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Or hint, or think, that I, the Queen o' Scots-
By me declined-for honour and my son-
MORAY. Do you deny your mating with his slayer?
The forceful mating-well you know the truth-
To think the rebel ever was my friend!
"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 Warnings. By R. H. Scott, M.A. H. S. King and Co. London, 1876.-An important addition has lately been made to the intelligence communicated by our daily newspapers, in the shape of the weather charts, which, even with the aid of the explanatory remarks appended, are still far from easy to understand properly without some further information.
The special object of Mr. Scott's work is to supply this information. As Director of the Meteorological Office, he must be considered to possess special qualifications for the useful task he has undertaken. Avoiding theoretical discussion, except so far as is necessary for his purpose, he confines himself to a simple description of the various instruments and methods of weather observation now in use, pointing
out some of the imperfections in our meterological information, and confirming his statements by references to facts. Nothing can be clearer than his explanations and descriptions, with the numerous illustrations by which they are accompanied. To ensure a perfect comprehension and recollection of his remarks, he takes the trouble to recapitulate what he has said, not only at the end of separate chapters, but also the substance of several chapters forming a division of the subject. Hence, no one can read his work without learning the full meaning and value of weather charts, and at the same time getting a correct idea of the present state of our weather knowledge.
Mr. Scott exposes the error of supposing that sufficiently trustworthy indications of
change can be obtained from any single barometer, and insists on the necessity of comparing the readings of barometers at numerous distant stations, the differences between which, like differences in level, are denoted by gradients. These gradients" are expressed in hundredths of an inch of mercury per one degree of sixty nautical miles." They afford about the best available means of learning the approach of storms. Even sudden changes in a single barometer cannot be taken as safe guides. It is necessary to compare several, spread over a large surface, and to do this often. Mr. Scott complains that the reports received at the Meteorological Office are far from frequent enough.
"The signal office at Washington receives three reports every day from each of its stations; but, as is well known, that office is most liberally supplied with funds by Congress. Our own Meteorological Office, however, can afford
only one at eight A.M., from most of our stations, and at best we only get additional reports at two P.M. and at six P.M. from a few places. As regards Sunday mornings, our information does not reach us till next day."
It is only by knowing the meteorological condition of districts around us that we can calculate with any approach to certainty as to the kind of weather we are likely to have; yet this indispensable knowledge is not attainable by readers of newspapers, or even subscribers to the Daily Weather Report, till several hours, and often a whole day, after its arrival. If reports cannot be obtained more than once a day, it would seem more convenient to fix eight P.M. for their reception than 8 A.M. They would then be only about twelve hours old by the time they reached the public eyc, which would often make all the difference.
The information supplied by the weather reports is necessarily meagre; many important particulars, especially with regard to the clouds and the sky, being omitted. Nor are the instruments always so perfect, or the observers so well qualified, as could be wished. The instruments, Mr. Scott says, ought to be automatic, showing at a glance the movements that have taken place since the last preceding observation. The observers should be persons of out-door occupations, practised in noting the changes of weather and the preceding meteorological conditions, such as coastguards, &c.
In spite, however, of the imperfections attaching to the weather charts and reports, Mr. Scott maintains that they may be of service, if properly used.
"These charts are therefore useful helps to the local observer, and will be
found so by those who study them
"On the whole it must be said that our insular and exposed position precludes us. in the present state of our knowledge, from the possibility of issuing forecasts of future weather sufficiently trustworthy to be worth publication, excepting occasionally, and then priucipally for the south-east of England."
As to the storm warnings, Mr.
The Immortals; or, Glimpses of
Light and Darkness; with all the
Mr. Michell writes on a variety of topics, and in varied forms. "Sibyl of Cornwall," is an attempt at senIn "The sational story in verse. Heart's Great Rulers," we have a series of sketches illustrative of the passions. "Pleasure" contains similar illustrations of the various objects, pursuits, and passions from which pleasure is derived, interIningled, however, with painful scenes which do not add to the harmony of the general effect.
Mr. Michell attempts a higher "The Immortals; or, flight in Glimpses of Paradise." Here, as in his Poetry of the Creation," he rashly rushes in where wiser men fear to tread, and the result is anyThe last thing but satisfactory. volume is a miscellaneous collection of sentimental pieces, without freshness of thought or depth of feeling.
