THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XIV, NO. 406.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 26, 1829. [PRICE 2d.
This consecrated relic of genius stands on the hill of Posilipo, in the environs of Naples. Its recent state is so beautifully described by Eustace, that we shall not, like gipsys do stolen children, disfigure it to prevent recognition.
Proceeding westward along the Chiaia and keeping towards the beach, says Eustace, we came to the quarter called Mergyllina. To ascend the hill of Posilipo we turned to the right, and followed a street winding as a staircase up the steep, and terminating at a garden gate. Having entered, we pursued a path through a vineyard and descending a little, came to a small square building, flat-roofed, placed on a sort of platform on the brow of a precipice on one side, and on the other sheltered by a super-incumbent rock. An aged ilex, spreading from the sides of the rock, and bending over the edifice, covers the roof with its ever verdant foliage. Numberless shrubs spring around, and interwoven with ivy clothe the walls and hang in festoons over the precipice. The edifice before us was an ancient tomb—the tomb of VIRGIL! We entered; a vaulted cell and two modern windows alone presented themselves to view: the poet's name is the only ornament of the place. No sarcophagus, no urn, and even no inscription to feed the devotion of the classical pilgrim. The epitaph which though not genuine is yet ancient, was inscribed by the order of the Duke of Pescolangiano, then proprietor of the place, on a marble slab placed in the side of the rock opposite the entrance of the tomb, where it still remains. Every body is acquainted with it—
Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc Parthenope, cecini pascua, rura, duces.
But there are authors who venture to assert, that the tomb of which we are now speaking, is not the sepulchre of Virgil. Of this number are the classic Addison and the laborious and accurate Cluverius. The authority of two such eminent persons, without doubt, carries great weight with it, but that weight is upon this occasion considerably lessened by the weakness of the arguments on which their opinion is grounded. These arguments may be found in Cluverius, and Addison merely expresses his opinion without entering into any discussion. They are drawn from a few verses of Statius.
In opposition to these arguments, or rather conjectures founded upon the vague expressions of a single poet (a poet often censured for his obscurity), we have the constant and uninterrupted tradition of the country supported by the authority of a numerous host of learned and ingenious antiquaries; and upon such grounds we may still continue to cherish the conviction, that we have visited the tomb of Virgil, and hailed his sacred shade on the spot where his ashes long reposed.
The laurel which was once said to have sprung up at its base, and covered it with its luxuriant branches, now flourishes only in the verses of youthful bards, or in the descriptions of early travellers; myrtle, ivy and ilex, all plants equally agreeable to the genius of the place, and the subjects of the poet, now perform the office of the long-withered bays, and encircle the tomb with verdure and perfume.
The sepulchre of Virgil, it may be imagined, must have long remained an object of interest and veneration, especially as his works had excited universal admiration even in his life-time, and were very soon after his death put into the hands of children, and made a part of the rudiments of early education. Yet Martial declares that it had been neglected in his time, and that Silius Italicus alone restored its long forgotten honours.
The reader will learn with regret that Virgil's tomb, consecrated as it ought to be to genius and meditation, is sometimes converted into the retreat of assassins, or the lurking place of Sbirri. Such at least it was the last time we visited it, when wandering that way about sun-set we found it filled with armed men. We were surprised on both sides, and on ours not very agreeably at the unexpected rencounter; so lonely the place and so threatening the aspects of these strangers. Their manners however were courteous; and on inquiry we were informed that they were Sbirri, and then lying in wait for a murderer, who was supposed to make that spot his nightly asylum. It would be unjust to accuse the Neapolitans of culpable indifference towards this or any other monument of antiquity; but it is incumbent on the proprietor or the public, to secure them against such profanation. On the whole, few places are in themselves more picturesque, and from the recollection inseparably interwoven with it, no spot is more interesting than the tomb of Virgil.
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LAST CHRISTMAS DAY.
(For the Mirror.)
"Say, if such blandishments did ever greet Thy charmed soul; hast thou not crav'd to die? Hast not thine immaterial seem'd but air Verging to sigh itself from thee, and share Beatitude? hast thou not watch'd thy breath In meek, faint hope, that soon 'twould sink in death?"
Last Christmas Day! my heart leaps with joy at its very memory; it was a mental Noel, a Christmas of the soul, (if I may thus express myself.) That which I am about to relate of it is strictly true, and I do relate it because that day is one of the very few in our brief existence which form a moral epoch in, and influence subsequent, life. Last Christmas Day, I well remember, my spirit revelled in an Eden blessedness—a bliss which the unholy world did not, could not, give, and consequently could not take away. Reader! I will hope, I will believe, that thou hast experienced feelings and emotions, like those high and holy ones of which I would endeavour now to preserve a faint transcript. Come then, let us unite our ideas, let us speak together, but let us yet mention as present, those beatific thoughts and imaginings which are indeed past. Let us ever remember and cherish in our heart of hearts those golden fore-tastes of future eternity, or (according to Platonism) those rapturous reminiscences of past, which prove beyond logical demonstration, the existence of some vital principle in man, godlike in faculties, in essence immaterial, in duration, immortal! It is Christmas Day, a deep, unearthly calm possesses our minds; all passions are slumbering, save the beautiful and holy ones of adoring love, mingled with overwhelming gratitude towards our maker, and philanthropic love, universal benevolence, to man. It is winter, but one of those delicious days in which closing our eyes, so that we behold not sad hosts of bare stems and branches, we may well deem that summer reigns! And a summer indeed reigns in our bosoms! Now nature seems new and fascinating, as it did to Adam when he wakened into life. Now, as for the first time, we discern with unspeakable emotions, that divine affection as well as unlimited power, which actuates and supports creation. Now we comprehend that the universe was designed to minister happiness to myriads of intelligent beings; but that man, by sin, frustrates the gracious intent, and produces misery. Now the glorious golden sun seems in its gladdening lustre, like a smile from its creator; a smile beaming ineffable love, and joy, and peace. Now the sky, the pale, delicate, sapphire sky, the soft, tender, inviting, enfolding, and immeasurable sky, appears to image the mercy of its maker. Let us yet gaze upon the sky, for it also admonishes us of other delightful things; it is silent—it is awful—it is holy; but its silence is beautiful, and with wordless eloquence it speaks unto our enraptured bosoms of deep, eternal, unimaginable repose! it infuses into our breasts undefinable ideas and sensations; it appears to our enchanted imaginations an emblem meet of the grand dream of eternity, and our spirits seem on the verge of quitting earth, in thrilling contemplations on the islands of that infinite abyss, and their immortal inhabitants! We gaze in hope, adoration, and rapture on the blue expanse, varied by delicate vapours, sailing calmly, wondrously through it; and then occur to our memories spontaneously, the exquisite lines translated from a morceau, by Gluck, (a German poet;) and our hearts respond as each of us sighs:
"There's peace and welcome in yon sea Of endless blue tranquillity. Those clouds are living things! I trace their veins of liquid gold, I see them solemnly unfold Their soft and fleecy wings!
These be the angels that convey Us weary children of a day Life's tedious nothing o'er, Where neither passions come, nor woes To vex the genius of repose On death's majestic shore!"
