« ПретходнаНастави »
to commence by objects less known, and advance to those that are more known. Thus it may be remarked, that the course of botany in which the order indicated by the work of M. de Jussieu is followed, is very difficult to beginners. In fact, what is this pretended simplicity of certain beings? Do not all the beings of each kingdom exercise all the appointed functions of their existence ? All animals feel, move, nourish themselves, and propagate their species; all vegetables nourish themselves, grow, and propagate their species also. What real difference is there then between them? It is, that in one which we call complex, each function, each part of a function is performed by a distinct organ, whilst in others that we name simple, the organs little different from one another seem to execute in common all functions. But if this is the case, it is more easy to study and to know one of the beings of the first class than of the second ; this is exactly what experience confirms. When we know well the anatomy of the superior animals, we are only then capable of detecting the corresponding organs of the inferior animals; it is only after many of the mysteries of the fecundation of large vegetables have been discovered, that we are able to unravel some part of those of the acotyledonous plants.
“Since then, it is in itself altogether a matter of indifference, whether we begin the series by one extremity or the other, I consider this as a case in which we may yield to the convenience of study, and arrange the vegetable kingdom on the same principle as the animal; beginning with the class the most complicated, that of the Dicotyledoneæ, and finishing by that which appears to be the least so, that of the Acotyledoneæ.”—Theor. Elem. pp. 334-236.
In pursuance of those views, the system of natural orders bas been modelled by M. de Candolle. Beginning with those plants which appear to be most perfect, having many leaves or segments to the calyx, many petals to the corolla, many stamens and many styles—(the Polyandria Polygynia of Linnæus)—he passes gradually to those in which these organs become less numerous or disappear altogether.
To shew the great accessions which have recently been made to botany, it may be worth while to present our readers with a few notes from the “ Systema Naturale.” In the first order, the Ranunculaceæ, Dioscorides noticed 25 species, Baubin 86, Tournefort 126, Linnæus 130, Willdenow 217, Persoon 260, De Candolle 509. In the second order, the Dilleniaceæ, none were known even to Tournefort, 3 to Linnæus, 21 to Willdenow, 96 to De Candolle. To take a more common order, the Cruciferæ, 22 appear to have been known to the ancients, Bauhin knew 141, Tournefort 240, Linnæus 234, Willdenow 414, Persoon 504, De Candolle 900; and scarcely a season passes over in Europe, without announcing the appearance of new publications, adding many materials to the mass already collected; the return of some private adventurer bringing a rich
tribute to the stores of natural history, or the arrival of some public expedition, laden with new discoveries.
Of the execution of this Prodromus, we need scarcely speak. It has been undertaken under every possible advantage, and every assistance which the improvements of the age could furnish, has been afforded. To accelerate the work, a few of the orders have been prepared by his friends and pupils, and revised by the author, but the great labour has been performed by his own efforts. It would, no doubt, be easy in these three volumes to point out a few errors, some plants that have probably been repeated or misunderstood, many that are still omitted. But it was the arrangement and classification, that at present we proposed to consider, not its details. At a future day, if in our day this work shall be completed, we may examine its execution as far as our own country is concerned, or we may return to it on the appearance of its successive volumes. We consider it a great offering presented to the science of botany; a foundation on which future improvements and additions may be made with more facility, accuracy and certainty, than at any preceding period in its annals. Every student or friend of botany, must wish for its early completion.
ART. VIII.-Anne of Geierstein; or the Maiden of the Mist. By
the Author of "Waverly." 2 Vols. Reprinted at Philadelphia. Carey, Lea & Carey. 1829.
We congratulate the reading public, on the pleasure they have shared with us, in the perusal of this last production of the gifted author of " Waverly.” We join in right good will,
“ in partaking the rich and tempting banquet which he has spread before them, and although, in our vocation of professed critics—whose very element is censure and dispraise—who subsist on the follies and defects of authors, we may be supposed to look with no peculiar favour, on works, whose overwhelming popularity and incomparable excellence, make criticism at once impotent and superfluous—yet, we ask, to be believed when we aver, that we find truer gratification in the enjoyment of such exquisite fare, as is here presented—than in the
indulgence of any morbid critical appetite whatever-and bad rather mix undistinguished with the “ common file” of readers, and swell the note of triumph that welcomes each successive creation of the Waverly muse-than signalize ourselves, by annihilating a host of learned dullards or literary foplings.
The Novels of Scott, have become in fact, a literature of themselves, and we know not if his writings were expunged, what deeper injury could be inflicted on Euglish literature, except sentence of oblivion were passed on Shakspeare himself. He must be classed as the first of Novelists—“facile primus," and this is no light praise, where Richardson, and Fielding, and Smollet are competitors. But with a depth of observation, and fidelity to nature, equal to their's, and with a flight of fancy, and power of eloquence, and fund of varied learning, infinitely beyond them, he has known how to avoid their peculiar defects: and can be charged neither with the repetitions and tedious prolixity of Richardson, nor with the prurient sensuality of Fielding, nor with the inwrought vulgarity and occasional feebleness of Smollet. The author of Tom Jones, indeed, (we know not, but that we are seduced into the opinion by the force of early association) we have ever deemed, par excellence, a man of genius; his delineations of character, have exceeding force and truth; but his paintings like those of the Flemish school, are not merely true to nature, but to nature in her grossness. Decency would draw the veil over much that he reveals. There is a purity in the page of Scott, which renders it grateful to female delicacy-while the high and commanding powers which he summons to the task, would seem to address themselves more particularly to the lofty and vigorous intellect of our own sex.
