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Title: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 290
       Volume X. No. 290. Saturday, December 29, 1827.

Author: Various

Release Date: October 3, 2004 [EBook #13587]

Language: English

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[pg 441]


VOL. X, NO. 290.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1827. [PRICE 2d.


Old Sarum

Among the earliest antiquarian records, Old Sarum is described as a city of the Belgae; and its historical details have proved an exhaustless mine for the researches of topographical illustrators.

Thus, Sir R.C. Hoare describes it as "a city of high note in the remotest periods by the several barrows near it, and its proximity to the two largest Druidical temples in England, namely, Stonehenge and Abury."1

"Ancient Wilts,"—Sir R.C. Hoare, speaking of Stonehenge, expresses his opinion that "our earliest inhabitants were Celts,X-- expresses his opinion that "our earliest inhabitants were Celts, who naturally introduced with them their own buildings customs, rites, and religions ceremonies, and to them I attribute the erection of Stonehenge, and the greater part of the sepulchral memorials that still continue to render its environs so truly interesting to the antiquary and historian." Abury, or Avebury, is a village amidst the remains of an immense temple, which for magnificence and extent is supposed to have exceeded the more celebrated fabric of Stonehenge; Some enthusiastic inquirers have however, carried their supposition beyond probability, and in their zeal have even supposed them to be antediluvian labours! Many of the barrows in the vicinity of Sarum have been opened, and in them several antiquarian relics have been discovered. In short, the whole county is one of high antiquarian interest, and its history has been illustrated with due fidelity and research.

The Romans held it as a strong military [pg 442] station, and it was admitted to the privileges of the Latin law, under the name of Sorbiodunum;2

Under the Saxons it ranked among the most considerable towns of the West kingdom, and possessed ecclesiastical establishments soon after the conversion of the Saxons to Christianity.3

In the early part of the ninth century it was the frequent residence of Egbert; and in 960, Edgar assembled here a national council to devise the best means of repelling the Danes in the north.4

Arthur commanded it to be more strongly fortified by another trench and high palisadoes.5

In 1086, William the Norman convened in this city the prelates, nobles, sheriffs, and knights of his new dominions, there to receive their homage;6 and probably, within its walls was framed the feudal law, as Domesday Book was commenced in the same year.

Two other national councils were held here; one by William Rufus, in 1096, and another by Henry I in 1116.7

Peter of Blois, an early ecclesiastical writer, described Old Sarum as "barren, dry, and solitary, exposed to the rage of the wind; and the church (stands) as a captive on the hill where it was built, like the ark of God shut up in the profane house of Baal."8

Such are a few of the chronological data of the principal events in the history of Old Sarum; these, however, will suffice to elucidate the antiquity of the city, and from their historical importance cannot fail to make the preceding engraving a subject of general as well as of local interest, especially as it represents the old city, previous to its reduction in 553.

Scarcely a vestige of human habitation now remains of Old Sarum, as we have shown once a place "of great importance—and a city adorned with many proud structures—a splendid cathedral and other churches—a castle with lofty towers and ramparts—regular streets and houses—and once the residence of a numerous population." But all these have passed away, and nought is left to tell the tale of their greatness, but a few crumbling wrecks of massy walls; whilst vast fosses and elevated ramparts remain to mark it as the site of desolating war. The contrast of time-worn ruins with their surounding scenes of luxuriant nature is affecting even to melancholy. A recent visiter to the area of Old Sarum describes "a field of oats flourishing on the very spot where the crowded street had formerly extended itself; and a barrier existing to the further progress of agriculture, by the remains of the cathedral, castle, &c. forming heaps of rubbish barely covered with scanty and unprofitable verdure."

The space occupied by the ancient city is stated to have been nearly 2,000 feet in diameter, surrounded with a fosse, or ditch, of immense depth, and two ramparts, inner and outer: on the inner, which was much higher than the outer, stood a wall nearly 12 feet thick at its foundation, of flint and chalk, strongly cemented together, and cased with hewn stone, on which was a parapet with battlements. In the centre, on the summit of the hill, stood the castle or citadel, surrounded with a very deep intrenchment and a high rampart; and in the area beneath, forming a wide space between the inner and outer ramparts, stood the city, divided into equal parts, north and south; near the middle of each division was a gate—these two being the grand entrances, with a tower and mole over and before each. Besides these were ten other towers, at equal distances round the city; and opposite them, in a straight line with the castle, were built the principal streets, intersected in the middle with one grand circular street, encompassing the whole city. In the angle to the north-west stood the cathedral, and episcopal palace, and the houses of the clergy.

The area of the city was also divided into nearly equal parts by intrenchments and ramparts thrown up, by which means if one part was taken, the other was still defensible; and if the whole of the out-works were in the hands of the enemy, the besieged could retire to the castle, whose walls were impregnable. There appears to have been but one entrance to the castle, on the east. There were five wells, four in the city and one in the castle, designed chiefly to support the garrison and inhabitants in time of war, or during a siege.

The decline of Sarum, which was very rapid, has been traced to a disagreement between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. During the reign of Henry I. the bishop of Old Sarum, who rose to that dignity, from being a parish priest at Caen, was entrusted with the keys of the fortress. The bishop, however, fell into disgrace, the king resumed the command of the castle, and the military openly insulted the disgraced prelate and the clergy. These animosities increasing, the Empress Maude bestowed many gifts [pg 443] upon the cathedral, and added much land to its grants. Herbert, a subsequent bishop of the see, attempted to remove the establishment, but its execution was reserved for his brother and successor, Richard Poor, whose monument is in the south chancel of the present cathedral at Salisbury. This was about the year 1217, from which time the inhabitants of Old Sarum removed their residence, and pulled down their dwellings, with the materials of which they constructed their new habitations: and as one city increased in population and extent, so the other almost as rapidly decayed. Hence the establishment of New Sarum, or Salisbury.

In the reign of Edward II. Sarum possessed the privilege of sending two members to parliament, a privilege which it still retains.


(For the Mirror.)

The manner of spending Christmas Eve can hardly be better described than by the celebrated Wilkie's sketch under that title. Christmas is not now what it was formerly. Wilkie's painting relates to the present time, and I do not know where Christmas is more cheerfully observed in these days than in London—still there is an alteration—no boar's head—no pageantries, no wassailing. In the north of England its approach is denoted by the country people having their wood fires, consisting of huge pieces of stumps of trees piled upon the grate, and by entwining branches of holly over their doors, and by school boys acting some play to a school full of auditors; the yearly one at Brough was St. George, which is now put down by some strolling players who exhibit in the town every Christmas.

These are signals for Christmas, and although there is but one Christmas day, yet the week is generally over before any thing like quietness appears. The morning is ushered in by the ringing of the church bells, and the little maidens playing at the game of prickey sockey, as they call it. See them all dressed up in their best, with their wrists adorned with rows of pins, running about from house to house inquiring who will play at the game. The door is opened, and she cries out,

"Prickey Sockey, for a pin,

I CAR not whether I LOSS or win."

The game is played by the one holding between her two fore-fingers and thumbs a pin, which she clasps tightly to prevent her antagonist seeing either part of it, while her opponent guesses. The head of the pin is sockey, and the point prickey, and when the other guesses, she touches the end she guesses at, saying, "this for prickey," or "this for sockey;" at night the other delivers her two pins. Thus the game is played and when the clock strikes twelve it is declared up, that is, no one can play after that time.

The Christmas dinner consists of large pork or goose pies, which Brand mentions as peculiar to this county; the goose is put in whole; they are all marked on the top by a fork with the owner's initials; formerly it was a religious inscription. In the afternoon (be it spoken perhaps to their shame) they sally forth for a game at foot-ball, the first day on which the game is played, the ball is what they call clubbed up for, and he who can run away with the ball may keep it; but this seldom occurs, as it is kicked to pieces before the game is over. And this is Christmas Day here. At Kirby, a man named Tom Mattham (since deceased) used to go round the town on Christmas Eve, about twelve o'clock, with a bell, and chant a few carols; this was too solemn to be compared to the London waits, but the custom still exists.

