The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction. Volume 12, No. 327, August 16, 1828 by Various
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION
VOL. XII. No. 327.] SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 1828. [PRICE 2d.
ROSAMOND'S WELL AND LABYRINTH.
[Illustration: Rosamond's Well and Labyrinth at Woodstock.]
For the originals of the annexed engravings we are indebted to the sketchbooks of two esteemed correspondents. The sites are so consecrated, or we should rather say perpetuated, in history, and the fates and fortunes of Rosamond Clifford are so familiar to our readers, that we shall add but few words on the locality of the Well and Bower. Their existence is thus attested by Drayton, the poet, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth:--"Rosamond's Labyrinth, whose ruins, together with her Well, being paved with square stones in the bottom, and also her Tower, from which the Labyrinth did run, are yet remaining, being vaults arched and walled with stone and brick, almost inextricably wound within one another, by which, if at any time her lodging were laid about by the queen, she might easily avoid peril imminent, and, if need be, by secret issues, take the air abroad, many furlongs about Woodstock, in Oxfordfordshire."
Sir Walter Scott (of whom, as of Goldsmith, it may hereafter be said, he "left no species of writing untouched or unadorned by his pen") has resuscitated the interest attached to this spot, in his masterly novel of _Woodstock_. It is here that the beautiful Alice meets the facetious Charles in his disguise of an old woman; and on the bank over the Well is the spot where tradition relates fair Rosamond yielded to the menaces of Eleanor. Our correspondent, _T.W._, jocosely observes, that he sends us the Labyrinth "without the silken cord which guided the cruel Eleanor to her rival, in the hope that the ingenuity of the reader will be sufficient to serve him in its stead. Observe," continues he, "the maze is entered at one of the side gates, and the bower must be reached without any of the barriers (--) being passed over--that is, by an uninterrupted pathway."
The bower consists of fine tall trees, whose branches hang entwined over the front of the well. The spring is contained in a large basin, formed by a plain stone wall, which serves as a facing and support to the bank; the water flows from hence through a hole of about five inches in diameter, and is conveyed by a channel under the pavement into another basin of considerable dimensions, fenced with an iron railing. Hence it again escapes by means of a grating into the beautiful lake of Woodstock Park, or, as it is more modernly termed, Blenheim.
In these days of "hobgoblin lore," it may not be incurious to add, that Woodstock is distinguished in Dr. Plot's _History of Oxfordshire_ (the _title_ of which is well known to all readers of the marvellous) as the scene of a series of hoax and disturbance played off upon the commissioners of the Long Parliament, who were sent down to dispark and destroy Woodstock, after the death of Charles I.; and Sir Walter Scott thinks it "highly probable" that this "piece of phantasmagoria was conducted by means of the secret passages and recesses in the Labyrinth of Rosamond"--it must be admitted, a very convenient scene for such a farce. Sir Walter says, "I have not the book at hand"--neither have we; but we may probably allude to this curious affair on some future occasion. In the meantime, if our present reference should kindle the curiosity of the reader, and he may not be disposed to await our time, we beg to recommend him to Glanville's well-known work on witchcraft, which not only contains Dr. Plot's narrative of the Woodstock disturbances, but a multitude of argument for all who are sceptical of this and similar mysteries. This is an age of inquiry, and we do not see why such follies should be left unturned--from Priam's shade to the murderous dreams and omens of our own times.
 SAGITTARIUS--and T.W. of Hoxton.
 For an abstract of "Woodstock," an engraving, and much valuable information respecting the palace, see our vol. vii. pp. 289--316--322--327--338, &c.
 As there is a vulgar error on Rosamond's being buried in the labyrinth, we subjoin the following by another correspondent.
Many readers of the MIRROR, perhaps, have hitherto been only acquainted with the fictitious part of Fair Rosamond's history. The few subjoined facts, relative to the eventful life of that lady, may be implicitly relied on, as they are very carefully gleaned from the _most authenticated sources_.
The first mistress to king Henry II. was Rosamond, daughter of Walter Clifford, Baron of Hereford. She was esteemed the greatest beauty in England, and her intrigue with Henry was most probably began when he was not much above sixteen years of age. Very soon after his amorous acquaintance with this lady, the state of political affairs in England required his absence, and he did not again return to this country until the year 1153; so that there must have been a lapse of nearly six years from the period of his first intimacy with Rosamond, to the renewal of that intimacy at his return.
About the year 1157, king Henry took extraordinary precautions to conceal his intrigue from the knowledge of queen Eleanor, a woman, of wonderful spirit and penetration, to whom he had been espoused at the period of his accession to the throne, in 1155. This circumstance has given rise to the romantic tradition of his forming a sort of labyrinth at Woodstock Palace, for the purpose of concealing his fond mistress from the vengeance of Eleanor; but the story of her being murdered in that palace by the queen is perfectly false, for it is sufficiently evident that she retired to the nunnery of Godstow, where she ended her days in peace, though in what year it is difficult to decide. After Rosamond's decease, the king bestowed large revenues on the convent, in return for which, he required that lamps should be kept continually burning about the lady's remains, which were interred near the high altar, in a tomb covered with silk.
We may naturally conclude from these circumstances, that, as long as the connexion between king Henry and Rosamond continued, the former had no other object in his affections; yet we are informed by a writer of Thomas à Becket's life, that there lived a remarkably handsome girl, at Stafford, with whom king Henry was said to cohabit. However, observes the same writer, Rosamond _might_ have been dead before the second intrigue was commenced.
* * * * *
THE "NAPOLEON" CHILD.
On Friday the 8th inst. we paid a visit to the Bazaar in Oxford-street, to witness this extraordinary sport of Nature, about which the French and English newspapers have lately been so communicative.
The child is an engaging little girl, about three years old. The colour of her eyes is pale blue, and on the iris, or circle round their pupils, the inscriptions on
_Left Eye_. NAPOLEON EMPEREUR.
_Right Eye_. EMPEREUR. NAPOLEON.
may be traced in the above sized letters, although all the letters are not equally visible, the commencement "NAP" and "EMP" being the most distinct. The colour of the letters is almost white, and at first sight of the child they appear like _rays_, which make the eyes appear vivacious and sparkling. The accuracy of the inscriptions is much assisted by the stillness of the eye, on its being directed upwards, as to an object on the ceiling of the room, &c.; and with this aid the several letters may be traced with the naked eye.
This effect is accounted for by the child's mother earnestly looking at a franc-piece of Napoleon's, which was given to her by her brother previous to a long absence; and this operating during her pregnancy, has produced the appearance in question. It was visible at the child's birth, and has increased with her growth. She has been seen by Sir Astley Cooper and other leading members of the profession, and probably before our Number is published, she will have been shown to the King. She is an interesting little creature, prattles playfully, and will doubtless receive the caresses of thousands of visitors.
Our contemporaries are, we perceive, somewhat divided as to the distinctness of the inscription; but we have given our opinion fairly--and, as the proverb runs, "seeing is believing." One of them describes the child as "a little _boy_, about two years old." This reminds us of the man in the _Critic_, "give these fellows a good thing, and they never know when to have done with it."
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror._)
Most of the Portuguese prisons are horrible in the extreme; and it is utterly impossible for the most hardy individuals, who have the misfortune to be long confined within them, to preserve their health from ruin.