Then do our delighted eyes wander downward; then doth earth appear a glorious, though but a temporary palace, the gift of a gracious God to man! then do we feel an unaccountable assurance that angels visit the beautiful domain; then that (though viewlessly) they rejoice with, they sorrow for, (if angels can sorrow) and they minister unto "the heirs of salvation," as they did in the days of old, and as they will do, to the end of time. Were we not assured of this blessed fact in the book of books, reason would assert, that for a thankless, graceless generation alone, earth should not have been formed so divinely fair; but it is heavenly, that the immortal servitors of man may even here find records of the divinity, and themes for undying thanksgiving. Are we indeed visited, watched, and ministered unto, by beatific essences? Oh, reason and revelation, both loudly proclaim the fact; those beneficent beings may be with us then, when we deem ourselves alone; they may be our society in the solitude of our chambers; they may pass us in the breeze, and they may wander beside us in our loneliest walks. Such meditations are calculated to inspire our bosoms with new life; to brighten all nature around us, and to unite us to the invisible world by ties, of the existence of which we were never previously sensible; ties, at once so sweet and so sacred, that we almost crave the blessing of death, in order more surely to strengthen them! Then doth the beauty of "the vale of tears" confound us; then doth it infuse into our bosoms such unalterable fore-tastes; such mysterious and undefinable sensations of the blessedness of "the isles of joy," that our very souls seem to have become but one prayer, one fervent, wordless, agonizing prayer, for divine repose, and unimaginable blessedness; and then doth the mere suggestion of final reprobation amount to insufferable torture! Oh, that such heavenly imaginings, such divine intimations of a transcendent futurity, were more frequently vouchsafed to us, and were less evanescent. They are glimpses of everlasting day, shining on wanderers in "the valley of the shadow of death;" they are droppings from the overflowing and ineffable cup of mercy; they are presciences of eternity, inestimable, unutterable! and the pen that would describe indescribable perceptions, droops in shame and sorrow at its own imbecility. Such perceptions have visited, do visit us, on this most rapturous of Christmas Days? Is it not a golden day? does it not remove us for a little space from earth, into the society of the holiest sentient beings, and to the beauty of a celestial, surpassing, world? Does it not bestow on our souls their long-lost ethereal wings? and do not the delighted strangers soar for a little while above the grossest realms of matter? Alas! even but for a little while; now do they drop, for now flag and droop those angelic pinions which are too humid and heavy with that atmosphere, from whence they could not wholly disengage themselves; the golden harps of heaven murmur in their entranced ears no longer; the smiles of the Sons of Peace fade from their enchanted sight; and the clouds of this nether world retain from their enamoured gaze, the treasures of infinity!
Perhaps we have enjoyed a very enthusiastic, a very poetical, Christmas Day! we pretend not to deny it, though steadfastly believing it was neither an anti-Christian, nor an utterly unprofitable one; nay, we even venture to hope, that the beatitude of spirit just feebly portrayed was not unpleasing in His sight, unto whom, for His gift of immortal life, we upon Christmas Day render our peculiar thanksgivings!
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THE FALL OF ZARAGOZA.
(For the Mirror.)
Awake, awake, the trumpet hath sung its lay to the sunny sky, And the glorious shout from Spanish lips gives forth its wild reply. Awake, awake, how the chargers foam, as to battle they dash on, Oh, Zaragoza, on this proud day, must thy walls be lost or won!
His hand—the hand of the youthful chief was on his flashing sword, And his plume gleam'd white thro' the smoke and flame o'er the lofty city pour'd— And the banners around him darkly swept like the waves of a stormy sea, But Zaragoza, amid this strife, his heart was firm to thee.
"Away, away, tread her walls to dust!"—the Gallic warriors cried "Defend, my bands, your hearth and home," the youthful chief replied. They caught the sound of this spirit-voice as they stay'd their foes' career, And many a thrilling cry was heard, when the bayonet met the spear
In vain, ye heroes, do you breathe your latest vows to heaven, In vain is your devoted blood in the cause of Freedom given, For when the morn awakes again, your city shall not be The haunt of maids who warbled deep, their sweetest songs for ye!
But the story of your hallow'd death shall not remain unsung, Oh, its record shall be glorified by many a minstrel tongue For Freedom's holy light hath touch'd each ruin'd shrine and wall, That sadly speak unto the heart of Zaragoza's fall.
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THE BANQUETTING HOUSE, WHITEHALL.
 For a general description of this magnificent edifice, see MIRROR, No. 247.
(For the Mirror.)
Many persons who have visited this chapel may not have noticed or been aware of the splendid painted ceiling by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, which was executed by him when ambassador at the court of James I. This beautiful performance represents the apotheosis of that peaceful monarch, he being seated on his throne, and turning towards the deities of peace and commerce, having rejected the gods of war and discord. It is painted on canvass, and is in excellent preservation; the original painter had L3,000. for his labour; it has been retouched more than once, and the last time was by Cipriani, who had L2,000. for his repairs.
Ralph, in his Critical Review of Public Buildings, observes, "that this picture is not so generally known as one could wish, but needs only to be known to be esteemed according to its merits;" and he further adds, "it is but an ill decoration for a place of religious worship, for in the first place, its contents are nowise akin to devotion, and in the next, the workmanship is so very extraordinary that a man must have abundance of zeal or no taste, that can attend to anything besides."
It is almost needless to remark, that it was from a passage broken for the occasion through the wall of this building, that the unfortunate Charles was conducted by the regicides to his death; this passage still remains, and now serves as a doorway to an additional building in Scotland Yard: and nearly facing this doorway stood the ingenious Dial, engraved and described in No. 400, of the MIRROR. The next important and public event connected with this building occurred in 1811, when a very different and far more gratifying spectacle took place, being that of the ceremony of placing in the chapel, the eagles and other colours taken by our gallant troops during the war. There were six standards and the like number of regimental colours, which after having been presented at the altar were affixed to the places they now occupy. There is a singular circumstance attached to the history of one of the eagles which may be well introduced in this place; it may be distinguished from the others by its having a wreath placed round its neck, the flag itself being destroyed. It was the usual custom for the eagles to be attached to the staves on which they are borne by a screw, so that in the event of any imminent danger, they might be taken off and secured; but Napoleon on his presenting this standard to his 8th regiment, observed, it was impossible that it should be taken from so brave a body of men as they had always proved themselves to be, and desired it might be rivetted to the staff, which was accordingly done; and probably had it not been for this order the eagle might have escaped our valiant 87th, by whom it was taken on the heights of Barossa.
On Maundy Thursday another gratifying ceremony takes place, viz, the distribution of the Maundy Money to as many poor people as the years of his majesty's age. This money consists of the smaller silver coins, being each in value from 1d. to 4d.; these are enclosed in a small, white kid bag, which is again enveloped in another of crimson leather.
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TOUCHING FOR THE KING'S EVIL.
(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
Having read an interesting paper from your ingenious correspondent P.T.W. in your number of the 14th of November, respecting "Touching for the Cure of the King's Evil," it occurred to me that some farther information relative to the original of that "hereditary miracle," as Mr. Collier is pleased to term it, might not be uninteresting to some of your readers: I therefore send you the following:—
Stowe, in his Annals, accounts for the origin of touching for the evil, in the following manner:—"A young woman who was afflicted with this disorder in a very alarming manner, and to a most disgusting degree, feeling uneasiness and pain consequent upon it in her sleep, dreamt that she should be cured by the simple operation of having the part washed with the king's hand. Application was consequently made to Edward, by her friends, who very humanely consented to perform the unpleasant request. A basin of water was brought, with which he carefully softened the humours, till they broke, and the contents discharged; the sign of the cross wound up the charm; and the female retired, with the assurance of his protection during the remainder of the cure, which was effected within a week." This is somewhat differently related in Ailred's History of the Life and Miracles of Edward the Confessor, an extract from which may be found in a note to the first volume of Rapin's History of England.
