THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XX. No. 556.] SATURDAY, JULY 7, 1832. [PRICE 2d.
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SURREY ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.
SURREY ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.
[Although the reader will scarcely fail to recognise the typographical amendments contemplated in the Preface to our last volume, we may be allowed to point attention to the most important change. To give our souls "elbow-room," we have widened our columns so as to add upwards of two pages throughout each sheet of our future volumes: that is sixteen pages of the size of the present will be found to contain as much as eighteen pages the size of those in our last volume. But the page has not been widened like the citizen's back—at the expense of the corporation—or of the public. The whole of the type is new, having been cast, as the prospectus says, expressly for this work; its face is as brilliant as our hopes, and so, now, with the reader's permission, Flow on thou shining river.]
We commenced our last volume with three Vignette Views in the Surrey Zoological Gardens. The season was then cold and ungenial, the trees leafless; in short, it was about mid-winter, but the magic pencil of our artist invested his scenes with all the pride of summer. Upon the present occasion, our Engravings need not the aid of his creative fancy. The Gardens are now
made glorious by the summer sun
—the weather and the public are all propitious, and hundreds of gaily dressed folks are flocking to inspect the zoological and botanical curiosities of the place.
During the six months since our last visit, Mr. Cross has been indefatigable. The grounds have been laid out under the superintendance of Mr. Henry Phillips, the author of Sylva Florifera, and it is almost impossible to give the reader an idea of their beauty and variety. The avenues to the various buildings are planted with forest-trees, and each tree and new plant has its name affixed on a tally; a botanical garden, on a small scale, is, moreover talked of.
But we are forgetting the zoological tenants. The visiter enters by a broad walk, beside which Parrots, Maccaws, and Cockatoos are uncaged on perches; so that we may almost say with Montgomery:—
The blossoms swung like blossoms on the trees.
To the right is a semicircular glazed house containing many beautiful foreign birds, and two Boas, which, from their torpidity, appear nearly as harmless as their shaggy namesakes that encircle many a fair neck. The movable aviaries are too numerous to describe; but we must notice, in one of them, a fine pair of Great Crowned Pigeons from New Guinea; their front colour is a bright slate, as is that of their crests of fine silky feathers. We next pass the circular Confectionary room, and reach the curvilinear glazed building of 300 feet in diameter. (See the Cut.) This has been planned by Mr. Henry Phillips; of the execution we spoke in The Mirror, No. 528. There are four entrances to this well-contrived building. Immediately within the wall, and all throughout the circle, is a channel of water containing gold and silver fish; from the margin of which plants are to be trained up within the glass. Next is a circular range of seats, then a broad walk, and in the centre of the building are placed the cages of carnivorous quadrupeds, as Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Hyaenas, &c. The Lions are especially worth notice: they are African and Asiatic, and the contrast between a pair from the country of the Persian Gulf with their African neighbours, is very striking. A sleek Lynx from Persia, with its exquisite tufted ears, and a docile Puma, will receive the distant caresses of visiters. The fronts of the cages are ornamented with painted rock-work, and our artist has endeavoured to convey an idea of the lordly Lion in his embellished dwelling. The whole building is admirably ventilated.
Another addition is an octagonal walled enclosure, the entrances to which are surmounted by pairs of magnificent horns. Here are cages for large birds, as the Ostrich, Emu, and Cassowary; and foreign pecora, as the Llama and Camel, and a pair of Gnus of great beauty.
Next is an enclosure containing two pair of fine Pelicans, and the solitary kennels of an Alpine and Cuban Dog: the Armadillo house, with a pair of eight-banded inmates: near the latter a sty or cage is preparing for Porcupines. At this extremity of the grounds, is the Deer paddock, with about forty specimens, among which the Axis or spotted varieties are very beautiful. We now reach a picturesque group of rock-work, (See the third Cut), the lower part of which is intended for Beavers, the upper craigs being at present occupied by Vultures and Eagles. The rock-work consists chiefly of granite, with a few masses of the rock of Gibraltar.
Of the lake, hermitage, and boathouse we have already spoken. The long, or rather semicircular, glazed building is now finished for the Monkeys, as is an adjoining house for large birds of prey: here we should notice a fine Ruppell Vulture, from Senegal, (named after Major Ruppell, the celebrated traveller in Africa,) a chanting Falcon from Brazil, and a white Hawk, from New Holland, the latter especially rare in this country.
Among the improvements we ought not to omit the affixing of the scientific and popular names to the abodes of the respective animals. This is one of the beneficial results of the honorary aid of Messrs. Swainson and Gray, the distinguished zoologists.
By the way, there has been in these grounds a Fancy Fair with the laudable object of aiding the funds for the repair of the Ladye Chapel of St. Saviour's Southwark. We anxiously hope the faire ladyes were successful in their appeal to the fancy of their visiters.
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THE LATE MR. COLTON.
(To the Editor.)
Having observed in several papers and periodicals, (amongst which is The Mirror, No. 553,) sketches of "the late Mr. Colton," and none of these tending, in my opinion, to convey a correct idea of the character of this extraordinary man; allow me to offer you a slight sketch of the latter period of his life.
I am aware I shall be met by many with the squeamish proverb, De mortuis nil nisi bonum; though I am not disposed at this moment to enter on a discussion of the merits of this received axiom. Shakspeare tells us "The evil that men do, lives after them."
Mr. Colton, or as he was vulgarly called, Parson Colton, arrived in Paris in the year 1825 or 1826, from America, to which country he sailed from England shortly previous to the murder of Weare. He was at that time in possession of very little money; this small stock he increased by borrowing upon the security of some valuable jewellery which he took out from his creditors in this country. With this sum he commenced his career as player at the public gaming-tables in Paris, more particularly that at 154 in the Palais Royal. The system upon which he played was at once bold and original, and attended with great success. I have good authority (his own) for stating, he was at one period a winner of upwards of L10,000. He subsequently lost nearly half this sum, and he expended the remainder in paintings by the ancient masters, of which, in the year 1828, he had a splendid collection. These pictures he intended for the English market; but in the latter part of the same year, he became unfortunate at the gambling tables, and they were parted with by degress, the proceeds lost, and their late owner, in a short time, reduced to beggary, or nearly so. His last literary labour, if it is worthy of the name, was a history of the Three Days of July, published by Galignani.
In person, Mr. Colton was ungainly; he stooped much, his gait was slovenly, and his dress mean and dirty; the reason he assigned for not removing the dirt that accumulated on the lower part of his trousers and upon his boots, was that none but shoeblacks looked below the knee in so dirty a city as Paris. As if fond of contradiction, he wore at the same time a ridiculous superfluity of jewellery; his unwashed hands were adorned with rings, and his shirt, which probably had not visited his blanchisseuse for a fortnight, was garnished with numerous brooches and pins of considerable value. A heavy gold chain secured his watch in his waistcoat pocket, and he carried two massive gold boxes, one for snuff, though he took none himself, and the other for tobacco. His face was pale and emaciated, the cheek bones being remarkably prominent; his left arm was considerably contracted, as he was fond of saying, from a pistol wound received in a duel. His habits were low; when not at the gaming house, he was to be found in one of the lower English houses, smoking and drinking, entertaining his pot companions, and acting what is vulgarly called, the "king of the company." He possessed a fund of anecdote and wit, and had his manners been more polished, and his character less exceptionable, his society would doubtless have been much courted.
His lodgings, which were in the Palais Royal, above the Cafe Phoenix, were particularly filthy; his bedroom, into which all visiters were shown, was truly disgusting; though he had at the same time two sitting-rooms, handsomely furnished, which were constantly locked, and into which he himself perhaps did not enter once in a month. An anecdote, which he related to me, will tend to illustrate his character and style of living. A pair of his pantaloons became much worn in the pockets, and he took them to a tailor to be repaired. They were brought home when he was absent, and left below with the porter, who gave them to him on his return. The following morning the tailleur called while Colton was still in bed, for the cash; he was shown into the bedroom by the miserable little urchin who attended daily to light the fire, &c., and demanded in payment twenty sous; this was resisted on the part of Colton as exorbitant, and the tailleur, vexed at having parted with his work before payment, seized a pair that were at the bedside, (imagining them the same that he had stitched,) and was about to quit the room with them as security, when the reverend gentleman, drawing a pistol from under his pillow, and presenting it at the terrified mender of garments, swore he would favour him with the contents unless the pantaloons were replaced: this was of course complied with, and our indignant tailleur immediately proceeded to Monsieur le Commissaire, who dispatched messengers to require the attendance of the party who had thus threatened the life of a Citizen of Paris. Colton then explained that the pantaloons of which the plaintiff had taken possession, were those he had worn on the preceding day, and contained cash that he had brought from the gaming-house to the amount of nearly L2,000. He was of course discharged on payment of the twenty sous to the tailor.
