THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 17, NO. 482.] SATURDAY, MARCH 26, 1831. [PRICE 2d.
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Who has not heard of the Vicar of Bray, and his turning, turning, and turning again? Here is his church, and a goodly tower withal, which we, in our turn, have endeavoured to turn to the illustration of our pages. There is no sinister motive in the selection; but if we have hit the white, or rather the black, of such variableness, "let the galled jade wince," and pay the Mirror the stale compliment of veluti in speculum.
Bray is a small village about one mile from Maidenhead, and its name would have remained "unsaid, unsung," had it not been for its never-enough-to-be-ridiculed Vicar. Camden supposes Bray to have been occupied by the Bibroci, who submitted to Caesar, and obtained his protection, and with it a secure possession of one of the most beautiful spots in this county; so that submissiveness seems to have been the very air of the place in all times. Philippa, the queen of Edward III., had rents assigned to her from this and the adjoining manor of Cookham. It is now considered as part of the royal domain, being attached to the liberties of Windsor Castle, and retaining some peculiar privileges, among which is an exemption from tolls in the adjacent market-towns. In default of male heirs, lands are not divided here among females of the same degree of kindred, but descend solely to the eldest. The church is "a spacious structure," says the Windsor Guide, and "composed of various materials, and exhibiting a mixture of almost every style of architecture," says the "Beauties of England and Wales;" but we leave the reader to his own conclusion from our Engraving, sketched in the summer of last year. We take for granted the church does not change in appearance every year, if its Vicar once did in creed.
The story of the Vicar of Bray is told with some variations, but the fact is not questioned. In the Beauties of England and Wales we read that his name was Simon Symonds, that he possessed the benefice in the reign of Henry VIII. and the three succeeding monarchs, and that he died in the forty-first year of Elizabeth. "This man was twice a Protestant and twice a Papist; and when reproached for the unsteadiness of his principles, which could thus suffer him to veer with every change of administration, replied, 'that he had always governed himself by what he thought a very laudable principle, which was, never on any terms, if he could avoid it, to part with his vicarage." This creed has been amplified into a song, which we shall quote presently, more for its being a good conceite than for its scarceness.
The author just quoted from the Beauties observes, in a note—"Several late writers, particularly Ireland and Ferrar, who have mentioned the above circumstances, describe them as happening in the reign of Charles the Second, James the Second, &c. This mistake throws the imputation of apostacy on the worthy person who held the vicarage towards the conclusion of the 17th century. It should be remarked, that the story was first published by Fuller, in his Church History; and as the author died in the year 1661, it is evident that it must have been circulated previous to that event."
We have not the Church History at hand, but Fuller, in his Worthies, says, "Bray is a village well known in Barkshire, the vivacious Vicar whereof, living under King Henry the Eighth, King Edward the Sixth, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, was first a Papist, then a Protestant, then a Papist, then a Protestant again. This Vicar being tax't by one for being a turncoat, not so (said he) for I always kept my principles, which is this, to live and die Vicar of Bray."
Lastly, here is the song:—
THE VICAR OF BRAY.
In good King Charles's golden days, When loyalty had no harm in't, A zealous high-churchman I was, And so I got preferment. To teach my flock I never miss'd: Kings are by God appointed; And those are damn'd that do resist, And touch the Lord's anointed: And this is law, I will maintain Until my dying day, sir, That whatsoever king shall reign, I will be Vicar of Bray, sir.
When royal James obtain'd the throne, And Popery came in fashion, The penal laws I booted down, And read the declaration: The Church of Rome I found would fit Full well my constitution; And had become a Jesuit, But for the Revolution, And this is law, &c.
When William was our king declared, To ease the nation's grievance, With his new wind about I steer'd, And swore to him allegiance: Old principles I did revoke, Set conscience at a distance; Passive obedience was a joke, And pish for non-resistance. And this is law, &.c.
When gracious Anne ascends the throne. The Church of England's glory, Another face of things was seen, And I became a Tory: Occasional conformists base, I damn'd their moderation, And thought the church in danger was By such prevarication, And this is law, &c.
When George in pudding-time came o'er, And moderate men look'd big, sir, I turn'd a cat-in-pan once more, And then became a Whig, sir: And so preferment I procured By our new faith's defender, And always every day abjured The Pope and the pretender. And this is law, &c.
The illustrious house of Hanover, And Protestant succession, To these I do allegiance swear While they can keep possession: For by my faith and loyalty I never more will falter, And George my lawful king shall be Until the time shall alter. And this is law, &c.
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ANOTHER OLD SONG.
ORIGIN OF THE SONG "FOUR AND TWENTY FIDDLERS ALL ON A ROW."
The fiddle was not allowed to be a concert instrument till the reign of Charles the Second, who, in imitation of Louis the Fourteenth, established a band of twenty-four violins, alias fiddles, which gave birth to Tom Durfey's song of "Four and Twenty Fiddlers all on a Row," &c.: a humorous production, in which there is a mockery of every instrument, and almost every trade, and which used to be performed between the acts, or between the play and farce, by some man of humour at benefits.
The author of the Guardian, in No. 67, gives an account of Tom Durfey, with a view to recommend him to the public notice for a benefit play, and says, that he remembered King Charles the Second leaning on Tom Durfey's shoulder more than once, and humming over a song with him.
Roi des Violons, or King of the Fiddlers, was anciently a title in France. It became defunct, in 1685, owing to anarchy—thus harmony and discord cannot agree.
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(For the Mirror.)
"A churchyard!—'tis a homely word, yet full Of feeling; and a sound that o'er the heart Might shed religion."
Ruins! so dark and lone, The pride of other years, On which the stars have shone, To light the mourners' tears; The ivy clings to ye, And softly hums the bee Where violets blue are blooming, The liquid dews perfuming, Beneath each withered tree.
Tombs! o'er your nameless stone What gentle hearts have wept, And there, at midnight lone, Their silent vigils kept; There Beauty laid her wreath, And Love seem'd "strong as death," Around the pale shrines sighing, While plaintive winds were dying With music in their breath.
But childhood loves to stray Whene'er the sward is green, Round your mementos grey, And haunts the mouldering scene; And lovely in repose, At sunset's gorgeous close, Your holy walls seem blending With purple light descending Upon the beauteous rose.
Tombs of the past unknown! Ye are fringed with violets blue, And clouds have laved your stone With sweetest tears of dew; But when, by angels given, The last dread peal of heaven Shall rend ye all asunder With its immortal thunder, Your dead shall claim their heaven.
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PORTRAIT OF STERNE.
(To the Editor.)
As many of the pages of your extensively-circulated little work have preserved memorials of Laurence Sterne, I hope you can spare room for the underwritten extract, from a letter of his to Mr. Garrick, dated Paris, March, 1762, and which may be seen in Vol I. of Mrs. Medalle's "Letters of the late L. Sterne."
My object in thus troubling you is, in the hope (perhaps you will say an almost forlorn, or distant one) that possibly some one of your readers, either here or abroad, maybe able to suggest where it is likely the under-mentioned whole-length portrait may now be of that once very distinguished man.
A CONSTANT READER.
"I shandy it away fifty times more than I was ever wont, talk more nonsense than ever you heard me talk in your days—and to all sorts of people. Qui le diable est cet homme la ... said Choiseul, t'other day. You'll think me as vain as a devil, was I to tell you the rest of the dialogue.... The Duke of Orleans has suffered my portrait to be added to the number of some odd men in his collection; and a gentleman who lives with him has taken it most expressively, at full length. I purpose to obtain an etching of it, and to send it to you."
