The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction. Volume 12, No. 337, October 25, 1828 by Various
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT AND INSTRUCTION
Vol. XII. No. 337.] SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 1828. [PRICE 2d.
(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)
In presenting your readers with a representation of the Wring Cheese, I offer a few prefatory remarks connected with the early importance of the county in which it stands, venerable in its age, amid the storms of elements, and the changes of religions. Its pristine glory has sunk on the horizon of Time; but its legend, like a soft twilight of its former day, still hallows it in the memories of the surrounding peasantry.
Cornwall is allowed by antiquaries to be the Capiterides; and the Abbé de Fontenu, in the _Memoires de Literature_, tom. vii. p. 126, proves, according to Vallancey, that the Phoenicians traded here for tin before the Trojan war. Homer frequently mentions this metal; and even in Scripture we have allusions to this land under the name of Tarshish (Ezekiel, c. xxvii., v. 12-25), being the place whence the Tyrians procured various metals, and among the rest, the English metal tin. It appears that the primitive Greeks had a clearer knowledge of these shores than those in after years; and although Homer, in his shield of Achilles, describes the earth surrounded by water, yet Herodotus, notwithstanding his learning and research, candidly states his ignorance in the following words:--"Neither am I better acquainted with the islands called Capiterides, from whence _we are said_ to have our tin." The knowledge of these shores existed in periods so remote, that it faded. We dwindled away into a visionary land--we lived almost in fable. The Phoenician left us, and the link of our history was severed. Hyde de Religione Vet. Persarum, c. iv. p. 121, supposes Solomon to have traded with the Peruvians; and the analogies between the Pyramids in Mexico and Egypt confirm the opinion, and sanction the belief that the ancients had a more extended knowledge of, and a greater traffic over, the earth than history records. In the most early ages, worship was paid to stone idols; and the Pagan introduction of statues into temples was of a recenter date. The ancient Etruscans, as well as the ancient Egyptians, revered the obeliscal stone, (the reason why to the obeliscal stone is given by Payne Knight, in his extraordinary work;) nor was it, according to Plutarch, till 170 years after the founding of the city that the Romans had statues in their temples, their deities being considered invisible. Many stone pillars exist in this country, especially in Cornwall; and it is a fair inference that the Phoenician imported his religious rites in return for his metallic exports--since we find mention made of stone pillars in Genesis, xxviii. v. 20; Deuteronomy, xxvii. v. 4.; Joshua, xxiv.; 2 Samuel, xx. v. 8.; Judges, ix. v. 6., &c. &c. Many are the conjectures as to what purport these stones were used: sometimes they were sepulchral, as Jacob's pillar over Rachel, Gen. xxxv. 20. Ilus, son of Dardanus, king of Troy, was buried in the plain before that city beneath a column, Iliad, xi. 317. Sometimes they were erected as trophies, as the one set up by Samuel between Mizpeh and Shen, in commemoration of the defeat of the Philistines; one was also erected at Murray, in Scotland, as a monument of the fight between Malcolm, son of Keneth, and Sueno the Dane. We also find them as witnesses to covenants, like that of Jacob and Laban, which, though originally an emblem of a civil pact, became afterwards the place of worship of the whole twelve tribes of Israel. All these relics, to say nothing of the cromlechs in Malabar, bear a silent and solemn testimony of some by-gone people, whose religious and civil customs had extended wide over the earth. Their monuments remain, but their history has perished, and the dust of their bodies has been scattered in the wind. The Druids availed themselves of those places most likely to give an effect to their vaticinations; and not only obtained, but supported by terror the influence they held over the superstitious feelings of our earliest forefathers. Where nature presented a _bizarre_ mass of rocks, the Druid worked, and peopled it with his gods, the most remarkable of which is the subject of our engraving, called the Wring Cheese, or Cheese Wring, in the parish of St. Clare, near Liskeard, in Cornwall. This singular mass of rocks is 32 feet high. The large stone at the top was a logan, or rocking-stone. Geologists are inclined to consider it as a natural production, which is probably the case in part, the Druids taking advantage of favourable circumstances to convert these crags to objects of superstitious reverence. On its summit are two rock basins; and it is a well-known fact, that baptism was a Pagan rite of the highest antiquity, (vide the Etruscan vases by Gorius.) Here, probably, the rude ancestor of our glorious land was initiated amidst the mystic ceremonies of the white-robed Druid and his blood-stained sacrifices. A similar mass exists at Brimham, York; and in the "History of Waterford," p. 70, mention is made of St. Declan's stone, which, not liking its situation, miraculously _swam_ from Rome, conveying on it St. Declan's bell and vestment.
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CURIOUS ANCIENT LEGEND.
(_For the Mirror_.)
In ancienne tyme, and in a goodly towne, neare to Canterbury, sojourned a ladie faire. She one nighte, in the absence of her lorde, leaned her lovely arme upon a gentleman's, and walked in the fyldes. When journeying far, she became afraide, and begged to returne. The gentleman, with kyndest sayings and greate courtesey, retraced their steps; when in this saide momente, this straynge occurrence came to pass--ye raine descended, though the moone and millions of starres were shyneing bryght. In journeying home, another straynge occurrence came to pass; her coral lippes the gentleman's did meete in sweetest kyss. Thys was not straynge at all; but that the moone, that still shone bryghte, did in the momente hide herself behynde a cloude: this was straynge, most passing straynge indeede. The ladie faire, who prayed to the blessed Virgin, did to her confesseur this confession mayk, and her confesseur with charitye impromptu wrote:--
"Whence came the rayne, when first with guileless heart Further to walk she's lothe, and yet more lothe to part? It was not rayne, but angels' pearly teares, In pity dropt to soothe Eliza's feares. Whence came the cloude that veil'd the orb of nighte, When first her lippes she yielded to delyght? It was not cloude, but whylst the world was hush, Mercy put forthe her hande to hide Eliza's blush."
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PICTON'S MONUMENT, CARMARTHEN.
(_For the Mirror_.)
This interesting national tribute stands at the west end of the town of Carmarthen, rising ground, and is erected in memory of the gallant Sir Thomas Picton, who terminated his career in the ever-to-be-remembered battle of Waterloo. The structure stands about 30 feet high, and is, particularly the shaft and architrave, similar to Trajan's pillar in Rome; and being built of a very durable material, (black marble,) will no doubt stand as many ages as that noble, though now mouldering relic. The pillar stands on a square pedestal, with a small door on the east side, which fronts the town, where the monument is ascended by a flight of steps. Over the door, in large characters, is the hero's name, PICTON; and above this, in basso relievo, is represented part of the field of battle, with the hero falling from his horse, from the mortal wound which he received. Over this, in large letters, is inscribed WATERLOO. On the west end is represented the siege of Badajos, Picton scaling the walls with a few men, and attacked by the besieged. Above this is the word BADAJOS. On the south side of the pedestal is the following inscription:--
Sir THOMAS PICTON,
Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order of the Bath, Of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword, and of other foreign Orders; Lieutenant-General in the British Army, and Member of Parliament for the Borough of Pembroke, Born at Poyston, in Pembrokeshire, in August, 1758; Died at Waterloo on the 18th of June, 1815, Gloriously fighting for his country and the liberties of Europe. Having honourably fulfilled, on behalf of the public, various duties in various climates: And having achieved the highest military renown in the Spanish Peninsula, He thrice received the unanimous thanks of Parliament, And a Monument erected by the British nation in St. Paul's Cathedral Commemorates his death and services, His grateful countrymen, to perpetuate past and incite to future exertions, Have raised this column, under the auspices of his Majesty, King George the Fourth, To the memory of a hero and a Welshman. The plan and design of this Monument was given by our countryman, John Nash, Esq. F.R.S. Architect to the King. The ornaments were executed by E.H. Bailey, Esq. R.A. And the whole was erected by Mr. Daniel Mainwaring, of the town of Carmarthen, In the year 1826 and 1827.
