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expression, often extremely hackneyed, and sometimes deformed by palpable falsities and meannesses of imagery or language; and at the best, scarcely anything but “ brave words” — the body without the soul of poetry. As a specimen, a very favorable one too, of the piece, and yet illustrating nearly every thing above remarked, take the following stanza :
“ The City spread abroad her sheltering arms,
To shield her feeing sons in danger's hour.
And ere the day's eventful light was done,
Close pressed his guarded lines in siege round Babylon." There are four really fine lines, and nearly the only ones which we can find that possess any beauty or any poetic merit :
Alas, for human greatness! and alas,
And mightiest monarchs to a mightier, bow." If these be a genuine product of the author, and not a cento, that is, whatever there may be that is like them, (and there is plenty,) yet if these lines are his own, (and we shall not question it,) we will not say but he may yet write something worth a warmer praise than we can bestow upon this piece, especially, if he be a young man ; for, the aloofness of his topic from his personal feelings, the sense of melody evinced, and lastly, though in a less degree, the play of fancy he has shown in combining even common and hackneyed images - are things which we generally consider specific accompaniments of poetic power.
13. A Grammatical Analysis of Selections from the Hebrew Scrip
tures, with an Exercise on Hebrew Composition. By Isaac NORDHEIMER, Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Munich ; Professor of Arabic, Syriac, and other Oriental Languages, and acting Professor of Hebrew in the University of New York. New York: 1838. Wiley and Putnam. 8vo. pp. 148.
In a former number, we called the attention of our readers to Doctor Nordheimer's “Critical Grammar of the Hebrew Language," and recommended it to the biblical student, as a work manifesting a thorough acquaintance with the subject, a profound
knowledge of the philosophy of language, unusual originality, and a degree of precision and perspicuity by no means common in this class of publications.
The publication before us is, properly speaking, a continuation of the author's grammar, and is to be followed, as we are told in the preface, by a treatise on Hebrew Syntax. Thus the student of the sacred tongue will be furnished with a complete grammatical apparatus, which, with the lexicographal helps already in use, may enable him, with comparatively little trouble, to read and analyze the Hebrew scriptures.
In casting our eye on the “Grammatical Analysis," we could not but admire the neatness and elegance of its typographical execution. Like its predecessor, the Grammar, it bears honorable testimony to the care and taste of the superintendent of the press, and so far as we have examined, its accuracy is not inferior to its beauty. In a work of this kind, correctness of references, and clearness of typography, are circumstances very far from unimportant.
In the matter of the work, too, we are glad to perceive evidence that the author has looked at every reference with his own eyes, has carefully prepared every part of his work, and thus has secured to it an accuracy for which the learner will be the more grateful in proportion as he advances.
In acquiring a dead language, the pupil's success depends very much on his careful attention to grammatical analysis. It is the design of publications, such as that before us, “ reading books," “praxes,
chrestomathies," as they are usually called, to assist the learner in the process of analysis, explaining to him what may be obscure, by means of a constant reference to the grammatical rules. Doctor Nordheimer has made a very judicious selection of portions of the Hebrew Bible. In what may be called the first part, he gives a grammatical analysis, the less minute in proportion as he advances, of various parts of the Pentateuch, selected chiefly from Genesis and Exodus, but containing one section from Leviticus, and three from Deuteronomy. This part is confined to prose compositions. The other part, which consists of "select portions of poetry,” comprehends the most important of the Psalms, which are generally considered as relating to the Messiah, and such sections in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, and Micah, as bear more directly on the same great subject. It is therefore to be presumed, that his book will be extensively used by students of divinity, whether connected with theological seminaries, or receiving private instruction. Throughout his work, the author has confined himself almost invariably to a " grammatical analysis," as the title would lead us to expect.
"The solution of exegetical difficulties has been left almost entirely to the professor, or to works expressly devoted to the subject, for the advantageous use of which the student will find himself, by means of his grammatical investigations, well prepared. When, however, the real or apparent difficulty of a passage turns upon a grammatical point, it has been carefully considered ; and in this manner, many suggestions have been made, which the critical expounders of the scriptures may not find entirely destitute of interest.” — Preface, p. vii.
We cannot but recommend to the author, in subsequent editions, to leave the solution of exegetical difficulties not only “almost," but altogether to the instructor, or to publications, the direct object of which is interpretation. He would thus give a more perfect unity to his work, and leave the whole responsibility of interpretation where it properly belongs.
14. The Stranger in China ; or, the Fan-qui's Visit to the Celestial
Empire, in 1836—7. By C. Toocoop DowNING, Esq., Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Philadelphia : 1838. Lea and Blanchard. 2 vols. 12mo.
