The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 17, No.
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 17, NO. 482.] SATURDAY, MARCH 26, 1831. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
[Illustration: BRAY CHURCH.]
Who has not heard of the _Vicar of Bray_, and his turning, turning,
and turning again? Here is his church, and a goodly tower withal, which
we, in our turn, have endeavoured to turn to the illustration of our
pages. There is no sinister motive in the selection; but if we have hit
the white, or rather the black, of such variableness, "let the galled
jade wince," and pay _the Mirror_ the stale compliment of _veluti
Bray is a small village about one mile from Maidenhead, and its
name would have remained "unsaid, unsung," had it not been for its
never-enough-to-be-ridiculed Vicar. Camden supposes Bray to have been
occupied by the _Bibroci_, who submitted to Caesar, and obtained
his protection, and with it a secure possession of one of the most
beautiful spots in this county; so that submissiveness seems to have
been the very air of the place in all times. Philippa, the queen of
Edward III., had rents assigned to her from this and the adjoining manor
of Cookham. It is now considered as part of the royal domain, being
attached to the liberties of Windsor Castle, and retaining some peculiar
privileges, among which is an exemption from tolls in the adjacent
market-towns. In default of male heirs, lands are not divided here among
females of the same degree of kindred, but descend solely to the eldest.
The church is "a _spacious_ structure," says the _Windsor
Guide_, and "composed of various materials, and exhibiting a mixture
of almost every style of architecture," says the "_Beauties of England
and Wales;_" but we leave the reader to his own conclusion from our
Engraving, sketched in the summer of last year. We take for granted the
church does not change in appearance every year, if its Vicar once did
The story of the _Vicar of Bray_ is told with some variations, but
the fact is not questioned. In the Beauties of England and Wales we read
that his name was Simon Symonds, that he possessed the benefice in the
reign of Henry VIII. and the three succeeding monarchs, and that he died
in the forty-first year of Elizabeth. "This man was twice a Protestant
and twice a Papist; and when reproached for the unsteadiness of his
principles, which could thus suffer him to veer with every change of
administration, replied, 'that he had always governed himself by what
he thought a very laudable principle, which was, never on any terms,
if he could avoid it, to part with his vicarage." This creed has been
amplified into a song, which we shall quote presently, more for its
being a good conceite than for its scarceness.
The author just quoted from the _Beauties_ observes, in a
note--"Several late writers, particularly Ireland and Ferrar, who have
mentioned the above circumstances, describe them as happening in the
reign of Charles the Second, James the Second, &c. This mistake throws
the imputation of apostacy on the worthy person who held the vicarage
towards the conclusion of the 17th century. It should be remarked, that
the story was first published by Fuller, in his Church History; and as
the author died in the year 1661, it is evident that it must have been
circulated previous to that event."
We have not the _Church History_ at hand, but Fuller, in his
_Worthies_, says, "Bray is a village well known in Barkshire, the
vivacious Vicar whereof, living under King Henry the Eighth, King Edward
the Sixth, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, was first a Papist, then
a Protestant, then a Papist, then a Protestant again. This Vicar being
tax't by one for being a turncoat, not so (said he) for I always kept
my principles, which is this, to live and die Vicar of Bray."
Lastly, here is the song:--
THE VICAR OF BRAY.
In good King Charles's golden days,
When loyalty had no harm in't,
A zealous high-churchman I was,
And so I got preferment.
To teach my flock I never miss'd:
Kings are by God appointed;
And those are damn'd that do resist,
And touch the Lord's anointed:
And this is law, I will maintain
Until my dying day, sir,
That whatsoever king shall reign,
I will be Vicar of Bray, sir.
When royal James obtain'd the throne,
And Popery came in fashion,
The penal laws I booted down,
And read the declaration:
The Church of Rome I found would fit
Full well my constitution;
And had become a Jesuit,
But for the Revolution,
And this is law, &c.
When William was our king declared,
To ease the nation's grievance,
With his new wind about I steer'd,
And swore to him allegiance:
Old principles I did revoke,
Set conscience at a distance;
Passive obedience was a joke,
And pish for non-resistance.
And this is law, &.c.
When gracious Anne ascends the throne.
The Church of England's glory,
Another face of things was seen,
And I became a Tory:
Occasional conformists base,
I damn'd their moderation,
And thought the church in danger was
By such prevarication,
And this is law, &c.
When George in pudding-time came o'er,
And moderate men look'd big, sir,
I turn'd a cat-in-pan once more,
And then became a Whig, sir:
And so preferment I procured
By our new faith's defender,
And always every day abjured
The Pope and the pretender.
And this is law, &c.
The illustrious house of Hanover,
And Protestant succession,
To these I do allegiance swear
While they can keep possession:
For by my faith and loyalty
I never more will falter,
And George my lawful king shall be
Until the time shall alter.
And this is law, &c.
* * * * *
ANOTHER OLD SONG.
ORIGIN OF THE SONG "FOUR AND TWENTY FIDDLERS ALL ON A ROW."
The fiddle was not allowed to be a concert instrument till the reign
of Charles the Second, who, in imitation of Louis the Fourteenth,
established a band of twenty-four violins, alias fiddles, which gave
birth to Tom Durfey's song of "_Four and Twenty Fiddlers all on a
Row_," &c.: a humorous production, in which there is a mockery of
every instrument, and almost every trade, and which used to be performed
between the acts, or between the play and farce, by some man of humour
The author of the Guardian, in No. 67, gives an account of Tom Durfey,
with a view to recommend him to the public notice for a benefit play,
and says, that he remembered King Charles the Second leaning on Tom
Durfey's shoulder more than once, and humming over a song with him.
_Roi des Violons_, or King of the Fiddlers, was anciently a title
in France. It became defunct, in 1685, owing to anarchy--thus _harmony
and discord cannot agree_.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
"A churchyard!--'tis a homely word, yet full
Of feeling; and a sound that o'er the heart
Might shed religion."
Ruins! so dark and lone,
The pride of other years,
On which the stars have shone,
To light the mourners' tears;
The ivy clings to ye,
And softly hums the bee
Where violets blue are blooming,
The liquid dews perfuming,
Beneath each withered tree.
Tombs! o'er your nameless stone
What gentle hearts have wept,
And there, at midnight lone,
Their silent vigils kept;
There Beauty laid her wreath,
And Love seem'd "strong as death,"
Around the pale shrines sighing,
While plaintive winds were dying
With music in their breath.
But childhood loves to stray
Whene'er the sward is green,
Round your mementos grey,
And haunts the mouldering scene;
And lovely in repose,
At sunset's gorgeous close,
Your holy walls seem blending
With purple light descending
Upon the beauteous rose.
Tombs of the past unknown!
Ye are fringed with violets blue,
And clouds have laved your stone
With sweetest tears of dew;
But when, by angels given,
The last dread peal of heaven
Shall rend ye all asunder
With its immortal thunder,
Your dead shall claim their heaven.
* * * * *
PORTRAIT OF STERNE.
(_To the Editor._)
As many of the pages of your extensively-circulated little work have
preserved memorials of _Laurence Sterne_, I hope you can spare room
for the underwritten extract, from a letter of his to Mr. Garrick, dated
Paris, March, 1762, and which may be seen in Vol I. of Mrs. Medalle's
"Letters of the late L. Sterne."
My object in thus troubling you is, in the hope (perhaps you will say an
almost forlorn, or distant one) that _possibly_ some one of your
readers, either here or abroad, maybe able to suggest where it is likely
the under-mentioned _whole-length_ portrait may now be of that once
very distinguished man.
A CONSTANT READER.
