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political economy-a fact which should not disparage inquity in that direction, but should certainly prevent any one from appropriating to it the name of science. Apart from its higher pretensions, this work of Mr. List is valuable, as it contains very many important suggestions, and is marked by great good sense. Like Mr. Carey, the author believes that the principles of national economy are not things to be invented, nor to be deduced from certain a priori moral maxims; but that they are to be generalized from the actual facts of human experience.
-TRAVELS.-IDA PFEIFFER has given us a second journey round the world. It is, of course, interesting in itself, because it is a narrative of strange adventures, and a description of strange scenes. But the chief interest of the book lies in the fact, that it is Madame Pfeiffer's. She is such an extraordinary person, that one would wish to read her impressions of men and things, though they were written in a style much inferior to that in which they are written, and though her judgments were less sagacious and candid than they are. A woman who is capable, after having reared a family, and attained an age when the ambitions are subdued, and the energies slackened, of conceiving and executing journeys, which may well appal the stoutest man, is a phenomenon, and curiosity stands on the qui vive to know what she thinks, and to hear her tell of what she has seen. It is not once in many centuries that such a person springs up. Even a robustious, stalwart fellow of a man, who should take his satchel in his hand, and, without much money, few letters of introduction, no acquaint; ance, and against the wishes of his family, visit successively the savages of Borneo, the Chinese, the Polynesians, Iceland, Mexico, California, the Great West, and Canada, would be esteemed a considerable fellow, in his day. Bayard Taylor, with half that travel, is a famous man, the elect of lyceums, and the pride of booksellers; but when we see a woman do all this, we are lost in surprise. We are tempted to believe her an Amazon, at least-or one of those masculine creatures, who, with the form of a woman, have the spirit of monsters; but when we come to find that she is a frail, delicate, and gentle person, with every womanly sentiment and sensibility, our surprise grows into wonder and incredulity.
Madame Pfeiffer's present volume is scarcely so agreeable as that which recorded her sojourn in Iceland. It covers so much ground, that she is not able to dwell with sufficient particularity on the parts to render her descriptions adequate. Besides, we find such mistakes in what relates to our own country, as to beget the suspicion that other parts are equally uncertain. She is quite indignant, for instance, because the government of the United States does not do something to ameliorate the condition of the slaves, instancing the passage of the Maine Law, as a proof of its power to act in that direction! She characterizes the American women for want of culture, baving seen only the women in and about St. Paul's, or a few other places in the extreme west. There are other such niaiseries, and still the book contains a great deal of instruction, and is admirable in spirit. Though Madame Pfeiffer has. herself, wandered so far from the domestic sphere of women, she seems to be a great stickler for it. We excuse her own course, on the ground that she had previously discharged all her household duties.
-The Madeira of Mr. MARCH is a pretty thorough account of the life in that island, with some glimpses into Spanish life in general. It is, for the most part, amusing, and appears to be authentic. His opportunities for studying the character, both personal and social, of the inhabitants, the higher, as well as the lower, classes, could not have been better, and he has availed himself of them to the best of his abilities. His wit is not always of the purest Attic, and his phraseology, at times, smells of the newspaper, but he has a strong animal life in him, a relish for good things, an eye for the picturesque, and no little sense. These are all taking qualities in the traveler, and help to make an entertaining volume.
Lieutenant BREWERTON'S account of Kansas is lively, running over with westernisms, and western adventures, and giving some droll narratives of frontier life, especially of riding and sleeping, which may warrant one in passing an hour or two over its pages, but otherwise it has no attractions, and very little value. We ought to except the documents relating to the present war in Kansas, which are appended, and which throw a great deal of light upon the existing controversy.
-Bohn's Libraries.-We have before spoken of the general excellence of the books included in the several series of Bohn's Libraries; but the incessant appearance of new additions calls for new remark. Among the most recent works of value which have been put forth, is-SMYTH'S Lectures on the French Revolution, which is not a history, so much as an indispensable guide to history. As in his Lectures on Modern History, the author does not furnish us with a detailed narrative of events, but a general outline, filled in with judicious criticisms, and indicating the best authorities to be consulted on different points. Smyth is somewhat of a conservative in his opinions, and not a remarkably vivacious-writer, but he is a man of good judgment and the most various learning.Another volume, is an expurgated edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, by LEIGH HUNT, or, rather, a collection of all the fine and brilliant things which occur in Beaumont and Fletcher, arranged under their appropriate heads, and without the offensive accompaniments of the complete editions. A pleasant introduction to the whole is given by the editor-an essay on the characteristics and beauties of those old playwrights, in his most genial vein. A third incorporation into the library is a sixth volume of the sterling old DANIEL DEFOE's Works, which we trust will be continued till it shall have embraced all the writings of that true and noble Briton. It is curious that no complete edition of the writings of the author of Robinson Crusoe, and of the Plague in London, should now be in print.--The Memoirs of Philip de Comines is also to be found here.