The following curious advertisement was issued by the order of King Charles II. for healing the people, on the 18th of May, 1664.
"His sacred majesty having declared it to be his royal will and purpose to continue the healing of his people for the evil during the month of May, and then give over till Michaelmas next; I am commanded to give notice thereof, that the people may not come up to the town in the interim, and lose their labour."
Thomas Mousewell was tried for high treason in 1684, for having spoken with contempt of King Charles's pretensions to cure the scrofula.
In a manuscript account of the Restoration, written by Thomas Gumble, D.D. Chaplain to General Monck, in the year 1662, is the following description of the ceremony:—" There was a great chair placed for the king, in a place somewhat distant from the people. As soon as the king was sate, one of the clerks of the closet stood at the right side of his chair, holding on his arm as many gold angels (every one tied in a ribbon of white silk) as there were sick to be touched, which were in number, forty-eight. Dr. Brown, the chaplain of the Princess of Aurange, performed the place of the king's chaplain. The chaplain then read the sixteenth chapter of St. Mark, from the fourteenth verse to the end; and then the chirurgeon presented the sick, (having examined them to see that it was the evil) after three reverences on their knees, before the king, who, whilst the chaplain said these words in that gospel: 'They shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall be healed,' layed his hands on the two cheeks of the sick, saying, 'I touch thee, but God healeth thee!' The chaplain then began another gospel; and whilst these words were pronounced out of the first chapter of St. John: 'This was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,' his majesty took the pieces of gold, and put them on the necks of the diseased, the chaplain repeating the words as many times as there were persons to receive them, concluding with a prayer, 'That Almighty God would bless the ceremony;' then, after the reverences as before, they retired. The Earls of Middlesex and St. Albans held the bason, ewer, and towel, whilst the king washed."
Shakspeare, in his Macbeth, thus describes this royal, but now exploded gift:—
"Strangely visited people, All swollen and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye, The mere despair of surgery, he cures— Hanging a golden stamp about their necks, Put on with holy prayers."
In Nicholls's Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, vol. ii. p. 495, 505, many curious particulars relating to this ceremony are to be found.
As the custom has now for some time been discontinued, and the credulity of those who believed in its efficacy, laughed at, I hope it will not be long ere that disgusting custom of allowing persons (of whom women in general form by far the greater number) afflicted with the king's evil, and different other disorders, to come on the scaffold immediately after the execution of a criminal, for the purpose of touching the part affected, with the hand of the but just dead malefactor, will be put a stop to; it being the very height of absurdity to imagine that it can be productive of any good effect; but on the contrary, tending to divest the minds of the surrounding multitude of that awe with which the ignominious spectacle should impress them.
In the trifling paper I sent you respecting "Cats," which you deemed worthy of insertion in No. 398, you have it "by some merchants from the Island of Cyprus, who came hither for fur," it should be tin—Fur being an article of importation.
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BOOKSELLERS' MARKS OR SIGNS.
(For the Mirror.)
Many books, especially those printed in the 17th century, have no other designation either of printer, bookseller, or even city, but merely marks or signs. The anchor is the mark of Raphelengius, at Leyden; and the same with a dolphin twisted round it, of the Mantuii, at Venice and Rome; the Arion denotes a book printed by Oporrinus, at Basil; the caduceus, or pegasus, by the Wechelliuses, at Paris and Frankfort; the cranes, by Cramoisy; the compass, by Plantin, at Antwerp; the fountain, by Vascosan, at Paris; the sphere in a balance, by Janson, or Blaew, at Amsterdam; the lily, by the Juntas, at Venice, Florence, Lyons, and Rome; the mulberry-tree, by Morel, at Paris; the olive-tree, by the Stephenses, at Paris and Geneva, and the Elzevirs, at Amsterdam and Leyden; the bird between two serpents, by the Frobeniuses, at Basil; the truth, by the Commelins, at Heidelberg and Paris; the Saturn, by Collinaeus; the printing press, by Badius Ascensius, &c.
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DIFFERENT COLOURS OF THE EGGS OF BIRDS.
It is a remarkable fact in the economy of nature, that of those birds whose nests are the most liable to discovery, and whose eggs are most exposed to observation from the form of the nests, the eggs are of that colour which is the least different from the surrounding objects; whilst those birds whose eggs are of a bright and positive colour, hide their nests in the hollows of trees, or never quit them, excepting in the night, or sit immediately that they have laid one or two eggs. It is also to be observed that of those species which build an exposed nest, and the females of which alone perform the duty of incubation, the colour of the female is much less bright than that of the male, and more in harmony with the objects by which she is surrounded during the period in which she sits upon her eggs. It would seem, therefore, that those birds which lay a brightly-coloured egg have the instinct to make a close nest, or to place it in the least exposed situations; while those which lay a sober-coloured egg are less solicitous to conceal it from the notice of their enemies. M. Gloger, a German naturalist, has paid great attention to this curious circumstance, and has very recently published an elaborate memoir, in a work printed at Berlin, in which he notices the habits of all the species of birds indigenous to Germany, in confirmation of the theory. Our limits will not allow us to notice the particular species which he enumerates; but it may be sufficient to excite attention to this subject, to mention, that the birds which lay an egg perfectly white (the most attractive of colours) make their nests in holes of the earth, and cavities of trees, such as the kingfisher and the woodpecker, or construct them with a very narrow opening, as the domestic swallow; that the same coloured egg is found amongst the birds which scarcely quit their nests in the day, as hawks and owls; and that such birds as doves, which only lay one or two eggs, and sit immediately after, have their eggs white. The bright blue or bright green egg belongs to birds which make their nests in holes, as the starling, or construct them of green moss, or place them in the midst of grass, but always well covered. The eggs of many gallinaceous birds, that make their nests carelessly in the grass, are of a pale and less decided green, such as those of the partridge and pheasant. Of the mixed-coloured eggs, those of which white forms the ground belong to birds that make very close nests. Speckled eggs, with a dark or dirty ground, belong to the largest number of species. Almost all the song birds lay such eggs; and building open nests, they almost invariably line the inside of them with materials of a harmonious colour with the eggs, so that no evident contrast is presented which would lead to their destruction.—Companion to the Almanac.
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EFFECTS OF SEA AIR.
Those who frequent the sea-coast are not long in discovering that their best dyed black hats become of a rusty brown; and similar effects are produced on some other colours. The brown is, in fact, rust. Most, if not all, the usual black colours have iron for a basis, the black oxide of which is developed by galls, logwood, or other substances containing gallic acid. Now the sea-air contains a proportion of the muriates over which it is wafted; and these coming in contact with any thing dyed black, part with their hydrochloric (muriatic) acid, and form brown hydrochlorate of iron, or contribute to form the brown or red oxide, called rust. The gallic acid, indeed, from its superior affinity, has the strongest hold of the iron; but the incessant action of the sea-air, loaded with muriates, partially overcomes this, in the same way as any acid, even of inferior affinity to the gallic, when put upon black stuff, will turn it brown.—Ibid.
