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restored. In some cases, there was for a time great apparent relief from the operation; the patients actually heard better, or thought they did ; but the good effects were not found to be permanent, and it is now almost altogether abandoned. surprised to perceive, that Mr. Curtis entertains so favorable an opinion of it; we doubt whether he will find many to agree with him. We have, however, alluded to this operation, because it promised as much as almost any one for the relief of deafness, that has ever been suggested, and because it is now usually regarded as an entire failure. It shows that much has not been accomplished by surgical operations for the restoration of hearing.
Mr. Curtis's book can be easily understood by most persons. It is not burdened with technical language, and would perhaps even be more interesting to general readers than to professional ones. It will be useful to all classes, by making them perceive the importance of early attention to the first indications of impaired hearing, for this it very properly inculcates. Its plan is judicious. It first describes the organ of hearing and its healthy functions in man, and after giving an account of those organs in some of the inferior animals, it proceeds to an examination of the diseases.
We are pleased to see the increased attention that is bestowed upon this subject, and are desirous that it should still more occupy the thoughts of scientific professional men. On this account we should be glad to have Mr. Curtis's book very generally circulated; not because it is precisely the work we could wish, but because we know of no other, that is, on the whole, to be preferred to it. At any rate it presents the points that require investigation, if it does not always suggest the best mode of conducting it; and thus, is likely to induce observation and excite inquiry that may lead to very important results.
6. – Poems, by Oliver WENDELL Holmes. Boston ; Otis,
Broaders, & Co. 12mo. pp. 163.
We have seldom had more genuine enjoyment in the course of our critical labors, than in examining this unpretending little book. In these days, we look with some dismay upon a volume of poems, especially if it be a little one: they are apt to exhibit a
а remarkable economy of the material, and a prodigal use of the washes and varnishes by which the want of it is supplied. “ Things of eve" and "things of morn," with various other creatures of equivocal generation, have figured in such pages, till it seemed as if poetry had lost its connexion with manly sentiment and true human nature. The consequence of this imposture has been, that poetry has almost dwindled from public observation. Whenever a decided genius like Mrs. Hemans appears, instead of being received with favor because she is a poet, poetry is indebted to her for finding for it eyes to see and ears to bear; while writers who have no such commanding claim to attention, after being flattered and possibly read in their little circles, sink quietly into forgetfulness, and are never heard of more.
Mr. Holmes does not write in this mezzotinto style ; he reminds us more of the clear strong lines of the ancient engravers. His manner is entirely his own, manly and unaffected; generally easy and playful, and sinking at times into a most humorous sadness. The latter is evidently his favorite style, and we think his best. There was no need of the defence of this kind of writing which we find in his preface; all poetry which has any relation to humanity, will deal in smiles as well as tears. The critic may demonstrate that it is undignified in the poet to entertain his readers; but, an appeal being open from criticism to nature, whoever makes us laugh in this care-worn world will always be sustained by the common gratitude of mankind.
The first of these poems, called a Metrical Essay upon the subject of Poetry, was recited at the last anniversary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Cambridge. As it was pronounced, it seemed to us more like inspiration than almost any thing which ever came in our way. As readers, we find it finished with much care, and abounding in striking thoughts and illustrations; but we apprehend that it was not so great a favorite with the writer as some of the lyrical pieces, which were struck off with less labor, but more power. One or two fine specimens of the latter are inserted in the larger poem by way of illustration ; and with most readers these will be regarded as the pearls, and the poem as the string We would not, however, do it injustice; the chief defect is the want of clearness, in expressing the truths in relation to poetical materials and inspirations which it contains. Some passages in it require to be read twice, before the reader is sure of their meaning. This occasional obscurity is strongly contrasted with the easy and natural flow of the lyrical poems. Nothing need be more beautiful than the lines on the Cambridge Church-yard, a place to which many hearts are bound by strong associations; and the strain upon the plan proposed by the Navy Department for breaking up the Frigate Constitution, an unhappy suggestion of some one who was probably more familiar with national ship-yards than national feelings, will rank with the best martial songs of England.
We think that the comic pieces in this little collection are decidedly the best, or rather we should say those in which a quiet humor is blended with the pathetic so as to heighten the effect of the grotesque without destroying the plaintive character of the whole. An example of this is afforded in “The Last Reader"; it is evidently the kind of writing in which the author takes most pleasure ; and if he should find room for poetical pursuits in the cares of his profession, we hope that this graceful style will be his choice. At the same time we must allow that his more comic pieces are exceedingly entertaining; particularly the lines upon the Comet, which is irresistible for its humor, and at the same time contains one or two passages of great power. The incident so well related in “ The Height of the Ridiculous' might be fact, not fable.