On the north side is the translation of the above in Welsh; and on the top of the pedestal, on each side of the square, are trophies. The top of the column is also square, and on each side are imitative cannons. The statue of the hero surmounts the whole. He is wrapped in a cloak, and is supported by a baluster, round which are emblems of spears.
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THE SKETCH BOOK
AN HOUR TOO MANY.
Hail, land of the kangaroo!--paradise of the bushranger!--purgatory of England!--happy scene, where the sheep-stealer is metamorphosed into the shepherd; the highwayman is the guardian of the road; the dandy is delicate no more, and earns his daily bread; and the Court of Chancery is unknown--hail to thee, soil of larceny and love! of pickpockets and principle! of every fraud under heaven, and primeval virtue! daughter of jails, and mother of empires!--hail to thee, New South Wales! In all my years--and I am now no boy--and in all my travels--and I am now at the antipodes--I have never heard any maxim so often as, that time is short; yet no maxim that ever dropt from human lips is further from the truth. I appeal to the experience of mankind--to the three hundred heirs of the British peerage, whom their gouty fathers keep out of their honours and estates--to the six hundred and sixty-eight candidates for seats in parliament, which they must wait for till the present sitters die; or turn rebellious to their noble patrons, or their borough patrons, or their Jew patrons; or plunge into joint-stock ruin, and expatriate themselves, for the astonishment of all other countries, and the benefit of their own;--to the six thousand five hundred heroes of the half-pay, longing for tardy war;--to the hundred thousand promissory excisemen lying on the soul of the chancellor of the ex-chequer, and pining for the mortality of every gauger from the Lizard to the Orkneys;--and, to club the whole discomfort into one, to the entire race of the fine and superfine, who breathe the vital air, from five thousand a year to twenty times the rental, the unhappy population of the realms of indolence included in Bond Street, St. James's, and the squares.
For my own part, in all my experience of European deficiencies, I have never found any deficiency of time. Money went like the wind; champagne grew scanty; the trust of tailors ran down to the dregs; the smiles of my fair flirts grew rare as diamonds--every thing became as dry, dull, and stagnant as the Serpentine in summer; but time never failed me. I had a perpetual abundance of a commodity which the philosophers told me was beyond price. I had not merely enough for myself, but enough to give to others; until I discovered the fact, that it was as little a favourite with others as myself, and that, whatever the plausible might say, there was nothing on earth for which they would not be more obliged to me than a donation of my superfluous time. But now let me give a sketch of my story. A single fact is worth a hundred reflections. The first consciousness that I remember, was that of having a superabundance of time; and my first ingenuity was demanded for getting rid of the encumbrance. I had always an hour that perplexed my skill to know what to do with this treasure. A schoolboy turn for long excursions in any direction but that of my pedagogue, indicative of a future general officer; a naturalist-taste for bird-nesting, which, in maturer years, would have made me one of the wonders of the Linnaean Society; a passion for investigating the inside of every thing, from a Catherine-wheel to a China-closet, which would yet have entitled me to the honours of an F.R.S.; and an original vigour in the plunder of orchards, which undoubtedly might have laid the foundation of a first lord of the treasury; were nature's helps to get rid of this oppressive bounty. But though I fought the enemy with perpetual vigour and perpetual variety, he was not to be put to flight by a stripling; and I went to the university as far from being a conqueror as ever. At Oxford I found the superabundance of this great gift acknowledged with an openness worthy of English candour, and combated with the dexterity of an experience five hundred years old. Port-drinking, flirtation, lounging, the invention of new ties to cravats, and new tricks on proctors; billiards, boxing, and barmaids; seventeen ways of mulling sherry, and as many dozen ways of raising "the supplies," were adopted with an adroitness that must have baffled all but the invincible. Yet Time was master at last; and he always indulged me with a liberality that would have driven a less resolute spirit to the bottom of the Isis.
At length I gave way; left the university with my blessing and my debts; and rushed up to London, as the grand _place d'armes_, the central spot from which the enemy was excluded by the united strength, wit, and wisdom of a million and a half of men. I might as well have staid bird-nesting in Berkshire. I found the happiest contrivances against the universal invader fail. Pigeon-matches; public dinners; coffee-houses; bluestocking _reunions_; private morning quadrille practice, with public evening exhibitions of their fruits; dilettanti breakfasts, with a bronze Hercules standing among the bread and butter, or a reposing cast of Venus, fresh from Pompeii, as black and nude as a negress disporting on the banks of the Senegal, but dear and delicate to the eyes of taste; Sunday mornings at Tattersal's, jockeying till the churches let out their population, and the time for visits was come; and Sunday evening routs at _the_ duchess's, with a cotillon by the _vraies danseuses_ of the opera, followed by a concert, a round game, and a _select_ supper for the initiated;--the whole failed. I had always an hour too much--sixty mortal minutes, and every one of them an hour in itself, that I could never squeeze down.
"Ye gods, annihilate both space and time, And make two lovers happy,"
may have been called a not over-modest request; but I can vouch for at least one half of it being the daily prayer of some thousands of the best-dressed people that the sun ever summoned to a day of twenty-four hours long. On feeling the symptoms of this horary visitation, I regularly rushed into the streets, on the principle that some alleviation of misery is always to be found in fellow-suffering. This maxim I invariably found false, like every other piece of the boasted wisdom of mankind. I found the suffering infinitely increased by the association with my fellow-fashionables. A man might as well have fled from his chamber to enjoy comfort in the wards of an hospital. In one of my marches up and down the _pavé_ of St. James's Street, that treadmill of gentlemen convicted in the penalty of having nothing to do, I lounged into the little hotel of the Guards, that stands beside the great hotel of the gamblers, like a babe under its mamma's wing--the likeness admirable, though the scale diminutive. That "hour too many," cost me three games of billiards, my bachelor's house, and one thousand pounds. This price of sixty minutes startled me a little; and, for a week, I meditated with some seriousness on the superior gaiety of a life spent in paving the streets, driving a wagon, or answering the knocker of a door. But the "hour" again overflowed me. I was walking it off in Regent Street, when an old fellow-victim met me, and prescribed a trot to Newmarket. The prescription was taken, and the hour was certainly got rid of. But the remedy was costly; for my betting-book left me minus ten thousand pounds. I returned to town like a patient from a watering-place; relieved of every thing but the disease that took me there. My last shilling remained among the noble blacklegs; but nothing could rob me of a fragment of my superfluous time, and I brought even a tenfold allowance of it back. But every disease has a crisis; and when a lounge through the streets became at once useless and inconvenient--when the novelty of being cut by all my noble friends, and of being seduously followed by that generation who, unlike the fickle world, reserve their tipstaff attentions for the day of adversity, had lost its zest, and I was thinking whether time was to be better fought off by a plunge to the bottom of the Thames, or by the muzzle of one of Manton's hair- triggers--I was saved by a plunge into the King's Bench. There life was new, friendship was undisguised, my coat was not an object of scorn, my exploits were fashion, my duns were inadmissible, and my very captors were turned into my humble servants. There, too, my nature, always social, had its full indulgence; for there I found, rather to my surprise, nine-tenths of my most accomplished acquaintance. But the enemy still made his way; and I had learned to yawn, in spite of billiards and ball-playing, when _the_ Act let me loose into the great world again. Good-luck, too, had prepared a surprise for my _debut_. I had scarcely exhibited myself in the streets, when I discovered that every man of my _set_ was grown utterly blind whenever I happened to walk on the same side of the way, and that I might as well have been buried a century. I was absurd enough to be indignant; for nothing can be more childish than any delicacy when a man cannot bet on the rubber. But one morning a knock came to my attic-door which startled me by its professional vigour. An attorney entered. I had now nothing to fear, for the man whom no one will trust cannot well be in debt; and for once I faced an attorney without a palpitation. His intelligence was flattering. An old uncle of mine, who had worn out all that was human about him in amassing fifty thousand pounds, and finally died of starving himself, had expired with the pen in his hand, in the very act of leaving his thousands to pay the national debt. But fate, propitious to me, had dried up his ink-bottle; the expense of replenishing it would have broken his heart of itself; and the attorney's announcement to me was, that the will, after blinding the solicitor to the treasury and three of his clerks, was pronounced to be altogether illegible.