"I shandy it away fifty times more than I was ever wont, talk more
nonsense than ever you heard me talk in your days--and to all sorts of
people. _Qui le diable est cet homme la_ ... said Choiseul, t'other
day. You'll think me as vain as a devil, was I to tell you the rest of
the dialogue.... The Duke of Orleans has suffered my portrait to be
added to the number of some odd men in his collection; and a gentleman
who lives with him has taken it _most expressively_, at full
length. I purpose to obtain an etching of it, and to send it to you."
* * * * *
EPITOME OF THE ANCIENT KINGDOM OF POLAND.
(_For the Mirror._)
Poland was once the country of the Vandals, who left it to invade the
Roman Empire. The kingdom began, by favour of Otho III., Emperor of
Germany, under Boleslaus, 999; Red Russia was added to it in 1059;
Pomerania, that had been separated 180 years, again united with it,
1465; embraced Christianity, 965; the order of the White Eagle
instituted in 1705. The peasants in Poland were serfs or slaves, and
the value of an estate was not estimated from its extent, but from the
number of the peasants who were transferred, like cattle, from one
master to another. The first person who granted freedom to his peasants
was Zamoiski, formerly grand chancellor, who in 1760 enfranchised six
villages. The Jews were first introduced into Poland about the time of
Casimir the Great; they were indulged with great privileges, and became
so numerous that Poland was styled the Paradise of the Jews. So late as
the thirteenth century, the Poles retained the custom of killing old men
when past their labour, and such children as were born imperfect. "The
natural strength of Poland, if properly exerted, (says a modern writer)
would have formed a more certain bulwark against the ambition of her
neighbours than the faith of treaties;" and it is worthy of remark, that
of the three partitioning powers, Prussia was formerly in a state of
vassalage to the republic; Russia once saw her capital and throne
possessed by the Poles, under Sigismund III. whose troops got possession
of Moscow, and whose son, Ladislaus, was chosen Great Duke of Muscovy,
by a party of the Russian nobles; and Austria was indebted to John
Sobieski, King of Poland, who, in 1683, compelled the Turks to raise the
siege of Vienna, and delivered the house of Austria from the greatest
dangers it ever experienced.
"The partition of Poland (says Mr. Coxe,) was first projected by the
King of Prussia."
In 1794, Suwarof laid siege to Praga, a fortified suburb of Warsaw, and
carried it by assault, with a tremendous carnage. The king was compelled
to abdicate, and the whole country was incorporated in the dominion of
Russia, Prussia, and Austria.
Early in 1797 Stanislaus arrived at Petersburg, and, according to the
appointment of the sovereign, fixed his residence in the Marble Palace,
on the banks of the Neva; but his death, which happened on the 12th of
February, 1798, terminated the series of Polish sovereigns:
"Hope for a season bade the world farewell,
And Freedom shriek'd as Kosciusko fell."
Queen Elizabeth so highly prized the merit and abilities of Sir Philip
Sydney, that she sent him ambassador to Vienna, and to several courts in
Germany; and when the fame of his valour became so extensive that he was
put in election for the crown of Poland, she refused to further his
advancement, lest (says Baker) she should lose the brightest jewel of
her crown. This Marcellus of the English nation was killed at the battle
of Zutphen, in 1585, while he was mounting the third horse, having
before had two killed under him.
* * * * *
THE HOUR OF PHANTASY.
"The atmosphere that circleth gifted minds
Is from a deep intensity derived,
An element of thought, where feelings shape
Themselves to fancies,--an electric world
Too exquisitely toned for common life,
Which they of coarser metal cannot dream."
There is an hour when Memory lends
To Thought her intellectual part,
When visions of departed friends
Restore their beauty to the heart;
And like the sunset's crimson light
To fading scenes of Nature given,
They make our meditations bright
With hopes inspired by heaven.
The vivid glance of those blue eyes
Which haunted us with early love,
Like stars that seem'd in cloudless skies
Transferr'd from earth to shine above,--
And voices whispering from the dead,
Or where the violets' lips enclose,
Around our languid spirits shed
Their halo of repose.
It is the hour of thought profound,
When Memory's heart, depress'd with gloom,
Laments upon the sculptured mound,
And dreams beside the visioned tomb;
When voices from the dead arise,
Like music o'er the starlit sea,
And holiest commune sanctifies
The Hour of Phantasy.
* * * * *
MANNERS & CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.
* * * * *
APPLICANTS FOR THE FLITCH OF DUNMOW.
(_For the Mirror._)
Aubry de Falstaff, son of Sir John Falstaff, Knight, with Dame Maude,
his wife, were the first that demanded the bacon, he having bribed twain
of his father's companions to swear falsely in his behoof, whereby he
gained the flitch; but he and his said wife falling immediately into a
dispute how the bacon should be dressed, it was, by order of the judges,
taken from him, and hung up again in the Hall.
Alison, the wife of Stephen Freckle, brought her said husband along with
her, and set forth the good conditions and behaviour of her consort,
adding withal that she doubted not but he was ready to attest the like
of her, his wife; whereupon he, the said Stephen, shaking his head,
she turned short upon him, and gave him a box on the ear. Philip de
Waverland having laid his hand up the book, when the clause, "were
I sole and she sole" was rehearsed, found a secret compunction rising
in his mind, and stole it off again.
Richard de Loveless, who was a courtier, and a very well bred man, being
observed to hesitate at the words "after our marriage," was thereupon
desired to explain himself. He replied by talking very largely of his
exact complaisance while he was a lover, and alleged that he had not in
the least disobliged his wife for a year and a day before marriage,
which he hoped was the same thing. (Rejected.)
Joceline Jolly, Esq. making it appear, by unquestionable testimony,
that he and his wife had preserved full and entire affection for the
space of the first month, commonly called the Honey Moon, he had, in
consideration thereof, one rasher bestowed upon him.
After this (says the record) many years passed over before any demandant
appeared at Wichenovre Hall,--insomuch, that one would have thought that
the whole country had turned Jews, so little was their affection to the
flitch of bacon.
The next couple enrolled had like to have carried it, if one of the
witnesses had not deposed, that dining on a Sunday with the demandant,
whose wife had sat below the squire's lady at church, she, the said
wife, dropped some expressions, as if she thought her husband deserved
to be knighted, to which he returned a passionate "pish!" The judges
taking the premises into consideration, declared the aforesaid behaviour
to imply an unwarrantable ambition in the wife, and anger in the
It is recorded as a sufficient disqualification of a certain wife, that,
speaking of her husband, she said, "God forgive him."
It is likewise remarkable, that a couple were rejected upon the
deposition of one of their neighbours, that the lady had once told her
husband that it was her duty to obey; to which he replied, "Oh, my dear,
you are never in the wrong."
The violent passion of one lady for her lap-dog, the turning away of her
old housemaid by another; a tavern bill torn by the wife, and a tailor's
by the husband; a quarrel about the kissing crust, spoiling of dinners,
and coming home late of nights, are so many several articles which
occasioned the reprobation of some scores of demandants, whose names are
recorded in the aforesaid register.
Without enumerating other particular persons, I shall content myself
with observing that the sentence pronounced against one Gervase Poacher
is, that he might have had bacon to his eggs, if he had not heretofore
scolded his wife when they were over-boiled. And the deposition against
Dorothy Doolittle runs in these words--That if she had so far usurped
the dominion of the coal fire (the stirring whereof her husband claimed
to himself) that by her good will she never would suffer the poker out
of her hand.
I find but two couples in the first century that were successful. The
first was a sea captain and his wife, who, since the day of their
marriage, had not seen one another till the day of the claim; the second
was an honest pair in the neighbourhood--the husband was a man of plain
good sense and a peaceable temper, and the woman was dumb.
THOS. HY. PRS.
* * * * *
THE BORROWING DAYS.
(_For the Mirror._)
Proverbs relating to the weather are of uncertain origin. The Glossary
explains the _Borrowing Days_ the three last of March, and adds
concerning the origin of this term, the following popular rhyme is often
"March borrow it fra Averill
Three days and they were ill,
Also March said to Aprill
I see three hogs upon a hill,
But lend your three first days to me
And I'll be bound to gar them die.
