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A wild, erratic being, gifted with the very spirit of melodioussong --a fantastic Ariel of a muse, tabernacled in a lowly physical organization, and placed in sadly untoward circumstances, James MacFarlane was one of the marvels of humanity. Like Burns, he enjoyed the pulse's maddening play, was prone to “ pleasure's devious way," and often
“Misled by fancy's meteor ray,
By passion driven;
Was light from heaven," though terribly misused. Poetry went shivering keenly through his nerves as he himself went shivering in beggarly wretcheuness along the road with his poor pedlar's wallet, and some of the sweetest lyrics of our modern days were penned in obscure nooks and lowly lodging houses, amid
the revelry of tramps, and in the throng of malt-inspired tongues. Yet he could write as sagely and as curtly as Rochefoucauld, with the elegance of Cowper, the sententious wisdom of Bacon, and the musical intonations of Shelley. But he preferred the wandering independence of will his pedlary afforded him, to fame, fortune, or comfort, and at thirty years of age died in a great measure of the worst of all diseases-ă wasted life. The glimmerings of his earthly career may, let us hope, be made perfect light in that life where poetry is reality.
On the 26th April, the baptismal day of Shakespeare, the seventy, fifth birthday of Ludwig Uhland was celebrated at Leipsic, and there, on the 14th November, the patriot poet died. Uhland incorporated in the sweet Fatherland music the dear delight of German aspiration : he took nature, nationality, and life into his heart, and set the hues of fancy round them; he animated the history and legend of the Teutonic race with the renewing vitality of his own soul. Though he bore the mantle of age on bis shoulders, he never deserted the colours of Hope ; and now he has gone where Hope's full fruition is alone realizable, and the grave is not his resting place; he has gone elsewhere.
“Even dull death brings souls into union;
It is after life true souls come nigh." James Sheridan Knowles was the modern Massinger,-a Shakespeare we scarce need hope for. He as nearly as possible brought the stage into relationship with life, and emulated the elder dramatists with some success. He was a man of distinguished force and power, of great vigour of conception, and energy of language. As an elocutionist, he was simple as a playwright he was natural, as a preacher, which he afterwards became, he was earnest and persuasive. He performed in his own plays with modesty and grace, giving just emphasis to the thought, however, more than to the action. His skill in teaching was singular and effective, and enabled
him easily to outstrip all his rivals save one, A. M. Hartley, who died in the earlyp art of the same year. He was a graceful speaker, and an earnest yet unassuming man. He had long been ailing, and indeed for a large portion of the last few months of his life
“ Nought remained of life save life itself,
And feeling, thought, and motion were extinct." me years before he died a change came over his spirit. He became an earnest, pious, Bible reader. This brought him to serious con. viction on religious matters, and he became anxious to exert himself for the good of souls. He entered the Baptist communion, and laboured with much acceptance in their sabbath-day assemblies, and not without fruit. He closed an eventful and changeful life on the last evening of November, fully prepared to leave the earth, in the serene anticipation of a higher life.
On the 5th day of December, suddenly the touch of the destroyer came to one of the most widely-read scholars of the age. The European and Asiatic, Coptic and Egyptic languages were familiar as his quaint native Doric Scotch, and his reading in ancient literature was rare and wonderful. He loved to translate the songs of his native land into the speech of David, of Homer, of Horace,
and of Goethe; and not unfrequently have his versions of the lays of Burns been sung on the banks of the Rhine and on the margin of the Gulf of Corinth. He was a modest, honest man, whose scholar. ship, rare as it was, was placed at the disposal of any one who wished his aid. His wealth placed him beyond the need of struggling for fame, place, or recognition, and he was content to be more than to seem. With what genuine love he looked upon bis books! How grand it was to sit in that vast hall of learning, his library, and hear the utterances of the good and kindly sage who had gathered them from far and near into his home, into his heart! W. Bell MacDonald was a gentleman in generosity of spirit, life, and feeling, and a man in all the nobler elements which make up that composite being. How nobly has he translated “Faust”! how wondrously has he transfused the gems of Latin verse into our English tongue! how wisely has he naturalized Aristotle as a British thinker by his version of his works! and how lovingly did he descant on the Hebrew scriptures! Love and friendship do not die when man goes down to the grave; and many shall remember the sage of Rummerscales when more loudly resounded names have faded on the world's ear like the echoes of a nursery tale.
