THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 10, NO. 286.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1827. [PRICE 2d.
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To expatiate on the advantages of printing, at this time of day, would be "wasteful and ridiculous excess." We content ourselves with the comparison of Dryden's
"Long trails of light descending down."
In a retrospective glance at our previous volumes (for can the phrenologists tell us of a head capacious enough to contain their exhaustless variety?) our readers will perceive that, from time to time, sundry "accounts" of the origin and progress of printing have been inserted in the MIRROR; and though we are not vain enough to consider our sheet as the "refined gold, the lily, the violet, the ice, or the rainbow," of the poet's perfection, yet in specimens of the general economy of the art, the long-extended patronage of the public gives us an early place.
With an outline of the life of CAXTON our readers must be already familiar; but we wish them to consider the above accurate representation of the FIRST ENGLISH PRINTER'S RESIDENCE as antecedent to a Memoir of Caxton, in which it will be our aim to concentrate, in addition to biographical details, many important facts from the testimony of antiquarians; for scarcely a volume of the Archaeologia has appeared without some valuable communication on Caxton and his times.
In the meantime we proceed with the locale of Caxton's house, situate on the south-west of Westminster Abbey, where was formerly the eleemosynary, or almonry, where the alms of the abbots were distributed. Howell in his Londinopolis, describes this as "the spot where the abbot of Westminster permitted Caxton to set up his press in the Almonry, or Ambry," the former of which names is still retained. This is confirmed by Newcourt, in his Repertorium, who says, "St. Anne's, an old chapel, over against which the Lady Margaret, mother to king Henry VII., erected an alms-house for poor women, which is now turned into lodgings for singing-men of the college. The place wherein this chapel and alms-house stood was called the Eleemosinary, or Almonry, now corruptly called the Ambry, (Aumbry,) for that the alms of the abbey were there distributed to the poor; in which the abbot of Westminster erected the first press for book-printing that was in England, about the year of Christ 1471, and where WILLIAM CAXTON, citizen and mercer of London, who first brought it into England, practised it." Here he printed The Game and Play of the Chesse, said to be the first book that issued from the press in this country.
Hence, according to Mr. M'Creery, the intelligent author of "The Press," a poem, "the title of chapel to the internal regulations of a printing-office originated in Caxton's exercising the profession in one of the chapels in Westminster Abbey, and may be considered as an additional proof, from the antiquity of the custom, of his being the first English printer."
Every lover of science, on approaching this spot, will feel himself on holy ground, however the idle and incurious of our metropolis may neglect the scite, or be ignorant of its identity. We are there led into an eternity of reflection and association of ideas; but lest human pride should be too fondly feasted in the retrospect, the hallowed towers of the abbey, seen in the distance, serve to remind us of the imperial maxim, that "art is long, and life but short."
[Footnote 1: See MIRROR, vol 3, p 194—vol 5. p 311.]
[Footnote 2: We requote this passage from Mr. M'Creery, as it has already appeared in vol. 5; and in vol. 3, a correspondent denies that the first English book was printed at Westminster; but we are disposed to think that an impartial examination of the testimonies on each side of the controversy will decide in favour of Caxton.]
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TEA.—ITS INTRODUCTION INTO ENGLAND.
(A correspondent, who signs M.M.M. informs us that the article sent to us by P.T.W. and inserted in No. 280 of the MIRROR, was copied verbatim from the Imperial Magazine, a work which we seldom see, and consequently we had no opportunity of ascertaining the origin of our correspondent's paper. It seemed to us a good cyclopaedian article on the subject, and we accordingly admitted it. We now subjoin M.M.M.'s communication.)
In addition to what has been said in the article upon tea, (by P.T.W.) allow me to remark (and which I do not recollect ever to have seen noticed in any work upon the subject) that the seed is contained in two vessels, the outer one varying in shape, triangular, long, and round, according to the number which it contains of what may be termed inner vessels. The outer vessel of a triangular shape, measures, from the base to the apex about three quarters of an inch, and is of a dark brown colour, approaching to black, and thick, strong, and rough in texture; within this is another vessel, containing the kernel; this inner vessel is of a light brown colour, thin, and brittle, in shape, seldom perfectly round, but mostly flat on one side: there are three of them in a triangular seed vessel, two in a long one, and one in that which is round. The kernel is of a brown colour, and in taste very bitter. In no other species of teas than Bohea, is the large kind of seed found, which is probably owing to that species being gathered last or in autumn. There is a small seed found mixed with the Congou kind of teas, about the size of a pea, which is in every respect similar to the large, except in size. This seed was evidently not permitted to ripen, but the calyx of the flower connected with the peduncle is quite perfect. The Twankey species are of the same appearance, all of which I have had ample opportunity of inspecting.
As an appendage to this note, we are induced to quote the following pleasant page from Time's Telescope for 1828; and we take this opportunity of reminding our readers that our customary Supplementary sheet, containing the spirit of this and other popular Annual Works will be published with our next Number.
From a single sheet found in Sir Hans Sloane's library, in the British Museum, and printed by Mr. Ellis in his Original Letters, Second Series, it appears that tea was known in England in the year 1657, though not then in general use. The author of this paper says, "That the vertues and excellencies of this leaf and drink are many and great, is evident and manifest by the high esteem and use of it (especially of late years) among the physicians and knowing men in France, Italy, Holland, and other parts of Christendom; and in ENGLAND it hath been sold in the leaf for six pounds, and sometimes for TEN pounds the pound weight, and in respect of its former scarceness and dearness, it hath been only used as a regalia in high treatments and entertainments, and presents made thereof to princes and grandees, till the year 1657."
Secretary Pepys, in his Diary, vol. i. p. 76, without saying where he had his drink, makes the following entry:—"Sept. 25th, 1660. I did send for a cup of tea (a China drink) of which I never had drunk before, and went away."
In a letter from Mr. Henry Savill to his uncle, Secretary Coventry, dated from Paris, Aug. 12, 1678, and printed by Mr. Ellis, the writer, after acknowledging the hospitalities of his uncle's house, quaintly observes, "These, I hope, are the charms that have prevailed with me to remember (that is to trouble) you oftener than I am apt to do other of my friends, whose buttery-hatch is not so open, and who call for TEA instead of pipes and bottles after dinner; a base unworthy Indian practice, and which I must ever admire your most Christian family for not admitting. The truth is, all nations have grown so wicked as to have some of these filthy customs." In 1678, the year in which the above letter is dated, the East India Company began the importation of tea as a branch of trade; the quantity received at that time amounting to 4,713 lbs. The importation gradually enlarged, and the government, in consequence, augmented the duties upon tea. By the year 1700, the importation of tea had arrived at the quantity of 20,000 lbs. In 1721, it exceeded a million of pounds. In 1816, it had arrived at 86,234,380 lbs. Something more than thirty millions of pounds is probably the present average of importation: some allowance must be made for tea damaged and spoiled upon the passage.—See more on this subject, well worthy of perusal, in Mr. Ellis's Letters, Second Series, vol. iv. pp. 57, et seq.
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FROM L'ADONE OF MARINO.
(For the Mirror.)
Like some lone Pilgrim in the dusky night, Seeking, through unknown paths, his doubtful way, While thick nocturnal vapours veil his sight From yawning chasms, that 'neath his footsteps lay; Sudden before him gleams the forked light! Dispels the gloom, yet fills him with dismay. His trembling steps he then retraces back, And seeks again the well-known beaten track.
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(For the Mirror.)
The first couple of these animals which were carried to Cuyaba sold for a pound of gold. There was a plague of rats in the settlement, and they were purchased as a speculation, which proved an excellent one. Their first kittens produced thirty oilavas each; the new generation were worth twenty; and the price gradually fell as the inhabitants were stocked with these beautiful and useful creatures. Montengro presented to the elder Almagro the first cat which was brought to South America, and was rewarded for it with six hundred pesos.
