Atlantic Monthly, Volume 6, No. 38, December, 1860

Part 5 out of 5

"Pray, hear me, dear mother, what I have been taught:
Nine men and nine women o'erset in a boat;
The men were all drowned, but the women did float,
And by help of their hoops they all safely got out."

The fashion for hoops was revived in 1711, in which year was published
in England "A Panegyrick upon the Late, but most Admirable Invention of
the Hoop-Pettycoat." A few years later, (1726,) in New England, a
three-penny pamphlet was issued with the title, "Hoop Petticoats
Arraigned and Condemned by the Light of Nature and Law of God," by which
it would seem that our worthy ancestors did not approve of the fashion.
In 1728 we find _hoop-skirts_ and _negro girls_ and other "chattels"
advertised for sale in the same shop!

The celebrated song, "Tobacco is an Indian weed," is traced to George
Withers, of the time of James I. Perhaps no song has been more
frequently "reset"; but the original version, as is generally the case,
is the best.

One of the most satisfactory features of Chappell's work is the
thoroughness with which he traces the origin of tunes, and his acute
discrimination and candid judgment. As an instance of this may be
mentioned his article on "God save the Queen"; and wherever we turn, we
find the same evidence of honest investigation. So far as is possible,
he has arranged his airs and his topics chronologically, and presented a
complete picture of the condition of poetry and music during the reigns
of the successive monarchs of England. The musician will find these
volumes invaluable in the pursuit of his studies, the general reader
will be interested in the well-drawn descriptions of men, manners, and
customs, and the antiquary will pore over the pages with a keen delight.

The work is illustrated with several specimens of the early style of
writing music, the first being an illuminated engraving and fac-simile
of the song, "Sumer is icumen in,"--the earliest secular composition, in
parts, known to exist in any country, its origin being traced back to
1250. It should have been mentioned before this that the very difficult
task of reducing the old songs to modern characters and requirements,
and harmonizing them, has been most admirably done by McFarren, who has
thus made intelligible and available what would otherwise be valuable
only as curiosities.

1. _Folk-Songs_. Selected and edited by John Williamson Palmer, M.D.
Illustrated with Original Designs. New York: Charles Scribner. 1861.
Small folio. pp. xxiii., 466.

2. _Loves and Heroines of the Poets_. Edited by Richard Henry Stoddard.
New York: Derby & Jackson. 1861. Quarto, pp. xviii., 480.

3. _A Forest Hymn_. By William Cullen Bryant. With Illustrations of John
A. Hows. New York: W. A. Townsend & Co. 1861. Small quarto, pp. 32.

We have no great liking for illustrated books. Poems, to be sure, often
lend themselves readily to the pencil; but, in proportion as they stand
in need of pictures, they fall short of being poetry. We have never yet
seen any attempts to help Shakspeare in this way that were not as
crutches to an Indian runner. To illustrate poetry truly great in itself
is like illuminating to show off a torchlight-procession. We doubt if
even Michel Angelo's copy of Dante was so great a loss as has sometimes
been thought. We have seen missals and other manuscripts that were truly

"laughing leaves
That Franco of Bologna's pencil limned ";

but the line of those artists ended with Fra Angelico, whose works are
only larger illuminations in fresco and on panel. In those days some
precious volume became the Laura of a poor monk, who lavished on it all
the poetry of his nature, all the unsatisfied longing of a lifetime.
Shut out from the world, his single poem or book of saintly legends was
the window through which he looked back on real life, and he stained its
panes with every brightest hue of fancy and tender half-tint of reverie.
There was, indeed, a chance of success, when the artist worked for the
love of it, gave his whole manhood to a single volume, and mixed his
life with his pigments. But to please yourself is a different thing from
pleasing Tom, Dick, and Harry, which is the problem to be worked out by
whoever makes illustrations to be multiplied and sold by thousands. In
Dr. Palmer's "Folk-Songs," if we understand his preface rightly, the
artists have done their work for love, and it is accordingly much better
done than usual. The engravings make a part of the page, and the
designs, with few exceptions, are happy. Numerous fac-similes of
handwriting are added for the lovers of autographs; and in point of
printing, it is beyond a question the handsomest and most tasteful
volume ever produced in America. The Riverside Press may fairly take
rank now with the classic names in the history of the art. But it is for
the judgment shown in the choice of the poems that the book deserves its
chief commendation. Our readers do not need to be told who Dr. Palmer
is, or that one who knows how to write so well himself is likely to know
what good writing is in others. We have never seen so good and choice a
_florilegium_. The width of its range and its catholicity may be
estimated by its including William Blake and Dibdin, Bishop King and Dr.
Maginn. It would be hard to find the person who would not meet here a
favorite poem. We can speak from our own knowledge of the length of
labor and the loving care that have been devoted to it, and the result
is a gift-book unique in its way and suited to all seasons and all
tastes. Nor has the binding (an art in which America is far behind-hand)
been forgotten. The same taste makes itself felt here, and Matthews of
New York has seconded it with his admirable workmanship.

