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Not less I love thee, Charlie Ray!
God knows my heart is full of thee-
Thine image only I can see.
Its cold, its mist, its hoary rime-
The young day in some fairer clime.
Be still! Be proud! Be blest! Be gay!
When Charlie comes—my Charlie Ray?
All smiles, and wipe these tears away;
I've wept upon my wedding day.' We are bound to add, that though Mr. Maudslay works out his moral obscurely, he has told his story well, and seems to us to have genuine dramatic faculty in him.
Gethsemane, and other Poems. By Thomas GALLAND HORTON. (Judd and Glass.)– That Mr. Horton can write well we know, for his ‘True Theory of a Church’has an honoured place on our shelves; but he cannot write poetry. Something of the rhetorician he has, and good powers of description, but not a spark of the artist. The Introduction to Gethsemane' says—The object is to furnish a continuous account of our Saviour's agony in Gethsemane, and his betrayal by Judas, in a picturesque and interesting form. The writer of such a sentence as that proclaims, by the very act of writing it, his everlasting incapacity to produce a poem. Mr. Horton throws off now and then a very nice descriptive passage, as here :
Morn, like a ruddy bridegroom, fresh and young,
Came o'er the mountains, clad in royal blue,
Where jewels flashed with many a brilliant hue;
O'er the black hills with tardy steps withdrew,
The landscape all stood out with glist’ning dew.' But, before you are well sure of your poet, he lets you down into fivefathom bathos with perfect unconsciousness of what he is doing :
• The lake emerges from a happy trance,
While here and there the bobbing fishes splash.' A dying man's brother-in-law, leaning over his bed, says to the wife :
• Hush, let us catch, if possible, the words.' And
*Thy neck is softer than a robin's nest,
Warmer than bed, and pleasanter than wine, VOL, VII.
is followed by
* ALICE. My heart misgives me; we are both engaged.' With regard to the Hebrew Odes which form a part of this volume, we may say that two or three of the more homiletical Psalms are well done; the poems that demand character, impulse, and music in the translator, could scarcely be done worse. Mr. Horton closes his book with a metrical version of the Lord's Prayer, coneluding :
*Thine is the kingdom, glory, power !
Accept us, Lord, through Christ thy Son.' Not without indignation, we ask, by what authority that addition is made? It is such • trifles' as this which have built round the popular intellect the wall of rubbish which makes it so arduous a task to reach it with any touch of a sound scriptural criticism. We can do without hymns better than we can endure any tampering with the text of the Bible; and if all the verses which have muddled common minds as to God's truth were excluded even from our best collections, we should carry very thin books to our pews to sing from.
Goodwon, and other Poems. By A. DEWAR. (Partridge and Co.) -We like Mr. Dewar's earnestness, even when we most deprecate his rudeness. His Urgent Appeal to Non-abstaining Clergy, however, is an insult, not only to the said clergy, but to all decent people :
Oh, Reverend Sirs! awake, awake!
Your souls in peril?'
Your beings hurl!' and so on.
Mr. Dewar's book is not quite all tee-total; but we need say little more of his quality as a poet. Now and then there is a touch of music which we cannot account for, it comes in so incongruously. The first and fifth verses of “Snow-flakes' would not disgrace a real poet. But Mr. Dewar is not entitled to take that name, or any name that approximates to it. How his book should have reached a second edition, we divine not.
There is one word we wish to say, which applies to nearly all these writers. It seems to be taken for granted that anybody can write blank verse. Now, anybody can cut prose into measured lengths and mind his accents come right; but to produce good, varied blank verse is the pons usinorum of the poetic artist. Five minutes' study of the changing rhythm of Milton and Shakespere ought to make some of our poetic friends ashamed of their unrhymed imbecilities.
The Religious Societies.
DE QUINCEY, in one of his essays, makes the remark, that Christianity was the first religious system characterised by a spirit of aggression. The statement is not quite correct, because we now know that Buddhism was almost equally aggressive in the first four or five centuries of its existence; while at the present time, a worse religion than that of the mystical Hindoo hermit is boldly pushing forward its conquests over the Saxon race. It would be rather strange, indeed, if this were not the case ; for the devil invariably works with the same agencies that he sees to succeed in the hand of God. Now, Missionary and all similar societies being the natural expression of this spirit of aggression, it is not unfair to inquire—What are their fruits ? For the good of these societies themselves, I think there is nothing like telling the whole truth; and the first truth is, that their present fruits can very soon be counted. I have often thought that these great, and, I may say, wonderful organizations, resemble huge trees planted in a highly cultivated country, from which branch after branch is transplanted to a foreign land. But you would not expect the branch immediately to bear fruit. Before it can do so, it must be naturalized and acclimated -it must, itself, be perfectly adapted to its new conditions, and it must have had time to grow. So, then, when I say that the fruits of the aggressive action of Missionary Societies can be counted without much labour, I do not make the assertion by way of reproach. I should be astonished if things were at all different. We can count in an hour the number of conversions to vital godliness in England in a year; and England has been under the sun of the gospel system for the last fourteen hundred years. It is the tropical country of Christendom, and its greatest trees bear little enough fruit. Why should we expect things to be different elsewhere? I have an impression, derived from a pretty regular reading of the most trustworthy periodicals, that, in proportion to their numbers, missionaries abroad are far more successful than pastors at home. Wesleyanism, as a Christian agency, is doing a great deal more in the Pacific Íslands than it is doing in Lancashire or Yorkshire. The Established Church is doing more at Tinnevelly, than in the very choicest of its cathedral towns. I doubt whether Independency is not spreading faster in Africa and Australia, and the Baptists in the East Indies, than either of these bodies in their greatest strongholds in the midland counties. I think this is a sufficient answer to the Morning Star,' when it asks, • What are the Missionaries doing?' More than you are doing at home! When you can find men as successful in their work in England as are Livingston, and Moffat, and others, amongst the heathen, you may complain; but not before. Stir up the mother bird before you stir her young!