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THE DEATH OF KING JOHN.
Extracted from an old black-letter volume, entitled "The Abridgment of the Acts and Monuments of Martyrs, from the earliest period of Christian suffering to the time of Queen Elizabeth, our gracious lady, now reigning," printed in her reign.
(For the Mirror.)
In the yeere 1216, king John was poisoned, as most writers testify, at Swinsted Abbey, by a monk of that abbey, of the order of Cistersians, or S. Bernard's brethren, called Simon of Swinsted. The monk did first consult with his abbot, shewing him what he minded to do, alleging for himself the prophecy of Caiphas, 11th of John, saying, it is better that one man die, than the whole people perish. I am well content, saith he, to lose my life, and so become a martyr, that I may utterly destroy this tyrant. With that the abbot did weep for gladness, and much commended his fervent zeal. The monk then being absolved of his abbot for doing this fact, went secretly into the garden, on the back side, and finding there a most venomous toad, did so prick him and press him with his penknife, that hee made him vomite all the poison that was within him; this done, he conveyed it into a cup of wine, and with a flattering and smiling countenance he sayeth to the king, "If it shall please your princely majesty, here is such a cup of wine as you never drank better in your lifetime. I trust this wassall shall make all England glad," and with that he drank a great draught thereof, and the king pledged him; the monk then went out of the house to the back, and then died, his bowels gushing out of his belly, and had continually from henceforth three monks to sing mass for him, confirmed by their general charter. The king, within a short space after, feeling great grief in his body, asked for Simon, the monk; answer was made he was dead. "Then God have mercy on me," said the king; so went he to Newark-upon-Trent, and there died, and was buried in the cathedral church at Worster, in 1216, the 19th day of October, after having been much fered with the clergy 18 years, 6 months, and a day.
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(For the Mirror.)
Near the border between the parishes of Maxton and Ancrum is a bridge, called Lilliard Edge, formerly Anerum moor, where a battle was fought between the Scots and English soon after the death of king James V., who died in the year 1542. When the Earl of Arran was regent of Scotland, Sir Ralph Rivers and Sir Bryan Laiton came to Jedburgh with an army of 5,000 English to seize Merse and Teviotdale in the name of Henry VIII., then king of England, who died not long after, in the year 1547. The regent and the Earl of Angus came with a small body of men to oppose them. The Earl of Angus was greatly exasperated against the English, because some time before they had defaced the tombs of his ancestors at Melrose, and had done much hurt to the abbey there. The regent and the Earl of Angus, without waiting the arrival of a greater force, which was expected, met the English at Lilliard Edge, where the Scots obtained a great victory, considering the inequality of their number. A young woman of the name of Lilliard fought along with the Scots with great courage; she fell in the battle, and a tombstone was erected upon her grave on the field where it was fought. Some remains of this tombstone are still to be seen. It is said to have contained the following inscription:—
"Fair maiden Lilliard lies under this stane; Little was her stature, but great was her fame. On the English lads she laid many thumps, And when her legs were off she fought on her stumps."
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BOOKS AND BOOKWORMS.
(For the Mirror.)
Books were anciently made of plates of copper and lead, the bark of trees, bricks, Stones, and wood. Josephus speaks of two columns, the one of stone, the other of brick, on which the children of Seth wrote their inventions and astronomical discoveries. Porphyry mentions some pillars, preserved in Crete, on which the ceremonies observed by the Corybantes in their sacrifices were recorded. The leaves of the palm-tree were used, and the finest and thinnest part of the bark of such trees as the lime, the ash, the maple, and the elm; from hence comes the word liber, which signifies the inner bark of the trees; and as these barks are rolled up, in order to be removed with greater ease, these rolls were called volumen, a volume, a name afterwards given to the like rolls of paper or parchment. By degrees wax, then leather, were introduced, especially the skins of goats and sheep, of which at length parchment was prepared; also linen, then silk, horn, and lastly paper. The rolls or volumes of the ancients were composed of several sheets, fastened to each other, rolled upon a stick, and were sometimes fifty feet in length, and about a yard and a half wide. At first the letters were only divided into lines, then into separate words, which, by degrees, were noted with accents, and distributed by points, and stops into periods, paragraphs, chapters, and other divisions. In some countries, as among the orientals, the lines began from the right, and ran to the left; in others, as in northern and western nations, from the left to the right; others, as the Grecians, followed both directions alternately, going in the one and returning in the other.
In the Chinese books, the lines run from top to bottom. Again, the page in some is entire and uniform; in others, divided into columns; in others, distinguished into text and notes, either marginal or at the bottom; usually it is furnished with signatures and catch-words, also with a register to discover whether the book be complete. The Mahometans place the name of God at the beginning of all their books. The word book is derived from the Saxon boc, which comes from the northern buech, of buechans, a beech, or service-tree, on the bark of which our ancestors used to write. A very large estate was given for one on Cosmography by king Alfred. About the year 1400, they were sold from 10l. to 30l. a piece. The first printed one was the Vulgate edition of the Bible, 1462; the second was Cicero de Officiis, 1466. Leo I. ordered 200,000 to be burnt at Constantinople. In the suppressed monasteries of France, in 1790, there were found 4,104,412 volumes; nearly one-half were on theology. The end of the book, now denoted by finis, was anciently marked with a <, called coronis, and the whole frequently washed with an oil drawn from cedar, or citron chips strewed between the leaves, to preserve it from rotting.
Thus far books; now for the bookworms. Anthony Magliabecchi, the notorious bookworm, was born at Florence in 1633; his passion for reading induced him to employ every moment of his time in improving his mind. By means of an astonishing memory and incessant application, he became more conversant with literary history than any man of his time, and was appointed librarian to the grand duke of Tuscany. He has been called a living library. He was a man of a most forbidding and savage aspect, and exceedingly negligent of his person. He refused to be waited upon, and rarely took off his clothes to go to bed. His dinner was commonly three hard eggs, with a draught of water. He had a small window in his door, through which he could see all those who approached him; and if he did not wish for their company, he would not admit them. He spent some hours in each day at the palace library; but is said never in his life to have gone farther from Florence than to Pratz, whither he once accompanied Cardinal Norris to see a manuscript. He died at the age of 81, in the year 1714. In the present age we have bookworms, who wander from one bookstall to another, and there devour their daily store of knowledge. Others will linger at the tempting window filled with the "twopenny," and read all the open pages; then pass on to another of the same description, and thus enjoy literature by the way of Cheapside.
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MIDNIGHT—A TOUCH AT THE EPIC.
(For the Mirror.)
"The iron tongue of midnight hath toll'd twelve." SHAKSPEARE.
Amid the pauses of the midnight storm, When all without is cold, within all warm! Amid the pauses of the midnight blast, When ev'ry bolt and ev'ry sleeper's fast! In that dire hour, when graves give up their dead, And men for once agree in their pursuit—a bed! When heroes, statesmen, senators, and kings, Lords, and et ceteras of meaner things, Forget the road to fortune—or to jail, And Morpheus all their equal guardian hail! When each forgets each 'vantage or mishap. And all are equal in one common nap! At that dread hour... Caetera desiderantur.
Carshalton W. P——n.
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(For the Mirror.)
Since lately we have had a great deal of prevarication in our courts of justice about receiving the oaths of deists, &c., I have thought it meet to furnish the MIRROR with an account of the first usage of the words, "So help me God." The word oath is a corruption of the Saxon eoth. An oath is called corporal, because the person making an affidavit lays his hand upon a part of the scriptures.
