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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. X, NO. 276.] SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1827. [PRICE 2d.
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There is given Unto the things of earth, which Time hath bent, A spirit's feelings, and where he hath leant His hand, but broke his scythe, there is a power And magic in the ruin'd battlement For which the palace of the present hour Must yield its pomp, and wait till ages are its dower.
The cathedral of Bristol is one of the most interesting relics of monastic splendour which have been spared from the wrecks of desolation and decay. It is dedicated to the holy and undivided Trinity, and is the remains of an abbey or monastery of great magnificence, which was dedicated to St. Augustine. The erection of this monastery was begun in 1140, and was finished and dedicated in 1148, according to the inscription on the tomb of the founder, Robert Fitzharding, the first lord of Berkeley, who, together with others of that illustrious family, are enshrined within these walls. It was also denominated the monastery of the black regular canons of the order of Saint Victor, who are mentioned by Leland as the black canons of St. Augustine within the city walls. By some historians, Fitzharding is represented as an opulent citizen of Bristol; but generally as a younger son or grandson of the king of Denmark, and as the youthful companion of Henry II., who, betaking himself from the sunshine of royal friendship, became a canon of the monastery he himself had founded. In this congenial solitude he died in 1170, aged 75. Such is the outline of the foundation of this structure, and it is one of the most attractive episodes of the early history of England; for the circumstance of a noble exchanging the gilded finery of a court, and the gay companionship of his prince, for the gloomy cloisters of an abbey, and the ascetic duties of monastic life, bespeaks a degree of resolution and self-control which was more probably the result of sincere conviction than of momentary caprice.
The present cathedral is represented to have been merely the church of the monastery, which was entirely rebuilt in the commencement of the fourteenth century. The style of architecture in the different parts of this cathedral is accurately discriminated in the following account from the pen of Bishop Littleton, F.S.A.:—"The lower parts of the chapter house walls," says he, "together with the door-way and columns at the entrance of the chapter-house, may be pronounced to be of the age of Stephen, or rather prior to his reign, being fine Saxon architecture. The inside walls of the chapter-house have round ornamental arches intersecting each other. The cathedral appears to be of the same style of building throughout, and in no part older than Edward the First's time, though some writers suppose the present fabric was begun in king Stephen's time; but not a single arch, pillar, or window agrees with the mode which prevailed at that time. The great gateway leading into the College Green is round-arched, with mouldings richly ornamented in the Saxon taste." From this account it appears probable that the chapter-house and gateway are all the present remains of the ancient monastery. The mutilations which the cathedral of Bristol has undergone, are not entirely to be referred to the era of the dissolution of the monasteries, since this structure suffered very considerably during the period of the civil wars. The ruthless soldiers discovered their barbarism by violating the sacred tombs of the dead, and by offering every indignity which they supposed would be considered a profanation of the places which the piety of their ancestors consecrated to religion. At such instances of the violence of civil factions, the sensitive mind shudders with disgust.
The cathedral of Bristol is rich in monumental tributes to departed worth. Among them is an elegant monument, by Bacon, to Mrs. Elizabeth Draper, the Eliza of Sterne; and the classical tomb of the Hendersons. Here, too, rests Lady Hesketh, the friend of Cowper; Powell, of Covent Garden Theatre; besides branches of the Berkeley family, and various abbots.
The bishopric of Bristol is the least wealthy ecclesiastical promotion which confers the dignity of a mitre. Its revenue is generally stated to amount to no more than five or six hundred pounds per annum. In the list of bishops are Fletcher, father of the celebrated dramatist, the colleague of Beaumont; he attended Mary Queen of Scots on the Scaffold; Lake, one of the seven bishops committed to the Tower in the time of James I.; Trelawney, a familiar name in the events of 1688; Butler, who materially improved the episcopal palace of Bristol; Conybeare and Newton, names well known in literary history; with the erudite Warburton, whose name occurs in the list of deans of Bristol.
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DEBTOR AND CREDITOR.
The time is out of joint.—Hamlet.
A man of my profession never counterfeits, till he lays hold upon a debtor and says he rests him: for then he brings him to all manner of unrest.—The Bailiff, in 'Every Man in his Humour.'
Run not into debt, either for wares sold or money borrowed; be content to want things that are not of absolute necessity, rather than to run up the score: such a man pays at the latter a third part more than the principal comes to, and is in perpetual servitude to his creditors; lives uncomfortably; is necessitated to increase his debts to stop his creditors' mouths; and many times falls into desperate courses.
SIR M. HALE.
"The greatest of all distinctions in civil life," says Steele, "is that of debtor and creditor;" although no kind of slavery is so easily endured, as that of being in debt. Luxury and expensive habits, which are commonly thought to enlarge our liberty by increasing our enjoyments, are thus the means of its infringement; whilst, in nine cases out of ten, the lessons taught by this rigid experience lead to the bending and breaking of our spirits, and the unfitting of us for the rational pleasures of life. All ranks of mankind seem to fall into this fatal error, from the voluptuous Cleopatra to the needy philosopher, who doles out a mealsworth of morality for his fellow-creatures, and who would fain live according to his own precepts, had he not exhausted his means in the acquisition of his experience.
I blush to confess, that I have often thought the habit of debt to be our national inheritance—from that bugbear of out-of-place men, the Sinking Fund, to the parish-clerk, who mortgages his fees at the chandler's; and that my countrymen seem to have resolved to increase their own enjoyments at the expense of posterity, with whose provision, even Swift thinks we have no concern. Again; I have thought that we are apt to over-rate our national advancement, by supposing the present race to be wiser than the previous one, without once looking into our individual contributions to this state of enlightenment. Proud as we are of this distinction in the social scale, we can record few instances of contemporary genius, and we are bound to confess that men are not a whit the better in the present than in the previous generation. Thus we hoodwink each other till social outrages become every-day occurrences, and every thing but sheer violence is protected by its frequency; and in this manner we consent to compromise our happiness, and then affect to be astonished at its scarcity. In the later ages of the world, men have learned to temporize with principles, and to sacrifice, at the shrine of passing interest, as much real virtue as would bear them harmless throughout life. Hence, of what more avail is the virtue of the Roman fathers, or are the amiable friendships of Scipio and Lelius, than as so many amusing fictions to exercise the imaginations of schoolmen in drawing outlines of character, which experience does not finish. Friends, like certain flowers, bloom around us in the sunshine of success; but at night-fall or at the approach of storms, they shut up their hearts; and thus, poor victims being rifled of their mind's content, with their little string of enjoyments broken up for ever, are abandoned to the pity or scorn of bystanders. It is impossible to reflect for a moment on such a crisis, without dropping a tear for the self-created infirmities of man: but there are considerations at which he shudders, and which he would rather varnish over with the sophistry of his refinement, and the fallacies of self-conceit.
I fear that I am breaking my rule in not confining myself to a few shades of debt and conscience, with a view of determining how far they are usually reconciled among us. The task may not prove altogether fruitless; notwithstanding, to find honest men, would require the lantern of Diogenes, and perhaps turn out like Gratiano's wheat.
