The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 12, No. 330.] SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1828. [PRICE 2d.
WHY ARE NOT THE ENGLISH A MUSICAL PEOPLE?
We cannot help it.--_Massinger's Roman Actor._
Astronomy, music, and architecture, are the floating topics of the day;
on the second of these heads we have thrown together a few hints, which
may, probably prove entertaining to our readers.
The English are not--you know, reflective public--a musical people; this
has been said over and over again in the musical and dramatic critiques
of the newspapers. True it is that we have no _national music_, like our
neighbours the Welsh, the Irish, or the Scotch; for our music, like out
language, is a mere _riccifamento_, stolen from every nation in Europe.
But our king (God bless him) is an excellent musician, and plays the
violoncello most delightfully; and we have an Academy of Music. Then we
have an Italian Theatre that burns the feet and fingers of all who
meddle with its management--witness, Mr. Ebers, who, by being "married"
to sweet sounds, lost the enormous sum of 47,000_l_.--it must be owned,
an unfortunate match, or as Dr. Franklin would have said, "paying rather
too dear for his whistle." We have too an _English Opera House_, where
scarcely any but _foreign_ music is heard, and which, to the
ever-lasting credit of its management, has transplanted from the warm
climes of the south to our ungenial atmosphere, some of the finest
compositions in the continental schools of modern music. Success has,
however, attended most of their enterprises; for the taste of the
English for foreign music is by no means a modern mania. From Pepys's
_Diary_ we learn that the first company of Italian singers came here in
the reign of Charles II.: they were brought by Killigrew from Venice,
about 1688; but they did not perform whole operas, only detached scenes
in recitative, and not in any public theatre, but in the houses of the
nobility. Thus, Italian music was loved and cultivated very early in
England, and London was the next capital, after Vienna, which
established and supported an Italian Opera. But, as we never do things
by halves, we had soon afterwards, two opposition houses. This proves
that the English have a _taste for music_; indeed they have much more
judgment than some of their neighbours, which makes it still more to be
regretted that nothing is done in England towards the advancement of
music as a science. Is the world of sound and the soul of song
exhausted? Why should we, who are marching in every other direction,
stand still in this? But no; what Orpheus did with _music_, we are
striving to accomplish by _steam_; what he effected by quietly touching
his lyre, we study with the atmospheres and condensers of high and low
The writer of a delightful paper in the _Foreign Review_, No. 3, in
tracing the rise and progress of music, inquires what has become of "its
loftier pretensions, its celestial attributes, its moral and political
influence." He then facetiously observes, "How should we marvel to see
the Duke of Wellington, like another Epaminondas, take his flute out of
his pocket to still the clamour of the opposition, or Mr. Peel reply to
the arguments of Mr. Huskisson with an allegro on the fiddle."
The Greeks were not such grave people as some may be inclined to think
them. Among them, poetry and music were so intimately connected, that
they were in fact one and the same. It is not so with us; we have Byron
and Moore, in poetry; but where are their parallels in English music!
"Music," says Plutarch, "was the universal language of Greece, the
sacred vehicle of history, philosophy, laws, and morals;" but in England
it is little more than a mere amusement to while away the evening, or at
best, but a branch of _female_ education. Pianos are become articles of
furniture to be met with in almost every other genteel house; Miss and
her sisters sit down by turns, and screw themselves up to _Ah vous
dirai_, or "I'd be a butterfly"--till some handsome young fellow who has
stood behind her chair for six months, turned over her music, or
accompanied her through a few liquorish airs, vows his tender passion,
brings her the last new song, and at length swears to be her
accompaniment throughout life. The piano is then locked up, the music
sent to Bath or _Canterbury_, and the lady is married and cannot sing.
But the Greek poets sang their own verses: "Homer literally _sang_ the
wrath of Achilles, and the woes of Greece;" would it were so in England.
Then, my poetical public, we should have Anacreon Moore singing his
"Rich and rare were the gems she wore," in some such place as the
Quadrant, or Opera Colonnade; and Sir Walter Scott celebrating the Field
of Waterloo, not in the broad-margined octavos of Paternoster-row, but
about the purlieus of the Horse Guards. Wordsworth would be his own
Skylark. The laureate, Southey, would perch himself on the dome of the
New Palace. Campbell would step out of New Burlingtonstreet into the
Park; Miss Mitford would keep a Covent-Garden audience awake with her
own tragedies, and Planche would no longer entrust his rhymes to Paton
or Vestris. On the other hand, Braham would no longer be indebted to
Moore for his songs, Bishop would write, compose, and sing his own
operas, and all our vocalists enter, like Dryden's king and two
Could we but once become a musical people, we should no longer marvel at
the effect of music in ancient times; for who knows but that if an
Englishman were to play like Orpheus, the River Thames might cease to
flow; the disposal of Mr. Cross's menagerie be no longer a question,
since the animals might be allowed to ramble about the Strand; and
Snowdon or Cader Idris journey to the King's Theatre to listen to his
It is, however, impossible to calculate the benefits which this
acquisition of musical skill might prove to the English people. What
bloodshed and tribulation it would prevent. Weare, or Maria Marten, like
Stradella, might have disarmed their assassins; the Insolvent Act would
be obsolete, and duns defeated; since hundreds of improvident wights,
like Palma, might, by their strains, soften the hearts of their
creditors, and draw tears from sheriff's officers. Chancery-lane would
be depopulated, and Cursitor-street be left to the fowls of the air;
locks would fall 50 per cent, and Mr. Bramah might betake himself to Van
Dieman's Land. What a pleasant thing would a public dinner be; for,
instead of a gentleman in a dress coat singing as from the orchestra of
an oratorio, he would throw a more impassioned energy into his own
compositions than he could possibly impart to those of another, and
proportionally enhance the delight of his company. All the mechanism of
professional singing would then give way to "the feast of reason and the
flow of soul."
We know not how to have done with these pleasures of "linked
sweetness"--this "mosaic of the air," as Marvell quaintly calls it. We
have a decided aversion to the system of borrowing, which, in the
absence of our own musical resources, seems to be universally adopted.
Thus, as Charles Mathews says, "every footman whistles _Frieschutz_;"
and the barrel organ which does not play two or three of its airs may be
consigned to the brokers. A few months since every bachelor hummed or
whistled "_C'est l'amour_," and the French, to return the compliment,
have made our "Robin Adair," one of the claptraps of the music of their
_La Dame Blanche_. Next, when will Mr. Bishop's _Home, sweet home_, be
forgotten, although the original is a Sicilian air of considerable
antiquity. All the baker's and butcher's boys in London can go through
"_Di tanti pal_"--where they leave off, answer a question, and take up
the "_piti_," with the skill of a musician; and as readily fall into the
sympathetic melodies of "_Oh no we never mention her_," or the "_Light
Guitar_." But to atone for these vulgarisms, who that has heard the
syren strains of Stephens or Paton, or the Anglo-Italian style of
Braham, but has envied them the pleasurable monopoly of delighting
thousands, and sending them home with the favourite air still echoing in
their ears, and lulling them to soft slumbers! Who is there that has
enjoyed his circle of friends without regretting a thousand times that
he had not a fiftieth part of such talent to enliven the festive hour,
and lend a charm, however, fleeting, to what may be termed the poetry of
As we have noticed the taste of the Greeks for music, it is but fair
that we should allude to that of their successors. In ancient Rome,
music was never popular. Combats of gladiators and wild beasts filled
their theatres with streams of blood, instead of their resounding with
music; and after the death of Nero, that beautiful art was declared
infamous, and by a public decree, banished from the city. In our
theatres, however, heroes fight to music, from the Richard III. and
Richmond of Shakspeare to the "terrific combats" of modern melodrame.
 "When Nero exhibited himself as a singer and flute-player on
the stage at Naples, the musicians of that province assembled to
hear him; and Suetonius tells us that the emperor selected _five
thousand_ among the best to be his household musicians, and
clothed them in a rich and uniform dress."