The fact that I was the nearest of kin got into the newspapers; and in my first drive down St. James's, I had the pleasure of discovering that I had cured a vast number of my friends of their calamitous defect of vision. But if the "post equitem sedet atra cura" was the maxim in the days of Augustus, the man who drives the slower cabriolet in the days of George the Fourth, cannot expect to escape. The "hour too many" overtook me in the first week. On one memorable evening I saw it coming, just as I turned the corner of Piccadilly; fair flight was hopeless, and I took refuge in that snug asylum on the right hand of St. James's Street, which has since expanded into a palace. I stoutly battled the foe, for I "took no note of time" during the next day and night; and when at last I walked forth into the air, I found that I had relieved myself of the burden of three-fourths of my reversion. A weak mind on such an occasion would have cursed the cards, and talked of taking care of the fragment of his property; but mine was of the higher order, and I determined on revenge. I had my revenge, and saw my winners ruined. They had their consolation, and at the close of a six months' campaign saw me walk into the streets a beggar. I grew desperate, and was voted dangerous. I realized the charge by fastening on a noble lord who had been one of the most adroit in pigeoning me. His life was "too valuable to his country," or himself, to allow him to meet a fellow whose life was of no use to any living thing; and through patriotism and the fear of being shot, he kept out of my way. I raged, threatened to post his lordship, and was in the very act of writing out the form of the placard declaring the noble heir of the noble house of ---- a cheat and a scoundrel, when by the twopenny-post I received a notice from the Horse Guards that I was on that day to appear in the Gazette as an ensign in his majesty's ---- regiment, then serving in the Peninsula, with orders to join without delay. This was enough from his lordship, and was certainly better for me than running the chance of damages in the King's Bench, for provoking his majesty's subjects to a breach of the peace.
I was gazetted, tried on my uniform before the mirror, entirely approved of my appearance, and wrote my last letter to my last flirt. The Portsmouth mail was to start at eight. I had an hour to spare, and sallied into the street. I met an honest-faced old acquaintance as much at a loss as myself to slay the hour. We were driven by a shower into shelter. The rattle of dice was heard within a green-baize-covered door. We could not stay for ever shivering on the outside. Fortune favoured me; in half an hour I was master of a thousand pounds; it would have been obvious folly and ingratitude to check the torrent of success for the paltry prospects of an ensigncy. I played on, and won on. The clock struck eight. I will own that I trembled as the first sound caught my ear. But whether nervous or not, from that instant the torrent was checked. The loss and gain became alternate. Wine was brought in; I played in furious scorn of consequences. I saw the board covered with gold. I swept it into my stake; I soon saw my stake reduced to nothing. My eyes were dazzled, my hand shook, my brain was on fire, I sang, danced, roared with exultation or despair. How the night closed, I know not; but I found myself at last in a narrow room, surrounded with squalidness, its only light from a high-barred window, and its only furniture the wooden tressel on which I lay, fierce, weary, and feverish, as if I lay on the rack. From this couch of the desperate, I was carried into the presence of a magistrate, to hear that in the _mélée_ of the night before, I had in my rage charged my honest-faced acquaintance with palpable cheating; and having made good my charge by shewing the loaded dice in his hand, had knocked him down with a violence that made his recovery more than doubtful. He had seen my name in the Gazette, and had watched me for the express purpose of final plunder. The wretch died. I was brought to trial, found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to seven years' expatriation. Fortunate sentence! On my arrival in New South Wales, as I was found a perfect gentleman, and fit for nothing, there was no resource but to make me try the labour of my hands. Fortunate labour! From six at morning till six at night, I had the spade or the plough in my hands. I dragged carts, I delved rocks, I hewed trees; I had not a moment to spare. The appetite that once grew languid over venison, now felt the exquisite delight of junk beef. The thirst that scorned champagne was now enraptured with spring water. The sleep that had left me many a night tossing within-side the curtains of a hundred-and-fifty-guinea Parisian bed, now came on the roughest piece of turf, and made the planks of my cabin softer than down. I can now run as fast as one of my Newmarket stud, pull down a buffalo, and catch a kangaroo by the tail in fair field. Health, vigour, appetite, and activity, are my superabundance now. I have every thing but time. My banishment expires to-morrow; but I shall never recross the sea. This is my country. Since I set my foot upon its shore I have never had a moment to yawn. In this land of real and substantial life, the spectre that haunted my joyless days dares not be seen--the "hour too many" is no more.
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MANNERS & CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.
(_For the Mirror_.)
SELLING MEAT AMONG THE ANCIENT ROMANS, &c.
It was the custom for the buyer to shut his eyes, and the seller to hold up some of his fingers; if the buyer guessed aright, how many it was the other held up, he was to fix the price; if he mistook, the seller was to fix it. These classic _blind-bargains_ would not suit the Londonbutchers. This custom was abolished by Apronius, the prefect of Rome; who in lieu thereof, introduced the method of selling by weight. Among the ancient Romans there were three kinds of established butchers, viz. two colleges or companies, composed each of a certain number of citizens, whose office was to furnish the city with the necessary cattle, and to take care of preparing and vending their flesh. One of these communities was at first confined to the providing of hogs, whence they were called _suarii_; and the other two were charged with cattle, especially oxen, whence they were called _pecuarii_, or _boarii_. Under each of these was a subordinate class, whose office was to kill, prepare, &c. called _lanii_, and sometimes _carnifices_.
Two English poets (Swift and Gay) have been rather severe towards the London butchers, the former says,--
"Hence he learnt the _Butcher's_ guile, How to cut your throat, and smile; Like a _butcher_ doom'd for life, In his mouth to wear his knife."
----"resign the way, To shun the surly _butcher's_ greasy tray: _Butchers_, whose hands are died with blood's foul stain, And always foremost in the hangman's train."
The butchers' company was not incorporated until the 3rd year of King James I. when they were made a _Corporation_, by the name of master, wardens and commonalty of the art and mystery of butchers; yet the fraternity is ancient.
Stowe says, "In the 3rd of Richard II. motion was made that no butcher should kill any flesh within London, but at Knightsbridge, or such like distant place from the walls of the citie."
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STUMBLING AT THE THRESHOLD.
The phrase, "to stumble at the threshold," originated in the circumstance, that the old thresholds, or steps under the door, were like the hearths, raised a little, so that a person might stumble over them, unless proper care were taken. A very whimsical reason for this practice is given in a curious little tract by Sir Balthazar Gerbier, entitled, "Council and Advice to all Builders," 1663, in these words:--"A good surveyor shuns also the ordering of doores with stumbling thresholds, though our forefathers affected them, perchance to perpetuate the antient custome of bridegroomes, when formerly at their return from church they did use to lift up their bride, and to knock her head against that of the doore, for a remembrance that she was not to pass the threshold of her house without leave."
* * * * *
The charitable dispensation of medicines by the Chinese, is well deserving notice. They have a stone which is ten cubits high, erected in the public squares of their cities; whereon is engraved the name of all sorts of medicines, with the price of each, and when the poor stand in need of relief from physic, they go to the treasury to receive the price each medicine is rated at.
The physicians of China have only to feel the arm of their patient in three places, and to observe the rate of the pulse, to form an opinion on the cause, nature, danger, and duration of the malady. Without the patient speaking at all, they can tell infallibly what part is attacked with disease, whether the brain, the heart, the liver, the lungs, the intestines, the stomach, the flesh, the bones, and so on. As they are both physicians and apothecaries, and prepare their own medicines, they are paid only when they effect a cure. If the same rule were introduced with us, I fear we should have fewer physicians.
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(_For the Mirror_.)