Although generally considered mean, I have much pleasure in stating that I have known him perform many acts of charity, frequently giving a dinner to some one of his reduced countrymen, (of whom there are too many in Paris,) and occasionally assisting them with small sums of money. It has been stated that the dread of an operation which became necessary for a complaint under which he laboured, was the cause of his suicide; this I much doubt, since I have never met with a man of greater fortitude and stronger nerve. I am rather disposed to think that the depressed state of his finances, severing the only hold he had on his dissolute associates, and the attention paid too often to wealth, though accompanied by vice, having disappeared, he found himself pennyless and despised; he was without religious consolation; his health declined, his spirits were broken; he was, and felt himself, alone in the world, without friends and without commiseration, and in a moment of desperation he put a period to his reckless existence.
Your correspondent, Enort, has certainly viewed the sunny side of his character; and that too I am disposed to think, with a burning glass. I have passed many hours in his society, pleased with his wit and epigrammatic sallies, but strive in vain to call to my recollection "the spontaneous flow of his Latin, his quotations from the ancient and modern poets, and his masterly and eloquent developement of every subject that his acute intellect chose to dilate upon." His conversation was ever egotistical in the extreme: the bold assertion that his Lacon was the most clever work in the English language, was ever on his lips, and I regret to add, obscenity and irreligion too often supplied the place of wit or rational converse.
Palace Row, New Road.
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KING KENULPH'S DAUGHTER.
This is little better than a versified fact. The outline may be found in Sir Robert Atkyns' History of Gloucestershire, p. 435.
King Kenulph he died, as kings have died, The will of the Lord be done; And he left to the care of his daughter fair, Queen Quendred, an infant son. The daughter gazed at her brother king, Her eye had an evil mote; And then she played with his yellow hair, And patted his infant throat; And then she muster'd a bloody mind, And whisper'd a favour'd slut, While patting the infant monarch's throat, It would not be much to cut. The favour'd gipsey noted the hint, And she thought it not amiss, She hied to the infant's governor, And gave him a loving kiss. The kiss of woman's a wond'rous juice, That poisoneth pious minds, It worketh more than the wrath of hell, And the eye of justice blinds. So they cut the infant monarch's throat, They buried him in the wood, The Mistress Quendred liv'd as a queen, And they thought the deed was good. Now mark, how ill is a crime conceal'd, Bad deeds will never accord, The murder never beheld at home, Was to light elsewhere restor'd, They wash'd their hands in the monarch's blood, And the world roll'd on the same, Till swift to the holy shrine at Rome, A fluttering dove there came. A dove, a peaceful, timorous bird, That carried a parchment scroll, And in letters of gold, the crime it told, That blasted a sister's soul. That fluttering dove flew round the shrine, Where the Pope by chance was led, And he let the scribbled parchment fall On his holiness' bald head. Now the Pope was very sore perplex'd, At the words the dove had scrawl'd, For he could not read the pig-squeak tongue, Which is now old English call'd. He questioned the French ambassador, The news of that scroll to speak. Who bowing observed, "it was not French, He never had learn'd the Greek." He ask'd a monk from Byzantium, A monk as fat as a tench, He merely remark'd "it was not Greek, He never had learn'd the French." He question'd the grave Lord Cardinal, He ordered the monks to pray'rs, The monks ne'er knew what language it was, When they saw it was not theirs. But there chanced to be an Englishman, At Rome, on a trading hope, The tale of blood and the letters gold, He read to the holy Pope. 'Twas how King Kenulph an infant son, Bequeath'd to his daughter's care, And how the daughter slaughtered the son, It clearly mention'd where. Then the Pope cried, "Heaven's will be done," And a loud Hosanna sung, The incense fumed to the lofty dome. Like ray-beam drapery hung. And they canoniz'd the holy dove, Like the soul of a martyr dead, The deed is still in the calendar, In capital letters red. Now when to Britain the tidings came Of her island's perish'd hope, The monks took hatchets to Winchcomb Wood, And they glorified the Pope. And after many a night of toil, They struck at the infant's bone, Beneath a tree, where an awful owl Was screeching a midnight groan. They bore the bones by the moonlight ray, To the convent's holy shrine, And from the psaltry sang a psalm, The psalm one hundred and nine. The queen, she hearken'd the pious tones, As they pass'd the palace by, It seem'd the saints and the morning stars Were chorussing in the sky. But when she hearken'd the deed was known, And her coming hour of strife, And how they had found the royal bones From which she had taken the life, She got King David's psalter book, And turn'd to the psalm they sung, And began to read it contrariwise, Though it blister'd on her tongue. And she mock'd the monkish melody, With a heart like boiling pitch, And the clouds went shudd'ring as they heard Like a broom beneath a witch. When she had gotten to verse the twelfth, 'Twas the twelfth verse from the end, Her breast upheav'd a horrible groan, And she gave the psalm a rend. The lofty turret quiver'd with fear, The floor of the chapel shook, Her eyeballs fell from her burning brow, And blooded the psalter book. And thrice she groan'd and thrice she sigh'd, And thrice she bowed her head. And a heavy fall and a light'ning flash Was the knell of a sinner dead. And forth from her eyeless sockets flew A furious flame around, And blood stream'd out of her spirting mouth, Like water upon the ground. The magpie chatter'd above the corpse, The owl sang funeral lay, The twisting worm pass'd over her face, And it writhed and turn'd away. The jackdaws caw'd at the body dead, Expos'd on the churchyard stones, They wagg'd their tails in scorn of her flesh, And turn'd up their bills at her bones. The convent mastiff trotting along, Sniff'd hard at the mortal leaven, Then bristled his hair at her brimstone smell, And howl'd out his fears to heaven. Then the jackdaw screech'd his joy, That he spurn'd the royal feast, And keen'd all night to the grievous owl, And the howling mastiff beast. Loud on that night was the thunder crash, Sad was the voice of the wind, Swift was the glare of the lightning flash, And the whizz it left behind. At morn when the pious brothers came To give the body to ground, The skull, the feet, and palms of her hands Were all that they ever found. Then the holy monks with ominous shake Of the head, looked wond'rous sly, While the breeze that waved their whiten'd locks, Bore a pray'r for her soul on high.
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SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY.
VAN DIEMEN'S LAND.
[There is a touching interest in the following narrative of the surrender of certain tribes of the aborigines of Van Diemen's Land to the British authorities. Some time since a war of extermination was commenced against them by the colonists; but, happily for humanity, this atrocious attack, which future historians may varnish over with "civilization," was a signal failure; and the poor, simple creatures were still left to enjoy the woods and caves and painted skins of savage life; not, however, without having fiercely retaliated upon the colonists for the cruel treatment which they experienced.]
