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sights of chivalrous splendour-picturesque scenes crowded with picturesque personages. But it is the gorgeousness of a pageant, rather than of actual life. We are led to think more of their dresses or of their armour,-of the peculiarities which distinguished the men of those days from ourselves, than of that which is common to us and to them—the human heart and its passions. The personages of the poem are so unlike those whom we have known, and been interested in, that we can feel no very lively sympathy for them. To some extent, the substance of Lord Jeffrey's criticism is perhaps just. But the tone of it is displeasing. There is a seeming want of candour in it; an appearance of being “willing to wound, but yet afraid to strike." The praises, while to the ear they sound very emphatic, have yet a lurking drawback: and the censures, with the appearance of good nature, imply a great deal more than they directly express. They leave an impression, as if the reviewer was unwilling, on account of personal friendship with the author, to speak as harshly as he feels he ought to do; an impression very similar to that which is made, and no doubt intended to be made, by Hume, whenever he apologizes for any of the doings of the Roundheads.

The same disingenuity is visible in the reviewal of Scott's life of Swift; in which, apparently because Scott had looked a little too much on the fair side of his character, Lord Jeffrey enters upon a violent invective against the Dean, magnifying his failings with all the bitterness of a partizan, and in our opinion, with great injustice. To be sure, as a deserter to the Tories, Swift's political views could expect no quarter from so zealous a liberal as his reviewer; but a difference in politics is surely no reason why due praise should not be given to his merit as a writer, and, with all his failings, as a man.

The reviewal leaves one to suppose that Swift was utterly without principle and without heart --with talents that have been very much overrated, not being, in truth, much above mediocrity. We cannot believe a man to be without principle, whose charity to the poor- to speak of none of his other good qualities-was so constant as Swift's, and proceeded, not from a loose indifference to money—for he is reproached with avarice; nor from ostentation for he is ridiculed as having been over-careful to avoid the display of any virtue or piety; but either, as we may surely infer, from a strong sense of duty, or from a benevolent heart.

There are several minor points on which we dissent from Lord Jeffrey's conclusions. We think him very unjust to Sterne, when he speaks of his “paltry flippancy and disgusting affectation”-unjust to Warburton, to Alfieri, to Curran and others.

But it cannot be denied that the views which he takes upon

literary questions, are supported generally with very great ability, and have plausible grounds to rest upon. We do not now enter upon the political part of the work, because it relates mostly, of course, to by-gone questions, and has lost the greater part of the interest it once might have possessed. On the whole, these volumes contain much that is interesting, and much that is tedious: the great fault is the bulk: and with all their many merits, we quit them without reluctance.

L.

Art. III.-LIFE IN THE SICK ROOM. ESSAYS. By

an Invalid. London: Moxon. 1844. PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS TOWARDS ALLEVIAT

ING THE SUFFERINGS OF THE SICK. Third Edition. London: 1837.

The old style of reviewing, which consisted in a careful and critical account of the actual contents of a book, might sometimes be revived with great advantage to the general reader. Periodical Literature should not only serve as a guide to the difficult task of Selection from the innumerable progeny of the press, and to form the public judgment on true principles of taste, but should also in some measure shorten the immense labour of reading, and supply to multitudes the place of the original works. There is indeed a difficulty here; for the books that are the richest in materials, and the most felicitous in execution, while they alone deserve such full and analytical reviews, are just those for which no review can be taken as a substitute. But, in fact, the most ample account of a really good book only serves to whet the appetite for it, and strengthen the desire of possession; and thus accomplishes the two purposes, of stimulating the curiosity of those who have the power to purchase and the time to read, and of conveying its substance to those with whom both time and money are articles to be most strictly economized.

“Life in the Sick Room," from the universal interest of its subject, the richness of its matter, and its managable compass, is eminently deserving of a review, the whole value of which is drawn from the book itself. Even our occasional differences with the Author would require us to adopt this course; for when a spirit,'separated unto'God and itself, by sanctifying pain, professes to utter from the innermost shrine of life what it feels and knows, it is no time for those who write at ease, to apply the criticism of common views and common life to convictions and principles arrived at on the isthmus between Life and Death ; and which, whether universally true or peculiar to the individual, are at all events, in this case at least, the results of a diviner experience than we have ever known. With those who breathe their words in pain," and are endued with the purer insight of a sequestered soul, we should feel it rude and disrespectful to express a difference on the slightest point affecting spiritual life, without acknowledging that we are presuming, from amongst the throng of the outer court, to discuss divine mysteries with one whom God's hand has drawn within the Holy of Holies ; or without imparting as a necessary material of judgment, so far as they can disclose it to us, that peculiar experience from which they speak. An ordinary, critical, and summary account of such a work would be out of place, for it is the Report of a mind placed by God, for a season,-in the maturity of its powers, and after the misleading passions and imaginations, incident to all, have been calmed and rectified by experience and thoughtful wisdom,-in relations of peculiar intimacy to the spiritual realities of our existence.

