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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Volume 19. Issue 539 - 24 Mar 1832
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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. XIX. NO. 539.] SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 1832. [PRICE 2d.



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WINDSOR CASTLE, (N.E.)

Our sketchy tour of Windsor Castle has hitherto been told in visits far between, perhaps, if not few, for the interesting character of the whole fabric.[1]

The present Cut includes the North-east view, a picturesque if not important point. The reader will remember, if he has not enjoyed, the splendid terrace on the north; this is now continued on the eastern side. The fine tower at the eastern end of the north terrace, (at the angle,) is Brunswick Tower, with a projecting bastion in its front containing the apparatus for heating the orangery, with rooms for the attendants; it is octagon shaped, and has a most commanding appearance, the height being 120 feet above the level of the terrace.

A staircase turret communicates with the apartments, the principal one being appropriated as a private dining-room by the late King, while the larger apartments on the east front were reserved for splendid entertainments. In a central position between the state dining-room and St. George's Hall is a music saloon, in which is placed a fine-toned organ. A communication has been effected between Brunswick Tower and the state apartments by a corridor terminating at the King's Guard Chamber, where a new tower, named after George the Third, has been erected: the principal window is extremely large, and divided by Gothic tracery into several compartments, producing a noble and cathedral-like appearance.

Beneath the Castle, in the Engraving, are seen the wooded slopes of the Little Park, the "green retreats" of Pope, where

——Waving groves a checker'd scene display And part admit, and part exclude the day.

*** The friendly suggestion of our Correspondent, G.C. (Windsor Castle) shall be considered.

[1] For Views of Windsor Castle, with the late renovations, see the following Numbers of the Mirror:

No. 292, George the Fourth's Gateway, South and East Sides.

Long Gallery.

No. 437, Bedchamber in which George IV. died.

No. 444, Private Dining Room.

No. 486, George IV. Gateway, from the interior of the Quadrangle.

No. 488, St. George's Chapel.

* * * * *

THE MARCH OF MIND.

(To the Editor.)

It is generally supposed that the extensive search after, and diffusion of, knowledge, is in a great measure peculiar to these present times. It seems therefore to me a very curious thing to find a learned man and an accomplished courtier protesting against book-learning as an evil, so far back as the year 1646, and a curious thing he himself appears to have thought it, introducing his opinion as a "paradox" until he explains. In this explanation we find the same opinion that is now strenuously insisted on by Mr. Cobbett, namely, that a man who properly understands his own business or employment, though he have nothing of literature, is by no means to be accounted ignorant.

The letters of James Howell, Esq. are well known as fluent examples of the best style of writing of his day, and as repositories of many curious facts and intelligent remarks. The following letter appears to be addressed to Lord Dorchester—

"My Lord,—The subject of this letter may, peradventure, seem a paradox to some, but not, I know, to your Lordship, when you are pleased to weigh well the reasons. Learning is a thing that hath been much cried up, and coveted in all ages, especially in this last century of years, by people of all sorts, though never so mean and mechanical; every man strains his fortune to keep his children at school; the cobbler will clout it till midnight, the porter will carry burdens till his bones crack again, the ploughman will pinch both back and belly to give his son learning, and I find that this ambition reigns no where so much as in this island. But, under favour, this word, learning, is taken in a narrower sense among us than among other nations: we seem to restrain it only to the book, whereas, indeed, any artisan whatsoever (if he knew the secret and mystery of his trade) may be called a learned man: a good mason; a good shoemaker, that can manage St. Crispin's lance handsomely; a skilful yeoman; a good ship-wright, &c. may be all called learned men, and indeed the usefullest sort of learned men.

"The extravagant humour of our country is not to be altogether commended—that all men should aspire to book-learning; there is not a simpler animal, and a more superfluous member of a state than a mere scholar, a self-pleasing student. Archimedes, though an excellent engineer, when Syracuse was lost, was found in his study, intoxicated with speculations; and another great, learned philosopher, like a fool or frantic, when being in a bath, he leaped out naked among the people, and cried, 'I have found it, I have found it,' having hit then upon an extraordinary conclusion in geometry. There is a famous tale of Thomas Aquinas, the angelical doctor, and of Bonadventure, the seraphical doctor, of whom Alexander Hales, our countryman, reports, that these great clerks were invited to dinner by the French King, on purpose to observe their humours, and being brought to the room where the table was laid, the first fell to eating of bread as hard as he could drive, at last, breaking out of a brown study, he cried out 'Conclusum est contra Manichaeos;' the other fell a gazing upon the Queen, and the King asking him how he liked her, he answered, 'Oh, sir, if an earthly Queen be so beautiful, what shall we think of the Queen of Heaven?' The latter was the better courtier of the two.

"My Lord, I know none in this age more capable to sit in the chair, and censure what is true learning, and what not, than yourself; therefore, in speaking of this subject to your Lordship, I fear to have committed the same error as Phormio did, in discoursing of war before Hannibal.

"My Lord, your most humble, &c.

"JAMES HOWELL."

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ILLUMINATED PSALTER.

(For the Mirror.)

There is an illuminated Psalter preserved amongst the MSS. in the British Museum, 2. A. 16., written by John Mallard, Chaplain to Henry VIII., wherein are several notes in that king's hand writing, some in pencil prefixed to Psalm liii. ("Dixit incipiens.") According to a very ancient custom are the figures of King David and a fool, in this instance evidently the portraits of Henry and his jester, Will Somers.

S. K.

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ANCIENT VALENTINES.

(For the Mirror.)

The earliest poetical Valentines remaining, are those preserved in the works of Charles Duke of Orleans, father to Louis XII. of France. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Agincourt, and remained in England twenty-five years, and called his mistress his Valentine. In the royal library of MSS. now in the British Museum, there is a magnificent volume containing his writings whilst in England; it belonged to Henry VIII. for whom it was copied from older MSS. It is illuminated: one painting represents the duke in the White Tower, at a writing table. This MSS. also contain some of the compositions of Eloisa.

S.K.

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THE COSMOPOLITE.

SUPERSTITIONS, FABLES, &C. RELATIVE TO ANIMALS.

(Continued from page 171.)

The fore-foot of a Hare worn constantly in the pocket, is esteemed by certain worthy old dames as a sure preventive of rheumatic disorders.

The Lynx was believed by the ancients, from the acuteness of its sight, to have the power of seeing through stone walls; and amongst other absurdities then gravely maintained were these: that the Elephant had no joints, and being unable to lie down, was obliged to sleep leaning against a tree; that Deer lived several hundred years; that the Badger had the legs of one side shorter than those of the other; that the Chameleon lived entirely on air, and the Salamander in fire; whilst the sphynx, satyr, unicorn, centaur, hypogriff, hydra, dragon, griffin, cockatrice, &c. &c. &c. were either the creations of fancy, or fabled accounts of creatures of whose real form, origin, nature, and qualities, but the most imperfect knowledge was afloat.

The flesh of the Rhinoceros, and almost every part of its body, is reckoned by the ignorant natives of countries where it is found, an antidote against poison.

That the Jackal is the "Lion's Provider," entirely, is an erroneous idea; but it is true that the terrific cry of this animal when in chase, rouses the lion, whose ear is dull, and enables him to join in the pursuit of prey. Many stories are told respecting the generosity of the Lion, and it was once confidently believed that no stress of hunger would induce him to devour a virgin, though his imperial appetite might satiate itself on men and matrons. The title of King of the Beasts, given at a period when strength and ferocity were deemed the prime qualities of man—is now more justly considered to belong to the mild, majestic, and almost rational elephant. The White Elephant is a sacred animal with the Siamese, and the cow with the Bramins and Hindoos.

The Bear was believed never to devour a man whom it found dead; and it was imagined to lick its cubs into proper shape: hence the expression "unlicked cub," applied to a raw, awkward, unpolished youth. The saliva of the Lama, which when angry it ejects, has been erroneously supposed to possess a corrosive quality.