In our youthful days, we all remember to have read a pithy string of Maxims by Dr. Franklin; and we are accustomed to admire the pertinence of their wit,—but here their influence too often terminates. Since Franklin's time, the practice of getting into debt has become more and more easy, notwithstanding men have become more wary. Goldsmith, too, gives us a true picture of this habit in his scene with Mr. Padusoy, the mercer, a mode which has been found to succeed so well since his time, that, with the exception of a few short-cuts by sharpers and other proscribed gentry, little amendment has been made. Profuseness on the part of the debtor will generally be found to beget confidence on that of the creditor; and, in like manner, diffidence will create mistrust, and mistrust an entire overthrow of the scheme. An unblushing front, and the gift of non chalance, are therefore the best qualifications for a debtor to obtain credit, while poor modesty will be starved in her own littleness. In vain has Juvenal protested—"Fronti nulla fides;" and have the world been amused with anecdotes of paupers dying with money sewed up in their clothes: appearance and assumed habits are still the handmaids to confidence; and so long as this system exists, the warfare of debtor and creditor will be continued. Procrastination will be found to be another furtherance of the system, inasmuch as it is too evident throughout life that men are more apt to take pleasure "by the forelock," than to calculate its consequence. In this manner, men of irregular habits anticipate and forestal every hour of their lives, and pleasure and pain alternate, till pain, like debt, accumulates, and sinks its patient below the level of the world. Economy and forecast do not enter into the composition of such men, nor are such lessons often felt or acknowledged, till custom has rendered the heart unfit for the reception of their counsels. It is too frequently that the neglect of these principles strikes at the root of social happiness, and produces those lamentable wrecks of men—those shadows of sovereignty, which people our prisons, poor-houses, and asylums. Genius, with all her book-knowledge, is not exempt from this failing; but, on the contrary, a sort of fatality seems to attend her sons and daughters, which tarnishes their fame, and often exposes them to the brutish attacks of the ignorant and vulgar. Wits, and even philosophers, are among this number; and we are bound to acknowledge, that, beyond the raciness of their writings, there is but little to admire or imitate in the lives of such men as Steele, Foote, or Sheridan. It is, however, fit that principle should be thus recognised and upheld, and that any dereliction from its rules should be placed against the account of such as enjoy other degrees of superiority, and allowed to form an item in the scale of their merits.
(To be concluded in our next.)
 From "Cameleon Sketches," by the author of "The Promenade round Dorking." In the press.
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AN ENGLISHMAN'S PRAYER
Grant, righteous Heaven, however cast my fate On social duties or in toils of state, Whether at home dispensing equal laws, Or foremost struggling for the world's applause, As neighbour, husband, brother, sire, or son, In every work, accomplished or begun, Grant that, by me, thy holy will be done. When false ambition tempts my soul to rise, Teach me her proffer'd honours to despise, Though chains or poverty await the just, Though villains lure me to betray my trust, Unmoved by wealth, unawed by tyrant, might Still let me steadily pursue the right, Hold fast my plighted faith, nor stoop to give For lengthen'd life, the only cause to live.
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(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
SIR,—Is your correspondent (see the MIRROR of the 15th of September) quite right in asserting that Italy has invariably retained the same name from its first settlement? or would the fact be singular if true? Virgil, in his first book of the AEneid, implies that it had at least two names before that of Italy. "AEnotrii coluere viri;" "Hesperiam graii cognomine dicunt;" "Itali ducis de nomine." His works are not at hand, so that I cannot specify the line; but the passage is repeated three or four times in the course of the poem, and the reference, therefore, to it is peculiarly easy.
In other places, as you may remember, he gives it the appellation of "Ausonia."
Now as to the singularity of the circumstance, supposing it were otherwise, to what does it amount but this: that when Italian power extended over the countries of Europe, Italian names were given them; that as this power declined, these names as naturally fell into disuse; and the different nations, actuated severally by a spirit of independence or of caprice, recurred to their own or foreign tongues for the designation of their territory. While at Rome itself, which, though often suffering from the calamities of war, still retained a considerable share of influence, the inhabitants adhered to their native dialect, and the same city which had been the birth-place and cradle of the infant language was permitted to become its sanctuary at last.
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SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
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O Let me love her! she has past Into my inmost heart— A dweller on the hallowed ground Of its least worldly part; Where feelings and where memories dwell Like hidden music in the shell.
She was so like the forms that float On twilight's hour to me, Making of cloud-born shapes and thoughts A dear reality; As much a thing of light and air As ever poet's visions were.
I left smoke, vanities, and cares, Just far enough behind, To dream of fairies 'neath the moon, Of voices on the wind, And every fantasy of mine Was truth in that sweet face of thine.
Her cheek was very, very pale, Yet it was still more fair; Lost were one half its loveliness, Had the red rose been there: But now that sad and touching grace Made her's seem like an angel's face.
The spring, with all its breath and bloom, Hath not so dear a flower, As the white lily's languid head Drooping beneath the shower; And health hath ever waken'd less Of deep and anxious tenderness.
And O thy destiny was love, Written in those soft eyes; A creature to be met with smiles. And to be watch'd with sighs; A sweet and fragile blossom, made To be within the bosom laid.
And there are some beneath whose touch The coldest hearts expand, As erst the rocks gave forth their tears Beneath the prophet's hand; And colder than that rock must be The heart that melted not for thee.
Thy voice—thy poet lover's song Has not a softer tone; Thy dark eyes—only stars at night Such holy light have known; And thy smile is thy heart's sweet sign, So gentle and so feminine.
I feel, in gazing on thy face, As I had known thee long; Thy looks are like notes that recall Some old remembered song By all that touches and endears, Lady, I must have loved thee years.
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COLONEL GEORGE HANGER.
Dining on one occasion at Carlton-house, it is said that, after the bottle had for some time circulated, his good-humoured volubility suddenly ceased, and he seemed for a time to be wholly lost in thought. While he "chewed the cud" in this ruminating state, his illustrious host remarked his very unusual quiescency, and interrupted it by inquiring the subject of his meditation. "I have been reflecting, Sir," replied the colonel, "on the lofty independence of my present situation. I have compromised with my creditors, paid my washerwoman, and have three shillings and sixpence left for the pleasures and necessities of life," exhibiting at the same time current coin of the realm, in silver and copper, to that amount, upon the splendid board at which he sat.
Having occasion to express his gratitude to his friend and patron for his nomination to a situation under government (which, had he been prudent, might have sufficed for genteel support), it is said that the royal personage condescended to observe, on the colonel's expatiating on the advantages of his office, that "now he was rich, he would so far impose upon his hospitality as to dine with him;" at the same time insisting on the repast being any thing but extravagant. "I shall give your royal highness a leg of mutton, and nothing more, by G——," warmly replied the gratified colonel, in his plain and homely phrase. The day was nominated, and the colonel had sufficient time to recur to his budget and bring his ways and means into action. Where is the sanguineless being whose hopes have never led him wrong? if such there be, the colonel was not one of those. Long destitute of credit and resources, he looked upon his appointment as the incontestable source of instant wealth, and he hesitated not to determine upon the forestalment of its profits to entertain the "first gentleman in England." But, alas! agents and brokers have flinty hearts. There were doubts (not of his word, for with creditors that he had never kept), but of the accidents of life, either naturally, or by one of those casualties he had depicted in the front of his book. In short, the day approached—nay, actually arrived, and his pockets could boast little more than the once vaunted half-crown and a shilling. Here was a state sufficient to drive one of less strength of mind to despair. As a friend, a subject, a man of honour, and one who prided himself upon a tenacious adherence to his word (when the aforesaid creditors were not concerned), he felt keenly all the horrors of his situation.
