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set before himself, and which he has fulfilled with a cal fact and conjecture which the laborious researches gratifying degree of success. Nearly a third of his of students and scholars have disinterred from the little volume is devoted to a consideration of Chau. Royal Wardrobe Book, the Issue Rolls of the Excer's times, a clear understanding of which is abso- chequer, the Customs Rolls, and such like public lutely essential to a just appreciation of Chaucer's records, and from the writings of his contemporaries work in literature. Of every man it is true in a or immediate successors. In it also he points out general way, but of Chaucer it may be said in a pe- the conclusions which may be drawn from the inculiar sense, that he was the creature of his period; ternal evidence of the poet's own works; and as an and, while he himself furnishes the most valuable indispensable preliminary to this considers fully the and conclusive evidence of what that period was, the questions involved in the genuineness or spuriousevidence must be fully sifted and classified before its ness of the various works which have been attributed significance can be wholly grasped. Speaking of this to Chaucer. All the light which his indisputably study of Chaucer in intimate connection with his genuine works can be made to throw upon the life times, Professor Ward says:

and character of the poet is here studiously collected;

and then in another brief chapter the author disThe value of such evidence as the mind of a great

cusses the “Characteristics of Chaucer and his Poepoet speaking in his works furnishes for a knowledge of

try.” The criticism in this last-named chapter is to the times to which he belongs is inestimable ; for it shows us what has survived, as well as what was doomed to

our mind the most helpful and satisfactory to which decay, in the life of the nation with which that mind was Chaucer has been subjected, and it is entirely indein sensitive sympathy. And it therefore seemed not inap- pendent of the customary dicta. Chaucer is usually propriate to approach, in the first instance, from this praised as a narrative poet and as a painter of napoint of view, the subject of this biographical essay- ture, and in neither of these departments, as it seems Chaucer," the poet of the dawn": for in him there are to us, is he entitled to the highest rank. Professor many things significant of the age of transition in which Ward praises him more discriminatingly for his vi. he lived ; in him the mixture of Frenchman and Eng.

En vacity and humor, for his gayety and brightness, and, lishman is still in a sense incomplete, as that of their

above all, for his dramatic power in the portraiture language is in the diction of his poems. His gayety of heart is hardly English ; nor is his willing (though, to be

of character. On this latter point Professor Ward sure, not invariably unquestioning) acceptance of forms has a passage which we can not forbear quoting : into the inner meaning of which he does not greatly vex

He is the first great painter of character, because he his soul by entering ; nor his airy way of ridiculing what

is the first great observer of it among modern European he has no intention of helping to overthrow; nor his

writers. His power of comic observation need not be light unconcern in the question whether he is, or is not,

dwelt upon again, after the illustrations of it which have an immoral writer. Or, at least, in all of these things

been incidentally furnished in these pages. More espehe has no share in qualities and tendencies, which influ

cially with regard to the manners and ways of women, ences and conflicts unknown to and unforeseen by him may be safely said to have ultimately made characteristic

which often, while seeming so natural to women themof Englishmen. But he is English in his freedom and

selves, appear so odd to male observers, Chaucer's eye

was ever on the alert. But his works likewise contain frankness of spirit ; in his manliness of mind ; in his preference for the good in things as they are to the good

passages displaying a penetrating insight into the minds

of men, as well as a keen eye for their manners, together in things as they might be; in his loyalty, his piety, his truthfulness. Of the great movement which was to

with a power of generalizing, which, when kept within mold the national character for at least a long series of

due bounds, lies at the root of the wise knowledge of

mankind, so admirable to us in our great essayists, from generations he displays no serious foreknowledge; and

Bacon to Addison, and his modern successors. ... of the elements already preparing to affect the course of

It was by virtue of his power of observing and drawthat movement he shows a very incomplete consciousness.

