Project Gutenberg's The Illustrated London Reading Book, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Illustrated London Reading Book Author: Various Release Date: April 6, 2004 [EBook #11921] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK LONDON READING BOOK *** Produced by PG Distributed Proofreaders. Produced from images provided by the Internet Archive Children's Library and University of Florida.
To read and speak with elegance and ease,
Are arts polite that never fail to please;
Yet in those arts how very few excel!
Ten thousand men may read—not one read well.
Though all mankind are speakers in a sense,
How few can soar to heights of eloquence!
The sweet melodious singer trills her lays,
And listening crowds go frantic in her praise;
But he who reads or speaks with feeling true,
Charms and delights, instructs, and moves us too.
To deprive Instruction of the terrors with which the young but too often regard it, and strew flowers upon the pathways that lead to Knowledge, is to confer a benefit upon all who are interested in the cause of Education, either as Teachers or Pupils. The design of the following pages is not merely to present to the youthful reader some of the masterpieces of English literature in prose and verse, arranged and selected in such a manner as to please as well as instruct, but to render them more agreeable to the eye and the imagination by Pictorial Representations, in illustration of the subjects. It is hoped that this design has not been altogether unsuccessful, and that the ILLUSTRATED LONDON READING BOOK will recommend itself both to old and young by the appropriateness of the selections, their progressive arrangement, the fidelity of their Illustrations, and the very moderate price at which it is offered to the public.
It has not been thought necessary to prefix to the present Volume any instructions in the art of Elocution, or to direct the accent or intonation of the student by the abundant use of italics or of large capitals. The principal, if not the only secrets of good reading are, to speak slowly, to articulate distinctly, to pause judiciously, and to feel the subject so as, if possible, "to make all that passed in the mind of the Author to be felt by the Auditor," Good oral example upon these points is far better for the young Student than the most elaborate written system.
A series of Educational Works, in other departments of study, similarly illustrated, and at a price equally small, is in preparation. Among the earliest to be issued, may be enumerated a Sequel and Companion to the ILLUSTRATED LONDON READING BOOK, designed for a more advanced class of Students, and consisting of extracts from English Classical Authors, from the earliest periods of English Literature to the present day, with a copious Introductory Chapter upon the arts of Elocution and Composition. The latter will include examples of Style chosen from the beauties of the best Authors, and will also point out by similar examples the Faults to be avoided by all who desire to become, not simply good Readers and Speakers, but elegant Writers of their native language.
Amongst the other works of which the series will be composed, may be mentioned, profusely Illustrated Volumes upon Geographical, Astronomical, Mathematical, and General Science, as well as works essential to the proper training of the youthful mind.
Nothing could be more easy and agreeable than my condition when I was first summoned to set out on the road to learning, and it was not without letting fall a few ominous tears that I took the first step. Several companions of my own age accompanied me in the outset, and we travelled pleasantly together a good part of the way.
We had no sooner entered upon our path, than we were accosted by three diminutive strangers. These we presently discovered to be the advance-guard of a Lilliputian army, which was seen advancing towards us in battle array. Their forms were singularly grotesque: some were striding across the path, others standing with their arms a-kimbo; some hanging down their heads, others quite erect; some standing on one leg, others on two; and one, strange to say, on three; another had his arms crossed, and one was remarkably crooked; some were very slender, and others as broad as they were long. But, notwithstanding this diversity of figure, when they were all marshalled in line of battle, they had a very orderly and regular appearance. Feeling disconcerted by their numbers, we were presently for sounding a retreat; but, being urged forward by our guide, we soon mastered the three who led the van, and this gave us spirit to encounter the main army, who were conquered to a man before we left the field. We had scarcely taken breath after this victory, when, to our no small dismay, we descried a strong reinforcement of the enemy, stationed on the opposite side. These were exactly equal in number to the former army, but vastly superior in size and stature; they were, in fact, a race of giants, though of the same species with the others, and were capitally accoutred for the onset. Their appearance discouraged us greatly at first, but we found their strength was not proportioned to their size; and, having acquired much skill and courage by the late engagement, we soon succeeded in subduing them, and passed off the field in triumph. After this we were perpetually engaged with small bands of the enemy, no longer extended in line of battle, but in small detachments of two, three, and four in company. We had some tough work here, and now and then they were too many for us. Having annoyed us thus for a time, they began to form themselves into close columns, six or eight abreast; but we had now attained so much address, that we no longer found them formidable.
After continuing this route for a considerable way, the face of the country suddenly changed, and we began to enter upon a vast succession of snowy plains, where we were each furnished with a certain light weapon, peculiar to the country, which we flourished continually, and with which we made many light strokes, and some desperate ones. The waters hereabouts were dark and brackish, and the snowy surface of the plain was often defaced by them. Probably, we were now on the borders of the Black Sea. These plains we travelled across and across for many a day.
Upon quitting this district, the country became far more dreary: it appeared nothing but a dry and sterile region, the soil being remarkably hard and slatey. Here we saw many curious figures, and we soon found that the inhabitants of this desert were mere ciphers. Sometimes they appeared in vast numbers, but only to be again suddenly diminished.
Our road, after this, wound through a rugged and hilly country, which was divided into nine principal parts or districts, each under a different governor; and these again were reduced into endless subdivisions. Some of them we were obliged to decline. It was not a little puzzling to perceive the intricate ramifications of the paths in these parts. Here the natives spoke several dialects, which rendered our intercourse with them very perplexing. However, it must be confessed that every step we set in this country was less fatiguing and more interesting. Our course at first lay all up hill; but when we had proceeded to a certain height, the distant country, which is most richly variegated, opened freely to our view.
I do not mean at present to describe that country, or the different stages by which we advance through its scenery. Suffice it to say, that the journey, though always arduous, has become more and more pleasant every stage; and though, after years of travel and labour, we are still very far from the Temple of Learning, yet we have found on the way more than enough to make us thankful to the kindness of the friends who first set us on the path, and to induce us to go forward courageously and rejoicingly to the end of the journey.
Pekin, or Peking, a word which in Chinese means "Northern Capital," has been the chief city of China ever since the Tartars were expelled, and is the residence of the Emperor. The tract of country on which it stands is sandy and barren; but the Grand Canal is well adapted for the purpose of feeding its vast population with the produce of more fertile provinces and districts. A very large portion of the centre of the part of Pekin called the Northern City is occupied by the Emperor with his palaces and gardens, which are of the most beautiful description, and, surrounded by their own wall, form what is called the "Prohibited City."
The Grand Canal, which runs about five hundred miles, without allowing for windings, across the kingdom of China, is not only the means by which subsistence is brought to the inhabitants of the imperial city, but is of great value in conveying the tribute, a large portion of the revenue being paid in kind. Dr. Davis mentions having observed on it a large junk decorated with a yellow umbrella, and found on enquiry that it had the honour of bearing the "Dragon robes," as the Emperor's garments are called. These are forwarded annually, and are the peculiar tribute of the silk districts. The banks of the Grand Canal are, in many parts through which it flows, strongly faced with stone, a precaution very necessary to prevent the danger of inundations, from which some parts of this country are constantly suffering. The Yellow River so very frequently overflows its banks, and brings so much peril and calamity to the people, that it has been called "China's Sorrow;" and the European trade at Canton has been very heavily taxed for the damage occasioned by it.
The Grand Canal and the Yellow River, in one part of the country, run within four or five miles of each other, for about fifty miles; and at length they join or cross each other, and then run in a contrary direction. A great deal of ceremony is used by the crews of the vessels when they reach this point, and, amongst other customs, they stock themselves abundantly with live cocks, destined to be sacrificed on crossing the river. These birds annoy and trouble the passengers so much by their incessant crowing on the top of the boats, that they are not much pitied when the time for their death arrives. The boatmen collect money for their purchase from the passengers, by sending red paper petitions called pin, begging for aid to provide them with these and other needful supplies. The difficulties which the Chinese must have struggled against, with their defective science, in this junction of the canal and the river, are incalculable; and it is impossible to deny them the praise they deserve for so great an exercise of perseverance and industry.
The splendid family of parrots includes about one hundred and sixty species, and, though peculiar to the warmer regions of the world, they are better known in England than any other foreign bird. From the beauty of their plumage, the great docility of their manners, and the singular faculty they possess of imitating the human voice, they are general favourites, both in the drawingroom of the wealthy and the cottage of humble life.
The various species differ in size, as well as in appearance and colour. Some (as the macaws) are larger than the domestic fowl, and some of the parakeets are not larger than a blackbird or even a sparrow.
The interesting bird of which our Engraving gives a representation was recently brought alive to this country by the captain of a South-seaman (the Alert), who obtained it from a Chinese vessel from the Island of Papua, to whom the captain of the Alert rendered valuable assistance when in a state of distress. In size this bird is one of the largest of the parrot tribe, being superior to the great red Mexican Macaw. The whole plumage is black, glossed with a greenish grey; the head is ornamented with a large crest of long pendulous feathers, which it erects at pleasure, when the bird has a most noble appearance; the orbits of the eyes and cheeks are of a deep rose-colour; the bill is of great size, and will crack the hardest fruit stones; but when the kernel is detached, the bird does not crush and swallow it in large fragments, but scrapes it with the lower mandible to the finest pulp, thus differing from other parrots in the mode of taking food. In the form of its tongue it differs also from other birds of the kind. A French naturalist read a memoir on this organ before the Academy of Sciences at Paris, in which he aptly compared it, in its uses, to the trunk of an elephant. In its manners it is gentle and familiar, and when approached raises a cry which may be compared to a hoarse croaking. In its gait it resembles the rook, and walks much better than most of the climbing family.
From the general conformation of the parrots, as well as the arrangement and strength of their toes, they climb very easily, assisting themselves greatly with their hooked bill, but walk rather awkwardly on the ground, from the shortness and wide separation of their legs. The bill of the parrot is moveable in both mandibles, the upper being joined to the skull by a membrane which acts like a hinge; while in other birds the upper beak forms part of the skull. By this curious contrivance they can open their bills widely, which the hooked form of the beak would not otherwise allow them to do. The structure of the wings varies greatly in the different species: in general they are short, and as their bodies are bulky, they cannot consequently rise to any great height without difficulty; but when once they gain a certain distance they fly easily, and some of them with rapidity. The number of feathers in the tail is always twelve, and these, both in length and form, are very varied in the different species, some being arrow or spear-shaped, others straight and square.
In eating, parrots make great use of the feet, which they employ like hands, holding the food firmly with the claws of one, while they support themselves on the other. From the hooked shape of their bills, they find it more convenient to turn their food in an outward direction, instead of, like monkeys and other animals, turning it towards their mouths.
The whole tribe are fond of water, washing and bathing themselves many times during the day in streams and marshy places; and having shaken the water from their plumage, seem greatly to enjoy spreading their beautiful wings to dry in the sun.
The deep affections of the breast,
That Heaven to living things imparts,
Are not exclusively possess'd
By human hearts.
A parrot, from the Spanish Main,
Full young, and early-caged, came o'er,
With bright wings, to the bleak domain
Of Mulla's shore.
To spicy groves, where he had won
His plumage of resplendent hue—
His native fruits, and skies, and sun—
He bade adieu.
For these he changed the smoke of turf,
A heathery land and misty sky;
And turn'd on rocks and raging surf
His golden eye.
But, petted, in our climate cold,
He lived and chatter'd many a day;
Until, with age, from green and gold
His wings grew grey.
At last, when blind and seeming dumb,
He scolded, laugh'd, and spoke no more,
A Spanish stranger chanced to come
To Mulla's shore.
He hail'd the bird in Spanish speech,
The bird in Spanish speech replied:
Flapt round his cage with joyous screech—
Dropt down and died.
'Tis true, said I, correcting the proposition—the Bastile is not an evil to be despised; but strip it of its towers, fill the fosse, unbarricade the doors, call it simply a confinement, and suppose it is some tyrant of a distemper, and not a man which holds you in it, the evil vanishes, and you bear the other half without complaint. I was interrupted in the heyday of this soliloquy, with a voice which I took to be of a child, which complained "It could not get out." I looked up and down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman, or child, I went out without further attention. In my return back through the passage, I heard the same words repeated twice over; and looking up, I saw it was a starling, hung in a little cage; "I can't get out, I can't get out," said the starling. I stood looking at the bird; and to every person who came through the passage, it ran fluttering to the side towards which they approached it with the same lamentation of its captivity. "I can't get out," said the starling. "Then I will let you out," said I, "cost what it will;" so I turned about the cage to get at the door—it was twisted and double twisted so fast with wire there was no getting it open without pulling the cage to pieces; I took both hands to it. The bird flew to the place where I was attempting his deliverance, and thrusting his head through the trellis, pressed his breast against it, as if impatient. "I fear, poor creature," said I, "I cannot set thee at liberty." "No," said the starling; "I can't get out, I can't get out," said the starling.
I vow, I never had my affections more tenderly awakened; nor do I remember an incident in my life, where the dissipated spirits to which my reason had been a bubble were so suddenly called home. Mechanical as the notes were, yet so true in tune to nature were they chaunted, that in one moment they overthrew all my systematic reasonings upon the Bastile, and I heavily walked up-stairs unsaying every word I had said in going down them.
Juggernaut is the principal idol worshipped by the Hindoos, and to his temple, which is at Pooree, are attached no less than four thousand priests and servants; of these one set are called Pundahs. In the autumn of the year they start on a journey through India, preaching in every town and village the advantages of a pilgrimage to Juggernaut, after which they conduct to Pooree large bodies of pilgrims for the Rath Justra, or Car Festival, which takes place in May or June. This is the principal festival, and the number of devotees varies from about 80,000 to 150,000. No European, Mussulman, or low cast Hindoo is admitted into the temple; we can therefore only speak from report of what goes on inside. Mr. Acland, in his manners and customs of India, gives us the following amusing account of this celebrated idol:—
"Juggernaut represents the ninth incarnation of Vishnoo, a Hindoo deity, and consists of a mere block of sacred wood, in the centre of which is said to be concealed a fragment of the original idol, which was fashioned by Vishnoo himself. The features and all the external parts are formed of a mixture of mud and cow-dung, painted. Every morning the idol undergoes his ablutions; but, as the paint would not stand the washing, the priests adopt a very ingenious plan—they hold a mirror in front of the image and wash his reflection. Every evening he is put to bed; but, as the idol is very unwieldy, they place the bedstead in front of him, and on that they lay a small image. Offerings are made to him by pilgrims and others, of rice, money, jewels, elephants, &c., the Rajah of Knoudah and the priests being his joint treasurers. On the day of the festival, three cars, between fifty and sixty feet in height, are brought to the gate of the temple; the idols are then taken out by the priests, Juggernaut having golden arms and diamond eyes for that one day, and by means of pulleys are hauled up and placed in their respective carriages: to these enormous ropes are attached, and the assembled thousands with loud shouts proceed to drag the idols to Juggernaut's country-house, a small temple about a mile distant. This occupies several days, and the idols are then brought back to their regular stations. The Hindoos believe that every person who aids in dragging the cars receives pardon for all his past sins; but the fact that people throw themselves under the wheels of the cars, appears to have been an European conjecture, arising from the numerous deaths that occur from accidents at the time the immense cars are in progress."
These cars have an imposing air, from their great size and loftiness: the wheels are six feet in diameter; but every part of the ornament is of the meanest and most paltry description, save only the covering of striped and spangled broad-cloth, the splendid and gorgeous effect of which makes up in a great measure for other deficiencies.
During the period the pilgrims remain at Pooree they are not allowed to eat anything but what has been offered to the idol, and that they have to buy at a high price from the priests.
Cyprus, an island in the Levant, is said to have taken its name from the number of shrubs of that name with which it once abounded. From this tall shrub, the cypress, its ancient inhabitants made an oil of a very delicious flavour, which was an article of great importance in their commerce, and is still in great repute among Eastern nations. It once, too, abounded with forests of olive trees; and immense cisterns are still to be seen, which have been erected for the purpose of preserving the oil which the olive yielded.
Near the centre of the island stands Nicotia, the capital, and the residence of the governor, who now occupies one of the palaces of its ancient sovereigns. The palaces are remarkable for the beauty of their architecture, but are abandoned by their Turkish masters to the destructive hand of time. The church of St. Sophia, in this place, is built in the Gothic style, and is said to have been erected by the Emperor Justinian. Here the Christian Kings of Cyprus were formerly crowned; but it is now converted into a mosque.
The island was formerly divided into nine kingdoms, and was famous for its superb edifices, its elegant temples, and its riches, but can now boast of nothing but its ruins, which will tell to distant times the greatness from which it has fallen.
The southern coast of this island is exposed to the hot winds from all directions. During a squall from the north-east, the temperature has been described as so scorching, that the skin instantly peeled from the lips, a tendency to sneeze was excited, accompanied with great pain in the eyes, and chapping of the hands and face. The heats are sometimes so excessive, that persons going out without an umbrella are liable to suffer from coup de soleil, or sun-stroke; and the inhabitants, especially of the lower class, in order to guard against it, wrap up their heads in a large turban, over which in their journeys they plait a thick shawl many times folded. They seldom, however, venture out of their houses during mid-day, and all journeys, even those of caravans, are performed in the night. Rains are also rare in the summer season, and long droughts banish vegetation, and attract numberless columns of locusts, which destroy the plants and fruits.
The soil, though very fertile, is rarely cultivated, the Greeks being so oppressed by their Turkish masters that they dare not cultivate the rich plains which surround them, as the produce would be taken from them; and their whole object is to collect together during the year as much grain as is barely sufficient to pay their tax to the Governor, the omission of which is often punished by torture or even by death.
The carob, or St. John's bread-tree, is plentiful; and the long thick pods which it produces are exported in considerable quantities to Syria and Egypt. The succulent pulp which the pod contains is sometimes employed in those countries instead of sugar and honey, and is often used in preserving other fruits. The vine grows here perhaps in greater perfection than in any other part of the world, and the wine of the island is celebrated all over the Levant.
This terrible reptile is found in great abundance on the continent of America; and if its instinct induced it to make use of the dreadful means of destruction and self-defence which it possesses, it would become so great a scourge as to render the parts in which it is found almost uninhabitable: but, except when violently irritated, or for the purpose of self-preservation, it seldom employs the fatal power bestowed upon it. The rattlesnake inserts its poison in the body of its victim by means of two long sharp-pointed teeth or fangs, which grow one on each side of the forepart of the upper jaw. The construction of these teeth is very singular; they are hollow for a portion of their length, and in each tooth is found a narrow slit communicating with the central hollow; the root of the fang rests on a kind of bag, containing a certain quantity of a liquid poison, and when the animal buries his teeth in his prey, a portion of this fluid is forced through these openings and lodged at the bottom of the wound. Another peculiarity of these poison teeth is, that when not in use they turn back, as it were, upon a hinge, and lie flat in the roof of the animal's mouth.
The name of rattlesnake is given to it on account of the singular apparatus with which the extremity of its tail is furnished. This consists of a series of hollow horn-like substances, placed loosely one behind the other in such a manner as to produce a kind of rattling noise when the tail is shaken; and as the animal, whenever it is enraged, always carries its tail raised up, and produces at the same time a tremulous motion in it, this provision of nature gives timely notice of its dangerous approach. The number of pieces of which this rattle is formed points out the age of the snake, which acquires a fresh piece every year. Some specimens have been found with as many as from forty to fifty, thus indicating a great age.
The poison of the Viper consists of a yellowish liquid, secreted in a glandular structure (situated immediately below the skin on either side of the head), which is believed to represent the parotid gland of the higher animals. If a viper be made to bite something solid, so as to avoid its poison, the following are the appearances under the microscope:—At first nothing is seen but a parcel of salts nimbly floating in the liquor, but in a very short time these saline particles shoot out into crystals of incredible tenuity and sharpness, with something like knots here and there, from which these crystals seem to proceed, so that the whole texture in a manner represents a spider's web, though infinitely finer and more minute. These spiculae, or darts, will remain unaltered on the glass for some months. Five or six grains of this viperine poison, mixed with half an ounce of human blood, received in a warm glass, produce no visible effects, either in colour or consistence, nor do portions of this poisoned blood, mixed with acids or alkalies, exhibit any alterations. When placed on the tongue, the taste is sharp and acrid, as if the tongue had been struck with something scalding or burning; but this sensation goes off in two or three hours. There are only five cases on record of death following the bite of the viper; and it has been observed that the effects are most virulent when the poison has been received on the extremities, particularly the fingers and toes, at which parts the animal, when irritated (as it were, by an innate instinct), always takes its aim.
After various adventures, Thor, accompanied by Thialfi and Loke, his servants, entered upon Giantland, and wandered over plains—wild uncultivated places—among stones and trees. At nightfall they noticed a house; and as the door, which indeed formed one whole side of the house, was open, they entered. It was a simple habitation—one large hall, altogether empty. They stayed there. Suddenly, in the dead of the night, loud voices alarmed them. Thor grasped his hammer, and stood in the doorway, prepared for fight. His companions within ran hither and thither, in their terror, seeking some outlet in that rude hall: they found a little closet at last, and took refuge there. Neither had Thor any battle; for lo! in the morning it turned out that the noise had been only the snoring of a certain enormous, but peaceable, giant—the giant Skrymir, who lay peaceably sleeping near by; and this, that they took for a house, was merely his glove thrown aside there: the door was the glove-wrist; the little closet they had fled into was the thumb! Such a glove! I remark, too, that it had not fingers, as ours have, but only a thumb, and the rest undivided—a most ancient rustic glove!
Skrymir now carried their portmanteau all day; Thor, however, who had his suspicions, did not like the ways of Skrymir, and determined at night to put an end to him as he slept. Raising his hammer, he struck down into the giant's face a right thunderbolt blow, of force to rend rocks. The giant merely awoke, rubbed his cheek, and said, "Did a leaf fall?" Again Thor struck, as soon as Skrymir again slept, a better blow than before; but the giant only murmured, "Was that a grain of sand!" Thor's third stroke was with both his hands (the "knuckles white," I suppose), and it seemed to cut deep into Skrymir's visage; but he merely checked his snore, and remarked, "There must be sparrows roosting in this tree, I think."
At the gate of Utgard—a place so high, that you had to strain your neck bending back to see the top of it—Skrymir went his way. Thor and his companions were admitted, and invited to take a share in the games going on. To Thor, for his part, they handed a drinking-horn; it was a common feat, they told him, to drink this dry at one draught. Long and fiercely, three times over, Thor drank, but made hardly any impression. He was a weak child, they told him; could he lift that cat he saw there? Small as the feat seemed, Thor, with his whole godlike strength, could not: he bent up the creature's back, could not raise its feet off the ground—could at the utmost raise one foot. "Why, you are no man," said the Utgard people; "there is an old woman that will wrestle you." Thor, heartily ashamed, seized this haggard old woman, but could not throw her.
And now, on their quitting Utgard—the chief Jotun, escorting them politely a little way, said to Thor—"You are beaten, then; yet, be not so much ashamed: there was deception of appearance in it. That horn you tried to drink was the sea; you did make it ebb: but who could drink that, the bottomless? The cat you would have lifted—why, that is the Midgard Snake, the Great World Serpent—which, tail in mouth, girds and keeps up the whole created world. Had you torn that up, the world must have rushed to ruin. As for the old woman, she was Time, Old Age, Duration: with her what can wrestle? No man, nor no god, with her. Gods or men, she prevails over all! And then, those three strokes you struck—look at these valleys—your three strokes made these." Thor looked at his attendant Jotun—it was Skrymir. It was, say old critics, the old chaotic rocky earth in person, and that glove house was some earth cavern! But Skrymir had vanished. Utgard, with its sky-high gates, when Thor raised his hammer to smite them, had gone to air—only the giant's voice was heard mocking; "Better come no more to Jotunheim!"
What an invaluable blessing it is to have the Bible in our own tongue. It is not only the oldest, but the best book in the world. Our forefathers rejoiced when they were first favoured with the opportunity of reading it for themselves. Infidels may reject, and the licentious may sneer; but no one who ever wished to take away this foundation-stone, could produce any other equal to it, on which the structure of a pious mind, a solid hope, a comfortable state, or wise conduct, could be raised. We are told, that when Archbishop Crammer's edition of the Bible was printed in 1538, and fixed to a desk in all parochial churches, the ardour with which men flocked to read it was incredible. They who could, procured it; and they who could not, crowded to read it, or to hear it read in churches. It was common to see little assemblies of mechanics meeting together for that purpose after the labour of the day. Many even learned to read in their old age, that they might have the pleasure of instructing themselves from the Scriptures.
It is recorded of Edward VI., that upon a certain occasion, a paper which was called for in the council-chamber happened to be out of reach; the person concerned to produce it took a Bible that lay near, and, standing upon it, reached down the paper. The King, observing what was done, ran to the place, and taking the Bible in his hands kissed it, and laid it up again. This circumstance, though trifling in itself, showed his Majesty's great reverence for that best of all books; and his example is a striking reproof to those who suffer their Bibles to lie covered with dust for months together, or who throw them about as if they were only a piece of useless lumber.
There's not a leaf within the bower,
There's not a bird upon the tree,
There's not a dew-drop on the flower,
But bears the impress, Lord, of Thee!
Thy hand the varied leaf design'd,
And gave the bird its thrilling tone;
Thy power the dew-drops' tints combined,
Till like a diamond's blaze they shone!
Yes, dew-drops, leaves, and buds, and all—
The smallest, like the greatest things—
The sea's vast space, the earth's wide ball,
Alike proclaim thee King of Kings.
But man alone to bounteous heaven
Thanksgiving's conscious strains can raise;
To favour'd man alone 'tis given,
To join the angelic choir in praise!
The struggling rill insensibly is grown
Into a brook of loud and stately march,
Cross'd ever and anon by plank or arch;
And for like use, lo! what might seem a zone
Chosen for ornament—stone match'd with stone
In studied symmetry, with interspace
For the clear waters to pursue their race
Without restraint. How swiftly have they flown—
Succeeding, still succeeding! Here the child
Puts, when the high-swoll'n flood runs fierce and wild,
His budding courage to the proof; and here
Declining manhood learns to note the sly
And sure encroachments of infirmity—
Thinking how fast time runs—life's end how near.
During the retreat of the famous King Alfred at Athelney, in Somersetshire, after the defeat of his forces by the Danes, the following circumstance happened, which shows the extremities to which that great man was reduced, and gives a striking proof of his pious and benevolent disposition:—A beggar came to his little castle, and requested alms. His Queen informed him that they had only one small loaf remaining, which was insufficient for themselves and their friends, who were gone abroad in quest of food, though with little hopes of success. But the King replied, "Give the poor Christian the one half of the loaf. He that could feed live thousand with five loaves and two fishes, can certainly make that half of the loaf suffice for more than our necessities." Accordingly the poor man was relieved; and this noble act of charity was soon recompensed by a providential store of fresh provisions, with which his people returned.
Sir Philip Sydney, at the battle near Zutphen, displayed the most undaunted courage. He had two horses killed under him; and, whilst mounting a third, was wounded by a musket-shot out of the trenches, which broke the bone of his thigh. He returned about mile and a half on horseback to the camp; and being faint with the loss of blood, and parched with thirst from the heat of the weather, he called for drink. It was presently brought him; but, as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened to be carried along at that instant, looked up to it with wistful eyes. The gallant and generous Sydney took the flagon from his lips, just when he was going to drink, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, "Thy necessity is greater than mine."
Frederick, King of Prussia, one day rang his bell and nobody answered; on which he opened the door and found his page fast asleep in an elbow-chair. He advanced toward him, and was going to awaken, him, when he perceived a letter hanging out of his pocket. His curiosity prompting him to know what it was, he took it out and read it. It was a letter from the young man's mother, in which she thanked him for having sent her part of his wages to relieve her in her misery, and finished with telling; him that God would reward him for his dutiful affection. The King, after having read it, went back softly into his chamber, took a bag full of ducats, and slipped it with the letter into the page's pocket. Returning to his chamber, he rang the bell so violently that he awakened the page, who instantly made his appearance. "You have had a sound sleep," said the King. The page was at a loss how to excuse himself and, putting his hand into his pocket by chance, to his utter astonishment he there found a purse of ducats. He took it out, turned pale, and looking at the bag, burst into tears without being able to utter a single word. "What is that?" said the King; "what is the matter?" "Ah, sire!" said the young man, throwing himself on his knees, "somebody seeks my ruin! I know nothing of this money which I have just found in my pocket!" "My young friend," replied Frederick, "God often does great things for us even in our sleep. Send that to your mother, salute her on my part, and assure her that I will take care of both her and you."
Beauties of History.
The convent of the Great St. Bernard is situated near the top of the mountain known by that name, near one of the most dangerous passes of the Alps, between Switzerland and Savoy. In these regions the traveller is often overtaken by the most severe weather, even after days of cloudless beauty, when the glaciers glitter in the sunshine, and the pink flowers of the rhododendron appear as if they were never to be sullied by the tempest. But a storm suddenly comes on; the roads are rendered impassable by drifts of snow; the avalanches, which are huge loosened masses of snow or ice, are swept into the valleys, carrying trees and crags of rock before them.
The hospitable monks, though their revenue is scanty, open their doors to every stranger that presents himself. To be cold, to be weary, to be benighted, constitutes the title to their comfortable shelter, their cheering meal, and their agreeable converse. But their attention to the dis tressed does not end here. They devote themselves to the dangerous task of searching for those unhappy persons who may have been overtaken by the sudden storm, and would perish but for their charitable succour. Most remarkably are they assisted in these truly Christian offices. They have a breed of noble dogs in their establishment, whose extraordinary sagacity often enables them to rescue the traveller from destruction. Benumbed with cold, weary in the search of a lost track, his senses yielding to the stupefying influence of frost, the unhappy man sinks upon the ground, and the snow-drift covers him from human sight. It is then that the keen scent and the exquisite docility of these admirable dogs are called into action. Though the perishing man lie ten or even twenty feet beneath the snow, the delicacy of smell with which they can trace him offers a chance of escape. They scratch away the snow with their feet; they set up a continued hoarse and solemn bark, which brings the monks and labourers of the convent to their assistance.
To provide for the chance that the dogs, without human help, may succeed in discovering the unfortunate traveller, one of them has a flask of spirits round his neck, to which the fainting man may apply for support; and another has a cloak to cover him. Their wonderful exertions are often successful; and even where they fail of restoring him who has perished, the dogs discover the body, so that it may be secured for the recognition of friends; and such is the effect of the cold, that the dead features generally preserve their firmness for the space of two years. One of these noble creatures was decorated with a medal, in commemoration of his having saved the lives of twenty-two persons, who, but for his sagacity, must have perished. Many travellers, who have crossed the pass of St. Bernard, have seen this dog, and have heard, around the blazing fire of the monks, the story of his extraordinary career. He perished about the year 1816, in an attempt to convey a poor traveller to his anxious family.
Joppa is the principal sea-port town of Palestine and it is very often mentioned in Scripture.
Hiram, King of Tyre, is said to have sent cedars of Lebanon by sea to Joppa, for the building of Solomon's Temple; and from Joppa the disobedient Jonah embarked, when ordered by God to go and preach to the people of Nineveh.
It was at Joppa that the apostle Peter lived, for some time, with one Simon, a tanner, whose house was by the sea-shore; and it was on the flat roof of this dwelling that he saw the wonderful vision, which taught him not to call any man common or unclean.
Tabitha or Dorcas, the pious woman who spent all her life in working for the poor, and in giving alms to those who needed relief, lived in Joppa; and here it pleased God that she should be taken ill and die, and her body was laid out in the usual manner before burial, in an upper chamber of the house where she lived. The apostle Peter, to whom this pious woman had been well known, was then at Lydda, not far from Joppa, and the disciples sent to tell him of the heavy loss the Church had met with in the death of Dorcas, and begged that he would come and comfort them. The apostle directly left Lydda and went over to Joppa. He was, by his own desire, taken to the room where the corpse lay, and was much moved when he saw the tears of the poor women who had been fed and clothed by the charity of Dorcas, and who were telling each other how much good she had been the means of doing them.
Peter desired to be left alone with the body, and then he knelt down and prayed, and, receiving strength from God, he turned to the body and cried, "Tabitha, arise!" She then, like one awaking from sleep, opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. He then took her by the hand, and she arose and was presented alive to those who, thinking she was dead, had so lately been mourning for her loss. This was the first miracle performed by the apostles, and it greatly surprised the people of Joppa, who began one and all to believe that Peter was really a preacher sent by God.
The name of Joppa signified beautiful. It was built upon the side of a rocky mountain, which rises from the sea-shore, and all around it were lovely gardens, full of vines, figs, and other fruits.
There are but three known species of the Tapir, two of which—the Peccary and the Tapir—are natives of South America, the other of Sumatra and Malacca. Its anatomy is much like that of the rhinoceros, while in general form the tapir reminds us of the hog. It is a massive and powerful animal, and its fondness for the water is almost as strong as that displayed by the hippopotamus. It swims and dives admirably, and will remain submerged for many minutes, rising to the surface for breath, and then again plunging in. When hunted or wounded, it always, if possible, makes for the water; and in its nightly wanderings will traverse rivers and lakes in search of food, or for pleasure. The female is very attentive to her young one, leading it about on the land, and accustoming it at an early period to enter the water, where it plunges and plays before its parent, who seems to act as its instructress, the male taking no share in the work.
The tapir is very common in the warm regions of South America, where it inhabits the forests, leading a solitary life, and seldom stirring from its retreat during the day, which it passes in a state of tranquil slumber. During the night, its season of activity, it wanders forth in search of food, which consists of water-melons, gourds, young shoots of brushwood, &c.; but, like the hog, it is not very particular in its diet. Its senses of smell and hearing are extremely acute, and serve to give timely notice of the approach of enemies. Defended by its tough thick hide, it is capable of forcing its way through the thick underwood in any direction it pleases: when thus driving onwards, it carries its head low, and, as it were, ploughs its course.
The most formidable enemy of this animal, if we except man, is the jaguar; and it is asserted that when that tiger of the American forest throws itself upon the tapir, the latter rushes through the most dense and tangled underwood, bruising its enemy, and generally succeeds in dislodging him.
The snout of the tapir greatly reminds one of the trunk of the elephant; for although it is not so long, it is very flexible, and the animal makes excellent use of it as a crook to draw down twigs to the mouth, or grasp fruit or bunches of herbage: it has nostrils at the extremity, but there is no finger-like appendage.
In its disposition the tapir is peaceful and quiet, and, unless hard pressed, never attempts to attack either man or beast; when, however, the hunter's dogs surround it, it defends itself very vigorously with its teeth, inflicting terrible wounds, and uttering a cry like a shrill kind of whistle, which is in strange contrast with the massive bulk of the animal.
The Indian tapir greatly resembles its American relative; it feeds on vegetables, and is very partial to the sugar-cane. It is larger than the American, and the snout is longer and more like the trunk of the elephant. The most striking difference, however, between the eastern and western animal is in colour. Instead of being the uniform dusky-bay tint of the American, the Indian is strangely particoloured. The head, neck, fore-limbs, and fore-quarters are quite black; the body then becomes suddenly white or greyish-white, and so continues to about half-way over the hind-quarters, when the black again commences abruptly, spreading over the legs. The animal, in fact, looks just as if it were covered round the body with a white horse-cloth.
Though the flesh of both the Indian and American tapir is dry and disagreeable as an article of food, still the animal might be domesticated with advantage, and employed as a beast of burthen, its docility and great strength being strong recommendations.
Waterloo is a considerable village of Belgium, containing about 1600 inhabitants; and the Field of Waterloo, so celebrated as the scene of the battle between two of the greatest generals who ever lived, is about two miles from it. It was very far from a strong position to be chosen for this purpose, but, no doubt, was the best the country afforded. A gently rising ground, not steep enough in any part to prevent a rush of infantry at double-quick time, except in the dell on the left of the road, near the farm of La Haye Sainte; and along the crest of the hill a scrubby hedge and low bank fencing a narrow country road. This was all, except La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont. This chateau, or country-seat, one of those continental residences which unite in them something of the nature of a castle and a farm-house, was the residence of a Belgic gentleman. It stands on a little eminence near the main road leading from Brussels to Nivelles. The buildings consisted of an old tower and a chapel, and a number of offices, partly surrounded by a farm-yard. The garden was enclosed by a high and strong wall; round the garden was a wood or orchard, which was enclosed by a thick hedge, concealing the wall. The position of the place was deemed so important by the Duke of Wellington, that he took possession of the Château of Goumont, as it was called, on the 17th of June, and the troops were soon busily preparing for the approaching contest, by perforating the walls, making loop-holes for the fire of the musketry, and erecting scaffolding for the purpose of firing from the top.
The importance of this place was also so well appreciated by Bonaparte, that the battle of the 18th began by his attacking Hougoumont. This name, which was bestowed upon it by the mistake of our great commander, has quite superseded the real one of Château Goumont. The ruins are among the most interesting of all the points connected with this memorable place, for the struggle there was perhaps the fiercest. The battered walls, the dismantled and fire-stained chapel, which remained standing through all the attack, still may be seen among the wreck of its once beautiful garden; while huge blackened beams, which have fallen upon the crumbling heaps of stone and plaster, are lying in all directions.
On the field of battle are two interesting monuments: one, to the memory of the Hon. Sir Alexander Gordon, brother to the Earl of Aberdeen, who there terminated a short but glorious career, at the age of twenty-nine, and "fell in the blaze of his fame;" the other, to some brave officers of the German Legion, who likewise died under circumstances of peculiar distinction. There is also, on an enormous mound, a colossal lion of bronze, erected by the Belgians to the honour of the Prince of Orange, who was wounded at, or near, to the spot.
Against the walls of the church of the village of Waterloo are many beautiful marble tablets, with the most affecting inscriptions, records of men of various countries, who expired on that solemn and memorable occasion in supporting a common cause. Many of these brave men were buried in a cemetery at a short distance from the village.
Two formal Owls together sat,
Conferring thus in solemn chat:
"How is the modern taste decay'd!
Where's the respect to wisdom paid?
Our worth the Grecian sages knew;
They gave our sires the honour due:
They weigh'd the dignity of fowls,
And pry'd into the depth of Owls.
Athens, the seat of earned fame,
With gen'ral voice revered our name;
On merit title was conferr'd,
And all adored th' Athenian bird."
"Brother, you reason well," replies
The solemn mate, with half-shut eyes:
"Right: Athens was the seat of learning,
And truly wisdom is discerning.
Besides, on Pallas' helm we sit,
The type and ornament of wit:
But now, alas! we're quite neglected,
And a pert Sparrow's more respected."
A Sparrow, who was lodged beside,
O'erhears them sooth each other's pride.
And thus he nimbly vents his heat:
"Who meets a fool must find conceit.
I grant you were at Athens graced,
And on Minerva's helm were placed;
But ev'ry bird that wings the sky,
Except an Owl, can tell you why.
From hence they taught their schools to know
How false we judge by outward show;
That we should never looks esteem,
Since fools as wise as you might seem.
Would you contempt and scorn avoid,
Let your vain-glory be destroy'd:
Humble your arrogance of thought,
Pursue the ways by Nature taught:
So shall you find delicious fare,
And grateful farmers praise your care;
So shall sleek mice your chase reward,
And no keen cat find more regard."
See the beetle that crawls in your way,
And runs to escape from your feet;
His house is a hole in the clay,
And the bright morning dew is his meat.
But if you more closely behold
This insect you think is so mean,
You will find him all spangled with gold,
And shining with crimson and green.
Tho' the peacock's bright plumage we prize,
As he spreads out his tail to the sun,
The beetle we should not despise,
Nor over him carelessly run.
They both the same Maker declare—
They both the same wisdom display,
The same beauties in common they share—
Both are equally happy and gay.
And remember that while you would fear
The beautiful peacock to kill,
You would tread on the poor beetle here,
And think you were doing no ill.
But though 'tis so humble, be sure,
As mangled and bleeding it lies,
A pain as severe 'twill endure,
As if 'twere a giant that dies.
Hark! how the furnace pants and roars,
Hark! how the molten metal pours,
As, bursting from its iron doors,
It glitters in the sun.
Now through the ready mould it flows,
Seething and hissing as it goes,
And filling every crevice up,
As the red vintage fills the cup—
Hurra! the work is done!
Unswathe him now. Take off each stay
That binds him to his couch of clay,
And let him struggle into day!
Let chain and pulley run,
With yielding crank and steady rope,
Until he rise from rim to cope,
In rounded beauty, ribb'd in strength,
Without a flaw in all his length—
Hurra! the work is done!
The clapper on his giant side
Shall ring no peal for blushing bride,
For birth, or death, or new-year tide,
Or festival begun!
A nation's joy alone shall be
The signal for his revelry;
And for a nation's woes alone
His melancholy tongue shall moan—
Hurra! the work is done!
Borne on the gale, deep-toned and clear,
His long, loud summons shall we hear,
When statesmen to their country dear
Their mortal race have run;
When mighty Monarchs yield their breath,
And patriots sleep the sleep of death,
Then shall he raise his voice of gloom,
And peal a requiem o'er their tomb—
Hurra! the work is done!