A biographer and fictionist, whose sympathies and friendliness were for years extended to scientific and lettered men, and wbose own reputation was once great in the "circles" of the metropolis, passed away on the 17th. In youth favoured by Coleridge, in the prime of life consorting with Campbell, Bulwer, Brougham, in her womanhood's vigour the wife of one of the worthiest and ablest of London's famous physicians, yet the biographer of Wolsey, Raleigh, and Buckingham, the chronicler of “The Reign of Henry VIII.," and the authoress of "Anne Boleyn,” “The Chevalier," "Constance
Tracy." &c. After losing her husband and seeing her son drowned, she still held the pen as a kill-grief and a want-supplier, and pub. lished some books of much less power and vigour or value than their predecessors, on "The Queens of Society," the “Wits and Beaux of Society," and the “Literature of Society." Dover became the place of her death, though she was born in Staffordshire, at Byerley, and was the widow of Dr. Anthony Todd Thomson. industrious and somewhat popular, but the brightest days of her life had passed, and the sorrow which spreads a pall over life had made her less regretful of the advances of the last scenes of life's eventful history—a death-bed and a grave.
On Christmas Eve a modest and ingenious mind, a polished and caustic wit, a frank, free nature, and a cogent thinker, passed, after an honourable and a laborious life," through the shadows." John Leycester Adolphus, the son of a historian, was himself a law reporter and a county-court judge. His literary efforts began with a work of singular critical skill, in which he proved, and, as it subsequently turned out, correctly, that Sir Walter Scott was the author of Waverley." He had been long engaged in finishing his father's “ History of England during the Reign of George III.;" but after sixty-eight years of life, and forty years of it a professional lawyer's one, death has written finis on his labours, and called him away, leaving the intended pages unwritten. To be continued” is also the destiny of the soul, but to what end ?
Such are a few of the memories of the Great Summoner which spring into our thoughts as we sit in meditation on the doings of Death during the past year. Not many great names are on the roll, nor is the life-power of the nation, perhaps, much lessened by the unerring arron. But there is always a sadness of thought in the contemplation of the changes which time effects, and of the irrevocable call of the king of terrors. From this we cannot escape. It has been our part during this year to stand more frequently than usual at the grave's brink, and to note with greater frequency the careless sexton at his doleful task. We have, we hope, profited by the dusty lesson, and we sincerely desire that we (and many) have now learned to regard, as well as speak of Death as
A tame and harmless thing-
Since we hear
And made thee stand
May, when we die
And thither fly,
N. L. 1863.
Life of Joseph Locke, C.E., M.P. By JOSEPH Devey. London:
Richard Bentley. The writer of these lines sped the message which informed the public of the unexpected demise of the celebrated pupil and rival of George Stephenson. But a few days before, he had beheld him " full of lusty life,” taking part in the festivities of a rural ball; and, later still, had been consulted by him regarding a charitable act he was desirous of performing through an agent. In the interim required for completing the arrangements, the warm heart was stilled, and the ready hand stiffened, by unkindly Death. Several of the earlier obituary notices emanated from the same pen. In these he was spoken of as “one of the greatest, earliest, most venturous, original, and best informed promoters and executors of railways,"—" a man of skill, energy, and undaunted perseverance." The words written in the very house of death he has seen no reason to change, and he is of opinion that the life of Joseph Locke might easily have been made more interesting, truthful, and profitable, than it has been made in the work under review. The work is readable, artistic, and informing; but it wants insight into character, sympathy with industrial life, and the photographic personality which a biography like that of Locke's ought to possess and exhibit. It is not what every memoir ought to be, -—“philosophy teaching by example.” It is a pleasingly written narrative, rather touched with bookmaking-ness, and far more studentish than an active engineer's memoirs should be. It has the smell and the light of the lamp,--not the flash, force, and pith of the train. The vivid imagination which rekindles and reanimates the past is not displayed in the work. The laborious lines of the portraitpainter are all seen.