The famous prison of the _Limoeiro_, at Lisbon, is a dreadful place of durance. It is situated on one of the mountainous streets in the Portuguese metropolis, and was formerly the archbishop's palace. A vast proportion of the crimes committed in the city are plotted between the persons confined within, and those without, the prison; for there is nothing to prevent constant communication with the street through the double iron-bars, so that an unchecked and unobserved intercourse is maintained, much to the furtherance of crime. Through these bars all sorts of food, liquors, raiment, weapons, &c. can be conveyed from the street; and, indeed, through these bars the meals of the prisoners are served. The prison is capable of containing about 700 people; the usual number, however, is 400. The state of the apartments in which the criminals pass their time is truly distressing. The stench is overpowering; and though visitors remain in the rooms only a few minutes, they often retire seriously indisposed. The expense of maintaining the prisoners is 8,000 cruzados, or about 1,000_l_. per annum. Of this sum, one-half is paid by the city, and the other by the _Misericordia_, a benevolent association, possessing large funds from various bequeathed estates. Nevertheless, the food appears insufficient; it consists chiefly of a soup made of rice. The allowance of bread is one pound and a half per day for four persons.
* * * * *
ADDRESSED TO MISS STREET.
(_For the Mirror._)
In London's variegated streets The eye, whatever pleases, meets; For like another Street, I know, Those Streets each day more charming grow.
As if by magic's changeful wand, Taste, beauty, order, strength combine; And shew a mighty master's hand In every graceful curve and line.
But meaner temples strive in vain Perfection's envied height to gain; For in our matchless Street alone, The charm of perfect beauty's known.
How blest, if at that living shrine, With deepest feeling, warm and true, The nameless happiness were mine, To bend in form--and spirit too.
But no--though in my ardent breast, The fires of love must ever rise, Th' adverse circles of my fate, Forbid the outward sacrifice.
My spirit breathes its inmost breath, In this my first--my last confession:-- The passion will survive till death, But never more can know expression.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror._)
From "time out of mind" a tradition has existed in Dartmoor, Devon, and is noticed by several writers, that one _John Childe_, of Plymstock, a gentleman of large possessions, and a noted hunter, whilst enjoying that sport during a very inclement season, was benighted, lost his way, and perished through cold and fear, in the south quarter of the forest, near Fox-tor, after taking the precaution to kill his horse, (which he much valued), as a last resource, and for the sake of warmth and prolonging life, to creep into its bowels, leaving a paper, denoting, that whoever should find and bury his body, should have his lands at Plymstock.
"_The furste that fyndes and bringes me to my grave, The landes of Plymstoke they shal have_."
This couplet was found on his person afterwards. Childe, having no issue, had previously declared his intention of bestowing his estates upon the church wherein he might be buried, which coming to the knowledge of the monks of Tavistock, they eagerly seized the body, and were conveying it to that place; but learning on the way, that some people of Plymstock were waiting at a ford to intercept the prey, they cunningly ordered a bridge to be built out of the usual track, thence pertinently called _Guile_-bridge, and succeeding in their object, became possessed of the lands until the dissolution, when the Russell family received a grant of them, and still retain it.
In memory of Childe, a tomb was erected to him in a place a little below Fox-tor, where he perished, which stood perfect till about fifteen years since; but it has been destroyed by some ignorant "landlord or tenant," for building materials, and it is now in a ruinous condition. It was composed of hewn granite, the under basement comprising four stones, six feet long by four square, and eight stones more, growing shorter as the pile ascended, with an octagonal basement, above three feet high, and a cross affixed to it. The whole, when perfect, wore an antique and impressive appearance, and it may now, as it is, be looked upon as an object of antiquity and curiosity.
A socket and groove for the cross, and the cross itself, with its shaft broken, are the only remains of this venerable tomb, on which Risdon says there was an inscription, but now no traces of it are visible.
W. H. H.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror._)
Remember thee! thou wouldst not cherish--breathe, One claim for Memory in a heart like mine; Yet, all it-all its hopes for Heaven, or Earth beneath. Were worthless, if unshared by thee and thine!
Remember thee! yes, bound in strongest ties Are those blest ones, that at thy feet may fall,-- The heart whom Fortune such dear bonds denies, Is proud to love thee dearer than them all!
Remember thee! there is no shame in this, Though oft my heart may wander, and my eye, Picturing fair shapes of too ideal bliss, Forgets the "cold world of reality."
Remember thee! there is no error here-- To love the gay, the beautiful, the bright, With fondest passion, then to turn with fear To sterner duties--tasks forgotten quite.
Remember thou that one, who loved thee well Though scorned, and broken-hearted, and undone, When, without shame, thy ruby lips may tell How deep the passion of that nameless one!
Remember! oh, remember! in those years Which fleet so fast--which I may never see; Then, whilst I linger in this "vale of tears," What should I think upon, but God and thee!
* * * * *
ANCIENT ROMAN FESTIVALS
(_For the Mirror._)
The _Portumnalia_ was a festival in honour of _Portumnus_, who was supposed to preside over ports and havens, celebrated on the 17th of August, in a very solemn and lugubrious manner, on the borders of the Tiber.
The _Vinalia_ were festivals in honour of Jupiter and Venus. The first was held on the 19th of August, and the second on the 1st of May. The Vinalia of the 19th of August were called _Vinalia Rustica_, and were instituted on occasion of the war of the Latins against Mezentius; in the course of which war, that people vowed a libation to Jupiter of all the wine in the succeeding vintage. On the same day likewise fell the dedication of a temple to Venus; whence some authors have fallen into a mistake, that these Vinalia were sacred to Venus.
The _Consuales Ludi_, or _Consualia_, were festivals at Rome in honour of _Consus_, the god of counsel, whose altar Romulus discovered under the ground. This altar was always covered, except at the festival, when a mule was sacrificed, and games and horse-races exhibited in honour of Neptune. It was during these festivals (says Lempriere) that Romulus carried away the Sabine women, who had assembled to be spectators of the games. They were first instituted by Romulus. Some say, however, that Romulus only regulated and re-instituted them after they had been before established by Evander. During the celebration, which happened about the middle of August, horses, mules, and asses were exempted from all labour, and were led through the streets adorned with garlands and flowers.
The _Volturnalia_ was a festival kept in honour of the god Volturnus, on the 26th of August.
The _Ambarvalia_ were festivals in honour of Ceres, in order to procure a happy harvest. At these festivals they sacrificed a bull, a sow, and a sheep, which, before the sacrifice, were led in procession thrice around the fields; whence the feast is supposed to have taken its name, _ambio, I go round_, and _arvum, field_. These feasts were of two kinds, _public_ and _private_. The _private_ were solemnized by the masters of families, accompanied by their children and servants, in the villages and farms out of Rome. The _public_ were celebrated in the boundaries of the city, and in which twelve _fratres arvales_ walked at the head of a procession of the citizens, who had lands and vineyards at Rome. These festivals took place at the time the harvest was ripe.
The _Vulcanalia_ were festivals in honour of Vulcan, and observed at the latter end of August. The streets of Rome were illuminated, fires kindled every where, and animals thrown into the flames as a sacrifice to the deity.
* * * * *
BEBUT THE AMBITIOUS.
"Hear this true story, and see whither you may be conducted by ambition."
Hafiz, _the Persian Poet_.
In one of the suburbs of Ispahan, under the reign of Abbas the First, there lived a poor, working jeweller. In his neighbourhood he was known by the name of Bebut the Honest. Numberless were the proofs of probity and disinterestedness which had gained for him this title.
In all disputes and quarrels, he was the chosen arbiter. His decisions were generally as conclusive as those of the Kazi himself. Laborious, active, and intelligent, and esteemed by all who knew him, Bebut was happy; and his happiness was still enhanced by love. Tamira, the beautiful daughter of his patron, was the object of his attachment, which she returned. One thought alone disturbed his felicity; he was poor, and the father of Tamira would never accept a son-in-law without a fortune. Bebut, therefore, often meditated upon the means of getting rich. His thoughts dwelt so much on this subject, that ambition at length became a dangerous rival to the softer sentiment.