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EPITOME OF THE ANCIENT KINGDOM OF POLAND.
(For the Mirror.)
Poland was once the country of the Vandals, who left it to invade the Roman Empire. The kingdom began, by favour of Otho III., Emperor of Germany, under Boleslaus, 999; Red Russia was added to it in 1059; Pomerania, that had been separated 180 years, again united with it, 1465; embraced Christianity, 965; the order of the White Eagle instituted in 1705. The peasants in Poland were serfs or slaves, and the value of an estate was not estimated from its extent, but from the number of the peasants who were transferred, like cattle, from one master to another. The first person who granted freedom to his peasants was Zamoiski, formerly grand chancellor, who in 1760 enfranchised six villages. The Jews were first introduced into Poland about the time of Casimir the Great; they were indulged with great privileges, and became so numerous that Poland was styled the Paradise of the Jews. So late as the thirteenth century, the Poles retained the custom of killing old men when past their labour, and such children as were born imperfect. "The natural strength of Poland, if properly exerted, (says a modern writer) would have formed a more certain bulwark against the ambition of her neighbours than the faith of treaties;" and it is worthy of remark, that of the three partitioning powers, Prussia was formerly in a state of vassalage to the republic; Russia once saw her capital and throne possessed by the Poles, under Sigismund III. whose troops got possession of Moscow, and whose son, Ladislaus, was chosen Great Duke of Muscovy, by a party of the Russian nobles; and Austria was indebted to John Sobieski, King of Poland, who, in 1683, compelled the Turks to raise the siege of Vienna, and delivered the house of Austria from the greatest dangers it ever experienced.
"The partition of Poland (says Mr. Coxe,) was first projected by the King of Prussia."
In 1794, Suwarof laid siege to Praga, a fortified suburb of Warsaw, and carried it by assault, with a tremendous carnage. The king was compelled to abdicate, and the whole country was incorporated in the dominion of Russia, Prussia, and Austria.
Early in 1797 Stanislaus arrived at Petersburg, and, according to the appointment of the sovereign, fixed his residence in the Marble Palace, on the banks of the Neva; but his death, which happened on the 12th of February, 1798, terminated the series of Polish sovereigns:
"Hope for a season bade the world farewell, And Freedom shriek'd as Kosciusko fell."
Queen Elizabeth so highly prized the merit and abilities of Sir Philip Sydney, that she sent him ambassador to Vienna, and to several courts in Germany; and when the fame of his valour became so extensive that he was put in election for the crown of Poland, she refused to further his advancement, lest (says Baker) she should lose the brightest jewel of her crown. This Marcellus of the English nation was killed at the battle of Zutphen, in 1585, while he was mounting the third horse, having before had two killed under him.
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THE HOUR OF PHANTASY.
"The atmosphere that circleth gifted minds Is from a deep intensity derived, An element of thought, where feelings shape Themselves to fancies,—an electric world Too exquisitely toned for common life, Which they of coarser metal cannot dream."
There is an hour when Memory lends To Thought her intellectual part, When visions of departed friends Restore their beauty to the heart; And like the sunset's crimson light To fading scenes of Nature given, They make our meditations bright With hopes inspired by heaven.
The vivid glance of those blue eyes Which haunted us with early love, Like stars that seem'd in cloudless skies Transferr'd from earth to shine above,— And voices whispering from the dead, Or where the violets' lips enclose, Around our languid spirits shed Their halo of repose.
It is the hour of thought profound, When Memory's heart, depress'd with gloom, Laments upon the sculptured mound, And dreams beside the visioned tomb; When voices from the dead arise, Like music o'er the starlit sea, And holiest commune sanctifies The Hour of Phantasy.
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MANNERS & CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.
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APPLICANTS FOR THE FLITCH OF DUNMOW.
(For the Mirror.)
Aubry de Falstaff, son of Sir John Falstaff, Knight, with Dame Maude, his wife, were the first that demanded the bacon, he having bribed twain of his father's companions to swear falsely in his behoof, whereby he gained the flitch; but he and his said wife falling immediately into a dispute how the bacon should be dressed, it was, by order of the judges, taken from him, and hung up again in the Hall.
Alison, the wife of Stephen Freckle, brought her said husband along with her, and set forth the good conditions and behaviour of her consort, adding withal that she doubted not but he was ready to attest the like of her, his wife; whereupon he, the said Stephen, shaking his head, she turned short upon him, and gave him a box on the ear. Philip de Waverland having laid his hand up the book, when the clause, "were I sole and she sole" was rehearsed, found a secret compunction rising in his mind, and stole it off again.
Richard de Loveless, who was a courtier, and a very well bred man, being observed to hesitate at the words "after our marriage," was thereupon desired to explain himself. He replied by talking very largely of his exact complaisance while he was a lover, and alleged that he had not in the least disobliged his wife for a year and a day before marriage, which he hoped was the same thing. (Rejected.)
Joceline Jolly, Esq. making it appear, by unquestionable testimony, that he and his wife had preserved full and entire affection for the space of the first month, commonly called the Honey Moon, he had, in consideration thereof, one rasher bestowed upon him.
After this (says the record) many years passed over before any demandant appeared at Wichenovre Hall,—insomuch, that one would have thought that the whole country had turned Jews, so little was their affection to the flitch of bacon.
The next couple enrolled had like to have carried it, if one of the witnesses had not deposed, that dining on a Sunday with the demandant, whose wife had sat below the squire's lady at church, she, the said wife, dropped some expressions, as if she thought her husband deserved to be knighted, to which he returned a passionate "pish!" The judges taking the premises into consideration, declared the aforesaid behaviour to imply an unwarrantable ambition in the wife, and anger in the husband.
It is recorded as a sufficient disqualification of a certain wife, that, speaking of her husband, she said, "God forgive him."
It is likewise remarkable, that a couple were rejected upon the deposition of one of their neighbours, that the lady had once told her husband that it was her duty to obey; to which he replied, "Oh, my dear, you are never in the wrong."
The violent passion of one lady for her lap-dog, the turning away of her old housemaid by another; a tavern bill torn by the wife, and a tailor's by the husband; a quarrel about the kissing crust, spoiling of dinners, and coming home late of nights, are so many several articles which occasioned the reprobation of some scores of demandants, whose names are recorded in the aforesaid register.
Without enumerating other particular persons, I shall content myself with observing that the sentence pronounced against one Gervase Poacher is, that he might have had bacon to his eggs, if he had not heretofore scolded his wife when they were over-boiled. And the deposition against Dorothy Doolittle runs in these words—That if she had so far usurped the dominion of the coal fire (the stirring whereof her husband claimed to himself) that by her good will she never would suffer the poker out of her hand.
I find but two couples in the first century that were successful. The first was a sea captain and his wife, who, since the day of their marriage, had not seen one another till the day of the claim; the second was an honest pair in the neighbourhood—the husband was a man of plain good sense and a peaceable temper, and the woman was dumb.
THOS. HY. PRS.
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THE BORROWING DAYS.
(For the Mirror.)
Proverbs relating to the weather are of uncertain origin. The Glossary explains the Borrowing Days the three last of March, and adds concerning the origin of this term, the following popular rhyme is often repeated:—
"March borrow it fra Averill Three days and they were ill, Also March said to Aprill I see three hogs upon a hill, But lend your three first days to me And I'll be bound to gar them die. The first it sall be wind and weet, The next it sall be snaw and sleet, The third it sall be sic a freeze, Sall gar the birds stick to the trees, But when the Borrowed Days were gone, The three silly hogs came hedglin home."