Should foemen lift their haughty hand,
And dare invade us where we stand,
Fast by the altars of our land
We'll gather every one;
And he shall ring the loud alarm,
To call the multitudes to arm,
From distant field and forest brown,
And teeming alleys of the town—
Hurra! the work is done!
And as the solemn boom they hear,
Old men shall grasp the idle spear,
Laid by to rust for many a year,
And to the struggle run:
Young men shall leave their toils or books,
Or turn to swords their pruning-hooks;
And maids have sweetest smiles for those
Who battle with their country's foes—
Hurra! the work is done!
And when the cannon's iron throat
Shall bear the news to dells remote,
And trumpet blast resound the note—
That victory is won;
When down the wind the banner drops,
And bonfires blaze on mountain tops,
His sides shall glow with fierce delight,
And ring glad peals from morn to night—
Hurra! the work is done!
But of such themes forbear to tell—
May never War awake this bell
To sound the tocsin or the knell—
Hush'd be the alarum gun.
Sheath'd be the sword! and may his voice
But call the nations to rejoice
That War his tatter'd flag has furl'd,
And vanish'd from a wiser world—
Hurra! the work is done!
Still may he ring when struggles cease—
Still may he ring for joy's increase,
For progress in the arts of peace,
And friendly trophies won;
When rival nations join their hands,
When plenty crowns the happy lands,
When Knowledge gives new blessings birth,
And Freedom reigns o'er all the earth—
Hurra! the work is done!
With his passions, and in spite of his errors, Napoleon was, taking him all in all, the greatest warrior of modern times. He carried into battle a stoical courage, a profoundly calculated tenacity, a mind fertile in sudden inspirations, which, by unlooked-for resources, disconcerted the plans of his enemy. Let us beware of attributing a long series of success to the organic power of the masses which he set in motion. The most experienced eye could scarcely discover in them any thing but elements of disorder. Still less, let it be said, that he was a successful captain because he was a mighty Monarch. Of all his campaigns, the most memorable are the campaign of the Adige, where the general of yesterday, commanding an army by no means numerous, and at first badly appointed, placed himself at once above Turenne, and on a level with Frederick; and the campaign in France in 1814, when, reduced to a handful of harrassed troops, he combated a force of ten times their number. The last flashes of Imperial lightning still dazzled the eyes of our enemies; and it was a fine sight to see the bounds of the old lion, tracked, hunted down, beset—presenting a lively picture of the days of his youth, when his powers developed themselves in the fields of carnage.
Napoleon possessed, in an eminent degree, the faculties requisite for the profession of arms; temperate and robust; watching and sleeping at pleasure; appearing unawares where he was least expected: he did not disregard details, to which important results are sometimes attached. The hand which had just traced rules for the government of many millions of men, would frequently rectify an incorrect statement of the situation of a regiment, or write down whence two hundred conscripts were to be obtained, and from what magazine their shoes were to be taken. A patient, and an easy interlocutor, he was a home questioner, and he could listen—a rare talent in the grandees of the earth. He carried with him into battle a cool and impassable courage. Never was mind so deeply meditative, more fertile in rapid and sudden illuminations. On becoming Emperor he ceased not to be the soldier. If his activity decreased with the progress of age, that was owing to the decrease of his physical powers. In games of mingled calculation and hazard the greater the advantages which a man seeks to obtain the greater risks he must run. It is precisely this that renders the deceitful science of conquerors so calamitous to nations.
Napoleon, though naturally adventurous, was not deficient in consistency or method; and he wasted neither his soldiers nor his treasures where the authority of his name sufficed. What he could obtain by negotiations or by artifice, he required not by force of arms. The sword, although drawn from the scabbard, was not stained with blood unless it was impossible to attain the end in view by a manoeuvre. Always ready to fight, he chose habitually the occasion and the ground: out of fifty battles which he fought, he was the assailant in at least forty. Other generals have equalled him in the art of disposing troops on the ground; some have given battle as well as he did—we could mention several who have received it better; but in the manner of directing an offensive campaign he has surpassed all. The wars in Spain and Russia prove nothing in disparagement of his genius. It is not by the rules of Montecuculi and Turenne, manoeuvring on the Renchen, that we ought to judge of such enterprises: the first warred to such or such winter quarters; the other to subdue the world. It frequently behoved him not merely to gain a battle, but to gain it in such a manner as to astound Europe and to produce gigantic results. Thus political views were incessantly interfering with the strategic genius; and to appreciate him properly, we must not confine ourselves within the limits of the art of war. This art is not composed exclusively of technical details; it has also its philosophy.
To find in this elevated region a rival of Napoleon, we must go back to the times when the feudal institutions had not yet broken the unity of the ancient nations. The founders of religion alone have exercised over their disciples an authority comparable with that which made him the absolute master of his army. This moral power became fatal to him, because he strove to avail himself of it even against the ascendancy of material force, and because it led him to despise positive rules, the long violation of which will not remain unpunished. When pride was bringing Napoleon towards his fall, he happened to say, "France has more need of me than I have of France." He spoke the truth: but why had he become necessary? Because he had committed the destiny of France to the chances of an interminable war: because, in spite of the resources of his genius, that war, rendered daily more hazardous by his staking the whole of his force and by the boldness of his movements, risked, in every campaign, in every battle, the fruits of twenty years of triumph: because his government was so modelled that with him every thing must be swept away, and that a reaction, proportioned to the violence of the action, must burst forth at once both within and without. But Napoleon saw, without illusion, to the bottom of things. The nation, wholly occupied in prosecuting the designs of its chief, had previously not had time to form any plans for itself. The day on which it should have ceased to be stunned by the din of arms, it would have called itself to account for its servile obedience. It is better, thought he, for an absolute prince to fight foreign armies than to have to struggle against the energy of the citizens. Despotism had been organized for making war; war was continued to uphold despotism. The die was cast—France must either conquer Europe, or Europe subdue France. Napoleon fell—he fell, because with the men of the nineteenth century he attempted the work of an Attila and a Genghis Khan; because he gave the reins to an imagination directly contrary to the spirit of his age; with which, nevertheless, his reason was perfectly acquainted; because he would not pause on the day when he felt conscious of his inability to succeed. Nature has fixed a boundary, beyond which extravagant enterprises cannot be carried with prudence. This boundary the Emperor reached in Spain, and overleaped in Russia. Had he then escaped destruction, his inflexible presumption would have caused him to find elsewhere a Bayleu and a Moscow.
I am in Rome! Oft as the morning ray
Visits these eyes, waking at once, I cry,
Whence this excess of joy? What has befallen me?
And from within a thrilling voice replies—
Thou art in Rome! A thousand busy thoughts
Rush on my mind—a thousand images;
And I spring up as girt to run a race!
Thou art in Rome! the city that so long
Reign'd absolute—the mistress of the world!
The mighty vision that the Prophet saw
And trembled; that from nothing, from the least,
The lowliest village (what, but here and there
A reed-roof'd cabin by a river side?)
Grew into everything; and, year by year,
Patiently, fearlessly working her way
O'er brook and field, o'er continent and sea;
Not like the merchant with his merchandise,
Or traveller with staff and scrip exploring;
But hand to hand and foot to foot, through hosts,
Through nations numberless in battle array,
Each behind each; each, when the other fell,
Up, and in arms—at length subdued them all.
Thou art in Rome! the city where the Gauls,
Entering at sun-rise through her open gates,
And through her streets silent and desolate
Marching to slay, thought they saw gods, not men;
The city, that by temperance, fortitude,
And love of glory tower'd above the clouds,
Then fell—but, falling, kept the highest seat,
And in her loveliness, her pomp of woe,
Where now she dwells, withdrawn into the wild,
Still o'er the mind maintains, from age to age,
Its empire undiminish'd. There, as though
Grandeur attracted grandeur, are beheld
All things that strike, ennoble; from the depths
Of Egypt, from the classic fields of Greece—
Her groves, her temples—all things that inspire
Wonder, delight! Who would not say the forms.
Most perfect most divine, had by consent
Flock'd thither to abide eternally
Within those silent chambers where they dwell
In happy intercourse?
Is that a rookery, papa?
Mr. S. It is. Do you hear what a cawing the birds make?
F. Yes; and I see them hopping about among the boughs. Pray, are not rooks the same with crows?
Mr. S. They are a species of crow. But they differ from the carrion crow and raven, in not feeding upon dead flesh, but upon corn and other seeds and grass, though, indeed, they pick up beetles and other insects and worms. See what a number of them have alighted on yonder ploughed field, almost blackening it over. They are searching for grubs and worms. The men in the field do not molest them, for they do a great deal of service by destroying grubs, which, if suffered to grow to winged insects, would injure the trees and plants.
F. Do all rooks live in rookeries?
Mr. S. It is their nature to associate together, and they build in numbers of the same, or adjoining trees. They have no objection to the neighbourhood of man, but readily take to a plantation of tall trees, though it be close to a house; and this is commonly called a rookery. They will even fix their habitations on trees in the midst of towns.
F. I think a rookery is a sort of town itself.
Mr. S. It is—a village in the air, peopled with numerous inhabitants; and nothing can be more amusing than to view them all in motion, flying to and fro, and busied in their several occupations. The spring is their busiest time. Early in the year they begin to repair their nests, or build new ones.
F. Do they all work together, or every one for itself?
Mr. S. Each pair, after they have coupled, builds its own nest; and, instead of helping, they are very apt to steal the materials from one another. If both birds go out at once in search of sticks, they often find at their return the work all destroyed, and the materials carried off. However, I have met with a story which shows that they are not without some sense of the criminality of thieving. There was in a rookery a lazy pair of rooks, who never went out to get sticks for themselves, but made a practice of watching when their neighbours were abroad, and helping themselves from their nests. They had served most of the community in this manner, and by these means had just finished their own nest; when all the other rooks, in a rage, fell upon them at once, pulled their nest in pieces, beat them soundly, and drove them from their society.
F. But why do they live together, if they do not help one another?
Mr. S. They probably receive pleasure from the company of their own kind, as men and various other creatures do. Then, though they do not assist one another in building, they are mutually serviceable in many ways. If a large bird of prey hovers about a rookery for the purpose of carrying away the young ones, they all unite to drive him away. And when they are feeding in a flock, several are placed as sentinels upon the trees all round, to give the alarm if any danger approaches.
F. Do rooks always keep to the same trees?
Mr. S. Yes; they are much attached to them, and when the trees happen to be cut down, they seem greatly distressed, and keep hovering about them as they are falling, and will scarcely desert them when they lie on the ground.
F. I suppose they feel as we should if our town was burned down, or overthrown by an earthquake.
Mr. S. No doubt. The societies of animals greatly resemble those of men; and that of rooks is like those of men in the savage state, such as the communities of the North American Indians. It is a sort of league for mutual aid and defence, but in which every one is left to do as he pleases, without any obligation to employ himself for the whole body. Others unite in a manner resembling more civilised societies of men. This is the case with the heavers. They perform great public works by the united efforts of the whole community—such as damming up streams and constructing mounds for their habitations. As these are works of great art and labour, some of them probably act under the direction of others, and are compelled to work, whether they will or not. Many curious stories are told to this purpose by those who have observed them in their remotest haunts, where they exercise their full sagacity.
F. But are they all true?
Mr. S. That is more than I can answer for; yet what we certainly know of the economy of bees may justify us in believing extraordinary things of the sagacity of animals. The society of bees goes further than that of beavers, and in some respects beyond most among men themselves. They not only inhabit a common dwelling, and perform great works in common, but they lay up a store of provision, which is the property of the whole community, and is not used except at certain seasons and under certain regulations. A bee-hive is a true image of a commonwealth, where no member acts for himself alone, but for the whole body.
Evenings at Home.
These beautiful trees may be ranked among the noblest specimens of vegetation; and their tall, slender, unbranched stems, crowned by elegant feathery foliage, composed of a cluster of gigantic leaves, render them, although of several varieties, different in appearance from all other trees. In some kinds of palm the stem is irregularly thick; in others, slender as a reed. It is scaly in one species, and prickly in another. In the Palma real, in Cuba, the stem swells out like a spindle in the middle. At the summit of these stems, which in some cases attain an altitude of upwards of 180 feet, a crown of leaves, either feathery or fan-shaped (for there is not a great variety in their general form), spreads out on all sides, the leaves being frequently from twelve to fifteen feet in length. In some species the foliage is of a dark green and shining surface, like that of a laurel or holly; in others, silvery on the under-side, as in the willow; and there is one species of palm with a fan-shaped leaf, adorned with concentric blue and yellow rings, like the "eyes" of a peacock's tail.
The flowers of most of the palms are as beautiful as the trees. Those of the Palma real are of a brilliant white, rendering them visible from a great distance; but, generally, the blossoms are of a pale yellow. To these succeed very different forms of fruit: in one species it consists of a cluster of egg-shaped berries, sometimes seventy or eighty in number, of a brilliant purple and gold colour, which form a wholesome food.
South America contains the finest specimens, as well as the most numerous varieties of palm: in Asia the tree is not very common; and of the African palms but little is yet known, with the exception of the date palm, the most important to man of the whole tribe, though far less beautiful than the other species.
It waved not through an Eastern sky,
Beside a fount of Araby;
It was not fann'd by Southern breeze
In some green isle of Indian seas;
Nor did its graceful shadow sleep
O'er stream of Afric, lone and deep.
But fair the exiled Palm-tree grew,
'Midst foliage of no kindred hue:
Through the laburnum's dropping gold
Rose the light shaft of Orient mould;
And Europe's violets, faintly sweet,
Purpled the moss-beds at its feet.
Strange look'd it there!--the willow stream'd
Where silv'ry waters near it gleam'd;
The lime-bough lured the honey-bee
To murmur by the Desert's tree,
And showers of snowy roses made
A lustre in its fan-like shade.
There came an eve of festal hours—
Rich music fill'd that garden's bowers;
Lamps, that from flow'ring branches hung,
On sparks of dew soft colours flung;
And bright forms glanced—a fairy show,
Under the blossoms to and fro.
But one, a lone one, 'midst the throng,
Seem'd reckless all of dance or song:
He was a youth of dusky mien,
Whereon the Indian sun had been;
Of crested brow, and long black hair—
A stranger, like the Palm-tree, there.
And slowly, sadly, moved his plumes,
Glittering athwart the leafy glooms:
He pass'd the pale green olives by,
Nor won the chesnut flowers his eye;
But when to that sole Palm he came,
Then shot a rapture through his frame.
To him, to him its rustling spoke;
The silence of his soul it broke.
It whisper'd of his own bright isle,
That lit the ocean with a smile.
Aye to his ear that native tone
Had something of the sea-wave's moan.
His mother's cabin-home, that lay
Where feathery cocoos fringe the bay;
The dashing of his brethren's oar,
The conch-note heard along the shore—
All through his wak'ning bosom swept:
He clasp'd his country's tree, and wept.
Oh! scorn him not. The strength whereby
The patriot girds himself to die;
The unconquerable power which fills
The foeman battling on his hills:
These have one fountain deep and clear,
The same whence gush'd that child-like tear!—
Newfoundland Dogs are employed in drawing sledges laden with fish, wood, and other articles, and from their strength and docility are of considerable importance. The courage, devotion, and skill of this noble animal in the rescue of persons from drowning is well known; and on the banks of the Seine, at Paris, these qualities have been applied to a singular purpose. Ten Newfoundland dogs are there trained to act as servants to the Humane Society; and the rapidity with which they cross and re-cross the river, and come and go, at the voice of their trainer, is described as being most interesting to witness. Handsome kennels have been erected for their dwellings on the bridges.
There is a breed of very handsome dogs called by this name, of a white colour, thickly spotted with black: it is classed among the hounds. This species is said to have been brought from India, and is not remarkable for either fine scent or intelligence. The Dalmatian Dog is generally kept in our country as an appendage to the carriage, and is bred up in the stable with the horses; it consequently seldom receives that kind of training which is calculated to call forth any good qualities it may possess.
The Terrier is a valuable dog in the house and farm, keeping both domains free from intruders, either in the shape of thieves or vermin. The mischief effected by rats is almost incredible; it has been said that, in some cases, in the article of corn, these little animals consume a quantity in food equal in value to the rent of the farm. Here the terrier is a most valuable assistant, in helping the farmer to rid himself of his enemies. The Scotch Terrier is very common in the greater part of the Western Islands of Scotland, and some of the species are greatly admired. Her Majesty Queen Victoria possesses one from Islay—a faithful, affectionate creature, yet with all the spirit and determination that belong to his breed.
The modern smooth-haired Greyhound of England is a very elegant dog, not surpassed in speed and endurance by that of any other country. Hunting the deer with a kind of greyhound of a larger size was formerly a favourite diversion; and Queen Elizabeth was gratified by seeing, on one occasion, from a turret, sixteen deer pulled down by greyhounds upon the lawn at Cowdry Park, in Sussex.
The dog we now call the Staghound appears to answer better than any other to the description given to us of the old English Hound, which was so much valued when the country was less enclosed, and the numerous and extensive forests were the harbours of the wild deer. This hound, with the harrier, were for many centuries the only hunting dogs.
Instinct and education combine to fit this dog for our service: the pointer will act without any great degree of instruction, and the setter will crouch; but the Sheep Dog, especially if he has the example of an older one, will, almost without the teaching of his master, become everything he could wish, and be obedient to every order, even to the slightest motion of the hand. If the 's dog be but with his master, he appears to be perfectly content, rarely mingling with his kind, and generally shunning the advances of strangers; but the moment duty calls, his eye brightens, he springs up with eagerness, and exhibits a sagacity, fidelity, and devotion rarely equalled even by man himself.
Of all dogs, none surpass in obstinacy and ferocity the Bull-dog. The head is broad and thick, the lower jaw generally projects so that the under teeth advance beyond the upper, the eyes are scowling, and the whole expression calculated to inspire terror. It is remarkable for the pertinacity with which it maintains its hold of any animal it may have seized, and is, therefore, much used in the barbarous practice of bull-baiting, so common in some countries, and but lately abolished in England.
In those prescient views by which the genius of Lord Bacon has often anticipated the institutions and the discoveries of succeeding times, there was one important object which even his foresight does not appear to have contemplated. Lord Bacon did not foresee that the English language would one day be capable of embalming all that philosophy can discover, or poetry can invent; that his country would at length possess a national literature of its own, and that it would exult in classical compositions, which might be appreciated with the finest models of antiquity. His taste was far unequal to his invention. So little did he esteem the language of his country, that his favourite works were composed in Latin; and he was anxious to have what he had written in English preserved in that "universal language which may last as long as books last."
It would have surprised Bacon to have been told that the most learned men in Europe have studied English authors to learn to think and to write. Our philosopher was surely somewhat mortified, when, in his dedication of the Essays, he observed, that, "Of all my other works, my Essays have been most current; for that, as it seems, they come home to men's business and bosoms." It is too much to hope to find in a vast and profound inventor, a writer also who bestows immortality on his language. The English language is the only object, in his great survey of art and of nature, which owes nothing of its excellence to the genius of Bacon.
He had reason, indeed, to be mortified at the reception of his philosophical works; and Dr. Rowley, even, some years after the death of his illustrious master, had occasion to observe, "His fame is greater, and sounds louder in foreign parts abroad than at home in his own nation; thereby verifying that Divine sentence, 'A Prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and in his own house,'" Even the men of genius, who ought to have comprehended this new source of knowledge thus opened to them, reluctantly entered into it: so repugnant are we to give up ancient errors, which time and habit have made a part of ourselves.
Flowers! when the Saviour's calm, benignant eye
Fell on your gentle beauty; when from you
That heavenly lesson for all hearts he drew.
Eternal, universal as the sky;
Then in the bosom of your purity
A voice He set, as in a temple shrine,
That Life's quick travellers ne'er might pass you by
Unwarn'd of that sweet oracle divine.
And though too oft its low, celestial sound
By the harsh notes of work-day care is drown'd,
And the loud steps of vain, unlist'ning haste,
Yet the great lesson hath no tone of power,
Mightier to reach the soul in thought's hush'd hour,
Than yours, meek lilies, chosen thus, and graced.
The earliest and one of the most fatal eruptions of Mount Vesuvius that is mentioned in history took place in the year 79, during the reign of the Emperor Titus. All Campagna was filled with consternation, and the country was overwhelmed with devastation in every direction; towns, villages, palaces, and their inhabitants were consumed by molten lava, and hidden from the sight by showers of volcanic stones, cinders, and ashes.
Pompeii had suffered severely from an earthquake sixteen years before, but had been rebuilt and adorned with many a stately building, particularly a magnificent theatre, where thousands were assembled to see the gladiators when this tremendous visitation burst upon the devoted city, and buried it to a considerable depth with the fiery materials thrown from the crater. "Day was turned to night," says a classic author, "and night into darkness; an inexpressible quantity of dust and ashes was poured out, deluging land, sea, and air, and burying two entire cities, Pompeii and Herculaneum, whilst the people were sitting in the theatre."
Many parts of Pompeii have, at various times, been excavated, so as to allow visitors to examine the houses and streets; and in February, 1846, the house of the Hunter was finally cleared, as it appears in the Engraving. This is an interesting dwelling, and was very likely the residence of a man of wealth, fond of the chase. A painting on the right occupies one side of the large room, and here are represented wild animals, the lion chasing a bull, &c. The upper part of the house is raised, where stands a gaily-painted column—red and yellow in festoons; behind which, and over a doorway, is a fresco painting of a summer-house perhaps a representation of some country-seat of the proprietor, on either side are hunting-horns. The most beautiful painting in this room represents a Vulcan at his forge, assisted by three dusky, aged figures. In the niche of the outward room a small statue was found, in terra cotta (baked clay). The architecture of this house is singularly rich in decoration, and the paintings, particularly those of the birds and vases, very bright vivid.
At this time, too, some very perfect skeletons were discovered in a house near the theatre, and near the hand of one of them were found thirty-seven pieces of silver and two gold coins; some of the former were attached to the handle of a key. The unhappy beings who were perished may have been the inmates of the dwelling. We know, from the account written by Pliny, that the young and active had plenty of time for escape, and this is the reason why so few skeletons have been found in Pompeii.
In a place excavated at the expense of the Empress of Russia was found a portable kitchen (represented above), made of iron, with two round holes for boiling pots. The tabular top received the fire for placing other utensils upon, and by a handle in the front it could be moved when necessary.
A Nightingale that all day long
Had cheer'd the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when even-tide was ended—
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite:
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied, far off upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glowworm by his spark:
So stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus, right eloquent:—
"Did you admire my lamp," quoth he,
"As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For 'twas the self-same power Divine
Taught you to sing and me to shine,
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night."
The songster heard his short oration,
And, warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.
A fact not less startling than would be the realisation of the imaginings of Shakespeare and of Milton, or of the speculations of Locke and of Bacon, admits of easy demonstration, namely, that the air, the earth, and the waters teem with numberless myriads of creatures, which are as unknown and as unapproachable to the great mass of mankind, as are the inhabitants of another planet. It may, indeed, be questioned, whether, if the telescope could bring within the reach of our observation the living things that dwell in the worlds around us, life would be there displayed in forms more diversified, in organisms more marvellous, under conditions more unlike those in which animal existence appears to our unassisted senses, than may be discovered in the leaves of every forest, in the flowers of every garden, and in the waters of every rivulet, by that noblest instrument of natural philosophy, the Microscope.
Larva of the Common Gnat.
To an intelligent person, who has previously obtained a general idea of the nature of the Objects about to be submitted to his inspection, a group of living animalcules, seen under a powerful microscope for the first time, presents a scene of extraordinary interest, and never fails to call forth an expression of amazement and admiration. This statement admits of an easy illustration: for example, from some water containing aquatic plants, collected from a pond on Clapham Common, I select a small twig, to which are attached a few delicate flakes, apparently of slime or jelly; some minute fibres, standing erect here and there on the twig, are also dimly visible to the naked eye. This twig, with a drop or two of the water, we will put between two thin plates of glass, and place under the field of view of a microscope, having lenses that magnify the image of an object 200 times in linear dimensions.
Upon looking through the instrument, we find the fluid swarming with animals of various shapes and magnitudes. Some are darting through the water with great rapidity, while others are pursuing and devouring creatures more infinitesimal than themselves. Many are attached to the twig by long delicate threads, several have their bodies inclosed in a transparent tube, from one end of which the animal partly protrudes and then recedes, while others are covered by an elegant shell or case. The minutest kinds, many of which are so small that millions might be contained in a single drop of water, appear like mere animated globules, free, single, and of various colours, sporting about in every direction. Numerous species resemble pearly or opaline cups or vases, fringed round the margin with delicate fibres, that are in constant oscillation. Some of these are attached by spiral tendrils; others are united by a slender stem to one common trunk, appearing like a bunch of hare-bells; others are of a globular form, and grouped together in a definite pattern, on a tabular or spherical membranous case, for a certain period of their existence, and ultimately become detached and locomotive, while many are permanently clustered together, and die if separated from the parent mass. They have no organs of progressive motion, similar to those of beasts, birds, or fishes; and though many species are destitute of eyes, yet possess an accurate perception of the presence of other bodies, and pursue and capture their prey with unerring purpose.
Thoughts on Animalcules.
This bird, which is now kept and reared throughout the whole of Europe, and even in Russia and Siberia, on account of its pretty form, docility, and sweet song, is a native of the Canary Isles. On the banks of small streams, in the pleasant valleys of those lovely islands, it builds its nest in the branches of the orange-trees, of which it is so fond, that even in this country the bird has been known to find its way into the greenhouse, and select the fork of one of the branches of an orange-tree on which to build its nest, seeming to be pleased with the sweet perfume of the blossoms.
The bird has been known in Europe since the beginning of the sixteenth century, when a ship, having a large number of canaries on board destined for Leghorn, was wrecked on the coast of Italy. The birds having regained their liberty, flew to the nearest land, which happened to be the island of Elba, where they found so mild a climate that they built their nests there and became very numerous. But the desire to possess such beautiful songsters led to their being hunted after, until the whole wild race was quite destroyed. In Italy, therefore, we find the first tame canaries, and here they are still reared in great numbers. Their natural colour is grey, which merges into green beneath, almost resembling the colours of the linnet; but by means of domestication, climate, and being bred with other birds, canaries may now be met with of a great variety of colours. But perhaps there is none more beautiful than the golden-yellow, with blackish-grey head and tail. The hen canary lays her eggs four or five times a year, and thus a great number of young are produced.
As they are naturally inhabitants of warm climates, and made still more delicate by constant residence in rooms, great care should be taken in winter that this favourite bird be not exposed to cold air, which, however refreshing to it in the heat of summer, is so injurious in this season that it causes sickness and even death. To keep canaries in a healthy and happy state, it is desirable that the cage should be frequently hung in brilliant daylight, and, if possible, placed in the warm sunshine, which, especially when bathing, is very agreeable to them. The more simple and true to-nature the food is, the better does it agree with them; and a little summer rapeseed mixed with their usual allowance of the seed to which they have given their name, will be found to be the best kind of diet. As a treat, a little crushed hempseed or summer cabbage-seed may be mixed with the canary-seed. The beautiful grass from which the latter is obtained is a pretty ornament for the garden; it now grows very abundantly in Kent.
The song of the canary is not in this country at all like that of the bird in a state of nature, for it is a kind of compound of notes learned from other birds. It may be taught to imitate the notes of the nightingale, by being placed while young with that bird. Care must be taken that the male parent of the young canary be removed from the nest before the young ones are hatched, or it will be sure to acquire the note of its parent. The male birds of all the feathered creation are the only ones who sing; the females merely utter a sweet chirrup or chirp, so that from the hen canary the bird will run no risk of learning its natural note.
Diligence, industry, and proper improvement of time are material duties of the young. To no purpose are they endowed with the best abilities, if they want activity for exerting them. Unavailing, in this case, will be every direction that can be given them, either for their temporal or spiritual welfare. In youth the habits of industry are most easily acquired; in youth the incentives to it are strong, from ambition and from duty, from emulation and hope, from all the prospects which the beginning of life affords. If, dead to these calls, you already languish in slothful inaction, what will be able to quicken the more sluggish current of advancing years? Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the foundation of pleasure. Nothing is so opposite to the true enjoyment of life as the relaxed and feeble state of an indolent mind. He who is a stranger to industry, may possess, but he cannot enjoy. For it is labour only which gives the relish to pleasure. It is the appointed vehicle of every good man. It is the indispensable condition of our possessing a sound mind in a sound body. Sloth is so inconsistent with both, that it is hard to determine whether it be a greater foe to virtue or to health and happiness. Inactive as it is in itself, its effects are fatally powerful. Though it appear a slowly-flowing stream, yet it undermines all that is stable and flourishing. It not only saps the foundation of every virtue, but pours upon you a deluge of crimes and evils.
It is like water which first putrefies by stagnation, and then sends up noxious vapours and fills the atmosphere with death. Fly, therefore, from idleness, as the certain parent both of guilt and of ruin. And under idleness I include, not mere inaction only, but all that circle of trifling occupations in which too many saunter away their youth; perpetually engaged in frivolous society or public amusements, in the labours of dress or the ostentation of their persons. Is this the foundation which you lay for future usefulness and esteem? By such accomplishments do you hope to recommend yourselves to the thinking part of the world, and to answer the expectations of your friends and your country? Amusements youth requires: it were vain, it were cruel, to prohibit them. But, though allowable as the relaxation, they are most culpable as the business, of the young, for they then become the gulf of time and the poison of the mind; they weaken the manly powers; they sink the native vigour of youth into contemptible effeminacy.
The river Jordan rises in the mountains of Lebanon, and falls into the little Lake Merom, on the banks of which Joshua describes the hostile Kings as pitching to fight against Israel. After passing through this lake, it runs down a rocky valley with great noise and rapidity to the Lake of Tiberias. In this part of its course the stream is almost hidden by shady trees, which grow on each side. As the river approaches the Lake of Tiberias it widens, and passes through it with a current that may be clearly seen during a great part of its course. It then reaches a valley, which is the lowest ground in the whole of Syria, many hundred feet below the level of the Mediterranean Sea. It is so well sheltered by the high land on both sides, that the heat thus produced and the moisture of the river make the spot very rich and fertile. This lovely plain is five or six miles across in parts, but widens as it nears the Dead Sea, whose waters cover the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed for the wickedness of their inhabitants.
On Jordan's banks the Arab camels stray,
On Sion's hill the False One's votaries pray—
The Baal-adorer bows on Sinai's steep;
Yet there—even there—O God! thy thunders sleep:
There, where thy finger scorch'd the tablet stone;
There, where thy shadow to thy people shone—
Thy glory shrouded in its garb of fire
(Thyself none living see and not expire).
Oh! in the lightning let thy glance appear—
Sweep from his shiver'd hand the oppressor's spear!
How long by tyrants shall thy land be trod?
How long thy temple worshipless, O God!
Without some degree of fortitude there can be no happiness, because, amidst the thousand uncertainties of life, there can be no enjoyment of tranquillity. The man of feeble and timorous spirit lives under perpetual alarms. He sees every distant danger and tremble; he explores the regions of possibility to discover the dangers that may arise: often he creates imaginary ones; always magnifies those that are real. Hence, like a person haunted by spectres, he loses the free enjoyment even of a safe and prosperous state, and on the first shock of adversity he desponds. Instead of exerting himself to lay hold on the resources that remain, he gives up all for lost, and resigns himself to abject and broken spirits. On the other hand, firmness of mind is the parent of tranquillity. It enables one to enjoy the present without disturbance, and to look calmly on dangers that approach or evils that threaten in future. Look into the heart of this man, and you will find composure, cheerfulness, and magnanimity; look into the heart of the other, and you will see nothing but confusion, anxiety, and trepidation. The one is a castle built on a rock, which defies the attacks of surrounding waters; the other is a hut placed on the shore, which every wind shakes and every wave overflows.
The Ivy in a dungeon grew
Unfed by rain, uncheer'd by dew;
Its pallid leaflets only drank
Cave-moistures foul, and odours dank.
But through the dungeon-grating high
There fell a sunbeam from the sky:
It slept upon the grateful floor
In silent gladness evermore.
The ivy felt a tremor shoot
Through all its fibres to the root;
It felt the light, it saw the ray,
It strove to issue into day.
It grew, it crept, it push'd, it clomb—
Long had the darkness been its home;
But well it knew, though veil'd in night,
The goodness and the joy of light.
Its clinging roots grew deep and strong;
Its stem expanded firm and long;
And in the currents of the air
Its tender branches flourish'd fair.
It reach'd the beam—it thrill'd, it curl'd,
It bless'd the warmth that cheers the world;
It rose towards the dungeon bars—
It look'd upon the sun and stars.
It felt the life of bursting spring,
It heard the happy sky-lark sing.
It caught the breath of morns and eves,
And woo'd the swallow to its leaves.
By rains, and dews, and sunshine fed,
Over the outer wall it spread;
And in the daybeam waving free,
It grew into a steadfast tree.
Upon that solitary place
Its verdure threw adorning grace.
The mating birds became its guests,
And sang its praises from their nests.
Wouldst know the moral of the rhyme?
Behold the heavenly light, and climb!
Look up, O tenant of the cell,
Where man, the prisoner, must dwell.
To every dungeon comes a ray
Of God's interminable day.
On every heart a sunbeam falls
To cheer its lonely prison walls.
The ray is TRUTH. Oh, soul, aspire
To bask in its celestial fire;
So shalt thou quit the glooms of clay,
So shaft thou flourish into day.
So shalt thou reach the dungeon grate,
No longer dark and desolate;
And look around thee, and above,
Upon a world of light and love.
How curious is the structure of the nest of the goldfinch or chaffinch! The inside of it is lined with cotton and fine silken threads; and the outside cannot be sufficiently admired, though it is composed only of various species of fine moss. The colour of these mosses, resembling that of the bark of the tree on which the nest is built, proves that the bird intended it should not be easily discovered. In some nests, hair, wool, and rushes are dexterously interwoven. In some, all the parts are firmly fastened by a thread, which the bird makes of hemp, wool, hair, or more commonly of spiders' webs. Other birds, as for instance the blackbird and the lapwing, after they have constructed their nest, plaster the inside with mortar, which cements and binds the whole together; they then stick upon it, while quite wet, some wool or moss, to give it the necessary degree of warmth. The nests of swallows are of a very different construction from those of other birds. They require neither wood, nor hay, nor cords; they make a kind of mortar, with which they form a neat, secure, and comfortable habitation for themselves and their family. To moisten the dust, of which they build their nest, they dip their breasts in water and shake the drops from their wet feathers upon it. But the nests most worthy of admiration are those of certain Indian birds, which suspend them with great art from the branches of trees, to secure them from the depredations of various animals and insects. In general, every species of bird has a peculiar mode of building; but it may be remarked of all alike, that they always construct their nests in the way that is best adapted to their security, and to the preservation and welfare of their species.
Such is the wonderful instinct of birds with respect to the structure of their nests. What skill and sagacity! what industry and patience do they display! And is it not apparent that all their labours tend towards certain ends? They construct their nests hollow and nearly round, that they may retain the heat so much the better. They line them with the most delicate substances, that the young may lie soft and warm. What is it that teaches the bird to place her nest in a situation sheltered from the rain, and secure against the attacks of other animals? How did she learn that she should lay eggs—that eggs would require a nest to prevent them from falling to the ground and to keep them warm? Whence does she know that the heat would not be maintained around the eggs if the nest were too large; and that, on the other hand, the young would not have sufficient room if it were smaller? By what rules does she determine the due proportions between the nest and the young which are not yet in existence? Who has taught her to calculate the time with such accuracy that she never commits a mistake, in producing her eggs before the nest is ready to receive them? Admire in all these things the power, the wisdom, and the goodness of the Creator!
The Bosjesmans, or Bushmen, appear to be the remains of Hottentot hordes, who have been driven, by the gradual encroachments of the European colonists, to seek for refuge among the inaccessible rocks and sterile desert of the interior of Africa. Most of the hordes known in the colony by the name of Bushmen are now entirely destitute of flocks or herds, and subsist partly by the chase, partly on the wild roots of the wilderness, and in times of scarcity on reptiles, grasshoppers, and the larvae of ants, or by plundering their hereditary foes and oppressors, the frontier Boers. In seasons when every green herb is devoured by swarms of locusts, and when the wild game in consequence desert the pastures of the wilderness, the Bushman finds a resource in the very calamity which would overwhelm an agricultural or civilized community. He lives by devouring the devourers; he subsists for weeks and months on locusts alone, and also preserves a stock of this food dried, as we do herrings or pilchards, for future consumption.
The Bushman retains the ancient arms of the Hottentot race, namely, a javelin or assagai, similar to that of the Caffres, and a bow and arrows. The latter, which are his principal weapons both for war and the chase, are small in size and formed of slight materials; but, owing to the deadly poison with which the arrows are imbued, and the dexterity with which they are launched, they are missiles truly formidable. One of these arrows, formed merely of a piece of slender reed tipped with bone or iron, is sufficient to destroy the most powerful animal. But, although the colonists very much dread the effects of the Bushman's arrow, they know how to elude its range; and it is after all but a very unequal match for the fire-lock, as the persecuted natives by sad experience have found. The arrows are usually kept in a quiver, formed of the hollow stalk of a species of aloe, and slung over the shoulder; but a few, for immediate use, are often stuck in a band round the head.
A group of Bosjesmans, comprising two men, two women, and a child, were recently brought to this country and exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, in Piccadilly. The women wore mantles and conical caps of hide, and gold ornaments in their ears. The men also wore a sort of skin cloak, which hung down to their knees, over a close tunic: the legs and feet were bare in both. Their sheep-skin mantles, sewed together with threads of sinew, and rendered soft and pliable by friction, sufficed for a garment by day and a blanket by night. These Bosjesmans exhibited a variety of the customs of their native country. Their whoops were sometimes so loud as to be startling, and they occasionally seemed to consider the attention of the spectators as an affront.
The merit of this Prince, both in private and public life, may with advantage be set in opposition to that of any Monarch or citizen which the annals of any age or any nation can present to us. He seems, indeed, to be the realisation of that perfect character, which, under the denomination of a sage or wise man, the philosophers have been fond of delineating, rather as a fiction of their imagination than in hopes of ever seeing it reduced to practice; so happily were all his virtues tempered together, so justly were they blended, and so powerfully did each prevent the other from exceeding its proper bounds. He knew how to conciliate the most enterprising spirit with the coolest moderation; the most obstinate perseverance with the easiest flexibility; the most severe justice with the greatest lenity; the greatest rigour in command with the greatest affability of deportment; the highest capacity and inclination for science, with the most shining: talents for action. His civil and his military virtues are almost equally the objects of our admiration, excepting only, that the former, being more rare among princes, as well as more useful, seem chiefly to challenge our applause. Nature also, as if desirous that so bright a production of her skill should be set in the fairest light, had bestowed on him all bodily accomplishments, vigour of limbs, dignity of shape and air, and a pleasant, engaging, and open countenance. Fortune alone, by throwing him into that barbarous age, deprived him of historians worthy to transmit his fame to posterity; and we wish to see him delineated in more lively colours, and with more particular strokes, that we may at least perceive some of those small specks and blemishes, from which, as a man, it is impossible he could be entirely exempted.
Oh! call my brother back to me,
I cannot play alone;
The summer comes with flower and bee—
Where is my brother gone?
The butterfly is glancing bright
Across the sunbeam's track;
I care not now to chase its flight—
Oh! call my brother back.
The flowers run wild—the flowers we sow'd
Around our garden-tree;
Our vine is drooping with its load—
Oh! call him back to me.
"He would not hear my voice, fair child—
He may not come to thee;
The face that once like spring-time smiled,
On earth no more thou'lt see
"A rose's brief bright life of joy,
Such unto him was given;
Go, thou must play alone, my boy—
Thy brother is in heaven!"
And has he left the birds and flowers,
And must I call in vain,
And through the long, long summer hours,
Will he not come again?
And by the brook, and in the glade,
Are all our wand'rings o'er?
Oh! while my brother with me play'd,
Would I had loved him more!—
Man is that link of the chain of universal existence by which spiritual and corporeal beings are united: as the numbers and variety of the latter his inferiors are almost infinite, so probably are those of the former his superiors; and as we see that the lives and happiness of those below us are dependant on our wills, we may reasonably conclude that our lives and happiness are equally dependant on the wills of those above us; accountable, like ourselves, for the use of this power to the supreme Creator and governor of all things. Should this analogy be well founded, how criminal will our account appear when laid before that just and impartial judge! How will man, that sanguinary tyrant, be able to excuse himself from the charge of those innumerable cruelties inflicted on his unoffending subjects committed to his care, formed for his benefit, and placed under his authority by their common Father? whose mercy is over all his works, and who expects that his authority should be exercised, not only with tenderness and mercy, but in conformity to the laws of justice and gratitude.
