The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XIX. No. 554.] SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 1832. [PRICE 2d.
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[Illustration: CURIOUS CHIMNEY-PIECE.]
We select this Engraving as an illustration of the elaborate sculptural
decoration employed in domestic architecture about three centuries since;
but more particularly as a specimen of the embellishment of the
ecclesiastical residences of that period. It represents a chimney-piece
erected in the Bishop's palace at Exeter, by Peter Courtenay, who was
consecrated Bishop of Exeter, A.D. 1477, and translated to Winchester, A.D.
1486. He had formerly been master of St. Antony's Hospital, in London.
The bishop was third son of Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham, knight,
(fifth son of Hugh Courtenay, second Earl of Devonshire), who died 1463.
He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford; made archdeacon of Exeter 1453;
dean of the same church, 1477.
He died 1491, and was probably buried in the chancel at Powderham, where
is an effigy of a bishop inlaid in brass. He built the north tower of
Exeter cathedral, and placed in it a great bell, called after him
_Peter's_ bell, with a clock and dial: he built also the tower and good
part of the church at Honiton (which before was only a chapel, now the
chancel). In the windows of the tower are the arms of his parents, now
lost; but his paternal arms are on the pillars of the chancel.
The heraldic embellishments of the chimney-piece are as follow:--
"The arms of Courtenay impaled by those of the see of Exeter are in the
centre compartment. In that on the left hand is the former coat single,
supported by two swans collared and chained. Motto _Arma Petri Exon epi_.
And on the right hand it impales _Hungerford_, supported by two boars with
the Courtenay label round their necks. Motto _Arma Patris et Matris_.
"Above the centre compartment is the mitre, with the arms of the see, and
a label inscribed _Colompne ecclesie veritatis p'conie_; and
here the T is thrice repeated.
"The moulding of the arch is charged with the portcullis and foliage
alternately; and on the point are the royal arms in a garter, and
supported by two greyhounds.
"The T with the bell appendant occurs on the sides of the centre coat;
also the T single and labels, and over the top of the chimney the T and P
C for _Peter Courtenay_.
"The three Sickles and the Sheaf in the angles of the three compartments
are the badges of the barons of Hungerford."
Further explanation is necessary, as well as interesting for its connexion
with two popular origins--St. Antony's fire, and St. Antony, or "Tantony's
"The monks of the order of St. Antony wore a black habit with the letter T
of a blue colour on the breast. This may sufficiently account for the
appearance of that figure among the ornaments of Bishop Courtenay's arms.
The following extract from Stow's Survey of London may serve to explain
the appendant Bell.
"The Proctors of this hospital were to collect the benevolence of
charitable persons towards the building and supporting thereof. And among
other things observed in my youth I remember that the officers charged
with the oversight of the markets in this city did divers times take from
the market people pigs starved, or otherwise unwholesome for men's
sustenance: these they did slit in the ear. One of the Proctors of St.
Antony tied a bell about the neck, and let it feed among the dunghills,
and no man would hurt it, or take it up; but if any gave them bread, or
other feeding, such they would know, watch for, and daily follow, whining
till they had something given them; whereupon was raised a proverb, 'such
a one will follow such a one and whine as it were an Antony pig;' but if
such a pig grew to be fat, and came to good liking, as oft times they did,
then the Proctor would take him up to the use of the hospital."
"These monks, with their importunate begging were so troublesome, that if
men gave them nothing, they would presently threaten them with St.
Antony's fire, so that many simple people, out of fear or blind zeal,
every year used to bestow on them a fat pig or porker (which they
ordinarily painted on their pictures of the saint), whereby they might
procure their good will, prayers, and be secure from their menaces.
"The knights of this order (of St. Antony) wore a collar of gold, with an
hermit's girdle, to which hung a crutch and a little bell. See in the
Gentleman's Magazine for the year 1750, the plate of the orders of
knighthood, where T, whether a letter or crutch, is given to the order of
St. Antony of Ethiopia.
"The saint is always represented with this appendage in Missals, and on
monuments, the T hanging from his girdle, and the bell from the neck of
the pig at his feet."
We are indebted for this subject to the _Vetusta Monumenta_ of the
The form of the arch will be recognised as strictly of the ecclesiastical
architectural character; and, with reference to this style, we may observe
that "the ecclesiastical residence, the dwelling of the mitred abbot with
his train of shaven devotees, or of the princely bishop and humbler priest,
naturally was designed to correspond with the consecrated edifice round
which these buildings were usually grouped; and hence the architecture of
the abbey or priory is essentially of a piece with that of the cathedral."
Reverting to the chimney-piece, it should be added that formerly both on
the continent, as well as in England, fire-places and chimneys were
decorated with architectural ornaments, as columns, entablatures, statues,
&c., like the entrance to a small temple; now they are mostly made of
marble, and more for the office of sculptural decoration than for the
orders of architecture.
 Polwhele's Devon. II. p. 281.
 The bishop's motto was, _Quod verum tutum_.
 Chamber's Dict v. ANTONY.
* * * * *
WRITTEN IN IMITATION OF COWLEY'S MISTRESS.
(_For the Mirror_.)
Oh, where didst borrow that last sigh,
And that relenting groan;
Ladies that sigh and not for love,
Usurp what's not their own.
Love's arrows sooner armour pierce
Than that soft snowy skin;
Thine eyes can only teach us love,
They cannot take it in.
 Yes--if confined to Anecdotes.--ED. M.
* * * * *
THE GROANING TREE OF BADDESLEY, HAMPSHIRE.
(_For the Mirror_.)
Gilpin, in his "Remarks on Forest Scenery," says, A cottager, who lived
near the centre of the village, heard frequently a strange noise behind
his house, like that of a person in extreme agony. Soon after, it caught
the attention of his wife who was then confined to her bed. She was a
timorous woman, and being greatly alarmed, her husband endeavoured to
persuade her that the noise she heard was only the bellowing of the stags
in the forest. By degrees, however, the neighbours on all sides heard it,
and the circumstance began to be much talked of. It was by this time
plainly discovered that the groaning noise proceeded from an _Elm_, which
grew at the bottom of the garden. It was a young, vigorous tree, and, to
all appearance, perfectly sound. In a few weeks the fame of the groaning
tree was spread far and wide; and people from all parts flocked to hear it.
Among others it attracted the curiosity of the late Prince and Princess of
Wales, who resided at that time, for the advantage of a sea-bath, at
Pilewell, within a quarter of a mile of the groaning tree.
Though the country people assigned many superstitious causes for this
strange phenomenon, the naturalist could assign no physical one, that was
in any degree satisfactory. Some thought it was owing to the twisting and
friction of the roots: others thought that it proceeded from water, which
had collected in the body of the tree; or, perhaps, from pent air: but the
cause that was alleged appeared unequal to the effect. In the mean time,
the tree did not always groan; sometimes disappointing its visitants; yet
no cause could be assigned for its temporary cessations, either from
seasons, or weather. If any difference was observed, it was thought to
groan least when the weather was wet, and most when it was clear and
frosty; but the sound at all times seemed to come from the roots.
Thus the groaning tree continued an object of astonishment, during the
space of eighteen or twenty months, to all the country around; and for the
information of distant parts, a pamphlet was drawn up, containing a
particular account of it. A gentleman of the name of Forbes, making too
rash an experiment to discover the cause, bored a hole in its trunk. After
this it never groaned. It was then rooted up, with a further view to make
a discovery; but still nothing appeared which led to any investigation of
the cause. It was universally, however, believed, that there was no trick
in the affair; but that some natural cause really existed, though never
understood.--(Vol. I. p. 163.) P.T.W.