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THE DUGONG, THE MERMAID OF EARLY WRITERS.
Of all the cetacea, that which approaches the nearest in form to man is undoubtedly the dugong, which, when its head and breast are raised above the water, and its pectoral fins, resembling hands, are visible, might easily be taken by superstitious seamen for a semi-human being.—Edinburgh Journal.
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Live and grow without food. Out of fifty spiders produced on the last day of August, and which were kept entirely without food, three lived to the 8th of February following, and even visibly increased in bulk. Was it from the effluvia arising from the dead bodies of their companions that they lived so long? Other spiders were kept in glass vessels without food, from the 15th of July till the end of January. During that time they cast their skins more than once, as if they had been well fed.—Redi, Generat. Insect.
Spiders are excellent barometers: if the ends of their webs are found branching out to any length, it is a sure sign of favourable weather: if, on the contrary, they are found short, and the spider does not attend to repairing it properly, bad weather may be expected.—Times.
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SWARMING OF BEES.
The ingenious President of the Horticultural Society, Mr. T.A. Knight, has been led from repeated observation to infer, that, in the swarming of bees, not a single labourer emigrates without previously inspecting its proposed future habitation, as well as the temporary stations of rest where their numbers collect soon after swarming.—Philosophical Magazine.
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THE CHAMELEON'S ANTIPATHY TO BLACK.
Whatever may be the cause, the fact seems to be certain, that the chameleon has an antipathy to things of a black colour. One, which Forbes kept, uniformly avoided a black board which was hung up in the chamber; and, what is most remarkable, when it was forcibly brought before the black board, it trembled violently, and assumed a black colour.—Oriental Mem.
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RULES FOR THE WEATHER.
A wet summer is always followed by a frosty winter; but it happens occasionally that the cold extends no farther. Two remarkable instances of this occurred in 1807-8 and 1813-14. With these exceptions, every frosty winter has been followed by a cold summer.
The true cause of cold, or rather the direct cause, is to be found in the winter excess of west wind, every winter with excess of west wind being followed by a cold summer; and if there is no cold before, or during a first excess, then a second excess of west wind in winter occasions a still colder summer than the first. It also appears, by repeated experience, that cold does not extend to more than two years at a time.
Again, if the winter excess of east wind be great, in the first instance, the winters will be mild, and followed by mild summers; while the summer excess of east wind is itself, in the first instance, always mild; but uniformly followed by cold winters and cold summers, which continue, more or less, for one or two years, according to circumstances.—Mackenzie, Syst. of the Weather.
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SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS
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Periodical Literature—how sweet is the name! 'Tis a type of many of the most beautiful things and events in nature; or say, rather, that they are types of it—both the flowers and the stars. As to flowers, they are the prettiest periodicals ever published in folio—the leaves are wire-wove and hot-pressed by Nature's self; their circulation is wide over all the land; from castle to cottage they are regularly taken in; as old age bends over them, his youth is renewed; and you see childhood poring upon them, prest close to its very bosom. Some of them are ephemeral, and their contents are exhaled between the rising and the setting sun. Once a-week others break through their green, pink, or crimson cover; and how delightful, on the seventh day, smiles in the sunshine the Sabbath flower—the only Sunday publication perused without blame by the most religious—even before morning prayer. Each month, indeed, throughout the whole year, has its own flower-periodical. Some are annual, some biennial, some triennial, and there are perennials that seem to live for ever—and yet are still periodical—though our love will not allow us to know when they die, and phoenix-like re-appear from their own ashes. So much for flowers—typifying or typified;—leaves emblematical of pages—buds of binding dew-veils of covers—and the wafting away of bloom and fragrance like the dissemination of fine feelings, bright fancies, and winged thoughts!
The flowers are the periodicals of the earth—the stars are those of heaven. With what unfailing regularity do the Numbers issue forth! Hesperus and Lucifer! ye are one concern! The pole-star is studied by all nations. How beautiful the poetry of the moon! On what subject does not the sun throw light! No fear of hurting your eyes by reading that fine, clear, large type on that softened page. Lo! as you turn over, one blue, another yellow, and another green, all, all alike delightful to the pupil, and dear to him as the very apple of his eye! Yes, the great Periodical Press of heaven is unceasingly at work—night and day; and though even it has been taxed, and its emanations confined, still their circulation is incalculable; nor have we yet heard that Ministers intend instituting any prosecution against it. It is yet Free, the only free Power all over the world. 'Tis indeed like the air we breathe—if we have it not, we die!
Look, then, at all our paper Periodicals with pleasure, for sake of the flowers and the stars. Suppose them all extinct, and life would be like a flowerless earth, a starless heaven. We should soon forget the seasons themselves—the days of the week—and the weeks of the month—and the months of the year—and the years of the century—and the centuries of all Time—and all Time itself flowing away on into eternity. The Periodicals of external nature would soon all lose their meaning, were there no longer any Periodicals of the soul. These are the lights and shadows of life, merrily dancing or gravely stealing over the dial; remembrancers of the past—teachers of the present—prophets of the future hours. Were they all dead, spring would in vain renew her promise—wearisome would be the long, long, interminable summer-days—the fruits of autumn would taste fushionless—and the winter's ingle blink mournfully round the hearth. What are the blessed Seasons themselves, in nature and in Thomson, but Periodicals of a larger growth? They are the parents, or publishers, or editors, of all the others—principal contributors—nay, subscribers too—and may their pretty family live for ever, still dying, yet ever renewed, and on the increase every year. We should suspect him of a bad, black heart, who loved not the Periodical Literature of earth and sky—who would weep not to see one of its flowers wither—one of its stars fall—one beauty to die on its humble bed—one glory to drop from its lofty sphere. Let them bloom and burn on—flowers in which there is no poison, stars in which there is no disease—whose blossoms are all sweet, and whose rays are all sanative—both alike steeped in dew, and both, to the fine ear of nature's worshipper, bathed in music.
Only look at Maga! One hundred and forty-eight months old! and yet lovely as maiden between frock and gown—even as sweet sixteen! Not a wrinkle on cheek or forehead! No crow-foot has touched her eyes—
"Her eye's blue languish, and her golden hair!"
Like an antelope in the wilderness—or swan on the river—or eagle in the sky. Dream that she is dead, and oh! what a world! Yet die she must some day—so must the moon and stars. Meanwhile there is a blessing in prayers—and hark! how the nations cry, "Oh! Maga, live for ever!"
We often pity our poor ancestors. How they contrived to make the ends meet, surpasses our conjectural powers. What a weary waste must have seemed expanding before their eyes, between morning and night! Don't tell us that the human female never longs for other pastime than
"To suckle fools and chronicle small beer."