But to what horrid deviations from these benevolent intentions are we daily witnesses! no small part of mankind derive their chief amusements from the deaths and sufferings of inferior animals; a much greater, consider them only as engines of wood or iron, useful in their several occupations. The carman drives his horse, and the carpenter his nail, by repeated blows; and so long as these produce the desired effect, and they both go, they neither reflect or care whether either of them have any sense of feeling. The butcher knocks down the stately ox, with no more compassion than the blacksmith hammers a horseshoe; and plunges his knife into the throat of the innocent lamb, with as little reluctance as the tailor sticks his needle into the collar of a coat.
If there are some few who, formed in a softer mould, view with pity the sufferings of these defenceless creatures, there is scarce one who entertains the least idea that justice or gratitude can be due to their merits or their services. The social and friendly dog is hanged without remorse, if, by barking in defence of his master's person and property, he happens unknowingly to disturb his rest; the generous horse, who has carried his ungrateful master for many years with ease and safety, worn out with age and infirmities, contracted in his service, is by him condemned to end his miserable days in a dust-cart, where the more he exerts his little remains of spirit, the more he is whipped to save his stupid driver the trouble of whipping some other less obedient to the lash. Sometimes, having been taught the practice of many unnatural and useless feats in a riding-house, he is at last turned out and consigned to the dominion of a hackney-coachman, by whom he is every day corrected for performing those tricks, which he has learned under so long and severe a discipline. The sluggish bear, in contradiction to his nature, is taught to dance for the diversion of a malignant mob, by placing red-hot irons under his feet; and the majestic bull is tortured by every mode which malice can invent, for no offence but that he is gentle and unwilling to assail his diabolical tormentors. These, with innumerable other acts of cruelty, injustice, and ingratitude, are every day committed, not only with impunity, but without censure and even without observation; but we may be assured that they cannot finally pass away unnoticed and unretaliated.
The laws of self-defence undoubtedly justify us in destroying those animals who would destroy us, who injure our properties, or annoy our persons; but not even these, whenever their situation incapacitates them from hurting us. I know of no right which we have to shoot a bear on an inaccessible island of ice, or an eagle on the mountain's top; whose lives cannot injure us, nor deaths procure us any benefit. We are unable to give life, and therefore ought not wantonly to take it away from the meanest insect, without sufficient reason; they all receive it from the same benevolent hand as ourselves, and have therefore an equal right to enjoy it.
God has been pleased to create numberless animals intended for our sustenance; and that they are so intended, the agreeable flavour of their flesh to our palates, and the wholesome nutriment which it administers to our stomachs, are sufficient proofs: these, as they are formed for our use, propagated by our culture, and fed by our care, we have certainly a right to deprive of life, because it is given and preserved to them on that condition; but this should always be performed with all the tenderness and compassion which so disagreeable an office will permit; and no circumstances ought to be omitted, which can render their executions as quick and easy as possible. For this Providence has wisely and benevolently provided, by forming them in such a manner that their flesh becomes rancid and unpalateable by a painful and lingering death; and has thus compelled us to be merciful without compassion, and cautious of their sufferings, for the sake of ourselves: but, if there are any whose tastes are so vitiated, and whose hearts are so hardened, as to delight in such inhuman sacrifices, and to partake of them without remorse, they should be looked upon as demons in human shape, and expect a retaliation of those tortures which they have inflicted on the innocent, for the gratification of their own depraved and unnatural appetites.
So violent are the passions of anger and revenge in the human breast, that it is not wonderful that men should persecute their real or imaginary enemies with cruelty and malevolence; but that there should exist in nature a being who can receive pleasure from giving pain, would be totally incredible, if we were not convinced, by melancholy experience, that there are not only many, but that this unaccountable disposition is in some manner inherent in the nature of man; for, as he cannot be taught by example, nor led to it by temptation, or prompted to it by interest, it must be derived from his native constitution; and it is a remarkable confirmation of what revelation so frequently inculcates—that he brings into the world with him an original depravity, the effects of a fallen and degenerate state; in proof of which we need only to observe, that the nearer he approaches to a state of nature, the more predominant this disposition appears, and the more violently it operates. We see children laughing at the miseries which they inflict on every unfortunate animal which comes within their power; all savages are ingenious in contriving, and happy in executing, the most exquisite tortures; and the common people of all countries are delighted with nothing so much as bull-baitings, prize-fightings, executions, and all spectacles of cruelty and horror. Though civilization may in some degree abate this native ferocity, it can never quite extirpate it; the most polished are not ashamed to be pleased with scenes of little less barbarity, and, to the disgrace of human nature, to dignify them with the name of sports. They arm cocks with artificial weapons, which nature had kindly denied to their malevolence, and with shouts of applause and triumph see them plunge them into each other's hearts; they view with delight the trembling deer and defenceless hare, flying for hours in the utmost agonies of terror and despair, and, at last, sinking under fatigue, devoured by their merciless pursuers; they see with joy the beautiful pheasant and harmless partridge drop from their flight, weltering in their blood, or, perhaps, perishing with wounds and hunger, under the cover of some friendly thicket to which they have in vain retreated for safety; they triumph over the unsuspecting fish whom they have decoyed by an insidious pretence of feeding, and drag him from his native element by a hook fixed to and tearing out his entrails; and, to add to all this, they spare neither labour nor expense to preserve and propagate these innocent animals, for no other end but to multiply the objects of their persecution.
What name would we bestow on a superior being, whose whole endeavours were employed, and whose whole pleasure consisted in terrifying, ensnaring, tormenting, and destroying mankind? whose superior faculties were exerted in fomenting animosities amongst them, in contriving engines of destruction, and inciting them to use them in maiming and murdering each other? whose power over them was employed in assisting the rapacious, deceiving the simple, and oppressing the innocent? who, without provocation or advantage, should continue from day to day, void of all pity and remorse, thus to torment mankind for diversion, and at the same time endeavour with his utmost care to preserve their lives and to propagate their species, in order to increase the number of victims devoted to his malevolence, and be delighted in proportion to the miseries he occasioned. I say, what name detestable enough could we find for such a being? yet, if we impartially consider the case, and our intermediate situation, we must acknowledge that, with regard to inferior animals, just such a being is a sportsman.
It was in Palestine itself that Peter the Hermit first conceived the grand idea of rousing the powers of Christendom to rescue the Christians of the East from the thraldom of the Mussulman, and the Sepulchre of Jesus from the rude hands of the Infidel. The subject engrossed his whole mind. Even in the visions of the night he was full of it. One dream made such an impression upon him, that he devoutly believed the Saviour of the world Himself appeared before him, and promised him aid and protection in his holy undertaking. If his zeal had ever wavered before, this was sufficient to fix it for ever.
Peter, after he had performed all the penances and duties of his pilgrimage, demanded an interview with Simeon, the Patriarch of the Greek Church at Jerusalem. Though the latter was a heretic in Peter's eyes, yet he was still a Christian, and felt as acutely as himself for the persecu tions heaped by the Turks upon the followers of Jesus. The good prelate entered fully into his views, and, at his suggestion, wrote letters to the Pope, and to the most influential Monarchs of Christendom, detailing the sorrows of the faithful, and urging them to take up arms in their defence. Peter was not a laggard in the work. Taking an affectionate farewell of the Patriarch, he returned in all haste to Italy. Pope Urban II. occupied the apostolic chair. It was at that time far from being an easy seat. His predecessor, Gregory, had bequeathed him a host of disputes with the Emperor Henry IV., of Germany; and he had made Philip I., of France, his enemy. So many dangers encompassed him about that the Vatican was no secure abode, and he had taken refuge in Apulia, under the protection of the renowned Robert Guiscard. Thither Peter appears to have followed him, though the spot in which their meeting took place is not stated with any precision by ancient chroniclers or modern historians. Urban received him most kindly, read with tears in his eyes the epistle from the Patriarch Simeon, and listened to the eloquent story of the Hermit with an attention which showed how deeply he sympathised with the woes of the Christian Church.
Enthusiasm is contagious, and the Pope appears to have caught it instantly from one whose zeal was so unbounded. Giving the Hermit full powers, he sent him abroad to preach the Holy War to all the nations and potentates of Christendom. The Hermit preached, and countless thousands answered to his call. France, Germany, and Italy started at his voice, and prepared for the deliverance of Zion. One of the early historians of the Crusade, who was himself an eye-witness of the rapture of Europe, describes the personal appearance of the Hermit at this time. He says that there appeared to be something of divine in everything which he said or did. The people so highly reverenced him, that they plucked hairs from the mane of his mule, that they might keep them as relics. While preaching, he wore, in general, a woollen tunic, with a dark-coloured mantle which fell down to his heels. His arms and feet were bare, and he ate neither flesh nor bread, supporting himself chiefly upon fish and wine. "He set out," said the chronicler, "from whence I know not; but we saw him passing through towns and villages, preaching everywhere, and the people surrounding him in crowds, loading him with offerings, and celebrating his sanctity with such great praises, that I never remember to have seen such honours bestowed upon any one." Thus he went on, untired, inflexible, and full of devotion, communicating his own madness to his hearers, until Europe was stirred from its very depths.
We find a glory in the flowers
When snowdrops peep and hawthorn blooms;
We see fresh light in spring-time hours,
And bless the radiance that illumes.
The song of promise cheers with hope,
That sin or sorrow cannot mar;
God's beauty fills the daisyed slope,
And keeps undimm'd Faith's guiding star.
We find a glory in the smile
That lives in childhood's happy face,
Ere fearful doubt or worldly guile
Has swept away the angel trace.
The ray of promise shineth there,
To tell of better lands afar;
God sends his image, pure and fair,
To keep undimm'd Faith's guiding star.
We find a glory in the zeal
Of doating breast and toiling brain;
Affection's martyrs still will kneel,
And song, though famish'd, pour its strain.
They lure us by a quenchless light,
And point where joy is holier far;
They shed God's spirit, warm and bright,
And keep undimm'd Faith's guiding star.
We muse beside the rolling waves;
We ponder on the grassy hill;
We linger by the new-piled graves,
And find that star is shining still.
God in his great design hath spread,
Unnumber'd rays to lead afar;
They beam the brightest o'er the dead,
And keep undimm'd Faith's guiding star.
My loving people! we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourself to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but, I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear: I have always so behaved myself, that, under God, I have placed my chief strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects. And, therefore, I am come among you at this time, not for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die among you all, and to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood—even in the dust. I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a King, and the heart of a King of England, too! and think foul scorn, that Parma, or Spain, or any Prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms; to which, rather than dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms—I myself will be your general, your judge, and the rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a Prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the meantime, my Lieutenant-General shall be in my stead, than whom never Prince commanded more noble and worthy subject; nor do I doubt, by your obedience to my General, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, my kingdom, and my people.
The city of Jalapa, in Mexico, is very beautifully situated at the foot of Macultepec, at an elevation of 4335 feet above the level of the sea; but as this is about the height which the strata of clouds reach, when suspended over the ocean, they come in contact with the ridge of the Cordillera Mountains; this renders the atmosphere exceedingly humid and disagreeable, particularly in north-easterly winds. In summer, however, the mists disappear; the climate is perfectly delightful, as the extremes of heat and cold are never experienced.
On a bright sunny day, the scenery round Jalapa is not to be surpassed. Mountains bound the horizon, except on one side, where a distant view of the sea adds to the beauty of the scene. Orizaba, with its snow-capped peak, appears so close, that one imagines that it is within a few hours' reach, and rich evergreen forests clothe the surrounding hills. In the foreground are beautiful gardens, with fruits of every clime—the banana and fig, the orange, cherry, and apple. The town is irregularly built, but very picturesque; the houses are in the style of the old houses of Spain, with windows down to the ground, and barred, in which sit the Jalapenas ladies, with their fair complexions and black eyes.
Near Jalapa are two or three cotton factories, under the management of English and Americans: the girls employed are all Indians, healthy and good-looking; they are very apt in learning their work, and soon comprehend the various uses of the machinery. In the town there is but little to interest the stranger, but the church is said to have been founded by Cortez, and there is also a Franciscan convent. The vicinity of Jalapa, although poorly cultivated, produces maize, wheat, grapes, and jalap, from which plant the well-known medicine is prepared, and the town takes its name. A little lower down the Cordillera grows the vanilla, the bean of which is so highly esteemed for its aromatic flavour.
The road from Jalapa to the city of Mexico constantly ascends, and the scenery is mountainous and grand; the villages are but few, and fifteen or twenty miles apart, with a very scanty population. No signs of cultivation are to be seen, except little patches of maize and chilé, in the midst of which is sometimes to be seen an Indian hut formed of reeds and flags. The mode of travelling in this country is by diligences, but these are continually attacked and robbed; and so much is this a matter of course, that the Mexicans invariably calculate a certain sum for the expenses of the road, including the usual fee for the banditti. Baggage is sent by the muleteers, by which means it is ensured from all danger, although a long time on the road. The Mexicans never think of resisting these robbers, and a coach-load of eight or nine is often stopped and plundered by one man. The foreigners do not take matters so quietly, and there is scarcely an English or American traveller in the country who has not come to blows in a personal encounter with the banditti at some period or other of his adventures.
Condors are found throughout the whole range of the Cordilleras, along the south-west coast of South America, from the Straits of Magellan to the Rio Negro. Their habitations are almost invariably on overhanging ledges of high and perpendicular cliffs, where they both sleep and breed, sometimes in pairs, but frequently in colonies of twenty or thirty together. They make no nest, but lay two large white eggs on the bare rock. The young ones cannot use their wings for flight until many months after they are hatched, being covered, during that time, with only a blackish down, like that of a gosling. They remain on the cliff where they were hatched long after having acquired the full power of flight, roosting and hunting in company with the parent birds. Their food consists of the carcases of guanacoes, deer, cattle, and other animals.
The condors may oftentimes be seen at a great height, soaring over a certain spot in the most graceful spires and circles. Besides feeding on carrion, the condors will frequently attack young goats and lambs. Hence, the shepherd dogs are trained, the moment the enemy passes over, to run out, and, looking upwards, to bark violently. The people of Chili destroy and catch great numbers. Two methods are used: one is to place a carcase within an inclosure of sticks on a level piece of ground; and when the condors are gorged, to gallop up on horseback to the entrance, and thus inclose them; for when this bird has not space to run, it cannot give its body sufficient momentum to rise from the ground. The second method is to mark the trees in which, frequently to the number of five or six together, they roost, and then at night to climb up and noose them. They are such heavy sleepers that this is by no means a difficult task.
The condor, like all the vulture tribe, discovers his food from a great distance; the body of an animal is frequently surrounded by a dozen or more of them, almost as soon as it has dropped dead, although five minutes before there was not a single bird in view. Whether this power is to be attributed to the keenness of his olfactory or his visual organs, is a matter still in dispute; although it is believed, from a minute observation of its habits in confinement, to be rather owing to its quickness of sight.
I was yesterday, about sun-set, walking in the open fields, till the night insensibly fell upon me. I at first amused myself with all the richness and variety of colours which appeared in the western parts of heaven; in proportion as they faded away and went out, several stars and planets appeared one after another, till the whole firmament was in a glow. The blueness of the ether was exceedingly heightened and enlivened by the season of the year, and the rays of all those luminaries that passed through it. The Galaxy appeared in its most beautiful white. To complete the scene, the full moon rose at length in that clouded majesty which Milton takes notice of, and opened to the eye a new picture of nature, which was more finely shaded, and disposed among softer lights, than that which the sun had before discovered to us.
As I was surveying the moon walking in her brightness, and taking her progress among the constellations, a thought arose in me, which I believe very often perplexes and disturbs men of serious and contemplative natures. David himself fell into it in that reflection, "When I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man that though art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou regardest him!" In the same manner, when I consider that infinite host of stars, or, to speak more philosophically, of suns, which were then shining upon me, with those innumerable sets of planets or worlds, which were moving round their respective suns; when I still enlarged the idea, and supposed another heaven of suns and worlds rising still above this which we discovered, and these still enlightened by a superior firmament of luminaries, which are planted at so great a distance, that they may appear to the inhabitants of the former as the stars do to us; in short, while I pursued this thought, I could not but reflect on that little insignificant figure which I myself bore amidst the immensity of God's works.
Were the sun, which enlightens this part of the creation, with all the host of planetary worlds that move about him, utterly extinguished and annihilated, they would not be missed more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The space they possess is so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, it would scarce make a blank in creation. The chasm would be imperceptible to an eye that could take in the whole compass of nature, and pass from one end of creation to the other; as it is possible there may be such a sense in ourselves hereafter, or in creatures which are at present more exalted than ourselves. We see many stars by the help of glasses, which we do not discover with our naked eyes; and the finer our telescopes are, the more still are our discoveries. Huygenius carries this thought so far, that he does not think it impossible there may be stars whose light is not yet travelled down to us since their first creation. There is no question but the universe has certain bounds set to it; but when we consider that it is the work of infinite power, prompted by infinite goodness, with an infinite space to exert itself in, how can our imagination set any bounds to it?
To return, therefore, to my first thought, I could not but look upon myself with secret horror, as a being that was not worth the smallest regard of one who had so great a work under his care and superintendency. I was afraid of being overlooked amidst the immensity of nature, and lost among that infinite variety of creatures, which in all probability swarm through all these immeasurable regions of matter.
In order to recover myself from this mortifying thought, I considered that it took its rise from those narrow conceptions which we are apt to entertain of the Divine nature. We ourselves cannot attend to many different objects at the same time. If we are careful to inspect some things, we must of course neglect others. This imperfection which we observe in ourselves is an imperfection that cleaves in some degree to creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creatures, that is, beings of finite and limited natures. The presence of every created being is confined to a certain measure of space, and consequently his observation is stinted to a certain number of objects. The sphere in which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to one creature than another, according as we rise one above another in the scale of existence. But the widest of these our spheres has its circumference. When therefore we reflect on the Divine nature, we are so used and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we cannot forbear in some measure ascribing it to Him in whom there is no shadow of imperfection. Our reason indeed assures us that his attributes are infinite; but the poorness of our conceptions is such, that it cannot forbear setting bounds to every thing it contemplates, till our reason comes again to our succour and throws down all those little prejudices which rise in us unawares, and are natural to the mind of man.
We shall, therefore, utterly extinguish this melancholy thought of our being overlooked by our Maker in the multiplicity of his works, and the infinity of those objects among which He seems to be incessantly employed, if we consider, in the first place, that He is omnipresent; and in the second, that He is omniscient.
If we consider Him in his omnipresence; his being passes through, actuates, and supports the whole frame of nature. His creation, and every part of it, is full of Him. There is nothing He has made that is either so distant, so little, or so inconsiderable, which He does not essentially inhabit. His substance is within the substance of every being, whether material or immaterial, and as intimately present to it as that being is to itself. It would be an imperfection in Him, were He able to move out of one place into another, or to draw himself from any thing He has created, or from any part of that space which He diffused and spread abroad to infinity. In short, to speak of Him in the language of the old philosophers, He is a being whose centre is everywhere and his circumference nowhere.
In the second place, He is omniscient as well as omnipresent. His omniscience indeed necessarily and naturally flows from his omnipresence. He cannot but be conscious of every motion that arises in the whole material world which He thus essentially pervades; and of every thought that is stirring in the intellectual world, to every part of which He is thus intimately united. Several moralists have considered the creation as the temple of God, which He has built, with his own hands, and which is filled with his presence. Others have considered infinite space as the receptacle, or rather the habitation of the Almighty; but the noblest and most exalted way of considering this infinite space, is that of Sir Isaac Newton, who calls it the se sorium of the Godhead. Brutes and men have their sensoriola, or little sensoriums, by which they apprehend the presence and perceive the actions of a few objects that lie contiguous to them. Their knowledge and observation turn within a very narrow circle. But, as God Almighty cannot but perceive and know everything in which He resides, infinite space gives room to infinite knowledge, and is, as it were, an organ to omniscience.
Were the soul separate from the body, and with one glance of thought should start beyond the bounds of the creation, should it millions of years continue its progress through infinite space with the same activity, it would still find itself within the embrace of its Creator, and encompassed round with the immensity of the Godhead. While we are in the body, He is not less present with us, because He is concealed from us. "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!" says Job. "Behold I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; on the left hand, where He does work, but I cannot behold Him; He hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him." In short, reason as well as revelation assures us that He cannot be absent from us, notwithstanding He is undiscovered by us.
In this consideration of God Almighty's omnipresence and omniscience, every uncomfortable thought vanishes. He cannot but regard everything that has being, especially such of his creatures who fear they are not regarded by Him. He is privy to all their thoughts, and to that anxiety of heart in particular, which is apt to trouble them on this occasion; for, as it is impossible He should overlook any of his creatures, so we may be confident that He regards, with an eye of mercy, those who endeavour to recommend themselves to his notice, and in unfeigned humility of heart think themselves unworthy that He should be mindful of them.
Long trails of cistus flowers
Creep on the rocky hill,
And beds of strong spearmint
Grow round about the mill;
And from a mountain tarn above,
As peaceful as a dream,
Like to a child unruly,
Though school'd and counsell'd truly,
Roams down the wild mill stream!
The wild mill stream it dasheth
In merriment away,
And keeps the miller and his son
So busy all the day.
Into the mad mill stream
The mountain roses fall;
And fern and adder's-tongue
Grow on the old mill wall.
The tarn is on the upland moor,
Where not a leaf doth grow;
And through the mountain gashes,
The merry mill stream dashes
Down to the sea below.
But in the quiet hollows
The red trout groweth prime,
For the miller and the miller's son
To angle when they've time.
Then fair befall the stream
That turns the mountain mill;
And fair befall the narrow road
That windeth up the hill!
And good luck to the countryman,
And to his old grey mare,
That upward toileth steadily,
With meal sacks laden heavily,
In storm as well as fair!
And good luck to the miller,
And to the miller's son;
And ever may the mill-wheel turn
While mountain waters run!
Envy is almost the only vice which is practicable at all times, and in every place—the only passion which can never lie quiet for want of irritation; its effects, therefore, are everywhere discoverable, and its attempts always to be dreaded.
It is impossible to mention a name, which any advantageous distinction has made eminent, but some latent animosity will burst out. The wealthy trader, however he may abstract himself from public affairs, will never want those who hint with Shylock, that ships are but boards, and that no man can properly be termed rich whose fortune is at the mercy of the winds. The beauty adorned only with the unambitious graces of innocence and modesty, provokes, whenever she appears, a thousand murmurs of detraction and whispers of suspicion. The genius, even when he endeavours only to entertain with pleasing; images of nature, or instruct by uncontested principles of science, yet suffers persecution from innumerable critics, whose acrimony is excited merely by the pain of seeing others pleased—of hearing applauses which another enjoys.
The frequency of envy makes it so familiar that it escapes our notice; nor do we often reflect upon its turpitude or malignity, till we happen to feel its influence. When he that has given no provocation to malice, but by attempting to excel in some useful art, finds himself pursued by multitudes whom he never saw with implacability of personal resentment; when he perceives clamour and malice let loose upon him as a public enemy, and incited by every stratagem of defamation; when he hears the misfortunes of his family or the follies of his youth exposed to the world; and every failure of conduct, or defect of nature, aggravated and ridiculed; he then learns to abhor those artifices at which he only laughed before, and discovers how much the happiness of life would be advanced by the eradication of envy from the human heart.
Envy is, indeed, a stubborn weed of the mind, and seldom yields to the culture of philosophy. There are, however, considerations which, if carefully implanted, and diligently propagated, might in time overpower and repress it, since no one can nurse it for the sake of pleasure, as its effects are only shame, anguish, and perturbation. It is, above all other vices, inconsistent with the character of a social being, because it sacrifices truth and kindness to very weak temptations. He that plunders a wealthy neighbour, gains as much as he takes away, and improves his own condition in the same proportion as he impairs another's; but he that blasts a flourishing reputation, must be content with a small dividend of additional fame, so small as can afford very little consolation to balance the guilt by which it is obtained.
I have hitherto avoided mentioning that dangerous and empirical morality, which cures one vice by means of another. But envy is so base and detestable, so vile in its original, and so pernicious in its effects, that the predominance of almost any other quality is to be desired. It is one of those lawless enemies of society, against which poisoned arrows may honestly be used. Let it therefore be constantly remembered, that whoever envies another, confesses his superiority; and let those be reformed by their pride, who have lost their virtue.
Almost every other crime is practised by the help of some quality which might have produced esteem or love, if it had been well employed; but envy is a more unmixed and genuine evil; it pursues a hateful end by despicable means, and desires not so much its own happiness as another's misery. To avoid depravity like this, it is not necessary that any one should aspire to heroism or sanctity; but only that he should resolve not to quit the rank which nature assigns, and wish to maintain the dignity of a human being.
No tree is more frequently mentioned by ancient authors, nor was any more highly honoured by ancient nations, than the olive. By the Greeks it was dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, and formed the crown of honour given to their Emperors and great men, as with the Romans. It is a tree of slow growth, but remarkable for the great age it attains; never, however, becoming a very large tree, though sometimes two or three stems rise from the same root, and reach the height of from twenty to thirty feet. The leaves grow in pairs, lanceolate in shape, of a dull green on the upper, and hoary on the under side. Hence, in countries where the olive is extensively cultivated, the scenery is of a dull character, from this colour of the foliage. The fruit is oval in shape, with a hard strong kernel, and remarkable from the outer fleshy part being that in which much oil is lodged, and not, as is usual, in the seed. It ripens from August to September.
Of the olive-tree two varieties are particularly distinguished: the long-leafed, which is cultivated in the south of France and in Italy; and the broad-leafed in Spain, which has its fruit much longer than that of the former kind.
That the olive grows to a great age, has long been known. Pliny mentions one which the Athenians of his time considered to be coëval with their city, and therefore 1600 years old; and near Terni, in the vale of the cascade of Marmora, there is a plantation of very old trees, supposed to consist of the same plants that were growing there in the time of Pliny. Lady Calcott states that on the mountain road between Tivoli and Palestrina, there is an ancient olive-tree of large dimensions, which, unless the documents are purposely falsified, stood as a boundary between two possessions even before the Christian era. Those in the garden of Olivet or Gethsemane are at least of the time of the Eastern Empire, as is proved by the following circumstance:—In Turkey every olive-tree found standing by the Mussulmans, when they conquered Asia, pays one medina to the treasury, while each of those planted since the conquest is taxed half its produce. The eight olives of which we are speaking are charged only eight medinas. By some it is supposed that these olive-trees may have been in existence even in the time of our Saviour; the largest is about thirty feet in girth above the roots, and twenty-seven feet high.
There is a beautiful propriety in the order in which Nature seems to have directed the singing-birds to fill up the day with their pleasing harmony. The accordance between their songs and the external aspect of nature, at the successive periods of the day at which they sing, is quite remarkable. And it is impossible to visit the forest or the sequestered dell, where the notes of the feathered tribes are heard to the greatest advantage, without being impressed with the conviction that there is design in the arrangement of this sylvan minstrelsy.—
First the robin (and not the lark, as has been generally imagined), as soon as twilight has drawn its imperceptible line between night and day, begins his lovely song. How sweetly does this harmonise with the soft dawning of the day! He goes on till the twinkling sun-beams begin to tell him that his notes no longer accord with the rising scene. Up starts the lark, and with him a variety of sprightly songsters, whose lively notes are in perfect correspondence with the gaiety of the morning. The general warbling continues, with now and then an interruption by the transient croak of the raven, the scream of the jay, or the pert chattering of the daw. The nightingale, unwearied by the vocal exertions of the night, joins his inferiors in sound in the general harmony. The thrush is wisely placed on the summit of some lofty tree, that its loud and piercing notes may be softened by distance before they reach the ear; while the mellow blackbird seeks the inferior branches.
Should the sun, having been eclipsed by a cloud, shine forth with fresh effulgence, how frequently we see the goldfinch perch on some blossomed bough, and hear its song poured forth in a strain peculiarly energetic; while the sun, full shining on his beautiful plumes, displays his golden wings and crimson crest to charming advantage. The notes of the cuckoo blend with this cheering concert in a pleasing manner, and for a short time are highly grateful to the ear. But sweet as this singular song is, it would tire by its uniformity, were it not given in so transient a manner.
At length evening advances, the performers gradually retire, and the concert softly dies away. The sun is seen no more. The robin again sends up his twilight song, till the more serene hour of night sets him to the bower to rest. And now to close the scene in full and perfect harmony; no sooner is the voice of the robin hushed, and night again spreads in gloom over the horizon, than the owl sends forth his slow and solemn tones. They are more than plaintive and less than melancholy, and tend to inspire the imagination with a train of contemplations well adapted to the serious hour.
Thus we see that birds bear no inconsiderable share in harmonizing some of the most beautiful and interesting scenes in nature.
Thus died Edward VI., in the sixteenth year of his age. He was counted the wonder of his time; he was not only learned in the tongues and the liberal sciences, but he knew well the state of his kingdom. He kept a table-book, in which he had written the characters of all the eminent men of the nation: he studied fortification, and understood the mint well. He knew the harbours in all his dominions, with the depth of the water, and way of coming into them. He understood foreign affairs so well, that the ambassadors who were sent into England, published very extraordinary things of him in all the courts of Europe. He had great quickness of apprehension, but being distrustful of his memory, he took notes of everything he heard that was considerable, in Greek characters, that those about him might not understand what he writ, which he afterwards copied out fair in the journal that he kept. His virtues were wonderful; when he was made to believe that his uncle was guilty of conspiring the death of the other councillors, he upon that abandoned him.
Barnaby Fitzpatrick was his favourite; and when he sent him to travel, he writ oft to him to keep good company, to avoid excess and luxury, and to improve himself in those things that might render him capable of employment at his return. He was afterwards made Lord of Upper Ossory, in Ireland, by Queen Elizabeth, and did answer the hopes this excellent King had of him. He was very merciful in his nature, which appeared in his unwillingness to sign the warrant for burning the Maid of Kent. He took great care to have his debts well paid, reckoning that a Prince who breaks his faith and loses his credit, has thrown up that which he can never recover, and made himself liable to perpetual distrust and extreme contempt. He took special care of the petitions that were given him by poor and opprest people. But his great zeal for religion crowned all the rest—it was a true tenderness of conscience, founded on the love of God and his neighbour. These extraordinary qualities, set off with great sweetness and affability, made him universally beloved by his people.
What sounds are on the mountain blast,
Like bullet from the arbalast?
Was it the hunted quarry past
Right up Ben-ledi's side?
So near, so rapidly, he dash'd,
Yon lichen'd bough has scarcely plash'd
Into the torrent's tide.
Ay! the good hound may bay beneath,
The hunter wind his horn;
He dared ye through the flooded Teith,
As a warrior in his scorn!
Dash the red rowel in the steed!
Spur, laggards, while ye may!
St. Hubert's staff to a stripling reed,
He dies no death to-day!
"Forward!" nay, waste not idle breath,
Gallants, ye win no greenwood wreath;
His antlers dance above the heath,
Like chieftain's plumed helm;
Right onward for the western peak,
Where breaks the sky in one white streak,
See, Isabel, in bold relief,
To Fancy's eye, Glenartney's chief,
Guarding his ancient realm.
So motionless, so noiseless there,
His foot on rock, his head in air,
Like sculptor's breathing stone:
Then, snorting from the rapid race,
Snuffs the free air a moment's space,
Glares grimly on the baffled chase,
And seeks the covert lone.
Hunting has been a favourite sport in Britain for many centuries. Dyonisius (B.C. 50) tells us that the North Britons lived, in great part, upon the food they procured by hunting. Strabo states that the dogs bred in Britain were highly esteemed on the Continent, on account of their excellent qualities for hunting; and Caesar tells us that venison constituted a great portion of the food of the Britons, who did not eat hares. Hunting was also in ancient times a Royal and noble sport: Alfred the Great hunted at twelve years of age; Athelstan, Edward the Confessor, Harold, William the Conqueror, William Rufus, and John were all good huntsmen; Edward II. reduced hunting to a science, and established rules for its practice; Henry IV. appointed a master of the game; Edward III. hunted with sixty couples of stag-hounds; Elizabeth was a famous huntswoman; and James I. preferred hunting to hawking or shooting. The Bishops and Abbots of the middle ages hunted with great state. Ladies also joined in the chase from the earliest times; and a lady's hunting-dress in the fifteenth century scarcely differed from the riding-habit of the present day.
Elizabeth his wife, actuated by his undaunted spirit, applied to the House of Lords for his release; and, according to her relation, she was told, "they could do nothing; but that his releasement was committed to the Judges at the next assizes." The Judges were Sir Matthew Hale and Mr. Justice Twisden; and a remarkable contrast appeared between the well-known meekness of the one, and fury of the other. Elizabeth came before them, and, stating her husband's case, prayed for justice: "Judge Twisden," says John Bunyan, "snapt her up, and angrily told her that I was a convicted person, and could not be released unless I would promise to preach no more. Elizabeth: 'The Lords told me that releasement was committed to you, and you give me neither releasement nor relief. My husband is unlawfully in prison, and you are bound to discharge him.' Twisden: 'He has been lawfully convicted.' Elizabeth: 'It is false, for when they said "Do you confess the indictment?" he answered, "At the meetings where he preached, they had God's presence among them."' Twisden: 'Will your husband leave preaching? if he will do so, then send for him.' Elizabeth: 'My Lord, he dares not leave off preaching as long as he can speak. But, good my Lords, consider that we have four small children, one of them blind, and that they have nothing to live upon while their father is in prison, but the charity of Christian people.' Sir Matthew Hale: 'Alas! poor woman.' Twisden: 'Poverty is your cloak, for I hear your husband is better maintained by running up and down a-preaching than by following his calling?' Sir Matthew Hale: 'What is his calling?' Elizabeth: 'A tinker, please you my Lord; and because he is a tinker, and a poor man, therefore he is despised and cannot have justice.' Sir Matthew Hale: 'I am truly sorry we can do you no good. Sitting here we can only act as the law gives us warrant; and we have no power to reverse the sentence, although it may be erroneous. What your husband said was taken for a confession, and he stands convicted. There is, therefore, no course for you but to apply to the King for a pardon, or to sue out a writ of error; and, the indictment, or subsequent proceedings, being shown to be contrary to law, the sentence shall be reversed, and your husband shall be set at liberty. I am truly sorry for your pitiable case. I wish I could serve you, but I fear I can do you no good.'"
Little do we know what is for our permanent good. Had Bunyan then been discharged and allowed to enjoy liberty, he no doubt would have returned to his trade, filling up his intervals of leisure with field-preaching; his name would not have survived his own generation, and he could have done little for the religious improvement of mankind. The prison doors were shut upon him for twelve years. Being cut off from the external world, he communed with his own soul; and, inspired by Him who touched Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire, he composed the noblest of allegories, the merit of which was first discovered by the lowly, but which is now lauded by the most refined critics, and which has done more to awaken piety, and to enforce the precepts of Christian morality, than all the sermons that have been published by all the prelates of the Anglican Church.
Lives of the Judges.
This singular variety of the Fox was first made known to naturalists in 1820, after the return of De Laland from South Africa. It is an inhabitant of the mountains in the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good Hope, but it is so rare that little is known of its habits in a state of nature. The Engraving was taken from a specimen which has been lately placed in the Zoological Society's gardens in the Regent's Park. It is extremely quick of hearing, and there is something in the general expression of the head which suggests a resemblance to the long-eared bat. Its fur is very thick, and the brush is larger than that of our common European fox. The skin of the fox is in many species very valuable; that of another kind of fox at the Cape of Good Hope is so much in request among the natives as a covering for the cold season, that many of the Bechuanas are solely employed in hunting the animal down with dogs, or laying snares in the places to which it is known to resort.
In common with all other foxes, those of Africa are great enemies to birds which lay their eggs upon the ground; and their movements are, in particular, closely watched by the ostrich during the laying season. When the fox has surmounted all obstacles in procuring eggs, he has to encounter the difficulty of getting at their contents; but even for this task his cunning finds an expedient, and it is that of pushing them forcibly along the ground until they come in contact with some substance hard enough to break them, when the contents are speedily disposed of.
The natives, from having observed the anxiety of the ostrich to keep this animal from robbing her nest, avail themselves of this solicitude to lure the bird to its destruction; for, seeing that it runs to the nest the instant a fox appears, they fasten a dog near it, and conceal themselves close by, and the ostrich, on approaching to drive away the supposed fox, is frequently shot by the real hunter.
The fur of the red fox of America is much valued as an article of trade, and about 8000 are annually imported into England from the fur countries, where the animal is very abundant, especially in the wooded parts.
Foxes of various colours are also common in the fur countries of North America, and a rare and valuable variety is the black or silver fox. Dr. Richardson states that seldom more than four or five of this variety are taken in a season at one post, though the hunters no sooner find out the haunts of one, than they use every art to catch it, because its fur fetches six times the price of any other fur produced in North America. This fox is sometimes found of a rich deep glossy black, the tip of the brush alone being white; in general, however, it is silvered over the end of each of the long hairs of the fur, producing a beautiful appearance.
The Arctic fox resembles greatly the European species, but is considerably smaller; and, owing to the great quantity of white woolly fur with which it is covered, is somewhat like a little shock dog. The brush is very large and full, affording an admirable covering for the nose and feet, to which it acts as a muff when the animal sleeps. The fur is in the greatest perfection during the months of winter, when the colour gradually becomes from an ashy grey to a full and pure white, and is extremely thick, covering even the soles of the feet. Captain Lyon has given very interesting accounts of the habits of this animal, and describes it as being cleanly and free from any unpleasant smell: it inhabits the most northern lands hitherto discovered.
The Plain of Esdraelon, in Palestine, is often mentioned in sacred history, as the great battle-field of the Jewish and other nations, under the names of the Valley of Mejiddo and the Valley of Jizreel, and by Josephus as the Great Plain. The convenience of its extent and situation for military action and display has, from the earliest periods of history down to our own day, caused its surface at certain intervals to be moistened with the blood, and covered with the bodies of conflicting warriors of almost every nation under heaven. This extensive plain, exclusive of three great arms which stretch eastward towards the Valley of the Jordan, may be said to be in the form of an acute triangle, having the measure of 13 or 14 miles on the north, about 18 on the east, and above 20 on the south-west. Before the verdure of spring and early summer has been parched up by the heat and drought of the late summer and autumn, the view of the Great Plain is, from its fertility and beauty, very delightful. In June, yellow fields of grain, with green patches of millet and cotton, chequer the landscape like a carpet. The plain itself is almost without villages, but there are several on the slopes of the inclosing hills, especially on the side of Mount Carmel. On the borders of this plain Mount Tabor stands out alone in magnificent grandeur. Seen from the south-west its fine proportions present a semi-globular appearance; but from the north-west it more resembles a truncated cone. By an ancient path, which winds considerably, one may ride to the summit, where is a small oblong plain with the foundations of ancient buildings. The view from the summit is declared by Lord Nugent to be the most splendid he could recollect having ever seen from any natural height. The sides of the mountain are mostly covered with bushes and woods of oak trees, with occasionally pistachio trees, presenting a beautiful appearance, and affording a welcome and agreeable shade. There are various tracks up its sides, often crossing each other, and the ascent generally occupies about an hour. The crest of the mountain is table-land, 600 or 700 yards in height from north to south, and about half as much across, and a flat field of about an acre occurs at a level of some 20 or 25 feet lower than the eastern brow. There are remains of several small ruined tanks on the crest, which still catch the rain water dripping through the crevices of the rock, and preserve it cool and clear, it is said, throughout the year.
The tops of this range of mountains are barren, but the slopes and valleys afford pasturage, and are capable of cultivation, from the numerous springs which are met with in all directions. Cultivation is, however, chiefly found on the seaward slopes; there many flourishing villages exist, and every inch of ground is turned to account by the industrious natives.
Here, amidst the crags of the rocks, are to be seen the remains of the renowned cedars with which Lebanon once abounded; but a much larger proportion of firs, sycamores, mulberry trees, fig trees, and vines now exist.
She, that most faithful lady, all this while,
Forsaken, woful, solitary maid,
Far from the people's throng, as in exile,
In wilderness and wasteful deserts stray'd
To seek her knight; who, subtlely betray'd
By that false vision which th' enchanter wrought,
Had her abandon'd. She, of nought afraid,
Him through the woods and wide wastes daily sought,
Yet wish'd for tidings of him—none unto her brought.
One day, nigh weary of the irksome way,
From her unhasty beast she did alight;
And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay
In secret shadow, far from all men's sight:
From her fair head her fillet she undight,
And laid her stole aside; her angel face,
As the great eye that lights the earth, shone bright,
And made a sunshine in that shady place,
That never mortal eye beheld such heavenly grace.
It fortun'd that, from out the thicket wood
A ramping lion rushed suddenly,
And hunting greedy after savage blood,
The royal virgin helpless did espy;
At whom, with gaping mouth full greedily
To seize and to devour her tender corse,
When he did run, he stopp'd ere he drew nigh,
And loosing all his rage in quick remorse,
As with the sight amazed, forgot his furious force.
