صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

bestowed on him; for the Holy Scriptures tell us that he was a just man, and in the inspired language that word contains all virtues."

The chapter on the Hidden Life of S. Joseph is especially valuable. The following extract will be read with pleasure :


"If a life spent with Mary would sanctify Joseph, what must have been the heavenly influences of the presence of our Lord! Volumes have been written on visits to the Blessed Sacrament; but Joseph beheld Jesus. He spoke to him, and heard his answers. Others may hear His inspirations with the interior ear, but Joseph heard with his bodily ears His answers to his questions. His eyes are, as the Scriptures express it, the light of His countenance, and were turned on Joseph. The whole being of Joseph absorbed into itself the visible and tangible Presence, which, when perceived by faith only, has power to raise the Saints into ecstasy. How do we believe in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament? and what must have been the life of Joseph while he spoke, and inoved, and laboured, while he ate, and drank, and slept, in the visible presence of God? Those who attend on kings know the personal influence of a mere earthly sovereign; and what must have been that Presence which found favour with God and men? Yet let us remember that when the woman cried out in rapture, 'Blessed is the womb that bore Thee!' our Lord replied that those are more blessed who hear the Word of God and keep it; and that He said to S. Thomas, 'Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.'

"The external actions of S. Joseph were the same before and after the angel's revelations. He had still to labour, and now he must labour for a family; but what a family! It is said by à Lapide that his actions in contributing to the support of Christ related to the order of hypostatic union, and were, therefore, inconceivably superior to any others. If the kingdom of heaven will be the reward of those who serve Christ in the person of the poor, what will He give to him to whom He can say literally,—' I was hungry, and you gave Me meat.'

The concluding paragraph of the work, in which the writer speaks of the growth of our knowledge of S. Joseph, and of devotion towards him, is also excellent, and offers a marked contrast to the meagreness of Mr. Baring-Gould's life of the Saint, to which we called attention in our last number. We should have been glad, however, if this point had been also more fully treated in the present work; for, as we then said, the Saints and Servants of God have all of them a double life: one, that which they spent on earth; the other, that which they are now spending in heaven as glorified members of Christ's Body, the Church, and by means of which they still influence the world. Great was the glory of S. Joseph to be the foster-father of our Lord on earth, but we know now that it was also his eternal destiny, for which his earthly life was but the preparation, to be the created shadow of the Father over Christ's everlasting Church, which is His Body.

A hope is modestly expressed in the Preface that the writer may be forgotten, while the reader contemplates for himself the heavenly objects, and is led by the aid of grace to behold and understand what no one can teach another. Not so: we feel sure that everyone who has read the "Pilgrim,” and who now reads the "Life and Character of S. Joseph," will be reminded at almost every page of the thoughtful and thoroughly Catholic-minded author of the former work. We trust we may soon have another volume from the same pen.

Bibliographia Catholica Americana. A list of Works written by Catholic Authors and published in the United States. By Rev. JOSEPH M. FINOTTI. Part I. New York: The Catholic Publication House.

HIS is a most useful and interesting record of Catholic works published in intersperses his list of books with notices of many of the authors, will prove invaluable to future historians of the Church in that country. We gather from the humorous Preface that Mr. Finotti is a bibliomaniac, but unlike most bibliomaniacs he is not desirous of keeping all his good things to himself, and does his best to spread far and wide the knowledge of the books which he has himself collected, or about which he has been able to receive information. He tells us that it is to an attack of old-fashioned rheumatismenvious friends called it podagra-which forced him to spend days, and weeks, and months, on a venerable arm-chair in his library, that we are indebted for this work. We suppose it would be uncharitable to wish Mr. Finotti another return of his old enemy, but we may at least hope that he will be able to find some leisure time to enable him to complete the second part, and thus to bring down his list of Catholic works to the present day. In order to show the real merit of this work, we cannot do better than place before our readers the following letter from the Right Rev. Dr. Bayley, formerly Bishop of Newark, and now Archbishop of Baltimore.

"Rev. and Dear Sir,-Since my return home I have thought over the matter, and am more and more convinced of the soundness of the advice which I gave you, to publish immediately your most interesting and valuable Bibliographia Catholica Americana.

"If you wait until such a work is perfect, you will never publish it. "You have collected a great amount of curious bibliographical and biographical matter which should not be allowed to pass into oblivion.

"The publication of your work will excite an interest on the subject, and will bring out additional information, which will enable you to perfect it in a second edition

"It is a great mistake to suppose that such works are only curious or interesting-they are most useful; and one of the best signs that the Catholic Church has taken root, and is growing up vigorously in this country, will be an increased interest among our people about everything connected with the planting and spread of our Faith in this part of the world.

"Bibliography is a sort of antiquarianism, in which everyone takes an


"You may put me down as a subscriber for twenty copies if you publish it. "Yours, with sincere regards,


We have carefully looked through the work, and we can safely endorse the compiler's statement, that "the Catholic literature in the United States previous to 1820, scanty as it may appear, must be allowed to have been in advance of the money-making, sickly, riding-on-both-sides-of-the-fence efforts of more recent dates."

The "Bibliographia" is beautifully printed upon really admirable paper.

A May Chaplet, and other Verses, for the Month of Mary, Translated and Original. By KENELM DIGBY BESTE, priest of the Oratory of S. Philip Neri. London: R. Washbourne, Paternoster-row. 1873.


