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Manon Lescaut. From the French of published, we have said, for as to their
M. l'Abbé Precost. Illustrated by Tony authors having so produced them, with the Johannot. Part I.-IV. London : unripe fruit of their imperfect, and to themTHOMAS. Dublin : Machen. 1840. selves as yet but half revealed creations,
lying piled on every stall, and cheapened at Derogatory as it may be to our character every crossway—we need not suppose that, for taste and universal acquirement, we for so they could never have been. Not must co ess we have never read the origi- thus are the wonders of art called into exnal of this work: the translation, therefore, istence, nor such the greeting men should came upon us with all the charms of no- give them. velty. And yet, what we have read of it The chief exceptions we know of, and in the four monthly parts now in our hands, those more apparent than real, are the anhas hardly equalled the expectations raised cient serious epic, as the Iliad and the in us by the warm praises of a variety of Odyssey, which have properly neither begincritics.
ning nor end; and the modern comic epic, Possibly this may be in a great measure as Don Quixote, and Tristram Shandy, in because we had it not in our power to read which the bumours of one predominant the book through at once. Any work so character deck, with their prismatic hues, simple in style as Manon Lescaut, and the entire field of vision,—the wide prosin which the interest is confined to two or pect of humanity, over which we travel three characters, must necessarily suffer with them. Productions of this kind, from a fragmentary perusal; as must, in inexhaustible as nature herself, and like her fact, every work, and especially a fiction, unique and infinite, may be better than which has any unity as a conception), or en- others apppreciated in portions, though still during merit as a work of art. Any book, their unity as existences must sink deep deserving to be called a book, be it poem, into the gazer's soul, and ever be mutely or romance, or history, must be seen as a present there, if with glad heart he would whole, and judged as a whole, before it can enjoy, or worship in a reverent spirit. be properly appreciated, or fully enjoyed. But enough, for the present occasion, of This, by the way, is one reason among topics, which, if we iarried with then, many, why books should be of moderate would lead us and our readers into many a length, and why so many mote countries maze ; we merely meant to observe, have succeeded best, and produced the apropos of the publication before us, that greatest variety of excellence, in those we think it a pity that of late in France branches of literature, on which the very and England, so many works, of long estabnature of them bas imposed the strictest lished character, should have been republimits-to wit, the Lyric, and the Dramatic lished in periodical parts, and thus in that -than in any other whatsoever.
fragmentary state, introduced, for the first Profitable as the system of piecemeal time, to the knowledge of many among the publication may be for the booksellers, and young and ardent of that enthusiastic age, some of their employés, we may yet count which books are sometimes found so strangethose ages fortunate that knew not the in- ly to affect and modify. We have been novation. They have thereby had the luck sorry to see such works as the Vicar of to produce much that they, and we alike, Wakefield, Paul and Virginia, Gulliver's must else have wanted. Let the reader, if Travels
, and many others, thus cut into he has the courage, fancy Wilhelm Meister, portions and hawked about, their wholeor Undine, or the Vicar of Wakefield, or some juices oozing through the hasty sevethe Collegians, published, for the first time, rance, made by the bungling bookseller.by weekly or monthly instalments, and pa- That some of the decorations, with which tiently deposited, layer after layer, to ripen modern publishers have too profusely or to rot in the memory's store-room, 'till adorned these simple unaffected productions, all were gathered, and the heap complete : have a good deal of merit, and are calculated to extend a taste for the fine arts, we are | Thou's history of his own time; a great not disposed to deny; but we cannot forget work, we believe, as it is undoubtedly a big that most of the advantage of such read- one, but considering what books, with all ing, depends on the force of the impres- its losses, are still the world's inheritance, sion which, on a first acquaintance with rather a strange object of such chivalrous them, they leave on the still so plastic and devotion. Another judge, (by office, and recipient mind of the young reader,—and a by antiphrasis,) made almost an equal sacribenefit of that kind, between the langour fice for the sake of studying Barclay's Arof deferred curiosity, and the glitter of genis; a book which, in our black-letter meretricious illustration, it were vain to days, we happen to have tried : our appeexpect from these monthly reprints : the tite was keen enough at the time, and amusement afforded may, perhaps, be equal books a rarity where we were, yet with all in both cases; but the charm of that sud- the good will in the world, and keys and den and complete intimacy with the off- commentaries to help us, we could not, spring of a master mind, is lost both to the either in Latin or French, get through a head and the heart.