The Oyster Bay and Big River tribes, the most sanguinary in the island, have surrendered themselves to Mr. Robinson, by whose conciliatory intervention the desirable event has been mainly brought about. On the 7th of January, Mr. Robinson made his triumphant entry into Hobart Town with his party of blacks, amounting in all to forty. They walked very leisurely along the road, followed by a large pack of dogs, and were received by the inhabitants on their entry into town with the most lively curiosity and delight. Soon after their arrival they walked up to the Government House, and were introduced to his Excellency, and the interview that took place was truly interesting. They are delighted at the idea of proceeding to Great Island, where they will enjoy peace and plenty uninterrupted. The great susceptibility which they one and all evinced of the influence of music when the band struck up, which Colonel Logan had purposely ordered down, clearly showed the numerous spectators the power of this agent of communication, even in the savage breast. After, in the greatest good humour, and with an evident desire to make themselves agreeable, going through various feats of their wonderful dexterity, they proceeded on board the Swan River packet, until the Tamar is ready to proceed with them to Great Island. The women were frightfully ornamented with human bones hung round them in various fantastic forms, even to the rows of teeth and skulls. Some of these were the remains of enemies, and white persons whom they had killed, but more as the mementos of the affection which they bore to the husband or children whom they had lost. They each carried a handful of spears. They wore the usual kangaroo skin cloak thrown over the back or shoulder, and thickly smeared with red ochre and grease. Their hair as well as skin was also thickly coated with the same, the hair being carefully dressed or formed by its help into neat little knots or globules all round the head. One of the men has lost his arm, being the same who about two years ago was caught in the rat trap that happened to be set in the flour cask in Mr. Adey's stock-keeper's hut. They surrendered to Mr. Robinson (who, however, very prudently did not take possession of them) six stand of arms, which they had taken from the whites they had murdered, or stolen from the huts. Three of them were ready loaded, and the muzzles carefully stuffed with pieces of blanket, and one is the same which was so recently borne by the late unfortunate Mr. Parker. The inside of several of their bark huts, which Mr. Robinson entered, was very ingeniously ornamented with rude delineations of kangaroos, emus, and other animals. The removal of these blacks will be of essential benefit both to themselves and the colony. The large tracts of pasture that have so long been deserted, owing to their murderous attacks on the shepherds and the stockhuts, will now be available, and a very sensible relief will be afforded to the flocks of sheep that had been withdrawn from them, and pent up on inadequate ranges of pasture—a circumstance which indeed has tended materially to impoverish the flocks and keep up the price of butcher's meat.
The dogs which these poor people have nursed and bred up in order to assist them in hunting the kangaroo, have latterly become so numerous and wild as to be a very serious and alarming nuisance to the settlers, committing on many farms nightly ravages on their flocks. In the neighbourhood of Benlomond they are particularly troublesome, and are so wild and savage as to set even men at defiance. Notwithstanding this, however, the numbers of the kangaroo seem daily and rapidly to increase. Whether this arises from the latterly diminished slaughter among them, owing to the decrease of the blacks who formerly fed upon them, or from the effects of the Dog Act, which induced many to destroy their dogs and to desist from the chase, or from the relish which the animal itself has acquired for the corn and other artificial food it finds upon the cultivated farms, we cannot say, but certain it is, that not only patches, but whole acres of corn in many situations are this year destroyed by their nightly inroads, coming as they do in droves of fifties and hundreds. As an instance we may mention that on Mr. Gunn's farm at the Coal River alone, a fine field of five acres of wheat has lately been completely eaten down by them. Many persons are in consequence falling on the expedient of catching them in wires and pitfalls in order to diminish them.
The ravages committed by the opossums, in like manner, are almost equally ruinous to the hopes of the farmer, in addition to the attacks of bandicoots, kangaroo rats, and the other almost innumerable (and certainly as yet unknown to naturalists) species of small quadrupeds that every where inhabit the wild bush and underwood of this island. Mr. Nicholas, of the Clyde, accompanied by his servant, lately, in the course of half a dozen evenings, and within the range of a moderate-sized field, killed no less than 340 of these opussums in the immediate vicinity of his own house.
[The beneficial result of this surrender need not be explained. The lives and properties of the settlers will now be secure, and the wild natives become useful members of society. The passing of man from the opposite states of barbarism and civilization is one of the most pathetic episodes in the drama of human life. In the Morning Herald, where we find the above extract from a recent Hobart Town Courier, it is pertinently observed, "When we find one of those natives of Van Diemen's Land had lost an arm which had been torn off in a trap, and that the wound was healed, the question naturally suggests itself, after all that we have heard of late about 'anatomical science,' what is the science of the wilderness that performed such a cure?" We fear it will puzzle the heads of all the colleges in Europe to solve this problem.]
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THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
[The New Monthly Magazine promises an abundance of light, summer reading in Lady Blessington's Conversations with Lord Byron. They are of that gay, jaunty character which editors, booksellers, and readers think so peculiarly adapted for the season. Here are a few specimens:]
JOURNAL OF CONVERSATIONS WITH LORD BYRON.
By the Countess of Blessington.
*** Our readers will recollect those letters in the second volume of Moore's Byron, addressed to Lady B——, which confer such additional value on that work. The whole of the journal, in which those letters, given by Lady B—— to Mr. Moore, were entered, (and which journal was never shown to Mr. Moore, nor indeed till now confided to any one,) is in our hands, and will appear, from time to time, in the New Monthly, till concluded. It is full of the most varied interest, and we believe that it will be found to convey at least as natural and unexaggerated an account of Lord Byron's character as has yet been presented to the public.
Genoa, April 1st, 1823.—Saw Lord Byron for the first time. The impression for the first few minutes disappointed me, as I had, both from the portraits and descriptions given, conceived a different idea of him. I had fancied him taller, with a more dignified and commanding air; and I looked in vain for the hero-looking sort of person with whom I had so long identified him in imagination. His appearance is, however, highly prepossessing; his head is finely shaped, and the forehead open, high, and noble; his eyes are grey and full of expression, but one is visibly larger than the other; the nose is large and well shaped, but from being a little too thick, it looks better in profile than in front-face: his mouth is the most remarkable feature in his face, the upper lip of Grecian shortness, and the corners descending; the lips full, and finely cut. In speaking, he shows his teeth very much, and they are white and even; but I observed that even in his smile—and he smiles frequently—there is something of a scornful expression in his mouth that is evidently natural, and not, as many suppose, affected. This particularly struck me. His chin is large and well shaped, and finishes well the oval of his face. He is extremely thin, indeed so much so that his figure has almost a boyish air; his face is peculiarly pale, but not the paleness of ill-health, as its character is that of fairness, the fairness of a dark-haired person—and his hair (which is getting rapidly grey) is of a very dark brown, and curls naturally: he uses a good deal of oil in it, which makes it look still darker. His countenance is full of expression, and changes with the subject of conversation; it gains on the beholder the more it is seen, and leaves an agreeable impression. I should say that melancholy was its prevailing character, as I observed that when any observation elicited a smile—and they were many, as the conversation was gay and playful—it appeared to linger but for a moment on his lip, which instantly resumed its former expression of seriousness. His whole appearance is remarkably gentlemanlike, and he owes nothing of this to his toilette, as his coat appears to have been many years made, is much too large—and all his garments convey the idea of having been purchased ready made, so ill do they fit him. There is a gaucherie in his movements, which evidently proceeds from the perpetual consciousness of his lameness, that appears to haunt him; for he tries to conceal his foot when seated, and when walking, has a nervous rapidity in his manner. He is very slightly lame, and the deformity of his foot is so little remarkable that I am not now aware which foot it is. His voice and accent are peculiarly agreeable, but effeminate—clear, harmonious, and so distinct, that though his general tone in speaking is rather low than high, not a word is lost. His manners are as unlike my preconceived notions of them as is his appearance. I had expected to find him a dignified, cold, reserved, and haughty person, resembling those mysterious personages he so loves to paint in his works, and with whom he has been so often identified by the good-natured world; but nothing can be more different; for were I to point out the prominent defect of Lord Byron, I should say it was flippancy, and a total want of that natural self-possession and dignity which ought to characterize a man of birth and education.
April 2nd.—We had scarcely finished our dejeune a la fourchette this day when Lord Byron was announced: he sent up two printed cards, in an envelope addressed to us, and soon followed them. He appeared still more gay and cheerful than the day before—made various inquiries about all our mutual friends in England—spoke of them with affectionate interest, mixed with a badinage in which none of their little defects were spared; indeed candour obliges me to own that their defects seemed to have made a deeper impression on his mind than their good qualities (though he allowed all the latter) by the gusto with which he entered into them.
He talked of our mutual friend Moore, and of his Lalla Rookh, which he said, though very beautiful, had disappointed him, adding, that Moore would go down to posterity by his Melodies, which were all perfect. He said that he had never been so much affected as on hearing Moore sing some of them, particularly "When first I met Thee," which, he said, made him shed tears: "But," added he, with a look full of archness, "it was after I had drunk a certain portion of very potent white brandy." As he laid a peculiar stress on the word affected, I smiled, and the sequel of the white brandy made me smile again: he asked me the cause, and I answered that his observation reminded me of the story of a lady offering her condolence to a poor Irishwoman on the death of her child, who stated that she had never been more affected than on the event; the poor woman, knowing the hollowness of the compliment, answered with all the quickness of her country, "Sure, then, Ma'am, that is saying a great deal, for you were always affected." Lord Byron laughed, and said my apropos was very wicked—but I maintained it was very just. He spoke much more warmly of Moore's social attractions as a companion, which he said were unrivalled, than of his merits as a poet.
