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the beautiful outline of the Church was perfectly pencilled in the air; and the shifting threads of the snow-fall were woven into a spell of novel enchantment around a structure that always seemed to me too exquisite in its fantastic loveliness to be any thing but the creation of magic. The tender snow had compassionated the beautiful edifice for all the wrongs of time, and so hid the stains and ugliness of decay that it looked as if just from the brain of the architect. The snow lay lightly on the golden globes that tremble, like peacock-crests, above the vast domes, and plumed them with softest white; it robed the saints in ermine; and it danced over all the work as if exulting in its beauty, beauty which filled me with that subtle, selfish regret that yearns to keep such evanescent loveliness for the little-whilelonger of one's whole life. The towers of the island churches loomed faintly and far away in the dimness; the sailors in the rigging of the ships that lay in the Basin wrought like phantoms among the shrouds; the gondolas stole in and out of the opaque distance, more noislessly and dreamily than ever; and a silence, almost palpable, lay upon the mutest city in the world."
MR. MAURICE's very interesting lectures on the political topics that just now occupy so much of the English mind and ours offer a text more suggestive than the commentary is satisfactory. He writes never in the clear, "dry light" of science, always in the suffused and mellow light of imagination, sentiment, and conscience. He loves to melt away the edges of our sharp, dogmatic theories; and shows us the thought, as physiologists study the living organism, in solution and in germ. So he is more suggestive than instructive, and piques more curiosity than he satisfies. Always widening the horizon of our vision, he shows the object we view in the flickering, uncertain light, and in the strong refraction, that belong to the dividing-line of sky and earth, His style affects the soft, dim haze that seems to envelop his thought; and the hard, swift, positive habit of mind we are all fallen into is impatient at sentences and chapters written in a sort of unvarying potential mood. And yet his "may" and his "perhaps" and his "doubtful whether" seem in reality to be the veil of strong conviction, only the conviction is rather ethic than
* The Workman and the Franchise. Chapters from English History, on the Representation and Education of the People. By Frederick Denison Maurice. London & New York: Alexander Strahan.
scientific; and it is as if he sought to mark the moral quality of it by a form of speech as far at variance as possible from the dogmatic and scientific handling which we generally give to our political ideas. These lectures are meant to be, in the strictest sense, practical. They are written in the interest of the "Workingmen's College," to which the copyright of them is presented. They deal with the ⚫ precise points of representation and suffrage which have made and unmade Administrations within the year, and which now and then threaten to bring England to the very verge of a social revolution. Yet the mind of Mr. Maurice steadily refuses to see them in the light that illuminates them to other eyes. He does not deny the theories of reformers and propagandists. He only pleads with them to show how vain and insufficient those theories, or any thing that is rigid theory, must be. He will shed on them the wide, quiet light of history, which steadily rebukes all dogmatism; the pure sky-light of religion and morality, which dulls the passionate and artificial glare. So the reader is vexed to find no solution offered or attempted to the questions as they are apt to be practically put. Instead of it, he finds ethical meditation, historic example, and Christian exhortation.
And yet we doubt whether he will not carry away, at the end, as strong an impression, and as valuable instruction, as if he had found the answer to the thought that lay nearer the surface. That human society is not a mass or multitude of men, but an organization of them by their sentiments and their interests; that the PEOPLE is the community of freemen, giving each man a direct interest in the welfare of the whole; that a political community, like the Roman aristocracy, jealous of admitting to its privileges those standing outside, must perish of inanition and sure decay; that citizenship means, not so much right or privilege, as it does obligation and trust; that civil freedom is "the contrast rather than the counterpart" of a savage and unsocial independence, these are truths, not precisely new, but very desirable to be stated with the force of conviction, and freshness of illustration, we find here; while the great lessons of history
traced from the germs of the Roman Republic to the time when the citizen's privilege was no longer jealously withheld, because it had lost all its glory and its worth; from the germs of English liberty to the dissensions and ambitions of to-day- are traced with that curious felicity of insight and intelligent sympathy so characteristic of the writer's mind. Of special illustrations, also, we have been greatly struck with the words said of our late republican President to the working
men of England; with the exhibition of the first Christian communities as centres of living organism in a dissolving society, germs of the grander structures of the future; and with the review of the period of the "Holy Alliance," when a style of serious, noble, devout thought, respecting a true statesmanship and a Christian order of society, came into being, with Wordsworth for its chief apostle, relieved against the hard despotisms of the compulsory quiet of that era of peace and restoration. And we see and find in this volume,» vague and defective as it may appear, one of the timeliest and finest expositions of the higher morality of a nation's life.