quarter of it, but 'twas a famous book in its Manon Lescaut is, however, very far from day, so perhaps the judge was in the right. having pretensions to rank with any of the We could account for this strange turn in works above named; our excuse for this so many ermined amateurs, but it's not little digression must be found in our anx- worth the trouble. iety not to judge too harshly of a book, of An authority of a different order, and which we have only read a part, as well as one for whom we entertain great respect, in our painful consciousness, that works of is M. de Barante, in his little book, " De 'a far higher order might, in a similar plight, la Litterature Française pendant la dixbe equally the victims of a too hasty huitième siècle," a most excellent work, and censure.
considering the time at which it was writCertain it is, at all events, that critics of ten, especially remarkable for the impartial sundry climes, and characters still more dif- calmness with which, amid all the bustle of ferent and critics too of no common cali- the still protracted fray, the author views bre—bave agreed, if not in their approval, and judges the leading characters, the so at least in their admiration of Manon Les- grotesque and various masks in that carcaut. The publisher of the translation, in vival of the philosophes, of which the apan apologetic address, to which we may propriate, but too significant ending was perhaps again refer, contents himself with the culbute generale. Selecting Marivaux quoting the praise of Lord Chancellor and Prevost, from a group of once popular Camden, who says of it, that he "preferred novelists, M. de Barante remarks of the Manon Lescaut to any novel he ever read; latter :that in the whole range of romance, as far as he knew, the character of its heroine is the “ This author's mode of life had an injurious only one which owes no part of its in- effect upon his works. If he had not been forced
to make his fruitful pen a constant source of subterest to fiction or fancy; and that it is a sistence, he would undoubtedly have left a higher faithful and unexaggerated picture of ordi- reputation. In all that he has written, we find
He has a nary life, belonging to no particular age or something to please and interest us. country.” Mr. Thomas also repeats the asser- simple way of telling a story: nothing in his comtion of M. Jules Janin, that Manon Lescaut is positions, or in the style of them, seems to aim at
effect. He relates events without making them the original type of two works, the merits the subject of reflections; he depicts passionate of which are universally acknowledged, - scenes, without himself appearing moved. But as Atala, and Paul and Virginia."
the story is simply told, the reader is affected, as Whether the clever, though rather su- general the Abbé Prévost has taken little trouble
if the fact itself were passing before his eyes. In perficial Frenchman be right in this affilia- to sound the depths of passion.
Once only has he tion, admits of considerable question; and tried that sort of writing, and without abandoning as to Lord Chancellor Camden's opinion, his own peculiar manner, he has in that instance we would not give much for it. Of all proved eminently affecting. In Manon Lescaut he
has been content to be the historian of the passions, people for making queer choices, and taking
as in his other fictions he had been of mere advenqueerer likings, when in their old age they tures; but this is done with such truth, that there recommence reading,-commend us to dig- was no need of eloquence to depict the feelings of nitaries of the bench, especially if super- the heart; for him it was suficient merely to reannuated, or on the high road thereto. late them. On the whole, the character of his works
seems to belong to a different age. To tell naively One chancellor is said to have resigned his what they had seen, or fancied that they saw, to office to read, in the original latin, De put forth few reflections, to enter into ng minute VOL. III, No. XVI.
detail of sentiment, and never to affect it, was Nine out of ten of modern English the fashion of the story-tellers of the good old novels contain things just as offensive, and time; and Prevost's writings have many of these out of all comparison more likely to mischaracteristics."
lead and corrupt. Not less favourable, though based upon The illustrations, which are from the penother grounds, is the testimony of Leigh cil of the celebrated Tony Johannot, are, we Hunt, in his pleasant Essay on Ancient and think, hardly equal to some other producModern Thieces, which the curious reader tions of his; they are occasionally deficient will find in the first volume of the Indi- in spirit and in character; still, when concator.