When Lord Byron came to dine with us on Thursday, he arrived an hour before the usual time, and appeared in good spirits. He said that he found the passages and stairs filled with people, who stared at him very much; but he did not seem vexed at this homage, for so it certainly was meant, as the Albergo della Ville, where we resided, being filled with English, all were curious to see their distinguished countryman. He was very gay at dinner, ate of most of the dishes, expressed pleasure at partaking of a plum pudding, a l'Anglaise, made by one of our English servants; was helped twice, and observed, that he hoped he should not shock us by eating so much: "But," added he, "the truth is, that for several months I have been following a most abstemious regime, living almost entirely on vegetables; and now that I see a good dinner, I cannot resist temptation, though to-morrow I shall suffer for my gormandize, as I always do when I indulge in luxuries." He drank three glasses of champagne, saying, that as he considered it a jour de fete, he would eat, drink, and be merry.
He talked of Mr. ——, who was then our Minister at Genoa. "H——," said he, "is a thorough good-natured and hospitable man, keeps an excellent table, and is as fond of good things as I am, but has not my forbearance. I received, some time ago, a Pate de Perigord, and finding it excellent, I determined on sharing it with H——; but here my natural selfishness suggested that it would be wiser for me, who had so few dainties, to keep this for myself, than to give it to H——, who had so many. After half an hour's debate between selfishness and generosity, which do you think" (turning to me) "carried the point?"—I answered, "Generosity, of course."—"No, by Jove!" said he, "no such thing; selfishness in this case, as in most others, triumphed; I sent the pate to my friend H——, because I felt another dinner off it would play the deuce with me; and so you see, after all, he owed the pate more to selfishness than generosity." Seeing us smile at this, he said:—"When you know me better, you will find that I am the most selfish person in the world; I have, however, the merit, if it be one, of not only being perfectly conscious of my faults, but of never denying them; and this surely is something, in this age of cant and hypocrisy."
In all his conversations relative to Lady Byron, and they are frequent, he declares that he is totally unconscious of the cause of her leaving him, but suspects that the illnatured interposition of Mrs. Charlemont led to it. It is a strange business! He declares that he left no means untried to effect a reconciliation, and always adds with bitterness, "A day will arrive when I shall be avenged. I feel that I shall not live long, and when the grave has closed over me, what must she feel?" All who wish well to Lady Byron must desire that she should not survive her husband, for the all-atoning grave that gives oblivion to the errors of the dead, clothes those of the living in such sombre colours to their own too-late awakened feelings, as to render them wretched for life, and more than avenges the real, or imagined wrongs of those we have lost for ever.
When Lord Byron was praising the mental and personal qualifications of Lady Byron, I asked him how all that he now said agreed with certain sarcasms supposed to bear a reference to her, in his works. He smiled, shook his head, and said they were meant to spite and vex her, when he was wounded and irritated at her refusing to receive or answer his letters; that he was not sincere in his implied censures, and that he was sorry he had written them; but notwithstanding this regret, and all his good resolutions to avoid similar sins, he might on renewed provocation recur to the same vengeance, though he allowed it was petty and unworthy of him. Lord Byron speaks of his sister, Mrs. Leigh, constantly, and always with strong expressions of affection; he says she is the most faultless person he ever knew, and that she was his only source of consolation in his troubles on the separation.
Byron is a great talker, his flippancy ceases in a tete-a-tete, and he becomes sententious, abandoning himself to the subject and seeming to think aloud, though his language has the appearance of stiffness, and is quite opposed to the trifling chit-chat that he enters into when in general society. I attribute this to his having lived so much alone, as also to the desire he now professes of applying himself to prose writing. He affects a sort of Johnsonian tone, likes very much to be listened to, and seems to observe the effect he produces on his hearer. In mixed society his ambition is to appear the man of fashion, he adopts a light tone of badinage and persiflage that does not sit gracefully on him, but is always anxious to turn the subject to his own personal affairs, or feelings, which are either lamented with an air of melancholy, or dwelt on with playful ridicule, according to the humour he happens to be in.
Byron has remarkable penetration in discovering the characters of those around him, and he piques himself extremely on it: he also thinks he has fathomed the recesses of his own mind; but he is mistaken: with much that is little (which he suspects) in his character, there is much that is great, that he does not give himself credit for: his first impulses are always good, but his temper, which is impatient, prevents his acting on the cool dictates of reason; and it appears to me, that in judging himself, Byron mistakes temper for character, and takes the ebullitions of the first, for the indications of the nature of the second. He declares, that in addition to his other failings, avarice is now established. This new vice, like all the others, he attributes to himself, he talks of as one would name those of an acquaintance, in a sort of deprecating, yet half mocking tone; as much as to say, you see I know all my faults better than you do, though I don't choose to correct them: indeed, it has often occurred to me, that he brings forward his defects, as if in anticipation of some one else exposing them, which he would not like; as though he affects the contrary, he is jealous of being found fault with, and shows it in a thousand ways.
He affects to dislike hearing his works praised or referred to; I say affects, because I am sure it is not real or natural; as he who loves praise, as Byron evidently does, in other things, cannot dislike it for that in which he must be conscious it is deserved. He refers to his feats in horsemanship, shooting at a mark, and swimming, in a way that proves he likes to be complimented on them; and nothing appears to give him more satisfaction than being considered a man of fashion, who had great success in fashionable society in London, when he resided there. He is peculiarly compassionate to the poor; I remarked that he rarely, in our rides, passed a mendicant without giving him charity, which was invariably bestowed with gentleness and kindness; this was still more observable if the person was deformed, as if he sympathized with the object.
Byron is very fond of gossiping, and of hearing what is going on in the London fashionable world; his friends keep him au courant, and any little scandal amuses him very much. I observed this to him one day, and added, that I thought his mind had been too great to descend to such trifles! he laughed and said with mock gravity, "Don't you know that the trunk of an elephant that can lift the most ponderous weights, disdains not to take up the most minute? This is the case with my great mind, (laughing anew,) and you must allow the simile is worthy the subject. Jesting apart, I do like a little scandal—I believe all English people do. An Italian lady, Madame Benzoni, talking to me on the prevalence of this taste among my compatriots, observed, that when she first knew the English, she thought them the most spiteful and ill-natured people in the world, from hearing them constantly repeating evil of each other; but having seen various amiable traits in their characters, she had arrived at the conclusion, that they were not naturally mechant; but that living in a country like England, where severity of morals punishes so heavily any dereliction from propriety, each individual, to prove personal correctness, was compelled to attack the sins of his or her acquaintance, as it furnished an opportunity of expressing their abhorrence by words, instead of proving it by actions, which might cause some self-denial to themselves. This," said Byron, "was an ingenious, as well as charitable supposition; and we must all allow that it is infinitely more easy to decry and expose the sins of others, than to correct our own; and many find the first so agreeable an occupation, that it precludes the second—this, at least, is my case."
"The Italians do not understand the English," said Byron; "indeed, how can they? for they (the Italians) are frank, simple, and open in their natures, following the bent of their inclinations, which they do not believe to be wicked; while the English, to conceal the indulgence of theirs, daily practise hypocrisy, falsehood, and uncharitableness; so that to one error is added many crimes." Byron had now got on a favourite subject, and went on decrying hypocrisy and cant, mingling sarcasms and bitter observations on the false delicacy of the English. It is strange, but true as strange, that he could not, or at least did not, distinguish the distinction between cause and effect, in this case. The respect for virtue will always cause spurious imitations of it to be given; and what he calls hypocrisy, is but the respect to public opinion that induces people, who have not courage to correct their errors, at least to endeavour to conceal them; and Cant is the homage that Vice pays to Virtue. We do not value the diamond less, because there are so many worthless imitations of it, and Goodness loses nothing of her intrinsic value because so many wish to be thought to possess it. That nation may be considered to possess the most virtue, where it is the most highly appreciated; and that the least, where it is so little understood, that the semblance is not even assumed.
