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Title: The Every-day Book and Table Book. v. 3 (of 3)

Author: William Hone

Release date: October 15, 2016 [eBook #53277]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Harry Lamé, Google Books for
some images. and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images
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*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE EVERY-DAY BOOK AND TABLE BOOK. V. 3 (OF 3) ***

Please see the Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this text.

Please see the Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this text.
The cover image has been created for this e-text and is placed in the public domain.

PETRARCH’S INKSTAND.
In the Possession of Miss Edgeworth, presented to her by a Lady.

By beauty won from soft Italia’s land,
Here Cupid, Petrarch’s Cupid, takes his stand.
Arch suppliant, welcome to thy fav’rite isle,
Close thy spread wings, and rest thee here awhile;
Still the true heart with kindred strains inspire,
Breathe all a poet’s softness, all his fire;
But if the perjured knight approach this font,
Forbid the words to come as they were wont,
Forbid the ink to flow, the pen to write,
And send the false one baffled from thy sight.

Miss Edgeworth.

THE
EVERY-DAY BOOK
AND
TABLE BOOK;
OR,
EVERLASTING CALENDAR OF POPULAR AMUSEMENTS,
SPORTS, PASTIMES, CEREMONIES, MANNERS,
CUSTOMS, AND EVENTS,

INCIDENT TO
Each of the Three Hundred and Sixty-five Days,
IN PAST AND PRESENT TIMES;
FORMING A
COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE YEAR, MONTHS, AND SEASONS,
AND A
PERPETUAL KEY TO THE ALMANAC;
INCLUDING
ACCOUNTS OF THE WEATHER, RULES FOR HEALTH AND CONDUCT, REMARKABLE AND
IMPORTANT ANECDOTES, FACTS, AND NOTICES, IN CHRONOLOGY, ANTIQUITIES, TOPO-
GRAPHY, BIOGRAPHY, NATURAL HISTORY, ART, SCIENCE, AND GENERAL LITERATURE;
DERIVED FROM THE MOST AUTHENTIC SOURCES, AND VALUABLE ORIGINAL COMMUNI-
CATIONS, WITH POETICAL ELUCIDATIONS, FOR DAILY USE AND DIVERSION.


BY WILLIAM HONE.


I tell of festivals, and fairs, and plays,
Of merriment, and mirth, and bonfire blaze;
I tell of Christmas-mummings, new year’s day,
Of twelfth-night king and queen, and children’s play;
I tell of valentines, and true-love’s-knots,
Of omens, cunning men, and drawing lots:
I tell of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July-flowers;
I tell of May-poles, hock-carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal cakes;
I tell of groves, of twilights, and I sing
The court of Mab, and of the fairy king.

Herrick.


WITH FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SIX ENGRAVINGS.


IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. III.

LONDON:
PRINTED FOR THOMAS TEGG,
73, CHEAPSIDE.


J. HADDON, PRINTER, CASTLE STREET, FINSBURY.


PREFACE.

On the close of the Every-Day Book, which commenced on New Year’s Day, 1825, and ended in the last week of 1826, I began this work.

The only prospectus of the Table Book was the eight versified lines on the title-page. They appeared on New Year’s Day, prefixed to the first number; which, with the successive sheets, to the present date, constitute the volume now in the reader’s hands, and the entire of my endeavours during the half year.

So long as I am enabled, and the public continue to be pleased, the Table Book will be continued. The kind reception of the weekly numbers, and the monthly parts, encourages me to hope that like favour will be extended to the half-yearly volume. Its multifarious contents and the illustrative engravings, with the help of the copious index, realize my wish, “to please the young, and help divert the wise.” Perhaps, if the good old window-seats had not gone out of fashion, it might be called a parlour-window book—a good name for a volume of agreeable reading selected from the book-case, and left lying about, for the constant recreation of the family, and the casual amusement of visitors.

W. HONE.

Midsummer, 1827.


THE FRONTISPIECE.
PETRARCH’S INKSTAND.

Miss Edgeworth’s lines express her estimation of the gem she has the happiness to own. That lady allowed a few casts from it in bronze, and a gentleman who possesses one, and who favours the “Table Book” with his approbation, permits its use for a frontispiece to this volume. The engraving will not be questioned as a decoration, and it has some claim to be regarded as an elegant illustration of a miscellany which draws largely on art and literature, and on nature itself, towards its supply.

“I delight,” says Petrarch, “in my pictures. I take great pleasure also in images; they come in show more near unto nature than pictures, for they do but appear; but these are felt to be substantial, and their bodies are more durable. Amongst the Grecians the art of painting was esteemed above all handycrafts, and the chief of all the liberal arts. How great the dignity hath been of statues; and how fervently the study and desire of men have reposed in such pleasures, emperors and kings, and other noble personages, nay, even persons of inferior degree, have shown, in their industrious keeping of them when obtained.” Insisting on the golden mean, as a rule of happiness, he says, “I possess an amazing collection of books, for attaining this, and every virtue: great is my delight in beholding such a treasure.” He slights persons who collect books “for the pleasure of boasting they have them; who furnish their chambers with what was invented to furnish their minds; and use them no otherwise than they do their Corinthian tables, or their painted tables and images, to look at.” He contemns others who esteem not the true value of books, but the price at which they may sell them—“a new practice” (observe it is Petrarch that speaks) “crept in among the rich, whereby they may attain one art more of unruly desire.” He repeats, with rivetting force, “I have great plenty of books: where such scarcity has been lamented, this is no small possession: I have an inestimable many of books!” He was a diligent collector, and a liberal imparter of these treasures. He corresponded with Richard de Bury, an illustrious prelate of our own country, eminent for his love of learning and learned men, and sent many precious volumes to England to enrich the bishop’s magnificent library. He vividly remarks, “I delight passionately in my books;” and yet he who had accumulated them largely, estimated them rightly: he has a saying of books worthy of himself—“a wise man seeketh not quantity but sufficiency.”

Petrarch loved the quiet scenes of nature, and these can scarcely be observed from a carriage or while riding, and are never enjoyed but on foot; and to me—on whom that discovery was imposed, and who am sometimes restrained from country walks, by necessity—it was no small pleasure, when I read a passage in his “View of Human Nature,” which persuaded me of his fondness for the exercise: “A journey on foot hath most pleasant commodities; a man may go at his pleasure; none shall stay him, none shall carry him beyond his wish; none shall trouble him; he hath but one labour, the labour of nature—to go.”

In “The Indicator” there is a paper of peculiar beauty, by Mr. Leigh Hunt, “on receiving a sprig of myrtle from Vaucluse,” with a paragraph suitable to this occasion: “We are supposing that all our readers are acquainted with Petrarch. Many of them doubtless know him intimately. Should any of them want an introduction to him, how should we speak of him in the gross? We should say, that he was one of the finest gentlemen and greatest scholars that ever lived; that he was a writer who flourished in Italy in the fourteenth century, at the time when Chaucer was young, during the reigns of our Edwards; that he was the greatest light of his age; that although so fine a writer himself, and the author of a multitude of works, or rather because he was both, he took the greatest pains to revive the knowledge of the ancient learning, recommending it every where, and copying out large manuscripts with his own hand; that two great cities, Paris and Rome, contended which should have the honour of crowning him; that he was crowned publicly, in the metropolis of the world, with laurel and with myrtle; that he was the friend of Boccaccio the father of Italian prose; and lastly, that his greatest renown nevertheless, as well as the predominant feelings of his existence, arose from the long love he bore for a lady of Avignon, the far-famed Laura, whom he fell in love with on the 6th of April, 1327, on a Good Friday; whom he rendered illustrious in a multitude of sonnets, which have left a sweet sound and sentiment in the ear of all after lovers; and who died, still passionately beloved, in the year 1348, on the same day and hour on which he first beheld her. Who she was, or why their connection was not closer, remains a mystery. But that she was a real person, and that in spite of all her modesty she did not show an insensible countenance to his passion, is clear from his long-haunted imagination, from his own repeated accounts, from all that he wrote, uttered, and thought. One love, and one poet, sufficed to give the whole civilized world a sense of delicacy in desire, of the abundant riches to be found in one single idea, and of the going out of a man’s self to dwell in the soul and happiness of another, which has served to refine the passion for all modern times; and perhaps will do so, as long as love renews the world.”

At Vaucluse, or Valchiusa, “a remarkable spot in the old poetical region of Provence, consisting of a little deep glen of green meadows surrounded with rocks, and containing the fountain of the river Sorgue,” Petrarch resided for several years, and composed in it the greater part of his poems.

The following is a translation by sir William Jones, of

AN ODE, BY PETRARCH,
To the Fountain of Valchiusa

Ye clear and sparkling streams!
(Warm’d by the sunny beams)
Through whose transparent crystal Laura play’d;
Ye boughs that deck the grove,
Where Spring her chaplets wove,
While Laura lay beneath the quivering shade;
Sweet herbs! and blushing flowers!
That crown yon vernal bowers,
For ever fatal, yet for ever dear;
And ye, that heard my sighs
When first she charm’d my eyes,
Soft-breathing gales! my dying accents hear.
If Heav’n has fix’d my doom,
That Love must quite consume
My bursting heart, and close my eyes in death
Ah! grant this slight request,—
That here my urn may rest,
When to its mansion flies my vital breath.
This pleasing hope will smooth
My anxious mind, and soothe
The pangs of that inevitable hour;
My spirit will not grieve
Her mortal veil to leave
In these calm shades, and this enchanting bower
Haply, the guilty maid
Through yon accustom’d glade
To my sad tomb will take her lonely way
Where first her beauty’s light
O’erpower’d my dazzled sight,
When love on this fair border bade me stray:
There, sorrowing, shall she see,
Beneath an aged tree,
Her true, but hapless lover’s lowly bier;
Too late her tender sighs
Shall melt the pitying skies,
And her soft veil shall hide the gushing tear
O! well-remember’d day,
When on yon bank she lay,
Meek in her pride, and in her rigour mild;
The young and blooming flowers,
Falling in fragrant showers,
Shone on her neck, and on her bosom smil’d
Some on her mantle hung,
Some in her locks were strung,
Like orient gems in rings of flaming gold;
Some, in a spicy cloud
Descending, call’d aloud,
“Here Love and Youth the reins of empire hold.”
I view’d the heavenly maid
And, rapt in wonder, said—
“The groves of Eden gave this angel birth,”
Her look, her voice, her smile,
That might all Heaven beguile,
Wafted my soul above the realms of earth
The star-bespangled skies
Were open’d to my eyes;
Sighing I said, “Whence rose this glittering scene?”
Since that auspicious hour,
This bank, and odorous bower,
My morning couch, and evening haunt have been.
Well mayst thou blush, my song,
To leave the rural throng
And fly thus artless to my Laura’s ear,
But, were thy poet’s fire
Ardent as his desire,
Thou wert a song that Heaven might stoop to hear

It is within probability to imagine, that the original of this “ode” may have been impressed on the paper, by Petrarch’s pen, from the inkstand of the frontispiece.


[I-1,
I-2]

Vol. I.—1.

THE
TABLE BOOK.


Formerly, a “Table Book” was a memorandum book, on which any thing was graved or written without ink. It is mentioned by Shakspeare. Polonius, on disclosing Ophelia’s affection for Hamlet to the king, inquires

“When I had seen this hot love on the wing,
—————————— what might you,
Or my dear majesty, your queen here, think,
If I had play’d the desk, or table-book?”

Dr. Henry More, a divine, and moralist, of the succeeding century, observes, that “Nature makes clean the table-book first, and then portrays upon it what she pleaseth.” In this sense, it might have been used instead of a tabula rasa, or sheet of blank writing paper, adopted by Locke as an illustration of the human mind in its incipiency. It is figuratively introduced to nearly the same purpose by Swift: he tells us that

“Nature’s fair table-book, our tender souls,
We scrawl all o’er with old and empty rules,
Stale memorandums of the schools.”

Dryden says, “Put into your Table-Book whatsoever you judge worthy.”[1]

I hope I shall not unworthily err, if, in the commencement of a work under this title, I show what a Table Book was.

Table books, or tablets, of wood, existed before the time of Homer, and among the Jews before the Christian æra. The table books of the Romans were nearly like ours, which will be described presently; except that the leaves, which were two, three, or more in number, were of wood surfaced with wax. They wrote on them with a style, one end of which was pointed for that purpose, and the other end rounded or flattened, for effacing or scraping out. Styles were made of nearly all the metals, as well as of bone and ivory; they were differently formed, and resembled ornamented skewers; the common style was iron. More anciently, the leaves of the table book were without wax, and marks were made by the iron style on the bare wood. The Anglo-Saxon style was very handsome. Dr. Pegge was of opinion that the well-known jewel of Alfred, preserved in the Ashmolean museum at Oxford, was the head of the style sent by that king with Gregory’s Pastoral to Athelney.[2]

A gentleman, whose profound knowledge of domestic antiquities surpasses that of preceding antiquaries, and remains unrivalled by his contemporaries, in his “Illustrations of Shakspeare,” notices Hamlet’s expression, “My tables,—meet it is I set it down.” On that passage he observes, that the Roman practice of writing on wax tablets with a style was continued through the middle ages; and that specimens of wooden tables, filled with wax, and constructed in the fourteenth century, were preserved in several of the monastic libraries in France. Some of these consisted of as many as twenty pages, formed into a book by means of parchment bands glued to the backs of the leaves. He says that in the middle ages there were table books of ivory, and sometimes, of late, in the form of a small portable book with leaves and clasps; and he transfers a figure of one of the latter from an old work[3] to his own: it resembles the common “slate-books” still sold in the stationers’ shops. He presumes that to such a table book the archbishop of York alludes in the second part of King Henry IV.,

“And therefore will he wipe his tables clean
And keep no tell tale to his memory.”

As in the middle ages there were table-books with ivory leaves, this gentleman remarks that, in Chaucer’s “Sompnour’s Tale,” one of the friars is provided with

“A pair of tables all of ivory,
And a pointel ypolished fetishly,
And wrote alway the names, as he stood,
Of alle folk that yave hem any good.”

He instances it as remarkable, that neither public nor private museums furnished specimens of the table books, common in Shakspeare’s time. Fortunately, this observation is no longer applicable.

A correspondent, understood to be Mr. Douce, in Dr. Aikin’s “Athenæum,” subsequently says, “I happen to possess a table-book of Shakspeare’s time. It is a little book, nearly square, being three inches wide and something less than four in length, bound stoutly in calf, and fastening with four strings of broad, strong, brown tape. The title as follows: ‘Writing Tables, with a Kalender for xxiiii yeeres, with sundrie necessarie rules. The Tables made by Robert Triple. London, Imprinted for the Company of Stationers.’ The tables are inserted immediately after the almanack. At first sight they appear like what we call asses-skin, the colour being precisely [I-3,
I-4]
the same, but the leaves are thicker: whatever smell they may have had is lost, and there is no gloss upon them. It might be supposed that the gloss has been worn off; but this is not the case, for most of the tables have never been written on. Some of the edges being a little worn, show that the middle of the leaf consists of paper; the composition is laid on with great nicety. A silver style was used, which is sheathed in one of the covers, and which produces an impression as distinct, and as easily obliterated as a black-lead pencil. The tables are interleaved with common paper.”

In July, 1808, the date of the preceding communication, I, too, possessed a table book, and silver style, of an age as ancient, and similar to that described; except that it had not “a Kalender.” Mine was brought to me by a poor person, who found it in Covent-garden on a market day. There were a few ill-spelt memoranda respecting vegetable matters formed on its leaves with the style. It had two antique slender brass clasps, which were loose; the ancient binding had ceased from long wear to do its office, and I confided it to Mr. Wills, the almanack publisher in Stationers’-court, for a better cover and a silver clasp. Each being ignorant of what it was, we spoiled “a table-book of Shakspeare’s time.”

The most affecting circumstance relating to a table book is in the life of the beautiful and unhappy “Lady Jane Grey.” “Sir John Gage, constable of the Tower, when he led her to execution, desired her to bestow on him some small present, which he might keep as a perpetual memorial of her: she gave him her table-book, wherein she had just written three sentences, on seeing her husband’s body; one in Greek, another in Latin, and a third in English. The purport of them was, that human justice was against his body, but the divine mercy would be favourable to his soul; and that, if her fault deserved punishment, her youth at least, and her imprudence, were worthy of excuse, and that God and posterity, she trusted, would show her favour.”[4]


Having shown what the ancient table book was, it may be expected that I should say something about

My
Table Book.

The title is to be received in a larger sense than the obsolete signification: the old table books were for private use—mine is for the public; and the more the public desire it, the more I shall be gratified. I have not the folly to suppose it will pass from my table to every table, but I think that not a single sheet can appear on the table of any family without communicating some information, or affording some diversion.

On the title-page there are a few lines which briefly, yet adequately, describe the collections in my Table Book: and, as regards my own “sayings and doings,” the prevailing disposition of my mind is perhaps sufficiently made known through the Every-Day Book. In the latter publication, I was inconveniently limited as to room; and the labour I had there prescribed to myself, of commemorating every day, frequently prevented me from topics that would have been more agreeable to my readers than the “two grains of wheat in a bushel of chaff,” which I often consumed my time and spirits in endeavouring to discover—and did not always find.

In my Table Book, which I hope will never be out of “season,” I take the liberty to “annihilate both time and space,” to the extent of a few lines or days, and lease, and talk, when and where I can, according to my humour. Sometimes I present an offering of “all sorts,” simpled from out-of-the-way and in-the-way books; and, at other times, gossip to the public, as to an old friend, diffusely or briefly, as I chance to be more or less in the giving “vein,” about a passing event, a work just read, a print in my hand, the thing I last thought of, or saw, or heard, or, to be plain, about “whatever comes uppermost.” In short, my collections and recollections come forth just as I happen to suppose they may be most agreeable or serviceable to those whom I esteem, or care for, and by whom I desire to be respected.

My Table Book is enriched and diversified by the contributions of my friends; the teemings of time, and the press, give it novelty; and what I know of works of art, with something of imagination, and the assistance of artists, enable me to add pictorial embellishment. My object is to blend information with amusement, and utility with diversion.

My Table Book, therefore, is a series of continually shifting scenes—a kind of literary kaleidoscope, combining popular forms with singular appearances—by which youth and age of all ranks may be amused; and to which, I respectfully trust, many will gladly add something, to improve its views.


[1] Johnson.

[2] Fosbroke’s Encyclopædia of Antiquities.

[3] Gesner De rerum fossilium figuris, &c. Tigur. 1565. 12mo.

[4] Glossary by Mr. Archd. Nares.


[I-5,
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Ode to the New Year
From the Every Day Book: set to Music for the Table Book,
By J. K.

music
All hail to the birth of the Year! See golden-hair’d
Phœbus afar, Prepares to renew his career, And is
mounting his dew-spangled car. Stern Winter congeals every
brook, That murmur’d so lately with glee, And places a
snowy peruke On the head of each bald-pated tree.

Play music:
midi (3 kB)

⁂ For the remaining verses, see the Every-Day Book, vol ii. p. 25.


[I-7,
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The New Year.

HAGMAN-HEIGH.

Anciently on new year’s day the Romans were accustomed to carry small presents, as new year’s gifts, to the senators, under whose protection they were severally placed. In the reigns of the emperors, they flocked in such numbers with valuable ones, that various decrees were made to abolish the custom; though it always continued among that people. The Romans who settled in Britain, or the families connected with them by marriage, introduced these new year’s gifts among our forefathers, who got the habit of making presents, even to the magistrates. Some of the fathers of the church wrote against them, as fraught with the greatest abuses, and the magistrates were forced to relinquish them. Besides the well-known anecdote of sir Thomas More, when lord chancellor,[5] many instances might be adduced from old records, of giving a pair of gloves, some with “linings,” and others without. Probably from thence has been derived the fashion of giving a pair of gloves upon particular occasions, as at marriages, funerals, &c. New year’s gifts continue to be received and given by all ranks of people, to commemorate the sun’s return, and the prospect of spring, when the gifts of nature are shared by all. Friends present some small tokens of esteem to each other—husbands to their wives, and parents to their children. The custom keeps up a cheerful and friendly intercourse among acquaintance, and leads to that good-humour and mirth so necessary to the spirits in this dreary season. Chandlers send as presents to their customers large mould candles; grocers give raisins, to make a Christmas pudding, or a pack of cards, to assist in spending agreeably the long evenings. In barbers’ shops “thrift-box,” as it is called, is put by the apprentice boys against the wall, and every customer, according to his inclination, puts something in. Poor children, and old infirm persons, beg, at the doors of the charitable, a small pittance, which, though collected in small sums, yet, when put together, forms to them a little treasure; so that every heart, in all situations of life, beats with joy at the nativity of his Saviour.

The Hagman Heigh is an old custom observed in Yorkshire on new year’s eve, as appertaining to the season. The keeper of the pinfold goes round the town, attended by a rabble at his heels, and knocking at certain doors, sings a barbarous song, beginning with—

“Tonight it is the new year’s night, to-morrow is the day;
We are come about for our right and for our ray,
As we us’d to do in old king Henry’s day:
Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman Heigh,” &c.

The song always concludes with “wishing a merry Christmas and a happy new year.” When wood was chiefly used as fuel, in heating ovens at Christmas, this was the most appropriate season for the hagman, or wood-cutter, to remind his customers of his services, and to solicit alms. The word hag is still used in Yorkshire, to signify a wood. The “hagg” opposite to Easby formerly belonged to the abbey, to supply them with fuel. Hagman may be a name compounded from it. Some derive it from the Greek Αγιαμηνη, the holy month, when the festivals of the church for our Saviour’s birth were celebrated. Formerly, on the last day of the year, the monks and friars used to make a plentiful harvest, by begging from door to door, and reciting a kind of carol, at the end of every stave of which they introduced the words “agia mene,” alluding to the birth of Christ. A very different interpretation, however, was given to it by one John Dixon, a Scotch presbyterian minister, when holding forth against this custom in one of his sermons at Kelso. “Sirs, do you know what the hagman signifies? It is the devil to be in the house; that is the meaning of its Hebrew original.”[6]


SONNET
ON THE NEW YEAR.

When we look back on hours long past away,
And every circumstance of joy, or woe
That goes to make this strange beguiling show,
Call’d life, as though it were of yesterday,
We start to learn our quickness of decay.
Still flies unwearied Time;—on still we go
And whither?—Unto endless weal or woe,
As we have wrought our parts in this brief play.
Yet many have I seen whose thin blanched locks
But ill became a head where Folly dwelt,
Who having past this storm with all its shocks,
Had nothing learnt from what they saw or felt:
Brave spirits! that can look, with heedless eye,
On doom unchangeable, and fixt eternity.

[5] Every-Day Book, i. 9.

[6] Clarkson’s History of Richmond, cited by a correspondent, A. B.


[I-9,
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Antiquities.

Westminster Abbey.

The following letter, written by Horace Walpole, in relation to the tombs, is curious. Dr. ——, whom he derides, was Dr. Zachary Pearce, dean of Westminster, and editor of Longinus, &c.

Strawberry-hill, 1761.

I heard lately, that Dr. ——, a very learned personage, had consented to let the tomb of Aylmer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, a very great personage, be removed for Wolfe’s monument; that at first he had objected, but was wrought upon by being told that hight Aylmer was a knight templar, a very wicked set of people as his lordship had heard, though he knew nothing of them, as they are not mentioned by Longinus. I own I thought this a made story, and wrote to his lordship, expressing my concern that one of the finest and most ancient monuments in the abbey should be removed; and begging, if it was removed, that he would bestow it on me, who would erect and preserve it here. After a fortnight’s deliberation, the bishop sent me an answer, civil indeed, and commending my zeal for antiquity! but avowing the story under his own hand. He said, that at first they had taken Pembroke’s tomb for a knight templar’s;—observe, that not only the man who shows the tombs names it every day, but that there is a draught of it at large in Dart’s Westminster;—that upon discovering whose it was, he had been very unwilling to consent to the removal, and at last had obliged Wilton to engage to set it up within ten feet of where it stands at present. His lordship concluded with congratulating me on publishing learned authors at my press. I don’t wonder that a man who thinks Lucan a learned author, should mistake a tomb in his own cathedral. If I had a mind to be angry, I could complain with reason,—as having paid forty pounds for ground for my mother’s funeral—that the chapter of Westminster sell their church over and over again: the ancient monuments tumble upon one’s head through their neglect, as one of them did, and killed a man at lady Elizabeth Percy’s funeral; and they erect new waxen dolls of queen Elizabeth, &c. to draw visits and money from the mob.


Biographical Memoranda.

Cometary Influence.

Brantome relates, that the duchess of Angoulême, in the sixteenth century, being awakened during the night, she was surprised at an extraordinary brightness which illuminated her chamber; apprehending it to be the fire, she reprimanded her women for having made so large a one; but they assured her it was caused by the moon. The duchess ordered her curtains to be undrawn, and discovered that it was a comet which produced this unusual light. “Ah!” exclaimed she, “this is a phenomenon which appears not to persons of common condition. Shut the window, it is a comet, which announces my departure; I must prepare for death.” The following morning she sent for her confessor, in the certainty of an approaching dissolution. The physicians assured her that her apprehensions were ill founded and premature. “If I had not,” replied she, “seen the signal for death, I could believe it, for I do not feel myself exhausted or peculiarly ill.” On the third day after this event she expired, the victim of terror. Long after this period all appearances of the celestial bodies, not perfectly comprehended by the multitude, were supposed to indicate the deaths of sovereigns, or revolutions in their governments.


Two Painters.

When the duke d’Aremberg was confined at Antwerp, a person was brought in as a spy, and imprisoned in the same place. The duke observed some slight sketches by his fellow prisoner on the wall, and, conceiving they indicated talent, desired Rubens, with whom he was intimate, and by whom he was visited, to bring with him a pallet and pencils for the painter, who was in custody with him. The materials requisite for painting were given to the artist, who took for his subject a group of soldiers playing at cards in the corner of a prison. When Rubens saw the picture, he cried out that it was done by Brouwer, whose works he had often seen, and as often admired. Rubens offered six hundred guineas for it; the duke would by no means part with it, but presented the painter with a larger sum. Rubens exerted his interest, and obtained the liberty of Brouwer, by becoming his surety, received him into his house, clothed as well as maintained him, and took pains to make the world acquainted with his merit. But the levity of Brouwer’s temper would not suffer him long to consider his situation any better than a state of confinement; he therefore quitted Rubens, and died shortly afterwards, in consequence of a dissolute course of life.


[I-11,
I-12]

Representation of a Pageant Vehicle and Play.

Representation of a Pageant Vehicle and Play.

The state, and reverence, and show,
Were so attractive, folks would go
From all parts, ev’ry year, to see
These pageant-plays at Coventry.

This engraving is from a very curious print in Mr. Sharp’s “Dissertatien on the Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries, anciently performed at Coventry.”

[I-13,
I-14]

Coventry is distinguished in the history of the drama, because, under the title of “Ludus Coventriæ,” there exists a manuscript volume of most curious early plays, not yet printed, nor likely to be, unless there are sixty persons, at this time sufficiently concerned for our ancient literature and manners, to encourage a spirited gentleman to print a limited number of copies. If by any accident the manuscript should be destroyed, these plays, the constant theme of literary antiquaries from Dugdale to the present period, will only be known through the partial extracts of writers, who have sometimes inaccurately transcribed from the originals in the British Museum.[7]

Mr. Sharp’s taste and attainments qualifying him for the task, and his residence at Coventry affording him facility of research among the muniments of the corporation, he has achieved the real labour of drawing from these and other unexplored sources, a body of highly interesting facts, respecting the vehicles, characters, and dresses of the actors in the pageants or dramatic mysteries anciently performed by the trading companies of that city; which, together with accounts of municipal entertainments of a public nature, form his meritorious volume.

Very little has been known respecting the stage “properties,” before the rise of the regular drama, and therefore the abundant matter of that nature, adduced by this gentleman, is peculiarly valuable. With “The Taylors’ and Shearemens’ Pagant,” complete from the original manuscript, he gives the songs and the original music, engraved on three plates, which is eminently remarkable, because it is, perhaps, the only existing specimen of the melodies in the old Mysteries. There are ten other plates in the work; one of them represents the club, or maul, of Pilate, a character in the pageant of the Cappers’ company. “By a variety of entries it appears he had a club or maul, stuffed with wool; and that the exterior was formed of leather, is authenticated by the actual existence of such a club or maul, discovered by the writer of this Dissertation, in an antique chest within the Cappers’ chapel, (together with an iron cresset, and some fragments of armour,) where it had probably remained ever since the breaking up of the pageant.” The subject of the Cappers’ pageant was usually the trial and crucifixion of Christ, and the descent into hell.

The pageant vehicles were high scaffolds with two rooms, a higher and a lower, constructed upon four or six wheels; in the lower room the performers dressed, and in the higher room they played. This higher room, or rather, as it may be called, the “stage,” was all open on the top, that the beholders might hear and see. On the day of performance the vehicles were wheeled, by men, from place to place, throughout the city; the floor was strewed with rushes; and to conceal the lower room, wherein the performers dressed, cloths were hung round the vehicle: there is reason to believe that, on these cloths, the subject of the performance was painted or worked in tapestry. The higher room of the Drapers’ vehicle was embattled, and ornamented with carved work, and a crest; the Smiths’ had vanes, burnished and painted, with streamers flying.

In an engraving which is royal quarto, the size of the work, Mr. Sharp has laudably endeavoured to convey a clear idea of the appearance of a pageant vehicle, and of the architectural appearance of the houses in Coventry, at the time of performing the Mysteries. So much of that engraving as represents the vehicle is before the reader on the preceding page. The vehicle, supposed to be of the Smiths’ company, is stationed near the Cross in the Cross-cheaping, and the time of action chosen is the period when Pilate, on the charges of Caiphas and Annas, is compelled to give up Christ for execution. Pilate is represented on a throne, or chair of state; beside him stands his son with a sceptre and poll-axe, and beyond the Saviour are the two high priests; the two armed figures behind are knights. The pageant cloth bears the symbols of the passion.

Besides the Coventry Mysteries and other matters, Mr. Sharp notices those of Chester, and treats largely on the ancient setting of the watch on Midsummer and St. John’s Eve, the corporation giants, morris dancers, minstrels, and waites.


I could not resist the very fitting opportunity on the opening of the new year, and of the Table Book together, to introduce a memorandum, that so important an accession has accrued to our curious literature, [I-15,
I-16]
as Mr. Sharp’s “Dissertation on the Coventry Mysteries.”


[7] By a notice in Mr. Sharp’s “Dissertation,” he proposes to publish the “Coventry Mysteries,” with notes and illustrations, in two vols. octavo: 100 copies on royal paper, at three guineas; and 25, on imperial paper, at five guineas. Notwithstanding he limits the entire impression to these 125 copies, and will commence to print as soon as the names of sixty subscribers are sent to his publishers, it appears that this small number is not yet complete. The fact is mentioned here, because it will be a reproach to the age if such an overture is not embraced.


The Thing to a T.

A young man, brought up in the city of London to the business of an undertaker, went to Jamaica to better his condition. Business flourished, and he wrote to his father in Bishopsgate-street to send him, with a quantity of black and grey cloth, twenty gross of black Tacks. Unfortunately he had omitted the top to his T, and the order stood twenty gross of black Jacks. His correspondent, on receiving the letter, recollected a man, near Fleet-market, who made quart and pint tin pots, ornamented with painting, and which were called black Jacks, and to him he gave the order for the twenty gross of black Jacks. The maker, surprised, said, he had not so many ready, but would endeavour to complete the order; this was done, and the articles were shipped. The undertaker received them with other consignments, and was astonished at the mistake. A friend, fond of speculation, offered consolation, by proposing to purchase the whole at the invoice price. The undertaker, glad to get rid of an article he considered useless in that part of the world, took the offer. His friend immediately advertised for sale a number of fashionable punch vases just arrived from England, and sold the jacks, gaining 200 per cent.!

The young undertaker afterwards discoursing upon his father’s blunder, was told by his friend, in a jocose strain, to order a gross of warming-pans, and see whether the well-informed correspondents in London would have the sagacity to consider such articles necessary in the latitude of nine degrees north. The young man laughed at the suggestion, but really put in practice the joke. He desired his father in his next letter to send a gross of warming-pans, which actually, and to the great surprise of the son, reached the island of Jamaica. What to do with this cargo he knew not. His friend again became a purchaser at prime cost, and having knocked off the covers, informed the planters, that he had just imported a number of newly-constructed sugar ladles. The article under that name sold rapidly, and returned a large profit. The parties returned to England with fortunes, and often told the story of the black jacks and warming-pans over the bottle, adding, that “Nothing is lost in a good market.”


Books.

—————————————— Give me
Leave to enjoy myself. That place, that does
Contain my books, the best companions, is
To me a glorious court, where hourly I
Converse with the old sages and philosophers;
And sometimes for variety, I confer
With kings and emperors, and weigh their counsels;
Calling their victories, if unjustly got,
Unto a strict account; and in my fancy,
Deface their ill-placed statues. Can I then
Part with such constant pleasures, to embrace
Uncertain vanities? No: be it your care
To augment a heap of wealth: it shall be mine
To increase in knowledge.

Fletcher.


Imagination.

Imagination enriches every thing. A great library contains not only books, but “the assembled souls of all that men held wise.” The moon is Homer’s and Shakspeare’s moon, as well as the one we look at. The sun comes out of his chamber in the east, with a sparkling eye, “rejoicing like a bridegroom.” The commonest thing becomes like Aaron’s rod, that budded. Pope called up the spirits of the Cabala to wait upon a lock of hair, and justly gave it the honours of a constellation; for he has hung it, sparkling for ever, in the eyes of posterity. A common meadow is a sorry thing to a ditcher or a coxcomb; but by the help of its dues from imagination and the love of nature, the grass brightens for us, the air soothes us, we feel as we did in the daisied hours of childhood. Its verdures, its sheep, its hedge-row elms,—all these, and all else which sight, and sound, and association can give it, are made to furnish a treasure of pleasant thoughts. Even brick and mortar are vivified, as of old at the harp of Orpheus. A metropolis becomes no longer a mere collection of houses or of trades. It puts on all the grandeur of its history, and its literature; its towers, and rivers; its art, and jewellery, and foreign wealth; its multitude of human beings all intent upon excitement, wise or yet to learn; the huge and sullen dignity of its canopy of smoke by day; the wide gleam upwards of its lighted lustre at night-time; and the noise of its many chariots, heard, at the same hour, when the wind sets gently towards some quiet suburb.—Leigh Hunt.


Actors.

Madame Rollan, who died in 1785, in the seventy-fifth year of her age, was a principal dancer on Covent-garden stage in [I-17,
I-18]
1731, and followed her profession, by private teaching, to the last year of her life. She had so much celebrity in her day, that having one evening sprained her ancle, no less an actor than Quin was ordered by the manager to make an apology to the audience for her not appearing in the dance. Quin, who looked upon all dancers as “the mere garnish of the stage,” at first demurred; but being threatened with a forfeiture, he growlingly came forward, and in his coarse way thus addressed the audience:

“Ladies and Gentlemen,

“I am desired by the manager to inform you, that the dance intended for this night is obliged to be postponed, on account of mademoiselle Rollan having dislocated her ancle: I wish it had been her neck.”


In Quin’s time Hippesley was the Roscius of low comedy; he had a large scar on his cheek, occasioned by being dropped into the fire, by a careless nurse, when an infant, which gave a very whimsical cast to his features. Conversing with Quin concerning his son, he told him, he had some thoughts of bringing him on the stage. “Oh,” replied the cynic, “if that is your intention, I think it is high time you should burn his face.”


On one of the first nights of the opera of Cymon at Drury-lane theatre, when the late Mr. Vernon began the last air in the fourth act, which runs,

“Torn from me, torn from me, which way did they take her?”

a dissatisfied musical critic immediately answered the actor’s interrogation in the following words, and to the great astonishment of the audience, in the exact tune of the air,

“Why towards Long-acre, towards Long-acre.”

This unexpected circumstance naturally embarrassed poor Vernon, but in a moment recovering himself, he sung in rejoinder, the following words, instead of the author’s:

“Ho, ho, did they so,
Then I’ll soon overtake her,
Then I’ll soon overtake her.”

Vernon then precipitately made his exit amidst the plaudits of the whole house.


Home Department.

Potatoes.

If potatoes, how much soever frosted, be only carefully excluded from the atmospheric air, and the pit not opened until some time after the frost has entirely subsided, they will be found not to have sustained the slightest injury. This is on account of their not having been exposed to a sudden change, and thawing gradually.

A person inspecting his potato heap, which had been covered with turf, found them so frozen, that, on being moved, they rattled like stones: he deemed them irrecoverably lost, and, replacing the turf, left them, as he thought, to their fate. He was not less surprised than pleased, a considerable time afterwards, when he discovered that his potatoes, which he had given up for lost, had not suffered the least detriment, but were, in all respects, remarkably fine, except a few near the spot which had been uncovered. If farmers keep their heaps covered till the frost entirely disappears, they will find their patience amply rewarded.


London.

Lost Children.

The Gresham committee having humanely provided a means of leading to the discovery of lost or strayed children, the following is a copy of the bill, issued in consequence of their regulation:—

To the Public.

London.

If persons who may have lost a child, or found one, in the streets, will go with a written notice to the Royal Exchange, they will find boards fixed up near the medicine shop, for the purpose of posting up such notices, (free of expense.) By fixing their notice at this place, it is probable the child will be restored to its afflicted parents on the same day it may have been missed. The children, of course, are to be taken care of in the parish where they are found until their homes are discovered.

From the success which has, within a short time, been found to result from the immediate posting up notices of this sort, there can be little doubt, when the knowledge of the above-mentioned boards is general, but that many children will be speedily restored. It is recommended that a bellman be sent round the neighbourhood, as heretofore has been usually done.

Persons on receiving this paper are requested to fix it up in their shop-window, or other conspicuous place.


The managers of Spa-fields chapel improving upon the above hint, caused [I-19,
I-20]
a board to be placed in front of their chapel for the same purpose, and printed bills which can be very soon filled up, describing the child lost or found, in the following forms:—

CHILD LOST. CHILD FOUND.
Sex Age Sex Age
Name Name
Residence May be heard of at
Further particulars Further particulars

The severe affliction many parents suffer by the loss of young children, should induce parish officers, and others, in populous neighbourhoods, to adopt a plan so well devised to facilitate the restoration of strayed children.


Ticket Porters.

By an Act of common council of the city of London, Heygate, mayor, 1823, the ticket porters are not to exceed five hundred.

A ticket porter, when plying or working, is to wear his ticket so as to be plainly seen, under a penalty of 2s. 6d. for each offence.

No ticket porter is to apply for hire in any place but on the stand, appointed by the acts of common council, or within six yards thereof, under a penalty of 5s.

FARES OF TICKET-PORTERS. For
every
half
mile
farther.
  Qr.
Mile.
Half
Mile.
One
Mile.
112
Mile.
Two
Mile.
s. d. s. d. s. d. s. d. s. d. s. d.
For any Package, Letter, &c. not exceeding 56 lbs. 0 4 0 6 0 9 1 0 1 6 0 6
Above 56 lbs. and not exceeding 112 lbs. 0 6 0 9 1 0 1 6 2 0 0 9
Above 112 lbs. and not exceeding 168 lbs. 0 8 1 0 1 6 2 0 2 6 1 0
For every parcel above 14 lbs. which they may have to bring back, they are allowed half the above fares.

A ticket porter not to take more than one job at a time, penalty 2s. 6d.

Seven, or more, rulers of the society, to constitute a court.

The governor of the society, with the court of rulers, to make regulations, and annex reasonable penalties for the breach thereof, not exceeding 20s. for each offence, or three months’ suspension. They may discharge porters who persist in breach of their orders.

The court of rulers to hear and determine complaints in absence of the governor.

Any porter charging more than his regular fare, finable on conviction to the extent of 20s., by the governor, or the court of rulers.

Persons employing any one within the city, except their own servants or ticket porters, are liable to be prosecuted.


Manners.

Oliver Cromwell.

The following is an extract from one of Richard Symons’s Pocket-books, preserved amongst the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, No. 991. “At the marriage of his daughter to Rich, in Nov. 1657, the lord protector threw about sack-posset among all the ladyes to soyle their rich cloaths, which they tooke as a favour, and also wett sweetmeats; and daubed all the stooles where they were to sit with wett sweetmeats; and pulled off Rich his peruque, and would have thrown it into the fire, but did not, yet he sate upon it.”


Old Women.

De Foe remarks in his “Protestant Monastery,” that “If any whimsical or ridiculous story is told, ’tis of an Old Woman. If any person is awkward at his business or any thing else, he is called an Old Woman forsooth. Those were brave days for young people, when they could swear the old ones out of their lives, and get a woman hanged or burnt only for being a little too old—and, as a warning to all ancient persons, who should dare to live longer than the young ones think convenient.”


Duel with a Bag.

Two gentlemen, one a Spaniard, and the other a German, who were recommended, [I-21,
I-22]
by their birth and services, to the emperor Maximilian II., both courted his daughter, the fair Helene Scharfequinn, in marriage. This prince, after a long delay, one day informed them, that esteeming them equally, and not being able to bestow a preference, he should leave it to the force and address of the claimants to decide the question. He did not mean, however, to risk the loss of one or the other, or perhaps of both. He could not, therefore, permit them to encounter with offensive weapons, but had ordered a large bag to be produced. It was his decree, that whichever succeeded in putting his rival into this bag should obtain the hand of his daughter. This singular encounter between the two gentlemen took place in the face of the whole court. The contest lasted for more than an hour. At length the Spaniard yielded, and the German, Ehberhard, baron de Talbert, having planted his rival in the bag, took it upon his back, and very gallantly laid it at the feet of his mistress, whom he espoused the next day.

Such is the story, as gravely told by M. de St. Foix. It is impossible to say what the feelings of a successful combatant in a duel may be, on his having passed a small sword through the body, or a bullet through the thorax, of his antagonist; but might he not feel quite as elated, and more consoled, on having put his adversary “into a bag?


“A New Matrimonial Plan.”

This is the title of a bill printed and distributed four or five years ago, and now before me, advertising “an establishment where persons of all classes, who are anxious to sweeten life, by repairing to the altar of Hymen, have an opportunity of meeting with proper partners.” The “plan” says, “their personal attendance is not absolutely necessary, a statement of facts is all that is required at first.” The method is simply this, for the parties to become subscribers, the amount to be regulated according to circumstances, and that they should be arranged in classes in the following order, viz.

Ladies.

“1st Class. I am twenty years of age, heiress to an estate in the county of Essex of the value of 30,000l., well educated, and of domestic habits; of an agreeable, lively disposition and genteel figure. Religion that of my future husband.

“2d Class. I am thirty years of age, a widow, in the grocery line in London—have children; of middle stature, full made, fair complexion and hair, temper agreeable, worth 3,000l.

“3d Class. I am tall and thin, a little lame in the hip, of a lively disposition, conversable, twenty years of age, live with my father, who, if I marry with his consent, will give me 1,000l.

“4th Class. I am twenty years of age; mild disposition and manners; allowed to be personable.

“5th Class. I am sixty years of age; income limited; active, and rather agreeable.

Gentlemen.

“1st Class. A young gentleman with dark eyes and hair; stout made; well educated; have an estate of 500l. per annum in the county of Kent; besides 10,000l. in the three per cent. consolidated annuities; am of an affable disposition, and very affectionate.

“2d Class. I am forty years of age, tall and slender, fair complexion and hair, well tempered and of sober habits, have a situation in the Excise of 300l. per annum, and a small estate in Wales of the annual value of 150l.

“3d Class. A tradesman in the city of Bristol, in a ready-money business, turning 150l. per week, at a profit of 10l. per cent., pretty well tempered, lively, and fond of home.

“4th Class. I am fifty-eight years of age; a widower, without incumbrance; retired from business upon a small income; healthy constitution; and of domestic habits.

“5th Class. I am twenty-five years of age; a mechanic, of sober habits; industrious, and of respectable connections.

“It is presumed that the public will not find any difficulty in describing themselves; if they should, they will have the assistance of the managers, who will be in attendance at the office, No. 5, Great St. Helen’s, Bishopgate-street, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, between the hours of eleven and three o’clock.—Please to inquire for Mr. Jameson, up one pair of stairs. All letters to be post paid.

“The subscribers are to be furnished [I-23,
I-24]
with a list of descriptions, and when one occurs likely to suit, the parties may correspond; and if mutually approved, the interview may be afterwards arranged. Further particulars may be had as above.”

Such a strange device in our own time, for catching would-be lovers, seems incredible, and yet here is the printed plan, with the name and address of the match-making gentleman you are to inquire for “up one pair of stairs.”


Topographical Memoranda.

Clerical Longevity.

The following is an authentic account, from the “Antiquarian Repertory,” of the incumbents of a vicarage near Bridgenorth in Shropshire. Its annual revenue, till the death of the last incumbent here mentioned, was not more than about seventy pounds per annum, although it is a very large and populous parish, containing at least twenty hamlets or townships, and is scarcely any where less than four or five miles in diameter. By a peculiar idiom in that country, the inhabitants of this large district are said to live “in Worfield-home:” and the adjacent, or not far distant, parishes (each of them containing, in like manner, many townships, or hamlets) are called Claverly, or Clarely-home, Tatnall-home, Womburn-home, or, as the terminating word is every where pronounced in that neighbourhood, “whome.”

“A list of the vicars of Worfield in the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, and in the county of Salop, from 1564 to 1763, viz.

“Demerick, vicar, last popish priest, conformed during the six first years of Elizabeth. He died 1564.

Barney, vicar 44 years; died 1608.
Barney, vicar 56 years; died 1664.
Hancocks, vicar 42 years; died 1707.
Adamson, vicar 56 years; died 1763.

Only 4 vicars in 199 years.”


Spelling for a Wake.

Proclamation was made a few years ago, at Tewkesbury, from a written paper, of which the following is a copy:—

Hobnail’s Wake—This his to give notis on Tusday next—a Hat to be playd at bac sord fore. Two Belts to be tuseld fore. A plum cack to be gump in bags fowr. A pond of backer to be bold for, and a showl to danc lot by wimen.”


THE BEAUTIES OF SOMERSET.
A BALLAD.

I’m a Zummerzetzhire man,
Zhew me better if you can,
In the North, Zouth, East, or West;
I waz born in Taunton Dean,
Of all places ever seen
The richest and the best.

Old Ballad

 


Tune, Alley Croker.


That Britain’s like a precious gem
Set in the silver ocean,
Our Shakspeare sung, and none condemn
Whilst most approve the notion,—
But various parts, we now declare,
Shine forth in various splendour,
And those bright beams that shine most fair,
The western portions render;—
O the counties, the matchless western counties,
But far the best,
Of all the rest,
Is Somerset for ever.
For come with me, and we’ll survey
Our hills and vallies over,
Our vales, where clear brooks bubbling stray
Through meads of blooming clover;
Our hills, that rise in giant pride,
With hollow dells between them,
Whose sable forests, spreading wide,
Enrapture all who’ve seen them;
O the counties, &c.
How could I here forgetful be
Of all your scenes romantic,
Our rugged rocks, our swelling sea,
Where foams the wild Atlantic!
There’s not an Eden known to men
That claims such admiration,
As lovely Culbone’s peaceful glen,
The Tempe of the nation;
O the counties, &c.
To name each beauty in my rhyme
Would prove a vain endeavour,
I’ll therefore sing that cloudless clime
Where Summer sets for ever;
Where ever dwells the Age of Gold
In fertile vales and sunny,
Which, like the promis’d land of old,
O’erflows with milk and honey;
O the counties, &c.
But O! to crown my county’s worth,
What all the rest surpasses,
There’s not a spot in all the earth
Can boast such lovely lasses;
There’s not a spot beneath the sun
Where hearts are open’d wider.
Then let us toast them every one,
In bowls of native cider;
O the counties, &c.

[I-25,
I-26]

Weather.

A new Hygrometer.

A new instrument to measure the degrees of moisture in the atmosphere, of which the following is a description, was invented by M. Baptist Lendi, of St. Gall:

In a white flint bottle is suspended a piece of metal, about the size of a hazle nut, which not only looks extremely beautiful, and contributes to the ornament of a room, but likewise predicts every possible change of weather twelve or fourteen hours before it occurs. As soon as the metal is suspended in the bottle with water, it begins to increase in bulk, and in ten or twelve days forms an admirable pyramid, which resembles polished brass; and it undergoes several changes, till it has attained its full dimensions. In rainy weather, this pyramid is constantly covered with pearly drops of water; in case of thunder or hail, it will change to the finest red, and throw out rays; in case of wind or fog, it will appear dull and spotted; and previously to snow, it will look quite muddy. If placed in a moderate temperature, it will require no other trouble than to pour out a common tumbler full of water, and to put in the same quantity of fresh. For the first few days it must not be shaken.


Omniana.

Calico Company.

A red kitten was sent to the house of a linen-draper in the city; and, on departing from the maternal basket, the following lines were written:—

The Red Kitten.

O the red red kitten is sent away,
No more on parlour hearth to play;
He must live in the draper’s house,
And chase the rat, and catch the mouse,
And all day long in silence go
Through bales of cotton and calico.
After the king of England fam’d,
The red red kitten was Rufus nam’d.
And as king Rufus sported through
Thicket and brake of the Forest New,
The red red kitten Rufus so
Shall jump about the calico.
But as king Rufus chas’d the deer,
And hunted the forest far and near,
Until as he watch’d the jumpy squirrel,
He was shot by Walter Tyrrel;
So, if Fate shall his death ordain,
Shall kitten Rufus by dogs be slain,
And end his thrice three lives of woe
Among the cotton and calico.

Twelfth-Day

SONNET
TO A PRETTY GIRL IN
A PASTRY-COOK’S SHOP.

Sweet Maid, for thou art maid of many sweets,
Behind thy counter, lo! I see thee standing,
Gaz’d at by wanton wand’rers in the streets,
While cakes, to cakes, thy pretty fist is handing.
Light as a puff appears thy every motion,
Yet thy replies I’ve heard are sometimes tart;
I deem thee a preserve, yet I’ve a notion
That warm as brandied cherries is thy heart.
Then be not to thy lover like an ice,
Nor sour as raspberry vinegar to one
Who owns thee for a sugar-plum so nice,
Nicer than comfit, syllabub, or bun.
I love thee more than all the girls so natty,
I do, indeed, my sweet, my savoury Patty.

“Holly Night” at Brough.

For the Table Book.

The ancient custom of carrying the “holly tree” on Twelfth Night, at Brough in Westmoreland, is represented in the accompanying engraving.

Formerly the “Holly-tree” at Brough was really “holly,” but ash being abundant, the latter is now substituted. There are two head inns in the town; which provide for the ceremony alternately, though the good townspeople mostly lend their assistance in preparing the tree, to every branch of which they fasten a torch. About eight o’clock in the evening, it is taken to a convenient part of the town, where the torches are lighted, the town band accompanying and playing till all is completed, when it is removed to the lower end of the town; and, after divers salutes and huzzas from the spectators, is carried up and down the town, in stately procession, usually by a person of renowned strength, named Joseph Ling. The band march behind it, playing their instruments, and stopping every time they reach the town bridge, and the cross, where the “holly” is again greeted with shouts of applause. Many of the inhabitants carry lighted branches and flambeaus; and rockets, squibs, &c. are discharged on the joyful occasion. After the tree is thus carried, and the torches are sufficiently burnt, it is placed in the middle of the town, when it is again cheered by the surrounding populace, and is afterwards thrown among them. They eagerly watch for this opportunity; and, clinging to each end of the tree, endeavour to carry it away to the inn they are contending for, where they are allowed their usual quantum of ale and spirits, and pass a “merry night,” which seldom breaks up before two in the morning.

[I-27,
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Carrying the “Holly Tree” at Brough, Westmoreland.

To every branch a torch they tie,
To every torch a light apply;
At each new light send forth huzzas
Till all the tree is in a blaze;
And then bear it flaming through the town,
With minstrelsy, and rockets thrown.

Although the origin of this usage is lost, and no tradition exists by which it can be traced, yet it may not be a strained surmise to derive it from the church ceremony of the day when branches of trees were carried in procession to decorate the altars, in commemoration of the offerings of the Magi, whose names are handed down to us as Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar, the patrons of travellers. In catholic countries, flambeaus and torches always abound in their ceremonies; and persons residing in the streets through which they pass, testify their zeal and piety by providing flambeaus at their own expense, and bringing them lighted to the doors of their houses.

W. H. H.

Note.

Communications for the Table Book addressed to me, in a parcel, or under cover, to the care of the publishers, will be gladly received.

Notices to Correspondents will appear on the wrappers of the monthly parts only.

The Table Book, therefore, after the present sheet, will be printed continuously, without matter of this kind, or the intervention of temporary titles, unpleasant to the eye, when the work comes to be bound in volumes.

Lastly, because this is the last opportunity of the kind in my power, I beg to add that some valuable papers which could not be included in the Every-Day Book, will appear in the Table Book.

Moreover Lastly, I earnestly solicit the immediate activity of my friends, to oblige and serve me, by sending any thing, and every thing they can collect or recollect, which they may suppose at all likely to render my Table Book instructive, or diverting.

W. Hone.


[I-29,
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Vol. I.—2.

Emigration of the Deer from Cranbourn Chase, 1826.

Emigration of the Deer from Cranbourn Chase, 1826

The genial years increase the timid herd
Till wood and pasture yield a scant supply;
Then troop the deer, as at a signal word,
And in long lines o’er barren downs they hie,
In search what food far vallies may afford—
Less fearing man, their ancient enemy,
Than in their native chase to starve and die.

[I-31,
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The deer of Cranbourn chase usually average about ten thousand in number. In the winter of 1826, they were presumed to amount to from twelve to fifteen thousand. This increase is ascribed to the unusual mildness of recent winters, and the consequent absence of injuries which the animals are subject to from severe weather.

In the month of November, a great number of deer from the woods and pastures of the Chase, between Gunvile and Ashmore, crossed the narrow downs on the western side, and descended into the adjacent parts of the vale of Blackmore in quest of subsistence. There was a large increase in the number about twelve years preceding, till the continued deficiency of food occasioned a mortality. Very soon afterwards, however, they again increased and emigrated for food to the vallies, as in the present instance. At the former period, the greater part were not allowed or were unable to return.

The tendency of deer to breed beyond the means of support, afforded by parks and other places wherein they are kept, has been usually regulated by converting them into venison. This is clearly more humane than suffering the herds so to enlarge, that there is scarcely for “every one a mouthfull, and no one a bellyfull.” It is also better to pay a good price for good venison in season, than to have poor and cheap venison from the surplus of starving animals “killed off” in mercy to the remainder, or in compliance with the wishes of landholders whose grounds they invade in their extremity.

The emigration of the deer from Cranbourn Chase suggests, that as such cases arise in winter, their venison may be bestowed with advantage on labourers, who abound more in children than in the means of providing for them; and thus the surplus of the forest-breed be applied to the support and comfort of impoverished human beings.


Cranbourn.

Cranbourn is a market town and parish in the hundred of Cranbourn, Dorsetshire, about 12 miles south-west from Salisbury, and 93 from London. According to the last census, it contains 367 houses and 1823 inhabitants, of whom 104 are returned as being employed in trade. The parish includes a circuit of 40 miles, and the town is pleasantly situated in a fine champaign country at the north-east extremity of the county, near Cranbourn Chase, which extends almost to Salisbury. Its market is on a Thursday, it has a cattle market in the spring, and its fairs are on St. Bartholomew’s and St. Nicholas’ days. It is the capital of the hundred to which it gives its name, and is a vicarage valued in the king’s books at £6. 13s. 4d. It is a place of high antiquity, famous in the Saxon and Norman times for its monastery, its chase, and its lords. The monastery belonged to the Benedictines, of which the church at the west end of the town was the priory.[8]


Affray in the Chase.

On the night of the 16th of December, 1780, a severe battle was fought between the keepers and deer-stealers on Chettle Common, in Bursey-stool Walk. The deer-stealers had assembled at Pimperne, and were headed by one Blandford, a sergeant of dragoons, a native of Pimperne, then quartered at Blandford. They came in the night in disguise, armed with deadly offensive weapons called swindgels, resembling flails to thresh corn. They attacked the keepers, who were nearly equal in number, but had no weapons but sticks and short hangers. The first blow was struck by the leader of the gang, it broke a knee-cap of the stoutest man in the chase, which disabled him from joining in the combat, and lamed him for ever. Another keeper, from a blow with a swindgel, which broke three ribs, died some time after. The remaining keepers closed in upon their opponents with their hangers, and one of the dragoon’s hands was severed from the arm, just above the wrist, and fell on the ground; the others were also dreadfully cut and wounded, and obliged to surrender. Blandford’s arm was tightly bound with a list garter to prevent its bleeding, and he was carried to the lodge. The Rev. William Chafin, the author of “Anecdotes respecting Cranbourn Chase,” says, “I saw him there the next day, and his hand in the window: as soon as he was well enough to be removed, he was committed, with his companions, to Dorchester gaol. The hand was buried in Pimperne church-yard, and, as reported, with the honours of war. Several of these offenders were labourers, daily employed by Mr. Beckford, and had, the preceding day, dined in his servants’ hall, and from thence went to join a confederacy to rob their master.” They were all tried, found guilty and condemned to be transported for seven years; but, in consideration of their great [I-33,
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suffering from their wounds in prison, the humane judge, sir Richard Perryn, commuted the punishment to confinement for an indefinite term. The soldier was not dismissed from his majesty’s service, but suffered to retire upon half-pay, or pension; and set up a shop in London, which he denoted a game-factor’s. He dispersed hand-bills in the public places, in order to get customers, and put one into Mr. Chafin’s hand in the arch-way leading into Lincoln’s-inn-square. “I immediately recognised him,” says Mr. Chafin, “as he did me; and he said, that if I would deal with him, he would use me well, for he had, in times past, had many hares and pheasants of mine; and he had the assurance to ask me, if I did not think it a good breeding-season for game!”


Buck-hunting.

Buck-hunting, in former times, was much more followed, and held in much greater repute, than now. From letters in Mr. Chafin’s possession, dated in June and July 1681, he infers, that the summers then were much hotter than in the greater part of the last century. The time of meeting at Cranbourn Chase in those days seems invariably to have been at four o’clock in the evening; it was the custom of the sportsmen to take a slight repast at two o’clock, and to dine at the most fashionable hours of the present day. Mr. Chafin deemed hunting in an evening well-judged, and advantageous every way. The deer were at that time upon their legs, and more easily found; they were empty, and more able to run, and to show sport; and as the evening advanced, and the dew fell, the scent gradually improved, and the cool air enabled the horses and the hounds to recover their wind, and go through their work without injury; whereas just the reverse of this would be the hunting late in a morning. What has been mentioned is peculiar to Buck-hunting only.

Stag-hunting is in some measure a summer amusement also; but that chase is generally much too long to be ventured on in an evening. It would carry the sportsman too far distant from their homes. It is absolutely necessary, therefore, in pursuing the stag, to have the whole day before them.

It was customary, in the last century, for sportsmen addicted to the sport of Buck-hunting, and who regularly followed it, to meet every season on the 29th day of May, king Charles’s restoration, with oak-boughs in their hats or caps, to show their loyalty, (velvet caps were chiefly worn in those days, even by the ladies,) and to hunt young male deer, in order to enter the young hounds, and to stoop them to their right game, and to get the older ones in wind and exercise, preparatory to the commencement of the buck-killing season.

This practice was termed “blooding the hounds;” and the young deer killed were called “blooding-deer,” and their venison was deemed fit for an epicure. It was reported, that an hind quarter of this sort of venison, which had been thoroughly hunted, was once placed on the table before the celebrated Mr. Quin, at Bath, who declared it to be the greatest luxury he ever met with, and ate very heartily of it. But this taste seems not to have been peculiar to Mr. Quin; for persons of high rank joined in the opinion: and even judges, when on their circuits, indulged in the same luxury.

The following is an extract from a steward’s old accompt-book, found in the noble old mansion of Orchard Portman, near Taunton, in Somersetshire

“10th August
1680.
Delivered Sr William, in the
higher Orial, going a hunting
with the Judges£2. 0s. 0d.

From hence, therefore, it appears, that in those days buck-hunting, for there could be no other kind of hunting meant, was in so much repute, and so much delighted in, that even the judges could not refrain from partaking in it when on their circuits; and it seems that they chose to hunt their own venison, which they annually received from Orchard park at the time of the assizes. “I cannot but deem them good judges,” says Mr. Chafin, “for preferring hunted venison to that which had been shot.”


Other Sports of Cranbourn Chase.

Besides buck-hunting, which certainly was the principal one, the chase afforded other rural amusements to our ancestors in former days. “I am well aware,” Mr. Chafin says, in preparing some notices of them, “that there are many young persons who are very indifferent and care little about what was practised by their ancestors, or how they amused themselves; they are looking forward, and do not choose to look back: but there may be some not so indifferent, and to whom a relation of the sports of the field in the last century may not be displeasing.” These sports, in addition [I-35,
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to hunting, were hawking, falconry, and cocking.

Packs of hounds were always kept in the neighbourhood of the chase, and hunted there in the proper seasons. There were three sorts of animals of chase besides deer, viz. foxes, hares, and mertincats: the race of the latter are nearly extinct; their skins were too valuable for them to be suffered to exist. At that time no hounds were kept and used for any particular sort of game except the buck-hounds, but they hunted casually the first that came in their way.


First Pack of Fox-hounds.

The first real steady pack of fox-hounds established in the western part of England was by Thomas Fownes, Esq. of Stepleton, in Dorsetshire, about 1730. They were as handsome, and fully as complete in every respect, as any of the most celebrated packs of the present day. The owner was obliged to dispose of them, and they were sold to Mr. Bowes, in Yorkshire, the father of the late lady Strathmore, at an immense price. They were taken into Yorkshire by their own attendants, and, after having been viewed and much admired in their kennel, a day was fixed for making trial of them in the field, to meet at a famous hare-cover near. When the huntsman came with his hounds in the morning, he discovered a great number of sportsmen, who were riding in the cover, and whipping the furzes as for a hare; he therefore halted, and informed Mr. Bowes that he was unwilling to throw off his hounds until the gentlemen had retired, and ceased the slapping of whips, to which his hounds were not accustomed, and he would engage to find a fox in a few minutes if there was one there. The gentlemen sportsmen having obeyed the orders given by Mr. Bowes, the huntsman, taking the wind of the cover, threw off his hounds, which immediately began to feather, and soon got upon a drag into the cover, and up to the fox’s kennel, which went off close before them, and, after a severe burst over a fine country, was killed, to the great satisfaction of the whole party. They then returned to the same cover, not one half of it having been drawn, and very soon found a second fox, exactly in the same manner as before, which broke cover immediately over the same fine country: but the chase was much longer; and in the course of it the fox made its way to a nobleman’s park. It had been customary to stop hounds before they could enter it, but the best-mounted sportsmen attempted to stay the Dorsetshire hounds in vain. The dogs topped the highest fences, dashed through herds of deer and a number of hares, without taking the least notice of them; and ran in to their fox, and killed him some miles beyond the park. It was the unanimous opinion of the whole hunt, that it was the finest run ever known in that country. A collection of field-money was made for the huntsman much beyond his expectations; and he returned to Stepleton in better spirits than he left it.

Before this pack was raised in Dorsetshire, the hounds that hunted Cranbourn Chase, hunted all the animals promiscuously, except the deer, from which they were necessarily kept steady, otherwise they would not have been suffered to hunt in the chase at all.


Origin of Cranbourn Chase.

This royal chase, always called “The King’s Chase,” in the lapse of ages came into possession of an earl of Salisbury. It is certain that after one of its eight distinct walks, called Fernditch Walk, was sold to the earl of Pembroke, the entire remainder of the chase was alienated to lord Ashley, afterwards earl of Shaftesbury. Alderholt Walk was the largest and most extensive in the whole Chase; it lies in the three counties of Hants, Wilts, and Dorset; but the lodge and its appurtenances is in the parish of Cranbourn, and all the Chase courts are held at the manor-house there, where was also a prison for offenders against the Chase laws. Lord Shaftesbury deputed rangers in the different walks in the year 1670, and afterwards dismembering it, (though according to old records, it appears to have been dismembered long before,) by destroying Alderholt Walk; he sold the remainder to Mr. Freke, of Shroton, in Dorsetshire, from whom it lineally descended to the present possessor, lord Rivers.


Accounts of Cranbourn Chase can be traced to the æra when king John, or some other royal personage, had a hunting-seat at Tollard Royal, in the county of Wilts. Hence the name of “royal” to that parish was certainly derived. There are vestiges in and about the old palace, which clearly evince that it was once a royal habitation: and it still bears the name of “King John’s House.” There are large cypress trees growing before the house, the relics of grand terraces may be easily traced, and [I-37,
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the remains of a park to which some of them lead. A gate at the end of the park at the entrance of the Royal Chase, now called “Alarm Gate,” was the place probably where the horn was blown to call the keepers to their duty in attending their lord in his sports. There is also a venerable old wych-elm tree, on the Chase side of the “Alarm Gate,” under which lord Arundel, the possessor of Tollard Royal, holds a court annually, on the first Monday in the month of September. A view of the mansion in its present state, is given in the “Gentleman’s Magazine” for September 1811.


[8] Hutchins’s Dorset. Capper.


Barley-break.

Mr. Strutt, the indefatigable historian of the “Sports and Pastimes of the People of England,” says of Barley-break: “The excellency of this sport seems to have consisted in running well, but I know not its properties.” Beyond this Mr. Strutt merely cites Dr. Johnson’s quotation of two lines from sir Philip Sidney, as an authority for the word. Johnson, limited to a mere dictionary explanation, calls it “a kind of rural play; a trial of swiftness.”

Sidney, in his description of the rural courtship of Urania by Strephon, conveys a sufficient idea of “Barley-break.” The shepherd seeks the society of his mistress wherever he thinks it likely to find her.

Nay ev’n unto her home he oft would go,
Where bold and hurtless many play he tries;
Her parents liking well it should be so,
For simple goodness shined in his eyes:
Then did he make her laugh in spite of woe
So as good thoughts of him in all arise;
While into none doubt of his love did sink,
For not himself to be in love did think.

This “sad shepherd” held himself towards Urania according to the usual custom and manner of lovers in such cases.

For glad desire, his late embosom’d guest,
Yet but a babe, with milk of sight he nurst:
Desire the more he suckt, more sought the breast
Like dropsy-folk, still drink to be athirst;
Till one fair ev’n an hour ere sun did rest,
Who then in Lion’s cave did enter first,
By neighbors pray’d, she went abroad thereby
At Barley-break her sweet swift foot to try.
Never the earth on his round shoulders bare
A maid train’d up from high or low degree,
That in her doings better could compare
Mirth with respect, few words with courtesie,
A careless comeliness with comely care,
Self-guard with mildness, sport with majesty
Which made her yield to deck this shepherd’s band:
And still, believe me, Strephon was at hand.
Then couples three be straight allotted there,
They of both ends the middle two do fly;
The two that in mid-place, Hell,[9] called were,
Must strive with waiting foot, and watching eye,
To catch of them, and them to Hell to bear,
That they, as well as they, Hell may supply
Like some which seek to salve their blotted name
With other’s blot, till all do taste of shame.
There you may see, soon as the middle two
Do coupled towards either couple make,
They false and fearful do their hands undo,
Brother his brother, friend doth his friend forsake,
Heeding himself, cares not how fellow do,
But of a stranger mutual help doth take:
As perjured cowards in adversity,
With sight of fear, from friends to fremb’d[10] doth fly,

The game being played out with divers adventurers

All to second Barley-break again are bent.

During the second game, Strephon was chased by Urania.

Strephon so chased did seem in milk to swim;
He ran, but ran with eye o’er shoulder cast,
More marking her, than how himself did go,
Like Numid’s lions by the hunters chased,
Though they do fly, yet backwardly do glow
With proud aspect, disdaining greater haste:
What rage in them, that love in him did show;
But God gives them instinct the man to shun,
And he by law of Barley-break must run.

Urania caught Strephon, and he was sent by the rules of the sport to the condemned place, with a shepherdess, named Nous, who affirmed

————— it was no right, for his default,
Who would be caught, that she should go—
But so she must. And now the third assault
Of Barley-break.———

Strephon, in this third game, pursues Urania; Klaius, his rival suitor, suddenly interposed.

For with pretence from Strephon her to guard,
He met her full, but full of warefulness,
With in-bow’d bosom well for her prepared,
When Strephon cursing his own backwardness
Came to her back, and so, with double ward,
Imprison’d her, who both them did possess
As heart-bound slaves.————
[I-39,
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Her race did not her beauty’s beams augment,
For they were ever in the best degree,
But yet a setting forth it some way lent,
As rubies lustre when they rubbed be;
The dainty dew on face and body went,
As on sweet flowers, when morning’s drops we see:
Her breath then short, seem’d loth from home to pass,
Which more it moved, the more it sweeter was.
Happy, O happy! if they so might bide
To see their eyes, with how true humbleness,
They looked down to triumph over pride;
With how sweet blame she chid their sauciness—
Till she brake from their arms————
And farewelling the flock, did homeward wend,
And so, that even, the Barley-break did end.

This game is mentioned by Burton, in his “Anatomy of Melancholy,” as one of our rural sports, and by several of the poets, with more or less of description, though by none so fully as Sidney, in the first eclogue of the “Arcadia,” from whence the preceding passages are taken.

The late Mr. Gifford, in a note on Massinger, chiefly from the “Arcadia,” describes Barley-break thus: “It was played by six people, (three of each sex,) who were coupled by lot. A piece of ground was then chosen, and divided into three compartments, of which the middle one was called hell. It was the object of the couple condemned to this division to catch the others, who advanced from the two extremities; in which case a change of situation took place, and hell was filled by the couple who were excluded by preoccupation from the other places: in this catching, however, there was some difficulty, as, by the regulations of the game, the middle couple were not to separate before they had succeeded, while the others might break hands whenever they found themselves hard pressed. When all had been taken in turn, the last couple were said to be in hell, and the game ended.”

Within memory, a game called Barley-break has been played among stacks of corn, in Yorkshire, with some variation from the Scottish game mentioned presently. In Yorkshire, also, there was another form of it, more resembling that in the “Arcadia,” which was played in open ground. The childish game of “Tag” seems derived from it. There was a “tig,” or “tag,” whose touch made a prisoner, in the Yorkshire game.


Barla-breikis.

In Scotland there is a game nearly the same in denomination as “Barley-break,” though differently played. It is termed “Barla-breikis,” or “Barley-bracks.” Dr. Jamieson says it is generally played by young people, in a corn-yard about the stacks; and hence called Barla-bracks, “One stack is fixed as the dule or goal, and one person is appointed to catch the rest of the company, who run out from the dule. He does not leave it till they are all out of his sight. Then he sets out to catch them. Any one who is taken, cannot run out again with his former associates, being accounted a prisoner, but is obliged to assist his captor in pursuing the rest. When all are taken, the game is finished; and he who is first taken, is bound to act as catcher in the next game. This innocent sport seems to be almost entirely forgotten in the south of Scotland. It is also falling into desuetude in the north.”[11]


[9] It may be doubted whether in the rude simplicity of ancient times, this word in the game of Barley-break was applied in the same manner that it would be in ours.

[10] Fremeb, (obsolete,) strange, foreign. Ash. Corrupted from fremd, which, in Saxon and Gothic, signified a stranger, or an enemy. Nares.

[11] Mr. Archdeacon Nares’s Glossary.


Scraps.

Plate Tax.

An order was made in the house of lords in May, 1776, “that the commissioners of his majesty’s excise do write circular letters to all such persons whom they have reason to suspect to have plate, as also to those who have not paid regularly the duty on the same.” In consequence of this order, the accountant-general for household plate sent to the celebrated John Wesley a copy of the order. John’s answer was laconic:—

“Sir,

“I have two silver tea-spoons in London, and two at Bristol. This is all the plate which I have at present; and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread. I am, Sir,

“Your most humble servant,
John Wesley.”


The Dial.

This shadow on the dial’s face,
That steals, from day to day,
With slow, unseen, unceasing pace,
Moments, and months, and years away
This shadow, which in every clime,
Since light and motion first began,
Hath held its course sublime;
What is it?—Mortal man!
It is the scythe of Time.
—A shadow only to the eye.
It levels all beneath the sky.

[I-41,
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Mock funeral of a Bath Chairman.

Mock funeral of a Bath Chairman.

A chairman late’s a chairman dead,
And to his grave, by chairman sped,
They wake him, as they march him through
The streets of Bath, to public view.

To the Editor.

Bath.

Sir,—I beg leave to transmit for your use the following attempt at description of an old and singular custom, performed by the chairman of this my native city, which perhaps you are not altogether a stranger to, and which is still kept up among them as often as an opportunity permits for its performance. Its origin I have not been able to trace, but its authenticity you may rely on, as it is too often seen to be forgotten by your Bath readers. I have also accompanied it with the above imperfect sketch, as a further illustration of their manner of burying the “dead,” alias, exposing a drunkard of their fraternity. The following is the manner in which the “obsequies” to the intoxicated are performed.

If a chairman, known to have been “dead” drunk over night, does not appear on his station before ten o’clock on the succeeding morning, the “undertaker,” Anglice, his partner, proceeds, with such a number of attendants as will suffice for the ceremony, to the house of the late unfortunate. If he is found in bed, as is usually the case, from the effects of his sacrifice to the “jolly God,” they pull him out of his nest, hardly permitting him to dress, and place him on the “bier,”—a chairman’s horse,—and, throwing a coat over him, [I-43,
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which they designate a “pall,” they perambulate the circuit of his station in the following order:—

1. The sexton—a man tolling a small hand-bell.

2. Two mutes—each with a black stocking on a stick.

3. The torch bearer—a man carrying a lighted lantern.

4. The “corpse” borne on the “hearse,” carried by two chairmen, covered with the aforesaid pall.

The procession is closed by the “mourners” following after, two and two; as many joining as choose, from the station to which the drunkard belongs.

After exposing him in this manner to the gaze of the admiring crowd that throng about, they proceed to the public-house he has been in the habit of using, where his “wake” is celebrated in joviality and mirth, with a gallon of ale at his expense. It often happens that each will contribute a trifle towards a further prolongation of the carousal, to entrap others into the same deadly snare; and the day is spent in baiting for the chances of the next morning, as none are exempt who are not at their post before the prescribed hour.

I am, &c.
W. G.


William Gifford, Esq.

On Sunday morning, the 31st of December, 1826, at twenty minutes before one o’clock, died, “at his house in James-street, Buckingham-gate, in the seventy-first year of his age, William Gifford, Esq., author of the ‘Baviad and Mæviad,’ translator of ‘Juvenal and Persius,’ and editor of the ‘Quarterly Review,’ from its commencement down to the beginning of the year just past. To the translation of ‘Juvenal’ is prefixed a memoir of himself, which is perhaps as modest and pleasant a piece of autobiography as ever was written.”—The Times, January 1, 1827.


Interesting
Memoir of Mr. Gifford.
By Himself—verbatim.

I am about to enter on a very uninteresting subject: but all my friends tell me that it is necessary to account for the long delay of the following work; and I can only do it by adverting to the circumstances of my life. Will this be accepted as an apology?

I know but little of my family and that little is not very precise: My great-grandfather (the most remote of it, that I ever recollect to have heard mentioned) possessed considerable property at Halsbury, a parish in the neighbourhood of Ashburton; but whether acquired or inherited, I never thought of asking, and do not know.

He was probably a native of Devonshire, for there he spent the last years of his life; spent them, too, in some sort of consideration, for Mr. T. (a very respectable surgeon of Ashburton) loved to repeat to me, when I first grew into notice, that he had frequently hunted with his hounds.[12]

My grandfather was on ill terms with him: I believe, not without sufficient reason, for he was extravagant and dissipated. My father never mentioned his name, but my mother would sometimes tell me that he had ruined the family. That he spent much, I know; but I am inclined to think, that his undutiful conduct occasioned my great-grandfather to bequeath a considerable part of his property from him.

My father, I fear, revenged in some measure the cause of my great-grandfather. He was, as I have heard my mother say, “a very wild young man, who could be kept to nothing.” He was sent to the grammar-school at Exeter; from which he made his escape, and entered on board a man of war. He was reclaimed from this situation by my grandfather, and left his school a second time, to wander in some vagabond society.[13] He was now probably given up; for he was, on his return from this notable adventure, reduced to article himself to a plumber and glazier, with whom he luckily staid long enough to learn the business. I suppose his father was now dead, for he became possessed of two small estates, married my mother,[14] (the daughter of a carpenter at Ashburton,) and thought himself rich enough to set up for himself; which he did, with some credit, at South Molton. Why he chose to fix there, I never inquired; but I learned from my mother, that after a residence of four or five years, he thoughtlessly engaged in a dangerous frolic, which drove him once more to sea: this was an attempt to excite a riot in a Methodist chapel; for which his companions were prosecuted, and he fled.

My father was a good seaman, and was soon made second in command in the Lyon, a large armed transport in the service of government: while my mother (then with child of me) returned to her native place, Ashburton, where I was born, in April, 1756.

[I-45,
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The resources of my mother were very scanty. They arose from the rent of three or four small fields, which yet remained unsold. With these, however, she did what she could for me; and as soon as I was old enough to be trusted out of her sight, sent me to a schoolmistress of the name of Parret, from whom I learned in due time to read. I cannot boast much of my acquisitions at this school; they consisted merely of the contents of the “Child’s Spelling Book:” but from my mother, who had stored up the literature of a country town, which, about half a century ago, amounted to little more than what was disseminated by itinerant ballad-singers, or rather, readers, I had acquired much curious knowledge of Catskin, and the Golden Bull, and the Bloody Gardener, and many other histories equally instructive and amusing.