The first it sall be wind and weet,
The next it sall be snaw and sleet,
The third it sall be sic a freeze,
Sall gar the birds stick to the trees,
But when the _Borrowed Days_ were gone,
The three silly hogs came hedglin home."
_Complaint of Scotland._
The Country Almanack for 1676, says of April--
"No blushing blasts from March needs April borrow,
His own oft proves enow to breed us sorrow,
Yet if he weyr with us to sympathize,
His trickling tears will make us wipe our eyes."
In the British Apollo, the meaning of the old poetical saying is asked--
"March borrows of April
Three days and they are ill,
April returns them back again
Three days, and they are rain."
In Devonshire the three first days of March are called "blind days,"
unlucky days, and upon them no farmer will sow his seed.
Dr. Jamison in his Dictionary of the Scottish Language, says "These days
being generally stormy, our forefathers have endeavoured to account for
this circumstance by pretending that March borrowed them from April,
that he might extend his power so much longer. Those (he adds) who are
much addicted to superstition, will neither borrow nor lend on any of
these days. If one should propose to borrow of them they would consider
it as an evidence that the person wished to employ the article borrowed,
for the purposes of witchcraft against the lenders. Some of the vulgar
imagine that these days received their designation from the conduct of
the Israelites, in borrowing the property of the Egyptians. This
extravagant idea must have originated partly from the name, and partly
from the circumstance of these days nearly corresponding to the time
when the Israelites left Egypt, which was on the fourteenth day of the
month Mib or Nisan, including part of our March and April. I know not
whether our Western Magi suppose that the inclemency of the borrowing
days had any reference to the storm which proved so fatal to the
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF _NEW WORKS._
* * * * *
(_Continued from page_ 206.)
Such is Sanuto's brief narrative of the origin of this conspiracy; and
we have nothing more certain to offer. It is not easy to say whence he
obtained his intelligence. If such a conversation as that which he
relates really did occur, it must have taken place without the presence
of witnesses, and therefore could be disclosed only by one of the
parties. It is far more likely that the chronicler is relating that
which he _supposed_, than that which he _knew_; and, as it
must be admitted that the interview with the admiral of the Arsenal
occurred, and that, immediately after it, the doge was found linked
with the daring band of which that officer was chief, there is no
violation of probability in granting that some such conversation took
place, and that the train was ignited by this collision of two angry
spirits. Whether the plot was in any degree organized beforehand, or
arose at the moment, it is manifestly impossible for us to decide,
without information which cannot now be obtained.
Bertucci Faliero, a nephew of the doge, and Filippo Calendaro, a
seaman of great repute, were summoned to conference immediately. It was
agreed to communicate the design to six other associates; and, during
many nights successively, these plebeian assassins arranged with
the doge, under the roof of his own palace, the massacre of the entire
aristocracy, and the dissolution of the existing government. "It was
concerted that sixteen or seventeen leaders should be stationed in
various parts of the city, each being at the head of forty men, armed
and prepared; but the followers were not to know their destination. On
the appointed day, they were to make affrays amongst themselves here and
there, in order that the duke might have a pretence for tolling the
bells of San Marco, which are never rung but by the order of the duke;
and at the sound of the bells, these sixteen or seventeen, with their
followers, were to come to San Marco, through the streets which open
upon the Piazza; and when the nobles and leading citizens should come to
the Piazza to know the cause of the riot, then the conspirators were to
cut them in pieces; and this work being finished, my Lord Marino Faliero
the Duke was to be proclaimed Lord of Venice. Things having been thus
settled, they agreed to fulfil their attempt on Wednesday, the 15th day
of April, in the year 1355. So covertly did they plot that no one ever
dreamed of their machinations."
As a previous step, in order to arouse popular feeling against the Great
Council, it was determined to practise a singular stratagem. Parties of
the conspirators paraded different quarters of the capital in the dead
of night, and having stopped at the windows of some citizens of the
middle and lower classes, and there insulted the women of the family
by scandalous and unseemly propositions, they retired with rude bursts
of laughter, calling each other loudly by the names of the principal
noblemen. Perhaps the rapidity with which their design was framed,
tended much to its concealment. Scarcely a little month had elapsed
since its first projection, and now the following day was to destroy the
constitution of Venice, to deluge her streets with patrician blood, and
to pluck up all her ancient stocks from their very roots, without a
suspicion of the approaching calamity having glanced across the intended
victims.--Either the Council of X could not yet have obtained its
subsequent fearful and extraordinary ubiquity, or the conspirators must
have exhibited a prudence and self-control rarely, if ever, paralleled
by an equally large body of men, engaged in a similar attempt. To their
minor agents, their ultimate design had not been revealed; and even in
the end, the discovery arose not from treachery, nor from incaution, but
from "a compunctious visiting" of one framed of stuff less stern than
his associates, and who shrank from the murder of a benefactor. The part
played by Tresham in that yet more bloody conspiracy, which the Papists,
in after days, framed against the three estates of England, was but
a repetition of that now enacted in Venice by Beltramo of Bergamo.
Beltramo had been brought up in a noble family, to which he was closely
attached, that of Nicolo Lioni, of San Stefano; and, anxious to preserve
his patron's life, he went to him on the evening before the rising, and
entreated him to remain at home on the morrow. The singular nature of
the request excited surprise, which was increased to suspicion by the
ambiguous answers returned to farther inquiries which it suggested. By
degrees, every particular of the treason was revealed; and Lioni heard
of the impending danger with terror, and of the hands by which it was
threatened, with astonishment and slowly-accorded belief. Not a moment
was to be lost; he secured Beltramo, therefore, and, having communicated
with a few friends, they resolved upon assembling the heads of the
different magistracies, and immediately seizing such ringleaders as
had been denounced. These were taken, at their own houses, without
resistance. Precautions were adopted against any tumultuous gathering
of the mechanics of the Arsenal, and strict orders were issued to the
keeper of the _Campanile_ not on any account to toll the bells.
In the course to be pursued with the lesser malefactors, no difficulty
was likely to arise: the rack and the gibbet were their legal portion.
But for the doge, the law afforded no precedent; and, upon a crime which
it had not entered into the mind of man to conceive (as with that nation
which, having never contemplated parricide, had neglected to provide
any punishment for it), no tribunal known to the constitution was
competent to pass judgment. The Council of X. demanded the assistance of
a _giunta_ of twenty nobles, who were to give advice, but not to
ballot; and this body having been constituted, "they sent for my Lord
Marino Faliero the Duke, and my Lord was then consorting in the palace
with people of great estate, gentlemen, and other good men, none of whom
knew yet how the fact stood."
The ringleaders were immediately hanged between the Red Columns on the
_Piazzetta_--some singly, some in couples; and the two chiefs of
them, Bertuccio Israello and Calendaro, with a cruel precaution not
uncommon in Venice, were previously gagged. Nor was the process of the
highest delinquent long protracted. He appears neither to have denied
nor to have extenuated his guilt; and, 'on Friday the 16th day of April,
judgment was given in the Council of X. that my Lord Marino Faliero the
Duke should have his head cut off, and that the execution should be done
on the landing-place of the stone staircase, the Giant's Stairs, where
the doges take their oath when they first enter the palace. On the
following day, the doors of the palace being shut, the duke had his head
cut off, about the hour of noon; and the cap of estate was taken from
the duke's head before he came down the staircase. When the execution
was over, it is said, that one of the chiefs of the Council of X. went
to the columns of the palace against the Piazza, and, displaying the
bloody sword, exclaimed, "Justice has fallen on the traitor!" and, the
gates being then opened, the populace eagerly rushed in to see the doge
who had been executed.'