Complaint of Scotland.
The Country Almanack for 1676, says of April—
"No blushing blasts from March needs April borrow, His own oft proves enow to breed us sorrow, Yet if he weyr with us to sympathize, His trickling tears will make us wipe our eyes."
In the British Apollo, the meaning of the old poetical saying is asked—
"March borrows of April Three days and they are ill, April returns them back again Three days, and they are rain."
In Devonshire the three first days of March are called "blind days," unlucky days, and upon them no farmer will sow his seed.
Dr. Jamison in his Dictionary of the Scottish Language, says "These days being generally stormy, our forefathers have endeavoured to account for this circumstance by pretending that March borrowed them from April, that he might extend his power so much longer. Those (he adds) who are much addicted to superstition, will neither borrow nor lend on any of these days. If one should propose to borrow of them they would consider it as an evidence that the person wished to employ the article borrowed, for the purposes of witchcraft against the lenders. Some of the vulgar imagine that these days received their designation from the conduct of the Israelites, in borrowing the property of the Egyptians. This extravagant idea must have originated partly from the name, and partly from the circumstance of these days nearly corresponding to the time when the Israelites left Egypt, which was on the fourteenth day of the month Mib or Nisan, including part of our March and April. I know not whether our Western Magi suppose that the inclemency of the borrowing days had any reference to the storm which proved so fatal to the Egyptians."
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THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF NEW WORKS.
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(Continued from page 206.)
Such is Sanuto's brief narrative of the origin of this conspiracy; and we have nothing more certain to offer. It is not easy to say whence he obtained his intelligence. If such a conversation as that which he relates really did occur, it must have taken place without the presence of witnesses, and therefore could be disclosed only by one of the parties. It is far more likely that the chronicler is relating that which he supposed, than that which he knew; and, as it must be admitted that the interview with the admiral of the Arsenal occurred, and that, immediately after it, the doge was found linked with the daring band of which that officer was chief, there is no violation of probability in granting that some such conversation took place, and that the train was ignited by this collision of two angry spirits. Whether the plot was in any degree organized beforehand, or arose at the moment, it is manifestly impossible for us to decide, without information which cannot now be obtained.
Bertucci Faliero, a nephew of the doge, and Filippo Calendaro, a seaman of great repute, were summoned to conference immediately. It was agreed to communicate the design to six other associates; and, during many nights successively, these plebeian assassins arranged with the doge, under the roof of his own palace, the massacre of the entire aristocracy, and the dissolution of the existing government. "It was concerted that sixteen or seventeen leaders should be stationed in various parts of the city, each being at the head of forty men, armed and prepared; but the followers were not to know their destination. On the appointed day, they were to make affrays amongst themselves here and there, in order that the duke might have a pretence for tolling the bells of San Marco, which are never rung but by the order of the duke; and at the sound of the bells, these sixteen or seventeen, with their followers, were to come to San Marco, through the streets which open upon the Piazza; and when the nobles and leading citizens should come to the Piazza to know the cause of the riot, then the conspirators were to cut them in pieces; and this work being finished, my Lord Marino Faliero the Duke was to be proclaimed Lord of Venice. Things having been thus settled, they agreed to fulfil their attempt on Wednesday, the 15th day of April, in the year 1355. So covertly did they plot that no one ever dreamed of their machinations."
As a previous step, in order to arouse popular feeling against the Great Council, it was determined to practise a singular stratagem. Parties of the conspirators paraded different quarters of the capital in the dead of night, and having stopped at the windows of some citizens of the middle and lower classes, and there insulted the women of the family by scandalous and unseemly propositions, they retired with rude bursts of laughter, calling each other loudly by the names of the principal noblemen. Perhaps the rapidity with which their design was framed, tended much to its concealment. Scarcely a little month had elapsed since its first projection, and now the following day was to destroy the constitution of Venice, to deluge her streets with patrician blood, and to pluck up all her ancient stocks from their very roots, without a suspicion of the approaching calamity having glanced across the intended victims.—Either the Council of X could not yet have obtained its subsequent fearful and extraordinary ubiquity, or the conspirators must have exhibited a prudence and self-control rarely, if ever, paralleled by an equally large body of men, engaged in a similar attempt. To their minor agents, their ultimate design had not been revealed; and even in the end, the discovery arose not from treachery, nor from incaution, but from "a compunctious visiting" of one framed of stuff less stern than his associates, and who shrank from the murder of a benefactor. The part played by Tresham in that yet more bloody conspiracy, which the Papists, in after days, framed against the three estates of England, was but a repetition of that now enacted in Venice by Beltramo of Bergamo. Beltramo had been brought up in a noble family, to which he was closely attached, that of Nicolo Lioni, of San Stefano; and, anxious to preserve his patron's life, he went to him on the evening before the rising, and entreated him to remain at home on the morrow. The singular nature of the request excited surprise, which was increased to suspicion by the ambiguous answers returned to farther inquiries which it suggested. By degrees, every particular of the treason was revealed; and Lioni heard of the impending danger with terror, and of the hands by which it was threatened, with astonishment and slowly-accorded belief. Not a moment was to be lost; he secured Beltramo, therefore, and, having communicated with a few friends, they resolved upon assembling the heads of the different magistracies, and immediately seizing such ringleaders as had been denounced. These were taken, at their own houses, without resistance. Precautions were adopted against any tumultuous gathering of the mechanics of the Arsenal, and strict orders were issued to the keeper of the Campanile not on any account to toll the bells.
In the course to be pursued with the lesser malefactors, no difficulty was likely to arise: the rack and the gibbet were their legal portion. But for the doge, the law afforded no precedent; and, upon a crime which it had not entered into the mind of man to conceive (as with that nation which, having never contemplated parricide, had neglected to provide any punishment for it), no tribunal known to the constitution was competent to pass judgment. The Council of X. demanded the assistance of a giunta of twenty nobles, who were to give advice, but not to ballot; and this body having been constituted, "they sent for my Lord Marino Faliero the Duke, and my Lord was then consorting in the palace with people of great estate, gentlemen, and other good men, none of whom knew yet how the fact stood."
The ringleaders were immediately hanged between the Red Columns on the Piazzetta—some singly, some in couples; and the two chiefs of them, Bertuccio Israello and Calendaro, with a cruel precaution not uncommon in Venice, were previously gagged. Nor was the process of the highest delinquent long protracted. He appears neither to have denied nor to have extenuated his guilt; and, 'on Friday the 16th day of April, judgment was given in the Council of X. that my Lord Marino Faliero the Duke should have his head cut off, and that the execution should be done on the landing-place of the stone staircase, the Giant's Stairs, where the doges take their oath when they first enter the palace. On the following day, the doors of the palace being shut, the duke had his head cut off, about the hour of noon; and the cap of estate was taken from the duke's head before he came down the staircase. When the execution was over, it is said, that one of the chiefs of the Council of X. went to the columns of the palace against the Piazza, and, displaying the bloody sword, exclaimed, "Justice has fallen on the traitor!" and, the gates being then opened, the populace eagerly rushed in to see the doge who had been executed.'