* * * * *
CURIOUS PARTICULARS RELATING TO HURLEY, IN BERKSHIRE.
(_For the Mirror_.)
Mr. Ireland, in his "Picturesque views on the river Thames," observes that
"the fascinating scenery of this neighbourhood has peculiarly attracted
the notice of the clergy of former periods."
Hurley Place was originally a monastery. In the Domesday Book, it is said
to have lately belonged to Edgar; but was then the property of Geoffrey de
Mandeville, who received it from William the Conqueror, as a reward for
his gallant conduct in the battle of Hastings; and in the year 1086
founded a monastery here for Benedictines, and annexed it as a cell to
Westminster Abbey, where the original charter is still preserved.
On the dissolution of the monasteries, Hurley became the property of a
family named Chamberlain, of whom it was purchased, in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, by Richard Lovelace, a soldier of fortune, who went on an
expedition against the Spaniards with Sir Francis Drake, and erected the
present mansion on the ruins of the ancient building, with the property he
acquired in that enterprise. The remains of the monastery may be traced in
the numerous apartments which occupy the west end of the house; and in a
vault beneath the hall some bodies in monkish habits have been found
buried. Part of the chapel, or refectory, also, may be seen in the stables,
the windows of which are of chalk; and though made in the Conqueror's time,
appear as fresh as if they were of modern workmanship. The Hall is
extremely spacious, occupying nearly half the extent of the house. The
grand saloon is decorated in a singular style, the panels being painted
with upright landscapes, the leafings of which are executed with a kind of
silver lacker. The views seem to be Italian, and are reputed to have been
the work of Salvator Rosa, purposely executed to embellish this apartment.
The receipt of the painter is said to be in the possession of Mr. Wilcox,
the late resident.
During the reigns of Charles II., and James, his successor, the principal
nobility held frequent meetings in a subterraneous vault beneath this
house, for the purpose of ascertaining the measures necessary to be
pursued for reestablishing the liberties of the kingdom, which the
insidious hypocrisy of one monarch, and the more avowed despotism of the
other, had completely undermined and destroyed. It is reported also, that
the principal papers which produced the revolution of 1688, were signed in
the dark recess at the end of the vault. These circumstances have been
recorded by Mr. Wilcox, in an inscription written at the extremity of the
vault, which, on account of the above circumstances, was visited by the
Prince of Orange after he had obtained the crown; by General Paoli in the
year 1780; and by George III. on the 14th of November, 1785.
The Lovelace family was ennobled by Charles I., who in the third year of
his reign, created Richard Lovelace, Baron Hurley, which title became
extinct in 1736. The most valuable part of the estate was about that time
sold to the Greave family and afterwards to the Duke of Marlborough: the
other part, consisting of the mansion house and woodlands, to Mrs.
Williams, sister to Dr. Wilcox, who was bishop of Rochester about the
middle of the last century. This lady was enabled to make the purchase by
a very remarkable instance of good fortune. She had bought two tickets in
one lottery, both of which became prizes: the one of 500_l_., the other of
20,000_l_. From the daughter of Mrs. Williams it descended to Mr. Wilcox
in the year 1771.--_Beauties of England and Wales._
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
_Containing opinions, characters, &c. of his Cotemporaries._
Shelley had some excellent qualities: I attribute his eccentricities to a
spice of insanity. He often wrote unintelligibly;--sometimes in short
lyrics, beautifully. The ashes of him and Keats sleep together in the
Protestant chapel at Rome. I am resolved once more to visit _Lirici_,
where the funeral pile of his relics were lighted. I am never so happy as
when I am travelling on the Continent; the mere change of air, and
locomotion, gives me vigour. I saw old Sir William Wraxall at Dover, a few
days before he died, and meant to have accompanied him to Paris. He was
still full of anecdote, to which it was necessary to listen with caution;
but his information was often curious and valuable. He was one of our
Some years ago I met Sismondi: I could not agree with his ULTRA-LIBERAL
politics! He has married an English lady, but does not seem to love the
English. He himself once suffered from excessive revolutionism, and was
condemned to death by it when young, about 1794, in the reign of terror,
when _Monsieur Raville_ and others were shot at Geneva. One would have
thought that this would have made a convert of him in favour of legitimate
governments. But I forget: he does not call them legitimate! He is a thick
man, of middle height, with strong features, sallow, with weak eyes, rapid
and rather indistinct in his articulation, with a character of great
generosity and kindness; but not very tolerant to others in political
About 1802, strange lawyers perched upon the judgment-seat. Law, Pepper,
Arden, and John Mitford! The little Pepper once took it into his head to
review a cavalry regiment of fencibles, when he was Master of the Rolls.
An unruly horse of one of the officers got head in a charge, and nearly
ran over the affrighted judge. I was on the field, saw it all; and heard
the small, staring man's terrible shriek! He swore that nothing should
ever make him go soldiering again! He could not recollect his law-cases
for a fortnight to come! He had some fun about him, and was always crying
out, _"Ne sutor ultra crepidam, ne sutor ultra crepidam."_ and indeed he
looked like a shoemaker. A bowel-complaint carried him off. Perhaps it was
A certain learned theological bishop of that fraternity, a warm
controversialist, long since dead, was of an amorous disposition. One day,
being left alone with a pretty young lady, he began to be rude to her; she
knocked off his prelated wig, and stamped it under her foot. At that time
the footman entered, and all was confusion! The girl was in tears; the
bishop's pate was bald. The footman was left to wonder! Some squibs
appeared in the papers of the day, which few understood. I wrote a piquant
epigram, which I will not revive. Old Thurlow, who was the prelate's
friend and patron, laughed outright, and clapped me on the back when I
dined with him a few days afterwards.
I have been more than once in company with Washington Irving, a most
amiable man and great genius, but not lively in conversation. The engraved
portraits I have seen of him are not very like him. He frequented the
reading-room of Galignani at Paris, and seemed to have some literary
connexions with him. There I saw Captain Medwin, the author of the book
called _Lord Byron's Conversations_, which I believe to have been
accurately reported. He was with his friend Grattan, the author of
_High-ways and Bye-ways_. I was not personally acquainted with either of
them. Grattan's flat nose is somewhat concealed in the print given of him
in Colburn's Magazine, where this author, of course, makes a distinguished
The late Professor Pictet, of Geneva, who had spent some of his early days
in England, and was very fond of it, told me some curious anecdotes of
his countryman De Lolme, whose book on the English constitution is much
more commended than it deserves. He once endeavoured to set up a rival
Journal to Old Swinton's _Courrier de l'Europe_, but his absurd denial of
Rodney's victory ruined the project. De Vergennes, the French minister,
patronized it. Brissot was connected with Swinton in the above-named
Journal. One of Swinton's sons holds a high situation in the British
Government in India:--another commanded a ship in the Company's service.
Old Swinton was a Scotch jacobite, and forfeited.
Horace Walpole, who died Earl of Orford, was a little old man with small
features--very lively and amusing,--who talked just as he wrote: but a
little too fond of baubles and curiosities. He had a witty mind, but not a
great one:--yet he was a man of genius. His family was ancient, but his
vanity made him always endeavour to represent it of much more consequence
than it was. They had a great deal of the Norfolk squierarchy about them.