The body of Faliero was conveyed, by torchlight, in a gondola, and
unattended by the customary ceremonies, to the church of San Giovanni
and San Paolo; in the outer wall of which a stone coffin is still
imbedded, with an illegible inscription, which once presented the
words, _Hic jacet Marinus Feletro Dux._ His lands and goods were
confiscated to the state, with the exception of 2,000 ducats, of which
he was permitted to dispose; and, yet further to transmit to posterity
the memory of his enormous crime, his portrait was not admitted to range
with those of his brother doges in the Hall of the Great Council. In the
frame which it ought to occupy is suspended a black veil, inscribed with
the words, _Hic est locus Marini Feletro decapitati pro
The fate of Beltramo deserves a few words. He was amply rewarded for his
opportune discovery, by a pension of a thousand ducats in perpetuity,
the grant of a private residence which had belonged to Faliero, and
inscription in the Golden Book. Dissatisfied, however, with this lavish
payment for a very ambiguous virtue, he lost no occasion of taxing the
nobles with neglect of his services, and of uttering loud calumnies
against them, both secretly and in public. The government, wearied by
his importunities and ingratitude, at length deprived him of his
appointments, and sentenced him to ten years exile at Ragusa; but his
restless and turbulent spirit soon prompted him to seek a spot less
under the control of the signory, in which he might vent his railings
afresh, and with impunity. It is probable that the long arm of the
Council of X. arrested his design, for we are significantly informed
that he _perished_ on his way to Pannonia.
The volume is embellished with seven Plates, by Finden, from Drawings
by Prout; and nine characteristic Wood-cuts, chiefly from Titian.
Considering the excellence of the originals, more pains might have
been bestowed upon the latter; and Mr. Prout might surely have found
different points of view from those he has so recently given in the
Landscape Annual. The book altogether is a marvel of cheapness.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE CITY OF THE FAIRIES.
(_For the Mirror._)
Again, yet once again, during the days of my weary mortal pilgrimage,
did the blessed vision of the veritable Fairy Land open upon my
enchanted sight! Once more I found myself in that world of inexpressible
beauty! The radiance and sweetness of delicious morning were around
me;--balmy were the stealthy, odorous winds;--and the fluttering verdure
of that pleasant land glittered like countless emeralds, and swelled
itself in the breeze, as if conscious of, and glorying in, its
immortality! Beside me flowed a river--or rather, a broad, bright,
lovely lake--slumbering as stilly in the morning light as those who are
at peace with the world, and with Heaven. Romantic woods skirted the
shores of this waveless water;--here trees, for which the language of
man hath no name, drooped gracefully over the liquid crystal--as if,
in enamoured admiration, gazing upon their richly-coloured, luxuriant,
and feathery foliage, reflected in vivid freshness upon the bosom of
that transcendently natural mirror;--there, copse-wood, equally foreign
and lovely, closed all interstices--whilst fruits of tempting form
and colour, and flowers of inimitable hues, flashed like gems in the
unclouded sunlight. I bowed down my head for a draught of the cool,
clear waters, and immediately upon tasting them, felt through my frame a
pleasant, vivifying thrill;--I felt also as if I had at once thrown off
the heavy trammels of mortality, with its wearying cares, its feverish
hopes, and its over-burdening sorrows. Light as air, fresh as morning,
and joyful as the martyr at the gates of death, I gazed on the
enchanting loveliness around me.
"_Come!_" sighed a voice, low and mellifluous as that of the wind-harp,
parleying with "_the breath of the sweet south_,"--"ravishing and
radiant as is this spot, its bowery beauty must thou quit, for the
splendour of the _Golden City_, the _City of the Fairies!_ Thrice happy
mortal! thither, even to _our_ city, am I commissioned to conduct
So saying, the tiny essence, whose substance resembled a portion of
lucent morning mist, wrought into the draperied and miniature image of
humanity, and whose slight figure skimmed the pure, thin air, extended
its delicate hand, and smiling encouragement, beckoned me onwards. I
followed--rather instinctively, than by any act of the understanding,
for the faculties of my ravished spirit were absorbed, as in a dream of
heaven, by the ethereal loveliness of this transcendent land, by the
soft, crystalline light, the glorious, romantic landscape, the vivid
verdure, the celestial odours, and by the snatches of unearthly melody,
which ever and anon, borne on the undulating wings of the breeze, came
from afar upon my wildered senses, breathing ineffable felicity. Above
all, my bosom was immersed in a flood of delicious feeling, by the holy
repose, the unutterable peace of the Fairy Paradise; and my heart,
surcharged with rapture, could find no vent for the overwhelming
influences of gladness and devotion, because I remembered that to
_me_ was speech in this hallowed land _forbidden_!
"Behold!" cried the friendly Fay, after we had traversed for some time
the flowery wilds, "yonder is the City of the Fairies!"
Long indeed had my eyes been fixed upon a great, clear light,
gleaming through a considerable cluster of luxuriantly foliaged trees,
beneath whose spreading branches flitted and reposed numerous aerial
beings, resembling my beautiful guide. Love, joy, innocence, and
everlasting peace were sensibly expressed in their angelic
countenances; and sweet were the words, precious the benisons, wherewith
they welcomed a mortal into the _Grove_ of the _Golden City_! The
glorious light of that city proceeded from the sun shining full upon
the palaces of sapphire-coloured crystal, erected in all styles of
the richest architecture, each symmetrical in itself, and perfect
in design and execution.--Fairy fancy, in sooth, seem to have been
exhausted in supplying models of temples, palaces, castles, porticoes,
colonnades, triumphal arches, &c. &c; for here was displayed every
species of building of which Earth boasts for ornament and defence, in
every order of every civilized nation on its bosom;--whilst orders and
edifices, for which exist no denominations among men, arose and spread
themselves--highly adorned, and richly magnificent--in this singularly
superb and beautiful city. Not upon the model of Thebes, of Babylon, of
Macedon, of Rome, or of Salem, did I, in the excess of astonishment,
gaze--not upon any one of the proud triumphs of Art, ancient or modern;
but rather upon a wild, yet exceedingly lovely, combination of, and
improvement on, the Beautiful of _all_! Gates were there none
to this city, neither closing portals to the habitations thereof;
for rapine and violence were in that delicious land unknown.
Highly-ornamented apertures, in the fashion of porticoes and arcades,
&c., stood ever open for the ingress and egress of the social denizens
of this Elfin Eden; and the windows of the shining structures seemed,
when the orb of day poured down his glorious beams upon them, each a
sun, being formed of entire white crystals, brilliant and spotlessly
pure as adamant! But the dazzling and overwhelming effulgence of the
_Golden City_ as far surpasses the power of mortal speech to
declare, as did it that of mortal eyes to endure. The ever-living
wreathlets of odorous leaves and rainbow-coloured flowers, thickly
clustering and climbing around column and pinnacle, and the shadowing
trees, bending and waving with guardian air over and amidst temple and
palace, were no defence against this supernatural radiance; but as my
dazzled eyes unwittingly closed upon the brilliant vision of the Golden
City, my auricular organs became more exquisitely sensible to the tide
of heavenly melodies, now rolling in awful and inexpressible beauty
around me; my spirit, lapped in ecstacy, quaffed with avidity the
majestic stream, and upon me seemed opening the light and loveliness of
worlds more enrapturing even, and ineffable, than this! But there was a
pause in the music, and anon the magic bells of the Golden City were
heard chiming in harp-like notes, which dropped upon the ear, small,
distinct, and purely brilliant as the melodious tears of the Renealmia
into the near bosom of the waters. A rush of fervent feeling and
exhaustless poetry bore upon my yet subdued spirit;--resistless, but
pleasant sadness enwrapt my soul;--yes! an unearthly and delicious
mournfulness it was, more precious far than the transient sparklings and
flashes of unalloyed mirth. But, alas! inadequate are words to convey an
idea of the heavenly sensations--love, awe, sweet melancholy, divine
joy, and unspeakable devotion--which then struggled for ascendancy in my
softened, purified soul! An odorous, strong wind swept past me--in it
was the sound of a rushing multitude who trod not upon earth, but cut
the air alone; and in it, too, with the murmur of voices, was that of
many instruments, touched only by the breeze.