Anything is, however, better than despair, and let us hope that
something may be done towards the amendment of our musical reputation.
We have too much of what Cobbett would call the "dead-weight" in us to
become adopted by Apollo as the "children of song;" but what with the
school of music in Tenterden-street, and numberless juvenile prodigies,
we may indulge the expectation of rising in the diatonic scale, and that
too at no very distant period. Burney and Crotch were remarkable
instances of precocious musical skill; and in the present day, children
from eight to twelve sing the most popular Italian airs on the English
stage, with remarkable accuracy.
Apropos, we hear of constitutions being set to music, for says the
_Foreign Review_, "during the short revolution at Naples, in 1820, a
Neapolitan was heard to swear that if the government intended that the
new constitution should be understood or accepted by the people, they
must first have it set to music by Rossini."
* * * * *
GARDENS OF THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY, REGENT'S PARK.
[Illustration: GARDENS OF THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY, REGENT'S PARK.]
We are again in the _Regents Park_; but we must leave its architectural
splendour for the present, and request our readers to accompany us
towards the eastern verge of the Park, to the Gardens of the Zoological
Society, established in 1826, and whose members now amount to _eleven
hundred_! The grounds are daily filled with fashionable company,
notwithstanding the great migrations which usually take place at this
season of the year, and almost depopulate the western hemisphere of
fashion. The gardens, independent of their zoological attractions, are a
delightful promenade, being laid out with great taste, and the parterres
boasting a beautiful display of flowers. The animals, too, are seen to
much greater advantage than when shut up in a menagerie, and have the
luxury of fresh air, instead of unwholesome respiration in a room or
 It should, however, be noticed, that the object of the
_Zoological Society_ is not the mere exhibition of animals. In
the original prospectus it is observed, that "Animals brought
from every part of the globe to be applied to some _useful_
purpose as objects of scientific research, not of vulgar
admiration; and upon such an institution, a philosophy of
zoology founded, pointing out the comparative anatomy, the
habits of life, the improvement and the methods of multiplying
those races of animals which are most useful to man, and thus
fixing a most beautiful and important branch of knowledge on the
permanent basis of direct utility." The Secretary of the Society
is N.A. Vigors, Esq., M.A., F.R.S., &c. who, from his extensive
attainments in the science of zoology, fills the office with
honor to himself, and peculiar advantage to the public.
At page 413 of our last volume, the reader will find an abstract of the
second anniversary of the Society, since which the Gardens in the
Regent's Park have been opened for public inspection. We have
accordingly availed ourselves of this privilege, and our draughtsman has
been at some pains in the annexed sketch, together with the vignette
_portraits_ accompanying it. The "_Bird's-Eye View_" will be better
explained by reference to the figures; thus,
1. Entrance Gate and Pay Hut.
2. Ditto Check Hut.
3. House and Ground for _Emus_:
Two awkward land birds, resembling ostriches. Their incapability of
flying is compensated by the exceeding speed with which they run. They
are natives of New Holland.
4. Central Walk.
5. Sloping Shrubbery of Defence.
6. Fields for Horses and Cattle.
7. Building for _Bears,_,
communicating with their pit, in the centre of which is a pole with
steps for the animals to ascend and descend. At the extremity of the
upper walk, the pit is surrounded with a dwarf wall and coping, to which
(since our sketch was taken) have been added iron rails. There are here
two Arctic bears, and a small black bear, the latter brought from
Russia, and presented to the Society, by the Marquess of Hertford.
There is usually a crowd of visiters about this spot, and the sagacity
and antics of our four-footed friends ensure them liberal supplies of
cakes and fruit, handed to them on a pole. We were much interested with
their tricks, especially with the vexation betrayed by one of them, at
the top of the pole, when he saw his companion below seize a cake which
the former had previously eyed with great _gout_. His wringing and
biting his paws reminded us of many scenes out of a bear-pit. Then the
snorting and snarling of the old bear below, when the young one
attempted to obtain a cake thrown to him; and above all, the small share
which our black friend _Toby_ enjoyed, probably from his docility
over-much,--like good-natured men who are mastered by those of rough
natures. We could have staid here a whole hour, watching their antics,
and likening them to the little trickery of human nature.
 He was previously at Sudborne, the seat of the Marquess of
Hertford, where Toby, as our Russian friend was christened,
became equally sagacious with bipeds, in distinguishing strong
ale from small beer. To the former beverage, Toby became freely
attached; but when we saw him at the Gardens in the Regent's
Park, he appeared too docile for his companions.
8 and 9. Ground enclosed for _Kangaroos_,
of which there is a little herd, large and small. They are natives of
New Holland. The fore legs are seldom more than twenty inches in length,
whilst the hinder ones are sometimes three feet and a half long. They
rest on the whole length of the hind feet, supporting themselves by the
base of the tail, which, in truth, acts as a fifth leg, and is sometimes
used as a weapon, being of such strength as to break a man's leg at a
single blow. They move by leaps, which have been known to exceed twenty
feet. Several kangaroos have been kept in the park at Richmond, and
where they have produced young ones.
containing two fine _leopards, a porcupine_, and _racoons_. In an
adjoining den are three _wolves._
11. Gothic House for _Lamas_.
This is one of the most picturesque objects in the grounds. It contains
two lamas. These animals are common in South America, particularly in
the mountainous parts of Peru, where they are employed as beasts of
burthen. One of the lamas was presented to the Society by the Duke of
12. Circular Aviary for _Birds of Prey_
containing a _fine griffon vulture_, a white-headed _North American
eagle, hawks, falcons_, and _owls_; among the latter is the _great
horned owl_. This is supposed by Linnaeus, and many antiquaries, to have
been the bird of Minerva. The collection is remarkably splendid.
13. Hut for _Beavers_.
14. Hut for _Foreign Goats._
15. Enclosed Area and Fountain for _Aquatic Birds_, as pelicans,
Solan geese, China geese, black swans, &c.
Here are three handsome crested cranes, four Indian spoonbills, together
with three storks, three or four cockatoos, whose brilliant plumage
outvies the gayest robe of art, and three curassos.
17. Grove and Huts for _Esquimaux Dogs_
of which there are three fine specimens.
18. Fountain, &c. for _Water Fowl_.
19. Enclosure for _Zebras, Indian Cows, &c_.
20. Houses on poles for _Monkeys_.
These are distributed beside the walks. The monkey is attached by a
chain to a ring loosely round the pole, by which means he ascends and
descends at pleasure.
21. Intended Aviary, (supposed for _Eagles, Vultures_, &c.).
22. Twenty acres about to be added.
23. House for _Monkeys, &c_.
Here are double rows of cages, containing a fine South American ocelot,
a lynx, a puma, coatamondis, an ichneumon, and several monkeys; the last
affording an excellent opportunity of appreciating the fidelity of Mr.
Landseer's _Monkeyana,_ and illustrating the vraisemblance of men and
24. Intended Aviary.
25. Mexican _Hogs,_ &c.
26. Huts for _Jackalls,_ &c.
27. Unfinished Houses.
The carriage-road is formed of the outer side of the Park.
There is likewise an enclosure for _Tortoises_, of which there are three
large and several small ones. We saw one of them devouring pumpkin as a
gourmand would turtle, and this voracity is by weather-wise people
considered as a sure indication of rain. This turtle is believed to be
very old; he is of stupendous size, but buried as he was (except his
neck) with shell, he soon became aware of the approach of his companion,
nearly as large, and accordingly ate with increased greediness. Among
the birds, too, should be mentioned several beautiful varieties of
pheasants, partridges, &c. which are well worth the attention of the
We have probably passed over many animals, our object being merely to
mention a few of the most interesting for their habits and
peculiarities. Of course the collection is as yet incomplete, there
being neither lion, tiger, hyaena, elephant, nor rhinoceros; but when it
is considered that the Society has been established little more than two
years, in which time a Museum has been formed, and 1,100 subscribers
obtained, besides the arrangement of the Gardens--it will be
acknowledged that much has been done in a short time, and judging from
the excellent organization of the Society and their past success, we
anticipate the utmost realization of their plan.