He could not bear his uncle Horace, the diplomatist, whose son, the
grandfather of the present earl, with his little tie-wig, looked like an
I have mentioned Mrs. Macauley, the historian. She had a dog latterly, of
which she made a great pet, and on being asked why she bestowed so much
care on it, she answered--"Why! are you aware whence it came? It is a true
republican, and has been stroked by the hand of Washington!" The event of
the French Revolution maddened her with joy; but when the news came of
Louis the Sixteenth's escape, and before she heard he had been brought
back, she took to her bed, wrote to her friends that she should die of the
disappointment--and did die. She complained that Dr. Graham had given her
a love-potion! Her young husband used her ill.
Tom Warton, the poet, was a good-natured man, but addicted to low company.
He was fond of
"Smoking his pipe upon an alehouse bench;"
He was tutor to Colonel North, the son of the minister, who thought he
neglected him. This connexion, perhaps, led him to write the _Life of Sir
Thomas Pope_, or rather that this family were founders of Warton's college.
He also wrote the life of the President Bathurst, who was elder brother of
Sir Benjamin Bathurst, a commercial man, father to the first Lord Bathurst,
the friend of Pope the poet, and who lived to the age of ninety, in
possession of his faculties,--always calling his son, the Chancellor,
"the old man!" He was one of Queen Anne's _twelve_ peers--but so rapid has
been the extinction and change, that the Bathursts are now considered old
nobility. He sprung from one of the _Grey Coat_ families in the weald of
Kent, the clothiers.
Old Dr. Farmer, the head of Emanuel College, Cambridge, Prebendary of
Canterbury, and afterwards of St. Paul's, or Westminster, used to frequent
a club in London, to which I belonged. He was at first reserved and silent:
but his forte was humour and drollery. At Cambridge he neglected forms and
ceremonies in his college too much: and was in all his glory when in
dishabille in his study, with his cat by his side, and his Shakspeare
tracts about him. He found no literature at Canterbury, and was disgusted
with his brother members of the cathedral: quaint Dean Horne, and
chattering romancing Dr. Berkeley, and his rhodomontading wife, were not
suited to him, and as little her son Monke Berkeley, of whom she gave such
an absurd and mendacious memoir, and who had none of his celebrated
grandfather Bishop Berkeley's genius. Farmer had some cleverness, but no
leading talent. He collected an immense quantity of rare and forgotten old
English books--especially poetry and the drama--at a trifling price. Todd,
the learned editor of Milton, Spencer, &c., was then a member of that
cathedral; but as his literary superiority was not pleasant to those above
him in that establishment, he was got rid of by promotion, elsewhere, out
of their patronage. He wrote the lives of the Deans of that Church, which
does not rise to more than local interest. It is a dull book.
It has been my fate to be Acquainted with Irish Secretaries. I saw much of
little Charles Abbot--afterwards Speaker--and at last Lord Colchester.
He was a pompous dwarf; yet of an analytical head. Nothing could be more
amusing than to see him strut up the House of Commons to take the chair;
nor was the amusement less to listen to him, when he delivered his edicts,
or the thanks of the House from the chair. His sonorous voice issuing from
a diminutive person, and the epigrammatic points of empty sentences,
formed with great artifice, were in very bad taste--though much admired by
a House which consisted of so few men of a classical education. His rise
was extraordinary, because his talents little exceeded mediocrity. But he
was a courtier, and an intriguant. He was the son of a schoolmaster at
Swift, though of English extraction, was born in Ireland. From some
memoranda of my grandfather's, I learn, that he did not speak of his
residence with Sir William Temple at Moore Park, in Surrey, without spleen.
He seemed to retain a sort of unwilling awe of Sir William; but not to
have loved him. Sir William was a ceremonious courtier: Swift's early
habits were somewhat rude and slovenly. Swift had genius, as Gulliver's
travels prove; but there is no genius in his poetry. He was both proud and
vain. His ancestor was the rector of a small living in Kent; his father an
attorney. When I was quartered at Canterbury, I saw the monument for one
of his ancestors, preserved out of the old church at St. Andrew's and
replaced in the new one. The arms sculptured on it are totally different
from what Swift erroneously supposes the family to have borne: this
ancestor was minister of that parish--not a prebendary, as Swift
represents. Miss Vanhomrigg was cousin of my grandfather, who considered
that Swift had used her very cruelly.
I often met the late Monsieur Etienne Dumont, of Geneva, the friend and
commentator of old Jeremy Bentham, at Romilly's house in London, in 1789.
He was a man of astonishing talents, sagacity, acuteness, and clearness of
head. What part he had in the brilliant effusions of Mirabeau, and in the
French Revolution, may be seen by his posthumous work, just published at
Paris, entitled _Souvenirs de Mirabeau_. He was a short, thick man, of
coarse features, blear eyed, and slovenly in his dress; but of mild
manners, hospitable, an excellent story-teller, and much beloved. I think
he had been at one time librarian to old Lord Lansdowne. He died at Milan,
in 1829, aged about 70. The French cannot contain their rage at the
exposure that he was the spirit who moved their brilliant Mirabeau.
I was once talking to Anna Maria Porter about him, when she expressed her
astonishment at the admiration I bestowed on him! She said, "I thought you
was a Whig, and an aristocrat! how can you commend a revolutionary
radical?" I answered, "You mistake his character, he is not a radical in
the sense you mean! he considers Tom Paine's Rights of Man to be
mischievous nonsense!" I could not convince her: but I made my peace with
her by praising, with the utmost sincerity, her beautiful novel, _The
Recluse of Norway_. I found her full of good sense, and with much command
of language. She will forgive me for saying she had not the personal
beauty of her gentle sister Jane. She paid many compliments to the
imaginative _vivants_ of the green island; for she perceived by my tones
that I was an Irishman, though I am not sure, that she knew even my name;
for the company was numerous, and of all countries. It was an evening
assembly, in which the rooms were so full, that one could hardly move.
Tommy Moore was there, and though he is a very little man, he was the
great lion of the evening: all the young ladies were dying to see the bard
whose verses they had chanted so often with thrilling bosoms, and tears
running down their cheeks. They were not quite satisfied when they saw a
diminutive man, not reaching five feet, with a curly natural brown scratch,
handing about an ugly old dowager or two, who fondly leaned upon his arms,
even though they discovered them to be ladies of high titles.
Rogers came in late, and went away early, looking sallower and more
indifferent than usual. He paid a few bows and compliments to two or three
noble peeresses, and then retired.
The Rev. Thomas Frognel Dibdin was there. He was very facetious and quaint:
when he found himself by my side, he instantly started off, crying to me;
"Brobdignagian; We Lilliputians must not stand by you! You would make a
soldier for the King of Prussia! Look at that tall lady there, that Miss
de V----; why do you not take her for a wife?" E---- G----n heard what he
said, and looked fierce at us both! I expected another _Bluviad!_ Perhaps
the ingenious bibliographer does not recollect the conversation; but he
may be assured it took place. And I entreat also Anna Maria Porter to tax
her memory, and recall the very interesting and sensible conversation I
had with her. I told her some anecdotes of her brother, Sir Robert, whom I
met on our travels, which pleased her. Jane would not talk much that night;
something heavy seemed to have seized her spirits. Let Jane recollect how
she once related to me the curious history and character of Percival
Stockdale! It happened at the house of a friend in London, whom I shall
not point out with too much particularity. Dibdin endeavoured to excite
the envy of some of us litterateurs, that we were not, like him, members
of the Roxburgh, which had dukes, and earls, and chancellors of the
exchequer, and judges, and the great Magician of the North into the
* * * * *
TO A CHILD IN PRAYER.
