20 JANUARY 1855, Page 17

NEW POETICAL PUBLICATIONS. * THE subjects of Martin Farquhar Tupper's Lyrics

of the Heart and Mind are mostly of a moral character, though the phases of morality they embrace are various,—religious, domestic, social, political, and, in compliance with the spirit of the time, warlike. They are genial in feeling, pure in thought, without being im- practicable, progressive in sentiment, and occasionally with just ideas happily expressed. The poetry is not of a high order, but it is poetry, not only in the spirit but in the structure and treatment. It is a fault of the verse to be too facile, too glib. Except in his sonnets, whose very form compels consideration, Mr. Tupper seems to have avoided labour. He has chosen the easiest and most trip- ping metre, without any care as to its suitableness to the subject. He appears, not from warmth but from love of ease, to have " fagotted his notions as they fell "; so that the best of his poems are unequal, good stanzas being accompanied by common- place. Sometimes the truths smack too much of a truism put into a verse ; now and then the pieces verge too closely upon a once favourite volume, " Easy Poems for Infant Minds." Many of the lyrics look like recreations rather than exertions. Through- out they have a "fatal facility "; such things, in fact, as any one could throw off' who had a certain fluency of thought and had ac- quired by practice the knack of versifying. This defect, however, does not militate against the readableness or the popularity of the Lyrics; nay, they are likely to be popular on account of it.

One of the newest subjects is the lyric on cruelty to dumb ani- mals; the newest in treatment certainly, for the poet enforces the idea of another and compensating life to animals.

"Lo ! Surgery's philosophic knife, Too merciless to kill, Dissecting out the strings of life

With calm and horrid skill,—

And bloody goads, and wealing whips, And many a torture fell, Have wrung from every creature's lips That earth to them is hell!

Yea : dream not that the good and wise

To these can be unjust ;

Nor, if not claimants for the skies, That all dissolve to dust : They have a spirit which survives This cauldron of unrest, And here though wretched in their lives, Elsewhere they shall be blest !

In the just government and strong Of such a God as ours,

Only for wickedness and wrong

Perpetual judgment lours : • Lyrics of the Heart and Mind. By Martin F. Tupper, Author of "Proverbial Philosophy," Ike. Published by Hall and Co. • Ex •Eremo; Poems chiefly written in India. By H. G. Keene. Published by Blackwood and Sons.

Cain. By Charles Boner. Published by Chapman and Hall.

War Waits. By Gerald Massey. Published by Bogue.

The Battle of the Alma; a National Ballad. By John Witham Fletcher, Author of " Trypheaa and other Poems," Ike. Published by Theobald. • The Bugle of the Black Sea, By Melanter. Published by klardwieke. No creature ever ran a race Of griefs not earn'd before,

Without some compensating grace Of happiness in store!"

There is a useful truth, though it might have been improved by more forcible expression, in these lines from a poem on individual.

"Measure not thyself with others,—

Heed the work thou hut to do ; Each man's duty, not his brother's, Is his goal to keep in view : Nature, circumstance, and station, With what God from each exacts As his tribute to Creation, These decide our aims and acts.

Every creature, fitly fashioned, Hath its being's final cause ; And our minds and hearts impassion'd Beat with individual laws : All are various ; differing measures Fill us each with power to work, And the spirit's special treasures Latent in each bosom lurk."

This is a truth of a critical kind—that the effect of speech or writing lies not in its language, but its sentiments and object.

" Who can wonder that in vain Scores of dullards preach for years,

Lullirr, conscience to its bane Fast asleep in hopes and fears?

All is death : each fossil thought Word-embedded lies in clay, And no heart is touch'd or taught To feel, to tremble, or to pray.

It is not eloquence, nor skill, Nor any human power or art, That surely sways another's will, Controls his life and cheers his heart : It is the frank and earnest plan Of simple truth, sincerely spoken, That breaks the spirit of a man, Or heals it up however broken !"

Ex Erenw. The charge of obvious love of ease cannot be pre- ferred against Mr. Keene, for his poems are rarely of the kind which can be thrown off trippingly. What be wants are better subjects and more freshness of style. Many of the poems were written in India ; some being tales connected with the land, and borrowing their images from the people and the scenes among which they are laid. The feelings of the exile are often visible in the miscellaneous pieces written on occasional subjects. The smaller poems generally want purpose or novelty ; the longer are damaged by the subject itself, or some defect in the treatment. The style is too imitatively conventional, not exactly Byron's, but what many followers have made Byronic at second-band. Mr. Keene seems to have a taste for the extreme or exaggerated, as if he had studied life in the pages of the Diary of a Physician, where the originally natural is turned into the unnatural by a morbid hankering after rhetorical or theatrical effect. Perhaps the best-told tale is the " Zenana," though it may not be the most telling,—the story of an Indian lady, who, compelled to surrender to the con- queror of her husband, receives him a corpse—if the expression may be allowed. The most effective tale is "Michael de Mas, the Gold-finder "; which has already appeared in Blackwood. It mingles home scenes with the wild chances and wilder passions of an Indian adventurer, bent upon acquiring gold to repurchase the family estate and restore the family honours. It also points the moral of over eagerness for gold. The piece, however, is without repose ; for there seems none in the mind of the author. All is upon the strain—" double, double, toil and trouble." The moral is vitiated in the same way. No one requires to have it proved, that an Anglo-Indian of the old stamp, who acquires wealth by extortion, is a traitor to the power he serves, and, when de- tected by his countrymen, takes service with a native prince whom he also strives to betray out of revenge, is not likely to be happy, especially when personal excesses are added to crimes of office. There is one passage removed from this censure ; where the excuse and use of the old Nabobs is pointed out.