The writer properly claims the privileges of this peculiar position, in imparting to its revelations something of the character of “spiritual discernment,” and exempting them from exoteric criticism,—but we have felt several times, whilst reading the work, that a good deal of ordinary experience, or, we should rather say, of the convictions and insight of all thoughtful and spiritual minds, is apparently claimed as the peculiar fruit of a condition of sickness and suffering. Let us not be misunderstood. We doubt not there is no perception of the soul, no spiritual use of the senses, no feeling of the nearness of God, no conviction of the pervading presence of eternal Love, Beauty, and Order, that is not quickened, at times, to a mind sanctified and drawn home to one place of Rest, by a hand that shuts out the refuge of the world as it brings the sufferer nearer to itself, in a degree that is inconceivable by those who have no actual experience of the teachings of solitude and a life supported from within, when we are cut off, for ever, from

refuges of lies,” and left alone with our immortal sympathies. Much, we doubt not, of what the writer claims as the peculiar teaching of Sickness, consists in a new force, clearness, and calmness communicated to previously existing perceptions and convictions of the mind; and any attempt at faithfully describing the nature and extent of the change introduced into our views and sentiments of Life, by the moral and physical circumstances of long continued and hopeless Sickness would have been new knowledge and experience, so far as such experience can be imparted, of the most interesting kind. Instead, however, of this modification and quickening of existing convictions and sentiments, the writer, notwithstanding an occasional admission of their independent existence, too broadly claims them as absolutely the peculiar property of the Invalid, and gives us no information as to the influence which Sickness, as a new spiritual condition, exerts upon them. For the most part, “ Life in the

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Sick Room” is, in its views, very much Life as it appears to all earnest, calm, and meditative minds; and, though most elevated and true, neither gives us what we can accept as at all the peculiar fruits of Sickness, nor describes the effects of that condition on sentiments already derived from a different experience. If many of the Lessons contained in this book have come to the writer, for the first time, in a Sick Room, it is so far true to a single experience, and a most interesting case of individual history,—but whilst no one will read its pages without deep and respectful sympathy, many will feel that there are other positions besides that of Sickness, from which the spiritual observer sees Life lying before him in the same clear, tender, and solemn lights. In the Dedication a peculiar insight is claimed for the Invalid into the beneficent workings of Providence. It may be so, and we believe it is so,—but there is no attempt to exhibit this insight as growing out of the condition of Sickness, or as deriving some new feature from that Condition. Instead of this we have what all true minds feel and see, appropriated to the Invalid. We wish the writer had enlarged our spiritual knowledge by describing the additions made by Sickness to sentiments which are not peculiar to it.

While we use our new insight to show us how things are done,and gravely smile to see that it is by every man's overrating the issues of his immediate pursuit, in order that he may devote all his energies to it, (without which nothing would ever be done,) we smile with another feeling presently, on perceiving how an industry and care from above are compensating to every man his mistake by giving him collateral benefits, when he misses the direct good he sought,--by giving him and his helpers a wealth of ideas, as often as their schemes turn out, in their professed objects, profitless. When we see men straining every nerve to reach the tempting apples which are to prove dust and ashes in their jaws, we see also, by virtue of our position, the flying messenger who is descending with the ambrosia which is to feed their immortal part. We can tell that while revolutions are grandly operating, by which life and the world will in time change their aspect, —while a progress is advancing to which it is now scarcely conceivable that we should ever have dreamed of putting our hands,—there is not one of our passing thoughts that is not ordained, -not a sigh of weariness unheeded, not an effort of patience that is not met half way by divine pity, -not a generous emotion of triumph in the world's improvement that is not hallowed by the divine sympathy ever living and breathing round about us. culiar privilege, of feeling and seeing something of the simultaneous vastness and minuteness of providential administration, is one in which we most enjoy sympathy ;-at least I do :-and in this, therefore, do I find your undoubted fellowship most precious.”—p. xiv.

Again there is an exquisite passage in which the transient na

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