Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 475 - Vol. XVII, No. 475. Saturday, February 5, 1831
Author: Various
Home - Random Browse



* * * * *


They who draw their notions of royal enjoyment from the tinsel of its external trappings, will scarcely believe the above cottage to have been the residence of an English princess. Yet such was the rank of its occupant but a few years since, distant as may be the contrast of courts and cottages, and the natural enjoyment of rural life from the artificial luxury—the painted pomp and idle glitter of regal state.

The above cottage stands in the grounds of Grove House, adjoining the churchyard of Old Windsor. It was built under the superintendent taste of the Princess Elizabeth,[1] second sister of the present King, and now known as the Landgravine of Hesse Homburg. To the decoration of this cottage the Princess paid much attention: it is quite in the ornee style; and its situation is so beautiful as to baffle all embellishment.

Grove House, the seat of Lady Dowager Onslow, of whom the Princess purchased the whole property, was built by Mr. Bateman, uncle to the eccentric Lord Bateman. This gentleman made it a point in his travels to notice everything that pleased him in the monasteries abroad; and, on his return to England, he built this house; the bedchamber being contrived, like the cells of monks, with a refectory, and every other appendage of a monastery; even to a cemetery, and a coffin, inscribed with the name of a supposititious ancient bishop. Some curious Gothic chairs, bought at a sale of the curiosities in this house, are now at Strawberry Hill.

Old Windsor gives rise to many more interesting reminiscences; and few who "suck melancholy from a song" would exchange its sombre churchyard for the gayest field of fancy. We may be there anon.

[1] Born May 22, 1770; married April 7, 1818, to Frederick Joseph Lewis, Landgrave of Hesse Homburg, who died April 2, 1829 aged 61.

* * * * *


(For the Mirror.)

Sir Walter Scott, in his history of Demonology and Witchcraft, has omitted a tradition which is still popular in Cheshire, and which from its close resemblance to one of the Scottish legends related by that writer, gives rise to many interesting conjectures respecting the probable causes of such a superstition being believed in countries with apparently so little connexion or intercourse, as Cheshire and Scotland. The facts of Sir Walter's narration are as follow: vide Demonology and Witchcraft, p. 133.

"A daring horse jockey having sold a horse to a man of venerable and antique appearance, had a remarkable hillock on the Eildon Hills, called Lucken Hare, appointed as the place where, at twelve o'clock at night, he should receive the price. He came, the money was paid in an ancient coin, and he was invited by the purchaser to view his residence. The trader followed his guide through several long ranges of stalls, in each of which a horse stood motionless, while an armed warrior lay equally still at his charger's feet. 'All these men,' said the wizard in a whisper, 'will awaken at the battle of Sheriffmoor.' A horn and a sword hung suspended together at one extremity of the chamber. The former the jockey seized, and having sounded it, the horses stamped, the men arose and clashed their armour; while a voice like that of a giant pronounced these words:—

"Woe to the coward that ever he was born, Who did not draw the sword before he blew the horn."

Subsequent to this, Sir Walter proceeds to the relation of another kindred tradition, the incidents of which do not materially differ from those of the preceding. The scene of the Cheshire legend is placed in the neighbourhood of Macclesfield, in that county, and the sign of a public-house on Monk's Heath may have arrested the attention of many travellers from London to Liverpool. This village hostel is known by the designation of the Iron Gates. The sign represents a pair of ponderous gates of that metal, opening at the bidding of a figure, enveloped in a cowl; before whom kneels another, more resembling a modern yeoman than one of the 12th or 13th century, to which period this legend is attributed. Behind this person is a white horse rearing, and in the back ground a view of Alderley Edge. The story is thus told of the tradition to which the sign relates:

The Iron Gates, or the Cheshire Enchanter.

A farmer from Mobberley was riding on a white horse over the heath, which skirts Alderley Edge. Of the good qualities of his steed he was justly proud; and while stooping down to adjust its mane, previously to his offering it for sale at Macclesfield, he was surprised by the sudden starting of the animal. On looking up he perceived a figure of more than common height, enveloped in a cowl, and extending a staff of black wood across his path. The figure addressed him in a commanding voice; told him that he would seek in vain to dispose of his steed, for whom a nobler destiny was in store, and bade him meet him when the sun had set, with his horse, at the same place. He then disappeared. The farmer resolving to put the truth of this prediction to the test, hastened on to Macclesfield Fair, but no purchaser could be obtained for his horse. In vain he reduced his price to half; many admired, but no one was willing to be the possessor of so promising a steed. Summoning, therefore, all his courage, he determined to brave the worst, and at sunset reached the appointed place. The monk was punctual to his appointment. Follow me, said he, and led the way by the Golden Stone, Stormy Point, to Saddle Bole.[2] On their arrival at this last named spot, the neigh of horses seemed to arise from beneath their feet. The stranger waved his wand, the earth opened and disclosed a pair of ponderous iron gates. Terrified at this, the horse plunged and threw his rider, who kneeling at the feet of his fearful companion, prayed earnestly for mercy. The monk bade him fear nothing, but enter the cavern, and see what no mortal eye ever yet beheld. On passing the gates he found himself in a spacious cavern, on each side of which were horses, resembling his own, in size and colour. Near these lay soldiers accoutred in ancient armour, and in the chasms of the rock were arms, and piles of gold and silver. From one of these the enchanter took the price of the horse in ancient coin, and on the farmer asking the meaning of these subterranean armies, exclaimed, "These are caverned warriors preserved by the good genius of England, until that eventful day, when distracted by intestine broils, England shall be thrice won and lost between sunrise and sunset. Then we awakening from our sleep, shall rise to turn the fate of Britain. This shall be when George, the son of George, shall reign. When the Forests of Delamere shall wave their arms over the slaughtered sons of Albion. Then shall the eagle drink the blood of princes from the headless cross (query corse.) Now haste thee home, for it is not in thy time these things shall be. A Cestrian shall speak it, and be believed." The farmer left the cavern, the iron gates closed, and though often sought for, the place has never again been found.

The latter part of the monk's prophecy has been fulfilled. Nixon, the well-known Cheshire seer foretold the same events in nearly the same words; but the belief in his dreams of futurity, has been much diminished by the decease of our late monarch. Recourse has been had, as in other works of greater moment, to various readings, and the probable mistakes of early transcribers, and many emendations have been proposed to supply the place of the name of George, but adhuc sub judice lis est. The Cestrian rustics of the neighbouring villages, still believe that at midnight the neighing of horses is audible under Alderley Edge.


[2] All places in the neighbourhood of Alderley Edge and Mobberley.

* * * * *


(To the Editor.)

I went the other day over the ruins of St. Dunstan's, and whilst gaping about, saw over one of the portals (inside) an old harp, with an inscription, which, as far as I could make it out, ran thus:—

St. Dunstan's harp against a wall, Upon a pin did hang'a, The harp itself, with ly' and all, Untouched by hand did twang'a.

The harp was supposed to play by itself on St. Dunstan's Day: ly' means lyre.

Can any of your intelligent correspondents inform me why there is an elder tree in all the Palace Gardens?

There is at the back of Old London Bridge, on this side, a street called "Labour in Vain Hill:" not from the height, but from a stone, on which are engraved two figures washing a blackamoor.


Dean-street, Soho.