The day arrived, and etiquette demanded that the proper officer should examine and report upon the nature of the expected entertainment, a duty that had been deferred until a late hour of the day. Well was it that the confiding prince had not wholly dispensed with that form; for verily the said officer found the colonel, with a dirty scullion for his aide du camp, in active and zealous preparation for his royal visiter; his shirt sleeves tucked up, while he ardently basted the identical and solitary "leg of mutton" as it revolved upon the spit: potatoes were to be seen delicately insinuated into the pan beneath to catch the rich exudation of the joint; while several tankards of foaming ale, and what the French term "bread a discretion," announced that, in quantity, if not in quality, he had not been careless in providing for the entertainment of his illustrious guest. Although the colonel's culinary skill leaves no doubt that the leg of mutton would have sustained (according to Mr. Hunt's elegant phraseology) critical discussion on its intrinsic merits, or on its concoction; and although the dinner might have been endured by royalty (of whose homely appetite the ample gridiron at Alderman Combe's brewery then gave ample proof), yet his royal highness's poodles would assuredly have perspired through every pore at the very mention of what a certain nobleman used to term a "jig-hot;" so the feast was dispensed with, and due acknowledgment made for the evident proofs of hospitality which had been displayed.
After various vicissitudes of life and fortune, in Hanger's advanced age, a coronet became his, and it came opportunely; for he had at length learned experience, and knowing the value of the competence he had obtained, he resolved to enjoy it. He had had enough of fashion; and had proved all its allurements. So he took a small house in a part of earth's remoter regions, no great way from Somers' Town, near which stood a public-house he was fond of visiting, and there, as the price of his sanction, and in acknowledgment of his rank, a large chair by the fire-side was exclusively appropriated to the peer.—New Monthly Magazine.
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ANECDOTES OF UGO FOSCOLO, THE ITALIAN POET.
Foscolo was in person about the middle height, and somewhat thin, remarkably clean and neat in his dress,—although on ordinary occasions, he wore a short jacket, trousers of coarse cloth, a straw hat, and thick heavy shoes; the least speck of dirt on his own person, or on that of any of his attendants, seemed to give him real agony. His countenance was of a very expressive character, his eyes very penetrating, although they occasionally betrayed a restlessness and suspicion, which his words denied; his mouth was large and ugly, his nose drooping, in the way that physiognomists dislike, but his forehead was splendid in the extreme; large, smooth, and exemplifying all the power of thought and reasoning, for which his mind was so remarkable. It was, indeed, precisely the same as that we see given in the prints of Michael Angelo; he has often heard the comparison made, and by a nod assented to it. In his living, Foscolo was remarkably abstemious. He seldom drank more than two glasses of wine, but he was fond of having all he eat and drank of the very best kind, and laid out with great attention to order. He always took coffee immediately after dinner. His house,—I speak of the one he built for himself, near the Regent's Park,—was adorned with furniture of the most costly description; at one time he had five magnificent carpets, one under another, on his drawing-room, and no two chairs in his house were alike. His tables were all of rare and curious woods. Some of the best busts and statues (in plaster) were scattered through every apartment,—and on those he doated with a fervour scarcely short of adoration. I remember his once sending for me in great haste, and when I entered his library, I found him kneeling, and exclaiming, "beautiful, beautiful." He was gazing on the Venus de Medici, which he had discovered looked most enchanting, when the light of his lamp was made to shine upon it from a particular direction. On this occasion, he had summoned his whole household into his library, to witness the discovery which gave him so much rapture. In this state, continually exclaiming, "beautiful, beautiful," and gazing on the figure, he remained for nearly two hours.
He had the greatest dislike to be asked a question, which he did not consider important, and used to say, "I have three miseries—smoke, flies, and to be asked a foolish question."
His memory was one of the most remarkable. He has often requested me to copy for him (from some library) a passage, which I should find in such a page of such a book; and appeared as if he never forgot any thing with which he was once acquainted.
His conversation was peculiarly eloquent and impressive, such as to render it evident that he had not been over-rated as an orator, when in the days of his glory, he was the admiration of his country. I remember his once discoursing to me of language, and saying, "in every language, there are three things to be noticed,—verbs, substantives, and the particles; the verbs," holding out his hand, "are as the bones of these fingers; the substantives, the flesh and blood; but the particles are the sinews, without which the fingers could not move."
"There are," said he to me, once, "three kinds of writing—diplomatic, in which you do not come to a point, but write artfully, and not to show what you mean; attorney, in which you are brief; and enlarged, in which you spread and stretch your thoughts."
I have said that his cottage, (built by himself,) near the Regent's Park, was very beautiful. I remember his showing me a letter to a friend, in which were the following passages:—After alluding to some pecuniary difficulties, he says, "I can easily undergo all privations, but my dwelling is always my workshop, and often my prison, and ought not to distress me with the appearance of misery, and I confess, in this respect, I cannot be acquitted of extravagance."
Speaking afterwards of the costliness of his furniture, he observes, "they encompass me with an air of respectability, and they give me the illusion of not having fallen into the lowest circumstances. I must also declare that I will die like a gentleman, on a clean bed, surrounded by the Venus's, Apollo's, and the Graces, and the busts of great men; nay, even among flowers, and, if possible, while music is breathing around me. Far from courting the sympathy of posterity, I will never give mankind the gratification of ejaculating preposterous sighs, because I died in a hospital, like Camoens, or Tasso; and since I must be buried in your country, I am happy in having got, for the remainder of my life, a cottage, independent of neighbours, surrounded by flowery shrubs, and open to the free air:—and when I can freely dispose of a hundred pounds, I will build a small dwelling for my corpse also, under a beautiful oriental plane tree, which I mean to plant next November, and cultivate con amore, to the last year of my existence. So far, I am, indeed an epicure, but in all other things, I am the most moderate of men. I might vie with Pythagoras for sobriety, and even with the great Scipio for continence."—Poor Foscolo! these dreams were far, very far from being realized. Within a short time after, his cottage, and all its beautiful contents, came to the hammer, and were distributed. A wealthy gold-smith now inhabits the dwelling of the poet of Italy. It is but justice to his friends to add, that there were circumstances which justified them in falling away from him.
During a great portion of the time I was acquainted with Ugo Foscolo, he was under severe pecuniary distress, chiefly indeed brought on by his own thoughtless extravagance, in building and decorating his house. I have frequently in those moments seen him beat his forehead, tear his hair, and gnash his teeth in a manner horrifying; and often left him at night without the least hope of seeing him alive in the morning. He had a little Italian dagger which he always kept in his bed-room, and this he frequently told me would "drink his heart's blood in the night." "I will die," said he, one day, "I am a stranger, and have no friends." "Surely, sir," I replied, "a stranger may have friends." "Friends," he answered; "I have learnt that there is nothing in the word; I assure you, I called on W——e, to know if there was anything bad about me in the newspapers; everybody seems to be leagued against me—friends and enemies. I assure you, I do not think I will live after next Saturday, unless there is some change." At another time he said, "I am surrounded with difficulties, and must yield either life or honour; and can you ask me which I will give up?" I have now before me a letter of Foscolo's, which, after enumerating a long series of evils, concludes thus:—"Thus, if I have not underwent the doom of Tasso, I owe it only to the strength of my nerves that have preserved me."
