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ROMAN DAYS.* The title of this very interesting book does not give any clue to the real purpose of the author. The volume contains a series of studies on Julius Cæsar and the first six emperors of Rome, with a view to arrive at their true characters, as they can be learned from a comparison of what is said of them in the histories of their reigns, with the busts and statues which were made of them during their life. The idea of the accomplished Swedish author-Viktor Rydberg-is one which has suggested itself doubtless to many other persons, as they have stood before the long rows of the statues of the Roman Emperors in the galleries of the eternal city, but no one has carried it out so completely and with such critical ability. Mr. Merivale, it is true, in his estimate of the character of Claudius-than whom no one of those six Roman emperors presents more of a mystery-says that he has been "guided by the study of his countenance in the numerous busts still existing." He says: "It is impossible not to remark in them an expression of pain and anxiety which forcibly arrests our sympathy. It is the face of an honest and well-meaning man, who feels himself unequal to the task imposed on him."—"There is the look of perplexity"-etc., etc.-" There is the expression of fatigue, both of mind and body," etc., etc.-"There is the glance of fear," etc., etc. "Above all, there is the anxious glance of dependence," etc., etc. What Mr. Merivale has done very briefly in the case of Claudius, Viktor Rydberg has done at length with Julius Cæsar, Cæsar Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.
But interesting as these sketches of the Emperors are, they are perhaps surpassed in interest by two criticisms which follow them, on the "Aphrodite of Melos" and the "Antinous." Rydberg proposes a new solution of the vexed question as to what the statue of the Venus represents, and states his view so clearly, and defends it so vigorously that no student of art should fail to give it careful consideration. The volume contains also a few chapters in which the early traditions of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to the apostles Peter and Paul are told. The book is one which possesses rare interest throughout.
*Roman Days: From the Swedish of VIKTOR RYDBERG; by ALFRED CORNING CLARK. With a sketch of Rydberg by Dr. A. W. Lindehn. Authorized translation. Illustrated. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1879. 8vo, pp. 332.
IN BERKSHIRE WITH THE WILD FLOWERS.* -There are few among the gift books of the season which are in every way so attractive as this dainty volume. With its beautiful illustrations, which recall the best known of the wild flowers which everywhere in such countless profusion adorn the meadows and hill-sides of New England, it awakens the pleasantest memories. As its pages are turned over, it seems as if the fresh breezes of another spring were once more let loose, and we were able to pass on through all the seasons till the fringed gentian once more brings us back to the approach of the close of the year. The illustrations are so admirably engraved and are so beautiful and suggestive, that we cannot forbear to call the roll. They properly begin with the trailing arbutus. Then follow the hepatica, the anemone, the bloodroot, blue violets, trillium, the wild oat, the columbine, the wild azalea, daisies, the sweet briar, the harebell, mountain laurel, white clover, red clover, meadow lilies, wild clematis, Indian pipe, the thistle, spirea, golden rod, asters, and last the fringed gentian. Not the least remarkable thing about the volume are the pictorial descriptions which accompany the representations of these favorite flowers. They are the work of those remarkable sisters, Elaine and Dora Goodale, the authors of " Apple Blossoms," noticed in the New Englander for last March. 1863; and Dora, October 9, 1866. everywhere exhibited is a marvel.
Elaine was born October 9,
THE CHILDREN'S BOOK OF POETRY.-This is a most attractive volume of poems for children, splendidly and abundantly illustrated. The poems are well selected and of a character to interest children and even children of a larger growth. They are appropriately grouped under the following heads-Baby Days; Play Days; Lessons of Life; Animals and Birds; Trees and Flowers; Nature; Religion; Christmas and New Year; Old Tales and Ballads; Famous Poems for older children. The volume has a good index.
* In Berkshire with the Wild Flowers. By ELAINE and DORA GOODALE. 8vo, pp. 92. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York.
The Children's Book of Poetry. Carefully selected from the works of the best and most popular writers for children. By HENRY T. COATES, Editor of the "Fireside Encyclopædia of Poetry." Illustrated with nearly 200 engravings from designs by Gustave Doré, Harrison Weir, G. E. Millais, George H. Thomas, Giacomelli, and other distinguished artists. 525 pp. Porter & Coates, Philadelphia.
ARTICLE I.-MR. MALLOCK AND HIS CRITIC.
Is Life worth Living? W. H. MALLOCK. New York, 1879. The Value of Life. A Reply. New York, 1879.