My father returned from sea in 1764. He had been at the siege of the Havannah; and though he received more than a hundred pounds for prize money, and his wages were considerable; yet, as he had not acquired any strict habits of economy, he brought home but a trifling sum. The little property yet left was therefore turned into money; a trifle more was got by agreeing to renounce all future pretensions to an estate at Totness;[15] and with this my father set up a second time as a glazier and house painter. I was now about eight years old, and was put to the freeschool, (kept by Hugh Smerdon,) to learn to read, and write and cipher. Here I continued about three years, making a most wretched progress, when my father fell sick and died. He had not acquired wisdom from his misfortunes, but continued wasting his time in unprofitable pursuits, to the great detriment of his business. He loved drink for the sake of society, and to this he fell a martyr; dying of a decayed and ruined constitution before he was forty. The town’s-people thought him a shrewd and sensible man, and regretted his death. As for me, I never greatly loved him; I had not grown up with him; and he was too prone to repulse my little advances to familiarity, with coldness, or anger. He had certainly some reason to be displeased with me, for I learned little at school, and nothing at home, although he would now and then attempt to give me some insight into his business. As impressions of any kind are not very strong at the age of eleven or twelve, I did not long feel his loss; nor was it a subject of much sorrow to me, that my mother was doubtful of her ability to continue me at school, though I had by this time acquired a love for reading.

I never knew in what circumstances my mother was left: most probably they were inadequate to her support, without some kind of exertion, especially as she was now burthened with a second child about six or eight months old. Unfortunately she determined to prosecute my father’s business; for which purpose she engaged a couple of journeymen, who, finding her ignorant of every part of it, wasted her property, and embezzled her money. What the consequence of this double fraud would have been, there was no opportunity of knowing, as, in somewhat less than a twelvemonth, my poor mother followed my father to the grave. She was an excellent woman, bore my father’s infirmities with patience and good humour, loved her children dearly, and died at last, exhausted with anxiety and grief more on their account than her own.

I was not quite thirteen when this happened, my little brother was hardly two; and we had not a relation nor a friend in the world. Every thing that was left, was seized by a person of the name of Carlile, for money advanced to my mother. It may be supposed that I could not dispute the justice of his claims; and as no one else interfered, he was suffered to do as he liked. My little brother was sent to the alms-house, whither his nurse followed him out of pure affection: and I was taken to the house of the person I have just mentioned, who was also my godfather. Respect for the opinion of the town (which, whether correct or not, was, that he had amply repaid himself by the sale of my mother’s effects) induced him to send me again to school, where I was more diligent than before, and more successful. I grew fond of arithmetic, and my master began to distinguish me; but these golden days were over in less than three months. Carlile sickened at the expense; and, as the people were now indifferent to my fate, he looked round for an opportunity of ridding himself of a useless charge. He had previously attempted to engage me in the drudgery of husbandry. I drove the plough for one day to gratify him; but I left it with a firm resolution to do so no more, and in despite of his threats and promises, adhered to my determination. In this, I was guided no less by necessity than will. During my father’s life, in attempting to clamber up a table, I had fallen backward, and drawn it after me: its edge fell upon my breast, and I never recovered the effects of the blow; of which I was made extremely sensible on any extraordinary exertion. Ploughing, therefore, was out of the question, and, as I have already said, I utterly refused to follow it.

As I could write and cipher, (as the phrase is,) Carlile next thought of sending me to Newfoundland, to assist in a storehouse. For this purpose he negotiated with a Mr. Holdsworthy of Dartmouth, who agreed to fit me out. I left Ashburton with little expectation of seeing it again, and indeed with little care, and rode with my godfather to the dwelling of Mr. Holdsworthy. On seeing me, this great man observed with a look of pity and contempt, that I was “too small,” and sent me away sufficiently mortified. I expected to be very ill received by my godfather, but he said nothing. He did not however choose to take me back himself, but sent me in the passage-boat to Totness, from [I-47,
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whence I was to walk home. On the passage, the boat was driven by a midnight storm on the rocks, and I escaped almost by miracle.

My godfather had now humbler views for me, and I had little heart to resist any thing. He proposed to send me on board one of the Torbay fishing-boats; I ventured, however, to remonstrate against this, and the matter was compromised by my consenting to go on board a coaster. A coaster was speedily found for me at Brixham, and thither I went when little more than thirteen.

My master, whose name was Full, though a gross and ignorant, was not an ill-natured, man; at least, not to me: and my mistress used me with unvarying kindness; moved perhaps by my weakness and tender years. In return, I did what I could to requite her, and my good will was not overlooked.

Our vessel was not very large, nor our crew very numerous. On ordinary occasions, such as short trips to Dartmouth, Plymouth, &c. it consisted only of my master, an apprentice nearly out of his time, and myself: when we had to go further, to Portsmouth for example, an additional hand was hired for the voyage.

In this vessel (the Two Brothers) I continued nearly a twelvemonth; and here I got acquainted with nautical terms, and contracted a love for the sea, which a lapse of thirty years has but little diminished.

It will be easily conceived that my life was a life of hardship. I was not only a “shipboy on the high and giddy mast,” but also in the cabin, where every menial office fell to my lot: yet if I was restless and discontented, I can safely say, it was not so much on account of this, as of my being precluded from all possibility of reading; as my master did not possess, nor do I recollect seeing during the whole time of my abode with him, a single book of any description, except the Coasting Pilot.

As my lot seemed to be cast, however, I was not negligent in seeking such information as promised to be useful; and I therefore frequented, at my leisure hours, such vessels as dropt into Torbay. On attempting to get on board one of these, which I did at midnight, I missed my footing, and fell into the sea. The floating away of the boat alarmed the man on deck, who came to the ship’s side just in time to see me sink. He immediately threw out several ropes, one of which providentially (for I was unconscious of it) intangled itself about me, and I was drawn up to the surface, till a boat could be got round. The usual methods were taken to recover me, and I awoke in bed the next morning, remembering nothing but the horror I felt, when I first found myself unable to cry out for assistance.

This was not my only escape, but I forbear to speak of them. An escape of another kind was now preparing for me, which deserves all my notice, as it was decisive of my future fate.

On Christmas day (1770) I was surprised by a message from my godfather, saying that he had sent a man and horse to bring me to Ashburton; and desiring me to set out without delay. My master, as well as myself, supposed it was to spend the holydays there; and he therefore made no objection to my going. We were, however, both mistaken.

Since I had lived at Brixham, I had broken off all connection with Ashburton. I had no relation there but my poor brother,[16] who was yet too young for any kind of correspondence; and the conduct of my godfather towards me, did not entitle him to any portion of my gratitude, or kind remembrance. I lived therefore in a sort of sullen independence on all I had formerly known, and thought without regret of being abandoned by every one to my fate. But I had not been overlooked. The women of Brixham, who travelled to Ashburton twice a week with fish, and who had known my parents, did not see me without kind concern, running about the beach in a ragged jacket and trousers. They mentioned this to the people of Ashburton, and never without commiserating my change of condition. This tale, often repeated, awakened at length the pity of their auditors, and, as the next step, their resentment against the man who had reduced me to such a state of wretchedness. In a large town, this would have had little effect; but in a place like Ashburton, where every report speedily becomes the common property of all the inhabitants, it raised a murmur which my godfather found himself either unable or unwilling to encounter: he therefore determined to recall me; which he could easily do, as I wanted some months of fourteen, and was not yet bound.

All this, I learned on my arrival; and my heart, which had been cruelly shut up, now opened to kinder sentiments, and fairer views.

After the holydays I returned to my darling pursuit, arithmetic: my progress was now so rapid, that in a few months I was at the head of the school, and qualified to assist my master (Mr. E. Furlong) on any extraordinary emergency. As he usually gave me a trifle on those occasions, it raised a thought in me, that by engaging with him as a regular assistant, and undertaking the instruction of a few evening scholars, I might, with a little additional aid, be enabled to support myself. God knows, my [I-49,
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ideas of support at this time were of no very extravagant nature. I had, besides, another object in view. Mr. Hugh Smerdon (my first master) was now grown old and infirm; it seemed unlikely that he should hold out above three or four years; and I fondly flattered myself that, notwithstanding my youth, I might possibly be appointed to succeed him. I was in my fifteenth year, when I built these castles: a storm, however, was collecting, which unexpectedly burst upon me, and swept them all away.

On mentioning my little plan to Carlile, he treated it with the utmost contempt; and told me, in his turn, that as I had learned enough, and more than enough, at school, he must be considered as having fairly discharged his duty; (so, indeed, he had;) he added, that he had been negotiating with his cousin, a shoemaker of some respectability, who had liberally agreed to take me without a fee, as an apprentice. I was so shocked at this intelligence, that I did not remonstrate; but went in sullenness and silence to my new master, to whom I was soon after bound,[17] till I should attain the age of twenty-one.

The family consisted of four journeymen, two sons about my own age, and an apprentice somewhat older. In these there was nothing remarkable; but my master himself was the strangest creature!—He was a Presbyterian, whose reading was entirely confined to the small tracts published on the Exeter Controversy. As these (at least his portion of them) were all on one side, he entertained no doubt of their infallibility, and being noisy and disputacious, was sure to silence his opponents; and became, in consequence of it, intolerably arrogant and conceited. He was not, however, indebted solely to his knowledge of the subject for his triumph: he was possessed of Fenning’s Dictionary, and he made a most singular use of it. His custom was to fix on any word in common use, and then to get by heart the synonym, or periphrasis by which it was explained in the book; this he constantly substituted for the simple term, and as his opponents were commonly ignorant of his meaning, his victory was complete.

With such a man I was not likely to add much to my stock of knowledge, small as it was; and, indeed, nothing could well be smaller. At this period, I had read nothing but a black letter romance, called Parismus and Parismenus, and a few loose magazines which my mother had brought from South Molton. With the Bible, indeed, I was well acquainted; it was the favourite study of my grandmother, and reading it frequently with her, had impressed it strongly on my mind; these then, with the Imitation of Thomas à Kempis, which I used to read to my mother on her death-bed, constituted the whole of my literary acquisitions.

As I hated my new profession with a perfect hatred, I made no progress in it; and was consequently little regarded in the family, of which I sunk by degrees into the common drudge: this did not much disquiet me, for my spirits were now humbled. I did not however quite resign the hope of one day succeeding to Mr. Hugh Smerdon, and therefore secretly prosecuted my favourite study, at every interval of leisure.

These intervals were not very frequent; and when the use I made of them was found out, they were rendered still less so. I could not guess the motives for this at first; but at length I discovered that my master destined his youngest son for the situation to which I aspired.

I possessed at this time but one book in the world: it was a treatise on algebra, given to me by a young woman, who had found it in a lodging-house. I considered it as a treasure; but it was a treasure locked up; for it supposed the reader to be well acquainted with simple equation, and I knew nothing of the matter. My master’s son had purchased Fenning’s Introduction: this was precisely what I wanted; but he carefully concealed it from me, and I was indebted to chance alone for stumbling upon his hiding-place. I sat up for the greatest part of several nights successively, and, before he suspected that his treatise was discovered, had completely mastered it. I could now enter upon my own; and that carried me pretty far into the science.

This was not done without difficulty. I had not a farthing on earth, nor a friend to give me one: pen, ink, and paper, therefore, (in despite of the flippant remark of Lord Orford,) were, for the most part, as completely out of my reach, as a crown and sceptre. There was indeed a resource; but the utmost caution and secrecy were necessary in applying to it. I beat out pieces of leather as smooth as possible and wrought my problems on them with a blunted awl: for the rest, my memory was tenacious, and I could multiply and divide by it, to a great extent.

Hitherto I had not so much as dreamed of poetry: indeed I scarcely knew it by name; and, whatever may be said of the force of nature, I certainly never “lisp’d in numbers.” I recollect the occasion of my first attempt: it is, like all the rest of my non-adventures, of so unimportant a nature, that I should blush to call the attention of the idlest reader to it, but for the reason alleged in the introductory paragraph. A person, whose name escapes me, had undertaken to paint a sign for an ale-house: it was to have been a lion, but the unfortunate artist produced a dog. On this awkward affair, one of my acquaintance wrote a copy of what we called verse: I liked it; but fancied I could compose something more to the purpose: I made the experiment, and by the unanimous suffrage of my shopmates was allowed to have succeeded. Notwithstanding this encouragement, I thought no more of verse, till another occurrence, as trifling as the former, furnished [I-51,
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me with a fresh subject: and thus I went on, till I had got together about a dozen of them. Certainly, nothing on earth was ever so deplorable: such as they were, however, they were talked of in my little circle, and I was sometimes invited to repeat them, even out of it. I never committed a line to paper for two reasons; first, because I had no paper; and secondly—perhaps I might be excused from going further; but in truth I was afraid, as my master had already threatened me, for inadvertently hitching the name of one of his customers into a rhyme.

The repetitions of which I speak were always attended with applause, and sometimes with favours more substantial: little collections were now and then made, and I have received sixpence in an evening. To one who had long lived in the absolute want of money, such a resource seemed a Peruvian mine: I furnished myself by degrees with paper, &c., and what was of more importance, with books of geometry, and of the higher branches of algebra, which I cautiously concealed. Poetry, even at this time, was no amusement of mine: it was subservient to other purposes; and I only had recourse to it, when I wanted money for my mathematical pursuits.

But the clouds were gathering fast. My master’s anger was raised to a terrible pitch, by my indifference to his concerns, and still more by the reports which were daily brought to him of my presumptuous attempts at versification. I was required to give up my papers, and when I refused, my garret was searched, and my little hoard of books discovered and removed, and all future repetitions prohibited in the strictest manner.

This was a very severe stroke, and I felt it most sensibly; it was followed by another severer still; a stroke which crushed the hopes I had so long and so fondly cherished, and resigned me at once to despair. Mr. Hugh Smerdon, on whose succession I had calculated, died, and was succeeded by a person not much older than myself, and certainly not so well qualified for the situation.

I look back on that part of my life which immediately followed this event, with little satisfaction; it was a period of gloom, and savage unsociability: by degrees I sunk into a kind of coporeal torpor; or, if roused into activity by the spirit of youth, wasted the exertion in splenetic and vexatious tricks, which alienated the few acquaintances whom compassion had yet left me. So I crept on in silent discontent, unfriended and unpitied; indignant at the present, careless of the future, an object at once of apprehension and dislike.

From this state of abjectness I was raised by a young woman of my own class. She was a neighbour; and whenever I took my solitary walk, with my Wolfius in my pocket, she usually came to the door, and by a smile, or a short question, put in the friendliest manner, endeavoured to solicit my attention. My heart had been long shut to kindness, but the sentiment was not dead in me: it revived at the first encouraging word; and the gratitude I felt for it was the first pleasing sensation which I had ventured to entertain for many dreary months.

Together with gratitude, hope, and other passions still more enlivening, took place of that uncomfortable gloominess which so lately possessed me: I returned to my companions, and by every winning art in my power, strove to make them forget my former repulsive ways. In this I was not unsuccessful; I recovered their good will, and by degrees grew to be somewhat of a favourite.

My master still murmured, for the business of the shop went on no better than before: I comforted myself, however, with the reflection that my apprenticeship was drawing to a conclusion, when I determined to renounce the employment for ever, and to open a private school.

In this humble and obscure state, poor beyond the common lot, yet flattering my ambition with day-dreams, which, perhaps, would never have been realized, I was found in the twentieth year of my age by Mr. William Cookesley, a name never to be pronounced by me without veneration. The lamentable doggerel which I have already mentioned, and which had passed from mouth to mouth among people of my own degree, had by some accident or other reached his ear, and given him a curiosity to inquire after the author.

It was my good fortune to interest his benevolence. My little history was not untinctured with melancholy, and I laid it fairly before him: his first care was to console; his second, which he cherished to the last moment of his existence, was to relieve and support me.

Mr. Cookesley was not rich: his eminence in his profession, which was that of a surgeon, procured him, indeed, much employment; but in a country town, men of science are not the most liberally rewarded: he had, besides, a very numerous family, which left him little for the purposes of general benevolence: that little, however, was cheerfully bestowed, and his activity and zeal were always at hand to supply the deficiencies of his fortune.

On examining into the nature of my literary attainments, he found them absolutely nothing: he heard, however, with equal surprise and pleasure, that amidst the grossest ignorance of books, I had made a very considerable progress in the mathematics. He engaged me to enter into the details of this affair, and when he learned that I had made it in circumstances of peculiar discouragement, he became more warmly interested in my favour, as he now saw a possibility of serving me.

The plan that occurred to him was naturally that which had so often suggested itself to me. There were indeed several obstacles to be overcome; I had eighteen months yet to serve; my handwriting was bad, and my language very incorrect; but nothing could slacken the zeal of this excellent man; he procured a few of my [I-53,
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poor attempts at rhyme, dispersed them amongst his friends and acquaintance, and when my name was become somewhat familiar to them, set on foot a subscription for my relief. I still preserve the original paper; its title was not very magnificent, though it exceeded the most sanguine wishes of my heart: it ran thus, “A Subscription for purchasing the remainder of the time of William Gifford, and for enabling him to improve himself in Writing and English Grammar.” Few contributed more than five shillings, and none went beyond ten-and-sixpence: enough, however, was collected to free me from my apprenticeship,[18] and to maintain me for a few months, during which I assiduously attended the Rev. Thomas Smerdon.

At the expiration of this period, it was found that my progress (for I will speak the truth in modesty) had been more considerable than my patrons expected: I had also written in the interim several little pieces of poetry, less rugged, I suppose, than my former ones, and certainly with fewer anomalies of language. My preceptor, too, spoke favourably of me; and my benefactor, who was now become my father and my friend, had little difficulty in persuading my patrons to renew their donations, and to continue me at school for another year. Such liberality was not lost upon me; I grew anxious to make the best return in my power, and I redoubled my diligence. Now, that I am sunk into indolence, I look back with some degree of scepticism to the exertions of that period.

In two years and two months from the day of my emancipation, I was pronounced by Mr. Smerdon, fit for the University. The plan of opening a writing school had been abandoned almost from the first; and Mr. Cookesley looked round for some one who had interest enough to procure me some little office at Oxford. This person, who was soon found, was Thomas Taylor, Esq. of Denbury, a gentleman to whom I had already been indebted for much liberal and friendly support. He procured me the place of Bib. Lect. at Exeter College; and this, with such occasional assistance from the country as Mr. Cookesley undertook to provide, was thought sufficient to enable me to live, at least, till I had taken a degree.

During my attendance on Mr. Smerdon I had written, as I observed before, several tuneful trifles, some as exercises, others voluntarily, (for poetry was now become my delight,) and not a few at the desire of my friends.[19] When I became capable, however, of reading Latin and Greek with some degree of facility, that gentleman employed all my leisure hours in translations from the classics; and indeed I scarcely know a single school-book, of which I did not render some portion into English verse. Among others, Juvenal engaged my attention, or rather my master’s, and I translated the tenth Satire for a holyday task. Mr. Smerdon was much pleased with this, (I was not undelighted with it myself,) and as I was now become fond of the author, he easily persuaded me to proceed with him; and I translated in succession the third, the fourth, the twelfth, and, I think, the eighth Satires. As I had no end in view but that of giving a temporary satisfaction to my benefactors, I thought little more of these, than of many other things of the same nature, which I wrote from time to time, and of which I never copied a single line.

On my removing to Exeter College, however, my friend, ever attentive to my concerns, advised me to copy my translation of the tenth Satire and present it, on my arrival, to the Rev. Dr. Stinton, (afterwards Rector,) to whom Mr. Taylor had given me an introductory letter: I did so, and it was kindly received. Thus encouraged, I took up the first and second Satires, (I mention them in the order they were translated,) when my friend, who had sedulously watched my progress, first started the idea of going through the whole, and publishing it by subscription, as a scheme for increasing my means of subsistence. To this I readily acceded, and finished the thirteenth, eleventh, and fifteenth Satires: the remainder were the work of a much later period.

When I had got thus far, we thought it a fit time to mention our design; it was very generally approved of by my friends; and on the first of January, 1781, the subscription was opened by Mr. Cookesley at Ashburton, and by myself at Exeter College.

So bold an undertaking so precipitately announced, will give the reader, I fear, a higher opinion of my conceit than of my talents; neither the one nor the other, however, had the smallest concern with the business, which originated solely in ignorance: I wrote verses with great facility, and I was simple enough to imagine that little more was necessary for a translator of Juvenal! I was not, indeed, unconscious of my inaccuracies: I knew that they were numerous, and that I had need of some friendly eye to point them out, and some judicious hand to rectify or remove them: but for these, as well as for every thing else, I looked to Mr. Cookesley, and that worthy man, with his usual alacrity of kindness, undertook the laborious task of revising the whole translation. My friend was no great Latinist, perhaps I was the better of the two; but he had taste and [I-55,
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judgment, which I wanted. What advantages might have been ultimately derived from them, there was unhappily no opportunity of ascertaining, as it pleased the Almighty to call him to himself by a sudden death, before we had quite finished the first Satire. He died with a letter of mine, unopened, in his hands.

This event, which took place on the 15th of January, 1781, afflicted me beyond measure.[20] I was not only deprived of a most faithful and affectionate friend, but of a zealous and ever active protector, on whom I confidently relied for support: the sums that were still necessary for me, he always collected; and it was to be feared that the assistance which was not solicited with warmth, would insensibly cease to be afforded.

In many instances this was actually the case: the desertion, however, was not general; and I was encouraged to hope, by the unexpected friendship of Servington Savery, a gentleman who voluntarily stood forth as my patron, and watched over my interests with kindness and attention.

Some time before Mr. Cookesley’s death, we had agreed that it would be proper to deliver out, with the terms of subscription, a specimen of the manner in which the translation was executed.[21] To obviate any idea of selection, a sheet was accordingly taken from the beginning of the first Satire. My friend died while it was in the press.

After a few melancholy weeks, I resumed the translation; but found myself utterly incapable of proceeding. I had been so accustomed to connect the name of Mr. Cookesley with every part of it, and I laboured with such delight in the hope of giving him pleasure, that now, when he appeared to have left me in the midst of my enterprise, and I was abandoned to my own efforts, I seemed to be engaged in a hopeless struggle, without motive or end: and his idea, which was perpetually recurring to me, brought such bitter anguish with it, that I shut up the work with feelings bordering on distraction.

To relieve my mind, I had recourse to other pursuits. I endeavoured to become more intimately acquainted with the classics, and to acquire some of the modern languages: by permission too, or rather recommendation, of the Rector and Fellows, I also undertook the care of a few pupils: this removed much of my anxiety respecting my future means of support. I have a heartfelt pleasure in mentioning this indulgence of my college: it could arise from nothing but the liberal desire inherent, I think, in the members of both our Universities, to encourage every thing that bears even the most distant resemblance to talents; for I had no claims on them from any particular exertions.

The lapse of many months had now soothed and tranquillized my mind, and I once more returned to the translation, to which a wish to serve a young man surrounded with difficulties had induced a number of respectable characters to set their names; but alas, what a mortification! I now discovered, for the first time, that my own inexperience, and the advice of my too, too partial friend, had engaged me in a work, for the due execution of which my literary attainments were by no means sufficient. Errors and misconceptions appeared in every page. I had, perhaps, caught something of the spirit of Juvenal, but his meaning had frequently escaped me, and I saw the necessity of a long and painful revision, which would carry me far beyond the period fixed for the appearance of the volume. Alarmed at the prospect, I instantly resolved (if not wisely, yet I trust honestly,) to renounce the publication for the present.

In pursuance of this resolution, I wrote to my friend in the country, (the Rev. Servington Savery,) requesting him to return the subscription money in his hands to the subscribers. He did not approve of my plan; nevertheless he promised, in a letter, which now lies before me, to comply with it; and, in a subsequent one, added that he had already begun to do so.

For myself, I also made several repayments; and trusted a sum of money to make others, with a fellow collegian, who, not long after, fell by his own hands in the presence of his father. But there were still some whose abode could not be discovered, and others, on whom to press the taking back of eight shillings would neither be decent nor respectful: even from these I ventured to flatter myself that I should find pardon, when on some future day I should present them with the Work, (which I was still secretly determined to complete,) rendered more worthy of their patronage, and increased by notes, which I now perceived to be absolutely necessary, to more than double its proposed size.

In the leisure of a country residence, I imagined that this might be done in two years: perhaps I was not too sanguine: the experiment, however, was not made, for about this time a circumstance happened, which changed my views, and indeed my whole system of life.

I had contracted an acquaintance with a person of the name of ——, recommended to my particular notice by a gentleman of Devonshire, whom I was proud of an opportunity to oblige. This person’s residence at Oxford was not long, and when he returned to town I maintained a correspondence with him by letters. At his particular request, these were enclosed in covers, and sent to Lord Grosvenor: one day I inadvertently omitted the direction, and his lordship, [I-57,
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necessarily supposing the letter to be meant for himself, opened and read it. There was something in it which attracted his notice; and when he gave it to my friend, he had the curiosity to inquire about his correspondent at Oxford; and, upon the answer he received, the kindness to desire that he might be brought to see him upon his coming to town: to this circumstance, purely accidental on all sides, and to this alone, I owe my introduction to that nobleman.

On my first visit, he asked me what friends I had, and what were my prospects in life; and I told him that I had no friends, and no prospects of any kind. He said no more; but when I called to take leave, previous to returning to college, I found that this simple exposure of my circumstances had sunk deep into his mind. At parting, he informed me that he charged himself with my present support, and future establishment; and that till this last could be effected to my wish, I should come and reside with him. These were not words, of course: they were more than fulfilled in every point. I did go, and reside with him; and I experienced a warm and cordial reception, a kind and affectionate esteem, that has known neither diminution nor interruption from that hour to this, a period of twenty years![22]

In his lordship’s house I proceeded with Juvenal, till I was called upon to accompany his son (one of the most amiable and accomplished young noblemen that this country, fertile in such characters, could ever boast) to the continent. With him, in two successive tours, I spent many years; years of which the remembrance will always be dear to me, from the recollection that a friendship was then contracted, which time and a more intimate knowledge of each other, have mellowed into a regard that forms at once the pride and happiness of my life.

It is long since I have been returned and settled in the bosom of competence and peace; my translation frequently engaged my thoughts, but I had lost the ardour and the confidence of youth, and was seriously doubtful of my abilities to do it justice. I have wished a thousand times that I could decline it altogether; but the ever-recurring idea that there were people of the description already mentioned, who had just and forcible claims on me for the due performance of my engagement, forbad the thought; and I slowly proceeded towards the completion of a work in which I should never have engaged, had my friend’s inexperience, or my own, suffered us to suspect for a moment the labour, and the talents of more than one kind, absolutely necessary to its success in any tolerable degree. Such as I could make it, it is now before the public.

————— majora canamus.

End of the Memoir.


Mr. Gifford.

Having attained an university education by private benevolence, and arrived at noble and powerful patronage by a circumstance purely accidental Mr. Gifford possessed advantages which few in humble life dare hope, and fewer aspire to achieve. He improved his learned leisure and patrician aid, till, in 1802, he published his translation of Juvenal, with a dedication to earl Grosvenor, and the preceding memoir. In 1806, the work arrived to a second edition, and in 1817 to a third; to the latter he annexed a translation of the Satires of Persius, which he likewise dedicated to earl Grosvenor, with “admiration of his talents and virtues.” He had previously distinguished himself by the “Baviad and Mæviad,” a satire unsparingly severe on certain fashionable poetry and characters of the day; and which may perhaps be referred to as the best specimen of his powers and inclination. He edited the plays of Massinger, and the works of Ben Jonson, whom he ably and successfully defended from charges of illiberal disposition towards Shakspeare, and calumnies of a personal nature, which had been repeated and increased by successive commentators. He lived to see his edition of Ford’s works through the press, and Shirley’s works were nearly completed by the printer before he died.

When the “Quarterly Review” was projected, Mr. Gifford was selected as best qualified to conduct the new journal, and he remained its editor till within two years preceding his death. Besides the private emoluments of his pen, Mr. Gifford had six hundred pounds a year as a comptroller of the lottery, and a salary of three hundred pounds as paymaster of the band of gentlemen-pensioners.


To his friend, Dr. Ireland, the dean of Westminster, who was the depositary of Mr. Gifford’s wishes in his last moments, he addressed, during their early career, the [I-59,
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following imitation of the “Otium Divos Rogat” of Horace.—“I transcribe it,” says Mr. Gifford, “for the press, with mingled sensations of gratitude and delight, at the favourable change of circumstances which we have both experienced since it was written.”

Wolfe rush’d on death in manhood’s bloom,
Paulet crept slowly to the tomb;
Here breath, there fame was given:
And that wise Power who weighs our lives,
By contras, and by pros, contrives
To keep the balance even.
To thee she gave two piercing eyes,
A body, just of Tydeus’ size,
A judgment sound, and clear;
A mind with various science fraught,
A liberal soul, a threadbare coat,
And forty pounds a year.
To me, one eye, not over good;
Two sides, that, to their cost, have stood
A ten years’ hectic cough;
Aches, stitches, all the numerous ills
That swell the dev’lish doctors’ bills,
And sweep poor mortals off.
A coat more bare than thine; a soul
That spurns the crowd’s malign controul;
A fix’d contempt of wrong;
Spirits above affliction’s pow’r,
And skill to charm the lonely hour
With no inglorious song.

[12] The matter is of no consequence—no, not even to myself. From my family I derived nothing but a name which is more, perhaps, than I shall leave: but (to check the sneers of rude vulgarity) that family was among the most ancient and respectable of this part of the country, and, not more than three generations from the present, was counted among the wealthiest.—Σχιας οναρ!

[13] He had gone with Bamfylde Moor Carew, then an old man.

[14] Her maiden name was Elizabeth Cain. My father’s christian name was Edward.

[15] This consisted of several houses, which had been thoughtlessly suffered to fall into decay, and of which the rents had been so long unclaimed, that they could not now be registered unless by an expensive litigation.

[16] Of my brother here introduced for the last time, I must yet say a few words. He was literally,

The child of misery baptized in tears;

and the short passage of his life did not belie the melancholy presage of his infancy. When he was seven years old, the parish bound him out to a husbandman of the name of Leman, with whom he endured incredible hardships, which I had it not in my power to alleviate. At nine years of age he broke his thigh, and I took that opportunity to teach him to read and write. When my own situation was improved, I persuaded him to try the sea; he did so; and was taken on board the Egmont, on condition that his master should receive his wages. The time was now fast approaching when I could serve him, but he was doomed to know no favourable change of fortune: he fell sick, and died at Cork.

[17] My indenture, which now lies before me, is dated the 1st of January, 1772.

[18] The sum my master received was six pounds.

[19] As I have republished one of our old poets, it may be allowable to mention that my predilection for the drama began at an early period. Before I left school, I had written two tragedies, the Oracle and the Italian.

My qualifications for this branch of the art may be easily appreciated; and, indeed, I cannot think of them without a smile.—These rhapsodies were placed by my indulgent friend, who thought well of them, in the hands of two respectable gentlemen, who undertook to convey them to the manager of ——: I am ignorant of their fate. The death of Mr. Cookesley broke every link of my connection with the majority of my subscribers, and when subsequent events enabled me to renew them, I was ashamed to inquire after what was most probably unworthy of concern.

[20] I began this unadorned narrative on the 15th of January, 1801: twenty years have therefore elapsed since I lost my benefactor and my friend. In the interval I have wept a thousand times at the recollection of his goodness; I yet cherish his memory with filial respect; and at this distant period, my heart sinks within me at every repetition of his name.

[21] Many of these papers were distributed; the terms, which I extract from one of them, were these: “The work shall be printed in quarto, (without notes,) and be delivered to the Subscribers in the month of December next.

“The price will be sixteen shillings in boards, half to be paid at the time of subscribing, the remainder on delivery of the book.”

[22] I have a melancholy satisfaction in recording that this revered friend and patron lived to witness my grateful acknowledgment of his kindness. He survived the appearance of the translation but a very few days, and I paid the last sad duty to his memory, by attending his remains to the grave. To me—this laborious work has not been happy: the same disastrous event that marked its commencement, has embittered its conclusion; and frequently forced upon my recollection the calamity of the rebuilder of Jericho, “He laid the foundation thereof in Abiram, his first born, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son, Segub.” 1806.


Omniana.

Advertisement.

The following is a literal copy of an English card, circulated by the master of an hotel, at Ghent:—

“Mr. Dewit, in the Golden Apple, out of the Bruges Gate at Ghent, has the honour to prevent the Persons who would come at his house, that they shall find there always good and spacious Lodging, a Table served at their taste, Wine of any quality, ect. Besides he hires Horses and Chaises, which shall be of a great conveniency for the Travellers; the Bark of Bruges depart and arrives every day before his door. He dares flatter himself that they shall be satisfied; as well with the cheapness of the price, as with the cares such an establishment requires.”


Capital for Banking.

A nobleman’s footman in Hampshire, to whom two years’ wages were due, demanded the sum from his master, and gave notice that he would quit his place. The master inquired the reason of the man’s precipitancy, who told his lordship, “that he and a fellow-servant were about to set up a country bank, and they wanted the wages for a capital!


March of Intellect.

In “The Times,” a few days since, appeared the following advertisement:—“To School Assistants.—Wanted, a respectable gentleman of good character, capable of teaching the classics as far as Homer, and Virgil. Apply, &c. &c.” A day or two after the above had appeared, the gentleman to whom application was to be made received a letter as follows:—“Sir—With reference to an advertisement which were inserted in The Times newspaper a few days since, respecting a school assistant, I beg to state that I should be happy to fill that situation; but as most of my frends reside in London, and not knowing how far Homer and Virgil is from town, I beg to state that I should not like to engage to teach the classics farther than Hammersmith or Turnham Green, or at the very utmost distance, farther than Brentford, Wating your reply, I am, Sir, &c. &c.

“John Sparks.”

The schoolmaster, judging of the classical abilities of this “youth of promise,” by the wisdom displayed in his letter, considered him too dull a spark for the situation, and his letter remained unanswered. (This puts us in mind of a person who once advertised for a “strong coal heaver,” and a poor man calling upon him the day after, saying, “he had not got such a thing as a ‘strong coal heaver,’ but he had brought a ‘strong coal scuttle,’ made of the best iron; and if that would answer the purpose, he should have it a bargain.”)—Times, 1st January, 1827.


Missing a Style.

Soon after the publication of Miss Burney’s novel, called “Cecilia,” a young lady was found reading it. After the general topics of praise were exhausted, she was asked whether she did not greatly admire the style? Reviewing the incidents in her memory, she replied, “The style? the style?—Oh! sir, I am not come to that yet!”


[I-61,
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Vol. I.—3.

The Newsman.

The Newsman.

“I, that do bring the news.”

Shakspeare.

Our calling, however the vulgar may deem,
Was of old, both on high and below, in esteem.
E’en the gods were to much curiosity given,
For Hermes was only the Newsman of heaven.
Hence with wings to his cap, and his staff, and his heels,
He depictured appears, which our myst’ry reveals,
That news flies like wind, to raise sorrow or laughter,
While leaning on Time, Truth comes heavily after.

Newsmen’s Verses, 1747.

The newsman is a “lone person.” His business, and he, are distinct from all other occupations, and people.

All the year round, and every day in the year, the newsman must rise soon after four o’clock, and be at the newspaper offices to [I-63,
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procure a few of the first morning papers allotted to him, at extra charges, for particular orders, and despatch them by the “early coaches.” Afterwards, he has to wait for his share of the “regular” publication of each paper, and he allots these as well as he can among some of the most urgent of his town orders. The next publication at a later hour is devoted to his remaining customers; and he sends off his boys with different portions according to the supply he successively receives. Notices frequently and necessarily printed in different papers, of the hour of final publication the preceding day, guard the interests of the newspaper proprietors from the sluggishness of the indolent, and quicken the diligent newsman. Yet, however skilful his arrangements may be, they are subject to unlooked for accidents. The late arrival of foreign journals, a parliamentary debate unexpectedly protracted, or an article of importance in one paper exclusively, retard the printing and defer the newsman. His patience, well-worn before he gets his “last papers,” must be continued during the whole period he is occupied in delivering them. The sheet is sometimes half snatched before he can draw it from his wrapper; he is often chid for delay when he should have been praised for speed; his excuse, “All the papers were late this morning,” is better heard than admitted, for neither giver nor receiver has time to parley; and before he gets home to dinner, he hears at one house that “Master has waited for the paper these two hours;” at another, “Master’s gone out, and says if you can’t bring the paper earlier, he won’t have it all;” and some ill-conditioned “master,” perchance, leaves positive orders, “Don’t take it in, but tell the man to bring the bill; and I’ll pay it and have done with him.”

Besides buyers, every newsman has readers at so much each paper per hour. One class stipulates for a journal always at breakfast; another, that it is to be delivered exactly at such a time; a third, at any time, so that it is left the full hour; and among all of these there are malecontents, who permit nothing of “time or circumstance” to interfere with their personal convenience. Though the newsman delivers, and allows the use of his paper, and fetches it, for a stipend not half equal to the lowest paid porter’s price for letter-carrying in London, yet he finds some, with whom he covenanted, objecting, when it is called for,—“I’ve not had my breakfast,”—“The paper did not come at the proper time,”—“I’ve not had leisure to look at it yet,”—“It has not been left an hour,”—or any other pretence equally futile or untrue, which, were he to allow, would prevent him from serving his readers in rotation, or at all. If he can get all his morning papers from these customers by four o’clock, he is a happy man.

Soon after three in the afternoon, the newsman and some of his boys must be at the offices of the evening papers; but before he can obtain his requisite numbers, he must wait till the newsmen of the Royal Exchange have received theirs, for the use of the merchants on ’Change. Some of the first he gets are hurried off to coffee-house and tavern keepers. When he has procured his full quantity, he supplies the remainder of his town customers. These disposed of, then comes the hasty folding and directing of his reserves for the country, and the forwarding of them to the post-office in Lombard-street, or in parcels for the mails, and to other coach-offices. The Gazette nights, every Tuesday and Friday, add to his labours,—the publication of second and third editions of the evening papers is a super-addition. On what he calls a “regular day,” he is fortunate if he find himself settled within his own door by seven o’clock, after fifteen hours of running to and fro. It is now only that he can review the business of the day, enter his fresh orders, ascertain how many of each paper he will require on the morrow, arrange his accounts, provide for the money he may have occasion for, eat the only quiet meal he could reckon upon since that of the evening before, and “steal a few hours from the night” for needful rest, before he rises the next morning to a day of the like incessant occupation: and thus from Monday to Saturday he labours every day.

The newsman desires no work but his own to prove “Sunday no Sabbath;” for on him and his brethren devolves the circulation of upwards of fifty thousand Sunday papers in the course of the forenoon. His Sunday dinner is the only meal he can ensure with his family, and the short remainder of the day the only time he can enjoy in their society with certainty, or extract something from, for more serious duties or social converse.

The newsman’s is an out-of-door business at all seasons, and his life is measured out to unceasing toil. In all weathers, hail, rain, wind, and snow, he is daily constrained to the way and the fare of a wayfaringman. He walks, or rather runs, to distribute information concerning all sorts of [I-65,
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circumstances and persons, except his own. He is unable to allow himself, or others, time for intimacy, and therefore, unless he had formed friendships before he took to his servitude, he has not the chance of cultivating them, save with persons of the same calling. He may be said to have been divorced, and to live “separate and apart” from society in general; for, though he mixes with every body, it is only for a few hurried moments, and as strangers do in a crowd.

Cowper’s familiar description of a newspaper, with its multiform intelligence, and the pleasure of reading it in the country, never tires, and in this place is to the purpose.

This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not ev’n critics criticise; that holds
Inquisitive Attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break,
What is it, but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns?
Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks,
Births, deaths, and marriages———————
——————————The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh———————————
Cat’racts of declamation thunder here;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there,
With merry descants on a nation’s woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion; roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Heav’n, earth, and ocean, plunder’d of their sweets,
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city feasts, and fav’rite airs,
Æthereal journies, submarine exploits,
And Katerfelto, with his hair an end
At his own wonders, wand’ring for his bread.
’Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat,
To peep at such a world; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates,
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft murmur on th’ uninjured ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus, at ease,
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That lib’rates and exempts us from them all.

This is an agreeable and true picture, and, with like felicity, the poet paints the bearer of the newspaper.

Hark! ’tis the twanging horn o’er yonder bridge,
That with its wearisome but needful length
Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright;—
He comes, the herald of a noisy world,
With spatter’d boots, strapp’d waist, and frozen locks
News from all nations lumb’ring at his back.
True to his charge, the close pack’d load behind
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern
Is to conduct it to the destin’d inn;
And, having dropp’d th’ expected bag, pass on.
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch,
Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some;
To him indiff’rent whether grief or joy.

Methinks, as I have always thought, that Cowper here missed the expression of a kind feeling, and rather tends to raise an ungenerous sentiment towards this poor fellow. As the bearer of intelligence, of which he is ignorant, why should it be

“To him indiff’rent whether grief or joy?”

If “cold, and yet cheerful,” he has attained to the “practical philosophy” of bearing ills with patience. He is a frozen creature that “whistles,” and therefore called “light-hearted wretch.” The poet refrains to “look with a gentle eye upon this wretch,” but, having obtained the newspaper, determines to enjoy himself, and cries

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer, but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev’ning in.

This done, and the bard surrounded with means of enjoyment, he directs his sole attention to the newspaper, nor spares a thought in behalf of the wayworn messenger, nor bids him “God speed!” on his further forlorn journey through the wintry blast.

In London scarcely any one knows the newsman but a newsman. His customers know him least of all. Some of them seem almost ignorant that he has like “senses, affections, passions,” with themselves, or is “subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer.” They are indifferent to him in exact ratio to their attachment to what he “serves” them with. Their regard is for the newspaper, and not the newsman. Should he succeed in his occupation, they do not hear of it: if he fail, they do not care for it. If he dies, the servant receives the paper from his successor, and says, when she carries it up stairs, “If you please, the newsman’s dead:” they scarcely ask where he lived, or his fall occasions a pun—“We always said he was, and now we have [I-67,
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proof that he is, the late newsman.” They are almost as unconcerned as if he had been the postman.

Once a year, a printed “copy of verses” reminds every newspaper reader that the hand that bore it is open to a small boon. “The Newsman’s Address to his Customers, 1826,” deploringly adverts to the general distress, patriotically predicts better times, and seasonably intimates, that in the height of annual festivities he, too, has a heart capable of joy.

——————— “although the muse complains
And sings of woes in melancholy strains,
Yet Hope, at last, strikes up her trembling wires,
And bids Despair forsake your glowing fires.
While, as in olden time, Heaven’s gifts you share,
And Englishmen enjoy their Christmas fare;
While at the social board friend joins with friend,
And smiles and jokes and salutations blend;
Your Newsman wishes to be social too,
And would enjoy the opening year with you:
Grant him your annual gift, he will not fail
To drink your health once more with Christmas ale:
Long may you live to share your Christmas cheer,
And he still wish you many a happy year!”

The losses and crosses to which newsmen are subject, and the minutiæ of their laborious life, would form an instructive volume. As a class of able men of business, their importance is established by excellent regulations, adapted to their interests and well-being; and their numerous society includes many individuals of high intelligence, integrity, and opulence.

*


The Drama.

License for enacting a Play.

To the Editor.

Sir,—As many of your readers may not have had an opportunity of knowing the form and manner in which dramatic representations were permitted, by the Master of the Revels, upon the restoration of the Stuarts, I submit a transcript of a licence in my possession. It refers to a drama, called “Noah’s Flood,” apparently not recorded in any dramatic history. It is true, Isaac Reed, in the “Biographia Dramatica,” 1782, vol. ii. p. 255, cites “Noah’s Flood, or the Destruction of the World, an opera, 1679, 4to.,” and ascribes it to “Edward Ecclestone,” but it is questionable whether this was the “play” for which the license below was obtained, as Reed, or perhaps George Steevens, the commentator, who assisted the former considerably in the compilation of that work, as it appeared in 1782, expressly entitles it “an opera.”

Reed states his inability to furnish any particulars of Ecclestone, and his continuator, Mr. Stephen Jones, has not added a single word. Ecclestone was a comedian, though I cannot immediately cite my authority. His opera of “Noah’s Flood,” which is excessively scarce, is said, by Reed, to be “of the same nature with Dryden’s ‘State of Innocence,’ but falls infinitely short of the merit of that poem.” This may be readily believed; for we are informed that the unhappy bookseller, to prevent the whole impression rotting on his shelves, again obtruded it for public patronage, with a new title, “The Cataclasm, or General Deluge of the World,” 1684, 4to.; and again as “The Deluge, or Destruction of the World,” 1691, 4to., with the addition of sculptures. These attempts probably exhausted the stock on hand, as, some years afterwards, it was reprinted in 12mo., with the title of “Noah’s Flood, or the History of the General Deluge,” 1714. Many plays were reprinted by Meares, Feales, and others, at the commencement of the last century, as stock-plays; and Reed’s assertion, that this was an imposition, is correct, so far as it came forth as a new production, the preface stating that the author was unknown.

The license alluded to is on a square piece of parchment, eleven inches high, by thirteen wide. The office seal, red wax, covered by a piece of white paper, is engraved in one of the volumes of George Chalmers’s “Apology for the Believers of the Shakspeare Papers.”

The License.

“To all Mayors Sherriffs Justices of the Peace Bayliffs Constables Headboroughs, and all other his Maties. Officers, true Leigmen & loueing Subiects, & to euery of them greeting. Know yee that wheras George Bayley of London Musitioner desires of me a Placard to make Shew of a Play called Noah’s fflood wth other Seuerall Scenes. These are therfore by vertue of his Maties. Lettrs. Pattents made ouer vnto me vnder the great Seale of England to licence & allow the said George Bayley wth eight Servants wch are of his Company to make shew of the said Play called Noah’s flood wth other Scenes requireing you and euery of you in his Maties Name to pmitt & Suffer the said Persons to shew the said Play called Noah’s flood, and to be aiding & assisting them & euery of them [I-69,
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if any wrong or iniury be offered vnto him or any of them Provided that he and they doe not act any thing offensiue against ye lawes of God or of the Land, and that he & they doe make shew of the said Noah’s flood at lawfull times wth Exception of the Lords Day or any other Day in the time of Devine Service, or on any other day prohibited by Proclamation or other lawfull Authority. And this Licence to continue for a year and noe longre from the day of the date hearof and to Serue throughout the Kingdome of England Scotland & Ireland & all other his Maties. Territories & Dominions the said Geo. Bayly haueing giuen me security for his good behauiour that hee doe not intrench vpon the lawes of the land. Giuen at his Maties. Office of the Revills vnder my hand & Seale of the said Office the fowerteenth day of Aprill one thousand six hundred sixty and two & in the fowerteenth year of the raigne of o’r Soueraigne Lord Charles ye Second by the grace of God of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland King Defender of the faith &c.

J. Poyntz.”

A marginal memorandum, below the seal, contains a direction to the persons named in this license, thus:—

“You are to allow him either Town hall Guild hall Schoole house or some other convenient place for his use & to continue in any one place for ye space of fforty Daies.”

The above transcript is literal in every respect: and trusting that it may be deemed worthy insertion,

I am, Sir, &c.
Will o’ the Whisp.


The identical seal of the office of the Revels, mentioned in the preceding letter, was engraven on wood, and is now in the possession of Francis Douce, Esq. F. S. A.


THOMAS AIRAY,
The Grassington Manager and his Theatrical Company, Craven, Yorkshire.

For the Table Book.

“Nothing like this in London!

John Reeve in
Peregrine Proteus.

At this season, every thing appears dull and lifeless in the neighbourhood of my favourite mountain village. In my younger days it was otherwise. Christmas was then a festival, enlivened by a round of innocent amusements, which the present enlightened age has pronounced superstitious or trifling. Formerly we had a theatre, at this season, and perhaps a few particulars relating to it may not be uninteresting.

Gentle reader! should you ever visit Skipton-in-Craven, go on the market-day, and stand opposite to the vicarage-house in the High-street; there you will see a cart with this inscription, “Thomas Airay, Grassington and Skipton carrier.” Keep your eye on that cart, and about the hour of three in the afternoon you will behold approach the owner, a little, fat, old man, with reddish whiskers and a jolly face, that Liston or John Reeve would not be ashamed to possess. In that countenance a mere tyro in physiognomy may discover a roguish slyness, a latent archness, a hidden mine of fun and good humour. Then when Airay walks, mark his stately gait, and tell me if it does not proclaim that he has worn the sock and buskin, and trod the Thespian floor: he was the manager of the Grassington theatre—the “Delawang” of Craven.

I fancy some rigid moralist bestowing a cold glance on poor Tom, and saying to himself, “Ah, old man, this comes of acting; had you, in your youth, followed some industrious pursuit, nor joined an idle strolling company, instead of now being a country carrier, you might have been blessed with a comfortable independence!” Think not so harshly of Airay; though not the manager of a patent theatre, nor of one “by royal authority,” he never was a stroller, nor an associate with vagabonds, nor did he ever, during his theatrical career, quake under the terrors of magisterial harshness, or fear the vagrant act.

No idle, worthless, wandering man was he,
But in the dales, of honest parents bred,
Train’d to a life of honest industry,
He with the lark in summer left his bed,
Thro’ the sweet calm, by morning twilight shed,
Walking to labour by that cheerful song,
And, making a pure pleasure of a tread,
When winter came with nights so dark and long,
’Twas his, with mimic art, to amuse a village throng!

Tom Airay’s sole theatre was at Grassington; and that was only “open for the season”—for a few weeks in the depth of winter, when the inclemency of the weather, which in these mountainous parts is very severe, rendered the agricultural occupations of himself and companions impossible to be pursued. They chose rather to earn a scanty pittance by acting, than to trouble their neighbours for eleemosynary support.

[I-71,
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The corps dramatique of Tom Airay consisted chiefly of young men, (they had no actresses,) who moved in the same line of life as the manager, and whose characters were equally respectable with his, which was always unassailable; for, setting aside our hero’s occasionally getting tipsy at some of the neighbouring feasts, nothing can be said against him. He is a worthy member of society, has brought up a large family respectably, and, if report speak truth, has realized about a thousand pounds.

Few of Tom Airay’s company are living, and the names of many have escaped me. There was honest Peter W——, whose face peeped from behind the green curtain like the full moon. He was accounted a bit of a wag: ever foremost in mischief, he, more than once, almost blew up the stage by gunpowder, half suffocated the audience by assafœtida, and was wont to put hot cinders in the boots of his associates. He has “left the mimic scene to die indeed,” and sleeps peacefully under the beautiful lime-trees of Kirby Malhamdale church-yard, undisturbed by the murmur of that mountain stream, which, rippling over its pebbly channel, hymns, as it were, his requiem. Then there was Isaac G——, the fiddler and comic singer: he exists no longer. There was Waddilove, and Frankland of Hetton, and Bill Cliff, the Skipton poet and bailiff—all dead! There were, also, the Hetheringtons, and Jack Solomon the besom maker, and Tommy Summersgill the barber and clock maker, and Jack L—— the politician of Threshfield, who regarded John Wilkes as his tutelary saint, and settled in the Illinois, from whence he occasionally sends a letter to his old friends, informing them what a paltry country England is, what a paradise the new world is, and how superior the American rivers are to those

“That through our vallies run
Singing and dancing in the gleams
Of summer’s cloudless sun.”

Besides these, there were fifteen or sixteen others from Arncliffe, Litton, Coniston, Kilnsay, and the other romantic villages that enliven our heath-clad hills.

The “Grassington theatre,” or rather “playhouse,” for it never received a loftier appellation, where (to borrow the phraseology of the Coburg) our worthies received their “nightly acclamations of applause,” has been pulled down, but I will endeavour to describe it. It was an old limestone “lathe,” the Craven word for barn, with huge folding-doors, one containing a smaller one, through which the audience was admitted to the pit and gallery, for there were no boxes. Yet on particular occasions, such as when the duke of Devonshire or earl of Thanet good-naturedly deigned to patronise the performances, a “box” was fitted up, by railing off a part of the pit, and covering it, by way of distinction, with brown paper, painted to represent drapery. The prices were, pit sixpence, and gallery threepence. I believe they had no half price. The stage was lighted by five or six halfpenny candles, and the decorations, considering the poverty of the company, were tolerable. The scenery was respectable; and though sometimes, by sad mishap, the sun or moon would take fire, and expose the tallow candle behind it, was very well managed—frequently better than at houses of loftier pretension. The dresses, as far as material went, were good; though not always in character. An outlaw of the forest of Arden sometimes appeared in the guise of a Craven waggoner, and the holy friar, “whose vesper bell is the bowl, ding dong,” would wear a bob wig, cocked hat, and the surplice of a modern church dignitary. These slight discrepancies passed unregarded by the audience; the majority did not observe them, and the few who did were silent; there were no prying editors to criticise and report. The audience was always numerous, (no empty benches there) and respectable people often formed a portion. I have known the village lawyer, the parson of the parish, and the doctor comfortably seated together, laughing heartily at Tom Airay strutting as Lady Randolph, his huge Yorkshire clogs peeping from beneath a gown too short to conceal his corduroy breeches, and murdering his words in a manner that might have provoked Fenning and Bailey from their graves, to break the manager’s head with their weighty publications. All the actors had a bad pronunciation. Cicero was called Kikkero, (which, by the by, is probably the correct one;) Africa was called Afryka, fatigued was fattygewed, and pageantry was always called paggyantry. Well do I remember Airay exclaiming, “What pump, what paggyantry is there here!” and, on another occasion, saying, “Ye damons o’ deeth come sattle my swurd!” The company would have spoken better, had they not, on meeting with a “dictionary word,” applied for information to an old schoolmaster, who constantly misled them, and taught them to pronounce in the most barbarous mode he could devise; yet such was the awe wherewith they were accustomed to regard this dogmatical personage, and the profound [I-73,
I-74]
respect they paid to his abilities, that they received his deceiving tricks with thankfulness. One of them is too good to be omitted: Airay, in some play or farce, happened to meet with this stage direction, “they sit down and play a game at piquet;” the manager did not understand the term “piquet,” and the whole of the corps dramatique were equally ignorant—as a dernier ressort, application was made to their old friend, the knight of the birch, who instructed them that “piquet” was the French word for pie-cut, and what they had to do was to make a large pie, and sit round a table and eat it; and this, on the performance of the piece, they actually did, to the great amusement of the few who were acquainted with the joke. When Tom was informed of the trick, he wittily denominated it a substantial one.

The plays usually performed at Grassington were of the regular drama, the productions of Shakspeare, Dryden, Otway, or Lillo. George Barnwell has many a time caused the Craven maids to forget “Turpin,” and “Nevison,” and bloody squires, and weep at the shocking catastrophe of the grocer’s apprentice. Melodramas were unknown to them, and happy had it been for the dramatic talent of this country if they had remained unknown elsewhere; for since these innovations, mastiff dogs, monkeys, and polichinellos have followed in rapid succession, and what monstrum horrendum will next be introduced, is difficult to conceive. We may say,

“Alas, for the drama, its day has gone by.”

At the time of Airay’s glory, had the word melodrama been whispered in his ear, he would probably have inquired what sort of a beast it was, what country it came from, and whether one was in the tower?—Grassington being too poor to support a printer, the play-bills were written, and by way of making the performances better known, the parish bellman was daily employed to cry the play in a couplet composed by the manager. I only remember one.

Guy in his youth, our play we call,
At six to the hay-mow[23] hie ye all!

This not only apprized the inhabitants of the play for the evening, but frequently the novelty of the mode induced a passing stranger to honour the house with his presence. It was also preferable to printing, for that was an expense the proceeds of the house could not afford.

While thus hastily sketching the peculiarities of Airay and his associates, it would be unjust not to state in conclusion, that their performances were always of a moral character; if any indelicate sentiment or expression occurred in their plays, it was omitted; nothing was uttered that could raise a blush on the female cheek. Nor were the audiences less moral than the manager: not an instance can be recorded of riot or indecency. In these respects, Tom Airay’s theatre might serve as a model to the patent houses in town, wherein it is to be feared the original intent of the stage, that of improving the mind by inculcating morality, is perverted. Whenever Airay takes a retrospective glance at his theatrical management, he can do it with pleasure; for never did he pander to a depraved appetite, or render his barn a spot wherein the vicious would covet to congregate.

T. Q. M.


[23] In Craven, the hay is not stacked as in the south, but housed in barns, which from this custom are called hay-mows.


Literary Novelty.

The Sybil’s Leaves, or a Peep into Futurity, published by Ackermann, Strand, and Lupton Relfe, Cornhill,” consist of sixty lithographic verses on as many cards, in a case bearing an engraved representation of a party in high humour consulting the cards. Thirty of them are designed for ladies, and as many for gentlemen: a lady is to hold the gentleman’s pack, and vice versa. From these packs, each lady or gentleman wishing to have “the most important points infallibly predicted” is to draw a card.

The idea of telling fortunes at home is very pleasant; and the variety of “the Sybil’s Leaves” assists to as frequent opportunities of re-consultation as the most inveterate craver can desire. A lady condemned by one of the leaves to “wither on the virgin thorn,” on turning over a new leaf may chance to be assured of a delightful reverse; and by a like easy process, a “disappointed gentleman” become, at last, a “happy man.”


[I-75,
I-76]

The ancient River Fleet at Clerkenwell.

The ancient River Fleet at Clerkenwell.

Lo! hither Fleet-brook came, in former times call’d the Fleet-river,
Which navies once rode on, in present times hidden for ever,
Save where water-cresses and sedge mark its oozing and creeping,
In yonder old meadows, from whence it lags slowly—as weeping
Its present misgivings, and obsolete use, and renown—
And bearing its burdens of shame and abuse into town,
On meeting the buildings sinks into the earth, nor aspires
To decent-eyed people, till forced to the Thames at Blackfri’rs.

*

In 1825, this was the first open view nearest London of the ancient River Fleet: it was taken during the building of the high-arched walls connected with the House of Correction, Cold-bath-fields, close to which prison the river ran, as here seen. At that time, the newly-erected walls communicated a peculiarly picturesque effect to the stream flowing within their confines. It arrived thither from Bagnigge-wells, on its way to a covered channel, whereby it passes between Turnmill-street, and again emerging, crosses Chick-lane, now called West-street, near Field-lane, at the back of which it runs on, and continues under Holborn-bridge, Fleet-market, and Bridge-street, till it reaches the Thames, close to the stairs on the west side of Blackfriars-bridge. The bridge, whereby boys cross the stream in the engraving, is a large iron pipe for conveying water from the New River Company’s works, to supply the houses in Grays-inn-lane. A few years ago, the New River water was conducted across this valley through wooden pipes. Since the drawing was made, the Fleet has been diverted from the old bed represented in the print, through a large barrel drain, into the course just mentioned, near Turnmill-street. This notice of the deviation, and especially the last appearance of the river in its immemorial channel, may be of interest, because the Fleet is the only ancient stream running [I-77,
I-78]
into London which is not yet wholly lost to sight.

The River Fleet at its source, in a field on the London side of the Hampstead ponds, is merely a sedgy ditchling, scarcely half a step across, and “winds its sinuosities along,” with little increase of width or depth, to the road from the Mother Red Cap to Kentish Town, beneath which road it passes through the pastures to Camden Town; and in one of these pastures, the canal, running through the Tunnel at Pentonville to the City-road, is conveyed over it by an arch. From this place its width increases, till it reaches towards the west side of the road leading from Pancras Workhouse to Kentish Town. In the rear of the houses on that side of the road, it becomes a brook, washing the edge of the garden in front of the premises late the stereotype-foundery and printing-offices of Mr. Andrew Wilson, which stand back from the road; and, cascading down behind the lower road-side houses, it reaches the Elephant and Castle, in front of which it tunnels to Battle-bridge, and there levels out to the eye, and runs sluggishly to Bagnigge-wells, where it is at its greatest width, which is about twelve feet across; from thence it narrows to the House of Correction, and widens again near Turnmill-street, and goes to the Thames, as above described.

In a parliament held at Carlile, in 35 Edward I., 1307, Henry Lacy earl of Lincoln complained that, in former times, the course of water running under Holborn-bridge and Fleet-bridge into the Thames, had been of such breadth and depth that ten or twelve ships at once, “navies with merchandise,” were wont to come to Fleet-bridge, and some of them to Holborn-bridge; yet that, by filth of the tanners and others, and by raising of wharfs, and especially by a diversion of the water in the first year of king John, 1200, by them of the New Temple, for their mills without Baynard’s Castle, and by other impediments, the course was decayed, and ships could not enter as they were used. On the prayer of the earl, the constable of the Tower, with the mayor and sheriffs of London, were directed to take with them honest and discreet men to inquire into the former state of the river, to leave nothing that might hurt or stop it, and to restore it to its wonted condition. Upon this, the river was cleansed, the mills were removed, and other means taken for the preservation of the course; but it was not brought to its old depth and breadth, and therefore it was no longer termed a river, but a brook, called Turne-mill or Tremill Brook, because mills were erected on it.

After this, it was cleansed several times; and particularly in 1502, the whole course of Fleet Dike, as it was then called, was scoured down to the Thames, so that boats with fish and fuel were rowed to Fleet-bridge and Holborn-bridge.

In 1589, by authority of the common council of London, a thousand marks were collected to draw several of the springs at Hampstead-heath into one head, for the service of the City with fresh water where wanted, and in order that by such “a follower,” as it was termed, the channel of the brook should be scoured into the Thames. After much money spent, the effect was not obtained, and in Stow’s time, by means of continual encroachments on the banks, and the throwing of soil into the stream, it became worse clogged than ever.[24]

After the Fire of London, the channel was made navigable for barges to come up, by the assistance of the tide from the Thames, as far as Holborn-bridge, where the Fleet, otherwise Turnmill-brook, fell into this, the wider channel; which had sides built of stone and brick, with warehouses on each side, running under the street, and used for the laying in of coals, and other commodities. This channel had five feet water, at the lowest tide, at Holborn-bridge, the wharfs on each side the channel were thirty feet broad, and rails of oak were placed along the sides of the ditch to prevent people from falling into it at night. There were four bridges of Portland stone over it; namely, at Bridewell, Fleet-street, Fleet-lane, and Holborn.

When the citizens proposed to erect a mansion-house for their lord mayor, they fixed on Stocks-market, where the Mansion-house now stands, for its site, and proposed to arch the Fleet-ditch, from Holborn to Fleet-street, and to remove that market to the ground they would gain by that measure. In 1733, therefore, they represented to the House of Commons, that although after the Fire of London the channel of the Fleet had been made navigable from the Thames to Holborn-bridge, yet the profits from the navigation had not answered the charge; that the part from Fleet-bridge to Holborn-bridge, instead of being useful to trade, had become choked with mud, and was therefore a nuisance, and that several persons had lost their lives [I-79,
I-80]
by falling into it. For these and other causes assigned, an act passed, vesting the fee simple of the site referred to in the corporation for ever, on condition that drains should be made through the channel, and that no buildings on it should exceed fifteen feet in height. The ditch was accordingly arched over from Holborn to Fleet-bridge, where the present obelisk in Bridge-street now stands, and Fleet-market was erected on the arched ground, and opened with the business of Stocks-market, on the 30th of September, 1737.

In 1765, the building of Blackfriars-bridge rendered it requisite to arch over the remainder, from Fleet-bridge to the Thames; yet a small part remained an open dock for a considerable time, owing to the obstinate persistence of a private proprietor.[25]

Previous to the first arching of the Fleet, Pope, in “The Dunciad,” imagined the votaries of Dulness diving and sporting in Fleet-ditch, which he then called

The king of dykes! than whom no sluice of mud
With deeper sable blots the silver flood.

“I recollect,” says Pennant, “the present noble approach to Blackfriars-bridge, the well-built opening of Chatham-place, a muddy and genuine ditch.” It has of late been rendered a convenient and capacious sewer.


During the digging of Fleet-ditch, in 1676, with a view to its improvement after the Fire of London, between the Fleet-prison and Holborn-bridge, at the depth of fifteen feet, several Roman utensils were discovered; and, a little lower, a great quantity of Roman coins, of silver, copper, brass, and various other metals, but none of gold; and at Holborn-bridge, two brass lares, or household gods, of the Romans, about four inches in length, were dug out; one a Ceres, and the other a Bacchus. The great quantity of coins, induces a presumption that they were thrown into this river by the Roman inhabitants of the city, on the entry of Boadicea, with her army of enraged Britons, who slaughtered their conquerors, without distinction of age or sex. Here also were found arrow-heads, spur-rowels of a hand’s breadth, keys, daggers, scales, seals with the proprietors’ names in Saxon characters, ship counters with Saxon characters, and a considerable number of medals, crosses, and crucifixes, of a more recent age.[26]

Sometime before the year 1714, Mr. John Conyers, an apothecary in Fleet-street, who made it his chief business to collect antiquities, which about that time were daily found in and about London, as he was digging in a field near the Fleet not far from Battle-bridge, discovered the body of an elephant, conjectured to have been killed there, by the Britons, in fight with the Romans; for, not far from the spot, was found an ancient British spear, the head of flint fastened into a shaft of good length.[27] From this elephant, the public-house near the spot where it was discovered, called the Elephant and Castle, derives its sign.

There are no memorials of the extent to which the river Fleet was anciently navigable, though, according to tradition, an anchor was found in it as high up as the Elephant and Castle, which is immediately opposite Pancras workhouse, and at the corner of the road leading from thence to Kentish-town. Until within these few years, it gave motion to flour and flatting mills at the back of Field-lane, near Holborn.[28]

That the Fleet was once a very serviceable stream there can be no doubt, from what Stow relates. The level of the ground is favourable to the presumption, that its current widened and deepened for navigable purposes to a considerable extent in the valley between the Bagnigge-wells-road and Gray’s-inn, and that it might have had accessions to its waters from other sources, besides that in the vicinity of Hampstead. Stow speaks of it under the name of the “River of Wels, in the west part of the citie, and of old so called of the Wels;” and he tells of its running from the moor near the north corner of the wall of Cripplegate postern. This assertion, which relates to the reign of William the Conqueror, is controverted by Maitland, who imagines “great inattention” on the part of the old chronicler. It is rather to be apprehended, that Maitland was less an antiquary than an inconsiderate compiler. The drainage of the city has effaced proofs of many appearances which Stow relates as existing in his own time, but which there is abundant testimony of a different nature to corroborate; and, notwithstanding Maitland’s objection, there is sufficient reason to apprehend that the river of Wells and the Fleet river united and flowed, in the same channel, to the Thames.


[24] Stow’s Survey.

[25] Noorthouck.

[26] Maitland. Pennant.

[27] Letter from Bagford to Hearne.

[28] Nelson’s History of Islington.


[I-81,
I-82]

January.

If you are ill at this season, there is no occasion to send for the doctor—only stop eating. Indeed, upon general principles, it seems to me to be a mistake for people, every time there is any little thing the matter with them, to be running in such haste for the “doctor;” because, if you are going to die, a doctor can’t help you; and if you are not—there is no occasion for him.[29]


Angling in January.

Dark is the ever-flowing stream,
And snow falls on the lake;
For now the noontide sunny beam
Scarce pierces bower and brake;
And flood, or envious frost, destroys
A portion of the angler’s joys.
Yet still we’ll talk of sports gone by,
Of triumphs we have won,
Of waters we again shall try,
When sparkling in the sun;
Of favourite haunts, by mead or dell.
Haunts which the fisher loves so well.
Of stately Thames, of gentle Lea,
The merry monarch’s seat;
Of Ditton’s stream, of Avon’s brae,
Or Mitcham’s mild retreat;
Of waters by the meer or mill,
And all that tries the angler’s skill.

Annals of Sporting.


Plough Monday.

The first Monday after Twelfth-day is so denominated, and it is the ploughman’s holyday.

Of late years at this season, in the islands of Scilly, the young people exercise a sort of gallantry called “goose-dancing.” The maidens are dressed up for young men, and the young men for maidens; and, thus disguised, they visit their neighbours in companies, where they dance, and make jokes upon what has happened in the island; and every one is humorously “told their own,” without offence being taken. By this sort of sport, according to yearly custom and toleration, there is a spirit of wit and drollery kept up among the people. The music and dancing done, they are treated with liquor, and then they go to the next house of entertainment.[30]


[29] Monthly Magazine, January, 1827.

[30] Strutt’s Sports, 307.


Topography.

Willy-Howe, Yorkshire.

For the Table Book.

There is an artificial mount, by the side of the road leading from North Burton to Wold Newton, near Bridlington, in Yorkshire, called “Willy-howe,” much exceeding in size the generality of our “hows,” of which I have often heard the most preposterous stories related. A cavity or division on the summit is pointed out as owing its origin to the following circumstance:—

A person having intimation of a large chest of gold being buried therein, dug away the earth until it appeared in sight; he then had a train of horses, extending upwards of a quarter of a mile, attached to it by strong iron traces; by these means he was just on the point of accomplishing his purpose, when he exclaimed—

“Hop Perry, prow Mark,
Whether God’s will or not, we’ll have this ark.”

He, however, had no sooner pronounced this awful blasphemy, than all the traces broke, and the chest sunk still deeper in the hill, where it yet remains, all his future efforts to obtain it being in vain.

The inhabitants of the neighbourhood also speak of the place being peopled with fairies, and tell of the many extraordinary feats which this diminutive race has performed. A fairy once told a man, to whom it appears she was particularly attached, if he went to the top of “Willy-howe” every morning, he would find a guinea; this information, however, was given under the injunction that he should not make the circumstance known to any other person. For some time he continued his visit, and always successfully; but at length, like our first parents, he broke the great commandment, and, by taking with him another person, not merely suffered the loss of the usual guinea, but met with a severe punishment from the fairies for his presumption. Many more are the tales which abound here, and which almost seem to have made this a consecrated spot; but how they could at first originate, is somewhat singular.

That “Hows,” “Carnedds,” and “Barrows,” are sepulchral, we can scarcely entertain a doubt, since in all that have been examined, human bones, rings, and other remains have been discovered. From the coins and urns found in some of them, they have been supposed the burial-places of Roman generals. “But as hydrotaphia, or urn-burial, was the custom among the Romans, and interment the practice of the [I-83,
I-84]
Britons, it is reasonable to conjecture, where such insignia are discovered, the tumuli are the sepulchres of some British chieftains, who fell in the Roman service.” The size of each tumulus was in proportion to the rank and respect of the deceased; and the labour requisite to its formation was considerably lessened by the number employed, each inferior soldier being obliged to contribute a certain quantum to the general heap. That the one of which we are speaking is the resting-place of a great personage may be easily inferred, from its magnitude; its name also indicates the same thing, “Willy-howe,” being the hill of many, or the hill made by many; for in Gibson’s Camden we find “Willy and Vili among the English Saxons, as Viele at this day among the Germans, signified many. So Willielmus, the defender of many. Wilfred, peace to many.” Supposing then a distinguished British chieftain, who fell in the imperial service, to have been here interred, we may readily imagine that the Romans and Britons would endeavour to stimulate their own party by making his merits appear as conspicuous as possible; and to impress an awe and a dread on the feelings of their enemies, they would not hesitate to practise what we may call a pardonable fraud, in a pretension that the fairies were his friends, and continued to work miracles at his tomb. At the first glance, this idea may seem to require a stretch of fancy, but we can more readily reconcile it when we consider how firm was the belief that was placed in miracles; how prevalent the love that existed, in those dark ages of ignorance and superstition, to whatever bore that character; and how ready the Romans, with their superior sagacity, would be to avail themselves of it. The Saxons, when they became possessed of the country, would hear many strange tales, which a species of bigoted or unaccountable attachment to the marvellous would cause to be handed down from generation to generation, each magnifying the first wonder, until they reached the climax, whence they are now so fast descending. Thus may probably have arisen the principal feature in the history of their origin.

This mode of sepulture appears to be very ancient, and that it was very general is sufficiently demonstrated by the hills yet remaining in distant parts of the world. Dr. Clarke, who noticed their existence in Siberia and Russian-Tartary, thinks the practice is alluded to in the Old Testament in these passages: “They raised a great heap of stones on Achan;” “and raised a great heap of stones on the king of Ai;” “they laid a heap of stones on Absalom.” In the interior of South Africa, the Rev. J. Campbell “found a large heap of small stones, which had been raised by each passenger adding a stone to the heap; it was intended as a monument of respect to the memory of a king, from a remote nation, who was killed in the vicinity, and whose head and hands were interred in that spot.”

The number of these mounds in our own country is very considerable; and I trust they will remain the everlasting monuments of their own existence. Their greatest enemy is an idle curiosity, that cannot be satisfied with what antiquaries relate concerning such as have been examined, but, with a vain arrogance, assumes the power of digging though them at pleasure. For my own part, I must confess, I should like to be a witness of what they contain, yet I would hold them sacred, so far as not to have them touched with the rude hand of Ignorance. Whenever I approach these venerable relics, my mind is carried back to the time when they were young; since then, I consider what years have rolled over years, what generations have followed generations, and feel an interest peculiarly and delicately solemn, in the fate of those whose dust is here mingled with its kindred dust.

T. C.

Bridlington.


Horn Church in Essex.

For the Table Book.

In reply to the inquiry by Ignotus, in the Every-Day Book, vol. ii. p. 1650, respecting the origin of affixing horns to a church in Essex, I find much ambiguity on the subject, and beg leave to refer to that excellent work, “Newcourt’s Repertorium,” vol. ii. p. 336, who observes, on the authority of Weaver, “The inhabitants here say, by tradition, that this church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was built by a female convert, to expiate for her former sins, and that it was called Hore-church at first, till by a certain king, but by whom they are uncertain, who rode that way, it was called Horned-church, who caused those horns to be put out at the east end of it.”

The vane, on the top of the spire, is also in the form of an ox’s head, with the horns. “The hospital had neither college nor common seal.”

m.


[I-85,
I-86]

Customs.

The present Boar’s Head Carol.

For the Table Book.

Mr. Editor,—In reading your account of the “Boar’s Head Carol,” in your Every-Day Book, vol. i. p. 1619, I find the old carol, but not the words of the carol as sung at present in Queen’s College, Oxford, on Christmas-day. As I think it possible you may never have seen them, I now send you a copy as they were sung, or, more properly, chanted, in the hall of Queen’s, on Christmas-day, 1810, at which time I was a member of the college, and assisted at the chant.

A boar’s head in hand bear I,
Bedeck’d with bays and rosemary;
And I pray you, my masters, be merry,
Quot estis in convivio.—
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.
The boar’s head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land;
And when bedeck’d with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico.—
Caput apri, &c.
Our steward hath provided this,
In honour of the King of bliss:
Which on this day to be served is
In reginensi atrio.—
Caput apri, &c.

I am, &c.
A Quondam Queensman.


Beating the Lapstone.

For the Table Book.

There is a custom of “beating the lapstone,” the day after Christmas, at Nettleton, near Burton. The shoemakers beat the lapstone at the houses of all water-drinkers, in consequence of a neighbour, Thomas Stickler, who had not tasted malt liquor for twenty years, having been made tipsy by drinking only a half pint of ale at his shoemaker’s, at Christmas. When he got home, he tottered into his house, and his good dame said, “John, where have you been?—why, you are in liquor?”—“No, I am not,” hiccuped John, “I’ve only fell over the lapstone, and that has beaten my leg, so as I can’t walk quite right.” Hence the annual practical joke—“beating the lapstone.”

P.


Manners.

Gambling-houses a Century ago.

From “The London Mercury” of January 13, 1721-2.

There are, it seems, in the parish of Covent-garden, twenty-two such houses, some of which clear sometimes 100l., and seldom less than 40l. a night. They have their proper officers, both civil and military, with salaries proportionable to their respective degrees, and the importance they are of in the service, viz.

A commissioner, or commis, who is always a proprietor of the gaming-house: he looks in once a night, and the week’s account is audited by him and two others of the proprietors.

A director, who superintends the room.

The operator, the dealer at faro.

Croupees two, who watch the card, and gather the money for the bank.

A puff, one who has money given him to play, in order to decoy others.

A clerk, who is a check upon the puff, to see that he sinks none of that money.—A squib is a puff of a lower rank, and has half the salary of a puff.

A flasher, one who sits by to swear how often he has seen the bank stript.

A dunner, waiters.

An attorney, or solicitor.

A captain, one who is to fight any man that is peevish or out of humour at the loss of his money.

An usher, who takes care that the porter, or grenadier at the door, suffers none to come in but those he knows.

A porter, who, at most of the gaming-houses, is a soldier hired for that purpose.

A runner, to get intelligence of all the meetings of the justices of the peace, and when the constables go upon the search.

Any link-boy, coachman, chairman, drawer, or other person, who gives notice of the constables being upon the search, has half a guinea.


Omniana.

Taste.

Taste is the discriminating talisman, enabling its owner to see at once the real merits of persons and things, to ascertain at a glance the true from the false, and to decide rightly on the value of individuals.

Nothing escapes him who walks the world with his eyes touched by this ointment; they are open to all around him—to admire, [I-87,
I-88]
or to condemn—to gaze with rapture, or to turn away with disgust, where another shall pass and see nothing to excite the slightest emotion. The fair creation of nature, and the works of man afford him a wide field of continual gratification. The brook, brawling over its bed of rocks or pebbles, half concealed by the overhanging bushes that fringe its banks—or the great river flowing, in unperturbed majesty, through a wide vale of peace and plenty, or forcing its passage through a lofty range of opposing hills—the gentle knoll, and the towering mountain—the rocky dell, and the awful precipice—the young plantation, and the venerable forest, are alike to him objects of interest and of admiration.

So in the works of man, a foot-bridge, thrown across a torrent, may be in it as gratifying to the man of taste as the finest arch, or most wonderful chain-bridge in the world; and a cottage of the humblest order may be so beautifully situated, so neatly kept, and so tastefully adorned with woodbine and jessamine, as to call forth his admiration equally with the princely residence of the British landholder, in all its pride of position, and splendour of architecture.

In short, this faculty is applicable to every object; and he who finds any thing too lofty or too humble for his admiration, does not possess it. It is exercised in the every-day affairs of life as much as in the higher arts and sciences.—Monthly Magazine.


Two Ravens, abroad.