The hoof of the Moose-deer was formerly in great repute for curing epilepsies, but has now justly fallen into neglect. The Laplander, commencing his journey, whispers into the ear of his Rein-deer, believing these animals understand and will obey his oral directions. The Elk is accounted by the Indians an animal of good omen, and often to dream of him indicates a long life. They imagine also the existence of a gigantic elk, which walks without difficulty in eight feet of snow, has an arm growing from its shoulder which it uses as we do, is invulnerable to all weapons, is king of the elks and attended by a numerous herd of courtiers. The fur of the Glutton is so valued by the Kamschatdales that they say celestial beings are clad in no other.

It was long a popular error that the Porcupine, when irritated, discharged its quills at its adversary; that these quills were poisonous, and rendered wounds inflicted by them difficult to cure: a better acquaintance with the natural history of this harmless animal has now exploded these fables. Our British porcupine, the innocuous Hedgehog, has long been the object of unceasing persecution, from the popular belief that it bites and sucks the udders of cows, an absurdity sufficiently contradicted by the smallness of its mouth. In like manner, the Goat-sucker is a persecuted bird, since, as its name implies, it has been thought to suck the teats of goats and other animals; whereas the form of its bill entirely precludes such an act, and it is an inoffensive bird, living upon insects. The superstition has probably originated from its being often found in warm climates under cattle, capturing the insects that torment them. It is supposed, in some places, that the Shrew-mouse is of so baneful and deleterious a nature that whenever it creeps over a beast, cow, sheep, or horse (in particular), the animal is afflicted with cruel anguish, and threatened with a loss of the use of its limb. A shrew-ash was the remedy for this misfortune, viz. an ash whose twigs or branches gently applied to the affected members relieved the pain: our provident forefathers, anticipating such an accident to their cattle, always kept a shrew-ash at hand, which, once medicated, retained its virtue for ever: it was thus prepared: into the body of an ash a deep hole was bored with an auger, and a poor devoted shrew-mouse being thrust into it, the orifice was plugged up, probably with quaint incantations now forgotten.

The Toad, owing to its hideous, disgusting appearance, has been the subject of many superstitions: it is commonly thought to spit venom, whilst, as yet, the question is unsettled, whether or not it be poisonous in any respect; some affirm that a viscous humour of poisonous quality exudes from the skin, like perspiration; whilst others pretend that cancers may be cured by the application of living toads to them; and a man has been known to swallow one of these abominations for a wager, taking care, however, to follow this horrid meal by an immediate and copious draught of oil. But the very glance of the toad has been supposed fatal; of its entrails fancied poisonous potions have been concocted; and for magical purposes it was believed extremely efficacious; a precious stone was asserted to be found in its head, invaluable in medicine and magic. In Carthagena and Portobello (America) these creatures swarm to such a degree in wet weather that many of the inhabitants believe every drop of rain to be converted into a toad. It is said of the Pipa, or Surinam toad, a hideous, but probably harmless, animal, that very malignant effects are experienced from it when calcined.

The Crocodile is feigned to weep and groan like a human being in pain and distress, in order to excite the sympathy of man, and thus allure him into his tremendous jaws.

The Lizard, though now declared by naturalists to be perfectly harmless, was long considered poisonous by the ignorant; and in Sweden and Kamschatka, the green lizard is the subject of strange superstitions, and regarded with horror. Newts, efts, swifts, snakes, and blind-worms are, in popular credence, all venomous; and that the Ear-wig most justly derives its name from entering people's ears, and either causing deafness, or, by penetrating to the brain, death itself, is with many considered an indisputable fact. The Irish have a large beetle of which strange tales are believed; they term it the Coffin-cutter, and it has some connexion with the grave and purgatory, not now, unfortunately, to be recalled to our memory.

It is, in Germany, a popular belief, that the Stag-beetle (perhaps the same insect) carries burning coals into houses by means of its jaws, and that it has thus occasioned many dreadful fires. (How convenient would Swing find such a superstition in England!) The Death-watch superstition is too well known to need particular notice in this paper. It is singular that the House-cricket should by some persons be considered an unlucky, by others a lucky, inmate of the mansion: those who hold the latter opinion consider its destruction the means of bringing misfortune on their habitations. "In Dumfries-shire," says Sir William Jardine, "it is a common superstition that if crickets forsake a house which they have long inhabited, some evil will befal the family; generally the death of some member is portended. In like manner the presence or return of this cheerful little insect is lucky, and portends some good to the family."

(To be continued.)

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NOTES OF A READER.

DOMESTIC LIFE IN AMERICA.

Servants.

The following sketch of what the Americans feel on this point, from Mrs. Trollope's Domestic Manners of the Americans, is clever and amusing:—

"The greatest difficulty in organizing a family establishment in Ohio is getting servants, or, as it is there called, 'getting help,' for it is more than petty treason to the republic to call a free citizen a servant. The whole class of young women, whose bread depends upon their labour, are taught to believe that the most abject poverty is preferable to domestic service. Hundreds of half-naked girls work in the paper-mills, or in any other manufactory, for less than half the wages they would receive in service: but they think their equality is compromised by the latter, and nothing but the wish to obtain some particular article of finery will ever induce them to submit to it. A kind friend, however, exerted herself so effectually for me, that a tall stately lass soon presented herself, saying, 'I be come to help you.' The intelligence was very agreeable, and I welcomed her in the most gracious manner possible, and asked what I should give her by the year. 'Oh Gimini!' exclaimed the damsel, with a loud laugh, 'you be a downright Englisher, sure enough. I should like to see a young lady engage by the year in America! I hope I shall get a husband before many months, or I expect I shall be an outright old maid, for I be most seventeen already; besides, mayhap I may want to go to school. You must just give me a dollar and a half a week; and mother's slave, Phillis, must come over once a week, I expect, from t'other side the water, to help me clean.' I agreed to the bargain, of course, with all dutiful submission; and seeing she was preparing to set to work in a yellow dress parseme with red roses, I gently hinted, that I thought it was a pity to spoil so fine a gown, and that she had better change it. ''Tis just my best and worst,' she answered, 'for I've got no other.' And in truth I found that this young lady had left the paternal mansion with no more clothes of any kind than what she had on. I immediately gave her money to purchase what was necessary for cleanliness and decency, and set to work with my daughters to make her a gown. She grinned applause when our labour was completed, but never uttered the slightest expression of gratitude for that or for anything else we could do for her. She was constantly asking us to lend her different articles of dress, and when we declined it, she said, 'Well, I never seed such grumpy folks as you be; there is several young ladies of my acquaintance what goes to live out now and then with the old women about the town, and they and their gurls always lends them what they asks for; I guess, you Inglish thinks we should poison your things, just as bad as if we was negurs.' And here I beg to assure the reader, that whenever I give conversations, they were not made a loisir, but were written down immediately after they occurred, with all the verbal fidelity my memory permitted."

"This young lady left me at the end of two months, because I refused to lend her money enough to buy a silk dress to go to a ball, saying, 'Then it is not worth my while to stay any longer.' I cannot imagine it possible that such a state of things can be desirable or beneficial to any of the parties concerned. I might occupy a hundred pages on the subject, and yet fail to give an adequate idea of the sore, angry, ever-wakeful pride that seemed to torment these poor wretches. In many of them it was so excessive, that all feeling of displeasure, or even of ridicule, was lost in pity. One of these was a pretty girl, whose natural disposition must have been gentle and kind; but her good feelings were soured, and her gentleness turned into morbid sensitiveness, by having heard a thousand and a thousand times that she was as good as any other lady, that all men were equal, and women too, and that it was a sin and a shame for a free-born American to be treated like a servant. When she found she was to dine in the kitchen, she turned up her pretty lip, and said, 'I guess that's 'cause you don't think I'm good enough to eat with you. You'll find that won't do here.' I found afterwards that she rarely ate any dinner at all, and generally passed the time in tears. I did everything in my power to conciliate and make her happy, but I am sure she hated me. I gave her very high wages, and she stayed till she had obtained several expensive articles of dress, and then, un beau matin, she came to me full dressed, and said, 'I must go.' 'When shall you return, Charlotte?' 'I expect you will see no more of me.' And so we parted. Her sister was also living with me, but her wardrobe was not yet completed, and she remained some weeks longer till it was."