-MOTLEY'S Dutch Republic.-We take pleasure in welcoming to the list of American historians the author of a new and elaborate history of the Rise of the Dutch Republic. It is a real acquisition to our literature. Beginning with the earliest outbreaks of dissatisfaction in the Netherlands, with the government of Philip the Second, it carries the narrative outward to the death of the Prince of Orange; and, while it covers, substantially, the same ground as Mr. Prescott's recent life of that monarch, it is more full and detailed. The troubles in the Netherlands are rather an episode in the work of Mr. Prescott, and are, therefore, not treated with that com
pleteness of which the subject admitted. But, with Mr. Motley, they are the main topic, and he has devoted to them the most careful research. patient study, sound sense, and a true sympathy. As we propose reviewing his work at length, in a succeeding number of the Magazine, we do not dwell upon it in this place, further than to say that it is a most elaborate enterprise, undertaken with great boldness, and executed with no less skill. Mr. Motley has availed himself of all the information to be found in the Belgian, Dutch, French, and Spanish archives, and, in spite of a little too much ambition in the style, has constructed out of them a most eloquent and absorbing narrative. A more significant selection of a period, for us Americans, could not have been made. It is handled, too, from a proper American stand-point, and we earnestly commend the work to all lovers of history. It is destined, we think, as a first impression, to become a standard in its department.
-The Messrs. HARPER have given us two more volumes of their Classical Library. Mr. Dale has translated Thucydides very carefully, very literally, very faithfully, but not very elegantly. Yet, as he has steadily followed the capital text of Arnold's edition, his version is to be preferred to any other that we have. The notes, however, are too exclusively philological to be of much use to the general reader, and hardly numerous enough to give the scholar any material help.
The few notes appended by Mr. Cary to his translation of Herodotus, are rather illustrative than critical, and the version itself is more readable than Mr. Dale's Thucydides. It is a much more faithful translation of the Greek text than Beloe's very pleasant and popular volumes; and as Mr. Taylor's admirable version (upon which Mr. Cary makes what we think an unfounded criticism) has never been printed in a very accessible form, this new work will probably meet the demands of the public more fully than its predecessors have done. There is really no reason why Herodotus should not be a favorite with modern readers. He unites with a quite Homeric candor and freshness of feeling certain qualities of style nearly akin to those most popular in our own day, and which no ancient writer, except Josephus, seems to us to possess in an equal degree.
Who has not sung the praise of May? From jovial Horace, smiling under the trees of his Sabine farm, to see the snow gone from Soracte's crested height, down to pensive Wordsworth, plucking primroses within the murmuring sound of Rydal Falls, all the poets have piped their best to honor her. To honor "her," we say; for it is the chief honor of May, that we personify the month in the shape of a woman. Our instincts do reverence to the sovereignty of beauty, and give to the loveliest seasons the guise which is loveliest upon earth. Frore December, January chill, feverish February, and blustering Marchthese we call male fellows all. They have neither charm nor caprice, but are mere sullen, unamiable masculines. April, that thing of smiles and tears, of soft sunshine and sharp winds; and May, the poet's month; and June, that lovers love-these are the Graces of the year. For these we have a tenderness, that not the best of the male months, no, not hearty October, nor warm July, can awaken.
Let May, then, be welcomed with songs and smiles. Let her be welcomed in the country; in forest and field; for to them she brings flowers and the song of birds. She unbinds the last brook in the recesses of the wood, and tinges with green the bleak hillside. Let her be welcomed, not with the ancient holiday indeed, the Beltane of our forefathers, the May-day of sweeps and Sunday-schools; for there is no rustic dancing now, and to polk on a greensward is a purgatorial pain; and to sit under the trees, eating sandwiches, insures rheumatism. We must leave the "due observance of the May" where it hangs, a beauteous tapestry upon the chambers of the past. Think upon Puseyism and the Eglinton tournament, and abstain from rash revivals of an antique form. But keep the rustic May in some sweet modern fashion. If, as old Chaucer sings, the season
"pricketh at thy gentle heart, And maketh thee out of thy sleep to start, And saith, Arise and do thy obeisance;"'"
why then, arise, gather rose-buds if you will, and lay them beneath your lady-love's window, if you be a bachelor-on your wife's breakfast-table, if you be a Benedict.
OF NEW YORK.
