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ledge most useful in deciding upon disputed facts. We have seen the learned judge subject a Hindoo or Mussulman witness to a most vigorous crossexamination, chiefly, too, upon points untouched by the counsel, who had already examined and cross-examined him, and thus succeed in eliciting some circumstance which ultimately determined the fate of the cause. In no country more than in India, is it necessary to compare the direct testimony adduced, with the testimony furnished by circumstances; for almost daily experience, unfortunately, presents instances where a host of witnesses have concerted together, beforehand, to invent and support some ingenious tale, with its lying accompaniment of the minutest circumstances, and so artfully is it contrived, and so well tutored are its suborned supporters, that it requires no small skill to detect a single flaw or discrepancy. But experience will occasionally suggest a line of cross-examination which elicits some“ damning circumstances;" and we have thus sometimes seen the Chief Justice astonish the plaintiff's counsel, after they had closed their elaborate case, although the defendant had scarcely called a single individual to support his meagre defence, by quietly observing, that the Court did not believe a single syllable uttered by a single witness for the plaintiff, and that, accordingly, he must make up his mind to be nonsuited.
The learned chief justice is endowed with a very fair share of the quality so essential to a judge, clearheadedness. His mind rapidly seizes the bearing of a case, distinguishes the matters which affect the point at issue from all that is useless and irrelevant, and skilfully reduces the complexities of an involved argument to one or two simple questions. We have rarely seen his lordship allow himself to be blinded by sophistry, or imposed upon by verbiage. The advocate who should attempt to succeed by the employment of plausible fallacies, or by involving his meagre argument in a misty halo of high sounding language, would expend his breath and ingenuity in vain. Altogether, the learned judge appears to more advantage in deciding a knotty point of law than in determining a disputed question of fact, in comparing and contrasting precedents and authorities than in weighing evidence and probabilities. It has struck us, that when once a doubt has crept into his lordship's mind, it takes a great deal indeed to satisfy such doubt. The same used to be alleged against Lord Plunket, and the peculiarity may not necessarily arise either from obstinacy of opinion or confusion of ideas, but rather from an over-subtlety, which, once aroused, starts objection after objection and doubt after doubt, until the harassed mind beholds inseparable difficulties arising on every side. Yet we have frequently known a most dubious and difficult question clearly and satisfactorily decided upon the spur of the moment, without any timid qualification of the opinion expressed. We do not think that the Supreme Court in general postpones its judgments, for after-deliberation, much more frequently than the Courts of Westminster-hall, at least in the modern day. It is alleged by the bar at home, that in the olden time, when Kenyon, Mansfield, Buller, and other cotemporaneous worthies, were wont to preside, a delay in pronouncing adv. vult. (intimating that the bench is slightly bamboozled and craves time for further deliberation) is the most frequent of all judicial announcements. They of the old school, however, must not forget that my Lord Eldon's doubts became a bye-word.
In manner, Sir Edward Ryan is peculiarly mild and urbane, yet with no lack of judicial dignity. His language is clear and well expressed, but quite unpretending and totally devoid of oratorial elegance. With the profession his lordship is almost universally a favourite, from his kind and ready compliance with expressed wishes as far as custom and etiquette will permit, his courteous mode of address to all of whatever standing and consideration, and his polite attention to the longest and dullest speech which a silk gown and cambric bands empower learned gentlemen to inflict upon the Court !
THE BOOK OF GEMS.
This is a jewel of a book. We remember meeting Mr. Hall at Pickering's, the booksellers, when the first volume of this beauteous work was in embryo and as we looked over the proofs of the engravings and read a list of the authors to be illustrated, we prophesied a succes to the undertaking unparalelled in the history of Annuals. Since this time three volumes have appeared ; the third is now lying belore us.
“ The Book of Gems”-of a certainty 'tis no misnomer for a work so sumptuous as this. 'Tis truly a book of gems, “ dug from the mines of art”—from the mines of painting, of 1 oetry, of sculpture-mines inexhaustibly full of wealth, more precious than Golconda treasures. We envy the man who cair devole a life to the working of these mines—who has no harder daily task to perforın than the digging up of these bright gems and arranging them museumwise for the inspection of the world. We should ourselves set about such a work as this with a right-earnestness, but little accordant with the sluggishness of our phlegmatic temperament-provided that we had an amanuensis. How delicious to lie upon a courli, with heaps of poetry around us, choosing our author according to the mood of the moment; if kindly-hearted betaking our: selves to the sweet domesticities of dear, good Wordsworth ; if gloomy, disgusted and nuisanthropical to the sunless cavern-depths of dark-souled Byron; it' languid and enervated and luxury-lapped to the " silken dalliance” of Moore's sense subduing, Sardanapalıan Muse; if restless, and soaring and Utopian 10 the high-wron.bt imaginings of bewildering Shelley; and thus to wander at will in the garden of poetry, culling flowers and wreathing garlands, free and unfettereid 16 go where we list with 110 one to control our excursiveness.
We would willingly leave Grey to his “ Marivaux and Crebillon,” whilst we luxuriated in the poets of our time--a time which has seen the radiance of a brighter galaxy of ports, than any half century in the life of our literature.