There was a grand festival in the harem. In the midst of it, the great Schah Abbas dropped the royal aigrette, called jigha, the mark of sovereignty among the Mussulmans. In changing his position, that it might be sought for, he inadvertently trod upon it, and it was broken. The officer who had charge of the crown jewels, knew the reputation of Bebut; to him he applied to repair this treasure. None but the most honest could be trusted with an article of such value, and who was there so honest as Bebut? Bebut was enraptured with the confidence. He promised to prove himself deserving of it.
Now Bebut holds in his hands the richest gems of Persia and the Indies. Ambition has already stolen into his bosom. Could it be silent on an occasion like this? It ought to have been so, but it was not.
"A single one of these numerous diamonds," said Bebut to himself, "would make my fortune and that of Tamira! I am incapable of a breach of trust; but were I to commit one, would Abbas be the worse for it? No, so far from it, he would have made two of his subjects happy without being aware. Now, any body else situated as I am, would manage to put aside a vast treasure out of a job like this; but one, and that a very small one, of these many gems will be enough for me. It will be wrong, I confess, but I will replace it by a false one, cut and enchased with such exquisite taste and skill, that the value of the workmanship shall make up for any want of value in the material. It will be impossible to see the change; God and the Prophet will see it plainly enough, I know; but I will atone for the sin, and it shall be my only one. Sometime or other I will go a pilgrimage to Mashad, or even to Mecca, should my remorse grow troublesome."
Thus, by the power of a "but," did Bebut the Honest contrive to quiet his conscience. The diamond was removed: a bit of crystal took its place, and the jigha appeared more brilliant than ever to the courtiers of Abbas, who, as they never spoke to him but with their foreheads in the dust, could, of course, form a very accurate estimate of the lustre of his jewels.
One day during the spring equinox, as the chief of the sectaries of Ali, according to the custom of Persia, was sitting at the gate of his palace to hear the complaints of his people, a mechanic from the suburb of Julfa broke through the crowd; he prostrated himself at the feet of the Abbas, and prayed for justice; he accused the kazi of corruption, and of having condemned him wrongfully. "My adversary and I," said he, "at first appealed to Bebut the Honest, who decided in my favour." Being informed who this Bebut was whose name for honesty stood so high in the suburb of Julfa, the Schah ordered the kazi into his presence. The monarch heard both sides and weighed the affair maturely. He then pronounced for the decision of Bebut the Honest, whom he ordered the kalantar, or governor of the city, immediately to bring before him.
When Bebut saw the officer and his escort halt before the shop where he worked, a sudden tremor ran through his frame; but it was much worse when, in the name of the Schah, the officer commanded him to follow. He was on the point of offering his head at once, in order to save the trouble of a superfluous ceremony which could not, he thought, but end with the scimitar. However, he composed himself, and followed the kalantar.
Arrived before Abbas, he did not dare lift his eyes, lest he should see the fatal aigrette, and the false diamond rise up in judgment against him. Half dead with fright, he thought he already beheld the fierce rikas advancing with their horrid hatchets.
"Bebut, and you, Ismael-kazi," said Abbas to them, "listen. Since, of the two, it is the jeweller who best administers justice, let the jeweller be a judge, and the judge be a jeweller. Ismael, take Bebut's place in the workshop of his master: may you acquit yourself as well in his office, as he is sure to do in yours."
The sentence was punctually executed; and I am told that Ismael turned out an excellent jeweller.
Bebut-kazi, on his side, took possession of his place. He was quite determined to limit his ambition to becoming the husband of Tamira, and living holily. He immediately asked her in marriage, and was immediately accepted. Bebut thought himself at the summit of his wishes. He was forming the most delightful projects, when again the kalantar of Ispahan appeared at his door. Still, full of the fright into which this worthy person's first visit had thrown him, he received him with more flurry than politeness. He inquired, confusedly, to what he was indebted for the honour of this second visit. The kalantar replied, "When I went to the house of your patron to transmit to you the mandate of the magnanimous Abbas, I saw there the beautiful Tamira with the gazelle eyes, the rose of Ispahan, brilliant as the azure campac which only grows in Paradise. Her glance produced on me the magical effect of the seal of Solomon, and I resolved to take her for my wife. I went this very morning to her father, but his word was given to you; and Bebut-kazi is the only obstacle to my happiness. Listen! I possess great riches, and have powerful friends; give up to me your claim on Tamira, and, ere long, I will get you appointed divan-beghi; you shall be the chief sovereign of justice in the first city in the universe; I will give you my own sister for a wife, she who was formerly the nightingale of Iran, the dove of Babylon. I leave you to reflect on my offer; to-morrow I return for the answer."
The new kazi was thunderstruck. "What! yield my Tamira to him for his sister! Why, she may be old and ugly; 'tis like exchanging a pearl of Bahrein for one of Mascata; but he is powerful. If I do not consent, he will deprive me of my place; and I like my place; and yet I would freely sacrifice it for Tamira. But were I no longer kazi, would her father keep his promise? Doubtful. I love Tamira more than all the world; but we must not be selfish; we must forget our own interest, when it injures those we love. To deprive Tamira of a chance of being the wife of a kalantar would be doing her an injury. How could I have the heart to force her to forego such a glory, merely for the sake of the poor insignificant kazi that I am! I should never get over it; 'tis done! I will immolate my happiness to hers! I shall be very wretched; but--but--I shall be divan-beghi."
If Bebut the Honest, misled by dawning avarice, fancied he committed his first fault for the sake of love, and not of ambition, he must have been undeceived when these two rival passions came into competition, and he could only banish the first. If his eyes were not opened, those of the world began to be; for, from that moment, he lost (when he had more need of them than ever) the esteem and confidence he had hitherto inspired, and became known by the name of Bebut the Ambitious.
Not yet aware that the higher we rise in rank, the harder we find it to be virtuous, he was for ever flattering himself with the future. Now, his conduct was to be such as should edify the whole body of the magistracy of Ispahan, of which he was become the head. He would not be satisfied with going to Mecca to visit the black stone, the temple of Kaaba, and purifying himself in the waters of Zim-zim, the miraculous spring which God caused to issue from the earth for Agar, and her son Ismael. He would do more; he would distribute a double zekath to the poor, and win back for the divan-beghi the noble title which the people gave to the mechanic of the suburb of Julfa.
The first judgment which he pronounced as divan-beghi, bore evidence of this excellent resolution; but an unfortunate event occurred, which proved the truth of the following verse of the renowned Ferdusi, in his poem of the "Schah-nameh."
"_Our first fault, like the prolific poppy of Aboutige, produces seeds innumerable. The wind wafts them away, and we know not where they fall, or when they may rise; but this we know, they meet us at every step upon the path of life, and strew it with plants of bitterness._"
The royal aigrette of Schah Abbas was again broken, and immediately confided to an old comrade of Bebut. He had not, however, the surname of "Honest," and his work was consequently subjected to a cautious scrutiny. Now, it was discovered that a very fine diamond had been taken from the jigha and fraudulently replaced; the unfortunate jeweller was arrested and dragged to the tribunal of the divan-beghi. The ambitious Bebut felt that there was no chance for him if he did not hurry the affair to an immediate close. He forthwith condemned his innocent fellow-labourer to the punishment due to his own iniquity, and the sentence was executed on the instant.
His conscience told him that a man like him was unworthy to administer justice to his fellow-citizens. A pilgrimage to Mecca would now no longer suffice to appease his remorse; his ambition told him it could be lulled by nothing but luxury and splendour. By severe exactions, he amassed large sums; and by gifts contrived to gain over the most influential members of the divan; he thus got appointed Khan of Schamachia, and, from the modest distinctions of the judicature, he passed to the turbulent honours of military power--a change by no means rare in Persia.