Or, if you be a slug-a-bed, and love to lie late o' mornings, and want your world well aired before you enter it, then give the sweet month greeting in some lazier, but still bonorable wise. Read the Song of Solomon, and fancy "the voice of the turtle" out yonder in those thickets, whence the oriole pipes; or let Chaucer be your morning-star, and light you to the goodly vision of Arcite, and Emilia; Emilia, that "fairer was to be seen
Than is the lily upon his stalk green, And fresher than the May with flowers new," and Arcite, the gallant, gay, and handsome creature, that
"On his courser, starting as the fire, Is ridden to the fieldes, him to play Out of the court, were it a mile or tway; To maken him a garland of the greves, Were it of woodbine or of hawthorn leaves. As loud he sang against the sunny sheen: O May, with all thy flowers, and thy green, Right welcome be thou faire freshe May.'"
What a picture is in that line. "As loud he sang against the sunny sheen!" How the gay knight rides before you, right on into the floods of light-a glad voice and a glittering shape merrily cantering over the new-breathed fields, and through the blithesome morning air!
Rustic May! no better homage can be done to you than this! But for an urban May-for the pleasant morning that ushers in the summer and the furniture-vans --that sets the blood dancing in young veins, and chokes the streets with carts, what welcome shall we find?
May in the city no poet has sung. And yet, how worthy to be sung she is! Not May-day, absolutely. We cannot wholly praise May-day in New York. It is a day of the payment of rents, and of tribute rendered to carmen-a day of household uproar and public confusion-each street beholds its exodus-on every side the Israelites are fleeing, nor seldom bearing with them the spoils of the Egyptians and the whole city seems engaged in playing one great game of tag, each household scampering with all possible speed from its ancient corner to obtain a new post. Who pursues the scampering household we have never been able to discover, nor why they should not allow themselves a month or so of removingtime, as people do in Paris. But marvel
ous is the spectacle of this metropolitan Hegira-marvelous, vociferous, and well fitted to scare away the gentle May.
But the gentle May remains; and, when the hubbub is over, what lovely sights she shines upon! The rustic May sees a beautiful world; but her urban sister is happier still for does not Dan Chaucer himself admit that Emilia, "arisen and all ready dight," was "fairer to be seen than is the lily upon his stalk green," and was not Dan Chaucer right?
You will not find many lilies on Broadway, when you go out a-Maying there-but lovely Emilias not a few, and "dight" as never that beauteous princess was! The spring flowers are fair to see; but are not the fashions charming, too? Can you walk up and down the thronged street, in these bright spring mornings, and look without a cheery smile on all these gay and glancing creatures that float by you, sweet clouds of color daintily perfumed? Shake your head, cynic, if you dare, and slap your pockets, crusty curmudgeon, and growl out your dispraise of frivolities, and your wrath against milliners and their bills; but are your pursuits so very solemn and majestic-your expenses so very wise and well-regulated, that you should sneer at these flights of fair and costly wonders? You are not an agreeable sight to the eyes, we admit-and are you, therefore, commendable? Do you fancy yourself a useful and serious person, because you spend your nights and days in making money, or drawing up deeds? Your money and your deeds will turn to dust one day, just as surely as all these silks, and barèges, and laces that you flout; and when you awake in the world to come, and rub the dust of your long dreary mortal life out of your spiritual eyes, do you think you will find yourself amid familiar or congenial scenes? Does it never occur to you that, to the beings who people those mysterious realms, you may one day find yourself just as frivolous and uninteresting a human soul as any of the idlest devotees of fashion may at last be revealed to be? Take the word of a friend for it, the folly of Wall street may be uglier than the folly of the Fifth avenue, without being, therefore, any the less monstrous a folly; and as for extravagance and the bills of milliners, if your money only buys more money, friend, is that money well or wisely spent, think you?
No, no! Cease shaking your head, put your hands in your pockets, if you cannot walk comfortably otherwise, and let your countenance expand in the sunshine, and rejoice to see so many pretty creatures so prettily arrayed, and own that May in the city is a very pleasant month, and rejoice at her coming! Rejoice! and yet, not without an alloy of sadness.
For though the winter was wild and dreary, though the snows were chill, and the winds were keen, who can think without a sigh upon its passing away? It brought with it so much-so much of sorrow-so much of joy-so much of life, that precious gift, which every year makes more precious to every breathing man and woman. Another winter gone! Who can rejoice in this thought save those who can rejoice no more in anything but utter oblivion and the approaching silence of the grave! For all who still find existence dear and profitable, it cannot but be a solemn thing to feel that another winter, with all its experiences and all its emotions, has been taken from the short term of their mortal days. And so the merry May weaves pansies in her crown-pansies, "that's for thoughts"-happy most, if from the winter's failing hand she takes an amaranth, too, to hide among her flowers!