Byron is, I believe, sincere in his belief in supernatural appearances; he assumes a grave and mysterious air when he talks on the subject, which he is fond of doing, and has told me some extraordinary stories relative to Mr. Shelley, who, he assures me, had an implicit belief in ghosts. He also told me that Mr. Shelley's spectre had appeared to a lady, walking in a garden, and he seemed to lay great stress on this. Though some of the wisest of mankind, as witness Johnson, shared this weakness in common with Byron; still there is something so unusual in our matter-of-fact days in giving way to it, that I was at first doubtful that Byron was serious in his belief. He is also superstitious about days, and other trifling things,—believes in lucky and unlucky days,—dislikes undertaking any thing on a Friday, helping or being helped to salt at table, spilling salt or oil, letting bread fall, and breaking mirrors; in short, he gives way to a thousand fantastical notions, that prove that even l'esprit le plus fort has its weak side.
* * * * *
ODE TO THE GERMANS.
BY THOMAS CAMPBELL, ESQ.
The Spirit of Britannia Invokes across the main, Her sister Allemania To burst the Tyrant's chain; By our kindred blood she cries, Rise Allemanians, rise, And hallowed thrice the band Of our kindred hearts shall be, When your land shall be the land Of the free—of the free!
With Freedom's lion-banner Britannia rules the waves Whilst your BROAD STONE OF HONOUR Is still the camp of slaves. For shame, for glory's sake, Wake, Allemanians, wake, And the tyrants now that whelm Half the world, shall quail and flee, When your realm shall be the realm Of the free—of the free!
Mars owes to you his thunder That shakes the battle-field, Yet to break your bonds asunder No martial bolt has peal'd. Shall the laurell'd land of Art Wear shackles on her heart? No! the clock ye framed to tell By its sound, the march of time, Let it clang Oppression's knell O'er your clime—o'er your clime!
The Press's magic letters That blessing ye brought forth, Behold! it lies in fetters On the soil that gave it birth: But the trumpet must be heard And the charger must be spurr'd; For your father Armin's Sprite Calls down from heaven, that ye Shall gird you for the fight And be free!—and be free!
 Ehrenbreitstein, signifies in German, "the broad stone of honour."
 Germany invented gunpowder, clock-making, and printing.
* * * * *
BY THOMAS MOORE, ESQ.
Haste, Maami, the spring is nigh, Already, in th' unopened flowers That sleep around us, Fancy's eye Can see the blush of future bowers; And joy it brings to thee and me, My own beloved Maami!
The streamlet, frozen on its way, To feed the marble Founts of Kings, Now, loosen'd by the vernal ray, Upon its path exulting springs, As doth this bounding heart to thee, My ever blissful Maami!
Such bright hours were not made to stay, Enough if they awhile remain; Like Irem's bowers, that fade away, From time to time, and come again, And life shall all one Irem be For us, my gentle Maami.
O haste, for this impatient heart Is like the rose in Yemen's vale, That rends its inmost leaves apart With passion for the nightingale; So languishes this soul for thee, My bright and blushing Maami!
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
ADVICE, BY A MAN OF THE WORLD.
[We quoted Contarini Fleming in our last volume, but were silent on its character. It is purely metaphysical, and metaphysics, at this season, may be "like pork in the dog-days;" but there are certain portions which strike out ideas so forcibly, and illustrate the communia of life with such vigour, as to tempt any lounging reader. Contarini is stated to be Mr. D'Israeli, the younger—Vivian Grey and the Young Duke,—with much more of the crust and wing of age and experience than was found in either of the fashionable novels. The real charm of Contarini is in its abstractedness, and consists in being pleased and puzzled at the same moment. The embellishment which the playful genius of the writer has gracefully, not tawdrily, thrown over his pages will attract, but the main purpose and merit of the work lies in its undercurrents, or, rather it would consist in this feature if the judgment of the writer were still more matured. Perhaps Mr. D'Israeli, who began the world of letters as a writer of fashionable novels, may leave us a work on metaphysics.
In the opening chapter of Contarini Fleming, Mr. D'Israeli explains his object as follows:—]
I am desirous of writing a book which shall be all truth, a work of which the passion, the thought, the action, and even the style, should spring from my own experience of feeling, from the meditations of my own intellect, from my own observation of incident, from my own study of the genius of expression.
[We can only admit a passage which appears to us to contain much world-knowledge and wholesome experience—what half the coroneted heads in Europe lack most lamentably. It is the advice tendered to Contarini by his father, previous to the youth of promise repairing to the University:]
I wish you to mix as much as is convenient with society. I apprehend that you have, perhaps, hitherto indulged a little too much in lonely habits. Young men are apt to get a little abstracted, and occasionally to think that there is something singular in their nature, when the fact is, if they were better acquainted with their fellow creatures, they would find they were mistaken. This is a common error, indeed the commonest. I am not at all surprised that you have fallen into it. All have. The most practical business-like men that exist have many of them, when children, conceived themselves totally disqualified to struggle in the world. You may rest assured of this. I could mention many remarkable instances. All persons, when young, are fond of solitude, and, when they are beginning to think, are sometimes surprised at their own thoughts. There is nothing to be deplored, scarcely to be feared, in this. It almost always wears off; but sometimes it happens, that they have not judicious friends by them to explain, that the habits which they think peculiar are universal, and, if unreasonably indulged, can ultimately only turn them into indolent, insignificant members of society, and occasion them lasting unhappiness.
But to enter society with pleasure, you must be qualified for it. I think it quite time for you to make yourself master of some accomplishments. Decidedly you should make yourself a good dancer. Without dancing, you can never attain a perfectly graceful carriage, which is of the highest importance in life, and should be every man's ambition. You are yet too young fully to comprehend, how much in life depends upon manner. Whenever you see a man, who is successful in society, try to discover what makes him pleasing, and, if possible, adopt his system. You should learn to fence. For languages, at present, French will be sufficient. You speak it fairly: try to speak it elegantly. Read French authors. Read Rouchefoucault. The French writers are the finest in the world, for they clear our heads of ridiculous ideas. Study precision.
Do not talk too much at present, do not try to talk. But whenever you speak, speak with self-possession. Speak in a subdued tone, and always look at the person whom you are addressing. Before one can engage in general conversation with any effect, there is a certain acquaintance with trifling, but amusing subjects, which must be first attained. You will soon pick up sufficient by listening and observing. Never argue. In society, nothing must be discussed: give only results. If any person differ with you—bow and turn the conversation. In society, never think—always be on the watch, or you will miss many opportunities, and say many disagreeable things.
Talk to women, talk to women as much as you can. This is the best school. This is the way to gain fluency—because you need not care what you say, and had better not be sensible. They too will rally you on many points, and, as they are women, you will not be offended. Nothing is of so much importance, and of so much use, to a young man entering life, as to be well criticised by women. It is impossible to get rid of those thousand bad habits, which we pick up in boyhood, without this supervision. Unfortunately, you have no sisters. But never be offended if a woman rally you. Encourage her. Otherwise, you will never be free from your awkwardness, or any little oddities, and certainly never learn to dress.
You ride pretty well, but you had better go through the manege. Every gentleman should be a perfect cavalier.
As you are to be at home for so short a time, and for other reasons, I think it better that you should not have a tutor in the house. Parcel out your morning, then, for your separate masters. Rise early and regularly, and read for three hours. Read the Memoirs of the Cardinal de Retz—the Life of Richelieu—everything about Napoleon,—read works of that kind. Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory. Then fence. Talk an hour with your French master, but do not throw the burden of the conversation upon him. Give him an account of something. Describe to him the events of yesterday, or give him a detailed account of the constitution. You will have then sufficiently rested yourself for your dancing. And after that ride and amuse yourself as much as you can. Amusement to an observing mind is study.