In Mr. Stoddard's volume we have a poet selecting such poems as
illustrate the loves of the poets. It is a happy thought happily
realized. With the exception of Dante, Petrarch, and Tasso, the choice
is made from English poets, and comes down to our own time. It is a book
for lovers, and he must be exacting who cannot find his mistress
somewhere between the covers. The selection from the poets of the
Elizabethan and Jacobian periods is particularly full; and this is as it
should be; for at no time was our language more equally removed from
conventionalism and commonplace, or so fitted to refine strength of
passion with recondite thought and airy courtliness of phrase. The book
is one likely to teach as well as to please; for, though everybody knows
how to fall in love, few know how to love. It is a mirror of womanly
loveliness and manly devotion. Mr. Stoddard has done his work with the
instinct of a poet, and we cordially commend his truly precious volume
both to those

"who love a coral lip
And a rosy cheek admire,"

and to those who

"Interassured of the mind,
Are careless, eyes, lips, hands, to miss";

for both likings will find satisfaction here. The season of gifts comes
round oftener for lovers than for less favored mortals, and by means of
this book they may press some two hundred poets into their service to
thread for the "inexpressive she" all the beads of Love's rosary. The
volume is a quarto sumptuous in printing and binding. Of the plates we
cannot speak so warmly.

The third book on our list deserves very great praise. Bryant's noble
"Forest Hymn" winds like a river through edging and overhanging
greenery. Frequently the designs are rather ornaments to the page than
illustrations of the poem, and in this we think the artist is to be
commended. There is no Birket Foster-ism in the groups of trees, but
honest drawing from Nature, and American Nature. The volume, we think,
marks the highest point that native Art has reached in this direction,
and may challenge comparison with that of any other country. Many of the
drawings are of great and decided merit, graceful and truthful at the
same time.

_The Works of Lord Bacon_, etc., etc. Vols. XI. and XII. Boston: Brown &
Taggard. 1860.

We have already spoken of the peculiar merits which make the edition of
Messrs. Heath and Spedding by far the best that exists of Lord Bacon's
Works. It only remains to say, that the American reprint has not only
the advantage of some additional notes contributed by Mr. Spedding, but
that it is more convenient in form, and a much more beautiful specimen
of printing than the English. A better edition could not be desired. The
two volumes thus far published are chiefly filled with the "Life of
Henry VII." and the "Essays"; and readers who are more familiar with
these (as most are) than with the philosophical works will see at once
how much the editors have done in the way of illustration and


[Footnote 1: Some time after, the Bey of Tunis ordered Eaton to send his
ship, the Gloria, with despatches to the United States. Eaton sent her
to Leghorn, and sold her at a loss. "The flag of the United States," he
wrote, "has never been seen floating in the service of a Barbary pirate
under my agency."]

[Footnote 2: The Administration was saturated with this petty parsimony,
as may be seen in an extract from a letter written by Madison to Eaton,
announcing the approach of Dale and his ships:--"The present moment is
peculiarly favorable for the experiment, not only as it is a provision
against an immediate danger, but as we are now at peace and amity with
all the rest of the world, _and as the force employed would, if at home,
be at nearly the same expense, with less advantage to our mariners_."
Linkum Fidelius has given the Jeffersonian plan of making war in
two lines:--

"We'll blow the villains all sky-high,
But do it with e-co-no-my."]

[Footnote 3: About this time came Meli-Meli, Ambassador from Tunis, in
search of an indemnity and the frigate.]

