his most characteristic vein, there are, however, a few gems. For instance:

LOOKING FORWARD.
" When I am grown to man's estate
I shall be very proud and great
And tell the other girls and boys
Not to meddle with my toys."

TIME TO RISE.
"A birdie with a yellow bill

Hopped upon the window sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said,

Aint you 'shamed, you sleepy head'!" These are perfect of their kind, but when we come to those parts where in prose the author was most secure, the tragic and dramatic passages, there is an almost incredible let-down. Take the legendary South Sea maiden, the "bride of the shark" in " The House of Tembinoka :"

“She gazed ; all round her to the heavenly pale
The simple sea was void of isle or sail--
Sole overhead the unsparing sun was reared
When the deep bubbled and the brute appeared

Mr. Hugh Thomson's fifty illustrations are the excuse for reprinting this collection of verses, and the combination is an attractive and graceful one. Mr. Dobson's muse is not altogether unlike the Boucher dilettanteisms whereof he sings in “Rosina." Here your quietly disposed reader need feel in no danger of being harrowed by problems and complexities and tragedies ; hearts break-but they shatter dla Watteau ; everything is light and facile and good-humored. In this, his own special field, Mr. Dobson is hard to equal, however. Very clever and dainty are the verses, and there are occasional witty characterizations which fairly sparkle, as of Boucher's pictures :

"A Versailles en of cosmetic youth
Wherein most things went naked save the truth."

Good desserts are to be found here, but such méringues glacées would be apt to pall as a steady diet.

[ocr errors]

And yet the man who wrote this could give us, in his own proper vehicle of expression, that overwhelming scene on board the “ Flying Scud," to mention only one of many.

This volume of poems contains all those previously pub. lished-"A Child's Garden of Verses," “ Underwoods " and “ Ballads"-and some forty new ones. Besides the dainty bits for children noted above, there is another group which shines out the more brightly from its disappointing surroundings-the verses in "Scots." Some of these are as natural, as free and as charming as if Robert Burns himself had guided the pen that wrote them. Indeed they have much of bis unrestrained humor, and there is more music in one of them than in all the rest of Stevenson's verses put together. Every one who cares for his writings (and who does not ?) would wish to have his poetical output, whatever the quality ; but some of these little lyrics really make up for all the rest. Had he left us nothing but these we should surely have credited him with a much larger portion of the divine spark of poesy. The Standard Hymnal : A New Hymnal for General Use.

Compiled and arranged by C. C. Converse. 12mo, pp. 112. New York : Funk & Wagnalls Company. 35 ceuts.

This collection aims at presenting all the favorite congregational tunes, ancient and modern, with music and words, as an assistance to fuller and more universal joining in the singing by the congregation. The Glory of the Garden, and Other Odes, Sonnets and

Ballads in Sequence, with a note on the relations of the Horatian Ode to the Tuscan Sonnet. By William Vincent Byars. 32mo, pp. 190.

Mr. Byars dedicates his volume to "all Good Women and all who love them." One is forced to wonder what Mlle. Guilbert would say to " Yvette, the Ballet Dancer :"

Have you no soul at all, fair, lithe Yvette,
Are you then but a shameless, dancing sprite,
One of those nixies

and hints in a preface that his gallantry in altering the sex of personified sin, as established by Milton and others," may be quite defensible. Essie: A Romance in Rhyme. By Laura Dayton Fessen

den. 12mo, pp. 93. Boston : Lee & Shepard. $1.50.

This “ romance in rhyme " takes the form of a series of letters from various people to various other people. A critical spirit might cavil at calling the pairing of “his hoine" and welcome a rhyme, but the “romance" ends well and that's the main thing about a romance. An Oaten Pipy. By James B. Kenyon. 16mo, pp. 133.

New York: J. Selwin Tait & Sons. $1.

A strange " oaten pipe" this, that pipes of a “Chanson du Matin," " Carpe Diem," " Laborare est Orare "and ZWNTOW. Rather an excess of cultivation to such oats, as the farmer said when the hired man fresh from college ploughed up every stalk of grain in the field. Armenian Poums. Rendered into English verse by Alice

Stone Blackwell. Boston: Roberts Brothers. $1.25.

These translations prove that the Armenian poets have much of fire and dramatic action. Many of the poems are very rich and Eastern in expression, and they form an interesting collection. In an appendix is given a remarkable specimen of an Armenian prose poem dating back to the fifteenth century. Under the Pines, and Other Verses. By Lydia Avery

Coonley. 16mo, pp. 104. Chicago : Way & Williams.