In most of the western parts of Devonshire a superstitions custom prevails, that on Christmas Eve, at twelve o'clock, oxen in their stalls are always kneeling, as in the attitude of devotion; but since the style was altered, they do this on Old Christmas Eve only. At Whitbeck, in Cumberland, they have a similar superstition; the bees are said to sing on the midnight before Christmas Day, and the oxen to kneel at the same hour.

In many parts of the north too it should be observed, it is customary for men to go out and cut large ash and holly sticks and entwine them over the doors of their houses. And in Cumberland, little maidens assemble on Christmas to guess who their husband shall be, which is done by collecting peculiar sticks, and looking for some singular mark upon them. This is the time when sweethearts too send round their presents to the young lasses, by whom others are returned.

The custom of keeping open house is, I think, obsolete. Haddon Hall (so late as Queen Elizabeth) was kept open during twelve days after Christmas, with the old English hospitality. I observe also in some old books accounts of a feast of "cakes and ales" being usual.9

In the book of Christmasse Carolles, by Wynkyn de Worde in 1521, are the [pg 444] following verses on bringing in the Boar's head:—

"A Carrol bryngyne in the boar's head,

Caput Apri defero.

Redden laudes Domino.

"The bore's head in hande brynge I,

With garlaudes gay and rosemary

I praye you all synge merely,

Qui estis in convivio.

"The bore's head I understande

Is the chefe servyce in this lande,

Looke wherever it be fand,

Servite cum cantico.

"Be gladde both man and lasse

For this hath ordayned our stewarde

To chere you all this Christmasse

The bore's head with mustarde."

Upon the young prince's coronation, 1170, Henry II. "served his son at the table as server, bringing up the bore's head with trumpets before it, according to the manner."—Hollinshed.

The boar's head was stuffed "with branches of rosemary, "it appears with trumpets playing, so that "it was a grande syghte."

It would appear they had grand doings at the inns of court during Christmas. The usual dish at the first course at dinner was "a large bore's head upon a silver platter, with minstralsye."—Dugdale's Orig. Jur.

Before the last civil wars, the first diet in gentlemen's houses that was brought to table at Christmas was a boar's head with a lemon in his mouth. At Queen's College, Oxford, the custom is retained; the bearer of it brings it into the hall singing to an old tune, an old Latin rhyme, Caput Apri Defero, &c.

Formerly, "An English gentleman at the opening of the great day, i.e. on Christmas Day in the morning, had all his tenants and neighbours enter his hall by day-break. The strong beer was broached, and the black jacks went plentifully about with toast, sugar, nutmeg, and good Cheshire cheese. The hackin (the great sausage) must be boiled by day-break, or else two young men must take the maiden (the cook) by the arms, and run her round the market-place till she is ashamed of her laziness."—From an old Tract, "Round about our Coal Fire, or Christmas Entertainments."

Further, from the same Tract we find that "In Christmas holidayes," the tables were all spread from the first to the last; the sirloins of beef, the minched pies, the plum porridge, the capons, turkeys, geese and plum-puddings, were all brought upon the board, every one ate heartily and was welcome, which gave rise to the proverb, "merry in the hall, where beards wag all."

Misson says, "the plum-porridge is not at all inferior to the pie;" the goose pie usually made at Christmas.

Yule Cakes.—I must now call your attention to the Yule Cakes. Yule dough a little image of paste, was formerly baked at Yuletide, and presented by bakers to their customers, as Christmas candles are given away by tallow chandlers. Brand says, "the Yule dough has perhaps been intended for an image of the child, Jesus, with the Virgin Mary," and he says, "it is now, if I mistake not, pretty generally laid aside, or at most retained only by children." Mr. Brand was not aware that the custom still prevailed in many parts in the north. At Brough I have frequently ate of the cakes; they are figured with currants, and are usually eaten with a basin of frumity on Christmas Eve. Mince pies are there called minched, or shrid pies.

The custom of decking our houses and churches with holly, &c. originates from ancient heathenish practices. Mr. Brand says, that "holly was used only to deck the inside of houses at Christmas, while ivy was used not only as a vintner's sign, but also among the evergreens at funerals." Archdeacon Nares mentions "the custom longest preserved, was the hanging up of a bush of mistletoe in the kitchen or servant's hall, with the charm attached to it, that the maid who was not kissed under it at Christmas would not be married in that year." In the north a similar custom is observed, viz. that of kissing a maiden over a bunch of holly. Polydore Virgil says, that "Trimmyng of the temples with hangynges, flowers, boughs, and garlandes, was taken of the heathen people, whiche decked their idols and houses with such arraye."

Round about our Coal Fire.—Formerly fires were in the middle of the room, and the company sat in a ring round about it, hence the proverb, "round about our coal fire," which is as great a comfort as any at Christmas.

In the north they have their Yule log, or Yuletide log, which is a huge log burning in the chimney corner, whilst the Yule cakes are baked on a "girdle," (a kind of frying pan) over the fire; little lads and maidens assemble nightly at some neighbouring friend's to hear the goblin story, and join in "fortune telling," or some game. There is a part of an old song which runs thus: and with which I shall conclude this custom

"Now all our neighbours chimnies smoke,

And Christmas logs are burning,

Their ovens they with baked meate choke,

And all their spits are turning."

[pg 445]

And in another place we hear that

"The wenches with their wassell bowles

About the streete are singing."

Wassail-bowl.—Formerly it was customary to wassail on Christmas Eve, or drink health to the apple trees.

"Wassaile the trees that they may beare

You many a plum and many a peare,

For more or lesse fruits they will bringe,

And do you give them wassailing."


Sir Thomas Acland informed Mr. Brand, in 1790, that at Werington, on Christmas Eve, "it was then customary for the country people to sing a wassail or drinking song, and throw the toast from the wassail-bowl to the apple-trees, in order to have a fruitful tree."

In many towns in Cumberland it is the practice on Christmas Eve to roast apples before the fire on a string, and hold under them a bowl of spiced ale (called there mulled ale) and let them roast on until they drop into the ale.

We have the following picture of a country squire from Grose:—"His chief drink the year round was generally ale, except at this season, the fifth of November, or some other gala days, when he would make a bowl of strong brandy punch, garnished with a toast and nutmeg. In the corner of his hall by the fire-side stood a large wooden two-armed chair, and within the chimney corner were a couple of seats. Here at Christmas he entertained his tenants assembled round a globing fire made of the roots of trees and other great logs, and told and heard the traditionary tales of the village, respecting ghosts and witches, till fear made them afraid to move. In the mean time the jorum of ale was in continual circulation."

Christmas Presents.—A friend of mine at Appleby, in Westmoreland, who is aware of my writing this article, says, "Pray recollect the old custom we have here of making little presents one to another. You know it is the practice here for little girls to send numerous presents to their sweethearts, secured as tightly with wax and brown paper as can be, that they may be some time guessing what it is before they open it. And if it is worth remarking, I would further remind you of the sending of shrid pies (which you know are very excellent) as presents to neighbours."

In London enough is seen of the presents at Christmas, without describing them; and after a "day spent merrily," they in the evening commence card playing, which is kept up till morning, generally speaking, and from thenceforth a whole run of merry days, till and beyond Twelfth Day.

Soon after Christmas Day we are apprized of Twelfth Day (which keeps us from dulness) by the icy cakes which everywhere appear in the pastrycook's windows. And now I think I have as far as I am able fulfilled my promise, and I may perhaps conclude this article with wishing you and all your readers and correspondents a merry Christmas and a happy new year.



(For the Mirror.)

