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• of some eager followers, (now feebly re-echoed in this country) --that the higher animals pass through stages of development, ' which are permanent in the lower—expressly tell us that such • views are one-sided and insufficient. 'I'he views they offer to
wards a system of nature are not made up of materialism, • the offspring of that grand (but sometimes mistaken) idealism • which pervades the philosopliy of their country::-(Dr Clark.)
We conclude, then, that our anthor's work is not merely shallow and superficial, but utterly false throughout to all the principles of sound philosophy. Of all the books we ever read, it puts before us the largest congeries of positive mistatements, and positively false conclusions. But it is pleasantly written, it is systematic, and it has been prepared for the press with no common care; so that its errors are not the mere errors of inadvertency; and its language (with one or two gross exceptions which we have pointed out) is so reverent, and so like the solemnity of truth, that we are compelled (almost against our senses) to believe that the author is actually labouring under some strange delusion, whereby he cheats himself, while he is doing his best to cheat others; by turning upside down every rule of sound Induction, and by affirming, again and again, and in every solemn form of language, that which is at direct variance with the plainest acknowledged facts of nature.
For our own parts we trust, in all good hope, that human knowledge will go on in the right road of sober Inductive truth ; and if that be its direction, we can look for no consequences but such as will tend to the good of the human race. But woe to the world if our knowledge is to be made up of idle speculations, like those we have been reviewing—as endless as a spider's thread, and of no substance or profit.' Instead of this, we must seek knowledge at the fountain head-in the order of nature—and in an humble contemplation of her works; so may we rise, step by step, to a more lofty knowledge; which, if we be right minded, • will not be a tower of state for a proud mind to
raise itself upon—or a fort or commanding ground for strife and contention-or a shop for profit or sale—but a rich storehouse ' for the glory of the Creator and the relief of man's estate.'*
* Lord Bacon.-Connected with this part of the article, we earnestly recommend to our readers, a small volume by Dr Whewell, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, entitled Indications of the Creator, very recently published. Though, with the exception of the preface, it consists of Extracts from works published some time before the appearance of the Vestiges of Creation,' it meets the author's argument at many of its most important points.
Art. II.- The Child of the Islands. A Poem. By the Hon.
Mrs Norton. 8vo. London: 1845.
approve-the genuine product of a cultivated mind, a rich fancy, and a warm, well-regulated heart. The aim is noble, the tone elevated, the train of thought refined and chastened though singularly fearless, the choice of images and illustrations judicious, and the language often beautiful and always clear ;-a very rare merit among the new school of poets, male and female, who, if they can equal some of the (unfortunately) popular models in nothing else, seem resolved at all events to be a match for the best of them in mysticism. We find in almost every page of the elegant volume before us some bold burst, graceful allusion, or delicate touch—some trait of external nature, or glimpse into the recesses of the heart—that irresistibly indicates the creating or transfiguring power of genius, and leaves little or nothing to question or discuss for the moment, but the individual tendency and application of that power.
The feelings ever uppermost in the mind of the writer areindignation against the petty conventional observances and factitious notions, which check or warp the impulses, and paralyze the exertions, of the higher classes; and sympathy-glowing, acting, breathing sympathy--with the poor and the oppressed. Her indignation sometimes verges on bitterness; her sympathy sometimes hurries her into forgetfulness of that compensating law of Providence which parcels out happiness with little reference to wealth ; but we forget the occasional error, or even injustice, in our admiration of her spirit, generosity, and devotedness; and we are the more anxious to do homage to her just claims and real merits as the denouncer of selfishness and the champion of the poor ; because we know that the opinions she now advocates with such earnestness, were hers at a period when the advocacy of some of them was a service of danger and selfsacrifice for a woman mingling in the gay circles of society, and when there were no voices (certainly none to which the public would listen) to catch up and repeat her cry of • au secours. . In her · Curious Customs of the County of Middlesex, printed ten years ago, we find the same complaints of the deteriorating effects of fashion and frivolity in inducing confirmed habits of egotism : her earliest poem, • Rosalie,' is full to overflowing of a sweetly and passionately expressed compassion for the suffering classes ; while · A Voice from the Factories,' (1836,) and some wellknown letters to the Times reprinted in the notes to this volume, alone suffice to show that she endeavoured to call attention to the
topics now universally discussed; long before the high-born and powerful had brought philanthropy into fashion, or the rival writers of fiction, whether verse or prose, had selected it as the staple of our light literature. Far be it from us to insinuate that these have copied aught from Mrs Norton, or from one another. Mr Thomas Sheridan (her father) used to say, that a thought sometimes went walking about the world, and lodged in several people's heads in such quick succession, that they were sure to quarrel in the end as to who gave it house-room first; the fact being, that the same trains of thought naturally arise in the minds of those who are watching the same state of things, or looking in the same direction about the same time. It is fortunate, therefore, that the originality of opinions, or the priority of views, is of far less importance than their soundness or their truth; and it is the high praise of this writer that (with the exception of two or three passages) she is never hurried into those errors of logic, if not of feeling, which are ordinarily committed by enthusiasts in this particular line. She does not tell the rich that they have only to strip themselves of their superfluities, and give money; she does not tell the poor that their sufferings are all owing to their taskmasters; she does not teach that marriage is a state to be encouraged or undertaken without regard to circumstances ; nor that those who indulge their affections and have families, are uniformly entitled to call for aid on those who refrain, from prudential motives, from indulging the same affections and have no families. She has no pet scheme for reviving the Golden Age, or changing our present gloomy prospect for a gayer one, as a scene from St Giles is turned into a fairy palace at a pantomime. She feels that all social improvement is progressive, and that no class can be materially amended or benefited from without. But this, she urges in effect, is no reason for leaving one individual man to perish ; still less for leaving entire classes to suffer without condolence, conspire without warning, or grow angry and unjust without a cause.
