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“I am not sure that, after all the various attempts at reproducing in English verse the spirit of this stately poet, we might not find that the nearest approach to success is to be found in this direction—a literal version in flowing, rapid metres, changing, if need be, sometimes, as the tone of the poet changes; now with the breathless flight of dactyls or fast-gliding undulations of anapæsts, now with the concentrated energy of long trochaic lines, and anon with the calmer stateliness of iambics. Very likely the labour of such an undertaking would not fall short of that involved in executing some, perhaps any, of the numerous poetical versions already in existence. The work would need a masterhand, a man with wealth of diction and fertility in word-handling scarce inferior to any poet; but I cannot think our noble English tongue, the language of Shakspeare, and Milton, and Tennyson, so poor in descriptive power, so meagra in picturesque vocabulary, as to be unable to represent, as closely as one need wish, the thoughts of those •far-renowned bards of ancient song.'
We fail to see the necessity or advantage of the change of metre which Mr. Way proposes. He is right enough in thinking that to be a successful translator one must have, in addition to the requisite scholarship, something of the true poet's imaginative powers, command of language, and ear for melody. Provided these qualifications are discernible in a translation, the metre adopted is a point of comparatively little consequence; and if they are wanting, the most cunningly devised variety of measure will be of no avail. Mr. Way's specimen translations of two or three passages certainly have the merit of being literal, nor are they without other recommendations; but they do not appear to gain any. thing by the varieties of metre, unless it be that greater accuracy is thus secured.
The Regent. A Play, in Five Acts and Epilogu.. By J. M. CHANSON. S. Tinsley, London, 1876.-Murray, the half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots, is the Regent of whom this play treats. The time comprised within the livo acts extends from between the murders of Rizzio and Darnley to Mary's confinement in Lochleven. The epilogue, consisting of three short scenes, represents the arrest of Lethington and the death of Murray. Thus, unlike most epilogues, it is an essential part of the play, forming, in fact, a sixth short act. This is an innovation rather than improvement upon the usual practice. The author seems to have felt it necessary to include the hero's death within the limits of the play, and yet not to have had material enough for an act. At any rate, an epilogue of such length and such a nature is a fault in construction.
Though the time embraced within the limits of the play is short, it includes some stirring events, such as Darnley's murder, Mary's marriage with Bothwell, the armed conference at Carberry, and Mary's surrender, abdication, and confinement in Lochleven. In these events the foremost men of the age are more or less concerned. To combine these materials in such a way as to produce an effective picture of the past is the task which Mr. Chanson has undertaken and performed with a fair degree of success on the whole. Generally speaking, he follows the history of the time very closely. We have noticed one or two deviations in points of detail. Thus he represents Darnley as stabbed by assassins in the house, but he is generally supposed to have been overtaken in a garden to which he had escaped, and there strangled with his page. Again, Mr. Chanson makes Bothwell escape, at Mary's suggestion, on the flight of his followers from a charge of the enemy. The fact was, however, that Mary, at the conference with Kirkcaldy of Grange, in which she surrendered herself
, stipulated that Bothwell should be allowed to go to Dunbar. Once more, Murray is here represented as requiring Mary, on pain of death, to sign a declaration that she had of her own free will executed the deed of her abdication, which is hardly consistent with the fact that such a declaration formed part of that deed. Murray's interview with Mary on this subject at Lochleven, appears thus in these pages
QUEEN. My brother ! O mon Dieu, gramercy !
[She embraces him.
(He puts her from him.
O brother, speak! and be it with a smile.
No trite dissembler I
Might better match my thoughts.
O brazen !-Wherefore ?
But judge you not it shall avail you aught :
So retribution ever follows wrong.
For lusting Greed, more cruel than the pard,
There is a life beyond !
And know them stained so foul ?
Thou ill-conditioned wretch! Dare you to say,
Oh, it is monstrous !
The forceful mating-well you know the truth-
“ Rhadaman " is a forced contraction for Rhadamanthus, still more so is "har'st" for harvest. Elsewhere Mr. Chanson has the abbreviations • lotted” for allotted, “tentive” for attentive, and tent" for attention. He also affects Scotticisms, and uses strange words, such as dule," “ timeous,” and “ timeously.” Occasionally, too, he throws the accent on the wrong syllable of a word, as on the first in “ fanatic,” and on the second in “
panacea." These blemishes would mar the effect of a greater work than Mr. Chanson’s, which, though so far successful as not to be tedious, has no claim to skill in construction, stirring incident, startling situation, masterly portraiture of character, or powerful expression of feeling. What interest there is centres in Mary and Bothwell, rather than the nominal hero of the play.