The body of Faliero was conveyed, by torchlight, in a gondola, and unattended by the customary ceremonies, to the church of San Giovanni and San Paolo; in the outer wall of which a stone coffin is still imbedded, with an illegible inscription, which once presented the words, Hic jacet Marinus Feletro Dux. His lands and goods were confiscated to the state, with the exception of 2,000 ducats, of which he was permitted to dispose; and, yet further to transmit to posterity the memory of his enormous crime, his portrait was not admitted to range with those of his brother doges in the Hall of the Great Council. In the frame which it ought to occupy is suspended a black veil, inscribed with the words, Hic est locus Marini Feletro decapitati pro criminibus.
The fate of Beltramo deserves a few words. He was amply rewarded for his opportune discovery, by a pension of a thousand ducats in perpetuity, the grant of a private residence which had belonged to Faliero, and inscription in the Golden Book. Dissatisfied, however, with this lavish payment for a very ambiguous virtue, he lost no occasion of taxing the nobles with neglect of his services, and of uttering loud calumnies against them, both secretly and in public. The government, wearied by his importunities and ingratitude, at length deprived him of his appointments, and sentenced him to ten years exile at Ragusa; but his restless and turbulent spirit soon prompted him to seek a spot less under the control of the signory, in which he might vent his railings afresh, and with impunity. It is probable that the long arm of the Council of X. arrested his design, for we are significantly informed that he perished on his way to Pannonia.
The volume is embellished with seven Plates, by Finden, from Drawings by Prout; and nine characteristic Wood-cuts, chiefly from Titian. Considering the excellence of the originals, more pains might have been bestowed upon the latter; and Mr. Prout might surely have found different points of view from those he has so recently given in the Landscape Annual. The book altogether is a marvel of cheapness.
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THE CITY OF THE FAIRIES.
(For the Mirror.)
Again, yet once again, during the days of my weary mortal pilgrimage, did the blessed vision of the veritable Fairy Land open upon my enchanted sight! Once more I found myself in that world of inexpressible beauty! The radiance and sweetness of delicious morning were around me;—balmy were the stealthy, odorous winds;—and the fluttering verdure of that pleasant land glittered like countless emeralds, and swelled itself in the breeze, as if conscious of, and glorying in, its immortality! Beside me flowed a river—or rather, a broad, bright, lovely lake—slumbering as stilly in the morning light as those who are at peace with the world, and with Heaven. Romantic woods skirted the shores of this waveless water;—here trees, for which the language of man hath no name, drooped gracefully over the liquid crystal—as if, in enamoured admiration, gazing upon their richly-coloured, luxuriant, and feathery foliage, reflected in vivid freshness upon the bosom of that transcendently natural mirror;—there, copse-wood, equally foreign and lovely, closed all interstices—whilst fruits of tempting form and colour, and flowers of inimitable hues, flashed like gems in the unclouded sunlight. I bowed down my head for a draught of the cool, clear waters, and immediately upon tasting them, felt through my frame a pleasant, vivifying thrill;—I felt also as if I had at once thrown off the heavy trammels of mortality, with its wearying cares, its feverish hopes, and its over-burdening sorrows. Light as air, fresh as morning, and joyful as the martyr at the gates of death, I gazed on the enchanting loveliness around me.
"Come!" sighed a voice, low and mellifluous as that of the wind-harp, parleying with "the breath of the sweet south,"—"ravishing and radiant as is this spot, its bowery beauty must thou quit, for the splendour of the Golden City, the City of the Fairies! Thrice happy mortal! thither, even to our city, am I commissioned to conduct thee!—Come!"
So saying, the tiny essence, whose substance resembled a portion of lucent morning mist, wrought into the draperied and miniature image of humanity, and whose slight figure skimmed the pure, thin air, extended its delicate hand, and smiling encouragement, beckoned me onwards. I followed—rather instinctively, than by any act of the understanding, for the faculties of my ravished spirit were absorbed, as in a dream of heaven, by the ethereal loveliness of this transcendent land, by the soft, crystalline light, the glorious, romantic landscape, the vivid verdure, the celestial odours, and by the snatches of unearthly melody, which ever and anon, borne on the undulating wings of the breeze, came from afar upon my wildered senses, breathing ineffable felicity. Above all, my bosom was immersed in a flood of delicious feeling, by the holy repose, the unutterable peace of the Fairy Paradise; and my heart, surcharged with rapture, could find no vent for the overwhelming influences of gladness and devotion, because I remembered that to me was speech in this hallowed land forbidden!
"Behold!" cried the friendly Fay, after we had traversed for some time the flowery wilds, "yonder is the City of the Fairies!"
Long indeed had my eyes been fixed upon a great, clear light, gleaming through a considerable cluster of luxuriantly foliaged trees, beneath whose spreading branches flitted and reposed numerous aerial beings, resembling my beautiful guide. Love, joy, innocence, and everlasting peace were sensibly expressed in their angelic countenances; and sweet were the words, precious the benisons, wherewith they welcomed a mortal into the Grove of the Golden City! The glorious light of that city proceeded from the sun shining full upon the palaces of sapphire-coloured crystal, erected in all styles of the richest architecture, each symmetrical in itself, and perfect in design and execution.—Fairy fancy, in sooth, seem to have been exhausted in supplying models of temples, palaces, castles, porticoes, colonnades, triumphal arches, &c. &c; for here was displayed every species of building of which Earth boasts for ornament and defence, in every order of every civilized nation on its bosom;—whilst orders and edifices, for which exist no denominations among men, arose and spread themselves—highly adorned, and richly magnificent—in this singularly superb and beautiful city. Not upon the model of Thebes, of Babylon, of Macedon, of Rome, or of Salem, did I, in the excess of astonishment, gaze—not upon any one of the proud triumphs of Art, ancient or modern; but rather upon a wild, yet exceedingly lovely, combination of, and improvement on, the Beautiful of all! Gates were there none to this city, neither closing portals to the habitations thereof; for rapine and violence were in that delicious land unknown. Highly-ornamented apertures, in the fashion of porticoes and arcades, &c., stood ever open for the ingress and egress of the social denizens of this Elfin Eden; and the windows of the shining structures seemed, when the orb of day poured down his glorious beams upon them, each a sun, being formed of entire white crystals, brilliant and spotlessly pure as adamant! But the dazzling and overwhelming effulgence of the Golden City as far surpasses the power of mortal speech to declare, as did it that of mortal eyes to endure. The ever-living wreathlets of odorous leaves and rainbow-coloured flowers, thickly clustering and climbing around column and pinnacle, and the shadowing trees, bending and waving with guardian air over and amidst temple and palace, were no defence against this supernatural radiance; but as my dazzled eyes unwittingly closed upon the brilliant vision of the Golden City, my auricular organs became more exquisitely sensible to the tide of heavenly melodies, now rolling in awful and inexpressible beauty around me; my spirit, lapped in ecstacy, quaffed with avidity the majestic stream, and upon me seemed opening the light and loveliness of worlds more enrapturing even, and ineffable, than this! But there was a pause in the music, and anon the magic bells of the Golden City were heard chiming in harp-like notes, which dropped upon the ear, small, distinct, and purely brilliant as the melodious tears of the Renealmia into the near bosom of the waters. A rush of fervent feeling and exhaustless poetry bore upon my yet subdued spirit;—resistless, but pleasant sadness enwrapt my soul;—yes! an unearthly and delicious mournfulness it was, more precious far than the transient sparklings and flashes of unalloyed mirth. But, alas! inadequate are words to convey an idea of the heavenly sensations—love, awe, sweet melancholy, divine joy, and unspeakable devotion—which then struggled for ascendancy in my softened, purified soul! An odorous, strong wind swept past me—in it was the sound of a rushing multitude who trod not upon earth, but cut the air alone; and in it, too, with the murmur of voices, was that of many instruments, touched only by the breeze.