* * * * *

I do not know where your indefatigable correspondent Zanga discovered his curious "Historical Fact," detailed in No. 471 of The Mirror: it is highly amusing, but unfortunately void of truth. The wife of the first Earl of Clarendon was Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Aylesbury, Bart. (now extinct) one of the Masters of Request; by whom he had issue four sons—viz. Henry, his successor; Lawrence, created Earl of Rochester; Edward, who died unmarried; and James, who was drowned while going to Scotland in the Gloucester frigate: also two daughters—viz. Ann, wife of James, Duke of York, afterwards James II., and Frances, married to Thomas Knightly, created a Knight of the Bath.


* * * * *


* * * * *


(For the Mirror.)

Thomas Reid, so celebrated as Tam O'Shanter by Burns, was born in the Kyle of Ayrshire. His first entrance into active life was in the capacity of ploughboy to William Burns, the father of the poet, whom Thomas described as a man of great capacity, as being very fond of an argument, of rigid morals, and a strict disciplinarian—so much so, that when the labours of the day were over, the whole family sat down by the blazing "ha' ingle," and upon no pretence whatever could any of the inmates leave the house after night. This was a circumstance that was not altogether to Thomas's liking. He had heard other ploughboys with rapture recount scenes of rustic jollity, which had fallen in their way, while out on nocturnal visits to the fair daughters or servant girls of the neighbouring farmers—scenes of which he was practically ignorant. And more—he had become acquainted with a young woman he had met at Maybole Fair; and having promised to call upon her at her father's house, owing to his master's regularity of housekeeping, he had found it totally impracticable.

To have one night's sport was his nightly and daily study for a long time. It so happened that his mistress about this time was brought to bed. Thomas hailed the bustle of that happy period as a fit time to compass his long meditated visit. Mrs. Burns lay in the spence. The gossips were met around the kitchen fire, listening to the howling of the storm which raged without, and thundered down the chimney: it was a January blast. Thomas kept his eye upon his master, who, with clasped "hands and uplifted eyes, sat in the muckle chair in the ingle neuk," as if engaged in supplication at the Throne of Grace for the safety of his wife and child. Thomas drew his chair nearer the door, and upon some little bustle in the kitchen, he reached the hallen, and was just emerging into darkness, when the hoarse voice of the angry Burns rung in the ears of the almost petrified ploughboy, "Where awa', Tam?"

"The auld doure whalp," muttered Tam, as he shut the door and resumed his stocking; "I was gaun to the door to see if the win' was tirring the thack aff the riggin."

"Thou needs na gang to look the night," cried the rigid overseer of Doonholm, "when it is sae mirk, thou coudna' see thy finger afore thee." It was indeed "a waefu' nicht." Such a night as this might give rise to these admirable lines of that bard, about to be ushered into the world—

"That night a child might understand The deil had business on his hand."

It was a little before the now pensive and thoughtful Burns was given to understand that a son was born unto him, as

"The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last,

that a horrid crash was heard; a shriek rose from the affrighted women, as they drew their chairs nearer the fire. "The ghaists and howlets that nightly cry about the ruins o' Alloway's auld haunted kirk" rose on every imagination. The gudeman rose from his chair, lighted a lantern, commanded Thomas to follow him, and left the house. The case was this—the gable of the byre had been blown down, which, as it was of his own building, was not of the most durable nature.

In due time the joyful father had his first-born son laid in his arms: his joy knew no bounds. The bicker was now sent round with increasing rapidity; and Thomas, then in his fourteenth year, was carried to his bed, to use his own words, "between the late and the early, in a gude way, for the first time."—Such was the birth-night of the poet.

How long Thomas Reid remained in the service of William Burns does not appear. It is certain, however, that he was with him when Robert first went to plough, as Thomas has repeatedly told, as an instance of Burns's early addiction to reading, that he has seen him go to, and return from plough, with a book in his hand, and at meal-times "supping his parritch" with one hand and holding the book in the other.

It would appear that he had, in process of time, got better acquainted with his sweetheart at Maybole Fair, for he married her. It was on this occasion that he rented the Shanter farm, which, with the assistance of his father-in-law, he stocked and furnished. But fortune went against him:

"His cattle died, and blighted was his corn;"

and an unfortunate friend, for whom he had become security for 150l., failed. Under such a load of ill, he, like many others, sought for consolation in the "yill cups;" and any errand which served as a pretext to visit the town of Ayr, renewed his worship to the "inspiring, bold John Barleycorn;" and he usually returned, like the Laird of Snotterston,

"O'er a' the ills o' life victorious."

But Thomas had many a domestic squabble. His wife, naturally not of the sweetest temper, was doubly soured by the misfortunes of the world, and the dissipation of her helpmate; and often when Tam

"Was gettin' fu' and unco happy,"

she sat at home,

"Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm."

She, like too many in that district at that time, was very superstitious. Thomas took her by the weak side, and usually arrested her "light-horse gallop of clish ma-claver" by some specious story of ghost or hobgoblin adventures, with which he had been detained.

He had now got into such a continued state of dissipation and irregularity, that he was obliged to leave the farm to the mercy of his creditors, and opened a small public-house, at the end of the old bridge on the water of Doon. It was while he was here that Tam O'Shanter made its appearance. A manuscript copy was sent to Thomas, by post, with this motto—

Change the name, and the Story may be told of yourself.

The celebrity of the poem brought numbers to his house, and he sold a great deal. But his spirit could not brook the brutal taunts and jeers which every day he was obliged to bear from his customers. He left off business, and commenced labourer, at which he continued till he got an offer of a situation as overseer of hedges, on the large estate of Castle Semple, at that time belonging to William M'Dowall, Esq., M.P. for Renfrewshire, which he accepted. With short intervals, he remained there till the day of his death. He was of such a character, that he considered no man, or class of men, his superior, and no man his inferior.

Feeling the infirmities of old age approach, Mr. Harvey placed him at his west gate, as gate-keeper, where he fell into a lingering disease, which soon put a period to his mortal career. As he had no friends nor relations (his wife having died about two years before) Thomas had never cared for to-morrow: he was destitute of the means to support himself during his illness. The night before he died, he called for a half-mutchkin of whisky; and (as an acquaintance of his sat by his bed-side, and who personally informed me) he, taking a glass of it in his hand, held it between him and the light, and eyed it for some time with a peculiarly exhilarated expression of countenance, even at such a crisis;—then, while pleasure sparkled in his eyes, he took his friend by the hand, and pressing it warmly, exclaimed, "This is the last whisky I, in all probability, will ever drink, and many and often is the times I have felt its power. Here's to thee, Jamie, and may thou never want a drap when thou art dry!" He died the next morning, about eight o'clock.


* * * * *


* * * * *


Dawlish's Hole:—An Incident.

The eye looked out upon the watery world— With fearful glance looked east and west, but all Was wild and solitary, and the surge Dashed on the groaning cliff, and foaming rose And roared, as 'twere triumphing.