Then coming near, he kiss'd her weary feet,
And lick'd her lily hand with fawning tongue,
As he her wronged innocence did meet:
Oh! how can beauty master the most strong,
And simple truth subdue intent of wrong!
His proud submission, and his yielded pride,
Though dreading death, when she had marked long,
She felt compassion in her heart to slide,
And drizzling tears to gush that might not be denied.
And with her tears she pour'd a sad complaint,
That softly echoed from the neighbouring wood;
While sad to see her sorrowful constraint,
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood:
With pity calm'd he lost all angry mood.
At length, in close breast shutting up her pain,
Arose the virgin born of heavenly brood,
And on her snowy palfrey rode again
To seek and find her knight, if him she might attain.
The lion would not leave her desolate,
But with her went along, as a strong guard
Of her chaste person, and a faithful mate
Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard:
Still when she slept, he kept both watch and ward,
And when she waked, he waited diligent
With humble service to her will prepared.
From her fair eyes he took commandment,
And ever by her looks conceived her intent.
Seven miles from the sea-port of Boston, in Lincolnshire, lies the rural town of Swineshead, once itself a port, the sea having flowed up to the market-place, where there was a harbour. The name of Swineshead is familiar to every reader of English history, from its having been the resting-place of King John, after he lost the whole of his baggage, and narrowly escaped with his life, when crossing the marshes from Lynn to Sleaford, the castle of which latter place was then in his possession. The King halted at the Abbey, close to the town of Swineshead, which place he left on horseback; but being taken ill, was moved in a litter to Sleaford, and thence to his castle at Newark, where he died on the following day, in the year 1216.
Apart from this traditional interest, Swineshead has other antiquarian and historical associations. The circular Danish encampment, sixty yards in diameter, surrounded by a double fosse, was, doubtless, a post of importance, when the Danes, or Northmen, carried their ravages through England in the time of Ethelred I., and the whole country passed permanently into the Danish hands about A.D. 877. The incessant inroads of the Danes, who made constant descents on various parts of the coast, burning the towns and villages, and laying waste the country in all directions, led to that stain upon the English character, the Danish massacre. The troops collected to oppose these marauders always lost courage and fled, and their leaders, not seldom, set them the example. In 1002, peace was purchased for a sum of £24,000 and a large supply of provisions. Meantime, the King and his councillors resolved to have recourse to a most atrocious expedient for their future security. It had been the practice of the English Kings, from the time of Athelstane, to have great numbers of Danes in their pay, as guards, or household troops; and these, it is said, they quartered on their subjects, one on each house. The household troops, like soldiers in general, paid great attention to their dress and appearance, and thus became very popular with the generality of people; but they also occasionally behaved with great insolence, and were also strongly suspected of holding secret intelligence with their piratical countrymen. It was therefore resolved to massacre the Hus-carles, as they were called, and their families, throughout England. Secret orders to this effect were sent to all parts, and on St. Brice's day, November 13th, 1002, the Danes were everywhere fallen on and slain. The ties of affinity (for many of them had married and settled in the country) were disregarded; even Gunhilda, sister to Sweyn, King of Denmark, though a Christian, was not spared, and with her last breath she declared that her death would bring the greatest evils upon England. The words of Gunhilda proved prophetic. Sweyn, burning for revenge and glad of a pretext for war, soon made his appearance on the south coast, and during four years he spread devastation through all parts of the country, until the King Ethelred agreed to give him £30,000 and provisions as before for peace, and the realm thus had rest for two years. But this short peace was but a prelude to further disturbances; and indeed for two centuries, dating from the reign of Egbert, England was destined to become a prey to these fierce and fearless invaders.
The old Abbey of Swineshead was demolished in 1610, and the present structure, known as Swineshead Abbey, was built from the materials.
Beautiful stream! By rock and dell
There's not an inch in all thy course
I have not track'd. I know thee well:
I know where blossoms the yellow gorse;
I know where waves the pale bluebell,
And where the orchis and violets dwell.
I know where the foxglove rears its head,
And where the heather tufts are spread;
I know where the meadow-sweets exhale,
And the white valerians load the gale.
I know the spot the bees love best,
And where the linnet has built her nest.
I know the bushes the grouse frequent,
And the nooks where the shy deer browse the bent.
I know each tree to thy fountain head—
The lady birches, slim and fair;
The feathery larch, the rowans red,
The brambles trailing their tangled hair;
And each is link'd to my waking thought
By some remembrance fancy-fraught.
Yet, lovely stream, unknown to fame,
Thou hast oozed, and flow'd, and leap'd, and run,
Ever since Time its course begun,
Without a record, without a name.
I ask'd the shepherd on the hill—
He knew thee but as a common rill;
I ask'd the farmer's blue-eyed daughter—
She knew thee but as a running water;
I ask'd the boatman on the shore
(He was never ask'd to tell before)—
Thou wert a brook, and nothing more.
Yet, stream, so dear to me alone,
I prize and cherish thee none the less
That thou flowest unseen, unpraised, unknown,
In the unfrequented wilderness.
Though none admire and lay to heart
How good and beautiful thou art,
Thy flow'rets bloom, thy waters run,
And the free birds chaunt thy benison.
Beauty is beauty, though unseen;
And those who love it all their days,
Find meet reward in their soul serene,
And the inner voice of prayer and praise.
Having surveyed the various objects in Iona, we sailed for a spot no less interesting. Thousands have described it. Few, however, have seen it by torch or candle light, and in this respect we differ from most tourists. All description, however, of this far-famed wonder must be vain and fruitless. The shades of night were fast descending, and had settled on the still waves and the little group of islets, called the Treshnish Isles, when our vessel approached the celebrated Temple of the Sea. We had light enough to discern its symmetry and proportions; but the colour of the rock—a dark grey—and the minuter graces of the columns, were undistinguishable in the evening gloom. The great face of the rock is the most wonderful production of nature we ever beheld. It reminded us of the west front of York or Lincoln cathedral—a resemblance, perhaps, fanciful in all but the feelings they both excite—especially when the English minster is seen by moonlight. The highest point of Staffa at this view is about one hundred feet; in its centre is the great cave, called Fingal's Cave, stretching up into the interior of the rock a distance of more than 200 feet. After admiring in mute astonishment the columnar proportions of the rock, regular as if chiselled by the hand of art, the passengers entered a small boat, and sailed under the arch. The boatmen had been brought from Iona, and they instantly set themselves to light some lanterns, and form torches of old ropes and tar, with which they completely illuminated the ocean hall, into which we were ushered.
The complete stillness of the scene, except the low plashing of the waves; the fitful gleams of light thrown first on the walls and ceiling, as the men moved to and fro along the side of the stupendous cave; the appearance of the varied roof, where different stalactites or petrifactions are visible; the vastness and perfect art or semblance of art of the whole, altogether formed a scene the most sublime, grand, and impressive ever witnessed.
The Cathedral of Iona sank into insignificance before this great temple of nature, reared, as if in mockery of the temples of man, by the Almighty Power who laid the beams of his chambers on the waters, and who walketh upon the wings of the wind. Macculloch says that it is with the morning sun only that the great face of Staffa can be seen in perfection; as the general surface is undulating and uneven, large masses of light or shadow are thus produced. We can believe, also, that the interior of the cave, with its broken pillars and variety of tints, and with the green sea rolling over a dark red or violet-coloured rock, must be seen to more advantage in the full light of day. Yet we question whether we could have been more deeply sensible of the beauty and grandeur of the scene than we were under the unusual circumstances we have described. The boatmen sang a Gaelic joram or boat-song in the cave, striking their oars very violently in time with the music, which resounded finely through the vault, and was echoed back by roof and pillar. One of them, also, fired a gun, with the view of producing a still stronger effect of the same kind. When we had fairly satisfied ourselves with contemplating the cave, we all entered the boat and sailed round by the Clamshell Cave (where the basaltic columns are bent like the ribs of a ship), and the Rock of the Bouchaille, or the herdsman, formed of small columns, as regular and as interesting as the larger productions. We all clambered to the top of the rock, which affords grazing for sheep and cattle, and is said to yield a rent of £20 per annum to the proprietor. Nothing but the wide surface of the ocean was visible from our mountain eminence, and after a few minutes' survey we descended, returned to the boat, and after regaining the steam-vessel, took our farewell look of Staffa, and steered on for Tobermory.
I have always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The latter I consider as an act, the former as a habit of the mind. Mirth is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent. Those are often raised into the greatest transports of mirth, who are subject to the greatest depressions of melancholy: on the contrary, cheerfulness, though it does not give the mind such an exquisite gladness, prevents us from falling into any depths of sorrow. Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Men of austere principles look upon mirth as too wanton and dissolute for a state of probation, and as filled with a certain triumph and insolence of heart that is inconsistent with a life which is every moment obnoxious to the greatest dangers. Writers of this complexion have observed, that the sacred Person who was the great pattern of perfection, was never seen to laugh.
Cheerfulness of mind is not liable to any of these exceptions; it is of a serious and composed nature; it does not throw the mind into a condition improper for the present state of humanity, and is very conspicuous in the characters of those who are looked upon as the greatest philosophers among the heathen, as well as among those who have been deservedly esteemed as saints and holy men among Christians.
If we consider cheerfulness in three lights, with regard to ourselves, to those we converse with, and the great Author of our being, it will not a little recommend itself on each of these accounts. The man who is possessed of this excellent frame of mind, is not only easy in his thoughts, but a perfect master of all the powers and faculties of the soul; his imagination is always clear, and his judgment undisturbed; his temper is even and unruffled, whether in action or solitude. He comes with a relish to all those goods which nature has provided for him, tastes all the pleasures of the creation which are poured about him, and does not feel the full weight of those accidental evils which may befall him.
If we consider him in relation to the persons whom he converses with, it naturally produces love and good-will towards him. A cheerful mind is not only disposed to be affable and obliging, but raises the same good-humour in those who come within its influence. A man finds himself pleased, he does not know why, with the cheerfulness of his companion: it is like a sudden sunshine, that awakens a secret delight in the mind, without her attending to it. The heart rejoices of its own accord, and naturally flows out into friendship and benevolence towards the person who has so kindly an effect upon it.
When I consider this cheerful state of mind in its third relation, I cannot but look upon it as a constant, habitual gratitude to the great Author of nature.
There are but two things which, in my opinion, can reasonably deprive us of this cheerfulness of heart. The first of these is the sense of guilt. A man who lives in a state of vice and impenitence, can have no title to that evenness and tranquillity of mind which is the health of the soul, and the natural effect of virtue and innocence. Cheerfulness in an ill man deserves a harder name than language can furnish us with, and is many degrees beyond what we commonly call folly or madness.
Atheism, by which I mean a disbelief of a Supreme Being, and consequently of a future state, under whatsoever title it shelters itself, may likewise very reasonably deprive a man of this cheerfulness of temper. There is something so particularly gloomy and offensive to human nature in the prospect of non-existence, that I cannot but wonder, with many excellent writers, how it is possible for a man to outlive the expectation of it. For my own part, I think the being of a God is so little to be doubted, that it is almost the only truth we are sure of, and such a truth as we meet with in every object, in every occurrence, and in every thought. If we look into the characters of this tribe of infidels, we generally find they are made up of pride, spleen, and cavil: it is indeed no wonder that men who are uneasy to themselves, should be so to the rest of the world; and how is it possible for a man to be otherwise than uneasy in himself, who is in danger every moment of losing his entire existence and dropping into nothing?
The vicious man and Atheist have therefore no pretence to cheerfulness, and would act very unreasonably should they endeavour after it. It is impossible for any one to live in good-humour and enjoy his present existence, who is apprehensive either of torment or of annihilation—of being miserable or of not being at all.
After having mentioned these two great principles, which are destructive of cheerfulness in their own nature, as well as in right reason, I cannot think of any other that ought to banish this happy temper from a virtuous mind. Pain and sickness, shame and reproach, poverty and old age; nay, death itself, considering the shortness of their duration and the advantage we may reap from them, do not deserve the name of evils. A good mind may bear up under them with fortitude, with indolence, and with cheerfulness of heart. The tossing of a tempest does not discompose him, which he is sure will bring him to a joyful harbour.
A man who uses his best endeavours to live according to the dictates of virtue and right reason, has two perpetual sources of cheerfulness, in the consideration of his own nature and of that Being on whom he has a dependence. If he looks into himself, he cannot but rejoice in that existence which is so lately bestowed upon him, and which, after millions of ages, will be still new and still in its beginning. How many self-congratulations naturally arise in the mind when it reflects on this its entrance into eternity, when it takes a view of those improvable faculties which in a few years, and even at its first setting out, have made so considerable a progress, and which will be still receiving an increase of perfection, and consequently an increase of happiness! The consciousness of such a being spreads a perpetual diffusion of joy through the soul of a virtuous man, and makes him look upon himself every moment as more happy than he knows how to conceive.
The second source of cheerfulness to a good mind is its consideration of that Being on whom we have our dependence, and in whom, though we behold Him as yet but in the first faint discoveries of his perfections, we see every thing that we can imagine as great, glorious, and amiable. We find ourselves every where upheld by his goodness and surrounded with an immensity of love and mercy. In short, we depend upon a Being whose power qualifies Him to make us happy by an infinity of means, whose goodness and truth engage Him to make those happy who desire it of Him, and whose unchangeableness will secure us in this happiness to all eternity.
Such considerations, which every one should perpetually cherish in his thoughts, will banish from us all that secret heaviness of heart which unthinking men are subject to when they lie under no real affliction, all that anguish which we may feel from any evil that actually oppresses us, to which I may likewise add those little cracklings of mirth and folly, that are apter to betray virtue than support it; and establish in us such an even and cheerful temper, as makes us pleasing to ourselves, to those with whom we converse, and to Him whom we are made to please.
This is the place where King William Rufus was accidentally shot by Sir Walter Tyrrel. There has been much controversy on the details of this catastrophe; but the following conclusions, given in the "Pictorial History of England," appear to be just:—"That the King was shot by an arrow in the New Forest; that his body was abandoned and then hastily interred, are facts perfectly well authenticated; but some doubts may be entertained as to the precise circumstances attending his death, notwithstanding their being minutely related by writers who were living at the time, or who flourished in the course of the following century. Sir Walter Tyrrel afterwards swore, in France, that he did not shoot the arrow; but he was, probably, anxious to relieve himself from the odium of killing a King, even by accident. It is quite possible, indeed, that the event did not arise from chance, and that Tyrrel had no part in it. The remorseless ambition of Henry might have had recourse to murder, or the avenging shaft might have been sped by the desperate hand of some Englishman, tempted by a favourable opportunity and the traditions of the place. But the most charitable construction is, that the party were intoxicated with the wine they had drunk at Malwood-Keep, and that, in the confusion consequent on drunkenness, the King was hit by a random arrow."
In that part of the Forest near Stony Cross, at a short distance from Castle Malwood, formerly stood an oak, which tradition affirmed was the tree against which the arrow glanced that caused the death of Rufus. Charles II. directed the tree to be encircled by a paling: it has disappeared; but the spot whereon the tree grew is marked by a triangular stone, about five feet high, erected by Lord Delaware, upwards of a century ago. The stone has since been faced with an iron casting of the following inscription upon the three sides:—
"Here stood the oak-tree on which an arrow, shot by Sir Walter Tyrrel at a stag, glanced and struck King William II., surnamed Rufus, on the breast; of which stroke he instantly died, on the 2nd of August, 1100.
"King William II., surnamed Rufus, being slain, as before related, was laid in a cart belonging to one Purkess, and drawn from hence to Winchester, and buried in the cathedral church of that city.
" That where an event so memorable had happened might not hereafter be unknown, this stone was set up by John Lord Delaware, who had seen the tree growing in this place, anno 1745."
Stony Cross is a favourite spot for pic-nic parties in the summer. It lies seven miles from Ringwood, on a wide slope among the woods. From the road above, splendid views over the country present themselves.
The spearman heard the bugle sound,
And cheerily smiled the morn;
And many a brach, and many a hound,
Attend Llewellyn's horn.
And still he blew a louder blast,
And gave a louder cheer:
"Come, Gelert! why art thou the last
Llewellyn's horn to hear?
"Oh, where does faithful Gelert roam—
The flower of all his race!
So true, so brave—a lamb at home,
A lion in the chase?"
That day Llewellyn little loved
The chase of hart or hare;
And scant and small the booty proved,
For Gelert was not there.
Unpleased Llewellyn homeward hied,
When, near the portal-seat,
His truant Gelert he espied,
Bounding his lord to greet.
But when he gained the castle-door,
Aghast the chieftain stood;
The hound was smear'd with gouts of gore—
His lips and fangs ran blood!
Llewellyn gazed with wild surprise,
Unused such looks to meet;
His favourite check'd his joyful guise,
And crouch'd and lick'd his feet.
Onward in haste Llewellyn pass'd
(And on went Gelert too),
And still where'er his eyes were cast,
Fresh blood-gouts shock'd his view!
O'erturn'd his infant's bed he found,
The blood-stain'd cover rent,
And all around the walls and ground
With recent blood besprent.
He call'd his child—no voice replied;
He search'd—with terror wild;
Blood! blood! he found on every side,
But nowhere found the child!
"Hell-hound! by thee my child's devour'd!"
The frantic father cried,
And to the hilt his vengeful sword
He plunged in Gelert's side!
His suppliant, as to earth he fell,
No pity could impart;
But still his Gelert's dying yell
Pass'd heavy o'er his heart.
Aroused by Gelert's dying yell,
Some slumberer waken'd nigh:
What words the parent's joy can tell,
To hear his infant cry!
Conceal'd beneath a mangled heap,
His hurried search had miss'd:
All glowing from his rosy sleep,
His cherub boy he kiss'd!
Nor scratch had he, nor harm, nor dread;
But the same couch beneath
Lay a great wolf, all torn and dead—
Tremendous still in death!
Ah! what was then Llewellyn's pain,
For now the truth was clear;
The gallant hound the wolf had slain
To save Llewellyn's heir.
Vain, vain was all Llewellyn's woe—
"Best of thy kind, adieu!
The frantic deed which laid thee low,
This heart shall ever rue!"
And now a gallant tomb they raise,
With costly sculpture deck'd;
And marbles, storied with his praise,
Poor Gelert's bones protect.
Here never could the spearman pass,
Or forester, unmoved;
Here oft the tear-besprinkled grass
Llewellyn's sorrow proved.
And here he hung his horn and spear;
And oft, as evening fell,
In fancy's piercing sounds would hear
Poor Gelert's dying yell.
The important feature which the Great Wall makes in the map of China, entitles this vast barrier to be considered in a geographical point of view, as it bounds the whole north of China along the frontiers of three provinces. It was built by the first universal Monarch of China, and finished about 205 years before Christ: the period of its completion is an historical fact, as authentic as any of those which the annals of ancient kingdoms have transmitted to posterity. It was built to defend the Chinese Empire from the incursions of the Tartars, and is calculated to be 1500 miles in length. The rapidity with which this work was completed is as astonishing as the wall itself, for it is said to have been done in five years, by many millions of labourers, the Emperor pressing three men out of every ten, in his dominions, for its execution. For about the distance of 200 leagues, it is generally built of stone and brick, with strong square towers, sufficiently near for mutual defence, and having besides, at every important pass, a formidable and well-built fortress. In many places, in this line and extent, the wall is double, and even triple; but from the province of Can-sih to its eastern extremity, it is nothing but a terrace of earth, of which the towers on it are also constructed. The Great Wall, which has now, even in its best parts, numerous breaches, is made of two walls of brick and masonry, not above a foot and a half in thickness, and generally many feet apart; the interval between them is filled up with earth, making the whole appear like solid masonry and brickwork. For six or seven feet from the earth, these are built of large square stones; the rest is of blue brick, the mortar used in which is of excellent quality. The wall itself averages about 20 feet in height, 25 feet in thickness at the base, which diminishes to 15 feet at the platform, where there is a parapet wall; the top is gained by stairs and inclined planes. The towers are generally about 40 feet square at the base, diminishing to 30 feet a the top, and are, including battlements, 37 feet in height. At some spots the towers consist of two stories, and are thus much higher. The wall is in many places carried over the tops of the highest and most rugged rocks; and one of these elevated regions is 5000 feet above the level of the sea.
Near each of the gates is a village or town; and at one of the principal gates, which opens on the road towards India, is situated Sinning-fu, a city of large extent and population. Here the wall is said to be sufficiently broad at the top to admit six horsemen abreast, who might without inconvenience ride a race. The esplanade on its top is much frequented by the inhabitants, and the stairs which give ascent are very broad and convenient.
This delicious retreat in the island of Mauritius has no claims to the celebrity it has attained. It is not the burial-place of Paul and Virginia; and the author of "Recollections of the Mauritius" thus endeavours to dispel the illusion connected with the spot:—
"After having allowed his imagination to depict the shades of Paul and Virginia hovering about the spot where their remains repose—after having pleased himself with the idea that he had seen those celebrated tombs, and given a sigh to the memory of those faithful lovers, separated in life, but in death united—after all this waste of sympathy, he learns at last that he has been under a delusion the whole time—that no Virginia was there interred—and that it is a matter of doubt whether there ever existed such a person as Paul! What a pleasing illusion is then dispelled! How many romantic dreams, inspired by the perusal of St. Pierre's tale, are doomed to vanish when the truth is ascertained! The fact is, that these tombs have been built to gratify the eager desire which the English have always evinced to behold such interesting mementoes. Formerly only one was erected; but the proprietor of the place, finding that all the English visitors, on being conducted to this, as the tomb of Virginia, always asked to see that of Paul also, determined on building a similar one, to which he gave that appellation. Many have been the visitors who have been gratified, consequently, by the conviction that they had looked on the actual burial-place of that unfortunate pair. These 'tombs' are scribbled over with the names of the various persons who have visited them, together with verses and pathetic ejaculations and sentimental remarks. St. Pierre's story of the lovers is very prettily written, and his description of the scenic beauties of the island are correct, although not even his pen can do full justice to them; but there is little truth in the tale. It is said that there was indeed a young lady sent from the Mauritius to France for education, during the time that Monsieur de la Bourdonnais was governor of the colony—that her name was Virginia, and that she was shipwrecked in the St. Geran. I heard something of a young man being attached to her, and dying of grief for her loss; but that part of the story is very doubtful. The 'Bay of the Tomb,' the 'Point of Endeavour,' the 'Isle of Amber,' and the 'Cape of Misfortune,' still bear the same names, and are pointed out as the memorable spots mentioned by St. Pierre."
Oh! gentle story of the Indian Isle!
I loved thee in my lonely childhood well,
On the sea-shore, when day's last purple smile
Slept on the waters, and their hollow swell
And dying cadence lent a deeper spell
Unto thine ocean pictures. 'Midst thy palms
And strange bright birds my fancy joy'd to dwell,
And watch the southern Cross through midnight calms,
And track the spicy woods. Yet more I bless'd
Thy vision of sweet love—kind, trustful, true—
Lighting the citron-groves—a heavenly guest—
With such pure smiles as Paradise once knew.
Even then my young heart wept o'er this world's power,
To reach and blight that holiest Eden flower.
The Mangoustes, or Ichneumons, are natives of the hotter parts of the Old World, the species being respectively African and Indian. In their general form and habits they bear a great resemblance to the ferrets, being bold, active, and sanguinary, and unrelenting destroyers of birds, reptiles, and small animals, which they take by surprise, darting rapidly upon them. Beautiful, cleanly, and easily domesticated, they are often kept tame in the countries they naturally inhabit, for the purpose of clearing the houses of vermin, though the poultry-yard is not safe from their incursions.
The Egyptian mangouste is a native of North Africa, and was deified for its services by the ancient Egyptians. Snakes, lizards, birds, crocodiles newly hatched, and especially the eggs of crocodiles, constitute its food. It is a fierce and daring animal, and glides with sparkling eyes towards its prey, which it follows with snake-like progression; often it watches patiently for hours together, in one spot, waiting the appearance of a mouse, rat, or snake, from its lurking-place. In a state of domestication it is gentle and affectionate, and never wanders from the house or returns to an independent existence; but it makes itself familiar with every part of the premises, exploring every hole and corner, inquisitively peeping into boxes and vessels of all kinds, and watching every movement or operation.
The Indian mangouste is much less than the Egyptian, and of a beautiful freckled gray. It is not more remarkable for its graceful form and action, than for the display of its singular instinct for hunting for and stealing eggs, from which it takes the name of egg-breaker. Mr. Bennett, in his account of one of the mangoustes kept in the Tower, says, that on one occasion it killed no fewer than a dozen full-grown rats, which were loosened to it in a room sixteen feet square, in less than a minute and a half.
Another species of the mangouste, found in the island of Java, inhabiting the large teak forests, is greatly admired by the natives for its agility. It attacks and kills serpents with excessive boldness. It is very expert in burrowing in the ground, which process it employs ingeniously in the pursuit of rats. It possesses great natural sagacity, and, from the peculiarities of its character, it willingly seeks the protection of man. It is easily tamed, and in its domestic state is very docile and attached to its master, whom it follows like a dog; it is fond of caresses, and frequently places itself erect on its hind legs, regarding every thing that passes with great attention. It is of a very restless disposition, and always carries its food to the most retired place to consume it, and is very cleanly in its habits; but it is exclusively carnivorous and destructive to poultry, employing great artifice in surprising chickens.
Culloden Moor—the battle-field—lies eastward about a mile from Culloden House. After an hour's climbing up the heathy brae, through a scattered plantation of young trees, clambering over stone dykes, and jumping over moorland rills and springs, oozing from the black turf and streaking its sombre surface with stripes of green, we found ourselves on the table-land of the moor—a broad, bare level, garnished with a few black huts, and patches of scanty oats, won by patient industry from the waste. We should premise, however, that there are some fine glimpses of rude mountain scenery in the course of the ascent. The immediate vicinage of Culloden House is well wooded; the Frith spreads finely in front; the Ross-shire hills assume a more varied and commanding aspect; and Ben Wyvis towers proudly over his compeers, with a bold pronounced character. Ships were passing and re-passing before us in the Frith, the birds were singing blithely overhead, and the sky was without a cloud. Under the cheering influence of the sun, stretched on the warm, blooming, and fragrant heather, we gazed with no common interest and pleasure on this scene.
On the moor all is bleak and dreary—long, flat, wide, unvarying. The folly and madness of Charles and his followers, in risking a battle on such ground, with jaded, unequal forces, half-starved, and deprived of rest the preceding night, has often been remarked, and is at one glance perceived by the spectator. The Royalist artillery and cavalry had full room to play, for not a knoll or bush was there to mar their murderous aim. Mountains and fastnesses were on the right, within a couple of hours' journey, but a fatality had struck the infatuated bands of Charles; dissension and discord were in his councils; and a power greater than that of Cumberland had marked them for destruction. But a truce to politics; the grave has closed over victors and vanquished:
"Culloden's dread echoes are hush'd on the moors;"
and who would awaken them with the voice of reproach, uttered over the dust of the slain? The most interesting memorials of the contest are the green grassy mounds which mark the graves of the slain Highlanders, and which are at once distinguished from the black heath around by the freshness and richness of their verdure. One large pit received the Frasers, and another was dug for the Macintoshes.
The most striking object in Athens is the Acropolis, or Citadel—a rock which rises abruptly from the plain, and is crowned with the Parthenon. This was a temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva, and was built of the hard white marble of Pentelicus. It suffered from the ravages of war between the Turks and Venetians, and also more recently in our own time. The remnant of the sculptures which decorated the pediments, with a large part of the frieze, and other interesting remains, are now in what is called the Elgin collection of the British Museum. During the embassy of Lord Elgin at Constantinople, he obtained permission from the Turkish government to proceed to Athens for the purpose of procuring casts from the most celebrated remains of sculpture and architecture which still existed at Athens. Besides models and drawings which he made, his Lordship collected numerous pieces of Athenian sculpture in statues, capitals, cornices, &c., and these he very generously presented to the English Government, thus forming a school of Grecian art in London, to which there does not at present exist a parallel. In making this collection he was stimulated by seeing the destruction into which these remains were sinking, through the influence of Turkish barbarism. Some fine statues in the Parthenon had been pounded down for mortar, on account of their affording the whitest marble within reach, and this mortar was employed in the construction of miserable huts. At one period the Parthenon was converted into a powder magazine by the Turks, and in consequence suffered severely from an explosion in 1656, which carried away the roof of the right wing.
At the close of the late Greek war Athens was in a dreadful state, being little more than a heap of ruins. It was declared by a Royal ordinance of 1834 to be the capital of the new kingdom of Greece, and in the March of that year the King laid the foundation-stone of his palace there. In the hill of Areopagus, where sat that famous tribunal, we may still discover the steps cut in the rock by which it was ascended, the seats of the judges, and opposite to them those of the accuser and accused. This hill was converted into a burial-place for the Turks, and is covered with their tombs.
Ancient of days! august Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might—thy grand in soul?
Gone, glimmering through the dream of things that were—
First in the race that led to Glory's goal;
They won, and passed away. Is this the whole?
A schoolboy's tale, the wonder of an hour!
The warrior's weapon and the sophist's stole
Are sought in vain, and o'er each mouldering tower,
Dim with the mist of years, gray flits the shade of power.
Here let me sit, upon this massy stone,
The marble column's yet unshaken base;
Here, son of Saturn, was thy fav'rite throne—
Mightiest of many such! Hence let me trace
The latent grandeur of thy dwelling-place.
It may not be—nor ev'n can Fancy's eye
Restore what time hath labour'd to deface:
Yet these proud pillars, claiming sigh,
Unmoved the Moslem sits—the light Greek carols by.
The Isles of Greece! the Isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung—
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all except their sun is set.
The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse;
Their place of birth alone is mute,
To sounds which echo further west
Than your sires' "Islands of the Blest."
The mountains look on Marathon—
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream'd that Greece might still be free;
For standing on the Persian's grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.
A King sat on the rocky brow,
Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
And ships by thousands lay below,
And men in nations—all were his!
He counted them at break of day—
And when the sun set, where were they?
And where were they? and where art thou,
My country? On thy voiceless shore
The heroic lay is tuneless now—
The heroic bosom beats no more!
And must thy lyre, so long divine,
Degenerate into hands like mine?
'Tis something, in the dearth of fame,
Though link'd among a fetter'd race,
To feel at least a patriot's shame,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.
Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
Must we but blush?—Our fathers bled
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylae!
What! silent still? and silent all?
Ah! no!--the voices of the dead
Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
And answer, "Let one living head—
But one—arise! we come, we come!"
'Tis but the living who are dumb.
In vain—in vain: strike other chords;
Fill high the cup with Samian wine!
Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
And shed the blood of Scio's vine!
Hark! rising to the ignoble call—
How answers each bold Bacchanal?
You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet;
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?
Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one?
You have the letters Cadmus gave—
Think ye he meant them for a slave?
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
We will not think of themes like these!
It made Anacreon's song divine;
He served—but served Polycrates—
A tyrant: but our masters then
Were still at least our countrymen.
The tyrant of the Chersonese
Was freedom's best and bravest friend—
That tyrant was Miltiades!
Oh! that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind!
Such chains as his were sure to bind.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
On Suli's rock and Perga's shore
Exists the remnant of a line
Such as the Doric mothers bore;
And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,
The Heracleidian blood might own.
Trust not for freedom to the Franks—
They have a King who buys and sells;
In native swords and native ranks,
The only hope of courage dwells:
But Turkish force and Latin fraud
Would break your shield, however broad.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
Our virgins dance beneath the shade—
I see their glorious black eyes shine;
But gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves!
Place me on Sunium's marble steep,
Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
There swan-like let me sing and die:
A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine—
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!
Baghasihan, the Turkish Prince, or Emir of Antioch, had under his command an Armenian of the name of Phirouz, whom he had entrusted with the defence of a tower on that part of the city wall which overlooked the passes of the mountains. Bohemund, by means of a spy, who had embraced the Christian religion, and to whom he had given his own name at baptism, kept up a daily communication with this captain, and made him the most magnificent promises of reward if he would deliver up his post to the Crusaders. Whether the proposal was first made by Bohemund or by the Armenian, is uncertain, but that a good understanding soon existed between them is undoubted; and a night was fixed for the execution of the project. Bohemund communicated the scheme to Godfrey and the Count of Toulouse, with the stipulation that, if the city were won, he, as the soul of the enterprise, should enjoy the dignity of Prince of Antioch. The other leaders hesitated: ambition and jealousy prompted them to refuse their aid in furthering the views of the intriguer. More mature consideration decided them to acquiesce, and seven hundred of the bravest knights were chosen for the expedition, the real object of which, for fear of spies, was kept a profound secret from the rest of the army.
Everything favoured the treacherous project of the Armenian captain, who, on his solitary watch-tower, received due intimation of the approach of the Crusaders. The night was dark and stormy: not a star was visible above; and the wind howled so furiously as to overpower all other sounds. The rain fell in torrents, and the watchers on the towers adjoining to that of Phirouz could not hear the tramp of the armed knights for the wind, nor see them for the obscurity of the night and the dismalness of the weather. When within bow-shot of the walls, Bohemund sent forward an interpreter to confer with the Armenian. The latter urged them to make haste and seize the favourable interval, as armed men, with lighted torches, patrolled the battlements every half-hour, and at that instant they had just passed. The chiefs were instantly at the foot of the wall. Phirouz let down a rope; Bohemund attached to it a ladder of hides, which was then raised by the Armenian, and held while the knights mounted. A momentary fear came over the spirits of the adventurers, and every one hesitated; at last Bohemund, encouraged by Phirouz from above, ascended a few steps on the ladder, and was followed by Godfrey, Count Robert of Flanders, and a number of other knights. As they advanced, others pressed forward, until their weight became too great for the ladder, which, breaking, precipitated about a dozen of them to the ground, where they fell one upon the other, making a great clatter with their heavy coats of mail. For a moment they thought all was lost; but the wind made so loud a howling, as it swept in fierce gusts through the mountain gorges, and the Orontes, swollen by the rain, rushed so noisily along, that the guards heard nothing. The ladder was easily repaired, and the knights ascended, two at a time, and reached the platform in safety. When sixty of them had thus ascended, the torch of the coming patrol was seen to gleam at the angle of the wall. Hiding themselves behind a buttress, they awaited his coming in breathless silence. As soon as he arrived at arm's length, he was suddenly seized; and before he could open his lips to raise an alarm, the silence of death closed them up for ever. They next descended rapidly the spiral staircase of the tower, and, opening the portal, admitted the whole of their companions. Raymond of Toulouse, who, cognizant of the whole plan, had been left behind with the main body of the army, heard at this instant the signal horn, which announced that an entry had been effected, and advancing with his legions, the town was attacked from within and from without.
Imagination cannot conceive a scene more dreadful than that presented by the devoted city of Antioch on that night of horror. The Crusaders fought with a blind fury, which fanaticism and suffering alike incited. Men, women, and children were indiscriminately slaughtered, till the streets ran in gore. Darkness increased the destruction; for, when the morning dawned the Crusaders found themselves with their swords at the breasts of their fellow-soldiers, whom they had mistaken to be foes. The Turkish commander fled, first to the citadel, and, that becoming insecure, to the mountains, whither he was pursued and slain, and his gory head brought back to Antioch as a trophy. At daylight the massacre ceased, and the Crusaders gave themselves up to plunder.
Go, take thine angle, and with practised line,
Light as the gossamer, the current sweep;
And if thou failest in the calm, still deep,
In the rough eddy may a prize be thine.
Say thou'rt unlucky where the sunbeams shine;
Beneath the shadow where the waters creep
Perchance the monarch of the brook shall leap—
For Fate is ever better than Design.
Still persevere; the giddiest breeze that blows
For thee may blow with fame and fortune rife.
Be prosperous; and what reck if it arose
Out of some pebble with the stream at strife,
Or that the light wind dallied with the boughs:
Thou art successful—such is human life.
With blackest moss the flower-plots
Were thickly crusted, one and all;
The rusted nails fell from the knots
That held the peach to the garden wall.
The broken sheds look'd sad and strange—
Uplifted was the clinking latch,
Weeded and worn the ancient thatch,
Upon the lonely moated grange.
She only said, "My life is dreary—
He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, weary,
I would that I were dead!"
Her tears fell with the dews at even—
Her tears fell ere the dews were dried;
She could not look on the sweet heaven,
Either at morn or eventide.
After the flitting of the bats,
When thickest dark did trance the sky,
She drew her casement-curtain by,
And glanced athwart the glooming flats.
She only said, "The night is dreary—
He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, weary,
I would that I were dead!"
Upon the middle of the night,
Waking, she heard the night-fowl crow:
The cock sung out an hour ere light;
From the dark fen the oxen's low
Came to her. Without hope of change,
In sleep she seem'd to walk forlorn,
Till cold winds woke the gray-eyed morn
About the lonely moated grange.
She only said, "The day is dreary
He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, weary,
I would that I were dead!"
About a stone-cast from the wall
A sluice with blacken'd waters slept;
And o'er it many, round and small,
The cluster'd marish-mosses crept.
Hard by, a poplar shook alway,
All silver-green with gnarled bark;
For leagues, no other tree did dark
The level waste, the rounding gray.
She only said, "My life is dreary—
He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, weary,
I would that I were dead!"
And ever, when the moon was low,
And the shrill winds were up and away
In the white curtain, to and fro
She saw the gusty shadow sway.
But when the moon was very low,
And wild winds bound within their cell,
The shadow of the poplar fell
Upon her bed, across her brow.
She only said, "The night is dreary—
He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, weary,
I would that I were dead!"
All day, within the dreary house,
The doors upon their hinges creak'd;
The blue-fly sang i' the pane; the mouse
Behind the mould'ring wainscot shriek'd,
Or from the crevice peer'd about.
Old faces glimmer'd through the doors;
Old footsteps trod the upper floors;
Old voices called her from without:
She only said, "My life is dreary—
He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, weary,
I would that I were dead!"
The sparrow's chirrup on the roof,
The slow clock ticking, and the sound
Which to the wooing wind aloof
The poplar made, did all confound
Her sense; but most she loathed the hour
When the thick-moated sunbeam lay
Athwart the chambers, and the day
Was sloping towards his western bower.
Then said she, "I am very dreary—
He will not come," she said;
She wept, "I am aweary, weary,
I would that I were dead!"
The Romans, in the infancy of their state, were entirely rude and unpolished. They came from shepherds; they were increased from the refuse of the nations around them; and their manners agreed with their original. As they lived wholly on tilling their ground at home, or on plunder from their neighbours, war was their business, and agriculture the chief art they followed. Long after this, when they had spread their conquests over a great part of Italy, and began to make a considerable figure in the world—even their great men retained a roughness, which they raised into a virtue, by calling it Roman spirit; and which might often much better have been called Roman barbarity. It seems to me, that there was more of austerity than justice, and more of insolence than courage, in some of their most celebrated actions. However that be, this is certain, that they were at first a nation of soldiers and husbandmen: roughness was long an applauded character among them; and a sort of rusticity reigned, even in their senate-house.
In a nation originally of such a temper as this, taken up almost always in extending their territories, very often in settling the balance of power among themselves, and not unfrequently in both these at the same time, it was long before the politer arts made any appearance; and very long before they took root or flourished to any degree. Poetry was the first that did so; but such a poetry as one might expect among a warlike, busied, unpolished people.
Not to enquire about the songs of triumph mentioned even in Romulus's time, there was certainly something of poetry among them in the next reign, under Numa; a Prince who pretended to converse with the Muses as well as with Egeria, and who might possibly himself have made the verses which the Salian priests sang in his time. Pythagoras, either in the same reign, or if you please some time after, gave the Romans a tincture of poetry as well as of philosophy; for Cicero assures us that the Pythagoreans made great use of poetry and music; and probably they, like our old Druids, delivered most of their precepts in verse. Indeed, the chief employment of poetry in that and the following ages, among the Romans, was of a religious kind. Their very prayers, and perhaps their whole liturgy, was poetical. They had also a sort of prophetic or sacred writers, who seem to have written generally in verse; and were so numerous that there were above two thousand of their volumes remaining even to Augustus's time. They had a kind of plays too, in these early times, derived from what they had seen of the Tuscan actors when sent for to Rome to expiate a plague that raged in the city. These seem to have been either like our dumb-shows, or else a kind of extempore farces—a thing to this day a good deal in use all over Italy and in Tuscany. In a more particular manner, add to these that extempore kind of jesting dialogues begun at their harvest and vintage feasts, and carried on so rudely and abusively afterwards as to occasion a very severe law to restrain their licentiousness; and those lovers of poetry and good eating, who seem to have attended the tables of the richer sort, much like the old provincial poets, or our own British bards, and sang there to some instrument of music the achievements of their ancestors, and the noble deeds of those who had gone before them, to inflame others to follow their great examples.