I pursued the system which my father had pointed out, with exactness, and soon with pleasure. I sacredly observed my hours of reading, and devoted myself to the study of the lives of what my father considered really great men—that is to say, men of great energies, and violent volition, who look upon their fellow creatures as mere tools, with which they can build up a pedestal for their solitary statue, and who sacrifice every feeling which should sway humanity, and every high work which genius should really achieve, to the short-sighted gratification of an irrational and outrageous selfism. As for my manners, I flattered myself that they advanced in measure with my mind, although I already emulated Napoleon. I soon overcame the fear which attended my first experiments in society, and by scrupulously observing the paternal maxims, I soon became very self-satisfied. I listened to men with a delightful mixture of defference and self-confidence: were they old, and did I differ with them, I contented myself by positively stating my opinion in a most subdued voice, and then either turning the subject, or turning upon my heel. But as for women, it is astonishing how well I got on. The nervous rapidity of my first rattle soon subsided into a continuous flow of easy nonsense. Impertinent and flippant, I was universally hailed an original and a wit. But the most remarkable incident was, that the baroness and myself became the greatest friends. I was her constant attendant, and rehearsed to her flattered ear all my evening performance. She was the person with whom I practised, and as she had a taste in dress, I encouraged her opinions. Unconscious that she was at once my lay figure and my mirror, she loaded me with presents, and announced to all her coterie, that I was the most delightful young man of her acquaintance.
From all this it may easily be suspected, that at the age of fifteen I had unexpectedly become one of the most affected, conceited, and intolerable atoms that ever peopled the sunbeam of society.
* * * * *
[This gem is from a volume of Songs and other small Poems, by Barry Cornwall. It is one of the prettiest poetical bijoux of the season, and shall receive more attention in our next.]
PETITION TO TIME.
Touch us gently, Time! Let us glide adown thy stream Gently,—as we sometimes glide Through a quiet dream! Humble voyagers are We, Husband, wife, and children three— (One is lost,—an angel, fled To the azure overhead!)
Touch us gently, Time! We've not proud nor soaring wings: Our ambition, our content Lies in simple things. Humble voyagers are We, O'er Life's dim unsounded sea, Seeking only some calm clime:— Touch us gently, gentle Time!
* * * * *
THE SPIRIT OF SONG-WRITING.
Song-writing is the most difficult species of poetry; failure is not to be recovered—one slip ruins the whole attempt. A good song is a little piece of perfection, and perfection does not grow in every field. There must be felicity of idea, lightness of tone, exquisiteness or extreme naturalness and propriety of expression; and this within the compass of a few verses. And this is not all; the writer must betray a sustained tone of enthusiasm: the song should have neither beginning nor end,—it must seem a snatch from out of a continuous strain of melody—something that swells upon the ear, as if the previous parts had been unheard, and which dies away as if the air had carried its notes afar, and the sounds were wafted along to other lands. Men of genius are now and then born song-writers; such were Horace and Burns, such is Beranger. England has not had hers yet, and perhaps never may have. Englishmen are not nationally calculated to make song-writers; but individual genius makes light of running counter to a whole nation of habits, and there is no saying that we may not have our true lyricist yet. Song-writing is most likely to spring up among people greatly susceptible of the charms of music, and inventive of airs which, by some peculiar charm they possess, spread over all the country, sink deep in the memory, and come spontaneously on the thoughts in moments of sadness or joy, and, in short, become what are called national. National songs go with national airs, and spring up with circumstances. The English have few native airs, and as few native songs of any excellence. When an Englishman is in love, does he sing? In camp, what wretched braying goes by that name! at table, what have we of the generous, jovial sort? Generally speaking, our table songs—always excepting our glees—are pieces of bald sentiment, when they are English; but more generally, they are borrowed from the Scotch, the Irish, and other national song-writers. Gaiety, and that gaiety showing itself musically, is not English: when we are poetically given, it is in the sad piping strain of the forlorn, deserted, or hopeless lover. Gaiety is not English: we can be sentimental, tender, witty, pretty, pompous, and glorious in our songs; but we ever want the essential quality of gaiety—gaiety of heart—the dancing life of the spirit, that makes the voice hum, the fingers crack merrily, and the feet fidget restlessly on the ground.—Spectator Newspaper.
* * * * *
LORD BYRON'S EARLY POEMS.
[The following specimens are from the Seventh Volume of the elegant Edition of Lord Byron's Life and Works, now in the course of publication, under the editorship of Mr. Moore:]
Written under the impression that the Author would soon die.
Adieu, thou hill! where early joy Spread roses o'er my brow; Where science seeks each loitering boy With knowledge to endow. Adieu, my youthful friends or foes, Partners of former bliss or woes; No more through Ida's path we stray; Soon must I share the gloomy cell, Whose ever-slumbering inmates dwell Unconscious of the day.
Adieu, ye hoary Regal Fanes, Ye spires of Granta's vale, Where learning robed in sable reigns, And melancholy pale. Ye comrades of the jovial hour, Ye tenants of the classic bower, On Cama's verdant margin placed, Adieu! while memory still is mine, For offerings on oblivion's shrine, These scenes must be effaced.
Adieu, ye mountains of the clime, Where grew my youthful years; Where Loch na Garr in snows sublime His giant summit rears. Why did my childhood wander forth From you, ye regions of the North, With sons of pride to roam? Why did I quit my Highland cave, Marr's dusky heath, and Dee's clear wave, To seek a Sotheron home?
Hall of my sires! a long farewell; Yet why to thee adieu? Thy vaults will echo back my knell, Thy towers my tomb will view; The faltering tongue which sung thy fall, And former glories of thy hall Forgets its wonted simple note; But yet the lyre retains the strings, And sometimes on Aeolian wings, In dying strains may float.
Fields, which surround yon rustic cot, While yet I linger here, Adieu! you are not now forgot, To retrospection dear. Streamlet along whose rippling surge, My youthful limbs were wont to urge At noontide heat their pliant course; Plunging with ardour from the shore, Thy springs will lave these limbs no more, Deprived of active force.
And shall I here forget the scene, Still nearest to my breast? Rocks rise, and rivers roll between The spot which passion blest; Yet, Mary, all thy beauties seem Fresh as in Love's bewitching dream, To me in smiles display'd: Till slow disease resigns his prey To Death, the parent of decay, Thine image cannot fade.
And thou, my friend! whose gentle love Yet thrills my bosom's chords, How much thy friendship was above Description's power of words! Still near my breast thy gift I wear, Which sparkled once with feeling's tear. Of Love, the pure, the sacred gem; Our souls were equal, and our lot In that dear moment quite forgot; Let Pride alone condemn!
All, all is dark and cheerless now! No smile of Love's deceit Can warm my veins with wonted glow, Can bid Life's pulses beat: Not e'en the hope of future fame Can wake my faint, exhausted frame. Or crown with fancied wreaths my head. Mine is a short inglorious race, To humble in the dust my face, And mingle with the dead.
Oh Fame! thou goddess of my heart: On him who gains thy praise, Pointless must fall the Spectre's dart, Consumed in glory's blaze; But me she beckons from the earth, My name obscure, unmark'd my birth, My life a short and vulgar dream: Lost in the dull, ignoble crowd, My hopes recline within a shroud, My fate is Lethe's stream.
When I repose beneath the sod, Unheeded in the clay, Where once my playful footsteps trod, Where now my head must lay; The meed of pity will be shed In dew-drops o'er my narrow bed, By nightly skies and storms alone; No mortal eye will deign to steep With tears the dark sepulchral deep Which hides a name unknown.
Forget this world, my restless sprite, Turn, turn thy thoughts to Heaven; There must thou soon direct thy flight, If errors are forgiven, To bigots and to sects unknown, Bow down beneath the Almighty's Throne; To Him address thy trembling prayer: He who is merciful and just, Will not reject a child of dust, Although his meanest care.
Father of Light! to Thee I call, My soul is dark within; Thou, who canst mark the sparrow's fall, Avert the death of sin. Thou, who canst guide the wandering star, Who calms't the elemental war, Whose mantle is yon boundless sky, My thoughts, my words, my crimes forgive; And, since I soon must cease to live, Instruct me how to die.
1807. [Now first published.]
 The river Grete at Southwell.
 Mary Duff.
 Eddlestone, the Cambridge chorister.
FAREWELL TO THE MUSE.
Thou power! who hast ruled me through infancy's days, Young offspring of Fancy, 'tis time we should part, Then rise on the gale this the last of my lays, The coldest effusion which springs from my heart.