The author warns us in her prefatory lines that these "simple rhymes " have “no plan "and “no moral hid," " no prize for one who delves." It might be held justly that "blue" and "dew" form a rhyme not simple but decidedly complex. To the rest of the assertion we can cheerfully subscribe. The Golden Shuttle. By Marion Franklin Ham. 12mo,

pp. 128.

un

Far down in Sheol, wicked nixies dance
Before gray, bald-crowned sinners and smooth boys-
Smooth, beardless boys who dream that Sheol's joys
Shall be eternal! How their lithe limbs glance
In the red, gleaming fire-light as they dance,

Mad with delight that ruins and destroys!"
Lovers Three Thousand Years Ago. By Rev. T. A. Good-

win. Chicago : The Open Court Publishing Company. 12mo, pp. 41.

Mr. Goodwin has endeavored to present the Song of Solomon with all “textual criticism" eliminated and “to restore the text to the form which made the poem a treasure to the ancient Hebrew." He believes that its lesson of the " changeableness of love" is by no means the least important of the Bible's teachings. The Sacrifice : An Epic. By Benj. T. Trego. 12mo, pp.

205. Detroit : Free Press Printing Company. $2.

The author declares this to be “only a study, not an effort, much less an attempt to treat worthily a subject so sublime."

The "

urgent requests of friends" have been necessary to overcome his reluctance to putting it into print. It is divided into three parts, each of six cantos, and finished up with an “Image divine." The titles of the cantos in Part I. are as follows: “Heaven," " Earth,” “The Advent," "The Nativity," "The World” and “Jerusalum." Shadows of Yesterday. By Charles Gifford Orwen.

12mo, pp. 98. Rochester: Published by the author. $1.

Mr. Orwen has attacked rather a large subject in 'Jupiter Fallen," and the result is what might be antici. pated. In the “Rhyme of the Phantom Death" he has these lines:

“ With his palm beneath his chin
Sits my mask-hid sin !"

Mr. Ham has won many plaudits for his easy, graceful verse. One of the best poems in his present volume is a son. net called "Dawn," which has much color and feeling. Songs of Night and Day. By Frank W. Gunsaulus. Oc

tavo, pp. 144. Chicago : A. C. McClurg & Co. $1.50.

Mr. Gunsaulus has some charming verses in his present volume, and he looms up large beside the average verse producer. “At Beach St. Mary” opens thus :

"The long brown arm thrusts out to sea

Headland lost in sliding sands;
So Time indents Eternity ;

We live on Being's borderlands." Some of the lyrics fairly sing themselves along, as in " When the Poet Comes :"

“The ferny places gleam at morn;
The dew drips off the leaves of corn ;
Along the brook a mist of white
Fades as a kiss on lips of light.
For lo! the poet with his pipe

Finds all these melodies are ripe."
The book is altogether very attractive and Mr. Gunsau-
lus is to be congratulated on his work.
Repetition and Parallelism in English Verse : A Study in

the Technique of Poetry. By B. C. Alphonso Smith. 12mo, pp. 76. New York and New Orleans :

University Publishing Company. 60 cents.

Mr. Smith's book is entirely devoted to the two points mentioned, since he believes the influence of repetition and parallelism on metrical harmony and rhythm to be much farther reaching than is generally allowed. Many instances, antique and modern, are cited of the adroit application of such blendings of both usages as occur in the "Ancient Mariner" to a very marked degree, and in nearly all truly lyrical poetry. There are special chapters on the occurrence of such phrases in both Poe and Swinburne, the author bringing to light and classifying some very curious and interesting examples. The Legend of Aulus. By Flora Macdonald Shearer.

16mo, pp. 95. San Francisco : William Doxey.

The titular poem in this volume is a versification of one of the legends from the Gesta Romanorum. Among the other verses, ballades and sonnets there is an affecting lament on the death of a cat :

" A pretty, timid, gentle thing,
Whose claws for me were always sheathed,
That loved the very air I breathed,

Is surely worth remembering."
And again :

"I know, I know I did my best
To save it from the coming dark,
And keep alight life's feeble spark;
But-Death was stronger--therefore rest
Poor little friend

[ocr errors]

A Woman's Love Letters. By Sophie M. Almon-Hensley.

16mo, pp. 82. New York : J. Selwin Tait & Sons.

It is a fortunate woman depicted by the author, for after many questionings and anxieties and unhappinesses her final Song" runs thus :

Where is the waiting time?

Where are the fears?
Gone with the winter's rime,

The bygone years.
O'er life's plain, lone and vast,

Slow treads the morn;
Night shades have moved and passed,

Joy's day is born."
Wind-Harp Songs. By J. William Lloyd. 16mo, pp. 132.

Buffalo : Peter Paul Book Company. $1.

