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vols. 8vo. London, 1838.) But we know of no monograph on the subject adapted at all to schools. In Dr. Webster's Grammar there is a neat and accurate section on English versification, written by the poet Trumbull. This section has been enlarged in subsequent grammars, but without any substantial changes. The later Grammars of R. G. Latham, (London, 1843,) and Prof. W. C. Fowler, (New York, 1855,) go sufficiently into the detail. This topic, now almost entirely neglected in practical instruction, might, in proper hands, be inade very useful. If the pupil were freed from the trammels of the Classical metres, he might be trained to appreciate the spirit and beauty of the modern versification. As the matter now stands, our literary men are better acquainted with the Classic than with the English metres.
VIII. The last topic, which from its very nature must follow all the rest, is the Written Language, or the mode of presenting language to the eye. It embraces the principles of .orthography, and what is commonly called punctuation, and should be added to grammar as an appendix. We have a beautiful monograph on Punctuation by John Wilson, (Boston, 1850.) It is thorough, so as to embrace his whole topic, and critical, so as to exclude what does not belong there. If it were preceded by a few rules on English orthography, it would cover our whole ground. We would not deny, however, that a deeper philosophy might be applied to the subject.
Although this topic is in part anticipated, perhaps necessarily, in the earlier elementary works, yet it seems desirable to give it a separate place, and to make Wilson, or some other work, the standard or court of appeal.
Works on Elocution and Rhetoric might be added here, but they would carry is beyond the limit of the Common School Series.
These suggestions, if carried out, may enable the earnest teacher to discriininate the different branches of English study, to place them in their natural order, and to meet the wants of the school-room by furnishing the proper books, whether as class-books or books of reference.
ARTICLE VIII.—THE MARBLE FAUN.
The Marble Faun : or, The Romance of Monte Beni. By NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, Author of the Scarlet Letter, etc., etc. Two Volumes. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1860.
A NEW work by Hawthorne is an event in the literary world of no ordinary significance. It has been known for some time, since his residence abroad, that he has been engaged in preparing for the press a new volume, although the precise character of the production has not transpired. The anthor of “The Honse of the Seven Gables,” and “The Scarlet Letter," has achieved so almost unexampled a popularity, (for people will read Hawthorne, whether they admire or censure,) that anything fresh from his pen is looked for with peculiar avidity. Whether, like his former narratives, the scene of the romance would be laid in the atmosphere of New England, or amid the charms of Italian landscape, was alike unrevealed.
One thing was certain, that with the taste already formed, and which the author himself had, perhaps, chiefly contributed to form for his works, the public mind would not be satisfied with one draught from the fountain, but like the visitors in the “ Twice Told Tales," who imbibed rills of refreshing coolness from the “Town Pump," would be eager for more. The singular spell which the accomplished story-teller bad contrived to weave round the imaginations and feelings of his readers in his previous productions, proved conclusively that the days of “Salem Witchcraft” were not over ; it remained to be seen whether the new romance would retain the same characteristics of a writer already distinguished for his profound insight into human nature and his merciless dissection of the human heart.
The result of these labors is the volume before us, published simultaneously in Boston and London, in the last named city under the prosaic and more appropriate name of “Transtormations," in the former under the poetic title of “The Marble
Faun: or, the Romance of Monte Beni.” The imprint of the American publishers, Messrs. Ticknor & Fields, is a guarantee of its real merit, no less than of its typographical execution.
At the outset we are arrested by the Preface. It is in its way a Gem. Prefaces are intended to afford to the author an opportunity of an informal introduction to his readers; they are, for the most part, either explanatory or apologetic; in the one instance often tedious, in the other needless, having as little relation to the work which they accompany, as would be true of the architect who should build an house on account of a porch, rather than the porch for the sake of the house. The latter is the case with Hawthorne. In the work before us he has “built him a new pleasure-dome, all of Etruscan marbles and Roman mosaics,” which he has christened by the name of “ The Romance of Monte Beni,” and added thereto a porch wreathed round with foreign exotics, the whole enclosed by a hedge, the material of which, as well as of the shrubbery lining the entrance to the edifice, nay, even the edifice itself is-Hawthorne !