Abbas was then collecting all his forces to march against the province of Kandahar, and to reduce the Afghans, who have since ruled over his descendants. In the battles fought on this occasion, Bebut the Ambitious gained the signal favour of one equally ambitious; for Abbas was an indefatigable conqueror, whom fortune, with all her favours, could never satisfy.
The Khan of Schamachia was so thoroughly devoted to his master, so blindly subservient to his will, that he presently became his confidant. He was the very man for the favour of a despot; he had no opinion of his own, and could always find good reasons for those to which he assented. This, in the eyes of Abbas, constituted an excellent counsellor.
The monarch triumphed. Conqueror of the Kurdes, the Georgians, the Turks, and the Afghans, he re-entered Ispahan in triumph. He had already made it the capital of his dominions, and now proposed to himself to enjoy there quietly, in the midst of his glory, the fruits of his vast conquests; but the heart of the ambitious can never know repose. The grandeur of the sovereign crushed the people; Abbas felt this; he knew that, though powerful, he was detested; he trembled even in the inmost recesses of his palace. In pursuance of the Oriental policy which has of late years been introduced into Europe, he resolved to give a diversion to the general hatred, which, in concentrating itself towards a single point, endangered the safety of his throne. With this design, he established, in the principal towns, numerous colonies from the nations he had conquered, and gave them privileges which excited the jealousy of the original inhabitants. The nation immediately divided into two powerful factions, the one calling itself the Polenks, the other the Felenks party. Abbas took care to keep up their strength; by alternately exciting and moderating their violence, he distracted their attention from the affairs of government. The disputes between them sometimes looked very serious; but they were kept under until the festival of the birthday of the Schah; on that occasion, the contenders were at last permitted to show their joy by a general fight. Armed with sticks and stones, they strewed the streets with bodies of the dying and the dead. Then the royal troops suddenly appeared, and proclaimed the day's amusements at an end, with slashes of the sabres drove back the Polenks and the Felenks to their homes.
But no sooner had this great politician ceased to fear his people, than he began first to dread his court, and next, his own family. Of his three sons, two had, by his command, been deprived of sight. By the laws of Persia, they were consequently declared incapable of reigning, and imprisoned in the castle of Alamuth. He had only one now remaining. This was the noble and generous Safi Mirza--the delight of his father, and the hope of the people. His brilliant qualities, however, were destined only to be his destruction.
Abbas was one day musing, with some uneasiness, on the valour and popular virtues of his son, when the young prince suddenly appeared. He threw himself at his father's feet. He presented him a note which he had just received, and in which, without discovering their names, the nobles of the kingdom declared their weariness of his tyranny. They proposed to the youth to ascend the throne, and undertook to clear his way to it. Safi Mirza, indignant at a project which tended to turn him into a parricide, declared all to the Sebah, and placed himself entirely at his disposal. Abbas embraced him, covered him with caresses, and felt his affection for him increase; but, from that moment, his fears redoubled. His anxiety even prevented him from sleeping. In order to get at the conspirators, he caused numbers of really innocent persons to die in tortures; and, feeling that every execution rendered him still more odious, he feared that his son would be again solicited, and would not again have virtue to resist.
This state of terror and suspicion becoming insupportable to him, he resolved to rid himself of it at any cost. A slave was ordered to murder the prince. He refused to obey, and presented his own head. "Have I, then, none but ingrates and traitors about me, to eat my bread and salt?" cried Abbas,--"I swear by my sabre and by the Koran, that, to him who will remove Safi Mirza, my generosity and gratitude shall he boundless." Bebut the Ambitious advanced, and said,--"It is written, that what the king wills cannot be wrong. To me thy will is sacred--it shall be obeyed." He went immediately to seek the prince. He met him coming out of the bath, accompanied by a single akta or valet. He drew his sabre, and presenting the royal mandate,--"Safi Mirza," said he, "submit! Thy father wills thy death!"--"My father wills my death!" exclaimed the unfortunate prince, with a tone "more in sorrow than in anger." "What have I done, that he should hate me?" And Bebut laid him dead at his feet.
As a reward for his crime, Abbas sent him the royal vest, called the calaata, and immediately created him his Etimadoulet, or Prime Minister.
Paternal love, however, presently resumed its power. Remorse now produced the same effect upon the king, as terror had done before. His nights seemed endless. The bleeding shade of his son incessantly appeared before him, banishing the peace and slumber to which it had been sacrificed. Shrouded in the garb of mourning, the monarch of Persia dismissed all pleasure from his court; and, during the rest of his life, could not be known by his attire from the meanest of his subjects.
One day he sent for Bebut, who found him standing on the steps of his throne, entirely clothed in scarlet, the red turban of twelve folds around his head,--in short, in the garb assumed by the kings of Persia when preparing to pronounce the decree of death. Bebut shuddered. "It is written," said the Sehah, "that what the king wills cannot be wrong. Give me to-day the same proof of thy obedience which thou didst once before. Bebut, thou hast a son--bring me his head!" Bebut attempted to speak. "Bebut, Etimadoulet, Khan of Schamachia--is, then, thy ambition satiated, that thou hesitatest to satisfy my commands? Obey! Thy life depends on it!"
Bebut returned with the head of his only child. "Well," said the father of Mirza, with a horrid smile, "How dost feel?"--"Let these tears tell you how," answered the unhappy Khan: "I have killed with my own hand the being I loved best on earth. You can ask nothing beyond. This day, for the first time, I have cursed ambition, which could subject me to a necessity like this."--"Go," said the monarch; "You can now judge what you have made me suffer, in murdering my son. Ambition has rendered us the two most wretched beings in the empire. But, be it your comfort, that your ambition can soar no higher; for this last deed has brought you on a level with your sovereign."
Abbas received from his subjects and posterity the surname of THE GREAT. Bebut the Ambitious was presently known only by the title of Bebut THE INFAMOUS. It is said, he was a short time after stabbed by the son of the unfortunate jeweller, whom he had so unjustly condemned to death when divan-beghi. Thus were the words of the poet Ferdusi verified. His first fault was the cause of all the others, and their common punishment.--_Oriental Herald_.
 _Zekath_ is the Persian name for the tithe of alms which the Koran enjoins to be distributed among the poor.
 _Schah-nameh_ signifies the royal book. It was composed by order of Mahmoud the Gaznevide, and contains 60,000 distichs, the history of the ancient sovereigns of Persia.
 That is to say, the _Castle of the Dead_. It was situated in the Mazanderan, (the ancient Hircania), and had been the abode of the Old Man of the Mountain, the Prince of Assassins.
