The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 486
Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Barbara Tozier and PG Distributed
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 17, No. 486.] SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 1831. [PRICE 2d.
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[Illustration: WINDSOR CASTLE.
GEORGE THE FOURTH'S GATEWAY, FROM THE INTERIOR OF THE QUADRANGLE.]
We wish the reader to consider this Engraving as the first of a Series
of Illustrations of Windsor Castle, in which it will be our aim to
show how far the renovations lately completed or now in progress are
likely to improve the olden splendour of this stupendous pile. This,
we are persuaded, would be matter of interest at any time, but will be
especially so during the coming summer and autumn, when, it is
reasonable enough to expect that Windsor will double its number of
curious visiters. During the late King's reign, the Castle more
resembled one wide, vast solitude than the abode of a numerous court.
An occasional banquet enlivened its halls, though it only rendered
more painful the solitariness by which it was succeeded. Affliction
too broke in upon the life of the Royal tenant, and stripped regal
state of all its mimic joys, till pain and long protracted suffering
welcomed the happy sleep of death. An occupant of different tastes and
habits has succeeded; domestic enjoyment has once more become the
characteristic of the British court, and the Sovereign has cherished
the affections of his people by admitting them to the enjoyment of
certain privileges, which, though unimportant in themselves, have a
grateful effect in identifying interests and considerations which were
commonly considered as very remote. The terrace and slopes of the
Castle have been thrown open to the public, the park grounds are no
longer kept clear of visiters, and access to the Castle itself may be
much more freely enjoyed than during the late reign. The King and the
Queen may be seen daily in the real luxury of conjugal and domestic
comfort. Plainness of purpose, and affectionate amiability of manners,
have done much towards their popularity; and the love of a good and
wise people cannot be better secured than by such fostering
consideration from their rulers; nay, its paternal influence is but
part and parcel of the grand scheme of civilization and society.
Proceeding to the details of the Print, we may observe that in our
eleventh volume we gave three engravings illustrative of the Castle
improvements; one of which represented the gateway named after the
late Sovereign, and seen from the Long _Walk_. The present Engraving
is the other side of the gateway, as seen from the interior of the
square or quadrangle. This new gate was externally completed in 1826.
The natural application of the fine avenue, called the Long Walk, was
thus realized. The gateway consists of two towers the York and
Lancaster. The foundations and walls of the York Tower were part of
the old building--the Lancaster is entirely new. These towers which
have machiolated battlements, are about 100 feet high; the gateway
between them is 24 feet high. In our former Engraving, the gateway was
in the distance, but the present being a near view, shows the
solidity, largeness of proportions, and the boldness of the building,
to greater advantage. The appearance of the whole is extremely
beautiful, although its newness and cleanness remind us of Mr.
Bowles's eccentric observation, that "it looks as if it was washed
every morning with _soap and water_."
Here it may be as well to state that Windsor Castle is divided into
the upper and lower wards. The lower contains the ecclesiastical
portions of the edifice, including St. George's Chapel. The upper ward
is formed by the celebrated Round Tower on the west; the state
apartments, including St. George's Hall, on the north; and a range of
domestic apartments on the east and south, which communicate with the
state apartments. The whole building is thus a hollow square, of which
the three outer sides on the north, east, and south, are surrounded
with a magnificent terrace. The Inner Court, or Quadrangle, is a
connected building of three sides, the fourth being formed by the
Round Tower, or Keep.
The improvements of the interior of the Quadrangle having been already
detailed by us, we pass on to observe, that the low French windows
of St. George's Hall, which faces the side in our Engraving, have been
replaced by long pointed arch windows, of elegant proportions. Nothing
can exceed the splendour of the look-out from these windows through
the arched entrance to the "lengthened vista," or Long Walk, as shown
in the Engraving. The interior of the Hall is nearly completed; "the
length, 200 feet, is too great for the width;" the carved ceiling,
and the arms of the Knights of the Garter, from the first institution
of the order, are exquisitely emblazoned on shields or escutcheons.
Beautifully as they are executed, we scarcely like their whole effect,
which is undoubtedly marred by the proportions of the hall itself.
Perhaps they are too near a blaze of chivalric splendour for these
days of cold calculation. The ball-room, adjoining in St. George's
Hall, is nearly completed. The decorations are gold and white, in the
florid style of the time of Louis the Fourteenth, superb and showy;
four pieces of tapestry are let into the walls, which, observes the
_Athenaeum_, really look like some of Rubens's stupendous works now in
the Grosvenor collection. We have not seen these apartments since last
summer, when the decorations were in a forward state. We were
surprised at the coarseness of the gilding, when examined closely; we
saw, too, that where one of the entrances to the Ball-room had been
heightened, the original, door had been _pieced_, which was a work of
economy we did not look for in the repairs of a palace.
 See _Mirror_, vol. xi. p. 2.
 _Athenaeum_, No. 180--an opinion to which we beg to
It is gratifying to learn that the erection of a colossal statue of
George III. on Snow Hill, in the Long Walk, is in progress. This is a
testimony of the filial affection of the late King, and should not be
overlooked in his character.
* * * * *
(_To the Editor._)
Though a perusal of your pages evidently shows that you wish more for
original communications than to copy from any one, yet the extreme
beauty of the following article (which I exactly copy as it appeared
translated in the _European Magazine_ for March, 1784) makes one hope
to see it revived or preserved in the _Mirror_.
A CONSTANT READER.
"_For the European Magazine._
"Mrs. DRAPER, the lady who has been so celebrated as the correspondent
of Mr. STERNE, under the name of ELIZA, will naturally attract the
notice of the Public. That she was deserving of the encomiums bestowed
upon her by that _admirable writer_ will appear from the following
eulogium, written by the excellent Abbe RAYNAL, which I transmit to
you for publication in your next Magazine.--I am yours, &c. A.T.
"Territory of _Anjengo_, thou art nothing; but thou hast given
birth to Eliza. A day will come, when these staples of commerce,
founded by the Europeans on the coasts of Asia, will exist no more.
Before a few centuries are elapsed, the grass will cover them, or the
Indians, _avenged_, will have built upon their ruins. But if my works
be destined to have any duration, the name of Anjengo will not be
obliterated from the memory of man. Those who shall read my works, or
those whom the winds shall drive towards these shores, will say--There
it is that Eliza Draper was born; and if there be a Briton among them,
he will immediately add, with the spirit of conscious pride--And there
it was that she was born of English parents.
 A town of Hindoostan, in Travancore.
"Let me be permitted to indulge my grief, and to give a free course to
my tears! Eliza was my friend. Reader, whosoe'er thou art, forgive me
this involuntary motion;--let my mind dwell upon Eliza. If I have
sometimes moved thee to compassionate the calamities of the human
race, let me now prevail upon thee to commiserate my own misfortune. I
was thy friend without knowing thee; be for a moment mine. Thy gentle
pity shall be my reward.
"Eliza ended her days in the land of her forefathers, at the age of
three-and-thirty. A celestial soul was separated from a heavenly body.
Ye who visit the spot on which her sacred ashes rest, write upon the
marble that covers them: In such a year, in such a month, on such a
day, at such an hour, God withdrew his spirit, and Eliza died.
"And thou, _original writer_, her admirer and her friend, it was Eliza
who inspired _thy works_, and dictated to thee the most affecting
pages of them. _Fortunate Sterne, thou art no more_, and I am left
behind. I wept _over thee with Eliza_; thou wouldst weep over her with
me: and had it been the will of Heaven, that you had both survived me,
your tears would have fallen together upon my grave.