The following sonnet was written by Ugo Foscolo, in English, and accompanied the Essays on Petrarch, in the edition of that work which was printed for private circulation. It was omitted when the volume was subsequently published, and is consequently known to very few:
TO CALLIRHOE, AT LAUSANNE.
Her face was veiled; yet to my fancied sight Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd. But, oh! I wak'd.——MILTON.
I twine far distant from my Tuscan grove, The lily chaste, the rose that breathes of love, The myrtle leaf, and Laura's hallow'd bay, The deathless flowers that bloom o'er Sappho's clay; For thee, Callirhoe! yet by love and years, I learn how fancy wakes from joy to tears; How memory, pensive, 'reft of hope, attends The exile's path, and bids him fear new friends. Long may the garland blend its varying hue With thy bright tresses, and bud ever new With all spring's odours; with spring's light be drest, Inhale pure fragrance from thy virgin breast! And when thou find'st that youth and beauty fly, As heavenly meteors from our dazzled eye, Still may the garland shed perfume, and shine, While Laura's mind and Sappho's heart are thine.
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The Strawberry.—Many varieties have been imported from other countries, and a far greater number have been obtained in this, chiefly from seeds properly prepared by cross impregnation; by which means, the strawberry has been wonderfully improved; instance the hautboys, scarlet, chilli, but particularly the splendid varieties, called "Wilmot's superb," and "Keen's seedlings."
The Raspberry, is also found wild in the British isles, on its native site, (with its companions, the bramble, and dewberry)—its shoots and fruits are diminutive, though the flavour of the berry is rich. No plant requires the skilful hand of the pruner more than this; of all others, it is, perhaps, the most viviparous, throwing up, annually, a vast redundancy of shoots, which, if not displaced at the proper season, would impoverish not only the fruit of the present, but also the bearing wood of the next year. The Dutch fruiterers have been successful in obtaining two or three fine varieties from seeds; and as this field of improvement is open, no doubt further exertions will bring forth new and valuable sorts.
The Gooseberry.—No domesticated fruit sports into greater variety than this: the endless lists of new sorts is a proof of this, and many large and excellent sorts there are, particularly the old Warrington red.
The Cherry.—Cultivation has accomplished wonders in the improvement of this beautiful native fruit. Instead of a lofty forest-tree bearing small bitter fruit, it has been long introduced to our orchards, is changed in appearance and habit, and even in its manner of bearing; has sported into many varieties, as numerous as they are excellent—nor is such improvement at an end: several new varieties have lately started into existence.
The Plum.—The lowest grade of this class of fruits is the almost useless sloe in the hedge; and none but those in some degree acquainted with the matter could, on beholding the acidous, puny sloe, and the ample, luscious magnum bonum plum, together, readily believe that they were kindred, or that the former was the primitive representative of the latter. The intermediate links of this connexion are the bullace, muscle, damacene, &c., of all which there are many varieties. In nurserymen's lists, there are many improved sorts, not only excellent plums, but excellent fruit,—the green gage and imperatrice are admirable.
The Pear, was originally an inhabitant of European forests: there it grew to be a middle-sized tree, with small leaves, and hard, crude-tasted, petty fruit: since its introduction and naturalization in the orchard, it has well repaid the planter's care. The French gardeners have been long celebrated for their success and indefatigable perseverance in the cultivation of the pear; almost all our superior sorts are from that country. The monastic institutions all over Europe, but particularly in France, were the sources from whence flowed many excellent horticultural rules, as well as objects.
(To be concluded in our next.)
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On the woods are hung With many tints, the fading livery Of life, in which it mourns the coming storms Of winter.
Change is the characteristic of the month of October; in short, it includes the birth and death—the Alpha and Omega—of Nature. Hence, it is the most inviting to the contemplatist, and during a day in October, the genius of melancholy may walk out and take her fill, in meditating on its successive scenes of regeneration and decay.
Dissemination, or the sowing of seed, is the principal business of this month in the economy of nature; which alone is an invaluable lesson, a "precept upon precept" to a cultivated mind. This is variously effected, besides by the agency of man; and it is a satire on his self-sufficiency which should teach him that Nature worketh out her way by means that he knoweth not.
Planting, that agreeable and patriotic art, is another of the October labours. Here, however, the pride of man is again baffled, when he considers how many thousand trees are annually planted by birds, to whom he evinces his gratitude by destroying them, or cruelly imprisoning them for the idle gratification of listening to their warbling, which he may enjoy in all its native melody amidst the delightful retreats of woods and groves. This leads us to the October economy of birds. "Swallows are generally seen for the last time this month, the house-martin the latest. The rooks return to the roost trees, and the tortoise begins to bury himself for the winter. Woodcocks begin to arrive, and keep dropping in from the Baltic singly or in pairs till December. The snipe also comes now;" and with the month, by a kind of savage charter, commences the destruction of the pheasant, to swell the catalogue of the created wants and luxuries of the table. "One of the most curious natural appearances," says Mr. L. Hunt, "is the gossamer, which is an infinite multitude of little threads shot out by minute spiders, who are thus wafted by the wind from place to place." In this manner spiders are known to cross extents of many miles.
The weather becomes misty, though the middle of the day is often very fine. Hence it is the proper season for the enjoyment of forest scenery. The leaves, which, towards the close of September, began to assume their golden tints and gorgeous hues, now lecture us with their scenes of falling grandeur; and nothing is more delightful than in an autumnal walk to emerge from the pensive gloom of a thick forest, and just catch the last glimpse of an October sun, shedding his broad glare over the varied tints of its leaves and branches, for the sombre and silvery barks of the latter add not a little to the picture. "The hedges," says the author already quoted, "are now sparkling with their abundant berries,—the wild rose with the hip, the hawthorn with the haw, the blackthorn with the sloe, the bramble with the blackberry; and the briony, privet, honey-suckle, elder, holly, and woody nightshade, with their other winter feasts for the birds."
October is the great month for brewing—that luxurious and substantial branch of rural economy; and many and merry are the songs and stories of nut-brown October to "gladden the heart of man," with the soul-stirring influence of its regalings. Hops, too, are generally picked this month.
October in Italy is thus vividly described: "It was now the beginning of the month of October; already the gales which attend upon the equinox swept through the woods and trees; the delicate chestnut woods, which last dare encounter the blasts of spring, and whose tender leaves do not expand until they may become a shelter to the swallow, had already changed their hues, and shone yellow and red, amidst the sea-green foliage of the olives, the darker but light boughs of the cork-trees, and the deep and heavy masses of ilexes and pines."
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FOR OCTOBER, 1827.
(For the Mirror.)
Mercury is in conjunction with Jupiter on the 7th at noon: he is too near the sun to be observed this month.
Venus passes her superior conjunction on the 7th, at 10 h. morning, thenceforward she sets after the sun, and becomes an evening star. This interesting planet makes a very near appulse to Jupiter on the 16th at 1 h. morning.