The names of almost all these poets sleep in peace with all their works; and, if we may take the word of the other Roman writers of a better age, it is no great loss to us. One of their best poets represents them as very obscure and very contemptible; one of their best historians avoids quoting them as too barbarous for politer ears; and one of their most judicious emperors ordered the greatest part of their writings to be burnt, that the world might be troubled with them no longer.
All these poets, therefore, may very well be dropped in the account, there being nothing remaining of their works, and probably no merit to be found in them if they had remained. And so we may date the beginning of the Roman poetry from Livius Andronicus, the first of their poets of whom anything does remain to us; and from whom the Romans themselves seem to have dated the beginning of their poetry, even in the Augustan age.
The first kind of poetry that was followed with any success among the Romans, was that for the stage. They were a very religious people; and stage plays in those times made no inconsiderable part in their public devotions; it is hence, perhaps, that the greatest number of their oldest poets, of whom we have any remains, and, indeed, almost all of them, are dramatic poets.
Caesar was endowed with every great and noble quality that could exalt human nature, and give a man the ascendant in society. Formed to excel in peace as well as war; provident in council; fearless in action, and executing what he had resolved with an amazing celerity; generous beyond measure to his friends; placable to his enemies; and for parts, learning, and eloquence, scarce inferior to any man. His orations were admired for two qualities, which are seldom found together, strength and elegance: Cicero ranks him among the greatest orators that Rome ever bred; and Quintilian says, that he spoke with the same force with which he fought; and if he had devoted himself to the bar, would have been the only man capable of rivalling Cicero. Nor was he a master only of the politer arts; but conversant also with the most abstruse and critical parts of learning; and, among other works which he published, addressed two books to Cicero on the analogy of language, or the art of speaking and writing correctly. He was a most liberal patron of wit and learning, wheresoever they were found; and out of his love of those talents, would readily pardon those who had employed them against himself; rightly judging, that by making such men his friends, he should draw praises from the same fountain from which he had been aspersed. His capital passions were ambition and love of pleasure, which he indulged in their turns to the greatest excess; yet the first was always predominant—to which he could easily sacrifice all the charms of the second, and draw pleasure even from toils and dangers, when they ministered to his glory. For he thought Tyranny, as Cicero says, the greatest of goddesses; and had frequently in his mouth a verse of Euripides, which expressed the image of his soul, that if right and justice were ever to be violated, they were to be violated for the sake of reigning. This was the chief end and purpose of his life—the scheme that he had formed from his early youth; so that, as Cato truly declared of him, he came with sobriety and meditation to the subversion of the republic. He used to say, that there were two things necessary to acquire and to support power—soldiers and money; which yet depended mutually upon each other: with money, therefore, he provided soldiers, and with soldiers extorted money, and was, of all men, the most rapacious in plundering both friends and foes; sparing neither prince, nor state, nor temple, nor even private persons who were known to possess any share of treasure. His great abilities would necessarily have made him one of the first citizens of Rome; but, disdaining the condition of a subject, he could never rest till he made himself a Monarch. In acting this last part, his usual prudence seemed to fail him; as if the height to which he was mounted had turned his head and made him giddy; for, by a vain ostentation of his power, he destroyed the stability of it; and, as men shorten life by living too fast, so by an intemperance of reigning he brought his reign to a violent end.
It appeared to Alexander a matter of great importance, before he went further, to gain the maritime powers. Upon application, the Kings of Cyprus and Phoenicea made their submission; only Tyre held out. He besieged that city seven months, during which time he erected vast mounds of earth, plied it with his engines, and invested it on the side next the sea with two hundred gallies. He had a dream in which he saw Hercules offering him his hand from the wall, and inviting him to enter; and many of the Tyrians dreamt "that Apollo declared he would go over to Alexander, because he was displeased with their behaviour in the town," Hereupon, the Tyrians, as if the God had been a deserter taken in the fact, loaded his statue with chains, and nailed the feet to the pedestal, not scrupling to call him an Alexandrist. In another dream, Alexander thought he saw a satyr playing before him at some distance, and when he advanced to take him, the savage eluded his grasp. However, at last, after much coaxing and taking many circuits round him, be prevailed with him to surrender himself. The interpreters, plausibly enough, divided the Greek name for satyr into two, Sa Tyros, which signifies Tyre is thine. They still show us a fountain near which Alexander is said to have seen that vision.
About the middle of the siege, he made an excursion against the Arabians who dwelt about Anti-Libanus. Here he ran a great risk of his life, on account of his preceptor Lysimachus, who insisted on attending him—being, as he alleged, neither older nor less valiant than Phoenix; but when they came to the hills and quitted their horses to march up on foot, the rest of the party got far before Alexander and Lysimachus. Night came on, and, as the enemy was at no great distance, the King would not leave his preceptor, borne down with fatigue and with the weight of years. Therefore, while he was encouraging and helping him forward, he was insensibly separated from the troop, and had a cold and dark night to pass in an exposed and dismal situation. In this perplexity, he observed at a distance a number of scattered fires which the enemy had lighted; and depending upon his swiftness and activity as well as being accustomed to extricate the Macedonians out of every difficulty, by taking a share in the labour and danger, he ran to the next fire. After having killed two of the barbarians who watched it, he seized a lighted brand and hastened with it to his party, who soon kindled a great fire. The sight of this so intimidated the enemy, that many of them fled, and those who ventured to attack him were repulsed with considerable slaughter. By this means he passed the night in safety, according to the account we have from Charis.
As for the siege, it was brought to a termination in this manner: Alexander had permitted his main body to repose themselves after the long and severe fatigues they had undergone, and ordered only some small parties to keep the Tyrians in play. In the meantime, Aristander, his principal soothsayer, offered sacrifices; and one day, upon inspecting the entrails of the victim, he boldly asserted among those around him that the city would certainly be taken that month. As it happened to be the last day of that month, his assertion was received with ridicule and scorn. The King perceiving he was disconcerted, and making it a point to bring the prophecies of his minister to completion, gave orders that the day should not be called the 30th, but the 28th of the month; at the same time he called out his forces by sound of trumpet, and made a much more vigorous assault than he at first intended. The attack was violent, and those who were left behind in the camp quitted it, to have a share in it and to support their fellow-soldiers, insomuch that the Tyrians were forced to give out, and the city was taken that very day.
The river Niagara takes its rise in the western extremity of Lake Erie, and, after flowing about thirty-four miles, empties itself into Lake Ontario. It is from half a mile to three miles broad; its course is very smooth, and its depth considerable. The sides above the cataract are nearly level; but below the falls, the stream rushes between very lofty rocks, crowned by gigantic trees. The great body of water does not fall in one complete sheet, but is separated by islands, and forms three distinct falls. One of these, called the Great Fall, or, from its shape, the Horse-shoe Fall, is on the Canadian side. Its beauty is considered to surpass that of the others, although its height is considerably less. It is said to have a fall of 165 feet; and in the inn, which is about 300 yards from the fall, the concussion of air caused by this immense cataract is so great, that the window-frames, and, indeed, the whole house, are continually in a tremulous motion, and in winter, when the wind drives the spray in the direction of the buildings, the whole scene is coated with sheets of ice.
The great cataract is seen by few travellers in its winter garb. I had seen it several years before in all the glories of autumn, its encircling woods, happily spared by the remorseless hatchet, and tinted with the brilliant hues peculiar to the American "Fall." Now the glory had departed; the woods were still there, but were generally black, with occasional green pines; beneath the grey trunks was spread a thick mantle of snow, and from the brown rocks inclosing the deep channel of the Niagara River hung huge clusters of icicles, twenty feet in length, like silver pipes of giant organs. The tumultuous rapids appeared to descend more regularly than formerly over the steps which distinctly extended across the wide river. The portions of the British, or Horse-shoe Fall, where the waters descend in masses of snowy whiteness, were unchanged by the season, except that vast sheets of ice and icicles hung on their margin; but where the deep waves of sea-green water roll majestically over the steep, large pieces of descending ice were frequently descried on its surface. No rainbows were now observed on the great vapour-cloud which shrouds for ever the bottom of the Fall; but we were extremely fortunate to see now plainly what I had looked for in vain at my last visit, the water-rockets, first described by Captain Hall, which shot up with a train of vapour singly, and in flights of a dozen, from the abyss near Table Rock, curved towards the east, and burst and fell in front of the cataract. Vast masses of descending fluid produce this singular effect, by means of condensed air acting on portions of the vapour into which the water is comminuted below. Altogether the appearance was most startling. It was observed at 1 P.M. from the gallery of Mr. Barnett's museum. The broad sheet of the American Fall presented the appearance of light-green water and feathery spray, also margined by huge icicles. As in summer, the water rushing from under the vapour-cloud of the two Falls was of a milky whiteness as far as the ferry, when it became dark and interspersed with floating masses of ice. Here, the year before, from the pieces of ice being heaped and crushed together in great quantities, was formed a thick and high bridge of ice, completely across the river, safe for passengers for some time; and in the middle of it a Yankee speculator had erected a shanty for refreshments. Lately, at a dinner party, I heard a staff-officer of talent, but who was fond of exciting wonder by his narratives, propose to the company a singular wager,—a bet of one hundred pounds that he would go over the Falls of Niagara and come out alive at the bottom! No one being inclined to take him up, after a good deal of discussion as to how this perilous feat was to be accomplished, the plan was disclosed. To place on Table Rock a crane, with a long arm reaching over the water of the Horse-shoe Fall; from this arm would hang, by a stout rope, a large bucket or cask; this would be taken up some distance above the Fall, where the mill-race slowly glides towards the cataract; here the adventurer would get into the cask, men stationed on the Table Rock would haul in the slack of the rope as he descended, and the crane would swing him clear from the cataract as he passed over. Here is a chance for any gentleman sportsman to immortalize himself!
The Sloth, in its wild condition, spends its whole life on the trees, and never leaves them but through force or accident; and, what is more extraordinary, it lives not upon the branches, like the squirrel and the monkey, but under them. Suspended from the branches, it moves, and rests, and sleeps. So much of its anatomical structure as illustrates this peculiarity it is necessary to state. The arm and fore-arm of the sloth, taken together, are nearly twice the length of the hind legs; and they are, both by their form and the manner in which they are joined to the body, quite incapacitated from acting in a perpendicular direction, or in supporting it upon the earth, as the bodies of other quadrupeds are supported by their legs. Hence, if the animal be placed on the floor, its belly touches the ground. The wrist and ankle are joined to the fore-arm and leg in an oblique direction; so that the palm or sole, instead of being directed downwards towards the surface of the ground, as in other animals, is turned inward towards the body, in such a manner that it is impossible for the sloth to place the sole of its foot flat down upon a level surface. It is compelled, under such circumstances, to rest upon the external edge of the foot. This, joined to other peculiarities in the formation, render it impossible for sloths to walk after the manner of ordinary quadrupeds; and it is indeed only on broken ground, when he can lay hold of stones, roots of grass, &c., that he can get along at all. He then extends his arms in all directions in search of something to lay hold of; and when he has succeeded, he pulls himself forward, and is then enabled to trail himself along in the exceedingly awkward and tardy manner which has procured for him his name.
Mr. Waterton informs us that he kept a sloth for several months in his room, in order to have an opportunity of observing his motions. If the ground were rough he would pull himself forward in the manner described, at a pretty good pace; and he invariably directed his course towards the nearest tree. But if he was placed upon a smooth and well-trodden part of the road, he appeared to be in much distress. Within doors, the favourite position of this sloth was on the back of a chair; and after getting all his legs in a line on the topmost part of it, he would hang there for hours together, and often with a low and plaintive cry would seem to invite the notice of his master. The sloth does not suspend himself head downward, like the vampire bat, but when asleep he supports himself from a branch parallel to the earth. He first seizes the branch with one arm, and then with the other; after which he brings up both his legs, one by one, to the same branch; so that, as in the Engraving, all the four limbs are in a line. In this attitude the sloth has the power of using the fore paw as a hand in conveying food to his mouth, which he does with great address, retaining meanwhile a firm hold of the branch with the other three paws. In all his operations the enormous claws with which the sloth is provided are of indispensable service. They are so sharp and crooked that they readily seize upon the smallest inequalities in the bark of the trees and branches, among which the animal usually resides, and also form very powerful weapons of defence.
The sloth has been said to confine himself to one tree until he has completely stripped it of its leaves; but Mr. Waterton says, "During the many years I have ranged the forests, I have never seen a tree in such a state of nudity; indeed, I would hazard a conjecture, that, by the time the animal had finished the last of the old leaves, there would be a new crop on the part of the tree it had stripped first, ready for him to begin again—so quick is the process of vegetation in these countries. There is a saying among the Indians, that when the wind blows the sloth begins to travel. In calm weather he remains tranquil, probably not liking to cling to the brittle extremities of the branches, lest they should break with him in passing from one tree to another; but as soon as the wind arises, and the branches of the neighbouring trees become interwoven, the sloth then seizes hold of them and travels at such a good round pace, that any one seeing him, as I have done, pass from tree to tree, would never think of calling him a sloth."
"The dividing ridge of the Sierra Nevada is in sight from this encampment. Accompanied by Mr. Preuss, I ascended to-day the highest peak to the right, from which we had a beautiful view of a mountain lake at our feet, about 15 miles in length, and so entirely surrounded by mountains that we could not discover an outlet. We had taken with us a glass, but though we enjoyed an extended view, the valley was half hidden in mist, as when we had seen it before. Snow could be distinguished on the higher parts of the coast mountains; eastward, as far as the eye could extend, it ranged over a terrible mass of broken snowy mountains, fading off blue in the distance. The rock composing the summit consists of a very coarse, dark, volcanic conglomerate: the lower parts appeared to be of a very slatey structure. The highest trees were a few scattered cedars and aspens. From the immediate foot of the peak we were two hours in reaching the summit, and one hour and a quarter in descending. The day had been very bright, still, and clear, and spring seems to be advancing rapidly. While the sun is in the sky the snow melts rapidly, and gushing springs cover the face of the mountain in all the exposed places, but their surface freezes instantly with the disappearance of the sun.
"The Indians of the Sierra make frequent descents upon the settlements west of the Coast Range, which they keep constantly swept of horses; among them are many who are called Christian Indians, being refugees from Spanish missions. Several of these incursions occurred while we were at Helvetia. Occasionally parties of soldiers follow them across the Coast Range, but never enter the Sierra."
The party had not long before passed through a beautiful country. The narrative says:—"During the earlier part of the day our ride had been over a very level prairie, or rather a succession of long stretches of prairie, separated by lines and groves of oak timber, growing along dry gullies, which are tilled with water in seasons of rain; and perhaps, also, by the melting snows. Over much of this extent the vegetation was spare; the surface showing plainly the action of water, which, in the season of flood, the Joaquin spreads over the valley. About one o'clock, we came again among innumerable flowers; and, a few miles further, fields of beautiful blue-flowering lupine, which seems to love the neighbourhood of water, indicated that we were approaching a stream. We here found this beautiful shrub in thickets, some of them being twelve feet in height. Occasionally, three or four plants were clustered together, forming a grand bouquet, about ninety feet in circumference, and ten feet high; the whole summit covered with spikes of flowers, the perfume of which is very sweet and grateful. A lover of natural beauty can imagine with what pleasure we rode among these flowering groves, which filled the air with a light and delicate fragrance. We continued our road for about half a mile, interspersed through an open grove of live oaks, which, in form, were the most symmetrical and beautiful we had yet seen in this country. The ends of their branches rested on the ground, forming somewhat more than a half sphere of very full and regular figure, with leaves apparently smaller than usual. The Californian poppy, of a rich orange colour, was numerous to-day. Elk and several bands of antelope made their appearance. Our road now was one continued enjoyment; and it was pleasant riding among this assemblage of green pastures, with varied flowers and scattered groves, and, out of the warm, green spring, to look at the rocky and snowy peaks where lately we had suffered so much."
Again, in the Sierra Nevada:—"Our journey to-day was in the midst of an advanced spring, whose green and floral beauty offered a delightful contrast to the sandy valley we had just left. All the day snow was in sight on the butt of the mountain, which frowned down upon us on the right; but we beheld it now with feelings of pleasant security, as we rode along between green trees and on flowers, with humming-birds and other feathered friends of the traveller enlivening the serene spring air. As we reached the summit of this beautiful pass, and obtained a view into the eastern country, we saw at once that here was the place to take leave of all such pleasant scenes as those around us. The distant mountains were now bald rocks again; and, below, the land had any colour but green. Taking into consideration the nature of the Sierra Nevada, we found this pass an excellent one for horses; and, with a little labour, or, perhaps, with a more perfect examination of the localities, it might be made sufficiently practicable for waggons."
We have but few European birds presenting more points of interest in their history than the Grouse, a species peculiar to the northern and temperate latitudes of the globe. Dense pine forests are the abode of some; others frequent the wild tracts of heath-clad moorland, while the patches of vegetation scattered among the rocky peaks of the mountains, afford a congenial residence to others. Patient of cold, and protected during the intense severities of winter by their thick plumage, they give animation to the frozen solitude long after all other birds have retired from the desolate scenery. Their food consists of the tender shoots of pines, the seeds of plants, the berries of the arbutus and bilberry, the buds of the birch and alder, the buds of the heather, leaves, and grain. The nest is very simply constructed, consisting of dried grasses placed upon the ground and sheltered among the herbage.
Two species of this bird, called forest grouse, are indigenous in England: one is the black grouse, common in the pine woods of Scotland and of the northern part of England, and elsewhere; the other is the capercailzie or cock of the woods. Formerly, in Ireland, and still more recently in Scotland, this noble bird, the most magnificent of the whole of the grouse tribe, was abundant in the larger woods; but it gradually disappeared, from the indiscriminate slaughter to which it was subject. Selby informs us that the last individual of this species in Scotland was killed about forty years ago, near Inverness. It still abounds in the pine forests of Sweden and Norway, and an attempt has been made by the Marquis of Breadalbane to re-introduce it into Scotland.
The red grouse, or moor grouse, is found in Scotland; and it is somewhat singular that this beautiful bird should not be known on the Continent, abundant as it is on the moorlands of Scotland, England, and Ireland. The breeding season of the red grouse is very early in spring, and the female deposits her eggs, eight or ten in number, in a high tuft of heather. The eggs are peculiarly beautiful, of a rich brown colour, spotted with black, and both herself and her mate attend the young with great assiduity. The brood continue in company during the winter, and often unite with other broods, forming large packs, which range the high moorlands, being usually shy and difficult of approach. Various berries, such as the cranberry, the bilberry, together with the tender shoots of heath, constitute the food of this species. The plumage is a rich colouring of chestnut, barred with black. The cock grouse in October is a very handsome bird, with his bright red comb erected above his eyes, and his fine brown plumage shining in the sun.
The ptarmigan grouse is not only a native of Scotland but of the higher latitudes of continental Europe, and, perhaps, the changes of plumage in none of the feathered races are more remarkable than those which the ptarmigans undergo. Their full summer plumage is yellow, more or less inclining to brown, beautifully barred with zig-zag lines of black. Their winter dress is pure white, except that the outer tail-feathers, the shafts of the quills, and a streak from the eye to the beak are black. This singular change of plumage enables it, when the mountains are covered with snow, to escape the observation of the eagle, Iceland falcon, and the snowy owl: the feathers become much fuller, thicker, and more downy; the bill is almost hidden, and the legs become so thickly covered with hair-like feathers, as to resemble the legs of some well-furred quadruped.
Patmos affords one of the few exceptions which are to be found to the general beauty and fertility of the islands of the Aegean Sea. Its natural advantages, indeed, are very few, for the whole of the island is little else than one continued rock, rising frequently into hills and mountains. Its valleys are seldom susceptible of cultivation, and scarcely ever reward it. Almost the only spot, indeed, in which it has been attempted, is a small valley in the west, where the richer inhabitants have a few gardens. On account of its stern and desolate character, the island was used, under the Roman Empire, as a place of banishment; and here the Apostle St. John, during the persecution of Domitian, was banished, and wrote the book of the Revela tions. The island now bears the name of Patino and Palmosa, but a natural grotto in the rock is still shown as the place where St. John resided. "In and around it," says Mr. Turner, "the Greeks have dressed up one of their tawdry churches; and on the same site is a school attached to the church, in which a few children are taught reading and writing."
Patmos used to be a famous resort of pirates. Dr. Clarke, after describing with enthusiasm the splendid scene which he witnessed in passing by Patmos, with feelings naturally excited by all the circumstances of local solemnity, and "the evening sun behind the towering cliffs of Patmos, gilding the battlements of the Monastery of the Apocalypse with its parting rays; the consecrated island, surrounded by inexpressible brightness, seeming to float upon an abyss of fire, while the moon, in milder splendour, was rising full over the opposite expanse," proceeds to remark, "How very different were the reflections caused upon leaving the deck, by observing a sailor with a lighted match in his hand, and our captain busied in appointing an extraordinary watch for the night, as a precaution against the pirates who swarm in these seas." These wretches, as dastardly as they were cruel, the instant they boarded a vessel, put every individual of the crew to death. They lurked about the isle of Fouri, to the north of Patmos, in great numbers, taking possession of bays and creeks the least frequented by other mariners. After they had plundered a ship, they bored a hole through her bottom, and took to their boats again. The knights of Malta were said to be amongst the worst of these robbers. In the library of the Monastery, which is built on the top of a mountain, and in the middle of the chief town, may be seen bulls from two of the Popes, and a protection from the Emperor Charles the Sixth, issued to protect the island from their incursions.
Though deficient in trees, Patmos now abounds in flowering plants and shrubs. Walnuts and other fruit trees grow in the orchards; and the wine of Patmos is the strongest and best flavoured of any in the Greek islands. The view of Patmos from the highest point is said to be very curious. The eye looks down on nothing but mountains below it; and the excessive narrowness of the island, with the curious form of its coast, have an extraordinary appearance.
Memorable in the history of genius is the 23rd of April, as being at once the day of the birth and death of Shakspeare; and these events took place on the same spot, for at Stratford-upon-Avon this illustrious dramatist was born, in the year 1564, and here he also died, in 1616. It has been conjectured, that his first dramatic composition was produced when he was but twenty-five years old. He continued to write for the stage for a great number of years; occasionally, also, appearing as a performer: and at length, having, by his exertions, secured a fortune of two or three hundred a year, retired to his native town, where he purchased a small estate, and spent the remainder of his days in ease and honour.
When Washington Irving visited Stratford-upon-Avon, he was led to make the following elegant reflections on the return of the poet to his early home:—"He who has sought renown about the world, and has reaped a full harvest of worldly favours, will find, after all, that there is no love, no admiration, no applause, so sweet to the soul as that which springs up in his native place. It is there that he seeks to be gathered in peace and honour among his kindred and his early friends. And when the weary heart and failing head begin to warn him that the evening of life is drawing on, he turns as fondly as does the infant to the mother's arms, to sink in sleep in the bosom of the scene of his childhood. How would it have cheered the spirit of the youthful bard, when, wandering forth in disgrace upon a doubtful world, he cast a heavy look upon his pastoral home, could he have foreseen that, before many years, he should return to it covered with renown; that his name should become the boast and glory of his native place; that his ashes should be religiously guarded as its most precious treasure; and that its lessening spire, on which his eyes were fixed in tearful contemplation, should one day become the beacon, towering amidst the gentle landscape, to guide the literary pilgrim of every nation to his tomb!"
The accredited birth-place of Shakspeare has always been regarded with great interest: it is situate in a street in Stratford, retaining its ancient name of Henley, being the road to Henley-in-Arden. In 1574, here stood two houses, with a garden and orchard attached to each; and these houses were then purchased by John Shakspeare, whose son William was born in one of them, which still remains, though altered according to modern fashion. Its gable roofs are destroyed. Divided and subdivided into smaller tenements, part was converted into a little inn; part, the residence of a female who formerly showed the room where Shakspeare first saw the light, and the low-roofed kitchen where his mother taught him to read. The walls of the room in which he was born are literally covered with thousands of names, inscribed in homage by pilgrims from every region where the glory of Shakspeare is known. At the time when Shakspeare's father bought this house, it was, no doubt, quite a mansion, as compared with the majority of the houses in Stratford; but he little guessed the fame that would attach itself to this birth-place of his gifted son; long, we trust, to be preserved for the gratification of future generations of visitors to the hallowed spot. Besides his plays, Shakspeare was the author of several other poetical productions, and especially of a collection of sonnets.
There hope in the Ark at the dawning of day,
When o'er the wide waters the Dove flew away;
But when ere the night she came wearily back
With the leaf she had pluck'd on her desolate track,
The children of Noah knelt down and adored,
And utter'd in anthems their praise to the Lord.
Oh bird of glad tidings! oh joy in our pain!
Beautiful Dove! thou art welcome again.
When peace has departed the care-stricken breast,
And the feet of the weary one languish for rest;
When the world is a wide-spreading ocean of grief,
How blest the return of the Bird and the Leaf!
Reliance on God is the Dove to our Ark,
And Peace is the olive she plucks in the dark.
The deluge abates, there is sun after rain—
Beautiful Dove! thou art welcome again!
There are several varieties of this venomous serpent, differing in point of colour; and the aspic of Egypt, with which Cleopatra destroyed herself, is said to be a very near ally to this species; but the true cobra is entirely confined to India.
The danger which accompanies the bite of this reptile, its activity when excited, the singularity of its form, and the gracefulness of its action, combine to render it one of the most remarkable animals of the class to which it belongs. When in its ordinary state of repose the neck is of the same diameter as the head; but when surprised or irritated, the skin expands laterally in a hood-like form, which is well known to the inhabitants of India as the symptom of approaching danger. Notwithstanding the fatal effects of the bite of these serpents, the Indian jugglers are not deterred from capturing and taming them for exhibition, which they do with singular adroitness, and with fearful interest to the unpractised observer. They carry the reptiles from house to house in a small round basket, from which they issue at the sound of a sort of flute, and execute certain movements in cadence with the music.
The animal from which our Engraving was taken is now in the menagerie of the Zoological Society in the Regent's Park, and is probably one of the finest which has ever reached England alive.
The Indian mangouste is described to be the most deadly enemy of the cobra di capello, and the battles between them have been frequently described. The serpent, when aware of the approach of the mangouste, rises on its tail, and with neck dilated, its head advanced, and eyes staring, awaits with every look of rage and fear the attack of its foe. The mangouste steals nearer and nearer, and creeping round, endeavours to get an opportunity of springing on the serpent's back; and whenever it misses its purpose and receives a bite, it runs perhaps some distance, to eat the mangouste-grass, which is an antidote against the poison: it then returns to the attack, in which it is commonly victorious.
The bite of the cobra di capello is not so immediately fatal as is commonly supposed; fowls have been known to live two days after being bitten, though they frequently die within half an hour. The snake never bites while its hood is closed, and as long as this is not erected the animal may be approached, and even handled with impunity; even when the hood is spread, while the creature continues silent, there is no danger. The fearful hiss is at once the signal of aggression and of peril. Though the cobra is so deadly when under excitement, it is, nevertheless, astonish ing to see how readily it is appeased, even in the highest state of exasperation, and this merely by the droning music with which its exhibitors seem to charm it.
The natives of India have a superstitious feeling with regard to this snake; they conceive that it belongs to another world, and when it appears in this, it is only as a visitor. In consequence of this notion they always avoid killing it, if possible.
Perhaps of all the localities of the Oregon territory so vividly described in Captain Fremont's adventurous narrative, the Pyramid Lake, visited on the homeward journey from the Dallas to the Missouri river, is the most beautiful. The exploring party having reached a defile between mountains descending rapidly about 2000 feet, saw, filling up all the lower space, a sheet of green water some twenty miles broad. "It broke upon our eyes," says the narrator, "like the ocean: the neighbouring peaks rose high above us, and we ascended one of them to obtain a better view. The waves were curling to the breeze, and their dark green colour showed it to be a body of deep water. For a long time we sat enjoying the view, for we had become fatigued with mountains, and the free expanse of moving waves was very grateful. It was like a gem in the mountains, which, from our position, seemed to enclose it almost entirely. At the eastern end it communicated with the line of basins we had left a few days since; and on the opposite side it swept a ridge of snowy mountains, the foot of the great Sierra. We followed a broad Indian trail or tract along the shore of the lake to the southward. For a short space we had room enough in the bottom, but, after travelling a short distance, the water swept the foot of the precipitous mountains, the peaks of which are about 3000 feet above the lake. We afterwards encamped on the shore, opposite a very remarkable rock in the lake, which had attracted our attention for many miles. It rose according to our estimation 600 feet above the level of the water, and, from the point we viewed it, presented a pretty exact outline of the great pyramid of Cheops. Like other rocks along the shore, it seemed to be encrusted with calcareous cement. This striking feature suggested a name for the lake, and I called it Pyramid Lake. Its elevation above the sea is 4890 feet, being nearly 700 feet higher than the Great Salt Lake, from which it lies nearly west." The position and elevation of Pyramid Lake make it an object of geographical interest. It is the nearest lake to the western river, as the Great Salt Lake is to the eastern river, of the great basin which lies between the base of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and the extent and character of which it is so desirable to know.
Many parts of the borders of this lake appear to be a favourite place of encampment for the Indians, whose number in this country is estimated at 140,000. They retain, still unaltered, most of the features of the savage character. They procure food almost solely by hunting; and to surprise a hostile tribe, to massacre them with every exercise of savage cruelty, and to carry off their scalps as trophies, is their highest ambition. Their domestic behaviour, however, is orderly and peaceable; and they seldom kill or rob a white man. Considerable attempts have been made to civilize them, and with some success; but the moment that any impulse has been given to war and hunting, they have instantly reverted to their original habits.
Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
Had in her sober livery all things clad.
Silence accompanied: for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk—all but the wakeful nightingale:
She, all night long, her am'rous descant sung.
Silence was pleased. Now glow'd the firmament
With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest; till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw—
When Adam thus to Eve: "Fair consort, the hour
Of night, and all things now retired to rest,
'Mind us of like repose: since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumberous weight,
Inclines our eyelids."—
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd:
"My author and disposer, what thou bidst
Unargued I obey. So God ordains.
With thee conversing I forget all time,
All seasons and their change: all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn—her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After short show'rs; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild—then silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heav'n, her starry train:
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower
Glistering with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon
Or glitt'ring starlight, without thee is sweet."—
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass'd
On to their blissful bower.
Thus at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
Both turn'd, and under open sky adored
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole. "Thou also madest the night,
Maker Omnipotent! and Thou the day,
Which we, in our appointed work employ'd,
Have finish'd; happy in our mutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
Ordain'd by thee, and this delicious place,
For us too large, where thy abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropt, falls to the ground.
But Thou hast promised from us two a race
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."
Goldsmith's poetry enjoys a calm and steady popularity. It inspires us, indeed, with no admiration of daring design or of fertile invention; but it presents within its narrow limits a distinct and unbroken view of poetical delightfulness. His descriptions and sentiments have the pure zest of nature. He is refined without false delicacy, and correct without insipidity. Perhaps there is an intellectual composure in his manner, which may, in some passages, be said to approach to the reserved and prosaic; but he unbends from this graver strain of reflection to tenderness, and even to playfulness, with an ease and grace almost exclusively his own; and connects extensive views of the happiness and interests of society with pictures of life that touch the heart by their familiarity. He is no disciple of the gaunt and famished school of simplicity. He uses the ornaments which must always distinguish true poetry from prose; and when he adopts col loquial plainness, it is with the utmost skill to avoid a vulgar humility. There is more of this sustained simplicity, of this chaste economy and choice of words, in Goldsmith than in any other modern poet, or, perhaps, than would be attainable or desirable as a standard for every writer of rhyme. In extensive narrative poems, such a style would be too difficult. There is a noble propriety even in the careless strength of great poems, as in the roughness of castle walls; and, generally speaking, where there is a long course of story, or observation of life to be pursued, such excursite touches as those of Goldsmith would be too costly materials for sustaining it. His whole manner has a still depth of feeling and reflection, which gives back the image of nature unruffled and minutely. His chaste pathos makes him an insulating moralist, and throws a charm of Claude-like softness over his descriptions of homely objects, that would seem only fit to be the subjects of Dutch painting; but his quiet enthusiasm leads the affections to humble things without a vulgar association, and he inspires us with a fondness to trace the simplest recollections of Auburn, till we count the furniture of its ale-house, and listen to the varnished clock that clicked behind the door.
Hagar and Ishmael departed early on the day fixed for their removal, Abraham furnishing them with the necessary supply of travelling provisions. "And Abraham arose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and she went away." The bottle here mentioned was probably made of the skin of a goat, sewn up, leaving an opening in one of the legs to serve as a mouth. Such skin bottles are still commonly used in Western Asia for water, and are borne slung across the shoulders, just as that of Hagar was placed.
It seems to have been the intention of Hagar to return to her native country, Egypt; but, in spite of the directions she received, the two travellers lost their way in the southern wilderness, and wandered to and fro till the water, which was to have served them on the road, was altogether spent. The lad, unused to hardship, was soon worn out. Overcome by heat and thirst, he seemed at the point of death, when the afflicted mother laid him down under one of the stunted shrubs of this dry and desert region, in the hope of his getting some relief from the slight damp which the shade afforded. The burning fever, however, continued unabated; and the poor mother, forgetting her own sorrow, destitute and alone in the midst of a wilderness, went to a little distance, unable to witness his lingering sufferings, and then "she lifted up her voice and wept." But God had not forgotten her: a voice was heard in the solitude, and an Angel of the Lord appeared, uttering words of comfort and promises of peace. He directed her to a well of water, which, concealed by the brushwood, had not been seen by her. Thus encouraged, Hagar drew a refreshing draught, and hastening to her son, "raised him by the hand," and gave him the welcome drink, which soon restored him. This well, according to the tradition of the Arabs, who pay great honour to the memory of Hagar, is Zemzem, near Mecca.
After this, we have no account of the history of Ishmael, except that he established himself in the wilderness of Paran, near Mount Sinai, and belonged to one of the tribes by which the desert was frequented. He was married, by his mother, to a countrywoman of her own, and maintained himself and his family by the produce of his bow. Many of the Arabian tribes have been proud to trace their origin to this son of the Patriarch Abraham.
Ye who have scorn'd each other,
Or injured friend or brother,
In this fast fading year;
Ye who, by word or deed,
Have made a kind heart bleed,
Come gather here.
Let sinn'd against, and sinning,
Forget their strife's beginning,
And join in friendship now;
Be links no longer broken,
Be sweet forgiveness spoken
Under the Holly-bough.
Ye who have loved each other,
Sister and friend and brother,
In this fast fading year;
Mother and sire and child,
Young man and maiden mild,
Come gather here;
And let your hearts grow fonder,
As Memory shall ponder
Each past unbroken vow:
Old loves and younger wooing
Are sweet in the renewing
Under the Holly-bough.
Ye who have nourish'd sadness.
Estranged from hope and gladness,
In this fast fading year;
Ye with o'erburden'd mind,
Made aliens from your kind,
Come gather here.
Let not the useless sorrow
Pursue you night and morrow,
If e'er you hoped, hope now—
Take heart, uncloud your faces,
And join in our embraces
Under the Holly-bough.
To us who dwell on its surface, the earth is by far the most extensive orb that our eyes can any where behold; but, to a spectator placed on one of the planets, it looks no larger than a spot. To beings who dwell at still greater distances, it entirely disappears. That which we call alternately the morning and the evening star, as in the one part of the orbit she rides foremost in the procession of night, in the other ushers in and anticipates the dawn, is a planetary world, which, with the five others that so wonderfully vary their mystic dance, are in themselves dark bodies, and shine only by reflection; have fields, and seas, and skies of their own; are furnished with all accommodations for animal subsistence, and are supposed to be the abodes of intellectual life. All these, together with our earthly habitation, are dependent on the sun, receive their light from his rays, and derive their comfort from his benign agency. The sun, which seems to us to perform its daily stages through the sky, is, in this respect, fixed and immovable; it is the great axle about which the globe we inhabit, and other more spacious orbs, wheel their stated courses. The sun, though apparently smaller than the dial it illuminates, is immensely larger than this whole earth, on which so many lofty mountains rise, and such vast oceans roll. A line extending from side to side through the centre of that resplendent orb, would measure more than 800,000 miles: a girdle formed to go round its circumference, would require a length of millions. Are we startled at these reports of philosophers? Are we ready to cry out in a transport of surprise, "How mighty is the Being who kindled such a prodigious fire, and keeps alive from age to age such an enormous mass of flame!" Let us attend our philosophic guides, and we shall be brought acquainted with speculations more enlarged and more inflaming. The sun, with all its attendant planets, is but a very little part of the grand machine of the universe; every star, though in appearance no bigger than the diamond that glitters upon a lady's ring, is really a vast globe like the sun in size and in glory; no less spacious, no less luminous, than the radiant source of the day: so that every star is not barely a world, but the centre of a magnificent system; has a retinue of worlds irradiated by its beams, and revolving round its attractive influence—all which are lost to our sight. That the stars appear like so many diminutive points, is owing to their immense and inconceivable distance. Immense and inconceivable indeed it is, since a ball shot from a loaded cannon, and flying with unabated rapidity, must travel at this impetuous rate almost 700,000 years, before it could reach the nearest of these twinkling luminaries.
While beholding this vast expanse I learn my own extreme meanness, I would also discover the abject littleness of all terrestrial things. What is the earth, with all her ostentatious scenes, compared with this astonishingly grand furniture of the skies? What, but a dim speck hardly perceptible in the map of the universe? It is observed by a very judicious writer, that if the sun himself, which enlightens this part of the creation, were extinguished, and all the host of planetary worlds which move about him were annihilated, they would not be missed by an eye that can take in the whole compass of nature any more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The bulk of which they consist, and the space which they occupy, are so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, that their loss would leave scarce a blank in the immensity of God's works. If, then, not our globe only, but this whole system, be so very dimunitive, what is a kingdom or a country? What are a few lordships, or the so-much-admired patrimonies of those who are styled wealthy? When I measure them with my own little pittance, they swell into proud and bloated dimensions; but when I take the universe for my standard, how scanty is their size, how contemptible their figure; they shrink into pompous nothings!
Now strike the golden lyre again:
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark, the horrid sound
Has raised up his head,
As awaked from the dead,
And amazed, he stares around.
Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise:
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand!
Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain.
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high,
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glitt'ring temples of their hostile gods!
The Princes applaud, with a furious joy;
And the King seized a flambeau, with zeal to destroy;
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.
Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from the sacred store,
Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown:
He raised a mortal to the skies;
She drew an angel down.
The Satin Bower-Bird was one of the earliest known species in the Australian fauna, and probably received the name of Satin Grakle, by which it was described in Latham's "General History of Birds," from the intensely black glossy plumage of the adult male. But, although the existence of this bird was noticed by most of the writers on the natural history of Australia subsequent to Latham, it appears that no suspicion of its singular economy had extended beyond the remotest settlers, until Mr. Gould, whose great work on the "Birds of Australia" is known to every one, unravelled the history of the bowers, which had been discovered in many parts of the bush, and which had been attributed to almost every possible origin but the right one.
The bower, as will be seen by the Illustration, is composed of twigs woven together in the most compact manner, and ornamented with shells and feathers, the disposition of which the birds are continually altering. They have no connexion with the nest, and are simply playing-places, in which the birds divert themselves during the months which precede nidification.
The birds themselves are nearly as large as a jackdaw. The female is green in colour, the centre of the breast feathers yellowish; the unmoulted plumage of the male is similar: the eyes of both are brilliant blue.
The fountain and pool of Siloam, whose surplus waters flow in a little streamlet falling into the lake Kedron, is situate near the ancient walls of the city of Jerusalem. Mr. Wild tells us "that the fountain of Siloam is a mineral spring of a brackish taste, and somewhat of the smell of the Harrowgate water, but in a very slight degree." It is said to possess considerable medicinal properties, and is much frequented by pilgrims. "Continuing our course," says he, "around the probable line of the ancient walls, along the gentle slope of Zion, we pass by the King's gardens, and arrive at the lower pool of Siloam, placed in another indentation in the wall. It is a deep square cistern lined with masonry, adorned with columns at the sides, and having a flight of steps leading to the bottom, in which there was about two feet of water. It communicates by a subterraneous passage with the fountain, from which it is distant about 600 yards. The water enters the pool by a low arched passage, into which the pilgrims, numbers of whom are generally to be found around it, put their heads, as part of the ceremony, and wash their clothes in the purifying stream that rises from it." During a rebellion in Jerusalem, in which the Arabs inhabiting the Tillage of Siloam were the ringleaders, they gained access to the city by means of the conduit of this pool, which again rises within the mosque of Omar. This passage is evidently the work of art, the water in it is generally about two feet deep, and a man may go through it in a stooping position. When the stream leaves the pool, it is divided into numbers of little aqueducts, for the purpose of irrigating the gardens and pleasure-grounds which lie immediately beneath it in the valley, and are the chief source of their fertility, for, as they are mostly formed of earth which has been carried from other places, they possess no original or natural soil capable of supporting vegetation. As there is but little water in the pool during the dry season, the Arabs dam up the several streams in order to collect a sufficient quantity in small ponds adjoining each garden, and this they all do at the same time, or there would be an unfair division of the fertilizing fluid. These dams are generally made in the evening and drawn off in the morning, or sometimes two or three times a day; and thus the reflux of the water that they hold gives the appearance of an ebb and flow, which by some travellers has caused a report that the pool of Siloam is subject to daily tides.