"The men were used to say, that no woman had so many graces as Eliza:
the women said so too. They all praised her candour; they all extolled
her sensibility; they were all ambitious of the honour of her
acquaintance. The stings of envy were never pointed against
"Anjengo, it is to the influence of thy happy climate that she
certainly was indebted for that almost incompatible harmony of
voluptuousness and decency which diffused itself over all her person,
and accompanied all her motions. A statuary who would have wished to
represent Voluptuousness, would have taken her for his model; and she
would equally have served for him who might have had a figure of
Modesty to display. Even _the gloomy and clouded sky of England_ had
not been able to obscure the brightness of that aerial kind of soul,
unknown in our climates. In every thing that Eliza did, an
irresistible charm was diffused around her. Desire, but of _a timid
and bashful cast_, followed her steps in silence. Any man of
courteousness alone must have loved her, but would not have _dared_ to
own his passion.
"I search for Eliza every where; I discover, I discern, some of her
features, some of her charms, scattered among those women whose figure
is most interesting. But what is become of her who united them all?
Nature, who hast exhausted thy gifts to form an Eliza, didst thou
create her only for one moment? Didst thou make her to be admired for
one instant, and to be for ever regretted?
"All who have seen Eliza regret her. As for myself, my tears will
never cease to flow for her all the time I have to live. But is this
sufficient! Those who have known _her tenderness for me_, the
confidence she had bestowed upon me, will they not say to me--She is
no more, and yet thou livest.
"Eliza intended to quit her country, her relations, her friends, to
take up her residence along _with me_, and spend her days in
the midst of mine. What happiness had I not promised to myself? What
joy did I not expect, from seeing her sought after by men of genius,
and beloved by women of the nicest taste? I said to myself, Eliza is
young, and thou art near thy latter end. It is she _who will close
thine eyes_. Vain hope! Fatal reverse of all human probabilities! My
old age has been prolonged beyond the days of her youth. _There is now
no person in the world existing for me. Fate has condemned me to live,
and die alone._
"Eliza's mind was cultivated, but the effects of this art were never
perceived. It had done nothing more than embellish nature; it served
in her, only to make the charm more lasting. Every instant increased
the delight she inspired; every instant rendered her more interesting.
Such is the impression she had left in India; such is the impression
she made in Europe. Eliza, then, _was very beautiful_? No, she was
simply beautiful; but there was no beauty she did not eclipse, because
she was the only one that was like herself.
"Eliza has written; and the men of her nation, whose works have been
the most abounding in elegance and taste, would not have disavowed the
small number of pages she has left behind her.
"When I saw Eliza, I experienced a sensation unknown to me. It was too
warm to be no more than friendship; it was too pure to be love. Had it
been a passion, Eliza would have pitied me; she would have endeavoured
to bring me back to my reason, and I should have completely lost it.
"Eliza used frequently to say, that she had a greater esteem for me
than any one else. At present I may believe it.
"In her last moments Eliza's thoughts were fixed upon her friend; and
I cannot write a line without having before me the monument she has
left me. Oh! that she could also have endowed my pen with her graces
and her virtue!--Methinks, at least, I hear her say--'That stern muse
that looks at you, is History, whose awful duty it is to determine the
opinion of posterity. That fickle deity that hovers o'er the globe, is
Fame, who condescended to entertain us a moment about you; she brought
me thy works, and paved the way for our connection by esteem. Behold
that phoenix immortal amidst the flames: it is the symbol of Genius,
which never dies. Let these emblems perpetually incite thee to shew
thyself the defender of _humanity_, of _truth_, and of _liberty_.'
"Eliza, from the highest Heaven, thy first, and last country, receive
my oath: "_I swear not to write one line in which thy friend may not
* * * * *
ORIGIN OF THE WORD BRITANNIA.
(_To the Editor._)
I discovered the following curious information in a Classical
Dictionary appended to a very old Latin Thesaurus, written by Cooper,
Bishop of Norwich, in the early part of the reign of Elizabeth; which,
as its authenticity may be relied on, affords an easy solution to a
difficulty that has puzzled many. I speak of the origin of the name
"About 30 yeres sence, it hapned in Wilshire, at Juy Church, aboute
two myles from Sarisbury, as men digged to make a foundation, they
founde an holow stone couered with another stone, wherin they founde a
booke, hauevinge in it little above xx leaves (as they saide) of very
thicke vellume, wherin was some things written. But when it was shewed
to priests and chanons, whiche were there, they could not reade it.
Wherfore after they had tossed it from one to another (by the meanes
wherof it was torne) they did neglecte and caste it aside. Long after
a peece therof happened to come to my handes: whiche notwithstandynge
it was all to rente defaced, I shewed to Maister Richard Pace, than
chiefe secretary to the kynges moste royal majestie, wherof he
exceedingly rejoysed. But because it was partely rente, partely
defaced and blourred with meate (or weate) whiche had fallen on it, he
could not finde any one sentence perfect. Notwithstandynge after longe
beholdynge, he shewed me, it seemed that the said booke conteined some
auncient monument of this yle, and that he perceived this woorde
_Prytania_, to be put for _Brytannia_. But at that tyme he sayde no
more to me. Afterwarde, I gevyng much study and diligence to the
readynge of hystories, consyderynge wherof this woorde _Britannia_
first came, fyndynge that all the yles in this parte in the occean,
were called _Brittaniae_, after conjecture of Albion, remebringe
(remembering) the sayde wrytynge, and by chaunce fyndyng in Suidas,
that _Prytania_ in Greeke, with a circumflexed aspiratio (aspiration,)
doeth signifie metalles, fayres and markettes, also revenues belongyng
to the commune treasure: I then conceyved this opinion, that the
Greekes flourishynge in wisdome, prowesse, and experience, of
saylynge, beynge entred into the occean sea, founde in the yles greate
plenty of tyn, leade, yron, brasse, and in divers places golde and
sylver in great quantitie, they called all those yles (isles) by this
generall name Prytania, &c."
I have, with few exceptions, preserved the spelling.
Your constant reader and admirer,
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror._)
The following account of Poland, may be acceptable at the present
time, when this heroic people are making a noble effort to throw off
the yoke of Russian despotism.
As a kingdom, Poland is swept from the map of nations; but when
geographically considered, is of no small importance: it lies between
forty-six and fifty-seven degrees of north latitude, and between
sixteen and thirty-four degrees east longitude; and is bounded north
by Russia, south by Hungary and Turkey in Europe, east by Russia, west
by Prussia and Germany. Poland is in general a very level country, (if
we except the Carpathian mountains,) fertile in corn, having long
furnished Sweden and Holland; its horses are some of the finest in
Europe, and its salt-works are very productive; the towns collectively
are built of wood; the appearance of the villages very mean.
This was the country of the ancient Vandals; it was made a duchy about
the end of the seventh century; in the tenth, Christianity was
introduced, and Boleslaus erected it into a monarchy in 999. The form
of government was here very singular: it was the only elective
monarchy in Europe, and the Poles, in the choice of a king, did not
always confine themselves to a countryman; at one time all nations
were eligible. The king was elected by the whole body of the nobility
and gentry in the plains of Warsaw, and before this choice they
obliged him to sign whatever conditions they thought proper. The
Polish armies were not paid by the king; every nobleman or gentleman
gave his attendance in time of war, at the head of his vassals, and
retired from the fatigues of the campaign when it suited his own
inclination. In the year 1779, a singularly bold partition of this
country was effected by Russia, Prussia, and Austria; Russia laid
claim to part of Lithuania, Polesia, Podolia, Volhinia, and part of
the Ukraine. This immense tract of country, containing 8,000,000
souls, is become part and parcel of the Russian territory. Prussia
claimed Great Poland, the other part of Lithuania, and Polish Russia.