trasted with the mode of illustration now “The only instance in which the character of so popular in England, they speak favouraan absolutely profligate pickpocket was ever made bly for the superior taste of the French peoin the extraordinary story of Manon Lescaut," by ple. If we return to this work, as it is very the Abbé Prevost. It is the story of a young possible we may upon its completion, we man, so passionately in love with a profligate fe- shall pass them in more detailed review. male, that he follows her through every species of Meantime the publication is undeniably a vice and misery, even when she is sent as a con- cheap one, and when completed will make vict to New Orleans. His love, indeed, is returned. He is obliged to subsist upon her vices,
a very handsome volume. and, in return, is induced to help her with his own, becoming a cheat and a swindler to supply Tables of Analysis in the Moist Way and her outrageous extravagances. On board the by the Blow Pipe ; together with the convict ship (if we recollect) he waits on her Chemical Symbols and Equivalents: By through every species of squalidness; the convict dress and her shaved head only redoubling his
EDWARD BRITTAN. Dublin : FANNIN. love by the help of pity. This seems a shocking London : LONGMAN, 1840. and very immoral book; yet multitudes of very Knowing of no more accurate criterion reputable people have found a charm in it. fact is, not only that Manon is beautiful, sprightly, whereby to judge of the advance of knowreally fond of her lover, and after all, becomes re- ledge among a community, than is afforded formed; but it is delightful, and ought to be so, by the character of the works, both as to to the human heart, to see a vein of sentiment and quality and price, which daily issue from real goodness looking out through all this callous surface of guilt. It is like meeting with a tree in the press--we hail with pleasure the little a squalid hole of a city; a flower, or a frank face, book now before us, as an evidence that the in a reprobate purlieu. The capabilities of hu- Irish public are beginning to take a greater man nature are not compromised. The virtue interest in scientific pursuits. The book is alone seems natural; the guilt, as it often is, seems artificial
, and the result of bad education or other neatly bound in cloth, and lettered; it circumstance. Nor is any body injured. It is contains eight closely printed and well arone of the shallowest of all shallow notions to talk ranged tables, any one of which is ample of the harm of such works. Do we think nobody value for the price (one shilling) charged is to be honoured but the virtuous; or that there for the entire. are not privileged harms and vices to be got rid of as well as unprivileged ? No good-hearted per
To the medical student we would strongly son will be injured by reading Manon Lescaut. recommend these tables; in his toxicologiThere is the belief in goodness in it; a faith, the cal studies he will find them of infinite vawant of which does so much harm, both to the Jue, as well from the saving of time, which ricious and the over-righteous.”
results from having the more important rePart of this is, we fear, a little sophisti- actions set before him in a tabular form, as cal, and might easily be wrested in favour from the clear and comprehensive manner in of publications having most of the faults of which the tables are arranged. Manon Lescaut, without any of its redeem - Mr. Brittan has supplied a want which ing qualities. Whether Mr. Leigh Hunt has been long felt by the junior students, need have entered into so minute a defence and is entitled to their warmest support for of it, is a question on which we are not yet the judicious manner in which he has done competent to decide. So far as we have it. If his book has but the effect of calling read, we have found little to justify Mr. attention to that important and much negThomas's deprecation of apology, (by which, lected branch of medical knowledge, he will as the fashion is, he in effect apologizes) have justly earned the respect of his coun
for those too truthful pictures of human trymen, few of whom have had not repeated life, and that warmth of expression, which opportunities of seeing how, in medico-legal are to be found in its pages. Whether he enquiry, the life of a fellow-being depends has softened down in the translation what on the accuracy and skill with which the was indecent in the original, we know not; medical practitioner applies his chemical but as yet we have met nothing that startled reagents.
STORIES ABOUT ALFRED THE GREAT, ETC.
We perceive by the dedication that Mr. | with pleasure to the continuation of this Brittan was the pupil of Dr. Kane. The little series, we recommend the authoress to pupil is justly proud of his teacher; and for adopt an easier style, and to be a little more this, the “first fruits” of his instruction, in sparing in the use of long words--a comour opinion, the teacher need not blush. modity to which all healthy children have
most justly a strong dislike. Stories about Alfred the Great, for the Amusement and Instruction of Children. The Booksellers' Charter Song : as comBy A. M. S.