Fold thy little hands in prayer,
Bow down at thy Maker's knee;
Now thy sunny face is fair,
Shining through thy golden hair,
Thine eyes are passion-free;
And pleasant thoughts like garlands bind thee
Unto thy home, yet Grief may find thee--
Then pray, Child, pray!
Now thy young heart like a bird
Singeth in its summer nest,
No evil thought, no unkind word.
No bitter, angry voice hath stirr'd
The beauty of its rest.
But winter cometh, and decay
Wasteth thy verdant home away--
Then pray, Child, pray!
Thy Spirit is a House of Glee,
And Gladness harpeth at the door,
While ever with a merry shout
Hope, the May-Queen, danceth out,
Her lips with music running o'er!
But Time those strings of Joy will sever.
And Hope will not dance on for ever;
Then pray, Child, pray!
Now thy Mother's Hymn abideth
Round they pillow in the night,
And gentle feet creep to thy bed,
And o'er thy quiet face is shed
The taper's darken'd light.
But that sweet Hymn shall pass away,
By thee no more those feet shall stay;
Then pray, Child, pray!
_New Monthly Magazine._
* * * * *
BY JAMES SHERIDAN KNOWLES.
A Fair lady looks out from her lattice--but why
Do tears bedim that lady's eye?
Below stands the knight who her favour wears,
But be mounts not the turret to dry her tears;
He springs on his charger--"Farewell;--he is gone,
And the lady is left in her turret alone.
"Ply the distaff, my maids--ply the distaff--before
It is spun, he may happen to stand at the door."
There was never an eye than that lady's more bright,--
Why speeds then away her favour'd knight?
The couch which her white fingers broider'd so fair,
Were a far softer seat than the saddle of war;
What's more tempting than love? In the patriot's sight
The battle of freedom he hastens to fight;
"Ply the distaff, my maids--ply the distaff--before
It is spun, he may happen to stand at the door."
The fair lady looks out from her lattice, but now
Her eye is as bright as her fair shining brow:
And is sorrow so fleeting?--Love's tears--dry they fast?
The stronger is love, is't the less sure to last?
Whose arm sees her knight round her waist?--'Tis his own;
By the battle she wept for, her lover is won;
"Ply the distaff, my maids, ply the distaff no more;
Would you spin when already he stands at the door?"
* * * * *
LORD CORNWALLIS'S MONUMENT, IN INDIA.
The annexed cut represents the mausoleum of the Marquess of Cornwallis,
whose distinguished connexion with the success of British arms in India
will be recollected by the reader. It stands at Ghazepoor, a large town or
city, in the province of Benares, on the river Ganges, about 450 miles
from Calcutta. His lordship died on the river in the year 1805, while
proceeding to make the requisite arrangements for some ceded prisoners. He
was, at the time, governor-general of India, having been appointed to
succeed the Marquess Wellesley, in 1804. The last act of his life accords
with his general activity and vigilance, for he always gave his
instructions in person, and attended to the performance of them. His
personal character was amiable and unassuming, and if his talents were not
brilliant, his sound sense, aided by his laudable ambition and
perseverance, effected much good.
The monument is built of stone, and cost a lac of rupees, or 10,000_l_. It
is surrounded by an iron railing, and its vicinity is the favourite
promenade of the gentry of Ghazepoor, which has been termed the
Montpellier of India.
Bishop Heber, in his interesting Journey through India, objects to the
architectural taste of the monument in these critical observations:
"During our drive this evening I had a nearer view of Lord Cornwallis's
monument, which certainly does not improve on close inspection; it has
been evidently a very costly building; its materials are excellent, being
some of the finest free-stone I ever saw, and it is an imitation of the
celebrated Sibyl's temple, of large proportions, solid masonry, and raised
above the ground on a lofty and striking basement. But its pillars,
instead of beautiful Corinthian well-fluted, are of the meanest Doric.
They are quite too slender for their height, and for the heavy entablature
and cornice which rest on them. The dome instead of springing from nearly
the same level with the roof of the surrounding portico, is raised ten
feet higher on a most ugly and unmeaning attic story, and the windows
(which are quite useless) are the most extraordinary embrasures (for they
resemble nothing else) that I ever saw, out of a fortress. Above all, the
building is utterly unmeaning, it is neither a temple nor a tomb, neither
has altar, statue, nor inscription. It is, in fact, a 'folly' of the same
sort, but far more ambitious and costly, than that which is built at
Barrackpoor, and it is vexatious to think that a very handsome church
might have been built, and a handsome marble monument to Lord Cornwallis
placed in its interior, for little more money than has been employed on a
thing, which, if any foreigner saw it, (an event luckily not very probable)
would afford subject for mockery to all who read his travels, at the
expense of Anglo-Indian ideas of architecture. Ugly as it is, however, by
itself, it may yet be made a good use of, by making it serve the purpose
of a detached 'torre campanile' to the new church which is required for
the station; to this last it would save the necessity of a steeple or
cupola, and would much lessen the expense of the building."
* * * * *
We quote these Facts from the _Correspondence of the Magazine of Natural
History_ for May.
_Luminous appearance on the ears of a Horse._
When we cannot find a satisfactory solution for any puzzling occurrence
which we are desirous of investigating, perhaps the best way is to
endeavour to accumulate a series of facts of the same kind. Some years ago,
I was riding from Edinburgh: it was (as I happen to recollect) on the 12th
of November, and in the evening. There had been, since past midday, a
succession of those stormy clouds, driven by a westerly wind, which are
common at that season. Perhaps the wind was a point or two to the north of
west, if it makes any difference, and during the intervals there was
always a comparative calm or slackening of the wind. I was once taken by
one of these storm-clouds about Nether Libberton, on the Dalkeith road. I
used the spur a little; and, having been a yeoman for many years, I was
unconsciously holding a small rattan cane somewhat after the mode of
"carry swords." Roused by the velocity of the wind, and the darkness of
the passing cloud, I naturally turned my eyes to the right, and was not a
little surprised to observe a pale clear flame, in form like that of a
small candle, playing upon the point of the cane. Taking it for granted,
forthwith, that a stream of electricity, attracted by the cane, was
passing from the cloud through my body, and through the horse, into the
ground, I instantly turned it downwards. At the time I did not wait to
consider that I was in the hollow of the valley between one of the highest
of the Pentlands and Arthur's Seat, and that there were higher objects
than myself, and scattered trees in the neighbourhood far more likely to
act upon the cloud, or be exposed to its influence. A short time after
this happened, I mentioned the circumstance of the flame to a friend. He
told me, in return, that once, when riding between Hawick and Jedburgh,
during a dark and stormy night, he was greatly annoyed, for most part of
the way, by two flames, like candles, that appeared to issue from his
horse's ears. He certainly is as little likely to be affected by
superstition as most men; but never before having heard of such a
circumstance, and the idea of electricity not then occurring to his mind,
he could not help thinking that Will o' the wisp and he, hoping it was
nothing worse, had got into rather too close intimacy.
Another Correspondent says this luminous "phenomenon may be often seen on
a gravel walk upon a moist autumnal evening. It arises from something of a
slimy nature emitted by the Scolopendra electrica (one of the animals
vulgarly called centipedes), which is luminous. As the animal crawls, it
leaves a long train of phosphoric light behind it on the ground, which is
often mistaken for the presence of a glow-worm. In all probability, one of
these animals had recently crawled over the head of the horse, or rather,
might be still crawling there, and the person who saw it unconsciously
watched its progress."