The only part of Poland retained by Prussia, is the Grand Duchy of
Posen, containing 538 geographical square miles, and 1,051,137
inhabitants. Its chief towns are Bromberg and Posen. Austria seized on
Little Poland and Red Russia, leaving to the King of Poland only
Samogitia, Mascovia, and Polachia; even this small territory was
wrested from him, and in 1795, he was obliged to resign his crown.
That part of Poland which is subject to Austria, bears the designation
of the kingdom of Galicia and Lodomiria. Its population amounts to
4,370,000 souls. The present kingdom of Poland is hereditary in the
person of the Russian autocrat and his successors, and comprises a
superfices of 6,340 square leagues, having a population of 3,850,000
souls. It is divided into eight waiwodeships, namely, Warsaw,
Landomir, Kalish, Lublin, Plotzk, Mascovia, Podolachia, and Augustowo.
Its rivers are the Vistula, Warte, Bug, Dnieper, Niemen, and Dwina.
The national revenues amounted (prior to the present contest) to
L2,280,000. sterling, about the seventh part of which was assigned to
the civil list. Its military force during the despotic government of
the Grand Duke Constantine, was 30,000 infantry, and 20,000 cavalry;
at present it is estimated at 70,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, and
50,000 men armed with scythes. Warsaw, with 126,433 inhabitants, is
its capital, and next stand in succession Landomir, 50,000
inhabitants; Lublin, 12,000; and Kalies, 8,500. The Catholic religion
predominates, but the number of Jews and Socinians is great. There are
more than 2,000,000 Jews dispersed through Poland, independent of
those resident as merchants in the principal towns. Socinius resided
many years at Cracow, and married the daughter of a Polish nobleman.
According to a distinguished Polish historian, M. Chodzko, the
population of the different provinces of Ancient Poland amounted, in
1824, to about 19,000,000 of inhabitants.
* * * * *
* * * * *
MR. HAYDON'S PICTURE OF NAPOLEON MUSING AT ST. HELENA.
This picture has, we understand, been painted for Sir Robert Peel,
whose taste and munificence in patronizing the fine arts cannot be too
highly praised. It is throughout a masterly performance, and one of
which the English school of art has just cause to be proud. We intend
to let Mr. Haydon describe it in his own vivid style:--
"Napoleon was peculiarly alive to poetical association as produced by
scenery or sound; village bells with their echoing ding, dong, dang,
now bursting full on the ear, now dying in the wind, affected him as
they affect every body alive to natural impressions, and in the eve of
all his great battles, you find him stealing away in the dead of the
night, between the two hosts, and indulging in every species of
"It was impossible to think of such a genius in captivity, without
mysterious associations of the sky, the sea, the rock, and the
solitude with which he was enveloped, I never imagined him but as if
musing at dawn, or melancholy at sun-set, listening at midnight to the
beating and roaring of the Atlantic, or meditating as the stars gazed
and the moon shone on him: in short Napoleon never appeared to me but
at those moments of silence and twilight, when nature seems to
sympathize with the fallen and when if there be moments fit, in this
turbulent earth, for celestial intercourse, one must imagine these
would be the moments immortal spirits might select to descend within
the sphere of mortality, to soothe and comfort, to inspire and support
"Under such impressions the present picture was produced,--I imagined
him standing on the brow of an impending cliff and musing on his past
fortunes,--imagined sea birds screaming at his feet,--the sun just
down,--the sails of his guard ship glittering on the horizon, and the
Atlantic, calm, silent, awfully deep, and endlessly extensive.
"I tried it in a small sketch, and it was instantly purchased,--I
published a print and the demand is now and has been incessant; a
commission for a picture the full size of life, from one well known as
the friend of artists and patron of art followed, and thus I have
ventured to think a conception so unexpectedly popular might, on this
enlarged scale, not be uninteresting to the public.
"No trouble has been spared to render the picture a resemblance, its
height is Napoleon's exact height, according to Constant, his valet,
viz. five feet two inches and three quarters, French, or five feet
five inches and a half, English; the uniform is that of one of the
regiments of Chasseurs, every detail has been dictated by an old
officer of the regiment; and his celebrated hat has been faithfully
copied from one of Napoleon's own hats now in England.
"The best description I ever saw of Napoleon's appearance was in the
letter of an Irish gentleman, named North, published in the _Dublin
Evening Post_, and as it is so very characteristic, it may amuse the
visiter. He saw him at Elba in 1814, and thus paints him:--
"He but little resembles the notion I had of him, or any other man I
ever saw. He is the squarest figure I think I ever remember to have
seen, and exceedingly corpulent. His face is a perfect square, from
the effects of fat, and, as he has no whiskers, his jaw is thrown more
into relief; this description, joined to his odd little three-cornered
cocked hat, and very plain clothes, would certainly give him the
appearance of a vulgar person, if the impression was not counteracted
by his evil soldierly carriage, and the peculiar manner of his
walking, which is confident, theatrical and a little ruffian like, for
he stamps the ground at every step, and at the same time twists his
body a little. He was dressed that day in a green coat, turned up with
a dirty white, &c. &c. &c. His neck is short, his shoulders very
broad, and his chest open * * * *
"His features are remarkably masculine, regular and well formed. His
skin is coarse, unwrinkled and weather-beaten, his eyes possess a
natural and unaffected fierceness, the most extraordinary I ever
beheld: they are full, bright, and of a brassy colour. He looked
directly at me, and his stare is by far the most intense I ever
beheld. This time, however, curiosity made me a match, for I
vanquished him. It is when he regards you, that you mark the singular
expression of his eyes--no frown--no ill-humour--no affectation of
appearing terrible; but the genuine expression of an iron, inexorable
We have only to remark that the picture appears to us exceedingly well
drawn, and equally coloured. Objection has been made to the large size
of the epaulettes, and the colouring of the sea. To the first opinion
we may subscribe, but doubt whether the objection ought to extend to
the latter, especially if we remember the great height of the cliff on
which Napoleon stands, and the usual sombre appearance of the
ocean towards the last minute of sunset. The lower part of the figure,
particularly the left leg, half advanced, is admirably drawn.
The effect of the picture, on the spectator entering the room, is one
of the most extraordinary character. Its general outline--Napoleon
standing on the crest of a tremendous cliff, with his back nearly
turned to the spectator, the vast Atlantic, and the parting glow of
the sun--the figure too, the size of life--will, in some measure,
prepare him for this effect, which we confess ourselves at a loss to
describe. Its very grandeur impresses us with awe, and our
afterthought becomes tinged with melancholy from associating the fate
of the illustrious original with the towering cliff,--the vasty
sea,--the dying splendour of the sun, and the specky sail of the guard
ship fluttering in its last light. Yet how delightful is it to reflect
that such effects are within the span of a few square yards of
canvass, and how ennobling is the recollection that genius,
(ill-fostered as it has been in the case of the painter before us)
enables one man to produce such sublime and agreeable impressions on
his fellows. To step from the busy _pave_ of New Bond-street and its
busy whirl of fashion to this placid meer of reflection is a contrast
almost too severe for some of the puling votaries of London gaiety:
yet the scene teems with deep-souled poetry. Some such feelings as
those so touchingly expressed in Lord Byron's Ode to Napoleon, on his
first exile, flit through the memory:--
Then haste thee to thy sullen isle,
And gaze upon the sea;
That element may meet thy smile,
It ne'er was ruled by thee!
Or trace with thine all idle hand
In loitering mood upon the sand
That earth is now as free.