True, ladies sighed not then for periodicals—but there, in the depths of their ignorance, lay their utter wretchedness. What! keep pickling and preserving during the whole mortal life of an immortal being! Except when at jelly, everlastingly at jam! The soul sickens at the monotonous sweetness of such a wersh existence. True that many sat all life-long at needlework; but is not that a very sew-sew sort of life? Then oh! the miserable males! We speak of times after the invention, it is true, of printing—but who read what were called books then? Books! no more like our periodicals, than dry, rotten, worm-eaten, fungous logs are like green living leafy trees, laden with dews, bees, and birds, in the musical sunshine. What could males do then but yawn, sleep, snore, guzzle, guttle, and drink till they grew dead and got buried? Fox-hunting won't always do—and often it is not to be had; who can be happy with his gun through good report and bad report in an a' day's rain? Small amusement in fishing in muddy water; palls upon the sense quarrelling with neighbours on points of etiquette and the disputed property of hedgerow trees; a fever in the family ceases to raise the pulse of any inmate, except the patient; death itself is no relief to the dulness; a funeral is little better; the yawn of the grave seems a sort of unhallowed mockery; the scutcheon hung out on the front of the old dismal hall, is like a sign on a deserted Spittal; along with sables is worn a suitable stupidity by all the sad survivors.—And such, before the era of Periodicals, such was the life in—merry England. Oh! dear!—oh! dear me!
We shall not enter into any historical details—for this is not a Monologue for the Quarterly—but we simply assert, that in the times we allude to (don't mention dates) there was little or no reading in England. There was neither the Reading Fly nor the Reading Public. What could this be owing to, but the non-existence of Periodicals? What elderly-young lady could be expected to turn from house affairs, for example, to Spenser's Fairy Queen? It is a long, long, long poem, that Fairy Queen of Spenser's; nobody, of course, ever dreamt of getting through it; but though you may have given up all hope of getting through a poem or a wood, you expect to be able to find your way back again to the spot where you unluckily got in; not so, however, with the Fairy Queen. Beautiful it is indeed, most exquisitely and unapproachably beautiful in many passages, especially about ladies and ladies' love more than celestial, for Venus loses in comparison her lustre in the sky; but still people were afraid to get into it then as now; and "heavenly Una, with her milk-white lamb," lay buried in dust. As to Shakspeare, we cannot find many traces of him in the domestic occupations of the English gentry during the times alluded to; nor do we believe that the character of Hamlet was at all relished in their halls, though perhaps an occasional squire chuckled at the humours of Sir John Falstaff. We have Mr. Wordsworth's authority for believing that Paradise Lost was a dead letter, and John Milton virtually anonymous. We need say no more. Books like these, huge heavy vols. lay with other lumber in the garrets and libraries. As yet, Periodical Literature was not; and the art of printing seems long to have preceded the art of reading. It did not occur to those generations that books were intended to be read by people in general, but only by the select few. Whereas now, reading is not only one of the luxuries, but absolutely one of the necessaries of life, and we now no more think of going without our book than without our breakfast; lunch consists now of veal-pies and Venetian Bracelets—we still dine on Roast-beef, but with it, instead of Yorkshire pudding, a Scotch novel—Thomas Campbell and Thomas Moore sweeten tea for us—and in "Course of Time" we sup on a Welsh rabbit and a Religious Poem.
We have not time—how can we?—to trace the history of the great revolution. But a great revolution there has been, from nobody's reading anything, to every body's reading all things; and perhaps it began with that good old proser Richardson, the father of Pamela, Clarissa, and Sir Charles Grandison. He seems to have been a sort of idiot, who had a strange insight into some parts of human nature, and a tolerable acquaintance with most parts of speech. He set the public a-reading, and Fielding and Smollett shoved her on—till the Minerva Press took her in hand—and then—the Periodicals. But such Periodicals! The Gentleman's Magazine—God bless it then, now, and for ever!—the Monthly Review, the Critical and the British Critic! The age had been for some years literary, and was now fast becoming periodical. Magazines multiplied. Arose in glory the Edinburgh, and then the Quarterly Review—Maga, like a new sun, looked out from heaven—from her golden urn a hundred satellites drew light—and last of all, "the Planetary Five," the Annuals, hung their lamps on high; other similar luminous bodies emerged from the clouds, till the whole circumference was bespangled, and astronomy became the favourite study with all ranks of people, from the King upon the throne to the meanest of his subjects. Now, will any one presume to deny, that this has been a great change to the better, and that there is now something worth living for in the world? Look at our literature now, and it is all periodical together. A thousand daily, thrice-a-week, twice-a week, weekly newspapers, a hundred monthlies, fifty quarterlies, and twenty-five annuals! No mouth looks up now and is not fed; on the contrary, we are in danger of being crammed; an empty head is as rare as an empty stomach; the whole day is one meal, one physical, moral, and intellectual feast; the Public goes to bed with a Periodical in her hand, and falls asleep with it beneath her pillow.
What blockhead thinks now of reading Milton, or Pope, or Gray? Paradise Lost is lost; it has gone to the devil. Pope's Epistles are returned to the dead-letter office; the age is too loyal for "ruin seize thee, ruthless king," and the oldest inhabitant has forgotten "the curfew tolls."—Blackwood's Magazine.
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR, AND LITERARY NOTICES OF NEW WORKS.
* * * * *
DR. LARDNER'S CYCLOPAEDIA.
History of Scotland. By Sir Walter Scott, Bart. Vol. I.
The rapid and sketchy page just quoted from Blackwood's Magazine will illustrate the high ground which periodical literature is daily attaining in this country. Of this ascendancy, the volume before us is indeed a fine specimen, and one of which we have reason to entertain a national pride. We know it to be a common practice with publishers on the continent to produce long works volume by volume, so that Dr. Lardner's plan is by no means novel; but we should also bear in mind that, compared with our family and cabinet libraries, the majority of similar foreign works are mere flimsy productions; and the Encyclopedie Methodique, published in monthly volumes, in Paris, both in quantity and execution, will not reach our literary standards of 1829. As Dr. Lardner's plan is well known, it need not here be repeated; neither need we remark upon the high qualifications of Sir Walter Scott, as an historian of Scotland. An extract shall speak for itself; and perhaps we cannot do better than select one of the battle-pieces, which has all the vividness of the finest historical painting: say
"Robert Bruce summoned the array of his kingdom to rendezvous in the Tor-wood, about four miles from Stirling, and by degrees prepared the field of battle which he had selected for the contest. It was a space of ground then called the New Park—perhaps reserved for the chase, since Stirling was frequently a royal residence. This ground was partly open, partly encumbered with trees, in groups or separate. It was occupied by the Scottish line of battle, extending from south to north, and fronting to the east. In this position, Bruce's left flank and rear might have been exposed to a sally from the castle of Stirling; but Mowbray the governor's faith was beyond suspicion, and the king was not in apprehension that he would violate the tenour of the treaty, by which he was bound to remain in passive expectation of his fate. The direct approach to the Scottish front was protected in a great measure by a morass called the New-miln Bog. A brook, called Bannockburn, running to the eastward, between rocky and precipitous banks, effectually covered the Scottish right wing, which rested upon it, and was totally inaccessible. Their left flank was apparently bare, but was, in fact, formidably protected in front by a peculiar kind of field-works. As the ground in that part of the field was adapted for the manoeuvres of cavalry Bruce caused many rows of pits, three feet deep, to be dug in it, so close together, as to suggest the appearance of a honeycomb, with its ranges of cells. In these pits sharp stakes were strongly pitched, and the apertures covered with sod so carefully, as that the condition of the ground might escape observation. Calthrops, or spikes contrived to lame the horses, were also scattered in different directions.