 A king coolly ordering one of his subjects to cut off the head of his own child, and being obeyed, is a circumstance so monstrous, that it would appear beyond all possibility, if it were not supported by numerous examples. But, incredible as it may seem, it only paints the common manners of a court, where tyranny, and the vices which it engenders, altogether extinguish the influence of nature.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
* * * * *
We are not accustomed to study the clap-traps of the day, but the following observations, on our first reading of them, came so forcibly on our imagination, that we then resolved to insert them in our columns whenever an opportunity should offer; and as the public are now alive on the subject, none can be better than the present. We should add, they are taken from the third edition of a valuable work on Home, written by a lady:--
"I think," says our authoress, "we are quite mistaken in our estimate of the Italian character, in one respect. Murder is generally committed in the sudden impulse of ungovernable passion, not with the slow premeditation of deliberate revenge. That it is too common a termination of Italian quarrels, it would be vain to deny; and it is equally true, that however Englishmen may fall out, or however angry they may be, drunk or sober, they never think of stabbing, but are always content with beating each other. But in England murders are generally committed in cold blood, and for the sake of plunder. In Italy they are more frequently perpetrated in the moment of exasperation, and for the gratification of the passions. An Italian will pilfer or steal, cheat or defraud you, in any way he can. He would rob you if he had courage; but he seldom murders for the sake of gain. In proof of this, almost all the murders in Italy are committed amongst the lower orders. One man murders another who is as much a beggar as himself. Whereas, our countrymen walk about the unlighted streets of Rome or Naples, at all hours, in perfect safety. I never heard of one having been attacked, although the riches of _Milor' Inglese_ are proverbial. Amongst the immense number of English who have lately travelled through Italy, though all have been cheated, a few only have been robbed; and of these, not one has either been murdered or hurt. I am far, however, from thinking that murders are more frequent in England than in Italy. In England they are held in far more abhorrence; they are punished, not only with the terrors of the law, but the execrations of the people. Every murder resounds through the land--it is canvassed in every club, and told by every village fireside; and inquests, trials, and newspapers proclaim the lengthened tale to the world. But in Italy, it is unpublished, unnamed, and unheeded. The murderer sometimes escapes wholly unpunished. Sometimes he compounds for it by paying money, if he has any--and sometimes he is condemned to the gallies, but he is rarely executed."
* * * * *
Windsor Castle loses a great deal of its architectural impression (if I may use that word) by the smooth neatness with which its old towers are now chiselled and mortared. It looks as if it was washed every morning with _soap and water_, instead of exhibiting here and there a straggling flower, or creeping weather-stains. I believe this circumstance strikes every beholder; but most imposing, indeed, is its distant view, when the broad banner floats or sleeps in the sunshine, amidst the intense blue of the summer skies, and its picturesque and ancient architectural vastness harmonizes with the decaying and gnarled oaks, coeval with so many departed monarchs. The stately, long-extended avenue, and the wild sweep of devious forests, connected with the eventful circumstances of English history, and past regular grandeur, bring back the memory of Edwards and Henries, or the gallant and accomplished Surrey.
_On Windsor Castle, written 1825, not by a LAUREATE, but a poet of loyal, old Church-of-England feelings._
Not that thy name, illustrious dome, recalls The pomp of chivalry in banner'd halls; The blaze of beauty, and the gorgeous sights Of heralds, trophies, steeds, and crested knights; Not that young Surrey here beguiled the hour, "With eyes upturn'd unto the maiden's tower;"
Oh! not for these, and pageants pass'd away, gaze upon your antique towers and pray-- But that my SOVEREIGN here, from crowds withdrawn, May meet calm peace upon the twilight lawn; That here, among these gray, primaeval trees, He may inhale health's animating breeze; And when from this proud terrace he surveys Slow Thames devolving his majestic maze, (Now lost on the horizon's verge, now seen Winding through lawns, and woods, and pastures green,) May he reflect upon the waves that roll, Bearing a nation's wealth from pole to pole, And feel, (ambition's proudest boast above,) A KING'S BEST GLORY IS HIS COUNTRY'S LOVE!
The range of cresting towers has a double interest, whilst we think of gorgeous dames and barons bold, of Lely and Vandyke's beauties, and gay, and gallant, and accomplished cavaliers like Surrey. And who ever sat in the stalls at St. George's chapel, without feeling the impression, on looking at the illustrious names, that here the royal and ennobled knights, through so many generations, sat each installed, whilst arms, and crests, and banners, glittered over the same seat?--_Bowles's History of Bremhill_.
 The author had been chaplain to the Prince Regent.
 Surrey's Poems.
* * * * *
THE THREE TEACHERS.
To my question, how he could, at his age, have mastered so many attainments, his reply was, that with his three teachers, "every thing might be learned, common sense alone excepted, the peculiar and rarest gift of Providence. These three teachers were, _Necessity_, _Habit_, and _Time_. At his starting in life, _Necessity_ had told him, that if he hoped to _live_ he must _labour_; _Habit_ had turned the labour into an _indulgence_; and _Time_ gave every man an hour for every thing, unless he chose to yawn it away."--_Salathiel._
* * * * *
The poor of England have suffered much and deeply from the change made in the administration of the poor laws in 1795; but of late years they have suffered still more from the influx of Irish paupers. Great Britain has been overrun by half-famished hordes, that have, by their competition, lessened the wages of labour, and by their example, degraded the habits, and lowered the opinions of the people with respect to subsistence. The facilities of conveyance afforded by steam-navigation are such, that the merest beggar, provided he can command a sixpence, may get himself carried from Ireland to England. And when such is the fact--when what may almost without a metaphor be termed floating bridges, have been established between Belfast and Glasgow, and Dublin and Liverpool--does any one suppose, that if no artificial obstacles be thrown in the way of emigration, or if no efforts be made to provide an outlet in some other quarter for the pauper population of Ireland, we shall escape being overrun by it? It is not conceivable that, with the existing means of intercourse, wages should continue to be, at an average, 20_d_. per day in England, and only 4_d_. or 5_d_. in Ireland. So long as the Irish paupers find that they can improve their condition by coming to England, thither they will come. At this moment, five or six millions of beggars are all of them turning their eyes, and many of them directing their steps to this land of promise! The locusts that "will eat up every blade of grass, and every green thing," are already on the wing.--_Edin. Rev._
* * * * *
According to the parliamentary returns of 1815, the number of paupers receiving parochial relief in England amounts to 895,336, in a population of 11,360,505, or about one-twelfth of the whole community.
* * * * *
There are many on the continent who might far better have been treading their turnip-fields, or superintending their warehouses at home, than traversing the Alps, criticising the Pantheon, or loitering through the galleries of the Vatican.
* * * * *
Twenty years ago there were at Saffet and at Jerusalem but a small number of Polish Jews--some few hundreds at the most; there are now, at the very least, 10,000.
* * * * *
Bishop Watson compares a geologist to a gnat mounted on an elephant, and laying down theories as to the whole internal structure of the vast animal, from the phenomena of the hide.
* * * * *
It is the harmony of strong contrasts in which greatness of character truly dwells. As it rises, its variety and rich profusion, only remind us of those southern mountains, whose majestic ascent combines the fruits of every latitude, and the temperature of every clime; the vineyard is scattered around its base to gladden, and the corn-field waves above to support, the family of man: mount a little higher, and the traveller is surrounded by the deep, umbrageous forest, whilst the next elevation will place his foot on its magnificent diadem of eternal snows.--_Edin. Rev._
* * * * *
Is it not a melancholy reflection, at the close of a long life, that, after reciting the Psalms at proper seasons, through the greatest part of it, no more should be known of their true meaning and application, than when the Psalter was first taken in hand in school?--_Bishop Horne._
* * * * *
The most northern library in the world is that of Reikiarik, the capital of Iceland, containing about 3,600 volumes. That of the Faro Islands has been recently considerably augmented. Another is establishing at Eskefiorden, in the north of Iceland.--_Foreign Q. Rev._
* * * * *
All recent works of fiction exhibit the deplorable corruption of the vernacular English. You cannot open a novel or book of travels printed within the present year without stumbling on French or Italian words, and so frequent is their occurrence, that they are often printed in the same type as the rest of the page, not in italic, as of old. In short, some of the authors of the present day seem to have "worn their language to rags, and patched it up with scraps and ends of foreign." This, in great measure proceeds from "some far-journeyed gentlemen, who, at their return home, powder their talk with over-sea language. He that cometh lately out of France, will talk French-English, and never blush at the matter."
* * * * *
DEBAUCHERIES OF PARIS.