Perhaps we ought not to mention an idea we sometimes entertain--that
our readers may imagine we are partial to Mr. Haydon, and that we pay
an undue share of attention to his works. The truth, however, is that
his pictures always work upon us with greater intensity than those of
any other living artist. Further, we know Mr. Haydon but by his works.
We are acquainted with the original of Pharaoh, in his great picture
of _the Plague_, but this association has nothing to do with our
admiration of Mr. Haydon's genius. One of the specimens--_Eucles_--will
not soon be absent from our mind's eye; and for days after we first saw
it, the sorrowful mother, and the ghastly, falling figure of the warrior,
haunted our imagination at every turn.
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF _NEW WORKS_.
* * * * *
THE ARCHITECTURE OF BIRDS.
This is another volume of the delightful Zoological series of the
_Library of Entertaining Knowledge_. We have already a volume and a
half of Quadrupeds from the Menageries, a volume of the
Transformations of Insects, and another of their Architectural
Labours. The present, in well-chosen continuity of a novel plan of
illustrating the Animal economy, is devoted to "an examination of
Birds in the exercise of their mechanical arts of constructing Nests."
"This work," observes the ingenious Editor, "is the _business_ of
their lives--the duty which calls forth that wonderful ingenuity,
which no experience can teach, and which no human skill can rival."
The few introductory pages include a rapid sketch of the methods of
classifying Birds adopted by some of the most distinguished
naturalists, in which their characteristics are stripped of the jargon
of technicality and _hard words_: thus, "Diurnal" birds are explained
as "preying in the day-time;" "Piscivorous, feeding upon fish;"
"Passeres, or Sparrows;" "Columbae, or Pigeons," &c. An outline of Mr.
Vigors's Quinary System, is also given, and the reader referred to
proper sources for illustrations. The Editor then, leaving the beaten
path of his predecessors, rambles through "fields and forests,
unfettered by system, but alive to whatever he meets with likely to
interest for its curiosity or its novelty." The birds are classed
according to their peculiar labours: thus, there are Mining Birds,
Ground Builders, Mason and Carpenter Birds, Platform Builders,
Basket-making Birds, Weaver Birds, Tailor Birds, Felt-making Birds,
Cementers, Dome-builders, and Parasite Birds. Each division is so
abundantly attractive to the observer of Nature in field or folio,
that we scarcely know how to decide on an extract; and the reader will
readily admit this dilemma, if he but recollects the early enthusiasm,
wonder, and delight, with which he must have regarded a _Bird's Nest_,
unless he has been pent up all his life in the brick and mortar and
chimney groves of a metropolis. Even then, the ingenuity of rooks may
have occurred to him as not a whit less wonderful than the proud
glories of art with which he has been environed. It is, however, time
to determine, and we, accordingly, choose the following:--
It would appear that the Americans are very fond of these birds, from
some prevalent superstition connected with them. "It has been
considered," says Dr. S. Mitchill, of New York, "a fortunate incident
to have a nest and a pair of these birds on one's farm. They have,
therefore, been generally respected, and neither the axe nor the gun
has been lifted against them. Their nest continues from year to year.
The same couple, or another, as the case may be, occupies it season
after season. Repairs are duly made; or, when demolished by storms, it
is industriously rebuilt. There was one of these nests, formerly, upon
the leafless summit of a venerable chestnut-tree, on our farm,
directly in front of the house, at the distance of less than half a
mile. The withered trunk and boughs, surmounted by the coarse-wrought
and capacious nest, was a more picturesque object than an obelisk; and
the flights of the hawks, as they went forth to hunt, returned with
their game, exercised themselves in wheeling round and round, and
circling about it, were amusing to the beholder, almost from morning
till night. The family of these hawks, old and young, was killed by
the Hessian jagers. A succeeding pair took possession of the nest;
but, in the course of time, the prongs of the trunk so rotted away
that the nest could no longer be supported. The hawks have been
obliged to seek new quarters. We have lost this part of our prospect,
and our trees have not afforded a convenient site for one of their
 Wilson, Amer. Ornith. v. 15.
_Herons and Heronries._
The several species of herons may not improperly be ranked among the
platform builders; for though they construct a shallow depression in
the centre of the nest, which is by all the species, if we mistake
not, lined with some sort of soft material, such as dry grass, rushes,
feathers, or wool, the body of the nest is quite flat, and formed much
in the manner of an eagle's eyry, of sticks crossing one another, and
supported upon the branches or between the forks of high trees. All
the species also are social, nestling in large communities, after the
manner of rooks; though instances are not uncommon of individual pairs
breeding solitary. Belon tells us, that "the heron is royal meat, on
which the French nobility set great value;" and he mentions it as one
of the extraordinary feats performed by the "divine king," Francis I.,
that he formed two artificial heronries at Fontainbleau;--"the very
elements themselves," he adds, "obeying the commands of this divine
king (whom God absolve!); for, to force nature, is a work partaking of
divinity!" In order to enhance the merit of these French heronries,
he undertakes to assert that they were unknown to the ancients,
because they are not mentioned in any of their writings; and for the
same reason, he concludes that there are none in Britain. Before
Belon's time, on the contrary, and before the "divine" constructor of
heronries in France was born, there were express laws enacted in
England for the protection of herons, it being a fine of ten shillings
to take the young out of the nests, and six shillings and
eightpence for a person, without his own grounds, killing a heron,
except by hawking or by the long-bow; while, in subsequent
enactments, the latter penalty was increased to twenty shillings, or
three months' imprisonment. At present, however, in consequence of
the discontinuance of hawking, little attention is paid to the
protection of heronries. Not to know a hawk from a _heronshaw_ (the
former name for a heron) was an old adage, which arose when the
diversion of heron-hawking was in high fashion. It has since been
corrupted into the absurd vulgar proverb, "not to know a hawk from a
handsaw!" The flesh of the heron is now looked upon as of little
value, and rarely if ever brought to market, though formerly a heron
was estimated at thrice the value of a goose, and six times the price
of a partridge.
 Oiseaux, p 189.
 19 Henry VII. c. 11.
 I James, c. 27, s. 2.
 Pennant, Brit. Zool. ii. 341.
 Northumberland Household Book, p. 104.
The heronries recorded to be existing at present in this country are
in Windsor Great Park, on the borders of Bagshot Heath; at
Penshurst-place, Kent; at Hutton, the seat of Mr. Bethel, near
Beverley, in Yorkshire; at Pixton, the seat of Lord Carnarvon; in
Gobay Park, on the road to Penrith, near a rocky pass called Yew Crag,
on the north side of the romantic lake of Ulswater; at Cressi Hall,
six miles from Spalding, in Lincolnshire; at Downington-in-Holland, in
the same county; at Brockley Woods, near Bristol; at Brownsea
Island, near Poole, in Dorsetshire; and, in Scotland, Colonel Montagu
mentions one in a small island, in a lake, where, there being
only a single scrubby oak, much too scanty to contain all the nests,
many were placed on the ground. Besides these, we are acquainted
with a small one in the parish of Craigie, near Kilmarnock, in
Ayrshire. We have little doubt but there are several more
unrecorded, for the birds may occasionally be seen in every part of
the island. In Lower Brittany, heronries are frequently to be found on
the tall trees of forests; and as they feed their young with fish,
many of these fall to the ground, and are greedily devoured by swine,
which has given rise to the story that the swine of that country are
fattened by fish which drop from the trees like beech-mast.
 Jennings Ornithologia, p. 199, note.
 Ornith. Dict. Art. Heron.