On the quay at Nimeguen, in the United Provinces, two ravens are kept at the public expense; they live in a roomy apartment, with a large wooden cage before it, which serves them for a balcony. These birds are feasted every day with the choicest fowls, with as much exactness as if they were for a gentleman’s table. The privileges of the city were granted originally upon the observance of this strange custom, which is continued to this day.


Two Ravens, at home.

In a MS. of the late Rev. Mr. Gough, of Shrewsbury, it is related, that one Thomas Elkes, of Middle, in Shropshire, being guardian to his eldest brother’s child, who was young, and stood in his way to a considerable estate, hired a poor boy to entice him into a corn field to gather flowers, and meeting them, sent the poor boy home, took his nephew in his arms, and carried him to a pond at the other end of the field, into which he put the child, and there left him. The child being missed, and inquiry made after him, Elkes fled, and took the road to London; the neighbours sent two horsemen in pursuit of him, who passing along the road near South Mims, in Hertfordshire, saw two ravens sitting on a cock of hay making an unusual noise, and pulling the hay about with their beaks, on which they went to the place, and found Elkes asleep under the hay. He said, that these two ravens had followed him from the time he did the fact. He was brought to Shrewsbury, tried, condemned, and hung in chains on Knockinheath.


The last Tree of the Forest.

Whisper, thou tree, thou lonely tree,
One, where a thousand stood!
Well might proud tales be told by thee,
Last of the solemn wood!
Dwells there no voice amidst thy boughs,
With leaves yet darkly green?
Stillness is round, and noontide glows—
Tell us what thou hast seen!
“I have seen the forest-shadows lie
Where now men reap the corn;
I have seen the kingly chase rush by,
Through the deep glades at morn.
“With the glance of many a gallant spear
And the wave of many a plume,
And the bounding of a hundred deer
It hath lit the woodland’s gloom.
“I have seen the knight and his train ride past,
With his banner borne on high;
O’er all my leaves there was brightness cast
From his gleamy panoply.
“The pilgrim at my feet hath laid
His palm-branch ’midst the flowers,
And told his beads, and meekly pray’d,
Kneeling at vesper-hours.
“And the merry men of wild and glen,
In the green array they wore,
Have feasted here with the red wine’s cheer,
And the hunter-songs of yore.
“And the minstrel, resting in my shade,
Hath made the forest ring
With the lordly tales of the high crusade,
Once loved by chief and king.
“But now the noble forms are gone,
That walk’d the earth of old;
The soft wind hath a mournful tone,
The sunny light looks cold.
[I-89,
I-90]

“There is no glory left us now
like the glory with the dead:—
I would that where they slumber low,
My latest leaves were shed.”
Oh! thou dark tree, thou lonely tree,
That mournest for the past!
A peasant’s home in thy shade I see,
Embower’d from every blast.
A lovely and a mirthful sound
Of laughter meets mine ear;
For the poor man’s children sport around
On the turf, with nought to fear.
And roses lend that cabin’s wall
A happy summer-glow,
And the open door stands free to all,
For it recks not of a foe.
And the village-bells are on the breeze
That stirs thy leaf, dark tree!—
—How can I mourn, amidst things like these,
For the stormy past with thee?

F. H. New Monthly Magazine.


Miss Polly Baker.

Towards the end of 1777, the abbé Raynal calling on Dr. Franklin found, in company with the doctor, their common friend, Silas Deane. “Ah! monsieur l’abbé,” said Deane, “we were just talking of you and your works. Do you know that you have been very ill served by some of those people who have undertaken to give you information on American affairs?” The abbé resisted this attack with some warmth; and Deane supported it by citing a variety of passages from Raynal’s works, which he alleged to be incorrect. At last they came to the anecdote of “Polly Baker,” on which the abbé had displayed a great deal of pathos and sentiment. “Now here,” says Deane, “is a tale in which there is not one word of truth.” Raynal fired at this, and asserted that he had taken it from an authentic memoir received from America. Franklin, who had amused himself hitherto with listening to the dispute of his friends, at length interposed, “My dear abbé,” said he, “shall I tell you the truth? When I was a young man, and rather more thoughtless than is becoming at our present time of life, I was employed in writing for a newspaper; and, as it sometimes happened that I wanted genuine materials to fill up my page, I occasionally drew on the stores of my imagination for a tale which might pass current as a reality—now this very anecdote of Polly Baker was one of my inventions.”


Bread Seals.

The new conundrum of “bread pats,” as the ladies call the epigrammatic impressors that their work-boxes are always full of now, pleases me mightily. Nothing could be more stupid than the old style of affiche—an initial—carefully engraved in a hand always perfectly unintelligible; or a crest—necessarily out of its place, nine times in ten, in female correspondence—because nothing could be more un-“germane” than a “bloody dagger” alarming every body it met, on the outside of an order for minikin pins! or a “fiery dragon,” threatening a French mantua-maker for some undue degree of tightness in the fitting of the sleeve! and then the same emblem, recurring through the whole letter-writing of a life, became tedious. But now every lady has a selection of axioms (in flower and water) always by her, suited to different occasions. As, “Though lost to sight, to memory dear!”—when she writes to a friend who has lately had his eye poked out. “Though absent, unforgotten!”—to a female correspondent, whom she has not written to for perhaps the three last (twopenny) posts; or, “Vous le meritez!” with the figure of a “rose”—emblematic of every thing beautiful—when she writes to a lover. It was receiving a note with this last seal to it that put the subject of seals into my mind; and I have some notion of getting one engraved with the same motto, “Vous le meritez,” only with the personification of a horsewhip under it, instead of a “rose”—for peculiar occasions. And perhaps a second would not do amiss, with the same emblem, only with the motto, “Tu l’auras!” as a sort of corollary upon the first, in cases of emergency! At all events, I patronise the system of a variety of “posies;” because where the inside of a letter is likely to be stupid, it gives you the chance of a joke upon the out.—Monthly Magazine


Bleeding for our Country.

It is related of a Lord Radnor in Chesterfield’s time, that, with many good qualities, and no inconsiderable share of learning, he had a strong desire of being thought skilful in physic, and was very expert in bleeding. Lord Chesterfield knew his foible, and on a particular occasion, wanting his vote, came to him, and, after having conversed upon indifferent matters, complained of the headach, and desired his lordship to feel his pulse. Lord Radnor immediately advised [I-91,
I-92]
him to lose blood. Chesterfield complimented his lordship on his chirurgical skill, and begged him to try his lancet upon him. “A propos,” said lord Chesterfield, after the operation, “do you go to the house today?” Lord Radnor answered, “I did not intend to go, not being sufficiently informed of the question which is to be debated; but you, that have considered it, which side will you be of?”—The wily earl easily directed his judgment, carried him to the house, and got him to vote as he pleased. Lord Chesterfield used to say, that none of his friends had been as patriotic as himself, for he had “lost his blood for the good of his country.”


Social Happiness.

A Village New Year.

For the Table Book.

“Almack’s” may be charming,—an assembly at the “Crown and Anchor,” and a hop of country quality at the annual “Race Ball,” or a more popular “set to” at a fashionable watering-place, may delight—but a lady of city or town cannot conceive the emotions enjoyed by a party collected in the village to see the “old year” out and the “new year” in. At this time, the “country dance” is of the first importance to the young and old, yet not till the week has been occupied by abundant provisions of meat, fruit tarts, and mince pies, which, with made wines, ales, and spirits, are, like the blocks for fuel, piled in store for all partakers, gentle and simple. Extra best beds, stabling, and hay, are made ready,—fine celery dug,—the china service and pewter plates examined,—in short, want and wish are anticipated, nothing is omitted, but every effort used to give proofs of genuine hospitality. This year, if there is to be war in Portugal, many widowed hearts and orphan spirits may be diverted from, not to, a scene which is witnessed in places where peace and plenty abound. However, I will not be at war by conjecture, but suppose much of the milk of human kindness to be shared with those who look at the sunny side of things.

After tea, at which the civilities of the most gallant of the young assist to lighten the task of the hostess, the fiddler is announced, the “country dance” begins, and the lasses are all alive; their eyes seem lustrous and their animal spirits rise to the zero of harmonious and beautiful attraction. The choosing of partners and tunes with favourite figures is highly considered. Old folks who have a leg left and are desirous of repeating the step (though not so light) of fifty years back, join the dance; and the floor, whether of stone or wood, is swept to notes till feet are tired. This is pursued till suppertime at ten o’clock. Meantime, the “band” (called “waits” in London) is playing before the doors of the great neighbours, and regaled with beer, and chine, and pies; the village “college youths” are tuning the handbells, and the admirers of the “steeple chase” loiter about the church-yard to hear the clock strike twelve, and startle the air by high mettle sounds. Methodist and Moravian dissenters assemble at their places of worship to watch out the old year, and continue to “watch” till four or five in the new year’s morning. Villagers, otherwise disposed, follow the church plan, and commemorate the vigils in the old unreformed way. After a sumptuous supper,—at which some maiden’s heart is endangered by the roguish eye, or the salute and squeeze by stealth, dancing is resumed, and, according to custom, a change of partners takes place, often to the joy and disappointment of love and lovers. At every rest—the fiddler makes a squeaking of the strings—this is called kiss ’em! a practice well understood by the tulip fanciers. The pipes, tobacco, and substantials are on the qui vive, by the elders in another part of the house, and the pint goes often to the cellar.

As the clock strikes a quarter to twelve, a bumper is given to the “old friend,” standing, with three farewells! and while the church bells strike out the departure of his existence, another bumper is pledged to the “new infant,” with three standing hip, hip, hip—huzzas! It is further customary for the dance to continue all this time, that the union of the years should be cemented by friendly intercourse. Feasting and merriment are carried on until four or five o’clock, when, as the works of the kitchen have not been relaxed, a pile of sugar toast is prepared, and every guest must partake of its sweetness, and praise it too, before separation. Headaches, lassitude, and paleness, are thought little of, pleasure suppresses the sigh, and the spirit of joy keeps the undulations of care in proper subjection—Happy times these!—Joyful opportunities borrowed out of youth to be repaid by ripened memory!—snatched, as it were, from the wings of Time to be written on his brow with wrinkles hereafter.

R. P.


[I-93,
I-94]

Vol. I.—4.

The last Likeness of the Duke of York.

The last Likeness of the Duke of York.
(NOW FIRST ENGRAVED)
From the Bust by Behnes, executed for His Royal Highness in 1826.

In the rude block aspiring talent sees
Its patron’s face, and hews it out with ease;
Ere fail’d the royal breath, the marble breath’d,
And lives to be by gratitude enwreath’d.

*

Towards the close of the year 1825, the duke of York commenced to sit for this bust at his late residence in the Stable-yard, St. James’s; and, in the summer of 1826, continued to give sittings, till its final completion, at the artist’s house, in Dean-street, Soho. The marble was then removed, for exhibition, to the Royal Academy, and from thence sent home to his royal highness, at Rutland-house. The duke and his royal sister, the princess Sophia, were equally delighted with the true and spirited likeness, and gratified by its possession, as a work of art.

The duke of York, on giving his orders to Mr. Behnes, left entirely to him the arrangement of the figure. With great judgment, and in reference to his royal highness’s distinguished station, the artist has placed armour on the body, and thrown [I-95,
I-96]
a military cloak over the shoulders. This judicious combination of costume imparts simplicity and breadth to the bust, and assists the manly dignity of the head. The duke’s fine open features bear the frank and good-natured expression they constantly wore in life: the resemblance being minutely faithful, is as just to his royal highness’s exalted and benevolent character, as it is creditable to Mr. Behnes’s execution. The present engraving is a hasty sketch of its general appearance. His royal highness kindly permitted Mr. Behnes to take casts from the sculpture. Of the many, therefore, who experienced the duke of York’s friendship or favour, any one who desires to hold his royal highness’s person in remembrance, has an opportunity of obtaining a fac-simile of the original bust, which is as large as life.

Mr. Behnes was the last artist to whom the duke sat, and, consequently, this is his last likeness. The marble was in the possession of his royal highness during his long illness, and to the moment of his death, in Arlington-street. Its final destination will be appropriated by those to whom he was most attached, and on whom the disposition of such a memorial necessarily devolves.


To the ample accounts of the duke of York in the different journals, the Table Book brings together a few particulars omitted to be collected, preceded by a few notices respecting his royal highness’s title, a correct list of all the dukes of York from their origin, and, first, with an interesting paper by a gentleman who favoured the Every-Day Book with some valuable genealogical communications.


SHAKSPEARE’S DUKES of YORK, &c.

For the Table Book.

The elastic buoyancy of spirits, joined with the rare affability of disposition, which prominently marked the character of the prince whose recent loss we deplore, rendered him the enthusiastic admirer and steady supporter of the English stage. I hope I shall not be taken to task for alluding to a trifling coincidence, on recalling to recollection how largely the mighty master of this department, our immortal Shakspeare, has drawn upon his royal highness’s illustrious predecessors in title, in those unrivalled dramatic sketches which unite the force of genius with the simplicity of nature, whilst they impart to the strictly accurate annals of our national history some of the most vivid illuminations which blaze through the records of our national eloquence.

The touches of a master-hand giving vent to the emanations of a mighty mind are, perhaps, no where more palpably traced, than throughout those scenes of the historical play of Richard II., where Edmund of Langley, duke of York, (son of king Edward III.,) struggles mentally between sentiments of allegiance to his weak and misguided sovereign on the one hand, and, on the other hand, his sense of his other nephew Bolingbroke’s grievous wrongs, and the injuries inflicted on his country by a system of favouritism, profusion, and oppression.

Equal skill and feeling are displayed in the delineation of his son Rutland’s devoted attachment to his dethroned benefactor, and the adroit detection, at a critical moment, of the conspiracy, into which he had entered for Richard’s restoration.

In the subsequent play of Henry V., (perhaps the most heart-stirring of this interesting series,) we learn how nobly this very Rutland (who had succeeded his father, Edmund of Langley, as duke of York) repaid Henry IV.’s generous and unconditional pardon, by his heroic conduct in the glorious field of Agincourt, where he sealed his devotion to his king and country with his blood.

Shakspeare has rendered familiar to us the intricate plans of deep-laid policy, and the stormy scenes of domestic desolation, through which his nephew and successor, Richard, the next duke of York, obtained a glimpse of that throne, to which, according to strictness, he was legitimately entitled just before

“York overlook’d the town of York.”

The licentious indulgence, the hard-hearted selfishness, the reckless cruelty, which history indelibly stamps as the characteristics of his son and successor, Edward, who shortly afterwards seated himself firmly on the throne, are presented to us in colours equally vivid and authentic. The interestingly pathetic detail of the premature extinction in infancy of his second son, prince Richard, whom he had invested with the title of York, is brought before our eyes in the tragedy of Richard III., with a forcible skill and a plaintive energy, which set the proudest efforts of preceding or following dramatic writers at defiance.

To “bluff king Hal,” (who, during the lifetime of his elder brother, Arthur, prince [I-97,
I-98]
of Wales, had next borne this exclusively royal title of duke of York,) ample justice is rendered, in every point of view, in that production, as eminent for its gorgeous pageantry as for its subdued interest, in which most of our elder readers must have been sufficiently fortunate to witness the transcendant merits of Mrs. Siddons, as Queen Catherine, surpassing even her own accustomed excellence.

Had, contrary to the wonted career of the triumph of human intellect, a Shakspeare enraptured and adorned the next generation, what studies would not the characters and fates of the martyred Charles I., and his misguided son, James II., have afforded to his contemplation. Both these sovereigns, during the lives of their respective elder brothers, bore the title of duke of York.

The counties of York and Lancaster are the only two in England from which the titles conferred have been exclusively enjoyed by princes of the blood royal. It may be safely asserted, that neither of these designations has ever illustrated an individual, who was not either son, brother, grandson, or nephew of the sovereign of this realm.

Richard, duke of York, killed at the battle of Wakefield, may, at first sight, strike the reader as an exception to this assertion, he being only cousin to Henry VI.; but we ought to bear in mind, that this Richard was himself entitled to that throne, of which his eldest son shortly afterwards obtained possession, under the title of Edward IV.

By the treaty of Westphalia, concluded at Munster, in 1648, which put an end to the memorable war that desolated the fairest portion of the civilized world during thirty years, it was stipulated that the bishopric of Osnaburgh, then secularized, should be alternately possessed by a prince of the catholic house of Bavaria, and the protestant house of Brunswick Lunenburgh. It is somewhat remarkable, on the score of dates, that the Bavarian family enjoyed but one presentation between the death of Ernest Augustus, duke of York, in 1728, and the presentation of his great, great, great nephew, the lamented prince whose loss, in 1827, is so deeply and justly deplored.

W. P.


OTHO, EARL OF YORK.

More than five centuries before a prince of the house of Brunswick sat on the British throne, there is a name in the genealogy of the Guelphs connected with the title of York.

Until the time of Gibbon, the learned were inclined to ascribe to Azo, the great patriarch of the house of Este, a direct male descent from Charlemagne: the brilliant result of this able investigator’s researches prove, in Azo’s behalf, four certain lineal ascents, and two others, highly probable,

“——— from the pure well of Italian undefiled.”

Azo, marquis or lord of Tuscany, married Cunegunda, a daughter of a Guelph, who was also sister of a Guelph, and heiress of the last Guelph. The issue of this alliance was Guelph I., who, at a time before titles were well settled, was either duke or count of Altdorff. He was succeeded by his son, Henry the Black, who married Wolfhildis, heiress of Lunenburgh, and other possessions on the Elbe, which descended to their son, Henry the Proud, who wedded Gertrude, the heiress of Saxony, Brunswick, and Hanover. These large domains centered in their eldest son, Henry the Lion, who married Maud, daughter of Henry II., king of England, and, in the conflicts of the times, lost all his possessions, except his allodial territories of Lunenburgh, Brunswick, and Hanover. The youngest son of this marriage was William of Winchester, or Longsword, from whom descended the dukes of Brunswick and Lunenburgh, in Germany, progenitors to the house of Hanover. His elder brother, Otho, is said to have borne the title of York.

This Otho, duke of Saxony, the eldest son of Henry the Lion, and Maud, was afterwards emperor of Germany; but previous to attaining the imperial dignity, he was created earl of York by Richard I., king of England, who, according to some authorities, subsequently exchanged with Otho, and gave him the earldom of Poictou for that of York. Otho’s relation to this kingdom, as earl of York, and grandson of Henry II., is as interesting as his fortunes were remarkable.

The emperor, Henry VI., having died, and left his son, Frederick, an infant three months old, to the care of his brother Philip, duke of Suabia; the minority of Frederick tempted pope Innocent to divest the house of Suabia of the imperial crown, and he prevailed on certain princes to elect Otho, of Saxony, emperor: other princes reelected the infant Frederick. The contention continued between the rival candidates, [I-99,
I-100]
with repeated elections. Otho, by flattering the clergy, obtained himself to be crowned at Rome, and assumed the title of Otho IV.; but some of his followers having been killed by the Roman citizens he meditated revenge, and instead of returning to Germany, reconquered certain possessions usurped from the empire by the pope. For this violence Otho was excommunicated by the holy father, who turned his influence in behalf of the youthful Frederick, and procured him to be elected emperor instead. Otho had a quarrel with Philip Augustus, king of France, respecting an old wager between them. Philip, neither believing nor wishing that Otho could attain the imperial dignity, had wagered the best city in his kingdom against whichever he should select of Otho’s baggage horses, if he carried his point. After Otho had achieved it, he seriously demanded the city of Paris from Philip, who quite as seriously refused to deliver up his capital. War ensued, and in the decisive battle of Bovines, called the “battle of the spurs,” from the number of knights who perished, Philip defeated Otho at the head of two hundred thousand Germans. The imperial dragon, which the Germans, in their wars, were accustomed to plant on a great armed chariot with a guard chosen from the flower of the army, fell into the hands of the victors, and the emperor himself barely escaped at the hazard of his life. This battle was fought in August, 1215; and Otho, completely vanquished, retreated upon his devotions, and died in 1218, without issue.[31]

The wager, in its consequences so disastrous to the Germans, and so illustrious to the French arms, was made with Philip while Otho was passing through France on his way from the court of England. Collectors of “engraved British portraits,” and the portraits of persons who “come into England,” should look to this. How many illustrated “Grangers” are there with a portrait of Otho IV., earl of York?


THE DUKES OF YORK.

I.

Edmund Plantagenet, surnamed De Langley, from his birth-place, fifth son of king Edward III., was first created earl of Cambridge by his father, and afterwards created duke of York by his nephew, Richard II. He was much influenced by his brother, the duke of Gloucester; and an historian of the period calls him “a soft prince.” It is certain that he had few stirring qualities, and that passive virtues were not valued in an age when they were of little service to contending parties. In 1402, three years after the accession of Henry IV., he died at his manor of Langley, and was interred in the priory there.

II.

Edward Plantagenet, second duke of York, was son of the first duke, grandson to Edward III., and great uncle to Henry V., by whose side he valiantly fought and perished, in the field of Agincourt, October 25, 1415.

III.

Richard Plantagenet, third duke of York, nephew of the second duke, and son of Richard earl of Cambridge, who was executed for treason against Henry V., was restored to his paternal honours by Henry VI., and allowed to succeed to his uncle’s inheritance. As he was one of the most illustrious by descent, so he became one of the most powerful subjects through his dignities and alliances. After the death of the duke of Bedford, the celebrated regent of France, he was appointed to succeed him, and with the assistance of the valorous lord Talbot, afterwards earl of Shrewsbury, maintained a footing in the French territories upwards of five years. The incapacity of Henry VI. incited him to urge his claim to the crown of England in right of his mother, through whom he descended from Philippa, only daughter of the duke of Clarence, second son to Edward III.; whereas the king descended from the duke of Lancaster, third son of that monarch. The duke’s superiority of descent, his valour and mildness in various high employments, and his immense possessions, derived through numerous successions, gave him influence with the nobility, and procured him formidable connections. He levied war against the king, and without material loss slew about five thousand of the royal forces at St. Alban’s, on the 22d of May, 1452. This was the first blood spilt in the fierce and fatal quarrel between the rival houses of York and Lancaster, which lasted thirty years, was signalized by twelve pitched battles, cost the lives of eighty princes of the blood, and almost annihilated the ancient nobility of England. After this battle, the duke’s irresolution, and the heroism of Margaret, queen of Henry VI., caused a suspension of hostilities. [I-101,
I-102]
The leaders on both sides assented to meet in London, and be solemnly reconciled. The duke of York led the queen in solemn procession to St. Paul’s, and the chiefs of one party marched hand in hand with the chiefs of the other. It was a public demonstration of peace, with secret mutual distrust; and an accident aroused the slumbering strife. One of the king’s retinue insulted one of the earl of Warwick’s; their companions fought, and both parties in every county flew to arms. The battle of Bloreheath, in Staffordshire, 23d September, 1459, was won by the Lancastrians. At the battle of Northampton, 10th July, 1560, the Yorkists had the victory, and the king was taken prisoner. A parliament, summoned in the king’s name, met at Westminster, which the duke of York attended; and, had he then seated himself on the throne in the House of Lords, the deadly feud might have been ended by his being proclaimed king; but his coolness and moderation intimidated his friends, and encouraged his enemies. His personal courage was undoubted, but he was deficient in political courage. The parliament deliberated, and though they declared the duke’s title indefeasible, yet they decided that Henry should retain the crown during life. They provided, however, that till the king’s decease the government should be administered by the duke, as the true and lawful heir of the monarchy; and in this arrangement Richard acquiesced. Meanwhile, queen Margaret, with her infant son, appealed to the barons of the north against the settlement in the south, and collected an army with astonishing celerity. The duke of York hastened with five thousand troops to quell what he imagined to be the beginning of an insurrection, and found, near Wakefield, a force of twenty thousand men. He threw himself into Sandal castle, but with characteristic bravery, imagining he should be disgraced by remaining between walls in fear of a female, he descended onto the plain of Wakefield on the 24th of December, and gave battle to the queen, who largely outnumbering his little army, defeated and slew him; and his son, the earl of Rutland, an innocent youth of seventeen, having been taken prisoner, was murdered in cold blood by the lord de Clifford. Margaret caused the duke’s head to be cut off, and fixed on the gates of the city of York, with a paper crown on it in derision of his claim. He perished in the fiftieth year of his age, worthy of a better fate.

IV.

Edward Plantagenet, fourth duke of York, eldest son of the last, prosecuted his father’s pretensions, and defeated the earl of Pembroke, half brother to Henry VI., at Mortimer’s Cross, in Herefordshire. Shortly afterwards, queen Margaret advanced upon London, and gained a victory over the Yorkists under the earl of Warwick, at the second battle of St. Alban’s, and, at the same time, regained possession of the person of her weak husband. Pressed by the Yorkists, she retreated to the north and the youthful duke, remarkable for beauty of person, bravery, affability, and every popular quality, entered the capital amidst the acclamations of the citizens. Elated by his success, he resolved to openly insist on his claim, and treat his adversaries as rebels and traitors. On the 3d of March, 1460, he caused his army to muster in St. John’s Fields, Clerkenwell; and after an harangue to the multitude surrounding his soldiery, the tumultuary crowd were asked whether they would have Henry of Lancaster, or Edward, eldest son of the late duke of York, for king. Their “sweet voices” were for the latter; and this show of popular election was ratified by a great number of bishops, lords, magistrates, and other persons of distinction, assembled for that purpose at Baynard’s Castle. On the morrow, the duke went to St. Paul’s and offered, and had Te Deum sung, and was with great royalty conveyed to Westminster, and there in the great hall sat in the king’s seat, with St. Edward’s sceptre in his hand. On the 29th of March, 1461, he fought the fierce and bloody battle of Touton, wherein he issued orders to give no quarter, and there were above thirty-six thousand slain. This slaughter confirmed him king of England, and he reigned upwards of twenty years under the title of Edward IV., defiling his fame and power by effeminacy and cruelty. The title of York merged in the royal dignity.

V.

Richard Plantagenet, of Shrewsbury, fifth duke of York, son of Edward IV., was murdered in the tower while young, with his elder brother, Edward V., by order of their uncle, the duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III.

VI.

Henry Tudor, sixth duke of York, was so created by his father Henry VII., whom he succeeded as king, under the title of Henry VIII., and stained our annals with heartless crimes.

[I-103,
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VII.

Charles Stuart, seventh duke of York, was second son of James I., by whom he was created to that title in 1604, and whom he succeeded in the throne as Charles I.

VIII.

James Stuart, a younger son of Charles I., was the eighth duke of York. While bearing this title during the reign of his brother Charles II., he manifested great personal courage as a naval commander, in several actions with the Dutch. Under the title of James II., he incompetently filled the throne and weakly abdicated it.

IX.

Ernest Augustus Guelph, ninth duke of York, duke of Albany, earl of Ulster, and bishop of Osnaburgh, was brother to George Lewis Guelph, elector of Hanover, and king of England as George I., by letters from whom, in 1716, he was dignified as above, and died in 1728, unmarried.

X.

Edward Augustus, tenth duke of York, duke of Albany, and earl of Ulster, was second son of Frederick prince of Wales, and brother to king George III., by whom he was created to those titles. He died at Monaco, in Italy, September 17, 1767, unmarried.

XI.
THE LATE DUKE OF YORK.

Frederick, eleventh Duke of York, was brother of His Majesty King George IV., and second son of his late Majesty King George III., by whom he was advanced to the dignities of Duke of the Kingdom of Great Britain, and of Earl of the Kingdom of Ireland, by the titles of Duke of York and of Albany in Great Britain, and of Earl of Ulster in Ireland, and presented to the Bishopric of Osnaburgh. His Royal Highness was Commander-in-Chief of all the Land Forces of the United Kingdom, Colonel of the First Regiment of Foot Guards, Colonel-in-chief of the 60th Regiment of Infantry, Officiating Grand Master of the Order of the Bath, High Steward of New Windsor, Warden and Keeper of the New Forest Hampshire, Knight of the Garter, Knight of the Order of the Holy Ghost in France, of the Black Eagle in Russia, the Red Eagle in Prussia, of St. Maria Theresa in Austria, of Charles III. in Spain, Doctor of Civil Law, and Fellow or the Royal Society.

The late duke of York was born on the 16th of August, 1763; he died on the 5th of January, 1827. A few miscellaneous memoranda are extracted from journals of the dates they refer to.


The duke of York was sent to Germany to finish his education. On the 1st of August, 1787, his royal highness, after having been only five days on the road from Hanover to Calais, embarked at that port, on board a common packet-boat, for England, and arrived at Dover the same afternoon. He was at St. James’s-palace the following day by half-past twelve o’clock; and, on the arrival of the prince of Wales at Carlton-house, he was visited by the duke, after an absence of four years, which, far from cooling, had increased the affection of the royal brothers.


On the 20th of December, in the same year, a grand masonic lodge was held at the Star and Garter in Pall-mall. The duke of Cumberland as grand-master, the prince of Wales, and the duke of York, were in the new uniform of the Britannic-lodge, and the duke of York received another degree in masonry; he had some time before been initiated in the first mysteries of the brotherhood.


On the 5th of February, 1788, the duke of York appeared in the Court of King’s Bench, and was sworn to give evidence before the grand jury of Middlesex, on an indictment for fraud, in sending a letter to his royal highness, purporting to be a letter from captain Morris, requesting the loan of forty pounds. The grand jury found the indictment, and the prisoner, whose name does not appear, was brought into court by the keeper of Tothill-fields Bridewell, and pleaded not guilty, whereupon he was remanded, and the indictment appointed to be tried in the sittings after the following term; but there is no account of the trial having been had.


In December of the same year, the duke ordered two hundred and sixty sacks of coals to be distributed among the families of the married men of his regiment, and the same to be continued during the severity of the weather.


In 1788, pending the great question of the regency, it was contended on that side of the House of Commons from whence [I-105,
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extension of royal prerogative was least expected, that from the moment parliament was made acquainted with the king’s incapacity, a right attached to the prince of Wales to exercise the regal functions, in the name of his father. On the 15th of December, the duke of York rose in the House of Lords, and a profound silence ensued. His royal highness said, that though perfectly unused as he was to speak in a public assembly, yet he could not refrain from offering his sentiments to their lordships on a subject in which the dearest interests of the country were involved. He said, he entirely agreed with the noble lords who had expressed their wishes to avoid any question which tended to induce a discussion on the rights of the prince. The fact was plain, that no such claim of right had been made on the part of the prince; and he was confident that his royal highness understood too well the sacred principles which seated the house of Brunswick on the throne of Great Britain, ever to assume or exercise any power, be his claim what it might, not derived from the will of the people, expressed by their representatives and their lordships in parliament assembled. On this ground his royal highness said, that he must be permitted to hope that the wisdom and moderation of all considerate men, at a moment when temper and unanimity were so peculiarly necessary, on account of the dreadful calamity which every description of persons must in common lament, but which he more particularly felt, would make them wish to avoid pressing a decision, which certainly was not necessary to the great object expected from parliament, and which must be most painful in the discussion to a family already sufficiently agitated and afflicted. His royal highness concluded with saying, that these were the sentiments of an honest heart, equally influenced by duty and affection to his royal father, and attachment to the constitutional rights of his subjects; and that he was confident, if his royal brother were to address them in his place as a peer of the realm, that these were the sentiments which he would distinctly avow.


His majesty in council having declared his consent, under the great seal, to a contract of matrimony between his royal highness the duke of York and her royal highness the princess Frederique Charlotte Ulrique Catherine of Prussia, eldest daughter of the king of Prussia, on the 29th of September, 1791, the marriage ceremony was performed at Berlin. About six o’clock in the afternoon, all the persons of the blood royal assembled in gala, in the apartments of the dowager queen, where the diamond crown was put on the head of princess Frederica. The generals, ministers, ambassadors, and the high nobility, assembled in the white hall. At seven o’clock, the duke of York, preceded by the gentlemen of the chamber, and the court officers of state, led the princess his spouse, whose train was carried by four ladies of the court, through all the parade apartments; after them went the king, with the queen dowager, prince Lewis of Prussia, with the reigning queen, and others of the royal family to the white hall, where a canopy was erected of crimson velvet, and also a crimson velvet sofa for the marriage ceremony. The royal couple placed themselves under the canopy, before the sofa, the royal family stood round them, and the upper counsellor of the consistory, Mr. Sack, made a speech in German. This being over, rings were exchanged; and the illustrious couple, kneeling on the sofa, were married according to the rites of the reformed church. The whole ended with a prayer. Twelve guns, placed in the garden, fired three rounds, and the benediction was given. The new-married couple then received the congratulations of the royal family, and returned in the same manner to the apartments, where the royal family, and all persons present, sat down to card-tables; after which, the whole court, the high nobility, and the ambassadors, sat down to supper, at six tables. The first was placed under a canopy of crimson velvet, and the victuals served in gold dishes and plates. The other five tables, at which sat the generals, ministers, ambassadors, all the officers of the court, and the high nobility, were served in other apartments.

During supper, music continued playing in the galleries of the first hall, which immediately began when the company entered the hall. At the dessert, the royal table was served with a beautiful set of china, made in the Berlin manufactory. Supper being over, the whole assembly repaired to the white hall, where the trumpet, timbrel, and other music were playing; and the flambeau dance was begun, at which the ministers of state carried the torches. With this ended the festivity. The ceremony of the re-marriage of the duke and duchess of York took place at the Queen’s Palace, London, on the 23d of November.

The duchess of York died on the 6th of August, 1820.


[I-107,
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The Dance of Torches.

As a note of illustration on this dance at the Prussian nuptials of the duke and duchess of York, reference may be had to a slight mention of the same observance on the marriage of the prince royal of Prussia with the princess of Bavaria, in the Every-Day Book, vol. i. p. 1551. Since that article, I find more descriptive particulars of it in a letter from baron Bielfeld, giving an account of the marriage of the prince of Prussia with the princess of Brunswick Wolfenbuttle, at Berlin, in 1742. The baron was present at the ceremonial.

“As soon as their majesties rose from table, the whole company returned into the white hall; from whence the altar was removed, and the room was illuminated with fresh wax lights. The musicians were placed on a stage of solid silver. Six lieutenant generals, and six ministers of state, stood, each with a white wax torch in his hand, ready to be lighted, in conformity to a ceremony used in the German courts on these occasions, which is called ‘the dance of torches,’ in allusion to the torch of Hymen. This dance was opened by the new married prince and princess, who made the tour of the hall, saluting the king and the company. Before them went the ministers and the generals, two and two, with their lighted torches. The princess then gave her hand to the king, and the prince to the queen; the king gave his hand to the queen mother, and the reigning queen to prince Henry; and in this manner all the princes and princesses that were present, one after the other, and according to their rank, led up the dance, making the tour of the hall, almost in the step of the Polognese. The novelty of this performance, and the sublime quality of the performers, made it in some degree agreeable. Otherwise the extreme gravity of the dance itself, with the continual round and formal pace of the dancers, the frequent going out of the torches, and the clangour of the trumpets that rent the ear, all these I say made it too much resemble the dance of the Sarmates, those ancient inhabitants of the prodigious woods of this country.”


On the 7th of June, 1794, about four o’clock in the morning, a fire broke out at the duke of York’s palace at Oatlands. It began in the kitchen, and was occasioned by a beam which projected into the chimney, and communicated to the roof. His royal highness’s armoury was in that wing of the building where the fire commenced, in which forty pounds of gunpowder being deposited, a number of most curious war-like instruments, which his royal highness had collected on the continent, were destroyed. Many of the guns and other weapons were presented from the king of Prussia, and German officers of distinction, and to each piece was attached its history. By the seasonable exertions of the neighbourhood, the flames were prevented from spreading to the main part of the building. The duchess was at Oatlands at the time, and beheld the conflagration from her sleeping apartment, in the centre of the mansion, from which the flames were prevented communicating by destroying a gateway, over the wing that adjoined to the house. Her royal highness gave her orders with perfect composure, directed abundant refreshment to the people who were extinguishing the flames, and then retired to the rooms of the servants at the stables, which are considerably detached from the palace. His majesty rode over from Windsor-castle to visit her royal highness, and staid with her a considerable time.


On the 8th of April, 1808, whilst the duke of York was riding for an airing along the King’s-road towards Fulham, a drover’s dog crossed, and barked in front of the horse. The animal, suddenly rearing, fell backwards, with the duke under him; and the horse rising, with the duke’s foot in the stirrup, dragged him along, and did him further injury. When extricated, the duke, with great cheerfulness, denied he was much hurt, yet two of his ribs were broken, the back of his head and face contused, and one of his legs and arms much bruised. A gentleman in a hack chaise immediately alighted, and the duke was conveyed in it to York-house, Piccadilly, where his royal highness was put to bed, and in due time recovered to the performance of his active duties.


On the 6th of August, 1815, the duke of York, on coming out of a shower-bath, at Oatlands, fell, from the slippery state of the oilcloth, and broke the large bone of his left arm, half way between the shoulder and the elbow-joint. His royal highness’s excellent constitution at that time assisted the surgeons, and in a fortnight he again attended to business.


On the 11th of October, in the same year, his royal highness’s library, at his [I-109,
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office in the Horse-guards consisting of the best military authors, and a very extensive collection of maps, were removed to his new library (late her majesty’s) in the Green-park. The assemblage is the most perfect collection of works on military affairs in the kingdom.


It appears, from the report of the commissioners of woods, forests, and land revenues, in 1816, that the duke of York purchased of the commissioners the following estates: 1. The manor of Byfleet and Weybridge, with Byfleet or Weybridge-park, and a capital messuage and offices, and other messuages and buildings there. 2. The manor of Walton Leigh, and divers messuages and lands therein. 3. A capital messuage called Brooklands, with offices, gardens, and several parcels of land, situated at Weybridge. 4. A farm-house, and divers lands, called Brooklands-farm, at Weybridge. 5. A messuage and lands, called Childs, near Weybridge. 6. Two rabbit-warrens within the manor of Byfleet and Weybridge. To this property was to be added all lands and premises allotted to the preceding by virtue of any act of enclosure. The sale was made to his royal highness in May, 1809, at the price of £74,459. 3s.; but the money was permitted to remain at the interest of 312 per cent. till the 10th of June, 1815, when the principal and interest (amounting, after the deduction of property-tax, and of the rents, which, during the interval, had been paid to the crown, to £85,135. 5s. 9d.) were paid into the Bank of England, to the account of the commissioners for the new street. His royal highness also purchased about twenty acres of land in Walton, at the price of £1294. 2s. 3d.


While the duke was in his last illness, members on both sides of the House of Commons bore spontaneous testimony to his royal highness’s impartial administration of his high office as commander-in-chief; and united in one general expression, that no political distinction ever interfered to prevent the promotion of a deserving officer.

A statement in bishop Watson’s Memoirs, is a tribute to his royal highness’s reputation.

“On the marriage of my son in August, 1805, I wrote,” says the bishop, “to the duke of York, requesting his royal highness to give him his protection. I felt a consciousness of having, through life, cherished a warm attachment to the house of Brunswick, and to those principles which had placed it on the throne, and of having on all occasions acted an independent and honourable part towards the government of the country, and I therefore thought myself justified in concluding my letter in the following terms:—‘I know not in what estimation your royal highness may hold my repeated endeavours, in moments of danger, to support the religion and the constitution of the country; but if I am fortunate enough to have any merit with you on that score, I earnestly request your protection for my son. I am a bad courtier, and know little of the manner of soliciting favours through the intervention of others, but I feel that I shall never know how to forget them, when done to myself; and, under that consciousness, I beg leave to submit myself

‘Your Royal Highness’s
‘Most grateful servant,
R. Landaff.’

“I received a very obliging answer by the return of the post, and in about two months my son was promoted, without purchase, from a majority to a lieutenant-colonelcy in the Third Dragoon Guards. After having experienced, for above twenty-four years, the neglect of his majesty’s ministers, I received great satisfaction from this attention of his son, and shall carry with me to my grave a most grateful memory of his goodness. I could not at the time forbear expressing my acknowledgment in the following letter, nor can I now forbear inserting it in these anecdotes. The whole transaction will do his royal highness no discredit with posterity, and I shall ever consider it as an honourable testimony of his approbation of my public conduct.

Calgarth Park, Nov. 9, 1805.

——— ‘Do, my lord of Canterbury,
But one good turn, and he’s your friend for ever.’

‘Thus Shakspeare makes Henry VIII. speak of Cranmer; and from the bottom of my heart, I humbly entreat your royal highness to believe, that the sentiment is as applicable to the bishop of Landaff as it was to Cranmer.

‘The bis dat qui cito dat has been most kindly thought of in this promotion of my son; and I know not which is most dear to my feelings, the matter of the obligation, or the noble manner of its being conferred. I sincerely hope your royal highness will pardon this my intrusion, in thus expressing my most grateful acknowledgments for them both.

R. Landaff.’”


[31] Hist. of House of Austria. Rapin. Favine.


[I-111,
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Mr. Charles Lamb.
To the Editor.

Dear Sir,

It is not unknown to you, that about sixteen years since I published “Specimens of English Dramatic Poets, who lived about the Time of Shakspeare.” For the scarcer Plays I had recourse to the Collection bequeathed to the British Museum by Mr. Garrick. But my time was but short, and my subsequent leisure has discovered in it a treasure rich and exhaustless beyond what I then imagined. In it is to be found almost every production in the shape of a Play that has appeared in print, from the time of the old Mysteries and Moralities to the days of Crown and D’Urfey. Imagine the luxury to one like me, who, above every other form of Poetry, have ever preferred the Dramatic, of sitting in the princely apartments, for such they are, of poor condemned Montagu House, which I predict will not speedily be followed by a handsomer, and culling at will the flower of some thousand Dramas. It is like having the range of a Nobleman’s Library, with the Librarian to your friend. Nothing can exceed the courteousness and attentions of the Gentleman who has the chief direction of the Reading Rooms here; and you have scarce to ask for a volume, before it is laid before you. If the occasional Extracts, which I have been tempted to bring away, may find an appropriate place in your Table Book, some of them are weekly at your service. By those who remember the “Specimens,” these must be considered as mere after-gleanings, supplementary to that work, only comprising a longer period. You must be content with sometimes a scene, sometimes a song; a speech, or passage, or a poetical image, as they happen to strike me. I read without order of time; I am a poor hand at dates; and for any biography of the Dramatists, I must refer to writers who are more skilful in such matters. My business is with their poetry only.

Your well-wisher,
C. Lamb.

January, 27, 1827.


Garrick Plays.
No. I.

[From “King John and Matilda,” a Tragedy by Robert Davenport, acted in 1651.]

John, not being able to bring Matilda, the chaste daughter of the old Baron Fitzwater, to compliance with his wishes, causes her to be poisoned in a nunnery.

Scene. John. The Barons: they being as yet ignorant of the murder, and having just come to composition with the King after tedious wars. Matilda’s hearse is brought in by Hubert.

John. Hubert, interpret this apparition.
Hubert. Behold, sir,
A sad-writ Tragedy, so feelingly
Languaged, and cast; with such a crafty cruelty
Contrived, and acted; that wild savages
Would weep to lay their ears to, and (admiring
To see themselves outdone) they would conceive
Their wildness mildness to this deed, and call
Men more than savage, themselves rational.
And thou, Fitzwater, reflect upon thy name,[32]
And turn the Son of Tears. Oh, forget
That Cupid ever spent a dart upon thee;
That Hymen ever coupled thee; or that ever
The hasty, happy, willing messenger
Told thee thou had’st a daughter. Oh look here!
Look here, King John, and with a trembling eye
Read your sad act, Matilda’s tragedy.
Barons. Matilda!
Fitzwater. By the lab’ring soul of a much-injured man,
It is my child Matilda!
Bruce. Sweet niece!
Leicester. Chaste soul!
John. Do I stir, Chester?
Good Oxford, do I move? stand I not still
To watch when the griev’d friends of wrong’d Matilda
Will with a thousand stabs turn me to dust,
That in a thousand prayers they might be happy?
Will no one do it? then give a mourner room,
A man of tears. Oh immaculate Matilda,
These shed but sailing heat-drops, misling showers
The faint dews of a doubtful April morning;
But from mine eyes ship-sinking cataracts,
Whole clouds of waters, wealthy exhalations,
Shall fall into the sea of my affliction,
Till it amaze the mourners.
Hubert. Unmatch’d Matilda;
Celestial soldier, that kept a fort of chastity
’Gainst all temptations.
Fitzwater. Not to be a Queen,
Would she break her chaste vow. Truth crowns your reed;
Unmatch’d Matilda was her name indeed.
[I-113,
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John. O take into your spirit-piercing praise
My scene of sorrow. I have well-clad woes,
Pathetic epithets to illustrate passion,
And steal true tears so sweetly from all these,
Shall touch the soul, and at once pierce and please.
[Peruses the Motto and Emblems on the hearse.
“To Piety and Purity”—and “Lillies mix’d with Roses”—
How well you have apparell’d woe! this Pendant,
To Piety and Purity directed,
Insinuates a chaste soul in a clean body,
Virtue’s white Virgin, Chastity’s red Martyr!
Suffer me then with this well-suited wreath
To make our griefs ingenious. Let all be dumb,
Whilst the king speaks her Epicedium.
Chester. His very soul speaks sorrow.
Oxford. And it becomes him sweetly.
John. Hail Maid and Martyr! lo on thy breast,
Devotion’s altar, chaste Truth’s nest,
I offer (as my guilt imposes)
Thy merit’s laurel, Lillies and Roses;
Lillies, intimating plain
Thy immaculate life, stuck with no stain;
Roses red and sweet, to tell
How sweet red sacrifices smell.
Hang round then, as you walk about this hearse,
The songs of holy hearts, sweet virtuous verse.
Fitzwater. Bring Persian silks, to deck her monument;
John. Arabian spices, quick’ning by their scent;
Fitzwater. Numidian marble, to preserve her praise,
John. Corinthian ivory, her shape to praise:
Fitzwater. And write in gold upon it, In this breast
Virtue sate mistress, Passion but a guest.
John. Virtue is sweet; and, since griefs bitter be,
Strew her with roses, and give rue to me.
Bruce. My noble brother, I’ve lost a wife and son;[33]
You a sweet daughter. Look on the king’s penitence;
His promise for the public peace. Prefer
A public benefit.[34] When it shall please,
Let Heaven question him. Let us secure
And quit the land of Lewis.[35]
Fitzwater. Do any thing;
Do all things that are honorable; and the Great King
Make you a good king, sir! and when your soul
Shall at any time reflect upon your follies,
Good King John, weep, weep very heartily;
It will become you sweetly. At your eyes
Your sin stole in; there pay your sacrifice.
John. Back unto Dunmow Abbey. There we’ll pay
To sweet Matilda’s memory, and her sufferings,
A monthly obsequy, which (sweet’ned by
The wealthy woes of a tear-troubled eye)
Shall by those sharp afflictions of my face
Court mercy, and make grief arrive at grace.

Song.

Matilda, now go take thy bed
In the dark dwellings of the dead;
And rise in the great waking day
Sweet as incence, fresh as May.
Rest there, chaste soul, fix’d in thy proper sphere,
Amongst Heaven’s fair ones; all are fair ones there.
Rest there, chaste soul, whilst we here troubled say:
Time gives us griefs, Death takes our joys away.

This scene has much passion and poetry in it, if I mistake not. The last words of Fitzwater are an instance of noble temperament; but to understand him, the character throughout of this mad, merry, feeling, insensible-seeming lord, should be read. That the venomous John could have even counterfeited repentance so well, is out of nature; but supposing the possibility, nothing is truer than the way in which it is managed. These old playwrights invested their bad characters with notions of good, which could by no possibility have coexisted with their actions. Without a soul of goodness in himself, how could Shakspeare’s Richard the Third have lit upon those sweet phrases and inducements by which he attempts to win over the dowager queen to let him wed her daughter. It is not Nature’s nature, but Imagination’s substituted nature, which does almost as well in a fiction.

(To be continued.)


[32] Fitzwater: son of water. A striking instance of the compatibility of the serious pun with the expression of the profoundest sorrows. Grief, as well as joy, finds ease in thus playing with a word. Old John of Gaunt in Shakspeare thus descants on his name: “Gaunt, and gaunt indeed;” to a long string of conceits, which no one has ever yet felt as ridiculous. The poet Wither thus, in a mournful review of the declining estate of his family, says with deepest nature:—

The very name of Wither shows decay.

[33] Also cruelly slain by the poisoning John.

[34] i. e. of peace; which this monstrous act of John’s in this play comes to counteract, in the same way as the discovered Death of Prince Arthur is like to break the composition of the King with his Barons in Shakspeare’s Play.

[35] The Dauphin of France, whom they had called in, as in Shakspeare’s Play.


Literature.

Glances at New Books on my Table.

Constable’s Miscellany of original and selected Publications” is proposed to consist of various works on important and popular subjects, with the view of supplying certain chasms in the existing stock of useful knowledge; and each author or subject is to be kept separate, so as to enable purchasers to acquire all the numbers, or volumes, of each book, distinct from the others. The undertaking commenced in the first week of the new year, 1827, with the first number of Captain Basil Hall’s voyage to Loo-Choo, and the complete volume of that work was published at the same time.


Early Metrical Tales, including the History of Sir Egeir, Sir Gryme, and Sir Gray-Steill.” Edinb. 1826. sm. 8vo. 9s. (175 copies printed.) The most remarkable poem in this elegant volume is the rare Scottish romance, named in the title-page, which, according to its present editor, “would seem, along with the poems of sir [I-115,
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David Lindsay, and the histories of Robert the Bruce, and of sir William Wallace, to have formed the standard productions of the vernacular literature of the country.” In proof of this he adduces several authorities; “and yet it is remarkable enough, that every ancient copy should have hitherto eluded the most active and unremitting research.” The earliest printed edition is presumed to have issued from the press of Thomas Bassandyne, “the first printer of the sacred Scriptures in Scotland.” An inventory of his goods, dated 18th October, 1577, contains an item of three hundred “Gray Steillis,” valued at the “pece VId. summa £VII. x. o.” Its editor would willingly give the sum-total of these three hundred copies for “one of the said Gray-Steillis, were he so fortunate as to meet with it.” He instances subsequent editions, but the only copy he could discover was printed at Aberdeen in 1711, by James Nicol, printer to the town and university; and respecting this, which, though of so recent date, is at present unique, “the editor’s best acknowledgments are due to his friend, Mr. Douce, for the kind manner in which he favoured him with the loan of the volume, for the purpose of republication.” On the 17th of April, 1497, when James IV. was at Stirling: there is an entry in the treasurer’s accounts, “Item, that samyn day to twa Sachelaris that sang Gray Steil to the King, IXs.” In MS. collections made at Aberdeen in 1627, called a “Booke for the Lute,” by Robert Gordon, is the air of “Gray-Steel;” and a satirical poem in Scottish rhyme on the marquis of Argyle, printed in 1686, is “appointed to be sung according to the tune of old Gray Steel.” These evidences that the poem was sung, manifest its popularity. There are conjectures as to who the person denominated Sir Gray Steel really was, but the point is undetermined.

In this volume there are thirteen poems. 1. Sir Gray-Steill above spoken of. 2. The Tales of the Priests of Peblis, wherein the three priests of Peebles, having met to regale on St. Bride’s day, agree, each in turn, to relate a story. 3. Ane Godlie Dreame, by lady Culross. 4. History of a Lord and his three Sons, much resembling the story of Fortunatus. 5. The Ring of the Roy Robert, the printed copies of which have been modernized and corrupted. 6. King Estmere, an old romantic tale. 7. The Battle of Harlaw, considered by its present editor “as the original of rather a numerous class of Scotish historical ballads.” 8. Lichtoun’s Dreme, printed for the first time from the Bannatyne MS. 1568. 9. The Murning Maiden, a poem “written in the Augustan age of Scotish poetry.” 10. The Epistill of the Hermeit of Alareit, a satire on the Grey Friers, by Alexander earl of Glencairn. 11. Roswall and Lillian, a “pleasant history,” (chanted even of late in Edinburgh,) from the earliest edition discovered, printed in 1663, of which the only copy known is in the Advocates’ Library, from the Roxburghe sale. 12. Poem by Glassinberry, a name for the first time introduced into the list of early Scotish poets, and the poem itself printed from “Gray’s MS.” 13. Sir John Barleycorn, from a stall-copy printed in 1781, with a few corrections, concerning which piece it is remarked, that Burns’s version “cannot be said to have greatly improved it.” There is a vignette to this ballad, “designed and etched by the ingenious young artist, W. Geikie,” of Edinburgh, from whence I take the liberty to cut a figure, not for the purpose of conveying an idea of this “Allan-a-Maut,” who is surrounded with like “good” company by Mr. Geikie’s meritorious pencil, but to extend the knowledge of Mr. Geikie’s name, who is perfectly unknown to me, except through the single print I refer to, which compels me to express warm admiration of his correct feeling, and assured talent.

Sir John Barleycorn (presumably)

Besides Mr. Geikie’s beautiful etching, there is a frontispiece by W. H. Lizars from a design by Mr. C. Kirkpatrick Sharpe, and a portrait of Alexander earl of Eglintoune 1670, also by Mr. Lizars, from a curiously illuminated parchment in the possession of the present earl.


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SAYING NOT MEANING.
By William Basil Wake.
For the Table Book.

Two gentlemen their appetite had fed,
When, opening his toothpick-case, one said,
“It was not until lately that I knew
That anchovies on terrâ firmâ grew.”
“Grew!” cried the other, “yes, they grow, indeed,
Like other fish, but not upon the land;
You might as well say grapes grow on a reed,
Or in the Strand!”
“Why, sir,” return’d the irritated other,
“My brother,
When at Calcutta,
Beheld them bonâ fide growing;
He wouldn’t utter
A lie for love or money, sir; so in
This matter you are thoroughly mistaken.”
“Nonsense, sir! nonsense! I can give no credit
To the assertion—none e’er saw or read it;
Your brother, like his evidence, should be shaken.”
“Be shaken, sir! let me observe, you are
Perverse—in short—”
“Sir,” said the other, sucking his cigar,
And then his port—
“If you will say impossibles are true,
You may affirm just any thing you please—
That swans are quadrupeds, and lions blue,
And elephants inhabit Stilton cheese!
Only you must not force me to believe
What’s propagated merely to deceive.”
“Then you force me to say, sir, you’re a fool,”
Return’d the bragger.
Language like this no man can suffer cool;
It made the listener stagger;
So, thunder-stricken, he at once replied,
“The traveller lied
Who had the impudence to tell it you.”
“Zounds! then d’ye mean to swear before my face
That anchovies don’t grow like cloves and mace?”
“I do!”
Disputants often after hot debates
Leave the contention as they found it—bone,
And take to duelling, or thumping têtes;
Thinking, by strength of artery, to atone
For strength of argument; and he who winces
From force of words, with force of arms convinces!
With pistols, powder, bullets, surgeons, lint,
Seconds, and smelling-bottles, and foreboding,
Our friends advanced; and now portentous loading
(Their hearts already loaded) serv’d to show
It might be better they shook hands—but no;
When each opines himself, though frighten’d, right,
Each is, in courtesy, oblig’d to fight!
And they did fight: from six full measured paces
The unbeliever pull’d his trigger first;
And fearing, from the braggart’s ugly faces,
The whizzing lead had whizz’d its very worst,
Ran up, and with a duelistic tear,
(His ire evanishing like morning vapours,)
Found him possess’d of one remaining ear,
Who, in a manner sudden and uncouth,
Had given, not lent, the other ear to truth:
For, while the surgeon was applying lint,
He, wriggling, cried—“The deuce is in’t—
Sir! I meant—capers!”

Characters.

THE OLD GENTLEMAN.

Our old gentleman, in order to be exclusively himself, must be either a widower or a bachelor. Suppose the former. We do not mention his precise age, which would be invidious;—nor whether he wears his own hair or a wig; which would be wanting in universality. If a wig, it is a compromise between the more modern scratch and the departed glory of the toupee. If his own hair, it is white, in spite of his favourite grandson, who used to get on the chair behind him, and pull the silver hairs out, ten years ago. If he is bald at top, the hair-dresser, hovering and breathing about him like a second youth, takes care to give the bald place as much powder as the covered; in order that he may convey, to the sensorium within, a pleasing indistinctness of idea respecting the exact limits of skin and hair. He is very clean and neat; and in warm weather is proud of opening his waistcoat half way down, and letting so much of his frill be seen; in order to show his hardiness as well as taste. His watch and shirt-buttons are of the best; and he does not care if he has two rings on a finger. If his watch ever failed him at the club or coffee-house, he would take a walk every day to the nearest clock of good character, purely to keep it right. He has a cane at home, but seldom uses it, on finding it out of fashion with his elderly juniors. He has a small cocked hat for gala days, which he lifts higher from his head than the round one, when made a bow to. In his pockets are two handkerchiefs, (one for the neck at night-time,) his spectacles, and his pocket-book. The pocket-book, among other things, contains a receipt for a cough, and some verses cut out of an odd sheet of an old magazine, on the lovely duchess of A., beginning—

When beauteous Mira walks the plain.

He intends this for a common-place book which he keeps, consisting of passages in verse and prose cut out of newspapers and magazines, and pasted in columns; some [I-119,
I-120]
of them rather gay. His principal other books are Shakspeare’s Plays and Milton’s Paradise Lost; the Spectator, the History of England; the works of Lady M. W. Montague, Pope, and Churchill; Middleton’s Geography, the Gentleman’s Magazine; Sir John Sinclair on Longevity; several plays with portraits in character; Account of Elizabeth Canning, Memoirs of George Ann Bellamy, Poetical Amusements at Bath-Easton, Blair’s Works, Elegant Extracts; Junius as originally published; a few pamphlets on the American War and Lord George Gordon, &c. and one on the French Revolution. In his sitting rooms are some engravings from Hogarth and Sir Joshua; an engraved portrait of the Marquis of Granby; ditto of M. le Comte de Grasse surrendering to Admiral Rodney; a humorous piece after Penny; and a portrait of himself, painted by Sir Joshua. His wife’s portrait is in his chamber, looking upon his bed. She is a little girl, stepping forward with a smile and a pointed toe, as if going to dance. He lost her when she was sixty.

The Old Gentleman is an early riser, because he intends to live at least twenty years longer. He continues to take tea for breakfast, in spite of what is said against its nervous effects; having been satisfied on that point some years ago by Dr. Johnson’s criticism on Hanway, and a great liking for tea previously. His china cups and saucers have been broken since his wife’s death, all but one, which is religiously kept for his use. He passes his morning in walking or riding, looking in at auctions, looking after his India bonds or some such money securities, furthering some subscription set on foot by his excellent friend sir John, or cheapening a new old print for his portfolio. He also hears of the newspapers; not caring to see them till after dinner at the coffee-house. He may also cheapen a fish or so; the fishmonger soliciting his doubting eye as he passes, with a profound bow of recognition. He eats a pear before dinner.

His dinner at the coffee-house is served up to him at the accustomed hour, in the old accustomed way, and by the accustomed waiter. If William did not bring it, the fish would be sure to be stale, and the flesh new. He eats no tart; or if he ventures on a little, takes cheese with it. You might as soon attempt to persuade him out of his senses, as that cheese is not good for digestion. He takes port; and if he has drank more than usual, and in a more private place, may be induced by some respectful inquiries respecting the old style of music, to sing a song composed by Mr. Oswald or Mr. Lampe, such as—

Chloe, by that borrowed kiss,

or

Come, gentle god of soft repose;

or his wife’s favourite ballad, beginning—

At Upton on the Hill
There lived a happy pair.

Of course, no such exploit can take place in the coffee-room; but he will canvass the theory of that matter there with you, or discuss the weather, or the markets, or the theatres, or the merits of “my lord North” or “my lord Rockingham;” for he rarely says simply, lord; it is generally “my lord,” trippingly and genteelly off the tongue. If alone after dinner, his great delight is the newspaper; which he prepares to read by wiping his spectacles, carefully adjusting them on his eyes, and drawing the candle close to him, so as to stand sideways betwixt his ocular aim and the small type. He then holds the paper at arm’s length, and dropping his eyelids half down and his mouth half open, takes cognizance of the day’s information. If he leaves off, it is only when the door is opened by a new comer, or when he suspects somebody is over-anxious to get the paper out of his hand. On these occasions, he gives an important hem! or so; and resumes.

In the evening, our Old Gentleman is fond of going to the theatre, or of having a game of cards. If he enjoy the latter at his own house or lodgings, he likes to play with some friends whom he has known for many years; but an elderly stranger may be introduced, if quiet and scientific; and the privilege is extended to younger men of letters; who, if ill players, are good losers. Not that he is a miser; but to win money at cards is like proving his victory by getting the baggage; and to win of a younger man is a substitute for his not being able to beat him at rackets. He breaks up early, whether at home or abroad.

At the theatre, he likes a front row in the pit. He comes early, if he can do so without getting into a squeeze, and sits patiently waiting for the drawing up of the curtain, with his hands placidly lying one over the other on the top of his stick. He generously admires some of the best performers, but thinks them far inferior to Garrick, Woodward, and Clive. During splendid scenes, he is anxious that the little boy should see.

[I-121,
I-122]

He has been induced to look in at Vauxhall again, but likes it still less than he did years back, and cannot bear it in comparison with Ranelagh. He thinks every thing looks poor, flaring, and jaded. “Ah!” says he, with a sort of triumphant sigh, “Ranelagh was a noble place! Such taste, such elegance, such beauty! There was the duchess of A. the finest woman in England, sir; and Mrs. L., a mighty fine creature; and lady Susan what’s her name, that had that unfortunate affair with sir Charles. Sir, they came swimming by you like the swans.”

The Old Gentleman is very particular in having his slippers ready for him at the fire, when he comes home. He is also extremely choice in his snuff, and delights to get a fresh box-full at Gliddon’s, in King-street, in his way to the theatre. His box is a curiosity from India. He calls favourite young ladies by their Christian names, however slightly acquainted with them; and has a privilege also of saluting all brides, mothers, and indeed every species of lady on the least holiday occasion. If the husband for instance has met with a piece of luck, he instantly moves forward, and gravely kisses the wife on the cheek. The wife then says, “My niece, sir, from the country;” and he kisses the niece. The niece, seeing her cousin biting her lips at the joke, says, “My cousin Harriet, sir;” and he kisses the cousin. He never recollects such weather, except during the great frost, or when he rode down with Jack Skrimshire to Newmarket. He grows young again in his little grand-children, especially the one which he thinks most like himself; which is the handsomest. Yet he likes best perhaps the one most resembling his wife; and will sit with him on his lap, holding his hand in silence, for a quarter of an hour together. He plays most tricks with the former, and makes him sneeze. He asks little boys in general who was the father of Zebedee’s children. If his grandsons are at school, he often goes to see them; and makes them blush by telling the master or the upper-scholars, that they are fine boys, and of a precocious genius. He is much struck when an old acquaintance dies, but adds that he lived too fast; and that poor Bob was a sad dog in his youth; “a very sad dog, sir, mightily set upon a short life and a merry one.”

When he gets very old indeed, he will sit for whole evenings, and say little or nothing; but informs you, that there is Mrs. Jones (the housekeeper),—“She’ll talk.”—Indicator.


A HAPPY MEETING.

And doth not a meeting like this make amends
For all the long years I’ve been wand’ring away?
To see thus around me my youth’s early friends,
As smiling and kind as in that happy day!
Though haply o’er some of your brows, as o’er mine,
The snow-fall of time may be stealing—what then
Like Alps in the sunset, thus lighted by wine,
We’ll wear the gay tinge of youth’s roses again.
What soften’d remembrances come o’er the heart,
In gazing on those we’ve been lost to so long!
The sorrows, the joys, of which once they were part
Still round them, like visions of yesterday, throng,
As letters some hand hath invisibly traced,
When held to the flame will steal out on the sight,
So many a feeling, that long seem’d effaced,
The warmth of a meeting like this brings to light.
And thus, as in memory’s bark, we shall glide
To visit the scenes of our boyhood anew,
Tho’ oft we may see, looking down on the tide,
The wreck of full many a hope shining through—
Yet still, as in fancy we point to the flowers
That once made a garden of all the gay shore,
Deceiv’d for a moment, we’ll think them still ours,
And breath the fresh air of life’s morning once more
So brief our existence, a glimpse, at the most,
Is all we can have of the few we hold dear;
And oft even joy is unheeded and lost,
For want of some heart that could echo it near.
Ah! well may we hope, when this short life is gone,
To meet in some world of more permanent bliss,
For a smile, or a grasp of the hand, hast’ning on,
Is all we enjoy of each other in this.
But come—the more rare such delights to the heart,
The more we should welcome, and bless them the more—
They’re ours when we meet—they’re lost when we part,
Like birds that bring summer, and fly when ’tis o’er,
Thus circling the cup, hand in hand, ere we drink,
Let Sympathy pledge us, thro’ pleasure thro’ pain,
That fast as a feeling but touches one link,
Her magic shall send it direct through the chain.

Lines to his Cousin
ON THE NEW YEAR,
By a Westminster Boy.

Time rolls away! another year
Has rolled off with him; hence ’tis clear
His lordship keeps his carriage
A single man, no doubt;—and thus
Enjoys himself without the fuss
And great expense of marriage.
His wheel still rolls (and like the river
Which Horace mentions) still for ever
Volvitur et volvetur.
[I-123,
I-124]
In vain you run against him; place
your fleetest filly in the race,—
Here’s ten to one he’ll beat her.
Of all he sees, he takes a tithe,
With that tremendous sweeping scythe,
Which he keeps always going;
While every step he takes, alas!
Too plainly proves that flesh is grass,
When he sets out a mowing.
And though his hungry ravenous maw
Is crammed with food, both dress’d and raw,
I’ll wager any betting,
His appetite has ever been
Just like his scythe, sharp-set and keen,
Which never wanted whetting.
Could you but see the mighty treat
Prepared, when he sits down to eat
His breakfast or his dinner,—ah,
Not vegetable—flesh,—alone,
But timber, houses, iron, stone,
He eats the very china.
When maidens pray that he will spare
Their teeth, complexion, or their hair,
Alas! he’ll never hear ’em;
Grey locks and wrinkles hourly show,
What Ovid told us years ago,
Ut Tempus edax rerum!
In vain, my dearest girl, you choose
(Your face to wash) Olympic dews;
In vain you paint or rouge it;
He’ll play such havoc with your youth,
That ten years hence you’ll say with truth
Ah Edward!—Tempus fugit!
The glass he carries in his hand
Has ruin in each grain of sand;
But what I most deplore is,
He breaks the links of friendship’s chain,
And barters youthful love for gain:
Oh, Tempora! oh, Mores!
One sole exception you shall find,
(Unius generis of its kind,)
Wherever fate may steer us;
Tho’ wide his universal range,
Time has no power the heart to change
Of your Amicus Verus.

Bath Herald.


GERMAN UNIVERSITIES.

Germany, which embraces a population of thirty-six millions of people, has twenty-two universities. The following table contains their names according to the order of their foundation, and the number of professors and students:

Universities. When
founded.
Number
of
Pro-
fessors.
Number
of
Students.
Prague 1348 55 1449
Vienna 1365 77 1688
Heidelberg 1368 55 626
Warsbourg 1403 31 660
Leipsig 1409 81 1384
Rostock 1419 34 201
Fribourg 1450 35 556
Griefswald 1456 30 227
Bâle 1460 24 214
Tubingen 1477 44 827
Marbourg 1527 38 304
Kœnisberg 1544 23 303
Jena 1558 51 432
Giessen 1607 39 371
Kiel 1665 26 238
Halle 1694 64 1119
Breslau 1702 49 710
Gœttengen 1734 89 1545
Erlangen 1743 34 498
Landshut 1803 48 623
Berlin 1810 86 1245
Bonn 1818 42 526

Of this number six belong to Prussia, three to Bavaria, two to the Austrian States, two to the Grand Duchy of Baden, two to the Electorate of Hesse-Cassel, and one to each of the following states—Saxony, Wurtemberg, Denmark, Hanover, the Grand Duchies of Mecklenbergh-Schweren and of Saxe-Weimar, and Switzerland. The total number of professors is 1055, embracing not only the ordinary and extraordinary professors, but also the private lecturers, whose courses of reading are announced in the half-yearly programmes. Catholic Germany, which reckons nineteen millions of inhabitants, has only six universities; while Protestant Germany, for seventeen millions of inhabitants, has seventeen. Of the students there are 149 for every 250,000 in the Protestant states, while there are only 68 for the same number in the Catholic states. It must, however, be mentioned, that this estimate does not take in those Catholic ecclesiastics who do not pursue their studies in the universities, but in private seminaries.—The universities of Paderborn and Munster, both belonging to Prussia, and which had only two faculties, those of theology and philosophy, were suppressed; the first in 1818, and the second in 1819; but that of Munster has been reestablished, with the three faculties of theology, philosophy, and medicine.


[I-125,
I-126]

Vol. I.—5.

Colley Cibber’s youngest Daughter.

Colley Cibber’s youngest Daughter.

Last of her sire in dotage—she was used
By him, as children use a fav’rite toy;
Indulg’d, neglected, fondled, and abus’d,
As quick affection of capricious joy,
Or sudden humour of dislike dictated:
Thoughtlessly rear’d, she led a thoughtless life;
And she so well beloved became most hated:
A helpless mother, and a wife unblest,
She pass’d precocious womanhood in strife;
Or, in strange hiding-places, without rest;
Or, wand’ring in disquietude for bread:
Her father’s curse—himself first cause of all
That caused his ban—sunk her in deeper thrall,
Stifling her heart, till sorrow and herself were dead.

*

The Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke, youngest daughter of Colley Cibber, Esq. written by herself,” is a curious narrative of remarkable vicissitudes. She dedicates it to herself, and aptly concludes her dedication by saying, “Permit me, madam, to subscribe myself, for the future, what I ought to have been some years ago, your real friend, and humble servant, Charlotte Charke.”

In the “Introduction” to the recent reprint of this singular work, it is well observed, that “her Life will serve to show what very strange creatures may exist, and the endless diversity of habits, tastes, and inclinations, which may spring up spontaneously, [I-127,
I-128]
like weeds, in the hot-bed of corrupt civilization.” She was born when Mrs. Cibber was forty-five years old, and when both her father and mother had ceased to expect an addition to their family: the result was that Charlotte Cibber was a spoiled child. She married Mr. Richard Charke, an eminent violin player, of dissolute habits; and, after a course of levities, consequent upon the early recklessness of her parents, she was repudiated by her father. When she wrote her life, she was in great penury: it was published in eight numbers, at three-pence each. In the last, which appeared on the 19th of April, 1755, she feelingly deplores the failure of her attempts to obtain forgiveness of her father, and says, “I cannot recollect any crime I have been guilty of that is unpardonable.” After intimating a design to open an oratorical academy, for the instruction of persons going on the stage, she mentions her intention to publish “Mr. Dumont’s history, the first number of which will shortly make its appearance.” This was a novel she was then writing, which a bookseller treated with her for, in company with Mr. Samuel Whyte of Dublin, who thus describes her distressed situation:—

“Cibber the elder had a daughter named Charlotte, who also took to the stage; her subsequent life was one continued series of misfortune, afflictions, and distress, which she sometimes contrived a little to alleviate by the productions of her pen. About the year 1755, she had worked up a novel for the press, which the writer accompanied his friend the bookseller to hear read; she was at this time a widow, having been married to one Charke a musician, long since dead. Her habitation was a wretched thatched hovel, situated on the way to Islington in the purlieus of Clerkenwell Bridewell, not very distant from the New River Head, where at that time it was usual for the scavengers to leave the cleansings of the streets, &c. The night preceding a heavy rain had fallen, which rendered this extraordinary seat of the muses almost inaccessible, so that in our approach we got our white stockings enveloped with mud up to the very calves, which furnished an appearance much in the present fashionable style of half-boots. We knocked at the door, (not attempting to pull the latch string,) which was opened by a tall, meagre, ragged figure, with a blue apron, indicating, what else we might have doubted, the feminine gender,—a perfect model for the copper captain’s tattered landlady; that deplorable exhibition of the fair sex, in the comedy of Rule-a-Wife. She with a torpid voice and hungry smile desired us to walk in. The first object that presented itself was a dresser, clean, it must be confessed, and furnished with three or four coarse delf plates, two brown platters, and underneath an earthen pipkin and a black pitcher with a snip out of it. To the right we perceived and bowed to the mistress of the mansion sitting on a maimed chair under the mantle-piece, by a fire, merely sufficient to put us in mind of starving. On one hob sat a monkey, which by way of welcome chattered at our going in; on the other a tabby cat, of melancholy aspect! and at our author’s feet on the flounce of her dingy petticoat reclined a dog, almost a skeleton! he raised his shagged head, and, eagerly staring with his bleared eyes, saluted us with a snarl. ‘Have done, Fidele! these are friends.’ The tone of her voice was not harsh; it had something in it humbled and disconsolate; a mingled effort of authority and pleasure.—Poor soul! few were her visitors of that description—no wonder the creature barked!.—A magpie perched on the top ring of her chair, not an uncomely ornament! and on her lap was placed a mutilated pair of bellows, the pipe was gone, an advantage in their present office, they served as a succedaneum for a writing-desk, on which lay displayed her hopes and treasure, the manuscript of her novel. Her ink-stand was a broken tea-cup, the pen worn to a stump; she had but one! a rough deal board with three hobbling supporters was brought for our convenience, on which, without farther ceremony, we contrived to sit down and entered upon business:—the work was read, remarks made, alterations agreed to, and thirty guineas demanded for the copy. The squalid handmaiden, who had been an attentive listener, stretched forward her tawny length of neck with an eye of anxious expectation!—The bookseller offered five!—Our authoress did not appear hurt; disappointments had rendered her mind callous; however, some altercation ensued. This was the writer’s first initiation into the mysteries of bibliopolism and the state of authorcraft. He, seeing both sides pertinacious, at length interposed, and at his instance the wary haberdasher of literature doubled his first proposal, with this saving proviso, that his friend present would pay a moiety and run one half the risk; which was agreed to. Thus matters were accommodated, seemingly to the satisfaction of all parties; the lady’s original stipulation of fifty copies for herself being previously [I-129,
I-130]
acceded to. Such is the story of the once-admired daughter of Colley Cibber, Poet Laureate and patentee of Drury-lane, who was born in affluence and educated with care and tenderness, her servants in livery, and a splendid equipage at her command, with swarms of time-serving sycophants officiously buzzing in her train; yet, unmindful of her advantages and improvident in her pursuits, she finished the career of her miserable existence on a dunghill.”[36]

Mr. Whyte’s account of the “reading the manuscript,” a subject worthy of Wilkie’s pencil, is designed to be illustrated by the engraving at the head of this article. Of Mrs. Charke, after that interview, nothing further is known, except that she kept a public-house, at Islington, and is said to have died on the 6th of April, 1760.[37] Her brother Theophilus was wrecked, and perished on his way to Dublin, in October, 1758; her father died on the 12th of December, in the year preceding. Her singular “Narrative” is printed verbatim in the seventh volume of “Autobiography,” with the life of the late “Mary Robinson,” who was also an actress, and also wrote her own “Memoirs.”


[36] Whyte’s Collection of Poems, second edition. Dublin, 1792.

[37] Biog. Dram.


AN INEDITED BALLAD.

To the Editor.

Dear Sir,—A friend of mine, who resided for some years on the borders, used to amuse himself by collecting old ballads, printed on halfpenny sheets, and hawked up and down by itinerant minstrels. In his common-place book I found one, entitled “The Outlandish Knight,” evidently, from the style, of considerable antiquity, which appears to have escaped the notice of Percy, and other collectors. Since then I have met with a printed one, from the popular press of Mr. Pitts, the six-yards-for-a-penny song-publisher, who informs me that he has printed it “ever since he was a printer, and that Mr. Marshall, his predecessor, printed it before him.” The ballad has not improved by circulating amongst Mr. Pitts’s friends; for the heroine, who has no name given her in my friend’s copy, is in Mr. Pitts’s called “Polly;” and there are expressions contra bonos mores. These I have expunged; and, to render the ballad more complete, added a few stanzas, wherein I have endeavoured to preserve the simplicity of the original, of which I doubt if a correct copy could now be obtained. As it is, it is at the service of your Table Book.

The hero of the ballad appears to be of somewhat the same class as the hero of the German ballad, the “Water King,” and in some particulars resembles the ballad of the “Overcourteous Knight,” in Percy’s Reliques.

I am, dear sir, &c.
— — —

Grange-road, Bermondsey, Jan. 8, 1827.

The Outlandish Knight.

——————“Six go true,
The seventh askew.”

Der Freischutz Travestie.

 

An outlandish knight from the north lands came,
And he came a wooing to me;
He told me he’d take me unto the north lands,
And I should his fair bride be.
A broad, broad shield did this strange knight wield,
Whereon did the red-cross shine,
Yet never, I ween, had that strange knight been
In the fields of Palestine.
And out and spake this strange knight,
This knight of the north countrie,
O, maiden fair, with the raven hair,
Thou shalt at my bidding be.
Thy sire he is from home, ladye,
For he hath a journey gone,
And his shaggy blood-hound is sleeping sound,
Beside the postern stone.
Go, bring me some of thy father’s gold,
And some of thy mother’s fee,
And steeds twain of the best, in the stalls that rest
Where they stand thirty and three.

*****

She mounted her on her milk-white steed,
And he on a dapple grey,
And they forward did ride, till they reach’d the sea-side,
Three hours before it was day.
Then out and spake this strange knight,
This knight of the north countrie,
O, maiden fair, with the raven hair,
Do thou at my bidding be.
Alight thee, maid, from thy milk-white steed,
And deliver it unto me;
Six maids have I drown’d, where the billows sound,
And the seventh one thou shalt be.
But first pull off thy kirtle fine,
And deliver it unto me;
Thy kirtle of green is too rich, I ween,
To rot in the salt, salt sea.
[I-131,
I-132]
Pull off, pull off thy silken shoon,
And deliver them unto me;
Methinks that they are too fine and gay
To rot in the salt, salt sea.
Pull off, pull off thy bonnie green plaid,
That floats in the breeze so free;
It is woven fine with the silver twine,
And comely it is to see.
If I must pull off my bonnie green plaid,
O turn thy back to me;
And gaze on the sun which has just begun
To peer o’er the salt, salt sea.
He turn’d his back on the dameselle
And gaz’d on the bright sunbeam—
She grasp’d him tight with her arms so white,
And plung’d him into the stream.
Lie there, sir knight, thou false-hearted wight,
Lie there instead of me;
Six damsels fair thou hast drown’d there,
But the seventh has drowned thee.
That ocean wave was the false one’s grave,
For he sunk right hastily;
Though with dying voice faint, he pray’d to his saint,
And utter’d an Ave Marie.
No mass was said for that false knight dead,
No convent bell did toll;
But he went to his rest, unshriv’d and unblest—
Heaven’s mercy on his soul!