[Footnote 4: Massachusetts gave him ten thousand acres, to be selected
by him or by his heirs, in any of the unappropriated land of the
Commonwealth in the District of Maine. Act Passed March 3d, 1806]

[Footnote 5: He remained in Sicily until 1809, when he was offered the
Beyship of Derne by his brother. He accepted it; two years later, fresh
troubles drove him again into exile. He died in great poverty at Cairo.
Jusuf reigned until 1832, and abdicated in favor of a son. A grandson of
Jusuf took up arms against the new Pacha. The intervention of the Sultan
was asked; a corps of Turkish troops entered Tripoli, drove out both
Pachas, and reannexed the Regency to the Porte.]

[Footnote 6: The scene of Mr. Jefferson's celebrated retreat from the
British. A place of frequent resort for Federal editors in those days.]

[Footnote 7: In attempting to describe my own sensations, I labor under
the disadvantage of speaking mostly to those who have never experienced
anything of the kind. Hence, what would he perfectly clear to myself,
and to those who have passed through a similar experience, may be
unintelligible to the former class. The Spiritualists excuse the
crudities which their Plato, St. Paul, and Shakspeare utter, by
ascribing them to the imperfection of human language; and I may claim
the same allowance in setting forth mental conditions of which the mind
itself can grasp no complete idea, seeing that its most important
faculties are paralyzed during the existence of those conditions.]

[Footnote 8: The recent experiments in Hypnotism, in France, show that a
very similar psychological condition accompanies the trance produced by
gazing fixedly upon a bright object held near the eyes. I have no doubt,
in fact, that it belongs to every abnormal state of the mind.]

[Footnote 9: See _The Famous Historie of Fryer Bacon containing the
Wonderful Things that he did in his Life, also the Manner of his Death;
with the Lives and Deaths of the Conjurors Bungye and Vandermast_.
Reprinted in Thom's _Early English Romances_.]

[Footnote 10: _Historia Crit. Phil_. Period. II. Pars II.
Liber II. Cap. iii. Section 23.]

[Footnote 11: A barbarous distich gives the relations of these two
famous divisions of knowledge in the Middle Ages:--

"_Gramm_ loquitur, _Dia_ verba docet, _Rhet_ verba colorat,
_Mus_ canit, _Ar_ numerat, _Geo_ ponderat, _Ast_ colit astra."]

[Footnote 12: See Haureau, _De la Philosophie Scolastique_, II. 284-5.]

[Footnote 13: Mr. Brewer has in most respects performed his work as
editor in a satisfactory manner. The many difficulties attending the
deciphering of the text of ill-written manuscripts and the correction of
the mistakes of ignorant scribes have been in great part overcome by his
patience and skill. Some passages of the text, however, require further
revision. The Introduction is valuable for its account of existing
manuscripts, but its analysis of Bacon's opinions is unsatisfactory. Nor
are the translations given in it always so accurate as they should be.
The analyses of the chapters in side-notes to the text are sometimes
imperfect, and do not sufficiently represent the current of Bacon's
thought; and the volume stands in great need of a thorough Index. This
omission is hardly to be excused, and ought at once to be supplied in a
separate publication.]

[Footnote 14: This sum was a large one. It appears that the necessaries
of life were cheap and luxuries dear at Paris during the thirteenth
century. Thus, we are told, in the year 1226, a house sold for forty-six
livres; another with a garden, near St. Eustache, sold for two hundred
livres. This sum was thought large, being estimated as equal to 16,400
francs at present. Sixty livres were then about five thousand francs, or
a thousand dollars. Lodgings at this period varied from 5 to 17 livres
the year. An ox was worth 1 livre 10 sols; a sheep, 6 sols 3 deniers.
Bacon must at some period of his life have possessed money, for we find
him speaking of having expended two thousand livres in the pursuit of
learning. If the comparative value assumed be correct, this sum
represented between $30,000 and $40,000 of our currency.]

[Footnote 15: _Opus Tertium_. Cap. iii. pp. 15-17.]

[Footnote 16: _Opus Tertium_. Cap. xx. p. 65.]