 Belon, Oiseaux, p. 189
At the close of the volume are a few well-digested observations, which
will leave the reader in a delightful train of reflection, impress him
with the value of the preceding pages, and enable him to close the
volume with gratitude to its author:--
"Although, in the preceding pages, we have considered birds as miners,
as ground-builders, as masons, as carpenters, as platform-builders, as
basket-makers, as weavers, as tailors, as felt-makers, as cementers,
and as dome-builders, we have not dwelt at much length upon any
fancied analogies between their arts and those of the human race. The
great distinction between man and the inferior animals is, that the
one learns almost every art progressively, by his own experience
operating with the accumulated knowledge of past generations, whilst
the others work by a fixed rule, improving very little, if any, during
the course of their own lives, and rarely deviating to-day from the
plans pursued by the same species a thousand years ago. It is true
that the swallow, which doubtless once built its nest in hollow trees,
has now accommodated itself to the progress of human society by
choosing chimneys for nestling; and it is also to be noticed, that in
the selection of materials a great many birds, as we have already
shown, accommodate themselves to their individual opportunities of
procuring substances differing in some degree from those used in other
situations by the same species. These adaptations only show that the
instinct which guides them to the construction of the nests best
fitted to their habits is not a blind one; that it is very nearly
allied to the reasoning faculty, if it is not identified with it. But
that the rule by which birds conduct their architectural labours is
exceedingly limited must be evident, from the consideration that no
species whatever is in a state of progression from a rude to a
polished style of construction. There is nearly as much difference
between the comparative beauty of the nests of a wood-pigeon and a
bottle-tit, as between the hut of a North American savage and a
Grecian temple. But although the savage, in the course of ages, may
attain as much civilization as would lead him to the construction of a
new Parthenon, the wood-pigeon will continue only to make a platform
of sticks to the end of time. It is evident, from a contemplation of
all nature, that the faculties of quadrupeds, birds, insects, and all
the inferior animals, are stationary: those of man only are
progressive. It is this distinction which enables him, agreeably to
the will of his Creator, to 'have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the
earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the
earth.'--But within their limited range the inferior animals perform
their proper labours with an unwearied industry, and an unerring
precision, which call forth our wonder and admiration. Of these
remarkable qualities we have given abundant examples in the preceding
pages; and they are not without moral instruction. Elevated as our
minds are in the comparative scale of nature, we may still take
example from the diligence, the perseverance, and the cheerfulness,
which preside over the _Architecture of Birds._"
There are nearly eighty cuts in the present volume--many from
specimens, all from excellent authorities, and of any but common-place
* * * * *
TOMB OF PAUL AND VIRGINIA.
Junior lieutenants and midshipmen, and others of the age of romance,
always make it a point to visit these tombs as soon as possible after
their arrival. If they can only get on shore for a few hours, they
hire or borrow horses, and proceed with all haste to the interesting
scene. On reaching the spot to which they are directed, they enter a
pretty garden, laid out with great care, and are conducted along a
walk bordered with bushes, bearing a profusion of roses, and having a
stream of the clearest water flowing on each side. At the end of this
walk the visiter sees a red, glaring monument, which he is told is the
tomb of Virginia; at the termination of a similar avenue, on
the opposite side of the garden, appears another monument, exactly
resembling the first, which is designated the tomb of Paul: a grove of
bamboos surrounds each. The traveller feels disappointed on beholding
these red masses, instead of elegant monuments of Parian marble, which
would seem alone worthy of such a purpose and such a situation. But
that is not the only disappointment destined to be experienced by him:
after having allowed his imagination to depict the shades of Paul and
Virginia hovering about the spot where their remains repose--after
having pleased himself with the idea that he had seen those celebrated
tombs, and given a sigh to the memory of those faithful lovers,
separated in life, but in death united--after all this waste of
sympathy, he learns at last that he has been under a delusion the
whole time--that no Virginia was there interred, and that it is a
matter of doubt whether there ever existed such a person as Paul! What
a pleasing illusion is then dispelled! How many romantic dreams,
inspired by the perusal of St. Pierre's tale, are doomed to vanish
when the truth is ascertained! The fact is, that these tombs have been
built to gratify the eager desire which the English have always
evinced to behold such interesting mementos. Formerly only one was
erected; but the proprietor of the place, finding that all the English
visiters, on being conducted to this, as the tomb of Virginia, always
asked to see that of Paul also, determined on building a similar one,
to which he gave that appellation. Many have been the visiters who
have been gratified, consequently, by the conviction that they had
looked on the actual burial-place of that unfortunate pair. These
"tombs" are scribbled over with the names of the various persona who
have visited them, together with verses and pathetic ejaculations, and
sentimental remarks. St. Pierre's story of the lovers is very prettily
written, and his description of the scenic beauties of the island are
correct, although not even his pen can do full justice to them; but
there is little truth in the tale. It is said, that there was indeed a
young lady sent from the Mauritius to France, for education, during
the time that Monsieur de la Bourdonnais was governor of the
colony--that her name was Virginia, and that she was shipwrecked in
the St. Geran. I heard something of a young man being attached to her,
and dying of grief for her loss; but that part of the story is very
doubtful. The "Bay of the Tomb," the "Point of Endeavour," the "Isle
of Amber," and the "Cape of Misfortune," still bear the same names,
and are pointed out as the memorable spots mentioned by St.
Pierre.--_Recollections of the Mauritius_.
* * * * *
* * * * *
COINCIDENT POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS.
(_For the Mirror_.)
In No. 475 of the _Mirror_, p. 98, will be found an article by a
correspondent (H.) on "English Superstition," introducing a very
interesting Cheshire legend, as a counterpart to a Scottish one,
related by the celebrated author of "Demonology and Witchcraft." H.
remarks of his tale that "it gives rise to many interesting
conjectures respecting the probable causes of such a superstition
being believed in countries with apparently so little connexion or
intercourse as Cheshire and Scotland." Perhaps it may be as well to
refer to what Sir W. Scott has said upon this very subject, in note
xi. to canto 4 of his "Lady of the Lake," ere we proceed to utter a
few specimens of coincident superstitions:--
"A work of great interest might be compiled upon the origin of popular
fiction, and the transmission of similar tales from age to age, and
from country to country. The mythology of one period would then appear
to pass into the romance of the next century--and that, into the
nursery tale of subsequent ages. Such an investigation, while it went
greatly to diminish our ideas of the richness of human invention,
would also show that these fictions, however wild and childish,
possess such charms for the populace, as enable them to penetrate into
countries unconnected by manners and language, and having no apparent
intercourse to afford the means of transmission. It would carry me far
beyond my bounds to produce instances of this community of fable,
among nations who never borrowed from each other anything
intrinsically worth learning. Indeed, the wide diffusion of popular
fictions may be compared to the facility with which straws and
feathers are dispersed abroad by the wind, while valuable metals
cannot be transported without trouble and labour."
Sir Walter, in appending this observation to a tradition extracted
from "Grahame's Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire" pp. 116-118,
remarks--"that this story, translated by Dr. G. from a Gaelic
tradition, is to be found in the _Otia Imperialia_ of Gervase of
Now, it is not a little singular, that of the self-same legend we have
also an original edition, received from a Welsh woman, as it is
current in Wales, and "believed to be true in the place where it
happened"--as she averred--but whereabout in Cambria that was she
failed to inform us. Here, then, is her account of a fairy favour:--
"The _accoucheuse_ of a small village in Wales was one night aroused
by a carriage driving furiously through it, and stopping at her door.