"Hark!" cried my exquisite companion, "they pass to meet, and to
welcome, to honour, to felicitate, and to crown, a Fairy emancipated
from mortal toil; and those bells, all tones of which speak so
eloquently of immortal peace and life--those liquid bells, at once so
mysteriously sad and so blessed, send forth, in token of gratulation,
their charmed songs. But hearken! for _thou_, O mortal! art
permitted to hear the lay of welcome and victory chanted by heavenly
essences, upon the arrival in this glorious region of our dear
companion, who shall depart from it no more!"
Thereupon ensued a delicious burst of young, glad voices, and rich,
sweet instruments; but, as a shadow to reality, as man to those immortal
and spotless beings, so to _their_ glorious Paean is the subsequent
faint memory of
THE ELFIN TRIUMPHAL SONG.
Beautiful! beautiful!--On they float
Those lyre-like bells--a soul in each note,
A tongue in each tone of the elfin chime,
To carol the bliss of our fadeless clime.
Beautiful! beautiful!--halcyon rest
Breathe they to the weary, woe-worn breast;
Lost in their song is the dream of Earth's dree,
Companion dear! and they're singing for thee.
Beautiful! beautiful!--thou shalt feel
Their eloquent music from thee steal
Those darkling thoughts, that should mournfully twine
With the light, the life, and the joy--_now_ thine.
Beautiful! beautiful!--each glad bell
Sings to thy soul--'Thou hast borne thee well:
The toil, the strife, and the tempest are o'er,
And thy rest is won--on the Deathless Shore.'
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
MR. HUNT, M.P. FOR PRESTON.
(_From Speakers and Speeches in Parliament, in the New Monthly
Feb. 3. Mr. Hunt.--I was particularly curious to witness the _debut_
of the Hon. Member for Preston, in an assembly so little accustomed, as
that so long misnamed the House of Commons, to such an out-and-outer of
the Demos coming between the wind and their nobility--to see whether any
_gaucherie_ of manner would betray an uneasy consciousness of his
not being quite at ease among those scions of aristocracy, who occupy
benches originally intended for the virtual representatives of the
people. Mr. Hunt, on the whole, bore himself well; and, by a total
absence of affectation, of either tone or manner--that surest test of
the gentleman, at least of Nature's forming--disappointed his audience
of their ready smiles at demagogue vulgarity. But once, and that for a
moment, did his self-possession seem to fail him while going through the
ceremonies preceding a new member's taking his seat. After the member
has signed his name and taken the oaths, he is formally introduced by
the Clerk of the House to the Speaker, who usually greets the new
trespasser on his patience by a shake of the hands. This ceremony is in
general performed by the present Speaker with a gloved hand towards
those not particularly distinguished by wealth or pedigree. When the new
member for Preston was introduced to him, he was in the act of taking
snuff, with his glove off. Mr. Hunt made a bow, not remarkable for its
graceful repose, at a distance--apprehensive, as it struck me, that the
acknowledgment would be that of a _noli me tangere_, exclusive. He
was agreeably disappointed: the Speaker gave him his ungloved hand at
once, in a manner almost cordial; and Mr. Hunt took his seat, evidently
pleased by the flattering courteousness of his reception.
I take it that the personal appearance of Mr. Hunt is too well known
to require description. He is, take him altogether, perhaps the finest
looking man in the House of Commons--tall, muscular, with a healthful,
sun-tinged, florid complexion, and a manly Hawthorn deportment--half
yeoman, half gentleman sportsman. To a close observer of the human face
divine, however, his features are wanting in energy of will and
fixedness of purpose. The brow is weak, and the eyes flittering and
restless; and the mouth is usually garnished with a cold simper, not
very compatible with that heart-born enthusiasm which precludes all
doubt of truth and sincerity.
* * * * *
Friend, Truth is best of all. It is the bed
Where Virtue e'er must spring, till blast of doom;
Where every bright and budding thought is bred,
Where Hope doth gain its strength, and Love its bloom.
As white as Chastity is single Truth,
Like Wisdom calm, like Honour without end;
And Love doth lean on it, in age and youth,
And Courage is twice arm'd with Truth its friend.
Oh! who would face the blame of just men's eyes,
And bear the fame of falsehood all his days,
And wear out scorned life with useless lies,
Which still the shifting, quivering look betrays?
For what is Hope, if Truth be not its stay?
And what were Love, if Truth forsook it quite?
And what were all the Sky,--if Falsehood gray
Behind it like a Dream of Darkness lay,
Ready to quench its stars in endless, endless night?
_New Monthly Magazine._
* * * * *
SCENE FROM "THE FROGS OF ARISTOPHANES"
_Translated in the Quarterly Review._
We are not at present breathing the air either of Christ Church meadow
or Trinity gardens; and if our version of a piece of mere pleasantry,
which involves nothing in it beyond a moment's laugh, should be so happy
as to satisfy the 'general reader,' we shall affect 'for the nonce,' to
know nothing of the objections which more scientific persons, the
students of the brilliant Hermann, and acute Reisigius, might be
supposed to make to our arrangement of this little extravaganza.
_Scene, the Acherusian Lake. BACCHUS at the oar in Charon's Boat;
CHARON;--CHORUS OF FROGS; in the background a view of Bacchus's Temple
or Theatre, from which are heard the sound of a scenical
_Semi-chorus_. Croak, croak, croak.
_Semi-chorus_. Croak, croak, croak.
(_In answer, and with the music an octave lower._)
_Full Chorus_. Croak, croak, croak.
LEADER _of the Chorus_. When flagons were foaming,
And roisterers were roaming,
And bards flung about them their gibe and their joke;
The holiest song
Still was found to belong
To the sons of the marsh, with their
_Full Chorus_ Croak, croak.
LEADER. Shall we pause in our strain,
Now the months bring again
The pipe and the minstrel to gladden the folk?
Rather strike on the ear
With a note strong and clear,
A chant corresponding of--
_Chorus_. Croak, croak.
BACCHUS (_mimicking_.) Croak, croak, by the gods I shall choke,
If you pester and bore my ears any more
With your croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. Rude companion and vain,
Thus to carp at my strain;
(_To Chor_) But keep in the vein,
And attack him again
With a croak, croak, croak.
_Chorus (crescendo.)_ Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS (_mimicking._) Croak, croak, vapour and smoke,
Never think it, old Huff,
That I care for such stuff,
As your croak, croak, croak.
_Chorus (fortissimo.)_ Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS. Now fires light on thee,
And waters soak;
And March winds catch thee
Without any cloak.
For within and without,
From the tail to the snout,
Thou'rt nothing but croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. And what else, captious Newcomer, say, should I be?
But you know not to whom you are talking, I see:
(_With dignity_) I'm the friend of the Muses, and Pan with his pipe,
Holds me dearer by far than a cherry that's ripe:
For the reed and the cane which his music supply,
Who gives them their tone and their moisture but I?
And therefore for ever I'll utter my cry
_Chorus._ Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS. I'm blister'd, I'm fluster'd, I'm sick, I'm ill--
_Chorus._ Croak, croak.
BACCHUS. My dear little bull-frog, do prithee be still.
'Tis a sorry vocation--that reiteration,
(I speak on, my honour, most musical nation,)
Of croak, croak.
LEADER (_maestoso._) When the sun rides in glory and makes a bright day,
Mid lilies and plants of the water I stray;
Or when the sky darkens with tempest and rain,
I sink like a pearl in my watery domain:
Yet, sinking or swimming. I lift up a song,
Or I drive a gay dance with my eloquent throng,
Then hey bubble, bubble--
For a knave's petty trouble,
Shall I my high charter and birth-right revoke?