Jupiter is in conjunction with the sun on the 18th at 10-3/4 h. evening. He is afterwards a morning star, preceding the sun in his rising.
The Georgian planet, or Herschel, ceases from his retrograde movement on the 4th, and appears stationary till the 11th, when he resumes a direct motion. He is still in a favourable situation for evening observation. Its great distance from the earth, and the long period of its revolution round the sun prevent any rapid change in its situation among the fixed stars; the place therefore which the Greorgium Sidus occupied in Capricornus in July, (see MIRROR for that month) is so contiguous to that planet's present position, that the observations then made may be a sufficient guide for the present month. Its slow motion among the fixed stars makes it participate in that daily change which is common to them, hence the planet may be observed in the same place a few minutes earlier every night. It comes to the south on the 1st at 7 h. 16 min., and on the 31st at 5 h. 26 min. evening.
The moon is in opposition on the 5th; in apogee on the 11th; in conjunction on the 20th; and in perigee on the 23rd. She is in conjunction with Saturn on the 13th at 3-1/4 h. after with Mars on the 18th at 2 h. morning; and Jupiter and Venus on the 20th, with the former at 1-1/2 h. and the latter at 11 h. afternoon, also with Mercury on the 21st at 10-1/2 h. afternoon.
The Solar luminary is eclipsed on the 20th at 3 h. 47 min. afternoon. He is above the horizon during the whole time the central shade is passing over the disc of the earth, but the moon having nearly 2 deg. southern latitude at the time of true conjunction, in middle of the eclipse, it will be invisible not only to us but to the whole boreal hemisphere of the globe. He enters Scorpio on the 24th at 4 h. 36 min. morning.
From the observations made upon the annual eclipses, it appears that the period of the moon is now shorter, and consequently that her distance from the earth is now less than in former ages, and this has been considered as an argument against those who assert that the world may have existed from eternity; for it was hence inferred that the moon moves in a resisting medium, and therefore that her motion must by degrees be all destroyed, in which case she must at last come to the earth. But M. de la Place has shewn that this acceleration of the moon's period is a necessary consequence of universal gravitation, and that it arises from the action of the planets upon the moon. He has also shewn that this acceleration will go on till it arrives at a certain limit, when it will be changed into a retardation, or in other words, there are two limits between which the lunar period fluctuates, but neither of which it can pass.
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Holbein is the man who has been hitherto considered as the most brilliant genius Switzerland has produced in the art of painting. He is here universally believed to have been a native of Switzerland. His earliest biographers, Mander and Patin, asserted that he was born at Basel, and they have been copied by all our biographical dictionaries. Another biographer, however, appears, himself a Swiss, and known as the author of some other clever works, and proves, on the most satisfactory evidence, that Holbein was born 1498, at Augsburg, in Germany; but that his father, a painter too, came to Basel between 1504-8, probably at the invitation of the magistrates of Basel, as they required a painter to decorate their newly-built council-hall.
Holbein gave early proofs of his aspiring talent. When fifteen years old, he exhibited an oil-painting, which, though defective in colouring, raised high expectations by its clearness and softness of execution. This painting is still to be seen in the public library at Basel, and bears the date of 1513. Of the same year, a sketch, with the monogram HH, is extant, representing three watchmen with halberds. His two brothers were also painters; only a few paintings are left of the elder, Ambrose, and none of the younger brother Bruno; both died prematurely. In the year 1520, Holbein was presented with the freedom of the town of Basel.
Switzerland held constant communications with Germany and the Netherlands, but less with Italy. A number of painters lived at that time in Germany, whose names have not been recorded by any German Vasari, and their master works have been long neglected. In Holbein's time Albrecht Durer enjoyed the primary reputation. Martin Schoen had preceded him at Colmar, in Alsace; Manuel painted at Bern, Hans Asper at Zurich, and at Basel itself there were other painters besides Holbein. Half a century before him the Dance of Death had been painted, after the disaster of a plague, on the walls of a church-yard at Basel.
The council-hall at Basel gave occupation to architects from 1508 till 1520. It is believed that Holbein painted three of the walls, only one of which (hid behind old tapestry, and discovered again in 1817) has escaped the ravages of time. It represents M. Curius Dentatus cooking his dinner, whilst the Samnites offer silver plates with money. "The last Judgment," where a pope, with priests and monks, sink into the flames of hell, is not the work of Holbein, but was done in 1610, during good Protestant times.
A good number of stories are told of Holbein. Unable to pay his debts in a tavern, he discharged the bill by decorating the walls with paintings of flowers. Another time, for a similar purpose, he covered the walls all over with "the merry dance of peasants;" and in order to deceive one of his employers, he painted his own legs beneath the high scaffolding, that the watchful citizen should not suspect his having abandoned his work to carouse in wine-cellars. Here our biographer gravely says, "a man of spirit could not be expected to sit quietly painting the whole day long in the heat of the sun, or in the rain; if he saw a good friend go to the tavern, he felt disposed to follow him." Holbein did not keep the best company; but in this he resembled Rembrandt, who said, that when he wished to amuse himself, he avoided the company of the great, which put a restraint upon him; "for pleasure," he adds, "consists in perfect liberty only." Holbein no doubt felt a contempt for the great people of his time, as they did not understand much about his art, which he valued above all things.
Holbein's wife, and he married early, was a perfect Xantippe, too shrewd to be despised, and not handsome enough to be admired. In the library at Basel is a family picture of Holbein, in which she is introduced, almost unconscious of the two children about her; but Holbein very shrewdly forgot to paint himself there. But he took care of the interests of his family, and obtained them a pension from the magistrates of Basel, during his stay in England. This pension was paid for past services, and in order to induce him finally to fix his residence in Switzerland.
The absence of matrimonial felicity was probably an additional motive for Holbein to seek employment as an itinerant painter. He visited several Swiss towns, but certainly never saw Luther and Melancthon, so that the portraits of Luther and Melancthon exhibited in Italy, Germany, and England, as works of Holbein, cannot be genuine; and it is very improbable that he should have copied the works of Lucas Cranach, who several times painted the portraits of those lights of the reformation. Erasmus was frequently painted by Holbein; and as those portraits were sent as presents to the friends of Erasmus, Holbein's name became known all over Europe.
Holbein came to England in the year 1526, and Sir Thomas More wrote to Erasmus that he would take care of him. Sir Thomas received him into his own house at Chelsea, and there Henry VIII. saw him one day, when paying a visit to the former. He took him instantly into his service, gave him apartments in the royal palace, and a salary of 30l. a-year. Holbein's long residence in the house of Sir Thomas More had a good effect upon him; for although Erasmus describes the women of England as "nymphae divinis vultibus, blandae, faciles," yet Holbein seems to have resisted those temptations in London, which rendered his conduct at Basel so reprehensible. Holbein twice revisited Switzerland, once in 1526, the second and last time in 1538: the zealots had just destroyed all the images; and even some painters, infected with the spirit of the age, had declared they would rather starve, than break the second commandment. In England the same work of devastation took place; but Henry VIII., notwithstanding, gave Holbein abundance of work, as he had to paint all his royal consorts in succession, besides a number of portraits for English noblemen.
