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tions of human genius to certain limited and set themes, and to conventional manners of treating them. But, still, that there are subjects that are badthat no writing can elevate—that must sink under their inherent weight and deformity, dragging every thing with them, is evident on a moment's reflection. We could mention a score of such subjects in a breath ; and to come home to M. Hugo, we could cull half of that number (not to say the whole) from his various productions.

We believe that several of the rather numerous works of this young French author have, in different ways, been presented to the notice of the English public. We have no intention here of giving an analysis of either; but, contenting ourselves with a list of them, in the order they appeared, shall, after a brief remark or two, hasten to the consideration of his last volume, “Les Orientales."

The first thing of any consequence he published, was a collection of Odes and Ballads, which contained some magnificent lines on the Funerailles de Louis XVIII. (In an after edition he added an Ode, equally admired, à la Colonne,"—the Column of Victory.) In prose, he has produced three romances, “Ilans d'Islande,” in 4 vols.;

Bug Jargal,” in 3 vols.; Le dernier jour d'un condamné," 1 vol. These three tales are, almost as much as it is possible to be, in the “raw-head and bloody-bone” school :-the horrible is throughout carried to an excess that is painful and red pulsive, except occasionally when it lends itself to the ridiculous. He is, moreover, the author of an historical drama on an English subject, “ Cromwell,” written in rhymed verse, as French tragedies are, but on the romantic, or irregular, or what we might call the Shakspearian model. It contains striking passages, but at the same time great misconception of character, and a general vagueness or indeterminateness of execution. He has now in the press a new historical romance in two vols. entitled “Notre Dame de Paris," which according to his proneurs, is very original, replete with character, very dramatic, and unlike Walter Scott! The last merit is not considered the least, as these gentlemen conceive our northern bard has so completely monopolized the domains of romance, that it is, in the present day, next to impossible for an author to enter on them, without assimilating himself to him. A une époque, ou ľ imitation de Walter Scott est presque une contagion nécessaire, même pour des très hauts talents, Victor Hugo s'est tenu à l'abri du soupçon par une diversité de manière incontestable.Such is the complacent assertion of M. Hugo's friend, the author of the Article de louanges (which we have referred to) at the head of the “ Orientales”-and it is an assertion that nobody will be inclined to dispute. The diversity between “Waverley," “ Ivanhoe," the “ Crusaders,” or

" any other given romance of Sir Walter, and “ Hans d'Islande,'' “Bug Jargal," and "Le dernier jour d'un condamné," is, in truth, incontestable! Cela saute aur yeux ! But to his poetry, which is far better than his romances in prose. :

The present volume contains a number of short pieces, with a very few exceptions, on Greek and Turkish subjects, and referring to the momentous events of which the Levant has lately been

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the scene. The second poem in the collection is devoted to the

good Canaris," the terror of sea-faring Ottomans. It is bold as the hero it celebrates. Canaris is the purest patriot, and altogether the best man (the writer of this article speaks from personal acquaintance) that the Greek revolution has brought on the scene. It is worth while remarking too, even here, that this burner of “high Admirals” with their tens and their hundreds, who, from his terrific exploits, might be deemed some fire-fiend, is in his private character one of the mildest and most humane of men. His modesty and bonhommie are extreme, and the more remarkable and admirable, as they are qualities rarely found among the virtues of Greeks, ancient or modern. M. Hugo seems to have been well in formed of his real character when he called him “ le bon Canaris,

The poem next in order is entitled “ Les têtes du Serail," and is equally singular and daring. Canaris, who seems to have occupied the author's mind in a degree inferior only to the great Lui,figures here also.