This celebrated eminence is situated in the north range of chalk hills, beginning near Farnham, in Surrey, and extending from thence to Folkstone, in Kent. Camden calls it _White Hill_, from its chalky soil; but Box Hill is its true and ancient name. The box-tree is, in all probability, the natural produce of the soil; but a generally received story is, that the box was planted there by Thomas, Earl of Arundel, between two and three centuries ago. There is, however, authentic evidence of its being here long before his time, for Henry de Buxeto (i.e. Henry of Box Hill) and Adam de Buxeto were witnesses to deeds in the reign of King John.
John Evelyn, who wrote about the middle of the seventeenth century, says, "Box-trees rise naturally at Kent in Bexley; and in Surrey, giving name to Box Hill. He that in winter should behold some of our highest hills in Surrey, clad with whole woods of them, might easily fancy himself transported into some new or enchanted country."
In Aubrey's posthumous work on Surrey, published in 1718, the northern part of the hill is described as thickly covered with yew-trees, and the southern part with "thick boscages of box-trees," which "yielded a convenient privacy for lovers, who frequently meet here, so that it is an English Daphne." He also tells us that the gentry often resorted here from Ebbesham (_Epsom_), then in high fashion. Philip Luckombe, in his "England's Gazetteer," says, on Box Hill "there is a large warren, but no houses; only arbours cut out in the box-wood on the top of the hill, where are sold refreshments of all sorts, for the ladies and gentlemen who come hither to divert themselves in its labyrinths; for which reason a certain author has thought fit to call it the Palace of Venus, and the Temple of Nature; there being an enchanting prospect from it of a fine country, which is scarce to be equalled for affording so surprising and magnificent an idea both of earth and sky."
But these delightful retreats, like Arcadia of old, have long since vanished. The _yews_ were cut down in the year 1780; and their successors fall very short of the luxuriant descriptions of old topographers. The _box_ has also at various times produced the proprietors of the estate great profit. In 1608, the receipt for box-trees cut down upon the sheepwalk on the hill was 50_l_.; in an account taken in 1712, it is supposed that as much had been cut down, within a few years before, as amounted to 3,000_l_.; and in 1759, a Mr. Miller lamented that "the trees on Box Hill had been pretty much destroyed; though many remained of considerable bigness."
An immense quantity of box is annually consumed in this country, in the revived art of engraving on wood. The English is esteemed inferior to that which comes from the Levant; and the American box is said to be preferable to ours. But the ships from the Levant brought such quantities of it in ballast, that the wood on Box Hill could not find a purchaser, and not having been cut for sixty-five years, was growing cankered. The war diminished the influx from the Mediterranean; several purchasers offered; and in 1795 it was put up to auction at 12,000_l_. The depredations made on Box Hill, in consequence of this sale, did not injure its picturesque beauty, as twelve years were allowed for cutting, which gave each portion a reasonable time to renew. In 1802, forty tons were cut, but the market being overstocked, it fell in value more than fifty per cent.; and the foreign wood is now universally preferred for engravings. The trees on Box Hill are, however, again flourishing, although their value is rather problematical.
For the information of the home tourist, perhaps, I ought to mention that Box Hill stands about 22 miles on the left of the road from London to Worthing, Brighton, and Bognor, and about 2 miles N.E. of the town of Dorking. The road from Leatherhead hence is a constant succession of hill and dale, richly clothed with wood, interspersed with elegant villas in all tastes--from the pillared and plastered mansion, to the borrowed charm of the _cottage orne_. The whole of this district is called the Vale of _Norbury_, from the romantic domain of that name, which extends over a great portion of the hills on the right of the road. Shortly before you reach Box Hill, stands _Mickleham_, a little village with an ivy-mantled church, rich in Saxon architecture and other antiquities. You then descend into a valley, passing some delightful meadow scenery, and the showy mansion of Sir Lucas Pepys, which rises from a flourishing plantation on the left. In the valley stands Juniper Hall, late the seat of Mr. Thomas Broadwood, the piano-forte manufacturer. In the park are some of the finest cedars in England. On again ascending, you catch a fine view of Box Hill, and the amphitheatrical range of opposite hills, with one of the most magnificent _parterres_ in nature. This is called, by old writers, the _Garden of Surrey_.
You pass some flint-built cottages, and quitting the road here, the ascent to Box Hill is gradual and untiring, across a field of little slopes, studded with a few yew-trees, relics of by-gone days. The ascent further down the road almost amounts to a feat, assisted by the foot-worn paces in the chalky steep. Here this portion of the hill resembles an immense wall of _viretum_, down whose side has been poured liquid mortar. The path winds along the verge of the hill, whilst on the left is a valley or little ravine, whose sides are clothed with thick dwarfish box, intermingled with the wild and trackless luxuriance of forest scenery. Hence the road stretches away to Ashurst, the neat residence of Mr. Strahan, the King's printer.
Returning to the verge of the hill, you soon reach the _apex_, or highest point, being 445 feet from the level of the Mole. Here you enjoy what the French call a _coup d'oeil_, or I would rather say, _a bird's-eye view_, of unparalleled beauty. Taking the town of Dorking for a resting point, the long belt is about twelve miles in extent. The outline or boundary commences from the eminence on which I am supposed to be standing--with Brockham Hill, whose steep was planted by the late duke of Norfolk, and whence the chain extends away towards the great Brighton road. Next in the curve are Betchworth Castle and Park, with majestic avenues of limes and elms, and fine old chestnut-trees. Adjoining, is the Deepdene, the classical seat of the author of "Anastasius," a place, says Salmon, "well calculated for the religious rites of the Celts," and consecrated by the philosophical pursuits of the Hon. Charles Howard, who built an oratory and laboratory, and died here in 1714. Next are several fir-crowned ridges, which shelter Bury Hill, the mansion of Mr. Barclay, the opulent brewer; whence you ascend the opposite line of hills, till you reach Denbies, nearly facing the most prominent point of Box Hill. This elegant seat is the abode of Mr. Denison, one of the county members, and brother of the Marchioness of Conyngham. The second range or ledge, beneath Denbies, is the celebrated Dorking lime-works. The transition to the Norbury Hills, already mentioned, is now very short, which completes the outline of the view. It should, however, be remarked that the scenery within this range can be distinctly enjoyed without the aid of art; whilst beyond it the prospect extends, and fades away in the South Downs on one hand, and beyond the metropolis on the other.
The little _parterre_ to be described, includes the sheltered town of Dorking, environed with rich lawny slopes, variegated with villas in the last taste; and little heights, from whose clustering foliage peeps the cottage roof of humble life. But the Paradise immediately at the foot of Box Hill is the gem of the whole scene, and is one of the most perfect pictures of rural beauty which pen or pencil can attempt. It appears like an assemblage of every rural charm in a few acres, in whose disposal nature has done much, and art but little. Park, lawn, woody walk, slope, wilderness and dell are among its varieties; and its quiet is only broken by the sluggish stream of the Mole. Adjoining is a little inn, more like one of the picturesque _auberges_ of the continent than an English house of cheer. The grounds are ornamented with rustic alcoves, boscages, and a bowery walk, all in good taste. Here hundreds of tourists pass a portion of "the season," as in a "loop-hole of retreat." In the front of the inn, however, the stream of life glides fast; and a little past it, the road crosses the Mole by Burford Bridge, and winds with geometrical accuracy through the whole of this hasty sketch.
 Here is a stump of wood which denotes the grave of Major Labelliere, a deranged officer of the Marines, who, by his own request was buried on this spot, with his head downwards; it being a constant assertion with him, "that the world was turned topsy-turvy, and, therefore, at the end he should be right."
From this point may be seen _Leith Hill_, with an old prospect tower, within which are interred the remains of another eccentric gentleman who died in the neighbourhood. In the road from Dorking thence is _Wotton_, the family seat of the Evelyns.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER AND OTHER POEMS.