A gentleman hastily alighted, entered her humble abode, and, stating
that his lady required her assistance, scarcely allowed the good woman
time to wrap a few garments around her, ere he hurried her into the
carriage, which drove off with both of them, as if coachman and horses
were mad. After the lapse of a few minutes the carriage stopped; the
good woman was taken out, and ushered into a most splendid
mansion--although the midnight darkness was too great to allow of her
noticing its exterior and situation. After the infant was born, being
about to wash and dress it, a box of some kind of ointment was put
into her hands, wherewith she was desired to anoint it all over; and
in doing this she happened to rub one of her eyes.--At last, her
attendance being no longer required, she was re-conveyed to her own
abode, in the same manner as she had been taken from it; but, although
she subsequently noticed most particularly all the gentlemen's houses
in the vicinity, she was never able to discover that to which she had
been taken;--neither did she ever behold the gentleman again, until
many months afterwards, being at a wake in the neighbourhood, she saw,
to her supreme astonishment, that mysterious stranger, liberally
helping himself, without money and without leave, from the
stalls!--Averse to noticing the fact, oar honest woman resolved,
nevertheless, to accost him; and making her way up to where he stood,
asked after the health of his lady and child, regretting that she had
not been able to call and see them, since she had failed in every
endeavour to find the house.
"'They are well,' said the stranger; 'but how came you to know that I
"'Because, sir, I saw, and do see you,' replied the unsuspecting
"'With which eye?'
"'With both, to be sure,' said she.
"'I rather think not,' rejoined the gentleman--'try.'
"Upon making the experiment, the poor woman discovered, to her
infinite surprise, that she could only see the stranger with that eye
which she had accidently rubbed with the unguent;--upon which the
enraged fairy--for such he was--spitting into it, deprived it of the
faculty of sight for ever!"
Of this story we have reason to believe that there are various
readings, besides those of the Scotch and Welsh, and that it may be
met with in England and Ireland, with slight variations and
interpolations, if in no other countries.
Have our readers ever heard any fearful story of a spirit attesting
the reality of its apparition, by leaving a burnt impress of fingers
upon whatever it hath touched? We have heard such a tale, or rather
such tales (for literally they are "legion") from many lips, the
circumstances of each being varied, but the main fact always the same:
and, what is most extraordinary, always vouched for as being a portion
of family history, attached to families who have not the slightest
connexion with each other!--If our memory is not extremely
treacherous, we believe that Sir Walter Scott, in one of his works (of
which we have not the good fortune to possess a copy)--probably his
"Ballads and Lyrical Pieces"--gives such a tale as a German tradition.
It is, at least, extremely popular; but the Irish family of the
Beresfords lay peculiar and original claim to this singular legend.
Who has not heard of "The Beresford Ghost?"--Nay, but we must crave
the liberty of re-publishing an oft-told tale, were it only in
gratitude to some kind and esteemed Irish friends, who, believing that
it might prove a novelty to several English readers, procured for
us--from a lineal descendant of the family, and inheritor of the name,
&c.--the following genuine and authentic document, concerning the
celebrated Beresford Ghost:
"Sir Tristram Beresford was a general, in the service of King George
I., who married Lady Hamilton, one of the co-heiresses of Lord
Glenawley; and having large estates in the county of Tyrone, the
family mansion of which was the Castle of Ballygawley, there Sir
Tristram and his lady resided. Sir T. was ordered to join his
regiment, then serving in Flanders;--he was severely wounded in an
engagement, and reported to be dead. The means of communication with
most places being in those days extremely difficult and uncertain,
Lady Beresford had no means of knowing that the report of her
husband's death was premature; but firmly believing it, she married
immediately, as it should seem, a young officer named Georges, to whom
she had long been greatly attached. The demise of Sir Tristram
Beresford did not, in fact, take place till some days after their
union; but on the night when it actually occurred, Captain Georges and
his lady having retired to rest, a figure resembling Sir Tristram
stood beside their bed, and having undrawn the curtains nearest his
late wife, upbraided her with the indecent haste she had used in
concluding her second marriage, which had caused her, in fact, to be
for many days guilty of an adulterous connexion with her present
husband.--She asked him, whether he were yet living?--He answered,
that he had died that very hour; and also said, that she had made a
disastrous choice, for that her husband would prove very unkind to
her, and that she should die in giving birth to their fifth child.
"Captain G. had fallen into a profound slumber, from which, although
during this conversation his wife made every effort to arouse him, he
could not be awakened. She then said to the semblance of Sir
"'How shall I know that this is not a trick, and that you are not some
person disguised to deceive me?'
"Upon which the spectre took up the curtains of the bed, which were
suspended from a ring over the tester, and throwing them from his
hand, passed them through the ring thrice, saying--'No human being
could do that.'
"'And yet, replied the lady, it is possible that people may say I did
it myself. Can you give me no better token?'
"Then the spectre caught her by the wrist, exclaiming--'Unto thee
shall this be a token!'--when the sinews of that wrist immediately
shrivelled up, and the apparition, laying his hand on an escritoire,
"Captain Georges instantly awoke; and his lady asking him whether he
had seen or heard any thing, he replied in the negative; but the
sinews of her wrist were seared and shrunken ever after, and the
impression of a hand was burnt into the escritoire.
 This escritoire is said to be in the possession of Lady
Clauwilliam, at Giltown, her father having married the
sister and co-heiress of Lady Beresford; and a picture
was lately existing, and may he now, at Catherine Grove
(the seat of Richard Georges Meredith, Esq., her grandson
on Capt. Georges' side), exhibiting Lady B. with a broad
black ribbon round the wrist, which the apparition of Sir
Tristram is said to have scorched.
"Shortly afterwards accounts arrived, identifying the hour of Sir
Tristram's decease with that in which his apparition had appeared to
his widow; and she was a second time married to Capt. Georges, with
whom she lived some years, and had four children; but as she
experienced much ill-treatment from him, they parted: he joined his
regiment, and she continued to reside in Ballygawley Castle.
"Some years after this separation, they again became friends. He
returned to reside with her; and in giving birth to their fifth child,
she died, as had been foretold by the apparition.
"The son of Sir Tristram by this lady was Sir Marcus Beresford, who
married the heiress of the estates and title of Le Pen; was created
Baron Beresford and Earl of Tyrone; and was father of George
Beresford, first Marquess of Waterford, the late Right Hon. John
Beresford, William Beresford, late Archbishop of Tuam, Lady Frances
Flood, Lady Araminta Monk, Lady Catherine Jones, Lady Glenawley, and
Lady Betty Cobbe."
(_To be concluded in our next._)
* * * * *
* * * * *
Will puts in practice what the will deviseth,
Will ever acts, and Wit contemplates still,
And as from Wit the power of Wisdom riseth,
All other virtues daughters are of Will.
* * * * *
Where heat of Love doth once possess the heart,
There cares oppress the mind with wondrous ill,
Wit runs awry, not fearing subtil smart,
And fond desire doth ever master will.
The belly neither cares for meat nor drink,
Nor o'erwatched eyes desire to wink.
Footsteps are false and wavering to and fro,
The brightsome flower of beauty fades away,
Reason retires, and Pleasure brings in Woe,
And Wisdom yieldeth place to black decay.
Counsel, and fame, and friendship are condemned,
And bashful shame, and gods themselves contemned.
Watchful suspect is kindled with despair,
Inconstant hope is often drown'd in fears;
What folly hurts not, fortune can repair,
And misery doth swim in seas of tears.
Long use of life is but a living foe,
As gentle death is only end of woe.
* * * * *
A prince's safety lies in loving people,
His fort is Justice (free from stratagem),
Without the which strong citadels are feeble,
The subjects' love is won by loving them:
Of loving them no oppression is the trial,
And no oppression makes them ever loyal.