The coast scene near Landwithiel[3] was of so varied and interesting a character that I was irresistibly led on to examine it very fully in detail. My sojourn therefore at Mr. Habbakuk Sheepshanks', of the "Ship-Aground'; (whom I have formerly introduced to the reader) was prolonged to an extent which sometimes surprised myself, and the various local stories and traditions of times past, with which mine host, especially when under the exciting influence of an extra glass of grog, almost nightly entertained me, essentially contributed to while away the time. The spot too was so secluded—comparatively unknown: there is something inseparable from a temperament like mine in so deep a retirement. To its inhabitants the world and its busy haunts are but as a tale; yet man in all his varieties is essentially the same. Many a day have I wandered along the sea-beaten coast—dining perhaps on a headland stretching far into the sea—or in some secluded little bay, by the side of a gushing spring; the ocean spread out before me—what object is so boundlessly or beautifully inspiring? It may be mighty fine philosophy for those who have passed through the current of life in one untroubled and unvaried stream, and who have no perception or idea of the deeper (if I may so express it) feelings of our nature, to call all this romance; but those who have tasted bitterly of the ills of this world, and who look back upon times past as doth the traveller in the desert on viewing from afar the oasis he has left—upon their transitory existence as a troubled dream—these can feel how deeply solitude amidst the sublimities of Nature will heal the troubled mind. Is there not a responsive chord in the hearts of such of my readers? Early one morning, soon after my arrival at Landwithiel, I proceeded over land to a distant part of the parish, to visit a ruin situated in a wild and remote spot, which possessed some degree of historical interest. In the evening I decided on returning by the coast in order to vary my route. The day had been clear and sultry, and though the wind blew fresh from the southward, yet its refreshing influence seemed exhausted by the intense heat of the sun. In my progress along shore, though it was getting late, and I was somewhat fatigued, I could not resist the opportunity of exploring a sort of natural opening or cove in a part of the coast where the cliffs were unusually precipitous; affording the geologist the highest gratification; you were reminded indeed of the flat surface of a stone wall in many parts, which effect the regular stratification of the rocks contributed to produce; and it required no great stretch of fancy to imagine it one vast fortification, with loop-holes at regular intervals—at a short distance from seaward certainly it would be difficult to divest a stranger of the idea that it was something artificial. Two high points of rock contracting at their extremities in a circular direction so as almost to meet, ran into the sandy beach, and you found on advancing beyond the narrow entrance, a considerable space, which gradually extended to something like an oblong square, with a sandy bottom everywhere, surrounded by the same lofty cliffs which composed the adjacent coast. I was much surprised that I had never heard of this place before; it had apparently been more the effect of some natural convulsion than of the encroachment of the sea, and at the further end was a high mass of shingles, seaweed, and fragments of rock packed closely together by the tide. On examination I discovered, about the centre of the shingles, a large stone cross, carved out of a projecting part near the base of the cliff. It bore simply the initials W.D. and though the surrounding rocks were thickly covered with seaweed and barnacles, yet the cross itself was perfectly clean, and bore marks of recent care. Some singular event had evidently occurred in this retired and desolate place. I loitered a considerable time in musing and examining the spot, regardless of the whining and uneasiness of my Newfoundland dog, Retriever, when I was suddenly and fully aroused by the sharp echo and plashing of the tide against the rock, within the entrance of the cove. I now recollected with alarm that it was a spring flood, and that I had heard the tide sets in on this part of the coast with extraordinary velocity. I ran hastily forward, expecting to escape with a mere wetting, along the base of the rocks to an opening which I had passed about half a mile to the westward. I had just grounds of alarm. The mouth of the cove as I have already stated, extended some way abruptly into the beach. On wading to its extremity I found the tide already breaking in impetuous surf towards the foot of the cliffs, and it was now so far advanced as to preclude any hope of escape from that quarter; for the sands shelved in for some way on each side of the projecting entrance, and if I gained the foot of the cliffs I feared that I must inevitably be dashed to pieces before reaching the opening. In the calmest weather on the coast, exposed to all the fury of the Atlantic, the spring tides come in with a heavy swell; on this occasion they were aided by the wind, and I had to retreat with precipitation before an angry and threatening mass of waves, which broke many feet over the spot I occupied the moment before, with a noise like a discharge of artillery.

The night was gathering in, and the report of each successive wave, fraught as it were with my death warrant, struck on my heart like a funeral knell. Was there no hope of escape in the cove itself? no difficult path to the rocks aloft? were the questions I rapidly put to myself. An examination made as well as the darkness of the place permitted, convinced me that my hopes were vain and transitory. I now gave way to a sort of momentary despair; every instant was abridging my chance of life, and the sudden and frightful feeling that you are to be called on unprepared, to die, rushed on my mind with a choking sensation. I listened for some time at the entrance of one of the caverns, which the violence of the sea had excavated in picturesque confusion round the foot of the cliffs, to the sullen moaning and dashing of the tide, when my attention was rivetted by the sweet music of a female voice on the heights above, singing in a wild and elevated strain. It came over me with a sense so deep and clear, that I listened for a few minutes as if my life were in every note. At this instant a fishing boat passed under sail near the mouth of the cove. I shouted with despair, but my voice was lost in the echo of the rocks; it passed fleeting by, and with it my last chance of life. The shout had aroused the strange singer; she arose, advanced to the very extremity of the precipice, where one quiver would have been certain death, and flinging her arms towards the ocean, called out as I imagined from her gestures, to some imagined form. What could this fair apparition mean? I distinctly saw her tall white figure and hair on the sky line (for the moon was near rising) fluttering in the wind. She must either be mad or a spirit, I exclaimed, shouting again and again to her for help; but either my words were lost in the distance, or she regarded them not, for she seated herself, and began to sing in the same wild style as before. This was most extraordinary: a momentary tinge of superstition passed across my mind, but it was speedily dissipated by the exclusive feelings of my situation. Slowly did I see the waves dashing forward to their destined goal, hemming in every chance of escape. I retreated step by step till I reached the shingles, as if greedy of the space which measured out to me my last race of life. My existence was in a span. Great God! I exclaimed, am I then to perish thus—"without a grave, unkennelled, uncoffined, and unknown"—my once sunny home—those faces dearer than heart's blood—the days of my childhood passed over my spirit—my mind was crowded with the images of by-gone days; half an hour more and this breathing form would be clay. Yet how dreadful a death! my poor dog howled and looked up in my face as a violent rush of tide burst against the base of the rocks. Already I imagined the sea around me, lessening my moments of life inch by inch—the tide bubbling about my throat as I clung to the rock for help: I fancied I could have borne any death rather than this lingering misery.

I rallied: my feelings were unmanly. The moon had risen in unclouded brilliancy, gleaming on the heaving and rippled surface of the dark blue main; I looked up to the tranquil firmament, and the reflection was bitter. Pealing along with the voice of the ocean, the wild and lofty strains from the singular figure aloft, like a gentle brook commingling its waters with a vast and rapid river—failed not during this time to keep up my excitement. The sea was now fast covering the shingles; one chance was yet before me, which the instant I reflected on, I hesitated not to put into execution. It could at worst be only exchanging one death for another, and death would have been a boon indeed, rather than the longer endurance of that deeply agonizing state of suspense. I can fancy my faithful dog, by his actions, had anticipated this resolution: his joyful bark as I sprung forward into the waves, still rings in my ear. He was a dog of prodigious size and strength: holding by his shaggy neck with one hand, I assisted myself in swimming along by him with the other, intending after clearing the mouth of the cove, to make for the opening in the rocks to landward. I felt invigorated with new life, though the chances against me were still precarious, on account of the distance, as we went through the plashing waves with the broad expanse of ocean again before me. The sea was now tolerably calm along shore, for the tide was far advanced, and I had hardly swam twenty yards from the mouth of the cove when a Landwithiel fishing-boat came in sight almost within hail. An involuntary prayer came to my lips; I sung out with all the energy which the hope of life could produce; she was alongside in a trice, and in a few minutes I was sailing for Landwithiel Pier, merrily, at the rate of eight knots an hour. I found on detailing my adventure, which greatly surprised the fine fellows who picked me up, that the cove was called Dawlish's Hole; and that the apparition of the white lady on the rocks was one of flesh and blood, not an airy vision.