We see daily instances giving us cause to lament protracted residence abroad, and also the haunts of incessant transit across the channel, which makes our young men more familiar with the passages, arcades, and cafes of the Palais Royal, than with the streets of our own metropolis. We have seen many who could name each single quay along the borders of the Seine; but who were totally ignorant of those great works of art, the bridges, docks, and warehouses of their native Thames, otherwise than as they were hurried past them in the Calais steam-boat.
* * * * *
We have been somewhat amused with the oddity of a few similes in the article in Phillips's _State Trials_, in the last No. of the _Edinburgh Review_. Thus an ordinary reader would lose his way in _Howell's State Trials_, at the second page, "from the number of volumes, smallness of print, &c." "A Londoner might as well take a morning walk through an Illinois prairie, or dash into a back-settlement forest, without a woodman's aid." Mr. Phillips has "enclosed but a corner of the waste, swept little more than a single stall in the Augean stable;" "holding a candle to the back-ground of history," &c.
* * * * *
Went to sea when eleven years old. He used, himself, to tell as an instance of his simplicity at this time, "that as he was sitting crying for his separation from home, the first lieutenant observed him; and pitying the tender years of the poor child, spoke to him in terms of such encouragement and kindness, which, as Lord C. said, so won upon his heart, that taking this officer to his box, he offered him in gratitude a large piece of plum cake, which his mother had given him."
* * * * *
CHANGES OF SOCIETY.
The circumstances which have most influence on the happiness of mankind, the changes of manners and morals, the transition of communities from poverty to wealth, from knowledge to ignorance, from ferocity to humanity--these are, for the most part, noiseless revolutions. Their progress is rarely indicated by what historians are pleased to call important events. They are not achieved by armies, or enacted by senates. They are sanctioned by no treaties, and recorded in no archives. They are carried on in every school, in every church, behind 10,000 counters, at 10,000 fire-sides. The upper current of society presents no certain criterion by which we can judge of the direction in which the under current flows.--_Edinburgh Review_.
* * * * *
BATTLE OF THE HEADS.
_Phrenologists_. The bantling which but a few years since we ushered into the world, is now become a giant; and as well might you attempt to smother him as to entangle a lion in the gossamer, or drown him in the morning dew.
_Anti-Phrenologists_. Your giant is a butterfly; to-day he roams on gilded wings, to-morrow he will show his hideousness and be forgotten.
* * * * *
Apf, a Norwegian prince, is stated to have had sixty guards, each of whom, previous to being enrolled, was obliged to lift a stone which lay in the royal courtyard, and required the united strength of ten men to raise. They were forbidden to seek shelter during the most tremendous storms, nor were they allowed to dress their wounds before the conclusion of a combat. What would some of our "Guards" say to such an ordeal?
* * * * *
No picture is exactly like the original; nor is a picture good in proportion as it is like the original. When Sir Thomas Lawrence paints a handsome peeress, he does not contemplate her through a powerful microscope, and transfer to the canvass the pores of the skin, the bloodvessels of the eye, and all the other beauties which Gulliver discovered in the Brobdignagian maids of honour. If he were to do this, the effect would not merely be unpleasant, but unless the scale of the picture were proportionably enlarged, would be absolutely false. And, after all, a microscope of greater power than that which he had employed, would convict him of innumerable omissions.
* * * * *
It is calculated that Rome has derived from Spain, for matrimonial briefs, and other machinery of the Papal court, since the year 1500--no less than 76,800,000_l_. or about three millions and a half per Pope! This is preachee and payee too!
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
THE BACHELOR'S VADE-MECUM.
To obviate the difficulties and remove the perplexing doubts of cautious men, myself and a party of friends, who have a large acquaintance in London and its vicinity, propose publishing a work in monthly parts, which we mean to entitle "The Bachelor's Vade-mecum, or a sure guide to a good match." It will contain a list of all genuine and undoubted heiresses in the metropolis, and within ten miles around it, and of those ladies whose fortune depends on contingencies: as our correspondence and information increase, we shall hope to extend the circle of our inquiries, and we solicit those communications and assistances which the extent and utility of our plan require and deserve. Notices will be given of all who drop off by death and marriage, and of those whose value may be unexpectedly increased by a legacy, or a sister or brother's decease. Particular attention will be paid to rich widows.--The first part of this truly useful work is nearly ready for the press; and we flatter ourselves that its arrangement and execution will excite universal applause. The particulars concerning each lady will be distributed under four heads; the first will be devoted to her fortune and expectations; the second to a description of her person; the third to non-essentials; and under the fourth will be found hints as to the readiest means of approach, cautions against offending peculiar tastes or prejudices, and much interesting and valuable information.--A more clear idea, however, of our scheme will be conveyed by subjoining a few specimens taken at random from our first number, which will contain about seventy-five articles.
_Fortune_.--10,000_l_. certain, left by a grandfather; two brothers have the same, one of whom is likely to die before he is of age, which would produce 5,000_l_. more. The father in business, supposed to live up to his income. A rich, single aunt, but not on terms, on account of No. 14's love of waltzing. A prudent husband might easily effect a reconciliation.
_Person_.--Fair, with red hair, and freckled, nose depressed, brow contracted, figure good, two false teeth.
_Non-essentials_.--Bad-tempered, economical almost to parsimony. Sings a great deal, but has no voice. Dances well; a Roman Catholic.
_Miscellaneous Information_.--Fond of winning at cards. A particular dislike to large whiskers; disapproves of hunting; makes her own gowns, and likes to have them admired.
_Fortune_.--16,000_l_. from her father, who is dead, and 10,000_l_. more certain on the death of her mother, who is at present ill. It is hoped that her complaint is dropsy, but more information on this point shall be given in our next Number.
_Person_.--Fair, with fine blue eyes, good teeth, beautiful light hair. Tall and well made. Hands and feet bad.
_Non-essentials_.--Weak in understanding, and rather ungovernable in temper. Has been taught all fashionable accomplishments; plays well on the harp; sings Italian. Bites her nails, cannot pronounce her h's, and misplaces her v's and w's. Her father was a butcher.
_Miscellaneous Information_.--Keeps a recipe-book, and is fond of prescribing for colds and tooth-aches. Has a great dislike to lawyers. Eats onions. Fond of bull-finches and canary-birds. Collects seals. Attends lectures on chemistry. Sits with her mouth open.
_Fortune_.--60,000_l_. in her own disposal.
_Person_.--Aquiline nose, large dark eyes, tall and thin. Fine teeth and hair, supposed false; but the lady's-maid has high wages, and has not yet been brought to confess.
_Non-essentials_.--Plays well on the piano. Good-tempered. Aged sixty-three. Evangelical, and a blue-stocking.
_Miscellaneous Information_.--Dislikes military and naval men. Fond of hares and trout. Has a great objection to waltzing. Aunt to No. 14. A prudent man might easily widen the breach between them. Attends Bible-meetings and charity-schools. Lame of one leg.
_Fortune_.--An only child; father a widower, with landed property to the amount of 1,500_l_. per annum, and 40,000_l_. in the Three per Cents. It is possible he may marry again, but it is hoped that this may not occur. The daughter lives with a maternal aunt.
_Person_.--A decidedly handsome brunette. Tall, and well made.
_Non-essentials_.--Charitable almost beyond her means; from which, and her wishing her father to marry, she is supposed to be extremely weak. Temper excellent; said to be well educated, but of too retiring a disposition to allow of our discovering the fact without more trouble than the matter is worth.
_Miscellaneous Information_.--Fond of the country. Goes twice to church on Sundays; but this affords no opportunity to a lover, as she never looks about her. Has an uncle a bishop, which may recommend her to a clergyman.