* * * * *
True grief is fond and testy as a child,
Who wayward once, his mood with naught agrees.
Old woes, not infant sorrows, bear them mild,
Continuance tames the one, the other wild.
Like an unpractis'd swimmer, plunging still
With too much labour drowns for want of skill.
* * * * *
A lofty subject of itself doth bring
Grave words and weighty, of itself divine;
And makes the author's holy honour shine.
If ye would after ashes live, beware
To do like Erostrate, who burnt the fair
Ephesian Temple, or to win a name
To make of brass a cruel calf untame.
KING OF SCOTS.
* * * * *
The Winter with his grisly storms no longer dare abide,
The pleasant grass with lusty green the earth hath newly dyed,
The trees hath leaves, the boughs do spread, new changed is the year,
The water brooks are clean sunk down, the pleasant boughs appear,
The Spring is come, the goodly nymphs now dance in every place:
Thus hath the year most pleasantly so lately chang'd her face.
EARL OF SURREY.
* * * * *
--To show her powerful deity,
Her sweet Endymion more to beautify,
Into his soul the goddess doth infuse
The fiery nature of a heavenly muse;
Which the spirit labouring by the mind,
Partaketh of celestial things by kind:
For why the soul being divine alone,
Exempt from gross and vile corruption,
Of heavenly secrets incomprehensible,
Of which the dull flesh is not sensible,
And by one only powerful faculty,
Yet governeth a multiplicity,
Being essential uniform in all
Not to be severed or dividual;
But in her function holdeth her estate
By powers divine in her ingenerate;
And so by inspiration conceiveth,
What heaven to her by divination breatheth.
* * * * *
Most miserable creature under sky
Man without understanding doth appear,
For all this world's affliction he thereby,
And Fortune's freaks is wisely taught to bear;
Of wretched life the only joy is she,
And the only comfort in calamity;
She arms the breast with constant patience,
Against the bitter throes of Dolour's darts,
She solaceth with rules of sapience,
The gentle winds in midst of worldly smarts:
When he is sad, she seeks to make him merry,
And doth refresh his spirits when they be weary.
* * * * *
Care, the consuming canker of the mind,
The discord that disorders sweet heart's tune,
The abortive bastard of a coward mind,
The lightfoot lackey that runs post by death,
Bearing the letters which contain our end;
The busy advocate that sells his breath
Denouncing worst to him who's most his friend.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
OLD PARR AND OLD PEOPLE.
(_From "After Dinner Chat," in the New Monthly Magazine._)
_N_.--Parr was a mischievous old fellow: he has left a pernicious
example of longevity behind him. At sixty-nine a man will look with
complacency to the approaching termination of his career, as an event
to be expected in the ordinary course of Nature. Once allow him to
turn seventy, he has then escaped the fatal three-score-and-ten, and
would consider himself an ill-used person should he receive notice of
ejectment a day short of ninety. Ninety comes, and he grows insolent.
Death, he thinks, has passed on and overlooked him. He asks why Nature
so long has delayed to claim her debt. She has suffered thrice seven
years to elapse beyond the period usually assigned for payment, and he
indulges in wild fancies of a Statute of Limitations. In his most
rational moments he talks of nothing but Old Parr. He burns his will,
marries his housemaid, hectors his son-and-heir, who is seventy, and
canes his grand-child (a lad of fifty) for keeping late hours. I
called on old S--g a morning or two ago: he is ninety-three. I found
him reading his newspaper, and inveighing against the outcry for
Reform and short Parliaments--declaring that, rather than be forced
down into Cheshire to vote oftener than once in every six or seven
years, he, for his part, would sell his franchise for a straw. 'Twas
clear he had outlived the recollection of the probability of a visit
from one who might deprive him of his franchise upon terms even less
advantageous. I took occasion to compliment him upon his fine old age.
His reply was an angry growl.--"Ugh! do you want me gone? I'm only
ninety-three Ugh! Mr. Parr wouldn't die till he was one hundred and
_R_.--Paying a visit to old P--ke, I found him walking up and down the
drawing-room, stamping and raving, and holding a handkerchief to his
mouth. I inquired what ailed him. To my astonishment, he complained of
_tooth-ache_!--a strange complaint, thought I, for a man of
seventy-eight, whom one would hardly expect to find with a single
implement of that kind in his head; but, in fact, he was in possession
of the whole set, _except two_! His lamentation, which he continued at
intervals, ran in this strain--"Seventy-eight!--only seventy-eight,
and two teeth gone already!--lost one of them sixty years
ago, and, as if that were not enough, four years ago I must lose a
second;--and now--ah! I suppose I must part with another. And then my
eyes! one of my eyes is beginning to fail. Lord help me! for, should
it go on at this rate, I shall be in a sad condition before many more
years are over my head!"
_S_.--The unconscionable old rogue! at seventy-eight how many more
could he expect?
_N_.--Rely on it I am right, and that Parr was to blame for this. At
seventy, P--ke would have died with grateful thanksgivings on his lips
for the blessings of his past life. As it was, had he been allowed to
live on till he should have parted with the remainder of his teeth, at
the rate of one a year, he would have attempted, when it came to the
last, to smuggle a false tooth or two into his jaws.
_R_.--I think I understand the gist of your complaint: the longer you
allow folks to live, the more they won't die. Fie upon them!
_S_.--I shudder at the contemplation of the consequences of Parr's
abominable example. Well had it been for posterity if some one had
killed the cent-sexagenarian at the outset of his wicked career.
_K_.--Horrible! that would have been _Parr_-icide!
* * * * *
_N_.--Apropos of duelling. I hear that General F--rn--r is dead. He
was the most celebrated, or, I ought to say, the most notorious
duellist in France--at a time, too, when duelling was most the rage.
He had been a great favourite of Napoleon's. Having the command of a
regiment, upon--I forget what occasion--he led it with such
extraordinary bravery to the attack, yet, at the same time, conducted
its movements with so total a want of skill and discretion, that,
without attaining any good result, his men were nearly all cut to
pieces, and he himself narrowly escaped with his life. As a reward for
his gallantry, his Imperial master promoted him to the rank of
general; but, to mark his sense of F--rn--r's total want of "the
better part of valour," he never after entrusted him with a command.
So fatal was his skill in duelling, that, when I knew him in Paris, he
was under an interdiction of the police ever to fight again. The terms
of one of the duels in which he had been engaged were, that the
parties should fire at eight paces, and that they should alternately
advance two paces till the fire of one or both of them should take
deadly effect. According to this arrangement, the last advance brought
the muzzle of his pistol close to his adversary's breast--he had twice
already wounded him slightly, and received one shot himself--he fired,
and his adversary fell dead at his feet! This piece of butchery--for
as such it must be stigmatized--having been perpetrated under sanction
of the articles of the meeting, passed over without receiving any
severe notice. No wonder he was an unhappy man. I met him one day at
dinner. On that occasion he was boisterous in his mirth, without
appearing to be gay.--Suddenly he rose and left the room. Half an hour
afterwards we found him in a small _boudoir_ at the farther end of the
apartment, stretched on a sofa--writhing, groaning, and gnashing his
teeth: I thought of Richard in the tent scene. I once heard him
say--(I must give part of his expression in his own words, for
terrible as they are, they are, at the same time, so simple, that they
would lose their force in translation)--"_J'ai la bras fatal!_ if I
fire at a mark ten to one I miss it: I never miss a man." His look and
tone, as he uttered this, were as of one who should speak of an
attendant demon, from whose dominion he had no power of escape.
_R_.--I once was witness to an instance of apathy on the part of a
father--your talking of duelling reminds me of it--which is perhaps
without a parallel. Walking one day beyond the _Barriere de Clichy_, I
saw several persons assembled at a little distance from the roadside.