"Poor Ellen Dawlish," said Sam Clovelly, my informant, "once the pride of the parish—poor thing! her day has long since gone by; she is always worse when the moon's full; but it's a long yarn, sir, and you'll learn all about her and the wild skipper, as we used to call him, (that's her husband) far better up at the "Ship-Aground" yonder, than I can tell you."

The only consequence that resulted from the adventure thus providentially terminated, was a wet jacket; but a brisk fire, a glass of grog, and a warm welcome in my host's capacious settle, helped to banish it from my recollection. My worthy friend, Sam Clovelly, was not mistaken; my interest, which was deeply awakened, received a strong whet from the narrative which Mr. Sheepshanks related, and though wearied with the day's adventure, I did not go to rest till I had heard the conclusion of his somewhat prolix story. I afterwards happened to know more, indeed, of the circumstances alluded to; and though the day's incident was of a frightful nature, yet I look back upon it as the means of introducing me to the knowledge of events connected with the history of the last surviving member of an ancient family, to me of deep interest. I pause: the reader may hear more of the FATE OF WALTER DAWLISH.


[3] Printed by mistake Tor-withiel, in No. II. of these Recollections: see Mirror, vol. xv. p. 356.

* * * * *


* * * * *


Melancholy from the spleen begun, By passion mov'd into the veins doth run; Which when this humour as a swelling flood, By vigour is infused in the blood, The vital spirits doth mightily appal, And weakeneth so the parts organical, And when the senses are disturb'd and tir'd With what the heart incessantly desir'd, Like travellers with labour long oppress'd Finding relief, eftsoons thy fall to rest.


* * * * *


Sweet are the kisses, the embracements sweet, When like desires and affections meet; For from the earth to heaven is Cupid raised Where fancies are in equal balance peised.


O learn to love, the lesson is but plain, And once made perfect, never lost again.


* * * * *


Such colour had her face as when the sun Shines in a watery cloud in pleasant spring; And even as when the summer is begun The nightingales in boughs do sit and sing, So the blind god, whose force can no man shun Sits in her eyes, and thence his darts doth fling; Bathing his wings in her bright crystal streams, And sunning them in her rare beauties beams. In these he heads his golden-headed dart, In those he cooleth it, and tempereth so, He levels thence at good Oberto's heart, And to the head he draws it in his bow.


* * * * *


Against bad tongues goodness cannot defend her, Those be most free from faults they least will spare, But prate of them whom they have scantly known, Judging their humors to be like their own.


* * * * *


Daughter of Time, sincere Posterity Always new born, yet no man knows thy birth, The arbitress of pure Sincerity, Yet, changeable, (like Proteus on the earth) Sometime in plenty, sometime joined with dearth. Always to come, yet always present here, Whom all run after, none come after near.

Impartial judge of all save present state Truth's Idioma of the things are past, But still pursuing present things with hate, And more injurious at the first than last, Preserving others while thine own do waste; True treasurer of all antiquity, Whom all desire, yet never one could see.


* * * * *


The poets old in their fond fables feign, That mighty Mars is god of war and strife, The Astronomers think that whereas Mars doth reign, That all debate and discord must be rife; Some think Bellona goddess of that life. Among the rest that painter had some skill, Which thus in arms did once set out the same:— A field of gules, and on a golden hill, A stately town consumed all with flame On chief of sable taken from the dame, A sucking babe, oh! born to bide mischance Begored with blood and pierced with a lance On high the Helm, I bear it well in mind, The wreath was silver, powdered all with shot, About the which, goutte du sang, did twine A roll of sable black, and foul be blot The crest two hands which may not be forgot, For in the right a trenchant blade did stand, And in the left a fiery, burning brand.


* * * * *


* * * * *


The amusement of bull-baiting is of such high antiquity in this country, that Fitz-Stephen, who lived in the reign of Henry II., tells us it was, at that early period, the common entertainment of the young Londoners during the winter season; and Claudian says of the English mastiffs—

"Magnaque taurorum fracturi colla Britanni."

The county of Lincoln is eulogized by Fuller as producing superior dogs for the sport; and in Grimsby bull-baiting was pursued with such avidity, that, to increase its importance, and prevent the possibility of its falling into disuse, it was made the subject of an official regulation of the magistracy. It had been practised within the borough from time immemorial, but about the beginning of the reign of Henry VII., the butchers finding it both troublesome and inconvenient to provide animals for the public amusement, endeavoured to evade the requisition; but it was made imperative upon them by the following edict of the mayor and burgesses, which was incorporated into a code of ordinances that were made and agreed to on the 23rd of October, 1499, for the better government of the borough:

"Also, that no Bocher flee or kill no Bull flesche wtin this Burgh, nor that none be brought to sell bot if the Bull be bayted openlye before the Mair and his burgesses, peon of forfeitr. of ev'y default vj s. viij d. Also that the Bochers of this Francheis, and al others that kepe slaughter shopes and kill flesche in this Francheis, to sell, mak onys yerly befor the Mair and his burgesses one bull-bayting, at convenient Tyme of the yere, according to the custom of this Francheis befor usyd, upon peyn of fortur of vj s. viij d."

In the reign of Charles I. an instance occurs of the violation of this ordinance; and it is formally recorded in the mayor's court book, that a fine was imposed by the chamberlains on Robert Camm for "killing a bull, and not first baiting him, according to the custom of the corporation."

These sports were conducted with great cruelty. To make the animal furious, gunpowder was frequently flashed up his nose, and pepper blown into his nostrils; and if this failed to make him show game, his flesh was lacerated, and aquafortis poured into the wound. About sixty years ago a bull was put to the stake at Grimsby; but the animal proving too tame, one William Hall put a spike or brad into his stick, and goaded the poor creature until the blood flowed copiously from several parts of his body; and at length, by continually irritating the lacerated parts, the bull became enraged, and roaring in the extremity of his torture, succeeded in tossing his assailant, to the infinite gratification of his cruel persecutors. It is recorded, to the credit of Mr. Alderman Hesleden, that during his mayoralty, in 1779, the annual exhibition was disallowed: from which time the custom declined, although some instances of this inhuman pastime have subsequently occurred.

Strutt says, that in some of the market towns of England, the bull-rings to which the unfortunate animals were fastened are remaining to the present time. At Grimsby, the arena where this brutal ceremony was performed, is still distinguished by the name of the "Bull-ring." The ancient stone and ring were removed about thirty years since; but the chain is still in possession of the chamberlains, who pass it annually to their successors; and it is sometimes applied to the purpose of fastening up a gate, when a distress is made on a field belonging to the corporation for rent; but its primitive use is wholly superseded by the abolition of the amusement.

Gentleman's Magazine.

* * * * *


* * * * *


Part IV.—Zoology—Birds.

This portion illustrates the Economy of Birds, with a few of the most attractive varieties, under European and British, and Foreign Birds. We quote from the "General Economy;" premising that the present Part contains about 250 such illustrations, or Why and Because.

Why are birds usually classed according to the forms of their bills and feet? Because those parts are connected with their mode of life, food, etc., and influence their total habit very materially. Blumenbach.

Why have birds little power of suction?

Because of the narrowness and rigidity of their tongue; as may be seen when they drink, having to hold up their heads, and depend upon the weight of the water for transmitting it into the craw.—Rennie.

Why are birds said to be "poised" in the air?

Because the centre of gravity of their bodies is always below the insertion of their wings, to prevent them falling on their backs, but near that point on which the body is, during flight, as it were, suspended. The positions assumed by the head and feet are frequently calculated to accomplish these ends, and give to the wings every assistance in continuing the progressive motion. The tail also is of great use, in regulating the rise and fall of birds, and even their lateral movements.—Fleming.

