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have cV 77} ijfrfpa auToii. The icm, besides, shows this, 'las Ti\. dvtyK.] i. e. ric To fivat vuas avtyK.; so diroKaT«rra0r) vylrjs, Matth. \ii. 13. "To the end," see reff.—i. e. to the ovpri\tia i. alums, not merely " to the end of your lives."'
By referring to the notes, it will be seen that Mr. Alford'e energies are still unimpaired, and that although Meyer is the commentator ostensibly "put forward, De Wette is ever the favourite.
* Euphelia serves to grace my measure,
Nothing now remains except briefly to sum up the opinions to which this deliberate survey of Mr. Alford's labours has at last brought us. With regard to the Notes, nothing more need be said: they are principally compilations,—in some portions acknowledged, in others unacknowledged,—from German sources, De Wette being the largest contributor. It is most certain that Mr. Alford has performed the task of verification with great conscientiousness, and has done his best to avoid the dangerous opinions in which some of his authorities freely traffic. But it cannot be said that his compilation of Notes, even estimated as a compilation, is a successful performance in any other respect; and this for the simple reason that the Notes, as our extracts will have proved, are an aggregated rather than an organized and digested mass. Mr. Alford's Commentary is neither a pure compilation, on the one hand, nor an original construction, on the other; by which latter words we endeavour to express the result of that process of subordinating the opinions, references, and illustrations of others to our own matured reflections, which gives an original and distinctive character to a commentary, even though built only out of existing materials. Mr. Alford's belongs to neither class, but unfortunately so oscillates between the two, as to present some of the defects incidental to both. From the one system he has contracted the habit of making unseasonably long parades as well as discussions of the opinions of other commentators,—in some of whom at least neither the student nor minister can feel much interest;— from the other system he has imbibed the habit of stating at some length the process of his own thoughts. Both these defects culminate in the exposition of the Epistle to the Romans. In this also, as well as other parts, the rapid transitions from the one style of commentary to the other are very unfavourable to the unity of the present Notes. Portions literally translated from German commentaries, paraphrases and abbreviations, acknowledged or unacknowledged, from the same sources; epexegetical comments, statements of individual opinions, discussions and analyses of the opinions of others, all pass, in every possible combination, before the eye of the reader; the mind is distracted by a diversity without a prevailing unity, by a coacervation without fusion.
1 'f«t TtAoSi] bis ant Ende des gegenw'artigen Zustandes der Dinge welches mit der Wieder kuuft Christe eintritt fit re'A.of, Matth. 10, 22. 24, 18; niclit des Lebena. tu/tyKki'iTovs] brachylogisch St. (Is ri tlyai fyuti iveyiiX. vgl. Matth12, 13.'
We trust that Mr. Alford will strive to remedy these patent short-comings in his new volume, and in the present one, if it ever reach a second edition. And above all things, we hope that he will frankly and explicitly declare what he has taken from others; that he will avow the great use he has made of De Wette's Handbuch, and will thus put public teachers and private students on their guard. For zealous and active as Mr. Alford may be in eliminating German heterodoxy, we have yet seen quite enough in these volumes to teach us that one pair of eyes cannot always be sufficiently vigilant, nor one judgment always adequately sagacious.
We sincerely hope also that he will reconsider the plan on which his text has been arranged, and instead of wearying the unpractised eye with borrowed details from another's toilsome labours, will rather take the result of those labours, by adopting the text of some competent critic, and appending notes only when he sees fit to depart from it. This more limited, but not less useful undertaking, Mr. Alford has now critical experience enough to perform with success and advantage; but the present edition affords irrefragable proofs that years must pass over Mr. Alford's head before he can properly accomplish the great and responsible task of an original reconstruction of the sacred text.
The ' Prolegomena,' too, though much better than those of the former volume, may yet be improved. More reflection, more maturity of thought, less immediate reproductions of the opinions of others, and fewer instances of ill-digested research, would impart to this portion of the work much in which at present it is greatly lacking.
It is useless to disguise the fact: in its present state Mr. Alford's Greek Testament can never be a standard edition ; but its accidental, as well as some of its congenital defects, may to a certain extent be mitigated and remedied. Its tendency to dissolution, to use a medical phrase, may for some time be obviated; with care and attention it may be sustained long enough in existence to remunerate Mr. Alford for his sedulity, and his publishers for their enterprise; and then, having discharged these two desirable duties, it will, we trust, be cleared away, to form a site for some more enduring monument of English 165
Art. VI.— 1. Tamerton Church Totctr, and other Poems. By Coventry Patmore. London: Pickering.