In all these varied lines Mr. Michell acquits himself respectably, so far as the versification is concerned, which, though not remarkable for melodious smoothness, is free from glaring faults. His composition is, with occasional exceptions, correct, it not elegant. He is not often guilty of gross error
in point of taste, and is always wellmeaning in sentiment. The misfortune is, that a vein of rhetorical commonplace runs through all he writes. It matters not how lofty or how touching may be his theme, he does not rise above the dead level of prosaic artificiality, or give utterance to strains that even arouse the attention, much less move the heart. In short, the essentials of true poetry are not to be found in his
The following lines on the Falls of Niagara are as favourable a specimen of his descriptive writing as we have met with
"We stand below the falls; this smooth, broad rock
Is wet with spray, yet safe amidst the shock,
Goat Isle half hung in air, its cliffs moss-brown,
And tall black pines, all shivering, gazing down,
As though they shrank, but still, by some strong spell,
Would peer below, and watch the torrents swell
Watch the mad billows plunging, seething white,
The water-flakes thrown out, like bars of light;
Down, down in gulfs where maelstroms 'round are flashing;
Down, heavily down, as waves turned rocks while dashing.
Behold! but speak not; wor's may rarely be
Interpreters of mind's intensity:
When most we feel, then mutest grows the tongue,
The goddess Silence from pale Wonder sprung.
'Tis not the whirl, the bound of raging
Hurled from above, to dive in earth's deep caves;
'Tis not the mountain clouds where foam-bows shine,
Like rubies dropping from some skydeep mine,
While eagles o'er the abyss in terror
To see those waters toss, and boil, and gleam;
The writer evidently wants to be impressive. His painful straining after effect is only too apparent. He seems to think success is to be reached by worn-out rhetorical artifices, instead of by vividly realizing the scene in all its grandeur, and. being deeply stirred with the various emotions it is calculated to excite. No one can write good description -especially of such an object as Niagara-who has not an eye to see, or an imagination to conceive, and a heart to feel; and whoever possesses these requisites will disdain the use of any other art than the simple transcript of his mind. and the spontaneous utterance of his feeling. Stage trickery will be an abomination to him.
In "The Immortals " Mr. Michell gets quite beyond his depth, mixing up astronomy, philosophical speculation, and religion in strange confusion. Enchanted with the idea that the Pleiades contain the central sun, round which not only the solar system but the whole universe turns, he thinks it not improbable that near these glorious worlds, of among them, lies' the paradise or angels and of souls." He indulges in all sorts of fanciful theories, explains the nature and form of angels, without hesitation or reserve, and describes the circumstances of their creation, with a daring familiarity and minuteness of detail amounting to positive profanity. Of angels Of angels and spirits he tells us without, however, stating where he got his information from-that
"They haunt each silvery moon, they haunt the sun,
Pass and repass on beams, like bridges thrown
Across the blue, from luminous star to star."
Mr. Michell would be wise to confine himself to terrestrial topics and actual life, even if he cannot avoid triteness and superficiality in his treatment of them. As long as he keeps to the terra firma of reality he is safe from giddiness; and sober truth, however dull, is at any rate better than the wild vagaries of a disordered fancy. If Mr. Michell must write verse-though we cannot see why he should-let him at least avoid subjects beyond his
A Norse Love Story. The Pilot and his Wife. By Jonas Lie. Translated by Mrs. Ole Bull. London, Trübner and Co. 1876.Two previous publications have won
for Mr. Lie an honourable position among Scandinavian writers. was desirable that he should be introduced to English readers, who, from what they already know of Norse literature, through Andersen's admirable writings, may naturally be expected to welcome an opportunity of renewing and extending their acquaintance with it. This has been satisfactorily accomplished by Mrs. Bull, whose translation, though bearing unmistakable traces of its American origin, has the great merit of reading like an original work.
Mr. Lie having spent many years in the nothern regions as deputy of a judge, has had ample opportunity of becoming familiar with the mode of life there, some glimpses of which are to be found in his present work. Something of the stern gloom of the harsh climate seems to per vade his pages, which, though every. where instinct with vigour, sometimes striking, and at others touching, are nowhere lighted up with sparkling wit or playful humour.
We look in vain for "quips and cranks and wanton wiles." Life in those cold dark regions seems terribly real and earnest, or dreadfully dull. Such a thing as a joke appears scarcely ever to be heard or thought of. Fun is forbidden fruit, if we may judge from Mr. Lie's tale. The absence of graceful gaiety is a fatal flaw which must interfere with its success, especially as it contains little exciting adventure or startling incident, and has nothing of the sensational novel about it. Neither languishing young ladies nor fast young men are likely to find here the sort of reading they want.
Most love stories, after describing in detail the various persons and events that prevent the smooth flow of the course of true lovethe intrigues, the difficulties, and