*****

She mounted her on her dapple-grey steed,
And led the steed milk-white;
She rode till she reach’d her father’s hall,
Three hours before the night.
The parrot, hung in the lattice so high,
To the lady then did say,
Some ruffian, I fear, has led thee from home,
For thou hast been long away.
Do not prattle, my pretty bird,
Do not tell tales of me;
And thy cage shall be made of the glittering gold,
Instead of the greenwood tree.
The earl as he sat in his turret high,
On hearing the parrot did say,
What ails thee, what ails thee, my pretty bird?
Thou hast prattled the live-long day.
Well may I prattle, the parrot replied,
And call, brave earl, on thee;
For the cat has well nigh reach’d the lattice so high,
And her eyes are fix’d on me.
Well turn’d, well turn’d, my pretty bird,
Well turn’d, well turn’d for me;
Thy cage shall be made of the glittering gold,
Instead of the greenwood tree.

PRIDE AND GOOD-WILL.

It is related of a certain class of French nobility, who, in their winter residence at Aix, were objects of dislike from their arrogance and self-importance, that they were beloved and esteemed for their kindness and benevolence by the dependants around their chateaus in the country. Many instances might be cited to show that the respect paid them was no more than they deserved; and one is particularly striking:—

A seigneur, when he resided in the country, used to distribute among the women and children, and the old men who were unable to work in the field, raw wool, and flax, which they spun and wove into cloth or stuff at their pleasure: every week they were paid wages according to the quantity of work done, and had a fresh supply of raw materials whenever it was wanted. At the end of the year, a general feast was given by the seigneur to the whole village, when all who had been occupied in spinning and weaving brought in their work, and a prize of a hundred livres was given to each person who had spun the best skein, and woven the best web. They had a dinner in a field adjoining to the chateau, at which the seigneur himself presided, and on each side of him sat those who had gained the prizes. The evening was concluded with a dance. The victors, besides the hundred livres, had their work given them: the rest were allowed to purchase theirs at a very moderate price, and the money resulting from it was laid by to distribute among any persons of the village who wanted relief on account of sickness, or who had suffered from unavoidable accident, either in their persons or property. At the death of this excellent man, who unfortunately left no immediate heirs to follow his good example, the village presented a scene of the bitterest lamentation and distress: the peasants assembled round the body, and it was almost forced away from them for interment. They brought their shuttles, their distaffs, their skeins of thread and worsted, their pieces of linen and stuff, and strewed them upon his grave, saying that now they had lost their patron and benefactor, they could no longer be of use to them. If this man felt the pride of conscious superiority, it was scarcely to be condemned when accompanied with such laudable exertions to render himself, through that superiority, a benefactor to society.[38]


[38] Miss Plumptre.


[I-133,
I-134]

Garrick Plays.
No. II.

[From the “Parliament of Bees,” a Masque, by John Day, printed 1607. Whether this singular production, in which the Characters are all Bees, was ever acted, I have no information to determine. It is at least as capable of representation, as we can conceive the “Birds” of Aristophanes to have been.]

Ulania, a female Bee, confesses her passion for Meletus, who loves Arethusa.

—— not a village Fly, nor meadow Bee,
That trafficks daily on the neighbour plain,
But will report, how all the Winged Train
Have sued to me for Love; when we have flown
In swarms out to discover fields new blown.
Happy was he could find the forward’st tree,
And cull the choicest blossoms out for me;
Of all their labours they allow’d me some
And (like my champions) mann’d me out, and home:
Yet loved I none of them. Philon, a Bee
Well-skill’d in verse and amorous poetry,
As we have sate at work, both of one Rose,[39]
Has humm’d sweet Canzons, both in verse and prose,
Which I ne’er minded. Astrophel, a Bee
(Although not so poetical as he)
Yet in his full invention quick and ripe,
In summer evenings, on his well-tuned pipe,
Upon a woodbine blossom in the sun,
(Our hive being clean-swept, and our day’s work done),
Would play me twenty several tunes; yet I
Nor minded Astrophel, nor his melody.
Then there’s Amniter, for whose love fair Leade
(That pretty Bee) flies up and down the mead
With rivers in her eyes; without deserving
Sent me trim Acorn bowls of his own carving,
To drink May dews and mead in. Yet none of these,
My hive-born Playfellows and fellow Bees,
Could I affect, until this strange Bee came;
And him I love with such an ardent flame,
Discretion cannot quench.—
He labours and toils,
Extracts more honey out of barren soils
Than twenty lazy Drones. I have heard my Father,
Steward of the Hive, profess that he had rather
Lose half the Swarm than him. If a Bee, poor or weak,
Grows faint on his way, or by misfortune break
A wing or leg against a twig; alive,
Or dead, he’ll bring into the Master’s Hive
Him and his burthen. But the other day,
On the next plain there grew a fatal fray
Betwixt the Wasps and us; the wind grew high,
And a rough storm raged so impetuously,
Our Bees could scarce keep wing; then fell such rain,
It made our Colony forsake the plain,
And fly to garrison: yet still He stood,
And ’gainst the whole swarm made his party good;
And at each blow he gave, cried out His Vow,
His Vow, and Arethusa!—On each bough
And tender blossom he engraves her name
With his sharp sting. To Arethusa’s fame
He consecrates his actions; all his worth
Is only spent to character her forth.
On damask roses, and the leaves of pines,
I have seen him write such amorous moving lines
In Arethusa’s praise, as my poor heart
Has, when I read them, envied her desert;
And wept and sigh’d to think that he should be
To her so constant, yet not pity me.

***

Porrex, Vice Roy of Bees under King Oberon, describes his large prerogative.

To Us (who, warranted by Oberon’s love.
Write Ourself Master Bee), both field and grove,
Garden and orchard, lawns and flowery meads,
(Where the amorous wind plays with the golden heads
Of wanton cowslips, daisies in their prime,
Sun-loving marigolds; the blossom’d thyme,
The blue-vein’d violets and the damask rose;
The stately lily, Mistress of all those);
Are allow’d and giv’n, by Oberon’s free areed,
Pasture for me, and all my swarms to feed.

—————the doings,
The births, the wars, the wooings,

of these pretty little winged creatures are with continued liveliness portrayed throughout the whole of this curious old Drama, in words which Bees would talk with, could they talk; the very air seems replete with humming and buzzing melodies, while we read them. Surely Bees were never so be-rhymed before.

C. L.


[39] Prettily pilfered from the sweet passage in the Midsummer Night’s Dream, where Helena recounts to Hermia their school-days’ friendship:

We, Hermia, like two artificial Gods,
Created with our needles both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion.

Biographical Memoranda.

John Scot, a Fasting Fanatic.

In the year 1539, there lived in Scotland one John Scot, no way commended for his learning, for he had none, nor for his good qualities, which were as few. This man, being overthrown in a suit of law, and knowing himself unable to pay that wherein he was adjudged, took sanctuary in the abbey of Holyrood-house; where, out of discontent, he abstained from all meat and drink, by the space of thirty or forty days together.

Fame having spread this abroad, the [I-135,
I-136]
king would have it put to trial, and to that effect shut him up in a private room within the castle of Edinburgh, whereunto no man had access. He caused a little water and bread to be set by him, which he was found not to have diminished in the end of thirty days and two. Upon this he was dismissed, and, after a short time, he went to Rome, where he gave the like proof of his fasting to pope Clement VII.; from whence he went to Venice, carrying with him a testimony of his long fasting under the pope’s seal: and there also he gave the like proof thereof. After long time, returning into England, he went up into the pulpit in St. Paul’s Church-yard, where he gave forth many speeches against the divorce of king Henry VIII. from his queen Katherine, inveighing bitterly against him for his defection from the see of Rome; whereupon he was thrust into prison, where he continued fasting for the space of fifty days: what his end was I read not.—Spotswood, &c.


Hart the Astrologer.

There lived in Houndsditch, about the year 1632, one Alexander Hart, who had been a soldier formerly, a comely old man, of good aspect, he professed questionary astrology and a little of physic; his greatest skill was to elect young gentlemen fit times to play at dice, that they might win or get money. Lilly relates that “he went unto him for resolutions for three questions at several times, and he erred in every one.” He says, that to speak soberly of him he was but a cheat, as appeared suddenly after; for a rustical fellow of the city, desirous of knowledge, contracted with Hart, to assist for a conference with a spirit, and paid him twenty pounds of thirty pounds the contract. At last, after many delays, and no spirit appearing, nor money returned, the young man indicted him for a cheat at the Old Bailey in London. The jury found the bill, and at the hearing of the cause this jest happened: some of the bench inquired what Hart did? “He sat like an alderman in his gown,” quoth the fellow; at which the court fell into a laughter, most of the court being aldermen. He was to have been set upon the pillory for this cheat; but John Taylor the water poet being his great friend, got the lord chief justice Richardson to bail him, ere he stood upon the pillory, and so Hart fled presently into Holland, where he ended his days.[40]


[40] Autobiography, vol. ii, Lilly’s Life.


REV. THOMAS COOKE.

The verses at the end of the following letter may excuse the insertion of a query, which would otherwise be out of place in a publication not designed to be a channel of inquiry.

To the Editor.

Sir,—I should feel much obliged, if the Table Book can supply some account of a clergyman of the name of Thomas Cooke, who, it is supposed, resided in Shropshire, and was the author of a very beautiful poem, in folio, (published by subscription, about ninety years since,) entitled “The Immortality of the Soul.” I have a very imperfect copy of this work, and am desirous of ascertaining, from any of your multifarious readers, whether or not the poem ever became public, and where it is probable I could obtain a glimpse of a perfect impression. Mine has no title-page, and about one moiety of the work has been destroyed by the sacrilegious hands of some worthless animal on two legs!

The list of subscribers plainly proves that Mr. Cooke must have been a man of good family, and exalted connections. On one of the blank leaves in my copy, the following lines appear, written by Mr. Cooke himself; and, considering the trammels by which he was confined, I think the verses are not without merit; at any rate, the subject of them appears to have been a beautiful creature.

By giving this article a place in the Table Book, you will much oblige

Your subscriber and admirer,
G. J. D.

Islington-green.

An Acrostic
On a most beautiful and accomplished
young Lady. London, 1748.

M eekness—good-humour—each transcendent grace,
I s seen conspicuous on thy joyous face;
S weet’s the carnation to the rambling bee,
S o art thou, Charlotte! always sweet to me!
 
C an aught compare successfully with those
H igh beauties which thy countenance compose,
A ll doubly heighten’d by that gentle mind,
R enown’d on earth, and prais’d by ev’ry wind?
L ov’d object! no—then let it be thy care
O f fawning friends, at all times, to beware—
T o shun this world’s delusions and disguise,
T he knave’s soft speeches, and the flatt’rer’s lies,
E steeming virtue, and discarding vice!
 [I-137,
I-138]
G o where I may, howe’er remote the clime,
W here’er my feet may stray, thy charms sublime,
I llustrious maid! approv’d and prais’d by all,
L ike some enchantment shall my soul enthrall—
L ight ev’ry path—illuminate my mind—
I nspire my pen with sentiments refin’d—
A nd teach my tongue on this fond pray’r to dwell,
“M ay Heav’n preserve the maid it loves so well!”
  Thomas Cooke.

Varieties.

CURIOUS PLAY BILL.

The following remarkable theatrical announcement is a mixed appeal of vanity and poverty to the taste and feelings of the inhabitants of a town in Sussex.

(Copy.)

At the old theatre in East Grinstead, on Saturday, May, 1758, will be represented (by particular desire, and for the benefit of Mrs. P.) the deep and affecting Tragedy of Theodosius, or the Force of Love, with magnificent scenes, dresses, &c.

Varanes, by Mr. P., who will strive, as far as possible, to support the character of this fiery Persian Prince, in which he was so much admired and applauded at Hastings, Arundel, Petworth, Midworth, Lewes, &c.

Theodosius, by a young gentleman from the University of Oxford, who never appeared on any stage.

Athenais, by Mrs. P. Though her present condition will not permit her to wait on gentlemen and ladies out of the town with tickets, she hopes, as on former occasions, for their liberality and support.

Nothing in Italy can exceed the altar, in the first scene of the play. Nevertheless, should any of the Nobility or Gentry wish to see it ornamented with flowers, the bearer will bring away as many as they choose to favour him with.

As the coronation of Athenais, to be introduced in the fifth act, contains a number of personages, more than sufficient to fill all the dressing-rooms, &c., it is hoped no gentlemen and ladies will be offended at being refused admission behind the scenes.

N. B. The great yard dog, that made so much noise on Thursday night, during the last act of King Richard the Third, will be sent to a neighbour’s over the way; and on account of the prodigious demand for places, part of the stable will be laid into the boxes on one side, and the granary be open for the same purpose on the other.

Vivat Rex.[41]


It’s never too late to mend.

At Chester, in the beginning of the year 1790, a reputable farmer, on the evening of a market-day, called at the shop of Mr. Poole, bookseller, and, desiring to speak with him at the door, put a shilling into his hand, telling him, “he had owed it to him many years.” The latter asked, for what? To which the farmer replied, that “When a boy, in buying a book-almanac at his shop, he had stolen another—the reflection of which had frequently given him much uneasiness.” If any one who sees this ever wronged his neighbour, let him be encouraged by the courage of the farmer of Chester, to make reparation in like manner, and so make clean his conscience.


Conscience.

—————There is no power in holy men,
Nor charm in prayer—nor purifying form
Of penitence—nor outward look—nor fast—
Nor agony—nor, greater than all these,
The innate tortures of that deep despair,
Which is remorse without the fear of hell.
But all in all sufficient to itself
Would make a hell of heaven—can exorcise
From out the unbounded spirit, the quick sense
Of its own sins, wrongs, sufferance, and revenge
Upon itself; there is no future pang
Can deal that justice on the self-condemn’d
He deals on his own soul.

Byron.


Epitaph by Dr. Lowth, late bishop of London, on a monument in the church of Cudesden, Oxfordshire, to the memory of his daughter, translated from the Latin:—

Dear as thou didst in modest worth excel,
More dear than in a daughter’s name—farewell!
Farewell, dear Mary—but the hour is nigh
When, if I’m worthy, we shall meet on high:
Then shall I say, triumphant from the tomb,
“Come, to thy father’s arms, dear Mary, come!”

INSCRIPTION
From the book at Rigi, in Switzerland.

Nine weary up-hill miles we sped
The setting sun to see;
Sulky and grim he went to bed.
Sulky and grim went we.
Seven sleepless hours we past, and then,
The rising sun to see,
Sulky and grim we rose again.
Sulky and grim rose he.

[41] Boaden’s Life of Mrs. Siddons.


[I-139,
I-140]

Antiquarian Hall, ALIAS Will. Will-be-so, of Lynn,

A goose-herd in the fen-lands; next, he
Be-doctor’d Norfolk cows; much vext, he
Turn’d bookseller, and poetaster,
And was a tolerable master
Of title-pages, but his rhymes
Were shocking, at the best of times.
However, he was very honest,
And now, poor fellow, he is—“non est.”

*

For the Table Book.

William Hall, or as he used to style himself, “Antiquarian Hall,” “Will. Will-be-so,” and “Low-Fen-Bill-Hall,” or, as he was more generally termed by the public, “Old Hall,” died at Lynn, in Norfolk, on the 24th of January, 1825. From some curious autobiographical sketches in rhyme, published by himself, in the decline of life, it appears that he was born on June 1, O.S. 1748, at Willow Booth, a small island in the fens of Lincolnshire, near Heckington Ease, in the parish of South Kyme.

“Kyme, God knows.
Where no corn grows,
Nothing but a little hay;
And the water comes,
And takes it all away.”

His ancestors on the father’s side were all “fen slodgers,” having lived there for many generations; his mother was

————“a half Yorkshire
The other half was Heckington,
Vulgar a place as and one.”

When about four years old, he narrowly escaped drowning; for, in his own words, he

————“overstretching took a slip,
And popp’d beneath a merchant’s ship;[42]
No soul at hand but me and mother;
Nor could I call for one or other.”

She, however, at the hazard of her own life, succeeded in saving her son’s. At eleven years old, he went to school, in Brothertoft chapel, for about six months, in which time he derived all the education he ever received. His love of reading was so great, that as soon as he could manage a gunning-boat, he used to employ his Sundays either in seeking for water-birds’ eggs, or to

————“shouve the boat
A catching fish, to make a groat,
And sometimes with a snare or hook;
Well, what was’t for?—to buy a book,
Propensity so in him lay.”

Before he arrived at man’s estate, he lost his mother, and soon afterwards his father [I-141,
I-142]
married again. Will. himself, on arriving at man’s estate, married “Suke Holmes,” and became a “gozzard,” or gooseherd; that is, a keeper and breeder of geese, for which the fens were, at that time, famous throughout the kingdom, supplying the London markets with fowls, and the warehouses with feathers and quills. In these parts, the small feathers are plucked from the live geese five times a year, at Lady-tide, Midsummer, Lammas, Michaelmas, and Martinmas, and the larger feathers and quills are pulled twice. Goslings even are not spared, for it is thought that early plucking tends to increase the succeeding feathers. It is said that the mere plucking hurts the fowl very little, as the owners are careful not to pull until the feathers are ripe: those plucked after the geese are dead, are affirmed not to be so good. The number of geese kept by Will. must have been very great, for his “brood geese,” alone, required five coombs of corn for daily consumption.

The inundations to which the fens were then liable, from breaches, or overflowing of the banks, overwhelmed him with difficulties, and ruined his prospects.

“The poor old geese away were floated,
Till some high lands got lit’rally coated;
Nor did most peasants think it duty
Them to preserve, but made their booty;
And those who were ‘not worth a goose,’
On other people’s liv’d profuse.”

After many vicissitudes and changes of residence, he settled at Marshland, in Norfolk, where his wife practised phlebotomy and midwifery, while he officiated as an auctioneeer, cowleech, &c. &c. Indeed he appeared to have been almost bred to the doctoring profession, for his own mother was

————“a good cow-doctor,
And always doctor’d all her own,
Being cowleech both in flesh and bone.”

His mother-in-law was no less skilful, for in Will.’s words

“She in live stock had took her care,
And of recipes had ample share,
Which I retain unto this day.”

His father-in-law was an equally eminent practitioner; when, says Will.,

“I married Sukey Holmes, her father
Did more than them put altogether;
Imparted all his skill to me,
Farrier, cowleech, and surgery,
All which he practised with success.”

Will. tells of a remarkable and surprising accident, which closed his career as a cowleech.

“The rheumatism, (dreadful charm,)
Had fix’d so close in my left arm,
So violent throbb’d, that without stroke
To touch—it absolutely broke!
Went with a spring, made a report,
And hence in cowleech spoil’d my sport;
Remain’d so tender, weak, and sore,
I never dare attempt it more.”

Thus disqualified, he removed to Lynn, and opening a shop in Ferry-street, commenced his operations as a purchaser and vender of old books, odds and ends, and old articles of various descriptions; from whence he obtained the popular appellation of “Old Hall.” On a board over the door, he designated this shop the

“Antiquarian Library,”

and thus quaintly announced his establishment to the public:

————“In Lynn, Ferry-street,
Where, should a stranger set his feet,
Just cast an eye, read ‘Antiquary!’
Turn in, and but one hour tarry,
Depend upon’t, to his surprise, sir,
He would turn out somewhat the wiser.”

He had great opportunity to indulge in “Bibliomania,” for he acquired an extensive collection of scarce, curious, and valuable books, and became, in fact, the only dealer in “old literature” at Lynn. He versified on almost every occasion that seemed opportune for giving himself and his verses publicity; and, in one of his rhyming advertisements, he alphabetised the names of ancient and modern authors, by way of catalogue. In addition to his bookselling business, he continued to practise as an auctioneer. He regularly kept a book-stall, &c. in Lynn Tuesday-market, from whence he occasionally knocked down his articles to the best bidder; and he announced his sales in his usual whimsical style. His hand-bill, on one of these occasions, runs thus:

Lynn, 19th September, 1810.

“First Tuesday in the next October,
Now do not doubt but we’ll be sober!
If Providence permits us action,
You may depend upon
AN AUCTION,
At the stall
That’s occupied by WILLIAM HALL.
To enumerate a task would be,
So best way is to come and see;
But not to come too vague an errant,
We’ll give a sketch which we will warrant.
“About one hundred books, in due lots,
And pretty near the same in shoe-lasts;
[I-143,
I-144]
Coats, waistcoats, breeches, shining buttons,
Perhaps ten thousand leather cuttings.
Sold at per pound, your lot but ask it,
Shall be weigh’d to you in a basket;
Some lots of tools, to make a try on.
About one hundred weight of iron;
Scales, earthenware, arm-chairs, a tea-urn,
Tea-chests, a herring-tub, and so on;
With various more, that’s our intention,
Which are too tedious here to mention.
“N. B. To undeceive, ’fore you come nigher,
The duty charg’d upon the buyer;
And, should we find we’re not perplext,
We’ll keep it up the Tuesday next.”

During repeated visits to his surviving relatives in his native fens, he observed the altered appearance of the scene from the improved method of drainage. It had become like “another world,” and he resolved

——————— “to try
His talent for posterity;”

and “make a book,” under the title of “The Low Fen Journal,” to comprise “a chain of Incidents relating to the State of the Fens, from the earliest Account to the present Time.” As a specimen of the work he published, in the summer of 1812, an octavo pamphlet of twenty-four pages, called a “Sketch of Local History,” by “Will. Will-be-so,” announcing

“If two hundred subscribers will give in their aid,
The whole of this journal is meant to be laid
Under public view.”

This curious pamphlet of odds and ends in prose and rhyme, without order or arrangement, contained a “caution to the buyer.”

“Let any read that will not soil or rend it,
But should they ask to borrow, pray don’t lend it!
Advise them, ‘Go and buy;’ ’twill better suit
My purpose; and with you prevent dispute.
With me a maxim ’tis, he that won’t buy
Does seldom well regard his neighbour’s property;
And did you chew the bit, so much as I do
From lending books, I think ’twould make you shy too.”

In the course of the tract, he presented to “the critics” the following admonitory address.

“Pray, sirs, consider, had you been
Bred where whole winters nothing’s seen
But naked flood for miles and miles,
Except a boat the eye beguiles;
Or coots, in clouds, by buzzards teaz’d,
Your ear with seeming thunder seiz’d
From rais’d decoy,—there ducks on flight,
By tens of thousands darken light;
None to assist in greatest need,
Parents but very badly read,
No conversation strike the mind,
But of the lowest, vulgar kind;
Five miles from either church or school,
No coming there, but cross a pool;
Kept twenty years upon that station,
With only six months’ education;
Traverse the scene, then weigh it well,
Say, could you better write or spell?

One extract, in prose, is an example of the disposition and powers of his almost untutored mind, viz.

No animation without generation seems a standing axiom in philosophy: but upon tasting the berry of a plant greatly resembling brooklime, but with a narrower leaf, I found it attended with a loose fulsomeness, very different from any thing I had ever tasted; and on splitting one of them with my nail, out sprang a fluttering maggot, which put me upon minute examination. The result of which was, that every berry, according to its degree of maturity, contained a proportionate maggot, up to the full ripe shell, where a door was plainly discerned, and the insect had taken its flight. I have ever since carefully inspected the herb, and the result is always the same, viz. if you split ten thousand of the berries, you discover nothing but an animated germ. It grows in shallow water, and is frequently accompanied with the water plantain. Its berry is about the size of a red currant, and comes on progressively, after the manner of juniper in the berry: the germ is first discoverable about the middle of July, and continues till the frost subdues it. And my conjectures lead me to say, that one luxurious plant shall be the mother of many scores of flies. I call it the fly berry plant.”

Thus far the “Sketch.” He seems to have caught the notion of his “Low Fen Journal” from a former fen genius, whose works are become of great price, though it must be acknowledged, more for their quaintness and rarity, than their intrinsic merit. Will. refers to him in the following apologetical lines.

“Well, on the earth he knows of none,
With a full turn just like his mind;
Nor only one that’s dead and gone,
Whose genius stood as his inclin’d:
No doubt the public wish to know it,
John Taylor, call’d the water poet,
Who near two centuries ago
Wrote much such nonsense as I do.”

The sale of the “Sketch” not answering his expectations, no further symptoms of the “Journal” made their appearance at that time.

[I-145,
I-146]

In the summer of 1815, after forty-three years’ practice as an auctioneer, he announced his retirement by the following laconic farewell.

Rap Senior’s given it up at last,
With thanks for ev’ry favour past;
Alias ‘Antiquarian Hall
Will never more be heard to brawl;
As auctioneer no more will lie,
But’s thrown his wicked hammer by.
Should you prefer him to appraise,
He’s licensed for future days;
Or still employ him on commission,
He’ll always treat on fair condition,
For goods brought to him at his stand.
Or at your home, to sell by hand;
Or should you want his pen’s assistance,
He’ll wait on you at any distance,
To lot, collect, in place of clerk,
Or prevent moving goods i’ th’ dark;
In short, for help or counsel’s aid,
You need not of him be afraid.”

The harvest of 1816 proved wet and unfavourable, and he thought “it almost exceeded any thing in his memory;” wherefore the world was favoured with “Reflections upon Times, and Times and Times! or a more than Sixty Years’ Tour of the Mind,” by “Low-Fen-Bill-Hall.” This was an octavo pamphlet of sixteen pages, in prose, quite as confused as his other productions, “transmitting to posterity,” as the results of sixty years’ experience, that “the frequency of thunderstorms in the spring,”—“the repeated appearance of water-spouts,”—“an innumerable quantity of black snails,”—“an unusual number of field mice,”—and “the great many snakes to be seen about,” are certain “indications of a wet harvest.” To these observations, intermingled with digression upon digression, he prefixed as one of the mottoes, an extremely appropriate quotation from Deut. c. 32. v. 29, “O that they were wise, that they understood this!”

In the spring of 1818, when in his seventieth year, or, as he says, “David’s gage being near complete,” he determined on an attempt to publish his “Low Fen Journal,” in numbers; the first of which he thus announced:

A Lincolnshire rais’d medley pie,
An original miscellany,
Not meant as canting, puzzling mystery,
But for a general true Fen history,
Such as design’d some time ago,
By him ’yclept Will. Will-be-so;
Here’s Number ONE for publication,
If meet the public’s approbation,
Low-Fen-Bill-Hall his word engages
To send about two hundred pages,
Collected by his gleaning pains,
Mix’d with the fruit of his own brains.”

This specimen of the work was as unintelligible as the before-mentioned introductory “Sketch,” partaking of the same autobiographical, historical, and religious character, with acrostic, elegiac, obituarian, and other extraneous pieces in prose and rhyme. His life had been passed in vicissitude and hardship, “oft’ pining for a bit of bread;” and from experience, he was well adapted to

——————————— “tell,
To whom most extra lots befell;
Who liv’d for months on stage of planks,
’Midst captain Flood’s most swelling pranks,
Five miles from any food to have,
Yea often risk’d a wat’ry grave;”

yet his facts and style were so incongruous that speaking of the “Sketch,” he says, when he

————— “sent it out,
Good lack! to know what ’twas about?
He might as well have sent it muzzled,
For half the folks seem’d really puzzled.
Soliciting for patronage,
He might have spent near half an age;
From all endeavours undertook,
He could not get it to a book.”

Though the only “historical” part of the first number of his “Fen Journal,” in twenty-four pages, consisted of prosaic fragments of his grandfather’s “poaching,” his mother’s “groaning,” his father’s “fishing,” and his own “conjectures;” yet he tells the public, that

“Protected by kind Providence,
I mean in less than twelve months hence,
Push’d by no very common sense,
To give six times as much as here is,
And hope there’s none will think it dear is,
Consid’ring th’ matter rather queer is.”

In prosecution of his intentions, No. 2 shortly followed; and, as it was alike heterogeneous and unintelligible, he says he had “caught the Swiftiania, in running digression on digression,” with as many whimseys as “Peter, Martin, and John had in twisting their father’s will.” He expected that this “gallimaufry” and himself would be consecrated to posterity, for he says,

“’Tis not for lucre that I write,
But something lasting,—to indite
What may redound to purpose good,
(If hap’ly can be understood;)
And, as time passes o’er his stages
Transmit my mind to future ages.”

[I-147,
I-148]

On concluding his second number, he “gratefully acknowledges the liberality of his subscribers, and is apprehensive the Interlope will find a very partial acceptance; but it being so congenial an interlude to the improvement of Low Fen and Billinghay Dale manners, to be hereafter shown, he hopes it will not be considered detrimental, should his work continue.” Such, however, was not the case, for his literary project terminated: unforeseen events reduced his finances, and he had not

————————— “Pecune
Enough, to keep his harp in tune.”

The care of a large family of orphan grandchildren, in indigent circumstances, having devolved upon him, he became perplexed with extreme difficulties, and again experienced the truth of his own observation, that

“If two steps forward, oft’ three back,
Through life had been his constant track.”

Attracted by the “bodies of divinity,” and other theological works, which his “antiquarian library” contained, his attention was particularly directed to the fundamental truths of religion, and the doctrines of “the various denominations of the Christian world.” The result was, that without joining any, he imbibed such portions of the tenets of each sect, that his opinions on this subject were as singular as on every other. Above all sectaries, yet not entirely agreeing even with them, he “loved and venerated” the “Moravians or United Brethren,” for their meek, unassuming demeanour, their ceaseless perseverance in propagating the gospel, and their boundless love towards the whole human race. Of his own particular notions, he thus says,

“If I on doctrines have right view,
Here’s this for me, and that for you;
Another gives my neighbour comfort,
A stranger comes with one of some sort.
When after candid scrutinizing,
We find them equally worth prizing;
’Cause all in gospel love imparted,
Nor is there any one perverted;
Only as they may seem unlike,
Nor can on other’s fancy strike:
Whereas from due conformity,
O! what a spread of harmony,
Each with each, bearing and forbearing.
All wishing for a better hearing,
Would in due time, then full improve
Into one family of love:
Instead of shyness on each other,
My fellow-christian, sister, brother,
And each in candour thus impart,
You have my fellowship and heart;
Let this but be the root o’ th’ sense,
Jesus the Christ, my confidence,
As given in the Father’s love,
No other system I approve.”

After a short illness, towards the conclusion of his seventy-eighth year, death closed his mortal career. Notwithstanding his eccentricity, he was “devoid of guile,” plain and sincere in all transactions, and his memory is universally respected.—“Peace to his ashes”—(to use his own expressions,)

“Let all the world say worst they can,
He was an upright, honest man.”

K.


[42] A coal-lighter.


Winter.

For the Table Book.

Winter! I love thee, for thou com’st to me
Laden with joys congenial to my mind,
Books that with bards and solitude agree,
And all those virtues which adorn mankind.
What though the meadows, and the neighb’ring hills,
That rear their cloudy summits in the skies—
What though the woodland brooks, and lowland rills,
That charm’d our ears, and gratified our eyes.
In thy forlorn habiliments appear?
What though the zephyrs of the summer tide,
And all the softer beauties of the year
Are fled and gone, kind Heav’n has not denied
Our books and studies, music, conversation,
And ev’ning parties for our recreation;
And these suffice, for seasons snatch’d away,
Till Spring leads forth the slowly-length’ning day.

B. W. R.


A WINTER’S DAY.

For the Table Book.

The horizontal sun, like an orb of molten gold, casts “a dim religious light” upon the surpliced world: the beams, reflected from the dazzling snow, fall upon the purple mists, which extend round the earth like a zone, and in the midst the planet appears a fixed stud, surpassing the ruby in brilliancy.

Now trees and shrubs are borne down with sparkling congelations, and the coral clusters of the hawthorn and holly are more splendid, and offer a cold conserve to the wandering schoolboy. The huntsman is seen riding to covert in his scarlet livery, the gunner is heard at intervals in the uplands, and the courser comes galloping down the hill side, with his hounds in full [I-149,
I-150]
chase before him. The farmer’s boy, who is forced from his warm bed, to milk cows in a cold meadow, complains it’s a “burning” shame that he should be obliged to go starving by himself, while “their wench” has nothing else to do but make a fire, and boil the tea-kettle. Now, Mrs. Jeremy Bellclack, properly so called, inasmuch as the unmentionables are amongst her peculiar attributes, waked by the mail-coach horn, sounding an Introit to the day, orders her husband, poor fellow, to “just get up and look what sort of a morning it is;” and he, shivering at the bare idea, affects to be fast asleep, till a second summons, accompanied by the contact of his wife’s heavy hand, obliges him to paddle across the ice-cold plaster floor; and the trees and church-steeples, stars, spears, and saws, which form an elegant tapestry over the windows, seem to authorize the excuse that he “can’t see,” while, shivering over the dressing-table, he pours a stream of visible breath on the frozen pane.

After breakfast, Dicky, “with shining morning face,” appears in the street, on his way to school, with his Latin grammar in one hand, and a slice of bread and butter in the other, to either of which he pays his devoirs, and “slides and looks, and slides and looks,” all the way till he arrives at “the house of bondage,” when his fingers are so benumbed, that he is obliged to warm his slate, and even then they refuse to cast up figures, “of their own accord.” In another part of the school, Joe Lazy finds it “so ’nation cold,” that he is quite unable to learn the two first lines of his lesson,—and he plays at “cocks and dollars” with Jem Slack in a corner. The master stands before the fire, like the Colossus of Rhodes, all the morning, to the utter discomfiture of the boys, who grumble at the monopoly, and secretly tell one another, that they pay for the fire, and ought to have the benefit of it. At length he says, “You may go, boys;” whereupon ensues such a pattering of feet, shutting of boxes, and scrambling for hats, as beats Milton’s “busy hum of men” all to nothing, till they reach their wonted slide in the yard, where they suddenly stop on discovering that “that skinny old creature, Bet Fifty, the cook,” has bestrewed it from end to end with sand and cinders. Frost-stricken as it were, they stare at one another, and look unutterable things at the aforesaid “skinny old creature;” till Jack Turbulent, ring-leader-general of all their riots and rebellions, execrates “old Betty, cook,” with the fluency of a parlour boarder, and hurls a well-wrought snowball at the Gorgon, who turns round in a passion to discover the delinquent, when her pattens, unused to such quick rotatory motion, slip from under her feet, and “down topples she,” to the delight of the urchins around her, who drown her cries and threats in reiterated bursts of laughter.

Now, the Comet stage-coach, bowling along the russet-coloured road, with a long train of vapour from the horses’ nostrils, looks really like a comet. At the same time, Lubin, who has been sent to town by his mistress with a letter for the post-office, and a strict injunction to return speedily, finds it impossible to pass the blacksmith’s shop, where the bright sparks fly from the forge; and he determines “just” to stop and look at the blaze “a bit,” which, as he says, “raly does one’s eyes good of a winter’s morning;” and then, he just blows the bellows a bit, and finds it so pleasant to listen to the strokes of Vulcan’s wit, and his sledge-hammer, alternately, that he continues blowing up the fire, till, at length, he recollects what a “blowing up” he shall have from his “Missis” when he gets home, and forswears the clang of horse-shoes and plough-irons, and leaves the temple of the Cyclops, but not without a “longing, ling’ring look behind” at Messrs. Blaze and Company.

From the frozen surface of the pond or lake, men with besoms busily clear away the drift, for which they are amply remunerated by voluntary contributions from every fresh-arriving skater; and black ice is discovered between banks of snow, and ramified into numerous transverse, oblique, semicircular, or elliptical branches. Here and there, the snow appears in large heaps, like rocks or islands, and round these the proficients in the art

“Come and trip it as they go
On the light, fantastic toe,”

winding and sailing, one amongst another, like the smooth-winged swallows, which so lately occupied the same surface. While these are describing innumerable circles, the sliding fraternity in another part form parallel lines; each, of each class, vies with the other in feats of activity, all enjoy the exhilarating pastime, and every face is illumined with cheerfulness. The philosophic skater, big with theory, convinced, as he tells every one he meets, that the whole art consists “merely in transferring the centre of gravity from one foot to the other,” boldly essays a demonstration, and instantly transfers it from both, [I-151,
I-152]
so as to honour the frozen element with a sudden salute from that part of the body which usually gravitates on a chair; and the wits compliment him on the superior knowledge by which he has “broken the ice,” and the little lads run to see “what a big star the gentleman has made!” and think it must have hurt him “above a bit!”

It is now that the different canals are frozen up, and goods are conveyed by the stage-waggon, and “it’s a capital time for the turnpikes;” and those who can get brandy, drink it; and those who can’t, drink ale; and those who are unable to procure either, do much better without them. And now, ladies have red noses, and the robin, with his little head turned knowingly on one side, presents his burning breast at the parlour window, and seems to crave a dinner from the noontide breakfast. In such a day, the “son and heir” of the “gentleman retired from business” bedizens the drawing-room with heavy loads of prickly evergreen; and bronze candlebearers, porcelain figures, and elegant chimney ornaments, look like prince Malcolm’s soldiers at “Birnam wood,” or chorister boys on a holy Thursday; and his “Ma” nearly falls into hysterics on discovering the mischief; and his “Pa” begins to scold him for being so naughty; and the budding wit asks, as he runs out of the room, “Why, don’t you know that these are the holly days?” and his father relates the astonishing instance of early genius at every club, card-party, or vestry-meeting for a month to come. Now, all the pumps are frozen, old men tumble down on the flags, and ladies “look blue” at their lovers. Now, the merry-growing bacchanal begins to thaw himself with frequent potations of wine; bottle after bottle is sacrificed to the health of his various friends, though his own health is sacrificed in the ceremony; and the glass that quaffs “the prosperity of the British constitution,” ruins his own.

And now, dandies, in rough great coats and fur collars, look like Esquimaux Indians; and the fashionables of the fair sex, in white veils and swans-down muffs and tippets, have (begging their pardons) very much the appearance of polar bears. Now, Miss Enigmaria Conundrina Riddle, poring over her new pocket-book, lisps out, “Why are ladies in winter like tea-kettles?” to which old Mr. Riddle, pouring forth a dense ringlet of tobacco-smoke, replies, “Because they dance and sing;” but master Augustus Adolphus Riddle, who has heard it before, corrects him by saying, “No, Pa, that’s not it—it’s because they are furred up.” Now, unless their horses are turned up, the riders are very likely to be turned down; and deep wells are dry, and poor old women, with a “well-a-day!” are obliged to boil down snow and icicles to make their tea with. Now, an old oak-tree, with only one branch, looks like a man with a rifle to his shoulder, and the night-lorn traveller trembles at the prospect of having his head and his pockets rifled together. Now, sedan-chairs, and servants with lanterns, are “flitting across the night,” to fetch home their masters and mistresses from oyster-eatings, and quadrille parties. And now, a young lady, who had retreated from the heat of the ballroom, to take the benefit of the north wind, and caught a severe cold, calls in the doctor, who is quite convinced of the correctness of the old adage, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good.”

Now, the sultana of the night reigns on her throne of stars, in the blue zenith, and young ladies and gentlemen, who had shivered all day by the parlour fire, and found themselves in danger of annihilation when the door by chance had been left a little way open, are quite warm enough to walk together by moonlight, though every thing around them is actually petrified by the frost.

Now, in my chamber, the last ember falls, and seems to warn us as it descends, that though we, like it, may shine among the brilliant, and be cherished by the great (grate,) we must mingle our ashes. The wasted candle, too, is going the way of all flesh, and the writer of these “night thoughts,” duly impressed with the importance of his own mortality, takes his farewell of his anti-critical readers in the language of the old song,—

“Gude night, an’ joy be wi’ you all!”

Lichfield. J. H.


TAKE NOTICE.

A correspondent who has seen the original of the following notice, written at Bath, says, it would have been placed on a board in a garden there, had not a friend advised its author to the contrary:

Any person trespace here
shall be prosticuted
according to law.


[I-153,
I-154]

THE BAZAAR.

For the Table Book.

The Bazaar in Soho
Is completely the go.—

(Song.)


Put it down in the bill
Is the fountain of ill,—
This has every shopkeeper undone—
Bazaars never trust, so down with your dust,
And help us to diddle all London.

(Song.)


Oh how I’ve wish’d for some time back
To ride to the Bazaar,
And I declare the day looks fair
Now won’t you go, mamma?
For there our friends we’re sure to meet,
So let us haste away,
My cousins, too, last night told you,
They’d all be there to-day.
With a “How do you do,
Ma’am?” “How are you?
How dear the things all are!”
Throughout the day
You hear them say,
At fam’d Soho Bazaar.
Some look at this thing, then at that,
But vow they’re all too high;
“How much is this?”—“Two guineas, miss!”
“Oh, I don’t want to buy!
Look at these pretty books, my love,
I think it soon will rain;
There’s Mrs. Howe, I saw her bow,
Why don’t you bow again?
With a “How do you do.
Ma’am?” “How are you?
How dear the things all are!”
Throughout the day
You hear them say,
At fam’d Soho Bazaar.
Just see that picture on the box,
How beautifully done!
“It isn’t high, ma’am, won’t you buy?
It’s only one pound one.”
How pretty all these bonnets look
With red and yellow strings;
Some here, my dear, don’t go too near,
You mustn’t touch the things.
With a “How do you do,
Ma’am?” “How are you?
How dear the things all are!”
Throughout the day
You hear them say,
At fam’d Soho Bazaar.
Miss Muggins, have you seen enough?
I’m sorry I can’t stay;
There’s Mrs. Snooks, how fat she looks
She’s coming on this way:
Dear madam, give me leave to ask
You,—how your husband is?—
Why, Mr. Snooks has lost his looks,
He’s got the rheumatiz!
With a “How do you do.
Ma’am?” “How are you?
How dear the things all are!”
Throughout the day
You hear them say,
At fam’d Soho Bazaar.
“Tom! see that girl, how well she walks
But faith, I must confess,
I never saw a girl before
In such a style of dress.”
“Why, really, Jack, I think you’re right,
Just let me look a while;
(looking through his glass)
I like her gait at any rate,
But don’t quite like her style.”
With a “How do you do,
Ma’am?” “How are you?
How dear the things all are!”
Throughout the day
You hear them say,
At fam’d Soho Bazaar.
“That vulgar lady’s standing there
That every one may view her;”—
“Sir, that’s my daughter;”—“No, not her;
I mean the next one to her:”
“Oh, that’s my niece,”—“Oh no, not her,”—
“You seem, sir, quite amused;”
“Dear ma’am,—heyday!—what shall I say?
I’m really quite confused.”
With a “How do you do,
Ma’am?” “How are you?
How dear the things all are!”
Throughout the day
You hear them say,
At fam’d Soho Bazaar.
Thus beaux and belles together meet,
And thus they spend the day;
And walk and talk, and talk and walk.
And then they walk away.
If you have half an hour to spare,
The better way by far
Is here to lounge it, with a friend,
In the Soho Bazaar.
With a “How do you do,
Ma’am?” “How are you?
How dear the things all are!”
Throughout the day
You hear them say,
At fam’d Soho Bazaar.

[I-155,
I-156]

Omniana.

THE SEASON OUT OF TOWN.

For the Table Book.

The banks are partly green; hedges and trees
Are black and shrouded, and the keen wind roars,
Like dismal music wand’ring over seas,
And wailing to the agitated shores.
The fields are dotted with manure—the sheep
In unshorn wool, streak’d with the shepherd’s red,
Their undivided peace and friendship keep,
Shaking their bells, like children to their bed.
The roads are white and miry—waters run
With violence through their tracks—and sheds, that flowers
In summer graced, are open to the sun,
Which shines in noonday’s horizontal hours.
Frost claims the night; and morning, like a bride,
Forth from her chamber glides; mist spreads her vest;
The sunbeams ride the clouds till eventide,
And the wind rolls them to ethereal rest.
Sleet, shine, cold, fog, in portions fill the time;
Like hope, the prospect cheers; like breath it fades;
Life grows in seasons to returning prime,
And beauty rises from departing shades.

January, 1827. P.


THE SIEGE OF BELGRADE.

Addressed to the Admirers of Alliteration,
and the Advocates of Noisy Numbers.

Ardentem aspicio atque arrectis auribis asto.—Virgil.

 

An Austrian army awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade:
Cossack commanders cannonading come,
Dealing destruction’s devastating doom;
Every endeavour engineers essay,
For fame, for fortune fighting—furious fray!
Generals ’gainst generals grapple, gracious G—d!
How honours heaven heroic hardihood!
Infuriate—indiscriminate in ill—
Kinsmen kill kindred—kindred kinsmen kill:
Labour low levels loftiest, longest lines,
Men march ’mid mounds, ’mid moles, ’mid murderous mines:
Now noisy noxious numbers notice nought
Of outward obstacles, opposing ought,—
Poor patriots!—partly purchased—partly press’d,
Quite quaking, quickly, “Quarter! quarter!” quest;
Reason returns, religious right redounds,
Suwarrow stops such sanguinary sounds.
Truce to thee, Turkey, triumph to thy train
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Vanish, vain victory! vanish, victory vain!
Why wish we warfare? Wherefore welcome were
Xerxes, Ximenes, Xanthus, Xaviere
Yield, yield, ye youths! ye yeomen, yield your yell!
Zeno’s, Zampatee’s, Zoroaster’s zeal,
Attracting all, arms against acts appeal!

NAMES OF PLACES.

For the Table Book.

The names of towns, cities, or villages, which terminate in ter, such as Chester, Caster, Cester, show that the Romans, in their stay among us, made fortifications about the places where they are now situated. In the Latin tongue Castra is the name of these fortifications—such are Castor, Chester, Doncaster, Leicester: Don signifies a mountain, and Ley, or Lei, ground widely overgrown.

In our ancient tongue wich, or wick, means a place of refuge, and is the termination of Warwick, Sandwich, Greenwich, Woolwich, &c.

Thorp, before the word village was borrowed from the French, was used in its stead, and is found at the end of many towns’ names.

Bury, Burgh, or Berry, signifies, metaphorically, a town having a wall about it, sometimes a high, or chief place.

Wold means a plain open country.

Combe, a valley between two hills.

Knock, a hill.

Hurst, a woody place.

Magh, a field.

Innes, an island.

Worth, a place situated between two rivers.

Ing, a tract of meadows.

Minster is a contraction of monastery.

Sam Sam’s Son.


SONNET

For the Table Book.

The snowdrop, rising to its infant height,
Looks like a sickly child upon the spot
Of young nativity, regarding not
The air’s caress of melody and light
Beam’d from the east, and soften’d by the bright
Effusive flash of gold:—the willow stoops
And muses, like a bride without her love,
On her own shade, which lies on waves, and droops
Beside the natal trunk, nor looks above:—
The precipice, that torrents cannot move,
Leans o’er the sea, and steadfast as a rock,
Of dash and cloud unconscious, bears the rude
Continuous surge, the sounds and echoes mock:
Thus Mental Thought enduring, wears in solitude.

1827. *, *, P.


[I-157,
I-158]

Vol. I.—6.

The Font of Harrow Church.

The Font of Harrow Church.

—————————— thus saved
From guardian-hands which else had more depraved.

Some years ago, the fine old font of the ancient parish church of Harrow-on-the-Hill was torn from that edifice, by the “gentlemen of the parish,” and given out to mend the roads with. The feelings of one parishioner (to the honour of the sex, a female) were outraged by this act of parochial Vandalism; and she was allowed to preserve it from destruction, and place it in a walled nook, at the garden front of her house, where it still remains. By her obliging permission, a drawing of it was made the summer before last, and is engraved above.

On the exclusion of Harrow font from the church, the parish officers put up the marble wash-hand-basin-stand-looking-thing, which now occupies its place, inscribed with the names of the churchwardens during whose reign venality or stupidity effected the removal of its precessor. If there be any persons in that parish who either venerate antiquity, or desire to see “right things in right places,” it is possible that, by a spirited representation, they may arouse the indifferent, and shame the ignorant to an interchange: and force an expression of public thanks to the lady whose good taste and care enabled it to be effected. The relative situation and misappropriation of each font is a stain on the parish, easily removable, by employing a few men and a few pounds to clap the paltry usurper under the spout of the good lady’s house, and restore the noble original from that degrading destination, to its rightful dignity in the church.

*


[I-159,
I-160]

Garrick Plays.
No. III.

[From the “Rewards of Virtue,” a Comedy, by John Fountain, printed 1661.]

Success in Battle not always attributable to the General.

——— Generals oftimes famous grow
By valiant friends, or cowardly enemies;
Or, what is worse, by some mean piece of chance.
Truth is, ’tis pretty to observe
How little Princes and great Generals
Contribute oftentimes to the fame they win.
How oft hath it been found, that noblest minds
With two short arms, have fought with fatal stars;
And have endeavour’d with their dearest blood
To mollify those diamonds, where dwell
The fate of kingdoms; and at last have faln
By vulgar hands, unable now to do
More for their cause than die; and have been lost
Among the sacrifices of their swords;
No more remember’d than poor villagers,
Whose ashes sleep among the common flowers,
That every meadow wears: whilst other men
With trembling hands have caught a victory,
And on pale foreheads wear triumphant bays.
Besides, I have thought
A thousand times; in times of war, when we
Lift up our hands to heaven for victory;
Suppose some virgin Shepherdess, whose soul
Is chaste and clean as the cold spring, where she
Quenches all thirsts, being told of enemies,
That seek to fright the long-enjoyed Peace
Of our Arcadia hence with sound of drums,
And with hoarse trumpets’ warlike airs to drown
The harmless music of her oaten reeds,
Should in the passion of her troubled sprite
Repair to some small fane (such as the Gods
Hear poor folks from), and there on humble knees
Lift up her trembling hands to holy Pan,
And beg his helps: ’tis possible to think,
That Heav’n, which holds the purest vows most rich,
May not permit her still to weep in vain,
But grant her wish, (for, would the Gods not hear
The prayers of poor folks, they’d ne’er bid them pray);
And so, in the next action, happeneth out
(The Gods still using means) the Enemy
May be defeated. The glory of all this
Is attributed to the General,
And none but he’s spoke loud of for the act;
While she, from whose so unaffected tears
His laurel sprung, for ever dwells unknown.[43]

Unlawful Solicitings.

When I first
Mention’d the business to her all alone,
Poor Soul, she blush’d, as if already she
Had done some harm by hearing of me speak,
Whilst from her pretty eyes two fountains ran
So true, so native, down her fairest cheeks;
As if she thought herself obliged to cry,
’Cause all the world was not so good as she.

Proportion in Pity.

There must be some proportion still to pity
Between ourselves and what we moan: ’tis hard
For Men to be ought sensible, how Moats
Press Flies to death. Should the Lion, in
His midnight walks for prey, hear some poor worms
Complain for want of little drops of dew,
What pity could that generous creature have
(Who never wanted small things) for those poor
Ambitions? yet these are their concernments,
And but for want of these they pine and die.

Modesty a bar to preferment.

Sure ’twas his modesty. He might have thriven
Much better possibly, had his ambition
Been greater much. They oftimes take more pains
Who look for Pins, than those who find out Stars.

Innocence vindicated at last.

Heav’n may awhile correct the virtuous;
Yet it will wipe their eyes again, and make
Their faces whiter with their tears. Innocence
Conceal’d is the Stoln Pleasure of the Gods,
Which never ends in shame, as that of Men
Doth oftimes do; but like the Sun breaks forth,
When it hath gratified another world;
And to our unexpecting eyes appears
More glorious thro’ its late obscurity.

Dying for a Beloved Person.

There is a gust in Death, when ’tis for Love,
That’s more than all that’s taste in all the world.
For the true measure of true Love is Death;
And what falls short of this, was never Love:
And therefore when those tides do meet and strive
And both swell high, but Love is higher still,
This is the truest satisfaction of
The perfectest Love: for here it sees itself
Indure the highest test; and then it feels
The sum of delectation, since it now
Attains its perfect end; and shows its object,
By one intense act, all its verity:
Which by a thousand and ten thousand words
It would have took a poor dilated pleasure
To have imperfectly express’d.

[I-161,
I-162]

Urania makes a mock assignation with the King, and substitutes the Queen in her place. The King describes the supposed meeting to the Confident, whom he had employed to solicit for his guilty passion.

Pyrrhus, I’ll tell thee all. When now the night
Grew black enough to hide a sculking action;
And Heav’n had ne’er an eye unshut to see
Her Representative on Earth creep ’mongst
Those poor defenceless worms, whom Nature left
An humble prey to every thing, and no
Asylum but the dark; I softly stole
To yonder grotto thro’ the upper walks,
And there found my Urania. But I found her,
I found her, Pyrrhus, not a Mistress, but
A Goddess rather; which made me now to be
No more her Lover, but Idolater.
She only whisper’d to me, as she promised,
Yet never heard I any voice so loud;
And, tho’ her words were gentler far than those
That holy priests do speak to dying Saints,
Yet never thunder signified so much.
And (what did more impress whate’er she said)
Methought her whispers were my injured Queen’s,
Her manner just like her’s! and when she urged,
Among a thousand things, the injury
I did the faithful’st Princess in the world;
Who now supposed me sick, and was perchance
Upon her knees offering up holy vows
For him who mock’d both Heav’n and her, and was
Now breaking of that vow he made her, when
With sacrifice he call’d the Gods to witness:
When she urged this, and wept, and spake so like
My poor deluded Queen, Pyrrhus, I trembled;
Almost persuaded that it was her angel
Spake thro’ Urania’s lips, who for her sake
Took care of me, as something she much loved.
It would be long to tell thee all she said,
How oft she sigh’d, how bitterly she wept:
But the effect—Urania still is chaste;
And with her chaster lips hath promised to
Invoke blest Heav’n for my intended sin.

C. L.


[43] Is it possible that Cowper might have remembered this sentiment in his description of the advantages which the world, that scorns him, may derive from the noiseless hours of the contemplative man?

Perhaps she owes
Her sunshine and her rain, her blooming spring
And plenteous harvest, to the prayer he makes,
When, Isaac-like, the solitary saint
Walks forth to meditate at eventide,
And think on her, who thinks not on herself.

Task.


THE CUSHION DANCE.

For the Table Book.

The concluding dance at a country wake, or other general meeting, is the “Cushion Dance;” and if it be not called for when the company are tired with dancing, the fiddler, who has an interest in it which will be seen hereafter, frequently plays the tune to remind them of it. A young man of the company leaves the room; the poor young women, uninformed of the plot against them, suspecting nothing; but he no sooner returns, bearing a cushion in one hand and a pewter pot in the other, than they are aware of the mischief intended, and would certainly make their escape, had not the bearer of cushion and pot, aware of the invincible aversion which young women have to be saluted by young men, prevented their flight by locking the door, and putting the key in his pocket. The dance then begins.

The young man advances to the fiddler, drops a penny in the pot, and gives it to one of his companions; cushion then dances round the room, followed by pot, and when they again reach the fiddler, the cushion says in a sort of recitative, accompanied by the music, “This dance it will no farther go.”

The fiddler, in return, sings or says, for it partakes of both, “I pray, kind sir, why say you so?”

The answer is, “Because Joan Sanderson won’t come to.”

“But,” replies the fiddler, “she must come to, and she shall come to, whether she will or no.”

The young man, thus armed with the authority of the village musician, recommences his dance round the room, but stops when he comes to the girl he likes best, and drops the cushion at her feet; she puts her penny in the pewter pot, and kneels down with the young man on the cushion, and he salutes her.

When they rise, the woman takes up the cushion, and leads the dance, the man following, and holding the skirt of her gown; and having made the circuit of the room, they stop near the fiddler, and the same dialogue is repeated, except, as it is now the woman who speaks, it is John Sanderson who won’t come to, and the fiddler’s mandate is issued to him, not her.

The woman drops the cushion at the feet of her favourite man; the same ceremony and the same dance are repeated, till every man and woman, the pot bearer last, has been taken out, and all have danced round the room in a file.

The pence are the perquisite of the fiddler.

H. N.

P.S. There is a description of this dance in Miss Hutton’s “Oakwood Hall.”


The Cushion Dance.

For the Table Book.

“Saltabamus.”

The village-green is clear and dight
Under the starlight sky;
Joy in the cottage reigns to night,
And brightens every eye:
[I-163,
I-164]
The peasants of the valley meet
Their labours to advance,
And many a lip invites a treat
To celebrate the “Cushion Dance.”
A pillow in the room they hide,
The door they slily lock;
The bold the bashful damsels chide,
Whose heart’s-pulse seem to rock:
“Escape?”—“Not yet!—no key is found!”—
“Of course, ’tis lost by chance;”—
And flutt’ring whispers breathe around
“The Cushion Dance!—The Cushion Dance!”
The fiddler in a corner stands,
He gives, he rules the game;
A rustic takes a maiden’s hands
Whose cheek is red with shame:
At custom’s shrine they seal their truth,
Love fails not here to glance;—
Happy the heart that beats in youth,
And dances in the “Cushion Dance!”
The pillow’s carried round and round,
The fiddler speaks and plays;
The choice is made,—the charm is wound,
And parleys conquer nays:—
“For shame! I will not thus be kiss’d,
Your beard cuts like a lance;
Leave off—I’m sure you’ve sprained my wrist
By kneeling in this ‘Cushion Dance!’”
“’Tis aunt’s turn,—what in tears?—I thought
You dearly loved a joke;
Kisses are sweeter stol’n than bought,
And vows are sometimes broke.
Play up!—play up!—aunt chooses Ben;
Ben loves so sweet a trance!
Robin to Nelly kneels again,
—Is Love not in the ‘Cushion dance?’”
Laughter is busy at the heart,
Cupid looks through the eye,
Feeling is dear when sorrows part
And plaintive comfort’s nigh,
“Hide not in corners, Betsy, pray,”
“Do not so colt-like prance;
One kiss, for memory’s future day,
—Is Life not like a ‘Cushion Dance?’”
“This Dance it will no further go!”
“Why say you thus, good man?”
“Joan Sanderson will not come to!”
“She must,—’tis ‘Custom’s’ plan:”
“Whether she will or no, must she
The proper course advance;
Blushes, like blossoms on a tree,
Are lovely in the ‘Cushion Dance.’”
“This Dance it will no further go!”
“Why say you thus, good lady?”
“John Sanderson will not come to!”
“Fie, John! the Cushion’s ready:”
“He must come to, he shall come to,
’Tis Mirth’s right throne pleasance;
How dear the scene, in Nature’s view
To Lovers in a ‘Cushion Dance!’”
“Ho! princum prancum!”—Love is blest,
Both Joan and John submit;
Friends smiling gather round and rest.
And sweethearts closely sit;—
Their feet and spirits languid grown,
Eyes, bright in silence, glance
Like suns on seeds of beauty sown,
And nourish’d in the “Cushion Dance.”
In times to come, when older we
Have children round our knees;
How will our hearts rejoice to see
Their lips and eyes at ease.
Talk ye of Swiss in valley-streams,
Of joyous pairs in France;
None of their hopes-delighting dreams
Are equal to the “Cushion Dance.”
’Twas here my Maiden’s love I drew
By the hushing of her bosom;
She knelt, her mouth and press were true,
And sweet as rose’s blossom:—
E’er since, though onward we to glory,
And cares our lives enhance,
Reflection dearly tells the “story”—
Hail!—hail!—thou “happy Cushion Dance.”

J. R. Prior.

Islington.


ST. SEPULCHRE’S BELL.

For the Table Book.

On the right-hand side of the altar of St. Sepulchre’s church is a board, with a list of charitable donations and gifts, containing the following item:—

  £. s. d.
1605. Mr. Robert Dowe gave for ringing the greatest bell in this church on the day the condemned prisoners are executed, and for other services, for ever, concerning such condemned prisoners, for which services the sexton is paid £1. 6s. 8d. 50 0 0

Looking over an old volume of the Newgate Calendar, I found some elucidation of this inscription. In a narrative of the case of Stephen Gardner, (who was executed at Tyburn, February 3, 1724,) it is related that a person said to Gardner, when he was set at liberty on a former occasion, “Beware how you come here again, or the bellman will certainly say his verses over you.” On this saying there is the following remark:—

“It has been a very ancient practice, on the night preceding the execution of condemned [I-165,
I-166]
criminals, for the bellman of the parish of St. Sepulchre, to go under Newgate, and, ringing his bell, to repeat the following verses, as a piece of friendly advice to the unhappy wretches under sentence of death:—

All you that in the condemn’d hold do lie,
Prepare you, for to-morrow you shall die;
Watch all, and pray, the hour is drawing near,
That you before the Almighty must appear:
Examine well yourselves, in time repent,
That you may not to eternal flames be sent.
And when St. Sepulchre’s bell to-morrow tolls,
The Lord above have mercy on your souls!
Past twelve o’clock!”

In the following extract from Stowe’s London,[44] it will be shown that the above verses ought to be repeated by a clergyman, instead of a bellman:—

“Robert Doue, citizen and merchant taylor, of London, gave to the parish church of St. Sepulchres, the somme of £50. That after the several sessions of London, when the prisoners remain in the gaole, as condemned men to death, expecting execution on the morrow following: the clarke (that is the parson) of the church shoold come in the night time, and likewise early in the morning, to the window of the prison where they lye, and there ringing certain toles with a hand-bell appointed for the purpose, he doth afterwards (in most Christian manner) put them in mind of their present condition, and ensuing execution, desiring them to be prepared therefore as they ought to be. When they are in the cart, and brought before the wall of the church, there he standeth ready with the same bell, and, after certain toles, rehearseth an appointed praier, desiring all the people there present to pray for them. The beadle also of Merchant Taylors’ Hall hath an honest stipend allowed to see that this is duely done.”

Probably the discontinuance of this practice commenced when malefactors were first executed at Newgate, in lieu of Tyburn. The donation most certainly refers to the verses. What the “other services” are which the donor intended to be done, and for which the sexton is paid £1. 6s. 8d., and which are to be “for ever,” I do not know, but I presume those services (or some other) are now continued, as the board which contains the donation seems to me to have been newly painted.

Edwin S——.

Carthusian-street, Jan. 1827.


[44] Page 25 of the quarto edition, 1618.


THE DEATH OF THE RED KING

“Come, listen to a tale of times of old;
Come, for ye know me.”

Southey.

Who is it that rides thro’ the forest so green,
And gazes with joy on the beautiful scene,
With the gay prancing war-horse, and helmeted head?
’Tis the monarch of England, stern William the Red.
Why starts the proud courser? what vision is there?
The trees are scarce mov’d by the still breathing air—
All is hush’d, save the wild bird that carols on high,
The forest bee’s hum, and the rivulet’s sigh.
But, lo! a dark form o’er the pathway hath lean’d
’Tis the druid of Malwood, the wild forest-fiend
The terror of youth, of the aged the fear—
The prophet of Cadenham, the death-boding seer!
His garments were black as the night-raven’s plume.
His features were veil’d in mysterious gloom,
His lean arm was awfully rais’d while he said,
“Well met, England’s monarch, stern William the Red!
“Desolation, death, ruin, the mighty shall fall—
Lamentation and woe reign in Malwood’s wide hall!
Those leaves shall all fade in the winter’s rude blast,
And thou shalt lie low ere the winter be past.”
“Thou liest, vile caitiff, ’tis false, by the rood,
For know that the contract is seal’d with my blood,
’Tis written, I never shall sleep in the tomb
Till Cadenham’s oak in the winter shall bloom!
“But say what art thou, strange, unsearchable thing,
That dares to speak treason, and waylay a king?”—
“Know, monarch, I dwell in the beautiful bowers
Of Eden, and poison I shed o’er the flowers.
“In darkness and storm o’er the ocean I sail,
I ride on the breath of the night-rolling gale—
I dwell in Vesuvius, ’mid torrents of flame,
Unriddle my riddle, and tell me my name!”
O pale grew the monarch, and smote on his breast,
For who was the prophet he wittingly guess’d:
O, Jesu-Maria!” he tremblingly said,
Bona Virgo!”—he gazed—but the vision had fled.
’Tis winter—the trees of the forest are bare,
How keenly is blowing the chilly night air!
The moonbeams shine brightly on hard-frozen flood,
And William is riding thro’ Cadenham’s wood.
Why looks he with dread on the blasted oak tree?
Saint Swithin! what is it the monarch can see?
Prophetical sight! ’mid the desolate scene,
The oak is array’d in the freshest of green!
He thought of the contract, “Thou’rt safe from the tomb,
Till Cadenham’s oak in the winter shall bloom;”
He thought of the druid—“The mighty shall fall,
Lamentation and woe reign in Malwood’s wide hall.”
[I-167,
I-168]
As he stood near the tree, lo! a swift flying dart
Hath struck the proud monarch, and pierc’d thro’ his heart;
’Twas the deed of a friend, not the deed of a foe,
For the arrow was aim’d at the breast of a roe.
In Malwood is silent the light-hearted glee,
The dance and the wassail, and wild revelrie;
Its chambers are dreary, deserted, and lone,
And the day of its greatness for ever hath flown.
A weeping is heard in Saint Swithin’s huge pile—
Dies Iræ” resounds thro’ the sable-dight aisle—
’Tis a dirge for the mighty, the mass for the dead—
The funeral anthem for William the Red!

Aquila.


London.
Described by a Writer in 1634.

I will first take a survey of the long-continued deformity in the shape of your city, which is of your buildings.

Sure your ancestors contrived your narrow streets in the days of wheel-barrows, before those greater engines, carts, were invented. Is your climate so hot, that as you walk you need umbrellas of tiles to intercept the sun? or are your shambles so empty, that you are afraid to take in fresh air, lest it should sharpen your stomachs? Oh, the goodly landscape of Old Fish-street! which, if it had not the ill luck to be crooked, was narrow enough to have been your founder’s perspective; and where the garrets, perhaps not for want of architecture, but through abundance of amity, are so narrow, that opposite neighbours may shake hands without stirring from home. Is unanimity of inhabitants in wide cities better exprest than by their coherence and uniformity of building, where streets begin, continue, and end, in a like stature and shape?[45] But yours, as if they were raised in a general resurrection, where every man hath a several design, differ in all things that can make a distinction. Here stands one that aims to be a palace, and next it, one that professes to be a hovel; here a giant, there a dwarf; here slender, there broad; and all most admirably different in faces, as well as in their height and bulk. I was about to defy any Londoner, who dares to pretend there is so much ingenious correspondence in this city, as that he can show me one house like another; yet your houses seem to be reversed and formal, being compared to the fantastical looks of the moderns, which have more ovals, niches, and angles, than in your custards, and are enclosed with pasteboard walls, like those of malicious Turks, who, because themselves are not immortal, and cannot dwell for ever where they build, therefore wish not to be at charge to provide such lastingness as may entertain their children out of the rain; so slight and prettily gaudy, that if they could move, they would pass for pageants. It is your custom, where men vary often the mode of their habits, to term the nation fantastical; but where streets continually change fashion, you should make haste to chain up your city, for it is certainly mad.

You would think me a malicious traveller, if I should still gaze on your mis-shapen streets, and take no notice of the beauty of your river, therefore I will pass the importunate noise of your watermen, (who snatch at fares, as if they were to catch prisoners, plying the gentry so uncivilly, as if they had never rowed any other passengers than bear-wards,) and now step into one of your peascod-boats, whose tilts are not so sumptuous as the roofs of gondolas; nor, when you are within, are you at the ease of a chaise-à-bras.

The commodity and trade of your river belong to yourselves; but give a stranger leave to share in the pleasure of it, which will hardly be in the prospect and freedom of air; unless prospect, consisting of variety, be made up with here a palace, there a wood-yard; here a garden, there a brewhouse; here dwells a lord, there a dyer; and between both, duomo commune.

If freedom of air be inferred in the liberty of the subject, where every private man hath authority, for his own profit, to smoke up a magistrate, then the air of your Thames is open enough, because it is equally free. I will forbear to visit your courtly neighbours at Wapping, not that it will make me giddy to shoot your bridge, but that I am loath to describe the civil silence at Billingsgate, which is so great, as if the mariners were always landing to storm the harbour; therefore, for brevity’s sake, I will put to shore again, though I should be so constrained, even without my galoshes, to land at Puddle-dock.

I am now returned to visit your houses where the roofs are so low, that I presumed your ancestors were very mannerly, and stood bare to their wives; for I cannot discern how they could wear their high-crowned hats: yet I will enter, and therein [I-169,
I-170]
oblige you much, when you know my aversion to a certain weed that governs amongst your coarser acquaintance, as much as lavender among your coarser linen; to which, in my apprehension, your sea-coal smoke seems a very Portugal perfume. I should here hasten to a period, for fear of suffocation, if I thought you so ungracious as to use it in public assemblies; and yet I see it grow so much in fashion, that methinks your children begin to play with broken pipes instead of corals, to make way for their teeth. You will find my visit short; I cannot stay to eat with you, because your bread is too heavy, and you distrain the light substance of herbs. Your drink is too thick, and yet you are seldom over curious in washing your glasses. Nor will I lodge with you, because your beds seem no bigger than coffins; and your curtains so short, as they will hardly serve to enclose your carriers in summer, and may be held, if taffata, to have lined your grandsire’s skirts.

I have now left your houses, and am passing through your streets, but not in a coach, for they are uneasily hung, and so narrow, that I took them for sedans upon wheels. Nor is it safe for a stranger to use them till the quarrel be decided, whether six of your nobles, sitting together, shall stop and give way to as many barrels of beer. Your city is the only metropolis in Europe, where there is wonderful dignity belonging to carts.

I would now make a safe retreat, but that methinks I am stopped by one of your heroic games called foot-ball; which I conceive (under your favour) not very conveniently civil in the streets, especially in such irregular and narrow roads as Crooked-lane. Yet it argues your courage, much like your military pastime of throwing at cocks; but your metal would be much magnified (since you have long allowed those two valiant exercises in the streets) were you to draw your archers from Finsbury, and, during high market, let them shoot at butts in Cheapside. I have now no more to say, but what refers to a few private notes, which I shall give you in a whisper, when we meet in Moorfields, from whence (because the place was meant for public pleasure, and to show the munificence of your city) I shall desire you to banish your laundresses and bleachers, whose acres of old linen make a show like the fields of Carthagena, when the five months’ shifts of the whole fleet are washed and spread.[46]


[45] If a disagreement of neighbours were to be inferred from such a circumstance, what but an unfavourable inference would be drawn from our modern style of architecture, as exemplified in Regent-street, where the houses are, as the leopard’s spots are described to be, “no two alike, and every one different.”

[46] Sir W. Davenant.


A FATHER’S HOME.

For the Table Book.

When oppress’d by the world, or fatigu’d with its charms,
My weary steps homeward I tread—
’Tis there, midst the prattlers that fly to my arms,
I enjoy purer pleasures instead.
Hark! the rap at the door is known as their dad’s,
And rushing at once to the lock,
Wide open it flies, while the lasses and lads
Bid me welcome as chief of the flock.
Little baby himself leaves the breast for a gaze
Glad to join in th’ general joy,
While with outstretched arms and looks of amaze
He seizes the new purchas’d toy.
Then Harry, the next, climbs the knee to engage
His father’s attention again;
But Bob, springing forward almost in a rage,
Resolves his own rights to maintain.
Oh, ye vot’ries of pleasure and folly’s sad crew,
From your midnight carousals depart!
Look here for true joys, ever blooming and new,
When I press both these boys to my heart.
Poor grimalkin purs softly—the tea-kettle sings,
Midst glad faces and innocent hearts,
Encircling my table as happy as kings,
Right merrily playing their parts.
And Bill (the sly rogue) takes a lump, when he’s able,
Of sugar, so temptingly sweet,
And, archly observing, hides under the table
The spoil, till he’s ready to eat.
While George, the big boy, talks of terrible “sums”
He perform’d so correctly at school;
Bill leeringly tells, with his chin on his thumbs,
“He was whipt there for playing the fool!”
This raises a strife, till in choleric mood
Each ventures a threat to his brother,
But their hearts are so good, let a stranger intrude,
They’d fight to the last for each other.
There Nan, the sweet girl, she that fags for the whole,
And keeps the young urchins in order,
Exhibits, with innocence charming the soul,
Her sister’s fine sampler and border.
Kitty sings to me gaily, then chatting apace
Helps her mother to darn or to stitch,
Reminding me most of that gay laughing face
Which once did my fond heart bewitch.
While she! the dear partner of all my delight,
Contrives them some innocent play;
Till, tired of all, in the silence of night,
They dream the glad moments away.
Oh, long may such fire-side scenes be my lot!
Ye children, be virtuous and true!
And think when I’m aged, alone in my cot,
How I minister’d comfort to you.
When my vigour is gone, and to manhood’s estate
Ye all shall be happily grown,
Live near me, and, anxious for poor father’s fate
Show the world that you’re truly my own.

[I-171,
I-172]

Stanmore Toll-House.

Stanmore Toll-House.

Its ornamental look, and public use,
Combine to render it worth observation.

Our new toll-houses are deservedly the subject of frequent remark, on account of their beauty. The preceding engraving is intended to convey an idea of Stanmore-gate, which is one of the handsomest near London. The top is formed into a large lantern; when illuminated, it is an important mark to drivers in dark nights.

It may be necessary to add, that the present representation was not destined to appear in this place; but the indisposition of a gentleman engaged to assist in illustrating this work, has occasioned a sudden disappointment.


“STATUTES” AND “MOPS.”

To the Editor.

Sir,—Although your unique and curious work, the Every-Day Book, abounds with very interesting accounts of festivals, fairs, wassails, wakes, and other particulars concerning our country manners, and will be prized by future generations as a rare and valuable collection of the pastimes and customs of their forefathers, still much of the same nature remains to be related; and as I am anxious that the Country Statute, or Mop, (according to the version of the country people generally,) should be snatched from oblivion, I send you a description of this custom, which, I hope, will be deemed worthy a place in the Table Book. I had waited to see if some one more competent to a better account than myself would achieve the task, when that short but significant word Finis, attached to the Every-Day Book, arouses me from further delay, and I delineate, as well as I am able, scenes which, but for that work, I possibly should have never noticed.

Some months ago I solicited the assistance of a friend, a respectable farmer, residing at Wootton, in Warwickshire, who not only very readily promised to give me every information he possessed on the subject, but proposed that I should pass a week at his farm at the time these Statutes were holding. So valuable an opportunity [I-173,
I-174]
of visiting them and making my own observations, I, of course, readily embraced. Before I proceed to lay before you the results, it may be as well, perhaps, to give something like a definition of the name applied to this peculiar custom, as also when and for what purpose the usage was established. “Statutes,” or “Statute Sessions,” otherwise called “Petit Sessions,” are meetings, in every hundred of each shire in England where they are held, to which the constables and others, both householders and servants, repair for the determining of differences between masters and servants; the rating, by the sheriff or magistrates, of wages for the ensuing year; and the bestowing of such people in service as are able to serve, and refuse to seek, or cannot get masters.

The first act of parliament for regulating servants’ wages passed in the year 1351, 25th Edward III. At an early period labourers were serfs, or slaves, and consequently there was no law upon the subject. The immediate cause of the act of Edward III. was that plague which wasted Europe from 1347 to 1349, and destroyed a great proportion of its inhabitants. The consequent scarcity of labourers, and the high price demanded for labour, caused those who employed them to obtain legislative enactments, imposing fines on all who gave or accepted more than a stipulated sum. Since that period there have been various regulations of a similar nature. By the 13th of Richard II. the justices of every county were to meet once a year, between Easter and Michaelmas, to regulate, according to circumstances, the rates of wages of agricultural servants for the year ensuing, and cause the same to be proclaimed. But though this power was confirmed to the justices by the 5th of Elizabeth, this part of the custom of Statute Sessions is almost, if not quite, fallen into disuse. It is probable that in the years immediately succeeding the first enactment the population was so restored as to cause the laws to be relaxed, though they still remain as an example of the wisdom of past ages. However this may be, it is certain, that all that is at present understood by “Statutes,” or, as the vulgar call them, “Mops,” is the assembling of masters and servants, the former to seek the latter, and the latter to obtain employment of the former. It is undoubtedly a mutual accommodation; for although the servants now rate and ask what wages they think fit, still they have an opportunity of knowing how wages are usually going, and the masters have hundreds, and, in some cases, thousands of servants to choose from.

The “Statute” I first attended was held at Studley, in Warwickshire, at the latter end of September. On arriving, between twelve and one o’clock, at the part of the Alcester road where the assembly was held, the place was filling very fast by groups of persons of almost all descriptions from every quarter. Towards three o’clock there must have been many thousands present. The appearance of the whole may be pretty accurately portrayed to the mind of those who have witnessed a country fair; the sides of the roads were occupied with stalls for gingerbread, cakes, &c., general assortments of hardware, japanned goods, waggoner’s frocks, and an endless variety of wearing apparel, suitable to every class, from the farm bailiff, or dapper footman, to the unassuming ploughboy, or day-labourer.

The public-houses were thoroughly full, not excepting even the private chambers. The scene out of doors was enlivened, here and there, by some wandering minstrel, or fiddler, round whom stood a crowd of men and boys, who, at intervals, eagerly joined to swell the chorus of the song. Although there was as large an assemblage as could be well remembered, both of masters and servants, I was given to understand that there was very little hiring. This might happen from a twofold cause; first, on account of its being one of the early Statutes, and, secondly, from the circumstance of the servants asking what was deemed (considering the pressure of the times) exorbitant wages. The servants were, for the most part, bedecked in their best church-going clothes. The men also wore clean white frocks, and carried in their hats some emblem or insignia of the situation they had been accustomed to or were desirous to fill: for instance, a waggoner, or ploughboy, had a piece of whipcord in his hat, some of it ingeniously plaited in a variety of ways and entwined round the hatband; a cow-man, after the same manner, had some cow-hair; and to those already mentioned there was occasionally added a piece of sponge; a shepherd had wool; a gardener had flowers, &c. &c.