_The Short Sunfish_
appears to be the name of the "Curious Fish," described by our
indefatigable Correspondent, W.G.C., in _The Mirror_, vol. xviii. p.168,
and quoted by the Editor; he mentioned the occurrence of this fish to Mr.
Yarrell, who has furnished a list of references to most of the British
authors by whom it has either been described or figured. (See the Magazine,
By the way, Bishop Heber mentions a sun-fish, or, as it is popularly
called _Devil-fish_: it is very large and nearly circular, with vivid
colours about it, and it swims by lashing the water with its tail exactly
on a level with the surface.
The char (_S_almo alpinus _L_.) is found in several of the deep and rocky
lakes of England: viz. Coniston in Lancashire, Windermere in Westmoreland,
Buttermere and Cromackwater in Cumberland, and, I believe, in Ulswater. My
observations are confined to Windermere. Windermere is fed by two streams,
which unite at the head of the lake, named the Brathy and the Rothay: the
bottom of the former is rocky, and that of the latter sandy. On the first
sharp weather that occurs in November, the char makes up the Brathy, in
large shoals, for the purpose of spawning, preferring that river to the
Rothay, probably owing to the bottom being rocky, and resembling more the
bottom of the lake; and it is singular that those fish which ascend the
Rothay invariably return and spawn in the Brathy; they remain in this
stream, and in the shallow parts of the lake, until the end of March.
While spawning, their colour and spots are much darker than when in season;
the mouth and fins being of a deep yellow colour; and they are covered
with a thick slime at this time. In the water before Brathy Hall, at
Clappersgate, hundreds may be seen rubbing and rooting at the bottom,
endeavouring to free themselves from the slime, and probably insects that
annoy them. Great quantities are caught during the spawning time, by the
netters, for potting, and some are sent up fresh for the London market;
but those only who have eaten char in summer, on the spot, when they are
in season, can tell how superior they are to those eaten in London in the
winter. About the beginning of April, when the warm weather comes in, they
retire into the deep parts of the lake; where their principal food is the
minnow ( _C_yprinus _P_hoxinus, _L_.), of which they are very fond. At
this time, they are angled for by spinning a minnow; but, in a general way,
the sport is indifferent, and the persevering angler is well rewarded if
he succeed in killing two brace a day. A more successful mode of taking
them is by fastening a long and heavily leaded line, and hook baited with
a minnow, to the stern of a boat, which is slowly and silently rowed along:
in this way they are taken during the early summer months; but when the
hot weather comes in, they are seldom seen. They feed, probably, at night;
and although they never leave the lake, except during the period of
spawning, nothing is more uncommon than taking a char in July and August.
When in season, they are strong and vigorous fish, and afford the angler
excellent sport. They differ little in size, three fish generally weighing
about 2lbs.: occasionally, one is caught larger, but they seldom vary more
than an ounce. The char, as it is well known, is a singularly beautiful
fish, and is accurately described by Pennant. The fishermen about the
lakes speak of two sorts, the case char and the gilt char; the latter
being a fish that has not spawned in the preceding season, and on that
account said to be of a more delicate flavour, but in other respects there
is no difference.
* * * * *
The _E_quisetum hyemale, is commonly sold under the name of Dutch rushes,
for the purpose of polishing wood and ivory. If the rush be burnt
carefully, a residuum of unconsumable matter will be left, and this held
up to the light will show a series of little points, arranged spirally and
symmetrically, which are the portions of silex the fire had not dissipated;
and it is this serrated edge which seems to render the plant so efficient
in attrition. Wheaten and oaten straw are also found by the experience of
our good housewives to be good polishers of their brass milk vessels,
without its being at all suspected by them that it is the flint deposited
in the culms which makes it so useful.--_Magazine of Natural History,
* * * * *
In Hutton's Museum at Keswick, is a large stuffed dog (very much
resembling a wolf, and having its propensities), which some years ago
spread devastation amongst the flocks of sheep in this neighbourhood: a
reward was offered for its destruction, and, though hunted by men and dogs,
its caution and swiftness eluded their pursuit, till it was found asleep
under a hedge, and in that position shot.--_Corresp. Mag. Nat. Hist._
* * * * *
"While our voiturier," says Mr. Bakewell, "was resting his horses at
Villeneuve, I observed a singular instance of sagacity in some ducks that
were collected under the carriage. On our throwing out pieces of hard
biscuit, which were too large for them to swallow whole, they made many
efforts to break them with their beaks; failing in this, the younger ones
gave up the spoil, but some of the older ducks carried parts of the
biscuit to a pool of standing water, and held them to soak, till
sufficiently soft to be broken and swallowed with great facility. I must
leave it to metaphysicians to determine whether this process was the
result of induction or instinct."
* * * * *
POISON OF TOADS.
The circumstance of toads spitting poison, is mentioned in _M.L.B's_.
interesting paper on the _Superstitions relative to Animals_. The
following is the opinion of Dr. E.J. Clark on this subject, delivered at a
recent lecture. S.H.
"The opinions of the vulgar are generally founded upon something. That the
toad spits poison has been treated as ridiculous; but though it may be
untrue that what the creature spits affects man, yet I am of opinion that
it does spit venom. A circumstance related to me by a friend of mine, has
tended to strengthen my opinion. He was a timber merchant, and had a
favourite cat who was accustomed to stand by him while he was removing the
timber; when, (as was often the case) a mouse was found concealed among it,
the cat used to kill it. One day the gentleman was at his usual employment,
and the cat standing by him, when she jumped on what he supposed to be a
mouse, and immediately uttered aloud cry of agony; she then stole away
into a corner of the yard, and died in a few minutes. It turned out that
she had jumped on a toad."
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF _NEW WORKS_.
(_Concluded from page 411_.)
_Phenomenon of the Rainbow._
It seems to us very probable, that the _density_ of the atmosphere was
changed at the deluge, having been considerably attenuated, nor can this
inference be regarded in the light of mere speculation: there seems
sufficient evidence that it really must have been so. The rainbow
appearing for the _first_ time--the abbreviation of human life, and the
diminished size of animal and vegetable forms, all seem to require this
condition. Far be it from us to doubt the direct interposition of JEHOVAH
in this catastrophe, but GOD sometimes employs secondary agents to effect
his designs. "I do set," says the ALMIGHTY, "my bow in the cloud, and it
shall be for a token of the covenant between me and the earth. And it
shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow
shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember my covenant, which is
between me and you, and every living creature of all flesh: and the waters
shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh." It cannot be
reasonably supposed, that the rainbow ever appeared before the deluge, nor
from our previous remarks, is it at all necessary to suppose it. Had the
patriarchs seen this beautiful phenomenon in an antediluvian world, its
recurrence after the deluge could not have been a symbol of security,
since, though the spectacle had been already witnessed, the deluge had
supervened; but it was a _new_ phenomenon, the consequence of the altered
condition of the atmosphere, and was perhaps the result of a _super-added
law_. The design implies stipulations of a somewhat similar description,
and even pagan testimony might be cited as concurring in this view of it.
[Greek: En nephei staerixe teras meropon anthropon.]
"Jove's wondrous bow of three celestial dies,
Plac'd, as a sign to man, amidst the skies."