ing character, above all, that Chaucer became the true But, of the health and strength which, after struggles

predecessor of two several growths in our literature, in many and various, made that movement possible and

both of which characterization forms a most important made it victorious, he, more than any of his contempo

element-it might, perhaps, be truly said, the element raries, is the living type and the speaking witness. Thus,

which surpasses all others in importance. From this like the times to which he belongs, he stands half in and

point of view the dramatic poets of the Elizabethan age half out of the middle ages, half in and half out of a

remain unequaled by any other school or group of dramphase of our national life which we can never hope to

atists, and the English novelists of the eighteenth and understand more than partially and imperfectly. And it

nineteenth centuries by the representatives of any other is this, taken together with the fact that he is the first

development of prose-fiction. In the art of construction, English poet to read whom is to enjoy him, and that he

in the invention and the arrangement of incident, these garnished not only our language but our literature with

dramatists and novelists may have been left behind by blossoms still adorning them in vernal freshness, which

others; in the creation of character they are, on the makes Chaucer's figure so unique a one in the gallery of

whole, without rivals in their respective branches of our great English writers, and gives to his works an in

literature. To the earlier, at least, of these growths, terest so inexhaustible for the historical as well as for the

Chaucer may be said to have pointed the way. His literary student.

personages--more especially, of course, those who are

assembled together in the prologue to the “Canterbury The most valuable chapter, of course, is that on

Tales"-are not mere phantasms of the brain, or even “Chaucer's Life and Works," which occupies more

mere actual possibilities, but real human beings, and than half the volume. In it Professor Ward has gath- types true to the likeness of whole classes of men and ered and linked together all those bits of biographic women, or to the mold in which all human nature is cast. This is, upon the whole, the most wonderful, as it themselves. She did this not because of any exaltais perhaps the most generally recognized, of Chaucer's tion of pious fervor, for at the time the momentous gifts. It would not of itself have sufficed to make him a step was decided upon she was in the toils of religreat dramatist, had the drama stood ready for him as a

gious doubt ; nor because of “blighted affections" literary form into which to pour the inspirations of his

or disgust with the world, for the pride of life and genius, as it afterward stood ready for our great Eliza

the pleasures of the senses were always strong withbethans. But to it were added in him that perception of a strong dramatic situation and that power of finding in her ; nor Irom the desire for remunerative employthe right words for it which have determined the suc- ment, for her home was secure, and after her father's cess of many plays, and the absence of which materially death she would possess an independent fortune. detracts from the completeness of the effect of others, Endowed with personal beauty which could not have high as their merit may be in other respects.

failed to secure her a marked position in any society;

with talents which would have commanded success Provided with Professor Ward's monograph and

in almost any department of intellectual effort ; with with Mr. Arthur Gilman's Riverside edition of the

the refined tastes and instincts of a carefully nurtured poet's works, reviewed in a recent number of the

and mentally cultivated lady; with an exceptionally Journal,” the reader will find himself better

keen appetite for the delights of life and society; equipped for an intelligent appreciation and enjoy

and with ample opportunities for enjoying them if ment of Chaucer's poetry than any previous genera

she had chosen ; possessed of every possible temptation of students has been.

tion and inducement to the customary life of selfish pleasure and occupation, she deliberately turned