We usually leave criticism to the _grey-beards_, or such as have passed the _viginti annorum lucubrationes_ of reviewing. It kindles so many little heart-burnings and jealousies, that we rejoice it is not part of our duty. To be sure, we sometimes take up a book in real earnest, read it through, and have _our say_ upon its merits; but this is only a gratuitous and occasional freak, just to keep up our oracular consequence. In the present case, we do not feel disposed to exercise this privilege, further than in a very few words--merely to say that Mr. Robert Montgomery has published a volume of Poems under the above title--that the poems are of unequal merit, and that like Virgil, his excellence lies in describing scenes of darkness.
The "Universal Prayer" is a devotional outpouring of a truly poetical soul, with as much new imagery as the subject would admit; and if _scriptural_ poems be estimated in the ratio of _scriptural_ sermons, the merit of the former is of the first order.
From the other poems we have detached the following beautiful specimens:--
With step as noiseless as the summer air, Who comes in beautiful decay?--her eyes Dissolving with a feverish glow of light, Her nostrils delicately closed, and on Her cheek a rosy tint, as if the tip Of Beauty's finger faintly press'd it there,-- Alas! Consumption is her name. Thou loved and loving one! From the dark languish of thy liquid eye, So exquisitely rounded, darts a ray Of truth, prophetic of thine early doom; And on thy placid cheek there is a print Of death,--the beauty of consumption there. Few note that fatal bloom; for bless'd by all, Thou movest through thy noiseless sphere, the life, Of one,--the darling of a thousand hearts. Yet in the chamber, o'er some graceful task When delicately bending, oft unseen, Thy mother marks then with that musing glance That looks through cunning time, and sees thee stretch'd A shade of being, shrouded for the tomb. The Day is come, led gently on by Death; With pillow'd head all gracefully reclined, And grape-like curls in languid clusters wreath'd, Within a cottage room she sits to die; Where from the window, in a western view, Majestic ocean rolls.--A summer eve Shines o'er the earth, and all the glowing air Stirs faintly, like a pulse; against the shore The waves unrol them with luxurious joy, While o'er the midway deep she looks, where like A sea god glares the everlasting Sun O'er troops of billows marching in his beam!-- From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth, her eyes Are lifted, bright with wonder and with awe, Till through each vein reanimation rolls! 'Tis past; and now her filmy glance is fix'd Upon the heavens, as though her spirit gazed On that immortal world, to which 'tis bound: The sun hath sunk.--her soul hath fled without A pang, and left her lovely in her death, And beautiful as an embodied dream.
All that we love and feel on Nature's face, Bear dim relations to our common doom. The clouds that blush, and die a beamy death, Or weep themselves away in rain,--the streams That flow along in dying music,--leaves That fade, and drop into the frosty arms Of Winter, there to mingle with dead flowers,-- Are all prophetic of our own decay.
How oft, as unregarded on a throng Of lovely creatures, in whose liquid eyes The heart-warm feelings bathe, I've look'd With all a Poet's passion, and have wish'd That years might never pluck their graceful smiles-- How often Death, as with a viewless wand, Has touch'd the scene, and witch'd it to a tomb! Where Beauty dwindled to a ghastly wreck, And spirits of the Future seem'd to cry,-- Thus will it be when Time has wreak'd revenge.
When mantled with the melancholy glow Of eve, she wander'd oft: and when the wind, Like a stray infant down autumnal dales Roam'd wailingly, she loved to mourn and muse: To commune with the lonely orphan flowers, And through sweet Nature's ruin trace her own.
VISION OF HEAVEN.
An empyrean infinitely vast And irridescent, roof'd with rainbows, whose Transparent gleams like water-shadows shone, Before me lay: Beneath this dazzling vault-- I felt, but cannot paint the splendour there! Glory, beyond the wonder of the heart To dream, around interminably blazed. A spread of fields more beautiful than skies Flush'd with the flowery radiance of the west; Valleys in greenest glory, deck'd with trees That trembled music to the ambrosial airs That chanted round them,--vein'd with glossy streams, That gush'd, like feelings from a raptured soul: Such was the scenery;--with garden walks, Delight of angels and the blest, where flowers Perennial bloom, and leaping fountains breathe, Like melted gems, a gleaming mist around! Here fruits for ever ripe, on radiant boughs, Droop temptingly; here all that eye and heart Enrapts, in pure perfection is enjoy'd; And here o'er flowing paths with agate paved, Immortal Shapes meander and commune. While with permissive gaze I glanced the scene, A whelming tide of rich-toned music roll'd, Waking delicious echoes, as it wound From Melody's divinest fount! All heaven Glow'd bright, as, like a viewless river, swell'd The deepening music!--Silence came again! And where I gazed, a shrine of cloudy fire Flamed redly awful; round it Thunder walk'd, And from it Lightning look'd out most sublime! Here throned in unimaginable bliss And glory, sits The One Eternal Power, Creator, Lord, and Life of All: Again, Stillness ethereal reign'd, and forth appear'd Elysian creatures robed in fleecy light, Together flocking from celestial haunts, And mansions of purpureal mould; the Host Of heaven assembled to adore with harp And hymn, the First and Last, the Living God; They knelt,--a universal choir, and glow'd More beauteous while they breathed the chant divine, And Hallelujah! Hallelujah! peal'd, And thrill'd the concave with harmonious joy.
VISION OF HELL.
Apart, upon a throne of living fire The Fiend was seated; in his eye there shone The look that dared Omnipotence; the light Of sateless vengeance, and sublime despair.-- He sat amid a burning world, and saw Tormented myriads, whose blaspheming shrieks Were mingled with the howl of hidden floods, And Acherontine groans; of all the host, The only dauntless he. As o'er the wild He glanced, the pride of agony endured Awoke, and writhed through all his giant frame, That redden'd, and dilated, like a sun! Till moved by some remember'd bliss, or joy Of paradisal hours, or to supply The cravings of infernal wrath,--he bade The roar of Hell be hush'd,--and silence was! He called the cursed,--and they flash'd from cave And wild--from dungeon and from den they came, And stood an unimaginable mass Of spirits, agonized with burning pangs: In silence stood they, while the Demon gazed On all, and communed with departed Time, From whence his vengeance such a harvest reap'd.
Who hath not felt the magic of a voice,-- Its spirit haunt him in romantic hours? Who hath not heard from Melody's own lips Sounds that become a music to his mind?-- Music is heaven! and in the festive dome, When throbs the lyre, as if instinct with life, And some sweet mouth is full of song,--how soon A rapture flows from eye to eye, from heart To heart--while floating from the past, the forms We love are recreated, and the smile That lights the cheek is mirror'd on the heart! So beautiful the influence of sound, There is a sweetness in the homely chime Of village bells: I love to hear them roll Upon the breeze; like voices from the dead, They seem to hail us from a viewless world.
 We know a reverend vicar who once took the trouble to count all the quotations from Scripture, which occurred in a charity sermon he had just printed: and his great satisfaction at the conclusion was, that his was indeed "a scriptural sermon."
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PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS.
We know it to be a fact, that a Jew, an artist of reputation, who had conceived a great confidence in a Christian engaged in the promotion of the conversion of the Israelites, revealed to him, that both he and his brother had been Christians from their childhood from having been bred up amongst Christians, but were too indignant at the treatment which they and their brethren met with at Christian hands, to profess Christianity; and he earnestly pleaded, as essential to their being induced to receive the gospel, that those who participate in the attempt should approach them with a language of decided affection for Israel.--_Q. Rev._
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Soon become detached from all habitual employments and duties; the salutary feeling of home is lost; early friendships are dissevered, and life becomes a vague and restless state, freed, it may seem, from many ties, but yet more destitute of the better and purer pleasures of existence.
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The first performance of the _opera seria_ at Rome, in 1606, consisted of scenes in recitative and airs, exhibited in a _cart_ during the carnival.
