The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

Volume 1, 1890/91, pg. 157

"Omnibus in rebus requiem quaesivi sed non inveni nisi en hoexkens ende boexkens." -- THOMAS KEMPIS

"I have sought for rest everywhere but I have found it not, save in a little nook, and in a little book." And one or two of my "little books" are on my table; books in paper covers, written by unknown people, published in outlandish places, but still affording excellent material for me when I have an hour or two to make entries in my Common Place Book. I wonder how many mothers who can read German know of "Kinderlieder und Kinderspiele aus dem Vogtlande" (possibly it may cost 6d.), which is dedicated "dem treuen Eltern," and which begins with this. "There is a story of an Emperor who would decide what words are first "spoken by a child; so he forbade the nurses to speak to the children in their "charge or to utter a word in their presence. 'But,' says the chronicler, "the children must die, for if they are not sung to sleep with lullabies, the unnatural stillness will be unbearable to them.'" This is a charming beginning, and the nursery songs are many and varied. Here are a few specimens: --

     Ei du lieber heiliger Christ,
     Komm nur nicht wenn's finster ist,
     Komm in hellen Mondenschein,
     Wirf nur Nuss und Aepfel rein.

And isn't this a parallel to "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, bless the bed that I lie on?"

     Ich will heyndt schlaffen gehen,
     Zwölff Engel mit mir gehen,
     Zwen zum haupten, zwen sum seitten, zwen sum fussen,
     Zwen die mich weisen, zu dem hymlischen Paradeyse.

Why should not some of these rhymes (not the dialect ones, of course) be used in teaching German to little children?

1     2     3     4     5     6     7
Petrus Paulus hat geschrieben,
Einen Brief nach Paris,
Er soll holen drei Pistolen,
Eine fur dich, eine fur mich, eine fur Bruder Heinerich.

Have we anything so simple as this in English?

Tender Jesu, tender Jesu,
Hard is the little bed, whereon is laid thy head;
Steps, and close thy tiny eyelid's door;
Sleep, and give us rest with thee for evermore.

Sleep, baby, take thee,
Nothing now shall wake thee;
Ox and endospore and sheep, all are laid asleep.
Sleep, and close thy tiny eyelid's door;
Sleep, and give us rest with thee for evermore.

Or, if a nursery book is too elementary, what about "Pflanzen in Sitte, Sage und Geschichte," where all the legends of the trees and flowers are told in simple German? A child need not believe the following story, in order to see its beauty: -- "Als Maria vor dem blutfingsten Tyrannen Herodes nach Egypten floh, kam sie an dem sagenhaften Baume voruber und ruhte ihre muden Glieder darunter aus. Bei ihrem Erscheinen neigte er sich mit allen seinen Zweigen tief vor dem Christuskinde, dem neuen Lebensbaum. Maria sah das Wunder und freute sich dessen, den sie merkte dass Himmel und Erde im Bunde waren, den Weltheiland zu schutzen."

I could quote numbers of such rhymes and stories, but all my little books are not for children. Do you know a "Sheaf of Sonnets," which for quiet power leaves a good deal of modern verse far behind? There are only seventy-nine of them, and they want a little thinking over. But the jewel is generally shining in the forehead, and isn't in the mine -- like some of Browning's jewels.


They say that flowers sprung up about his feet
As on he went along his rugged way;
He struck his harp, sang music loud and sweet,
And flowers sprang up about his feet, they say.
I know not. I have met him, grave and gay --
He was a man 'tis restfulness to meet
As slants of foliage on a sultry day;
But for himself: I know not. He would greet
The world with joy his glances would gainsay.
A valiant heart with songs of hope replete
May surely triumph o'er its own defeat,
And still he went along his rugged way,
He strewed his strength -- alas! It was but meet
That flowers thus sown should fall behind his feet.



The volume of sermons published by the Rev. J. M. Wilson, of Clifton, under the title of "The Religious Thought of our Time," is a most suggestive book for all who are interested in the religious education of young people. Mr. Wilson is in full sympathy with modern thought, and writes most clearly and directly, without superfluous rhetoric, but is a simple and forcible style. Especially valuable is his enforcement of the great truths of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man as the basis of duty and self-sacrifice. Religion, from its practical side, he defines as caring much and caring always for doing our duty; and he shows how the source of the religious impulse must be sought for in the great Christian doctrines of brotherliness to man and sonship to God. "This assurance of kinship," he says, in an eloquent passage, "adds an indescribable wholesomeness and brightness to our religion. It strikes at selfishness; at impurity at frivolity; at the weary melancholy of life. It overcomes evil with good. It harmonizes our scale of virtues. It makes a gentleman and a Christian more nearly synonymous than they have sometimes been, because it affects our conception both of the ideal gentleman and the ideal Christian. Both of them are the ideal brother." In other sermons he expands these leading thoughts. He shows how the intimate connection of love to God with love to man is our best hope for the regeneration of the world; how largely the skepticism of the day is due to misconceptions of Church teaching; that the creeds are helps to religion, but not religion itself; how the sense of union with Christ is a strong impulse to purify that nothing can suppress; and how the modern sin of schism lies not in holding different opinions, but in "party spirit, that besetting sin of Christians," which keeps us back from acting together in the practical service of Christ. The relations of rich and poor, the lessons to this age contained in the Advent and in the mystery of the Trinity, the bearing of modern criticism on the interpretation of the Bible -- all find able and eloquent treatment in these sermons; and though, no doubt, objections may be raised to some of the teaching, yet the whole series is most suggestive, and, as we began with saying, they are a genuine and reverent contribution to the religious thought of the day, especially valuable to all who are interested and occupied in the work of religious education. --


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Professor Huxley's Physiography [Macmillan], though it is very well-known and highly valued by teachers, is weighted with the title which probably keeps it out of most home-libraries. "What is Physiography?" we all asked a few years ago; and if this book be an answer to the question, it is a delightful science, in spite of a name hardly suggestive of pleasant things. The matter of the work is of a kind with which we are more or less familiar: "Rain and Dew," "The Atmosphere," "Work of Rain and Rivers," "Work of Ice," are the sorts of titles that stand at the heads of the pages; and possibly we have nowhere such exquisite teaching of that "Earth Knowledge," which every child desires, and every parent should be able to give.

Typed by Kristina, Sept 2015