At the conclusion of the oath the above words are used, which may perhaps have originated in the very ancient manner of trial by battle in this country, when the appellee, laying his right hand on the book, takes the appellant by the right hand with his left, and maketh oath as follows:—"Hear this, thou who callest thyself John by the name of baptism, whom I hold by thy hand, that falsely upon me thou hast lied; and for this thou liest, that I who call myself Thomas by the name of baptism, did not feloniously murder thy father, W. by name, so help me God." (Here he kisses the book, and concludes,)—"And this I will defend against thee by my body, as this court shall award." And the appellant is thus sworn also.
Here, it may be observed also, the true foundation of the word lie, being esteemed still so great an affront above all others, as whenever it is pronounced to cause "an immediate affray and bloodshed."
I have seen people sworn in poetry; and certain it is, that in many countries in Europe the making of oaths differs. I have some curious specimens of ancient oaths, some in Latin prose, others in poetry.
Lord Chief Justice Coke was so strict with regard to the receiving of oaths, that when at Cambridge Summer Assizes, upon a trial of felony, he said, "in case of trespass, although it be only to the value of twopence, no evidence shall be given to the jury but upon oath, much less where the life of a man is in question." An action may be brought on the case upon a man calling another a perjured man, because it shall be intended to be contrary to his oath in a judicial proceeding.
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From the Younger Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, upon his death bed, to the Rev. Dr. W.——.
Dear Doctor,—I always looked upon you as a man of true virtue, and know you to be a person of sound understanding; for however I may have acted in opposition to the principles of religion, or the dictates of reason, I can honestly assure you I had always the highest veneration for both. The world and I may now shake hands, for I dare affirm that we are heartily weary of one another. Oh, doctor, what a prodigal have I been of that most valuable of all possessions, time. I have squandered it away with a profusion unparalleled; and now that the enjoyment of a few days would be worth a hecatomb of worlds, I cannot flatter myself with a prospect of half a dozen hours. How despicable, my dear friend, is that man who never prays to his God but in the time of distress. In what manner can he supplicate that omnipotent Being in his affliction with reverence, whom in the tide of his prosperity he never remembered with dread! Don't brand me with infidelity, my dear doctor, when I tell you I am almost ashamed to offer up my petitions at the throne of grace, or of imploring that divine mercy in the next world, which I have so scandalously abused in this! Shall ingratitude to man be looked upon as the blackest of crimes, and not ingratitude to God? Shall an insult offered to the king be looked upon in the most offensive light, and yet no notice be taken when the King of kings is treated with indignity and disrespect. The companions of my former libertinism would scarcely believe their eyes, my dear doctor, was you to show them this epistle. They would laugh at me as a dreaming enthusiast, or pity me as a timorous wretch who was shocked at the appearance of futurity. But whoever laughs at me for being right, or pities me for being sensible of my errors, is more entitled to my compassion than my resentment. A future life may very well strike terror into any man who has not acted well in this life; and he must have an uncommon share of courage indeed who does not shrink at the presence of his God. You see, my dear doctor, the apprehension of death will soon bring the most profligate to a proper use of their understanding. To what a situation am I now reduced? Is this odious little hut a suitable lodging for a prince? or is this anxiety of my mind becoming the characteristic of a Christian? From my rank and fortune I might have expected affluence to wait on my life, from my religion and understanding, peace to smile upon my end; instead of which I am afflicted with poverty, and haunted with remorse, despised by my country, and I fear forsaken by my God! There is nothing so dangerous, my dear doctor, as extraordinary abilities. I cannot be accused of vanity now, by being sensible I was once possessed of uncommon qualifications, more especially as I sincerely regret that I was ever blest with any at all. My rank in life made these accomplishments still more conspicuous; and, fascinated with the general applause which they procured, I never considered about the proper means by which they should be displayed; hence, to purchase a smile from a blockhead I despised, have I frequently treated the virtuous with disrespect, and sported with the Holy Name of heaven to obtain a laugh from a parcel of fools, who were entitled to nothing but my contempt. Your men of wit, my dear doctor, generally look upon themselves as discharged from the duties of religion, and confine the doctrines of the Gospel to people of meaner understandings; it is a sort of derogation, in their opinion, to comply with the rules of Christianity, and reckon that man possessed of a narrow genius who studies to be good. What a pity that the Holy Writings are not made the criterion of true judgment! or that any one should pass for a fine gentleman in this world, but he that seems solicitous about his happiness in the next. My dear doctor, I am forsaken by all my acquaintance, utterly neglected by the friends of my bosom and the dependants of my bounty. But no matter; I am not now fit to converse with the first, and have no ability to serve the latter. Let me not be cast off wholly, however, by the good. Favour me with a visit, dear doctor, as soon as possible. Writing to you gives me some ease, especially upon a subject I could talk of for ever. I am of opinion this is the last visit I shall ever solicit from you. My distemper is powerful. Come and pray for the departing spirit of the unhappy BUCKINGHAM.
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The Sketch Book.
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THE PHANTOM HAND.
I see a hand you cannot see, Which beckons me away!
In a lonely part of the bleak and rocky coast of Scotland, there dwelt a being, who was designated by the few who knew and feared him, the Warlock Fisher. He was, in truth, a singular and a fearful old man. For years he had followed his dangerous occupation alone; adventuring forth in weather which appalled the stoutest of the stout hearts that occasionally exchanged a word with him, in passing to and fro in their mutual employment. Of his name, birth, or descent, nothing was known; but the fecundity of conjecture had supplied an unfailing stock of materiel on these points. Some said he was the devil incarnate; others said he was a Dutchman, or some other "far-away foreigner," who had fled to these comparative solitudes for shelter, from the retribution due to some grievous crime; and all agreed, that he was neither a Scot nor a true man. In outward form, however, he was still "a model of a man," tall, and well-made; though in years, his natural strength was far from being abated. His matted black hair, hanging in elf-locks about his ears and shoulders, together with the perpetual sullenness which seemed native in the expression of features neither regular nor pleasing, gave him an appearance unendurably disgusting. He lived alone, in a hovel of his own construction, partially scooped out of a rock—was never known to have suffered a visitor within its walls—to have spoken a kind word, or done a kind action. Once, indeed, he performed an act which, in a less ominous being, would have been lauded as the extreme of heroism. In a dreadfully stormy morning, a fishing-boat was seen in great distress, making for the shore—there were a father and two sons in it. The danger became imminent, as they neared the rocky promontory of the fisher—and the boat upset. Women and boys were screaming and gesticulating from the beach, in all the wild and useless energy of despair, but assistance was nowhere to be seen. The father and one of the lads disappeared for ever; but the younger boy clung, with extraordinary resolution, to the inverted vessel. By accident, the Warlock Fisher came to the door of his hovel, saw the drowning lad, and plunged instantaneously into the sea. For some minutes he was invisible amid the angry turmoil; but he swam like an inhabitant of that fearful element, and bore the boy in safety to the beach. From fatigue or fear, or the effects of both united, the poor lad died shortly afterwards; and his grateful relatives industriously insisted, that he had been blighted in the grasp of his unhallowed rescuer!
Towards the end of autumn, the weather frequently becomes so broken and stormy in these parts, as to render the sustenance derived from fishing extremely precarious. Against this, however, the Warlock Fisher was provided; for, caring little for weather, and apparently less for life, he went out in all seasons, and was known to be absent for days, during the most violent storms, when every hope of seeing him again was lost. Still nothing harmed him: he came drifting back again, the same wayward, unfearing, unhallowed animal. To account for this, it was understood that he was in connexion with smugglers; that his days of absence were spent in their service—in reconnoitring for their safety, and assisting their predations. Whatever of truth there might be in this, it was well known that the Warlock Fisher never wanted ardent spirits; and so free was he in their use and of tobacco, that he has been heard, in a long and dreary winter's evening, carolling songs in a strange tongue, with all the fervour of an inspired bacchanal. It has been said, too, at such times he held strange talk with some who never answered, deprecated sights which no one else could see, and exhibited the fury of an outrageous maniac.