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Guido D'Arezzo, a monk of the 13th century, in the solitude of his convent, made the grand discovery of counterpoint, or the science of harmony, as distinguished from melody; he also invented the present system of notation, and gave those names to the sounds of the diatonic scale still in use:--_ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si_; these being the first syllables of the first six lines of a hymn to St. John the Baptist, written in monkish Latin; and they seem to have been adopted without any special reason, from the caprice of the musician.--_Foreign Rev._
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It is said that the first church was erected at Glastonbury; and this tradition may seem to deserve credit, because it was not contradicted in those ages when other churches would have found it profitable to advance a similar pretension. The building is described as a rude structure of wicker-work, like the dwellings of the people in those days, and differing from them only in its dimensions, which were threescore feet in length, and twenty-six in breadth. An abbey was afterwards erected there, one of the finest of those edifices, and one of the most remarkable for the many interesting circumstances connected with it. The destruction of this beautiful and venerable fabric is one of the crimes by which our reformation was sullied.--_Southey_.
* * * * *
GHOST STORY, BY M.G. LEWIS.
A gentleman journeying towards the house of a friend, who lived on the skirts of an extensive forest, in the east of Germany, lost his way. He wandered for some time among the trees, when he saw a light at a distance. On approaching it he was surprised to observe that it proceeded from the interior of a ruined monastery. Before he knocked at the gate he thought it proper to look through the window. He saw a number of cats assembled round a small grave, four of whom were at that moment letting down a coffin with a crown upon it. The gentleman startled at this unusual sight, and, imagining that he had arrived at the retreats of fiends or witches, mounted his horse and rode away with the utmost precipitation. He arrived at his friend's house at a late hour, who sat up waiting for him. On his arrival his friend questioned him as to the cause of the traces of agitation visible in his face. He began to recount his adventures after much hesitation, knowing that it was scarcely possible that his friend should give faith to his relation. No sooner had he mentioned the coffin with the crown upon it, than his friend's cat, who seemed to have been lying asleep before the fire, leaped up, crying out, "Then I am king of the cats;" and then scrambled up the chimney, and was never seen more.
* * * * *
A quantity of Worcestershire china being sent to the _Nawaab_ at Lucknow, in India, from England, he was as impatient to open it as a child would be with a new plaything; and immediately gave orders for invitations to be sent to the whole settlement for a breakfast, _à la fourchette_, next morning. Tables were accordingly spread for upwards of a hundred persons, including his ministers and officers of state. Nothing could be more splendid than the general appearance of this entertainment; but the dismay may be more easily imagined than described, on discovering that the servants had mistaken certain utensils for milk-bowls, and had actually placed about twenty of them, filled with that beverage, along the centre of the table. The consequence was, the English part of the company declined taking any; upon which the _Nawaab_ innocently remarked, "I thought that the English were fond of milk." Some of them had much difficulty to keep their countenances.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS
ENGLISH COUNTRY LIFE.
The country seats of England form, indeed, one of the most remarkable features, not only in English landscape, but yet more in what may be termed the genius and economy of English manners. Their great number throughout the country, the varied grandeur and beauty of their parks and gardens, the extent, magnificence, and various architecture of the houses, the luxurious comfort and completeness of their internal arrangements, and their relation generally to the character of the peasantry surrounding them, justify fully the expression we have used. No where has this mode of life attained so high a degree of perfection and refinement. We will allude to two circumstances, amongst many others, in illustration. The first of these is, the very great number of valuable libraries belonging to our family seats. It has been sometimes remarked as singular, that England should possess so few great public libraries, while a poorer country, like Germany, can boast of its numerous and vast collections at Vienna, Prague, Munich, Stutgard, Goettingen, Wolfenbuttel, &c. The fact is partly explained by the many political divisions and capitals, and by the number of universities in Germany. But a further explanation may be found in the innumerable private libraries dispersed throughout England--many of them equal to public ones in extent and value, and most of them well furnished in classics, and in English and French literature.
The other peculiarity we would name about our English country-houses is, that they do not insulate their residents from the society and business of active life; which insulation is probably a cause, why so many proprietors in other countries pass their whole time in the metropolis or larger towns. The facility and speed of communication in England link together all places, however remote, and all interests, political and social, of the community. The country gentleman, sitting at his breakfast table a hundred miles from London, receives the newspapers printed there the night before; his books come to him still damp from the press; and the debates in parliament travel to every country-house in England within fifty or sixty hours of the time when they have taken place. The like facility exists as to provincial interests of every kind. The nobleman or country gentleman is a public functionary within his district, and no man residing on his estates is, or need feel himself, unimportant to the community. _Quarterly Rev._
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When summer's delightful season arrives, rarely in this country too warm to be enjoyed throughout the day in the open air, there is nothing more grateful than a profusion of choice flowers around and within our dwellings. The humblest apartments ornamented with these beautiful productions of nature have, in my view, a more delightful effect than the proudest saloons with gilded ceilings and hangings of Genoa velvet. The richness of the latter, indeed, would be heightened, and their elegance increased, by the judicious introduction of flowers and foliage into them. The odour of flowers, the cool appearance of the dark green leaves of some species, and the beautiful tints and varied forms of others, are singularly grateful to the sight, and refreshing at the same time. Vases of Etruscan mould, containing plants of the commonest kind, offer those lines of beauty which the eye delights in following; and variform leaves hanging festooned over them, and shading them if they be of a light colour, with a soft grateful hue, add much to their pleasing effect. These decorations are simple and cheap.
Lord Bacon, whose magnificence of mind exempts him from every objection as a model for the rest of mankind, (in all but the unfortunate error to which, perhaps, his sordid pursuit in life led him, to the degradation of his nobler intellect), was enthusiastically attached to flowers, and kept a succession of them about him in his study and at his table. Now the union of books and flowers is more particularly agreeable. Nothing, in my view, is half so delightful as a library set off with these beautiful productions of the earth during summer, or indeed, any other season of the year. A library or study, opening on green turf, and having the view of a distant rugged country, with a peep at the ocean between hills, a small fertile space forming the nearest ground, and an easy chair and books, is just as much of local enjoyment as a thinking man can desire--I reck not if under a thatched or slated roof, to me it is the same thing. A favourite author on my table, in the midst of my bouquets, and I speedily forget how the rest of the world wags. I fancy I am enjoying nature and art together, a consummation of luxury that never palls upon the appetite--a dessert of uncloying sweets.
Madame Roland seems to have felt very strongly the union of mental pleasure with that afforded to the senses by flowers. She somewhere says, "La vûe d'une fleur carresse mon imagination et flatte mes sens à un point inexprimable; elle réveille avec volupté le sentiment de mon existence. Sous le tranquil abri du toit paternel, j'étois heureuse des enfance avec des fleurs et des livres; dans l'étroite enciente d'une prison, au milieu des fers imposés par la tyrannie la plus revoltante, j'oublie l'injustice des hommes, leurs sottises, et mes maux, avec des livres et des fleurs." These pleasures, however, are too simple to be universally felt.
There is something delightful in the use which the eastern poets, particularly the Persian, make of flowers in their poetry. Their allusions are not casual, and in the way of metaphor and simile only; they seem really to hold them in high admiration. I am not aware that the flowers of Persia, except the rose, are more beautiful or more various than those of other countries. Perhaps England, including her gardens, green-houses, and fields, having introduced a vast variety from every climate, may exhibit a list unrivalled, as a whole, in odour and beauty. Yet flowers are not with us held in such high estimation as among the Orientals, if we are to judge from their poets.
Bowers of roses and flowers are perpetually alluded to in the writings of eastern poets. The Turks, and indeed the Orientals in general, have few images of voluptuousness without the richest flowers contributing towards them. The noblest palaces, where gilding, damask, and fine carpeting abound, would be essentially wanting in luxury without flowers. It cannot be from their odour alone that they are thus identified with pleasure; it is from their union of exquisite hues, fragrance, and beautiful forms, that they raise a sentiment of voluptuousness, in the mind; for whatever unites these qualities can scarcely do otherwise.