from them all in the heyday of her health and beauWHOEVER has fallen under the malign influence ty, and devoted herself to that hospital-nursing of “that worst of all skepticisms, a disbelief in hu- which, while it involves much noble and skillful man goodness," should read that biography of “Sis- work, involves also the performance of menial offices ter Dora" which, it is not surprising to hear, has from which the very dregs of society turn with dismade so profound an impression upon the English gust. Why did she do this? Her motive was simreading public.* It has been finely said by one who ply and solely the desire “ to do good to others" ; knew her well that the life of Sister Dora exemplis and this object she pursued with an energy, an eagerfied “the sublime possibilities of Christianity”; but ness, an enthusiastic devotion which far surpassed in while her peculiarly vivid and vital faith no doubt ardor even that selfish greed which is peculiarly sustained her through many an arduous and discour characteristic of the age, and which her whole life aging experience, yet it must be said that her career, rebukes and puts to shame. “Money itself,” says rightly considered, can not fail also to exalt our es- her biographer, “was valuable to her only that she timate of that poor human nature which has been so might spend it on others." much denounced and decried. For, if Sister Dora It is not our intention to summarize the story was distinctively a product of Christianity, she was which Miss Lonsdale has told so well—with such certainly a unique and unprecedented product. straightforward frankness and simplicity of style. Hers was no pious asceticism or exaltation of mys. It would be hopeless to attempt to improve upon the tic emotion, but a most wholesome and human per- manner of its telling ; and no one, we imagine, will sonality; and her profound belief in the efficacy of think the story too long in its present shape. On good works would have shocked and grieved the the contrary, in these days of voluminous “memoirs," typical theologian of the old school.

it is difficult to avoid the feeling that less than adeSister Dora was not a member of one of the quate justice has been done to a most fruitful sub. Roman Catholic orders, as might naturally be in- ject. This, however, is to make the mistake of ferred from her title. The daughter of a clergyman measuring such work by quantity instead of quality, of the Church of England, she was herself a zealous and a closer consideration will suffice to show that, member of that Church ; and the title by which she in the case of Sister Dora, the life and the record of is likely to become so widely known was derived it are singularly harmonious with each other. And from her temporary connection with the Sisterhood we are confident of receiving the heart-felt thanks of of the Good Samaritans, a secular community of all readers who shall follow our recommendation to voluntary associates who occupied themselves with read the little book for themselves. nursing and other “works of mercy" in different parts of the United Kingdom. At the age of twenty-nine she left her comfortable home, contrary to THE contempt for politics and politicians which her father's wishes, to teach a poor parish school in

has found expression in nearly every other departa remote village ; at the age of thirty-two she joined

ment of our literature was sure, sooner or later, to the Sisterhood, and the remainder of her most labori. En

find its way into fiction, and it is rather surprising ous life was devoted unreservedly to those "works

than otherwise that “ Democracy"* should be the of mercy" which the Sisterhood had marked out for

first essay in a subject which, if not fruitful, was

sure to enlist a certain amount of popular sympathy, * Sister Dora. A Biography. By Margaret Lonsdale. With a Portrait. From the sixth English edition. * Democracy. An American Novel. Leisure Hour Boston : Roberts Brothers. 16mo, pp. 290.

Series. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 16mo, pp. 374.

lot

The scene of this new “American novel" is laid in Madame de Rémusat have rendered familiar to all Washington, and the author has evidently enjoyed the world. exceptional opportunities for getting behind the Such books may afford amusement of an acrid scenes as well as before the footlights. Its hero is a sort-and “Democracy” is extremely amusing-but Senator, compounded of the worst characteristics of it is doubtful if their reformatory value is any greater several well-known Senators living and dead ; and, than that of other methods which are mercilessly while intensely disgusted with the entire “ dance of ridiculed in it. Democracy” as exhibited at the seat of government, it is against the Senate that the author appears to feel the bitterest animosity. Here is a characteristic

PREPARED as an introduction to the new subpassage : “A certain secret jealousy of the British scription edition of Irving's works, Mr. Charles . Minister is always lurking in the breast of every

ery Dudley Warner's essay on Washington Irving has

Dudley American Senator, if he is truly democratic; for been combined with Mr. Bryant's well-known ora. democracy, rightly understood, is the government of tion, and with a chapter of reminiscences by the the people, by the people, for the benefit of Sena- late Mr. G. P. Putnam, and issued in a separate tors, and there is always a danger that the British volume for the benefit of those who are already proMinister may not understand this political principle vided with satisfactory editions of Irving.* Regardas he should." This comes early in the story ; at a ed as a general introduction to the Irving literature, later stage the author is too angry to be epigram- Mr. Warner's essay appears to better advantag

