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In the little book entitled “Hellas," * which bears the imprint of a new publishing house in Cambridge, Mr. Thomas Chase, formerly
Tutor in Harvard College, gives the story of a tour in Greece, made nearly ten years ago, in the summer of 1853. In a country so progressive as Greece, and where political changes come so rapidly, prophecies of the future seem as uncertain as sketches of the present condition of things. Mr. Chase's chapter on the Modern Capital and Kingdom is wisely short and vague. He went rather to see the land and the ruins of Greece, than to see the court of Otho or the cafés of Athens. His stay in the land was only long enough to make a few and somewhat hurried excursions, not long enough to study the monuments minutely or make very accurate observations. His enthusiasm is very charming and sincere. We have to regret, however, that the enthusiasm does not accompany some new discovery or information, and that his notes add nothing to what was well known before.
The idea of a series of children's books on Egypt and Syria is excellent. Dr. Eddy has some special gifts for carrying out that idea. His style of writing is easy and familiar. He has travelled in the East, too, and can tell what he has seen. And he has the good taste, moreover, to refrain from preaching, from intrusive moral reflections, and from pious sentimentalism. The first instalment of his series of six volumes † promises well for those which are to follow. It takes very much from its value, however, as a book of travel in Egypt, that it leaves out wholly the Nile voyage, — the boat-life, the ruined cities, tombs, and temples, — the extraordinary varieties of birds, — in fact, gives very little of the larger and the most interesting part of the land. It is hardly worth while for half a dozen persons to go to Egypt as first-class passengers merely to ride on donkeys and to climb the great Pyramid. And at the close, the impression is left that the result of the visit is immensely disproportioned to its outlay.
MISCELLANEOUS. MR. BULFINCH's well-known “ Age of Fable” and “Age of Chivalry” are now followed by the “ Legends of Charlemagne.” I Externally the book is much handsomer than the former ones, and doubtless will prove in the contents of it equally valuable and interesting. This excellent series is one which the elders should see that the young people have on their book-shelves. Messrs. Tilton & Co., who deserve much credit for the elegance of this volume, have published a new edition of the Age of Fable, in uniform style with it.
* Hellas: her Monuments and Scenery. By Thomas CHASE, M. A. Cam. bridge : Sever and Francis. 1863. 16mo. pp. 220.
† Walter's Tour in the East. By DANIEL C. EDDY, D. D. Walter in Egypt. New York: Sheldon & Co.
I Legends of Charlemagne ; or, Romance of the Middle Ages. By THOMAS BuLFINCH. Boston: J. E. Tilton & Co.
The Poems of Adelaide A. Procter * were favorably known through the newspapers before any collection was published in this country. The volume just issued, in the favorite blue and gold, is one of those rare collections in which it is difficult to find anything vapid or weak. Miss Procter's poems have a vigor, grace, and wealth of imagery which certainly place the author far above any living female poet. Her narrative poems, “A Tomb in Ghent,” and “A Legend of Provence,” with vivid coloring and clearness of outline, show very delicate skill of handling in their rhymed melody, with great sweetness and pathos of incident, and considerable dramatic effect.
A large proportion of the poems are perhaps sad in tone, but it is the sorrow through which we grow stronger and braver, rather than a weakening or depressing influence, as, for instance, in the noble pathos of True Honors.” They are written in a spirit of warm sympathy with the poor and unfortunate, and of confident faith in the unseen and eternal, — in a spirit of love to man and of serene confidence in God most refreshing to meet. The religious poems, in particular, are exquisite, — among the most beautiful types of that Catholic piety which is illustrated in many parts of the volume, and is made the special burden of the closing part.
EXQUISITE taste in selection and beauty of execution make “ The Golden Treasury” † well worthy of its winning title. The choicest lyrics of the English language are arranged in four periods, not in strict chronological order, but after some subtile association of poetic fancy. The selection excludes living poets. It is inscribed to Alfred Tennyson, whose name, as well as the compiler's own statement of his purpose, is a guaranty for the quality of the poetic judgment that has presided in the selection. As a gift-book, at once inexpensive, beautiful, and of perennial value, it has no rival.
* The Poems of ADELAIDE A. PROCTER. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.
† The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language. Selected and Arranged, with Notes, by FRANCIS TURNER PALGRAVE. Cambridge: Sever and Francis. 16mo. pp. 405.
NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.
St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, newly translated and explained from a Missionary Point of View. By the Rt. Rev. J. W. Colenso, Bishop of Natal. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 261. (Characterized by directness and plainness of thought, simplicity of style, and a peculiar sweetness and sincerity of spirit. The dogma of everlasting punishment is argued against, at length and earnestly, in the notes on Chap. VIII.)
The Life of Our Lord upon the Earth, considered in its Historical, Chronological, and Geographical Relations. By Samuel J. Andrews. New York: Charles Scribner. (A series of minute discussions as to the detailed exposition of the narrative; apparently well posted in the recent literature of the subject, but with no criticism going behind the text.)
Transition ; a Remembrance of Emma Whiting. By H. S. Carpenter. New York: Carleton. 12mo. pp. 179.