Why do birds fly?

Because they have the largest bones of all animals, in proportion to their weight; and their bones are more hollow than those of animals that do not fly. Air-vessels also enable them to blow out the hollow parts of their bodies, when they wish to make their descent slower, rise more swiftly, or float in the air. The muscles that move the wings of birds downwards, in many instances, are a sixth part of the weight of the whole body; whereas, those of a man are not in proportion one-hundredth part so large.

Why are birds covered with feathers?

Because, by this addition to the non-conducting appendices of the skin, birds are enabled to preserve the heat, generated in their bodies, from being readily transmitted to the surrounding air, and carried off by its motions and diminished temperature.—Fleming.

Why are the strongest feathers of birds in the pinions and tail?

Because the pinion-feathers may form, when the wing is expanded, as it were, broad fans, by which the bird is enabled to raise itself in the air and fly; whilst its tail feathers direct its course.—Blumenbach.

Why do birds moult?

Because they may be prepared for winter; this change being analogous to the casting of hair in quadrupeds. During summer, the feathers of birds are exposed to many accidents. Not a few spontaneously fall; some of them are torn off during their amorous quarrels; others are broken or damaged; whilst, in many species, they are pulled from their bodies to line their nests. Hence, their summer dress becomes thin and suitable. Previous to winter, however, and immediately after incubation and rearing of the young is finished, the old feathers are pushed off in succession by the new ones, and thus the greater part of the plumage of the bird is renewed.—Fleming.

Why do birds sing?

Because of the receptacles of air already mentioned but particularly by the disposition of the larynx, which in birds is not, as in mammifera and amphibia, placed wholly at the upper end of the windpipe; but, as it were, separated into two parts, one placed at each extremity. Parrots, ravens, starlings, bullfinches, &c., have been taught to imitate the human voice, and to speak some words: singing birds also, in captivity, readily adopt the song of others, learn tunes, and can even be made to sing in company, so that it has been possible actually to give a little concert by several bullfinches. In general, however, the song of birds in the wild state appears to be formed by practice and imitation.—Blumenbach.

Why do the notes of different species of birds vary?

Because, probably, of the structure of the organs of each species enabling them more easily to produce the notes of their own species, than those of any other, and from the notes of their own species being more agreeable to their ears. These conditions, joined to the facility of hearing the song of their own species, in consequence of frequenting the same places, determine the character of the acquired language of the feathered tribes.—Fleming.

Why are birds equally dispersed in spring over the face of the country?

Because, during that amorous season, such a jealousy prevails between the male birds, that they can hardly bear to be seen together in the same hedge or field. Most of the singing and elation of spirits, of that time, seem to be the effect of rivalry and emulation.—G. White.

Why is August the most mute month, the Spring, Summer, and Autumn through?

Because many birds which become silent about Midsummer, reassume their notes in September; as the thrush, blackbird, woodlark, willow-wren, &c.—G. White.

Why do birds congregate in hard weather?

Because, as some kind of self-interest and self-defence is, no doubt, their motive, may it not arise from the helplessness of their state in such rigorous seasons; as men crowd together, when under great calamities, they know not why? Perhaps approximation may dispel some degree of cold; and a crowd may make each individual appear safer from the ravages of birds of prey and other damages.—G. White.

Why do we so often fail in rearing young birds?

Because of our ignorance of their requisite food. Every one who has made the attempt, well knows the various expedients he has resorted to, of boiled meats, bruised seeds, hard eggs, boiled rice, and twenty other substances that Nature never presents, in order to find a diet that will nourish them; but Mr. Montagu's failure, in being able to raise the young of the curl-bunting, until he discovered that they required grasshoppers, is a sufficient instance of the manifest necessity there is for a peculiar food in one period of the life of birds.—Knapp.

Why have most noctural birds large eyes and ears?

Because large eyes are necessary to collect every ray of light, and large concave ears to command the smallest degree of sound or noise.

Why do stale eggs float upon water?

Because, by keeping, air is substituted for a portion of the water of the egg, which escapes.—Prout.

Why has the breast-bone of all birds which fly, a long ridge or keel?

Because muscles are attached to it, to facilitate their flight.

Why is the plumage of aquatic birds kept dry?

Because the small feathers next the bird fall over each other like the tiles of a roof, and thus throw off the water.

* * * * *



(National Library—Vol. v.)

The readers of The Mirror will doubtless expect in its pages some notice of the present work; although it belongs to a Series, which as yet possesses but few attractions for our attention. The title of the volume before us, and the name of its author, however, led us to expect better things; and sorry are we to have little but disappointment to report to the reader.

Mr. Smith sets out by telling us, in his Preface, that he has only been able to produce a mediocre book, and at once shows that his task has been by no means a grateful one. He talks of compilation and selection as if they were the very drudgery of literature, although in the present instance he has executed both so indifferently. He speaks of condensing into "one little volume," whereas the plan adopted by him has but little of the labour of condensation, his book being little but slice upon slice, like preserved fruit, instead of being thoroughly mixed and reduced like jelly. With Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, and Ellis's Edition of Brand's Popular Antiquities before him, he might have produced a volume of exhaustless interest and value, set with hundreds of foot-note references, which he has made but few and far between. Nay, with the example of Brand before him (for we see that he is occasionally quoted), it is difficult to conceive how Mr. Smith could overlook so important a point as the distinct acknowledgment of his authorities.

A slight analysis of Mr. Smith's volume will show the reader that our animadversions are not uncalled for.—Thus, upwards of one hundred pages are devoted to the Festival Games and Amusements of the Jews, Greeks, and Romans, meanly as Mr. Smith talks of "learned lore and antiquarian pedantry." Then follow twenty-two pages on, not of, Modern Festivals, &c.: from thence we quote two pages on the amusements of Londoners:—

"In addition to peculiar and extensive privileges of hunting, hawking, and fishing, the Londoners had large portions of ground allotted to them in the vicinity of the city, for such pastimes as were best calculated to render them strong and healthy. The city damsels had also their recreation on the celebration of these festivals, dancing to the accompaniment of music, and continuing their sports by moonlight. Stow tells us that in his time it was customary for the maidens, after evening prayers, to dance and sing in the presence of their masters and mistresses, the best performer being rewarded with a garland. Who can peruse the recapitulation of London sports and amusements, even so late as the beginning of the last century, without being struck by the contrast it presents in its present state, when, as a French traveller observes, it is no longer a city, but a province covered with houses? In the whole world, probably, there is no large town so utterly unprovided with means of healthful recreation for the mass of the citizens. Every vacant and green spot has been converted into a street; field after field has been absorbed by the builder; all the scenes of popular resort have been smothered with piles of brick; football and cricket-grounds, bowling-greens, and the enclosures of open places, set apart for archery and other pastimes, have been successively parcelled out in squares, lanes, or alleys; the increasing value of land, and extent of the city, render it impossible to find substitutes; and the humbler classes who may wish to obtain the sight of a field, or inhale a mouthful of fresh air, can scarcely be gratified, unless, at some expense of time and money, they make a journey for the purpose. Even our parks, not unaptly termed the lungs of the metropolis, have been partially invaded by the omnivorous builder; nor are those portions of them which are still open available to the commonalty for purposes of pastime and sport. Under such circumstances who can wonder that they should lounge away their unemployed time in the skittle-grounds of ale-houses and gin-shops? or that their immorality should have increased with the enlargement of the town, and the compulsory discontinuance of their former healthful and harmless pastimes? It would be wise to revive, rather than seek any further to suppress them: wiser still would it be, with reference both to the bodily and moral health of the people, if, in all new inclosures for building, provision were legally made for the unrestricted enjoyment of their games and diversions, by leaving large open spaces to be appropriated to that purpose.