This bosom, responsive to rapture no more, Shall hush thy wild notes, nor implore thee to sing; The feelings of childhood, which taught thee to soar, Are wafted far distant on Apathy's wing.
Though simple the themes of my rude flowing lyre, Yet even these themes are departed for ever; No more beam the eyes which my dream could inspire, My visions are flown, to return—alas, never!
When drain'd is the nectar which gladdens the bowl, How vain is the effort delight to prolong! When cold is the beauty which dwelt in my soul, What magic of Fancy can lengthen my song?
Can the lips sing of Love in the desert alone, Of kisses and smiles which they now must resign? Or dwell with delight on the hours that are flown? Ah, no! for those hours can no longer be mine.
Can they speak of the friends that I lived but to love? Ah, surely affection ennobles the strain! But how can my numbers in sympathy move, When I scarcely can hope to behold them again?
Can I sing of the deeds which my Fathers have done, And raise my loud harp to the fame of my sires? For glories like theirs, oh, how faint is my tone! For Heroes' exploits how unequal my fires!
Untouch'd, then, my lyre shall reply to the blast; 'Tis hush'd; and my feeble endeavours are o'er; And those who have heard it will pardon the past, When they know that its murmurs shall vibrate no more.
And soon shall its wild erring notes be forgot, Since early affection and love is o'ercast: Oh! blest had my fate been, and happy my lot, Had the first strain of love been the dearest, the last.
Farewell, my young Muse! since we now can ne'er meet; If our songs have been languid, they surely are few: Let us hope that the present at least will be sweet; The present—which seals our eternal Adieu.
1807. [Now first published.]
* * * * *
FUNERAL OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.
The death of William, almost every reader knows, was occasioned by a hurt in the belly from the pummel of his saddle, while reducing the town of Mantes to ashes, at Rouen on Sep. 9, 1086, in the 63rd year of his age and 21st of his reign.
The king's decease was the signal for general consternation throughout the metropolis of Normandy. The citizens, panic struck, ran to and fro as if intoxicated, or as if the town were upon the point of being taken by assault. Each asked counsel of his neighbour, and each anxiously turned his thoughts to the concealing of his property. When the alarm had in some measure subsided, the monks and clergy made a solemn procession to the abbey of St. George, where they offered their prayers for the repose of the soul of the departed duke: and Archbishop William commanded that the body should be carried to Caen, to be interred in the church of St. Stephen, which William had founded. But the lifeless king was now deserted by all who had participated in his bounty. Every one of his brethren and relations had left him; nor was there even a servant to be found to perform the last offices to his departed lord. The care of the obsequies was finally undertaken by Herluin, a knight of that district, who, moved by the love of God and the honour of his nation, provided at his own expense, embalmers and bearers, and a hearse, and conveyed the corpse to the Seine, whence it was carried by land and water to the place of its destination.
Upon the arrival of the funeral train at Caen, it was met by Gislebert, bishop of Evreux, then abbot of St. Stephen's, at the head of his monks, attended by a numerous throng of clergy and laity; but scarcely had the bier been brought within the gates, when the report was spread that a dreadful fire had broken out in another part of the town, and the duke's remains were a second time deserted. The monks alone remained; and, fearful and resolute, they bore their founder "with candle, with book, and with knell," to his last home. Ordericus Vitalis enumerates the principal prelates and barons assembled upon this occasion; but he makes no mention of the Conqueror's son Henry, who, according to William of Jumieges, was the only one worthy of succeeding such a father. Mass had now been performed, and the body was about to be committed to the ground, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust," when, previously to this closing part of the ceremony, Gislebert mounted the pulpit, and delivered an ovation in honour of the deceased. He praised his valour, which had so widely extended the limits of the Norman dominion; his ability, which had elevated the nation to the highest pitch of glory; his equity in the administration of justice; his firmness in correcting abuses; and his liberality towards the monks and clergy; then finally addressing the people, he besought them to intercede with the Almighty for the soul of their prince. At this moment, one Asselin, an obscure individual, starting from the crowd, exclaimed with a loud voice, "the ground upon which you are standing was the site of my father's dwelling. This man, for whom you ask our prayers, took it by force from my parent; by violence he seized, by violence he retained it; and, contrary to all law and justice, he built upon it this church, wherein we are assembled. Publicly, therefore, in the sight of God and man, do I claim my inheritance, and protest against the body of the plunderer being covered with my turf." The appeal was attended with instant effect: bishops and nobles united in their entreaties with Asselin; they admitted the justice of his claim; they pacified him; they paid him sixty shillings on the spot by way of recompense for the place of sepulture; and, finally, they satisfied him for the rest of the land.
But the remarkable incidents doomed to attend upon this burial were not yet at an end; for at the time when they were laying the corpse in the sarcophagus, and were bending it with some force, which they were compelled to do, in consequence of the coffin having been made too short, the body, which was extremely corpulent, burst, and so intolerable a stench issued from the grave, that all the perfumes which arose from all the censers of the priests and acolytes were of no avail; and the rites were concluded in haste, and the assembly, struck with horror, returned to their homes.
The latter part of this story accords but ill with what De Bourgueville relates. We learn from this author, that four hundred and thirty years subsequent to the death of the Conqueror, a Roman cardinal, attended by an archbishop and bishop, visited the town of Caen, and that his eminence having expressed a wish to see the body of the duke, the monks yielded to his curiosity, the tomb was opened, and the corpse discovered in so perfect a state that the cardinal caused a portrait to be taken from the lifeless features. It is not worth while now to inquire into the truth of this story, or the fidelity of the resemblance. The painting has disappeared in the course of time: it hung for awhile against the walls of the church, opposite to the monument, but it was stolen during the tumults caused by the Huguenots, and was broken into two pieces, in which state De Bourgueville saw it a few years afterwards, in the hands of a Calvinist, one Peter Hode, the gaoler at Caen, who used it in the double capacity of a table and a door. The worthy magistrate states, that he kept the picture, "because the abbey-church was demolished."
He was himself present at the second violation of the royal tomb, in 1572; and he gives a piteous account of the transaction. The monument raised to the memory of the Conqueror, by his son. William Rufus, under the superintendance of Lanfrane, was a production of much costly and elaborate workmanship; the shrine, which was placed upon the mausoleum, glittered with gold and silver and precious stones. To complete the whole, the effigy of the king had been added to the tomb at some period subsequent to its original erection. A monument like this naturally excited the rapacity of a lawless banditti, unrestrained by civil or military force, and inveterate against every thing that might be regarded as connected with the Catholic worship. The Calvinists were masters of Caen, and, incited by the information of what had taken place at Rouen, they resolved to repeat the same outrages. Under the specious pretext of abolishing idolatrous worship, they pillaged and ransacked every church and monastery: they broke the windows and organs, destroyed the images, stole the ecclesiastical ornaments, sold the shrines, committed pulpits, chests, books, and whatever was combustible, to the fire; and finally, after having wreaked their vengeance upon every thing that could be made the object of it, they went boldly to the town-hall to demand the wages for their labours. In the course of these outrages the tomb of the Conqueror at one abbey and that of Matilda, his queen, at the other, were demolished. And this was not enough; but a few days afterwards, the same band returned, allured by the hopes of farther plunder. They dug up the coffin: the hollow stone rang to the strokes of their daggers: the vibration proved that it was not filled by the corpse, and nothing more was wanting to seal its destruction.
De Bourgueville, who went to the spot and exerted his eloquence to check this last act of violence, witnessed the opening of the coffin. It contained the bones of the king, wrapped up in red taffety, and still in tolerable preservation; but nothing else. He collected them with care, and consigned them to one of the monks of the abbey, who kept them in his chamber, till the Admiral de Chatillon entered Caen at the head of his mercenaries, on which occasion the whole abbey was plundered, and the monks put to flight, and the bones lost. "Sad doings these," says De Bourgueville, "et bien peu reformez!" He adds that one of the thigh-bones was preserved by the Viscount of Falaise, who was there with him, and begged it from the rioters, and that this bone was longer by four fingers' breadth than that of a tall man. The bone thus preserved, was reinterred, after the cessation of the troubles: it is the same that is alluded to in the inscription, which also informs us that a monument was raised over it in 1642, but was removed in 1742, it being then considered as an incumbrance in the choir.