The girls wishing to be hired were in a spot apart from the men and boys, and all stood not unlike cattle at a fair waiting for dealers. Some of them held their hands before them, with one knee protruding, (like soldiers standing at ease,) and never spoke, save when catechised and examined by a master or mistress as to the work they had [I-175,
I-176]
been accustomed to; and then you would scarce suppose they had learned to say anything but “Ees, sur,” or “No, sur,” for these were almost the only expressions that fell from their lips. Others, on the contrary, exercised no small degree of self-sufficient loquacity concerning their abilities, which not unusually consisted of a good proportion of main strength, or being able to drive or follow a variety of kinds of plough. Where a master or mistress was engaged in conversation with a servant they were usually surrounded by a group, with their mouths extended to an angle of near forty-five degrees, as if to catch the sounds at the aperture; this in some, perhaps, was mere idle curiosity, in others, from desire to know the wages asked and given, as a guide for themselves. I observed a seeming indifference about the servants in securing situations. They appeared to require a certain sum for wages, without reference to any combination of circumstances or the state of the times; and however exorbitant, they rarely seemed disposed to meet the master by proposing something lower; they would stand for some time and hear reasons why wages should be more moderate, and at the conclusion, when you would suppose they were either willing, in some measure, to accede to the terms, or to offer reasons why they should not, you were mortified to know, that the usual answer was, “Yo’ll find me yarn it, sur,” or “I conna gue for less.”

When a bargain is concluded on at a “Statute,” it is the custom to ratify it immediately, and on the spot, by the master presenting to the servant what is termed “earnest money,” which is usually one shilling, but it varies according to circumstances; for instance, if a servant agrees to come for less than he at first asked, it is, perhaps, on the condition that his earnest is augmented, probably doubled or trebled, as may be agreed on.

The contract arises upon the hiring: if the hiring be general, without any particular time limited, the law construes it to be hiring for one year; but the contract may be made for any longer or shorter period. Many farmers are wary enough to hire their servants for fifty-one weeks only, which prevents them having any claim upon that particular parish in case of distress, &c. We frequently find disputes between two parishes arising out of Statute-hirings brought to the assizes or sessions for settlement.

When the hiring is over, the emblems in the hats are exchanged for ribbons of almost every hue. Some retire to the neighbouring grounds to have games at bowls, skittles, or pitching, &c. &c., whilst the more unwary are fleeced of their money by the itinerant Greeks and black legs with E. O. tables, pricking in the garter, the three thimbles &c. &c. These tricksters seldom fail to reap abundant harvests at the Statutes. Towards evening each lad seeks his lass, and they hurry off to spend the night at the public-houses, or, as is the case in some small villages, at private houses, which, on these occasions, are licensed for the time being.

To attempt to delineate the scenes that now present themselves, would on my part be presumption indeed. It rather requires the pencil of Hogarth to do justice to this varied picture. Here go round the

“Song and dance, and mirth and glee;”

but I cannot add, with the poet,

“In one continued round of harmony:”

for, among such a mingled mass, it is rare but that in some part discord breaks in upon the rustic amusements of the peaceably inclined. The rooms of the several houses are literally crammed, and usually remain so throughout the night, unless they happen to be under restrictions from the magistrates, in which case the houses are shut at a stated hour, or the license risked. Clearances, however, are not easily effected. At a village not far from hence, it has, ere now, been found necessary to disturb the reverend magistrate from his peaceful slumbers, and require his presence to quell disturbances that almost, as a natural consequence, ensue, from the landlords and proprietors of the houses attempting to turn out guests, who, under the influence of liquor, pay little regard to either landlord or magistrate. The most peaceable way of dealing, is to allow them to remain till the morning dawn breaks in and warns them home.

The time for Statute-hiring commences about the beginning of September, and usually closes before old Michaelmas-day, that being the day on which servants enter on their new services, or, at least, quit their old ones. Yet there are some few Statutes held after this time, which are significantly styled “Runaway Mops;” one of this kind is held at Henley-in-Arden, on the 29th of October, being also St. Luke’s fair. Three others are held at Southam, in Warwickshire, on the three successive Mondays after old Michaelmas-day. To these Statutes all repair, who, from one cause or other, decline to go to their new places, [I-177,
I-178]
together with others who had not been fortunate enough to obtain situations. Masters, however, consider it rather hazardous to hire at these Statutes, as they are in danger of engaging with servants already hired, who capriciously refuse to go to their employment; and if any person hire or retain a servant so engaged, the first hirer has his action for damages against the master and servant; yet, if the new master did not know his servant had been hired before, no action will lie against him, except he refuse to give him up on information and demand. Characters are sometimes required by the master hiring; and these, to the great detriment of society, are given in such a loose and unreserved manner, that (to use the language of the author of the Rambler) you may almost as soon depend on the circumstance of an acquittal at the Old Bailey by way of recommendation to a servant’s honesty, as upon one of these characters.

If a master discovers that a servant is not capable of performing the stipulated work, or is of bad character, he may send the servant to drink the “earnest money;” and custom has rendered this sufficient to dissolve the contract. On the other hand, if a servant has been deceived by the master in any particular, a release is obtained by returning the “earnest.” If, however, there is no just ground of complaint, it is at the master’s option to accept it, and vice versâ. The Statutes I have visited for the purpose of gaining these particulars are Studley, Shipston-on-Stour, and Aston-Cantlow, all in Warwickshire. I observed no particular difference either in the business or the diversions of the day, but Studley was by far the largest. At Stratford-on-Avon, and some other places, there is bull-roasting, &c., which, of course, adds to the amusement and frolic of the visitors.

I believe I have now pretty well exhausted my notes, and I should not have been thus particular, but that I believe Statute-hiring is a custom peculiar to England. I shall conclude by making an extract from Isaac Bickerstaffe’s “Love in a Village.” In scenes the 10th and 11th there is a green, with the prospect of a village, and the representation of a Statute, and the following conversation, &c. takes place:—

Hodge. This way, your worship, this way. Why don’t you stand aside there? Here’s his worship a-coming.

Countrymen. His worship!

Justice Woodcock. Fy! fy! what a crowd’s this! Odds, I’ll put some of them in the stocks. (Striking a fellow.) Stand out of the way, sirrah.

Hodge. Now, your honour, now the sport will come. The gut-scrapers are here, and some among them are going to sing and dance. Why, there’s not the like of our Statute, mun, in five counties; others are but fools to it.

Servant Man. Come, good people, make a ring; and stand out, fellow-servants, as many of you as are willing and able to bear a-bob. We’ll let my masters and mistresses see we can do something at least; if they won’t hire us it sha’n’t be our fault. Strike up the Servants’ Medley.

AIR.

Housemaid.

I pray, gentles, list to me,
I’m young and strong, and clean, you see;
I’ll not turn tail to any she,
For work that’s in the country.
Of all your house the charge I take,
I wash, I scrub, I brew, I bake;
And more can do than here I’ll speak,
Depending on your bounty.

Footman.

Behold a blade, who knows his trade.
In chamber, hall, and entry:
And what though here I now appear,
I’ve served the best of gentry.
A footman would you have,
I can dress, and comb, and shave;
For I a handy lad am:
On a message I can go,
And slip a billet-doux,
With your humble servant, madam.

Cookmaid.

Who wants a good cook my hand they must cross;
For plain wholesome dishes I’m ne’er at a loss;
And what are your soups, your ragouts, and your sauce,
Compared to old English roast beef?

Carter.

If you want a young man with a true honest heart,
Who knows how to manage a plough and a cart,
Here’s one to your purpose, come take me and try;
You’ll say you ne’er met with a better than I,
Geho, dobin, &c.

Chorus.

My masters and mistresses hither repair,
What servants you want you’ll find in our fair;
Men and maids fit for all sorts of stations there be,
And as for the wages we sha’n’t disagree.

Presuming that these memoranda may amuse a number of persons who, chiefly living in large towns and cities, have no opportunity of being otherwise acquainted with “Statutes,” or “Mops,” in country-places,

I am, &c.
W. Pare

Birmingham.


[I-179,
I-180]

HAM AND STILTON.

For the Table Book.

The Poet’s Epistle of Thanks to a
Friend at Birmingham.

“Perlege Mæonio cantatas carmine ranas,
Et frontem nugi, solvere disce meis.”

Mary.

 

Dear Friend,—I feel constrain’d to say,
The present sent the other day
Claims my best thanks, and while design’d
To please the taste, it warm’d my mind.
Nor, wonder not it should inspire
Within my breast poetic fire!
The Cheese seem’d like some growing state,
Compos’d of little folks and great;
Though we denominate them mites,
They call each other Stiltonites.
And ’tis most fit, where’er we live,
The land our epithet should give:
Romans derive their name from Rome,
And Turks, you know, from Turkey come.
Gazing with “microscopic eye”
O’er Stilton land, I did espy
Such wonders, as would make those stare
Who never peep’d or travell’d there.
The country where this race reside
Abounds with crags on ev’ry side:
Its geographic situation
Is under constant variation;
Now hurried up, then down again—
No fix’d abode can it maintain:
And, like the Lilliputian clime,
We read about in olden time,
Huge giants compass it about,
Who dig within, and cut without,
And at a mouthful—direful fate!
A city oft depopulate!
And, then, in Stilton, you must know
There is a spot, call’d Rotten-row;
A soil more marshy than the rest,
Therefore by some esteem’d the best.
The natives here, whene’er they dine,
Drink nothing but the choicest wine;
Which through each street comes flowing down,
Like water in New Sarum’s town.
In such a quarter, you may guess,
The leading vice is drunkenness.
Come hither any hour of day,
And you shall see whole clusters lay
Reeling and floundering about,
As though it were a madman’s rout.
Those who dwell nearer the land’s end,
Where rarely the red show’rs descend,
Are in their turns corporeal
More sober and gymnastical
Meandering in kindred dust,
They gauge, and with the dry-rot burst,
For we may naturally think,
They live not long who cannot drink.
Alas! poor Stilton! where’s the muse
To sing thy downfall will refuse?
Melpomene, in mournful verse,
Thy dire destruction will rehearse:
Comus himself shall grieve and weep,
As notes of woe his gay lyre sweep;
For who among thy countless band
The fierce invaders can withstand?
Nor only foreign foes are thine—
Children thou hast, who undermine
Thy massive walls that ’girt thee round.
And ev’ry corner seems unsound.
A few more weeks, and we shall see
Stilton, the fam’d-will cease to be!
Before, however, I conclude,
I wish to add, that gratitude
Incites me to another theme
Beside coagulated cream.
’Tis not about the village Ham,
Nor yet the place call’d Petersham—
Nor more renowned Birmingham:
Nor is it fried or Friar Bacon,
The Muse commands me verse to make on.
Nor pigmies, (as the poet feigns,)
A people once devour’d by cranes,
Of these I speak not—my intention
Is something nearer home to mention;
Therefore, at once, for pig’s hind leg
Accept my warmest thanks, I beg.
The meat was of the finest sort,
And worthy of a dish at court.
Lastly, I gladly would express
The grateful feelings I possess
For such a boon—th’ attempt is vain,
And hence in wisdom I refrain
From saying more than what you see—
Farewell! sincerely yours,

B.C.

To E. T. Esq.
Jan. 1827.


LOVES OF THE NEGROES.
At New Paltz, United States.
Phillis Schoonmaker v. Cuff Hogeboon.

This was an action for a breach of the marriage promise, tried before ’squire De Witt, justice of the peace and quorum. The parties, as their names indicate, were black, or, as philanthropists would say, coloured folk. Counsellor Van Shaick appealed on behalf of the lady. He recapitulated the many verdicts which had been given of late in favour of injured innocence, much to the honour and gallantry of an American jury. It was time to put an end to these faithless professions, to these cold-hearted delusions; it was time to put a curb upon the false tongues and false hearts of pretended lovers, who, with honied [I-181,
I-182]
accents, only woo’d to ruin, and only professed to deceive. The worthy counsellor trusted that no injurious impressions would be made on the minds of the jury by the colour of his client—

“’Tis not a set of features,
This tincture of the skin, that we admire.”

She was black, it was true; so was the honoured wife of Moses, the most illustrious and inspired of prophets. Othello, the celebrated Moor of Venice, and the victorious general of her armies, was black, yet the lovely Desdemona saw “Othello’s visage in his mind.” In modern times, we might quote his sable majesty of Hayti, or, since that country had become a republic, the gallant Boyer.—He could also refer to Rhio Rhio, king of the Sandwich Islands, his copper-coloured queen, and madame Poki, so hospitably received, and fed to death by their colleague the king of England—nay, the counsellor was well advised that the brave general Sucre, the hero of Ayacucho, was a dark mulatto. What, then, is colour in estimating the griefs of a forsaken and ill-treated female? She was poor, it was true, and in a humble sphere of life; but love levels all distinctions; the blind god was no judge, and no respecter of colours; his darts penetrated deep, not skin deep; his client, though black, was flesh and blood, and possessed affections, passions, resentments, and sensibilities; and in this case she confidently threw herself upon the generosity of a jury of freemen—of men of the north, as the friends of the northern president would say, of men who did not live in Missouri, and on sugar plantations; and from such his client expected just and liberal damages.

Phillis then advanced to the bar, to give her testimony. She was, as her counsel represented, truly made up of flesh and blood, being what is called a strapping wench, as black as the ace of spades. She was dressed in the low Dutch fashion, which has not varied for a century, linsey-woolsey petticoats, very short, blue worsted stockings, leather shoes, with a massive pair of silver buckles, bead ear-rings, her woolly hair combed, and face sleek and greasy. There was no “dejected ’haviour of visage”—no broken heart visible in her face—she looked fat and comfortable, as if she had sustained no damage by the perfidy of her swain. Before she was sworn, the court called the defendant, who came from among the crowd, and stood respectfully before the bench. Cuff was a good-looking young fellow, with a tolerably smartish dress, and appeared as if he had been in the metropolis taking lessons of perfidious lovers—he cast one or two cutting looks at Phillis, accompanied by a significant turn up of the nose, and now and then a contemptuous ejaculation of Eh!—Umph!—Ough!—which did not disconcert the fair one in the least, she returning the compliment by placing her arms a-kimbo, and surveying her lover from head to foot. The court inquired of Cuff whether he had counsel? “No, massa, (he replied) I tell my own ’tory—you see massa ’Squire, I know de gentlemen of de jury berry vell—dere is massa Teerpenning, of Little ’Sophus, know him berry vell—I plough for him;—den dere is massa Traphagan, of our town—how he do massa?—ah, dere massa Topper, vat prints de paper at Big ’Sophus—know him too;—dere is massa Peet Steenberg—know him too—he owe me little money:—I know ’em all massa ’Squire;—I did go to get massa Lucas to plead for me, but he gone to the Court of Error, at Albany;—Massa Sam Freer and massa Cockburn said they come to gib me good character, but I no see ’em here.”

Cuff was ordered to stand aside, and Phillis was sworn.

Plaintiff said she did not know how old she was; believed she was sixteen; she looked nearer twenty-six; she lived with Hons Schoonmaker; was brought up in the family. She told her case as pathetically as possible:—

“Massa ’Squire,” said she, “I was gone up to massa Schoonmaker’s lot, on Shaungum mountain, to pile brush; den Cuff, he vat stands dare, cum by vid de teem, he top his horses and say, ‘How de do, Phillis?’ or, as she gave it, probably in Dutch, ‘How gaud it mit you’ ‘Hail goot,’ said I; den massa he look at me berry hard, and say, Phillis, pose you meet me in the nite, ven de moon is up, near de barn, I got sumting to say—den I say, berry bell, Cuff, I vill—he vent up de mountain, and I vent home; ven I eat my supper and milk de cows, I say to myself, Phillis, pose you go down to de barn, and hear vat Cuff has to say. Well, massa ’Squire, I go, dare was Cuff sure enough, he told heaps of tings all about love; call’d me Wenus and Jewpeter, and other tings vat he got out of de playhouse ven he vent down in the slope to New York, and he ax’d me if I’d marry him before de Dominie, Osterhaut, he vat preached in Milton, down ’pon Marlbro’. I say, Cuff, you make fun on me; he say no, ‘By mine zeal, I vil marry you, Phillis;’ den he gib me dis here as earnest.”—Phillis [I-183,
I-184]
here drew from her huge pocket an immense pair of scissars, a jack knife, and a wooden pipe curiously carved, which she offered as a testimony of the promise, and which was sworn to as the property of Cuff, who subsequently had refused to fulfil the contract.

Cuff admitted that he had made her a kind of promise, but it was conditional. “I told her, massa ’Squire, that she was a slave and a nigger, and she must wait till the year 27, then all would be free, cording to the new constitution; den she said, berry vell, I bill wait.”

Phillis utterly denied the period of probation; it was, she said, to take place “ben he got de new corduroy breeches from Cripplely Coon, de tailor; he owe three and sixpence, and massa Coon won’t let him hab ’em vidout de money: den Cuff he run away to Varsing; I send Coon Crook, de constable, and he find um at Shaudakin, and he bring him before you, massa.”

The testimony here closed.

The court charged the jury, that although the testimony was not conclusive, nor the injury very apparent, yet the court was not warranted in taking the case out of the hands of the jury. A promise had evidently been made, and had been broken; some differences existed as to the period when the matrimonial contract was to have been fulfilled, and it was equally true and honourable, as the court observed, that in 1827 slavery was to cease in the state, and that fact might have warranted the defendant in the postponement; but of this there was no positive proof, and as the parties could neither read nor write, the presents might be construed into a marriage promise. The court could see no reason why these humble Africans should not, in imitation of their betters, in such cases, appeal to a jury for damages; but it was advisable not to make those damages more enormous than circumstances warranted, yet sufficient to act as a lesson to those coloured gentry, in their attempts to imitate fashionable infidelity.

The jury brought in a verdict of “Ten dollars, and costs, for the plaintiff.”

The defendant not being able to pay, was committed to Kingston jail, a martyr to his own folly, and an example to all others in like cases offending.


THE RETROSPECT.

I have not heard thy name for years;
Thy memory ere thyself is dead;
And even I forget the tears
That once for thy lov’d sake were shed.
There was a time when thou didst seem
The light and breath of life to me—
When, e’en in thought, I could not dream
That less than mine thou e’er could be:—
Yet now it is a chance that brought
Thy image to my heart again;
A single flower recall’d the thought—
Why is it still so full of pain?
The jasmine, round the casement twin’d,
Caught mine eye in the pale moonlight.
It broke my dream, and brought to mind
Another dream—another night.
As then, I by the casement leant,
As then, the silver moonlight shone
But not, as then, another bent
Beside me—I am now alone.
The sea is now between us twain
As wide a gulf between each heart;
Never can either have again
An influence on the other’s part.
Our paths are different; perchance mine
May seem the sunniest of the two:
The lute, which once was only thine,
Has other aim, and higher view.
My song has now a wider scope
Than when its first tones breath’d thy name;
My heart has done with Love—and hope
Turn’d to another idol—Fame.
’Tis but one destiny; one dream
Succeeds another—like a wave
Following its bubbles—till their gleam
Is lost, and ended in the grave.
Why am I sorrowful? ’Tis not
One thought of thee has brought the tear
In sooth, thou art so much forgot,
I do not even wish thee here.
Both are so chang’d, that did we meet
We might but marvel we had lov’d:
What made our earliest dream so sweet?—
Illusions—long, long since remov’d.
I sorrow—but it is to know
How still some fair deceit unweaves—
To think how all of joy below
Is only joy while it deceives.
I sorrow—but it is to feel
Changes which my own mind hath told:—
What, though time polishes the steel,
Alas! it is less bright than cold.
[I-185,
I-186]
Have more smiles, and fewer tears;
But tears are now restrain’d for shame:
Task-work the smiles my lip now wears,
That once like rain and sunshine came.
Where is the sweet credulity,
Happy in that fond trust it bore,
Which never dream’d the time would be
When it could hope and trust no more?
Affection, springing warmly forth—
Light word, light laugh, and lighter care
Life’s afternoon is little worth—
The dew and warmth of morning air.
I would not live again love’s hour;
But fain I would again recall
The feelings which upheld its power—
The truth, the hope, that made it thrall.
I would renounce the worldliness,
Now too much with my heart and me;
In one trust more, in one doubt less,
How much of happiness would be!—
Vainer than vain! Why should I ask
Life’s sweet but most deceiving part?
Alas! the bloom upon the cheek
Long, long outlives that of the heart.

L. E. L.—Monthly Magazine.


TIMBER IN BOGS.

It is stated in the second report of the commissioners on the bogs of Ireland, that three distinct growths of timber, covered by three distinct masses of bog, are discovered on examination. But whether these morasses were at first formed by the destruction of whole forests, or merely by the stagnation of water in places where its current was choked by the fall of a few trees, and by accumulations of branches and leaves, carried down from the surrounding hills, is a question.

Professor Davy is of opinion, that in many places where forests had grown undisturbed, the trees on the outside of the woods grew stronger than the rest, from their exposure to the air and sun; and that, when mankind attempted to establish themselves near these forests, they cut down the large trees on their borders, which opened the internal part, where the trees were weak and slender, to the influence of the wind, which, as is commonly to be seen in such circumstances, had immediate power to sweep down the whole of the internal parts of the forest. The large timber obstructed the passage of vegetable recrement, and of earth falling towards the rivers; the weak timber, in the internal part of the forest after it had fallen, soon decayed, and became the food of future vegetation.

Mr. Kirwan observes, that whatever trees are found in bogs, though the wood may be perfectly sound, the bark of the timber has uniformly disappeared, and the decomposition of this bark forms a considerable part of the nutritive substance of morasses. Notwithstanding this circumstance, tanning is not to be obtained in analysing bogs; their antiseptic quality is however indisputable, for animal and vegetable substances are frequently found at a great depth in bogs, without their seeming to have suffered any decay; these substances cannot have been deposited in them at a very remote period, because their form and texture is such as were common a few centuries ago. In 1786 there were found, seventeen feet below the surface of a bog in Mr. Kirwan’s district, a woollen coat of coarse, but even, network, exactly in the form of what is now called a spencer; a razor, with a wooden handle, some iron heads of arrows, and large wooden bowls, some only half made, were also found, with the remains of turning tools: these were obviously the wreck of a workshop, which was probably situated on the borders of a forest. The coat was presented by him to the Antiquarian Society. These circumstances countenance the supposition, that the encroachments of men upon forests destroyed the first barriers against the force of the wind, and that afterwards, according to sir H. Davy’s suggestion, the trees of weaker growth, which had not room to expand, or air and sunshine to promote their increase, soon gave way to the elements.


MODES OF SALUTATION.

Greenlanders have none, and laugh at the idea of one person being inferior to another.

Islanders near the Philippines take a person’s hand or foot, and rub it over their face.

Laplanders apply their noses strongly against the person they salute.

In New Guinea, they place leaves upon the head of those they salute.

In the Straits of the Sound they raise the left foot of the person saluted, pass it gently over the right leg, and thence over the face.

The inhabitants of the Philippines bend very low, placing their hands on their cheeks, and raise one foot in the air, with the knee bent.

An Ethiopian takes the robe of another and ties it about him, so as to leave his friend almost naked.

[I-187,
I-188]

The Japanese take off a slipper, and the people of Arracan their sandals, in the street, and their stockings in the house, when they salute.

Two Negro kings on the coast of Africa, salute by snapping the middle finger three times.

The inhabitants of Carmene, when they would show a particular attachment, breathe a vein, and present the blood to their friend as a beverage.

If the Chinese meet, after a long separation, they fall on their knees, bend their face to the earth two or three times, and use many other affected modes. They have also a kind of ritual, or “academy of compliments,” by which they regulate the number of bows, genuflections, and words to be spoken upon any occasion. Ambassadors practise these ceremonies forty days before they appear at court.

In Otaheite, they rub their noses together.

The Dutch, who are considered as great eaters, have a morning salutation, common amongst all ranks, “Smaakelyk eeten?”—“May you eat a hearty dinner.” Another is, “Hoe vaart awe.”—“How do you sail?” adopted, no doubt, in the early periods of the republic, when they were all navigators and fishermen.

The usual salutation at Cairo is, “How do you sweat?” a dry hot skin being a sure indication of a destructive ephemeral fever. Some author has observed, in contrasting the haughty Spaniard with the frivolous Frenchman, that the proud, steady gait and inflexible solemnity of the former, were expressed in his mode of salutation, “Come esta?”—“How do you stand?” whilst the “Comment vous portez-vous?” “How do you carry yourself?” was equally expressive of the gay motion and incessant action of the latter.

The common salutation in the southern provinces of China, amongst the lower orders, is, “Ya fan?”—“Have you eaten your rice?”

In Africa, a young woman, an intended bride, brought a little water in a calabash, and kneeling down before her lover, desired him to wash his hands; when he had done this, the girl, with a tear of joy sparkling in her eyes, drank the water; this was considered as the greatest proof she could give of her fidelity and attachment.


Omniana.

POETRY.

For the Table Book.

The poesy of the earth, sea, air, and sky,
Though death is powerful in course of time
With wars and battlements, will never die.
But triumph in the silence of sublime
Survival. Frost, like tyranny, might climb
The nurseling germs of favourite haunts; the roots
Will grow hereafter. Terror on the deep
Is by the calm subdu’d, that Beauty e’en might creep
On moonlight waves to coral rest. The fruits
Blush in the winds, and from the branches leap
To mossy beds existing in the ground.
Stars swim unseen, through solar hemispheres,
Yet in the floods of night, how brightly round
The zone of poesy, they reflect the rolling years.

P.


A Bad Sign.

During a late calling out of the North Somerset yeomanry, at Bath, the service of one of them, a “Batcome boy,” was enlivened by a visit from his sweetheart; after escorting her over the city, and being fatigued with showing her what she had “ne’er zeed in all her life,” he knocked loudly at the door of a house in the Crescent, against which a hatchment was placed, and on the appearance of the powdered butler, boldly ordered “two glasses of scalded wine, as hot as thee canst make it.” The man, staring, informed him he could have no scalded wine there—’twas no public-house. “Then dose thee head,” replied Somerset, “what’st hang out thik there zign var.”


INSCRIPTION
For a Tomb to the Memory of Captain
Hewitson, of the Ship, Town of Ulverston.

By James Montgomery, Esq.

Weep for a seaman, honest and sincere,
Not cast away, but brought to anchor here;
Storms had o’erwhelm’d him, but the conscious wave
Repented, and resign’d him to the grave:
In harbour, safe from shipwreck, now he lies,
Till Time’s last signal blazes through the skies:
Refitted in a moment, then shall he
Sail from this port on an eternal sea.

[I-189,
I-190]

Vol. I.—7.

My Snuff-box.

My Snuff-box.

He only who is “noseless himself” will deem this a trifling article. My prime minister of pleasure is my snuff-box. The office grew out of my “liking a pinch, now and then,” and carrying a bit of snuff, screwed up in paper, wherewith, some two or three times a day, I delighted to treat myself to a sensation, and a sneeze. Had I kept a journal of my snuff-taking business from that time, it would have been as instructive as “the life of that learned antiquary, Elias Ashmole, Esq., drawn up by himself by way of diary;” in submitting which to the world, its pains-taking editor says, that such works “let us into the secret history of the affairs of their several times, discover the springs of motion, and display many valuable, though minute circumstances, overlooked or unknown to our general historians; and, to conclude all, satiate our largest curiosity.” A comparative view of the important annals of Mr. Ashmole, and some reminiscent incidents of my snuff-taking, I reserve for my autobiography.

To manifest the necessity of my present brief undertaking, I beg to state, that I still remain under the disappointment of drawings, complained of in the former sheet. I resorted on this, as on all difficult occasions, to a pinch of snuff; and, having previously resolved on taking “the first thing that came uppermost,” for an engraving and a topic, my hand first fell on the top of my snuff-box. If the reader be angry because I have told the truth, it is no more than I expect; for, in nine cases out of ten, a preference is given to a pretence, though privily known to be a falsehood by those to whom it is offered.

As soon as I wear out one snuff-box I get another—a silver one, and I, parted company long ago. My customary boxes have been papier-maché, plain black: for if I had any figure on the lid it was suspected to be some hidden device; an [I-191,
I-192]
answer of direct negation was a ground of doubt, offensively expressed by an insinuating smile, or the more open rudeness of varied questions. This I could only resist by patience; but the parlement excise on that virtue was more than I could afford, and therefore my choice of a black box. The last of that colour I had worn out, at a season when I was unlikely to have more than three or four visitors worth a pinch of snuff, and I then bought this box, because it was two-thirds cheaper than the former, and because I approved the pictured ornament. While the tobacconist was securing my shilling, he informed me that the figure had utterly excluded it from the choice of every one who had noticed it. My selection was agreeable to him in a monied view, yet, both he, and his man, eyed the box so unkindly, that I fancied they extended their dislike to me; and I believe they did. Of the few who have seen it since, it has been favourably received by only one—my little Alice—who, at a year old, prefers it before all others for a plaything, and even accepts it as a substitute for myself, when I wish to slip away from her caresses. The elder young ones call it the “ugly old man,” but she admires it, as the innocent infant, in the story-book, did the harmless snake, with whom he daily shared his bread-and-milk breakfast. I regard it as the likeness of an infirm human being, who, especially requiring comfort and protection, is doomed to neglect and insult from childhood to the grave; and all this from no self-default, but the accident of birth—as if the unpurposed cruelty of nature were a warrant for man’s perversion and wickedness. Of the individual I know nothing, save what the representation seems to tell—that he lives in the world, and is not of it. His basket, with a few pamphlets for sale, returns good, in the shape of knowledge, to evil doers, who, as regards himself, are not to be instructed. His upward look is a sign—common to these afflicted ones—of inward hope of eternal mercy, in requital for temporal injustice: besides that, and his walking-staff, he appears to have no other support on earth. The intelligence of his patient features would raise desire, were he alive and before me, to learn by what process he gained the understanding they express: his face is not more painful, and I think scarcely less wise than Locke’s, if we may trust the portrait of that philosopher. In the summer, after a leisure view of the Dulwich gallery for the first time, I found myself in the quiet parlour of a little-frequented road-side house, enjoying the recollections of a few glorious pictures in that munificent exhibition; while pondering with my box in my hand, the print on its lid diverted me into a long reverie on what he, whom represented, might have been under other circumstances, and I felt not alone on the earth while there was another as lonely. Since then, this “garner for my grain” has been worn out by constant use; with every care, it cannot possibly keep its service a month longer. I shall regret the loss: for its little Deformity has been my frequent and pleasant companion in many a solitary hour;—the box itself is the only one I ever had, wherein simulated or cooling friendship has not dipped.

*


Garrick Plays.
No. IV.

[From “All Fools” a Comedy by George Chapman: 1605.]

Love’s Panegyric.

————— ’tis Nature’s second Sun,
Causing a spring of Virtues where he shines;
And as without the Sun, the world’s Great Eye,
All colours, beauties, both of art and nature,
Are given in vain to man; so without Love
All beauties bred in women are in vain,
All virtues born in men lie buried;
For Love informs them as the Sun doth colours
And as the Sun, reflecting his warm beams
Against the earth, begets all fruits and flowers
So Love, fair shining in the inward man,
Brings forth in him the honourable fruits
Of valour, wit, virtue, and haughty thoughts.
Brave resolution, and divine discourse.

 

Love with Jealousy.

——— such Love is like a smoky fire
In a cold morning. Though the fire be chearful,
Yet is the smoke so foul and cumbersome,
’Twere better lose the fire than find the smoke.

 

Bailiffs routed.

I walking in the place where men’s Law Suits
Are heard and pleaded, not so much as dreaming
Of any such encounter; steps me forth
Their valiant Foreman with the word “I ’rest you.”
I made no more ado but laid these paws
Close on his shoulders, tumbling him to earth;
And there sat he on his posteriors
Like a baboon: and turning me about,
I strait espied the whole troop issuing on me.
I step me back, and drawing my old friend here.
Made to the midst of ’em, and all unable
To endure the shock, all rudely fell in rout.
[I-193,
I-194]
And down the stairs they ran in such a fury,
As meeting with a troop of Lawyers there,
Mann’d by their Clients (some with ten, some with twenty,
Some five, some three; he that had least had one),
Upon the stairs, they bore them down afore them.
But such a rattling then there was amongst them.
Of ravish’d Declarations, Replications,
Rejoinders, and Petitions, all their books
And writings torn, and trod on, and some lost,
That the poor Lawyers coming to the Bar
Could say nought to the matter, but instead
Were fain to rail, and talk beside their books,
Without all order.

[From the “Late Lancashire Witches,” a Comedy, by Thomas Heywood.]

A Household Bewitched.

My Uncle has of late become the sole
Discourse of all the country; for of a man respected
As master of a govern’d family,
The House (as if the ridge were fix’d below,
And groundsils lifted up to make the roof)
All now’s turn’d topsy-turvy,
In such a retrograde and preposterous way
As seldom hath been heard of, I think never.
The Good Man
In all obedience kneels unto his Son;
He with an austere brow commands his Father.
The Wife presumes not in the Daughter’s sight
Without a prepared curtsy; the Girl she
Expects it as a duty; chides her Mother,
Who quakes and trembles at each word she speaks.
And what’s as strange, the Maid—she domineers
O’er her young Mistress, who is awed by her.
The Son, to whom the Father creeps and bends,
Stands in as much fear of the groom his Man!
All in such rare disorder, that in some
As it breeds pity, and in others wonder,
So in the most part laughter. It is thought,
This comes by Witchcraft.

[From “Wit in a Constable,” a Comedy, by Henry Glapthorn.]

Books.

Collegian. Did you, ere we departed from the College,
O’erlook my Library?
Servant. Yes, Sir; and I find,
Altho’ you tell me Learning is immortal,
The paper and the parchment ’tis contain’d in
Savours of much mortality.
The moths have eaten more
Authentic Learning, than would richly furnish
A hundred country pedants; yet the worms
Are not one letter wiser.

C. L.


THE TURK IN CHEAPSIDE

For the Table Book.
To Mr. Charles Lamb.

I have a favour to ask of you. My desire is this: I would fain see a stream from thy Hippocrene flowing through the pages of the Table Book. A short article on the old Turk, who used to vend rhubarb in the City, I greatly desiderate. Methinks you would handle the subject delightfully. They tell us he is gone——

We have not seen him for some time past—Is he really dead? Must we hereafter speak of him only in the past tense? You are said to have divers strange items in your brain about him—Vent them I beseech you.

Poor Mummy!—How many hours hath he dreamt away on the sunny side of Cheap, with an opium cud in his cheek, mutely proffering his drug to the way-farers! That deep-toned bell above him, doubtless, hath often brought to his recollection the loud Allah-il-Allahs to which he listened heretofore in his fatherland—the city of minaret and mosque, old Constantinople. Will he never again be greeted by the nodding steeple of Bow?—Perhaps that ancient beldame, with her threatening head and loud tongue, at length effrayed the sallow being out of existence.

Hath his soul, in truth, echapped from that swarthy cutaneous case of which it was so long a tenant? Hath he glode over that gossamer bridge which leads to the paradise of the prophet of Mecca? Doth he pursue his old calling among the faithful? Are the blue-eyed beauties (those living diamonds) who hang about the neck of Mahomet ever qualmish? Did the immortal Houris lack rhubarb?

Prithee teach us to know more than we do of this Eastern mystery! Have some of the ministers of the old Magi eloped with him? Was he in truth a Turk? We have heard suspicions cast upon the authenticity of his complexion—was its tawniness a forgery? Oh! for a quo warranto to show by what authority he wore a turban! Was there any hypocrisy in his sad brow?—Poor Mummy!

The editor of the Table Book ought to perpetuate his features. He was part of the living furniture of the city—Have not our grandfathers seen him?

The tithe of a page from thy pen on this subject, surmounted by “a true portraicture & effigies,” would be a treat to me and many more. If thou art stil Elia—if [I-195,
I-196]
thou art yet that gentle creature who has immortalized his predilection for the sow’s baby—roasted without sage—this boon wilt thou not deny me. Take the matter upon thee speedily.—Wilt thou not endorse thy Pegasus with this pleasant fardel?

An’ thou wilt not I shall be malicious and wish thee some trifling evil: to wit—by way of revenge for the appetite which thou hast created among the reading public for the infant progeny—the rising generation of swine—I will wish that some of the old demoniac leaven may rise up against thee in the modern pigs:—that thy sleep may be vexed with swinish visions; that a hog in armour, or a bashaw of a boar of three tails, may be thy midnight familiar—thy incubus;—that matronly sows may howl after thee in thy walks for their immolated offspring;—that Mab may tickle thee into fits “with a tithe-pig’s tail;”—that wheresoever thou goest to finger cash for copyright, instead of being paid in coin current, thou mayst be enforced to receive thy per-sheetage in guinea-pigs;—that thou mayst frequently dream thou art sitting on a hedge-hog;—that even as Oberon’s Queen doated on the translated Bottom, so may thy batchelorly brain doat upon an ideal image of the swine-faced lady——

Finally, I will wish, that when next G. D. visits thee, he may, by mistake, take away thy hat, and leave thee his own——

“Think of that Master Brook.”—

Yours ever,
E. C.M. D.

January 31, 1827.


Literature.

Glances at New Books on my Table.

Specimens of British Poetesses; selected, and chronologically arranged, by the Rev. Alexander Dyce, 1827, cr. 8vo. pp. 462.

Mr. Dyce remarks that, “from the great Collections of the English Poets, where so many worthless compositions find a place, the productions of women have been carefully excluded.” This utter neglect of female talent produces a counteracting effort: “the object of the present volume is to exhibit the growth and progress of the genius of our countrywomen in the department of poetry.” The collection of “Poems by eminent Ladies,” edited by the elder Colman and Bonnel Thornton, contained specimens of only eighteen female writers; Mr. Dyce offers specimens of the poetry of eighty-eight, ten of whom are still living. He commences with the dame Juliana Berners, Prioress of the Nunnery of Sopwell, “who resembled an abbot in respect of exercising an extensive manorial jurisdiction, and who hawked and hunted in common with other ladies of distinction,” and wrote in rhyme on field sports. The volume concludes with Miss Landon, whose initials, L. E. L., are attached to a profusion of talented poetry, in different journals.

The following are not to be regarded as examples of the charming variety selected by Mr. Dyce, in illustration of his purpose, but rather as “specimens” of peculiar thinking, or for their suitableness to the present time of the year.

Our language does not afford a more truly noble specimen of verse, dignified by high feeling, than the following chorus from “The Tragedy of Mariam, 1613,” ascribed to lady Elizabeth Carew.

Revenge of Injuries.

The fairest action of our human life
Is scorning to revenge an injury;
For who forgives without a further strife.
His adversary’s heart to him doth tie.
And ’tis a firmer conquest truly said,
To win the heart, than overthrow the head.
If we a worthy enemy do find,
To yield to worth it must be nobly done;
But if of baser metal be his mind,
In base revenge there is no honour won.
Who would a worthy courage overthrow,
And who would wrestle with a worthless foe?
We say our hearts are great and cannot yield;
Because they cannot yield, it proves them poor:
Great hearts are task’d beyond their power, but seld
The weakest lion will the loudest roar.
Truth’s school for certain doth this same allow,
High-heartedness doth sometimes teach to bow.
A noble heart doth teach a virtuous scorn,
To scorn to owe a duty overlong;
To scorn to be for benefits forborne,
To scorn to lie, to scorn to do a wrong.
To scorn to bear an injury in mind,
To scorn a free-born heart slave-like to bind.
But if for wrongs we needs revenge must have,
Then be our vengeance of the noblest kind;
Do we his body from our fury save,
And let our hate prevail against our mind?
What can, ’gainst him a greater vengeance be,
Than make his foe more worthy far than he?
Had Mariam scorn’d to leave a due unpaid,
She would to Herod then have paid her love,
And not have been by sullen passion sway’d.
To fix her thoughts all injury above
Is virtuous pride. Had Mariam thus been proud.
Long famous life to her had been allow’d.

[I-197,
I-198]

Margaret duchess of Newcastle, who died in 1673, “filled nearly twelve volumes folio with plays, poems, orations, philosophical discourses,” and miscellaneous pieces. Her lord also amused himself with his pen. This noble pair were honoured by the ridicule of Horace Walpole, who had more taste than feeling; and, notwithstanding the great qualities of the duke, who sacrificed three quarters of a million in thankless devotion to the royal cause, and, though the virtues of his duchess are unquestionable, the author of “The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England” joins Walpole in contempt of their affection, and the means they employed to render each other happy during retirement. This is an extract from one of the duchess’s poems:—

Melancholy.

I dwell in groves that gilt are with the sun,
Sit on the banks by which clear waters run;
In summers hot down in a shade I lie.
My music is the buzzing of a fly;
I walk in meadows, where grows fresh green grass,
In fields, where corn is high, I often pass;
Walk up the hills, where round I prospects see,
Some brushy woods, and some all champains be;
Returning back, I in fresh pastures go,
To hear how sheep do bleat, and cows do low;
In winter cold, when nipping frosts come on,
Then I do live in a small house alone;
Altho’ tis plain, yet cleanly ’tis within,
Like to a soul that’s pure and clear from sin;
And there I dwell in quiet and still peace,
Not fill’d with cares how riches to increase;
I wish nor seek for vain and fruitless pleasures,
No riches are, but what the mind intreasures.
Thus am I solitary, live alone.
Yet better lov’d, the more that I am known;
And tho’ my face ill-favour’d at first sight,
After acquaintance it will give delight.
Refuse me not, for I shall constant be,
Maintain your credit and your dignity.

Elizabeth Thomas, (born 1675, died 1730,) in the fifteenth year of her age, was disturbed in her mind, by the sermons she heard in attending her grandmother at meetings, and by the reading of high predestinarian works. She “languished for some time,” in expectation of the publication of bishop Burnet’s work on the Thirty-nine Articles. When she read it, the bishop seemed to her more candid in stating the doctrines of the sects, than explicit in his own opinion; and, in this perplexity, retiring to her closet, she entered on a self-discussion, and wrote the following poem:—

Predestination, or, the Resolution.

Ah! strive no more to know what fate
Is preordain’d for thee:
’Tis vain in this my mortal state,
For Heaven’s inscrutable decree
Will only be reveal’d in vast Eternity.
Then, O my soul!
Remember thy celestial birth,
And live to Heaven, while here on earth:
Thy God is infinitely true.
All Justice, yet all Mercy too:
To Him, then, thro’ thy Saviour, pray
For Grace, to guide thee on thy way,
And give thee Will to do.
But humbly, for the rest, my soul!
Let Hope, and Faith, the limits be
Of thy presumptuous curiosity!

Mary Chandler, born in 1687, the daughter of a dissenting minister at Bath, commended by Pope for her poetry, died in 1745. The specimen of her verse, selected by Mr. Dyce, is

Temperance.

Fatal effects of luxury and ease!
We drink our poison, and we eat disease,
Indulge our senses at our reason’s cost,
Till sense is pain, and reason hurt, or lost.
Not so, O Temperance bland! when rul’d by thee,
The brute’s obedient, and the man is free.
Soft are his slumbers, balmy is his rest,
His veins not boiling from the midnight feast.
Touch’d by Aurora’s rosy hand, he wakes
Peaceful and calm, and with the world partakes
The joyful dawnings of returning day,
For which their grateful thanks the whole creation pay,
All but the human brute: ’tis he alone,
Whose works of darkness fly the rising sun.
’Tis to thy rules, O Temperance! that we owe
All pleasures, which from health and strength can flow;
Vigour of body, purity of mind,
Unclouded reason, sentiments refin’d,
Unmixt, untainted joys, without remorse,
Th’ intemperate sinner’s never-failing curse.

Elizabeth Tollet (born 1694, died 1754) was authoress of Susanna, a sacred drama, and poems, from whence this is a seasonable extract:—

Winter Song.

Ask me no more, my truth to prove,
What I would suffer for my love:
With thee I would in exile go,
To regions of eternal snow;
O’er floods by solid ice confin’d;
Thro’ forest bare with northern wind;
While all around my eyes I cast,
Where all is wild and all is waste.
If there the timorous stag you chase,
Or rouse to fight a fiercer race,
[I-199,
I-200]
Undaunted I thy arms would bear,
And give thy hand the hunter’s spear.
When the low sun withdraws his light,
And menaces an half year’s night.
The conscious moon and stars above
Shall guide me with my wandering love.
Beneath the mountain’s hollow brow.
Or in its rocky cells below,
Thy rural feast I would provide;
Nor envy palaces their pride;
The softest moss should dress thy bed,
With savage spoils about thee spread;
While faithful love the watch should keep.
To banish danger from thy sleep.

Mrs. Tighe died in 1810. Mr. Dyce says, “Of this highly-gifted Irishwoman, I have not met with any poetical account; but I learn, from the notes to her poems, that she was the daughter of the Rev. William Blachford, and that she died in her thirty-seventh year. In the Psyche of Mrs. Tighe are several pictures, conceived in the true spirit of poetry; while over the whole composition is spread the richest glow of purified passion.” Besides specimens from that delightful poem, Mr. Dyce extracts

The Lily.

How wither’d, perish’d seems the form
Of yon obscure unsightly root!
Yet from the blight of wintry storm,
It hides secure the precious fruit.
The careless eye can find no grace,
No beauty in the scaly folds,
Nor see within the dark embrace
What latent loveliness it holds.
Yet in that bulb, those sapless scales,
The lily wraps her silver vest,
Till vernal suns and vernal gales
Shall kiss once more her fragrant breast.
Yes, hide beneath the mouldering heap
The undelighting slighted thing;
There in the cold earth buried deep,
In silence let it wait the Spring.
Oh! many a stormy night shall close
In gloom upon the barren earth,
While still, in undisturb’d repose,
Uninjur’d lies the future birth;
And Ignorance, with sceptic eye,
Hope’s patient smile shall wondering view;
Or mock her fond credulity,
As her soft tears the spot bedew.
Sweet smile of hope, delicious tear!
The sun, the shower indeed shall come;
The promis’d verdant shoot appear.
And nature bid her blossoms bloom.
And thou, O virgin Queen of Spring!
Shalt, from thy dark and lowly bed,
Bursting thy green sheath’d silken string,
Unveil thy charms, and perfume shed;
Unfold thy robes of purest white,
Unsullied from their darksome grave,
And thy soft petals’ silvery light
In the mild breeze unfetter’d wave.
So Faith shall seek the lowly dust
Where humble Sorrow loves to lie,
And bid her thus her hopes intrust,
And watch with patient, cheerful eye;
And bear the long, cold wintry night,
And bear her own degraded doom,
And wait till Heaven’s reviving light,
Eternal Spring! shall burst the gloom.

Every one is acquainted with the beautiful ballad which is the subject of the following notice; yet the succinct history, and the present accurate text, may justify the insertion of both.

Lady Anne Barnard.
Born —— died 1825.

Sister of the late Earl of Balcarras, and wife of Sir Andrew Barnard, wrote the charming song of Auld Robin Gray.

A quarto tract, edited by “the Ariosto of the North,” and circulated among the members of the Bannatyne Club, contains the original ballad, as corrected by Lady Anne, and two Continuations by the same authoress; while the Introduction consists almost entirely of a very interesting letter from her to the Editor, dated July 1823, part of which I take the liberty of inserting here:—

“‘Robin Gray,’ so called from its being the name of the old herd at Balcarras, was born soon after the close of the year 1771. My sister Margaret had married, and accompanied her husband to London; I was melancholy, and endeavoured to amuse myself by attempting a few poetical trifles. There was an ancient Scotch melody, of which I was passionately fond; —— ——, who lived before your day, used to sing it to us at Balcarras. She did not object to its having improper words, though I did. I longed to sing old Sophy’s air to different words, and give to its plaintive tones some little history of virtuous distress in humble life, such as might suit it. While attempting to effect this in my closet, I called to my little sister, now Lady Hardwicke, who was the only person near me, ‘I have been writing a ballad, my dear; I am oppressing my heroine with many misfortunes. I have already sent her Jamie to sea—and broken her father’s arm—and made her mother fall sick—and given her Auld Robin Gray for her lover; but I wish to load her with a fifth sorrow within the four lines, poor thing! Help me to one.’—‘Steal the cow, sister Anne,’ said the little Elizabeth. The cow was immediately lifted by me, and the song completed. At our fireside, and [I-201,
I-202]
amongst our neighbours, ‘Auld Robin Gray’ was always called for. I was pleased in secret with the approbation it met with; but such was my dread of being suspected of writing anything, perceiving the shyness it created in those who could write nothing, that I carefully kept my own secret.* * * *

“Meantime, little as this matter seems to have been worthy of a dispute, it afterwards became a party question between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. ‘Robin Gray’ was either a very very ancient ballad, composed perhaps by David Rizzio, and a great curiosity, or a very very modern matter, and no curiosity at all. I was persecuted to avow whether I had written it or not,—where I had got it. Old Sophy kept my counsel, and I kept my own, in spite of the gratification of seeing a reward of twenty guineas offered in the newspapers to the person who should ascertain the point past a doubt, and the still more flattering circumstance of a visit from Mr. Jerningham, secretary to the Antiquarian Society, who endeavoured to entrap the truth from me in a manner I took amiss. Had he asked me the question obligingly, I should have told him the fact distinctly and confidentially. The annoyance, however, of this important ambassador from the Antiquaries, was amply repaid to me by the noble exhibition of the ‘Ballat of Auld Robin Gray’s Courtship,’ as performed by dancing-cogs under my window. It proved its popularity from the highest to the lowest, and gave me pleasure while I hugged myself in obscurity.”

The two versions of the second part were written many years after the first; in them, Auld Robin Gray falls sick,—confesses that he himself stole the cow, in order to force Jenny to marry him,—leaves to Jamie all his possessions,—dies,—and the young couple, of course, are united. Neither of the Continuations is given here, because, though both are beautiful, they are very inferior to the original tale, and greatly injure its effect.

Auld Robin Gray.[47]

When the sheep are in the fauld, when the cows come hame,
When a’ the weary world to quiet rest are gane,
The woes of my heart fa’ in showers frae my ee,
Unken’d by my gudeman, who soundly sleeps by me.
Young Jamie loo’d me weel, and sought me for his bride;
But saving ae crown-piece, he’d naething else beside.
To make the crown a pound,[48] my Jamie gaed to sea;
And the crown and the pound, O they were baith for me!
Before he had been gane a twelvemonth and a day.
My father brak his arm, our cow was stown away;
My mother she fell sick—my Jamie was at sea—
And auld Robin Gray, oh! he came a-courting me,
My father cou’dna work—my mother cou’dna spin;
I toil’d day and night, but their bread I cou’dna win;
Auld Rob maintained them baith, and, wi’ tears in his ee,
Said, “Jenny, oh! for their sakes, will you marry me?”
My heart it said na, and I look’d for Jamie back;
But hard blew the winds, and his ship was a wrack:
His ship it was a wrack! Why didna Jamie dee?
Or, wherefore am I spar’d to cry out, Woe is me!
My father argued sair—my mother didna speak,
But she look’d in my face till my heart was like to break;
They gied him my hand, but my heart was in the sea;
And so auld Robin Gray, he was gudeman to me.
I hadna been his wife a week but only four,
When mournfu’ as I sat on the stane at my door,
I saw my Jamie’s ghaist—I cou’dna think it he,
Till he said, “I’m come hame, my love, to marry thee!”
O sair, sair did we greet, and mickle say of a’;
Ae kiss we took, nae mair—I bad him gang awa.
I wish that I were dead, but I’m no like to dee;
For O, I am but young to cry out, Woe is me!
I gang like a ghaist, and I carena much to spin;
I darena think o’ Jamie, for that wad be a sin.
But I will do my best a gude wife aye to be,
For auld Robin Gray, oh! he is sae kind to me.

The great and remarkable merit of Mr. Dyce is, that in this beautifully printed volume, he has reared imperishable columns to the honour of the sex, without a questionable trophy. His “specimens” are an assemblage so individually charming, that the mind is delighted by every part whereon the eye rests, and scrupulosity itself cannot make a single rejection on pretence of inadequate merit. He comes as a rightful herald, marshalling the perfections of each poetess, and discriminating with so much delicacy, that each of his pages is a page of honour to a high-born grace, or dignified beauty. His book is an elegant tribute to departed and living female genius; and while it claims respect from every lady in the land for its gallantry to the fair, its intrinsic worth is sure to force it into every well-appointed library.


[47] The text of the corrected copy is followed.

[48] “I must also mention” (says lady Anne, in the letter already quoted) “the laird of Dalziel’s advice, who, in a tête-à-tête, afterwards said, ‘My dear, the next time you sing that song, try to change the words a wee bit, and instead of singing, ‘To make the crown a pound, my Jamie gaed to sea,’ say, to make it twenty merks, for a Scottish pund is but twenty pence, and Jamie was na such a gowk as to leave Jenny and gang to sea to lessen his gear. It is that line [whisper’d he] that tells me that sang was written by some bonnie lassie that didna ken the value of the Scots money quite so well as an auld writer in the town of Edinburgh would have kent it.’”


[I-203,
I-204]

Hiring Servants at a Statute Fair.

Hiring Servants at a Statute Fair.

This engraving may illustrate Mr. Pare’s account of the Warwickshire “statute” or “mop,”[49] and the general appearance of similar fairs for hiring servants. Even in London, bricklayers, and other house-labourers, still carry their respective implements to the places where they stand for hire: for which purpose they assemble in great numbers in Cheapside and at Charing-cross, every morning, at five or six o’clock. It is further worthy of observation, that, in old Rome, there were particular spots in which servants applied for hire.

Dr. Plott, speaking of the Statutes for hiring servants, says, that at Bloxham the carters stood with their whips in one place, and the shepherds with their crooks in another; but the maids, as far as he could observe, stood promiscuously. He adds, that this custom seems as old as our Saviour; and refers to Matt. xx. 3, “And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market-place.”

In the statistical account of Scotland, it is said that, at the parish of Wamphray, “Hiring fairs are much frequented: those who are to hire wear a green sprig in their hat: and it is very seldom that servants will hire in any other place.”

Of ancient chartered fairs may be instanced as an example, the fair of St. Giles’s Hill or Down, near Winchester, which William the Conqueror instituted and gave as a kind of revenue to the bishop of Winchester. It was at first for three days, but afterwards by Henry III., prolonged to sixteen days. Its jurisdiction extended seven miles round, and comprehended even Southampton, then a capital and trading town. Merchants who sold wares at that time within that circuit forfeited them to the bishop. Officers were placed at a considerable distance, at bridges and other avenues of access to the fair, to exact toll of all merchandise passing that way. In the mean time, all shops in [I-205,
I-206]
the city of Winchester were shut. A court, called the pavilion, composed of the bishop’s justiciaries and other officers, had power to try causes of various sorts for seven miles round. The bishop had a toll of every load or parcel of goods passing through the gates of the city. On St. Giles’s eve the mayor, bailiffs, and citizens of Winchester delivered the keys of the four gates to the bishop’s officers. Many and extraordinary were the privileges granted to the bishop on this occasion, all tending to obstruct trade and to oppress the people. Numerous foreign merchants frequented this fair; and several streets were formed in it, assigned to the sale of different commodities. The surrounding monasteries had shops or houses in these streets, used only at the fair; which they held under the bishop, and often let by lease for a term of years. Different counties had their different stations.

According to a curious record of the establishment and expenses of the household of Henry Percy, the fifth earl of Northumberland, A.D. 1512, the stores of his lordship’s house at Wresille, for the whole year, were laid in from fairs. The articles were “wine, wax, beiffes, muttons, wheite, and malt.” This proves that fairs were then the principal marts for purchasing necessaries in large quantities, which are now supplied by frequent trading towns: and the mention of “beiffes and muttons,” (which are salted oxen and sheep,) shows that at so late a period they knew little of breeding cattle.

The monks of the priories of Maxtoke in Warwickshire, and of Bicester in Oxfordshire, in the time of Henry VI., appear to have laid in yearly stores of various, yet common necessaries, at the fair of Stourbridge, in Cambridgeshire, at least one hundred miles distant from either monastery.


[49] At p. 171.


February 14.
VALENTINE’S DAY.

Now each fond youth who ere essay’d
An effort in the tinkling trade,
Resumes to day; and writes and blots
About true-love and true-love’s-knots;
And opens veins in ladies’ hearts;
(Or steels ’em) with two cris-cross darts,—
(There must be two)
Stuck through (and through)
His own: and then to s’cure ’em better
He doubles up his single letter—
Type of his state,
(Perchance a hostage
To double fate)
For single postage
Emblem of his and my Cupidity;
With p’rhaps like happy end—stupidity.

French Valentines.

Menage, in his Etymological Dictionary, has accounted for the term “Valentine,” by stating that Madame Royale, daughter of Henry the Fourth of France, having built a palace near Turin, which, in honour of the saint, then in high esteem, she called the Valentine, at the first entertainment which she gave in it, was pleased to order that the ladies should receive their lovers for the year by lots, reserving to herself the privilege of being independent of chance, and of choosing her own partner. At the various balls which this gallant princess gave during the year, it was directed that each lady should receive a nosegay from her lover, and that, at every tournament, the knight’s trappings for his horse should be furnished by his allotted mistress, with this proviso, that the prize obtained should be hers. This custom, says Menage, occasioned the parties to be called “Valentines.”[50]


An elegant writer, in a journal of the present month, prepares for the annual festival with the following

LEGEND OF ST. VALENTINE.

From Britain’s realm, in olden time,
By the strong power of truths sublime.
The pagan rites were banish’d;
And, spite of Greek and Roman lore,
Each god and goddess, fam’d of yore,
From grove and altar vanish’d.
And they (as sure became them best)
To Austin and Paulinius’ hest
Obediently submitted,
And left the land without delay—
Save Cupid, who still held a sway
Too strong to passively obey,
Or be by saints outwitted.
For well the boy-god knew that he
Was far too potent, e’er to be
Depos’d and exil’d quietly
From his belov’d dominion;
And sturdily the urchin swore
He ne’er, to leave the British shore,
Would move a single pinion.
[I-207,
I-208]
The saints at this were sadly vex’d,
And much their holy brains perplex’d,
To bring the boy to reason;
And, when they found him bent to stay,
They built up convent-walls straightway,
And put poor Love in prison.
But Cupid, though a captive made,
Soon met, within a convent shade,
New subjects in profusion:
Albeit he found his pagan name
Was heard by pious maid and dame
With horror and confusion.
For all were there demure and coy,
And deem’d a rebel heathen boy
A most unsaintly creature;
But Cupid found a way with ease
His slyest vot’ries tastes to please,
And yet not change a feature.
For, by his brightest dart, the elf
Affirm’d he’d turn a saint himself,
To make their scruples lighter;
So gravely hid his dimpled smiles,
His wreathed locks, and playful wiles,
Beneath a bishop’s mitre.
Then Christians rear’d the boy a shrine.
And youths invok’d Saint Valentine
To bless their annual passion;
And maidens still his name revere,
And, smiling, hail his day each year—
A day to village lovers dear,
Though saints are out of fashion.

A. S.

Monthly Magazine.


Another is pleased to treat the prevailing topic of the day as one of those “whims and oddities,” which exceedingly amuse the reading world, and make e’en sighing lovers smile.

SONG
For the 14th of February.
By a General Lover.

“Mille gravem telis exhaustâ pene pharetrâ.”
Apollo has peep’d through the shutter,
And waken’d the witty and fair;
The boarding-school belle’s in a flutter,
The twopenny post’s in despair:
The breath of the morning is flinging
A magic on blossom, on spray;
And cockneys and sparrows are singing
In chorus on Valentine’s Day.
Away with ye, dreams of disaster,
Away with ye, visions of law,
Of cases I never shall master,
Of pleadings I never shall draw:
Away with ye, parchments and papers.
Red tapes, unread volumes, away;
It gives a fond lover the vapours
To see you on Valentine’s Day.
I’ll sit in my nightcap, like Hayley,
I’ll sit with my arms crost, like Spain,
Till joys, which are vanishing daily,
Come back in their lustre again:
Oh, shall I look over the waters,
Or shall I look over the way,
For the brightest and best of Earth’s daughters,
To rhyme to on Valentine’s Day?
Shall I crown with my worship, for fame’s sake,
Some goddess whom Fashion has starr’d,
Make puns on Miss Love and her namesake.
Or pray for a pas with Brocard?
Shall I flirt, in romantic idea,
With Chester’s adorable clay,
Or whisper in transport, “Si mea[51]
Cum Vestris——” on Valentine’s Day?
Shall I kneel to a Sylvia or Celia,
Whom no one e’er saw or may see,
A fancy-drawn Laura Amelia,
An ad libit. Anna Marie?
Shall I court an initial with stars to it,
Go mad for a G. or a J.
Get Bishop to put a few bars to it,
And print it on Valentine’s Day?
Alas! ere I’m properly frantic
With some such pure figment as this.
Some visions, not quite so romantic,
Start up to demolish the bliss;
Some Will o’ the Wisp in a bonnet
Still leads my lost wit quite astray,
Till up to my ears in a sonnet
I sink upon Valentine’s Day.
The Dian I half bought a ring for,
On seeing her thrown in the ring;
The Naiad I took such a spring for,
From Waterloo Bridge, in the spring;
The trembler I saved from a robber, on
My walk to the Champs Elysée!—
The warbler that fainted at Oberon,
Three months before Valentine’s Day.
The gipsy I once had a spill with,
Bad lack to the Paddington team!
The countess I chanced to be ill with
From Dover to Calais by steam;
The lass that makes tea for Sir Stephen,
The lassie that brings in the tray;
It’s odd—but the betting is even
Between them on Valentine’s Day.
The white hands I help’d in their nutting;
The fair neck I cloak’d in the rain;
The bright eyes that thank’d me for cutting
My friend in Emmanuel-lane;
The Blue that admires Mr. Barrow;
The Saint that adores Lewis Way;
The Nameless that dated from Harrow
Three couplets last Valentine’s Day.
I think not of Laura the witty,
For, oh! she is married at York!
I sigh not for Rose of the City,
For, ah! she is buried at Cork!
[I-209,
I-210]
Adèle has a braver and better
To say what I never could say;
Louise cannot construe a letter
Of English on Valentine’s Day.
So perish the leaves in the arbour,
The tree is all bare in the blast!
Like a wreck that is drifting to harbour,
I come to thee, Lady, at last.
Where art thou so lovely and lonely?
Though idle the lute and the lay,
The lute and the lay are thine only,
My fairest, on Valentine’s Day.
For thee I have open’d my Blackstone,
For thee I have shut up myself;
Exchanged my long curls for a Caxton,
And laid my short whist on the shelf;
For thee I have sold my old Sherry,
For thee I have burn’d my new play;
And I grow philosophical—very!
Except upon Valentine’s Day.

Φ

New Monthly Magazine.


In the poems of Elizabeth Trefusis there is a “Valentine” with an expression of feeling which may well conclude the extracts already produced.

When to Love’s influence woman yields,
She loves for life! and daily feels
Progressive tenderness!—each hour
Confirms, extends, the tyrant’s power!
Her lover is her god! her fate!—
Vain pleasures, riches, worldly state,
Are trifles all!—each sacrifice
Becomes a dear and valued prize,
If made for him, e’en tho’ he proves
Forgetful of their former loves.

[50] Dr. Drake’s Shakspeare and his Times. See also the Every-Day Book for large particulars of the day.

[51] “Si mea cum Vestris valuissent vota!”—Ovid, Met.


AIR AND EXERCISE
For Ladies.

There is a notion, that air spoils the complexion. It is possible, that an exposure to all weathers might do so; though if a gipsy beauty is to be said to have a bad complexion, it is one we are very much inclined to be in love with. A russeton apple has its beauty as well as a peach. At all events, a spoilt complexion of this sort is accompanied with none of the melancholy attending the bad complexions that arise from late hours, and spleen, and plodding, and indolence, and indigestion. Fresh air puts a wine in the blood that lasts from morning to night, and not merely for an hour or two after dinner. If ladies would not carry buttered toast in their cheeks, instead of roses, they must shake the blood in their veins, till it spins clear. Cheerfulness itself helps to make good blood; and air and exercise make cheerfulness. When it is said, that air spoils the complexion, it is not meant that breathing it does so, but exposure to it. We are convinced it is altogether a fallacy, and that nothing but a constant exposure to the extremes of heat and cold has any such effect. The not breathing the fresh air is confessedly injurious; and this might be done much oftener than is supposed. People might oftener throw up their windows, or admit the air partially, and with an effect sensible only to the general feelings. We find, by repeated experiments, that we can write better and longer with the admission of air into our study. We have learnt also, by the same experience, to prefer a large study to a small one; and here the rich, it must be confessed, have another advantage over us. They pass their days in large airy rooms—in apartments that are field and champain, compared to the closets that we dignify with the name of parlours and drawing-rooms. A gipsy and they are in this respect, and in many others, more on a footing; and the gipsy beauty and the park beauty enjoy themselves accordingly. Can we look at that extraordinary race of persons—we mean the gipsies—and not recognise the wonderful physical perfection to which they are brought, solely by their exemption from some of our most inveterate notions, and by dint of living constantly in the fresh air? Read any of the accounts that are given of them, even by writers the most opposed to their way of life, and you will find these very writers refuting themselves and their proposed ameliorations by confessing that no human beings can be better formed, or healthier, or happier than the gipsies, so long as they are kept out of the way of towns and their sophistications. A suicide is not known among them. They are as merry as the larks with which they rise; have the use of their limbs to a degree unknown among us, except by our new friends the gymnasts; and are as sharp in their faculties as the perfection of their frames can render them. A glass of brandy puts them into a state of unbearable transport. It is a superfluous bliss; wine added to wine: and the old learn to do themselves mischief with it, and level their condition with stockbrokers and politicians. Yet these are the people whom some wiseacres are for turning into bigots and manufacturers. They had much better take them for what [I-211,
I-212]
they are, and for what Providence seems to have intended them—a memorandum to keep alive among us the belief in nature, and a proof to what a physical state of perfection the human being can be brought, solely by inhaling her glorious breath, and being exempt from our laborious mistakes. If the intelligent and the gipsy life could ever be brought more together, by any rational compromise, (and we do not despair of it, when we see that calculators begin to philosophize,) men might attain the greatest perfection of which they are capable. Meanwhile the gipsies have the advantage of it, if faces are any index of health and comfort. A gipsy with an eye fit for a genius, it is not difficult to meet with; but where shall we find a genius, or even a fundholder, with the cheek and health of a gipsy?

There is a fact well known to physicians, which settles at once the importance of fresh air to beauty, as well as health. It is, that in proportion as people stay at home, and do not set their lungs playing as they ought, the blood becomes dark, and lags in its current; whereas the habit of inhaling the air out of doors reddens it like a ruby, and makes it clear and brisk. Now the darker the blood, the more melancholy the sensations, and the worse the complexion.

It is common with persons who inherit a good stock of health from their ancestors, to argue that they take no particular pains to preserve it, and yet are well. This may be true; and it is also true, that there is a painstaking to that effect, which is superfluous and morbid, and helps to do more harm than good. But it does not follow from either of these truths, that a neglect of the rational means of retaining health will ultimately be good for any body. Healthy people may live a good while upon their stock. Children are in the habit of doing it. But healthy children, especially those who are foolishly treated upon an assumption that health consists in being highly fed, and having great beef-eating cheeks, very often turn out sickly at last; and grown-up people, for the most part, at least in great towns, have as little really good health, as children in general are given credit for the reverse. Nature does indeed provide liberally for abuses; but the abuse will be felt at last. It is generally felt a long while before it is acknowledged. Then comes age, with all its train of regrets and superstitions; and the beauty and the man, besides a world perhaps of idle remorse, which they would not feel but for their perverted blood, could eat their hearts out for having been such fools as not to secure a continuance of good looks and manly feelings, for want of a little handsome energy.

The ill taste of existence that is so apt to come upon people in middle life, is too often attributed to moral causes. Moral they are, but very often not in the sense imagined. Whatever causes be mixed up with them, the greatest of all is, in ninety-nine instances out of a hundred, no better or grander than a non-performance of the common duties of health. Many a fine lady takes a surfeit for a tender distress; and many a real sufferer, who is haunted by a regret, or takes himself for the most ill-used of bilious old gentlemen, might trace the loftiest of his woes to no better origin than a series of ham-pies, or a want of proper use of his boots and umbrella.[52]


[52] New Monthly Magazine.


A SONG.

Young Joe, he was a carman gay,
As any town could show;
His team was good, and, like his pence,
Was always on the go;
A thing, as every jackass knows,
Which often leads to wo!
It fell out that he fell in love,
By some odd chance or whim,
With Alice Payne—beside whose eyes
All other eyes were dim:
The painful tale must out—indeed,
She was A Pain to him.
For, when he ask’d her civilly
To make one of they two,
She whipp’d her tongue across her teeth,
And said, “D’ye think it true,
I’d trust my load of life with sich
A waggoner as you?
“No, no—to be a carman’s wife
Will ne’er suit Alice Payne;
I’d better far a lone woman
For evermore remain,
Than have it said, while in my youth,
My life is on the wain!
“Oh, Alice Payne! Oh, Alice Payne!
Why won’t you meet with me?”
Then up she curl’d her nose, and said,
“Go axe your axletree;
I tell you, Joe, this—once for all—
My joe you shall not be.”
She spoke the fatal “no,” which put
A spoke into his wheel—
And stopp’d his happiness, as though
She’d cry wo! to his weal:—
These women ever steal our hearts,
And then their own they steel.

[I-213,
I-214]

So round his melancholy neck
Poor Joe his drag-chain tied,
And hook’d it on a hook—“Oh! what
A weight is life!” he cried;
Then off he cast himself—and thus
The cast-off carman died!
Howbeit, as his son was set,
(Poor Joe!) at set of sun,
They laid him in his lowly grave,
And gravely that was done;
And she stood by, and laugh’d outright—
How wrong—the guilty one!
But the day of retribution comes
Alike to prince and hind,
As surely as the summer’s sun
Must yield to wintry wind:
Alas! she did not mind his peace—
So she’d no peace of mind.
For when she sought her bed of rest,
Her rest was all on thorns;
And there another lover stood,
Who wore a pair of horns:
His little tiny feet were cleft,
And cloven, like a fawn’s;
His face and garb were dark and black,
As daylight to the blind;
And a something undefinable
Around his skirt was twin’d—
As if he wore, like other pigs,
His pigtail out behind.
His arms, though less than other men’s,
By no means harm-less were:
Dark elfin locks en lock’d his brow—
You might not call them hair;
And, oh! it was a gas-tly sight
To see his eye-balls glare.
And ever, as the midnight bell
Twelve awful strokes had toll’d,
That dark man by her bedside stood,
Whilst all her blood run cold;
And ever and anon he cried,
“I could a tail unfold!”
And so her strength of heart grew less,
For heart-less she had been;
And on her pallid cheek a small
Red hectic spot was seen:
You could not say her life was spent
Without a spot, I wean.
And they who mark’d that crimson light
Well knew the treach’rous bloom—
A light that shines, alas! alas!
To light us to our tomb:
They said ’twas like thy cross, St. Paul’s,
The signal of her doom.
And so it prov’d—she lost her health,
When breath she needed most—
Just as the winning horse gets blown
Close by the winning-post.
The ghost, he gave up plaguing her—
So she gave up the ghost.

H. L.


London.
MODERN IMPROVEMENTS.

In the annals of the world there have never been such rapid changes and such vast improvements as have occurred in this metropolis during the last seven years. We have no occasion now to refer to Pennant to produce exclamations of surprise at the wonderful changes in London; our own recollections are sufficient. Oxford-street seems half a mile nearer to Charing Cross than in the days of our youth. Swallow-street, with all the dirty courts in its vicinity, have been swallowed up, and replaced by one of the most magnificent streets in Europe; a street, which may vie with the Calle d’Alcala in Madrid, with the Quartier du Chapeau Rouge at Bourdeaux, or the Place de Louis Quinze at Paris. We must, for the present, overlook the defects of the architectural detail of this street, in the contemplation of the great and general improvement which its construction has produced in the metropolis.

Other streets are proposed by the same active genius under which Regent-street has been accomplished; the vile houses which surrounded and hid the finest portico in London—that of St. Martin’s church—are already taken down; a square is to be formed round this building, with two large openings into the Strand, and plans are already in agitation to lay open other churches in the same manner. Even the economical citizens have given us a peep at St. Bride’s—being ashamed again to hide beauties which accident had given them an opportunity of displaying to greater advantage. One street is projected from Charing Cross to the British Museum, terminating in a square, of which the church in Hart-street is to form the centre; another is intended to lead to the same point from Waterloo-bridge, by which this structure, which is at present almost useless, will become the great connecting thoroughfare between the north and south sides of the Thames: this street is, indeed, a desideratum to the proprietors of the bridge, as well as to the public at large. Carlton-house is already being taken down—by which means Regent-street will terminate at the south end, with a view of St. James’s Park, in the same manner as it does at the north end, by an opening into the Regent’s Park.

Such is the general outline of the late and the projected improvements in the heart of the metropolis; but they have not stopped here. The king has been decorating [I-215,
I-216]
Hyde Park with lodges, designed by Mr. Decimus Burton, which are really gems in architecture, and stand unrivalled for proportion, chasteness, and simplicity, amidst the architectural productions of the age.

Squares are already covering the extensive property of lord Grosvenor in the fields of Chelsea and Pimlico; and crescents and colonnades are planned, by the architect to the bishop of London, on the ground belonging to the diocese at Bayswater.

But all suburban improvements sink into insignificance, when compared with what has been projected and attained within the last seven years in the Regent’s Park. This new city of palaces has appeared to have started into existence like the event of a fairy tale. Every week showed traces of an Aladdin hand in its progress, till, to our astonishment, we ride through streets, squares, crescents, and terraces, where we the other day saw nothing but pasture land and Lord’s-cricket-ground;—a barn is replaced by a palace—and buildings are constructed, one or two of which may vie with the proudest efforts of Greece and Rome.

The projector, with true taste, has called the beauties of landscape to the aid of architectural embellishment; and we accordingly find groves, and lawns, and streams intersecting the numerous ranges of terraces and villas; while nature, as though pleased at the efforts of art, seems to have exerted herself with extraordinary vigour to emulate and second the efforts of the artist.

In so many buildings, and amidst so much variety, there must, consequently, be many different degrees of architectural excellence, and many defects in architectural composition; but, taken as a whole, and the short time occupied in its accomplishment, the Regent’s Park may be considered as one of the most extraordinary creations of architecture that has ever been witnessed. It is the only speculation of the sort where elegance seems to have been considered equally with profit in the disposition of the ground. The buildings are not crowded together with an avaricious determination to create as much frontage as possible; and we cannot bestow too much praise on the liberality with which the projector has given up so much space to the squares, roads, and plantations, by which he has certainly relinquished many sources of profit for the pleasure and convenience of the public.

It is in the contemplation of these additions and improvements to our metropolis, that we doubly feel the blessings and effects of that peace which has enabled the government, as well as private individuals, to attempt to make London worthy of the character it bears in the scale of cities; and we are happy now to feel proud of the architectural beauty, as we always have of the commercial influence, of our metropolis.[53]


[53] Monthly Magazine.


THE SPELLS OF HOME.

There blend the ties that strengthen
Our hearts in hours of grief,
The silver links that lengthen
Joys visits when most brief!
Then, dost thou sigh for pleasure?
O! do not widely roam!
But seek that hidden treasure
At home, dear home!

Bernard Barton.


By the soft green light in the woody glade,
On the banks of moss where thy childhood play’d;
By the waving tree thro’ which thine eye
First look’d in love to the summer sky;
By the dewy gleam, by the very breath
Of the primrose-tufts in the grass beneath,
Upon thy heart there is laid a spell—
Holy and precious—oh! guard it well!
By the sleepy ripple of the stream,
Which hath lull’d thee into many a dream;
By the shiver of the ivy-leaves,
To the wind of morn at thy casement-eaves;
By the bees’ deep murmur in the limes,
By the music of the Sabbath-chimes;
By every sound of thy native shade,
Stronger and dearer the spell is made.
By the gathering round the winter hearth,
When twilight call’d unto household mirth,
By the fairy tale or the legend old
In that ring of happy faces told;
By the quiet hours when hearts unite
In the parting prayer, and the kind “good-night;”
By the smiling eye and the loving tone,
Over thy life has the spell been thrown.
And bless that gift!—it hath gentle might,
A guardian power and a guiding light!
It hath led the freeman forth to stand
In the mountain-battles of his land;
It hath brought the wanderer o’er the seas,
To die on the hills of his own fresh breeze;
And back to the gates of his father’s hall,
It hath won the weeping prodigal.
Yes! when thy heart in its pride would stray,
From the loves of its guileless youth away;
When the sullying breath of the world would come,
O’er the flowers it brought from its childhood’s home;
[I-217,
I-218]
Think thou again of the woody glade,
And the sound by the rustling ivy made;
Think of the tree at thy parent’s door,
And the kindly spell shall have power once more!

F. H.

Monthly Magazine.


BOOKS.

’Twere well with most, if books, that could engage
Their childhood, pleased them at a riper age;
The man approving what had charmed the boy,
Would die at last in comfort, peace, and joy;
And not with curses on his art, who stole
The gem of truth from his unguarded soul.

Cowper.

If there be one word in our language, beyond all others teeming with delightful associations, Books is that word. At that magic name what vivid retrospections of by-gone times, what summer days of unalloyed happiness “when life was new,” rush on the memory! even now the spell retains its power to charm: the beloved of my youth is the solace of my declining years: such is the enduring nature of an early attachment to literature.