"Upon a general review of our present prevailing amusements, it will be found, that if many have been dropped, at least in the metropolis, which it might have been desirable to retain, several also have been abandoned, of which we cannot by any means regret the loss; while those that remain to us, participating in the advancement of civilization, have in some instances become much more intellectual in their character, and in others have assumed more elegant, humane, and unobjectionable forms. Bull and bear-baiting, cock-throwing and fighting, and such like barbarous pastimes, have long been on the wane, and will, it is to be hoped, soon become totally extinct. That females of rank and education should now frequent such savage scenes, seems so little within the scope of possibility that we can hardly credit their ever having done so, even in times that were comparatively barbarous."

Truly, as Charles Mathews says, "we are losing all our amusements." Then follow about thirty pages of Holiday Notices; a sort of running commentary on the Calendar. The spaces of the days, however, are sadly disproportioned. Shrove Tuesday occupies upwards of two pages; Good Friday and Easter are pruned into the same space; May Day has upwards of four pages, more than half of which are taken up with the author's own embellishment: still, not a word has he on the poetry of the Day beyond his motto from Herrick. Field Sports, as Hawking and Archery, occupy the next thirty pages; but Mr. Smith is wofully deficient in the latter department: for instance, how is it that he has not even mentioned the archery at Harrow School,[4] and the existence of archery clubs in the present day.—Bull-fights and Baiting of Animals occupy the next forty pages in two chapters, one of which has been mostly transcribed from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. An original account of a Spanish Bull Fight occupies twenty pages, and is interesting, but rather out of place among English sports. Dancing has thirty pages, for which the Encyclopaedia Britannica has also been very freely taxed. Morris Dancers have ten pages. Jugglers have about the same space, chiefly from Strutt and Brand: Beckmann's chapter might have been added. Music and Minstrels have thirty pages, from Hawkins and Burney. Mr. Singer's curious work has furnished about twenty pages on Playing Cards. Chess is compressed within ten pages! The English Drama, thirty pages, is acknowledged from Hawkins's History of the English Drama, Cibber, and Victor; but "more especially from the Biographia Dramatica," we should say, the weakest source of the four. Malone's Supplement to his Edition of Shakspeare has entirely supplied thirteen pages of Playhouse Notices;—and here the curtain falls—sans Index, or the Author's Farewell.

There are three Engravings—a stunted Frontispiece from Wouverman's Hawking Party, a Plan of Olympia, and the Tomb of Scaurus—the two latter belonging, to use Mr. Smith's words, rather to "learned lore and antiquarian pedantry," than a book of popular interest. Even had Mr. Smith selected cuts of the Archery Meeting at Harrow, or the Staffordshire Morris Dance Window, he would better have consulted the gratification of his readers. In short, there are few subjects that admit of more delightful illustration, literary or graphic, than the "Festivals, Games, and Amusements" of "Merry England;" yet, to do these topics justice, requires careful compilation, condensation, and tasteful arrangement, upon neither of which points can we congratulate Mr. Smith's judgment in the specimen before us. Probably the author has been so long accustomed to indulge his fancy in ten shilling volumes of "historical tales," that he finds it difficult to restrain himself to books of facts: if this be the case, we should say that Mr. Smith is not just the person to furnish the "nation" with a history of "Festivals, Games, and Amusements, Ancient and Modern."

[4] See Mirror, vol. xiii. p. 259.

* * * * *


(From Moore's "Life," Vol. II.)

To those who have, from his childhood, traced him through these pages, it must be manifest, I think, that Lord Byron was not formed to be long-lived.—Whether from any hereditary defect in his organization—as he himself, from the circumstance of both his parents having died young, concluded—or from those violent means he so early took to counteract the natural tendency of his habit, and reduce himself to thinness, he was, almost every year, as we have seen, subject to attacks of indisposition, by more than one of which his life was seriously endangered. The capricious course which he at all times pursued respecting diet—his long fastings, his expedients for the allayment of hunger, his occasional excesses in the most unwholesome food, and, during the latter part of his residence in Italy, his indulgence in the use of spirituous beverages—all this could not be otherwise than hurtful and undermining to his health; while his constant recourse to medicine—daily, as it appears, and in large quantities—both evinced, and, no doubt, increased the derangement of his digestion. When to all this we add the wasteful wear of spirits and strength from the slow corrosion of sensibility, the warfare of the passions, and the workings of a mind that allowed itself no sabbath, it is not to be wondered at that the vital principle in him should so soon have burnt out, or that, at the age of thirty-three, he should have had—as he himself drearily expresses it—"an old feel." To feed the flame, the all-absorbing flame, of his genius, the whole powers of his nature, physical as well as moral, were sacrificed;—to present that grand and costly conflagration to the world's eyes, in which,

"Glittering, like a palace set on fire, His glory, while it shone, but ruined him!"[5]

[5] Beaumont and Fletcher.

* * * * *


* * * * *


One of the best papers in the Public Journals for the present month is in the Quarterly Review, No. 87. It purports to be a notice of "Attempts in Verse, by John Jones, an Old Servant. With some Account of the Writer, written by himself: and an introductory Essay on the Lives and Works of our Uneducated Poets. By Robert Southey, Esq." We extract such portion of the paper as relates to JONES, reserving a few notices of other uneducated poets for a future number.

In the autumn of 1827, Mr. Southey was spending a few weeks with his family at Harrowgate, when a letter reached him from John Jones, butler to a country gentleman in that district of Yorkshire, who, hearing that the poet laureate was so near him, had plucked up courage to submit to his notice some of his own "attempts in verse." He was touched by the modest address of this humble aspirant; and the inclosed specimen of his rhymes, however rude and imperfect, exhibited such simplicity of thought and kindliness of disposition—such minute and intelligent observation of Nature—such lively sensibility—and, withal, such occasional felicities of diction—that he was induced to make further inquiries into the history of the man. It turned out that Jones had maintained, through a long life the character of a most faithful and exemplary domestic, having been no fewer than twenty-four years with the family, who, still retaining him in their service, had long since learned to regard and value him as a friend. The poet laureate encouraged him, therefore, to transmit more of his verses, and the result is the volume before us—not more than a third of which, however, is occupied with the 'Attempts' of the good old butler of Kirby Hall, the rest being given to a chapter of our literary history from his editor's own pen, which, we venture to say, will be not less generally attractive than the "Life of John Bunyan," reviewed in our last Number.

"There were many," says Mr. Southey, "I thought, who would be pleased at seeing how much intellectual enjoyment had been attained in humble life, and in very unfavourable circumstances; and that this exercise of the mind, instead of rendering the individual discontented with his station, had conduced greatly to his happiness; and if it had not made him a good man, had contributed to keep him so. This pleasure should in itself, methought, be sufficient to content those subscribers who might kindly patronize a little volume of his verses."