"I do love these ancient ruins;

We never tread upon them, but we set

Our foot upon some reverend history."

This fine ruin has a double interest attached to it, for, independent of that which is created by the antiquity and splendour of the edifice, the visiter should bear in mind that it is the Kennaquhair of the northern magician; and here the scenes so finely depicted in the Monastery are vividly brought to our recollection; it gives a "local habitation and a name" to some of the most interesting creations of Sir Walter Scott's genius. The abbey is situated in a valley, surrounded by the Eildon hills. Some ruins of the abbey mill, with the dam belonging to "Hob Miller," the father of the "lovely Mysinda," are still to be seen; and the ford across the Tweed, where the worthy Sacristan was played so scurvy a trick by the White Lady, is also pointed out. Some miles off, on a wild and romantic spot on the course of the river, Elwin, or Allan, is Fairy Dean, or Nameless Dean, which is at once identified to be that place above the tower and vale of Glendearg, which was the favourite haunt of the White Lady, and the spot where Sir Piercie Shafton's stoccatas, embroccatas, and passados first failed him, when opposed to the less polished and rustic skill of Halbert Glendinning, assisted by the machinations of the queen of the elfin tribe. On this place are found a number of small stones, of a singular shape and appearance, resembling guns, cradles with children in them, bonnets, &c., several of which I obtained in a tour to Scotland. They are called elf-stones by the neighbouring peasantry.

Many parts of the abbey are still in a state of tolerable preservation; the marks of cannon-shot and fire are visible on the walls in some places, the abbey having been bombarded by Oliver Cromwell, with his usual zeal against every thing that adorned the country. Many Roman [pg 446] medals of Vespasian, Adrian, &c. have been found about it. I hardly know a more interesting place to visit than Melrose and its neighbourhood; while the abbey affords a fine moral lesson on the instability and perishableness of even the most magnificent works raised by human skill and industry.

"Here naked stand the melancholy walls,

Lash'd by the wint'ry tempests, cold and bleak,

That whistle mournful through the empty aisles,

And piece-meal crumble down the towers to dust,"

When viewed by moonlight, the solemnity and grandeur of the effect is charming. An enthusiastic friend of mine, on paying the abbey a visit a year or two ago, had it lighted up with tapers. I subjoin a few passages from a letter I received at the time from him;—"Yesterday, being Valentine's day, in the evening I went to vespers, and had six tapers burning at the high altar in the abbey; also several in each of the (eight) confessionals, holy water, fonts, shrines, and altars.—The church-yard, the abbey, were silent as the grave; you might have heard a pin drop; there was not a breath of air stirring, so the tapers burnt, beautifully." This must have strongly reminded the spectator of the introduction to the Monastery, and the visit of the worthy benedictine, accompanied by Captain Clutterbuck, for the purpose of taking up his patron's heart. My friend adds, "not a taper has been burnt in St. Mary's of Melrose since the days of Knox.—On Monday I went to the tower of Glendearg; at the fountain, where Sir Piercie Shafton and Halbert Glendinning fought, I got, with the help of my guide, some curious stones, said to be the work of the White Lady." The scenery is picturesque in the highest degree. "Yesterday I went to Old Melrose. The windings of the Tweed there are beautiful; but the tolling the abbey bell recalls me from my wanderings."

The impression made on Sir Walter Scott by the ruins may be inferred from the following lines:—

"If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright,

Go visit it by the pale moonlight;

For the gay beams of lightsome day

Gild but to flout the ruins grey.

When the broken arches are black in night,

And each shafted oriel glimmers white;

When the cold light's uncertain shower

Streams on the ruin'd central tower,

When buttress and buttress, alternately,

Seem framed of ebon and ivory;

When silver edges the imagery,

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;

When distant Tweed is heard to rave,

And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave;

Then go—but go alone the while—

Then view St. David's ruin'd pile;

And home returning, soothly swear,

Was never scene so sad and fair!"

One of your correspondents (with whom I had once a disputation on the weighty subject of ghosts) sent you a version of the subjoined epitaph, with a trifling alteration in the spelling, (which is copied from a very ancient tomb-stone in Melrose Abbey,) with these remarks, (see MIRROR, vol. 4, p. 392):—"The following beautiful lines were written by a cow-boy [!] in Sussex on a wall, with a piece of red chalk, [mark the precision.] They have only been inserted in a Sussex paper, and may be quite unknown to many London readers," &c. &c. &c. This is a regular hoax.


The earth goeth on the earth,

Glist'ring like Gold;

The earth goes to the earth sooner than it wold.

The earth builds on the earth castles and towers;

The earth says to the earth, all shall be ours.

Here the contemplative wanderer may pass many an hour, with profit and pleasure,

"Mid epitaphs and tombs,

Wrapt in the dreams of other days."


I have arranged a few particulars of the history, &c. of this relic of monkish times, which will form an appropriate conclusion to these desultory remarks.

"Hail! ye bold turrets, and thou rev'rend pile,

That seem in age's hoary rest to smile!

All trail! for here creative fancy reads

Of ages past the long-forgotten deeds.

With trembling footsteps I approach thy gates,

The massy door upon the hinges grates!

Hark! as it opens what a hollow groan

'Cross the dark hall and down the aisles is thrown!"


It is handed down by tradition that an abbey was founded at Melrose about the end of the sixth century. The famous St. Cuthbert was one of the abbots in 643; he, however, left, and went to Holy Island, in Northumberland. Many wonderful stories are related of St. Cuthbert; that eleven years after his death in Holy Island, (in 687,) his body, on being taken up, exhibited no marks of corruption, seeming as if asleep, &c. &c. Ethelwold succeeded St. Cuthbert, and sometime after the monastery was ruined by the [pg 447] Danes. The place where this abbey is supposed to have stood is called Old Melrose, and is a mile and a half from the present abbey.

Melrose Abbey was founded by king David of Scotland in 1136. It is supposed to have been built in ten years. The church of the convent was dedicated to St. Mary on the 28th of July, 1146. It was the mother church of the Cistertian order in Scotland. The monks were brought from Rievaulx Abbey, in Yorkshire. Their habit was white; and they soon superseded the order of the Benedictines.

The abbey is built in the form of St. John's cross, of the Gothic style of architecture, and is 258 feet in length; the breadth 137-1/2 feet; and 943 feet in circumference. A considerable part of the principal tower is now in ruins; its present height is 84 feet. There are many very superb windows; the principal one at the east end (which is the top nave of the cross,) appears to have been more recently built than the others, and is 57 feet in extreme height, and 28 feet wide. It has been ornamented with statues, &c. The beauty of the carved work, with which the abbey is profusely decorated, is seldom equalled, and deservedly celebrated:

"Spreading herbs and flow'rets bright,

Glisten'd with the dew of night;

Nor herb nor flow'ret glisten'd there,

But was carved in the cloister'd arches as fair."

There are in the external view of the building 50 windows, 4 doors, 54 niches, and above 50 buttresses. The abbey was much injured by the English in 1322 and 1384. Richard II. made it a grant in 1389, as some compensation for the injuries it had sustained in the retreat of his army. It was also greatly defaced during the reformation. A stronger proof of their infatuated and (partly) misplaced zeal cannot be adduced, than the destruction of religious edifices by the reformers. There were one hundred monks, without including the abbot and dignitaries. The last abbot was James Stuart, natural son of James V., who died in 1559. The privileges and possessions of the abbey were very extensive,.and it was endowed by its founder, David, with the lands of Melrose, Eildon, &c., &c., right of fishery on the Tweed, &c.; and succeeding monarchs increased its property. Sixty of the monks, it is said, renounced popery at the reformation. In 1542, the revenue of the abbey was, "1758l. in money, 14 chalders nine bolls of wheat, 56 chal. 5 bolls of barley, 78 chal. 13 bolls of meal, 44 chal. 10 bolls of oats, 84 capons, 620 poultry, 105 stone of butter, 8 chal. of salt, 340 loads of peats, and 500 carriages;" besides 60 bolls of corn, 300 barrels of ale, and 18 hogsheads of wine, for the service of the mass: a large quantity for the entertainment of strangers; 4,000l. for the care of the sick; and 400l. to the barber. These were given up at the commencement of the reformation in 1561. The lands were either seized by the crown, or divided amongst the nobles. A large portion fell into the hands of the Buccleugh family.