Nay, my efforts I'll double,
And drive him like stubbie
Before me, with--
_Chorus_. Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS. I'm ribs of steel, I'm heart of oak,
Let us see if a note
May be found in this throat
To answer their croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. Poor vanity's son--
And dost think me outdone,
With a clamour no bigger
Than a maiden's first snigger?
(_To Chorus_) But strike up a tune,
He shall not forget soon
(_Chorus_.) Of our croak, croak, croak,
(_Croak, with a discordant crash of music_.)
BACCHUS. I'm cinder, I'm coke,
I have had my death-stroke;
O, that ever I woke
To be gall'd by the yoke
Of this croak, croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. Friend, friend, I may not be still:
My destinies high I must needs fulfil,
And the march of creation--despite reprobation
Must proceed with--(_To Chor._) my lads, must I make application
_Chorus_. Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS (_in a minor key._) Nay, nay--take your own way,
I've said out my say,
And care naught, by my fai',
For your croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. Care or care not, 'tis the same thing to me,
My voice is my own and my actions are free;
I have but one note, and I'll chant it with glee,
And from morning to night that note it shall be--
_Chorus_. Croak, croak, croak.
BACCHUS. Nay then, old rebel, but I'll stop your treble,
With a poke, poke, poke:
Take this from my rudder--(_dashing at the frogs_)--and that from my oar,
And now let us see if you'll trouble us more
With your croak, croak, croak.
LEADER. You may batter and bore,
You may thunder and roar,
Yet I'll never give o'er
Till I'm hard at death's door,
--(This rib's plaguy sore)--
_Semi-chorus_ With my croak, croak, croak.
Semi-chorus (_diminuendo_.) With my croak, croak, croak.
_Full Chorus_ (_in a dying cadence_.) With my
(_The Frogs disappear_)
BACCHUS (_looking over the boat's edge_.)
Spoke, spoke, spoke.
(To _Charon_.) Pull away, my old friend,
For at last there's an end
To their croak, croak, croak.
(_Bacchus pays his two obols, and is landed_)
 The comic performances of the Athenians were usually brought
out at a festival of Bacchus, which lasted for three days. The
first of these was devoted to the tapping of their wine-casks;
the second to boundless jollity (Plato specifies a town, but not
Athens, every single inhabitant of which was found in a state of
intoxication on one of these festivals,) and the third to
theatrical exhibitions in the temple of the patron of the feast.
In this state of excitement it will be easily imagined that some
coarser ingredients were required by the clever but licentious
rabble of Athens, to whom these representations were more
particularly addressed, besides the better commodities of rich
poetry and wit; and hence the deformities which have been so much
complained of in the writings of Aristophanes.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
* * * * *
LAYING A GHOST.
In the Memoirs of J.F. Oberlin, Pastor of a poor Protestant flock, in
one of the wildest parts of France, we find the following pleasant
recipe for laying a ghost:--
An honest tradesman, relying on the power of his faith, came to him one
day, and after a long introduction, informed him, that a ghost, habited
in the dress of an ancient knight, frequently presented itself before
him, and awakened hopes of a treasure buried in his cellar; he had
often, he said, followed it, but had always been so much alarmed by a
fearful noise, and a dog which he fancied he saw, that the effort had
proved fruitless, and he had returned as he went. This alarm on the
one hand, and the hope of acquiring riches on the other, so entirely
absorbed his mind, that he could no longer apply to his trade with his
former industry, and had, in consequence, lost nearly all his custom.
He therefore urgently begged Oberlin would go to his house, and conjure
the ghost, for the purpose of either putting him in possession of the
treasure, or of discontinuing its visits. Oberlin replied, that he did
not trouble himself with the conjuration of ghosts, and endeavoured to
weaken the notion of an apparition in the man's mind, exhorting him at
the same time to seek for worldly wealth by application to his business,
prayer, and industry. Observing, however, that his efforts were
unavailing, he promised to comply with the man's request. On arriving at
midnight at the tradesman's house, he found him in company with his wife
and several female relations, who still affirmed that they had seen the
apparition. They were seated in a circle in the middle of the apartment.
Suddenly the whole company turned pale, and the man exclaimed, "Do you
see, sir, the count is standing opposite to you?"
"I see nothing."
"Now, sir," exclaimed another terrified voice, "he is advancing towards
"I still do not see him."
"Now he is standing just behind your chair."
"And yet I cannot see him; but, as you say he is so near me, I will
speak to him." And then rising from his seat, and turning towards the
corner where they said that he stood, he continued, "Sir Count, they tell
me you are standing before me, although I cannot see you; but this shall
not prevent me from informing you that it is scandalous conduct on your
part, by the fruitless promise of a hidden treasure, to lead an honest
man, who has hitherto faithfully followed his calling, into ruin--to
induce him to neglect his business--and to bring misery upon his wife
and children, by rendering him improvident and idle. Begone! and delude
them no longer with such vain hopes."
Upon this the people assured him that the ghost vanished at once.
Oberlin went home, and the poor man, taking the hint which in his
address to the count he had intended to convey, applied to business
with his former alacrity, and never again complained of his nocturnal
No ghost was ever more easily laid; but supposing the story to be
accurately related, Oberlin's presence of mind is not more remarkable,
than that the whole company should have concurred in affirming that they
saw an apparition which was invisible to him.
* * * * *
A SCHOOLMASTER "ABROAD."
Bishop Percy has observed, that it might be discerned whether or not
there was a clergyman resident in a parish, by the civil or brutal
manners of the people; he might have thought that there never had
resided one in the Ban de la Roche, if he had seen the state of the
inhabitants when M. Stouber went thither to take possession of the
cure in the year 1750. He, who entered upon it with a determination
of doing his duty like a conscientious and energetic man, began first
by inquiring into the manner of education there; and asking for the
principal school, he was conducted to a miserable hovel, where there
were a number of children "crowded together without any occupation, and
in so wild and noisy a state, that it was with some difficulty he could
gain a reply to his inquiries for the master."
"There he is," said one of them, as soon as silence could be obtained,
pointing to a withered old man, who lay on a little bed in one corner of
"Are you the schoolmaster, my good friend?" inquired Stouber.
"And what do you teach the children?"
"Nothing!--how is that?"
"Because," replied the old man, with characteristic simplicity, "I know
"Why, then, were you instituted schoolmaster?"
"Why, sir, I had been taking care of the Waldbach pigs for a great
number of years, and when I got too old and infirm for that employment,
they sent me here to take care of the children."
* * * * *
A custom prevailed in the neighbouring parts of Germany, where no farmer
was allowed to marry till he had planted and was "father of a stated
number of walnut trees, that law being inviolably observed," says
Evelyn, "for the extraordinary benefit which the trees afford the
inhabitants." What the Germans thus provided for by a wise law, Oberlin,
a pious pastor of Waldbach, required as an act of religious duty,
bringing that great principle into action on all occasions. Late in
autumn he addressed his parishioners thus:--
"Dear Friends--Satan, the enemy of mankind, rejoices when we demolish
and destroy; our Lord Jesus Christ, on the contrary, rejoices when we
labour for the public good.
"You all desire to be saved by Him, and hope to become partakers of His
glory. Please him, then, by every possible means, during the remainder
of the time you may have to live in this world.
"He is pleased when, from the principle of love, you plant trees for the
public benefit. Be willing, then to plant them. Plant them in the best
possible manner. Remember, you do it to please Him.
"Put all your roads into good condition; ornament them; employ some of
your trees for this purpose, and attend to their growth."
* * * * *
In the churchyard at Waldbach was formerly a monument, which bore this
During three years of marriage
Margaret Salome, wife of G. Stouber,
Minister of this parish,
Found at the Ban de la Roche, in the simplicity
of a peaceable
And useful life,
The delight of her benevolent heart;
and in her first confinement.