BOTH of these books have attracted, and are likely to attract, much attention. Both deal with momentous themes, and possess considerable philosophic and popular interest. Of the two books, Is Life Worth Living? is written in the more graceful, animated style, the "Reply" in the clearer, and more concise. The thought of the former is mystical, that of the latter clearly defined. Mr. Mallock's object is not at once apparent; he approaches his theme by circumlocutions and innuendoes, and his work will admit of considerable condensation. The aim of his critic, on the other hand, is at once clear; he evidently is in no doubt as to what he believes and has to say. The English essayist addresses his audience with some prestige as the author of sundry volumes, as a popular and brilliant contributor to current periodical literature. The "Reply" is the work of an anonymous American writer, who, however, is evidently no stranger to acute thinking and vigorous expression. Both books are chiefly interesting as illustrating certain tendencies in the
thought of the time, and as suggesting rather than as closing inquiry on the subjects considered.
Mr. Mallock's position is, in brief, this. Under the influence of the positive thought of the age (using the word positive not especially in the Comtean sense, but as meaning sceptical, scientific thought), God and immortality have become dreams, man an automaton, life has lost its beauty and dignity; the only way to restore these to existence, is to accept Catholicism, and find rest in the bosom of an infallible church.
The position of Mr. Mallock's opponent is directly the reverse. Catholicism is the deadly foe of science and all progress; the true value of life is to be found in positivism, its principles and the activities it inspires.
The following is an abstract of Is Life Worth Living. Modern scepticism is sweeping in its denials, as never before. It rejects Christianity, which focalizes the supernatural as did none of the religions of antiquity. Science has reduced the world to comparative insignificance, hence revelation becomes improbable, and man and his destinies of little account. The thought of the age is intensely self-conscious, and destructive in its analysis. If life is worth living, there is a prize to be gained, and this must be moral in its nature. When we ask positive thought what this prize is, it replies, either individual or social happiness, and it continually confuses the two. If it says, social happiness, sociology becomes the basis of morality, as indeed the advocates of positivism are constantly affirming. But social happiness is an indefinite end, and the benevolence and sympathy upon which the positivists rely for its realization, are inadequate. If it says, individual happiness, goodness becomes its own reward, and this is impossible, because positive thought eliminates the importance, inwardness, and absolute authority of the moral standard. If positivists affirm that love remains and will prove constantly ennobling, the reply is, scepticism degrades love, and leaves us no choice between its lower and higher forms. Positivism, too, destroys that supernatural moral judgment, which reverses our natural estimates of the relative worth of things. It makes folly of great literary creations, as Hamlet, Antigone, Faust, etc., which are founded on this judgment, and introduces a general ennui and monotony
into life and letters. Moreover no superstition was ever greater than that of positivism. It denies influence to the heaven and hell of theology, and then expects men will be attracted by its vague optimism, and its future earthly paradise. Scepticism might not, indeed, plunge the world into wild excesses of sin, but it blunts the conscience, makes it powerless in the presence of an overwhelming temptation, reduces the world to insipidity, -and this process, moreover, has already commenced. The boasted inexorable logic of positive thinkers is also a fiction, for when they come to the phenomenon of consciousness, for example, they deny the evident spiritual power producing this, and indulge in vague generalities about the insoluble mystery of the production of thought through molecular changes. They reject, too, the manifest miraculous power of the will, reducing everything to a gross materialism. There are difficulties, to be sure, in theism, as the existence of sin and free will, but these are not peculiar to theism. Admitting this, and the demoralizing effect of scepticism, the question arises, is there any form of religion which can restore to life the significance and beauty of which the positive school robs it. The reply is, Catholicism is such a form of religion. It is the infallible church, guided by the spirit of God. Protestantism leads to rationalism, and modern criticism has made impossible the Biblical infallibility on which it rests. Catholicism has boundless charity, its doctrines are unfolded with the unfolding spiritual sense of humanity, it is adapted to the wants of the age. There may be perplexities, but if one has grace to say, I believe, although I never can comprehend, he may enter the sacred enclosure of the true church and find life recreated.
The line of thought pursued in the "Reply," is substantially as follows. Mr. Mallock's qualifications for the work he has undertaken are first considered. He is an entertaining, but unfair writer. He quotes from Tyndall, George Eliot, Huxley, Théophile Gautier, but not from Comte, Spencer, Hæckel, Littré or Lewes. He has the Jesuitical characteristics, contempt for truth, an attitude of habitual warfare, a morbid sensitiveness to sexual sins, persecuting tendencies. The picture he has drawn, at a distance looks finished, but closer inspection reveals many flaws in the enamel. He is a thinker, but his smart sayings,