It was towards the close of an autumn day, that a tall young man was seen surveying the barren rocks, and apparently deserted shores, near the dwelling of the fisher. He wore the inquiring aspect of a stranger, and yet his step indicated a previous acquaintance with the scene. The sun was flinging his boldest radiance on the rolling ocean, as the youth ascended the rugged path which led to the Warlock Fisher's hut. He surveyed the door for a moment, as if to be certain of the spot; and then, with one stroke of his foot, dashed the door inwards. It was damp and tenantless. The stranger set down his bundle, kindled a fire, and remained in quiet possession. In a few hours the fisher returned. He started involuntarily at the sight of the intruder, who sprang to his feet, ready for any alternative.
"What seek you in my hut?" said the Fisher.
"A shelter for the night—the hawks are out."
"Who directed you to me?"
"Never saw you with my eyes—shiver me! But never mind, you look like the breed—a ready hand and a light heel, ha! All's right—tap your keg!"
No sooner said than done. The keg was broached, and a good brown basin of double hollands was brimming at the lips of the Warlock Fisher. The stranger did himself a similar service, and they grew friendly. The fisher could not avoid placing his hand before his eyes once or twice, as if wishful to avoid the keen gaze of the stranger, who still plied the fire with fuel and his host with hollands. Reserve was at length annihilated, and the fisher jocularly said—
"Well, and so we're old acquaintance, ha?"
"Ay," said the young man, with another searching glance. "I was in doubt at first, but now I'm certain."
"And what's to be done?" said the Fisher.
"An hour after midnight you must put me on board ——-'s boat, she'll be abroad. They'll run a light to the masthead, for which you'll steer. You're a good hand at the helm in a dark night and a rough sea," was the reply.
"How, if I will not?"
"Then—your life or mine!"
They sprang to their feet simultaneously, and an immediate encounter seemed inevitable.
"Psha!" said the Fisher, sinking on his seat, "what madness this is! I was a thought warm with the liquor, and the recollections of past times were rising on my memory. Think nothing of it. I heard those words once before," and he ground his teeth in rage—"Yes, once—but in a shriller voice than your's! Sometimes, too, the bastard rises to my view; and then I smite him so—bah! give us another basin-full!" He stuck short at vacancy, snatched the beverage from the stranger, and drank it off. "An hour after midnight, said ye?"
"Ay—you'll see no bastards then!"
"Worse—may be—worse!" muttered the Fisher, sinking into abstraction, and glaring wildly on the flickering embers before him.
"Why, how's this?" said the stranger. "Are your senses playing bo-peep with the ghost of some pigeon-livered coast captain, eh? Come, take another pull at the keg, to clear your head-lights, and tell us a bit of your ditty."
The Fisher took another draught, and proceeded—
"About five-and-twenty years ago, a stranger came to this hut—may the curse of God annihilate him!—"
"Amen to that," said the young man.
"He brought with him a boy and a girl, a purse of gold, and —— the arch fiend's tongue, to tempt me! Well, it was to take these children out to sea—upset the boat—and lose them!"—
"And you did so!" interrupted the stranger.
"I tried—but listen. On a fine evening, I took them out: the sun sunk rapidly, and I knew by the freshening of the breeze, there would be a storm. I was not mistaken. It came on even faster than I wished. The children were alarmed—the boy, in particular, grew suspicious; he insisted that I had an object in going out so far at sun-set. This irritated me,—and I rose to smite him, when the fair girl interposed her fragile form between us. She screamed for mercy, and clung to my arm with the desperation of despair. I could not shake her off! The boy had the spirit of a man; he seized a piece of spar, and struck me on the temples. 'How, you villain!' said he, 'your life or mine!' At that moment the boat upset, and we were all adrift. The boy I never saw again—a tremendous sea broke between us—but the wretched girl clung to me like hate! Damnation!—her dying scream is ringing in my ears like madness! I struck her on the forehead, and she sank—all but her hand, one little, white hand would not sink! I threw myself on my back, and struck at it with both my feet—and then I thought it sunk for ever. I made the shore with difficulty, for I was stunned and senseless, and the ocean heaved as if it would have washed away the mortal world—and the lightnings blazed as if all hell had come to light the scene of warfare! I have never since been on the sea at midnight, but that hand has followed or preceded me; I have never ——." Here he sank down from his seat, and rolled himself in agony upon the floor.
"Poor wretch!" muttered the stranger, "what hinders now my long-sought vengeance? Even with my foot—but thou shalt share my murdered sister's grave!"
"A shot is fired—look out for the light!" said the young man.
The Fisher went to the door; but suddenly started back, clasping his hands before his face.
"Fire and brimstone! there it is again!" he cried.
"What?" said his companion, looking cooly round him.
"That infernal hand! Lightnings blast it!—but that's impossible," he added, in a fearful under-tone, which sounded as if some of the eternal rocks around him were adding a response to his imprecations—"that's impossible! It is a part of them—it has been so for years—darkness could not shroud it—distance could not separate it from my burning eye-balls!—awake, it was there—asleep, it flickered and blazed before me!—it has been my rock a-head through life, and it will herald me to hell!" So saying, he pressed his sinewy hands upon his face, and buried his head between his knees, till the rock beneath him seemed to shake with his uncontrollable agony.
"Again it beckons me!" said he, starting up—"ten thousand fires are blazing in my heart—in my brain!—where, where can I be worse? Fiend, I defy thee!"
"I see nothing," said his companion, with unalterable composure.
"You see nothing!" thundered the Fisher, with mingling sarcasm and fury—"look there." He snatched his hand, and pointing steadily into the gloom, again murmured, "Look there! look there!"
At that moment the lightning blazed around with appalling brilliancy; and the stranger saw a small white hand, pointing tremulously upwards.
"I saw it there," said he, "but it is not hers! Infatuated, abandoned villain." he continued, with irrepressible energy, "it is not my sister's hand—no! it is the incarnate fiend's who tempted you, and who now waves you to perdition—begone together!"
He aimed a dreadful blow at the astonished Fisher, who instinctively avoided the stroke. Mutually wound up to the highest pitch of anger, they grappled each the other's throat, set their feet, and strained for the throw, which was inevitably to bury both in the wild waves beneath. A faint shriek was heard, and a gibbering, as of many voices, came fluttering around them.
"Chatter on!" said the Fisher, "he joins you now!"
"Together—it will be together!" said the stranger, as with a last desperate effort he bent his adversary backward from the betling cliff. The voice of the Fisher sounded hoarsely in execration, as they dashed into the sea together; but what he said was drowned in the hoarser murmur of the uplashing surge! The body of the stranger was found on the next morning, flung far up on the rocky shore—but that of the murderer was gone for ever!
The superstitious peasantry of the neighbourhood still consider the spot as haunted; and at midnight, when the waves dash fitfully against the perilous crags, and the bleak winds sweep with long and angry moan around them, they still hear the gibbering voices of the fiends, and the mortal execrations of the Warlock Fisher!—but, after that fearful night, no man ever saw THE PHANTOM HAND!—Literary Magnet.
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ARCANA OF SCIENCE.
All the elephants which were exported from Point de Galle were caught in ancient, as well as in modern times, in that tract of country which extends from Matura to Tangcolle, in the south of Ceylon, and which, from its being famous for its elephants in his days, is described by Ptolemy in the map he made of Ceylon sixteen hundred years ago as the elephantum pascua. The trade in elephants from Ceylon, which used to be lucrative, is now completely annihilated, in consequence of all the petty Rajahs, Foligars, and other chiefs in the southern peninsula of India, who used formerly to purchase Ceylon elephants as a part of their state, having lost their sovereignties, and being therefore no longer required to keep up any state of this description. A gentleman who has a plantation at Candy, it is understood, recently introduced the use of elephants, in ploughing, with great advantage.—Trans. Asiatic Society.