The grave of her youth and beauty,
She died, August 9, 1764, aged 20 years.
Near this spot
Her husband has sown for immortality all that was mortal;
Uncertain whether he is more sensible of the
grief of having lost,
Or the glory of having possessed her.
* * * * *
MURDER OF THE LAIRD OF WARRISTON, BY HIS OWN WIFE.
This is the subject of a Scottish ballad, well known to collectors in
that department; and the history of the conversion of the murderess,
and of her carriage at her execution, compiled apparently by one of
the clergymen of Edinburgh, has been lately printed by Mr. Charles
Kirkpatrick Sharpe, whose merits as an author, antiquary, and
draughtsman, stand in no need of our testimony.
The story of the young lady is short and melancholy. She was a daughter
of Livingston of Dunipace, a courtier, and a favourite of James VI.;
an ill-assorted marriage united her at an early age with the Laird of
Warriston, a gentleman whom she did not love, and who apparently used
her with brutal harshness. The Lady Warriston accused her husband of
having struck her several blows, besides biting her in the arm; and
conspired with her nurse, Janet Murdo, to murder him. The confidante,
inspired by that half-savage attachment which in those days animated the
connexion between the foster-child and the nurse, entered into all the
injuries of which her _dalt_ (i.e. foster daughter) complained,
encouraged her in her fatal purpose, and promised to procure the
assistance of a person fitted to act the part of actual murderer, or
else to do the deed with her own hands. In Scotland, such a character
as the two wicked women desired for their associate was soon found in a
groom, called Robert Weir, who appears, for a very small hire, to have
undertaken the task of murdering the gentleman. He was ushered privately
into Warriston's sleeping apartment, where he struck him severely upon
the flank-vein, and completed his crime by strangling him. The lady in
the meantime fled from the nuptial apartment into the hall, where she
remained during the perpetration of the murder. The assassin took flight
when the deed was done; but he was afterwards seized, and executed. The
lady was tried, and condemned to death, on the 16th of June, 1600. The
nurse was at the same time condemned to be burnt alive, and suffered her
sentence accordingly; but Lady Warriston, in respect of her gentle
descent, was appointed to die by the _Maiden_, a sort of rude
guillotine, imported, it is said, from Halifax, by the Earl of Morton,
while regent, who was himself the first that suffered by it.
The printed account of this beautiful murderess contains a pathetic
narrative of the exertions of the worthy clergyman (its author) to bring
her to repentance. At first, his ghostly comfort was very ill received,
and she returned with taunts and derision his exhortations to penitence.
But this humour only lasted while she had hopes of obtaining pardon
through the interest of her family. When these vanished, it was no
longer difficult to bring her, in all human appearance, to a just sense
of her condition; her thoughts were easily directed towards heaven, so
soon as she saw there was no comfort upon earth.
The pride of Lady Warriston's parents suggested a petition that she
might be executed betwixt five and six in the morning; but both the
clergyman and magistrates seem to have consented unwillingly to this
arrangement. The clergyman was particularly offended that the display
of her penitence should not be as public as that of her guilt had been,
and we may forgive the good man if there was any slight regret for a
diminished display of his own success, as a religious assistant, mixed
with this avowed dissatisfaction.--_Quarterly Rev._
* * * * *
The difficulty of transmitting sounds to a great distance arises from
the sound spreading and losing itself in the surrounding air; so that if
we could confine it on one side, as along a well--on two sides, as in a
narrow street--or on all sides, as in a tube or pipe--we should be able
to convey it to great distances. In the cast-iron water-pipe of Paris,
which formed a continuous tube with only two bendings near its middle,
the lowest whisper at one end was distinctly heard at the other, through
a distance of 3,120 feet. A pistol fired at one end actually blew out
a candle at the other end, and drove out light substances with great
violence. Hence we see the operation of speaking tubes which pass from
one part of a building to another, and of the new kind of bell which is
formed of a wooden or tin tube, with a small piston at each end. By
pushing in one piston, the air in the tube conveys the effect to the
piston at the other end, which strikes against the bell--this piston
being, as it were, the clapper on the outside of the bell. The intensity
of confined sounds is finely exhibited at Carisbrook Castle, in the
Isle of Wight. There is here a well 210 feet deep, of twelve feet in
diameter, and lined with smooth masonry; and when a pin is dropped into
it, the sound of its striking the surface of the water is distinctly
* * * * *
Various remarkable echoes, and some not very credible, have been
described by different authors. Dr. Plott mentions an echo in Woodstock
Park, which repeats seventeen syllables by day and twenty by night.
The famous echo at the Marquess Simonetta's villa, near Milan, has been
described both by Addison and Keysler. According to the last of these
travellers, it is occasioned by the reflection of the voice between the
opposite parallel wings of the building, which are fifty-eight paces
from each other, without any windows or doors, and perpendicularly
to the main body of the building. The repetition of the sound dwells
chiefly on the last syllable. A man's voice is repeated about forty
times, and the report of a pistol about sixty times; but the repetitions
are so rapid, that it is difficult to number them, unless it be early in
the morning, or in a calm, still evening.
A curious example of an oblique echo, not heard by the person who emits
the sound, is described in the "Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences" as
existing at Genefay, near Rouen. A person singing hears only his own
direct voice, while those who listen hear only the echo, which sometimes
seems to approach, and at other times to recede from, the ear; one
person hears a single voice, another several voices; one hears the echo
on the right, and another on the left--the effect constantly changing
with the position of the observer.
One of the most remarkable echoes of which we have read is that which
Dr. Birch describes as existing at Roseneath, in Argyllshire. When a
person at a proper distance played eight or ten notes on a trumpet, they
were correctly repeated, but a third lower; after a short silence,
another repetition was heard in a yet lower tone, and alter another
short interval, they were repeated a third time in a tone lower still.
We extract the following account of two very interesting echoes from Mr.
"In the cathedral of Girgenti, in Sicily, the slightest whisper is borne
with perfect distinctness from the great western door to the cornice
behind the high altar, a distance of 250 feet. By a most unlucky
coincidence, the precise focus of divergence at the former station was
chosen for the place of the confessional. Secrets never intended for the
public ear thus became known, to the dismay of the confessors and the
scandal of the people, by the resort of the curious to the opposite
point (which seems to have been discovered accidentally), till at length
one listener, having had his curiosity somewhat overgratified by hearing
his wife's avowal of her own infidelity, this tell-tale peculiarity
became generally known, and the confessional was removed.
"Beneath the Suspension Bridge across the Menai Strait in Wales, close
to one of the main piers, is a remarkably fine echo. The sound of a blow
on the pier with a hammer is returned in succession from each of the
cross-beams which support the road-way, and from the opposite pier at a
distance of 576 feet; and in addition to this, the sound is many times
repeated between the water and the road-way. The effect is a series of
sounds which may be thus described:--The first return is sharp and
strong from the road-way overhead; the rattling which succeeds dies away
rapidly, but the single repercussion from the opposite pier is very
strong, and is succeeded by a faint palpitation, repeating the sound
at the rate of twenty-eight times in five seconds, and which therefore
corresponds to a distance of 184 feet, or very nearly the double
interval from the road-way to the water. Thus it appears, that in the
repercussion between the water and road-way, that from the latter
only affects the ear, the line drawn from the auditor to the water
being too oblique for the sound to diverge sufficiently in that
direction.--Another peculiarity deserves especial notice, namely, that
the echo from the opposite pier is best heard when the auditor stands
precisely opposite to the middle of the breadth of the pier, and strikes
just on that point. As it deviates to one or the other side, the return
is proportionably fainter, and is scarcely heard by him when his station
is a little beyond the extreme edge of the pier, though another person,
stationed (on the same side of the water) at an equal distance from the
central point, so as to have the pier between them, hears it well."