HERE was a time when the blessed Virgin Mother of the Lord was the central source of the highest inspiration of art. The very idea of the Madonna may be said without exaggeration to have made a Raphael ossible, and whenever the marvellous Italian has a worthy successor that successor will be one whose genius has been fed on devotion to the Mother Maid. As yet we have had no poet to do for our Lady in verse what Raphael has done for her on canvas. In our own country especially men of high poetic powers have not had the advantages of Catholic training and Catholic faith. But of late years a very important change has been observable; some of our most gifted poets have, though not professing Catholics, manifested a very Catholic spirit. And from the ranks of Catholics themselves we have some poets of a very high order. These, as would be expected, have instinctively given their allegiance, not to the old pagan muses, but to that loftiest specimen of womanhood, the Virgin Mary; and some of them-as for instance Mr. Aubrey de Vere, in his "May Carols," have achieved a high success. The Rev. Kenelm Digby Beste, author of the book before us, is the latest and not the least worthy singer of the Virgin's praises.

When we name Mr. Beste as the author of the volume before us we are exposing ourselves to misconception. As is mentioned in the brief preface, the volume consists of two classes of poems, of translations from the French of Father Philpin de Rivières, and of original verses from the pen of Mr. Beste. The book contains 176 pages, and of these 105 are devoted to renderings of the hymns of the French Oratorian. Both as a translator and as an independent composer Mr. Beste's work is very laudable. He is gifted with a considerable pathetic power, and his style of expression is simple and chaste. His choice of metre is usually very happy, and the melody of most of his verses leaves nothing to be desired. But the great charm of his volume is its manifest sincerity. Mr. Beste is no writer of religious common-place. Evidently what he says he not only believes thoroughly but intensely feels.

If we were to say that Mr. Beste is a great poet, Mr. Beste himself would be the first to laugh at us. But some of the poems in the volume before us, both among the translations and among the original verses, are admirable. The following, for instance (page 28), has much of the careless power of Mr. Browning. It is called "The Avowal of St. Bernardine of Siena"; and we think we shall please the reader by quoting it in full. Here it is :

"My heart is not mine any longer,

I confess it to you, dearest friends;

I love, and no love could be stronger,

For my Loved One the whole world transcends

My heart is not mine any longer!

"Tis useless to dwell on her beauty,
She has utterly conquered my heart-
To praise her I feel is my duty,

But her fairness excels all my art-
"Tis useless to dwell on her beauty.

I cannot endure life without her,

Nor the length of the night and the day-
"Tis life to be thinking about her,

So I love her, and live in that way-
I cannot endure life without her!

My study is only to find her

Unto this all my powers are trained;
My hope is that she will be kinder;

My mind and my will are enchained-
My study is only to find her!

For her, then, my whole soul is yearning-
After God she has now all my love;
'Tis a bright and pure flame ever burning,
'Tis a true vow recorded above-

For her, then, my whole soul is yearning!

So, now, need I name this fair Maiden
And say, Mary the Mother of God?
My bosom at last is unladen-

She should have every drop of my blood!
So now, need I name this fair Maiden?"

There is no one of our readers who will not acknowledge this for a very beautiful little poem. It possesses a simplicity of strength which we should like to see more common in the poetry of the period; and its versification is positively charming. The tone of thought throughout it has that delicate familiarity which so becomes a Catholic's address to his Heavenly Mother, and which we should scarcely expect from any but a French mind. Father Beste has translated the French verses with a refinement of thought and taste not unworthy of the original.

[ocr errors]

But we should be doing F. Beste an injustice if we did not present our readers with a specimen of his powers as an independent composer. We are sorry that our space is limited, and that our quotation must be consequently short; but we advise all our readers to refer to the book itself. They will find in its concluding pages ample proof of F. Beste's merit as a writer of thoughtful and polished Catholic verse. Take, for instance, the following lines from the poem "Meeting Jesus with the Cross," to be found at page 124:

"O ye, who dwell in this great toiling town,

Ye think your lot unknown!

Your labour borne alone!

Through din of day and through the gloom of night,

And whether fall or fight,

Your life is kept in sight

[blocks in formation]

Not to speak of their eloquent tenderness, there is about these lines a finished touch of execution very creditable to F. Beste. In the merely mechanical portion of the poet's art he undoubtedly is possessor of a great deal of skill; and as poetic thought and poetic feeling can never be wanting .to one who, like F. Beste, is wont to keep himself in close personal connection with the great doctrines of our faith, we only hope that he will very often in the future use his powers as a writer of verse to bring home to the Catholic heart what has already possession of the Catholic intelligence. Such books as the one before us, in an age like the present, when the great danger to everything, but especially to religion, is a want of thoroughness, are invaluable. Man is a thinking animal, but, as Dr. Newman so beautifully illustrates, he is very much more; and the revolutions effected in men are effected not so much through thought as through feeling. The great force of the world is often rather the poet than the philosopher.

Terne of Armorica: a Tale of the Time of Chlovis. By J. C. Bateman. London: Burns & Oates, Portman Street.



HIS is a volume of very great interest and very great utility. As a story, it is sure to give much delight to such of its readers as have a taste for books of fiction; while, as a story founded on historical fact, it will benefit all by its very able reproduction of very momentous scenes. In the latter aspect it is that we admire it most. The period following the break up of the Western Roman Empire was one of the most stirring of all the periods in the history of Europe. It was then that these rude collisions between the old order and the new ideas occurred, which resulted in determining largely the fate of all future society. The conflict was especially exciting in that part of the Continent which is now known as France. What with Gauls, Armoricans, Visigoths, Britons, Franks, and the various offshoots of the Allemanni-what with religious differences between Christians, Arians, Druids, and idolaters of various kinds, the France of the latter half of the fifth century was an extremely unsafe place for people of peaceful dispositions; and yet the influence of Christianity upon the genius of a single

« السابقةمتابعة »