Essays. By Henry Thomas Buckle. With a Biographical Sketch of the Author, and Photographic Portrait. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 209. (The Sketch is ambitious in style and disappointing in substance. The leading Essay is on Mr. Mill's writings; and chiefly valuable as illustrating the writer's genuine earnestness as a champion of intellectual freedom.)
The National Almanac and Annual Record for the Year 1863. Philadelphia: George W. Childs. 12mo. pp. 698. (A manual of extraordinary completeness, showing every evidence of care and fidelity in preparation ; for general reference both convenient and indispensable; its chronicle of events brought down to December 31, 1862; especially valuable for its very full digest of United States Laws since December 1860, and for its record of all matters pertaining to the military force of the nation, and the history of the rebellion.)
A Second Book in Geometry. By Thomas Hill. Reasoning upon Facts. Boston: Brown and Tileston. 12mo. pp. 136. (An accomplished mathematician, President Hill is much more besides. His volume will be found very suggestive and valuable, especially to two classes, - teachers, who need such aids to widen their range of thought, and thoughtful learners, who are pursuing their studies without an instructor, and need to be shown why and how the study is of use. As a text-book for classes, we doubt if it will supersede manuals very inferior to it in intellectual value.)
A Talk with my Pupils. By Mrs. Charles Sedgwick. New York: John Hopper. 12mo. pp. 235. (Sober, but genial : among the best books of practical counsel to the young, and excellently illustrated with examples.)
The Institutes of Medicine. By Martin Paine. Seventh edition. New York: Harper & Brothers. 8vo. pp. 1130.
The Soldier's Book; a Pocket Diary for Accounts and Memoranda. New York: Samuel Colman. (Conveniently and skilfully arranged, and highly recommended.)
Art. I. - BENEDICT SPINOZA.
Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. A Critical Inquiry into the History,
Purpose, and Authority of the Hebrew Scriptures, with the Right to Free Thought and Free Discussion asserted, and shown to be not only consistent, but necessarily bound up with true Piety and good Government. By BENEDICT DE SPINOZA. From the Latin, with an Introduction and Notes by the Editor. London: Trübner & Co. 1862. 8vo. pp. 359.
This first attempt to present in English, with any fulness, the very thought of one of the most marked representative minds in modern metaphysics, gives evidence that the name of Spinoza is still a living power among men, and offers a fit opportunity for a sketch of his life and writings, derived from other and wider sources.* His name has generally been used merely as the symbol of a controversy on the loftiest and abstrusest topics of human speculation. We hope to show that it deserves honor, likewise, for the noble human qualities it
. * We subjoin a list of the publications which will prove most valuable to those who desire to study our subject in greater detail:
B. von Spinoza's Sämmtliche Werke aus dem Lateinischen mit dem Leben Spinoza's. Von BertHOLD AUERBACH. 5 Bände. Stuttgart. 1841.
B. de Spinoza Opera quce supersunt omnia. Ex Editionibus principibus denuo edidit et præfatus est CAROLUS HERMANNUS BRUDER. 3 vol. Lipsiæ. 1843 – 46.
B. de Spinoza Tractatus de Deo et Homine ejusque Felicitate Lineamenta atque Annotationes ad Tractatum Theologico-Politicum ed. et illus. EDVARDUS BOEHMER. Halæ ad Salam. 1852.
Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik. Neue Folge. 36sten Bandes. 1 stes Heft. Halle. 1860. Art. Spinozana, von Ed. BÖHMER. VOL. LXXIV. — 5TH S. VOL. XII. NO. III.
betokens, and for the singular place it holds in the history of intellectual liberty.
The Portuguese Jews, from whom Spinoza was descended, came first into Holland in the year 1603. Persecutions had pressed hard upon them; they had been outlawed, tortured by the Inquisition, compelled to the abjuration of their ancient faith, banished. Driven from Spain under Ferdinand and Isabella, great numbers of them sought refuge in Portugal, only to be driven thence in turn by fresh cruelties of persecution. Holland had achieved independence of Rome and the Spanish yoke, had become republican, and extended free toleration to the diversities of belief and worship. Hither flocked the oppressed of all lands, and hither came these outcasts seeking rest for the sole of their foot.
They proved a valuable accession to the new republic. They had intelligence, material resources, and business enterprise, while in point of literary and social culture they were far in advance of their fellows elsewhere. This superiority, together with a certain pride of birth, — for they accounted themselves descended from the royal tribe of Judah, — was the occasion of their assuming an attitude of exclusiveness towards their brethren of other lands; and to this day it is said to be very rarely that a Portuguese Jew allies himself by marriage or otherwise with one of German or Polish extraction. They entered with interest into the commercial enterprises of the time, and what with their industries and wealth, they added materially to the growth and prosperity of their adopted country.
For the rest, they were zealously devoted to the faith of their fathers, and assiduously cultivated its rites, — all the more, probably, that they had been long forbidden its profession and observance. The Law and the Talmud were the great matters of study with them. Very learned doctors were devoted to the exposition of them, and they were carefully inculcated upon the minds of the youth. The Aristotelian era of Jewish philosophy, under Aben-Ezra and Maimonides, corresponds nearly in date, as in character, with the Schoolmen's attempt to reconcile faith with reason, to wield logic for the Church.