A stone coffin, supposed to be that of the famous Michael Scott, the wizard, was found in the small aisle on the south of the chancel in 1812. It was authenticated that his remains had been laid here. There was an altar erected to say mass for his soul. The length of the skeleton was six feet. A stone head at the foot of the coffin bears a very rude wizard-like appearance. Alexander II. and many of the Scottish kings and nobles are buried here. The best view is obtained of the building from the south east, which, indeed, commands the whole of the ruin. The village contains 500 or 600 inhabitants, and is 35 miles distant from Edinburgh. The remains of several Roman camps are to be seen in its neighbourhood, and one of the hills bears the marks of having been a volcano. Sir Walter Scott's residence at Abbotsford is within a few miles.



(To the Editor of the Mirror.)

MR. EDITOR,—It may not be unacceptable to many of your readers to receive some elucidation of a custom which is still prevalent at the present season. I allude to the waits, who visit us in the month of December, with instrumental music, going from house to house.

Waites, or waits, formerly wayghtes is derived from the latter noun, and originally signified hautbois, (or hautbois, as we have it in English,) of which it is not unworthy remark, there is no singular number. From the instrument its signification was, after a time, transferred to the performers themselves; concerning whom, it is well known,.the appellation is now applied to all who follow the practice above adverted to, especially those who, at the approach of. Christmas, salute us with their nightly concerts.

The wayghtes of ancient times were, as some historians say, so called, because they attended or waited on potentates, judges, magistrates, and bodies corporate, pomp and processions, &c.; they were [pg 448] also sometimes appointed to keep a sort of Watch at night, and were then generally decorated with superb dresses, splendid cloaks, &c. In Rymers' Fardera there is an account of such an establishment, of the minstrels and waites who were in the service of the court of Edward IV., wherein is mentioned "a waite that nighteleye, from Michaelmas to Shrove Thorsday, pipeth the watch within this court;" "i. fewer times, in the somere nightes iij. times." Todd derives the term waits from wahts, (Goth.) nocturnal itinerant musicians, (Beaumont and Fletcher;) Bayley, on account of their waiting on magistrates, &c.; or of guet, a watch; or from the French guetter, to watch, because anciently they kept a sort of watch a night. From what I have narrated, then, it appears that the persons formerly called waites, or waits, were musical watchmen, the word implying obees. They were, in fact, minstrels, at first annexed to the king's court, who sounded the watch every night; and in towns paraded the streets during winter, to prevent theft, &c. At Exeter they were set up, with a regular salary, in 1400; and although suppressed by the Puritans, were reinstated in 1660. M.A. Boyer, in his French and English Dictionary, Rivington. 1747, under the word waits, s. has the following: "in the French, sorte de hautbois, (ho-boy,) corresponding with the signification of the term waits, as itinerant or wandering (music or) musicians. These nocturnal perambulators, it seems, were anciently called, as they now are, waits; and persons, bearing the same name, still go about our streets during the month of December, (previous to the 25th.) Whatsoever may be the reasons or the motives of those (maunderers) who now call themselves waits, I must leave for the consideration of such as are favoured with their visits. I am of opinion it can have neither allusion nor similitude to the Christmas carol as some have suggested, which was an imitation, however humble, of 'The glory to God on high,' &c., as sung by the angels who hovered over the fields of Bethlehem on the morning of our Saviour's nativity." It is true, indeed, that our modern angels, the waits of 1897, have hovered about, and they may (without a pun) be styled angels (of darkness), not only on account of the watch they keep a nights, but on account of those spirit-uous propensities, for the attainment of which, principally, some have supposed, we are indebted to them for their waits, and also for their wait-ing upon us on the day ycleped boxing-day.

But to return to our subject; independent of the origin of the waits, or of the persons so called, as relates to the institution in England, which is, comparatively, of modern date, it appears there were peculiar to the Romans a description of individuals, who, in their offices and character, answered to our waits, and from whom there is no doubt the latter were derived; these, among the Romans, were called spondaulae, from which I conceive the waightes, or waites, of our ancient kings were borrowed. The Roman waites, or spondaulae, were a description of vocal and instrumental musicians, who performed a hymn, whose measure consisted of spondees, (a poetic foot, formed of two long syllables,) which was sung, accompanied by the flute, or other wind instrument, while the priest offered the sacrifice, and the incense was burning, to procure the favour of the gods; the waits, or spondaulae, continuing their music, to prevent the priest from hearing sounds of ill omen, which might disturb the ceremony, or divert his attention. It has been suggested, in this view of the origin of the waits, which many writers consider to be the real source of the custom, that they are altogether anti-christian, and of heathen and idolatrous foundation, and of consequence have neither allusion to, nor connexion with, our festivities at Christmas at any period.

City Road.



(For the Mirror.)

Cupid one day, in luckless hour,

Observed a bee from flow'r to flow'r,

Hurrying on busy wing;

Thinking to gain the honied prize,

He strove the insect to surprise,

But quickly felt its sting.

Fired with revenge, he flew away

To where asleep my Julia lay,

On mossy bank reclin'd;

And while he sought relief to sip,

By kisses from her balmy lip,

He left the sting behind.

Thus if I now, in hours of bliss,

From her sweet mouth should steal a kiss,

I after feel the smart;

For when her rosy lips I've press'd,

And think myself supremely blest,

I bear the sting at heart!



(For the Mirror.)

On entering Tottenham, on the right from London, is to be seen the following inscription over eight alms-houses:—

[pg 449]


Not vnto vs,

O Lord—

Not vnto vs—But

vnto thy name

give ye glorie.

Ps. 115, v. i.

"Balthaza Zanchez, born in Spain, in the citie of Shere, in Estramadvra, is the fownder of these eyght Alma-Houses for the relieefe of eyght poore men and women of the Town of Tattenham High Crasse."

The founder of these alms-houses, Balthazar Zanches, was confectioner to Philip II. of Spain, with whom he came over to England, and was the first who exercised that art in this country. He became a Protestant, and died in 1602. It is said that he lived in the house, now the George and Vulture Inn; at the entrance of which he had fixed the arms of England, in a garter, supported by a lion and griffin, and with the initials E.R.: over another door, 1587.

Among the ancient possessors of the manor of Tottenham, was Robert Bruce, king of Scotland, from whom the Manor-House obtained the name of Bruce Castle, which it still retains.—At the end of Page Green stands a remarkable circular clump of elms, called the Seven Sisters; and on the west side of the great road is St. Loy's well, which is said to be always full, and never to run over; and opposite the vicarage house rises a spring, called Bishop's Well, of which the common people report many strange cures.


Outline of the History of Gas Lighting.

"What a striking contrast between the appearance of the brilliantly illuminated streets at this time, compared with the days of Henry V. It is recorded, that in 1417, Sir Henry Barton, mayor of London, ordained 'lanterns with lights to bee hanged out on the winter evenings between Hallowtide and Candlemasse.' Paris was first lighted by an order issued in 1524; and in the beginning of the sixteenth century, the streets being infested with robbers, the inhabitants were ordered to keep lights burning in the windows of all such houses as fronted the streets. In 1668, when some regulations were made for improving the streets of London, the inhabitants were reminded to hang out their lanterns at the usual time; and in 1690 an order was issued to hang out a light, or lamp, every night as soon as it was dark, from Michaelmas to Christmas. By an act of the common council in 1716, all housekeepers, whose houses fronted any street, lane, or passage, were required to hang out, every dark night, one or more lights, to burn from six to eleven o'clock, under the penalty of one shilling. In 1736, the lord mayor and common council applied to parliament for an act to enable them to erect lamps; and in 1744 they obtained farther powers for lighting the city. Birmingham was first lighted by lamps in 1733, so that in this improvement it preceded the metropolis."—Beckman's History of Inventions.