The author of these volumes wearies you with the tedious slowness of his progress,
and with the minuteness of his descriptions of trivial scenes and objects, in getting from Whampoa to Canton. But once there, he becomes more interesting; and though somewhat of the same needless prolixity of detail continues to mark the work, yet on the whole it contains for the general reader a great deal of valuable information on the state of society, manners, customs, laws, religion, art, agriculture, products, manufactures, etc., of the Chinese ; together with a digest of some of the most interesting matters to be found in earlier writers relative to the history, traditions, etc., of that remarkable people.
15. Peter Pilgrim ; or, a Rambler's Recollections. By the Author
of Calavar, Nick of the Woods, etc. Philadelphia : 1838. Lea and Blanchard. 2 vols. 12mo.
Two volumes of extremely agreeable stories and fancies, instinct with the same free and joyous spirit, the same fine humor, the same quick sight of characteristic traits and graphic style of delineation, which characterized “ Nick of the Woods." Without making any high pretension for the volumes, which we are sure the author would not do, we commend them as affording a very pleasant and no wise injurious pastime. “Merry the Miner," “ The Extra Lodger,” and “The Bloody Broad Horn,” we would signalize as particularly agreeable.
16. Velasco ; a Tragedy, in fie acts. By Eres SARGENT.
New York : 1838. Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 110.
We have read this play with very high gratification, and we consider it creditable to Mr. Sargent, and far superior to most of this class of productions in our country. At the same time there is a distinction which we should make in judging of it, considered as a work designed for representation — to produce, that is, the greatest amount of the finest "stage effect,” or considered as a dramatic poem, as a poetic creation designed, under the form of a drama, though not necessarily implying representation, to unfold and embody the profounder action and conflict of the elementary passions of human nature. To this latter class of works belong many of Joanna Baillie's plays, which could never be adequately represented; in this class, we should also include Coleridge's Remorse, notwithstanding the success it met with in representation. Of Velasco we think higher as an acting play, than as a dramatic poem. In order to rank with the great works of the latter class, it should have more depth of thought, and more of the profounder working of the passions, so modified by the traits and incidents of the individual personages, as to produce a new combination and utterance of that which lies at the bottom of the heart of universal humanity.
It is nevertheless a good play; the style is faultless: there are no meannesses of thought or expression nothing to jar with the sense of propriety. The common stock of universal passion is well combined with the persons and incidents of the piece; the unity of the action is well preserved ; the movement is natural and lively; and the conclusion fully satisfies the conditions of tragic catastrophe: indeed, in this last respect, we think Mr. Sargent has shown uncommon skill in producing the conviction that death is the only desirable relief of the lovers from their heart-breaking situation. This modifies our sympathy, and reconciles us to their fate; and thus realizes what we consider the true idea of a tragic catastrophe.
Fireside Education. Lieber's Ethics.
17. Fireside Education. By the Author of Peter Parley's Tales.
New York: 1838. F. J. Huntington. 12mo. pp. 396.
The title of this book is distinctive and appropriate ; it is also an honest one; it holds out no promise, which the book itself does not fully perform. It does not treat of home education, as a substitute for a public one, but of the former as a necessary antecedent and complement of the latter. The author, as is well known, has manifested an extraordinary talent in comprehending the capacities and tastes of children, and in preparing for their use various series of tales, upon every instructive and interesting subject within their comprehension. We would not be understood as commending this system of instruction to the extent to which he has carried it, we meant only to intimate that what he aimed to do, he has done well, and that such a direction of his mind for so long a period, must have prepared him to think and write well on the great question he has now discussed. This inference, in our view, is fully sustained by the work before us; it is safe, sensible, judicious, - which is high praise for a work on education, in these days, when all, docti indoctique, are writing upon it. Under the general heads of religion, morals, health, amusements, intellectual culture, accomplishments, and manners, he happily illustrates the important influences of home training and incidental fire-side sug. gestion and instruction. Many of his notions are old, very old, as old even as the days of the wise king of Israel, whose simple injunction, “train up a child in the way he should go,” is the essence of all that can be written to promote the same end; and it is the particular object of this work to show how much, nay, how entirely this training depends upon the instructions received beneath the paternal roof. It is written in the pleasant, lively style of the author, and is worthy of a careful reading by every one, especially by those to whom the subject has a peculiar interest.
18. Manual of Political Ethics. Designed chiefly for the use of
Colleges and Students at Law. Part 1. By Francis LIEBER. Boston : 1838. C. C. Little and James Brown. 8vo. pp. 443.
Were we not unwilling that the author of this excellent work should suppose we pay so little respect to him or to the public, as to allow it to pass unnoticed, we should defer all our remarks upon it, until the publication of the second part, when we intend to give it that attention which it deserves, both on account of the import