Our readers need not be told that the Zoological Society is partly on
the plan of the Museum of Natural History at Paris, except that the
latter is supported by the Government, the Gardens are indiscriminately
opened to the public, free of cost, and the Museum on stated days; and
when we add that the names of Fagon, Duverney, Tournefort, Vaillant, De
Jussieu, Buffon, Daubenton, Fourcroy, Desfontaines, De Lamarck, and
Cuvier, occur in its list of professors, they will not be surprised at
the Musee d'Histoire Naturelle being the richest of its kind in the
* * * * *
As acceptable information, we subjoin the regulations for the admission
of members and visiters to the Gardens in the Regent's Park, and the
_Museum_, in Bruton-street; to the latter we shall allude at an early
Every member shall have personal admission to the gardens and museum,
with two companions. If accompanied by more than two, he shall pay one
shilling for each extra person.
A member, on payment of one guinea annually, may obtain an ivory ticket,
which will admit one named person with a companion to both
establishments; or a transferable ivory ticket which will admit one
person. He may obtain two or more such tickets at the same rate.
Any member who may find it inconvenient to attend personally at the
gardens or museum, may, upon application to the council, have his
privileges transferred, within the present year, to any individual of
his family, whom he may name.
Every member will be expected to give his name on entering the gardens
The gardens will be open to members from eight o'clock, A.M.; but they
will be in complete readiness for the reception of visiters only from
ten o'clock to sunset. The museum will be open from ten o'clock to six.
* * * * *
(_To the Editor of the Mirror._)
Your article on the "Patrons of Astronomy," in the Mirror, No. 328,
brought to my recollection the following anecdote, for the truth of
which I can answer, having received it from Mr. Watson, well known as
the most celebrated private optical instrument maker in Europe, and at
the time living on intimate terms with the late Mr. Arnold, the most
eminent watchmaker of the day. When the late Sir William Herschel's
great telescope was first exhibited at Slough, among other scientific
men who went to see it was Mr. Arnold, who took Mr. W. with him. Neither
of them thought much of it, though it was praised by the multitude; as
it was, with its constructor, patronized by the late king and his
consort, for Herschel was a German, as you well know. A few astronomical
amateurs, who thought as Mr. Arnold did, proposed to Mr. Adams, of
Fleet-street, then astronomical instrument maker to the king, (by whom
Mr. Watson was employed,) to get Watson to make an instrument in
opposition to Herschel's. The order being given by Adams, Watson set
about the work, and had made some progress in the construction of the
instrument, when the circumstance found its way to the ears of royalty.
Orders were immediately sent to Mr. Adams to put a stop to the work, or
he should no longer be optician to the king. Watson did not proceed, but
could never learn the cause of the counter-order, till after a lapse of
several years, when a stranger called on him, in Valentine-place,
Blackfriars-road, and after putting several questions to him about his
instruments, related to him the cause of the counter-order; upon which
Mr. Watson showed him the progress he had made, and which I have also
seen. This story I heard related by Mr. Watson at a dinner party at Mr.
Arnold's, at Well Hall, near Eltham, where were also Mr. Dollonds, and
Mr. J. R. Arnold, the son.
A Constant Reader.
August, 24, 1828.
Our Correspondent will perceive that we have qualified some phrases of
his letter, but that all the facts appear.
The _Quarterly Review_, No. 75, from which our notice was taken, is
tolerably plain upon the lack of patronage towards astronomy in this
country, and seems disposed, in enumerating the state of astronomical
knowledge in civilized Europe, to place Great Britain beside Spain or
Turkey! We chance to know that one of the most able and enterprising
astronomers of the present day relinquished a lucrative profession, that
he might be more at leisure to indulge his philosophical pursuits; so
that, if patrons be wanting, this apathy does not appear to have
entirely destroyed the taste for the divine study. This gentleman, in
concert with another, ascertained, in the course of three years, the
position and apparent distances of 380 double and triple stars, the
result of about 10,000 individual measurements, and for their Memoir,
they received the astronomical prize of the French Academy of Sciences.
In the following year, the former individual communicated to the Royal
Society the apparent distances and positions of 458 double stars, of
which 160 had never before been observed.
 We feel as if it were a species of treason to record the
fact, that, within the wide range of the British islands, _there
is only one observatory, and scarcely one, supported by the
government_! We say scarcely one, because we believe that some
of the instruments in the observatory of Greenwich were
purchased out of the private funds of the Royal Society of
London. The observatories of Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin,
Edinburgh (except a grant of 2,000_l_.), Armagh, and Glasgow,
are all private establishments, to the support of which
government contributes nothing. The consequence of this is, that
many of them are in a state of comparative inactivity; and none
of them, but that of Dublin, have acquired any celebrity in the
astronomical world. Such, indeed, was the state of practical
astronomy in Scotland, that within these few years, a Danish
vessel, which arrived at Leith, could not obtain, even in
Edinburgh, the time of the day for the purpose of setting its
Of course, our correspondent does not impeach the talent of HERSCHEL;
but it is lamentable to reflect that no attempt has been made to repeat
or extend the labours of that indefatigable astronomer.--ED.
* * * * *
A SCOTTISH LEGEND.
(_For the Mirror_.)
"Kelpie's a river demon or a god,"
Thus say the lexicons; I'll not belie 'em,
For though I mind not in the least the nod
Of these same critics, still I'll not defy 'em;
But that you may know more of this same god,
(Though I can't sing as Homer sung of Priam,)
I'll write a very pretty little poem,
Of which this present stanza's but the proem.
But to begin, for though 'tis rather long,
My poem I'll comprise into twelve stanzas,
Or fourteen at the furthest, if my song
Don't run to twenty--I'll offend no man, sirs,
If I can help it. So now I'm along
The road, and beg you'll notice these two lancers,
Who, on the backs of horses full of mettle
Hold a dispute, which we'll leave them to settle,
While you go with me, reader, kind and good,
To a small tributary stream from Tweed,
Which, if you don't know, as I'm in the mood,
I'll do my best to teach you, if you'll read;
I'll introduce you to the stream Glenrude--
This name will do--'twas in a glen--indeed,
'Twas not its proper name--'twill do quite well,
Why I choose so to call it I shan't tell,
But still it was a very pretty river,
Or rather stream, as ever could be seen--
If not so wide as the great Guadalquiver,
Its banks were nearly always clothed in green,
(Save when in winter the winds made you shiver,)
While the waves, bickering so bright and sheen,
Put you in mind of Avon, Rhine, or Hellespont,
Or any other stream to admire you're wont.
And round about the stream there were huge hillocks,
And firs and mountains, houses too and farms;
A maid lay on the grass--her light and fair locks
Were gently wound around her folded arms,
While softly grazing near there stood a huge ox,
And o'er her head an old oak threw its arms.
She was asleep, when, lo! the sound of horses'
Feet woke her, and, behold, she saw two corses.
At least she thought so--but at last thought better
'Twould be for her to get up and go home;
She got up quickly, and would soon have made her
Way home, but that the men who had just come
Spurr'd past her, and alighted when they met her,
While she with her surprise was almost dumb;
But soon spoke she, and bade them both disclose
Their names--to which one said, "I'm Richard Groze."
The next spoke not at first, but soon replied,
"Pray wherefore are you so surprised, my dear?
And wherefore, likewise, have you not complied
With my request, which I have sent in near
Some good score letters? which you did deride,
When they were forwarded by this man here."
He pointed then to Groze, and then he sighed,
"My dear, dear Jeannie, will you be my bride?"