Every person who has directed his attention to the subject, must perceive at a glance the immense utility of a work of this nature, conducted, as it will be, by men who pledge their characters on the correctness of the information they convey. When a bachelor decides on marriage, by running over a few pages of our work, he will, in half an hour, be able to select a desirable match; by applying at our office, and giving testimonials of his respectability, he will receive the lady's name and address; and he may then pursue his object with a calm tranquillity of mind, a settled determination of purpose, which are in themselves the heralds and pledges of success. Or, should he meet in society a lady who pleases his taste, before resigning himself to his admiration, he will make inquiries at our office as to the number under which we have placed her in our list; and should she be of too little value to deserve a place in it, he will vigorously root her from his imagination, and suffer himself no longer to hover round her perilous charms, "come al lume farfalla."--_New Monthly Magazine_.
* * * * *
LONDON LYRICS.--TABLE TALK.
To weave a culinary clue, Whom to eschew, and what to chew, Where shun, and where take rations, I sing. Attend, ye diners-out, And, if my numbers please you, shout "Hear, hear!" in acclamations.
There are who treat you, once a year, To the same stupid set; Good cheer Such hardship cannot soften. To listen to the self-same dunce, At the same leaden table, once Per annum's once too often.
Rather than that, mix on my plate With men I like the meat I hate-- Colman with pig and treacle; Luttrell with ven'son-pasty join, Lord Normanby with orange-wine, And rabbit-pie with Jekyll.
Add to George Lambe a sable snipe, Conjoin with Captain Morris tripe, By parsley roots made denser; Mix Macintosh with mack'rel, with Calves-head and bacon Sydney Smith, And mutton-broth with Spencer.
Shun sitting next the wight, whose drone Bores, _sotto voce_, you alone With flat colloquial pressure: Debarr'd from general talk, you droop Beneath his buzz, from orient soup, To occidental Cheshire.
He who can only talk with one, Should stay at home, and talk with none-- At all events, to strangers, Like village epitaphs of yore, He ought to cry, "Long time I bore," To warn them of their dangers.
There are whose kind inquiries scan Your total kindred, man by man, Son, brother, cousin joining. They ask about your wife, who's dead, And eulogize your uncle Ned, Who died last week for coining.
When join'd to such a son of prate, His queries I anticipate, And thus my lee-way fetch up-- "Sir, all my relatives, I vow, Are perfectly in health--and now I'd thank you for the ketchup!"
Others there are who but retail Their breakfast journal, now grown stale, In print ere day was dawning; When folks like these sit next to me, They send me dinnerless to tea; One cannot chew while yawning.
Seat not good talkers one next one, As Jacquier beards the Clarendon; Thus shrouded you undo 'em; Rather confront them, face to face, Like Holles-street and Harewood-place, And let the town run through 'em.
Poets are dangerous to sit nigh-- You waft their praises to the sky, And when you think you're stirring Their gratitude, they bite you. (That's The reason I object to cats-- They scratch amid their purring.)
For those who ask you if you "malt," Who "beg your pardon" for the salt, And ape our upper grandees, By wondering folks can touch Port-wine; That, reader's your affair, not mine-- I never mess with dandies.
Relations mix not kindly; shun Inviting brothers; sire and son Is not a wise selection: Too intimate, they either jar In converse, or the evening mar By mutual circumspection.
Lawyers are apt to think the view That interests them must interest you; Hence they appear at table Or supereloquent, or dumb, Fluent as nightingales, or mum As horses in a stable.
When men amuse their fellow guests With Crank and Jones, or Justice Best's Harangue in Dobbs and Ryal-- The host, beneath whose roof they sit, Must be a puny judge of wit, Who grants them a new trial.
Shun technicals in each extreme, Exclusive talk, whate'er the theme, The proper boundary passes: Nobles as much offend, whose clack's For ever running on Almack's, As brokers on molasses.
I knew a man, from glass to delf, Who talk'd of nothing but himself, 'Till check'd by a vertigo; The party who beheld him "fluor'd," Bent o'er the liberated board, And cried, "Hic jacet ego."
Some aim to tell a thing that hit Where last they dined; what there was wit Here meets rebuffs and crosses. Jokes are like trees; their place of birth Best suits them; stuck in foreign earth, They perish in the process.
Ah! Merriment! when men entrap Thy bells, and women steal thy cap, They think they have trepann'd thee. Delusive thought! aloof and dumb, Thou wilt not at a bidding come, Though Royalty command thee.
The rich, who sigh for thee--the great, Who court thy smiles with gilded plate, But clasp thy cloudy follies: I've known thee turn, in Portman-square, From Burgundy and Hock, to share A pint of Port at Dolly's.
Races at Ascot, tours in Wales, White-bait at Greenwich ofttimes fail, To wake thee from thy slumbers. E'en now, so prone art thou to fly, Ungrateful nymph! thou'rt fighting shy Of these narcotic numbers.
* * * * *
LEDYARD THE TRAVELLER.
John Ledyard, by birth an American, was, in all respects, from the habits of his life, a citizen of the world. He was born at a small village called Groton, in Connecticut, on the banks of the Thames; his father was a captain in the West Indian trade, but died young, leaving a widow and four children, of whom John was the eldest; his mother is described as "a lady of many excellences of mind and character, beautiful in person, well informed, resolute, generous, amiable, kind, and, above all, eminent for piety and the religious virtues." Her little property, it seems, was lost through fraud or neglect, and the widowed mother, with her four infant children, thrown destitute upon the world. In a few years, however, she was again married to Dr. Moor, and John was removed to the house of his grandfather, at Hartford, where, at a very early age, it is said, he showed many peculiarities in his manners and habits, indicating an eccentric, an unsettled, and romantic turn of mind. Having gone through the grammar-school, he was placed with a relative of the name of Seymour, to study the profession of the law; but this dry kind of study was soon found to have no attractions for one of his volatile turn of mind. Something, however, was to be done to rescue from sheer idleness a youth of nineteen, with very narrow means, few friends, and no definite prospects; and, by the kindness of Dr. Wheelock, the pious founder of Dartmouth College, who had been the intimate friend of his grandfather, he was enabled to take up his residence at this new seat of learning, with the ostensible object of qualifying himself to become a missionary among the Indians.
Impatient of restraint, and indignant at remonstrance and admonition, he soon abandoned the missionary scheme that appeared to require too severe initiation, and resolved to make his escape from the college. The mode adopted to carry this project into execution was strongly marked with that spirit of enterprise by which, in after-life, he was so highly distinguished.
On the margin of the Connecticut river, which runs near the college, stood many majestic forest trees, nourished by a rich soil. One of these Ledyard contrived to cut down. He then set himself at work to fashion its trunk into a canoe, and in this labour he was assisted by some of his fellow-students. As the canoe was fifty feet long and three wide, and was to be dug out and constructed by these unskilful workmen, the task was not a trifling one, nor such as could be speedily executed. Operations were carried on with spirit, however, till Ledyard wounded himself with an axe, and was disabled for several days. When recovered, he applied himself anew to his work; the canoe was finished, launched into the stream, and, by the further aid of his companions, equipped and prepared for a voyage. His wishes were now at their consummation, and bidding adieu to these haunts of the Muses, where he had gained a dubious fame, he set off alone, with a light heart, to explore a river, with the navigation of which he had not the slightest acquaintance. The distance to Hartford was not less than one hundred and forty miles, much of the way was through a wilderness, and in several places there were dangerous falls and rapids.
