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for the prizes and compensations of skill or ability. To do this, they must of course be relieved from the disabilities which custom, public sentiment, and one-sided legislation, have imposed upon them, Many of the facts and arguments of the book have long been familiar to many of us; but they ought to be very much more familiar to the public at large. In particular, they require to be urged upon the attention of women, even more than of men. Few will be found to dispute, in theory, the claim of women to as complete an education as they desire, or are qualified to attain. Their equal right as to labor is respected in every department in which they prove their competence, as the success of female merchants, manufacturers, preachers, lecturers, and physicians, amply proves. Such jealousy as they have had to contend against, is the jealousy, not of sex, but of classprivilege ; and is felt quite as severely by men who compete in any unusual way for the prizes of life.” It was years before even Starr King was a fully recognized member of his profession, among some whom we could name in our own neighborhood. No tyranny that we have ever heard of, as exercised against female competition, was so relentless as that enforced against men by the Sheffield Trades' Unions, for example; and we think Mrs. Dall would have done well to give more attention to the conditions on which that jealousy depends, as a matter of general political economy, instead of treating it from the quite incidental point of view of sex. tical suggestions under this head are admirable ; and we earnestly desire to see them adopted by councils of women as intelligent and energetic as those which organized in detail the vast system of charities during the war. In particular, it is they alone who can in this way effectually protect their own sex from those bitter inhumanities, and those base profligacies, to which frightful numbers fall victims every year.
The old objections to female suffrage, on the score of sentiment, Mrs. Dall disposes of very effectually, by the single consideration of protection against unjust laws, to which a share of political power seems needed. This single consideration has prevailed in the case of the negroes, against the enormous dead-weight of habit and prejudice; and there is little doubt that it will prevail in the case of women, as soon as the need is as strongly felt and as powerfully urged by themselves. Whatever our theories about the distribution of political power, and the right conditions of suffrage, it is pretty evident, that we must feel our way through universal suffrage of men, first; and
this is so prodigious an advance, and involves so vast a diffusion of political influence, that it is no wonder we pause before taking the inevitable next step, of including all women too. It it were possible, we should desire that suffrage should be given at once to men and women alike, on conditions that would do something to raise it in public esteem as a privilege and a trust, and to guard it from its monstrous abuse. As it is, we confess to little enthusiasm for merely duplicating the actual number of voters in this way; and there are two very serious considerations, of which Mrs. Dall takes no notice whatever in her argument, which the advocates of female suffrage will have to encounter, as soon as their movement begins to look practical
The first is, that, as things now are, an extension of the suffrage to women would bring to the polls multitudes of the ignorant and unprincipled, to be merely political tools; while those of intelligence and principle would stay away. This consideration is purely practical. It applies full as much, we know, to universal suffrage among men, as we actually find it in our cities; but that we cannot help, with the rawness of our present democratic theories. It will be fairly met, when the majority of educated and superior women strongly desire political rights; and it neither can nor ought to be disregarded till then. As we have ourselves heard Chief Justice Chase declare, “ Women will vote, as soon as they really want to;" that is, as soon as the necessary public sentiment among themselves has been created. It is a motive for urgency, not a ground of angry suspicion or complaint, if that sentiment does not exist as yet; and it would be a serious risk till then to exchange their actual influence in politics, which is very great, and in the main noble, for the doubtful experiment of exercising direct political power.
The other consideration - a very practical one, indeed, in these last years — is, that registration of voters goes along with registration for military purposes. In general, in our political theory, the right to vote includes the liability to fight. All citizens of military age are subject to military service; and the public mind is in no condition to admit a very large population of voters, all of whom should be exempt. Nor is this mere unjust prejudice. The theory of “ manhood suffrage” means, that the same constituency which has authority to pass the law has also the physical force to execute it. Even as things are, we see how many laws remain a dead letter, for want of power to enforce them. What would it be, if a law were
carried by a small majority, in which a preponderance of feminine interest or opinion was matched against a nearly equal preponderance of men? In short, the suffrage of women, to be of any value, implies a condition of things in which moral forces are of far greater relative weight than now; a condition of things we earnestly desire, and one which the circulation of books of this class is one very great help towards bringing about.
Mrs. Dall's book has the merit of a plea - eloquent, forceful, generous, a great help towards a juster public opinion - rather than of an argument, which needs, among other things, to give due weight to argument on the other side. In several points this is a weakness in the book, — particularly in the matter of dealing with those masculine prejudices to which we have referred, and in the omission of any discussion of the reasons, physiological or otherwise, which have determined the relative position of women in all ages (regarding it, apparently, as a mere mystery of iniquity "), which we hold to be of very great importance in any adequate treatment of the subject. But, on the other hand, this singleness of aim is its great strength and merit as a plea, which it is, the most complete, instructive, and well-considered, that it has been our fortune to meet.