[Footnote 17: _Opus Tertium_. Capp. xvi., xvii. Roger Bacon's urgency to
the Pope to promote the works for the advancement of knowledge which
were too great for private efforts bears a striking resemblance to the
words addressed for the same end by his great successor, Lord Bacon, to
James I. "Et ideo patet," says the Bacon of the thirteenth century,
"quod scripta, principalia de sapientia philosophiae non possunt fieri
ab uno homine, nec a pluribus, nisi manus praelatorum et principum
juvent sapientes cum magna virtute." "Horum quos enumeravimus omnium
defectuum remedia," says the Bacon of the seventeenth century,
"...opera sunt vere basilica; erga quae privati alicujus conatus et
industria fere sic se habent ut Mercurius in bivio, qui digito potest in
viam intendere, pedem inferre non potest."--_De Aug. Scient_. Lib. II.
_Ad Regem Suum_.

A still more remarkable parallelism is to be found in the following
passages. "Nam facile est dicere, fiant scripture completae de
scientiis, sed nunquam fuerunt apud Latinos aliquae condignae, nec
fient, nisi aliud consilium habeatur. Et nullus sufficeret ad hoc, nisi
dominus papa, vel imperator, aut aliquis rex magnificus, sicut est
dominus rex Franciae. Aristoteles quidem, auctoritate et auxiliis regum,
et maxime Alexandri, fecit in Graeco quae voluit, et multis millibus
hominum usus est in experientia scientiarum, et expensis copiosis, sicut
historiae narrant." (_Opus Tertium_, Cap. viii.) Compare with this the
following passage from the part of the _De Augmentis_ already
cited:--"Et exploratoribus ac speculatoribus Naturae satisfaciendum de
expensis suis; alias de quamplurimis scitu dignissimis nunquam fiemus
certiores. Si enim Alexander magnam vim pecuniae suppeditavit
Aristoteli, qua conduceret venatores, aucupes, piscatores et alios, quo
instructior accederet ad conscribendam historiam animalium; certe majus
quiddam debetur iis, qui non in saltibus naturae pererrant, sed in
labyrinthis artium viam sibi aperiunt."

Other similar parallelisms of expression on this topic are to be found
in these two authors, but need not be here quoted. Many resemblances in
the words and in the spirit of the philosophy of the two Bacons have
been pointed out, and it has even been supposed that the later of these
two great philosophers borrowed his famous doctrine of "Idols" from the
classification of the four chief hindrances to knowledge by his
predecessor. But the supposition wants foundation, and there is no
reason to suppose that Lord Bacon was acquainted with the works of the
Friar. The Rev. Charles Forster, in his _Mahometanism Unveiled_, a work
of some learning, but more extravagance, after speaking of Roger Bacon
as "strictly and properly an experimentalist of the Saracenic school,"
goes indeed so far as to assert that he "was the undoubted, though
unowned, original when his great namesake drew the materials of his
famous experimental system." (Vol. II. pp. 312-317.) But the
resemblances in their systems, although striking in some particulars,
are on the whole not too great to be regarded simply as the results of
corresponding genius, and of a common sense of the insufficiency of the
prevalent methods of scholastic philosophy for the discovery of truth
and the advancement of knowledge. "The same sanguine and sometimes rash
confidence in the effect of physical discoveries, the same fondness for
experiment, the same preference of inductive to abstract reasoning
pervade both works," the _Opus Majus_ and the _Novum Organum_.--Hallam,
_Europe during the Middle Ages_, III. 431. See also Hallam, _Literature
of Europe_, I. 113; and Mr. Ellis's Preface to the _Novum Organum_, p.
90, in the first volume of the admirable edition of the _Works of Lord
Bacon_ now in course of publication.]

[Footnote 18: _Opus Tertium_. Cap. xv. pp. 55, 56.]

[Footnote 19: _Id_. Cap. x. p. 33.]

[Footnote 20: The famous Grostete,--who died in 1253. "Vir in Latino et
Graeco peritissimus," says Matthew Paris.]

[Footnote 21: _Comp. Studii Phil_. Cap. vi.]

[Footnote 22: _Opus Minus_, p. 330.]