The which words when our Jeannie heard, she stared,
And said, "What do you mean, John Fitzadree?
You talk of letters, but of them the laird
Has never brought a single one to me;
But when I've seen him I have never cared
How soon he went, for he told me that ye
Were either dead or faithless--so he said
I'd better wed the live, than mourn the dead.
"And then he promis'd I should have six horses,
Besides a coach, if I would be his bride;
But I refus'd--and he swore all his crosses
Should soon be o'er, and something else beside
And that's the reason why I thought ye corses,
When o'er the green this way I saw ye ride.
But now I see you've both served in the Lancers,
Though on my word you look much more like dancers."
To which John answer'd, "Oh, the filthy fellow,
I gave him letters to you, which he said
He would deliver, were you ill or well. Oh!
How I should like to knock him on the head,
And would, but that would show I was quite mellow--
Besides, I see the coward has just fled,
Has ta'en to horse, and got across the ford--
Hang him, that I should with him be so bored!"
But Jeannie said, "John, thou shall do no murder."
To which he answer'd, "I will not do so;"
Then bounded off as though he had not heard her,
And reached a fording-place, but not so low
As where Groze cross'd, and who had now got further
Than John would have thought possible, although
He'd a good-horse, and nearly half an hour
In start--but now the clouds began to lower.
Now Fitzadree's good charger was all mettle,
And soon won to the middle of the stream--
But then the sky grew black as a tea kettle;
It rained, too, quite as fast as ever steam
Rose. But the thing which did at last unsettle
The balance of John's steed, was what you'll deem
A being that was nearly supernatural--
But here the waves John's clothes began to spatter all.
A form rose up from out the waves' abyss--
A monstrous little man with a black hide,
Scarce four feet high, yet he was not remiss,
But dash'd the waves about--and then he cried,
With a demoniac laugh, or rather hiss,
"Die, mortal, die!" and John sank down and died,
The which, when Jeannie saw, she only sigh'd,
"I come, my John, I come, to be thy bride."
The figure was the Kelpie--that she knew,
And madly she rush'd on towards the shore;
The Kelpie roar'd, "Come, mortal, come thou too."
Ere he'd done speaking, Jeannie was no more;
She'd dash'd into the waves, and left no clue,
More than a steamer leaves just left the Nore,
By which you might discover where she lay,
And drag her upwards to the realms of day.
But what befel the cause of all these woes?
That's what I never heard, so cannot tell;
But this I know, that this same Richard Groze
Return'd no more to bonnie Scotland. Well,
I only hope he may in bed repose,
And that he may at last escape from hell.
And this I know, that if you do not smother
This poem, when I choose I'll write another.
* * * * *
SUGAR AND WATER CRITICISM.
In one of the critiques on the last _Monthly Magazine_, some verses by
Mrs. Hemans are said to be "elegant and lady-like."
* * * * *
THE SKETCH BOOK
A DAY AT ST. CLOUD.
_September_ 24, 1826.
I walked up gravely to the window in my dusty black coat, and
looking through the glass, saw all the world in yellow, blue,
and green, running at the ring of pleasure.--STERNE.
St. Cloud is the Richmond of France; or rather, it is to Paris what
Richmond, in the days of its regal splendour, was to London--the summer
palace of the court. In this comparison, allowance must be made for the
opposite building taste of each nation; especially as Richmond has an
appearance of substantial comfort in its massive brick mansions and
rusticated cottage groups. The French _Sheen_ is, on the contrary,
gayer; the exterior of the residences being whitened, or what is still
more artificial, coloured and decorated in tawdry French taste. Such, at
least, is the character of the _auberges_, or inns, and _restaurateurs_,
with which St. Cloud is even better supplied than our Richmond. In
situation, however, they strongly assimilate; the former being placed on
an acclivity overlooking the Seine, as the latter is on the banks of the
St. Cloud, as I have already said, is the usual summer residence of the
French court; and with a royal liberality which might be less politic
elsewhere, the park is granted for three fairs--September 7, and the
three following Sundays, on the last of which I resolved to visit the
fete of St. Cloud. It was a glowing September day. The sun shone with
more than mellow warmth through the groves of the Tuilleries, and on the
little southern terrace, which was unusually crowded with groups of rosy
children, with here and there a valetudinarian, who seemed to have
emerged from his chamber to enjoy the parting glories of the season.
Crowds of elegantly-dressed company were promenading the mall, or
principal walk, and some few were not incuriously lingering about the
enclosed parterres of the garden, whose beauties would soon be
transported to a milder atmosphere. There was a general stir in the
neighbouring streets; it did not resemble the bustle of business, but
had more of the gaiety of a holiday scene. The _Pont Royal_ was thronged
with passengers, and just beneath it, were several hundreds, many of
whom were embarking in the steam-boat for St. Cloud. But the Seine is at
all times less inviting for such an excursion than our Thames; and in
the summer months many insulated spots may be seen in the centre of the
French river. At the next bridge (Louis XVI.) there was a general muster
of carriages, each adapted for six or eight passengers, and drawn by one
or two horses. Here was a loud clamour of "St. Cloud" and "Versailles"
among the drivers, some of whom were even more officious than the Jehus
of Greenwich, or the wights of Charing Cross or Piccadilly. I resisted
all their importunities, and passed on through the _Champs Elysees_, or
a dusty road through a grove, intersected with ill-formed paths, with a
few gaudy cafes bearing pompous inscriptions--for Voltaire has made the
French too fond of nomenclature to say with our Shakspeare, "what's in a
name?" The road presented a strange specimen of the insubordination of
French driving, notwithstanding police superintendants affected much
concern in the matter. Diligences, fiacres, and carriages resembling
large, covered cabriolets, might be seen loaded with gaily-dressed women
and children, with a due proportion of young Parisians, all just in the
hey-day of mirth, drawn by dust-provoking Flanders horses, their drivers
slashing almost indiscriminately, and, with their clamour and confusion,
far exceeding the Epsom road on a raceday.
At length, escaping from the dust and din of the French Elysium, I
halted to enjoy the distant view of the city of Paris, from the gate of
the barrier. It was indeed an interesting scene. Through the avenue,
whose area presented a living stream of traffic, might be seen the
terraces and groves of the Tuilleries, and the spacious and irregular
palace, with its cupola tops; the tarnished dome of the Invalides; the
cupola of St. Genevieve; the gray towers of Notre Dame; then the winding
Seine, with its bridges, quays, and terraces, flanked with the long line
of the Tuilleries, and the Luxembourg, and Louvre galleries, on the one
side; and on the other by the noble facade of the Chamber of Deputies;
the courtly mansions of St. Germain, and the blackened front and dome of
the Institute. What a multitude of associations flitted across the
memory, by a single glance at PARIS--the capital of that gay,
light-hearted, and mercurial people--the French nation--the focus of
European luxury, and the grand political arena of modern history, the
very calendar of whose events, within the last half century, will form
one of the most interesting episodes that ever glowed among the records
of human character. In the chain might be traced the vain-glory of
conquest linked with defeated ambition, and the sullied splendour of
royalty just breaking through the clouds of discontent, and slowly
dispelling the mists of disaffection and political prejudice. What an
unenviable contrast to the man who has "no enemy but wind and rough
weather." The same objects that prompted these discordant reflections
gave rise to others of the most opposite character; and within the
walls, where treaties, abdications, and warrants, by turns, settled and
resettled, exiled and condemned--were the store-houses of art, with all
her proud and peaceful labours of sculpture, painting, and architecture,
through galleries and saloons, on whose contents the chisel and the
pencil had lingered many a life, and reduced the compass of its fond
designs to the cubits of a statue, the fame of a picture, or the glory
of a pillar or ceiling--such are the frail elements of human art.