Weather Charts and Storm Warn- The special object of Mr. Scott's ings. By R. H. Scott, M.A. H. S. work is to supply this information. King and Co. London, 1876.-An As Director of the Meteorological important addition has lately been Office, he must be considered to made to the intelligence communi- possess special qualifications for cated by our daily newspapers, in
the useful task he has undertaken. the shape of the weather charts, Avoiding theoretical discussion, exwhich, even with the aid of the ex- cept so far as is necessary for his planatory remarks appended, are purpose, he confines himself to a still far from easy to understand simple description of the various properly without some further in- instruments and methods of weather formation.
observation now in use, pointing out some of the imperfections in only one at eight A.m., from most our meterological information, and of our stations, and at best we only confirming his statements by refer- get additional reports at two P.M. ences to facts. Nothing can be and at six P. m. from a few places. clearer than his explanations and As regards Sunday mornings, our descriptions, with the numerous information does not reach us till illustrations by which they are ac. next day.” companied. To ensure a perfect It is only by knowing the mecomprehension and recollection of teorological condition of districts his remarks, he takes the trouble around us that we can calculate to recapitulate what he has said, with any approach to certainty as not only at the end of separate to the kind of weather we are chapters, but also the substance of likely to have; yet this indispensseveral chapters forming a division able knowledge is not attainable of the subject. Hence, no one by readers of newspapers, or even can read his work without learn. subscribers to the Daily Weather ing the full meaning and value of Report, till several hours, and often weather charts, and at the same a whole day, after its arrival. If time getting a correct idea of the reports cannot be obtained more present state of our weather know- than once a day, it would seem ledge.
more convenient to fix eight P.M. Mr. Scott exposes the error of for their reception than 8 A.M. supposing that sufficiently trust. They would then be only about worthy indications of weather twelve hours old by the time they change can be obtained from any reached the public eyo, which single barometer, and insists on would often make all the difference. the necessity of comparing the The information supplied by the readings of barometers at numer- weather reports is necessarily meaous distant stations, the differences gre; many important particulars, between which, like differences in especially with regard to the clouds level, are denoted by gradients. and the sky, being omitted. Nor These gradients "are expressed in are the instruments always so perhundredths of an inch of mercury fect, or the observers so well qualiper one degree of sixty nautical fied, as could be wished. The miles.” They afford about the best instruments, Mr. Scott says, ought available means of learning the to be automatic, showing at a glance approach of storms. Even sudden the movements that have taken changes in a single barometer can. place since the last preceding obnot be taken as safe guides. It servation. The observers should is necessary to compare several, be persons of out-door occupations, spread over a large surface, and to practised in noting the changes of do this often. Mr. Scott complains weather and the preceding meteorthat the reports received at the ological conditions, such as coastMeteorological Office are far from guards, &c. frequent enough.
In spite, however, of the imper"The signal office at Washington fections attaching to the weather receives three reports every day charts and reports, Mr. Scott mainfrom each of its stations; but, as is tains that they may be of service, well known, that office is most if properly used. liberally supplied with funds by Congress. Our own
Meteoro- “ These charts are therefore useful logical Office, however, can afford helps to the local observer, and will be
say so little.'
found so by those who stuly them The Immortals ; or, Glimpses of regularly, and combine with that study Paradise. A Poem. London in careful and systematic observations of
Light and Darkness; with all the their own instruments, and of local
Author's shorter poems. weather; but for the purpose of judging
las Michell. W. Tegg and Co.whether a particular afternoon will be wet or fine, which is all that the public
Having in our August number generally care to know about weather,
described three volumes of Mr. it is obvious that charts which are in Michell's, we need not dwell at any many places necessarily twenty-four great length on those before us hours old cannot be of much service. We have not found anything in Moreover the phenomena, which we in- them to alter the opinion we then clude under the general term weather,' often depend in great measure
expressed, or to require much addi
tion to our observations. It is true the nature and conformation of the ground in the neighbourhood of the
we have four additional volumes of observer, so that one place will be
Mr. Michell's work to judge from, more liable to rain during disturbed but there is great saneness-and weather than another, while not much else-in all that be writes. second will exhibit a greater tendency The wonder to us is, how to the formation of fog at a calm period
can manage to write so much, and than an adjacent district might show. As, therefore, such exceptional ten.
Mr. Micbell writes on a variety of dency is confined to each special locality, and does not belong to the
topics, and in varied forms. “Sibyl phenomena produced at all stations by
of Cornwall,” is an attempt at sen. the system of circulation prevailing at sational story in verse.
In “ The the time, it is necessary that the Heart's Great Rulers," we have a observer who endeavours to forecast series of sketches illustrative of probable weather should seek to ascer- the passions. “ Pleasure" contains tain under what conditions such pecu
similar illustrations of the various liarities manifest themselves, as it would be useless to apply merely
objects, pursuits, and passions from general rules in order to see the mean
which pleasure is derived, intering of phenomena of a purely local ningled, however, with painful character. :
scenes which do not add to the “On the whole it must be said that our harmony of the general effect. insular and exposed position precludes Mr. Michell attempts a higher us, in the present state of our know
“ The Immortals ; or, ledge, from the possibility of issuing Glimpses of Paradise." Here, as
. forecasts of future weather sufficiently trustworthy to be worth publication,
in his “ Poetry of the Creation,” he excepting occasionally, and then priu
rashly rushes in where wiser men cipally for the south-east of England."
fear to tread, and the result is any
thing but satisfactory. The last As to the storm warnings,'Mr. volume is a miscellaneous collection Scott shows by a tabular statement, of sentimental pieces, without freshthat, in the years 1873 and 1874, ness of thought or depth of feeling. about 80 per cent. of those issued In all these varied lines Mr. proved correct, which is a tolerably Michell acquits himself respectably, satisfactory result.
so far as the versification is concerned, which, though not remarkable for melodious smoothness,
is free from glaring faults. His Sibyl of Cornwall ; and the composition is, with occasional exHeart's Great Rulers. l'oems. ceptions, correct, if not elegant. Pleasure: a. Poem in seren parts.
He is not often guilty of gross error