If it were the only object of a translation to reproduce, for the native reader, the nearest approach to the charm and melody of a foreign poem, our first feeling on examining the sumptuous and noble volumes of Longfellow's Dante would be a serious disappointment.* It was not easy to be quite satisfied. One who has read through the great Italian poem, and scanned it line by line, is at a loss whether to wonder most at the artifice of the plan; the vivid picturesqueness; the stern concentration of phrase; the marvellously sustained and gradual ascent, culminating not till the very last verse of the last canto; the triple involutions of the rhyme, or the even and pure melody of the verse. And a score of translations would be so many independent studies, or experiments at rendering, to the English reader, some one or more of these masterly poetical effects. If we were to pronounce in favor of any one theory of versification, it would be Cayley's, which,
* The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Translated by Henry WadsWORTH LONGFELLOW. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 8vo, 3 vols.
along with a strikingly terse and idiomatic English diction, attempts to reproduce strictly the very structure of the verse and replications of the rhyme; and this theory we should have been glad, we confess, to see put in practice by so accomplished a scholar and artist as Mr. Longfellow, - at least, in a few test-passages. With all its difficulties of structure, and the occasional ill fate of an unlucky rhyme, we have found it frequently more fluent, and sometimes more intelligible than his. Somehow, the mechanical difficulty overcome is apt to make better workmanship than the mechanical difficulty evaded. A long poem in blank-verse which, after all, is not genuine blank
is a severe trial to the reader's patience. Cary we have found dull and unreadable, preferring the somewhat hard fidelity of Wright, or, still better, the elegaic English stanza of Dr. Parsons. But, as has been well pointed out, Mr. Longfellow has set himself a different task, which is, to reproduce “the diction of Dante.” Every line and phrase has on it the poet's and the scholar's stamp of authenticity. The version has this high and peculiar value. And it is better to take, ungrudging, what Mr. Longfellow has done so thoroughly well, than to regret that he has not attempted to do something else.
The translation, as an English poem, will take its merited rank among other poems; and we do not propose to offer any criticism on it here. It has the value and the defect of a strict, hard, faithful rendering of phrase by phrase, - taking words of kindred derivation and sound in preference to more racy and idiomatic English ones, — and, occasionally, with difficult and obscure constructions, not letting the reader forget that it is a foreign original that it copies. Mr. Longfellow has set himself, with great patience and modesty, to be the interpreter of a great and difficult poet. The student is never lost in the artist or composer. In this the work reminds a little of Newman's Homer, - a similar accurate, painstaking, scholarly rendering of the antique, giving more ripe fruit of study than can be found in the same space elsewhere, excepting that here the hand of a real poet has been at work, and we miss the quaintnesses and oddities, and gaunt rhythmical structure, which deform the other. The same hand that wrought the delicate and melodious “sonnets,” which stand as portals to the main work, has been busy in all its details; and, in its conscientious fidelity, it reminds one of those artists who copy, in costly tapestry, some masterpiece of painting, – toiling at the back of the canvas, which is to show every tint and shade of the original, as far as the different material will permit, literally and exactly reproduced.
But the translation is only part of the work, — in bulk, hardly even the chief part. The volumes have this unique value, that they are the fruit of the life study of a very great poet, by one who is both a poet, a scholar by profession, and a critic of delicate and appreciating taste. They are the attempt which he has made to convey in full the knowledge and the impression which many years of study have given him. And this not merely, and not so much, by comment of his own, - which is rather given, in its results, in the version itself, — but by a full and rich body of Notes, giving all attainable or desirable explanation of what needs to be explained; with great wealth of incidental matter, gathered from historical and other sources, and by numerous full-length “ illustrations,” in which we see the mind of Dante, as it were, reflected in the literature, the criticism, and the exposition of the best minds since, — where Carlyle, Macaulay, Ruskin, Leigh Hunt, Milman, Schelling, with other reviewers and critics, give each his contribution to show the great and peculiar place of the “ Divina Commedia” in the literature of the world. So that the volumes are, in a certain sense, a Dantean museum, wanting only a series of illustrations in picture and drawing, equal in copiousness and splendor to these, to make perhaps the noblest and most abundant commentary which has ever been made upon a writer's genius.
NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.
THEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS.
Memoir of the Rev. Samuel Barrett, D.D. ; with a Selected Series of his Discourses. By Lewis G. Pray. Boston: William V. Spencer. pp. 207. (An interesting and genuine memorial of a faithful, excellent, and able man, prepared by one who was a parishioner and friend throughout his long ministry of thirty-five years. We wish the collection had included some of those more characteristic discourses, to which reference is made in the memoir.)
Dissertations and Discussions, Political, Philosophical, and Historical. By John Stuart Mill. Vol. IV. Boston: William V. Spencer. pp. 460. (Most readers will be first attracted by the noble Inaugural Discourse, delivered last February, at St. Andrews. But of at least equal interest we have found the article on Grote's “ Plato,” from the “ Edinburgh Review," the longest in the volume, and containing far more real instruction on the subject than can be found elsewhere, in the same space, in English. Next in interest and importance is that on Bain's “ Psychology,” which Mr. Mill regards as the completest and best exposition of the theory of Association. Most of the political writings have lost their immediate interest, with the recent striking triumph of parliamentary reform in England; but the brief note on the contest in America, written during the “ Trent” excitement, remains as one of the finest and most eloquent protests on record against a great injustice.)