Well, these are gruesome thoughts," perhaps, for us to indulge in, who have no mission to be pathetic here. Let us rather see what remains to us of social pleasure and of amusement still to be enjoyed. For even our balls have not yet come to an end, and till the last lady-month has flitted away, there will still be music at midnight, and the rolling of carriage-wheels and the shriek of the whistle of Brown shall still startle the silent neighborhoods.
And is not a ball a good thing, after all? To go to many balls, to adore balls, to depend on balls, yes, that is very bad, no doubt, and very weak, which is worse than bad. But who, that has a glimmer of imagination left in his much-worked brain, can look, without emotion, upon a ball-room? For the mere pleasure of it, how good the first glimpse of a gay ball-room is! The soft lustrous atmosphere, the mingling of beautiful colors, the rustling of the most delicate and the richest stuffs that the cunning looms of man have wrought--the perfume of rare flowers, the whirl of brilliant music; how dull, or dreary, or discontented
must the man be who can take no satisfaction in the mere splendor of such a show! Somebody tells a good story of Lord Melbourne to this effect:-The Premier (in whom politics spoiled a poet) went one night with Mrs. Norton and her sister to the opera in company with a dashing young man about town, more remarkable for the correctness of his coats than for the brilliancy of his wits. When Lord Melbourne the next morning called to pay his respects to the ladies, he inquired after their companion. "Oh! he had a dreadful time," said Mrs. Norton, "he was so bored to death that it was really painful to hear his complaints." "Bored to death!" exclaimed the Premier, "bored to death! Why, had the fellow no eyes? Could't he see the great red lobsters lying in the windows in St. James's street, and the gas-light flaming on their backs? What more did he want???
What more, truly? The man who has never possessed, or has wholly lost the capacity of being pleased by mere sight and sound, by the splendors of gas-light on the red backs of lobsters, or the glitter of jewels in a ball-room, really does not deserve to live in a world where so much beauty and movement is lavished upon the senses through every turn of every season.
Not that we mean to put lobsters' backs on a par with ladies' jewelry! Both are fine, yet we do think the jewels the finer of the two, and the wearers of the jewels decidedly finer than either, or both.
And so we like to go to balls, holding the mere spectacle excuse enough for us, whose years and sex may seem to demand an excuse which is not to be required of young damsels. For them the ball-room is a play-ground, or a battle-field. interest is deeper than ours; yet, on the whole, perhaps not more satisfactory. For while nature rarely exacts of us any penalty but a headache for our indulgence in these recreations, she forces those who take more from the game, to pay a higher price--sometimes in aches of the heart as well. And if we should begin to anatomize-if we should descend to the supper-room, empty and trampled, and strewn with fragmentary flowers, and dabbled with the gore of oys ters-or if we should pause in the dressingroom and pierce the secrets folded at midnight under cloaks and mantillas, shawls and furs-or-. But we will do no such
thing. The ball-room was bright and beautiful. That trouble, and disappointment, and envy, and malice will sometimes come away in satin slippers and patentleathers from scenes so gorgeous is a sad thing, yes, a very sad thing; but we have met them too, alas! in goloshes and doublesoled boots at the door of the lecture-room and the chapel; and we will not, for their foul sakes, turn off the gas-lights of the saloon, or stifle the whistle of Brown. Least of all, when it is benevolence who bids the musicians sound their instruments, and leads off the dance in a minuet with fashion.
The ball for the nurses" at the Academy was a very fine and animated spectacle. The gorgeous building, all a-blaze with light, was filled with people, upon whose appearance and behavior no American could look without a glow of patriotic pride. For though the charity, in behalf of which all this array was assembled, claims the special support of Japonicadom, and though Japonicadom was very well represented, yet, a vast proportion of the spectators, and a still larger proportion of the dancers, belonged to the unfortunate class of those "whom nobody knows." Surprising and satisfactory, in a high degree, therefore, to the philosophic mind, was the discovery that "nobody's" acquaintances were just as good-looking, just as well-behaved, and almost as well-dressed as if they had enjoyed the benignant influences of "everybody's" society.
We, the experienced editor, have seen many balls, on both sides of the Atlantic, bachelor-balls and leap-year-balls, courtballs and country-balls, balls in the drawing-room and balls in the public garden, masked balls and-yet what balls are unmasked balls?-ah! who can shut out the fancy, that, of all imaginable balls, those are the least truly masquerades, where the mask hides the face, but leaves the heart free to its own emotions!
But of such fancies we have this day resolved to take no heed-let them come or let them go-we will not enter into the metaphysics of masking; we return to our muttons-we take up the dropped thread -we go on to aver, that we have never, at any time, nor in any country, seen so large and miscellaneous a company conduct themselves with so much propriety, and make so creditable an appearance.