Review - Uncle Remus Tales

OUR BOOKING OFFICE

It is curious to find a coincidence in the style and idea between an earnest, witty and pious English author of the Sixteenth Century and an American author of our own day. Yet so it is, and here is the parallel to be found between the quaint American tales told about the old negro, Uncle Remus, by Joel Chandler Harris, in this year of Grace, 1892, and the fables writ by Sir Thomas More in 1520, or thereabouts, which he represents as if told him by an old wife and nurse, one Mother Maud. Here are "The Wolf"--and the simpleminded Jackass, both are going to confession to Father Fox--"Brer Fox." Aesop is, of course, the common origin of such tales. The extracts which I have come across, are to be found in a small book compiled by the Rev. Thomas Bridgett, entitled, The Wit and Wisdom of Sir Thomas More. The Baron wishes that with it had been issued a glossary of old English words and expressions, as to am ordinary modern reader, much of Sir Thomas More's writing is well-nigh unintelligible; nay, in some instances, the Baron can only approximately arrive at the meaning, as though it were writ in a foreign language with which his acquaintance was of no great profundity. Certes, the learned and reverend compiler hath a keen relish for this quaintness, but not so will fifteen out of his twenty readers, who, pardie! shall regret the absence of a key without which some of the treasure must, to them at least, remain inaccessible. With this reservation, but with no sort of equivocation, doth the Baron heartily recommend the Reverend Bridgett's compilation of Sir Thomas More's "English as she is writ" in the Sixteenth Century, to all the lovers of good books in this "so-called (O, immortal phrase!) Nineteenth Century." The Rev. Thomas hath well and ably done his work, and therefore doth the Baron advise his readers to go to their booksellers, and, being there, to imitate the example of Dicken's oft-quoted Oliver, and "ask for More."

Quoth the Baron, "Much liketh me the Macmillanite series of English Men of Action, and in a very special manner do I laud the latest that, to my knowledge, hath appeared 'yclept Montrose, by Master Mowbray Morris--a good many "M's" in these names--who hath executed his Montrose with as loving a heart and as tender a touch as ever did use old Izaak towards the gentle that he, and the simple fish, did love so well. Did not every hangman burst into tears as he thrust the unfortunate nobleman off the step? and did not a universal sob of pity break from the vast crowd assembled to see the last of the noble cavalier, victim to an unfortunate tradition of loyalty? What wonder then if we sympathise with this luckless hero of romance? The weak-knee'd villain of this historical drama was "Charles (his friend," in which character, be it allowed, this sad dog of a Merry Monarch not infrequently appeared. "Thank you much, Mr. Mowbray Montrose Morris," quoth

The Beneficent Baron De Book-Worms.



Links:

  • Directory of reviews
  • Preceding review (1955)
  • Table of Contents