It may not be disagreeable to our readers to trace the brilliant lights by which the streets are illuminated, from the obscure recesses of nature, and to show by what steps that which was once thought simply an object of curiosity, has been applied to a practical purpose of the most useful and agreeable kind.

The inflammable gases were known originally for their direful effects rather than their useful qualities. Miners were acquainted with two of them, called the choke damp and the fire damp, long before the establishment of the Royal Society; but the earliest printed account of either occurs in its Transactions, in the year 1667. The paper in which it is contained, is entitled, "A Description of a Well and Earth in Lancashire taking Fire, by a Candle approaching to it. Imparted by Thomas Shirley, Esq an eye-witness."

Dr. Stephen Hales was the first person who procured an elastic fluid from the actual distillation of coal. His experiments with this object are related in the first volume of his Vegetable Statics, published in 1726. From the distillation of "one hundred and fifty-eight grains of Newcastle coal, he states that he obtained one hundred and eighty cubic inches of air, which weighed fifty-one grains, being nearly one third of the whole." The inflammability of the fluid he thus produced was no part of his inquiry; and though it is now deemed its most useful and important property, appears to have excited no attention till several years after.

In the "Philosophical Transactions" for 1733, some properties of coal-gas are detailed in a paper called, "An Account of the Damp Air in a Coal-pit of Sir James Lowther, sunk within Twenty Yards of the Sea." This paper, as it contains some striking facts relating to the inflammability and other properties of coal-gas, is deserving of particular attention.

The principal properties of coal-gas are here related with remarkable minuteness and precision; and as the writer exhibited them to different members of the Royal Society, and showed that after keeping the gas sometime, it still retained its elasticity and inflammability, it is remarkable, that the philosophers of the time undertook no experiments with the view of applying it to useful purposes.

Dr. John Clayton, in an extract from a letter in the "Philosophical Transactions" for 1735, calls gas the "spirit" of coal; and came to a knowledge of its inflammability by an accident. This "spirit" chanced to catch fire, by coming [pg 450] in contact with a candle, as it was escaping from a fracture in one of his distillatory vessels. By preserving the gas in bladders, he frequently diverted his friends, by exhibiting its inflammability. This is the nearest approach to the idea of practically applying this property.

The subject attracted the attention of Dr. Richard Watson, who published the results of his researches in the second volume of his "Chemical Essays." He dwells upon the elasticity and inflammability of coal-gas; and remarked, that it retains these properties after passing through a great quantity of water.

The man who first applied the inflammability of gas to the purposes of illumination, was Mr. Murdoch. This gentleman, residing at Soho, near Birmingham, that hot-bed of ingenuity and mechanical science, on occasion of the celebration of the peace of 1802, covered the works of Soho with a light and splendour that astonished and delighted all the population of the surrounding country. Mr. Murdoch had not attained to this perfection without having had many difficulties to encounter. In the year 1792, he used coal gas for lighting his house and offices, at Redruth, in Cornwall; and in 1797 he again made a similar use of it at Old Cunnock, in Ayrshire. At Soho, he constructed an apparatus which enabled him to exhibit his plan on a larger scale than any he had heretofore attempted. His experiments were then seduously continued, with the able assistance of Mr. Southern and Mr. Henry Creighton, with a view to ascertain not only the best modes of making, but also of purifying and burning gas, so as to prevent either the smell or the smoke from being offensive.

Previous to the public display made of the illuminating properties of gas, at Soho, it had been applied to similar purposes, by a M. Le Bon, of Paris. A friend of the gentlemen at Soho, wrote from Paris a letter, dated November 8, 1801, to that establishment, informing them, that a person had lighted up his house and gardens with the gas obtained from wood and coal, and had it in contemplation to light up the city of Paris. This is an important fact in the detail of the history of gas-lighting; and we should be glad of further information respecting the steps which led M. Le Bon to the results which he appears to have obtained, and also respecting the fortunes which subsequently attended the invention in France. However, M. Le Bon's exhibitions have a remarkable connexion with the progress of the invention in England: they seem, indeed, almost to have diverted it from its natural course, which certainly would have led from the illumination at Soho to its public adoption.

In 1804, Dr. Henry delivered a course of lectures on chemistry, at Manchester, in which he showed the mode of producing gas from coal, and the facility and advantage of its use. Dr, Henry analyzed the composition and investigated the properties of carburetted hydrogen gas. His experiments were numerous and accurate, and made upon a variety of substances; and having obtained the gas from wood, peat, different kinds of coal, oil, wax, &c. he endeavoured to estimate the relative quantity of light yielded by each.

In 1805, Mr. Samuel Clegg, to whom the world is much indebted for the improvements he subsequently introduced into the manufacture of gas, having left Soho, directed his attention to the construction of gas apparatus. The first he erected was in the cotton mill of Mr. H Lodge, near Halifax, in Yorkshire. Mr. Josiah Pemberton, one of those ingenious men happily not rare in the centre of our manufactures, whose minds are perpetually employed on the improvement of mechanical contrivances, and who, as soon as they have accomplished one discovery, leave others to reap the benefit, and themselves pursue the chase alter new inventions, had for some time been experimenting on the nature of gas. A resident of Birmingham, his attention was probably roused by the exhibition at Soho; and such was the fertility of his invention, and his practical skill as a mechanic, that it has been observed by those who know him, that he never undertook to make an article without inventing an improvement in its construction. About 1806, he exhibited gas-lights in a variety of forms, and with great brilliance, at the front of his manufactory in Birmingham.

In 1808 he constructed an apparatus, applicable to several uses, for Mr. Benjamin Cooke, a manufacturer of brass tubes, gilt toys, and other articles. In 1808, Mr. Murdoch communicated to the Royal Society a very interesting account of his successful application of coal gas to lighting the extensive establishment of Messrs. Phillips and Lea. For this communication, Count Rumford's gold medal was presented to him. Mr. Murdoch's statements threw great light on the comparative advantage of gas and candles, and contained much useful information on the expenses of production and management.

[pg 451]

Early in 1809, Mr. Samuel Clegg communicated to the Society of Arts his plan of an apparatus for lighting manufactories with gas, for which he received a silver medal. In this year also, Mr. Clegg erected a gas apparatus in Mr. Harris's manufactory at Coventry.

It was natural to suppose that all these circumstances should eventually produce an impression on the country; consequently about this time much attention was excited towards gas-lighting, and much utility anticipated from a general application of it to public purposes. In this year 1809, accordingly, the first application was made to parliament for an act to incorporate a company, with the view of carrying on its processes more effectually and beneficially. The movers in this project were some of the more intelligent and persevering subscribers to a New Light and Heat Company, projected by Mr. Winsor. They were opposed by some on the ground of their designs being visionary and fraught with danger; and by Mr. Murdoch on the plea of priority of invention, which entitled him to exclusive privileges if he chose to avail himself of them. This gave rise to a long and minute investigation of the subject before a committee of the House of Commons. The application terminated unsuccessfully; and the testimony of Mr. Aceum, exposed him to the animadversions of Mr. Brougham. In 1810, however, the application was renewed by the same parties, and though some opposition was encountered, and considerable expense incurred, the bill passed, but not without great alterations; and the present London and Westminster Chartered Gas-Light and Coke Company was established. The proceedings of this company after the act was obtained comprise a most important period in the history of this invention. During the first few years of their operations large sums of money were expended in experiments, and very few beneficial results were obtained. The undertaking was complicated and difficult, and not only required the guidance of experience, but the assistance of a scientific education and a fertile invention. These requisites were found in the person of Mr. Samuel Clegg, under whose able direction and superintendence the principal works of the company, at their different stations, were erected. From this period various improvements were gradually introduced into almost every part of the apparatus. In 1816, Mr. Clegg obtained the patent for his horizontal rotative retort; his apparatus for purifying coal gas with cream of lime; for his rotative gas meter; and self-acting governor; and altogether by his exertions the London and Westminster Company's affairs assumed a new and flattering aspect.