It was written in 1826, after the taking of Mis. solonghi by the Turks, at which time it was generally stated that the hero had fallen a victim before the fortress he had in vain attempted to relieve. M. Hugo imagines a dialogue, at the gate of the Seraglio, between the head of Canaris (transferred there), the head of the modern Leonidas, Marco Bozzari, whose body had been exhumated after the capture of Missolonghi, to supply the horrid trophy, (a fable by the bye!) and the head of Joseph, bishop of Rogous, who fell at Missolonghi, as a christian priest and patriot soldier. The dialogue is introduced by a description of the Se. raglio, which is poetical, pretty, and not much unlike that melancholy and mysterious place. Canaris opens the conversation, and it might amuse the honest sailor to hear how well he can talk when his head is off—he who in his lifetime could do, but never saywho has ever been so deficient in oratory that, in spite of his brilliant services in the cause, his voice has never been listened to in council-so poor a hand at a speech or a description, that there was scarcely a cabin-boy on board his ships but could give a better account of his burning the Capitan Pasha off Scio, and of his other exploits of the like nature, than he, who conceived and executed alla La première Voix (or Canaris)

Où suis-je..? mon brûlot! à la voile ! à la rame!
Frères, Missolonghi fumante nous réclame,
Les Turcs ont investi ses remparts généreux.
Renvoyons leurs vaisseaux à leurs villes lointaines,

Et que ma torche, ô capitaines !
Soit un phare pour vous, soit un foudre pour eux !
Partons! Adieu Corinthe et ton haut promontoire,
Mers dont chaque rocher porte un nom de victoire,
Eccueils de l'Archipel sur tous les flots semés,
Belles îles des cieux et du printemps chéries,
Qui le jour paraissez des corbeilles fleuries,

La nuit, des vases parfumés !_*

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* M. Hugo commits a mistake in making Canaris apostrophize the island of Hydra as his native place,– he is an Ipsariot. Had his advice been taken, the

him weep

In rather a long poem on the battle of Navarino, Canaris is again the object of M. Hugo's predilection. He invokes him-he bids

“ like Crillon exiled from a combat,” that he—“ the demon of the waters," was not present at the grand and conclusive scene of blood, and fire, and Ottoman destruction. Besides the Greek subjects, the “


contains poems on Turkish manners and superstitions—imitations of the MorescoSpanish ballad, and certain other matter that can scarcely be called Eastern. In a piece entitled “the Djinns” (malignant spirits that preside at deaths, earthquakes, and the destruction of cities,) the author has taken such unprecedented liberties with French versification, that we must quote a few lines. 1.

2. Murs, ville,

Dans la plaine

Naît un bruit.

C'est l'haleine
De mort

De la nuit.
Mer grise

Elle brame
Où brise

Comme une âme
La brise ;

Qu'une flamme
Tout dort.

Toujours suit.

La voix plus haute

La rumeur approche;
Semble un grelot.-

L'écho la redit.
D'un nain qui saute

C'est comme la cloche
C'est le galop:

D'un couvent maudit;
Il fuit, s'élance,

Comme un bruit de foule,
Puis en cadence

Qui tonne et qui roule,
Sur un pied dance

Et tantôt s'écroule
Au bout d'un flot.

Et tantôt grandit.

Dieu ! la voix sépulcrale
Des Djinns...! Quel bruit ils font-

Et port,

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This curious rhythm_these lines of a word—these bold attempts at imitative harmonythough not uncommon in Italian poetry, since the time of Redi’s magnificent Dithyrambic, “Il Bacco in Toscana," are great novelties in French.

One of the last and best poems in the volume, Lui,” (the pronoun will require no comment) furnishes the following fine passage:

Toujours lui! lui partout !-ou brulante ou glacie,
Son image sans cesse ébranle ma pensée.
Il verse à mon esprit le souffle créateur.
Je tremble, et dans ma bouche abondent les paroles,
Quand son nom gigantesque, entouré d'auréoles,

Se dresse dans mon vers de toute sa hauteur, bloody catastrophe at Ipsara, would have been prevented or delayed. He was for meeting the Turkish fleet with the brigs and brulots of the island. The more numerous party relied on a mercenary Albanian garrison, and lost all. March, 1829.


Là, je le vois, guidant l'obus aux bonds rapides ;
Là, massacrant le peuple au nom des régicides ;
Là, soldat, aux tribuns arrachant leurs pouvoirs;
Là, Consul jeune et fier, amaigri par des veilles
Que des rêves d'empire emplissaient de merveilles

Pâle sous ses longs cheveux noirs.
Puis, Empereur puissant, dont la tête s'incline,
Gouvernant un combat du haut de la colline,
Promettant une étoile a ses soldats joyeux,
Faisant signes aux canons qui vomissent des flammes,
De son âme à la guerre armant six cent mille âmes,
Grave et serein, avec un éclair dans les yeux.
Puis, pauvre prisonnier, qu'on raille et qu'on tourmente,
Croisant ses bras oisifs sur son sein qui fermente,
En proie aux geôliers vils, comme un vil criminel,
Vaincu, chauve, courbant son front noir de nuages,
Promenant sur un roc où passent les orages

Sa pensée, orage éternel.