The road now began to exhibit the usual appearance of an approach to a
country fete or fair. Scores of pedestrians, overcome with the heat and
dust of the day, might be seen at the little boxes or shops of the
_traiteurs_, or cooks, and at the houses of the _marchands de vin et de
la biacre_; these by their anticipated anxiety caused the line from
Paris to St. Cloud to resemble a road-side fair. Cheerfulness and
vivacity were upper-most in the passengers; and the elastic pace of
dozens of gaily-dressed _soubrettes_ not a little enhanced the interest
of the scene. Neither were these charms impaired by that species of
vulgarity which not unfrequently characterizes the road to our suburban
fairs; and, what is still more creditable to humanity, there was no
brutality towards jaded horses or hacks sinking beneath their loads.
Historians attach some antiquarian importance to the village of St.
Cloud, it being historically confounded with the earliest times of the
French monarchy; for, from the beginning of the first race, the kings of
France had a country-seat here.
 For an engraving and account of the Palace of St. Cloud, see
MIRROR, vol. ii. page 225.
I now reached the bridge of St. Cloud, an elegant modern structure which
crosses the Seine, near the entrance to the village. Here the river
loses much of its importance; and in summer, the steam-boats are not
unfrequently delayed in their _voyage_ (if it may be so designated) for
lack of water. The prospect of the chateau, or palace, embosomed in
trees, and the park variegated with natural and artificial beauties,
with the adjoining village on a steep, shelving hill--is unusually
picturesque. On the present occasion, however, the principal attraction
was the fete, which reminded me more forcibly of John Bunyan's Vanity
Fair, than any other exhibition I had ever witnessed.
The entrance to this motley scene was by the principal gate, where the
carriages set down their company, and at a short distance along the bank
of the river, the steam-boat in like manner contributed its visiters. On
entering the park, I was first struck with a long row of boxes,
(somewhat in the style of those at Vauxhall) but on a raised bank, and
attached to a _restaurateur_. Here were tables for dinner, and as many
others were laid in the open air--with the usual _carte_ of 2 or 300
articles, and the economical elegancies of silver, napkins, and china,
and this, too, in style little inferior to Verey's in the Palais Royal.
Promenaders of the better description appeared in the mall, or principal
walk, and it being the last fete of the season, their attendance was
very numerous. The stalls and exhibitions were chiefly on the left side
of this walk; at the former was displayed an almost indescribable
variety of wares, which were the adjudged prizes in a lottery; but, from
the decisions which I witnessed, they resembled the _stationary_
capitals in an English scheme--the nominal Stock in trade of the
office-keepers. Many of these little gambling shops were superintended
by women, who proved themselves far from deficient in loquacious
inducements for adventurers; and by their dexterous settlement of the
chances, left little time for losers to reflect on their folly.
Provisions of various descriptions were to be purchased at every turn,
and among their _marchands_, it was not incurious, to see some humble
professors of gastronomy over smoking viands, fritters, and goffers or
indented wafers baked on cast-iron stoves _a la minute_--it must be
owned, unseasonable luxuries for a September day. The _spectacles_, or
shows, in noise and absurdity, exceeded the English trumpery of that
order; and to judge from the gaping crowds which they attracted, we are
not the only credulous nation in the world. Among the games was a
machine resembling an English round-a-bout, with wooden horses for the
players, each of whom was furnished with a foil, with which he strove to
seize the greatest number of rings from the centre; this was, indeed, a
chivalrous exhibition. Stilt-walkers, mountebank families, and jugglers,
"chequered in bulk and brains," lent their aid to amuse the crowd; and,
occasionally, two or three fellows contrived to enact scenes from plays,
and with their vulgar wit to merit the applause of their audience.
Portable clock-work exhibitions swarmed, and mummeries or mysteries,
representing the Life and Death of our Saviour and the blessed Virgin,
appeared to be ritual accompaniments of the day, and represented each
stage of the holy lives. The bearers of the latter machinery enlivened
their exhibitions with a grinding organ, which they accompanied with
appropriate ditties or carols. Crosses and other religious emblems were
hung about the theatrical boxes or shows, which, with their
representations, could only be compared with the nursery toys of Noah's
ark, with which most of us have been amused. Accordingly, here were
models of Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Mount Calvary, in the characteristic
accuracy of biblical topography, and from the zeal of the spectators,
the ingenuity of the inventors was unsparingly rewarded.
I turned from these sights to the natural beauties of the park, which,
aided by the happy inequalities of the ground, (which French artists
imagined would be such an obstacle to its perfection,) possesses far
more variety than is usually found in the pleasure-grounds of France.
The original plantation of the park was the work of La Notre, who, it
will be recollected, planned the garden of Versailles; but St. Cloud is
considered his _chef-d'oeuvre_, and proves, that with the few natural
advantages which it afforded him, he was enabled to effect more here
than millions have accomplished at Versailles--where art is fairly
overmatched with her own wasteful and ridiculous excess. This alone
ought to make the French blush for that monument of royal folly.
The situation of the chateau is its greatest attraction. It possesses a
fine view of Paris, which is indeed a splendid item in the prospect of
the princely occupants; and the sight of the capital may, perhaps, be a
pleasant relief to the natural seclusion of the palace.
One of the most remarkable objects in the park is a kind of square
tower, surmounted with an exact copy, in _terra cotta_, of the lantern
of Diogenes at Athens, ornamented with six Corinthian columns. It is
used as an observatory, and, like its original, is associated with the
name of the illustrious Grecian--it being also called the lantern of
Diogenes. Its view of the subjacent plain overlooks the city of Paris by
a distance of twenty miles.
The fountains and _jets d'eau_ are entitled to special notice, although
in extent and variety they are far exceeded by those of Versailles. The
arrangement of the principal cascade is well contrived, and I had the
good fortune to be present at the moment the water commenced flowing,
which continued but a short time. This struck me as a singular piece of
mimicry, and compared with those truly-sublime spectacles--the cascades
of Nature--the boasted works of St. Cloud seemed mere playthings, like
the little falls which children contrive in running brooks; or at best
resembling hydraulic exhibitions on an extensive scale. The playing
commenced by a jet bursting from a point almost secluded by trees, which
appeared on a level with the first story of the palace; the stream then
fell into stone basins, and by turns threw itself aloft, or gushed from
the mouths of numberless marine animals, and descended by glassy falls
into a basin, whence it found its way into several vase-shaped forms,
and again descended by magnificent cascades, discharging themselves into
a large, circular tank or basin, with two strong jets throwing their
limpid streams many feet high. In the sculptured forms there is some
display of classic design; and the effect of many mouths and forms
gushing forth almost instantaneously was altogether that of magic art,
not unaided by the lines of trees on two sides being clipped or cut into
semi-arched forms. The most powerful of the fountains is, however, a
grand jet, characteristically named the _Geant_, or giant, for the
incredible force with which it springs from its basin, and rises 125
feet high, being more than the elevation of Napoleon's triumphal column,
in the Place Vendome, at Paris. An uninterrupted view of these
exhibitions may be enjoyed from the river, which runs parallel with the
road adjoining the park. Crowds flocked from all directions to witness
the first gush of the fountains; but their attention soon became
directed to a royal party attended by footmen, from the palace, who came
to witness the sights of the fair, and appeared especially amused with a
family of vaulters and stilt-walkers. They were received with a slight
buzz of curiosity, but without that enthusiasm with which the English
are accustomed to recognise, and, not unfrequently, to annoy royalty;
No man cried, God save them.
