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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/579

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LITERARY NOTICES.

edge of the proper methods of preparing and combining foods, and especially the reasons for these methods. Recipes have their place in the book, but more prominence is given to general principles—to explanations of the nature and uses of food, of the changes effected by the several modes of cooking—baking, boiling, steaming, and broiling—and to principles for adapting the diet to age, occupation, climate, and means. The practical directions include the care of the fire, and the cleaning of utensils, the names of the cuts of beef, with diagrams, the care of food before and after cooking, and laying and waiting on the table. Invalid cookery also receives attention. Tables of the cost of meats and fish, and charts showing the average composition of some common foods are given. The language is adapted to the understanding of young girls, and the book is indorsed by the Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools as being the outgrowth of practical teaching in the cooking class-rooms connected with the public schools of that city.

Ancient Nahuatl Poetry. Containing the Nahuatl Text of Twenty-seven Ancient Mexican Poems. With a Translation, Introduction, Notes, and Vocabulary. By Daniel G. Brinton. Philadelphia: D. G. Brinton. Pp. 177. Price, $3.

The Nahuatl tongue is one of the most highly developed of American aboriginal languages, and is represented in a relatively rich literature, of which the present volume embodies perhaps, some of the most important specimens. The race who spoke it cultivated song, music, and the dance, with passionate love, and held the profession of poet in the highest honor. The poets' works were recited by themselves or by professional singers at public meetings and on festal occasions, as were those of Homer, the troubadours, and the Welsh bards. The old love of the song and the dance are continued. Dr. Brinton tells us, in the Indian villages to this day, with changed themes, but in forms which have undergone but little alteration. The more important songs were written down by the Nahuas, according to Sahagun, in their books, and from these were taught to the youth in the schools. The sound as well as the sense of the sentences and verses was also preserved by the method of writing which Dr. Brinton has described in a monograph that has been noticed in the "Monthly" as ikonomatic. By these methods, a large body of poetic chants was in existence when the Nahuatl-speaking tribes were subjugated by the Europeans. Some of them were translated into Spanish by Sahagun, and others were preserved in the original tongue; and thus they came to the knowledge of European writers. The question having been raised whether any ancient Mexican poetry is now extant. Dr. Brinton explains that his text is taken from a copy made by the late Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg, from a manuscript volume in the library of the University of Mexico, composed of various pieces in different characters, which were attributed by the antiquary, Don Jose F. Ramirez, to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In the editor's view they are from different sources and of different epochs. The collection includes a notice of the LX songs of the royal poet King Nezahualcoyotl, who died in 1472, with translations of four of the poems, and the text and translations of the twenty-seven songs mentioned in the title, which are of various moods. Not a line of these songs, the editor asserts, has ever before been rendered into a European tongue. The introduction includes notes on the Nahuatl national love of poetry, the status of the Nahuatl poet and his work, the themes and classes prosody, and vocal delivery of the songs, the instrumental accompaniment, the preservation of the ancient songs, and the history of the present collection. The thanks of all students are owing to Dr. Brinton for the diligence and enthusiasm—with no little self-sacrifice, we judge—which he has displayed in bringing this aboriginal literature series to its present fulness. The publication can not be supposed to be a profitable or paying one, yet he has kept it up without discouragement and without depreciating the quality of the work. Abundant material remains in his hands for a continuation of the series, and other works of a similar character with those that have already appeared will be issued from time to time if sufficient interest is manifested to meet the cost of publishing them. We