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The Fennecous Cerdo.
This beautiful and extraordinary animal, or at least one of its genus, was first made known to European naturalists by Bruce, who received it from his dragoman, whilst consul general at Algiers. It is frequently met with in the date territories of Africa, where the animals are hunted for their skins, which are afterwards sold at Mecca, and then exported to India. Bruce kept his animal alive for several months, and took a drawing of it in water colours, of the natural size, a copy of which, on transparent paper, was clandestinely made by his servant. Mr. Brander, into whose hands the Fennecus fell after Bruce left Algiers, gave an account of it in "Some Swedish Transactions," but refused to let the figure be published, the drawing having been unfairly obtained. Bruce asserts that this animal is described in many Arabian books, under the name of El Fennec, which appellation he conceives to be derived from the Greek word for a palm or date-tree.
The favourite food of Bruce's Fennec was dates or any sweet fruit; but it was also very fond of eggs; when hungry it would eat bread, especially with honey or sugar. His attention was immediately attracted if a bird flew near him, and he would watch it with an eagerness that could hardly be diverted from its object; but he was dreadfully afraid of a cat. Bruce never heard that he had any voice. During the day he was inclined to sleep, but became restless and exceedingly unquiet as night came on. The above Fennec was about ten inches long, the tail five inches and a quarter, near an inch of it on the tip, black. The colour of the body was dirty white, bordering on cream colour; the hair on the belly rather whiter, softer and longer than on the rest of the body. His look was sly and wily; he built his nest on trees, and did not burrow in the earth.
Naturalists, especially those of France, were long induced to suspect the truth of Bruce's description of this animal; but a specimen from the interior of Nubia, and preserved in the museum at Frankfort, has recently been engraved; and thus the matter nearly settled by the animal belonging to the genus Canis, and the sub genus Vulpes; the number of teeth and form, being precisely the same as the fox, which it also resembles in its feet, number of toes, and form of tail.
For the above engraving we are indebted to the Appendix to the important and interesting Travels of Messrs. Denham and Clapperton. It is therein described as generally of a white colour, inclining to straw yellow; above, from the occiput to the insertion of the tail it is light rufous brown, delicately pencilled with fine black lines, from thinly scattered hairs tipped with black; the exterior of the thighs is lighter rufous brown; the chin, throat, belly, and interior of the thighs and legs are white, or cream colour. The nose is pointed, and black at the extremity; above, it is covered with very short, whitish hair inclining to rufous, with a small irregular rufous spot on each side beneath the eyes; the whiskers are black, rather short and scanty; the back of the head is pale rufous brown. The ears are very large, erect, and pointed, and covered externally with short, pale, rufous brown hair; internally, they are thickly fringed on the margin with long grayish white hairs, especially in front; the rest of the ears, internally, is bare; externally, they are folded or plaited at the base. The tail is very full, cylindrical, of a rufous brown colour, and pencilled with fine black lines like the back. The fur is very soft and fine; that on the back, from the back to the insertion of the tail, as well as that on the upper part of the shoulder before, and nearly the whole of the hinder thigh, is formed of tri-coloured hairs, the base of which is of a dark lead colour, the middle white, and the extremity light rufous brown.
[Footnote 3: We did not know that such unpleasantries as Chancery injunctions were part of African law; perhaps sand may not be removed from the desert "without leave of the trustees," like scrapings from our roads.]
A beautiful and perfect fossil of the sea turtle has recently been discovered in an extensive stratum of limestone, four fathoms water, called the Stone Ridge, about four miles off Harwich harbour. It is incrusted in a mass of ferruginous limestone, and weighs 180 lbs.
A gentleman of Staffordshire recommends the preservation of apples for winter store, packed in banks or hods of earth like potatoes.— Communication to the Horticultural Society.
Uses of Seals.
The benefits which the inhabitants of frigid regions derive from seals, are far too numerous and diversified to be particularized, as they supply them with almost all the conveniences of life. We, on the contrary, so persecute this animal, as to destroy hundreds of thousands annually, for the sake of the pure and transparent oil with which the seal abounds; 2ndly, for its tanned skin, which is appropriated to various purposes by different modes of preparation; and thirdly, we pursue it for its close and dense attire. In the common seal, the hair of the adult is of one uniform kind, so thickly arranged and imbued with oil, as to effectually resist the action of water; while, on the contrary, in the antarctic seals the hair is of two kinds: the longest, like that of the northern seals; the other, a delicate, soft fur, growing between the roots of the former, close to the surface of the skin, and not seen externally; and this beautiful fur constitutes an article of very increasing importance in commerce; but not only does the clothing of the seal vary materially in colour, fineness, and commercial situation, in the different species, but not less so in the age of the animal. The young of most kinds are usually of a very light colour, or entirely white, and are altogether destitute of true hair, having this substituted by a long and particularly soft fur.—Quarterly Journal.
Method of cutting Glass.
If a tube, or goblet, or other round glass body is to be cut, a line is to be marked with a gun flint having a sharp angle, an agate, a diamond, or a file, exactly on the place where it is to be cut. A long thread covered with sulphur is then to be passed two or three times round the circular line, and to be inflamed and burnt; when the glass is well heated some drops of cold water are to be thrown on it, when the piece will separate in an exact manner, as if cut with scissors. It is by this means that glasses are cut circularly into thin bands, which may either be separated from, or repose upon each other, at pleasure, in the manner of a spring—-From the French.
Preservation of Skins.
A tanner at Tyman, in Hungary, uses with great advantage the pyroligueous acid, in preserving skins from putrefaction, and in recovering them when attacked. They are deprived of none of their useful qualities if covered by means of a brush with the acid, which they absorb very readily.—Quarterly Journal.
Organic Remains in Sussex.
A short time since, the entire skeleton of a stag, of very large size, was dug up by some labourers, in excavating the bed of the river Ouse, near Lewes, in Sussex. The remains were found imbedded in a layer of sand, beneath the alluvial blue clay, forming the surface of the valley. The horns were in the highest state of preservation, and had seven points, like the American deer. The greater part of the skeleton was destroyed by the carelessness of the workmen; but a portion, including the horns, has been preserved in the collection of Mr. Mantell, near Lewes.
Mr. Bullock, in his Travels, (just published) relates that he saw near New Orleans, "what are believed to be the remains of a stupendous crocodile, and which are likely to prove so, intimating the former existence of a lizard at least 150 feet long; for I measured the right side of the under jaw, which I found to be 21 feet along the curve; and 4 feet 6 inches wide: the others consisted of numerous vertebrae, ribs, femoral bones, and toes, all corresponding in size to the jaw; there were also some teeth: these, however, were not of proportionate magnitude. These remains were discovered, a short time since, in the swamp, near Fort Philip; and the other parts of the mighty skeleton, are, it is said, in the same part of the swamp."
Sir Kenelm Digby was a mere quack; but he was the son of an earl, and related to many noble families. His book on the supposed sympathetic powder, which cured wounds at any distance from the sufferer, is the standard of his abilities. This powder was Roman vitriol pounded. From this wild work, we, however learn, that the English routine of agriculture in his time was—1st. year, barley; 2nd. wheat; 3rd. beans; 4th. fallow.—Pinkerton.