With a bear-skin covering, and a good supply of provisions, he launched into the current and floated leisurely down, seldom using the paddle, till, while engaged in reading, the canoe approached Below's Falls, the noise of which, rushing among the rocks, suddenly aroused him; the danger was imminent; had the canoe got into the narrow passage, it must instantly have been dashed in pieces, and himself inevitably have perished.
By great exertion, however, he escaped the catastrophe and reached the shore; and by the kind assistance of some people in the neighbourhood, had his canoe dragged by oxen around the falls, and again committed to the water. "On a bright spring morning," says his biographer, "just as the sun was rising, some of Mr. Seymour's family were standing near his house, on the high bank of the small river that runs through the city of Hartford and empties itself into the Connecticut, when they espied, at some distance, an object of unusual appearance moving slowly up the stream." On a nearer approach it was discovered to be a canoe, in the stern of which something was observed to be heaped up, but apparently without life or motion. At length it struck the shore, and out leapt John Ledyard from under his bear-skin, to the great astonishment of his relatives at this sudden apparition, who had no other idea than that of his being diligently engaged in his studies at Dartmouth, and fitting himself for the pious office of a missionary among the Indians.
Now, it was deemed expedient, both by his friends and by himself, that all further thoughts of his becoming a divine should be abandoned; and in the course of a few weeks we find him a common sailor, on board a vessel bound for Gibraltar. While at this place Ledyard was all at once missing; he had enlisted into the army. The master, being the friend of his late father, went and remonstrated with him for this strange freak, and urged him to return. The commanding officer assented to his release, and he returned to the ship.
The voyage being finished, the only profit yielded by it to Ledyard was a little experience in the hardships of a sailor's life, as his scanty funds were soon exhausted and poverty stared him in the face. At the age of twenty-two he found himself a solitary wanderer, dependent on the bounty of his friends, without employment or prospects, having tried various pursuits, and failed of success in all. But poverty and privation were trifles of little weight with Ledyard; his pride was aroused, and he determined to do something that should exonerate him from all dependence on his American friends.
He had often heard his grandfather descant on his English ancestors, and his wealthy connexions in the old country; it struck him, therefore, while thus hanging loosely on society, that it might be no unwise thing to visit these relatives, and claim alliance with them. With this view he proceeded to New York, and made his terms with the master of a vessel bound for Plymouth. Here he was set down, without money, without friends, or even a single acquaintance. How to get to London, where he made himself sure of a hearty welcome and a home among those connexions, whose wealth and virtues he had heard so often extolled by his grandfather, was a matter not easily settled. As good fortune would have it, he fell in with an Irishman as thoughtless as himself, and whose plight so exactly resembled his own, that, such is the sympathetic power of misfortune, they formed a mutual attachment almost as soon as they came in contact. Both were pedestrians bound to London, and both were equally destitute of money or friends; and one _honest_ mode only remained for them to pursue, which was, to address themselves to "the charitable and humane." This point being settled, it was agreed to take their turn in begging along the road; and in this manner they reached London, without having any reason to complain of neglect, or that there was any lack of generous and disinterested feeling in the human species. Ledyard's first object, after arriving in the metropolis, was to find out his rich relations, in which he was so far successful as to discover the residence of a wealthy merchant of the same name, to whose house he hastened. The gentleman was from home; but the son listened to his story, and plainly told him he could put no faith in his representations, as he had never heard of any relations in America. He pressed him, however, to remain till his father's return, but the suspicion of his being an impostor roused his indignation to such a pitch that he abruptly left the house and resolved never to go near it again. It is said that this merchant, on further inquiry, was satisfied of the truth of the connexion, and sent for Ledyard, who declined the invitation in no very gracious manner; that, notwithstanding all this, the merchant afterwards, on hearing of his distressed situation, sent him money; and that the money was also rejected with disdain by the American, who desired the bearer to carry it back, and tell his master that he belonged not to the race of the Ledyards.
The next capacity in which we find Ledyard is that of a corporal of marines, on board the ship of Captain Cook, then preparing for his third and last voyage round the world. Of this voyage Ledyard is said to have kept a minute journal, which, as in all cases of voyages of discovery, went among the rest to the Admiralty, and was never restored. Two years afterwards, Ledyard, with the assistance of a brief outline of the voyage published in London, and from his own recollection, brought out, in a small duodecimo, his narrative of the principal transactions of the voyage, in which, we hear (for we have never seen it) he blames the officers, and Captain Cook in particular, for several instances of precipitate and incautious conduct, not to say severity, towards the various natives with whom they were brought in contact. It was to this want of caution, and a due consideration for the habits and feelings of the Sandwich Islanders, that he imputed the death of this celebrated navigator. The late Admiral Burney, who served as a lieutenant on the voyage, says that, "with an ardent disposition, Ledyard had a passion for lofty sentiment and description." He adds that, after Cook's death, Ledyard proffered his services to Captain Clarke, to undertake the office of historiographer of the expedition, and presented a specimen descriptive of the manners of the Society Islanders; "but," says this author, "his ideas were thought too sentimental, and his language too florid."
_(To be concluded in our next.)_
* * * * *
"A snapper up of unconsidered trifles." SHAKSPEARE.
* * * * *
_(For the Mirror.)_
The village of Polstead, though obscurely situate, is not entirely destitute of celebrity, chiefly derived from an abundance of the small, sweet, black cherries, so common in London, and known for miles round by the exclusive denomination of Polstead cherries. There are here large orchards of cherry-trees; and it is a common observation, that the face of a Polstead man is an index of a good or bad cherry season; if productive, he may be seen with his chin in the air, his hands in his pockets, and a saucy answer on the tip of his tongue; if, on the contrary, the crop of cherries has failed, he hangs his head, folds his hands behind him, and if asked whence he comes, replies, in a subdued tone, "_From poor Poustead_."
Unhappily, as in the event that has given notoriety to this obscure village, there are some exceptions, but the inhabitants are for the most part peaceable, well conducted, and only remarkable for their orthodox belief in ghosts and witches. An old gentleman, who died there some years ago, lamented till his death a sight he had lost when a boy, only for the want of five pounds--a man having undertaken for that sum to make all the witches in the parish dance on the knoll together; and though he grew up a penurious man, (and lived a bachelor till fifty), he never ceased to lament that such an opportunity of seeing these weird-sisters collected together, never occurred again. He used to say he had seen a witch "_swam_ on Polstead Ponds," and "she went over the water like a cork." He had, when a boy, stopped a wizard in his way to Stoke, by laying a line of single straws across the path; and, concealed in a hedge, he had watched an old woman (alias witch) feeding her imps in the form of three blackbirds.
The house in which Mrs. Corder lives is one of the best in the place, where, strictly speaking, there are not above half-a-dozen, including the manor-house and rectory, the remainder being mere cottages; and yet the parish is a rich one. It is singular, that among the peasantry are to be found the names of Montague, Bedford, Salisbury, Mortimer, and Holland, while the cognomens of those who inhabit the houses may be nearly comprised in as many syllables.
In the adjoining village of Stoke is the seat of Sir William Rowley, and detached from it a street, called Thirteen Kings'-street, where, according to local tradition, thirteen kings once met. In the same parish is Scotland-hall, and another detached street, called Scotland-street, containing some five or six cottages; and half a mile from thence is a hilly field, of a dark clayey soil, occasioned, says tradition, by the flowing of blood down the hill, during a terrible battle fought there between the Scots and English.
 Black orvones.
* * * * *
Why is the gravy of a leg of pork the best gravy in the world? Because there's no Jews like it.--_John Bull_.
* * * * *
POETRY AND PAINTING.
What the monk said of Virgil's _AEneid_, "that it would make an excellent poem if it were only put into rhyme;" is just as if a Frenchman should say of a beauty, "Oh, what a fine woman that would be, if she was but painted!"