"Such being the difficulties respecting domestic arrangements," adds our author, "it is obvious, that the ladies who are brought up amongst them cannot have leisure for any developement of the mind: it is, in fact, out of the question; and, remembering this, it is more surprising that some among them should be very pleasing, than that none should be highly instructed. But, whatever may be the talents of the persons who meet together in society, the very shape, form, and arrangement of the meeting is sufficient to paralyze conversation. The women invariably herd together at one part of the room, and the men at the other; but, in justice to Cincinnati, I must acknowledge that this arrangement is by no means peculiar to that city, or to the western side of the Alleghanies. Sometimes a small attempt at music produces a partial reunion; a few of the most daring youths animated by the consciousness of curled hair and smart waistcoats, approach the piano-forte, and begin to mutter a little to the half-grown pretty things, who are comparing with one another 'how many quarters' music they have had.' Where the mansion is of sufficient dignity to have two drawing-rooms, the piano, the little ladies, and the slender gentlemen are left to themselves; and on such occasions the sound of laughter is often heard to issue from among them. But the fate of the more dignified personages, who are left in the other room, is extremely dismal. The gentlemen spit, talk of elections and the price of produce, and spit again. The ladies look at each other's dresses till they know every pin by heart; talk of Parson Somebody's last sermon on the day of judgment, or Dr. T'otherbody's new pills for dyspepsia, till the 'tea' is announced, when they all console themselves together for whatever they may have suffered in keeping awake, by taking more tea, coffee, hot cake and custard, hoe cake, johny cake, waffle cake, and dodger cake, pickled peaches, and preserved cucumbers, ham, turkey, hung beef, apple sauce, and pickled oysters, than ever were prepared in any other country of the known world. After this massive meal is over, they return to the drawing-room, and it always appeared to me that they remained together as long as they could bear it, and then they rise en masse—cloak, bonnet, shawl, and exit."

Conversation of an American Woman.

"'Well now, so you be from the old country? Ay—you'll see sights here I guess.' 'I hope I shall see many.' 'That's a fact.—Why they do say, that if a poor body contrives to be smart enough to scrape together a few dollars, that your King George always comes down upon 'em, and takes it all away. Don't he?' 'I do not remember hearing of such a transaction.' 'I guess they be pretty close about it.' 'Your papers ben't like ourn, I reckon? Now we says and prints just what we likes.' 'You spend a good deal of time in reading the newspapers.' 'And I'd like you to tell me how we can spend it better. How should freemen spend their time, but looking after their government, and watching that them fellers as we gives offices to, doos their duty, and gives themselves no airs?' 'But I sometimes think, sir, that your fences might be in more thorough repair, and your roads in better order, if less time was spent in politics.' 'The Lord! to see how little you knows of a free country? Why, what's the smoothness of a road put against the freedom of a free-born American? And what does a broken zig-zag signify, comparable to knowing that the men what we have been pleased to send up to Congress, speaks handsome and straight, as we chooses they should?' 'It is from a sense of duty, then, that you all go to the liquor store to read the papers?' 'To be sure it is, and he'd be no true-born American as didn't. I don't say that the father of a family should always be after liquor, but I do say that I'd rather have my son drunk three times in a week, than not to look after the affairs of his country,'"

Hogs.

"Immense droves of hogs were continually arriving from the country by the road that led to most of our favourite walks; they were often fed and lodged in the prettiest valleys, and worse still, were slaughtered beside the prettiest streams. Another evil threatened us from the same quarter, that was yet heavier. Our cottage had an ample piazza, (a luxury almost universal in the country houses of America,) which, shaded by a group of acacias, made a delightful sitting-room; from this favourite spot we one day perceived symptoms of building in a field close to it; with much anxiety we hastened to the spot, and asked what building was to be erected there. ''Tis to be a slaughter-house for hogs,' was the dreadful reply. As there were several gentlemen's houses in the neighbourhood, I asked if such an erection might not be indicted as a nuisance. 'A what?' 'A nuisance,' I repeated, and explained what I meant. 'No, no,' was the reply, 'that may do very well for your tyrannical country, where a rich man's nose is more thought of than a poor man's mouth; but hogs be profitable produce here, and we be too free for such a law as that, I guess.'"

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THE BELL ROCK LIGHT HOUSE.

On the 9th ult., about 10 P.M., a large herring-gull struck one of the south-eastern mullions of the Bell Rock Light House with such force, that two of the polished plates of glass, measuring about two feet square, and a quarter of an inch in thickness, were shivered to pieces and scattered over the floor in a thousand atoms, to the great alarm of the keeper on watch, and the other two inmates of the house, who rushed instantly to the light room. It fortunately happened, that although one of the red-shaded sides of the reflector-frame was passing in its revolution at the moment, the pieces of broken glass were so minute, that no injury was done to the red glass. The gull was found to measure five feet between the tips of the wings. In his gullet was found a large herring, and in its throat a piece of plate-glass, of about one inch in length.—(From No. I. of the Nautical Magazine, a work of clever execution, great promise, and extraordinary cheapness.)

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NO CHALK.

It appears that the bill for the abolition of imprisonment for debt in America "works well," as applied to New York; and the system is consequently to be put in general force all over the Union—a fact, which, as a poet like Mr. Watts would say, adds another leaf to America's laurel. But the paper which announced this gratifying intelligence, relates in a paragraph nearly subjoined to it, a circumstance in natural history that seems to have some connexion with the affairs between debtor and creditor in the United States. It informs us, that up to the present period of scientific investigation, "no chalk has been discovered in North America." Now this is really a valuable bit of discovery; and we heartily wish that the Geological Society, instead of wasting their resources on anniversary-dinners, as they have lately been doing, would at once set about establishing the proof of a similar absence of that article in this country. Surely, our brethren on the other side of the Atlantic, will not fail to take the hint which nature herself has so benificently thrown out to them; and instead of abolishing the power of getting into prison, put an end at once to the power of getting into debt. The scarcity of chalk ought certainly to be numbered among the natural blessings of America. Had the soil on that side of the ocean been as chalky as this, America might have been visited by a comet, like Pitt, with a golden train of eight hundred millions.—Monthly Magazine.

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THE NATURALIST.

ANGLING.

(From the Angler's Museum, quoted in the Magazine of Natural History.)

Every one who is acquainted with the habits of fish is sensible of the extreme acuteness of their vision, and well knows how easily they are scared by shadows in motion, or even at rest, projected from the bank; and often has the angler to regret the suspension of a successful fly-fishing by the accidental passage of a person along the opposite bank of the stream: yet, by noting the apparently trivial habits of one of nature's anglers, not only is our difficulty obviated, but our success insured. The heron, guided by a wonderful instinct, preys chiefly in the absence of the sun; fishing in the dusk of the morning and evening, on cloudy days and moonlight nights. But should the river become flooded to discoloration, then does the "long-necked felon" fish indiscriminately in sun and shade; and in a recorded instance of his fishing on a bright day, it is related of him, that, like a skilful angler, he occupied the shore opposite the sun.

* * * * *

SKILFUL ANATOMISTS.

(For the Mirror.)