For reasons which are not assigned, in 1817, Mr. Clegg retired from the service of this establishment.

In this year, 1817, at the three stations belonging to the Chartered Gas Company, twenty-five chaldron of coal were daily carbonized, producing 300,000 cubic feet of gas, which was equal to the supply of 75,000 Argand lamps, each yielding the light of six candles. At the City Gas Works, in Dorset-street, Black-friars, the quantity of coal daily carbonized amounted to, three chaldron, which afforded a quantity of gas adequate to the supply of 1,500 Argand lamps; so that twenty-eight chaldron of coal were daily carbonized at that time, and 76,500 lights supplied by those two companies only.

At this period the principal object of attention in the manufacture of gas was its purification. Mr. D. Wilson, of Dublin, took out a patent for purifying coal gas by means of the chemical action of ammoniacal gas. Another plan was devised by Mr. Reuben Phillips, of Exeter, who obtained a patent for the purification of coal gas by the use of dry lime. Mr. G. Holworthy, in 1818, took out a patent for a method of purifying it by causing the gas, in a highly-condensed state, to pass through iron retorts heated to a dark red. For this object and several others, having in view improvements upon the ordinary method, many other patents were procured.

OIL gas now appeared in the field as a rival of COAL gas. In 1815, Mr. John Taylor had obtained a patent for an apparatus for the decomposition of oil and other animal substances; but the circumstance which more particularly attracted the public attention to be directed to oil gas was the erection of the patent apparatus at Apothecary's Hall, by Messrs. Taylors and Martineau; and the way was prepared for an application to parliament for the establishment of an Oil Gas Company by sundry papers in journals, and by the recommendations of Sir William Congreve, who had been employed by the Secretary of State to inspect the state of the gas manufactories in the metropolis. This application, made in the year 1825, proved unfortunate.

In Sir William's Reports is the following account, beginning with the London Gas-Light and Coke Company:—

At the Peter-street station the whole [pg 452] number of the retorts which they had fixed was 300; the greatest number working at any time daring the last year, 22l; the least 87. Fifteen gasometers, varying in dimensions, the contents computed on an average at 20,626 cubic feet each, amounting to 309,385 cubic feet altogether; but never quite filled; the working contents estimated at 18,626 cubic feet each—in the whole at 279,390 cubic feet. The extent of mains belonging to this station is about fifty-seven miles, there being two separate mains in some of the streets; the produce of gas from 10,000 to 12,000 cubic feet from a chaldron of coals. The weekly consumption of coal is reckoned at 42 bushels for each retort, amounting to about 602 chaldrons; and taking the average number of retorts worked at this station at about 153, would give an annual consumption of coals of upwards of 9,282 chaldrons, producing 111,384,000 cubic feet of gas.

The average number of lights during the year 1822 was 10,660 private, 2,248 street lamps, theatres, 3,894.

At the Brick-lane works, the number of retorts which were fixed was 371, the greatest number worked 217, and the least 60. The number of gasometers 12, each averaging 18,427 cubic feet, amounting in the whole to 221,131 cubic feet; and their average working contents 197,124 cubic feet. The average number of retorts worked was 133; the coals consumed 8,060 chaldrons; the quantity of gas produced 96,720.000 cubic feet; the number of lamps 1,978 public, 7,366 private, through 40 miles of mains.

At the Curtain-road establishment the whole number of retorts was 240; the greatest number worked in the last year 80; the lowest 21. The number of gasometers 6, average contents of each 15,077 cubic feet; the contents of the whole 90,467; another gasometer containing 16,655 cubic feet; the average number of retorts worked 55; the coals consumed 3,336 chaldrons; quantity of gas produced 40,040,000 cubic feet; the number of lamps supplied 3,860 private, and 629 public, through 25 miles of mains.

The whole annual consumption of coals by the three different stations was 20,678; the quantity of gas produced 248,000,000 cubic feet: the whole number of lamps lighted by this company 30,735, through 122 miles of mains.

The City of London Gas-Light Company, Dorset-street:—The number of retorts fixed 230; the number of gasometers 6; the largest 39,270 cubic feet, the smallest 5,428 cubic feet; two large additional gasometers nearly completed, contents of each 27,030 cubic feet, making in the whole 181,282 cubic feet. The number of lamps lighted 5,423 private, and 2,413 public, through 50 miles of mains. The greatest number of retorts worked at a time (in 1811) 130, the least 110, average 170. The quantity of coals carbonized amounted to 8,840 chaldrons; produced 106,080,000 cubic feet of gas.

The South London Gas-Light and Coke Company, at Bankside:—The number of retorts was 140; gasometers 3; the contents of the whole 41,110 cubic feet; and their mains from 30 to 40 miles in length. At their other station in Wellington-street, they had then no retorts in action; but three large gasometers were erected, containing together 73,565 cubic feet, which were supplied from Bankside till the retorts were ready to work.

The Imperial Gas-Light and Coke Company were erecting at their Hackney station two gasometers of 10,000 cubic feet each, and about to erect four more of the same size. At their Pancras station they had marked out ground for six gasometers of 10,000 cubic feet each.

In the year 1814, there was only one gasometer in Peter-street, of 14,000 cubic feet, belonging to the Chartered Gas-Light Company, then the only company established in London. At present there are four great companies, having altogether 47 gasometers at work, capable of containing in the whole 917,940 cubic feet of gas, supplied by 1,315 retorts, and these consuming 33,000 chaldron of coals in the year, and producing 41,000 chaldron of coke. The whole quantity of gas generated annually being upwards of 397,000,000 cubic feet, by which 61,203 private, and 7,268 public or street lamps are lighted in the metropolis. In addition to these great companies, there are several private companies, whose operations are not included in the foregoing statements.—Abridged from Matthews's History of Gas-Lighting, and the London Magazine, Dec. 1827.




Pastor cum traheret per freta navibus.

HOR. lib. i. od. 15.

As late, of civic glory vain,

The Lord Mayor drove down Mincing-lane,

The progress of the baimer'd train

To lengthen, not to shorten:

[pg 453]

Gigantic Magog, vex'd with heat,

Thus to be made the rabble's treat,

Check'd the long march in Tower-street,

To tell his Lordship's fortune.

"Go, man thy barge for Whitehall Stair;

Salute th' Exchequer Barons there,

Then summon round thy civic chair

To dinner Whigs and Tories—

Bid Dukes and Earls thy hustings climb;

But mark my work, Matthias Prime,

Ere the tenth hour the scythe of Time

Shall amputate, thy glories.

"Alas! what loads of food I see,

What Turbots from the Zuyder Zee,

What Calipash, what Calipee,

What Salad and what Mustard:

Heads of the Church and limbs of Law,

Vendors of Calico and Straw,

Extend one sympathetic jaw

To swallow Cake and Custard.

"Thine armour'd Knights their steeds discard'

To quaff thy wine 'through helmet barr'd,'

While K.C.B.'s, with bosoms starr'd,

Within their circle wedge thee.

Even now I see thee standing up,

Raise to thy lip 'the loving cup,'

Intent its ruby tide to sup,

And bid thy hearers pledge thee.

"But, ah! how fleeting thy renown!