end vents her contempt in this style: Every when regarded as an independent essay or study. It one remarked how much he (Ratcliffe, the hero of hi

hero of brings together in convenient form the well-known the story] was improved since entering the Cabinet. facts of Irving's career : it arranges them in an aniHe had dropped his senatorial manner. His clothes mated and pleasing narrative : and it comments upon were no longer congressional, but those of a re- the

the successive productions of Irving's genius in a spectable man, neat and decent. His shirts no

manner which will prove helpful to the reader who - longer protruded in the wrong places, nor were his

comes to them unprepared by previous reading; but shirt-collars frayed or soiled. His hair did not stray

it contributes nothing fresh to our knowledge of over his eyes, ears, and coat like that of a Scotch

a Scotch Irving, in the way either of biographical fact or of

in terrier, but had got itself cut. Having overheard critical interpretation. A fair summary of its quali. Mrs. Lee express on one occasion her opinion of ties will be given when we say that as biography it people who did not take a cold bath every morning is very good indeed ; and that as criticism it is rohe had thought it best to adopt this reform, although bustly sensible and appreciative, but not to our sense he would not have had it generally known, for it delicately discriminati

delicately discriminating. Mr. Bryant's “ Discourse savored of caste. He made an eftort not to be dic on the Life. Character, and Genius of Washington tatorial, and to forget that he had been the Prairie

Irving," delivered before the New York Historical

Irving" de Giant, the bully of the Senate. In short, what with Society in 1860, a few months after Irving's lamentMrs. Lee's influence and what with his emancipation ed death, is a well-known performance, and ranks from the Senate-chamber with its code of bad man- am

among the happiest efforts of its author. It is adners and worse morals, Mr. Ratcliffe was fast be

mirable both as oratory and as criticism, and concoming a respectable member of society whom a

tains the germs of much that Mr. Warner has worked man who had never been in prison or in politics out

out with more elaboration. Mr. Putnam's “ Recolmight safely acknowledge as a friend."

lections of Irving " are somewhat meager and tenuThis passage, whose malice is so great as to de

ous, but are interesting as far as they go, and add feat its own object, will serve to explain if not to

some intimate domestic touches to the portrait of the justify our estimate of the book. Its cleverness can

gentle author. The book, as a whole, is one which not be denied-is very remarkable, in fact ; but more

readers of Irving's works will be glad to have at than cleverness will hardly be conceded to it. The

hand. satire is pungent, at times poignant, but after all the

.... It is in no small degree creditable to result is vituperation rather than delineation—it is a

is “Gath” and to journalism that, in the midst of his as if little Miss Mowcher had set herself to portray

exacting labors as a “ Washington correspondent," the “nobility and gentry” with whose superficial

he has found the time and the inclination to produce foibles she was so volubly familiar. Moreover, in

a series of sketches so imaginative, so romantic, so spite of its aristocratic air of cosmopolitan ease and

genial in sentiment, and so picturesque in descripman-of-the-world experience, there is more than a suspicion of callowness about it-of that state of

tion as the “ Tales of the Chesapeake." + Most of mind which it has become fashionable to characterize

these tales, as we gather from the brief prefatory as“ provincial." The author evidently supposes

note, have previously appeared in different forms; that the “Court" at Washington is the only Court

* Studies of Irving. By Charles Dudley Warner, where dullness, and vapid routine, and vulgar dis William Cullen Bryant, and George Palmer Putnam. play have been the rule ; thus revealing not only a New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Svo, pp. 159. lack of opportunity for personal comparisons, but a Tales of the Chesapeake. By George Alfred lack of acquaintance with historical facts which Townsend ("Gath"). With Portrait. New York : Saint-Simon, and De Tocqueville, and Taine, and American News Company. 16mo, pp. 285.