It may not be generally known that the tadpole acts the same part with fish that ants do with birds; and that through the agency of this little reptile, perfect skeletons, even of the smallest fishes may be obtained. To produce this, it is but necessary to suspend the fish by threads attached to the head and tail in an horizontal position, in a jar of water, such as is found in a pond, and change it often, till the tadpoles have finished their work. Two or three tadpoles will perfectly dissect a fish in twenty-four hours.

H.S.S.

* * * * *

THREE ENTHUSIASTIC NATURALISTS.

The first is a learned entomologist, who, hearing one evening at the Linnean Society that a yellow Scarabaeus, otherwise beetle, of a very rare kind was to be captured on the sands at Swansea, immediately took his seat in the mail for that place, and brought back in triumph the object of his desire. The second is Mr. David Douglas, who spent two years among the wild Indians of the Rocky Mountains, was reduced to such extremities as occasionally to sup upon the flaps of his saddle; and once, not having this resource, was obliged to eat up all the seeds he had collected the previous forty days in order to appease the cravings of nature. Not appalled by these sufferings, he has returned again to endure similar hardships, and all for a few simples. The third example is Mr. Drummond, the assistant botanist to Franklin in his last hyperborean journey. In the midst of snow, with the thermometer 15 deg. below zero, without a tent, sheltered from the inclemency of the weather only by a hut built of the branches of trees, and depending for subsistence from day to day on a solitary Indian hunter, "I obtained," says this amiable and enthusiastic botanist, "a few mosses; and, on Christmas day,"—mark, gentle reader, the day, of all others, as if it were a reward for his devotion,—"I had the pleasure of finding a very minute Gymnostomum, hitherto undescribed. I remained alone for the rest of the winter, except when my man occasionally visited me with meat; and I found the time hang very heavy, as I had no books, and nothing could be done in the way of collecting specimens of natural history."

Magazine of Natural History

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This is another of Mr. Bennett's sketches made during his recent visit to several of the Polynesian Islands. It represents the burial-place of the Chiefs of Tongatabu: over this "earthly prison of their bones," we may say with Titus Andronicus:

In pence and honour rest you here my sons: (The) readiest champions, repose you here, Secure from worldly chances and mishaps: Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells, Here grow no damned grudges: here are no storms, No noise, but silence and eternal sleep.

Mr. Bennett thus describes the spot, with some interesting circumstances:

"July 29th. I visited this morning a beautiful spot named Maofanga, at a short distance from our anchorage; here was the burial-place of the chiefs. The tranquillity of this secluded spot, and the drooping trees of the casuarina equisetifolia, added to the mournful solemnity of the place. Off this place, the Astrolabe French discovery ship lay when, some time before, she fired on the natives. The circumstances respecting this affair, as communicated to me, if correct, do not reflect much credit on the commander of the vessel. They are as follow: During a gale the Astrolabe drove on the reef, but was afterwards got off by the exertion of the natives; some of the men deserting from the ship, the chiefs were accused of enticing them away, and on the men not being given up the ship fired on the village; the natives barricaded themselves on the beach by throwing up sand heaps, and afterwards retired into the woods. The natives pointed out the effects of the shot; on the trees, a large branch of a casuarina tree in the sacred enclosure was shot off, several coco-nut trees were cut in two, and the marks of several spent shots still remain on the trees: three natives were killed in this attack. A great number of the flying-fox, or vampire bat, hung from the casuarina trees in this enclosure, but the natives interposed to prevent our firing at them, the place being tabued. Mr. Turner had been witness to the interment here, not long previously, of the wife of a chief, and allied to the royal family. The body, enveloped in mats, was placed in a vault, in which some of her relations had been before interred, and being covered up, several natives advanced with baskets of sand, &c. and strewed it over the vault; others then approached and cut themselves on the head with hatchets, wailing and showing other demonstrations of grief. Small houses are erected over the vaults. All the burial-places are either fenced round or surrounded by a low wall of coral stones, and have a very clean, neat, and regular appearance.

"I observed that nearly the whole of the natives whom I had seen, were deficient in the joints of the little finger of the left hand, and some of both; some of the first joint only, others two, and many the whole of both fingers. On inquiry, I found that a joint is chopped off on any occasion of the illness or death of a relation or chief, as a propitiatory offering to the Spirit. There is a curious analogy between this custom and one related by Mr. Burchell as existing among the Bushmen tribe in Southern Africa, and performed for similar superstitious reasons to express grief for the loss of relations.

"Near this place was the Hufanga, or place of refuge, in which a person in danger of being put to death is in safety as long as he remains there; on looking in the enclosure, it was only a place gravelled over, in which was a small house and some trees planted."[1]

[1] United Service Journal, Jan. 1832.

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THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF NEW WORKS.

FRANCIS THE FIRST.

An Historical Drama. By Frances Ann Kemble.

This extraordinary production has awakened an interest in the dramatic and literary world, scarcely equalled in our times. We know of its fortune upon the stage by report only; but, from our acquaintance with the requisites of the acting drama, we should conceive its permanence will be more problematical in the theatre than in the closet; and considering the conditions upon which dramatic fame is now attainable, we think the clever authoress will not have reason to regret these inequalities of success. That Miss Kemble's tragedy possesses points to be made, and passages that will tell on the stage, cannot be denied; but its interest for representation requires to be concentrated; it "wants a hero, an uncommon thing." It is well observed in the Quarterly Review, (by the way, the only notice yet taken of the tragedy, that merits attention,) that "the piece is crowded with characters of the greatest variety, all of considerable importance in the piece, engaged in the most striking situations, and contributing essentially to the main design. Instead of that simple unity of interest, from which modern tragic writers have rarely ventured to depart, it takes the wider range of that historic unity, which is the characteristic of our elder drama; moulds together, and connects by some common agent employed in both, incidents which have no necessary connexion; and—what in the present tragedy strikes us as on many accounts especially noticeable—unites by a fine though less perceptible moral link, remote but highly tragic events with the immediate, if we may so speak, the domestic interests of the play." This language is finely characteristic of the drama. Again, the interest has "so much Shakspearianism in the conception as to afford a remarkable indication of the noble school in which the young authoress has studied, and the high models which, with courage, in the present day, fairly to be called originality, she has dared to set before her. In fact, Francis the First is cast entirely in the mould of one of Shakspeare's historical tragedies." The drama too was written without any view to its representation, as the Quarterly reviewer has been "informed by persons who long ago perused the manuscript, several years before Miss Kemble appeared upon the stage, and at a time when she little anticipated the probability that she herself might be called upon to impersonate the conceptions of her own imagination. We believe that we are quite safe when we state that the drama, in its present form, was written when the authoress was not more than seventeen." Yet it should be added that the above statement is not made by way of extenuation; for, to say the truth, it needs no such adventitious aid.

A mere outline of the story will convince the reader that, as the Reviewer states, "the tragedy is alive from the beginning to the end;" and our extracts will we trust show the language to be bold and vigorous; the imagery sweetly poetical; and the workings of the passions which actuate the personages to be evidently of high promise if not of masterly spirit.

The tragedy opens with the recall of the Constable De Bourbon from Italy, through the supposed political intrigue, but really, the secret love, of the mother of Francis, Louisa of Savoy, Duchess of Angouleme, whom Miss Kemble calls the Queen Mother. In the second scene the Queen Mother communicates to Gonzales, a monk in disguise, but in, reality an emissary of the Court of Spain, her secret passion for De Bourbon, and her design in his recall.

Francis is introduced at a tourney, where he not only triumphs in the jousts, but over the heart of the beautiful Francoise de Foix.

Bourbon returns, and the second act opens with his interview with Renee, (or Margaret,) the daughter of the Queen Mother, and sister of Francis I., for whom he really entertains an affection. In the second scene the Queen Mother declares her passion to Bourbon, who, at first supposes he is to be tempted by Margaret's hand, but finding the Queen herself to be the lure, he indignantly rejects her. The character of Bourbon in this scene is admirably brought out. The artifice of the Queen—the scorn of Bourbon—and the Queen's meditated vengeance are powerfully wrought:

BOURBON.