"Hark!" cried my exquisite companion, "they pass to meet, and to welcome, to honour, to felicitate, and to crown, a Fairy emancipated from mortal toil; and those bells, all tones of which speak so eloquently of immortal peace and life—those liquid bells, at once so mysteriously sad and so blessed, send forth, in token of gratulation, their charmed songs. But hearken! for thou, O mortal! art permitted to hear the lay of welcome and victory chanted by heavenly essences, upon the arrival in this glorious region of our dear companion, who shall depart from it no more!"
Thereupon ensued a delicious burst of young, glad voices, and rich, sweet instruments; but, as a shadow to reality, as man to those immortal and spotless beings, so to their glorious Paean is the subsequent faint memory of
THE ELFIN TRIUMPHAL SONG.
Beautiful! beautiful!—On they float Those lyre-like bells—a soul in each note, A tongue in each tone of the elfin chime, To carol the bliss of our fadeless clime.
Beautiful! beautiful!—halcyon rest Breathe they to the weary, woe-worn breast; Lost in their song is the dream of Earth's dree, Companion dear! and they're singing for thee.
Beautiful! beautiful!—thou shalt feel Their eloquent music from thee steal Those darkling thoughts, that should mournfully twine With the light, the life, and the joy—now thine.
Beautiful! beautiful!—each glad bell Sings to thy soul—'Thou hast borne thee well: The toil, the strife, and the tempest are o'er, And thy rest is won—on the Deathless Shore.'
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
MR. HUNT, M.P. FOR PRESTON.
(From Speakers and Speeches in Parliament, in the New Monthly Magazine.)
Feb. 3. Mr. Hunt.—I was particularly curious to witness the debut of the Hon. Member for Preston, in an assembly so little accustomed, as that so long misnamed the House of Commons, to such an out-and-outer of the Demos coming between the wind and their nobility—to see whether any gaucherie of manner would betray an uneasy consciousness of his not being quite at ease among those scions of aristocracy, who occupy benches originally intended for the virtual representatives of the people. Mr. Hunt, on the whole, bore himself well; and, by a total absence of affectation, of either tone or manner—that surest test of the gentleman, at least of Nature's forming—disappointed his audience of their ready smiles at demagogue vulgarity. But once, and that for a moment, did his self-possession seem to fail him while going through the ceremonies preceding a new member's taking his seat. After the member has signed his name and taken the oaths, he is formally introduced by the Clerk of the House to the Speaker, who usually greets the new trespasser on his patience by a shake of the hands. This ceremony is in general performed by the present Speaker with a gloved hand towards those not particularly distinguished by wealth or pedigree. When the new member for Preston was introduced to him, he was in the act of taking snuff, with his glove off. Mr. Hunt made a bow, not remarkable for its graceful repose, at a distance—apprehensive, as it struck me, that the acknowledgment would be that of a noli me tangere, exclusive. He was agreeably disappointed: the Speaker gave him his ungloved hand at once, in a manner almost cordial; and Mr. Hunt took his seat, evidently pleased by the flattering courteousness of his reception.
I take it that the personal appearance of Mr. Hunt is too well known to require description. He is, take him altogether, perhaps the finest looking man in the House of Commons—tall, muscular, with a healthful, sun-tinged, florid complexion, and a manly Hawthorn deportment—half yeoman, half gentleman sportsman. To a close observer of the human face divine, however, his features are wanting in energy of will and fixedness of purpose. The brow is weak, and the eyes flittering and restless; and the mouth is usually garnished with a cold simper, not very compatible with that heart-born enthusiasm which precludes all doubt of truth and sincerity.
* * * * *
Friend, Truth is best of all. It is the bed Where Virtue e'er must spring, till blast of doom; Where every bright and budding thought is bred, Where Hope doth gain its strength, and Love its bloom.
As white as Chastity is single Truth, Like Wisdom calm, like Honour without end; And Love doth lean on it, in age and youth, And Courage is twice arm'd with Truth its friend.
Oh! who would face the blame of just men's eyes, And bear the fame of falsehood all his days, And wear out scorned life with useless lies, Which still the shifting, quivering look betrays?
For what is Hope, if Truth be not its stay? And what were Love, if Truth forsook it quite? And what were all the Sky,—if Falsehood gray Behind it like a Dream of Darkness lay, Ready to quench its stars in endless, endless night?
New Monthly Magazine.
* * * * *
SCENE FROM "THE FROGS OF ARISTOPHANES"
Translated in the Quarterly Review.
We are not at present breathing the air either of Christ Church meadow or Trinity gardens; and if our version of a piece of mere pleasantry, which involves nothing in it beyond a moment's laugh, should be so happy as to satisfy the 'general reader,' we shall affect 'for the nonce,' to know nothing of the objections which more scientific persons, the students of the brilliant Hermann, and acute Reisigius, might be supposed to make to our arrangement of this little extravaganza.
Scene, the Acherusian Lake. BACCHUS at the oar in Charon's Boat; CHARON;—CHORUS OF FROGS; in the background a view of Bacchus's Temple or Theatre, from which are heard the sound of a scenical entertainment.
Semi-chorus. Croak, croak, croak.
Semi-chorus. Croak, croak, croak.
(In answer, and with the music an octave lower.)
Full Chorus. Croak, croak, croak.
LEADER of the Chorus. When flagons were foaming, And roisterers were roaming, And bards flung about them their gibe and their joke; The holiest song Still was found to belong To the sons of the marsh, with their
Full Chorus Croak, croak.
LEADER. Shall we pause in our strain, Now the months bring again The pipe and the minstrel to gladden the folk? Rather strike on the ear With a note strong and clear, A chant corresponding of—
Chorus. Croak, croak.
BACCHUS (mimicking.) Croak, croak, by the gods I shall choke, If you pester and bore my ears any more With your croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. Rude companion and vain, Thus to carp at my strain; (To Chor) But keep in the vein, And attack him again With a croak, croak, croak.
Chorus (crescendo.) Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS (mimicking.) Croak, croak, vapour and smoke, Never think it, old Huff, That I care for such stuff, As your croak, croak, croak.
Chorus (fortissimo.) Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS. Now fires light on thee, And waters soak; And March winds catch thee Without any cloak. For within and without, From the tail to the snout, Thou'rt nothing but croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. And what else, captious Newcomer, say, should I be? But you know not to whom you are talking, I see: (With dignity) I'm the friend of the Muses, and Pan with his pipe, Holds me dearer by far than a cherry that's ripe: For the reed and the cane which his music supply, Who gives them their tone and their moisture but I? And therefore for ever I'll utter my cry Of—
Chorus. Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS. I'm blister'd, I'm fluster'd, I'm sick, I'm ill—
Chorus. Croak, croak.
BACCHUS. My dear little bull-frog, do prithee be still. 'Tis a sorry vocation—that reiteration, (I speak on, my honour, most musical nation,) Of croak, croak.
LEADER (maestoso.) When the sun rides in glory and makes a bright day, Mid lilies and plants of the water I stray; Or when the sky darkens with tempest and rain, I sink like a pearl in my watery domain: Yet, sinking or swimming. I lift up a song, Or I drive a gay dance with my eloquent throng, Then hey bubble, bubble— For a knave's petty trouble, Shall I my high charter and birth-right revoke? Nay, my efforts I'll double, And drive him like stubbie Before me, with—
Chorus. Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS. I'm ribs of steel, I'm heart of oak, Let us see if a note May be found in this throat To answer their croak, croak, croak. (Croaks loudly.)