Thus treading on the heel of Brown;

How vain thy spangled suit, thy gown

Intended for three waiters:

Ere Lansdowne's speech is at an end,

I see a board of lamps descend,

Whose orbs in bright confusion blend,

And strew the floor with splinters.

"Their smooth contents spread far and near,

And in one tide impetuous smear

Knight, Waiter, Liveryman, and Peer:

Nay, even his Royal Highness

The falling board no longer props,

Owns, with amaze, the unwelcome drops

And, premature anointment, swaps

For oozy wet his dryness.

"Fear shrieks in many a varied tone,

Pale Beauty mourns her spotted zone,

And heads and bleeding knuckles own

The glittering prostration.

Behold! thou wip'st thy crimson chin,

And all is discord, all is din;

While scalded waiters swear thee in

With many an execration.

"Yet, Lucas, smile in Fortune's spite;

Dark mornings often change to bright;

Ne'er shall this omen harm a wight

So active and so clever.

How buoyant, how elastic thou!

With a lamp halo round thy brow,

Prophetic Magog dubs thee now

A Lighter man—than ever."

New Monthly Magazine.


Charles XII. was brave, noble, generous, and disinterested,—a complete hero, in fact, and a regular fire-eater. Yet, in spite of these qualifications and the eulogiums of his biographer, it is pretty evident to those who impartially consider the career of this potentate, that he was by no means of a sane mind. In short, to speak plainly, he was mad, and deserved a strait-waistcoat as richly as any straw-crowned monarch in Bedlam. A single instance, in my opinion, fully substantiates this. I allude to his absurd freak at Frederickshall, when, in order to discover how long he could exist without nourishment, he abstained from all kinds of food for more than seventy hours! Now, would any man in his senses have done this? Would Louis XVIII., for instance, that wise and ever-to-be-lamented monarch? Had it been the reverse indeed—had Charles, instead of practising starvation, adopted the opposite expedient, and endeavoured to ascertain the greatest possible quantity of meat, fruit, bread, wine, vegetables, Sec. &c. he could have disposed of in any given time—why then it might have been something! But to fast for three days! if this be not madness—! Indeed, there is but one reason I could ever conceive for a person not eating; and that is, when, like poor Count Ugolino and his family, he can get nothing to eat!

Charles, now, and Louis—what a contrast! The first despised the pleasures of the table, abjured wine, and would, I dare say, just as soon have been without "a distinguishing taste" as with it. Your Bourbon, on the contrary, a five-mealed man, quaffing right Falernian night and day; and wisely esteeming the gratification of his palate of such importance, as absolutely to send from Lisle to Paris—distance of I know not how many score leagues—at a crisis, too, of peculiar difficulty—for a single pāte! "Go," cried the illustrious exile to his messenger; "dispatch, mon enfant! Mount the tricolor! Shout Vive le Diable! Any thing! But be sure you clutch the precious compound! Napoleon has driven me from my throne; but he cannot deprive me of my appetite!" Here was courage! I challenge the most enthusiastic admirer of Charles to produce a similar instance of indifference to danger!

There is another trait in the character of Louis which equally demands our admiration, and proves that the indomitable firmness may be sometimes associated with the most sensitive and—I had almost said—infantine sensibility. Of course, it will be perceived that I allude to the peculiar tenderness by which that amiable prince was often betrayed, even into tears, upon occasions when ordinary minds would have manifested comparative nonchalance. [pg 454] I have been assured that Louis absolutely wept once at Hartwell, merely because oysters were out of season!—a testaceous production, to which he was remarkably attached, (whence his cognomen of Des Huītres, by corruption Dix-huit;) so much so, indeed, as to be literally ready to eat them, whenever they were brought into his presence. It is said that this worthy descendant of the Good Henrķ used to put a barrel of Colchester oysters daily hors de combat, merely to give him an appetite.

Monthly Magazine.


The worst effect of "the scholar's melancholy," is when it leads a man, from a distrust of himself, to seek for low company, or to forget it by matching below himself. Porson, from not liking the restraints, or not possessing the exterior recommendations of good society, addicted himself to the lowest indulgences, spent his days and nights in cider-cellars and pot-houses, cared not with whom or where he was, so that he had somebody to talk to and something to drink, "from humble porter to imperial tokay," (a liquid, according to his own pun,) and fell a martyr, in all likelihood, to what in the first instance was pure mauvaise honte. Nothing could overcome this propensity to low society and sotting, but the having something to do, which required his whole attention and faculties; and then he shut himself up for weeks together in his chambers, or at the university, to collate old manuscripts, or edite a Greek tragedy, or expose a grave pedant, without seeing a single boon companion, or touching a glass of wine. I saw him once at the London Institution with a large patch of coarse brown paper on his nose, the skirts of his rusty black coat hung with cob-webs, and talking in a tone of suavity approaching to condescension to one of the managers. It is a pity that men should so lose themselves from a certain awkwardness and rusticity at the outset. But did not Sheridan make the same melancholy ending, and run the same fatal career, though in a higher and more brilliant circle? He did; and though not from exactly the same cause, (for no one could accuse Sheridan's purple nose and flashing eye of a bashfulness—"modest as morning when she coldly eyes the youthful Phoebus!") yet it was perhaps from one nearly allied to it, namely, the want of that noble independence and confidence in its own resources which should distinguish genius, and the dangerous ambition to get sponsors and vouchers for it in persons of rank and fashion. The affectation of the society of lords is as mean and low-minded as the love of that of cobblers and tapsters. It is that cobblers and tapsters may admire, that we wish to be seen in the company of their betters.

New Monthly Magazine.


I'll never dwell among the Caffres;

I'll never willing cross the Line,

Where Neptune, 'mid the tarry laughers,

Dips broiling landsmen in the brine.

I'll never go to New South Wales,

Nor hunt for glory at the Pole—

To feed the sharks, or catch the whales,

Or tempt a Lapland lady's soul.

I'll never willing stir an ell

Beyond old England's chalky border,

To steal or smuggle, buy or sell,

To drink cheap wine, or beg an Order.

Let those do so who long for claret,

Let those, who'd kiss a Frenchman's—toes;

I'll not drink vinegar, nor Star it,

For any he that wears a nose.

I'll not go lounge out life in Calais,

To dine at half a franc a head;

To hut like rats in lanes and alleys—

To eat an exile's gritty bread.

To flirt with shoeless Seraphinas,

To shrink at every ruffian's shako;

Without a pair of shirts between us,

Morn, noon, and night to smell tobacco;

To live my days in Gallic hovels,

Untouched by water since the flood;

To wade through streets, where famine grovels

In hunger, frippery, and mud.

Monthly Magazine.



The order of taking wine at dinner has not been sufficiently observed in this country. "There is," as the immortal bard beautifully expresses it, "a reason in roasting eggs;" and if there is a rationale of eating, why should there not be a system of drinking? The red wines should always precede the white, except in the case of a French dinner, when the oysters should have a libation of Chablis, or Sauterne. I do not approve of white Hermitage with oysters. The Burgundies should follow—the purple Chambertin or odorous Romanee. A single glass of Champagne or Hock, or any other white wine, may then intervene between [pg 455] the Cote Rotie and Hermitage; and last, not least in our dear love, should come the cool and sweet-scented Claret. With the creams and the ices should come the Malaga, Rivesaltes, or Grenache; nor with these will Sherry or Madeira harmonize ill. Last of all, should Champagne boil up in argent foam, and be sanctified by an offering of Tokay, poured from a glass so small, that you might fancy it formed of diamond.

Literary Pocket-Book.