His sketches of heads, now existing at Kensington, of various people who lived at the court of Henry VIII., and among them one of that monarch, are exquisite productions. Imitations of the original drawings have been published by J. Chamberlaine, fol. Lond. 1792. One picture of Holbein is supposed to be in Surgeons' Hall. Some wood-cuts to Cranmer's Catechism (1548) were made by Holbein. Our biographer, who had never seen the work himself, was led by Walpole [Anecdotes of Painting] to believe, that all the wood-cuts were from Holbein.
With respect to the famous "Dance of Death," the biographer tells us, what we have already stated, that the painting on the wall of the church-yard at Basel is not the work of Holbein; the costumes are of a time anterior to Holbein. There was also a "Dance of Death" painted on the wall of a convent at Bern by Manuel, who lived a little before Holbein. Only on the supposition that the "Dance of Death" at Basel was Holbein's work, could that of Bern be said to be the first of its kind. But, on comparing the costumes, it appears again, that the "Dance of Death" at Bern must have been painted subsequently to that at Basel. No "Dance of Death" of an earlier date was known, until another was discovered on the wall of a convent of nuns at Klingenthal, on the right bank of the Rhine, at Basel. This bears the date of 1312, and is therefore a whole century prior to the other, which cannot have been painted before the year 1439. It has been supposed, that the idea of the "Dance of Death" was taken from certain processions very much in vogue during the middle ages; and it is singular enough, that up to this day, in funeral processions in Italy, long white robes are used, which wholly cover the head, with only two holes for the eyes. But the coincidence of another plague at Basel, which, about the year 1312, destroyed above 11,000 people, renders it more than probable that the artist availed himself of the impression which such a dreadful mortality must have made on the minds of all the surviving, to represent how inexorable death drags to the grave, in terrible sport, rich and poor, high and low, clergymen and laity.
On the authority of Nieuhoff, a Dutchman, who came over to England with William III., Mr. Douce asserts, that Holbein had painted the "Dance of Death" on the walls of Whitehall. Borbonius might then have had in mind this painting, when he mentioned the "Mors picta" of Holbein; but three biographers of Holbein, Mander, Sandrart, and Patin, were in England before Whitehall was destroyed by fire, and make no mention of this painting, although Mander speaks of other paintings of Holbein, particularly the portrait of Henry VIII., that were preserved at Whitehall. Mander states, that he also saw at Whitehall the portraits of Edward, Maria, and Elizabeth, by Holbein, "die oock ter selver plaetse te sien zyn."
Sandrart, whose work was published in 1675, also mentions the paintings of Holbein at Whitehall. Is it credible, that three travellers, two of whom were distinguished artists themselves, should have been at Whitehall, and seen there the paintings of Holbein, without taking notice of the "Dance of Death," if it had been in that place?
Holbein died of the plague in London, 1554.—Westminster Review.
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When I see the spirit of liberty in action, I see a strong principle at work; and, this for awhile, is all I can possibly know of it. The wild gas, the fixed air, is plainly broke loose; but we ought to suspend our judgment until the first effervescence is a little subsided, till the liquor is cleared, and until we see something deeper than the agitation of a troubled and frothy surface. I must be tolerably sure, before I venture publicly to congratulate men upon a blessing, that they have really received one.—Burke.
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If we must lash one another, let it be with the manly strokes of wit and satire; for I am of the old philosopher's opinion, that if I must suffer from one or the other, I would rather it should be from the paw of a lion, than from the hoof of an ass.—Addison.
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THE CENTRAL MARKET, LEEDS.
As one of the most elegant and useful buildings of the important town of Leeds, and as characteristic of the public spirit of its inhabitants, the above engraving cannot fail to prove acceptable to our readers; while it may serve as an excitement to similar exertions in other districts.
The Central Market, is erected on the site of the old post-office, at the north-east corner of Duncan-street, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1824. The whole site was excavated, and is divided into cellars, arched and groined, with a spacious area round the whole, for the convenience of access to each, and lighted by powerful convex lenses from the interior of the building. Over these is the principal building—an enclosed market-house, with twenty shops round the exterior for butchers and others, and twenty others corresponding in size with them, fronting the interior. The space within these, on the ground floor, is fitted up with twenty single stands for fruit and vegetables. Three sides of the square form a spacious gallery, commodiously fitted up with thirty-six stands of convenient dimensions, as a Bazaar. The interior is lighted and ventilated by three rows of windows, one row on the Bazaar floor, and two rows in the roof. The roof, the carpentry of which has been pronounced a master-piece, is supported by twelve cast-iron columns and sixteen oak pillars, and is 34 ft. 6 in. high; the height from the floor to the upper point of the ceiling being 54 ft. 4 in. The size within the walls is 138 ft. by 103 ft. The principal entrance is at the south front from Duncan-street, on each side of which are three large shops fronting the street, with a suite of six offices above. Over this entrance is an entablature richly embellished with fine masonry, and supported with two Ionic columns, and two pilasters or antaes, 30 ft. high. In the centre of the front, as well as within the market, it is intended to place a clock. The outer boundary of the market, which forms three sides of the square, and is separated from the enclosed market by a carriage road, consists of twenty-five shops devoted exclusively to butchers and fishmongers. At the south-west corner of these is an hotel; at the south-east corner, near Call-lane, are two shops, with offices above; and, in another part, a house for the clerk of the market. There are four pumps on the premises, and the floor of the interior is so contrived and fitted up with proper drains, that it can be washed down at pleasure. The whole will be lighted with gas.
The architect of the Central Market is Francis Goodwin, Esq., and it is but justice to say, that it is highly creditable to his taste and skill. The front is of the Grecian order, and perhaps the largest piece of masonry in the county of York, with the fewest observable joints. It is expected to prove an advantageous investment.
 Too much praise cannot be conferred on this and similar instances of provincial improvement; while it is much to be regretted that such praise cannot be extended to the metropolis of England; for, strange to say, LONDON is still without a market-place suitable to its commercial consequence. Hence, Smithfield market is almost a public nuisance, while its extensive business is settled in public-houses in the neighbourhood; and the hay market, held in the fine broad street of that name, but ill accords with the courtly vicinity of Pall Mall and St. James's. It is, however, to fruit and vegetable markets that this observation is particularly applicable: for instance, what a miserable scene is the area of Covent Garden market. The non-completion of the piazza square is much to be lamented, while splendid streets and towns are erecting on every side of the metropolis. How unworthy, too, is the market, of association with Inigo Jones's noble Tuscan church of St. Paul, "the handsomest barn in Europe." To quote Sterne, we must say "they manage these things better in France," where the halles, or markets are among the noblest of the public buildings. Neither can any Englishman, who has seen the markets of Paris, but regret the absence of fountains from the markets of London. They are among the most tasteful embellishments of Paris, and their presence in the markets cannot be too much admired. Water is, unquestionably, the most salutary and effective cleanser of vegetable filth which is necessarily generated on the sites of markets; but in London its useful introduction is limited to a few pumps, and its ornamental to one or two solitary jets d'eau in almost unfrequented places. It should be added, that in Southwark, an extensive and commodious market-place is just completed, and the tolls are proportionally increasing. A similar improvement is much wanted in Covent Garden, by which means many of the evils of that spot would be abated, and instead of seeing Nature's choicest productions huddled together, and being ourselves tortured in the scramble and confusion of a crowd, we might then range through the avenues of Covent Garden with all the comfort which our forefathers were wont to enjoy on this spot, or certainly with comparative ease.—ED.