Dublin : BROWNE. London : DOLMAN. 1840.
posed and sung at Mr.Cumming's
Annual Tradę Sale, on Wednesday EvenThe character of this clever little work ing, 11th Nov. By Mr. J. FeAGAN, will be best shewn by quoting the pre
Bookseller. Dublin : Folds. 1840. “In offering this book to the public I must mention books published were confined to the com
Would that ninety-nine-hundreths of the that I have been careful to relate truths for my
The youthful readers. To give my authorities in the pass of this neat little publication. margin, I thought unnecessary in a book for reviewer's task would be in that case both children, but the facts contained in these pages an easier and a pleasanter one. may be found in the writings of one or other of is a judicious combination of learning and Sharon Turner, Dr. Milner, or the indefatigable spirit. We would quote a few verses of it, Alban Butler. When I told these stories to my if it were not that most of our readers must own young listeners, there were many questions already have seen it in one or other of the they asked which led to further stories : in this lit- Irish or English weekly periodicals, into tle book I have omitted such details—the explanations that amuse some children, might not suit most of which it has been copied at length. others. May I be allowed to add, that I hope the A minute critic might discover some imfaults of the story-teller will be forgiven in the perfection in the lists of the renowned and interest which all must feel for the Great King prosperous of the craft and its supporters, Alfred.''
both ancient and modern, dead and alive, The compiler is evidently not a very which with a skill only second to that of practised writer, but the notion is a good the author of “the Groves of Blarney,” Mr. one, and capable of being worked out with Feagan has managed to include within a great effect. If she has not altogether suc- dozen of verses. But booksellers, like ceeded in this, apparently her first attempt, other men, have their partialities, and we it is fairly attributable, first, to the very would not wish it otherwise ; and besides, it narrow limits to which she has chosen to may not be all partiality : the necessities of confine herself; and secondly, to her de- the metre may reasonably come to the autailing less of the life of that period, and thor's assistance, if any slighted ghost, or more of the bare events, than is desirable forgotten living bibliopole, should call for in a book for children. Looking forward | vengeance on his head.
THE NATIVE MUSIC OF IRELAND.
In our present number we again present our readers with three Irish airs. In the mechanical departments of the work, we are but experimenting. The neglect of every matter of art in Ireland has hitherto been so great, that we have had to cope with difficulties, which few, possibly, of our readers, are prepared to appreciate. The metals to be graven,-the tools to be employed, -the inks to be used, are all in a state of imperfection. The result is, and it has been the case for years, that those requiring any musical work of nicety to be executed, go, or send to London for it; and thus, even in Bunting's last beautiful work, in the bringing out of which so much notationality has been tastefully displayed, the reader will find the last page deformed with the announcement,
London, engraved by H. T. Skarratt, 5, Eyre-street, Hatton-garden.” One hundred and thirteen plates for an Irish work, especially national, engraved in London! It is enough for us to say that while there is a possibility of avoiding a consummation so devoutly to be deprecated, we shall not resort to it. We are no such philosophers on these points as Dr. Whately is. His Grace of Dublin,ếan authority much to be respected,—has lately told us, that there is no person more anxious to encourage Irish industry than hiinself; and that he has been convinced that the only effectual way to encourage Irish manufacture is, to encourage the production of articles of the best quality at the cheapest rate. So far all very well, had he talked of encouraging that production in Ireland; but when he rambles on in such fine philosophic abstractions as the following, we are not for going with him. Quoth the Archbishop, “Let them stand on their own basis !" Grand ! say we. Quoth the great Anglican economist, "A forced adherence to the manufactures of any country will destroy them; for it will make the workmen lazy, and it will induce them not to take the same care they otherwise would do!" Mighty and prophetic speculation! say we. Quoth the founder of the chair of political science in T. C. D., “ Increase Irish skill and capital, and then you may leave the Irish manufactures to take care of themselves !" Noble, glorious, and inspiring discovery! say we. Now, all this must mean at the present crisis, " Stand by and see, first, will the country sink or swim. Then, if she swims, all is right; but if she sink, why, we can't help it. It is demonstration that she must, and ought to have sunk-upon principle." We grant ye, " upon principle,"-yet it may be just as well to stretch out an arm and prevent the catastrophe; for, in truth, after all, half the political economy, so wonderfully current in the great world, is nothing but exceedingly splendid reasoning upon a few thread-bare ideas in fine abstract terms of the art; and, as things in reality exíst very seldom in that state of absolute abstraction contemplated, the said splendid reasoning as often turns out to be about as substantial as moonshine. Thus, souls are usually coupled with flesh and blood; men with passions, feelings, affections, and a country ;-workmen with wants, appetites, families, and a home; skill does not produce itself,-capital does not create itself,—and when economy has said her best, what will become of our manufactures if left entirely to stand on their own basis, and spontane