There are few towns, and scarcely any metropolitan town, in which the natural supply of water is so inadequate as at Jerusalem; hence the many and elaborate contrivances to preserve the precious fluid, or to bring it to the town by aqueducts.
Ah! little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, pow'r, and affluence surround—
They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah! little think they, while they dance along
How many feel this very moment death,
And all the sad variety of pain:
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame! how many bleed
By shameful variance betwixt man and man!
How many pine in want and dungeon glooms,
Shut from the common air, and common use
Of their own limbs! how many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery! Sore pierced by wintry winds,
How many shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty! How many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse,
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the Tragic Muse!
Even in the vale where Wisdom loves to dwell,
With Friendship, Peace, and Contemplation join'd,
How many, rack'd with honest passions, droop
In deep retired distress. How many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish! Thought fond man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle render life—
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in its high career would stand appall'd,
And heedless, rambling impulse learn to think;
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;
The social tear would rise, the social sigh,
And into clear perfection gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
Really winter in Canada must be felt to be imagined; and when felt can no more be described by words, than colours to a blind man or music to a deaf one. Even under bright sun-shine, and in a most exhilirating air, the biting effect of the cold upon the portion of our face that is exposed to it resembles the application of a strong acid; and the healthy grin which the countenance assumes, requires—as I often observed on those who for many minutes had been in a warm room waiting to see me—a considerable time to relax.
In a calm, almost any degree of cold is bearable, but the application of successive doses of it to the face by wind, becomes, occasionally, almost unbearable; indeed, I remember seeing the left cheek of nearly twenty of our soldiers simultaneously frost-bitten in marching about a hundred yards across a bleak open space, completely exposed to a strong and bitterly cold north-west wind that was blowing upon us all.
The remedy for this intense cold, to which many Canadians and others have occasionally recourse, is—at least to my feelings it always appeared—infinitely worse than the disease. On entering, for instance, the small parlour of a little inn, a number of strong, able-bodied fellows are discovered holding their hands a few inches before their faces, and sitting in silence immediately in front of a stove of such excruciating power, that it really feels as if it would roast the very eyes in their sockets; and yet, as one endures this agony, the back part is as cold as if it belonged to what is called at home "Old Father Christmas."
As a further instance of the climate, I may add, that several times, while my mind was very warmly occupied in writing my despatches, I found my pen full of a lump of stuff that appeared to be honey, but which proved to be frozen ink; again, after washing in the morning, when I took up some money that had lain all night on my table, I at first fancied it had become sticky, until I discovered that the sensation was caused by its freezing to my fingers, which, in consequence of my ablutions, were not perfectly dry.
Notwithstanding, however, this intensity of cold, the powerful circulation of the blood of large quadrupeds keeps the red fluid, like the movement of the waters in the great lakes, from freezing; but the human frame not being gifted with this power, many people lose their limbs, and occasionally their lives, from cold. I one day inquired of a fine, ruddy, honest-looking man, who called upon me, and whose toes and instep of each foot had been truncated, how the accident happened? He told me that the first winter he came from England he lost his way in the forest, and that after walking for some hours, feeling pain in his feet, he took off his boots, and from the flesh immediately swelling, he was unable to put them on again. His stockings, which were very old ones, soon wore into holes; and as rising on his insteps he was hurriedly proceeding he knew not where, he saw with alarm, but without feeling the slightest pain, first one toe and then another break off, as if they had been pieces of brittle stick, and in this mutilated state he continued to advance till he reached a path which led him to an inhabited log house, where he remained suffering great pain till his cure was effected.
Although the sun, from the latitude, has considerable power, it appears only to illuminate the sparkling snow, which, like the sugar on a bridal cake, conceals the whole surface. The instant, however, the fire of heaven sinks below the horizon, the cold descends from the upper regions of the atmosphere with a feeling as if it were poured down upon the head and shoulders from a jug.
The idea of constructing a machine which should enable us to rise into and sail through the air, seems often to have occupied the attention of mankind, even from remote times, but it was never realised until within the last sixty or seventy years. The first public ascent of a fire-balloon in France, in 1783, led to an experiment on the part of Joseph Mongolfier. He constructed a balloon of linen, lined with paper, which, when inflated by means of burning chopped straw and coal, was found to be capable of raising 500 pounds weight. It was inflated in front of the Palace at Versailles, in the presence of the Royal family, and a basket, containing a sheep, a duck, and a cock, was attached to it. It was then liberated, and ascended to the height of 1500 feet. It fell about two miles from Versailles; the animals were uninjured, and the sheep was found quietly feeding near the place of its descent.
Monsieur Mongolfier then constructed one of superior strength, and a M. de Rozier ventured to take his seat in the car and ascend three hundred feet, the height allowed by the ropes, which were not cut. This same person afterwards undertook an aerial voyage, descending in safety about five miles from Paris, where the balloon ascended. But this enterprising voyager in the air afterwards attempted to travel in a balloon with sails. This was formed by a singular combination of balloons—one inflated with hydrogen gas, and the other a fire-balloon. The latter, however, catching fire, the whole apparatus fell from the height of about three-quarters of a mile, with the mangled bodies of the voyagers attached to the complicated machinery.
A Frenchman named Tester, in 1786, also made an excursion in a bal loon with sails; these sails or wings aided in carrying his balloon so high, that when he had reached an elevation of 3000 feet, fearing his balloon might burst, he descended into a corn-field in the plain of Montmorency. An immense crowd ran eagerly to the spot; and the owner of the field, angry at the injury his crop had sustained, demanded instant indemnification. Tester offered no resistance, but persuaded the peasants that, having lost his wings, he could not possibly escape. The ropes were seized by a number of persons, who attempted to drag the balloon towards the village; but as, during the procession, it had acquired considerable buoyancy, Tester suddenly cut the cords, and, rising in the air, left the disappointed peasants overwhelmed in astonishment. After being out in a terrible thunder-storm, he descended uninjured, about twelve hours from the time of his first ascent.
Among the worthies of this country who, after a successful and honourable employment of their talent in life, have generously consulted the advantage of generations to come after them, few names appear more conspicuous than that of Sir Thomas Gresham, the founder of Gresham College, and of the Royal Exchange, London. He was born in that city about the year 1518, the second son of Sir Richard Gresham, who served the office of sheriff in 1531, and that of Lord Mayor in 1537. He received a liberal education at the University, and is mentioned in high terms as having distinguished himself at Cambridge, being styled "that noble and most learned merchant." His father at this time held the responsible position of King's merchant, and had the management of the Royal monies at Antwerp, then the most important seat of commerce in Europe; and when his son Sir Thomas succeeded him in this responsible appointment, he not only established his fame as a merchant, but secured universal respect and esteem. After the accession of Queen Elizabeth, his good qualities attracted the peculiar notice of her Majesty, who was pleased to bestow on him the honour of knighthood; and at this time he built the noble house in Bishopsgate-street, which after his death was converted to the purposes of a College of his own foundation.
In the year 1564, Sir Thomas made an offer to the Corporation of London, that, if the City would give him a piece of ground, he would erect an Exchange at his own expense; and thus relieve the merchants from their present uncomfortable mode of transacting business in the open air. The liberal offer being accepted, the building, which was afterwards destroyed in the Great Fire of London, was speedily constructed, at a very great expense, and ornamented with a number of statues. Nor did Gresham's persevering benevolence stop here: though he had so much to engross his time and attention, he still found leisure to consider the claims of the destitute and aged, and in his endowment of eight alms-houses with a comfortable allowance for as many decayed citizens of London, displayed that excellent grace of charity which was his truest ornament.
In person Sir Thomas was above the middle height, and handsome when a young man, but he was rendered lame by a fall from his horse during one of his journeys in Flanders. Sir Thomas Gresham's exemplary life terminated suddenly on the 21st of November, 1579, after he had just paid a visit to the noble building which he had so generously founded.
Let the enlargement of your knowledge be one constant view and design in life; since there is no time or place, no transactions, occurrences, or engagements in life, which exclude us from this method of improving the mind. When we are alone, even in darkness and silence, we may converse with our own hearts, observe the working of our own spirits, and reflect upon the inward motions of our own passions in some of the latest occurrences in life; we may acquaint ourselves with the powers and properties, the tendencies and inclinations both of body and spirit, and gain a more intimate knowledge of ourselves. When we are in company, we may discover something more of human nature, of human passions and follies, and of human affairs, vices and virtues, by conversing with mankind, and observing their conduct. Nor is there any thing more valuable than the knowledge of ourselves and the knowledge of men, except it be the knowledge of God who made us, and our relation to Him as our Governor.
When we are in the house or the city, wheresoever we turn our eyes, we see the works of men; when we are abroad in the country, we behold more of the works of God. The skies and the ground above and beneath us, and the animal and vegetable world round about us, may entertain our observation with ten thousand varieties.
Fetch down some knowledge from the clouds, the stars, the sun, the moon, and the revolutions of all the planets. Dig and draw up some valuable meditations from the depths of the earth, and search them through the vast oceans of water. Extract some intellectual improvement from the minerals and metals; from the wonders of nature among the vegetables and herbs, trees and flowers. Learn some lessons from the birds and the beasts, and the meanest insect. Read the wisdom of God, and his admirable contrivance in them all: read his almighty power, his rich and various goodness, in all the works of his hands.
From the day and the night, the hours and the flying minutes, learn a wise improvement of time, and be watchful to seize every opportunity to increase in knowledge.
From the vices and follies of others, observe what is hateful in them; consider how such a practice looks in another person, and remember that it looks as ill or worse in yourself. From the virtue of others, learn something worthy of your imitation.
From the deformity, the distress, or calamity of others, derive lessons of thankfulness to God, and hymns of grateful praise to your Creator, Governor, and Benefactor, who has formed you in a better mould, and guarded you from those evils. Learn also the sacred lesson of contentment in your own estate, and compassion to your neighbour under his miseries.
From your natural powers, sensations, judgment, memory, hands, feet, &c., make this inference, that they were not given you for nothing, but for some useful employment to the honour of your Maker, and for the good of your fellow-creatures, as well as for your own best interest and final happiness.
The enterprising traveller, Moorcroft, during his journey across the vast chain of the Himalaya Mountains, in India, undertaken with the hope of finding a passage across those mountains into Tartary, noticed, in the district of Ladak, the peculiar race of sheep of which we give an Engraving. Subsequent observations having confirmed his opinion as to the quality of their flesh and wool, the Honourable East India Company imported a flock, which were sent for a short time to the Gardens of the Zoological Society, Regent's Park. They were then distributed among those landed proprietors whose possessions are best adapted, by soil and climate, for naturalising in the British Islands this beautiful variety of the mountain sheep. The wool, the flesh, and the milk of the sheep appear to have been very early appreciated as valuable products of the animal: with us, indeed, the milk of the flock has given place to that of the herd; but the two former still retain their importance. Soon after the subjugation of Britain by the Romans, a woollen manufactory was established at Winchester, situated in the midst of a district then, as now, peculiarly suited to the short-woolled breed of sheep. So successful was this manufacture, that British cloths were soon preferred at Rome to those of any other part of the Empire, and were worn by the most opulent on festive and ceremonial occasions. From that time forward, the production of wool in this island, and the various manufactures connected with it, have gone on increasing in importance, until it has become one of the chief branches of our commerce.
On being told the number and size of the sails which a vessel can carry (that is to say, can sail with, without danger of being upset), the uninitiated seldom fail to express much surprise. This is not so striking in a three-decker, as in smaller vessels, because the hull of the former stands very high out of the water, for the sake of its triple rank of guns, and therefore bears a greater proportion to its canvas than that of a frigate or a smaller vessel. The apparent inequality is most obvious in the smallest vessels, as cutters: and of those kept for pleasure, and therefore built for the purpose of sailing as fast as possible, without reference to freight or load, there are many the hull of which might be entirely wrapt up in the mainsail. It is of course very rarely, if ever, that a vessel carries at one time all the sail she is capable of; the different sails being usually employed according to the circumstances of direction of wind and course. The sails of a ship, when complete, are as follows:—
The lowermost sail of the mast, called thence the mainsail, or foresail; the topsail, carried by the topsail-yard; the top-gallant-sail; and above this there is also set a royal sail, and again above this, but only on emergencies, a sail significantly called a sky-sail. Besides all this, the three lowermost of these are capable of having their surface to be exposed to the wind increased by means of studding sails, which are narrow sails set on each side beyond the regular one, by means of small booms or yards, which can be slid out so as to extend the lower yards and topsail-yards: the upper parts of these additional sails hang from small yards suspended from the principal ones, and the boom of the lower studding-sails is hooked on to the chains. Thus each of the two principal masts, the fore and main, are capable of bearing no less than thirteen distinct sails. If a ship could be imagined as cut through by a plane, at right angles to the keel, close to the mainmast, the area, or surface, of all the sails on this would be five or six times as great as that of the section or profile of the hull!
The starboard studding-sails are on the fore-mast, and on both sides of the main-top-gallant and main-royal; but, in going nearly before a wind, there is no advantage derived from the stay-sails, which, accordingly, are not set. The flying-jib is to be set to assist in steadying the motion.
The mizen-mast, instead of a lower square-sail like the two others, has a sail like that of a cutter, lying in the plane of the keel, its bottom stretched on a boom, which extends far over the taffarel, and the upper edge carried by a gaff or yard sloping upwards, supported by ropes from the top of the mizen-mast.
All these sails, the sky-sails excepted, have four sides, as have also the sprit-sails on the bowsprit, jib-boom, &c.; and all, except the sail last mentioned on the mizen, usually lie across the ship, or in planes forming considerable angles with the axis or central line of the ship. There are a number of sails which lie in the same plane with the keel, being attached to the various stays of the masts; these are triangular sails, and those are called stay-sails which are between the masts: those before the fore-mast, and connected with the bowsprit, are the fore stay-sail, the fore-topmast-stay-sail, the jib, sometimes a flying jib, and another called a middle jib, and there are two or three others used occasionally. Thus it appears that there are no less than fifty-three different sails, which are used at times, though, we believe, seldom more than twenty are set at one time, for it is obviously useless to extend or set a sail, if the wind is prevented from filling it by another which intercepts the current of air.
The higher the wind, the fewer the sails which a ship can carry; but as a certain number, or rather quantity, of canvas is necessary in different parts of the ship to allow of the vessel being steered, the principal sails, that is, the courses or lower sails, and the top-sails, admit of being reduced in extent by what is termed reefing: this is done by tying up the upper part of the sail to the yard by means of rows of strings called reef-points passing through the canvas; this reduces the depth of the sail, while its width is unaltered on the yard, which is therefore obliged to be lowered on the mast accordingly.
Ships are principally distinguished as those called merchantmen, which belong to individuals or companies, and are engaged in commerce; and men-of-war, or the national ships, built for the purposes of war. The latter receive their designation from the number of their decks, or of the guns which they carry. The largest are termed ships of the line, from their forming the line of battle when acting together in fleets; and are divided into first-rates, second-rates, third-rates, &c. First-rates include all those carrying 100 guns and upwards, with a company of 850 men and upwards; second-rates mount 90 to 100 guns, and so on, down to the sixth-rates; but some ships of less than 44 guns are termed frigates.
There are three principal masts in a complete ship: the first is the main-mast, which stands in the centre of the ship; at a considerable distance forward is the fore-mast; and at a less distance behind, the mizen-mast. These masts, passing through the decks, are fixed firmly in the keel. There are added to them other masts, which can be taken down or raised—hoisted, as it is termed at sea—at pleasure: these are called top-masts, and, according to the mast to which each is attached—main, fore, or mizen-topmast. When the topmast is carried still higher by the addition of a third, it receives the name of top-gallant-mast. The yards are long poles of wood slung across the masts, or attached to them by one end, and having fixed to them the upper edge of the principal sails. They are named upon the same plan as the masts; for example, the main-yard, the fore-top-sail-yard, and so on. The bowsprit is a strong conical piece of timber, projecting from the stem of a ship, and serving to support the fore-mast, and as a yard or boom on which certain sails are moveable.
According as the wind blows from different points, in regard to the course the ship is sailing, it is necessary that the direction of the yards should be changed, so as to form different angles with the central line or with the keel; this is effected by ropes brought from the ends of the yards to the mast behind that to which these belong, and then, passing through blocks, they come down to the deck: by pulling one of these, the other being slackened, the yard is brought round to the proper degree of inclination; this is termed bracing the yards, the ropes being termed braces.
When Hercules was in that part of his youth in which it was natural for him to consider what course of life he ought to pursue, he one day retired into a desert, where the silence and solitude of the place very much favoured his meditations. As he was musing on his present condition, and very much perplexed in himself on the state of life he should choose, he saw two women, of a larger stature than ordinary, approaching towards him. One of them had a very noble air, and graceful deportment; her beauty was natural and easy, her person clean and unspotted, her eyes cast towards the ground with an agreeable reserve, her motion and behaviour full of modesty, and her raiment as white as snow. The other had a great deal of health and floridness in her countenance, which she had helped with an artificial white and red; and she endeavoured to appear more graceful than ordinary in her mien, by a mixture of affectation in all her gestures. She had a wonderful confidence and assurance in her looks, and all the variety of colours in her dress, that she thought were the most proper to shew her complexion to advantage. She cast her eyes upon herself, then turned them on those that were present, to see how they liked her, and often looked on the figure she made in her own shadow. Upon her nearer approach to Hercules, she stepped before the other lady, who came forward with a regular, composed carriage, and running up to him, accosted him after the following manner:—
"My dear Hercules!" says she, "I find you are very much divided in your thoughts upon the way of life that you ought to choose; be my friend, and follow me; I will lead you into the possession of pleasure, and out of the reach of pain, and remove you from all the noise and disquie tude of business. The affairs of either war or peace shall have no power to disturb you. Your whole employment shall be to make your life easy, and to entertain every sense with its proper gratifications. Sumptuous tables, beds of roses, clouds of perfume, concerts of music, crowds of beauties, are all in readiness to receive you. Come along with me into this region of delights, this world of pleasure, and bid farewell for ever to care, to pain, to business." Hercules, hearing the lady talk after this manner, desired to know her name, to which she answered—"My friends, and those who are well acquainted with me, call me Happiness; but my enemies, and those who would injure my reputation, have given me the name of Pleasure."
By this time the other lady was come up, who addressed herself to the young hero in a very different manner:—"Hercules," says she, "I offer myself to you because I know you are descended from the gods, and give proofs of that descent by your love of virtue and application to the studies proper for your age. This makes me hope you will gain, both for yourself and me, an immortal reputation. But before I invite you into my society and friendship, I will be open and sincere with you, and must lay this down as an established truth, that there is nothing truly valuable which can be purchased without pains and labour. The gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure. If you would gain the favour of the Deity, you must be at the pains of worshipping Him; if the friendship of good men, you must study to oblige them; if you would be honoured by your country, you must take care to serve it; in short, if you would be eminent in war or peace, you must become master of all the qualifications that can make you so. These are the only terms and conditions upon which I can propose happiness."
The Goddess of Pleasure here broke in upon her discourse:—"You see," said she, "Hercules, by her own confession, the way to her pleasures is long and difficult; whereas that which I propose is short and easy."
"Alas!" said the other lady, whose visage glowed with passion, made up of scorn and pity, "what are the pleasures you propose? To eat before you are hungry; drink before you are athirst; sleep before you are tired; to gratify appetites before they are raised, and raise such appetites as Nature never planted. You never heard the most delicious music, which is the praise of one's-self; nor saw the most beautiful object, which is the work of one's own hands. Your votaries pass away their youth in a dream of mistaken pleasures, while they are hoarding up anguish, torment, and remorse for old age. As for me, I am the friend of gods and of good men; an agreeable companion to the artizan; an household guardian to the fathers of families; a patron and protector of servants; an associate in all true and generous friendships. The banquets of my votaries are never costly, but always delicious; for none eat or drink of them who are not invited by hunger or thirst. Their slumbers are sound, and their wakings cheerful. My young men have the pleasure of hearing themselves praised by those who are in years; and those who are in years, of being honoured by those who are young. In a word, my followers are favoured by the gods, beloved by their acquaintance, esteemed by their country, and after the close of their labours honoured by posterity."
We know, by the life of this memorable hero, to which of these two ladies he gave up his heart; and I believe every one who reads this will do him the justice to approve his choice.
The remains of Strata Florida Abbey, in South Wales, are most interesting in many points of view, more especially as the relics of a stately seminary for learning, founded as early as the year 1164. The community of the Abbey were Cistercian monks, who soon attained great celebrity, and acquired extensive possessions. A large library was founded by them, which included the national records from the earliest periods, the works of the bards and the genealogies of the Princes and great families in Wales. The monks also compiled a valuable history of the Principality, down to the death of Llewellyn the Great. When Edward I. invaded Wales, he burned the Abbey, but it was rebuilt A.D. 1294.
Extensive woods once flourished in the vicinity of Strata Florida, and its burial-place covered no less than 120 acres. A long list of eminent persons from all parts of Wales were here buried, and amongst them David ap Gwillim, the famous bard. The churchyard is now reduced to small dimensions; but leaden coffins, doubtless belonging to once celebrated personages, are still found, both there and at a distance from the cemetery. A few aged box and yew-trees now only remain to tell of the luxuriant verdure which once grew around the Abbey; and of the venerable pile itself little is left, except an arch, and the fragment of a fine old wall, about forty feet high. A small church now stands within the enclosure, more than commonly interesting from having been built with the materials of the once celebrated Abbey of Strata Florida.
In the warm summer months a thin kind of petticoat constitutes the sole bodily attire of the Kaffir Chiefs; but in winter a cloak is used, made of the skins of wild beasts, admirably curried. The head, even in the hottest weather, is never protected by any covering, a fillet, into which a feather of the ostrich is stuck, being generally worn; and they seldom wear shoes, except on undertaking a long journey, when they condescend to use a rude substitute for them. The bodies of both sexes are tattooed; and the young men, like the fops of more civilized nations, paint their skins and curl their hair. Their arms are the javelin, a large shield of buffalo-hide, and a short club.
The women exhibit taste in the arrangement of their dress, particularly for that of the head, which consists of a turban made of skin, and profusely ornamented with beads, of which adornment both men and women are very fond. A mantle of skin, variously bedecked with these and other showy trinkets, is worn; and the only distinction between the dress of the chieftains' wives and those of a lower rank consists in a greater profusion of ornaments possessed by the former, but of which all are alike vain. There is no change of dress, the whole wardrobe of the female being that which she carries about with her and sleeps in, for bed-clothes they have none.
The grain which they chiefly cultivate is a kind of millet: a small quantity of Indian corn and some pumpkins are likewise grown; but a species of sugar-cane is produced in great abundance, and of this they are extremely fond. Their diet, however, is chiefly milk in a sour curdled state. They dislike swine's flesh, keep no poultry, are averse to fish, but indulge in eating the flesh of their cattle, which they do in a very disgusting way. Although naturally brave and warlike, they prefer an indolent pastoral life, hunting being an occasional pastime.
Much light was thrown on the condition and future prospects of this people in 1835, by some papers relative to the Cape of Good Hope, which were laid before the English Government. From these it appeared that a system of oppression and unjustifiable appropriation on the part of the whites, have from time to time roused the savage energies of the Kaffirs, and impelled them to make severe reprisals upon their European spoilers. The longing of the Cape colonists for the well-watered valleys of the Kaffirs, and of the latter for the colonial cattle, which are much superior to their own, still are, as they have always been, the sources of irritation. Constant skirmishes took place, until, at length, in 1834, the savages poured into the colony in vast numbers, wasted the farms, drove off the cattle, and murdered not a few of the inhabitants. An army of 4000 men was marched against the invaders, who were driven far beyond the boundary-line which formerly separated Kaffirland from Cape Colony, and not only forced to confine themselves within the new limits prescribed, but to pay a heavy fine. Treaties have been entered into, and tracts of country assigned to the Kaffir chiefs of several families, who acknowledge themselves to be subjects of Great Britain, and who are to pay a fat ox annually as a quit-rent for the lands which they occupy.
Macomo, one of the Kaffir Chiefs, is a man of most remarkable character and talent, and succeeded his father, Gaika, who had been possessed of much greater power and wider territories than the son, but had found himself compelled to yield up a large portion of his lands to the colonists. Macomo received no education; all the culture which his mind ever obtained being derived from occasional intercourse with missionaries, after he had grown to manhood. From 1819, the period of Gaika's concessions, up to the year 1829, he with his tribe dwelt upon the Kat river, following their pastoral life in peace, and cultivating their corn-fields. Suddenly they were ejected from their lands by the Kat river, on the plea that Gaika had ceded these lands to the colony. Macomo retired, almost without a murmur, to a district farther inland, leaving the very grain growing upon his fields. He took up a new position on the banks of the river Chunice, and here he and his tribe dwelt until 1833, when they were again driven out to seek a new home, almost without pretence. On this occasion Macomo did make a remonstrance, in a document addressed to an influential person of the colony. "In the whole of this savage Kaffir's letter, there is," says Dr. Philip, "a beautiful simplicity, a touching pathos, a confiding magnanimity, a dignified remonstrance, which shows its author to be no common man. It was dictated to an interpreter."
"As I and my people," writes Macomo, "have been driven back over the Chunice, without being informed why, I should be glad to know from the Government what evil we have done. I was only told that we must retire over the Chunice, but for what reason I was not informed. It was agreed that I and my people should live west of the Chunice, as well as east of it. When shall I and my people be able to get rest?"
Of the difficulties which occasionally baffle the man of science, in his endeavours to contend with the hidden secrets of the crust of the earth which we inhabit, the Kilsby Tunnel of the London and North-western Railway presents a striking example. The proposed tunnel was to be driven about 160 feet below the surface. It was to be, as indeed it is, 2399 yards in length, with two shafts of the extraordinary size of sixty feet in diameter, not only to give air and ventilation, but to admit light enough to enable the engine-driver, in passing through it with a train, to see the rails from end to end. In order correctly to ascertain, and honestly to make known to the contractors the nature of the ground through which this great work was to pass, the engineer-in-chief sank the usual number of what are called "trial shafts;" and, from the result, the usual advertisements for tenders were issued, and the shafts, &c. having been minutely examined by the competing contractors, the work was let to one of them for the sum of £99,000. In order to drive the tunnel, it was deemed necessary to construct eighteen working shafts, by which, like the heavings of a mole, the contents of the subterranean gallery were to be brought to the surface. This interesting work was in busy progress, when, all of a sudden, it was ascertained, that, at about 200 yards from the south end of the tunnel, there existed, overlaid by a bed of clay, forty feet thick, a hidden quicksand, which extended 400 yards into the proposed tunnel, and which the trial shafts on each side of it had almost miraculously just passed without touching. Overwhelmed at the discovery, the contractor instantly took to his bed; and though he was justly relieved by the company from his engagement, the reprieve came too late, for he actually died.
The general opinion of the several eminent engineers who were consulted was against proceeding; but Mr. R. Stephenson offered to undertake the responsibility of the work. His first operation was to lower the water with which he had to contend, and it was soon ascertained that the quicksand in question covered several square miles. The tunnel, thirty feet high by thirty feet broad, was formed of bricks, laid in cement, and the bricklayers were progressing in lengths averaging twelve feet, when those who were nearest the quicksand, on driving into the roof, were suddenly almost overwhelmed by a deluge of water, which burst in upon them. As it was evident that no time was to be lost, a gang of workmen, protected by the extreme power of the engines, were, with their materials, placed on a raft; and while, with the utmost celerity, they were completing the walls of that short length, the water, in spite of every effort to keep it down, rose with such rapidity, that, at the conclusion of the work, the men were so near being jammed against the roof, that the assistant-engineer jumped overboard, and then swimming, with a rope in his mouth, he towed the raft to the nearest working shaft, through which he and his men were safely lifted to daylight, or, as it is termed by miners, "to grass."
The water now rose in the shaft, and, as it is called, "drowned the works" but, by the main strength of 1250 men, 200 horses, and thirteen steam-engines, not only was the work gradually completed, but, during day and night for eight months, the almost incredible quantity of 1800 gallons of water per minute was raised, and conducted away. The time occupied from the laying of the first brick to the completion was thirty months.
While lying in Little Killery Bay, on the coast of Connemara, in her Majesty's surveying ketch Sylvia, we were attracted by a large fin above the surface, moving with an oscillatory motion, somewhat resembling the action of a man sculling at the stern of a boat; and knowing it to be an unusual visitor, we immediately got up the harpoon and went in chase. In the meantime, a country boat came up with the poor animal, and its crew inflicted upon it sundry blows with whatever they could lay their hands on—oars, grappling, stones, &c.—but were unsuccessful in taking it; and it disappeared for some few minutes, when it again exhibited its fin on the other side of the Bay. The dull and stupid animal permitted us to place our boat immediately over it, and made no effort to escape. The harpoon never having been sharpened, glanced off without effect; but another sailor succeeded in securing it by the tail with a boat-hook, and passing the bight of a rope behind its fins, we hauled it on shore, under Salrock House, the residence of General Thompson, who, with his family, came down to inspect this strange-looking inhabitant of the sea. We were well soused by the splashing of its fins, ere a dozen hands succeeded in transporting this heavy creature from its native abode to the shore, where it passively died, giving only an occasional movement with its fins, or uttering a kind of grunt.
This animal, I believe, is a specimen of the Sun-fish (Orthagoriscus). It has no bony skeleton; nor did we, in our rather hasty dissection, discover any osseous structure whatever, except (as we were informed by one who afterwards inspected it) that there was one which stretched between the large fins. Its jaws also had bony terminations, unbroken into teeth, and parrot-like, which, when not in use, are hidden by the envelopement of the gums. The form of the animal is preserved by an entire cartilaginous case, of about three inches in thickness, covered by a kind of shagreen skin, so amalgamated with the cartilage as not to be separated from it. This case is easily penetrable with a knife, and is of pearly whiteness, more resembling cocoa-nut in appearance and texture than anything else I can compare it with. The interior cavity, containing the vital parts, terminates a little behind the large fins, where the cartilage was solid, to its tapered extremity, which is without a caudal fin. Within, and around the back part, lay the flesh, of a coarse fibrous texture, slightly salmon-coloured. The liver was such as to fill a common pail, and there was a large quantity of red blood. The nostril, top of the eye, and top of the gill-orifice are in line, as represented in the Engraving. The dimensions are as under:—
Eye round, and like that of an ox, 2-1/4 inches diameter. Gill-orifice, 4 inches by 2-1/4 inches. Dorsal and anal fins equal, 2 ft. 2 in. long, by 1 ft. 3 in. wide. Pectoral fins, 10 in. high by 8 broad. Length of fish, 6 ft. Depth, from the extremities of the large fins, 7 ft. 4 in. Extreme breadth at the swelling under the eye, only 20 in. Weight, 6 cwt. 42 lb.
Of Nelson and the North
Sing the glorious day's renown,
When to battle fierce came forth
All the might of Denmark's crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly shone;
By each gun the lighted brand,
In a bold determined hand—
And the Prince of all the land
Led them on.
Like Leviathans afloat
Lay their bulwarks on the brine;
While the sign of battle flew
On the lofty British line;
It was ten of April morn, by the chime,
As they drifted on their path:
There was silence deep as death,
And the boldest held his breath
For a time.
But the might of England flush'd
To anticipate the scene;
And her van the fleeter rush'd
O'er the deadly space between.
"Hearts of Oak!" our Captains cried; when each gun
From its adamantine lips
Spread a death-shade round the ships,
Like the hurricane eclipse
Of the sun.
Again! again! again!
And the havoc did not slack,
Till a feeble cheer the Dane
To our cheering sent us back—
Their shots along the deep slowly boom:
Then ceased, and all is wail
As they strike the shatter'd sail,
Or, in conflagration pale,
Light the gloom.
Out spoke the victor then,
As he hail'd them o'er the wave,
"Ye are brothers! ye are men!
And we conquer but to save;
So peace instead of death let us bring.
But yield, proud foe, thy fleet,
With their crews, at England's feet,
And make submission meet
To our King."
Then Denmark bless'd our chief,
That he gave her wounds repose;
And the sounds of joy and grief
From her people wildly rose,
As Death withdrew his shades from the day,
While the sun look'd smiling bright
O'er a wide and woeful sight,
Where the fires of funeral light
Now joy, old England, raise!
For the tidings of thy might,
By the festal cities' blaze,
Whilst the wine-cup shines in light;
And yet, amidst that joy and uproar,
Let us think of them that sleep,
Full many a fathom deep,
By thy wild and stormy steep—
Brave hearts! to Britain's pride,
Once so faithful and so true,
On the deck of fame that died
With the gallant, good Riou—
Soft sigh the winds of Heaven o'er their grave:
While the billow mournful rolls,
And the mermaid's song condoles,
Singing glory to the souls
Of the brave.
Cannon took their name from the French word Canne, a reed. Before their invention, machines were used for throwing enormous stones. These were imitated from the Arabs, and called ingenia, whence engineer. The first cannon were made of wood, wrapped up in numerous folds of linen, and well secured by iron hoops. The true epoch of the use of metallic cannon cannot be ascertained; it is certain, however, that they were in use about the middle of the 14th century. The Engraving beneath represents a field-battery gun taking up its position in a canter. The piece of ordnance is attached, or "limbered up" to an ammunition carriage, capable of carrying two gunners, or privates, whilst the drivers are also drilled so as to be able to serve at the gun in action, in case of casualties.
Having reached its destination, and been detached or "unlimbered" from the front carriage, we next see the action of loading; the ramrod having at its other extremity a sheep-skin mop, larger than the bore of the piece, and called "a sponge." This instrument, before loading, is invariably used, whilst the touch-hole or "vent" is covered by the thumb of the gunner especially numbered off for this important duty; and the air being thus excluded, the fire, which often remains within the bore, attached to either portions of cartridge-case or wadding, is extinguished. Serious accidents have been known to occur from a neglect of this important preliminary to loading; as a melancholy instance, a poor fellow may be seen about the Woolwich barracks, both of whose arms were blown off above the elbow joint, whilst ramming home a cartridge before the sponge had been properly applied.
If it is deemed essential to keep up a fire upon the enemy during a temporary retreat, or in order to avoid an overwhelming body of cavalry directed against guns unsupported by infantry, in that case the limber remains as close as possible to the field-piece, as shown in the Engraving above.
Skilful provisions are made against the various contingencies likely to occur in action. A wheel may he shattered by the enemy's shot, and the gun thereby disabled for the moment: this accident is met by supporting the piece upon a handspike, firmly grasped by one or two men on each side, according to the weight of the gun, whilst a spare wheel, usually suspended at the back of "the tumbril," or ammunition waggon, is obtained, and in a few moments made to remedy the loss, as represented above.
The extraordinary rapidity with which a gun can be dislodged from its carriage, and every portion of its complicated machinery scattered upon the ground, is hardly to be believed unless witnessed; but the wonder is increased tenfold, on seeing with what magical celerity the death-dealing weapon can be put together again. These operations will be readily understood by an examination of the Illustrations. In that at the foot of page 175 the cannon is lying useless upon the earth; one wheel already forms the rude resting-place of a gunner, whilst the other is in the act of being displaced. By the application of a rope round the termination of the breech, and the lifting of the trail of the carriage, care being previously taken that the trunnions are in their respective sockets, a very slight exertion of manual labour is required to put the gun into fighting trim. That we may be understood, we will add that the trunnions are the short round pieces of iron, or brass, projecting from the sides of the cannon, and their relative position can be easily ascertained by a glance at the gun occupying the foreground of the Illustration where the dismantling is depicted. To perform the labour thus required in managing cannon, is called to serve the guns.
Cannon are cast in a solid mass of metal, either of iron or brass; they are then bored by being placed upon a machine which causes the whole mass to turn round very rapidly. The boring tool being pressed against the cannon thus revolving, a deep hole is made in it, called the bore.
The ordinary mode in which the Kangaroos make their way on the ground, as well as by flight from enemies, is by a series of bounds, often of prodigious extent. They spring from their hind limbs alone, using neither the tail nor the fore limbs. In feeding, they assume a crouching, hare-like position, resting on the fore paws as well as on the hinder extremities, while they browse on the herbage. In this attitude they hop gently along, the tail being pressed to the ground. On the least alarm they rise on the hind limbs, and bound to a distance with great rapidity. Sometimes, when excited, the old male of the great kangaroo stands on tiptoe and on his tail, and is then of prodigious height. It readily takes to the water, and swims well, often resorting to this mode of escape from its enemies, among which is the dingo, or wild dog of Australia.
Man is, however, the most unrelenting foe of this inoffensive animal. It is a native of New Holland and Van Diemen's Land, and was first discovered by the celebrated navigator Captain Cook, in 1770, while stationed on the coast of New South Wales. In Van Diemen's Land the great kangaroo is regularly hunted with fox-hounds, as the deer or fox in England.
The Tree Kangaroo, in general appearance, much resembles the common kangaroo, having many of that animal's peculiarities. It seems to have the power of moving very quickly on a tree; sometimes holding tight with its fore feet, and bringing its hind feet up together with a jump; at other times climbing ordinarily.
In the island of Java a black variety of the Leopard is not uncommon, and such are occasionally seen in our menageries; they are deeper than the general tint, and the spots show in certain lights only. Nothing can exceed the grace and agility of the leopards; they bound with astonishing ease, climb trees, and swim, and the flexibility of the body enables them to creep along the ground with the cautious silence of a snake on their unsuspecting prey.
In India the leopard is called by the natives the "tree-tiger," from its generally taking refuge in a tree when pursued, and also from being often seen among the branches: so quick and active is the animal in this situation, that it is not easy to take a fair aim at him. Antelopes, deer, small quadrupeds, and monkeys are its prey. It seldom attacks a man voluntarily, but, if provoked, becomes a formidable assailant. It is sometimes taken in pitfalls and traps. In some old writers there are accounts of the leopard being taken in trap, by means of a mirror, which, when the animal jump against it, brings a door down upon him.
Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue,
Than ever man pronounced or angel sung;
Had I all knowledge, human and divine
That thought can reach, or science can define;
And had I power to give that knowledge birth,
In all the speeches of the babbling earth,
Did Shadrach's zeal my glowing breast inspire,
To weary tortures, and rejoice in fire;
Or had I faith like that which Israel saw,
When Moses gave them miracles and law:
Yet, gracious Charity, indulgent guest,
Were not thy power exerted in my breast,
Those speeches would send up unheeded pray'r;
That scorn of life would be but wild despair;
A cymbal's sound were better than my voice;
My faith were form, my eloquence were noise.
Charity, decent, modest, easy, kind,
Softens the high, and rears the abject mind;
Knows with just reins, and gentle hand, to guide
Betwixt vile shame and arbitrary pride.
Not soon provoked, she easily forgives;
And much she suffers, as she much believes.
Soft peace she brings wherever she arrives;
She builds our quiet, as she forms our lives;
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even,
And opens in each heart a little heaven.
Each other gift, which God on man bestows,
Its proper bounds, and due restriction knows;
To one fix'd purpose dedicates its power;
And finishing its act, exists no more.
Thus, in obedience to what Heaven decrees,
Knowledge shall fail, and prophecy shall cease;
But lasting Charity's more ample sway,
Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay,
In happy triumph shall for ever live,
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive.
As through the artist's intervening glass,
Our eye observes the distant planets pass,
A little we discover, but allow
That more remains unseen than art can show;
So whilst our mind its knowledge would improve,
Its feeble eye intent on things above,
High as we may we lift our reason up,
By faith directed, and confirm'd by hope;
Yet are we able only to survey
Dawnings of beams and promises of day;
Heav'n's fuller effluence mocks our dazzled sight—
Too great its swiftness, and too strong its light.
But soon the mediate clouds shall be dispell'd;
The Son shall soon be face to face beheld,
In all his robes, with all his glory on,
Seated sublime on his meridian throne.
Then constant Faith, and holy Hope shall vie,
One lost in certainty, and one in joy:
Whilst thou, more happy pow'r, fair Charity,
Triumphant sister, greatest of the three,
Thy office, and thy nature still the same,
Lasting thy lamp, and unconsumed thy flame,
Shall still survive—
Shall stand before the host of heav'n confest,
For ever blessing, and for ever blest.