LEADER. Poor vanity's son— And dost think me outdone, With a clamour no bigger Than a maiden's first snigger? (To Chorus) But strike up a tune, He shall not forget soon
(Chorus.) Of our croak, croak, croak,
(Croak, with a discordant crash of music.)
BACCHUS. I'm cinder, I'm coke, I have had my death-stroke; O, that ever I woke To be gall'd by the yoke Of this croak, croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. Friend, friend, I may not be still: My destinies high I must needs fulfil, And the march of creation—despite reprobation Must proceed with—(To Chor.) my lads, must I make application For a—
Chorus. Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS (in a minor key.) Nay, nay—take your own way, I've said out my say, And care naught, by my fai', For your croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. Care or care not, 'tis the same thing to me, My voice is my own and my actions are free; I have but one note, and I'll chant it with glee, And from morning to night that note it shall be—
Chorus. Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS. Nay then, old rebel, but I'll stop your treble, With a poke, poke, poke: Take this from my rudder—(dashing at the frogs)—and that from my oar, And now let us see if you'll trouble us more With your croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. You may batter and bore, You may thunder and roar, Yet I'll never give o'er Till I'm hard at death's door, —(This rib's plaguy sore)—
Semi-chorus With my croak, croak, croak.
Semi-chorus (diminuendo.) With my croak, croak, croak.
Full Chorus (in a dying cadence.) With my croak—croak—croak.
(The Frogs disappear)
BACCHUS (looking over the boat's edge.) Spoke, spoke, spoke. (To Charon.) Pull away, my old friend, For at last there's an end To their croak, croak, croak.
(Bacchus pays his two obols, and is landed)
 The comic performances of the Athenians were usually brought out at a festival of Bacchus, which lasted for three days. The first of these was devoted to the tapping of their wine-casks; the second to boundless jollity (Plato specifies a town, but not Athens, every single inhabitant of which was found in a state of intoxication on one of these festivals,) and the third to theatrical exhibitions in the temple of the patron of the feast. In this state of excitement it will be easily imagined that some coarser ingredients were required by the clever but licentious rabble of Athens, to whom these representations were more particularly addressed, besides the better commodities of rich poetry and wit; and hence the deformities which have been so much complained of in the writings of Aristophanes.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
* * * * *
LAYING A GHOST.
In the Memoirs of J.F. Oberlin, Pastor of a poor Protestant flock, in one of the wildest parts of France, we find the following pleasant recipe for laying a ghost:—
An honest tradesman, relying on the power of his faith, came to him one day, and after a long introduction, informed him, that a ghost, habited in the dress of an ancient knight, frequently presented itself before him, and awakened hopes of a treasure buried in his cellar; he had often, he said, followed it, but had always been so much alarmed by a fearful noise, and a dog which he fancied he saw, that the effort had proved fruitless, and he had returned as he went. This alarm on the one hand, and the hope of acquiring riches on the other, so entirely absorbed his mind, that he could no longer apply to his trade with his former industry, and had, in consequence, lost nearly all his custom. He therefore urgently begged Oberlin would go to his house, and conjure the ghost, for the purpose of either putting him in possession of the treasure, or of discontinuing its visits. Oberlin replied, that he did not trouble himself with the conjuration of ghosts, and endeavoured to weaken the notion of an apparition in the man's mind, exhorting him at the same time to seek for worldly wealth by application to his business, prayer, and industry. Observing, however, that his efforts were unavailing, he promised to comply with the man's request. On arriving at midnight at the tradesman's house, he found him in company with his wife and several female relations, who still affirmed that they had seen the apparition. They were seated in a circle in the middle of the apartment. Suddenly the whole company turned pale, and the man exclaimed, "Do you see, sir, the count is standing opposite to you?"
"I see nothing."
"Now, sir," exclaimed another terrified voice, "he is advancing towards you?"
"I still do not see him."
"Now he is standing just behind your chair."
"And yet I cannot see him; but, as you say he is so near me, I will speak to him." And then rising from his seat, and turning towards the corner where they said that he stood, he continued, "Sir Count, they tell me you are standing before me, although I cannot see you; but this shall not prevent me from informing you that it is scandalous conduct on your part, by the fruitless promise of a hidden treasure, to lead an honest man, who has hitherto faithfully followed his calling, into ruin—to induce him to neglect his business—and to bring misery upon his wife and children, by rendering him improvident and idle. Begone! and delude them no longer with such vain hopes."
Upon this the people assured him that the ghost vanished at once. Oberlin went home, and the poor man, taking the hint which in his address to the count he had intended to convey, applied to business with his former alacrity, and never again complained of his nocturnal visiter.
No ghost was ever more easily laid; but supposing the story to be accurately related, Oberlin's presence of mind is not more remarkable, than that the whole company should have concurred in affirming that they saw an apparition which was invisible to him.
* * * * *
A SCHOOLMASTER "ABROAD."
Bishop Percy has observed, that it might be discerned whether or not there was a clergyman resident in a parish, by the civil or brutal manners of the people; he might have thought that there never had resided one in the Ban de la Roche, if he had seen the state of the inhabitants when M. Stouber went thither to take possession of the cure in the year 1750. He, who entered upon it with a determination of doing his duty like a conscientious and energetic man, began first by inquiring into the manner of education there; and asking for the principal school, he was conducted to a miserable hovel, where there were a number of children "crowded together without any occupation, and in so wild and noisy a state, that it was with some difficulty he could gain a reply to his inquiries for the master."
"There he is," said one of them, as soon as silence could be obtained, pointing to a withered old man, who lay on a little bed in one corner of the apartment.
"Are you the schoolmaster, my good friend?" inquired Stouber.
"And what do you teach the children?"
"Nothing!—how is that?"
"Because," replied the old man, with characteristic simplicity, "I know nothing myself."
"Why, then, were you instituted schoolmaster?"
"Why, sir, I had been taking care of the Waldbach pigs for a great number of years, and when I got too old and infirm for that employment, they sent me here to take care of the children."
* * * * *
A custom prevailed in the neighbouring parts of Germany, where no farmer was allowed to marry till he had planted and was "father of a stated number of walnut trees, that law being inviolably observed," says Evelyn, "for the extraordinary benefit which the trees afford the inhabitants." What the Germans thus provided for by a wise law, Oberlin, a pious pastor of Waldbach, required as an act of religious duty, bringing that great principle into action on all occasions. Late in autumn he addressed his parishioners thus:—
"Dear Friends—Satan, the enemy of mankind, rejoices when we demolish and destroy; our Lord Jesus Christ, on the contrary, rejoices when we labour for the public good.
"You all desire to be saved by Him, and hope to become partakers of His glory. Please him, then, by every possible means, during the remainder of the time you may have to live in this world.
"He is pleased when, from the principle of love, you plant trees for the public benefit. Be willing, then to plant them. Plant them in the best possible manner. Remember, you do it to please Him.
"Put all your roads into good condition; ornament them; employ some of your trees for this purpose, and attend to their growth."
* * * * *
In the churchyard at Waldbach was formerly a monument, which bore this epitaph:—
During three years of marriage Margaret Salome, wife of G. Stouber, Minister of this parish, Found at the Ban de la Roche, in the simplicity of a peaceable And useful life, The delight of her benevolent heart; and in her first confinement. The grave of her youth and beauty, She died, August 9, 1764, aged 20 years. Near this spot Her husband has sown for immortality all that was mortal; Uncertain whether he is more sensible of the grief of having lost, Or the glory of having possessed her.