There are some who will take exception to this, and cite against us the Shake. sperian æra. We are a little staggered, but we maintain our ground. Shake. speare is so hallowed a name, that it would seem an impiety to measure any intellect with his, so giant-sized are all its proportions. But one flower, thongh it be an aloe, which blooms once in a hundred years, inakes not a fair garden ; and one palace, though grander than Nero's, makes not a fine city. Shakespeare stands alone, unrivalled ; we set up none against him, he is a sort of intellectual O'Brien, and it would be no fairer to bring him forward in disproof of our assertion than it would be to support an argument in favour of the improved physical condition of mankind, by citing the Irish giant as an example. We will not suffer this battle to be decided by single combat. We speak of an age nut of an individual—a galaxy of bright stars—the greater and the lesser ones together-ay, even to the “ luininous haze which links star to star,” the myriad of small wits which add to the brightness of the whole, though individually they have no distinct place in the map of our poetical heavens." But bethink you, our Elizabethan antagonist exclaims, " of Spenser, and Fletcher, and Marlowe, and Ford, and Ben Jonson, and Herrick, and Massinger, and a host of other doughty-mailed Knights." We have not a Spenser, but we have a Wordsworth Lamb; we have not a Marlowe, but we have a Leigh Hunt; and so, we might go through the catalozue ; and, dispersing the fog of antiquity, seen through which all objects are magnified, we might show that the grants of our own time are gigantic as the great men of the past. Let us take the volume now before us as a sample of the Georgian poetry. It is but a poor sample, however, for brighter gems might have been collected than those in the casket on our table. But still they are geins, and although imperfectly, they will serve to illustrate our position. The poetry in this volume is at least equal to that contained in the first volume of the Gems-far superior to that in the second. Wordsworth stands first in the list and rightly, as undoubtedly the greatest poet of onr age. He who is not a great philosopher can never be a great poet. In the writings of William Wordsworth we trace everywhere the workings of a grand philosophic mind-there is nothing little or sordid, or contemptible; all is elevating, purifying, ennobling. He is the most soul-cleansing of poets - it is almost impossible that his disciples should be proud, or selfish, or harsh, or uncharitable.' We love him and could write for ever in his praise. We owe more to him than to any human writer, for he has taught us one grand lesson, the truth of which few will venture to dispute,
that Man is oft times nobler when he creeps Tkan when he soars.
We confess that we were far different from what we are now before we adopted the Wordsworthian philosophy. But this is very little to the purpose.
In opening the volume before us, at the head of the first page of selections, we see the great good man himself in an exquisite engraving from Pickersgill's picture. This is the only portrait in the book. It is a gem ; but the gem of all gems is the poem in the pages that succeed. We boldly challenge our imagined Elizabethan antagonist to bring forward a poem of equal length, from the writings of any other poet, we care not of what age, containing so much philosophy, so much tenderness, so much harmony ; in short, so much poetry, both of thought and diction, as the ode entitled “ Intimations of immortality from recollections of childhood.” In our very humble opinion, it is the finest lyric prem in the English language. Mr. Hall did well in giving it the place that he has assigned to it, in his book. It is a poem full of haunting lives of lines ever remembered, and often quoted by those, who know not the source whence they come. It has been said, that the greatest compliment you can pay an author is to quote him, and if this be the case, Wordsworth has been more complimented than any of our poets, with the exception of Shakespeare. The Ettrick Shepherd used to say that there were only three books worth looking into for quotations : the Old Testament, Shakespeare's Plays, and Wordsworth’s Excursion.
But this is no proof of his popularity. Wordsworth is not popular-his writings have had a far greater influence in these days than they are generally supposed to be invested with; but this influence has been almost entirely latent; and the superficial observer would scarely mark the under-current, so silently flowing has been its course. Many, who contemn Wordsworth, the originator, admire and extol his creations at second hand in the writings of others. He has been more pillaged than any poet of the age, and his stolen gooils have been more commended. Byron, though he made a laughing stock of the author of the Excursion, hesitated not to borrow from him by wholesale. The young poets of the present day are sad marauders of the Wordsworthian treasures, and we have uniformly observed, that they are popular in proportion to the boldness of their depredations. Mr. Taylor, the author of Philip Van Arteveldt, may stand as a fair specimen of these literary pirates, for his success has been in proportion to his dishonesty. We bave neither Mr. Taylor's peom nor the Excursion at present within our reach; but we can remember two passages of the former, which were especially lauded by one of the most influential of our critical Leviathans, and which are mere transcripts from Wordsworth's great work.
He who lacks time to mourn, lacks time to mend.
seems to us, but another way of expressing the moral sentiment in this passage of the Excursion.
the lines preceding which Byron has made use of in the “ Prophesy of Dante."
Many are poets who have never penned
We have especially alluded to these passages of Philip Van Arteveldt, because they were ridiculously bepuffed and italicized in the Edinburgh Review, with about the same degree of discrimination, with that which made a critic in the Quarterly point out to, for the reader's especial admiration, this line of Mr. Talfourd's Ion :
“ Those are the patient sorrows which loucb nearest ;"
a line, which is so near akin to one in Ford's Broken Heart,
“ Those are the silent griefs which cut the heart-strings,"
that we should have thought a critic, with a common share of poetical reading, would have discovered the plagiarism at once. Mr. Talfourd is another of those gentlemen who are so largely indebted to Wordsworth. If that poet had never existed, Ion would never have been written, or if written, it would be something totally different from the work which has been called into being. Philip Van Arteveldt and Ion are both of the Wordsworthian school, and they are infinitely the most popular poems which have made their appearance for several years. This is the nature of Wordsworth's influence in the present day, latent and indirect. Posterity will tell a different tale, though we may not live to hear it.
We have dwelt a long time upon Wordsworth and his writings, but we trust, that we have not wearied the patience of one of our readers. What we have