Thought, comprising its enumerated constituents and detailed process, is the most perfect and exalted elaboration of the human mind, and when protracted is a painful exertion; indeed, the greater portion of our species reluctantly submit to the toil and lassitude of reflection; but from laziness, or incapacity, and perhaps in some instances from diffidence, they suffer themselves to be directed by the opinions of others. Hence has arisen the swarm of critics and reviewers, those clouds that obscure the fair light that would beam on the mind of man, by his individual reflection, and through his existence degrade him, by a submission to assumed authority;—a voluntary blindness, that excludes him from the observation of nature, and through indolence and credulity render his noblest faculties feeble, assenting, and lethargic; and delude him to barter the inheritance of his intellect for a mess of pottage.—Dr. Haslam.—Lancet.
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SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
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MUNCHAUSEN RIDE THROUGH EDINBURGH.
We were sitting rather negligently on an infernal animal, which, up to that day, had seemed quiet as a lamb—kissing our hand to Mrs. Davison, then Miss Duncan, and in the blaze of her fame, when a Highland regiment, no doubt the forty-second, that had been trudging down the Mound, so silently that we never heard them, all at once, and without the slightest warning, burst out, with all their bag-pipes, into one pibroch! The mare—to do her justice—had been bred in England, and ridden, as a charger, by an adjutant to an English regiment. She was even fond of music—and delighted to prance behind the band—unterrified by cymbals or great drum. She never moved in a roar of artillery at reviews—and, had the Castle of Edinburgh—Lord bless it—been self-involved, at that moment, in a storm of thunder and lightning, round its entire circle of cannon, that mare would not so much as have pricked up her ears, whisked her tail, or lifted a hoof. But the pibroch was more than horse-flesh and blood could endure—and off we two went like a whirlwind. Where we went—that is to say, what were the names of the few first streets along which we were borne, is a question which, as a man of veracity, we must positively decline answering. For some short space of time, lines of houses reeled by without a single face at the windows—and these, we have since conjectured, might be North and South Hanover street, and Queen-street. By and by we surely were in something like a square—could it be Charlotte-square?—and round and round it we flew—three, four, five, or six times, as horsemen do at the Caledonian amphitheatre—for the animal had got blind with terror, and kept viciously reasoning in a circle. What a show of faces at all the windows then! A shriek still accompanied us as we clattered, and thundered, and lightened along; and, unless our ears lied, there were occasional fits of stifled laughter, and once or twice a guffaw; for there was now a ringing of lost stirrups—and much holding of the mane. One complete round was executed by us, first on the shoulder beyond the pommel; secondly, on the neck; thirdly, between the ears; fourthly, between the forelegs, in a place called the counter, with our arms round the jugular veins of the flying phenomenon, and our toes in the air. That was, indeed, the crisis of our fever, but we made a wonderful recovery back into the saddle—righting like a boat capsized in a sudden squall at sea—and once more, with accelerated speed, away past the pillared front of St. George's church!
The castle and all its rocks, in peristrephic panorama, then floated cloud-like by—and we saw the whole mile-length of Prince's-street stretched before us, studded with innumerable coaches, chaises, chariots, carts, wagons, drays, gigs, shandrydans, and wheel-barrows, through among which we dashed, as if they had been as much gingerbread—while men on horseback were seen flinging themselves off, and drivers dismounting in all directions, making their escape up flights of steps and common stairs—mothers or nurses with broods of young children flying hither and thither in distraction, or standing on the very crown of the causeway, wringing their hands in despair. The wheel-barrows were easily disposed of—nor was there much greater difficulty with the gigs and shandrydans. But the hackney-coaches stood confoundedly in the way—and a wagon, drawn by four horses, and heaped up to the very sky with beer-barrels, like the Tower of Babel or Babylon, did indeed give us pause—but ere we had leisure to ruminate on the shortness of human life, we broke through between the leaders and the wheels with a crash of leathern breeching, dismounted collars, riven harness, and tumbling of enormous horses that was perilous to hear; when, as Sin and Satan would have it—would you believe it?—there, twenty kilts deep at the least, was the same accursed Highland regiment, the forty-second, with fixed bayonets, and all its pipers in the van, the pibroch yelling, squeaking, squealing, grunting, growling, roaring, as if it had only that very instant broken out—so, suddenly to the right—about went the bag-pipe-haunted mare, and away up the Mound, past the pictures of Irish Giants—Female Dwarfs—Albinos—an Elephant endorsed with towers—Tigers and Lions of all sorts—and a large wooden building, like a pyramid, in which there was the thundering of cannon—for the battle, we rather think, of Camperdown was going on—the Bank of Scotland seemed to sink into the NorLoch—one gleam through the window of the eyes of the Director-General—and to be sure how we did make the street-stalls of the Lawn-market spin! The man in St. Giles's steeple was playing his one o'clock tune on the bells, heedless in that elevation of our career—in less than no time John Knox, preaching from a house half-way down the Canongate, gave us the go-by—and down through one long wide sprawl of men, women, and children we wheeled past the Gothic front, and round the south angle of Holyrood, and across the King's-park, where wan and withered sporting debtors held up their hands and cried, Hurra—hurra—hurra—without stop or stay, up the rocky way that leads to St. Anthony's Well and Chapel—and now it was manifest that we were bound for the summit of Arthur's Seat. We hope that we were sufficiently thankful that a direction was not taken towards Salisbury Crags, where we should have been dashed into many million pieces. Free now from even the slightest suburban impediment, obstacle, or interruption, we began to eye our gradually rising situation in life—and looking over our shoulder, the sight of city and sea was indeed magnificent. There in the distance rose North Berwick Law—but though we have plenty of time now for description, we had scant time then for beholding perhaps the noblest scenery in Scotland. Up with us—up with us into the clouds—and just as St. Giles's bells ceased to jingle, and both girths broke, we crowned the summit, and sat on horseback like king Arthur himself, eight hundred feet above the level of the sea!
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John Leland, the father of the English antiquaries, was born in London, about the end of the reign of Henry VII. He was a pupil to William Lily, the celebrated grammarian—the first head master of St. Paul's school; and by the kindness and liberality of a Mr. Myles, he was sent to Christ's college. Cambridge. From this university he removed to All Souls, Oxford, where he paid particular attention to the Greek language. He afterwards went to Paris, where he cultivated the acquaintance of the principal scholars of the age, and could probably number among his correspondents the illustrious names of Buddoeus, Erasmus, the Stephani, Faber, and Turnebus; in this city he perfected himself in the knowledge of the Latin and Greek tongues, to which he afterwards added that of several modern languages. On his return to England he took orders, and was appointed one of the chaplains to Henry VIII., who gave him the rectory of Popelay, in the marshes of Calais, appointed him his library keeper, and conferred on him the title of Royal Antiquary, which no other person in this kingdom, before, or after possessed. In this character his majesty in 1533 granted him a commission, empowering him to search after England's antiquities, and peruse the libraries of all cathedrals, abbeys, priories, colleges, &c., as also all the places wherein records, writings, and whatever else was lodged that related to antiquity. "Before Leland's time," says Hearne, in his preface to the Itinerary, "all the literary monuments of antiquity were totally disregarded; and the students of Germany apprised of this culpable indifference, were suffered to enter our libraries unmolested, and to cut out of the books deposited there whatever passages they thought proper, which they afterwards published as relics of the ancient literature of their own country."
In this research Leland was occupied above six years in travelling through England, and in visiting all the remains of ancient buildings and monuments of every kind. On its completion, he hastened to the metropolis, to lay at the feet of his sovereign the result of his labours, which he presented to Henry, under the title of a "New Year's Gift," in which he says, "I have so traviled yn your dominions booth by the se costes and the midle partes, sparing nother labor nor costes, by the space of these vi. yeres paste, that there is almoste nother cape, nor bay, haven, creke or peers, river or confluence of rivers, breches, watchies, lakes, meres, fenny waters, montagnes, valleis, mores, hethes, forestes, chases wooddes, cities, burges, castelles, principale manor placis, monasteries, and colleges, but I have seene them; and notid yn so doing a hole worlde of thinges very memorable."