Sardis, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Lydia, is situated on the river Pactolus, in the fertile plain below Mount Tmolus. Wealth, pomp, and luxury characterised this city from very ancient times. The story of Croesus, its last King, is frequently alluded to by historians, as affording a remarkable example of the instability of human greatness. This Monarch considered himself the happiest of human beings, but being checked by the philosopher Solon for his arrogance, he was offended, and dismissed the sage from his Court with disgrace. Not long afterwards, led away by the ambiguous answers of the oracles, he conducted a large army into the field against Cyrus, the future conqueror of Babylon, but was defeated, and obliged to return to his capital, where he shut himself up. Hither he was soon followed and besieged by Cyrus, with a far inferior force; but, at the expiration of fourteen days, the citadel, which had been deemed impregnable, was taken by a stratagem, and Croseus was condemned to the flames. When the sentence was about to be executed, he was heard to invoke the name of Solon, and the curiosity of Cyrus being excited, he asked the cause; and, having heard his narrative, ordered him to be set free, and subsequently received him into his confidence.
Under the Romans, Sardis declined in importance, and, being destroyed by an earthquake, for some time lay desolate, until it was rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
The situation of Sardis is very beautiful, but the country over which it looks is almost deserted, and the valley is become a swamp. The hill of the citadel, when seen from the opposite bank of the Hermus, appears of a triangular form; and at the back of it rise ridge after ridge of mountains, the highest covered with snow, and many of them bearing evident marks of having been jagged and distorted by earthquakes. The citadel is exceedingly difficult of ascent; but the magnificent view which it commands of the plain of the Hermus, and other objects of interest, amply repays the risk and fatigue. The village, small as it is, boasts of containing one of the most remarkable remains of antiquity in Asia; namely, the vast Ionic temple of the heathen goddess Cybele, or the earth, on the banks of the Pactolus. In 1750, six columns of this temple were standing, but four of them have since been thrown down by the Turks, for the sake of the gold which they expected to find in the joints.
Two or three mills and a few mud huts, inhabited by Turkish herdsmen, contain all the present population of Sardis.
At a time when there appeared to be good reason for believing that the invasion of England was contemplated, the Government turned their attention to the defence of such portions of the coast as seemed to present the greatest facility for the landing of a hostile force. As the Kentish coast, from East Were Bay to Dymchurch, seemed more especially exposed, a line of Martello Towers was erected between these two points, at a distance from each other of from one-quarter to three-quarters of a mile. Other towers of the same kind were erected on various parts of the coast where the shore was low, in other parts of England, but more particularly in the counties of Sussex and Suffolk. Towers of this construction appear to have been adopted, owing to the resistance that was made by the Tower of Martella, in the Island of Corsica, to the British forces under Lord Hood and General Dundas, in 1794. This tower which was built in the form of an obtruncated cone—like the body of a windmill—was situated in Martella, or Martle Bay. As it rendered the landing of the troops difficult, Commodore Linzee anchored in the bay to the westward, and there landed the troops on the evening of the 7th of February, taking possession of a height that commanded the tower. As the tower impeded the advance of the troops, it was the next day attacked from the bay by the vessels Fortitude and Juno; but after a cannonade of two hours and a half, the ships were obliged to haul off, the Fortitude having sustained considerable damage from red-hot shot discharged from the tower. The tower, after having been cannonaded from the height for two days, surrendered; rather, it would appear, from the alarm of the garrison, than from any great injury that the tower had sustained. The English, on taking possession of the fort, found that the garrison had originally consisted of thirty-three men, of whom two only were wounded, though mortally. The walls were of great thickness, and bomb-proof; and the parapet consisted of an interior lining of rush matting, filled up to the exterior of the parapet with sand. The only guns they had were two 18-pounders.
The towers erected between East Were Bay and Dymchurch (upwards of twenty) were built of brick, and were from about 35 feet to 40 feet high: the entrance to them was by a low door-way, about seven feet and a half from the ground; and admission was gained by means of a ladder, which was afterwards withdrawn into the interior. A high step of two feet led to the first floor of the tower, a room of about thirteen feet diameter, and with the walls about five feet thick. Round this room were loopholes in the walls, at such an elevation, that the men would be obliged to stand on benches in the event of their being required to oppose an attack of musketry. Those benches were also used as the sleeping-places of the garrison. On this floor there was a fire-place, and from the centre was a trap-door leading downwards to the ammunition and provision rooms. The second floor was ascended by similar means.
Characteristically indolent, the fondness for a sedentary life is stronger, perhaps, with the Turks, than with any other people of whom we read. It is difficult to describe the gravity and apathy which constitute the distinguishing features of their character: everything in their manners tends to foster in them, especially in the higher classes, an almost invincible love of ease and luxurious leisure. The general rule which they seem to lay down for their guidance, is that taking the trouble to do anything themselves which they can possibly get others to do for them; and the precision with which they observe it in some of the minutest trifles of domestic life is almost amusing. A Turkish gentleman, who has once composed his body upon the corner of a sofa, appears to attach a certain notion of grandeur to the keeping of it there, and it is only something of the gravest importance that induces him to disturb his position. If he wishes to procure anything that is within a few steps of him, he summons his slaves by clapping his hands (the Eastern mode of "ringing the bell"), and bids them bring it to him: his feelings of dignity would be hurt by getting up to reach it himself. Of course, this habit of inac tion prevails equally with the female sex: a Turkish lady would not think of picking up a fallen handkerchief, so long as she had an attendant to do it for her. As may be supposed, the number of slaves in a Turkish household of any importance is very great.
The position of women in Eastern countries is so totally unlike that which they hold in our own happy land, that we must refer expressly to it, in order that the picture of domestic life presented to us in the writings of all travellers in the East may be understood. Amongst all ranks, the wife is not the friend and companion, but the slave of her husband; and even when treated with kindness and affection, her state is still far below that of her sisters in Christian lands. Even in the humblest rank of life, the meal which the wife prepares with her own hands for her husband, she must not partake of with him. The hard-working Eastern peasant, and the fine lady who spends most of her time in eating sweet-meats, or in embroidery, are both alike dark and ignorant; for it would be accounted a folly, if not a sin, to teach them even to read.
Numerous carriers, or sellers of water, obtain their living in the East by supplying the inhabitants with it. They are permitted to fill their water-bags, made of goat-skins, at the public fountains. This goat-skin of the carrier has a long brass spout, and from this the water is poured into a brass cup, for any one who wishes to drink. Many of these are employed by the charitable, to distribute water in the streets; and they pray the thirsty to partake of the bounty offered to them in the name of God, praying that Paradise and pardon may be the lot of him who affords the refreshing gift.
The Dancing Dervises are a religious order of Mohamedans, who affect a great deal of patience, humility, and charity. Part of their religious observance consists in dancing or whirling their bodies round with the greatest rapidity imaginable, to the sound of a flute; and long practice has enabled them to do this without suffering the least inconvenience from the strange movement.
In Eastern countries, the bread is generally made in the form of a large thin cake, which is torn and folded up, almost like a sheet of paper; it can then be used (as knives and forks are not employed by the Orientals) for the purpose of rolling together a mouthful of meat, or supping up gravy and vegetables, at the meals.
Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. The chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots, and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience; for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by duty; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them: for they teach not their own use, but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted; not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that should be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sorts of books; else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.
He who hath bent him o'er the dead
Ere the first day of death is fled;
The first dark day of nothingness.
The last of danger and distress:
Before Decay's effacing fingers,
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,
And mark'd the mild, angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there;
The fix'd, yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek.
And, but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not—wins not—weeps not—now;
And, but for that chill, changeless brow,
Whose touch thrills with mortality,
And curdles to the gazer's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon:
Yes, but for these, and these alone
Some moments—ay, one treacherous hour—
He still might doubt the tyrant's power;
So fair, so calm, so softly seal'd,
The first, last look by death reveal'd.
Such is the aspect of this shore;
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!
So coldly sweet—so deadly fair—
We start, for soul is wanting there:
Hers is the loveliness in death
That parts not quite with parting breath;
But beauty, with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb:
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of feeling past away!
Spark of that flame—perchance of Heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherish'd earth!
Attock is a fort and small town in the Punjaub, on the left or east bank of the Indus, 942 miles from the sea, and close below the place where it receives the water of the Khabool river, and first becomes navigable. The name, signifying obstacle, is supposed to have been given to it under the presumption that no scrupulous Hindoo would proceed westward of it; but this strict principle, like many others of similar nature, is little acted on. Some state that the name was given by the Emperor Akbar, because he here found much difficulty in crossing the river. The river itself is at this place frequently by the natives called Attock. Here is a bridge, formed usually of from twenty to thirty boats, across the stream, at a spot where it is 537 feet wide. In summer, when the melting of the snows in the lofty mountains to the north raises the stream so that the bridge becomes endangered, it is withdrawn, and the communication is then effected by means of a ferry.
The banks of the river are very high, so that the enormous accession which the volume of water receives during inundation scarcely affects the breadth, but merely increases the depth. The rock forming the banks is of a dark-coloured slate, polished by the force of the stream, so as to shine like black marble. Between these, "one clear blue stream shot past." The depth of the Indus here is thirty feet in the lowest state, and between sixty and seventy in the highest, and runs at the rate of six miles an hour. There is a ford at some distance above the confluence of the river of Khabool; but the extreme coldness and rapidity of the water render it at all times very dangerous, and on the slightest inundation quite impracticable. The bridge is supported by an association of boatmen, who receive the revenue of a village allotted for this purpose by the Emperor Akbar, and a small daily pay as long as the bridge stands, and also levy a toll on all passengers.
On the right bank, opposite Attock, is Khyrabad—a fort built, according to some, by the Emperor Akbar, according to others by Nadir Shah. This locality is, in a military and commercial point of view, of much importance, as the Indus is here crossed by the great route which, proceeding from Khabool eastward through the Khyber Pass into the Punjaub, forms the main line of communication between Affghanistan and Northern India. The river was here repeatedly crossed by the British armies, during the late military operations in Affghanistan; and here, according to the general opinion, Alexander, subsequently Timur, the Tartar conqueror, and, still later, Nadir Shah, crossed; but there is much uncertainty on these points.
The fortress was erected by the Emperor Akbar, in 1581 to command the passage; but, though strongly built of stone on the high and steep bank of the river, it could offer no effectual resistance to a regular attack, being commanded by the neighbouring heights. Its form is that of a parallelogram: it is 800 yards long and 400 wide. The population of the town, which is inclosed within the walls of the fort, is estimated at 2000.
See through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high progressive life may go!
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vast chain of Being! which from God began,
Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see
No glass can reach; from Infinity to thee
From thee to Nothing.—On superior pow'rs
Were we to press, inferior might on ours;
Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where one step broken the great scale's destroyed
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten-thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll
Alike essential to th' amazing whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole must fall.
Let earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky;
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd,
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world,
Heav'n's whole foundations to the centre nod,
And Nature trembles to the throne of God:
All this dread Order break—for whom? for thee?
Vile worm!--Oh, madness! pride! impiety!
What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread,
Or hand to toil, aspired to be the head?
What if the head, the eye, or ear, repined
To serve—mere engines to the ruling Mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this general frame:
Just as absurd to mourn the tasks or pains,
The great directing Mind of All ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole
Whose body Nature is, and God the Soul:
That changed through all, and yet in all the same,
Great is in earth as in th' ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns:
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name:
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit—in this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear:
Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER is, is RIGHT.
This celebrated statesman, who flourished in the reigns of Charles I. and II., took a prominent part in the eventful times in which he lived. He was not of noble birth, but the descendant of a family called Hyde, which resided from a remote period at Norbury, in Cheshire. He was originally intended for the church, but eventually became a lawyer, applying himself to the study of his profession with a diligence far surpassing that of the associates with whom he lived. In 1635, he attracted the notice of Archbishop Laud, which may be regarded as the most fortunate circumstance of his life, as it led to his introduction to Charles I. In consequence of the ability displayed by him in the responsible duties he was called to perform, that Monarch offered him the office of Solicitor-General. But this Hyde declined, preferring, as he said, to serve the King in an unofficial capacity. After the battle of Naseby, Hyde was appointed one of the council formed to attend, watch over, and direct the Prince of Wales. After hopelessly witnessing for many months a course of disastrous and ill-conducted warfare in the West, the council fled with the Prince, first to the Scilly Islands, near Cornwall, and thence to Jersey. From this place, against the wishes of Hyde, the Prince, in 1640, repaired to his mother, Henrietta, at Paris, leaving Hyde at Jersey, where he remained for two years, engaged in the composition of his celebrated "History of the Rebellion." In May, 1648, Hyde was summoned to attend the Prince at the Hague; and here they received the news of the death of Charles I., which is said to have greatly appalled them. After faithfully following the new King in all his vicissitudes of fortune, suffering at times extreme poverty, he attained at the Restoration the period of his greatest power. In 1660, his daughter Anne was secretly married to the Duke of York; but when, after a year, it was openly acknowledged, the new Lord Chancellor received the news with violent demonstrations of indignation and grief. Hyde, in fact, never showed any avidity for emoluments or distinction; but when this marriage was declared, it became desirable that some mark of the King's favour should be shown, and he was created Earl of Clarendon. He subsequently, from political broils, was compelled to exile himself from the Court, and took up his residence at Montpellier, where, resuming his literary labours, he completed his celebrated History, and the memoir of his life. After fruitlessly petitioning King Charles II. for permission to end his days in England, the illustrious exile died at Rouen, in 1674, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.
It is now generally known that the Owl renders the farmer important service, by ridding him of vermin, which might otherwise consume the produce of his field; but in almost every age and country it has been regarded as a bird of ill omen, and sometimes even as the herald of death. In France, the cry or hoot is considered as a certain forerunner of misfortune to the hearer. In Tartary, the owl is looked upon in another light, though not valued as it ought to be for its useful destruction of moles, rats, and mice. The natives pay it great respect, because they attribute to this bird the preservation of the founder of their empire, Genghis Khan. That Prince, with his army, happened to be surprised and put to flight by his enemies, and was forced to conceal himself in a little coppice. An owl settled on the bush under which he was hid, and his pursuers did not search there, as they thought it impossible the bird would perch on a place where any man was concealed. Thenceforth his countrymen held the owl to be a sacred bird, and every one wore a plume of its feathers on his head.
One of the smallest of the owl tribe utters but one melancholy note now and then. The Indians in North America whistle whenever they chance to hear the solitary note; and if the bird does not very soon repeat his harmless cry, the speedy death of the superstitious hearer is foreboded. It is hence called the death bird. The voices of all carnivorous birds and beasts are harsh, and at times hideous; and probably, like that of the owl, which, from the width and capacity of its throat, is in some varieties very powerful, may be intended as an alarm and warning to the birds and animals on which they prey, to secure themselves from the approach of their stealthy foe.
Owls are divided into two groups or families—one having two tufts of feathers on the head, which have been called ears or horns, and are moveable at pleasure, the others having smooth round heads without tufts. The bills are hooked in both. There are upwards of sixty species of owls widely spread over almost every part of the known world; of these we may count not fewer than eight as more or less frequenting this country. One of the largest of the tribe is the eagle hawk, or great horned owl, the great thickness of whose plumage makes it appear nearly as large as the eagle. Some fine preserved specimens of this noble-looking bird may be seen in the British Museum. It is a most powerful bird; and a specimen was captured, with great difficulty, in 1837, when it alighted upon the mast-head of a vessel off Flamborough-head.
The amiable naturalist, Mr. Waterton, who took especial interest in the habits of the owl, writes thus on the barn owl:—"This pretty aerial wanderer of the night often comes into my room, and, after flitting to and fro, on wing so soft and silent that he is scarcely heard, takes his departure from the same window at which he had entered. I own I have a great liking for the bird; and I have offered it hospitality and protection on account of its persecutions, and for its many services to me; I wish that any little thing I could write or say might cause it to stand better with the world than it has hitherto done."
This gifted young poet was the son of a schoolmaster at Bristol, where he was born, in 1752. On the 24th of August, 1770, he was found dead, near a table covered with the scraps of writings he had destroyed, in a miserable room in Brook-street, Holborn. In Redcliffe churchyard, Bristol, a beautiful monument has been erected to the memory of the unfortunate poet.
O God! whose thunders shake the sky,
Whose eye this atom globe surveys,
To Thee, my only rock, I fly—
Thy mercy in thy justice praise.
Oh, teach me in the trying hour,
When anguish swells the dewy tear,
To still my sorrows, own Thy power,
Thy goodness love, Thy justice fear.
Ah! why, my soul, dost thou complain,
Why, drooping, seek the dark recess?
Shake off the melancholy chain,
For God created all to bless.
But, ah! my breast is human still:
The rising sigh, the falling tear,
My languid vitals' feeble rill,
The sickness of my soul declare.
This city and sea-port of Natolia, in Asia, is situate towards the northern part of a peninsula, upon a long and winding gulf of the same name, which is capable of containing the largest navy in the world. The city is about four miles round, presenting a front of a mile long to the water; and when approached by sea, it resembles a capacious amphitheatre with the ruins of an ancient castle crowning its summit. The interior of the city, however, disappoints the expectations thus raised, for the streets are narrow, dirty, and ill-paved, and there is now scarcely a trace of those once splendid edifices which rendered Smyrna one of the finest cities in Asia Minor. The shops are arched over, and have a handsome appearance: in spite of the gloom which the houses wear, those along the shore have beautiful gardens attached to them, at the foot of which are summer-houses overhanging the sea. The city is subject to earthquakes and the plague, which latter, in 1814, carried off above 50,000 of the inhabitants.
About midnight, in July, 1841, a fire broke out at Smyrna, which, from the crowded state of the wooden houses, the want of water, and the violence of the wind, was terribly destructive. About 12,000 houses were destroyed, including two-thirds of the Turkish quarter, most of the French and the whole of the Jewish quarters, with many bazaars and several mosques, synagogues, and other public buildings. It was calculated that 20,000 persons were deprived of shelter and food, and the damage was estimated at two millions sterling.
The fine port of Smyrna is frequented by ships from all nations, freighted with valuable cargoes, both outward and inward. The greater part of the trading transactions is managed by Jews, who act as brokers, the principals meeting afterwards to conclude the bargains.
In 1402 Smyrna was taken by Tamerlane, and suffered very severely. The conqueror erected within its walls a tower constructed of stones and the heads of his enemies. Soon after, it came under the dominion of the Turks, and has been subsequently the most flourishing city in the Levant, exporting and importing valuable commodities to and from all parts of the world.
I begin with distinguishing true gentleness from passive tameness of spirit, and from unlimited compliance with the manners of others. That passive tameness which submits, without opposition, to every encroachment of the violent and assuming, forms no part of Christian duty; but, on the contrary, is destructive of general happiness and order. That unlimited complaisance, which on every occasion falls in with the opinions and manners of others, is so far from being a virtue, that it is itself a vice, and the parent of many vices. It overthrows all steadiness of principle; and produces that sinful conformity with the world which taints the whole character. In the present corrupted state of human manners, always to assent and to comply is the very worst maxim we can adopt. It is impossible to support the purity and dignity of Christian morals without opposing the world on various occasions, even though we should stand alone. That gentleness, therefore, which belongs to virtue, is to be carefully distinguished from the mean spirit of cowards, and the fawning assent of sycophants. It renounces no just right from fear. It gives up no important truth from flattery. It is indeed not only consistent with a firm mind, but it necessarily requires a manly spirit, and a fixed principle, in order to give it any real value. Upon this solid ground only, the polish of gentleness can with advantage be superinduced.
It stands opposed, not to the most determined regard for virtue and truth, but to harshness and severity, to pride and arrogance, to violence and oppression. It is properly that part of the great virtue of charity, which makes us unwilling to give pain to any of our brethren. Compassion prompts us to relieve their wants. Forbearance prevents us from retaliating their injuries. Meekness restrains our angry passions; candour, our severe judgments. Gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manners, and, by a constant train of humane attentions, studies to alleviate the burden of common misery. Its office, therefore, is extensive. It is not, like some other virtues, called forth only on peculiar emergencies; but it is continually in action, when we are engaged in intercourse with men. It ought to form our address, to regulate our speech, and to diffuse itself over our whole behaviour.
We must not, however, confound this gentle "wisdom which is from above" with that artificial courtesy, that studied smoothness of manners, which is learned in the school of the world. Such accomplishments the most frivolous and empty may possess. Too often they are employed by the artful as a snare; too often affected by the hard and unfeeling as a cover to the baseness of their minds. We cannot, at the same time, avoid observing the homage, which, even in such instances, the world is constrained to pay to virtue. In order to render society agreeable, it is found necessary to assume somewhat that may at least carry its appearance. Virtue is the universal charm. Even its shadow is courted, when the substance is wanting. The imitation of its form has been reduced into an art; and in the commerce of life, the first study of all who would either gain the esteem or win the hearts of others, is to learn the speech and to adopt the manners of candour, gentleness, and humanity. But that gentleness which is the characteristic of a good man has, like every other virtue, its seat in the heart; and let me add, nothing except what flows from the heart can render even external manners truly pleasing. For no assumed behaviour can at all times hide the real character. In that unaffected civility which springs from a gentle mind there is a charm infinitely more powerful than in all the studied manners of the most finished courtier.
True gentleness is founded on a sense of what we owe to HIM who made us, and to the common nature of which we all share. It arises from reflections on our own failings and wants, and from just views of the condition and the duty of man. It is native feeling heightened and improved by principle. It is the heart which easily relents; which feels for every thing that is human, and is backward and slow to inflict the least wound. It is affable in its address, and mild in its demeanour; ever ready to oblige, and willing to be obliged by others; breathing habitual kindness towards friends, courtesy to strangers, long-suffering to enemies. It exercises authority with moderation; administers reproof with tenderness; confers favours with ease and modesty. It is unassuming in opinion, and temperate in zeal. It contends not eagerly about trifles; slow to contradict, and still slower to blame; but prompt to allay dissension and to restore peace. It neither intermeddles unnecessarily with the affairs, nor pries inquisitively into the secrets of others. It delights above all things to alleviate distress; and if it cannot dry up the falling tear, to sooth at least, the grieving heart. Where it has not the power of being useful, it is never burdensome. It seeks to please rather than to shine and dazzle, and conceals with care that superiority, either of talent or of rank, which is oppressive to those who are beneath it. In a word, it is that spirit and that tenour of manners which the Gospel of Christ enjoins, when it commands us "to bear one another's burdens; to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep; to please every one his neighbour for his good; to be kind and tender-hearted; to be pitiful and courteous; to support the weak, and to be patient towards all men."
The Iguana (Cyclura colei) is not only of singular aspect, but it may be regarded as the type of a large and important group in the Saurian family, which formed so conspicuous a feature in the ancient fauna of this country. The iguana attains a large size in Jamaica, whence the present specimen was obtained, not unfrequently approaching four feet in length. In colour it is a greenish grey. It is entirely herbivorous, as are all its congeners. Its principal haunt in Jamaica is the low limestone chain of hills, along the shore from Kingston Harbour and Goat Island, on to its continuation in Vere.
The iguanas which are occasionally taken in the savannahs adjacent to this district are considered by Mr. Hill (an energetic correspondent of the Zoological Society who resides in Spanish Town, and who has paid great attention to the natural history of the island) to be only stray visitants which have wandered from the hills. The allied species of Cyclura, which are found on the American continent, occur in situations of a very different character, for they affect forests on the bank of rivers, and woods around springs, where they pass their time in trees and in the water, living on fruits and leaves. This habit is preserved by the specimen in the Zoological Society's Gardens, which we have seen lying lazily along an elevated branch. Its serrated tail is a formidable weapon of defence, with which, when alarmed or attacked, it deals rapid blows from side to side. When unmolested it is harmless and inoffensive, and appears to live in perfect harmony with the smaller species of lizards which inhabit the same division of the house.
How many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O gentle Sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness;
Why rather, Sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull God! why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch,
A watch-case to a common larum-bell?
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy mast,
Seal up the shipboy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deaf'ning clamours in the slipp'ry shrouds,
That with the hurly Death itself awakes:
Can'st thou, O partial Sleep! give thy repose
To the wet seaboy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a King? Then, happy lowly clown!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herds Mind slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of Heraldry, the pomp of Pow'r,
And all that Beauty, all that Wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour—
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Mem'ry o'er their tombs no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle, and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry sooth the dull, cold ear of Death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton, here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.
Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their names, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
Brushing with hasty steps the dew away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
"There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.
"Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt' ring his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless lore.
"One morn, I miss'd him on th' accustom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his fav'rite tree;
Another came, nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
"The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the churchway path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou can'st read) the lay,
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth—
Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown:
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis'ry all he had—a tear;
He gain'd from Heav'n, 'twas all he wish'd—a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode;
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.
Marvellous indeed have been the productions of modern scientific investigations, but none surpass the wonder-working Electro-magnetic Telegraphic Machine; and when Shakspeare, in the exercise of his unbounded imagination, made Puck, in obedience to Oberon's order to him—
"Be here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league."
"I'll put a girdle round the earth
In forty minutes"——
how little did our immortal Bard think that this light fanciful offer of a "fairy" to "the King of the Fairies" would, in the nineteenth century, not only be substantially realised, but surpassed as follows:—
The electric telegraph would convey intelligence more than twenty-eight thousand times round the earth, while Puck, at his vaunted speed, was crawling round it only ONCE!
On every instrument there is a dial, on which are inscribed the names of the six or eight stations with which it usually communicates. When much business is to be transacted, a boy is necessary for each of these instruments; generally, however, one lad can, without practical difficulty, manage about three; but, as the whole of them are ready for work by night as well as by day, they are incessantly attended, in watches of eight hours each, by these satellite boys by day and by men at night.
As fast as the various messages for delivery, flying one after another from the ground-floor up the chimney, reach the level of the instruments, they are brought by the superintendent to the particular one by which they are to be communicated; and its boy, with the quickness characteristic of his age, then instantly sets to work.
His first process is by means of the electric current to sound a little bell, which simultaneously alarms all the stations on his line; and although the attention of the sentinel at each is thus attracted, yet it almost instantly evaporates from all excepting from that to the name of which he causes the electric needle to point, by which signal the clerk at that station instantly knows that the forthcoming question is addressed to him; and accordingly, by a corresponding signal, he announces to the London boy that he is ready to receive it. By means of a brass handle fixed to the dial, which the boy grasps in each hand, he now begins rapidly to spell off his information by certain twists of his wrists, each of which imparts to the needles on his dial, as well as to those on the dial of his distant correspondent, a convulsive movement designating the particular letter of the telegraphic alphabet required. By this arrangement he is enabled to transmit an ordinary-sized word in three seconds, or about twenty per minute. In the case of any accident to the wire of one of his needles, he can, by a different alphabet, transmit his message by a series of movements of the single needle, at the reduced rate of about eight or nine words per minute.
While a boy at one instrument is thus occupied in transmitting to—say Liverpool, a message, written by its London author in ink which is scarcely dry, another boy at the adjoining instrument is, by the reverse of the process, attentively reading the quivering movements of the needles of his dial, which, by a sort of St. Vitus's dance, are rapidly spelling to him a message, viâ the wires of the South Western Railway, say from Gosport, which word by word he repeats aloud to an assistant, who, seated by his side, writes it down (he receives it about as fast as his attendant can conveniently write it); on a sheet of; paper, which, as soon as the message is concluded, descends to the "booking-office." When inscribed in due form, it is without delay despatched to its destination, by messenger, cab, or express, according to order.
How glorious is thy girdle cast
O'er mountain, tower, and town,
Or mirror'd in the ocean vast—
A thousand fathoms down!
As fresh in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem,
As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam.
For faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span,
Nor let the type grow pale with age,
That first spoke peace to man.
The moon sometimes exhibits the extraordinary phenomenon of an iris or rainbow, by the refraction of her rays in drops of rain during the night-time. This appearance is said to occur only at the time of full moon, and to be indicative of stormy and rainy weather. One is described in the Philosophical Transactions as having been seen in 1810, during a thick rain; but, subsequent to that time, the same person gives an account of one which perhaps was the most extraordinary of which we have any record. It became visible about nine o'clock, and continued, though with very different degrees of brilliancy, until past two. At first, though a strongly marked bow, it was without colour, but afterwards became extremely vivid, the red, green, and purple being the most strongly marked. About twelve it was the most splendid in appearance. The wind was very high at the time, and a drizzling rain falling occasionally.
At summer eve, when Heaven's ethereal bow
Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky?
Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near?
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thus, with delight, we linger to survey,
The promised joys of life's unmeasured way;
Thus from afar each dim-discovered scene
More pleasing seems than all the past hath been;
And every form that fancy can repair
From dark oblivion, glows divinely there.
Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden, grow
Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe.
Won by their sweets, in nature's languid hour,
The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower;
Then, as the wild bee murmurs on the wing,
What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring!
What viewless forms th' Eolian organ play,
And sweep the furrow'd lines of anxious care away!
Angel of life! thy glittering wings explore
Earth's loneliest bounds and ocean's wildest shore.
Lo! to the wintry winds the pilot yields
His bark, careering o'er unfathom'd fields;
Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar
Where Andes, giant of the western star,
With meteor-standard to the winds unfurl'd,
Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world.
Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm,
Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form!
Rocks, waves, and winds the shatter'd bark delay—
Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.
But Hope can here her moonlight vigils keep,
And sing to charm the spirit of the deep.
Swift as yon streamer lights the starry pole,
Her visions warm the watchman's pensive soul.
His native hills that rise in happier climes;
The grot that heard his song of other times;
His cottage home, his bark of slender sail,
His glassy lake, and broomwood-blossom'd vale,
Rush in his thought; he sweeps before the wind,
And treads the shore he sigh'd to leave behind!
Pleasures of Hope.
Hartlepool Lighthouse is a handsome structure of white freestone—the building itself being fifty feet in height; but, owing to the additional height of the cliff, the light is exhibited at an elevation of nearly eighty-five feet above high-water mark. On the eastern side of the building is placed a balcony, supporting a lantern, from which a small red light is exhibited, to indicate that state of the tide which will admit of the entrance of ships into the harbour; the corresponding signal in the daytime being a red ball hoisted to the top of the flag-staff. The lighthouse is furnished with an anemometer and tidal gauge; and its appointments are altogether of the most complete description. It is chiefly, however, with regard to the system adopted in the lighting arrangements that novelty presents itself.
The main object, in the instance of a light placed as a beacon to warn mariners of their proximity to a dangerous coast, is to obtain the greatest possible intensity and amount of penetrating power. A naked or simple light is therefore seldom, if ever employed; but whether it proceed from the combustion of oil or gas, it is equally necessary that it should be combined with some arrangement of optical apparatus, in order that the rays emitted may be collected, and projected in such a direction as to render them available to the object in view; and in all cases a highly-polished metal surface is employed as a reflector.
In the Hartlepool Lighthouse the illuminative medium is gas. The optical apparatus embraces three-fourths of the circumference of the circle which encloses the light, and the whole of the rays emanating from that part of the light opposed to the optical arrangement are reflected or refracted (as the case may be), so that they are projected from the lighthouse in such a direction as to be visible from the surface of the ocean.
Can anything (says Plato) be more delightful than the hearing or the speaking of truth? For this reason it is that there is no conversation so agreeable that of a man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive. As an advocate was pleading the cause of his client in Rome, before one of the praetors, he could only produce a single witness in a point where the law required the testimony of two persons; upon which the advocate insisted on the integrity of the person whom he had produced, but the praetor told him that where the law required two witnesses he would not accept of one, though it were Cato himself. Such a speech, from a person who sat at the head of a court of justice, while Cato was still living, shows us, more than a thousand examples, the high reputation this great man had gained among his contemporaries on account of his sincerity.
2. As I was sitting (says an ancient writer) with some senators of Bruges, before the gate of the Senate-House, a certain beggar presented himself to us, and with sighs and tears, and many lamentable gestures, expressed to us his miserable poverty, and asked our alms, telling us at the same time, that he had about him a private maim and a secret mischief, which very shame restrained him from discovering to the eyes of men. We all pitying the case of the poor man, gave him each of us something, and departed. One, however, amongst us took an opportunity to send his servant after him, with orders to inquire of him what that private infirmity might be which he found such cause to be ashamed of, and was so loth to discover. The servant overtook him, and delivered his commission: and after having diligently viewed his face, breast, arms, legs, and finding all his limbs in apparent soundness, "Why, friend," said he, "I see nothing whereof you have any such reason to complain." "Alas! sir," said the beggar, "the disease which afflicts me is far different from what you conceive, and is such as you cannot discern; yet it is an evil which hath crept over my whole body: it has passed through my very veins and marrow in such a manner that there is no member of my body that is able to work for my daily bread. This disease is by some called idleness, and by others sloth." The servant, hearing this singular apology, left him in great anger, and returned to his master with the above account; but before the company could send again to make further inquiry after him, the beggar had very prudently withdrawn himself.
3. Action, we are assured, keeps the soul in constant health; but idleness corrupts and rusts the mind; for a man of great abilities may by negligence and idleness become so mean and despicable as to be an incumbrance to society and a burthen to himself. When the Roman historians described an extraordinary man, it generally entered into his character, as an essential, that he was incredibili industriâ, diligentiâ singulari—of incredible industry, of singular diligence and application. And Cato, in Sallust, informs the Senate, that it was not so much the arms as the industry of their ancestors, which advanced the grandeur of Rome, and made her mistress of the world.
The group in the Pacific Ocean called the Gambier Islands are but thinly inhabited, but possess a good harbour. Captain Beechey, in his "Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Behring's Straits," tells us that several of the islands, especially the largest, have a fertile appearance. The Captain gives an interesting account of his interview with some of the natives, who approached the ship in rafts, carrying from sixteen to twenty men each, as represented in the Engraving.
"We were much pleased," says the Captain, "with the manner of lowering their matting sail, diverging on different courses, and working their paddles, in the use of which they had great power, and were well skilled, plying them together, or, to use a nautical phrase, 'keeping stroke.' They had no other weapons but long poles, and were quite naked, with the exception of a banana leaf cut into strips, and tied about their loins; and one or two persons wore white turbans." They timidly approached both the ship and the barge, but would upset any small boats within their reach; not, however, from any malicious intention, but from thoughtlessness and inquisitiveness. Captain Beechey approached them in the gig, and gave them several presents, for which they, in return, threw him some bundles of paste, tied up in large leaves, which was the common food of the natives. They tempted the Captain and his crew with cocoa-nuts and roots, and invited their approach by performing ludicrous dances; but, as soon as the visitors were within reach, all was confusion. A scuffle ensued, and on a gun being fired over their heads, all but four instantly plunged into the sea. The inhabitants of these islands are stated to be well-made, with upright and graceful figures. Tattooing seems to be very commonly practised, and some of the patterns are described as being very elegant.
"He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,"
Who first of all the bands of Satan breaks;
Who breaks the bands of sin, and for his soul,
In spite of fools, consulteth seriously;
In spite of fashion, perseveres in good;
In spite of wealth or poverty, upright;
Who does as reason, not as fancy bids;
Who hears Temptation sing, and yet turns not
Aside; sees Sin bedeck her flowery bed,
And yet will not go up; feels at his heart
The sword unsheathed, yet will not sell the truth;
Who, having power, has not the will to hurt;
Who feels ashamed to be, or have a slave,
Whom nought makes blush but sin, fears nought but God;
Who, finally, in strong integrity
Of soul, 'midst want, or riches, or disgrace
Uplifted, calmly sat, and heard the waves
Of stormy Folly breaking at his feet,
Nor shrill with praise, nor hoarse with foal reproach,
And both despised sincerely; seeking this
Alone, the approbation of his God,
Which still with conscience witness'd to his peace.
This, this is freedom, such as Angels use,
And kindred to the liberty of God!
The adventurous spirit of Englishmen has caused them to fit out no less than sixty expeditions within the last three centuries and a half, with the sole object of discovering a north-west passage to India. Without attempting even to enumerate these baffled essays, we will at once carry our young readers to these dreary regions—dreary, merely because their capabilities are unsuited to the necessities which are obvious to all, yet performing their allotted office in the economy of the world, and manifesting the majesty and the glory of our great Creator.
Winter in the Arctic Circle is winter indeed: there is no sun to gladden with his beams the hearts of the voyagers; but all is wrapt in darkness, day and night, save when the moon chances to obtrude her faint rays, only to make visible the desolation of the scene. The approach of winter is strongly marked. Snow begins to fall in August, and the ground is covered to the depth of two or three feet before October. As the cold augments, the air bears its moisture in the form of a frozen fog, the icicles of which are so sharp as to be painful to the skin. The surface of the sea steams like a lime-kiln, caused by the water being still warmer than the superincumbent atmosphere. The mist at last clears, the water having become frozen, and darkness settles on the land. All is silence, broken only by the bark of the Arctic fox, or by the loud explosion of bursting rocks, as the frost penetrates their bosoms.
The crews of exploring vessels, which are frozen firmly in the ice in winter, spend almost the whole of their time in their ships, which in Sir James Ross's expedition (in 1848-49) were well warmed and ventilated. Where there has not been sufficient warmth, their provisions—even brandy—became so frozen as to require to be cut by a hatchet. The mercury in a barometer has frozen so that it might be beaten on an anvil.
As Sir James Ross went in search of Sir John Franklin, he adopted various methods of letting him know (if alive) of assistance being at hand. Provisions were deposited in several marked places; and on the excursions to make these deposits, they underwent terrible fatigue, as well as suffered severely from what is termed "snow blindness." But the greatest display of ingenuity was in capturing a number of white foxes, and fastening copper collars round their necks, on which was engraved a notice of the position of the ships and provisions. It was possible that these animals, which are known to travel very far in search of food, might be captured by the missing voyagers, who would thus be enabled to avail themselves of the assistance intended for them by their noble countrymen. The little foxes, in their desire to escape, sometimes tried to gnaw the bars of their traps; but the cold was so intense, that their tongues froze to the iron, and so their captors had to kill them, to release them from their misery, for they were never wantonly destroyed.
The great Painter of the Universe has not forgotten the embellishment of the Pole. One of the most beautiful phenomena in nature is the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. It generally assumes the form of an arch, darting flashes of lilac, yellow, or white light towards the heights of heaven. Some travellers state that the aurora are accompanied by a crackling or hissing noise; but Captain Lyon, who listened for hours, says that this is not the case, and that it is merely that the imagination cannot picture these sudden bursts of light as unaccompanied by noise.
We will now bid farewell to winter, for with returning summer comes the open sea, and the vessels leave their wintry bed. This, however, is attended with much difficulty and danger. Canals have to be cut in the ice, through which to lead the ships to a less obstructed ocean; and, after this had been done in Sir James Ross's case, the ships were hemmed in by a pack of ice, fifty miles in circumference, and were carried along, utterly helpless, at the rate of eight or ten miles daily, for upwards of 250 miles—the navigators fearing the adverse winds might drive them on the rocky coast of Baffin's Bay. At length the wind changed, and carried them clear of ice and icebergs (detached masses of ice, sometimes several hundred feet in height) to the open sea, and back to their native land.
With all its dreariness, we owe much to the ice-bound Pole; to it we are indebted for the cooling breeze and the howling tempest—the beneficent tempest, in spite of all its desolation and woe. Evil and good in nature are comparative: the same thing does what is called harm in one sense, but incalculable good in another. So the tempest, that causes the wreck, and makes widows of happy wives and orphans of joyous children, sets in motion air that would else be stagnant, and become the breath of pestilence and the grave.
All the Crown Jewels, or Regalia, used by the Sovereign on great state occasions, are kept in the Tower of London, where they have been for nearly two centuries. The first express mention made of the Regalia being kept in this palatial fortress, occurs in the reign of Henry III., previously to which they were deposited either in the Treasury of the Temple, or in some religious house dependent upon the Crown. Seldom, however, did the jewels remain in the Tower for any length of time, for they were repeatedly pledged to meet the exigences of the Sovereign. An inventory of the jewels in the Tower, made by order of James I., is of great length; although Henry III., during the Lincolnshire rebellion, in 1536, greatly reduced the value and number of the Royal store. In the reign of Charles II., a desperate attempt was made by Colonel Blood and his accomplices to possess themselves of the Royal Jewels.
The Regalia were originally kept in a small building on the south side of the White Tower; but, in the reign of Charles I., they were transferred to a strong chamber in the Martin Tower, afterwards called the Jewel Tower. Here they remained until the fire in 1840; when being threatened with destruction from the flames which were raging near them, they were carried away by the warders, and placed for safety in the house of the Governor. In 1841 they were removed to the new Jewel-House, which is much more commodious than the old vaulted chamber in which they were previously shown.
The QUEEN'S, or IMPERIAL CROWN was made for the coronation of her present Majesty. It is composed of a cap of purple velvet, enclosed by hoops of silver, richly dight with gems, in the form shown in our Illustration. The arches rise almost to a point instead of being depressed, are covered with pearls, and are surmounted by an orb of brilliants. Upon this is placed a Maltese or cross pattee of brilliants. Four crosses and four fleurs-de-lis surmount the circlet, all composed of diamonds, the front cross containing the "inestimable sapphire," of the purest and deepest azure, more than two inches long, and an inch broad; and, in the circlet beneath it, is a rock ruby, of enormous size and exquisite colour, said to have been worn by the Black Prince at the battle of Cressy, and by Henry V. at the battle of Agincourt. The circlet is enriched with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. This crown was altered from the one constructed expressly for the coronation of King George IV.: the superb diadem then weighed 5-1/2 lb., and was worn by the King on his return in procession from the Abbey to the Hall at Westminster.