The melancholy end of the Conqueror, the strange occurrences at his interment, the violation of his grave, the dispersion of his remains, and the demolition and final removal of his monument, are circumstances calculated to excite melancholy emotions in the mind of every one, whatever his condition in life. In all these events, the religious man traces the hand of retributive justice; the philosopher regards the nullity of sublunary grandeur; the historian finds matter for serious reflection; the poet for affecting narrative; and the moralist for his tale.
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THE PICNIC AT TEMPE.
It was the most sultry of the dog-days—Jupiter sat lolling in his arm chair vainly endeavouring to get a quiet nap, and a little further sat Minerva, lulling her father to sleep, as she thought, and keeping him awake, as he thought, by the whirring noise of her spinning-wheel. At length Venus entered the saloon in which they were sitting, and the noise she made effectually aroused the Thunderer. "Venus, my darling, where's your mother-in-law?" said Jupiter raising himself on his elbow.
"In her dressing room," replied Venus, "trying on some of my new beautifying inventions."
"Ah," smiled Jupiter, "you women are never easy but when you're beautifying yourselves: well, go and tell her I think we may as well take a trip down to Tempe, by way of employment this hot day; and send Iris to tell all the other gods to meet us there."
Away tripped Venus to execute her commission, and the Thunderer turned again to doze; but suddenly a thought struck him: "Here, Pallas, go and borrow Mars's curricle for Juno and myself to ride in, for it is much too hot to think of walking, such a day as this, and tell him to put some bottles of nectar in the driving box, d'ye hear?"
In a short time the curricle made its appearance, and Jove and Juno mounted. But Mars's vehicle was constructed for a single gentleman, and not for man and wife, who being rather too heavy for it, broke it down as they descended Olympus, and rolled to the foot of the mountain amidst the suppressed laughter of the other gods, who were winging their way down. Iris was despatched to procure a fresh supply of nectar, which Bacchus declared would nearly exhaust his stock. At last the table was spread in the most delightful part of Tempe, and the top of Ossa was occupied by Hercules with his club to see that no mortal intruded on the revels of the gods, when Jupiter discovered something at a distance running at full speed towards them. "Heyday! what have we here?" he exclaimed; "as I live, my old friend Cerberus, with a note in his jaws; why what can Pluto have got to say? Here, Cer! Cer! Cer! good dog!" The breathless animal dropped the letter at Jupiter's feet and then took his seat on the ground, panting, as well he might, after so long a journey.
"Here's a pretty note," said Jupiter, and he proceeded to read it aloud for the amusement of the company—
"Knowing you are going to have a feast at Tempe I have sent my favourite Cerberus to pick up the crumbs as he gets but poor living in the shades here at Tartarus. Proserpine sends her love to Ceres.
N.B. "Send Cerberus back at night."
"Faugh! how it stinks of brimstone!" said Jupiter, "we'll give poor Cerberus a meal though, for he looks woefully thin; I should not think Pluto gave him much from his appearance." So down they sat, Cerberus and Jove's eagle being installed under the table, while Minerva's owl, Juno's peacock, and the proteges of the other immortals were left to pick up what they could outside. They had not sat long before the noise of a vast contention was heard, and the cause being sought, it was discovered to be a bone which Jupiter had thrown under the table, and which was violently contested by Cerberus and the eagle. Peace was restored by the expulsion of the offending eagle, as Jove said he ought to know better, having come from Olympus, while Cerberus was brought up in Tartarus. All went on quietly for a time, when Cerberus unfortunately squatted himself down on Jupiter's thunderbolt, which its master had dropped under the table, and giving a most terrific yell, rushed between the legs of Mercury's chair, and upset him in a twinkling, while, almost before he could rise, poor Cerberus was treading the "facilis descensus Averni," with his posteriors sadly blackened by the accident; and roaring with pain as the gods were with laughter. Dinner passed on without any more accidents, and when the ladies retired, Vulcan and Mars sat down to ecarte, at which the former proved the winner. Apollo drily remarked, (having just finished his daily journey and joined the gods) that Vulcan had netted Mars's cash as well as himself. Mars rose in a great rage, when Jupiter recommended him not to be nettled, which only made him ten times more so. A quarrel was the consequence; and Jupiter thinking it best to return before bloodshed was committed, asked Apollo to yoke his team again, and drive them home, which he readily consented to do: that night seemed unusually light to the inhabitants of the hemisphere, and many learned heads were puzzled to discover the cause of the phenomenon, but though many explanations were given, the real reason remained undiscovered to this day—in which I have the pleasure of laying it before my readers.
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Early Rising.—It cannot be denied that early rising is conducive both to the health of the body and the improvement of the mind. It was an observation of Swift, that he never knew any man come to greatness and eminence who lay in bed of a morning. Though this observation of an individual is not received as an universal maxim, it is certain that some of the most eminent characters which ever existed, accustomed themselves to early rising. It seems, also, that people in general rose earlier in former times than now. In the fourteenth century, the shops in Paris were opened at four in the morning; at present, a shopkeeper is scarcely awake at seven. The King of France dined at eight in the morning, and retired to his bedchamber at the same hour in the evening. During the reign of Henry VIII. fashionable people in England breakfasted at seven in the morning, and dined at ten in the forenoon. In Elizabeth's time, the nobility, gentry, and students, dined at eleven in the forenoon, and supped between five and six in the afternoon.
 Our correspondent is here somewhat in error: shops in Paris may be seen set out by seven o'clock in the morning.—ED. M.
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Dick's Coffee-house, Temple Bar.—The Rev. James Miller wrote a comedy, in the year 1737, entitled "The Coffee House." "This piece met with no kind of success, from a supposition, how just (says Baker,) I cannot pretend to determine, that Mrs. Yarrow and her daughter, who kept Dick's coffee-house, near Temple Bar, and were at that time celebrated toasts, together with several persons who frequented that house, were intended to be ridiculed by the author. This he absolutely denied as being his intention; when the piece came out, however, the engraver who had been employed to compose a frontispiece, having inadvertently fixed on that very coffee-house for the scene of his drawing, the Templars, with whom the abovementioned ladies were great favourites, became, by this accident, so confirmed in their suspicions, that they united to damn the piece, and even extended their resentment to every thing which was suspected to be this author's, for a considerable time after."
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Heroic Women.—Browella heide or heath, is a plain in the province of Smaland, in Sweden, celebrated for being the place where the Danes were totally routed by the heroine, Blenda, who commanded the Smaland women, in defence of their husbands, who were engaged in another expedition. As a recompense for their bravery, the women of Smaland were honoured with extraordinary privileges, and wore a kind of martial head-dress; and they have still an equal share of inheritance with the men.
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Ancient Roundelaye for Foure Personnes.
1st. Sing we the goodfellowes roundelaye, And I the cittern will blithele playe. 2nd. I'll sing tenor. 3rd. The treble for me. 1st. And what shalle the bass of our music be? 4th. The wintry winde as it rushes and roars At the windowes and roofe, and the welle fast'ned doore. 2nd. But the wine and the sack, and the canary are bright, They're the good fellowes starres that shine out thro' the nighte. You're a knave if you quit them till morning. 1st. to 2nd. You're a knave. 4th. to 3rd. You're a knave. 3rd. to 1st. You're a knave. Omnes. He's a knave who forsakes them till morn.
P.S. The point of this song consists in each singer being called a knave in turn.
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Ecstacy of Michael Angelo.—When the bronze gates of the baptistry of the church of Florence were produced, Michael Angelo cried out with emotion, at the sight of them, "that they deserved to be the gates of Paradise." Casts of these gates may be seen in the Royal Academy, London.
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Power of Knowledge over Brute Force.—There is a popular story, that a student from Oxford was attacked by a wild boar, which issued from the adjoining forest of Shotover, when he escaped by cramming down the throat of the brute, a volume of Aristotle.
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COMPLETION of VOL. XIX. of THE MIRROR.
With the present Number, price Twopence,
A SUPPLEMENT, WITH A STEEL-PLATE PORTRAIT OF THE RIGHT HON. EARL GREY,
A Memoir of his Lordship, and Title-page, Preface, and Index to Vol. XIX.
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