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Bradford Observer/1853/Literary notices (Hickie, Yonge, Morris, Balfour)


Aristophanes, literally translated by W. J. Hickie, scholar of St. John's College, Cambridge, Vol. I. Bohn's Classical Library.

Mr. Hickie, in his version of the comedies of Aristophanes, adopts the text of Dindorf, as revised for the edition recently published by Didot, and it has been his endeavour to give what Aristophanes actually wrote as far as it could be accomplished in English words. He has also given explanatory notes, and extracts from English and German versions; the authors he has availed himself of are principally Frere, Walsh, Carey, Wheelwright, Voss and Droysen. The first volume of the Comedies consists of the Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps, Peace and Birds, and the translator has bestowed much pains taking and care upon this edition of the old classic.

Well worth reading, for many reasons, are these curious volumes by the Monk of Westminster. As we observed in a former notice, our author blends facts and fiction in a marvellous manner, and whilst reading him we cannot but believe that whilst recognizing past and passing events, he is quite possessed with the spirit of credulity so common in his times, for he seems perfectly serious in all he advances. The present volume brings down his historical chronicle continuously to the year 1307, and many are the tales he tells of miracles and strange interpositions. According to the monk the bones of a giant were one time discovered in England, whose body measured fifty feet! In the year 102, when King John married Isabella, we are informed that five moons were seen in heaven about the first watch of the night, one south, one north, one east, and one west, and one in the centre of them all. About the same time, when the body of Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, was being conveyed from London to Lincoln, there was not an hour, thought the weather was at all times stormy, in which there was not fire and light in some of the torches that were borne around his bier. In 1203 oil began to flow miraculously from an image, and the Sultan of Damascus received his sight by the infusion of some of the oil and afterwards the oil dropped became solidified into flesh. The liquefaction of the blood of Januarius is nothing to that! The old monk, however, must not be slighted because he is credulous; the student of history will laugh at his follies, but dwell with interest upon his more veritable relations.

This is an admirable little book. It contains seven brief and pointed lectures on the following subjects:—

  1. The secular claims of Christianity.
  2. The Christian at his work.
  3. in commerce.
  4. prospering in business.
  5. failing in business.
  6. in temporary retirement.
  7. The Christian's farewell to business.

We are very glad that the fourth of these lectures, notwithstanding the present cloud on the commercial horizon, will be appropriate to so many of our fellow townsmen, Whether Churchmen, Baptists, Independents, or Wesleyans, thy cannot spare 2s. 6d. better than in purchasing the book: not half-an-hour a day for the week after they get it, in reading it.

Morning Dew Drops. By Mrs. Clara Lucas Balfour, with an Introduction by mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe. London: W. and F. G. Cash; Partridge and Oakey, &c.

This neatly-finished volume, by a lady well known, and introduced by a few brief paragraphs from the pen of Mrs. Stowe, is devoted to the furtherance of temperance principles. The first edition of it, under a somewhat different title, was published some years since, had a large circulation, and was the first book which presented to children in a popular manner the historical, scientific, moral, and experimental bearings of the temperance movement. It is now before the public in a new and improved edition, written in a very intelligent manner and filled with well-told anecdotes, facts and useful advice. Perhaps we do not always see exactly with Mrs. Balfour, but she advocates the cause she has espoused both earnestly and amiably, and teaches, apart from teetotalism, a great many social and moral lessons which would be invaluable if studied by young people preparing for the active business of life. her object is to make men temperate , and creditable members of society, and doubtless much of the misery and crime would be extirpated by the abandonment of drinking habits. Over-zealous and misguided lecturers and opinionist have done harm to their cause by damning strictures upon every view that differed from their own, and by making a religion of teetotalism. Mrs. Balfour does not exalt the latter at the expense of religion, but, all the way through, enforces Christian duties and obligations in a delightful spirit.

The Universal Library. Ingram, Cooke & Co., London.

To this rich and valuable library of good authors have been added "The Life of Colonel Hutchinson, "Voltaire's Life of Charles XII," King of Sweden, and the "Life of Lord Herbert, Cherburg." The lives of Charles and Lord Herbert are contained in one part, and that the life of the Colonel, in close double columns, may be had for two shillings. Each part contains a portrait and illustrative engraving.