J. H. 'A.
AMONG the biographies or historical studies that have come to our knowledge, aiming to make the last days of the Roman Republic better known to us, we incline to rate highest the series of sketches included in Boissier's "Cicero and his Friends."* An admirable book, it seems to us, for translation, or perhaps for a recast. It is not a detailed biography; but presents the life of Cicero in a succession of views, each in a sense complete, and making together perhaps the most finished portrait yet attainable. The correspondence of Cicero is, of course, the main authority relied on; but this is supplemented, with curious skill, by the speeches and contemporary documents. One or two of the sketches stand out with peculiar vividness for example, that of "Cœlius, or the Roman Youth;" in which the career of that fast young man, that prodigal son of the aristocracy, is traced through the dissipations and intrigues, the scandals and rivalries, of the life at Baiæ; through the wayward and petulant ambitions of politics, down to the disgraceful close in the miserable conspiracy against Cæsar's too firm and conservative rule. The temper of the sullen aristocracy that murdered Cæsar, the capricious and uncomfortable relations which Cicero maintained with the Dictator, the motives that stirred the men and parties of that evil time, are traced with very great skill and absolute seeming impartiality. In its mastery of facts, its clear historic sense, its wide sympathy, and its freedom from personal or party bias, this volume appears to us a fine example of that new French school of criticism, of which Taine is perhaps the foremost representative.
* Ciceron et ses Amis. Par Gaston Boissier. Paris.
A WORK upon Grecian mythology, which departs from the prevailing custom of allegorizing, and treats of the religion of the Greeks, not merely of their mythology, is a welcome addition to philological literature.* Whether this is the correct point of view or not, it deserves more attention than it has received. From Forchhammer, whose key to all myths is water, and who makes out the Iliad to have been an Ueberschwemmung, - a truly Neptunian philosopher, to Max Müller, who resolves them all into the dawn, it has seemed impossible for anybody to touch these creations of remote antiquity without unconsciously forcing them to take on the stamp of his own mind, or, at any rate, that of the century in which he lives. We believe that they have all begun at the wrong end. They treat religion, as Hartung says, "as a result of idle speculation and figurative philosophizing," rather than as something which has its origin in the nature and necessities of man. "Can any one believe," he asks, p. 131, "that the Romans would have consecrated altars and chapels to a Fides, Victoria, Concordia, or Honos, and offered them prayers and sacrifices, if they had held them for mere allegories?"-"It is moreover no symbolical representation by which the motion of the sun is called a course (Fahren), and chariot and horses, and, as a matter of course, a four-in-hand, attributed to it. The symbol is designed to bring something spiritual nearer to the senses; but here they had already before them something visible and corporeal, and one would suppose that every one could see that the sun has neither chariot nor horses. If, nevertheless, the religious man does not see this, it is clear that he holds the sun as a living god, not as a rolling ball. If, now, this god, like a madman, burns up every thing, he must either himself have become a cruel tyrant, like the Thracian Diomedes, or his horses must have become frantic and run away with him, as with Phaethon." (p. 132).
The author of the work before us begins, as we conceive, in the. right way, by investigating, first of all, those modes of religious thought and forms of worship which belong to the Greeks as a people
*Die Religion und Mythologie der Griechen, von J. A. HARTUNG. Erster Theil. Naturgeschichte der heidnischen Religionen, besonders der Griechischen. Zweiter Theil. Die Urwesen oder das Reich des Kronos. Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, 1865. 8vo. pp. 218 and 250.
of primeval antiquity; when they were not the Greeks of history and literature, whom we know, but a rude race, just emerging from barbarism. His aim is, therefore, to trace out primitive ideas and ceremonies, not suffering himself to be drawn aside by the poets, who 66 were obliged to alter the myths for their own ends, without regard to their mystic meaning." For this reason, he adds, "Pausanias is of more importance, in my eyes, than Homer and Hesiod." (p. vii.).
He is thus led to give special prominence to the heroes and demigods, as being, originally, gods whose power is now passed away (verkommen) and obscured: "The interpretation of their myths gives a key to the interpretation of the traditions of the gods themselves; while these, on their part, are of service in the interpretation of those" (p. vii.). The characteristic of the fully developed mythology of the Greeks, as contrasted with the oriental nations especially, was anthropomorphism; but traces of the primitive worship of nature in the fetich, and animal or semi-human forms, still exist side by side with the fully humanized Olympus of the poets. "We find, contrasted with almost every one of the Olympic gods, one who represents the elements of nature (Elementen-Geist); the latter receiving little or no attention in the worship, because he belongs to an old, deposed régime, so to speak. Thus we have Okeanus by the side of Poseidon, Gê by the side of Demêter, Uranos by the side of Zeus, Rhea by the side of Hera, Helios by the side of Phobos, Selene by the side of Hecate, Priapos by the side of Dionysos, Pan by the side of Hermes, and many more" (p. 188). The transition from the older to the newer system, the transformation of "the gods living in nature from shadows and phantoms to persons, with determinate human qualities of an ideal order," he attributes to the poets, and heads one section with the title, "How Homer and Hesiod created their gods for Greeks."
The two parts of the work already published are devoted to the primitive religion of nature which the Greeks held, "the realm of Kronos" he calls it, — in which we meet with monsters, spirits of fire and water,
dæmons, giants, nymphs, centaurs, and satyrs. All this, the natural outgrowth of the uncultivated Greek mind, is as it were the foundation upon which the poets and philosophers built the wonderful structure