“The Marble Faun,” which we have carefully read and of which we propose to give a brief analysis and criticism, is a “purely speculative romance,” and takes its origin in the old fable credited by the ancients in regard to divinities inhabiting the woods in the golden age of Arcadian innocence. It is an attempt to convey the idea of the transformation of an individual neither wholly man nor yet animal, into an intelligent human being, by means of a catastrophe powerfully affecting his entire nature. The title of the work is derived from the celebrated Faun of Praxitiles, between whom and the principal actor in the romance, a young Italian-Donatello—there is, or is supposed to be by his companions, a certain strange resemblance which forms the key-note of the narrative. The other characters in the story are three individnals-Miriam, Hilda, and Kenyon—all artists, whom in company with Donatello, who has just joined them, the opening chapter represents as congregated together in a sculpture gallery in Rome, engaged in viewing the works of art exhibited there, and in discussion on their merits. To these is added another personage who will be mentioned afterwards. The Faun of Praxitiles is thus described :
“The Faun is the marble image of a young man, leaning his right arm on the trunk or stump of a tree; one hand hangs carelessly by his side; in the other he holds the fragment of a pipe or some such sylvan instrument of music. . ..... The form, thus displayed, is marvelously graceful, but has a fuller and more rounded outline, more flesh, and less of heroic muscle than the old sculptors were wont to assign to their types of masculine beauty. ...... The mouth, with its full yet delicate lips, seems so nearly to smile outright, that it calls forth a responsive smile. The whole statue-unlike anything else that was ever wrought in the severe material of marble-conveys the idea of an amiable and sensual creature, easy, mirthful, apt for jollity, yet not incapable of being touched by pathos." Vol. I, pp. 19, 20.
Again, “Praxitiles has subtly diffused throughout his work that mute mystery which so hopelessly perplexes us whenever we attempt to gain an intellectual or sympathetic knowledge of the lower orders of creation. The riddle is indicated, however, only by two definite signs; these are the two ears of the Faun, which are leaf-shaped, terminating in little peaks, like those of some species of animals.” Vol. I, p. 21.
The following is a description of Donatello, and refers to the particular point of resemblance between himself and the Faun:
"Donatello,' playfully cried Miriam, do not leave us in this perplexity! Shake aside those brown curls, my friend, and let us see whether this marvelous resemblance extends to the very tips of the ears. If so, we shall like you all the better!'"
No, no, dearest Signorina,' answered Donatello, laughing, but with a certain earnestness, “I entreat you take the tips of my ears for granted.' As he spoke the young Italian made a skip and jump light enough for a veritable faun; so as to place himself quite beyond the reach of the fair hand that was outstretched as if to settle the matter by actual examination.'......
"Donatello's refractoriness as regarded his ears had evidently cost him something, and he now came close to Miriam's side, gazing at her with an appealing air, as if to solicit forgiveness. ...... It was difficult to make out the character of this young man. So full of animal life as he was, so joyous in his deportment, so handsome, so physically well developed, he made no impression of incompleteness, of maimed or stinted nature. ...... There was an indefinable characteristic about Donatello that set him outside of rules.” Vol. I, pp. 25, 26.
In the course of the narrative, an incident occurs in a visit of the party to one of the subterranean catacombs of Rome, which lends a thrilling interest to the story, at the same time
that it has much to do with the catastrophe to which we have already alluded. This is nothing less than the appearance of the Specter of the Catacomb to Miriam, (spoken of before in the story as having something strange in her character, hightened by the mystery which was thrown round her origin,) who is lost in the vaults, which occasions the solicitude of her companions, till her sudden reappearance in the circle. Between the two individuals there seemed to be some singular bond of union, painful in its nature, not fully explained. Donatello, who, with the brute instincts of the animal, has some gleams of human intelligence, has already formed a strong attachment to the maiden on account of her extraordinary beauty, which she, on her part, is inclined to reciprocate, but a nameless terror arising from her connection with the mysterious stranger, prevents her for a time from yielding to his solicitations. Miriam—but the author shall describe her as forming the original of her own portraits
"She was very youthful, and had what was usually thought to be a Jewish aspect; a complexion in which there was no roseate bloom, yet neither was it pale ; dark eyes, into which you might look as deeply as your glance would go, and still be conscious of a depth that you had not sounded, though it lay open to the day. She had black, abundant hair, with none of the vulgar glossiness of other women's sable locks; if she were really of Jewish blood, then this was Jewish hair, and a dark glory such as crowns no Christian maiden's head. Gazing at this portrait you saw what Rachel might have been when Jacob deemed her worth the wooing seven years, and seven more; or perchance she might ripen to be what Judith was, when she vanquished Holofernes with her beauty, and slew him for too much adoring it.
• Then you like the picture, Donatello ? she asked.
Oh. beyond what I can tell!' he answered. "So beautiful! so beautiful!' * And do you recognize the likeness ?'
"Signora,' exclaimed Donatello, turning from the picture to the artist, in astonishment that she should ask the question, the resemblance is as little to be mistaken as if you had bent over the smooth surface of a fountain and possessed the witchcraft to call forth the image that you made there! It is yourself.'" Vol. I, pp. 65, 66.
Hilda is a New England girl of a very different constitution, physically and mentally, from Miriam, and an artist in a widely different sphere of art. She is thus delineated :