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LITERARY NOTICES OF
RISE AND FALL OF NAPOLEON.
With his passions, and in spite of his errors, Napoleon is, taking him all in all, the greatest warrior of modern times. He carried into battle a stoical courage, a profoundly calculated tenacity, a mind fertile in sudden inspirations, which by unhopedfor resources disconcerted the plans of the enemy. Let us beware of attributing a long series of success to the organic power of the masses which he set in motion. The most experienced eye could scarcely discover in them any thing but elements of disorder. Still less let it be said that he was a successful captain because he was a mighty monarch. Of all his campaigns, the most memorable are,—the campaign of the Adige, where the general of yesterday, commanding an army by no means numerous, and at first badly appointed, placed himself at once above Turenne and on a level with Frederick; and the campaign in France in 1814, when, reduced to a handful of harassed troops, he combated a force of ten times their number. The last flashes of imperial lightning still dazzled the eyes of our enemies; and it was a fine sight to see the bounds of the old lion tracked, hunted down, beset, presenting a lively picture of the days of his youth, when his powers developed themselves in the fields of carnage.
Napoleon possessed, in an eminent degree, the faculties requisite for the profession of arms; temperate and robust, watching and sleeping at pleasure, appearing unawares where he was least expected, he did not disregard details to which important results are sometimes attached. The hand which had just traced rules for the government of many millions of men would frequently rectify an incorrect statement of the situation of a regiment, or write down whence two hundred conscripts were to be obtained, and from what magazine their shoes were to be taken. A patient and easy interlocutor, he was a home questioner, and he could listen—a rare talent in the grandees of the earth. He carried with him into battle a cool and impassable courage; never was mind so deeply meditative, more fertile in rapid and sudden illuminations. On becoming emperor he ceased not to be the soldier. If his activity decreased with the progress of age, that was owing to the decrease of his physical powers.
In games of mingled calculation and hazard, the greater the advantages which a man seeks to obtain, the greater risks he must run. It is precisely this that renders the deceitful science of conquerors so calamitous to nations. Napoleon, though naturally adventurous, was not deficient in consistency or method; and he wasted neither his soldiers nor his treasures where the authority of his name sufficed. What he could obtain by negociations or by artifice, he required not by force of arms. The sword, although drawn from the scabbard, was not stained with blood, unless it was impossible to attain the end in view by a manoeuvre. Always ready to fight, he chose habitually the occasion and the ground. Out of fifty battles which he fought, he was the assailant in at least forty.
Other generals have equalled him in the art of disposing troops on the ground. Some have given battle as well as he did; we could mention several who have received it better; but in the manner of directing an offensive campaign he has surpassed all.
The wars in Spain and Russia prove nothing in disparagement of his genius. It is not by the rules of Montecuculii and Turenne, manoeuvring on the Renchen, that we ought to judge of such enterprises. The first warred to secure such or such winter-quarters; the other to subdue the world. It frequently behoved him not merely to gain a battle, but to gain it in such a manner as to astound Europe and to produce gigantic results. Thus political views were incessantly interfering with the strategic genius; and to appreciate him properly we must not confine ourselves within the limits of the art of war. This art is not composed exclusively of technical details; it has also its philosophy. To find in this elevated region a rival to Napoleon, we must go back to the times when the feudal institutions had not yet broken the unity of the ancient nations. The founders of religions alone have exercised over their disciples an authority comparable with that which made him the absolute master of his army. This moral power became fatal to him, because he strove to avail himself of it even against the ascendancy of material force, and because it led him to despise positive rules, the long violation of which will not remain unpunished.
When pride was hurrying Napoleon towards his fall, he happened to say, "France has more need of me than I have of France." He spoke the truth. But why had he become necessary? Because he had committed the destiny of the French to the chances of an interminable war; because, in spite of the resources of his genius, that war, rendered daily more hazardous by his staking the whole of his force, and by the boldness of his movements, risked in every campaign, in every battle, the fruits of twenty years of triumph; because his government was so modelled that with him every thing must be swept away, and that a re-action proportioned to the violence of the action must burst forth at once both within and without. The mania of conquest had reversed the state of things in Europe; we, the eldest born of liberty and independence, were spilling our blood in the service of royal passions against the cause of nations, and outraged nations were turning round upon us, more terrible from being armed with the principles which we had forsaken.
At times, this immense mass of passions which he was accumulating against him, this multitude of avenging arms ready to be raised, filled his ambitious spirit with involuntary apprehension. Looking around him, he was alarmed to find himself solitary, and conceived the idea of strengthening his power by moderating it. Then it was that he thought of creating an hereditary peerage, and reconstructing his monarchy on more secure foundations. But Napoleon saw without illusion to the bottom of things. The nation, wholly and continually occupied in prosecuting the designs of its chief, had previously not had time to form any plans for itself. The day on which it should have ceased to be stunned by the din of arms, it would have called itself to account for its servile obedience. It is better, thought he, for an absolute prince to fight foreign armies, than to have to struggle against the energy of the citizens. Despotism had been organized for making war; war was continued to uphold despotism. The die was cast; France must either conquer Europe, or Europe subdue France.
Napoleon fell: he fell, because with the men of the nineteenth century he attempted the work of an Attila and a Genghis Khan; because he gave the reins to an imagination directly contrary to the spirit of his age, with which nevertheless his reason was perfectly acquainted; because he would not pause on the day when he felt conscious of his inability to succeed. Nature has fixed a boundary, beyond which extravagant enterprises cannot be carried with prudence. This boundary the emperor reached in Spain, and he overleaped it in Russia. Had he then escaped destruction, his inflexible presumption would have caused him to find elsewhere a Baylen and a Moscow— History of the War in the Peninsula, from the French of General Foy.
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At one of the islands belonging to Juan de Ampues, the pilot ran away. Cifuentes and his crew, all equally ignorant of navigation, made sail for San Domingo, were dismasted in a gale of wind, and driven in the night upon the "Serrana" shoals; the crew, a flask of powder and steel, were saved, but nothing else. They found sea-calves and birds upon the island, and were obliged to eat them raw, and drink their blood, for there was no water. After some weeks, they made a raft with fragments of the wreck, lashed together with calf-skin thongs: three men went off upon it, and were lost. Two, and a boy, staid upon the island—one of whom, Moreno, died four days afterwards raving mad, having gnawed the flesh off his arms: the survivors, Master John and the boy, dug holes in the sand with tortoise-shells, and lined them with calf-skins to catch the rain. Where the vessel was wrecked, they found a stone which served them for a flint; this invaluable prize enabled them to make a fire. Two men had been living upon another island two leagues from them, in similar distress, for five years; these saw the fire, and upon a raft joined their fellow sufferers. They now built a boat with the fragments of the wreck, made sails of calf-skins, and caulked her with their fat, mixed with charcoal: one man and the boy went away in her: Master John, and one whose name has not been preserved, would not venture in her: they made themselves coracles with skins, and coasted round the shoals, which they estimated at twelve leagues long. At low water there were seventeen islands, but only five which were not sometimes overflowed. Fish, turtle, sea-calves, birds, and a root like purslane, was their food. The whites of turtle-eggs, when dried and buried for a fortnight, turned to water, which they found good drink: five months in the year these eggs were their chief food. They clothed themselves and covered their huts with calf-skins, and made an enclosure to catch fish, twenty-two fathoms long, with stones brought out of the sea—and raised two towers in the same laborious way, sixteen fathoms in circumference at the base, and four in height, at the north and south extremities of the island: upon these they made fires as signals. To avoid the crabs and snails which tormented them at night, they slept in the day time.