The first book that inspired me with a taste for reading, was Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress; never shall I forget the intense emotion with which I perused this pious and interesting fiction: the picturesque descriptions and quaint moralities blended with this fine allegory, heightened the enchantment, which to a youthful and fervid imagination, “unsated yet with garbage,” was complete. From henceforward my bias was determined; the passion grew with my growth, and strengthened with my strength; and I devoured all the books that fell in my way, as if “appetite increased by what it fed on.” My next step was,—I commenced collector. Smile, if you will, reader, but admire the benevolence of creative wisdom, by which the means of happiness are so nicely adjusted to the capacity for enjoyment: for, slender, as in those days were my finances, I much doubt if the noble possessor of the unique edition of Boccaccio, marched off with his envied prize at the cost of two thousand four hundred pounds, more triumphantly, than I did with my sixpenny pamphlet, or dog’s eared volume, destined to form the nucleus of my future library.

The moral advantages arising out of a love of books are so obvious, that to enlarge upon such a topic might be deemed a gratuitous parade of truisms; I shall therefore proceed to offer a few observations, as to the best modes of deriving both pleasure and improvement from the cultivation of this most fascinating and intellectual of all pursuits. Lord Bacon says, with his usual discrimination, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested;” this short sentence comprises the whole practical wisdom of the subject, and in like manner by an extension of the principle, the choice of a library must be regulated. “Few books, well selected, are best,” is a maxim useful to all, but more especially to young collectors: for let it be remembered, that economy in our pleasures invariably tends to enlarge the sphere of our enjoyments. Fuller remarks, “that it is a vanity to persuade the world one hath much learning by getting a great library;” and the supposition is equally erroneous, that a large collection necessarily implies a good one. The truth is, were we to discard all the works of a mere temporary interest, and of solemn trifling, that incumber the fields of literature, the magnitude of numerous vast libraries would suddenly shrink into most diminutive dimensions, for the number of good original authors is comparatively few; study therefore quality rather than quantity in the selection of your books. As regards the luxuries of the library, keep a rigid watch upon your inclinations; for though it must not be denied that there is a rational pleasure in seeing a favourite author elegantly attired, nothing is more ridiculous than this taste pushed to the extreme; for then this refined pursuit degenerates into a mere hobbyhorse, and once fairly mounted, good-by to prudence and common sense! The Bibliomaniac is thus pleasantly satirized by an old poet in the “Shyp of Fooles.”

Styll am I besy bok assemblynge,
For to have plenty it is a pleasaunt thynge
In my conceit, and to have them ay in hand,
But what they mene do I not understande!

When we survey our well-furnished bookshelves, the first thought that suggests itself, is the immortality of intellect. Here repose the living monuments of those master spirits destined to sway the empire of mind; the historian, the philosopher, and the poet, “of imagination all compact!” and while the deeds of mighty conquerors hurry down the stream of oblivion, the works of these men survive to after-ages; are enshrined in the memories of a grateful posterity, and finally stamp upon [I-219,
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national character the permanent impress of their genius.

Happy we, who are early taught to cherish the society of these silent friends, ever ready to amuse without importunity, and instruct without the austerity of reproof. Let us rest assured that it is “mind that makes the body rich,” and that in the cultivation of our intellect we secure an inexhaustible store of present gratification, and a source of pleasurable recollections which will never fail to cheer the evening of life.

J. H.


ETIQUETTE.

Philosophy may rave as it will, “little things are great to little men,” and the less the man, the greater is the object. A king at arms is, in his own estimation, the greatest king in Europe, and a German baron is not more punctilious than a master of the ceremonies. The first desire with all men is power, the next is the semblance of power; and it is perhaps a happy dispensation that those who are cut off from the substantial rights of the citizen, should find a compensation in the “decorations” of the slave; as in all other moral cases the vices of the individual are repressed by those of the rest of the community. The pride of Diogenes trampled on the pride of Plato; and the vanity of the excluded may be trusted for keeping within bounds the vanity of the preeminent and the privileged. The great enemy, however, of etiquette is civilisation, which is incessantly at work, simplifying society. Knowledge, by opening our eyes to the substances of things, defends us from the juggle of forms; and Napoleon, when he called a throne a mere chair, with gilt nails driven into it, epitomised one of the most striking results of the revolutionary contest. Strange that he should have overlooked or disregarded the fact in the erection of his own institutions! Ceremonial is a true paper currency, and passes only as far as it will be taken. The representative of a thousand pounds, unbacked by credit, is a worthless rag of paper, and the highest decoration which the king can confer, if repudiated by opinion, is but a piece of blue riband. Here indeed the sublime touches the ridiculous, for who shall draw the line of demarcation between my lord Grizzle and the gold stick? between Mr. Dymock, in Westminster-hall, and his representative “on a real horse” at Covent-garden?—Every day the intercourse of society is becoming more and more easy, and a man of fashion is as little likely to be ceremonious in trifles, as to appear in the costume of sir Charles Grandison, or to take up the quarrels of lord Herbert of Cherbury.[54]


[54] New Monthly Magazine.


INDICATIONS.
Written in the Frost.
For the Table Book.

I know that the weather’s severe, by the noses
That run between eyes smartly lash’d by the fair;
By the coxcombs that muff-led are smiling at roses
Got into the cheeks, and got out of the air.
By the skates, (slipp’ry fish) for the Serpentine’s Fleet
By the rise of the coal; by the shot-birds that fall
By the chilly old people that creep to the heat;
And the ivy-green branches that creep to the wall.
By the chorus of boys sliding over the river,
The grumbles of men sliding over the flags;
The beggars, poor wretches! half naked, that shiver!
The sportsmen, poor horsemen! turn’d out on their nags!
By the snow standing over the plant and the fountain;
The chilbain-tribes, whose understanding is weak;
The wild-ducks of the valley, the drift of the mountain,
And, like Niobé, street-plugs all tears from the Creek:
And I know, by the icelets from nature’s own shops,
By the fagots just cut, and the cutting wind’s tone,
That the weather will freeze half the world if it stops,
If it goes, it will thaw t’other half to the bone.

Jan 27. *, *, P.


ADOPTION.

There is a singular system in France relative to the adoption of children. A family who has none, adopts as their own a fine child belonging to a friend, or more generally to some poor person, (for the laws of population in the poor differ from those in the rich;) the adoption is regularly enregistered by the civil authorities, and the child becomes heir-at-law to the property of its new parents, and cannot be disinherited by any subsequent caprice of the parties; they are bound to support it suitably to their rank, and do every thing due to their offspring.[55]


[55] New Monthly Magazine.


A Royal Simile.

“Queen Elizabeth was wont to say, upon the commission of sales, that the commissioners used her like strawberry-wives, that laid two or three great strawberries at the mouth of their pottle, and all the rest were little ones; so they made her two or three great prices of the first particulars, but fell straightways.”[56]


[56] Apophthegms Antiq.


[I-221,
I-222]

Vol. I.—8.

Blind Hannah.

Blind Hannah.

Sightless, and gently led her unseen round,
She daily creeps, and draws a soothing sound
Of Psalmody, from out her viol’ strings,
To company some plaintive words she sings.

*

This young woman sojourns in the neighbourhood of the ancient scene of the “Pretty Bessee” and her old father, the “Blind Beggar of Bethnal-green”—

“His marks and his tokens were known full well,
He always was led with a dog and a bell.”

Her name is Hannah Brentford. She is an inhabitant of Bunhill-row, twenty-four years old, and has been blind from the time she had the small-pox, two and twenty years ago. She sings hymns, and accompanies herself on the violin. Her manner is to “give out” two lines of words, and chant them to “a quiet tune;” and then she gives out another two lines; and so she proceeds till the composition is finished. Her voice, and the imitative strains of her instrument, are one chord of ’plaining sound, beautifully touching. She supports herself, and an aged mother, on the alms of passengers in the streets of Finsbury, who “please to bestow their charity on the blind”—“the poor blind.” They who are not pierced by her “sightless eye-balls” have no sight: they who are unmoved by her virginal melody have “ears, and they hear not.” Her eyes are of agate—she is one of the “poor stone blind”—

“most musical, most melancholy.”

[I-223,
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Garrick Plays.
No. V.

[From “Arden of Feversham his true and lamentable Tragedy,” Author unknown. 1592.]

Alice Arden with Mosbie her Paramour conspire the murder of her Husband.

Mos. How now, Alice, what sad and passionate?
Make me partaker of thy pensiveness;
Fire divided burns with lesser force.
Al. But I will dam that fire in my breast,
Till by the force thereof my part consume.
Ah Mosbie!
Mos. Such deep pathaires, like to a cannon’s burst,
Discharged against a ruinated wall,
Breaks my relenting heart in thousand pieces.
Ungentle Alice, thy sorrow is my sore;
Thou know’st it will, and ’tis thy policy
To forge distressful looks, to wound a breast
Where lies a heart which dies when thou art sad.
It is not Love that loves to anger Love.
Al. It is not Love that loves to murther Love.
Mos. How mean you that?
Al. Thou know’st how dearly Arden loved me.
Mos. And then——
Al. And then—conceal the rest, for ’tis too bad,
Lest that my words be carried to the wind,
And publish’d in the world to both our shames.
I pray thee, Mosbie, let our springtime wither;
Our harvest else will yield but loathsome weeds.
Forget, I pray thee, what has past betwixt us;
For now I blush and tremble at the thoughts.
Mos. What, are you changed?
Al. Aye, to my former happy life again;
From title of an odious strumpet’s name
To honest Arden’s wife, not Arden’s honest wife—
Ha Mosbie! ’tis thou hast rifled me of that,
And made me slanderous to all my kin.
Even in my forehead is thy name engraven,
A mean Artificer, that low-born name!
I was bewitcht; woe-worth the hapless hour
And all the causes that enchanted me.
Mos. Nay, if thou ban, let me breathe curses forth;
And if you stand so nicely at your fame,
Let me repent the credit I have lost.
I have neglected matters of import,
That would have ’stated me above thy state;
For-slow’d advantages, and spurn’d at time;
Aye, Fortune’s right hand Mosbie hath forsook,
To take a wanton giglot by the left.
I left the marriage of an honest maid,
Whose dowry would have weigh’d down all thy wealth;
Whose beauty and demeanour far exceeded thee.
This certain good I lost for changing bad,
And wrapt my credit in thy company.
I was bewitcht; that is no theme of thine;
And thou unhallow’d hast enchanted me.
But I will break thy spells and exorcisms,
And put another sight upon these eyes,
That shew’d my heart a raven for a dove.
Thou art not fair; I view’d thee not till now:
Thou art not kind; till now I knew thee not:
And now the rain hath beaten off thy gilt,
Thy worthless copper shews thee counterfeit.
It grieves me not to see how foul thou art,
But mads me that ever I thought thee fair.
Go, get thee gone, a copesmate for thy hinds;
I am too good to be thy favourite.
Al. Aye, now I see, and too soon find it true,
Which often hath been told me by my friends,
That Mosbie loves me not but for my wealth;
Which too incredulous I ne’er believed.
Nay, hear me speak, Mosbie, a word or two;
I’ll bite my tongue if I speak bitterly.
Look on me, Mosbie, or else I’ll kill myself.
Nothing shall hide me from thy stormy look;
If thou cry War, there is no Peace for me.
I will do penance for offending thee;
And burn this Prayer Book, which I here use,
The Holy Word that has converted me.
See, Mosbie, I will tear away the leaves,
And all the leaves; and in this golden Cover
Shall thy sweet phrases and thy letters dwell,
And thereon will I chiefly meditate,
And hold no other sect but such devotion.
Wilt thou not look? is all thy Love o’erwhelm’d?
Wilt thou not hear? what malice stops thy ears?
Why speakst thou not? what silence ties thy tongue?
Thou hast been sighted as the Eagle is,
And heard as quickly as the fearful Hare
And spoke as smoothly as an Orator,
When I have bid thee hear, or see, or speak:
And art thou sensible in none of these?
Weigh all thy good turns with this little fault,
And I deserve not Mosbie’s muddy looks.
A fence of trouble is not thicken’d still;
Be clear again; I’ll ne’er more trouble thee.
Mos. O fie, no; I’m a base artificer;
My wings are feather’d for a lowly flight.
Mosbie, fie, no; not for a thousand pound
Make love to you; why, tis unpardonable.
We Beggars must not breathe, where Gentiles are.
Al. Sweet Mosbie is as Gentle as a King,
And I too blind to judge him otherwise.
Flowers sometimes spring in fallow lands;
Weeds in gardens, Roses grow on thorns:
So, whatsoe’er my Mosbie’s father was,
Himself is valued Gentle by his worth.
Mos. Ah how you women can insinuate,
And clear a trespass with your sweet set tongue.
I will forget this quarrel, gentle Alice,
Provided I’ll be tempted so no more.

Arden, with his friend Franklin, travelling at night to Arden’s house at Feversham, where he is lain in wait for by Ruffians, hired by Alice and Mosbie to murder him; Franklin is interrupted in a story he was beginning to tell by the way of a BAD WIFE, by an indisposition, ominous of the impending danger of his friend.

[I-225,
I-226]

Arden. Come, Master Franklin, onwards with your tale.
Frank. I’ll assure you, Sir, you task me much.
A heavy blood is gather’d at my heart;
And on the sudden is my wind so short,
As hindereth the passage of my speech.
So fierce a qualm yet ne’er assailed me.
Arden. Come, Master Franklin, let us go on softly;
The annoyance of the dust, or else some meat
You ate at dinner cannot brook with you.
I have been often so, and soon amended.
Frank. Do you remember where my tale did leave?
Arden. Aye, where the Gentleman did check his wife—
Frank. She being reprehended for the fact,
Witness produced that took her with the fact,
Her glove brought in which there she left behind,
And many other assured arguments,
Her Husband ask’d her whether it were not so—
Arden. Her answer then? I wonder how she look’d,
Having forsworn it with so vehement oaths,
And at the instant so approved upon her.
Frank. First did she cast her eyes down on the earth,
Watching the drops that fell amain from thence;
Then softly draws she out her handkercher,
And modestly she wipes her tear-stain’d face:
Then hemm’d she out (to clear her voice it should seem),
And with a majesty addrest herself
To encounter all their accusations—
Pardon me, Master Arden, I can no more;
This fighting at my heart makes short my wind.
Arden. Come, we are almost now at Raynum Down;
Your pretty tale beguiles the weary way,
I would you were in case to tell it out.

[They are set upon by the Ruffians.]


Music.

For the Table Book.

GOD SAVE THE KING.
John Bull.

In answer to an inquiry in The Times, respecting the author of “God save the King,” the writers of several letters in that journal, during the present month, concur in ascribing the air of the “national anthem” to Dr. John Bull. This opinion results from recent researches, by the curious in music, which have been published in elaborate forms.

Dr. John Bull was a celebrated musician, born about 1563, in Somersetshire. His master in music was William Blitheman, organist of the chapel royal to queen Elizabeth, in which capacity he was much distinguished. Bull, on the death of his master in 1591, was appointed his successor. In 1592 he was created doctor in the university of Cambridge; and in 1596, at the recommendation of her majesty, he was made professor of music to Gresham college, which situation he resigned in 1607. During more than a year of his professorship, Mr. Thomas Bird, son of the venerable William Bird, exercised the office of a substitute to Dr. Bull, while he travelled on the continent for the recovery of his health. After the decease of queen Elizabeth, Bull was appointed chamber-musician to king James. In 1613, Dr. Bull finally quitted England, and entered into the service of the archduke, in the Netherlands. He afterwards seems to have settled at Lubec, from which place many of his compositions, in the list published by Dr. Ward, are dated; one of them so late as 1622, the supposed year of his decease. Dr. Bull has been censured for quitting his establishment in England; but it is probable that the increase of health and wealth was the cause and consequence of his removal. He seems to have been praised at home more than rewarded. The professorship of Gresham college was not then a sinecure. His attendance on the chapel royal, for which he had 40l. per annum, and on the prince of Wales, at a similar salary, though honourable, were not very lucrative appointments for the first performer in the world, at a time when scholars were not so profitable as at present, and there was no public performance where this most wonderful musician could display his abilities. A list of more than two hundred of Dr. Bull’s compositions, vocal and instrumental, is inserted in his life, the whole of which, when his biography was written in 1740, were preserved in the collection of Dr. Pepusch. The chief part of these were pieces for the organ and virginal.[57]

Anthony à Wood relates the following anecdote of this distinguished musician, when he was abroad for the recovery of his health in 1601:—

“Dr. Bull hearing of a famous musician belonging to a certain cathedral at St. Omer’s, he applied himself as a novice to him, to learn something of his faculty, and to see and admire his works. This musician, after some discourse had passed between them, conducted Bull to a vestry or music-school joining to the cathedral, and showed to him a lesson or song of forty parts, and then made a vaunting challenge to any person in the world to add one more part [I-227,
I-228]
to them, supposing it to be so complete and full that it was impossible for any mortal man to correct or add to it; Bull thereupon desiring the use of pen, ink, and ruled paper, such as we call music paper, prayed the musician to lock him up in the said school for two or three hours; which being done, not without great disdain by the musician, Bull in that time, or less, added forty more parts to the said lesson or song. The musician thereupon being called in, he viewed it, tried it, and retried it; at length he burst out into a great ecstasy, and swore by the great God, that he that added those forty parts must either be the devil, or Dr. Bull, &c. Whereupon Bull making himself known, the musician fell down and adored him. Afterwards continuing there and in those parts for a time, he became so much admired, that he was courted to accept of any place or preferment suitable to his profession, either within the dominions of the emperor, king of France, or Spain; but the tidings of these transactions coming to the English court, queen Elizabeth commanded him home.”[58]

Dr. Burney disregards the preceding account as incredible; but Wood was a most accurate writer: and Dr. Bull, besides being a great master, was a lover of the difficulties in his science, and was therefore likely to seek them with delight, and accomplish them in a time surprisingly short to those who study melody rather than intricacy of composition.

It is related that in the reign of James I. “July the 16th, 1607, his majesty and prince Henry, with many of the nobility, and other honourable persons, dined at Merchant Taylors’ hall, it being the election-day of their master and wardens; when the company’s roll being offered to his majesty, he said he was already free of another company, but that the prince should grace them with the acceptance of his freedom, and that he would himself see when the garland was put on his head, which was done accordingly. During their stay, they were entertained with a great variety of music, both voices and instruments, as likewise with several speeches. And, while the king sat at dinner, Dr. Bull, who was free of that company, being in a cittizen’s gowne, cappe, and hood, played most excellent melodie uppon a small payre of organs, placed there for that purpose onely.”

From the only works of Dr. Bull in print, some lessons in the “Parthenia—the first music that was ever printed for the virginals,” he is deemed to have possessed a power of execution on the harpsichord far beyond what is generally conceived of the masters of that time. As to his lessons, they were, in the estimation of Dr. Pepusch, not only for the harmony and contrivance, but for air and modulation, so excellent, that he scrupled not to prefer them to those of Couperin, Scarlatti, and others of the modern composers for the harpsichord.

Dr. Pepusch had in his collection a book of lessons very richly bound, which had once been queen Elizabeth’s; in this were contained many lessons of Bull, so very difficult, that hardly any master of the doctor’s time was able to play them. It is well known, that Dr. Pepusch married the famous opera singer, signora Margarita de L’Pine, who had a very fine hand on the harpsichord: as soon as they were married, the doctor inspired her with the same sentiments of Bull as he himself had long entertained, and prevailed on her to practise his lessons; in which she succeeded so well, as to excite the curiosity of numbers to resort to his house at the corner of Bartlett’s-buildings, in Fetter-lane, to hear her. There are no remaining evidences of her unwearied application, in order to attain that degree of excellence which it is known she arrived at; but the book itself is yet in being, which in some parts of it is so discoloured by continual use, as to distinguish with the utmost degree of certainty the very lessons with which she was most delighted. One of them took up twenty minutes to go through it.[59]

Dr. Burney says, that Pepusch’s preference of Bull’s compositions to those of Couperin and Scarlatti, rather proves that the doctor’s taste was bad, than that Bull’s music was good; and he remarks, in reference to some of them, “that they may be heard by a lover of music, with as little emotion as the clapper of a mill, or the rumbling of a post-chaise.” It is a misfortune to Dr. Bull’s fame, that he left little evidence of his great powers, except the transcendantly magnificent air of “God save the king.”

February, 1827.*


COMPANY OF MUSICIANS
of the City of London.

King James I., upon what beneficial principle it is now difficult to discover, by [I-229,
I-230]
letters-patent incorporated the musicians of the city of London into a company, and they still continue to enjoy privileges in consequence of their constituting a fraternity and corporation; bearing arms azure, a swan, argent, within a tressure counter-flure, or: in a chief, gules, a rose between two lions, or: and for their crest the celestial sign Lyra, called by astronomers the Orphean Lyre. Unluckily for the bon-vivans of this tuneful tribe, they have no hall in the city for festive delights! However, on days of greatest gourmandise, the members of this body are generally too busily employed in exhilarating others, comfortably to enjoy the fruits of good living themselves. And here historical integrity obliges me to say, that this company has ever been held in derision by real professors, who have regarded it as an institution as foreign to the cultivation and prosperity of good music, as the train-bands to the art of war. Indeed, the only uses that have hitherto been made of this charter seem the affording to aliens an easy and cheap expedient of acquiring the freedom of the city, and enabling them to pursue some more profitable and respectable trade than that of fiddling; as well as empowering the company to keep out of processions, and city-feasts, every street and country-dance player, of superior abilities to those who have the honour of being styled the “Waits of the corporation.”[60]


EFFECTS OF MUSIC.

Sultan Amurath, that cruel prince, having laid siege to Bagdad, and taken it, gave orders for putting thirty thousand Persians to death, notwithstanding they had submitted, and laid down their arms. Among the number of these unfortunate victims was a musician. He besought the officer, who had the command to see the sultan’s orders executed, to spare him but for a moment, while he might be permitted to speak to the emperor. The officer indulged him with his entreaty; and, being brought before the emperor, he was permitted to exhibit a specimen of his art. Like the musician in Homer, he took up a kind of psaltry, resembling a lyre, with six strings on each side, and accompanied it with his voice. He sung the taking of Bagdad, and the triumph of Amurath. The pathetic tones and exulting sounds which he drew from the instrument, joined to the alternate plaintiveness and boldness of his strains, rendered the prince unable to restrain the softer emotions of his soul. He even suffered him to proceed until, overpowered with harmony, he melted into tears of pity, and relented of his cruel intention. He spared the prisoners who yet remained alive, and gave them instant liberty.


[57] Dictionary of Musicians. Hawkins.

[58] Wood’s Fasti, anno 1586.

[59] Hawkins.

[60] Burney.


Topography.

THE YORKSHIRE GIPSY.[61]

For the Table Book.

The Gipsies are pretty well known as streams of water, which, at different periods, are observed on some parts of the Yorkshire Wolds. They appear toward the latter end of winter, or early in spring; sometimes breaking out very suddenly, and, after running a few miles, again disappearing. That which is more particularly distinguished by the name of The Gipsy, has its origin near the Wold-cottage, at a distance of about twelve miles W. N. W. from Bridlington. The water here does not rise in a body, in one particular spot, but may be seen oozing and trickling among the grass, over a surface of considerable extent, and where the ground is not interrupted by the least apparent breakage; collecting into a mass, it passes off in a channel, of about four feet in depth, and eight or ten in width, along a fertile valley, toward the sea, which it enters through the harbour at Bridlington; having passed the villages of Wold Newton, North Burton, Rudston, and Boynton. Its uncertain visits, and the amazing quantity of water sometimes discharged in a single season, have afforded subjects of curious speculation. One writer displays a considerable degree of ability in favour of a connection which he supposes to exist between it and the ebbing and flowing spring, discovered at Bridlington Quay in 1811. “The appearance of this water,” however, to use the words of Mr. Hinderwell, the historian of Scarborough, “is certainly influenced by the state of the seasons,” as there is sometimes an intermission of three or four years. It is probably occasioned by a surcharge of water descending from the high lands into the vales, by subterraneous passages, and, finding a proper place of emission, breaks out with great force.

[I-231,
I-232]

After a secession of five years, the Gipsy made its appearance in February, 1823; a circumstance which some people had supposed as unlikely to occur, owing to the alterations effected on the Carrs, under the Muston and Yedingham drainage act.

We are told, that the ancient Britons exalted their rivers and streams into the offices of religion, and whenever an object had been thus employed, it was reverenced with a degree of sanctity ever afterwards; and we may readily suppose, that the sudden and extraordinary appearance of this stream, after an interval of two or three successive years, would awaken their curiosity, and excite in them a feeling of sacred astonishment. From the Druids may probably have descended a custom, formerly prevalent among the young people at North Burton, but now discontinued: it was—“going to meet the Gipsy,” on her first approach. Whether or not this meeting was accompanied by any particular ceremony, the writer of this paragraph has not been able to ascertain.

T. C.

Bridlington.


WILTSHIRE ABROAD AND AT HOME.

To the Editor.

There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by heaven o’er all the world beside,
Where brighter suns dispense serener light,
And milder moons emparadise the night.
A land of beauty, virtue, valour, truth,
Time-tutor’d age, and love-exalted youth;
The wandering mariner, whose eye explores
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores,
Views not a realm so beautiful and fair,
Nor breathes the spirit of a purer air;
In every clime the magnet of his soul,
Touch’d by remembrance, trembles to that pole.
For in this land of heaven’s peculiar grace,
The heritage of Nature’s noblest race,
There is a spot of earth, supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest;
Where man, creation’s tyrant, casts aside
His sword and sceptre, pageantry and pride;
While in his softened looks benignly blend
The sire, the son, the husband, brother, friend.
Here woman reigns—the mother, daughter, wife,
Strews with fresh flowers the narrow way of life;
In the clear heaven of her delightful eye
An angel guard of loves, and graces lie;
Around her knees domestic duties meet,
And fireside pleasures gambol at her feet.
Where shall that land, that spot of earth be found?
Art thou a man? a patriot? look around;
Oh, thou shalt find, howe’er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy country, and that spot thy home.

Mr. Editor,—As your Table Book may be considered an extensively agreeable and entertaining continuation of your Every-Day Book, allow me a column, wherein, without wishing to draw attention too frequently to one subject, I would recur again to the contributions of your correspondent, in vol. ii. page 1371, of the Every-Day Book, my observations at page 1584, and his notices at page 1606. Your “Old Correspondent” is, I presume, a native of this part of the country. He tells us, page 1608, that his ancestors came from the Priory; in another place, that he is himself an antiquarian; and, if I am not much mistaken in the signatures, you have admitted his poetical effusions in some of your numbers. Assuming these to be facts, he will enter into the feeling conveyed by the lines quoted at the head of this article, and agree with me in this observation, that every man who writes of the spot, or the county so endeared, should be anxious that truth and fiction should not be so blended together as to mislead us (the inhabitants) who read your miscellany; and that we shall esteem it the more, as the antiquities, the productions, and the peculiarities of this part of our county are noticed in a proper manner.

As your correspondent appears to have been anxious to set himself right with regard to the inaccuracies I noticed in his account of Clack, &c., I will point out that he is still in error in one slight particular. When he visits this county again, he will find, if he should direct his footsteps towards Malmsbury and its venerable abbey, (now the church,) the tradition is, that the boys of a school, kept in a room that once existed over the antique and curious entrance to the abbey, revolted and killed their master. Mr. Moffatt, in his history of Malmsbury, (ed. 1805,) has not noticed this tradition.

Excuse my transcribing from that work, the subjoined “Sonnet to the Avon,” and let me express a hope that your correspondent may also favour us with some effusions in verse upon that stream, the scene of warlike contests when the boundary of the Saxon kingdom, or upon other subjects connected with our local history.

Upon this river, meandering through a fine and fertile tract of country, Mr. Moffatt, [I-233,
I-234]
after noticing the earlier abbots of Malmsbury, adds, “The ideas contained in the following lines were suggested by the perusal of the history of the foundation of Malmsbury abbey:

Sonnet to the Avon.

“Reclined beside the willow shaded stream,
On which the breath of whispering zephyr plays,
Let me, O Avon, in untutor’d lays
Assert thy fairest, purest, right to fame.
What tho’ no myrtle bower thy banks adorn,
Nor sportive Naiads wanton in thy waves;
No glittering sands of gold, or coral caves,
Bedeck the channel by thy waters worn:
Yet thou canst boast of honours passing these,
For when fair science left her eastern seat,
Ere Alfred raised her sons a fair retreat,
Where Isis’ laurels tremble in the breeze;
’Twas there, near where thy curling streamlet flows,
E’en in yon dell, the Muses found repose.”

This interesting period in the history of the venerable abbey, its supposed connection with Bradenstoke Priory, the admired scenery of the surrounding country, the events of past ages blended into the exertions of a fertile imagination, and the many traditions still floating in the minds of the inhabitants, would form materials deserving the attention of a writer disposed to wield his pen in that department of literature, which has been so successfully cultivated in the northern and other parts of our island.

If by the observation, “that his ancestors came from the Priory,” your correspondent means Bradenstoke Priory, he will allow me to direct his attention to the fact of the original register of that establishment being in the British Museum. I refer him to the “Beauties of England and Wales.”

As your correspondent probably resides in London, he may be induced to obtain access to this document, in which I conclude he would have no difficulty; and if you, Mr. Editor, could favour us in your publication with an engraving of this Priory, it would be acceptable.

I appreciate the manner in which your correspondent noticed my remarks, and wish him success in his literary efforts, whether relating to objects in this vicinity, or to other matters. One remark only I will add,—that I think he should avoid the naming of respectable individuals: the mention of names may cause unpleasant feelings in a neighbourhood like this, however unintentional on his part. I should have considered it better taste in an antiquarian to have named the person in possession of the golden image, in preference to the childish incident stated to have occurred when Bradenstoke Priory was occupied by a former respectable inhabitant, Mrs. Bridges.

Your correspondent will excuse the freedom of this observation; his ready pen could perhaps relate to you the detail of a tragical event, said by tradition to have occurred at Dauntsey, where the mansion of the late earl of Peterborough now stands, and “other tales of other times.”

A Reader.[62]

Lyneham, Wilts,
January 23, 1827.


OLD BIRMINGHAM CONJURERS.

By Mr. William Hutton.

No head is a vacuum. Some, like a paltry cottage, are ill accommodated, dark, and circumscribed; others are capacious as Westminster-hall. Though none are immense, yet they are capable of immense furniture. The more room is taken up by knowledge, the less remains for credulity. The more a man is acquainted with things, the more willing to “give up the ghost.” Every town and village, within my knowledge, has been pestered with spirits, which appear in horrid forms to the imagination in the winter night—but the spirits which haunt Birmingham, are those of industry and luxury.

If we examine the whole parish, we cannot produce one old “witch;” but we have numbers of young, who exercise a powerful influence over us. Should the ladies accuse the harsh epithet, they will please to consider, I allow them, what of all things they most wish for, power—therefore the balance is in my favour.

If we pass through the planetary worlds, we shall be able to muster two conjurers, who endeavoured to “shine with the stars.” The first, John Walton, who was so busy in casting the nativity of others, that he forgot his own. Conscious of an application to himself, for the discovery of stolen [I-235,
I-236]
goods, he employed his people to steal them. And though, for many years confined to his bed by infirmity, he could conjure away the property of others, and, for a reward, conjure it back again.

The prevalence of this evil, induced the legislature, in 1725, to make the reception of stolen goods capital. The first sacrifice to this law was the noted Jonathan Wild.

The officers of justice, in 1732, pulled Walton out of his bed, in an obscure cottage, one furlong from the town, now Brickiln-lane, carried him to prison, and from thence to the gallows—they had better have carried him to the work-house, and his followers to the anvil.

To him succeeded Francis Kimberley, the only reasoning animal, who resided at No. 60, in Dale-end, from his early youth to extreme age. A hermit in a crowd! The windows of his house were strangers to light. The shutters forgot to open; the chimney to smoke. His cellar, though amply furnished, never knew moisture.

He spent threescore years in filling six rooms with such trumpery as was just too good to be thrown away, and too bad to be kept. His life was as inoffensive as long. Instead of stealing the goods which other people used, he purchased what he could not use himself. He was not difficult in his choice of the property that entered his house; if there was bulk, he was satisfied.

His dark house, and his dark figure, corresponded with each other. The apartments, choked up with lumber, scarcely admitted his body, though of the skeleton order. Perhaps leanness is an appendage to the science, for I never knew a corpulent conjurer. His diet, regular, plain, and slender, showed at how little expense life might be sustained. His library consisted of several thousand volumes, not one of which, I believe, he ever read; having written, in characters unknown to all but himself, his name, the price, and the date, in the title-page, he laid them by for ever. The highest pitch of his erudition was the annual almanack.

He never wished to approach a woman, or be approached by one. Should the rest of men, for half a century, pay no more attention to the fair, some angelic hand might stick up a note like the arctic circle over one of our continents, “this world to be let.”

If he did not cultivate the acquaintance of the human species, the spiders, more numerous than his books, enjoyed an uninterrupted reign of quiet. The silence of the place was not broken; the broom, the book, the dust, or the web, was not disturbed. Mercury and his shirt performed their revolutions together; and Saturn changed his with his coat. He died in 1756, as conjurers usually die, unlamented.[63]


[61] The word is not pronounced the same as gipsy, a fortune-teller; the g, in this case, being sounded hard as in gimlet.

[62] I am somewhat embarrassed by this difference between two valued correspondents, and I hope neither will regard me in an ill light, if I venture to interpose, and deprecate controversy beyond an extent which can interest the readers of the Table Book. I do not say that it has passed that limit, and hitherto all has been well; perhaps, however, it would be advisable that “A Reader” should confide to me his name, and that he and my “Old Correspondent,” whom I know, should allow me to introduce them to each other. I think the result would be mutually satisfactory.

W. H.

[63] Hist. of Birmingham.


PATIENCE.
For the Table Book

As the pent water of a mill-dam lies
Motionless, yielding, noiseless, and serene.
Patience waits meekly with companioned eyes;
Or like the speck-cloud, which alone is seen
Silver’d within blue space, ling’ring for air
On which to sail prophetic voyages;
Or as the fountain stone that doth not wear,
But suits itself to pressure, and with ease
Diverts the dropping crystal; or the wife
That sits beside her husband and her love
Subliming to another state and life,
Off’ring him consolation as a dove,—
Her sighs and tears, her heartache and her mind
Devout, untired, calm, precious, and resign’d.

*, *, P.


British Portraits.

Catalogue of Painted British Portraits, comprising most of the Sovereigns of England, from Henry I. to George IV., and many distinguished personages; principally the productions of Holbein, Zucchero, C. Jansen, Vandyck, Hudson, Reynolds, Northcote, &c. Now selling at the prices affixed, by Horatio Rodd, 17, Air-street, Piccadilly. 1827.

This is an age of book and print catalogues; and lo! we have a picture dealer’s catalogue of portraits, painted in oil, from the price of two guineas to sixty. There is only one of so high value as the latter sum, and this is perhaps the most interesting in Mr. Rodd’s collection, and he has allowed the present engraving from it. The picture is in size thirty inches by twenty-five. The subjoined particulars are from the catalogue.

[I-237,
I-238]

Simon Lord Lovat.
From the original Picture by Hogarth, lately discovered.

“To the present time, none of Hogarth’s biographers appear to have been aware of the ‘local habitation’ of the original painting from which the artist published his etching, the popularity of which, at the period to which it alludes, was so great, that a printseller offered for it its weight in gold: that offer the artist rejected; and he is said to have received from its sale, for many weeks, at the rate of twelve pounds each day. The impressions could not be taken off so fast as they were wanted, though the rolling-press was at work all night by the week together.

“Hogarth said himself, that lord Lovat’s portrait was taken at the White Hart-inn, at St. Alban’s, in the attitude of relating on his fingers the numbers of the rebel forces: ‘Such a general had so many men, &c.;’ and remarked that the muscles of Lovat’s neck appeared of unusual strength, more so than he had ever seen. Samuel Ireland, in his Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth, vol. i. p. 146, states that Hogarth was invited to St. Alban’s for the express purpose of being introduced to Lovat, who was then resting at the White Hart-inn, on his way to London from Scotland, by Dr. Webster, [I-239,
I-240]
a physician residing at St. Alban’s, and well known to Boswell, Johnson, and other eminent literary characters of that period. Hogarth had never seen Lovat before, and was, through the doctor’s introduction, received with much cordiality, even to the kiss fraternal, which was then certainly not very pleasant, as his lordship, being under the barber’s hands, left in the salute much of the lather on the artist’s face. Lord Lovat rested two or three days at St. Alban’s, and was under the immediate care of Dr. Webster, who thought his patient’s illness was feigned with his usual cunning, or if at all real, arose principally from his apprehension of danger on reaching London. The short stay of Lovat at St. Alban’s allowed the artist but scanty opportunity of providing the materials for a complete picture; hence some carpenter was employed on the instant to glue together some deal board, and plane down one side, which is evident from the back being in the usual rough state in which the plank leaves the saw-pit. The painting, from the thinness of the priming-ground, bears evident proof of the haste with which the portrait was accomplished. The course lineament of features so strongly exhibited in his countenance, is admirably hit off; so well has Duncombe expressed it,

‘Lovat’s hard features Hogarth might command;’

for his pencil was peculiarly adapted to such representation. It is observable the button holes of the coat, &c., are reversed in the artist’s etching, which was professed to be ‘drawn from the life, &c.;’ and in the upper corner of the picture are satirical heraldic insignia, allusive to the artist’s idea of his future destiny.”

The “satirical heraldic insignia,” mentioned in the above description, and represented in the present engraving, do not appear in Hogarth’s well-known whole length etching of lord Lovat. The picture is a half-length; it was found in the house of a poor person at Verulam, in the neighbourhood of St. Alban’s, where Hogarth painted it eighty years ago, and it is a singular fact, that till its discovery a few weeks ago, such a picture was not known to have been executed. In all probability, Hogarth obliged his friend, Dr. Webster, with it, and after the doctor’s death it passed to some heedless individual, and remained in obscurity from that time to the present.[64] Further observation on it is needless; for persons who are interested concerning the individual whom Hogarth has portrayed, or who are anxious respecting the works of that distinguished artist, have an opportunity of seeing it at Mr. Rodd’s until it is sold.

As regards the other portraits in oil, collected by Mr. Rodd, and now offered by him for sale, after the manner of booksellers, “at the prices annexed,” they can be judged of with like facility. Like booksellers, who tempt the owners of empty shelves, with “long sets to fill up” at small prices, Mr. R. “acquaints the nobility and gentry, having spacious country mansions, that he has many portraits of considerable interest as specimens of art, but of whom the picture is intended to represent, matter of doubt: as such pictures would enliven many of their large rooms, and particularly the halls, they may be had at very low prices.”

Mr. Rodd’s ascertained pictures really form a highly interesting collection of “painted British Portraits,” from whence collectors may select what they please: his mode of announcing such productions, by way of catalogue, seems well adapted to bring buyers and sellers together, and is noticed here as an instance of spirited departure from the ancient trading rule, viz.

Twiddle your thumbs
Till a customer comes.

*


[64] There is an account of lord Lovat in the Every-Day Book.


DEATH’S DOINGS.

“I am now worth one hundred thousand pounds,” said old Gregory, as he ascended a hill, which commanded a full prospect of an estate he had just purchased; “I am now worth one hundred thousand pounds, and here,” said he, “I’ll plant an orchard: and on that spot I’ll have a pinery—

“Yon farm houses shall come down,” said old Gregory, “they interrupt my view.”

“Then, what will become of the farmers?” asked the steward, who attended him.

“That’s their business,” answered old Gregory.

“And that mill must not stand upon the stream,” said old Gregory.

“Then, how will the villagers grind their corn?” asked the steward.

“That’s not my business,” answered old Gregory.

So old Gregory returned home—ate a hearty supper—drank a bottle of port—smoked [I-241,
I-242]
two pipes of tobacco—and fell into a profound slumber—and awoke no more; and the farmers reside on their lands—and the mill stands upon the stream—and the villagers rejoice that Death did “business” with old Gregory.


THE BARBER.

For the Table Book.

Barbers are distinguished by peculiarities appertaining to no other class of men. They have a caste, and are a race of themselves. The members of this ancient and gentle profession—foul befall the libeller who shall designate it a trade—are mild, peaceable, cheerful, polite, and communicative. They mingle with no cabal, have no interest in factions, are “open to all parties, and influenced by none;” and they have a good, kind, or civil word for everybody. The cheerful morning salutation of one of these cleanly, respectable persons is a “handsell” for the pleasures of the day; serenity is in its tone, and comfort glances from its accompanying smile. Their small, cool, clean, and sparingly-furnished shops, with sanded floor and towelled walls, relieved by the white-painted, well-scoured shelves, scantily adorned with the various implements of their art, denote the snug system of economy which characterises the owners. Here, only, is the looking-glass not an emblem of vanity: it is placed to reflect, and not to flatter. You seat yourself in the lowly, antique chair, worn smooth by the backs of half a century of beard-owners, and instantly feel a full repose from fatigue of body and mind. You find yourself in attentive and gentle hands, and are persuaded that no man can be in collision with his shaver or hair-dresser. The very operation tends to set you on better terms with yourself: and your barber hath not in his constitution the slightest element of difference. The adjustment of a curl, the clipping of a lock, the trimming of a whisker, (that much-cherished and highly-valued adornment of the face,) are matters of paramount importance to both parties—threads of sympathy for the time, unbroken by the divesture of the thin, soft, ample mantle, that enveloped you in its snowy folds while under his care. Who can entertain ill-humour, much less vent his spleen, while wrapt in the symbolic vestment? The veriest churl is softened by the application of the warm emollient brush, and calmed into complacency by the light-handed hoverings of the comb and scissors. A smile, a compliment, a remark on the weather, a diffident, side-wind inquiry about politics, or the passing intelligence of the day, are tendered with that deference, which is the most grateful as well as the handsomest demonstration of politeness. Should you, on sitting down, half-blushingly request him to cut off “as large a lock as he can, merely,” you assure him, “that you may detect any future change in its colour,” how skilfully he extracts, from your rather thin head of hair, a graceful, flowing lock, which self-love alone prevents you from doubting to have been grown by yourself: how pleasantly you contemplate, in idea, its glossiness from beneath the intended glass of the propitiatory locket. A web of delightful associations is thus woven; and the care he takes to “make each particular hair to stand on end” to your wishes, so as to let you know he surmises your destination, completes the charm.—We never hear of people cutting their throats in a barber’s shop, though the place is redolent of razors. No; the ensanguined spots that occasionally besmirch the whiteness of the revolving towel is from careless, unskilful, and opiniated individuals, who mow their own beards, or refuse to restrain their risibility. I wonder how any can usurp the province of the barber, (once an almost exclusive one,) and apply unskilful, or unpractised hands so near to the grand canal of life. For my own part, I would not lose the daily elevation of my tender nose, by the velvet-tipped digits of my barber—no, not for an independence!

The genuine barber is usually (like his razors) well-tempered; a man unvisited by care; combining a somewhat hasty assiduity, with an easy and respectful manner. He exhibits the best part of the character of a Frenchman—an uniform exterior suavity, and politesse. He seems a faded nobleman, or émigré of the old régime. And surely if the souls of men transmigrate, those of the old French noblesse seek the congenial soil of the barber’s bosom! Is it a degradation of worthy and untroubled spirits, to imagine, that they animate the bodies of the harmless and unsophisticated?

In person the barber usually inclines to the portly; but is rarely obese. His is that agreeable plumpness betokening the man at ease with himself and the world—and the utter absence of that fretfulness ascribed to leanness. Nor do his comely proportions and fleshiness make leaden the heels, or lessen the elasticity of his step, or transmute his feathery lightness of hand [I-243,
I-244]
to heaviness. He usually wears powder, for it looks respectable, and is professional withal. The last of the almost forgotten and quite despised race of pigtails, once proudly cherished by all ranks—now proscribed, banished, or, if at all seen, diminished in stateliness and bulk, “shorn of its fair proportions,”—lingers fondly with its former nurturer; the neat-combed, even-clipped hairs, encased in their tight swathe of black ribbon, topped by an airy bow, nestle in the well-clothed neck of the modern barber. Yet why do I call him modern? True, he lives in our, but he belongs to former times, of which he is the remembrancer and historian—the days of bags, queues, clubs, and periwigs, when a halo of powder, pomatum, and frizzed curls encircled the heads of our ancestors. That glory is departed; the brisk and agile tonsor, once the genius of the toilet, no longer directs, with the precision of a cannoneer, rapid discharges of scented atoms against bristling batteries of his own creation. “The barber’s occupation’s gone,” with all the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious wigs!

Methinks I detect some unfledged reader, upon whose head of hair the sun of the eighteenth century never shone, glancing his “mind’s eye” to one of the more recent and fashionable professors of the art of “ciseaurie”—one of the chemical perfumers, or self-esteemed practitioners of the present day, in search of an exemplification of my description:—he is at fault. Though he may deem Truefit or Macalpine models of skill, and therefore of description, I must tell him I recognise none such. I speak of the last generation, (between which and the present, Ross, and Taylor of Whitechapel, are the connecting links,) the last remnants of whom haunt the solitary, well-paved, silent corners, and less frequented streets of London—whose windows exhibit no waxen busts, bepainted and bedizened in fancy dresses and flaunting feathers, but one or two “old original” blocks or dummies, crowned with sober-looking, respectable, stiff-buckled, brown wigs, such as our late venerable monarch used to wear. There is an aboriginal wig-maker’s shop at the corner of an inn-yard in Bishopsgate-street; a “repository” of hair; the window of which is full of these primitive caxons, all of a sober brown, or simpler flaxen, with an occasional contrast of rusty black, forming, as it were, a finis to the by-gone fashion. Had our first forefather, Adam, been bald, he could not have worn a more simply artificial imitation of nature than one of these wigs—so frank, so sincere, and so warm an apology for want of hair, scorning to deceive the observer, or to crown the veteran head with adolescent curls. The ancient wig, whether a simple scratch, a plain bob, or a splendid periwig, was one which a man might modestly hold on one hand, while with the other he wiped his bald pate; but with what grace could a modern wig-wearer dismount a specific deception, an elaborate imitation of natural curls to exhibit a hairless scalp? It would be either a censure on his vanity, or a sarcasm on his otherwise unknown deficiency. The old wig, on the contrary, was a plain acknowledgment of want of hair; avowing the comfort, or the inconvenience, (as it might happen,) with an independent indifference to mirth or pity; and forming a decent covering to the head that sought not to become either a decoration or deceit. Peace to the manes of the primitive artificers of human hair—the true skull-thatchers—the architects of towering toupees—the engineers of flowing periwigs!

The wig-makers (as they still denominate themselves) in Lincoln’s-inn and the Temple, are quite of the “old school.” Their shady, cool, cleanly, classic recesses, where embryo chancellors have been measured for their initiatory forensic wigs; where the powdered glories of the bench have ofttimes received a re-revivification; where some “old Bencher” still resorts, in his undress, to have his nightly growth of beard shaven by the “particular razor;” these powder-scented nooks, these legal dressing-closets seem, like the “statutes at large,” to resist, tacitly but effectually, the progress of innovation. They are like the old law offices, which are scattered up and down in various corners of the intricate maze of “courts,” constituting the “Temple”—unchangeable by time; except when the hand of death removes some old tenant at will, who has been refreshed by the cool-borne breezes from the river, or soothed by the restless monotony of the plashing fountain, “sixty years since.”—But I grow serious.—The barber possesses that distinction of gentleness, a soft and white hand, of genial and equable temperature, neither falling to the “zero” of chilliness, nor rising to the “fever heat” of perspiration, but usually lingering at “blood heat.” I know not if any one ever shook hands with his barber: there needs no such outward demonstration of goodwill; no grip, like that we bestow upon an old friend returned after a long absence, [I-245,
I-246]
by way of rivet, as it were, to that link in the chain of friendship. His air of courtesy keeps a good understanding floating between him and his customers, which, if ruffled by a hasty departure, or dismissal, is revived the next day by the sun-light of his morning smile!

The barber’s hand is unlike that of any other soft hand: it is not flabby, like that of a sensualist; nor arid, and thin, like a student’s; nor dead white, like that of a delicate female; but it is naturally warm, of a glowing, transparent colour, and of a cushiony, elastic softness. Beneath its conciliatory touch, as it prepares the skin for the sweeping course of the razor, and its gentle pressure, as it inclines the head to either side, to aid the operation of the scissors, a man may sit for hours, and feel no weariness. Happy must he be who lived in the days of long, or full-dressed hair, and resigned himself for a full hour to the passive luxury of hair-dressing! A morning’s toilette—(for a gentleman, I mean; being a bachelor, I am uninitiated in the arcana of a lady’s dressing-room)—a morning’s toilette in those days was indeed an important part of the “business of life:” there were the curling-irons, the comb, the pomatum, the powder-puff, the powder-knife, the mask, and a dozen other requisites to complete the elaborate process that perfected that mysterious “frappant, or tintinabulant appendage” to the back part of the head. Oh! it must have been a luxury—a delight surpassing the famed baths and cosmetics of the east.

I have said that the barber is a gentle man; if not in so many words, I have at least pointed out that distinguishing trait in him. He is also a humane man: his occupation of torturing hairs leaves him neither leisure nor disposition to torture ought else. He looks as respectable as he is; and he is void of any appearance of deceit or cunning. There is less of personality or egotism about him than mankind in general: though he possesses an idiosyncrasy, it is that of his class, not of himself. As he sits, patiently renovating some dilapidated peruke, or perseveringly presides over the developement of grace in some intractable bush of hair, or stands at his own threshold, in the cleanly pride of white apron and hose, lustrous shoes, and exemplary jacket, with that studied yet seeming disarrangement of hair, as though subduing, as far as consistent with propriety, the visible appearance of technical skill—as he thus, untired, goes the never-varying round of his pleasant occupation, and active leisure, time seems to pass unheeded, and the wheel of chance, scattering fragments of circumstance from the rock of destiny, continues its relentless and unremittent revolution, unnoticed by him. He hears not the roar of the fearful engine, the groans and sighs of despair, or the wild laugh of exultation, produced by its mighty working. All is remote, strange, and intricate, and belongs not to him to know. He dwells in an area of peace—a magic circle whose area might be described by his obsolete sign-pole!

Nor does the character of the barber vary in other countries. He seems to flourish in unobtrusive prosperity all the world over. In the east, the clime most congenial to his avocations, the voluminous beard makes up for the deficiency of the ever-turbaned, close-shorn skull, and he exhibits the triumph of his skill in its most special department. Transport an English barber to Samarcand, or Ispahan, and, saving the language, he would feel quite at home. Here he reads the newspaper, and, unless any part is contradicted by his customers, he believes it all: it is his oracle. At Constantinople the chief eunuch would confide to him the secrets of the seraglio as if he were a genuine disciple of Mahomet; and with as right good will as ever old “gossip” vented a bit of scandal with unconstrained volubility of tongue. He would listen to, aye and put faith in, the relations of the coffee-house story-tellers who came to have their beards trimmed, and repaid him with one of their inventions for his trouble. What a dissection would a barber’s brain afford, could we but discern the mine of latent feuds and conspiracies laid up there in coil, by their spleenful and mischievous inventors. I would that I could unpack the hoarded venom, all hurtless in that “cool grot,” as destructive stores are deposited in an arsenal, where light and heat never come. His mind admits no spark of malice to fire the train of jealousy, or explode the ammunition of petty strife; and it were well for the world and society, if the intrigue and spite of its inhabitants could be poured, like the “cursed juice of Hebenon,” into his ever-open ear, and be buried for ever in the oblivious chambers of his brain. Vast as the caverned ear of Dionysius the tyrant, his contains in its labyrinthine recesses the collected scandal of neighbourhoods, the chatter of households, and even the crooked policy of courts; but all is decomposed and neutralized there. It is the very quantity of this freight of plot and detraction that renders [I-247,
I-248]
him so harmless. It is as ballast to the sails of his judgment. He mixes in no conspiracy, domestic or public. The foulest treason would remain “pure in the last recesses of his mind.” He knows not of, cares not for, feels no interest in all this material of wickedness, any more than the unconscious paper that bears on its lettered forehead the “sixth edition” of a bulletin.

Amiable, contented, respected race!—I exclaim with Figaro, “Oh, that I were a happy barber!”

Gaston.


Books.

THE KING OF INDIA’S LIBRARY.

Dabshelim, king of India, had so numerous a library, that a hundred brachmans were scarcely sufficient to keep it in order; and it required a thousand dromedaries to transport it from one place to another. As he was not able to read all these books, he proposed to the brachmans to make extracts from them of the best and most useful of their contents. These learned personages set themselves so heartily to work, that in less than twenty years they had compiled of all these extracts a little encyclopædia of twelve thousand volumes, which thirty camels could carry with ease. They had the honour to present it to the king. But, how great was their amazement, on his giving them for answer, that it was impossible for him to read thirty camel-loads of books. They therefore reduced their extracts to fifteen, afterwards to ten, then to four, then to two dromedaries, and at last there remained only so much as to load a mule of ordinary stature.

Unfortunately, Dabshelim, during this process of melting down his library, was grown old, and saw no probability of living to exhaust its quintessence to the last volume. “Illustrious sultan,” said his vizir, the sage Pilpay, “though I have but a very imperfect knowledge of your royal library, yet I will undertake to deliver you a very brief and satisfactory abstract of it. You shall read it through in one minute, and yet you will find matter in it for reflecting upon throughout the rest of your life.” Having said this, Pilpay took a palm leaf, and wrote upon it with a golden style the four following sentences:—

1. The greater part of the sciences comprise but one single word—Perhaps: and the whole history of mankind contains no more than three—they are born, suffer, die.

2. Love nothing but what is good, and do all that thou lovest to do; think nothing but what is true, and speak not all that thou thinkest.

3. O kings! tame your passions, govern yourselves; and it will be only child’s play to you to govern the world.

4. O kings! O people! it can never be often enough repeated to you, what the half-witted venture to doubt, that there is no happiness without virtue, and no virtue without the fear of God.


ENCOURAGEMENT TO AUTHORS.

Whether it is perfectly consistent in an author to solicit the indulgence of the public, though it may stand first in his wishes, admits a doubt; for, if his productions will not bear the light, it may be said, why does he publish? but, if they will, there is no need to ask a favour; the world receives one from him. Will not a piece everlastingly be tried by its merit? Shall we esteem it the higher, because it was written at the age of thirteen? because it was the effort of a week? delivered extempore? hatched while the author stood upon one leg? or cobbled, while he cobbled a shoe? or will it be a recommendation, that it issues forth in gilt binding? The judicious world will not be deceived by the tinselled purse, but will examine whether the contents are sterling.


POETICAL ADVICE.

For the Table Book.

I have pleasure in being at liberty to publish a poetical letter to a young poet from one yet younger; who, before the years of manhood, has attained the height of knowing on what conditions the muse may be successfully wooed, and imparts the secret to his friend. Some lines towards the close, which refer to his co-aspirant’s effusions, are omitted.

To R. R.

To you, dear Rowland, lodg’d in town,
Where Pleasure’s smile soothes Winter’s frown,
I write while chilly breezes blow,
And the dense clouds descend in snow.
For Twenty-six is nearly dead,
And age has whiten’d o’er her head;
Her velvet robe is stripp’d away,
Her watery pulses hardly play;
Clogg’d with the withering leaves, the wind
Comes with his blighting blast behind,
[I-249,
I-250]
And here and there, with prying eye,
And flagging wings a bird flits by;
(For every Robin sparer grows,
And every Sparrow robbing goes.)
The Year’s two eyes—the sun and moon—
Are fading, and will fade full soon;[65]
With shattered forces Autumn yields,
And Winter triumphs o’er the fields.
So thus, alas! I’m gagg’d it seems,
From converse of the woods and streams,
(For all the countless rhyming rabble
Hold leaves can whisper-waters babble)
And, house-bound for whole weeks together
By stress of lungs, and stress of weather,
Feed on the more delightful strains
Of howling winds, and pelting rains;
Which shake the house, from rear to van,
Like valetudinarian;
Pouring innumerable streams
Of arrows, thro’ a thousand seams:
Arrows so fine, the nicest eye
Their thickest flight can ne’er descry,—
Yet fashion’d with such subtle art,
They strike their victim to the heart;
While imps, that fly upon the point,
Raise racking pains in every joint.
Nay, more—these winds are thought magicians.
And supereminent physicians:
For men who have been kill’d outright,
They cure again at dead of night.
That double witch, who erst did dwell
In Endor’s cave, raised Samuel;
But they each night raise countless hosts
Of wandering sprites, and sheeted ghosts;
Turn shaking locks to clanking chains,
And howl most supernatural strains:
While all our dunces lose their wits,
And pass the night in ague-fits.
While this nocturnal series blows
I hide my head beneath the clothes,
And sue the power whose dew distils
The only balm for human ills.
All day the sun’s prevailing beam
Absorbs this dew from Lethe’s stream:
All night the falling moisture sheds
Oblivion over mortal heads.
Then sinking into sleep I fall,
And leave them piping at their ball.
When morning comes—no summer’s morn—
I wake and find the spectres gone;
But on the casement see emboss’d
A mimic world in crusted frost;
Ice-bergs, high shores, and wastes of snow,
Mountains above, and seas below;
Or, if Imagination bids,
Vast crystal domes, and pyramids.
Then starting from my couch I leap,
And shake away the dregs of sleep,
Just breathe upon the grand array,
And ice-bergs slide in seas away.
Now on the scout I sally forth,
The weather-cock due E. by N.
To meet some masquerading fog,
Which makes all nature dance incog.
And spreads blue devils, and blue looks,
Till exercised by tongues and books.
Books, do I say? full well I wist
A book’s a famous exorcist!
A book’s the tow that makes the tether
That binds the quick and dead together;
A speaking trumpet under ground,
That turns a silence to a sound;
A magic mirror form’d to show,
Worlds that were dust ten thousand years ago.
They’re aromatic cloths, that hold
The mind embalm’d in many a fold,
And look, arrang’d in dust-hung rooms,
Like mummies in Egyptian tombs;
—Enchanted echoes, that reply,
Not to the ear, but to the eye;
Or pow’rful drugs, that give the brain,
By strange contagion, joy or pain.
A book’s the phœnix of the earth,
Which bursts in splendour from its birth:
And like the moon without her wanes,
From every change new lustre gains;
Shining with undiminish’d light,
While ages wing their idle flight.
By such a glorious theme inspired
Still could I sing—but you are tired:
(Tho’ adamantine lungs would do,
Ears should be adamantine too,)
And thence we may deduce ’tis better
To answer (’faith ’tis time) your letter.
To answer first what first it says.
Why will you speak of partial praise?
I spoke with honesty and truth,
And now you seem to doubt them both.
The lynx’s eye may seem to him,
Who always has enjoy’d it, dim:
And brilliant thoughts to you may be
What common-place ones are to me.
You note them not—but cast them by,
As light is lavish’d by the sky;
Or streams from Indian mountains roll’d
Fling to the ocean grains of gold.
But still we know the gold is fine—
But still we know the light’s divine.
As to the Century and Pope,
The thought’s not so absurd, I hope.
I don’t despair to see a throne
Rear’d above his—and p’rhaps your own.
The course is clear, the goal’s in view,
’Tis free to all, why not to you?
But, ere you start, you should survey
The towering falcon strike her prey:
In gradual sweeps the sky she scales,
Nor all at once the bird assails,
[I-251,
I-252]
But hems him in—cuts round the skies,
And gains upon him as he flies.
Wearied and faint he beats the air in vain,
Then shuts his flaggy wings, and pitches to the plain.
Now, falcon! now! One stoop—but one,
The quarry’s struck—the prize is won!
So he who hopes the palm to gain,
So often sought—and sought in vain,
Must year by year, as round by round,
In easy circles leave the ground:
’Tis time has taught him how to rise,
And naturalized him to the skies.
Full many a day Pope trod the vales,
Mid “silver streams and murmuring gales.”
Long fear’d the rising hills to tread,
Nor ever dared the mountain-head.
It needs not Milton to display,—
Who let a life-time slide away,
Before he swept the sounding string,
And soar’d on Pegasean wing,—
Nor Homer’s ancient form—to show
The Laurel takes an age to grow;
And he who gives his name to fate,
Must plant it early, reap it late;
Nor pluck the blossoms as they spring,
So beautiful, yet perishing.
****
More I would say—but, see, the paper
Is nearly out—and so’s my taper.
So while I’ve space, and while I’ve light,
I’ll shake your hand, and bid good-night.

F. P. H.

Croydon, Dec. 17, 1826.


[65]
To shield this line from criticism—’Tis
Parody—not Plagiarism.

Anecdotes.

General Wolfe.

It is related of this distinguished officer, that his death-wound was not received by the common chance of war.

Wolfe perceived one of the sergeants of his regiment strike a man under arms, (an act against which he had given particular orders,) and knowing the man to be a good soldier, reprehended the aggressor with much warmth, and threatened to reduce him to the ranks. This so far incensed the sergeant, that he deserted to the enemy, where he meditated the means of destroying the general. Being placed in the enemy’s left wing, which was directly opposed to the right of the British line, where Wolfe commanded in person, he aimed at his old commander with his rifle, and effected his deadly purpose.


Dr. KingHis PUN.

The late Dr. King, of Oxford, by actively interfering in some measures which materially affected the university at large, became very popular with some individuals, and as obnoxious with others. The mode of expressing disapprobation at either of the universities in the senate-house, or schools, is by scraping with the feet: but deviating from the usual custom, a party was made at Oxford to hiss the doctor at the conclusion of a Latin oration he had to make in public. This was accordingly done: the doctor, however, did not suffer himself to be disconcerted, but turning round to the vice-chancellor, said, very gravely, in an audible voice, “Laudatur ab His.”


February.

Conviviality and good cheer may convert the most dreary time of the year into a season of pleasure; and association of ideas, that great source of our keenest pleasures, may attach delightful images to the howling wind of a bleak winter’s night, and the hoarse screeching and mystic hooting of the ominous owl.[66]

Winter.

When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who;
Tu-whit tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw:
Then roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
And nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who;
Tu-whit tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

Shakspeare.

To “keel” the pot is an ancient spelling for “cool,” which is the past participle of the verb: see Tooke’s “Diversions of Purley,” where this passage is so explained.


[66] Dr. Forster’s Perennial Calendar.


[I-253,
I-254]

Vol. I.—9.

Monument at Lucerne, designed by Thorwaldsen

Monument at Lucerne, designed by Thorwaldsen,
To the Memory of the Swiss Guards who were massacred at the Tuilleries, on the Tenth of August, 1792.

The engraving above is executed from a clay figure, modelled by a Swiss artist from the original. It was obligingly sent to the editor, for the present purpose, by the gentleman to whom it belongs. The model was presented to him by a friend, who, in answer to his inquiries on the subject, wrote him a letter, of which the following is an extract:—

“The Terra Incognita you mention comes from Lucerne, in Switzerland, and is the model of a colossal work, cut in the solid rock, close to that city, on the grounds of general Pfyffer. It is from a design furnished by Thorwaldsen, which is shown close by. The ‘L’envoi,’ as don Armado calls it, is as follows:—‘The Helvetian lion, even in death, protects the lilies of France.’ The monument was executed by the Swiss, in memory of their countrymen, who were massacred, on the 10th of August, at the Tuilleries, in defending Louis XVI. from the sans culottes. The names of those who perished are engraved beneath the lion.”

The particulars of the dreadful slaughter, wherein these helpless victims fell, while defending the palace and the person of the unfortunate monarch, are recorded in different works within the reach of every person who desires to be acquainted with the frightful details. About sixty who were not killed at the moment, were taken prisoners, and conducted to the town-hall of the commons of Paris, for summary trial: but the ferocious females who mingled in the mobs of those terrifying times, rushed in bodies to the place, with cries of vengeance, and the unhappy men were delivered up to their fury, and every individual was murdered on the spot.


[I-255,
I-256]

Garrick Plays.
No. VI.

[From the “Chaste Maid in Cheapside,” a Comedy, by Thomas Middleton, 1620.]

Citizen to a Knight complimenting his Daughter.

Pish, stop your words, good Knight, ’twill make her blush else,
Which are wound too high for the Daughters of the Freedom;
Honour, and Faithful Servant! they are compliments
For the worthy Ladies of White Hall or Greenwich;
Ev’n plain, sufficient, subsidy words serve us, Sir.

Master Allwit (a Wittol) describes his contentment.

I am like a man
Finding a table furnish’d to his hand,
(As mine is still for me), prays for the Founder,
Bless the Right worshipful, the good Founder’s life:
I thank him, he[67] has maintain’d my house these ten years;
Not only keeps my Wife, but he keeps me.
He gets me all my children, and pays the nurse
Weekly or monthly, puts me to nothing,
Rent, nor Church dues, not so much as the Scavenger;
The happiest state that ever man was born to.
I walk out in a morning, come to breakfast,
Find excellent cheer, a good fire in winter;
Look in my coal-house, about Midsummer eve,
That’s full, five or six chaldron new laid up;
Look in my back yard, I shall find a steeple
Made up with Kentish faggots, which o’erlooks
The water-house and the windmills. I say nothing,
But smile, and pin the door. When she lies in,
(As now she’s even upon the point of grunting),
A Lady lies not in like her; there’s her imbossings,
Embroiderings, spanglings, and I know not what,
As if she lay with all the gaudy shops
In Gresham’s Burse about her; then her restoratives,
Able to set up a young ’Pothecary,
And richly store the Foreman of a Drug shop;
Her sugars by whole loaves, her wines by rundlets,
I see these things, but like a happy man
I pay for none at all, yet fools think it mine;
I have the name, and in his gold I shine:
And where some merchants would in soul kiss hell,
To buy a paradise for their wives, and dye
Their conscience in the blood of prodigal heirs,
To deck their Night-piece; yet, all this being done,
Eaten with jealousy to the inmost bone;
These torments stand I freed of. I am as clear
From jealousy of a wife, as from the charge.
O two miraculous blessings! ’tis the Knight,
Has ta’en that labour quite out of my hands.
I may sit still, and play; he’s jealous for me,
Watches her steps, sets spies. I live at ease.
He has both the cost and torment; when the string
Of his heart frets, I feed fat, laugh, or sing.
*******
I’ll go bid Gossips[68] presently myself,
That’s all the work I’ll do; nor need I stir,
But that it is my pleasure to walk forth
And air myself a little; I am tyed
To nothing in this business; what I do
Is merely recreation, not constraint.

Rescue from Bailiffs by the Watermen.

——I had been taken by eight Serjeants,
But for the honest Watermen, I am bound to ’em.
They are the most requiteful’st people living;
For, as they get their means by Gentlemen,
They’re still the forward’st to help Gentlemen.
You heard how one ’scaped out of the Blackfriars[69]
But a while since from two or three varlets,
Came into the house with all their rapiers drawn,
As if they’d dance the sword-dance on the stage,
With candles in their hands, like Chandlers’ Ghosts!
Whilst the poor Gentleman, so pursued and banded,
Was by an honest pair of oars safe landed.

[From “London Chanticleers,” a rude Sketch of a Play, printed 1659, but evidently much older.]

Song in praise of Ale.

1.

Submit, Bunch of Grapes,
To the strong Barley ear;
The weak Wine no longer
The laurel shall wear.

2.

Sack, and all drinks else,
Desist from the strife;
Ale’s the only Aqua Vitæ,
And liquor of life.

3.

Then come, my boon fellows,
Let’s drink it around;
It keeps us from grave,
Though it lays us on ground.

4.

Ale’s a Physician,
No Mountebank Bragger;
Can cure the chill Ague,
Though it be with the Stagger.

5.

Ale’s a strong Wrestler,
Flings all it hath met;
And makes the ground slippery,
Though it be not wet.

[I-257,
I-258]

6.

Ale is both Ceres,
And good Neptune too;
Ale’s froth was the sea,
From which Venus grew.

7.

Ale is immortal;
And be there no stops
In bonny lads’ quaffing,
Can live without hops.[70]

8.

Then come, my boon fellows,
Let’s drink it around;
It keeps us from grave,
Though it lays us on ground.

C. L.


[67] A rich old Knight, who keeps Allwit’s Wife.

[68] To his Wife’s Lying-in.

[69] Alsatia, I presume.

[70] The original distinction of Beer from the old Drink of our Forefathers, which was made without that ingredient.


The Drama.

CHARLOTTE CHARKE.

The novel called “Mr. Dumont,” by this unfortunate woman, was published in the year 1755 in one volume, twelves, by H. Slater, of Drury-lane, who may be presumed to have been the bookseller that accompanied Mr. Whyte to her miserable dwelling, for the purpose of hearing her read the manuscript. Since the account at col. 125, I met with an advertisement of November, 1742, from whence it appears that she and her daughter, “Miss Charke,” performed at one of those places of public amusement at that period, when, to evade the law, under pretence of a musical entertainment, a play and the usual afterpiece were frequently represented by way of divertisement, although they constituted the sole attraction. The notice referred to is altogether a curiosity: it runs thus:—

For the Benefit of a Person who has a mind to get Money: At the New Theatre in James-street near the Haymarket, on Monday next, will be performed a Concert of vocal and instrumental Musick, divided into Two Parts. Boxes 3s. Pit 2s. Gallery 1s. Between the two parts of the Concert will be performed a Tragedy, call’d The Fatal Curiosity, written by the late Mr. Lillo, author of George Barnwell. The part of Mrs. Wilmot by Mrs. Charke (who originally performed it at the Haymarket;) The rest of the parts by a Set of People who will perform as well as they can, if not as well as they wou’d, and the best can do no more. With variety of Entertainments, viz. Act I. A Preamble on the Kettle drums, by Mr. Job Baker, particularly, Larry Grovy, accompanied with French Horns. Act II. A new Peasant Dance by Mons. Chemont and Madem Peran, just arriv’d piping hot from the Opera at Paris. To which will be added a Ballad-Opera, call’d The Devil to Pay; The part of Nell by Miss Charke who performed Princess Elizabeth at Southwark. Servants will be allow’d to keep places on the stage—Particular care will be taken to perform with the utmost decency, and to prevent mistakes, the Bills for the day will be blue and black, &c.”

*


THE BLOODY HAND.

For the Table Book.

One December evening, the year before last, returning to T—, in the northern extremity of W—, in a drisling rain, as I approached the second milestone, I observed two men, an elder and a younger, walking side by side in the horse-road. The elder, whose appearance indicated that of a labourer in very comfortable circumstances, was in the path directly in front of my horse, and seemed to have some intention of stopping me; on my advancing, however, he quietly withdrew from the middle of the road to the side of it, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on me, which caused also, on my part, a particular attention to him. He then accosted me, “Sir, I beg your pardon.”—“For what, my man?”—“For speaking to you, sir.”—“What have you said, then?”—“I want to know the way to S—.”—“Pass on beyond those trees, and you will see the spire before you.”—“How far is it off, sir?”—“Less than two miles.”—“Do you know it, sir?”—“I was there twenty minutes ago.”—“Do you know the gentleman there, sir, that wants a man to go under ground for him?”—“For what purpose?” (imagining, from the direction in which I met the man, that he came from the mining districts of S—, I expected that his object was to explore the neighbourhood for coals.) His answer immediately turned the whole train of my ideas. “To go under ground for him, to take off the bloody hand from his carriage.”—“And what is that to be done for?”—“For a thousand pounds, sir. Have you not heard any thing of it, sir?”—“Not a word.”—“Well, sir, I was told that the gentleman lives here, at S—, at the hall, and that he offers a thousand pounds to any man that [I-259,
I-260]
will take off the bloody hand from his carriage.”—“I can assure you this is the first word I have heard on the subject.”—“Well, sir, I have been told so;” and then, taking off his hat, he wished me a good morning.

I rode slowly on, but very suddenly heard a loud call, “Stop, sir, stop!” I turned my horse, and saw the man, who had, I imagined, held a short parley with his companion, just leaving him, and running towards me, and calling out, “Stop, sir.” Not quite knowing what to make of this extraordinary accost and vehement call, I changed a stout stick in my left hand to my right hand, elevated it, gathered up the reins in my left, and trotted my horse towards him; he then walked to the side of the road, and took off his hat, and said, “Sir, I am told that if the gentleman can get a man to go under ground for him, for seven years, and never see the light, and let his nails, and his hair, and his beard grow all that time, that the king will then take off the bloody hand from his carriage.”—“Which then is the man who offers to do this? is it you, or your companion?”—“I am the man, sir.”—“O, you intend to undertake to do this?”—“Yes, sir.”—“Then all that I can say is, that I now hear the first word of it from yourself.” At this time the rain had considerably increased, I therefore wished the man a good morning, and left him.

I had not, however, rode above a hundred and fifty yards before an idea struck me, that it would be an act of kindness to advise the poor man to go no further on such a strange pursuit; but, though I galloped after them on the way I had originally directed them, and in a few minutes saw two persons, who must have met them, had they continued their route to S—, I could neither hear any thing of them, nor see them, in any situation which I could imagine that they might have taken to as a shelter from the heavy rain. I thus lost an opportunity of endeavouring to gain, from the greatest depths of ignorance, many points of inquiry I had arranged in my own mind, in order to obtain a developement of the extraordinary idea and unfounded offer, on which the poor fellow appeared to have so strongly set his mind.

On further inquiry into the origin of this strange notion of the bloody hand in heraldry, and why the badge of honour next to nobility, and perpetuated from the ancient kings of Ulster, should fall, in two centuries, into indelible disgrace, I find myself in darkness equal to that of the anticipated cavern of the poor deluded man, and hitherto without an aid superior to himself. Under these circumstances, present the inquiry to you, and shall be among many others, greatly gratified to see it set in a clear light by yourself, or some friendly correspondent.

I am, sir,

1827.— —.


Music.

ORGANS IN CHURCHES.
The Temple Church.

After the Restoration, the number of workmen in England being found too few to answer the demand for organs, it was thought expedient to make offers of encouragement for foreigners to come and settle here; these brought over Mr. Bernard Schmidt and —— Harris; the former, for his excellence in his art, deserves to live in the remembrance of all who are friends to it.

Bernard Schmidt, or, as we pronounce the name, Smith, was a native of Germany, but of what city or province in particular is not known. He brought with him two nephews, the one named Gerard, the other Bernard; to distinguish him from these, the elder had the appellation of father Smith. Immediately upon their arrival, Smith was employed to build an organ for the royal chapel at Whitehall, but, as it was built in great haste, it did not answer the expectations of those who were judges of his abilities. He had been but a few months here before Harris arrived from France, with his son Renatus, who had been brought up in the business of organ-making under him; they met with little encouragement, for Dallans and Smith had all the business of the kingdom: but, upon the decease of Dallans in 1672, a competition arose between these two foreigners, which was attended with some remarkable circumstances. The elder Harris was in no degree a match for Smith, but his son Renatus was a young man of ingenuity and perseverance, and the contest between Smith and the younger Harris was carried on with great spirit. Each had his friends and supporters, and the point of preference between them was hardly determined by that exquisite piece of workmanship by Smith, the organ now standing in the Temple church; of the building whereof, the following is the history.

On the decease of Dallans and the elder Harris, Renatus Harris and father Smith [I-261,
I-262]
became great rivals in their employment, and there were several trials of skill betwixt them; but the famous contest was at the Temple church, where a new organ was going to be erected towards the latter end of king Charles II.’s time. Both made friends for that employment; and as the society could not agree about who should be the man, the master of the Temple and the benchers proposed that each should set up an organ on each side of the church. In about half or three quarters of a year this was done: Dr. Blow, and Purcell, who was then in his prime, showed and played father Smith’s organ on appointed days to a numerous audience; and, till the other was heard, everybody believed that father Smith would certainly carry it.

Harris brought Lully, organist to queen Catharine, a very eminent master, to touch his organ. This rendered Harris’s organ popular, and the organs continued to vie with one another near a twelvemonth.

Harris then challenged father Smith to make additional stops against a set time; these were the vox humane, the cremona or violin-stop, the double courtel or bass flute, with some others.

These stops, as being newly invented, gave great delight and satisfaction to a numerous audience; and were so well imitated on both sides, that it was hard to adjudge the advantage to either: at last it was left to the lord chief justice Jeffries, who was of that house; and he put an end to the controversy by pitching upon father Smith’s organ; and Harris’s organ being taken away without loss of reputation, Smith’s remains to this day.

Now began the setting up of organs in the chiefest parishes of the city of London, where, for the most part, Harris had the advantage of father Smith, making two perhaps to his one; among them some are very eminent, viz. the organ at St. Bride’s, St. Lawrence near Guildhall, St. Mary Axe, &c.

Notwithstanding Harris’s success, Smith was considered an able and ingenious workman; and, in consequence of this character, he was employed to build an organ for the cathedral of St. Paul. The organs made by him, though in respect of the workmanship they are inferior to those of Harris, and even of Dallans, are yet justly admired; and, for the fineness of their tone, have never yet been equalled.

Harris’s organ, rejected from the Temple by judge Jeffries, was afterwards purchased for the cathedral of Christ-church, at Dublin, and set up there. Towards the close of George II.’s reign, Mr. Byfield was sent for from England to repair it, which he objected to, and prevailed on the chapter to have a new one made by himself, he allowing for the old one in exchange. When he had got it, he would have treated with the parishioners of Lynn, in Norfolk, for the sale of it: but they, disdaining the offer of a second-hand instrument, refused to purchase it, and employed Snetzler to build them a new one, for which they paid him seven hundred pounds. Byfield dying, his widow sold Harris’s organ to the parish of Wolverhampton for five hundred pounds, and there it remains to this day. An eminent master, who was requested by the churchwardens of Wolverhampton to give his opinion of this instrument, declared it to be the best modern organ he had ever touched.[71]


[71] Hawkins.


MISERIES OF TRAVELLING.

Steam versus Coach.

For the Table Book.

“Now there is nothing gives a man such spirits,
Leavening his blood as Cayenne doth a curry,
As going at full speed——”

Don Juan, c. 10. v. 72.