_The Fall of Manna._
This remarkable and providential supply is thus described: "When the dew
that lay was gone up, behold _upon the face of the wilderness_ there lay a
small _round_ thing, as _small as the hoar-frost_, on the ground." We are
further told, that "_when the sun waxed hot it melted_;" and when
preserved until the following day it became corrupt, and "_bred worms_."
To preserve the extra measure which they collected on the sixth day, Moses
directed that on that day of the week they were "_to bake and seethe_"
what should be required on the morrow, as on the sabbath none should fall.
It is further added,--"And the house of Israel called the name thereof
_manna_: and it was like coriander-seed, _white; taste of it was like
wafers made with honey_." Such are the curious and interesting particulars
supplied by the Sacred Text. It is well known that a substance is used in
medicine under this name, chiefly obtained from the Calabrias, and is
collected from the leaves of the _ornus rotundifolia_, (fruxinas ornus, of
Linnaeus,) and a somewhat similar substance obtains in the onion; but from
its purgative qualities, it is sufficiently obvious that the manna of the
Scriptures is altogether different. According to Seetzen, Wortley Montague,
Burckhardt, and other travellers, a natural production exudes from the
spines of a species of tamarix, in the peninsula of Sinai. It condenses
before sunrise, but dissolves in the sun-beam. "Its taste," it is added,
"is agreeable, somewhat aromatic, and as sweet as honey. It may be kept
for a year, and is only found after a wet season." The Arabs collect it
and use it with their bread. In the vicinity of Mount Sinai, where it is
most plentiful, the quantity collected in the most favourable season does
not exceed six hundredweight. The author of the "History of the Jews" has
a note to the following effect: "The author, by the kindness of a
traveller, recently returned from Egypt, has received a small quantity of
manna; it was, however, though still palatable, in a liquid state, from
the heat of the sun. He has obtained the additional curious fact, that
manna, if not boiled or baked, will not keep more than a day, but becomes
putrid and breeds maggots. It is described as a small round substance, and
is brought in by the Arabs in small quantities mixed with sand." It would
appear from these very interesting facts, that this exudation, which
transpires from the thorns or leaves of the tamarix, is altogether
different from the manna of the manna-ash. We cannot doubt, from the
entire coincidence in every respect, that the manna found in the
wilderness of Sinai by the Arabs now, is _identical_ with that of the
Scriptures. That the minute particulars recorded should be every whit
verified by modern research and discovery, is worthy of great attention.
As Moses directed Aaron to "take a pot and put an omer full of manna
therein, and lay it up before the LORD, (in the ark,) to be kept for the
generations of Israel," as a memorial; so the remarkable phenomenon
remains in evidence of the truth of the narrative. The _miracle_, however,
remains precisely as it was. There is sufficient to appeal to, as an
existing and perpetual memorial to all generations. The MIRACLE, from
which there can be no appeal, and which allows of no equivocation,
consisted in its ample abundance, in its continued supply, and its
complete intermission on the sacred day of rest. Nutritious substances
have fallen from the atmosphere in some countries; such, for example, was
that which fell a few years ago in Persia, and was examined by Thenard. It
proved to be a nutritious substance referable to a vegetable origin. We
have before us, at the moment of writing these pages, a small work,
printed at Naples in 1793, the author of which is Gaetano Maria La Pira;
it is entitled, "Memoria sulla pioggia della Manna," &c.: and describes a
shower of manna which fell in Sicily, in the month of September, 1792. The
author, a professor of chemistry, at Naples, gives an interesting account
of the circumstances under which it was found, together with a variety of
interesting particulars, some of which we shall select, and we do so to
prove that a similar substance may have an _aerial_ origin, though carried
up in the first instance, it may be, by the process of evaporation;--this
would considerably modify the product. On the 26th September, 1792, a fall
of manna took place at a district in Sicily, called _Fiume grande_; this
singular shower lasted, it is stated, for about an hour and a half. It
commenced at _twenty-two o'clock_, according to Italian time, or about
five o'clock in the afternoon: the space covered with this manna seems to
have been considerable. A _second_ shower covered a space of thirty-eight
paces in length, by fourteen in breadth. This second shower of manna,
which took place on the following day, was not confined to the _Fiume
grande_, but seems to have fallen in still greater abundance in another
place, called _Santa Barbara_, at a considerable distance: it covered a
space of two hundred and fifty paces in length, by fourteen paces in
breadth. An individual, named Guiseppe Giarrusso, informed Sig. G.M. La
Pira, that about half-past eight o'clock, A.M., he witnessed this shower
of manna, and described it as composed of extremely minute drops, which,
as soon as they fell, congealed into a white concrete substance; and the
quantity was such, that the whole surface of the ground was covered, and
presented the appearance of snow: the depth, in all cases, seems to have
been inconsiderable. This aerial manna was somewhat purgative, when
administered internally; and the chemical analysis of it seemed to prove,
that its constituents, though somewhat different from that obtained from
the _ornus rotundifolia_, did not materially differ from the latter in
its constituents. Sig. La Pira describes it of a white colour, and
somewhat granular or spherical; it seems to have had some resemblance,
externally, to that of the Scriptures; but it is not stated that it became
corrupt on being preserved.
_Water from the Rock._
At the rock, in Horeb, called _Meribah_, Moses miraculously supplied the
people with water. He smote the rock, and an abundant stream immediately
issued: this extraordinary source of supply is now dried up, but there is
still left sufficient evidence to confirm the fact. It will suffice for
our purpose that we quote, in corroboration, the description of an
eye-witness and recent traveller: "We came to the celebrated rock of
Meribah. It still bears striking evidence of the miracle about it; and it
is quite isolated in the midst of a narrow valley, which is here about two
hundred yards broad. There are four or five fissures, one above the other,
on the face of the rock, each of them about a foot and a half long, and a
few inches deep. What is remarkable, they run along the breadth of the
rock, and are not rent downwards; they are more than a foot asunder, and
there is a channel worn between them by the gushing of the water. The
Arabs still reverence this rock." Dr. Clarke only spoke the truth when he
asserted that the BIBLE was the best itinerary that the traveller in
Palestine could possess.
"_Weighing in the Balance._"
The sentence of the ALMIGHTY, emblazoned on the walls of the palace of
Babylon, which registered the fate of Belshazzar, was deciphered by the
skill of Daniel. Part of this sentence is thus interpreted: "TEKEL; Thou
art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." The author gives an
interesting illustration of the allusion. Here, it will be perceived, is
the _balance_ in which the actions of the individual have been weighed;
and we have only further to remark, that the former Mogul kings were, on
their ascending the throne, _literally weighed_. Thevenot gives an account
of this curious affair in his time. The balance wherein this seems to have
been performed, is described as being rich. The chains of suspension were
of gold, and the two scales, studded with precious stones, also of gold,
as well as the beam, &c. The king, richly attired and shining with jewels,
goes into one of the scales of the balance, and sits on his heels. Into
the other are put little bales, said to be full of gold, silver, and
jewels, or of other costly materials. These little bales are described to
be often changed.
We have marked many more extracts than we can insert, and find that we
must content ourselves, and we hope the author, with again directing
attention to his very interesting production.
 II. xi. v. 28.
 Also the _oak, ilex, chestnut_, &c. though less abundant and
more rare than on the leaves of the manna-ash. The ordinary
manna collected in Sicily, comes from districts in the _Val
Demone_ and the _Val di Mazzara_, at some distance from the
localities where this aerial manna fell.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
PICTURE OF VENICE.
(_From Contarini Fleming, a Psychological Autobiography_.)
