Some time since we had occassion to direct the attention of our readers to a periodical then just issued under the modest title of The Germ. The surprise and pleasure with which we read it was, as we are informed, very generally shared by our readers upon perusing the poems we extracted from it; and it was manifest to every person of the slightest taste that the contributors were possessed of genius of a very high order, and that The Germ was not wantonly so entitled, for it abounded with the promise of a rich harvest to be anticipated from the maturity of those whose youth could accomplish so much.
But we expressed also our fear lest the very excellence of this magazine should be fatal to its success. It was too good--that is to say, too refined and of too lofty a class, both in its art and in its poetry--to be sufficiently popular to pay even the printer's bill. The name, too, was against it, being somewhat unintelligible to the thoughtless, and conveying to the considerate a notion of something very juvenile. Those fears were not unfounded, for it was suspended for a short time; but other journals after a while discovered and proclaimed the merit that was scattered profusely over the pages of The Germ, and, thus encouraged, the enterprise has been resumed, with a change of name which we must regard as an improvement. Art and Poetry precisely describes its character. It is wholly devoted to them, and it aims at originality in both. It is seeking out for itself new paths, if a spirit of earnestness, and with an undoubted ability which must lead to a new era. The writers may err somewhat at first, show themselves too defiant of prescriptive rules, and mistake extravagance for originality; but this fault (inherent in youth when, conscious of its powers, it first sets up for itself) will after a while work its own cure, and with experience will come soberer action. But we cannot contemplate this young and rising school in art and literature without the most ardent anticipations of something great to grow from it, something new and worthy of our age, and we bid them God speed upon the path they have adventured.
But our more immediate purpose here is with the poetry, of which about one-half of each number is composed. It is all beautiful, much of it of extraordinary merit, and equal to anything that any of our known poets could write, save Tennyson, of whom the strains sometimes remind us, although they are not imitations in any sense of the word. [The Reviewer next proceeds to quote, with a few words of comment, Christina Rossetti's "Sweet Death," John Tupper's "Viola and Olivia," Orchard's "Whit-Sunday Morn," and (later on) Dante Rossetti's "Pax Vobis."]
Almost one half of the April number is occupied with a "Dialogue on Art," the composition of an artist whose works are well known to the public. It was written during a period of ill health, which forbad the use of the brush, and, taking his pen, he has given to the world his thoughts upon art in a paper which the Edinburgh Review in its best days might have been proud to possess.
Sure we are that not one of our readers will regret the length at which we have noticed this work.