2. Poems, Narrative and Lyrical. By Edwin Arnold. Oxford: Macpherson.
3. Poems. By Alexander Smith. London: Bogue.
4. Poems. By the ltev. Claude Magnay. London: Pickering.
5. Wedding Bells; with other Poems. By the Rev. Godfrey Everth, M.A. London: Bentlcy.
6. Thoughts in Solitude. Cheltenham: Shipton.
7. Poems. By Thomas Buchanan Read. London: Delf & Triibner.
8. Poems. By James Russell Lowell. In 2 vols. Boston, U.S.
9. The Parish. In Fice Books. London: J. H. Parker.
Public opinion not long ago announced, by its official organ, that poetry is no more; that her voice has long been mute; that the few of this day who have been poets, are poets no longer; that the last vibrations of their songs have ceased; that the silence of the grave has fallen in place of those echoes 'dying, dying, dying!' which ' faint and far' responded to them; that our noblest impulses are now unaided; that men cease to read, because there is nothing worthy of being read; that the current events of each day are our only literature, and that while every good thing of earth and air that can minister to our bodies is heaped at our feet, our hearts and intellects are enduring a famine every day more utter and more hopeless, and would be suffering cravings, the like of which the body never knew, if the soul were as keenly alive to its necessities as the body is constituted to be. We do not subscribe to this opinion; we do not feel our country open to the taunt of possessing neither learners nor teachers, neither genius on the one hand, nor readers on the other. But that the charge has been brought at all, that it has been further particularised by the assertion that England has at this time no historian, no philosopher, no poet, and that we should not be able to meet it with an indignant and flat denial, backed by a score of names familiar as household words, will be a surprise to many, and may be a just subject for humiliation to all, in the midst of our national boast of possessing everything that the world can give beside.
That such a thing should be said, and no ready and full contradiction occur to the mind at once, is, we say, painful and strange enough; but when we are called upon to contrast this avowed destitution with the efforts made to supply the want; when we find that it is not zeal or labour that is wanting, but the requisite genius and ability; when we contemplate the eager crowd of authors, aspirants for fame, and ponder over their fruitless efforts, their vain endeavours,—our feelings are wrung by a far more poignant distress. We confine ourselves at present to the subject of poetry alone. To be told, then, that there are no poets, and to see the annual harvest of poems; to judge therefrom how many there are who want to be, and strive to be, and will not be anything else but poets,—who either are poets or they are nothing, and request the earth to swallow them up, the rocks to hide them, rather than that they should sink to the level and aims of ordinary men, and to know all the while that the fates are against them, and that poets, such as they mean, they will never be,—this is heart-rending. The sight of a dozen new volumes of poetry, in spite of all the printer's art, the gilding, the rainbow tints, the accurate and fanciful typography, is enough to bring a cloud over a summer day. Not that it is all bad, not that there are not many pleasant thoughts, many happy expressions, many flowing lines among them; but that the whole will pass away,—that they will fasten on no mind, either for profit or delight; that they will have no existence beyond the minute present of the eye's passing over them once, and no more; leaving no trace on memory, or heart, or character. We will spare our readers the similes forced on our mind by the very consideration of their evanescence, and which come crowding upon the pen, with no expense of original thought, while we are still fresh from the reservoirs of time-honoured imagery which our present course of study supplies.
There is one first requisite in a book which certainly takes place of all others, and without which all other merits arc vain,—that it should be readable. Now in books of poetry this prime requisite is constantly overlooked. Critics contest their merits, they decide on very important points, and much trouble is taken; but to the reader, all the while, these questions are nothing, for he stops on the threshold,—he cannot read them. The works of many poets of name in our literature stand to ut in this position. There are long poems in all our libraries, which, as far as we can guess, are works of mind, and the fruits of thought, labour, and originality. Some critic, who is an authority in our eyes, vouches for all this, and there is a look of respectability about the pages which sanctions all that he says. But when we'think of judging for ourselves, something holds us back,—a mysterious power which sets at nought our will; we only remember afterwards that we had intended to read such or such a work, and we find we have not; and a repetition of the experiment only leads to the same result. Since human nature is always the same, we find ourselves wondering whether this was the case on the first birth and ushering in of these orbs of song, and whether indeed one century hands them on to another, as they do some close-wrapped mummy, whose secret and history is still bound up in itself. But the sight of the ephemera of our own day discountenances this hypothesis. Some of them are unreadable, but we know that this ensures no continuance of long and torpid life; others we read flowingly and glibly enough, only to feel that their existence is but for a day. The muse of our age is neither working for the present, nor storing up testimonies of her existence and her labours to people the bookshelves of future generations.
Nor is there as much encouragement as might at first be supposed in the fact that these poets in hope and aim, not in fact, are as fully alive to the deficiency of our day as the practical journalist. We feel indeed, sometimes, that if they could forget the dearth, they might a little more effectually help to supply it. But they are too much occupied with the fact; and instead of writing poetry, talk about it. The age's want of a poet, what sort of a poet is wanted, what his mission is to be, how the age yearns for him, what are to be his characteristics, how he is to lead in the van of progress, and to guide men to an undreamed of perfection, are echoed from one to another. Some evidently feel that expression alone is wanting to bring them up to the mark; others have had a friend, who might have been the very man, only he died young, and supposed specimens of his verses are given, wherein the youth is more evident than the mighty promise. Some offer receipts for invoking the muse: long hours of idleness and a purposeless existence being the most intelligible and easily followed of these nostrums. For laziness is made a sort of system of, and it is clear that, to some minds, a youth has no chance of being a poet, until he has incapacitated himself for any other avocation. The influence of this idle life, where the experiment seems to have been tried, shows itself naturally enough upon the temper; indeed we find spleen to awaken some of the most heartfelt, and therefore best expressed effusions which fall in our way. Take, for instance, the following burst of indignation against the rich citizens of London, suggestive, as it is, of the moralizing fables that used to instruct our youth, where industrious ants and idle grasshoppers carried on characteristic dialogues for our improvement:—
'Oh, rich in gold! Beggars in heart and soul!