John Jones's own account of the circumstances under which his "Attempts" have been produced, cannot fail to impress every mind with the moral lesson thus briefly pointed to by the editor. After a simple chronicle of his earlier life, he thus concludes:—

"I entered into the family which I am now serving in January, 1804, and have continued in it, first with the father, and then with the son, only during an interval of eighteen months, up to the present hour, and during which period most of my trifles have been composed, and some of my former attempts brought (perhaps) a little nearer perfection: but I have seldom sat down to study any thing; for in many instances when I have done so, a ring at the bell, or a knock at the door, or something or other, would disturb me; and not wishing to be seen, I frequently used to either crumple my paper up in my pocket, or take the trouble to lock it up, and before I could arrange it again, I was often, sir, again disturbed. From this, sir, I got into the habit of trusting entirely to my memory, and most of my little pieces have been completed and borne in mind for weeks before I have committed them to paper. From this I am led to believe that there are but few situations in life in which attempts of the kind may not be made under less discouraging circumstances. Having a wife and three children to support, sir, I have had some little difficulties to contend with; but, thank God, I have encountered them pretty well. I have received many little helps from the family, for which I hope, sir, I may be allowed to say that I have shown my gratitude, by a faithful discharge of my duty; but, within the last year, my children have all gone to service. Having been rather busy this last week, sir, I have taken up but little time in the preparation of this, and I am fearful you will think it comes before you in a discreditable shape; but I hope you will be able to collect from it all that may be required for your benevolent purpose: but should you wish to be empowered to speak with greater confidence of my character, by having the testimony of others in support of my own, I believe, sir, I should not find much difficulty in obtaining it; for it affords me some little gratification, sir, to think that in the few families I have served, I have lived respected, for in none do I remember of ever being accused of an immoral action; nor with all my propensity to rhyme have I been charged with a neglect of duty. I therefore hope, sir, that if some of the fruits of my humble muse be destined to see the light, and should not be thought worthy of commendation, no person of a beneficent disposition will regret any little encouragement given to an old servant under such circumstances."—pp. 179, 180.

The tranquil, affectionate, and contented spirit that shines out in the "Attempts" is in keeping with the tone of this letter; and if Burns was right when he told Dugald Stewart that no man could understand the pleasure he felt in seeing the smoke curling up from a cottage chimney, who had not been born and bred, like himself, in such abodes, and therefore knew how much worth and happiness they contain; and if the works of that great poet have, in spite of many licentious passages, been found, on the whole, productive of a wholesome effect in society, through their aim and power to awaken sympathy and respect between classes whom fortune has placed asunder, surely this old man's verses ought to meet with no cold reception among those who appreciate the value of kindly relations between masters and dependents. In them they will trace the natural influence of that old system of manners which was once general throughout England; under which the young domestic was looked after, by his master and mistress, with a sort of parental solicitude—admonished kindly for petty faults, commended for good conduct, advised, and encouraged—and which held out to him, who should spend a series of years honestly and dutifully in one household, the sure hope of being considered and treated in old age as a humble friend. Persons who breathe habitually the air of a crowded city, where the habits of life are such that the man often knows little more of his master than that master does of his next-door neighbour, will gather instruction as well as pleasure from the glimpses which John Jones's history and lucubrations afford of the interior machinery of life in a yet unsophisticated region of the country. His little complimentary stanzas on the birthdays, and such other festivals of the family—his inscriptions to their neighbour Mrs. Laurence, of Studley Park, and the like, are equally honourable to himself and his benevolent superiors; and the simple purity of his verses of love or gallantry, inspired by village beauties of his own station, may kindle a blush on the cheeks of most of those whose effusions are now warbled over fashionable piano-fortes.

The stanzas which first claimed and won the favourable consideration of the poet laureate were these 'To a Robin Red-breast:'

"Sweet social bird, with breast of red, How prone's my heart to favour thee! Thy look oblique, thy prying head, Thy gentle affability;

"Thy cheerful song in winter's cold, And, when no other lay is heard, Thy visits paid to young and old, Where fear appals each other bird;

"Thy friendly heart, thy nature mild, Thy meekness and docility, Creep to the love of man and child, And win thine own felicity.

"The gleanings of the sumptuous board, Convey'd by some indulgent fair, Are in a nook of safety stored, And not dispensed till thou art there.

"In stately hall and rustic dome, The gaily robed and homely poor Will watch the hour when thou shall come, And bid thee welcome to the door.

"The Herdsman on the upland hill, The Ploughman in the hamlet near, Are prone thy little paunch to fill, And pleased thy little psalm to hear.

"The Woodman seated on a log His meal divides atween the three, And now himself, and now his dog, And now he casts a crumb to thee.

"For thee a feast the Schoolboy strews At noontide, when the form's forsook; A worm to thee the Delver throws, And Angler when he baits his hook.

"At tents where tawny Gipsies dwell, In woods where Hunters chase the hind, And at the Hermit's lonely cell, Dost thou some crumbs of comfort find.

"Nor are thy little wants forgot In Beggar's hut or Crispin's stall; The Miser only feeds thee not, Who suffers ne'er a crumb to fall.

"The Youth who strays, with dark design, To make each well-stored nest a prey, If dusky hues denote them thine, Will draw his pilfering hand away.

"The Finch a spangled robe may wear, The Nightingale delightful sing, The Lark ascend most high in air, The Swallow fly most swift on wing,

"The Peacock's plumes in pride may swell, The Parrot prate eternally, But yet no bird man loves so well, As thou with thy simplicity."

Among many affectionate tributes to the kind family in whose service he has spent so many years, not the worst are some lines occasioned by the death of Miss Sadlier Bruere, written a few months afterwards (December 1826) at Tours:

"Thou wert miss'd in the group when the eye look'd around, And miss'd by the ear was thy voice in the sound; Thy chamber was darksome, thy bell was unrung, Thy footstep unheard, and thy lyre unstrung: A stillness prevail'd at the mournful repast; In tears was the eye on thy vacant seat cast. Each scene wearing gloom, and each brow bearing care, Too plainly denoted that death had been there.

* * * * *

To earth we consign'd thee, and made an advance, The thought to beguile, to the vineyards of France. But 'twould not be cheated; of all that was rare, Fond Nature kept whispering a wish thou could'st share: No air softly swelling, no chord struck with glee, But awoke in the bosom remembrance of thee. Even now, as the cold winds adown the leaves bring, We sigh that our flow'ret was blighted in spring."

* * * * *



"Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please? Resolve me of all ambiguities? Perform what desperate enterprises I will? I'll have them fly to India for gold, Ransack the ocean for orient pearl, And search all corners of the New-found World For pleasant fruits and princely delicates."

MARLOWE'S Faustus.

An old man on his death-bed lay, an old, yet stately man; His lip seemed moulded for command, tho' quivering now, and wan; By fits a wild and wandering fire shot from his troubled eye, But his pale brow still austerely wore its native mastery.

There were gorgeous things from lands afar, strewn round the mystic room; From where the orient palm-trees wave, bright gem and dazzling plume: And vases with rich odour fill'd, that o'er the couch of death Shed forth, like groves from Indian isles, a spicy summer's breath.

And sculptured forms of olden time, in their strange beauty white, Stood round the chamber solemnly, robed as in ghostly light; All passionless and still they stood, and shining through the gloom, Like watchers of another world, stern angels of the tomb.

'Twas silent as a midnight church, that dim and mystic place, While shadows cast from many thoughts, o'er-swept the old man's face: He spoke at last, and low and deep, yet piercing was the tone, To one that o'er him long had watched, in reverence and alone.

"I leave," he said, "an empire dread, by mount, and shore, and sea, Wider than Roman Eagle's wing e'er traversed proudly free; Never did King or Kaiser yet such high dominion boast, Or Soldan of the sunbeam's clime, girt with a conquering host.

"They hear me, they that dwell far down where the sea-serpent lies, And they, th' unseen, on Afric's hills, that sport when tempests rise; And they that rest in central caves, whence fiery streams make way, My lightest whisper shakes their sleep—they hear me, and obey.