If the number of persons who have been killed, maimed, and disfigured for life, in consequence of stage-coach mishaps, could be ascertained, since the first establishment of steam-packets in this country, and, on the other hand, the number who have been similarly unfortunate by steam-boilers bursting, we should find that the stage-coach proportion would be in the ratio of ten to one! A solitary “blow up” of a steam-packet is “noised and proclaimed” from the Land’s End to the other extremity of the island; while hundreds of coach-accidents, and many of them fatal, occur, which are never heard of beyond the village, near to which the casualty takes place, or the neighbouring ale-house. These affairs it is to the interest of the proprietors to “hush up,” by means of a gratuity to the injured, rather than have their property ruined by an exposure in a court of justice. Should a poor man have a leg or an arm broken, through the carelessness of a drunken coachman, his poverty prevents his having recourse to law. Justice, in these cases, nine times in ten, is entirely out of the question, and an arrangement, between him and the proprietors, is easily effected; the unfortunate [I-263,
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fellow rather receiving fifty or a hundred pounds “hush money,” than bring his action, when, perhaps, from some technical informality in the proceedings, (should he find a lawyer willing to act for him, being poor,) he would be nonsuited, with all the costs of both parties on his own shoulders, and be, moreover, ruined for ever, in both purse and person. These remarks were suggested by reading an American work, some time since, on the above subject, from which I have extracted the following

Stage-coach Adventures.

Inside.—Crammed full of passengers—three fat, fusty, old men—a young mother and sick child—a cross old maid—a poll-parrot—a bag of red herrings—double-barreled gun, (which you are afraid is loaded)—and a snarling lap-dog, in addition to yourself—awaking out of a sound nap, with the cramp in one leg, and the other in a lady’s band-box—pay the damage (four or five shillings) for “gallantry’s sake”—getting out in the dark, at the half-way-house, in the hurry stepping into the return coach, and finding yourself the next morning at the very spot you had started from the evening before—not a breath of air—asthmatic old man, and child with the measles—windows closed in consequence—unpleasant smell—shoes filled with warm water—look up and find it’s the child—obliged to bear it—no appeal—shut your eyes, and scold the dog—pretend sleep, and pinch the child—mistake—pinch the dog, and get bit—execrate the child in return—black looks—“no gentleman”—pay the coachman, and drop a piece of gold in the straw—not to be found—fell through a crevice—coachman says, “he’ll find it”—can’t—get out yourself—gone—picked up by the ’ostler.—No time for “blowing up”—coach off for next stage—lose your money—get in—lose your seat—stuck in the middle—get laughed at—lose your temper—turn sulky, and turned over in a horse-pond.

Outside.—Your eye cut out by the lash of a clumsy coachman’s whip—hat blown off, into a pond, by a sudden gust of wind—seated between two apprehended murderers, and a noted sheep-stealer in irons, who are being conveyed to gaol—a drunken fellow, half asleep, falls off the coach, and, in attempting to save himself, drags you along with him into the mud—musical guard, and driver, “horn mad”—turned over—one leg under a bale of cotton, the other under the coach—hands in breeches pockets—head in a hamper of wine—lots of broken bottles versus broken heads—cut and run—send for surgeon—wounds dressed—lotion and lint, four dollars—take post-chaise—get home—lay down, and laid up.

Inside and Outside.—Drunken coachman—horse sprawling—wheel off—pole breaking, down hill—axle-tree splitting—coach overturning—winter, and buried in the snow—one eye poked out with an umbrella, the other cut open by the broken window—reins breaking—impudent guard—hurried at meals—imposition of innkeepers—five minutes and a half to swallow three and sixpennyworth of vile meat—waiter a rogue—“Like master, like man”—half a bellyfull, and frozen to death—internal grumblings and outward complaints—no redress—walk forward while the horses are changing—take the wrong turning—lose yourself and lose the coach—good-by to portmanteau—curse your ill luck—wander about in the dark and find the inn at last—get upon the next coach going the same road—stop at the next inn—brandy and water, hot, to keep you in spirits—warm fire—pleasant company—heard the guard cry “All right?”—run out, just in time to sing out “I’m left,” as the coach turns the corner—after it “full tear”—come up with it, at the end of a mile—get up “all in a blowze”—catch cold—sore throat—inflammation—doctor—warm bath—fever—Die.

Gaspard.


THE UGLY CLUB.

From a New York Paper.

The members of the Ugly Club are requested to attend a special meeting at Ugly-hall, 4, Wall street, on Monday-evening next, at half-past seven o’clock precisely, to take into consideration the propriety of offering to the committee of defence the services of their ugly carcasses, firm hearts, sturdy bodies, and unblistered hands.—His Ugliness being absent, this meeting is called by order of

His Homeliness.

Aug. 13.


Antiquities.

SCIPIO’S SHIELD.

In 1656, a fisherman on the banks of the Rhone, in the neighbourhood of Avignon, [I-265,
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was considerably obstructed in his work by some heavy body, which he feared would injure the net; but by proceeding slowly and cautiously, he drew it ashore untorn, and found that it contained a round substance, in the shape of a large plate or dish, thickly encrusted with a coat of hardened mud; the dark colour of the metal beneath induced him to consider it as iron. A silversmith, accidentally present, encouraged the mistake, and, after a few affected difficulties and demurs, bought it for a trifling sum, immediately carried it home, and, after carefully cleaning and polishing his purchase, it proved to be of pure silver, perfectly round, more than two feet in diameter, and weighing upwards of twenty pounds. Fearing that so massy and valuable a piece of plate, offered for sale at one time and at one place, might produce suspicion and inquiry, he immediately, without waiting to examine its beauties, divided it into four equal parts, each of which he disposed of, at different and distant places.

One of the pieces had been sold, at Lyons, to Mr. Mey, a wealthy merchant of that city, and a well-educated man, who directly saw its value, and after great pains and expense, procured the other three fragments, had them nicely rejoined, and the treasure was finally placed in the cabinet of the king of France.

This relic of antiquity, no less remarkable for the beauty of its workmanship, than for having been buried at the bottom of the Rhone more than two thousand years, was a votive shield, presented to Scipio, as a monument of gratitude and affection, by the inhabitants of Carthago Nova, now the city of Carthagena, for his generosity and self-denial, in delivering one of his captives, a beautiful virgin, to her original lover. This act, so honourable to the Roman general, who was then in the prime vigour of manhood, is represented on the shield, and an engraving from it may be seen in the curious and valuable work of Mr. Spon.


The story of “Scipio’s chastity,” which this shield commemorates, is related by Livy to the following effect.—The wife of the conquered king, falling at the general’s feet, earnestly entreated that the female captives might be protected from injury and insult.—Scipio assured her, that she should have no reason to complain.

“For my own part,” replied the queen, “my age and infirmities almost ensure me against dishonour, but when I consider the age and complexion of my fellow captives, (pointing to a crowd of females,) I feel considerable uneasiness.”

“Such crimes,” replied Scipio, “are neither perpetrated nor permitted by the Roman people; but if it were not so, the anxiety you discover, under your present calamities, to preserve their chastity, would be a sufficient protection:” he then gave the necessary orders.

The soldiers soon after brought him, what they considered as a rich prize, a virgin of distinction, young, and of such extraordinary beauty, as to attract the notice and admiration of all who beheld her. Scipio found that she had been betrothed, in happier days, to Allucius, a young Spanish prince, who was himself a captive. Without a moment’s delay, the conqueror sent for her parents and lover, and addressed the latter in the following words:

“The maid to whom thou wert shortly to have been married has been taken prisoner: from the soldiers who brought her to me, I understand that thy affections are fixed upon her, and indeed her beauty confirms the report. She is worthy of thy love; nor would I hesitate, but for the stern laws of duty and honour, to offer her my hand and heart. I return her to thee, not only inviolate, but untouched, and almost unseen; for I scarcely ventured to gaze on such perfection; accept her as a gift worthy receiving. The only condition, the only return I ask, is, that thou wilt be a friend to the Roman people.”

The young prince in a transport of delight, and scarcely able to believe what he saw and heard, pressed the hand of Scipio to his heart, and implored ten thousand blessings on his head. The parents of the happy bridegroom had brought a large sum of money, as the price of her redemption; Scipio ordered it to be placed on the ground, and telling Allucius that he insisted on his accepting it as a nuptial gift directed it to be carried to his tent.

The happy pair returned home, repeating the praises of Scipio to every one, calling him a godlike youth, as matchless in the success of his arms, as he was unrivalled in the beneficent use he made of his victories.

Though the story is known to most readers, its relation, in connection with the discovery of the valuable present from the conquered city to its illustrious victor, seemed almost indispensable, and perhaps the incident can scarcely be too familiar.


[I-267,
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A Bronze Antique, found in the Thames

A Bronze Antique, found in the Thames,
In digging for the Foundation of new London Bridge, January, 1827.

It is presumed that this article, from its peculiar curiosity, will be welcomed by every lover and preserver of antiquities.

To the Editor.

Sir,—The remarkable vessel from which this drawing is taken, was discovered a few days since, by a labourer employed in sinking one of the coffer-dams for the new London bridge, embedded in clay, at a depth of about thirty feet from the bed of the river. It is of bronze, not cast, but sculptured, and is in so perfect a state, that the edges of the different parts are as sharp as if the chisel had done its office but yesterday. The only portion which has suffered decay is the pin that attached the lid to the other part, which crumbled away as soon as exposed to the air.

At first, it was conjectured that this vessel was used for a lamp; but the idea was soon abandoned, as there was no part calculated to receive the wick; and the space to contain the oil was so small that it would not have admitted of more oil than was sufficient for one hour’s consumption, or two, at farthest.

One of the members of the Antiquarian Society has given it as his opinion, that it was used for sacrificial purposes, and intended to receive wine, which, after being put in, was to be poured out through the mouth, the under jaw being evidently protruded to an unnatural distance on this account.

The upper part of the head forms the lid, which the horns serve as a handle to raise; the bottom of the neck is flat, so that it may stand securely.

That it represents a head of Bacchus will be evident, at first glance, as it is encircled with a torse of ivy; but the features being those of a Nubian, or Carthaginian, prove that it must have an older date than that of the Romans, who borrowed their first ideas of Bacchic worship from the Egyptians. Perhaps it might have been part of their spoils from Carthage itself, and have been highly valued on that account. Certain however it is, that this curiosity (destined for the British Museum) must have laid below the bosom of father Thames for many centuries; but how it came there, and at such a depth in the clay, we can only guess at; and till Jonathan Oldbuck, alias Monkbarns, rise from the dead to set us right, it is to be feared that there will be left nothing but conjecture respecting it.

[I-269,
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Another View of the same ancient Bronze,
Showing the Mouth, and the Orifice at the top of the Head.

There is some account, but not very well supported, of the course of the Thames having once been diverted; should this however be true, it is possible that the head, of which we are now speaking, might have been dropped on the then dry bottom; the bed of the river must, in that case, have been afterwards considerably raised.

I remain, yours, respectfully,
M. Blackmore.

Wandsworth, Feb. 9, 1827.

P. S. The Romans always represent their satyrs with Roman noses, and I believe that Bacchus alone is crowned with ivy; the fauns and the rest being crowned with vine leaves.


It would be easy to compose a dissertation respecting Bacchus, which would be highly interesting, and yet throw little light on this very remarkable vessel. The relation of any thing tending to elucidate its probable age or uses will be particularly esteemed.

In addition to the favour of Mr. Blackmore’s letter and drawing, he obligingly obtained the vessel itself, which being placed in the hands of Mr. S. Williams, he executed the present engravings of the exact size of the original: it is, as Mr. Blackmore has already mentioned, in the finest possible preservation.

Probably the insertion of this remarkable relique of antiquity, turned up from the soil of our metropolitan river, may induce communications to the Table Book of similar discoveries when they take place. At no time were ancient remains more regarded: and illustrations of old manners and customs, of all kinds, are here especially acceptable.


JACK O’ LENT.

This was a puppet, formerly thrown at, in our own country, during Lent, like Shrove-cocks. Thus, in “The Weakest goes to the Wall,” 1600, we read of “a mere anatomy, a Jack of Lent;” and in Greene’s “Tu quoque,” of “a boy that is throwing at his Jack o’ Lent;” and again, in the comedy of “Lady Alimony,” 1659:

———“Throwing cudgels
At Jack a Lents or Shrove-cocks.”

Also, in Ben Jonson’s “Tale of a Tub:”

———“On an Ash-Wednesday,
When thou didst stand six weeks the Jack o’ Lent,
For boys to hurl three throws a penny at thee.”

So, likewise, in Beaumont and Fletcher’s “Tamer tamed:”

[I-271,
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———“If I forfeit,
Make me a Jack o’ Lent, and break my shins
For untagg’d points and counters.”

Further, in Quarles’ “Shepheard’s Oracles,” 1646, we read:

“How like a Jack a Lent
He stands, for boys to spend their Shrove-tide throws,
Or like a puppet made to frighten crows.”[72]

From the “Jack o’ Lent,” we derive the familiar term among children, “Jack o’ Lanthorn.”


[72] Brand’s Popular Antiquities.


Shrove Tuesday
AND
Ash Wednesday.

The copious particulars respecting these festivals, which have been brought together in another place,[73] admit of some addition.

In France and other parts of the continent, the season preceding Lent is universal carnival. At Marseilles, the Thursday before Lent is called le Jeudi gras, and Shrove Tuesday le Mardi gras. Every body joins in masquerading on these nights, and both streets and houses are full of masks the whole night long. The god of fritters, if such a god there be, who is worshipped in England only on Shrove Tuesday, is worshipped in France on both the Thursday and Tuesday. Parties meet at each other’s houses to a supper of fritters, and then set off masquerading, which they keep up to a very late hour in the morning.

On Ash-Wednesday, which has here much more the appearance of a festival than of a fast, there is a ceremony called “interring the carnival.” A whimsical figure is dressed up to represent the carnival, which is carried in the afternoon in procession to Arrens, a small village on the sea-shore, about a mile out of the town, where it is pulled to pieces. This ceremony is attended in some way or other by every inhabitant of Marseilles, whether gentle or simple, man or woman, boy or girl. The very genteel company are in carriages, which parade backwards and forwards upon the road between the town and the village, for two or three hours, like the Sunday processions in Hyde-park. Of the rest of the company, some make parties to dine at Arrens, or at the public-houses on the road; others make water parties; but the majority only go and walk about, or sit upon the rocks to see and be seen. It was one of the most delightful evenings imaginable; the air was inexpressibly mild; the road where the carriages parade is about half way up the rocks, and this long string of carriages constantly moving, the rocks filled with thousands and thousands of spectators, and the tranquil sea gilded by the setting sun, and strewed over with numberless little barks, formed altogether one of the most beautiful and picturesque scenes that could be presented. We sat down on a little detached piece of rock almost encircled by the sea, that we might have full enjoyment of it, and there remained till some time after the glorious sun had disappeared for the night, when we walked home by a lovely bright moonlight, in a milder evening, though in the month of February, than we often find in England at Midsummer.[74]


Naogeorgus, in the “Popish Kingdome,” mentions some burlesque scenes practised formerly on Ash Wednesday. People went about in mid-day with lanterns in their hands, looking after the feast days which they had lost on this the first day of the Lent fast. Some carried herrings on a pole, crying “Herrings, herrings, stinking herrings! no more puddings!”

And hereto joyne they foolish playes,
and doltish doggrel rimes,
And what beside they can invent,
belonging to the times.

Others, at the head of a procession, carried a fellow upon staves, or “stangs,” to some near pond or running stream, and there plunged him in, to wash away what of feasting-time might be in him. Some got boys to accompany them through the town singing, and with minstrels playing, entered the houses, and seizing young girls harnessed them to a plough; one man held the handles, another drove them with a whip, a minstrel sung drunken songs, and a fellow followed, flinging sand or ashes as if he had been sowing, and then they drove

—— both plough and maydens through
some pond or river small,
And dabbled all with durt, and wringing
wett as they may bee
To supper calle, and after that
to daunsing lustilee.

[73] The Every-Day Book.

[74] Miss Plumptre.


[I-273,
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Quinquagesima.
Carnival in Spain.

“Carnival,” properly so called, according to Mr. Blanco White, is limited to Quinquagesima Sunday, and the two following days, a period which the lower classes pass in drinking and rioting in those streets where the meaner sort of houses abound, and especially in the vicinity of the large courts, or halls, called Corrales, surrounded with small rooms or cells, where numbers of the poorest inhabitants live in filth, misery, and debauch. Before these horrible places, are seen crowds of men, women, and children, singing, dancing, drinking, and pursuing each other with handfuls of hair-powder. I have never seen, however, an instance of their taking liberties with any person above their class; yet, such bacchanals produce a feeling of insecurity, which makes the approach of those spots very unpleasant during the carnival.

At Madrid, where whole quarters of the town, such as Avapiés and Maravillas, are inhabited exclusively by the rabble, these “Saturnalia” are performed upon a larger scale. Mr. White says, I once ventured with three or four friends, all muffled in our cloaks, to parade the Avapiés during the carnival. The streets were crowded with men, who, upon the least provocation, real or imaginary, would have instantly used the knife, and of women equally ready to take no slight share in any quarrel: for these lovely creatures often carry a poniard in a sheath, thrust within the upper part of the left stocking, and held up by the garter. We were, however, upon our best behaviour, and by a look of complacency on their sports, and keeping at the most respectful distance from the women, came away without meeting with the least disposition to insolence or rudeness.

A gentleman, who, either out of curiosity or depraved taste, attends the amusements of the vulgar, is generally respected, provided he is a mere spectator, and appears indifferent to the females. The ancient Spanish jealousy is still observable among the lower classes; and while not a sword is drawn in Spain upon a love-quarrel, the knife often decides the claims of more humble lovers. Yet love is by no means the main instigator of murder among us. A constitutional irritability, especially in the southern provinces, leads, without any more assignable reason, to the frequent shedding of blood. A small quantity of wine, nay, the mere blowing of the easterly wind, called “Solano,” is infallibly attended with deadly quarrels in Andalusia. The average of dangerous or mortal wounds, on every great festival at Seville, is, I believe, about two or three. We have, indeed, a well-endowed hospital named de los Herídos, which, though open to all persons who meet with dangerous accidents, is, from this unhappy disposition of the people, almost confined to the wounded. The large arm-chair, where the surgeon in attendance examines the patient just as he is brought in, usually upon a ladder, is known in the whole town by the name of “Silla de los Guapos,” the Bullies’ chair. Every thing, in fact, attests both the generality and inveteracy of that horrible propensity among the Spaniards.[75]


[75] Doblado’s Letters from Spain.


THE LIEGE ALMANAC.

The celebrated almanac of “Francis Moore, physician,” to whose predictions thousands are accustomed to look with implicit confidence and veneration, is rivalled, on the continent, by the almanac of Liège, by “Matthew Laensberg,” who there enjoys an equal degree of celebrity.

Whether the name of Laensberg is a real or an assumed name is a matter of great doubt. A tradition, preserved in the family of the first printers of the work, ascribes it to a canon of St. Bartholomew, at Liège, who lived about the conclusion of the sixteenth century, or at the beginning of the seventeenth. This is further corroborated, by a picture of a canon of that church which still exists, and which is conjectured by many to represent the inventor of the celebrated almanac of Liège. Figure to yourself an old man, seated in an arm chair, his left hand resting on a globe, and his right holding a telescope. At his feet are seen different mathematical instruments, several volumes and sheets of paper, with circles and triangles drawn upon them. His eyes are large and prominent; he has a dull, heavy look, a nose in the form of a shell, and large ears, which are left uncovered by a greasy cap. His large mouth, half open, announces surliness and pedantry; frightful wrinkles furrow his face, and his long bushy beard covers an enormous band. This man is, besides, muffled up in an old cassock, patched in several places. Under his hideous portrait is the inscription “D. T. V. Bartholomæi Canonicus et Philosophiæ Professor.”

Such is the picture given by a person [I-275,
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who examined this portrait, and who, though he was at the pains to search the registers of the chapter of Liège, was unable to find any name that at all corresponded with the above designation. Hence it may be fairly concluded, that the canon, whose portrait has just been exhibited, assumed the name of Matthew Laensbert, or Laensberg, as well as the title of professor of philosophy, for the purpose of publishing his almanac, with the prognostications, which have rendered it so celebrated.

The earliest of these almanacs known to exist is of the year 1636. It bears the name of Matthew Lansbert, mathematician, and not Laensberg, as it is now written. In the middle of the title is seen the portrait of an astronomer, nearly resembling that which is still placed there. After the printer’s name, are the words, “with permission of the superior powers.” This is repeated in the eleven first almanacs, but in that for 1647, we find, “with the favour and privilege of his highness.” This privilege, granted by Ferdinand of Bavaria, prince of Liège, is actually inserted. It gives permission to Leonard Streete to print Matthew Laensberg’s almanac, and forbids other printers to make copies of it, upon pain of confiscation, and other penalties.

The name of this prophet, spelt Lansbert in the first almanacs, has since been regularly written Laensberg. It is to this privilege of the prince bishop of Liège that Voltaire alludes in these lines of his Epistle to the king of Denmark:—

Et quand vous écrirez sur l’almanac de Liège,
Ne parlez des saisons qu’avec un privilège.

The four first pages of the Liège almanac for 1636, are occupied by a piece entitled “The Twelve Celestial Signs governing the Human Body.” Cancer, for instance, governs the breast, the belly, and the lungs, with all their diseases. This was at that time the fashionable system of astrology, which was succeeded by many others, equally ill-founded, and equally popular. Yet it is a fact, that could scarcely be believed, were it not stated in an advertisement prefixed, that the physicians manifested a jealousy lest the prophet of Liège should extend his dominion over the healing art. They obtained an order that every thing relating to the influence of the celestial signs on diseases should be suppressed, and this retrenchment took place, for the first time, in 1679. The principal part, however, was preserved, and still ensures the success of this wonderful performance. It consists of general predictions concerning the variations of the seasons, and the occurrences of the year. In each month are marked the days when there will be rain, and those that will be dry; whether there will be snow or hail, high winds, storms, &c. Sterne alludes to this in his Tristram Shandy, when he says, “I have observed this 26th of March, 1759, a rainy day, notwithstanding the almanac of Liège.”

The general predictions mention the occurrences that are to take place in every month. Accident has frequently been wonderfully favourable to the prophet; and he owes all his reputation and celebrity to the luck of having announced the gaining of a battle, or the death of some distinguished person. An anecdote of Madame Du-barri, at that time all-powerful at the court of Louis XIV., is not a little singular.

When the king was attacked with the malady which put an end to his life, that lady was obliged to leave Versailles. She then had occasion, says the author of her life, to recollect the almanac of Liège, which had given her great uneasiness, and of which she had suppressed all the copies she was able. Amongst the predictions for the month of April, in that almanac, was the following: “A lady, in the highest favour, will act her last part.” She frequently said, “I wish this odious month of April were over.” According to the prediction, she had really acted “her last part,” for the king died in the following month, May 1774.[76]


[76] Repository of Arts.


DISCOVERY OF MADEIRA.

In the year 1344, in the reign of Peter IV. king of Arragon, the island of Madeira, lying in 32 degrees, was discovered, by an Englishman, named Macham, who, sailing from England to Spain with a lady whom he had carried off, was driven to the island by a tempest, and cast anchor in the harbour or bay, now called Machico, after the name of Macham. His mistress being sea-sick, he took her to land, with some of his company, where she died, and the ship drove out to sea. As he had a tender affection for his mistress, he built a chapel or hermitage, which he called “Jesus,” and buried her in it, and inscribed on her tombstone his and her name, and the occasion of their arrival there. In the island are very large trees, of one of which he [I-277,
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and his men made a boat, and went to sea in it, and were cast upon the shore of Africa, without sail or oars. The Moors were infinitely surprised at the sight of them, and presented Macham to their king, who sent him and his companions to the king of Castile, as a prodigy or miracle.

In 1395, Henry III. of Castile, by the information of Macham, persuaded some of his mariners to go in search of this island, and of the Canaries.

In 1417, king John II. of Castile, his mother Catherine being then regent, one M. Ruben, of Bracamont, admiral of France, having demanded and obtained of the queen the conquest of the Canaries, with the title of king for a kinsman of his, named M. John Betancourt, he departed from Seville with a good army. And it is affirmed, that the principal motive that engaged him in this enterprise was, to discover the island of Madeira, which Macham had found.

Tomb of Macham’s Anna.

The following elegiac stanzas are founded on the preceding historical fact. Macham, having consigned the body of his beloved mistress to the solitary grave, is supposed to have inscribed on it the following pathetic lines:—

O’er my poor Anna’s lowly grave
No dirge shall sound, no knell shall ring;
But angels, as the high pines wave,
Their half-heard ‘Miserere’ sing!
No flow’rs of transient bloom at eve,
The maidens on the turf shall strew;
Nor sigh, as the sad spot they leave,
Sweets to the sweet a long adieu!
But in this wilderness profound,
O’er her the dove shall build her nest;
And ocean swell with softer sound,
A Requiem to her dream of rest!
Ah! when shall I as quiet be,
When not a friend or human eye
Shall mark, beneath the mossy tree,
The spot where we forgotten lie?
To kiss her name on this cold stone,
Is all that now on earth I crave;
For in this world I am alone—
Oh! lay me with her in the grave.

Health.

GOOD EATING.

That “a sharp stomach is the best sauce,” is a saying as true as it is common. In Ulrick Hutton’s book on the virtues of guaiacum, there is a very singular story on this subject.

The relations of a rich German ecclesiastic, carrying him to drink the waters for the recovery of his health, and passing by the house of a famous quack, he inquired what was the reverend gentleman’s distemper? They told him a total debility, loss of appetite, and a great decay in his senses. The empiric, after viewing his enormous chin, and bodily bulk, guessed rightly at the cause of his distemper, and proposed, for a certain sum, to bring him home, on a day fixed, perfectly cured. The patient was put into his hands, and the doctor treated him in the following manner:—He furnished him every day with half a pound of excellent dry biscuit; to moisten this, he allowed him three pints of very good spring water; and he suffered him to sleep but a few hours out of the twenty-four. When he had brought him within the just proportion of a man, he obliged him to ring a bell, or work in the garden, with a rolling-stone, an hour before breakfast, and four hours in the afternoon. At the stated day the doctor produced him, perfectly restored.

Nice eating destroys the health, let it be ever so moderate; for the stomach, as every man’s experience must inform him, finds greater difficulty in digesting rich dishes than meats plainly dressed. To a sound man sauces are needless; to one who is diseased, they nourish not him, but his distemper; and the intemperance of his taste betrays him into the hands of death, which could not, perhaps, have mastered his constitution. Lewis Cornaro brought himself into a wretched condition, while a young man, by indulging his taste; yet, when he had once taken a resolution of restraining it, nature did that which physic could not; it restored him to perfect health of body, and serenity of mind, both of which he enjoyed to extreme old age.


Books.

READING ALOUD.
By Margaret Duchess of Newcastle.
1671.

—— To read lamely or crookedly, and not evenly, smoothly, and thoroughly, entangles the sense. Nay, the very sound of the voice will seem to alter the sense of the theme; and though the sense will be there in despite of the ill voice, or ill reading, yet it will be concealed, or discovered to [I-279,
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its disadvantages. As an ill musician, (or indeed one that cannot play at all,) instead of playing, puts the fiddle out of tune, (and causeth a discord,) which, if well played upon, would sound harmoniously; or if he can play but one tune, plays it on all sorts of instruments; so, some will read with one tone or sound of voice, though the passions and numbers are different; and some again, in reading, wind up their voices to such a passionate screw, that they whine or squeal, rather than speak or read: others fold up their voices with such distinctions, that they make that triangular which is four-square; and that narrow, which should be broad; and that high, which should be low; and low, that should be high: and some again read so fast, that the sense is lost in the race. So that writings sound good or bad, as the readers, and not as their authors are: and, indeed, such advantage a good or ill reader hath, that those that read well shall give a grace to a foolish author; and those that read ill, do disgrace a wise and a witty one. But there are two sorts of readers; the one that reads to himself, and for his own benefit; the other, to benefit another by hearing it: in the first, there is required a good judgment, and a ready understanding: in the other, a good voice and a graceful delivery: so that a writer must have a double desire; the one, that he may write well; the other, that he may be read well.


Aphorisms.
By Lavater.

Who in the same given time can produce more than many others, has vigour; who can produce more and better, has talents; who can produce what none else can, has genius.

Who, without pressing temptation, tells a lie, will, without pressing temptation, act ignobly and meanly.

Who, under pressing temptations to lie, adheres to truth, nor to the profane betrays aught of a sacred trust, is near the summit of wisdom and virtue.

All affectation is the vain and ridiculous attempt of poverty to appear rich.

Who has no friend and no enemy, is one of the vulgar; and without talents, powers, or energy.

The more honesty a man has, the less he affects the air of a saint—the affectation of sanctity is a blot on the face of piety.

Love as if you could hate and might be hated, is a maxim of detested prudence in real friendship, the bane of all tenderness, the death of all familiarity. Consider the fool who follows it as nothing inferior to him who at every bit of bread trembles at the thought of its being poisoned.

There are more heroes than saints (heroes I call rulers over the minds and destinies of men;) more saints than humane characters. He, who humanizes all that is within and around himself, adore: I know but of one such by tradition.

He who laughed at you till he got to your door, flattered you as you opened it—felt the force of your argument whilst he was with you—applauded when he rose, and, after he went away, execrated you—has the most indisputable title to an archdukedom in hell.

Let the four-and-twenty elders in heaven rise before him who, from motives of humanity, can totally suppress an arch, full-pointed, but offensive bon mot.


Manners.

THE PARLIAMENT CLUBS.

Before the year 1736, it had been usual for gentlemen of the House of Commons to dine together at the Crown-tavern in Palace-yard, in order to be in readiness to attend the service of the house. This club amounted to one hundred and twenty, besides thirty of their friends coming out of the country. In January, 1736, sir Robert Walpole and his friends began to dine in the same manner, at the Bell and Sun in King-street, Westminster, and their club was one hundred and fifty, besides absent members. These parties seem to have been the origin of Brookes’s and White’s clubs.


RIGHT AND LEFT HAND.

Dr. Zinchinelli, of Padua, in an essay “On the Reasons why People use the Right Hand in preference to the Left,” will not allow custom or imitation to be the cause. He affirms, that the left arm cannot be in violent and continued motion without causing pain in the left side, because there is the seat of the heart and of the arterial system; and that, therefore, Nature herself compels man to make use of the right hand.


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THE DEATH OF LEILA.

For the Table Book.

’Twas moonlight—Leila sat retir’d
Upon the tow’ring beach,
Watching the waves, “like one inspir’d”
With things beyond her reach:
There was a calmness on the water
Suited to Sorrow’s hapless daughter,
For consolation seem’d to be
Mixt up with its solemnity!
The stars were shedding far and wide
Their twinkling lights of peerless blue;
And o’er the undulating tide
The breeze on balmy pinions flew;
The scene might well have rais’d the soul
Above misfortune’s dark controul,
Had not the hand of Death been laid
On that belov’d and matchless maid!
I watch’d the pale, heart-broken girl,
Her shatter’d form, her look insane,—
I saw her raven locks uncurl
With moisture from the peaceful main:
I saw her wring her hands with grief,
Like one depriv’d of Hope’s relief,
And then she sigh’d, as if bereft
Of the last treasure heav’n had left!
Slowly I sought the cheerless spot
Where Leila lay, absorb’d in care,
But she, poor girl! discern’d me not,
Nor dreamt that friendship linger’d there!
Her grief had bound her to the earth,
And clouded all her beauty’s worth;
And when her clammy hand I press’d,
She seem’d of feeling dispossess’d!
Yet there were motion, sense, and life,
Remaining in that shatter’d frame,
As if existing by the strife
Of feelings none but Love can name!
I spoke, she answer’d not—I took
Her hand with many a fearful look—
Her languid eyes I gaz’d upon,
And press’d her lips—but she was gone!

B. W. R.

Islington, 1827.


Omniana.

RATTING.

There are three methods proposed for lessening the number of rats.

I. Introduce them at table as a delicacy. They would probably be savoury food, and if nature has not made them so, the cook may. Rat pie would be as good as rook pie; and four tails intertwisted like the serpents of the delphic tripod, and rising into a spiral obelisk, would crest the crust more fantastically than pigeon’s feet. After a while they might be declared game by the legislature, which would materially expedite their extirpation.

II. Make use of their fur. Rat-skin robes for the ladies would be beautiful, warm, costly, and new. Fashion requires only the two last qualities; it is hoped the two former would not be objectionable.

III. Inoculate some subjects with the small-pox, or any other infectious disease, and turn them loose. Experiments should first be made, lest the disease should assume in them so new a form as to be capable of being returned to us with interest. If it succeeded, man has means in his hand which would thin the hyenas, wolves, jackals, and all gregarious beasts of prey.

N. B. If any of our patriotic societies should think proper to award a gold medal, silver cup, or other remuneration to either of these methods, the projector has left his address with the editor.[77]


BUNGAY HAND-BILL.

(Copy.)
PONY LOST.

On February 21st, 1822, this devil bade me adieu.

Lost, stolen, or astray, not the least doubt but run away, a mare pony that is all bay:—if I judge pretty nigh, it is about eleven hands high;—full tail and mane, a pretty head and frame;—cut on both shoulders by the collar, not being soft nor hollow:—it is about five years old, which may be easily told;—for spirit and for speed, the devil cannot her exceed.

Whoever can give information or bring the said runaway to me, John Winter, Glass-stainer and Combustible-maker, Upper Olland Street, Bungay, shall be handsomely rewarded for their trouble.


NOMINATIVE CASE.

Sancho, prince of Castile, being present at a papal consistory at Rome, wherein the proceedings were conducted in Latin, which he did not understand, and hearing loud applause, inquired of his interpreter what caused it: “My lord,” replied the interpreter, “the pope has caused you to be proclaimed king of Egypt.” “It does not become us,” said the grave Spaniard, “to be wanting in gratitude; rise up, and proclaim his holiness caliph of Bagdad.”


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DISCOUNT FOR CASH.

The following anecdote is related in a journal of the year 1789:—

A service of plate was delivered at the duke of Clarence’s house, by his order, accompanied by the bill, amounting to 1500l., which his royal highness deeming exorbitant, sent back, remarking, that he conceived the overcharge to be occasioned by the apprehension that the tradesman might be kept long out of his money. He added, that so far from its being his intention to pay by tedious instalments, or otherwise distress those with whom he dealt, he had laid it down as an invariable principle, to discharge every account the moment it became due. The account was returned to his royal highness the next morning, with three hundred pounds taken off, and it was instantly paid.


SPORTING.

A wit said of the late bishop of Durham, when alive, “His grace is the only man in England who may kill game legally without a stamped license: if actually taken with a gun in his hand, he might exclaim in the words of his own grants—‘I Shute, by divine permission.’”


[77] Dr. Aikin’s Athenæum.


March.

Stop and Read.

We have seen this requisition on the walls till we are tired: in a book it is a novelty, and here, I hope it may enforce its claim. For thy sake, gentle reader, I am anxious that it should; for, if thou hast a tithe of the pleasure I had, from the perusal of the following verses, I expect commendation for bidding thee “stop and read.”

The First of March.

The bud is in the bough
And the leaf is in the bud,
And Earth’s beginning now
In her veins to feel the blood,
Which, warm’d by summer’s sun
In th’ alembic of the vine,
From her founts will overrun
In a ruddy gush of wine.
The perfume and the bloom
That shall decorate the flower,
Are quickening in the gloom
Of their subterranean bower;
And the juices meant to feed
Trees, vegetables, fruits,
Unerringly proceed
To their preappointed roots.
How awful the thought
Of the wonders under ground,
Of the mystic changes wrought
In the silent, dark profound;
How each thing upwards tends
By necessity decreed,
And a world’s support depends
On the shooting of a seed!
The Summer’s in her ark,
And this sunny-pinion’d day
Is commission’d to remark
Whether Winter holds her sway;
Go back, thou dove of peace,
With the myrtle on thy wing,
Say that floods and tempests cease,
And the world is ripe for Spring.
Thou hast fann’d the sleeping Earth
Till her dreams are all of flowers,
And the waters look in mirth
For their overhanging bowers;
The forest seems to listen
For the rustle of its leaves,
And the very skies to glisten
In the hope of summer eves.
Thy vivifying spell
Has been felt beneath the wave,
By the dormouse in its cell,
And the mole within its cave;
And the summer tribes that creep,
Or in air expand their wing,
Have started from their sleep,
At the summons of the Spring.
The cattle lift their voices
From the valleys and the hills,
And the feather’d race rejoices
With a gush of tuneful bills;
And if this cloudless arch
Fills the poet’s song with glee,
O thou sunny first of March,
Be it dedicate to thee!

This beautiful poem has afforded me exquisite gratification. Till I saw it printed in Mr. Dyce’s “Specimens of British Poetesses,” I was ignorant that a living lady had written so delightfully. Without a friend at my elbow to instruct me whether I should prefix “Miss” or “Mrs.” to her felicitous name, I transcribe—as I find it in Mr. Dyce’s volume—Felicia Hemans.


[I-285,
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Vol. I.—10.

The Story of the Scotch Soldier.

The Story of the Scotch Soldier.

“Upon my soul it’s a fact.”

Matthewsand Self.

For the Table Book.

“Is the master at home, sir?” said a broad-shouldered Scotchman (wearing a regimental coat of the —— regiment, and with his bonnet in his hand) to myself, who had answered a ring at the office-bell. I replied that he was not. “Weel, that’s onlucky, sir,” said he, “for ye see, sir, a hae goten a pertection here, an’ a hae been till a’ the Scotchmen that a can hear ony thing o’, but they hae a’ signed for the month; an’ a hae a shorteness o’ brith, that wunna lat me wurk or du ony thing; an’ a’d be vary glaid gin a cud git doon to Scoteland i’ the nixt vaissel, for a hanna’ a baubee; an’, as a sid afore, a canna wurk, an’ gin maister B. wud jist sign ma pertection, a hae twa seagnatures, an’ a’d git awa’ the morn.” For once I had told no lie in denying Mr. B. to his visitor, and, therefore, in no dread of detection from cough, or other vivâ voce evidence, I ushered the “valiant Scot” into the sanctum of a lawyer’s clerk.

There is a very laudable benevolent institution in London, called the “Scottish Hospital,” which, on proper representations made to it, signed by three of its members, (forms whereof are annexed, in blank, to the printed petition, which is given gratuitously to applicants,) will pass poor natives of Scotland to such parts of their father-land as they wish, free of expense, and will otherwise relieve their wants; but each member is only allowed [I-287,
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to sign one petition each month. This poor fellow had come in hopes of obtaining Mr. B.’s signature to his request to be sent home; and, while waiting to procure it, told me the circumstances that had reduced him to ask it.

He was a native of ——, where the rents had lately been raised, by a new laird, far beyond the capabilities of the tacksmen. They had done their best to pay them—had struggled long, and hard, with an ungrateful soil—but their will and industry were lost; and they were, finally, borne down by hard times, and harsh measures. ’Twas hard to leave the hearths which generations of their forefathers had shadowed and hallowed—’twas yet harder to see their infants’ lips worrying the exhausted breast, and to watch the cheeks of their children as they grew pale from want—and to see their frolics tamed by hunger into inert stupidity. An American trader had just touched at their island, for the purpose of receiving emigrants, and half its inhabitants had domiciled themselves on board, before her arrival had been known twelve hours. Our poor Scot would fain have joined them, with his family and parents, but he lacked the means to provide even the scanty store of oatmeal and butter which they were required to ship before they could be allowed to step on deck; so, in a fit of distress and despair, he left the home that had never been a day out of his sight, and enlisted with a party of his regiment, then at ——, for the sole purpose of sending to the afflicted tenants of his “bit housey,” the poor pittance of bounty he received, to be a short stay ’twixt them and starvation.

He had been last at St. John’s, Newfoundland; “and there,” said he, indignantly, “they mun mak’ a cook’s orderly o’ me, as gin a war’ nae as proper a man as ony o’ them to carry a musket; an’ they sint me to du a’ the odd jobes o’ a chap that did a wife’s-wark, tho’ there were a gude fivety young chaps i’ the regiment that had liked it wul aneugh, and were better fetting for the like o’ sican a place than mysel.—And so, sir,” he continued, “thar a was, working mysel intill a scalding heat, and than a’d geng out to carry in the cauld water; an’ i’ the deeing o’t, a got a cauld that sattled inwardly, an’ garr’d me hae a fivre an’ spit blood. Weel, sir, aifter mony months, a gote better; but oh! a was unco weak, and but a puir creature frae a strong man afore it: but a did na mak muckle o’t, for a thought ay, gin ony thing cam o’t to disable me, or so, that a should hae goten feve-pence or sax-pence a-day an’ that had been a great help.”

——Oh! if the rich would but take the trouble to learn how many happy hearts they might make at small expense—and fashion their deeds to their knowledge—how many prayers might nightly ascend with their names from grateful bosoms to the recording angel’s ears—and how much better would the credit side of their account with eternity appear on that day, when the great balance must be struck!——

There was a pause—for my narrator’s breath failed him; and I took the opportunity of surveying him. He was about thirty, with a half hale, half hectic cheek; a strong red beard, of some three days’ growth, and a thick crop of light hair, such as only Scotchmen have—one of the Cain’s brands of our northern brethren—it curled firmly round his forehead; and his head was set upon his broad shoulders with that pillar of neck which Adrian in particular, and many other of the Roman emperors, are represented with, on their coins, but which is rarely seen at present. He must, when in full health, have stood about five feet seven; but, now, he lost somewhat of his height in a stoop, contracted during his illness, about the chest and shoulders, and common to most people affected with pulmonary complaints: his frame was bulky, but the sinews seemed to have lost their tension; and he looked like “one of might,” who had grappled strongly with an evil one in sore sickness. He bore no air of discontent, hard as his lot was; yet there was nothing theatrical in his resignation. All Scotchmen are predestinarians, and he fancied he saw the immediate hand of Providence working out his destiny through his misfortunes, and against such interference he thought it vain to clamour. Far other were my feelings when I looked on his fresh, broad face, and manly features, his open brow, his width of shoulders, and depth of chest, and heard how the breath laboured in that chest for inefficient vent——

“May be,” said he—catching my eye in its wanderings, as he raised his own from the ground,—“May be a’d be better, gin a were doon i’ wun nain place.” I was vext to my soul that my look had spoken so plainly as to elicit this remark. Tell a man in a consumption that he looks charmingly, and you have opened the sluices of his heart almost as effectually, to your ingress, as if you had really cured him. And yet I think this poor fellow said what he did, rather to please one which [I-289,
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he saw took an interest in him, than to flatter himself into a belief of recovery, or from any such existing belief; for, shortly after, when I asked him what he would do in Scotland, “A dunna ken wat a mun du,” he replied; “a canna du ony labouring wark, an’ a ha na goten ony trade; but, ye see, sir, we like ay to die whar’ wer’re born; and my faither, an’ my gran’faither afore him forbye, a’ my ither kin, an’ the mither that bore me, there a’ i’ the nook o’ —— kirk-yaird; an’ than my wife an twa bairnies:”—There was a pause in the soldier’s voice; he had not learnt the drama of mendicity or sentimentality, but, by ——! there was a tear in his eye.[78]—I hate a scene as much as Byron did, but I admire a feeling heart, and pity a sorrowful one——the tear did not fall. I looked in his face when I heard his voice again; his eye glistened, and the lash was wet, but the tear was gone—And there stood I, whose slender body scarcely comprehended one half of the circumference of his muscular frame.—“And the hand of Death is here!” said I; and then I turned my eyes upon myself, and almost wondered how my soul dwelt in so frail a tenement, while his was about to escape from such a seeming fastness of flesh.

After some further conversation, he told me his regiment had at one time been ordered off for Africa against the Ashantees; and sure never mortal man regretted counter orders on such grounds as he did those which balked his expectations of a visit to Sierra Leone.—“A thought,” said he, “wur regiment woud ha gien to Aifrica against the Aishantees—an a was in hopes it wud—it’s a didly climate, an’ there was nae money goten out o’ the laist fray; but thin—perhaps its jist as well to die in ae place as anither—but than we canna bring wursels to feel it, tho’ we may think it—an’ than ye see, sir, as a sid afore, a hae twa bairnies, an gin a’d laid doon wi’ the rast, the mither o’ them might hae goten the widow’s pension for them an’ hirsel.”—The widow’s pension! sixpence a-day for a woman and two children—and death to the fourth person as the only price of it! Hear this, shade of Lemprière! Manlius and the Horatii died to save a country, and to purchase earthly immortality by their deaths—but here’s a poor fellow willing to give up the ghost, by sword, plague, pestilence or famine, to secure a wife and two children two-pence each, per day!

Look to it, ye three-bottle beasts, or men—as the courtesy of a cringing world calls you—look to it, when ye toast the next lordly victor “with three times three!”—Shout ’till the roof rings, and then think, amid the din of your compeers, of the humble dead—of those who walk silently in the path of the grave, and of the widowed and fatherless. Commanders die for glory, for a funeral procession, or a title, or wealth for those they leave behind; but who speaks of the private, who dies with a wound for every pore?—he rots on the earth; or, with some scores or hundreds of his comrades, a few inches beneath it; and his wife gets—“sixpence a day!”

Poor fellow, thought I, as I looked on my narrator—were I a king—but kings cannot scrape acquaintance with every man in the ranks of their forces—but had I been your officer, I think you should not have wanted your pension for the few days that are to shine on you in this world; and, had you fallen, it should have gone hard with me, but your wife and two children should have had their twopence each per day—and, were I a man of fortune, I would be proud to keep the life in such a heart, as long as God would permit—and so saying, or thinking—and blinking away the dimness of humanity from my eye—I thrust my hand into my pocket, and gave him Sixpence.—Reader! smile not; I am but a poor harum scarum headed mortal—’t was all I had, “in possession, expectancy, remainder, or reversion”—

J. J. K.


[78] [“—The ACCUSING SPIRIT flew up to heaven’s chancery with the oath, and blushed as he gave it in—the RECORDING ANGEL, as he wrote it down, dropped a tear upon the word, and blotted it out for ever!”—Sterne. Ed.]


Highland Legend.

The following poem originates in a legend which is still popular in many parts of the highlands of Scotland: that a female branch of the noble family of Douglas contracted an imprudent marriage with a kerne, or mountain peasant, who was drowned in the Western Islands, where he had escaped for concealment from the persecutions of the offended family of his wife. She survived him eighteen years, and wandered a maniac over the mountains, where, as superstition alleges, she is even now to be seen at daybreak. The stanzas are supposed to be the extempore recitations of an old bard to a group of attentive villagers.

[I-291,
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THE LADY OF THE HILL.

Poor girl! she seem’d of an unearthly mould,
A thing superior to the frowns of fate;
But never did my tearful eyes behold
A maid so fair, and so disconsolate;
Yet was she once a child of high estate,
And nurst in splendour, till an envious gloom
Sunk her beneath its harsh o’erpowering weight:
Robb’d her pale features of their orient bloom,
And with a noiseless pace, mov’d onwards to the tomb.
She walk’d upon the earth, as one who knew
The dread mysterious secrets of the grave;
For never o’er her eye of heav’nly blue
Lighten’d a smile; but like the ocean wave
That roars, unblest with sunshine, through the cave
Rear’d in the depths of Snowden, she had flown
To endless grief for refuge; and would rave,
And tell to the night-winds her tale unknown,
Or wander o’er the heath, deserted and alone.
And when the rain beat hard against the hill,
And storms rush’d by upon their wing of pow’r,
Lonely she’d stray beside the bubbling rill,
Or fearless list the deep-voic’d cataract’s roar;
And when the tempest’s wrath was heard no more
She wander’d home, the mountain sod to dress
With many a wreath, and many a summer flow’r:
And thus she liv’d, the sister of distress,
The solitude of love, nurst in the wilderness.
She was the child of nature; earth, sea, sky,
Mountain and cataract, fern-clad hill and dale
Possess’d a nameless charm in her young eye,
Pure and eternal, for in Deva’s vale
Her heart first listen’d to a lover’s tale,
Breath’d by a mountain kerne; and every scene
That wanton’d blithely in the od’rous gale,
Had oft beheld her lord’s enamour’d mien,
As tremblingly she sought each spot where he had been.
But she is gone! The cold earth is her pillow,
And o’er her blooms the summer’s sweetest flow’r;
And o’er her ashes weeps the grateful willow
She lov’d to cherish in a happier hour—
Mute is the voice that breath’d from Deva’s bow’r
Chill is the soul of the neglected rover;
We saw the death-cloud in destruction low’r
O’er her meek head, the western waves roll’d over
The corse of him she lov’d, her own devoted lover.
But oft, when the faint sun is in the west,
And the hush’d gales along the ocean die,
Strange sounds reecho from her place of rest,
And sink into the heart most tenderly—
The bird of evening hour, the humming bee,
And the wild music of the mountain rill,
Seem breathing sorrow as they murmur by,
And whispering to the night, while all is still,
The tale of the poor girl—the “Lady of the Hill.”

W. F. D.—Indicator.


Marriage Customs.

HIGHLAND WEDDINGS.

By John Hay Allan, Esq.

There is not probably, at the present day, a more social and exhilarating convocation than a highland wedding among the lower orders. The ancient hospitality and kindliness of character fills it with plenty and good humour, and gathers from every side all who have the slightest claim in the blood, name, and friendship of the bride or bridegroom. That olden attachment, which formerly bound together the superiors and their dependants, yet so far influences their character as to bring them together at the same board upon this occasion. When a wedding is to take place, the attendance of the chief, or laird, as well as that of the higher tacksmen, is always solicited by the respective parties, and there are few who would refuse this mark of consideration and good-will. The clansmen are happy in the honour which they receive, and the “Duinne-Uasal” is pleased with the regard and respect which renders the countenance of his presence necessary to his people.

Upon the day of the wedding, the friends of the bridegroom and the bride assemble at the house of their respective parents, with all the guns and pistols which can be collected in the country. If the distance of the two rendezvous is more than a day’s march, the bridegroom gathers his friends as much sooner as is necessary to enable them to be with the bride on the day and hour appointed. Both parties are exceedingly proud of the numbers and of the rank which their influence enables them to bring; they therefore spare no pains to render the gathering of their friends as full and as respectable as possible. The company of each party dines at the house of their respective parents. Every attainable display of rustic sumptuousness and rustic gallantry is made to render the festival worthy of an occasion which can happen but once in a life. The labour and the care of months have been long providing the means wherewith to furnish the feast with plenty, and the assistants with gayety; and it is not unfrequent that the savings of a whole year are expended to do honour to this single day.

When the house is small, and the company very numerous, the partitions are frequently taken down, and the whole “biel” thrown into one space. A large table, the [I-293,
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entire length of the house, is formed of deal planks laid upon tressels, and covered with a succession of table-cloths, white though coarse. The quantity of the dinner is answerable to the space which it is to cover: it generally consists of barley broth, or cock-a-leeky, boiled fowls, roasted ducks, joints of meat, sheep’s heads, oat and barley cakes, butter, and cheese; and in summer, frothed buttermilk, and slam. In the glens where goats are kept, haunches of these animals and roasted kids are also added to the feast. In the olden time, venison and all kinds of game, from the cappercalich to the grouse, were also furnished; but since the breach of the feudal system, and its privileges, the highland lairds have become like other proprietors in the regulation of their game, and have prohibited its slaughter to their tenants upon pain of banishment.

Yet the cheer of the dinner is not so remarkable as the gear of the guests. No stranger who looked along the board could recognise in their “braws” the individuals whom the day before he had seen in the mill, the field, or the “smiddie.” The men are generally dressed to the best of their power in the lowland fashion. There are still a few who have the spirit, and who take a pride, to appear in the noble dress of their ancestors. These are always considered as an honour and an ornament to the day. So far however has habit altered the custom of the people, even against their own approbation, that notwithstanding the convenience and respect attached to the tartans, they are generally laid aside. But though the men are nothing deficient in the disposition to set themselves off in the lowland fashions, from the superior expense of cloth and other materials of a masculine dress, they are by no means so gay as the lasses. Girls, who the yester even were seen bare-headed and bare-footed, lightly dressed in a blue flannel petticoat and dark linen jacket, are now busked in white frocks, riband sashes, cotton stockings on their feet, and artificial flowers on their heads. The “merchant’s” and the miller’s daughters frequently exhibit the last fashion from Edinburgh, and are beautified and garnished with escalloped trimmings, tabbed sleeves, tucks, lace, gathers, and French frills! As it has been discovered that tartan is nothing esteemed in London, little or none is to be seen, except in the red plaid or broached tunic of some old wife, whose days of gayety are past, but who still loves that with which she was gay in her youth. It is to be regretted that Dr. Samuel Johnson had not lived to witness these dawnings of reason and improvement; his philosophical mind might have rejoiced in the symptoms of approaching “civilization” among the highlanders.

The hour of dinner is generally about one o’clock; the guests are assembling for two hours before, and each as he enters is presented with a glass of “uisga” by way of welcome. When the company is seated, and the grace has been said, the bottle makes a regular round, and each empties a bumper as it passes. During the meal more than one circle is completed in the same manner; and, at the conclusion, another revolutionary libation is given as a finale. As soon after dinner as his march will allow, the bridegroom arrives: his approach is announced at a distance by a continual and running discharge of firearms from his party. These signals are answered by the friends of the bride, and when at length they meet, a general but irregular feu-de-joie announces the arrival. The bridegroom and his escort are then regaled with whiskey, and after they have taken some farther refreshment the two parties combine, and proceed in a loose procession to the “clachan.”

Sometimes, and particularly if there happens to be a few old disbanded sergeants among them, the whole “gathering” marches very uniformly in pairs; and there is always a strict regulation in the support of the bride, and the place of the bridegroom and his party. The escort of the former takes precedency in the procession, and the head of the column is generally formed of the most active and best armed of her friends, led by their pipes. Immediately after this advanced guard, come the bride and the females of her party, accompanied by their fathers, brothers, and other friends. The bride is supported on one side by a bridesman, and on the other by a bridesmaid; her arms are linked in theirs, and from the right and left hand of the supporters is held a white scarf or handkerchief, which depends in a festoon across the figure of the bride. The privilege of supporting the bride is indispensably confined to the bridesman and bridesmaid, and it would be an unacceptable piece of politeness for any other persons, however high their rank, to offer to supply their place. The bridegroom and his party, with their piper, form the rear of the procession and the whole is closed by two young girls who walk last at the array, bearing in a festoon between them a white scarf, similar to that held before the bride. During the march the pipes generally play the old [I-295,
I-296]
Scots air, “Fye, lets a’ to the Bridal,” and the parties of the bride and bridegroom endeavour to emulate each other in the discharge of their fire-arms. In this order the bridal company reaches the church, and each pipe as it passes the gate of the surrounding cemetry becomes silent. In the old time the pipers played round the outside of the clachan during the performance of the service, but of later years this custom has been discontinued. The ritual of the marriage is very simple: a prayer for the happiness and guidance of the young couple who are about to enter upon the troubled tide of life; a short exhortation upon the duties of the station which they are to undertake, and a benediction by the imposition of the hands of the minister, is all the ceremonial of the union, and announces to them that they are “no longer two, but one flesh.”

In the short days of winter, and when the bridegroom has to come from a distance, it is very frequent that the ceremony is not performed until night. The different circumstances of the occasion are then doubly picturesque and affecting: while the cavalcade is yet at a distance, the plaintive pealing of the pipes approaching upon the stillness of the night, the fire-arms flashing upon the darkness, and their reports redoubled by the solitary echoes of the mountains, and when, at length, the train draws near, the mingled tread of hasty feet, the full clamour of the pipes, the mixed and confused visionry of the white figures of the girls, and the dark shadows of the men, with here and there the waving of a plaid and the glinting of a dirk, must be striking to a stranger, but wake inexpressible emotions in the bosom of a Gaël, who loves the people and the customs of his land.

The scene is still more impressive at the clachan. I have yet before me the groups of the last wedding at which I was present in the highlands. The church was dimly lighted for the occasion; beneath the pulpit stood the minister, upon whose head eighty-five winters had left their trace: his thinned hair, bleached like the “cana,” hung in ringlets on his neck; and the light falling feebly from above, shed a silvery gleam across his lofty forehead and pale features, as he lifted his look towards heaven, and stretched his hands above the betrothed pair who stood before him. The bridegroom, a hardy young highlander, the fox-hunter of the district, was dressed in the full ’a tans; and the bride, the daughter of a neighbouring shepherd, was simply attired in white, with a bunch of white roses in her hair. The dark cheek and keen eye of the hunter deepened its hue and its light as he held the hand which had been placed in his, while the downcast face of the bride scarcely showed distinctly more than her fair forehead and temples, and seemed, as the light shone obliquely upon them, almost as pale as the roses which she wore; her slim form bent upon the supporting arm of the bridesmaid—the white frill about her neck throbbing with a light and quick vibration.

After the ceremony of the marriage is concluded, it is the privilege of the bridesman to salute the bride. As the party leave the church, the pipes again strike up, and the whole company adjourns to the next inn, or to the house of some relation of the bride’s; for it is considered “unlucky” for her own to be the first which she enters. Before she crosses the threshold, an oaten cake is broken over her head by the bridesman and bridesmaid, and distributed to the company, and a glass of whiskey passes round. The whole party then enter the house, and two or three friends of the bridegroom, who act as masters of the ceremonies, pass through the room with a bottle of whiskey, and pour out to each individual a glass to the health of the bride, the bridegroom, and their clans. Dancing then commences to the music of the pipes, and the new-married couple lead off the first reel. It is a customary compliment for the person of highest rank in the room to accompany her in the next. During the dancing the whiskey-bottle makes a revolution at intervals; and after the reels and strathspeys have been kept up for some time, the company retires to supper. The fare of the supper differs little from that of the dinner; and the rotation of the whiskey-bottle is as regular as the sun which it follows.

[At highland festivals the bottle is always circulated sun-ways, an observance which had its rise in the Druidical “deas’oil,” and once regulated almost every action of the Celts.]

When the supper is announced, each man leads his partner or some female friend to the table, and seating himself at her side, takes upon himself her particular charge during the meal; and upon such occasions, as the means of the bride and bridegroom do not permit them to bear the expenses of the supper, he is expected to pay her share of the reckoning as well as his own. After supper the dancing again commences, and is occasionally inspired by the before-noticed circumvolutions of the “Uisga na [I-297,
I-298]
Baidh.” The bride and bridegroom, and such as choose repose rather than merriment, retire to take a couple of hours’ rest before dawn; but the majority keep up the dancing till day. Towards morning many of the company begin to disperse; and when it is well light, breakfast is given to all who remain. Tea, multitudes of eggs, cold meat, a profusion of oat cakes, barley “scones,” and sometimes wheat bread, brought, perhaps, a distance of thirty miles, constitute the good cheer of this meal. When it is concluded, the bride takes leave of the majority of her friends, and accompanied only by her particular intimates and relations, sets off with the bridegroom and his party for her future residence. She is accompanied by her neighbours to the march of her father, or the tacksman under whom he lives, and at the burn-side (for such is generally the boundary) they dance a parting reel: when it is concluded, the bride kisses her friends, they return to their dwellings, and she departs for her new home. When, however, the circumstances of the bridegroom will permit, all those who were present at the house of the bride, are generally invited to accompany her on her way, and a renewal of the preceding festivities takes place at the dwelling of the bridegroom.

Upon these occasions it is incredible the fatigue which the youngest girls will undergo: of this one instance will give a sufficient proof. At a wedding which happened at Cladich by Loch Awe side, there were present as bridesmaids, two girls, not above fourteen years of age, who had walked to the bridal from Inbherara, a distance of nine miles. They attended the bride to the clachan of Inishail, and back to her father’s house, which is four miles farther. During the night none were more blithe in the dance, and in the morning after breakfast they accompanied the rest of the party to the house of the bridegroom at Tighndrum; the distance of this place is eighteen miles: and thus, when they had finished their journey, the two young bridesmaids had walked, without rest, and under the fatigue of dancing, a distance of thirty-one miles.

Such is the general outline of a highland wedding. In some districts, a few other of the ancient customs are yet retained: the throwing of the stocking is sometimes practised; but the blessing of the bridal couch disappeared with the religion of the popes.[79]


FLINGING THE STOCKING.

Mr. Brand collects a variety of particulars respecting this wedding custom.

A curious little book, entitled “The West-country Clothier undone by a Peacock,” says, “The sack-posset must be eaten and the stocking flung, to see who can first hit the bridegroom on the nose.” Misson, a traveller in England at the beginning of the last century, relates, concerning this usage, that the young men took the bride’s stocking, and the girls those of the bridegroom; each of whom, sitting at the foot of the bed, threw the stocking over their heads, endeavouring to make it fall upon that of the bride, or her spouse: if the bridegroom’s stockings, thrown by the girls, fell upon the bridegroom’s head, it was a sign that they themselves would soon be married: and a similar prognostic was taken from the falling of the bride’s stocking, thrown by the young men. The usage is related to the same effect in a work entitled “Hymen,” &c. (8vo. 1760.) “The men take the bride’s stockings, and the women those of the bridegroom: they then seat themselves at the bed’s feet, and throw the stockings over their heads, and whenever any one hits the owner of them, it is looked upon as an omen that the person will be married in a short time: and though this ceremony is looked upon as mere play and foolery, new marriages are often occasioned by such accidents. Meantime the posset is got ready and given to the married couple. When they awake in the morning, a sack-posset is also given them.” A century before this, in a “A Sing-Song on Clarinda’s Wedding,” in R. Fletcher’s “Translations and Poems, 1656,” is the following stanza:—

“This clutter ore, Clarinda lay
Half-bedded, like the peeping day
Behind Olimpus’ cap;
Whiles at her head each twitt’ring girle
The fatal stocking quick did whirle
To know the lucky hap.”

And the “Progress of Matrimony,” in “The Palace Miscellany,” 1733, says,

“Then come all the younger folk in,
With ceremony throw the stocking;
Backward, o’er head, in turn they toss’d it,
Till in sack-posset they had lost it.
Th’ intent of flinging thus the hose,
Is to hit him or her o’ th’ nose:
Who hits the mark, thus, o’er left shoulder
Must married be, ere twelve months older.”

This adventuring against the most prominent feature of the face is further mentioned [I-299,
I-300]
in “The Country Wedding,” a poem, in the Gentleman’s Magazine, for March 1735, vol. v. p. 158.

“Bid the lasses and lads to the merry brown bowl,
While rashers of bacon shall smoke on the coal:
Then Roger and Bridget, and Robin and Nan,
Hit ’em each on the nose, with the hose if you can.”

Dunton’s “British Apollo,” 1708, contains a question and answer concerning this old usage.

Q. Apollo, say, whence ’tis I pray,
The ancient custom came,
Stockings to throw (I’m sure you know)
At bridegroom and his dame?
A. When Britons bold, bedded of old,
Sandals were backward thrown;
The pair to tell, that, ill or well,
The act was all their own.”

If a more satisfactory explanation of the custom could be found, it should be at the reader’s service. The practice prevails on the continent as well as in this country, but its origin is involved in obscurity.


[79] Note to the Bridal of Caölchairn, by J. H. Allan, Esq.


Garrick Plays.
No. VII.

[From “Fortune by Land and Sea,” a Comedy, by T. Heywood, and W. Rowley, 1655.]

Old Forest forbids his Son to sup with some riotous gallants; who goes notwithstanding, and is slain.

Scene, a Tavern.

Rainsworth, Foster, Goodwin. To them enters Frank Forest.

Rain. Now, Frank, how stole you from your father’s arms?
You have been school’d, no doubt. Fie, fie upon’t.
Ere I would live in such base servitude
To an old greybeard; ’sfoot, I’d hang myself.
A man cannot be merry, and drink drunk,
But he must be control’d by gravity.
Frank. O pardon him; you know, he is my father,
And what he doth is but paternal love.
Though I be wild, I’m not yet so past reason
His person to despise, though I his counsel
Cannot severely follow.
Rain. ’Sfoot, he is a fool.
Frank. A fool! you are a a—
Fost. Nay, gentlemen—
Frank. Yet I restrain my tongue.
Hoping you speak out of some spleenful rashness,
And no deliberate malice; and it may be
You are sorry that a word so unreverent,
To wrong so good an aged gentleman,
Should pass you unawares.
Rain. Sorry, Sir Boy! you will not take exceptions?
Frank. Not against you with willingness, whom I
Have loved so long. Yet you might think me a
Most dutiless and ungracious son to give
Smooth countenance unto my father’s wrong.
Come, I dare swear
’Twas not your malice, and I take it so.
Let’s frame some other talk. Hear, gentlemen—
Rain. But hear me, Boy! it seems, Sir, you are angry—
Frank. Not thoroughly yet—
Rain. Then what would anger thee?
Frank. Nothing from you.
Rain. Of all things under heaven
What would’st thou loathest have me do?
Frank. I would
Not have you wrong my reverent father; and
I hope you will not.
Rain. Thy father’s an old dotard.
Frank. I would not brook this at a monarch’s hand,
Much less at thine.
Rain. Aye, Boy? then take you that.
Frank. Oh I am slain.
Good. Sweet Cuz, what have you done? Shift for yourself.
Rain. Away.—

Exeunt.

Enter Two Drawers.

1st Dr. Stay the gentlemen, they have killed a man. O sweet Mr. Francis. One run to his father’s.

2d Dr. Hark, hark, I hear his father’s voice below ’tis ten to one he is come to fetch him home to supper and now he may carry him home to his grave.

Enter the Host, old Forest, and Susan his daughter.

Host. You must take comfort, Sir.
For. Is he dead, is he dead, girl?
Sus. Oh dead, Sir, Frank is dead.
For. Alas, alas, my boy! I have not the heart
To look upon his wide and gaping wounds.
Pray tell me, Sir, does this appear to you
Fearful and pitiful—to you that are
A stranger to my dead boy?
Host. How can it otherwise?
For. O me most wretched of all wretched men!
If to a stranger his warm bleeding wounds
Appear so grisly and so lamentable,
How will they seem to me that am his father?
Will they not hale my eye-brows from their rounds,
And with an everlasting blindness strike them?
Sus. Oh, Sir, look here.
For. Dost long to have me blind?
Then I’ll behold them, since I know thy mind.
Oh me!
Is this my son that doth so senseless lie,
And swims in blood? my soul shall fly with his
Unto the land of rest. Behold I crave,
Being kill’d with grief, we both may have one grave.
Sus. Alas, my father’s dead too! gentle Sir,
Help to retire his spirits, over travail’d
With age and sorrow.
Host. Mr. Forest—
[I-301,
I-302]
Sus. Father—
For. What says my girl? good morrow. What’s a clock,
That you are up so early? call up Frank;
Tell him he lies too long a bed this morning.
He was wont to call the sun up, and to raise
The early lark, and mount her ’mongst the clouds.
Will he not up? rise, rise, thou sluggish boy.
Sus. Alas, he cannot, father.
For. Cannot, why?
Sus. Do you not see his bloodless colour pale?
For. Perhaps he’s sickly, that he looks so pale.
Sus. Do you not feel his pulse no motion keep,
How still he lies?
For. Then is he fast asleep.
Sus. Do you not see his fatal eyelid close?
For. Speak softly; hinder not his soft repose.
Sus. Oh see you not these purple conduits run?
Know you these wounds?
For. Oh me! my murder’d son!

Enter young Mr. Forest.

Y. For. Sister!
Sus. O brother, brother!
Y. For. Father, how cheer you, Sir? why, you were wont
To store for others comfort, that by sorrow
Were any ways distress’d. Have you all wasted,
And spared none to yourself?
O. For. O Son, Son, Son,
See, alas, see where thy brother lies.
He dined with me to day, was merry, merry,
Aye, that corpse was; he that lies here, see here,
Thy murder’d brother and my son was. Oh see,
Dost thou not weep for him?
Y. For. I shall find time;
When you have took some comfort, I’ll begin
To mourn his death, and scourge the murderer’s sin.
O. For. Oh, when saw father such a tragic sight,
And did outlive it? never, son, ah never,
From mortal breast ran such a precious river.
Y. For. Come, father, and dear sister, join with me;
Let us all learn our sorrows to forget.
He owed a death, and he hath paid that debt.

If I were to be consulted as to a Reprint of our Old English Dramatists, I should advise to begin with the collected Plays of Heywood. He was a fellow Actor, and fellow Dramatist, with Shakspeare. He possessed not the imagination of the latter; but in all those qualities which gained for Shakspeare the attribute of gentle, he was not inferior to him. Generosity, courtesy, temperance in the depths of passion; sweetness, in a word, and gentleness; Christianism; and true hearty Anglicism of feelings, shaping that Christianism; shine throughout his beautiful writings in a manner more conspicuous than in those of Shakspeare, but only more conspicuous inasmuch as in Heywood these qualities are primary, in the other subordinate to poetry. I love them both equally, but Shakspeare has most of my wonder. Heywood should be known to his countrymen, as he deserves. His plots are almost invariably English. I am sometimes jealous, that Shakspeare laid so few of his scenes at home. I laud Ben Jonson, for that in one instance having framed the first draught of his Every Man in his Humour in Italy, he changed the scene, and Anglicised his characters. The names of them in the First Edition, may not be unamusing.

Men. Women.
Lorenzo, Sen. Guilliana.
Lorenzo, Jun. Biancha.
Prospero. Hesperida.
Thorello. Tib (the same in English.)
Stephano (Master Stephen.)
Dr. Clement (Justice Clement.)
Bobadilla (Bobadil.)
Musco.
Cob (the same in English.)
Peto.
Pizo.
Matheo (Master Mathew.)

How say you, Reader? do not Master Kitely, Mistress Kitely, Master Knowell, Brainworm, &c. read better than these Cisalpines?

C. L.


Billy Boots.

Billy Boots.

For the Table Book.

On January 6th, 1815, died at Lynn, Norfolk, at an advanced age, (supposed [I-303,
I-304]
about seventy,) this eccentric individual, whose proper name, William Monson, had become nearly obliterated by his professional appellation of Billy Boots; having followed the humble employment of shoeblack for a longer period than the greater part of the inhabitants could remember. He was reported, (and he always professed himself to be,) the illegitimate son of a nobleman, whose name he bore, by a Miss Cracroft. Of his early days little is known, except from the reminiscences of conversation which the writer of this article at times held with him. From thence it appears, that having received a respectable education, soon after leaving school, he quitted his maternal home in Lincolnshire, and threw himself upon the world, from whence he was sought out by some of his paternal brothers, with the intention of providing and fixing him in comfortable circumstances; but this dependent life he abhorred, and the wide world was again his element. After experiencing many vicissitudes, (though possessing defects never to be overcome,—a diminutive person,—a shuffling, slip-shod gait,—and a weak, whining voice,) he joined a company of strolling players, and used to boast of having performed “Trueman,” in “George Barnwell:” from this he imbibed an ardent histrionic cacoethes, which never left him, but occupied many of his leisure moments, to the latest period of his life. Tired of rambling, he fixed his residence at Lynn, and adopting the useful vocation of shoe-black, became conspicuous as a sober, inoffensive, and industrious individual. Having, by these means, saved a few guineas, in a luckless hour, and when verging towards his fiftieth year, he took to himself a wife, a dashing female of more favourable appearance than reputation. In a few days from the tying of the gordian knot, his precious metal and his precious rib took flight together, never to return; and forsaken Billy whined away his disaster, to every pitying inquirer, and continued to brush and spout till time had blunted the keen edge of sorrow.

Notwithstanding this misfortune, Billy made no rash vow of forswearing the sex, but ogled every mop-squeezer in the town, who would listen to his captivating eloquence, and whenever a roguish Blousalinoa consented to encourage his addresses, he was seen early and late, like a true devotee snuffing a pilgrimage to the shrine of his devotions. In a summer evening after the labour of the day, on these occasions, and on these occasions only, he used to clean himself and spruce up, in his best suit, which was not improperly termed his courting suit—a worn-out scarlet coat, reaching to his heels, with buttons of the largest dimensions—the other part of his dress corresponding. When tired of the joke, his faithless inamorata, on some frivolous pretence, contrived to discard him, leaving him to “fight his battles o’er again,” and seek some other bewitching fair one, who in the end served him as the former; another and another succeeded, but still poor Billy was ever jilted, and still lived a devoted victim to the tender passion.

Passionately fond of play-books, of which he had a small collection—as uninviting to the look as himself in his working dress—and possessing a retentive memory, he would recite, not merely the single character, but whole scenes, with all the dramatis personæ. His favourite character, however, was “Shylock;” and here, when soothed and flattered, he exhibited a rich treat to his risible auditors in the celebrated trial scene, giving the entire dialogue, suiting the action and attitude to the words, in a style of the most perfect caricatural originality. At other times, he would select “The Waterman,” and, as “Tom Tug,” warble forth, “Then farewell my trim-built wherry,” in strains of exquisitely whining melody. But, alas! luckless wight! his only reward was ridicule, and for applause he had jokes and quizzing sarcasms.

Like most of nature’s neglected eccentrics, Billy was a public mark of derision, at which every urchin delighted to aim. When charges of “setting the river Thames on fire!” and “roasting his wife on a gridiron!” were vociferated in his ears, proudly conscious of his innocence of such heinous crimes, his noble soul would swell with rage and indignation; and sometimes stones, at other times his brushes, and oftentimes his pot of blacking, were aimed at the ruthless offender, who frequently escaped, while the unwary passer-by received the marks of his vengeance. When unmolested, he was harmless and inoffensive.

Several attempts, it is said, were made towards the latter part of his life to settle an annuity on him; but Billy scorned such independence, and maintained himself till death by praiseworthy industry. After a few days’ illness, he sank into the grave, unhonoured and unnoticed, except by the following tribute to his memory, written by a literary and agricultural gentleman in the neighbourhood of Lynn, and inserted in the “Norwich Mercury” newspaper of that period.

K.

[I-305,
I-306]

Elegiac Lines on William Monson, late of Lynn, an eccentric Character; commonly y’clept Billy Boots.

Imperial Fate, who, with promiscuous course,
Exerts o’er high and low his influence dread;
Impell’d his shaft with unrelenting force,
And laid thee, Billy, ’mongst the mighty dead!
Yet ’though, when borne to thy sepulchral home,
No pomp funereal grac’d thy poor remains,
Some “frail memorial” should adorn thy tomb,
Some trifling tribute from the Muse’s strains.
Full fifty years, poor Billy! hast thou budg’d,
A care-worn shoe-black, up and down the streets;
From house to house, with slip-shod step hast trudg’d,
’Midst summer’s rays, and winter’s driving sleets.
Report allied thee to patrician blood,
Yet, whilst thy life to drudg’ry was confin’d,
Thy firmness each dependent thought withstood,
And prov’d,—thy true nobility of mind.
With shuffling, lagging gait, with visage queer,
Which seem’d a stranger to ablution’s pow’r,
In tatter’d garb, well suited to thy sphere,
Thou o’er life’s stage didst strut thy fretful hour.
O’er boots and shoes, to spread the jetty hue,
And give the gloss,—thou Billy, wert the man,
No boasting rivals could thy skill outdo—
Not “Day and Martin,” with their fam’d japan.
On men well-bred and perfectly refin’d,
An extra polish could thine art bestow;
At feast or ball, thy varnish’d honours shin’d,
Made spruce the trader, and adorn’d the beau.
When taunting boys, whom no reproof could tame,
On thee their scoffs at cautious distance shed,
A shoe or brush, impetuous wouldst thou aim,
Wing’d with resentment, at some urchin’s head.
With rage theatric often didst thou glow,
(Though ill adapted for the scenic art;)
As Denmark’s prince soliloquiz’d in woe,
Or else rehears’d vindictive Shylock’s part.
Brushing and spouting, emulous of fame,
Oft pocketing affronts instead of cash,
In Iago’s phrase, sometimes thou might’st exclaim
With too much truth,—“who steals my purse steals trash.”
Peace to thine ashes! harmless in thy way,
Long wert thou emp’ror of the shoe-black train,
And with thy fav’rite Shakspeare we may say,
We “ne’er shall look upon thy like again.”

The Drama.

“THE GREAT UNKNOWN”
KNOWN.

Friday the 23d of February, 1827, is to be regarded as remarkable, because on that day “The Great Unknown” confessed himself. The disclosure was made at the first annual dinner of the “Edinburgh Theatrical Fund,” then held in the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh—Sir Walter Scott in the chair.