I have been to none of the May Meetings this year, unless the meeting of the Religious Liberation Society can be termed a May Meeting. I thought it would be a less weariness both to the flesh and the spirit to read the reports as they were published in the denomi. national papers. And to tell the truth, I had got somewhat pained, if not disgusted, with the evident unreality of the majority of these meetings. A generation or so ago, when the press was not so potent as it is now, they were very useful, and often, as it is said, 'very refreshing.' They were then a natural and almost necessary means of information. They afforded the only occasions for a general meeting of 'the brethren. They were new, and the societies with which they were connected were making their reputations; these, and other circumstances, combined to give them a very different aspect to that which they too often bear now. At present, they smell too much of the manufactory. They are, to a great extent, got up;' and they are used too often as a mere means of money-getting for them to be either very profitable or refreshing. The public oratory which is displayed on their platforms is, to my mind, prostituted to a secondary and an ignoble purpose. As a means of exciting a healthy enthusiasm nothing can exceed the use of the public platform ; but enthusiasm should be excited for a higher purpose than that of increasing .funds. If it ends in anything short of a man's being better than he was before he was subjected to its influence, it is altogether spurious. Moneygiving is not necessarily benevolence. It may be, and we think often is, the result of a purely physical excitement, that has neither touched the conscience, reached the heart, nor at all moved the better or higher nature of man.
I notice that the meetings this year appear to have been more numerously attended than for years past. Especially has this been the case with the Baptist and London Missionary Meetings, and the Ragged School Meeting. This large attendance must have sorely tempted secretaries and treasurers to make special appeals; but, excepting in one instance, I do not notice that the temptation was too great for the man. Nearly all the societies, however, confessed themselves to be very inadequately supported. Lord Shaftesbury made a general but incorrect allusion to this subject at the meeting of the London Missionary Society. Speaking of the modern tendency to desire the acquisition of wealth, the noble earl remarked that there was no proportionate anxiety in the right expenditure of it; and then went on to say :• There is an immense increase among all classes—and especially among the middle and poorer classes-of social luxury_luxury in everything, so far as I can judge, except the luxury of doing good. The expenditure upon good and holy things, in proportion to the enormous increase of the private income of the country, is nothing at all. The increase in the wealth of the country of late has been gigantic; and will anybody tell me that the increase of the resources of missionary, religious, and philanthropic institutions, has been also gigantic ? Indeed, I believe it is quite the reverse. It is a fact, that while the population—Christian and other is rapidly increasing, the income of certain societies remains fixed. But Lord Shaftesbury forgot to mention two things—first, that the number of societies is
increasing, and that the general amount of religious contributions has increased in proportion; and secondly, that people are finding other ways of usefulness. The number of local societies, which formerly was nil, is now legion. The ministry also is better supported, and private benevolence has largely increased. The world is not necessarily standing still, because a Missionary Society's receipts are not augmented in exact proportion to the increased wealth of the population.
I should leave this subject with the last needful remark, but that I am reminded, on looking over the speech of the Rev. George Smith, of Poplar, at the meeting of the Colonial Missionary Society, that it is fraught with more important consequences than I had suspected. Would you credit it, reader, that possibly the liberties of your country, not to mention its commercial prosperity, depend upon the 3,0001. extra being raised for the Colonial Missionary Society during the present year? If you doubt it, read the following; it is the closing paragraph of Mr. Smith's speech, as reported in the Patriot :'
Let them determine that, in the course of the present year, the income of the society should be 10,0001., for nothing short of that would be adequate to the requirements of the times. Let them do that, and they would cement a union between Great Britain and the colonies which would be of the greatest importance, commercially and financially; and they might with confidence look to Canada, and South Africa, and to Australia, at any time, to lend a helping hand to maintain the liberty of this country, and advance the cause of truth.' Imagine the future people, newspaper editors and statesmen, generals and admirals of Canada, South Africa, and Australia, when the liberties of this country shall be endangered, and the cause of truth on the decline, rallying around England and truth at the remembrance of the Colonial Missionary Society's 3,0001.! If they will do this for three, what will they not do for six thousand !
The meetings of the Baptist Societies appear to have been unusually interesting. Mr. E. B. Underhill, lately returned from India, spoke well and encouragingly of the prospects of Christian Missions in that country, and passed a very high tribute—which was the more valuable in that it comes from one not naturally disposed to colour or exaggerate, on the noble self-sacrifices of the missionaries. Mr. Stovel, in one of the three great speeches of the month—the others being those of Mr. W. J. Fox at the Religious Liberation Society, and Dr. Livingston at the London Missionary Meeting - took the other, although not the opposite, side of the subject, at the meeting of the Home Missionary Society of the same denomination. Remarking on the difficulties of home labour, especially in cathedral towns, he said :* When you go to visit old establishments of this sort, you will have to remember the tremendous spirit of death that prevails there. In those cathedral towns, choked with wealth, you find solid conglomerations of religious corruption, so tenacious, ranklike, and massive, that they seem to despise the hammer of God's word. Talk about India and Juggernaut, and the difficulties of preaching the gospel there, I tell you it is not half so hard to bear the gospel there as in the face