An hour before sunset, I arrived at Fusina, and beheld, four or five miles
out at sea, the towers and cupolas of Venice suffused with a rich golden
light, and rising out of the bright blue waters. Not an exclamation
escaped me. I felt like a man, who has achieved a great object. I was full
of calm exultation, but the strange incident of the morning made me
serious and pensive.
As our gondolas glided over the great Lagune, the excitement of the
spectacle reanimated me. The buildings, that I had so fondly studied in
books and pictures, rose up before me. I knew them all; I required no
Cicerone. One by one, I caught the hooded Cupolas of St. Mark, the tall
Campanile red in the sun, the Moresco Palace of the Doges, the deadly
Bridge of Sighs, and the dark structure to which it leads. Here my gondola
quitted the Lagune, and, turning up a small canal, and passing under a
bridge which connected the quays, stopped at the steps of a palace.
I ascended a staircase of marble, I passed through a gallery crowded with
statues, I was ushered into spacious apartments, the floors of which were
marble, and the hangings satin. The ceilings were painted by Tintoretto
and his scholars, and were full of Turkish trophies and triumphs over the
Ottomite. The furniture was of the same rich material as the hangings, and
the gilding, although of two hundred years' duration, as bright and
burnished, as the costly equipment of a modern palace. From my balcony of
blinds, I looked upon the great Lagune. It was one of those glorious
sunsets which render Venice, in spite of her degradation, still famous.
The sky and sea vied in the brilliant multiplicity of their blended tints.
The tall shadows of her Palladian churches flung themselves over the
glowing and transparent wave out of which they sprang. The quays were
crowded with joyous groups, and the black gondolas flitted, like sea
serpents, over the red and rippling waters.
I hastened to the Place of St. Mark. It was crowded and illuminated. Three
gorgeous flags waved on the mighty staffs, which are opposite the church
in all the old drawings, and which once bore the standards of Candia and
Cyprus, and the Morea. The coffee-houses were full, and gay parties,
seated on chairs in the open air, listened to the music of military bands,
while they refreshed themselves with confectionary so rich and fanciful,
that it excites the admiration, and the wonder of all travellers, but
which I have since discovered in Turkey to be Oriental. The variety of
costume was also great. The dress of the lower orders in Venice is still
unchanged: many of the middle classes yet wear the cap and cloak. The
Hungarian and the German military, and the bearded Jew, with his black
velvet cap and flowing robes, are observed with curiosity. A few days also
before my arrival, the Austrian squadron had carried into Venice a Turkish
ship and two Greek vessels which had violated the neutrality. Their crews
now mingled with the crowd. I beheld, for the first time, the haughty and
turbaned Ottoman, sitting cross-legged on his carpet under a colonnade,
sipping his coffee and smoking a long chiboque, and the Greeks, with their
small red caps, their high foreheads, and arched eyebrows.
Can this be modern Venice, I thought? Can this be the silent, and gloomy,
and decaying city, over whose dishonourable misery I have so often wept?
Could it ever have been more enchanting? Are not these indeed still
subjects of a Doge, and still the bridegroom of the ocean? Alas! the
brilliant scene was as unusual as unexpected, and was accounted for by its
being the feast day of a favourite saint. Nevertheless, I rejoiced at the
unaccustomed appearance of the city at my entrance, and still I recall
with pleasure the delusive moments, when strolling about the place of St.
Mark the first evening that I was in Venice, I for a moment mingled in a
scene that reminded me of her lost light-heartedness, and of that
unrivalled gaiety that so long captivated polished Europe.
* * * * *
SWISS LEGEND OF WILLIAM TELL.
The famous episode of William Tell, was momentous to the main plot of the
emancipation of Switzerland in its issue. This man, who was one of the
sworn at Rutli, and noted for his high and daring spirit, exposed himself
to arrest by Gessler's myrmidons, for passing the hut without making
obeisance. Whispers of conspiracy had already reached the vogt, and he
expected to extract some farther evidence from Tell on the subject.
Offended by the man's obstinate silence, he gave loose to his tyrannical
humour, and knowing that Tell was a good archer, commanded him to shoot
from a great distance at an apple on the head of his child. God, says an
old chronicler, was with him; and the vogt, who had not expected such a
specimen of skill and fortune, now cast about for new ways to entrap the
object of his malice; and, seeing a second arrow in his quiver, asked him
what that was for? Tell replied, evasively, that such was the usual
practice of archers. Not content with this reply, the vogt pressed him on
farther, and assured him of his life, whatever the arrow might have been
meant for. "Vogt," said Tell, "had I shot my child, the second shaft was
for THEE; and be sure I should not have missed my mark a second time!"
Transported with rage not unmixed with terror, Gessler exclaimed, "Tell! I
have promised thee life, but thou shalt pass it in a dungeon." Accordingly,
he took boat with his captive, intending to transport him across the lake
to Kussnacht in Schwytz, in defiance of the common right of the district,
which provided that its natives should not be kept in confinement beyond
its borders. A sudden storm on the lake overtook the party; and Gessler
was obliged to give orders to loose Tell from his fetters, and commit the
helm to his hands, as he was known for a skilful steersman. Tell guided
the vessel to the foot of the great Axenberg, where a ledge of rock
distinguished to the present day as Tell's platform, presented itself as
the only possible landing-place for leagues around. Here he seized his
cross-bow, and escaped by a daring leap, leaving the skiff to wrestle its
way in the billows. The vogt also escaped the storm, but only to meet a
fate more signal from Tell's bow in the narrow pass near Kussnacht. The
tidings of his death enhanced the courage of the people, but also alarmed
the vigilance of their rulers, and greatly increased the dangers of the
conspirators, who kept quiet. These occurrences marked the close of
1307.--_Cabinet Cyclopaedia. History of Switzerland._
* * * * *
GREAT PLAGUE IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.
The early triumphs of Swiss valour were saddened by the breaking out of
that great plague, which visited with its ravages the greater part of
Europe and Asia, and of which the most vivid delineation ever written
(except that of a similar pest by Thucydides) has been preserved in the
Decameron of Boccacio. Whole towns were depopulated. Estates were left
without claimants or occupiers. Priests, physicians, grave-diggers, could
not be found in adequate numbers; and the consecrated earth of the
churchyards no longer sufficed for the reception of its destined tenants.
In the order of Franciscans alone, 120,430 monks are said to have perished.
This plague had been preceded by tremendous earthquakes, which laid in
ruins towns, castles, and villages. Dearth and famine, clouds of locusts,
and even an innocent comet, had been long before regarded as fore-runners
of the pestilence; and when it came it was viewed as an unequivocal sign
of the wrath of God. At the outset, the Jews became, as usual, objects of
umbrage, as having occasioned this calamity by poisoning the wells. A
persecution was commenced against them, and numberless innocent persons
were consigned, by heated fanaticism, to a dreadful death by fire, and
their children were baptized over the corpses of their parents, according
to the religion of their murderers. These atrocities were in all
probability perpetrated by many, in order to possess themselves of the
wealth acquired by the Jews in traffic, to take revenge for their usurious
extortions, or, finally, to pay their debts in the most expeditious and
easy manner. When it was found that the plague was nowise diminished by
massacring the Jews, but, on the contrary, seemed to acquire additional
virulence, it was inferred that God, in his righteous wrath, intended
nothing less than to extirpate the whole sinful race of man. Many now
endeavoured by self-chastisement to avert the divine vengeance from
themselves. Fraternities of hundreds and thousands collected under the
name of Flagellants, strolled through the land in strange garbs, scourged
themselves in the public streets, in penance for the sins of the world,
and read a letter which was said to have fallen from heaven, admonishing
all to repentance and amendment. They were joined of course, by a crowd of
idle vagabonds, who, under the mask of extraordinary sanctity and humble
penitence, indulged in every species of disorder and debauchery. At last
the affair assumed so grave an aspect, that the pope and many secular
princes declared themselves against the Flagellants, and speedily put an
end to their extravagancies. Various ways were still, however, resorted to
by various tempers to snatch the full enjoyment of that life which they
were so soon to lose, at the expense of every possible violation of the
laws of morality. Only a few lived on in a quiet and orderly manner, in
reliance on the saving help of God, without running into any excess of
anxiety or indulgence. After this desolating scourge had raged during four
years, its violence seemed at length to be exhausted.--_Ibid._
* * * * *
WATERING PLACES IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.