I now began to make a more minute survey of the preparations for
amusement, for the fete was not yet in its equinoctial splendour. The
most prominent of these were plots of the raised bank on one side, and
at the termination of the principal walk, which were enclosed with
hurdles or frames, a platform being elevated and decorated with
festooned curtains, &c. for an orchestra, and the whole hung round with
illumination lamps. Towards evening, but long before dark, these
enclosures were blazing with variegated splendour; the bands commenced
playing several lively French airs, and the area was occupied with
groups of waltzing and quadrilling votaries. As the evening darkened,
lamps began to glisten in every direction, and the well-lighted cafes
resembled so many Chinese lanterns; and these, aided by the discordant
sounds of scores of instruments, gave the whole scene an air of
enchantment, or rather a slight resemblance to one of its exorcisms. The
effect was, however, improved by distance. Accordingly, I stole through
a solitary shrubbery walk, which wound round the hill, and at length led
me to a forest-like spot, or straggling wood, which flanked the whole of
the carnival. Viewed from hence, it was, indeed, a fantastical
illustration of French gaiety, and it momentarily reminded me of some of
Shakspeare's scenes of sylvan romance, with all their fays and fairy
The English reader who has not witnessed one of the fetes of St. Cloud,
may probably associate them with his own Vauxhall; but the resemblance
is very slight. At one of these entertainments in France, there is much
less attempted, but considerably more effected, than in England; and all
this is accomplished by that happy knack which the French possess of
making much of a little. Of what did this fete consist--a few hundred
lamps--a few score of fidlers, and about as much decoration as an
English showman would waste on the exterior of his exhibition, or
assemble within a few square yards. There were no long illuminated
vistas, or temples and saloons red hot with oil and gas--but a few
slender materials, so scattered and intermixed with the natural beauties
of the park, as to fascinate, and not fatigue the eye and ear. Even the
pell-mell frolics of St. Cloud were better idealities of enjoyment, than
the splendid promenade of Vauxhall, in the days of its olden celebrity;
for diamonds and feathers are often mere masquerade finery in such
scenes--so distant are the heads and hearts of their wearers.
 We are not permitted to allude to the fete of St. Cloud as a
scene of _pastoral_ amusement, or of the primitive simplicity
which is associated with that epithet. The French are not a
pastoral people, although they are not less so than the English;
neither are the suburbs of a metropolis rural life. They are too
near the pride of human art for pastoral pleasures, and no
aristocracy is more infested with little tyrants than the
neighbourhood of great cities, the oppressors being too timid to
trust themselves far out of the verge of public haunts, in the
midst of which they would be equally suspicious.
Amusements are at all times among the best indications of
national character; a truth which the ancients seem to have
exaggerated into their maxim _in vino veritas_. Here the
national comparison is not "odious." Three Sunday fairs are held
within six miles of Paris, in a park, as was once the custom at
Greenwich: the latter, though a royal park, does not boast of
the residence of royalty, as does St Cloud. The objection to the
day of the French fetes is cleared by another argument. But what
would be the character of a week-day fair, or fete, in
Kensington Gardens? The intuitive answer will make the moral
observer regret that man should so often place the interdict on
his own happiness, and then peevishly repine at his uncheery
Night, with her poetic glooms, only served to heighten the lustre of the
fairy fete; and as I receded through the wood, the little shoal of light
gleamed and twinkled through "branches overgrown," and the distant
sounds began to fall into solitary silence--even saddening to
meditation--so fast do the dying glories of festive mirth sink into
melancholy--till at once, with the last gleam and echo, I found myself
in a pleasant little glade on the brow of the hill. The day had been
unusually hot--all was hushed stillness. But the darkening clouds were
fast gathering into black masses:--
The rapid lightning flames along the sky.
What terrible event does this portend?
The stifling heat of the atmosphere was, however, soon changed by slight
gusts of wind; the leaves trembled; and a few heavy drops of rain fell
as harbingers of the coming storm; the pattering ceased; an impressive
pause succeeded--broken by the deepening roar of thunder.
The threatening storm hastened my return to the focus of the carnival.
The partial sprinkling had already caused many of the dancers to
withdraw to the cafes, and to the most sheltered parts of the park. The
lightning became more and more vivid; and, at length, the thousands who
had lingered in these groups of gaiety, were fairly routed by pelting
rain; and the park, with a few lamps flickering out, and decorative
finery drenched with rain, presented a miserable contrast with the
festivities of the previous hour. The crowd streamed through the
park-gate into the village, where hundreds of competitors shouted
"Paris, Paris;" and their swarms of diligences, cabriolets, and
curtained carts, were soon freighted. One of these charioteers engaged
to convey me to Paris for half a franc, in a large, covered cart, with
oil-skin curtains to protect the passengers in front. To my surprise I
found the vehicle pre-occupied by twelve or fourteen well-dressed
persons--male and female, who appeared to forget their inconvenient
situation in sallies of laughter, which sometimes bordered on boisterous
mirth. The storm increased; lamps gleamed and flitted across the road;
many of the horses plunged with their heavy loads, and swept along the
line in resistless confusion; for nothing can be less characteristic of
timidity than French driving.
On reaching Paris, the streets resembled so many torrents, and in most
places were not fordable, notwithstanding scores of persons, with the
alacrity of mushrooms after rain, had placed themselves at the narrowest
parts of the streams, with raised planks, or temporary bridges for
crossing. Our load was _landed_ under the arcade of the Hotel de Ville;
but the driver, in the genuine spirit of a London hackney-coachman, did
not forget to turn the "ill-wind" to his own account, by importuning me
for a double fare.
I learned that the storm had been less tremendous in its consequences at
St. Cloud and Paris than at Versailles, the lightning having consumed a
farm-house and barns near that town. It is an event worthy of notice,
from its being part of the phenomenon of what is termed a returning
stroke of lightning, the circumstances of which are recorded in a recent
number of Brande's philosophical journal.--_Abridged from "Cameleon
Sketches," by the author of the "Promenade round Dorking."_
* * * * *
* * * * *
ALFREDE AND MATYLDA.
WRITTEN BY ROBERT HAIEWOODE, OF CHEPING-TORITON, IN 1520.
The bryghtt enamell of the mornyng's gleame
Begann to daunce onn bobblynge Avonn's streame,
As yothefull Alfrede and Matylda fayre
Stoode sorowynge bie, ennobledd bie despayre:
Att tymes theyr lypps the tynts of Autumpe wore,
Att tymes a palerr hewe thann wynterr bore;
And faste the rayne of love bedew'dd theyr eyne,
As thos, in earnefull strayns, theyr tenes theie dyd
Ah! iff we parte, ne moe to meete agayne,
Wythyn thie wydow'dd berte wyll everr brenn
The frostie vygyls of a cloysterr'd nun,
Insteade of faerie love's effulgentt sonne!
Ne moe with myne wyll carolynge beatt hie,
Gyve throbb for throbb, and sygh returne forr sygh,
Butt bee bie nyghtt congeall'dd bie lethall feares,
Bie daie consum'dd awaie inn unavaylynge teares!
Alas! howe soone is happlesse love ondonne,
Wytherr'd and deadde almostt beforre begunn:
Lych Marchh's openyng flowrs thatt sygh'dd forr Maie,
Which Apryll's teares inn angerr wash'dd awaie.
Onr tenes alych, alych our domes shall bee,
Where'err thou wander'stt I wyll followe thee;
And whann our sprytes throughe feere are purg'dd fromm claie,
Inn pees theie shalle repose upponn the mylkie waie.
The raynbowe hewes that payntt the laughyng mees,
The gule-stayn'dd folyage of the okenn trees,
The starrie spangells of the mornynge dewe,
The laverock's matyn songes and skies of blewe,
Maie weel the thotes of gentill shepherdds joie.
Whose hertes ne hopelesse loves or cares alloie;
Butt whatt cann seeme to teneful loverrs fayre.
Whose hopes butt darkenns moe the mydnyghtt of despayre?
To thotelesse swayns itt maie bee blyss indeede,
To marke the yeare through alle hys ages speede,
Butt everie seasone seemes alych to mee,
Eternall wynterr whann awaie from thee!
