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it as evidently does not at all belong to the general character of the book of Zechariah, which is mostly composed of a cheering strain ;wherefore the Spirit of Inspiration designates the statements which even Zechariah delivers on the former subjects, by the name of its proper type, Jeremiah.' pp. 603-5.

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How satisfactory and how beautiful, exclaims Mr. Noble, is this explanation! It is a perfectly easy solution of a difficulty which, upon every other theory, is insurmountable.' But is Mr. Noble able to produce the sanction of the Scriptures for this beautiful' explanation? Can he point out a single instance of the kind in the Bible? In the entire absence of all such examples, and of all other evidence, the presumption of the Author is equal only to his marvellous self-complacency. Such a theory is adapted to produce effects on the minds of unbelievers very different from the removal of their prejudices. Here is another specimen of the application of his theory.

Most certainly, none but such views as we have offered of the nature of the Israelitish dispensation, can meet the objections of the Deist on the score of the immoral conduct, and the acts of wrong and outrage, committed by those who, if we refuse to look beyond the letter, were the personal favourites of heaven. You deny (most of you) a typical character to any persons or actions which are not expressly recognised in that capacity in the New Testament. You deny then such a character to Jael and her slaughter of Sisera : then how justify or excuse them? It is in vain to say, as some have done, that this was a transaction for which the performer alone was accountable, it not being owned by the God of the Scriptures; whereas it is expressly eulogized by the voice of prophecy. With what sort of feelings do you read of a woman's killing her guest in his sleep, while you believe that it was the act itself, and not something represented by it, which was really agreeable to him who hath said, "Thou shalt not kill?" Beautiful and impressive does the narrative become, when we read in it the manner in which wicked persons of the specific character represented by Sisera, endeavour to escape detection, by lurking behind the assumed appearance of that species of good of which Jael is the type and how, when they have thus filled up the measure of their iniquity by adding hypocrisy to their other vices, they sink : into a merely natural state, of which sleep is the symbol, and thence: pass, unconsciously, into complete spiritual death; nailed to the earth, to earth-born feelings,-for ever, Jael is thus seen as the representative of goodness of a genuine kind, which does not suffer itself to be prostituted by being made a cover to vice. Here is something on which the Divine approbation cannot but rest; but without it, how vindicate the transaction?' pp. 620, 21.

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Now, how beautiful soever this may appear to Mr. Noble, there are some considerations belonging to the subject, which he would find to require his attention before he could

procure the admission of his explanation by an objector, even if he had been successful in establishing the solidity of his theory. Is there, it may be asked, any reality in the narratives detailed in the book of Judges? Whether they be typical or not, whether they be symbolic actions and descriptions or not, if they are real transactions, then, the facts being as they are stated, the theory of Mr. Noble cannot make the slightest possible difference in respect to the character of the facts as approveable or blameable; and if the transaction cannot be vindicated without Mr. Noble's theory, it is equally indefensible with it.

Art. III. 1. Popular Tales and Romances of the Northern Nations. In Three Volumes, small 8vo. pp. 1010. London. 1823.

2. German Popular Stories. 12mo. pp. 252. Price 78. London. 1823.

3. Peter Schlemihl: from the German of Lamotte Fouqué. 12mo. pp. 165 Price 6s. 6d. London. 1824.

4. The Magic Ring; a Romance, from the German of Frederick, Baron de la Motte Fouqué. In Three Volumes, small 8vo. pp. 1010. London. 1825.

CIR

IRCUMSTANCES very remote from habits of romance or novel reading, have recently made us acquainted with these whimsical volumes; and we are willing to give up a few paragraphs to some of the speculations which have been suggested by their perusal. We might, perhaps, even in a common way, be more profitably employed; but it is our business to take a general view of the field of literature, and we shall avail ourselves of the little excursion that we have just made, to describe some of the prospects we met with in our tour. And, after all, if the belles lettres are worth cultivating, their history must be worth investigating; and if this be done with any regard to accuracy and completeness, the annals of fable must be carefully traced. What are the drama and the epopee, but fictitious narratives of a higher order, with a more artificial arrangement, and with decoration more varied and more vivid? In short, the fictions of a nation are to a great extent illustrative of its history, and characteristic of its tastes and feelings.

We are not quite expert enough in these matters to enter on a specific discrimination of the marking features of romantic invention and fictitious composition, as observable in the literature of different and distant countries; but we have been struck, so far as our knowledge reaches, with the general supe

riority of German tales in the very important particular of morality. We are aware that this opinion may be considered as somewhat hazarded, and we admit that it is only to be admitted in a qualified and comparative view; but a brief explanation will at once make the matter clear, and include such incidental criticisms as the subject may seem to require.