Whoever virtuously despises the opinion that simple and cheap pleasures, not only good, but in the very best taste, are of no value because they want a meretricious rarity, will fill their apartments with a succession of our better garden flowers. It has been said that flowers placed in bedrooms are not wholesome. This cannot be meant of such as are in a state of vegetation. Plucked and put into water, they quickly decay, and doubtless, give out a putrescent air; when alive and growing, there need not be any danger apprehended from them, provided fresh air is frequently introduced. For spacious rooms, the better kinds, during warm weather, are those which have a large leaf and bossy flower. Large leaves have a very agreeable effect on the senses; their rich green is grateful to the sight; of this kind, the Hydrangaea is remarkably well adapted for apartments, but it requires plenty of water. Those who have a greenhouse connected with their dwellings, have the convenience, by management, of changing their plants as the flowers decay; those who have not, and yet have space to afford them light and occasionally air, may rear most of those kinds under their own roof, which may be applied for ornament in summer. Vases of plaster, modelled from the antique, may be stained any colour most agreeable to the fancy, and fitted with tin cases to contain the earthen pots of flowers, to prevent the damp from acting on them, will look exceedingly well.
The infinite variety of roses, including the Guelder Rose; the Rhododendron, and other plants of similar growth, are fitted for the saloon, but they please best in the library. They should be intermingled with the bookcases, and stands filled with them should be placed wherever practicable. They are a wonderful relief to the student. There is always about them a something that infuses a sensation of placid joy, cheering and refreshing. Perhaps they were first introduced at festivals, in consequence of their possessing this quality. A flower garden is the scene of pleasurable feelings of innocence and elegance. The introduction of flowers into our rooms infuses the same sensations, but intermingles them more with our domestic comforts; so that we feel, as it were, in closer contact with them. The succession might be kept up for the greater part of the year; and even in winter, evergreens will supply their places, and, in some respects, contrast well with the season. Many fail in preserving the beauty of plants in their apartments, because they do not give them sufficient light. Some species do well with much less light than others. Light is as necessary to them as air. They should not be too often shifted from one place to another. Those who will take the trouble, may quicken the growth of some plants, so as to have spring flowers in winter. Thus Autumn and Spring might be connected; and flowers blooming in the Winter of our gloomy climate possess double attraction.
In the flower garden alcove, books are doubly grateful. As in the library ornamented with flowers they seem to be more enjoyed, so their union there is irresistibly attracting. To enjoy reading under such circumstances most, works of imagination are preferable to abstract subjects. Poetry and romance--"De Vere" and "Pelham"--lighter history-- the lively letters of the French school, like those of Sevigné and others--or natural history--these are best adapted to peruse amidst sweets and flowers: in short, any species of writing that does not keep the mind too intently fixed to allow the senses to wander occasionally over the scene around, and catch the beauty of the rich vegetation. To me the enjoyment derived from the union of books and flowers is of the very highest value among pleasurable sensations.
For my own part, I manage very well without the advantage of a greenhouse. The evergreens serve me in winter. Then the Lilacs come in, followed by the Guelder Rose and Woodbine, the latter trained in a pot upon circular trellis-work. After this there can be no difficulty in choosing, as the open air offers every variety. I arrange all my library and parlour-plants in a room in my dwelling-house facing the south, having a full portion of light, and a fireplace. I promote the growth of my flowers for the early part of the year by steam-warmth, and having large tubs and boxes of earth, I am at no loss, in my humble conservatory, for flowers of many kinds when our climate offers none. The trouble attending them is all my own, and is one of those employments which never appear laborious. Those who have better conveniences may proceed on a larger scale; but I contrive to keep up a due succession, which to a floral epicure is every thing. To be a day in the year without seeing a flower is a novelty to me, and I am persuaded much more might be done with my humble means than I have effected, had I sufficient leisure to attend to the retarding or forcing them. I cover every space in my sitting-room with these beautiful fairy things of creation, and take so much delight in the sight of them, that I cannot help recommending those of limited incomes, like myself, to follow my example and be their own nurserymen. The rich might easily obtain them without; but what they procure by gold, the individual of small means must obtain by industry. I know there are persons to whom the flowers of Paradise would be objects of indifference; but who can imitate, or envy such? They are grovellers, whose coarseness of taste is only fitted for the grossest food of life. The pleasures "des Fleurs et des Livres" are, as Henry IV. observed of his child, "the property of all the world."
_New Monthly Magazine._
* * * * *
PRINCIPLES OF BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.
_Shepherd_. (_Standing up_.) It's on principles like these--boldly and unblushingly avoo'd here--in Mr. Awmrose's paper-parlour, at the conclusion o' the sixth brodd, on the evening o' Monday the 22nd o' September, Anno Domini aughteen hunder and twunty-aught, within twa hours o' midnicht--that you, sir, have been yeditin' a Maggasin that has gone out to the uttermost corners o' the yerth, wherever civilization or uncivilization is known, deludin' and distracktin' men and women folk, till it's impossible for them to ken their right hand frae their left-- or whether they're standin' on their heels or their heads--or what byeuk ought to be perused, and what byeuk puttin intil the bottom o' pye- dishes, and trunks--or what awthor hissed, or what awthor hurraa'd--or what's flummery and what's philosophy--or what's rant and what's religion--or what's monopoly and what's free tredd--or wha's poets or wha's but Pats--or whether it's best to be drunk, or whether it's best to be sober a' hours o' the day and nicht--or if there should be rich church establishments as in England, or poor kirk ones as in Scotland-- or whether the Bishop o' Canterbury, wi' twenty thousan' a-year, is mair like a primitive Christian than the Minister o' Kirkintulloch wi' twa hunder and fifty--or if folk should aye be readin' sermons or fishin' for sawmon--or if it's best to marry or best to burn--or if the national debt hangs like a millstone round the neck o' the kintra or like a chain o' blae-berries--or if the Millennium be really close at haun'--or the present Solar System be calculated to last to a' eternity--or whether the people should be edicated up to the highest pitch o' perfection, or preferably to be all like trotters through the Bog o' Allen--or whether the government should subsedeeze foreign powers, or spend a' its sillar on oursells--or whether the Blacks and the Catholics should be emancipawted or no afore the demolition o' Priests and Obis--or whether (God forgie us baith for the hypothesis) man has a mortal or an immortal sowl--be a Phoenix--or an Eister!--_From the Noctes_.
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CURSES OF ABSENTEEISM.
What is the condition of the country-seat of the absentee proprietor? The mansion-house deserted and closed; the approaches to it ragged and grass grown; the chimneys, "those windpipes of good hospitality," as an old English poet calls them, giving no token of the cheerful fire within; the gardens running to waste, or, perchance, made a source of menial profit; the old family servants dismissed, and some rude bailiff, or country attorney, ruling paramount in the place. The surrounding cottagers, who have derived their support from the vicinage, deprived of this, pass into destitution and wretchedness; either abandoning their homes, throwing themselves upon parish relief, or seeking provision by means yet more desperate. The farming tenantry, though less immediately dependent, yet all partake, more or less, in the evil. The charities and hospitalities which belong to such a mansion lie dormant; the clergyman is no longer supported and aided in his important duties; the family pew in the church is closed; and the village churchyard ceases to be a place of pleasant meeting, where the peasant's heart is gladdened by the kindly notice of his landlord.
It is the struggle against retrenchment, the "paupertatis pudor et fuga," which has caused hundreds of English families, of property and consideration, to desert their family places, and to pass year after year in residence abroad. At the close of each London season, the question too often occurs as to the best mode of evading return to the country; and the sun of summer, instead of calling back the landlord to his tenants, and to the harvests of his own lands, sends him forth to the meagre adventures of continental roads and inns.--_Quarterly Rev._
* * * * *
THE KING OF DARKNESS.