"Having led his troops into the field of combat, on the tidings of the English approach, the 23d of June, 1314, the King of Scotland ordered his soldiers to arm themselves, and making proclamation that those who were not prepared to conquer or die with their sovereign were at liberty to depart, he was answered by a cheerful and general expression of their determination to take their fate with him. The King proceeded to draw up the army in the following order: Three oblong columns or masses of infantry, armed with lances, arranged on the same front, with intervals betwixt them formed his first line. Of these Edward Bruce had the guidance of the right wing, James Douglas and Walter, the Steward of Scotland, of the left, and Thomas Randolph of the central division. These three commanders had their orders to permit no English troops to pass their front, in order to gain Stirling. The second line, forming one column or mass, consisted of the men of the isles, under Bruce's faithful friend and ally, the insular prince Angus, his own men of Carrick, and those of Argyle and Cantire. With these the king posted himself in order to carry support and assistance wherever it might be required. With himself also he kept in the rear a select body of horse, the greater part of whom he designed for executing a particular service. The followers of the camp were dismissed with the baggage, to station themselves behind an eminence to the rear of the Scottish army, still called the Gillies' (that is, the servants') hill....
"On the morning of St. Barnaby, called the Bright, being the 24th of June, 1314, Edward advanced in full form to the attack of the Scots, whom he found in their position of the preceding evening. The Vanguard of the English, consisting of the archers and bill-men, or lancers, comprehending almost all the infantry of the army, advanced, under the command of the Earls of Gloucester and Hereford, who also had a fine body of men at arms to support their column. All the remainder of the English troops, consisting of nine battles, or separate divisions, were so straitened by the narrowness of the ground, that, to the eye of the Scots, they seemed to form one very large body, gleaming with flashes of armour, and dark with the number of banners which floated over them. Edward himself commanded this tremendous array, and, in order to guard his person, was attended by four hundred chosen men at arms. Immediately around the King waited Sir Aymer de Valence, that Earl of Pembroke who defeated Bruce at Methven Wood, but was now to see a very different day; Sir Giles de Argentine, a Knight of St. John of Jerusalem, who was accounted, for his deeds in Palestine and elsewhere, one of the best Knights that lived; and Sir Ingram Umfraville, an Anglicised Scottishman, also famed for his skill in arms.
"As the Scottish saw the immense display of their enemies rolling towards them like a surging ocean, they were called on to join in an appeal to Heaven against the strength of human foes.—Maurice, the Abbot of Inchaffray, bare-headed and bare-footed, walked along the Scottish line, and conferred his benediction on the soldiers, who knelt to receive it, and to worship the power in whose name it was bestowed.
"During this time the King of England was questioning Umfraville about the purpose of his opponents. "Will they," said Edward, "abide battle?"—"They assuredly will," replied Umfraville; "and to engage them with advantage, your Highness were best order a seeming retreat, and draw them out of their strong ground." Edward rejected this counsel, and observing the Scottish soldiers kneel down, joyfully exclaimed, "They crave mercy."—"It is from Heaven, not from your Highness," answered Umfraville: "on that field they will win or die." The King then commanded the charge to be sounded, and the attack to take place.
"The Earls of Gloucester and Hereford charged the Scots left wing, under Edward Bruce, with their men at arms; but some rivalry between these two great Lords induced them to hurry to the charge with more of emulation than of discretion, and arriving at the shock disordered and out of breath, they were unable to force the deep ranks of the spearmen; many horses were thrown down, and their masters left at the mercy of the enemy. The other three divisions of the Scottish army attacked the mass of the English infantry, who resisted courageously. The English archers, as at the battle of Falkirk, now began to show their formidable skill, at the expense of the Scottish spearmen; but for this Bruce was prepared. He commanded Sir Robert Keith, the Marshal of Scotland, with those four hundred men at arms whom he had kept in reserve for the purpose, to make a circuit, and charge the English bowmen in the flank. This was done with a celerity and precision which dispersed the whole archery, who, having neither stakes nor other barrier to keep off the horse, nor long weapons to repel them, were cut down at pleasure, and almost without resistance.
"The battle continued to rage, but with disadvantage to the English. The Scottish archers had now an opportunity of galling their infantry without opposition; and it would appear that King Edward could find no means of bringing any part of his numerous centre or rear-guard to the support of those in the front, who were engaged at disadvantage.
"Bruce, seeing the confusion thicken, now placed himself at the head of the reserve, and addressing Angus of the Isles in the words, "My hope is constant in thee," rushed into the engagement followed by all the troops he had hitherto kept in reserve. The effect of such an effort, reserved for a favourable moment, failed not to be decisive. Those of the English who had been staggered were now constrained to retreat; those who were already in retreat took to actual flight. At this critical moment, the camp-followers of the Scottish army, seized with curiosity to see how the day went, or perhaps desirous to have a share of the plunder, suddenly showed themselves on the ridge of the Gillies'-hill, in the rear of the Scottish line of battle; and as they displayed cloths and horse-coverings upon poles for ensigns, they bore in the eyes of the English the terrors of an army with banners. The belief that they beheld the rise of an ambuscade, or the arrival of a new army of Scots, gave the last impulse of terror, and all fled now, even those who had before resisted. The slaughter was immense; the deep ravine of Bannockburn, to the south of the field of battle, lying in the direction taken by most of the fugitives, was almost choked and bridged over with the slain, the difficulty of the ground retarding the fugitive horsemen till the lancers were upon them. Others, and in great numbers, rushed into the river Forth, in the blindness of terror, and perished there. No less than twenty-seven Barons fell in the field; the Earl of Gloucester was at the head of the fatal list: young, brave, and high-born, when he saw the day was lost, he rode headlong on the Scottish spears, and was slain. Sir Robert Clifford, renowned in the Scottish wars, was also killed. Two hundred Knights and seven hundred Esquires, of high birth and blood, graced the list of slaughter with the noblest names of England; and thirty thousand of the common file filled up the fatal roll.
"Edward, among whose weaknesses we cannot number cowardice, was reluctantly forced from the bloody field by the Earl of Pembroke. The noble Sir Giles de Argentine considered it as his duty to attend the King until he saw him in personal safety, then observing that "it was not his own wont to fly," turned back, rushed again into the battle, cried his war-cry, galloped boldly against the victorious Scots, and was slain, according to his wish, with his face to the enemy. Edward must have been bewildered in the confusion of the field, for instead of directing his course southerly to Linlithgow, from which he came, he rode northward to Stirling, and demanded admittance. Philip de Mowbray, the governor, remonstrated against this rash step, reminding the unfortunate Prince that he was obliged by his treaty to surrender the castle next day, as not having been relieved according to the conditions.
"Edward was therefore obliged to take the southern road; and he must have made a considerable circuit to avoid the Scottish army. He was, however, discovered on his retreat, and pursued by Douglas with sixty horse, who were all that could be mustered for the service. The King, by a rapid and continued flight through a country in which his misfortunes must have changed many friends into enemies, at length gained the castle of Dunbar, where he was hospitably received by the Earl of March. From Dunbar Edward escaped almost alone to Berwick in a fishing skiff, having left behind him the finest army a King of England ever commanded.
"The quantity of spoil gained by the victors at the battle of Bannockburn was inestimable, and the ransoms paid by the prisoners largely added to the mass of treasure. Five near relations to the Bruce—namely, his wife, her sister Christian, his daughter Marjory, the Bishop of Glasgow (Wishart), and the young Earl of Mar, the King's nephew, were exchanged against the Earl of Hereford, High Constable of England.