In treating the important subject of echoes in churches and public
buildings, Mr. Herschell has exposed several prevailing errors, and laid
down several useful principles, which merit the particular attention of
the architect. In small buildings the echo is not distinguishable from
the principal sound, and therefore serves only to strengthen it; but
in very large buildings, where the original sound and its echo are
distinctly separated, the effect is highly disagreeable. In cathedrals,
this bad effect is diminished by reading the service in a monotonous
chant, in consequence of which the voice is blended in the same sound
with its echo. In musical performances, however, this resource is not
available. When _ten_ notes are executed in a single second, as in
many pieces of modern music, the echo, in the direction of the length of
a room fifty-five feet long, will exactly throw the second reverberation
of each note on the principal sound of the following note, wherever the
auditor is placed. Under such circumstances, therefore, the performers
should be stationed in the middle of the apartment.--_Ibid._
 Travels through Sicily and the Lipari Islands in the month of
December, 1824. By a Naval Officer. 1 vol. 8vo. London, 1827.
* * * * *
A snapper up of unconsidered trifles.
* * * * *
(_To the Editor._)
Among the many monumental inscriptions and epitaphs which have fallen
under my notice (and I have been a "Gatherer" ever since the days of my
childhood) I have seldom met with one more calculated to start the
tender tear than the following, which I copied from an old and long
since defunct _periodical_, which describes it as "placed by a Mr.
Thickness on the grave of his daughter, who lies buried in his
_garden_, at St. Catherine's Hermitage, near Bath."
_At the Lady's Head is a beautiful Monument, with the following
What tho' no sacred earth afford thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb,
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast.
Here shall the morn her earliest tears bestow--
Here the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground now sacred by thy reliques made.
_At her Feet_:
Reader, if YOUTH should sparkle in thine eye--
If on thy cheek the flow'r of beauty blows,
Here shed a tear, and heave the pensive sigh
Where BEAUTY, YOUTH, and INNOCENCE repose.
Doth wit adorn thy mind?--doth science pour
It's ripen'd bounties on thy vernal year?
Behold! where Death has cropp'd the plenteous store--
And heave the sigh, and shed the pensive tear.
Does Music's dulcet notes dwell on thy tongue?
And do _thy_ fingers sweep the sounding lyre?
Behold! where low she lies, who sweetly sung
The melting strains a cherub might inspire.
Of YOUTH, of BEAUTY, then be vain no more--
Of music's pow'r--of WIT and LEARNING'S prize;
For while you read, those charms may all be o'er,
And ask to share the grave where ANNA lies.
* * * * *
GAMBLING OF HENRY THE EIGHTH.
(_For the Mirror._)
Stowe, in his Survey of London, says, "Neere unto Paul's Schoole, on the
north side thereof, was of old time a great and high _Clochier_, or
Bell-house, four square, builded of stone; and in the same, a most
strong frame of timber, with foure bels, the greatest that I have heard:
these were called Jesus Bels, and belonged to Jesus Chappell, but I know
not by whose gift. The same had a great spire of timber, covered with
lead, with the image of St. Paul on the top; but was pulled downe by Sir
Miles Partridge, knight, in the reign of Henry the Eighth. The common
speech then was, that hee did set one hundred pounds upon a caste at
dice against it, and so won the said clochier and bels of the king; and
then causing the bels to be broken as they hung, the rest was pulled
downe. This man was afterwards executed on the Tower Hill, for matters
concerning the Duke of Somerset, the fifth of Edward the Sixth. In place
of this clochier, of old time, the common bel of the citie was used to
be rung, for the assembly of the citizens to their Folke-motes."
* * * * *
Passing by Blackfriars Bridge, I missed the magnificent gates (iron)
erected by Brackly Kennett, Esq. the inactive Lord Mayor of London, A.D.
1780, during the time of the riots, and who used to pass his time at the
"Jacob's Well," Barbican. I could not help remembering these lines,
which were related to me long ago--
"When Rome was burning, poets all agree,
Nero sat playing on his tweedle-dee;
So Kennett, when he saw sedition ripe,
And London burning, calmly smoked his pipe."
 For which he was committed to the Tower, where he died.
* * * * *
Had its origin with the Romans, and was fathered upon St. Valentine in
the early ages of the Church to christianize it. Brand, in his Popular
Antiquities, supposes that the observance originated in an ancient Roman
superstition of choosing patrons on this day for the ensuing year--a
custom which gallantry took up when superstition, at the reformation,
had been compelled to let it fall.
* * * * *
(_To the Editor._)
Allusion being made the other evening by Sir R. Inglis, in the debate on
Lord John Russell's reform motion, relative to a gentleman of the name
of Pitt sitting in that House in right of possessing a very large
diamond, the following particulars may not prove uninteresting to the
numerous readers of the _Mirror_:--
Thos. Pitt, Esq., anciently of Blandford, in the county of Dorset,
afterwards Earl of Londonderry, was, in the reign of Queen Anne, made
Governor of Fort St. George, in the East Indies, where he resided many
years, and became possessed, by trifling purchase, or by barter, of a
diamond, which he sold to the King of France for 135,000l. sterling,
weighing 127 carats, and commonly known at that day by the name of
* * * * *
It may not be generally known that there is a small town in France which
no one can enter without interest, from the consideration that Demetrius
Commene once lived there, a man boasting a pedigree that traced him from
the line of the Roman emperor Trajan. He was living in the time of
Voltaire, and was a captain in the French army. His pedigree was the
noblest of any man then living, or that has since lived, for he had
twenty-six kings for his ancestors, and eighteen emperors. Of these, six
were emperors of Constantinople, ten of Trebizond, and two of Heracleus
Pontus; eighteen kings of Colchi, and eight of Lazi.
* * * * *
A LITERARY KISS.
Alian Chartier was esteemed the father of French eloquence; he spoke
as well as he wrote. He flourished about the year 1430. Margaret of
Scotland, first wife to the dauphin, afterwards Louis XI, as she passed
through the Louvre, observed Alian asleep, and went and kissed him. When
her attendants expressed their surprise that she should thus distinguish
a man remarkable for his ugliness, she replied--"I do not kiss the man,
but the mouth that has uttered so many charming things."
* * * * *
EPITAPH ON A WATCHMAKER,
_Copied from a Tombstone in Lidford Churchyard, Devon_.
Here lies, in Horizontal position,
The outside case of
George Routleigh, Watchmaker,
Whose abilities in that line were an honour
To his profession;
Integrity was the main-Spring,
And Prudence the Regulator
Of all the actions of his life;
Humane, generous, and liberal,
His Hand never stopped
Till he had relieved distress;
Sincerely regulated were all his movements,
That he never went wrong,
Except when Set a-going
Who did did not know
Even then, he was easily
Set right again:
He had the art of disposing his Time
That his Hours glided away
In one continual round
Of Pleasure and Delight,
Till an unlucky Moment put a period to
He departed this Life
November 14, 1802,
In hopes of being taken in Hand
By his Maker,
And of being
Thoroughly cleaned, repaired, and set a-going
In the world to come.
* * * * *
ANNUAL OF SCIENCE.
On March 31, will be published, price 5s.
ARCANA of SCIENCE, and ANNUAL REGISTER of the USEFUL ARTS for 1831.
Comprising POPULAR INVENTIONS, IMPROVEMENTS, and DISCOVERIES Abridged
from the Transactions of Public Societies and Scientific Journals of
the past year. With several Engravings.
"One of the best and cheapest books of the day."--_Mag. Nat. Hist._
"An annual register of new inventions and improvements in a popular form
like this, cannot fail to be useful."--_Lit. Gaz._
Printing for JOHN LIMBIRD, 143. Strand:--of whom may be had the Volumes
for the three preceding years.
* * * * *
_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
Back to Full Books