Three years after the other went way, John's sufferings began to affect his reason: in a fit of despair, he applied to the devil for that relief his prayers had failed to bring; and, rising in the dark, he fancied the devil was close to the hut. John awakened his companion, and taking a crucifix for protection, ran praying to the other end of the island. About a fortnight afterwards, John thought he heard his visiter again, but did not see him. And it now pleased God to relieve them: they saw a ship, and made a great smoke upon their tower, which was seen. John and his companion were carried to the Havannah, where their appearance and story attracted great attention. John was twice sick during the eight years, both times in August, and both times bled himself.—Southey's Chronological History of the West Indies.
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FIRST APPEARANCES OF MISS STEPHENS AND MR. KEAN.
During this memorable era of the British Stage, Mr. Hazlit was engaged as theatrical reporter to the Morning Chronicle, newspaper, then conducted by Mr. Perry, and printed on the exact site of the MIRROR office: in his Table Talk he gives the following portraiture of their theatrical successes:—
What squabbles we used to have about Kean and Miss Stephens, the only theatrical favourites I ever had! Mrs. Billington had got some notion that Miss Stephens would never make a singer, and it was the torment of Perry's life (as he told me in confidence) that he could not get any two people to be of the same opinion on any one point. I shall not easily forget bringing him my account of her first appearance in the Beggar's Opera. I have reason to remember that article: it was almost the last I ever wrote with any pleasure to myself. I had been down on a visit to my friends near Chertsey, and, on my return, had stopped at an inn at Kingston-upon-Thames, where I had got the Beggar's Opera, and had read it overnight. The next day I walked cheerfully to town. It was a fine sunny morning, in the end of autumn, and as I repeated the beautiful song, "Life knows no return of spring," I meditated my next day's criticism, trying to do all the justice I could to so inviting a subject. I was not a little proud of it by anticipation. I had just then begun to stammer out my sentiments on paper, and was in a kind of honey-moon of authorship.
I deposited my account of the play at the Morning Chronicle office in the afternoon, and went to see Miss Stephens as Polly. Those were happy times, in which she first came out in this character, in Mandane, where she sang the delicious air, "If o'er the cruel tyrant Love," (so as it can never be sung again,) in Love in a Village, where the scene opened with her and Miss Matthews in a painted garden of roses and honeysuckles, and "Hope thou nurse of young Desire," thrilled from two sweet voices in turn. Oh! may my ears sometimes still drink the same sweet sounds, embalmed with the spirit of youth, of health, and joy, but in the thoughts of an instant, but in a dream of fancy, and I shall hardly need to complain! When I got back, after the play, Perry called out, with his cordial, grating voice, "Well, how did she do?" and on my speaking in high terms, answered, that "he had been to dine with his friend the duke, that some conversation had passed on the subject, he was afraid it was not the thing, it was not the true sostenuto style; but as I had written the article" (holding my peroration on the Beggar's Opera carelessly in his hand) "it might pass!" I could perceive that the rogue licked his lips at it, and had already in imagination "bought golden opinions of all sorts of people" by this very criticism, and I had the satisfaction the next day to meet Miss Stephens coming out of the editor's room, who had been to thank him for his very flattering account of her.
I was sent to see Kean the first night of his performance of Shylock, when there were about a hundred people in the pit, but from his masterly and spirited delivery of the first striking speech, "On such a day you called me dog," &c. I perceived it was a hollow thing. So it was given out in the Chronicle, but Perry was continually at me as other people were at him, and was afraid it would not last. It was to no purpose I said it would last: yet I am in the right hitherto. It has been said, ridiculously, that Mr. Kean was written up in the Chronicle. I beg leave to state my opinion that no actor can be written up or down by a paper. An author may be puffed into notice, or damned by criticism, because his book may not have been read. An artist may be over-rated, or undeservedly decried, because the public is not much accustomed to see or judge of pictures. But an actor is judged by his peers, the play-going public, and must stand or fall by his own merits or defects. The critic may give the tone or have a casting voice where popular opinion is divided; but he can no more force that opinion either way, or wrest it from its base in common-sense and feeling, than he can move Stonehenge. Mr. Kean had, however, physical disadvantages and strong prejudices to encounter, and so far the liberal and independent part of the press might have been of service in helping him to his seat in the public favour.
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"I am but a Gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff."—Wotton.
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A French physician, in a recent work on the moral and physical causes of insanity, noticing the influence of professions in promoting this affliction, brings forward a curious table, showing the relative proportion of different professions in a mass of 164 lunatics. It runs thus:—merchants, 50; military men, 33; students, 25; administrateurs et employes, 21; advocates, notaries, and men of business, 10; artists, 8; chemists, 4; medical practitioners, 4; farmers, 4; sailors, 3; engineers, 2. Total 164.
Never were the afflictions of Insanity more vividly portrayed than in the following lines from Churchill's Epistle to Hogarth:—
Sure 'tis a curse which angry fates impose, To mortify man's arrogance, that those Who're fashioned of some better sort of clay, Must sooner than the common herd decay. What bitter pangs must humble genius feel, In their last hour to view a Swift and Steele! How must ill-boding horrors fill their breast, When she beholds men, mark'd above the rest For qualities most dear, plung'd from that height, And sunk, deep sunk, in second childhood's night! Are men indeed such things? and are the best More subject to this evil than the rest, To drivel out whole years of idiot breath, And sit the monuments of living death? O galling circumstance to human pride! Abasing thought! but not to be deny'd. With curious art, the brain too finely wrought, Preys on herself, and is destroyed by thought. Constant attention wears the active mind, Blots out her pow'rs and leaves a blank behind.
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The cost of converting Regent-street, Whitehall-place, and Palace-yard, into broken stone roads, has been L 6,055 8s. 3d.
Value of old pavement taken up and broken for that purpose L 6,787 7s. 0d.
—————— L12,842 15 3 ——————
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According to a late statement of Mr. Huskisson, the silk manufacture of England now reaches the enormous amount of fourteen millions sterling per annum, and is consequently after cotton, the greatest staple of the country.
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At a recent meeting of the Royal Institution an ornamental lamp was placed on the library table, the elegant transparent paintings and spiral devices of which were kept in rotary motion by the action of the current of heated air issuing from the chimneys of the lamp, which contrivance is well adapted to a number of purposes of ornamental illumination.
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First and last there have been 120,000 copies printed of "Domestic Cookery, by a Lady," (Mrs. Rundell;) and 50,000 "Receipt Book," by the same authoress.
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Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset-house,) and sold by all Newsmen and Booksellers.
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