Sir Walter Scott, after the usual toasts to the King and the Royal Family, requested, that gentlemen would fill a bumper as full as it would hold, while he would say only a few words. He was in the habit of hearing speeches, and he knew the feeling with which long ones were regarded. He was sure that it was perfectly unnecessary for him to enter into any vindication of the dramatic art, which they had come here to support. This, however, he considered to be the proper time and proper occasion for him to say a few words on that love of representation which was an innate feeling in human nature. It was the first amusement that the child had—it grew greater as he grew up; and, even in the decline of life, nothing amused so much as when a common tale is well told. The first thing a child does is to ape his schoolmaster, by flogging a chair. It was an enjoyment natural to humanity. It was implanted in our very nature, to take pleasure from such representations, at proper times, and on proper occasions. In all ages the theatrical art had kept pace with the improvement of mankind, and with the progress of letters and the fine arts. As he had advanced from the ruder stages of society, the love of dramatic representations had increased, and all works of this nature had been improved in character and in structure. They had only to turn their eyes to the history of ancient Greece, although he did not pretend to be very deeply versed in ancient history. Its first tragic poet commanded a body of troops at Marathon. The second and next, were men who shook Athens with their discourses, as their theatrical works shock the theatre itself. If they turned to France, in the time of Louis XIV., that era in the classical history of that country, they would find that it was referred to by all Frenchmen as the golden age of the drama there. And also in England, in the time of queen Elizabeth, the drama began to mingle deeply and wisely in the general politics of Europe, not only not receiving [I-307,
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laws from others, but giving laws to the world, and vindicating the rights of mankind. (Cheers.) There had been various times when the dramatic art subsequently fell into disrepute. Its professors had been stigmatized: and laws had been passed against them, less dishonourable to them than to the statesmen by whom they were proposed, and to the legislators by whom they were passed. What were the times in which these laws were passed? Was it not when virtue was seldom inculcated as a moral duty, that we were required to relinquish the most rational of all our amusements, when the clergy were enjoined celibacy, and when the laity were denied the right to read their Bibles? He thought that it must have been from a notion of penance that they erected the drama into an ideal place of profaneness, and the tent of sin. He did not mean to dispute, that there were many excellent persons who thought differently from him, and they were entitled to assume that they were not guilty of any hypocrisy in doing so. He gave them full credit for their tender consciences, in making these objections, which did not appear to him relevant to those persons, if they were what they usurped themselves to be; and if they were persons of worth and piety, he should crave the liberty to tell them, that the first part of their duty was charity, and that if they did not choose to go to the theatre, they at least could not deny that they might give away, from their superfluity, what was required for the relief of the sick, the support of the aged, and the comfort of the afflicted. These were duties enjoined by our religion itself. (Loud cheers.) The performers were in a particular manner entitled to the support or regard, when in old age or distress, of those who had partaken of the amusements of those places which they rendered an ornament to society. Their art was of a peculiarly delicate and precarious nature. They had to serve a long apprenticeship. It was very long before even the first-rate geniuses could acquire the mechanical knowledge of the stage business. They must languish long in obscurity before they could avail themselves of their natural talents; and after that, they had but a short space of time, during which they were fortunate if they could provide the means of comfort in the decline of life. That came late, and lasted but a short time; after which they were left dependent. Their limbs failed, their teeth were loosened, their voice was lost, and they were left, after giving happiness to others, in a most disconsolate state. The public were liberal and generous to those deserving their protection. It was a sad thing to be dependant on the favour, or, he might say, in plain terms, on the caprice of the public; and this more particularly for a class of persons of whom extreme prudence was not the character. There might be instances of opportunities being neglected; but let them tax themselves, and consider the opportunities they had neglected, and the sums of money they had wasted; let every gentleman look into his own bosom, and say whether these were circumstances which would soften his own feeling, were he to be plunged into distress. He put it to every generous bosom—to every better feeling—to say what consolation was it to old age to be told that you might have made provision at a time which had been neglected—(loud cheers)—and to find it objected, that if you had pleased you might have been wealthy. He had hitherto been speaking of what, in theatrical language, was called “stars,” but they were sometimes fallen ones. There were another class of sufferers naturally and necessarily connected with the theatre, without whom it was impossible to go on. The sailors had a saying, “every man cannot be a boatswain.” If there must be persons to act Hamlet, there must also be people to act Laertes, the King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, otherwise a drama cannot go on. If even Garrick himself were to rise from the dead, he could not act Hamlet alone. There must be generals, colonels, commanding officers, and subalterns; but what were the private soldiers to do? Many had mistaken their own talents, and had been driven in early youth to try the stage, to which they were not competent. He would know what to say to the poet and to the artist. He would say that it was foolish, and he would recommend to the poet to become a scribe, and the artist to paint sign-posts (Loud laughter.) But he could not send the player adrift; for if he could not play Hamlet, he must play Guildenstern. Where there were many labourers, wages must be low, and no man in such a situation could decently support a wife and family, and save something of his income for old age. What was this man to do in latter life? Were they to cast him off like an old hinge, or a piece of useless machinery, which had done its work? To a person who had contributed to our amusement, that would be unkind, ungrateful, and unchristian. His wants were not of his own making, but arose from the natural sources of sickness and old age. It could not be denied that [I-309,
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there was one class of sufferers to whom no imprudence could be ascribed, except on first entering on the profession. After putting his hand to the dramatic plough, he could not draw back, but must continue at it, and toil, till death released him; or charity, by its milder assistance, stepped in to render that want more tolerable. He had little more to say, except that he sincerely hoped that the collection to-day, from the number of respectable gentlemen present, would meet the views entertained by the patrons. He hoped it would do so. They should not be disheartened. Though they could not do a great deal, they might do something. They had this consolation, that every thing they parted with from their superfluity would do some good. They would sleep the better themselves when they had been the means of giving sleep to others. It was ungrateful and unkind that those who had sacrificed their youth to our amusement should not receive the reward due to them, but should be reduced to hard fare in their old age. They could not think of poor Falstaff going to bed without his cup of sack, or Macbeth fed on bones as marrowless as those of Banquo. (Loud cheers and laughter.) As he believed that they were all as fond of the dramatic art as he was in his younger days, he would propose that they should drink “The Theatrical Fund,” with three times three.

Mr. Mackay rose on behalf of his brethren, to return their thanks for the toast just drank.

Lord Meadowbank begged to bear testimony to the anxiety which they all felt for the interests of the institution which it was for this day’s meeting to establish. For himself, he was quite surprised to find his humble name associated with so many others, more distinguished, as a patron of the institution. But he happened to hold a high and important public station in the country. It was matter of regret that he had so little the means in his power of being of service; yet it would afford him at all times the greatest pleasure to give assistance. As a testimony of the feelings with which he now rose, he begged to propose a health, which he was sure, in an assembly of Scotsmen, would be received, not with an ordinary feeling of delight, but with rapture and enthusiasm. He knew that it would be painful to his feelings if he were to speak of him in the terms which his heart prompted; and that he had sheltered himself under his native modesty from the applause which he deserved. But it was gratifying at last to know that these clouds were now dispelled, and that the “great unknown”—“the mighty Magician”—(here the room literally rung with applauses for some minutes)—the Minstrel of our country, who had conjured up, not the phantoms of departed ages, but realities, now stood revealed before the eyes and affections of his country. In his presence it would ill become him, as it would be displeasing to that distinguished person, to say, if he were able, what every man must feel, who recollected the enjoyment he had had from the great efforts of his mind and genius. It had been left for him, by his writings, to give his country an imperishable name. He had done more for that country, by illuminating its annals, by illustrating the deeds of its warriors and statesmen, than any man that ever existed, or was produced, within its territory. He had opened up the peculiar beauties of his native land to the eyes of foreigners. He had exhibited the deeds of those patriots and statesmen to whom we owed the freedom we now enjoyed. He would give “The health of Sir Walter Scott.”

This toast was drank with enthusiastic cheering.

Sir Walter Scott certainly did not think, that, in coming there that day, he would have the task of acknowledging, before 300 gentlemen, a secret which, considering that it was communicated to more than 20 people, was remarkably well kept. He was now before the bar of his country, and might be understood to be on trial before lord Meadowbank, as an offender; yet he was sure that every impartial jury would bring in a verdict of “not proven.” He did not now think it necessary to enter into reasons for his long silence. Perhaps he might have acted from caprice. He had now to say, however, that the merits of these works, if they had any, and their faults, were entirely imputable to himself. (Long and loud cheering.) He was afraid to think on what he had done. “Look on’t again I dare not.” He had thus far unbosomed himself, and he knew that it would be reported to the public. He meant, when he said that he was the author, that he was the total and undivided author. With the exception of quotations, there was not a single word that was not derived from himself, or suggested in the course of his reading. The wand was now broken and the rod buried. They would allow him further to say, with Prospero, “Your breath it is that has filled my sails,” and to crave one single toast in the capacity of the author of those novels, and he would dedicate a bumper to the [I-311,
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health of one who had represented some of those characters, of which he had endeavoured to give the skeleton, with a degree of liveliness which rendered him grateful. He would propose the health of his friend Bailie Nicol Jarvie; (loud applause;) and he was sure that, when the author of Waverley and Rob Roy drank to Nicol Jarvie, it would be received with that degree of applause to which that gentleman had always been accustomed, and that they would take care that, on the present occasion, it should be prodigious! (Long and vehement applause.)

Mr. Mackay, who spoke with great humour in the character of Bailie Jarvie.—“My conscience! My worthy father, the Deacon, could not have believed that his son could hae had sic a compliment paid to him by the Great Unknown.”

Sir Walter Scott.—“Not unknown now, Mr. Bailie.”

After this avowal, numerous toasts were duly honoured; and on the proposal of “the health of Mrs. Siddons, senior, the most distinguished ornament of the stage,” Sir Walter Scott said, that if any thing could reconcile him to old age, it was the reflection that he had seen the rising as well as the setting sun of Mrs. Siddons. He remembered well their breakfasting near to the theatre—waiting the whole day—the crushing at the doors at six o’clock—and their going in and counting their fingers till seven o’clock. But the very first step—the very first word which she uttered, was sufficient to overpay him for all his labours. The house was literally electrified; and it was only from witnessing the effects of her genius, that he could guess to what a pitch theatrical excellence could be carried. Those young fellows who had only seen the setting sun of this distinguished performer, beautiful and serene as that was, must give the old fellows who had seen its rise leave to hold their heads a little higher.

Sir Walter Scott subsequently gave “Scotland, the Land of Cakes.” He would give every river, every loch, every hill, from Tweed to Johnnie Groat’s house—every lass in her cottage, and countess in her castle; and may her sons stand by her, as their fathers did before them, and he who would not drink a bumper to his toast, may he never drink whiskey more.

Mr. H. G. Bell proposed the health of “James Sheridan Knowles.”

Sir Walter Scott.—Gentlemen, I crave a bumper all over. The last toast reminds me of a neglect of duty. Unaccustomed to a public duty of this kind, errors in conducting the ceremonial of it may be excused, and omissions pardoned. Perhaps I have made one or two omissions in the course of the evening, for which I trust you will grant me your pardon and indulgence. One thing in particular I have omitted, and I would now wish to make amends for it by a libation of reverence and respect to the memory of Shakspeare. He was a man of universal genius, and from a period soon after his own era to the present day, he has been universally idolized. When I come to his honoured name, I am like the sick man who hung up his crutches at the shrine, and was obliged to confess that he did not walk better than before. It is indeed difficult, gentlemen, to compare him to any other individual. The only one to whom I can at all compare him, is the wonderful Arabian dervise, who dived into the body of each, and in that way became familiar with the thoughts and secrets of their hearts. He was a man of obscure origin, and as a player, limited in his acquirements; but he was born evidently with a universal genius. His eyes glanced at all the varied aspects of life, and his fancy portrayed with equal talents the king on the throne, and the clown who crackled his chestnuts at a Christmas fire. Whatever note he took, he struck it just and true, and awakened a corresponding chord in our own bosoms. Gentlemen, I propose “The memory of William Shakspeare.”

Glee—“Lightly tread his hallowed ground.”

Sir Walter rose after the glee, and begged to propose as a toast the health of a lady whose living merits were not a little honourable to Scotland. This toast (said he) is also flattering to the national vanity of a Scotchman, as the lady whom I intend to propose is a native of this country. From the public her works have met with the most favourable reception. One piece of hers, in particular, was often acted here of late years, and gave pleasure of no mean kind to many brilliant and fashionable audiences. In her private character, she (he begged leave to say) was as remarkable as in a public sense she was for her genius. In short, he would, in one word, name—“Joanna Baillie.”

Towards the close of the evening, Sir Walter observed:—There is one who ought to be remembered on this occasion. He is indeed well entitled to our great recollection—one, in short, to whom the drama in this city owes much. He succeeded, not without trouble, and perhaps at some considerable sacrifice in establishing [I-313,
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a theatre. The younger part of the company may not recollect the theatre to which I allude; but there are some who with me may remember, by name, the theatre in Carrubber’s-close. There Allan Ramsay established his little theatre. His own pastoral was not fit for the stage, but it has its own admirers in those who love the Doric language in which it is written; and it is not without merits of a very peculiar kind. But, laying aside all considerations of his literary merit, Allan was a good, jovial, honest fellow, who could crack a bottle with the best. “The memory of Allan Ramsay.”

Mr. P. Robertson.—I feel that I am about to tread on ticklish ground. The talk is of a new theatre, and a bill may be presented for its erection, saving always, and provided the expenses be defrayed and carried through, provided always it be not opposed. Bereford-park, or some such place, might be selected, provided always due notice was given, and so we might have a playhouse, as it were, by possibility.

Sir Walter Scott.—Wherever the new theatre is built, I hope it will not be large. There are two errors which we commonly commit—the one arising from our pride, the other from our poverty. If there are twelve plans, it is odds but the largest, without any regard to comfort, or an eye to the probable expense, is adopted. There was the college projected on this scale, and undertaken in the same manner, and who shall see the end of it? It has been building all my life, and may probably last during the lives of my children, and my children’s children. Let it not be said when we commence a new theatre, as was said on the occasion of laying the foundation-stone of a certain building, “Behold the endless work begun.” Play-going folks should attend somewhat to convenience. The new theatre should, in the first place, be such as may be finished in eighteen months or two years; and, in the second place, it should be one in which we can hear our old friends with comfort. It is better that a theatre should be crowded now and then, than to have a large theatre, with benches continually empty, to the discouragement of the actors, and the discomfort of the spectators.

Sir Walter immediately afterwards said, “Gentlemen, it is now wearing late, and I shall request permission to retire. Like Partridge, I may say, ‘non sum qualis eram.’ At my time of day, I can agree with Lord Ogleby, as to the rheumatism, and say, ‘There’s a twinge.’ I hope, therefore, you will excuse me for leaving the chair.”—(The worthy baronet then retired amidst long, loud, and rapturous cheering.)


These extracts[80] contain the substance of Sir Walter Scott’s speeches on this memorable occasion. His allusions to actors and the drama are, of themselves, important; but his avowal of himself as the author of the “Waverley Novels,” is a fact of peculiar interest in literary history. Particular circumstances, however, had made known the “Great Unknown” to several persons in London some months previously, though the fact had not by any means been generally circulated.


[80] From the report of the “Edinburgh Evening Courant” of Saturday, 24th Feb. 1827; in “The Times” of the Tuesday following.


Hot Meals.

POWELL, THE FIRE-EATER.

“Oh! for a muse of fire!

One fire burns out another burning. The jack-puddings who swallow flame at “the only booth” in every fair, have extinguished remembrance of Powell the fire-eater—a man so famous in his own day, that his name still lives. Though no journal records the time of his death, no line eulogizes his memory, no stone marks his burial-place, there are two articles written during his lifetime, which, being noticed here, may “help his fame along” a little further. Of the first, by a correspondent of Sylvanus Urban, the following is a sufficient abstract.

Ashbourn, Derbyshire, Jan. 20, 1755.

Last spring, Mr. Powell, the famous fire-eater, did us the honour of a visit at this town; and, as he set forth in his printed bills, that he had shown away not only before most of the crowned heads in Europe, but even before the Royal Society of London, and was dignified with a curious and very ample silver medal, which, he said, was bestowed on him by that learned body, as a testimony of their approbation, for eating what nobody else could eat, I was prevailed upon, at the importunity of some friends, to go and see a sight, that so many great kings and philosophers had not thought below their notice. And, I confess, though neither a superstitious nor an incurious man, I was not a little astonished at his wonderful performances in the fire-eating way.

[I-315,
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After many restless days and nights, and the profoundest researches into the nature of things, I almost despaired of accounting for the strange phenomenon of a human and perishable creature eating red hot coals, taken indiscriminately out of a large fire, broiling steaks upon his tongue, swallowing huge draughts of liquid fire as greedily as a country squire does roast beef and strong beer. Thought I to myself, how can that element, which we are told is ultimately to devour all things, be devoured itself, as familiar diet, by a mortal man?—Here I stuck, and here I might have stuck, if I had not met with the following anecdote by M. Panthot, doctor of physic and member of the college of Lyons:—

“The secret of fire-eating was made public by a servant to one Richardson, an Englishman, who showed it in France about the year 1667, and was the first performer of the kind that ever appeared in Europe. It consists only in rubbing the hands, and thoroughly washing the mouth, lips, tongue, teeth, and other parts that are to touch the fire, with pure spirit of sulphur. This burns and cauterizes the epidermis, or upper skin, till it becomes as hard as thick leather, and every time the experiment is tried it becomes still easier than before. But if, after it has been very often repeated, the upper skin should grow so callous and horny as to become troublesome, washing the parts affected with very warm water, or hot wine, will bring away all the shrivelled or parched epidermis. The flesh, however, will continue tender and unfit for such business till it has been frequently rubbed over again with the same spirit.

“This preparative may be rendered much stronger and more efficacious, by mixing equal quantities of spirit of sulphur, sal ammoniac, essence of rosemary, and juice of onions.

“The bad effects which frequently swallowing red-hot coals, melted sealing wax, rosin, brimstone, and other calcined and inflammable matter, might have had upon his stomach, were prevented by drinking plentifully of warm water and oil, as soon as he left the company, till he had vomited all up again.”

My author further adds, that any person who is possessed of this secret, may safely walk over burning coals, or red-hot plough-shares; and he fortifies his assertion by the example of blacksmiths and forgemen, many of whom acquire such a degree of callosity, by often handling hot things, that they will carry a glowing bar of iron in their naked hands, without hurt.

Whether Mr. Powell will take it kindly of me thus to have published his secret, I cannot tell; but as he now begins to drop into years, has no children that I know of, and may die suddenly, or without making a will, I think it is a great pity so genteel an occupation should become one of the artes perditæ, as possibly it may, if proper care is not taken; and therefore hope, after this information, some true-hearted Englishman will take it up again for the honour of his country, when he reads in the newspapers, Yesterday died, much lamented, the famous Mr. Powell. He was the best, if not the only fire-eater in this world, and it is greatly to be feared his art is dead with him.


Notwithstanding the preceding disclosure of Powell’s “grand secret,” he continued to maintain his good name and reputation till after Dr. Johnson was pensioned, in the year 1762. We are assured of the fact by the internal evidence of the following article, preserved by a collector of odd things, who obtained it he knew not how:—

Genius unrewarded.

We have been lately honoured with the presence of the celebrated Mr. Powell, who, I suppose, must formerly have existed in a comet; and by one of those unforeseen accidents which sometimes happen to the most exalted characters, has dropped from its tail.

His common food is brimstone and fire, which he licks up as eagerly as a hungry peasant would a mess of pottage; he feeds on this extraordinary diet before princes and peers, to their infinite satisfaction; and such is his passion for this terrible element, that if he were to come hungry into your kitchen, while a sirloin was roasting, he would eat up the fire, and leave the beef.

It is somewhat surprising, that the friends of real merit have not yet promoted him, living, as we do, in an age favourable to men of genius: Mr. Johnson has been rewarded with a pension for writing, and Mr. Sheridan for speaking well; but Mr. Powell, who eats well, has not yet been noticed by any administration. Obliged to wander from place to place, instead of indulging, himself in private with his favourite dish, he is under the uncomfortable necessity of eating in public, and helping himself from the kitchen fire of some paltry alehouse in the country.

O tempora! O mores![81]


[81] Lounger’s Common Place Book


[I-317,
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Vol. I.—11.

March Fair, at Brough, Westmoreland.

March Fair, at Brough, Westmoreland

For the Table Book

This fair is held always on the second Thursday in March: it is a good one for cattle; and, in consequence of the great show, the inhabitants are obliged to shut up their windows; for the cattle and the drivers are stationed in all parts of the town, and few except the jobbers venture out during the time of selling.

From five to six o’clock the preceding evening, carts, chiefly belonging to Yorkshire clothiers, begin to arrive, and continue coming in until the morning, when, at about eight or nine, the cattle fair begins, and lasts till three in the afternoon. Previously to any article being sold, the fair is proclaimed in a manner depicted tolerably well in the preceding sketch. At ten, two individuals, named Matthew Horn and John Deighton, having furnished themselves with a fiddle and clarinet, walk through the different avenues of the town three times, playing, as they walk, chiefly “God save the King;” at the end of this, some verses are repeated, which I have not the pleasure of recollecting; but I well remember, that thereby the venders are authorized to commence selling. After it is reported through the different stalls that “they’ve walked the fair,” business usually commences in a very brisk manner.

Mat. Horn has the best cake booth in the fair, and takes a considerable deal more money than any “spice wife,” (as women are called who attend to these dainties.) Jack Deighton is a shoemaker, and a tolerably good musician. Coals are also brought for sale, which, with cattle, mainly constitute the morning fair.

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At the close of the cattle fair, the town is swept clean, and lasses walk about with their “sweethearts,” and the fair puts on another appearance. “Cheap John’s here the day,” with his knives, combs, bracelets, &c. &c. The “great Tom Mathews,” with his gallanty show, generally contrives to pick up a pretty bit of money by his droll ways. Then “Here’s spice Harry, gingerbread, Harry—Harry—Harry!” from Richmond, with his five-and-twenty lumps of gingerbread for sixpence. Harry stands in a cart, with his boxes of “spice” beside him, attracting the general attention of the whole fair, (though he is seldomer here than at Brough-hill fair.) There are a few shows, viz. Scott’s sleight of hand, horse performances, &c. &c.; and, considering the size of the town, it has really a very merry-spent fair. At six o’clock dancing begins in nearly all the public-houses, and lasts the whole of “a merry neet.”

Jack Deighton mostly plays at the greatest dance, namely, at the Swan inn; and his companion, Horn, at one of the others; the dances are merely jigs, three reels, and four reels, and country dances, and no more than three sets can dance at a time. It is a matter of course to give the fiddler a penny or two-pence each dance; sometimes however another set slips in after the tune’s begun, and thus trick the player. By this time nearly all the stalls are cleared away, and the “merry neet” is the only place to resort to for amusement. The fiddle and clarinet are to be heard every where; and it is astonishing what money is taken by the fiddlers. Some of the “spice wives,” too, stop till the next morning, and go round with their cakes at intervals, which they often sell more of than before.

At this festival at Brough, the husbandmen have holiday, and many get so tipsy that they are frequently turned off from their masters. Several of the “spice wives” move away in the afternoon to Kirby Stephen, where there is a very large fair, better suited to their trade, for it commences on the day ensuing. Unfortunately, I was never present at the proclamation. From what I saw, I presume it is in consequence of a charter, and that these people offer their services that the fair-keepers may commence selling their articles sooner. I never heard of their being paid for their trouble. They are constantly attended by a crowd of people, who get on the carts and booths, and, at the end, set up a load “huzza!”

W. H. H.


THE TWELVE GEMS
Of the Twelve Months.

For the Table Book.

It is a Polish superstition, that each month has a particular gem attached to it, which governs it, and is supposed to influence the destiny of persons born in that month; it is therefore customary among friends, and lovers particularly, to present each other, on their natal day, with some trinket containing their tutelary gem, accompanied with its appropriate wish; this kind fate, or perhaps kinder fancy, generally contrives to realize according to their expectations.

January.

Jacinth, or Garnet denotes constancy and fidelity in every engagement.

February.

Amethyst preserves mortals from strong passions, and ensures peace of mind.

March.

Bloodstone denotes courage and secrecy in dangerous enterprises.

April.

Sapphire, or Diamond denotes repentance and innocence.

May.

Emerald, successive love.

June.

Agate ensures long life and health.

July.

Ruby, or Cornelian ensures the forgetfulness or cure of evils springing from friendship or love.

August.

Sardonix ensures conjugal felicity.

September.

Chrysolite preserves from, or cures folly.

October.

Aquamarine, or Opal denotes misfortune and hope.

November.

Topaz ensures fidelity and friendship.

December.

Turquoise, or Malakite denotes the most brilliant success and happiness in every circumstance of life.

E. M. S.


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Garrick Plays.
No. VIII.

[From the “Game at Chess,” a Comedy, by Thomas Middleton, 1624.]

Popish Priest to a great Court Lady, whom he hopes to make a Convert of.

Let me contemplate;
With holy wonder season my access,
And by degrees approach the sanctuary
Of unmatch’d beauty, set in grace and goodness.
Amongst the daughters of men I have not found
A more Catholical aspect. That eye
Doth promise single life, and meek obedience.
Upon those lips (the sweet fresh buds of youth)
The holy dew of prayer lies, like pearl
Dropt from the opening eyelids of the morn
Upon the bashful rose. How beauteously
A gentle fast (not rigorously imposed)
Would look upon that cheek; and how delightful
The courteous physic of a tender penance,
(Whose utmost cruelty should not exceed
The first fear of a bride), to beat down frailty!

[From the “Virgin Widow,” a Comedy, 1649; the only production, in that kind, of Francis Quarles, Author of the Emblems.]

Song.

How blest are they that waste their weary hours
In solemn groves and solitary bowers,
Where neither eye nor ear
Can see or hear
The frantic mirth
And false delights of frolic earth;
Where they may sit, and pant,
And breathe their pursy souls;
Where neither grief consumes, nor griping want
Afflicts, nor sullen care controuls.
Away, false joys; ye murther where ye kiss!
There is no heaven to that, no life to this.

[From “Adrasta,” a Tragi-comedy, by John Jones, 1635.]

Dirge.

Die, die, ah die!
We all must die:
’Tis Fate’s decree;
Then ask not why.
When we were framed, the Fates consultedly
Did make this law, that all things born should die.
Yet Nature strove,
And did deny
We should be slaves
To Destiny.
At which, they heapt
Such misery;
That Nature’s self
Did wish to die:
And thank their goodness, that they would foresee
To end our cares with such a mild decree.

 

Another.

Come, Lovers, bring your cares,
Bring sigh-perfumed sweets;
Bedew the grave with tears,
Where Death with Virtue meets.
Sigh for the hapless hour,
That knit two hearts in one;
And only gave Love power
To die, when ’twas begun.

[From “Tancred and Gismund,” acted before the Court by the Gentlemen of the Inner Temple, 1591.]

A Messenger brings to Gismund a cup from the King her Father, enclosing the heart of her Lord, whom she had espoused without his sanction.

Mess. Thy father, O Queen, here in this cup hath sent
The thing to joy and comfort thee withal,
Which thou lovedst best: ev’n as thou wast content
To comfort him with his best joy of all.
Gis. I thank my father, and thee, gentle Squire;
For this thy travail; take thou for thy pains
This bracelet, and commend me to the King.

****

So, now is come the long-expected hour,
The fatal hour I have so looked for.
Now hath my father satisfied his thirst
With guiltless blood, which he so coveted.
What brings this cup? aye me, I thought no less;
It is my Earl’s, my County’s pierced heart.
Dear heart, too dearly hast thou bought my love.
Extremely rated at too high a price.
Ah my dear heart, sweet wast thou in thy life,
But in thy death thou provest passing sweet.
A fitter hearse than this of beaten gold
Could not be lotted to so good a heart.
My father therefore well provided thus
To close and wrap thee up in massy gold
And therewithal to send thee unto me,
To whom of duty thou dost best belong.
My father hath in all his life bewrayed
A princely care and tender love to me,
But this surpasseth, in his latter days
To send me this mine own dear heart to me.
Wert not thou mine, dear heart, whilst that my love
Danced and play’d upon thy golden strings?
Art thou not mine, dear heart, now that my love
Is fled to heaven, and got him golden wings?
Thou art mine own, and still mine own shall be,
Therefore my father sendeth thee to me.
Ah pleasant harbourer of my heart’s thought!
Ah sweet delight, the quickener of my soul!
Seven times accursed be the hand that wrought
[I-323,
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Thee this despite, to mangle thee so foul
Yet in this wound I see my own true love,
And in this wound thy magnanimity,
And in this wound I see thy constancy.
Go, gentle heart, go rest thee in thy tomb;
Receive this token as thy last farewell.
She kisseth it.
Thy own true heart anon will follow thee,
Which panting hasteth for thy company.
Thus hast thou run, poor heart, thy mortal race,
And rid thy life from fickle fortune’s snares,
Thus hast thou lost this world and worldly cares,
And of thy foe, to honour thee withal,
Receiv’d a golden grave to thy desert.
Nothing doth want to thy just funeral,
But my salt tears to wash thy bloody wound;
Which to the end thou mightst receive, behold,
My father sends thee in this cup of gold:
And thou shalt have them; though I was resolved
To shed no tears; but with a cheerful face
Once did I think to wet thy funeral
Only with blood, and with no weeping eye.
This done, my soul forthwith shall fly to thee;
For therefore did my father send thee me.

Nearly a century after the date of this Drama, Dryden produced his admirable version of the same story from Boccacio. The speech here extracted may be compared with the corresponding passage in the Sigismonda and Guiscardo, with no disadvantage to the elder performance. It is quite as weighty, as pointed, and as passionate.

C. L.


Necromancy.

THE DEAN OF BADAJOS.
By the Abbe Blanchet.

The dean of the cathedral of Badajos was more learned than all the doctors of Salamanca, Coimbra, and Alcala, united; he understood all languages, living and dead, and was perfect master of every science divine and human, except that, unfortunately, he had no knowledge of magic. He was inconsolable when he reflected on his ignorance in that sublime art, till he was told that a very able magician resided in the suburbs of Toledo, named don Torribio. He immediately saddled his mule, departed for Toledo, and alighted at the door of no very superb dwelling, the habitation of that great man.

“Most reverend magician,” said he, addressing himself to the sage, “I am the dean of Badajos. The learned men of Spain all allow me to be their superior; but I am come to request from you a much greater honour, that of becoming your pupil. Deign to initiate me in the mysteries of your art, and doubt not but you shall receive a grateful acknowledgment, suitable to the benefit conferred, and your own extraordinary merit.”

Don Torribio was not very polite, though he valued himself on being intimately acquainted with the highest company below. He told the dean he was welcome to seek elsewhere for a master; for that, for his part, he was weary of an occupation which produced nothing but compliments and promises, and that he should but dishonour the occult sciences by prostituting them to the ungrateful.

“To the ungrateful!” exclaimed the dean: “has then the great don Torribio met with persons who have proved ungrateful? And can he so far mistake me as to rank me with such monsters?” He then repeated all the maxims and apophthegms which he had read on the subject of gratitude, and every refined sentiment his memory could furnish. In short, he talked so well, that the conjuror, after having considered a moment, confessed he could refuse nothing to a man of such abilities, and so ready at pertinent quotations.

“Jacintha,” said don Torribio to his old woman, “lay down two partridges to the fire. I hope my friend the dean will do me the honour to sup with me to night.” At the same time he took him by the hand and led him into the cabinet; when here, he touched his forehead, uttering three mysterious words, which the reader will please to remember, “Ortobolan, Pistafrier, Onagriouf.” Then, without further preparation, he began to explain, with all possible perspicuity, the introductory elements of his profound science. The new disciple listened with an attention which scarcely permitted him to breathe; when, on a sudden, Jacintha entered, followed by a little old man in monstrous boots, and covered with mud up to the neck, who desired to speak with the dean on very important business. This was the postilion of his uncle, the bishop of Badajos, who had been sent express after him, and who had galloped without ceasing quite to Toledo, before he could overtake him. He came to bring him information that, some hours after his departure, his grace had been attacked by so violent an apoplexy that the most terrible consequences were to be apprehended. The dean heartily, that is inwardly, (so as to occasion no scandal,) execrated the disorder, the patient, [I-325,
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and the courier, who had certainly all three chosen the most impertinent time possible. He dismissed the postilion, bidding him make haste back to Badajos, whither he would presently follow him; and instantly returned to his lesson, as if there were no such things as either uncles or apoplexies.

A few days afterwards the dean again received news from Badajos: but this was worth hearing. The principal chanter, and two old canons, came to inform him that his uncle, the right reverend bishop, had been taken to heaven to receive the reward of his piety; and the chapter, canonically assembled, had chosen him to fill the vacant bishopric, and humbly requested he would console, by his presence, the afflicted church of Badajos, now become his spiritual bride.

Don Torribio, who was present at this harangue, endeavoured to derive advantage from what he had learned; and taking aside the new bishop, after having paid him a well-turned compliment on his promotion, proceeded to inform him that he had a son, named Benjamin, possessed of much ingenuity, and good inclination, but in whom he had never perceived either taste or talent for the occult sciences. He had, therefore, he said, advised him to turn his thoughts towards the church, and he had now, he thanked heaven, the satisfaction to hear him commended as one of the most deserving divines among all the clergy of Toledo. He therefore took the liberty, most humbly, to request his grace to bestow on don Benjamin the deanery of Badajos, which he could not retain together with his bishopric.

“I am very unfortunate,” replied the prelate, apparently somewhat embarrassed; “you will, I hope, do me the justice to believe that nothing could give me so great a pleasure as to oblige you in every request; but the truth is, I have a cousin to whom I am heir, an old ecclesiastic, who is good for nothing but to be a dean, and if I do not bestow on him this benefice, I must embroil myself with my family, which would be far from agreeable. But,” continued he, in an affectionate manner, “will you not accompany me to Badajos? Can you be so cruel as to forsake me at a moment when it is in my power to be of service to you? Be persuaded, my honoured master, we will go together. Think of nothing but the improvement of your pupil, and leave me to provide for don Benjamin; nor doubt, but sooner or later, I will do more for him than you expect. A paltry deanery in the remotest part of Estremadura is not a benefice suitable to the son of such a man as yourself.”

The canon law would, no doubt, have construed the prelate’s offer into simony. The proposal however was accepted, nor was any scruple made by either of these two very intelligent persons. Don Torribio followed his illustrious pupil to Badajos, where he had an elegant apartment assigned him in the episcopal palace; and was treated with the utmost respect by the diocese as the favourite of his grace, and a kind of grand vicar. Under the tuition of so able a master the bishop of Badajos made a rapid progress in the occult sciences. At first he gave himself up to them, with an ardour which might appear excessive; but this intemperance grew by degrees more moderate, and he pursued them with so much prudence that his magical studies never interfered with the duties of his diocese. He was well convinced of the truth of a maxim, very important to be remembered by ecclesiastics, whether addicted to sorcery, or only philosophers and admirers of literature—that it is not sufficient to assist at learned nocturnal meetings, or adorn the mind with embellishments of human science, but that it is also the duty of divines to point out to others the way to heaven, and plant in the minds of their hearers, wholesome doctrine and Christian morality. Regulating his conduct by these commendable principles, this learned prelate was celebrated throughout Christendom for his merit and piety: and, “when he least expected such an honour,” was promoted to the archbishopric of Compostella. The people and clergy of Badajos lamented, as may be supposed, an event by which they were deprived of so worthy a pastor; and the canons of the cathedral, to testify their respect, unanimously conferred on him the honour of nominating his successor.

Don Torribio did not neglect so alluring an opportunity to provide for his son. He requested the bishopric of the new archbishop, and was refused with all imaginable politeness. He had, he said, the greatest veneration for his old master, and was both sorry and ashamed it was “not in his power” to grant a thing which appeared so very a trifle, but, in fact, don Ferdinand de Lara, constable of Castile, had asked the bishopric for his natural son; and though he had never seen that nobleman, he had, he said, some secret, important, and what was more, very ancient obligations to him. It was therefore an indispensable duty to prefer an old benefactor to a new one [I-327,
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But don Torribio ought not to be discouraged at this proof of his justice; as he might learn by that, what he had to expect when his turn arrived, which should certainly be the first opportunity. This anecdote concerning the ancient obligations of the archbishop, the magician had the goodness to believe, and rejoiced, as much as he was able, that his interests were sacrificed to those of don Ferdinand.

Nothing was now thought of but preparations for their departure to Compostella, where they were to reside. These, however, were scarcely worth the trouble, considering the short time they were destined to remain there; for at the end of a few months one of the pope’s chamberlains arrived, who brought the archbishop a cardinal’s cap, with an epistle conceived in the most respectful terms, in which his holiness invited him to assist, by his counsel, in the government of the Christian world; permitting him at the same time to dispose of his mitre in favour of whom he pleased. Don Torribio was not at Compostella when the courier of the holy father arrived. He had been to see his son, who still continued a priest in a small parish at Toledo. But he presently returned, and was not put to the trouble of asking for the vacant archbishopric. The prelate ran to meet him with open arms, “My dear master,” said he, “I have two pieces of good news to relate at once. Your disciple is created a cardinal, and your son shall—shortly—be advanced to the same dignity. I had intended in the mean time to bestow upon him the archbishopric of Compostella, but, unfortunately for him, and for me, my mother, whom we left at Badajos, has, during your absence, written me a cruel letter, by which all my measures have been disconcerted. She will not be pacified unless I appoint for my successor the archdeacon of my former church, don Pablas de Salazar, her intimate friend and confessor. She tells me it will “occasion her death” if she should not be able to obtain preferment for her dear father in God. Shall I be the death of my mother?”

Don Torribio was not a person who could incite or urge his friend to be guilty of parricide, nor did he indulge himself in the least resentment against the mother of the prelate. To say the truth, however, this mother was a good kind of woman, nearly superannuated. She lived quietly with her cat and her maid servant, and scarcely knew the name of her confessor. Was it likely, then, that she had procured don Pablas his archbishopric? Was it not more than probable that he was indebted for it to a Gallician lady, his cousin, at once devout and handsome, in whose company his grace the archbishop had frequently been edified during his residence at Compostella? Be this as it may, don Torribio followed his eminence to Rome. Scarcely had he arrived at that city ere the pope died. The conclave met—all the voices of the sacred college were in favour of the Spanish cardinal. Behold him therefore pope.

Immediately after the ceremony of his exaltation, don Torribio, admitted to a secret audience, wept with joy while he kissed the feet of his dear pupil. He modestly represented his long and faithful services, reminded his holiness of those inviolable promises which he had renewed before he entered the conclave, and instead of demanding the vacant hat for don Benjamin, finished with most exemplary moderation by renouncing every ambitious hope. He and his son, he said, would both esteem themselves too happy if his holiness would bestow on them, together with his benediction, the smallest temporal benefice; such as an annuity for life, sufficient for the few wants of an ecclesiastic and a philosopher.

During this harangue the sovereign pontiff considered within himself how to dispose of his preceptor. He reflected he was no longer necessary; that he already knew as much of magic as was sufficient for a pope. After weighing every circumstance, his holiness concluded that don Torribio was not only an useless, but a troublesome pedant; and this point determined, he replied in the following words:

“We have learned, with concern, that under the pretext of cultivating the occult sciences, you maintain a horrible intercourse with the spirit of darkness and deceit; we therefore exhort you, as a father, to expiate your crime by a repentance proportionable to its enormity. Moreover, we enjoin you to depart from the territories of the church within three days, under penalty of being delivered over to the secular arm, and its merciless flames.”

Don Torribio, without being alarmed, immediately repeated the three mysterious words which the reader was desired to remember; and going to a window, cried out with all his force, “Jacintha, you need spit but one partridge; for my friend, the dean, will not sup here to-night.”

This was a thunderbolt to the imaginary pope. He immediately recovered from the [I-329,
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trance, into which he had been thrown by the three mysterious words. He perceived that, instead of being in the vatican, he was still at Toledo, in the closet of don Torribio; and he saw, by the clock, it was not a complete hour since he entered that fatal cabinet, where he had been entertained by such pleasant dreams.

In that short time the dean of Badajos had imagined himself a magician, a bishop, a cardinal, and a pope; and he found at last that he was only a dupe and a knave. All was illusion, except the proofs he had given of his deceitful and evil heart. He instantly departed, without speaking a single word, and finding his mule where he had left her, returned to Badajos.


Phrenology.

For the Table Book.

“You look but on the outside of affairs.”

King John.

 

Oh! why do we wake from the alchymist’s dream
To relapse to the visions of Doctor Spurzheim?
And why from the heights of philosophy fall,
For the profitless plans of Phrenology Gall?
To what do they tend?
What interest befriend?
By disclosing all vices, we burn away shame,
And virtuous endeavour
Is fruitless for ever,
If it lose the reward that self-teaching may claim.
On their skulls let the cold-blooded theorists seek
Indications of soul, which we read on the cheek;
In the glance—in the smile—in the bend of the brow
We dare not tell when, and we cannot tell how.
More pleasing our task,
No precepts we ask;
’Tis the tact, ’tis the instinct, kind Nature has lent,
For the guide and direction of sympathy meant.
And altho’ in our cause no learn’d lecturer proses,
We reach the same end, thro’ a path strew’d with roses.
’Twixt the head and the hand, be the contact allow’d,
Of the road thro’ the eye to the heart we are proud.
When we feel like the brutes, like the brutes we may show it,
But no lumps on the head mark the artist or poet.
The gradations of genius you never can find,
Since no matter can mark the refinements of mind.
’Tis the coarser perceptions alone that you trace,
But what swells in the heart must be read in the face.
That index of feeling, that key to the soul,
No art can disguise, no reserve can control.
’Tis the Pharos of love, tost on oceans of doubt,
’Tis the Beal-fire of rage—when good sense puts about.
As the passions may paint it—a heaven or a hell.
And ’tis always a study—not model as well.

TO THE RHONE

For the Table Book.

Thou art like our existence, and thy waves,
Illustrious river! seem the very type
Of those events which drive us to our graves,
Or rudely place us in misfortune’s gripe!
Thou art an emblem of our changeful state,
Smooth when the summer magnifies thy charms.
But rough and cheerless when the winds create
Rebellion, and remorseless winter arms
The elements with ruin! In thy course
The ups and downs of fortune we may trace—
One wave submitting to another’s force,
The boldest always foremost in the race:
And thus it is with life—sometimes its calm
Is pregnant with enjoyment’s sweetest balm;
At other times, its tempests drive us down
The steep of desolation, while the frown
Of malice haunts us, till the friendlier tomb
Protects the victim she would fain consume!

B. W. R.

Upper Park Terrace.


ADVICE.

Would a man wish to offend his friends?—let him give them advice.

Would a lover know the surest method by which to lose his mistress?—let him give her advice.

Would a courtier terminate his sovereign’s partiality?—let him offer advice.

In short, are we desirous to be universally hated, avoided, and despised, the means are always in our power.—We have but to advise, and the consequences are infallible.

The friendship of two young ladies though apparently founded on the rock of eternal attachment, terminated in the following manner: “My dearest girl, I do not think your figure well suited for dancing; and, as a sincere friend of yours, I advise you to refrain from it in future.” The other naturally affected by such a mark of sincerity, replied, “I feel very much obliged to you, my dear, for your advice; this proof of your friendship demands some return: I would sincerely recommend you to relinquish your singing, as some of your upper notes resemble the melodious squeaking of the feline race.”

The advice of neither was followed—the one continued to sing, and the other to dance—and they never met but as enemies.


[I-331,
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Tommy Sly, of Durham.

Tommy Sly, of Durham.

For the Table Book.

Tommy Sly, whose portrait is above, is a well-known eccentric character in the city of Durham, where he has been a resident in the poor-house for a number of years. We know not whether his parents were rich or poor, where he was born, or how he spent his early years—all is alike “a mystery;” and all that can be said of him is, that he is “daft.” Exactly in appearance as he is represented in the engraving,—he dresses in a coat of many colours, attends the neighbouring villages with spice, sometimes parades the streets of Durham with “pipe-clay for the lasses,” and on “gala days” wanders up and down with a cockade in his hat, beating the city drum, which is good-naturedly lent him by the corporation. Tommy, as worthless and insignificant as he seems, is nevertheless “put out to use:” his name has often served as a signature to satirical effusions; and at election times he has been occasionally employed by the Whigs to take the distinguished lead of some grand Tory procession, and thereby render it ridiculous; and by way of retaliation, he has been hired by the Tories to do the same kind office for the Whigs. He is easily bought or sold, for he will do any thing for a few halfpence. To sum up Tommy’s character, we may say with truth, that he is a harmless and inoffensive man; and if the reader of this brief sketch should ever happen to be in Durham, and have a few halfpence to spare, he cannot bestow his charity better than by giving it to the “Custos Rotulorum” of the place—as Mr. Humble once ludicrously called him—poor Tommy Sly.

Ex Dunelmensis.


[I-333,
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Topography.

WESTMINSTER ABBEY.

Burial Fees.

The following particulars from a paper before me, in the hand-writing of Mr. Gell, were addressed to his “personal representative” for instruction, in his absence, during a temporary retirement from official duty in August, 1810.

Fees
In the Cloisters £19 6 0
If a grave-stone more £4 4 0  
In the Abbey 54 18 0
If a grave-stone more 7 7 0  
Peers, both in the Cloisters and Abbey, the degree of rank making a difference, Mr. Catling had perhaps write to Mr. Gell, at post-office, Brighton, telling the party that it will be under £150. They might, therefore, leave that sum, or engage to pay Mr. Gell.  
Mr. Glanvill can tell about the decorations.  
Penalty for burying in linen 2 10 0
Always take full particulars of age and death.  

The abbey-church of Westminster may be safely pronounced the most interesting ecclesiastical structure in this kingdom. Considered as a building, its architecture, rich in the varieties of successive ages, and marked by some of the most prominent beauties and peculiarities of the pointed style, affords an extensive field of gratification to the artist and the antiquary. Rising in solemn magnificence amidst the palaces and dignified structures connected with the seat of imperial government, it forms a distinguishing feature in the metropolis of England. Its history, as connected with a great monastic establishment, immediately under the notice of our ancient monarchs, and much favoured by their patronage, abounds in important and curious particulars.

But this edifice has still a stronger claim to notice—it has been adopted as a national structure, and held forward as an object of national pride. Whilst contemplating these venerable walls, or exploring the long aisles and enriched chapels, the interest is not confined to the customary recollections of sacerdotal pomp: ceremonies of more impressive interest, and of the greatest public importance, claim a priority of attention. The grandeur of architectural display in this building is viewed with additional reverence, when we remember that the same magnificence of effect has imparted increased solemnity to the coronation of our kings, from the era of the Norman conquest.

At a very early period, this abbey-church was selected as a place of burial for the English monarchs; and the antiquary and the student of history view their monuments as melancholy, but most estimable sources of intelligence and delight. In the vicinity of the ashes of royalty, a grateful and judicious nation has placed the remains of such of her sons as have been most eminent for patriotic worth, for valour, or for talent; and sculptors, almost from the earliest period in which their art was exercised by natives of England, down to the present time, have here exerted their best efforts, in commemoration of those thus celebrated for virtue, for energy, or for intellectual power.[82]


[82] Mr. Brayley; in Neale’s Hist. and Antiq. of Westminster Abbey.


St. David’s Day.

THE LEEK.

Written by William Leathart, Llywydd.

Sung at the Second Anniversary of the Society of Undeb Cymry, St. David’s Day, 1825.

AirPen Rhaw.

I.

If bards tell true, and hist’ry’s page
Is right,—why, then, I would engage
To tell you all about the age,
When Cæsar used to speak;
When dandy Britons painted,—were
Dress’d in the skin of wolf or bear,
Or in their own, if none were there,
Before they wore THE LEEK.
Ere Alfred hung in the highway,
His chains of gold by night or day;
And never had them stol’n away,
His subjects were so meek.
When wolves they danc’d o’er field and fen;
When austere Druids roasted men;—
But that was only now and then,
Ere Welshmen wore THE LEEK.

[I-335,
I-336]

II.

Like all good things—this could not last,
And Saxon gents, as friends, were ask’d,
Our Pictish foes to drive them past
The wall:—then home to seek,
Instead of home, the cunning chaps
Resolv’d to stop and dish the APs,
Now here they are, and in their caps
To day they wear THE LEEK.
Yet tho’ our dads, they tumbled out,
And put each other to the rout,
We sons will push the bowl about;—
We’re here for fun or freak.
Let nought but joy within us dwell;
Let mirth and glee each bosom swell;
And bards, in days to come, shall tell,
How Welshmen love THE LEEK.

THE WELSH HARP.

Mr. Leathart is the author of “Welsh Pennillion, with Translations into English, adapted for singing to the Harp,” an eighteenpenny pocket-book of words of ancient and modern melodies in Welsh and English, with a spirited motto from Mr. Leigh Hunt.—“The Ancient Britons had in them the seeds of a great nation even in our modern sense of the word. They had courage, they had reflection, they had imagination. Power at last made a vassal of their prince. There were writers in those times, harpers, and bards, who made the instinct of that brute faculty turn cruel out of fear. They bequeathed to their countrymen the glory of their memories; they and time together have consecrated their native hills, so as they never before were consecrated.”

According to the prefatory dissertation of Mr. Leathart’s pleasant little manual, “Pennillion singing” is the most social relic of ancient minstrelsy in existence. It originated when bardism nourished in this island; when the object of its members was to instil moral maxims through the medium of poetry, and the harp was then, as it still is, the instrument to which they chanted. There is evidence of this use of the harp in Cæsar and other Latin writers. The bards were priest and poet; the harp was their inseparable attribute, and skill in playing on it an indispensable qualification. A knowledge of this instrument was necessary, in order to establish a claim to the title of gentleman; it occupied a place in every mansion; and every harper was entitled to valuable privileges. A “Pencerdd,” or chief of song, and a “Bardd Teulu,” or domestic bard, were among the necessary appendages to the king’s court. The former held his lands free, was stationed by the side of the “judge of the palace,” and lodged with the heir presumptive. He was entitled to a fee on the tuition of all minstrels, and to a maiden fee on the marriage of a minstrel’s daughter. The fine for insulting him was six cows and eighty pence. The domestic bard also held his land free; he had a harp from the king, which he was enjoined never to part with; a gold ring from the queen, and a beast out of every spoil. In the palace he sang immediately after the chief of song, and in fight at the front of the battle. It is still customary for our kings to maintain a Welsh minstrel.

One of the greatest encouragers of music was Gruffydd ap Cynan, a sovereign of Wales, who, in the year 1100, summoned a grand congress to revise the laws of minstrelsy, and remedy any abuse that might have crept in. In order that it should be complete, the most celebrated harpers in Ireland were invited to assist, and the result was the establishing the twenty-four canons of music; the MS. of which is in the library of the Welsh school, in Gray’s Inn-lane. It comprises several tunes not now extant, or rather that cannot be properly deciphered, and a few that are well known at the present day. A tune is likewise there to be found, which a note informs us was usually played before king Arthur, when the salt was laid upon the table; it is called “Gosteg yr Halen,” or the Prelude of the Salt.

The regulations laid down in the above MS. are curious. A minstrel having entered a place of festivity was not allowed to depart without leave, or to rove about at any time, under the penalty of losing his fees. If he became intoxicated and committed any mischievous trick, he was fined, imprisoned, and divested of his fees for seven years. Only one could attend a person worth ten pounds per annum, or two a person worth twenty pounds per annum, and so forth. It likewise ordains the quantum of musical knowledge necessary for the taking up of the different degrees, for the obtaining of which three years seems to have been allowed.

The Welsh harp, or “Telyn,” consists of three distinct rows of strings, without pedals, and was, till the fifteenth century, strung with hair. The modern Welsh harp has two rows of strings and pedals.

Giraldus Cambrensis, in his Itinerary, speaking of the musical instruments of the Welsh, Irish, and Scotch, says, Wales uses the harp, “crwth,” and bag-pipes; Scotland [I-337,
I-338]
the harp, “crwth,” and drum; Ireland the harp and drum only; and, of all, Wales only retains her own.

The “crwth” is upon the same principle as the violin; it has however six strings, four of which are played upon with a bow, the two outer being struck by the thumb as an accompaniment, or bass; its tone is a mellow tenor, but it is now seldom heard, the last celebrated player having died about forty years since, and with him, says the editor of the Cambrian Register, “most probably the true knowledge of producing its melodious powers.” From the player of this instrument is derived a name now common, viz. “Crowther” and “Crowder” (Crwthyr); it may be translated “fiddler,” and in this sense it is used by Butler in his Hudibras.

Within the last few years, the harp has undergone a variety of improvements, and it is now the most fashionable instrument; yet in Wales it retains its ancient form and triple strings; “it has its imperfections,” observes Mr. Parry, “yet it possesses one advantage, and that is its unisons,” which of course are lost when reduced to a single row.

There would be much persuasion necessary to induce “Cymru” to relinquish her old fashioned “Telyn,” so reluctant are a national people to admit of changes. When the violin superseded the “crwth,” they could not enjoy the improvement.

Pennillion chanting consists in singing stanzas, either attached or detached, of various lengths and metre, to any tune which the harper may play; for it is irregular, and in fact not allowable, for any particular one to be chosen. Two, three, or four bars having been played, the singer takes it up, and this is done according as the Pennill, or stanza, may suit; he must end precisely with the strain, he therefore commences in any part he may please. To the stranger it has the appearance of beginning in the middle of a line or verse, but this is not the case. Different tunes require a different number of verses to complete it; sometimes only one, sometimes four or six. It is then taken up by the next, and thus it proceeds through as many as choose to join in the pastime, twice round, and ending with the person that began.

These convivial harp meetings are generally conducted with great regularity, and are really social; all sing if they please, or all are silent. To some tunes there are a great number of singers, according to the ingenuity required in adapting Pennillion. Yet even this custom is on the decline.

In South Wales, the custom has been long lost; on its demise they encouraged song writing and singing, and they are still accounted the best (without the harp) in the principality. In North Wales song-singing was hardly known before the time of Huw Morus, in the reign of Charles I., nor is it now so prevalent as in the south.

In the year 1176, Rhys ap Gruffydd held a congress of bards and minstrels at Aberteifi, in which the North Welsh bards came off as victors in the poetical contest, and the South Welsh were adjudged to excel in the powers of harmony.

For the encouragement of the harp and Pennillion chanting, a number of institutions have lately been formed, and the liberal spirit with which they are conducted will do much towards the object; among the principal are the “Cymmrodorion,” or Cambrian Societies of Gwynedd, Powys, Dyfed, Gwent, and London; the “Gwyneddigion,” and “Canorion,” also in London. The former established so long since as 1771, and the “Undeb Cymry,” or United Welshmen, established in 1823, for the same purpose. In all the principal towns of Wales, societies having the same object in view have been formed, among which the “Brecon Minstrelsy Society” is particularly deserving of notice. The harp and Pennillion singing have at all times come in for their share of encomium by the poets, and are still the theme of many a sonnet in both languages.

From more than a hundred pieces in Mr. Leathart’s “Pennillion,” translations of a few pennills, or stanzas, are taken at random, as specimens of the prevailing sentiments.

The man who loves the sound of harp,
Of song, and ode, and all that’s dear,
Where angels hold their blest abode,
Will cherish all that’s cherish’d there.
But he who loves not tune nor strain,
Nature to him no love has given,
You’ll see him while his days remain,
Hateful both to earth and heaven.

Fair is yon harp, and sweet the song,
That strays its tuneful strings along,
And would not such a minstrel too,
This heart to sweetest music woo?
Sweet is the bird’s melodious lay
In summer morn upon the spray.
But from my Gweno sweeter far,
The notes of friendship after war.

Woe to him, whose every bliss
Centers in the burthen’d bowl;
Of all burthens none like this,
Sin’s sad burthen on the soul;
[I-339,
I-340]
Tis of craft and lies the seeker,
Murder, theft, and wantonness,
Weakens strong men, makes weak weaker,
Shrewd men foolish, foolish—less.

Ah! what avails this golden coat,
Or all the warblings of my throat,
While I in durance pine?
Give me again what nature gave,
’Tis all I ask, ’tis all I crave,
Thee, Liberty divine!

To love his language in its pride,
To love his land—tho’ all deride,
Is a Welshman’s ev’ry care,
And love those customs, good and old,
Practised by our fathers bold.

We travel, and each town we pass
Gives manners new, which we admire,
We leave them, then o’er ocean toss’d
Thro’ rough or smooth, to pleasure nigher,
Still one thought remains behind,
’Tis home, sweet home, our hearts desire.

Wild in the woodlands, blithe and free,
Dear to the bird is liberty;
Dear to the babe to be caress’d,
And fondled on his nurse’s breast,
Oh! could I but explain to thee
How dear is Merion’s land to me.

Low, ye hills, in ocean lie.
That hide fair Merion from mine eye,
One distant view, oh! let me take,
Ere my longing heart shall break.

Another dress will nature wear
Before again I see my fair;
The smiling fields will flowers bring,
And on the trees the birds will sing;
But still one thing unchang’d shall be,
That is, dear love, my heart for thee.

The original Welsh of these and other translations, with several interesting particulars, especially the places of weekly harp-meetings and Pennillion-singing in London, may be found in Mr. Leathart’s agreeable compendium.


THE WINTER’S MORN.

Artist unseen! that dipt in frozen dew
Hast on the glittering glass thy pencil laid,
Ere from yon sun the transient visions fade,
Swift let me trace the forms thy fancy drew!
Thy towers and palaces of diamond hue,
Rivers and lakes of lucid crystal made,
And hung in air hoar trees of branching shade,
That liquid pearl distil:—thy scenes renew,
Whate’er old bards, or later fictions feign,
Of secret grottos underneath the wave,
Where nereids roof with spar the amber cave,
Or bowers of bliss, where sport the fairy train,
Who frequent by the moonlight wanderer seen
Circle with radiant gems the dewy green.

Sotheby.


Characters.

MRS. AURELIA SPARR.

For the Table Book.

Mrs. Aurelia Sparr is a maiden lady, rather past fifty, but fresh and handsome for her age: she has a strong understanding, a retentive memory, a vast deal of acquired knowledge, and with all she is the most disagreeable woman breathing. At first she is amusing enough to spend an evening with, for she will tell you anecdotes of all your acquaintance, and season them with a degree of pleasantry, which is not wit, though something like it. But as a jest-book is the most tiresome reading in the world, so is a narrative companion the most wearisome society. What, in short, is conversation worth, if it be not an emanation from the heart as well as head; the result of sympathy and the aliment of esteem?

Mrs. Aurelia Sparr never sympathized with any body in her life: inexorable to weaknesses of every kind, more especially to those of a tender nature, she is for ever taxing enthusiasm with absurdity, and resolving the ebullition of vivacity into vanity, and the desire to show off. She is equally severe to timidity, which she for ever confounds with imbecility. We are told, that “Gentle dulness ever loved a joke.” Now Mrs. Aurelia Sparr is neither gentle nor dull; it would be a mercy to her hearers if she were either, or both: nevertheless, she chuckles with abundant glee over a good story, is by no means particular as to the admission of unpleasant images and likes it none the worse for being a little gross. But woe to the unlucky wight who ventures any glowing allusion to love and passionate affection in her hearing! Down come the fulminations of her wrath, and indecency—immorality—sensuality—&c. &c. &c.—are among the mildest of the epithets, or, to keep up the metaphor, (a metaphor, like an actor, should always come in more than once,) the bolts which the tempest of her displeasure hurls down upon its victim. The story of Paul and [I-341,
I-342]
Virginia she looks upon as very improper, while the remembrance of some of the letters in Humphrey Clinker dimples her broad face with retrospective enjoyment.

If pronouns had been tangible things, Mrs. Aurelia Sparr would long ago have worn out the first person singular. Her sentences begin as regularly with “I,” as the town-crier’s address does with “O yes,” or as a French letter ends with “l’assurance des sentimens distingués.” While living with another lady in daily and inevitable intercourse, never was she known to say, “We shall see—we shall hear—we can go—we must read.” It was always “I, I, I.” In the illusion of her egotism, she once went so far as to make a verbal monopoly of the weather, and exclaimed, on seeing the rosy streaks in the evening sky, “I think I shall have a fine day to-morrow.” If you forget yourself so far, in the querulous loquacity of sickness, as to tell her of any ailment, as “My sore-throat is worse than ever to-night”—she does not rejoin, “What will you take?” or “Colds are always worse of an evening, it may be better to-morrow;” or propose flannel or gargle, or any other mode of alleviation, like an ordinary person; no! she flies back from you to herself with the velocity of a coiled-up spring suddenly let go; and says, “I had just such another sore-throat at Leicester ten years ago, I remember it was when I had taken down my chintz bed-curtains to have them washed and glazed.” Then comes a mammoth of an episode, huge, shapeless, and bare of all useful matter: telling all she said to the laundress, with the responses of the latter. You are not spared an item of the complete process: first, you are blinded with dust, then soaked in lye, then comes the wringing of your imagination and the calico, then the bitterness of the gall to refresh the colours; then you are extended on the mangle, and may fancy yourself at the court of king Procrustes, or in a rolling-press. All the while you are wondering how she means to get round to the matter in question, your sore-throat.—Not she! she cares no more for your sore-throat than the reviewers do for a book with the title of which they head an article; your complaint was the peg, and her discourse the voluminous mantle to be hung on it. Some people talk with others, and they are companions; others at their company, and they are declaimers or satirists; others to their friends, and they are conversationists or gossips, according as they talk of things or persons. Mrs. Aurelia Sparr talks neither to you, nor with you, nor at you. Listen attentively, or show your weariness by twenty devices of fidgetiness and preoccupation, it is all the same to Mrs. Aurelia Sparr. She talks spontaneously, from an abstract love of hearing her own voice; she can no more help talking, than a ball can help rolling down an inclined plane. She will quarrel with you at dinner, for she is extremely peevish and addicted to growling over her meals; and by no means so nice as to what comes out of her mouth as to what goes into it; and then, before you can fold your napkin, push back your chair and try to make good your escape, she begins to lay open the errors, failures, and weaknesses of her oldest and best friends to your cold-blooded inspection, with as little reserve as an old practitioner lecturing over a “subject.” Things that no degree of intimacy could justify her in imparting, she pours forth to a person whom she does not even treat as a friend; but talk she must, and she had no other topic at hand. Thus, at the end of a siege, guns are charged with all sorts of rubbish for lack of ammunition.

Mrs. Aurelia Sparr not only knows all the modern languages, but enough of the ancient to set up a parson, and every dialect of every county she has ever been in. If you ask her the name of any thing, she will give you a polyglot answer; you may have the satisfaction to know how the citizens of every town and the peasants of every province express themselves, on a matter you may never have occasion to name again. But I earnestly recommend you never to ask anything; it is better to go without hearing one thing you do want to hear, than to be constrained to hear fifty things that are no more to you than I to Hecuba—not half so much as Hecuba is to me. Mrs. Aurelia Sparr is not easy to deal with; she looks upon all politeness as affectation, and all affectation as perfidy: she palsies all the courtesies of life by a glum air of disbelief and dissatisfaction. When one sees nobody else, one forgets that such qualities as urbanity, grace, and benignity exist, and is really obliged to say civil things to one’s self, to keep one’s hand in. Mrs. Aurelia Sparr is more eminent as a chronicler than as a logician; some of her conclusions and deductions are not self-evident. For instance—she interprets a reasonable conformity to the dress and manners of persons of other countries, while sojourning among them, into “hating one’s own country.” Command of temper is “an odious, cold disposition.” Address, and dexterity in female works, what good [I-343,
I-344]
ladies in England term notability, are deemed by her “frivolous vanity,” &c. &c. &c. She has learnt chemistry, and she distils vexation and bitterness from every person and every event—geometry, and she can never measure her deportment to circumstances—algebra, merely to multiply the crosses of all whose fate makes them parallel with her—navigation, and she does but tack from one absurdity to another, without making any way—mathematics, and she never calculates how much more agreeable a little good-nature would make her than all her learning—history, and that of her own heart is a blank—perspective, without ever learning to place self at the “vanishing point”—and all languages, without ever uttering in any one of them a single phrase that could make the eyes of the hearer glisten, or call a glow on the cheek of sympathy. Every body allows that Mrs. Aurelia Sparr is very clever—poor, arid praise, what is it worth?

N.


Wine.

EWART’S OLD PORT.

To J. C——y, Esq.

On receiving from him a Present of
a Wine-strainer.
—1825.

This life, dear C——y,—who can doubt?—
Resembles much friend Ewart’s[83] wine;
When first the ruby drops flow out,
How beautiful, how clear they shine!
And thus awhile they keep their tint,
So free from ev’n a shade,—that some
Would smile, did you but dare to hint,
That darker drops would ever come.
But soon, alas, the tide runs short;—
Each minute makes the sad truth plainer;
Till Life, like Ewart’s crusty Port,
When near its close, requires a strainer.
This, Friendship, can, alone, supply,—
Alone can teach the drops to pass,
If not with all their rosiest dye,
At least, unclouded, through the glass.
Nor, C——y, could a boon be mine,
Of which this heart were fonder, vainer,
Than thus, if Life be like old wine,
To have thy friendship for its strainer!

E.

For many years the goodness of Mr. Ewart’s old Port has been duly appreciated by his private friends. The preceding verses, in The Times of Monday, (March 5, 1827,) have disclosed “the secret,” and now, probably, he will “blush to find it fame.” The knowledge of his “ruby drops” should be communicated to all who find it necessary to “use a little wine for their stomach’s sake, and their often infirmities.” Can the information be conveyed in more agreeable lines?


[83] A vender of capital old Port in Swallow-street.


Beauty.

A NATURAL COMPLIMENT.

As the late beautiful duchess of Devonshire was one day stepping out of her carriage, a dustman, who was accidentally standing by, and was about to regale himself with his accustomed whiff of tobacco, caught a glance of her countenance, and instantly exclaimed, “Love and bless you, my lady, let me light my pipe in your eyes!” It is said that the duchess was so delighted with this compliment, that she frequently afterwards checked the strain of adulation, which was constantly offered to her charms, by saying, “Oh! after the dustman’s compliment, all others are insipid.”


PERSIAN SONG OF HAFIZ.

By Sir William Jones.

Sweet maid, if thou wouldst charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck infold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocara’s vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.
Boy! let yon liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate’er the frowning zealots say:—
Tell them their Eden cannot show
A stream so clear as Rocnabad,
A bower so sweet as Mosellay.
O! when these fair, perfidious maids,
Whose eyes our secret haunts infest,
Their dear destructive charms display;—
Each glance my tender breast invades,
And robs my wounded soul of rest;
As Tartars seize their destin’d prey.
In vain with love our bosoms glow,
Can all our tears, can all our sighs,
New lustre to those charms impart?
Can cheeks, where living roses blow,
Where nature spreads her richest dyes,
Require the borrow’d gloss of art?
[I-345,
I-346]
Speak not of fate:—ah! change the theme,
And talk of odours, talk of wine,
Talk of the flowers that round us bloom:—
’Tis all a cloud, ’tis all a dream:
To love and joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.
Beauty has such resistless power,
That ev’n the chaste Egyptian dame
Sigh’d for the blooming Hebrew boy;
For her how fatal was the hour,
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely and so coy!
But ah, sweet maid! my counsel hear,—
(Youth shall attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage)
While music charms the ravish’d ear;
While sparkling cups delight our eyes,
Be gay; and scorn the frowns of age.
What cruel answer have I heard!
And yet, by heaven, I love thee still:
Can aught be cruel from thy lip?
Yet say, how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which nought but drops of honey sip?
Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like orient pearls at random strung:
Thy notes are sweet, the damsels say;
But O! far sweeter, if they please,
The nymph for whom these notes are sung.

“OUR LIVES AND PROPERTIES.”

By Mr. William Hutton, F. A. S. S.

If we survey this little world, vast in our idea, but small compared to immensity, we shall find it crusted over with property, fixed and movable. Upon this crusty world subsist animals of various kinds; one of which, something short of six feet, moves erect, seems the only one without a tail, and takes the lead in the command of this property. Fond of power, and conscious that possessions give it, he is ever attempting, by force, fraud, or laudable means, to arrive at both.

Fixed property bears a value according to its situation; 10,000 acres in a place like London, and its environs, would be an immense fortune, such as no man ever possessed; while 10,000, in some parts of the globe, though well covered with timber, would not be worth a shilling—no king to govern, no subject to submit, no market to exhibit property, no property to exhibit; instead of striving to get possession, he would, if cast on the spot, strive to get away. Thus assemblages of people mark a place with value.

Movable property is of two sorts; that which arises from the earth, with the assistance of man; and the productions of art, which wholly arise from his labour. A small degree of industry supplies the wants of nature, a little more furnishes the comforts of life, and a farther proportion affords the luxuries. A man, by labour first removes his own wants, and then, with the overplus of that labour, purchases the labour of another. Thus, by furnishing a hat for the barber, the hatter procures a wig for himself: the tailor, by making a coat for another, is enabled to buy cloth for his own. It follows, that the larger the number of people, the more likely to cultivate a spirit of industry; the greater that industry, the greater its produce; consequently, the more they supply the calls of others, the more lucrative will be the returns to themselves.

It may be asked, what is the meaning of the word rich? Some have termed it, a little more than a man has; others, as much as will content him; others again, the possession of a certain sum, not very small. Perhaps all are wrong. A man may be rich, possessed only of one hundred pounds; he may be poor, possessed of one hundred thousand. He alone is rich, whose income is more than he uses.

Industry, though excellent, will perform but half the work; she must be assisted by economy; without this, a ministerial fortune will be defective. These two qualities, separated from each other, like a knife from the handle, are of little use; but, like these, they become valuable when united. Economy without industry will barely appear in a whole coat; industry without economy will appear in rags. The first is detrimental to the community, by preventing the circulation of property; the last is detrimental to itself. It is a singular remark, that even industry is sometimes the way to poverty. Industry, like a new cast guinea, retains its sterling value; but, like that, it will not pass currently till it receives a sovereign stamp: economy is the stamp which gives it currency. I well knew a man who began business with 1500l. Industry seemed the end for which he was made, and in which he wore himself out. While he laboured from four in the morning till eight at night, in the making of gimlets, his family consumed twice his produce. Had he spent less time at the anvil, and more in teaching the lessons of frugality, he might have lived in credit. Thus the father was ruined by industry, and his children have, for many years, appeared on the parish books. Some people are more apt to get than to keep.

[I-347,
I-348]

Though a man, by his labour, may treat himself with many things, yet he seldom grows rich. Riches are generally acquired by purchasing the labour of others. He who buys the labour of one hundred people, may acquire ten times as much as by his own.

What then has that capricious damsel, Fortune, to do in this chain of argument? Nothing. He who has capacity, attention, and economy, has a fortune within himself. She does not command him, he commands her.

Having explained the word riches, and pointed out the road to them, let us examine their use. They enable a man with great facility to shake off an old friend, once an equal; and forbid access to an inferior, except a toad-eater. Sometimes they add to his name, the pretty appendage of Right Honourable, Bart. or Esq. additions much coveted, which, should he happen to become an author, are an easy passport through the gates of fame. His very features seem to take a turn from his fortune, and a curious eye may easily read in his face, the word consequence. They change the tone of his voice from the submissive to the commanding, in which he well knows how to throw in a few graces. His style is convincing. Money is of singular efficacy; it clears his head, refines his sense, points his joke. The weight of his fortune adds weight to his argument. If, my dear reader, you have been a silent spectator at meetings for public business, or public dinners, you may have observed many a smart thing said unheeded, by the man without money; and many a paltry one echoed with applause, from the man with it. The room in silent attention hears one, while the other can scarcely hear himself. They direct a man to various ways of being carried who is too idle to carry himself; nay, they invert the order of things, for we often behold two men, who seem hungry, carry one who is full fed. They add refinement to his palate, prominence to his front, scarlet to his nose. They frequently ward off old age. The ancient rules of moderation being broken, luxury enters in all her pomp, followed by a group of diseases, with a physician in their train, and the rector in his. Phials, prayers, tears, and galley-pots, close the sad scene, and the individual has the honour to rot in state, before old age can advance. His place may be readily supplied with a joyful mourner.[84]


[84] History of Birmingham.


A MUSICAL CRASH.

The Rev. Mr. B——, when residing at Canterbury, was reckoned a good violoncello player; but he was not more distinguished for his expression on the instrument, than for the peculiar appearance of feature whilst playing it. In the midst of the adagios of Corelli or Avison, the muscles of his face sympathised with his fiddlestick, and kept reciprocal movement. His sight, being dim, obliged him often to snuff the candles; and, when he came to a bar’s rest, in lieu of snuffers, he generally employed his fingers in that office; and, lest he should offend the good housewife by this dirty trick, he used to thrust the spoils into the sound-holes of his violoncello. A waggish friend resolved to enjoy himself “at the parson’s expense,” as he termed it; and, for that purpose, popped a quantity of gunpowder into B.’s instrument. Others were informed of the trick, and of course kept a respectable distance. The tea equipage being removed, music became the order of the evening; and, after B—— had tuned his instrument, and drawn his stand near enough to snuff his candles with ease, feeling himself in the meridian of his glory, he dashed away at Vanhall’s 47th. B—— came to a bar’s rest, the candles were snuffed, and he thrust the ignited wick into the usual place; fit fragor, bang went the fiddle to pieces, and there was an end of harmony that evening.


FASHIONABLE RELIGION.

A French gentleman, equally tenacious of his character for gallantry and devotion, went to hear mass at the chapel of a favourite saint at Paris; when he came there, he found repairs were doing in the building which prevented the celebration. To show that he had not been defective in his duty and attentions, he pulled out a richly decorated pocket-book, and walking with great gravity and many genuflexions up the aisle, very carefully placed a card of his name upon the principal altar.


A POLITE TOWN.

Charles II. on passing through Bodmin, is said to have observed, that “this was the politest town he had ever seen, as one half of the houses appeared to be bowing, and the other half uncovered.” Since the days of Charles, the houses are altered, but the inhabitants still retain their politeness, especially at elections.


[I-349,
I-350]

Vol. I.—12.

Ancient British Pillar, Valle Crucis Abbey, North Wales.

Who first uprear’d this venerable stone,
And how, by ruthless hands, the column fell,
And how again restor’d, I fain would tell.

*

A few years ago, an artist made a water-colour sketch of this monument, as a picturesque object, in the romantic vicinage of Llangollen; from that drawing he permitted the present, and the following are some particulars of the interesting memorial.

Mr. Pennant, during his “Tour in Wales,” entered Merionethshire, “into that portion for ever to be distinguished in the Welsh annals, on account of the hero it produced, who made such a figure in the beginning of the fifteenth century.” This tract retains its former title, “Glyndyfrdwy,” or the valley of the Dee. It once belonged to the lords of Dinas Brân. After the murder of the two eldest sons of the last lord, the property had been usurped by the earl of Warren, and that nobleman, who appears to have been seized with remorse for his crime, instead of plunging deeper in guilt, procured from Edward I. a grant of the territory to the third son, from whom the fourth in descent was the celebrated Owen Glyndwr.[85]

In this valley, about a quarter of a mile from Valle Crucis Abbey, Mr. Pennant [I-351,
I-352]
found the present monument. It was thrown from its base, and lay in the hedge of a meadow. He figures it by an engraving of the pillar in an upright position, showing the fracture of the lower part as it then appeared in relation to the square socket-stone, its original supporter. Mr. Pennant calls it the “remainder of a round column, perhaps one of the most ancient of any British inscribed pillar now existing;” and he thus proceeds:—

“It was entire till the civil wars of the last century, when it was thrown down and broken, by some ignorant fanatics, who thought it had too much the appearance of a cross to be suffered to stand. It probably bore the name of one; for the field it lies in is still called ‘Llwyn-y-Groes,’ or the Grove of the Cross, from the wood that surrounded it. It was erected at so early a period, that there is nothing marvellous if we should perceive a tincture of the old idolatry, or at least of the primeval customs of our country, in the mode of it when perfect.

“The pillar had never been a cross; notwithstanding folly and superstition might, in later times, imagine it to have been one, and have paid it the usual honours. It was a memorial of the dead; an improvement on the rude columns of Druidical times, and cut into form, and surrounded with inscriptions. It is among the first lettered stones that succeeded the ‘Meinihirion,’ ‘Meini Gwyr,’ and ‘Llechau.’ It stood on a great tumulus; perhaps always environed with wood, (as the mount is at present,) according to the custom of the most ancient times, when standing pillars were placed ‘under every green tree.’

“It is said that the stone, when complete, was twelve feet high. It is now reduced to six feet eight. The remainder of the capital is eighteen inches long. It stood enfixed in a square pedestal, still lying in the mount; the breadth of which is five feet three inches; the thickness eighteen inches.

“The beginning of the inscription gives us nearly the time of its erection, ‘Concenn filius Cateli, Cateli filius Brochmail, Brochmail filius Eliseg, Eliseg filius Cnoillaine, Concenn itaque pronepos Eliseg edificavit hunc lapidem proavo suo Eliseg.’

“This Concenn, or Congen, was the grandson of Brochmail Yseithroc, the same who was defeated in 607, at the battle of Chester. The letters on the stone were copied by Mr. Edward Llwyd: the inscription is now illegible; but, from the copy taken by that great antiquary, the alphabet nearly resembles one of those in use in the sixth century.

“One of the seats of Concenn and Eliseg was in this country. A township adjacent to the column bears, from the last, the name of Eglwyseg; and the picturesque tiers of rocks are called Glisseg for the same reason. The habitation of this prince of Powys in these parts was probably Dinas Brân, which lies at the head of the vale of Glisseg. Mr. Llwyd conjectures that this place took its name from the interment of Eliseg.”

Mr. Pennant continues to relate that “There are two ways from this pillar: the usual is along the vale, on an excellent turnpike road leading to Ruthyn; the other is adapted only for the travel of the horsemen, but far the more preferable, on account of the romantic views. I returned by Valle Crucis; and, after winding along a steep midway to the old castle, descended; and, then crossing the rill of the Brân, arrived in the valley of Glisseg; long and narrow, bounded on the right by the astonishing precipices, divided into numberless parallel strata of white limestone, often giving birth to vast yew-trees; and, on the left, by smooth and verdant hills, bordered by pretty woods. One of the principal of the Glisseg rocks is honoured with the name of Craig-Arthur; another, at the end of the vale called Craig y Forwyn, or the Maiden’s, is bold, precipitous, and terminates with a vast natural column. This valley is chiefly inhabited (happily) by an independent race of warm and wealthy yeomanry, undevoured as yet by the great men of the country.”

The “Tour in Wales” was performed by Mr. Pennant in 1773; and his volume, containing the preceding account of the “Pillar of Eliseg,” was published in 1778. In the following year, the shaft was reared from its prostrate situation on its ancient pedestal, as appears by the following inscription on the column, copied by the artist who made the present drawing of the monument.

QUOD HUJUS VETERIS MONUMENTI
SUPEREST
DIU EX OCULIS REMOTUM
ET NEGLECTUM
TANDEM RESTITUIT
T. LLOYD
DE
TREVOR HALL
A.D.
M.DCC.LXX.IX.

[I-353,
I-354]

It is not in my power to add more respecting this venerable memorial of early ages than, that, according to a printed itinerary, its neighbourhood is at this time further remarkable for the self-seclusion of two ladies of rank. At about two miles’ distance is an elegant cottage, situated on a knoll, the retreat of lady Elizabeth Butler and Miss Ponsonby; who, turning from the vanity of fashionable life, have fixed their residence in this beautiful vale.


[85] His quarrel with Howel Sele forms an article in the Every-Day Book, vol. ii. p. 1021-1032.


Hard Fare.

ACCOUNT OF A STONE-EATER.