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The Tales of the East are, as might be expected in the regions of Harams and Zenanas, deplorably tainted with inpurity and intrigue. The Arabian Nights, though, in their European dress, they appear to have undergone a partial expurgation, are by no means sufficiently innoxious to justify indiscriminate perusal. There exists among us by far too much of a matter-of-course feeling with respect to general reading; and there are not a few books unhesitatingly put into the hands of the young, which those of more advanced age can scarcely read with impunity. The manners, the costume, and the modes of thinking prevalent in the East, are, indeed, vividly portrayed in the Thousand and One' stories of Scheherazade; and there can be no question of the advantage to be derived, in this view, from an acquaintance with these spirited inventions; but, in the case of youth at least, we should prefer conveying the instruction in a different form. The Bahar-Danush is disgusting from its grossness, and furnishes strong condemnatory evidence against that state of society in which it is not merely permitted but popular. These two collections may be fairly taken as characteristic of the eastern school of fiction; and unhappily, their relaxed morality has extended itself to the story-tellers of the West. The Italian novelists were the con amore continuators of Arabian and Persian ribaldry. Spirited, inventive, and clothing their licentious details in the attractive drapery of a beautiful and harmonious writing, they bequeathed to after-times the pestilential legacy of alluring vice and seductive obscenity. The same debasing character is but too conspicuous in the fictitious literature of the other nations of Southern Europe, and it seems to have infected all the department of imaginative composition. Our fine old English drama, with its perfect nature and its matchless style, is a school of lust; and that which would, but for this, be a most wholesome and invigorating exercise of the intellect, becomes a nauseous and contaminating contact. The writers exhausted themselves in the chase of double entendres, impure allusions, and broad obscenities. The reek of a lewd imagination obscured the brightness of their genius, and works of unrivalled ability are rendered unsafe and injurious by the obtrusion of this wayward and degrading spirit of uncleanness. Without meaning to convey the idea that there

are no slips in this respect, to be detected in the old Teutonic fictions, it may be safely affirmed that they are not merely of more rare occurrence, but of a far more venial kind. There is no hot scent of a debauched imagination, no revelry in unchaste phrase, no elaborate exhibition of immodest circum. stance; there may be occasional indications of coarse manners, but we are not annoyed either by a running fire of indecent allusion, or by the systematic operations of a prurient imagination.

The modern school of German novelists is, in this respect, of a mixed character. One, at least, of the number has distinguished himself by productions of glaring immorality. The Wilhelm Meister of Goethe is disfigured by much grossness and vulgarity, while in a notorious drama, Stella, he has offered inexpiable insult to the decorums of society and the laws of the marriage compact. In a general way, however, we should say, from our limited knowledge of these branches of German literature, that instances of this kind are but few, and that the far larger proportion of Teutonic tale-writers are too honestly and indefatigably in search of the extravagant and horrific, to have either leisure or inclination for indulgence in the sensual and impure. Judging from the specimens before us, the diablerie Tudesque is in no danger of extinction. Demons of all genera and species, ghosts of all forms and dimensions, brownies and fairies of all colours and tempers, wizards and weird-sisters, both white and black, caverns, caldrons, spells, storms, mists, shadows of all densities, flashes, explosions, with the accustomed harlequinade of necromaney, keep the mind in a state of unceasing bewilderment. ` Independently, however, of the absurdity of the thing, the bustle is, in general, well kept up, and there is, sometimes, a display of considerable talent in the management of unmanageable materials. La Motte Fouqué seems to be the master-genius in this way among the wonder-workers of Germany, and he really gets up his pantomimes in a very creditable way. We are unhappy enough never to have seen Mother Goose,' but we should imagine that the Baron's achievements beat that celebrated triumph of Tomfoolery' quite hollow. The Magic Ring is a piquant olio of knighthood and enchantment, entangled and disentangled with much dexterity, and containing passages of considerable interest. The knot of the intrigue lies in the identity of half-a-dozen chieftains, all alike valiant and amorous, who figure as Hygies of Greece-the Italian Uguccione-the renowned Sir Huguenin of Normandy-the stern Sir Hugur of the North-and who all turn out to be one and the same individual-like Cerberus, three gentlemen at

once-Sir Hugh von Trautwangen. Uncommon tact is displayed in first of all making pie-to borrow a printer's phrase of his materials, and then distributing' them with perfect regularity. The Baron is an admirable story-teller: he reminds us at times of Count Anthony Hamilton, between whose whimsical extravaganza, les quatre Facardins, and the Magic Ring, there is some resemblance. Fouqué has not, indeed, the inimitable charm, the gracefully sportive humour, the keen-edged sarcasm of the brilliant Irishman, but he narrates with much vivacity, describes with good effect; and without decided originality, has so much of its semblance as to pass well for an original writer. His great peculiarities are, first, the clever way in which he constructs and develops his plot, and next, the very striking and uncommon character of his descriptions. He seems to have taken the magic lantern as his optical medium, and the rainbow as his theory of colour. There are in his grouping. his light and shade, and his tints. a richness and mistiness, a want of definite outline, a mingled brilliancy and uncertainty, that have an effect of undefinable attraction. A singular melange, half-fairy-tale, balf-phantasmagoria, translated in the popular Romances under the title of the Tale,' is, we imagine, by Fouqué, and may afford a fair illustration of his eye for colour. His Undine contains some beautiful passages, and his Sintram is made up of a series of pictures that seem copied from Durer, Spranger, Goltzius, and Cranach. But he deserves a higher praise than any that is derived from accidental circumstances, since his wildest excursions seem, almost invariably, to have some moral end in view. The Magic Ring' seems intended to illustrate the superiority, both intellectual and religious, of Christianity over Paganism; and its heroine, Bertha von Lichtenried whether considered as a personification or a leading character, is a lovely and attractive portraiture. From this romance we shall borrow, as a general specimen, the following conjuration

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'On the evening of that day when Sir Folko de Montfaucon had been carried as a dead man into the royal cemetery, behold! there came some one late in the night, disguised in such a manner that the centinels could not distinguish his features; but they heard him strike three times as with an iron glove, or something else that rung and rattled in his hand, against the iron trellis-work by which the vault was secured. On hearing that sound, they thought of rushing from their posts, and demanding of the stranger what was his purpose there at such an hour; but in the same moment weariness and sleep fell heavily upon them, so that, one by one, they dropped down powerless, and as if fainting and insensible, on the ground.

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