I would have you know, De Bourbon storms, and does not steal his honours And though your highness thinks I am ambitious, (And rightly thinks) I am not so ambitious Ever to beg rewards that I can win,— No man shall call me debtor to his tongue.

QUEEN (rising.)

'Tis proudly spoken; nobly too—but what— What if a woman's hand were to bestow Upon the Duke de Bourbon such high honours, To raise him to such state, that grasping man, E'en in his wildest thoughts of mad ambition, Ne'er dreamt of a more glorious pinnacle?

BOURBON.

I'd kiss the lady's hand, an she were fair. But if this world fill'd up the universe,— If it could gather all the light that lives In ev'ry other star or sun, or world; If kings could be my subjects, and that I Could call such pow'r and such a world my own, I would not take it from a woman's hand. Fame is my mistress, madam, and my sword The only friend I ever wooed her with. I hate all honours smelling of the distaff, And, by this light, would as lief wear a spindle Hung round my neck, as thank a lady's hand For any favour greater than a kiss.—

QUEEN.

And how, if such a woman loved you,—how If, while she crown'd your proud ambition, she Could crown her own ungovernable passion, And felt that all this earth possess'd, and she Could give, were all too little for your love? Oh good, my lord! there may be such a woman.

BOURBON (aside.)

Amazement! can it be, sweet Margaret— That she has read our love?—impossible!—and yet— That lip ne'er wore so sweet a smile!—it is. That look is pardon and acceptance! (aloud)— speak. (He falls at the Queen's feet.) Madam, in pity speak but one word more,— Who is that woman?

QUEEN (throwing off her veil.)

I am that woman!

BOURBON (starting up.)

You, by the holy mass! I scorn your proffers; Is there no crimson blush to tell of fame And shrinking womanhood! Oh shame! shame! shame!

(The Queen remains clasping her hands to her temples, while De Bourbon walks hastily up and down; after a long pause the Queen speaks.)

(The Queen summons her Confessor.)

Enter GONZALES.

Sir, we have business with this holy father; You may retire.

BOURBON.

Confusion!

QUEEN.

Are we obeyed?

BOURBON (aside.)

Oh Margaret!—for thee! for thy dear sake! [Rushes out. The Queen sinks into a chair.]

QUEEN.

Refus'd and scorn'd! Infamy!—the word chokes me! How now! why stand'st thou gazing at me thus?

GONZALES.

I wait your highness' pleasure.—(Aside) So all is well— A crown hath fail'd to tempt him—as I see In yonder lady's eyes.

QUEEN.

Oh sweet revenge! Thou art my only hope, my only dower, And I will make thee worthy of a Queen. Proud noble, I will weave thee such a web,— I will so spoil and trample on thy pride, That thou shalt wish the woman's distaff were Ten thousand lances rather than itself. Ha! waiting still, sir Priest! Well as them seest Our venture hath been somewhat baulk'd,—'tis not Each arrow readies swift and true the aim,— Love having failed, we'll try the best expedient, That offers next,—what sayst thou to revenge? 'Tis not so soft, but then 'tis very sure; Say, shall we wring this haughty soul a little? Tame this proud spirit, curb this untrain'd charger? We will not weigh too heavily, nor grind Too hard, but, having bow'd him to the earth, Leave the pursuit to others—carrion birds, Who stoop, but not until the falcon's gorg'd Upon the prey he leaves to their base talons.

GONZALES.

It rests but with your grace to point the means.

QUEEN.

Where be the plans of those possessions Of Bourbon's house?—see that thou find them straight: His mother was my kinswoman, and I Could aptly once trace characters like those She used to write—enough—Guienne—Auvergne And all Provence that lies beneath his claim,— That claim disprov'd, of right belong to me.— The path is clear, do thou fetch me those parchments. [Exit Gonzales. Not dearer to my heart will be the day When first the crown of France deck'd my son's forehead, Than that when I can compass thy perdition,— When I can strip the halo of thy fame From off thy brow, seize on the wide domains, That make thy hatred house akin to empire, And give thy name to deathless infamy. [Exit.

The King holds a Council to appoint a successor to the Constable in Italy. This scene is of stirring interest. The Queen goads the high-minded Bourbon nigh unto madness, and at length breaks out into open insult. Lautrec the brother of Francoise, and despised by Bourbon, is named the governor. In the ceremony Francis addresses Lautrec:—

FRANCIS.

With our own royal hand we'll buckle on The sword, that in thy grasp must be the bulwark And lode-star of our host. Approach.

QUEEN.

Not so. Your pardon, sir; but it hath ever been The pride and privilege of woman's hand To arm the valour that she loves so well: We would not, for your crown's best jewel, bate One jot of our accustom'd state to-day: Count Lautrec, we will arm thee, at our feet: Take thou the brand which wins thy country's wars,— Thy monarch's trust, and thy fair lady's favour. Why, how now!—how is this!—my lord of Bourbon! If we mistake not, 'tis the sword of office Which graces still your baldrick;—with your leave, We'll borrow it of you.

BOURBON (starting up.)

Ay, madam, 'tis the sword You buckled on with your own hand, the day You sent me forth to conquer in your cause; And there it is;—(breaks the sword)—take it—and with it all Th' allegiance that I owe to France; ay take it; And with it, take the hope I breathe o'er it: That so, before Colonna's host, your arms Lie crush'd and sullied with dishonour's stain; So, reft in sunder by contending factions, Be your Italian provinces; so torn By discord and dissension this vast empire; So broken and disjoin'd your subjects' loves; So fallen your son's ambition, and your pride.

QUEEN (rising.)

What ho—a guard within there—Charles of Bourbon, I do arrest thee, traitor to the crown.

Enter Guard.

Away with yonder wide-mouth'd thunderer; We'll try if gyves and straight confinement cannot Check this high eloquence, and cool the brain Which harbours such unmannerd hopes. [Bourbon is forced out. Dream ye, my lords, that thus with open ears, And gaping mouths and eyes, ye sit and drink This curbless torrent of rebellious madness. And you, sir, are you slumbering on your throne; Or has all majesty fled from the earth, That women must start up, and in your council Speak, think, and act for ye; and, lest your vassals, The very dirt beneath your feet, rise up And cast ye off, must women, too, defend ye? For shame, my lords, all, all of ye, for shame,— Off, off with sword and sceptre, for there is No loyalty in subjects; and in kings, No king-like terror to enforce their rights.

Meanwhile Lautrec proposes to his sister Francoise, the hand of his friend, the gallant Laval; whilst the fair maiden is importuned by Francis, who endeavours to make the poet Clement Marot the bearer of his intrigue. In a scene between Francis and the poet, the licentious impatience of the King, and the unsullied honour of Clement are finely contrasted.

FRANCIS.

I would I'd borne the scroll myself, thy words Image her forth so fair.

CLEMENT.

Do they, indeed? Then sorrow seize my tongue, for, look you, sir, I will not speak of your own fame or honour, Nor of your word to me: king's words, I find, Are drafts on our credulity, not pledges Of their own truth. You have been often pleas'd To shower your royal favours on my head; And fruitful honours from your kindly will Have rais'd me far beyond my fondest hopes; But had I known such service was to be The nearest way my gratitude might take To solve the debt, I'd e'en have given back All that I hold of you: and, now, not e'en Your crown and kingdom could requite to me The cutting sense of shame that I endur'd When on me fell the sad reproachful glance Which told me how I stood in the esteem Of yonder lady. Let me tell you, sir, You've borrow'd for a moment what whole years Cannot bestow—an honourable name. Now fare you well; I've sorrow at my heart, To think your majesty hath reckon'd thus Upon my nature. I was poor before, Therefore I can be poor again without Regret, so I lose not mine own esteem.