"Ten years had shed their various gifts on earth Of death and life, of sunshine and of shade ; Michael had gained his end, and India's sun Now ruled his eager bleed: some of his hopes Were crowned with triumph ; he got store of gold, But lost his sense of honour. In days like those, Deceit and violence gave the rule of life To men once wise and generous. They were poor, And they had power ; opinion, far away, Raved like the idle murmurs of the sea, Heard in still summer evenings from a hill. Blame them not over harshly : skill and valour

Give power, which, even when marred and mixed with wrong,

May bless those who abide its visitings. When autumn nights are moonless, and thick clouds

Have hid the friendly faces of the stars,

The storm may bring keen lightnings: here and there Some wretch, whose hour was come, may gain by them Immunity from other lingering deaths, And that may seem an evil ; yet the air, Purged by those very bolts, grows sweet and clear, And feeds the corn, the oil, the parched vine, And gives to men, for many and many a day, Prosperity and pleasure. So with these, God's chosen messengers to work His will; They purify the poisoned moral gale,

Cause peace and plenty wheresoe'er they go,

And lead in happiness on a path of thorns.'

Cain. Mr. Boner is a good chamois-hunter, and a good de- scriber of that sport, as well as of the scenery among which the mountain-hunter ranges. His present volume shows that he is not altogether deficient in the faculty of poetry or the rower of presenting his thoughts in verse. But he is not equal to "Cain." Divines succeed better with that character than poets. The cler- gyman is moral, the versifier metaphysical. The sermon paints Cain as a hard and envious man, with a touch of the defiant "scorner," and possessed with the pride and self-righteousness of the Pharisee—a man who cannot bear even a supernatural slight. In short, the type, as Mr. Frederick Maurice puts it, of that large class of men who harden their hearts in religious things, and would drive a bargain with their sacrifices. In the modern dramatic poem, the first murderer appears in the character of a troubled speculator. He is a mazed metaphysician, puzzled, like Confucius, by much that he sees and by more that he cannot see ; which last the Chinese sage lila the resolution to dismiss from his thoughts.

There is something too much of this in the earlier part of Mr. Boner's Cain ; in fact, from the continual " voices" of which the dramatis persona complains, he would seem to be not altogether right in his mind; in the latter part the author changes the Scriptural narrative altogether. The death does not ensue from the preference in the sacrifices ; for Cain does not wish to sacrifice at all on that day, and when Abel tries to carry him off, a struggle ensues, and Abel is killed less by murder than chance-medley. After the death, Cain is remorseful; troubled for the deed, for himself, for his father, for his mother, without any of the obstinate and insolent spirit that spoke in "Am I my brother's keeper P " Besides the three volumes on general themes, there are three poetical publications expressly devoted to the war. Mr. Gerald Massey, in a prefatory note, terms his War Waits "rough and ready war rhymes," scarcely to be "looked upon as poetic fruit maturely ripened, but rather as windfalls shook down in this wild blast of war. This remark hits their character not uncritically. They exhibit fire and patriotic feeling, with a good deal of vigor- ous fluency and force; but in the "torrent, tempest, and as we may say whirlwind of his passion," Mr. Massey has omitted to "acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness." It follows that the War Waits are somewhat deficient in con- centrated thought, as well as in felicitous force of expression. The theme is one that justifies haste and excuses want of finish; but Gerald Massey will not do himself justice if he continues to throw off verses on the spur of the occasion.

The Battle of the Alma, " a National Ballad," is not poetry of a high kind, and at times the author almost sinks into a prosaic minuteness of description akin to doggreL The piece, however, tells the story of the fight with something of the picturesque straight- forwardness of the old narrative ballad, touched, as might be ex- pected, with the conventional poetic sound of the day. This de- scription of the French scaling the heights on the left is not amiss.

"The sun had passed the zenith, But was broad and burning still, When the Zouaves and the Tirailleurs Began to breast the hill.

Sure-footed as the chamois, Impetuous as a flock Of wild goats bounding lightly From jutting rock to rock; Now climbing and now leaping, Clinging with hands and feet To the first trailing ereeper Their gallant grasp may meet: Still onward and stall upward, With souls that never flag, Pausing a moment now and then, Like an eagle on a crag : Still onward and still upward, With hearts that never fail, Where the boldest eye, with cooler blood, And the strongest nerve, would quail."

A few of the 'poems in The Bugle of the Black Sea have ap- peared in a volume of verses entitled .Equillia. The new pieces relate to the events of the war, or to themes springing directly from it The volume shows some poetical feeling and a facility of versifying ; but this facility carries the writer too far. He wants strength and imagination. His subjects are too often little more than a paraphrase of the newspaper correspondence.