We have not time to give an account of the work in detail, nor is it necessary; a book so entertaining is by this time in the hands of a great proportion of our readers. They will agree with us in the opinion that the author is a man of genius, and in the hope that the favor with which his work has been received may induce him to come before the public again. There is no profession so engrossing as to leave no time for poetry; and the mind must be of a very unmanageable sort, which any intellectual pursuit would unfit for the practical business of life. It is a great mistake to suppose that the best poetry proceeds from those who have nothing else to do. So far as profit is concerned, this pursuit will not be gainful; but in all that respects happiness, honor, and improvement, the member of any profession will do wisely to make a place among his other pursuits for this. There are not many writers to whom we should urge this argument; but where a writer possesses real talent and great powers of entertainment, no such prejudice ought to deprive the world of the enjoyment which he is able to give.
7. — Manual of Classical Literature, from the German of J. J.
Eschenberg, Professor in the Carolinum, at Brunswick.
This work is divided into five parts, embracing the Archaology of Literature and Art, the History of Ancient Literature, Greek and Roman, the Mythology of the Greeks and Romans, Greek and Roman Antiquities, and Classical Geography and
Chronology. Each of these important subjects is methodically and luminously presented. No single volume, however, would contain all the matter, which some would wish to see bodied in such a manual. It is, therefore, a very special recommendation of this work, that while it is sufficiently complete in its outlines, and ample in illustrations, to answer the purposes of constant reference, it continually suggests to teachers and to students the advantages and the means of more extended researches.
In the first general division of this work, the intelligent reader will be particularly interested in the sections upon the Archæology of Art. Every professional man ought to be acquainted with such facts, as are here adduced in illustration of the origin and progress of " sculpture," " lithoglyphy or gem-engraving," "painting," and "architecture"; and yet very little, if any, instruction upon these subjects is ever furnished in most of our seminaries of liberal education. In the Archæology of Literature, also, there is much information upon topics which do not often find a place in the exercises of college, but of which no one should be ignorant, who would sustain any reputation for intellectual accomplishments.
The History of Ancient Literature is just what students have wanted. The Greek and Roman authors are classified and chronologically arranged in their respective departments. The biographical sketches and critical remarks, although very condensed and succinct, are yet sufficiently discriminating and particular. Perhaps no part of the Manual is more striking, as a display of Eschenberg's extensive erudition and cultivated taste. We have here the splendid results of the elaborate investigations of an accomplished scholar.
It is, however, in this second division of the work, that Professor Fiske's improvements and additions arrested our especial attention. Many very valuable sections, those, for example, relating to the Greek Orators, Philosophers, and Iistorians, have the editor's mark, but are incorporated into the body of the work. His notes and references have also much enhanced the value of the original text. We should judge that he has himself been accustomed to pursue classical investigations with no common industry and success. But with no part of his additions were we better pleased, than his “ Notice of the Hebrew, Grecian, and Christian writings," which, although in the Greek language, are not commonly included in the range of classical studies.
The sections upon Roman or Latin authors were translated by Mr. Crusé, late Professor in the University of Pennsylvania. This gentleman, as it is stated, had actually translated the
whole of Eschenberg's Manual, three or four years before he became apprized of the undertaking of Professor Fiske. Why it was that he had not put his manuscript to press, we are not informed. And why it was necessary that the present edition should be published, before the “History of Roman Literature could be presented in the same form with that of the Greek, and with similar additions, we are quite at a loss to determine. But, as it seems to us, neither Professor Fiske's statement of the circumstances under which it is published, nor the distinct avowal of his own
purpose to prepare for separate publication something more complete on the Roman Literature, if the present effort should meet with approbation,” affords a sufficient reason for issuing the work, until either he himself or Mr. Crusé had made it as satisfactory in the department of Roman, as it is in that of Grecian literature. It may be, however, that we are entirely unreasonable in our demands; for we have far more occasion to be grateful for what we have, than to murmur that we have no more.
A few words will suffice for the remaining divisions of the Manual. We were much pleased with the views of Ancient Mythology and Greek and Roman Antiquities. We do not see how the subjects could be better treated, in a work necessarily so comprehensive. Here also we observe very important additions by the Editor.
To give greater completeness to the Manual, Professor Fiske has added Part V. to the original work of Eschenberg. It comprises an “Epitome of Classical Geography," taken chiefly, but with alterations and improvements, from an English treatise by W.C. Taylor; and an “ Introduction to Classical Chronology,'' which will be found to contain a much larger amount of useful matter than its brevity would indicate.
Professor Fiske has judged well in endeavouring “to express the author's meaning with strict fidelity,” but “ avoiding the long periods and involved arrangement words and clauses, for which the German language is of known celebrity.” He has thus brought out the work in the dress of a vernacular composition, rather than that of a translation. In his general style, he very happily combines clearness, vivacity, and manly elegance.
We cannot doubt that a second edition of the Manual will soon be demanded. In that edition we hope to see a fulfilment of the pledge respecting the history of Roman literature. It would also be an improvement, if some notices were given of the comparative merits of the best editions of the classical authors. The “copious Index of Subjects, prepared, but necessarily excluded," should not hereafter be wanting. It would greatly assist us in