* * * * *

FRANCIS.

Excellent. Oh, ye are precious wooers, all of ye. I marvel how ye ever ope your lips Unto, or look upon that fearful thing, A lovely woman.

CLEMENT.

And I marvel, sir, At those who do not feel the majesty,— By heaven, I'd almost said the holiness,— That circles round a fair and virtuous woman: There is a gentle purity that breathes In such a one, mingled with chaste respect, And modest pride of her own excellence,— A shrinking nature, that is so adverse To aught unseemly, that I could as soon Forget the sacred love I owe to heav'n, As dare, with impure thoughts, to taint the air Inhal'd by such a being: than whom, my liege, Heaven cannot look on anything more holy, Or earth be proud of anything more fair. [Exit.

Gonzales, the monk, is despatched by the Queen to Bourbon in prison. At the door he meets Margaret, who had bribed her way to her lover, and was returning after ineffectual attempts to soothe him into submission, shame-struck at the exposure of her mother's guilt. The Queen intrusts Gonzales with a signet ring as the means of liberating him and conducting him to the royal chamber. Bourbon is immovable; and in revenge upon the Court, he falls in with a private scheme of Gonzales, which is to accept of his liberty, and set off to the Court of Spain. The undisguising of the treacherous monk is in these powerful lines:

GONZALES.

Now, That day is come, ay, and that very hour: Now shout your war-cry; now unsheath your sword; I'll join the din, and make these tottering walls Tremble and nod to hear our fierce defiance. Nay, never start, and look upon my cowl— You love not priests, De Bourbon, more than I. Off, vile denial of my manhood's pride; Off, off to hell! where thou wast first invented, Now once again I stand and breathe a knight. Nay, stay not gazing thus: it is Garcia, Whose name hath reach'd thee long ere now, I trow; Whom thou hast met in deadly fight full oft, When France and Spain join'd in the battle field. Beyond the Pyrenean boundary That guards thy land, are forty thousand men: Their unfurl'd pennons flout fair France's sun, And wanton in the breezes of her sky: Impatient halt they there; their foaming steeds, Pawing the huge and rock-built barrier, That bars their further course—they wait for thee: For thee whom France hath injur'd and cast off; For thee, whose blood it pays with shameful chains, More shameful death; for thee, whom Charles of Spain Summons to head his host, and lead them on To conquest and to glory.

The interest now reverts to the fate of Francoise, and Bourbon is lost sight of; a transition which, both in acting and reading, endangers the drama.[1] News arrives of the flight of Lautrec from his government; of his arrest, his imprisonment, and capital condemnation.[2] He enjoins his sister to intercede in his behalf with Francis; she complies, but it is at the expense of her honour; broken-hearted, she sinks beneath her shame at the crime into which she has been betrayed, and returns home. Francis pursues her, and the Queen, now aware of his passion for her, dispatches the monk Gonzales on a secret mission to poison Francoise, who, she fears, may supplant her in her ascendancy over the King. A fine passage occurs in the scene wherein the Queen proposes her scheme to Gonzales.

QUEEN.

Didst ever look upon the dead?

GONZALES.

Ay, madam, Full oft; and in each calm or frightful guise Death comes in,—on the bloody battle-field; When with each gush of black and curdling life A curse was uttered,—when the pray'rs I've pour'd, Have been all drown'd with din of clashing arms— And shrieks and shouts, and loud artillery, That shook the slipp'ry earth, all drunk with gore— I've seen it, swoll'n with subtle poison, black And staring with concentrate agony— When ev'ry vein hath started from its bed, And wreath'd like knotted snakes, around the brows That, frantic, dash'd themselves in tortures down Upon the earth. I've seen life float away On the faint sound of a far tolling bell— Leaving its late warm tenement as fair, As though 'twere th' incorruptible that lay Before me—and all earthly taint had vanish'd With the departed spirit.

Laval returns from Italy to claim his bride. In the earlier part of the play, a hint is given of Gonzales' rancorous hate of Laval, the undercurrent of which is now revealed. Gonzales, beneath the seal of confession, obtains the secret of the crime of Francoise. In her presence, as the betrothed Laval rushes to embrace his bride, he taunts him with her guilt. The wretched Francoise, in vain conjured to assert her innocence, stabs herself. The King had been followed thither by the Queen; both now appear. Gonzales riots revenge in one of the most vigorous portions of the drama:

GONZALES.

Look on thy bride! look on that faded thing, That e'en the tears thy manhood showers go fast, And bravely, cannot wake to life again! I call all nature to bear witness here— As fair a flower once grew within my home, As young, as lovely, and as dearly lov'd— I had a sister once, a gentle maid— The only daughter of my father's house, Round whom our ruder loves did all entwine, As round the dearest treasure that we own'd. She was the centre of our souls' affections— She was the bud, that underneath our strong And sheltering arms, spread over her, did blow. So grew this fair, fair girl, till envious fate Brought on the hour when she was withered. Thy father, sir—now mark—for 'tis the point And moral of my tale—thy father, then, Was, by my sire, in war ta'en prisoner— Wounded almost to death, he brought him home, Shelter'd him,—cherish'd him,—and, with a care, Most like a brother's, watch'd his bed of sickness, Till ruddy health, once more through all his veins Sent life's warm stream in strong returning tide. How think ye he repaid my father's love? From her dear home he lur'd my sister forth, And, having robb'd her of her treasur'd honour, Cast her away, defil'd,—despoil'd—forsaken— The daughter of a high and ancient line— The child of so much love—she died—she died— Upon the threshold of that home, from which My father spurn'd her—over whose pale corse I swore to hunt, through life, her ravisher— Nor ever from by bloodhound track desist, Till line and deep atonement had been made— Honour for honour given—blood for blood.

"The Queen orders Gonzales to death; but the monk accuses her of the intended murder of Francoise, and produces her written order to that effect. The King can no longer be blind to his mother's crimes; she is disgraced, degraded, and condemned to pass the rest of her days in a convent."

Here the fourth act, and the acting play closes. In the fifth De Bourbon reappears. Lautrec proposes to join him, and assassinate the King, in revenge for the ruin of Francoise. The memorable battle of Pavia ensues, and terminates with the death of the King and the triumph of Bourbon.

Triboulet, the jester of the Court of Francis, is introduced with some pleasantry, by way of relief to the darker deeds.

We cannot conclude this imperfect sketch better than by the following judicious observations from the Quarterly Review: "How high Miss Kemble's young aspirings have been—what conceptions she has formed to herself of the dignity of tragic poetry—may be discovered from this most remarkable work; at this height she must maintain herself, or soar a still bolder flight. The turmoil, the hurry, the business, the toil, even the celebrity of a theatric life must yield her up at times to that repose, that undistracted retirement within her own mind, which, however brief, is essential to the perfection of the noblest work of the imagination—genuine tragedy. Amidst her highest successes on the stage, she must remember that the world regards her as one to whom a still higher part is fallen. She must not be content with the fame of the most extraordinary work which has ever been produced by a female at her age, (for as such we scruple not to describe her Francis the First,)—with having sprung at once to the foremost rank, not only of living actors but of modern dramatists;—she must consider that she has given us a pledge and earnest for a long and brightening course of distinction, in the devotion of all but unrivalled talents in two distinct, though congenial, capacities, to the revival of the waning glories of the English theatre."

[1] This disadvantage is greater on the stage, since the audience neither see nor hear more of Bourbon, and only four acts of the piece are performed. In the closet it will not be so obvious, as Bourbon returns in the fifth act.

[2] This is an entire variation from history.

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SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.

OLD ENGLISH MUSIC.