Baden, the well-known and much-frequented watering-place, has been long
celebrated. The following account of it in the fifteenth century is
interesting. Those warriors who would wile away the interval between one
campaign and another agreeably, betook themselves to Baden in Aargau. Here
in a narrow valley, where the Limmat flows through its rocky bed, are hot
springs of highly medicinal properties. Hither, to the numerous houses of
public entertainment, resorted prelates, abbots, monks, nuns, soldiers,
statesmen, and all sorts of artificers. As in our fashionable
watering-places, most of the visitors merely sought to dissipate ennui,
enjoy life, and pursue pleasure. The baths were most crowded at an early
hour in the morning, and those who did not bathe resorted thither to see
acquaintances, with whom they could hold conversation from the galleries
round the bath-rooms, while the bathers played at various games, or ate
from floating tables. Lovely females did not disdain to sue for alms from
the gallery-loungers, who threw down coins of small amount, to enjoy the
ensuing scramble. Flowers were strewn on the surface of the water, and the
vaulted roof rang with music, vocal, and instrumental. Towards noon the
company sallied forth to the meadows in the neighbourhood, acquaintances
were easily made, and strangers soon became familiar. The pleasures of the
table were followed by jovial pledges in swift succession, till fife and
drum summoned to the dance. Now fell the last barriers of reserve and
decorum; and it is time to drop a veil over the scene. _Ibid._
* * * * *
_Morland._--George Morland's brother was telling me the other day, that he
well remembered going with his brother in a hack to Smithfield, buying a
young donkey there, and bringing it home with them in the coach; his
brother laughing almost all the time. M.L.E.
* * * * *
_The Three Death's Heads._--The following words (much altered) are from a
poem entitled, "The Thre' Deid Powis", (The Three Death's Heads, by
"O, lady gay, in glittering garments drest,
Enrich'd with pearl, and many a costly stone,
Thy slender throat, and soft and snowy breast
Circled with gold and sapphires many a one.
Thy fingers small, white as the ivory bone,
Arrayed with rings, and many a ruby red;
Soon shall thy fresh and rose-like bloom be gone,
And naught of thee remain, but grim and hollow head.
O, woeful pride! dark root of all distress!
With contrite heart, our fleshless scalps behold!
O wretched man, to God, meek prayers address.
Thy lusty strength, thy wit, thy daring bold,
All shall lie low with us in charnel cold:
Proud king, 'tis thus thy pamper'd corpse shall rot;
Thus, in the dust thy purple pomp be roll'd,
Mark then, in peeled skull, thy miserable lot."
* * * * *
_Bushy._--Bushy, a small village, near Watford, seems to have been very
unfortunate in its ancient owners. Its first Norman possessor, Geoffrey de
Mandeville, having incurred the Pope's displeasure, was obliged to be
suspended in lead, on a tree, in the precinct of the Temple, London,
because Christian burial was not allowed to persons under such
circumstances. Edmond of Woodstock, was beheaded through the vile
machinations of Queen Isabella, and her paramour, Mortimer, on a suspicion
of intending to restore his brother, Edward II. to the throne; and so much
was he beloved by the people, and his persecutors detested, that he stood
from one to five in the afternoon before an executioner could be procured,
and then an outlaw from the Marshalsea performed the detested duty. Thomas,
Duke of Surrey, was beheaded at Cirencester, in rebellion against Henry IV.
Thomas de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, after obtaining the highest honour
in the campaigns in France with Henry V. was killed by the splinter of a
window-frame, driven into his face by a cannon ball, at the siege of
Orleans. Richard, the stout Earl of Warwick, another possessor, was killed
at Barnet. George, Duke of Clarence, was drowned in a butt of Malmsey.
Richard III. was the next possessor. Lady Margaret de la Pole, was
beheaded at the age of seventy-two, by the cruel policy of Henry VIII., in
revenge for a supposed affront by her son the Cardinal. In this parish
also lived the infamous Colonel Titus, who advised Cromwell to deliver the
nation from its yoke, in a pamphlet, entitled _Killing no Murder_.
* * * * *
_West._--A New York paper states that the old sign of the Bull's Head,
which has hung at a house in Strawberry-street, for nearly seventy years,
is ascertained to be one of the first productions of Benjamin West, and is
said to be the first painting of the kind ever executed in America. The
wood on which it is painted is much decayed, but the paint and figures are
* * * * *
_Congreve_ is said to have written his comedy of the _Old Bachelor_ and
part of the _Mourning Bride_, in a grotto formed in a steep rocky hill in
the grounds of Ham Hall, in Dove Dale, Derbyshire. This romantic retreat
was furnished with a stone seat and table, and herein the poet and
dramatist was accustomed to seek refuge from the license of a London life.
* * * * *
_Rousseau_ appears to have been one of the unhappiest as well as the most
unamiable of men. He imagined himself the persecuted of all persecutors,
and sought an asylum in England from his supposed enemies. In April, 1766,
having just settled in Derbyshire, he wrote "Here I have just arrived at
last at an agreeable and sequestered asylum, where I hope to breathe
freely, and at peace." He lived chiefly at Wootton Hall, and delighted to
pass his leisure in the romantic Dove Dale. He did not, however, long
remain "at peace," for in April following, he returned to the continent,
heaping reproaches on his best friends. The rent of the house in which he
lived had been greatly reduced, to allure him into the country; his spirit
revolted at this; and as soon as he heard of it he indignantly left the
place. Whilst at Wootton Hall, he received a present of some bottles of
choice foreign wine; this was a gift, and his pride would not permit him
to taste it; he therefore left it in the house untouched for the next
comer. For some reason or other, or more probably for none, he had
determined not to see Dr. Darwin. The Doctor, aware of his objections,
placed himself on a terrace, which Rousseau had to pass, and was examining
a plant. "Rousseau," said he, "are you a botanist?" They entered into
conversation, and were intimate at once; but Rousseau, on reflection,
imagined that this meeting was the result of contrivance, and the intimacy
proceeded no further.
* * * * *
VOL. XIX. OF THE MIRROR.
With a Steel-plate Portrait of the Right Hon. EARL GREY, and a
Biographical Memoir of his Lordship, upwards of Sixty Engravings, and 450
closely-printed pages, is now publishing, price 5_s_. 6_d_.
PARTS 124 and 125, price 8_d_. each, are also ready.
The SUPPLEMENTARY NUMBER, containing the above Portrait, a copious Memoir,
Title-Page, Index, &c. price 2_d_. will be published in the ensuing week.
* * * * *
_Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand (near Somerset House,)
London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic, G.G. BENNIS,
55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers_.
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