This is a very distressing subject, and we approach it with much pain. Not that we go along with those who believe the real increase of crime to be very great— the chief proportion of its apparent increase being, as we shall presently shew, attributable to the increase of population, and to the great number of cases now proceeded in, which were left alone before. But it is impossible to blind ourselves to the fact that a vast mass of crime does take place in this country—to diminish which must be an object most near the heart of every well-wisher of his species. We have before us the reports of two Committees of the House of Commons which sat last Session-one on the Police of the Metropolis, the other on Criminal Commitments and Convictions throughout England. To the former document we must for the present confine ourselves ; inasmuch as the more immediate causes, and thence the remedies of crime, are so thoroughly different in London and in the country, that the considering both together would lead only to confusion. We shall hereafter give some attention to the other report we have mentioned—which will embrace the whole subject. And first as to the state of Crime,

The ultimate result of the enquiries of the Committee-all the minutiæ of which are given in tables most ingeniously contrived, and elaborately worked out—is, that in the seven years ending 1827, as compared with the seven years ending 1817 *, the annual increase of committals is 48 per cent. ; and of convictions, 55. Against this the Committee set an increase in the population of the metropolis of 19 per cent.- leaving 36 per cent, still to be accounted for. If this were all attributed to the increase of depravity, it would be a very false

* These series were chosen as “commencing at the period at which the previous Population Returns had been completed.”

deduction. In the first place, a considerable portion of the increase has arisen from more active and general prosecution of petty offences. We shall quote the opinion of the Committee on Criminal Commitments and Convictions, on this—for this applies equally to London and the country :

“Your Committee have much satisfaction in stating their confirmed opinion, that great part of the increase in the number of criminal commitments arises from other causes than the increase of crime. Offences which were formerly either passed over entirely, or were visited with a summary chastisement on the spot, are now made occasions of commitment to gaol and regular trial. Mr. Dealtry, a magistrate for the West. Riding of the county of York, says, 'I think one reason we may give for the increase of crime, or the greater exhibition of it to public view, is the seizure and delivery to the police of all those who commit offences, that are styled offences at all. I remember, in former days, persons were taken and pumped upon, or something of that sort; but now they are handed over to the police, and tried on it.' Sir Thomas Baring, and other witnesses, gave a similar testimony. The Malicious Trespass Act, the Act for paying prosecutors their expenses in cases of misdemeanour, and other acts not necessary to mention, have tended to fill the prisons, without any positive increase of crime. The magistrates, likewise, are more ready to commit than they used to be; and the fees paid to their clerks are a temptation to bring before them every case of petty offence arising out of village squabbles, or trifling disorders."Report from Select Committee on Criminal Commitments and Convictions, p. 4.

Sir Thomas Baring, in his evidence, explains this last allusion, by saying, that the clerks of magistrates being paid by fees, the increase of business is an advantage to them, and that therefore they may be tempted to induce the constables to bring petty offences before the magistrates which otherwise would not be prosecuted. He does not “ wish to state that it is positively the case”—but it is manifest from the tone of his evidence, that, though he does not know an individual instance, he believes such a practice to exist. And, indeed, it is natural that it should. This is a petty instance of the abominable system, of which we shall shew the darker effects presently, which pervades the whole of our criminal jurisprudence,—the making it, namely, the interest of those whose business it is to suppress crime that crime should exist.

It is to be observed—and the observation is most consolatory, that the whole of the increase of crime has been among the petty offences -small thefts especially. The darker class has greatly decreased ;crimes against the person, and all crimes of violence and ferocity are fewer. There never was a time at which the lives and persons of the community were so safe. The increase has been wholly among the minor order of thefts—and, we think, both these results can easily be attributed to their real causes.

The decrease of violence is immediately deducible from the progress of civilization. As the minds of men are cultivated, their fiercer passions decline, and they cease to commit crimes springing from such All the more violent impulses of human nature are softened


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