"The Scottish loss was very small: Sir William Vipont and Sir Walter Ross were the only persons of consideration slain. Sir Edward Bruce is said to have been so much attached to the last of these knights as to have expressed his wish that the battle had remained unfought, so Ross had not died."
The present volume contains 350 pages, in a very pleasing type, and a vignette title; and the style in which it is produced is uniformly worthy of the very responsible quarter whence it emanates.
* * * * *
THE YOUNG LADY'S BOOK.
This is indeed a golden gift for any demoiselle of our readers' acquaintance, for it blends the unusual qualities of elegance and usefulness of the highest order. It is described in the title as "A Manual of Elegant Recreations, Exercises and Pursuits," and numbers in its contents, Moral deportment—the Florist—Mineralogy, Conchology, Entomology, the Aviary, the Toilet, Embroidery, the Escrutoire, Painting, Music, Dancing, Archery, Riding, and the Ornamental Artist. Each of these subjects is treated of in separate chapters, in a neat style, slightly scientific, and highly amusive; and the whole are illustrated with upwards of Six Hundred Engravings, which are appropriately chosen and admirably executed. Botany, Conchology, Entomology, and the Aviary thus admit of scores of little cuts worked in with the type; the female accomplishments of Embroidery, ornamental card and basket work, contain many beautiful devices; and the "elegant recreations" of Dancing, Riding, &c. are equally well illustrated by the various forms, positions, &c.—Each subject has been treated of by a master or mistress of the respective art, but the uniformity with which the editor has marshalled them in his work, almost makes them resemble the productions of one hand. We need not point out the merit of this individual contribution; for the lady-pen must be omnipotent indeed which could write equally well on every branch of female accomplishment. By way of a seasonable extract we take part of a brief historical sketch prefixed to the Dancing instructions, and a few of the hints:—
"From the death of Elizabeth, until after the restoration of Charles II., the turbulence of the times, and the peculiar character of the age, prevented this art, which flourishes only in 'the bowers of peace and joy,' from making much progress; but in the days of the merry monarch it began to revive, and advanced more, or less, in all the succeeding reigns. The celebrated Beau Nash, who was, for a long time, M.C. at Bath, may be considered the founder of modern ball-room dancing; which, however, has been divested of much of its cold formality, and improved in various other respects since the time of that singular person. It is, nevertheless, a matter of regret, that the graceful and stately Minuet has been entirely abandoned in favour of the more recently-invented dances.
"The French country dances, or Contre-Danses (from the parties being placed opposite to each other,) since called Quadrilles (from their having four sides) which approximate nearly to the Cotillon, were first introduced to France about the middle of Lewis the Fifteenth's reign. Previously to this period, the dances most in vogue were La Perigourdine, La Matelotte, La Pavane, Les Forlanes, Minuets, &c. Quadrilles, when first introduced, were danced by four persons only: four more were soon added, and thus the complete square was formed; but the figures were materially different from those of the present period. The gentlemen advanced with the opposite ladies, menaced each other with the fore-finger, and retired clapping their hands three times; they then turned hands of four, turned their own partners, and grand rond of all concluded the figure. The Vauxhall d'Hiver was, at that time, the most fashionable place of resort: the pupils of the Royal Academy were engaged to execute new dances; a full and effective band performed the most fashionable airs, and new figures were at length introduced and announced as a source of attraction; but this place was soon pulled down, and re-built on the ground now occupied by the Theatre du Vaudeville. The establishment failed, and the proprietor became a bankrupt. A short time after, it was re-opened by another speculator; but on such a scale, as merely to attract the working classes of the community. The band was now composed of a set of miserable scrapers, who played in unison, and continually in the key of G sharp; amid the sounds which emanated from their instruments, the jangling of a tambourin, and the shrill notes of a fife were occasionally heard. Thus did things continue until the French Revolution; when, about the time the Executive Directory was formed, the splendid apartments of the Hotel de Richelieu were opened for the reception of the higher classes, who had then but few opportunities of meeting to 'trip it on the light fantastic toe.' Monsieur Hullin, then of the Opera, was selected to form a band of twenty-four musicians, from among those of the highest talent in the various theatres: he found no difficulty in this, as they were paid in paper-money, then of little or no value; whereas, the administrators of the Richelieu establishment paid in specie. The tunes were composed in different keys, with full orchestral accompaniments, by Monsieur Hullin; and the contrast thus produced to the abominable style which had so long existed, commenced a new era in dancing: the old figures were abolished, and stage-steps were adopted;—Pas de Zephyrs, Pas de Bourres, Ballotes, Jetes Battus, &c. were among the most popular. Minuets and Forlanes were still continued; but Monsieur Vestris displaced the latter by the Gavotte, which he taught to Monsieur Trenis and Madame de Choiseul, who first danced it at a fete given by a lady of celebrity, at the Hotel de Valentinois, Rue St. Lazar, on the 16th of August, 1797; at this fete, Monsieur Hullin introduced an entirely new set of figures of his own composition.—These elicited general approbation: they were danced at all parties, and still retain pre-eminence. The names of Pantalon, L'Ete, La Poule, La Trenis, &c. which were given to the tunes, have been applied to the figures. The figure of La Trenis, was introduced by Monsieur Trenis's desire, it being part of the figure from a Gavotte, danced in the then favourite ballet of Nina.
"To the French we are indebted for rather an ingenious, but in the opinion of many professional dancers, an useless invention, by which it was proposed, that as the steps in dancing are not very numerous, although they may be infinitely combined, that characters might be made use of to express the various steps and figures of a dance, in the same manner as words and sentences are expressed by letters; or what is more closely analogous, as the musical characters are employed to represent to the eye the sounds of an air. The well-known Monsieur Beauchamp, and a French dancing-master, each laid claim to be the original inventer of this art; and the consequence was a law suit, in which, however, judgment was pronounced in favour of the former. The art has been introduced into this country, but without success. An English dancing-master has also, we believe, with considerable labour and ingenuity, devised a plan somewhat similar to that of the French author: diagrams being proposed to represent the figures, or steps, instead of characters.
"There are a variety of dances to which the term National may, with some propriety, be applied. Among the most celebrated of these are,—the Italian Tarantula, the German Waltz, and the Spanish Bolero. To dwell on their peculiarities would, however, as it appears to us, be useless: the first is rarely exhibited, even on the stage: the second, although it still retains much of its original character, has, in this country, been modified into the Waltz Country Dance, and all the objections which it encountered, on its first introduction, seem to have been gradually overcome, since it assumed its present popular form; and the graceful Bolero is restricted to the theatre only, being never introduced to the English ball-room.
"The manner of walking well is an object which all young ladies should be anxious to acquire; but, unfortunately, it is a point too much neglected. In the drawing-room, the ball-room, or during the promenade, an elegant deportment, a 'poetry of motion,'—is, and ever will be, appreciated. The step ought not to exceed the length of the foot; the leg should be put forward, without stiffness, in about the fourth position; but without any effort to turn the foot out, as it will tend to throw the body awry, and give the person an appearance of being a professional dancer. The head should be kept up and the chest open: the body will then attain an advantageous position, and that steadiness so much required in good walking. The arms should fall in their natural position, and all their movements and oppositions to the feet be easy and unconstrained. The employment of soldiers to teach young ladies how to walk, which, we are sorry to say, is a practice adopted by many parents and heads of seminaries, is much to be deprecated. The stiffness acquired under regimental tuition, is adverse to all the principles of grace, and annihilates that buoyant lightness which is so conducive to ease and elegance in the young."