It was in the course of the sixteenth century that the psalmody of England, and the other Protestant countries, was brought to the state in which it now remains, and in which it is desirable that it should continue to remain. For this psalmody we are indebted to the Reformers of Germany, especially Luther, who was himself an enthusiastic lover of music, and is believed to have composed some of the finest tunes, particularly the Hundredth Psalm, and the hymn on the Last Judgment, which Braham sings with such tremendous power at our great performances of sacred music. Our psalm-tunes, consisting of prolonged and simple sounds, are admirably adapted for being sung by great congregations; and as the effect of this kind of music is much increased by its venerable antiquity, it would be very unfortunate should it yield to the influence of innovation: for this reason, it is much to be desired that organists and directors of choirs should confine themselves to the established old tunes, instead of displacing them by modern compositions.

Towards the end of the sixteenth, and beginning of the seventeenth, century, shone that constellation of English musicians, whose inimitable madrigals are still, and long will be, the delight of every lover of vocal harmony. It is to Italy, however, that we are indebted for this species of composition. The madrigal is a piece of vocal music adapted to words of an amorous or cheerful cast, composed for four, five, or six voices, and intended for performance in convivial parties or private musical societies. It is full of ingenious and elaborate contrivances; but, in the happier specimens, contains likewise agreeable and expressive melody. At the period of which we now speak, vocal harmony was so generally cultivated, that, in social parties, the madrigal books were generally laid on the table, and every one was expected to take the part allotted to him. Any person who made the avowal of not being able to sing a part at sight was looked upon as unacquainted with the usages of good society—like a gentleman who now-a-days says he cannot play a game at whist, or a lady that she cannot join in a quadrille or a mazurka. The Italian madrigals of Luca Marenzio and others are still in request: and among the English madrigalists we may mention Wilbye, author of "Flora gave me fairest flowers;" Morley, whose "Now is the month of Maying" is so modern in its air, that it is introduced as the finale of one of our most popular operas, the Duenna; and Michael Este, the composer of the beautiful trio, "How merrily we live that Shepherds be." This music retains all its original freshness, and has been listened to, age after age, with unabated pleasure.

The glee, which is a simpler and less elaborate form of the madrigal,—and that amusing jeu d'esprit so well known by the name of Catch, made their appearance about the end of the sixteenth century. The first collection of catches that made its appearance in England is dated in 1609.—Metropolitan.

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BENEDICTION ON CHILDREN.

IMPROMPTU.

By Thomas Campbell, Esq.

Imps, that hold your daily revels Round the windows of my bower Would that Hell's ten thousand devils Had you in their clutch this hour!

Screaming, yelling, little nasties, Would that Ogres down their maw Had you cramm'd in Christmas pasties, That would make ye hold your jaw.

Saucy imps, stew'd down to jelly, Ye would make a sauce most rare; Or with pudding in each belly, Rival roasted pig or hare.

Sweeter than the fish of these is, Would be yours, young human bores; All with apples at your noses, Would I saw you dish'd by scores!

Herod slaughter'd harmless sucklings, Not with tongues like yours to vex; Were he here, ye Devil's ducklings, I would bid him wring your necks.

Metropolitan.

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DRAMATIC CHARACTER OF THE CATHOLIC RELIGION.

The religion of the south of Europe is still essentially dramatic; and it may be questioned how far this adaptation to the genius of the people has tended to perpetuate the influence, not only of the Roman Catholic, but also of the Greek church. Even in the pulpit, not merely does the earnest preacher, by vehement gesticulation, by the utmost variety of pause and intonation, act, as far as possible, the scenes which he describes; but the crucifix, if the expression may be permitted, plays the principal part; the Saviour is held forth to the multitude in the living and visible emblem of his sufferings. The ceremonies of the Holy Week in Rome are a most solemn, and to most minds, affecting religious drama. The oratorios, as with us, are in general on scriptural subjects; and operas on themes of equal sanctity are listened to without the least feeling of profanation. Nor are the more audacious exhibitions of the dark ages by any means exploded. Every traveller on the continent who has much curiosity, must have witnessed, whether with devout indignation or mere astonishment, the strange manner in which scriptural subjects are still represented by marionnettes, by tableax parlans, or even performed by regular actors. In the unphilosophized parts of modern Europe, these scenes are witnessed by the populace, not merely with respect, but with profound interest; and if they tend to perpetuate superstition, must be acknowledged likewise to keep alive religious sentiment. But if this be the case in the nineteenth century, how powerfully must such exhibitions have operated on the general mind in the dark ages! The alternative lay between total ignorance and this mode of communicating the truth. For the general mass of the clergy were then as ignorant as the laity; and as the wild work, which in these sacred dramas is sometimes made of the scripture history, may be supposed to have embodied the knowledge of a whole fraternity, we may not unfairly conjecture the kind of instruction to be obtained from each individual. The state of language in Europe must have greatly contributed to the adoption of public instruction, by means of dramatic representation. The services of the church were in Latin, now become a dead language. This originated, perhaps, rather in sincere reverence, and the dread of profaning the sacred mysteries by transferring them into the vulgar tongue, than in any systematic design of keeping the people in the dark; for, from the gradual extinction of the Latin, as the vernacular idiom, and the gradual growth of the modern languages, there was no marked period in which the change might appear to be called for, until the question became involved with weightier matters of controversy. The confusion of tongues, almost throughout Europe, before the great predominant languages were formed out of the conflicting dialects, must greatly have impeded the preaching the Gospel, for which, in other respects, only a very small part of the clergy were qualified. Though, in these times, most extraordinary effects are attributed to the eloquence of certain preachers, for instance, Fra. Giovanni di Vicenza, yet many of the itinerant friars, the first, we believe, who addressed the people with great activity in the vulgar tongue, must have been much circumscribed by the limits of their own patois.[1] But the spectacle of the dramatic exhibitions everywhere spoke a common language; and the dialogue, which, in parts of the Chester mysteries, is a kind of Anglicized French, and which, even if translated into the native tongue, was constantly interspersed with Latin, and therefore, but darkly and imperfectly understood, was greatly assisted by the perpetual interpretation which was presented before the eyes. The vulgar were thus imperceptibly wrought up to profound feelings of reverence for the purity of the Virgin; the unexampled sufferings of the Redeemer; the miraculous powers of the apostles, and the constancy of the martyrs; we must add, (for after all it was a strange Christianity, though in every respect the Christianity of the age,) with the most savage detestation at the cruelty of Herod or Pilate, and the treachery of Judas; and the most revolting horror, at the hideous appearance, and blasphemous language of the Prince of Darkness, who almost always played a principal part in these scriptural dramas.—Quarterly Review.

[1] It is related in the life of St. Bernard, that his pale and emaciated appearance, and the animation and the fire, which seemed to kindle his whole being as he spoke, made so deep an impression on those who could only see him and hear his voice, that Germans, who understand not a word of his language, were often moved to tears.—Neander, Der Heilige Bernard, p. 49.

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SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY.

BIRMINGHAM RAILWAY.