One may love Walt Whitman and his work ; indeed, no one with a catholic heart and a right feeling for broadness and greatness can help realizing that he filled his place incom. parably well, yet for how much is he responsible through his preachings of the gospel of formlessness! The “ WindHarp Song," which leads in Mr. Lloyd's volume, has some true poetry in it, if one but have patience enough with the striving after strength by way of chaos to cull this out. His characterization of the myriad night creatures as “ citizens of the void, mysterious, situate between the pulses of life called day" is original and poetic; but right next to it, in his list of the various forces which make up the night winds are these absurd lines :

“Steams;
Malaries from the marshes ;
Dreams ;-
Tell also all the wisdom,

All the romance of their substance."
Fleet Street Eclogues. By John Davidson.

16mo, pp. 218. New York : Dodd, Mead & Co. $1.25.

Mr. Davidson's eclogues are a little puzzling at first. His Fleet Street journalists' alternate praise or blame of their craft, with praise (always) of ale ending up with a Rileyesque arrangement, thus :

SANDY :
Amen!

BASIL :
Waas Hael!
BRIAN :

Drinc Hail ! This on New Year's Day. St. Valentine's Eve sentiments follow, and on St. George's Day all the journalists agree that the English "are the people," the world s forlorn hope," etc. The author's liberties of language tempt one to apply some schoolboy German to the venture—“ Was Für?"

Tennessee Centennial Poem. By Mary A. A. Fry. Octavo,

pp. 174. Chattanooga : M. A. A. Fry.

This volume is "a synopsis of the history of Tennessee from its earliest settlement on Watauga to the present time, with short biographies of the most prominent men ”-the same being done into rhyme by the author aforesaid. The invocation to the state runs thus : "One hundred years have come and gone since she was

permitted
To place her star on Freedom's brow and be admitted
Into the United States, a sovereign with all her rights,
Buried treasures, resources, possessions, hopes, delights."

Further on :
“Daniel Boone now attempted to move into Kentucky,
But was attacked by Indians and thought himself lucky
To escape with his family

Again, of Farragut:
“He commanded the John Adams, Greyhound and Seagull,
The Ferret and the Brandywine, and when seasons were dull
Attended lectures at Yale, learning the carpenter's trade;
Spent two years nursing his wife, who was an invalid."

But those who wish to delve further into these historic utterances must get the book; there are one hundred and seventy-four pages waiting for them. It is safe to say that, taken as a whole, this achievement is sui generis and has never been equaled. The Prince of Hades. By A. O. Kaplan. Quarto, pp. 32, paper.

Cincinnati : The Robert Clarke Company. The hero of Mr. Kaplan's tale, after rising “to the welkin fair" and soaring “upon the trackless air of mute infinity," drops for some unexplained reason into Hades. He finds the de'il, whom he calls Pyrus, not nearly so black as he is painted. Indeed after listening to the Prince's tale our adventurer hails him as a benefactor to mankind, and begs to return to the green sward, being so drenched with rapture" that he fain must sing the praises of his new friend to ignorant earth dwellers. Whiffs from Wild Meadows. By Sam Walter Foss. 12mo,

pp. 272. Boston : Lee & Shepard. $1.50.

If one may be pardoned for saying so, it looks as if the wonderful success of James Whitcomb Riley and Eugene Field were causing the “poems of the soil" business to be run into the ground. Yet there are good things about Mr. Foss's whiffs. If his humor is not often subtle it is generally genuine, and his tale of the hens who, after bankrupting their owner, scratched the flowers off his grave, is a good variation on the poultry joke. Mr. Foss leaves his dialect and humor in the " Coming American," which contains enough Fourth of July sentiment to satisfy Whitman himself. It also contains, perhaps, too much Whitman to satisfy that poet. Poems and Fragments. By Paul Shevill. 16mo, pp. 61,

paper. Springfield : Paul Shevill. 25 cents.

The author, in his preface, which takes the form of a letter to his brother, declares himself reluctant to publish the poems above alluded to, for the following reasons: (1) There is not a perfect stanza among them; (2) they are "mere fragments from extempore things, written in my twentyfirst year and never re-touched;" (3) it hurts him to "force a business" out of his writing. He would much prefer, would this noble youth, the “old way of earning his education by working in odd hours ; but since that would mean “broken health and the loss of another year," which he cannot afford,” why he sacrifices his feelings and begs the public to subscribe a quarter each to send him through college. The first “fragment,' My Mother,” opens thus:

· Her grateful eyes no more shall meet my own

With glad approval and maternal pride." which speaks well for her at any rate, for this new variation of the street begging“ orphan with eight small brothers and sisters to feed, wash and clothe" is hardly calculated to fill with joy the heart of its originator's mother.

« PreviousContinue »