The pervading feeling of the Poem may be traced in such stanzas as these, which follow a heart-rending and we fear not altogether fanciful picture of the worn-out labourer in search of work, lying down to die on the cropped harvest :• Oh! the green mounds, that have no head-stones o'er them,
To tell who lies beneath, in slumber cold ;
The Pauper graves, for whom no church bells tolld:
What, if our startled senses could behold, (As we to Sabbath-prayer walk calmly by,)
Their visionary epitaphs enroll'd ; Upstanding grimly 'neath God's equal sky, Near the white-sculptured tombs where wealthier Christians le !
• Then we should think : then we should cry, Alas!
Then many a pulse would flutter mournfully,
For in this chequer'd world of ours, we see
Much Carelessness, but little Cruelty ;
There dwelleth in us a deep sympathy,
Or in the allusion to the following mock-patriot :
• Solemn the malediction set on him
Who doth“ pervert the judgment” of the poor,
The meagre light which led them heretofore.
Faces he knows not-weak ones who deplore
Night's veil of darkness cannot cover o'er
But every one may lend a helping hand; eloquence, reason, self-devotion, enthusiasm, and high-mindedness, are not the exclusive patrimony of a class; and the good fight must be fought with weapons which every honest-hearted, earnest, enlig htened man may aspire to wield alongside the proudest and noblest :
• Hath Science, in her march, avow'd no claims
But theirs, first train’d in Academic letters ?
Peasants themselves, of peasant-sons begetters,
Who taught that light to some, miscalld their Betters ?
Filed through the links of Folly's golden fetters ;
• Yet doubly beautiful it is to see
One, set in the temptation of High Class,
Of a great nature, strong to over. pass
The check of circumstance and choking miss
Mirror each thought in Honour's stainless glass ;
Oh! Graceful seems the bending of his brow;
Lovely the earnestness that fills his eyes ;
(Spark of that same great Light which never dies,)
With hope, not fear, they watch his gradual rise :-
Cheer in the race-and glory in the prize,
This is holding the balance fairly, and making just allowances for the besetting sins or inherent weaknesses of both classes, for the roughness, rudeness, impatience of control and headlong destructive energy which usually characterise reformers taken from the people; as well as for the indifference, irresoluteness, self-indulgent habits, and effeminacy, which too often fatally impair the best exertions of the patriot members of the aristocracy. Even Falkland, a man of pure life and untainted morals, had a dash of these, or wanted something to complete the beau-ideal of the patriot noble in troubled times; for just before the battle of Newbury, where he fell, he is described by Hume as despairing of his country, and moving about with downcast countenance and neglected dress, murmuring Peace. It has been made a subject of speculation among the gay circles of the metropolis who Mrs Norton's modern Falkland is; and several distinguished families are eagerly contending for the honour of having produced and trained him. We rejoice at the contest, if only on the principle suggested by King Henry's exclamation on hearing of Percy's death at Chevy Chase
• I trust I have within my realm
Five hundred good as he.' At the same time we feel bound to express our conviction, that no portrait or personal allusion was intended; that the fair author had no direct intention of immortalizing either a member of Young England or a member of the Government; and that the future annotators of her poem will do well to leave
one, set in the temptation of High Class,' without a note. In fact, this diseased appetite for such discoveries,-for finding personalities in works of fiction where the writers are unconscious of them, is a melancholy token of the corruption of taste, and betrays the fatal prevalence of wrong principles of criticism ; for copying is the lowest branch of art, and the very utmost the true craftsman will permit himself, (or from the very nature of his craft could venture on,) would be to take the traits or features which best suit the purpose in view from all quarters, and then mould the materials thus collected into an barmoni.