* * * * *
MURDER OF THE LAIRD OF WARRISTON, BY HIS OWN WIFE.
This is the subject of a Scottish ballad, well known to collectors in that department; and the history of the conversion of the murderess, and of her carriage at her execution, compiled apparently by one of the clergymen of Edinburgh, has been lately printed by Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, whose merits as an author, antiquary, and draughtsman, stand in no need of our testimony.
The story of the young lady is short and melancholy. She was a daughter of Livingston of Dunipace, a courtier, and a favourite of James VI.; an ill-assorted marriage united her at an early age with the Laird of Warriston, a gentleman whom she did not love, and who apparently used her with brutal harshness. The Lady Warriston accused her husband of having struck her several blows, besides biting her in the arm; and conspired with her nurse, Janet Murdo, to murder him. The confidante, inspired by that half-savage attachment which in those days animated the connexion between the foster-child and the nurse, entered into all the injuries of which her dalt (i.e. foster daughter) complained, encouraged her in her fatal purpose, and promised to procure the assistance of a person fitted to act the part of actual murderer, or else to do the deed with her own hands. In Scotland, such a character as the two wicked women desired for their associate was soon found in a groom, called Robert Weir, who appears, for a very small hire, to have undertaken the task of murdering the gentleman. He was ushered privately into Warriston's sleeping apartment, where he struck him severely upon the flank-vein, and completed his crime by strangling him. The lady in the meantime fled from the nuptial apartment into the hall, where she remained during the perpetration of the murder. The assassin took flight when the deed was done; but he was afterwards seized, and executed. The lady was tried, and condemned to death, on the 16th of June, 1600. The nurse was at the same time condemned to be burnt alive, and suffered her sentence accordingly; but Lady Warriston, in respect of her gentle descent, was appointed to die by the Maiden, a sort of rude guillotine, imported, it is said, from Halifax, by the Earl of Morton, while regent, who was himself the first that suffered by it.
The printed account of this beautiful murderess contains a pathetic narrative of the exertions of the worthy clergyman (its author) to bring her to repentance. At first, his ghostly comfort was very ill received, and she returned with taunts and derision his exhortations to penitence. But this humour only lasted while she had hopes of obtaining pardon through the interest of her family. When these vanished, it was no longer difficult to bring her, in all human appearance, to a just sense of her condition; her thoughts were easily directed towards heaven, so soon as she saw there was no comfort upon earth.
The pride of Lady Warriston's parents suggested a petition that she might be executed betwixt five and six in the morning; but both the clergyman and magistrates seem to have consented unwillingly to this arrangement. The clergyman was particularly offended that the display of her penitence should not be as public as that of her guilt had been, and we may forgive the good man if there was any slight regret for a diminished display of his own success, as a religious assistant, mixed with this avowed dissatisfaction.—Quarterly Rev.
* * * * *
The difficulty of transmitting sounds to a great distance arises from the sound spreading and losing itself in the surrounding air; so that if we could confine it on one side, as along a well—on two sides, as in a narrow street—or on all sides, as in a tube or pipe—we should be able to convey it to great distances. In the cast-iron water-pipe of Paris, which formed a continuous tube with only two bendings near its middle, the lowest whisper at one end was distinctly heard at the other, through a distance of 3,120 feet. A pistol fired at one end actually blew out a candle at the other end, and drove out light substances with great violence. Hence we see the operation of speaking tubes which pass from one part of a building to another, and of the new kind of bell which is formed of a wooden or tin tube, with a small piston at each end. By pushing in one piston, the air in the tube conveys the effect to the piston at the other end, which strikes against the bell—this piston being, as it were, the clapper on the outside of the bell. The intensity of confined sounds is finely exhibited at Carisbrook Castle, in the Isle of Wight. There is here a well 210 feet deep, of twelve feet in diameter, and lined with smooth masonry; and when a pin is dropped into it, the sound of its striking the surface of the water is distinctly heard.—Ibid.
* * * * *
Various remarkable echoes, and some not very credible, have been described by different authors. Dr. Plott mentions an echo in Woodstock Park, which repeats seventeen syllables by day and twenty by night. The famous echo at the Marquess Simonetta's villa, near Milan, has been described both by Addison and Keysler. According to the last of these travellers, it is occasioned by the reflection of the voice between the opposite parallel wings of the building, which are fifty-eight paces from each other, without any windows or doors, and perpendicularly to the main body of the building. The repetition of the sound dwells chiefly on the last syllable. A man's voice is repeated about forty times, and the report of a pistol about sixty times; but the repetitions are so rapid, that it is difficult to number them, unless it be early in the morning, or in a calm, still evening.
A curious example of an oblique echo, not heard by the person who emits the sound, is described in the "Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences" as existing at Genefay, near Rouen. A person singing hears only his own direct voice, while those who listen hear only the echo, which sometimes seems to approach, and at other times to recede from, the ear; one person hears a single voice, another several voices; one hears the echo on the right, and another on the left—the effect constantly changing with the position of the observer.
One of the most remarkable echoes of which we have read is that which Dr. Birch describes as existing at Roseneath, in Argyllshire. When a person at a proper distance played eight or ten notes on a trumpet, they were correctly repeated, but a third lower; after a short silence, another repetition was heard in a yet lower tone, and alter another short interval, they were repeated a third time in a tone lower still.
We extract the following account of two very interesting echoes from Mr. Herschell's work:—
"In the cathedral of Girgenti, in Sicily, the slightest whisper is borne with perfect distinctness from the great western door to the cornice behind the high altar, a distance of 250 feet. By a most unlucky coincidence, the precise focus of divergence at the former station was chosen for the place of the confessional. Secrets never intended for the public ear thus became known, to the dismay of the confessors and the scandal of the people, by the resort of the curious to the opposite point (which seems to have been discovered accidentally), till at length one listener, having had his curiosity somewhat overgratified by hearing his wife's avowal of her own infidelity, this tell-tale peculiarity became generally known, and the confessional was removed.
"Beneath the Suspension Bridge across the Menai Strait in Wales, close to one of the main piers, is a remarkably fine echo. The sound of a blow on the pier with a hammer is returned in succession from each of the cross-beams which support the road-way, and from the opposite pier at a distance of 576 feet; and in addition to this, the sound is many times repeated between the water and the road-way. The effect is a series of sounds which may be thus described:—The first return is sharp and strong from the road-way overhead; the rattling which succeeds dies away rapidly, but the single repercussion from the opposite pier is very strong, and is succeeded by a faint palpitation, repeating the sound at the rate of twenty-eight times in five seconds, and which therefore corresponds to a distance of 184 feet, or very nearly the double interval from the road-way to the water. Thus it appears, that in the repercussion between the water and road-way, that from the latter only affects the ear, the line drawn from the auditor to the water being too oblique for the sound to diverge sufficiently in that direction.—Another peculiarity deserves especial notice, namely, that the echo from the opposite pier is best heard when the auditor stands precisely opposite to the middle of the breadth of the pier, and strikes just on that point. As it deviates to one or the other side, the return is proportionably fainter, and is scarcely heard by him when his station is a little beyond the extreme edge of the pier, though another person, stationed (on the same side of the water) at an equal distance from the central point, so as to have the pier between them, hears it well."