[Footnote 23: This was Michael Scot the Wizard, who would seem to have
deserved the place that Dante assigned to him in the _Inferno_, if not
from his practice of forbidden arts, at least from his corruption of
ancient learning in his so-called translations. Strange that he, of all
the Schoolmen, should have been honored by being commemorated by the
greatest poet of Italy and the greatest of his own land! In the Notes to
the _Lay of the Last Minstrel_, his kinsman quotes the following lines
concerning him from Satchell's poem on _The Right Honorable Name
of Scott_:--

"His writing pen did seem to me to be
Of hardened metal like steel or acumie;
The volume of [his book] did seem so large to me
As the Book of Martyrs and Turks Historie."]

[Footnote 24: _Comp. Studii Phil_. Cap. viii. p. 472.]

[Footnote 25: _Comp. Studii Phil_. Cap. viii. p. 469.]

[Footnote 26: _Comp. Studii Phil_. Cap. viii. p. 473.]

[Footnote 27: _Opus Tertium_, Cap. xxiv. pp. 80-82.]

[Footnote 28: _Opus Tertium_. Capp. xiv., xv., pp. 48-53.]

[Footnote 29: _Id_. Cap. xiii. pp. 43-44.]

[Footnote 30: _Id_. Cap. xxviii. p. 102.]

[Footnote 31: _Opus Majus_. pp. 57, 64.]

[Footnote 32: _Opus Tertium_. Cap. iv. p. 18.]

[Footnote 33: See Haureau: _Nouvel Examen de l'Edition des Oeuvres de
Hugues de Saint-Victor._ Paris, 1869. p. 52.]

[Footnote 34: Jourdain: _Recherches sur les Traductions Latines
d'Aristote_. Paris, 1819. p. 373.]

[Footnote 35: _Opus Tertium_. Cap. xii. p. 42.]

[Footnote 36: _Id. Cap. ii. p. 14.]

[Footnote 37: Reprinted in the Appendix to the volume edited by
Professor Brewer. A translation of this treatise was printed at London
as early as 1597; and a second version, "faithfully translated out of
Dr. Dee's own copy by T. M.," appeared in 1659.]

[Footnote 38: "Sed tamen sal petrae LURU VOPO VIR CAN UTRIET sulphuris;
et sic facies tonitruum et coruscationem, si scias artificium. Videas
tamen utrum loquar aenigmate aut secundum veritatem." (p. 551.) One is
tempted to read the last two words of the dark phrase as phonographic
English, or, translating the _vir_, to find the meaning to be, "O man!
you can try it."]

[Footnote 39: This expression is similar in substance to the closing
sentences of Sir Kenelm Digby's Discourse at Montpellier on the Powder
of Sympathy, in 1657. "Now it is a poor kind of pusillanimity and
faint-heartedness, or rather, a gross weakness of the Understanding, to
pretend any effects of charm or magick herein, or to confine all the
actions of Nature to the grossness of our Senses, when we have not
sufficiently consider'd nor examined the true causes and principles
whereon 'tis fitting we should ground our judgment: we need not have
recourse to a Demon or Angel in such difficulties.

"'Nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus Inciderit.'"]

[Footnote 40: _Nullity of Magic_, pp. 532-542.]

[Footnote 41: _Comp. Stud. Phil._ p. 416.]



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Little by Little; or, The Cruise of the Fly-away. A Story for Young
Folks. By Oliver Optic. Boston. Crosby, Nichols, Lee, & Co. 18mo. pp.
280. 63 cts.

Logic in Theology, and other Essays. By Isaac Taylor. With a Sketch of
the Life of the Author, and a Catalogue of his Writings, New York.
William Gowans. 12mo. pp. 297. $1.25.

The Illustrated Annual Register of Rural Affairs, for 1861. Albany.
Luther Tucker & Son. 12mo. paper, pp. 124. 25 cts.

Harrington. A Story of True Love. By the Author of "What Cheer," etc.
Boston. Thayer & Eldridge. 12mo. pp. 556. $1.25.

Analysis of the Cartoons of Raphael. New York. Charles B. Norton. 16mo.
pp. 141. 75 cts.

Home Ballads and Poems. By John Greenleaf Whittier. Boston. Ticknor &
Fields. 16mo. pp. 207. 75 cts.

Legends of the Madonna, as represented in the Fine Arts. By Mrs.
Jameson. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 32mo. Blue and Gold. pp. 483. 75 cts.


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