Two gentlemen had just taken their ground--you know that these affairs
are not always conducted with the same privacy on the Continent as in
England--and received their pistols from the hands of their seconds.
They fired at the same instant. One of the combatants, a line young
man of about five-and-twenty, received his adversary's shot in his
forehead: it pierced his brain. He sprang nearly his own height from
the ground, and fell dead. He was immediately carried home to his
father's house, which was at no great distance from the spot, and I
went along with the crowd. He was an only son, mind you, but (so it
was said) a _mauvais sujet_ of the last degree--indeed the very
quarrel which led to the duel had occurred in a gaming-house of which
he was a regular frequenter. The body, which I followed into the
courtyard of his father's house, was placed on the stones. The father
was sent for;--a _scene_ was naturally to be expected;--and a
scene to be remembered there was. The old gentleman came out, looked
calmly upon the dead body of his son, deliberately took a pinch of
snuff, tapped down the lid of the box, and, saying nothing in the
world more than--_Enfin!_--walked in again.
* * * * *
Presumptuous was the wish so patriotically conceived, and so
repeatedly extolled, of that pious churchman, who exclaimed, with
reference to the constitution of his native country, now no more
existing as an independent state, "Esto perpetua!" The ancients,
indeed, to secure what might be humanely termed a perpetuity to their
laws and edicts, had them graven on brass. But what is the perpetuity
even of brass itself, when opposed to the irresistible advance of
Time? Even in the very infancy of the world, this question might have
been answered, as it was, some few thousand years after its creation,
by Old Simonides:
"Who so bold
What the Lindian sage has told?
Who will dare
Works of man, that fleeting are,
With the smooth perennial flow
Of swift rivers, or the glow
Of the eternal sun, or light
Of the golden orb of night?
The floweret's hues
With his sweet refreshing dews;
Bids his tide
With returning current glide;
The sculptured tomb is but a toy
Man may fashion, man destroy--
Eternity in stone or brass?
Go, go! who said it was an ass."
_Fragm_. 10. BRUNCK, _ Analect_, tom. i. p. 122.
(From a striking paper entitled "Correction, Melioration, Reformation,
Revolution," in _Blackwood's Magazine_.)
* * * * *
There is nothing in our history more uncertain than their nature and
the extent of their power. Blackstone says, that "the original or
first institution of parliaments is one of those matters which lie so
far hidden in the dark ages of antiquity, that the tracing of it out
is a thing equally difficult and uncertain; and how members were
returned to the _Michel-Synoth_, or _Michel-Gemote_, or
_Wittena-Gemote_, of our Saxon ancestors, it would doubtless puzzle
the learning even of Lord John Russell to ascertain." In the simple
days of good King Alfred, parliaments were not summoned for "the
dispatch of business"--that is, to discuss regulations touching the
taxes and the public debt--the Bank affairs--the East India
affairs--the West India affairs, and a thousand other concerns of
national moment, then lying unborn in the womb of time. In those days,
the great council was ordained to "meet twice in the year, or oftener,
if need be, to treat of the government of God's people, how they
should keep themselves from, sin, should live in quiet, and should
receive right."--_Blackwood's Mag_.
* * * * *
To lend a byeuck is to lose it--and borrowin's but a hypocritical
pretence for stealin', and shou'd be punished wi' death.--_Ettrick
* * * * *
A snapper up of unconsidered trifles.
* * * * *
HOW TO ROAST AN ACTOR.
If he is tall, you may discover that his person is ungraceful, and
that he wants the dapper-size of Garrick. If short, he is much under
the proper size, and can never play the character of a hero, which is
always fixed at five feet ten inches. If his features are small, you
can find out that they want expression; if large, his face is vulgar,
and his nose too much beyond the dramatic size. If his face be
unexceptionable, you may with some pains discover a _something_ in his
eye. If his eyes are piercing and intelligent, perhaps his features
are stiff and unmanageable. His shoulders may be broad; and, if not,
it is a thousand to one but he stoops; and if he stoops, and does not
turn out his toes, it is impossible he can understand his author. If
he is a scholar and a critic, and repeats a line as you never heard it
repeated before, he must be a word-catcher. If his manner is graceful,
he has studied dancing too much; but if his manner is not graceful, be
sure to tell him he must go to the dancing-school. If you can discover
no fault, you must prove how much better Garrick, Powel, Holland, or
Barry, performed the character; and as nine-tenths of your readers
cannot remember those performers, you may easily persuade them that
the object of your censure is a blockhead. If he has the art of rapid
elocution, tell him he speaks too fast; and if he speaks slowly, and
with discrimination, say that he only waits to catch applause. If his
action is graceful, tell him he makes too much use of his arms and
hands; and if his action is moderate, persuade the public that his
arms are tied behind him. By these hints you will have _done him_
completely on one side, and, if you change your opinion, and praise
him, he will be done on the other.--_Old Magazine_.
* * * * *
VALE OF TEMPE.
Dr. Clarke says, "The boasted Vale of Tempe, is a defile; it is
something like Matlock, but wilder; more savage than Salvator Rosa,
and with nothing of Claude. I cannot tell why the ancients made such a
fuss about it; perhaps because half of them never saw it, and took its
character from hearsay; the other half, like mankind every where,
stupidly admiring what is said to be admirable. It is like a crack in
a great wall, at the bottom of which is a river, sometimes inundated,
sometimes dry; the passage narrow, the sides craggy, bare, lofty and
perpendicular; its whole length not above a mile."
* * * * *
We find the following sensible observations in a recent work:--
"In the reigns of Elizabeth and James, the golden age of the English
drama, London was not a tenth part of its present sire, and it
contained seventeen theatres. At present (1808) there are but two;
more would succeed, and indeed more are wanted; but these have
obtained exclusive privileges. Old people say the acting was better in
their younger days, because there were more schools for actors; and
the theatres being smaller, the natural voice could be heard, and the
natural expression of the features seen, and therefore rant and
distortion were unnecessary. They, however, who remember no other
generation of actors than the present, will not be persuaded that
there has ever been one more perfect. Be this as it may, all are
agreed that the drama itself has woefully degenerated, though it is
the only species of literary labour which is well paid; they are
agreed also as to the cause of this degeneracy, attributing it to the
prodigious size of the theatres; the finer tones of passion cannot be
discriminated, nor the finer movements of the countenance perceived
from the front, hardly from the middle of the house. Authors,
therefore, substitute what is here called broad farce for genuine
comedy; their jests are made intelligible by grimace, or by that sort
of mechanical wit which can be seen; comedy is made up of trick, and
tragedy of processions, pageants, battles, and explosions."
* * * * *
Addison says, that a dog has been the companion of man for nearly
6,000 years, and has learned of him only one of his vices; that is to
worry his species when he finds them in distress. Tie a tin canister
to a dog's tail, and another will fall upon him; put a man in prison
for debt, and another will lodge a detainer against him.
Horace Walpole, speaking of the opening of the budget one year, says,
"The rest of the night was spent in a kind of avoirdupoise war."
A witness under examination in an Irish court of justice, had just
stated that he was suddenly roused from his slumbers by a blow on the
head. "And how did you find yourself?" asked the examining counsel,
"Fast asleep," replied the witness.
An officer whom Louis XIV. had been strongly solicited to appoint to a
certain situation, was presented to him. "This gentleman," said the
king, "is too old." "Sire," replied the officer, with much tact, "I am
only four years older than your majesty, and I calculate upon serving
you for five-and-twenty years to come." The king appointed him to the
* * * * *
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