Mr. Devey, who is, we believe, not only a member of the legal profession, but connected with the daily press, ought,, surely, to avoid such errors in language as the use of "ambition,” as a verb, p. 97 ; of the French term, “exploitation of," p. steam es. ploited,” p. 126 ; the vulgar phrase, “gravelled,” p. 128; and the curious adverbial use of the words, as pretty certain,” in p. 187. In a practised literary man these things detract greatly from the readability of a book.
Mr. Devey, as editor of Bacon's works in Bohn's Library, won a fair place among littérateurs : as a writer on “ Logic, or the Science of Inference,” 1854, he attained a good position; but we have since heard little of his doings. A * Biography of Count Cavour,” announced by bim, has apparently been withdrawn, from an overstocking of the market, and the author has quitted the
academic walks of philosophy, and the political intricacies of statecraft, for the quick, practical life of engineering and railways. Had the writer gone to the forge, the pit-top, and the engine-works, for some time, and studied the actualities of things, rather than pursued the topic in a long course of reading, the “Life of Joseph Locke" would have lost some of its literary grace, and more of its antiquarian lore; but it would have gained palpable power, realistic expressiveness, and personality. The reader would have known Joseph Locke-not merely have read about him. The work contains no statement of the purpose of the book, or the inducements by which the author was led to his " choice of a subject.” We guess, from the manner in which it is written, that " the piety of widowhood," by which Mrs. Locke is distinguished, has induced her to seek the immortalization of her husband's worth and works by the aid of a book, as well as by a statued park at Barnsley, and that this work has been got up by request: but this is only a guess.
That the doings, strivings, and achievings of Joseph Locke deserved recorded remembrance, no one will refuse to acknowledge who learns the facts and comprehends the lessons of the little more than half a century of life in which the son of the pit-banksman became the Europe-renowned engineer, an earnest, practical, conscientious man, lord of the manor, and M.P. for Honiton.
A concise statement of the facts of such a life cannot fail to interest intelligent readers, as an illustration of the new truth of our present age, that character is power.
Joseph Locke was born at Attercliffe, Aug. 9th, 1805. His father, William Locke, a manager of coal mines, humbly circum. stanced, had a family of seven children, of whom Joseph was the youngest son, and second youngest child. At the age of five he was removed to Barnsley, and there, at the Grammar School, he was educated till he had completed his 13th year, when he became an apprenticed colliery-viewer at Pelan, in Durham. Quitting this, he got a little land-surveying near Rochdale, and then became clerk and coal-driver to his father, at Barnsley, till 1823, when George Stephenson, an old friend of William Locke's, røceived him at his Newcastle works as an unsalaried apprentice for three years. Here Joseph engaged in the work of self-culture with much laboriousness; and by earnest concentration and unflagging effort,-in pre-mechanics' institution times,-laid the foundationstones of fortune, character, and fame, in mornings of study and nights of thought.
Stephenson retained Locke's services at £100 per annum, after his apprentice years were ended, and deputed him to survey several lines of railway. He was one of the resident engineers of the Manchester and Liverpool Railway, and he wrote, in conjunction with Robert Stephenson, a work on "the comparative merits of locomotive and fixed engines.” On the 15th of September, 1830, he drove the “ Rocket,” by which Mr. Huskisson was accidentally killed while talking to the Duke of Wellington. Mr. Devey does