Besides the host of cuts incorporated with the text, each art has a whole page embellishment exquisitely engraved on wood; the designs of which are the very acme of taste. The head and tail, and letter pieces of the chapters are in equally good taste; and taken altogether, the "Young Lady's Book," either as a production of usefulness or illustratration of art, is the finest production of its day. It has been erroneously noticed, from its publication at this season, as an "Annual," but it displays infinitely more pains-taking than either of those elaborate productions—and is, we should judge, neither the labour of one or two years.
We had almost overlooked the imitative Mechlin lace-facings, which would deceive any Nottingham factor.
* * * * *
THE ZOOLOGICAL KEEPSAKE.
The design of this "Annual" is good, we may say, very good; but we are alike bound to confess that the execution falls short of the idea. It contains an account of the Gardens and Museum of the Zoological Society, but this is too much interlarded with digressions. All the introductory matter might have been omitted with advantage to the author as well as the public. The descriptions are divided by poetical pieces, which serve as reliefs, one of which we extract:—
THE LOST LAMB; OR, THE CHILD SAVED.
BY H.C. DEAKIN, ESQ.
Author of "Portraits of the Dead."
Morn rose upon the purple hills, In all his pomp display'd; Flash'd forth like stars a hundred rills, In valley, plain, and glade. The foaming mist, day's chilly shrine, Into the clouds upcurl'd, Forth broke in majesty divine The Grampians' giant world.
It was a glorious sight to view Those mountain forms unfold,— The Heavens above intensely blue, The plains beneath like gold. Day woke, a thousand songs arose, Morn's orisons on high, Earth's universal heart o'erflows To Him beyond the sky.
The shepherd roused him from his sleep, And down the vale be hied, Like guardian good, to count his sheep, His firstling by his side. His firstling! 'twas his only child— A boy of three years old, The father's weary hours beguiled Whilst watching o'er his fold.
And many an hour the child and he Joy'd o'er the vale together; It was a lovely thing to see That child among the heather. The vale is pass'd, the mountains rear Their rugged cliffs in air, He must ascend to view more near His distant fleecy care.
"My child! the flowers are bright for thee, The daisy's pearl'd with dew; Go, share them with the honey-bee, Till I return for you, Thy dog and mine with thee shall stay Whilst I the flock am counting,"— He said, and took his tedious way, The hilly green sward mounting.
O'er crag and cliff the father toil'd, Unconscious pass'd the hours: He for a time forgot the child He'd left among the flowers. The boiling clouds come down and veil Valley, and wood, and plain; Then fears the father's heart assail, He will descend again.
Morn melted into noon, and night Dark on the shepherd shone, Terror in vain impels his flight, His child!—his child is gone! He calls upon his darling's name, His dog in vain he calls; He hears naught but the eagle's scream, Or roar of waterfalls.
He rushes home—he is not there— With agony and woe; He hunts him in the cold night air, O'er hill and vale below. Morn rose—the faithful dog appears, He whines for food so mild, The father hied him through his tears, And said, "Tray, where's my child?"
Thrice rose the morn—the father's heart With grief was almost dead; But every morn the dog appeared, And whined and begged for bread. Yet through the night and through the day, The dog was never seen— "He is not wont to stay away, Where can the dog have been?"
On the fourth morn this faithful friend, As usual whined for meat— They mark the way his footsteps tend, And follow his retreat. They watch him to a cave beside The Grampians' craggy base— Behold! the shepherd's wandering child Within the dog's embrace.
He springs—he weeps away his cares, He cries aloud with joy— He kneels, he sobs to heaven his prayers, For his redeemed boy. Then, turning, hugs his favourite hound, The trusty, true, and bold, By whom was saved, through whom was found The firstling of his fold!
The Engravings, which are very numerous, are exclusively on wood. A few of them are views in the Regent's Park Gardens; but in point of execution, we think the best is a Portrait of the Satyr, or "Happy Jerry," at Cross's Menagerie. Though by no means one of nature's favourites, he appears to possess the companionable qualities of sitting in a chair, smoking a pipe, and drinking spirits and water, and appearing to understand every look, word, and action of his keeper; indeed, so thoroughly contented is the creature, that he has obtained the name of "Happy Jerry."
To speak zoologically, next year we hope the artist and editor will put their best feet foremost, and improve upon the present volume. The design is one of the best for a Juvenile Annual—for who does not recollect the very amusing game of "Birds, Beasts, and Fishes, and sometimes Insects and Reptiles." What a menagerie of guessing novelties would have been a Zoological Keepsake in our school days.
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A snapper up of unconsidered trifles. SHAKSPEARE.
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SPILLING THE SALT.
It is a curious fact, though not generally known, that the popular superstition of overturning the salt at table being unlucky, originated in a picture of the Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, in which Judas Iscariot is represented as overturning the salt.
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"I have been much entertained during my wanderings through the country adjoining this town, in observing the singular habits and extreme sagacity of the kangaroos. I have noticed several who carried in their fore paws a sort of umbrella, or fan, which they held so as to protect their head and shoulders from the violence of the sun. One day I slipped a brace of large greyhounds at a female who carried one of these useful appendages, which she soon dropped and escaped: it was formed of a large bough, over which some large leaves were spread, and fastened on simply by the shoots of the bough sticking into the leaf."—From a letter dated Hobart's Town, February, 1829.
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THE EARL OF MANSFIELD.
"When he was at Westminster School, Lady Kinnoul, in one of the vacations, invited him to her home, where, observing him with a pen in his hand, and seemingly thoughtful, she asked him if he was writing his theme, and what in plain English the theme was? The school-boy's smart answer rather surprised her Ladyship—'What is that to you?' She replied—'How can you be so rude? I asked you very civilly a plain question, and did not expect from a school-boy such a pert answer.' The reply was, 'Indeed, my Lady, I can only answer once more, 'What is that to you?' In reality the theme was—Quid ad te pertinet!"—From Holliday's Life of the Earl of Mansfield.
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"IN SPITE OF HIS TEETH."
King John once demanded of a certain Jew ten thousand marks, on refusal of which, he ordered one of the Israelite's teeth to be drawn every day till he should consent. The Jew lost seven, and then paid the required sum. Hence the phrase—"In spite of his teeth."
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A gentleman who had just arrived in town met an Hibernian friend, and with anxious solicitude asked him "where the best bed was to be got?" "By my soul," said the Emeralder, with a Kilmainham look, "I'm tould at the Swan River, where there's nothing but down."
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QUERY.—Would not the law be the most profitable profession for the Siamese Youths? They might plead pro and con, and take fees from plaintiff and defendant. If raised to the Bench, they might receive the salary of one Judge, but act as two, thereby saving the nation some money in these hard times of cash payments, and please all parties, one summing up for plaintiff and the other for defendant.
N.B. They appear very good natured, although they huffed me twice at draughts.
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WITH the present Number is published a SUPPLEMENT, containing a Steel-plate PORTRAIT of THOMAS CAMPBELL, ESQ. and a copious MEMOIR; with Title, Preface, and Index to Vol. xiv.