Fromm howrr to howrr I oftt beweepe ourr love,
Wyth all the happie sorowe of the dove,
And fancie, as itts sylentt waterrs flowe,
Mie bosome's swetestt joies mustt thos bee mientt wyth woe.
Palerr thann cloudes thatt stayne the azure nyghtt,
Or starrs thatt shoote beneathe theyr feeble lyghtt,
And eke as crymson as the mornyng's rode,
The lornlie payre inn dumbe dystracyon stoode
Whann onn the banke Matylda sonke and dyed,
And Alfrede plong'dd hys daggerr inn hys syde:
Hys purpell soule came roshynge fromm the wounde,
And o'err the lyfeless claie deathe's ensygns stream'dd arownde.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS
"Well, do you know, that after all you have said, Mr. North, I cannot
understand the passion and the pleasure of fox-hunting. It seems to me
both cruel and dangerous."
Cruelty! Is there cruelty in laying the rein on their necks, and
delivering them up to the transport of their high condition--for every
throbbing vein is visible--at the first full burst of that maddening
cry, and letting loose to their delight the living thunderbolts? Danger!
What danger but breaking their own legs, necks, or backs, and those of
their riders? And what right have you to complain of that, lying all
your length, a huge hulking fellow snoring and snorting half asleep on a
sofa, sufficient to sicken a whole street? What though it be but a
smallish, reddish-brown, sharp-nosed animal, with pricked-up ears, and
passionately fond of poultry, that they pursue? After the first tallyho,
Reynard is rarely seen, till he is run in upon--once perhaps in the
whole run, skirting a wood, or crossing a common. It is an idea that is
pursued, on a whirlwind of horses to a storm of canine music,--worthy,
both, of the largest lion that ever leaped among a band of Moors,
sleeping at midnight by an extinguished fire on the African sands. There
is, we verily believe it, nothing foxy in the fancy of one man in all
that glorious field of three hundred. Once off and away--while wood and
welkin rings--and nothing is felt--nothing is imaged in that hurricane
flight, but scorn of all obstructions, dikes, ditches, drains, brooks,
palings, canals, rivers, and all the impediments reared in the way of so
many rejoicing madmen, by nature, art, and science, in an enclosed,
cultivated, civilized, and Christian country. There they go--prince and
peer, baronet and squire,--the nobility and gentry of England, the
flower of the men of the earth, each on such steed as Pollux never
reined, nor Philip's warlike son--for could we imagine Bucephalus here,
ridden by his own tamer, Alexander would be thrown out during the very
first burst, and glad to find his way dismounted to a village alehouse
for a pail of meal and water. Hedges, trees, groves, gardens, orchards,
woods, farm-houses, huts, halls, mansions, palaces, spires, steeples,
towers, and temples, all go wavering by, each demigod seeing, or seeing
them not, as his winged steed skims or labours along, to the swelling or
sinking music, now loud as a near regimental band, now faint as an echo.
Far and wide over the country are dispersed the scarlet runners--and a
hundred villages pour forth their admiring swarms, as the main current
of the chase roars by, or disparted runlets float wearied and all
astray, lost at last in the perplexing woods. Crash goes the top-timber
of the five-barred gate--away over the ears flies the ex-rough-rider in
a surprising somerset--after a succession of stumbles, down is the
gallant Grey on knees and nose, making sad work among the
fallow--Friendship is a fine thing, and the story of Damon and Pythias
most affecting indeed--but Pylades eyes Orestes on his back sorely
drowned in sludge, and tenderly leaping over him as he lies, claps his
hand to his ear, and with a "hark forward, tan-tivy!" leaves him to
remount, lame and at leisure--and ere the fallen has risen and shook
himself, is round the corner of the white village-church, down the dell,
over the brook, and close on the heels of the straining pack, all a-yell
up the hill crowned by the Squire's Folly. "Every man for himself, and
God for us all," is the devout and ruling apothegm of the day. If death
befall, what wonder? since man and horse are mortal; but death loves
better a wide soft bed with quiet curtains and darkened windows in a
still room, the clergyman in the one corner with his prayers, and the
physician in another with his pills, making assurance doubly sure, and
preventing all possibility of the dying Christian's escape. Let oak
branches smite the too slowly stooping skull, or rider's back not timely
levelled with his steed's; let faithless bank give way, and bury in the
brook; let hidden drain yield to fore feet and work a sudden wreck; let
old coal-pit, with briery mouth, betray; and roaring river bear down man
and horse, to banks unscaleable by the very Welsh goat; let duke's or
earl's son go sheer over a quarry fifty feet deep, and as many high;
yet, "without stop or stay, down the rocky way," the hunter train flows
on; for the music grows fiercer and more savage,--lo! all that remains
together of the pack, in far more dreadful madness than hydrophobia,
leaping out of their skins, under insanity from the scent, now strong as
stink, for Vulpes can hardly now make a crawl of it; and ere he, they,
whipper-in, or any one of the other three demoniacs, have time to look
in one another's splashed faces, he is torn into a thousand pieces,
gobbled up in the general growl; and smug, and smooth, and dry, and
warm, and cozey, as he was an hour and twenty-five minutes ago exactly,
in his furze bush in the cover,--he is now piece-meal, in about thirty
distinct stomachs; and is he not, pray, well off for sepulture?--
* * * * *
THE BLIND BEAUTY OF THE MOOR.
To thee--O palest phantom--clothed in white raiment, not like unto a
ghost risen with its grave-clothes to appal, but like a seraph
descending from the skies to bless--unto thee will we dare to speak, as
through the mist of years back comes thy yet unfaded beauty, charming
us, while we cannot choose but weep, with the self-same vision that
often glided before us long, long ago in the wilderness, and at the
sound of our voice would pause for a little while, and then pass by,
like a white bird from the sea, floating unscared close by the
shepherd's head, or alighting to trim its plumes on a knoll far up an
inland glen! Death seems not to have touched that face, pale though it
be--life-like is the waving of those gentle hands--and the soft, sweet,
low music which now we hear, steals not sure from lips hushed by the
burial-mould! Restored by the power of love, she stands before us as she
stood of yore. Not one of all the hairs of her golden head was singed by
the lightning that shivered the tree under which the child had run for
shelter from the flashing sky. But in a moment the blue light in her
dewy eyes was dimmed--and never again did she behold either flower or
star. Yet all the images of all the things she had loved remained in her
memory, clear and distinct as the things themselves before
unextinguished eyes--and ere three summers had flown over head, which,
like the blossom of some fair perennial flower, in heaven's gracious dew
and sunshine each season lifted its loveliness higher and higher in the
light--she could trip her singing way through the wide wilderness, all
by her joyful self, led, as all believed, nor erred they in so
believing, by an angel's hand! When the primroses peeped through the
reviving grass upon the vernal braes, they seemed to give themselves
into her hand; and 'twas thought they hung longer unfaded round her neck
or forehead than if they had been left to drink the dew on their native
bed. The linnets ceased not their lays, though her garment touched the
broomstalk on which they sung. The cushat, as she thrid her way through
the wood, continued to croon in her darksome tree--and the lark,
although just dropped from the cloud, was cheered by her presence into a
new passion of song, and mounted over her head, as if it were his first
matin hymn. All the creatures of earth and air manifestly loved the
Wanderer of the Wilderness--and as for human beings, she was named, in
their pity, their wonder, and their delight, the Blind Beauty of the
She was an only child, and her mother had died in giving her birth. And
now her father, stricken by one of the many cruel diseases that shorten
the lives of shepherds on the hills, was bed-ridden--and he was poor. Of
all words ever syllabled by human lips, the most blessed is--Charity. No
manna now in the wilderness is rained from heaven--for the mouths of the
hungry need it not in this our Christian land. A few goats feeding among
the rocks gave them milk, and there was bread for them in each
neighbour's house--neighbour though miles afar--as the sacred duty came
round--and the unrepining poor sent the grateful child away with their
One evening, returning to the hut with her usual song, she danced up to
her father's face on his rushy bed, and it was cold in death. If she
shrieked--if she fainted--there was but one ear that heard, one eye that
saw her in her swoon. Not now floating light like a small moving cloud
unwilling to leave the flowery braes, though it be to melt in heaven,
but driven along like a shroud of flying mist before the tempest, she
came upon us in the midst of that dreary moss; and at the sound of our
quaking voice, fell down with clasped hands at our feet--"My father's
dead!" Had the hut put already on the strange, dim, desolate look of
mortality? For people came walking fast down the braes, and in a little
while there was a group round us, and we bore her back again to her
dwelling in our arms. As for us, we had been on our way to bid the fair
creature and her father farewell. How could she have lived--an utter
orphan--in such a world! The holy power that is in Innocence would for
ever have remained with her; but Innocence longs to be away, when her
sister Joy has departed; and 'tis sorrowful to see the one on earth,
when the other has gone to heaven! This sorrow none of us had long to
see; for though a flower, when withered at the root, and doomed ere eve
to perish, may yet look to the careless eye the same as when it
blossomed in its pride,--its leaves, still green, are not as once they
were,--its bloom, though fair, is faded--and at set of sun, the dews
shall find it in decay, and fall unfelt on all its petals. Ere Sabbath
came, the orphan child was dead. Methinks we see now her little funeral.