I was detained at Stratford nearly two hours, and endeavoured to see whatever I could, in so short a time, relative to Shakspeare. The clean, quiet, uncommercial appearance of the town pleased me; but I was interested beyond expression on seeing the great poet's house. When I entered the untenanted room where he first drew the breath of this world, I took off my hat with, I hope, an unaffected sentiment of homage. The walls and ceiling of this chamber are covered with names and votive inscriptions, among which I saw the signatures of Sir Walter Scott, Mr. Lockhaft, Washington Irving, and many others familiar to me, foreigners as well as English. I did not sign my name, for I felt that it had no right in such a place; but I brought away a minute relic, in the shape of a bit of rotten wood, pinched from the beam that supports the chimney.

From the birth-place of the illustrious man, I found my way to his corpse-place; and never had I beheld so beautiful and venerable a church, or so tranquil and lovely a spot. The approach to the edifice, which is situated at some distance from the town, upon the banks of the fresh and murmuring Avon, is through an avenue of lime-trees, the branches of which are interlaced archwise, as Lord Bacon would say, so as to form a green canopy of some length. The scenery is not what is called romantic, but soft and quiet, and calculated, above all things, to surround the tomb of the genial poet of human nature.

I was determined to get into the church, though it was so early; and, accordingly, after a little trouble, I found out the sexton, a fine old fellow, with a Saxon name, who was munching his breakfast in a large old-fashioned room with latticed casements, half kitchen and half parlour. But he was too busy with his meal to be disturbed; and accordingly he sent his wife with me to open the church, and I believe our footsteps were the first which had that morning disturbed the holy silence of the place. The building is very fine, and even stately; but the interest connected with Shakspeare absorbs all other feelings, and monopolizes one's admiration. I stood under his monument, on the very stone of his grave. * * *



"I am but a Gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff."—Wotton.


When my Lord Russel was on the scaffold, and preparing to be beheaded, he took his watch out of his pocket and gave it to Dr. Burnet, who assisted his devotions, with this observation: "My time-piece may be of service to you: I have no further occasion for it. My thoughts are fixed on eternity."


Here lies my wife; and heaven knows,

Not less for mine than her repose!


Reader, if in cash thou art in want of any,

Dig four feet deep and thou shalt find A PENNY.


A long lean man, with all his limbs rambling—no way to reduce him to compass, unless you could double him like a pocket rule—with his arms spread, he'd lie on the bed of Ware like a cross on a Good Friday bun—standing still, he is a pilaster without a base—he appears rolled out or run up against a wall—so thin that his front face is but the moiety of a profile—if he stands cross-legged, he looks like a Caduceus, and put him in a fencing attitude, you would take him for a piece of chevaux-de-frise—to make any use of him, it must be as a spontoon or a fishing-rod—when his wife's by, he follows like a note of admiration—see them together, one's a mast and the other all hulk—she's a dome, and he's built together like a glass-house—when they part, you wonder to see the steeple separate from the chancel, and were they to embrace, he must hang round her neck like a skein of thread on a lace-maker's bolster—to sing her praise, you should choose a rondeau; and to celebrate him, you must write all Alexandrines.—Sheridan's MSS. in Moore's Life of him.

A man of words and not of deeds,

Is like a garden full of seeds.

[pg 456]


A Negro in Jamaica was tried for theft, and ordered to be flogged. He begged to be heard, which being granted, he asked—"If white man buy tolen goods why he be no flogged too?" "Well," said the judge, "so he would." "Dere, den," replied Mungo, "is my Massa, he buy tolen goods, he knew me tolen, and yet he buy me."—Elgin Courier.


According to the Parliamentary Returns in May, 1819, the total number of lunatics comprised in the circle of London and different private asylums, amounted to 2,005, which Dr. Burrows calculates as proving an increase of only five on an average in twenty years, notwithstanding the increase of our population. The late Dr. Heberden and Dr. Willan both concurred in this statement. The large district of Mary-la-bonne, which some years ago comprehended the greatest proportion of inhabitants in the metropolis, not less than 80,000,—from 1814 to the year 1819 received only 180 female lunatics, and 118 males.


Twenty glances, twenty tears,

Twenty hopes, and twenty fears,

Twenty times assail your door,

And if denied, come twenty more,

Twenty letters perfumed sweet,

Twenty nods in every street,

Twenty oaths, and twenty lies,

Twenty smiles, and twenty sighs,

Twenty times in jealous rage,

Twenty beauties to engage,

Twenty tales to whisper low,

Twenty billet-doux to show,

Twenty times a day to pass,

Before a flattering looking-glass,

Twenty times to stop your coach,

With twenty words of fond reproach,

Twenty days of keen vexation,

Twenty opera assignations,

Twenty nights behind the scenes,

To dangle after mimic queens,

Twenty such lovers may be found,

Sighing for twenty thousand pounds,

But take my word, ye girls of sense,

You'll find them not worth twenty-pence.


A shopkeeper at Poncaster had, for his virtues, obtained the name of the little rascal. A stranger asked him why this application was given him? "To distinguish me from the rest of my trade," quoth he, "who are all great rascals."



Counsel 936
Special Pleaders below the Bar 49
Conveyancers 90
London Attorneys 2,146
Country Attorneys 5,200

Total 8,421

Law List


(For the Mirror.)

Fair Phillis has fifty times registered vows,

That of Christian or Turk, she would ne'er be the spouse,

For wedlock so much she disdain'd,

And neither of these she has married, 'tis true,

For now she's the wife of a wealthy old Jew;

And thus she her vow has maintain'd!



Two lawyers, when a knotty cause was o'er,

Shook hands and were as good friends as before,

"Zounds!" says the losing client, "how come yaw

To be such friends, who were such foes just naw?"

"Thou fool," says one, "we lawyers tho' so keen,

Like shears, ne'er cut ourselves, but what's between."


BRITISH NOVELIST, Publishing in Monthly Parts, price 6d. each.—Each Novel will be complete in itself, and may be purchased separately.

The following Novels are already Published:

s. d.
Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield 0 10
The Mysteries of Udolpho 3 6
Mackenzie's Man of Feeling 0 6
Rasselas 0 8
Paul and Virginia 0 6
The Old English Baron 1 8
The Castle of Otranto 0 6
The Romance of the Forest 1 8
Almoran and Hamet 0 6
Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia 0 6
Nature and Art 0 8
The Italian 2 0
A Simple Story 1 4
The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne 0 6
Sicilian Romance 1 0
The Man of the World 1 0
Zeluco, by Dr. Moore 2 0
Joseph Andrews 1 6
Humphry Clinker 1 8
Edward, by Dr. Moore 2 6

Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, London, and Sold by all Booksellers and Newsmen.

Footnote 1: (return)

"Ancient Wilts,"--Sir R.C. Hoare, speaking of Stonehenge, expresses his opinion that "our earliest inhabitants were Celts, who naturally introduced with them their own buildings customs, rites, and religions ceremonies, and to them I attribute the erection of Stonehenge, and the greater part of the sepulchral memorials that still continue to render its environs so truly interesting to the antiquary and historian." Abury, or Avebury, is a village amidst the remains of an immense temple, which for magnificence and extent is supposed to have exceeded the more celebrated fabric of Stonehenge; Some enthusiastic inquirers have however, carried their supposition beyond probability, and in their zeal have even supposed them to be antediluvian labours! Many of the barrows in the vicinity of Sarum have been opened, and in them several antiquarian relics have been discovered. In short, the whole county is one of high antiquarian interest, and its history has been illustrated with due fidelity and research.

Footnote 2: (return)

Richard of Cirericesler, p. 31, 68, 113.

Footnote 3: (return)

Cott. Coll. Faustina, b. 3, MSS. Brit Mus.

Footnote 4: (return)

Brompton Twysd.. 866.

Footnote 5: (return)

Dodsworth's History of Salisbury Cathedral.

Footnote 6: (return)

Roger de Hoveden.

Footnote 7: (return)


Footnote 8: (return)

Petrus Blesensis, Epist, 105.

Footnote 9: (return)

See MIRROR, p. 330.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Mirror of Literature, Amusement,
and Instruction, No. 290, by Various


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