The line of the proposed plan for this useful and excellent undertaking has been forwarded to us. We know not whether the projectors are aware that a straight line is no longer necessary, but that the sharpest turns may now be made on rail-roads by an American invention, lately carried into effect in the United States with singular success.—The line of railway will be 112-1/2 miles. Birmingham being between 3 and 400 feet higher than London, and the intervening ground much broken, the railway could not be laid down without an inclination in its planes; the rise, however, will in no case exceed 1 in 330. The highest point of the line is on the summit of an inclined plane 15 miles long, rising 13-1/3 feet in each mile, and is 315 feet above the level at Maiden Lane, London; from which it is distant 31 miles. The termination at Birmingham is 256 feet higher than the commencement at London. It is intended that there should be 10 tunnels—one at Primrose Hill half a mile long, one near Watford a mile long, and one near Kilsby, 78 miles from London, a mile and a quarter long. The others are each less than a quarter of a mile in length, with the exception of one, which is a third of a mile long. They will all be 25 feet in height, well lighted, and ought rather to be called galleries than tunnels. The strata through which the railway is carried, appear generally to follow in this order from London:

Miles. London clay and plastic clay 15-1/2 Chalk and chalk flints 18-1/2 Chalk, marl, weald clay, iron sand, and Oxford clay or clunch clay 20 Great and inferior oolite limestones, and sandy beds 18 Lias marls, lias limestone or water lime and shale beds 16 Red marl and new red sandstone 24-1/2 ———- 112-1/2

The railway will be composed of two lines of rails with a space between them of six feet, but at particular points two additional lines will be required as turns-out to facilitate the passage of the locomotive engines and carriages. If we assume the average rate of travelling on the railway to be 20 miles an hour, (which is about the mark,) that 1,200 persons pass along it in a day, and 120 are conveyed in each train of carriages, then only ten trains of carriages would be required for all the passengers; each train would separately take a minute and a half, and the ten trains not more than fifteen minutes in passing over half a mile of ground. Allow twice this time for the passage of cattle and merchandise, and it is manifest that the traffic on railways can never be a source of annoyance to persons residing near them. All who have travelled in carriages drawn by locomotive steam-engines on the Liverpool and Manchester railway can vouch for the safety and comfort, as well as the expedition, of this mode of conveyance; but the strongest evidence of public opinion on this subject is the fact, that twice as many persons go by the railway, as were formerly carried in coaches running on the roads between the two places—and yet, although the expense of travelling is reduced one-half, and the works of the railway cost more than 800,000l., the proprietors are in the receipt of a dividend of 9l. for a year on their 100l. shares! Enough has been ascertained of the traffic in the districts through which the London and Birmingham Railway will pass, to remove all doubt as to an ample return for the necessary outlay.—Metropolitan.

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THE GATHERER.

A Dancing Archbishop.—Dr. King, Archbishop of Dublin, having invited several persons of distinction to dine with him, had, amongst a great variety of dishes, a fine leg of mutton and caper sauce; but the doctor, who was not fond of butter, and remarkable for preferring a trencher to a plate, had some of the abovementioned pickle introduced dry for his use; which, as he was mincing, he called aloud to the company to observe him; "I here present you, my lords and gentlemen," said he, "with a sight that may henceforward serve you to talk of as something curious, namely, that you saw an Archbishop of Dublin, at fourscore and seven years of age, cut capers upon a trencher."

T.H.

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Singular Parish.—In the parish of East Twyford, near Harrow, in the county of Middlesex, there is only one house, and the farmer who occupies it is perpetual churchwarden of a church which has no incumbent, and in which no duty is performed. The parish has been in this state ever since the time of Queen Elizabeth.

H.S.S.

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Scandal.—It is as well not to trust to one's gratitude after dinner. I have heard many a host libelled by his guests, with his Burgundy yet reeking on their rascally lips.—Lord Byron.

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A lady with a well plumed head dress, being in deep conversation with a naval officer, one of the company said, "it was strange to see so fine a woman tar'd and feathered."

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A Scolding Wife.—Dr. Casin having heard the famous Thomas Fuller repeat some verses on a scolding wife, was so delighted with them, as to request a copy. "There is no necessity for that," said Fuller, "as you have got the original."

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Bouts Rimes are words or syllables which rhyme, arranged in a particular order, and are given to a poet with a subject, on which he must write verses ending in the same rhymes, disposed in the same order. Menage gives the following account of the origin of this ridiculous conceit. Dulot, (a poet of the 17th century,) was one day complaining in a large company, that 300 sonnets had been stolen from him. One of the company expressing his astonishment at the number, "Oh," said he, "they are blank sonnets, or rhymes (bouts rimes) of all the sonnets I may have occasion to write." This ludicrous story produced such an effect, that it became a fashionable amusement to compose blank sonnets, and in 1648, a quarto volume of bouts rimes was published.

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Poisoned Arrows used in Guiana are not shot from a bow, but blown through a tube. They are made of the hard substance of the cokarito tree, and are about a foot long, and the size of a knitting-needle. One end is sharply pointed, and dipped in the poison of worraia, the other is adjusted to the cavity of the reed, from which it is to be blown by a roll of cotton. The reed is several feet in length. A single breath carries the arrow 30 or 40 yards.

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Sterling Applause.—Lord Bolingbroke was so pleased with Barton Booth's performance of Cato, at Drury Lane Theatre, in 1712, that he presented the actor with fifty guineas from the stage-box—an example which was immediately followed by Bolingbroke's political opponents.

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Claret has been accused of producing the gout, but without reason. Persons who drench themselves with Madeira, Port, &c. and indulge in an occasional debauch of Claret, may indeed be visited in that way; because a transition from the strong brandied wines to the lighter, is always followed by a derangement of the digestive organs.

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Quarantine in America.—Dr. Richard Bayley is the person to whom New York is chiefly indebted for its quarantine laws. His death was, however, by contagion. In August, 1801, Doctor Bayley, in the discharge of his duty as health physician, enjoined the passengers and crew of an Irish emigrant ship, afflicted with the ship fever, to go on shore to the rooms and tents appointed for them, leaving their luggage behind. The next morning, on going to the hospital, he found that both crew and passengers, well, sick, and dying, were huddled together in one apartment, where they had passed the night. He inconsiderately entered this room before it had been properly ventilated, but remained scarcely a moment, being obliged to retire by a deadly sickness at the stomach, and violent pain in the head, with which he was suddenly seized. He returned home, retired to bed, and in the afternoon of the seventh day following, he expired.

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Shaving is said to have come into use during the reigns of Louis XIII. and XIV. of France, both of whom ascended the throne without a beard. Courtiers and citizens then began to shave, in order to look like the king, and, as France soon took the lead in all matters of fashion on the continent, shaving became general. It is at best a tedious operation. Seume, a German author, says, in his journal, "To-day I threw my powder apparatus out of the window, when will come the blessed day that I shall send the shaving apparatus after it."

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Book Morality.—Dr. Beddoes wrote a history of Isaac Jenkins, which was intended to impress useful moral lessons on the labouring classes in an attractive manner. Above 40,000 copies of this work were sold in a short time.

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The Bedford Missal throws even the costly scrap-books of these times into the shade. It was made for the celebrated John, Duke of Bedford, (one of the younger sons of Henry IV.) and contains 59 large, and more than 1,000 small miniature paintings.

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The Bedford Level was drained at an expense of L400,000. by the noble family of Russell, Earls and Dukes of Bedford, and others; by which means 100,000 acres of good land have been brought into use.

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POPULAR SCIENCE.

With many Engravings, price 5s.

ARCANA OF SCIENCE

And Annual Register of the Useful Arts for 1832. Abridged from the Transactions of Public Societies, and Scientific Journals, British and Foreign, for the past year. This volume will contain all the Important Facts in the year 1831—in the Mechanic Arts, Chemical Science, Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Geology, Meteorology, Rural Economy, Gardening, Domestic Economy, Useful and Elegant Arts, Miscellaneous Scientific Information.

"It is with great pleasure that we find the success of the former volumes of this valuable record of whatever is new in science or interesting in art, such as to encourage its publisher to make fresh exertions for public favour, in the compilation of the year passed. Such a work is exceedingly valuable, and may be considered in the light of a Cyclopaedia, to which the most eminent of their time for talent and attainments are constantly contributing."—New Monthly Magazine. March, 1832.

"As heretofore, a very useful record of the improvements and novelties of the year."—Literary Gazette.

"The Arcana of Science and Art contains a vast deal of information of an useful kind."—Athenaeum.

Printed for JOHN LIMBIRD, 143, Strand; of whom may be had volumes (upon the same plan) for 1828, price 4s. 6d, 1829—30—31, price 5s. each.

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Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; C.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.

THE END

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