Her birth had been the humblest of the humble; and though all in life
had loved her, it was thought best that none should be asked to the
funeral of her and her father, but two or three friends; the old
clergyman himself walked at the head of the father's coffin--we at the
head of the daughter's--for this was granted unto our exceeding
love;--and thus passed away for ever the Blind Beauty of the
* * * * *
A snapper up of unconsidered trifles,
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
At a public dinner, Captain R. commencing a conversation with a
gentleman next to him, was astonished at not being able to elicit one
word in answer. At length his silent neighbour turned to him, and said,
with a look and tone suitable to the _importance_ of the communication,
"Sir, whenever you are at a venison feast, let me advise you _never to
speak during dinner_. In endeavouring to reply to you, I have actually
at this moment swallowed _entire_ a fine piece of fat, _without tasting
* * * * *
An Englishman, named _Drinkwater_, was nearly drowned the other day off
Boulogne; on hearing which, a wag observed that he had "almost taken a
drop too much."
* * * * *
Prussic Acid has been obtained from the leaves of _green tea_, in so
concentrated a state, that one drop killed a dog almost instantaneously.
A strong infusion of Souchong tea, sweetened with sugar, is as effectual
in poisoning flies as the solution of arsenic, generally sold for that
* * * * *
There may now be seen, written on a board on a new house in the
Blackfriars-road, the following words:--"Hird robeish may be had heare."
* * * * *
NO JOKE OR RIDDLE.
A house with wings extended wide,
A racket-ground to play in,
Two porters' lodges there beside,
And porters always staying
To guard the inmates there within,
And keep them from the town;
From duns as free as saints from sin,
And sheriffs of renown.
To get white wash'd it is their plan,
'Tis such a cleansing thing--
Then out they come with blacker hands
Than when they first went in.
* * * * *
The following lines are copied from a seat in Greenwich Park, written in
chalk; and from their style, they may be supposed to have been written
by one who meditated suicide:--
Oh! deaf to nature and to heav'n's command,
Against thyself to lift the murd'ring hand,
Oh! damn'd despair to shun the living light,
And plunge thy guilty soul to endless night.
Written also in the same hand:--Charlotte Rumpling, you did not use me
well, but I forgive you--God bless you.
* * * * *
WANTS A WIFE.
She must bee middel eaged and good tempered widdow, or a Maid, and
pursest of propertey, and I wood far reather have a Wife that is ever so
plain then a fine Lady that think herself hansom; the Advertiser is not
rich nor young, old nor poor, and in a very few years he will have a
good incumb. Can be hiley reckamended for onestey, sobrieaty, and good
temperd, and has no in combranc, is very actif, but not a treadesman,
have been as Butler and Bailiff for meney years in most respectable
families, and shood I not be so luckey as to get me a wife, wood be most
willing to take a sitteyeashan once moor, wood prefer living in the
countrey, under stands Brewing feamosley, is well adapted for a inn or
publick hous. Please to derect W.W., 268, Berwick-street, Oxford-roade,
or aney Ladey may call and have a interview with the widdow that keeps
the hous, and say wher and when we can meet each other. All letters must
be pd, no Ofice-keeper to applygh. My fameley ar verey well off and
welthey, far above the midling order.
This is a good joke upon _Matrimonial Advertising_.
* * * * *
Jack Bannister visited the Haymarket theatre on Wednesday night, August
20, and made in the free-list book the following entry:--"Fifty years
ago, in the year 1778, I made my first appearance at this theatre. Half
a century is not bad. Hurra!! John Bannister."
* * * * *
In reading over an agreement, for letting a house, the other day, the
initials of the party letting it were A.B., of the party taking C.D.,
and of the witness to the signatures E.F.
* * * * *
OBSTINACY AND PERSEVERANCE.
Obstinacy and perseverance, though often confounded, are two very
different things; a man may be very obstinate, and yet not persevere in
his opinion ten minutes. Obstinacy is resistance to truth; perseverance
is a continuance in truth or error.
* * * * *
The origin of idolatry is by many attributed to the age of Eber, though
most of the fathers place it no higher than that of Serug; but it
appears to me certain, that image worship existed in the time of Jacob,
from the account of Rachel taking images along with her on leaving her
father's house, which is given in the book of Genesis.
* * * * *
ORIGIN OF THE WORD GALLIMATHIAS.
This word, which signifies nonsense, _alias_ talk without meaning, is
supposed to have first arisen at the time when all pleadings at the bar
were in Latin. There was a cause, it seems, about a cock, belonging to
the plaintiff Matthias; the counsel, in the heat of the harangue, by
often repeating the words _gallus_ and _Matthias_, happened to blunder,
and, instead of saying _gallus Matthiae_, said _galli Matthias_, which
at length became a general name for all confused, embroiled language and
* * * * *
SALLIE TO JOHN.
Changed ere long shall my fortunes be,
Yet my faith is firm--I will go with thee.
I yield not weakly to fancy's trance,
Or the fitful flame of young romance;
I dwell with a calm, unshrinking mind
On the scenes that I seek and leave behind;
My future fate spread forth I see,
And my choice is fix'd--I will go with thee.
I have thought on this hour with many a tear,
In the timid weakness of woman's fear;
It comes, and I rise, the test above,
In the dauntless strength of woman's love.
Gaze not upon me with looks so sad--
My step is firm, and my heart is glad;
This last, last sigh for my home shall be--
Past is the trial--I go with thee.
* * * * *
Diogenes was not in the wrong, who, when the great Alexander, finding
him in the charnel-house, asked him what he was seeking for, answered,
"I am seeking for your father's bones, and those of my slave; but I
cannot find them, because there is no difference between them."
* * * * *
GETTING A JOURNEY.
_By Dr. Kitchiner_.
I GOT on horseback within ten minutes after I received your letter. When
I GOT to Canterbury, I GOT a chaise for town. But I GOT wet through
before I GOT to Canterbury, and I have GOT such a cold as I shall not be
able to GET rid of in a hurry. I GOT to the Treasury about noon, but
first of all I GOT shaved and drest. I soon GOT into the secret of
GETTING a memorial before the board, but I could not GET an answer then;
however, I GOT intelligence from the messenger that I should most likely
GET one next morning. As soon as I GOT back to my inn, I GOT my supper
and GOT to bed. It was not long before I GOT to sleep. When I GOT up in
the morning, I GOT my breakfast, and then GOT myself drest, that I might
GET out in time, to GET an answer to my memorial. As soon as I GOT it, I
GOT into the chaise, and GOT home by three o'clock.
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