The OLD IMPERIAL CROWN (St. Edward's) is the one whose form is so familiar to us from its frequent representation on the coin of the realm, the Royal arms, &c. It was made for the coronation of Charles II., to replace the one broken up and sold during the Civil Wars, which was said to have been worn by Edward the Confessor. It is of gold, and consists of two arches crossing at the top, and rising from a rim or circlet of gold, over a cap of crimson velvet, lined with white taffeta, and turned up with ermine. The base of the arches on each side is covered by a cross pattee; between the crosses are four fleurs-de-lis of gold, which rise out of the circle: the whole of these are splendidly enriched with pearls and precious stones. On the top, at the intersection of the arches, which are somewhat depressed, are a mound and cross of gold the latter richly jewelled, and adorned with three pearls, one on the top, and one pendent at each limb.
The PRINCE OF WALES'S CROWN is of pure gold, unadorned with jewels. On occasions of state, it is placed before the seat occupied by the Heir-Apparent to the throne in the House of Lords.
The QUEEN'S DIADEM was made for the coronation of Marie d'Este, consort of James II., it is adorned with large diamonds, and the upper edge of the circlet is bordered with pearls.
The TEMPORAL SCEPTRE of Queen Victoria is of gold, 2 feet 9 inch in length; the staff is very plain, but the pommel is ornamented with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. The fleurs-de-lis with which this sceptre was originally adorned have been replaced by golden leaves, bearing the rose, shamrock, and thistle. The cross is variously jewelled, and has in the centre a large table diamond.
Her Majesty's SPIRITUAL SCEPTRE, Rod of Equity, or Sceptre with the Dove, is also of gold, 3 feet 7 inches long, set with diamonds and other precious stones. It is surmounted by an orb, banded with rose diamonds, bearing a cross, on which is the figure of a dove with expanded wings.
The QUEEN'S IVORY SCEPTRE was made for Maria d'Este, consort of James II. It is mounted in gold, and terminated by a golden cross, bearing a dove of white onyx.
The ampulla is an antique vessel of pure gold, used for containing the holy oil at coronations. It resembles an eagle with expanded wings, and is finely chased: the head screws off at the middle of the neck for pouring in the oil; and the neck being hollow to the beak the latter serves as a spout, through which the consecrated oil is poured into
The ANOINTING SPOON, which is also of pure gold: it has four pearls in the broadest part of the handle, and the bowl of the spoon is finely chased within and without; by its extreme thinness, it appears to be ancient.
The ARMILLAE, or BRACELETS, are of solid fine gold, chased, 1-1/2 inch in breadth, edged with rows of pearls. They open by a hinge, and are enamelled with the rose, fleur-de-lis, and harp.
The IMPERIAL ORB, or MOUND, is an emblem of sovereignty, said to have been derived from Imperial Rome, and to have been first adorned with the cross by Constantine, on his conversion to Christianity. It first appears among the Royal insignia of England on the coins of Edward the Confessor. This orb is a ball of gold, 6 inches in diameter, encompassed with a band of gold, set with emeralds, rubies, and pearls. On the top is a remarkably fine amethyst, nearly 1-1/2 inch high, which serves as the foot or pedestal of a rich cross of gold, 32 inches high, encrusted with diamonds; having in the centre, on one side, a sapphire, and an emerald on the other; four large pearls at the angles of the cross, a large pearl at the end of each limb, and three at the base; the height of the orb and cross being 11 inches.
The QUEEN'S ORB is of smaller dimensions than the preceding, but of similar materials and fashion.
The SALT-CELLARS are of singular form and rich workmanship. The most noticeable is—the Golden Salt-cellar of State, which is of pure gold, richly adorned with jewels, and grotesque figures in chased work. Its form is castellated: and the receptacles for the salt are formed by the removal of the tops of the turrets.
In the same chamber with the Crowns, Sceptres, and other Regalia used in the ceremonial of the Coronation, is a very interesting collection ofAMPULLA plate, formerly used at Coronation festivals; together with fonts, &c. Amongst these are
The QUEEN'S BAPTISMAL FONT, which is of silver, gilt, tastefully chased, and surmounted by two figures emblematical of the baptismal rite: this font was formerly used at the christening of the Royal family; but a new font of more picturesque design, has lately be n manufactured for her Majesty.
There are, besides, in the collection, a large Silver Wine Fountain, presented by the corporation of Plymouth to Charles II.; two massive Coronation Tankards, of gold; a Banqueting Dish, and other dishes and spoons of gold, used at Coronation festivals; besides a beautifully-wrought service of Sacramental Plate, employed at the Coronation, and used also in the Chapel of St. Peter in the Tower.
I ask'd an aged man, a man of cares,
Wrinkled and curved, and white with hoary hairs:
"Time is the warp of life," he said; "Oh tell
The young, the fair, the gay, to weave 't well!"
I ask'd the ancient, venerable dead—
Sages who wrote, and warriors who bled:
From the cold grave a hollow murmur flow'd—
"Time sow'd the seed we reap in this abode!"
I ask'd a dying sinner, ere the tide
Of life had left his veins: "Time?" he replied,
"I've lost it! Ah, the treasure!" and he died.
I ask'd the golden sun and silver spheres,
Those bright chronometers of days and years:
They answer'd: "Time is but a meteor's glare,"
And bade me for Eternity prepare.
I ask'd the Seasons, in their annual round,
Which beautify or desolate the ground;
And they replied (no oracle more wise):
"'Tis Folly's blank, and Wisdom's highest prize!"
I ask'd a spirit lost, but oh! the shriek
That pierced my soul! I shudder while I speak.
It cried, "A particle! a speck! a mite
Of endless years—duration infinite!"
Of things inanimate, my dial I
Consulted, and it made me this reply:
"Time is the season fair of living well—
The path of glory, or the path of hell."
I ask'd my Bible, and methinks it said:
"Time is the present hour—the past is fled:
Live! live to-day; to-morrow never yet
On any human being rose or set."
I ask'd old Father Time himself at last,
But in a moment he flew swiftly past—
His chariot was a cloud, the viewless wind
His noiseless steeds, which left no trace behind.
I ask'd the mighty Angel who shall stand
One foot on sea, and one on solid land;
"By Heaven!" he cried, "I swear the mystery's o'er;
Time was," he cried, "but time shall be no more!"
Fine writing, according to Mr. Addison, consists of sentiments which are natural without being obvious. There cannot be a juster and more concise definition of fine writing.
Sentiments which are merely natural affect not the mind with any pleasure, and seem not worthy to engage our attention. The pleasantries of a waterman, the observations of a peasant, the ribaldry of a porter or hackney-coachman; all these are natural and disagreeable. What an insipid comedy should we make of the chit-chit of the tea-table, copied faithfully and at full length! Nothing can please persons of taste but nature drawn with all her graces and ornament—la belle nature; or, if we copy low life, the strokes must be strong and remarkable, and must convey a lively image to the mind. The absurd naïveté of Sancho Panza is represented in such inimitable colours by Cervantes, that it entertains as much as the picture of the most magnanimous hero or softest lover.
The case is the same with orators, philosophers, critics, or any author who speaks in his own person without introducing other speakers or actors. If his language be not elegant, his observations uncommon, his sense strong and masculine, he will in vain boast his nature and simplicity. He may be correct, but he never will be agreeable. 'Tis the unhappiness of such authors that they are never blamed nor censured. The good fortune of a book and that of a man are not the same. The secret deceiving path of life, which Horace talks of—fallentis semita vitae—may be the happiest, lot of the one, but is the greatest misfortune that the other can possibly fall into.
On the other hand, productions which are merely surprising, without being natural, can never give any lasting entertainment to the mind. To draw chimaeras is not, properly speaking, to copy or imitate. The justness of the representation is lost, and the mind is displeased to find a picture which bears no resemblance to any original. Nor are such excessive refinements more agreeable in the epistolary or philosophic style, than in the epic or tragic. Too much ornament is a fault in every kind of production. Uncommon expressions, strong flashes of wit, pointed similes, and epigrammatic turns, especially when laid too thick, are a disfigurement rather than any embellishment of discourse. As the eye, in surveying a Gothic building, is distracted by the multiplicity of ornaments, and loses the whole by its minute attention to the parts; so the mind, in perusing a work overstocked with wit, is fatigued and disgusted with the constant endeavour to shine and surprise. This is the case where a writer over-abounds in wit, even though that wit should be just and agreeable. But it commonly happens to such writers, that they seek for their favourite ornaments even where the subject affords them not; and by that means have twenty insipid conceits for one thought that is really beautiful.
There is no subject in critical learning more copious than this of the just mixture of simplicity and refinement in writing; and, therefore, not to wander in too large a field, I shall confine myself to a few general observations on that head.
First, I observe, "That though excesses of both kinds are to be avoided, and though a proper medium ought to be studied in all productions; yet this medium lies not in a point, but admits of a very considerable latitude." Consider the wide distance, in this respect, between Mr. Pope and Lucretius. These seem to lie in the two greatest extremes of refinement and simplicity which a poet can indulge himself in, without being guilty of any blameable excess. All this interval may be filled with poets, who may differ from each other, but may be equally admirable, each in his peculiar style and manner. Corneille and Congreve, who carry their wit and refinement somewhat farther than Mr. Pope (if poets of so different a kind can be compared together), and Sophocles and Terence, who are more simple than Lucretius, seem to have gone out of that medium wherein the most perfect productions are to be found, and are guilty of some excess in these opposite characters. Of all the great poets, Virgil and Racine, in my opinion, lie nearest the centre, and are the farthest removed from both the extremities.
My second observation on this head is, "That it is very difficult, if not impossible, to explain by words wherein the just medium betwixt the excesses of simplicity and refinement consists, or to give any rule by which we can know precisely the bounds betwixt the fault and the beauty." A critic may not only discourse very judiciously on this head without instructing his readers, but even without understanding the matter perfectly himself. There is not in the world a finer piece of criticism than Fontenelle's "Dissertation on Pastorals;" wherein, by a number of reflections and philosophical reasonings, he endeavours to fix the just medium which is suitable to that species of writing. But let any one read the pastorals of that author, and he will be convinced, that this judicious critic, notwithstanding his fine reasonings, had a false taste, and fixed the point of perfection much nearer the extreme of refinement than pastoral poetry will admit of. The sentiments of his shepherds are better suited to the toilets of Paris than to the forests of Arcadia. But this it is impossible to discover from his critical reasonings. He blames all excessive painting and ornament, as much as Virgil could have done had he written a dissertation on this species of poetry. However different the tastes of men may be, their general discourses on these subjects are commonly the same. No criticism can be very instructive which descends not to particulars, and is not full of examples and illustrations. 'Tis allowed on all hands, that beauty, as well as virtue, lies always in a medium; but where this medium is placed is the great question, and can never be sufficiently explained by general reasonings.
I shall deliver it as a third observation on this subject, "That we ought to be more on our guard against the excess of refinement than that of simplicity; and that because the former excess is both less beautiful and more dangerous than the latter."
It is a certain rule that wit and passion are entirely inconsistent. When the affections are moved, there is no place for the imagination. The mind of man being naturally limited, it is impossible all his faculties can operate at once; and the more any one predominates, the less room is there for the others to exert their vigour. For this reason a greater degree of simplicity is required in all compositions, where men and actions and passions are painted, than in such as consist of reflections and observations. And as the former species of writing is the more engaging and beautiful, one may safely, upon this account, give the preference to the extreme of simplicity above that of refinement.
We may also observe, that those compositions which we read the oftenest, and which every man of taste has got by heart, have the recommendation of simplicity, and have nothing surprising in the thought when divested of that elegance of expression and harmony of numbers with which it is cloathed. If the merit of the composition lies in a point of wit, it may strike at first; but the mind anticipates the thought in the second perusal, and is no longer affected by it. When I read an epigram of Martial, the first line recalls the whole; and I have no pleasure in repeating to myself what I know already. But each line, each word in Catullus has its merit; and I am never tired with the perusal of him. It is sufficient to rim over Cowley once; but Parnel, after the fiftieth reading, is fresh as at the first. Besides, it is with books as with women, where a certain plainness of manner and of dress is more engaging than that glare of paint and airs and apparel which may dazzle the eye but reaches not the affections. Terence is a modest and bashful beauty, to whom we grant every thing, because he assumes nothing, and whose purity and nature make a durable though not a violent impression upon us.
But refinement, as it is the less beautiful, so it is the more dangerous extreme, and what we are the aptest to fall into. Simplicity passes for dulness when it is not accompanied with great elegance and propriety. On the contrary, there is something surprising in a blaze of wit and conceit. Ordinary readers are mightily struck with it, and falsely imagine it to be the most difficult, as well as most excellent way of writing. Seneca abounds with agreeable faults, says Quinctilian—abundat dulcibus vitiis; and for that reason is the more dangerous and the more apt to pervert the taste of the young and inconsiderate.
I shall add, that the excess of refinement is now more to be guarded against than ever; because it is the extreme which men are the most apt to fall into, after learning has made great progress, and after eminent writers have appeared in every species of composition. The endeavour to please by novelty leads men wide of simplicity and nature, and fills their writings with affectation and conceit. It was thus that the age of Claudius and Nero became so much inferior to that of Augustus in taste and genius; and perhaps there are at present some symptoms of a like degeneracy of taste, in France as well as in England.
The celebrated patriot, John Hampden, was descended from an ancient family in Buckinghamshire, where he was born in 1594. On leaving the University, he entered the inns of court, where he made considerable progress in the study of the law. He was chosen to serve in the Parliament which assembled at Westminster, February, 1626, and served in all the succeeding Parliaments in the reign of Charles I. That Monarch having quarrelled with his Parliament, was obliged to have recourse to the open exercise of his prerogative in order to supply himself with money. From the nobility he desired assistance; from the City of London he required a loan of £100,000. The former contributed but slowly; the latter at length gave a flat denial. To equip a fleet, an apportionment was made, by order of the Council, amongst all the maritime towns, each of which was required, with the assistance of the adjoining counties, to furnish a certain number of vessels or amount of shipping. The City of London was rated at twenty ships. And this was the first appearance in the present reign of ship-money—a taxation which had once been imposed by Elizabeth, on a great emergency, but which, revived and carried further by Charles, produced the most violent discontent.
In 1636, John Hampden became universally known by his intrepid opposition to the ship-money, as an illegal tax. Upon this he was prosecuted, and his conduct throughout the transaction gained him great credit and reputation. When the Long Parliament began, the eyes of all were fixed upon him as the father of his country. On the 3rd of January, 1642, the King ordered articles of high treason, and other misdemeanours, to be prepared against Lord Kimbolton, Mr. Hampden, and four other members of the House of Commons, and went to the House to seize them, but they had retired. Mr. Hampden afterwards made a celebrated speech in the House to clear himself from the charge brought against him.
In the beginning of the civil war Hampden commanded a regiment of foot, and did good service at the battle of Edgehill; but he received a mortal wound in an engagement with Prince Rupert, in Chalgrave-field, in Oxfordshire, and died in 1648. Hampden is said to have possessed in a high degree talents for gaining and preserving popular influence, and great courage, industry, and strength of mind, which procured him great ascendancy over other men.
Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still question'd me the story of my life,
From year to year: the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have past.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days
To the very moment that he bade me tell it.
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving incidents by flood and field,
Of hair-breadth 'scapes in the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence,
And 'portance in my travels' history;
Wherein of antres vast, and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven,
It was my hint to speak—such was the process;
And of the cannibals that each other eat—
The Anthropophagi—and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. These things to bear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
still the house affairs would draw her thence;
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse; which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage relate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard
But not intentively: I did consent;
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs;
She swore—in faith 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange;
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful;
She wish'd she had not heard it; yet she wish'd
That Heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me;
And bade me if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake;
She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used:
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.
Verily duty to parents is of the first consequence; and would you, my young friends, recommend yourselves to the favour of your God and Father, would you imitate the example of your adorable Redeemer, and be made an inheritor of his precious promises; would you enjoy the peace and comforts of this life, and the good esteem of your fellow-creatures—Reverence your parents; and be it your constant endeavour, as it will be your greatest satisfaction, to witness your high sense of, and to make some returns for the obligations you owe to them, by every act of filial obedience and love.
Let their commands be ever sacred in your ears, and implicitly obeyed, where they do not contradict the commands of God: pretend not to be wiser than they, who have had so much more experience than yourselves; and despise them not, if haply you should be so blest as to have gained a degree of knowledge or of fortune superior to them. Let your carriage towards them be always respectful, reverent, and submissive; let your words be always affectionate and humble, and especially beware of pert and ill-seeming replies; of angry, discontented, and peevish looks. Never imagine, if they thwart your wills, or oppose your inclinations, that this ariseth from any thing but love to you: solicitous as they have ever been for your welfare, always consider the same tender solicitude as exerting itself, even in cases most opposite to your desires; and let the remembrance of what they have done and suffered for you, ever preserve you from acts of disobedience, and from paining those good hearts which have already felt so much for you, their children.
The Emperor of China, on certain days of the year, pays a visit to his mother, who is seated on a throne to receive him; and four times on his feet, and as often on his knees, he makes her a profound obeisance, bowing his head even to the ground.
Sir Thomas More seems to have emulated this beautiful example; for, being Lord Chancellor of England at the same time that his father was a Judge of the King's Bench, he would always, on his entering Westminster Hall, go first to the King's Bench, and ask his father's blessing before he went to sit in the Court of Chancery, as if to secure success in the great decisions of his high and important office.
When the widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, left France, where she had dwelt since her fifth year—where she had shared in the education of the French King's own daughters, in one of the convents of the kingdom, and been the idol of the French Court and people, it is said that, as the coast of the happy land faded from her view, she continued to exclaim, "Farewell, France! farewell, dear France—I shall never see thee more!" And her first view of Scotland only increased the poignancy of these touching regrets. So little pains had been taken to "cover over the nakedness and poverty of the land," that tears sprang into her eyes, when, fresh from the elegant luxurious Court of Paris, she saw the wretched ponies, with bare, wooden saddles, or dirty and ragged trappings, which had been provided to carry her and her ladies from the water-side to Holyrood. And then the palace itself; how different from the palaces in which she had lived in France! Dismal and small, it consisted only of what is now the north wing. The state-room and the bed-chamber which were used by her yet remain, with the old furniture, and much of the needle-work there is said to have been the work of her hands. During her long and melancholy imprisonment in England, the art of needle-work and reading were almost her only mode of relieving the dreary hours.
From the moment Mary of Scotland took the fatal resolution of throwing herself upon the supposed kindness and generosity of Elizabeth, her fate was sealed, and it was that of captivity, only to be ended by death. She was immediately cut off from all communication with her subjects, except such as it was deemed proper to allow; and was moved about from place to place, the better to ensure her safety. The hapless victim again and again implored Elizabeth to deal generously and justly with her. "I came," said she, in one of her letters, "of mine own accord; let me depart again with yours: and if God permit my cause to succeed, I shall be bound to you for it." But her rival was unrelenting, and, in fact, increased the rigours of her confinement. Whilst a prisoner at Chatsworth, she had been permitted the indulgence of air and exercise; and the bower of Queen Mary is still shown in the noble grounds of that place, as a favourite resort of the unfortunate captive. But even this absolutely necessary indulgence was afterwards denied; she was wholly confined to the Castle of Fotheringay, and a standing order was issued that "she should be shot if she attempted to escape, or if others attempted to rescue her."
Burns, in his "Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots," touchingly expresses the weary feelings that must have existed in the breast of the Royal captive:—
"Oh, soon to me may summer suns
Nae mair light up the morn!
Nae mair to me the autumn winds
Wave o'er the yellow corn!
And in the narrow house of death,
Let winter round me rave;
And the next flowers that deck the spring,
Bloom on my peaceful grave."
In the year 1850, a vast line of railway was completed from Chester to Holyhead, for the conveyance of the Royal mails, of goods and passengers, and of her Majesty's troops and artillery, between London and Dublin—Holyhead being the most desirable point at which to effect this communication with Ireland. Upon this railway are two stupendous bridges, which are the most perfect examples of engineering skill ever executed in England, or in any other country.
The first of these bridges carries the railway across the river Conway, close to the ancient castle built by Edward I. in order to bridle his new subjects, the Welsh.
The Conway bridge consists of a tube, or long, huge chest, the ends of which rest upon stone piers, built to correspond with the architecture of the old castle. The tube is made of wrought-iron plates, varying in thickness from a quarter of an inch to one inch, riveted together, and strengthened by irons in the form of the letter T; and, to give additional strength to the whole, a series of cells is formed at the bottom and top of the tube, between an inner ceiling and floor and the exterior plates; the iron plates which form the cells being riveted and held in their places by angle irons. The space between the sides of the tube is 14 feet; and the height of the whole, inclusive of the cells, is 22 feet 3-1/2 inches at the ends, and 25 feet 6 inches at the centre. The total length of the tube is 412 feet. One end of the tube is fixed to the masonry of the pier; but the other is so arranged as to allow for the expansion of the metal by changes of the temperature of the atmosphere, and it therefore, rests upon eleven rollers of iron, running upon a bed-plate; and, that the whole weight of the tube may not be carried by these rollers, six girders are carried over the tube, and riveted to the upper parts of its sides, which rest upon twelve balls of gun-metal running in grooves, which are fixed to iron beams let into the masonry.
The second of these vast railway bridges crosses the Menai Straits, which separate Caernarvon from the island of Anglesey. It is constructed a good hundred feet above high-water level, to enable large vessels to sail beneath it; and in building it, neither scaffolding nor centering was used.
The abutments on either side of the Straits are huge piles of masonry. That on the Anglesey side is 143 feet high, and 173 feet long. The wing walls of both terminate in splendid pedestals, and on each are two colossal lions, of Egyptian design; each being 25 feet long, 12 feet high though crouched, 9 feet abaft the body, and each paw 2 feet 1 inches. Each weighs 30 tons. The towers for supporting the tube are of a like magnitude with the entire work. The great Britannia Tower, in the centre of the Straits, is 62 feet by 52 feet at its base; its total height from the bottom, 230 feet; it contains 148,625 cubic feet of limestone, and 144,625 of sandstone; it weighs 20,000 tons; and there are 387 tons of cast iron built into it in the shape of beams and girders. It sustains the four ends of the four long iron tubes which span the Straits from shore to shore. The total quantity of stone contained in the bridge is 1,500,000 cubic feet. The side towers stand at a clear distance of 460 feet from the great central tower; and, again, the abutments stand at a distance from the side towers of 230 feet, giving the entire bridge a total length of 1849 feet, correspond ing with the date of the year of its construction. The side or land towers are each 62 feet by 52 feet at the base, and 190 feet high; they contain 210 tons of cast iron.
The length of the great tube is exactly 470 feet, being 12 feet longer than the clear space between the towers, and the greatest span ever yet attempted. The greatest height of the tube is in the centre—30 feet, and diminishing towards the end to 22 feet. Each tube consists of sides, top and bottom, all formed of long, narrow wrought-iron plates, varying in length from 12 feet downward. These plates are of the same manufacture as those for making boilers, varying in thickness from three-eighths to three-fourths of an inch. Some of them weigh nearly 7 cwt., and are amongst the largest it is possible to roll with any existing machinery. The connexion between top, bottom, and sides is made much more substantial by triangular pieces of thick plate, riveted in across the corners, to enable the tube to resist the cross or twisting strain to which it will be exposed from the heavy and long-continued gales of wind that, sweeping up the Channel, will assail it in its lofty and unprotected position. The rivets, of which there are 2,000,000—each tube containing 327,000—are more than an inch in diameter. They are placed in rows, and were put in the holes red hot, and beaten with heavy hammers. In cooling, they contracted strongly, and drew the plates together so powerfully that it required a force of from 1 to 6 tons to each rivet, to cause the plates to slide over each other. The weight of wrought iron in the great tube is 1600 tons.
Each of these vast bridge tubes was constructed on the shore, then floated to the base of the piers, or bridge towers, and raised to its proper elevation by hydraulic machinery, the largest in the world, and the most powerful ever constructed. For the Britannia Bridge, this consisted of two vast presses, one of which has power equal to that of 30,000 men, and it lifted the largest tube six feet in half an hour.
The Britannia tubes being in two lines, are passages for the up and down trains across the Straits. Each of the tubes has been compared to the Burlington Arcade, in Piccadilly; and the labour of placing this tube upon the piers has been assimilated to that of raising the Arcade upon the summit of the spire of St. James's Church, if surrounded with water.
Each line of tube is 1513 feet in length; far surpassing in size any piece of wrought-iron work ever before put together; and its weight is 5000 tons, being nearly equal to that of two 120-gun ships, having on board, ready for sea, guns, provisions, and crew. The plate-iron covering of the tubes is not thicker than the hide of an elephant, and scarcely thicker than the bark of an oak-tree; whilst one of the large tubes, if placed on its end in St. Paul's churchyard, would reach 107 feet higher than the cross of the cathedral.
Ye mariners of England!
Who guard our native seas,
Whose flag has braved a thousand years
The battle and the breeze,
Your glorious standard launch again,
To match another foe,
And sweep through the deep
While the stormy tempests blow;
While the battle rages long and loud,
And the stormy tempests blow.
The spirits of your fathers
Shall start from every wave!
For the deck it was their field of fame,
And Ocean was their grave;
Where Blake and mighty Nelson fell,
Your manly hearts shall glow,
As ye sweep through the deep,
While the stormy tempests blow;
While the battle rages long and loud,
And the stormy tempests blow.
Britannia needs no bulwarks,
No towers along the steep;
Her march is o'er the mountain waves,
Her home is on the deep:
With thunders from her native oak,
She quells the floods below,
As they roar on the shore,
When the stormy tempests blow;
When the battle rages long and loud,
And the stormy tempests blow.
The meteor-flag of England
Shall yet terrific burn,
Till danger's troubled night depart,
And the star of peace return.
Then, then, ye ocean-warriors!
Our song and feast shall flow
To the fame of your name,
When the storm has ceased to blow;
When the fiery fight is heard no more,
And the storm has ceased to blow.
"I knew" (says the pleasing writer of "Letters from Sierra Leone") "that the long-looked-for vessel had at length furled her sails and dropped anchor in the bay. She was from England, and I waited, expecting every minute to feast my eyes upon at least one letter; but I remembered how unreasonable it was to suppose that any person would come up with letters to this lonely place at so late an hour, and that it behoved me to exercise the grace of patience until next day. However, between ten and eleven o'clock, a loud shouting and knocking aroused the household, and the door was opened to a trusty Kroo messenger, who, although one of a tribe who would visit any of its members in their own country with death, who could 'savey white man's book,' seemed to comprehend something of our feelings at receiving letters, as I overheard him exclaim, with evident glee, 'Ah! massa! here de right book come at last.' Every thing, whether a brown-paper parcel, a newspaper, an official despatch, a private letter or note is here denominated a 'book,' and this man understood well that newspapers are never received so gladly amongst 'books' from England as letters." The Kaffir, in the Engraving, was sketched from one employed to convey letters in the South African settlements; he carries his document in a split at the end of a cane.
It is a singular sight in India to see the catamarans which put off from some parts of the coast, as soon as ships come in sight, either to bear on board or to convey from thence letters or messages. These frail vessels are composed of thin cocoa-tree logs, lashed together, and big enough to carry one, or, at most, two persons. In one of these a small sail is fixed, and the navigator steers with a little paddle; the float itself is almost entirely sunk in the water, so that the effect is very singular—a sail sweeping along the surface with a man behind it, and apparently nothing to support them. Those which have no sails are consequently invisible and the men have the appearance of treading the water and performing evolutions with a racket. In very rough weather the men lash themselves to their little rafts but in ordinary seas they seem, though frequently washed off, to regard such accidents as mere trifles, being naked all but a wax cloth cap in which they keep any letters they may have to convey to ships in the roads, and swimming like fish. Their only danger is from sharks, which are said to abound. These cannot hurt them while on their floats; but woe be to them if they catch them while separated from that defence. Yet, even then, the case is not quite hopeless, since the shark can only attack them from below; and a rapid dive, if not in very deep water, will sometimes save them.
Come, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.
Hail! Source of Being! Universal Soul
Of heaven and earth! Essential Presence, hail;
To Thee I bend the knee; to Thee my thought
Continual climb; who, with a master hand.
Hast the great whole into perfection touch'd.
By Thee the various vegetative tribes,
Wrapt in a filmy net, and clad with leaves,
Draw the live ether, and imbibe the dew:
By Thee disposed into congenial soils,
Stands each attractive plant, and sucks and swells
The juicy tide—a twining mass of tubes.
At thy command the vernal sun awakes
The torpid sap, detruded to the root
By wintry winds, that now in fluent dance,
And lively fermentation, mounting, spreads
All this innumerous-colour'd scene of things.
As rising from the vegetable world
My theme ascends, with equal wing ascend
My panting Muse! And hark! how loud the woods
Invite you forth in all your gayest trim.
Lend me your song, ye nightingales! oh, pour
The mazy running soul of melody
Into my varied verse! while I deduce
From the first note the hollow cuckoo sings,
The symphony of spring, and touch a theme
Unknown to fame, the passion of the groves.
From bright'ning fields of ether fair disclosed,
Child of the Sun, refulgent Summer comes,
In pride of youth, and felt through nature's depth:
He comes attended by the sultry hours,
And ever-fanning breezes on his way;
While from his ardent look the turning Spring
Averts his blushing face, and earth and skies,
All-smiling, to his hot dominion leaves.
Cheer'd by the milder beam, the sprightly youth
Speeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal depth
A sandy bottom shows. Awhile he stands
Gazing the inverted landscape, half afraid
To meditate the blue profound below;
Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.
His ebon tresses, and his rosy cheek,
Instant emerge: and through the obedient wave,
At each short breathing by his lip repell'd,
With arms and legs according well, he makes,
As humour leads, an easy-winding path;
While from his polish'd sides a dewy light
Effuses on the pleased spectators round.
This is the purest exercise of health.
The kind refresher of the Summer heats:
Nor, when cold Winter keens the brightening flood,
Would I, weak-shivering, linger on the brink.
Thus life redoubles, and is oft preserved
By the bold swimmer, in the swift elapse
Of accident disastrous.
Crown'd with the sickle and the wheaten sheaf,
While Autumn nodding o'er the yellow plain
Comes jovial on, the Doric reed once more,
Well pleased, I tune. Whatever the wintry frost
Nitrous prepared, the various-blossom'd Spring
Put in white promised forth, and Summer suns
Concocted strong, rush boundless now to view,
Full, perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.
Hence from the busy, joy-resounding fields
In cheerful error let us tread the maze
Of Autumn, unconfined; and taste, revived,
The breath of orchard big with bending fruit.
Obedient to the breeze and beating ray,
From the deep-loaded bough a mellow shower
Incessant melts away. The juicy pear
Lies in a soft profusion scatter'd round.
A various sweetness swells the gentle race,
By Nature's all-refining hand prepared;
Of tempered sun, and water, earth, and air,
In ever-changing composition mix'd.
Such, falling frequent through the chiller night,
The fragrant stores, the wide projected heaps
Of apples, which the lusty-handed year,
Innumerous, o'er the blushing orchard shakes.
See, Winter comes to rule the varied year,
Sullen and sad, with all his rising train—
Vapours, and clouds, and storms. Be these my theme,
These—that exalt the soul to solemn thought
And heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms;
Congenial horrors, hail: with frequent foot,
Pleased have I, in my cheerful morn of life,
When nursed by careless solitude I lived,
And sung of nature with unceasing joy;
Pleased have I wander'd through your rough domain,
Trod the pure virgin snows, myself as pure;
Heard the winds roar, and the big torrent burst,
Or seen the deep-fermenting tempest brew'd
In the grim evening sky.
Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand
Rolls round the seasons of the changeful year,
How mighty, how majestic are thy works!
With what a pleasing dread they swell the soul,
That sees astonish'd, and astonish'd sings!
Ye, too, ye winds! that now begin to blow
With boisterous sweep, I raise my voice to you.
Where are your stores, ye powerful beings, say,
Where your aerial magazines reserved
To swell the brooding terrors of the storm?
In what far distant region of the sky,
Hush'd in deep silence, sleep ye when 'tis calm?
'Tis done; dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictured life! Pass some few years
Thy flowering spring, thy summer's ardent strength,
And sober autumn fading into age,
The pale concluding winter comes at last
The shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame?
Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
Those gay-spent festive nights? those veering thoughts,
Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?
All now are vanish'd; virtue sole survives,
Immortal, never-failing friend of man—
His guide to happiness on high.
There are few who have not felt the charms of music, and acknowledged its expressions to he intelligible to the heart. It is a language of delightful sensations, that is far more eloquent than words: it breathes to the ear the clearest intimations; but how it was learned, to what origin we owe it, or what is the meaning of some of its most affecting strains, we know not.
We feel plainly that music touches and gently agitates the agreeable and sublime passions; that it wraps us in melancholy, and elevates us to joy; that it dissolves and inflames; that it melts us into tenderness, and rouses into rage: but its strokes are so fine and delicate, that, like a tragedy, even the passions that are wounded please; its sorrows are charming, and its rage heroic and delightful. As people feel the particular passions with different degrees of force, their taste of harmony must proportionably vary. Music, then, is a language directed to the passions; but the rudest passions put on a new nature, and become pleasing in harmony: let me add, also, that it awakens some passions which we perceive not in ordinary life. Particularly the most elevated sensation of music arises from a confused perception of ideal or visionary beauty and rapture, which is sufficiently perceivable to fire the imagination, but not clear enough to become an object of knowledge. This shadowy beauty the mind attempts, with a languishing curiosity, to collect into a distinct object of view and comprehension; but it sinks and escapes, like the dissolving ideas of a delightful dream, that are neither within the reach of the memory, nor yet totally fled. The noblest charm of music, then, though real and affecting, seems too confused and fluid to be collected into a distinct idea.
Harmony is always understood by the crowd, and almost always mistaken by musicians. The present Italian taste for music is exactly correspondent to the taste for tragi-comedy, that about a century ago gained ground upon the stage. The musicians of the present day are charmed at the union they form between the grave and the fantastic, and at the surprising transitions they make between extremes, while every hearer who has the least remainder of the taste of nature left, is shocked at the strange jargon. If the same taste should prevail in painting, we must soon expect to see the woman's head, a horse's body, and a fish's tail, united by soft gradations, greatly admired at our public exhibitions. Musical gentlemen should take particular care to preserve in its full vigour and sensibility their original natural taste, which alone feels and discovers the true beauty of music.
If Milton, Shakspeare, or Dryden had been born with the same genius and inspiration for music as for poetry, and had passed through the practical part without corrupting the natural taste, or blending with it any prepossession in favour of sleights and dexterities of hand, then would their notes be tuned to passions and to sentiments as natural and expressive as the tones and modulations of the voice in discourse. The music and the thought would not make different expressions; the hearers would only think impetuously; and the effect of the music would be to give the ideas a tumultuous violence and divine impulse upon the mind. Any person conversant with the classic poets, sees instantly that the passionate power of music I speak of, was perfectly understood and practised by the ancients—that the Muses of the Greeks always sung, and their song was the echo of the subject, which swelled their poetry into enthusiasm and rapture. An inquiry into the nature and merits of the ancient music, and a comparison thereof with modern composition, by a person of poetic genius and an admirer of harmony, who is free from the shackles of practice, and the prejudices of the mode, aided by the countenance of a few men of rank, of elevated and true taste, would probably lay the present half-Gothic mode of music in ruins, like those towers of whose little laboured ornaments it is an exact picture, and restore the Grecian taste of passionate harmony once more to the delight and wonder of mankind. But as from the disposition of things, and the force of fashion, we cannot hope in our time to rescue the sacred lyre, and see it put into the hands of men of genius, I can only recall you to your own natural feeling of harmony and observe to you, that its emotions are not found in the laboured, fantastic, and surprising compositions that form the modern style of music: but you meet them in some few pieces that are the growth of wild unvitiated taste; you discover them in the swelling sounds that wrap us in imaginary grandeur; in those plaintive notes that make us in love with woe; in the tones that utter the lover's sighs, and fluctuate the breast with gentle pain; in the noble strokes that coil up the courage and fury of the soul, or that lull it in confused visions of joy; in short, in those affecting strains that find their way to the inmost recesses of the heart,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony.
Say ye—oppress'd by some fantastic woes,
Some jarring nerve that baffles your repose,
Who press the downy couch while slaves advance
With timid eye to read the distant glance;
Who with sad pray'rs the weary doctor tease,
To name the nameless, ever new disease;
Who with mock patience dire complaint endure,
Which real pain, and that alone, can cure:
How would ye bear in real pain to lie,
Despised, neglected, left alone to die?
How would ye bear to draw your latest breath,
Where all that's wretched paves the way for death?
Such is that room which one rude beam divides,
And naked rafters form the sloping sides;
Where the vile bands that bind the thatch are seen,
And lath and mud are all that lie between,
Save one dull pane that coarsely patch'd gives way
To the rude tempest, yet excludes the day:
There, on a matted flock with dust o'erspread,
The drooping wretch reclines his languid head!
For him no hand the cordial cup supplies,
Nor wipes the tear which stagnates in his eyes;
No friends, with soft discourse, his pangs beguile.
Nor promise hope till sickness wears a smile.
Thou, who didst put to flight
Primeval silence, when the morning stars,
Exulting, shouted o'er the rising ball:
O Thou! whose word from solid darkness struck
That spark, the sun, strike wisdom from my soul;
My soul which flies to thee, her trust her treasure,
As misers to their gold, while others rest:
Through this opaque of nature and of soul,
This double night, transmit one pitying ray,
To lighten and to cheer. Oh, lead my mind,
(A mind that fain would wander from its woe,)
Lead it through various scenes of life and death,
And from each scene the noblest truths inspire.
Nor less inspire my conduct, than my song;
Teach my best reason, reason; my best will
Teach rectitude; and fix my firm resolve
Wisdom to wed, and pay her long arrear;
Nor let the phial of thy vengeance, pour'd
On this devoted head, be pour'd in vain.
The bell strikes One. We take no note of time
But from its loss; to give it then a tongue
Is wise in man. As if an angel spoke,
I feel the solemn sound. If heard aright,
It is the knell of my departed hours.
Where are they? with the years beyond the flood!
It is the signal that demands dispatch:
How much is to be done! My hopes and fears
Start up alarm'd, and o'er life's narrow verge
Look down—on what? A fathomless abyss!
A dread eternity! How surely mine!
And can eternity belong to me,
Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour?
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful is man!
How passing wonder He who made him such!
Who center'd in our make such strange extremes—
From different natures, marvellously mix'd:
Connexion exquisite! of distant worlds
Distinguish'd link in being's endless chain!
Midway from nothing to the Deity;
A beam ethereal—sullied and absorpt!
Though sullied and dishonour'd, still divine!
Dim miniature of greatness absolute!
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
Helpless immortal! insect infinite!
A worm! a god! I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost. At home a stranger.
Thought wanders up and down, surprised, aghast,
And wondering at her own. How reason reels!
Oh, what a miracle to man is man!
Triumphantly distress'd! what joy! what dread
Alternately transported and alarm'd!
What can preserve my life, or what destroy?
An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;
Legions of angels can't confine me there.
'Tis past conjecture; all things rise in proof.
While o'er my limbs sleep's soft dominion spread,
What though my soul fantastic measures trod
O'er fairy fields, or mourn'd along the gloom
Of pathless woods, or down the craggy steep
Hurl'd headlong, swam with pain the mantled pool,
Or scaled the cliff, or danced on hollow winds
With antic shapes, wild natives of the brain!
Her ceaseless flight, though devious, speaks her nature
Of subtler essence than the trodden clod:
Active, aerial, towering, unconfined,
Unfetter'd with her gross companion's fall.
Even silent night proclaims my soul immortal:
Even silent night proclaims eternal day!
For human weal Heaven husbands all events;
Dull sleep instructs, nor sport vain dreams in vain.
Nay, shrink not from that word "Farewell!"
As if 'twere friendship's final knell—
Such fears may prove but vain:
So changeful is life's fleeting day,
Whene'er we sever, Hope may say,
We part to meet again!
E'en the last parting earth can know,
Brings not unutterable woe
To souls that heav'nward soar:
For humble Faith, with steadfast eye,
Points to a brighter world on high,
Where hearts, that here at parting sigh,
May meet—to part no more!
[We have considered that it would be useful to the young reader to have a ready means of reference, in the READING BOOK itself, to all unusual words of one syllable, and all the words of two syllables and above, that occur in the various lessons. In the following pages will be found, properly accentuated, all the more difficult polysyllables, with their meanings, derived from Johnson, Walker, and other competent authorities.]