"They come to me with ancient wealth—with crown and cup of gold, From cities roof'd with ocean-waves, that buried them of old; They come from Earth's most hidden veins, which man shall never find, With gems that have the hues of fire deep at their heart enshrined.

"But a mightier power is on me now—it rules my struggling breath; I have sway'd the rushing elements—but still and strong is Death I quit my throne, yet leave I not my vassal-spirits free— Thou hast brave and high aspirings, youth!—my Sceptre is for thee!

Now listen! I will teach thee words whose mastery shall compel The viewless ones to do thy work, in wave, or blood, or hell! But never, never mayst thou breathe those words in human ear, Until thou'rt laid, as I am now, the grave's dark portals near."

His voice in faintness died away—and a sudden flush was seen, A mantling of the rapid blood o'er the youth's impassion'd mien, A mantling and a fading swift—a look with sadness fraught— And that too pass'd—and boldly then rush'd forth the ardent thought.

"Must those high words of sovereignty ne'er sound in human ear? I have a friend—a noble friend—as life or freedom dear! Thou offerest me a glorious gift—a proud majestic throne, But I know the secrets of his heart—and shall I seal mine own?

"And there is one that loves me well, with yet a gentle love— Oh! is not her full, boundless faith, all power, all wealth above? Must a deep gulf between the souls—now closely link'd, be set? Keep, keep the Sceptre!—leave me free, and loved, and trustful yet!"

Then from the old man's haughty lips was heard the sad reply— "Well hast thou chosen!—I blame thee not—I that unwept must die; Live, thou beloved, and trustful yet! No more on human head, Be the sorrows of unworthy gifts from bitter vials shed!"

Blackwood's Magazine.

* * * * *


Oh! give me not unmeaning smiles, Though worldly clouds may fly before them; But let me see the sweet blue isles Of radiant eyes when tears wash o'er them. Though small the fount where they begin, They form—'tis thought in many a sonnet— A flood to drown our sense of sin; But oh! Love's ark still floats upon it.

Then give me tears—oh! hide not one; The best affections are but flowers, That faint beneath the fervid sun, And languish once a day for showers. Yet peril lurks in every gem— For tears are worse than swords in slaughter: And man is still subdued by them, As humming-birds are shot with water.

Monthly Magazine

* * * * *


I burn—I die—I cannot fly— Too late, and all in vain: The glow—the light—charmed sense and sight— Now naught is left but pain. That wicked flame, no pencil's aim, No pen can e'er depict on paper; My waltz embraced that taper waist, Till I am wasted like a taper.

Worthy the brightest hours of Greece Was that pure fire, or so I felt it; Its feeder towered in steadfast peace, While I believed for me it melted. No use in heighos! or alacks! My cure is past the power of money; Too sure that form of virgin wax Retained the bee's sting with the honey.

Its eye was blue, its head was cold, Its round neck white as lilied chalice; In short, a thing of faultless mould, Fit for a maiden empress' palace. So round and round—I knew no better— I fluttered, nearer to the heat; Methought I saw an offered letter— Now I but see my winding-sheet.

Some pearly drops fell, as for grief—- Oh, sad delusion;—ah, poor Moth! I caused them not; 'twas but a thief Had got within to wrong us both, Now I am left quite in the dark, The light's gone out that caused my pain; Let my last gaze be on that spark— Kind breezes, blow it in again.

Then snuff it well, when once rekindled, Whoe'er about its brilliance lingers, But though 'twere to one flicker kindled, Be careful, or you'll burn your fingers. It sought not me; and though I die, On such bright cause I'll cast no scandal— I fled to one who could not fly— Then blame the Moth, but not the Candle.


* * * * *


"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles." SHAKSPEARE.


A respectable character, after having long figured in the gay world of Paris, was at length compelled to live in an obscure retreat in that city, the victim of severe and unforeseen misfortunes. He was so indigent that he subsisted on an allowance from the parish every week; a quantity of bread was sent to him sufficient for his support; and yet, at length, he demanded more. On this the curate sent for him—he went. "Do you live alone?" said the curate. "With whom, sir," answered the unfortunate man, "is it possible I should live? I am wretched, you see that I am, since I thus solicit charity, and am abandoned by all the world." "But, sir," continued the curate, "if you live alone, why do you ask for more bread than is sufficient for yourself?" The other was quite disconcerted, and at last, with great reluctance, confessed that he had a dog. The curate did not drop the subject; he desired him to observe "that he was only the distributor of the bread that belonged to the poor, and that it was absolutely necessary that he should dispose of his dog." "Ah! Sir," exclaimed the poor man weeping, "and if I lose my dog, who is there then to love me?" The good pastor melting into tears, took his purse, and giving it to him, "Take this, sir," said he, "this is mine; this I can give you."


* * * * *


In the year 1768, the following printed notices were stuck upon the doors and walls of the churches in the City of London, one Sunday morning:—"The prayers of this congregation are earnestly desired for the restoration of liberty, depending on the election of Mr. Wilkes."


* * * * *


"They have brought out Fazio with great and deserved success at Covent Garden: that's a good sign. I tried during the directory, to have it done at Drury Lane, but was overruled."—Byron's Letters.

* * * * *


In the year 1561, a work was printed, entitled the Anatomy of the Mass. It contained one hundred and seventy pages, accompanied with errata of fifteen pages! The author, a monk, in an advertisement prefixed to the errata states, that the devil, to ruin the fruit of his work, employed two very malicious frauds, by first drenching the manuscript in the kennel, reducing it to a most pitiable state, and rendering some parts altogether illegible, and then obliging the printers to commit such numerous blunders, never before equalled in so small a work. To combat this double machination of Satan, he was obliged carefully to reperuse the work, and to form this singular list of the blunders of printers working under the influence of the devil.


* * * * *


Translation of "a Charter, originally written in Saxon, and granted by William the Conqueror to the Inhabitants of London:"

"William, King, greets William, Bishop, and Godfrey Portgrave" (the same in office as Lord Mayor) "and all the Borough of London, French and English friendly. And I now make known to you, that you are worthy to enjoy all those laws and privileges which you did before the decease of King Edward. And it is my will that every child be his father's heir after his father's decease. And I will not suffer any man to do you wrong. God you keep."


* * * * *


"P.S. If you thought of a middle plan between a Spectator and a newspaper, why not?—only not on a Sunday. Not that Sunday is not an excellent day, but it is engaged already. We will call it the 'Tenda Rossa,' the name Tassoni gave an answer of his in a controversy, in allusion to the delicate hint of Timour the Lame, to his enemies, by a 'Tenda' of that colour, before he gave battle. Or we will call it 'Gli,' or 'I Carbonari,' if it so please you—or any other name full of 'pastime and prodigality,' which you may prefer. * * * Let me have an answer. I conclude poetically, with the bellman, 'a merry Christmas to you!"'—Lord Byron to Mr. Moore, in his Life of the Noble Poet, vol. ii. p. 387.

* * * * *


In a closely-printed volume, price 5s. the



"This little volume contains much useful information upon every subject in which a domestic servant ought to be well versed. From the housekeeper to the scullery-maid, and from the butler to the groom, advice, cautions, receipts, and general hints, are given to each and all. They are written in a plain and sensible manner, and appear, as far as we are able to judge, the results of practical experience. To the master and mistress, as well as to those whose duties are of a more humble nature, the book may be strongly recommended. It is one from which the high and low may derive much benefit, and should find a place in the kitchen or servants'-hall of those who desire to blend comfort with elegance, and prudence with luxury."—New Monthly Magazine for the present month.

* * * * *

Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.

* * * * *


Home - Random Browse