We purpose not to give a regular analysis of the story of the work before us. Such a course may be proper, in treating of obscurer books, but it is not of a tale like this that readers are content to receive their whole knowledge from a review! We shall presume then, that it will be read, admired, and classed where we think it deserves to stand, in the first rank of the second-rate productions of the author; and we shall content ourselves with selecting such passages as are illustrative of the peculiar powers of the writer, or as may serve for an introduction to such brief comments as we design to offer.
The work, particularly the first volume, is carefully and powerfully written. Some passages are highly and successfully elaborated; while in certain parts of the second volume, the author seems evidently to have composed in haste, and as if anxious to conclude. The opening of the story is spirited and striking, and
will remind the observant reader of correspondent introductions of the dramatis personæ, in the “Black Dwarf” and “Legend of Montrose.” 'You are immediately brought acquainted with some of the leading figures on the canvass, and that, under circumstances so peculiar, as at once to rivet your attention. Two travellers, babited like merchants, are seen groping their way in the face of an impending storm, amidst the most fearful precipices of the Alps; and the very first sentences they utter, assure us that their condition is above their appearance—that they are men, probably, of high rank-certainly, of high and noble sentiments, who have assumed a temporary disguise. The strong interest of mystery is thus awakened at the outset, nor does the veteran author suffer this interest to cool; for there is throughout the work, a constant masquerading of the principal characters-a perpetual surprise upon the reader. This device of authorship is, indeed, pushed too far—the entire commodity seems in danger of being used up, and such excess would, in less talented hands, tend infallibly to disgust. Thus we find, that Arthur and his father, and Anne of Geierstein, and even the Landamman, in his character of “Shepherd Count," and the black Priest of St. Paul's, and the blue cavalier of Graffs-lust, and the sorrow-stricken Queen Margaret, and the impetuous Burgundy-are all shewn in masquerade, and join to the interest inherent in their characters, and the parts they respectively sustain-the further attraction of mystery.
Condemning the two frequent recurrence of this stratagem of authorship, we yet cannot withhold our approbation of the happy manner, in which he leads on these disguised personages to develope their true characters—selecting those occasions, when unobserved by others, or thrown off their guard by some sudden passion or emergency--their nature and proper feelings burst through the restraints that policy or necessity had imposed. Our travellers had now reached a spot-not unusual in Alpine scenery-where a soft green valley, watered by a limpid stream, was seen to repose in striking contrast with the bleak and savage craggs that hemmed it in.
6. That stream, Arthur,' said the elder traveller, as with one consent they stopped to gaze on such a scene as I have described, 'resembles the lifo of a good and a happy man.'
“And the brook, which burries itself headlong down yon distant hill, marking its course by a streak of white foam,' answered Arthur,what does that resemble ?' • • That of a brave and unfortunate one,' replies the father.
“• The torrent for me,' said Arthur; a headlong course which no human force can oppose, and then let it be as brief as it is glorious.'
“ • It is a young man's thought,' replied his father ; 'but I am aware that it is so rooted in thy heart, that nothing but the rude hand of adversity can pluck it up.'
“ • As yet the root clings fast to my heart's strings,' said the young man; and riethinks adversity's hand bath had a fair grasp of it.'
“ • You speak, my son, of what you little understand,' said his fa ther. • Know, that till the middle of life be passed, men scarce distinguish true prosperity from adversity, or rather they court as the favours of fortune what they should more justly regard as the marks of her displeasure. Look at yonder mountain, which wears on its shaggy brow a diadem of clouds, now raised and now depressed, while the sun glances upon, but is unable to dispel it; a child might believe it to be a crown of glory-a man kuows it to be the signal of tempest.'
“ Arthur followed the direction of his father's eye to the dark and shadowy eminence of Mount Pilatre."-Vol i. p. 19.
“ The Leviathian,” as our author terms it, “of that great congregation of mountains assembled about Lucerne," so called from the popular belief that Pontius Pilate, whose perturbed spirit was still supposed to hover about the scene, here terminated his career of guilt.
".. How the accursed heathen scowls upon us !' said the younger of the merchants, while the cloud darkened and seemed to settle on the brow of Mount Pilatre. • Vade retro ;-be thou defied, sinner !'
“ A rising wind, rather heard than felt, seemed to groan forth in the tone of a dying lion, the acceptance of the suffering spirit to the rash challenge of the young Englishman. The mountain was seen to send down its rugged sides thick wreaths of heaving mist, which, rolling through the rugged chasms that seamed the grisly bill, resembled torrents of rushing lava pouring down from a volcano. The ridgy precipices; which formed the sides of these huge ravines, showed their splintery and rugged edges over the vapour, as if dividing from each other the descending streams of mist which rolled around them. As a strong contrast to this gloomy and threatening scene, the more distant mountain range of Righi shone brilliant with all the hues of an autumnal sun.- -Vol. i. p. 20.
If our original intention in selecting this passage, was to illustrate a peculiar excellence of our author, viz. the artful preparation of the reader, by casual hints and expressions, dropped as by accident, for the appearance of his personages in their true characters-yet we found it impossible to stop precisely at that point at which our purpose was attained-we could not break off in the midst of one of the most striking and brilliant passages which he has ever penned. The singular beauty of the image which the elder traveller seizes on to illustrate his moral-the VOL. IV.--N0. 8.