In treating the important subject of echoes in churches and public buildings, Mr. Herschell has exposed several prevailing errors, and laid down several useful principles, which merit the particular attention of the architect. In small buildings the echo is not distinguishable from the principal sound, and therefore serves only to strengthen it; but in very large buildings, where the original sound and its echo are distinctly separated, the effect is highly disagreeable. In cathedrals, this bad effect is diminished by reading the service in a monotonous chant, in consequence of which the voice is blended in the same sound with its echo. In musical performances, however, this resource is not available. When ten notes are executed in a single second, as in many pieces of modern music, the echo, in the direction of the length of a room fifty-five feet long, will exactly throw the second reverberation of each note on the principal sound of the following note, wherever the auditor is placed. Under such circumstances, therefore, the performers should be stationed in the middle of the apartment.—Ibid.
 Travels through Sicily and the Lipari Islands in the month of December, 1824. By a Naval Officer. 1 vol. 8vo. London, 1827.
* * * * *
A snapper up of unconsidered trifles. SHAKSPEARE.
* * * * *
(To the Editor.)
Among the many monumental inscriptions and epitaphs which have fallen under my notice (and I have been a "Gatherer" ever since the days of my childhood) I have seldom met with one more calculated to start the tender tear than the following, which I copied from an old and long since defunct periodical, which describes it as "placed by a Mr. Thickness on the grave of his daughter, who lies buried in his garden, at St. Catherine's Hermitage, near Bath."
At the Lady's Head is a beautiful Monument, with the following Inscription:
What tho' no sacred earth afford thee room, Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb, Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be drest, And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast. Here shall the morn her earliest tears bestow— Here the first roses of the year shall blow; While angels with their silver wings o'ershade The ground now sacred by thy reliques made.
At her Feet:
Reader, if YOUTH should sparkle in thine eye— If on thy cheek the flow'r of beauty blows, Here shed a tear, and heave the pensive sigh Where BEAUTY, YOUTH, and INNOCENCE repose.
Doth wit adorn thy mind?—doth science pour It's ripen'd bounties on thy vernal year? Behold! where Death has cropp'd the plenteous store— And heave the sigh, and shed the pensive tear.
Does Music's dulcet notes dwell on thy tongue? And do thy fingers sweep the sounding lyre? Behold! where low she lies, who sweetly sung The melting strains a cherub might inspire.
Of YOUTH, of BEAUTY, then be vain no more— Of music's pow'r—of WIT and LEARNING'S prize; For while you read, those charms may all be o'er, And ask to share the grave where ANNA lies.
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GAMBLING OF HENRY THE EIGHTH.
(For the Mirror.)
Stowe, in his Survey of London, says, "Neere unto Paul's Schoole, on the north side thereof, was of old time a great and high Clochier, or Bell-house, four square, builded of stone; and in the same, a most strong frame of timber, with foure bels, the greatest that I have heard: these were called Jesus Bels, and belonged to Jesus Chappell, but I know not by whose gift. The same had a great spire of timber, covered with lead, with the image of St. Paul on the top; but was pulled downe by Sir Miles Partridge, knight, in the reign of Henry the Eighth. The common speech then was, that hee did set one hundred pounds upon a caste at dice against it, and so won the said clochier and bels of the king; and then causing the bels to be broken as they hung, the rest was pulled downe. This man was afterwards executed on the Tower Hill, for matters concerning the Duke of Somerset, the fifth of Edward the Sixth. In place of this clochier, of old time, the common bel of the citie was used to be rung, for the assembly of the citizens to their Folke-motes."
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Passing by Blackfriars Bridge, I missed the magnificent gates (iron) erected by Brackly Kennett, Esq. the inactive Lord Mayor of London, A.D. 1780, during the time of the riots, and who used to pass his time at the "Jacob's Well," Barbican. I could not help remembering these lines, which were related to me long ago—
"When Rome was burning, poets all agree, Nero sat playing on his tweedle-dee; So Kennett, when he saw sedition ripe, And London burning, calmly smoked his pipe."
 For which he was committed to the Tower, where he died.
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Had its origin with the Romans, and was fathered upon St. Valentine in the early ages of the Church to christianize it. Brand, in his Popular Antiquities, supposes that the observance originated in an ancient Roman superstition of choosing patrons on this day for the ensuing year—a custom which gallantry took up when superstition, at the reformation, had been compelled to let it fall.
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(To the Editor.)
Allusion being made the other evening by Sir R. Inglis, in the debate on Lord John Russell's reform motion, relative to a gentleman of the name of Pitt sitting in that House in right of possessing a very large diamond, the following particulars may not prove uninteresting to the numerous readers of the Mirror:—
Thos. Pitt, Esq., anciently of Blandford, in the county of Dorset, afterwards Earl of Londonderry, was, in the reign of Queen Anne, made Governor of Fort St. George, in the East Indies, where he resided many years, and became possessed, by trifling purchase, or by barter, of a diamond, which he sold to the King of France for 135,000l. sterling, weighing 127 carats, and commonly known at that day by the name of Pitt's Diamond.
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It may not be generally known that there is a small town in France which no one can enter without interest, from the consideration that Demetrius Commene once lived there, a man boasting a pedigree that traced him from the line of the Roman emperor Trajan. He was living in the time of Voltaire, and was a captain in the French army. His pedigree was the noblest of any man then living, or that has since lived, for he had twenty-six kings for his ancestors, and eighteen emperors. Of these, six were emperors of Constantinople, ten of Trebizond, and two of Heracleus Pontus; eighteen kings of Colchi, and eight of Lazi.
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A LITERARY KISS.
Alian Chartier was esteemed the father of French eloquence; he spoke as well as he wrote. He flourished about the year 1430. Margaret of Scotland, first wife to the dauphin, afterwards Louis XI, as she passed through the Louvre, observed Alian asleep, and went and kissed him. When her attendants expressed their surprise that she should thus distinguish a man remarkable for his ugliness, she replied—"I do not kiss the man, but the mouth that has uttered so many charming things."
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EPITAPH ON A WATCHMAKER,
Copied from a Tombstone in Lidford Churchyard, Devon.
Here lies, in Horizontal position, The outside case of George Routleigh, Watchmaker, Whose abilities in that line were an honour To his profession; Integrity was the main-Spring, And Prudence the Regulator Of all the actions of his life; Humane, generous, and liberal, His Hand never stopped Till he had relieved distress; Sincerely regulated were all his movements, That he never went wrong, Except when Set a-going By people Who did did not know His Key; Even then, he was easily Set right again: He had the art of disposing his Time So well, That his Hours glided away In one continual round Of Pleasure and Delight, Till an unlucky Moment put a period to His existence; He departed this Life November 14, 1802, Aged 57, Wound up, In hopes of being taken in Hand By his Maker, And of being Thoroughly cleaned, repaired, and set a-going In the world to come.
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ANNUAL OF SCIENCE.
On March 31, will be published, price 5s.
ARCANA of SCIENCE, and ANNUAL REGISTER of the USEFUL ARTS for 1831.
Comprising POPULAR INVENTIONS, IMPROVEMENTS, and DISCOVERIES Abridged from the Transactions of Public Societies and Scientific Journals of the past year. With several Engravings.
"One of the best and cheapest books of the day."—Mag. Nat. Hist.
"An annual register of new inventions and improvements in a popular form like this, cannot fail to be useful."—Lit. Gaz.
Printing for JOHN LIMBIRD, 143. Strand:—of whom may be had the Volumes for the three preceding years.
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Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris, and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.