At the dissolution of the monasteries, Leland made application to Secretary Cromwell, to entreat his assistance in getting the MSS. they contained sent to the king's library. In 1542 Henry presented him with the valuable rectory of Hasely, in Oxfordshire; the year following he preferred him to a canonry of King's college, now Christchurch, Oxford, and about the same time collated him to a prebend in the church of Sarum. As his duties in the church did not require much active service, he retired with his collections to his house in London, where he sat about digesting them, and preparing the publication he had promised to the world; but either his intense application, or some other cause, brought upon him a total derangement of mind, and after lingering two years in this state, he died on the 18th of April, 1552.
The writings of Leland are numerous; in his lifetime he published several Latin and Greek poems, and some tracts on antiquarian subjects. His valuable and voluminous MSS., after passing through many hands, came into the Bodleian library, furnishing very valuable materials to Stow, Lambard, Camden, Burton, Dugdale, and many other antiquaries and historians. Polydore Virgil, who had stolen from them pretty freely, had the insolence to abuse Leland's memory—calling him "a vain glorious man." From these collections Hall published, in 1709, "Commentarii de Scriptoribus Brittanicis." "The Itinerary of John Leland, Antiquary," was published by the celebrated Hearne, at Oxford, in nine volumes, 8vo., 1710, of which a second edition was printed in 1745, with considerable improvements and additions. The same editor published "Joannis Lelandi Antiquarii de Rebus Brittanicis Collectanea." in six volumes, Oxon. 1716, 8vo.
[Footnote 4: This was published by Bale in 1549, 8vo.]
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THE SELECTOR AND LITERARY NOTICES OF NEW WORKS.
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[In a recent Number of the MIRROR we quoted from Mr. Montgomery's Pelican Island a beautiful description of the formation of coral reefs or rocks; and we are now induced to resume our extracts from this soul stirring poem, with the following description of the process by which these reefs or rocks become beautiful and picturesque islands. Mr. Montgomery's poetical talent is altogether of the highest order, or, to use a familiar phrase, his Pelican Island is "a gem of the first water." How exquisite is the following picture of creation!]
Here was the infancy of life, the age Of gold in that green isle, itself new-born, And all upon it in the prime of being, Love, hope, and promise, 'twas in miniature A world unsoil'd by sin; a Paradise Where Death had not yet enter'd; Bliss had newly Alighted, and shut close his rainbow wings, To rest at ease, nor dread intruding ill. Plants of superior growth now sprang apace, With moon-like blossoms crown'd, or starry glories; Light flexible shrubs among the greenwood play'd Fantastic freaks,—they crept, they climb'd, they budded, And hung their flowers and berries in the sun; As the breeze taught, they danced, they sung, they twined Their sprays in bowers, or spread the ground with net-work. Through the slow lapse of undivided time, Silently rising from their buried germs, Trees lifted to the skies their stately heads, Tufted with verdure, like depending plumage, O'er stems unknotted, waving to the wind: Of these in graceful form, and simple beauty, The fruitful cocoa and the fragrant palm Excell'd the wilding daughters of the wood, That stretch'd unwieldy their enormous arms, Clad with luxuriant foliage, from the trunk, Like the old eagle, feather'd to the heel; While every fibre, from the lowest root To the last leaf upon the topmost twig, Was held by common sympathy, diffusing Through all the complex frame unconscious life. Such was the locust with its hydra boughs, A hundred heads on one stupendous trunk; And such the mangrove, which, at full-moon flood, Appear'd itself a wood upon the waters, But when the tide left bare its upright roots, A wood on piles suspended in the air; Such too the Indian fig, that built itself Into a sylvan temple, arch'd aloof With airy aisles and living colonnades, Where nations might have worshipp'd God in peace. From year to year their fruits ungather'd fell; Not lost, but quickening where they lay, they struck Root downward, and brake forth on every hand, Till the strong saplings, rank and file, stood up, A mighty army, which o'erran the isle, And changed the wilderness into a forest. All this appear'd accomplish'd in the space Between the morning and the evening star: So, in his third day's work, Jehovah spake, And Earth, an infant, naked as she came Out of the womb of chaos, straight put on Her beautiful attire, and deck'd her robe Of verdure with ten thousand glorious flowers, Exhaling incense; crown'd her mountain-heads With cedars, train'd her vines around their girdles, And pour'd spontaneous harvests at their feet. Nor were those woods without inhabitants Besides the ephemera of earth and air; —Where glid the sunbeams through the latticed boughs, And fell like dew-drops on the spangled ground, To light the diamond-beetle on his way; —Where cheerful openings let the sky look down Into the very heart of solitude, On little garden-pots of social flowers, That crowded from the shades to peep at daylight; —Or where unpermeable foliage made Midnight at noon, and chill, damp horror reign'd O'er dead, fall'n leaves and slimy funguses; —Reptiles were quicken'd into various birth. Loathsome, unsightly, swoln to obscene bulk, Lurk'd the dark toad beneath the infected turf; The slow-worm crawl'd, the light cameleon climb'd, And changed his colour as his pace he changed; The nimble lizard ran from bough to bough, Glancing through light, in shadow disappearing; The scorpion, many-eyed, with sting of fire, Bred there,—the legion-fiend of creeping things; Terribly beautiful, the serpent lay, Wreath'd like a coronet of gold and jewels, Fit for a tyrant's brow; anon he flew Straight as an arrow shot from his own rings, And struck his victim, shrieking ere it went Down his strain'd throat, that open sepulchre. Amphibious monsters haunted the lagoon; The hippopotamus, amidst the flood, Flexile and active as the smallest swimmer; But on the bank, ill balanced and infirm, He grazed the herbage, with huge, head declined, Or lean'd to rest against some ancient tree. The crocodile, the dragon of the waters, In iron panoply, fell as the plague, And merciless as famine, cranch'd his prey, While, from his jaws, with dreadful fangs all serried, The life-blood dyed the waves with deadly streams. The seal and the sea-lion, from the gulf Came forth, and couching with their little ones. Slept on the shelving rocks that girt the shores, Securing prompt retreat from sudden danger; The pregnant turtle, stealing out at eve, With anxious eye, and trembling heart, explored The loneliest coves, and in the loose warm sand Deposited her eggs, which the sun hatch'd: Hence the young brood, that never knew a parent, Unburrow'd and by instinct sought the sea; Nature herself, with her own gentle hand, Dropping them one by one into the flood, And laughing to behold their antic joy, When launch'd in their maternal element. The vision of that brooding world went on; Millions of beings yet more admirable Than all that went before them now appear'd; Flocking from every point of heaven, and filling Eye, ear, and mind, with objects, sounds, emotions Akin to livelier sympathy and love Than reptiles, fishes, insects, could inspire; —Birds, the free tenants of land, air, and ocean, Their forms all symmetry, their motions grace; In plumage delicate and beautiful, Thick without burthen, close as fishes' scales, Or loose as full-blown poppies to the breeze; With wings that might have had a soul within them, They bore their owners by such sweet enchantment; —Birds, small and great, of endless shapes and colours, Here flew and perch'd, there swam and dived at pleasure; Watchful and agile, uttering voices wild And harsh, yet in accordance with the waves Upon the beech, the winds in caverns moaning, Or winds and waves abroad upon the water. Some sought their food among the finny shoals, Swift darting from the clouds, emerging soon With slender captives glittering in their beaks; These in recesses of steep crags constructed Their eyries inaccessible, and train'd Their hardy broods to forage in all weathers; Others, more gorgeously apparell'd, dwelt Among the woods, on Nature's dainties feeding, Herbs, seeds, and roots; or, ever on the wing, Pursuing insects through the boundless air: In hollow trees or thickets these conceal'd Their exquisitely woven nests; where lay Their callow offspring, quiet as the down On their own breasts, till from her search the dam With laden bill return'd, and shared the meal Among the clamorous suppliants, all agape; Then, cowering o'er them with expanded wings, She felt how sweet it is to be a mother. Of these, a few, with melody untaught, Turn'd all the air to music within hearing, Themselves unseen; while bolder quiristers On loftier branches strain'd their clarion-pipes, And made the forest echo to their screams Discordant,—yet there was no discord there, But temper'd harmony: all tones combining, In the rich confluence often thousand tongues, To tell of joy and to inspire it. Who Could hear such concert, and not join in chorus? Not I;—sometimes entranced, I seem'd to float Upon a buoyant sea of sounds: again With curious ear I tried to disentangle The maze of voices, and with eye as nice To single out each minstrel, and pursue His little song through all its labyrinth, Till my soul enter'd into him, and felt Every vibration of his thrilling throat, Pulse of his heart, and flutter of his pinions. Often, as one among the multitude, I sang from very fulness of delight; Now like a winged fisher of the sea, Now a recluse among the woods,—enjoying The bliss of all at once, or each in turn.