_On the Fallen Angels._
They're gone to ply their ineffectual labour,-- To sow in guilt what they must reap in woe,-- Heaping upon themselves more deep damnation. Thus would I have it.--Little once I thought, When leagued with me in crime and punishment They fell,--condemned to an eternity Of exile from all joy and holiness-- And the first stains of sinfulness and sorrow Fell blight-like o'er their cherub lineaments-- Myself the cause--Albeit too proud for tears, Yet touch'd with their sad doom, I little thought I e'er should hate them thus.--Yet thus I hate them, With all that bitter agony of soul Which is the punishment of fiends. Alas! It was my high ambition, to hold sway, Sole, paramount, unquestion'd, o'er a third Of Heaven's resplendent legions:--Power and glory Dwelt on them, like an elemental essence That could not be destroyed.--I could not deem That aught could so extinguish the pure fire Of their sun-like beauty--yet 'tis changed!-- I gain'd them to my wish, and they are grown Too hateful to be look'd on.--Thus I've seen The frail fair dupe of amorous perfidy, The victim of a smile,--by man beguiled-- Won to debasement, and then left in loathing:-- Alas! I cannot leave my fatal conquest!-- Man! would I were the humblest mortal wretch, That crawls beneath yon shadowing temple's tower, Under the sky of Canaan; so I might Lay down this weight of sceptred misery, And fly for ever from myself and these! But Pride reproves the wish; and--it is useless; The unatonable deeds of ages rise Like clouds between me and the throne of Grace. I may not hope,--or fear,--still unsubdued, As when I ruled the anarchy of Heaven, I stand in Fate's despite,--firm and impassive To all that Chance, and Time, and Ruin bring. --In that disastrous day, when this vast world Shall, like a tempest-shaken edifice, Rock into giant fractures--as the sound Of the Archangel's trump, upon the deep, Bids fall the bonds of nature, to let forth Destruction's formless fiend from world to world, Trampling the stars to darkness,--Even then, Like that proud Roman exile, musing o'er The dust of fallen Carthage, I shall stand, Myself a solemn wreck, calm and unmoved Among the ruins of the works of God. And my last look shall be a look of triumph O'er the fallen pillars of the deep and sky; The wreck of nature by my deeds prepared-- Deeds--which o'erpay the power of Destiny.
* * * * *
"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."
ON A PICTURE OF HERO AND LEANDER.
_By T. Hood_.
Why, Lover, why Such a water-rover? Would she love thee more For coming _half seas over_?
Why, Lady, why So in love with dipping? Must a lad of _Greece_ Come all over _dripping_?
Why, Cupid, why Make the passage brighter? Were not any boat Better than a _lighter_?
Why, Maiden, why So intrusive standing? Must thou be on the stair, When he's on the _landing_?
* * * * *
On a tombstone in the churchyard of Christchurch, Hants, is the following curious inscription, which I copied on the spot. Perhaps some of your numerous readers can explain the same:--
WE WERE NOT SLAYNE BVT RAYSD RAYSD NOT TO LIFE BVT TO BE BVRIED TWICE BY MEN OF STRIFE
WHAT REST COVLD'TH LIVING HAVE WHEN DEAD HAD NONE AGREE AMONGST YOV HERE WE TEN ARE ONE HEN: ROGERS DIED APRILL 17, 1641. I R.
* * * * *
Thomas a Becket gave five pounds, equivalent to seventy-five pounds of the present money, for a dish of eels.
* * * * *
A famous scholar of the last century, when a boy, was exceedingly fond of the Greek language, and after he had been a short time at school, had acquired so much of the sound of the language, that when at home at dinner one day his father said, "Shall you not be glad, Harry, when you can tell me the names of every dish on the table in Greek?" "Yes," said he; "but I think I know what it must be." "Do you?" said the father; "what do you know about Greek?"--"Nothing," said the boy; "but I think I can guess from the sound of it what it would be." "Well, say then," said the father. He quickly replied, "Shouldromoton, alphagous, pasti- venizon." It appears the dinner consisted of a shoulder of mutton, half a goose, and venison pasty.
* * * * *
SNUFF AND TOBACCO.
In the year 1797, was circulated the following proposals for publishing by subscription, a History of Snuff and Tobacco, in Two Volumes:--
Vol. 1.--To contain a description of the nose--size of noses--a digression on Roman noses--whether long noses are symptomatic--origin of tobacco--tobacco first manufactured into snuff--inquiry who took the first pinch--essay on sneezing--whether the ancients sneezed, and at what--origin of pocket handkerchiefs--discrimination between snuffing and taking snuff; the former only applied to candles--parliamentary snuff-takers--troubles in the time of Charles I. as connected with smoking.
Vol. 2.--Snuff-takers in the parliamentary army--wit at a pinch--oval snuff-boxes first used by the roundheads--manufacture of tobacco pipes--dissertation on pipe-clay--state of snuff during the commonwealth--the union--Scotch snuff first introduced--found very pungent and penetrating--accession of George II.--snuff-boxes then made of gold and silver--George III.--Scotch snuff first introduced at court--the queen, German snuffs in fashion--female snuff-takers--clean tuckers, & c. &c--Index and List of Subscribers.
* * * * *
THE "ILL WIND," &c.
In debt, deserted, and forlorn, A melancholy elf Resolved, upon a Monday morn, To go and hang himself. He reach'd the tree, when lo! he views A pot of gold conceal'd; He snatch'd it up, threw down the noose, And scamper'd from the field. The owner came--found out the theft, And, having scratch'd his head, Took up the rope the other left, And hung himself, instead.
* * * * *
Gastronomers will feel a natural desire to know what was considered the "best universal sauce in the world," in the boon days of Charles II., at least what was accounted such, by the Duke of York, who was instructed to prepare it by the Spanish ambassador. It consisted of parsley, and a dry toast pounded in a mortar, with vinegar, salt, and pepper. The modern English would no more relish his royal highness's taste in condiments than in religion. A fashionable or cabinet dinner of the same period consisted of "a dish of marrow-bones, a leg of mutton, a dish of fowl, three pullets, and a dozen larks, all in a dish; a great tart, a neat's tongue, a dish of anchovies, a dish of prawns, and cheese." At the same period, a supper-dish, when the king supped with his mistress, Lady Castlemaine, was "a chine of beef roasted."
* * * * *
As I was, so are ye, As I am, you shall be. That I had, that I gave, That I gave, that I have. Thus I end all my cost, That I left, that I lost.
* * * * *
IMPROMPTU TO ----, ON HER MARRIAGE WITH MR. WILLIAM P----.
When ladies they wed, It ever is said That their _freedom_ away they have thrown; But you've not done so, For we very well know You will have a _Will_ of your own.
* * * * *
Lavater affirms, that no one whose person is not well formed can become a good physiognomist. Those painters were the best whose persons were the handsomest. Reubens, Vandyke, and Raphael possessed three gradations of beauty, and possessed three gradations of painting.
* * * * *
The French have a soup which they call "_Potage a la Camerani_" of which it is said "a single spoonful will lap the palate in Elysium; and while one drop remains on the tongue, each other sense is eclipsed by the voluptuous thrilling of the lingual nerves!"
* * * * *
A JAPANESE BEAUTY.
Her face was oval, her features regular, and her little mouth, when open, disclosed a set of shining, black lacquered teeth; her hair was black, and rolled up in the form of a turban, without any ornament, except a few tortoiseshell combs; she had sparkling, dark eyes, was about the middle size, and elegantly formed; her dress consisted of six wadded silk garments, similar to our night-gowns, each fastened round the lower part of the waist by a separate band, and drawn close together from the girdle downwards; they were all of different colours, and the uppermost was black.
* * * * *
I hate a fellow who was never young; he is like a dull Italian year, where the trees are always in leaf, and when the only way of knowing the difference of the seasons is by referring to an almanack. The inconstancy of the spring may surely be excused for the steady warmth of summer and the rich plenty of autumn; then comes the hoar of winter old gentleman, and closes the scene not ungracefully.--_Old Play._
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