but for most readers probably, as for ourselves, they party of emigrants for that distant region." This will possess the charm of novelty, in addition to that passage is a fairly accurate summary both of the aumore lasting charm which comes from their fine and thor's character and of the reminiscences of his long distinct literary flavor. Of the twenty-seven pieces and adventurous life. Born on the borders when which the little book contains, fourteen, including the “border” was still east of the Mississippi, Mr. the highly poetic and graceful " Introduction," are Burnett led the advancing wave of population first in verse—the rest being in prose, which itself not to Missouri, then by ox-cart across the continent to seldom “werges on the poetical," as Mr. Wegg Oregon, where he was one of the earliest settlers, would say. Nearly all, both in prose and verse, are and then to California when the discovery of gold suffused with that local color which constitutes a summoned thither all such bold and adventurous principal charm of such writing, and some possess spirits ; and the author is not mistaken in thinking the genuine legendary flavor. The Eastern Shore that the record of his own life throws valuable light of Maryland would soon become classic ground upon the history of the Western and Pacific States, under such treatment; and even Washington takes The “Recollections” are somewhat rambling and on a new and more winning aspect when contem- discursive in subject and style, but in general they plated from the view-point of “ Crutch, the Page.” are highly readable. The author is particularly To everything that he touches, Mr. Townsend im- goud at telling a story, and his narrative of the parts a certain imaginative heightening; and those Donner Lake tragedy contains details which we have who are not convinced by his “ Introduction " that not seen in any previous version. he is a genuine poet should turn to his closing verses .... The Napoleon “boom," to borrow a phrase on “Old St. Mary's." The charm of this latter from the political vocabulary, is not likely to suggest piece is indescribably romantic, caressing, and ten- a more interesting revival than that of the "Memoirs der, as witness the following stanza :

of Napoleon, his Court and Family," * by the DuchA fruity smell is in the schoolhouse lane ;

ess d’Abrantes, which have been long out of print The clover bees are sick with evening heats;

and are practically unknown to the present generaA few old houses from the window-pane

tion of readers. The Duchess enjoyed very excepFling back the flame of sunset, and there beats tional opportunities for such work as she undertook, The throb of oars from basking oyster fleets,

and though her “Memoirs " seldom rise above the And clangorous music of the oyster-tongs

level of chit-chat and gossip, yet they deal with such Plunged down in deep bivalvulous retreats,

a throng of illustrious personages, and with such And sound of seine drawn home with negro songs.

momentous events, that their interest and value are .... In the preface to his “ Recollections and scarcely impaired by the lack of literary skill on the Opinions of an Old Pioneer," * Mr. Peter H. Bur- part of the author. It is particularly interesting to nett, the author, says: “I was born a pioneer, as compare them on certain points with the recently Nashville at the date of my birth was but a small published “ Memoirs of Madame de Rémusat." The village, and Tennessee a border-State, but thinly Duchess retained to the last those generous illusions populated. I have been a pioneer most of my life ; regarding Napoleon which were dissipated after a and whenever, since my arrival in California, I have time by Madame de Rémusat's more piercing vision; seen a party of immigrants with their ox-teams and and she presents the other side—the rose-color aswhite-sheeted wagons, I have been excited, have pect-of those traits and occurrences which Madame felt younger, and was for the moment anxious to de Rémusat criticises with such asperity. Read tomake another trip. If the theory of Symmes had gether, the two versions furnish the needful correcbeen proven by time to be true, and had a fine and tion to each other, and enhance each other's interest : accessible country been discovered at the north or the masculine vigor and conciseness of Madame de south pole before I attained the age of sixty, I Rémusat being admirably complemented by Mashould have been strongly tempted to organize a dame Junot's copious and picturesque embroidery.

* Recollections and Opinions of an Old Pioneer. By * Memoirs of Napoleon, his Court and Family. By Peter H. Burnett, First Governor of the State of Cali- the Duchess d'Abrantes (Madame Junot). In Two Vol. fornia. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 12mo, umes. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 12mo, pp. 588, Pp. 448.

548.

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