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RAPIDS OF NIAGARA.
The Rapids begin about half a mile above the cataract; and although the breadth of the river might at first make them appear of little importance, a nearer inspection will convince the stranger of their actual size, and the terrific danger of the passage. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood regard it as certain death to get once involved in them; and that, not merely because all escape from the cataract would be hopeless, but because the violent force of the water among the rocks in the channel, would instantly dash the bones of a man in pieces. Instances are on record of persons being carried down by the stream; indeed there was an instance of two men carried over in March last; but no one is known to have ever survived. Indeed, it is very rare that the bodies are found; as the depth of the gulf below the cataract, and the tumultuous agitation of the eddies, whirlpools, and counter currents, render it difficult for any thing once sunk to rise again; while the general course of the water is so rapid, that it is soon hurried far down the stream. The large logs which are brought down in great numbers during the spring, bear sufficient testimony to these remarks. Wild ducks, geese, &c. are frequently precipitated over the cataract, and generally re-appear either dead, or with their legs or wings broken. Some say that water-fowl avoid the place when able to escape, but that the ice on the shores of the river above often prevents them from obtaining food, and that they are carried down from mere inability to fly; while others assert that, they are sometimes seen voluntarily riding among the rapids, and, after descending half-way down the cataract, taking wing, and returning to repeat their dangerous amusement.—American Work.
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Sir Knight, heed not the clarion's call, From hill, or from valley, or turretted hall; Cease, holy Friar, cease for awhile The anthem that swells through the fretted aisle; Forester bold, to the bugle's sound Listen no longer, though gaily wound, But haste to the bridal, haste away, Where love's rebeck is tuned to a sweeter lay.
Sir Knight, Sir Knight, no longer twine The laurel-leaf o'er that bold brow of thine; Friar, to-day from thy temples tear The ivy garland that sages wear; To-day, bold Forester, cast aside Thy oak-leaf crown, the woodland's pride, And bind round your brows the myrtle gay, While the rebeck resounds love's sweetest lays.
Sir Knight, urge not now the gallant steed O'er the plains that to honour and glory lead; Friar, forget thy order's vow, And pace not the gloomy cloisters now. Chase no longer with bow and with spear, Forester bold, the dappled deer, But tread me a measure as light and gay As ever kept lime to the rebeck's lay.
Neele's Romance of History.
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"I am but a Gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff."—Walton.
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Sterne pitied the man who could travel from Dan to Beersheba, and say all "was barren:" however delighted travellers or tourists may be on their journey, it is surprising how few details are preserved in their memory. This occasioned Dr. Johnson to remark, in his "Tour to the Hebrides," how much the lapse even "of a few hours takes from the certainty of knowledge, and the distinctness of imagery;" and that "those who trust to memory what cannot be safely trusted but to the eye, must tell by guess, what a few hours before they had known with certainty." We were never more convinced of the importance of these observations than after our first visit to the dock-yard, at Portsmouth. In collating some little memoranda made on the spot, we referred to our party, (seven in number) on our return to the inn, for the extent of the dock-yard: not one of them could give a correct answer, though all had just heard it detailed and explained with accuracy. Dr. Kitchener may well recommend tourists to walk about with note-books in their hands! and such inadvertence as the preceding almost warrants the oddity of his suggestion.
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MOTTOES FOR DECANTER LABELS.
Arridet PORTus? subeat non causa doloris.
SumebatiS HERI? non dolor est hodie.
Hic liquor est molLIS BONus, aptus ad omnia laeta.
Oppida ne CALCA VALLAta ad praelia, quoerens, Sisonitum capias ecce tibi est Volupe.
Dum lucet CLARE Te magis iste trahat.
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Dr. Gregory, father of the late celebrated professor in Edinburgh, when a student in a part of Germany where malaria prevailed, from being a philosopher and living low, drinking only water, was seized with intermittent fever, when his jolly companions, who ate and drank freely, escaped. If brandy or other stimulants are taken previous to exposure to malaria, intermittent fever is generally prevented. Such are the opinions of the doctor, and if Dr. Macculloch be right, we suggest the establishment of a brandy vault at each angle of the parks, that every passenger may prepare himself.
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When the late Lord Howe was a captain, a lieutenant, not remarkable for courage or presence of mind in dangers (common fame had brought some imputation upon his character) ran to the great cabin and informed his commander that the ship was on fire near the gun-room. Soon after this he returned exclaiming, "You need not be afraid as the fire is extinguished." "Afraid!" replied Captain H. a little nettled, "how does a man feel, Sir, when he is afraid? I need not ask how he looks."
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We frequently find backgammon boards with backs lettered as if they were two folio volumes. The origin of it was thus; Eudes, bishop of Sully, forbade his clergy to play at chess. As they were resolved not to obey the commandment, and yet dared not have a chess-board seen in their houses or cloisters, they had them bound and lettered as books, and played at night, before they went to bed, instead of reading the New Testament or the Lives of the Saints; and the monks called the draft or chess-board their wooden gospels. They had also drinking vessels bound to resemble the breviary, and were found drinking, when it was supposed they were at prayer.—Literary Gazette.
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LOVE OF THE COUNTRY.
Country people will tell you that they like the country, and detest the town, although their enjoyments are of a kind which may be obtained in far greater perfection in the latter than in the former. The only person I ever knew who was honest in this respect, was a gentleman, the possessor of a beautiful seat, in a beautiful country, when he avowed his opinion, that there was "no garden like Covent-garden, and no flower like a cauliflower."
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The Morning Chronicle, Nov. 20, in noticing the funeral of the late Mr. Sale, says, "At a little after three o'clock, the body of the lamented gentleman entered the church."
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LIMBIRD'S EDITION OF THE BRITISH NOVELIST, Publishing in Monthly Parts, price 6d. each.—Each Novel will be complete in itself, and may be purchased separately.
The following Novels are already Published:
Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield 0 10 The Mysteries of Udolpho 3 6 Mackenzie's Man of Feeling 0 6 Rasselas 0 8 Paul and Virginia 0 6 The Old English Baron 0 8 The Castle of Otranto 0 8 The Romance of the Forest 1 8 Almoran and Hamet 0 6 Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia 0 6 Nature and Art 0 8 The Italian 2 0 A Simple Story 1 4 The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne 0 6 Sicilian Romance 1 0 The Man of the World 1 0 Zelaco, by Dr. Moore 2 0 Joseph Andrews 1 6 Humphry Clinker 1 8 Edward, by Dr. Moore 2 6
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